If you want to live a healthier and fuller live less prone to mobility problems, you might want to lay off the diet sweetened drinks, says a research released by the American Academy of Neurology.
According to the recent study, those who drink several diet sweetened drinks a day are at a higher risk for depression. On the other hand, those who drink coffee have a slightly lower depression risk.
The study found 260,000 Americans who were between 50 to 71 years old, reporting on their beverage habits. After a decade, it was found that a little more than 4% were diagnosed with depression.
The study also found that overall, those who consumed sweetened diet beverages were more likely to be at risk for depression. In particular, those who drank at least four cans of diet soda had a 31% more likelihood of being depressed than those who did not.
Other artificially sweetened drinks also reported similar risks, such as fruit punch and iced tea—although the likelihood of becoming depressed was slightly lower, at 22%.
The participants’ coffee habits were also tested, and it showed than older adults who drank more than four cups of coffee a day had a 10% lower risk of being depressed than those who did not.
The study is somewhat preliminary and only noted a general trend. However, researchers noted a reason why both diet drinks and coffee have a relationship with depression: diabetes and obesity.
Overall, one’s lifestyle and diet have a direct effect on depression, and therefore on one’s mobility. Until the findings are conclusive, older adults would do best to take diet drinks and coffee in moderation.
The connection between depression and mobility has been considered in the past. It is generally accepted that those suffering from depression can lead to serious mobility problems—a reason why mental health should always be in check.]]>
Now a few weeks into 2013, it is time to actually retain the New Year’s Resolutions and follow them for the sake of optimum health and mobility. Here are five resolutions that will help you achieve just that.
1. Get physical!
It is about time you walk the talk and finally set into action your plan to stay physically fit. You should allot some time for your fitness goals. It is not necessary to visit the gym frequently to achieve these goals. There several realistic—even fun—ways of achieving the. A few examples include taking a stroll in the park, joining a physical activity class exclusive for older adults, or trying out a new sport. You might want to consult your doctor regarding exercises that will help you stay fit and free from mobility problems.
2. Get a Health Screening
The US Preventive Services Task Force recommend that those older than 50 should undergo colonoscopy. Also, women should get their annual mammograms for breast cancer detection by the time they reach their 40s, while men should undergo a prostrate exam. Lastly, people of both genders over 64 years of age, must take a test every two years for osteoporosis.
Above all these, an annual appointment with a doctor to check bad cholesterol levels, glucose levels, and blood pressure is a must.
3. Get a vaccine.
The elderly must make it a priority to receive a flu shot every year. They must also get immunizations to prevent shingles as well as a pneumonia shot.
4. Kick out the bad habits.
Older adults who have been trying to slow down on smoking need to quit altogether. The risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases that smoking poses is too big for the elderly to ignore.
5. Lessen the coffee intake.
This will prevent restlessness and decrease blood pressure. Most people drink coffee to wake them up—but instead they end up drinking more coffee—which increases blood pressure and puts older adults at risk for heart problems.]]>
Think and feel positive—and you will most likely live well and recover from their mobility problems. This is the result of a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association last November 2012.
When an older adult internalizes positive age stereotypes, they move toward a higher level of functioning and an impressive 44% chance of recovering from disabilities and mobility problems. These positive age stereotypes involve thinking of older people as self-realized, satisfied, and wise.
On the other hand, older adults who have negative age stereotypes—a mindset that older people are useless, devalued, and helpless—they are less likely to recover from disability, owing to their tendency not to seek preventive medical care.
This is the novel conclusion of researchers Dr. Becca Levy, Dr. Martin Slade, Dr. Terrence Murphy and Dr. Thomas Gill.
The researchers focused on 4 essential daily activities that are associated with longevity: bathing, transferring, walking and dressing. They found that positive age stereotypes promote mobility recovery in several ways: enhancing self-efficacy, increasing involvement in healthy activities, improving self-balance, and enhancing cardiovascular response to stress.
Dr. Marie Bernard of the National Institute of Aging said that the research was quite intriguing, but that there is a need for a deeper understanding of the mechanism—how it works so that more people can live healthier and longer lives.
One way is to tackle ageism, even among older adults. There is a need to change the way people think about old age stereotypes. Another is to reinforce the many positive aspects of aging. Lastly, older adults who have mobility problems and on their way to recovery only need to remind themselves of what they need to do in order to get well: think positive.]]>
Winter in Canada has officially begun, and for many older people, this is not particularly good news. Now more than ever, safety tips for older adults during winter must be followed to a tee. These include:
1. Get vaccinated for influenza
The flu season runs through the entire winter season and older people are at highest risk for influenza, so this is the best time to get vaccinated. Because older adults are more prone to colds, thermostats should also be set above 65 degrees. Any lower will expose older adults to the risk of hypothermia, and subsequently, mobility problems.
2. Have heating ducts and the furnace properly ventilated
It is also about time to check the furnace and the heating ducts to make sure they are in proper working order. The same goes for the fireplace, wood stove or space heater. A word of caution: take proper precautions and never forget to turn them off when not in use.
