Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:

Cancer Caregiver Support: Caregiving & Bereavement Support with Ronni Levine, LMFT

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode: Cancer Caregiver Support: Caregiving & Bereavement Support with Ronni Levine, LMFT

The 12 Best Brain Health Recommendations To Reduce Risk for Dementia

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Researchers have been investigating brain health recommendations that help to reduce our risk for cognitive decline in older adulthood. Many of the tips that I'm going to share today are really about how to live your healthiest life and achieve optimal physical health, brain health, and mental health in older adulthood. 

 

You may already be doing many of these tips. As you listen to this episode, take notes and make a list. Put a check mark by items that you are currently doing and a star next to the items that you need to be doing more of to achieve optimal health. At the end of the episode, give yourself some praise for what you're already doing, then choose one of the starred items to focus on to optimize your brain health and mental health. 

 

Let's dive in to the 12 evidence-based brain health recommendations to reduce your risk for cognitive decline and dementia and promote mental well being:

Here's...

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The Positive Effects Of Nature On Brain Health and Mental Health

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According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American spends only 7% of their entire life outdoors. Spending instead,  93% of their life indoors, including 87% of their life is inside buildings or homes, then another 6% of life in automobiles. 

 

This statistic is staggering, especially when considering that spending time outdoors and in nature is good for our brain.  Research has identified the benefits of walking in nature on memory (Berman, Jonides, & Kaplan, 2008), attention and focus (Hartig, Mang, & Evans, 1991), and problem-solving skills and creative abilities (Atchley, Strayer, & Atchley, 2012).

 

Similar studies have found that being in nature is good for our mental health in that it reduces stress (Gidlow, Randall, Gillman, Smith, & Jones, 2016) and uplifts our mood and promotes motivation (Berman et al., 2012)

 

Our guest today, Dr. Paula...

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Lower Caregiver Stress with Proven Resilience Strategies - with William Haley, PhD

 

 

 

We have a narrative in society that says that caregivers have more depression and stress, spend their caregiving years suffering, only to lead to premature death. Our guest today shares a more balanced and factual narrative about caregivers.

Yes, many caregivers do indeed have increased rates of stress and depression. Research shows, however, that caregivers are remarkably resilient and actually DO NOT have a reduced lifespan as a result of caregiving.

Our guest today, Dr. William Haley, Professor of Aging Studies, reveals how caregiving actually affects caregivers and shares several resilience strategies you can use (starting today) to bolster your resilience and lower your stress. Listen until the end for all the great tips and strategies.

 

Here's a peak inside my interview with Dr. William Haley:

  • [04:02] Dr. Haley shares his story: Where he's from and what inspired him to study aging and caregiving.
  • [8:23]  Learn about a stress and coping model...
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Older Adults and Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic: 5 Proven Strategies

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When we think of older adults during COVID, images of older adults living in long-term care communities sheltering in place with hands pressed against windows trying to connect with loved ones circle in our heads.

2020 was a year of incredible hardship and pain for many people and especially for many older adults and their families. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, older adults have the greatest risk of requiring hospitalization or dying if they’re diagnosed with COVID-19. This has been one of the most heartbreaking fall outs of the pandemic. 
 

(Images retrieved on 1/5/21 from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/older-adults.html)


We also know that many older families living with dementia or other significant illness during COVID-19 have been hit especially hard with closures of adult day...

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Exercise Program For Seniors: How to Strengthen Body and Mind with Vivo’s Eric Levitan

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Exercise is essential for healthy aging. Having a consistent exercise routine helps to reduce risk of mental health conditions, improves cognitive function, and helps our bodies to function optimally.

 

Knowing the "right" exercise for older adults is key. In today's episode, I interview Eric Levitan, founder and CEO of Vivo, a digital fitness company focused on strength training for older adults. And Surprise!  Also joining us in today's interview is Eric's 79 year old dad, Michael Levitan, who's a college professor and has been exercising with Vivo for the past several months, and noticing remarkable changes.

I want to share that I have no affiliation with Vivo. I don't get any financial incentive by sharing their program with you. So why am I using my podcast to talk about Vivo? As you know, older adults and caregivers are the hardest hit by COVID. Older adults have been locked down and scared, while caregivers have...

