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Grow Your Greens!

Posted on: May 1st, 2017 No Comments

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The warm, sunny days of spring and summer offer the perfect opportunity to get outside and exercise your green thumb. Gardening offers many physical and emotional benefits. Almost everyone’s health could benefit from eating more fruits and vegetables (which are high in fiber and antioxidants), so plant a few of your favorites or expand your horizons and try something new. Being outside helps reduce stress and anxiety, and weeding, planting and tending to your garden keeps you active. A flower garden can brighten your yard and your mood with every colorful bloom that grows.

Gardening doesn’t have to be intimidating, even for novices. Most plants don’t require a lot—just plenty of sunshine, decent soil and regular watering. Tomatoes, basil, squash and greens are great plants for gardening newbies to start with. If you don’t have space in your yard for a traditional garden, tomato plants and herbs like basil, cilantro and rosemary can be grown in containers in a sunny corner of your porch. Just make sure they are convenient to a hose or another water source to make watering easy.

Studies have shown that physical activity decreases your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and protects cognitive function. Gardening keeps you active—tilling the soil, spreading mulch, weeding, planting, watering—every little bit of movement helps. Make a plan to visit your local garden store today!

Your Brain Health and Aging

Posted on: April 26th, 2017

Female Anatomy Brain Full

The human brain is a wonderful, complex organ, which, among other things, is responsible for our cognition and memory. Unfortunately for many, aging brings a host of unwanted changes, both physical and mental. Many people mistakenly believe that you either get dementia (or other forms of cognitive decline) as you age or you don’t—but research has found many factors can contribute to or make cognitive decline worse. The good news is that a number of these risk factors are within our control and, like so many other chronic diseases and health conditions, can be managed by making healthy lifestyle choices.

Did you know that poor oral health has been linked to chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oral Health Basics)? Researchers are currently studying whether a common bacteria associated with chronic periodontal disease could play a role in dementia. A small study at the University of Central Lancashire found products from the bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis, in the brains of several deceased individuals who suffered from dementia. Visiting the dentist on a routine basis, along with consistent daily brushing and flossing can help bolster oral health.

The ACL, NIH and CDC have collaborated on several wonderful resources to help you better understand certain risk factors for dementia and steps you can take to keep you and your loved ones healthy. Check out their Brain Health as You Age fact sheet and their Medicine, Brain and Your Age informational resource to learn more. Exercising, eating a diet high in fiber with lots of fruits and veggies, quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce your risk of cognitive decline as well as many other chronic diseases.

Family Caregiving: Finding Balance

Posted on: April 5th, 2017

One thing is for certain if you’re a family caregiver–you are not alone. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving’s 2015 report Caregiving in the U.S., over 34 million U.S. adults have provided unpaid care to an adult aged 50+ in the last year. Many of these caregivers are helping loved ones with chronic physical conditions or memory loss, and few have any professional training or experience providing this kind of care. The report also highlights the tremendous time these caregivers devote to their loved ones–on average caregivers are spending 23 hours per week on caregiving tasks–but many spend nearly twice that. Many of these caregivers are also still employed full or part time, and their caregiving responsibilities require them to take time off of work.

The physical and emotional stress of caregiving often takes its toll on the health of the caregiver. Caregivers often neglect their own doctors appointments and preventive care when they are responsible for caring for a loved one. In addition, healthy eating and exercise can also take a backseat to their loved one’s care. The good news is that we can help! Our trusted team of professional, compassionate caregivers can help share the caregiving load. If you work full or part time or just need some time to care for yourself, our dependable caregivers can give you peace of mind that your loved one is being well taken care of. We would love to help you and your family–give us a call today at 843-628-3642!

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Posted on: March 21st, 2017

close up potrait of Asian senior couple on bright green background

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S among cancers that affect both sexes. Early detection and better treatments have lead to better outcomes for many colorectal cancer patients. A healthy lifestyle—eating lots of fruits & vegetables and limiting red and processed meats, exercising and maintaining a healthy BMI, not smoking—can reduce your risk for the disease. Certain risk factors exist that are out of your control, such as family history of the disease and having Crohn’s or another inflammatory bowel disease, can also increase your risk. It is recommended that most adults get screened for this type of cancer starting at age 50, but it’s important to discuss your risk factors with your doctor to determine the right age and screening regimen for you. For more information on colorectal cancer, read the CDC’s Screen for Life informational sheet.

Some people avoid getting screened because they don’t like the idea of getting a colonoscopy, but there are other testing options available that you can discuss with your doctor. Early detection can save lives, so if you’re over age 50 don’t put off your screening any longer!

Don’t Underestimate Your Risk of Heart Disease

Posted on: February 17th, 2017

Female doctor with the stethoscope holding heart

Too often women assume heart disease isn’t something they need to worry about. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death women in the U.S., claiming nearly 290,000 lives each year. So what can you do to protect yourself? Manage your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, quit smoking and eat a healthy diet low in saturate fats. For more tips for protecting your heart health, read Roper St. Francis’ article “A Woman’s Guide to Beating Heart Disease.

