Tag Archives: Exercise

A Look Back at Older Americans Month 2019

Connect, Create, and Contribute Older Americans Month

Every May, the Administration for Community Living leads the national observance of Older Americans Month. The month-long celebration focuses on healthy aging strategies, addressing challenges to community living for older adults, strides in elder care research to improve medical support systems, and changing senior landscapes.

May is also a celebration of significant turns in legislation and science that have had an immediate impact on the quality of life for older Americans.

The Expansion of the SNAP program and the Older Americans Act to help alleviate the financial burden of aging and the risk of malnutrition.
National Anti-Aging Movement
Preventable Issues Drive

Healthy Aging Strategies

One of the most significant focuses of Older American’s Month 2019 was aging as healthily as possible. The science behind aging is reasonably conclusive when it comes to the causes of overall health degradation. Put as simply as possible, aging itself is a slow decline in health. Not taking the proper steps towards aging healthily substantially accelerates the whole process drastically by introducing everything from heart disease to diabetes. While many of the health challenges we face as we age are unavoidable and a natural part of the aging process, there are countless avoidable health debits that can be better managed by seniors. There is a laundry list of healthy living strategies, and trying to parse all of them out can be incredibly intimidating; for the sake of simplicity, a few are listed below.

Keep consistent track of blood pressure to maintain heart health
Start thinking about diet before any health issues arise
Practice preventative care
Exercise, exercise, exercise! You will thank yourself for it in the years to come
Maintain an uncluttered living space
Addressing Challenges to Community Living

The research on the positive health benefits of community is robust and conclusive. It is a fact that seniors, and any other humans really, benefit significantly from both a mental and physical health standpoint by participating in some form of community.

Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean living in a senior home or giving up even a shred of independence. There are millions of healthy people participating in community events every day. Bake sales, volunteer work, staying active in your grandkids lives, even just getting out and doing the shopping. There are so many ways to get out and about with other people, and the benefits are numerous and undeniable.

The Connect aspect of Older American’s Month speaks on this point at length, with a particular focus on new prescriptions that began being offered this year. Doctors can now medically prescribe “Socialization” to seniors that are suffering from issues related to isolation or depression. The early results show substantial improvements in mental health, which tend to have positive effects on physical health nearly across the board.

Expansion of the SNAP program

Between 40-50% of all retired seniors are estimated to suffer from some form of malnourishment. While malnourishment can be caused by a lack of nutrients, it is most often caused by a lack of consumption. Millions of seniors can barely afford food, and the food that they can afford is often severely lacking in vitamins and nutrients. Picture a college students’ diet, with a senior’s immune system, and you can imagine why malnourishment is such a massive health issue for seniors.

The SNAP program was expanded in 2019 to include a more significant percentage of a growing senior population, providing millions with proper dietary options. However, it has been an uphill battle informing as many seniors as possible of the benefits available to them. There was very little press surrounding the expansion of the program, and adoption has been limited, even though it is a godsend. Another challenge that has proven difficult to navigate is pride. Most individuals on social security at this point are Baby Boomers, and selling any form of government assistance to them is extremely touchy. Regardless, OAM 2019 focused heavily on spreading this information, and hopefully by this time next year, the discussion will be centered around how effective these adoption campaigns have been.

National Anti-Aging Movement

There is a national movement to remove language related to anti-aging from products and general medical terminology that has taken flight this year. AARP officially announced that they would no longer advertise anti-aging products or run any articles related to the subject. Citing the term as something that stigmatizes the completely natural and healthy aging process. There is no need to be “anti-aging” since aging itself isn’t a bad thing at all.

The language has shifted towards aging with happiness, or grace. Instead of continually saturating seniors with all of the ways they can prevent something inevitable, the focus is on owning seniority. It is an excellent message, and based on the trends being established this year, it will likely only continue to grow as more large senior brands adopt it.

Preventable Issues Drive

Seniors practicing preventative care is a subject every single May, and every other month of the year. There are so many health issues that can be avoided completely by regular visits to your doctor and a healthy diet. AARP and thousands of doctors went on record this year stating that the single most important aspect of aging well is preventative care.

The most relevant issue seniors can avoid almost entirely, barring genetic predisposition, is heart disease. Heart disease is by a large margin the leading cause of death in Americans, specifically those that are seniors or middle-aged. There are medications that can help minimize risk once it is diagnosed, but it is better to just avoid the diagnosis entirely. Other issues include diabetes, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s & Dementia, and arthritis. All avoidable or at the very least minimizable with preventative care.

