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Home Staging Worth the Money, Effort? Yes.

Nearly every home seller hopes to get their property sold quickly and at top dollar.

Staging may be just the thing to help in that quest, according to the National Association of REALTORS’® 2017 Profile of Home Staging (http://bit.ly/2tGmtXe).

Using things like furniture, color, lighting, and accent pieces, professional stagers transform for-sale homes from ho-hum to oh-ah and work to make a property appeal to the largest number of prospective buyers

And their work has an impact: 39 percent of sellers’ agents said that staging a home greatly decreases the amount of time the home is on the market, according to NAR’s report.

Here are some of the report’s key findings:

 

Additional findings include:

  • The most commonly staged spaces include the living room (83 percent), kitchen (76 percent), master bedroom (69 percent), and dining room (66 percent).

  • Staging the living room was found to be most important to buyers (55 percent), followed by staging the master bedroom (51%), and the kitchen (41 percent).

  • Seventy-seven percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for buyers to visualize a property as a future home.

 

NATURAL FORMS OF ALZHEIMER’S PREVENTION


Alzheimer’s disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and kills more

people each year than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Worldwide, over 46 million

people suffer from Alzheimer’s—a figure that’s expected to nearly double every 20 years into

the future.

 

Prevention is always preferable to treatment, and with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s currently the

only option.

 

What are the primary risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s?

• Little/no exercise - #1 preventable factor

• Depression – 15% of Alzheimer’s cases

• Smoking – 11% of Alzheimer’s cases

• Midlife hypertension – 8% of Alzheimer’s cases

• Midlife obesity – 7% of Alzheimer’s cases

• Low education/low mental stimulation – 7% of

Alzheimer’s cases

• Diabetes – 3% of Alzheimer’s cases

 

These factors, coupled with related research, point towards several ways you may be able to reduce

your risk, including:

 

Protect your heart – While Alzheimer’s attacks the brain, protecting your heart can shield both essential organs from life-threatening damage. This includes consuming a healthy diet, staying mentally and physically active, and maintaining normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

 

Eat well – A recent UCLA study found that the Mediterranean Diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, legumes, whole grains and fish) is considered one of the best options for providing antioxidant-rich foods and reducing cognitive decline. Some studies indicate resveratrol, which occurs naturally in red grapes, red wine and dark chocolate can lower risk and slow the progress of Alzheimer’s. Of course, it’s also important to note that recommendations

regarding food and nutritional supplements are constantly evolving.

 

Limit anticholinergic drugs – The long-term use of many popular over-the-counter medications like Benadryl, Dramamine, Dimetapp, Advil PM, Paxil, Unison and other common sleep and allergy medications have been linked to cognitive impairment and dementia.

 

Manage stress – Stress has been proven to induce negative biochemical effects on the human body. Proven techniques for reducing stress include yoga, deep breathing, rhythmic exercise, Tai Chi, and daily meditation. Among meditation techniques, Kirtan Kriya (which takes only 12 minutes) has been shown to improve memory in those with documented memory decline issues.

 

 



HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR POSTURE AS YOU AGE


As you age, your spine changes. It can lose thickness and elasticity, which affects your posture and overall health. Strengthen your spine, improve your posture and age gracefully with the following tips.

Why Is Posture so Important?

Poor posture affects your body in several ways: It causes you to slouch and allows your back muscles and bones to shift, increasing pain and stiffness. It also affects your overall alertness, breathing, digestion, blood circulation and organ function.

You may also experience headaches, neck and joint pain, and leg and feet issues because of poor posture — all important reasons to improve your posture as you age.



Sit Straight

Do you slouch as you work online, watch TV or play with your grandchildren? You may not realize that you're slouching, but your back will feel it. Slouching increases the pressure on your spinal cord by as much as 15 percent.