It’s That Time of Year…the Flu is Here

Posted on: February 1st, 2017

Just because you haven’t gotten the flu this year doesn’t mean you are out of the woods yet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that flu activity is prevalent in 35 states. So how can you protect yourself? The CDC recommends everyone take some common sense steps to prevent contracting or spreading the flu. It is recommended that most people over 6 months old get a flu vaccination. You can visit the CDC’s website for specific recommendations. Washing your hands frequently can help keep you from getting sick and spreading germs to others. Certain individuals are at higher risk for complications from the flu. Those with existing health conditions and the very young and the elderly fall into this high-risk category and should take caution when it comes to this virus. If you think you may have the flu, see your doctor as soon as possible to get tested. There are anti-viral medications that can be prescribed to help shorten the duration or prevent the flu if you’ve been exposed. For more information on the flu and flu prevention, visit the CDC’s website.

January is Cervical Health Month

Posted on: January 24th, 2017

Close up profile of mother and daughter looking at each other

According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women. Fortunately, it is also slow growing and therefore easily preventable. Cervical cancer tends to strike women in middle age, but routine screenings called Pap tests can aid in early detection and treatment. Depending on your age and family history, your doctor can suggest a screening schedule that is right for you. Cervical cancer doesn’t always cause symptoms early on, so it’s important to get your recommended screenings.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists HPV (human papillomavirus) as the primary cause of all cervical cancers. An HPV vaccine is available to preteens/teens/young adults and is recommended for protection from the viruses that are responsible for most cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.

For more information on cervical cancer, visit the National Cervical Cancer Coalition’s or Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s websites.

Fresh Start

Posted on: December 31st, 2016

New Year's Resolutions written on a note pad.

Regardless of whether you are sad or relieved to see 2016 go, the New Year is nearly upon us. And after a month and a half of over indulging and skipping workouts due to a jam-packed social calendar, January offers a great time to slow down and regroup. Making resolutions is a tradition that many people embrace as a way to kickstart healthy habits or accomplish goals they’ve lost sight of. Resolutions can either be an effective tool for positive self-change or something you later beat yourself up about. Make your resolutions stick this year by following these helpful suggestions:

  • Set realistic goals and timelines. You didn’t develop your bad habits overnight and it is unrealistic to assume you can break yourself of them in the course of a few weeks. Persistence and patience are necessary to succeed.
  • Find an accountability partner. Whether it’s your spouse, best friend or just someone from the gym who’s also looking to drop a few pounds, having someone to share your struggles and successes with can help keep you on track.
  • Don’t let a slip up or setback completely derail your progress. You are human and will make mistakes. The best thing you can do is to learn from them and move on with more knowledge and willpower. Try to identify any triggers—a stressful day at work, a busy schedule with little time to cook healthy meals or exercise—and come up with a game plan to overcome these obstacles. Maybe you have to prep your meals or make and freeze them on the weekends, or you have to fit in two shorter workouts a day (15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening) instead of one longer workout. Be flexible and creative when it comes to reaching your goals and you will be successful!

Gift Giving, Simplified

Posted on: December 20th, 2016

Christmas gift boxes on wooden table with snow. Top view with copy space

In case you find yourself running out of time and ideas for what to gift this holiday season, we’ve come up with this unique and useful gift guide to help you check off the last of your list!

  • Gift subscription to a magazine: While this may seem impersonal, if you choose a mag that focuses on your friend or loved one’s hobbies and interests, this can be a great gift. And they will think of you every month when they receive it!
  • Lessons related to their favorite hobby: Know a golfer? Aspiring artist? Fitness buff? Golf lessons, an art class or series of classes, and class passes to a boutique gym are easy to get and give.
  • Tickets to the Southeastern Wildlife Expo: As one of Charleston’s top events each year, this Expo has a wide range of activities to choose from. Perfect for the sportsmen, wildlife or nature lover, artists and conservationists in your life.
  • Tickets to a Wine & Food event: With a wide range of activities, including lunches, dinners, educational events, tasting tents and more, the Charleston Wine & Food Festival is an all-around crowd pleaser.
  • Tickets to local theatre: The Footlight Players and Charleston Stage gift certificates are a thoughtful, unique gift. Treat someone you love to a night out on the town. Pair it with a gift certificate to one of your favorite local restaurants and this gift will make for an evening to remember!

Before you go the gift card to a big box store route, consider some of these more personal gift ideas—your loved ones will thank you!

November is American Diabetes Month

Posted on: November 29th, 2016

Diabetes concept with insulin, syringe, vials, pills, and stethoscope.

Diabetes affects nearly 10% of the American population, and according to the American Diabetes Association, 1.4 million new cases are diagnosed each year. The outlook is even more grim for seniors, with over 25% of those age 65+ suffering from the disease. Risk factors include being overweight, an unhealthy diet, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle. The American Diabetes Association’s My Health Advisor tool is a great way to assess your risk for this disease.

A key issue for diabetics is the ability to get affordable insulin. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that insulin costs have almost tripled since 2002. These rising costs may lead to “insulin rationing,” a dangerous practice that can have life-threatening complications. If you or a loved one suffers from diabetes, consider signing this petition to help keep insulin affordable.

Small lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of getting diabetes. Eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising more, quitting smoking, and losing weight are all things that you can do to prevent diabetes and many other chronic health problems.

For more information on diabetes and prevention, visit the American Diabetes Association’s website.