Q: I’ve heard that this month is National Kidney month? Could you tell me more about that?
Answer: Our kidneys are very important in maintaining good health and keeping our bodies operating properly. Kidneys filter impurities from the blood, regulate salt levels, and activate vitamin D in the body. They also help control blood pressure when it starts getting too high and help with the reabsorption of essential nutrients into the body. Taking steps to maintain kidney health is important to our overall health, especially for adults over 60, who are at increased risk of developing kidney disease. March is National Kidney month and a good time to consider ways to help us maintain healthy kidneys.
Here are a few ways to proactively keep your kidneys healthy:
- Stay physically active. Trying to do something enjoyable such as cycling, dancing or tennis throughout the week is a good way to support overall health and to improve kidney health.
- Manage blood sugar. Keeping an eye on and maintaining proper blood sugar levels can lower the risk of kidney disease.
- Maintain a balanced diet. Eating food that is low in sodium like blueberries, fish, and whole grains can be beneficial to our kidneys.
- Drink plenty of water. Making sure that you are hydrated helps ensure the kidneys function properly.
- Quit smoking. It can be a difficult habit to break but smoking cessation can reduce the risk of kidney cancer.
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People who are at high risk of kidney disease should consider getting tested regularly. This includes people who are 60 years or older, have a family history of cardiovascular disease, and/or live with high blood pressure. The National Kidney Foundation recommends that everyone over the age of 60 get tested for kidney disease. If you have any concern about your kidney health contact your personal physician to discuss and make a plan to ensure they remain in good working order. Find more information about kidney health athttps://www.wakehealth.edu/condition/k/kidney-disease.
Q: I’m 62 years old and am looking for free things to do to keep myself busy. Does Senior Services provide any no cost activities for seniors?—KS
Answer: Research demonstrates that arts, creativity-focused activities, and social interaction promote healthy aging and that participation in the arts has been shown to lower the risk of dementia onset, decrease perceptions of pain, help relieve stress, and improve mood. Additionally, participating in the arts decreases social isolation and provides meaning and purpose as individuals have a need to engage in self-expression. It is important to stay active no matter our age.
Senior Services has several programs that can help older adults remain active and are easy to get involved in such as Creative Connections and Senior Lunch. People interested in keeping busy by giving back can also consider becoming a volunteer in one of Senior Services programs such as Meals-on-Wheels.
Creative Connections offers a variety of artistic classes including visual art, acting, drumming, creative writing and more. The classes meet in the Senior Services Creative Arts Studio, 2895 Shorefair Drive, in Winston-Salem and are free of charge to adults age 60 and above. The program partners with various community organizations such as the Sawtooth Center for Visual Arts and the 40+ Stage Company to bring a variety of options for older adults to express themselves creatively and make connections with others. Professional creatives from various artistic backgrounds teach the classes. A list of upcoming classes can be found at seniorservicesinc.org/creative-connections-art-classes/.
Senior Services Senior Lunch program meets Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at four locations around Forsyth County. It gives seniors who are able to get out and around an opportunity to share a meal, engage in fun activities, and socialize in a group setting. The program is open to adults age 60 and above. Visit seniorservicesinc.org/senior-lunch-program or call Sharon Calloway at 336-721-6937 for more information about Senior Lunch.
Volunteering is a great way to stay active, form connections, and feel good about helping. Senior Services is currently has a variety of volunteer opportunities — especially Meals-on-Wheels volunteers who deliver hot, nutritious weekday meals to program participants who have difficulty leaving home and preparing meals for themselves. The average Meals-on-Wheels route takes about 90 minutes to complete and volunteer schedules are very flexible. Contact Tyler Smith, volunteer coordinator at 336-721-6961 or email email@example.com to learn more or sign up as a volunteer.
However, Senior Services is not the only organization in Forsyth County that offers activities for seniors. The Shepherd’s Centers of Greater Winston-Salem and Kernersville have an array of activities geared towards helping older adults remain active and engaged. Visit shepherdscenter.org (Winston-Salem) or shepctrkville.com (Kernersville) for a full list of weekly activities.
Remaining active and engaged in the community is a great way to continue to age with purpose. This is just a small offering of all the different ways seniors can engage in our community. Taking a little time to seek and find some of the wonderful offerings available can be well worth the effort.
AgeWise is a weekly column compiled by staff of Senior Services Inc., a nonprofit organization in Winston-Salem. If you have a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Senior Services, 2895 Shorefair Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27105.