Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Long-Term Care!

November 22, 2017

According to a study compiled by the AARP Public Policy Institute, the Commonwealth Fund, and the SCAN Foundation, “more than 9 in 10 Americans want to live at home or with a relative — rather than at a nursing home — for as long as possible.”  According to the study some states would be able to provide this to seniors better than others.  For the states that do it well, it is not only good for the person needing care, but it is generally less expensive to boot.  The states that do this the best include:

  1. Washington
  2. Minnesota
  3. Vermont
  4. Oregon
  5. Alaska

The states that don’t do quite as well include:

46.  Tennessee
47.  Mississippi
48.  Alabama
49.  Kentucky
50.  Indiana

Source: AARP Bulletin, September 2017, p 38.


The Narrows!

September 21, 2017

Zion_NarrowsFor the last several days I have enjoyed being in and around Zion National Park (Utah) where we had the opportunity to hike “the Narrows” as well as several other short hikes along some other trails in the park.  What an awesome experience!   We opted for the top-down hike from Chamberlain Ranch (16-mile trek); our planning began several months ago since we needed to arrange for permits to hike in this direction.  We also were hoping that by going in the fall, despite the possibility of slightly “higher” and colder water, that the weather would be a bit more stable — i.e., less rain and a lower chance of flash flooding hazards. From here we will be heading up to the north rim of the Grand Canyon to hike for a couple of days before returning home. Ah, the joy of being disconnected . . . a little therapy, courtesy of nature!

Are You in Good Health?!

August 20, 2017

Do you know where your state ranks on the percentage of adults 65+ who say that their health is either “excellent” or “very good?”  Based upon a “Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey” from 2014, here are the states with the “healthiest” seniors versus the “least healthy” (based upon self-reports, of course).

Healthiest States
1. New Hampshire (51%)
2. Maine (50%)
2. Vermont (50%)
2. Colorado (50%)
5. Minnesota (48%)
6. Connecticut (47%)
6. Washington (47%)
6. Oregon (47%)
6. Alaska (47%)
10. Idaho (46%)
10. Nebraska (46%)
10. Wisconsin (46%)
10. Massachusetts (46%)

Least Healthy States
1. Alabama (30%)
2. Arkansas (33%)
3. West Virginia (34%)
3. Kentucky (34%)
3. Mississippi (34%)
3. Louisiana (34%)
7. Tennessee (35%)
7. Oklahoma (35%)
9. Indiana (38%)
9. Texas (38%)
9. Georgia (38%)
9. South Carolina (38%)
9. Hawaii (38%)

Source: “”Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey,” 2014 and AARP Bulletin, July-August 2017, p. 46

Let’s Not Be Idle!

May 22, 2017

Physical activity has been shown to be beneficial for a variety of reasons . . .

  • Control Your Weight.
  • Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease.
  • Reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.
  • Reduce Your Risk of Some Cancers.
  • Strengthen Your Bones and Muscles.
  • Improve Your Mental Health and Mood.

So, how active are you?  Here are the best and the worst states by the percentage of people who are over 50 years of age who engage in NO physical activity whatsoever . . .

States with the lowest percentage of non-active seniors:
1. Colorado (18%)
2. Oregon (20%)
2. Washington (20%)
4. Idaho (21%)
5. Vermont (22%)

States with the highest percentage of non-active seniors:
1. Arkansas (39%)
2. Mississippi (36%)
3. Oklahoma (35%)
3. Kentucky (35%)
4. Louisiana (34%)
4. West Virginia (34%)

Source: May 2017 AARP Bulletin; 2014 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; numbers are rounded; respondents reported activity level over the previous month.

Fatal Falls!

April 10, 2017

I’m sure you’ve heard the quip “have a nice trip, I’ll see you next fall” in reference to someone who trips or stumbles.  Unfortunately, for people who are 65 years old (or older) falls can have fatal consequences.  Here are the statistics on the number of fatal falls per 100,000 persons by state for 2015 (top ten states, most and least).  Oklahoma finished just outside the top-ten (#11) with 93.

