Tag Archives: seniors

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Yoga and Meditation Can Be a Boon to Seniors and Their Caregivers

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Yoga and Meditation Can Be a Boon to Seniors and Their Caregivers

By Harry Cline :newcaregiver.org

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Yoga and meditation offer a number of important benefits to seniors and those in a caregiving role.  Bending and stretching are good for our minds and bodies at any age.  Our physical and mental wellness can be improved with some basic exercises, helping us to better flex and focus.    



Older, Wiser, And Stronger

Many people apply the phrase “use it or lose it” to aging bodies and minds, but it’s often done so tongue-in-cheek.  However, as Psychology Today points out, physical activity is especially important as we grow older, and it’s not just our bodies that benefit.  In fact, 70-year-olds who exercise an average of 200 minutes per week can maintain or even improve their brain function.  Their brains actually start growing, effectively reversing the aging process, when their sedentary peers are experiencing brain shrinkage.

Yoga and deep breathing exercises offer special benefits, helping to reduce stress hormones.  Participating in any form of yoga program can help improve flexibility, strength and balance, which is important to seniors since falling becomes a higher risk if those aspects wane with age. 

Pretzels, Floors And Handstands

Yoga can be intimidating to many seniors.  Creeping around on the floor, bending into impossible positions and throwing your legs over your head might sound like a great way to end up in the emergency room, or at least laid up in bed for a week.  It’s important to keep in mind you don’t need to participate in an extreme program to reap the benefits of yoga.  You don’t even need to go to a gym, since there are in-home exercises for seniors using technology such as YouTube exercise videos, fitness apps and Wii games. 

There are gentle yoga classes designed for people who are new to yoga and chair yoga is a smart option for those with limited mobility or who just want a set of exercises they can perform anywhere.  In addition to being able to participate in any location, many chair yoga poses are simple.  You just need a sturdy chair and comfortable clothing.  For gentle yoga, Sixty & Me suggests getting started with an instructor or watching some instructional videos.  Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and keep a floor mat handy for a soft exercise surface.

Feeling, Sensing And Thinking

Practicing yoga involves meditation.  Meditation involves mindfulness, which is basically being in the moment and aware of the sensations you are experiences.  You can improve your sleep habits by focusing on what you are feeling and by doing deep breathing exercises.  Being more aware of messages from your body can help you better cope with pain and avoid overeating.  Meditation can improve your patience, focus and self-esteem.  Mayo Clinic explains meditation can help manage symptoms associated with many chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease and asthma. 

For those who are under a great deal of stress such as in the role of caregiver, mindfulness is a particularly useful stress relief tool.  To get started, contrary to what many believe, you don’t have to have silence.  Some people find it helpful to listen to environmental sounds or soft, soothing music.  Soaking in a bath can also be helpful, offering gentle sensation to contemplate.  Avoid being judgmental about what you are feeling and thinking, and allow yourself to sense and focus.  Awareness of your breathing and the associated sensations can help ease you into a mindful state, and it’s a technique you can use in any circumstances. 

Growing older doesn’t have to mean loss of ability.  With some simple techniques, you can enjoy the many perks of participating in yoga and meditation, enhancing your physical and mental wellness.  Improved health of the mind and body can mean better quality of life for seniors and their caregivers. 

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Will you need Home Care or Home Health Care

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Will you need Home Care or Home Health Care

Source: EldercareABCBlog

It’s confusing and sometimes difficult to know which care is needed, home care or home health care. Do you know the differences?

A good way to quickly assess which care will serve your relative, follow these simple suggestions.

The first thing to remember about receiving help, you don’t need to be frail, unable to care for oneself, nor does one require to have an illness. Even if a person can take care of self properly, have a quick mind, and agile body, there may come a time they choose a little help around the house. That’s when a person will select home care.

But if the individual develops an illness or a chronic condition and becomes frail and weak, they may need help managing medications, measuring vitals or receiving injections, that’s when home health care is called for assistance.


How to Find Care

If seeking home care, you have a couple of options: hire an agency or hire a private in-home caregiver.

Home Care

A good checklist to use when evaluating for home care, ask if the care recipient needs help with one or more of these activities.

  • Needs help with eating and feeding, taking a bath, going to the bathroom, getting dressed, walking around, and transferring from chair to bed or elsewhere?
  • Needs help with cleaning the house, washing clothes, going to the market, running errands, cooking meals and reminders for medication?
  • Needs help with incontinent care?
  • Needs help to maintain a social life and companionship for social outings?
  • Needs help with transportation and making appointments?
  • Does the family member need a break from giving care?


Home Health Care

  • Needs help managing pain?
  • Needs help learning medication adherence and management?
  • Needs skilled assessments and training?
    Needs disease management and education?
  • Needs help with injections and IV infusions?
  • Needs catheter care and tracheotomy care?
  • Needs help with a ventilator?
  • Needs help with managing diabetes?
  • Needs post-op rehab?
  • Needs occupational and speech therapies?
  • Needs help with discharge planning?
  • Needs help with wound care?
  • Needs assistance enabling durable medical equipment?


