Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
|@Comstock Images, Getty Images|
The following is a guest post from Mariana Ashley.
Just because you're a senior doesn't mean that you aren't hip—you have a shiny iPhone, you know what's "in." But while it's great that your sense of style as remained fresh throughout the years, it's important that you also work to keep your mind fresh as well.
No, an iPhone isn't just a fashion accessory, you can actually download specific apps that if used on a daily basis, can help strengthen your mind and perhaps battle dementia—after all, health experts say the cognitive exercises stimulate blood flow to the brain, making it stronger and healthier. That said, below are 4 iPhone app games that can if played on a regular basis, may just be able to keep your mind sharp throughout the years.
1. Who Has the Biggest Brain
Similar to the successful Nintendo DS game Brain Age, Who Has the Biggest Brain is a cheaper, more simplified way of giving the brain a good daily workout. What it does is give you 12 different mini games, all of which are designed to test and challenge four different parts of your brain: calculation, visual, logic, and memory. The results should be able to give you a peek into the strongest areas of your brain, as well as the areas you need to improve on. The game also promises to give you some insight into your rationale of thinking—for example, do you tend to think more like a scientist or an extraterrestrial? No matter what the case you can choose to play with friends or stimulate your brain solo. Price: 99 cents
Sudoku, the popular logic-based numerical puzzle that can typically be found in every Sunday's national paper, comes in an "on-demand" digital form for iPhone users (no more waiting for the paper boy). It comes in various skill levels and does not repeat puzzles. Price: Free
3. Words With Friends
Similar to Scrabble, Words With Friends is a fun way to test your vocabulary and spelling. You are given a set of letters and must formulate a variety of words using only the letters given. If you've laid out an incorrect word, the game will immediately notify you and you must either come up with a correct spelled-word or pass your turn and lose an opportunity at earning points. You can play with people in your iPhone contact list like your son or daughter (granted they'll need to download the app as well) or play with strangers. Price: Free
4. NYTimes CrossWords
Lastly, with NYTimes CrossWords you can further improve word recognition by solving the daily crossword puzzles that are featured in the renowned New York Times. Price: Free
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, January 27, 2012
|Beware the surgical knife!|
@TS Photography, Getty Images
Nursing home residents' frailty puts them at a higher risk for dying after surgery a new study reports. Well no kidding. did they need a study for that? About a year ago we were about to go through surgery - neurosurgery no less - for my 90-year-old mother. Essentially for two weeks they prepared us for her dying on the table. She didn't. Separate story but that says more about her attitude and desire to live plus some really great genes than anything else.
Elderly nursing home residents experience more surgical complications than other elders their age. Residents typically have other advanced medical problems and may often be too frail for many ordered procedures, researchers said.
Physicians might be far too aggressive when ordering surgeries for nursing home residents, according to researchers from the University of California in San Francisco. They studied data from 70,000 nursing home residents and one million non-institutionalized Medicare beneficiaries over age 65.
They found that mortality rates after surgeries such as gall bladder, appendix or colon removals, as well as bleeding ulcers, were consistently higher in nursing home residents than other seniors.
Bottom line - be educated on the risk. Question your physician and the surgeons. Remember we are still under a reimbursement system that awards more procedures. And there are unscrupulous physicians who are simply out to make as much money as they possibly can. Not all. But some.
So be cynical and question everything.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Assisted Living Today, a Web publishing company that
specializes in information about senior living, has
published a series of guides about choosing the
best care setting for a loved one.
They are worth a look.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
|Get off your...|
@Robert Daly, Getty Images
Research presented at the American Institute for Cancer Research cites about 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 of colon cancer.
The calculations were based on physical activity data and cancer incidence statistics.
Alpa Patel, an American Cancer Society epidemiologist who looked at the data, says the numbers “seem like very reasonable estimates.”
Alpa Patel, an American Cancer Society epidemiologist who looked at the data, says the numbers “seem like very reasonable estimates.”
“A brisk daily walk of at least 30 minutes could lower a person’s risk over time for breast cancer and colon cancer,” says Alice Bender, a registered dietitian with the cancer research institute.
In post-menopausal women, physical activity appears to decrease the risk of cancer by increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing body fat, inflammation, metabolic hormones and sex steroids hormones researchers say.
In any case, get off your butt, talk to your doctor and start an exercise program.
Friday, January 20, 2012
The Met Life Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs published recently.
