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Posts Tagged ‘Assisted Living’

How to Make Healthier Choices While Enjoying the Holidays

Healthier Choices While Enjoying the HolidaysThe holidays tend to be a dreaded time of year for all ages who are trying to maintain our weight, or even shed some pounds. When we’re surrounded by so many unhealthy treats, what can we do to make healthier choices while enjoying the holidays?

BYOF

When going to a holiday party, ask if you can bring a veggie tray or other healthy dish you know you love. That way you’ll know there will be something there you can eat. If you’re going out to a restaurant with some friends, look at the menu ahead of time (not when you’re hungry), choose the healthiest option and stick to it when you get there and place your order. Don’t even consider any other options.

Eating before you go out to a party or restaurant is also a good way to keep your calories and portion size down and make sure you know exactly what you’re eating.

Don’t Stand Next to the Food

Most parties have one room where all the food is laid out. Avoid that room. If you’re hungry, make yourself a plate with the healthiest offerings, sit down and eat it, and be done. The most important thing to avoid is eating all night long, and one of the best ways to avoid that is by loading up on healthy food right away. That, combined with keeping a safe distance from the food table after that will help you avoid all the tempting sweets.

Drink Water

We tend to consume a lot of alcohol around this time of year and that’s not healthy. It’s high in sugar, which spikes our blood sugar, which in turn makes us eat more when the sugar crash comes. It’s also hard on our livers, so if you do decide to indulge in some festive drinks this time of year, keep it to one alcoholic drink per party. The rest of the time, stick to water, which will help keep you hydrated. Make it sparkling water with some lime and it will look and feel like a gin and tonic, but your body won’t punish you for it the next morning.

Three Bites

When indulging in unhealthy foods, some people practice the “three-bite rule,” which means they enjoy three bites of it, and then they’re done. If you’re eating a piece of cake, three bites is usually about half the piece, depending on how big the slice is. Three bites could also be one cookie, brownie, or a couple pieces of fudge. Besides, after three bites you tend to stop really tasting it anyway, at which point you’re just shoving food in your mouth because you’re high on the combination of fat and sugar.

Talk

The point of parties is to see friends and family, new and old. Look at holiday parties not as a chance to stuff yourself with food and alcohol, but to talk with your friends and family members and even meet new people. Ask them how they’re doing and what they’re looking forward to next year. If you don’t know them, ask how they know the host(ess). If you’re talking, you can’t be eating.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

The Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

yoga for seniorsYoga enthusiasts have been touting its health benefits for years, and although it’s gained dominance among young and middle-aged women, there’s no reason you can’t continue to benefit from yoga as you advance into your golden years.

If anything, seniors might need yoga more than anyone else. As our bodies and minds start to deteriorate, it’s more important than ever to maintain a health regimen to help keep us as strong and active as possible for as long as possible.

Strength and Balance

There are many yoga poses that focus on strengthening our legs and core muscles, all of which are necessary for maintaining balance and preventing falls. Since falls can be a very serious risk for many seniors, anything we can do to prevent them (including regular yoga) is a good idea.

Flexibility

It’s no secret that our bodies tend to stiffen as we age, making some movements and daily activities increasingly difficult. Yoga focuses on flexibility in many of its poses, and has been proven to help manage osteoarthritis in women.

Respiration

Physical exercise often becomes more difficult for many of us who experience reduced respiratory functions as we age. This can have far-reaching effects throughout the mind and body, making us stiffer and more prone to disease as the oxygen to various parts of our bodies becomes limited.

Recent studies have shown that yoga had a significant positive impact on the respiratory function of elderly women. Like improved flexibility, improved respiratory function will also make it easier to perform day-to-day tasks and keep up with all your favorite activities.

Blood Pressure

Seniors are at an increased risk for high blood pressure (also known as hypertension). Not only can it cause of heart disease and stroke, it has also been linked with kidney disease.

Oxidative stress is a leading cause of high blood pressure, and yoga has been shown to reduce oxidative stress in older practitioners.

Anxiety

Have you ever listened to a yoga instructor when they’re teaching? Their voices are always calm and measured and apparently designed to make you fall asleep, but you can’t fall asleep because you’re exercising. It’s wonderful, and when yoga is practiced on a regular basis, it has been shown to reduce the body’s sympathetic nervous system, which makes us feel less anxious.