The drive for exposure this year has included the previously mentioned doctors’ campaign. Nearly every long-term care location or senior healthcare provider has also bought in. In some cases, with flyers in their waiting rooms, in others with full-on exposure campaigns that work with seniors interactively to get them moving.

Changing Senior Landscapes

Every year for Older Americans Month, the state of senior housing and accommodations is a primary focus. This year specific mention of the health benefits of maintaining independence well into your golden years was made.

There are several suggested ways to make sure you can age at home, or at the very least on your terms. Most of them root in maintaining or improving health, since at the end of the day being able to administer self-care is the primary barometer for independence. This has been the case every year since OAM started, physical health leads to independence, which maintains mental health, which facilitates healthy and vibrant aging.

There has been a slow, but steady shift in the landscape of senior housing that is beginning to reach a fever pitch, however. 2019 was a year of focus on how to maintain independence even with health issues that would typically force seniors into long-term care communities or nursing homes. Historically senior care took the “shotgun” approach towards long-term living. If a single health issue prevented independence, even if it required 30 minutes a day to address, a senior home was typically the answer. This led to a complete lack of independence and often culminated in the spiral so often associated with poor nursing home care.

A more precise method of care is growing increasingly popular now, at-home care. Not every senior requires round-the-clock medical attention and on-call medical staff; most don’t as a matter of fact. If you can handle most of your activities of daily living but have trouble bathing, for example, there is no reason you should have to move into a nursing home. You can age in place, and all it requires is a 30-minute daily visit from an at-home care professional. To put it into a term, the landscape for senior care in 2019 is shifting towards personally tailored care.

If you or a loved one are interested in a consultation to see which in-home care services would be right for your loved one, we can help. We refer qualified and compassionate care providers who can help with many different services to help prepare your loved one for the future and keep them home. For more information about our services and coverage area, contact us to speak with a Client Care Liaison.

Interested in our Senior Care Services ? Click here to see our locations and service areas.

Interested in Care Provider opportunities? Click here to start registration.

Preventing Diabetes: Tips For Fighting The Statistics

Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. Of this overall percent, seniors age 65 and older that are diagnosed with diabetes is alarmingly high at 25.9 percent.

Even more alarming is the fact that half of all seniors age 65 and older suffer from prediabetes, which means that blood-glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with prediabetes are at an increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes and for heart disease and stroke.

Diabetes and prediabetes are very serious conditions that require attention to ensure early diagnosis and treatment methods. If left untreated, diabetics can suffer from kidney damage, blindness, hearing impairment, amputation, stroke, heart disease and eventually death.

However, there is a silver lining. Because so many Americans suffer from diabetes, or are at risk for it, research and government programs such as the CDC are working and conducting research to find cures, prevention methods, solutions and support.

In the 1990's, the National Institute of Health (NIH) conducted a large national clinical trial among 1,000 overweight adults at risk for Type 2 diabetes. After three years of the program, which was aimed at changing lifestyle habits and promoting weight loss, participants lowered their risk of diabetes by 58 percent. Even more significant, those aged 60 and older had a 71 percent reduced risk.

These results are particularly heartening because they show that taking a proactive approach with diet, exercise, and weight loss can significantly lower if not eliminate the risk for diabetes. This knowledge, coupled with early detection practices is a huge step towards preventing diabetes and lowering the statistics for diagnosed cases and deaths.

Warning Signs of Diabetes

It is fairly common for people to not display any symptoms of diabetes, especially in the early phases of the disease. However, diabetes symptoms generally include one or more of the following, and people should be aware if they start to develop these symptoms, especially if they know they are at an increased risk.

  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry - even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss - even though you are eating more (Type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (Type 2)

It is important to recognize these symptoms as early as possible because early detection and treatment of diabetes can reduce the risk of developing complications associated with the disease. There are several tests that doctors can perform to diagnose diabetes, and you can even take risk tests to find out if you are at increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

Change your Diet

Because the leading risk factor for diabetes is obesity, the best thing you can do to prevent diabetes is to lose weight. Taking steps to lose weight can include eating smaller meal portions and choosing healthier foods, including fruits and vegetables, while at the same time consuming fewer high-fat foods. The National Education Diabetes Program recommends eating whole grain foods, avoiding consumption of fried foods, and eating lean meats without the skins.

