Great Exercises For Seniors

 

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Exercise is an activity that even the youngest and healthiest people often neglect to make a habit of doing. But exercise is a secret weapon for a senior to stay healthy and independent for longer into their golden years.  There are plenty of great exercises for seniors that can keep them active and refreshed.

Maintaining fitness and exercising does not necessarily mean lifting heavy weights and undertaking rigorous, intense workout regiments for long times. However, avoiding lethargy and inactivity can boost your general health and make you feel good throughout the day.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has recommended four basic types of exercise for seniors that accommodate an elder’s pace and promote health.

 

Strength Exercises: For seniors, strength exercises are often condensed down to a manageable lightweight dumbbell workout. The goal is not so much to build mass as it is to stimulate muscles and maintain strength.

Do not exert yourself too much; select a weight that feels just enough to require a little umph. Then use smooth, steady movements to bring the weight or dumbbell into position. Avoid sharp jerking movements or locking your joints. Don’t forget to breathe steadily. Holding your breath for too long while lifting can negatively affect your blood pressure.

If you find yourself exhausted after exercise, then that is a good indicator that you are working too hard.

 

Balance Exercises: Improving and strengthening the lower half of the body will help with balance and reduce the risk of falls among seniors. Falling is one of the leading causes of disabilities among seniors, with over 300,000 elders treated for broken hips every year.

Thus it is crucial to do whatever it takes to avoid such an accident in your older age. Some good balance exercises for seniors may include lowering down to do squats while holding on to a table edge; standing on one foot; walking heel to toe,  back leg / side leg raises.

It is unwise for seniors to use heavy weights for squats.  Balance exercises for seniors can be done at any time as long as their is steady support near by to ensure safety in case of a balance misstep.

 

Stretching Exercises: Stretching loosens up the joints and allows for more freedom of movement for seniors; this allows you to be more active. It is wise to do some light stretching as a warm up before attempting a more intense workout in order to better prepare the body. Never bounce into a stretch because doing so will put unnecessary strain on your joints.

A stretch may be mildly uncomfortable, but should never be painful. Take time to research which stretching exercises are more your pace.

 

Endurance Exercises: Endurance exercises for seniors include activities that raise your heart rate and intensify your breathing. Such exercises include going for a jog, swimming, biking, or even some exerting chores like raking leaves. Although especially intense chores like shoveling snow may prove to be dangerously over-exerting, so it may be wise to give the nice neighbor-boy a few bucks for those grueling undertakings.

Cardio activity is good for improving heart health, as heart problems are very common in older men. Doing about five minutes of cardio at a time will gradually build your endurance and lead to an improved state of health.

How Much Change Is Good For Seniors with Alzheimer’s?

Aging Parents

When a senior loved one has fallen victim to a severely mentally deteriorating disease like Alzheimer’s or dementia, good caregivers often seek to make their living space as safe as possible. Sometimes well-meaning caregivers will change the entire arrangement of a home, swept up in removing hazards and adding locks to avoid accidents. However, caregivers must keep in mind that altering the environment of a senior with cognitive debilitations can also be very disorienting for them as well as helpful.  Not all change is good for seniors with Alzheimer’s.

 

Often times, a senior has lived in the same home for many years, and is still able to navigate through the house with a sort of muscle memory about the layout of their familiar environment. Rearranging the home all together may contribute to some subconscious confusion in addition to their hampered cognition, making it even harder to get around. It may be best to retain a familiar surrounding.

 

Depending on the severity of your loved one’s case, some adjustments may surely need to be made. If a senior with dementia is prone to wander off, then door alarms or other precautions may need to be installed. Also, if a senior generally kept a messy home when living independently, the mess and clutter may add to the confusion as well, and disorient a senior’s sense of space. An untidy environment may also increase the likelihood of trips and falls. So, it will be up to you to gauge the necessary balance between maintaining a comfortable familiar surrounding and reorganizing space for safety purposes.

 

If you feel that changes to your senior loved one’s environment are in fact needed, then it may be best to de-clutter or safety-proof a home gradually. An overnight reconstruction of an Alzheimer patient’s living space can be an overwhelming change; but selectively removing or reorganizing unnecessary items around the home over time can be beneficial.

 

For many seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, routine is the key to sanity. It is often comforting and less mentally exerting to stay in a zone of sameness with fewer surprises.. Whenever you make a change or move something important to an elder in your care, try to be sure that they see you move their cane or bracelet or chair, so that it will register more easily in their mind, instead of coming off as a total surprise to discover later.

