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3 steps to reach 100 feeling youthful and healthy (BPT) – What will your life be like when you turn 100? A century ago the question seemed almost flippant, a needless consideration for most people, but today it's very real. The percentage of people living to 100 has grown almost 66 percent in the last 30 years, according to U.S. News and World Report. The MDVIP Health and Longevity Survey reveals that more than half of Baby Boomers and Generation Xers want to live past the age of 90. More than a quarter want to live beyond 100. The majority from both generations also believe advances in science and technology are going to keep more people alive past the age of 100. However, these findings come at a time when the life expectancy of Americans has declined for the first time in two decades and one in two adults is living with at least one chronic disease. "To reach their longevity goals, Americans can no longer afford to put their health on the back burner," says Dr. Andrea Klemes, chief medical officer at MDVIP. "Most people

don't wait until they're 60 to start saving for retirement. The same should go for their health, where making small investments today can pay big dividends many years down the road." Many chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, are preventable through simple lifestyle changes. Still, nearly two out of three Boomers and Gen Xers admit they could be doing a better job of exercising regularly, eating well and maintaining a healthy weight. The key to greater longevity is prioritizing your health now - when you're well - to prevent problems later on. Whether you're age 38 or 68, arm yourself with the right knowledge and tools to set realistic health goals and help you stay on track to achieving them. You can start today by asking three questions:

of your vitals and lab results along with your family history. Make sure you discuss these details with your doctor, who can help identify your risk for certain conditions and suggest lifestyle changes based on the results. For example, if you know you have pre-diabetes or are at a moderate risk for developing heart disease, you can work with your doctor on modifying your diet and increasing your physical activity. These data points serve as an important guide in managing your health and can be the difference between preventing an issue and treating it.

What's up, doc? Going to the doctor is an essential component of maintaining good health but choosing the right doctor directly affects the benefit of each visit. Surprisingly, the survey revealed that one out of three Gen Xers avoid going to the doctor out of What's your number? fear of finding something wrong. When's the last time you had your It's important to find a primary blood pressure or cholesterol levels care doctor you trust, who makes you checked? Maintain a current record feel at ease and takes the time to

know you and your medical history. "Having Dr. Gassner on my side has been the best medicine," says Rose Demitrack, a 101-year-old patient of MDVIP-affiliated physician Dr. Lawrence Gassner in Phoenix, Arizona. "He spends time with me and makes sure I'm doing the right things. Plus he always makes me laugh, which is one secret to staying young. I may be older than most, but I still feel young on the inside." In the current healthcare environment, an appointment with a doctor is usually scheduled weeks in advance, and after a long wait in the waiting room, patients often feel rushed through the visit. Patients deserve better and you should shop around for a doctor whose goal is to build a relationship and keep you well.

says Dr. Steven Wilson, an MDVIPaffiliated family practitioner in Redlands, California. "First determine your health goals and make them the focus of your attention. Discuss your goals with your doctor who can help you formulate a health plan for the next year and beyond." Once you have your plan established, it's up to you to execute it. Many people don't stick with a plan because it's hard to stay disciplined and easy to fall back into old habits. So don't be afraid to consult your doctor along the way. Your doctor is your partner in your health journey, and working together could give you a better chance at seeing exactly what your life will be like when you reach 100. To learn more about MDVIP's national network of more than 900 primary care physicians who deliver personalized care with an What's the plan? emphasis on prevention and a close Whether your goal is to lose 10 doctor-patient relationship, visit pounds or to lower your blood pres- MDVIP.com. sure, you need a plan to get you there. "I tell my patients to think of it as a business plan for their health,"


