Returning to Life After COVID-19

Across the United States, towns and states are lifting sanctions to stay at home after more than three months of very isolating times. The urge will be to jump right back to the way life was before, however, continued precautions are advised. While we don’t know what exactly our new “normal” will look like, researchers and industry experts across the nation are working hard to put new plans into place. Just like the mandates put into place in early March, lifting them could take place throughout several phases over several months. Here are some of the most common predictions from industry leaders:

Balancing the Threat of Social Isolation with the Risk of Spreading the Virus
Safe and healthy, self-quarantine can have negative effects on older adults. In fact, long-term isolation is, “linked to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline.”

How to Combat Isolation

To combat isolation and its negative impact on health, many older adults across the country have learned how to use FaceTime, Skype, Zoom and other video conferencing platforms as a way to connect with their loved ones. In addition, families have been forced to cancel large gatherings and instead have visited with each other virtually.

Seniors are also using virtual experiences like online museum tours, concerts and exercises as a way to stay active and stimulated. While policies in states are most likely to lift eventually, researchers suggest it might take longer than we think to get back to a ‘normal’ lifestyle. Industry leaders predict we will still need to rely on virtual and online technologies until physical interaction is deemed safe again.

Taking Continued Precautions

As mandates continue to lift and life as we know it slowly returns to normal, you might be wondering how to adapt to the new normal. As COVID-19 first began to spread, a large emphasis was put on maintaining proper hygiene. Even as people resume their daily responsibilities, many researchers suggest that our new hygiene habits will stick. This means we might see additional hand-washing stations in shopping areas and more people carrying hand-sanitizer with them when they go out.

Due to the virus transmitting from person to person in the air, many precautions have been put into place to keep people distanced from one another. We may continue to see restaurants and shopping centers limit the number of people allowed in the store at one time. In addition, large group gatherings like concerts and parties could take a while to come back in full swing. Because the threat of the virus won’t entirely disappear for quite some time, many experts are suggesting that individuals will continue to wear masks when out in public.

Tips for Adapting to a New Normal

While no one knows exactly what our new normal will look like, there are ways to ease this transition. As life continues to feel uncertain, here are a few ways to make it feel a little less scary:

Stay Connected– The most important thing you can do for yourself during this time is stay connected to your friends and family members. Even if you’re unable to connect in person, there are still ways to enjoy each other’s company. You might consider using a video conferencing platform like Skype or Zoom, write letters or schedule consistent phone calls.

Listen to Your Local Guidelines– Each state has a department of health that regulates the mandates put into place to help stop the spread of the virus. Staying updated on these protocols will help you stay informed and might even give you a sense of control.

Take Charge of Your Health-Times of transitions can cause our bodies to go through unwanted stress. Maintaining a healthy diet and consistent exercise routine will help ease this transition—both physically and mentally.

Focus on Yourself– As regulations lift and businesses begin to open up, it’s important to listen to your own heart. If you’re uncomfortable with going out, it’s okay to give yourself more time to transition into your own new normal. Focus on yourself and what brings you peace.

Stay Safe at Maplewood Senior Living

Our Maplewood Senior Living communities are working hard to ensure the safety of all residents and associates remains a top priority. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a virtual tour, please contact us.

Practicing Mindfulness to Keep Calm and Focused During Crisis

Many of us have experienced a wide range of emotions during these last few weeks as we continue to cope with the effects of COVID-19. At times, you might have felt worried, anxious and sad, while other times might have brought unexpected joy and gratitude. While it can be difficult to notice in the moment, our bodies are highly sensitive to our surroundings. In fact, stress and anxiety have the potential to increase our risk of certain illnesses and diseases. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to manage our emotions, especially in trying times such as these.

Many people turn to mindfulness as a way to take control of our feelings and reduce the effects of stress, anxiety and worry. According to The Chopra Center, “Mindfulness is all about being aware, which of course includes the practice of meditation. When you are being actively mindful, you are noticing and paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, behaviors and movements and also to the affects you have on those around you. Meditation is an intentional practice, where you focus inward to increase calmness, concentration and emotional balance.” While individuals choose to practice mindfulness for many different reasons, its benefits are apparent in all of its forms. In fact, clinical trials have shown that those who practice mindful meditation regularly can reduce chronic pain and other illnesses by 57%.”For some, mindfulness can be a hard concept to understand, especially for those who are unfamiliar with its origin.

The History of Mindfulness

According to the EOC Institute, mindfulness meditation has a long history that stretches back thousands of years. While its exact start date is unknown, most scholars agree that meditation and the practice of mindfulness can be traced back 5,000 years to the time of hunter-gatherers, who practiced meditation and passed it on to future generations.

Mindfulness is most historically tied to the Buddha, whose teachings go back to 500BC. Essentially, the Buddha’s teachings and practice formed what we now understand as meditation. Traveling during these times was limited so meditation widely remained in Asia. Meditation practice finally reached Western history by 1960 and was widely adopted by a group we now refer to as hippies. Since then, those throughout the world have adopted the values of meditation and continue to practice it today, reaping its many benefits.

Benefits of Mindfulness

While there are many ways to practice mindfulness, all forms allow a person to calm both their bodies and minds. According to an article published by U.S. News, “Meditation requires you sit or lie down and let your thoughts drift out of your mind. When you meditate, in general, the breath slows down, heart rate slows, blood pressure decreases, stress decreases, digestive function improves and the sense of tension in the body decreases.” Many researchers have found that a consistent daily mindfulness practice can provide a wide variety of health benefits:

Protects Against Cognitive Decline-While mindfulness requires a certain extent of “letting go” of thoughts and worries, it also requires you to practice control, which can help maintain and improve cognitive function and increase memory and processing speed.

Aids Digestion– The practice of meditation can actually help improve digestion by increasing blood flow and the amount of oxygen in your blood.

Reduces StressA study led by Carnegie Mellon found that meditation has the ability to reduce feelings and symptoms of stress, especially for those who practice consistently. The practice of organizing our thoughts and regulating our emotions can help improve our focus and give us a clear perspective.

Combats LonelinessA study published by UCLA found that participants who meditated often focused more on the present moment than dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. This allowed participants to focus on what was around them, resulting in a decreased feeling of loneliness.

Promotes Communication and Healthy Relationships– Mindfulness allows us to sit and acknowledge our feelings without judgment. The more we practice mindfulness, the more we will be able to move this practice over in our relationships with others. As we come to understand ourselves more clearly, communicating our needs and wants with others begins to get easier.

