Arthritis (2)


It is important to know the warning sings of arthritis to be able to prevent further worsening of the condition. Here we list some of those signs.

You might have some type of arthritis if you have:

  • Ongoing joint pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Tenderness or pain when touching a joint
  • Problems using or moving a joint normally
  • Warmth and redness in a joint

If any one of these symptoms lasts more than 2 weeks, see your regular doctor or one who specializes in treating arthritis, called a rheumatologist. If you have a fever, feel physically ill, suddenly have a swollen joint, or have problems using your joint, see your doctor right away.


Athritis (1)


One of the most extended ailments suffered by elderly people is arthritis so we will start publishing updated information so our seniors can learn how to counter its effects.

The word “arthritis” makes many people think of painful, stiff joints. But, there are many kinds of arthritis, each with different symptoms and treatments. Most types of arthritis are chronic. That means they can go on for a long period of time.

Arthritis can attack joints in almost any part of the body. Some types of arthritis cause changes you can see and feelswelling, warmth, and redness in your joints. In some kinds of arthritis, the pain and swelling last only a short time, but are very uncomfortable. Other types of arthritis might be less painful, but still slowly cause damage to your joints.

Common Kinds of Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the most common diseases among the elderly. Older people most often have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis in older people. OA starts when tissue, called cartilage, that pads bones in a joint begins to wear away. When the cartilage has worn away, your bones rub against each other. OA most often happens in your hands, neck, lower back, or the large weight-bearing joints of your body, such as knees and hips.

OA symptoms range from stiffness and mild pain that comes and goes to pain that doesn’t stop, even when you are resting or sleeping. Sometimes OA causes your joints to feel stiff after you haven’t moved them for a while, like after riding in the car. The stiffness goes away when you move the joint. Over time, OA can make it hard to move your joints. It can cause a disability if your back, knees, or hips are affected.

Why do you get OA? Growing older is what most often puts you at risk for OA, possibly because your joints and the cartilage around them become less able to recover from stress and damage. Also, OA in the hands may run in families. Or, OA in the knees can be linked with being overweight. Injuries or overuse may cause OA in joints such as knees, hips, or hands.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, a type of illness that makes your body attack itself. RA causes pain, swelling, and stiffness that lasts for hours. RA can happen in many different joints at the same time. People with RA often feel tired or run a fever. RA is more common in women than men.

RA can damage almost any joint. It often happens in the same joint on both sides of your body. RA can also cause problems with your heart, muscles, blood vessels, nervous system, and eyes.

Gout is one of the most painful kinds of arthritis. It most often happens in the big toe, but other joints can also be affected. Swelling may cause the skinto pull tightly around the joint and make the area red or purple and very tender.

Eating foods rich in purines like liver, dried beans, peas, anchovies, or gravy can lead to a gout attack in people with the disease. Usingalcohol, being overweight, and taking certain medicamay make gout worse. In older people, some bloodmedicines can also increase the chance of a gout attack. To decide if you have gout, your tionsdoctor might do blood tests and x-rays.

Religion and Spirituality in the Elderly (3)


By Daniel B. Kaplan, PhD, MSW, Barbara J. Berkman, DSW, PhD

This part of the article deals with importance of being careful when we are providing spiritual support to the elderly and how we should get the best results of our endeavor.

Many clergy members provide counseling services to the elderly at home and in the hospital, often free of charge. Many elderly patients prefer such counseling to that from a mental health care practitioner because they are more satisfied with the results and because they believe such counseling does not have the stigma that mental health care does. However, many clergy members in the community do not have extensive training in mental health counseling and may not recognize when elderly patients need professional mental health care. In contrast, many hospital clergy have extensive training in the mental, social, and spiritual needs of the elderly. Thus, including hospital clergy as part of the health care team can be helpful. They can often bridge the gap between hospital care and care in the community by communicating with clergy in the community. For example, when a patient is discharged from the hospital, the hospital clergy may call the patient’s clergy, so that support teams in the patient’s religious community can be mobilized to help during the patient’s convalescence (eg, by providing housekeeping services, meals, or transportation, by visiting the patient or caregiver).

Religion and Spirituality in the Elderly (2)

By Daniel B. Kaplan, PhD, MSW, Barbara J. Berkman, DSW, PhD


Three important aspects of elderly life in which an intimate relationship with God can make a difference are described in this part of the article that we hope will offer useful information to senior leaders and ministers alike.

