Posts Tagged ‘elderly

I came across this article and was impressed with how the author was able to stress the importance of exercise.  As we age, it’s really important to ensure we are getting adequate physical activity.  It’s possible at any age.

There are many reasons that senior citizens should exercise on a regular basis, but the main one is that it helps to increase your overall health and ward off life-threatening diseases – especially those associated with aging.

Simply put – exercising helps us age more gracefully. Almost everyone knows the sort of problems we face when aging – slower metabolism, bone loss and stiffness in joints, muscle loss, balance problems, less endurance and heart and lung problems. We all want a quick fix to aging, such as injections and facelifts or a pill we can take to halt or reduce the aging process. But, in reality, regular exercise is the only thing we can do for ourselves that will increase our overall health and well-being. Exercise can help us maintain the ability to do things we love and to accomplish everyday tasks that we need to do rather than depending on someone else.

Even if you’re a very out of shape senior citizen, there are simple exercises you can do that will make you feel better and enjoy your life. Stretching is simple to do (you can even stretch while sitting) and can make remarkable strides in improving your joints and muscles. You can find online stretching exercises, choose from the many television shows that promote exercising or get a book from the library or bookstore.

You’ll want to be sure to choose exercises that stretch your back, arms, calves, thighs, stomach and chest – but don’t overdo it. Stretch for 5 to 20 minutes per day or whatever you feel up to. Any activity that increases your endurance is great for senior citizens. Those exercises might include gardening, biking, swimming or simply walking the dog. Try to increase your breathing and heart rate, but don’t exercise so strenuously that you lose your ability to talk. Take it easy and you’ll benefit more than you realize. Strength exercises are very important to engage in as you age. The more you can strengthen your muscles, the better able you’ll be to increase your metabolism (maintain a normal weight) and keep your blood sugar at normal levels. Strength exercises can be in the form of machines at a gym or fitness center – or, you can even use items around the house, such as books and cans of food.

Exercises designed to strengthen your back should be an important part of your exercise program. Back pain can be excruciating and life-changing and is common in senior citizens. Ask your doctor for a list of exercises you can do to strengthen back muscles or research on your own to find some that are right for you. One of the worst maladies that can affect senior citizens is balance problems.
Aging can cause loss of balance, but so can certain medications. There are exercises to specifically build your leg muscles and increase your perception of balance so that you’re less likely to fall. Keep in mind that in the United States, hospitals admit over 400,000 people per year for broken hips – and most are senior citizens. I know that one of the things I do for balance is walking down the rail road tracks just outside the YMCA where I do my senior exercise, along with many other seniors. I have gotten much better in the year or so that I have practiced. I do not walk them when they are wet or slippery and my kids love to join me. Remember a lot of balance receptors are in the bottom of your feet. Exercise is a key piece of the brain fitness puzzle too. Remember, this is not an olympic training that we are doing, just strenuous enough to get the breathing deep. That gets the neurogenesis and neuroplasticity going so that we have replacement parts popping online everyday. So not a sore muscle routine, but definitely regular. Daily is best.

Articles Source:

About the Author: Michael S. Logan is a brain fitness expert, a counselor, a student of Chi Gong, and licensed one on one HeartMath provider. I enjoy the spiritual, the mythological, and psychological, and I am a late life father to Shane, 10, and Hannah Marie, 4, whose brains are so amazing.


I came across an article on the New York Times website called “Why Wii Fit is Best for Grandparents”, and I found it very interesting.  My own children, now bored with and/or outgrown the Wii, are selling off their system and games as I write this.  What the research is showing is that some of these “exergames” are proving beneficial for older adults.  With regular use, seniors are able to improve their balance.  Balance is needed in order to reduce the risk of falls and other injuries.  These “exergames” aren’t as beneficial to the younger crowd in terms of improving their balance but are proving beneficial for older adults.

I have seen the Wii Fit used in Personal Care Homes.  This is a great activity for everyone.

Check out the article at

Have a great day!

Angela Gentile

Here’s a great article that talks about the benefits of Pets for Senior Citizens.  There has been a study done that talks about the health benefits, as well as psychological benefits.  The Eden Alternative is also a great philosophy whereby there are many animals incorporated into the environment where the older adults reside. Some advice from me: If you chose to get a dog for an older adult, think about getting one that is already housetrained!

Check out this great article for more info.

Pets for Senior Citizens.

I am going to go hug my dog now.


Angela Gentile

I am going on a long journey by train.  As I begin, the city skyscrapers and county landscape look familiar.  As I continue my journey, the view reminds me of times gone by and I feel relaxed and comfortable.  The other passengers on the train appear to be feeling the same way and I engage in pleasant conversation with them.

As the journey progresses, things begin to look different.  The buildings have odd shapes and the trees don’t look quite the way I remember them.  I know that they are buildings and trees, but something about them is not quite right.  Maybe I’m in a different country with different architecture and plant life.  It feels a bit strange, even unnerving.

