August 2010 Posts

Aerobic exercise can keep older adults' hearts healthy.

Older adults with type 2 diabetes can improve the elasticity in their arteries and reduce risk of heart disease and stroke with aerobic exercise, a study has found. Dr. Kenneth Madden, a geriatric specialist at the University of British Columbia, examined how increased activity might affect stiffness of the arteries.

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Exercise May Stave Off Mental Decline

Exercise appears to help prevent and improve mild cognitive impairment, two new studies show. Researchers found that people who did moderate physical activity in midlife or later had a reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment and that six months of high-intensity aerobic exercise improved cognitive function in people with mild cognitive impairment. Mild cognitive impairment is an in-between state between the normal changes in thinking, learning and memory changes that come with age and dementia, one of the studies explained. Up to 15 percent of people with mild cognitive impairment develop dementia each year, compared with 1 percent or 2 percent of the general population. The first study included 1,324 dementia-free volunteers taking part in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. The participants completed a physical exercise questionnaire and were assessed and classified as having normal cognition (1,126) or mild cognitive impairment (198). Those who said they did moderate exercise -- such as swimming, brisk walking, yoga, aerobics or strength training -- during midlife were 39 percent less likely to have mild cognitive impairment, while those who did moderate exercise later in life were 32 percent less likely to have the condition.

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Older adults who are interested in becoming physically active, restarting a lapsed exercise regimen or getting more benefit from their current exercise program can check out the updated Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults topic on at NIHSeniorHealth is a health and wellness Web site designed especially for older adults from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), both part of the National Institutes of Health. Visitors to the site will find sample exercises from the four categories of physical activity recommended for older adults: endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. Colorful images accompanied by easy-to-follow instructions describe how to do the exercises safely and effectively. Videos of NIH institute directors performing their preferred forms of physical activity and first-person accounts from active adults serve as inspiring reminders of the positive impact that physical activity can have as people grow older.

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Alzheimer's Foundation of America Updates Teleconference for Dementia Caregivers

To meet the growing needs of the dementia community, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America has updated its free, educational teleconference service to encourage both family members and professionals caring for individuals with Alzheimer's disease or a related illness to take advantage of its expert presentations and support network. Called Care Connection, the teleconference will now include presentations about dementia that will interest both family and professional caregivers, and it will be held during a time that should appeal to both audiences. It links up to 150 caregivers from anywhere in the country for each one-hour session. Under the new format, AFA will now host Care Connection on the second Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, beginning August 12. Caregivers can call in toll-free at 877-232-2992; the guest identification number is 271004#. AFA will archive sessions on its Web site at

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Approximately 2.5 million people under the age of 65u almost one in four (23.0 percent) of Illinois's non-elderly populationuhave a diagnosed pre-existing condition that could lead to a denial of coverage in the individual health insurance market, according to a report released today by the consumer health organization Families USA. They are among the 57.2 million people nationwide who could potentially face discriminatory health coverage practices. Once the newly enacted health reform law is implemented, these Illinoisans will gain significant protections: The new law prohibits insurance companies from denying health coverage to people due to pre-existing conditions, charging discriminatory premiums based on health status, and excluding benefits that would treat their health conditions

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Can elderly Latinos who have limited mobility and face elevated risks of disability dance their way to better health? A University of Illinois at Chicago researcher wants to find out. David Xavier Marquez, assistant professor of kinesiology and nutrition, recruited 13 Latinos, all 55 or older and who have done little or no exercise the past year, into a 12-week dance class. They are learning merengue, cha cha cha, bachata and salsa. Marquez hopes they will adopt this enjoyable physical activity, improving their health along the way. "It's a culturally appropriate physical activity for Latinos," Marquez said. "Many grew up dancing at family gatherings and other celebrations. But many don't have the opportunity to do it now." Marquez is nearing the end of a pilot study involving qualified volunteers living in the South Chicago/East Side/Hegewisch/South Deering communities where about 35 percent of the older population is Latino, and walking the neighborhood for exercise can be risky or treacherous, especially in wintry conditions.

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Preparing for the Baby Boomers: Healthcare

Across the country, baby boomers are reaching retirement age. And while they may not be leaving the workplace en masse, as some experts had previously predicted, their transition from labor to leisure creates unique challenges for the nation, particularly in the area of healthcare. Here, area hospital administrators weigh in on how these challenges affect us in northeast Indiana and offer possible solutions to meet the healthcare needs of this aging population. The Challenge Estimated at 77 million, the sheer number of boomers in the workplace today makes the job of replacing them a daunting task, given the comparatively small number of Generation Xers who stand to fill their shoes. This challenge is particularly salient in healthcare, where patients' medical needs intensify as they grow older.

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2010 Baby Boomer Mindset List

Continuum Crew, the nation's only think tank and fully integrated communications firm focused on the mature consumer, released today its first Baby Boomer Mindset List. Baby Boomers (Boomers) are defined as the generation born between 1946 and 1964, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The list is released in May, which is Older Americans Month as observed by the Administration on Aging (AoA) within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The theme issued by the AoA for this year is 'Age Strong! Live Long!' to recognize the diversity and vitality of today's older Americans who span three generations.

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Baby Boomer Survey "Age is Nothing; Attitude is Everything"

"Baby Boomers have a much different mindset toward growing older than earlier generations," said Deborah Blake, Del Webb creative director. "Feeling older is just a state of mind for many of them - one that most have no interest in. Many consider themselves healthy and active, primed for the next part of their lives with no plans to slow down anytime soon. They want to do it all as they enter this next phase, from working longer to trying Zumba and acting classes to volunteering their time."

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Tailor education on heart disease to women

While heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for both men and women in the United States, every year since 1984, more women have died of cardiovascular health problems than men, according to statistics tracked by the American Heart Association. Heart disease is more deadly in women, says Andersen. Once a woman is diagnosed, she will be more likely to die from the disease than a man, she adds. Many factors contribute to this. Women are often diagnosed and treated later in the disease process. In addition, treatment methods have been proven in men but may not be as effective in women, she says. Women are treated less aggressively as well, she adds.

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