Activities of Daily Living (ADL) is a term that health professionals use to describe an individual’s daily self-care activities. They use it as a measure of your functional status to assess how fit you are to stay in your home. There are six ADLs including bathing or showering, dressing, self-feeding, personal hygiene and grooming, toileting, and mobility (the ability to move yourself from one place to another).

One of the more important ADL is transferring and mobilizing.  Without functional mobility, you will not be able to go to the dining room to eat or get out of bed to get to the bathroom or dress yourself.  More importantly, all the other ADLs are dependent on your strength and mobility – specifically what we call “functional strength.”

Stay in the home you love longer

The biggest advantage of being a functionally fit person is that you get to stay in your own home as long as possible.  Why is this?  When a group at a local independent living residence involved in a care discussion were asked about staying home, they unanimously agreed it was their top priority. They wanted to sleep in their own bed, eat their own meals, be free to make choices and remain independent. One resident responded that she liked her home because “I’m familiar with my surroundings.” Her neighbor agreed. He said, “I can do what I want to do when I want to do it.”

As we grow older, remaining independent really comes down to one’s functional fitness. You need to stay strong. The good news is, with a little commitment and help, you can maintain, even regain your functional strength. “Whatever activity you do, there is an exercise that will target the muscles and joints required to do the activity and enable you to do them longer,” says Medical Exercise Specialist, Emma.

Fall Prevention

One of the things that happens when your balance deteriorates is a tendency to shuffle in order to try and keep your feet close to the ground.  Medical Exercise Specialists will work with you to build a strong gait pattern and encourage proper posture.  Every time you strike your heel on the floor, it impacts the bones and builds density. Shuffling does nothing for the bone.

The exercises are repetitive in nature to encourage those with Parkinson’s Disease or Dementia to gain a regular gait pattern through neuro muscular facilitation – the messaging which takes place between the muscles to the brain and the brain giving feedback to the muscles.

Picking Yourself Up

Falling is dangerous however getting stranded on the floor after a fall can be deadly. While we certainly don’t recommend any exercises from the floor, we do show you how to get up off the floor, because many people who fall don’t have any way to get up off the ground. We teach a couple of very simple ways to get up again, and there are some fine exercises which target the upper body and legs to assist with the push up off the floor.

In Home Chair Exercises

Even if you have difficulty standing, you can do many of these exercises from the comfort of your own chair and reap the benefits of increased strength.

Recover from surgery and hospital visits more quickly

If you undergo hip or knee replacement surgery, the exercise program you should do post-surgery is very comprehensive. These post-surgery exercises are extremely important. If you don’t do them, the muscles targeted in the surgery will atrophy.

When you leave the hospital, the outpatient program that sets you up with exercises sincerely hopes you will continue to follow-up in the community where you have the support of qualified personnel to assist you.

Seniors are into fitness for a completely different reason. They want to recover from surgery, focus on balance issues to prevent falling and make sure old injuries don’t come back to haunt them.

Engage a physiotherapist or Medical Exercise Specialist to set you up for in-home exercises which incorporates cardiovascular and strength training and specific exercises for balance and core strength.

Written by Johanna Booy, of Care & Company Ltd., SeniorCareVictoria.ca.

“I’m too old to exercise and weight train” says my friend Adam.  At 78, he has all the more reason to engage in an exercise program.  Even if it is simply to maintain the function he currently has.  Current Canadian statistics are recording gradual increases in life expectancy with 80 years of age for males and 84 years of age for females being the norm.  The list goes on for revealing the advantages of regular exercise, however here are 10 sure bet reasons:

  1. Increase or maintain bone density:

Osteoporosis is often the main cause of fractures in the elderly.  By maintaining bone density through low impact exercise, we can maintain bone strength and/or build on it.  Every day exercise such as walking, and a supplement of vitamin D and calcium can help maintain bone strength and health.