 

No one knows your loved one better than you do, so as their caregiver, try to figure out their own personal tolerance level for change when trying to craft an accommodating living space for their cognitive condition

New Saliva Test Will Detect Alzheimer’s Early

Home Nurse Takes Temperature

 

To this day, Alzheimer’s remains an incurable disease that medical scientists do not fully understand. Doctors can determine the difference between healthy and unhealthy brains, but there is at this time no testing method to determine if a person will get Alzheimer’s. But new research may have changed all that.

 

During the 2015 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference held in D.C., a new intuitive testing method for detecting Alzheimer’s disease early was presented.

 

A simple analysis of a saliva sample may be all it takes to detect development of the mental disease. At this point the research is just beginning to find its footing, but it may provide a way to eventually better track the progress of the deteriorating of healthy brains, that we may better understand the disease.

Simply put, this innovative new testing system exams saliva samples, looking for changes in saliva as a way to diagnose the progression of Alzheimer’s.

 

Studies have been conducted by researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada, working with saliva samples from 100 people divided into 3 groups based upon their cognitive ability—those with normal aging cognition, those with mild cognitive impairment, and those with cognition severely impaired with Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Research scientists looked to analyze small molecules called metabolites, found in saliva, which are bi-products of chemical reactions in the brain. There were found to be patterns of metabolite molecules in saliva for the groups of test subjects who had more cognitive impairment.

 

Shraddha Sapkota, the neuroscience researcher presenting the study, stated that, “Salivary metabolomics analyses will advance the cause of early detection of Alzheimer’s disease […] and promote our understanding of the mechanisms from normal aging to Alzheimer’s.”

 

The potential for such an easy testing method is great news, as swabbing for saliva is a minimally invasive and cost-effective way to test patients, over expensive brain scanning machinery. Hopefully someday soon this mouth swab will be a standard part of routine health check-ups for seniors and older adults.

 

Fighting this tragic condition has become an ever-increasing priority as cases of Alzheimer’s have been steadily increasing, become the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.

 

However, this conference announcement was more of a way to pitch the possibility of saliva testing, rather than a guarantee of its effectiveness. Only sampling 100 people is not nearly enough to draw any definitive conclusions about the reliability of analyzing these metabolites in saliva. Larger populations must be tested and more research must be done from here before we can be sure about the saliva test for Alzheimer’s. Though this does seem to be a promising step in the right direction toward understanding and hopefully one day effectively treating Alzheimer’s disease.

 

 

Digital Hearing Aid Benefits

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The five senses all add to the value of life, and when one sense becomes impaired, it may feel like life has lost some worth. One of the most common impairments among seniors is hearing loss. In fact, one-third of Americans age 65 and older report some kind of hearing impairment due to various factors.

 

When your hearing starts to diminish, it can impair your social life, ability to communicate, and your environmental awareness. Hearing actually assists your sense of balance, and damage to hearing can increase the risk of falls among elders, impeding your ability to live independently.

 

Causes of Hearing Loss

 

The sense of hearing naturally diminishes with the aging process, but damage to hearing can be greatly multiplied with chronic exposure to loud noises. Harmful loud noise may include concert events, ear-bud headphones, lawnmowers, etc. Prolonged exposure to such noises can cause irreversible damage to the inner ear, harming tiny hair cells that carry sound to the brain.

 

Another cause of hearing loss that is easier to treat, is when ear wax, fluid build up, or infection obstruct sound to the middle-ear. A qualified otolaryngologist can reverse the hearing loss by removing such obstructions; however if damage has been done to the inner ear, then you may need to see an audiologist to test your ears for more permanent hearing damage, and review your hearing aid options.

 

Best Hearing Aid Options

 

While Damage to the inner ear is permanent, modern hearing aid technology is more affordable than ever. Hearing aids do not restore normal hearing, but can amplify sounds to significantly improve your hearing and allow you to carry out a normal life. It may take a few weeks or a few months to completely adjust a hearing aid to be right with your individual need. There are varying tiers of sophisticated quality models, based on your degree of need.

 

 

Traditional hearing aids merely amplified all sound, including unwanted background noise, which many seniors found irritating and painful to listen to at times. Hearing aid technology has drastically improved in recent years, as newer digital hearing aids have changed the market. In contrast to just amplifying the volume of everything, digital hearing aids use microphones to for transmitting sound to a computer chip that uses discernment to basically moderate the volume levels as well as filter out the unnecessary background noises.

