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Do you make holiday candy each and every year? It is such a wonderful treat! Homemade fudge is one of the many things listed on our recent blog post sharing "Holiday Gift Ideas for Seniors." Which idea do you think is best?

Get the ideas here:
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We had a great time with our 130 person walk team at the #Walk4Alzheimers in support of the Alzheimer's Network. The team came together to raise awareness for the cause and raise over $1,600 in support of Alzheimer's research and more.
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Make realistic goals for yourself for achieving better hydration. Work on increasing hydration day by day. Have a few water bottles readily available that you can keep with you throughout each day. Also, try out different fruit types in your water to jazz up the flavor. Strawberries, lemon, melon, and grapes can make water more fun to drink!

More Hydration Tips:
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Cognitive health, also referred to as brain health is dependent upon a great many factors, several of which include genetics, the environment, diet and physical lifestyle. Some of those factors are uncontrollable. Check out our post on Boosting Cognition to see how two of the factors within your control – diet and physical lifestyle – may be approached with the aim of improving brain function and memory.

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In the US, more than six million people have survived strokes, as reported by the American Stroke Association. Stroke survivors have been aided by medical advancements and quick actions of those who know how to detect strokes and secure help.

Learn "How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent Strokes" over on the Radiant Blog.
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June is National Men's Health Month

Routine medical check-ups are recommended for people of all ages. What a doctor checks for in a regular physical will differ based on a variety of factors including age and gender. As we age different screenings are recommended as our risk for developing certain health issues increases. Routine checkups and receiving proper screenings are both vital exercises for assessing medical issues, future problems and learning how to remain healthy.

The month of June is National Men’s Health Month dedicated to highlighting male-specific health needs. For men over 50 years old, five health areas that take the spotlight include the heart, prostate, skin, mind and bones. Read on to learn more about these five areas of men’s health, risks associated with them and ways to slow or prevent the development of these issues.

Five Areas of Men’s Health to Consider for Men Over 50:

1. Heart Health

Attention toward heart health tops the list of health needs for senior men. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States. Prevention is aided by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, healthy eating, exercising regularly and preventing or treating high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Conditions and lifestyle choices that increase the risk include:

being overweight
poor diet
physical inactivity
excessive alcohol use
Did you know? According to the CDC, most U.S. adults’ hearts age greater than their actual age, placing them at increased risk for strokes or heart attacks. Learn more about heart age!

2. Prostate Health

Prostate cancer risk increases with age. Symptoms of prostate cancer may vary and some men have none. For men with no prostate cancer symptoms, it is smart to understand the nature and risk of it, and the risks, benefits and alternatives to getting screened for it.

Symptoms of prostate cancer may include:

difficulty starting urination
weak or interrupted urination
frequent urination
difficulty emptying the bladder fully
pain or burning with urination
continuous pain in the back, hips or pelvis
3. Skin Health

Men are more likely than women to experience serious effects of Melanoma, a form of skin cancer. Frequent mole checks and regular visits to a dermatologist are recommended ways of monitoring for skin cancers.

Lowering the risk when outside can be helped by wearing:

long sleeves
wide-brim hats

4. Cognitive Health

Brain health is dependent upon a great many factors, several of which include genetics, the environment, diet and physical lifestyle. Many current studies on Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia have suggested that certain lifestyle choices may help support brain health and possibly slow or prevent the development of disease. Incorporating healthful eating habits and brain-engaging activities into your routine may help keep the mind sharp.

Activities to help the mind include:

word games
card games
math games
regular reading and writing
5. Bone Health

Bone Health is often considered an issue that women must be diligent in screening. However, men ought to strive toward having good bone health, too, to help avoid Osteoporosis, fractures and falls. The American Bone Health Organization suggests men eat foods that are rich in calcium, and that they take a Vitamin D supplement. At least 30 minutes of physical activity, like Tai Chi, walking or weight training can also be beneficial, as can practicing proper posture and staying aware of movement.

Schedule your regular check-up today if it hasn’t already been scheduled!

