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Read the latest article written by EPPIA members, published in the Eden Prairie News.

How Aging Affects Nutritional Needs

The importance of eating healthy is something we are taught throughout our life. It is no surprise that it becomes especially important as you age. This is because aging is linked to a variety of physical changes in the human body. Some of these changes can make you prone to nutrient deficiencies, while others can affect your senses and quality of life.

One challenge of aging is a reduced need for calories. This creates a nutritional dilemma. Older adults need to get just as much, if not more, of some nutrients, all while eating fewer calories. Eating a variety of whole foods and taking a supplement can help you meet your nutrient needs.

Your daily calorie need depends on height, weight, muscle mass, activity level and several other factors. Older adults often need fewer calories to maintain their weight, since they tend to move and exercise less and carry less muscle. If you continue to eat the same number of calories per day as you did when you were younger, you could easily gain extra fat. However, even though older adults need fewer calories, they need just as high or even higher levels of some nutrients, compared to younger people. This makes it very important for older people to eat a variety of whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, fish and lean meats. These healthy choices can help you fight nutrient deficiencies, without expanding your waistline.

Another challenge for the aging body is increased muscle loss and strength. This is known as sarcopenia. It is a major cause of weakness, fractures and poor health among the elderly. Eating more protein could help your body maintain muscle. In fact, research shows that combining a protein-rich diet with resistance exercise seems to be the most effective way to fight sarcopenia.

A third issue people may experience as they age is a reduction in their body’s ability to recognize thirst. This could make you prone to dehydration. Water makes up about 60% of your body and it is important to stay hydrated at any age, since your body constantly loses water, mainly through sweat and urine. Your body detects thirst through receptors found in the brain and throughout the body. As you age, these receptors may become less sensitive to water changes, making it harder for them to detect thirst. Additionally, your kidneys help your body conserve water, but they tend to lose function as you age. Long-term dehydration can reduce the fluid in your cells, reducing your ability to absorb medicine, worsening medical conditions and increasing fatigue. That’s why it’s important to make a conscious effort to drink enough water daily.

The good news is that you can fight the physical effects of an aging body. Do this by making a conscious effort to stay on top of your water and food intake, eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods and consider taking a supplement. All these actions can help you fight deficiencies and stay healthy as you get older.

Nita Hughes, Program Director, Bloomington Eden Prairie Meals on Wheels

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA meets five times a year to exchange information and problem solve in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA please visit our website at

Gift Ideas To and From Seniors

It’s that time of year again when we are thinking about what presents to give to our loved ones at the holiday season. Here are a few tips and ideas about what to give to your favorite senior, and also some ideas for gifts that are easy for seniors to give to their loved ones.

Know your senior: What is their living situation (e.g. do they live independently, are they in assisted living or memory care?) Do they have any health issues to consider such as diabetes, impaired vision or hearing, mobility issues, etc.?

Assess their needs: Many older adults have been frugal all of their lives and may have worn out linens such as bath towels, sheets and blankets, dish towels, etc. This holds true for such mundane things as socks, underwear, and pajamas as well. A new shirt or sweater is often an appreciated gift too.

Know their likes: Do they have a favorite color, fragrance, author, music, etc. Do they have a hobby, use a computer, play a sport, go to movies, eat out, etc.?

Many people find it hard to ask for something they want. So it is important to be observant and a little creative to come up with a gift that will be useful and meaningful. This is true at any age! Some seniors have also provided these insights into what types of gifts they would like.

• Time with my children and/or grandchildren. One at a time, so we can spend some quality time together.
• An experience. This could be lots of things, depending on your budget such as tickets to a play or concert, sporting event, fishing outing, weekend getaway, etc.
• Gift cards to restaurants, movie theaters, favorite stores, beauty salon, massage, etc.
• A “certificate” to help with household chores and repairs.
• A “certificate” to shop for and prepare a special dinner for your special senior.
• Consumable things such as candy, fragrances, body lotion, special soaps, food items, a good bottle of wine.
• Books, magazine and/or newspaper subscriptions.
• A calendar with family photos, framed photos of children and/or grandchildren. 

The thing is that when you start thinking about it, there are really a lot of good ideas you can come up with for your special senior. These ideas can also work for seniors who need to buy gifts for their families and friends. So, if you are like me and haven’t finished your shopping yet, there is still time for coming up with great gifts and have fun shopping!

Holly Hansen, Senior Partner
Brilliant Moves –

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at

DIY Estate Plan Fix

1. DIY Fix for Your Estate Plan. Every estate plan should have at least three elements: 1) a will or trust; 2) a health care directive; and 3) a financial power of attorney. A fourth and final element is a Letter of Instructions for Survivors. This is your job. It's not that difficult to do for most of us, but it needs to be done and updated periodically.

