What better time than the start of a new year than to think about health and well- being – and some new tips to help us get to our best! This month, we are inspired by a recent article published by NPR on protein and its impact on us.
When it comes to protein, you might think it’s a nutritional source gained only from eating meat or dairy products. However, it comes in many other forms, including vegan friendly options such as fruit, beans, vegetables, and grains. In addition to these whole foods, protein comes in the form of powders, pills, and bars. But how much do we really need each day—and are these extra forms a necessary investment for our health? The answer depends on different factors.
Protein keeps us healthy by building our nails, hair, bones, and muscles. It can also help us feel fuller compared to eating other foods that are not high in protein value.
The average adult needs between 50-60 grams of protein each day. If you are recovering from an injury or over 60, more than this recommended value can be beneficial. It is important to note that dehydration is a risk when consuming or adding more protein to your diet, so make sure to drink about 60 to 70 ounces of ﬂuids a day.
It’s easier to eat protein than you might think. Angela Pipitone, a dietitian with Johns Hopkins McKusick- Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, uses everyday meals as an example. She says there are 22 grams of protein for breakfast in two eggs topped with a little bit of cheese plus an orange. A balanced lunch of chicken, rice, and broccoli will meet the recommended 50 grams, proving that the daily protein value can be achieved even before dinnertime.
Around age 60, “muscles really start to break down, and because of that, in addition to the fact that as we get older our body’s ability to break down protein is reduced, the protein needs of an older adult actually increases,” says Kathryn Starr, an aging researcher at Duke University School of Medicine. In a recent study conducted by Starr, adding extra protein to the diet of obese older individuals
who were trying to lose weight strengthened their muscles. One group consumed 90 grams of protein a day, while the control group ate a low-calorie diet with about 50 to 60 grams of protein a day. She concluded that participants in the higher protein group were able to walk faster, had improved balance, and were also able to get up out of a chair faster than the control group.
70-year-old Corliss Keith, who was in the high protein group in Starr’s study, says she feels a big difference. “I feel excellent,” she says. “I feel like I have a different body, I have more energy, I’m stronger.” She adds that she can take Zumba exercise classes three times a week, work out on the treadmill, and take long, brisk walks.
With this health information in mind, now is the perfect time to set some goals to start your new year off right!
ACADEMY – Where did the word “Academy” come from? The answer is the ancient Greeks from 2,500 years ago. The famous philosopher, Plato (427-347 B.C.), started a school of inquiry and learning. His school, the Academe, or also, Academia, was in a grove of olive trees near Athens, owned by a farmer. We get the name of our prestigious schools the same way Plato did – after that plain, old fruit-tree farmer, Academes.
HAM ACTOR – Where did the word “Ham Actor” come from? The ham actor is one who is pretty far down the scale in acting ability. About 1875, a tenth-rate actor was called a hamfatter in the U.S. The early name derived from the fact that, for economic reasons, these actors used ham-fat instead of cold cream to remove the make-up. With no contempt, it is also applied to the large army of well-equipped amateur radio operators, probably because, in the early days of radio, these opera- tors were fumbling novices.
POTTER’S FIELD – This phrase goes all the way back to the time of Jesus’ death. Judas Iscariot, infamously, betrayed his Master to the Romans was a kiss on the cheek. He received 30 pieces of silver for his treachery. Unable to live with himself, he threw the silver to the Jewish priests. Not knowing what to do with such an ill-begotten windfall, the elders found some charitable work they could do with the silver. They purchased a field near Jerusalem which was particularly rich in clay. The craftsmen who made pots used this field for the raw material of their handiwork. The “potter’s field” was turned into Potter’s Field, a graveyard for travelers who died penniless. More than 2000 years later, we still call any such cemetery a Potter’s Field.
As you walk along the halls of Sterling Court, you don’t need to go very far to hear an extraordinary story – or maybe even two. Phil and Lois Everett have been married for 63 years. Even after just one conversation with them, it’s clear they’re just as happy together now as they were when they first met so many years ago.
Phil is an entertainer at heart. Throughout his life, he joined local community theatre troupes and performed in various works, even writing some of his own. It comes as no surprise that he’s a natural storyteller. He immediately dives into the story of how he and Lois met in Staten Island, New York, where they were both born and raised.
“A friend of mine was in a social club,” Phil says, before smiling at his wife. “Lois happened to be in the same club!”
Bowling was one of the activities that the social club participated in. As fate would have it, Phil and Lois wound up being placed on the same bowling team. Lois admits she knew nothing about bowling. But the upside was that Phil was her captain.
“That’s when I fell for him, right then and there,” Lois adds matter-of-factly. While Phil seems more of the jokester between the two, Lois also brings on the humor when speaking of her husband. “I used to stand behind him and think, ‘oh he looks quite nice!’ ”
The youngest child in a big family, Lois always did well in school as a girl. Due to financial hardships, however, she was unable to pursue her education after graduating from high school. But a couple of decades after Lois and Phil had married and moved to San Mateo, she admirably continued her education. She first attended the College of San Mateo before getting her Bachelor’s Degree from San Francisco State University, graduating on the same day that their eldest child, Eileen, graduated high school in 1974. Lois went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Accounting from the College of Notre Dame in Belmont. She was in her 30s.
