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Health Tips for Seniors

It’s never too late to adopt healthy habits, and for those of us heading into our golden years, it’s even more important. All of us want to enjoy good health on our back forty, and there are steps we can take to improve our health as we head into our 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and beyond. So how can we maintain good health in our old age? Today we’re sharing our favorite health tips for seniors.

1. Examine Your Diet

Staying healthy starts with what’s on your plate. Obviously, maintaining a healthy weight is important for many reasons. It reduces your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Less weight also means less stress on your bones and joints. As we age, our bodies need fewer calories to sustain them. Because of this, it’s important to eat healthy and make sure we’re getting the nutrition we need. But eating healthy helps you do more than maintain a healthy weight. It can help you stay healthy in other ways.

Stop Muscle Loss

After the age of 50, we start losing muscle mass, and eating protein in the form of lean meats and fish with every meal can mitigate some of that loss. One geriatric specialist from Massachusetts General Hospital recommends 1-2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That means a 180lb man should be eating anywhere from 82 to 164 grams of protein per day. Consider foods such as chicken, pork, salmon, tuna, and legumes.

Keep Bones Strong

Believe it or not, our bones reach their peak in our late 20’s and then start a slow decline as we get older. Seniors are especially vulnerable to falling, and broken bones are among the most common reasons for hospital admissions among the elderly. Calcium and Vitamin D are the best way to keep your bones healthy and strong. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends at least 1,000mg of Calcium for men and 1,200mg for women. Foods such as low-fat cottage cheese, greek yogurt (bonus: extra protein!) and Vitamin D fortified milk are excellent ways to add calcium into your daily diet.

Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation leads to all sorts of issues, including heart disease, depression, arthritis, and even dementia. It might start with joints that are a little stiff, but it can wreak havoc on older adults if the inflammation goes unchecked. The best way to reduce inflammation is to reduce the number of sugary foods in your diet. Sugar creates extra insulin in your body, which can trigger an inflammatory response. So check those labels! If you crave something sweet, stick to fruits, which are a natural source of sugar and contain healthy nutrients for your body.

Healthy Colon and Vascular System

Eating the right kinds of carbs is another step to healthy eating. Choosing whole grains helps reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. They’re also rich in fiber which promotes a healthy environment for the bacteria in your colon, helping maintain regular bowel movements. Eating whole grains can be tricky because it’s hard to tell which foods are full of them! Here’s a hint – choose grains such as steel-cut oats, popcorn, brown rice, and quinoa.

And…Eat the Rainbow

Speaking of fruit, studies show that the more colorful your diet, the more nutrition you’re getting. Fruits and vegetables and foods that have bright colors (think blue, red, and purple) have more heart-healthy antioxidants. Blueberries, raspberries, beets, tomatoes, purple cabbage, and yellow squash. The more color, the better! A healthy diet that includes these antioxidants tend to have improved vascular function and a healthy level of good cholesterol.

2. Get Physical

Nothing makes you more tired than being inactive. Our bodies were meant to move, and the best way to keep your body used to moving is to engage in regular physical activity. But what is the best way for older adults to remain physically active? Think of a mixture of cardio exercise and strength training. Don’t go thinking you need to start training for a marathon. We’re talking about the kind of exercise that helps you in everyday life. Ways to maintain your balance, increase energy and even promote healthy brain function. Here are some of the best ways older adults can add physical activity as they age.

Walking

Walking is a great form of cardio exercise and is accessible to just about everyone. Talk to your doctor before starting a walking regimen because goals will differ from person to person based on their physical condition. But walking regularly keeps our joints moving, reduces stiffness, and gets the blood flowing. It’s also a great social activity – grab a friend and take a walk in a park or even inside your local mall! Even if you can’t walk a long distance, getting up to move at regular intervals throughout the day is highly beneficial.

Resistance Band Workouts

This falls under the strength training category, and it’s a great low-impact way to strengthen your core, promoting balance, posture, and mobility. Resistance bands don’t cost a lot, and there are many online resources for exercises you can do. If you want to get more adventurous, join an in-person class!

Water Aerobics

Water workouts have become very popular for people of all ages over the past few years. Water supports the body, putting much less strain on your joints. It also adds a natural resistance, so you don’t have to use weights. Popular water exercises include water walking, leg lifts, standing water push-ups, and flutter kicking. Water aerobics naturally help improve flexibility, balance, and strength with almost no impact on your body.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi has been called “meditation in motion.” It’s a graceful exercise that has both mental and physical benefits for any senior. Tai Chi comprises a series of movements performed in slow motion as the participant pays attention to deep breathing. It’s calming and mentally stimulating at the same time and increases flexibility and agility. Some older adults say they notice an improvement in joint pain and even their quality of sleep.

Of course, before you start any regular exercise, it’s best to check with your health care provider.

3. Other Healthy Habits For Seniors

Healthy eating and regular physical activity go a long way toward helping us age gracefully. But there are other important factors to pay attention to as well. Here are some other ideas to help keep us young in mind, body, and soul!

Stop Smoking

This is good advice at any age. Smoking is correlated back to a host of health problems, including heart failure, stroke, and cancer. It takes the elasticity out of your skin, causing premature and excessive wrinkling, and can age you beyond your years. There are many programs that are successful in helping people quit – ask your doctor for information.

