We cannot pass up this day without saying, “Welcome Summer!”
Today is the longest day of the year for you and I in the Northern Hemisphere. The Summer Solstice. A time for warmth, sun and fun in the outdoors.
For many of us it has been a cloudy and cool spring so we have truly been awaiting the warm days of summer. You may have planted flowers or new bushes. Now the time begins to nurture the plants and enjoy the beauty of your work.
Summer is a time to be outside. You can take a hike or a walk. You might head to a beach to read a book or play some volleyball. All of a sudden you may be yearning for ice cream and there may even be an ice cream truck that comes to your neighborhood.
Speaking of neighborhoods, oftentimes we see more of our neighbors in the summer. If there are children they usually ride bikes or play outside. You spend more time outside too because the weather is great.
Does anyone go camping? Summer is the perfect time to head to the woods. Tents work great or a trailer but either way you can set up camp, have a fire and relax.
Additionally, many grills fire up with hamburgers or veggie burgers and many friends gather for good food and conversation outside.
We in New England have a change of seasons. Each season is to be celebrated and because of the changes we are apt to truly appreciate all the warm days of summer.
Private Home Health Care loves the summer season and we enjoy it while also remembering to protect ourselves with sunscreen, hats and sunglasses.
One of the many things to celebrate in the month of June is National Dairy Month.
National Dairy Month began back in 1937 to celebrate the many healthful benefits of dairy products.
The goal is to have you appreciate and enjoy the variety of food and drink that is a dairy product. These include milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream to name a few.
Most of us take dairy products for granted. We naturally gain the nutritional benefits offered by familiar dairy products.
By using dairy products you can help prevent diabetes and keep your heart and bones healthy. Some products help you to manage your weight as well.
You will gain protein and vitamins like vitamins A and B12, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.
Massachusetts is full of productive dairy farmers. There are close to 60 dairy farmers that are members in the Massachusetts Association of Dairy Farmers.
The association supports the many dairy farmers, many of whom are a part of the Massachusetts Cooperative Milk Producers Federation.
How can you support and celebrate those in the dairy community this month?
- Visit a dairy farm and learn how it runs.
- Pick up some cheeses or frozen yogurt to enjoy.
- Find an ice cream factory to tour. (Ben and Jerry’s has one in Vermont)
Private Home Health Care supports our dairy farmers. We realize how important they are to our community and our health.
Tomorrow is National Eat Your Vegetables Day. Another reminder about how important vegetables are to our healthy bodies.
Do you ever recall hearing your mother or father say, “Eat your vegetables” during dinner ? At this point in my life my childhood was quite a while ago but I have vivid memories of hearing these words at our dinner table growing up.
It turns out that knowledge of how important vegetables are to you and I has been around for many years yet how many of us actually meet the recommended guidelines?
The US government recommends a minimum of three to five fruits and vegetables each day.
At a recent talk on osteoporosis it was mentioned that we should really have nine helpings of ½ cup to one cup of fruits and vegetables each day.
You have so many different types of vegetables to choose from in this country. There are a lot that you can have either raw or cooked too.
Additionally, they contain vitamins and minerals, anti-oxidants and even fiber. All good things for our bodies and the wide variety gives us so many options.
Private Home Health Care has spoken about the benefits of vegetables, and fruits, before and while we don’t want to nag, we do want to celebrate these national days when they occur. We love for you to have a healthy diet no matter your age.
Today is Flag Day for those of us in our United States. We hold our flag in high honor on this and all days but do you know how the flag and the official day came about?
It began In 1777 when the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution saying that “the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white,” and that “the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
You may believe that Betsy Ross was responsible for designing this first American flag. The confirmed truth is however that a delegate from New Jersey who signed the Declaration of Independence designed it. His name was Francis Hopkinson.
Reading a bit more you’ll discover that the official holiday came many years later. It was 1916 when Woodrow Wilson decided to designate June 14th as the official Flag Day.
The basic configuration of the flag has stayed the same over the years but there have been some revisions.
In the 1950’s when Alaska looked to be incorporated many people worked on designing it’s addition to the flag.
A seventeen year old boy from Ohio named Bob Heft is actually responsible for a new flag design. It was a class project and in order to recreate a star design with fifty states he used his mother’s sewing machine.
