"Senior Years Newsletter"

Your newsletter of information, inspiration and education for seniors, boomers and caregivers on Pre- and Post-Retirement matters.
(Published by Hoffmann-Rondeau Communications - Seniors Services)

~ December 2014 Issue ~

Hello and welcome to your December 2014 issue of the "Senior Years Newsletter".

I hope you all had a wonderful month. As usual, I trust you will find this edition to be as informational, inspirational and educational as promised it to be. Your comments are always welcomed and interesting to me, so do write (address/web site at the bottom) -- because I care to hear from you.

Blessings and good health to you, always,

Diane M. Hoffmann, CPCA
(Certified Professional Consultant on Aging)

1. Feature article:

Four Ways to Eat Healthy During the Holiday Season

The holidays are a time for us to gather with family and friends to celebrate. For better or worse, with celebration comes food. If you have been working very hard at eating healthy, losing weight, or maintaining your weight, this may be a difficult time for you. The last thing we want to do is over-indulge in all the delicious food that surrounds us during the holiday season. What are some things you can do to avoid over-eating and sabotaging all your hard work?

Prepare Yourself Before the Party

One of the biggest mistakes you can make before heading to a party is to skip a meal or arrive hungry. By eating a light, healthy snack before leaving your own house, you can set yourself up to make better choices. Try a low-fat yogurt, fresh fruit, or a small bowl of whole-grain cereal with skim milk.

Bring a Healthy Holiday Food

If you are hosting the party, you have control of the ingredients that are added to the favorite holiday recipes - but as a guest, it is not as easy.    

However, just because you are a guest does not mean you cannot offer to bring a healthy, low-fat dish to add to the selection. Most hosts will welcome an additional dish, and the other guests may enjoy having a healthier option to choose. Consider a simple dish like roasted string beans, or if you offer to bring dessert, consider a pumpkin pie without the crust or baked apples.

Be Mindful During the Party

The first thing you should do is remember what the celebration is about. Your mind should be focused on enjoying the time with your family and friends. During mealtime, fill your plate up mostly with vegetables. Try not to over-indulge, but you should not feel like you have to avoid any item. Choose items that are your favorite in smaller portions, and eat slowly to savor every bite.

Avoid drinking beverages that are high in sugar and calories, or at least limit your intake to a single drink. Alcohol adds extra unwanted calories and, if too much is consumed, it lowers inhibitions, which can lead to overeating. Try consuming water with a lemon or lime, skim milk, or diet / sugar-free beverages.

One great way to avoid snacking throughout the party is to plan fun activities to participate in with other guests, such as games or making crafts.

If it is available, set up a tournament with a gaming system that is interactive.

That is a great way to burn some calories and avoid the buffet of snacks sitting out on the counter or table.

Keep Moving

This time of the year should be enjoyable. However, you need to keep physically active, maybe now more than ever. Physical activity reduces stress and gives us more energy. Try fitting in a workout before the party because, more likely than not, you will be tired from all the celebrating afterwards. During the party, go on a brisk walk with some of the other guests or, if there are children around, toss a ball outside. This can give you a burst of energy and a chance to catch up.

If you like participating in races, sign yourself up for a seasonal 5K run/walk or some other fitness event that will keep you focused and motivated to stay active.

Remember: The holidays are for celebrating with family and friends. If you must splurge one, two, or even three days during the holiday season, then that really is not going to ruin all of your hard work. It takes an extra 500 calories each day, or 3,500 calories a week, to gain a pound. All the extra snacking can really add up, but you can easily pass up all the treats in the office and keep goodies out of your own home. If you do this, you can feel good allowing yourself to enjoy the foods you look forward to every year.

Article by Amy Reidenbach, Reprinted with Permission from Senior Living Magazine, www.seniorlivingmag.com

From the Editor:  If running or walking for 5K is too much for you, just do a brief walk around the block or on the treadmill, or light exercise. If you live in a Seniors home, get some friends to go along with you or a fitness trainor to help you with an exercise program that's just right for you.


2. Ask the experts:

Are there some things that can be done to improve the process of aging?

As we age, the body goes through many physiological changes. This is not to be confused with a disease. This is just a natural  process that begins in our early adulthood. However the changes become progressively more noticeable and acute as we reach our later years of life.

Over the next issues of this newsletter, I will try and cover some of the common issues that people inquire about. If you have specific questions, send them to me.

Today, I'll talk about muscle loss. Although this process, known as age-related sarcopenia, begins early in life, it is not usually noticeable until our later years. Studies show that for the average healthy person between around 30 and 70 years of age, the loss of muscle mass is about 20%.

Experts say that people who are physically inactive can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass per decade after age 30. The condition typically accelerates between around age 65 to 80.

Although there is no generally accepted test or specific level of muscle mass for sarcopenia diagnosis, any loss of muscle mass is of consequence, because loss of muscle means loss of strength and mobility. Sarcopenia typically accelerates around age 75 -- although it may happen in people age 65 or 80 -- and is a factor in the occurrence of frailty and the likelihood of falls and fractures in older adults.

Some of the evidence of this include the loss of strength and mobility, an increasing weakness in the muscle, the ligament and tendon, changes in stature and body strength. Later on a person may experience an unstable gait, decrease in balance and range of motion which can cause risks of falls.

While this is a normal process, there are things you can do to support your body and slow down the impact of the effects of this process. and the earlier you work on these, the better it will be for you later.

