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Senior Assisted Living Blog



Videogames: How They Have Helped My Father's Memory

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, July 08, 2010

I was reading an article the other day about videogame systems and how they help people with memory disorders. One game in particular, the "Brain Training" game, was developed at the Uchida Hospital in Kyoto.  The game system offers a host of number games, word puzzles and reading exercises. I dug further into it and found that the Uchida Hospital (who specializes in all forms of dementia research) made the gaming consoles available to patients. Within one year, patients realized on average a 42% increase in brain activity.

So video games aren't just for children.   I suggested to Dad that we give video games a try.  He balked at first, but has come to really appreciate video games.  Computer cross word puzzles have become his favorite.  He finds the computer screen easier to read than paper and he no longer has to wear our pencil erasers.  Best of all, he's now spending less time idly watching T.V. in lieu of meaningful mental exercise.  And that's good medicine for all of us.   


Early Indicators of Alzheimer's Disease

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Alzheimer's Disease is a tragic illness that robs victims and their families of years of happiness by slowly destroying the mind and personality of the person afflicted. This illness afflicts more than 5 million Americans each day. Although there is no cure yet, there are professional care facilities and drugs available to treat symptoms and delay progression of Alzheimer's if it is diagnosed early. According to the Alzheimer's Association, the ten warning signs are:
 
o Memory loss
o Difficulty performing familiar tasks
o Problems with language
o Disorientation to time and place
o Poor or decreased judgment
o Problems with abstract thinking
o Misplacing things
o Changes in mood or behavior
o Changes in personality
o Loss of initiative

Of course anyone can have a bad day and suffer one or more of these afflictions.  It is frequency, degree, and multitude of such signs that serve as a genuine warning sign and create the imperative to seek professional medical evaluation.  Luckily, with the increasing concern and awareness of Alzheimer's Disease, early detection is on the rise and to the direct benefit of the patient.  Early detection is the single most contributing factor in protecting quality of life.  

The professionals of Spring Arbor Living and The Oaks Residential Assisted Living centers take great pride in preserving the quality of life of our residents who suffer from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.  We humbly consider ourselves to be on the cutting edge of care.  We are truly thankful for the opportunity each day to celebrate the lives of every resident we serve……regardless of circumstance.  


My 82-Year Old Dad, Fireworks, and the NFL Combine

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, July 01, 2010

I’m getting prepared for the annual argument with my 82-year old Dad.  Once again he’ll make a play to be the one to light the “monster” roman candle while celebrating this 4th of July. I honestly believe he pictures himself at the NFL combine, running “the 40” for time, in a tee-shirt that identifies his playing position…..”GGP”…..Great Grandpa.  He’ll admit (once again) that although he’s “lost a step”, he’s still  “faster than me running from a Waiter with the dinner bill”.  

Once again I’ll shame him about wanting to “steal a thrill from one of the older kids”.  He’ll mumble under his breath, clearly communicating to me…..”KILL JOY”!.  And I’ll laugh…..even louder than last year….…….  


Our National Anthem – All Four Verses

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Have you given recent thought to the other three powerful verses of our National Anthem? Each is genuinely inspiring poetry.  To us here at Spring Arbor Living, the entire song is particularly meaningful because we have the honored privilege to have so many Veteran war heroes under our care.

Now we’ll make a deal with you.  Find someone with a singing voice (or even someone who simply tries hard), have them learn one of the lesser known verses, and sing it to the Veteran hero of your choice.  If you do that, we’ll supply the tissue.

Below, for your reading pleasure, is our National Anthem in its entirety.    


Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


A Simple Game Sure To Get Everyone Laughing

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, June 24, 2010

The best gift is simply focused time of the entire family with your senior loved one.  Here's a game the young and old alike will love.  It's called…"What's in Grandma's Handbag".  Everyone sites in a circle or at a table.  The first person to begin (it can be anyone) says, "I looked in Grandma's handbag and I found…insert a word here…..(i.e. an apple).  Then next person says, "I looked in Grandma's handbag and found an apple and a cookie". And so on.  The point is to remember the entire list and then add your own item.  Each time a person forgets an item, the last person wins a prize (a snack, coins, whatever!).  Then the game starts over. 

You'll all die laughing at the things kids imagine within Grandma's handbag.    


Schools Out So Enjoy Summer Fun with Your Senior Loved Ones

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, June 22, 2010

As you consider how to spend quality summer time with you loved one, don't forget that their activity schedule is available to you 24/7 out on each Spring Arbor and Oaks individual location page.  Simply click "Our Locations", choose your loved one's specific residence page, then click the box that says "Click here for the Newsletter and Calendar of Events".  We post new schedules each and every month.

You can almost hear the smile on the other end of the phone when you call and say…"Hey Dad, how about we join you for Bingo on Friday"?


Headaches - A Common Senior Affliction

Joseph Coupal - Friday, June 18, 2010

Are you (or a loved one) suffering from recurring headaches? Don't ignore it!  This is something to discuss immediately with your doctor and our licensed Health Professional Support Staff!  Often, there is a logical explanation and simple corrective action for you to take.  Here are three common contributors to recurring headaches:

1) Dehydration-it's hot now, so drink up. 

2) Poor Lighting - Reading by poor light will strain the eyes and can cause headaches.

3) Deteriorating Vision:  Reading with improper correction causes eye and brain strain.  Have your eyes checked once a year to minimize this threat.  In some cases,  multiple annual exams might be necessary.  Again, talk to your health care professional periodically about the health of your vision.


Hoorah For Spring Arbor Salisbury - Raised $3400 For "Families of the Wounded"

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We want to throw a big "shout-out" to Salisbury for the efforts of their staff, residents, and "Village Bank" to host a "Memorial Day Cookout" with all proceeds going to the "Families of the Wounded Fund".  The Families of the Wounded Fund, Inc. provides financial resources in support of family members/caregivers of our military service men and women who have been traumatically wounded in combat operations or as the result of line-of-duty activities in support of combat operations.  The severity of the wounds generally requires a family/caregiver to stay in the Richmond area for at least 4-6 weeks.  These emergency stays have resulted in deep financial hardship for those who live far away. The Families of the Wounded Fund, Inc. helps with lodging, meals, childcare, and miscellaneous expenses.  This assistance is available while patients are receiving prescribed medical treatment.

On behalf of our treasured Veterans, both active AND retired, and to the family members of the same, we salute you all. And the same goes to the staff and residents of Spring Arbor Salisbury, and to "Village Bank" as well.  Click here to read more about the event!


Body Knowledge: Vitamin D

Joseph Coupal - Friday, June 11, 2010

Our Licensed Health Professionals offer a wealth of knowledge.  This health tip is about "Vitamin D".  "Vitamin D" occurs in  two forms: D2 (produced by plants) and D3 (produced by the human skin).  Both forms help maintain blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.  Recent research suggests Vitamin D may protect against osteoporosis, hypertension, and some forms of cancer.  Just 10-15 minutes of sun exposure during non-peak hours provides the daily recommended intake. If no sun, then fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified milk also do the trick. 


Important Exercise Fitness Tip - Squat, Don't Bend

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, June 08, 2010

We love to offer simple tips about activities to help improve our residents (and their family's)  overall health and happiness.  Here's a really simple idea.  Do a squat instead of a bend when you need to pick things up.  This act provides for better balance and lessons the likelihood of a fall.  The squat builds leg strength which over time and extends one's range of movement.  Strong legs improve quality of life.  Give it a try.