Turmeric a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

Turmeric a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

 

As it turns out, turmeric (more specifically its active compound, curcumin) is more than just a delicious seasoning for your favorite Indian takeout dish. This fragrant yellow spice, a close relative of ginger, is also renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidant effect, weight management support, and pain relief. Wondering if supplementing with turmeric can help improve your pain in a natural way? Turmeric (curcumin) shows a surprising number of health benefits:

 

Pain Relief

One of the most compelling benefits of using turmeric is its pain relief properties. One study conducted by the Cytokine Research Laboratory found that the curcumin in turmeric was a more effective anti-inflammatory than aspirin and ibuprofen, and has pain-relief properties on par with phenylbutazone and hydrocortisone. This is fantastic news for people with chronic pain who are concerned about the negative side effects (like liver damage and ulcers) that can arise with long-term or heavy use of NSAIDs.

 

Antioxidant Properties

Curcumin is also renowned for its antioxidant properties, which can make a big difference in how quickly your body heals! The cells in your body create “free radicals” as part of their normal metabolic cycle. And when inflammation is present in the body, free radical production goes up. Without antioxidants (which neutralize free radicals), these harmful free radicals have the potential to further damage the cells and organs in the body. Adding antioxidants like curcumin to your diet while you recover from an injury can help your body heal.

 

Using Turmeric for Inflammation

While there isn’t a standardized dose of turmeric, many studies have concluded that, even at high doses, turmeric is safe for consumption. The most common mild side effect that you may notice is gastrointestinal discomfort, which can be avoided if you add turmeric to your diet slowly (instead of a high dose all at once!) In general, it’s a good idea to take the most natural (organic and minimally processed) form of turmeric/curcumin that you can find, to help your body most easily absorb it.

 

The most common ways to use turmeric/curcumin include the following:

 

You can make turmeric paste by mixing ¼ cup turmeric powder with ½ cup water, then heating on low until a thick paste is formed. This mixture can be kept in your fridge for several weeks. This paste can be eaten in turmeric milk (recipe below) or applied topically by mixing with coconut oil or olive oil spreading across the affected area. Massage this paste into the skin, wrap with plastic wrap, and leave on for an hour.

 

Add a piece of raw turmeric root (½ inch to 1 inch) or a teaspoon of turmeric paste to a cup of milk in a saucepan. Heat slowly to simmer, but do not boil. Any kind of milk (almond milk, coconut milk, cow’s milk) will work! For turmeric tea, repeat this same process with water. If you like, add a little bit of butter and maple syrup!

 

Curcumin can also be taken in concentrated form through capsules. Make sure you consult with a doctor on the right dosage for you before you begin taking curcumin capsules, since this method of taking turmeric is the most potent, and your doctor will have helpful insight into your unique health history.

 

Curcumin can also be taken as a food-grade essential oil, either topically or by mouth. If you don’t like the taste of turmeric milk, this can be a good way to take turmeric in a concentrated form! Keep in mind that, like other anti-inflammatories, turmeric is a blood thinner and should not be taken during pregnancy or before surgeries and medical procedures. Turmeric can also change how some medications interact with your body (like anti-depressants). When in doubt, ALWAYS talk to your doctor! Keep in mind that while turmeric shows a lot of potential for lowering inflammation and pain, it won’t treat the underlying cause of your pain.

 

 

 

Your Body Needs Water

Your Body Needs Water

 

Up to 75 percent of Americans may be functioning in a chronic state of dehydration. This lack of hydration also leads to many other health issues. Every cell in your body needs water to function, but often people don’t realize they’re dehydrated. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Thirst isn’t always a reliable early indicator of the body’s need for water. Many people, particularly older adults, don’t feel thirsty until they’re already dehydrated.”

 

 

Most people learn that water exists in three forms – liquid, gas and solid. But there is a fourth form of water called “gel water” that’s the most hydrating. It’s found in plant cells and contains glucose and/or sodium, which helps your body absorb it in the small intestine. This is critical because the small intestine is where 95 percent of water is absorbed into your body.

 

 

Gel water can be found in high concentrations in fruits and vegetables like cucumber, celery, watermelon and cantaloupe. One great way to stay well-hydrated is to drink smoothies. Blend fruits and vegetables in a smoothie and add coconut water to provide electrolytes. Drink this hydration-booster every morning, along with 3.5 liters of fluid water throughout the day.

 

 

Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.