Make a conscious effort to stop slouching and sit straight. To do that, you'll need an ergonomic chair. It can be a traditional, kneeling, saddle or recliner chair and will include:

Height adjustment: A pneumatic adjustment lever allows you to raise or lower the chair. If you're using a traditional chair, your feet will be flat on the floor, your thighs horizontal to the desk, and your arms resting at desk height.

Backrest: With an adjustable height and angle, the backrest should be 12 to 19 inches wide and support the natural curve of your spine.

Seat width and depth: The right chair will include a seat that's wide enough for your body. Its depth will give you 2 to 4 inches of room between the back of your knees and your chair as you sit with your back against the chair's backrest.

Adjustable lumbar support: Raise or lower the lumbar support as needed so that you're comfortable as you sit in the chair.

Armrests: Adjustable armrests allow your arms and shoulders to relax comfortably.


If you sit at a desk

You can implement these suggestions to help keep your spine straight:

• Look straight ahead

• Put your feet on the floor so that your knees are level with your hips.

• Adjust the height of your chair or use a footrest, stool, box or pile of books if necessary.

• Bring your elbows in close to your side to prevent the temptation to lean.

• If you're looking at a computer screen or reading, place the monitor or book at eye level.

• Every 20 to 30 minutes, stand and extend your arms away from your body. This action opens your body, and when you sit down again, you'll automatically sit straighter.


Exercise Regularly

A strong body and good posture go together. You can achieve both results when you do several exercises regularly that support your spine and improve your back health and posture:

Strengthen your core. The muscles around your abdomen and pelvic area. When your core is strong, those muscles keep you in alignment. As a bonus, a strong core can reduce urinary incontinence and improve your athletic ability. Pilates, yoga, walking and various gym machines and exercises strengthen these essential areas.

Support your spine. The muscles around your spine weaken as you age, so use resistance bands or gym equipment to exercise your back, neck, pelvic and side muscles.

Stretch often. Whether you stand against the wall and make slow snow angels, perform lunges or do twisting lumbar stretches, stretching exercises improve your spine health.

Do resistance training. It can halt or reverse bone loss and osteoporosis.

Perform weight-bearing exercises. Walking, running, stair climbing and weight lifting build bone density. Walk daily or hit the gym as you strengthen your spine and posture.

Take up Pilates, yoga or Tai Chi. These disciplines improve your core, flexibility and strength. They're also easily adaptable to your needs no matter how flexible or strong you are.

Practice balancing. Start by standing with your feet together until you're able to remain steady. Then practice standing with a staggered stance. Finally, stand on one leg with support from a chair or wall and then without support. As you successfully balance, you also improve your posture.


Improve Your Diet

Believe it or not, what you eat can affect your posture. The right diet strengthens the bones and muscles that support your spine.

Ideally, a healthy spine diet includes an abundance of green, leafy vegetables and a variety of fruits. Eat enough protein and calcium, too. A multivitamin is also essential as you ensure you have enough vitamin D, calcium and other essential nutrients in your daily diet.

Be sure you stay hydrated, too. Water supports the elasticity of your spine's soft tissue, decreases painful disc bulges or ruptures, and helps your spine maintain its correct shape.


Check Your Medication

The medicines you take address your health issues, but they can affect your posture. Talk to your doctor about your posture and ask if any of your medications or dosages are negatively impacting your posture or spine strength.

Next, ask for a bone mineral density scan. It detects osteoporosis. With the results, you and your doctor can decide if you need hormone-based medications like calcitonin, Evista (raloxifene) or parathyroid hormone or bisphosphonates such as Boniva, Fosamax or Reclast. These medications can stop or reverse bone density loss, strengthen your back and improve your posture.

Your body and spine change as you age. You can fight back and strengthen your spine, though, in several ways. Start implementing these tips today, and you'll improve your posture and reduce your health risks



Walkable Neighbourhoods Bring health Benefits


You’ve already heard that Millennials, probable future buyers of your home, favor walkable neighborhoods where they can reach transit, restaurants, and shopping without a car. 

