WSJ: Research Debunks Myths of Aging

“I hate growing old,” says everyone, “but it’s better than the alternative.” We tend to see aging as this inevitable decline in physical and mental capability. In American society especially, we see the elderly as somehow lesser than their younger selves -- weaker, sadder, lonelier. On November 30, Anne Tergesen wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal, backed by some solid scientific evidence, that shows that everything we believe about aging may just be wrong.

Myth #1: The Elderly Tend to be More Depressed
Are seniors more depressed? Not according to the research. Participant of a long term study conducted by research scientists at Heidelberg University, among others, older people focus on positive rather than negative emotions. “Contrary to the popular view that youth is the best time of life, the peak of emotional life may not occur until well into the seventh decade,” Prof. Laura Carstensen, director of Stanford University’s Center on Longevity says.

Myth #2: Cognitive Decline is Inescapable
With age comes wisdom. With age come experience and knowledge. Barring dementia, studies show that older people tend to see problems from multiple perspectives. Also good news? Studies have shown that older adults can improve memory by learning new skills. Old dog --meet new tricks.

Myth #3: We Become Less Productive as We Age
Fewer older workers can retire early, thanks to our economy. According to the Department of Labor, workers 55 or older make up 22% of the American labor force. That’s up from 12% in 1992. Older workers have the edge over their younger counterparts due to experience and tend to make fewer errors in their work.

Myth #4: The Aged are More Prone to Loneliness
The elderly have shown that when it comes to people they feel close to, they prefer quality over quantity. Closer ties with loved ones means that seniors value their inner circle more and shed the relationships they find problematic. Of course, loneliness is still a problem for some elderly, especially if they are isolated but, on average, research shows that older adults are less lonely than younger adults.

Myth #5: Creativity Declines With Age
This one I love: academic studies dating far back into the 19th century show that many artists are most prolific in their 40s, 50s and 60s. David Galenson, a professor at the University of Chicago, conducted research that showed artists who “rely on wisdome, which increases with age” take years to perfect their style. He cites Mark Twain, Paul Cézanne, Frank Lloyd Wright, Robert Frost and Virginia Woolf as just a few of the artists who did their best work later in life.

Myth #6: More Exercise Produces Better Results
While getting some exercise is key to healthy aging, too vigorous activity can cause “overuse injury” to the heart. Dr. James O’Keefe, professor of medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City recommends sticking to a “moderate cardiovascular workout of no more than 30 miles a week or 50 to 60 minutes of vigorous exercise a day, and taking at least one day off each week.”

We here at Caregiverlist are firm believers in healthy aging. With proper nutrition, exercise, and preventative measures, we know that we can enjoy life much longer than ever before. And it doesn’t hurt to follow the advice of the late Ms. Besse Cooper who made it to 116 years old. During an interview with the Guinness Book of World Records, when asked her advice on living a long, healthy life Ms. Cooper responded, “I mind my own business. And I don’t eat junk food.”

Take the time to read the full Wall St. Journal article, along with the substantiating data.

Alpine Majesty: Stress Relief Photo

The sheer beauty of the mountains can be breathtaking, and fresh air can be so revitalizing. This week's photo was taken on Mt. Rigi in Switzerland. Caregiverlisinvites you to enjoy the photo and share it with loved ones. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for your hard work and caring for our seniors.  More caregivers are always needed as seniors in America are living longer. You can learn more about becoming a senior caregiver and apply for a job near you. This time of year is hectic and busy with holiday preparations.  Please remember to take a moment to yourselves and have a great week. 

"I reach toward the shining mountains, beyond the fog of daily worries."  

-Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Holiday Stress Relief for Caregivers

The holiday season is in full swing and while it’s certainly a joyous time of year, it’s also a time when we are all are prone to holiday stress. Senior caregivers are especially vulnerable. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with senior care when family demands are also so high. Caregivers often have to two sets of holiday chores like shopping, wrapping, and writing cards; and if the caregiver is stressed, believe me, the senior experiences stress as well. Here are some ideas to help alleviate the stress and find time for some fun amidst the chaos that is the holiday season.

Take a Mental and Physical Break
Often when the to-do list looks overwhelming, caregivers can feel that taking a break is somewhat indulgent. Not true. According to The Energy Project’s Tony Scwartz, we can accomplish more by doing less. Taking breaks can help you avoid burnout and stay motivated. Watch an old holiday movie like Christmas in Connecticut or The Bishop’s Wife and don’t feel compelled to multi-task when you’re doing it.

