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7 Napping Tips for a Refreshing Snooze

By Health & Wellness

A power nap, a cat nap, an afternoon snooze. Whatever you call it, the concept of a nap is nothing new. But is a quick bit of shut-eye good for you? And when and how often should you take one? For National Napping Day, which we are very happy to celebrate on March 11, we talked to the experts to find out how you can set yourself up for sleepytime success.

Is it healthy to nap?

The answer depends on the person, say experts. Marjorie Ellen Soltis, a neurologist and sleep medicine specialist at Duke Health, does not consider napping every day to always be normal.

She says people who are regularly napping during the day should think about why that might be, adding they may not be getting adequate sleep at night.

Another potential reason for needing to nap all of a sudden: underlying health issues, says Sara C. Mednick, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine.

But, says Mednick, as long as there are not underlying health issues, a nap during the day can actually be beneficial – a way to counteract the weakening of circadian rhythms that often occurs as we age.

Mednick supports a midday nap routine as a “great way to consolidate the sleepiness into one concentrated good snooze, rather than nodding off throughout the day.”

If all this talk of napping is making you want to curl up on the sofa under a warm blanket, here are tips from the experts on how to get the best and healthiest nap.

1. Personalize your nap space

Not all nappers are the same, says Soltis, so first and foremost, you need to listen to your body.

“I think sleep, in general, is the biggest victim of everybody saying here’s exactly what you need to do and how, when realistically, everyone’s a little bit different,” Soltis says.

“Some people, like Winston Churchill, need to take off all their clothes and go back to bed, while others are happy with a head-on-the-desk snooze,” Mednick says.

To read about more tips to take a restful nap and feel refreshed, from AARP, CLICK HERE.

No. 1 Exercise for Lowering Blood Pressure

By Health & Wellness

Want to lower your blood pressure? A new study pinpoints exactly what kind of exercise is best for easing blood pressure, and it doesn’t involve running on the treadmill or pumping iron at the gym.

Instead, the study reveals that static isometric exercises like wall sits (also known as wall squats) and planks — which engage muscles without movement — are best for lowering blood pressure.

The new analysis, a systematic review of 270 studies, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM), confirms that many types of exercise — including aerobic activity, weight training and high-intensity interval training – help to lower blood pressure, but it found that isometric exercises offer the biggest benefit.

Of the exercises examined, the wall sit was the most effective, the study found.

It’s long been known that physical activity has blood pressure benefits, but the review is important because doctors often recommend heart-healthy activities like walking, running and cycling as their top choices for patients with hypertension.

But isometric exercises are almost twice as effective at lowering blood pressure compared with just doing cardio, the study shows. Study author Jamie O’Driscoll, a researcher in cardiovascular physiology at Christ Canterbury Church University, says he and his colleagues launched the BJSM review because they have seen the blood pressure benefits of isometric exercise firsthand, and they wanted “to draw together the evidence for the wider audience”

“These findings provide a comprehensive data-driven framework to support the development of new exercise guideline recommendations for the prevention and treatment of arterial hypertension,” he and his coauthors wrote in the review.

To learn more about static isometric exercises, and how they are best for your blood pressure, from AARP, CLICK HERE.

Choosing the Perfect Fit in Senior Living

By Senior Living

As your loved one ages, there will come a time when decisions must be made about the best living arrangements for them. Is remaining at home best or choosing a supportive senior living community? Does my loved one need memory care? The choice between a senior living community or remaining at home can significantly impact their quality of life. We’ll explore the available options for senior care and look at essential factors so you can make an informed decision.

Independent Living vs. Home

Independent Living Communities cater to seniors who can manage their daily lives without much assistance. They offer the added benefits of services such as housekeeping, dining, transportation, and a range of amenities like fitness programs, spas, gourmet dining, art studios, swimming pools, and events within the community.

Unlike staying at home, where it can be difficult to maintain social connections, an independent senior living community provides readily available social connection and offers seniors an enriched life without the burdens of home maintenance or even the need to drive.

Assisted Living vs. Home

Assisted Living Communities bridge the gap between independent senior living and full service residential health care. Residents of assisted living communities enjoy daily social activities and meals but also receive help with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, grooming, and bathroom assistance. In contrast to staying at home, where specialized care may require multiple service providers, assisted living offers a comprehensive care solution with around-the-clock support. Appealing and nutritious meals are provided , as well as programs and activities, many opportunities for socialization, and beautiful indoor and outdoor settings are typically available in a lively and engaging community.

