Showing posts with label how to live longer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label how to live longer. Show all posts

Friday, December 30, 2022

Top Retirement Stories of 2022 - What Interested Retirees the Most?

Ending 2022 Learning to Take Care of Ourselves

Every year, Baby-Boomer-Retirement ends with a single post featuring the stories which most interested retirees and senior citizens during the year.  It is always fascinating to see the topics which received thousands of views during the preceding year. Perhaps it is because Baby-Boomers are starting to age, but overwhelmingly the topics of most interest in 2022 were related to dementia and longevity.  

Fortunately, because of my involvement with the MIND program at the nearby University of California in Irvine, I was able to provide my readers with the results of that university's incredible research in several posts I wrote over the past year.  

Other topics which interested my readers were related to how to make your money last, second marriages, how to order your groceries from Amazon Fresh, and dangerous food and drug combinations.  

Below are links to the articles which most interested my readers in 2022. I look forward to writing more posts on these topics, as well as others, in the coming year, and hope my readers will join me in researching the topics which are affecting us all as we age:

The Top Retirement Posts of 2022 in Order of Preference

Cut Your Dementia Risk by 40% in 12 Steps - Some forms of dementia are beyond our control. However, researchers have learned that making some changes to our behavior can substantially reduce our dementia risk.  

Retirement Income: Making Your Money Last a Lifetime - One of the biggest concerns of many senior citizens is how they can feel confident that their money will last as long as they do. While there are no guarantees of future financial security, there are things we can do to protect ourselves from disaster as much as possible.

Baby Boomer Life Expectancy - How Long are You Likely to Live? - On average, how long can you expect to live?  That depends on a number of factors, including which state you live in.  This article gives the longevity statistics for different groups of people in the U.S.   Are you doing better or worse than the average person?

Activities Which Promote Longevity - Add Years to Your Life - We all know that person who has done everything "wrong" and still lived a long life.  However, for the most part, our personal lifestyle is an important contributing factor in how long we are likely to live.  See what you can do to extend your longevity.

Late in Life Second Marriages - Things to Consider If You Remarry - Many people who find themselves widowed or divorced in their 50s, 60s or even older will decide to remarry. However, marriage in our later years is more than a romantic decision. It also has important legal and family considerations.  Learn about the different issues you need to consider before you remarry.

Electrical Brain Stimulation for Memory Improvement in Seniors - tDCS Machines and Our Brain - As part of my volunteering to be a test subject for the MIND program at the University of California in Irvine, I willingly allowed them to test my memory, give me a series of MRIs and stimulate my brain every day for a week using a tDCS machine. Months later, I have still found that it enhanced my memory. Read about the experiment here.

Ordering Groceries from Amazon Fresh Can Help Many Seniors - During the worst of the Covid pandemic, I learned how to order my groceries on Amazon Fresh and have them delivered to my home.  I loved the safety and convenience.  However, it was a bit confusing the first couple of times I did it, so I wrote this post to make it a little easier for my readers.  It is very convenient to know how to use this service, especially if you are recovering from surgery or have other reasons why a trip to the grocery store may be difficult.

Dangerous Food and Drug Combinations - Be Careful! - This post was based on an article in the AARP Magazine.  I was shocked at the large number of food and drug interactions which could affect me.  I didn't know about many of these issues, and I assume many other people are not aware of them, either.  Read this article before you take your next medication!

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Another topic I have mentioned often in the past few months is the importance of learning new skills, staying busy, and having a volunteer or part-time job in your later years.  These are the types of things which will keep your brain functioning well and, if you can earn a little extra money, may also help you financially. I frequently recommend that people continue to work from home, do some tutoring, or start a home business. You don't want to do so much that it stresses you out.  However, you do want to choose something that will help you financially, mentally, and socially, if possible, so you stay involved in the world around you.  

I have personally followed my own advice by starting my own Etsy store,, and frequently advertise some of my products on my blog as well as other places. Learning the technological skills to keep this business going has been great for me mentally.  I hope you will visit my shop when you have a chance.  I now have hundreds of gifts listed there.

If you are interested in learning more about retirement, Medicare, Social Security, common medical issues as we age, financial planning, where to retire and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Well Established Baby Store Serving Toronto Since 1945. Find Quality Top Brands & Everything Baby Related. Best Baby store in Toronto Shop for Strollers, Furniture, Car Seats and Much More. Customer Service Is Our # 1 Priority. 

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Thursday, December 15, 2022

Positive Aging and an Easier Retirement


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If you are over the age of 60, you have probably looked around at your friends and casual acquaintances and realized that not everyone ages the same, and not everyone has an easy retirement.  Of course, most of us want to definitely be in the group that is active and doing well when we reach our 70s, 80s and beyond, but we may think it is our of our hands.

