HOW TO (O)LIVE LONGER

HOW TO (O)LIVE LONGER:

**Some olive oils fight heart disease and cognitive decline. But to get the greatest benefit, you need to pick the right stuff**

In normal times, Italians outlive Americans by an average of four years.  But in the Sicani Mountain region of Sicily, marked by rolling hills covered with olive trees, the locals live past 100 at a rate more than four times greater than Italy as a whole.

Sicani Mountain villagers eat a Mediterranean diet, snacking on olives and using the fruit’s oil to prepare dinner.  As a result, their arteries are as supple as those of people 10 years younger, researchers say.

“We’ve known for 50 or 60 years that the Mediterranean diet is beneficial for health, but olive oil is emerging as the most important ingredient,” says Domenico Pratico, MD., director of the Alzheimer’s Center at Temple University.  Among people in olive-growing regions, the incidences of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and even cognitive decline is very low.

HOW OLIVE OIL OFFERS HOPE

Pratico and others have been exploring the effect of extra-virgin olive oil, or EVOO, on the brain. They discovered that compounds in the fat of this high-grade oil can flush out proteins that gum up the communication channels between brain cells.  That might delay, and even reverse, Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

BUYER, BEWARE!

Not all the EVOO sold at the supermarket is as potent as the oil that researchers use.  In lab tests more than half of imported EVOO purchased at retail failed to meet standards of quality and flavor (a marker of antioxidant content). Here are a few shopping tricks:

PASS THE VIRGINITY TEST

  1. Look for “extra virgin.”  That distinction means the oil is free of flavor defects.
  2. Pick a dark bottle. Dark glass or tins offer much better protection.  And Store in a cool, dark place.
  3. Check the bottle date. To find the freshest oil, look for the best-before date, which is usually 18 to 24 months from when the oil was bottled.  If the best-before date is just a few months away, find a fresher oil.  Once you open the bottle and expose the oil to oxygen, it begins to degrade.
  4. Buy from California. California began standardized testing in 2014.  One doctor had dozens of patients who took 1 to 2 tablespoons of EVOO daily and it had no effect.  Once he switched them to California oil, their cholesterol improved.
  5. Give it a swig. The more potent an oil’s flavor, the more powerful its protective effects.  If you feel a slight burn in the back of your throat, it means the oil has high levels of oleocanthal, the polyphenol that’s been shown to bust up Alzheimer’s plaques.

 

(written by Clint Carter for AARP Bulletin, April 2020)

Interesting Facts about the 4th of July

Many Americans look forward to the parades, neighborhood cookouts, and fireworks in celebration of July 4th each year to mark our nation’s independence. Why not be the bearer of interesting facts this July 4th?  Check out these fun facts about the nation’s quintessential holiday!

 

  1. Thomas Jefferson wrote a draft of the Declaration of Independence on the original laptop—a foldable writing desk that could fit on a person’s lap.
  2. Thomas Jefferson was the first President to celebrate the Fourth of July in the White House.
  3. Independence Day, celebrated on July 4th, only became a federal holiday in 1941.
  4. Only two of America’s founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776:  John Hancock and Charles Thompson.  Most of the men who signed this historic document did so on August 2, 1776.
  5. The Continental Congress voted on July 2, 1776 to become independent; on July 4, the representatives from the 13 American colonies ratified the Declaration of Independence.
  6. The Pennsylvania Evening Post was the first newspaper to print the Declaration of Independence on July 6, 1776.
  7. The tradition of fireworks on July 4thactually began in 1777, on the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
  8. While Francis Scott Key wrote his “Star Spangled Banner” in 1814, it didn’t officially become the national anthem until 1931.
  9. Three presidents, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe all passed away on July 4.  Adams and Jefferson died within hours of each other in 1826, which coincidentally was America’s 50thbirthday.
  10. Calvin Coolidge, America’s 30thPresident, was born on the Fourth of July in 1872.
  11. 59 places of residence (cities, towns, counties…) in the United States contain the word liberty in their name.
  12. Nathan’s Famous hot dogs sponsors a hot dog eating contest every holiday in Coney Island; Joey Chestnut is the 8-time world hot dog eating champion, consuming 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes!
  13. Americans consume over 150 million hot dogs in celebration of July 4thaccording to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.
  14. The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans (both businesses and individuals) spend over $6 billion on July 4thcelebrations.
  15. New York City has the largest fireworks celebration of any U.S. city.
  16. Several countries modeled their own Declarations of Independence after the United States’ historic document including Greece and Poland.
  17. In 1776, nearly 2.5 million people celebrated the independence of the United States; in 2017, just over 324 million people will celebrate.
  18. America imports over $257 million worth of fireworks mostly from China each year.
  19. Firework colors depend upon the metals contained within the firework: copper burns blue, aluminum and titanium burn white, barium burns green, calcium burns orange, and sodium burns yellow.
  20. Sparklers burn at nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit!

