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Boomers & Beyond

Boomers & Beyond

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Published by Adam Arndt

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Published by: Adam Arndt on Jul 19, 2012
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07/15/2015

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MONEYSAVER Boomers Senior News —
Summer 2015 —
1
THE WORKOUT THAT WORKS FOR SENIORS OF ALL AGES AND MOBILITY LEVELS: RESISTANCE TRAINING
T
hink you’re too old and frail to work out? Think again! The health benefits of daily exercise are widely known, but seniors facing health and mobility issues may feel working out is beyond their abilities. Sixty-three percent of people 60 and older don’t engage in daily exercise, according to the National Council on Aging’s The United States of Aging Survey.But resistance training can help seniors who fear falling or damaging aging muscles and bones while exercising. For seniors with health issues that might make strenuous exercise difficult, resistance training can be an accessible, healthful option that provides both physical and mental benefits, a new study indicates.Resistance training - also called strength training - is an especially safe, valuable mode of exercise for seniors. As you age, you lose muscle mass, bone density, strength, balance, coordination and flexibility - all of which can result in higher risk of falls and increased difficulty in performing daily tasks. Resistance training allows seniors to exercise in their own home. They can use items found in their house and they can even exercise while sitting down.As the name implies, resistance training relies on the use of resistance to build muscle strength. Slow, measured movements are easier and more stable for seniors to perform than the strenuous activity of many types of aerobic exercise. Smooth, controlled movement gives seniors the benefits of the specific exercise with less risk of injuries or falls.Before starting any kind of exercise program, seniors should talk to their doctors. Once they have the go-ahead to begin resistance training, many forms can be beneficial to seniors.Resistance training can include using resistance bands, lifting weights or objects around your home, or using exercise equipment. Some of the exercises included in aquatics, Pilates, tai chi and yoga are types of resistance training, and those activities have the added bonus of social interaction when done in groups. Seniors can benefit from any type of resistance training as long as it’s done safely and is part of a regular routine. Pushing up and down from a chair, opening and closing a door, lifting a can of soup or a 1-pound weight are all types of resistance exercises that seniors can easily do in their own homes.It’s recommended that seniors start slow with lower-resistance exercises and listen to their bodies. As you age, your body changes and this will impact how and what types of exercises you will be able to do safely. There are many ways to modify exercises, routines and individual styles of training to fit a senior’s specific needs.Resistance training offers many benefits for seniors, including improved strength, balance, coordination and posture, better bone density, plus lower risks of heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis and other chronic illnesses, as well as improved cognitive function and mood. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association also found that resistance training can positively affect cognitive abilities of seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s.Engaging in exercise for 150 minutes a week can allow seniors to maximize the health benefits. Seniors can exercise in one 30-minute session three or four days a week if they’re able, or if that intensity is too strenuous, they can break their workouts into 10-minute intervals throughout the week and still reap the benefits.The key is to start low and go slow when beginning an exercise program. Just 10 minutes a day provides health benefits and can feel much more achievable for seniors. Exercise duration can then be increased as endurance improves.Resistance exercises should be done two to three days per week for each muscle group with a day of rest in between. This does not mean that other types of exercise, such as aerobic or flexibility exercises, should not be done on rest days. People who exercise daily might do resistance exercises for the upper body on one day and for
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SENIOR NEWS
the lower body on the next day.
 
