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Health Matters

A roundup of relevant news about health, fitness and care for seniors.

Reduce chronic inflammation through volunteering

Not only does volunteering allow you to give back, recent research has also linked it to reduced levels of inflammation. Researchers believe, among other things, that such productive activities can benefit older adults’ health because they provide meaningful social roles, which positively impact the volunteer’s well-being.

The study, published in The Gerontologist, looked at four different productive activities—employment, volunteering, attending meetings and caregiving—and how they might play a role in reducing chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to the risk of heart attack and stroke, emphasizing the importance of keeping inflammation levels low.

This fall, protect yourself from the flu

flu tipsIt’s no wonder so many people love autumn – it brings beautiful fall foliage, delicious seasonal treats like hot apple cider and caramel apples, and plenty of fun festive activities, from apple picking to pumpkin carving to trick-or-treating with the kids. And yet, autumn also means that cold and flu season is approaching. At EPOCH, we want our residents and staff – as well as each and every one of you! – to enjoy all your favorite fall festivities, so we encourage everyone to be proactive about protecting their health.

A fit lifestyle has far-reaching benefits for seniors

Fitness for seniorsWe’ve written before about the benefits of exercise for aging adults – it reduces the risk for illness by boosting immunity, and reduces the risk for falls by improving balance and strength.

Combating depression with the internet

technology and seniorsOctober is Emotional Wellness Month. A healthy emotional life can help us age well and even promote longevity. Yet, many seniors’ emotional health is compromised by social isolation and loneliness. 

Loss of friends, dispersed family, and limited mobility or income leads to social isolation for many aging adults. Isolation can have a domino effect, causing depression, which in turn can lead to declining physical and mental health. Depression can exacerbate existing medical conditions, including arthritis, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.

So what can seniors do to minimize isolation and increase their emotional (and in turn physical) wellbeing? The answer may be taking advantage of modern technology. According to a study published in the Journals of Gerontology, internet use reduces the risk for depression in the elderly by 33 percent.

Back to school: The benefits of lifelong learning

Lifelong learningMany kids are getting ready to head back to the classroom, but there’s no reason they should be the only ones. The desire to learn does not fade with age, and in fact, pursuing lifelong learning opportunities helps promote healthy aging. 

Many studies have shown that keeping the brain active helps us maintain our reasoning skills and the ability to quickly process information. Other researchers have found that stimulating the brain even has the potential to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, helping many individuals maintain their memories and independence longer.

 
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