Older Adults Are Happier When Space Matches Personality

The old saying, “Home is where the heart is,” has some new science to back it up. A study has found photos of a person’s living space can accurately point at personality traits and the mood of the people who live there, especially as a person gets older.

For the study, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin studied 286 people over the age of 65. They took photographs of the rooms where the subjects spent the most time (typically the living room) and found that certain characteristics of a person’s personality were reflected in core elements of room décor. Applying the findings could help lead to happier lives, including for older adults with frailty or cognitive impairment that has led them to be transferred from their homes to long-term care facilities.

“People who have a match between personality and living space report better well-being, and they feel better about their life and have a better mood,” said Karen Fingerman, professor of human development and family sciences at The University of Texas at Austin and director of the Texas Aging and Longevity Center. “Home is where we can express ourselves.”

The researchers analyzed participants’ personalities and took photos of the room where each person spent the most time. As part of a first-of-its-kind study, independent examiners looked at the photos and rated characteristics of the room, such as brightness, cleanliness and newness. The results were published online in the journal The Gerontologist earlier this month.

Extraversion was expressed in room décor with newness of items in the room and cheerfulness of décor. This may come from a desire to make the room appealing to visiting friends and family, researchers said.

Conscientiousness was associated with newness and comfort. Because orderliness and organization are key components of that personality trait, that may explain the association.

Agreeableness, openness and neuroticism were not associated with room décor for everyone, scientists found. But openness was evident in the décor for older adults who live alone, suggesting that people who live with others may not have as much latitude to express their personalities in their room décor.

Importantly, when a living space matches the personality and preferences of the person who lives there, older adults reported enhanced well-being.

The goal for many older adults is to grow older in their own homes, but as they encountered functional limitations, such as not being able to walk or climb stairs, their homes became out-of-date, uncomfortable, dim and cluttered. Scientists said this may be because those adults have less energy to maintain their spaces.

Surprisingly, for adults with functional limitations, clutter was associated with fewer symptoms of depression.

“Clutter may represent an effort to exert control over the environment,” Fingerman said. “They may also wish to keep items close at hand to compensate for mobility issues.”

Researchers said this study suggests that older adults with functional limitations may benefit from a little help around the house, but cleaning and maintenance should be done in collaboration. What looks like clutter to one person may be an arrangement that makes an older adult more comfortable.

Long-term care facilities that allow for greater latitude in room décor to improve the mood of residents also may see benefits.

“There is no one ideal way to create a living space,” Fingerman said. “It has to match the person.”

Source: The University of Taxes at Austin

Home-made Chili Glazed Donuts

The toppings of the spicy and sweet donut were made with pureed canned chili, cheese and corn chips.

Postmenopausal Women Can Dance Their Way to Better Health

Women often struggle with managing their weight and other health risk factors, such as high cholesterol, once they transition through menopause. A new study suggests that dancing may effectively lower cholesterol levels, improve fitness and body composition and in the process, improve self-esteem. Study results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

After menopause, women are more likely to experience weight gain, overall/central body adiposity increases, and metabolic disturbances, such as increases in triglycerides and bad cholesterol. Together, these changes ultimately increase cardiovascular risk. Around this same time, women often are less physically active, which translates into reductions in lean mass and an increased risk of falls and fractures.

As a result of all these changes, postmenopausal women often suffer from decreased self-image and selfesteem, which are directly related to overall mental health.

Physical activity has been shown to minimize some of the many health problems associated with menopause. The effect of dancing, specifically, has already been investigated with regard to how it improves body composition and functional fitness. Few studies, however, have investigated the effects of dance on body image, self-esteem, and physical fitness together in postmenopausal women.

This new study was designed to analyze the effects of dance practice on body composition, metabolic profile, functional fitness, and self-image/self-esteem in postmenopausal women. Although the sample size was small, the study suggested some credible benefits of a three-times-weekly dance regimen in improving not only the lipid profile and functional fitness of postmenopausal women but also self-image and self-esteem.

Dance therapy is seen as an attractive option because it is a pleasant activity with low associated costs and low risk of injury for its practitioners. Additional confirmed benefits of regular dancing include improvement in balance, postural control, gait, strength, and overall physical performance. All of these benefits may contribute to a woman’s ability to maintain an independent, high-quality lifestyle throughout her lifespan.

Study results are published in the article “Dance practice modifies functional fitness, lipid profile, and self-image in postmenopausal women.”

“This study highlights the feasibility of a simple intervention, such as a dance class three times weekly, for improving not only fitness and metabolic profile but also self-image and self-esteem in postmenopausal women. In addition to these benefits, women also probably enjoyed a sense of comradery from the shared experience of learning something new,” says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.

Source: The North American Menopause Society

Creamy Cheesecake

Ingredients

8 oz digestive biscuits, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 oz butter, melted

Filling

4 eggs, separated
8 oz sugar
1 cup soured cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 lb full-fat soft cheese
icing sugar for dredging

Method

  1. Make the base. Combine the crushed biscuits, butter, and cinnamon and spread them evenly over the base and 1/2-inch up the sides of a lightly greased 9-inch springform or loose-bottomed tin. Refrigerate until required.
  2. Beat the egg yolks with 6 oz of the sugar until pale-coloured.
  3. Add the soured cream, vanilla and flour, beating until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Gradually beat in the cheese.
  5. Whisk the egg whites into soft peaks, then gradually beat in the rest of the sugar. Fold this meringue into the mixture.
  6. Pour the mixture into the tin. Bake in a preheated moderate oven (180°C/350°F) for 1 hour. Let cool, then chill.
  7. Dredge with icing sugar just before serving.

Makes 10 servings.

Source: Cheesecakes


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