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Geroscience and Health in Aging

geroscience-diagramGeroscience: The intersection of basic aging biology, chronic disease, and health

As we grow older, we are more likely to be diagnosed with one or more chronic ailments. These ailments include life-threatening diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, as well as debilitating conditions like arthritis, fatigue, and frailty. These ailments rob us of our quality of life. The question is: How does the aging process affect the disease process and susceptibility—and vice versa?

Over the years, researchers studying the basic science of aging have sought to answer this question, but their work was confined primarily to investigations of the specific activities and mechanisms that contribute to the aging process, and not as much on the effects of the aging process on various diseases. While aging itself isn't a disease, the aging process represents a major risk factor for several chronic diseases and conditions, including frailty and lack of resilience.

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Make a Difference! Save a Life!

American-red-crossMake a resolution you can keep in 2019! Help the American Red Cross meet the urgent need for blood and platelets by resolving to give blood this January – National Blood Donor Month.

Donating blood or platelets is a way to make a lifesaving impact in the new year for patients like Judy Janssen, who was diagnosed with end-stage autoimmune liver disease in 2016. Janssen received frequent blood transfusions – sometimes multiple times a week – until she underwent a liver transplant last January. “Blood donors make a really big difference with very little effort,” said Janssen, who received dozens of transfusions before and during her transplant surgery. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for blood donations.”

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Hat Trick

beretDon’t let your head go bare on ovember 25—it’s International Hat Day! Certainly, a baseball cap can fit the bill on this holiday, but why not explore some more exotic and symbolic fashions? The fancy, floppy wool beret is instantly recognizable as French. It began as a hat worn by the poorest classes, such as farmers and artists.

The wide-brimmed sombrero may be synonymous with Mexico, but hats like this were worn by horsemen in Mongolia as far back as the 13th century. If you feel a chill in the air, then opt for the Russian ushanka, the cylindrical fur hat with earflaps that can be tied up over its crown. The modern ushanka can be traced to the Russian Civil War when the ruler of Siberia ordered a winter hat be issued as part of the standard uniform.

The fez of the Ottoman Empire was originally meant to be a symbol of equality and a means to show a common national identity amongst its wearers. Choose your hat wisely, for hats from any country are rich in both history and symbolism.

Lightning in a Bottle

mason-jarsWhat is the appeal of the mason jar? It conjures rustic romanticism and good, homemade food. Some even say that it captures summer in a jar, to be uncapped and enjoyed in the long, cold winter. Perhaps you’ll even be inspired to preserve something tasty in a jar yourself on November 30, Mason Jar Day.

John L. Mason didn’t set out to become famous when he invented the mason jar on November 30, 1858. In fact, he didn’t invent the jar at all but rather the unique two-piece metal screw cap. Mason was, after all, a tinsmith, so he was well-versed in the utility of metal. Heat-based canning as a method to preserve foods was common in kitchens prior to Mason’s invention. The one problem common to this type of preservation was a faulty seal. As soon as air entered the jar or can, food began to spoil. Mason’s airtight lid solved that problem beautifully, advancing the efficiency of the canning process. While his airtight lid kept food fresh, the clear glass jar made the contents appetizing.

The most popular mason jar manufactured today is the ubiquitous Ball brand jar. Ball jars were first manufactured in 1884, and today, they are created at a rate of 17 jars per second. Not only is the glass favored over plastic jars made with synthetic chemicals but these jars are also appreciated for their versatility. A mason jar is no longer singularly used to preserve foods like jam or pickles; the jars are also used as soap dispensers, planters, vases, and drinking glasses—not just for moonshine but for trendy cocktails. A mason jar is as authentic a piece of Americana as a cowboy hat. Collectors even seek out rare and valuable mason jar specimens. The Universal jar is worth thousands. Produced in Buffalo in 1937, only 50 were ever manufactured. Even more highly prized is the extremely rare Buffalo jar made in amber glass by the Ball company, of which only four are known to exist. From the mundane to the magnificent, mason jars have captured both food and the public’s imagination for over a century.

A Bunch of Hot Air

macys-paradeIs there any bigger spectacle than the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade marching down Broadway in New York City? And this big spectacle requires big balloons to capture the attention and dazzle the imagination of millions of onlookers.

The Thanksgiving Day parade did not always boast larger-than-life balloons. The first parade was held in 1924 when R.H. Macy & Co. decided to celebrate the opening of its new flagship store on 34th Street in Manhattan. This massive parade was not meant to celebrate Pilgrims and a feast of turkey but to usher in the Christmas shopping season.

During its first three years, the parade featured live animals from the Central Park Zoo, including tigers, elephants, camels, and donkeys. However, the children lining Broadway were so scared by these beasts that parade organizers decided to feature some “lighter” entertainment: giant balloons in the shape of beloved cartoon characters.

The first inflatable star of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was Felix the Cat, the preeminent cartoon megastar of the silent era. In those early days, the balloons were built by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant Company. They were not filled with helium but with air, and wranglers propped them up with long sticks.

In 1929, balloons were filled with helium and wranglers had to both wrestle the gargantuan cartoons and keep their own feet firmly on the ground. Between 1929 and 1932, the balloons were released into the air at the finish of the parade. They could float to the ground anywhere in Manhattan, and the lucky ones who found them needed only to return the tag attached to the lost balloon to Macy’s for a $25 gift certificate. For over 90 years, balloons have floated through New York’s skyscraper canyons. Felix the Cat has stepped aside for Raggedy Ann, Popeye, Snoopy, and current favorites like Iron Man and Pikachu, but the sense of wonder these balloons inspire carries on.

Sacred Heart Villa Hosting Open House Sept 29

Come by Sacred Heart Villa on Saturday, September 29th from 10am - 2pm for our Fall Open House. See our newly renovated private rooms, apartments and suites, enjoy a sampling of our home cooked food, take part in a scavenger hunt, and participate in our free raffle! While here learn about our 24hr licensed staff, concierge transportation, abundance of daily activities, plus much, much more. For more information on our Open House please call 610.929.5751 or go to www.sacredheartvillapa.org

Fall Prevention Tips

September is Fall Prevention Month

Did you know that 1 in 4 Americans aged 65+ falls every year? Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. Falls are costly—in dollars and in quality of life. However, falling is not an inevitable part of aging. Through practical lifestyle adjustments, evidence-based programs, and community partnerships, the number of falls among seniors can be reduced substantially.


1. Find a good balance and exercise program
Look to build balance, strength, and flexibility. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging for referrals. Find a program you like and take a friend.

2. Talk to your health care provider
Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling. Share your history of recent falls.

3. Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist
Make sure side effects aren’t increasing your risk of falling. Take medications only as prescribed.

4. Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses
Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet.

5. Keep your home safe
Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe, and install grab bars in key areas.

6. Talk to your family members
E
nlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe. Falls are not just a seniors’ issue.

To learn more, visit ncoa.org/FallsPrevention