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Senior Assisted Living Blog



What is Memory Care? – Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 23, 2016

Life is a journey filled with emotion, adventure, and surprise. And with each year that passes, the unavoidable signs of aging are revealed. Sometimes it’s just a few extra pounds around the middle. Sometimes it’s just a few extra wrinkles around the eyes.

The visible signs of aging can make people seem wise or astute. But sometimes, the indicators of age cannot be seen, making them harder to identify and understand. Some signs, like memory loss, aren’t so easy to handle.

Unfortunately, memory loss is not uncommon among aging demographics in the United States and conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are of particular concern. What may begin as occasional forgetfulness about the location of your car keys can quickly progress into not remembering your name and address, or becoming disoriented in familiar places. Conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia also result in the progressive loss of cognitive functions, which can affect a person’s ability to maintain independence.

As the mind deteriorates, a patient suffering from advancing memory loss will eventually become unaware of their condition. They will require the help of other people to stay safe and remain physically and mentally active. They will need help and support with the mechanisms of thinking, making decisions, and executing the activities of daily life. For these reasons and more, dealing with memory loss can be scary and inflict a significant impact on the lives of families and loved ones.

Though many families would like to keep their aging loved ones comfortable at home during this process, assisted living facilities become the safest option. And though relocating a family member into such a facility is an emotionally difficult task, it is also difficult to choose which type of facility will best address the patient’s needs.

Assisted living facilities aim to assist every type of patient and as more and more people are being diagnosed with memory loss conditions, care units have become a core component of the industry. Memory care is a distinct form of long-term, skilled nursing care that specifically caters to patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other kinds of memory loss challenges. They generally provide 24-hour supervised care within a wing or floor of a residential facility, providing your loved ones with the cognitive care and safety supervision they need.

Caring for a loved one with progressive memory loss becomes more difficult over time. So, when it comes time to make challenging decisions regarding care for your loved one, memory care facilities offer caregivers relief and deliver you confidence in your loved one’s future.

For more information on memory care, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive 

insiderlouisville.com


5 Reasons to Move to Assisted Living - Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 19, 2016

Assisted Living is not your grandma’s nursing home. Today there are all types of amenities, healthy options and social activities for your loved ones. From barber and beauty services to gourmet dining and spas; assisted living can offer seniors not only fun and social activities, but also access to gourmet dining and state-of-the-art medical care. Through these services as well as social activities, many seniors are finding that today’s assisted living communities provide convenience, happiness and improved quality of life.

Top Reasons to Move to Assisted Living

Assisted living is a great intermediate step for seniors who need more help than the family can provide at home, but who don’t need the round-the-clock medical care of a nursing facility.

Here are a few ways assisted living trumps living at home as it offers better health and happiness for seniors:

1. A Safe Living Environment

Families often have to make home modifications and hire in-home care to make the family home safe for seniors whose physical health begins to wane. From medical alert systems to shower grab-bars, wheelchair-accessible ramps, and more — these expenses can add up; especially if supervised care is needed 24/7. Assisted living communities are designed for accessibility and increased senior mobility, helping seniors avoid falls and accidentsand providing access to medical assistance, whether it’s medical staff within the community or accessibility to a nearby hospital.

2. Daily Fitness and Physical Therapy

Retirement and assisted living communities offer many fitness and physical therapy programs to keep seniors active, from Tai Chi, Yoga and Zumba classes, to endurance and strength-building workouts. Fitness programs are also are catered to senior citizens and specific medical conditions. Even gardening clubs in the community can provide exercise and fun to help seniors stay active and release endorphins. Staying active in organized group settings can also help seniors treat arthritis, keep their circulation flowing and keep their bodies engaged in healthy ways. Opportunities for physical fitness in assisted living go far beyond what family caregivers can easily provide at home.

3. Opportunities for Socialization

Loneliness and social isolation have been linked to poor health outcomes, and many seniors suffer from isolation for the following reasons:

  • They are retired and no longer have socialization in the work environment
  • They can no longer easily meet people for lunch or attend social events because of physical ailments or transportation issues
  • Their friends and spouse may have passed away

In assisted living, seniors can easily socialize with peers, not only in common areas but also through planned, structures activities like cultural events and field trips. Assisted living actually inspire seniors to get involved, which leads to greater happiness and quality of life.

