Does an Active Body Lead to a Sharp Mind?
By Kevin Edwards, President
Scientists have believed that physical activity helps with brain health for some time now. A recent study strengthens that belief, indicating that people who are physically active have sharper minds even if there are physical signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia present.
The study involved 454 senior citizens, 191 of whom had dementia. Researchers followed them for 20 years. Each year they were followed, the participants had physicals and completed activities that tested their memory and thinking skills. All of them consented to donating their brains to science when they died so that researchers could examine them for signs of dementia. On average, the participants died at age 91.
When researchers believed the participants were within 2 years of death, they were asked to wear a device that monitored how physically active they were. They discovered that the older adults who were more physically active, participating in household activities or exercise routines, maintained better thinking and memory skills than those who were not active.
The scientists couldn’t say exactly why exercise seems to have a protective effect on the brain. However, the director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer’s Association is quoted as saying, “In some sense, we don’t care why it works. That it works is good enough.”
Elder Care Can Keep Older Adults More Physically Active
If your aging relative tends to spend too much time sitting idle, having an elder care provider could help to get them moving. Some of the ways an elder care provider can assist with physical activity are:
Going on Outings: Many seniors don’t get out of the house much because they cannot drive or are frail and fear injury. An elder care provider can drive them to events and places of interest, like museums, the zoo, or a shopping mall. Once there, the care provider can escort them to ensure they do not suffer an injury.
Household Activities: Even doing tasks around the house counts as physical activity. An elder care provider can encourage your aging relative to join them in doing things like making beds, folding laundry, dusting, or sweeping the floor.
Exercise Classes: An elder care provider can drive your older family member to group exercise classes or to the gym to use the equipment there.
Gardening: Gardening is an excellent physical activity for seniors since pulling weeds and digging in the dirt can really work up a sweat. Elder care providers can help older adults with gardening tasks by carrying heavy tools and supplies and assisting them to stand up after kneeling or sitting.
There are many other ways elder care can help your elderly family member to remain physically active. If there is an activity the older adult enjoys, but is having difficulty doing, talk to their elder care provider about how they might be able to help.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elder Care Services in the Lenexa KS area, please contact the caring staff at Elder Care of Kansas City, today. Proudly serving Jackson, Clay, Platte and Cass Counties in Missouri as well as Johnson and Wyandotte Counties in Kansas for over 30 years. Call us at 816-333-3322.
Prior to purchasing Elder Care, Kevin spent over 20 years in the health insurance industry.In his most recent position, he was in a financial operations role with Humana where he worked with doctors, nurses and other health professionals developing programs to keep Humana members healthy.Their focus on primary care and medication adherence improved the lives of thousands of seniors in Kansas City and the surrounding area.
Kevin and his wife, Lori, have three children.Kevin has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Missouri.