While these tips and areas of health concern will aid an individual in assessing and improving on their own health needs, scheduling regular doctor visits should be at the top of any man’s health care list. Routine check-ups are vital for screening for medical issues. While this is a good habit for readers of any age, it is of great importance for those over the age of 50 for assessing future medical problems and learning how to be in the healthiest state possible.
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Companionship and Community in Senior Living
Mounting evidence shows that companionship and community are a key component to overall health. No longer are they seen as sitting a few rungs up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; they are foundational to your well-being. This is true across all ages, including seniors. Feeling extreme loneliness, for example, has been shown to increase an older person’s chances of premature death by 14 percent. 
A myriad of factors are weighed when deciding to move into a senior living community. The opportunity for companionship and community should be one of them. When researching different senior living options, investigate the opportunities for social connections and interactions at each community.
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The Power of Storytelling for Seniors
“Your mother was born when your grandfather was stationed in Korea.”
“That was when I was a telephone operator.”
“I remember driving up Mount St. Helens, watching men with walking sticks climbing the mountain.”
You’ve been there: sitting across your grandmother, a china cup full of warm tea on the kitchen table between you, while you listen to stories from the good ‘ol days. But did you know there’s research that supports the benefits of this activity that seniors naturally tend to do?
Psychologists have long used reminiscence therapy - a practice that draws out life histories,  written, oral, or both, backed by research dating back to the 1970s - to improve psychological well-being of older adults. Done in groups or individually, memories of significant life events are recalled using prompts such as photographs, music or topics.
Even people with Alzheimer’s can benefit. Psychologist Alan Dienstag was recently featured on the NPR show On Being, where he discussed the Lifelines Writing Group he co-hosted with author Don DeLillo for people with Alzheimer’s in New York. Through writing prompts such as “I remember” or “The house where I grew up” participants in the group were able to write down memories from throughout their life. Dienstag summarized the experience:
The members of the Lifelines Writing Group have taught us about the power of writing and the nature of memory and memory loss. Their lifelines have also served as a means of dosing the psychological distance between the Alzheimer's and non-Alzheimer's world. Perhaps most importantly, they have demonstrated that there is a way to give meaning to the precarious station in life in which they find themselves, and they suggest a path for others in the early stages of Alzheimer's to follow; to live with memories; to give them to others; and to preserve in some form a record of who you are, who you were, and who you wanted to be in this world before it slips away.
You can help lift the mood of any elderly people special in your life on your next visit to them - at home or at their assisted living community -  by asking them to reflect on their past. Here are a few questions to get the ball rolling:
*-*Who has been the most important person in your life? Can you tell me about him or her?
*-*What was the happiest moment of your life? The saddest?
*-*What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
*-*What is your earliest memory?
*-*Are there any funny stories your family tells about you that come to mind?
*-*What are you proudest of?
*-*For your great great grandchildren listening to this years from now: is there any wisdom you’d want to pass on to them? What would you want them to know?

(Questions suggested by the organization StoryCorps)
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Fall Proof Your Home
Go through this checklist to help prevent you or your loved one from falling in their home, one of the leading causes of skilled nursing admissions.
Look at the floor in each room. Always keep a clear path through each room of your house, removing any objects, furniture, cords or rugs that may be in the way.
Take a careful look at the steps both inside and outside your home. Clear any objects off the stairs and make sure the carpet is securely attached to every step. Check that handrails are on both sides and run the length of the steps, and show no signs of loosening. Make sure that the steps are well lit, with a switch or light sensor at both the top and bottom.
Examine your kitchen and bathrooms: are things you use often on high shelves? Rearrange these items to be lower to the ground, ideally waist level. If you need to use a step stool, find one with a bar.  Add a few safety items to your bathroom, if you don’t already have them: non-slip rubber mat in the tub or shower and grab bars in and beside the tub and next to the toilet. 
Is the path from your bed to the bathroom well lit? Add a light to your nightstand and night-lights along the way.

***Checklist modified from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Check for Safety: A Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults
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Make your new residence warm and inviting by bringing along the comforts of home! 

Click below for ideas!

1) Organization: Settle into your space by making full use of shelves, cabinets, and closets for your personal items.
2) Socialize: Connect with other residents with like interests. Ask the staff to introduce you to other residents with similar hobbies!
3) Memories: Bring photographs, personal furniture, and more familiar items.
4) Decorate: Don’t hold back on adding your own personal touch!
5) Positivity: Speak of your new residence as home! You’re sure to enjoy the safety, security, and kindness you will find.

Comment with your favorite comforts of home!
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