Physical Fitness and Wellness Programs for Seniors

Physical Fitness and Wellness Programs for Seniors

Physical health becomes more of a priority when it comes to getting older. Staying healthy is important, but not all exercise is a great fit. Being mindful of what types of exercises will serve an individual’s body is one of the most important factors to consider.

Where there is tons of information online, it can feel overwhelming to seniors about which approach to take. Here, we break down wellness and fitness programs that suit seniors as well. where there is tons of information online, it can feel overwhelming to seniors about which approach to take. Here, we break down wellness and fitness programs that suit seniors as well.

Physical Fitness and Wellness Programs for Seniors

What Makes a Good Class?

The first question to talk about when it comes to choosing a health and wellness program for seniors is understanding what would make a good class. As we get older, our bones are more fragile, and we become more susceptible to falling due to lack of mobility.

Prioritizing exercise that will increase mobility and focus on balance are the two most important concepts. This means exercise that builds strength in our muscles should be at the forefront. 

Let’s talk about some of the great fitness activities that are perfect for seniors. This means exercise that builds strength in our muscles should be at the forefront. Let’s talk about some of the great fitness activities that are perfect for seniors.

Chair Yoga

You may not have heard of chair yoga before, but it is one of the best options for seniors out there. That’s because it hits all the areas of strength, training, mobility, flexibility, and even mental health.

Chair yoga, as you may have guessed, provides a chair for both resting and stability. This allows seniors to practice their moves in a space that is safe and provides support. It’s also great for many levels, whether you’re flexible and well-practiced or brand new. Chair yoga is great for everyone, not just seniors.

Strength Training

Strength, training, and physical therapy is an incredibly important part of exercise as you get older. A common misconception is that strength training is all about getting big muscles. But strength training should be functional, which means working on muscles to help keep us balanced and improve our everyday movement.

Often nowadays, physical therapy combines strength training to help with injury prevention. This is why many assisted living programs offer physical therapy as a part of daily activities. It’s common for joints to have wear and tear, and strength training may relieve some of the pain from this.

Water Aerobics 

Water aerobics is a fan favorite for many reasons. Not only is it super light on the joints, allowing many to participate in this kind of exercise, but it’s also great resistance training. Resistance training is a form of strength training without free weights.

Many programs with water aerobics offer fun classes whether it’s dancing in the water or more movement and strength-focused. Something that often keeps seniors away is adult diaper discomfort. Wearing waterproof diapers can be an easy fix.

Dance Class

For those who like to stay on their feet, dance class is a great way to meet people and stay connected. Whether you’re learning ballroom dance or participating in a Zumba class, getting up and moving around is a great program for seniors. Just because seniors are a little older doesn’t mean they can’t shake it to the music! 

Walking Clubs

Don’t underestimate the power of a good walk! During the pandemic walking became one of the most popular forms of exercise among all age groups of people. Walking has so many benefits and is a relatively easy exercise on the joints.

Being able to push yourself and add stairs and hills can put us in the zone two heart rate. This is a fat, burning heart rate zone, which is super beneficial to any seniors who might be slightly overweight. Walking can help lower blood pressure and provide mental clarity. 

Mindful Tips When Exercising

Whether it’s your first time exercising or your season pro, always keeping in mind these few tips will help keep you safe and healthy.

  1. Always start with a good warm-up. Our muscles and joints aren’t ready to go like we may be in the first minute. Proper stretching and heating up will help avoid any injuries.
  1. Staying hydrated will help with endurance, but water isn’t always enough when exercising. Including electrolytes in your hydration routine will fuel you.
  1. Exercise is difficult and can become boring quickly. That’s why it’s important to mix it up and also make it a social event where you can bond with other people doing the same thing.
  1. Consulting with your healthcare provider before engaging in any new exercise is always a good idea. They know your health history and can help make decisions about plans tailored for you.

