Exercise and Activity for Aging Seniors and the Elderly Well-being for Aging Seniors

Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Be Journaling

This article was posted on Seniors Guide Online.

Journaling means keeping a record of your thoughts and activities. However, while journal keepers may focus on the present and record daily events, journaling moves beyond just a list of activities, like you might record in a diary or calendar. Journaling calls for more self-expression and reflection.

A journal is a private endeavor, and you

Exercise and Activity for Aging Seniors and the Elderly

Why Functional Fitness is Important for the Female over Fifty

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Exercise and Activity for Aging Seniors and the Elderly

Can you boost your memory by walking backward?

Article originally posted on Harvard Health Publishing/Harvard Medical School.

A study shows that moving in reverse may help with short-term memory.

Lost your car keys? Instead of retracing your steps, you might want to try walking backward to jog your memory.

A study published in the January issue of Cognition found that people who walked backward, imagined they were walking backward, or even watched a video simulating backward motion had better recall of past events than those who walked forward or sat still.

Why? That’s still something of a mystery, says Dr. Daniel Schacter, the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. It’s possible that people associate going backward with the past and this somehow triggers a memory response. “We know it can’t have anything to do with how they’ve encoded the information,” says Dr. Schacter. After all, people weren’t walking backward when they stored the memories tested in this study. It may take future studies to shed additional light on the issue. “But I found the results intriguing,” says Dr. Schacter.

Testing the effects of motion

Researchers decided to test the effect of backward movement on memory because numerous past studies have found links between motion and memory. They recruited 114 people to take part in six different memory experiments. In the experiments, they showed participants a video of a staged crime, a word list, or a group of images. They then asked the participants to walk forward, walk backward, sit still, watch a video that simulated forward or backward motion, or imagine walking forward or backward. The participants then answered questions related to the information they saw earlier.

In all cases, people who were moving backward, thought about moving backward, or saw a video depicting reverse motion were better able to recall the information they had been shown earlier, compared with those sitting still. In five of the six experiments, memory was better when people moved backward than when they moved forward. On average, the boost in memory lasted for 10 minutes after people stopped moving.

In the staged crime experiment, for example, participants watched a video of a woman, sitting in a park, who has her bag stolen. Researchers tested how well people could answer 20 questions about the simulated crime, depending on the direction they moved or if they sat still. They found that people who walked backward were significantly more likely to answer more questions correctly, regardless of how old they were or other factors.

The findings suggest that this motion strategy might be a means of helping people better recall past events.

Improving memory recall

Dr. Schacter says backward motion could one day be added to existing techniques already in use to boost memory. One such method is called a cognitive interview. The interviewing technique helps people to recall details of a recent event, for example, if they witnessed a crime. “What interviewers are trying to do is get as much accurate information as they can without inducing a false memory,” says Dr. Schacter. They do this by metaphorically walking the person through the event forward and backward. It’s possible that literally walking backward may do something similar in the brain, he says.

Using backward motion could potentially augment the cognitive interview or be used as a separate technique, he says. One key question that remains to be answered, however, is whether the technique would promote accurate recall of everyday events, says Dr. Schacter. “It’s really too early to say whether there would be practical applications,” he says.

The study authors said that future research will look to uncover not only why this technique seems to improve memory recall, but also whether motion-based memory aids could help elderly adults or people with dementia.

In the meantime, will walking backward help boost your short-term memory? “This study would suggest that there are some circumstances where this might be the case,” says Dr. Schacter. “It may be worth trying.”

A daily check-in call could be the lifeline, the joy you give someone that makes the biggest difference in their perception of what old age is like.

Contact me at 317-480-1038 today. Let

Exercise and Activity for Aging Seniors and the Elderly Well-being for Aging Seniors

Tips for planning a holiday with seniors

Whether we are young or old, age is no barrier to travelling as long as we are fit and healthy. But when planning a holiday with seniors, be mindful that they have different needs and

Distant Caregiving Exercise and Activity for Aging Seniors and the Elderly

Late-Blooming Artists: Musician, Painter, Writer

My curiosity about aging and artistic interests started as academic. Soon, I had a personal interest developing my own artistic self. I wondered what life would look like without my profession. Working as a psychologist had been my calling, it had defined me.