He turned the project in to his teacher and he also sent it to his congressman. Once the states of Alaska and Hawaii officially joined the US the new design was presented to President Eisenhower.
In 1960, Bob’s design was adopted and when the first new flag was raised Bob Heft was present with President Eisenhower when it was raised.
Private Home Health Care has great respect for the flag of our country. We honor it on this day each year.
The week before Father’s Day is Men’s Health Week. The goal is to raise awareness of the health issues that can affect men.
Private Home Health Care checked online and found that on average women live five years longer than men. We discovered a couple of things that contributed to this.
One is biological. Men are biologically more susceptible to some diseases. Another thought is the way men approach their health. Do you have a man in your life who doesn’t like to visit the doctor? This often leads to coming in on a health issue late.
Basically there are a few diseases that lead the pack with men, more so than women. They include:
Cardiovascular disease – hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis can lead to heart disease and stroke. This is actually the leading cause of death in both women and men but men succumb to it sooner.
- Check your cholesterol, starting at age 25 and every 5 years.
- Make sure your blood pressure is not high.
- You need to stop smoking if you are a smoker.
- Take part in 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Lung Cancer – many men still smoke which causes 90% of lung cancers. Stop smoking.
Prostate Cancer – in men, prostate cancer is second only to skin cancer in common cancers. It’s important for you to meet with your doctor to be monitored as it is very treatable.
Depression and Suicide – you may think that depression refers more to women then men but if often comes down to the way men handle depression. Be aware. There are many treatments for depression. Your doctor can help discuss treatments best for you.
Diabetes – this is a silent disease. Since 2000, one-in-three boys has a chance of getting diabetes. Obesity is a huge factor so diet and exercise are key.
The good news for you as a man is that a healthy lifestyle including a diet with lots of fruit and vegetables and exercise can help prevent these diseases. Regular check ups with your doctor are also key. Seize the day this week!
I was looking at my local Council on Aging flier and I noticed that there were Bocce games being played. This made me ask some questions, like what is Bocce ball, how long has it been around, and how do you play it?
A general definition is that Bocce ball is an Italian bowling game. See if you think it sounds like what we think of as bowling by the end.
The game appears to have started quite a long time ago.
A version of the game appears in Egyptian artwork back in 5200 BC. It moved from Egypt to Greece then on to Italy. Fast forward to today and after rules and versions changing it’s played all over the world. The game has even made it into the Olympics.
You play with two people or in teams of two, three or four people. You need one smaller target ball called a palladino (usually white) and eight larger bocce balls (two different colors or designs).
Measure out a space of approximately 82 feet long by 13 feet wide. (Hint: it can be a different size and the smaller the area the easier the game is).
There is a foul line at 13 feet on each side of the court. A player or team member throws in the palladino and it is live once it stays within the main area between the two foul lines.
Basically each team takes turns tossing in their balls. The goal is to get as close as possible to the palladino. You can knock another player’s ball out of the way so your ball can get closer but it must stay within bounds to be valid.
When all the balls are thrown, distances from the palladino are measured. In order to get points you need to have balls the closest to the palladino. Play continues and points are added up and when you hit 12 points you’ve won the game. (You should think about having a tape measure ready.)
If you belong to a Council on Aging center you can use their materials, otherwise it’s an investment in a palladino ball and eight team balls. You should find an area to play as well.
Private Home Health Care thinks this game sounds more like curling than bowling but it sounds fun. It’s a great way to socialize too!
Approaching the “golden years” in your life, or aging, is not always easy.
Your health could become an issue. Your bones may cause you trouble, your hearing may decrease or you could find you have arthritis. As you age, your body changes and the person in the mirror looks different.
Likewise, you may find yourself getting a bit depressed. As you approach your mid-fifties to sixties life can begin to change a bit, both physically and mentally. It can be scary.
When changes come, how do you handle them? Would you like any help on managing aging?
There is an interesting article in Positive Psychology.com. It talks about “aging gracefully” and how your attitude can help you maneuver and live happily through the changes.
The site has a lot of good information on aging with tips on keeping it positive. It defines what is positive aging, shows theories about positive aging, and has testimonials from different people. Furthermore, there are some interesting facts about people over the age of fifty-five too.
