Massage: More Than Just Relaxation

Recently, I interviewed Susan Wachter, a licensed massage therapist and AMTA member who has provided massage therapy to Brightwood residents since November 2013.

Relaxation is a primary goal when many people book a massage, but the benefits to your health and wellbeing go far beyond that simple “Ahhh” feeling.

“Mind, body and spirit are one vehicle,” Susan pointed out wisely.

Massage offers, for instance, a lift to the spirits with the simple value of a soothing human touch while improving respiration and digestion by easing stress.

Psychological stress can be experienced in the body with chronic “holding patterns,” Susan explained – massage can alleviate those tensions. Physical stresses due to surgeries or past injuries are improved by massage, which increases circulation to the tissues and can bring new life to previously restricted areas of the body.

Balance – a key component of staying active and independent as we age – can be enhanced by massage. When muscles are relaxed and able to be moved through better ranges of motion, the ability to maintain good balance also improves.

How often should a person see a massage therapist?

Susan said, “If I could, I’d get one every day!”

Now, that sounds like a healthy habit anyone can enjoy!

Look Good, Feel Your Best

There are many reasons why we tend to slow down and become more sedentary with age. It may be due to health problems, weight or pain issues or worries about falling. But, as we grow older, an active lifestyle becomes more important than ever to your health. The right exercise can help boost your energy, protect your heart and even help you manage symptoms of existing illness or pain, giving you a better quality of life.

Exercise helps you look better, but most importantly, you’ll feel sharper and experience a greater sense of well being when you move regularly.

According to Erin Glass, Brightwood’s onsite fitness trainer, the most important component of fitness for seniors is balance. An easy way to work on your balance is to perform calf raises – these help strengthen your legs. Another functional exercise for balance is to move from a sitting to a standing position. These are simple moves you can do at home on a regular basis to enhance your balance.

When walking, Erin says, it’s important to practice your heel to toe gait. This prevents shuffling of your feet, which greatly reduces your risk of falling.

If you experience mobility challenges, you can still move while seated. Arm raises and shoulder rolls help protect your joints and improve your blood circulation.

A professional trained in senior fitness can help you tailor a program that’s customized with your current strengths and limitations. No one is too old to see the benefits of regular exercise.

For more information about Brightwood and Erin Glass’s programs, call us at 410-339-3210.

Dogs Deliver Smiles

According to one of  the country’s most adored senior citizens, “Pets are a source of ongoing life…they serve as a much needed connection to youth…a pet is the greatest ego booster in the world — they think you’re the greatest!” – Betty White’s Pet Love

Pets also enhance physical and emotional well being in older adults. Citing a study conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri, Science Daily asserts, “Older adults who also are pet owners benefit from the bonds they form with their canine companions. Dog walking is associated with lower body mass index, fewer doctor visits, more frequent exercise and an increase in social benefits for seniors. Retirement communities also could be encouraged to incorporate more pet-friendly policies such as including dog walking trails and dog exercise areas so that their residents could have access to the health benefits.”

Residents of Brightwood agree wholeheartedly and recently celebrated their talented four legged family members with a festive dog show. Dogs of all ages and sizes gathered on Brightwood’s iconic Lawn and vied for ribbons in a variety of categories including Best Costume, Agility and Best in Show. Guests were welcome to partake of the fun, with or without their own canine competitors. Vegan peanut butter and oatmeal treats fresh from Brightwood’s kitchen were served, and the audience members enjoyed their treats as well.

Downsizing from a family home can be an emotional process. The prospect of downsizing without a cherished family pet makes it more so.  Brightwood resident Gay Sachse says,“I wouldn’t have been interested in a community where I couldn’t bring my dog.”  Many of the retirement communities she toured have limits on the size and number of pets;  Brightwood was appealing to Mrs. Sachse in part because there are no such restrictions.

For more information on Brightwood, contact us at 410-339-3210.