Many studies have linked anxiety to inflammation, which in turn has been connected to a wide variety of illnesses – from diabetes to heart disease to certain types of cancer. Reducing anxiety, not only allows you to feel better and enjoy life more, it’s also an effective way to stay happy and healthy.

Mindfulness

In addition to the physical aspect of yoga, there’s also a strong mental component. You are encouraged to focus on your breathing, which helps you build a stronger relationship with your body. The more you practice yoga, the more you become aware of your thoughts and emotions, which in turn allows you to be more mindful of and connected to everything and everyone around you. It’s a powerful feeling that makes it well worth it to spend an hour once or twice a week on yoga.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

5 Natural Ways to Ease Arthritis Pain

ease arthritis painArthritis is a common problem for almost all seniors, so it’s no wonder the pharmaceutical industry has plenty of drugs to offer that can help reduce the pain of arthritis.

But not everyone wants to resort to taking a pill every day (or multiple times a day) just so they can move without pain. For those who prefer to take the more natural route to feeling great whenever possible, here are five options for easing arthritis pain naturally.

Yoga

Movement is often key to preventing and managing arthritis, although it seems like a catch-22 that movement can help manage arthritis when arthritis makes it difficult and painful to move.

But yoga has many moves and exercises that specifically target the joints to improve flexibility and joint health. One study found that yoga significantly helped manage osteoarthritis in elderly women. It may take some practice and you’ll have to do it regularly, but yoga is probably one of the most powerful ways to help handle arthritis pain.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

A diet that’s high vegetables and low in sugar and grains is beneficial for all kinds of health problems, including arthritis. Not only is it the best way to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need to keep your body strong and fight off disease, it’s also an effective way to keep inflammation low, which is key to managing arthritis.

Ginger and Turmeric

Speaking of keeping inflammation low, ginger and turmeric are both powerhouses when it comes to reducing inflammation. You can try incorporating these into your diet in your cooking and/or by drinking tea infused with one or both of these potent spices. If you can’t stand the taste, both can be bought in capsules in most supermarkets and taken as a supplement with one of your meals.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Eating right is also key to keeping our bodies at a healthy weight, which is great because being overweight is also linked to a host of health problems, especially as we get older. With approximately one third of all American senior citizens qualifying as obese, that extra weight can put a lot of stress on aging feet, ankles, knees, and hips – weight that those older body parts were never really equipped to handle, especially for long periods of time. If you’ve been gaining weight and have noticed pain and/or stiffness in one or more of those areas, the first thing you might want to try is cutting calories, eating more salads, and getting more exercise into your daily routine.

Acupuncture

It’s not for everybody, but if you’re not one of those who gets squeamish around needles, you might want to consider acupuncture. Multiple studies have shown that, in the hands of a professional acupuncturist, many patients with osteoarthritis do tend to report relief from their arthritis pain after getting acupuncture.

None of these measures are foolproof, but it’s always a good idea to try different methods and see what works for you. In some cases you might find you need the right combination of measures to effectively handle your arthritis pain the natural way.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

10 Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System

booste your immune systemIt’s true that the best medicine really is preventive medicine. When you get sick you can try all the tricks in the book and then some to try to feel better, but the fact is the damage has already been done and there’s little you can do aside from waiting it out. Seniors need to be especially mindful of their immune system. If you want to avoid getting sick this winter, here are 10 great tips to boost your immune system and get ahead of any disease that might come your way.

  • Sleep

When we’re running short on time, sleep often ends up being one of the first things we compromise, but there’s a very good reason not to: not only do you function better when you’ve gotten plenty of shuteye, but you’re less likely to get sick. And no one has time to get sick.

  • Don’t smoke

We all know the hazards of smoking and second-hand smoke by now. Avoiding tobacco smoke is a must for staying healthy and keeping your immune system strong.

  • Moderate your alcohol consumption

There’s nothing wrong with the occasional glass of wine, but regularly consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can depress your immune system, in addition to wearing out your liver.

  • Maintain a healthy diet

This means making sure there are plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds in your diet so you can be sure to get all the nutrients your body needs to build up its immune system.

