Physical Therapy Exercise Guide Through App

Caregivers may have senior clients who need a knee or hip replacement as they age to maintain mobility and reduce pain. Recovery from a joint replacement surgery requires physical therapy as mandated by the overseeing doctor. While not meant to replace exercises provided by a physical therapist, the Pocket Physio app provides a library of images, descriptions and videos to help seniors accurately perform their exercises at home. 

The Pocket Physio app offers four types of exercises: knee, hip, hand and foot. Once a user selects a category, the app provides a choice of exercises based on how long ago the surgery occurred. The first page will explain the type of surgery the exercise corresponds with and the end goal of the exercise.

For example, one of the end goals of hand surgery is to be able to move from a complete extension of the hand to a full fist. A diagram on the main exercise page shows a progression of the movement using a set of four pictures and the videos below show the stages users go through to work towards the full fist. 

Detailed instructions accompany the videos within the app so that users of all learning types can accurately perform the exercises. Additional features of the app include the ability to set Reminders for when it's time to exercise or for a doctor's appointment. An additional Information tab in the app provides other basic tips for the recovery stage of surgery, such as how to walk with crutches up and down stairs, improve circulation, or get in and out of a car. 

The Information tab also contains tips for Pain Management. Senior caregivers should always advise their senior clients to closely follow instructions from their doctor regarding pain management and recovery from surgery, but in addition to pain killers, the app offers breathing relaxation exercises. Caregivers and their senior clients might find the exercises to be soothing when trying to fall asleep. 

The Pocket Physio app is available for Apple and Android platforms.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

WSJ: Research Debunks Myths of Aging

“I hate growing old,” says everyone, “but it’s better than the alternative.” We tend to see aging as this inevitable decline in physical and mental capability. In American society especially, we see the elderly as somehow lesser than their younger selves -- weaker, sadder, lonelier. On November 30, Anne Tergesen wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal, backed by some solid scientific evidence, that shows that everything we believe about aging may just be wrong.

Myth #1: The Elderly Tend to be More Depressed
Are seniors more depressed? Not according to the research. Participant of a long term study conducted by research scientists at Heidelberg University, among others, older people focus on positive rather than negative emotions. “Contrary to the popular view that youth is the best time of life, the peak of emotional life may not occur until well into the seventh decade,” Prof. Laura Carstensen, director of Stanford University’s Center on Longevity says.

Myth #2: Cognitive Decline is Inescapable
With age comes wisdom. With age come experience and knowledge. Barring dementia, studies show that older people tend to see problems from multiple perspectives. Also good news? Studies have shown that older adults can improve memory by learning new skills. Old dog --meet new tricks.

Myth #3: We Become Less Productive as We Age
Fewer older workers can retire early, thanks to our economy. According to the Department of Labor, workers 55 or older make up 22% of the American labor force. That’s up from 12% in 1992. Older workers have the edge over their younger counterparts due to experience and tend to make fewer errors in their work.

Myth #4: The Aged are More Prone to Loneliness
The elderly have shown that when it comes to people they feel close to, they prefer quality over quantity. Closer ties with loved ones means that seniors value their inner circle more and shed the relationships they find problematic. Of course, loneliness is still a problem for some elderly, especially if they are isolated but, on average, research shows that older adults are less lonely than younger adults.

Myth #5: Creativity Declines With Age
This one I love: academic studies dating far back into the 19th century show that many artists are most prolific in their 40s, 50s and 60s. David Galenson, a professor at the University of Chicago, conducted research that showed artists who “rely on wisdome, which increases with age” take years to perfect their style. He cites Mark Twain, Paul Cézanne, Frank Lloyd Wright, Robert Frost and Virginia Woolf as just a few of the artists who did their best work later in life.

Myth #6: More Exercise Produces Better Results
While getting some exercise is key to healthy aging, too vigorous activity can cause “overuse injury” to the heart. Dr. James O’Keefe, professor of medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City recommends sticking to a “moderate cardiovascular workout of no more than 30 miles a week or 50 to 60 minutes of vigorous exercise a day, and taking at least one day off each week.”

We here at Caregiverlist are firm believers in healthy aging. With proper nutrition, exercise, and preventative measures, we know that we can enjoy life much longer than ever before. And it doesn’t hurt to follow the advice of the late Ms. Besse Cooper who made it to 116 years old. During an interview with the Guinness Book of World Records, when asked her advice on living a long, healthy life Ms. Cooper responded, “I mind my own business. And I don’t eat junk food.”

Take the time to read the full Wall St. Journal article, along with the substantiating data.

Basic Exercise Plan for Caregivers with Run 5K App

Maintaining a consistent workout plan can be difficult in the busy lives of senior caregivers, but exercise plays an important part in caregiver stress relief. For caregivers who have a tight schedule, the Run 5K app offers a chance for a flexible and effective workout, starting at a beginners level and working up to being able to run a whole 5K. 

