For centuries, Italian grandmothers have been telling us that food is medicine for the soul. And more recently, clinical dietitians have started telling us that food is medicine for the body as well. To prove this, clinical dietitians are using a new tool called the Nutrition Focused Physical Exam (NFPE) which serves to develop a person’s nutritional profile, and can help clinical dietitians identify and treat harmful deficiencies.
We spoke with Hebrew Rehabilitation Center’s Clinical Dietitian Kathleen Horrigan, MDA, RD, LDN to learn more about this important new skill and how it impacts the well-being of older patients.
The Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) is one of the few research institutions in the country translating clinical and health services research discoveries into interventions that improve the experience of aging.
“Most advances in medicine come from clinical trials,” says Susan Mitchell, M.D., M.P.H., senior scientist and director of Palliative Care Research at IFAR. “But many of the interventions that we are examining can be more complex than testing a pill,” she explains.
Every morning I wake up and stare inquisitively at myself in the mirror. And every morning, someone who looks alarmingly like my mother stares right back.
Now to be fair, I’ve always born a striking resemblance to my mom, though it seems to intensify with each passing day. She and I also share similar voices, similar handwriting, and the same inability to turn down anything made with chocolate.
And now, according to researchers at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) along with several other institutions, my mother and I will most likely share similar chances of developing sarcopenia in our later years.
When you think about how to prevent falls, strength exercises or adaptive shoes may come to mind. There’s another fall prevention method that we are coming to learn more about through work at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research (IFAR). IFAR researchers, under the leadership of scientist Brad Manor, Ph.D., director of the Mobility and Brain Function Lab, have uncovered a mind-body connection related to fall prevention by improving balance with non-invasive brain stimulation techniques. Watch Dr. Manor describe this correlation in the video below.
My grandfather lived to be 96-years-old, surviving mostly on red wine and M&Ms. He started smoking a pipe before World War II, and probably never saw the inside of a gym. He outlived two wives and one girlfriend, and died peacefully in his bed—without ever succumbing to an injury, illness or disability.
Many of us have a relative like this—a legendary figure who defies all odds in the race against time. And on the flip side, almost all of us have firsthand knowledge of someone on the opposite end of the spectrum – who ate all the right foods, never smoked, and exercised daily— only to die young, sometimes seemingly out of the blue.
Famed motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “effective communication is 20% what you know, and 80% how you feel about what you know.” For those facing health care decisions at the end of their lives, effectively communicating how they feel can be hard; and for those trying to do so without a voice, it can be next to impossible.
Many seniors facing end-of-life decisions are battling conditions that render them speechless, and sometimes, too weak to rely on handwritten words. For example, a person diagnosed with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) may be unable to express their wishes in conventional ways due to complications related to their illness. This can be a huge challenge for the patient, the patient’s family, and the medical team charged with providing care.
At Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL), we are always on the lookout for opportunities to bring seniors and young people together to build relationships and shatter stereotypes. We’re also deeply invested in training future generations of senior care providers. So when the opportunity came along to build a program that would combine the two, we jumped at the chance.
Earlier this year Hebrew SeniorLife Communities sponsored the “Senior Living Communities of the Future Forum” at NewBridge on the Charles as an opportunity for our residents’ adult children to hear from experts in their fields on the future of senior living communities.
We sought insights to some of their most significant concerns as they relate to aging as well as important questions about their vision of the life they want to lead in later years. Concerns such as:
When Josephine Pina of Boston spotted an ad in the Metro newspaper seeking individuals who had difficulty with thinking and who moved slower than usual, she immediately contacted the staff at the Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) at Hebrew Senior Life. They were investigating the link between brain function, balance and falls in older adults. “I wanted to be part of the study and to see what the brain does at 67 years old,” she said.