Most Fatal Falls
1.  Wisconsin (135)
2.  Minnesota (126)
3.  Vermont (122)
4.  South Dakota (116)
5.  New Mexico (105)
6.  Colorado (103)
7.  Oregon (98)
7.  Iowa (98)
7.  Rhode Island (98)
10.  New Hampshire (96)

Least Fatal Falls
1.   Alabama (26)
2.  New Jersey (30)
3.  Delaware (36)
4.  California (39)
5.  Louisiana (40)
5.  Indiana (40)
7.  New York (42)
8.  Kentucky (43)
9.  South Carolina (45)
9.  Georgia (45)

Source: AARP Bulletin, April 2017, p. 44; 24/7 Wall Street (numbers are rounded).

So, Would You Like to Live Longer?!

March 23, 2017

No one knows exactly how long they will live, but who doesn’t want to maximize their time in this world?  Here is a list of fifty (50) ways that if put into practice, could help you extend your life (obviously any medically-related “advice” should be vetted through your personal physician).

  1. Consider extra vitamin D (but too much could also be bad).
  2. Cut back on pain pills (including over-the-counter types)
  3. Please go to bed (get more than six hours per night)
  4. But don’t always go right to sleep (ah, the benefits of sex)
  5. Get (or stay) hitched
  6. Ripeness matters (fully ripe = more benefits)
  7. Say yes to that extra cup (of coffee)
  8. Frozen is fine (fruits and veggies)
  9. Go green (as in tea)
  10. Don’t sweeten with sugar
  11. Eat whole grains
  12. Spice it up (chili peppers)
  13. Drink whole milk (dairy fat can be good)
  14. Just add water (stay hydrated)
  15. Be food safe (keep and store food correctly)
  16. Eat less (stop when you feel full)
  17. End the day’s eating by 9:00 PM
  18. Eat your veggies
  19. Eat like the Greeks (i.e., Mediterranean diet)
  20. Or live like the Amish (tend to live longer with less hospitalization)
  21. Drink less
  22. Save your pennies (higher income = live longer)
  23. Or move to one of these states (California, New York, Vermont)
  24. Ponder a ponderosa (experience a sense of awe; nature, music, art)
  25. Go nuts (10 grams a day)
  26. Find your purpose (have something to look forward to)
  27. Embrace your faith
  28. Vacation or else (take some time off)
  29. Consider mountain life (live in higher altitude)
  30. Get a friend with four legs (pet ownership)
  31. Keep watching lol cat videos (laughter is important)
  32. Get social (reduce lonliness)
  33. Watch your grandkids
  34. Try to stay out of the hospital
  35. Monitor yourself (don’t wait for annual checkup)
  36. Visit the hardware store (monitor carbon monoxide, radon, and lead levels)
  37. You need to read (30 minutes per day)
  38. Toss that rug (risk for fall)
  39. Practice home fire drills (know what to do in advance, have a plan)
  40. Find a woman doctor
  41. Make peace with family
  42. Take the stairs – every day
  43. Trade in ol’ Bessie (news car all have high-tech safety features)
  44. Beware the high-tech dash (distracted driving)
  45. And drive less
  46. Better yet, walk (exercise best prescription for long life)
  47. Just not in the street
  48. And go a little faster  (exceed one meter per second)
  49. Get fidgety (don’t “sit” too long)
  50. Read the AARP Bulletin (shameless plug)

Source: AARP Bulletin, March 2017, p. 23-30.

The Cost of Care!

March 16, 2017

Judging from the below data re: the cost of nursing home/long-term care, it might behoove me to remain in the State of Oklahoma in my retirement years.  Here’s a list of the states where these costs are least expensive as well as most expensive (median daily cost for long-term care in a semi-private room in 2016) . . .

