How Relationships Aid in Healthy Aging

relationships and healthy agingPositive emotions can have a large impact on your overall health. Feeling happy and joyful can actually reduce your stress levels by causing physical differences in your heart rhythm patterns; when you are angry or anxious, for example, your heartbeat can become more erratic and affect your ability to think clearly and even drain your energy. When you’re in a good mood, you’re far more likely to engage in healthier behavior, too, like exercising and making smart food choices.

Since staying happy is so important to healthy aging, finding ways to maintain a positive outlook on life is vital. One of the best ways to generate those positive emotions is to nurture and grow relationships with family, friends and your peers.

The Importance of Avoiding Social Isolation

Seniors can be susceptible to social isolation that leads to loneliness and depression. Even if the amount of friendships you have begins to decrease, the quality of your existing relationships can play a large role in your ability to stay happy and content.

Studies have shown that seniors who remain socially active have higher levels of well-being in many aspects of life, including:

  • Physical Health: Seniors with active social lives are more likely to exercise and experience less chronic conditions like osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or cardiovascular problems. They’ll have better eating habits and lower blood pressure, too.
  • Emotional Health: Being close with friends, family and peers helps ward off loneliness, which puts seniors at a greater risk for functional decline and depression.
  • Mental Health: Maintaining senior relationships can help sharpen your mind, increase cognitive function and reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Building Senior Relationships in Assisted Living Communities

Aging can take a toll on the relationships in our lives. We may relocate to a new place after retirement, or friends and spouses may fall ill or pass away. Chronic loneliness is associated with a myriad of health conditions, like coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, difficulties sleeping and even dementia. This is why senior relationships are so vital to improving quality of life and healthy aging, and it’s important to make a conscious effort to continue to build your social network as you grow older.

Moving to a retirement community or assisted living community is a great way to stay socially active throughout your later years. These communities recognize the importance of socialization and offer a wide variety of opportunities for residents to interact with each other in a range of activities, from scheduled social events, outings and activities, communal dining, fitness and wellness classes to lifelong learning classes.

You should think of maintaining the relationships in your life to be as important as getting daily exercise and eating a healthy diet; relationships are key to healthy aging.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

Fun Spring Activities for Seniors

spring activities for seniorsSpring is the season of rebirth. After a long, chilly winter the birds are singing again, flowers are reaching full bloom, and leaves are bright and green. It’s the perfect time to get outside, enjoy the fresh air and try some new activities. No matter your age, there are plenty of ways to stay active, have fun, and appreciate all that spring has to offer.

Get Outside! Senior Activities to Enjoy this Spring

The change of season to the warmer weather offers the perfect opportunity to get out of the house for a bit on a daily basis. Here are a few fun spring activities for the elderly that allow you to get active, improve your mood and even promote social interaction with others:

  • Do some gardening. Gardening is undoubtedly one of the best spring activities for seniors. Even if you have some limited mobility, modifications can be made to allow you to participate in many garden activities. Pulling weeds and planting flowers increases your physical activity levels by improving flexibility and endurance. Gardening has mental health benefits, too; it can relax you, reduce your stress and give you a rewarding feeling of accomplishment.
  • Start a daily walking routine. Walking is one of the best exercises for seniors, and spring is the perfect season to head outside and enjoy a walk through the neighborhood or nearby park. If you can, find a buddy to walk with to help make this a social activity you look forward to daily.
  • Start spring cleaning tasks. Did you know clutter can increase your stress levels? It’s true! Getting organized is a great spring cleaning chore, so take a few days and start going through the storage spaces in your home and clearing out some of the items you no longer need on a daily basis. You can even get family members to help and share memories as you go through your belongings. Plus, they can help you make some decisions about what to keep and what to donate, sell or throw away.
  • Enjoy a picnic in the park. Pack a picnic basket with some snacks, grab a blanket and find a grassy area to sit outside and simply bask in the sun to get some much-needed vitamin D (just don’t forget the sunscreen!). Or, enjoy lunch on your favorite patio at your senior living community or local restaurant.
  • Feed the birds. Bird-watching is a stimulating activity many seniors enjoy. Head to a park and feed the ducks and geese some cracked corn, or hang a bird feeder outside your window to enjoy watching them feast right in the comfort of your home.
  • Have fun with the grandkids. Children love being outside, so find some activities you can enjoy together. For instance, kite-flying or drawing pictures with sidewalk chalk.
  • Shop at a local farmer’s market. Spring is a great season to visit farmer’s markets in your area and wander through them, plus you can potentially get some great deals on fruits, vegetables, flowers or crafts.

