Vegetables may help protect elderly women from hardening of neck arteries

Elderly Australian women who ate more vegetables showed less carotid artery wall thickness, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts proved the most beneficial.

“This is one of only a few studies that have explored the potential impact of different types of vegetables on measures of subclinical atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of cardiovascular disease,” said Lauren Blekkenhorst, study lead author and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Western Australia in Crawley.

Full story at Science Daily

Healthy Aging: Oral Health for Older Adults

In the past, losing teeth and getting dentures was considered an almost-inevitable part of aging. Those days are over. Intact teeth, healthy gums and pain-free smiles are what older adults should expect as they maintain good oral hygiene and get regular dental care.

Some seniors may find it harder to brush thoroughly and take care of their teeth than they used to. But with age, good oral health is key to avoiding gum disease, preserving function and allowing people to eat well. Below, dental experts describe potential issues, nifty devices and affordable resources for seniors and caregivers to keep teeth healthy.

Mouth of a 45-Year-Old

Among most baby boomers, dental self-care comes naturally. “For this this group, losing their teeth is not a consideration,” says geriatric dentist Dr. Elisa Ghezzi, a past chair of the Coalition for Oral Health for the Aging. “They’re not going to. And they’re people who’ve grown up pretty recently educated that you should go regularly to get your teeth cleaned, that you should use a fluoridated toothpaste.”

Full story of healthy aging and oral health at US News

Frailty Is a Medical Condition, Not an Inevitable Result of Aging (Op-Ed)

As a medical resident 30 years ago, Ava Kaufman remembers puzzling over some of the elderly patients who came to the primary-care practice at George Washington University Hospital. They weren’t really ill, at least not with any identifiable diseases. But they weren’t well, either.

They were thin and weak. They had no energy. They tired easily. Their walking speed was agonizingly slow. “We couldn’t put our finger on a specific diagnosis or problem,” Kaufman says. “We didn’t have a word for it then.”

Today we do. It’s called frailty. There have always been frail people, but only in recent years has the term “frailty” become a medical diagnosis, defined by specific symptoms and increasingly focused on by those who deal with the medical issues of the elderly. Clinicians now are looking at ways to prevent or delay frailty, sometimes even reverse it.

“Frailty is not an age, it’s a condition,” says Kaufman, a Bethesda internist and geriatrician. “We know it when we see it, and it’s always been with us.”

Full story of aging and medical conditions at Live Science

AARP seeks to close hunger gap for seniors

Erie County has a growing number of senior citizens who struggle with hunger, and while many are eligible for government aid, most are not getting that assistance, according to a report released by AARP New York.

More needs to be done to break down the barriers that keep eligible senior citizens from getting help, said Bruce Boissonnault, a member of the AARP Executive Council.

Among the available programs to help them is the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, commonly known as food stamps.

“Currently, half of potentially eligible older adults in New York State are not receiving food assistance through the SNAP program, and AARP estimates that here, in Erie County, the gap is even greater, with an estimated 72 percent of likely eligible older adults not receiving the benefit,” Boissonnault said.

The report, “Hunger Among Older New Yorkers: Breaking Down Barriers,” is an outgrowth of a 2012 summit with stakeholders from around the state. It contains a number of recommendations on how to make it easier for income-eligible senior citizens to access the benefits.

Full story of AARP and senior hunger at City & Religion

Aging Health Problems: 10 Conditions To Watch Out For (SLIDESHOW)

The “golden years” aren’t what they used to be — they’re getting even better, thanks to advances in medicine and nutrition.

And because of this headway, countries are experiencing an unprecedented increase in its senior population. By 2030, 1 in every 5 person in the U.S., for example, will be age 65 or older, and the average life expectancy has passed 80 years for women and 75 years for men.

But that doesn’t mean those run-of-the-mill senior health threats (such as osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s) are going away. On the contrary: It’s more important than ever to keep your bones, belly, and brain in tip-top shape. Your first step? Know which common conditions — and symptoms — to watch out for, so you can take steps to prevent or treat them.

Full story of aging health problems at the Huffington Post CA

Sandi Smith: Pets help seniors citizens live healthier

I have recently read many articles about the benefits of using animals in therapy for children, but animals and the elderly can have a special bond.

When you pet a soft, warm cat or play fetch with a dog whose tail won’t stop wagging, you relax and your heart feels a little warmer. Scientists noticed the same thing, and they’ve started to explore the complex way animals affect human emotions and physiology. Longstanding studies have shown that owning and handling animals significantly benefits health, and not just for the young. In fact, pets may help elderly owners live longer, healthier, and more enjoyable lives.

