It’s January — Time to Think Again About Losing Weight and Getting Fit

By JIM SMITH, Realtor®

It was four years ago this month that Rita and I made a decision that has changed our lives for the better — we enrolled in a program called “8 Weeks to Wellness” at Body In Balance Wellness Center, located near our home in Golden.

At the time, we were 68 years old and technically obese. I had a bit of a “beer belly” and weighed in the mid-240s. When the program ended in March 2016, I weighed under 220. At right are before and after pictures showing that much of my belly fat was gone.  As I write this, I weigh 206, because I have continued with the lifestyle which I learned during the 8-week program.

What is that program?  It’s a holistic program combining nutritional training, mindfulness, regular chiropractic adjustments and massages, and twice-weekly workouts with a trainer.

Since January is a time of year when we all think about shedding the weight we gained over the holidays and making other healthy resolutions, I thought it appropriate to share my personal story of making lifestyle changes that I know are leading to a longer, healthier life, and I invite you to learn about “8 Weeks to Wellness” and if it’s right for you — whether or not you’re a senior like us.

Let’s talk about nutrition first. Rita and I learned things we didn’t know from Drs. Leah and Scott Hahn during the program and at free lectures which they give each month. 

Dr. Leah’s class on sugar was particularly enlightening. We learned how much sugar is in processed foods and how bad it is for us.  Cancer feeds on sugar, and because so many foods contain sugar, Americans are consuming an average of 57 lbs. of added sugar per year.  That’s eleven 5-lb. bags of sugar per person! Our bodies can only metabolize between 1/2 and 1/3 that much sugar, so the rest of it has to be stored as fat — belly fat.

The key, I learned from the doctors, is to learn where that “added” sugar is hidden. They taught us about the glycemic index, which ranks carbohydrates according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates with a high glycemic index (such as in many snacks, bread and potatoes) raise blood glucose levels too quickly. The body needs time to absorb the sugar created by carbs, so you want to choose foods with a low glycemic index such as green vegetables. Also, sugar is literally addictive, creating appetite rather than satisfying it. It’s true — you can’t eat just one potato chip!

We also learned about “good fats” and “bad fats.” Did you know that the low-fat movement created by the government had the unintended consequence of increasing our sugar intake?  Since removing fat from foods makes them less tasty, food producers started adding sugar to low-fat products they sell us.

Obesity, we learned, is caused by all the excess sugar in our diets, and Type 2 diabetes is a natural biproduct of obesity caused by excess sugar intake.

So, in addition to reducing the granulated sugar we add to our foods, Rita and I have dramatically reduced our intake of added sugar by eliminating fast foods and soda beverages from our diet. We purchase only “real” foods, avoiding processed foods as much as possible, and we buy organic food, grass-fed beef and eggs from free-range chickens. (We shop at King Soopers, not at Whole Foods or Natural Grocers.)

It’s funny to think that we’re more concerned about the fuel we put in our cars than the fuel we put in our bodies. My handyman buys premium gasoline for his truck because he thinks it’s better for his engine, but you should see the food in his pantry!

Nutrition, however, is only one component of keeping our aging bodies healthy. We’ve all heard that we should exercise, but the doctors at Body in Balance have given Rita and me more context for its importance.

As we age, we all experience a loss of muscle mass. One evidence of muscle loss is the loose skin hanging from most old folks’ out-stretched biceps. That’s why I kept up my twice-weekly training sessions after the end of “8 Weeks to Wellness.”  And it’s working.

I used to think that hiring a personal trainer was a waste of money, but I was wrong. My Monday afternoon and Friday morning sessions last one-hour under the guidance of a certified personal trainer who creates a “workout of the day” that works all the different muscle groups in my body in a manner that never gets tedious or repetitive.  Through “bio-impedance analysis” I have seen the actual results of continuing this program — decreased fat and increased muscle mass in my body. Combined with my good nutrition and reduced weight, I will continue to age in good health and be less prone to falls and breaks. We should all strive for that as we age, and I urge you to consider the benefits.

Body In Balance Wellness Center, located in Golden, is a chiropractic office specializing in Network Spinal Analysis (NSA), which is more gentle than traditional chiropractic. In addition to their three chiropractors, they have two personal trainers in their fitness center, a functional medicine nutritionist, and two massage therapists on site. See www.BodyInBalanceChiropractic.com.

Because “8 Weeks to Wellness” made such a difference in Rita’s and my life, I encourage you to attend a free introduction to the program to be held at Body In Balance’s Golden facility, 755 Heritage Road, on Wednesday, January 22nd, at 6:15 p.m.

Call 303-215-0390 to reserve a seat. I’ll be there to share my story and answer questions.

High-Tech, Low-Tech and No-Tech Ways to Make a Home More Senior-Friendly

Most seniors would like to age in place — that is, to stay in the home they know and love instead of relocating into assisted living. At the same time, there are practical considerations, especially if a senior lives alone.

There are no-tech and low-tech ways to address the issues associated with aging in place.  What’s new and perhaps less known to you are the high-tech and “smart home” solutions that are becoming more and more common. But let’s talk first about those better known no-tech and low-tech solutions.

The common no-tech solution is, of course, to have a caregiver who either lives in or visits you on a schedule. This, however, can be very expensive, unless you’re lucky enough to have a loving family member or two who can serve that function, perhaps trading free rent in your home for assistance with household chores, such as cooking and laundry.