Phil wasted no time praising his wife, crediting her perseverance in continuing her studies and uplifting their family. Lois, in turn, said the same thing about her husband. She credits how his hard work throughout the years helped enable her to continue her education.
Over the years, Phil held various jobs to make a good living for his wife and two children (their son, Mark, lives nearby with his wife). Phil had experience in being a stable hand, a longshore- man, and a custodian. But theatre was always a big part of his life. Evidently, Eileen had shared this trait. Phil and Lois proudly state that in high school, she had a part in a production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”
With such adventurous lives, Phil and Lois are both enjoying life at Sterling Court. Even now, they continue to be an amazing team. Phil enjoys cooking, but Lois does not. It’s no problem at all, according to Phil. “I cook and she cleans up.”
Clearly, it’s the perfect deal.
Games are the perfect topic for this month’s feature article. Sometimes we just need to stay indoors (like recently due to the air quality from the devastating fires), and a game is a great way to make new friends or to pass the time alone. Games provide mental stimulation, which is great for our overall well-being. For some people, playing certain types of games might be beneficial for things like mood, memory, concentration, reasoning, and imagination. Games can be especially helpful for your brain if they require you to learn something new.
With the holidays coming up, a game might be the ideal gift for someone you know (or maybe you want to drop a hint to a family member so you get just what you want ). Any of these can, of course, be ordered online, but with great toy stores like Five Little Monkeys in downtown Burlingame and Talbots Toyland in downtown San Mateo, you can also check many of them out in person. As you know, at Sterling Court we play lots of games. Just check out the calendar and you’ll see some kind of game happening practically every day. Join in! In the meantime, here are 10 games we found online at www.GreatSeniorLiving.com that you may not know about:
Qwirkle: Mix and match tiles with different shapes and colors, scoring points by completing or adding to lines of the same shapes or colors.
Dixit: Out-bluff your opponents while using your imagination to match stories to beautifully illustrated cards.
Rummikub: Be the first one to play all of your numbered tiles by placing them in consecutive sequences or groups of the same numbers or colors. (We love Rummikub at Sterling Court!)
Dominoes: Play all of your domino tiles before the other players by laying them down end-to-end with matching tiles that have already been played. (Another great game we play here at 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays!)
Ubongo: Race against other players as you try to solve puzzles of interlocking geometric shapes in order to grow your treasure of gems.
Jenga: Beware of gravity as you try not to be the one who pulls out the wooden block that makes the whole tower come crashing down.
Tsuro: Lay your own tiled path while avoiding the paths of other players that can send you the wrong way or off the board completely.
Chronology: Put your historical knowledge to the test by trying to be the first one to build a 10-card timeline based on the correct order of events.
Latice: Play all of your tiles before anyone else by matching them on different sides and strategically using sun squares and wind tiles based on what you think your opponents still have in their possession.
Mahjong: Be the first player to build a winning combination of tiles based on rummy-like groupings of symbols and characters.
Homes are often decorated with greenery and ribbons during December, regardless of religious beliefs. Below are some winter plants brought indoors for their scent and aesthetic appeal.
HOLLY – Romans and early Christians believed that holly had pro- tective powers and therefore used as a charm throughout household rooms. Think of the seasonal hymn, “Deck the halls with boughs of holly…”
IVY – Ivy is an ancient symbol of love. In the Middle Ages, the English began twining pliable ivy around berry-laden holly arrangements perhaps to soften the look. Strangely enough, ivy was designated as female and holly as male, so the two plants together symbolized light-hearted gender rivalry.
LAUREL – Ancient Romans believed that the gods of growth and rejuvenation took refuge in greenery, and they often brought trees indoors during winter. By offering the gods shelter and protection, people hoped to share the life-affirming powers.
Laurels were plentiful and can grow up to 50 feet tall in their native Mediterranean climate.
EVERGREENS – Indoor greenery reminded Greeks and Romans of nature’s vitality, and they suspected this fragrant, hardy tree had magical survival capabilities because it remained green no matter how tough the winter. The Victorian era appreciated lavish arrangements of ivy, laurel, bay, hemlock, and yew, particularly at Christmas. Evergreen trees as part of a Christmas celebration date back to Martin Luther in the 16th century. He was supposedly in a snowy forest on Christmas Eve when the stars suggested how the first Christmas sky might have looked. He carried home a snow-covered fir tree to share the experience with his children and they dressed it with candles, to represent starlight. A writer in the Alsace region of France documented in 1605 that apples, wafers, sweets, paper roses and gold foil were used to decorate Christmas fir trees.
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