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Displaying items by tag: active seniors

Fears of being placed in a nursing home preoccupy a supermajority of older adults as in surveys about their course of aging they consistently ranked memory loss, financial insecurity and losing independence as their top three concerns.1 Yet, after age 80, the risk of being placed in a nursing home increases significantly. Seniors of advanced age experience what is termed “functional aging”, that is an inevitable, progressively declining continuum in functional ability from having a stable capacity to perform daily activities through a state of physical vulnerability (influenced by cognitive loss) in which the person is losing independence.2 At advanced ages, some caregiver support becomes necessary for many, and for some, a nursing home admission. 

Although most seniors accept that the aging process accelerates physical and cognitive decline after age 80, they want to know whether they have any means to control the degree or pace of their functional losses. This article discusses the evidence-base showing that changes in lifestyle, particularly engaging in exercise targeted to improving functional fitness even in seniors who were mostly sedentary, can slow and in some cases reverse functional impairment, which in turn reduces the risk of being placed in a nursing home. In fact, there is strong evidence that long-term habitual exercise is linked to a slowing of the biological aging process, which certainly enhances independence.3: but, studies also show that even sedentary older adults who begin to exercise in later life can see significant improvements in physical and cognitive health.4

Functional impairment is caused by not only age, cognitive decline, multiple chronic medical conditions or following an acute medical event, but also from lifestyle choices- a sedentary lifestyle is shown to decrease functional fitness levels which in turn increases functional impairment while engaging in a physically active lifestyle appears to derive a polar opposite effect.5 Functional impairment reduces ability to perform activities of daily living, “ADL’s”:6 and, consequently, the most common reason that very old adults are placed in a nursing home is loss of ability to perform ADL’s.7 (Over 80% of nursing home residents need assistance with 3 or more ADL’s). Thus, when functional fitness is improved through exercise, that is, when an older adult experiences an enhanced ability to the summon strength, energy and executive function needed to carry out basic ADL’s, independence is retained for longer which reduces the risk of being placed in a nursing home.8

Published in Healthcare
Friday, August 30, 2019 12:09

Stonebrook Village Gym Talk: Healthy Aging

sept healthy aging month logoHello! It’s National Healthy Aging Month in the month of September! What is healthy aging you ask? Healthy aging is defined as the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age. 

As we age, a lot of things about our body change both physically and mentally. It’s very important to be open to adapt healthy habits and behaviors as we grow. Physically, getting involved in an exercise program with friends or within your community. You can use preventative services and manage your health conditions regularly by seeing your physician once/twice a year with follow-ups to make sure you’re in the best possible health. Going over medications with your MD and knowing, as well as understanding, risk factors as you age is also important. Maybe that blood pressure medication you were put on before is not needed now due to improved health! Making changes in nutrition is important as well, such as less sodium intake in the foods you eat. Make a goal to stop smoking or smoke less than you used to before. Get your balance and vision checked to prevent falls. These are all great things you can do to maintain a strong healthy body.

Published in Stonebrook Village
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