My name is Allyson and I'm what you could call a "professional blogger." As journalism changes, we've got to stay one step ahead of the curve. These days, blogging is where it's at.
I'm new to the Bethany Village team and senior living in general. I'm a life-long Ohio resident and I'm full of "Buckeye State" pride! I think it's great that Bethany Village is jumping headfirst into the social media movement. As more adult children get involved in retirement decisions with their parents, tools like blogs will really make an impact.
Since blogging is all about personal connections, let me share a unique fact about me: I write about rock bands in my spare time! It's true - I love music and attending concerts with friends is my favorite hobby.
My name is Allyson and I'm what you could call a "professional blogger." As journalism changes, we've got to stay one step ahead of the curve. These days, blogging is where it's at.
Bethany Village and Graceworks at Home are proud to serve as platinum sponsors for the 2013 Centerville Summer Concert Series. The series, presented by the Centerville Arts Commission, kicks off June 9. The concerts take place at Stubbs Park Amphitheater (255 W. Spring Valley Road in Centerville, Ohio). The concerts are free and each show begins at 7 p.m. (except where otherwise noted). The amphitheater offers lawn seating only. Blankets and chairs are encouraged.
Click for the schedule of concerts. Bethany Village and Graceworks at Home staff will be on hand for select concerts, passing out goodies and providing information on our services. Be sure to stop by our booth and say "hi!"
(Left) The flag at Bethany Village in Centerville, Ohio today in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day.
Flags at statehouses across the country will fly at half-staff from sunrise to sunset today in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day.
President Barack Obama ordered flags be flown at half-staff.
From the official proclamation:
"NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 15, 2013, as Peace Officers Memorial Day and May 12 through May 18, 2013, as Police Week. I call upon all Americans to observe these events with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I also call on Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, officials of the other territories subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day. I further encourage all Americans to display the flag at half-staff from their homes and businesses on that day."
This week is also National Police Week.
It's National Nurses Week, celebrated annually May 6 - 12. Be sure to thank a special nurse in your life!
May is just around the corner! May is Older Americans Month. It was first celebrated in 1963. Back then it was known as Senior Citizens Month. President Carter changed the name in 1980 to better represent mature Americans.
At Bethany Village, residents and staff wholly embrace this year’s Older Americans Month theme which is “Unleash the Power of Age.”
Residents of Bethany are free to travel the world, consult and volunteer. Residents use their expertise, honed over successful careers, to teach younger generations. Beyond this, folks that call Bethany home tend to be lifelong learners, embracing campus activities like book clubs, history lectures and art classes.
At Bethany, there are several residential options to choose from including villas and cottages to luxury apartment living. You can choose to cook – or have someone else do the work! Evening meals are presented in the Fountain Place restaurant or in the Vista Place dining room. The Fountain Place restaurant features a chef and white linen service. There’s a bistro for casual meals and snacks, on-campus shopping, banking and even a hair salon.
Summer is a great time to plan a move! At Bethany Village, our senior living counselors will advise you in the downsizing process. They can suggest movers and help plan a timeline to make moving a stress-free experience. The sooner you get to your new home at Bethany, the more time you’ll have to spend on activities you really love. The benefit of age is wisdom and the benefit of retirement is freedom. Unleash your personal power of age at Bethany Village.
If you are not yet ready to move but would like more information about Bethany Village, call 937-436-6850 to schedule a personal appointment or visit us online.
April 22-28 is Veg Week in America! Now in its fifth year, the week is a way to help you explore meet-free foods and the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle. The week coincides with Earth Day on April 22.
Vegetarian diets have great health benefits including lower instances of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. If you're worried about maintaining proper nutrition while on a vegetarian diet, the 7-day veg pledge website can help with recipes, menu planners and coupons. You might even find your grocery bill shrink a little without all the meat in your cart! For more information, request a free vegetarian starter guide from Compassion Over Killing. While seniors may look at vegetarian diets as "fad like," more and more Americans are choosing to forgo meat for a more plant-based diet. In fact, a recent study from the University of Oxford found that the risk of hospitalization or death from heart disease is 32 percent lower in vegetarians than it is in those who eat meat. From the study:
"Heart disease is the single largest cause of death in developed countries, and is responsible for 65,000 deaths each year in the UK alone. The new findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that a vegetarian diet could significantly reduce people's risk of heart disease. Most of the difference in risk is probably caused by effects on cholesterol and blood pressure, and shows the important role of diet in the prevention of heart disease."
