This blog is dedicated to caring and caregiving. We are a forum for a broad spectrum of issues concerning physical and emotional health, aging, medical care, and spiritual well-being. Discussions are welcome for all topics that involve caring and caregiving.
June Brown is a researcher heading up a project to look at the future of senior
accommodation and health across the country for a growing senior health
site, which is part of the SeniorAdvisor national network of resources
for older adults.
While doing her research into the future of health for seniors, she noticed
that lack of physical exercise is increasingly becoming a problem for
many seniors in our nation. She prepared the following piece on the importance of physical exercise as we age.
"Avoid Brain Fog: Keep Minds Sharp with Physical Exercise as You Age
Physical activity helps keep your brain healthy, slowing down the effects of aging. We all know the benefits of exercise on the body including
weight control, prevention of cardiovascular diseases and strengthening
of muscles. What is also a remarkable benefit on top of these
physiological changes are its effects on the brain. The brain, composed
of neurons, is where all the actions happen. This is where all neural
activity is stored that is responsible for thought processes, cognition,
memory, perceptions, and sensations. Keeping it sharp and strong with
physical exercise benefits us as we age.
The Effects of Exercise on the Brain
effects happen when you exercise. As you exert yourself, your heart
rate increases to supply more blood and oxygen to your muscles. Your
brain also receives a bigger supply of blood, oxygen, and nutrients for
good health. The boost in supply assists in renewing brain cells which
help in learning. Simple physical exercises improve memory and
build neurons & connections. Physical activity triggers the release
of several neurotransmitters such as endorphins dopamine, serotonin,
GABA and glutamate. Some of these are known for their ability to improve
mood and prevent depression. As a result, you often feel much better
after physical activity.
Evidence Supporting the Link Between Exercise and Brain Health
variety of tests and studies has been undertaken to study the effect of
exercise on the brain. The University of Canberra studied the effects
of structured physical exercise on the brain of adults for four weeks.
After a variety of brain tests, researchers found evidence that aerobic exercise improved cognitive abilitiessuch
as thinking, learning, and reasoning. Furthermore, muscle training by
carrying weights influences the brain’s memory and its executive
functions (planning and organization).
international collaboration between the University of Manchester and
Western Sydney University found out that aerobic exercise can enhance
memory function as we age. Researchers studied the effects of physical
activity on the hippocampus, the area of the brain where memory and
other functions such as spatial navigation and behavioral inhibition
occur. The final results suggested that while exercise has no effect on
the total hippocampus volume, it increased the left side significantly
among humans. Brain size shrinks by 5% every 10 years after age 40. Exercise is viewed as a maintenance activity for brain health to slow down its deterioration due to aging.
physically active not only promotes better biological functions but
also improves brain health that can slow down the process of aging and
prevent neurodegenerative disorders. If that is not reason enough to get
cracking on the bike, consider how wonderful it is to age gracefully
with your memory and cognitive abilities in good shape."
Time to get off the couch and go for a long walk. Robert Tell, Author www.RobertTell.Com
You hear it all the time. Exercise, exercise, exercise. It's important for cardiac health, balance, strength maintenance, weight maintenance, and a variety of other health goals. And this advice applies to people of all ages, including folks over 60, although seniors who begin an exercise program should do it under a doctor's supervision, start slowly, and gradually increase.
But one thing I haven't seen before is advice regarding the safety of some exercises for older adults. So a recent article on the Silver Sneakers website was of special interest to me, and I think will be worth your time to review.
Into the lives of most older adults there comes a time when serious thought must be given to downsizing.
When that time comes, how does one decide where to live, what to keep and what to dump, what to do with the stuff being dumped (especially pricey and/or sentimental items), how to separate emotionally from beloved items accumulated over a lifetime, and how to ease the adjustment.
The other day, I found an excellent article addressing these issues on the Refin website. I sincerely recommend it to anyone contemplating such a transition. Here is the link:
Make a note in your calendar. At one minute past midnight Pacific time on July 1,
the special Smashwords Summer E-Book Promotion goes live. (That's 2 am Eastern Daylight Savings Time). After 11:59 pm Pacific time on July 31, the sale ends.
