The History Of Labor Day

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Labor Day also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, parades and athletic events. Continue reading

Four Tips To Beat The Heat For Seniors

beat_the_heatThough fall is nearly upon us, there are still plenty of days where we can expect very hot weather!  Some of the ways we think to beat the heat are kids jumping in and out of swimming pools, families at the beach, or perhaps sitting indoors enjoying a book in an air-conditioned room.  However, it’s also important that we remember the importance of making sure our senior loved ones beat the heat as well.

From ultraviolet (UV) rays to skin dehydration, there are many potential dangers that too much sun and heat can cause.  Excessive heat exposure can cause dehydration, which in turn can cause conditions like heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

As a caregiver, it’s important to know how to keep your loved one from getting over heated. Here are four tips for you:

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The Benefits Of Being Outside

With the weather steadily improving as we move further and further away from the cold winter, a “breath of fresh air” and stroll outside are surely in the cards for both you and your loved ones. While a “breath of fresh air” might just be an expression, the benefits of being outside are, in fact, very real.

One of the best advantages of heading outdoors, even for a short amount of time, is the benefit of soaking up some sunshine.  Sun exposure generates vitamin D, which is necessary for a healthy brain, bones and muscles, according to Dr. Michael Raab a geriatrician in Fort Myers, Florida.  Actually, some doctors prescribe sunlight as a source of vitamin D, instead of taking a supplement.  Research has shown vitamin D improves cognitive function and mood.

Somewhat similar to improved health due to increased levels of Vitamin D, spending time in the outdoors has also been directly linked to an improved immune system. According to a study at Tokyo’s Nippon Medical School, women who spent six hours in the woods over a time span of two days showed an increase in virus- and tumor- fighting white blood cells subsequently. This boost even lasted for a minimum of seven days. Hence, seniors should try to spend more time outdoors in order to reap these fantastic health benefits.

Additionally, being outside provides mental and emotional benefits.  Heading to the great outdoors, the mental and emotional benefits are great.  It gives your loved one the ability to socialize with new people, also many outdoor activities allows them to interact with children and animals. Such activities can give people an extra spring in their step, and rejuvenate their emotions, according to Christina Chartrand, vice president of training and staff development for Senior Helpers, a nationwide in-home care company.

“Nature is fuel for the soul. Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature.” Richard Ryan, lead author and professor of psychology at the University of Rochester.

As the weather gets warmer and brighter, you and your loved one should of course use your best judgement when it comes to being outdoors, always taking into consideration their mobility and other health concerns.  While the benefits and positive effects being outside will have on your loved one, you will also enjoy the benefits as well.

Exercise For Better Brain Health

We all know that exercise is great for our muscles, our bones, joints, how we look, and how we feel.  However, what about exercise for better brain health? It’s true. You may not believe it but the stakes of not exercising are higher than you might have thought.brain health

Most folks don’t get enough exercise, and we have a plethora of excuses.  Too tired, no time, too expensive, no motivation, and sadly, 25% of us say we are simply okay with being sedentary.

Does this sound familiar? If so, you’re far from alone. Most of us, age 40-plus, are not logging the recommended 2.5 hours per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity that’s good for us, and importantly, our brains. Staying active is key to maintaining our brain health. Getting regular exercise can even change our brain structure and improve its functioning.

Interestingly, a thirty-minute cardio session pumps extra blood to your brain, to deliver the oxygen and nutrients it needs to perform at its best ability. Cardio will also flood the parts of the brain with chemicals, including serotonin, the famed mood booster; dopamine, which affects learning and attention; and norepinephrine, which influences attention, perception, motivation, and arousal. This exercise-induced chemical cocktail has a powerful impact. “By elevating neurotransmitters in the brain, it helps us focus, feel better, and release tension,” says, John Ratey, Ph.D., a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

New research has found that this kind of exercise may even cause permanent structural changes to the brain itself. People who participate in purposeful exercise show beneficial changes in brain structure and function. People who lead a physically active lifestyle have a lower risk of cognitive decline.

By exercising regularly, all that rushing of blood and hormones primes your brain to grow. In one study, researchers scanned the brains of people who exercised for one hour per day, three days a week, for a duration of six months. They discovered an increase in the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory and learning. Working out literally bulked up the study participants’ brains, allowing them to perform better at tasks that require concentration and recall.

As we age, maintaining and improving our brain health can help us stay in our own homes longer. Having the ability to stay independent longer also helps maintain a sense of self-worth. The best part?  You can begin an exercise program today.  There’s no real reason to wait!