Tag Archives: NIA

Cold weather tips – NIA

Regular readers know that I just turned 77 last week. While I enjoy robust good health at present that is not true of many of my fellow senior citizens. A lot of them don’t get out a lot and suffer from limited mobility.

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The National Institute on Aging (NIA) said that older adults can be particularly vulnerable in cold weather. The NIA offered the following ways to stay safe during the winter months. While these are directed at seniors many apply to any individual deciding to go out and brave the winter winds.

Try to stay away from cold places. Changes in the body that come with aging can make it harder for older adults to be aware of getting cold.

Check the weather forecasts for windy and cold weather. Try to stay inside or in a warm place on cold and windy days. If you have to go out, wear warm clothes including a hat and gloves. A waterproof coat can help you stay warm if it’s cold and snowy.

Wear several layers of loose clothing when it’s cold. The layers will trap warm air between them. Don’t wear tight clothing because it can keep your blood from flowing freely. This can lead to loss of body heat.

Ask your doctor how the medicines you are taking affect body heat. Some medicines used by older people can increase the risk of accidental hypothermia. These include drugs used to treat anxiety, depression, or nausea. Some over-the-counter cold remedies can also cause problems.

When the temperature outside has dropped, drink alcohol moderately, if at all. Alcoholic drinks can make you lose body heat.

Make sure you eat enough food to keep up your weight. If you don’t eat well, you might have less fat under your skin. Body fat helps you to stay warm.

As a Chicagoan, I have dealt with cold weather before in the blog as well as my daily life:

Don’t hibernate in cold weather – Harvard

Cold weather exercising tips

11 Cold weather exercise tips

Tony

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The three stages of Alzheimer’s Disease – NIA

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. As a person with family members on both sides who have suffered from dementia in general and Alzheimer’s in particular, I wanted to share this with you, from the Alzheimer’s Disease Education & Referral center.

The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s vary from person to person. For many, difficulty with tasks like word-finding, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment, may signal the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Typically, Alzheimer’s progresses in three stages: Continue reading

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Sleep and Social Participation Link May Be Key to Healthy Aging

A few years ago I took several courses on the importance of sleep and its impact of the body. You can check out many aspects covered in a series of posts I have listed on my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep?

The subjects covered on my Page apply to all ages, from school kids to seniors. However, it seems that getting a good night’s sleep, however, becomes more difficult for some folks as they age.

A recent study at the University of Missouri tied good sleep with social participation and healthy aging.

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Sleep may be one of the most important factors for well-being; yet, according to the CDC, one in three adults does not get enough. Lack of sleep can lead to potential cognitive declines, chronic diseases and death. Now, research from the University of Missouri finds that older adults who have trouble sleeping, could benefit from participating in social activities, in particular attending religious events.

“Social connectedness is a key component for health and well-being for older adults,” said Jen-Hao Chen, assistant professor of health sciences at the MU School of Health Professions and the Truman School of Public Affairs. “Close connections to, and participation in, social groups provides a sense of belonging and can be essential for healthy aging.”

Yet despite past attention to the link between social participation and many different health outcomes, little research has been dedicated to linking social participation and another critical health outcome for older adults—sleep.

To study the relationship between sleep and social participation for older adults, Chen analyzed two waves of data collected over a five year period from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project. He looked at three aspects of social participation; volunteering, attending religious services and being part of organized group activities. He then compared the data to sleep outcomes measured by actigraphy—wearable wrist sleep trackers. Results showed that older adults with greater levels of social participation were getting better sleep.

However, Chen says despite the strong associations between social participation and sleep, social participation does not necessarily lead to better sleep. The strong associations he found could also be due to those already sleeping well may feel well enough to be more active socially. His future research on sleep will continue to use innovative sleep measurements to understand the role various social relationships have on sleep behaviors and outcomes. Continue reading

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What Can You Do To Prevent Alzheimer’s?

Regular readers know that Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia are two of my major considerations in aging. To clarify: Dementia is not a disease but a group of different diseases characterized by the gradual worsening of cognitive abilities. Dementia is seen across all ethnic groups and increasingly so with advancing age. Among 65–69-year-olds, about 2 percent are afflicted, with this figure doubling for every five years of age. Alzheimer’s accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases.

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I had a aunt who died of Alzheimer’s and my mother suffered from dementia in her later years. I have posted previously, How To Reduce Your Chances of Alzheimer’s and How to Reduce Your Risks of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Continue reading

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What are Good Exercises for Folks with Arthritis? – NIA

Full disclosure: I suffer from severe arthritis of the hands. The problem is at the base of each thumb and I get a stabbing pain when I close my hand to turn a key in a lock and button or unbutton something. So, fellow arthritis sufferers, I know your pain. I also know that I sometimes try to avoid certain actions so ‘it doesn’t hurt.’ Not a good idea. Our bodies need motion, especially when we have pains in our joints. It is a bad idea to skip exercise to avoid some pain. Our bodies are organic machines that need to move.

The National Institute on Aging suggests three types of exercise for osteoarthritis sufferers. They are Flexibility, Strengthening and Endurance.


Flexibility exercises can help keep joints moving, relieve stiffness, and give you more freedom of movement for everyday activities. Examples of flexibility exercises include upper- and lower-body stretching, yoga, and tai chi.

Strengthening exercises will help you maintain or add to your muscle strength. Strong muscles support and protect joints. Weight-bearing exercises, such as weight lifting, fall into this category. You can use bottles of water or soup cans if you don’t have weights.

Endurance exercises make the heart and arteries healthier and may lessen swelling in some joints. Try low-impact options such as swimming and biking.

“For people with osteoarthritis, regular exercise can help:
TO Maintain healthy and strong muscles
TO Preserve joint mobility
TO Maintain range of motion
TO Improve sleep
TO Reduce pain
TO Keep a positive attitude
TO Maintain a healthy body weight

As with any exercise program, always talk with a health care provider before beginning and to learn the best activities for you.

Tony

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