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Senior Life News for Northwest Seniors 8 simple steps to help seniors, caregivers better manage medications (BPT) – Modern medicine can work wonders. However, in order to be effective, medicine needs to be taken safely, according to prescribing guidelines, and patients and health care providers need to be vigilant about the dangers of drug interactions. When it comes to medication use, seniors take more prescription and over-thecounter drugs than any other age group, and they are most likely to experience problems because of their medications. The average American senior takes five or more prescription medications daily, and many of them can't read the prescription label or understand the prescribing instructions, according to the National Council on Patient Information and Education. "Unless they reside in a senior living community or have another form of assistance, it can be very difficult for seniors to manage their own medications," says Kim Estes, senior vice president of clinical services for Brookdale Senior Living. "A lot of factors make medication management a challenge for seniors, including the sheer number of prescriptions many of them

take in a day." Management challenges While doctors prescribe medication to treat a range of chronic conditions from arthritis to diabetes and high blood pressure, seniors may find managing their medications difficult for multiple reasons: • Many meds and many prescribers - Seniors who are on multiple medications are often prescribed to them by multiple doctors, who may or may not be aware of other medications the senior is already taking. Taking a large number of medications can increase the risk of a drug interac-

tion that harms seniors' health, rather than helps them. • Adverse side effects - If a medication makes a senior feel ill, he or she may stop taking it. • Lack of knowledge - If they don't understand exactly what the medicine is supposed to do for them, seniors may feel they don't need it and discontinue use. • Physical challenges - Agerelated physical challenges such as hearing or vision loss, dexterity issues or trouble swallowing can make it difficult for seniors to take their medications as prescribed. • Cognitive challenges - Seniors with memory loss or dementia may

forget to take their medications as prescribed. • Cost - Even with Medicare and supplemental health insurance, many medications can come with a hefty price tag. Seniors may not be able to afford a medication their doctor prescribed. Medication management made easier "Fortunately, seniors and their caregivers can take some fairly easy steps to help them better manage their medications," Estes says. "These steps take a little time and effort, but they can go a long way toward helping seniors use their medicines more effectively." • Most seniors take five or more medications a day, and those with severe health issues or who are in the hospital may take significantly more than that. Make a list of every medication you take, what it's for, and what the pill actually looks like. • Make a checklist of all your medications. Every time you take a prescription, note the date, time and dosage on your checklist. • If you have trouble reading the labels on your prescriptions or can't open the bottle, ask your pharmacist to provide your medicine in

Co-sponsors: Ralston Center & the Keystone Center for Geriatric Education & Care These free events are being offered in celebration of Ralston Center's 200th Anniversary of serving older adults in Philadelphia. Reserve your spot today! Call 215-386-2984 or email aanwar@ralstoncenter.org

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c considerations and physical demands of caregiving. you can find time to provide healthy and effective care for yourself while also caring for your loved one.

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learn how to best care for someone who has dementia or another cognitive to real world and impairment. confused strategies to cope with increasingly available to or erratic behavior. help you better care for your loved one and provide greater peace of mind for yourself. served following the program.

Registration is 215-386-2984 or email aanwar@ralstoncenter.org

Registration is r 215-386-2984 or email aanwar@ralstoncenter.org

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easy-to-open containers with largeprint labels. • Make a plan for getting your prescriptions. You may decide to schedule a drive to the pharmacy every month on a certain day or have someone drive you there. You may also find an online pharmacy that can deliver your prescriptions to your home. • When you go to the doctor, take your list of prescriptions with you, especially if you're seeing him or her for the first time. Your list will help the doctor know what medications you're already taking. * Work with your doctors to see if you can reduce the number of pills you take by consolidating medicines. For example, if you take a pill to reduce water retention and a medication for high blood pressure, some prescription drugs combine both types of medicine into a single pill. • A study by the University of Arizona found that having a pharmacist on a senior's care team helped keep seniors safer and improved their ability to take medications as prescribed. Keep all your prescriptions with one pharmacy and get to know the pharmacists who work there. Your pharmacist may be able to help you spot potential drug interactions. • Technology can help you remember to take medications on time. Set an alarm on your cellphone or download an event reminder app on your smartphone to help you remember when it's time to take your medicine. "With a little planning and help, seniors and their caregivers can better manage their medications to ensure seniors get the most benefit out of their prescription treatments," Estes says.