  1. Mood/depression

Exercise can reduce depression and enhance self- esteem and a feeling of wellness.   Exercise can certainly boost those endorphins to enhance your well-being and allow you to do things you may otherwise not do.  Engage in group exercise classes to increase social context or ask a friend to join you.  Statistics show that when you exercise with a buddy, you will be more inclined to keep exercising.

  1. Increase Metabolism – Manage Weight

Strength training increases muscle mass, which raises your metabolism and your ability to control weight.  Being overweight is the number one reason for increase in diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.

  1. Manage medical conditions

A regular sustained exercise program of at least 3-4 times per week will help you manage medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and depression.  Statistics show that individuals with Parkinson’s disease manage symptoms by exercising on a regular basis; those with diabetes and high blood pressure may see sharp decreases in values often requiring reduction of medications used to manage them.

 

  1. Cognitive Function

Exercise is good for the mind. Group exercises & seated exercise programs are excellent choices for those with cognitive decline.  The social context of exercise is also beneficial for the senior with dementia. Recent studies have shown that exercise may improve memory and slow down mental decline

  1. Fall reduction

Balance is often a concern for elderly patients, especially those with a sedentary lifestyle.  Muscle imbalance and overall weakness will cause one to stumble.  By exercising, muscle strength and muscle balance can be restored causing increased reflex action.

  1. Flexibility

Range of motion exercises and stretching are very important as we age.  Programs such as gentle yoga in addition to strength and cardiovascular programing will benefit you immensely.

  1. Weight Management

A good exercise program should address weight management by designing a comprehensive program which includes cardiovascular training, strength training, stretching and a diet regime to assist you in weight loss.  Meeting with a dietician can be very helpful in determining which foods are high in the glycemic index and assist in making good choices.  As we age, our calorie needs diminish – or our calorie intake requirements are directly related to our physical activity levels.

  1. Functional Strength

Functional strength is defined as having the ability to perform all aspects of activities of daily living (ADL’s). If you enjoy gardening, you must maintain strong core and back muscles, to allow you to keep doing the things you love.   Maintaining strong arms and legs will assist you in rising. Being able to transfer safely is the most important ADL of all!

  1. Aging in Place – Staying Independent

The number one choice for seniors today is to stay at home as long as possible.  This can be arranged through managing all aspects of health through exercise, proper diet, regular physician checkups and downsizing as you age, to assist you with the physical changes in the aging process.

 

Written by Johanna Booy, of Care & Company Ltd., SeniorCareVictoria.ca.

Functional Fitness – Assisting Seniors at Home

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) is a term health professionals use to describe an individual’s daily self-care activities. They use it as a measure of your functional status to assess how fit you are to stay in your home. There are six ADLs including bathing or showering, dressing, self-feeding, personal hygiene and grooming, toilet hygiene, and functional mobility (the ability to move yourself from one place to another).

“The most important is functional mobility, also called transferring and mobilizing,” says Johanna Booy, CEO of Care and Company – a home care company committed to assisting elders to stay at home and recover from major surgery.

“Without functional mobility, you’re not going to be able to go down to the dining room to eat, or get out of bed to get to the bathroom to do your toileting, or dress yourself. All the other ADLs are dependent on your strength; functional strength.”

Stay in the home you love longer

The biggest advantage of being a functionally fit person is that you get to stay in your own home as long as possible,” says Johanna.

When a discussion group at Minton House were asked about staying home, they unanimously agreed it was their top priority. They wanted to sleep in their own bed, eat their own meals, be free to make choices and remain independent. One resident responded that she liked her home because “I’m familiar with my surroundings.” Her neighbor agreed. He said, “I can do what I want to do when I want to do it.”

As we grow older, remaining independent really comes down to your functional fitness. You need to stay strong. The good news is, with a little commitment and help, you can maintain, even regain your functional strength. “Whatever activity you do, there is an exercise that will target the muscles and joints required to do the activity and enable you to do them longer,” says Johanna.

Fall Prevention

One of the thing that happens when your balance deminishes is a tendency to shuffle in order to try and keep your feet close to the ground.