 

NEW SPACES FOR AGING IN PLACE

Remember “mother-in-law suites” or “granny flats”?  Those tiny housing units often located behind a suburban home until zoning laws shut down their construction.  Today they are experiencing a bit of a renaissance in U.S. communities—with real benefits to older Americans.

The contemporary term for a second, smaller home built on a parcel usually zoned for a detached house is accessory dwelling unit (ADU). To create affordable housing and slow sprawl, some cities and states have passed laws to remove restrictions that hindered such development.  

This is a potential boon for people who hope to remain in their homes as they age.  As people age, they sometimes want to stay in their communities instead of relocating.  

 

Types of ADU’s

  • Detached:  Backyard cottage
  • Attached:  Addition to existing home, with separate entrance and kitchen
  • Interior (upper level) Attic apartment
  • Interior (lower level) Basement apartment
  • Above garage:  Addition that serves as an apartment over the garage
  • Garage conversion:  An attached or detached garage made into an apartment

CHRONIC LUNG DISEASES ARE ON THE RISE. WHAT TO DO TO MINIMIZE YOUR RISK.

For years I’ve been going on long morning walks with my super smart and stylish friend Susan.  But lately whenever we climb a hill, her breath becomes labored and we need to slow down; sometimes we stop in our tracks until she regains her energy.  “This is what I get for smoking two packs a day,” she laments.  

Susan quit cigarettes more than 30 years ago.  But because of her former habit, at 67 she is now dealing with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an escalating lung illness that over time makes it harder and harder to breathe.

WHAT EXACTLY IS COPD?

COPD is a blanket term for respiratory diseases characterized by an inability to breathe out fully.  COPD takes two main forms:

—Emphysema, a condition in which the air sacs of your lungs are damaged and eventually destroyed, causing breathlessness.

—Chronic bronchitis, in which your bronchia tubes become inflamed and produce lots of mucus, leading to coughing and difficulty breathing.

WHAT DOES COPD LOOK LIKE?

Symptoms often don’t appear until the disease progresses, but they can include:

—Lack of energy and/or shortness of breath, especially during physical exercise

—Wheezing, chronic cough and chest tightness

—Frequent respiratory infections

—Blue lips or fingernails

—Coughing up a lot of mucus from the lungs, especially upon waking

—Swelling in your feet, ankles or legs

 

HOW CAN I PROTECT MY LUNGS?

In addition to not smoking, avoiding air pollutants and getting more exercise, the American Lung Assoc urges you to:

Get vaccinated every year against the flu and talk to your health provider to find out if the pneumonia vaccine is right for you.

Brush your teeth at least twice daily and see your dentist every six months.  Good oral hygiene can protect you from the germs in your mouth that can lead to infections.

Choose watercress, not lettuce.  Watercress releases a compound called phenethyl isothiocyanate, which helps block the progression of lung cancer and helps to ease respiratory inflammation.

Sleep slightly upright or on your left side.  These positions can help prevent acid reflux, which can exacerbate COPD symptoms.

Go Cold turkey on hot dogs.  Processed meats such as cold cuts, bacon and hot dogs can worsen COPD symptoms and increase risk of COPD-related hospital readmissions.

Take Vitamin D.  A 2018 study suggests vitamin D may increase our lungs’ muscle strength while lowering inflammatory response to respiratory pathogens.