The older brain has capacities that actually help develop the budding, late-blooming artist. Creating art benefits the aging brain. This circular, reinforcing process has profound benefits.

The Vintage Years is my book about pursuing the life of the artist after sixty.

I use the term artist very loosely.

An artist creates with openness and a child

Exercise and Activity for Aging Seniors and the Elderly

When Older People Walk Now, They Stay Independent Later

Millions of older people have trouble walking a quarter of a mile, which puts them at high risk of losing their mobility, being hospitalized or dying.

But it’s hard to get people who are already sedentary to become more active and stay that way.

In an attempt to solve that problem, researchers got people in their 70s and 80s to walk and do simple exercises in social groups. The people who did that were less likely to become disabled than those who attended classes on successful aging, according to a reportpublished Monday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.

The people in the study had to be able to walk one-quarter of a mile in 15 minutes, using no aid beyond a cane. But 24 million Americans have trouble walking that far, according to Dr. Marco Pahor, director of the Institute on Aging at the University of Florida, who led the study. And 13 million can’t walk a quarter-mile at all.

“If people can or can’t walk, it makes a huge influence in their daily lives,” Pahor told Shots. The goal here was not just to do an exercise study, he adds, but “really to modify their lifestyle.”

The people in this study, who lived in eight different states, said they were active less than 20 minutes a week at the beginning of the experiment, and were considered at high risk of becoming disabled based on their lack of leg strength.

Those in the physical activity group met twice a week to walk and do simple leg-strengthening exercises with ankle weights, and were asked to walk and do exercises at home, too. The goal was to work up to 150 minutes a week of activity. Both the activity group and the people who took a class participated for 2.6 years, on average.

At the end, 30 percent of the 818 people in the physical activity group had been temporarily disabled at some point, compared to 35.5 percent of the 817 people in the education group. And 15 percent ended up permanently disabled, compared to 20 percent of the sedentary group.

A 5 percent difference doesn’t sound like much, but Pahor says it matters, given how important it is to stay mobile and independent. “This is a very simple intervention; it doesn’t require any equipment, any machinery.”

People could easily do this at home, but the social group was key to keeping them moving, Pahor says. “I think the biggest problem we’re facing is that the simple knowledge of benefits doesn’t change people’s lifestyle.”

He hopes that health insurers will start providing these sorts of groups for older clients.

Though the more active group fared better on mobility, they also were more likely to end up in the hospital. It’s not clear why that was, but Pahor says it may be because they had more contact with the group leaders, and thus were more likely to tell someone if they had a health problem.

Though this study was a large multicenter trial, it’s hardly the last word on the topic. Pahor says he and his colleagues plan to follow their participants for another five years to see how they fare.


Aging Parent Issues Crisis Prevention and Seniors Exercise and Activity for Aging Seniors and the Elderly Senior Independence


Do you know what is the No. 1 cause of injury to aging adults today?



How would Mom manage if she fell?

Falls result in the most emergency room visits for people as they get older. And once a senior has taken one spill, they live in fear of having more

Aging Parent Issues Caregiver Support Crisis Prevention and Seniors Distant Caregiving Exercise and Activity for Aging Seniors and the Elderly

Will Your Aging Loved One Be the Next One to Fall?

It is not unusual for a new Keeping In Touch Solutions subscriber to be the victim of a recent fall. All of a sudden they get sidelined from a broken bone and their families get more concerned that they are safe at home. So a daily check-in from a Care Caller is the answer to put everyone

Aging Parent Issues Caregiver Support Distant Caregiving Exercise and Activity for Aging Seniors and the Elderly Well-being for Aging Seniors

3 Benefits to the Daily Constitutional and Other Daily Habits

For years I wondered what a daily constitutional was. I heard it in movies and oblique references in adult conversation and for some reason pictured an early 19th century man twirling an umbrella while strolling through the hedges in some public park. Go figure.

However I now understand that the daily constitutional is a tried and true personal care habit. It

Caregiver Support Distant Caregiving Exercise and Activity for Aging Seniors and the Elderly Well-being for Aging Seniors

4 Ways to Make Exercise Fun for Seniors

Okay, okay, okay. Every senior has heard (again and again and again) that they have to exercise. The experts suggest 150 minutes a week. Aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activity are what is traditionally suggested for all adults. But the idea of going to the gym and working on machines and the treadmill doesn