4. Healthy Dining Catered to Medical Conditions

It can be very difficult to supervise senior nutrition at home. Seniors living alone may find it unappealing to cook for one, and it’s challenging for family caregivers to monitor whether their loved ones are receiving the necessary nutrients. In fact, many seniors suffer from malnutrition, which make their health and well-being decline — despite family’s attempts to keep them healthy. In assisted living, residents are served three meals a day tailored to their specific medical conditions, such as difficulty swallowing or diabetes, and some luxury communities even offer gourmet dining.

5. Help with Activities of Daily Living

Housekeeping, yard work and regular activities of daily living (ADLs) can often be a burden to seniors. Having the details of living taken care of in assisted living allows seniors the freedom to enjoy their autumn years with others’ their age, in addition to take advantage of assisted living activities and amenities. Family caregivers or hired in-home help are also generally responsible for helping with ADLs such as bathing, dressing, eating, which can be quite expensive without the social and activity benefits that go along with assisted living. Assisted living provides expert help with ADLs to allow seniors more independence for the activities that make them happy, which in turn offers better quality of life.

If you’re considering assisted living for yourself or a senior loved one, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive
A Place for Mom


Signs Your Parent Needs Help at Home – Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Friday, May 13, 2016

Many older Americans want to stay in their own homes. The thought of moving to a retirement community is just too much. But what if your elder parent is showing signs Alzheimer's, Dementia or other conditions, can they still be cared for at home? Conditions like dementia or arthritis come with unique care challenges.

Here are signs that may indicate your parent needs care:

  • Spoiled food that doesn't get thrown away
  • Missing important appointments
  • Unexplained bruising
  • Trouble getting up from a seated position
  • Difficulty with walking, balance and mobility
  • Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks
  • Forgetfulness
  • Unpleasant body odor
  • Infrequent showering and bathing
  • Strong smell of urine in the house
  • Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care
  • Dirty house, extreme clutter and dirty laundry piling up
  • Stacks of unopened mail or an overflowing mailbox
  • Late payment notices, bounced checks and calls from bill collectors
  • Poor diet or weight loss
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
  • Forgetting to take medications – or taking more than the prescribed dosage
  • Diagnosis of dementia or early onset Alzheimer's
  • Unexplained dents and scratches on a car

At Spring Arbor the Emphasis is on Memory Care, Wellness, and Life Skills. We offer a unique and highly effective approach to caring for residents who suffer from Alzheimer's and related dementia. Alzheimer’s and Memory Care should blend staff education and training with structured resident interaction that produces confidence, trust, and peace of mind for loved ones.

For more information, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive
examiner.com


Brain Health: Ways to Keep It Healthy Part 3 – Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 09, 2016

There are lifestyle habits that you can adopt to maintain or potentially improve your health as you age. These habits, spanning four categories — physical health and exercise, diet and nutrition, cognitive activity, and social engagement — can help keep your body and brain healthy and potentially reduce your risk of cognitive decline.

Research has suggested that combining good nutrition with mental, social and physical activities may have a greater benefit in maintaining or improving brain health than any single activity.

Embrace lifestyle habits that improve your overall health, such as exercising, consuming a nutritious diet, and staying cognitively and socially active — science suggests these may support brain health as well. It’s never too late to make changes to achieve a healthier lifestyle — or too early to start.

Staying Mentally Active

Mentally challenging activities, such as learning a new skill, adopting a new hobby or engaging in formal education, may have short and long-term benefits for your brain. To keep your mind active, it is important to participate in activities that expose your mind to new topics.

Challenge yourself to games with strategy or high-level reading material, or determine how to approach a familiar task in a more effective way. Selecting activities you enjoy will increase the likelihood that you will continue to engage in them over time.

Another way to stay mentally active is to get as much formal education as you can, at any point in life. Formal education is classroom-based learning administered by professionally trained teachers. Engaging in this type of education will help keep your brain healthy and may protect your brain from developing dementia. This could involve taking a class at a local college or community center that teaches a new topic, skill or hobby (e.g., learning a language or how to play an instrument).

Staying Socially Active

Social engagement is associated with reduced rates of disability and mortality, and may also reduce risk for depression. Remaining socially active may support brain health and possibly delay the onset of dementia. There are many ways to stay socially active in your community, and these activities will provide the greatest connection to others.

Participation in clubs, volunteer efforts and other community pursuits may be valuable in maintaining your overall health. Many of these social activities are low-cost or free, such as joining a walking group or book club in your neighborhood. Staying socially active can also be as simple as engaging with friends and family on a regular basis.