Starting Your Mindfulness Practice

Like with most new things, getting started is the hardest part when it comes to setting up your mindfulness practice. At first, meditation will feel clumsy and uncomfortable. However, like any exercise, practice makes perfect. Don’t be discouraged if you find cultivating your practice difficult. To make things a bit easier, here are some few tips to follow:

Setting Up Your Practice

The best way to stay consistent with your practice is to make it part of your routine, just like eating dinner or going to an exercise class. The most consistent meditators choose the same time of day to begin their practice. You should aim for about 20 minutes at least 5 times a week. However, this will take time! First, start with 5 minutes and build on your time by a few minutes each day.

Getting Started
Okay, you’ve made your mindfulness commitment, now what?

Get Comfortable– Find a place that feels comfortable to begin your practice. You might choose a bedroom, dining room or even your kitchen. Try to sit with your back straight, but the most important element is that you are comfortable.

Close Your Eyes– As you close your eyes, your other senses should become sharper. Focus on the sensation of breathing—how does it feel to take a breath? Gently pull yourself back to focusing on your breath whenever thoughts enter your mind.

Focus on Breath– Choosing to let go of your thoughts and refocusing on the sensation of breathing helps you to control where you put your attention. This will ultimately help you with decision-making and concentration outside of your practice when dealing with daily difficulties.

Dealing with Challenges
When we try something for the first time, there will obviously be challenges. This is completely normal. Feeling distracted is a common experience for beginners, however all you can do is gently pull yourself back into the moment. If you feel discouraged often, it’s okay to pause your meditation, write down your thoughts and get back into the moment. This will allow you to let go of what you’re worrying about and get back into your practice.

Relieve Stress at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living, we know these times away from family and friends are difficult. Many of our residents are exploring new hobbies, exercises and activities that give them peace and relieve stress, leaving them feeling happier and healthier. To learn more about our offerings, please contact us.

Benefits of Gardening for Seniors

As spring continues in full bloom, now is the best time to think about finally starting your own garden. Because of our current global pandemic, all of us could use a little more joy in our lives. Growing plants, whether it be flowers, vegetables or fruit can help improve your mood, decrease anxiety and improve your overall health. While gardening might be a lifetime interest of yours or something you’ve never tried, its history is long.

History of Gardening

As you can imagine, gardening in the ancient times was mainly focused on cultivating plants that could be used as food. Instead of spending hours foraging for food, eventually people began planting these vines and trees together to make gathering food more accessible and efficient.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, many gardens were planted with the purpose of growing herbs for medicinal purposes. Monasteries and churchyards were known for housing beautiful and intricate gardens to supply infirmaries and kitchens. It wasn’t until later on that gardens were developed for aesthetics.

During the Elizabethan era, which came after many people died during the Black Death, there was more land available and gardens became centered on fruit, herbs and animals. By the 18th century, gardens really had no set borders and ventured into rolling hills. At this time, English gardens often contained a body of water, trees, flowers and other food producing plants. Still to this day, gardens bring sources of food, beauty and health benefits for all people.

Health Benefits for Seniors

Many people love to garden and grow their own produce, fruit and flowers, but many don’t know why gardening is so good for you. Both AARP and Good Housekeeping Magazine compiled a list of all the reasons why gardening is more than just a fun spring and summertime hobby.
Lower Blood Pressure– According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 30 minutes of exercise each day can help seniors avoid health problems normally associated with aging, like high blood pressure. Gardening can increase your heart-rate helping you burn calories and build strength.

Strengthen Bones– When you spend time gardening outside in the sun, your body absorbs Vitamin D which fills you with calcium, a nutrient essential for building strong bones. Of course, long-term sun exposure can increase your risk of developing skin cancer, so make sure to wear sunscreen.

Relieve Stress When we experience long-term stress, it can have a powerfully negative effect on our health. Stress can cause depression, heart problems and cognitive decline. Gardening can provide a sense of control, confidence and pride as you watch a plant grow from seed.

Decrease Risk of Dementia– Working in the garden can provide a lot of sensory stimulation, which can help reduce the progression of dementia. In fact, a study found that spending time each day in a garden working with plants has the potential to reduce the likelihood of dementia by up to 36 percent.

Helps Fight Loneliness– Isolation can be dangerous to our health, especially for older adults. Community gardens provide the opportunity for socialization and finding common ground with others in our neighborhood or senior living community.

Gardening in Small Spaces

While gardening has many health benefits, you might be discouraged by your lack of space, especially if you live in an apartment building. However, as many people migrated into the city, new ways of urban gardening became popular. If you live in a small space, don’t have access to a community garden, or are more comfortable with gardening inside, here are some great options:

Windowsill Gardening– You don’t have to have a large garden to reap the benefits of being around plants. If you have a window, you can garden! Herbs do especially well inside if they get enough sunlight. A small container will allow you to grow basil, cilantro, rosemary and thyme among others. If you’re more interested in growing vegetables, you might consider getting slightly larger containers for carrots, onions, hot peppers and lettuce.

Vertical Gardens– The problem with traditional outdoor gardening is that it requires a lot of space that most apartments don’t provide. If you have a small yard, you might consider purchasing hanging pots or larger containers that you can put a trellis inside, allowing you to grow your plants up instead of out.

Patio Gardens– Many people who choose to garden on their patios use raised beds. These garden beds are usually deep enough to grow vegetables but don’t require much space. In fact, some raised beds are simple enough to build on your own. You might also consider growing plants that don’t require much space, like tomatoes and peppers.

Indoor Gardens– Indoor gardens are quite simple to start. Begin by choosing a sunny, south facing window to put your container. Fill the shallow container, making sure to poke or drill holes into the bottom. Gently pack in the seeds, mist with water and watch them grow. You might start with easy to grow plants like herbs, spinach, watercress or cabbage.

Staying Safe Outdoors

While gardening can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors, it does require some protection and safety precautions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a list of tips to keep in mind the next time you go outside to enjoy your garden.

Dress Appropriately– The summer sun can be extremely hot and dangerous to your skin. It’s recommended to wear sturdy shoes, long pants and breathable long-sleeve shirts. Make sure to wear gloves to reduce the risk of cuts and irritation. In addition, it’s important to wear a sun hat to protect your skin and eyes from the sun.

