Useful Information for Seniors
* PLEASE NOTE *
Through this website you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of AFICS/NY. The Association has no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation, or endorse the services provided or views expressed therein.
New York City Department for the Aging (www.nyc.gov/html/dfta)
New York State Office for the Aging (www.aging.ny.gov)
New York City Transit (www.mta.info)
Connecticut Department of Public Health (www.ct.gov/dph/site/default.asp)
Connecticut State Department on Aging (www.ct.gov/agingservices/site/default.asp)
New Jersey Department of Aging and Senior Services (www.state.nj.us/nj/community/senior/)
New Jersey Foundation for Aging (www.njfoundationforaging.org)
HEALTH & WELLNESS
American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org)
Cancer Care (www.cancercare.org)
Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org)
Alzheimer’s Research Forum (www.alzforum.org)
Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org)
American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org)
American Heart Association (www.americanheart.org)
National Association for the Visually Handicapped (www.navh.org)
Lighthouse International (www.lighthouse.org)
Hearing Loss Association of America (www.hearingloss.org)
CARE & CAREGIVER/RESIDENTIAL OPTIONS
Aging Parents and Elder Care (www.aging-parents-and-elder-care.com)
American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (www.retirement-living.com)
American Health Care Association (www.ahcancal.org)
Visiting Nurse Service of New York (www.vnsny.org)
Eldercare Locator (www.eldercare.gov)
National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (www.caremanager.org)
Extracts from WHO’s “Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health”
Physical Activity vs Exercise
Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. The term "physical activity" should not be mistaken with "exercise." Exercise, is a subcategory of physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and purposeful in the sense that the improvement or maintenance of one or more components of physical fitness is the objective. Physical activity includes exercise as well as other activities which involve bodily movement and are done as part of playing, working, active transportation, house chores and recreational activities.
Physical inactivity (lack of physical activity) has been identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality (6% of deaths globally). Moreover, physical inactivity is estimated to be the main cause for approximately 21–25% of breast and colon cancers, 27% of diabetes and approximately 30% of ischaemic heart disease burden. Regular and adequate levels of physical activity in adults:
> reduce the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer, depression and the risk of falls;
> improve bone and functional health; and
> are a key determinant of energy expenditure, and thus fundamental to energy balance and weight control.
Myths about Physical Activity
Being physically active is too expensive. It takes equipment, special shoes and clothes…and sometimes you even have to pay to use sports facilities.
Physical activity can be done almost anywhere and does not necessarily require equipment! Carrying groceries, wood, books or children are good complementary physical activities, as is climbing the stairs instead of using the elevator. Walking is perhaps the most practiced and most highly recommended physical activity and it is absolutely free. Some urban areas have parks, waterfronts or other pedestrian areas that are ideal for walking, running or playing. It is not imperative to go to a gym, pool or other special sports facility to be physically active.
I'm very busy. Physical activity takes too much time!
It only takes 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days per week to improve and maintain your health. However, this does not mean that physical activity must always be performed for 30 minutes at a time. The activity can be accumulated over the course of the day: a 10 minute brisk walk, three times a day; or 20 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes later that day. These activities can be incorporated into your daily routine - at work, school, home or play. Simple things like taking the stairs, riding a bike to work or getting off the bus two stops before your final destination and then walking the rest of the way can accumulate over the day and can form part of your regular daily activities. Even if you are very busy - you can still fit 30 minutes of physical activity into your daily routine to improve your health.
Physical activity is for people in the "prime of life". At my age, I don't need to be concerned with it…
Regular physical activity has been shown to improve the functional status and quality of life of older adults. It is recommended that adults aged 65 and above do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity. Many noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) prevalent in older adults can benefit from participation in regular physical activity (cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, hypertension, falls prevention). Physical activity has also been shown to improve mental health and cognitive function in older adults and has been found to contribute to the management of disorders such as depression and anxiety. Active lifestyles often provide older persons with regular occasions to make new friendships, maintain social networks, and interact with other people of all ages. While being active from an early age can help prevent many diseases, regular movement and activity can also help relieve the disability and pain associated with these conditions. Importantly, the benefits of physical activity can be enjoyed even if regular practice starts late in life.
Physical Activity for All
> These guidelines are relevant to all healthy adults aged 65 years and above. They are also relevant to individuals in this age range with chronic NCD conditions. Individuals with specific health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, may need to take extra precautions and seek medical advice before striving to achieve the recommended levels of physical activity for older adults.
> There are a number of ways older adults can accumulate the total of 150 minutes per week. The concept of accumulation refers to meeting the goal of 150 minutes per week by performing activities in multiple shorter bouts, of at least 10 minutes each, spread throughout the week then adding together the time spent during each of these bouts: e.g. 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity 5 times per week.
> These recommendations are applicable for all older adults irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity or income level.
> The recommendations can be applied to older adults with disabilities however adjustments for each individual based on their exercise capacity and specific health risks or limitations may be needed.
> Older adults who are inactive or who have some disease limitations will have added health benefits if moving from the category of “no activity” to “some levels” of activity. Older adults who currently do not meet the recommendations for physical activity should aim to increase duration, frequency and finally intensity as a target to achieving them.
Benefits of Physical Activity for Older Adults
Overall, strong evidence demonstrates that compared to less active men and women, older adults who are physically active:
> have lower rates of all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer and breast cancer, a higher level of cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, healthier body mass and composition;
> have a biomarker profile that is more favourable for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and the enhancement of bone health; and
> exhibit higher levels of functional health, a lower risk of falling, and better cognitive function; have reduced risk of moderate and severe functional limitations and role limitations.