This survey, conducted in conjunction with LifePlans, Inc., contains daily private-pay rates for private and semi-private rooms in licensed nursing homes, monthly base rates for assisted living communities, hourly rates for home health aides from licensed agencies and agency- provided homemaker companion services, and daily rates for adult day services across the United States.
- National average rates for a private room increased by 4.4%, from $229 daily or $83,585 annually in 2010, to $239 daily or $87,235 annually in 2011.
Assisted Living Communities
Monthly private-pay base rates, which are defined as room and board and typically include at least two meals per day, housekeeping, and some personal care assistance, were obtained for one-bedroom apartments or private rooms with private baths in assisted living communities.
- National average assisted living base rates increased by 5.6%, from $3,293 monthly or $39,516 annually in 2010, to $3,477 monthly or $41,724 annually in 2011.
Home Care Services
Hourly private-pay rates were obtained for home health aides from licensed agencies and for agency-provided homemaker/ companion services.
- The 2011 national average private-pay hourly rates for home health aides and homemaker/ companion services remain unchanged from 2010 at $21 and $19 respectively.
Adult Day Services
- Adult day services national average daily rates increased by 4.5% from $67 in 2010 to $70 in 2011.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Behind the Old Face is a vision to change the perception of seniors, particularly in the medical community. Angil Tarach-Ritchey RN, GCN, Author, Speaker, Consultant and Senior Advocate hopes to change the thoughts, hearts, and minds of those working in healthcare, which will improve the dignity, respect and care of our society’s elders.
On her website she shares this: “My vision is the hope of every senior who has been unheard, neglected, abused, and tossed aside as something less than a person, like you or me, but with many more years of wisdom, struggles, accomplishments, achievements and service to you, and I, our generation, and those after us. One day, if we’re blessed enough to live to old age, we will be seniors, hoping we will be heard, validated, respected and cared for. We’ll hope we’ve made some kind of contribution while we were here, and those that look at us will see Behind the Old Face.”
Great work Angela.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Monday, January 16, 2012
|@Stockbyte, Getty Images|
A British study of 3,853 participants ages 52-79 had people rate their feelings at different times on one particular day. Five years later, researchers recorded the number who died and controlled for a variety of factors, including age, gender, health, wealth, education and marital status.
Andrew Steptoe, a psychology professor at University College in London, who co-authored the study said it is not just the fact that some people are just naturally happier than others. He told USA Today it is also "what they are doing, who they are with, and other features of that point in time. Both are important."
What is not clear is whether happy feelings are the key to longevity or if it's something else that causes extended life. Others who have done research in this area think this study is significant.
Could some people just have been having a bad day? Certainly. But researchers believe that the sample population was so large that having odd days didn't really matter very much.
Laura Kubzansky, an associate professor in the Department of Society, Human Development and Health, at Harvard's School of Public Health in Boston, says "I think people sort of undervalue emotional life anyway. This highlights the idea that if you are going through a period where you're consistently distressed, it's probably worth paying attention to how you feel — it matters for both psychological and physical health."
The area of happiness is an emerging trend. Heck even Zappos changed their vision to Creating Happiness. Certainly you cannot will someone to be happy but I believe that the positive affects of being happy show up in a healthier, less stressed body.
So...you know it's coming...don't worry.....
Friday, January 13, 2012
|@Michael Muller, Getty Images|
Researchers at Tenon Hospital in Paris studied 38 patients with mild Alzheimer's and debilitating cataract in at least one eye before and after participants underwent cataract surgery.
- They found that 25% of these patients exhibited improvement in cognitive status, the ability to perceive, understand and respond appropriately to one's surroundings.
- Several of the patients became less depressed.
The findings were presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Annual Meeting.
Chances are your ophthalmologist is unaware of this study. Ask him/her about it.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Who from my family will step up and care for me as I grow older? That is a question a lot of baby boomers are asking themselves. Because the prospects are scary.
In a study reported in Long-Term Care Magazine, divorce and remarriage is changing the role of adult children in caring for aging parents and the quality of family relationships is often trumping genetic ties argues a researcher from the University of Missouri.
Lawrence Ganong, a professor and co-chair at the university’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies, found that relationship quality, a history of mutual help and resource availability influence decisions about who cares for parents and stepparents.
Ganong said: “How close family members are to each other, how much they have been helped by them in the past and what hardships caregiving might place on family members are important factors when people consider caring for older kin.”
