Tag Archives: aging parents

Walnuts – A Crucial Factor against Alzheimer’s

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From Alzheimer’s News Today:

A recent study revealed the potential of a walnut-enriched diet to benefit brain-health. The animal study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and details how a diet including walnuts may have positive effects against Alzheimer’s disease by reducing the risk of contracting the disease, delaying the onset, and slowing the progression.

The research was led by Abha Chauhan, PhD, head of the Developmental Neuroscience Laboratory at the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR) and the outcomes are that mice fed with a walnut-enriched diet had substantial improvement in memory, learning skills, motor development, and reduced anxiety.

The high antioxidant portion existent in walnuts (3.7 mmol/ounce) may act as a brain protective factor against the degeneration common in Alzheimer’s disease. Both oxidative stress and inflammation are prominent features in Alzheimer’s disease.

More than 5 million people in the US are affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Tokens of Love: Heartfelt Gifts Ease Senior Loneliness and Isolation

This post originally appeared on the LivHome blog.

More than 40% of adults over 60 feel lonely on a regular basis, and the cost of senior isolation is high: chronic loneliness among older adults is a predictor of functional decline and even death. Unfortunately, in our modern times seniors and their families often live far apart. How do we stay close to older loved ones when we can’t see them every day?

I believe very strongly in the power of thoughtful gifts to ease senior isolation. Gifts are a great way to show love when you’re not able to visit. Don’t know what to get? Here are a few gift guidelines:

  • Keep it simple. Most people over 60 have all the “stuff” they need. Rather than sending large or expensive items, send a few smaller gifts. Things that they can use such as snacks, stationery, and personal care items are always appreciated.
  • Make it pretty. Nicely wrapped presents, no matter what they are, really show that you care.
  • Make it personal. The best part of the gift is the thought behind it. That warm feeling of being loved lasts much longer than the present itself. Personal touches like photos and a note add a great deal to the gift experience.

My own grandparents live thousands of miles away. The best part about sending them gifts is always the phone call that comes when the package arrives, when I can hear the joy in their voices. These experiences inspired me to create a service that helps other people stay close to their older loved ones.

My company Gramsly makes care packages for seniors, and we customize each one based on the intended recipient. I love learning about my customer’s loved ones and and choosing the perfect gifts for them. Every box tells a unique story that I feel privileged to share. One person sent a Gramsly box to celebrate a 99th birthday. Another client sent a box to her grandmother who was unable to attend her upcoming wedding. Gramsly boxes are also sent as “get well” gifts or holiday presents. In all cases, the senior recipients are overjoyed that someone thought enough of them to send a present. Most importantly, the gift giving invariably leads to a heartfelt conversation between the giver and the recipient, bringing them closer together.

Every day Gramsly helps families stay connected. If you’d like to send a gift to someone special, please visit our website for more information.

Meet Mark

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“My history is unique.” This is the first thing Mark says to me when we meet. “Some people say that their own lives are ordinary, but in reality that is never true.”  Mark and his family were European Jews who came to the United States from Belgium.  He grew up speaking French at home, but for the most part his parents wanted to leave their European background behind. “My parents always said they came to America to be Americans. It was deeply impressed upon us that the U.S. was our home.” According to Mark, coming to the U.S. was an “overwhelming experience,” but he embraced his adopted country by learning its history. “I wanted to know especially about the South and the black experience,” he says. “It’s very important.”

Teaching and education have always been important to Mark. “My mother was an extraordinary teacher, and somebody really special. She was a tremendous influence on me.” Mark went to Queens College. He continued his studies after graduating, eventually becoming a physics professor in Indiana. Mark’s former students, now professors themselves, still keep in contact with him.

Married for many years, Mark becomes very emotional when talking about his wife. “[My wife] is an important factor in my life.  She’s a very beautiful woman. An extraordinary woman.” Mark and his wife both love traveling and meeting new people. They once spent a year in Italy, living with a host family as part of an exchange program. “I still remember the family we stayed with. We kept in touch for many years.” These days he doesn’t get to travel very much, but he enjoys music. Although Mark was taught the violin as a child, according to him, “it failed.” He ended up enjoying singing a great deal. Mark tells me his favorite songs are those by the Beatles, and spirituals from the American South. Mark is also a foodie, and enjoys playing games. “When people come to visit, I get out my walker and I play games with them.” 

He decides not to open his Gramsly box right away, instead saving it for later. Among other things, it contains some gourmet snacks and a Domino set to entertain his many guests.

At our last meeting, Mark says he is continuing to enjoy life. “I’m not ready to give up yet,” he says with a big smile. At the end of our chat, he leaves me with a quote: 

“My life has been good, and it’s not over yet!”    


 

This post is part of our Meet a Senior blog series, in which we showcase senior citizens and tell their stories. All of our subjects receive a customized Gramsly box as a thank you for their participation. If you know a senior (including yourself!) that wants to participate, please contact info@gramsly.com.

Alive Inside: Music + Dementia

Music & Memory is a nonprofit that provides personalized music therapy for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia:

Based on neuroscience research, Music & Memory helps set up playlists that trigger deep memories not lost to dementia, enabling patients to” feel like themselves again.” According to their website, the program consistently yields the following results in nursing home patients:

  • Residents are happier and more social.

  • Relationships among staff, residents and family deepen.

  • Everyone benefits from a calmer, more supportive social environment.

  • Staff regain valuable time previously lost to behavior management issues.

  • There is growing evidence that a personalized music program gives professionals one more tool in their effort to reduce reliance on anti-psychotic medications.

For more information, or to donate to the organization, please visit http://musicandmemory.org/.

Meet Harvey

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Harvey and I meet near the activity room at his senior living community, where some residents are playing a game with visiting teens. Their game seems to involve frequent shouting and clapping, so Harvey and I have to lean in close to talk, and we often have to repeat ourselves. 

“This is a very interesting way of talking,” Harvey says. “There are a lot of activities today.”

Born and raised in San Francisco, CA, Harvey is a local celebrity. He was a semi-professional baseball player with the San Francisco Seals, a minor league baseball team that played in the Pacific Coast League until 1957. Harvey’s team has several notable alumni, including Joe DiMaggio and his 2 brothers Dominic and Vince. Harvey tells me that he wasn’t as good as those guys, but he was “pretty good.” He played several positions, including catcher. 

“I just automatically got into it,” Harvey says of playing baseball. “I didn’t consider it a possibility to do anything else.”

 Harvey played baseball all through high school, and transferred to another team after playing for the Seals. After leaving baseball, he became a basketball referee. “I enjoyed baseball, but it wasn’t something I could do all my life. It wasn’t difficult to transfer from one sport to another. I got to meet lots of people, and it was very nice.”

These days, watching sports on television is Harvey’s biggest hobby. He says, “I don’t go outside that much, but there’s a lot to do inside.” Harvey also spends time with his children and grandchildren, and he enjoys playing cards. His Gramsly box contains several snacks, since as he says he “likes to eat everything.” He also gets some handkerchiefs and a deck of cards to play with his friends.

Harvey was described to me as the perfect gentleman, and it’s a very apt label. With the help of his walker, he stands up when I get up to leave. “Thank you for spending time with me,” he says gallantly. We shake hands and agree to meet again soon.


 

This post is part of our Meet a Senior blog series, in which we showcase senior citizens and tell their stories. All of our subjects receive a customized Gramsly box as a thank you for their participation. If you know a senior (including yourself!) that wants to participate, please contact info@gramsly.com.