  • Consider probiotics

The research on probiotics is still fairly new, but it’s already clear that maintaining a healthy gut biome is essential to maintaining a strong immune system. Eating fermented foods and plenty of fiber is a good start, but sometimes your body needs a little more help, especially if you’ve recently been on antibiotics. In that case it might be time to start doing some research into a trustworthy brand of probiotics.

  • Get plenty of Vitamin D

Your body uses sunlight to make its own Vitamin D, so make sure to go outside for at least a few minutes every day, even on cloudy days, to make sure your body gets what it needs to stay strong and healthy. If you don’t live close to the equator, you might want to consider taking a Vitamin D supplement during the winter months when your body doesn’t get as much sun.

  • Eat garlic

Garlic has powerful antimicrobial properties and is proven to help boost immune function, so it’s a good thing it’s so delicious and versatile! It can be included in everything from eggs to salad to stir-fries. If you aren’t already doing so, start looking for ways to make garlic a regular part of your diet.

  • Drink tea

If you’re not a coffee drinker (or you’ve been looking to cut back on your caffeine intake) tea is the answer. Whether you want a strong cup of black tea or a mild tisane, teas (especially non-herbal teas, with leaves from the actual tea plant) are packed with antioxidants and alkylamines, both of which are known to help boost immune strength.

  • Drink bone broth

Broth is going through kind of a renaissance right now as some people start to get back to eating the way their grandparents ate, including making their own bone broth to drink and cook with. It’s packed with nutrients that are known to help build a strong body and maintain a healthy immune system. All it takes is a slow cooker, some bones, water, vegetables, and seasonings, and you’re good to go. Try chicken soup with homemade chicken broth and you’ll never go back to the canned stuff.

  • Exercise regularly

You don’t have to be a gym rat to reap the benefits of a good workout. Whether it’s a daily walk or a few yoga sessions each week (or both), as long as you’re getting up and moving, your body will thank you with its increased ability to fight off infection.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Senior Fall Prevention & Awareness

senior fall preventionThe grandparents might give you a hard time about breaking a hip when they try certain activities, but it’s no laughing matter. Falls are the top cause for fractures in seniors in America, including hip fractures and other severe injuries, although women are more likely than men to suffer fractures from falling. But broken bones aren’t the only thing to worry about. Falls are also the #1 cause of traumatic brain injury, which in turn can lead to a further increased risk of both severe, and even fatal falls.

And it’s expensive to boot. In 2010 alone, roughly $30 billion were spent in direct medical costs on seniors who had been injured as a result of falling.

September is senior fall prevention & awareness month, but it’s something we should always be vigilant in monitoring. While falls are a serious concern for seniors, it is never inevitable that someone will fall. Here are some things you can do to help make sure the older loved ones in your life are less likely to suffer from a fall.

Encourage Them to Exercise Regularly

Balance and fitness go hand in hand, so it’s more important than ever for people to stay fit and active as they get older. General fitness is necessary, but there are also classes geared specifically towards helping seniors build and maintain balance. Encourage parents and grandparents to take these classes if at all possible.

Diet

While some bone deterioration may be inevitable as we age, there are ways to make sure we don’t lose any more than we need to. Strength and balance training are both essential, but diet is also key. We all need to make sure we’re getting a healthy dose of all our vitamins on a regular basis, especially calcium and vitamin K, which helps transport the calcium to our bones.

Checkups

No matter what we do, we tend to lose some of our eyesight and hearing as we age. Make sure the seniors in your life are getting their eyes and ears checked regularly, as trouble seeing or hearing can result in serious falls. Other kinds of ear trouble can also impair their balance.

Stay Vigilant

If you don’t live with your senior loved ones, be sure to visit them regularly and take note if they appear to be having trouble sitting down, standing up, or walking. If they always appear to be holding onto furniture or walls, talk to them about it and see what can be done to help them.

If they live in an assisted living facility or nursing home, be sure to talk regularly with their caregivers about their fall risk and what measures are being taken to reduce that risk. If they’re taking any medications, be sure to stay informed about what those medications are and any potential side effects.

September is fall prevention & awareness month, but people fall all year round. Educate yourself, educate your loved ones, and make sure you have a system in place to help prevent falls.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

4 Ways to Prevent Pneumonia in Seniors

Pneumonia in SeniorsFall is in the air. Some of the leaves have already started changing and many of us have experienced reduced temperatures when we step outside, letting us know that winter is coming.