Put Safety First– If you’re working with chemicals and fertilizers, make sure to read the label before using them. Many chemicals can cause unwanted reactions when mixed together. In addition, make sure to be careful with sharp tools. If you’re unsure how to use certain equipment, it’s always a good idea to ask for help before using.

Know Your Limits– It’s essential to pay attention to signs of heat-related illnesses. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, confusion and nausea. If you experience any of these symptoms, go inside and contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Stay Hydrated– In general, most older adults struggle with staying hydrated. Its’ important to consume more fluids especially when working outside in the hot weather. Bring a water bottle outdoors and set a timer on your phone or watch to remind you when it’s time for a drink.

Protect Your Body– Be realistic when it comes to your limitations. If you are at risk of falling, raised beds might be a good option instead of gardening at ground level. If you have arthritis, make sure to purchase tools that are easy to grasp and feel comfortable. As always, contact your medical doctor when you experience any chest and arm pain or dizziness.

Gardening at Maplewood Senior Living.

As summer approaches, our residents at Maplewood Senior Living Communities are busy preparing their gardens. All of our facilities have gardening options for residents. While many have been gardening for most of their lives, there are still many other residents learning to garden for the first time. If you’d like to hear more about our offerings or to schedule a virtual tour, please contact us.

The Power of Positive Thinking

As we continue to modify our daily lives during this time of COVID-19, remaining positive can come as a challenge to many of us. Media outlets are constantly publishing news stories that are often sad and alarming but are meant to inform us and keep us safe. However, now is the time to remain positive and full of hope. Recent studies, such as this one, suggest that positivity can actually help us live longer and more fulfilled lives. This 2019 study found that, “optimism is specifically related to an 11 to 15 percent longer lifespan.” The study also suggests that an overall positive outlook can increase an individual’s chances of achieving something called “exceptional longevity,” or living to the age of 85 and beyond. With the current state of our world and the normal happenings of life, it’s not uncommon to experience negative thinking. However, long-term negativity can have a powerful effect on one’s life.

The Impact of Negative Thinking

Studies have suggested that negativity can have various effects on our physical and mental health. One study suggests that negative thinking can make existing depression worse and cause depressive symptoms in those who didn’t previously report as feeling depressed. Another study found that prolonged negative thinking can actually cause physical pain. Participants in the study who suffered from chronic pain and arthritis found their symptoms increased when they reported negative thinking and self-talk. Along with physical pain, these participants also experienced psychological distress. These are the most common symptoms experienced from prolonged negativity:

• Muscle tension
• Headaches
• Chest pain
• Digestive problems
• Fatigue
• Anxiety
• Depression and sadness
• Social withdrawal
• Anger outbursts

The Power of Positivity

According to the Mayo Clinic, adopting a positive attitude starts with self-talk. Self-talk is comprised of all the thoughts we have running in and out of our heads every single day. When these thoughts are more uplifting and positive, it can actually help us live healthier lives. The Mayo Clinic has gathered research exploring the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Here are some of the benefits they found:
• Increased life span
• Lower rates of depression
• Lower levels of stress
• Greater resistance to illness
• Better psychological and physical well-being
• Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
• Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Senior Lifestyle Magazine also published a variety of ways positive thinking can affect our health:

Boost Immunity– Our bodies all have the power to fight off diseases. The stronger our immune systems are, the more likely our bodies will be able to prevent illness and disease. Positive thinking can actually help fight stress which allows our immune systems to function more efficiently.

Improve Heart Health– Stress and anxiety can have powerful negative effects on our bodies. In fact, they can interfere with our heart function and even increase our risk of stroke, heart disease and heart attacks. Positivity tends to lead to a healthier lifestyle. Those who have a positive outlook are more likely to exercise and eat healthy.

Fight Stress– Stress can cause many different problems in our bodies and increases our risk of disease and illness. People who think positively often are more likely to better manage their stress.

Increases Resilience– Life is full of ups and downs. Those who have a positive outlook on life find it easier to make it through tough situations.

How to Identify Negative Thinking

The first step in adopting a positive mindset is to identify your negative thoughts. The Mayo Clinic has identified some of the most common types of negative self-talk:

Filtering– This can happen when we focus all of our attention on the negative elements of a situation instead of choosing to focus on the positive ones.

Personalizing– When something negative occurs in our lives, many of us personalize it, which means we automatically blame ourselves. When we do this consistently, it can build a negative self-image and further promote harmful self-talk.

Catastrophizing– Many of us automatically anticipate the worst in a given situation. When we’re nervous or anxious, our minds immediately present us with the worst-case scenario.

Polarizing– While we speak in terms of “positive” and “negative,” not all things are clear cut. Polarizing thoughts take place when we categorize situations as good and bad, not taking into consideration that there is middle ground.

Tips for Adopting a Positive Outlook

Adopting a positive attitude can take time, but don’t let that be discouraging. Making simple and small changes throughout your day will lead you to a more positive outlook one step at a time. Here are some tips to get you there:

Be Open to Humor– We’ve all heard the old adage, laughing makes you live longer, but it’s true! Laughing naturally makes us feel more positive and upbeat. Instead of becoming angry in frustrating situations, sometimes it’s helpful to find the humor instead. You can do this by watching light-hearted movies, or having fun and stimulating conversations each day.

Identify Areas to Change– Before you adopt a positive mindset, it’s important to evaluate where you need the most work. Take a minute to reflect on where you feel the most negativity. Is it within your relationships or your home life? Once you identify the area of most need, concentrate your efforts there. Remember, start by making small changes. When you notice a negative thought, take a moment to find something positive in the same situation.

Focus on Health
It is proven that our physical health directly affects our mental health. Making time to exercise and eat a healthy diet will actually help you think more positively. Start by trying a gentle exercise for just 30 minutes a day. This can be as simple as taking a walk, or trying something different like Tai Chi or Chair Yoga.

Stay Engaged
Our minds are active and need to be stimulated each day. Releasing our inner creativity will help us feel productive, engaged and will lead us to feel more positive. Finding a new hobby or getting back into an old one can be a great way to stay engaged. Hobbies can help us connect with friends, cope with stress and help us to structure our days, especially now during self-quarantine. Take an art class, learn how to play a new card game, start a wine-tasting club or try a new type of exercise. There are hundreds of options!

Start Your Day with Gratitude
The morning can set the tone for the rest of your day. If you start your day on a positive note, the rest will follow suit. It’s a great practice to begin your day with gratitude. Many positive people do this by reflecting on things or people they are grateful to have in their lives. If you need help with getting started, you might consider purchasing a guided gratitude journal. The New York Magazine recently published a list of the best gratitude journals, most of which provide prompts to get you started.