Memory Care vs. Home

Memory care communities are specialized environments for those with cognitive or memory-related conditions. The home can easily become a danger of its own for persons living with memory loss or cognitive issues due to heightened safety concerns and the lack of social engagement. Memory care communities provide structured activities to bolster cognitive abilities and have enhanced security measures to reduce the risks associated with wandering. The dedicated and trained staff understands the intricacies of dementia and Alzheimer’s, ensuring residents receive personalized and dignified care.

To compare the levels of care and to learn about the factors to consider when choosing a senior living community, from Life Care Services, CLICK HERE.

How Senior Living Communities Nurture Mental Wellbeing & Better Mental Health

By Health & Wellness, Senior Resources

Many older Americans experience some form of mental health concerns, with anxiety and depression being the most common. For family caregivers, helping seniors with mental health matters may be overwhelming. Depression and other mental health issues can greatly affect an older person’s quality of life. A person’s sense of purpose may diminish if they no longer have friends in their neighborhood or cannot drive to and from social activities. Isolation often leads to loneliness and depression.

In this blog post, we will explore how senior living communities can give back a sense of purpose and belonging, potentially prevent or improve mental and emotional health issues and give residents that social connection they need to thrive. In addition, we will explore the benefits of being proactive in finding a senior community earlier in your retirement.

The Social Connection

This rings true for all ages, but especially for older adults, that greater social connections will positively affect the quality of life, including physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Fortunately, in senior living communities, accessing these benefits is about as easy as taking a step outside.

In senior living communities, residents have many opportunities to build new friendships and join existing support groups. Whether during happy hours, meeting a new friend for breakfast, joining a group fitness class, or engaging in a group activity, older adults will find themselves surrounded by like-minded people, promoting a sense of belonging. Meaningful connections can serve as a source of laughter, joy, and even emotional comfort. All of these can reduce the feelings of isolation and loneliness that can often lead to depression and anxiety.

To learn more about Assisted Living options for seniors with mental health issues, CLICK HERE.

10 Stomach Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

By Health & Wellness

Everyone has stomach issues from time to time, and occasional digestive discomfort is not usually something to worry about. That said, doctors note that there are a few gastrointestinal symptoms you shouldn’t write off, because they could signal something serious.

“I’ve seen many cases where patients have waited way too long before seeking medical attention,” says Christine Lee, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

Here are 10 symptoms you should never ignore and what they may mean.

1. Prolonged diarrhea

Diarrhea can be a symptom of a number of things — from a food allergy to a bacterial infection. It can also be a warning sign of COVID-19, appearing before more well-known symptoms such as cough or fever, says Brennan Spiegel, M.D., director of health services research for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Studies show that as many as half of COVID-19 patients have gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, and about 15 to 20 percent have only GI symptoms. Diarrhea is the most frequently reported GI symptom, followed by nausea/vomiting and abdominal pain.

If you have diarrhea, nausea/vomiting or abdominal pain that lasts more than a day, “don’t wait for a cough or shortness of breath to get tested for COVID,” Spiegel says. If your test is positive, you could be eligible for highly effective antiviral treatments that can help keep mild symptoms from progressing to more serious ones. New research shows these treatments may also lower a person’s risk for developing long COVID.

If it’s not COVID-19, prolonged diarrhea could signal another type of infection or an underlying condition like ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

2. Blood in your stool

Whether bright red, maroon or black, seeing blood in the toilet can be frightening. Fortunately, it’s usually not a symptom of anything life-threatening, says Nicholas E. Anthony, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina. The most common causes are hemorrhoids and anal fissures (tears in the lining of the anus). But blood in your stool can also be one of the first symptoms of colon cancer, especially if accompanied by a change in your bowel habits or the shape of your stool. Since colon cancer is more common among those over age 50, it’s especially important for older adults to see a doctor without delay. Other possible causes of bleeding are colon polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, colitis and diverticulosis.

To read about eight other symptoms of abdominal disease you shouldn’t ignore, from AARP, CLICK HERE.

Understanding Seniors’ Concerns of Rising Inflation Prices

By Health & Wellness
Older Americans on fixed incomes are among the hardest hit by the rising inflation that has gripped the economy. Costs are surging in all areas, including food, housing, transportation, medical care, prescription drugs, construction, and home maintenance. After a lifetime of hard work and raising children, many older adults are now worried about how they will manage daily expenses and enjoy their retirement during the highest inflation rate in 40 years.