Get Some Fresh Air
If you live in a colder climate, it may feel like you’re running from indoor heated space to indoor heated space — from home, to car, to store, and back again. Caregivers know that it’s important to keep a senior active, even during the frigid months. But winter’s cold can limit a senior’s mobility and slick sidewalks can cause treacherous falls. If your city has an indoor botanical garden or conservatory, take your senior client or loved one for a stroll through some much needed fresh (warm) air. Check schedules for special programs like holiday markets, flower shows, concerts, caroling, and holiday light shows. I like to sit on a bench in Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory’s Fern Room and pretend that spring is right around the corner. Many conservatories are free (like the aforementioned Garfield Park Conservatory) or have discounted senior pricing.

The photo above shows the Garfield Park Conservatory White Holiday Flower Show in 2007

Eat Right
During the holidays, treats are everywhere! And when we’re stressed, we tend to gravitate to comfort foods that are not necessarily nutrient-rich. It’s especially important to eat healthy during this frantic time. Eating well not only strengthens our immune system (so important during cold and flu season,) but good carbs, fruit, and vegetables have been shown to raise serotonin levels, helping us to relax. And citrus fruits, in season this time of year, are chock-full of precious vitamin C and other antioxidants — known stress-busters.

Get Some Help
Don’t turn down any offers of help from family, friends, or neighbors. Sometimes caregiver stress can be alleviated with just a few hours away. If there are no offers on the table, consider hiring some respite help. Call a quality senior home care agency early in the season to book a companion caregiver to help with a senior’s activities of daily living, freeing you up to take care of your own holiday needs.

Caregiverlist wishes you the best this holiday season. If you feel overwhelmed as a senior caregiver, remember to take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to stop and enjoy all the holiday goodness around you. Remember, it’s your holiday too!

Feel free to post your own suggestions for beating holiday stress in the comments.

Beginning Investment by Rounding Up from Purchases

Understanding how to best invest your money and save for the future can be difficult. We all know that long-term investment and having money tucked away for a potential future rough patch is important, but it's often easier said than done. The Acorns app takes some mystery out of beginning investment by helping people start a portfolio without needing to put down a lot of money upfront. 

To start and build the funds in your portfolio, the app links to your checking account or credit card of choice and rounds your purchases up to the nearest dollar. This adds the spare change from your every day purchases to your portfolio and over time builds it from the ground up. The account does not require a minimum balance, so anyone can start saving without worrying about putting down money upfront. An extra 30 or 40 cents from every purchase may not seem like much, but if you make 15 purchases with your debit card in a month then it adds up to $4.50 in your portfolio. 

Once users download the app, it prompts them to create an account using easy to navigate steps. First, users must enter their personal information and link the app to their bank account or credit card of choosing using the online log in feature. Users can connect one checking account or multiple accounts and credit cards. Users also provide information about their job, net worth and investing timeframe so the app can best match a portfolio to user needs.

The app will suggest a portfolio based on age, income, investing time horizon, etc. and will display a graph showing the future projected value of your money based on a monthly contribution of $10. It will show you how the investment will grow over time. Once users accept the portfolio laid out by the app, it can begin rounding up from future purchases. 

The Acorns app is free for Apple and Andriod platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Medicare Open Enrollment Ends December 7th: What You Should Know

Medicare, the health insurance program for America's seniors, makes sure everyone in the U.S.A. receives health care as they age.  Medicare does NOT pay for ongoing long-term care in a nursing home.  However, Medicare offers all seniors the peace of mind of health insurance coverage and provides a few options which can be changed each year.

As Medicare's open enrollment ends in just a few days, here are items you should consider.  You must be age 65 or above to enroll in Medicare health insurance.

First, Medicaid replaces Medicare for very low-income seniors. You may review the Medicaid financial requirements in your state on Caregiverlist's By-State directory.

October 15th through December 7th Medicare Open Enrollment allows all seniors with Medicare to change their Medicare health plan and prescription drug coverage for 2014.

Medicare has a separate plan for health insurance vs. drug coverage.

Medicare's website allows you to research the type of plan that will be the best fit for you plus they have added a feature that allows you to plug in the type of test or item you may need, such as diabetes test strips, to see if they are covered by your Medicare plan.

Visit: www.Medicare.gov

Or, you may actually call Medicare to receive help:  Call 1-800-MEDICARE

Plan ahead for any long-term care needs by researching ahead of time the nursing homes in your area and choosing the ones with the highest ratings and most appropriate costs for your budget.  Remember, Medicare may pay for a portion of nursing home care for up to 100 days and beyond this time period, you will need to privately pay for your senior care at a nursing home, assisted living community or with professional in-home senior care services.  Request a plan of care for your area to be prepared and visit your state's nursing home costs and ratings guide.

 

 

 

 

Chicago Approves Minimum Wage Hike

The Chicago City Council resoundingly agreed, by a vote of 44-5, to raise Chicago’s minimum wage to $13 and hour by mid 2019. it’s estimated that the wage increase would affect 410,000 workers, or nearly one-third of all Chicagoans.