Cardio workouts help prevent future heart issues and keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels down, among several other health benefits. The Couch to 5K program used in the Run 5K app sets caregivers up for three runs per week over nine weeks total. Users start out with a five minute walking warm up and then during the first week, they alternate between jogging for one minute and walking for a minute and a half.

After the first three workouts, the plan changes to a minute and a half of jogging alternating with two minutes of walking. The length of time spent jogging increases as the users gets further along in the program. Eventually, caregivers work up to being able to run the whole 5K distance without any walking breaks. 

The app uses the GPS system on a user's phone to track how far they've run during the course of their workout. At the beginning, users may not complete a whole 5K distance as they're alternating between walking and running. The app also uses voice cues to tell users when to start or stop walking and it allows users to play music from their iTunes within the app if they like to listen to something while they run.

Caregivers can run outdoors if the weather is amenable to their needs, or on a track at the gym. As an added bonus, the workout data including how many calories were burned can be extracted from the app and sent to the Apple Health app if caregivers use that to track calories for a day. If caregivers own a bluetooth heart rate monitor, they can also allow the app to monitor that during their run for more insight into individual health. 

The Run 5K app is available for Apple platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Caregiver Stress Relief With 7-Minute Workout App

Finding the time to exercise on a regular basis can be difficult in the busy schedule of a senior caregiver, but maintaining your health doesn't necessarily mean you need to always find an hour to spend at the gym three times a week. The 7 Minute Workout App coaches users through a series of exercises for less than a minute each that add up to a whole body workout that can be done in your living room. 

Exercise can help caregivers burn off some of their extra stress from the day and these workout are simple enough that they can be done before or after a long day on the job. The app features one basic whole-body workout routine for free, and then users can pay for access to additional workouts if they like the first one. The whole-body workout includes crunches, jumping jacks, wallsits, squats, lunges and side planks for less than a minute each with quick rest periods between each. 

A narrator talks users through each activity so that they don't have to stare at their phone screen for the duration of the activity. If a user is unfamiliar with a specific exercise, such as triceps dips, then a multipart image on the screen shows the activity. For triceps dips, it shows a person balancing on a diagonal with their arms on a chair, back to the floor, and then a second image shows them lowering their arms so their elbows are bent. Caregivers can do these quick exercise routines at home, on a break while on the caregiving job or anywhere else that they have ten minutes free and access to a wall and a chair to use. 

As an added bonus, upon successfully completing the exercise the app shares a celebratory coupon with users at some levels. After the first workout, it shared a coupon for nutritional granola bars. 

The Seven Minute Workout app is available for Apple and Android products.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

MapMyRun App Suggests Run Routes, Tracks Progress: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Exercise, particularly cardio, provides stress relief and fitness for senior caregivers to maintain health. The MapMyRun app makes it easy for anyone to start running and track their progress over time by offering suggested routes using GPS and tracking distance run, time and calories burned. 

Running provides a great exercise option because it allows the user to set the pace of the activity, so caregivers can start out their training regime by alternating between walking and running and then build up to more vigorous and continual running as their endurance improves. Caregivers can select a suggested running route from those built into the app with set mile lengths such as roughly 2.5 or 5 miles, or they can simply start running and the GPS function on their phone will pick up on the route as they run. 

The Live Tracking option that can be enabled allows users and their friends within the app to see the progress of the run as it takes place. Once a run is complete, the app provides stats including overall distance, duration and pace. Users also have the ability to enter a run into the system after it has occurred if they were unable to use their phone to log it as they ran. 

Listening to music during a workout can help motivate the runner, so the app also allows users to select a playlist to play while they run without having to switch back and forth from MapMyRun to the music app on their phone. Once users begin to log runs on a regular basis, they can look at their log of runs and see how their health and endurance have improved. The paid version of the app also includes extra features, such as a coaching function to help encourage runners and assist them in getting the most out of their workout.

MapMyRun is available for Apple and Android platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Daily Activities Can Help Stave Off Alzheimer's and Dementia

Exercise for seniors is a good idea. It promotes healthy aging, improves health and increases longevity. Now a recent study published in the journal Neurology, shows that exercise can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, even in those over 80 years old.

We’re not talking about lifting weights or running for miles. Simple daily chores such as cooking, cleaning, washing dishes — even moving around more, showed that active seniors are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than their less active counterparts.

According to Dr. Aron S. Buchman, lead author of the study and associate professor of neurological sciences at Rush, “These results provide support for efforts to encourage all types of physical activity even in very old adults who might not be able to participate in formal exercise, but can still benefit from a more active lifestyle.”