2. Two Part Letter of Instructions. It doesn't need to be in two parts, but often it should be. The first part contains limited information about how to get into your home, how to find your estate plan and financial documents and perhaps information about your funeral and memorial service wishes. Secondly, you really should prepare a more detailed list of instructions and guides to aid your personal representative, trustee(s) and your agents under your health care directive and

3. The First Letter. This can be sent to interested family members or just the fiduciary appointed by your estate plan. It should give them information as to where you store your financial records and your estate planning documents. You may add information about your funeral and memorial service preferences and if you have prepaid or otherwise provided for these expenses. Depending on your wishes, you may want to include details that are otherwise provided by the Second Letter detailed below. If you have made unusual gifts, or intentionally omitted a child, you should consider letting them know in advance either by in person conversations or in this first letter.

4. The Second Letter. This letter should include detailed information on your financial accounts (where held, account numbers, person to contact) and if you have beneficiary designations on the accounts (also TOD and POD designations). Let them know where to find your tax returns and current tax files as well as contact information for your tax preparer. Provide insurance information (e.g. policies, agent). If you have a safe deposit box, where the box is located, where the key is, and who is authorized to access the box. List charge cards you own, and where they are kept. Also list recurring charges that are authorized to your bank account(s); passwords for devices, accounts and social media. Provide account and password information for storage of files and photos if the cloud. If located at your residence, indicate where you keep your electronic storage.

You might want a list of people to contact after you have passed on. List where you keep house keys, car keys and remotes for the garage doors if any. Special instructions may be needed for taking care of your home(s). There may be items you have of value, that may not appear to be valuable, such as antiques, coin collections or jewelry. Let your family know any estimates of value and where they are located. This may be as long or as short as you feel necessary. I have one client that has a 30 page letter of instructions. That's an outlier. Just remember, the goal is to make things easier for your family after you have passed on.

Richard Jensen is an attorney who does estate planning (952) 944-0406, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at

Seniors: Procrastinating on Moving?

“I am thinking of transitioning to a smaller place to live, but where do I begin?” As a Realtor® this is often the very first question I am asked when meeting with a senior who is looking to sell their home and downsize. It can feel overwhelming. But the good news is there is a lot of help available.

Many seniors take 1-2 years to decide to move and some are less prepared emotionally than others. Relocation Stress Syndrome is real and there is support available. With planning, you can avoid feeling pressured or pushed.

There are many reasons why someone 55+ considers a move. Retirement, finances, health, need for support services, one-level living, or maybe just to find a place that is smaller and easier to afford or maintain. So, where to begin?

Define Your Needs. Here’s an easy first step. Take your time, gather information and write a “do-like and don’t-like list”. What do you like about your current home? What is important to you? Do you crave access to some outside space? Do you have a dog to walk? What makes a place special to you? What don’t you like? (Too many stairs, too big of a yard to mow, etc.) This list will become a guidepost when you begin to look at new places to live and make it easy to articulate precisely what you’re looking for.

Conduct research. There are many housing options to consider including fifty-five plus independent adult communities and cooperatives; assisted living providing basic services for medical or personal care, meals and recreation; and one-level properties, not just for seniors, such as condos and townhomes where outside maintenance is included. Connecting with an experienced housing professional who can explain the choices, costs and how they might fit with your goals and needs is a solid next step.

Plan ahead. It is often helpful to meet with a Realtor® who has experience helping people transition or downsize even before you are ready to make a change. Request a Comparative Market Analysis. This will determine the value of your property through comparison to similar property transactions within a certain radius and help establish a sale price.

Interview Realtors®. An agent experienced in senior housing options and services will understand the pros and cons and costs of all the housing under consideration and can explain the details to you. They can also consider your “do and don’t like list” and suggest some options that fit your requirements.

There is no shortage of Realtors® vying for the job, but how do you select one? Find a licensed Realtor® with lots of experience working with clients who are similar to you. Ask for references and check them. Look for a hands-on, full- time Realtor®, someone who is familiar with services available for individuals 55+ with trusted contacts in those fields. Does this person listen carefully? Do you feel comfortable with them? Trust your instincts.

Make your move. Forget cookie-cutter solutions! For example, my clients Mitch and Sandra had been living in an apartment with stairs. Sandra recently suffered a serious health challenge that made stairs impossible, but the couple didn’t want an assisted living arrangement. For them, we found a small, one-level townhome in a neighborhood they loved, and they are very happy with this. For someone else, moving to assisted living might have been a very good solution.

Enjoy a smooth move and don’t go it alone. Remember that excellent outside help is available! Pack and move, home care, legal, mortgage, de-clutter, downsize, emotional support and more services are available to help make your move leading up to the big day and beyond a pleasant, beneficial and satisfying next step

Terry Eggan, Realtor®, Bridge Realty
612-386-9309, email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA meets five times a year to exchange information and problem solve in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA please visit our website at

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