Leave a comment

How to keep your brain active

Aging can be a scary thing. Not only are we getting older physically, but also mentally. Age can play a big part in how are brains are functioning, and we are all too aware of the risks of Alzheimer’s and other memory diseases that come with age.

Although we can’t prevent Alzheimer’s or Dementia, there are ways we can continue to “work out” our brains and keep them active. Just because you’re not working or not in school, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to learn and grow yourself mentally.

Here at Just Like Family, we want to help keep you as healthy as possible, whether that’s with our companions coming over to help prepare a meal, or getting you up and out for a walk or stretching.

We’re going to go over a few ways you can keep your brain active, so you stay mentally healthy for as long as possible.

brain changers.jpg

Via Antiaging Nootropics

Lifelong Learning

You may have been out of school for a few decades, but don’t let that stop you from continuing to learn. Although you despised a certain subject at school, now you have the freedom to learn whatever you want!

The access to the library and internet, the possibilities to learn just about anything are endless.

Think up a subject you’re curious about and see what resources you can find from books to online courses to local college classes you can sit in on to lectures.

Here are some topics you can dive into:

  • American history
  • World Wars
  • Basic Computers
  • Space
  • Languages
  • Gardening

Read More

If you’re retired, there’s no excuse not to be reading more. With access to the library, you can get pretty much any book you could ever want.

Or pick up a Kindle. Many libraries offer free digital rentals of books that you can do right from your home.

Read a mix of fiction and non-fiction. If a book doesn’t grab you and you feel that you are dreading finishing it, then stop! Just because you pick up a book doesn’t mean you necessarily need to finish it. Reading should be fun, find books that engage you.

Do Puzzles

Puzzles are a great way to keep your mind active. These include crosswords, Sudoku, Ken Ken, and even plain old jigsaw puzzles. You can pick up many of these at the dollar store, even a 500 piece puzzle is just $1!

Play Games

Games make you think. Find some games you can play either on your own or get a group together to play. Get board games or apps.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Settlers of Catan (board game)
  • 2048 (app)
  • Dots (app)
  • Cut the Rope (app)
  • Chess

Memory Exercises

Truly exercise your brain with some memory challenges. From Everyday Health, these can include:

  • Drawing a map from memory
  • Creating word pictures
  • Learning a new language
  • Refining your hand-eye ability (Painting, drawing, knitting)
  • Doing math in your head
  • Testing your recall

More Resources

Learn more about keeping your mind active with these resources.

6 simple steps to keep your mind sharp at any age | Harvard Medical School

Stay Mentally Active | ALZ.org

The Changing Brain in Healthy Aging | National Institute on Aging

 


Leave a comment

How to Maintain Independence as You Age

Here at Just Like Family Homecare, we want to help you or your loved one maintain independence for as long as possible. Sometimes you need a little help getting to the grocery store, doing household chores, or walking the dog. Our caregivers are always here to assist in any help you may need. Our transportation business, Concierge Transport Services, also caters to those wanting to maintain an independent life. We provide helpful drivers and comfortable vehicles to get you to doctor’s appointments, the airport, or just to the supermarket.

Maintain independence

Many of us out there balk at the idea of receiving help from others. We are independent and enjoy doing things on our own, even if it may take a little longer. As we age, it gets a little more difficult to maintain a fully independent life. Some of us are lucky and have great health til a very old age. Others may need some assistance every now and then. It is a good idea to stay physical for as long as possible. Walking daily is a great, low impact exercise that keeps your muscles moving and active.

It may be tough to admit, but our eyesight tends to decline as we age. We may need glasses or bifocals to see properly when before we had 20/20 vision. It is important to update your prescription as soon as you notice a decline. Poor eyesight can lead to accidents like slips, or, if you are still driving, fender benders. To ensure the safety of yourself and other drivers, you should be testing your eyesight regularly. If you notice a marked decline, it may be a good idea to forgo driving. Driving is a key part to our independence, but there are many safe alternatives out there for getting you from point A to point B. Even asking a friend or family member in advance is worthwhile. Don’t feel like a burden, your friends and family will be happy to help you out! There may even be a bus or driving service in your area that caters to the elderly.

