Partyin' in New Orleans
No place knows how to celebrate better
than the Big Easy! And that is certainly true of our adopted
New Orleans nursing home, the John J. Hainkel
Home & Rehabilitation Center. On St. Patrick's Day, the residents there
enjoyed an outdoor barbecue hosted by the local sheriff's office.
It featured great food, colorful
decorations, lots of smiles, and some really cool St. Paddy's Day hats!
The American Senior Fitness Association (SFA) adopted the historic
Hainkel facility in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which
disproportionately disrupted the lives of elderly citizens in the
afflicted Gulf Coast region. Coincidentally, the Association also
adopted a frail kitten rescued near New Orleans in the aftermath of the
terrible storm. The little tomcat, named Gumbo, made a full recovery
from his traumatic experience and now serves as the mascot for our
nursing home adoption project.
administrator Robert Bales recently updated SFA on current volunteer
work at the Home. In April, Delgado College students visited to engage
in recreational activities with the residents. The resident dining room
has been updated with smaller, more personal four-place tables.
Attractive framed posters have been placed in common areas, and spring
planting is under way to spruce up the resident grounds. He added that
the residents were very enthusiastic about the world-famous annual New
Orleans Jazz Fest!
In fact, Mr. Bales said, SFA's recent donation went toward such
off-grounds field trips for the residents. Let us share a little more of
his message: "On behalf of the residents, please accept my appreciation
and thanks to you and your association members for adopting the
residents of the John J. Hainkel Home & Rehab Center. Donations such as
yours make a significant difference in the life of the residents here."
SFA members and Experience! readers, please everyone send a small
donation -- tax deductible -- to assist our adopted nursing home. Here's
how to help:
Write a check payable to Home for
the Incurables. That's the foundation through which our adopted
nursing home can accept charity.
On your memo line, write
Recreation Fund. That way they can recognize SFA donations and
use your gifts for fitness and activities purposes near-and-dear to
SFA members' hearts.
Mail to: Administrator Bob
Bales, John J Hainkel Home & Rehab, 612 Henry Clay Ave, New Orleans
It is so exciting that all of us in SFA
can join together and help our adopted elders in this wonderful area
that was so cruelly devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Bales said,
"Thank you for the kindness and thoughtfulness of your association, and
please know that your adoption of the facility will make a difference in
the quality of life of the residents here." For more details about the
John J. Hainkel Home, just click on Gumbo!
Exercise and Migraines
author Jim Evans is a 40-year
veteran of the health and fitness industry and an internationally
recognized senior fitness consultant. Today he advises a lady who is
subject to migraine headaches.
DEAR JIM: I am a 69-year-old female with a history of migraines. I've
been physically active most of my life, and exercise has usually helped
to reduce my migraine symptoms. But lately I have been experiencing
severe migraines right after exercising. The only change I have made in
my exercise regimen is to add some resistance training to my normal
cardio workout to help improve my bone density and muscle tone. Should I
go back to just cardio for a while and see what happens? UNEASY IN
DEAR UNEASY: Most medical experts believe that migraine sufferers have a
heightened neurological system response that triggers migraines whenever
there is a change in their normal routine. So, yes, you might want to
return to just doing your cardio workout for the time being. You may be
simply experiencing a benign condition sometimes known as
"weightlifters' headache" which often comes on suddenly after exercise
but usually disappears after about 30 minutes. Although you didn't
mention it, nausea is a common symptom of exercise-induced migraines,
Exercise releases endorphins that usually reduce the frequency and/or
severity of migraines -- just as you have experienced up until now --
but when exercise sets off a migraine, there may be other factors to
consider. To start with, be sure that you are taking in enough fluid
while exercising, because dehydration can cause a headache. Not eating
properly before exercising can cause a drop in blood sugar that can
produce a headache, too. Even something as simple as failing to warm up
before exercising can sometimes bring about a headache. Also, if you
were not breathing properly while performing your new resistance
exercises -- holding your breath, for example -- you may have
temporarily elevated your blood pressure and triggered a migraine.
With your history of migraines, you probably already know that a lack of
sleep, certain smells, and eating foods containing MSG (monosodium
glutamate) can also cause headaches.
Take all of these factors into account when you return to your
resistance training, and see if there is a recurrence of migraines. If
you continue to experience the migraines, you should seek medical
attention to determine if there is something more serious behind your
Bright Day: I Can See Clearly Now
Recent research published in
the Archives of Ophthalmology shows that correcting nursing home
patients' vision deficits improves their quality of life and reduces
their risk for depression, according to a report by HealthDay.
University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers analyzed two groups of
long term care residents age 55-plus: 78 subjects received eyeglasses
one week after an eye examination, while 64 subjects waited for their
glasses for two months after their eye exams. Vision-related quality of
life and depressive symptoms were gauged at the beginning of the study
and again after two months.
At baseline, the groups were similar in terms of medical and demographic
status, visual acuity (acuteness of perception; keenness), and
refractive error (pertaining to the deflection of light from a straight
path during the visual process). Not surprisingly, at the end of two
months the subjects who received their glasses promptly had improved in
distance and near visual acuity, whereas the others enjoyed no visual
Importantly, at the end of the study the subjects who received their
glasses in a timely fashion showed fewer depressive symptoms and scored
higher in terms of general vision, reading, hobbies, social interaction,
and other activities.
These outcomes may seem so predictable from a common sense standpoint
that readers might question the need for such research. That issue is
addressed by the words of the researchers themselves: "These findings
underscore the need for a systematic evaluation of the factors
underlying the pervasive unavailability of eye care to nursing home
residents in the United States so that steps can be taken to improve
delivery and eye care utilization."
Physical Activity and the Brain
Another HealthDay report
describes encouraging new research on the subject of mental fitness. It
appears that regular moderate-intensity exercise, especially when
undertaken between age 50 and age 65, may help to prevent mild cognitive
What is considered mild impairment? Persons with the condition are able
to function satisfactorily in everyday life, but falter when it comes to
recalling details (for example, details associated with recent
conversations and events or with imminent appointments). Over time, most
such people undergo a progressive decline in cognitive ability, which
actually results from Alzheimer's disease. However, not all of those
with mild impairment go on to develop more serious problems.
This research was conducted by Mayo Clinic scientists, who studied 868
men and women ages 70 to 89. It involved comparing the subjects' level
of exercise activity to their cognitive health status over time. The
findings suggest that physical exercise may reduce the risk for
developing mild cognitive impairment.
The study's lead researcher Dr. Yonas Endale Geda released a statement
saying: "Regarding the mechanism of action of physical exercise and mild
cognitive impairment, we speculate that either exercise induces
chemicals that protect brain cells, or exercise is simply a marker for
an overall healthy lifestyle, or there is some positive interaction
among exercise, healthy lifestyle, and intellectually stimulating
Well, as much as we love her,
we might not want to follow this funny lady's physical fitness program:
"My idea of exercise is a good brisk sit."
-- Phyllis Diller