6 Ways To Keep Our Aging Brains Active

We all know that mental functions decline as we age. However, cognitive decline need not be an inevitable aspect of getting older. Below, we discuss six ways to keep our aging brains active.

senior woman doing crossword puzzle at home

Mental Stimulation

Research shows that mental activity stimulates new connections between nerve cells. It may also help generate new brain cells and guard against cell deterioration. In short, keeping the mind active is one way to retain cognitive function as we age. Mentally-stimulating activities include:

  • Reading.
  • Solving crossword puzzles.
  • Crafting.
  • Painting.
  • Woodworking.
  • Learning a new skill.

Physical Activity

Exercising is another way to keep our brains active. This is because physical movement stimulates blood vessels and directs oxygen-rich blood to the brain region responsible for conscious thought. Exercising also generates the development of new nerve cells and increases the connections between synapses. As a result, our brains work more efficiently.

Exercise is definitely one way to keep our aging brains active. It also lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, balances blood sugar, and reduces mental stress.

Socializing With Friends

In 2007, Kaiser Permanente researcher Valerie Crooks published the results of a four-year study involving 2,200 women. Cooks found that women who enjoyed daily social contact had a considerably lower risk of developing dementia.

Meanwhile, Robert Wilson studied a group of 80-year-old patients at Rush University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center. He found that lonely people had a higher likelihood of developing dementia. Both studies show that building social connections can be an effective means of keeping our aging brains healthy.

Writing For Pleasure

An additional way to get mental stimulation is to write. The act of writing improves our cognitive performance. Certainly, writing need not be an ordeal. You can begin by jotting down your thoughts in a daily journal. If you feel a little adventurous, you can try writing poetry or even a short story. The key is to write consistently.

Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep is a vital part of maintaining your brain’s health as you age. A study performed by the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore showed that the less older adults slept, the faster their brains aged. In other words, getting enough sleep helps preserve brain function.

University of Exeter psychologist Dr. Nicolas Dumay found that adequate sleep almost doubles our memory recall abilities. So, getting enough shuteye is one way to keep our aging brains active.

Eating a Balanced Diet

Good nutrition may also improve brain health. For example, foods with antioxidants can neutralize harmful free radicals. You can get these antioxidants by eating fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and spices.

Some researchers even advise a traditional Mediterranean diet high in olive oil, fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. On such a diet, you will eat moderate amounts of fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy, plus small portions of red meat, processed foods, and desserts. This diet also strongly emphasizes plant-based foods and healthy fats from oily fish, nuts, seeds, and avocados.

At David York, we’re focused on solutions to life’s challenges.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at (877) 216-7676. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Ageism: Lack of Smoking Intervention

When it comes to seniors, the medical community does less for prevention, intervention and aggressive treatment. Smoking is a sadly overlooked area of senior health. Aside from being directly correlated to other diseases, smoking has been linked to dementia and its progression. If we are serious about caring for our elderly, there must be a greater effort expended toward the elderly quitting smoking.

Smoking in the elderly


According to the Center for Social Gerontology, 94% of the 430,000 annual smoking-related deaths in the US are people ages 50 and over. Beyond that, 70% are 65 and up.

Although smoking can be prevented, senior checkups do not fully address this issue. Doctors and patients tend to think the old habit cannot be broken. Also rampant is the mistaken belief that years of damage cannot be undone. Smoking is a bad habit, but ignoring it is not the answer to a healthier life.

Furthermore, these beliefs are untrue! The Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported that smokers aged 45 and up are more likely to quit smoking than younger smokers. In addition, circulation and lung capacity improved by one-third within three months of quitting, and the risk of heart attack lowers within the first 24 hours. Other problems caused by smoking, such as fatigue, coughing, congestion and more, also begin to subside in the first nine months.


Moving Forward

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that clinicians ask all adults about their tobacco use. Tobacco cessation counseling is covered under Medicare Part B for up to  eight visits with a qualified doctor in a 12-month period. We hope this information will help you and your loved ones pursue better health. Ageism in medicine is an unfortunate reality, but the right information can provide a path toward improvement. Seniors deserve to live life to its fullest, and prevention and intervention could help. The cessation of smoking could turn your life around!


