January 2015 - The Wesley Communities

Healthy Diet, Healthy Life

Do you remember when a tall, thick ice cream sundae and apple pie was the perfect treat during the middle of the day?  That sounds good, but let’s face it, like everything else, our diet changes as we age.
Eating well is vital for everyone of all ages.  Whatever your age, your daily food choices can make an important difference in your health and in how you look and feel.
For instance, eating well may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, bone loss, some kinds of cancer, and anemia.  If you already have one or more of these chronic diseases, eating well and being physically active may help you better manage them.  Healthy eating may also help you reduce high blood pressure, lower high cholesterol, and manage diabetes.
Eating well gives you the nutrients needed to keep your muscles, bones, organs, and other parts of your body healthy throughout your life.  These nutrients include vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fats, and water.
Healthy fats can be found in seeds, nuts, avocados and fish.  We all need fiber as we age and brown rice, whole grain cereals are much better choices for us and make sure to ‘rough up’ your diet.  Raw fruits and vegetables and whole grains can cut down on constipation, provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and nutrients that you need in healthy aging.  Getting good protein is as simple as adding beans, eggs, chicken and fish to your dinner plate.  Adding garlic to your diet can also help reduce blood pressure.
Change is never easy so start with small steps, making one change at a time.  For instance, you might take the salt shaker off your table, decreasing your salt intake will allow you to adjust.  Switch to whole grain bread, seafood or more veggies and fruits.
We hear it all the time, but water is key.  Water can do so many positive things for our bodies including a trick I learned about drinking water.  It’s easier to drink water that is NOT ice cold.  If you have a specific medical condition, check with your doctor about foods that should be part of your daily diet.
Remember, a healthy lifestyle you can adopt now and stay with now, will result in a healthy life in the years to come.

Get up, Get out, Get Social

There are a number of life transitions that can have a impact on how we socialize such as, changes in health and mobility, changes in work status and income, and changes in living arrangements are just a few examples. Transportation is also often an issue when driving is no longer an option.  Does this mean that you have to be isolated?  Of course not!  Here are some suggestions on getting and staying active.
Healthy aging is linked to meaningful activity and a sense of belonging. The less involved someone is, the more at risk he or she is for being socially isolated or disconnected from the community.  Staying socially active and maintaining interpersonal relationships can help you maintain good physical and emotional health and cognitive function. Keeping your social connections are as important as caring to your physical wellbeing.
· Get involved in your community. Inquire about civic and volunteer opportunities. Often when you are working with people with similar interests and commitments, it is likely that you will make connections.
· Learn something new. Take a course in something that interests you. Chances are you will meet like-minded people.
· Join a club or group. A book club, knitting club, golf group or garden club as these meet-ups are a great way to get introduced to new people that share similar interests.
· Visit family. Pick a day of the week to visit with family either in person or via telephone or Skype.
· Learn new technology. Learning to use the internet will give you the ability to connect with your family and friends via email or social media.
· Join a gym. As mentioned before, staying physically active is also important for seniors.
It’s not uncommon for senior citizens to become socially and intellectually withdrawn. But if you make an effort to stay engaged as you get older, you will find more joy and satisfaction in life and a good chance you will stay healthier.
Join us at the Wellness Center at Wesley Glen for a free 3-day guest pass! Membership to the Wellness Center is open to the Central Ohio community.  Call (614) 396-4944 or to apply, go to www.wesleyglen.com/services/wellness-center/

Keeping Your Brain in Shape

We all have those moments when we forget where we put our keys, why we walked into a room, and discover when we are at the supermarket that we’ve left the shopping list at home.  Everyone forgets things occasionally. Still, memory loss is nothing to take lightly. A strong memory depends on the health and vitality of your brain.
Research shows that by keeping your brain healthy with the right diet and exercising it to keep cognitive function strong, you can boost memory and brainpower. No matter what your age, learning new things, exposing yourself to new experiences and meeting new people can all help keep your mind in tip-top shape.  Here are some ways to keep your grey matter in shape.
·  Don’t skimp on exercise or sleep. Treating your body well can enhance your ability to process and recall information.  Physical exercise increases oxygen to the brain and reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
·  Keep stress in check.  Stress is one of the brains worst enemies, over time, if left unchecked stress destroys brain cells and damages the hippocampus, the region of the brain involved in formation of new memories and the retrieval of old ones.
·  Socialize regularly.  Social interaction helps ward off depression and stress.  Look for opportunities to get together with loved ones, friends and others – especially if you live alone.
·  Feed your brain.  The food you eat has a direct effect on your brain, which is why it’s essential to eat foods that contain proper antioxidants for brain health.
·  Brain training games like Lumosity, Memorado or Countdown to name a few, are great brain teasers that help g keep you on your toes. If games are not something you enjoy, tackle a crossword or Sudoku puzzle.
If you’re worried about memory loss — especially if memory loss affects your ability to complete your usual daily activities, it could be time for a visit to your doctor.  He or she will likely do a physical examination, as well as check your memory and problem-solving skills.
Clearing clutter makes room for clarity.  Join The Wesley Communities, Wednesday, January 28th, 2015, 9-10:30am for tips on downsizing and managing clutter. Presented by Paula Taliaferro at Reynoldsburg UMC located at 1636 Graham Road, Reynoldsburg, Ohio.  Registration is required for lecture and respite.  Please contact Michelle Crum at 800-272-3900 or mcrum@alz.org to reserve your space.
Brain game links:

Tax Tips for Seniors 55 and Older

The tax season is upon us again, and like every other year my husband and I will gather the necessary paperwork and schedule an appointment with our favorite tax professional Ms. Harriet.  For us, the process hasn’t changed much over the years.  We can usually expect our W2s from our employers in the mail by January 31st and all other information needed sprinkles in throughout the month.
Two years ago, when my father moved here from Virginia, he asked if I knew whether or not he still needed to file taxes and he  wasn’t sure because it was something my stepmother had always taken care of prior to her death.  My first thought was to believe that he did not have to because he was retired.  After a couple of minutes, I changed my answer because I realized that I really didn’t know the answer. My only experience with a senior citizen and taxes had been my grandmother , who had never worked outside of the home and whose  income had been my grandfather’s pension and Social Security since his death.
After a phone call to my tax professional and a little online research, I found that every situation is different and if you have to ask, it’s probably worth an appointment with a tax professional.  This way you won’t run into problems with the IRS later on down the road.  Lucky for my dad, I found that he indeed needed to file and to his surprise he received a refund.
Many factors affect the amount of tax an individual pays, but there are specific areas that concern seniors 55 and older.  There are several important tax deductions that are often overlooked when deductions are itemized:
– Investment expenses- Provided you do itemize your deductions and use a
financial planner, the fees you pay your adviser are deductible when they exceed 2 percent of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI).
– Long-term care insurance- Premiums you pay for a long-term care policy are
treated the same as medical expenses and are deductible if they exceed 10
percent of your AGI.
– Medical mileage- The IRS lets you deduct 24 cents per mile for medical-related trips like doctor visits, outpatient hospital visits, etc.  This is also subject to the 10 percent limit.
Because there are a number of different tax rules, any questions or concerns about your individual tax situation, should be directed to a tax professional.