Monday, April 25, 2016

Technology and Seniors

Seniors are increasingly tech saavy
As Baby Boomers grows older, they are changing the face of retirement in unexpected ways. The Boomer generation, having borne the brunt of caring for their own aging parents, doesn't want to burden their adult children with their own care-giving, but they often find the daily work of cooking, cleaning, and maintenance of a house is too demanding. As a result, many are making the move into retirement or independent living communities, a trend that is only going to grow the Boomer generation has just begun to hit their seventies. SeniorHomes.com recently posted an article describing how retirement communities are evolving rapidly to fit the needs of Boomer residents. And the number one item was technology.

Reporting results from,"A recent survey conducted by Mather LifeWays with Life Services of Illinois in late 2008" Senior Homes writes: "Independent living is at the top of the list for most seniors and most are serious about technology. That means that senior living communities must offer state-of-the-art systems for computer-savvy seniors. Those leaving the workforce today have become accustomed to and very adept at building their careers and a portion of their personal lives around computers. Seniors want services available that will allow them to maintain independence."

We couldn't agree more! While stereotypes depict seniors as unconnected, lacking tech saavy, disdainful or even fearful of new technology, reality is that seniors are increasingly online. Research from the Pew Trust from 2012 revealed that 75% of seniors aged 65-70 use the Internet; 68% of those 70-75 do; and nearly half those between 75-80 do.  Higher income and more educated seniors are even more likely to use the internet. Among seniors with an annual household income of $75,000 or more 90% go online while 87% of seniors with a college degree go online. As a younger generation moves into retirement, independent and assisted living communities, clearly they are going to look for facilities that have modern, state of the art technology tools.

Sources:
http://www.seniorhomes.com/p/senior-living-communities/
http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/04/03/older-adults-and-technology-use/
http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/04/03/usage-and-adoption/





Friday, April 22, 2016

Use It or Lose It

older runners
Regular Exercise Improves
Learning and Memory Abilities
We generally think of the phrase "use it or lose it" with reference to muscle strength, spelling ability, sports skills, or professional knowledge, but new research is showing a cross-linkage between exercise and memory.  Researchers are discovering that if you don't use your muscles, you'll not only lose strength but you are also impairing your memory capacity at the same time.

Scientists at Kings College London studied 324 female twins over the course of ten years and found that those who had the strongest legs at the start of the study had better mental skills a decade later than their less fit siblings. Indeed, according to lead researcher Claire Steves, leg power had a stronger correlation with thinking, learning and memory skills than any other lifestyle factor.

Another recent study that followed men and women aged 60 to 80 over the course of a year found that a short walk three times a week was correlated with size increases in the regions of the brain linked to planning and memory.

While researchers haven't determined all of the mechanisms by which exercise impacts mental health there are several theories that help explain the correlation.  Aerobic exercise has been shown to increase the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with learning and memory. Other studies have found that when you use your muscles, they release hormones that can encourage nerve cells to grow, strengthening connections within the brain. Another theory has been that regularly increasing the flow of oxygen rich blood through physical activity helps prevent the build-up of the proteins which cause Alzheimer's.

Our Community Crier social software helps residents of retirement communities, and independent and assisted living communities stay fit by connecting them to opportunities to get active where they live, whether it's an aerobics class, the Saturday afternoon swing dance or a walking group in their community. With seamless event registration, reminders, and the ability to see who else is coming and to invite friends, we remove many of the barriers to participation that keep seniors at home.



Sources:
Dr. Claire Steves' research paper on leg strength in Gerentology
Dr. Kirk Erickson's paper on exercise and hippocampus growth
More information on exercise and hormones
Research on Blood flow and proteins



Monday, April 18, 2016

Not As Prescribed: It Might Not be Alzheimer's

As we get older, our brains change. Many of us struggle to remember names of actors or authors we could once pull up in a second. Sometimes we get confused about what year events happened, or how old our adult children are now. The perfect word that used to come to mind so easily takes minutes or days to swim up out of the depths of our minds. The keys never seem to be where we thought we left them.

It's difficult to know how much of this is due to the normal aging process and what are the signs of something more serious. Many fear that common difficulties are signals of incipient Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, while others dismiss serious mental impairment as nothing more than getting older. With so little known about the senior brain and the mechanisms of dementia, many older adults are left worried, depressed, or confused as to what is happening to them and what to expect in their future.

 A new book from Dr. Harry Haroutunian, Not As Prescribed: Recognizing and Facing Alcohol and Drug Misuse in Older Adults, makes the case that in many instances symptoms of aging such as memory loss, falling, or dry mouth, are actually symptoms of a bad reaction to a drug or harmful drug combinations. In particular,  Dr. Haroutunian asserts that many memory issues are likely due to drug side effects.

Dr. Haroutunian recommends an annual drug audit for older adults, especially those taking multiple medications prescribed by different doctors, in which they take all their medications to one of their doctors to do a medical reconciliation. This process helps identify any potential interactions and possible multiplication of effects. While not all memory issues are due to drug side effects, Dr. Haroutunian maintains that many problems could be eliminated by more careful monitoring and more judicious use of physical therapy, diet adjustment, and exercise rather than drugs to solve common problems.

The book also takes a hard look at how older adults can become addicted to pain killers, or may be self-medicating with drugs or alcohol.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Strong Social Ties Key to Senior Happiness and Health

Exercise Class
Sharing Activities Promotes Health, Happiness, and Longevity
We all need friends. They enrich our lives, participating in our interests and introducing us to new ones, sharing our joys and sorrows, standing by us in good times and hard ones, offering a sympathetic ear, a helping hand or a congratulatory hug when most needed.

Research has shown that seniors are happier and healthier when they have a robust social life, including family relationships, a close confidant or two, and a circle of friends they like to do things with. A strong social network not only offers health benefits in areas that have an obvious connection to social ties such as depression or blood pressure levels, but also in a whole array of ailments and disabilities from Alzheimer’s to cardiovascular health, from arthritis to osteoporosis to cancer. Indeed, research out of Australia has demonstrated that strong friendships are the most important factor in increased lifespan, more so even than close family relationships.

Unfortunately, maintaining an active social life can be challenging for many seniors. Retirement and relocation often disrupt previous social ties. Decreased mobility can impede social activities. And as we age our social circle decreases through bereavement.

Community Crier Social Software helps seniors in independent and assisted living communities stay connected and find activities to share with their friends improving quality of life, health and happiness. Email Doug@crieronline.com and we’ll be glad to show you how!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Welcome!

loveWelcome to The Community Crier Blog. This is the place you can come to find information about our products and upgrades to them. We will also be posting on issues of importance to our users — residents of retirement communities and their loved ones, as well as staff. We look forward to getting to know you!