Articles Posted in Health and Wellness

AdobeStock_171620492-1-300x200By: Jill Brightman

The slightest aroma of sugar and vanilla can transport me instantly back in time to my grandmother’s kitchen.  Each time I would visit, she always had my favorite – sugar cookies with a cherry in the middle – waiting to welcome me.

This happy recollection of my childhood, like so many other special memories, is undeniably intertwined with the vivid smells of the sweet treats I made in the kitchen with my grandparents, my mother, and now with my own children.

AdobeStock_84139413-300x200There’s a reason why cats and dogs seem to rule the internet.

Most of us get a little jolt of dopamine when viewing pictures and videos of these furry creatures being charming, silly, and deeply endearing. There’s no denying the age-old connection between our hearts and these lovable animals. 

It also turns out that spending time with animals—especially companion animals, but other kinds as well—can help people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia lead happier, healthier lives. 

AdobeStock_486826687-300x200Music is, quite literally, the soundtrack of our lives.

Music is a vehicle for memories, emotions, and healing. It can lift our spirits, calm our souls, help us fall in love, and bring us to tears. Our favorite songs become part of our emotional DNA. Even long after decades have passed by, we can still sing along perfectly because each and every word and nuance of melody is imprinted on our hearts. 

Music also has deep connections with memory. Just consider how hearing the first few bars of a certain song can take you back through time to your first kiss, a high school dance, your best friend’s wedding, a family road trip, or an ordinary afternoon with your toddler. In a way, creating playlists of our favorite music from different phases in our lives is like creating an auditory scrapbook.

AdobeStock_251617656-300x192By Jill Brightman

As a child, one of my favorite past times was sorting through my family’s old, black and white photographs that had been passed down from multiple generations.

I romanticized the pictures of grandfather, in his World War II military uniform, and my grandmother, his young bride.  I chuckled at looking at my own father as a gawky teen and was awestruck by looking at my great-grandparents in their turn of the century attire.

Carol-300x286By Carol Frances

I’m about to leave the best job I’ve ever had. To work longer hours. To be on my feet all day and to deal with the public. I’m parting company with the finest group of colleagues I’ve ever had the privilege to work with to embark on a journey into the unknown.

I wouldn’t blame you if you called me crazy!

RoseGrave-300x200Losing a spouse is a devastating experience whether it happens at the end of a long illness or without any warning. In a moment, everything changes. For many, widowhood feels surreal, like the whole world has shifted slightly, leaving them standing apart from the life they used to know.

Modern culture in general, and American culture in particular, do not offer a lot of guidance for how to support someone who is grieving such a loss. This leaves many of us feeling deeply uncomfortable. In the worst cases, those awkward feelings keep us from offering the help we desperately want to provide to a friend or loved one.

We just don’t know what to do or say.

birthdaygranny-300x200Maybe it’s human nature to always want to be something other than what we are.

When we are little kids, we want to be grownups, because we think they get to do whatever they want whenever they want.

As teenagers, we crave the freedom of young adults—no curfews, no homework, finally making some money of our own.

HeartParentChild-300x230“There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” –Rosalyn Carter

These prescient words by the former first lady remain as relevant and true as ever.

According to a 2020 report from the AARP:

AdobeStock_64729630-300x287Your daughter accompanies you to a doctor’s appointment for moral support, and the doctor addresses all his questions to her instead of to you.

Nothing like feeling invisible!

The nurse talks to you the way Kindergarten teachers speak to their students, sometimes using the “royal we” and often using inappropriate terms of endearment like “young lady” or “young man.”

brain-300x261Just as keeping physically fit is important as we age, so is keeping mentally fit. More research is being done on how adults can work out their “mental muscles” to keep their minds sharp and possibly put off or avoid the onset Alzheimer’s and dementia.

1. Engage in physical exercise

Surprised that physical exercise tops the list? You shouldn’t be. Exercise is arguably the single most effective way to keep the mind sharp and the memory strong. Any type of physical exercise that gets the heart rate up is good for the brain as well as the body.

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