Love playing chess or taking on the newspaper crossword puzzle each week? You may be doing more than just upping your enjoyment factor; you may actually be keeping your brain healthy! According to recent studies, researchers believe activities that promote mental engagement such as games and puzzles, are linked with a decreased risk of a decline in cognitive skills and memory loss.
Can these so called “brain exercises” really ward off dementia?
While more research needs to be done, evidence has consistently shown a solid link between brain training and a lowered risk of rapid mental decline. One study published in 2010, found that sustaining mental activity throughout one’s life worked as a preventive measure to delay the onset of dementia.
How do “brain exercises” help?
Animal studies have shown that mental stimulation can support new nerve cell growth and can work to construct a reserve of brain cells and connections. Some experts also believe this kind of stimulus may decrease certain markers of Alzheimer’s disease such as plaque build-up and tangles.
While both high levels of education and mental stimulation can help delay the onset of dementia and provide a better quality of life, researchers stop short of saying that education or brain exercise are fail-safes against the development of dementia.
The staff of Nightingale Homecare, a provider of home care in Scottsdale, and the surrounding Phoenix Metropolitan area, is uniquely qualified to provide dementia care. Our private medical care staff draws on the specialized approach taught by Dr. Verna Benner-Carson through her “Alzheimer’s Whisperer ®” program. At Nightingale, this specialized program is called “Connections“. Our in home care providers enter the client’s world and manage the challenging behaviors associated with dementia in a way that is gentle, creative and highly effective. In-home medical and non-medical care providers can teach these skills to families, thus enabling the person with dementia to continue to receive care in the comfort of their own homes in Scottsdale and throughout the Phoenix area.
Contact Nightingale Homecare, a top rated homecare provider serving Scottsdale, Phoenix, Sun City, Glendale, and Paradise Valley today. Call (602) 504-1555 or contact us online to learn more about private medical and non-medical care.
Caring for an elderly loved one can be a challenging task for anyone- both professional caregivers of senior homecare and devoted family members alike may face a variety of emotional and physical stresses that can ultimately lead to burnout.
Physical Requirements – Those looking after a senior requiring private medical care are often charged with many grueling physical tasks for the patient, such as:
- Lifting or transferring the elder in and out of bed, wheelchair, bathtub, or car
- Adjusting positions in bed
Running errands and getting the elder to appointments
When combined with other daily activities in the caregiver’s regular life, these physical tasks can become terribly exhausting.
Emotional Demands – The toll of a patient who can’t remember your name, follow directions, or communicate clearly cannot be underestimated. Dementia, behavioral problems, physical aggression, and a tendency to wander away can further exacerbate these frustrations, and can result in anger and resentment on the part of the caregiver
Financial Stressors – Caregiving is an often thankless job, and for most family members it is done without any financial compensation. The time and effort involved in caregiving can also take time away from regular jobs, further depleting finances. Finally, insurance companies don’t always cover the essentials, putting many senior homecare providers in stressful financial situations.
Burn-out Warning Signs –
- Sadness and mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Lack of energy
- Feeling like you have no time for yourself
- Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
- Isolating yourself
- Loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities
- Resentment or anger towards the person you are caring for
What To Do – Remember that you’re not alone, and that caregiver burn-out is quite common. Talk to a doctor about stress management tactics, and don’t be afraid to ask for a break from time to time. Family members should also consider enlisting the services of professional and trusted Phoenix homecare companies to help ease their burden. Nightingale Homecare is a top rated homecare provider in Scottsdale that would be happy to assist you in many aspects of senior caregiving. We understand how important it is for caregivers to look after themselves, and provide a wide array of compassionate senior homecare services to lighten your load. Call Nightingale Homecare at (602) 504-1555 or contact us to learn more about how we can help.
Chronic pain and depression often play off each other in a dark and vicious cycle that can feel impossible to escape. Relentless physical pain often leads to a depressed emotional state, which in turn leads to worsened existing body pains. For seniors recovering from injuries or living with a chronic disease, there is an increased likelihood of experiencing depression; likewise, seniors who experience constant and unexplained physical pain could be exhibiting warning signs of depression- for some seniors, this may be the only the warning..