Another important step for losing weight is portion control. Try reducing portion sizes by only filling half of your plate or only eating until you are 80 percent full. Also always plan to take home half of your meal when you eat out, as restaurants are notorious for dishing out huge portions. Scaling back on dessert is also a factor to consider. Eating dessert is alright, but consume it less frequently and in smaller amounts. Yogurt is also a great substitute for dessert, as it is shown that regularly consuming dairy reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Get More Exercise

Activity can reduce your risk for Type 2 diabetes because it helps make your cells more receptive. The National Education Diabetes Program recommends adding more activity each day until you reach at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Brisk walking, swimming and tennis or golf are great physical activities to get started, and you should also incorporate gentle strength and aerobic training into your physical activity regimen.

Stress and poor sleep also contribute to obesity and thus to diabetes. Exercising regularly can help reduce stress and get your body on a schedule, which helps regulate sleep habits. Other activities that can help with these include meditation, listening to soothing music, or sitting outside and enjoying relaxing activities such as reading or knitting.

Overall, being aware of your own personal risk for diabetes and keeping an eye on any developing symptoms is very important. But being proactive with your health and weight is something that every person can do, regardless if they already have diabetes or not, and these steps are enough to help lower your risk as well as reduce complications that might arise if/when the disease develops. With these subtle but dramatically important lifestyle changes, you can help beat the statistics of diabetes.

At American In-Home Care, we always refer qualified, screened, care providers that can assist with a variety of needs including meal preparation, diet monitoring, and exercise. Contact a Client Care Liaison at any time to set up a free assessment of your in-home care needs; they can provide you with additional information about which care options are right for you and your family. We are available to take calls 24/7 at 1-844-505-0004.


Treating Parkinson's Naturally: Using Exercise As Medicine

senior home care florida Parkinson's Disease (PD) cannot be cured. But it can be managed, and quite effectively at that. Aside from medications and possible surgery, lifestyle changes such as adding exercise into a routine are a way of treating Parkinson's naturally, and can have a positive effect on the course of the disease.

Parkinson's causes brain cells to stop producing dopamine, which leads to decreased balance and strength, slowed movement and tremors, and speech impairment. People living with PD often feel like they are at the mercy of the disease, but this doesn't have to be the case. Adding an exercise regimen can help control symptoms by improving stability, flexibility and management of tremors.


Exercises that specifically benefit Parkinson's patients:

  • Walking and balancing drills
  • Cardiovascular exercise
  • Stretching
  • Strength training (with and without weights)
  • Core exercises
  • Voice and facial exercises

Those with PD should follow a specific type of exercise regimen that is safe and effective, and targets specific areas affected by the disease. David Zid, a certified personal trainer and president of Columbus Health Works, has worked with Thomas H. Mallory, M.D. to create and publish a comprehensive exercise guide for sufferers of Parkinson's. Diagnosed with PD several years ago, Dr. Mallory has stuck to Zid's regimen and seen great results and improvement in his symptoms.

Their workbook and corresponding video detail specific exercises that are tailored to the Parkinson's patient, and emphasize a physical and mental commitment to not giving up. The program is designed to proactively improve flexibility, stability and strength while minimizing tremors, making daily activities such as standing up from a chair or walking on uneven ground easier. Not only can a targeted exercise regimen such as this help PD patients maintain independence, it can also give them much needed hope.

Dr. Mallory and David Zid give a thorough breakdown of exercises in each of these categories along with visual demonstrations in their workbook.

Why is exercise beneficial?

Exercise has been proven to be beneficial for everyone's general health, and aerobic activities can improve heart and lung function, as well as having noticeable benefits on the physical body. These physical benefits create a better quality of life for PD patients; however, in the case of Parkinson's, perhaps the most important aspect of exercise is the effect it has on the brain.

Exercise decreases anxiety and depression, but a recent study out of Pittsburgh has demonstrated that exercise also appears to prevent loss of brain cells that worsens PD. So, a program of tailored exercises plus medication can have a very positive effect on symptoms and vastly improve the quality of life for someone living with Parkinson's.

The most important thing to remember is that it is never too late to get started on a exercise regimen, to get control of symptoms and to start living a better quality life. When your ability to move improves, so does your feeling of accomplishment and sense of well being.

At American In-Home Care, we always refer qualified, screened, care providers that can assist you with your senior home care Florida needs, including exercises and companionship. Contact a Client Care Liaison at any time to set up a free assessment of your in-home care needs; they can provide you with additional information about which care options are right for you and your family. We are available to take calls 24/7 at 1-844-505-0004.

