(NewsUSA) - Joanne C. was 74 when she had a stroke two years ago that left her paralyzed on the entire right side of her body. She refused to
accept that she'd end up in a wheelchair and began rehabilitation, determined to get her life and
body back to where it was before her stroke.
Joanne's hard work paid off. She has regained much of her strength and movement and
can walk again. In large part, she credits her SilverSneakers exercise classes - offered through
her HumanaChoice® PPO, a Medicare Advantage preferred provider organization (PPO) health plan - as key to her successful recovery.
Being a SilverSneakers member helped keep Joanne in good physical condition before
her stroke. "SilverSneakers helped me be familiar with many of the exercises they had me do in
physical therapy and gave me the confidence and strength to persevere through a difficult rehab
process," Joanne says.
Numerous studies, including Tivity Health's SilverSneakers Annual Member Survey of 2016,
confirm that exercising, especially with others, improves older adults' physical and mental
However, there are challenges that prevent many Medicare beneficiaries from joining gyms and
By offering SilverSneakers through its Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, Humana is
working to overcome those barriers so more people with Medicare can benefit from
For those on a fixed income, joining a gym can be expensive. SilverSneakers
provides gym access at no additional cost to many of Humana's MA members across the country,
including those in Florida and Texas. SilverSneakers has partnered with almost 14,000 fitness and
wellness centers around the U.S. and, with national reciprocity, SilverSneakers members can go to
any one of those facilities.
The program is designed with the Medicare population in mind and taught by
certified instructors who offer classes and modifications for all fitness levels. These instructors
are specifically trained to help members avoid stress-related injuries to muscles and
There's also a wide variety of classes offered, including circuit training, yoga,
Latin dance and even an outdoor boot camp. SilverSneakers members also have access to all of a
facility's amenities, which can include a range of exercise equipment, weight rooms and swimming
"According to Tivity Health's annual survey, SilverSneakers has made a significant
difference in the lives of many of our Medicare Advantage members, not only in their physical
health, but also in their social life," says Lauri Kalanges, M.D., Humana's Medical Director
of Medicare Products for the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Tivity Health's Annual Member Survey of 2016 found that 91 percent of SilverSneakers
participants reported an improved quality of life. SilverSneakers has had a substantial impact on
the health of its participants, reducing hospitalizations and the risk of depression.3
For more information about SilverSneakers, go to www.silversneakers.com.
Humana is a Medicare
Advantage HMO, PPO and PFFS organization with a Medicare Contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan
depends on contract renewal. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact
the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments and restrictions may apply. Benefits may
change each year. SilverSneakers is not offered on all Humana MA plans in all areas.
(NewsUSA) - Many people assume that it is a normal part of the
aging process, but no one should resign themselves to foot pain.
According to the The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), some foot problems
are hereditary, but many others result from cumulative neglect and abuse. Gaining weight can affect
bone and ligament structure. In fact, women suffer four times more foot problems than men, and a
lifetime of wearing high heels can leave a painful legacy.
Normal wear and tear alters foot structure. With age and use, feet spread and lose
cushioning. According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, one-sixth of nursing home
patients need assistance to walk, while another one-fourth cannot walk. Seeking professional
treatment for foot pain can help senior citizens enjoy a higher quality of life, not to mention
increased mobility and independence.
"Foot pain can limit a senior citizen's ability to participate in social
activities or work," said Dr. Ross Taubman, president of the APMA. "Even worse, foot problems can
lead to debilitating knee, hip and lower back pain."
Podiatric physicians serve in foot clinics, nursing homes and hospitals across the
country, where they help keep older patients on their feet. The APMA offers these tips to older
Americans hoping to walk pain-free:
-Remeasure your feet every time you buy new shoes. Feet expand with age, so you
can't assume that your shoe size will remain constant. Shop for shoes in the afternoon -; feet
swell through the day.
-Keep walking. Feet strengthen with exercise, and walking is the best exercise for your
-Choose your legwear carefully. Don't wear stockings with seams. Never wear constricting
garters or tie your stockings in knots.
-Bathe your feet daily in lukewarm water. Use a mild soap that contains moisturizers.
After washing your feet, pat them dry and massage them with lotion. Inspect your feet for redness,
swelling and cracks or sores, which require a doctor's attention. Do not cut off corns, and only
trim nails straight across.
-See a podiatrist at least once a year. For more information, visit APMA's Web site at
(StatePoint) Nearly 25 million Americans experience daily physical discomfort, according to the National Institutes of Health, which can affect mood, mobility and quality of life.
While the reasons for discomfort vary, the way it is experienced doesn’t -- peripheral nerves are responsible for delivering sensory information, such as itch, temperature change and physical pressure to the brain.
With this in mind, experts are identifying new ways to promote nerve health and comfort by inhibiting inflammatory compounds in nerve cells, and at the same time, encouraging healthy neurotransmitter levels in the brain.
They have discovered that a fatty acid called palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), produced naturally by the body as part of a healthy inflammatory and immune response, inhibits the secretion of inflammatory compounds from mast cells, a type of white blood cell. As we age, our number of mast cells decreases, causing our remaining mast cells to work harder. That can make them overly sensitive, activating inflammatory processes linked to nerve discomfort.