Health-promoting practices

In the elderly, active involvement in a religious community correlates with better maintained physical functioning and health. Some religious groups (eg, Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists) advocate behaviors that enhance health, such as avoidance of tobacco and heavy alcohol use. Members of these groups are less likely to develop substance-related disorders, and they live longer than the general population.

Social benefits

Religious beliefs and practices often foster the development of community and broad social support networks. Increased social contact for the elderly increases the likelihood that disease will be detected early and that elderly people will comply with treatment regimens because members of their community interact with them and ask them questions about their health and medical care. Elderly people who have such community networks are less likely to neglect themselves.


Religious faith also benefits caregivers. In a study of caregivers of patients with Alzheimer disease or terminal cancer, caregivers with a strong personal religious faith and many social contacts were better able to cope with the stresses of caregiving during a 2-yr period.

Religion and Spirituality in the Elderly (1)


(This is a fragment of an article By Daniel B. Kaplan, PhD, MSW, Barbara J. Berkman, DSW, PhD, which it stresses the importance or religion and spirituality for the well-being of the elderly. This text highlights the importance and benefits derived from our mission when we share the Love of the gospel of Jesus with our seniors. We plan to post some other parts of this interesting material.)

Religion may provide the following psychological benefits:

  •  A positive and hopeful attitude about life and illness, which predicts improved health outcomes and lower mortality rates
  •  A sense of meaning and purpose in life, which affects health behaviors and social and family relationships
  • A greater ability to cope with illness and disability

Many elderly people report that religion is the most important factor enabling them to cope with physical health problems and life stresses (eg, declining financial resources, loss of a spouse or partner). In one study, > 90% of elderly patients relied on religion, at least to a moderate degree, when coping with health problems and difficult social circumstances. For example, having a hopeful, positive attitude about the future helps people with physical problems remain motivated to recover.

People who use religious coping mechanisms are less likely to develop depression and anxiety than those who do not; this inverse association is strongest among people with greater physical disability. Even the perception of disability appears to be altered by the degree of religiousness. Of elderly women with hip fractures, the most religious had the lowest rates of depression and were able to walk significantly further when discharged from the hospital than those who were less religious. Religious people also tend to recover from depression more quickly.

Encourage Your Elder’s Faith and Spiritual Life (4)

download (4)

This is the last part of the article we have been publishing on seniors and faith. We hope it will serve as a great inspiration in working with the seniors in your community.

Decreasing mental capacities also can make church an overwhelming or negative experience for a senior. Research shows that people with dementia (such as Alzheimer’s disease) experience too much stimulation from attending religious services. Many people in this situation find it less stressful to watch religious television or listen to radio programs.5

And a good advise for those who will work with seniors: when you allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten the eyes of your own heart to know the hope to which He has called you, you become better equipped to encourage your elder’s faith and spiritual growth. No matter what happens, take the apostle Paul’s advice, who, while a prisoner, said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NIV). Then commend your aging loved one to the Lord’s sovereign plan and tender mercies, trusting God to be faithful.

Encourage Your Elder’s Faith and Spiritual Life (3)


The growing number of seniors not only in the US but all over the world poses a challenge to the church in reaching out and touch the hearts of the elderly, letting them know that they matter to the church and the senior ministry is an important role to playing this regard.

America’s changing demographics should send an urgent wake-up call to the church. The population of the United States is growing older. The elderly population is expected to continue to grow tremendously, with the oldest-old (85 and older) as the fastest-growing sector.4 For the last quarter century, the birth rate has fallen while the senior population is exploding. Yet most American churches continue to focus on youth programs and reaching out to the next generation while neglecting the fastest-growing sector of society. We certainly need youth ministries, but we also need equally passionate plans to integrate older people into the life of the church and to reach out to those who are too frail to attend.

There are benefits to remaining active in a religious community. Church attenders are not only more likely to avoid unhealthy actions, such as drunkenness or smoking, but they also have a stronger social network to call on for advice or help—important for both caregivers and elders. Frequent church attenders develop close ties with friends, neighbors, and relatives, and these have a positive impact on their health.