Live a Positive Life at Maplewood Senior Living

Our residents at Maplewood Senior Living Communities know how important it is to remain positive during these trying times. Now more than ever, our residents are learning new things, expressing their creativity, and doing their best to keep spirits high. If you would like to schedule a virtual tour, please contact us here.

Tips for Boosting Your Immunity

In the midst of our current global pandemic, many people across the world are taking extra precautions to stay healthy and protect their immune systems. While making sure to wash our hands frequently and sanitizing our homes can help protect us from the virus, there’s more we can do each day to strengthen our immune systems to help us stay healthy. Older adults over the age of 65 are more at risk of having compromised immune systems, which can make it difficult to fight off viruses and other illnesses.

Symptoms of a Weak Immune System

It’s not uncommon for older adults to suffer from a weak immune system without evening knowing it. In order to strengthen our immune systems, it’s important to assess your immunity and make the necessary changes to help strengthen it. Here are a few of the most common symptoms of a weak immune system:

Fatigue– When the immune system struggles to fight off infections and illnesses, your energy levels can also be affected. If you are consistently getting quality sleep and still feel fatigued everyday, your immune system might be working in overtime.

Sickness– Illness is a common human experience, but constantly feeling sick or having a cold is not normal. If you are constantly sick or have a cold that won’t go away, it could be a sign that your immune system is weak and unable to keep up with your body.

Digestive Problems– Frequent diarrhea, gas and constipation are all signs of a weakened immune system. A recent study found that nearly 70 percent of our immune system is found in our digestive tract. Healthy bacteria and microorganisms found in the gut help protect our bodies from infection. If we don’t have enough of these beneficial bacteria, we are more at risk of contracting viruses and chronic inflammation.

Frequent Infections– Immune deficiency is common in older adults and can result in ear infections, frequent bouts of pneumonia and bacterial sinus infections. If you experience these symptoms more than twice a year, you should contact your healthcare provider.

Slow Healing– When we get cuts or minor scrapes, our bodies develop scabs, or dead blood cells gathered together, to help stop blood forming. If your scabs take a long time to heal, it could be a sign of a weakened immune system.

Ways to Strengthen Immunity

Boosting your immune system can seem like an impossible task. However, there are so many different ways to strengthen your immune system without much change to your daily life. Here are a few simple ways you can build your immunity.

Nutrition
Adding fruits and vegetables into your diet is a simple way to boost your immunity. These nutrients can help reduce the recovery time of colds and help fight against infection and illness. Healthline magazine published a list of nutritious foods that can help build your immunity.

Immune-boosting Foods
Broccoli– This vegetable is packed with vitamins A, C and E and is rich in fiber. Its antioxidants help your body flush out toxins, keep your immune system strong and ensure its ability to fight off illnesses.

Citrus– Fruits like grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes and clementine’s are high in Vitamin C, which helps increase the production of white blood cells. White bloods cells are essential in fighting infection.

Ginger– This ingredient helps decrease inflammation, which can soothe sore throats and other illnesses. Ginger is also known to help decrease chronic pain.

Garlic– This popular spice helps lower blood pressure and helps boost immunity because of its powerful properties including allicin.

Yogurt– This food is full of probiotics that help stimulate your immune system and fight off diseases.

Protein
Our bodies require lean proteins to help support immune function. Foods like turkey, chicken, lean beef, tuna and salmon help our bodies function properly, boost brain function, build muscle and keep us full.

Whole Grains
These foods provide vitamins B and E, which keep our immune systems strong. Whole grains can be found in sunflower seeds, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa and barley. When you buy breads and cereals, make sure to read the ingredients and check for whole grain.

Exercise
Consistent exercise can help strengthen our cardiovascular systems, boost our immune function and strengthen our muscles. In addition, a recent study found that those who exercised at least 5 days a week were half at risk of contracting a cold than those who were mostly sedentary.

Exercise does not have to be intense or dangerous to be effective. Simple exercises like swimming, bicycling and walking are proven to be effective in boosting our immune systems and strengthening muscles. These exercises are gentle on joints, which is great for those suffering from arthritis.

Hydration
Drinking water supports a majority of our body functions. It has a powerful effect on our ability to sleep, exercise, digest food and help support our energy levels. Generally speaking, adults need to drink half their weight in ounces per day. As always, check with your healthcare provider before changing your diet. Many older adults struggle with staying hydrated, however, there are many ways to ensure proper water intake. Coffee, tea, fruits, vegetables, smoothies and soups all contain water and will keep you hydrated. You might also consider consuming more fruits and vegetables with higher water content.

Supplements
It can be difficult to get the necessary nutrients from food alone. That’s why many people take supplements to bridge the gap. Check with your healthcare provider before adding these to your diet.
• Vitamin C- This vitamin is found in many fruits and vegetables and helps maintain connective tissue in our bodies including bones, blood vessels and skin.
• Vitamin D- While necessary for building and maintaining healthy bones, vitamin D can also protect us against cancer, diabetes and sclerosis.
• Zinc- A lack of zinc can make us more susceptible to disease and illnesses. Zinc helps control diabetes, stress levels and can improve metabolism.
• Elderberry- This vitamin can help alleviate allergies, protect against bacteria, help relieve colds and lower blood sugar.

Simple Recipes from Our Chefs

Our Chefs at Maplewood work hard every day to entice our residents not only to eat and stay healthy, but also to try new things. We purposely use open kitchens to trigger memories and ignite the senses. It also gives our residents a great way to interact with our culinary teams by asking questions or even just watching how meals are prepared.

Chef David Simmonds provided his Booster Smoothie recipe:

• 2 oz. pomegranate juice (antioxidant/superpower)
• 4 oz. Kefir Blueberry (probiotic supports immunity, healthy digestion histories artifact 2000 years)
• 4 oz. Açaí Organic (superfood omegas, antioxidants)
• 1 ml. CBD Oil (Omega 3- Fatty Acids) full spectrum

Instructions:
Combine Kefir, Pomegranate Juice, Açaí Juice and Hemp Oil. Stir! Enjoy!!