While it might seem easy to just shrug our shoulders and say, "Some people have better genes," there are actually quite a few things we can do to improve our odds of living longer and more comfortably than many of our peers. It really is possible for many people to continue to enjoy their lives and feel "Forever Young," at least for a couple of decades after retirement.  So, what do you have to do? 

According to the AARP Bulletin in June, 2022, there are several ways to improve the chances you will have a better future after retirement.  Here's a guide to their tips for positive aging and an easier retirement.

1. Get regular medical check-ups.  Nearly every private insurance and Medicare plan includes a free annual wellness visit.  When you go to the doctor, you are likely to get vaccine boosters and screenings for a variety of illnesses which, if caught in time, could be treated and, possibly, cured.  Don't be surprised if they recommend vaccines for the flu, Covid, shingles, pneumonia, tetanus and whooping cough, as well as screenings for breast cancer, colon cancer and other common health problems.  Simply avoiding those illnesses could improve the quality of your life as you age. 

2. Get regular dental care.  The AARP article asked, "Could you pick your dentist out of a line-up?"  While that is a humorous way to put it, the truth is that many senior citizens avoid the dentist until they are in pain.  By then, they may have done a lot of damage to their mouth and the rest of their body. If you have gum inflammation, for example, it increases your risk of heart disease. There is also some evidence it can lead to some types of cognitive decline.  Research also shows that the more teeth you have at age 70, the longer you are likely to live. 

3.  Stay physically active. Everyone should try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a minimum of five days a week.  Get more if you can.  Any kind of movement counts, including walking, golf, housework, dancing and gardening.  Just get out of your chair and move as much as you can, as often as you can.

4.  Make your home as safe and accessible as possible.  Do you have a one-story home or a master bedroom on the main floor of the house?  Is your shower large enough for you to add a seat and sit down if you get light-headed?  Are there grab bars conveniently located by the bathtub?  Are light switches low enough to reach, even in a wheelchair?  Are the doorways large enough to accommodate a wheelchair or walker?  If you cannot answer "yes' to all these questions, you may either want to make some renovations, or move to a senior community which is better suited to keeping residents safe and comfortable as they age.

5.  Do you have a plan for when you cannot drive? Many people lose the ability to drive as they age, whether it because of diminished vision or other health problems.  How will you handle this, if it happens to you?  Is there a convenient bus service in your area?  Could you use a golf cart for short local trips? Would a motorized wheelchair be feasible? Have you learned how to order groceries and other services on the computer?  Even if you don't need to give up driving, yet, you should see what is available in your area so you know what to do in an emergency.  

Practice ordering your groceries online, occasionally.  I frequently order my groceries through Amazon Fresh, and love it!  I've written another post with detailed instructions about it, which you can find, here:  "Ordering Groceries from Amazon Fresh Can Help Many Seniors."  Check it out and make sure you are ready to use it whenever you cannot easily get out to the store in person. 

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You may also want to do your shopping for other things online. To help, I have opened the DeborahDianGifts gift shop on Etsy where you may be able to find items for your own home, or gifts for your friends and family members, including jewelry, t-shirts, tote-bags, coffee mugs, hats, LGBTQ gifts, and gifts for people in 12 Step Recovery programs, like AA and Alanon.  Most items are priced between $15 and $40. You can find unique gifts there, and in other online shops, for most people you know, without having to travel to a mall or department store.

Learning to shop online is one way you can safely remain in your home as you age, whether or not you can drive.

6.  Stay busy and active.  Even if you cannot drive, it is important to have regular planned activities and a purpose to your life.  The more activities and projects you have, the longer you are likely to live.  Just because you have stopped working, it does not mean you should sit home and watch TV.  Instead, record your favorite shows and get active doing other things.  Walk the dog.  Take an exercise class. Meet friends for lunch or coffee. Volunteer at your place of worship, your favorite charitable organization, or the local food bank.  Write a book.  Learn a new language.  I could go on and on, but you get the idea!

7.  Take control of your finances.  While you cannot control everything in your life, nearly everyone has some control over how much they spend in comparison to how much income they have.  If your spending exceeds your income, the sooner you change things the better off you will be.  If you aren't sure where to start, go to and use AARP's free online digital retirement coach, Avo.  In a few minutes, it can give you a personalized retirement action plan.  If you still need more help, meet with a financial planner through your bank, credit union, or pension plan.  You can also find financial planners through, or

8.  Plan for the best and prepare for the worst.  Get to know the local assisted living facilities and home care agencies in your area.  You can Google a list of them, or get a list from the local senior center.  Then, check them out when you have the opportunity. Read the online reviews. Do you know someone who had to spend two weeks in assisted living after hip surgery?  Did a neighbor need a caregiver either temporarily or permanently?  Ask them questions. What did it cost? How much help did they get?  Find out what they liked and did not like about the services they used, and what they would have done differently.  Armed with this information, you will be better prepared if the time comes when you need a little extra help. 