The primary treatment for sarcopenia is good old-fashioned exercise. Especially beneficial is resistance training or strength training with weights or resistance bands. This type of exercise  increases muscle strength and endurance and has been shown to be useful for both the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia.

Research has shown that a program of progressive resistance training exercises can increase protein synthesis rates in older adults in as little as two weeks. More can be read on this at http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/sarcopenia-with-aging.

Always check with your health professional, medical doctor before starting on such a program. Get the support of a personal trainer to guide you through the beginning and progressive stages for your specific physical need.

Just as important as exercise, good eating habits are also critical -- such as protein vs carbs in your diet... we'll talk about that more in up-coming issues./dmh

Diane M. Hoffmann, CPCA, CNC.


3. Heart Healthy Recipe:

Cranberry Chutney
This recipe can be made one week in advance. Bring it to room temperature before serving. Serve with the turkey instead of gravy.  Makes 12 servings.


    3 cups (750 mL) fresh or frozen (thawed) cranberries

    1 cup (250 mL) apple, diced (1 apple)

    1 cup (250 mL) pear, diced (1 pear)

    1 cup (250 mL) pomegranate seeds (1 pomegranate), optional

    1 tbsp (15 mL) finely grated orange zest, 1 orange

    1 tbsp (15 mL) shallot, finely diced

    1/3 cup (75 mL) fresh orange juice, from 1 orange

    1/3 cup (75 mL) cooking sherry

    1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon

    ½ tsp (2 mL) black pepper

    1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) nutmeg

    2 dashes Tabasco sauce


Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan.

Cook over medium-high, stirring frequently for 20 minutes.

Cool to room temperature.

Nutritional Information Per Serving

(1/3 cup / 75 mL)-Calories: 37, Protein: 0 g, Fat: 0 g, Saturated fat: 0 g, Dietary cholesterol: 0 mg, Carbohydrate: 9 g, Dietary fibre: 2 g, Sodium: 40 mg, Potassium: 69 mg

Recipe Developed by Nadine Day, Reprinted with Permission from The Heart and Stroke Foundation.


4. Quote or Joke of the Month:

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, But beautiful old people are works of art.  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.  ~Abraham Lincoln

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.  ~Mark Twain

The Five Core Principles of Older Adults:

Older adults in Canada have identified five core principles that promote their overall health and well-being as worthy human beings and full members of society. These principles guide delivery of emotional support and practical assistance. They are:


Source: Statistics Canada – Catalogue no. 89-51
Portrait of Seniors in Canada


5. Did you know?

Humor for Health

There is a medicine that is proven to strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, reduce your pain, and help diminish stress. Even better, it’s free and comes naturally; it’s laughter.

Humor is a wonderful thing. We are born knowing how to laugh; infants often smile only weeks after birth and begin laughing after several months. When you laugh, your body relaxes, which eases physical tension and stress. Laughter also increases the amount of “feel-good” endorphins in your body, as well as the number of immune cells and antibodies. Believe it or not, it can even reduce pain.

All too often, we forget to laugh when going through tough times. When a family member receives a painful diagnosis or you struggle with daily tasks, it can be difficult to find humor in anything. Some-times, having someone to laugh with who can help you with your challenges is just what you need to start feeling healthy and happy again.

If laughter is already part of your life, share it with a loved one in need. Giving care is more than helping with a person’s daily activities; his/her health and happiness are also important. By incorporating humor into your caregiving, you can lift the spirits of your elderly or chronically ill relative.

Source: Synergy Home Care Blog,, Reprinted with Permission from Living Assistance Services, www.laservices.ca

P.S. from the Editor:

Caregivers should remember to make laughter a part of their caregiving. It will not only help the care recipient but also lift the burden off of the caregiving. However, be sure to make it a natural way of life and not joke innapropriately or at the wrong time. If you go to your caring tasks with a happy frame of mind, that alone will uplift the person being cared for. Even when a care recipient is difficult to please, keep your sense of humour, and don't let anything take away your personal joy./DMH


6. Seniors Tip:

Mindful Eating Changes Everything

Research shows that we often eat more when we are presented with larger amounts of food. Over the past few decades, portion sizes have dramatically increased. Remember seven-ounce soda bottles? Those had 85 calories. Compare that to the 250 calories in the twenty-ounce bottles that are now available. Today's muffins are so large they make muffins of years past look like mini-muffins.

Because eating can be an automatic behaviour, awareness of portion sizes and calories  is the first step to making healthier food choices. Here are some tips to guide you:

Know your numbers. Start by calculating how many calories are right for you. The Mayo Clinic has an online tool to determine your daily calorie needs.

Focus on nutrition. Go for larger amounts of vegetables and fruits that provide a hefty dose of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, without a lot of calories.

Eat smaller portions of higher calorie foods, such as sweets or foods that have high amounts of added sugar and fat.

Understand serving size vs. portion size. A portion is the amount you choose to eat. A serving is a precise amount of food defined by cups, ounces, grams, or other measurements.

Eat mindfully and enjoy your food. Many of us eat for reasons besides hunger. Happiness, sadness, and stress can all lead you to eat too much without realizing.

Source: Mayo Clinic, Reprinted with Permission from Living Assistance Services, www.laservices.ca



We've come to the end of this newsletter. I'll be looking forward to see you again in the next one.

Blessings to all,

Have a great month!

P.S.: Help your friends and loved ones by encouraging them to sign up for my newsletter at this link.

Check out the new "Caregivers Inner Support Club" at this link.

You can check back issues of the "Senior Years Newsletter" at this link.