 

Digital hearing aids provide many conveniences for seniors who are still working or have any amount of tech competence. These hearing aids can use Bluetooth to be synced with a smartphone, allowing you to hear calls more clearly through the hearing aid. You may also configure it to hear audio from your television, music player, or computer if you like.

 

Be sure to meet with professional hearing doctors before selecting which hearing aid is best for you. You may find that a very sophisticated model is not necessary for you at this time, or they may be exactly what you’re looking for. The affordability of quality digital hearing aids is increasing rapidly, as each year sees prices fall. Advanced aids that would have cost thousands five years ago may cost hundreds now. Look into how digital hearing aids apply to your budget and your level of need.

 

Personal Sound Amplifiers (PSAPs) are less sophisticated hearing aids intended for people with only mild hearing loss. These products are sold over the counter and do not require a prescription from a hearing doctor. These primarily amplify sound, with less discernment than digital hearing aids. PSAPs are not subjected to the same quality standards as conventional prescription hearing aids by the Food and Drug Administration; so it would be wise to still consort with a doctor before investing in a PSAP as well. These models typically cost anywhere from $25 to $500 depending on the model or seller.

 

 

At first the process of researching your options, going through tests, and understanding the technology for how a hearing aid can improve your life may seem very daunting, but it is worth the investment in order to restore your role as a communicator in your social sphere and to avoid misunderstandings, having to ask other to repeat themselves, and negating the hazard of falling.

How Electric Scooters Keep Seniors Mobile

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Staying Mobile

 

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that as you get older, some body parts just don’t perform as well as they used to anymore. But nowadays there are many ways for elders with impaired mobility to still get around, remain sociable, and perform daily activities.

 

Seniors who are disabled, suffer from poor balance, or are prone to falls, may find a mobility scooter helpful for you moving about easily and safely. Mobility Scooters are electric powered chairs created to assist seniors and handicapped individuals with staying mobile and active.

 

Many associate mobility scooters solely as a tool for the disabled, but these battery-powered scooters are not just for the handicapped. Mobility scooters are also helpful for seniors who are recovering from illness or undergoing rehabilitation following a major surgery. For those who are not comfortable staying on their feet for as long as they would like, scooters can maintain your ability to walk by conserving your energy as you go about your day.

 

Scooters Can Be Stylish and Comfortable

 

Mobility scooters are becoming a more convenient alternative to traditional wheelchairs among seniors. They provide more comfort, speed, and storage than even up-scale electric wheelchairs. These scooters are designed to accommodate people of all weights, heights, and move at varying speeds (4-8 miles per hour) based on the needs of the senior.

 

Seniors riding around enjoy comfortable transportation, as many models feature headrests and armrests, as well as removable baskets to make shopping easier.

 

Using this convenient electronic transportation, seniors can get around more easily at home and in public to help in maintaining their hobbies and social lives.

 

Utility and Security

 

Mobility scooters safely run on electricity rather than gas, allowing seniors to travel up to 30 miles in between battery recharges for some scooter models. Different models and brands of scooters cater to different specific needs.

 

There are scooters for various budgets and applications. Some scooters are best suited to indoor usage, while others are durable for outdoors as well. There are lightweight models, solar powered models for the environmentally conscious, and models that fold up to be compact for increased portability.

 

For security purposes, a special key activates many mobility scooter models in order to avoid theft or the liability of anyone else misusing it.

 

There are some legal limitations to scooter ownership. Those with impaired eyesight, upper body strength, or hearing may not qualify to operate a mobility scooter. So be certain to check with a doctor before investing in a new scooter or buying one from a friend.

 

Mobility Solutions

 

Modern assisted living facilities are aware of the increased use of electric scooters as a mobility solution for seniors, and many elder care communities have been designed with scooter access in mind. Paths and accommodations for scooters are convenient for residents who may not require around-the-clock care, but still have trouble with mobility due to physical conditions or other affects of aging. This scooter accessibility allows these seniors to get around confidently and enjoy their community to the fullest.

 

Electronic scooters are mobility solutions for helping seniors to stay independent for longer, prevent falls, and avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital.

 

Pricing

 

The cost of a mobility scooter will depend on the model and features included. Scooter can range from a $500 basic model to a $2,000+ for luxury scooter with all the bells and whistles.
Medicare does cover the cost of a mobility scooter for certain qualifying seniors as well as the disabled, if you prove that you have a legitimate medical need for one.