9.  Put together an emergency phone list.  Everyone needs at least one person they could call in the middle of the night in an emergency, whether that is an adult child, a neighbor or a friend.   Put several names on the list for extra peace of mind.  Post the list on the refrigerator, along with your medical information, so you have it in a handy place if you ever need the EMTs to come to your home. They will also ask for a list of your medications, when they show up.  Remember the Scout motto:  Be Prepared!

Once you have done all the above things, you can relax and simply enjoy your retirement.  You've done everything you can to assure yourself that you have prepared as well as you can for the future!

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Source:  Facts about aging from the June 2022 AARP Bulletin.

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Thursday, March 17, 2022

Activities Which Promote Longevity - Add Years to Your Life

This month's guest post is by Corey Doane, who has also provided a fascinating infographic from adidas, describing the different activities which make up the Five Pillars of Longevity. You can see the helpful infographic at the end of this article. Baby Boomers who hope to continue to live long, active lives will appreciate the useful information in this guest post.

How Movement Helps Increase Longevity

by Corey Doane

We all strive to live a healthy and long life, and it may be possible by adopting simple, yet effective, habits which can help increase your life expectancy and wellbeing. According to the Stanford Center on Longevity, the five lifestyle pillars which help increase longevity and overall quality of life are fitness, stress management, sleep, social relationships and nutrition. Find out which activities and habits you can incorporate into your life to ensure you stay young and healthy into your golden years.

Exercises Which Support a Longer Life

Research shows that regular exercise may contribute to a longer life. Keeping your mind and body active is important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few exercises you can start today.

Yoga is great for the mind and body as it helps increase the mind-body connection. It also helps improve physical function and balance, while decreasing the risk of injuries and falls. As we age, gentle movements such as yoga works well, since it is easy on the joints.

If you are new to yoga, try incorporating a 10-minute flow into your routine which focuses on slow breaths and movements. As you get comfortable, opt for a more intense or longer flow, if your body allows. If you have trouble stretching or holding poses, chair yoga is also a great option.

Research shows that walking for just 10 minutes a day may help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Daily walks also help improve your mood, increase your endurance, improve your heart health, lower your blood sugar and reduce pain.

Start with a 10-minute walk in the morning or in the evening, then gradually increase your time and pace as you feel comfortable. Make sure you have a supportive pair of workout shoes (Ad) when going on your walks to decrease the chances of injury.

While it may not always be the first thing you think of when it comes to exercise, gardening is great for strengthening muscles, while also helping to lift your mood and relieve stress. Garden activities like digging, lifting and carrying are all muscle strengthening tasks that actually burn quite a few calories.

Gardening can also be a great way to socialize. If you are up for it, join a local community garden to meet new people and learn from more experienced gardeners.

More Lifestyle Habits Which Support Longevity

Aside from exercise, there are many other lifestyle habits you can start incorporating into your routine which will help support the key pillars of longevity.
Get Outside to Reduce Stress

Getting outside for 15 minutes a day and exposing yourself to sunlight can help you maintain healthy Vitamin D levels—which are essential to supporting your overall health and life expectancy. Being outdoors also helps improve your mood, which will help keep stress levels low, another important pillar of longevity.
Hang Out With Friends

Staying connected with loved ones has a profound impact on our overall health. People who engage in meaningful relationships with friends and family can often expect to have longer life expectancies. Make it a priority to speak to someone you love every day and make plans to meet in person with someone at least once a week. Socializing and meeting new people are also great ways to keep you feeling young and healthy.
Eat a Balanced Diet

As one of the five pillars of longevity, nutrition is essential in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As we age, the food we eat can impact many organs in our body even more than before. Things such as our heart health, blood pressure, kidney function, mental clarity, and blood sugar can all be affected by the food we put in our bodies. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and veggies and try to limit your consumption of alcohol.


One way to make sure you get the right type of diet for your heart and brain is to read "The Mind Diet: A Scientific Approach to Enhancing Brain Function and Helping Prevent Alzheimer's and Dementia." (Ad)

Similar to the heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet, the Mind Diet has been one of the the most successful programs for helping people maintain a healthy brain, avoid or postpone cognitive decline, and prevent some types of dementia.  The good news is that the same foods which are good for your brain are also good for your heart!  The food in this program is delicious, too! 

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is another pillar of longevity which can be easy to maintain, as long as you set yourself up for success. To get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night, stick to a consistent sleep schedule and routine. Daily exercise, low-stress levels and proper diet can all help contribute to a healthy sleep scheduleIf you still have trouble sleeping, discuss the issue with your doctor.  Many medical reasons for insomnia can be resolved.

To find out more exercises and habits which help increase your longevity, check out the infographic guide from adidas, shown below.