Pre-planning for peace of mind

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rom years of helping families, the West Laurel Hill staff knows pre-planning eases the decision-making process, which can leave a huge financial and emotional burden on family members left behind. Pre-planning allows you to prepare for your funeral and burial and assures your final wishes will be carried out. There are many benefits to preplanning with West Laurel Hill. Families who plan their funeral in advance say it gives them peace of mind. Families like the convenience of calling one place for all their funeral arrangements. Remember, any decisions you make today can easily be altered tomorrow should your circumstances or preferences change. The funeral plans are transferable should you decide to relocate. Lastly, pre-planning allows you to lock in today’s cost against tomorrow’s price increases. West Laurel Hill offers an interactive pre-planning guide that allows you to research some of the options available when planning a funeral for yourself or others. For more information or to make an appointment for a one-on-one consultation, call West Laurel Hill at 610-668-9900.

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Senior Life News for Northwest Seniors Finding reliable home care by Gail A. Inderwies, RN, BSN, MBA KeystoneCare CEO

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s a nurse for more than 40 years and a provider of home care and hospice services for more than half of that, I have extensive knowledge and understanding of this field. My understanding was challenged however, when I found myself in the position of needing to find a reputable provider in North Carolina for my parents. Honestly, I thought I would be able to call their physician and have him make a referral. Usually that is pretty good, but in this case it wasn’t. The agency had a national reputation which in itself should be an assurance that everything would be great. They have billboards, good provider ratings on Home Health Compare and my mother’s doctor knew them. Yet one week later, no nurse had been to see them. The physical therapist – although nice – had no routine schedule, and other services like a home health aide, weren’t started. I called the office, and the person who answered the phone was far from being customer-centric. The clinical coordinator who finally spoke with me said they were beyond their capacity, but found a nurse to visit my mother the next day. The nurse assigned to care for my mother lived two hours away, which created new concerns. As someone who has experienced the difficulty of obtaining professional health services for my parents firsthand, I suggest readers not only ask providers for referrals and check the website Home Health Compare, which provides information about the quality of care provided by “Medicare-certified” home health agencies, but also do their own research. No organization is 100 percent on any given day, but home health service providers should be someone you can trust who communicates well with compassion and caring. Most importantly, they must understand the importance of providing professional, timely services. You, as the consumer, may be afraid, anxious and struggling with how to get through the day or just simply trying to restore your life back to being normal. Maybe, like me, you have a parent or loved one who lives in another state, far away from daily access. Even with phones, you don’t always know what’s going on. We spend more time looking for a car or a new refrigerator than who will provide health services for us when we need care. It isn’t always the biggest provider or the one who has billboards on main roads. Instead, I suggest you look for the agency or organization that has a strong community reputation, who answers the phone when you call and gets back to you in a timely manner, and takes the time to help you understand what services are available to you or your loved one. Ask yourself one thing when you call: Do they portray caring and accountability to help me through whatever medical challenges I am being confronted with at this moment? Everyone deserves professional, compassionate care.

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5 smart steps to preser ving brain health (BPT) – Everyone knows aerobic exercise gets the heart pumping and lifting weights keeps muscles strong. But when it comes to keeping the brain healthy, most people are unsure what to do. As you age, brain health and maintaining memory functions becomes a top concern. Turns out, these issues may begin sooner than you think. "We tend to think about memory decline as an older person's issue, but that's not the case at all," says Dr. Aimee Gould Shunney, a licensed naturopathic doctor specializing in women's health and family medicine. "There was a study published in 2012 in the British Medical Journal that examined cognitive function in people age 45 to 70. The researchers did not expect it, but they found evidence of cognitive decline in the 45-year-old participants as well as the older participants." She notes there are two basic pathological processes that cause degeneration of the brain: oxidative stress and inflammation. Basically, the standard American diet and lifestyle contribute to those

She also recommends increasing fruits (especially berries) and beans (they're packed with antioxidants). What's more, research shows a little cocoa, coffee and red wine can act as antioxidants and are beneficial in low to moderate amounts. Supplements In addition to a quality multivitamin, Dr. Shunney recommends an omega-3 supplement. "Getting enough omega-3s is one of the most important measures we can take," she says. "DHA is the dominant omega-3 in the brain." She suggests Omega Memory by Nordic Naturals. Learn more at www.nordicnaturals.com.

