Winter Wellness for SeniorsBy Patrick Troumbley, MS, CSCSBalancing the 8 Pillars of Wellness for Seniors in Winter: Evidence-Based Insights Introduction As winter descends, the well-being of seniors becomes a paramount concern. Aging individuals must navigate the unique challenges that colder temperatures and reduced daylight hours bring. This article delves into the intricacies of balancing the 8 pillars of wellness for seniors during the winter season, substantiating insights with scholarly references. Physical Wellness Physical wellness, a cornerstone of senior health, demands careful attention during winter. Maintaining physical activity is essential for avoiding the adverse effects of inactivity and cold weather. A study by de Rezende et al. (2014) emphasizes the importance of regular physical activity for seniors, citing its role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Indoor exercises like yoga and chair exercises, as recommended by the American Heart Association (2021), offer viable options to stay active during winter. Mental Wellness The winter months often usher in feelings of isolation and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). A study by Melrose (2015) underscores the prevalence of SAD among older adults. Engaging in cognitive stimulation activities can alleviate symptoms. Seniors can find solace in local clubs, virtual classes, and community events, as advocated by Forrester (2017), who highlights the significance of social engagement in mitigating SAD symptoms. Emotional WellnessEmotional wellness hinges on effective emotional regulation. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques are integral components of emotional wellness. A systematic review by Rusch et al. (2019) supports the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions in reducing stress and anxiety. Seniors can access mindfulness resources and guidance on emotional wellness through organizations such as Seniors Blue Book Utah. Social WellnessMaintaining an active social life is pivotal for seniors. The adverse effects of social isolation on senior well-being have been extensively documented (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2015). Seniors are encouraged to participate in local clubs and community events, as promoted by Senior Expos, to foster social connections. Intellectual Wellness Intellectual wellness necessitates ongoing learning and mental stimulation. Seniors can embrace hobbies like reading and learning new languages to foster intellectual growth. A study by Verghese et al. (2003) associates intellectual engagement with a reduced risk of cognitive decline in aging individuals. Occupational Wellness Occupational wellness transcends traditional work and relates to engaging in purposeful activities. Volunteering, as explored in a study by Okun et al. (2016), offers seniors a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Seniors can explore volunteer opportunities through organizations like Seniors Blue Book Utah. Environmental Wellness Winter introduces environmental challenges, such as slippery sidewalks and heating concerns. Seniors must ensure their living environments are safe and comfortable. The National Institute on Aging (2021) provides valuable tips for creating senior-friendly environments. Spiritual Wellness Spiritual wellness revolves around finding meaning and purpose in life. Engaging in spiritual practices, such as meditation and prayer, can provide solace and inner peace. A study by Carlson et al. (2016) explores the positive effects of mindfulness-based spiritual practices on well-being. Conclusion Balancing the 8 pillars of wellness is paramount for senior well-being, especially during the winter months. Evidence-based insights emphasize the need for regular physical activity, cognitive stimulation, social engagement, and emotional regulation. Seniors can access resources and information from reputable organizations like Seniors Blue Book Utah and Senior Expos to aid in their pursuit of wellness. By integrating these scholarly insights into their winter routines, seniors can not only survive but thrive during this season, enjoying a life marked by health, happiness, and purpose. References: American Heart Association. (2021). Recommendations for Physical Activity in Older Adults. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-older-adults Carlson, L. E., et al. (2016). Mindfulness-based interventions for coping with cancer. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1373(1), 5-12.de Rezende, L. F. M., et al. (2014). Physical activity and preventable premature deaths from non-communicable diseases in Brazil. Journal of Public Health, 36(3), 514-522. Forrester, A. (2017). Seasonal affective disorder in older adults: improving mood and well-being through leisure interventions. Activities, Adaptation & Aging, 41(1), 39-53. Holt-Lunstad, J., et al. (2015). Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for mortality: A meta-analytic review. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(2), 227-237.Melrose, S. (2015). Seasonal affective disorder: An overview of assessment and treatment approaches. Depression Research and Treatment, 2015, 1-6.National Institute on Aging. (2021). Winter Safety Tips for Older Adults. https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/infographics/winter-safety-tips-older-adults Okun, M. A., et al. (2016). Volunteering by older adults and risk of mortality: A meta-analysis. Psychology and Aging, 31(6), 634-645. Rusch, H. L., et al. (2019). A randomized controlled trial of the effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on posttraumatic growth among survivors of interpersonal violence. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 32(6), 936-946. Verghese, J., et al. (2003). Leisure activities and the risk of dementia in the elderly. New England Journal of Medicine, 348(25), 2508-2516.Patrick Troumbley, MS, CSCS
