St. George Village Blog
Tag Archive: older adults
Posted on February 6, 2015 by Stacy Anthony
If you’re like most people, you’ve noticed differences in the way your mind works over time. The good news is that understanding the potential threats to brain health can help you make smart choices to strengthen mental alertness.
Some health conditions can negatively affect your brain. Heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes can alter or damage blood vessels throughout your body, including the brain.
Some medications and combinations of drugs, as well as alcohol use, may affect thinking.
Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia harm the brain, too. While no one knows how to prevent dementia, many approaches that are good for your health in other ways, like exercise and a healthy diet, are being tested.
Actions That Help Your Brain:
• Get regular health screenings.
• Manage diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
• Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the medications you take and any possible side effects.
• Try to maintain a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats (including fish and poultry), and low-fat or nonfat dairy products. Monitor your intake of solid fat, sugar and salt and eat proper portion sizes.
• Drink moderately, if at all, because avoiding alcohol can reverse some negative changes related to brain health.
• Be physically active be cause doing so may improve connections among your brain cells. Older adults should get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week.
• Don’t smoke. Quitting at any age will be beneficial to your mind and body. Nonsmokers have a lower risk of heart attacks, stroke and lung diseases, as well as increased blood circulation.
• Be safe. Older adults are at higher risk of falling and other accidents that can cause brain injury. To reduce your risk, exercise to improve balance and coordination, take a falls prevention class and make your home safer.
• Keep your mind active by doing mentally stimulating activities including reading, playing games, teaching or taking a class, and being social. Volunteer.
• Visit an Area Agency on Aging (AAA). These community-based agencies provide a welcoming environment for older adults and caregivers interested in learning about services from meals, transportation and in-home care to volunteer opportunities and classes to keep them healthy and engaged.
For more information and a free brochure containing strategies to promote brain health, call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 or visit www.eldercare.gov.
Posted on May 10, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
As you get older, your risk for health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, increases. You also have a greater chance of getting type 2 diabetes if you have a family history of the disease. But it’s never too late to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. Research shows that modest weight loss through healthy eating and being active can help to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in people over age 60.
If you are overweight, losing 5 to 7 percent of your current body weight can help you prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. If you weigh 200 pounds, this means a weight loss of about 10 to 14 pounds. Talk to your doctor about setting safe weight loss goals and ways to be more active.
Once you set your goals, decide what small steps you will take to get started. For example, you might say, “I will walk for 10 minutes after lunch to be more active each day” until you reach at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Be active, move more and sit less to help yourself lose weight or stay at a healthy weight and be more flexible and strong. Ask your health care provider how you can safely start to be more active. Before being active, be sure to warm up to get your body ready. Shrug your shoulders, swing your arms, or march in place for three to five minutes before you begin any activity.
There are many ways you can get active at little or no cost, such as walking or doing chair exercises. Find an activity you can enjoy so you can stay at it. This will make it easier to stick to your plan and reach your goals. Try these ideas:
• Around the House. Things that you do every day can help you be more active. Stand up from a chair and sit down again without using your hands. Rise up and down on your toes while standing and holding on to a stable chair or countertop. When you watch TV, stretch and move around during commercial breaks. You can also walk around the house when you talk on the phone. Follow along with a video for older adults that shows you how to get active.
• Around Town. Being more active can also be a great way to meet friends. Join a local walking group. Always walk in safe places such as the mall, museum or a community center. Wear shoes that fit your feet and provide comfort and support.
• While Running Errands. Make getting active a part of your regular day. If it is safe, park the car farther away from stores or restaurants. If you take the bus or train-and the area is safe-get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
• With Your Family. Get your family involved to make being active more fun. Teach the younger people in your life the dances you enjoy. Plan a trip to the local pool and go for a swim together. Moving around in the water is gentle on your joints.
• Get Outside. When you can, get active outside. Take care of a garden or wash your car. Enjoy a brisk walk with friends or family around a park, museum or zoo.
For more tips to help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, download or order the “It’s Not Too Late to Prevent Diabetes. Take Your First Step Today” tip sheet or “Small Steps. Big Rewards. Your Game Plan to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: Information for Patients” booklet from the National Diabetes Education Program or call 1-888-693-NDEP (6337).
—From The National Diabetes Education Program