Fighting High Blood Pressure

Berries HypertensionOne issue that commonly plagues seniors is high blood pressure. New research shows that it may be easier to reduce hypertension (high blood pressure) than previously thought. One great way to reduce hypertension is by eating these healthy foods that work to naturally dilate blood vessels and decrease blood pressure.
Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries contain natural compounds called anthocyanins, which protect against hypertension, according to an article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Whole-grain, high-fiber cereals like oatmeal, oat squares, bran flakes or shredded wheat, can reduce your chance of developing high blood pressure, according to Harvard University researchers.
Dark Chocolate
Consuming a one-ounce square of dark chocolate each day can help lower blood pressure, especially in people who already have hypertension, according to Harvard researchers. Dark chocolate is high in flavinoids, which naturally cause the dilation of the blood vessels. You want chocolate with 50 to 75 percent cacao.
Skim Milk
Women who consume low-fat dairy products reduce a risk of developing high blood pressure. Milk is great, but so is yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, and frozen yogurt.
Baked potatoes are high in potassium and magnesium, which are two important minerals that can help fight hypertension. Halibut, spinach, bananas, soybeans, kidney beans and plain nonfat yogurt are all also high in potassium and magnesium.
Beet Juice
Beet juice can lower blood pressure within just a few hours, according to a Queen Mary University of London study. The nitrate in the juice has the same effect as taking a nitrate tablet. Whole beets will do the trick too. Other nitrate-rich foods include spinach, lettuce, cabbage, and carrots.

Many of these foods are readily available all year round, so grab a bar of dark chocolate and a glass of skim milk and enjoy your way to lower blood pressure.

Keeping You Young

A website called has analyzed health information from the 50 largest U.S. cities to see whether their residents generally are physically younger or older than their chronological age. Encore Senior Living has facilities in many of the locations.

(Infographic via RealAge)

Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City comes in number one. Having a big chunk of residents who don’t smoke, are physically active and happily married, and take a daily aspirin made Salt Lake City younger than any of the other largest metropolitan areas in the United States. Looking for Senior Living in Salt Lake City? We’ve got you covered.
Other Honorable Mentions
San Diego, California – With gorgeous weather and healthy exercise habits, San Diego has a lot to offer. There is nearby assisted and independent living in Victorville, as well as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and memory care in Riverside.

Phoenix, Arizona – Phoenix boasts warm weather and a pretty healthy lot of individuals, and there’s Alzheimer’s Care in Phoenix at Paradise Valley.

Portland, Oregon – Portland has tons to do in a bustling city that prides itself on being bike friendly. Encore offers both residential care and independent living at Calaroga Terrace and Alzheimer’s, dementia, and memory care at the Senior Village at Portland.

For seniors, retiring in a place that will make them not only feel younger, but healthier is a good thing, and we’re happy to welcome you to any of our favorite young and healthy towns.

Exercise for Seniors – Biking

Biking for SeniorsIf you are looking for a great low impact exercise for seniors, consider biking. Biking is both a moderate, or when desired, intense workout for strengthening legs and glutes and increasing cardiovascular fitness.
One of the great things about biking is that it is not typically cost-prohibitive, and it can be done virtually anywhere. It can be done in isolation, or with a group. Whether riding through a paved park path or on trails, bicycling can be a fun outing for families with riders of different skill levels grouping together.
There are some important safety issues to consider when biking.
1. Always wear a helmet. Proper safety equipment is a must.
2. Make yourself visible. Wear bright colors and equip your bike with reflectors and lights for night riding.
3. Be prepared for repairs. Carry a portable repair kit and know how to use it.
4. Know the rules of the road. Follow basic traffic rules as set out by the League of American Bicyclists.
5. Protect yourself. Drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen, and dress appropriately.
Biking is an excellent low impact exercise for seniors and it’s a ton of fun.

Lifelong Learning

Senior EducationAs retired seniors, you may find yourself in the unique situation of having more time on your hands to pursue your interests and learn new things. There are tons of great resources for seniors online, many of which are free. While you can still pay to take online courses through many academic institutions to earn credits, you can also tap into some free courses where you can learn a lot, and don’t have to pay to obtain that high quality information.

Open Culture

A great resource for finding free educational media online is Open Culture. The materials you can find on the site are great for personal enrichment. The site highlights a number of educational opportunities in the humanities and social sciences, including courses from professionals at UC Berkeley, Pratt Institute, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, and many others.


Another great resource for online learning is Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT has the OpenCourseWare project, which offers full syllabuses, assignments, exams, and audio or video lectures. Courses fall into the categories of architecture and planning; engineering; health sciences and technology; humanities, arts, and social sciences; management; science; and other programs, including cross-disciplinary topics.
Whether you want to learn more about the world’s religions, or how to do linear algebra, the internet has a ton of free courses for livelong learning.

AARP’s Fat to Fit Program 2011

Senior ExerciseAARP lauched its 2011 Fat to Fit Program. Fat to Fit is an online program aimed at helping seniors make lifestyle changes to improve their health.
The Fat to Fit community will be lead by Carole Carson, who at the age of 60 lost more than 60 pounds. She wrote about her experiences in From Fat to Fit: Turn Yourself Into a Weapon of Mass Reduction. Winners will be chosen from the eight-week program that demonstrate:

Exercise for Seniors – Yoga

Yoga for SeniorsAre you looking for a low impact exercise option for seniors? Yoga is a great choice. It is a moderate cardiovascular, full-body workout that strengthens, tones, and increases flexibility.

