Top Tips to Keep You Warm this Winter

The weather outside may be starting to get a little chillier, but that shouldn’t stop you getting out and about in the winter months. We have put together some top tips for keeping warm when venturing out, or even staying in, during the winter.

Gloves holding a cup of coffee whilst looking at high quality mobility scooters

Layer Up

Rather than just wearing one thick layer, like a big jumper, it is better to wear several thin layers of clothing, as they help trap the warm air close to your body and keep you warmer for longer. Also, when out and about in windy weather it is important to layer up, so you are less exposed to the cold. Go for material made of wool or fleece, as they will keep you warmest.

Cosy Feet

It is sometimes said having warm feet keeps the rest of you warm, so it is important to keep your feet as cosy as the rest of you, especially if you are not using them when getting around with a mobility scooter. Invest in some thermal socks, and sturdy footwear when outdoors, and have some cosy slippers and some fluffy socks for when you are at home. The air is coolest at ground level, so getting a footstool is good so you can keep your feet away from the floor and keep them toasty.

Hats, Scarves and Gloves

Most of our body heat is lost through the head and neck, so a hat and scarf are essentials you shouldn’t leave home without. Scarves should also be able to wrap around your lower face too, as when it is icy cold, it helps warm the air you are breathing to prevent a nasty shock to your lungs when breathing in. When it comes to gloves, mittens are sometimes better at keeping your hands warm, but they are not as dexterous. Also, if you are feeling cold at home, you can pop a hat or scarf on indoors!

Blankets and Shawls

Sitting down and not moving means you get colder quicker, so a blanket or shawl is needed to keep you snug, even when heading outdoors. You can get blankets that are slightly waterproof for using in wheelchairs and mobility scooters outdoors, but at home, a big cosy blanket or shawl you can easily wrap around you will be sufficient.

Bedtime

When heading to bed, you may want to put on some thermal underwear or bed socks, which will help you keep you warm through the night. A soft hat or cap might also be needed, as your head is the most exposed to the cold. A hot water bottle is a simple but effective way of keeping warm in the evening and in bed too – get one with a fluffy cover for extra snugness!

Hot Food and Drinks

After being outdoors in the cold, there is nothing which will warm you up quicker than some hot food or drink. A carb-rich and slow energy release meal, such as porridge, soup or stew are recommended, as your body will warm up as it burns off the food. When outdoors, having a warm drink in a Thermos flask is an excellent idea, as it can keep you warm when you’re on the go.

Make sure you follow these top tips to stay warm if you are feeling chilly this winter or if you’re planning on going out in the cold in one of our high quality mobility scooters.

5 Tips to Help Keep Your Brain Healthy in Later Life

Even if our bodies need assistance, with walking sticks or high quality mobility scooters, our brains have the capacity to strengthen and reduce the signs of aging. This is by neuroplasticity, our brain’s ability to develop with new learning and experiences; throughout our lifetime our brain will continue to go through this development process.

Elderly couple share photo to compare how they have aged

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a lot of negative associations with aging, with many people feeling a need to reduce the symptoms of age and many companies cashing in on this. Cognitive aging refers to the developments and/or changes in our cognitive abilities as we age, and this varies from person to person. However as we develop from infancy to adulthood our bodies and mind go through a multitude of changes, which are usually embraced when we are younger.

Getting older we can expect several differences in the way our brains work. Common changes include a slower processing speed and reduced abilities in our working memory which can cause issues. It is established in current society that poor memory is just part and parcel of getting old, however this could be detrimental shared viewpoint to have as it discourages people from investigating the changes in their cognition. With such focus on the negative changes age brings to our mind the positive ones are often overlooked. As we get older our level of wisdom and knowledge increases, with our knowledge becoming useful in late adulthood. It has also been shown that as we age our levels of happiness can peak as our capacity for appreciations and happiness increase, whilst stress and anxiety will tend to decrease.

Older adults who participate in new learning experiences are shown to be healthy ones, as this strengthens cognitive abilities. Healthier, older individuals all tend to share the same characteristics which include high energy and activity levels, regular exercise, balanced diet, lower cases of chronic medical conditions, have regular check-ups and a good and diverse social life.

To become an optimum ager we recommend these 5 tips:

Regular exercise

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Regular exercise can have a great number of benefits for you, including the release of endorphins that improve mood and studies showing that moderate physical activity can improve your cognitive abilities.

Exercise guides and plans can help you organise the best route for you and your needs.

 

Reducing Risks

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Reducing the risks of diseases is a great way to manage your health as you get older. Exercise regularly, as advised by your doctor, and eating a healthy, balanced diet can be some of the most effective ways to manage your health. Other ways include managing stress, regular engagement in activities that boost your mood, meditation and seeking medical advice when needed.

 

Reviewing your health

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Self-managing your health can be an effective way to managing a healthy mind. Understanding how your health may affect your brain can be the first steps to preventing damaging aging processes.

 

Maintaining a good social life

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Maintaining a good social life in older age can be an effective way to keep your mind healthy and staying happy. Joining a club that relates to a hobby or passion can be a great way to learn something whilst making new friends.

 

Good night’s sleep

Senior man sleeping soundly while lying in bed in the morning with his wife asleep behind him

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting a good night’s sleep helps our brains recover after the day and can promote overall well-being.