Treating Parkinson's Naturally

Healthy Exercises For Seniors: Build A Workout Regimen

However, just repeating one type of exercise or activity actually lowers the potential benefits. The ultimate goal of exercising is to be creative and well-rounded, regularly alternating between all four types of exercise to reap the maximum benefits, and choosing healthy exercises for seniors that will help you build a healthy and realistic workout regimen.
Endurance activities are also known as aerobic activities, and are responsible for strengthening and improving overall health of the heart, lungs and circulatory system. Endurance activities will increase heart rate and accelerate breathing, which helps strengthen the body and improve overall fitness, as well as lowering the chance of developing diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease.

Organized sports are great endurance activities, and the competition and teamwork associated with them provides great motivation. However, endurance activities can be done inside and around the house as well.

Endurance Exercises:

  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Seated volleyball
  • Walking
  • Stationary Bicycle
  • Bowling
  • Dancing
  • Gardening
  • Sweeping
  • Mopping


Strength training is an important part of a well-balanced exercise regimen and requires pushing or pulling weight. Age isn't excuse to avoid strength training, as even small changes in muscle strength can lead to noticeable increases in the ability to perform everyday functions, like getting up from a chair, climbing the stairs or playing with grandchildren.

It is important to include both upper-body and lower-body strengthening exercises into your routine, and to make sure you progress slowly by gradually increasing the amount of weight used to build strength.

Strength Training Exercises


Balance training is perhaps the most important type of exercise for aging adults because improved balance lowers the risk of falling and can help avoid injuries and disabilities that come along with a fall. For safety, it is best to start off doing balance exercises with a sturdy chair or person to hold on to, and gradually reduce the amount of support you need.

Balance Exercises:


Flexibility exercises are also known as stretching exercises and are great for improving freedom of movement which can improve ability to complete everyday activities such as getting dressed. However, it is important to remember that stretching, although very beneficial, will not improve strength or endurance, so it should only make up a part of an overall regimen.

There are many different flexibility and stretching exercises for each part of the body. By alternating exercises in these areas of the body, gradually they will become more limber and will increase overall mobility.

Flexibility Exercises:

Overall it is important to remember that any exercise is good exercise, but to maximize the benefits and increase strength, endurance, balance and flexibility that all four areas must be worked on independently. Craft an exercise plan that alternates between these four types of activities so that it is easy to incorporate all of them in a creative, organized way, and remember to always progress slowly and safely.

At American In-Home Care, we always refer qualified, screened, care providers that can assist you with your in-home care needs, including mobility and exercise. Contact a Client Care Liaison at any time to set up a free assessment of your in-home care needs; they can provide you with additional information about which care options are right for you and your family. We are available to take calls 24/7 at 1-844-505-0004.

Healthy Exercises For Seniors

Active Aging: Tips for Getting And Staying In Shape

Physical activity is the key to healthy aging, but by age 75, one in three men, and one in two women engage in no physical activity. This is a disheartening statistic considering all of the evidence linking physical activity in older age to benefits such as decreasing the risk of dementia, lowering the chance of falling, and increasing the quality of life for those living with chronic conditions.

So why are so many older adults inactive? The task of beginning to exercise again can seem daunting or painful, and there is a general lack of motivation. However, when considering the benefits, there shouldn't be excuses to avoid getting out and moving. We have compiled a list of several tips to help ease the transition back in to exercising, and to make active aging a normal part of life.

Getting Started

You have taken the first step. You have made the decision to start reaping the benefits of physical activity. Now where do you start? First off, it is important not to be too hard on yourself, whatever has kept you from exercising thus far is in the past now, and you are on the way to getting back to your activities. Here are a few easy steps to follow to get your exercise routine back on track:

1. Think about the reasons you want to start exercising

When you think about specific reasons you want to get active again - be more social, alleviate pain, spend time outside, strengthen muscles - and set small goals to get there, it helps to create motivation and gives you something to work toward. If you ever have to take a break from exercise in the future, remembering these reasons can help you get started again.

2. Make a physical activity plan

Plans help you stay motivated and organized. Once you have decided why you want to exercise, draft up a plan to get the process underway. Your plan should include reasons for getting active, short and long term goals, specific activities, and details about where, when and who will be exercising with you.

3. Start at a comfortable level of activity and gradually build back up

All older adults who are planning to get back into an exercise routine should first talk to their doctor to discuss what is right for them. However, for seniors that are just getting active again, it’s best to start with 5-10 minutes of moderate physical activity per day, and gradually build up to the desired amount.

4. Try an activity you have never done before

It is easier to get back into exercise if you are excited about the activity, new types of exercise can provide this excitement. Low impact exercising is easier on your body, especially your joints. Try something in the water - water aerobics and swimming are great for older adults. Tai Chi and yoga are also fun ways to get moving.