It can be a great time of year, but it can also be a dangerous time of year, especially for seniors. Not only do ice and snow pose an increased risk of falling, but the colder air tends to bring with it colds, flus, and other viruses. While they may be nothing more than nuisances to the rest of us, these diseases can be life threatening to seniors whose immune systems may not be as strong they once were, especially if the virus gets into their lungs and causes pneumonia.

Here are four ways you can help protect your loved ones from pneumonia:

1) Immunizations

There’s a reason medical professionals encourage everyone to get their flu shots every fall, especially seniors and those with weakened immune systems. There’s no such thing as a guarantee against getting sick, but getting immunized is one way to stack the deck in your favor. By making sure the seniors in your life get their flu shot every year, you’re decreasing the chances they’ll catch something that could turn into pneumonia.

2) Hygiene

There’s no need to seal seniors in a bubble to prevent infection, tempting as it may be at times, but by practicing good hygiene, you can help reduce the chances they’ll get sick. Wash your hands regularly in warm, soapy water, or use hand sanitizer. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands or apply hand sanitizer immediately afterwards. Stay away from seniors if you’re sick or if you’ve been around other people who have been sick – you don’t want to accidentally act as a carrier for a nasty cold or flu.

Also make sure seniors are taking good care of their teeth and mouth. In addition to colds and flus, other types of infections, including dental or oral infections, can also turn into pneumonia, so make sure seniors are still seeing the dentist regularly.

3) Stay Healthy

Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but by constantly practicing general good health, we reduce our risk of getting sick. That includes eating our veggies, keeping our sugar and alcohol intake to a minimum, avoiding tobacco products, and exercising regularly. All these practices, not only help keep our immune system strong and ready for action, they also help us feel great by giving our body all the things it needs, while avoiding the things that can be harmful.

4) Educate Yourself

Know the early signs of pneumonia in seniors so you can act as soon as possible. Rather than a cough or fever (although you should certainly be on the lookout for those symptoms as well), seniors are more likely to experience weakness, dizziness, or confusion. Since these can be common signs of aging, especially in those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, pneumonia often goes undetected until it’s too late. Be on the lookout for any changes in their health or attitude and talk to their doctor if you’ve noticed anything unusual that could point to a serious health risk.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

7 Reasons Senior Dental Health Is So Important

senior dental healthMany people tend to think of dental health as something that’s separate from and unrelated to the rest of our health. Maybe it’s because dental insurance is generally sold separately from health insurance, but the fact is the health of our teeth and mouth is a vital component of our overall health. If our mouth isn’t healthy, we’re not healthy. Although everyone should be on top of their dental health, below are seven reasons senior dental health is so important and why.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia can be deadly for seniors, many of whom are already suffering from a weakened immune system. A link has been found between pneumonia and poor oral health, which can leave bacteria in the mouth that gets inhaled into the lungs, where it develops into pneumonia.

Heart disease

While heart disease can sometimes seem like an isolated incident in an otherwise healthy individual, in fact there are often warning signs we ignore because we don’t think they’re related. But studies have proven that gum disease and heart disease are connected, even to the point where common problems in the mouth can be as effective at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.

So if you want to make sure your senior loved ones (and yourself) don’t suffer from heart attacks or strokes, make sure you’re all brushing your teeth, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly.

Diabetes

Periodontitis, which is a severe form of gum disease, hinders the body’s ability to use insulin, which can lead to diabetes. But it can go the other way, too, because high blood sugar (a common effect of diabetes) can lead to gum infection.

Denture-induced Stomatitis

When the tissue underneath a denture gets inflamed, it’s known as denture-induced stomatitis. It can be very painful and can be caused by poor dental hygiene, dentures that don’t fit right, or a build-up in the mouth of a fungus known as Candida albicans.

Gum disease

Gum disease has been linked to a variety of health problems all over the body – not just the mouth. It can be caused/exacerbated by a wide range of habits, including poor dental hygiene, an unhealthy diet, tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco), and dentures and bridges that don’t fit right. Other illnesses, such as diabetes, anemia, and cancer, have also all been linked to gum disease.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications, as well as radiation for those getting treated for cancer in the head/neck regions. While dry mouth may seem like a minor annoyance, it’s actually a serious health concern. Saliva not only helps us digest our food, it also helps keep the mouth clean by controlling bacteria and preventing infections in the mouth. So if you or your loved one is experiencing dry mouth, be sure to tell your dentist immediately.

