Senior Housing Connection

three ladies


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Good fat; Boost brainpower with brain-healthy fats.

Research into the importance of omega-3 fatty acids continues to pour in, and researchers have begun to better understand the vital role these fats play in brain health. According to neurologists, two thirds of your brain is composed of fats. Myelin, the protective sheath that covers neurons, is 70 percent fat — and the membranes of neural cells are composed of fatty acid molecules as well.

The body can’t make its own omega-3 fatty acids; you have to get them from food, so boost your diet with as many fatty acids as you can. Stock up on ground flaxseed and add it to everything you can think of. Sprinkle it on oatmeal or cereal; add it to a bowl of yogurt and fruit or a smoothie; stir it into soup or sprinkle on a salad.

Adorn your table with a decorative decanter for olive oil (it keeps its potency best in an opaque bottle) and drizzle it over veggies and salads or dip your bread into it. Keep a jar of fish oil capsules on your kitchen counter and take one as you begin each meal.

But eat seafood too; some studies have shown that populations that eat a diet high in fish are much healthier and longer-lived than populations that don’t. Algae is high in DHA, one of the key omega-3 fatty acids, and some people incorporate algae-based supplements, such as spirulina, as well.

Stand up straight; Protect your posture.

Sitting and stress are the enemies of the spine, aging experts say. Why? Both tend to make us hunch forward, head jutting forward between rounded shoulders. Rounded posture compresses the nerves and disks in the spine, restricting blood flow to the supporting muscles and leading to neck, shoulder, back, and other aches.

In addition, recent research has focused on the connection between poor posture and breathing disorders and circulatory health. Some doctors have patients do this experiment: While hunched forward, try to draw a deep breath into your lungs. You’ll find it’s very hard to do.

The key is to relearn how to stand, sit, and lie so your spine is stretched straight and tall, says Esther Gokhale, author of 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back (Pendo Press, 2008), who teaches posture therapy classes in Palo Alto, California. To put Gokhale’s principles into practice, roll your shoulders back and down, opening up the chest, and “stack” the spine directly over the hips, stretching it as tall as possible. Tuck your ribs back against your spine, letting your pelvis come naturally forward.


It’s not just a question of a lonely person becoming more isolated; loneliness tends to spread and infect others. The researchers don’t know exactly how this happens, but they liken it to the fraying of a sweater. A lonely person makes others around him feel lonely, and the social fabric that knits people together starts to unravel.

Helping lonely people recognize that that’s what they’re feeling is an important first step; consider companions who can visit for a few hours weekly to overcome the isolation and quickly stimulate conversation and interest for the senior that may feel their life has lost it former importance. It’s good to reminisce and focus on what things bring us joy and happiness. Companions are a great resource to stimulate these types of interaction and positive reaction.

Editorial provided by Ami Feller,Community Relations Coordinator at Senior Helpers