Are you getting enough protein? Too much?

How obsessing over protein could be harmful to your health

By Rashelle Brown for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

If you’re like me, you often find yourself confused by how many health headlines contradict one another. Lately, I’ve found this to be true where protein is concerned, particularly the protein needs of adults aged 50 and over.

In one study, published Jan. 1, 2015, in the American Journal of Physiology’s Endocrinology and Metabolism, scientists split 20 adults aged 52 to 75 into one group that consumed the U.S. RDA recommended level of protein, and another group that consumed double that amount, measuring levels of whole body protein at the beginning and end of the trial. While both groups maintained a positive protein balance (their bodies synthesized more protein than they broke down), the higher protein group ended up with a higher overall protein balance than the lower protein group. The news media jumped all over this, proclaiming that older adults should double their protein intake if they want to live long, healthy lives.


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Resident recalls days as KU yell leader

Yell LeaderModern cheerleading is a sport of its own, with breathtaking acrobatics and sophisticated choreography. But when Pete Anderson was a yell leader at the University of Kansas, it was a simpler job. They cheered on the Jayhawks and got the crowd going, too.

Pete tried out for the squad because he knew how much his Phi Psi fraternity brother Ken Gray enjoyed it. “I always thought it would be fun, but it was a hell of a lot of work!” said Pete, who now lives at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor.

Back then, squad members paid for most of their own expenses, including travel. They were supplied with letter jackets — which had to be returned at the end of the year — and heavy red wool sweaters. They provided their own white pants and saddle shoes. Pete wrote recently on the KU Spirit Squad Alumni Facebook page: “We all thought we were hot stuff at that first football game. We soon learned how HOT the heavy wool sweaters could be.”

At the beginning of the 1958-59 school year, the head cheerleader brought them 10 megaphones. Pete proudly painted each one white, then stenciled “KANSAS” in red and painted each squad member’s name on the back.

Pete’s KU connections run deep. His family moved to Lawrence from Minnesota in 1948 for his father’s new job teaching at the university. Pete was 10.

“I’ve lived here ever since. I never left. I never wanted to,” Pete said.
His father became dean of the college of education through the early ’70s. “The campus used to look so small,” Pete recalled. “When my dad had his office in Bailey Hall, you could walk all over. Now it’s almost at the back door of the manor.”

Pete majored in design and art history, but after graduation in 1960 he went to work for Maupintour, an international group travel firm based in Lawrence. Over his 30-year career, Pete played a big role in developing Maupintour’s first domestic tours. His work took him throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Pete and his wife, Joan, have two sons and two granddaughters. (His sons didn’t go to KU, but their daughters are both attending now.)

The Andersons moved to Presbyterian Manor three years ago, and Pete said it was comfortable right away: his mother also lived here for 24 years. “A lot of her friends are still here, so it’s like old home,” Pete said. “And some other residents were contemporaries of my parents at KU.”
He appreciates the sense of community here and the freedom to do as much or as little as you want. “When you start aging, you want to be where you’re secure, and that’s what Presbyterian Manor provides. It’s a very friendly, warm place,” he said.

When Pete and Joan were sorting through their belongings before their move, he discovered his red yell leader sweater, mothballed in a bag. It was in perfect condition. So he donated the memento to the Booth Family Hall of Athletics museum at Allen Field House, to stir up nostalgia for other Jayhawk alumni and fans.

Speaker shares ‘What Seniors Need to Know’

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Making the decision to move into a senior living community isn’t easy. Can I afford it? Will my house sell? Will I lose my independence? In January, Lawrence Presbyterian Manor hosted speaker Rick Hunsicker to help people in the Lawrence community answer these questions. About 35 area residents joined us for this informative session on “What Seniors Need to Know Today.”

Rick, the founder of Hunsicker Senior Living Services, has more than 30 years of experience in senior living options and real estate. Rick explored the current choices available to older adults, including staying in their own homes or moving in with their children, home health care, and retirement communities. He emphasized the benefits of community living, such as security, socialization and access to continuing care in the future if your needs change.

He also shared research that shows how senior living can improve quality of life and life expectancy. According to a report by the U.S. General Accounting Office, “Statistics show that residents have a life-expectancy which is 1½ to 2 years longer than other elderly individuals. It has also been found that they reduce the risk of disease and disability and improve the health and functioning of their residents. Although little research has been done on what exactly causes these noticeable health benefits, many have attributed it to the more active approach that they take towards health care.”

The seminar also investigated the pros and cons of maintaining a private home, even one that is paid off. There are ongoing costs of taxes and insurance, maintenance and repairs, utilities, housekeeping, and more. And while a home seems like a good investment, Rick said many seniors may be losing out on other investment income by tying up equity in a house that is not increasing in value.

To learn more, Rick recommends the book “Aging in the Right Place” by Stephen M. Golant. The book explores how explores the many pathways to thriving while aging in several settings. The book argues that older persons in poor health, with disabilities, or unfavorable demographics are not precluded from aging successfully, if they make the right living choices.
To find out more about living and care options at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor, contact Marketing Director Angela Fonseca at 785-841-4262 or afonseca@pmma.org.

How to prevent a real life nightmare at life’s end

A Next Avenue Influencer in Aging urges conversations around death

By Barbara Coombs Lee for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

Editor’s note: This article is part of Next Avenue’s 2015 Influencers in Aging project honoring 50 people changing how we age and think about aging. 