 

 

Prevent Falls in the Shower and Bathroom

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Falls at home are the most common injury among seniors, leading to about 300,000 cases of broken hips and other injuries every year. As your natural resilience to nasty falls becomes weaker with age, a good question is, how to make the most slippery places in your home safe?

The most common slip area in a house is typically the bathroom (80% of senior falls occur there), due to its tendency to combine slick tile flooring with wetness.

Sometimes it’s not enough to just do your best to be careful, the best strategy for staying safe can be to make your environment equipped to prevent falls. Installing some safety features in your bathroom can reduce the likeliness of slipping and falling.

Take a moment to review the following utilities designed to keep your home environment safe for vulnerable elders and prevent falls in the shower and bathroom floors of your home:

Shower Chairs

A shower chair allows an elder who has trouble balancing to shower in a secure and seated position. Rubber tips at the end of the chair legs ensure stability in the wet shower area. These chairs work best when used with a handheld showerhead. Shower chairs may have a back rest, or just provide the utility of a stool, depending on your preference.

 

Shower seat

Shower Mats

For seniors who do not have trouble standing in the shower for extended periods of time, a shower mat may provide the right among of slip-prevention. Many falls occur when getting into or out of the tub/shower. So a secure non-slip mat inside the shower, accompanied with a bathroom floor rug outside of the shower can work together to keep you safe.

 

 

 

Anti Slip Mat

Walk-in Tubs

Sometimes a simple mat may not be enough to provide the security a senior needs to feel safe when climbing into and out of the tub. The balance act of lifting one’s legs over the tub edge can be enough to cause a fall. Walk-in tubs provide a way to enter and exit the tub without the worry of losing your balance.

 

 

Tub Grips

If an elder would rather have a little help climbing into the tub, rather than using the convenience of a walk-in tub, then a simple tub grip may be a good choice. Tub grip is a bar that locks on tight to the tub’s edge and provides a sturdy object to grab as you climb in and out of the tub.

 

Adjustable height toilet seatToilet Seat Risers

Many toilets are not designed with the comfort of elders in mind. Seniors sometimes have trouble lowering themselves to sit down when toilets are too low or small. The act of squatting or rising to stand can require balance or lifting strength that is too much on an elder. Toilet seat rising products reduce the distance a senior has to squat down, and provides more safety and comfort. Some are equipped with handlebars for stability when raising one’s self up to stand again.

Towel Rack

Make sure that towel racks are securely attached in the bathroom. Sometimes a towel rack can be improperly installed, or simply loosen over years of use. If a rack comes unattached while an elder in holding it or removing something from it, a fall may occur.

Floor Tiles vs. Carpet

Wooden floors look nice, but they can be slippery and hazardous to seniors moving around the home with socks or slippers on. Decide whether carpet floors would be a safer choice for your home in order to prevent falls.

Slip Strips

Anti-Slip Strips are thin strips made of mildly abrasive anti-slip material that stick to slippery surfaces like wood stairs. They are a neutral black color, so they don’t awkwardly stand out, but are very helpful.

When it comes to preventing slips and falls in the home, taking every precaution can add up to be expensive. Safety-proof your home one step at a time. Evaluate your living environment and decide which areas could be safety-improved based on the specific needs of you or the elder in your care.

Assisted Living Care

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A recent study from the University of Bordeaux wanted to determine whether sleeping pills linked to Alzheimer’s. The findings indicated that taking prescription sleeping pills may increase the chances of developing Alzheimer’s by 50%. This study only examined people ages 65 and older, thus isn’t clear how younger people are affected. Strong sedatives using benzodiazepines (like diazepam and temazepam), used to treat severe insomnia and anxiety were studied. These drugs are not prescribed for long-term use in assisted living care because they can cause dependency.

 

Alzheimer’s takes a long time to develop, and the University research showed that taking benzodiazepines for long-term periods (over six months) was a risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s. The study evaluated around 1,500 seniors with Alzheimer’s, analyzing over six years of medical history.

 

The results of this study are not entirely conclusive, as further research is needed. However, this conclusion is in line with what several other studies have found. This is not to scare you off of all forms of sleeping pills, but rather indicates that taking heavy sedative pills, containing benzodiazepines for long periods of time can cause Alzheimer’s in older adults. So be sure to follow instructions regarding the duration of your sleeping pill prescriptions. And ask your doctor about the effects that taking benzodiazepines may have on someone your age.