 

 

Fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of water include:

  • cantaloupe
  • strawberries
  • watermelon
  • lettuce
  • cabbage
  • celery

 

Other foods that contain a high amount of water include:

  • yogurt
  • cottage cheese
  • pasta
  • shrimp
  • salmon
  • chicken breast

 

Consuming foods high in water will help prevent dehydration. However, food alone isn’t likely to provide an adequate amount of water to sustain you in the long term.

 

Here’s a final hydration boosting tip: Add a handful of ground chia seeds to your smoothie or beverage. Ground chia seeds absorb 30 times their weight in water and turn fluid water into gel water. They also slow the passage of water through your digestive tract, giving the body more time to absorb it.

 

Water is important to your overall health.

 

 

OMG!  I CAN’T FIND MY KEYS

OMG! I CAN’T FIND MY KEYS

forgetfulness

It may be hard to know the difference between age-related changes and the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease. For example, if the person was never good at balancing a checkbook, struggling with this task is probably not a warning sign. But if their ability to balance a checkbook has recently changed, it is something to share with a doctor. To help, the Alzheimer’s Association has created this list of warning signs for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Individuals may experience one or more signs in different degrees. If you notice any of them, please see a doctor.

Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aides (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later.

Challenges in planning or solving problems.
Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.

Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.

Confusion with time or place.
People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.

Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not realize they are the person in the mirror.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Vision changes related to cataracts.

New problems with words in speaking or writing.
People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand-clock”).

What’s a typical age-related change?
Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.

Withdrawal from work or social activities.
A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.

Changes in mood and personality.
The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

 

If you’ve misplaced your keys, you’re probably just experiencing what millions of other Baby Boomers are: normal age-related memory difficulties. Here are some suggestions to help you with memory issues:

 

• Keep a routine
• Organize information (keep details in a calendar or day planner)
• Put items in the same spot (always put your keys in the same place by the door)
• Repeat information (repeat names when you meet people)
• Run through the alphabet in your head to help you remember a word
• Make associations (relate new information to things you already know)
• Involve your senses (if you are a visual learner, visualize an item)
• Teach others or tell them stories
• Get a full night’s sleep
• Learn more about what you can do to maintain your brain health and strengthen your memory

 

For better brain health, consider these options:

Challenge yourself: www.alzheimer.ca/en/aboutdementia/brain-health/challenge-yourself

Be socially active: www.alzheimer.ca/en/aboutdementia/brain-health/be-socially-active

Follow a healthy diet: www.alzheimer.ca/en/aboutdementia/brain-health/make-healthy-food-choices

Be physically active: www.alzheimer.ca/en/aboutdementia/brain-health/be-physically-active

Reduce stress: www.alzheimer.ca/en/aboutdementia/brain-health/reduce-stress

Protect your head: www.alzheimer.ca/en/aboutdementia/brain-health/protet-your-head

Make healthy lifestyle choices: www.alzheimer.ca/en/aboutdementia/brain-health/choose-wisely

 

If, on the other hand, you suspect a loved one may have Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or a related dementia, it is important to get a proper diagnosis from a licensed doctor.

Be aware that many illnesses can cause confusion or dementia, and in some cases, those illnesses could be treated. For example, a urinary tract infection may cause confusion, but it can be treated. By having a correct diagnosis from a doctor, the doctor can decide on the best treatment and the family can start planning for the future. While there is no cure for AD and some other dementias, a loved one diagnosed with AD can maximize the quality of his or her life by receiving an early diagnosis.

The first step in getting an accurate diagnosis for an individual is visiting with that person’s primary care physician. Below are some quick tips to help you prepare a loved one for a visit to the doctor.

• Keep a journal of physical or mental complaints, unusual behaviors, and questions. Record such things as: What symptoms have you noticed? When did the symptoms first appear? How have the symptoms changed over time? Be specific and include minor symptoms. Present this to the doctor before the visit, if possible.

• Make a list of current medications. Include both prescription and over-the-counter drugs— even vitamins, supplements, herbs, and eye drops. Be sure to include a list of any drug allergies, as well as a list of current and past health problems.

• Schedule the appointment. You may want to talk with a loved one about making an appointment. Discuss this topic with a loved one, unless you think it will be upsetting. Ask a loved one if you can go along to the visit.

Written  by Fritzi Gros-Daillon

For additional information:
http://www.alz.org/stl/documents/visiting_the_doctor.pdf
http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/About-dementia/What-is-dementia/Normal-aging-vs-dementia
http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/About-dementia/Brain-health
https://www.alz.org/national/documents/aa_brochure_10warnsigns.pdf
http://www.alz.org/mnnd/documents/aging_memory_loss_and_dementia_what_is_the_difference.pdf

Fall Prevention: Senior Safety at Home

Fall Prevention: Senior Safety at Home

Fall Prevention

Fall Prevention

 

Slips, trips or falls can happen at any time of life, however, the likelihood of having a fall and the impact that this can have on health and independence becomes more significant with age.