What senior activities will you enjoy this spring?

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

Dementia Treatment through the Stages

dementia treatment through the stagesAccording to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is the general term used to define the decline in mental ability that is severe enough to impact daily life. While not a specific disease itself, it’s an overall term that describes the range of symptoms associated with memory loss or cognitive ability which reduces the capacity for completing everyday tasks and activities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of the cases reported. The second-most common form is vascular dementia, which can occur after a stroke.

The symptoms of dementia will vary based on the type and the particular person with the disease. However, for it to be considered dementia, at least two core mental functions must be affected: memory, communication, ability to pay attention and focus, reasoning and judgment, or visual perception.

The Stages of Dementia and Treatments through Each

While the symptoms may vary, there are common stages of dementia that the affected individual will go through. Most dementias are progressive, meaning the symptoms start off mild and worsen as time passes.

While there is no cure for dementia and no specific therapy to slow the progression of the disease, certain dementia treatments can help alleviate some of the symptoms. These treatments will depend on the cause of the dementia, but in general, here are the stages of dementia and how they can be treated:

  • Stage 1: No Impairment. In this stage, the individual is still able to function normally, and none of the symptoms of dementia interrupt daily living activities. It’s important to be proactive in this stage and make healthy living choices, like exercising regularly and eating a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins, as some lifestyle choices can help delay the onset or reduce the risk of dementia.
  • Stage 2: Very Mild to Mild Impairment. You might begin to notice that your loved one is having more “senior moments” lately; forgetting where keys were placed or missing scheduled appointments. He or she may also show signs of social withdrawal or have trouble solving simple problems. In this stage, usually no treatment is necessary other than continuing to be as proactive as possible by living a healthy lifestyle. If you’re starting to become more concerned for your loved one’s well-being, make an appointment to see a physician. Early diagnosis also can help better treat the symptoms of dementia.
  • Stage 3: Moderate Impairment. In this stage of dementia, your loved one probably needs some assistance with daily living activities. Disorientation with time and space, loss of short-term memory and forgetfulness, difficulty finding words or phrases are all common symptoms in this stage. The treatment for moderate dementia symptoms usually involves medications, such as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors like Donepezil, Rivastigmine and Galantamine which are all approved to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. These medications support communication among nerve cells by keeping acetylcholine levels high and can help delay the worsening of symptoms.
  • Stage 4: Moderately Severe to Very Severe Impairment. As your loved one’s condition declines, he or she can no longer function independently. Extreme memory loss, changes in personality and behavior, severe mood swings, trouble with communication and disturbances in sleep are all common symptoms at this stage. Treatment for severe impairment can include the use of antipsychotic drugs to help deal with disruptive, aggressive behavior. A medication called memantine can also be used during this stage, which can help improve memory, attention, reason and language skills, as well as delay the worsening of symptoms. When your loved one has reached the very severe stage, palliative care is often used to help manage pain and improve quality of life in mind, body and spirit.

New treatments are continually being studied, including alternative treatments and natural remedies. As a caregiver, it’s important to be as educated as possible about what to expect when a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia so you can better prepare and plan for the future.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

Best Exercises for Diabetics

best exercises for diabeticsExercising regularly is important for those of all ages. Getting your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week can help reduce the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke, strengthen bones, improve flexibility, keep weight in a healthy range, and can even lift your mood. Studies have also shown that exercise can help keep your brain healthy and your memory sharp as you age, lowering the risk for dementia by 35%.

If you have diabetes, regular exercise has even more added benefits. For instance, as it lowers your stress levels, it can lower your blood sugar levels, too.

Diabetes and Exercise – What are the Benefits?

Exercise helps your body use insulin and control blood glucose levels because as you exercise, cells in your muscles are using more sugar and oxygen than when you are inactive. As you work out, it’s common for blood sugar levels to drop. Specifically in people with type 2 diabetes, exercise can improve insulin sensitivity as well as help lower elevated blood glucose levels to keep them in the normal range.

This is because your body uses up to 20% more oxygen when you exercise. Your working muscles use more glucose to help meet their increased energy needs. Exercise allows insulin in the muscles to be more efficient, which means you’re getting more out of the insulin your body produces.