Keeping the simple things in mind will help make exercise more fun than a chore. Because we tend to make things easier for the elderly. It’s often an excuse not to push ourselves, But with exercise to stay young and healthy, pushing ourselves the right amount is what we need.

Finding The Right Fit

Exercise plans should be tailored to an individual’s needs because all of our bodies are different. This is also true at senior age, with a lifetime of injuries and wear and tear. It’s important to keep these factors in mind when choosing the right exercise, someone who can endure the twists and turns of dancing may not enjoy water aerobics. 

Just the opposite, those who do water aerobics may not be capable of doing dancingGeneral exercises such as strength, training, and yoga are a better fit for everyone and can offer different pieces

Aging in Place vs. Assisted Living

Aging in Place vs. Assisted Living

The journey and navigation of aging is not an easy one. As we age, the balance of remaining independent while also knowing when to ask for assistance can be complicated. Often, the question of how to live and where to live continually creeps into the front of the conversation. There are many positives and drawbacks to both considerations. 

Here, we seek to explore what may be a good fit for an individual candidate. What may be good for one person may be a different situation for another. Let’s dive into it. 

Aging in Place vs. Assisted Living

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living can look very different depending on the location. Even within an assisted program, there are many dimensions and options to cater to an individual’s needs. In a nutshell, it is a type of residential housing for the elderly who are in need of care or require any assistance with daily activities and duties.

This can include bathing, dressing, medication management, and meal preparation. It’s important to note that they may need assistance but are not hospital-ridden though there are often hospitals nearby or on site. 

Benefits of Assisted Living

There are many different benefits of assisted living which is why it is such a popular choice for the elderly and their supporting families. Often the needs that the elderly have cannot be met by family members due to time and qualifications. 

It can also put a strain on the relationship as caretakers can often feel overwhelmed and burned out after a period of time. Here are some of the key reasons assisted living becomes a viable option. 

Medical Care

Many assisted living programs have a unit dedicated to individuals who have more intense needs. They may be struggling with an ongoing illness such as Alzheimer’s and need daily assistance but can be taken care of by medical staff outside of an in-patient hospital. 

Often these nurses work directly with an affiliated hospital to help manage a plan that puts the patient in the most comfortable setting. All their medications and medical needs can be done on-site with a licensed nurse. This often can include physical therapy. 

Community Living

A part of assisted living is being in a community surrounded by individuals who are in similar positions as you. For many, this brings a world of comfort. Making connections at an older age can be difficult, but in the assisted living community is emphasized heavily on bringing joy to an otherwise tense situation. Often you can expect some of the following. 

  • Organized holiday parties and celebrations. This is especially true for those who may not have family visiting them. 
  • Weekly crafts and clubs such as knitting, reading, bingo, and many more fun activities that are easy to participate in.

There is a lot more to community living than just the activities, as just having a roommate often is a major boost to many’s happiness and well-being. 

Transportation Assistance

One of the best ways to keep independence is to be able to go out and attend doctor appointments and grab groceries. That’s why many assisted-living homes provide transportation to allow guests to continue to do these things. It’s the best of both worlds.

It also provides a safer community for all those around and the individuals living at the assisted living home. Often elderly drive much longer than they should to retain their independence.

Flexibility in Plans

One of the most important things when choosing an assisted living is to make sure the program can grow with you. This is because many individuals will constantly change with their needs as they age.

An assisted living program often will have many levels of assistance so they can continue to grow with the guest. This gives a lot of comfort to families and friends, knowing that their loved ones will be taken care of no matter what their circumstances are.

Drawbacks of Assisted Living

As with anything in life, there will always be positives and negatives to any choice. Assisted living has a lot of positives to look forward to. However, there are some drawbacks to be considered. 

Perspective to Consider

Mindset plays a role when someone is in assisted living. When a program is mismanaged and doesn’t have a lot of activities, it can start to feel dreary. If someone is placed in a unit that they are not meant for, it can make them feel like they are aging quickly.

For instance, somebody who has a healthy mind and is still very capable of doing daily activities can feel sad if surrounded by people who cannot. This is because it will trigger or remind them that this is a possible direction they are headed in.

