Assisted Living

Easy Gardening Solutions for Seniors

Easy Gardening Solutions for Seniors

As we head into July, many gardeners have finished up their season’s planting and yard clean-up tasks. But others are still looking forward to putting out a colorful display of blooms, later-season vegetables, and herbs. Garden centers and nurseries’ stock has diminished, but you will still find things to plant to enjoy the rest of the summer into fall. For seniors, particularly those in senior living communities, gardening work can feel a bit overwhelming. It’s hot, hard work. However, with some planning and the right tools, even older adults with physical limitations can take part in this healthy pastime.

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Can the Pace of Your Stride Predict Dementia?

Can the stride of your pace predict dementia?

If you walk slowly, you may be prone to dementia, reveals a new report.

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The Importance of Social Capital for Seniors

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Studies show that money does, in fact, make people happier, but only to a certain degree. In fact, researchers at Princeton have put a price on just how much happiness money can buy or, rather, how much money it takes to buy happiness. People’s happiness tends to increase the more money they have, up until they reach an annual salary of $75,000.

After that, additional income won’t make you any happier and, depending on what it takes to earn that income, could actually make you less happy. The moral? Once our basic needs are met, having more “stuff” doesn’t add anything to our lives – except, of course, more stuff.

It also stands to reason that if your basic needs can be met for much less than that, as with many seniors in senior living communities where they pay one price for all their living expenses and even some medical care, you can be just as happy with less money than that $75,000 benchmark.

The Wisdom in Buying Experiences, Not Things
When you use money to buy experiences such as vacations or special events and create memories with loved ones, you can feel happier. But it’s not the money, or even the event that’s making you happy, as much as it is the people you’re with. This is what psychologists call “social capital,” and it’s a very strong argument for moving to a senior community to enjoy your retirement, filled with people that you can connect with and activities that are fun and fulfilling.

These connections with others are what researchers and psychologists call “social capital,” and it’s been proven to reduce some traits of aging, including cognitive decline and depression, and may even improve a person’s overall health.

The True Value of Social Capital
Bryan James, an epidemiologist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, evaluated 1,100 seniors over a 12-year time period and discovered the rate of cognitive decline was 70 percent lower in people with frequent social activity.

According to an article published at Berkeley’s Greater Good website, even when James and his colleagues statistically controlled for health risk factors like smoking seniors who stay socially active have a 43 percent less rate of disability.

Yvonne Michael of the Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia, PA, is another epidemiologist who studies social capital and seniors. She discovered that seniors living in places with high social capital, in areas where you could trust your neighbors and where neighbors helped each other, had greater mobility and improved health. In another study, not limited to seniors, she found that adults in areas of high social capital were more likely to get screened for diseases at the appropriate ages, leading to earlier interventions and improved health.

Can Senior Communities Expand Social Capital?
This research underscores the importance of finding a senior community where you can forge strong social connections, where good health and exercise are a part of the culture, and where you can live well and have your physical and emotional needs met while spending within your means.

Fortunately, senior communities today continue improving their standards and introducing exciting, fulfilling activities that allow seniors to do just that.

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (877) 345-1706 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.

Inclusive Senior Summer Fun for Different Mobility Levels

inclusive senior citizen fun activities

Memorial Day marks summer’s unofficial start. Planning vacations, celebrations for summer holidays, and the opportunity to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather lifts people’s spirits. Farmer’s markets are springing up with the season’s local bounty, national parks are presenting special events and programing, and botanical gardens and flower festivals will be in full bloom. It’s especially nice to plan special outings with a senior in mind. If they are in an assisted living community or other senior housing, getting them out for a day trip is a great idea. But if your loved one has limited mobility, it is sometimes challenging to include them in your outings due to the barriers they may encounter.

So how do you plan summer fun that is inclusive to different mobility levels? The logistics become even trickier when you include babies in strollers. With good organization and prior research your special days will be rewarding for all.

  • Plan to go during less busy times – A farmer’s market; for instance, is usually busiest early in the morning with people wanting to get the best selections. If finding the biggest tomato isn’t a priority for your party, go a bit later.
  • Find botanical gardens with adequate seating – Older adults (and children) tire quickly and those in wheelchairs and with mobility devices will need a spot to rest away from traffic. Most community gardens have plenty of benches and rest areas.
  • Research national parks, monuments and theme parks for their accessibility – A quick perusal online will tell you how these places accommodate visitors with different mobility levels. Here are two examples:

Keep in mind that some places designated as historical preservation sites or landmarks are not always accessible. Due to the emphasis on preserving the historical significance, it is often a difficult and costly process to comply with ADA laws. Call ahead of check online for details.

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (877) 345-1706 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.

 

Resveratrol May Not Reverse Aging, Study Shows

red-wine

Have you been pouring the wine liberally or indulging in dark chocolate for the health benefits? Unless you have an addiction problem, there’s probably no reason to stop the things you enjoy, but you may not be reaping the benefits you once believed.

Dubbed in the past decade as a strong antioxidant that can slow the signs of aging, all the hype about resveratrol may be just that – hype.

An 11-year research project, “Aging in the Chianti Region” studied 783 healthy men and women 65 years or older living in two villages in the Chianti region of Italy, an area where the inhabitants regularly consume red wine but rarely consume resveratrol supplements. The study found that men and women with high concentrations of resveratrol, presumably from red wine and grapes, in their urine, were no less likely to die or develop heart disease or cancer than those with low concentrations of the anti-oxidant.

