Category Archives: Seniors

A Way to Maintain Independence: Senior Meal Delivery

One item most people seek to maintain as they age stands out among all others and that item is independence.  Many seniors struggle with the notion that they may need looked after in a manner similar to (gasp!) a child and they stubbornly cling to that independence like millennials cling to their smart phones.  And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!  In fact, family members can assist seniors in preserving their independence by making a few small adjustments within their homes to help them stay there and one of those small “adjustments” can be something as simple as setting up a senior meal delivery system.

Too often, when we think of assisting the seniors in our lives with their independence, we think of making big changes, such as relocating closer to them or relocating them into expensive senior care living facilities (which comes with an average monthly price tag of $6,700).  However, a large research project conducted in Baltimore recently determined that minor changes to the living spaces and routines of seniors can keep them living independently within their homes years longer than expected.  senior-lady-smilingGenerally, these changes were placed into four categories: mobility (think stairs), home maintenance, personal care and cooking…yes, cooking.

The researchers went into the homes of seniors with a budget of $4,000 and found that seniors were able to continue living in their homes longer with the installation of helpful mobility devices such as ramps, a second banister on the stairs, higher toilet seats, lower kitchen counters and cabinets and the ever popular walk-in tub.  They also utilized physical therapists to get the seniors on a regular exercise routine to improve and maintain mobility.  Finally, they recommended that meal preparation be made as easy as possible…hence the title of this blog.

stroganoffMany seniors have lost the manual dexterity (think chopping veggies) to prepare the wholesome and nutritious meals they require.  That being the case, a company that has specialized senior meal delivery capabilities would be an ideal solution to this problem.  Many meal delivery companies, such as MagicKitchen.com, have meals made specifically with seniors in mind, such as low sodium and/or carb, heart-healthy or gluten-free. A freezer and microwave are all that’s required to store and prepare the meals that are delivered to a senior’s home on a regular basis.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy…that’s how a senior seeking to remain as independent as possible is able to prepare a healthy meal…with the aid of a senior meal delivery program of course.

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4 Lifestyle Changes for Seniors That Will Improve Mental Health

Approximately 20% of adults ages 55 and older have some sort of mental health concern, yet nearly 33% of them do not receive treatment. The first step in improving mental health for seniors is recognizing the signs and symptoms and talking with health care providers about diagnoses and treatment plans. Seniors also can take some steps toward improving their mental health, and some of those steps involve making lifestyle changes. Here are four of the best lifestyle changes for seniors that will improve mental health, so they can get started on the right path to better mental wellbeing today.

1. Get More Exercise

seniors-exerciseExercise is known to reduce anxiety and depression in people of all ages, and getting more exercise is one lifestyle change for seniors that will improve their mental health. In fact, getting more exercise helps to improve seniors’ cognitive performance and to reduce memory loss due to age. Exercise has shown to improve seniors’ ability to transition from one task to the next quickly, plan activities, and ignore irrelevant information, Additionally, regular, moderate physical activity helps seniors manage stress and improve their mood, and leads to reduced feelings of depression.

Exercise and physical activity for seniors also improves their mental health in indirect ways. Exercise helps with arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes, plus high blood pressure, balance issues, and difficulty walking. These health improvements lead to better health, and seniors who are in better health are at lower risk of depression.

2. Make Diet Changes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeniors’ diets is not just about their waistlines. In fact, research shows that diet affects mental health in positive and negative ways, regardless of age. Seniors who want to improve their mental health should make the lifestyle change to enhance their diet by eating more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables now are associated with better mental well-being, including being more optimistic and happier and having more self-esteem and resilience.

Fresh linguini smothered in a light marina and loaded with baby clams.
Fresh linguini smothered in a light marina and loaded with baby clams. MagicKitchen.com

Reducing the amounts of bad fats in seniors’ diets helps them to reduce the risk for anxiety, impaired memory, repetitive behavior, and brain inflammation. On the other hand, increasing the amount of healthy fats, such as Omega-3 fatty acids like those in salmon, helps to battle some forms of depression in seniors.

Finally, seniors should watch their sugar intake. Not only does sugar lead to weight gain and possible food addiction, but it is responsible for higher rates of depression and worse mental health symptoms.

3. Reduce Your Stress Level

Stress affects seniors’ mental health by leading to depression, anger, and irritability. That’s why seniors need to make lifestyle changes that will reduce their level of stress, in order to

Senior Woman Relaxing In Chair At Home With Pet Cat

improve their overall mental health. Reducing stress often involves participating in activities that are fun and relaxing. There are various ways for seniors to change their lifestyle in order to reduce stress, including playing with a pet, reading, meditating, and finding ways to express gratitude.

Other ways to reduce seniors’ stress level to improve mental health include changing their routine and getting out of the house. Many seniors enjoy window shopping and people watching at shopping centers and malls. Others enjoy taking a walk in the park and enjoying time in nature. Still others enjoy gardening, sitting on a porch to enjoy the weather, or going to see funny movies.