There are some small fixes you can have done to your living space that can help you maintain independence. Items like shower seats or handrails will allow you to safely bathe yourself. Place non-slip mats inside the shower/tub and just outside. Making sure your floor is level, is also important, as this will help prevent slips and falls. Adding a grab bar near the toilet is also useful. As is raising the toilet, so sitting and standing is easier.

If you or a loved one needs some extra assistance to help maintain independence, or just wants a little extra help, Just Like Family Homecare has you covered.


Leave a comment

Top Exercises for Seniors

Top Exercises for Seniors

top exercises for seniorsHave you been looking for ways to get in shape? Get inspired with this list of the top exercises for seniors. These exercises are generally low impact and can be done without specialize equipment or the gym. The National Institutes of Health recommends focusing on four types of exercises:

Stretching: These exercises will help increase your range of motion, allowing you to do more.

Strength: Help build muscle and increase metabolism.

Endurance: These activities will increase your heart rate and breathing. They include walking, jogging, swimming, and more.

Balance: These exercises are important to prevent slips and falls. Almost 300,000 people are admitted for broken hips each year, most of them being seniors.

Strength Exercises

  • Arm Raises

These can be done with or without weights. It involves sitting in a chair with your back straight. Hold  your hands straight down with your palms facing inward. Raise your arms from your side to shoulder height. Repeat this 8-15 times, whichever is most comfortable.

  • Knee flexion

Stand with your back straight, holding something stable for balance. Bend one knee slowly so your foot lifts behind you. Hold this position then lower your foot. Repeat this on each leg about 8-15 times.

Balance Exercises

  • Side Leg Raises

Stand with your back straight behind a table or chair. Hold the chair or table for balance and slowly lift one leg about 6-12 inches off the ground. Keep your feet facing forward, don’t point your toe down. Lower your leg and then repeat with the other leg. Do this about 8-15 times on each leg.

  • Heel-to-Toe

Find an area to walk in a straight line. Put your heel just in front of the toes on your other foot. Each time you step they should be touching. This will help improve balance tremendously.

Endurance Exercises

  • Walking briskly on a level surface

Be sure you are dressed appropriately. If the weather is hot, wear light color clothing. If it is warm, bring a coat or jacket, hat, gloves, or scarf if necessary. Make sure your shoes fit properly and are comfortable.

  • Swimming

If you have a pool or live near one, then you should be swimming a few times a week. This is a great, low impact exercise that works out your whole body. Be sure to buy goggles so you don’t irritate your eyes underwater.

Stretching Exercises

  • Tricep Stretch

Grab a towel and hold one end in your right hand. Raise and bend your right arm to allow the towel to drape down, hold this position. Reach behind your lower back and grab the bottom of the towel with your left hand. Move your left hand higher up the towel, pulling your right arm down. Go up only as far as is comfortable. Reverse the position and repeat, holding the stretch for 10-30 seconds.

Let us know if you have any more top exercises for seniors! We’d love to hear from you.


Leave a comment

Mall Walking: Frequently Asked Questions

Mall Walking Guide

Mall walkingSurely you love to walk on those dry, cool evenings, but how often do we get such perfect weather? Sometimes it’s rainy, sunny, or blisteringly cold weather, especially this time of year, that can prevent you from enjoying the outdoors. Luckily, some creative person came up with the idea of mall walking. Mall walking is beneficial because of the air-conditioned, enclosed space, level surface, and availability of drinks and snacks. The mall also offers many places to sit comfortably and use the restroom. Check out these frequently asked questions about mall walking.

Do all malls have mall walking programs?

Not necessarily. You may want to call your local mall to see if they do. If not, there may be some local groups that participate in mall walking.

How long should I be mall walking?

It is recommended to walk at least 30 minutes, if not more. If you can, you should be walking every day. As you continue your walking routine you will notice that your breathing should be getting better. You will also be able to walk longer distances the more you walk.

When is the best time to walk?

