8 Ways Sleep Affects Health as We Age

8 Ways Sleep Affects Health as We Age

Research is increasingly finding that sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise to our daily health. In fact, it could be the most important of all. Humans, like all animals, must sleep. Sleep is a time when our brain consolidates memories, processes psychological stressors, rejuvenates cells, repairs tissues and the entire body rests to prepare for the activity of the next day.

Depending on age, adults require six to eight hours of sleep each night. Getting less than that can cause sleep deprivation that negatively affects our ability to function the next day. Prolonged sleep deprivation leads to a breakdown in bodily and cognitive functions. As we age, the effects of chronic sleep deprivation compound and cause a host of issues.

Obesity

Many studies have linked insufficient sleep with weight gain. Even babies that sleep poorly are more likely to develop obesity in later childhood.

Diabetes

The body requires deep sleep to control blood sugars. Sleeping fewer than five hours nightly is associated with Type 2 diabetes, which can be reversed simply by increasing nightly sleep.

High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease

There is growing evidence of a causal connection between insufficient sleep and a host of heart issues, including stroke and coronary artery disease.

Immune Function

Our immune systems need to recharge nightly for the daily fight against invaders, so it is no surprise that a lack of sleep reduces the body’s ability to fend off infections. In one recent study, individuals who regularly received long, restful sleep were three times less likely to come down with the common cold than those who had just a little less sleep.

Chronic sleep deprivation results in an overall reduction in physical health.

Mental Health

Because sleep helps us feel better physically and process the stresses of ordinary life, going without restorative slumber can have serious negative effects over the long run. People with insomnia are five times more likely to suffer depression, which can interfere with sleep in a vicious cycle. Depression is often treated by addressing sleep issues.

Clear Thinking

Many famous accidents — Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown, Exxon Valdez oil spill, numerous medical mistakes — are at least partly attributed to sleep deprivation in the individuals responsible. Because sleep helps our brains categorize and store information, learning and remembering depend on restful sleep.

A Litany of Other Health Issues

Lacking sleep, our bodies release the stress hormone cortisol, which ages our skin. You’re most familiar with that in the form of bags under the eyes. Sleep deprivation also interferes with our sex drive, which is already declining as we age.

Length of Life

Multiple studies show that people who sleep an average of five hours or fewer die 10-12 years earlier than those who get the recommended minimum of six hours.

Most of these issues add up over our time, causing the chronically sleep-impaired among us to look and feel old earlier in life. Much of the physical and mental breakdown we experience as seniors comes from a lifetime of trading sleep for an extra hour of activity.

Nye Health Services offers seven communities in Eastern Nebraska and Wyoming, structured to meet the needs of their residents from independent living to skilled nursing and memory care. A family-owned company with a rich history of connecting with the people they serve, Nye Health Services is open for visits anytime.

Nye Health Services  ·  2230 North Somers Avenue  ·  Fremont, Nebraska 68025  ·  402.753.1400  ·  Privacy Policy

6 Ways to Improve your Quality of Life as you Age

6 Ways to Improve your Quality of Life as you Age

If we’re lucky, we will all get old. But if we’re smart, we can affect the shape of that experience. Let’s consider six things we can do to maximize our enjoyment in our later years.

Take Control of Physical Health

Our bodies will break down as we age to one degree or another, but there is plenty we can do to slow that decline. Eating right, as early in life as possible, is a first step towards healthy aging.

Metabolism slows the ability to taste, smell declines and the body may process food differently. That’s no excuse for skipping meals, over-eating or consuming junk. A balanced, nutritious diet, high in vegetables, fruits and nuts, and low in bad fats and processed foods, is the first line of defense against the breakdown of the body.

Second is physical activity. Aging may reduce the ability to bench press heavy weights or play competitive tennis, but lifelong exercise is vital for remaining healthy. The best exercise is the one you do, so whatever you like, do that. For older people, exercise in the water have the added benefit of using buoyancy to relieve stress on joints and prevent falls.

Many senior living communities facilitate this lifestyle by providing daily exercise classes, pools and instructor-led activities like yoga, water aerobics and tai chi.

Exercise the Mind

Exercising the brain is just as critical as exercising the rest of the body. Reading books, engaging in stimulating discussions, constantly learning and problem solving are great ways to keep the mind sharp in our 70s, 80s and beyond.

