Archive for February, 2013

Mid-life Exercise Linked to Less Chance of Alzheimer’s

Monday, February 25th, 2013

 

With the coming Age Wave ,or the time when more living people will have turned 65 than ever before, the rise of Alzheimer’s is expected to climb as well. With the predicted rates of the disease expected to affect more than three times as many people as are affected now, by 2050. With that comes our constant desire of finding a cure for the horrible disease, but also the need to find ways to improve prevention.

It has long been thought that exercise when we’re young, both of the mind and body, can improve our brain function and keep our mind’s sharp, but little research has come along to the benefits of exercise when we get older.

But a new study by the University of Texas shows that exercise during our middle-aged-years can help prevent the onset of dementia-related diseases. The study focused on 19,458 people over the years of 1971 through 2009 who were given treadmill tests at their yearly physicals. Using Medicare public health information, the study was able to determine whether or not someone was diagnosed with dementia during the years of study.

The results found that those who performed well on their treadmill tests were 40% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia. A result, that researchers state, shows a clear correlation between physical well-being and dementia. Researchers are also confident that this study defines a more clear correlation than other similar studies due to the amount of people studied and the amount of years they participated in the study.

“(Because of) a large homogeneous patient population, an objective measure of fitness, and a long follow-up. We therefore believe our data give a strong message to improve fitness, which we think may be more powerful than some previous attempts at changing behavior.” Said Lead Researcher, Laura DeFina.

Why exercise is so beneficial to our mental health is still uncertain, but one school of thought is that exercise reduces the chance of “catalytic” physical problems such as diabetes and hypertension; two physical complications that lead to the onset of dementia.

Whether or not we know the specific cause and effect between exercise and preventing dementia, working in the Home Health Care, At Home Care, and Senior Care field for over twenty years, has lead us to see, firsthand, the amazing benefits of exercise both to our physical well-being, and our mental states. What we do know is that exercise leads to happiness, and that it also leads to us being in better physical condition. And if those two reasons alone aren’t enough to get us working out, the possibility that it can prevent or slow down the progression of dementia is just another reason for seniors to grab their surfboards and ride the Age Wave into good health and happiness.

 

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Seniors and Technology: Facebook Usage Found To Give Seniors Cognitive Boost

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

from UMH.org

As one of the leading At Home Care, Senior Care, and Home Health Care companies in Indianapolis, it is our mission, and passion, to keep your friends or loved ones in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible. And a recent study showed that seniors performing a popular activity while in the comfort of their own home, usually an activity seen as something for the younger crowd, may help increase their peace of mind and sharp thinking.

Facebook…ing. Yes, that’s right. Facebook.

The University of Arizona recently studied forty-two adults, aged 68-91, and assigned them to one of three groups: A group that would use Facebook. A group that would keep an online diary. And a group that was told they were on the “wait list” for the Facebook group. The groups would perform one of the, or none of the, activities they were assigned daily for eight weeks. But prior to these groups getting started, they were all given a series of neuropsychological tests and memory questionnaires designed to assess their initial levels of cognitive functioning.

After eight weeks, those who used Facebook performed 25% better on the beginning tests, while those who used an online diary or used no technology performed the same. Head Researcher, Janelle Wohltman, attributed the success to prior research that indicated the best thing to do for the brain is keep it active and learning.

“The idea evolved from two bodies of research,” she said in a press release. “One, there is evidence to suggest that staying more cognitively engaged -– learning new skills, not just becoming a couch potato when you retire but staying active -– leads to better cognitive performing. It’s kind of this ‘use it or lose it’ hypothesis.

“There’s also a large body of literature showing that people who are more socially engaged, are less lonely, have more social support and are more socially integrated are also doing better cognitively in older age,” she said.

We here at Alliance are keen to Facebook (like us here, cough, cough) as a communications tool for the goings-on of our business and sharing of inspirational and heartwarming senior stories, and we are well aware of the “social senior crowd.” Facebook has always been a great way for seniors to connect with friends and loved ones that may live some distance away, but if it can also help keep the amazing seniors we work with everyday more mentally active as well.

Well, then, we “like” that.

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