(Guest post by Corey Doane)

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Do you or someone you know love to spend time in their garden?  Get them this "Happiness Blooms in my Garden" coffee mug, covered in hydrangeas and available in 11 ounce or 15 ounce sizes.  

You can find gifts for retirees and others at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts. Check it out here:    

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To learn more about maintaining your health, financial planning, Medicare, Social Security, financial planning, common medical problems as we age, where to retire and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Feel Younger at Any Age

How does your body feel at this very moment?  If you are like most Baby Boomers, you may be starting to feel your age and fear that things are only going to get worse as the years go by.  However, you do not have to just sit back in your recliner and assume that how you feel now is as good as it is going to get.  Instead, by applying the principles from the Younger Next Year books, you could slow down or even reverse the aging process and feel better than you have in years.

How to Feel Younger Within a Year

According to the authors of Younger Next Year, Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge, "how long you live is 80 percent genes and 20 percent you; but how well you live is 80 percent up to you and 20 percent genes."  They believe that people who follow their suggestions can avoid approximately 50 percent of all major diseases and accidents.  Of course, if this is true, it could make a tremendous difference in the quality of your life as you age.

AARP was so intrigued by the idea that the right lifestyle could help us all feel younger, they interviewed Henry Lodge, one of the authors of the Younger Next Year books (which I highly recommend) and summarized his findings in a special section of AARP Magazine in their October/November 2016 issue. So, what do you have to do in order to feel better and improve the quality of your life?

A Few Younger Next Year Recommendations

Exercise at least six days a week, as hard as you can, until the day you die!  Break it down into four days a week of aerobics and two days a week of strength training with weights.  Include some balance exercises.  Exercise regularly, even if you have arthritis.  It could actually reduce your pain.  Once you are in your 80s or older, continue with the exercise.  However, you can back off the high intensity workouts and rely more on longer, slower exercises.

Spend less money than you make.  This will help reduce the stress in your life.  You may even want to get a retirement job.  It will keep you active and involved in the world around you.  It will also make it easier to live within your means. 

Eat food which is alive, and stop eating dead, processed food.  Your diet should consist of 50 percent vegetables and fruit, 25 percent whole grains like brown rice, quinoa or whole wheat, and 25 percent meat, poultry and fish.  Replace butter and animal fat with olive oil. Limit alcohol to one or two glasses of wine a day, at most. Do not feel as if you have to eat everything on your plate.  The types of dead food we should minimize or eliminate from our diet include popular items such as bread, white rice, white pasta, sugar, chips, soft drinks, frozen meals, desserts, french fries, cheeseburgers, milk shakes, and anything which is fried. 

Care about others.  Connect with your friends and family, and commit to their well-being. Nurture yourself with friendships and, perhaps, a pet.

Enjoy your life. Explore your talents and follow your dreams.  Paint, write, or play an instrument.  Doing these things will make you happier, help you feel better, and you will enjoy your life more, too!

Of course, the entire book cannot be summarized in a short blog post.  As a result, I encourage anyone who wants to age well to read one of the Younger Next Year books.  You can use the Amazon link on the right side panel of this blog, near the top, to order the book.  The book makes a great gift, too! All ads on this blog are from quality, trustworthy sources such as Google, Amazon or Viglink.

If you are interested in learning more about dealing with common health problems as you age, financial planning, where to retire, Social Security, Medicare and more, use the tabs or pull-down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

How to Live Longer - Add Years to Your Life!

No one knows how long they will live.  There are no guarantees that anything you do will absolutely assure you will live to be 100 years old. However, research indicates your genetics account for only about 25 percent of your longevity.  The rest is up to you.  There are definite actions you can take which make it much more likely you will add years to your life.

In an article called "50 Great Ways to Live Longer" published in the March, 2017 issue of the AARP Bulletin, scientific and government studies helped them compile a list of proven tips for increasing the length of your life.  Not all of the AARP suggestions are listed in this post.  When I read the list, some of their tips seemed to correlate to a longer life, but may not have been the cause of it.  For example, there is a correlation between living in California, New York or Vermont and having a longer life, especially if you have a low income.  Conversely, if you live in Nevada, Indiana or Oklahoma, your life expectancy could be much lower.  However, that does not mean your state of residence is actually the cause of why some people live longer than others.  Individuals can live either a long life or short life in any state, depending on their personal lifestyle.

While there are no guarantees in life, it is still worthwhile to follow the suggestions listed below.  They are based on scientific research and could make a tremendous difference in the length of your life, as well as how much you enjoy living those extra years.

Tips for a Longer Life

1.  Take Extra Vitamin D - The amount should be based on a blood test, but Vitamin D deficiency can contribute to a variety of health problems which you can easily avoid.

2.  Avoid painkillers - Only take the minimum amount or eliminate them completely.  This includes both prescription and over-the-counter painkillers.

