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Senior Assisted Living Blog



Prescription Diets-Notify and Educate Visiting Friends and Family

Joseph Coupal - Friday, May 28, 2010

Is your loved one on a diet prescribed by a doctor?  If yes, then it is extremely important that you notify all visiting friends and family members about this fact.  Explain the consequences of diet violations as described by the physician.  

We take extreme measure to regulate our resident's diet and to offer them friendly reminders about their diet restrictions.  However, we all share the responsibility to protect your loved ones from uninformed (but well-intentioned) visitors.


Rediscover Your Local Farmer’s Market For Healthy Fun

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Many of us realize the benefits of organically grown food but do not consume organically grown products because of the added  expense.  Consider your local Farmer's Market as a source for the freshest produce available.  Many (but not all) local farmers produce organic foods and offer them at a valued price.  

Food isn't the only thing happening at most Farmer's Markets. Go there to enjoy live music, arts and crafts, and talent shows.  To find a list of the Farmer's Markets in your area, navigate to http://www.localharvest.org/ and use the market search function at the top/right of the website.

Don't consider your local Farmer's Market as just a source of fresh and organic produce.  Consider it a great way to spend a morning with your friends and loved ones.


Motion Sickness - An Unnoticed Thief Of Senior's Quality of Life

Joseph Coupal - Friday, May 21, 2010

Did you know that the wheelchair can cause motion just like the car or boat?  It is important to understand this fact because undiagnosed motion sickness subconsciously de-motivates an individual from engaging in therapeutic activities.  Without even knowing it, motion sickness may have you or your loved one avoiding that "Sunday drive" or that wheeled "walk in the park".  

Here are some simple tips that our staff promotes for avoiding motion sickness: 1) Face forward as much as possible, 2) look at the horizon, 3) don't read in the car, and 4) avoid pungent smells.  Take our advice and reconsider taking that long walk downwind of the paper mill or pig farm.


Taking Care of the Caregiver

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Being a caregiver can take a toll on health and well being.  Caregiver stress is a common condition among those who care for those suffering from physical handicaps, Alzheimer's disease, or other forms of dementia.  If you're feeling overwhelmed caring for a loved one, you may be neglecting your own health.  Follow these tips from the Alzheimer's Association to keep your physical and mental health in good shape:

1)   Good Nutrition: Take time to eat a balanced diet.  Good nutrition maximizes your energy level.  
2)   Get Active:  Perform at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week.  This provides both physical and mental reward.
3)   Get a good night's sleep: One of the most important things you can do.
4)   Proactively address stress:  Reflect upon what relaxes you and prioritize those activities.
5)   Get some backup:  You don't have to do everything alone.  Learn what community resources are available in your local community.

The bottom line is this.  To take good care of others, you must first take good care of yourself.


Dollars and Sense May Be Signs of Alzheimers

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dollars and Sense May Be Signs of Alzheimer’s

(From Mays Rocky Mount Cottage Newsletter)

A red flag that signals whether someone may be facing a life with Alzheimer' disease focuses on some green-green as in money.  A decline in money management skills appear to be an early sign of Alzheimer’, based on a study funded in 2009 by the National Institute on Aging.  The study looked at people with mild memory impairment, a phase before the onset of Alzheimer’s.  For 25 out of 87 patients who succumbed to Alzheimer’s a year after the study started, financial skills wont on a steep decline.  These patients had a tough time balancing and understanding a checkbook (including writing a check correctly but failing to calculate the balance), counting change, detecting potential fraud, preparing bills to mail on time, making grocery purchases and reading bank statements.  

Because the ability to manage finances is important for successful independent living, family members, care givers, and doctors need to be aware of how a patient is coping with finances.  Closely watch the situation, and check to see if the patient is missing payments, losing track of money, or making other funding faux pas.


Become familiar with Stages of Alzheimers

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Become familiar with Stages of Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's disease is progressive disease … meaning it worsens with time. Alzheimer's is also terminal, meaning all who develop it will eventually succumb to it. As Alzheimer's rides its course, it renders those who suffer from it increasingly dependent on the care of others.

This is true for all people who develop Alzheimer's, but the particular symptoms and the degree to which they show themselves vary among individuals. For convenience, the progression of Alzheimer's is often divided into three stages: early/mild, middle/moderate, and late/severe.

The symptoms and signs of Alzheimer's have been identified by observing people with Alzheimer's disease as a group. An individual may not show all of the symptoms in each stage of progression. For example, many -- but not all -- Alzheimer's patients develop severe psychiatric problems, such as delusions and hallucinations. Among those who do, the symptoms appear in the middle to late stages of Alzheimer's.

It may help friends and family to familiarize themselves with the typical stages of Alzheimer's disease so that they know what to expect in the coming years. The early/mild stage of Alzheimer's is characterized by declining ability to form new memories, impaired ability to organize and manipulate complex ideas, and, sometimes, by personality changes.


May is Arthritis Awareness Month—Get Moving!