Home health is administered by a medically trained staff


Paying for care includes:

  • Out-of-pocket
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Medical health insurance
  • Medicaid and Medicare
  • Cash and Counseling Programs
  • Veterans Administration


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The Amount of Exercise That Can Boost The Aging Brain

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The Amount of Exercise That Can Boost The Aging Brain

Todays post I’m sharing from one of my personal favorites, PsyBlog

The right amount of exercise to help boost the older brain

Active Senior Drinks WaterA relatively small increase in exercise is enough to boost brain function in older adults, a new study finds. The amount of exercise that’s beneficial is equivalent to a brisk 25-minute walk several times a week. Healthy over-65s who exercised more had better attention and ability to focus, the research found.


Professor Jeffrey Burns, co-director of the Kansas University Alzheimer’s Disease Center, said:

“Basically, the more exercise you did, the more benefit to the brain you saw. Any aerobic exercise was good, and more is better.”


For the study, 101 healthy people over 65 were split into four groups, three of which did some extra exercise. The three groups did 75, 150 and 225 minutes of exercise per week.


They were compared with a group that were relatively sedentary. All the groups saw some benefit, but the more exercise people did, the better they performed in cognitive tests. The extra mental boost from exercise above 75 minutes, though, was only small.


It wasn’t so much the duration of the exercise, the researchers found, it was more about the intensity.


Dr Eric Vidoni, the study’s first author, said:

“For improved brain function, the results suggest that it’s not enough just to exercise more. You have to do it in a way that bumps up your overall fitness level.”


One of the participants in the study, Marjorie Troeh, 80, explained she used the study as a way of motivating herself:

“I love exercising my mind, but I hate exercising my body. I knew about the evidence that said exercise was good for endurance and agility, but I really didn’t make any connection with that and brain health. I’m surrounded by people who face memory problems. I’m really anxious to do anything I can to further knowledge in this area.”




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Will Brain Games Make You Smarter

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Will Brain Games Make You Smarter

Source: ourparents.com

Originally Posted on August 4, 2015 by Robyn Tellefsen

Will Brain Games Make You SmarterThere’s no shortage of brain games for seniors, particularly online. Reputable organizations like AARP offer free online brain games so you can have fun testing your memory, attention, and language skills. Word games are designed to help you improve your vocabulary, crossword puzzles are geared toward enhancing your problem-solving abilities, and shape and color games aim to boost your concentration.


However, when I checked in with Dennis Fortier of Brain Today, which distills the daily news about brain health to help people distinguish between meaningful science and commercial hype, he was not entirely optimistic about the use of games to boost brain power.


“While there is pretty strong evidence that an active brain is more likely to remain healthy than an idle brain, most if not all of that evidence is based on lifelong learning activities, not game playing,” he points out. “In other words, not all brain activities are equal.”


Here, the president and CEO of Medical Care Corporation, a neuroinformatics company in California, offers his insight into the benefits of brain games for seniors.


Rethinking Brain Games


“Learning and incorporating new information seems to be the activity that results in robust brain circuitry,” says Fortier. “Unfortunately, the challenges presented in most games do not require that the game player learn new information and incorporate it regularly.”

While game players tend to get better at the games themselves (e.g., pattern recognition, memorization, calculation, word generation, word association), he says, studies have shown that gamers demonstrate no measurable improvements in cognition in real life.

On the other hand, Fortier notes that gaming in groups could offer significant cognitive benefits.

“One of the best cognitive workouts is cultivating relationships with new people,” says Fortier. “To the extent that games are played in groups among individual players who must cooperate on teams with other players they don’t know well, then game playing might show the benefits of learning about new people and incorporating that knowledge as part of game strategy.”

So, rather than sitting solo in front of a computer screen, consider inviting others to join you in your game play.


The Best Brain Games for Seniors


Of course, brain games are no substitute for heart-pumping physical activity.

“The evidence supporting the brain health benefits of regular physical exercise is very strong, so it would be best if seniors do not allow time spent gaming to cut into their daily walk, their gardening, their swim, or their shuffleboard,” says Fortier.

He admits that upgrading from a mindless activity to a challenging game could be beneficial, but seniors who are already physically and mentally active should not forgo those activities in favor of gaming.

“If a rich learning exercise like language study, practicing a musical instrument, or cultivating a complex hobby is replaced with gaming, the effect might be detrimental,” he says.


The Bottom Line on Brain Games


While Fortier is in favor of seniors keeping their brains active, he does not want to mislead people into thinking that brain games are the absolute best brain health strategy.

“Scientific evidence hasn’t yet been produced to support the hypothesis that gaming can make you smarter,” he says. “As such, it is too early to claim that gaming is a path to a better brain, but it is also too early to claim that it is not.”


Are you a fan of  “brain games”? If so, which ones, and what do you feel you get out of them?



About Robyn Tellefsen

Robyn Tellefsen is a New York City-based freelance writer, editor, and blogger whose work has appeared on MSN, AOL Jobs, Chase, Parent Society, The CollegeBound Network, and others. She is also a freelance copy editor and proofreader for textbook publishers, educational technology companies, advertising agencies, and individual authors. Robyn has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Wheaton College (IL).


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