3.  Get at least six hours of sleep a night - It will cut your risk of heart disease and strokes.  Try to get seven or eight hours of sleep, if possible.  It will make your health and life better in a number of ways.  It may even make it easier to maintain a healthy weight.

4.  Have frequent sex - It has been shown to not only increase the length of your life, but your enjoyment, as well. 

5.  Get married - Married people, especially men, have a lower risk of heart disease.  Of course, if you are in an abusive or miserable marriage, this suggestion may not work for you.

6.  Eat a healthy diet - Research shows the right diet for longevity includes fully ripened fruit, coffee, green tea, vegetables, whole grains, whole milk, olive oil, fish, nuts, spices and plenty of water.  You should also reduce your consumption of added sugar and alcohol.  While you're at it, take care to prevent food poisoning when preparing your meals.  Keep your work surfaces clean, separate meat and vegetables, wash your hands and refrigerate ingredients which could spoil.

7. Find a purpose in life - You may find your purpose in volunteer activities, helping your family, attending religious services or becoming involved in anything else which is meaningful to you.  Having a purpose can add years to your life; it can also make you look forward to getting up each day.

8.  Lead a generally healthy life - We have all heard most of it before. Stop smoking, lose weight, exercise daily (including walking and climbing stairs, if you can), read books, get a flu shot and find a woman doctor (statistically, they have better outcomes).  In addition, monitor your own health and see your doctor if any aspect of your health changes, such as unexpected weight-loss, unusual fatigue, bleeding, or changes to the skin.

9.  Fill your life with friends and love - Socialize frequently with friends, get a pet, spend time with the grandkids, and forgive your family for past hurts.

10.  Practice safety - There is no point to eating right if you die from an accident.  Accept the fact that auto accidents are higher for people over the age of 70 and are exceptionally high for those over 85.  Among the safety steps you should take are:  drive less as you age, avoid distractions while you are behind the wheel, be careful walking across a street (even in crosswalks), make sure your home has fire and radon detectors, and remove anything in your house, such as rugs, which could contribute to a fall. Do not store items on high shelves where you would be tempted to stand on a chair or stool to reach them.

If you follow the steps above, you are much more likely to live a long life.  In addition, your quality of life is likely to be better.  That alone makes these suggestions worthwhile.

Are you interested in more information about common medical issues as you age, where to retire, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare or more?  Use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

Watch for my book, "Retirement Awareness: 10 Steps to a Comfortable Retirement," which is scheduled to be published by Griffin Publishing in 2018.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Longevity Tips from Time Magazine

In the Feb. 22, 2016 issue of Time Magazine, the editors devoted an entire section to longevity and and how to age well.  While I recommend that people read the entire issue, I also wanted to summarize their major findings in this article.

In the past, this blog has covered a number of longevity discoveries, including the findings of the University of California - Irvine 90+ Study ... which has been going on for more than three decades.

Researchers continue to learn new things about why some people are able to live decades longer than their counterparts, as well as why some of the elderly seem to escape many of the physical and mental health issues related to aging.  Below is a summary of recent findings from the Stanford Center on Longevity and the Sightlines Project, both of which were cited in the Time Magazine article.

Longevity Tips from Time Magazine

As most of us have always suspected, having good genes is the reason why at least some people manage to live long lives despite bad behavior.  Dr. Nir Barzilai, the director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, studied a group of 500 long-lived Jews who had a mean age of 97.3.  Over 50 percent of the group was either overweight or obese;  60 percent of the men and 30 percent of the women had been heavy smokers at some time in their life; only half said they did even moderate exercise.  What Dr. Barzilai's group discovered was that these subjects had two gene sequences that reduced their bad cholesterol and raised their good cholesterol. They also seemed to obtain other health and longevity benefits from these special gene sequences. 

Fortunately, for those of us who do not have these powerful gene sequences, there are still actions we can take that will significantly increase the odds that we, too, can live a long life.

Our diets are extremely important.  One approach to a long life is to cut the number of calories you eat by 25 percent.  That action alone will lower your blood pressure and cholesterol a small amount.  However, it will also cut you C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker linked to heart disease, by 47 percent.  For those who have read the University of California-Irvine 90+ Study, this may seem to fly in the face of their research that shows that people tend to live longer when they weigh up to 10 percent over their "ideal" weight when they are in their 70s.  Some of this could be attributed to the fact that many of the people who live to be in their 90s are the ones who have those special gene sequences. 

Occasional fasting also lowers the risk factors for age-related diseases, according to the Time Magazine article.  In a study performed on mice, a low-calorie and low-protein fasting diet improved their metabolism, slowed down bone loss, and improved cognitive function.  The mice also developed cancer at a lower rate and lived longer lives.  When people were put on a similar fasting plan for five days a week, they got similar results including lower rates of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  The periodic fasting diet also lowered their blood sugar levels, as well as levels of the growth hormone IGF-1, which is believed to accelerate aging.