The Best Exercises for Diabetics

Some of the best exercises for diabetics to take part in regularly include:

  • Walking: Walking is a popular activity that can be done virtually anywhere, making it easy to accomplish on a regular basis. Three times a week, try to get in at least thirty minutes of brisk walking.
  • Swimming: Swimming is another aerobic exercise recommended for diabetics, because it can improve cholesterol levels, burn calories and lower stress. It’s a great activity for those with joint pain, because it alleviates pressure on the joints while stretching and relaxing the muscles.
  • Yoga: Yoga offers a variety of benefits for people with chronic conditions, including diabetes. Because it improves muscle mass, it can improve blood glucose levels. Yoga also lowers stress, improves nerve function, and is well-known to improve mental health and wellness.
  • Dancing: Dancing is a great exercise for diabetics, because as it increases your physical activity it promotes weight loss, improves your flexibility, reduces stress and lowers blood sugar. Plus, the mental work involved with memorizing the steps is great for your brain and memory, too!

Before starting any new workout regimen, talk to your doctor so you can be sure the exercise you choose is appropriate and safe for the type of diabetes you have. If you haven’t been active in a while, start off slowly, being active for 10 minutes at a time three times a day until you can go for a full 30 minutes.

Make sure you check your blood sugar before and after you exercise to learn how your body reacts to physical activity. Regardless of whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, your blood sugar should be less than 250 mg/dl before exercising. As you exercise, you should be prepared for any episodes of low blood sugar, too; keep some hard candy or some juice handy so you can bring your levels back up if needed. Remember to stay hydrated; drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

Types of Long Term Care Services

long term care servicesWhile people of any age might require long-term care services at some point in their lives, it’s generally more commonly associated with the aging population. Long-term care can include living accommodations and medical care by a skilled team of healthcare professionals who are proficient in addressing some of the common issues the elderly experience.

If your loved one is beginning to exhibit some difficulties with activities of daily living or performing routine tasks, it could be time to consider researching long-term care facilities in your area so you can make the best possible decision concerning your loved one’s overall quality of life.

Popular Long-Term Care Options Today

Today, there are a variety of long-term care options available to provide just the right amount of assistance your aging loved one may need. Most of the options are designed to allow your loved one to maintain as much independence as desired while receiving assistance with daily tasks, like bathing, grooming, dressing, and meal preparation or eating.

When an aging loved one is no longer taking proper care of him or herself in the home, oftentimes the adult child becomes overwhelmed by caregiving duties, risking their own health and needs to care for their elderly parent. Or, the adult child may not be qualified to provide all the care needed on a daily basis. Long-term care for the elderly will give both the aging family member and the caregiver peace of mind that any healthcare needs will be met, now and in the future.

A few common long-term care options include:

  • Assisted living – This long-term care option combines housing and assistance with daily living activities as needed. Residents enjoy private or semi-private apartments and amenities like scheduled transportation and social events, help with housekeeping, three daily meals and snacks, and much more.
  • Alzheimer’s or dementia care – Many long-term care facilities or assisted living facilities include a special neighborhood for residents needing memory care. These neighborhoods or special wings offer specific memory care programming offered by specially-trained individuals, and usually include extra security features to ensure residents’ safety at all times.
  • Skilled nursing facilities – Skilled nursing facilities provide around-the-clock care for those needing more medical attention and assistance. Most skilled nursing facilities also offer rehabilitation services, including physical, occupational and speech therapies following an illness, injury or surgery.

Long-Term Care Services Offered

Long-term care facilities offer a variety of services, including:

  • Professionally-trained staff or geriatric nursing specialists available around the clock
  • Medication management
  • Assistance with activities of daily living: bathing, dressing, grooming, eating and mobility
  • Personalized care plans designed for the resident’s specific needs
  • Senior rehabilitative therapies, including physical, occupational and speech therapies
  • Diabetes management with specialized diet plans
  • Post-hospital care

These services are provided in a comfortable, home-like setting that encourages independence among residents. Most often, seniors who live in long-term care facilities enjoy a better quality of life and feel more independent than an elderly person aging in place in the home.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

5 Reasons Seniors Need Pets

Pets and The ElderlyThis week is National Pet Week®, which has been observed the first full week in May every year since 1981 by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). It’s estimated that there are 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats owned by people in the United States, with over 79 million households owning a pet of some sort. The goal of National Pet Week® is to celebrate these pets and encourage responsible care throughout the year to keep our furry friends happy and healthy each and every day.