Chef Catie Eyklehoff provided her Roasted Garlic and Ginger Soup recipe:

• 4 scallions
• 1 large thumb fresh ginger
• 2 cloves of roasted garlic (place garlic in olive oil in oven covered with foil until golden).
• 7 cups of bone broth or vegetable broth for vegetarian
• 1 medium-heat chili pepper

Instructions:
1. Slice scallions, grate ginger, mince garlic and sauté in a tablespoon of olive oil from garlic for about 2 minutes.
2. Add your broth, bring the heat up and allow the mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes.
3. Add the finely chopped pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Eat as is, like a warm broth, or add in your favorite protein and/or grain to make a full meal.

Chef Giovanni Maffei provided his Mango Pudding recipe:

• 1/2 cup (125ml) boiled hot water
• 1 packet (1 tbsp) unflavored gelatin
• 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
• 1 tsp ground turmeric
• 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
• pinch of salt
• 1 cup (250ml) coconut milk, evaporated milk, half and half (10%)
• 1 cup (250ml) mango puree
• *for the garnish some diced mango and sliced coconut
Instructions:
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the gelatin and boiled hot water until no lumps remain.
2. Whisk in the sugar and salt until dissolved.
3. Stir in the coconut milk or cream, then mango puree until mixture is smooth.
4. Pour into 4 ramekins or small bowls. Cover and chill for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.

Enjoy a Healthy Lifestyle at Maplewood Senior Living

Our Maplewood Senior Living Communities know how important it is to stay healthy, especially during this pandemic. That’s why we’re doing our part to make sure residents are doing what they can to keep their immune systems strong and active. To learn about our offerings or to schedule a virtual tour, contact us here.

Home Exercises for Seniors

While many of us across the nation are spending the majority of our days inside our homes, it can be tempting to let go of our fitness routines, especially as most recreation facilities have temporarily closed their doors. However, exercise and movement are extremely important factors in keeping us healthy and active, particularly in older adults. Exercise can help reduce feelings of stress, depression and even improve our sleep quality. You might be thinking; how can I exercise without my equipment or fitness instructor? The truth is there are so many different and fun ways to exercise and build strength in the comfort of your own home.

Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

Most of us are used to hearing that exercise is important for our health from an early age. However, you might not know exactly what exercise can do for us as we age. Exercise can have a profound impact on our physical bodies, helping us to build strength and it can actually impact our brains as well. According to Maplewood Senior Living advisor, Wendy Suzuki, “keeping our bodies moving is so important. Even a single walk outside can stimulate the release of key neurotransmitters that keep your mood up, which is important when your risk of loneliness and depression is increased.”
Here are a few of the most common benefits from continuous exercise.

Boosts Immune Function– As our body gets stronger from exercise, so does its ability to fight off infection and disease more quickly. Recovery from illness actually takes less energy and less time if a person is in good physical condition.
Improves Respiratory and Cardiovascular Function– Not only do our muscles get stronger with exercise, but so do our organs. Frequent exercise can actually strengthen our lungs and airways, reducing our risk of heart disease and lower our blood pressure, keeping our lungs and hearts healthy.
Improves Gastrointestinal Function– People who suffer from slow digestion and constipation are often prescribed exercise as a way to promote elimination of waste and increase natural digestion.
Reduces Risk of Dementia– As we exercise, our bodies deliver oxygen and remove waste from our muscles and organs. As our brain receives oxygen and blood-flow, it can remove harmful products that interfere with memory, information processing and problem solving, which if not removed over time can ultimately lead to dementia.
Prevents Falls– Falls are the leading cause of injury and death in older adults. Regular exercise can help build balance and flexibility and allow our bodies to remember how to prevent a fall and how to fall the right way, decreasing our risk of injury.
Supports Better Sleep– Exercising regularly can help regulate our sleeping patterns and initiate a deeper sleep. Sleeping soundly can help keep our cognitive and physical functions operating well.
Makes You Happier! As we exercise, our bodies release endorphins into the brain, which can help reduce depression and increase our mood.

How to Exercise at Home for Seniors

Now that you know how important it is to exercise regularly, you might be thinking where do I start? Without the instruction from a coach or trainer, exercising can be daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. Here are a few simple exercises that can be done at home without help from a trainer or coach. As always, if you’re trying an exercise for the first time, you might consider phoning your healthcare provider to make sure it is safe for you and conducive to your individual needs.

Chair Yoga
Yoga can help reduce stress, pain and fatigue, while also helping to increase balance, joint lubrication and relieve arthritis pain. While yoga can be adapted to meet a person’s needs, chair yoga is great for those who have balance issues and are more comfortable exercising while seated. Healthline magazine has provided a few poses that are great for beginners:

Seated Mountain Pose– This pose is great for individuals looking to improve posture and core strength.
• Start by sitting up straight, take a breath and extend your spine
• While exhaling, press your sit bones into your chair
• Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, roll shoulders back, pull your belly button in towards your spine and relax your arms down at your sides
• Engage your legs by lifting toes and pressing firmly on the ground

Warrior One¬
• Start by sitting up straight and take a deep breath
• As you inhale, lift your arms out to your sides, and up over head
• Lace your fingers together, pointing your thumbs out towards the ceiling
• On an exhale, roll your shoulders away from your ears
• Continue to breathe in and out for 5 deep breaths and let your arms come down back to your sides

Simple Twist– This is a great pose to help with lower back pain and digestion
• As you inhale, extend your spine and raise arms to your sides and up
• As you exhale, twist to the right, lower your arms, resting your right hand on the top of the chair and leave your left hand by your side
• Look over your right shoulder and stay for 5 breaths
• Repeat on the left side

Tai Chi
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese marital art that practices meditation in motion. These low-impact, slow-paced movements are perfect for seniors who want to improve their balance, strength and increase range of motion. Tai Chi is known to help improve self-confidence, reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Here are a few poses for beginners:
Touch the Sky
• Start by sitting comfortably in a chair
• Place your arms in your lap, palms turned upward, fingers pointing towards one another
• As you inhale, raise hands to your chest, turn palms outward and lift hands above your head
• On an exhale, relax your arms and lower them to your sides
• Return your hands to the starting position
• Repeat ten times

Hand Exercise
• Stand with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width distance apart
• Raise arms out in front of you
• Flex your hands and feel the stretch, rotate your wrists to the left and then to the right
You can find more tai chi exercises for beginners here

Dance
Not only is dancing fun, but it also has many health benefits. Dance can help improve muscle and bone strength while lowering the risk of injury when compared to other forms of exercise. You can turn on your radio or play one of your favorite songs using a streaming device like Spotify or Amazon Music, and just let yourself dance! If you struggle with balance, you might consider watching a seated dance fitness class, such as this one. Dance Church is a donation based live-streamed movement class that offers a fun approach to dancing and is a great way to feel connected to others.