This is why it is important to take your time when interviewing a place to ensure they handle guests properly.

Living at Home

While we just spent a good amount of time talking about assisted living, it would be remiss not to talk about why living at home can also be beneficial. Ultimately living at home is an independence that cannot be replicated. Let’s talk about some of the benefits. 

Benefits of Aging in Home

  • Being able to rely on yourself can actually make one feel more youthful. A great example is going to get groceries. This makes one get out and be active and stimulates their brain.
  • If you were lucky enough to have a family support system that does allow you to stay home, there is nothing like the comfort of familiarity. As we age, comfort should be a priority.
  • There are areas in between where traveling nurses can come assist at the house. This means not having to leave your home but also having a second pair of hands to help.

Aging can be frightening for many. Taking someone out of the comfort of their home can often be threatening. This is why including the person in the discussion as much as possible is important. 

Talking It Over

When it comes to making a decision as big as where one should live, the conversation usually takes place over many talks. There are a few things to consider on this topic. One of them is including a healthcare professional in your conversations. they will be able to not only give you recommendations but are also aware of the patient’s health history. 

They will be able to not only give you recommendations but are also aware of the patient’s health history. It’s also great to include different family members to get different viewpoints. The process should include different visits and talking to staff to see which assisted-living home would best fit the individual.

drawing of brain

Myth Busting Brain Training: What the Latest Brain Research Tells Us

In an era where the aging population seeks to maintain cognitive sharpness, the allure of brain training has never been more potent. Many embark on these digital quests hoping to stave off cognitive decline, yet skepticism abounds. Can these games truly fortify our mental faculties, or are they merely digital snake oil? This intrigue brings us to the forefront of cognitive neuroscience, where the pioneering research of Dr. Ryuta Kawashima – one of the most renowned Neuroscientists in Japan who supervises Nintendo’s Brain Training Game Franchise – at Tohoku University, shines a light on the veracity of brain training efficacy.

The Hope and Hype of Brain Training

Across the globe, individuals turn to brain training games buoyed by the promise of enhanced memory, quicker reasoning, and sharper attention. This isn’t merely wishful thinking; it’s a pursuit grounded in the belief that our brains, regardless of age, can be molded, strengthened, and even rejuvenated through targeted exercises. The market for such apps is burgeoning, fueled by an aging population eager to keep their cognitive faculties in peak condition.

A Critical Perspective

Yet, for every testimonial touting the benefits of brain training, there’s a voice of skepticism. Critics argue that while these games may improve performance on specific tasks, this mastery seldom translates to overall cognitive improvement in daily life. Such criticism is not unfounded; numerous studies have questioned the generalizability of these gains, suggesting that while users may get better at the games themselves, the benefits don’t necessarily extend beyond the screen.

Distinguishing Meaningful Brain Training

Enter Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, whose research endeavors to delineate meaningful brain training from mere entertainment. According to Dr. Kawashima, not all brain trainings are created equal. His research identifies the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex’s activity as a critical marker for meaningful brain training. This area of the brain, associated with executive functions such as problem-solving, planning, and impulse control, becomes particularly engaged during challenging cognitive tasks.

“The key is increased blood flow in the prefrontal cortex, indicating that the brain is being adequately challenged and stimulated,” says Dr. Kawashima. This neural activation signifies that the game is sufficiently challenging, pushing the brain to adapt and strengthen. However, it’s this very challenge that can render meaningful brain training games less immediately gratifying than their less-demanding counterparts. They require effort, concentration, and, at times, can evoke the same frustration one might experience while studying for a difficult exam.

What Works and What Doesn’t

The variability in brain training efficacy can also be attributed to individual differences. What improves cognition in one person may not have the same effect in another, underscoring the personalized nature of meaningful brain training. This notion is pivotal for retirees and their families seeking cognitive enrichment through these digital platforms. The key, as Dr. Kawashima’s research suggests, lies in selecting games that stimulate the prefrontal cortex, thereby offering a genuine cognitive workout rather than mere entertainment.

