Getting enough sleep can sometimes be a challenge for people as they grow older, setting the stage for declined cognitive function. This can be a frustrating problem, but there’s help. A new study in the December 15 issue of Sleep (2004; 27 , 1542–51) suggests that bouts of social and physical activity improve cognitive performance and sleep quality in older adults.
The U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) is giving more than $5.1 million to help older adults maintain a level of independence in their communities. Most of the grants (16 new and six continuing) will be spent on providing access to health and supportive services and on removing barriers to those services. Some grants will also improve the overall quality of life for retirement community residents....
Older people who want to live longer and healthier lives would benefit greatly by adhering to a Mediterranean-style diet, says a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2004; 292 , 1433–39). European men and women ages 70–90 who followed this die...
Frail older adults who practiced tai chi reduced their risk of falling,
according to a study conducted at Emory University Medical School
Researchers noted that adults in their 70s, 80s and 90s—some of whom could not walk without assistance—who participated in weekly tai chi for 48 weeks had fewer falls than subjects who participated in wellness education, according to results published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2003; 51 , 1804–5).
Using visualization techniques helps older adults remember to take their medications and follow medical advice. Older adults who spent a few minutes imagining how they would test their blood sugar were 50% more likely to perform the tests as directed than people who used other memory techniques, according to a study published in Psychology and Aging (2004; 19 , 318–25).
Older Adults Benefit From Doctor Referral Program
The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) have formed a relationship to boost physical activity among older adults. The ICAA Age-Friendly Facility Locator and Patient Referral Program connects participating family physicians with ICAA-approved facilities, programs and services that “have gone above and beyond in their design, staffing, programming, marketing and operations” for the older-adult market.
Despite evidence that older adults are becoming more active, many still shy away from exercise. In a survey published in the
May issue of Age and Ageing (2004; 33, 287–92), investigators found that 95% of older adults questioned believed that physical activity was beneficial and 79% believed they did enough to stay healthy. However, 36% were inactive and 17% did less than 2 hours per week.