Strength Training
Strength Training is a great option for active adults who want to exercise and strengthen their muscles without the use of any equipment. These strength exercises use your own body weight to improve muscular strength and mobility. You can find a complete list of strength training exercises specifically for older adults here.

Live an Active Lifestyle at Maplewood Senior Living

Our residents at Maplewood Senior Living facilities are busy staying active and trying new exercises from the comfort of their apartments. If you would like to learn more about our offerings or to schedule a virtual tour, please contact us.

Ways to Combat Social Isolation During COVID-19

As we all do our part to flatten the curve of COVID-19’s global impact, most of us find ourselves self- quarantined in our homes. While self-quarantine is the best thing to do to stay healthy, it can also come with challenges, especially for vulnerable populations. Many older adults are at risk of isolation during this time, especially if they are alone. For many individuals, social interaction and physical touch can be reduced to just minutes per day, if at all. According to AARP, loneliness and isolation “affect a significant proportion of adults in the United States and have been calculated as being the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” Long-term isolation can have serious effects on an individual’s health both physically and mentally.

Effects of Isolation on Mental and Physical Health for Seniors
The symptoms of long-term isolation can present themselves slowly and can be difficult to identify, especially in yourself. That’s why it’s so important to check-in with yourself each day and assess how you’re feeling. If you experience any of these symptoms or effects of isolation, you should contact your doctor or healthcare provider right away to get the treatment you need. According to the Lifeline Crisis Support, here are some of the most common effects of long-term isolation.

• Physical Symptoms– You might notice your pre-existing conditions worsening or the development of new conditions. Headaches, aches and pains and sudden illness are all common physical symptoms of long-term isolation.
• Mental Health Conditions– During periods of isolation you are more at risk of depression, anxiety and panic attacks, especially if you have experienced these conditions before.
• Interrupted Sleep Patterns– You might experience difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or even sleeping too much. These interrupted sleep patterns can cause you to feel tired, fatigued and generally disinterested.
• Changes in Diet– Isolation can cause loss of appetite, which results in sudden weight gain or loss. If you experience these changes, it’s important to notify your doctor quickly.
• Substance Abuse– To deal with the stress of isolation, it’s not uncommon for adults to increase their consumption of alcohol, smoking, medications and drugs. If you have a history of substance abuse and are experiencing long-term isolation, be sure to have support plan put in place.
• Negative or Depressed Feelings – Long-term isolation can provoke feelings of hopelessness and disinterest.

How to Stay Connected during Social Isolation
While we’re navigating these difficult times, the thought of being unable to see our loved ones adds another level of challenge and stress. However, there are many alternatives to help you stay connected to your family and friends from the comfort of your own home while decreasing your risk of feeling isolated.

Video Chatting
While there’s no replacement for hugging your family and friends and spending time connecting in person, there is an alternative that can help you stay connected while also staying healthy. Many people are using video conferencing platforms to speak with their loved ones, while also being able to see their faces. Applications like Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp and Google Hangouts are video enabled platforms that are great for chatting with either one person or large groups. FaceTime is great for Apple products, while Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts are accessible on all devices. If you have a loved one who is living abroad, you might consider using WhatsApp.

Entertainment
Who says you can’t have fun in self-quarantine? There are a wide variety of online platforms that allow you to have virtual parties with your friends and families no matter where they live. These services allow you to watch movies or play games with your loved ones online.

Houseparty– While this application isn’t exactly new, it has become more popular in the last few weeks. While video chatting is a great way to stay connected, Houseparty allows you to video chat while providing entertainment for your group. This app allows you to play games with your group such as: Heads Up, Trivia, Quick Draw and many others.

• Watch Party– Facebook offers a feature that allows its users to watch Facebook videos together. Users can watch videos together in real time while writing and sharing their comments and reactions with their friends. Here are some tips to keep in mind while using.

Netflix Party– Watching movies is a great way to spend your time inside, but sometimes it can get lonely watching by yourself. That’s why Netflix created an extension called Netflix Party, which allows its users to type text into a chat box while watching.

Ways to Learn Online
You might be looking for ways to mix up your day and stay busy. This is a great time to learn new skills and utilize online learning tools. While learning is something you can do alone, it can also help you feel part of a community, especially if you find a friend to learn along with you. If you’re looking for a new book for your kindle, check out Amazon or buy a new book from Oprah’s Book Club. You might even consider starting a book club with your friends and using a video chat to discuss your thoughts.

There are so many ways to learn by using the computer. If you like learning about new topics, you might consider listening to a talk on TED. You can choose from a variety of lectures on hundreds of topics. Other platforms like Teachable and Coursera offer college level courses free of charge, and you can also choose to buy a membership for more access. Choose a course to take with a friend and call each other after to discuss what you’ve learned.

How to Build an Online Community
The best way to decrease you risk of isolation is find ways to build your community of support. Whether you’re video chatting or watching a movie with a friend, the more you interact with others the less likely you will feel isolated. For times like these, the best way to build a community is by utilizing technology.

Facebook and Instagram allow users to post pictures and videos, while allowing friends and family to comment and leave their well wishes. You might also consider starting an email chain with family and friends to stay updated on new life happenings. Group text messages are also a great way to share how you’re feeling and what you’ve been doing each day.

At our Maplewood Senior Living Communities, seniors are busy learning the latest technologies to stay entertained and connected with family and friends during this time. If you’d like to learn more about our offerings or to schedule a virtual tour, please contact us.

Ways to Reduce Stress During a Crisis

During this time of global crisis, it’s not uncommon to become overwhelmed by the influx of frightening news, daily changes in protocol, and the loneliness that can accompany self-quarantine. With no end date in sight, uncertainty can cause feelings of anxiety and stress, no matter your situation. While stress isn’t healthy for any individual, it can be especially harmful for older adults. Stress can look very different for each individual and can show up in various ways, both mentally and physically. The first step in addressing your stress is to recognize your symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Stress
Stress can be caused by many different factors, such as isolation, changes in a routine, or worry about the future. As we live during these uncertain times, it’s important to check in with your loved ones and evaluate your own body and mind for signs of stress. Here are a few of the most common ways stress can present itself in the body:

Changes in Eating Habits
It’s not uncommon for stress to cause changes in diet. You might have noticed a change in your appetite or food choices, especially in the past few weeks. Overwhelming stress can cause both over-eating and loss of appetite.