4. Actively Maintain a Sense of Purpose

two senior ladies chatting friendly to the parkSeniors who maintain a sense of purpose and have a reason that motivates them to get out of bed in the morning have better mental health. This includes making lifestyle changes such as consistently connecting with friends, family, and interests, or volunteering. There are even special service dogs that can remind seniors that others love them and count on them, resulting in a sense of purpose that makes them feel worthwhile and needed. It also helps to stave off the loneliness that leads to depression. Eating well is important for seniors, to keep their bones healthy, to stay energetic, and to stay heart-healthy.

The key to making lifestyle changes for seniors that will improve mental health is to take better care of themselves and to spend more time doing things that they enjoy and that get them actively involved with others. Seniors don’t need to make all of these adjustments at one time; making a couple of healthy lifestyle changes at a time will set them on the right path toward improving their mental health.

Jim Vogel and his wife, Caroline, created ElderAction.org after they began caring for their ailing parents. Through that rewarding and sometimes difficult process they’ve learned a lot about senior care and specifically the need for more effective senior mental health and support. Their site offers elder-positive resources and other helpful information on aging. In his spare time, Jim loves fishing, reading, and spending time with his kids.

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Games to Keep Your Brain in Shape

forget-somethingHave you noticed, as we age, our ability to concentrate and remember certain things slowly diminishes? Maybe you have started noticing yourself walking into a room, and then forgetting what you originally needed; or maybe you have been forgetting about important meetings and doctor appointments? Either way, we are sure you have noticed the slippery downhill slope that is associated with an aging brain. This is very normal and one of the leading causes of a memory that is as slippery as an ice rink is the increased levels of stress we endure on a daily basis.

So, what can you do to keep your brain in shape?

Of course, you could read a book, but maybe reading bores you as much as watching paint dry and grass grow. That’s okay! There are thousands of games to keep your brain in shape – some of which you may not even have to pay for. We’ve compiled a short list of different types of games that can help your brain get back into shape, and keep it that way.

seniorin mit brille lst ein kreuzwortrtselCrossword Puzzles

Crossword puzzles challenge your brain to learn – and remember – different words and their meanings. Often played alone, you can add a new, exciting spin to your daily crossword puzzle by competing with a friend. Challenge your friend to a crossword contest where the winner pays for lunch!

Board Games

Board games such as Monopoly and Yahtzee are fun, interactive games that require concentration to win. Additionally, in order to “pass go” without going bankrupt, you have to have a certain level of business sense and money management skills.

Video Games

Video games tend to have a ‘bad rap’ for being an unproductive time-waster; many adults often forget that many games offer brain-boosting capabilities. Take, for example, the popular foodie puzzle game Candy Crush Saga. It challenges the part of the brain that helps us make correct decisions. After all, completing level 120 the first time is no easy task!

Games are a fun way to unwind after a busy, stressful day; a way to spend time with your family and friends, or simply engage in some solitary stress therapy, but they can also help improve your memory, focus, and concentration skills. After all, if the Alzheimer’s Association recommends playing games to keep our brain in shape, games can’t be all bad, right?

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4 Ways to Be Happy and Healthy During the Holidays

Santa eating cookieJust because you’re a little older doesn’t mean Santa isn’t watching anymore. If Mr. Claus or his little helpers get a look at what you’re eating, will you be on the nice list or the naughty list? Too many sweet treats, fast food, or skipped meals will land you on the naughty list. Eat healthy, and you’ll get more than just coal in your stocking.

For seniors, it’s especially important to eat healthy, because poor eating habits can have a negative effect on existing health problems like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, or getting better after having surgery. You also need to eat well to keep your bones, body and brain healthy. Here are five ways to be happy and healthy during the holidays.

1. Pay Attention to Calories

For some seniors, eating too many calories from sugary drinks, snacks, and large portion sizes is a problem. And for others skipping meals, and not eating enough healthy food, can lead to poor nutrition. Fortunately, there’s a better way. Pay attention to the amount of calories you’re eating per day. If you’re moderately active, the National Institutes of Health recommends seniors eat 1,800 to 2,400 calories per day. Check out our large selection of Senior Meals and look for the calorie count per serving.

2. Take Time to Rest

There’s a reason Santa takes a whole year off after the holidays. It’s tiring. Travelling, shopping, driving in traffic, or navigating airports can be stressful, too. And you need to give yourself time to rest and recover. Why? When you’re tired or fatigued, you’re more likely to overeat. So go ahead Grandparents laughing with grandchildrenand give yourself permission to take an afternoon nap if you feel like it.

3. Laugh, Love, and Enjoy the Celebrations

When you get older and see life a little differently after years of experience, you start to appreciate the little things more. Spending time with your family and friends to laugh, love, and celebrate the holidays is fun, but it’s also good for your health. Studies show laughter and feelings of happiness or joy can actually lower blood pressure, reduce pain, and improve your mood. Healthy comfort foods like Chicken Mac & Cheese with Broccoli, Peas & Corn, Spaghetti and Meatballs, and Turkey Chili with Brown Rice can help, too.