Root Decay

Root decay is very common in elderly patients as the gum recedes from the tooth and the root (which doesn’t have any protective enamel) is exposed to bacteria and food acids. As with everything else, this could be an indication of and/or precursor to a larger health issue, so if you or a loved one are experiencing any tooth pain, make sure to get it looked at right away.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Top 5 Senior Scams and How to Avoid Them

senior scamsIt’s an unfortunate fact that seniors are prime targets for scammers. They are perceived as being more trusting and many of them have acquired savings and valuable assets to help get them through retirement. The combination is too tempting for many scammers to resist. Below are the five most common scams targeting seniors and how you can avoid them.

Congratulations! You’re a Winner!

Everyone likes to win. With all the stories of big lottery winners taking home millions of dollars, it’s exciting to think about what we would do if we won a lottery or giveaway of some type. Scammers take advantage of this by contacting unsuspecting targets and telling them they’ve won some sort of sweepstakes, but with a catch: the target has to pay to cover the taxes and fees before they can get their prize.

Winners never pay in order to receive their prize. That would defeat the purpose. Legitimate sweepstakes and lotteries have other forms of income to pay their bills, such as the tickets purchased by everyone who enters the lottery. Any time someone tells you that you have to pay to get a prize, hang up and report the incident to the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) right away.

An Exciting Investment Opportunity

Because many seniors are more concerned than ever about saving/investing for retirement, they are prime targets for investment fraud. Scammers will often call the target claiming they have a great investment opportunity for them with little-to-no risk and big returns.

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always consult a reliable, trustworthy financial analyst before making any big investments.

You Haven’t Paid Your Taxes

This scam has been targeting all age groups – not just seniors. Someone calls pretending to be from the IRS, saying the target has not paid their taxes, and if they don’t pay immediately, they’ll face serious consequences, such as a revoked drivers’ license or arrest.

The IRS does not call or email citizens. They use the postal service, and they should never be pushy or aggressive, which scam callers usually are to intimidate their targets into paying up. If you get a call or email claiming to be from the IRS and threatening you for not paying your taxes, feel free to hang up or delete the email, because it’s not legitimate.

I Need You to Bail Me Out

Another common scam is when the conperson calls pretending to be a relative who has been arrested abroad and needs to have money wired to them to bail them out.

In reality, that relative may never have been to that country at all. Be sure to contact other family members to confirm that person is really there and that the situation is legitimate. No one wants to leave a family member hanging in their hour of need, but you should never wire money anywhere without first confirming the person is who they say they are.

We Can Fix Those Windows For You

Some scammers show up on your doorstep offering home repair services you don’t need … or didn’t think you needed. These scammers get their targets to pay upfront for work that will be done at a later date. In reality, the work is poorly done or never done at all.

Never pay for services before you’ve received them. Most licensed contractors don’t go door-to-door soliciting work, but if you’re not sure, you can always ask for their business card and do your own research later.

What To Do When A Loved One Can’t Go Home From The Hospital

When A Loved One Can’t Go Home From The HospitalNo one likes hospitals and every patient is eager to get out of there as soon as possible. Once they escape the uncomfortable, sterile environment full of strangers, they just want to go home – to retreat to their own space. It’s perfectly normal for patients to want that, but what if it’s not an option?

For some aging patients, especially if they’re very sick, they may not be able to take care of themselves, and if they live alone, going home after the hospital could be dangerous. At that point, if you’re the caregiver, you’ll have some tough choices to make. No one can make them for you (though you can certainly ask for advice), but the decision will ultimately be yours and you will have to make it based on the needs of your loved one.

Home Care

In the best-case scenario, you might be able to hire someone to come in and help your loved one around the house. If your loved one needs help cooking and cleaning, but is otherwise healthy and self-sufficient (i.e. you don’t need to worry about them accidentally leaving the oven on or not being able to get out of bed on their own), a home nurse might be a good option. This is also a possibility when your loved one does live with someone (such as a partner or an adult child) who can look after them, but needs some help with the caretaking.