3 New Year’s resolutions to make in 2017

With New Year just around the corner, you may have found yourself thinking about what New Year’s resolution to make. It can often be difficult to determine which New Year’s resolutions will truly benefit your year and often people find themselves falling into the trap of making a New Year’s resolution they cannot keep. So, with this in mind, we have compiled a list of the New Year’s resolutions that will equally contribute to a happier life, whilst also being easy to maintain.

Continue reading “3 New Year’s resolutions to make in 2017” »

Life expectancy rises over the past 35 years

Over the past 35 years the global life expectancy has risen by a staggering 10 years according to The Global Burden of Disease study. This is due to the progression in treatments for life-threatening diseases, however diet, obesity and drug use are now indicated as significant causes of death and disability. This rise in life expectancy increases the risk of ill health and disability in later life, which may result in the need for mobility scooters, like the TGA mobility scooters, to get around.

Elderly couple enjoy longer healthy life

The study reviews the cause of illness, disability and death in each country and the results have shown an improvement in health, but this differs country to country. As the life expectancy rises, there is also concern as results show more people are suffering from ill health and disability in later life.

The life expectancy from 1980 to 2015 has increased across the globe, with the average now being 69 years in men and 74.8 years for women. The study found that an alarming 70% of deaths are caused from lifestyle factors, the main ones being heart disease and diabetes- which can be prevented or managed by changes in diet and lifestyle.

“Development drives, but does not determine health,” according to Dr Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute. “We see countries that have improved far faster than can be explained by income, education or fertility. And we also continue to see countries – including the United States- that are far less healthy than they should be given their resources.”

A lack of iron in people’s diet was the main reasons why people suffered with low back and neck pain, sight and hearing loss, depression and anaemia according to the study. Whilst several environmental factors showed a significant impact on people’s health worldwide. Drug use and being around pollutants such as diesel exhaust or benzene in their working lives had an impact on diabetes, heart disease and cancer- according to the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Those who choose to indulge in bad diets, which were high in salt and low in fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and sea-foods also had a negative impact on these diseases.

Worldwide progress has been made in decreasing the health threats from smoking, unsafe sanitation and water and household air pollution. With exposure to smoke falling by over a quarter worldwide, however it is a leading risk factor for ill health in the UK and US.

Professor John Newton of Public Health England, who acted as the chair of the European Burden of Disease Network for the study commented on the results of the study: “This presents a great opportunity for prevention both in England and worldwide. Consequences of a poor diet now account for 10% of all ill-health worldwide and levels of alcohol consumption and air pollution have hardly changed. We can tackle all of this and more through committed individual, national and global action.”

Image credit: Candida Performa, Available under Creative Commons.

 

Can brain training games offset the aging mind?

It is important to maintain a healthy life later in life. There are several ways that can help you achieve this. High spec mobility scooters can make mobility easier and maintain a good social life, exercise plans and healthy diets help your body stay healthy, whilst doing tasks that keep your mind active can promote a healthy mind.

A few years ago ‘brain training’ games were released onto the market and were advertised with the promise that they could slow or reverse the cognitive decline that age can bring. This marketing technique made these types of games very popular, especially amongst the older generations. However scepticism grew around whether these claims were truthful, with two groups of scientists offering different results in 2014.

As the over-65 population rapidly grew, and the average life span increased, there was a desperate need for treatments that help prevent or reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other types of cognitive decline. The promises from these brain training games to improve memory and intellectual capabilities, as well as prevent memory loss, were an attractive offer for consumer’s and consequently a potentially huge business for the companies that released them.

Elderly man plays brain training game on computer

So how could they could promise these results? Our brains can get better at specific tasks if we continue them repeatedly, that’s why if you play a specific game regularly you are bound to see great improvements in your skills since you first started. However what makes these brain training games different, according to the companies, is the transferable skills learnt from the tasks involved in the game into real life.

A new study, by the Department of Psychology for the University of Illinois, has now tried to bring an answer to this debate. The meta-analysis consisted of reviews of over 130 papers into the subject. However only a handful of studies have actually tried to give comprehensive answers on whether these types of games can impact real-life performance.

These studies focused on the brain’s ability to form new neural connections but have assumed this would mean that this would influence the real-life abilities. For over a century scientists have been studying human’s ability to transfer skills we’ve learnt from one situation and apply it to others, with differing results. What makes this area of study difficult is the fundamental differences between types of knowledge, with certain knowledge being specific to one task and others being transferable to many scenarios.

The game Luminosity, from the company Lumor Labs, was fined $2 million dollars earlier this year due to false advertising. Advertising rules clearly state that a product is not allowed to claim it is an effective medical treatment unless there is sufficient data to prove it.

The scientists that conducted the study conclude: “ Nevertheless, we know of no evidence for broad-based improvement in cognition, academic achievement, professional performance, and/or social competencies that derives from decontextualized practice of cognitive skills devoid of domain-specific content. Rather, the development of such capacities appears to require sustained investment in relatively complex environments that afford opportunities for consistent practice and engagement with domain-related challenges…

Brain-training programs typically train performance on relatively simple skills in a limited range of contexts (typically on a home computer and with little involvement of substantive content or knowledge), but their marketing materials imply generalization to a wide range of skills in varied contexts with varied content.”

You can read the full paper that consists of 50,000 words. The paper highlights that there are still a lot of questions around whether cognitive training can really prevent the problems of old age, but so far the results from available literature shows that brain training games only really make you good at performing the tasks involved in the game and not the answer we had all been hoping for.

The search for a viable treatment for cognitive decline continues.