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.

When your heart pumps blood throughout your body, the force of the blood against the walls of your arteries is called blood pressure.  High blood pressure, or hypertension, is dangerous because that means more strain is being placed on your arteries and the heart.

The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it measured.  Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is written as one number “over” another number.

The top numbers is the systolic blood pressure, the highest level your blood reaches (while your heart is beating).  The bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure, the lowest level your blood pressure reaches (while your heart relaxes between beats).

A blood pressure reading of 120/80 or below is considered normal.  Readings above these numbers fall into the categories of prehypertension, stage 1 hypertension and stage 2 hypertension.

Several factors can lead to hypertension, including age, family history, stress and being overweight.

High blood pressure can be lowered by lifestyle changes and medication.  Your health care provider will be able to discuss treatment options.

Maplewood and AARP have teamed together and will be providing a Driver Safety program on Thursday, November 7, 2013, 8 a.m. – noon at Maplewood, 245 Sycamore St., Sauk City.  As the name implies, the class will help you become a safer driver and is geared toward seniors. 

In the four hour course, you will learn: 

  • To manage dangerous blind spots.
  • Proper following distance behind another car
  • Safe ways to change lanes and make turns at busy intersections.
  • Proper use of safety belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes.
  • How to manage the effects of aging on driving.
  • How to eliminate distractions while driving.
  • Effects of medications on driving.

The public is invited to attend.  Registration is required. Call 608-643-3383 to RSVP.  The cost is $12 for AARP members, $14 for non-members.  Pay by check the day of the class. Participation may earn you an insurance discount, check with your insurance carrier.

As a recap to freshen driving skills keep these 10 vision tips in mind for a safe journey: 

1. Keep your eyeglass prescription up-to-date, and to wear them during your daytime or nighttime driving.

2. When driving in sunlight, wear your prescription sunglasses or good quality sunglasses. Avoid buying cars with tinted windows, they may hamper your vision night or on an overcast day.

3. Move your eyes frequently from the road checking rearview and side mirrors, as well as the instrument panel while you are driving. By turning your head with your eyes, this will help you to see any activity on the sides of your car.

4. When choosing eyeglasses or sunglasses avoid wide rims and brackets that may block or distract you.  Instead choose frames with narrow side pieces at the temples.

5. Adjust the seat so you can see the road, not just the dashboard. If your seat can’t be adjusted use a pillow or some other type of support to properly position you.

6. Remember to wash both the inside and outside of the windows and windshield; also make sure your mirrors, headlights and taillights are clean and working.

7. If you have difficulty seeing in low-light situations, avoid driving at night and in bad weather.

8. Never wear tinted glasses or sunglasses at dusk or at night.

9. If driving conditions seem difficult, minimize your distractions by turning off the radio, avoiding discussions with passengers and refraining from cell phone use. Keep the temperature inside the car comfortable.

10. As with any age:  Do not drink and drive.   Always wear your seat belt. Check your prescriptions and over-the-counter medications that could affect your driving vision and alertness.