focuses on whole foods, good fats and foods high in antioxidants is a great place to start," says Dr. Shunney. She encourages her patients to focus on getting omega-3 fats from fish and monounsaturated fats from Healthy eating "A Mediterranean-type diet that olives, olive oil, nuts and seeds.

processes. No matter your age, you can take charge of your brain health by following these five smart steps from Dr. Shunney:

Regular sleep Poor sleep is a risk factor for cognitive decline. "Studies show both sleep deprivation and sleeping too much impact cognitive performance," Dr. Shunney says. "A good goal is to go to bed around the same time each night, sleep for 7-8 hours, and get up around the same time every morning." (Continued on page 14)


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Senior Life News for Northwest Seniors Author shares struggles to care for a mother with dementia

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aring for a loved one is challenging but caring for a loved one who no longer knows who you are can be overwhelming and heartbreaking. In her debut memoir “I Will Never Forget,” author Elaine Pereira shared her struggles with caring for her mother stricken with Alzheimer’s disease. Pereira was a school occupational therapist for more than 35 years before retiring in June 2010. Pereira earned a B.S. in occupational therapy and an M.A. in family and consumer resources from Wayne State University. She holds certificates as Certified Dementia Caregiver (CDC) and Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP). She will appear at Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church,8855 Germantown Ave. on Tuesday April 11 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Admission is free but preregistration is required. See chestnuthillpres.org/center-on-thehill/ for more information. “I Will Never Forget” is the true story of the author's talented mother, Betty, and her journey through dementia. As their mother-daughter relationship evolves and a new paradigm is formed, Elaine copes with her mom's uncharacteristic verbal assaults and watches as her brilliant mind is slowly destroyed by dementia's insatiable appetite for brain cells. In this moving account, Pereira shares warm and humorous incidents as well as tragic and overwhelming encounters from the death of her father, sister-in-law, brother and with her mother’s loosening grip on her memory. “This is a true story which validates the incredible events that happened in my mother’s life,” Pereira

said. “From writing nine checks to her insurance company on five consecutive days and later via the Great Houdini Escape, when she nearly froze to death, Mom’s journey through bewildering dementia is real. As Mark Twain said, ‘The truth is indeed stranger than fiction.’” “I Will Never Forget” not only has educational and therapeutic value, but is a journal full of insights that will provide helpful assistance and tips to other caregivers of dementia patients. “I want all caregivers to learn from my unwitting mistakes, to realize that reasoning and logic are rarely helpful dialogue techniques with a dementia patient,” the author said. “That approach is confrontational and often creates agitation and a fear response. Redirection, re-phrasing, waiting and patience are the most helpful response strategies to diffuse potentially hostile situations.” During the yearlong writing process, Pereira was able to put the troubling incidents in her mother’s final years in perspective. “The little problems faded away and the core of her wonderful life surfaced for me,” she said. “I was determined to remember Mom as the vivacious woman I knew and not the mumbling aging person withering away.” One reviewer said, “The author has given readers incredible insight into the insidious nature of dementia – a disease that robs us of our parents. Most importantly she has taken readers on her own journey down the road of dementia with a beloved parent, offering sound advice to caregivers.” “I Will Never Forget” won the prestigious National Indie Excellence Award, Aging Category, in 2013 as well as six additional book

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Senior Life News for Northwest Seniors This Spring, The Eye Institute Launches a Series of Community Classes

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he Eye Institute (TEI) of Salus University will hold monthly educational classes from April to June focused on healthy vision, hearing, speech, language and cognitive abilities for seniors. Presentations will be conducted by experts from Salus University’s three clinical facilities – TEI, the Pennsylvania Ear Institute and the Speech-Language Institute. thursday, april 20 at 10 a.m. “Improving your vision problems without glasses” Presented by Dr. Erin Kenny

Presented by Dr. Rebecca Blaha thursday, June 8 at 10 a.m. “Speech, language and cognitive issues in an aging population” Presented by Bob Serianni, CCC-SLP

