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Alzheimer's Disease guest blogs

How Daily Schedules Benefit Seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

How Daily Schedules Benefit Seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Remember going to camp as a kid? Waking up to the bell, dining in the mess hall every morning, then heading off for activities like going to the pool, journal time, crafts, canoeing, and hiking? Just as a regular schedule that was planned out and communicated to campers helped keep everyone on task and on time, so does a daily itinerary for someone with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Check out 5 ways daily schedules can help:

How Daily Schedules Benefit Seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Provides Structure

The bottom line, a daily schedule which creates a framework for the day can prevent surprises and resulting agitation, frustration, and anger that many people with cognitive decline experience. Set a time for activities including waking up and going to bed, brushing teeth and toileting, getting dressed, taking medicines, eating meals, exercising, and even having fun make functioning easier and less stressful for older adults with memory loss.

Dealing with sundowners disease, or the onset of symptoms including confusion, agitation, and outbursts each evening when the sun sets? This confusion and irritability around altered sleep/wake cycles in adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be alleviated in part by a fixed series of events that occur nightly prior to bedtime. For example, if a senior with cognitive decline knows that each evening at the same time they first go to the bathroom, then get pajamas on, then brush teeth before crawling into bed, their grasp on when sleep occurs might be made stronger.

Offers Control

This might seem antithetical – doesn’t have your day planned out for you to give you less control? Not exactly. For older adults experiencing dementia and Alzheimer’s, a repeated schedule that helps them know what is coming next and what to plan for offers more security and a sense of being in charge of themselves and their activities.

Even allotting an hour or two of free time daily which allows someone with dementia and memory loss to come up with their own activity during that specific time is helpful – i.e. they might choose to work on a puzzle one day, or play cards and crochet the next day. Their continued independence and involvement in decision-making are vital to combating feelings of frustration, anxiety, and depression.

Encourages Activity

If a daily schedule includes a brisk walk for 25 minutes every day at 3 pm, what are the chances that you’ll be exercising every afternoon? Pretty good, right? That’s the power of daily schedules – they encourage repetition and action, and make getting out and staying active that much more “normal.”

Seniors with cognitive decline may be wary of staying active and exercising, afraid they will fall or injure themselves. The truth is, however, exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your physical and mental health as you age. Not only does regular physical fitness help build bone mass and muscle strength, and keep the heart and lungs healthy, but it can combat memory loss and dementia too. The boost in blood circulation, heart rate and mental stimulation that goes hand in hand with staying active helps your brain exercise, adapting to new knowledge and situations, and forming new neural pathways for brain cells to communicate with each other.

Helps Caregivers

A daily schedule isn’t just valuable to a patient dealing with memory loss and dementia – the people providing care and assisting the patient benefit from a regular agenda as well. The task of caring can include everything from daily duties with helping a loved one take medicine, eat, get dressed, etc. to more administrative jobs like scheduling appointments, refilling prescriptions, organizing transportation, buying supplies, and talking to insurance providers. A routine plan for the day helps carers designate times to execute tasks outside of hands-on care, in windows when their loved one is napping, for example.

In addition, a structured schedule provides more opportunities for meaningful time caregivers can spend with their loved ones outside of caregiving duties. Instead of constantly leading roles of carer and patient, family caregivers especially need to be able to continue to embrace the roles of child and parent. A predetermined list for daily activities and times can open up new windows for engaging, familial contact that is meaningful and healing.

Irreversible. Incurable. Hopeless. These stark words do not need to describe you or your loved one’s experience with Alzheimer’s or dementia. By incorporating “pre-dementia” routines, balancing generous rest with activity, and sticking to it, a regular schedule can significantly transform the day to day living of someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

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Fitness women's health

Top 4 Exercises You Should Do During Your Period

Top 4 Exercises You Should Do During Your Period

Top 4 Exercises You Should Do During Your Period

Curling up in bed with a heating pad may sound like a great idea during one’s period, and it’ll be difficult to leave, but most health experts say that’s the wrong way to go. A half hour of aerobic exercise will help relieve bloating, cramps, and mood swings, as well as a lot of other symptoms of PMS.

During menstruation, most people experience fatigue and a loss of interest in exercise. Working on your regular workout with moderate intensity is the best way to go. One’s menstrual cycle does not hamper performance – in fact, they call it the female advantage. At the same time in the cycle where cravings and cramps spike, those same hormonal changes give you a boost in muscle recovery and pain tolerance.

Top 4 Exercises You Should Do During Your Period

So, what should you do once you get your gear on?

Even those who are against a hardcore workout can agree that walking will get you moving without any injury or danger. Walking isn’t a huge calorie burner, but you’ll feel better about getting out and about and more energized. Don’t stress the calorie count, just get moving!

If you’re feeling up to it, feel free to go for a jog. Endorphins that are released during an intense workout can help knock out those period blues you’re sporting. Don’t forget to stay hydrated before, after, and during as researchers say it’s easier to dehydrate when you’re having your period. Even if it’s not true, may as well err on the side of caution.

Yoga is a great choice for exercise, as long as you avoid the inverted poses, as they may do more harm than good. Yoga alleviates stress, tension, and increases the flow of oxygen and blood around the body. It’ll also provide time to focus on yourself and your emotions.

Weightlifting is also a viable option, as long as you use lighter than usual weights and lower reps. Work all major muscle groups and if you start to feel weak or fatigued, stop immediately.

Listen to your body, though, if going to the gym seems too daunting – stay home and rest. One or two days of rest should be part of every workout plan, regardless. During the commercial breaks, feel free to shake your tailfeather to whatever music you like or plank (get down on the floor, put your arms and elbows under your chest, raise your body with your forearms and toes, hold). Planking can be intense, so start by holding the plank during every other commercial and work up to holding through an entire commercial break.