 

My Favorite Things!

Well, we’ve all been through so much lately I thought I would share some of my favorite things with you (and it’s not “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens”…lol)…. I do hope you will write back and share some of your favorites with me!

 

Favorite Childhood Memory:  Riding bikes with Friends

Favorite Holiday:  Christmas Eve is big in our Family!  Lots of food and friends would come over. Lots of laughing & singing… Mom would put out a feast!  

Favorite TV show of all time:   I Love Lucy & The Sopranos (that’s quite a difference, isn’t it?)

Favorite place to travel to:   Cancun

Favorite “go to” Snack:   Celery with peanut butter

Favorite Binge Worthy Show:  Marvelous Mrs Maisel  (love the music & the clothes)

My Favorite Drink:  Perfect Margarita (from Applebee’s)  YUM! 

One meal I love to cook:   Italian chicken & potatoes…double yum!

I enjoyed sharing with you…so I want to hear back from you!  

GOOD EGGS: 5 WAYS WITH OMELETS

USE PIZZA TOPPINGS!

Pour eggs into a nonstick skillet.  Cook, then flatten them with a rubber spatula. Flip, add mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, salami and salsa.  If the omelet comes apart, that’s OK.  Pizza scrambled eggs are delicious, too.

TRY SWEETNESS!

Make a very thin omelet and tuck ripe bananas inside.  Cover with powered sugar; drizzle with chocolate sauce.  It tastes like a banana souffle.

ADD RICHNESS! 

My go-to omelet fillings are simple:  goat cheese, ham and herbs such as parsley, tarragon or chives.  The combination makes a fresh and flavorful dish. Don’t overcook; it shouldn’t be brown or crisp.

EASY DOES IT! 

Whisk eggs slightly, then fold in fresh herbs and a spoonful or two of plain yogurt, to add creaminess and tang to the batter. Cook in a mix of butter and extra-virgin olive oil.

GO MIDWESTERN!

Fry kielbasa slices in a shallow pan; remove them when they’re golden.  Use the oil in the pan to dry diced red potatoes and onions.  Next, add the sausage and pour eggs on top.

 

(April/May 2020 of aarp.org/magazine)

Finding Peace Through Meditation:

Stress has become one of those ‘things’ we think we simply have to live with. Some stress can be beneficial in motivating our “mind, body and spirit” to complete certain activities or meet the challenges we face in our every day lives. However, not all stress is good stress and people are searching for answers to help them conquer it. Many have found yoga to be a very effective way to reduce stress and work towards finding inner peace.

We can look at stress on two levels. The micro level is the individual stress from daily living and our own environments. On the macro level, we have the economy, overpopulation, global warming, obesity, disease, and those things that impact us externally, within society at large. All of these factors and variables begin to impede our “mind, body and spirit” and daily functioning. If we are not careful then our negative stress levels begin to increase.

What are we to do? How do we strive towards finding inner peace? And what exactly is having inner peace?

Most would define inner peace as a state of being mentally and spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep our “mind, body and spirit” strong in the face of discord or stress. Generally, stress would be the opposite of peace when dealing with the mind, which directly connects to our physical body. Stress comes from the unanswered, unsolved and difficult situations that seem to have no answer or no solution to the mind.

In order for us finding inner peace we have to be true to others and ourselves about what is important. Most importantly, it is important to look at life through an honest lens to see what is important, unimportant or knowing what we cannot change. Yoga teaches us to meditate and develop a connection with our “mind, body and spirit”. When meditating, the goal is to shed the excesses and worries of the day, and begin to focus internally; first with regulating our breathing patterns, and releasing the tensions from the body.

As with the majority of meditations, to begin this meditation first find somewhere quiet where you will not be disturbed for ten to twenty minutes.

Sit comfortably with good posture. You may wish to sit in the lotus position, with your legs folded, or you may kneel

Cup your hands together on your lap with the palms facing upwards. Lightly touch your thumbs together.