In todays digital age, social media is a great way for seniors to stay connected to friends and family. With the right guidance, seniors can join platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube to create connections online. Although some may be hesitant to start using social media, it is important that they understand how beneficial it can be for finding new ways to connect with those they care about.Getting Started with Social MediaFor those who have never used social media before, the first step is to find what will work best for them. There are many platforms available for seniors to choose from; however, the most popular options are generally Facebook and YouTube. Both of these sites offer easy-to-navigate interfaces that allow users to quickly get up and running without needing any prior experience. Additionally, both sites have dedicated support teams that can answer questions or provide help if needed.Once signed up, seniors can start sharing messages with friends and family members all over the world in just a few clicks. Through instant messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, seniors can stay in touch with loved ones no matter where they are located. This makes it easier than ever before for seniors to stay connected even when they cannot physically meet up in person due to distance or other factors such as health concerns.Building Connections OnlineIn addition to connecting with those who are already part of their lives, social media also provides an opportunity for seniors to make new connections. For example, on Facebook, there are numerous groups available for people in similar life stages or situations who want to share experiences or ask questions from other members of the group. This type of networking not only provides valuable knowledge but offers a great way for seniors to build relationships with others outside of their immediate circle of friends and family members.Social media is an invaluable tool that allows seniors to stay connected and make meaningful connections onlineno matter where they live! From staying in touch with loved ones through instant messaging apps to joining interest groups on Facebook and YouTube dedicated specifically towards baby boomers or adults aged 50+, social media offers a plethora of opportunities for anyone looking to strengthen their online presence while enjoying the convenience of connecting virtually from anywhere in the world! While staying active on social media is fun and rewarding, there are certain risks that all users should take into accountespecially when it comes to seniors. Read on to learn more about the potential pitfalls of social media for seniors and how best to protect yourself online.Keep Information PrivateWhen creating a profile, its important to make sure your personal information is kept private and that your passwords are secure. Sharing too much information or using weak passwords could leave you vulnerable to hackers or scammers.Be Careful Who You Interact WithAnother important safety measure is being careful who you interact with online. In todays digital world, it can be difficult to know if someone is who they say they are--which means you should always exercise caution before engaging with strangers online or accepting friend requests from people you dont know in real life. Keep Your Software Up-to-DateFinally, one of the most effective ways for seniors to stay safe online is by making sure their software is up-to-date at all times. This includes things like anti-virus software, firewalls, browsers, etc., which help protect against malicious attacks and hackers trying to gain access to sensitive data or personal information stored on your devices. Make sure all your devices have the latest version of any necessary software installed so you can rest easy knowing your data is safe and secure at all times.Social media has many benefits for seniorsfrom staying connected with loved ones near and far away to exploring new interests allowing everyone to stay safe when using these networks. By understanding the risks associated with using social media platforms, carefully monitoring who interacts with you online, and keeping all software up-to-date, seniors can better protect themselves while still enjoying all the perks that come along with being active on social media!
June is Alzheimers & Brain Awareness Month: Learn 10 Ways to Love Your BrainThis June, during Alzheimers and Brain Awareness Month, join the Alzheimers Association to help raise awareness of this devastating disease. You can start by learning and sharing 10 Ways to Love your Brain.Nearly seven million people in the United States, including 34,000 Utahns, are living with Alzheimers disease. The seventh-leading cause of death and the only leading disease without a prevention or cure, Alzheimers kills more Americans every year than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. When possible, combine these habits to achieve maximum benefit for the brain and body:1. Break a sweat: Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body. Several studies have found an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline.2. Hit the books: Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, take a class at a local college, community center or online.3. Butt out: Evidence shows that smoking increases risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce that risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked. 4. Follow your heart: Risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes negatively impact your cognitive health. Take care of your heart, and your brain just might follow.5. Heads up: Brain injury can raise risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Wear a seat belt, use a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike, and take steps to prevent falls.6. Fuel up right: Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Although research on diet and cognitive function is limited, certain diets, including Mediterranean andMediterranean-DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), may contribute to risk reduction.7. Catch some ZZZs: Not getting enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems with memory and thinking.8. Take care of your mental health: Some studies link a history of depression with increased risk of cognitive decline. Seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns. Also, try to manage stress.9. Stump yourself: Challenge and activate your mind. Build a piece of furniture. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic. Play games, such as bridge, that make you think strategically. Challenging your mind may have short- and long-term benefits for your brain.10. Buddy up: Staying socially engaged may support brain health. Pursue social activities meaningful to you. Find ways to be part of your community if you love animals, consider volunteering at a local shelter. Enjoy singing? Join a local choir or help at anafterschool program. Or, just share activities with friends and family. Its never too late or too early to start thinking about your brains health making healthy choices at any age is beneficial. Visit alz.org/10ways to learn more.