• December 12, 2017 /  Basics, Miscelleaneous

    The Benefits of Dance for Seniors

    Many health organizations recommend seniors remain physically active to avoid or postpone health issues ranging from cognitive decline to cardiovascular disease. Dancing is an excellent option that many older ones love. The health benefits range from improving your physical health to creating strong social connections that increase your sense of happiness and well-being.

    If you’d like to get started, try checking local community centers and retirement homes for free or inexpensive dance classes aimed at senior citizens. Enrolling in one of these age-specific programs ensures the moves will be appropriate for individual strength levels. Additionally, they provide great opportunities for socialization with other seniors.

    Here are 5 key benefits, and the science that supports them.

    1. Reduce depression: While depression is a serious illness that must be treated by a doctor, you can still do everything within your power to boost your mood. A group of Australian researchers found that men and women with mood disorders who participated in a two-week tango instruction program felt less depressed, and experienced significant reductions in their levels of stress, anxiety and insomnia.
    2. Improve strength: Even just a few weeks of dance classes can improve your strength, according to a study published in the journal Gerontology. The study authors noted that dance was a safe and feasible exercise program for most older adults. They also noted the high adherence rate of the program—over 92 percent of the seniors who started ended up completing the eight-week salsa dancing regimen.
    3. Alleviate stiffness: A Saint Louis University (SLU) study recently concluded that after engaging in a 12-week, low-impact dance program, participants with an average age of 80 years old were able to decrease the amount of pain medication they were taking by 39 percent. They were also able to move around more easily—a key determinant in remaining independent. “Walking just a little more rapidly can make enough of a difference for a person to get across the street more quickly or get to the bathroom faster, which keeps them functional and independent,” says study author Jean Krampe, Ph.D., assistant professor of nursing at SLU. Any medication changes should be discussed with your primary care physician.
    4. Defend against dementia: When compared to other leisure activities (e.g. playing golf, doing crosswords, reading, cycling, etc.) dancing actually appears to offer the best chance of helping stave off dementia. According to a 21-year study led by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, aging adults who danced regularly had a 76 percent reduced risk for developing dementia. Experts theorize that dancing is beneficial for our brains because it combines cardiovascular exercise with split-second decision-making that taxes our neural network, forcing it to create new pathways.
    5. A realistic goal: Parkinson’s disease, dementia, cancer, arthritis, asthma, and heart disease: What do all of these conditions have in common? They don’t prohibit you from dancing. Research into using dance as a therapy for each of these ailments has unearthed a host of advantages, with very few risks. However, it’s important to always be sure and check with a doctor before embarking on a rigorous dancing regime, especially for those with pre-existing health conditions.

    So, what are you waiting for? Call up a friend to join you, and enjoy an hour or two dancing your cares away!

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  • December 1, 2017 /  Basics

    How Seniors Can Stay Safe in the Winter
    Cold weather can be a bother for anyone, but for seniors it can be dangerous. They are particularly vulnerable to complications from winter weather, with the flu and falls on the top of the list. It’s important to be aware of the many hazards winter can bring. Here’s what to do, and not to do, to stay safe!


    Do prevent falls in icy conditions

    Preventing falls is critical. Keep driveways, porches, ramps and sidewalks clear of snow and ice. Put down salt to melt the ice and to provide extra stability. Also, be sure to wear rubber-soled boots or shoes. In addition, add non-skid pads to your shoes, as well as new treads on canes and walkers. You can ask friends, family, or caregivers for help with any of these.

    Do clear the driveway regularly

    Enlist the help of a neighbor or hire a local service that will plow and shovel on a regular basis. Also, if possible, invest in a good snow blower. Manual snow shoveling is strenuous, time-consuming and sometimes dangerous work. Many seniors will prefer to ask someone else for help with this task.

    Do make sure that your house is well heated

    Before the start of winter, you should make sure the furnace or gas heaters have been serviced. Change the filter on the furnace. Make sure the propane tank is full. Use only modern space heaters. Keep them away from flammable objects, such as clothes, blankets or curtains. Also, have extra blankets, sweaters and slippers within easy reach of your bed, couch, or wherever you spend the most time.

    Do prepare for the worst-case scenario

    One bad snowstorm can cause a great deal of havoc. Be prepared for the worst-case scenario, like losing power for a week or more. If there is a generator for the house, make sure it is serviced. If not, have one installed that is powerful enough to run a few lights and essential appliances during a power outage. Stock up on water, batteries, candles and canned food. Always keep a disaster kit handy.

    Do stock up on medical supplies

    Health conditions, such as incontinence, multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s Disease, don’t take snow days. Traveling during storms to purchase needed medical supplies can be dangerous. In some weather conditions driving is impossible. Purchase home medical products online. You can choose from an array of products for every kind of health condition. No matter the weather, the products arrive in a fast and timely way. In some cases, they arrive the same day.


    Don’t shovel alone

    Never shovel snow alone. The combination of colder temperatures and physical exertion increases the workload on the heart. Even walking through heavy, wet snow or snowdrifts puts a huge strain on the heart. Shoveling also increases the chance of a fall, injuries and muscle strains. Ask for help. If you’re active enough to manage it, be sure you still have someone who can come help out, and can be there should you need them.

    Don’t leave the house without properly dressing for the cold

    Winter storms can leave motorists stranded. Individuals with compromised health are more sensitive to the cold and need extra layers for warmth. Make sure that you are well dressed in case of an accident before heading out. Also, make sure you have a windproof coat, hat, gloves and waterproof boots – even for short trips. It’s also a good idea to leave extra winter clothing, snacks and water in the car at all times.

    Don’t forget to hydrate

    Seniors and those who are sick are more prone to wintertime dehydration. The air is drier and they tend to feel less thirsty. Nevertheless, it’s vital to keep hydrated. Fill a pitcher each morning to serve as a reminder to yourself to drink eight glasses of water. Add lemon slices or juice to flavor the water. This makes it easier to drink.

    Don’t overlook the importance of car maintenance

    In the winter we tend to drive less. For this reason, too often we let car maintenance slide. Keep your car – if you still drive – running well. Make sure the tires are in good shape and can handle winter conditions. Also, make sure the antifreeze and windshield wiper fluids are full. Keep the gas tank above half-full at all times. Otherwise, condensation can build up in a near-empty gas tank in sub-freezing temperatures. This causes the fuel line to freeze-up. A reliable car is crucial during the cold months, especially in case of a medical emergency.

    With these simple steps, and some help from loved ones, you can enjoy this wonderful time of the year to its fullest!

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