Health & Well-Being

With the new year less than a month away, it’s time to start thinking of any resolutions you want to make. Each year, we are given an opportunity to rejuvenate our lives and start fresh. Whether you make one resolution or 10, it can be good to set goals for yourself.

Take the time that is left in 2018 and think about what are some changes you wish you’d start making in your life but haven’t been motivated yet or didn’t have the time to prepare for the changes. It could be as simple as eating more greens or something a bit harder like quitting smoking. All resolutions are important because they are personal—it’s up to you whether or not you want to make resolutions for the coming year.

For seniors, there are many important aspects of your life you should prioritize as you age such as, your health, mobility, social life and family. Below we walk through seven possible resolutions you could make for 2019.

  • Eat healthier: This coming year, try incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet. If you already do so, try avoiding the sugary treats you crave after mealtime and switch them out with healthier options like fruit slices or dark chocolate.
  • De-clutter: The new year is a great time to motivate yourself to de-clutter your home and your belongings. If you’ve been stuck on this one for a while, make the first of the year your first attempt at de-cluttering. Start throwing away or donating things you haven’t used in the past year and see how you feel after!
  • Try something new: Trying something new will allow you to continue learning throughout your life. Whether you decide to learn a new game that exercises your brain or if you decide to try volunteering, it will be a fun time of exploration!
  • Stay or start being active: Physical activity is critical for seniors. Are you staying active lately? If you are, keep it up! If you aren’t, 2019 is a great time to start! Here’s how to start an exercise routine over the age of 60.
  • Spend more time with family: In the end, family and friends are what matter most. Take 2019 to reconnect with old friends or choose a day of the week to see your family and make the most out of your time well spent!
  • Prepare for the future: You may have been avoiding having “the talk” with your family but the new year is a perfect time to stop avoiding it and finally speak up about it. Sit down with your family and discuss how you’re feeling about your living situation, how you feel mentally, how you feel physically and any other concerns you may have been feeling about your overall health.
  • Embrace 2019: While making your list of resolutions, don’t forget to simply enjoy life! Do all the things you love to do all while adding in some healthy adjustments. It may be the most important resolution on your list.

Another year down and another year ahead! Take time out of the month of December to decide on what aspects of your life you want to change or improve and start down that track come January 1st!

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It’s that time of year again, the holidays are upon us. With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas around the corner, it’s likely you’ll be seeing a lot of your family members. While it’s always nice to connect with your loved ones, it can also be a good time to have conversations with your aging parents while you’re together.

If you’ve noticed your family members need a bit more help lately, here are a few important conversations to have with your senior parents this holiday season. But first, take a moment to run through the strategies for how to have those talks. Always remember:

  • Be considerate: While you may have noticed slight changes in the lives of your parents, they might not have so, it’s important to be considerate of their feelings. Have these conversations with them thoroughly and explain your point of view respectfully.
  • Listen: It will be helpful to say your point of view but then remember to take the time to listen to their side of the story. It can also help in the future if you all agree that assisted living may be necessary as you’ll know what parts of their lives they struggle with most—from climbing the stairs to cooking meals.
  • Show you care: Conversations like this can always be hard to have but reminding your parents that you love them and you want to talk about this to ultimately help them will allow the conversation to go smoothly. 

Now that you have a few guidelines for how to approach these tough conversations, here are three critical conversations to have with your aging parents.

Wellbeing Conversation:

First, and most importantly, talk about the wellbeing of both or one of your parents. This is a conversation that might be the toughest to have but it’s critical to gauge how they’re feeling overall. Discuss their health—how do they feel on a daily basis? Are they staying active? If not, discuss options for them to get some exercise like, going for walks or joining a gym. These questions will help you learn more about their daily life and how they are feeling they’re doing with daily tasks.

Financial Conversation:

Finances can always be an awkward conversation to have with your parents but, it will help set up the rest of their lives. Discuss their will, is it up to date? Do they have property they have plans for? Offer them assistance with any of the financial questions or concerns they might have.

Living Conversation:

How are your parents doing in their home? Ask them about their living situation—do they have any issues climbing the stairs or keeping track of their personal items like keys or wallets? If they live alone, do they ever feel isolated or lonely? Conversations like this might lead to discussing assisted living or senior living options for your parents. Remind your parents you are there to help them if they do choose to move into a community.