A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in May 1999 demonstrated that independently living seniors who had pets tended to have better physical health and mental wellbeing than those who didn’t. They were more active, coped better with stress, and had better overall health. A 1997 study showed that elderly pet owners had significantly lower blood pressure overall than their contemporaries without pets.

Why? First of all, pets need walking, feeding, grooming, fresh water and fresh kitty litter, and they encourage lots of playing and petting. All of these activities require some action from owners. Any activity can benefit the cardiovascular system and help keep joints limber and flexible.

Consistently performing this kind of minor exercise can keep pet owners able to carry out the normal activities of daily living. Pets may also aid seniors simply by providing some physical contact. Studies have shown that when people pet animals, their blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature decrease.

Full story of pets helping seniors health at El Paso Times

Nyad’s not alone: 7 senior citizens with superhuman strength

When Diana Nyad completed her historic swim from Cuba to Florida on Monday, her first message was that you’re never too old to chase your dreams.

“You can dream, you can be vital, and you can be in your prime even,” Nyad told TODAY’s Kerry Sanders of achieving the feat at age 64. “I may not look it right now, but you catch me on a good day, I’m in my prime.”

Nyad’s achievement, swimming 110 miles in treacherous waters in just under 53 hours, made her the latest remarkable athlete to show that age is nothing but a number: 35 years after she first attempted the swim at age 29, she was still in the elite physical condition necessary to achieve her goal.

In honor of her triumph as the first person to ever swim from Cuba to Florida without using a shark cage (enduring sun, waves, seawater, illness, and jellyfish stings in the process), proving that athletes in their sixth decade can still amaze, here are seven other fitness fanatics over 60 who are in better shape than people half their age.

Full story of senior citizens with super human strength at Today.com

La. seniors ranked among least healthy

Louisiana's Seniors Rank Least HealthyLouisiana’s senior citizens ranked among the least healthy in the country, at No. 48 among the 50 states, according to a new report by United Health Foundation.

Americans are living longer but sicklier lives, according to United Health Foundation. With America’s senior population expected to grow 52.7 percent between 2015 and 2030, senior health is a timely and critical national issue.

Louisiana’s senior population is expected to grow by 40.5 percent over the same time.

“Our challenges are in smoking, obesity, inactivity, and a high percentage of our seniors are living in poverty,” said Dr. Penny Walker, UnitedHealthcare senior medical director.

Only Mississippi and Oklahoma seniors fared worse in the report, which looked at 34 measures, including obesity, smoking, diabetes and physical inactivity. Minnesota’s seniors were healthiest, followed by Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Iowa.

Full story of seniors health numbers at The Advocate

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/

California attorney general’s office to ramp up elder-abuse investigations

Elder Abuse InvestigationsUntil he died last month at age 82, Don Esco of Cameron Park had his own way of measuring the passage of time: by the years, months and days since the death of his wife, Johnnie, after a short stay at a Placerville nursing home.

It was never enough, he always said, to settle a civil lawsuit with the El Dorado Care Center in Placerville, which he blamed for his 77-year-old wife’s death in March 2008. No, he said, it was never about the money.

Johnnie’s death, he maintained, was a criminal matter – and the state of California agreed.

On Thursday – four years, seven months and 24 days after Johnnie Esco died – one of two nurses charged with felony elder abuse in connection with her death pleaded no contest to the charge. Rebecca LeAn Smith, 39, also agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the ongoing criminal case against her former nursing supervisor, Donna Darlene Palmer.

While Don Esco did not live long enough to witness Thursday’s development in El Dorado Superior Court, his persistence has made its mark in California.

Full story of elder-abuse at The Sacramento Bee

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/

4 keys to healthy aging: Study

Keys to Healthy AgingEveryone knows by now that eating right, exercising, and shunning smoking and other bad habits increases our chances of having a long and healthy life.

If you’re hitting some — but only some — of these goals, it’s better than nothing. But according to a new study, you’re likely missing out on the full benefits that come with living a healthy lifestyle across the board.

In the study, which included 5,100 middle-aged British civil servants, those who engaged in four key behaviors — not smoking, moderate drinking, exercising regularly, and eating fruits and vegetables daily — had triple the odds of avoiding disability, chronic disease, or mental health problems over a 16-year period, when compared with people who practiced none of these behaviors.

Each of the four behaviors, practiced on their own, increased the odds of what the researchers termed “successful aging” by 30% to 50%. When practiced together, however, the behaviors seemed to produce a compound benefit greater than the sum of its parts.

Full story of healthy aging at CNN Health

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/