Reduce your protein consumption so that only 10 percent of your calories come from protein.  People who get 20 percent or more of their calories from protein have a 400 percent increase in cancer risk compared to people who only get 10 percent of their calories from protein.

Another advantage of fasting is that it appears to flush bad cells from the body and spurs the generation of new stem cells.  The new cells replace the lost cells and rejuvenate the body.

Lower your inflammation levels by eating a diet rich in plants and omega-3 fatty acids.  Inflammation is believed to be the culprit in comorbidity, which means having more than one disease.  Meditation and regular exercise can also reduce inflammation and your risk of comorbidity.

Move a little more.  Researchers have discovered that just moving around a little bit during the day is enough to lower your risk of a heart event.  In addition, moving more also helps older people keep their mobility.  Sitting all day is a risk factor for an earlier death.  It can contribute to Type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease ... even for those people who get regular exercise.  It is actually more important that the elderly get out of their chairs and fidget, do chores around the house, take a walk and engage in other easy activities than it is to take an exercise class, if all they do is sit in a chair the remainder of the day.

Manage your stress, cultivate a positive outlook about aging, and reduce feelings of anger and resentment.  All of these actions contribute to a longer, healthier life.  The elderly see positive improvements in their health, resilience and mental acuity when they practice mindful meditation.  It is believed that it actually slows biological aging by stabilizing telomeres.  What are telomeres?  They are defined as "The disposable buffers at the ends of chromosomes which are truncated during cell division; their presence protects the genes before them on the chromosome from being truncated instead. Over time, due to each cell division, the telomere ends become shorter." (Wikipedia)  The bottom line is that the shorter your telomeres, the less time you have left to live.  Anything that slows down their deterioration or stabilizes them, such as meditation, will extend your life.

As you can see from the list above, most of the above behavioral changes involve being aware of what you eat.  The other two were simply taking the time to move around your house as much as possible, and spending a little time each day in meditation.  While not everyone can have the magic gene sequence mentioned at the top of the article, nearly anyone can learn how to manage their own lives.


Time Magazine, Feb. 22, 2016:

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dean Ornish Tips to Reverse Heart Disease

There has been a lot of controversy lately over whether or not it is healthy to eat a diet that is high in saturated fats, including butter and steak.  While some diet gurus, such as Dr. Atkins and Nina Teicholz, have insisted that people can lead a healthy life while eating a high fat, meat-based diet, renowned cardiologist Dr. Dean Ornish has touted his more austere diet regimen for decades and has been able to show impressive results.

Benefits of the Dean Ornish Diet and Lifestyle

In the June, 2014 AARP Bulletin, the "Your Health" column discussed the results of recent research that was reported in the journal Lancet Oncology which showed that men who were on the Dean Ornish regimen increased the length of the telemeres, the DNA on chromosomes that regulates how fast your cells are aging.  The longer your telemeres, the longer you are likely to live.  Until recently, scientists did not believe that anything could be done to make your telemeres longer.  This is the first research to prove that aging can be reversed on the cellular level and lives can be extended.

In other research, the Ornish program has also been shown to reverse type-2 diabetes, heart disease and some early stage cases of prostate cancer.

The most significant effect of the program has been the one it has had on heart disease.  The results are so dramatic that Medicare and some other health insurance plans will pay for patients to go through the Ornish 72-hour lifestyle intervention program.  Blue Cross/Blue Shield estimates that they save about $17,600 over a three year period on the medical care of every heart disease patient that has gone through the program.

Basics of the Dean Ornish Program

If you wish to try to change your own lifestyle so that it conforms more closely to what Dean Ornish recommends, here are the basics of the program:

Eat a plant based diet that is low in sugar
No more than 10% of your calories should be from fat
Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
Take the stairs when you can
Accept that some days it will be easier to stick with the program than others
Eat mindfully - Pay attention to what you are eating
Practice Yoga or Meditate - Even if it is just a few minutes a day
Build connections to your family and friends
Volunteer to help others - You will feel better about yourself

In other words: slow down, get a little exercise, reduce your stress through yoga or meditation, spend time with friends, help others, eat less meat and more fruits and vegetables.

Those are the keys to a longer, healthier life.

If you want to know more about the Dean Ornish program, you may also want to order his book from Amazon using this link:  Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease.

If you are interested in learning more about the keys to a happy retirement, use the tabs at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles about health, retirement planning, where to retire, and more.

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Tests to Predict Your Longevity

How healthy are you?  Is there a way to predict your longevity?  In recent years, scientists have discovered some interesting clues that will help us understand how long we might expect to live.

The best thing about these longevity tests is that we can use these tests to improve our health.  In other words, if you discover that you do not do well on one of these tests, you can work to improve your score and your overall physical well-being, at the same time.

Walking Speed and Longevity

According to a January 4, 2011 article on entitled "Walking Speed Predicts Life Expectancy of Older Adults," the walking speed of people over the age of 65 is a reliable marker for their general health and longevity.