“By inhibiting inflammatory compounds released by mast cells, PEA promotes the body’s natural response to uncomfortable nerve stimuli at the cellular level,” says Michael A. Smith, M.D., senior health scientist and spokesperson for Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Life Extension.
Smith points out that it is now possible to take PEA in supplement form. One option is Life Extension’s ComfortMAX, a dual-action nerve support supplement which contains both PEA as well as Honokiol, a naturally occurring lignan compound derived from magnolia that is shown to support “calming” receptors in the brain, known as GABA receptors, which affect the way the brain perceives discomfort.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, however, many experts believe they can be effective in pain management. More information can be found at www.lecomfortmax.com.
“It’s only natural to think topically or locally when we wish to inhibit discomfort. However, taking in the bigger picture could mean more effective relief,” says Dr. Smith.
(Family Features) Staying healthy can be a challenge, especially for those living with diabetes. Everyone can have conflicts finding the right balance of partaking in healthy habits, such as exercise, eating well and even keeping your teeth and gums clean. From stress to self-care, life can be up and down when you’re living with diabetes.
These seven tips from Dr. Natalie Strand, the winner of season 17 of “The Amazing Race” who lives with diabetes herself, can help you stay healthy and lead a balanced life while managing your diabetes.
Communicate with your care team. Make sure you connect with your nurse educator, endocrinologist and dietician. Reach out to them with your questions as they can often help you implement subtle changes to avoid completely overhauling your lifestyle and routine because of diabetes.
Get involved. Get a local group together to fundraise, vent or just understand each other. Groups such as Diabetes Sisters, JDRF, TuDiabetes and BeyondType1 offer ways to connect with others living with diabetes in person or on social media. Connecting with the diabetes community can be a powerful way to help ease the burden of living with diabetes.
Keep doing what you love. Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you have to give up doing what you love. Make efforts to continue sports, travel and other hobbies, even if there is a learning curve to adapting with diabetes at first.
Maintain good oral health. People living with diabetes are two times more likely to develop gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Colgate Total toothpaste is FDA-approved to help reverse and prevent gingivitis, an early form of gum disease.
Get into a routine. Find a routine that works and stick with it. This way you don’t have to make new decisions each day. Anything that can ease the mental burden of diabetes can help. For example, pick a time each year for your annual visits: eye doctor, endocrinologist, renew prescriptions, etc. Picking the same time of year every year can help ensure you don’t forget to take care of yourself.
Make self-care a priority. It can be hard to keep diabetes care in the forefront. It can be boring, exhausting and also fade into the background. Remind yourself that one of the best things you can do for yourself, and for your loved ones, is stay healthy. Use your family as motivation to exercise daily, eat better-for-you foods and maintain a healthy weight.
Manage stress. Diabetes can be a big stressor. Add jobs, kids, relationships and it can become overwhelming. Find an easy and effective tool for stress relief and do it often. Even 5-10 minutes of guided meditation daily can have a big impact on stress management.
For more information and ways to lead a balanced life with diabetes, visit OralHealthandDiabetes.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
(Family Features) Furry friends can play a significant role in pet owners’ lives. The old saying goes, “dogs are man’s best friend,” and research shows they may be more than that. In fact, they just might be the key to keeping seniors active.
According to a study conducted by the University of Lincoln and Glasgow Caledonian University in collaboration with Mars Petcare Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, dog owners 65 and older were found to walk over 20 minutes more a day than seniors who did not have canine companions at home.
The study documented three key conclusions:
“Older adult dog owners are more active than those without dogs and are also more likely to meet government recommendations for daily physical activity,” said Nancy Gee, human animal interaction researcher at Waltham. “We are learning more every day about the important roles pets play in our lives, so it’s no surprise that pets are now in more than 84 million households. It’s great to recognize how pets can help improve seniors’ lives.”
Walking with your pup can help both the pet and owner get in shape. Pets can keep older adults active and even help them meet the recommended public health guidelines for weekly physical activity. According to the study, on average, dog owners more often participated in 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity and achieved 2,760 additional steps.
However, the benefits of pet ownership go beyond physical activity. It’s no secret that pets provide companionship. From reducing rates of stress, depression and feelings of social isolation, pets can play a significant role in improving people’s lives, which ultimately can make pet owners happier and healthier.
Not only do pets serve as companions in their own right, studies have shown that dog owners can get to know their neighbors through their pets. Pets can even help facilitate the initial meeting and conversation, which may come as no surprise for many dog owners who have chatted with others while walking their dogs. For older adults who live alone or in a group facility, having a pet is also a great way to build relationships with others.
As senior citizens are celebrated on upcoming days that acknowledge older adults, it turns out living with a pet can be a healthy choice for seniors in more ways than one.
For more information on the benefits of pet ownership, visit bettercitiesforpets.com.
Photo courtesy of Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com
(NAPS) - As cheerful and joyous as the New Year can be, it can also be a trigger for stress and depression for some people—but there is hope. There are many resources for people who feel wrung out ringing in the New Year.
