Deciding where to retire is an important decision, that you need to weigh all your options. Do you want to retire where your relatives are close or where  the cost of living is less expensive. According to the website TopRetirements.com, these are the top 10 worst  states to retire in and why?

1) Illinois                       Poor fiscal health

2) California                  Expensive, and its finances are in disarray

3) NewYork                    very high taxes including property taxes

4) Rhode Island.            Worst-off state in the Northeast from a financial viewpoint; high

Taxes

5) New Jersey                 highest property taxes in the U.S.: Has pension funding issues

6) Ohio                             High unemployment and cold winters

7) Wisconsin                   high property taxes and frigid weather

8) Massachusetts            High cost of living and high property taxes

9) Connecticut                  Taxes Social Security and has high property taxes

10) Nevada                         foreclosure  capital of the world

Check out TopRetirement.com on these states or others that you may be thinking of retiring in. You can also check at the website Money-Rates.com to check the 10 best sretire for retirement.

The month of March boasts National Kidney Month.  At Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, we’d like to share tips about kidneys and how to keep them healthy.

Many functions are performed by the kidneys including removing body waste, balancing the body’s chemicals and fluids, regulating blood pressure, producing red blood cells and helping bones to remain healthy.

Chronic Kidney Disease, CKD, is something that affects millions of Americans.  CKD is manageable, yet if undetected can worsen over time.

Anyone can be struck by CKD, yet factors such as diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes.  Symptoms are not always noticeable, but may include nausea, swelling in the feet, hands or face, back pain and unusual looking urine.  A simple test done on blood and urine can let you know if you have kidney disease.

Common kidney problems include kidney stones and kidney infections.  Though they are less serious, if left untreated, they can develop into a real problem.  An inherited disorder that can lead to kidney damage is polycystic kidney disease.

Key factors in preventing kidney problems include managing diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.  There are also benefits to keeping kidneys healthy through reducing sodium in your diet, exercising regularly and controlling cholesterol.

Go to www.kidney.org for more information about kidney health.

Stress Management

With the changes in government programs and the health care  system the need for more care  given by non-professional care givers will be a reality.  Even if you are a strong resilient person, the stress of being a caregiver can take a toll on your health and well-being.  Stress management techniques will be an important part of your daily routine.

Some of the signs of stress that you may not even notice because you are concerned about those you are caring for are:

  • tired all the time
  • overwhelmed and irritable
  • either sleeping too much or not enough
  • losing or gaining weight
  • loss of interest in activities

There are a variety of things that can help you deal with the stress of being a caregiver.  If someone is willing to help, accept the offer.  If they want to pick up some groceries, cook for you, stay with the person you are caring for or even take them for a walk, allow them to provide help.  It will be a wonderful way to give you a break.

As a caretaker, it is normal to feel guilty about many things.  Focus on those things you can control and remind yourself that you are doing the best you are capable of.  No one is perfect.  If you recognize a need for help, you will want to seek it out.  There are many organizations, associations and support groups to help with specific ailments.    These affiliations can offer encouragement and advice.

You will want to make time for yourself.   Get out and socialize with friends and family members.  It is important to maintain a strong support system to help manage the stress associated with being a caregiver.  It’s also important  to stay healthy.  Walking, getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet are all things that promote good health.

Utilize respite care.  Respite care found at a nursing home, such as Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, has become a great option for both the one receiving care and the caretaker.  Though families take great joy in allowing their loved one to remain at home, the physical, emotional and financial strain for the caregiver can be overwhelming.  The family may choose to have their loved one stay at a nursing home where emergency access and professional assistance is provided for a few day or a few weeks.   It allows the caregiver to get a break, go on a much needed vacation or attend a function that would normally restrict them from attending.

Taking time for yourself actually makes you a better caregiver.  It’s hard for you to provide quality care for others if you are not caring for yourself.

Comedian’s Take on Love and Marriage Through Laughter

Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and antibodies, which improves your resistance to disease.  With Valentines Day approaching, we at Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, thought we’d share thoughts about love and marriage through the words of comedians.

“Marry a man your own age; as your beauty fades, so will his eyesight.”  Phyllis Diller

“Marriage has no guarantees.  If that’s what you are looking for, go live with a car battery.”  Erma Bombeck

“Love is a lot like a backache.  It doesn’t show up on x-rays, but you know it’s there.”  George Bruns

“I was married by a judge.  I should have asked for a jury.”  Groucho Marx

“My wife gets all the money I make.  I just get an apple and clean clothes every morning.”  Ray Romano

“Marriage is very much like a violin; after the sweet music is over, the strings are attached.”  Anon.

“In my house I’m the boss, my wife is just the decision maker.” Woody Allen

“I am” is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Isn’t “I do” is the longest one?” George Carlin

“I had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me.” –Sigmund Freud

“A good marriage is like a casserole, only those responsible for it really know what goes in it.” Anon.

