Aging & Caregiving in the News

Related topics: Health & Wellness, Getting Enough Exercise, Eating Right

Information, updates and interesting tidbits from across the country and around the world

  • Eat blueberries for a healthier heart
  • Another reason to put away your smartphone
  • Avoiding medical jargon

These Little Berries Provide a Big Nutritional Payoff

Florida State University professor with a bowl of blueberries

Blueberries are so yummy! And according to nutrition expert Sarah Johnson (above), they also offer a big boost for heart health. (Photo: Bill Lax/Florida State University.)

We're always looking for a "superfood" — one that offers a nutritional wallop for its size. Sarah A. Johnson, assistant director of the Florida State University Center for Advancing Exercise and Nutrition Research, recently conducted a study confirming that blueberries should be on that list. Participants in previous studies on blueberries were instructed to consume quite a large amount of the fruit, more than most of us would be willing to down in a day. But in Johnson's study, a group of older women who consumed the equivalent of only one cup of blueberries each day significantly lowered their blood pressure and arterial stiffness, both of which are associated with cardiovascular disease. What a delicious way to improve our health! Eat blueberries on cereal, in a smoothie, in a salad, or by the handful for a helping of healthful nutrients.

Another Reason Not to Walk and Text (Or Talk)

It's a familiar sight of our times: Pedestrians walking down the street talking on their smartphones, or even texting while walking. Safety experts tell us walking while texting or talking on a phone raises the risk of falls considerably for people of every age. The risk is highest for seniors, and studies show that these days, older adults are almost as likely to practice this unsafe multitasking. Now, a new study from Hiram College in Ohio offers yet another reason to leave your phone in your pocket during your next stroll. Michael Rebold, Ph.D., who is an assistant professor of integrative exercise, found that using a smartphone while exercising lowers the intensity of our workout. Rebold reports that listening to music doesn't have the same effect. So tell your friend you'll call back later, and listen to some energizing tunes instead.

Doctors Urged to Avoid "Medspeak"

By the time they walk across the stage with their newly minted medical degrees, doctors have picked up an impressive vocabulary of medical terms, all very important for diagnosing and treating disease. But are technical medical terms as useful for talking with patients? Not so much, says the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The federal agency recently issued a set of guidelines to help healthcare professionals better communicate with patients, and many of these suggestions are especially important for older adults. The communication strategies include listening carefully to the patient, using plain, non-medical language, speaking clearly and not too fast, encouraging questions, and using graphics and demonstrations. Read the full set of guidelines here.

Source: IlluminAge Communication Partners; copyright 2017.