4. Stay Active

It’s important to stay active as you age to keep your bones healthy and your muscles strong. So look for ways to stay active during the holidays. Take seniors-exercisea walk after a big meal. Put your treadmill or exercise bike to good use. Or attend a local fitness class for seniors like tai chi, yoga, or water aerobics. Regular exercise will give you an appetite, so make sure you stock up on ingredients at the grocery store or our large selection of healthy meals made just for seniors.

Cookies and sweet treats are easy to find during the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you should gobble them up. If you do, you might end up on the naughty list by Santa and your doctor.

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Fun Fall Activities for Seniors

Rear View Of Senior Couple Walking Along Autumn PathWhen the seasons change, trees begin to lose their leaves, and temperature drops, you know Mother Nature is ushering in the fall season. But that hardly means it’s time to start thinking about hibernation. There are many fun and enjoyable activities you can do with family and friends in the fall:

Take a trip to see fall colors
Want to see fall colors up close? Take a trip to a favorite hiking trail, forest area, or even an apple orchard. You’ll be surrounded by fall colors, enjoy brisk autumn air, and even get a little exercise by going for a short hike or picking apples.

Carve a pumpkin
Maybe it’s been years since you carved a pumpkin. But think back to your younger years, when you were a kid, or your own children were excited about fall. And you’ll remember how much fun carving a pumpkin can be. You can even cook the seeds and enjoy a healthy snack.

Harvest Time
Visit a farmer’s market. Fall produce and crafts are for sale, and even if you don’t buy, it’s a nice walk with interesting things to look at!

knitting2Teach what you Know
Are you an expert knitter, woodworker, sailor, or craftsperson? Talk to your grand kids, and pass along your knowledge. Alternatively, ask if you can teach an informal class at your local church or community center.

Organize a meal with friends

If you live in an area where fall weather bids farewell to summer with rain and cooler temperatures, you know you’ll be spending more time indoors. That’s a good reason to organize a meal with friends to visit, play games, and catch up. And you don’t have to sweat about what to serve. Our Senior Meals menu has all kinds of healthy and easy-to-prepare foods you and your friends will enjoy.

Visit a craft sale
You might not be thinking about the holidays just yet, but it won’t be long before kids will start sending their wish-lists to Santa. Fall is a great time to visit a craft sale where local artists sell all kinds of interesting and useful hand-made crafts, foods, and other items. It’s also a good place to meet up with friends, and get ideas for crafts you could make on your own.

Root for your favorite football team
Got an alma mater, or a favorite football team (high school, college, or professional)? Fall marks the beginning of football season. Make plans to attend a game or watch your favorite teams play on TV. You could even host a football party and serve a meal or snacks from the Seniors Meal menu.

Fall is a great time of year to celebrate, spend time with family and friends, and of course, enjoy healthy, heart-warming, food.

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Active Seniors Enjoy Life More

seniors-exerciseNot far from MagicKitchen.com headquarters in California, a group of about 40 seniors (age 55 and older) took a trip through the Granite Chief Wilderness in late June. But they weren’t on a guided tour, and the trip took more than just a few hours.

They laced up their running shoes, stocked up on water and healthy snacks, and headed into the mountains for the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. If you haven’t heard of this event, it’s considered the Boston Marathon of races longer than the 26.2-mile marathon distance. After months of training, healthy eating, and an active lifestyle, these senior runners cross the finished line in under 30 hours to claim their prize, a sparkling and coveted hand-crafted belt buckle.

You may not be planning to run a marathon or take off on a 100-mile journey through the mountains. But research shows that seniors who are active get more out of life, according to the American Council on Exercise. Being active helps control blood pressure, aids in weight management, lowers cholesterol, and prevents arthrosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Exercise also helps strengthen your heart, lungs and muscles, improves mobility, and helps manage pain associated with conditions like diabetes and arthritis. Some studies even suggest exercise helps prevent certain types of cancer.

So how much should you exercise? The American College of Sports Medicine recommends getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week, along with two days of strength training. Here are some ways you can be more active:

  • Take a walk
  • Work in the garden
  • Play a sport (tennis, basketball, volleyball)
  • Go for a hike
  • Swim laps in a pool
  • date-meals2Participate in a group exercise class
  • Ride a bike
  • Try yoga, tai chi, or pilates
  • Take dance class

Being active helps reduce your risk for a long list of preventable diseases. Exercise also helps improve your mood and your quality of life. Combine an active lifestyle with healthy eating with MagicKitchen.com meals for seniors, and you’ll be happier and live longer.

Here are some other articles you may enjoy:

A Glass of Wine a Day is Healthy, But Only If You Exercise, Too

Laughing May Aid Memory Loss

Seniors – Live Longer by Following the Mediterranean Diet

Take Care of Your Bones

Nuts can Lengthen your Life

Seniors Happier and More Trusting

The Secrets to Longevity

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