But there’s another reason to pick a walkable community when you’re downsizing or choosing a new neighborhood. Walkable communities can have a positive effect on your health, specifically your blood pressure.

That’s according to preliminary findings of a study (see: http://www.medicaldaily.com/people-who-live-within-walking-distance-everything-may-be-less-likely-develop-high-360770 and http://newsroom.heart.org/file?fid=563f40d75e8eef6250536c2f) by Dr. Maria Chiu, a scientist with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The research suggests that people living in walkable neighborhoods had a 54 percent lower risk of high blood pressure when compared to those who moved to less walkable areas.

Researchers used Walk Score (www.walkscore.com )a site that allows you to type in an address to see just how walkable it is, and data from the Canadian Community Health Survey to see what happened to participants’ blood pressure as they moved from highly walkable neighborhoods to less walkable areas.

The theory is that those living in pedestrian-friendly areas incorporated physical activity into their routines as they went about taking care of the daily tasks of life.

So measuring the pedestrian friendliness of a neighborhood is worth considering when you’re vetting properties.

Senior housing challenges

Finding a walkable community is a great start for aging well. But more than walkability creates a good neighborhood for aging in place.

It also entails a host of other factors, including affordability and access to transit and home services.

A recent report, Seniors and Housing: The Challenge Ahead (https://www.fcm.ca/Documents/reports/FCM/Seniors_and_Housing_Report_EN.pdf), by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, outlines how well Canada is prepared for an aging population and what it needs to do to put in place the infrastructure that will allow the tsunami of seniors to live well.

There are challenges ahead and work to be done. Here are some study highlights. 

Growing demographic

Seniors are expected to account for almost one in four Canadians by 2036, with the most rapid population jumps expected among those 85 and older.

 Housing affordability

Close to 700,000 senior-led households face housing affordability challenges. One in four such households spend 30 percent or more on housing. And even though the majority of seniors would like to age in their own communities, there has been a steep decline in affordable housing options.

Government investment

The federal government’s annual contribution of $1.6 billion for social housing is scheduled to expire over the next 20 years. And by 2040, just when the senior population is expected to double, federal support for senior social housing will disappear.

Getting around

When people can no longer drive, their ability to age in place diminishes. How will seniors get to places to serve their basic needs – the grocery store and doctors’ offices – and the activities for social and psychological well-being without access to transportation?

Rethinking and retooling the design of cities and developing better transit options for aging Canadians remains a challenge.

Solving some of the problems require government intervention at both the local and federal levels, according to the research.

Among the report’s suggestions are finding ways for local government to deliver accessible transit and lower rental housing for seniors. And the federal government can reinvest in social housing and deliver incentives to build affordable housing and support programs to help seniors retrofit their homes for better aging in place.

Wintering well

The winter chill has already begun settling in. If you’re not a snowbird, the months ahead can be bleak and daunting.

Norwegians have a way to make winter less oppressive. They call it koselig, and it entails generating warmth, light, coziness, and conviviality.

The concept seems a bit vague, but several people have written about the more concrete aspects of it.

See: http://www.vogue.com/872644/what-we-can-learn-from-norwegians-about-surviving-winter/

http://www.lifeinnorway.net/2015/02/a-visual-guide-to-koselig

http://afroginthefjord.com/2014/02/02/how-to-make-things-koselig/  

Some of the strategies may be worth a try this year.

So pull out your blankets, build a fire, light some candles, and throw a dinner party.

Celebrate the season.

And good luck.



Health Benefits of Resilience


Recent news

Maybe you’ve missed some important news stories in recent months.  They include the health benefits of resilience, ways for cities to better serve an aging population, and the woes of caregiving. Here are some links:

Health benefits of resilience: www.health.harvard.edu/blog/stress-busting-mind-body-medicine-reduces-need-for-health-care-201510168450?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialmedia&utm_campaign=101615kr1&utm_content=blog

 



Get Smart About Strokes


Yes, no one really wants to think about strokes.