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 06, 2010

What is the #1 recommended piece of advise given by medical doctors to arthritis patients?   You guessed it…..MOVE!  For the 46 million Americans with arthritis and many more at risk in the United States, moving is the best medicine to fight arthritis pain. This May during National Arthritis Awareness Month, we encourage our residents and their family to familiarize themselves with the Arthritis Foundation, the depth of resource they provide, and the organized events that they are leading out across the country.  

The Arthritis Foundation offers the following tips to prevent and decrease the pain and disability of osteoarthritis.

• Make movement a daily routine. Incorporate exercise into your daily life, even if you only add a daily walk of 15 to 30 minutes. If pain or being overweight makes it difficult to exercise, try one of the Arthritis Foundation's Life Improvement Series Programs, which apply less stress to joints.

• Control your weight. For every one pound you lose, that's four pounds of pressure off each knee. Losing as little as 11 pounds may reduce joint pain and help prevent knee osteoarthritis. For those already living with arthritis symptoms, losing 15 pounds can cut knee pain in half.

• Know your risks. Although heredity and other factors can put a person at risk for developing osteoarthritis, a healthy lifestyle can play a significant role in preventing and successfully managing osteoarthritis.
The Arthritis Foundation is encouraging people with arthritis and the many more at risk to make physical activity part of their daily routine. To get started, go to fightarthritispain.org. Then, celebrate National Arthritis Awareness Month and your commitment to move at an Arthritis Walk event. Visit letsmovetogether.org to find an Arthritis Walk in your community and for a movement tracker to set goals and stay on track.

 


Water Consumption and Dehydration Facts For The Elderly

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 06, 2010

The elderly are exceptionally vulnerable to dehydration and the negative (sometimes fatal) effects on health.  The common symptoms of dehydration (confusion, drowsiness, labored speech, dry mouth, and sunken eyeballs) often align with normal behavior thus making it dangerously difficult (if not impossible) to diagnose. The key is to educate, hydration awareness, and discipline.

The daily water consumption needs of the elderly are no different than that of the young.  The baseline recommendation is once cup of water for every 20 pounds of body weight (6-8 glasses / day).  Consumption quantity increases dramatically when considering summer heat and physical exertion levels in the summer heat.

Everyone should realize that when it comes to water consumption and the elderly, the less the elderly drink the less thirsty they become. This fact alone puts the elderly at much greater risk to dehydration.  Senior citizens are also at particular risk for dehydration because their kidney function have diminished to varying degrees.  Make sure that water is presented at every meal, made readily available throughout the day and night, and loving encouragement is provided to our loved ones who are not self-inclined to hydrate.   And it goes without saying that we provide hydration awareness and discipline as an uninterrupted service at all Spring Arbor locations.


Alzheimer and Dementia Victim Identity Theft On The Rise

Joseph Coupal - Friday, April 30, 2010

Alzheimer and Dementia Victim Identity Theft On The Rise

The unscrupulous continue to victimize the elderly at record levels, especially those in the early stages of Alzheimer and other dementia illnesses.  Alzheimer’s and indeed senior citizens as a whole are especially vulnerable to identity theft because they are more trusting, many of them are lonely,  and most are less aware of the ever increasing variety of scams.

The telephone is a powerful tool for scammers that prey on senior citizens. While many senior citizens don't use email or browse the internet, they all use the telephone. Identity thieves call elderly people and pretend to represent churches, charities, scholarships, and countless other activities.   Scammers also use snail mail to phish for information from the elderly. Like the phone calls, the mail appears to come from trusted sources, such as the victim's bank, charitable organizations or well known companies.

Protect your loved ones by discussing the subject of identity theft with them and by limiting exposure of their personal information.  Review their mail and identify to your loved one the specific things that they should never discard without being thoroughly destroyed (or better yet, shredded).  Convince your loved ones to never respond to any type of solicitation without first consulting a trusted family member.  And it goes without saying, sadly, the degree of financial discretion afforded victims of Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia must be constantly reassessed based on the progression of the disease.  


National Volunteer Week Extended to Spring Arbor Volunteer Month

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, April 28, 2010

National Volunteer Week Extended to “Spring Arbor Volunteer Month”

Although last Saturday marked the end of “National Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 18-24), we’re holding on for another week. Sure, the formal appreciation events are now behind us, however, we can’t thank enough the hundreds of volunteers that continue to serve each and every individual Spring Arbor Living and The Oaks communities.  From our volunteer Bible study leaders, bingo hosts, musicians, arts and craft coordinators….and oh so many more, your selfless gifts of time, treasure, and talent brighten not only the spirits of our residents, but their families, our staff, and the communities in which we live.  

For the remainder of “Volunteer Appreciation Month”, we encourage all residents, staff, and family to continue to continue to thank and praise our dedicated family of volunteers. We warmly invite any and all of you to consider volunteering your time and talent at any of our locations.  It is said that nothing is more genuine than the smile or the elderly.  And it is simply impossible to describe the reward in delivering a smile to the treasure that is our senior citizens.  One thing is certain, you’ll wish you had started earlier.