Here is a snapshot of some strategies of positive aging:
- Move naturally – activities like gardening or walking are great
- Have a purpose – find a reason to get up in the morning
- Manage stress
- Find a group to belong to. Faith-based, knitting, bowling . . .
- Put your loved ones first – stay in touch with family
Private Home Health Care understands that aging can be difficult. The site gives another perspective on aging. The more perspectives the better we can learn to handle what comes our way. Here is the site to learn more: https://positivepsychology.com/positive-aging/#facts
The first full week in June is Garden Week. The unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day, has come and gone. The weather is usually getting better each day and the ground is getting warmer.
If you head out around your town, you’ll notice that there are many places selling flowers right now. There are so many varieties for you to choose from it can be overwhelming. Do you want a perennial that will come back each year, or some annuals to add color?
Are you new to gardening? If so you can start small. If you live in an apartment try a window box. Check the sun exposure then talk to someone at a garden center, look online or get a book from the library to help guide you.
Having a larger area to set up a garden can be wonderful but if you are a beginner it might be good to start small. You can always expand a garden later.
You need to be certain that the soil is fed and again in order to have the healthiest flowers check the sun in your yard. Plants like full sun, partial sun or shade so choose according to what kind of sun exposure you have.
Flowers in bloom are beautiful and additionally, gardening is great exercise. When you dig, plant and weed you are using muscles. Furthermore you walk around a lot and bend and stretch and burn calories. It’s great exercise and it’s enjoyable and satisfying.
Being outside also gives you fresh air and vitamin D from the sunlight. Of course you’ll also have on sunscreen so you won’t get sun damage.
During this week, if you have the interest, go out and start or work on your existing garden. Not only is it good exercise but the flowers can bring a smile to your face.
Private Home Health Care enjoys flower and vegetable gardening but we know that it’s important to start slowly to be successful if you are a new gardener. We hope you will give it a try and enjoy it.
June is the month of fresh fruits and vegetables. For many of us, summer is approaching and with summer comes many delicious and healthy options.
Your body needs five servings a day of fresh fruit and vegetables to stay healthy. This year the American Heart Association recommends focusing on adding color to your diet.
Fruits of different colors like bananas, apples, grapes, mangos, peaches, oranges, watermelon and plums add variety. Strawberries and blueberries in season are especially good.
Do you like vegetables? There are many greens like kale, asparagus, spinach and broccoli that are full of nutrients and they are easy to cook.
Then you have many varieties of squash available all season. These are jam packed with goodness. Try sampling spaghetti, butternut or acorn squash. All different colors.
You can find so many options either at farmer’s markets or the grocery store. Additionally look for a farm or coop in your area too. Seasonal vegetables are great.
Fruits and vegetables can lead you to healthy snacks. Peanut butter and celery, carrot sticks, pears or peanut butter and apple. If you are worried about sugar intake, pair a fruit with some almonds, nuts or a cheese stick.
You might think it sounds like a lot to try and get five servings of fruits and vegetables in a day but it is manageable. Start off with oatmeal with fruit, a celery and peanut butter snack, two vegetables with dinner and some fruit for dessert. That’s five servings!
Private Home Health Care finds great information at the American Heart Association. Go to this site to learn more about all the good nutrition in fruits and vegetables https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/add-color/celebrate-fresh-fruit-and-vegetable-month.
Private Home Health Care loves this National day. The day is celebrated regularly on the last day of May. The goal is to help keep our seniors fit and healthy.
Are you a senior? Where are you living? Do you have a senior center where you live or near you?
Currently there are many different places in addition to senior centers where seniors can meet and exercise and share ideas. There are recreation centers, health clubs, and retirement communities.
At these locations, you can usually find exercise classes geared toward seniors. You might also have available a weight room with some equipment and weights. Often there is a person to help guide with the equipment available.
You know how important it is for all of us but especially if you are a senior to eat a healthy diet. Participating in whatever exercise you are capable of is also key.
Today, try and have a walk or find a location or event that offers exercise options for you. There are over 1,200 locations with possibilities. Staying fit with exercise and good food will help you stay at your best.