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Health & Wellness

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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Retirees using education to exercise their brains and maybe even Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. More and more retired Is there any truth to it? people are heading back to And if there is, what type of the nearest classroom — as learning is best suited to the students and, in some cases, older brain? teachers — and they are findMany studies do find that ing out that school can be love- being mentally active is assolier the second time around. ciated with a lower risk of Some may be thinking of Alzheimer’s disease. But the second careers, but most just standard caveat applies: assowant to keep their minds stim- ciation does not prove cause ulated, learn something new and effect, and there is always or catch up with a subject they the chance that the mentally were always curious about but active people who never got never had time for. Alzheimer’s simply had healthFor many, at least part of ier brains to begin with. the motivation is based on Even, so, researchers say, widespread reports that exerthere is no harm in telling cising the brain may preserve people to try to stay engaged. it, forestalling mental decline “When you and I are having By DENISE GRADY New York Times News Service

this conversation, you’re taking notes, thinking, remembering pieces of it, trying to relate it to other things,” said Arthur Toga, a professor of neurology and director of the laboratory of neuroimaging at the University of California, Los Angeles. “You’re changing the circuitry in your brain. That is because you have changed something in your brain to retain that memory.” Toga elaborated: “The conversation requires nerve cells in the brain to fire, and when they fire they are using energy. More oxygen and sugar must be delivered, by increased blood flow to those regions. Please see RETIREES, Page 24

TREADMILL: Stay active at your desk Continued from Page 22

we’ve all been looking for to become healthier, happy individuals. “TrekDesk doesn’t cure cancer, but walking does. The magic is in movement,” he says.

1919 Lathrop St., Suite 222

456-5990 www.willowpt.com

Specializing in the Treatment of:

Two Years in a Row!

Submitted by Contributing Community Author

Karla Zervos Lifespan Home Modifications Founder (907) 457-5433 www.homemodification.com National Association of Home Builders Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist

Every day a growing number of Alaskans become caregivers for people who are Aging In Place. Some caregivers are professionals but most are informal caregivers who are “just helping” aging parents, spouses, family members, friends and neighbors. Caregivers work hard and usually without pay to preserve or restore dignity, independence and quality of life so older adults can remain in their own home and community. Caregivers often assist a person with essential activities of daily living like eating, dressing, bathing, toileting and transferring or shifting from one position to another. They help a person sit and stand, walk or move around and transfer in and out of bathing areas or on and off the toilet. Caregiving requires physical and emotional strength and sometimes the work strains caregivers and jeopardizes their own health and wellness. Finding ways to reduce caregiver stress helps caregivers as well as those they care for and should always be part of a home health care plan. One often-overlooked way to reduce stress is to adapt the house so these vital services can continue with less effort. Caregivers report that bathroom activities are the most physically demanding. In before and after demonstration projects where bathrooms were modified, caregivers reported that the changes enabled them to assist more easily and safely in a room that is filled with hazards. The most helpful bathroom modifications usually include: • Fastening grab bars so they are appropriate for the wall structure near the toilet and bathing area to meet the unique transfer needs of the person • Installing height adjustable, handheld shower heads for easier independent or assisted bathing • Replacing bathtubs with curbless, roll-in showers to eliminate the need for transferring in and out of a bathtub • Adding a built-in bench or seat in the bathtub or shower for seated bathing • Raising the height of the toilet so sitting and standing requires less effort and assistance • Allowing enough floor space on one side and in front of the toilet for mobility equipment and / or for caregivers to comfortably assist a person transferring to and from the toilet Taking care of an older person requires good health as well as a supportive home environment. Modifying a home can reduce the cost of elder care, delay moving or institutionalization and create a safer environment for seniors and their caregivers. Learn more about home modifications for better caregiving at www.thiscaringhome.org/ virtual_home. Our thanks to Karla Zervos for contributing this column. The article is intended to be strictly informational.

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Neck and Back Pain • All Joint Injuries TMJ Dystunction • Vertigo • Pelvic Pain Sports, MVA and Work-Related Injuries Post-Surgical Rehabilitation • Incontinence Pre- and Post-Partem Therapy

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out by the surgeon general in two to three hours while on a treadmill. TrekDesk’s treadmill desk has a price tag of $479, and to use it, one has to have a treadmill and, more importantly, the space to put a treadmill in an office. If your cubicle doesn’t allow this, there are other ways to stay active while at work. According to the Mayo Clinic, one suggestion is to look for opportunities during the day to stand. This could include standing while on the phone (a technique Bordley suggests for everyone) or even getting a standing desk (where you stand instead of sit). Another good idea is to take regular breaks and move around during the day; avoid extended periods of time sitting at your desk. Instead of hanging out at the water cooler, take a walk around the office or down the hall. Climb a few flights of stairs to get your heart rate up. If you have colleagues who are up for it, create walking meet-

ings, where instead of sitting around a conference table, you take the meeting to the sidewalks and enjoy the sunshine. Bordley believes that walking is the magic pill that

Home Fitness for Elder Care

Health and Wellness - Spring 2012  
Health and Wellness - Spring 2012  

A guide to staying healthy in Interior Alaska, geared toward Alaska's growing elderly population.