Dancing: A Great Way for Seniors to Exercise

Posted in Assisted Living, Elder Care, Elderly Care, exercises at 4:51 pm by admin

In the past, we have chronicled some unique ways for senior citizens to stay fit. We talked about special classes for Pilates and yoga classes especially for seniors. Both of these activities are great for increasing flexibility and encouraging overall health and a sense of well being. But neither are going to be sufficient as cardio workouts. And there are many seniors out there who crave the kinds of athletic activities that would make them sweat a bit. Like the in the old days.

With this in mind, let’s look at senior dancing.

Dance Events for Seniors


Today, I saw an announcement for seniors in the Chicago area. The honors society at a local high school is hosting a special dance especially for senior citizens. This is becoming more common lately. Most seniors remember the days of their own high school dances. This is a great opportunity to bring those days back in a fun, exciting way. And it’s a great way to get some exercise.

Even more common are dances at local senior community centers. (Check your local senior center for opportunities in your area.)

Dance Workouts for seniors

Seniors are rediscovering not only “prom style” dancing, but also other variations, like senior line dancing. Here is one site, Dancing For the Dream, that highlights line dancing for seniors, and encourages them to get involved, as it is a fun way to mingle and to get exercise. This particular group holds seminars all throughout the country. They teach workshops, have live music, and some great information.

Is line dancing not your thing? Lots of seniors won’t jive with the country music theme, which is understandable, but they still want to dance. Here is a site that features a wide variety of senior dance and workout videos. They are not all exclusively for seniors, but many are, and all feature workouts that are terrific for seniors–low impact workouts. Everything from Tai Chi to water workouts. Very helpful stuff!

Ballroom Dancing Still a Senior Favorite

Of course, many seniors cut their teeth on ballroom dancing many decades ago, and there is no substitute for a good Foxtrot. A good Waltz, or even a Rumba! How can they get their fix? Some dance groups travel to senior housing complexes to put on night time events for residents. This group, based out of Washington State will visit an assisted living center or retirement center and teach classes or put on music from eras of old. There are more and more of these popping up around the country.

The group’s rationale is the health of the senior. Dancing, they say, is a great way to relieve stress, lose weight, release endorphins, and increase your heart health. We agree with all these things. Of course, many exercises will help you accomplish those goals, but they are not all as fun as dancing is.

It is a common thing, by the way for modern senior housing facilities like nursing homes or assisted living facilities to have fun activities planned for their residents. If you need to find elderly care housing in your local city, search using the tool at the top of this page.


Pilates for Seniors

Posted in Assisted Living, Elder Care, Elderly Care, exercises at 1:44 am by admin

As many health-conscious baby boomers look for ways to remain active throughout their senior years, many fitness programs are answering the call for age-appropriate exercise programs. Many seniors are interested in maintaining and improving their flexibility, range of motion, muscle tone and overall strength. Of course regular and appropriate exercise is vital to achieving these goals. One important aspect of anyone’s exercise routine is the one that pays attention to core muscle groups (back, pelvis, and abdomen), but this core muscle group focus may become even more important for seniors who want to improve their posture, joint stability, range of motion, balance, and overall strength and flexibility.

The exercises in Pilates specifically target the core muscles to improve muscle alignment, tone, strength, mobility, and flexibility through gentle yet powerful controlled stretching, traditional resistance, deep breathing, and balance exercises. Pilates is not some new-fangled fad program, but has been tested and proven worthy by millions of people since it was born in the mind of Joseph Pilates in 1883.

There is an obvious question here for those who also read our article on yoga for seniors: what is the difference between yoga and pilates? They both sound the same? And which is better for seniors?

Here are the basic differences between the two. First, yoga works entirely “on the mat” with various positions. Pilates, in contrast, uses mats and machines. Also, while yoga stresses mental and physical harmony (and sometimes involves various forms of eastern mysticism), Pilates involves building physical fitness through low impact, low repetition exercises. The result of a seasoned Pilates workout is a stronger, leaner body, while the result of a Yoga exercise is increased physical balance and physical peace. Which one should seniors choose? That’s a great question that is much better left to their physicians!

