Archive for the ‘staying active’ Tag

Senior’s Surfing

Recently my father was diagnosed with Cancer. My mother stayed with me while he underwent surgery to remove the Adeno Metastatic Cancer in his lymph node under his arm. After spending the day at the hospital my mother wanted to inform all of her friends that my father was in recovery and doing well. Mom asked if she could email her friends and use my computer. I said “sure” and passed my computer to her. In a quiet voice she indicated to me that my dad always “got her on her email”. After we informed her friends I downloaded several tools to help ……I thought. However, what was easy and commonplace for me totally confused a lady raised a time when up and down loading met helping out on the farm. I opened a facebook account and we found several of her friends and family members.

Now if you want to see the internet through entirely different eyes go surfing with your mom. I said “What do you want to see, or know and find out”. After mentioning several boring subjects I googled Beethoven’s 9th. My mother was enchanted with the YouTube videos that put into focus the New York Symphony in action. Quickly she shouted ” Magic Flute” two seconds later her eyes closed and she was in seventh heaven. After the classics I introduced mom to Susan Boyle. It was 9.00 when we started. The evening progressed into the livingroom. The scene was set with candles, wine and my laptop. We sat there side by side and the time flew. It was 1:30 when I realized how late it was.

My father is fine now. However, now when my mom comes to visit we update her facebook page and go Surfing. With the computer in our laps, and the candles lit I see my mother in an entirely different light.

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New Year’s Resolution – Day 2

New Years Resolution- Day 2
Halaluah!  Any one doubting the presence of a great being didn’t step on the scale with me today….. 169 lbs!   Okay, so I am trying to figure out how I could have lost so much weight.
I figure the fitness staff are deliberately playing a trick on us fitness bluffs and lower the weights by a couple of pounds. Or 2. the hormones really make that much of a difference.
Last night I watched the 650 lb virgin and thought wow and I am fussing about 30 lbs.  However those 30 lbs jumped on board since my wedding and at that rate I would be homeless in 2 years. My new husband has always said he doesn’t mind if I get really overweight ….except where am I going to live.
So Last night if it wasn’t for this blog that I had written yesterday I would have cheated. 3 Times I went into the kitchen and if I had not written that I would not eat after 7:00 …man I could have satisfied the munchies. I was a good  and was rewarded by “losing 3 lbs”  I am still looking for them and will probably find them tomorrow when I step on the scale again.
I have taken my vitamin pills, and exercised for 5 days in 7  so I have kept my resolutions so far.
I went to the bank and starting on Monday I will be hiring a bookkeeper for my new business so then I will see how easy it will be for me to stay on track with my 10,000 in the Black resolution.

Fitness 4 Seniors

Aging is a natural process, and with it comes many fringe benefits. For example, living the retired-permanent-holiday life, a gained respect from youngsters, and you can’t forget the senior discounts. However, with aging also comes an immense amount of responsibility. This responsibility not only includes influencing the future generations, but also extends to the need of taking care of yourself. One of the common reasons why many young people dread growing old is because it is associated with being brittle, weak, dependant, and ill. Seniors need to prove to everyone that they are a vibrant and vital part of the population, and being fit is the first step.

Now I’m not asking everyone to tell his or her elderly family members to hit the gym for three hours every single day. But let’s face the facts: a significant percentage of older adults do not get the physical exercise they need, lack of physical activity combined with a poor diet is the second most common reason for death in the USA, and being fit can reduce the risk of many diseases. Seniors are quickly becoming the fastest growing demographic in both Canada and the USA, and we cannot afford to have such a large percentage of the population to be of poor health.

Before diving into an intense regime though, seniors should consult medical professionals on any physical problems they may have that could inhibit exercise. They should also ensure to use the required safety equipment, such as helmets, or eye protection. Stretching before exercising is also recommended. One of the most important things is to know your own limit – do not overstrain yourself.

Many people today put off exercising because it seems like a chore to some. Fitness should not be forced activities that your doctor pushes you to complete. It should be FUN. You can make it an enjoyable social occurrence, by getting away from traditional methods. Instead of running on a treadmill watching Oprah reruns, and lifting weights listening to a looped playlist, make exercising more interesting. Seniors should take advantage of the retired lifestyle, and use their newfound time to go hiking on trails with beautiful scenery, or biking along the lake. Make healthier lifestyle choices to encourage physical activity – take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car further away from the mall entrance. Exercising should not be just another addition to your daily To Do list; it should be viewed as a transition into a healthier, longer, and more fulfilled life.

