Aging and Caregiving in the News

Related topics: Getting Enough Exercise, Alzheimer's Disease, Mental Health

Information, updates and interesting tidbits about healthy aging, senior care and family caregiving from across the country and around the world.

In this issue….

  • Soccer isn't just for younger athletes.
  • Global misconceptions about Alzheimer's disease
  • Negative social interactions are linked with hypertension.

GOAAAL! Senior Fitness!

Were you one of the many Americans who watched the 2014 World Cup soccer competition from your couch or your favorite sports bar? That's not the best exercise in the world, but Danish researchers recently reported that senior men who get off the couch and onto the field can improve their all-around health. University of Copenhagen professor Peter Krustrup noted that 70-year-old men who had played soccer for years tended to have excellent body strength and balance. His research team wondered if senior men who had never before played the game could also reap benefits. To find out, they had a group of men aged 63–75 take up the sport for four months, playing twice a week for an hour. They found that the men experienced improvement in cardiovascular function, muscle strength and balance. Said Krustrup, "The remarkable improvements in aerobic fitness and muscle strength make it easier for the players to live an active life and overcome their physical challenges of everyday life such as climbing stairs, shopping, cycling and gardening. This benefits not only the players themselves, but also their families and friends."

Hopefully Krustrup and his team will conduct further research to find out whether older female soccer players benefit in a similar way. And while an intense sport like soccer isn't for everyone, if your doctor says go for it, you might want to check out some of the over-65 divisions that are popping up in adult soccer leagues in the U.S. and worldwide!

Survey Shows Global Misconceptions About Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease leaves no corner of the world untouched. According to the Alzheimer's Association, by the year 2030, there will be over 76 million cases of Alzheimer's, threatening economies worldwide.

Yet a recent survey performed by the Alzheimer's Association showed a global lack of information about Alzheimer's. The Association polled 6,307 people from 12 countries about their knowledge of the disease. The survey revealed that:

  • 60 percent of the people surveyed believe that Alzheimer's is a typical part of aging.
  • 40 percent did not know that Alzheimer's is a progressive, fatal disease.
  • 37 percent thought that only people with a family history of the disease are at risk.

The Alzheimer's Association urges everyone to learn more about Alzheimer's, and to work together to raise awareness. Visit the Alzheimer's Association website (www.alz.org) to find a wealth of information. "Alzheimer's is a devastating disease that slowly robs people of their independence and eventually their lives," said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Association. "Sadly, Alzheimer's disease knows no bounds. Anyone with a brain is at risk, so everyone with a brain should join the fight against it."

"That Guy Really Makes My Blood Boil!"

You've probably heard that old saying. Now, Carnegie Mellon University researchers have shown that for people over 50, dealing with difficult people may indeed raise blood pressure significantly over time. Published in the American Psychological Association's Health Psychology Journal, the study provided physical evidence that over the course of four years, an increase in a person's reported negative social interactions was associated with a 38 percent increase in hypertension.

Women in particular seem to be affected by unpleasant or demanding personal encounters. Researcher Rodlescia Sneed says, "There is a body of evidence in social psychology research suggesting that women care more about and pay more attention to the quality of their relationships. Our findings suggest that women are particularly sensitive to negative interactions." She adds, "Interpersonal conflicts are the most commonly reported stressor, so understanding their impact on health and well-being is particularly important."


Source: IlluminAge Communication Partners; copyright 2014 IlluminAge.

Photo courtesy of Copenhagen Centre for Team Sport and Health, University of Copenhagen.