Today many fitness centers, senior centers, elderly care centers, hospitals, and even physical therapists are borrowing Joseph Pilates’ effective exercises and making them available to seniors everywhere. From Galveston to El Paso, many seniors are able to find a pilates class offered right in their neighborhood. What if you can’t find a class specifically for the elderly? Most pilates instructors are trained to show modified exercises that will be safe and effective for anyone whether age is slowing you down, or you’re recovering from a back injury. Not interested in trying to keep up with the youngin’s? Keep your eyes open and ask around, you may find one specifically designed for you.

Pilates is an excellent exercise program for people of various ages and abilities. Many seniors enjoy better mobility, strength, energy, posture, and less pain after a few weeks of regular pilates exercise. As with any exercise program, be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.


Yoga for the Elderly

Posted in Assisted Living, Elder Care, Elderly Diseases, exercises at 10:06 pm by admin

As seniors get older, their options for exercise become more and more limited. This is unfortunate, because if there was ever a time for them to make proactive attempts to get fit, it is in their senior years. After all, there are a host of ailments and diseases that come about because of inactivity, or are at least made much worse by it. But how can a senior avoid the aches, panes, and general abuse that comes with impact sports and exercise? Here is one idea: Yoga.

Yoga for seniors is becoming a popular activity in elderly care, mostly because it can be an extremely beneficial exercise. The physical affects of yoga are well documented: the exercise helps individuals achieve greater flexibility, lubricate joints and tendons, improves respiratory health, and tone muscles. Likewise, the psychological affects are tremendous as well: yoga fosters a sense of calm well being. People just tend to feel better after practicing yoga.

Seeing this, it’s obvious why seniors would want to join yoga classes. A typical senior gets weaker and tighter as they sit for long hours. This can result in muscle shortening. They can also develop osteoperosis, and their balance gets worse. This leads not only to greater deterioration of their bones and muscles, but it can lead to accidents as well. Yoga can help to counteract all of these problems. It can help to stretch a senior’s muscles, preventing that tightness and shortening. It can help maintain healthy bones, and best of all, it can help seniors maintain a sense of balance.

Granted, yoga is not a complete exercise program. It is not a cardio workout that can take the place of jogging. But it can be an extremely valuable addition to a senior’s exercise program.

Thankfully, assisted living programs and senior centers are starting to offer yoga programs all around the Texas and around the country. Many yoga studios offer special classes especially for seniors. These classes may be called “gentle yoga,” or something similar. But don’t be dissuaded. These classes can still be immensely helpful for seniors who not only want to feel better about their body but who want to feel better about their life.


Kinect with Seniors this Christmas!

Posted in Assisted Living, Assisted Living Facilities, Elder Care, Elderly Care, exercises at 2:10 pm by admin

On this blog, we have talked a lot about the link between seniors and technology. We talked about ways to encourage our parents and grandparents to get hooked up on a computer. We talked about how seniors are beginning to embrace mobile phone technology. We talked about the advantages of video conferencing, both with computers, and with cell phones. The great thing about the current thrust of technology is this: the more advanced we get, the simpler things become. This is why it is easier for seniors to get a state of the art iPhone 4 to talk with their grandchildren Face to Face than it is to set up a desktop with Skype and Windows XP. The forward movement of science puts gadgets within the reach of senior citizens who might otherwise fear it.

Seniors Loved the Wii: What about the XBOX 360 Kinect?

Last Christmas, we wrote about the Nintendo Wii. Assisted Living communities of all stripes have grabbing Nintendo Wii systems the last four years for their residents because seniors love them. The Wii allowed seniors who couldn’t get out as much to play, say, tennis, to still get active by playing against their friends from across the hall. The Wii encouraged activity, stimulation, and best of all, FUN! And this is the genius of the new XBOX 360 Kinect!