Falls are a major cause of hospitalization, especially amongst the elderly. For some people the consequence can be quite devastating resulting in loss of confidence, permanent injury and a restricted ability to lead an active, independent life.

Around 75% of falls occur in or around the home, but many of these can be prevented by being aware of personal risk factors, finding safer ways of performing tasks and making simple and practical adjustments to the home environment to reduce slipping and tripping hazards and improve safety.

 

Lighting

  • Ensure that there is good lighting in and around the home and that switches are easy to reach. Sensor lights can be strategically placed along hallways and at entrance doors to help with night time visibility.
  • Glow in the dark products can be placed next to or on door handles, light switches and other objects that may need to be located in the dark. Luminous reflective tape can be used to mark exits, stairs and other hazards.
  • Allow time for eyes to adjust when moving from brightly lit areas to darker areas and vice versa. Decrease glare by adding net curtains.

Floors, Stairs and Hallways

  • Check carpeting regularly for worn spots or raised patches. Avoid using throw rugs and runners but if required secure them with carpet tape to prevent slipping. Avoid polishing floors with wax or other slippery materials.
  • Use contrast to highlight changes in floor surfaces and depth. Avoid heavily patterned flooring which can obscure small obstacles from vision.
  • Take care when walking through doorways as sometimes the threshold makes the floor surface uneven. Small threshold ramps may help individuals to negotiate these uneven surfaces, especially for walking frame users.
  • Avoid leaving clutter on the floor (books, handbags, packages, toys and so forth), as these may become a tripping hazard. Ensure any electrical cords are tucked under furniture or taped to skirting boards and do not cross walkways.
  • Install stair handrails on both sides of steps and stairs.

Bathroom

  • Bathroom surfaces can be very slippery when wet. Keep water spray to a limited area where possible and clean up quickly. Avoiding using talcum powder (especially on tiled surfaces) which makes floor surfaces extra slippery.
  • Be extra careful when using non-slip mats. Ensure the edges are firmly stuck down and the rubber-backed mat is held in place. Consider whether these mats create another tripping hazard—applying slip‑resistant tapes or a non-slip floor treatment to the floor and shower tiles may be a safer alternative.
  • Install grab rails in or adjacent to the shower, bath and toilet to provide stability and support. Replace towel rails with grab rails for extra support.
  • The hot, wet shower environment can sometimes affect balance—using a shower chair, flip‑down seat or removable stool can give extra support. Ensure soap, shampoo and towels are within reach to avoid bending or reaching. Be careful of dangerous lips/edges around the shower and eliminate if possible.
  • Consider whether using a bath is really necessary. A clamp on bath rail, non‑slip tape and a bath hoist may make it slightly safer to get in and out of the bath. If the shower is over the bath consider a bath board or bath seat.
  • A toilet seat raiser could be appropriate if the toilet seat is too low.

Bedroom

  • Ensure beds are adjusted to an appropriate height to help you get in and out. Bed blocks may be an option if the bed is too low. Always get up slowly. Sit for a short time before standing up.
  • Always turn a bedside lamp on before getting out of bed during the night and have a phone next to the bed for easy access in case of an emergency.
  • A commode chair, urinal or bed pan can avoid the need to get up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night.
  • For walking aid users, ensure that walking frames can be accessed very close to the bed.
  • Remove or tuck away any tripping hazards like overhanging bedspreads, electrical cords, clothes or other clutter.

Kitchen

  • Organise storage to reduce the need for reaching high or bending low as these actions can put you off balance.
  • Considering sitting down on a kitchen stool when doing the dishes or preparing a meal. Use a tray mobile or trolley to carry items around. Pick up dropped food and mop up spills as soon as they occur.

 

Outside

  • Put hoses, tools, toys and other objects away after use. Remove any hanging plants that could be walked into. Keep a look out for pets before moving around the garden.
  • Repair uneven or cracked paths. Ensure lawn areas are as flat as possible. Kill moss and slime on paths. Be especially careful if the ground is frosty or wet and ensure that areas that get wet have non-slip surfaces. Ensure leaves, gravel or other debris are raked up regularly and removed.
  • Mark the leading edge of steps with a contrasting color and install handrails.

Clothing

  • Sit down to dress. Avoid long clothing such as nighties and dressing gowns which may create a tripping hazard when standing up.
  • Wear low-heeled shoes with rubber soles for good traction. Ensure shoes fit well, are in good repair and are free from grease or dirt. Avoid wearing socks or stockings without shoes when walking on tiled floors or polished floorboards.
  • For those at high risk of falls, hip protectors may provide extra protection. These are plastic or foam shields worn in special underpants that protect your hips in the event of a fall.