Get Some Sleep

It’s a myth that the older we get, the less sleep we need. Seniors need the same amount of sleep as adults of any age – between 7 to 9 hours. However, insomnia is a common problem among senior adults. The pain of old age often affects sleep, as can medications and other health ailments. Control what you can by sticking to a good bedtime routine. Dim the lights in the early evening, avoid watching television or using a phone or tablet 3o minutes before bedtime, and avoid taking late afternoon naps.

Visit Your Doctor and Dentist

Staying on top of your regular health care is vital to a senior’s health. Keeping your health care team apprised of all your health information will ensure good all-around health care. And don’t overlook your oral health! They say that your mouth is the gateway to good health. You only get one set of teeth, so it’s best to take good care of them. Plus, good dental health has been shown to reduce your chance of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Socialize

Spending time with family and friends keeps us connected to our community and is proven to help us live longer. Social seniors are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and stress. Healthy relationships are always important, but seniors especially benefit from having a strong community around them.

Memory Help for Seniors with Memory Loss

Memory Loss, Forgetfulness, and Aging: What’s Normal and What’s Not?

Forgetfulness and memory loss may be a normal part of aging. As we age, all parts of the body change, including the brain. As a result, some people may notice that it takes longer to learn new things or their memory is not as good as before.

Today, we’re looking at some memory-related topics to give you a better understanding of what to expect with memory and aging.

How does memory change with age?

As you age, physiological changes occur that may cause problems in your normal brain functions. These are functions that most of us simply take for granted without a second thought. When functional issues arise, it might take you longer to learn and recall information; or you may not be as fast as you once were.

As such, you might mistake these slowing mental processes as being actual memory loss. Fortunately, many of these functions return if you give yourself time. Therefore, certain brain changes are inevitable during aging. However, memory problems are not one of them.

This is why it is important to understand the difference between normal age-related forgetfulness and symptoms that may indicate cognitive problems.

How can I help my elderly with memory loss?

The best way to approach someone who suffers from memory loss is to do so as you would a child. What does this mean? Essentially, it means using simple language while maintaining an encouraging tone. As such, you want to exhibit positive expressions, make eye contact, and use open gestures.

And above all else, it means employing a lot of patience. Let’s look at some keep tips you can exercise to help older adults with memory loss.

Mind Your Tone

Even if it’s difficult to see that your loved one’s cognitive abilities are declining, you should try to be optimistic when talking to them. People with dementia may not understand everything you say or ask, but they will definitely notice your emotions and expressions.

For example, if you look anxious, worried, or upset, they too will become anxious or upset. Therefore, speak positively with an uplifting tone. Be sure to smile and let yourself be optimistic about them. Try using gentle language and loving gestures.

Use Short Sentences and Words

You don’t need to yell or speak in an overly simple way. But you should speak slowly, clearly, and evenly while using simple words. Try using one- and two-syllable words to express what you’re trying to say.

Lowering the natural pitch of your voice can also help to get the attention of your loved one. Just remember that if your loved one needs you to repeat what you said many times, don’t let it frustrate you.

Even after implementing these tips into your vernacular they still don’t understand you, go to the next step. You can always try these techniques again at a later time.

Choose a Quiet Setting

You should try to limit background noise as much as possible. If your children are running around and making noise, ask them to play in another room and play as quietly as they can. Turn off the TV or anything else that could serve as a distraction.

Moreover, if your relative lives in a memory care home or nursing home, close the door during your visit to reduce noise from within the facility. Then, use simple techniques to get the attention of your loved one and try to maintain your communication.

Also, be sure to call your senior by their name. If he or she doesn’t remember your name, don’t be angry; simply identify who you are and move on. Remember to make eye contact, too, as it is very important in communicating with someone suffering from memory loss.

Light, gentle touches on their shoulders, arms, and hands also help to establish a line of communication.

Use Names as Much as Possible

And speaking of using their name during your social interaction, the same goes for family and friends when discussing them. Whenever possible, use direct names (pronouns) rather than nouns like “he” or “she”, “him” or “her.”

Memory senior care is a challenging venture. But using proper names is a big step in overcoming cognitive decline. That’s because the use of these names helps to trigger memories in loved ones whose brain function isn’t what it used to be.

What’s more, names are more familiar compared to simple nouns. You may find that speaking clearly with proper names triggers a stimulating response. Give it a try, and be sure to maintain this method in your conversations moving forward.

4 Ways to Improve Memory for Seniors

Rejuvenating brain function is a challenging proposition. But there are some helpful tips to keep your brain sharp and your thinking healthy. Consider each method a mental exercise that you can employ to improve your mental health.

The good news is that you can implement these tips in an attempt to help seniors suffering from memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease.

Stay Organized

Try to limit distractions and don’t attempt to take on too much at once. If you focus on the information you are trying to keep, you are more likely to recall it at a later time when you need it.

Keep Brain Functions Active

Just as physical activity helps keep the body healthy, mental stimulation activities help keep the brain healthy and may prevent memory loss. Do crossword puzzles, play bridge, or take up playing a musical instrument, for example.

Stay Physically Active

Just as important is physical activity, which increases blood flow to the whole body, including the brain. This may help maintain your memory and keep your mental health sharp.

Socialize

Social interaction helps fight depression and stress, both of which can lead to memory loss. Look for opportunities to get together with relatives and friends. This is especially important if your elder lives alone.