Furthermore, vegetarians typically have a lower body mass index (BMI) than their meat eating counterparts.
Going vegetarian can be healthy at any age. Consult your dietician or physician with questions before undergoing any radical change to diet and physical activity.
If you want to feel and look better, then you've got to eat right.
It's no secret too many of us rely on packaged convenience foods to feed ourselves and families. No matter our age, our bodies always respond better to natural, "real" foods. Dr. Mark Hyman is on a crusade to take back America's dinner table and it begins with his first "global eat-in" scheduled for Sunday, April 7. If you want to help yourself and your family, all you need to do on Sunday is cook natural foods for the entire day. It's a small step that will remind you what eating used to be like in this country. For more information on the "eat-in" watch the video below. Food is medicine and you can heal yourself of many ails with a little time and commitment.
Alzheimer's disease is fatal. There is no cure, no prevention and no way to slow the disease. We need to work together to find a cure and that means arming ourselves with as much information as possible. The Alzheimer's Association just released a video full of quick facts. Watch this video and pass it on.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Each year, walks are held all over the country to bring awareness to Alzheimer's disease.
Team Bethany, from Bethany Village, is currently signing up members and we'd love to have you walk with us! Simply click to join our team. You do not need to fundraise to walk with us. We want a big, active group of walkers in September to show our support for those who are impacted by Alzheimer's. Remember, Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in America. It's going to take all of us to help find a cure.
If you need a little help registering for the walk, please click the short video below for a tutorial.
Check out all the fun we had last year!
A new study has some scary news for baby boomers: the generation is in worse health than their parents at the same stage of life. The number one reason? Obesity and lack of exercise.
American researchers released their findings in JAMA Internal Medicine.
According to the study, 13 percent of baby boomers reported being in "excellent" health in middle age. That's compared to 32 percent of the previous generation who said the same thing at the same stage of life.
Researchers use data from an ongoing national health and nutrition survey to compare the answers of people who were 46 to 64 years old between 1988 and 1994 and baby boomers of the same age range between 2007 and 2010.
A staggering 39 percent of boomers were obese and 16 percent had diabetes. The boomers were also more likely to have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The previous generation was 29 percent obese and had better health scores for blood pressure and cholesterol. Interestingly, more boomers than their parents use walking aides such as canes.
There was some upside for boomers in the study. Researchers note that boomers smoke less than their parents' generation. They are also less likely to have emphysema. Boomers are also living longer than their parents... but this can actually be bad news if a boomer is in poor health. Doctors advocate positive health changes such as cleaning up diet and getting regular exercise. Eating closer to nature (consuming fruits, nuts and salads) and taking a daily stroll can go a long way to preserving - or improving - health.
It's not news that sugar is bad for you. We've known for years the white stuff will rot your teeth and cause weight gain. Sugar isn't an essential nutrient, either. We can definitely live without it. Because the typical American eats a lot of processed foods, sugar (and salt) are packed hidden in everything. Food companies know that we like that tastes good and that means sugar.
Evidence is mounting that sugar is toxic. Sure, a treat now and then is fine and part of living... but we're consuming sugar at levels never before seen in history... and our bodies are paying the price.
A few months ago, New York Times food writer Mark Bittman wrote an opinion piece called "Is Alzheimer's Type 3 Diabetes?" In the piece, he mentioned a recent cover story in the New Scientist called "Food For Thought: What You Eat May Be Killing Your Brain." In short, eating a lot of sugar (or non-traditional sweet foods laden with sugars like breads and even canned soup) can cause insulin resistance. This actually causes elevated insulin levels, which does harm to blood vessels. When cells become insulin resistant, memory loss begins. Disorientation may set in. You may lose aspects of your personality. This is Alzheimer's Disease.
"A neuropathologist named Alois Alzheimer noticed, over a century ago, that an odd form of protein was taking the place of normal brain cells," writes Bittman. "How those beta amyloid plaques (as they’re called) get there has been a mystery. What’s becoming clear, however, is that a lack of insulin — or insulin resistance — not only impairs cognition but seems to be implicated in the formation of those plaques."
Doctors already know that diabetics are more likely to develop Alzheimer's. Ditto for the obese. And yes, you can be obese and not have diabetes just as you can be rail thin and be diabetic. [Of note: the World Health Organization estimates 1.4 billion adults over age 20 are either overweight or obese.] Still, it is worth considering that an overabundance of bad foods may lead to insulin resistance, and this can result in Alzheimer's. While researchers haven't unlocked all the mysteries of Alzheimer's yet, one thing is clear: it wouldn't hurt any of us to eat a few more salads and less ice cream cones.