Yoga’s goals range from improving
health to achieving spiritual tranquility. It typically involves breath control, simple meditation, and bodily postures.
Yoga can be good for seniors in a number of ways:
• Relieving stress
• Developing core strength
• Lengthening and strengthening muscles
• Alleviating pain
• Enhancing flexibility

There are a number of simple positions that you can do to benefit your health. The basic sitting position, Sukhasana, where you sit on the floor, cross-legged helps focus awareness on breathing and the body. It also strengthens the lower back and opens the hips and groin. The Dog and Cat positions, which are positions where you are on your hands and knees, increase flexibility of the spine. The Mountain posture, which is a standing position, improves posture, balance, and self-awareness. The Forward Bend extension stretches the legs and spines, rests the heart and neck, and relaxes mind and body.
These are just a few of many simple yoga postures you can do to increase flexibility, relieve stress, and develop strength. So, put on some comfortable clothes and practice yoga for health.

More Clues Have Been Found into the Genetics of Alzheimer’s

Genetic ResearchRecent research by the International Genomics of Alzheimer’s Project (IGAP) has provided more information about the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease.
IGAP is a research group of scientists from four university research groups that has a shared database that includes genetic information from more than 40,000 patients. The University of Pennsylvania, one of the member universities, recently released research that raises the known genetic markers of Alzheimer’s from five to 10. While it’s not a cure, this information gives further insight into why certain individuals may be more predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease.

Further studies have brought to light important themes in Alzheimer’s research. One confirms a previous theory that focuses on the metabolism of cholesterol as correlative to Alzheimer’s. Another is looking into the validity of “innate immunity”–the theory that Alzheimer’s could be the body attacking itself because it sees a threat to the immune system.
With 5.2 million Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s, this research is an important step in figuring out the causes and genetic connections. Read more about the research.

Department of Defense Program Funding for Alzheimer’s Research

Department of DefenseCongress has passed a $15 million investment in the Department of Defense’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) that will be spent to create an Alzheimer’s Research Grant. The program will provide grants for research exploring causes, complications, and possible treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
Research Grant Program
The funding is being used to create a peer-reviewed research grant program which includes research in traumatic brain injury, post traumatic stress disorder and other research areas. The funding will be particularly focused towards those in the military, but will benefit the general population as well. It is believed that moderate and severe head trauma, head injury, and traumatic brain injury are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Vice president of public policy for the Alzheimer’s Association, Robert Egge, said, “We urgently need research that will provide us with a greater understanding of Alzheimer’s as well as its impact on current and future military populations. This program is a great step toward achieving that understanding and the progress it will unlock.” An estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. That number could climb to over 16 million by 2050 if no treatment is identified.

Mickey Rooney Speaks to Congress about Elder Abuse

In March, Mickey Rooney went before the Senate Special Committee on Aging to relate the story of the elder abuse that he suffered.

It is important for seniors to be empowered regarding their care. Whether they seek independent or assisted living, seniors need to feel comfortable and maintain as much independence as possible. Finding a facility that protects your privacy and dignity is essential. Let Encore help you find the right place for your senior living needs.

Memory Building Activities – Trivia

TriviaIn order to improve your memory, it is a good idea to do any number of activities that help stimulate your mind. One helpful and fun activity is to play trivia games.
What to Play
Trivia games are great because they get you to think back to things you remember and use that knowledge for fun. The game can be on any topic you like. Here are some suggestions:
• History
• Sports
• Movies
• Science
• Famous people or places
You can always purchase trivia games such as Trivial Pursuit, Scene It?, or Outburst. You can also play trivia games online at websites like Fun Trivia or along with contestants on television, like Jeopardy.
If you have a large group of people, you can come up with your own trivia questions. Each person submits questions and answers and then the “host” asks each of the questions in turn. You can take turn being the host to give everyone a chance to win.
Trivia is a great way to recall information from your memory that you haven’t tapped in to for a while, and you might learn something new too!

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Encore in the News

Senior News from the NCOA

  • Vaccines: What Medicare pays for Medicare pays for many preventive services, including vaccines, but the coverage rules and frequency can be confusing. Our Center for Benefits Access outlines the commonly recommended vaccines for people with Medicare, which part of Medicare covers them, and where to find more information.
  • Start planning for Falls Prevention Awareness Day Did you know that more than 21,700 older Americans die every year from injuries related to unintentional falls? Participate in Falls Prevention Awareness Day on Sept. 23 to give seniors in your area tips and tools to stay safe.
  • Senior centers on the move NCOA’s National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) is working to improve senior centers nationwide. The FY14 NISC Annual Report details how members evaluated senior center operations and programs, shared best practices, advocated for policies that help older adults, and more.
  • It's Hunger Action Month: What about seniors? It’s estimated that more than 4 million seniors are eligible for nearly $4.5 billion in food benefits, but they are not enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Why? Many simply don’t know about the program. September is Hunger Action Month. Help us spread the word—SNAP helps hungry seniors and it's easy to get started!
  • Social Security turns 79, but is senior poverty a thing of the past? Social Security keeps millions of seniors out of extreme poverty, but not all. Today, 15% of American seniors are still living in poverty, most of them women and people of color, according to a new report from Half in Ten and the National Senior Citizens Law Center. Issues like economic insecurity, homelessness, and hunger remain.