If you have questions regarding what services Mary T offers for patients with memory loss, contact us today. We’ll do our best to provide more information and figure out the best plan for you or your loved one.

Levels of Senior Care

As you start to look into senior care for yourself or a loved one, it’s easy to get confused. It’s not as simple as looking for an assisted living facility. There are many different levels of care and a variety of facilities that provide different services.

In broad strokes, you can break down senior living options into four different types. Independent living communities are usually townhouses or single-family homes that provide a community for seniors. There they can enjoy social activities and companionship. Residents of assisted living communities live in apartments with staff available to help with activities of daily living but not medical services. Nursing homes and long-term care facilities provide 24-hour assistance. They offer both daily living activities and medical care. Continuing Care retirement communities are in a class by themselves and provide a wide range of senior care services.

Independent Living

Independent living is also sometimes known as senior living and can be considered “aging in place.” These communities often have a strict age limit. This way residents are at similar stages in their life. People who live in senior living communities usually purchase traditional housing such as a townhouse or single-family home. In addition, these communities often have a social director that coordinates day trips, schedules social events and fitness classes. They may even have onsite church services. Seniors that move into an independent living community have the freedom to live their lives as they see fit. This is one of the lower levels of senior care.

Assisted Living

Assisted Living consists of residential facilities for those in need of higher levels of senior care. Namely when it comes to activities of daily living (also called ADLs). ADLs include such fundamental tasks as bathing, dressing, cooking meals, and moving around a residence. Services provided in an assisted living community include meal preparation, housekeeping and laundry services. They also help with personal care. Some assisted living facilities provide memory care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. For the most part, older adults who live in assisted living facilities need minimal care and do not have many medical needs.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes provide around-the-clock skilled nursing care. Skilled nursing facilities provide one of the highest levels of senior care. Whether short-term, such as rehabilitation after surgery, or for long-term care of more serious medical issues. Nursing homes do all the same things as assisted living but include medical needs. For example, taking vital signs, administering medication, and coordinating with doctors. Patients reside in a single room, either private or shared with another resident. Seniors with severe dementia or Alzheimer’s disease typically reside in skilled nursing facilities for in-depth memory care. Nursing homes also provide hospice services for end-of-life care.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Also known as CCRC, this type of senior housing is typically for wealthy seniors who want to find a community where they can live out the rest of their lives. The key is in the words “continuing care.” These facilities offer a variety of levels of senior care so residents can take advantage of care services as their needs change. A couple may start out living independently and add on assisted living services such as personal care if their physical status deteriorates. It allows seniors to remain in the same residence, knowing that care will be provided to them if needed.

Levels within Levels of Senior Care

The four types of facilities explained above are often further broken down into more subtle levels of senior care depending on the needs of the adult in question. For example, assisted living communities are typically broken down into several levels of care:

Level 1 Care

We consider this low-level care and it applies to residents who need little help with their ADLs (activities of daily living) and live mostly independent lives. They are capable of bathing themselves, make their own meals, and move around well on their own. They do not suffer from incontinence and can use the bathroom safely on their own. While they may need help managing their medications or testing their blood sugar levels, for the most part, they do not require 24/7 nursing care.

Level 2 Care

For seniors who need more assistance with physical and health-related issues. They might be able to handle certain ADLs but need help with others. For example, your loved one may be able to feed themselves but need assistance bathing or dressing. They might be starting to show signs of memory loss, requiring caregivers to watch them on a more consistent basis. A Level 2 assisted living facility will not accept patients who are bedridden or completely incontinent. They must have separate wards for patients who receive a nursing home level of care versus those that do not. Another key difference is that Level 2 nursing care is covered by Medicaid, while Level 1 care is not.

Level 3 Care

Also known as memory care. Level 3 care has programs aimed primarily at those seniors living with advanced Alzheimer’s and dementia. If your loved one is recommended for Level 3 care, chances are they need a high level of assistance with ADLs and need around-the-clock health care. Similar to Level 2 care, Level 3 care will involve registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, and regular caregivers. A caseworker is usually assigned to assist the family and the facility in the management of the patient’s care.

Senior Living and Levels of Senior Care at Mary T

Mary T is proud to provide a wide array of community options where you or a loved one will feel right at home. If you’re interested in an independent living community, Margaret Place and the Villas of Casa Grande offer residential housing to those age 55 and older. Both have 24-hour on-site manager, twice daily “I’m OK” checks, and group activities and outings.

If you are looking for an assisted living community with a higher level of care, Eagle Street and Creekside Cottage have a fantastic staff that provides its residents with personal care services. Residents enjoy homemade meals, in-home physician visits, medication management, and registered nurses on-site and on-call 24/7.

If your level of care requires a full-time skilled nursing facility, the Camilia Rose Care Center has programs to manage and care for any complex medical issue. Our loving staff is there to provide whatever is needed to help you or your loved one live the best life possible. Contact us today to learn more.

What Services Does Your Hospice Team Provide?

Hospice care is for people who are near the end of their lives. These services are provided by a team of health care professionals who provide maximum comfort for terminally ill people by reducing pain and satisfying physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs.

What exactly does Hospice do?

To help the family, hospice provides counseling, respite care, and practical support. Unlike typical health care, the focus of hospice care is not to cure the underlying disease. The goal is to support the highest quality of life possible in the remaining time your loved one has.

What services are included in hospice care?

Hospice staff is on standby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Ready to meet the patient wherever they call home.