For many, retirement is a dream. You work and save and save some more and one day - poof! - you can put your working life behind you, thus having your days to spend as you choose. For some, retirement is bliss. For others, having empty days can result in all sorts of chaos. Wes Craven, the famed horror writer and filmmaker, knows something about retirement chaos.
In a recent opinion article for the New York Times entitled "Retirement: Scarier Than Freddy Krueger," Mr. Craven writes of several accidents, stitches and surgeries sustained during his "trial" retirement. In the end, the director realized he wasn't ready to give up his day job.
"Give me the insanity of impossible schedules, screaming studio heads, script pages never showing up until the morning we’re to shoot them — anything but the horrors of retirement. These are scarier than any horror movie I can dream up," Craven writes, honestly.
Like any big life change, retirement requires significant thought, planning and transitioning time. Residents of Bethany Village are given the option to join a support group for new retirees. Thousands of such organizations exist, both in the community where you live and online. With careful planning, you can have the fulfilling retirement you dream about - not a nightmare straight from a Hollywood movie set!
February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, but experts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remind all of us that the disease is largely preventable. The CDC reports that 600,000 Americans die annually from heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. To get on the track to better heart health, take some simple precautions:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Watch your blood pressure and keep it in check
- Don't smoke
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Have your cholesterol checked
- If applicable, manage your diabetes
- If applicable, take your medicine
Here are some eating tips to help you celebrate your heart!
Foods to avoid:
Processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, etc.)
Pizza (the cheese is highly processed and so are common meat toppings)
Soda (including diet varieties)
Fast food (sky high sodium content is a major no-no here)
Foods to enjoy:
Red wine (in moderation!)
If you are looking for help losing weight, the CDC has a page dedicated to assessing the right weight for your age and body type. Click for the assessment. Click for a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator. If you're at a healthy weight and want to prevent weight gain, click for help with that as well. Remember, you can catch small weight gains quickly by weighing yourself regularly.
The New York Times recently ran an article explaining a possible link between aging, memory decline and sleep. It's very well known that as we age, our memory declines. A new report, posted by the journal Nature Neuroscience, suggests that structural brain changes occurring naturally over time interfere with sleep quality. This means that as we age, our quality of sleep declines. This lack of sleep may impact the ability to store memories in the long term.
The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that helps sustain quality of sleep. This section of the brain tends to lose volume with age. The prefrontal cortex is also crucial to consolidating to new memories. The findings suggest that one way to slow memory decline in aging adults is to improve sleep.
While it's impossible to turn back time, doctors are doing experiments with electrical stimulation that may lead to ways to improve sleep in older people. The study participants that have benefited from improved sleep are also demonstrating improved memory.
For the rest of us, there are some easy ways to improve sleep at any age. One of those is to exercise. You can also cut out caffeine and power down electronics an hour before bedtime. Other tips for better sleep include sticking to a schedule, managing stress and limiting daytime naps.
The United States is in the middle of a flu epidemic. The flu can be especially dangerous for children and seniors. Here are some tips for distinguishing the difference between the cold and the flu.
Cold symptoms include a sore throat, cough, runny nose and congestion. Adults don't usually have a fever with a cold, but children often do. Cold symptoms usually last about a week.
Flu symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms. One tell tale sign is how fast symptoms come on. In the morning you can feel fine, but by the end of the day you are completely wiped out. Other flu symptoms include sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches, joint soreness and congestion. Swine flu is associated with vomiting and diarrhea. The flu can make you feel run down for a week or longer.
If you haven't gotten your flu shot yet, get one. The shot is at least 62% effective in fighting this year's strong flu. You can get a flu shot at your doctor's office or drugstores such as CVS and Walgreens.
The flu season usually peaks in February or March. The flu season started early with a dominant H3N2 strain, which was last seen a decade ago.
Remember, the best way to avoid getting the flu or a cold is to wash your hands often in warm, soapy water. If you can't get to the sink, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. And if you have to sneeze, be polite: sneeze into your elbow. That prevents the spread of germs to others. And if you think you're getting sick, stay home.
2013 is coming soon, and many people have the tradition of making resolutions about how they will change in the New Year. What about you? What about me?