Whether or not this is an option will also depend on your financial situation and where your loved one lives. In some of the more rural areas, it might not be possible to get someone out there.

Assisted Living Facility

The last thing most patients want to do is move from a hospital to another strange environment, but if you’ve decided assisted living is the way to go, you’re going to have to convince your loved one it’s in their own best interests. Assisted living is a great option for people with a variety of needs. Most of them have different levels of care, so if your loved one is still relatively self-sufficient, but needs some help with daily tasks, an assisted living facility can be ideal. If they need more extensive care, they can also probably find what they need in an assisted living facility.

Nursing Home

If/when your loved one gets to the point of needing professional medical attention on a regular basis, they might need to go from the hospital to a nursing home. Like hospitals, nursing homes maintain a nursing staff 24/7. They cannot perform surgeries or run many of the tests that hospitals can perform, but they can help take care of patients with chronic and/or deteriorating medical conditions.

Hospice

The worst-case scenario is hospice. This is for when it has become clear your loved one will never get better. Their condition will only continue to deteriorate until the end, and while keeping them in the hospital might delay the inevitable, few people would prefer to die in a hospital. Hospice can give them the care they need while helping to make them as comfortable as possible in their final days.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

What You Don’t Know About High Cholesterol CAN Hurt You

High cholesterolHigh cholesterol is one of those things that easily sneak up on you. There’s just something about human nature that makes us want to bury our heads in the sand rather than receive bad news – as if it can’t hurt us if we don’t know about it.

When it comes to our health, a large part of the problem is the lack of information available, and much of the information we do have access to is conflicting. But knowledge is power, so here are 8 things you need to know about cholesterol to help you and any loved ones you may be caring for.

1) There are no symptoms that come along with having high cholesterol until it’s too late, which is why it’s vital to get your levels checked regularly.

2) When you do get your cholesterol checked, make sure you get your HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels measured, not just your total cholesterol, which doesn’t tell you much of anything. Your cholesterol numbers might be slightly higher than the average, but if it’s mostly HDL and low LDL, you have nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if your overall cholesterol is low, but it’s mostly LDL with low levels of HDL, that’s something you should be concerned about. Also keep an eye on your triglyceride numbers, which you want to be lowest of all.

3) The body makes most of its own cholesterol – only about ¼ of the cholesterol in our body comes from the food we eat. Because of the specific form cholesterol takes in most of our foods, most of it doesn’t get absorbed, so you don’t actually need to worry about foods that are high in cholesterol, especially since they are often among the most nutritious foods available to us.

4) That said, genetics do play a factor. Some people are genetically predisposed to make more cholesterol than others, and in some cases, the ratio of HDL to LDL might be less than favorable. Diet and exercise both play a role, but it’s always a good idea to check your family history and be sure to remain vigilant about getting your levels checked.

5) While we tend to focus on high cholesterol, it’s important to remember that there is such a thing as cholesterol levels that are too low. Cholesterol is vital to maintaining our health – it helps carry nutrients around the body and HDL actually helps keep our arteries clean. So don’t get too focused on getting your cholesterol as low as possible – if it’s in the healthy range and you have a good ration of HDL to LDL, you’re fine and you don’t need to worry about it.

6) Cholesterol levels tend to rise as we age and women in particular tend to experience higher triglyceride levels after menopause, so be on the lookout for all of those warning signs.

7) The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends adults over 20 get their cholesterol levels checked every 5 years, but those who are at risk (especially people over the age of 45) might need to get their levels checked more frequently.

8) High blood pressure and smoking are also both associated with higher levels of cholesterol, so if you have a loved one who smokes and you know they have high blood pressure, try to be extra vigilant about making sure they get their cholesterol checked regularly and keep their diet and exercise regimen as healthy as possible.

Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is not only good for helping to prevent heart attacks and stroke, but also dementia and a whole host of other potential health problems. It’s just one more reason to educate yourself on the facts of cholesterol so you can protect yourself and those you are caring for.

At Stillwater Senior Living, we do everything we can to answer the questions of our seniors in our community, as well as help them manage their health. If we do not have the answer, we will find someone that does.

CONTACT US TODAY for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.