Health & Well-Being

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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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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