When you or a family member needs help, our highly qualified caregivers can offer assistance. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.


Aquatic Activities for Seniors

As we have discussed many times, seniors need exercise just as much as the younger generation. It’s so important that they find routines that meet their needs. Water-based activities are some of the best workouts seniors can experience. Aquatic activities for seniors are in high demand because they provide an excellent low-impact, low-risk exercise for seniors.

A multi-ethnic group of senior adults are taking a water aerobics class at the public pool. They are holding water weights and are working out.

For many seniors, pain can be an obstacle when committing to an exercise routine. Fortunately, aquatic exercise cuts back on the possibility of injury. Water’s buoyancy results in very little pressure on joints and muscles, but still allows for full range of movement. Stretching and resistance training can both be achieved in the pool with much less effort than on dry land!

Not only do water-based activities provide the exercise that senior bodies require, they also fulfill social needs. Because pools are typically available in shared spaces like community centers, these aquatic classes force seniors to socialize.

Senior classes meet the needs and safety concerns of seniors. Here are just a few aquatic activities that the elderly may enjoy.


Water Aerobics

Water aerobics classes provide fun social interaction and all the health benefits of aerobic exercise. Led by a trained professionals who are qualified in CPR, water aerobics is a great activity that keeps seniors in mind. Seniors-only classes are designed specifically for seniors, utilizing oldies music and simplified exercises to keep everyone happy and healthy.


Swimming Laps

Many seniors choose swimming as an option since you can do it at any time, you can go at your own pace and stop at any time. Like any new activity, if you are new to swimming or haven’t been swimming laps in a while, you may want to start by consulting a trained professional or take private lessons until you are comfortable in the environment.


Water Walking

Take your daily walk to the next level with water walking. In this activity, seniors go through the motions of their walking routine in the swimming pool. This activity is wonderful because you can do it alone or with a group. For an added challenge, add ankle weights.


For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us online or by phone at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide how to provide your loved ones with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Yoga and Meditation: Proven Benefits for Senior Health

Yoga is  the preferred form of movement for many people. Meditation might be a luxury for others. However, for the aging community, regular practice of these mindful activities should be taken more seriously. They provide quantifiable benefits for overall senior health.

Group of happy seniors practising yoga for senior health

A gentle yoga class can help improve flexibility and circulation while simultaneously reducing heart rate and blood pressure. These are measurable advantages, but there are also innumerable subtle benefits that will be unique to each individual.

For some, thought processes and attitudes will become more positive, while others may experience increased tolerance to pain. The best part is that all participants will benefit from improved quality of life.


Just the Facts

Mindful, intentional movement, has reportedly reduced back pain and stiffness with as little as 33 minutes a day, three days a week. “Yoga and Other Low-Impact Exercise for Seniors,” a blog post published by A Place For Mom, is an excellent resource for further information. It carefully explains the many and varied advantages of a yogic practice, citing research from Harvard Medical School.

In addition to physical movement, some practices engage mantra (word repetition) and mudra (hand postures) to create dynamic brain-building exercises. One such exercise, Kirtan Kriya, has been studied extensively due to the remarkable improvements found in practitioners’ brain function.

Better recollection, mood improvement, and increased connectivity have been observed in cases incorporating a practice of only 15 minutes a day! Psychology Today notes that this minimal investment pays off exponentially with increased memory recall and verbal acuity.

The cumulative benefits of physical yogic exercise and meditative mantra can significantly improve quality of life expectations in the senior community. The aging community often focuses on attempting to reduce the negative effects of time. With yoga and meditation, it is possible to improve and re-energize the body and brain.


Here’s how you can take advantage of yoga’s extraordinary benefits:


Yoga for Senior Health

Yoga is a wonderful option for the aging senior. The best thing about yoga is that you can practice anytime, anywhere. You don’t need a mat to practice yoga just a few minutes a day.

Think about yoga as a state of mind, a way of creating an inner peace with yourself and the world. This mindset will help you get the most out of your practice.

If you’re a beginner, the AARP has some great information to get you started with basic poses. However, if you find yourself without a mat, you can practice these simple techniques.


