Whoever wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” was probably talking about summer. What can beat a long stretch of warm, sunny weather for making the most of each and every day? Birds sing, flowers bloom, and good times are never far away. Yet summer has its dark side as well, especially when the mercury tops 90 degrees or so. Many people find themselves prisoners in their own homes during the long, sweltering stretch of time from June through August.

This ordeal can tax not only your body but your budget as well, forcing you to spend a small fortune on air conditioning just to keep your sanity. If only you could enjoy summer’s joys while keeping its drawbacks at bay. Well, relax. Here are some smart ways to beat the heat.

Hit the Hay

There’s a reason why people in tropical areas take a nap in the middle of the day. Hot weather makes you sleepy, so why not spend those sultry after-lunch hours on a restful trip to slumberland? Research shows that an afternoon nap offers real benefits like increased alertness and higher energy levels.  So follow the example set by our feline friends and enjoy a daily cat nap while following these tips:

  • Take your nap in a favorite armchair or sofa. Retiring to your bedroom may send you into a prolonged period of REM sleep, which can lead to nighttime insomnia.
  • Keep the area where you nap at a comfortable temperature. If you’re rationing the time you use your air conditioning, then consider cranking it up for your siesta break and toning it down after sunset.
  • Eat before napping. Enjoying a nice lunch with sleep-inducing healthy carbs will help you drift off into peaceful repose. Avoid taking sleeping meds that could keep you dozing for too long a time unless you doctor advises otherwise.
  • Set an alarm that will keep from you from sleeping for too long. Else you might find yourself struggling with insomnia after day turns to darkness.

Make Friends with H2O

Water is the body’s default source for staying hydrated and healthy. It offers a healthy alternative to caffeinated beverages, which studies show can cause dehydration when over-consumed. Many people think that a single can of soda or cup of coffee is harmless. But it’s easy to overlook how much of these beverages you ingest when watching TV or surfing the Web. Alcohol is a potent diuretic that can send you on repeated trips to the bathroom in a short period of time. Bottom line: you can’t go wrong by sticking with water. Try adding lemon or cucumber slices, or even a few sprigs of mint, to give plain water a pleasant taste.

Delegate Those Tough Tasks

Be honest, now; do you really, truly enjoy cutting the grass on a steamy summer day? How about walking the dog or toting heavy sacks of groceries? We’re guessing that none of these task rates very high on your list of favorite activities. Besides, all of them can induce heat stress in seniors. Consider paying someone a few bucks to handle these chores. The person doing them benefits from pocketing a little cash and you get to kick back and enjoy life for a change. That’s a win-win for all involved.

Summer’s heat is like the change of seasons: inevitable. But using the tips in this post will help you to keep your cool while making the most of these long, lazy days. So prop up your feet, get a cold drink, and keep your mind on the sunny side of the street.

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The United States is an unhealthy country. In addition to the opioid epidemic we’re struggling with, we are also in the midst of an obesity epidemic. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index of over 30, and according to the American Heart Association, about 78 million adults and 13 million children in the U.S. fit in that category. Between 2007-2010, one-third of all adults aged 65 or older were obese, which is still less than the current national rate of 38 percent. Weight gain is no less a problem for senior citizens than it is for other demographics. Here are some tips and advice on safe and healthy weight loss for seniors.

Eating Right

Heard of the 80:20 rule? It’s the idea that losing weight is 80 percent eating right and 20 percent exercise, which makes sense. Let’s say you run five miles and burn 500 calories. Then you come home and gorge on lasagna and peanut butter muffins. There goes your morning workout in a single sitting. So, eating right is important. The healthiest foods on the planet are generally green – kale, peas, spinach, and artichokes. But to round out your diet, make sure you mix them in with plates of fruits, whole grains, and lean meats such as omega-3 fatty fish. Over time, eating right may save your life, because carrying excessive weight puts people at risk for health conditions like stroke, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and liver and heart disease.