What is the XBOX 360 Kinect? It is an add-on system to the already immensely popular XBOX 360 consul. It is a camera sensor or sorts which monitors a game player’s voice and movements and translates those into the game itself. The Wii did this already, sort of. With the Wii, the gamer held a wireless controller and moved it through the air, controlling the game’s animation. Or in the case of the Wii Fit, it used a “Balance Board” to sense how the player was shifting weight, and the virtual player moved accordingly. The Kinect takes the whole system to the next level: There is no controller. There is no board. There is only a player, a voice, and an empty space.

Wii vs. Kinect: An Assisted Living Showdown

Why is the Kinect the perfect system for senior citizens? Because there are no complicated screens to get through, no strings of codes, no confusing operating systems. It is controlled by a person’s voice commands and physical gestures. And it works on multiple levels: It can be a DVD Player, a game consul, a stereo system, and even a video conferencing platform. All of these are attractive features for seniors.

So far, there are only a handful of games, and they are going head to head with Wii in their same markets. There was Wii Fit, and now there is “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” for the Kinect. There was Wii Sports, and now there is “Kinect Sports.” It is clear that Microsoft, the makers of the XBOX, believe they can not only compete with the Wii with senior citizens, but that they can take over the market completely. They might be right.

Will TX Assisted Living facilities move from the Wii to the XBOX Kinect? Maybe. There are certainly benefits. The system appears to be an outstanding step forward. The reason so many seniors still reject gaming is because of the small buttons on the controllers, and the Kinect obviously gets rid of that whole idea. Nobody has to learn how to say the words “Play Game” or “Pause DVD.” You can just tell this system what you want, and it does it. Who can be intimidated by that? In addition to ease of use, this system also sports far superior graphics than the Wii, which will probably not matter to most seniors, but will to some.

So why wouldn’t Assisted Living facilities upgrade their systems to the Wii? There is really only one reason: The price. The least expensive 4 Gigabite XBOX 360 Consul with Kinect will run more than $350, and each game costs around$50, too. For those who already have a consul, the system will still run more than $200. This is significantly more expensive than the Wii, which you can find for under $200, and which comes with 2 games.

The Verdict: Should you Get Grandma a Kinect For Christmas?

If you can afford, yes. You should. The reports are excellent: this is a tremendous system, and is extremely easy to use. Of course, if she has no mobility, or a very small living space, it will be of far less use to her. But otherwise, it is a home run gift. Not only can she get active, she can connect with you face to face on the television. That costs a little extra, but it is really the best gift of all: Easier relationship.


Senior Fitness in Texas

Posted in Elder Care, elderly and education, Elderly Care, exercises, Uncategorized at 5:19 pm by admin

Physicians, psychologists, scientists all agree: regular exercise is essential for excellent physical and mental health whether you are 5 or 95. Many Texas seniors struggle with the fact that their physical abilities and strength are rapidly fading with each passing year, but regular exercise, healthy diet, a comprehensive wellness program, and medical guidance can not only maintain but improve overall health dramatically. Medicine has shifted strongly from traditional corrective and repair measures toward illness-prevention tactics and wellness maintenance. Senior fitness plays a key role in this shift.

The number of fitness businesses and programs that have been started up in the past ten years is astronomical, yet many Texas seniors are still unaware of the many exercise options available to them. More frequently now, even smaller towns may boast a Gold’s Gym, Curves, or Bally Total Fitness just around the corner. Many of these franchises are carving out a niche that appeals to the growing numbers of Baby Boomers: senior-specific exercise classes, morning hours with gentler music appealing to more mature ears. Seniors-only fitness centers are cropping up all across the nation as well offering tai chi, gentle yoga, pilates, a more welcoming atmosphere, and the conversation and companionship of fellow health enthusiasts of a similar age.