Pursue social activities that are meaningful to you. For instance, if you love animals, consider volunteering at a local shelter or with a rescue group.

For more information, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive
alz.org


Brain Health: Ways to Keep It Healthy Part 2– Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Friday, May 06, 2016

There are lifestyle habits that you can adopt to maintain or potentially improve your health as you age. These habits, spanning four categories — physical health and exercise, diet and nutrition, cognitive activity, and social engagement — can help keep your body and brain healthy and potentially reduce your risk of cognitive decline.

Research has suggested that combining good nutrition with mental, social and physical activities may have a greater benefit in maintaining or improving brain health than any single activity. A two-year clinical trial of older adults at risk for cognitive impairment showed that a combination of physical activity, nutritional guidance, cognitive training, social activities and management of heart health risk factors slowed cognitive decline.

Embrace lifestyle habits that improve your overall health, such as exercising, consuming a nutritious diet, and staying cognitively and socially active — science suggests these may support brain health as well. It’s never too late to make changes to achieve a healthier lifestyle — or too early to start.

Eating a heart-healthy diet benefits both your body and your brain. In general, this is a diet that is lower in saturated fats. Research in the area of the relationship between diet and cognitive functioning is somewhat limited, but it does point to the benefits of two diets in particular: the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet. These diets can help reduce heart disease and may also be able to reduce risk of dementia.
    
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet aims to reduce blood pressure:

  • Eat foods that are low in saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy.
  • Consume whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts.
  • Decrease your intake of fats, red meats, sweets, sugared beverages and sodium.

The Mediterranean diet incorporates different principles of healthy eating that are typically found in the areas bordering the Mediterranean Sea:

  • Focus on fruit, vegetables, nuts and grains.
  • Replace butter with healthy fats, like olive oil.
  • Limit red meat.
  • Use herbs to flavor food rather than salt.
  • Eat fish and poultry at least twice a week.

Keep your heart healthy to help keep your brain healthy. Growing evidence suggests that many factors that increase the risk of heart disease also may increase the risk of dementia. These factors include smoking, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Check back in for more details on the last (but not least) way to keep your brain healthy: staying mentally and socially active.

For more information, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive
alz.org


Brain Health: Ways to Keep It Healthy – Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 02, 2016

There are lifestyle habits that you can adopt to maintain or potentially improve your health as you age. These habits, spanning four categories — physical health and exercise, diet and nutrition, cognitive activity, and social engagement — can help keep your body and brain healthy and potentially reduce your risk of cognitive decline.

Research has suggested that combining good nutrition with mental, social and physical activities may have a greater benefit in maintaining or improving brain health than any single activity. A two-year clinical trial of older adults at risk for cognitive impairment showed that a combination of physical activity, nutritional guidance, cognitive training, social activities and management of heart health risk factors slowed cognitive decline.

Embrace lifestyle habits that improve your overall health, such as exercising, consuming a nutritious diet, and staying cognitively and socially active — science suggests these may support brain health as well. It’s never too late to make changes to achieve a healthier lifestyle — or too early to start.

Physical activity is a valuable part of any overall body wellness plan and is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline. If it’s safe for you, engage in cardiovascular exercise to elevate your heart rate. This will increase the blood flow to your brain and body, providing additional nourishment while reducing potential dementia risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Consider physical activities that may also be mentally or socially engaging, such as walking with a friend, taking a dance class, joining an exercise group or golfing. Incorporating activities and healthy exercise habits at a young age will allow you to enjoy the lifelong benefits of regular physical activity. However, it’s never too late to start — making healthy choices at any age is beneficial to your well-being. Always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Take care of your health

Keep your heart healthy to help keep your brain healthy. Growing evidence suggests that many factors that increase the risk of heart disease also may increase the risk of dementia. These factors include smoking, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

  • Visit your doctor regularly.
  • Get your “numbers” checked, including weight, blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. Actively seek treatment to keep yourself within healthy ranges.
  • If you have diabetes, manage it properly.
  • Stop smoking. If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
  • Take action to minimize stress. Studies have found that regular physical activity decreases stress, increases your ability to manage stress and leads to better mood overall.
  • Get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea can result in problems with memory and thinking.
  • Avoid excess alcohol.
  • Seek professional assistance to address anxiety, depression or other mental health concerns.

Check back in for more details on the other ways to keep your brain healthy: a healthy diet and staying mentally and socially active. 

For more information, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive
alz.org