“Every time you strike your heel on the floor, it impacts the bones and builds density. Shuffling does nothing for the bone. If you’re going to walk properly, you need to utilize an even pattern of heel to toe,” says Johanna.

The exercises Care & Company employ helps you to establish a regular gait pattern and increase your balance.   “That’s the whole reason for these exercises, so that the neural muscular facilitation takes place between the muscles messaging the brain and the brain gives feedback to the muscles.”

Picking Yourself Up

Falling is dangerous, but getting stranded on the floor after a fall can be deadly. Care & Company has a solution.

“While I certainly don’t recommend any exercises from the floor, I do show you how to get up off the floor, because many people who fall don’t have any way to get up off the ground. I teach a couple of very simple ways to get up again,” says Johanna.  And there are some fine exercises which target the upper body and legs to assist with the push up off the floor.

In Home Chair Exercises

Even if you have difficulty standing, you can do many of these exercises from the comfort of your own chair and reap the benefits of increased strength.

Recover from surgery and hospital visits more quickly

If you undergo hip or knee replacement surgery, the exercise program you should do post-surgery is very comprehensive. These post-surgery exercises are extremely important. If you don’t do them, the muscles targeted in the surgery will atrophy.

When you leave the hospital, the outpatient program that sets you up with exercises sincerely hope you will continue to follow-up in the  community where you have the support of friends and qualified personnel to assist you.

Seniors are into fitness for a completely different reason. They want to recover from surgery, focus on balance issues to prevent falling and make sure old injuries don’t come back to haunt them.

At Senior Care Victoria, we enable you to stay at home as long as possible. Our in-home exercise program incorporates cardiovascular and strength training and specific exercises for balance and core strength.

Many seniors coping with the pain and discomfort of Arthritis find the pain to be overwhelming.  One way to reduce your pain is to build your life around wellness, not pain or sickness such as: Thinking positive thoughts Maintaining a sense of humor Eating a balanced diet Exercising regularly Surrounding yourself with positive people Focusing […]

Parkinson’s Disease is a slowly progressive neurological disorder that effects voluntary movement.  Degeneration in the brain leads to tremor, muscle rigidity, difficulty moving and postural instability.  Normally, you’ll see Parkinson’s in older people – commonly the 50-75 age group. Much less common is early onset.

There’s a link between Parkinson’s and dementia – with approximately 15-20% of individuals with Parkinson’s Disease developing dementia.  In later progression of the disease, a walker can help with balance and self-confidence in walking.  This will keep the individual mobile longer, and socially active.

What are signs of Parkinson’s?  Symptoms to watch for include:

  • A rhythmic tremor in the hand while the hand is at rest.  Emotional stress or fatigue may cause the tremor to increase.  Tremors may also occur in other parts of the body such as eye lids, legs, arms and tongue.
  • A reduced sense of smell.
  • Difficulty walking and a reduction in body movements.
  • Lack of facial expressions with infrequent blinking, and monotone speech.

These symptoms may increase substantially as the disease progresses.

People with Parkinson’s Disease will have difficulty walking.  Often it feels as though their feet are glued to the floor.  They may experience strong tremors trying to gain the first step and once moving be all right. However, the tendency is to take that first step too quickly breaking into short stumbling steps causing that individual to become over balanced which may lead to them falling forward.

Early detection of these symptoms is important to note as exercise will help a persons with Parkinson’s stay in a more positive and happy frame of mind.

An exercise program should incorporate:

  • Stretching
  • Strength Training
  • Aerobic Conditioning
  • Aquatic Exercise
  • Range of Motion exercises

Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease would do well to embark on a program early.  Studies show that individuals with Parkinson’s who embark on a steady exercise program improve their balance and posture and have an easier time managing daily activities.

Care & Company and its associated fitness studio, Fit For Life, can develop an exercise program to help people with Parkinson’s maintain their mobility for as long as possible. Contact them to ask about the program.