Senior Health and Fitness

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Children, Pets, and a Smile

After twenty years of working with older adults I can make at least one conclusive statement: “there is nothing like a child or furry pet to bring a smile to someone.” While we have all probably witnessed the wonderful interaction between a child or pet and an older adult, we may not have stopped to try and understand how this happens.
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When it comes to your mind, you either use it or lose it!

Brain aging and memory loss were once thought to be irreversible. The old thinking was that once a brain cell died, it was gone forever. But new research shows that the memory and learning centers in the brain create new cells when required. One of the ways you can get the brain to create new cells is to challenge it by learning new things. If you continue learning new things throughout your life, you’re strengthening your brain, which may help stave off the effects of dementia.

Here are some ways to exercise your brain cells and keep your mind sharp.

Learn something new

Learning involves structural, chemical, and functional changes in your brain that can boost your brain health.  So study a foreign language, learn to play a musical instrument, or read the newspaper or a good book. The greater the novelty and challenge, the larger the deposit in your brain reserves.

Practice memorization

Start with something short, progressing to something a little more involved, such as all of the presidents of the United States, in chronological order. Create rhymes and patterns to strengthen your memory connections.

ninette.cheng@emeritus.com's picture

Embracing Your Aging Body’s Changes – Incontinence

Okay, it’s time for some real talk! You’ve probably noticed that as you age, your body changes. Listen to advertisers and the media and you may become ashamed of some of these changes! To that, I say “Nonsense!”

Today, we’re talking about incontinence. This condition is quite common, especially among us ladies. But there’s many easy fixes that make this condition one that shouldn’t cause you any lasting concern. There are numerous devices and absorbent products on the market that allow you to lead a completely normal life.

Here are some additional tips to help you help ease the symptoms of incontinence.

ninette.cheng@emeritus.com's picture

Lessons From the Heart

The heart is a hard-working muscle that operates 24/7.   Healthy hearts support healthy living.

When any muscle outstrips its supply of oxygen, your body lets you know.  The pain of a leg cramp or side stitch during a hard run has a purpose: it slows you down so the muscles can repay the oxygen debt.

The heart muscle also needs a steady flow of oxygen and nutrients. Angina is the pain announcing the heart has outstripped its own oxygen supply.  If the oxygen flow is not restored in time, heart muscle dies, and we call it a heart attack.  The health of the entire body is threatened if the heart cannot pump well.

Why should this ever happen?  After all, the heart receives fully-oxygenated blood directly from the lungs.  Why should there ever be a shortage of oxygen?

The answer is that the heart muscles do not have access to the oxygen in the blood inside the heart.  The heart gets fed the same way the brain and the calf muscles and the stomach get their nutrition.  Blood vessels branch off form the aorta--the main outflow vessel form the heart--and feed organs.  Think of the roots of a tree.   

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Dealing with Grief

As we age, one of the things we have to get used to is dealing with the grief of losing someone close to us. Losing someone you love is very painful. As a result, you’ll likely experience a vast array of emotions – from anger to profound sadness to complete numbness. These are normal reactions and you shouldn’t judge them. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. There are, however, healthy ways to cope with the pain you’re feeling and ways to starting healing.

Be gentle with yourself

Give yourself permission to be sad, frustrated or angry. You may go through a range of emotions, both positive and negative, perhaps at the same time. Let yourself feel them all to their fullest extent, knowing that they are all normal and healthy. It’s not uncommon, for instance, to feel love and anger at the same time.

 

Be prepared for the ups and downs

Grieving is an up-and-down process. One day, you may feel like your “old self,” the next, you may be not even feel like getting out of bed. The important thing is to not judge your emotions. Simply recognize you’re going through the normal process of grieving.

 

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