Practical Advice for Selecting Brain Training Games

For those navigating the vast sea of brain training options, the advice is clear: seek out games designed to challenge higher brain functions. These tasks might involve executive function, problem-solving, or memory exercises that require active engagement and adaptation. While these games might not be as immediately enjoyable as they’re simpler counterparts, their potential to foster genuine cognitive improvement is much greater. 

Conclusion: Embracing Challenge for Cognitive Growth

As we age, the quest to maintain cognitive vitality becomes increasingly paramount. Dr. Ryuta Kawashima’s research offers a beacon of hope, distinguishing between the fleeting satisfaction of easy wins and the deeper, more enduring benefits of genuine cognitive challenge. For retirees and their families seeking to navigate the promises and pitfalls of brain training, the message is clear: embrace the games that push you, that make you think, and, yes, even those that frustrate you. In the challenge lies the path to cognitive enhancement, a journey not just of the mind but of the brain’s remarkable capacity to grow, adapt, and thrive.

In summary, as we consider brain training’s potential to enhance our cognitive landscape, let us be guided not by the allure of quick fixes but by the science that illuminates the path to true mental fitness. Dr. Kawashima’s research is a testament to the power of targeted, challenging cognitive exercise to not just entertain, but to fundamentally enhance our cognitive capabilities.


Brain Sciences | Free Full-Text | Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Activity during a Brain Training Game Predicts Cognitive Improvements after Four Weeks’ Brain Training Game Intervention: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial (

Cognitive Health and Older Adults | National Institute on Aging (

A Large-Scale, Cross-Sectional Investigation Into the Efficacy of Brain Training – PMC (

Medical treatments and interventions for the management of dementia symptoms

Medical treatments and interventions for the management of dementia symptoms

Dementia is a degenerative disease that is considered irreversible. While there is ongoing research to better understand the mechanisms and develop new interventions, early diagnosis and appropriate management of symptoms remain the two most critical components for increasing the quality of life for patients with dementia and their caregivers. Lifestyle interventions, support services, and effective communication strategies also contribute to the well-being of those affected by dementia. And because dementia in all forms is irreversible, care is typically centered around having the highest quality of life for whatever stage of dementia a person is experiencing.

Medical treatments and interventions for the management of dementia symptoms | Lynn Smargis CSA, CDP Senior Care Authority

Types of Dementia

Dementia encompasses a group of disorders characterized by declining cognitive function that interferes with daily life. People with a dementia diagnosis are typically over 60 years of age. However, people as young as their early 40s can also be diagnosed with dementia, which is rare. In addition, some patients may have more than one type of dementia. 

For example, a person might have both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia simultaneously, or they could be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Lewy bodies (explained below). When you have more than one type of dementia, this is known as having mixed dementia. While there are many types of dementia, these are the most common forms of the disease that people are diagnosed with when receiving a dementia diagnosis.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most universal cause of dementia, accounting for almost half of all cases. Alzheimer’s is characterized by the accumulation of abnormal proteins, such as beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain, leading to the death of neurons and a progressive decline in cognitive function. This disease affects all demographics, but you are more likely to have Alzheimer’s if you’re female, Black, or Hispanic.

Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia and results from reduced blood flow to the brain, often due to stroke or other vascular issues. The brain can no longer function efficiently because of reduced blood flow to the brain. Symptoms include typical dementia symptoms such as memory loss and personality change. In addition, patients with vascular dementia can also see an increase in incontinence, visual disturbances, and difficulty with balance and walking, putting them at significant fall risk.

Lewy Body dementia is abnormal protein deposits known as Lewy bodies in the brain. This type of dementia shares symptoms with both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, including cognitive fluctuations, visual hallucinations, and motor symptoms.

