Aging Resources

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Just because you are retired, doesn’t mean that your passion for learning new things is too.

There are many ways to satisfy your intellectual curiosity. Whether that’s going back to school or simply for the joy of learning like, exploring throughout your city, you can find many ways to continue to learn throughout your life.

Did you start a degree but then put it aside for your family or to serve in the military? If so, why not go back and finish what you started? So many people have gone on to finish degrees or start another field of study so, you can too! It might even inspire your family and show them you have a never-quit mentality.

GOING BACK TO SCHOOL

When thinking about getting a degree, remember there will be certain requirements to get into school. But generally, all you need to do is apply and enroll in post-secondary classes. As a senior you won’t need to worry about SAT scores or entrance essays. Here are a few of the general requirements:

  • Age requirements: this is often 60 years or older.
  • Residency requirements: you must be a citizen of the United States.
  • Income restrictions: you may need to meet income restrictions in order to access scholarships, tuition waivers or other senior discounts.
  • Proof of retirement
  • Completion of high school diploma
FOR THE JOY OF LEARNING

Learning for fun can be just as rewarding as working toward a degree. It’s a sad day when we don’t learn something new so, why not take advantage of what your community has to offer. Here are a few ways you can learn new things every day:

  • Be a tourist: explore your own city on your own or sign up for a walking, bus or museum tour to learn about the local history.
  • Exchange stories: when you explore you tend to meet new people. Share your stories with some of the people you meet and they’ll share some too!
  • Take a cooking class: sign up for a class to cook something you’ve never cooked from scratch before.
  • Take a writing class: capture your family’s history in this class and gift it during the holiday season!
  • Volunteer: sign up to be a tutor at your local elementary or high schools.
RESOURCES

A Senior Citizen Guide for College
www.aseniorcitizenguideforcollege.com

MONEY Magazine
Forget Tuition: How Retirees Can Attend College for Free

The Penny Hoarder
Free College Courses for Senior Citizens

The Bernard Osher Foundation
www.osherfoundation.org
(415) 861-5587

Read more

What Seniors Need to Know About Heart Health

Contrary to popular belief, a heart attack isn’t always like what you see on TV, with an older man dramatically clutching his chest before falling to the ground. It can affect men and women of all ages in different ways—sometimes without any chest pain at all.  In honor of February being National Heart Month, we at American Baptist Homes of the Midwest felt it was important to shine a spotlight on heart attack warning signs and controllable risk factors.

First, though, what is a heart attack?

HEART ATTACK EXPLAINED

According to the American Heart Association, “a heart attack occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely.” Essentially, the arteries become clogged, eventually starving the heart of the oxygen it needs to function properly. It is different from cardiac arrest, which means the heart actually stops beating. While it’s true that a severe heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest, they aren’t the same thing. A heart attack is a circulation problem and cardiac arrest is an electrical problem. Cardiac arrest can be reversed if—within minutes—CPR is performed and a defibrillator is used to shock the heart back to its normal rhythm. Minutes can make all the difference in restoring circulation to the heart. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the pain and hope it will go away.Trust your intuition and get help right away. Pain should be respected. It’s proof that something is wrong. 

According to the American Heart Association, call 911 if you feel:

  • Chest discomfort: If you have discomfort in the center of your chest lasting more than a few minutes—either an uncomfortable squeezing, pressure, or pain—get to a hospital.
  • Pain or discomfort radiating down one or both arms, irregular pain in the lower or upper back (indicating stress to the heart muscle), neck, jaw, or stomach. The reason you might feel pain in one of these spots rather than in your heart is because of nerve proximity. This is called “referred pain.” Your brain is confusing those signals and thinks the heart’s pain is the jaw (or back, or neck), calling for help.
  • Shortness of breath: If you feel like you ran a race and you didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, this is a red flag. Blocked blood flow to the heart can affect your breathing, whether you feel this way upon waking up, walking up a flight of steps, or going about your typical daily routine. If you suddenly feel like you can’t catch your breath and you didn’t feel that way before when doing the same types of activities, alarm bells should be sounding.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat, feeling nauseous or vomiting, feeling dizzy or light-headed, or experiencing extreme fatigue. These symptoms often affect more women than men who mistakenly diagnose themselves with the flu. The difference? These symptoms are typically extreme, sometimes accompanied by heart burn or chest pressure.

If you think you’re having a heart attack, call 911 and say, “I’m having a heart attack.” Don’t try to drive to the nearest hospital. Chew an uncoated aspirin and wait for help to arrive.

RISK FACTORS 

The more risk factors you can keep in check, the less likely you are to have a heart attack. Protect your heart at all stages of life through doing the following:

Exercising: Move your body at least 30 minutes a day. Start by walking, strength training, or stretching. You are never too old to exercise. If you have a chronic condition, though, be sure to get sign-off from your physician.

Eating right: Fuel your body with fruits, vegetables, plant-based proteins, whole grains, low-fat dairy, poultry, and fish. Eat less salt. Watch portion sizes. Limit the junk food.

Keeping your weight down: Do you know your body mass index? If not, you can figure it out on this handy BMI calculator.

Quitting smoking. Just one year after quitting, you’ll reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by 50 percent.

Knowing your numbers: High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes are all risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Know your numbers.

Heart disease isn’t an inevitable part of aging. By knowing the signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease—and the importance of controllable heart-healthy habits—you can protect your heart long into the future.

American Baptist Homes of the Midwest has senior living communities in Harlan, Iowa; Denver, Colorado; Omaha, Nebraska; Albert Lea, Minnesota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Milwaukee; Wisconsin. Our mission is to create healthy Christian communities that empower older adults, families, and people with disabilities through providing choices for housing, services, and technology that enrich body, mind, and spirit.

Read more