Conversations like these can be hard to have with family members but they are awfully important. Review the strategies provided and keep them at the top of mind while you discuss any of the topics above this holiday season.

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November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

It’s estimated that there are approximately 44 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia. In the U.S., an estimated 5.5 million people have this disease.

Do you know someone who is or might be affected by Alzheimer’s? Learn the 10 warning signs to watch for from the Alzheimer’s Association below:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
  4. Confusion with time or place
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgement
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
  10. Changes in mood and personality

Are you wondering, what now? What if I do notice these signs and symptoms in one of my loved ones? The next step you should take is to see the doctor.

Early detection can be very important with Alzheimer’s disease. If detected early, you have the opportunity to explore different treatments that can help extend your independent lifestyle longer.

It’s important to take notice of your loved ones and their health. If you’re starting to worry about a loved one’s memory and their living situation, let us help. We have an Assisted Living Decisions Guide that outlines the senior communities and services we offer throughout the Midwest.

Our Assisted Living Decisions Guide is designed to help you make good decisions for your future or that of a loved one. There are many factors to consider — financial security, ongoing healthcare, and overall safety and well-being.

It’s important to educate yourself and your loved ones of Alzheimer’s disease so that if the time comes, you are prepared. If you have any further questions or would like to learn more about our assisted living communities, please contact us at 952-941-3175.

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Did you know? October is National Physical Therapy month. As we age it’s important to remember to prioritize our health. One way to do that is by taking care of ourselves when we are in pain.

Are you wondering how you can accomplish that in order to maintain your health? There’s one answer: physical therapy.

According to Web MD, physical therapy is a non-drug, no-surgery treatment that works for arthritis, cancer pain, Parkinson’s and incontinence and improves your strength and endurance.

General aging can cause many seniors to be in a lot of pain whether they have arthritis, recently fell, have been in an accident, sick, or simply just tired. To help you understand what physical therapy can do for you or a loved one, we’ll walk through four physical therapy types according to seniorliving.org:

  1. Manual Therapy
    Manual therapy is done by the therapist with their hands. The goal is to reduce any pain and relax the patient. This process includes massaging muscles to improve circulation and reduce pain. It also includes slow movements to stretch arms or legs—twisting and pulling joints or bones and making sure they are put into place.
  2. Electrical Stimulation
    This type of physical therapy is when electrical currents are going through the body in hopes to contract the muscles that may not be working as they should. Electrical stimulation is used when someone is experiencing pain, spasms or muscular weakness.
  3. Heat Therapy
    Heat is used when the need is to relax muscles and increase blood circulation. Heat therapy is a great way to loosen stiff joints caused my immobility. Another use of this therapy is to loosen the muscles before further physical activity takes place.
  4. Cold Therapy
    Cold therapy is a great type of physical therapy for those with arthritis. Cold temperatures are used to reduce pain and inflammation. This type of therapy often follows the process, also known as RICE – rest, ice, compression and elevation.

According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), physical therapy can restore or increase strength, range of motion, flexibility, coordination, and endurance – as well as reduce pain. Another role is to help the patient to do everyday tasks. If you or a loved one feels they are in pain, physical therapy may be the solution.

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Each year in October, we raise awareness and highlight the importance of education and research of the most common cancer in American women besides skin cancer: breast cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society’s estimates for breast cancer in the U.S. for 2018, about 266,120 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.

However, if breast cancer is detected early, there are more treatment options and a better chance of survival. Women whose breast cancer is detected at an early stage have a 93 percent or higher survival rate in the first five years, according to the Carol Milgard Breast Center.

As reported by the American Cancer Society, at this time, there are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.!

Fortunately, there is one major factor in detecting breast cancer early and that is getting mammograms regularly.

It’s recommended that if you are 50 to 74 years old, you should be getting a mammogram every two years by the United States Preventative Services Task Force. If you are 40 to 49 years old, you should talk to your doctor about when to start getting mammograms.

Many organizations and people are dedicated to raising awareness to this cancer during the month of October and throughout the year. There are many ways you can get involved to help too.

3 Ways to Get involved:

1. Educate yourself and others
Get this free Breast Health Guide to educate yourself and your loved ones about breast cancer. There may be more than you thought to learn.

2. Raise awareness
Spread the word about the importance of detecting breast cancer early through mammograms to your friends and family.