A hospice care team typically includes:

Doctors

Primary care doctors and hospice doctors or medical directors will supervise care. Each patient can choose an attending doctor as their primary caregiver. This can be your previous doctor or hospice doctor.

Nurses

The nurse will visit you or your loved one to provide care. They are also responsible for coordinating the hospice team.

Family Health Assistant

A home health aid that provides additional support for daily care, such as dressing, bathing, and eating.

Spiritual Counselor

Pastors, priests, or other spiritual counselors can provide spiritual care and guidance for the entire family.

Social Worker

Social workers provide advice and support. They can also provide recommendations for other support systems.

Pharmacist

A pharmacist provides medication supervision and advice on the most effective way to relieve symptoms.

Volunteer

Well-trained volunteers provide a variety of services. They range from providing companionship or respite opportunities for caregivers, to helping with transportation or other practical needs.

Other Professionals

If needed, speech, physical, and occupational therapists can provide treatment.

Bereavement Counselor

Trained bereavement counselors provide care and guidance after a loved one dies in hospice care.

Treatment and Support

Once patients receive hospice care, they will receive routine care designed to maximize comfort and quality of life. Routine care may include pain management, symptom management, and spiritual counseling for patients and family members. Even daily work assistance, nutrition services, and treatment services.

You can provide regular hospice care wherever you call home; whether it is in a professional nursing facility, assisted living facility, memory care facility, or your own house. Care will be performed intermittently according to the needs of the patient.

Sometimes called crisis care, when loved ones experience a medical crisis or their symptoms require more in-depth management, they may require continuous hospice care.

During this kind of medical crisis, round-the-clock care or extended care time is good for patients and their families, giving caregivers the opportunity to withdraw from hands-on care and focus on taking on family roles with their loved ones.

If the patient’s symptoms cannot be managed at home, they may need to be hospitalized. The goal here is to control severe pain and stabilize symptoms so that the patient can go home if possible. Some people may choose to spend their last days in an inpatient center as a neutral and safe space with their families and loved ones.

Inpatient hospice care centers also provide temporary care for home hospice. These occasional short-term hospitalizations can provide much-needed rest time for relatives who provide care at home while allowing people to receive proper, round-the-clock symptom management.

Customized Levels of Care

Your doctor or hospice team will provide you with guidance throughout your hospice journey and determine the appropriate level of hospice care for you or your loved ones.

In the four levels of hospice care, the concept remains the same: provide professional medical care and emotional support, and respect the unique wishes of patients. Knowing when and where to provide hospice care is the first step in understanding your or your loved one’s choices in the dying journey.

Is Hospice Right for You or a Loved One?

Inpatient hospice care centers also provide temporary care for home hospice patients. These occasional short-term hospitalizations can provide much-needed rest time for relatives who provide care at home while allowing patients to receive proper, round-the-clock symptom management.

Any time you or your loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, you should consider hospice care. Discuss with your doctor that all available care options are appropriate, including hospice care.

Common diseases suitable for hospice care include the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia, cancer, heart disease, lung disease, AIDS, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. When the doctor determines that the life expectancy is six months or less due to the natural course of the disease, patients diagnosed with these diseases are eligible for hospice care.

At this time, comfort care and symptom management becomes the main focus. This is because continued treatment is no longer beneficial. A good question to ask yourself is, would I be surprised if the person I love is not here in a year?

Hospice Care Gives You A Team

Unlike any other care, hospice care provides a higher level of support. A multidisciplinary team composed of doctors, registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, medical social workers, spiritual counselors, grief counselors, and volunteers work together to solve the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of each patient and family.

Regardless of the patient’s age or ability to pay, the hospice care team provides patients with home care, including personal residence, relative’s home, assisted living or professional care, or in one of the nursing home-style residential care facilities.

Hospice care focuses on each patient and family by providing expert care in pain relief and symptom management, emotional and spiritual counseling (if needed), and grief support.

If you’re still unsure as to whether hospice care is the right choice for your loved one, you should speak with a trained counselor. They can assist you in making the right decision, not just for your loved one, but for your family, as well. Contact us at Mary T for more information.

5 Things Older Adults Can Do to Improve Their Self-Esteem as They Age

Self-esteem is a challenging topic for many people regardless of age. Studies show that on average, our self-image rises throughout adulthood until it peaks around the age of 60. If you think about it, that makes sense. We spend our lives working to attain certain milestones, and as we reach middle age, most of those milestones have been achieved. You might enjoy stable work with regular income, a solid family life, and close relationships with your spouse, partner, and others.

As we grow older, these things can start to slip away. Children leave the nest, you may enter retirement or feel as if the workforce has outpaced you. Health challenges start to develop, affecting you or a loved one. These are all major life experiences, and any type of major change is accompanied by a certain amount of anxiety. It’s no wonder that aging is often served with a side of lower self-esteem. But there are ways to improve one’s positive outlook on life even in old age. So, what are 5 things older adults can do to improve their self-image as they age?

1. Make Strong Social Bonds

Meaningful personal connections ground us and boost our confidence. Research shows that seniors who enjoy the support of close family and friends have higher self-esteem than those who go it alone. However, it’s a bit of a catch 22, because seniors who suffer from poor self-esteem may find it hard to develop close friendships as they age. If this sounds like you, start small!