This means that the faster your natural gate when you are walking, the more likely you are to be alive in the next five or ten years.  This was based on the analysis of data at the University of Pittsburgh's Division of Geriatric Medicine.

The researchers determined that people with an average life expectancy walked at about 0.8 meters per second.  If they walked at a rate of 1.0 meter per second, their life expectancy was longer than average.  Those who walked at a slower than average pace tended to have a shorter life expectancy.

Of course, this test will not be accurate if the only time you walk fast is when you are taking the test.  Instead, if you notice that you normally tend to walk slowly, you may want to put some effort into gradually increasing your speed.  This will improve the aerobic workout you get when you are walking around in the normal course of your day and, consequently, your general health.

Ability to Rise Unaided from the Floor Predicts Longevity

As reported in the article "Simple Test Predicts Longevity" at, another test that appears to estimate our longevity is our ability to sit on the floor and then stand up again using as little support as possible.  How long it took to stand up was not measured.  However, the amount of outside support needed was scored.  When people needed to brace themselves with a hand, a knee or both, they lost points.  If they looked wobbly, they also lost points.

About half of the study participants between the ages of 76 and 80 scored 0 to 3 on a 10 point scale.  In contrast, about 70 percent of those under the age of 60 received high scores of 8, 9 and 10.  This means that they only needed a modest amount of support, such as briefly placing a hand on the floor or on their knee.

Those who scored 3 or below had a 6.5 times higher death rate over the next six years than those who scored 8 or higher. People who scored between 3.5 and 5.5 were about 3.8 times more likely to die than those with the highest scores.  Those who scored between 6 and 7.4 were 1.8 times as likely to die than those who had scored higher.

The bottom line was that a one point improvement in the subject's sitting-to-rising score correlated to a  21 percent decrease in their mortality or death risk.  The lesson to be learned from this test is that people who have stronger legs and core muscles tend to live longer.  These are muscles that can be strengthened with weight training, either in a gym or by using hand weights and performing common exercises in a class or at home.  Again, putting some effort into improving your core and leg strength can also translate to a longer lifespan.

Why Do These Longevity Tests Work?

These tests give doctors important clues to your overall health and fitness.   Our fitness level is closely associated with our survival rate.  In related studies, it has been shown that having body flexibility, muscle strength, coordination and a high strength to body weight ratio are also important indicators of our fitness.  For example, people who are flexible enough to touch their toes and perform similar stretches also tend to have more flexible arteries.  This is one indicator of a healthy cardiovascular system.  Doing yoga stretches can help improve our health in this area.

Having good balance is also an important indicator of our health.  In addition, it has been shown that improving the balance of older people helps to protect them from falls and related injuries.  Since illnesses related to falls are one of the leading causes of death in senior citizens, having good balance can improve our longevity.

The retirement community where I live offers special balance classes.  In addition, many of the yoga and aerobic classes in our community are also designed to help the participants improve their balance, flexibility and core muscle strength.  This shows how important it is to continue to get exercise on a regular basis no matter how old we are.  In fact, some residents of our community who are over 100 years old continue to go to the gym every day.  This should be a lesson to the rest of us!

Researchers who performed the longevity studies stressed that these tests were not a fail-proof system of  determining your personal life expectancy.  Just as people with high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels may live longer than expected, or people who seem to be in perfect health may die suddenly and unexpectedly, these tests are not a guarantee that you will either die soon or live a long time.  However, they are thought-provoking and helpful in motivating us to improve our fitness levels.

If you are interested in improving your health and fitness so that you score better on these tests, take up activities such as walking, yoga, swimming and weight training.

If you are looking for more health and retirement information, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases after Age 50
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Surprising Tips for a Healthier, Longer Life

Are you hoping to have a happy, healthy and long life after retirement?  If so, this article is full of fun and interesting tidbits of information that I have gathered from a variety of sources.  In fact, I promise to come back and update this article from time to time as I run across more interesting ideas!

Tips for Staying Healthy in your Senior Years

Take walks.  There are lots of reasons for spending at least 30 minutes a day walking.  First, taking a walk is even better at improving your memory than spending time solving puzzles.  In addition, exercise of any kind is an effective way to reduce depression, which can become a problem as we age. So, keep moving as much as possible.

Stretch frequently.  It may help to take classes in yoga or Tai Chi.  In fact, these gentle stretching exercises seem to help relieve the pain and discomfort of arthritis or fibromyalgia.

Get any type of exercise you enjoy, including gardening.  The longer you exercise in your later years, the healthier and more active you will be.  This will also make your life more enjoyable. People who live in the "Blue Zones," or areas of the world where it is common to live a healthy life until the age of 100, continue to stay active well into their 90's. Once people stop moving, their life is likely to be shortened.