I want to make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight in 2013. I want to make a New Year’s Resolution to do more writing in 2013. Will I make these resolutions? Will I succeed with them? Honestly, I don’t want to make these resolutions public (notice my phrasing above) because then others will see whether I’ve succeeded or failed in accomplishing these resolutions. This is especially true since all the statistics show that the vast majority of people who make resolutions do not succeed in accomplishing what they set out to change in their lives! I don’t want to be seen as someone who can’t follow through, so I just might not make any resolutions this year.
But then, will I ever change for the better? Will I ever lose weight? Will I ever do more writing? Will I miss the opportunity of the New Year?
These are tough questions and I do not want to miss opportunities. So I will make a resolution, but I won’t tell anyone about it. And I will work really hard to change for the better.
If you're like most Americans, you are probably approaching the new year with a few resolutions. We all have things we'd like to change about our lives, no matter our age. Some resolutions you might consider:
Getting fit. Getting fit is easy at a place like Bethany Village because all residents have access to a fitness center - and you never have to go outside to work out! Even if you don't live at a place like Bethany, you can still do gentle exercises such as walking to keep your body in fine form. Exercise is important as we age because it keeps our joints limber and us feeling younger.
Eat healthier. After the holidays, most of us want to eat healthier and not always just to lose weight. Eating a lot of junk tends to make a person feel sluggish. Fuel your body with fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins and you'll feel better in the long run.
Activate your brain. It's no secret that Alzheimer's disease is becoming a major health crisis in America. Keep your brain active to keep dementia at bay. Do puzzles, read or schedule game nights with family and friends.
Get social. Time alone is important but it is also important to connect with other humans. Chat with neighbors. Email your grandkids. Join a book club. Do something to stay social and excited about the world around you. Here's to a great 2013!
Do you love to bake during the holiday season? Maybe you love to create sweet treasures as gifts. If you live far away from loved ones but want them to have a taste of your culinary abilities this holiday season, here are some tips to make packing those Christmas cookies a little easier. Nothing is worse than opening a beautiful package of broken cookies!
Make sure you individually wrap cookies in layers of tissue paper. Pack cookies snugly in a box. Martha Stewart suggests packing the cookie box inside a shipping box, and then using packing peanuts to cushion all sides of the package. This will prevent jostling.
Remember to ship cookies that don't need refrigeration and pick recipes that won't dry out quickly. Finally, bar cookies may make shipping easier.
Here's a great recipe for gingerbread people that will ship well.
Do you have a favorite holiday cookie recipe?
Residents of Bethany Village enjoy many celebrations during the month of December. December is called the holiday season when we are filled with love and peace during this wonderful time of year. But we don’t just celebrate Christmas day- there are many holidays to celebrate in the month of December.
December 6th is Saint Nicholas Day. Did you know that Saint Nicholas was a real person? He was a bishop in the church in the Fourth Century who was wealthy and gave to the poor. During the Christmas season, he is the one who teaches us about giving from person to person, as we call him by the more common names of “Saint Nick” or “Santa Claus.” His tradition of giving inspires us to give to one another during this special season.
December 13th is Santa Lucia Day. Lucia was an Italian girl who refused to give up her faith in Christ and as a result, she gave her life. As I was growing up in the Swedish tradition, we enjoyed Lucia Festivals, which were celebrations of lights and giving. We can celebrate this season because we are not called to give up Christ or Christmas and we can be filled with joy at any time.
The Christmas season is referred to as the twelve days between December 25th and January 5th. These twelve days of Christmas are when we celebrate the birth of Christ, our Savior. Jesus is the true gift which God has given to us. He brings to us forgiveness and the hope of an everlasting life with God.
This is truly the greatest celebration that we can have as human beings.
May your December be filled with all sorts of celebrations this year surrounded by family and friends and the knowledge that you are truly a part of God’s family forever.
These days, you hear a lot about social networking. Residents at Bethany Village report using Facebook and Skype to stay in touch with their grandkids... and some are even getting into Twitter and Pinterest! Now, the Alzheimer's Association has launched a whole new kind of social networking platform. Called ALZConnected, the site is 100% dedicated to people impacted with Alzheimer's disease. This means caregivers and patients alike can use the website as a resource to connect with others impacted by the disease across town... and across the world.
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which eventually leads to death.
The site promises answers, opinions and support. The site is free and features a message board, groups and even a mail function that allows for private messages between users of the site. If social media makes you a little uneasy, the site provides a tour before joining.
November is Alzheimer's Awareness month. Do your part by learning about the disease and wearing purple.