Top Seven Superfoods for Seniors

Written by James Flerming

Some seniors mistakenly believe that they don’t need to worry about their diet once they reach retirement age. In reality, though, the foods you consume on a regular basis contribute significantly to the quality of your life and the rate at which you age.

If you want to continue to look and feel your best (or if you want to look and feel better), start adding these seven superfoods to your diet.

  1. Blueberries

Blueberries are a great source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps feed the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. It can also lower your cholesterol levels and slow down your cells’ uptake of glucose. This, in turn, makes it easier to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Blueberries are also loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and many other beneficial antioxidants, including anthocyanins. Anthocyanins give blueberries their bright color, and they’re known to promote brain health and boost memory.

  1. Dark Chocolate

Who says eating healthy can’t also be delicious? Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, including flavonoids, which can protect the arteries and prevent heart attacks. Regular dark chocolate consumption can also reduce blood pressure and decrease the risk of stroke in women by up to 20 percent!

As if those benefits aren’t enough, dark chocolate has also been shown to protect the brain and act as a memory booster. To see the greatest benefits from dark chocolate, make sure it’s at least 70 percent cacao and low in sugar.

  1. Turmeric

Turmeric, the bright yellow spice that gives Indian and Middle Eastern food its rich coloring, contains an anti-inflammatory compound known as curcumin. Curcumin is a common ingredient in supplements for arthritic adults, and for good reason. It has actually been shown to help reduce inflammation just as well as (if not better than) over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.

Add turmeric to your favorite foods or steep it in hot water to make tea. Just be sure to add some black pepper, too. One of the ingredients in black pepper, piperine, increases curcumin’s bioavailability by up to 2,000 percent!

  1. Asparagus

Asparagus is rich in the phytochemical lycopene. Lycopene is especially beneficial for senior men, as it can protect the prostate and lower one’s risk of developing prostate cancer.

That’s not to say that women shouldn’t also enjoy asparagus, though. It’s also rich in vitamin A, which is beneficial for proper immune health and eye health. It also contains plenty of fiber to promote healthy gut bacteria, lower cholesterol, and boost heart health.

  1. Broccoli

Broccoli is a great source of calcium, so it’s a great vegetable for seniors to consume if they want to ward off osteoporosis and osteopenia. It’s also rich in fiber and other essential vitamins, including vitamins A, K, C, and B9 (folate).

With all these great nutrients, broccoli is a powerhouse that can protect the blood cells, eyes, and immune system. Some research also indicates that regular broccoli consumption can help fight off certain types of cancer, including breast, prostate, liver, and colon cancer.

  1. Coffee

If you’ve been drinking a cup or two of coffee a day for longer than you can remember, don’t worry. No one’s going to tell you to put down your mug anytime soon.

Consumption of coffee — regular and decaf — has been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, and a variety of infections. It may also help protect women from breast cancer.

The only caveat? Don’t drink it too hot — high temperatures have been linked to an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.

  1. Olive Oil

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat. Forget what you’ve been told about fat clogging your arteries and increasing your risk of heart disease. In the case of monounsaturated fats (and many other types of fat), that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Monounsaturated fats actually lower cholesterol and heart disease risk. They also help regulate insulin levels and control blood sugar to prevent diabetes.In addition to monounsaturated fats, olive oil is also full of vitamin K, vitamin E, and a compound known as oleocanthal. Oleocanthal is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can relieve pain just as well as ibuprofen.

There is No Going Back

Fond memories of days gone by are a joy to replay in our mind’s eye. Whether reliving a particularly happy time in our life or recalling a rare perfect confluence of all things good, our past can be a riverbed of precious nuggets waiting to be mined. Occasionally memories might even outshine the life we currently live.Do you ever find yourself tempted to return to that special place packed with special memories to do it all again? It was so perfect – why not go back? You might stay at that same wonderful bed and breakfast, maybe even in the same room. Is that spectacular dining spot still around, perhaps with that identical table and oh-so-memorable view? Maybe you take again that same wandering path through hillside vineyards or find once more the hidden wine shop tucked inconspicuously into an obscure corner of the village. Though memories may be clear, the way back is not always.

About nine years ago my wife and I visited an off-the-beaten-path restaurant in Intragna, Switzerland. Our table was one of about fifteen spread comfortable across one large room. The food was incredible. I swear I can still taste the truffle pasta. Through the window we gazed upon a little valley speckled with brightly painted houses the air resonating with bell-clanging cows while in the distance lurked the ever present snow capped mountains. As the meal unfolded we witnessed the slow progression of a spectacular sunset painting the world a royal red before closing down the day. Service was friendly and nine years later I still remember my first sip of grappa from those foot long bottles they acrobatically poured at meal’s end.

The memory remains crystal clear, like we were just there. Talk about the perfect moment.

Last year we revisited this spot excited to relive our nostalgic experience. I think we were realistic – we did not expect such a perfect moment but were hoping for something close.  It turns out our memories far out shined current day reality. The experience was not bad it just was not a good as before.  The food was not quite as tasty, the service mediocre, and the whole vibe was a bit off. That certain magic was missing despite some near misses.

Messing with perfect memories can be a risky proposition. What are the chances the second time around will be better or even as good? You can safely assume not everything will be the same. And there is always the chance they will be worse, inferior, not worthy of special memory categorization at all. Imperfections might actually pollute that perfect picture painted years ago. Is it worth the risk?