When you own a pet, it’s important to be educated about their needs to ensure your companion lives a long, full life. One of the best benefits of pet ownership, especially for seniors, is how they can enhance and add value to our lives as we age.

The Benefits of Pets for Seniors

Pets provide people of all ages love and companionship, making us laugh and feel needed without asking for anything in return. Here are the top five reasons why seniors should consider pet ownership:

  • Companionship. It’s common for seniors living alone to become socially isolated, especially after the loss of a spouse. Perhaps loved ones aren’t nearby. A pet can help ward off loneliness and the depression that typically follows.
  • Boost Physical Activity and Health. Pets require seniors to move; whether it’s to take them on a walk, play fetch, or scoop a litter box. Studies have shown that seniors who own dogs walk an average of 2.2 hours more per week than those without a pet. Plus, pet ownership has been known to boost cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure and reduce stress.
  • Emotional Support. During stressful situations, pets can help reduce anxiety and provide emotional stability. Plus, studies show that even just touching a pet offers a calming sensation.
  • Provide a Routine. Keeping a daily routine can actually help slow the aging process, and the process of taking care of a pet is repetitive in nature. Feeding, grooming, walking, etc. are all tasks that must be done on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Stay Invested in Life. A pet keeps you engaged in life around you; keeping you physically active, getting out of the house regularly, making new friends, and allows you to feel useful. Taking care of a living being provides a feeling of satisfaction to keep you motivated and moving forward with your daily life.

Choosing the Best Pets for the Elderly

When choosing a pet, one of the first places to visit is your local animal shelter. Today, there are an estimated 7.6 million animals in shelters nationwide, from puppies and kittens to senior dogs and cats and everything in between!

It’s important to take your own needs into consideration before adopting a pet, too. While puppies and kittens are adorable, they’re also quite active and can take a lot more work than an older pet. Likewise, dogs tend to be more active and need more attention than cats, and if mobility is an issue, a lap-cat might be a better option than a dog who needs multiple walks per day.

Finally, you should also consider whether or not assistance with your pet will be available should you need it. If something were to happen health-wise, you’d want to make sure someone will be able to tend to your pet until you’re able to again.

Many of our locations are pet-friendly! For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

 

Avoiding Financial Planning Mistakes

avoiding financial planning mistakesMost people look forward to their retirement years. After a lifetime in the workforce, it’s exciting to think about the endless possibilities and opportunities available to you when you no longer have to report to the office every day. However, being properly prepared financially for the changes retirement brings to your lifestyle is vital, and some seniors make financial planning mistakes that can be easily avoided.

Common Financial Mistakes Seniors Make after Retirement

Successful financial planning requires making some decisions and commitments you need to consciously stick to as you prepare for retirement. Seniors can often get confused by some of the complicated rules involved in their investments, and some of these mistakes made can have a catastrophic result on your retirement savings. Knowing some of the common financial mistakes made by seniors allows you to stay informed and keeps your nest egg intact. Here are a few to be aware of:

  • Deciding to retire with little preparation. Many seniors will designate a target retirement age and as soon as they hit that age, they leave the workforce whether they’re truly financially ready or not.
  • Getting behind in retirement savings- and giving up. Life can easily get in the way of our retirement savings goals. It’s difficult to save money in our younger years as we pay down college loans, buy a home and start a family. People don’t realize that every small step counts towards your savings, whether it’s increasing your contribution to your 401k by 1% or stocking away half of any raise you receive throughout your career.
  • Not changing your lifestyle. Upon retirement, your budget will need to be adjusted to your new lifestyle. Some of the more frivolous expenses will need to be limited, like going out to dinner frequently or purchasing clothes. Plus, seniors need to remember to take healthcare and long term care costs into consideration.
  • Taking Social Security benefits too early. Just because you are eligible for Social Security at age 62 doesn’t mean you should jump to apply. Taking benefits before the full retirement age of 66 means you’ll receive 25% less than you would have if you’d waited.
  • Neglecting to downsize your home. The cost to maintain a large home continues to increase, even if your mortgage is paid for. A smart decision is to choose to downsize your home or move into a senior living community, where you can cut costs and have the peace of mind that your future healthcare needs will be provided for.
  • Falling prey to senior scams. Scammers often target seniors, preying on their desire to quickly grow their retirement savings. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Continuing to support adult children. It can be tricky to not help out family members if they are in need, especially your own children. However, working adult children are more easily able to recover from their own financial difficulties and rebuild their savings. If you’ve retired, avoid giving out large sums of money that could deplete your retirement savings.