It’s not the first time researchers have cast doubt on the reportedly amazing anti-aging benefits of resveratrol. One study showed that resveratrol extended the lifespan of mice on an extremely high calorie diet, but not those on a normal or reduced calorie diet. Other medical professionals have speculated whether or not the supposed benefits of resveratrol last after the body has digested it. And, finally, others noted that a typical human could not consume the massive quantities of red wine required to reap any benefit from the resveratrol in it.

This new research may put science a few steps further away from finding the magical anti-aging compound, but there is hope. The researchers who participated in the study noted that there are some health benefits from food such as grapes, wine and dark chocolate, including anti-inflammatory benefits. The benefits just aren’t coming from the resveratrol.

Lead study author Dr. Richard D. Semba, M.D., MPH, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a statement, “”These are complex foods, and all we really know from our study is that the benefits are probably not due to resveratrol.”

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (877) 345-1706 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.

One Simple Step to Improve Memory Function in Seniors

memory

Most people know that when you get a good night’s sleep, you feel better and may even seem mentally sharper. A series of new studies cement the hypothesis that getting a good night’s sleep can also improve your memory. The theory had fallen out of favor in the past decades, but several new studies show a strong link between a good night’s sleep and improved memory.

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Preparing an Older Adult for the Move to Senior Living

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Real estate agents say the busiest time of the year for home selling and buying is April through August. You may want to factor that in if you are helping a senior parent or family member prepare their home for sale prior to a move to senior living. Just like any major life event, moving takes good planning and preparation. But if an older adult is leaving a family home to move to assisted living or a CCRC, as a family member or caregiver, you may encounter ambivalence, reluctance, and even grieving from a senior facing this move.

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Spring is Time for Renewal

Spring is Time for Renewal

Although spring officially started in March, April is the month when we really start to see evidence of the season beginning. We’re well into the month of renewal, rebirth, and reflection, which prompts so many of us to embrace the opportunity to “start fresh.”

Renewal can mean major life changes, but it might also be small steps to right our course or catch up with things that need our attention. If you are an older adult or caregiver to a senior parent of family member, the spring months are an ideal time to pause, reflect and take care of necessary business or pursue an interest. In addition to basic spring cleaning, the following are tasks and challenges to consider.

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Stomach Virus Presents Hidden Danger for Elderly

senior-stomach-sick

Just when the worst of flu season has passed, another illness is sweeping the country. Norovirus, often known as a plain, old stomach virus or sometimes a stomach flu, can spread like wildfire, especially within the confines of a nursing home or assisted living center.

You may have read about the recent outbreaks of norovirus on two Caribbean cruise ships, Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas and Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess, as well as on the Holland America cruise ship Veendam. The Explorer of the Seas outbreak was reported as the largest norovirus outbreak on any cruise ship in the past two decades.

Unsanitary conditions can contribute to the spread of norovirus, but so can simply living in close quarters. As with many illnesses, the risk of dangerous and potentially deadly side effects such as dehydration are even higher in the senior population. Consider this your five-minute primer on norovirus – its causes, symptoms and treatments.

What Is Norovirus?
Norovirus is a group of viruses that cause gastroenteritis, or an infection of the intestines, which typically causes vomiting and diarrhea. Because it is a virus, and not a bacteria, antibiotics are ineffective in its treatment. Additionally, the body doesn’t maintain an immunity to norovirus, so you can get it more than once, sometimes even more than once in a single season.

The virus is diagnosed by a stool sample but, if you have nausea, vomiting or diarrhea that comes on suddenly, there is a good chance it is norovirus, even if your doctor doesn’t test for it. While uncomfortable, the virus itself is rarely deadly, but dehydration caused by norovirus can be especially dangerous for older people.

Treatments for Norovirus
There is no effective treatment for norovirus other than rest and time. If the virus is accompanied by a fever or achiness, ibuprofen or acetimenophin can keep the patient more comfortable. A sick senior should never be forced to eat, but dry toast, rice or crackers may be offered and might actually help nausea subside. Ginger ale, made from real ginger and very lightly sweetened, may also help with nausea and vomiting.

The important thing in a senior suffering from norovirus is to prevent dehydration by offering water frequently. If the patient can’t keep water down, make sure to offer it at room temperature and advise the patient to take very small sips, waiting a few seconds between sips.

Symptoms of Dehydration
The most important aspect of treating norovirus is to ensure dehydration does not occur. Rehydration drinks may be offered, if the patient can keep them down. Be on the lookout for symptoms that include:

    • Dizziness or lightheadedness
    • Headache
    • Muscle cramps
    • Sunken eyes
    • Decrease in urine
    • Dry mouth and tongue

Severe dehydration may require hospitalization to receive fluids intravenously. Seniors experiencing intense weakness, confusion, or rapid heart rate should seek medical attention immediately.

Ways to Prevent Norovirus
While norovirus can be extremely uncomfortable, it’s rarely deadly. To reduce your chances of catching this virus, wash your hands frequently, especially after going to the bathroom or handling food.

If a member of a senior community develops norovirus, extra care should be taken to disinfect all common areas and remind the other residents to wash their hands frequently. The duration of the virus is rarely more than a few days, and the incubation period is just 24 to 48 hours. This means the stomach virus will pass quickly through an area, wreaking havoc, but will soon be forgotten.

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (877) 345-1706 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.

How the Hospitality Business Model Trend in Senior Care Benefits You

retirement-community

For several years now, independent senior living communities, assisted living communities. and even nursing homes have shifted toward a “hospitality” business model. The most successful senior living communities have always favored a “hospitality with healthcare” approach to building design, operations, amenities and activities. But today, the emphasis on hospitality has expanded in several areas. Let’s look at how these changes affect seniors entering these communities for the first time.

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