Singing has a wide range of physical benefits, relieves stress and even helps you sleep better.  For years, scientists have been studying the therapeutic effects of music.  Even the simple act of listening to music has been shown to reduce anxiety, such as during a hospital stay.  Yet, research shows that actively participating in music by singing has even bigger health rewards.

Singing can be a form of aerobic exercise.  As you breathe in and out, you increase your lung capacity and strengthen your diaphragm and abdominal muscles.  Singing also improves posture and coordination, which lowers the risk of falls.

Your body releases endorphins when you sing, which not only reduces stress, but also relieves physical pain.

Circulation is stimulated and antibodies that boost the immune system increase when singing.  Even though you may not feel like singing when you have a cold, the act can clear your sinuses.  Regular singing protects your vocal cords as well.

Additional significant benefits for seniors have been found when singing.  Singing stimulates the brain, enhances memory function, concentration, alertness and speech.  Music is commonly used to encourage reminiscing; a familiar song can bring back memories and spark conversations about the past.

No matter what you sound like, singing is good for you!

Both looking and feeling young, starts with healthy skin.  There are many foods containing anti-aging properties which are both easy and delicious.

Avocado:  Moisturizing vitamin E is abundant in the Avocado. It protects against harmful ultraviolet rays and reduced free radicals which are the particles in the skin that damages skin cells.

Carrots:  There is more than crunch to this vegetable.  It is an excellent source of vitamin A which promotes cell growth and is good for your skin.

Salmon:  The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon and other fatty fish, such as tuna and sardines, can repress the growth of tumors, protecting you from skin cancer.  The fatty acids reduce dryness and keeps skin smooth and soft.

Strawberries:  Ellagic acid, found in strawberries, is believed to promote skin elasticity and fight sagging.  It also contains high amounts of vitamin c which is known to ward off wrinkles and dry skin.

Tomatoes:  High levels of lycopene found in tomatoes promotes smoother skin and protects against sunburn.

Soy:   Tofu, edamame and soy milk are abundant in isoflavones, which helps prevent collagen breakdown, causing firmer skin and fewer wrinkles.

With heart disease being the number one cause of death in America, it’s important to educate yourself about the choices you make to protect your heart health.

1. Heart disease is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.

2. Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease and can cause a heart attack, heart failure and arrhythmia.

3.  To prevent heart disease, it is crucial to maintain a healthy weight and get enough exercise.

4.  Important items to manage include: limiting alcohol usage, not smoking, managing blood pressure and maintaining low cholesterol.

5.  People of all ages are affected by heart disease, yet the risk increases as you grow older. Be aware of heart attack signs and carefully follow instructions regarding any medications.

6.  Diet is a major component in the prevention of heart disease.  Fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, whole grains and limiting sodium helps maintain low blood pressure and cholesterol.  It also contributes to weight loss.

Holiday Gifts Ideas for Residents:  Think small, sentimental or inexpensive…

Time is the best gift you can give.  Your visit doesn’t need to be long. The resident needs to feel loved.

Small photo album… revolving around family. Don’t forget to label who each person is in the picture.

Put money into their accounts so they can buy snacks from vending machines if they are craving something.

Hair gift certificates.  Residents can get their hair cut or styled at Maplewood.  Put money into his/her account, then give them a card letting them know a hair cut or style is waiting for them.

Life sized baby dolls and stuffed animals, especially with accessories such as outfits and baby bottles.  (These can be purchased at thrift stores.)

Books.  Large print is often appreciated.

Digital picture frame.  Fill it with pictures of family.  Don’t be afraid to use old photos.

 

Assortment of greeting cards.  Include a book of stamps.  Offer to help write a special note and address envelopes.

Mail them something.  Everyone loves to get mail.  Send a quick note.

 

Make brag books of their children, grandchildren, etc. that they can show other residents & staff.

Make a family calendar marking special days.

Fresh flowers or plants… then don’t need to be expensive arrangements.  They can be wildflowers in any container.

Lip balm, hand cream, nail polish or hair clips.

 

 

 

There is a special kind of joy a pet can bring to your life.  Studies have shown that  interacting with animals improves health and longevity.  These studies show both psychological and physiological benefits of pet therapy, especially to the senior population.

Interacting with animals decreases blood pressure, encourages exercise and reduces anxiety and depression.   Dogs and cats are pets that are know to bring joy; however, birds, fish and other small pets also reduce loneliness and encourage healthy behaviors.

A study at Purdue University determined that Alzheimer’s patients eat more nutritious foods when aquariums were added to their dining room.  Italian research found an increased quality of life and fewer cases of depression among seniors who had been around canaries as opposed to those who had no pets.

Laughter is also something you should do to reduce blood pressure.  Being able to enjoy and laugh about the little things a pet does is therapeutic.