We’ll look at the effects of inflation prices, the economic areas of primary concern, how older adults make adjustments (some positive, some potentially damaging) to combat today’s higher cost of living, and how senior living communities can provide the stability and support to help aging adults navigate the challenges they face through rising inflation. Plus, look at appealing options for carefree and comfortable retirement.

Impact of Rising Inflation on Seniors

Financial stress can negatively impact one’s physical health and emotional well-being. Even for those who have planned for retirement, it can be challenging to maintain that preferred way of life due to the extraordinary costs of inflation that are happening now.

For older adults, the most concerning factors are:

• Food insecurity and rising food prices
• Heating costs
• Rising healthcare costs
• Rising costs of prescription drugs
• Home repair costs

Additionally, transportation costs, whether through car ownership, using public transportation, or ride-shares, more seniors may opt to “just stay home,” adding to isolation and the negative factors related to it, such as depression. We’ll explore the impacts of inflation below.

Food Costs & Grocery Prices Rising

Food costs and grocery prices are rising faster than inflation, putting a strain on those with fixed incomes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index for food at home increased 3.7% over the year ending September 2023. This means that the food prices have increased by over 3 times the overall inflation rate.

Seniors on a tight budget are particularly affected by grocery inflation. They may have difficulty affording healthy foods or have to cut back on their food intake. This can lead to food insecurity and malnutrition, which can seriously impact health and well-being.

Here are some specific ways that rising food and grocery prices affect the aging population on a tight budget:

1. Having to choose between buying food and paying for other essential expenses like housing, healthcare, or transportation.
2. Purchasing less food or skipping meals altogether.
3. Opting to buy lower-quality food, or cheap junk food to get by.

To read more about the impact of rising inflation costs on seniors, from Life Care Services, an LCS Company, CLICK HERE.

Trouble Sleeping? A Simple Breathing Exercise Could Help Break Insomnia’s Grip

By Health & Wellness
My history with sleep is like a roller coaster — making arduous, steady climbs to stretches of adequate rest, then careening with compounding speed into long stretches of little more than four hours a night.
Early in my career, I actually took great pride in my belief that I didn’t require as much sleep as my colleagues. I could get more done in a day! I was ridiculously productive and ridiculously exhausted.
As a health journalist, I inevitably learned the truth about sleep. It is crucial, not just for productivity and accuracy, but also for overall health, brain function, mood and longevity. But about the time I started to seriously seek the sandman — purchasing a sleep mask, earplugs and Tylenol PM; determinedly going to bed and waking up at the same times on weekdays and weekends; regularly soaking up eight hours, which felt like water for a very, very dry sponge — I had kids.
With my firstborn, I went from eight regular hours to four — on a good night. It was a free fall that I didn’t even try to recover from until my youngest set her sights on her tweens.
By then, something had shifted. My old tricks, even trading Tylenol PM for something more potent, gave me no traction. Night after night, I tossed and turned for hours and often found myself wide awake at 3 in the morning.
I can thank the onset of menopause for this new twist, says Rachel Salas, M.D., a sleep expert and professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore: “Hormone changes can disrupt sleep.”
She explained that, among other things, shifts of progesterone and estrogen can spur warmer body temperature: “The body actually needs to cool down even further when you transition into the deeper stages of sleep. If you’re too hot when you’re sleeping, it may negatively affect your sleep quality.”
Whatever the reason, the sleep logs on my Fitbit revealed clearly my sad state of un-slumber. On a Tuesday, I logged a full five hours, then I plummeted to 1 hour and 52 minutes on Wednesday. Banking a turn, I logged 4 hours, 52 minutes, on Thursday, then held tight at 4 hours, 56 minutes, on Friday. Next, I free fell to 1 hour, 8 minutes, on Saturday and 1 hour, 40 minutes, on Sunday.
This newest nadir left me feeling tired, incapable of completing a single thought. And irritable? — well, that doesn’t even come close to describing it. I wanted off this roller coaster once and for all.
To read more about how breathing exercises can help you beat insomnia, from AARP, CLICK HERE.

Introducing The Villas at Bayshore!

By Events

 Now open for your viewing and living pleasures, The Villas at The Bayshore exudes a luxurious and elegant retirement lifestyle met with ease and the beauty of the surrounding coastline. 

With designer touches like granite countertops, high-end fixtures, stainless steel appliances, plank wood flooring, and high ceilings, plus access to a private clubhouse, pool, and every exceptional amenity in our community, this new, upscale view of retirement will look sensational on you! 

Be our guest at one of our upcoming Showcases to experience the luxury for yourself.