Staying Active

The hard part is over. Getting started after a long break from exercise is the most difficult. Staying active should be fun and feel easier because your body is undergoing noticeable benefits. If you ever have to take a break from activity, don't be too hard on yourself, just pick back up where you left off. Here are a few tips for maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle:

1. Make time for exercise

It's good to exercise in the morning to avoid getting to busy later in the day. Also, evidence shows that you are more likely to exercise if it is convenient. Try to combine physical activity with something that is already part of your day, such as walking every aisle at the grocery store

2. Stick to your exercise plan

Use your exercise plan to keep you organized and on track, and keep updating it so that it picks up the pace to reflect your new energy and abilities. Not only will this keep you going, it's a great way to see how far you have come which is just some added motivation

3. Make it social and fun!

Exercise shouldn't feel like a chore. Do things that you think are fun and you are more likely to keep at them. Some of your favorite hobbies are already great exercise - golf is good for flexibility and gardening is a useful strength training exercise. Exercising with friends can boost morale and motivation, and it keeps you in touch with your buddies.

Now that you have some useful tips that are easy to implement, take the first step and get moving. Small changes in your daily routine can lead to wonderful benefits that improve your quality of life. Make the healthy choice and get active today, your body and your mind will thank you.

At American In-Home Care, we always refer qualified, screened, care providers that can assist you with your in-home care needs, including mobility and exercises. Contact a Client Care Liaison at any time to set up a free assessment of your in-home care needs; they can provide you with additional information about which care options are right for you and your family. We are available to take calls 24/7 at 1-844-505-0004.

Active Aging

Improve Your Balance and Prevent Falls

As we age, good balance can be a life-saver.

Improve Your Balance, Prevent Falls Falls among the elderly are a leading cause of debilitating injury (such as hip fractures) and a serious risk factor for premature death. By preventing balance problems and working to improve remaining ability, seniors can improve their quality of life and reduce crippling injuries. Follow these exercises below to improve your balance immediately, and to live a more active and healthy lifestyle.

10 Exercises for Improving Balance

  1. Knee lifts: Attempt to lift the knee as high as the hip using a secure object to assist in maintaining balance in the beginning. As you grow stronger, decrease the tendency to lean on a support, and try holding the leg up for 3 seconds or longer. It is important to never close your eyes while performing standing stretch and relaxation activities due to difficulties maintaining balance.
  2. Point and Flex: While sitting, point your toes and then flex them. Repeat with both feet.
  3. Toe Tapping: While sitting, tap your toes. Repeat with both feet.
  4. Sit-to-Stand: When necessary, use a chair for support when standing and again when returning to a sitting position. Try to gradually decrease use of the arms as the legs get stronger.
  5. Calf Muscle Strengthener: While holding onto a wall, chair or the kitchen sink, repeatedly raise yourself up and down on tiptoes. As your strength improves, go higher up on your toes and eventually try it on one foot at a time.
  6. Shin Muscle Strengthener: Lean your back against a wall with your heels placed seven to eight inches away from the wall. Lift the toes of both feet off the ground as high as possible.
  7. One-legged Stand: Hold onto a secure object during balance training, such as a sturdy chair. Lift one leg off the ground and try to maintain balance on the standing leg.
  8. Hip/Thigh Muscle Strengthener: Take extra trips up and down the stairs. Hold onto the banister with one hand and press the other hand against the wall for safety. If you’re wary of stairs, you can strengthen the same muscles by getting up out of a chair repeatedly. Grip the arms of the chair if you need to, but you’ll get more benefit from the exercise if you don’t push with your hands.
  9. Pelvis Exercise: When walking, if the pelvis does not shift far enough, the older adult’s foot will swing too low causing a decreased height in step, which can cause tripping and falling. Exercises that target the pelvis may be beneficial. Using a chair for support, pretend that you are trying to keep a hula hoop around your waist.
  10. Walking Check-in: In addition to lower step height, many older adults develop a shorter step length. Walking forward, backward, and sideways in front of a mirror will encourage the older adult to check posture, length of stride, and walking efficiency. Holding a balance bar, side-step right along the length of the bar and then repeat to the left.

Before beginning an exercise program, however, one should first have a complete history and physical, including a review of medications, a muscular/skeletal check for any abnormalities and blood tests to determine cholesterol and glucose levels. Additionally, any exercise program should build gradually to avoid burnout, boredom, or injuries.  Contact American In Home Care for more information on how to implement these exercises with a knowledgeable care team.

Improve Your Balance, Prevent Falls