Many senior living communities offer classes, interesting speakers and presentations, book clubs and other activities that are fun to attend and stave off cognitive decline.

Keeping busy with hobbies is also good for brain cells. Whether you bird watch, collect stamps, study a period in history or engage in some other activity that pleases you, continuing that will make you happy and keep you mentally keen.

Keep the Social Bonds Strong

Research shows that multiple, meaningful relationships keep us happy and healthy. Humans are social animals at every age who need other people in their lives. It’s particularly important to stay connected to others as protection against the loneliness and depression that plague so many elderly people. As we inevitably suffer loss in our lives, it becomes more critical to have a social network providing support.

An Attitude of Gratitude

The world, like the bodies of older people, is always changing. As they age, people can insulate themselves from the outside world or accept what is new, learn how to deal with it, and roll with the punches. The more adaptable we are as we age, the better we cope with the changing conditions in our lives. Embracing each day as a new opportunity to learn, grow and meet new people, and being thankful for everything we have, has been demonstrated to keep us happier and healthier.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Our bodies need deep, refreshing sleep each night to recharge the cells. Older people often require less sleep because they are less physically active, but sleep is still a critical bodily function. If you’re fatigued or falling asleep during the day, you probably need more sleep at night.

Laugh!

Research shows that laughter truly is the best medicine. Aging with a sense of humor reinforces all the good habits listed above.

Nye Health Services offers seven communities in Eastern Nebraska and Wyoming, structured to meet the needs of their residents from independent living to skilled nursing and memory care. A family-owned company with a rich history of connecting with the people they serve, Nye Health Services is open for visits anytime. Call 402.753.1400 to schedule an appointment at locations in Fremont, Lincoln, South Sioux City, Norfolk, or Jackson Hole, or visit NyeHealthServices.com for more information.

Nye Health Services  ·  2230 North Somers Avenue  ·  Fremont, Nebraska 68025  ·  402.753.1400  ·  Privacy Policy

Legacy Lodge Legend: Doris Budge

Legacy Lodge Legend: Doris Budge

Doris Budge

Take heed Legacy folks! Have you heard about the largest fish caught in Wyoming in 1983? We should all know, for it was caught by our good friend and neighbor Doris Budge.

However, Doris and her family have a role in the history of this area that goes far beyond fishing. Doris’s father was a Wilson, part of a family that moved here from Utah when this area was just being settled. As you may have guessed, the town of Wilson was founded by one of her ancestors and the very land where we now live was owned by a Wilson, whose brother rode for the pony express. Doris’s father had an important role in building the road to Hoback and on through the canyon using horse-drawn equipment.

Doris was born in Jackson on a New Year’s Day and a few years later, started to school here. However, because her heavy equipment operator father often had jobs in other Wyoming places, she also attended school in Dubois and other towns. She had two younger siblings and one of them, her brother, helped develop the Rafter J subdivision.

In high school, Doris played basketball and was courted by Clint Budge, whom she married in a wedding at her family home, a house around the corner from the current Maverick Station.

Clint played hockey in Idaho Falls and once, on their way home, they got stuck in Rexburg by a big snowstorm. They spent days there along with several other people. They all got together and tramped down the snow at the airport by foot. A plane was able to land and brought them back across the mountains to Jackson. Here it landed on a field where The Virginian now stands!

Doris and Clint both worked—Doris worked at a restaurant, drove a truck for her Dad or husband, delivered for a local dry cleaner, became a specialist in cleaning silk wedding dresses, and developed management skills which helped her when she worked at a lumber company where she did nearly everything, as needed. Like Doris, Clint had a variety of skills. He was also a volunteer fireman. Life changed for them with a fire in the Wort Hotel in 1980. Clint was seriously burned on both hands and legs while helping fight the fire and save the hotel.

Clint could not stand the cold on his hands after that, so they bought a motor home and traveled to Havasu City, Arizona. They had a house built there which they enjoyed for many years. Sadly, Doris was widowed early.

At some point Doris developed significant artistic ability (see pictures). Now Doris continues to enjoy her many friends, as well as her children and grandchildren. A handmade wooden plaque on her wall reads, “GREATEST GRANDMOTHER AWARD, to say thanks for all the time, love, cookies and juice you’ve invested in us.”

