Health & Well-Being

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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Innovative Hearing Solution to Be Offered to ABHM Seniors

When seniors have trouble hearing, they miss out on life. This can lead to feelings of frustration, embarrassment, or anger. Sure, conventional hearing aids are one solution: but they can be expensive, they can easily get lost, and they can be difficult to use when dexterity becomes an issue.

Now, thanks to the new wireless headphone technology of Eversound—designed specifically for older adults—seniors are able to hear clearly during conversations, movies, presentations, and other group activities.

Eversound was tested in the American Baptist Homes of the Midwest community of Maple Crest Health Center, located in the Benson neighborhood of Omaha, with promising results. Seniors described an enhanced listening experience, significantly improving participation, engagement, well-being, and overall quality of life.

The test went so well, ABHM partnered with Eversound to bring this exciting technology to all seven of their communities.

With a mission of creating healthy Christian communities that empower people, Eversound was a natural fit. According to David Zwickey, CEO/President of ABHM, “Eversound enables our hearing-impaired residents to hear with a level of clarity they haven’t experienced in years.”

The audio products are easy to use, too, and cost “less than the cost of one premium hearing aid,” explains Jake Reisch, CEO and co-founder of Eversound.

The partnership is an opportunity to bring awareness to Eversound while giving the gift of hearing to residents.

According to Matt Reiners, VP of Customer Impact and co-founder of Eversound, “The effects are immediate, and as a result—the morale of both the residents and staff is significantly improved. Hearing loss is a natural part of the aging process, but when it’s left unaddressed, it has been linked to mental decline, social isolation, and depression. With the 65+ population nearly doubling by 2050, we look forward to developing our partnership with ABHM to address such a critical need.”

 ABOUT MAPLE CREST HEALTH CENTER
Maple Crest is a health care provider offering long term care, short term rehabilitation and memory care. They have been serving the seniors of Benson and the surrounding communities for more than 65 years. maplecrest.net 

 

ABOUT EVERSOUND

Eversound is improving quality of life for seniors by helping audience members hear clearly during movies, presentations and all group events. The company is expanding with installations in several of the largest senior living chains in the country with its easy to use wireless headphone group listening system product specifically designed for the ergonomic, auditory and aesthetic needs of older adult users. For more information, visit everoundhq.com

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The Healing Effects of Music

Music can remind you of a specific person or time in your life. It can soothe you, energize you, and recent research shows that it has the power to heal you.

Music therapy—when a trained professional uses music interventions to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals—is a growing field in the U.S. (and around the world). Music therapy has been credited with everything from helping newborns gain weight to helping people recover their speech after a stroke.

It’s not a new field, either. Music therapy has been around since World War I, when community volunteers played music for the wounded. The patients and the nurses noticed a boost in spirits after music was played, an improved outlook, and even less pain. This led to a revelation: music can heal us. Soon after, hospitals were hiring musicians.

HOW IT WORKS; WHO IT HELPS

Music is meditative—the whole brain is stimulated and engaged when you’re listening. From emotion to motor function, creativity to memory, the brain processes music in complex ways. It has the power to shift your mood. It can bring on feelings of comfort and safety. You can forget about your present-day worries. According to Mindfulness Meditation Coach Louise Jensen,“When we listen to music, our brain releases dopamine—a feel-good chemical essential for the healthy functioning of the central nervous system; it has effects on emotion, perception, and movement.” So, music makes us happy. It can also lower blood pressure, reduce your heart rate, and relax your muscles, it’s no wonder that music therapists are in demand in a number of healing environments.

According to the American Music Therapy Association, “Music therapists work in psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitative facilities, medical hospitals, outpatient clinics, day care treatment centers, agencies serving persons with developmental disabilities, community mental health centers, drug and alcohol programs, senior centers, nursing homes, hospice programs, correctional facilities, halfway houses, schools, and private practice.”

It doesn’t matter what style of music is used, either. There is no one-size-fits-all style that’s more therapeutic than others. It’s really a matter of preference, circumstance, and treatment needs (it also helps to have a positive, consistent relationship with the music therapist).

In short, music therapy can improve people’s quality of life.

MUSIC THERAPY HAS THE POWER TO:

• HELP RESTORE SPEECH

Imagine the frustration of not being able to find the words for everyday conversation. Imagine, too, the freedom of remembering words to familiar songs—and the euphoria of realizing the words and lyrics are still there. This isn’t uncommon for stroke survivors experiencing aphasia, a disorder that impairs the ability to process language. Listening to music can help boost stroke recovery by activating the part of the brain associated with memory, motor function, and emotional processing. Music therapy is being used to treat patients with neurological disorders of Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, as well as people living with brain injuries. After singing phrases often enough, some patients are able to find the words to speak again. Neurologists are excited about this: the research backs the idea that regardless of which part of the brain was damaged, music can help people learn again. Our brains can be rewired.

• AID IN PAIN RELIEF

Listening to music before surgery can take the focus away from fears. According to Joanne V. Loewy, PhD, director of the music therapy program at New York’s Beth Israel Medical Center in an article on WebMD, “There’s a belief that music and pain are processed along the same [nerve] pathways. So, if we have a patient playing or focusing on the music, they won’t feel the pain.” It might not be that people can’t feel the pain, but rather—that they’re distracted from it. For a brief time, the music can take them out of their situation so they can simply focus on the music.

• IMPROVE ASTHMA SYMPTOMS  

Music can help asthmatic patients relax so their lungs work more efficiently with medication. There’s evidence, too, that playing wind instruments can help asthmatics monitor their breathing strategies.

• HELP WITH DEMENTIA

Listening to and singing songs from the past can bring out memories associated with those songs; memories that were otherwise locked away. According to Alzheimers.net, “Music requires little to no mental processing, so singing music does not require the cognitive function [missing] in most dementia patients.”

• ASSIST THOSE IN ADDICTION TREATMENT

In the realm of addiction treatment, music therapy—when used in conjunction with talk therapy and medication—can be a highly effective tool. Those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol build up defense mechanisms (rationalizing, denying, lying) in order to hide their addiction and hide from their emotions. The creative nature of music therapy can help addicts alter their thought patterns. And listening to and talking about songs and lyrics can help people explore different emotions and feelings they might not feel comfortable discussing otherwise.

OTHER EXCITING STUDIES

Another exciting new study showed that music therapy reduced the rejection of heart transplants; another study showed that music can speed the rate of physical healing after surgery.

Music is universal—everyone can relate. And it’s doing so much more than entertaining us. It’s changing people, one beat, one rhythm, one song at a time.

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