Working out from home is always fun. You can throw in an exercise DVD or OnDemand workout. There’s no need for workout gear and quitting early isn’t embarrassing if it’s just you in your living room. Your period isn’t an excuse to skip your workout routine, but if you need the break don’t be afraid to take it. After all, women are two to ten times more likely to get ACL injuries than men and most of them occur just before or at the start of menstruation.

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brain health nutrition

Things To Eat To Increase Your IQ

Things To Eat To Increase Your IQ

Things To Eat To Increase Your IQ

Eating certain foods can help you to be healthier and lose excess fat, they can also help increase your IQ. This amazing fact is a result of new research from author and tech entrepreneur Dave Asprey, he found that certain nutritious foods can boost your brainpower. This could be because you lack nutrients your brain needs. The good news is that there are foods that can help raise your IQ with science:

Things To Eat To Increase Your IQ

• Healthy fat
Asprey urges increasing consumption of healthy fats. Our brains are about 60% fat that needs to be replenished. Different parts of the brain require different nutrients, for example neurons gain energy from fat while glial cells gain energy from carbohydrates.

• Walnuts
The most important brain booster is omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts resemble a human brain in appearance which is no coincidence, they are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. They increase melatonin level 300% which helps regulate healthy sleep patterns.

• Eggs
Eggs are incomparable for their health benefits. They contain high quality nutrients including fat and protein that many of us lack.

• Fish oil
Whether you choose a fish oil supplement or wild salmon, fish oil produces fast results regarding brain health. A diet enriched in fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that is an essential element for brain growth and higher IQ.

• Broccoli
Broccoli tops the list for improving IQ. It’s rich in vitamin K, an essential part of brain development and proper functioning. It also helps delay development of dementia. It contains vitamin C and antioxidants which have several health benefits A recent study showed that broccoli contains sulforaphane, which helps preserve the condition of the blood brain barrier and repair it when it becomes damaged.

• Pumpkin Seeds
Another powerful brain food is pumpkin seeds, they’re linked to increased IQ and help fight depression by reducing inflammation in the brain, they contain the amino acid tryptophan. They are also beneficial for skin, hair, and nails.

• Vitamin C
Foods rich in vitamin C can improve your memory, increase concentration, and improve mental clarity. The antioxidants in these foods protect the integrity of brain cells and increases blood flow to the brain reducing mental fog. Foods in this category are oranges, kiwis, lemons, melons, and broccoli.

• Protein
A diet packed with protein contains amino acids required by your body to build neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. You can get protein from lean meat, dairy, legumes, cereals, and egg yolks.

• Vitamin B
A deficiency of vitamin B can cause mental and physical illness. It’s essential for every cell in our body and helps with hormone production and stress management. It’s so common you may not even realize if you lack the vitamin. It’s deficiency can result in inability to concentrate, hormonal issues, PMS, depression, and insomnia. Give your body and brain an appropriate diet rich in vitamin B to raise your IQ and deal with other health issues.

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brain infographics

The Brain, A User’s Guide to Emotions

The Brain, A User's Guide to Emotions

Did you know that Fusiform is the name given to the part of the brain that conveys the ability to recognize faces? This and more interesting parts and facts about the brain is what this infographic will teach us, also how to watch and learn the body language of others and how to react to others peoples reactions.

The brain is a big organ that controls our whole entire body, part of its anatomy: frontal and temporal lobe, prefrontal cortex, cerebrum, right hemisphere and limbic system. After understanding some of the brain’s anatomy we learn here that the limbic system is what makes us recognize and control the body’s reactions to emotions.

The Brain a User's Guide to Emotions Begin

Furthermore, here you can read more about how these parts of the brain are involved in processing these emotions and other aspects of our daily basis. Such as our environment and the people around us.

As well it will help us understand more about how six emotional dimensions that shape our lives work, some of these dimensions are: Resilience, Outlook, social interactions, self awareness, sensitivity to context ability that regulates responses based on given situations and also the interpretation of social cues this meaning the attention and the ability to focus.

Here you will get answers and comprehend where the emotions in the brain and the connection between instinct, emotion and intellect take part.

the brain emotions

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brain Fitness Inspiration

How about using exercise to build your brain?

How about using exercise to build your brain?

How about using exercise to build your brain?

The British Medical Journal published a new study that establish that short 10 to 40 minutes bursts of exercise led to an immediate boost in concentration and mental focus, likely by improving blood flow to the brain.

It is very common to hear about how exercise can lift your mood, ward off depression, and help the brain age more gracefully free of memory loss and dementia, and now we can add, improving your mental focus and cognitive performance for any situation, to that list.

“These results provide further evidence that doing about 20 minutes of exercise just before taking a test or giving a speech can improve performance,” said Harvard psychiatrist Dr. John Ratey, who wrote the best-selling book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.

Lights of ideas

Exercise boosts a chemical called BDNF, which is instrumental for the development of new nerve connections and brain tissue in areas of the brain responsible for higher reasoning, which Ratey calls Miracle-Gro for the brain.
Slow and steady workouts several times a week also increase levels of serotonin, which is a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.

It doesn´t matter if you are 10 or 60, here are some ideas to use exercise to increase brain power:

  1. To improve blood flow to the brain, helping to improve the transmission of signals through the nerve cells, try high intensity or cardiovascular exercises, like, jumping rope, running in place and squat bends.
  2. Burning off 350 calories three times a week through sustained, moderate activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants.
  3. Try something new, maybe Yoga or Pilates, according to Ratey, taking up a new workout routine that requires hand-eye coordination or fancy foot moves puts a little stress on your brain cells to help them grow.