Think of something you enjoy doing and find a group that participates in those activities. Join a book club, a knitting circle, or take a cooking class. There are many community groups on social media that focus on certain interests. Subscribe to one or two of them and practice connecting with new people. You can also consider volunteering for an organization that interests you. Walk dogs at an animal shelter, be an usher at a local community theater, or volunteer to help out in local events such as the annual fishing tournament.

Anything that gets you out there connecting with other people is bound to make you feel good, keep you active, and boost your self-esteem. And who knows? You might find you enjoy making new friends!

2. Practice Good Personal Hygiene

It doesn’t matter how old you are, no one feels good about themselves if they sit around in their bathrobe all day long. Positive self-worth starts when you believe that you’re worth taking care of. It’s easy to get let personal hygiene slide, especially if you’re retired and spending more time alone. Give your self-confidence a boost and take the time to get out of bed, bathe, and get dressed as if you were expecting company.

If you need assistance with these tasks, look into home care to help on a daily basis. You’ll soon find that simply dressing as if you’re going out in the world will make you feel more confident and may even lead to other activities outside the home. If you think you look good, chances are you’ll feel good, too!

3. Avoid Negative Stereotypes That Can Impact Self-Esteem

The media is filled with negative stereotypes surrounding old age. Daytime television is filled with advertisements about new medical drugs, life alert bracelets, and other health afflictions. The internet is a black hole of age-related diseases and physical challenges. Even the news can drive up your anxiety. It’s enough to put anyone into a state of depression.

Instead of surrounding yourself with the negative, make it a point to seek out the positive. Reading about all the things that can happen to you puts you on the alert and can manifest anxiety and feed low self-esteem. Stop comparing yourself to a page on the internet or even other elderly adults. Realize that aging isn’t a bad thing, it’s just where you are at the moment.

Pay attention to how your own body feels and focus on things you can do that bring you happiness. As you leave those negative stereotypes behind, you’ll find yourself making real progress in your self-esteem development.

4. Eat Healthy and Stay Active

When you make an effort to do the things that are good for you, you almost always feel better because of it. Taking care of yourself by eating good foods and exercising gives you a feeling of control and independence. People who maintain good self-esteem make their health a priority.

Regular physical exercise will help keep you strong, boosting your confidence. Take a balance class, practice tai chi, or take daily walks. Exercise doesn’t only work on your physical health, but also on your mental health. Movement releases endorphins that are essential to feeling good.

The fuel you put into your body can also make a difference in your confidence and self-esteem. Do a search for articles or read our blog with advice about healthy eating for senior citizens. Aging bodies benefit from different foods than young ones. Don’t let aging become an excuse for not doing what you can to take care of yourself. The better off you feel, the more confidence you’ll have to go out and enjoy your community.

5. Practice Independence Whenever Possible

One of the hardest hits seniors take to their self-esteem is no longer being able to do things for themselves, or take part in activities they once enjoyed. It can be very hard for the elderly to come to terms with needing help with cooking, cleaning, and yard work. But needing help with certain day-to-day tasks doesn’t have to be tied to your self-worth. If anything, getting help with these tasks could free you up to explore other interests you may not have had time for.

If you’re a caregiver, know that it’s important for loved ones to help their senior find a way to accept help while not losing their sense of self. They need to feel respected and appreciated by those around them. If daily help is required, professional caregivers may be easier for your loved one to accept as they don’t want to feel as if they are a burden to those they love.

People of all ages struggle with lower self-esteem, but getting older is not for the faint of heart. There are good days and bad days scattered throughout adulthood, but when we enter old age stereotypes tell us that it’s time to slow down. But aging doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a steady state of decline. It is entirely possible to live a healthy, independent life as we age. Make the most of your retirement! Take care of yourself, find new hobbies and activities, and get out into the world. The more time you spend on self-care and doing things that boost your confidence, the better you’ll feel about yourself.

Fun Activities for Seniors to Keep Active

People of all ages are always looking for things to do, and older adults have more time on their hands to explore new hobbies and generally have a good time. Activities for the elderly are no longer limited to the occasional bingo game (although that’s still fun). Seniors these days are interested in learning new skills and experiencing new things. So whether you are aging at home, a resident of an assisted living facility, or caring for a loved one, here are some great activity ideas for senior citizens of the 21st century.

Music and Dancing

Music feeds the soul, and dancing is a great physical activity that everyone can do. Even a senior with mobility issues or advanced dementia can enjoy an activity centered around music. In fact, music therapy recognizes the cognitive benefits of listening to music, and studies show that it can trigger feelings of happiness and contentment. So bring your senior to events such as a live concert, musical, or turn on the radio and chair dance. Typically, Senior living communities offer musical guests for entertainment as well.

Group Exercise Activities

Teacher and active senior women doing yoga class on chairsAs we get older, moving our bodies becomes more and more important. Taking daily walks with friends and family is a wonderful way to release stress and engage with the outside world. Group exercise classes like chair yoga, senior aerobics, or tai chi are a great way to let loose those endorphins and experience something new. If you want to step it up a notch, look for a senior sports league and join a soccer, basketball, or softball team. When you can combine exercise and socialization, you’re taking care of both your physical and mental health.