My memoir, "Dementia Diary" is my best selling book at it's regular e-book price of $3.99. Now, ONLY for the month of July, and ONLY at Smashwords you can buy it for ONLY $2, a real 50% discount. Here's the link: Dementia Diary Sale Page.
Caregivers everywhere give this book high marks for easing the burden of being
a caregiver to a loved one with dementia, and for helping to relieve caregiver
burnout. For over 15 years, I was my widowed Mom's caregiver as her mind and personality disappeared into the fog of dementia. My book tells the emotional reality of being a caregiver.
P.S. During this sale, my popular Harry Grouch Mystery Novels, my sci-fi, and my kids poetry books will also be available at Smashwords at discounts ranging from 75% to FREE.
(I've been asked by readers to post the following encore of an article I published here several years ago. I hope you find it to be helpful.)
I'm often asked about examples of challenging behaviors that I
noticed in my mother—behaviors that helped me to finally realize she was
sinking into dementia. The list below may help you to evaluate what is
happening to your loved one.
For Mom, it started slowly
with just a few of these behaviors attracting my attention. I just
passed them off to normal aging. Gradually, it reached the tipping point
where I could no longer ignore what was happening. There was an
emergency a day.
I lived 1500 miles North of Mom,
trying to run a business. Every day in the middle of some crisis at
work came a phone call about some calamity in Florida. Sometimes from
Mom, sometimes about Mom.
Up to 30% of my time was
being consumed as a long distance caregiver and decision maker—often
without the facts I needed to make correct, emotion free, objective
decisions. Frequent air travel to check things out became another costly
requirement. Here’s some of what I had to deal with:
NUTRITION: She was not eating well. Things in her refrigerator were
scary: ie: partly eaten fruits and cheeses with lots of mold.
• CLEANLINESS: Her house was dirty (she had been a meticulous housekeeper).
• HOUSEHOLD ORGANIZATION: There was clutter everywhere. This was not my mother!
• FIRE SAFETY: She was storing plastic bags in the oven. Then, forgetting, she was turning the oven on.
• REALITY ISSUES: Hallucinations about mice were occurring with increasing frequency.
HEALTH ISSUES: Many health issues were threatening her well-being.
Hospitalizations for pneumonia, arthritis, etc., were becoming more
• DRUG COMPLIANCE: She was non-compliant with
medications with the result that her blood pressure was out of control
and other health conditions were not receiving prescribed therapy.
MEDICAL CARE: She changed doctors (and HMO's) several times each year.
Continuity of care suffered and I could not build a useful relationship
with her physicians.
• INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS: She was
isolating herself—alienating friends and family with harsh, judgmental
• FALLING: She fell in her room, sustained a serious head injury and no one found her for 2 days
• FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT: She was messing up her finances and making other poor judgments.
HOUSING: She became a housing hopper: In a 2 year period she went from
her Florida house to a Florida condo to a furnished condo in Michigan
back to her Florida condo to senior apartment to assisted living in
Florida back to assisted living in Michigan. She had trouble settling in
• DRIVING: Her driving became a daily nightmare with multiple fender benders and traffic violations.
familiar? Are any or all of these things happening to your mom, dad,
spouse or significant other? I hope not, but if they are, it may be time
to seek a professional geriatric evaluation.
There is a better way. Click the blog, "Dementia Today". It lays out a plan that I would have found helpful at the time. I recommend it to you. It lists the following warning signs of dangerous driving:
Difficulty navigating to familiar places
Inappropriate lane changing
Confusing the brake and gas pedals
Failing to observe traffic signals
Making slow or poor decisions
Hitting the curb while driving
Driving at an inappropriate speed (often too slow)
Becoming angry or confused while driving
But it goes further and describes various ways for a caregiver to handle the situation. Take a look.