I think my ______ has Alzheimer’s! Now what?

written by Laura Bramly

More and more people are coming forward to say that one of their family members or friends may be showing signs of memory loss. I get this question all the time: What do I do now? Where do I go? Who do I talk to?

There are so many diseases in the world, some easy to diagnose and some more difficult, but everyone knows that the first stop is the doctor. With memory loss, it’s different. For some reason (probably due to the stigma of losing memory) no one knows where to turn or what to do next. Here are three steps that you can take with your loved one who may be showing signs of memory loss: Diagnosis. Understand. Live.

One proviso: Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia. There are some 70 or more types of dementia, with Alzheimer’s being the most prevalent, along with Vascular Dementia (caused by a stroke) and Lewy Body Dementia. People can have two or more types of dementia at one time. Even when considering Alzheimer’s alone, no two people with Alzheimer’s will present exactly the same symptoms or maintain the same capabilities. Each person is different. So, even though there are three steps to take with a person who may have dementia, the exact path that each person takes will differ.

Step One: Diagnosis

Memory loss should be treated like any other illness for which a diagnosis can mean the difference between suffering in silence and receiving a treatment that can have a real impact. Memory loss is not a direct ticket to the nursing home, as it can result from such treatable medical conditions as depression and anxiety disorders, thyroid disease, B12 deficiency, elevated homocysteine levels, dehydration, infection, brain tumor and others.

If possible, see a doctor who is a neurologist, or who specializes in geriatrics (if the person experiencing memory loss is a senior). If you see your primary care physician, make sure that you go to your appointment well-armed with information about diagnosing the cause of memory loss. If the only test your loved one receives is a memory test, ask for further testing. Such conditions as brain tumors can not be diagnosed by a memory test! Most importantly, ensure that you feel comfortable conversing with the doctor, that you don’t feel as if you are getting brushed off, and that you are receiving thoughtful and knowledgeable answers. If you don’t feel this, find another doctor.

Step Two: Understand

If the diagnosis for memory loss is Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, then it’s time to understand how to slow the progression and how the disease may impact the rest of the person’s life. Talk to the doctor about drugs that are available to slow the progression of the disease. Put together a program of exercise, healthy eating, brain activity and socialization. Studies have shown that all of these factors can contribute to slowing the progression of the disease.

It’s also time to understand how the disease may unfold and affect the person with dementia over the years (again, understanding that no two people have the same experience with dementia). For example, the early stage of dementia is a good time to get financial affairs in order and determine what care options are available so that a plan can be implemented “when the time comes.” Now is the time to have thoughtful discussions with family and friends about what the future may bring, so that family members are not forced into making reactive and upsetting decisions about these important issues. It’s also a nice time to put together family history scrapbooks, make videos, reconnect with long lost family and friends.

Step Three: Live!

Dementia is not a death sentence. Well, OK, it can be. We will all die sometime, but people with dementia know more or less when they will die and what it might look like. So, in the years that are left, it’s time to live. Yes, driving will become unworkable at some point. People with early-onset dementia may lose their jobs. Activities that were once easy, requiring no thought, may become more difficult or indeed, impossible. However, that does NOT mean that a person with dementia must resign themselves to a life of watching the TV alone in their house with a caregiver, or to mindless activity in a nursing home. In fact, don’t, just DON’T!

While it’s hard enough for people without a life-threatening disease to find purpose in life, many people with dementia find new purpose in their lives when they know life is limited. It’s time to ask oneself: How am I going to use these last years of my life so that I can have the greatest impact on my family, my community, my country, my world? People with dementia are in demand as bloggers and speakers, so that they can pass along their experiences and recommendations to a public hungry for more information about dementia. There is no one who can comfort a newly-diagnosed person more than a person who already has the disease and who can pass along reassurances and counsel. A person with dementia might also find new purpose in volunteering for other causes, or in travel, or in taking up a new hobby. Anything one can do to keep the brain and body active is essential to slowing the progression of the disease, even when one reaches the later stages of the disease.

The person with dementia and their family may find that many of their friends stop calling to invite them out; dementia still has a terrible and unfounded stigma that makes even “good” friends reluctant to maintain former relationships. Through your local Alzheimer’s Association support groups or through your faith community or senior’s centre, find other families dealing with the disease and with whom a social group could be formed. Just because a person has dementia doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy going out for a beer on Friday night!

I welcome comments and emails to laura@eldercareread.com

Writter’s Bio:

Laura Bramly is a communicative consultant specializing in education programs about dementia. She is author of ElderCareRead Life Scenes 1, a book for people with moderate to advanced dementia to read and enjoy (www.eldercareread.com). Laura’s mother passed away from vascular dementia in 2008.