Mood Swings
Processing our current global situation can be really difficult, especially as we consume new facts and stories multiple times a day. You might have experienced a change in your mood, such as increased irritability, general sadness, or depression.

Cognitive Decline
Stress can cause havoc on our memory, especially for older adults. Memory issues like increased forgetfulness, lack of concentration, excessive spending, and poor judgment are common behaviors accompanied by overwhelming stress.

Physical Signs
Stress can often present itself physically. If you’re under stress, you might have experienced body aches and pains, headaches, changes in your sleeping patterns, back pain, indigestion, and heart palpitations.

Long-Term Effects of Stress
While signs of stress can be difficult to identify, it’s important to address them quickly. Stress that remains constant for a long period of time can have negative effects, both physically and mentally.

Lowered immune system – Long-term stress can suppress the immune system, increasing our risk of illness and disease. Because older adults are more vulnerable to certain illnesses, further compromising their immune systems could have severe consequences.
Heart problems – To cope with stress, our bodies produce adrenaline, which raises blood pressure and heart rate. When we experience long-term stress, we put additional strain on our hearts, increasing our risk of damaging arteries and heart disease.
Vision and hearing loss – Adrenaline produced during long-term stress can constrict our blood vessels, which can negatively affect our hearing and vision.
Digestive issues – When we are overwhelmed with stress for a long period of time, our central nervous system can decrease its blood flow, causing contraction in our digestive muscles, which can lead to serious digestive problems.
• Dental issues – To cope with stress, many of us clench our jaws and grind our teeth without realizing. If we use these coping methods long-term, we can cause serious damage to our teeth.

Ways to Reduce Stress
While experiencing stress is a normal part of life, the consequences that come with it can have a negative effect on our overall well-being. As these stressful times continue, it’s important to focus on ways to reduce stress and maintain positive physical and mental health.

Mind
When we experience stress for long periods of time, it can have a powerful effect on our decision-making abilities, mental clarity, and concentration. While these symptoms can be quite powerful, working through them is simple. Breathing exercises are great tools to help with anxiety and dissipate the negative effects of stress. The next time you feel stressed, here is a simple breathing exercise to practice:
• Choose a comfortable place to lie down or sit, with your shoulders, neck, and head supported.
• Breathe in through your nose, filling your belly with air.
• Breathe out through your nose, placing one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest.
• As you breathe in, concentrate on your stomach rising. As you breathe out, feel your stomach lowering.
• Stay for three full breaths.

Simple activities like meditating, journaling, and coloring can also help clear your mind and work through situations that might be causing you stress. Adult coloring books exist, and they leave you with works of art you can frame! If you’re new to journaling, you can always use journals with built-in prompts to make writing feel easier and more natural.

Body
Taking care of your body during stressful times is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Simple movements like walking or stretching can help combat the negative symptoms of stress like tightness, anxiety, and nervousness. While getting to your local gym or rec center might not be possible at the moment, it’s still possible to do simple exercises in the comfort of your own home. The YMCA is offering virtual classes for all members and non-members that you can access right from your computer. Yoga is also a great exercise that can help combat stress while also helping to build strength and flexibility.

You might experience a change in your appetite during stressful times, but ensuring proper nutrition is crucial. Now could be the perfect opportunity to try new recipes or take an online cooking class. While traveling is limited, you can relive your past travels through recreating international dishes. You might consider ordering your groceries through Amazon online, or checking with your local grocery stores to inquire about delivery.

Spirit
Stress can make you feel lonely, isolated, and depressed. However, there are many different ways to relieve these symptoms of stress while lifting your spirits! First, you might consider limiting your news consumption. Whether you browse the internet, watch the news on TV, or read the paper, consuming too much news, especially during this global pandemic, can cause negative feelings and thinking. Try consuming more positive stories, like reading a book or video chatting with friends and family members.

While we are doing our best to stay at home, we can still go outside. As spring arrives, now is the perfect time to start your garden. Here are some great tips for gardening in a small space like your patio or even inside.

At Maplewood Senior Living, we know how stressful times like these can be for both seniors and their families. Thankfully, we’re all in this together. If you’d like to hear more about our communties throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Ohio, please contact us.

Helping Seniors Stay Engaged During COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 has been felt worldwide, from children staying home from school to small business owners forced to stop operations. In an effort to protect the most vulnerable populations, including senior communities, a self-quarantine has been highly recommended in many places and even mandated in several cities in the United States. While quarantining senior citizens mitigates their risk of contracting this complex virus, it also puts many older adults at risk of isolation and depression. Retirement communities and nursing homes have been taking on the task of engaging residents without gathering in groups, keeping physical contact extremely limited. With the help of new technologies and innovative developments, seniors have been able to learn, socialize, and stimulate their minds from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Maplewood Senior Living has compiled a list of virtual experiences, tours, performances, and online learning platforms to help residents mitigate risks of social isolation and help families feel more at ease during this time of social distancing and quarantine.

Entertainment
In light of the coronavirus, many organizations including NPR, art galleries, and museums have provided virtual experiences that are entertaining and educational.

Concerts
NPR has compiled an impressive list of live virtual concerts organized by genre and performance date. There are programs scheduled through mid April and its archives are available to stream at any time. While some of the performances require registration and fee, many of them are free to the public. From opera and classical to rock and metal, this list has something for all to enjoy. You can access the entire concert calendar here.

Many symphonies are offering their performance free to stream on your computer or phone. The Vancouver Symphony live streamed their final performance and made it available for public viewing. The Royal Opera House has made some their best performances available to view from the comfort of your own home. In addition to their opera performances, you can also watch some of their most popular ballet programs. The Vienna State Opera and Metropolitan Opera of New York City are also available to stream.

Virtual Tours
Take a trip to Vatican City and explore the wonders of the Sistine Chapel. Be sure to use the zoom option to get a good look at all of the intricate details. In addition, you can browse the other museums and special exhibits. After you’ve finished in Vatican City, you’ll land in Indonesia to visit Prambanan, the area’s largest temple complex located northeast of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The Whitehouse in Washington D.C. and the Palace of Versailles also have virtual tours available.

Plays and Musicals
When Broadway turned dark, after mandates to close, it didn’t close doors on its creativity. Broadway HD allows patrons to watch recorded performances. While the first week is free, they do require a small monthly fee to access their programs. The New York Times recently published an article highlighting the newest plays and musicals available for streaming from some of the greatest production theaters of all time.

