An Inactive Lifestyle Takes 8 Years off Your Lifespan

While slowing down a little is a natural part of aging, it’s no excuse for being inactive. As a matter of fact, researchers continue to find evidence that an inactive lifestyle will actually make you age faster. A study published just last year that focused on elderly women found that those with a sedentary lifestyle had cells that were biologically older than their actual age—8 years older.

Why Even a Little Exercise is Important for Senior Care

Physical activity is important at every age and becomes even more important as you get older. The benefits of exercise for your health and quality of life, especially in old age are innumerable. Here are just a few of the benefits that make physical activity such an important part of senior care:

  • It helps you stay independent longer
  • It improves your balance
  • It reduces your risk of falls and injuries
  • It helps prevent disease, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, and type 2 diabetes
  • It lowers your risk of premature death

Getting out and enjoying activities has also been shown to improve mood and lower the risk of depression—something many seniors are at risk of.

Getting Active as You Age

Aches and pains, chronic illness, and other realities of aging can zap anyone’s motivation to get out and move, but this doesn’t make it any less important. You don’t need to get an expensive gym membership or participate in intense exercise to reap all the health benefits. Just getting out for a walk every day, attending a soft aerobics class, or even participating in seated exercises for 30 minutes each day can make all the difference.

If you or your aging parent isn’t getting enough exercise because of physical challenges or difficulty getting out and about, a professional senior care provider can help in a few ways. A senior caregiver can accompany you on walks or to and from exercise classes and other activities. The time you spend being active either in a group environment, such as classes at a senior’s community center, or just out for a walk with your senior care provider, is also time that you’re being social. It’s a win-win for your body and mind!

Some ideas to get you moving:

  • Take a walk
  • Join a mall walking program
  • Take a dance class
  • Take a senior’s fitness class at a community center
  • Participate in a seated exercise/chair exercise class if you have mobility issues
  • Do a workout video at home using a DVD or computer

Every step counts. Even if you’re not active now, adding just a few minutes of physical activity to your day is a step in the right direction. Give us a call to learn more about how one of our qualified senior care specialists can help ensure that you get out and get active for better health.

David Porter, CPCA
Director

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

 

 

Article sources:
Associations of Accelerometer-Measured and Self-Reported Sedentary Time With Leukocyte Telomere Length in Older Women. https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/185/3/172/2915786
Physical activity tips for older adults (65 years and older). https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/healthy-living/physical-activity/physical-activity-tips-older-adults-65-years-older.html

Sundowning – How to Reduce Late-Day Confusion

If a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, you may have noticed that their agitation and disorientation seems to worsen as the day goes on. This late-day confusion is referred to as sundowning and is more common in mid-stage or advanced dementia.

The symptoms of sundowning can be managed with a few steps. Here are some things that you can do:

    • Create and stick to a schedule. Stress, anger, and confusion are common reactions to unfamiliar places and activities. They are also reactions that play a role in sundowning. Avoid altering routines and try to adhere to the same schedule every day. If changes need to be made, make them gradually. If you’re considering senior care, having the same caregiver provide their care each day is important in maintaining consistency.
    • Keep them active. Staying active throughout the day can help your loved one avoid daytime dozing. Inactivity and dozing on and off during the day can make it hard to sleep at night. Go for a walk together or hire a professional senior care provider to accompany your loved one on walks or other daily outings if your schedule doesn’t allow you to do it. Not only does staying active improve sleep and help with downing—it’s great for their health all around. Exercise is also a proven way to lower stress and anxiety.
    • Adjust the lighting at home. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends turning up the lights and brightening the room when a person with dementia is agitated or confused. Placing a full-spectrum fluorescent light one meter or so away from your loved one for a couple of hours each morning may also help, based on research on light therapy.
    • Minimize stress. Reducing stress late in the day and in the evening can help with the symptoms of sundowning. Encourage simple activities that are less likely to cause frustration, such as listening to soft music or spending time cuddling a pet.
    • Create comfortable and familiar surroundings. For a loved one with dementia, creating a familiar and comforting environment is important. Fill their space with cherished belongings from their past, especially if they’re in a hospital or assisted living facility. Enlisting in-home care services can allow your loved one to remain in the comfort and familiar surroundings of home while getting the care they need. Familiarity and comfort can help reduce sundowning symptoms.
    • Track your loved one’s behaviour. Tracking your loved one’s triggers can help you better manage sundowning. Use a journal or smartphone app to track his or her daily activities, environments, and behaviours to help identify and avoid triggers.

Along with these tips, ensuring that your loved one eats well and gets a good night’s sleep is important. And don’t forget about yourself! Caring for a loved one and dealing with the symptoms of sundowning can take a toll on you, too. Take care of yourself and ask for help, either from family and friends, or by hiring professional home health care services to provide respite care so that you can get a break.

David Porter, CPCA
Director

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care