3. Dress in layers
Whether older people are staying indoors or outdoors, dressing in thick layers is a must. This will insulate their bodies from harsh weather. Pick out clothes that will not only feel comfortable but also will not pose mobility problems.
4. Stay active
The winter is not an excuse to go on a long-drawn vacation from exercising. In fact, there is even more reason to stay active during the winter—to stay warm and prevent mobility problems. You do not have to go outdoors to exercise; there are excellent and just as effective indoor exercises that you can do indoors.
5. Stock up on food and medications
Just in case there is an emergency and you could not possibly leave the house, you better keep a stock of food and medications. This way, older adults will not have to rush out of the house whenever they run out of a needed provision.]]>
There is a pressing need to change our outdoor environments more than ever. With more people across the globe reaching their 100th mark, and the number of older people dominating population, countries have had to revisit their urban infrastructure planning to address the needs of older adults.
Several factors in the outdoor environment contribute to age-related challenges of older people and ultimately determine how they live their lives. Although these environmental barriers are present both for young and older adults, the latter are much less likely to complain about their environment and instead adjusts their lives based on the limitations in their environment.
One example is that older people with mobility problems end up taking shorter trips because of poorly designed roads and unavailability of public seating. The worst case scenario is that they only come out when absolutely necessary.
Badly designed and poorly maintained roads are enough to force older people to stay in their homes. After all, a third of older people over 65 years old suffer from falls at least once a year, with half of that suffering another fall in six months. Because of environments that pose a threat to older adults, they end up being afraid to go out and suffer decreased mobility, depression, and loss of independence.
In the UK, the National Planning Policy Framework is urging local authorities to take into account the needs of older people and people with disabilities. Manchester and Edinburgh, for instance, are already using guides from the WHO Global Age Friendly Cities and Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors to come up with action plans that are inclusive of older adults. One step is to create pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, like transforming residential streets from car-centric environments to streets that can easily be navigated by older adults and people with disabilities.
However, these guides are highly discretionary and will therefore not address the problem concretely unless national authorities pressure local authorities to take active steps.]]>
Older women are told that taking daily supplements will help maintain their health and ultimately prevent mobility problems. However, they are often ill-advised as to which supplements are best for optimum mobility. Here are 5 key nutrients that older women need to stay on their feet.
Calcium is responsible for aiding the body to form new body cells. And as one grows old, the ability of the body to produce new bone cells significantly decreases—and drinking milk is not nearly enough to compensate for the decrease in the body’s production of calcium. A daily intake of 600 milligrams of calcium supplements twice a day is recommended to help make up for the apparent loss. You can take either calcium citrate or calcium carbonate. Calcium is also found in foods like cereals, tofu, and soy.
2. Vitamin D
Lack of Vitamin D can lead to brittle bones and ultimately osteoporosis. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that taking as much as 800 international units of vitamin D can lessen the risk of hip fractures by 30%.
You can get this either from a diet rich in low-fat dairy products, vitamin supplements, or healthy sun exposure.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A 2002 study published in the American Medical Association found that a diet rich in fish and omega-3 fatty acids can lower the risk of heart attacks among women. They can also increase good cholesterol and reduce bad cholesterol levels. To start with, include salmon, tilapia, codfish and other fatty fish at least twice in your diet.
4. Vitamin B12
Lack of certain nutrients, including vitamin B12, results in an increased risk of becoming anemic, says a Women’s Health Initiative study. After looking at 73,000 postmenopausal women, the results showed that women with less iron, vitamin B9, calcium and vitamin b12 are at risk of fatigue, depression, poor memory, and decreased concentration.
5. Folic acid (Vitamin B9)
While vitamin B9 is known for its importance in pregnant women, it is also an essential nutrient among older women. Low levels of B9 is associated with weakness, headaches, and is a risk factor for heart disease.
One of the primary concerns of older adults with regard to mobility is the loss of vision. According to the Ocular Nutrition Society’s “Eye on the Boomer” survey, conducted among the baby boomers generation, 55% of older adults feel that loss of vision is one of most pressing health concerns, just next to heart disease and cancer.
And yet, only 50% of older adults said they have discussed the protection of their eyesight with their doctor the past year, and an even fewer percentage have a vision exam once a year.
Despite the relative lack of care older adults have with their vision, older adults experiencing difficulty in reading can take a cue from a recent research conducted by psychologists from the University of Leicester.
The results showed that older adults have difficulty with regard to reading but this has nothing to do with mobility. According to Dr. Kevin Patterson, “Older adults use a different reading strategy from younger adults. They rely more than young adults on holistic cues to the identities of words, such as word shape.”
Vision can be categorized into various frequencies from low (which are characterized by the shape of the words) to high (which are determined by individual letters). To test this, a method that has never been used before, an eye-tracking test, was conducted among older adults (beyond 65 years old) and young people (18 to 32 years old).