Personal health

People often down play a slip, trip or fall, blaming clumsiness or error. It is important to take any fall or near miss seriously and take the time to work out what may have caused or contributed to the event.

  • Keep up with regular health checks and keep an eye out for health problems such as poor balance, dizziness, muscles weakness, incontinence, reduced sensation in legs and feet, poor nutrition, unsteadiness or loss of confidence in walking/using steps. It is important to discuss these with a doctor to ensure any medical conditions are well managed.
  • Continue regular exercise to help maintain supple joints, muscle strength, balance and walking ability.
  • Be aware of vision changes and use glasses if required. If your vision is deteriorating, see a low vision advisor to recommend home modifications.
  • If getting to the toilet on time is a concern talk to a doctor or continence nurse.
  • Review your medications regularly. Some medicines don’t mix, may cause nasty side effects or may be affected by alcohol. A medication reminder can assist with taking medication correctly. For those who are forgetful, there are timers that can remind them when to take medications.

General

  • Ensure good access to telephones to prevent rushing. Consider getting a cordless telephone or install extra telephone extensions.
  • Don’t rush, concentrate on tasks and take the necessary time. If you’re feeling light headed or exhausted, sit down and rest straight away. Have a plan of how to get help if a fall does occur.
  • Avoid hazardous tasks such as standing on a chair to reach something from a high cupboard. Look at rearranging the home environment so that frequently used items are at an easy to reach appropriate height. Be aware of the implications of falling from a height and consider asking someone else to assist.
  • Consider the direction that bathroom and toilet room doors hang—can they be opened outwards if someone has a fall inside the bathroom or toilet room?
  • Consider the use of a mobility aid such as a walking stick or walking frame. It is important to discuss this first with your doctor.
  • An emergency call system may help to increase your confidence and independence by helping you contact someone if a fall does occur, particularly for if you live alone.

 

 

 

Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

Research has shown that the benefits of exercise go beyond just physical wellbeing. Exercise helps support emotional and mental health. So next time you’re feeling down, anxious, or stressed, try to get up and start moving!  In addition, exercise and physical activity may possibly improve or maintain some aspects of cognitive function, such as your ability to shift quickly between tasks, plan an activity, and ignore irrelevant information.

 

Physical activity can help:

  • Reduce feelings of depression and stress, while improving your mood and overall well-being.
  • Increase your energy level.
  • Improve sleep.
  • Empower you to feel more in control.

 

 

Exercise ideas to help you lift your mood:

  • Walking, bicycling, or dancing. Endurance activities increase your breathing, get your heart pumping, and also boost chemicals in your body that may improve mood.
  • Yoga. A mind and body practice that typically combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation.
  • Tai Chi. A “moving meditation” that involves shifting the body slowly, gently, and precisely, while breathing deeply. This is a great exercise for balance.
  • Activities you enjoy. Whether it’s gardening, playing tennis, kicking around a soccer ball with your grandchildren, or something else, choose an activity you want to do, not have to do.

 

Help Aging Parents Stay Warm and SAFE this Winter

Help Aging Parents Stay Warm and SAFE this Winter

Below are some simple steps that you can take to help reduce falls among older adults as well as adults with disabilities in your community.

  •  Attach spikeless ice and snow shoe gripper sole covers to shoes for extra stability when walking on slippery surfaces. Look for these at sporting goods stores.
  •  Attach an ice gripper cane tip that has spikes on the bottom to penetrate the ice and secure a firm grip. Ice grip tips can be purchased online.
  •  Choose winter shoes with rubber soles to maintain traction on slippery surfaces.
  • Encourage older adults to carry a zip top bag filled with a lightweight kitty litter in their pocket and cast it out ahead of themselves on slick surfaces.

 

Suggestions for fall-proofing gifts for aging parents:

  • Fall alarm systems that are motion triggered without hitting a button
  • Higher toilets in the home
  • Replace multifocal glasses with single vision eyeglass lenses
  • Grab bars in bathroom and next to outside steps or inside thresholds
  • Install firm stair railings on both sides of stairways
  • Set automatic lights over stairways and by outside entrances
  • Cover home entryway and provide a table to sit bags on while finding keys
  • Give small/light flashlights to attach to key chains, hats, and coat buttons
  • Easy to carry water bottle to promote staying well hydrated.

 

Help make this winter season a safe, warm, and wonderful for your patients, family, and community!