Interviewed and written by Jeanie Mebane

Nye Health Services  ·  2230 North Somers Avenue  ·  Fremont, Nebraska 68025  ·  402.753.1400  ·  Privacy Policy

6 Things to Expect from Senior Living in the Future

6 Things to Expect from Senior Living in the Future

If 70 is the new 50, then it’s not unusual to find 70-year-olds today acting the way their parents or grandparents acted at 50. That’s walking paths and gourmet kitchens, not shuffleboard and bingo.

These more independent-minded seniors will drive the way senior living looks in the next two decades. They are demanding more active-lifestyle communities, more options to meet the routines to which they’ve become accustomed, and more access to the shrinking world.

Of course, no future is complete without…the future. Smart homes, artificial intelligence and other new technologies will make much of this possible.

Consider six elements of senior living of the future:

1. The Continuum of Care Community

Older people are less apt to move than any other age cohort, but as they age, their needs may change. Continuum of care communities are becoming more popular every year because they offer seniors the opportunity to live the rest of their lives around people their age in one community, whether they are completely independent, require some assistance, or need skilled nursing care. These communities provide a host of options for active, independent seniors.

2. The Merger of Senior Living and Health Care

As more senior living communities offer health care services, the two industries are developing more partnerships, blurring the lines between the two. Aging Americans will be less likely to leave their homes to live in nursing homes than they will be to live in communities with skilled nursing care.

3. A Focus on Healthy Living

Wellness and lifelong learning are becoming the lynch-pin of many senior living communities, as seniors seek ways to maintain good physical and mental health, and continue stimulating their minds. Senior communities are increasingly offering a wide variety of opportunities to exercise mind, body and soul in much the same way other age adults do. In with water aerobics, Pilates and astronomy courses; out with mahjong, chair exercises and scam avoidance courses.

4. VR, AI and ‘Smart’ Everything

People retiring today have spent most of their careers working with computers and are not afraid of the virtual world. Expect to see them embracing the excitement of virtual reality entertainment and the convenience of artificial intelligence in their senior living communities. Roombas already clean rooms and smart TVs already connect residents to the internet. Soon enough “smart” utensils will help seniors with their activities of daily living like eating and tooth brushing.

Add to that the advance of smart speakers, which can change home conditions and convey information upon voice command. Expect senior living communities to provide smart home technology and wireless connectivity powering the smart speakers that relieve residents of having to get up to turn on the lights, hear tomorrow’s weather forecast or set the coffee maker.

5. Walkable Communities

An AARP survey found older Americans want their communities to be more pedestrian friendly – and bicycle friendly too. Why? Because today’s senior still walks and bikes.

6. A Place for the Kids and Grandkids

Increasingly, research shows, seniors eschew generational isolation tanks – they want to live in places that are friendly to people of all ages, including children. They’re seeking more common areas and inter-generational programming that attracts younger people too. Remember that today’s 75 year-olds gave us rock and roll, the same music still enjoyed by subsequent generations.

Nye Health Services offers six campus locations in Eastern Nebraska and one in Wyoming, structured to meet the needs of their residents from independent living to skilled nursing, memory care, and now home care services. A family-owned company with a rich history of connecting with the people they serve, Nye Health Services is open for visits anytime. Call 402.753.1400 to schedule an appointment at locations in Fremont, Lincoln, South Sioux City, Norfolk, or Jackson Hole, or visit NyeHealthServices.com for more information.

Legacy Lodge Legend: Marge McCallister

Legacy Lodge Legend: Marge McCallister

Marge McCallister

A native Coloradoan, Marge McCallister is a very interesting, good, and accomplished person with a ready smile. 

Marge grew up on the family farm near Loveland, Colorado, a town a short distance east of the Rocky Mountains. On the farm she helped as needed, including driving a truck when they harvested wheat. In addition to traditional farm crops, they grew tomatoes and other vegetables. Marge even helped earn her way through college, by growing and selling tomatoes from a half acre plot.

Shortly after graduating from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, Marge married and moved to Houston, Texas. They lived there for less than two years before moving to California, where they got a good buy on a lot overlooking the ocean. The lot had previously been owned by the wizard of the film “The Wizard of Oz.”  They had a house built there upon 25’ caissons to stabilize it.

Their location above the water plus the caissons gave them a 180-degree view of the ocean. They enjoyed seeing the ocean with its ever-changing colors created by the sun and clouds. They could look down on birds flying below them, whales, huge ships and more. They lived there for twelve years and it greatly saddened Marge to leave. However, people were moving land below them which caused the hill and their house to be lost in a landslide.

