Everyone loves to treat themselves. A chocolate sundae, a cookie with lunch, or a calorie-laden coffee drink, rewarding yourself with food has become a tradition in America.

But if you’re hoping to live a long and healthy life, deprivation, not indulgence, may be the key to success. Researchers at the University of Southern California have found that adopting a diet that mimics fasting may improve brain function, cut fat and extend the life of seniors.

Don’t throw out the contents of your refrigerator just yet. Fasting can be dangerous, especially for older people who may have chronic health conditions. Researchers say fasting isn’t the only way to achieve these results, and that a calorie-restricted diet that mimics a fast can be as effective. To mimic fasting conditions, subjects were given a diet plan that featured about 34% of their normal caloric intake.

The team found that if mice ate a fast-like restricted calorie diet for four days bimonthly, the rodents showed remarkable health benefits. The practice extended the lifespan of the mice, reduced inflammatory diseases, boosted the immune system, decreased cancer occurrences, and fortified bone density.

“It’s about reprogramming the body so it enters a slower aging mode, but also rejuvenating it through stem cell-based regeneration,” explains head researcher Valter Longo. “It’s not a typical diet because it isn’t something you need to stay on.”

Should you try out this fasting-based diet? We recommend checking with your doctor before making a drastic change in your caloric intake, especially if you’re on any medications. However, it is an interesting concept. Simply lowering the calories you consume is a good start. At Capital City Nurses, we promote well rounded nutrition as part of a successful aging plan. Our nurse can help you plan nutritious meals, and our home care workers can even prepare them. Our new Refined Residential Living assisted living, The Cottage at Curry Manor, features home cooked cuisine that is both delicious and nutritious.

Whether you’re interested in lowering your caloric intake for a better life, or just want to retool your diet, there’s always time to make positive changes in your lifestyle.

Bethesda Magazine featured Capital City Nurses in their Ask the Senior Services Experts section of the May/June issue. The information offers readers insight into the aging process and the services that can make the transition into our golden years successful. The piece was written by Capital City Nurses’ founder Susan Rodgers, RN.

The magazine asked Rodgers how families should decide between home care and assisted living.

“Family members should evaluate mom’s or dad’s capabilities, limitations and condition, and identify what specific support they need,” explained Rodgers. “Bill paying, housekeeping and meal preparation may be closely followed by medication, dressing and bathing assistance. Does anyone have the time and energy to provide support or play an active role in directing all of this?”

Capital City Nurses can help you if you’re unsure of your family member’s needs. Our staff of trained nurses can visit seniors’ homes, perform evaluations, and share with you their recommendations. Some seniors may just need a helper to stop by for a few hours, others may need renovations in their homes for safety and convenience, and some may need comprehensive care.

“Home care is a great way to fill gaps for a time or forever,” says Rodgers. “A few hours a day may be enough, but some seniors will need 24/7 care.”

If you’re in need of a part-time care solution, Capital City Nurses will work with you to find a service that will fit you and your family’s needs.

“Our home care services have long been recognized as the best in our area with services ranging from two hour Short and Sweet Visits to round-the-clock care,” says Rodgers. “Our experienced coordinators match the senior and caregiver according to their needs and personalities.”

If round-the-clock home care is needed, but not financially feasible, assisted living might be the best option for your family. Capital City Nurses can also help you transition your loved one from home to a community that offers the services they need. The Cottage at Curry Manor, our Refined Residential Living community offers seniors the chance to enjoy their later years in style, offering gourmet food, enrichment activities, social events and classes.

“We offer a refined assisted living experience,” Rodgers says of the Manor, which she helped design.

Whether you’re wondering if your senior loved one needs care, or trying to determine a care plan, Capital City Nurses is a trusted way to help you and your elderly family members find the path to aging success. Please look for our advertisement in Bethesda Magazineection.