This largely depends on your mall. Some malls get very crowded during certain points in the day, and it is best to avoid walking during these times. Early morning is usually a good time to beat the crowds, especially on weekends.

Are there rules for mall walking?

Generally no, but you may want to ask management at your local mall. Otherwise it is best to be courteous to other shoppers and avoid running into anyone.

Do I need to warm up?

Before doing any exercise it is recommended that you warm up and stretch. This helps loosen your muscles and prepare your body for walking. Warm up for about 5 minutes before you begin.

If my mall doesn’t have a mall walking program, can I start one?

Be sure to ask management at your mall, but it is most likely that you can. You should ask to post fliers in the mall about your walking group, or even see if the mall can open a little early for your group to begin before shoppers arrive.


Leave a comment

Travel Tips for Seniors

Travel Tips for Seniors

travel tips for seniorsThe Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s holiday periods are among the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year. During the 6-day Thanksgiving travel period, the number of long-distance trips (to and from a ­destination 50 miles or more away) increases by 54 percent, and during the Christmas/New Year’s Holiday period the number rises by 23 percent, compared to the average number for the remainder of the year. And although heavy media attention focuses on crowded airports and bus and train stations on the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving, when personal vehicle trips are added to the mix the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) reveals that Thanksgiving Day is actually a heavier long-distance travel day than Wednesday.

But, getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop traveling. Now is probably the best time for you to get out there and see the world. There are many discounts you can take advantage of at museums and other attractions. Traveling through the airport is now easier than ever, especially with the added convenience of wheelchair assistance. You can book your whole trip online or contact a travel agent to assist you. Here are some travel tips for seniors on how to maximize your experience other cities, states, and countries.

  • Check out elderhostel.com. This is a budget friendly site offering affordable rooms during your travels.
  • Utilize sites like Kayak and Hipmunk. These sites allow you to compare different airline costs, getting you the best deal for your flight.
  • Medication. Be sure you are well-stocked for your medication.
  • Rolling luggage. If you are worried about lugging bags through the airport, make sure you get one on wheels.
  • Request a wheelchair. If you have a hard time walking long distances, it is a good idea to request a wheelchair at the airport. Wheelchairs also have the added benefit of allowing you to skip security lines.
  • Ground-Floor room. If you have difficulty walking up and down stairs, request that your hotel put you on the ground floor when you make your initial reservation.
  • Take advantage of discounts. Many activities like museums, plays, and tours offer discounts for seniors. See if you can snag some for your trip.
  • Don’t overexert yourself. You just got to a new country and already want to see and do everything. Pick your top three or four activities and focus on them first. This way you won’t tire yourself or your companion(s) out just on the first day. If you feel weak, be sure to sit and rest for a while
  • Drink water. It is important to stay hydrated while you travel. In other countries, the water may not be as safe as you’d like. In these instances you should purchase only bottled water.
  • Travel Insurance. If you want to be extra cautious, you may want to invest in travel insurance. This can be a lifesaver in the event of an emergency. Some of these plans will pay for emergency evacuation by air back to your home country. Without insurance this evacuation can put you in debt.

If you have some travel tips for seniors feel free to share!


