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Achieving Optimum Senior Health

Achieving Optimum Senior Health
We don’t get to pick our parents. We can and do choose our habits that can lead to well-being and good health.
Most of us come into the new year with thoughts and intentions for positive change. Some actually make resolutions—usually regarding weight loss, smoking cessation, or some other health-related habit. Sadly by February a number of “resolvers” have abandoned their efforts and returned to previous habits. Perhaps that is why the American Heart association, the Heart and Stroke Association of Canada, and several other consumer health organizations emphasize heart health during February.
Practicing the 10 steps to Whole-Person Wellness shown here is a way to approach positive change from a different perspective. Rather than focusing on the bad habits, the 10 steps emphasize replacing unhealthy activities with those that will improve all six dimensions of wellness: emotional, spiritual, physical, vocational, social, and intellectual.
One of the highlights about this specific list of health practices is that the list benefits the brain as well as the heart. The research on neurogenesis (growth of new brain cells and neurons in the hippocampus and other learning centers in the brain) is most compelling. We now know the benefits of specific cognitive-enhancement activities that promote brain-cell generation and stave off the onset of dementia. “Older adults can make new connections and rewire their brains,” states Robert Winningham, PhD, associate professor of Psychology at Western Oregon University and geriatric wellness instructor who certified Touchmark staff in 2008.
The circular benefits that flow from a good diet, exercise, and social lifestyle choices support the “use it or lose it” theory that has been known to researchers for decades. Improved physical and cognitive well-being is as dependent on lifestyle choices as on genetics. We don’t get to pick our parents. We can and do choose our habits that can lead to well-being and good health.
At Touchmark, we offer a range of opportunities to participate in physical activity, cognitive enhancement programming, and social events through our Life Enrichment/Wellness programs. The notion of a new year, new you does not need to end in February. Make a commitment to positive health changes today.
10 steps to whole-person wellness
  1. Each day, participate in stimulating brain activities, such as reading the newspaper and solving puzzles.
  2. Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, as the antioxidants can decrease damage to cells.
  3. Get at least seven or eight hours of sleep each day, even if it requires a nap.
  4. Manage stress levels.
  5. Maintain social relationships and engage in social activities.
  6. Exercise 30 minutes a day, using a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training.
  7. Eat fish containing omega-fatty acids at least twice a week, as the omega-3s are good for the brain, mood, and memory ability.
  8. Try to learn something new every day.
  9. Continue to give back to your community and the causes you hold dear.
  10. Nurture your spiritual self.
Dr. Marge’s Smoothie Recipe
Follow Marge’s example. Drink this beverage early in the morning to get a head start on eating five to eight servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day as well as some of your daily calcium and protein requirements.
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
    (Any yogurt that contains acidophilus and other live culture growth will work, including soy or other nondairy options.)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or berries of choice
    (Using two types of berries makes the drink even more tasty and nutritious.)
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and diced
  • 4 oz. orange juice
    (preferably not from concentrate) or 4 oz. combined cranberry and orange juice
Mix everything with a hand blender or food processor. Double the recipe to share with a friend or family member.