Mindful Meditation

Meditation is the art of clearing your mind to create a greater awareness and appreciation of the world around you. Practicing mindful meditation as a senior can help you center your thoughts and create an inner calm.


Focus on Your Breathing

Pranayama, also known as yogic breathing, is the practice of breaking down your breath to help you relax. This form of yoga can help lower your heart rate and get more oxygen to your brain. It will also help your muscles relax. Just a few minutes a day of this technique can help you renew your energy for the day.


Practice Your Standing Poses

Standing poses allow you to work on your balance, strength, and flexibility. Incorporate a few forward folds, standing backbends and side bends to help you keep your muscles pliable. These poses will also help reinvigorate you.


The most wonderful thing about yoga is that it is a personal practice. Make it what you want, take from it what you need. It is a great activity for active seniors as well as those new to exercise.


For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us online or by phone at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide how to provide your loved ones with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

5 Low-Impact Exercises for Active Seniors

Senior Exercise

The aging process doesn’t mean you should give up on exercise. In reality, it is just as important to work toward fitness now, as it was in your teens. A  study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has found that too few people over 50 participate in regular physical activity. More than a quarter of adults in this age group are at higher risk for diabetes, cancer and heart disease. A lack of exercise can exacerbate typical risk factors. With the ageism in medicine that we have spoken about in the past, the importance of senior physical activity is rarely emphasized.

The CDC recommends that adults get at least thirty minutes of exercise five days a week. Maintaining this level of activity can help manage and prevent chronic diseases. Seniors will also be able to maintain their good health and to live independently for longer. Regular exercise can also help with balance, depression and arthritis pain.

There are lots of low-impact exercises for active seniors, and studies have shown an array of health benefits which will ultimately improve quality of life.

Portrait of smiling senior couple exercising at home

Of course, not all exercises are created equal, and finding the right activity for your lifestyle and physical limitations is important. Take some time to research senior-centric programs and find the best fit for you.

To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of 5 low-impact exercises that are suitable for seniors.


Low-Impact Exercises for Seniors


Barre Class

Based on exercises utilized in ballet, barre classes focus on strength, flexibility, and balance. Seniors will also appreciate the barre for the safety it provides. They can grab onto it to prevent falls. This is a flexible format that provides options available that allow you to customize your experience. Do you need lighter weights? No problem. You can also perform wall push-ups instead of traditional push-ups.


Silver Sneakers

Designed specifically for the elderly, the Silver Sneakers senior fitness program offers low-impact exercises for active seniors. Classes include targeted instruction and proven results. Happily, it’s compatible with many insurance carriers, including Medicare! Visit your local gym to learn more about Silver Sneakers classes, availability, and focus. Strength, balance, and cardio classes are available at participating gyms, giving you the freedom to choose a course that suits your needs.


Zumba Gold

If dancing is your passion, Zumba Gold classes are designed for you! Built around simple choreography, these classes will get your blood pumping. Seniors can enjoy all the wonderful music that makes Zumba so great, and get an age-appropriate workout.



Pickleball is a combination of badminton, tennis, and ping-pong. Although it’s a fast sport, it is low impact and easy to follow. Commonly played on an adapted tennis or basketball court, the playing area is small, limiting the amount of movement necessary to play. The paddles resemble a cross between ping-pong and racquetball paddles, the ball is similar to a whiffle ball, and the nets are much lower. You can usually find pickleball at community centers as well as senior centers. Play with 2, 3 or 4 players and enjoy a different experience every time.


Line Dancing

This form of exercise is also social entertainment. You and your friends will arrange yourselves in lines and perform a choreographed dance in unison. Line dancing is a great way to get moving and have some fun. No instructor needed, just plenty of friends willing to participate.


These are just a few of the low-impact exercises for active seniors. With a little research and persistence, you can find an activity that speaks to you and actively improves your health.