To my everlasting shame, this boomer spent many of her formative years as an ICU nurse, thoughtlessly pushing tubes down the noses and pounding on chests of dying patients, torturing them with electric shocks, instead of allowing death to come peacefully.

The tragic reality is people who do not communicate their values and priorities for end-of-life care often pay dearly for this failure, by enduring futile, agonizing tests and treatments that only prolong the dying process. It is equally important for people to empower a loved one in writing to be their decision-maker if they are unable to speak for themselves.


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Making communities friendlier for those with dementia

Making Communities Friendlier for Those With Dementia

That’s the goal for the ambitious Dementia Friendly America initiative

By Beth Baker for Next Avenue

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Credit: Courtesy of Paynesville (MN) ACT on Alzheimer’s Caption: Volunteers pass out laminated bookmarks with the 10 signs of Alzheimer’s at the local supermarket

Can a strong community network help ease the challenges faced by people with dementia and their families? That’s the hope of a national volunteer-driven initiative known as Dementia Friendly America (DFA), announced at the White House Conference on Aging in July.

“Our goals are to foster dementia-friendly communities that will enable people who are living with dementia and their care partners to thrive and to be independent as long as possible,” says Olivia Mastry, who’s guiding the effort. “The side benefit is that it’s beginning to normalize [Alzheimer’s], to reduce the stigma. It’s created an environment that’s allowed people to talk about this disease.”


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A cure for senior loneliness is within our reach

We can solve the problem of social isolation by thinking differently about senior housing

By Tim Carpenter for Next Avenue

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Credit: Getty Images

(Next Avenue invited all our 2016 Influencers in Aging to write essays about the one thing they would like to change about aging in America. This is one of the essays.)

The Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965 required that packages of cigarettes display the warning “Caution: Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health.” I wish the Surgeon General would issue this warning: “Caution: Loneliness and Social Isolation May Be Hazardous to Your Health.”

Yes, just like smoking, loneliness and social isolation are deadly. And just like smoking in the 1960s, our society is just beginning to understand the perils of loneliness and social isolation today. A 2015 study published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science shows that lacking social connections is as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. The New York Times recently ran a story with the headline “Social Isolation Is Killing Us.”


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Make every day Valentine’s Day

How to survive the holiday and keep romance alive 365 days a year — however long you’ve been together

By Terri Orbuch, Ph.D. for Next Avenue

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I always look forward to February and especially Valentine’s Day, but I’m well aware that not everyone does. I love seeing all the red hearts in the stores and enjoy the romantic commercials on TV for diamonds, perfume and lingerie.

It’s hard not to feel a bit overwhelmed by the media barrage to buy cards, flowers and presents.

There’s another way to look at it, however. Valentine’s Day can serve as a useful reminder to practice simple acts of kindness and to show appreciation for the special people in our lives.

While it’s easy to say that every day should be as romantic as Valentine’s Day, we often wind up distracted by all the things we have to do and don’t make time for what I call “relationship upkeep.” Work, routines, kids and other obligations take precedence, and our attention gets deflected everywhere but toward our one and only.


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Want to age better? Join a choir

A groundbreaking study examines the health benefits of making music as we age

By Deborah Quilter for Next Avenue

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Credit: Getty Images

Twenty years ago, when academic researcher Julene Johnson wanted to study how music might help the aging process, she couldn’t get funding. Johnson, a professor at the Institute for Health & Aging at the University of California, San Francisco, suspected that music might improve memory, mood and even physical function.

And, she thought, what could be more perfect than choral music? Your instrument is already in your body, and you are bathed in beautiful sound by fellow musicmakers. Singing in a group is fun, so there’s plenty of reason to come back week after week: You get to see your friends and exercise your vocal cords and brain all at once.


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Fighting ageism and unfair treatment in health care

Among the problems: doctors who view depression and anxiety in older adults as ‘normal’

By Terry Fulmer for Next Avenue

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Credit: Getty Images

(Next Avenue invited all our 2016 Influencers in Aging to write essays about the one thing they would like to change about aging in America. This is one of the essays.)

Everyone deserves equal treatment — in the broader society and in our health care system. Today, older people are often not treated fairly and do not get the care they deserve, simply because of their age. While one of our great success stories in the 20th century was the stunning gain in human longevity, recent research from The Frameworks Institute, funded by my group, The John A. Hartford Foundation, and others, has found that the majority of us still don’t recognize ageism or its deleterious effects. They call it a “cognitive hole,” a mental blind spot.

As 10,000 of us turn 65 each day, it is critical that we shine a bright light on this insidious prejudice. It is a matter of simple fairness and justice. It is a way to honor the priceless and irreplaceable contributions that older adults make every day to enrich our society and culture. And for those of us at The John A. Hartford Foundation, it is critical to the broader effort to improve care for older people.


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Art is Ageless® exhibit scheduled

Basic RGBLawrence Presbyterian Manor is accepting entries for the 2017 Art is Ageless competition until Feb. 12. Artwork may be submitted at the business office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays.

Art will be on display Feb. 14-21 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Meadowlark Dining Room and Alcove. There will be a reception with the artists at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 22. For more information, contact Angela Fonseca, 785-841-4262, ext. 3422.