Reading and Writing

Take some time for yourself and have some fun with reading or creative writing. Book clubs let you share about what you’ve read, or you can just lose yourself in a book in solitude. Reading is a great elderly activity. If you love books but have trouble reading because of failing eyesight, audiobooks have exploded in popularity over the past 10 years, and the performances are fantastic. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try your hand at telling your own story. If so, grab a computer or a pen and paper and write it down! It doesn’t have to be a novel. You can write an essay, short story or even some letters! Whether you’re reading one or trying to write one, books help seniors escape real life for a little while and immerse themselves in another world.

Gardening

Whether it’s your own garden or a community garden at your assisted living community, gardening calms the soul and puts you back in touch with nature. Tending a garden takes time, and seniors can spend hours planting, weeding, and just enjoying the outdoors. It’s a great way to stay active. Plus, all that work is rewarded with a bounty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers!

Play Games

Group of Senior Men Playing Cards Game in PatioSometimes you just want to have fun, and games are the perfect elderly activity. There are so many different games to choose from. Putting together puzzles is a good game for your brain and can help maintain fine motor skills. Board games are an enjoyable activity to share with others, as are card games like poker, bridge, and rummy. Assisted living communities also have a variety of activities for seniors that include events such as bingo and trivia nights. Besides being enjoyable, your game of choice exercises your brain, helps with memory, and breaks up feelings of isolation. If you don’t feel like hanging out with a group, play a solitary adult game. Doing crossword puzzles or playing a game on your computer or tablet are good ways to relax and engage your mind.

Art Classes

Art classes cover a broad range of activities for seniors and include everything from painting to jewelry making to even cooking. Anything that piques your interest and promotes creativity is bound to give your cognitive health a boost. People of any age can learn to draw, cook good food, make a scrapbook or make things out of modeling clay. In addition, residents of different communities could come together to interact and learn new skills.

Senior Living Doesn’t Mean Being Bored

It doesn’t matter if you live at home or in one of the many senior living communities, seniors are demanding more out of their retirement years. They want to be busy, active, and engaged. There are many, many elderly activities available, no matter what challenges they may be facing. So come up with a list of ideas and enjoy living life to the fullest!

What Is Comfort Care?

Confused about comfort care and what it entails? Let’s clear things up to give you a better understanding of how it works.

What Does It Mean When Someone Is Put On Comfort Care?

Comfort care relieves symptoms and optimizes comfort when a patient is dying. When patients no longer benefit from curative medical treatment, comfort care can improve the quality of life. This ensures a more positive experience that would otherwise be lacking without it.

Unlike almost any other form of medical care, comfort care does not try to actively cure or treat a disease or illness; only on reducing the impact of disease symptoms when the patient reaches the end of life stage. Additionally, this type of service can be provided at home, in nursing homes, or at a hospital.

Who Receives Comfort Care?

Patients who are admitted to the hospital multiple times during treatment are usually more likely to receive comfort care. Once it is clear that additional treatment is unlikely to have a beneficial impact, it can be provided if the patient wishes.

Comfort and palliative care are the same thing and are suitable for patients who wish to focus on quality rather than quantity in the last few days of their lives. In some cases, shifting to comfort care can extend the patient’s lifespan, while aggressive treatment may serve to shorten it.

Moreover, comfort care is typical among patients with cancer, dementia, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or Alzheimer’s, among others. In addition, it can help reduce symptoms like shortness of breath and breathing trouble, nausea, vomiting, and constipation.

Patients can receive medicine and various forms of treatment to solve these problems, as well as pain, insomnia, or anxiety. Treatments are designed to favor comforts rather than cures. A good example of comfort care treatments is pain relief management.

Comfort of Care

The main purpose of end-of-life care is to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of the patient. Whether in a nursing home, hospital bed, or home residence, it works to reduce discomfort and suffering rather than improve health.

Medications are provided by the overseeing physician to keep the patient as comfortable as possible. The spiritual needs of ill patients are also met to ensure that all needs and services related to terminal care are available.

The NIA (National Institute on Aging) believes that comfort care is an essential part of terminal illness care. As such, there needs to be more focus on training all doctors to provide hospice care. What’s more, physicians need to be capable of providing spiritual and emotional support to dying patients and their family members.

Hospice often comes with physiological concerns, so it’s important for the family to have someone to talk to about what they are feeling. With more attention on hospice training and all that it entails, we can better support those who need it.

This would also allow the patient and their family to have a clearer understanding of what to expect from hospice. It’s not uncommon for loved ones to oppose taking the patient off of aggressive treatment for a symptom and moving to something without the goal of making them better. Medical professionals need to be able to educate everyone involved so that the transition to hospice is easier.

Hospice Care

Hospice and Palliative care are one and the same. Moreover, the care and comfort of both the patients and their families benefit from hospice. This includes support for anyone providing care services, not just the quality of life of the patient.

End-of-life care often involves many caregivers, from those providing emotional support to physical care, such as the doctor and their team. In addition to pain control and comfort, the hospice team can include a social worker, music therapy, chaplain, and other members.

How Long Can Comfort Care Be Provided?

In most cases, the patient must be given a prognosis that they have six months or less to live, according to the NHPCO (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization). At this juncture, comfort care is typically provided until death.

It’s important to speak with one of our specialists if you need more information. You can also navigate our services menu to help you better understand hospice. Transitioning to comfort care is often much easier for everyone involved when you know what to expect.

Hospice Care at Home

Many families are understandably concerned about someone else looking after a loved one in their home. There is a lot of confusion surrounding home hospice care and all that it entails. We’d like to shed some light on this topic to give you a better understanding of how hospice care works and what you can expect.