As we age, our health declines. Old injuries flare up, and we’re more susceptible to illness. Some of the most common ailments that seniors face include arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, and, obesity. Fortunately, a regular fitness regimen can help reverse many of those symptoms. Exercise trims our waistline, lowers our blood pressure, and strengthens our bones and joints. Usually, the exercises recommended for seniors are classified as low to moderate intensity. These include yoga, tai chi, walking, water aerobics, or senior sports or fitness classes. Whichever exercise you choose to do, make sure you enjoy it so you’ll look forward to doing it, rather than view it as a chore you have to get through.


This article would be remiss if it didn’t mention one often overlooked weight loss tip – sleep. No, you’re not going to shed pounds dozing on the couch. However, sleep helps regulate our weight because the longer we’re up, the more apt we are to grab a snack or two. Plus, when you’re sleep-deprived, the hormone that controls your fat cells, insulin, gets disrupted, throwing off your metabolism. Older adults (aged 65 and up) are supposed to get in seven to eight hours of sleep each night, so prioritize sleeping. Your days won’t be lively if your slumbers aren’t restful.

Depression in the Elderly

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depression affects only 1 to 5 percent of the general population. Yet, it appears in 13.5 percent of the demographic pools of elderly people who need home healthcare and 11.5 percent in older hospital patients. Some prescriptions for seniors suffering from depression include medication, psychotherapy, joining a support group, or exercising. Maintaining a fitness schedule has been shown to boost one’s mental health. Clinicians consider working out to be a mild to moderate antidepressant. Exercise fights inflammation, promotes neural growth, and releases neurotransmitters such as endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals that make you feel positive and optimistic.

Staying active is just as important to your mental health as it is your physical health. Specifically, it helps you get into that virtuous cycle of losing weight, feeling good about yourself, and being motivated to lose even more weight.

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Perhaps Uncle Richard seems to have one too many at family gatherings, or Grandma Rose is indulging with a bottle of wine more often than she used to. But they’ve lived their lives and have earned time to relax, right? Unfortunately, this sort of mindset is part of why alcohol abuse has become a serious problem among aging Americans. Baby Boomers are abusing alcohol at rates not seen among their parents’ generation, and it’s leading to devastating consequences for today’s senior citizens.

  • Substance abuse affects 17 percent of American adults aged 60 years and older. This includes alcohol and drug abuse as well as dependency on medications. By 2020, this number of seniors with a substance problem is expected to double.
  • 80 percent of seniors who seek substance abuse treatment have a problem with alcohol.
  • 9 percent of seniors over 65 drink more than 4 drinks on any occasion and over 30 drinks per month.
  • Widowers over 75 years old experience the highest rate of alcoholism in the U.S.
  • Seniors are hospitalized for alcohol-related problems as often as heart attacks.

Substance abuse in seniors may be the result of habits carried over from their younger years (early-onset), or it may be a new problem that arises as seniors cope with the challenges of aging (late-onset). Most seniors experiencing alcohol abuse are early-onset drinkers, but about one third start drinking late in life. When they aren’t equipped with social supports and healthy coping mechanisms, seniors may turn to alcohol after the death of a loved one, a disability-causing injury, or post-retirement loneliness.

While drinking to excess is harmful for anyone, it’s especially so for older adults. As people age, their ability to metabolize drugs and alcohol declines, lowing their tolerance and leaving their bodies more susceptible to the harmful effects of substance abuse. For this reason, it’s recommended that adults aged 65 years and older limit themselves to one drink daily and no more than two drinks on any one occasion. If a senior takes prescription or over-the-counter medications, they should be even more cautious: combining alcohol with medication can cause internal bleeding, heart problems, and even death.

Unfortunately, alcohol abuse among seniors often gets overlooked. Family members may mistake the signs of alcoholism for senility or be hesitant to confront an older family member about their drinking habits. People may feel that it’s too late to change an older family member with a drinking problem or worry about causing offense.