But stroke is the second leading cause of death for those over the age of 60, according to the World Health Organization.

Another startling statistic: 1.9 million brain cells die per minute after a stroke. So it’s no surprise that stroke is the leading cause of adult disability, which could mean paralysis, depression, pain, memory loss, and language problems.

Moreover, Canadians’ understanding of stroke is poor. Only one-third can describe what a stroke is, according to a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada poll. Just one-fifth of respondents identified high blood pressure as a main risk factor for stroke. It’s actually the number one risk factor.

That same study (www.heartandstroke.com/atf/cf/%7B99452d8b-e7f1-4bd6-a57d-b136ce6c95bf%7D/HSF_2015_STROKE_REPORT_FINAL.PDF) found that most Canadians also don’t know that smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity, and obesity are risk factors for stroke.

Zero warning

And since strokes often come with no warning and strike quickly, you have no time when there’s an emergency to Google “stroke symptoms” or “stroke what to do.”

It’s better to be prepared by depositing some simple information into your memory that you can tap in a crisis.

Take five minutes to understand the basics. One day the knowledge could save your own or a loved one’s life.

F.A.S.T.

Speed --FAST – is king when it comes to reducing the effects of a stroke. 

You’ve likely seen the F.A.S.T. billboards and ads.  The acronym is designed to help people recognize and respond to the most obvious stroke symptoms.

They stand for:

Face Drooping-- Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?

Arm -- Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech Difficulty -- Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "The sky is blue" or to sing the “Happy Birthday” song.  Are the sentences correct?

Time to call 9-1-1 -- If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 ASAP. Also, check the time of the symptoms’ onset. The emergency room doctors will want to know.

Other symptoms that come on suddenly that also can indicate a stroke include:

  • Confusion or trouble understanding  
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, and loss of balance or coordination 
  • A severe headache with no known cause

Need for speed

Preventing damage and long-term disability is the reason why getting patients to the emergency room quickly is crucial.

In many cases, clot-busting medications can reverse or minimize the effects of a stroke. But those drugs need to be given within a few hours of the stroke’s onset for greatest effectiveness.



SUNDAY DINNERS


One way to combat loneliness is resurrecting the old tradition of Sunday dinners.

And Home Instead, franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care, is trying to do just that by asking people to take Sunday Dinner Pledge and sit down to a family meal once a month.

It did some research and found:

Only four of 10 (39%) families with senior relatives living close by share Sunday dinners on a multigenerational level.

Survey respondents say that that sit-down dinners could help seniors deal with a variety of challenges including:

                                       Poor diet..................69%

                                 Health issues.......................71%

Sharing problems or venting emotions...........................78%

                                     Depression...............................80%

             Loss of friends or loved ones..................................81%

                                      Loneliness.........................................87%

 

 

Respondents also think such meals are a good way to reconnect and build stronger bonds among younger and older family members.

The Home Instead site makes planning the Sunday dinner a cinch by providing meal plans and recipes, conversation starters, activities for bonding during meals, and ways to make older adults and integral part of the event.

See: www.caregiverstress.com/fitness-nutrition/sunday-dinner/



WALKABLE NEIGHBOURHOODS LINKED TO BRAIN HEALTH


You already know that living in a walkable neighborhood can have a positive effect on physical health.

But the lifestyle just might be beneficial to your brain too. Results from a pilot study by University of Kansas professor Amber Watts found promising signs that living in walkable neighborhoods could help older adults perform better on cognition tests.

A more comprehensive study is on the way. See: www.fastcoexist.com/3039276/want-to-stop-your-brain-from-getting-old-live-in-a-walkable-neighborhood

If you’re interested in moving to a walkable neighborhood or wonder how walkable your current neighborhood is, check Walk Score (www.walkscore.com). The site scores the walkability of cities and neighborhoods and also lets you type in specific addresses to see how accessible – by foot – a condo or house is to grocery stores, transit, coffee shops, and so forth.