My dad grew up in Sioux City, South Dakota. Over the years he shared many colorful stories of his life adventures, some comical, some heart rending, all near and dear to him. A few years ago he took my mom on a trip to show her his old stomping grounds. You would expect signs of “progress” over the interim fifty-plus years (aka traffic, sprawl, dirt roads converted to highways, all the wonderful ingredients of growth). Not only were most of the familiar landmarks gone, they could not even find where the old farmstead had been. Little was as it had been when dad was growing up. Fortunately they were able to hook up with my dad’s roommate from medical school so the trip was still a success. That said it was not what they had hoped.

Revisiting and attempting to relive a perfect moment is a noble pursuit. What fun it can be to plan and make arrangements to do it all over again. We do all we can to get it right, down to the smallest detail, and hope for the best. If things do not work out exactly as we hope it will not be due to any lack of trying.

Some may choose to play it safe – leave that perfect memory alone and savor it in blissful review. Break out a nice Pinot Noir, bring out those pictures and take an invigorating virtual stroll down memory lane. Ah but those were good times.

But if you decide to play it safe what about those potential new memories that will never be realized? Although our second Intragna excursion was not on par with the first, while on the trip we discovered the beauty of Thun where we took a lovely boat ride around the lake and wandered the historical streets in search of amazing pastries. Other new experiences included walking the castle wall in Lucerne overlooking the city and nearby mountains, a quick ferry across the Rhine in Basel, and a truly amazing walk among the vineyards along Lake Neuchatel. Now we can add these new special memories to our existing database.

Good memories are a wonderful thing. While we are still able to why not make as many of them as possible. Cheers 🙂

LoveBeingRetired.com

Improving Road Safety for Seniors

Written by Sally Perkins

Retirement is a great time in which to pursue your passion, and without a doubt, driving could be one of them. According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, there are approximately 40 million licenced drivers aged 65 or over, which is great news for those wishing to remain mobile. Although it is true that age can bring about an increased risk of some types of accidents and injuries, simply being aware of these risks is an excellent way to continue to enjoy the independence that driving can offer. In this post, we highlight pertinent statistics to senior drivers and share ways to boost safety and enjoyment on the road.

Which Groups are at Risk of Accidents?

The risk of being involved in a fatal crash starts to increase among drivers aged 70 to 74, and is highest in those aged 85 or older. This is one reason why coverage for senior drivers tends to be higher. Interestingly, the statistics are not as simple as they seem. That is, the percentages can be attributed to an increased susceptibility and medical complications rather than to an increased risk of car crashes in over 65s. Males have a higher risk of fatal crashes than females. Some of the abilities that can increase one’s risk include vision problems and a decline (if relevant) in cognitive functioning (reasoning and memory).

Key Points Regarding Driver Safety among Seniors

Some issues that can affect seniors’ ability to drive safely include the fact that 80% of people in their 70s suffer from arthritis/joint inflammation, which can make specific movements which are necessary for driving (including turning and twisting) painful. Weaker muscles and reduced flexibility, meanwhile, can limit one’s ability to grip and turn the steering wheel, press the foot pedals, or reach for the doors or windows. Taking medication can also have an impact on driving ability. If you look at the statistics per person, seniors are less involved in accidents than younger brothers. However, if you look at the accident rate per mile, the rate is equally high in both groups.

Driving Errors Differ according to Age

Older drivers are actually more careful. They have a lower percentage of risks on bends and while overtaking, than those in their 50s. Seniors tend to have slower, more conservative, cautious driving styles. They are less inclined to take part in speeding, overtaking, zigzagging, and they are less likely to fail to comply with police instructions. However, they can be more prone to making errors that can lead to a crash, particularly in intersections on 60/70 mph roads. They can also be at fault in accidents having to do with right of way.

CDC Recommendations

In order to reduce driver deaths and injuries, the CDC recommends using seatbelts rigorously. It is also important for seniors to drive during the day (when visibility is better) and when the weather is optimal for this activity. They could also consider avoiding high-speed roads, when quick lane changing and faster reflexes may be necessary to avoid an accident. Drinking is a no-no, as it is for all age groups. Around 20% of drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking.

Additional Strategies to Reduce Accident Risks

It is vital for seniors to be aware of the specific risks they face, and those they may pose. Thus, family members can help them practice key skills such as negotiating intersections. Seniors can also make it a point to leave a large distance with the car in front, and make an extra effort to ensure they are driving within their lane at all times. Older drivers should go for regular assessments, to make sure they are wearing appropriate vision wear if glasses or contact lenses are required. Their eyesight in particular should be tested at least once a year. Seniors should also let their doctor know they are driving, so they can be informed if any medication they are taking may affect their driving abilities.

Finally, they should use GPS technology to study routes; streetview is an excellent way for seniors to know where they need to turn off or which exit they need to take. Planning before taking a route one is unfamiliar with is important, as is picking the best time of the day to travel. Distractions such as mobile phones and loud music or radios should be avoided, and if possible, public transport or carpooling should be considered for complicated or far routes.

When is it Time to Stop Driving?

Although many seniors need their vehicles to get around and complete tasks, it is important to know when it might be of interest to use public transport or to rely on family and friends. Signs include getting lost frequently, having frequent ‘close calls’, having difficulty reading signs or hearing sirens and other cues, and failing to obey traffic lights, signs, etc. Many local governments provide low cost transport for over 65s.

If you love driving, there is no reason why you cannot continue to do so after retirement. Being honest with oneself is key, since our safety and that of others is at stake. Yearly eye appointments, GPS technology, practicing key techniques such as negotiating intersections, and talking to our doctor about side-effects of any medication one may be taking can go a long way towards making driving a pleasurable and safe experience.