More and more personal trainers are working with an increasingly older population who are concerned about not only maintaining their current level of fitness, but also improving overall health and strength. Personal trainers provide one-on-one instruction unique to each client’s needs and abilities, paving a suitable and optimal workout. Personal trainers may also discuss essential nutrition and healthy diet. All seniors should check with their doctor before beginning an excise and diet regime.

Texercise is a program of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) that provides nutrition and health maintenance information. Texercise also links Texas seniors to health and fitness events and programs in their area specifically designed for them. Many Texas communities offer senior fitness programs such as Body Recall and Silver Sneakers, providing gentle exercise for seniors of varying abilities and strengths.

Texas seniors are finding community and comradery while maintaining and improving their health by forming running or walking groups, taking senior community classes such as water aerobics, ballroom dancing, tai chi, yoga, and pilates. For those Texas seniors who prefer to exercise without feeling like they’re exercising, participating regularly in an enjoyable active hobby such as golfing or gardening can provide great health benefits as well. Whether the goal is to improve posture, avoid falls, lower cholesterol, prevent osteoporosis, or alleviate joint pain, Texas seniors are taking their doctor’s advice about the importance of regular exercise seriously and becoming proactive about their health and wellness.

Fortunately, many assisted living residents have fitness programs or special exercise rooms for seniors to get in shape. Some retirement communities have an entire fitness center right there on location. You can search for senior homes to find these amenities, from Washington independent living to Assisted Living FL by entering your information in the box provided.


Two Steps to Improve Senior Health

Posted in Elder Care, Elderly Care, exercises at 1:18 pm by admin

[ad#ad-1]As we get older, we tend to get frustrated that our bodies will no longer perform the same functions that they used to be able to. By the time we become senior citizens, that frustration can reach the level of apathy. When your body has been running down slowly over several decades, it is easy to lose heart and give up on ever feeling good again. Regular exercise can permanently become a thing of the past.

Many seniors take that route, and end up living their lives mostly in front of the television. However, for most seniors, there is a better way. While they might not be able to play basketball or soccer the way they used to, there are two simple steps that most seniors can take towards better health:

1) Taking Walks.

Yes, that’s right. Walking is a terrific source of exercise for millions of seniors. Some might view it as a little too light but this is a mistake. Taking regular walks can promote an elder’s energy while burning calories and fat. And this does not have to be power walking, either. A “brisk” walk (meaning one that is not exasperating, but not a crawl, either) is what we are looking for. There is no need to turn this into a run. But if you want to reap the benefits of exercise, there should be at least a small rise in your heart rate. if you can sustain that for twenty or thirty minutes every morning and evening, you will almost certainly feel more energetic. If you go less than that, the calorie burning effect will not be all that big.

2) Take Sleep Seriously

When we lack sleep, we are not ourselves. Our memories do not work as well, and our stress levels will be heightened. We feel like we are playing catch up for the whole day! Why? Because very often, we don’t take sleep as seriously as we should.

This is especially true for elderly citizens. A lack of sleep can accelerate all sorts of senior medical problems, not the least of which is memory loss. Some have said that seven out of ten seniors have some sort of memory problems, ranging from forgetting names to full fledged dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.

What about you or your loved one? Are you tired often? Then it’s time to do some inventory:

Do you stay up too late watching television? Do you drink caffeine in the afternoon and evening? These might cause no problems for some, but if you are struggling with sleep, they might be the source. Many seniors shrug this issue off as if it is no big deal. After all, it is not an actual illness, so why trouble anybody with it? But if small lifestyle changes such as shorter naps, earlier bedtime, and reduced caffeine intake do not improve your sleep quality or quantity, then it is time to see a doctor and start to correct this sleep issue. Because exhaustion IS a big problem that can cause a host of medical and emotional problems.

So there you have it. These two “tweaks” can significantly improve your senior loved one’s life. A little activity and some well placed rest can pay huge dividends in the life of a senior.