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The Best Treatment for Sleep Problems in Elderly Adults - with Dr. Daniel Wachtel

 

 

 

You may be surprised to hear that the best sleep aid for older adults with insomnia is not a medication. It's a type of psychotherapy, called CBT-I for Insomnia, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I).

 

Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders experienced by older adults. Insomnia essentially means that a person has trouble falling or staying asleep, or experiences non-restorative sleep. This, of course, can lead to issues during the day like cognitive problems and mood and emotional issues.

 

Did you know that as many as 50% of older adults complain about difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep? And in fact, older adults (people 65 and older) are more likely to experience insomnia than younger or middle aged adults.

 

But here's the thing... Sleep problems in elderly adults are treatable. In as little as one to ten (1-10 sessions) of CBT-I, older adults sleep better!

 

Today's guest, Dr. Daniel Wachtel is a...

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Expert Tips for Helping Suicidal Older Adults

 

 

 

Suicide is an important topic when it comes to older adults. Here's why.

 

White men over 85 have the highest rate of suicide in the country (more than any other age group). Does this come as a surprise to you?

 

It's also important to know that suicide attempts in older adults are more likely to result in death than younger adults due to the following reasons:

  • Older adults plan more carefully and use more lethal means
  • Older adults are less likely to be discovered and rescued
  • Less likely to recover from a failed attempt

 

And here's where you come in!  In today's episode, I share exactly what to say and do to help the older adults in your life who may be suicidal

 

A quick but important disclaimer as we get started:

I will be talking about suicide and suicide prevention and in doing this I'm going to be sharing a story that was published in the New York times in December 2019. I know that suicide is a very sensitive topic and...

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The Psychology Behind Retired Doctors and Nurses Returning To Work During COVID-19 (Ep #003)

 

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Episode #003


 


 

Do you know any older adults who are refusing to maintain their social distance? Okay, let me give you an example. Have you seen the article of the Italian doctors who returned to work after retirement to assist the Italian healthcare system only to become seriously ill or die themselves as a result of the Coronavirus?

 

A listener actually recently emailed me to say that she's really worried about her own parent who recently returned from retirement to assist with their medical clinic... and this clinic doesn't even treat Coronavirus! This listener was distraught! She felt powerless over her older parent's decision.

 

I wanted to spend some time on this podcast talking a little bit about the psychological underpinnings of why older adults might refuse to maintain social distance and work instead.

 

In this episode, I share two psychological theories to explain why older adults may put themselves at...

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Mental Wellness Tips for Older Adults During COVID-19 (Ep #002)

 

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Episode #002

 


 

With social distancing in full effect, older adults are encouraged to maintain their distance from others.  But this can have a major impact on your quality of life.

It's essential that during the COVID-19 pandemic that older adults stay physically safe and mentally well. Research shows that older adults who engage in meaningful and productive activities live longer, experience a better mood, and maintain a sense of purpose in their life.

To promote wellness for older adults, I have created a wellness guide to help older adults stay physically safe and mentally well during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

1. Stay connected with friends and family

Social distancing is important in maintaining your physical health and well-being in the time of COVID-19. And this is an important public health recommendation that we all need to follow.

The downside of social distancing, however, is that it increases the risk for...

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Support Resources for Caregivers

 

If you’re caring for an older adult and you’ve had to change your routine in the last few weeks with senior centers, doctors' offices, and adult day programs closing due to COVID-19, you might find yourself experiencing more caregiver stress and burnout.

 

Last week, I met with a caregiver who was teleworking from home and whose husband with dementia was unexpectedly home at the same time. Before the Coronavirus Pandemic, his home health aide would come to his home 3 days a week and he would attend an adult day program 5 days a week. These resources would help his wife (the caregiver) to continue to work and have a break from caregiving, so that she wouldn't have to give up her whole life in exchange for caregiving. But, since the Coronavirus Pandemic has started, his adult day program has closed, and his home health aide has been sick. As a result, the caregiver is experiencing lots of stress and overwhelm trying to figure out how to work and caregive...

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COVID-19 Wellness Guide for Older Adults

You'll get tips for staying mentally and physically well during the Coronavirus Pandemic.