Currently, Chicago’s minimum wage is $8.25. Under the proposal, the minimum wage would increase to $10 next July and rise incrementally each summer until 2019. But according to the bill, the increase is long overdue. "...rising inflation has outpaced the growth in the minimum wage, leaving the true value of lllinois' current minimum wage of $8.25 per hour 32 percent below the 1968 level of $10.71 per hour (in 2013 dollars)."

With this bill, Chicago joins the current trend of a metropolitan area having a separate minimum wage from the rest of its state. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order on Tuesday to raise the minimum hourly wage by more than a dollar to $13.13. The mayor said his plans are to increase the minimum hourly rate to $15.22 by 2019. Currently, the New York state minimum wage is $8 an hour.

In San Francisco, voters approved a rise to a $15 minimum wage in 2018. The state legislature, however, is just now proposing a hike in the state minimum wage to $11 an hour in 2016 and to $13 in 2017. And on On June 2, 2014, the City Council of Seattle, WA passed a local ordinance to increase the minimum wage of the city to $15 an hour by 2017, giving it the highest minimum wage in the United States.

Some Chicago aldermen like Tom Tunney (44th) argued Wednesday in the special City Council meeting that the wage increase would have adverse consequences by driving away businesses to other parts of the state or force companies to pass those bottom-line increases to the consumer.

There’s also talk that Chicago’s minimum wage hike has more to do with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s upcoming reelection than with concern for a living wage for Chicago’s workers. Not surprisingly, mayoral challengers 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia are are critical that the Mayor Emanuel’s proposal doesn’t go far enough, saying they would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

But it has had the effect of sending state legislature scrambling for a state-wide referendum that would raise the state's minimum wage to $9 an hour July 1. The rate would increase by 50 cents an hour each year until 2019, when the wage would reach $11 an hour.

Senior care agencies already pay more than minimum wage and the average caregiver hourly wage is 38% above national minimum wage, but there’s no doubt that new minimum wage proposals would affect caregiver wages. The question is, will costs be passed on to seniors and their families? Will higher wages in cities drive senior care company growth in suburban and rural areas? There’s no doubt that the cost of living is higher in major metropolitan areas, but will the cost of doing business become too high? I look forward to reading your comments.

Sunset Glow in Hyde Park: Stress Relief Photo

The beauty of the natural world never ceases to amaze. This week's photo was taken in Hyde Park in London at sunset.  We hope you all had an enjoyable Thanksgiving. Caregiverlisinvites you to take a moment to enjoy this week's photo and inspirational quote and share them with loved ones. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools. Have a great week. 
 

"Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty;
not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some."  -Charles Dickens

 

Chicken Paratha Rolls: Leave Your Leftovers Cold-Turkey

The days following Thanksgiving are notorious for leftover kitchen concoctions -- turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, mashed potato pie -- but sooner or later you'll be left with a hole in your appetite and no stuffing to fill it. While personal feast withdrawals are hard enough to handle, Caregivers have the added responsibility of keeping seniors healthy and happy. Fortunately a great way to color a client's palate and help fend off withdrawals is to whip up these Chicken Paratha Rolls.

Ingredients:

• 1/2 kilogram Boneless Chicken 1-inch cubes 

• 2 tablespoon Raw Papaya Paste 

• 1 tablespoon Ginger paste 

• 1 tablespoon Garlic paste

• 1/2 teaspoon Green Chili paste

• 1/2 teaspoon Red Chili powder 

• 1/4 teaspoon Garam Masala powder 

• Salt to taste

• 1/4 cup Butter melted 

• Onion rings as required

• Green chutney as required

• 2 cups of flour

• 2 tbsp oil

• Water as required

Directions:

1. Mix together the papaya, ginger, garlic and green chili pastes with chili powder, garam masala powder, and salt. Apply this on the cubes of the chicken. Set aside in the refrigerator for three hours to marinate. 

2. Pressure-cook the marinated chicken cubes with one cup of water till the pressure is released.

3. Remove the lid when the pressure reduces and check if there is any liquid remaining. If yes, then cook till all the water evaporates. Remove from the pressure cooker and set aside.

4. Heat a grill and grill the chicken cubes till completely cooked. Baste with melted butter from time to time so that mutton does not dry out.

5. Combine all the dry ingredients for the dough. Add water, oil and form smooth dough. Add more water or oil if required. Cover the dough and keep aside. The dough should be pliable and soft, not hard.

6. Roll the paratha into a disc of 3-4 inch diameter. Make sure to put flour on the area you’re rolling, so it doesn’t stick. 

7. Fry the paratha on griddle with oil. Don’t fry the paratha on low heat otherwise they will become hard. The griddle should also be hot enough before you put paratha for frying.

8. Lastly, take the paratha and spread a thin layer of green chutney, sprinkle some onions and add the mutton on top. Roll the paratha roll evenly on both sides. Take a bite and enjoy!

 

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