Frontotemporal dementia affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, which control logical thought. FD often presents with changes in personality, behavior, and language. Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, memory may remain relatively intact in the early stages of frontotemporal dementia, so the patient does not start with significant memory loss as in most other forms of dementia.

Parkinson’s Disease dementia is a dementia caused by Parkinson’s disease. It is a movement-based disorder that can also lead to cognitive decline and dementia in some individuals. The dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease often develops in the later stages (Stages 3 and 4) of the condition.

Huntington’s disease is a genetic disorder that effects Caucasians the most and can lead to dementia. This genetic disorder is characterized by progressive motor dysfunction, cognitive decline, and psychiatric symptoms.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a rare, rapidly progressive, and fatal brain disorder that is caused by abnormal prion proteins and leads to severe neurological symptoms, including dementia.

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus is when excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain’s ventricles, leading to difficulty walking, urinary incontinence, and cognitive decline.

Dementia Treatments do not Reverse Dementia

And because there is no cure for dementia, the available treatments primarily focus on managing symptoms and improving quality of life. While the effectiveness of medical treatments can vary depending on the type of dementia, there are some standard dementia care management practices that can be utilized depending on the types of symptoms the person with dementia is experiencing.

Dementia is typically characterized by the gradual and irreversible loss of cognitive function due to damage or degeneration of brain cells. The underlying causes of dementia vary, and they often involve complex changes in the brain that cannot be easily reversed. Here are some reasons why dementia is generally considered irreversible.

Why is Dementia Considered Irreversible?

Neurodegeneration is the process of brain cells, called neurons, becoming damaged and then dying off. Once neurons are damaged or die, they typically cannot regenerate or be replaced. Dementia is associated with specific pathological changes in the brain, such as the accumulation of abnormal proteins such as beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles in Alzheimer’s disease and other structural abnormalities. These changes contribute to the decline in cognitive function.

The human brain is highly complex, with our cognitive function dependent on intricate networks of neurons and neurotransmitters. Restoring normal function to these networks once disrupted is a significant challenge and has yet to be achieved. Because of the many variables of dementia and the complexity of our brain, there is a lack of disease-modifying treatments for the reduction of symptoms. 

Currently, there are no widely accepted disease-modifying treatments for most forms of dementia. Medications available for some types of dementia, such as cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine, primarily focus on managing symptoms rather than reversing the underlying pathology.

Researchers are actively exploring potential disease-modifying treatments for dementia, and clinical trials are ongoing. These efforts aim to target the specific mechanisms that contribute to cognitive decline and, ideally, slow or halt the progression of the disease. However, finding effective treatments for dementia is a complex scientific challenge, and success in this area has been elusive so far.

Common Medical Treatments for Dementia

Cholinesterase Inhibitors such as Donepezil (Aricept), Rivastigmine (Exelon), and Galantamine (Razadyne) are often prescribed for Alzheimer’s disease. They work by increasing acetylcholine levels, a neurotransmitter deficient in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Cholinesterase inhibitors may help improve cognitive symptoms in some individuals.

NMDA Receptor Antagonists, like the formulation in Memantine (Namenda), are typically used to regulate moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease. This drug regulates glutamate, another neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory. Memantine may help improve cognitive function and daily activities.

Combination therapy can offer patients more relief of symptoms by prescribing a combination of cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine to address different aspects of the disease and potentially enhance the overall therapeutic effect.

Managing underlying conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol can increase the quality of life for someone with dementia, as these health conditions can contribute to the progression of dementia.

Individuals with dementia and their caregivers must work closely with medical professionals, developing a comprehensive care plan regularly maintained by medical professionals. Regular medical check-ups, monitoring of symptoms, and adjustments to the treatment plan are essential components of dementia care.

Remember that advancements in dementia research may lead to new treatment options, so staying informed about the latest developments is essential. Always consult with healthcare professionals for the most up-to-date information and personalized advice based on individual circumstances. One of the best resources to connect with for information surrounding dementia is the Alzheimer’s Association, which offers free resources and help lines to those dealing with dementia.