ARE YOU ENJOYING YOUR RETIREMENT?


Retirement as stress source

Here’s an odd bit of news. Despite the fact that people look forward to it, plan for it for their whole lives, and have fantasies about how great it’s going to be, retirement actually is a pretty stressful event.

Check out the Holmes- Rahe Stress Inventory at the American Institute of Stress (http://www.stress.org/holmes-rahe-stress-inventory/) and the mean value placed on retirement from work.

Retirement is one of life’s top ten stressors.

Some of the others include the death of a spouse, divorce, being fired and a major personal injury or illness.



TIME TO EXERCISE!


Sitting kills

We sit at home in front of the TV and the computer. We sit in our cars to run errands.  We sit at the office for eight or more hours daily.

Then we sleep.

The sedentary lifestyle is a killer.

It’s not just weight gain that’s a concern. Couch potato habits also lead to diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

For instance, a recent study outlined in the American Heart Association’s “Rapid Access Journal Report” found that:

  • Men with low levels of physical activity were 52 percent more likely to develop heart failure      than those with high physical activity levels, even after adjusting for differences in sedentary time.
  • Outside of work, men who sit five or more hours a day were 34 percent more likely to develop heart failure than men who spent no more than two hours a day sitting, regardless of how much they exercised.
  • Heart failure risk more than doubled in men who sat for at least five hours a day and got little     exercise, compared to men who were very physically active and sat for two hours or less a day.

Women don’t fare much better. According to a study about women, “Relationship of Sedentary Behavior and Physical Activity to Incident Cardiovascular Disease: Results from the Women’s Health Initiative,” physically inactive women who spent 10 hours or more sitting each day were at 63% greater risk for events related to cardiovascular disease compared with highly active women who spent 5 hours or fewer each day sitting. 

Women who met physical activity guidelines but sat for long periods each day were still at increased cardiovascular disease risk. 

Too much sitting other effects—sore shoulders, mushy abs, and a foggy brain—that are well illustrated in this infographic, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/health/sitting/Sitting.pdf

You don’t need to train for a marathon to combat the effects of too much sitting. For instance, guidelines for women who want to improve their health require:

Either 2.5 hours moderate-intensity (walking, ballroom dancing and leisurely

biking, for example) aerobic physical activity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity (jogging, uphill biking, and singles tennis, for example) aerobic physical activity or a combination of the two, along with muscle-strengthening activities two or more days each week.

When you do have to sit at work, there are ways to make those hours safer and more comfortable.  The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety offers up some strategies for reducing neck and back pain while sitting and ways to position chairs and keyboards. See: 

Every little bit of exercise helps, so instead of sitting at your desk at work the American Heart Association suggests trying to:

  • Walk during business calls.
  • Stand while talking on the telephone.
  • Walk down the hall to talk with colleagues instead of calling or e-mailing.
  • Stay at hotels with fitness centers or pool and use the facilities while on business trips.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or get off a few floors early and take the stairs the rest of the way.
  • Walk while waiting for the plane at the airport.

Even standing more during your day is beneficial. Learn about the benefits of standing at http://www.juststand.org/.

For more on ways to improve your health, incorporate bits of activity into your day, see http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/StartWalking/Get-Moving-Easy-Tips-to-Get-Active_UCM_307978_Article.jsp



Vancouver Coastal Health - Senior Services


VANCOUVER COASTAL HEALTH - SENIOR SERVICES

You can find health care services offered by Vancouver Coastal Health including, hospital, emergency, outpatient, inpatient, public health, envoronmental health and more in their regular website (www.vch.ca). But they also offer a Senior's section which includes featured services that are designed to meet the needs of Seniors.  If you're a Senior click on the link below and save it to your 'favourites'.

http://www.vch.ca/seniors