The test manipulated the physical format of the text, so that some are blurry while other salient. While older adults were able to read the blurry text more clearly, the 18-30 group preferred text that is more fine and distinct.
The reason why older adults have difficulty in reading is because of a decline in their visual sensitivity, as they rely more on the form of the text than on the fine print. In either case, there is no difference in comprehension.
The study rebuts the idea that vision problems are primarily a mobility-related concern. They can, in fact, be related to one’s natural aging process—a conclusion that only a regular eye check-up will be able to determine.]]>
We know that positive thinking can change your outlook on life, but did you know that your perception towards others, including older people, can affect your mobility? A new study says that seniors who perceive other senior citizens as lively instead of decrepit are more likely to recover fully after suffering a serious injury, than are seniors who think otherwise.
The study showed that older adults who had a positive outlook had a 44% better chance of completely bouncing back from a severe and immobilizing injury. In terms of progressing from severe disability to a mere mild disability, older adults were 23% more likely to do so.
The lead author, Becca Levy, associate professor of psychology and epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health in Connecticut said, “This research suggests that we might want to think about the role of positive health stereotypes in disability.
Before this study, little research has been conducted on the rate of recovery of older adults. Some recover fully and faster, while others do not. To address this problem, the researchers looked for more than 700 people who were at least 70 years old and were not disabled before the study. In the course of 11 years through follow-up sessions, the researchers found that around 600 of the respondents had been disabled or had mobility problems for at least a month. The mobility problems were found to have affected the daily activities of the person, including eating and dressing up.
In conducting the study focusing on their recovery from their immobility, the older adults were asked about the stereotypes that they held for senior citizens in general. “Decrepit” had the lowest score of “1” while “spry” was the highest at “5”. Those who were more positive towards old age in general had an impressive and remarkable improvement of 8% more when recovering from severe disability to no disability.
The solution is quite simple but potentially life-changing: the road to fast recovery from immobility can simply be a matter of how positive or negative your outlook towards older people is. It could also be that the more positive the outlook, the more likely one is to try to strive for a more mobile lifestyle.
The research was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in its November 21 issue.]]>
With the blinking street lights, public toilets, traffic congestion, and the lingering possibility of danger and accident, the easy conclusion would be that cities are not exactly the best environment for older people.
However, there is evidence pointing to the possibility that cities may actually be the best environment for older people, according to an article published in The Guardian UK. Housing and accommodation is perhaps the most urgent issue, considering that most older adults think institutional care costs far too much and are leaning more towards living independently. The problem is especially highlighted by the fact that by 2050, the percentage of people older than 60 will reach 22% of the entire global population—twice as much as 11% in 2006.
The choices, according to Professor Elizabeth Burton at Warwick University, are to “either live in a normal house or live in a care home, and there’s not very much in between.”
According to Professor Burton, “Most of us have grown up believing in the rural idyll – that people move from city centres to suburbs, from suburbs to small towns, and small towns to villages. But now there is recognition that as people age and their mobility reduces, they may no longer be able to drive, and their world shrinks – it is therefore much better to live closer to amenities in a higher density of people.”
The countryside is not exactly ideal for older people, since living in a seaside town or a coastal cottage—as is the usual plan for older people—is no longer sustainable. The main problem is the distribution of medical care and social care in these areas. The presence of specialized hospitals is thinly distributed in rural environments—which will pose a problem for older adults.
However, cities need to respond to the movement of older adults back to the urban centers by adapting to their needs. For one, neighborhoods must be have amenities suited for the older population, for example, higher densities and proximately to health services and public spaces.]]>
In Canada, the perception is that seniors are often ignored and are considered less important, which does not bode well for the social tolerance in this country.
This is the conclusion found by a recent survey by the International Federation on Aging (IFA), Leger Marketing and Revera, a provider of healthcare, accommodation and services suited for senior citizens.
The report showed that the younger a Canadian is, the stronger the tendency is to think that older people are dependent, weak and grumpy. In a poll of 1,500 Canadians, 6 out of 10 seniors said that their age has been a cause for being treated unfairly. On the other hand, 35% of Canadians admit to treating people differently because of their age.
There are three most common types of age discrimination, according to seniors:
An overwhelming 89% of Canadians relate aging with negative factors such as being dependent and being alone. Although older Canadians are at higher risk of falls, this is a problem that is already being addressed by health programs and initiatives by older people themselves.
Despite negative perceptions and discrimination towards older Canadians, older Canadians feel pretty great about themselves and see age as “just a number.” In fact, 40% of Canadians that are 66 years old and above think the “best is yet to come.”
Jane Barratt, the Secretary General of the IFA, said older adults feel more positive and optimistic as they grow old. However, according to her, the misconception that older adults are burdensome and feeble needs to end.
1 in 4 Canadians also reported that age discrimination is also felt through government policies, services, and programs that don’t take into account what older people need.
More than anything, the report shows how negative perceptions by the younger generation need to be addressed and how government structures need to be adaptive to older people’s needs.
And the light at the end of this report?
Older adults actually feel great about themselves.]]>