Exercise and Wellness
Many seniors stay active by making a daily trip to their local recreation center or silver sneakers class. With the closure of these facilities around the nation, exercise must be done from the home. However, exercising from home is easier than ever before. The National Institute on Aging runs Go4Life, a platform that offers online exercise classes specifically for older adults. These exercise classes include chair workouts, stretches, and tips for stretching and building endurance.

While social distancing and self-quarantining can be physically challenging, it also has a profound effect on mental health. Staying isolated for long periods of time can cause depression or depression-like symptoms. Meditation apps, such as Calm, can help mitigate those feelings.

In addition to utilizing apps and websites for mental health, it’s important to check-in with yourself periodically. Here are a few tools to help you maintain your mental wellness:
Reaffirm your commitment to healthy habits- During this time of uncertainty, it can be tempting to reach for foods that are convenient but not healthy. However, it’s crucial to both your mental and physical wellbeing to nourish your body with food that will sustain you. Make sure to keep hydrated, limit sugar and fat, and eat well-balanced meals during the day.
Extend kindness– Being nice just makes you feel good! While you’re spending time alone, take the opportunity to think about those you care about. Decorate cards or make a video for your loved ones. Now is a great time to let your loved ones know how you feel.
Ask for support If you do start to feel lonely or isolated, do not hesitate to reach out. Call your counselor or family member and ask for help.
Stay connected– Many facilities have asked visitors not to come for an uncertain amount of time. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t visit with your family virtually! Apps like Skype, FaceTime, and WhatsApp will allow you to see your family members without putting yourself at risk of contracting the virus or other illnesses.

Learning and Stimulation
Now is the perfect time to learn something new! Coursera partners with some of the best universities and companies in the world, like Google, Stanford, and IBM, to offer free classes to lifelong learners. Coursera offers hundreds of free lectures from top professors at world-renowned universities. TED (Technology, Education, and Design) is an online platform that provides free lectures from industry leading professionals, activists, educators, and entertainers. Their archive is vastly diverse ranging from art and education, health and wellness, to environment and ecosystem. There is truly a program for everyone.

While this is certainly an unprecedented time for our nation and the world, it can also be a time for opportunity. At Maplewood Senior Living, we’re prepared to keep our residents active, safe, and healthy during this time of social distancing through by equipping them with online tools and resources. Be safe and enjoy exploring.

Preparing Seniors for Emergencies and Isolation

Any major change in the day-to-day lives of seniors can induce stress and anxiety. With the current coronavirus pandemic circling the world, this now more than ever emphasizes the need for us to help prepare our elderly parents and family members for any emergency that may arise.

When we think of how to help the elderly overall, many of us reflect on how we would help our own senior parents.
Here are a few preliminary steps to be prepared.

Emergency Kit – Building an emergency kit can slightly vary for each person, but here are some universal supplies that will come in handy.
Water – Have enough water reserved for at least 7 days (1 gallon per person).
Stock Up on Non-perishable Food Items –Minimize the stress of not having enough on hand. Canned soups, pasta, sauces, cereal, canned vegetables and fruit are all good basic items. Non-dairy almond milk can be kept on the shelf until opened.
Medical Information – If they need medical attention, be sure they have all the necessary information for medical teams. This goes for anyone in your family; however, when someone is elderly they may not remember all the necessary information in an emergency. We recommend getting a Vial of Life kit. This is an invaluable tool for anyone.  It is a free service and it has been created to reduce panic during an emergency situation. Basically, it helps you compile all your medical information into one place, including a copy of an EKG, living will or equivalent, DNR form, power of attorney, and a recent picture of yourself or loved one.

Jeffrey C. Miller, Director of Vial of Life Project says, “People find themselves in emergencies that make it difficult to think straight. At these times, all emergency personnel who are trying to help you need to know many things about you – especially if you have a complex medical history. Medical and emergency staff will want to know things like who you are… what medications you are using… what illnesses you have… who is your emergency contact person… what is your normal blood pressure… are you wearing hearing or seeing devices… do you speak English… and, if not, what language do you speak?” If your parent cannot be an advocate for themselves and you are not able to be there for them, have this put in place first and foremost.

Pre-packaged Medicines – Make sure that they have all the medications they’ll need for two to three months. If they need help organizing them, you can order from Pill Pack. Daily dosages are pre-packaged and sent to them monthly. They can even supply inhalers and insulin. If your loved one needs oxygen, has incontinence, goes to dialysis or needs wound care, make sure you know how to help get supplies and treatment.

Providing Connectivity
Many seniors have been living in social isolation long before it became obligatory, but when an emergency situation arises they will undoubtedly feel more anxious. Having virtual forms of communications set up ahead of time will help alleviate that extra stress.

Support Network – make sure they have a list of people they can call if an emergency arises. It may be wise to have numbers and names printed out and put in an obvious place like on the refrigerator or next to their bed. Additionally, make sure numbers are inputted into their cell phone and add a photo of the person to help jog their memory.

Phones, iPads, or Computers – Set up their devices ahead of time so they can speak to you directly through FaceTime. Boomer Tech Talk has a great piece “How to Set Up and iPad for Elderly Use” along with great tips to keep in mind including saving passwords, keeping security questions written down, and making sure your own email is used for back up. In addition to just chatting on Facetime, it is even possible to play chess via video together, get grandchildren to share their latest art project, or even cook something while on camera.

Set Up A Schedule – Work on a plan for your parents to talk to specific family members on different days. Create a schedule together and get the whole family involved. Our associates at Maplewood talk about how important that has become lately. Residents really miss that social interaction and once they know they will be speaking to someone every other day or so, it gives them something to look forward to. We’ve heard of many grandparents enjoying watching their grandchildren perform little shows for them, singing, or even just showing them a craft or gardening project. Any form of connectivity will help reduce loneliness and isolation.

Remember that these tools for moments of crisis and isolation may change over time depending on your parent’s health and/or level of memory loss. Review every six months to see how they are coping and make adjustments accordingly. Their situation can change quickly and it is wise to continue to evaluate regularly.

At Maplewood Senior Living the health and wellbeing of our residents is our top priority during this time of crisis and we too are incorporating the same ideas into the day to day life of our communities. As a result of not being open for tours at this time, you can alternatively take a virtual tour of any of our communities. Please contact us today.