All classes will be held at The Eye Institute's Oak Lane campus (1200 West Godfrey Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19141). Classes are free and open to the public. To reserve your space, please call 215.276.6070.

thursday, May 18 at 1 p.m. “Healthy aging through healthy hearing”

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of Spring. For those 62 and better who appreciate quiet, cozy comforts and ample opportunities to explore new interests, Spring Mill is the ideal setting. With active, vital independent living options and the assurance of personal care or memory support if needed, life here is

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Senior Life News for Northwest Seniors 5 smart steps to preser ving brain health

Small nest egg, big dreams? Tips for buying your retirement home

(Continued from page 9)

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Thinking activities "I recommend anything that keeps your mind working," says Dr. Shunney. "Activities that require things to be arranged or puzzles that have to be put together. Crossword puzzles, word games and board games are all great." Socialize "Social isolation has been linked with cognitive decline," says Dr. Shunney. "In one study, people who were lonely experienced cognitive decline at a 20 percent faster rate than people who were not lonely." Make time to take a foreign language class, join a Toastmaster's Club, take a watercolor class - anything that connects you regularly to other people.

Get Local. Subscribe to the Chestnut Hill Local. Call 215-248-8813 Today. 8434 Germantown Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19118

lanning for retirement means making a lot of decisions, including when you'll stop working, how much you'll withdraw from your savings each year, and where you'll live. Many Americans view retirement as an opportunity to move into a house they'll love and live in for all their golden years. In fact, 64 percent of retirees either have moved or plan to move, according to a Merrill Lynch survey. Some retirees move to be closer to children or grandchildren, to downsize into a more manageable home, live in a warmer locale, or to secure a more luxurious home where they can easily age in place. "The decision of where to live in retirement is important and can directly affect quality of life in your golden years," says Geoff Lewis, President of RE/MAX, LLC. "Research by Trulia shows that in virtually all areas of the country, it makes better financial sense for retirees to buy a home, rather than rent. In fact, buying is nearly 42 percent cheaper than renting for seniors across the country." With offices in more countries than any other real estate brand, RE/MAX agents have helped millions, including retirees, find the home of their dreams. Lewis and the RE/MAX team offer some advice for buying your retirement home:

care, socialization opportunities, shopping and cultural venues are all options to consider. Rely on real estate pros Once you know where you want to be, it's time to find a real estate agent. Well-versed on local real estate trends, RE/MAX agents can help retirees sell their current home so they can make the purchase of their dream retirement home a reality. Visit www.remax.com to search for an agent.

retirement, but it's never too late to think about your priorities. Do you want to be close to family or health care resources? Do you desire a home in the mountains or somewhere you'll never see snow again? Trulia's research shows that some of the cities most popular for retirees are also ones where buying a home can save you the most money over renting. Desirable, warm-weather locations in Florida and Arizona offer significant value, even in regions where average home prices are higher. Make a list of what you want in a home location so you'll have a starting point for your search.

you to move somewhere that's not your ideal location. Move while you're still young enough to enjoy your dream retirement home. Get professional financial advice It's important to protect your nest egg and keep it growing throughout retirement. A professional financial planner can help you understand what size mortgage is right for you, so your dream home doesn't strain your finances.

Be mindful of amenities When choosing a location and a home, in addition to your personal priorities, it's important to keep in mind accessibility to amenities important to seniors. Community Have a plan Don't delay features such as good transportaIdeally, you should think about If possible, don't wait until poor tion, quality of roads, safe neighwhere you want to live long before health or declining finances force borhoods, and access to health

Focus on must-haves Make a list of must-have features and those you would like your retirement home to have. Share the list with your agent to help him or her focus on properties that meet your criteria. Your list of must-haves and desirables will likely be very different from the list you made when you bought your first home. Now, a single-level house with large bathrooms and a level lot may be more desirable than a two-story with lots of bedrooms and a big backyard. Finally, says Lewis, keep in mind whether you plan to age in place. "More Americans are looking for homes that will allow them to stay independent and living on their own throughout their retirement years," he says. "If that's your plan, look for home features that will help facilitate that, like wider doors, few or no exterior stairs, and good lighting."

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