Most Expensive:
1. Alaska ($800)
2. Connecticut ($407)
3. Massachusetts ($370)
4. New York ($361)
5. North Dakota ($359)
6. Hawaii ($355)
7. District of Columbia ($333)
8. New Jersey ($325)
9. New Hampshire ($320)
10. Delaware ($315)

Least Expensive:
1. OKLAHOMA ($145)
2. Texas ($148)
3. Missouri ($156)
4. Louisiana ($160)
5. Arkansas ($161)
6. Kansas ($171)
7. Iowa ($182)
8. Illinois ($184)
9. Nebraska ($185)
9. Utah ($185)

Source: AARP Bulletin, March 2017, p. 44 (from Genworth 2016 Cost of Care Survey)


March 9, 2017

From the book titled: oxymoronica (by Dr. Mardy Grothe), G.K. Chesterton was quoted as saying “A yawn is a silent shout.”  I’ve heard that yawns were a sign of an oxygen deficiency to the brain and they generally occur during time of relaxation and drowsiness.  There are several theories as to the why . . . physiological theory, evolution theory, boredom theory, brain-cooling theory . . . and who knows what other reasons may get posited at one time or another.  What about the “contagious” theory?  Here’s an interesting video to help explain it all.  Or, if you want to read more, here’s a link to some additional information.

Still Not Losing?!

February 9, 2017

Well, we are more than a month into the year and if one of your New Year’s resolutions was to lose some weight, it’s time to check in and see how you are doing.   If you are doing all of the right things (primarily diet and exercise) and still find you are having trouble shedding those pounds, there may be other culprits to blame . . .

  • It could be the medications you are taking (the side effects of some prescription medications is weight gain — don’t quit taking your meds, but by all means check in with your doctor for options that may not have this side effect).
  • It could be you are not getting enough sleep.  Establish a healthy routine, aim to get between 7-8 hours per night, and stick to a schedule (get up and go to bed at the same time everyday, including the weekends).
  • It could be the bacteria in your gut.  While bacteria generally do a world of good (breaking down food, absorbing water and nutrients, regulating insulin, producing fuel, etc.), certain bacteria could also be responsible for regulating inflammation, fat metabolism, and appetite.  Stick to the helpful microbes (live-culture yogurt and a variety of high fiber foods).
  • It could be the temperature you keep your thermostat set at.    We naturally seek out the thermoneutral zone (comfy-cozy), bump the temp down a bit and kick-start your fat metabolic activity. (66 degree temps or lower).
  • It could be a strain of the common cold – adenovirus 36 — avoid this virus if at all possible (wash your hands frequently, exercise [boosts your immune system], and get enough rest).

Simple enough, right?  Good luck!

Source: AARP: the Magazine, Feb/Mar 2017, p. 24-25.

“Party On, Wayne . . . !”

December 31, 2016

On this, the eve of the new year, what better quotation to reference than the title of this post from the epic comedy “Wayne’s World” (1992).  Let this also serve as a reminder though that as you find yourself partying this evening . . . exercise common sense and moderation, and if you do overdo it on the consumption of alcohol, don’t even think about driving.

Allow me to also share with you the list of the states with the most and the least number (percentage) of senior adults (age 65+) who report either binge drinking or chronic drinking.  But before we get to the list, how about definitions of “binge” and “chronic” drinking?

Binge drinking is defined as five (5) or more drinks on one occasion within the last month (for men) or four (4) or more drinks (for women).

Chronic drinking is defined as more than two drinks per day (for men) or one drink per day (for women).

Highest percentage
1. Wisconsin (11.1%)
2. District of Columbia (9/8%)
3. Nevada (9.2%)
4. Hawaii (9.1%)
5. Oregon (9.0%)
6. Florida (8.9%)
6. Alaska (8.9%)
8. Washington (8.6%)
9. Vermont (8.5%)
9. California (8.5%)

Lowest percentage
1. Tennessee (2.9%)
2. Mississippi (3.2%)
3. West Virginia (3.3%)
4. Oklahoma (3.4%)
4. Utah (3.4%)
6. Kentucky (4.0%)
7. Alabama (4.3%)
8. Missouri (4.7%)
9. Kansas (4.9%)
9. Georgia (4.9%)
9. North Carolina (4.9%)
9. Indiana (4.9%)

Source: AARP Bulletin (December 2016) and the 2016 “America’s Health Rankings Senior Report.”