For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us online or by phone at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide how to provide your loved ones with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Exercise Can Delay Dementia

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a type of cognitive decline characterized by memory loss, communication difficulties, and impaired thinking. Dementia is a growing concern for aging populations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 47 million people have dementia worldwide. WHO also estimates 75 million people will be affected by dementia by 2030. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 60 to 80 percent of patients suffering from dementia also have Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia is not a normal part of the aging process, and signals damage to the brain. Doctors have long advocated a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of dementia. A new study finds that exercise may also play a vital role in helping to delay dementia.

Group Of Seniors Enjoying Dancing Club Together


Study Results

Results of this ground-breaking study were published in the September 2017 issue of Scientific Reports. The study found that mice who ran on a wheel for one week had more new neurons in their brains than those of mice who did not run. Neurons are brain cells that transmit information to other parts of the body and provide direction.

Since dementia patients have damaged neurons, the creation of healthy neurons through exercise is a fantastic find. Researchers surmise that exercise can help change brain cells in humans, protecting them from the onset of dementia as well as ensuring a higher quality of life.


Exercising to Delay Dementia

Though the study focused on running, there are many other ways for seniors to stay active and keep their brains healthy. Here are four types of exercise to help seniors stay mentally and physically active:

  • Aerobic exercise, or cardio, gets the heart pumping. Some examples of easy aerobic exercises for seniors include jogging, brisk walking, or dancing. Chair-based aerobic programs are also available.
  • Flexibility exercises help seniors maintain good posture and normal a range of movement. Examples of flexibility exercises include stretching and yoga.
  • Strength exercises benefit seniors’ muscles and bones. Examples of strength exercises for seniors include lifting light weights or using resistance bands.
  • Balance exercises can help seniors stay steady on their feet and prevent falls. Tai chi as well as yoga are a popular balance exercises among seniors.

When starting any exercise routine, it’s important for seniors to start out slowly and listen to their bodies. Seniors with medical conditions should also consult a doctor before beginning any type of exercise regimen. Be sure to find trainers that are specially trained to work with the elderly.

Have your trainer lay out a safe exercise plan and have it approved by your healthcare practitioners. David York Agency has a handy workbook that can help.

Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and it can help seniors maintain a healthy body and a healthy mind.


For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide your loved one with the care and assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Let’s Incorporate Exercise Into Our Seniors’ Routines!

With all the focus on developing our own personal fitness plans for the New Year, we forget that our senior loved ones need fitness routines of their own which take into account their specialized needs and deficits.

Face the following facts:  As people age, there is a loss of muscle mass, strength, flexibility and bone. This leads to a loss of mobility and, therefore, independence. Regular exercise such as aerobics, strength training as well as balance and flexibility exercises can mitigate these negative effects. Now consider: By 2030, 1 in 5 Americans will be older than 65. A well designed exercise plan can delay or prevent loss of functioning until the 90’s and longer. Now that’s motivation!

Many older Americans are afraid of exercise thinking that they will hurt themselves. However, strengthening muscles and improving flexibility, balance and bone density is the most beneficial thing you can do to prevent injuries and falls. Just make sure all exercises are approved by a medical and healthcare team and all should be good to go!

Follow these steps and the senior adult will be well on the way to a healthier, fitter self. 87522934

  1. Assess the current physical condition of the older adult.
    • Start informally with the senior and a relative or caregiver.
    • After that, go over it more formally with the primary doctor.
  2. Have a professional fitness trainer design an exercise routine based on the senior citizen’s deficits and preferences. Include a variety of exercises and activities like:
    • Sitting and standing exercises.
    • Water exercise such as swimming.
    • Outdoor activities such as walking (perhaps briskly), bicycling, gardening, yoga or tai chi.
  1. Help establish the routine to ensure a solid pattern is set and make available videos or apps on a phone or tablet for both learning and reinforcement.
  1. Find exercise buddies or a class. The companionship helps with the enjoyment of the exercise program and is insurance that the new regimen will be adhered to.
  1. Check in and cheer on your senior. It can’t be an easy change to make and should be lauded.


David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly in their home and is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors.  When home healthcare becomes necessary, David York Home Healthcare Agency can satisfy all your questions and assist in a total care plan as well as answer any questions specific to your case. Visit our website at David York Agency – providing healthcare professionals to the elderly and infirm, with the highest degree of personal service. Please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.