Video games provide entertainment and various genres to engage people of all interests. Did you know that they also hold potential benefits for seniors?
Improved cognitive function
Recent studies from Montreal focused on the effects of video games on the aging brain. Using MRIs before the study and again at the end, researchers established that doing puzzles or playing games of logic positively affected the hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with memory.
Of the three groups in the study, one group played 3-D video games, one did no particular activity, and one took piano lessons, a different type of learning. The subjects who played video games saw their hippocampus increase in volume more than the other two groups. This benefit may transfer to other areas of life where tasks require similar cognitive effort.
Mental and physical benefits
Depending on the type of game, the benefits can vary. Playing video games improved fine motor skills and shortened reaction times. Beyond memory and cognitive function, certain games improved attention spans, critical thought, and emotional health while simultaneously increasing the ability to do multiple tasks. Other observations included increased physical activity, which has its own benefits.
Visit a gaming or electronics store in your area to start building your video game library.
Reduced mobility: Four tips for choosing a walk-in bathtub
Walk-in bathtubs are designed for people with mobility issues. They come with a watertight door and tend to be equipped with a bench and grab bars. Here are four tips to help you choose the right model for your needs.
1. Consider how it opens
The door to a walk-in bathtub can open either inward or outward. If you’re in a wheelchair or use a walker, look for a model with a door that swings outward.
2. Think long-term
When choosing a bathtub, keep in mind that your mobility may further diminish as you age. Therefore, you may want to select a model with safety features that will come in handy later.
3. Discern your needs
Determine whether you’ll use your bath daily or only occasionally. If you plan on using your tub often, ask yourself if you prefer sitting or lying down and if you want jets for a therapeutic experience.
4. Reflect on the filling system
Walk-in bathtubs often take a long time to fill and must be completely emptied before you can get out. Consequently, you may want a model with a quick-fill system and two drains.
Before making your choice, consult a professional to help you evaluate your needs.
Five winter hazards seniors should know about
Seniors are at risk for injury and illness in winter, and as the days get colder, it’s important for them to be aware of potential hazards. Here are five threats the elderly face in winter.
1. Hypothermia and frostbite
Seniors lose body heat more quickly than younger adults. Plus, thyroid issues, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and some medications make it difficult for them to detect when they’re getting too cold. Therefore, seniors should make sure to bundle up before heading out¬doors and avoid being in the cold for long periods.
Seniors have a high risk of falling, and it’s essential they take extra precautions in winter. They should avoid walking at night, wear boots with non-skid soles, ensure steps and sidewalks are clear of snow, and place an ice pick or rubber tip on the end of their cane.
3. Car accidents
Roads can be treacherous in winter. If driving, seniors should have winter tires on their vehicles. In addition, they should keep a charged cell phone in their vehicle as well as an emergency kit with jumper cables, blankets, and first aid supplies.
4. House fires
Using space heaters, candles and fireplaces increase the house fire risk. To prevent this, ensure heaters are placed sufficiently away from furniture and curtains and never leave a fire unattended. Additionally, smoke alarms should be inspected regularly.
5. Carbon monoxide poisoning
Turning on your furnace could trigger a carbon monoxide leak. It’s a colorless, odorless gas, so you need a carbon monoxide detector. Symptoms of CO poisoning include a dull headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, and nausea.
Seniors can stay safe throughout the season by being aware of winter hazards and taking steps to prevent mishaps.
Dysphagia is a health condition that affects many seniors. Here’s what you should know about it.
People with dysphagia have difficulty swallowing. This may lead to:
• Choking when trying to swallow
• Feeling like something is stuck in the throat
• Excessive salivation
The symptoms of dysphagia can range from mild to severe and, in some cases, make swallowing virtually impossible. The inability to eat can also have significant implications, including unhealthy weight loss and malnutrition. Breathing problems may also arise.
Dysphagia can be caused by various health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), dementia, stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), and lung or throat cancer. Difficulty swallowing may also occur temporarily in people who suffer from pharyngitis.
There are products available that can make mealtimes safer for people with dysphagia. In particular, some companies offer foods that are a suitable consistency for easy swallowing. Plus, specialized glasses, spoons, and straws can be purchased to assist with swallowing.
Various exercises and medications may also be prescribed to treat dysphagia.
If you’re having trouble swallowing, consult your doctor to identify the cause of the problem and find a solution.
Should you adopt a pet when you retire?
Has your schedule freed up since retiring? Are you considering inviting a furry friend into your home? Here are a few things to consider before deciding whether adopting a pet is a good idea.
Owning a pet has many benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety, lessened feelings of loneliness, increased self-esteem, and a general sense of well-being. For example, owning a dog helps raise your level of social engagement and physical activity because of walks and visits to the park. These changes can have a significant impact on your health.
Things to consider
Whatever type of animal you like, it’s essential to reflect on the long-term implications. Consider, for example, a dog’s life expectancy and your plans. Consider whether you may sell your home, move into a smaller space, or travel. Determine who can care for your companion if you can’t take it with you.
Finally, choose an animal that complements your level of autonomy. If you want a dog and you’re not very active, you probably shouldn’t get an energetic puppy that’s strong enough to cause you to lose your balance. You may find suitable companionship in a cat, hamster, or fish if you have reduced mobility.
Do you want to give an abandoned pet a second chance? Visit an animal shelter in your area.
4 hair care tips for white hair
Over time, your hair follicles produce less melanin, the pigment that gives your hair its color. Besides turning your hair white or gray, less melanin also changes its texture and condition. Here are four tips to take care of your hair as it changes.
1. Don’t pluck it. Pulling out your gray hairs can damage the follicles. This results in coarse or frizzy hair.
2. Give more thought to hydration. Graying hair needs more moisture than younger hair. If your hair is mostly gray, choose products with extra moisturizing properties. Add a hair mask or oil to your hair care routine if needed.
3. Use a specialty shampoo. About once per month, use a product designed to prevent your hair from turning yellow. The sun and pollution are two factors that can accelerate hair discoloration.
4. Protect your hair. White and gray hair are more sensitive to the elements, like the sun, chlorine, and heating appliances. Use cream or sprays to give it an added measure of protection.
Talk to your hairdresser or colorist for advice on the best hair care products for your hair type.
Aging: 4 activities to do this fall
With its vibrant leaves and fresh air, autumn offers numerous activity options. Here are four you may enjoy.
1. Create a garden
For beautiful spring blooms, certain plants like daffodils and tulips must be planted in the fall. If you don’t have any outdoor garden space, use pots instead.
2. Go walking
Take a stroll in your area or on a trail in the woods. Breathe in the refreshing air and admire the flora and fauna in your natural surroundings. Make it more festive by combining your walk with apple or gourd picking.
3. Develop your crafty side
Cloudy and dreary days are perfect for crafty activities like knitting or sewing. Make something new for yourself or take extra pleasure in making a gift for a loved one.
4. Take a class
Register for an online or in-person course to learn a new skill, such as cooking, computers, or a second language. Many options are available free of charge or at a reduced rate for seniors.
Do you need more ideas? Check out what your local community has in store for the coming season.