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Expert Insights

Analysis of trends in senior care, advice for people coping with an aging patent, and health advice for seniors.

Alzheimer’s gene poses greater risk to women

Alzheimer’s researchers have known for a while that the gene APOE4 increases the risk for developing this devastating memory-impairing disease. What they didn’t know was that this gene may pose a greater risk to women than men.

According to a new study published in Annals of Neurology, APOE4 nearly doubles women’s likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease, while men are only slightly more likely to develop it. 

This may help explain why women are disproportionately affected by the disease – roughly two-thirds of the five million people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the United States are women. Another widely accepted explanation for this is that because women generally outlive men, they have more time to develop the disease.

Improve your health: Get some sun

Sunlight improves your healthWe all know sunlight is a key ingredient to good health, but it may have an even bigger impact than we previously thought. According to a new study from Northwestern University, basking in the sun can help you manage your weight.

An important thing to note is that this refers specifically to bright, early morning light. In the study, people who spent time in the sun between 8 a.m. and noon had a lower body mass index than those who spent time outside later in the day.

Of course, this raises some questions – how do early morning rays differ from late day rays, and why would sunshine impact your weight at all?

Seniors living alone at risk for malnutrition

Seniors and nutritionHome Instead Senior Care recently released a report about the challenges living alone poses to seniors’ nutrition. According to the report, 40 percent of seniors aged 75 and older live alone, and among them, two out of five are malnourished.  

Why? Part of the problem is that shopping, meal planning and meal preparation can be arduous tasks for aging adults. As a result, they may not shop as frequently as they should or eat as frequently as they should, and rely heavily on premade or convenience foods, which lack the nutrients they need. 

But the biggest challenge to seniors’ eating habits is a lack of shared mealtime experiences, those family dinners so often taken for granted. Although most of us acknowledge the value of family dinners for bonding, we might not think of them as important to proper nutrition.

Skilled nursing facilities offer personalized approach to rehab

After staying at the hospital for a stroke, fracture or other illness or injury, many seniors may find themselves struggling with day-to-day activities, pain and limited mobility. In these instances, seniors need post-acute care to aid recovery; as many as 37 percent of acute hospitalizations require follow-up care.

Skilled nursing facilities are a great place for short term rehabilitation, and in fact, rehabilitation admissions at these facilities have grown significantly in recent years. The growing popularity of skilled nursing facilities for rehab can likely be attributed to the high quality of care delivered with a personalized and compassionate approach.  

An interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals – including physicians, nurses and therapists – meets with the patient and create a treatment plan that best meets the individual’s personal rehabilitation needs and goals.

Happiness changes with age

For many people, the pursuit of happiness is the driving force behind the choices they make. The issue is figuring out what makes you happy so that you can devote your time to it. Interestingly, the things that make us happy significantly change the older we get.

According to a recent study set to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research, we thrive off of extraordinary experiences in our youth – in other words, uncommon, infrequent, and potentially adrenaline-pumping events. For some, this might mean skydiving; for others, it could mean meeting new, interesting individuals.

While most people still value the extraordinary well into old age, their perspective of the ordinary – common, day-to-day occurrences – changes. As we age, we are more likely to derive joy from events a younger person might view as mundane. For example, sharing a meal with your loved ones or walking your dog.

 
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