3. Donate
Donating your time or money is a great way to get involved in Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There are many organizations you can donate to like, Breast Cancer Research Foundation or the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. If you want to donate your time, try starting your own fundraiser with your business or school.

This October, how will you get involved during Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

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The Best Exercises for Improving Balance + Stability

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an older adult falls every second of every day in the U.S.

Let that sink in.

An older adult falls every second of every day in the U.S.

That’s a lot of falls—some with serious consequences. Aging causes bones to become brittle, and broken bones don’t heal as easily.

We tend to lose balance with age for a number of reasons: could be due to a medical condition, side effects of dizziness or vertigo due to medications, impaired eyesight, or an overall decline in physical fitness.

The good news? Medical conditions aside, balance is a motor skill that can be maintained and even improved. It’s not going to happen, though, without a little effort. First and foremost, you have to get back on your feet. Don’t let poor balance result in a cycle of inactivity and muscle loss. Gain confidence—and muscle—through regularly doing simple balance and strengthening exercises. Even better, you can do the following exercises anytime, anywhere.

STANDING EXERCISES:

Flamingo stand (balance on one leg)

Start with an easy exercise. Stand on one leg, gripping a sturdy chair (no wheels) for balance—use both hands. Lift your right foot about an inch off the floor and balance on your left foot. Hold the move for 10 seconds, repeat 10 times, then alternate legs. The goal of this exercise is to get strong enough to eventually hold the pose—without using the chair for balance—for up to a minute.

Tightrope walk (walk in a straight line, heel to toe)  

By walking heel to toe, you’re strengthening your core and your leg muscles while simultaneously improving your posture. To do this one, mark a straight line with masking tape, then walk heel to toe, with your heels and toes almost touching. Focus on one spot directly in front of you. Stretch your arms wide as you walk (picture a tightrope walker). Repeat 20 times.

Leg raise with arm lifts

Improve physical coordination by standing next to a chair, feet together and arms at your sides. Lift your left hand over your head and slowly raise your left foot off the floor. Hold for 10 second and repeat with the other side.

Back leg raise

Using a chair for support, lift one leg at a time as far back as possible. Bend the leg you’re standing on, raise your other leg. Hold the position for a few seconds. Repeat 10-15 times. Bonus: this exercise helps to strengthen your lower back.

Side leg raise

The side leg exercise will help strengthen the upper legs and hips. Hold onto a chair, keep your back straight, toes facing forward, and hold the position. Repeat 10-15 times. Breathe slow and steady.

March in place

This one is as easy as it sounds—standing straight, lift your right knee high, lower, then lift the left leg, or march in place. Marching is as fun as you remember. Repeat 20 times.

SITTING CHAIR EXERCISES  

Arm circles

Sit in a chair and lift both arms above your head. Use a light weight (or a can of vegetables works, too) and rotate your arms like you’re making a large circle in the air.

Side twists

Sitting in a chair, hold a ball at arms-length, keep it up to shoulder height. Twist slowly to the left, then to the right. Repeat.

Hand squeezes

Strengthen your arms by bending your elbows, then bring your hands together, and push with both hands (right hand pushing into left and vice versa).

Other ways to lower your chances of falling   

Many falls can be prevented. The Centers for Disease Control recommends taking the following precautions:

  • Have an open dialogue with your general practitioner—tell him or her if you have fallen recently, worry about falling, or feel unsteady. Mention all of it. Don’t be too embarrassed to mention a recent fall. Some medications can make you feel dizzy or drowsy, leading to falls. Let your doctor know about every medication you take—even over-the-counter ones that might not seem worth mentioning.
  • Schedule an annual eye exam. Limited vision can impair your mobility.
  • Eat foods high in Vitamin D and rich in calcium.
  • Remove any “tripping hazards” from your living space. Put shoes away instead of leaving them near the door, secure loose rugs, make sure cords aren’t in the way, and put a nightlight in the bathroom. (As we get older, it takes awhile for our eyes to adjust to dark and light.)
  • Get out of bed slowly. Sit on the edge of the bed, take a few deep breaths, and get your bearings before attempting to walk.
  • Try tai chi or yoga. These gentle activities can significantly improve your balance and flexibility.

Getting some exercise every day—even a moderate amount—is really the best way to stay steady on your feet and reduce the risk of falling.

If you haven’t been active recently, consult your doctor before doing these exercises.

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