Leave a comment

Driving for Seniors

imagesAre you or a loved one starting to feel the effects of aging? The aging process can have an effect on your driving skills. There are no age limits for older drivers, but it is recommended to get your eyesight tested, be certain your loved ones aren’t worried about your driving, and make sure driving doesn’t make you nervous or overwhelmed.
All of these concerns should be taken into account when you consider whether or not to give up your ability to drive. It may seem hard to give up that independence, but the safety of yourself and other drivers and pedestrians needs to be taken into consideration.
Eyesight
Have you noticed it is difficult to read signs? Is the headlight glare at night bothersome? Are you able to properly navigate at night? Be certain that your seat is high enough so you can see over the steering wheel. If you wear glasses, make sure the prescription is up to date and get prescription sunglasses if needed. It is also recommended if you are over 60 to visit the eye doctor each year.
Control of the Vehicle
Be certain you are able to physically control the vehicle. Is it difficult to look over your should when you change lanes? Is walking a concern? Do you get pain or out of breath walking up or down stairs? Answering yes to any of these questions should prompt you to consult your doctor. Be sure when you drive that you are comfortable, that mirrors and your seat are in the proper positions so you can see.
Feel Safe Driving
Have you had any dizzy spells recently? Has your vision become blurry? Be sure to wait a while before driving, or have a friend drive you if you have been feeling dizzy. If you recently took medicine it may cause you to become fatigued, so it is best if you do not drive right after. Try to avoid driving during busy times of the day, plan your outings for during the day.
Loved Ones Concerned
If your loved ones have expressed concerns over your driving it may be a good idea to enroll in a mature driving class. These are offered by AAA and AARP. It is also smart to give your loved ones a call or text when you plan to go out and when you return home, so they know you are safe. If it becomes a major concern, ask them to provide rides for you or set up rides with a transport service.
If you ever need a ride to a doctors appointment, event or you just need help running errands, call Just Like Family Concierge Transport Services 


Leave a comment

Big News for Cure Alzheimer’s

n-ALZHEIMERS-large570Anyone who knows anyone effected by Alzheimers can appreciate the breakthrough research that was announced this week by the journal Nature. For my family, this is BIG news. My grandparents have been very active in Cure Alzheimer’s and anytime one is dedicated personally and financially in a cause, it’s exciting to see all the hard work pay off. At Just Like Family Home Care, we are asked to take care of many patients who have Alzheimers. While all illness is challenging to care for, Alzheimer’s is one of the hardest to watch. I’m am excited about this research and I hope it continues to fuel new findings that will ultimately lead to a cure.

See the full article below:

For the first time, and to the astonishment of many of their colleagues, researchers created what they call Alzheimer’s in a Dish — a petri dish with human brain cells that develop the telltale structures of Alzheimer’s disease.

So begins a new story in the New York Times by science reporter Gina Kolata announcing breakthrough research just published by the journal Nature.

The research, conducted by Dr. Rudy Tanzi and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) colleagues Drs. Doo Yeon KimSe Hoon Choi and Dora Kovacs and funded by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund (CAF), demonstrates for the first time precisely how the protein Abeta (the main component of plaques) stimulates the creation of tau “tangles.” Further, the researchers identified a key enzyme in this process.

“It is a giant step forward for the field,” Duke Univeristy’s Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy told the Times. “It could dramatically accelerate testing of new drug candidates.”

The Tanzi breakthrough simultaneously boosts Alzheimer’s research in three vital ways:

First, it gives reseachers final confirmation of the “amyloid hypothesis,” a long-disputed theory about the earliest stages of the disease.

Second, it provides a promising new therapeutic target. “Here we show for the first time that Abeta deposition by human neurons is sufficient to lead to tangles,” said Tanzi, director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at MGH and chairman of CAF’s Research Consortium. “If you block the amyloid deposition, you block tangles from forming downstream.”

Finally, the experiment was conducted with an innovative and powerful new tool: use of human Alzheimer’s neurons derived from non-embryonic stem cells grown in a petri dish. “We call this system Alzheimer’s-in-a-Dish,” Tanzi said. “This is the first time anyone has successfully recapitulated amyloid and tau pathology in a single human neural cell culture. It creates a near-ideal lab model of the disease that will help us dramatically accelerate drug testing.”

Jeffrey L. Morby, Chairman of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, welcomed the research breakthrough and the high-level recognition. “We’re so gratified that Nature, one of the world’s most prestigious science journals, and The New York Times, the newspaper of record, have both recognized the profound importance of this research. But we won’t rest on these laurels. We are already leveraging these exciting discoveries into even more aggressive research. We are determined to stop this dreadful disease as soon as humanly possible.”

_________________

The New York Times story can be found here. Please note, it is Times policy not to mention the names of funders when covering scientific studies.

_________________

Want to learn more about Dr. Tanzi’s research? Watch his presentation during our symposium live stream on Wednesday, October 15.