Spend time outside, weather permitting.  Get a little sun on your skin, about 20 minutes a day, before putting on sunscreen.  Natural Vitamin D is protective against a host of diseases, including certain types of cancer.  When you cannot get outside, take a Vitamin D supplement.

If possible, get a pet.  They can lower your blood pressure and stress levels, as well as give you another reason to get more exercise.

Interact with other people.  Socialize. Join a club. Volunteer.  Work on building relationships with your friends and family.  Participate in the religious institution of your choice.  All of these activities will help you stay healthy and happy for years to come.  Whatever you do, do it with zest.  Having a purpose in life has been shown to help people live longer.

Slow down.  Relax.  Take a vacation.  In other words, take time to smell the roses and enjoy your life.

Tips for Living Longer

Most of the above suggestions for healthy living will also contribute to a longer life.  However, to maximize the length of your life, you will want to use the following suggestions, as well.

Watch less television.  Some researchers have concluded that one hour of watching television trims more time from your life than smoking a cigarette.

On the other hand, this doesn't mean you can keep smoking if you want to live a long life.  People who quit smoking by the age of 40 will still live about 10 years longer than those who keep smoking.

Eat a plant based diet, and eat less than you normally do.  According to National Geographic researchers, people who live in the "Blue Zones," where it is not uncommon for people to live to be 100 years old, tend to eat less meat and stop eating a meal when they are 80% full.

Drink a small amount of red wine on a regular basis.

If you are interested in more tips for healthy living, or you would like ideas about where to retire, financial planning, changing family relationships and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Sources for these health facts:

"Live Longer & Better" by Gretchen Reynolds. Parade Magazine, January 27, 2013

You may also be interested in reading these articles:

Healing Relationships with Your Adult Children
Sexually Transmitted Diseases After Age 50
How to Treat Chronic Pain
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Have a Long Life and Live to 100

Why do Some People
Live to Be 100?
Have you ever wondered why some people can stay healthy, have a long life and live to100, while others may die of age related illnesses when they are decades younger?  Researchers have begun to unravel some clues that may give you an idea of how fast you are aging and how likely you are to see the century mark. Based on a lengthy article on Yahoo Health called "10 Surprising Clues You'll Live to 100," this summary just reports the essential facts. If you want more detailed information on any of these factors of aging, you may also want to read the research in the full article on their website.

The first clue that you might live to be 100 is whether or not you have had relatives who lived to be at least 90 years old.  Longevity does seem to run in certain families.

Next, measure how fast you walk when you are strolling normally.  People older than 65 who are able to comfortably and normally walk at a speed of 2.25 miles per hour or faster tend to be healthy and live much longer than their peers who walk more slowly.  This speed works out to 3.3 feet per second.

Sorry, guys, but women really do seem to live longer than men.  They are much more likely to live to be 100. Don't give up, however.  Some men still make it to the century mark.  Look at George Burns.

The next clue applies to women, only.  If you are a woman who conceived a baby naturally after the age of 35, you probably age more slowly.  This means that you are likely to have a longer lifespan.

Another point the researchers made seems to follow a trend that has been going on for hundreds of years.  Just as you are likely to live longer than the generations who went before you, young people today have an even greater chance of living to be 100 than you do.  (Do you think the time will come when Medicare doesn't even start until age 80?  Do you ever wonder how long a life is too long?)

I found the next point very interesting.  People who worry, but only a little, have a longer life than people who worry excessively or people who do not worry at all.  You would think that being free of worry would help us to live a long life.  However, the truth is that people who worry a little are less likely to be risk takers.  This means that they are not as likely to die an accidental death.  On the other hand, people who worry too much are more likely to develop stress related diseases.

Having a Body Mass Index of 27.4 or less increases your chance of living to 100.  Like a lot of Baby Boomers, this may be a weakness for me, as I know that my BMI is higher than that.  However, my heavy-set grandmothers both lived until their late 90's, so it is possible that I will still live a long life, too.

The next factor is one that you cannot evaluate without expensive testing.  How long are your telomeres?  The telomeres are DNA sequences on the ends of your chromosomes.  Long telomeres indicate a longer life.  Although you could have yours tested, you can also simply choose to live a lifestyle that helps maintain the length of your telomeres as much as possible.  Avoid chronic stress, don't smoke, and eat a healthy diet high in Omega 3's.  Researchers have also discovered that walking briskly for at least 40 minutes a day can actually lengthen your telomeres. 

Finally, have a positive attitude.  Your emotions do affect your health, and people with a positive attitude seem to live longer than people who are negative.

Obviously, you cannot control all of these factors.  However, if you control the ones you can, you may live a longer life than you ever imagined.  The opportunity to live to 100 may be within your reach!

If you would like to learn more about retirement, healthy aging, where to retire or financial planning, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page.  They contain links to hundreds of other helpful articles.

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