The ideal home for aging in place, according to Jenn Gomer of CarePatrol, has a main-floor master bedroom, main-floor laundry room and a walk-in or roll-in shower — typically a ranch-style home with few or no stairs, although there are 2-story homes with main-floor masters and main-floor laundry. Ideally, the home should be close to at least one family member or friend on whom you can count in a pinch. 

If a senior has a fall or is hospitalized, Jenn suggests meeting with an occupational therapist, who can look for trip hazards and suggest grab bars or railings where they could be beneficial. However, multiple falls should be seen as a warning sign that you may need to change the home environment.

Jenn encourages her clients to be open to getting outside help with difficult activities. For instance, if you have a bad knee and your laundry is in the basement, consider allowing a friend or family  member to help with laundry or getting an outside home care service to assist. Installing laundry hook-ups on the main-floor is another option, if practical.

A classic low-tech tool is the medical alert button you wear on your person. The original product was introduced by Life Alert Emergency Response in the 1980s, but there are numerous other companies now offering such a product.

Another challenge can be grocery shopping, but one low-tech option nowadays is to order groceries online or by phone and having them delivered, rather than going out on icy sidewalks and parking lots. 

If adapting your multi-level home into one that works for you is not practical, Golden Real Estate’s agents can help you find a home with one-level living.  In addition to identifying currently available homes that meet your needs, we can alert you every time a new home matching those needs comes on the market

Golden Real Estate can make a senior’s move easier by providing totally free moving from his or her current home to their new home, or to a senior community if that’s their choice. (Jenn Gomer can help with that.) We have our own trucks and movers and provide you with free moving boxes and packing materials, including wardrobe boxes and bubble wrap. You just pack and unpack, and we can even find someone to assist with that. (If you know someone who would like to be on our call list for moving or packing assistance, let me know.)

Patio homes, typically ranch-style homes with exterior maintenance done by an HOA, are few and far between, but if they’re out there, we can find them within 15 minutes of them going on the market.  I just sold one this fall.

We’d love to live in a patio home with grounds maintenance handled by the HOA, but we have the equivalent of that at less expense by hiring someone to mow our lawn in the summer and do spring and fall yard clean-ups. It’s great!

Regarding making your current home more senior friendly, Rita and I love the stair elevator which we have on the stairs to our basement in our ranch-style home. We got a great deal on a used one, and they’re easy to install, assuming you have a straight staircase. The seat and armrests fold up when not in use, so they can work on any staircase that is at least 3 feet wide. Rita and I are still quite mobile and don’t need to use our stair elevator currently, but we like knowing it’s already in place for when the need arises. Meanwhile, it’s handy for transporting cases of wine and other heavy items to and from the basement.

If you have stairs with landings and turns, custom-made stair elevators can be purchased, but they get pricey. I can recommend some vendors. For those straight staircases, I can help you find a used one and someone to install it.

A senior friend who lives alone buddied up with a neighbor and texts that neighbor every morning when she gets up. If she forgets, the neighbor texts her asking if she’s okay. Also, that neighbor and two others have keys to her house.

Now, let’s talk high-tech solutions. For such devices, you need to have a smartphone and have internet and Wi-Fi installed in your home.

As a matter of personal safety, I think everyone should consider a video doorbell. When someone rings the bell, it sounds as usual in your home, but it also rings on your smartphone, with a video of the person ringing the doorbell and the ability to converse with him or her. The device can also alert you when there is motion at your front door, and the video is stored online where it can be shared with police. The best part of such a video doorbell is that you don’t need to be home, you only need to have your smartphone with you. The visitor has no way of knowing that you’re not home. Simply having a video doorbell is a good crime deterrent, because thieves recognize it. We bought our video doorbell from www.Ring.com.

There are so many other Wi-Fi connected devices that you can install in your home which alert you on your smartphone. You can even buy Wi-Fi-connected “smart outlets” which make any non-internet connected lamp or appliance controllable (and easily monitored) on your smartphone. I suggest viewing all the many different devices available from various manufacturers at www.SmartHome.com.

Finding the Right Senior Living Community for You Can Be Confusing!

Buying and selling a single family home can be confusing enough, but it pales in  comparison to shopping for the best senior living community.

According to Jenn Gomer of CarePartrol (more about her later in this article), there are no fewer than 400 senior communities in the Denver metro area, and the variety of living options and business models can be overwhelming.

There are pure rental facilities and rentals with buy-ins. The size and terms of those buy-ins can vary greatly, too.  Some facilities are on a campus with continuous care options as your health changes, ranging from independent living to assisted living to nursing home care, to memory care to hospice.  Personally, I like the idea of not having to move again if my health changes, but not all senior communities include that feature.

Financing, of course, is a huge consideration. If you own your current home and have lots of equity in it (little or no mortgage), that can provide a nest egg that could hopefully outlive you, if managed correctly and spent on the right facility. But not everyone has that luxury.

It’s important to get the right advice from someone who is not looking to drain more of your limited funds. We think we have found that person in Jenn Gomer. Jenn and her associates at CarePatrol don’t charge for their services.  Jenn’s company is paid by the communities that she helps you visit, analyze and ultimately select. She has all the important information about those 400 senior communities that I mentioned above. She knows their safety records, their health records, their reputation in the industry, their financial conditions, their charges, their amenities, and so much more.

If you own a home which you’ll want to sell, it makes sense to bring Jenn and me together to meet with you in your home and discuss your options.

Everyone’s situation is different. Let us learn your specific needs and wants. If working with Golden Real Estate and/or CarePatrol isn’t a good fit for you, we’re going to tell you so. Such a meeting carries no obligation to work with either of us.

Call me at 303-525-1851 to arrange such a meeting.