Financial Advice for Seniors to Keep in Mind

It’s important to remember to plan for the long term to ensure a secure financial future. It might be difficult to delay some of the instant gratification we get from purchasing that new car or buying all new kitchen appliances, but it’s important to remember you’re simply delaying that gratification to be able to fully enjoy your retirement years.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

Managing Dementia Sleep Problems

dementia sleep problemsOur internal biological clocks begin to change as we grow older. Many seniors may have difficulty sleeping through the night, or find themselves napping more often throughout the day. However, these sleep problems are more pronounced in an elderly person with dementia. While sleep problems can occur at any stage of the disease, they seem to be more common in the later stages.

Dementia and Sleep Disturbances

It’s not entirely known why dementia causes such disruptions in sleep patterns. However, it’s thought that like the changes that occur with memory and behavior, sleeping habits also change due to the effect dementia has on the brain. Sundowner’s Syndrome is the term used to describe the confusion and agitation that can set in at dusk and continue throughout the evening hours for dementia sufferers. Some of the other changes and problems dementia can cause in sleep include:

  • Shifts in the sleep-wake cycle. Dementia sufferers may feel drowsy throughout the day and take frequent naps, which leads to being unable to fall asleep at night. Some may even experience a complete reversal in the sleep-wake cycle, feeling wakeful only throughout the nighttime hours. Studies have shown that those with dementia will spend about 40% of their time in bed at night wide awake and take naps throughout the day.
  • Trouble staying asleep. Once in bed, those with dementia may fall asleep but are unable to stay asleep. Or, they make wake up often and simply stay awake, unable to lie still and get the rest they need.
  • Nighttime wandering. When dementia sufferers wake in the night, it’s common for them to become confused, agitated, and unsure of what time it actually is. They may get up out of bed and leave their room, or even yell out and disrupt others around them.

Helping Loved Ones with Dementia get a Good Night’s Sleep

When you’re caring for a loved one with dementia, the disturbances in their nightly sleep patterns can take a toll on your health, too. However, it’s important for you to stay calm and remember that their behaviors aren’t deliberate. First and foremost, attend to their needs, remind them that it’s nighttime and try to guide your loved one back to bed.

There are a few other things you can do to try to lessen any dementia sleep problems that may be occurring, including:

  • Plan activities throughout the day. Keep your loved one as active as possible during the day; go on a walk, have them help with household tasks, and keep their minds busy, too. Avoid evening physical activities, however, as this could stimulate them near bedtime.
  • Provide a comfortable environment for sleeping. The room should be kept at a temperature that is neither too warm nor too cool, and the bed should be comfortable and supportive. Install a nightlight in the bedroom, too, in case they awaken in the middle of the night. Being in total darkness can cause confusion.
  • Seek sunlight in the morning. Being exposed to morning light, whether real or artificial, can help restore the circadian rhythm often disrupted by dementia and help reset internal clocks.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol. The caffeine in soda, coffee and tea can contribute to sleeplessness, so be sure to avoid any products with caffeine later in the day. As alcohol can enhance confusion, try to avoid any alcoholic beverages, too.
  • Limit noise and distractions in the evening. Provide a quiet environment towards the evening; discourage television watching and instead play soft music to get your loved one to relax.
  • Manage medications. Some medications can have an effect on sleeping patterns, so talk to the doctor and find out when is the best time to administer certain medications. Sleeping pills are generally discouraged for dementia sufferers, as these can increase confusion and the risk for falls.

Establish a nighttime routine that includes using the restroom, getting into comfortable bedclothes, turning on the nightlight, a favorite blanket, etc. This will help your loved one stay calm and relaxed as the evening approaches, allowing for the best night’s sleep possible.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

How to Celebrate Earth Day 2016

earth day 2016Every year on April 22nd we celebrate Earth Day. What began as a political movement in 1970 where Americans took to the streets all across the country to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment has now turned into the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by over a billion people in over 192 countries.

What is Earth Day?

2016 marks the 46th anniversary of Earth Day and when the movement for a better, cleaner environment began. Earth Day today is a special day all about enjoying our beautiful planet and how we can take good care of it for future generations to come. To celebrate Earth Day, you can take some small steps to better our planet simply by learning more about the area in which you live and start making some commitments to address any environmental issues.