Alzheimers Linked to Low Insulin Levels

Posted in Alzheimer's Disease, Assisted Living, care at home, dementia, Dimentia, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Elderly Diseases, exercises, forgetting to take medication, medication, Nursing home, Senior Citizen, Taking Care of a Loved One, Texas Elderly Care Services at 11:34 am by admin

U.S. News and World Report researched and found that men that were diagnosed with diabetes in middle age were at a higher risk for alzheimers. They found that low levels of insulin caused damage to blood vesels in the brain.

If you or a loved one has low insulin levels be sure to follow doctors orders and get proper medication. Remember to get enough exercise to keep a healthy circulation and healthy weight.


Fall Injury Preventatives

Posted in Alzheimer's Disease, arthritis, Assisted Living, Assisted Living Safety, care at home, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Elderly Diseases, exercises, Home Health Care, pain releif, Senior Citizen, soothes joints at 3:42 pm by admin

Elder Care Safety

Falls are the most common cause of injury in American adults age 65 and older. According to the National Safety Council falls are the leading cause of death. One in three of those 65 and older falls each year and 90% of hip fractures that occur in the U.S. are the result of a fall.

But do not panic over these statistics. Here are a few things to do to fall-proof your home and to learn how to fall the correct way to help prevent injury.

To fall proof your home:

  -Don’t pile clutter or items in pathways or stairways.

  -Put adhesive texture strips or a rubber mat on the bottom of shower. Install grab bars on the walls. Place a slip resistant rug on the floor to safely get in and out of bath.

  -Keep appliance cords out of walking area. Don’t put them under rugs.

  -Remove small area rugs at top and bottom of stairs and put adhere non-slip treads to bare-wood steps.

  -Place night lights to light the way from bedroom to bathroom.  Keep a flashlight with new batteries close to the bed in case of power outage.

  -Clean up spills immediately.

  -Wear sneakers around the house and outside. Do not wear stocking feet or high heals.

In case a fall does happen here are a few steps to follow to do avoid or minimize injury:

  -If at all possible try to fall on your butt or side. Roll over naturally, turning your head in the direction of the roll.

  -Keep joints (wrists, elbows and knees) bent. Do not break your fall with your hands or elbows.

  -After falling take several deep breaths. Do not quickly get up especially if you feel you have been injured.

  -If you feel you have been injured call 911 or a family member for help.

  -If you feel you are not injured and are able to get up, crawl to a stable piece of furniture like a chair to support and help pull yourself up. Put both hands on the seat.

  -Slowly begin to raise yourself up and bend whichever knee that is stronger keeping the other knee on the floor. Slowly twist and sit in the chair.

Remember to have physical checkups and exercise regularly.


Water Therapy

Posted in arthritis, Assisted Living Referral Service, Assisted Living Safety, Elder Care, Elderly Care, exercises, osteoporosis, pain releif, soothes joints, water exercises, water therapy, water therapy for elderly at 5:17 pm by admin

Water therapy, a good excercise for the elderly

A great way to excercise

Water Therapy is said to be the best form of exercise for the elderly. Water therapy is easy on the bones which is especially good for those with Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis. Water therapy warms and soothes the joints and increases range of motion. Water therapy conditions and builds the muscles yet it releives a lot of pain. Many poeple with back pain start doing water exercises to relieve that pain whereas weight workouts would likely increase the pain.

Hard and padded surfaces uncomfortable

Many people find that as they age exercising on hard or even padded surfaces is very uncomfortable but water exercises are enjoyable and a nearly painless workout. If a person has a muscle strain or tear, has had a fall or other injury then the gentle resistance and friction that water therapy provides makes a quicker recovery while reducing the risks of re-injury due to loss of balance or overstraining the bones and muscles. 

Consult your physical therapist

Those with high blood pressure and other heart related problems should consult their physical therapist before performing water therapy.

If you or a loved one has arthritis then begin water therapy that works for you as soon as possible to get rid of pain and stiffness.