Focus your mind on your breathing. Specifically, focus on the area between your nose and your lips. Observe your breath coming and going through this area

You will notice that thoughts occupy your mind from time to time. This is okay. You do not need to resist the thoughts, but you should not attach to them or dwell on them either. Simply recognise that you are experiencing a thought and return your focus to your breathing.

You may wish to add a mantra to this practice. A mantra is a phrase that produces specifically feelings. For instance, a simple mantra might be “I am calm and at peace.” Recite this mantra, either out loud or in your mind, as you continue to focus on your breath.

Continue this practice for ten to twenty minutes. You will find your mind opening and your body and mind relaxing.

 

MEMORIAL DAY!

This U.S. federal holiday is observed on the last Monday of May to honor the men and women who have died while serving in the military. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEMORIAL DAY AND VETERANS DAY?

On both Memorial Day and Veterans Day, it’s customary to spend time remembering and honoring the countless veterans who have served the United States throughout the country’s history. However, there is a distinction between the two holidays:

  • Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. In other words, the purpose of Memorial Day is to memorialize the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  We spend time remembering those who lost their lives and could not come home, reflecting on their service and why we have the luxury and freedom that we enjoy today. We might consider how we can support and safeguard their grieving families and loved ones who are left behind.
     
  • Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL who served—in wartime or peacetime—regardless of whether they died or survived. Veterans Day is always observed officially on November 11, regardless of the day of the week on which it falls.

 

    MEMORIAL DAY FACTS AND HISTORY

Traditionally, on Memorial Day (U.S.), people visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at national cemeteries.  A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.

The custom of honoring ancestors by cleaning cemeteries and decorating graves is an ancient and worldwide tradition, but the specific origin of Memorial Day—or Decoration Day, as it was first known—is unclear.

In early rural America, this duty was usually performed in late summer and was an occasion for family reunions and picnics. After the Civil War, America’s need for a secular, patriotic ceremony to honor its military dead became prominent, as monuments to fallen soldiers were erected and dedicated, and ceremonies centering on the decoration of soldiers’ graves were held in towns and cities throughout the nation.

After World War I, the day expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars.

A Lasting Legacy

No less than 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, and states observed the holiday on different dates. In 1971, Memorial Day became a national holiday by an act of Congress; it is now celebrated annually on the last Monday in May.

Since it all started with the Civil War, you might want to brush up on your knowledge of this event by visiting the Library of Congress Civil War collection, which includes more than a thousand photographs from the time.

THANK YOU TO THE FALLEN.

From everyone here at BAILEY PARK, we would like say thank you to those men and women who paid the ultimate price. We will always remember the sacrifices of our nation’s heroes. We are deeply grateful. 

In remembering the fallen, we also honor their loved ones: spouses, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends. There really aren’t proper words, but we do live in gratitude each and everyday for the precious gift that they have given to us.

Summertime

Nothing makes me smile more than thinking about Summertime.  It’s the images in my memory of being a youngster riding bikes with my friends, jumping off a tire into the creek, having an ice cream cone before calling it a day. 

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930’s 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s !!

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we
rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from it.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Kool-aid made with sugar, but we weren’t overweight because…

WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING !

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day.

And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down
the hill, only to find out we’d forgotten about brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo’s, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD’s, no surround-sound or CD’s, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chat rooms!


WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no
lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate mud pies made from dirt.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays,

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang
the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!        The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to Deal With It All!

So, my Bailey Park Friends, what great memories can you share with me of your growing up days…?   I would love to hear your stories!

Ready, Set, Swim!

Swimming for seniors.  What a great article I just read over the weekend.

Swimming is a low impact sport that works all the major muscle groups in the body.

With indoor pools accessible to most, seniors can enjoy swimming year round without concern about water temperature or weather conditions.

Studies have shown that seniors who participate in aqua-aerobics (walking and dancing in the water) increase strength in their quadriceps, hamstrings and upper body.

There is less strain on joint and ligaments so less chance of injury with this type of activity.

Water walking is another form of aqua aerobics.  According to the National Center for Health Statistics, only 32% of American Seniors exercise on a daily basis despite knowing that exercise is the main element to keep the body fit and prevent all types of physical and mental decline.  Improve this statistic.  SWIM!