MONEYSAVER Boomers Senior News —
Summer 2015 —
2
M
ost people assume they only need to take their medication when they are sick, meaning when they experience symptoms. But in the case of hypertension, this type of thinking could kill you.Patients who have hypertension are often completely asymptomatic - that’s the reason hypertension is often called the silent killer. The belief that symptoms such as headaches, nose bleeds, nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping or facial flushing are signals to take blood pressure medication is a myth.Nonadherence to hypertension medication is a huge challenge. Research shows that one in three American adults suffer from high blood pressure, but only 47 percent effectively treat their disease to keep blood pressure levels under control.
Higher risk for heart attack, stroke
Express Scripts’ specialist pharmacist Ed Dannemiller recently spoke with a patient who was 40 days late to refill her blood pressure prescription.“When I asked her about the delay, she said she only takes her medication when she feels stressed or has a headache. The problem with this is that patients with hypertension may feel perfectly fine before suffering a heart attack or stroke,” says Dannemiller.Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80, but consistent levels above 140/90 require medical attention. Simply keeping a patient’s blood pressure under control decreases the risk of heart attack by 25 percent, stroke by 33 percent and heart failure by 50 percent.
But the only way to have a precise measurement is through a blood pressure reading.
Become an engaged patient
“I encourage patients to become engaged in their own health and keep track of their blood pressure readings, which can help prevent unnecessary hospitalizations or ER visits,” Dannemiller explains.For patients with white-coat hypertension - those whose blood pressure rises from stress in the doctor’s office - a home blood pressure monitor is a good option.Dannemiller offers these useful tips for patients monitoring their pressure at home:* Take blood pressure readings in a seated position with arm at the heart level * To regulate the monitor, discard the first reading * Keep a record of your blood pressure levels to bring to your doctor’s appointmentThis additional data will help your physician better understand your condition & make better medical decisions to ensure healthier outcomes.
Lifestyle changes can help
In addition to staying adherent to blood pressure medication, regardless of symptoms, the following lifestyle modifications also can improve cardiovascular health:* Consume a heart-healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in salt, fat and cholesterol * Engage in regular aerobic physical activity * Manage your weight, limit alcohol consumption and do not smoke
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MONEYSAVER Boomers Senior News —
Summer 2015 —
3
S
ometimes patients succumb to a disease, in spite of the best treatments and support. When the time comes for a family to confront a loved one’s declining health, hospice care can be a dignified way to make that person’s final days as comforting as possible.Hospice is a type of care designed to make the final moments of a person’s life as pain-free and manageable as possible. It can take place in a medical facility, but very often hospice care occurs at home or wherever the ill person feels most comfortable.Hospice care is usually the last step when all other options have been exhausted. Making the decision to move a loved one to hospice care can be an emotionally wrenching time. Decisions such as these may be better made at a time in a person’s life when he or she is not sick. That is why living wills that spell out details for end-of-life care can be quite valuable. Decisions are made with a level head and not wrought with emotions. Such living wills also can take the pressure off of family members who may not feel comfortable making such decisions on their own or in concert with relatives.Hospice is a type of care and a philosophy that focuses on the palliative care of terminally ill patients. Rather than providing medication to try to treat the illness, medicine is offered to make a person more comfortable and remove any pain. Psychological therapy may also be offered to help the person come to terms with the end of life. Although hospice is a concept that has gradually evolved since the 11th century, the principles of modern hospice care can trace their roots to the 1950s and Dame Cicely Saunders, a nurse and social worker who is known as the creator of the hospice movement.If hospice care is outlined in a dying person’s living will or expressed wishes, there are some guidelines that can be followed by the sick individual.* Visit various medical care centers to see if away-from-home options provide the care and environment you desire. Be sure to establish what type of hospice care you prefer. This may include care within a nursing home or hospital, or in the comfort of your own home.* Sign a medical durable power of attorney. This signed document gives authority to an adult age 18 or older, who then has the right to make necessary medical and healthcare decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated.* Clearly indicate your wishes regarding resuscitation. A signed document may alert emergency healthcare personnel or others of your wishes not to be resuscitated. This document must be signed by you and a doctor and witnessed by others.* Decide on the duration of care. Hospice care generally lasts six months. This enables a long stretch of palliative care. Should you live beyond the time period, hospice care can continue. Studies have shown that patients who receive hospice care for at least 30 to 60 days gain greater benefit than those who are placed in hospice only in their final days.* Investigate financial options for hospice. Medicare and Medicaid provide hospice coverage in 44 states. Many private insurance plans have a hospice benefit as well. Understand how payment is made to figure out if private funding will be necessary.Not all hospice programs are the same but the goal remains the same – to provide comfort and dignity to a dying person in their final days.
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