About 50% of nursing home residents are under the age of 85. Why are they there?
A significant number of residents have memory problems or problems making daily decisions. Persons with serious dementia certainly need nursing home care. Neurofeedback training can help other older adults who have less-serious memory and decision-making problems to improve mental function and remain in their homes.
Almost all nursing home residents have some type of physical disability that interferes with activities of daily living like cooking, bathing, shopping and cleaning. Many people could remain safely at home, able to do chores of daily living, if only they had more muscle strength and balance.
Most people grow weaker one day at time. As we age we do not maintain our strength unless we exercise correctly and frequently. People over the age of 60 who do not exercise for strength and endurance will go down hill. All older adults need to exercise to maintain core strength (spinal muscles, abdominal muscles, pelvic muscles, buttock muscles). We also need to maintain strong shoulders, arms and legs. And we need to maintain strong breathing muscles (diaphragm and intercostals).
Few people really want to live in a nursing home. So why don’t we do the things that will keep us out? Too many people stop exercising because exercise causes pain. The solution to this is to use the services of a qualified orthopedic massage therapist.
An orthopedic massage therapist can better integrate your body by balancing the muscle groups and by restoring the connective tissues. Myofascial therapy is safe and effective for many older adults and is not very painful when correctly done.
Once you can exercise safely without pain, you will be able to strengthen your body. It is always best to begin your exercise program under the guidance of a professional trainer who specializes in training older adults. If you have major health challenges you will want to choose a physical therapist to guide your training.
Here’s your prescription for staying out of a nursing home as long as possible. Allow an orthopedic massage therapist to restore your body to better function so you can exercise and do daily activities effectively and safely without much pain.
Then allow a trainer to create an exercise program for you that maintains strength, balance and cardiovascular endurance. Then consider neurofeedback training (biofeedback for the brain) to improve memory and cognitive functions. Please remember to inform your primary care physician of your intentions and accept their guidance. Your physician will be proud of you.