Achieving Well-Being

written by Chloe Hamilton of Warm Embrace Elder Care

“All of us will age eventually, if we live long enough,” stated Dr. Peter Naus at the June 15th “Celebrating Seniors” event.  His lecture focused on the positive elements of aging, which actually begins at birth.  In reality, people cannot delay aging, they can only impact the way in which they will choose to age.

The old saying “you cannot teach an old dog new tricks” is simply not true, according to Naus.  Perhaps it is true for canines, but it does not apply to humans.  We retain our ability to learn throughout life, and can continue to make significant contributions to society.

Naus feels that the most important element of positive aging is to have a sense of well-being.  He defines well-being as having a positive outlook on life, maintaining a purpose despite loss, having a realistic sense of control over one’s life, and having a strong sense of self.  These conditions are not constant; they fluctuate constantly.  It is possible to achieve a sense of well-being even amidst declining health.

Naus also offered practical advice on how to achieve well-being: eat well, exercise, drink less alcohol, do not smoke, and stimulate your mind.  Do not minimize the gains in life, or maximize the losses—don’t exaggerate the extremes.  Be sure to “count what you have, and not what you lack,” and Naus says you will be closer to achieving well-being.

Old-age should be a time for discovery.  Discovery of what, you may ask?  True discovery is an individual journey, so you must find it for yourself.  Seniors need a vision, a dream, not just memory alone.  You will find peace if you truly believe “just to be is a blessing, just to live is holy.”  Such concepts are not unique to old age; these tenets create well-being at any age.  Naus encouraged the audience to live well at every stage of life, and remember that it is never too late for change.

There are pervasive negative connotations throughout Canadian society regarding aging.  There is a strong market for “anti-aging” products and services, but the term alone is problematic.  By deeming a product or service “anti-aging” it is suggestive that there is an inherent problem with aging.  Indeed, we even tend to pay compliments by suggesting someone looks younger than their age, as though retaining a youthful appearance is akin to aging gracefully.

Cicero, the roman emperor, wrote that the “the course of life is clear to see, each stage has unique peculiarities,” and “each stage should be gone in time,” suggesting that hanging on to one phase longer than it’s natural course is the very opposite of graceful aging.  Instead, the “mellowness of age” should be embraced as a stage of life.

Seniors deserve to be valued for the wisdom that they can share with others.  They are living proof that aging is not synonymous with being sick and decrepit.  Instead, old age can be a time for deep fulfillment and pleasure, a time for personal well-being.

Naus concluded by challenging the audience with two choices:  “we have a decision to make.   Either we can put all of our energy into denying aging, or we can embrace aging as a natural and meaningful part of life, and achieve well-being.”

Written by Chloe Hamilton of Warm Embrace Elder Care

THE IMPORTANCE OF STAYING ACTIVE

Seniors can and should remain healthy, active, vital, independent, and sexy. These qualities are ageless. In fact seniors who live an active lifestyle – are physically active, exercise regularly, and participate in leisure activities – can help to prevent or delay many diseases and disabilities.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada:

* 60% of older adults are inactive.
* Sitting or lying for long periods is a serious health risk.
* Inactivity leads to declines in bone strength, muscle strength, heart and lung fitness, and flexibility.
* Inactivity is as harmful to your health as smoking.

The one thing that most seniors fear is giving up their independence, yet the numbers of seniors who are inactive is alarming. Mobility is essential for independent living – bending, carrying, and lifting are necessary in the course of everyday living. It’s never too late to get active. In a recent study by the Buck Institute, Simon Melov, PhD, and Mark Tarnopolsky, MD, PhD, of McMaster University Medical Center in Hamilton, Ontario, found that exercise, particularly resistance training, actually rejuvenates muscle tissue in healthy senior citizens.

Start today. Keep as active as possible. Just 30 minutes of physical activity a day will improve your health and quality of life. Walk, dance, garden, golf, go shopping, take the dog for a walk, volunteer, cycle, do your housework, take yoga and Pilates classes, play with your grandchildren, and have sex. Yes sex! It’s great exercise. In winter, you can still keep active by walking in shopping malls, going to your local community centre, or joining a gym.

Seniors who exercise regularly enjoy:

* Improved quality of life
* Vitality
* Prolonged independence
* Increased energy
* Stronger muscles and bones
* Fewer aches and pains
* Better posture
* Reduced risk of falls and injuries, obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression

Exercise is good for all seniors, even those with medical conditions including heart conditions, osteoporosis, and arthritis. Please consult your doctor for a medically recommended exercise program.