While many elderly people do attend services, for others church attendance is a negative experience. One reason is that many churches and denominations have undergone dramatic changes in recent years The result is a church very different from the church of years gone by.

For older persons there is a sense of security in the traditional ways and a feeling of loss when these ways are abandoned. The switch from traditional hymns to contemporary songs and the use of drama and dance in some churches makes many older people uncomfortable. While some adapt to the changes or tolerate them because they do not want to leave their church, others slack off in attendance. Those who stop attending church might feel guilty for “forsaking the assembling” of believers together (Hebrews 10:25 NKJV), but they may not feel up to looking for a new church that is more traditional. The role of the senior ministry in attracting those seniors who have lost contact with their church for some of those reasons will help bring them back to God and the fellowship many seniors long for.

Encourage Your Elder’s Faith and Spiritual Life (2)

Senior Female praying

The second part of the article emphasizes that even though people can grow older it does not mean the wakening of their bodies negatively affects their belief. On the contrary as people come to age they are more opened to the Grace of God. And remember that when in the article the caregiver is mentioned it applies to each one of us who are embarked in this mission.

What can be done to foster an elder’s faith? As a caregiver, you have a special opportunity to demonstrate the love of God to your elder. Your sensitivity to your aging loved one’s spiritual needs can give comfort and stability in a time of change and uncertainty. Looking up to your elder spiritually is very affirming to him. A minister or chaplain can keep in contact with your elder too. Despite the obstacles, spiritual growth is both possible and desirable for the continued well-being of elderly people.

Gallup polls have shown that three-fourths of Americans past age 65 consider religion to be very important. A 1997 study found that people tend to pray more as they age; nearly 75 percent of the study’s oldest respondents prayed at least once a day.1 And although Bible reading has declined since the 1980s, half of all Americans over the age of 65 read the Bible at least weekly, compared to 27 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29.

But do we become more religious as we grow older? It seems logical to think that people who have more free time and who are nearing the end of life would become more religious in their later years. Yet research indicates that this is not true for most older people. Religious behaviors related to previous religious activity, the period or time in which a person was raised and lived most of his life, and whether he has chronic health problems.


Encourage Your Elder’s Faith and Spiritual Life (1)


This is the first part of an interesting article about the importance of spiritual growth in seniors and the benefits they can derive from it, Even though the article focuses mainly on family caregivers, ministers and senior leaders can extract useful information to help them  develop their work with seniors.

One area that provides room for continuing growth in the senior years is the spiritual domain. The body may break down, but the spirit is still capable of growth, renewal, or even new birth in old age. Those who are “spiritually dead” can find spiritual life through a new or renewed faith commitment in Christ. The new believer can grow toward spiritual maturity. The spiritually mature person can keep growing in wisdom, love, joy, and other spiritual gifts. In fact, many of this world’s greatest prayer warriors are senior citizens. In spite of changes, losses, and chronic health conditions, elderly people can continue to cultivate their relationship with God.

Too often, however, elderly people encounter obstacles to spiritual support systems. Some are too feeble to get to church or to participate in religious activities with other believers. As their friends die or move away, they may lose their connections to the community of faith. Others feel alienated in churches that focus most of their energy on attracting a younger crowd. Failing eyesight can make it hard to read the Bible, and hardness of hearing can make it difficult to hear sermons. Seniors may be affected by negative stereotypes and myths that project old people as unteachable, useless, unproductive or dependent on others. Like all Christians, seniors need the fellowship and encouragement of other believers. Faith that is not nourished stagnates

Study on Increasing BDNF in Elderly with Exercise

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 10.54.14 AM(BDNF is a protein whose presence in the brain has been associated with a less incidence of brain related diseases in older adults like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and this brief note refers to how physical exercise can influence in he production of that protein.)

A study on the effect of physical exercise on the peripheral levels of BDNF in elderly individuals was reported in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatric, Volume 56, Issue 1, Jan. & Feb. 2013, Pages 10-15.

Five out of six studies reported a significantly higher BDNF response to aerobic acute exercise and to aerobic or strength training program in healthy elderly and elderly with different pathologies.

The researchers concluded it was not possible to establish a recommendation protocol for the type and intensity of physical exercise required to produce an increase in levels BDNF.

However, physical exercise, particularly, moderate-intensity exercises seem to be more effective to promote increase in the peripheral levels of BDNF in the elderly.