However, treatment can help seniors kick their habit, regain a strong mind and body, and enjoy independent living for longer. Seniors who abuse alcohol are more prone to falls, car accidents, and harmful medication interactions. They may experience organ damage, cognitive decline, and a premature death.

Families should monitor older relatives for the signs of substance abuse and encourage them to seek help if their drinking becomes problematic. A senior with a drinking problem may neglect self-care, experience frequent accidents and injuries, show signs of cognitive decline, be irritable, and experience gastrointestinal problems.

Seniors struggling with alcohol abuse can find support in inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, addiction support groups, and therapy. There are even treatment programs designed specifically for adults over 50 to address the specific needs of alcohol-dependent seniors. If a senior drinks to cope with a mental illness such as depression, a treatment plan should include therapy and medication to address the underlying issue. For some older adults, medication to treat alcohol addiction may be the right choice.

Alcohol abuse among the elderly is a serious problem that shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re concerned about the drinking habits of a senior citizen you know, talk to them about their drinking habits, encourage them to access treatment, and offer your support during their journey to recovery.

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Seniors have a harder time than any other age group when it comes to staying active. Not only do seniors face more health problems and mobility issues than other people, but the opportunities to to get exercise that’s built into your schedule diminish as you age. Regular church attendance (and the many auxiliary benefits that come along with it) is a sure-fire way for seniors to get the exercise they need to boost their physical and mental wellbeing.

According to the National Institutes of Health, here are some of the ways that science has shown exercise to be beneficial to seniors: “helps prevent or delay many diseases and disabilities; a treatment for many chronic conditions [including] arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes high blood pressure, balance problems, and difficulty walking; helps manage stress and improve your mood;  reduces feelings of depression; and improves or maintains some aspects of cognitive function.”

Sounds pretty good, right?

Church as obligatory physical activity

The good thing about church is that it forces seniors to get up and get mobile multiple times a week. Between worship services, church outings, and community functions, seniors have set times throughout the week where they must get out of the house and move around.

Church congregations are also the genesis of many other physical activities. Churches may have bowling leagues, gardening clubs, walking clubs, and other sorts of sporting activities. Churches often schedule sightseeing trips for their members.

Another great thing about planning a day or two of the week around church activities is that it’s a catalyst for more physical activity. Once you’re already up and out on a Sunday or Wednesday evening, you’re more likely to participate in other exercise like walking.

Church as easy socialization

When you go to church on a regular basis, you make dozens and dozens of friends seemingly automatically. These friends can help to motivate you in your physical activity by holding you accountable. It’s also easier to exercise with partners, and church friends can provide this support.

Socialization in general is vital to living a long and healthy life. Being social improves brain function, helps to fight off depression, and can stave off the effects of cognitive decline. A healthy brain contributes to a healthy body.

The structure of church can also spill into other parts of your life, making it easier to be disciplined in your physical activity.

“Going to a place of worship gives you a strong sense of community and people that go to church are usually disciplined by the ways of christianity. This also teaches you to have a more disciplined attitude throughout life. Being disciplined can also help you make good life choices.” notes HealthFitnessRevolution.com.

Church as an alternative to bad habits

Nothing makes it harder to maintain physical health than a substance abuse problem. Unfortunately, drug and alcohol abuse can be an even greater problem for seniors than it is for younger adults. Friends and family move away, spouses die, and seniors can feel lonely and depressed. This is a recipe for substance abuse.

“The fact is, although alcohol and drug abuse is harmful at any age, it is never more harmful than on the elderly. The impact of alcohol- and drug-related injuries is much more severe, the risk of harmful medication interactions is much greater, and the general physical effects of alcohol and drugs are more debilitating,” says the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

Church provides not only a positive outlet for seniors, but a built-in support group of individuals who will help to keep their friends in check. The activity the church provides is vital for anyone on a recovery path.

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