Benefits have always been the marker of a good job. Healthcare, dental, even childcare are all areas where American employers have recognized they need to offer their employees some help. But as the makeup of the American population changes, these benefits will have to be changed to suit the new American households.

According to the Administration on Aging, seniors are one of the most rapidly expanding groups in America. By 2030, the AoA estimates that seniors, ages 65 or older, will make up at least 19% of the US population. This new, larger group of seniors means a whole host of medical and emotional needs will fall to their families and loved ones. The Washington Post reports that the number of Alzheimer’s disease sufferers will triple by 2050, meaning that there will be a large population of Americans in need of part- or fulltime care. Currently over 80 percent of elder care falls to family members and loved ones, to combat these numbers, some companies are taking proactive steps.

An influx in the senior population means that the new American family will have a different set of needs. Some employers are trying to meet them now. The Post reports that companies like DC’s Fannie Mae branch are looking into helping their employees by offering them elder care benefits. These include offering flexibility in working hours, geriatric assessments, social worker services, referrals to adult day care, and emergency backup adult care. Companies are even looking into offering employers counseling to help with legal, financial and emotional counseling as well as Skype services that will help employers stay in contact with elderly dependents who live far away.

Fannie Mae isn’t the only company that’s recognizing the new structure of American homes. Employer-offered elder care benefits have increased by 31 percent since 2008. Currently 43 percent of employers offer their workers some type of elder care support. The trend is a hopeful one, acknowledging the changing makeup of our families.

At Capital City Nurses, we know that taking care of an elderly loved one can be a fulltime job. If you have a loved one who is aging into a phase where they may need care, consider talking to your employer to learn about your company’s benefits and services.

Entrusting a loved one to a caregiver is an act of faith. You need to know that your caregiver will not only offer medical support to your loved one, but also kindness and care needed to bolster their emotional health. When choosing a company, it’s important to consider how that company can foster emotional and physical care for your loved one.

At Capital City Nurses, we emphasize care by hiring only the most dedicated health care providers to work with and for us.

“Many of us thought we knew most of it, but I was surprised to find out that we still have to learn going forward,” Shirley Clarke, one of our company’s newest hires, said about the training Capital City requires for all employees. The training goes above and beyond typical caregiving requirements, allowing us to guarantee that our staff offers the best care possible for you and your loved ones.

A focus on conscientious care above all else is what sets Capital City apart. Our founder, Susan Rodgers, began the company with an eye toward giving clients peace of mind.

“Before accepting a caregiver at Capital City Nurses, I ask myself, ‘Would I want this person caring for my mother or father?’” explains Rodgers. “Only if the answer is “Yes” do I register the applicant.”

This focus on cultivating the best staff for our clients has carried over to our newest venture, The Cottage at Curry Manor. To offer our tenants a refined residential living experience, we hand select every staff member with an eye toward their ability to physically and emotionally support our residents.

At Capital City, we know that inviting a caregiver into your home is an act of trust and we want both you and your loved one to feel peace of mind while we’re working with you.

“I am not a Caregiver for the money,” explains Clarke. “I do enjoy the service I provide and hope that those receiving it feel the same when coming into contact with me.”

We’ve all heard that fruits and vegetables are “brain food” – part of a nutritious diet that will help you develop and fortify a strong mind. Turns out, fruits and vegetables are only part of the equation. Researchers at the National Institute of Health and the University of Copenhagen have discovered that a high fat diet has slowed the aging process in the brains of mice.

Wait! Don’t plan on moving into a Dunkin Donuts yet.

Researchers fed the mice a steady diet of coconut oil, a substance rich in medium chain fatty acids. Mice with Cockayne syndrome – a premature aging disorder that is linked to the CSB protein in DNA – showed a dramatic improvement in health after starting a high-fat diet. Fats seem to bolster the CSB protein, the deterioration of which has also been linked to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

While researchers aren’t sure how much fat and what types benefit human brains, it’s becoming clear that a fat-free existence isn’t a good idea for the aging population. This isn’t a license to feast on double cheeseburgers at every meal. A Nature Neuroscience study found that eating to excess, especially high-fat foods, can cause chemical changes to the brain.

So, you should consume fat, but not too much. It’s a contradictory statement, but one that is important for aging Americans to understand. The key to all food consumption is balance. If you’re interested in finding a healthy diet that will keep your mind and body sound, the National Institute on Aging offers a breakdown of the most popular healthy diets for seniors. The USDA Food Patterns and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Eating Plan offer excellent ways to keep your mind and body vital as you age.

At Capital City Nurses, we know that a healthy diet leads to an active aging process. Choose foods that will nourish your mind and body and you will be rewarded with more active senior years. Don’t fear fat, add some coconut oil to your meal to make your dinner brain food.

Bon appetite.

As we grow older, we’re expected to put away childish things and act our age. But, what if acting your age has been the problem all along?

Dr. Ellen Langer, a professor of psychology at Harvard, decided to see what would happen if she encouraged a group of eight 70-year old men to relive their youth. She converted a monastery into a 1950s home, complete with period-authentic phones, televisions and radios. The group was prompted to discuss events that occurred in the 50s, such as the launch of Sputnik, the idea being to relive these events as opposed to simply remembering them.

Mirrors were removed from the home, and everyone the subjects encountered treated them as young men. They were told to do their own chores, expected to serve themselves and offered no assistance.

The men were all healthy when they signed up for the experiment, with a few showing signs of memory loss, but researchers were amazed by what this 1950s vacation did for the seniors they were studying.

“At the end of the experiment, the aging men felt invigorated, looked younger, acted younger, sat and walked taller, had better dexterity, and even their eyesight improved,” reported Tim Gustafson for the SeattlePi. “While they were waiting for a bus to transport them back home, some even engaged in a spontaneous touch-football game, they were so jazzed about the experience.”

What does Dr. Langer’s experiment tell us about the aging process? That age is a perception. What aging Americans need to successfully age is a feeling of vitality. If seniors lived in a community that provided them with mental stimulation and offered them the opportunity to be physically independent, it might improve their minds and bodies as they age.

The Cottage at Curry Manor, offers Refined Residential Living with a focus on keeping our residents active mentally and physically. While our fixtures are modern, our goal is to help our residents reclaim their vitality in an environment where they are encouraged not to live well and have fun.

We offer classes, seminars and talks with local groups that keep our resident’s minds sharp. Gardening, music, culinary, and dramatic programs keep bodies vital and energized.

While it’s not possible to actually go back in time, Dr. Langer’s experiment proves that when it comes to aging, it’s all about your frame of mind. Experience a different take on aging by touring The Cottage today.