It is well known that exercise, in general, helps combat the aging process. However, do we know which forms of exercise are most beneficial?
New research done by German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, Germany shows we may not.
Recruiting elderly volunteers with an average age of 68, researchers assigned them to an eighteen-month weekly course of either learning dance routines, or endurance and flexibility training. After assessing participants at the end of the study, Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld, the lead author and her colleagues found what we might expect: both forms of exercise produced increases in the area of the brain that declines with age (hippocampus). However, it was only dancing that led to noticeable behavioral changes – in the form of improved balance (Rehfeld et al., 2017).
Another study done by Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston found that we may also underestimate the protective effects of a healthy gut microbiome.
Through slowing down the progression of tumors and the accumulation of amyloid-beta – a compound associated with Alzheimer’s disease – and increasing the production of the polysaccharide colanic acid, the promotion of a healthy gut bacteria associated was shown to have also protective effects against aging (Han et al., 2017).
What studies like this tell us is that there are a variety of things that we may not fully understand about aging, and likely, many helpful interventions.
But where do we start? What is considered normal as we age, and what requires medical or psychological evaluation?
There are actually clear and identifiable physical and psychosocial changes that affect people as they age, and can be addressed by a clinician who is educated and experienced with the aging population. Moreover, there are evidence-based strategies clinicians can use to assist older persons in the clinic or office as well as specific techniques to communicate effectively when sensory deficits are present in older adults.
Lastly, ensuring the highest level of functioning as clients age depends on a clinician who fully understands, and can help the client navigate, the continuum of care. All of this begins with a clinician who understands the challenges of aging – and perhaps more importantly, how to address and overcome them.
Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:
Aging: Challenges for Clinicians is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that provides a review of the aging process, illustrating potential challenges and effective solutions. Americans are living longer and there are proportionately more older adults than in previous generations due to the post-World War II baby boom. Many Americans are now living into their eighties and beyond. In healthcare, the volume of older people may soon outnumber the supply of healthcare professionals trained in geriatrics. Aging presents many challenges for people as they encounter new physical and psychosocial issues. It is vital for healthcare professionals to be familiar with the challenges of aging in order to effectively treat the aging population. This course will provide information on the normal process of aging, and point out problems commonly thought to be normal that require medical or psychological evaluation and treatment. Case examples will illustrate scenarios of aging persons who may be at risk but are not aware there is a problem. Use this information for referral as appropriate to ensure the highest level of functioning for your patients. Course #31-01 | 2017 | 54 pages | 20 posttest questions
Biology of Aging: Research Today for a Healthier Tomorrow is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews the research on aging and provides insight into where the science is heading. What is aging? Can we live long and live well—and are they the same thing? Is aging in our genes? How does our metabolism relate to aging? Can your immune system still defend you as you age? Since the National Institute on Aging was established in 1974, scientists asking just such questions have learned a great deal about the processes associated with the biology of aging. Technology today supports research that years ago would have seemed possible only in a science fiction novel. This course introduces some key areas of research into the biology of aging. Each area is a part of a larger field of scientific inquiry. You can look at each topic individually, or you can step back to see how they fit together, interwoven to help us better understand aging processes. Research on aging is dynamic, constantly evolving based on new discoveries, and so this course also looks ahead to the future, as today’s research provides the strongest hints of things to come. Closeout course #20-85 | 2012 | 30 pages | 15 posttest questions
Communication with Elders is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers strategies for improving communication with elders with the goal of improving treatment outcomes. With the increasing number of older people in the United States, it is vital for healthcare professionals to communicate effectively and respectfully with elders. Effective, appropriate communication with elders is important for many reasons. For psychotherapists and other mental health professionals, communication is the foundation of service delivery. Communication is required for assessment of the person prior to treatment. Symptoms are, after all, subjective and must be reported by the person to the clinician. Effective communication also contributes to health literacy; the person’s understanding of her condition, treatment options, and the treatment plan to be followed. A person cannot comply with a treatment program unless the program is communicated clearly enough for the person to understand it. The more effective the communication, the more effective treatment will be – and the more cost effective. Communication also helps the clinician understand the whole person: the emotional, social, and financial realities that affect response to treatment and ability to comply. This course provides an overview of aging changes that affect communication, dysfunctional communication habits to avoid, and strategies for appropriate communication with elders. Course 20-98 | 2015 | 26 pages | 15 posttest questions
These online CE courses are provided by:
Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).
Target Audience: Psychologists, Counselors, Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapist (MFTs), Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), Occupational Therapists (OTs), Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs), School Psychologists, and Teachers