They decided to enjoy a mountain view and bought a lot in a Malibu canyon. Their oldest son, who had gone to California Polytech College, built the new house for them on the site. Again, they had a good view—this time of mountains. Unfortunately, the house burned in last year’s fires.

While living there, Marge began teaching at Pacific Palisades in a preschool especially for children who were the age to enter kindergarten but had been held back a year (called a Gift Year) for various reasons. There was no established curriculum. Marge had to create it and she intentionally made learning fun. The children thrived. They often succeeded far beyond their classmates as they continued through school.

Later, Marge moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, and then to  Huntington Beach, California. before she came to Jackson, Wyoming, where she has lived for nine years.

Mother of four, grandmother of 13, and great grandmother of 4, Marge loves and enjoys her family.

Throughout the years, Marge has been associated with Community Bible Study groups, an international organization. Marge helped organize the first west coast group which was attended by 500 people.

These groups and her own beliefs have helped her through whatever life presents. They continue to do so. She has a life bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.

Interviewed and written by Jeanie Mebane

Nye Health Services  ·  2230 North Somers Avenue  ·  Fremont, Nebraska 68025  ·  402.753.1400  ·  Privacy Policy

6 Ways Technology Can Enhance the Lives of Seniors

6 Ways Technology Can Enhance the Lives of Seniors

For people who grew up with rotary phones, encyclopedia sets and the Sears Roebuck catalog, today’s technology can be disorienting. Many adults – not just seniors – turn up their noses at social media and the ubiquity of phones. 

While technology can be mindless, anti-social and all-consuming, it also confers plenty of benefits on those who use it to improve their lives. In fact, there are numerous technological advancements that can make life easier for seniors.  

Here are six of them: 

1.  Video Chatting 

If the grandkids can’t make it across the country to visit grandma with their new baby, at least they can show their faces using the consumer-friendly technology of video chatting. Skype and Facetime are the best known of the video chatting services, all of which allow video and audio connections between users no matter the distance. It’s not a gimmick; it’s a great advancement of particular value to the elderly who aren’t as mobile. 

2. High-Tech Hearing Aids 

The sound is better and the aesthetics are solved with today’s hearing aids, which can be made so small, thanks to the miniaturization of the electronics, that they’re essentially unnoticeable. Add wireless transmission and you have crystal clear sound. Hearing is easier than ever for today’s seniors. 

3. Personal Emergency Response Systems   

No more yelling that you’ve fallen and can’t get up, like a widely-mocked late night TV commercial. Today’s emergency response systems can be worn inconspicuously on the wrist or on a belt, and alerted with the touch of a button, sending out the exact location of the wearer. Best of all, it’s mobile, so grandpa has backup no matter where he goes. 

4Tablets and E-Readers  

To read a book, seniors with vision issues used to have to travel to the library and take out a large print book, if there was one on the shelves that they wanted to read. Today, they can download books to their tablet or e-reader and adjust the font size to their liking. Although there is a cost, many libraries now lend e-books for free. 

5Medication Management Systems   

These systems remind their owners to take their medications, dispense the proper doses, calculate and report missed doses, store health information and contact pharmacies for refills. Many of them are even HIPPA-compliant. Thanks to the online connectivity of the systems, family members of seniors who have trouble keeping track of their prescriptions no longer have to worry.  

6Smart Watches & Activity Trackers 

Technology makes it easier to ensure you stay active as you age. Most smart watches and activity trackers will track your steps, calories burned during exercise and even your resting and active heart rates. Some higher-end models, such as the Apple Watch, can even help detect irregular heartbeats, which can alert users to a possible heart situation that needs addressed. You can share your daily progress with friends, and even test your loved ones with activity challenges to see who can meet and exceed their fitness goals.  

Technology doesn’t have to be silly and time-wasting. There are plenty of products specifically designed for a better life. 

Nye Health Services  offers seven communities in Eastern Nebraska and Wyoming, structured to meet the needs of their residents from independent living to skilled nursing care. A family-owned company with a rich history of connecting with the people they serve, Nye Health Services is open for visits anytime. Call  402.753.1400 to schedule an appointment at locations in Fremont, Lincoln, South Sioux City,  Norfolk, or  Jackson Hole, or  visit  NyeHealthServices.com  for more information.