Doctors at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center monitored the daily activity of 716 people without dementia by use of a device called an actigraph, on their nondominant wrist for 10 days. All activity was recorded and subjects were given annual cognitive tests for the next 3.5 years.

Results showed that those test subjects in the bottom 10 percent of daily physical activity were more than twice as likely (2.3 times) to develop Alzheimer’s disease as people in the top 10 percent of daily activity.

So much of the fear associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia comes from the feeling that one has no control over the disease. This study gives the hope that there is something we can do to prevent the onset of those devastating conditions. My 82-year-old mother still washes her kitchen floor every other day, sometimes on her hands and knees. She refuses my help, insisting that it’s her activity that has kept “Old Timer’s disease” at bay. It looks like once again, mom may be right.

The Study on Frailty in Aging (SOFIA) is a sub-study of the ongoing Rush Memory and Aging Project. Rush is still actively recruiting participants for the SOFIA study. Those interested in becoming part of the Rush Memory and Aging Project and SOFIA can contact study coordinator Tracey Nowakowski at (312) 942-2214. Participants must be 65 years of age or older with no previous diagnosis of dementia.

If you are already caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, Caregiverlist has partnered with the leading producer of training videos for the caregiving industry, Terra Nova Films, to assist our caregiving community with understanding how to care for the physical, emotional and psychosocial needs of older adults.

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Chicago Marathon: Older Runners and Wheelchairs

We know that exercise is good for our health, at all ages.  But if you are ever finding yourself thinking of excuses for why you shouldn't exercise, let these Chicago Marathon finishers provide you with some inspiration.

Aussie Kurt Fearnley won the men's wheelchair division and set a course record, too.  This was his second year to win the wheelchair division of the Chicago Marathon.  He was born with lumbar sacral agenesis, a condition that paralyzed his legs.

Another finisher was octogenarian Arturo Guzman, 84, who says he has been a runner all of his life.  He gets up at 5 a.m. every morning to go for an hour long run.

Yes, it must be true that you can build muscle mass at all ages.  The secret is to keep it moving!

And to find out about how to enter next year's marathon, visit:   www.chicagomarathon.com


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New Federal Exercise Guidelines

Today the U.S. Government released guidelines for physical activities that offer health benefits to Americans, including seniors.  This is a first from the feds.

And, the bar has been raised.  The guidelines suggest adults should exercise at moderate-intensity for 2 1/2 hours each week along with 1 1/4 hours of vigorous-intensity exercise to get the most health benefits.  Moderate-intensity includes brisk walking and vigorous-intensity means stepping it up a notch to running or swimming laps. Adults includes senior adults, which the guidelines refer to as "Older Americans".

This means both Caregivers and their senior clients can go for a walk each day to meet the guidelines, as older adults also will experience health benefits from exercising.

The guidelines suggest adults should include muscle-strengthening (resistance) activities at moderate- or high-intensity levels, which includes free weights, resistance bands, or exercises which use body weight such as sit-ups and push-ups.

Older Americans should follow the guidelines if they are able. If not, they should be as active as their physical condition allows. Exercises to improve balance are also suggested.

Physical exercise can also improve the emotional and mental outlook for seniors.  Caregivers can find these new guidelines on the government website.

 

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People of All Ages & Physical Conditions Benefit from Exercise

Use it or lose it.  Older adults can build muscle mass just as quickly as younger adults.

While it is true that there are many age-related illnesses, such as Osteoporosis, Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease which can have a negative impact on physical capabilities, it is also true that an inactive lifestyle leads to deterioration of strength, balance and flexibility.

In some countries without the modern conveniences we have here in the U.S., seniors maintain their abilities to function unassisted much longer.  In many parts of China and Africa, for instance, there are no toilets.  There is just a hole in the ground.  The one advantage this provides is that people must truly squat from their knees and then standup each time they visit the toilet.  This is sort of a forced way to continue to maintain strength and flexibility in the legs.  Their aging populations maintain an active lifestyle much longer than we do in the U.S.

The National Institute of Health provides exercise guidelines for older adults and also provides information on scientific studies which show that staying physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay many diseases and disabilities. Even moderate exercise and physical activity can improve the health of older adults who are frail or have diseases that accompany aging.

The four areas exercise can help are:  strength, balance, flexibility and endurance.  Check out NIH's website for more information and videos.

I know it isn't always easy to convince Mom and Dad to exercise.  My girlfriend purchased a health club membership for her parents and they told her they were going.  Everytime she called she would ask them how their workouts went and they would tell her all was going well.  Then after about 6 months her brother finally confided in her that he wasn't sure they were really going.  She called the health club and found out they had only been twice.  As she says, at least she tried.  If you can convince someone to stay with an exercise program for just a couple weeks, they will start to experience the positive benefits which will encourage them to stay with their program.

 

 

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