For example, Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) can help. MFTs are licensed mental health professionals who work with individuals, couples (married or not), families of all types, and groups to cure or relieve mental, emotional and relational concerns of all kinds.
How To Recognize Depression
To help you tell if you or someone you care about is suffering from depression, the experts at the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) offer these warning signs:
• Feeling sad and/or irritable
• Changes in weight or appetite
• Difficulty sleeping
• Feelings of guilt, hopelessness or worthlessness
• Inability to concentrate, remember things or make decisions
• Thoughts of death or suicide.
How To Handle Depression
If these symptoms look familiar, here are some things to do right now:
• Recognize depression early. Depression can happen to anyone. It’s not a character defect, a weakness or a shameful condition. It’s a serious disorder that no one is immune to.
• Engage in your life. If you are depressed, you may feel like you don’t have an ounce of energy or motivation to tackle depression. Recovery, however, requires your active participation. Be willing to take the first step, even though it’s not easy.
• Build your skills. Learn why you’re vulnerable to depression and specific ways to become more resilient by breaking unhealthy patterns of thought and behavior. Developing good coping and relationship skills can reduce both the frequency and severity of depression episodes.
• Find the right therapist. Talking through one’s stressors and understanding the underlying causes is a proven way to effectively treat depression. Look for therapists with training and experience in treating depression, as well as someone who is warm, supportive and goal oriented. Use short telephone interviews to find a good fit with potential therapists. Ask about how they approach problems like yours.
• Be optimistic. You have every reason to believe you can get better with effective treatment. While anti-depressants are not a cure, they can be very helpful to some people in managing depression. Whether or not you choose to use medicine to manage your symptoms, therapy can give you the long-term skills you need to live a productive, fulfilling life.
How To Learn More
For further information about how to find a therapist, visit www.CounselingCalifornia.com.
Fair Oaks, CA (MPG) - Who says shopping for things such as compression socks, knee braces, walkers, canes or crutches has to feel clinical and impersonal?
Vanesa and Kevin Grenyion, the husband and wife owners of HealthQuest in Fair Oaks, have done everything possible to make the experience of shopping for medical equipment and supplies a much kinder, gentler one. In short, they hope to turn the industry on its head by providing a fresh approach to the physical space in which these products are sold, supported by a suite of services that include educational seminars, custom fittings, and an emphasis on “wellness,” as well as recovery.
“Two things were very important to me when I was researching the plans for opening the store,” says Vanessa. “First, I wanted to make sure that we treat every single person who walks through those doors like a human being, not a dollar sign. Second, I wanted the space to feel open, warm and well lit, so that the experience for everyone was pleasant and not so clinical.”
HealthQuest, which will be celebrating its first year in business July 18, offers a vast, top-of-the-line inventory of pain management, diabetes support, bath and safety accessories including walk-in tubs and raised toilet seats, scooters, walkers and rollators, a large selection of lift chairs, orthopedic braces, high-quality closed shoes and sandals for men and women, facial and “beauty” products, even a mothering section that includes breast pumps and pregnancy aids.
Rather than stuffing these items onto metal shelves in a crowded space where volume overshadows service, Vanessa and Kevin, both trained pharmacists who, by the way, met in pharmacy school in Massachusetts, have created something more akin to boutique for medical supplies, with categories of products grouped into their own “departments,” each designated with bright, painted signage, soft wood wall décor and inviting displays that strip the sterile right out of the experience.
“We want the experience of shopping in our store to be calming and supportive,” says Kevin, an air force veteran who still works as a pharmacist at Mather Air Force Base while sharing responsibilities for managing the new business. Vanessa, the face of HealthQuest, says she and Kevin considered opening their own private pharmacy, but competition from chain stores, as well as concerns about being targeted by thieves put that idea to bed. Instead, the couple, both born and raised in Jamaica, decided to parlay their experience in the pharmacological field with a strong interest in serving others through wellness and health services.
With the help of a VA loan, the couple were able to invest roughly $200,000 into their new venture. The first year has had some challenges, but with any small business, marketing has been key. Vanessa has spent the last year nurturing relationships with home-health care providers, assisted living facilities, pharmacies, chiropractors, physical therapists and other ancillary businesses to ramp up visibility for the new store and exposure to service providers who, like Kevin and Vanessa, want a better experience for their clients and patients.
“We have worked hard this last year to build relationships in the community, to let people know we are here and it is starting to come through for us,” Vanessa said. “This last month alone was a really strong indicator of how things are beginning to really start to shift into gear.”
The store also has partnered with at least two elder care organizations, the Older Adult Collaborative (OAC) and the Elder Society Network (ESN) to provide on-site seminars and workshops at facilities across the community to educate both care providers and the patients themselves.
“We think of ourselves as a resource center, as well as a retail store,” says Vanessa. “This is a business that relies on the needs of those in care facilities and the caretakers themselves, but it’s also here for anyone who wants a more personal experience shopping for items for themselves or their loved ones, or those in their care.”
The store offers senior discounts of 10% every Monday, as well as loyalty customer discounts of 5% off all purchases of regularly priced items.
In recognition of its first year in business, the store will be having an open-house from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 18. All are invited.