I decide to ask the other passengers about the strangeness I feel, but I notice that they seem unperturbed.  They are barely taking notice of the passing scenery.  Maybe they have been here before.  I ask some questions but nothing seems different to them. I wonder if my mind is playing tricks on me. I decide to act as if everything looks all right, but because it does not, I have to be on guard.  This places some tension on me, but I believe I can tolerate it for the remainder of the trip.  I do, however, find myself becoming so preoccupied with appearing all right that my attention is diverted from the passing scenery.

After some time I look out the window again, and this time I know that something is wrong. Everything looks strange and unfamiliar!  There is no similarity to anything I can recall from the past. I must do something. I talk to the other passengers about the strangeness I feel.  They look dumbfounded and when they answer, they talk in a new language.  Why won’t they talk in English I wonder?  They look at me knowingly and with sympathy.  I’ve got to get to the bottom of this, so I keep after them to tell me where the train is and where it is going.  The only answers I get are in this strange language, and even when I talk, my words sound strange to me.  Now I am truly frightened.

At this point I figure that I have to get off this train and find my way home.  I had not bargained for this when I started.  I get up to leave and bid a pleasant good-bye.  I don’t get very far, though, as the other passenger’s stop me, and take me back to my seat.  It seems they want me to stay on the train whether I want to or not.  I try to explain, but they just talk in that strange language.

Outside the window the scenery is getting even more frightening.  Strange, inhuman-looking beings peer into the window at me. I decide to make a run for it.  The other passengers are not paying much attention to me, so I slip out of my seat and quietly walk toward the back of the car.  There’s a door!  It is difficult to push, but I must.  It begins to open and I push harder. Maybe now I will get away.  Even though it looks pretty strange out there, I know I will never find my way home if I do not get off the train.  I am just ready to jump when hands suddenly appear from nowhere and grab me from behind.  I try to get away.  I try to fight them off, but I can feel them pulling me back to my seat.

I realize now that I will never get off this train; I will never get home.

How sad I feel.  I did not say good-bye to my friends or children.  As far as I know they do not know where I am.  The passengers look sympathetic, but they do not know how said I feel.  Maybe if they knew they would let me off the train.  I stop smiling, stop eating, stop trying to talk and avoid looking out the window.  The passengers look worried.  They force me to eat.  It is difficult because I am too sad to be hungry.

I have no choice now.  I have to go along with the passengers because they seem to know where the journey will end.  Maybe they will get me there safely.   I fervently wish that I had never started out on this journey, but I know I cannot go back.

Dawson, et. al., 1993 xiv-xv

I really like analogies.  They help me understand other’s situations that I may not otherwise be able to.  I have been on a train before, and it does feel much like you are trapped and can’t get off (until the train stops).  I can only imagine how someone with dementia would feel as their cognitive abilities and capacities deteriorate.  It must be frightening and feelings of aloneness and missing familiar family members can cause additional feelings of loss, sadness and anxiety.  Remember how it must feel for these elders and it will be easier to provide the empathy and reassurance they need as they journey through life.


Angela Gentile

Infantilization or Therapeutic Use?

One day I was walking through a 24-hour Personal Care Home (PCH), and I saw an elderly woman sitting in a common room with a doll in her arms.  She looked very contented, and smiled at me.  My gut feeling was that this just didn’t sit right with me.  Seeing an older adult with a “toy” seemed undignified.  I had heard about someone else’s mother using a doll, but I just never thought much of it.  When I witnessed this, it just didn’t look right.

I posed the question to a group of experts and PCH staff who were attending a learning session, and I learned  a few things.  When working with older adults with dementia, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

1.  It is not okay to “infantilize” our older adult residents.  We must not treat them like children.

2.  It is okay to use a doll for therapeutic use.  This also covers stuffed animals and the like.  Some older adults find that holding something, or caring for something, makes them feel calm and gives them a purpose (“looking after” something).

I heard two stories that stood out.  One, a woman who had lost a child in her younger years had reverted back to that time.  She felt much more contented with the doll in her arms.  At one point, she handed the doll back to the nurse and told her, “My baby is dead.  Can you deal with this?”.

Another story was about a resident who carried around a doll and she took this doll with her when the staff were giving her a bath.  She used this doll as a weapon and hit the staff with it.

When one woman had a doll in her arms, the other residents treated her more kindly, because they saw she had a “baby”.  One of the residents who had a tendency to strike out, didn’t strike her when she had the doll in her arms.

When one woman started dragging the doll around by the hair, staff knew that this doll was not providing any therapeutic use.

The key is, that each situation involving dolls has to be resident-focussed, and individualized.  It’s not for everyone. Family has to be on board.  My own personal feelings about this (ethical or otherwise) are best addressed by understanding these situations better.  The doll is not going to be used for the long-term, most likely for a short while.

Don’t forget to wash the doll.  It will get soiled and will need it’s clothes washed too.  Also, it’s better to call the doll a doll, not a “baby”.

Discuss with your Team if a doll could provide any kind of therapeutic use.  I’m still not 100% convinced that this is a good thing.  Let me know your thoughts.

Here’s a link to an article and a picture of a senior woman playing with a doll:


Angela Gentile


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  • long term care: I just read another article on exercise for seniors and it was said there that nintendo wii can be a great way for them to stretch those muscles and h
  • gericarenetwork: Hi Gordon. Sure, I'd like that. Angela
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