October 18, 2017 by Dean Bellefeuille

Aging involves adjusting to a great many changes, and how we take care of our bodies is among the most meaningful ones. We realize the necessity of staying physically active, but may not realize that the old tried-and-true exercise techniques we’ve long practiced must be changed after age fifty, because of a rise in injuries, pain in muscles and joints, and all-around fatigue. If you’re exercising after 50, and you should be, use these tips:

  • Resistance over cardio exercise. Although cardio exercise is definitely still crucial for heart health, strength training is extremely important to combat the natural decline in bone density and muscle mass. A recent study also associated weight training with increased memory, even when performed just once weekly for as few as 20 minutes. The objective is to perform twelve repetitions of each set of resistance exercises several times each week, raising the resistance level when it gets easier to perform the exercises.
  • Make sure you warm up. As a result of decreased elasticity in tendons that takes place later in life, warm-ups are very important. Stretching out the muscles you are preparing to exercise, as well as a full body warm-up with mild cardio exercise such as a walk on the treadmill, is recommended, at least 2 or 3 times each week. Benefits include improved flexibility, elevated heart rate and body temperature and better preparation for the muscles that are about to be exercised.
  • Change over to interval training. It is recommended that interval training – high intensity exercise alternated with easier “rest” periods – produces a better benefit when compared with a steady exercise pace to burn more calories and to boost oxygen consumption.
  • Increase rest days. Per Dr. David W. Kruse of the Hoag Orthopedic Institute, “You need to focus more on recovery after 50. Tissue recovery takes more time and more effort to support that recovery.” This might mean a couple of days in between workouts. Pay attention to any kind of aching experienced and the impact it’s having on your following workout to discover the right time period to rest in between.

Don’t forget to consult with your physician for personal recommendations on beneficial exercise regimens, and if you’ve a client or loved one who needs support in supplying the motivation, guidance, and transportation necessary to adhere to a workout program and boost health, contact At Home Independent Living of Syracuse, NY at 315-579-4663. Our professional caregivers are experienced in helping older persons improve health and overall wellbeing, and we help to make exercising, and any other activities, more fulfilling.


 October 11, 2017 by Dean Bellefeuille

There’s encouraging information for those with peripheral artery disease (PAD), a debilitating condition that can occur from smoking or diabetes and can increase a person’s likelihood of developing a heart attack or stroke, and sometimes resulting in limb amputation. Medicare will now cover the cost of treadmill therapy once prescribed and monitored by a medical professional.

With few treatment methods, individuals battling with PAD experience soreness and cramping in the legs described as “feeling as if their leg is in a vise,” according to University of Minnesota’s Diane Treat-Jacobson. Prescription drugs have proven inadequate in decreasing pain, and although stent or bypass operations can certainly help, they’re pricey and come with their own associated risks. The latest research is revealing that treadmill therapy can be just as effective, at a greatly reduced cost, and with Medicare on board to pay for that cost, a lot of rehab centers are preparing for a wave of patients prepared to test it out.

The expectation is that various other insurance companies will shortly follow suit and provide coverage for treadmill therapy, which is usually the case once Medicare covers a treatment option. At present, over 2,000 hospital-based therapy centers are preparing to provide treadmill exercise sessions to those whose health professionals prescribe and oversee them.

Considering people who have PAD often restrict regular exercise because of leg pain, the benefits of supervised treadmill therapy go beyond decreased hospitalizations and cost savings to improving heart and lung health, lengthening the distance a person with PAD can walk without discomfort, and even potentially increasing length and quality of life.

If your senior loved one is among the 8 million Americans suffering the difficulties of PAD, or any other medical condition that makes living at home independently a challenge, contact At Home Independent Living. We can offer support in numerous ways, including:

  • Offering transportation and accompaniment to therapy treatment along with other healthcare appointments
  • Helping with duties around the home, such as light housework and washing clothes
  • Preparing wholesome and appetizing meals
  • Running errands including picking up groceries and medications
  • Offering encouragement for seniors to participate in physician-approved exercise programs
  • Providing cheerful companionship – somebody with whom to take walks, delight in favorite hobbies and interests, and to get more purposefully engaged in the world around them
  • And much more

Call us at 315-579-4663 to learn more about our customized in-home care for seniors and elevate quality of life for your loved one!


 October 6, 2017 by Dean Bellefeuille

The online world presents us with instantaneous answers to almost any question we’re able to imagine, learning opportunities beyond what we could have dreamed of a generation before, socialization enhancement, and much more. Among the most enjoyable web developments for those of us in the senior care industry has been brain training applications – the computerized brain games and puzzles that promote enhanced cognitive functioning. But how well do they actually succeed?

AARP has recently been studying these brain games, sharing results in a recent report, Engage Your Brain. Even though further research is needed to better comprehend the long-term benefit of brain-stimulating exercises, what we can say for certain is that neuron connections can be reinforced through learning, bringing about the brain’s ability to transform structure, function, and chemistry, a concept known as brain plasticity. This capability stays in place while the mind ages.

In one study, the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE), seniors’ cognitive functioning as well as memory revealed a fantastic improvement of close to 63% when utilizing online cognitive training programs. Additionally, elders who took part in the research exhibited a 48% less chance of causing car accidents, and could more efficiently manage such day-to-day responsibilities as money management, taking prescriptions, and more.

Dr. Michael Merzenich, co-founder of Posit Science (creators of the Brain HQ program), has managed a number of scientific trials to better identify the impact of specific online brain strengthening applications, specifically, whether cognitive decline can be minimized or slowed. Final results suggested a marked improvement in memory, with participants’ memory recall the same as those ten years their junior. In contrast, activities like crossword puzzles did not demonstrate a direct effect on cognitive decline, with the elderly who routinely engage in crossword puzzles still trailing young people in their degree of functioning. Even so, when compared to other seniors who didn’t work on crossword puzzles, functioning does appear a little enhanced. Dr. Merzenich clarifies it as, “Crossword puzzles might improve your cognitive function, but it’s equally likely that having good cognitive function encourages you to do crossword puzzles.” Dr. Merzenich discusses his studies in more depth in this TED Talk.

It is important for individuals to adequately investigate Internet-based programs that guarantee to boost a senior’s memory or cognitive functioning level, since there have been some companies recently who’ve been shown to falsely advertise such promises.

At Home Independent Living in Syracuse provides opportunities for seniors to maximize cognitive functioning through mentally stimulating games, reminiscing, socialization and much more. Contact us for in-home suggestions for your client or senior loved one!