To better understand, consider the very nature of stubborn physical pain and the emotional distress it can summon. With every passing day spent in relentless discomfort moods can turn negative, feelings of despair creep up, and hopelessness begins to take over. Soon, insomnia and exhaustion set in, stress and anxiety take hold and finally, self-esteem can take crushing, crippling blows. The same is true for elders especially those living alone, , anything from diabetes and migraines to injuries and surgical recoveries can trigger the onset of depression.
On the other side of the cycle, emotional suffering that goes untended can manifest itself in physical ailments. When sadness has nowhere to go, it festers and grows in the body to make its presence known. In both cases it’s extremely important to get help as soon as possible. While there are treatments designed to treat pain and depression separately, there are also some that work for both:
- Psychological Counseling – also called talk therapy or psychotherapy, it’s a very effective tool for treating the pain-depression cycle.
- Pain Rehabilitation – provides a team approach to treatment that covers physical and psychiatric needs for seniors in home care.
- Stress-reduction Activities – meditating, writing, and physical activity like walking or swimming can assist in emotional and physical healing.
- Antidepressants – some medications respond to shared chemicals in the brain for pain and depression. Drugs are best used in combination with one or more of the above treatments.
If you believe an elderly loved one is stuck in a revolving door of pain and depression, get help right away. Talk to them, offer support, and go over treatment options so they know they’re not alone and that the suffering can end. The skilled and compassionate caregivers at Scottsdale home health care provider, Nightingale Home Care, we provide a wide range of medical and non-medical home care services that are designed to ease seniors’ physical and emotional wounds. From evaluating the source of pain and determining how to best control it, to assisting with physical therapy exercises and implementing stress management techniques, the professional staff at Nightingale Home Care have made us a leader in Scottsdale home care companies. Call (602) 504-1555 or contact us online to find out more about the Arizona home care services provided by Nightingale Home Care.
A recent study published in the journal of Behavioral Brain Research has found that regular physical exercise for seniors does more than just offer physical benefits like stamina, strength, and cardiovascular health: it may also be the key to protecting against the decline of essential cognitive functions. For seniors regular exercise and the mental sharpness it provides could also mean a positive shift in independence, confidence and emotional well-being.
It’s important to understand how grey matter and white matter- the two main types of tissue in our brains- function. Grey matter contains the cells that receive, store and respond to input occurring inside and outside the body. In this way, grey matter drives thoughts and actions. In contrast, white matter cells form the connections between grey matter and the central nervous system; they are messengers that deliver information and commands between the brain’s grey matter and the rest of the body.
As people age, grey matter and white matter both steadily decrease and the brain begins responding differently to stimuli. For example, the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, and vice versa. Furthermore, when the left brain signals the right side to move, the right side of the brain is completely inactive (same for right brain/left body). This is known as a “silent period.” As people grow older, these signals get criss-crossed and both sides of the brain start reacting to one side of the body- a symptom that researchers link to the loss of both types of brain matter.
Exercise appears to counteract these mixed signals. In the study, when seniors who exercised regularly were compared to sedentary seniors, the group who exercised less than 45 minutes per week experienced a significantly higher amount of brain “cross-talk” than those who participated in daily fitness. In fact, this study suggests that active seniors have brain activity similar to young adults. Through a series of cognitive tests, the researchers determined that the duration of the essential “silent period” in young adults was 90 percent longer than sedentary seniors but only 35 percent higher than active seniors. This is a strong indication that long-term physical activity for seniors could delay or even reverse some of the brain miscommunications that are linked to chronological aging.
Whether your loved one is receiving home care or lives independently, Phoenix home care agency Nightingale Home Care provides cohesive in-home nursing care that strives for the physical and mental empowerment of all our clients. Our caregivers have witnessed first-hand the benefits of exercise for those in elderly home care. They know it can be difficult for seniors receiving long term care at home to get motivated to exercise, so they provide assistance, encouragement and companionship throughout your loved one’s exercise plan. Find out more about Nightingale’s renowned private medical care services and commitment to providing the best elder care in Phoenix by calling (602) 504-1555 or visit us online.