What to Expect When Starting Hospice at Home

Hospice care at home consists of 24-hour medical care for the terminally ill. As such, you should expect there to be a trained medical professional on-site at all times. If there are family caregivers involved, hospice can provide respite care to assist through this emotional and spiritual time.

What Does Hospice Do at Home?

Home hospice care brings the medical attention to your or your loved one rather than the opposite. Those suffering from a serious illness or terminal illness require end-of-life care at home. Home hospice care is designed to make the end-of-life transition easier for your loved one.

As such, a hospice team provides health care 24 hours a day in the home of the patient with a terminal illness. The goal is to ensure the quality of life in the final days of the terminally ill. Since hospice care is typically reserved for patients with six months or less to live, special considerations are given.

This involves bringing in a team of trained medical professionals to provide medical care around the clock. The life expectancy of the patient will affect the services provided.

How Do I Prepare My Home for Hospice Care?

white wooden dresser with mirror

When getting a home ready for hospice, families who are prepared help make the process less challenging for themselves. What’s more, they also tend to make the process less stressful for their loved one who is receiving hospice care.

Moreover, research shows that homes that don’t get prepared for hospice care have a greater risk of anxiety, depression, and grief for both the loved ones and the hospice caregivers.

Speak with the Hospice Team

Since it is so important to be prepared, it’s also worth noting that you should take the time to consult with the hospice care provider, as well as the care team. In preparing your home for hospice, it’s a good idea to start by making a to-do list. Have family members chip in and help with preparing the home.

When you are ready to proceed with hospice care, the hospice provider and the members of the hospice medical team will probably ask you for an overview concerning the house and what its environment is like.

This allows the hospice health team to get a better understanding of what to expect so that they can adequately prepare themselves for it. In doing so, they can be sure to provide the best care for your loved one during their stay.

Preparing a home for hospice and palliative care typically comes down to two areas: preparation for the caregiver and comfort of the patient.

Preparation for the Caregiver

Even though hospice services are being given in the home, it is vital for you to consider whether the environment of the home is conducive for caregivers to assist your loved one. Obviously, you don’t need to worry about going through the trouble of converting the home into a hospital room.

It just needs to be set up in a way that makes it easy for caregivers to do what they need to do while also being safe for the patient. Consider the following tips when preparing a home for hospice.

Make Sure the Home Is Accessible to All

One of the best ways to look at the home environment is as if it is a workspace. Again, you don’t need to worry about doing a complete makeover or retrofitting of the home. Instead, you want it to be ideal for hospice care, just as you find in a hospital or long-term care facility.

This means the convenient layout of furniture and items. Living areas need to be safe and easy for everyone involved to navigate. As such, the home should have significant space to move around. After all, you want your loved one to be able to walk around their home safely.

Remove Potential Hazards

Oftentimes, the patient needs assistance with walking. Therefore, you should make sure that the home is free of anything that has the potential to be a hazard. This includes areas like walkways doorways. If at all possible, consider installing safety bars to help prevent falls.

The bathroom, in particular, should be given special consideration to ensure that there are no slip-and-fall hazards. If your loved one has trouble getting around on their own, you should do all that you can to provide them with a safe living environment.

In addition to a safe environment, it’s important to consider any medical equipment that is likely to be brought into the home. This is why you should speak with the hospice team well beforehand to ensure that you know what’s coming.

Once you have an understanding of this, you can accommodate and make changes to the home accordingly. Do all that you can to rid each usable room of obstructions to ensure a safe environment for the hospice team and the patient.

With Hospice, You Are in Control

With most hospice care, you are the one in control. Typically speaking, your hospice team is comprised of:

  • Bereavement manager
  • Social worker
  • Hospice aide
  • Volunteer
  • Physician
  • Chaplain
  • Nurse

Everyone assigned to your hospice care arrives and adheres to a schedule that you have picked out. It’s important to keep in mind that they are there to care for your loved one, not to take over the home. As such, they will often turn to you for guidance and direction.

Hospice Gets Easier

Additionally, they will have answers to your questions and provide equal guidance for you. Hospice teams are confident about their abilities and gentle with the patient. With every hospice visit, you will find that things tend to get easier.

What’s more, you and your loved one will find yourselves looking forward to when the hospice team arrives. Hospice care is often a spiritual and emotional journey. A such, you need assistance to help you get through this difficult and generally unique time in your life – whether you are the one receiving hospice care or a family member.

What Does a Nursing Assistant Do?

If you are interested in working in healthcare, one thing that’s hard to get used to is all the acronyms! CNA, LPN, RN – so many letters! CNA stands for Certified Nursing Assistant, and it’s a vital job for patient care in hospitals and home health care facilities. Patients rely on CNAs for various tasks. Those who take the time to complete the education program to become certified often find it challenging but rewarding work.

The Role of a Nursing Assistant

Whether CNAs work in nursing homes or hospitals, their primary role is to support a nurse in the care of a patient or resident. They perform a wide range of services within the scope of their job description. Medical duties include lifting and moving patients, fulfilling patient requests, and taking and recording vital signs such as temperature and blood pressure at regular intervals.

CNAs are also responsible for the personal care of their patients. They often assist in daily tasks such as bathing patients to keep them clean and comfortable, serving meals, and helping them eat and drink. They also ensure their rooms are kept clean and sanitary, and help them change positions or get in and out of bed.