Ganong and his research team presented study participants with hypothetical caregiving scenarios involving an aging parent or stepparent and a child or stepchild. Participants then responded to questions about their perceptions of who should provide care.
The majority of participants said biological factors are relevant in caregiving decisions, but they do not automatically require adult children to help older relatives.
“Based on what happens before, during and after marital transitions, family members may change what they think their responsibilities are regarding helping and providing care to kin,” Ganong said. “As a society that relies on families to provide much of the care for older adults, we need to better understand the effects of changes in families due to divorce and remarriage.”
Ganong recommended that middle-aged adults have honest conversations with parents and stepparents about expectations for caregiving and other types of assistance before needs arise.
Ganong's study, “Who Gets Custody of Grandma After the Divorce? How Marital Transitions Affect Family Caregiving Responsibilities,” was funded by the National Institute on Aging.
So now I am praying that my stepson, whose mom I am divorced from, will stay married to my lovely daughter-in-law!
Monday, January 9, 2012
The following is a guest post from Liz Davies.
Studies show that yoga can decrease symptoms associated with cancer and its sometimes harsh treatments such as chemotherapy and radiations. Studies have shown that nausea, headaches, and fatigue are greatly reduced by yoga. Yoga can also be helpful for mental or emotional issues such as anxiety and depression related to the stress of having to live with such a burden. A study published in 2009 showed that 100 cancer patients who practiced yoga before undergoing surgery were much more likely to tolerate side effects of the procedure such as pain and post-surgical nausea. Researchers have also found that the overall quality of life in cancer patients who do yoga is drastically higher than in those who do not.
|@Zia Solei, Getty Images|
There are a lot of types of yoga, with each branch of the practice differing widely as to what organ systems are helped. For instance, Hatha yoga is a wonderful way of reducing muscle pain and to relax, thus reducing stress. In comparison, Kundalini yoga may be better for the patient who is suffering from fatigues and wishes to increase energy levels.
Staying motivated to exercise while suffering from cancer can seem like a daunting task. Changing the types of yoga done can help add some variety and excitement, thus increasing the chances that the patient will keep yoga in his her life. Asking a friend of family member to do yoga can is helpful, and writing down what he or she wants to achieve while practicing it can also add incentive.
Because of the widely varying levels of yoga, there is almost certainly a type which is suitable for any level of activity. This makes the practice relatively safe for the cancer patient. This type of activity is good for any type of cancer patient including liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, and even rare forms like epithelial mesothelioma. It should not, however, be used as a primary treatment for cancer as it is not known to prevent or stop cancer growth. Any patient thinking of implementing yoga into their cancer management program should ask their oncologist whether or not it is a suitable option.
Editor's Note: Consult your physician for embarking on any program. Also note that while this post specifically has dealt with cancer patients, yoga has been shown to benefit people of all ages and health.
Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.
Helpful Links from Liz:
Helpful Links from Liz:
Friday, January 6, 2012
The number of people suffering from Alzheimer's disease (AD) is astounding-but even more so is the number of people caring for a loved one suffering from AD. According to the Alzheimer's Association, more than 5 million Americans have AD and almost 11 million people are serving as their unpaid caregivers.
America spends $172 billion caring for people with AD and other dementias and costs are expected to reach over $1 trillion by 2050.
Dr. Michael Weiner, M.D., principal investigator of one of the largest clinical trials on Alzheimer's disease (AD) in history, is working with his colleagues from around the country to find answers to who gets AD, how it progresses, and how best to stop it. Dr. Weiner is leading the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) - the largest and most comprehensive AD research study of its kind sponsored by the National Institute on Aging.
ADNI is looking for volunteers to participate in its critical research. Go here
or call 1-800-432-4380 to be a part of the fight against AD and to support those providing care for the millions of men and women suffering with Alzheimer's.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Heart failure patients who are Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries — or who are uninsured — are less likely to receive essential treatments and tend to be hospitalized for longer periods of time according to investigators from the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine. Medicaid recipients with heart failure are 22% more likely to die in the hospital than patients with private insurance.
Data collected data from 99,508 heart failure patients found that individuals receiving Medicaid were less likely to receive drugs such as beta-blockers, enzyme inhibitors or receptor blockers. The study suggests that access to specialists and the patient's socioeconomic may be a factor in the care these individuals receive.
This is not necessarily new information. What will be interesting is what happens when everyone in theory is insured. Will providers still favor the most favorable payers? Stay tuned.