Posts Tagged "aging"

Aging and Memory Loss.

Posted by on Sep 7, 2010 in Health Signals |

A group of senior women share comments on the changes they experience as they grow older.  One says:  “I’m tired of others saying that I’m ‘losing it’ “. Another wonders whether she should be alarmed about her “senior moments.” A third reads from a newspaper article: “Memory changes can cause unfounded fears.” Research shows that the human brain functions well even into advanced age.  Normal changes of aging might affect some aspects of memory and processing information, but people can make simple changes in behaviour to adapt and to stay sharp. Some changes do occur in the structure and function of the brain. Actual brain size may shrink and blood flow may be reduced. By age 40, many people report difficulty doing more than one thing at a time or having to search for a word. They might have to work a bit harder to remember “to-do’s” – or to recall people’s names. But these common changes DO NOT signal impending dementia (or Alzheimer Disease). Using new technology, such as neuron-imaging, as well as new and increasingly sensitive psychological tests, researchers have refuted the notion that aging people go into a general mental decline. Instead, they are finding that diverse brain functions decline at very different rates and that these losses vary widely among individuals. Psychologists are finding that older people are not suffering from “memory overload”.  Rather, the changes seemed to be linked to difficulty in encoding and retrieving information.  Distractions and slower processing may interfere with recalling names or dates.  However, even with these changes, most  older adults are still quite efficient at acquiring new information and storing it in long-term memory.  These findings suggest that, as we age, subtle changes in memory are not a sign of impending mental collapse. Reducing our anxiety around “senior moments” in and of itself can help the brain work more efficiently.  It’s also a good idea not to put added pressure on yourself by saying, “but I used to do three things at once and remember everything!” Here are a few things you can do for yourself: Relax: anxiety makes your memory worse Organize: always put glasses, gloves, and keys in the same place Adapt: it’s OK to write to-do list.  Limit distraction, especially when you are trying to recall or to memorize  Challenge yourself: embark on activities that stimulate the brain (e.g., crossword puzzles) Get creative: use memory helpers such as mnemonics or visualization Stay physically active. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain. Learn something new: take a course, volunteer, play a musical instrument Learn more about memory changes at these online sources: Is it Alzheimer Disease?  www.alzheimer.ca Brain Gain: Mental Exercise makes elderly minds more fit http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=9CB7CDCF-E7F2-99DF-3EE815B432D41E98   Vol. 3, No. 22 © ElderWise Inc. 2007. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

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Workplace Issues in an Aging Canada

Posted by on Sep 7, 2010 in Workplace |

Canada’s aging population has increased dramatically in the last five years. We can expect significant changes to our economy and our workplaces as a result. Census 2006: Age and Sex, released in July, shows nearly one out of every three Canadians is now a “boomer”. Canadians aged 55 to 64 are the fastest growing demographic, up nearly 30 per cent from the last Canadian census five years ago. Higher life expectancy means there are more seniors than ever – now one in seven Canadians. At the same time, declining birthrates mean fewer children. Statistics Canada projects that within a decade, seniors could outnumber children younger than 15. Our over-80 population is the second-fastest growing group, increasing by more than 25 per cent in the last five years, followed closely by centenarians (aged 100 and over) whose numbers grew by 22 per cent since the last census. Today there’s a one-to-one ratio between those entering the workforce and those nearing retirement. But in 10 years there may be more people leaving the workplace than entering it. In twenty years, there may be only two workers for every senior – down from a five-to-one ratio today. The aging population may lead to more jobs in the private and public sector dedicated to servicing this demographic. New businesses and organizations are already being created to reflect demands of the aging population. Baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1965) will continue to re-define society, as they have practically from day one. The question is: how will they do it? Already many boomers are rejecting or re-defining retirement. Many are healthier and more active than previous generations, and may find traditional retirement unsatisfying. Others may not be in a financial position to retire. Fears about worker shortages may not be realized if boomers keep working longer, but expect new dynamics in a multi-generational workplace. Employers will have to adapt to retain workers, and to maintain productivity and stay competitive. Boomers who stay in the workforce will continue to be squeezed by the demands on generations on either side. The seniors in their lives – parents, in-laws, aunts and uncles, neighbours and friends – will live longer. This is the “sandwich generation”.  Boomers who take on caregiving roles will be doing it longer, all while they juggle the demands of work, “boomerang” kids, grandchildren, and time for themselves. The implications for individual health and well-being and for our overall economy are significant. Governments, employers and businesses in the private sector, service agencies and extended families all face challenges in adapting to these population shifts. Vol. 3. No. 19  © ElderWise Inc. 2007. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

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