ISSUE 27 E-NEWSLETTER
Taking Care of Yourself When You Become the Caregiver
SparkPeople – by Ellen G. Goldman, Health and Wellness Coach
As I sat across the cafe table from my dearest friend, Margie, I was struck by how tired and drawn she looked. This was the first time we had seen in each other in months. Before, we had made a point to meet for lunch or coffee once a week. Now that she had moved her folks close by to help with her father’s care after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, there never seemed to be time.
I listened quietly as she shared what life was like for her these days. After putting in a full day of work as a teacher, many afternoons she drove 25 minutes to the assisted-living facility to handle the day’s crisis or just to give her mother a break. Margie feared her mother was showing signs of being clinically depressed, so she planned to accompany her to a psychological evaluation on Saturday.
Admitting to her intense feelings of anger-at the situation, at her sister who lived on the other side of the country, at her husband who couldn’t understand when she felt too tired to go out on a Saturday night-she felt guilty for feeling angry. Having abandoned her own exercise program, she now had flare-ups of chronic back pain from lifting and moving her dad when he refused to do it himself. I could see her disappointment in the many pounds that she had gained, after working so hard the year before to lose them.
Margie is certainly not alone in experiencing the burden and stress of the caregiver role. I reflected back on my own experience caring for my folks the year my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and my mother fell, breaking her arm, while visiting him in the hospital. That was a long, hard winter for my siblings and me, as we traveled back and forth to Florida to help them set up the ongoing care they would need when we were not around. (full story)
“How to Become a ‘Superager’”
The New York Times
by Lisa Feldman Barrett
Think about the people in your life who are 65 or older. Some of them are experiencing the usual mental difficulties of old age, like forgetfulness or a dwindling attention span. Yet others somehow manage to remain mentally sharp. My father-in-law, a retired doctor, is 83 and he still edits books and runs several medical websites.
Why do some older people remain mentally nimble while others decline? “Superagers” (a term coined by the neurologist Marsel Mesulam) are those whose memory and attention isn’t merely above average for their age, but is actually on par with healthy, active 25-year-olds. My colleagues and I at Massachusetts General Hospital recently studied superagers to understand what made them tick.
Our lab used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan and compare the brains of 17 superagers with those of other people of similar age. We succeeded in identifying a set of brain regions that distinguished the two groups. These regions were thinner for regular agers, a result of age-related atrophy, but in superagers they were indistinguishable from those of young adults, seemingly untouched by the ravages of time.
What are these crucial brain regions? If you asked most scientists to guess, they might nominate regions that are thought of as “cognitive” or dedicated to thinking, such as the lateral prefrontal cortex. However, that’s not what we found. Nearly all the action was in “emotional” regions, such as the midcingulate cortex and the anterior insula.
My lab was not surprised by this discovery, because we’ve seen modern neuroscience debunk the notion that there is a distinction between “cognitive” and “emotional” brain regions. (source)
Tai Chi/Qigong Fundamentals I
Intro Class, Wednesday 6:00-7:10 PM, 4/1
10-class series, Wednesdays 6:00-7:10 PM, 4/8
Registration required. Click here
Experience Tai Chi (Taiijiquan) and Qigong in a 10-class series that explores the basics of breathing, movement, and the ancient philosophy that informs both these practices. Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art and system of meditative movement used worldwide for fitness, stress reduction, balance, and well-being. Principles of motion based on Yin and Yang, body mechanics, proper alignment, knee safety, and whole body coordination serve as an introduction to further study.
The healing properties of Tai Chi derive from Qigong: the cultivation and movement of Qi or life energy to induce physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual equilibrium. We focus in this course on the dynamics of the Tai Chi Diagram, considered the “Master Key” to all styles of Tai Chi, and on a 16-movement routine derived from the Wu/Hao style.
When you have completed this class, you may transition into our fundamentals II class. Read more.
Sitting Too Much: How Bad Is It?
Excess sitting has been linked to a host of health problems. The studies just keep coming. Sitting our life away, it seems, may be very bad for our health and even our life expectancy. Just since January, researchers have reported that sitting for long hours is linked to:
•A decline in mental health
•A higher risk of death from heart disease and other causes
•A higher risk of being disabled
New studies add even more weight to earlier research suggesting that too much sitting is bad, even if you get regular exercise. Experts say they still don’t know which comes first. Does too much sitting trigger poor health, or is it the other way around? They also say we may need to think about sitting and exercise as two separate behaviors, each contributing on its own to our health. So while that 1-hour jog is great for you, it may not undo the 8 hours of sitting at your desk.
WebMD asked three experts to weigh in on what we know about sitting and how we can reduce our sitting time. Visit WebMD to learn more.
Thursday 7:30-8:45PM, October 16
Register for your Sugar Blues class
This class is about freedom – the freedom to eat foods you love and have sweetness in your life without side effects or guilt. With Health Coach, Betsy Templeton, learn how to permanently change your relationship with sugar. Discover the possible causes of your sugar addiction and develop successful strategies for dealing with these cravings. Your low energy in the middle of the day may be the result of a crash from sugar consumed in the morning. Sustain your energy throughout the day with guidelines provided by this class. Sample delicious food and get recipes you can prepare at home.
BETSY TEMPLETON is a Certified Health and Nutrition Coach who received her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. She offers individual health and nutrition counseling, conducts cooking classes, and presents gluten-free and healthy eating workshops.
Visit Betsy’s website:www.goldenbeetwellness.com