A few easy ways to celebrate Earth Day 2016 include:

  • Take a walk outside and pick up litter.
  • Start a recycling station in your home or office.
  • Carpool or use public transportation.
  • Install energy efficient light bulbs throughout your home.
  • Create a garden, indoors or outdoors.
  • Plant a tree.
  • Recycle any e-waste: old computers, cell phones, appliances, etc.
  • Invest in a solar-powered charger for your phone or laptop.
  • Enjoy the great outdoors- go for a hike, nature walk, bike ride, picnic, etc.

2016 Earth Day Activities in Indianapolis

Along with the personal ways you can celebrate Earth Day outlined above, Earth Day in Indianapolis is also celebrated in a pretty big way! Earth Day Indiana hosts a festival with over 100 exhibitors who all promote environmental protection, sustainability and resource conservation.

This year, the Earth Day Indiana Festival will be held on Saturday, April 23rd at Military Park in Indianapolis. It starts all 11 o’clock in the morning and will feature lots of great music, amazing locally raised and produced foods from some of the area’s best restaurants and food trucks, and a children’s tent with tons of hands-on activities and performances.

You can also take part in the 5K run or one mile walk that day. The 5K run starts at noon from the west side of Military Park along Blackford, with the casual one mile walk starting shortly after.

If you’re looking for other ways to celebrate Earth Day in Indianapolis, consider taking a walk in one of our beautiful national parks or visit one of the many nature centers in the area. Most of these places will have specific events and Earth Day activities planned, too.

Earth Day’s importance continues today. In addition to enjoying the various events and activities throughout the area, it’s also important that we commit to promoting a better environment year-round for future generations.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

The Importance of Strong Hands

hand exercises for seniorsMany of us deal with age-related changes in regards to our bodies as we age. Our bones and muscles can weaken, making performing and completing simple daily tasks challenging. Osteoporosis or arthritis can set in, which can make lifting objects, getting up out of a chair, and even just walking a short distance painful. This is just one of the reasons why staying active as you age is so vital to your overall quality of life.

One age-related issue you might not have considered before is the loss of hand strength. After the age of 65, it’s common for hand function in both men and women to begin to decrease, due to degenerative changes in our musculoskeletal, vascular, and nervous systems like the aforementioned osteoporosis, arthritis or conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. Our hands are the most active part of our upper bodies and hand grip strength is so important in our daily lives. Without strong hands, it’s difficult to lift a bag of groceries, pinch a key and insert it into a lock, pick up a coffee cup, wash dishes, and so on.

Hand Strengthening Exercises for Seniors

Adding some hand strengthening exercises into your daily stretching routine is a great way to keep your hands and grip strong in your later years. You should focus on hand exercises that will improve three types of grip strength: crushing, pinching, and supporting.

Here are a few easy hand exercises for seniors to start including in your workout on a daily basis:

  • Squeezes: Use a ball that will fit into the palm of your hand, like a tennis ball or stress ball. Wrap your fingers around it and squeeze as tight as you can, holding it for about 3-5 seconds. This will help improve your grip and ability to open jars or hold on to heavier items, like a big purse.
  • Presses: Press your thumb to your fifth finger and hold for 5 seconds or so then move to the fourth fingertip, third, and so on. This will strengthen muscles in your fingers and palm, making it easier to put on jewelry or hold on to small objects like pens.
  • Pick it up: Practice picking up a relatively heavy object and hold it for several seconds to improve your supporting grip. You can use a weight or even a household item like a thick book or gallon of water. Hold the item and walk across the room, varying the sizes and weight of the objects to see more results.
  • Stretch it out: You can use a simple rubber band to strengthen finger extensors; simply wrap the rubber band around your fingers and thumbs, then push out against the band’s resistance. Do three sets of these hand strengthening exercises with 10 to 15 repetitions.
  • Wrist rolls: Strengthen your wrist flexors to improve range of motion and increase your hand, wrist and finger strength. This exercise can be done standing or sitting; simply hold a light weight with you elbow bent and your palm facing up, curling your wrist upward while keeping your elbow and forearm steady. Do 3 sets of 10 for maximum results.

As always, before starting any new workout regimen you should consult your doctor. Hand exercises for seniors are a great element to add to your daily workout routine.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

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