Thursday, December 12, 2013

Noise and Air Pollution Effects on Seniors

                                           Over 55 Community

Ongoing studies show a correlation between noise pollution and the health of older persons. We have always suspected that air and noise pollution are not good for people as they age and these studies are showing this to be true.      

Blood Pressure Increases for Those Over 65 Exposed to Noise

In one study it was found that high noise levels raise blood pressure on those over 65.  On younger people the effects are negligible in this study.

Noise negatively affected blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and caused more heart attacks and stroke in persons living in high traffic areas. However, in some cases it was not determined if it was the noise or the air pollution caused by traffic.

Some of the noises studied were air traffic, road traffic noise, hospital noise levels, and restaurant noise.

In one particularly interesting study the conclusion was that residential traffic noise was associated with a higher incidence of stroke in people over 64.5 years but not in younger people.*

  *From the European Heart Journal content on noise studies and its effects on heart health.

Over 55 Communities Can Be a Refuge from Noise

There is one place that you can go to get a quieter environment. That place is an over 55 community.  This is the prime reason I like them. I have always liked quiet but now as I age I am finding it a more and more desirable element for retirement. 

These types of communities:

  • Have rules and restrictions to protect you 
  • Have very few children or teenagers around  
  • Have residents that are slower, take more naps, and require more rest
These features overall encourage a more quiet and restful environment.    

You have to know yourself to determine the level of quiet that is right for you.

If you must work in the city--don't live in the city

            See Portland, Maine article on my website

Urban Communities

The opposite of a quiet area would be an urban community with surrounding city noises such as street traffic, loud people and music, sirens and noisy garbage trucks. These communities are very popular now especially since people are living and working longer.  However, if you are worried about stroke or heart attacks, these health studies indicate you may wish to find a quieter environment. 

There are communities located in rural or suburban areas around cities but out of the congestion and noise.  The newer ones are usually located around transportation hubs for an easier commute to jobs in the city.


  •  Buying in Locations Near Noise

Even in a quiet residential community if your home is on the busiest road there, you may want to re-think that choice.

In a country community you could get some noise pollution from air traffic overhead if you live near an airport (another study was ongoing for this with a correlation between airplane noise and heart health.)

There are headphones you can wear to deaden noise. I tried out a pair of those on a recent airplane flight and it did make a difference in noise level.  

Some studies aren't sure if the bad effects are due to noise or the air pollution created.

  • Noise In Other Situations

I find myself now going to restaurants at their more quiet times (choose 2:30PM right before the luncheon special is over) or shopping early in the morning when no one else is around and staying away during high traffic times.  It is just more peaceful that way.  Now I suspect it really does affect my physiological well being.

  • Noises at Night

Loud levels of noise are especially harmful at night because they affect sleep.  Stop by a potential property at night to make sure it is quiet.  If you work in a noisy environment, you may not want to live in one.  Living away from a large city you will have some periods of quiet at night and on weekends. 

Find a Quiet Place to Live 

Take a good look at your prospective retirement home and decide if the air and noises around you will be helpful or harmful to your health.

These studies seem to suggest finding a quiet place to live would be recommended in your golden years.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Travel--It's A Super De-Stressor

This Thanksgiving I visited my daughter in California. We booked a stay in a luxury hotel, the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, with an ocean-front room.

I was determined to have a healthy, relaxing, healing vacation.

 One needs to indulge oneself occasionally.  And what a treat it was.

Days go by when I am working on my website non-stop writing about communities and places, but I have to admit writing takes its toll on the body. The eyes get a little red and tired. Sitting for long periods disrupts the circulation and breathing. It is my passion, but wish it could be a little less stressful. I need breaks and travel to relieve stress and tension that can affect how one looks and feels.

Even if you live in a place that is naturally relaxing, which is what I recommend on my website for retirement, a temporary change of environment can be good for you.
Travel is a super de-stressor. See what I mean:

Day 1 - Arrival and an immediate booking at Tao Healing Arts Center for an amazing deep tissue massage with Neti.

Day 2 - Breakfast at the hotel. Banana pancakes for him and a 3-egg mushroom, onion and red pepper omelet for me. Feeling better already.

Dinner at Dr. Andrew Weil's True Food Kitchen in Santa Monica that night. The curry bowl is super healthy and delicious. All recipes follow Dr Weil's anti-inflammatory diet. The food is very healthy. This is the way to eat on a healthy, healing vacation. The atmosphere was eclectically satisfying. I wish I had remembered to get a photo.

Day 3 - Breakfast at LePain.  Enjoying the ocean views and sunsets from my room and my daughter and son-in-law's apartment. Calming.

She brought up a website that offered free meditations. I nearly fell asleep listening to it.

 She profoundly loves healthy food.

 We were constantly showered with the fresh fruits and veggies, dips and snacks from where else: the Santa Monica Farmer's Market. Farmers markets are not just for food. They are relaxing and fun and therapy to me, and the one in Santa Monica is huge.

Photo shows snack of tangerines, persimmon, kiwi, candied walnuts, and blueberries.

Doing this the day before Thanksgiving was a special treat since the vendors really outdid themselves with their display of goods. Heaps of goodness everywhere.

Day 4 - Rented a bike to ride along the Santa Monica bike trail which goes right beside the ocean. If this isn't enough to inspire one to exercise, I don't know what it is. Bikers, skaters, walkers etc. were all out moving and breathing the fresh air.

 Take a deep breath. This is the Pacific Ocean clearing out your lungs and filling it with the sea's best air. Dinner that night was in to enjoy the produce we had bought that day.

Day 5 - First, a dip in the outdoor Jacuzzi by the Sea. Completely relaxed we went up to our room and took a long nap. Feels good to stay under the cool silky sheets and sleep. Dinner is Mexican at Border Grill. You must have Mexican food when in California. Again lots of herbs, spices and fresh veggies. I got a photo of my Chile Relleno (I am a vegetarian)
but wish I had gotten some of the restaurant. The walls were a beautiful warm sunset color. In LA everywhere, one feels part of an artistic setting.

Day 6 - An enjoyable breakfast at the hotel.  Just lazing at the ocean in a sand chair, experiencing the breeze. We had fine weather. It was sunny every day. As the day came to an end, the sunsets were full of color. It certainly helped that my daughter was playing soft classical music as the sun melted into the horizon. At night, the air was crisp but not chill. Walking at night along the beachwalk, the sound of the surf and twinkling bright stars carves an indelible streak in your mind and senses calming every fiber of your body. Ahhh

More sunsets...

Day 7 - More massage...
This time at the hotel's spa.
The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel has everything one could want for a luxury vacation, and their Spa is unquestionably excellent. A "Deep Ocean" massage with Denise (I actually fell asleep) followed by a facial with Nicole. Nicole said my skin was now clean and hydrated. I purchased a Travel Kit which gave a sampling of skin cleansing and moisturizing products and I vowed to treat my facial skin better than before.

Thanksgiving with my daughter and her husband. She is a vegan, so her dinner consisted of Field Roast's Celebration loaf (because we love it and it's easy), a delicious chestnut stuffing, orange glazed sweet potatoes, baked red carrots and sweet oranges, cranberry and apple sauce, sweet potato and hummus pita pockets, and of course vegan pumpkin pie with whip cream and a mini-scoop of real vanilla ice-cream (Coconut Bliss by Lara and Luna.)

Day 8 When the day came to check out of our hotel, we were rested, happy and felt fabulous. This proves my theory that travel is de-stressing and in my opinion anti-aging.

Every day a new sunset.  Enjoy the holiday season with travel.