An CNA must be observant and have good communication skills. As they usually spend a lot of time with their patients and often get to know them very well. Because of this, they are the first ones to notice a change in health or clinical status and must communicate that to the nurses right away.

How Are CNAs Different From other Nursing Assistants?

If you think the role of an CNA sounds a lot like a STNA or LNA, you aren’t wrong. They are very similar, but there are a couple of small differences. All nursing assistants go through a similar education and certification process and work at the same types of facilities. However, certification for a CNA typically takes about 120 hours to complete. It’s comprised of 80 hours of classroom work and 40 hours of clinical training.

We have Certified Nursing Assistants here are Mary T!

Working as an State Tested Nursing Assistant in Assisted Living

If you are interested in pursuing a position as an CNA, you may want to consider working in an assisted living facility. Nurses’ aides and nursing assistants of all levels can make a real difference in the lives of residents that live in these facilities. Medical needs are obviously important. But personal day-to-day comfort is arguably more valuable to those residing in nursing homes and other care facilities. CNAs spend most of their time assisting their patients in whatever they need. No two days are alike. You may spend one day using your skills to take vital signs. And you might spend another day providing emotional support to the family of someone who has passed on. It’s challenging work to perform. But you’re never bored!

Come Work For Mary T

CNAs are highly empathetic people. They seek out this profession because they want to make a difference in the lives of others. We expect the need for care workers to increase on a national level due to the aging population in the country. If you are a compassionate person who loves to work with people, becoming an CNA may be the perfect career for you.

Mary T is always looking for kind individuals who have chosen to make the care of others the focus of their careers. Visit our website to see our open positions and join our team!

Life in an Active Lifestyle Community

As an active senior, you are likely to prefer living in a community that allows for greater independence. That’s where active lifestyle communities enter the picture. Thanks to these independent living communities, active adults can enjoy a life of freedom while still afforded the security of a private facility.

If you are interested in learning more about these retirement communities, we’ve compiled a helpful resource below that details essential information just for you.

What Does Active Lifestyle Community Mean?

Also known as active adult communities, an active lifestyle community is a retirement option that is designed for older adults who can care for themselves and are looking to take advantage of physical exercise and other lifestyle services.

As independent living options, active adult communities may offer amenities like:

  • Indoor swimming pool
  • Wellness classes
  • Fitness centers
  • Outdoor pools
  • Walking trails
  • Tennis courts
  • Golf clubs

What’s more, active adult communities offer all of the same amenities and services that you’d expect to find in a senior community. Residents can look forward to getting as much daily physical activity as they desire, as well as maintenance support, transportation services, ongoing lawn and home care, laundry service, meal centers, dining, care services, and more.

If you are a healthy senior who is considering retirement or already in the middle of your retirement, active adult communities may be a great fit for your needs. Read on to learn more about these independent living communities and what they can do for you.

What Are the Benefits of a 55+ Community?

Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of senior communities is that there is little to no maintenance required. Instead, on-site teams work to keep the private apartments looking their best. For many residents, this is the most appealing part of being in a senior living community.

Another essential factor is the peace and quiet afforded by active adult communities. Most are kid-free and allow for a relaxing environment. Of course, children and grandchildren can visit. But most days are met with tranquility and relaxation, free of noise and interference.

Social Gatherings

Residents also appreciate the on-site programs offered, such as community events. Many senior living communities promote social gatherings that allow residents to get to know one another and develop friendships.

You’ll enjoy programs like movie night and arts and crafts classes. Even live events, fine dining, dancing, and many other activities to keep you busy each night of the week.

Activities Just for You

And of course, active adult communities allow each resident to stay in shape through a variety of fun and entertaining services and events. As we detailed above, you may find some communities with health and fitness centers, family centers, tennis courts, swimming pools, and more.

Senior Apartments: The Best of Both Worlds

As you explore your options for senior living, you will find that some communities offer a variety of housing. The most popular are those with apartments. These give you a comfortable setting that is easy to maintain while allowing for socializing.

Most seniors prefer a low-maintenance setting, and apartments afford you this type of environment. What’s more, older adults often appreciate the compact layout of apartments. They tend to be easier to navigate and keep in order.

Outside of your residence, you are likely to find facilities that accommodate a variety of events. And if you require medical care, services are available to ensure that you get the care you need. If you have doctor’s appointments to attend, transportation is given to make sure you get there on time.

Is an Active Adult Community Right for You?

If you are looking for a quiet community that affords you amenities and activities for personal wellness, an active adult community might be right for you. It’s important that you research your options to ensure that you find a living community that suits your preferences.

If you love to golf or play tennis, you’ll want to search for a living option that has a golf or tennis course, for example. If you want to stay close to your family, it could limit your available options, so it’s important to speak with a trusted specialist who can help you make the best decision.

Retire in an Active Lifestyle Community

 woman walking on sidewalk

Retiring in an active lifestyle community can make the difference you need in your life. Rather than move into facilities that don’t accommodate your needs, active adult communities allow you to live your life to its fullest extent.

While some amenities like on-site medical care and daily meals aren’t typically included, your good health and independent lifestyle be fulfilled, giving you the enjoyment you desire in your older age.

You will be able to make friends, enjoy walking trails, personal fitness, and much more. If you’re ready to explore your possibilities, speak with one of our trusted senior living advisors today.