For many families, choosing the best Senior Living Community for their loved ones is just the beginning of a big change. Long before our staff welcomes someone into our community, families will be preparing for the move. We recognize this adjustment can be difficult for our residents and their families and we’ve compiled some helpful tips you can use as you begin the process.
It’s that time of year. Growing season is upon us, and aside from the actual fruits of your labor, there are multiple health benefits to gardening.
Get Outside and Get Your Vitamin D
A 2014 Italian study, published on the National Institutes of Health website, found that exposure to sunlight helped older adults achieve adequate serum vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is needed to maintain healthy bones. Outdoor activities, such as gardening, drive folks outside to soak up the sun, and thereby increase their vitamin D levels. So get out there, and enjoy the added health benefit of increasing this much needed vitamin, which will have lasting effects on your health. Just remember to pack your sunscreen!
Lower Risk of Dementia
Studies have also found that gardening could lower the risk of dementia by 36%. Researchers tracked just under 3,000 people over the age of 60 for 16 years and concluded that physical activity, particularly gardening, could reduce the incidence of dementia in future years.
Laura Carstensen, a Stanford psychology professor and Director of the Stanford Center for Longevity, said, “Contrary to widespread beliefs that older populations consume resources that would otherwise go to youth, there is growing reason to think that older people may be just the resource children need.”
Carstensen’s prior research has found that as people age, their brains actually improve in many ways, including in complex problem-solving and emotional skills. “It is a huge loss for society not to offer such counsel and experience to others, especially young people,” she said.
The aging population has “distinctive qualities to meet the needs of youth,” she and her co-authors wrote. “Older adults are exceptionally suited to meet these needs in part because they welcome meaningful, productive activity and engagement. They seek – and need – purpose in their lives.”
As for older adults, Carsten’s report pointed out, they benefit as well, experiencing emotional satisfaction in relationships with young people. One way to achieve such contact is through volunteer service, which is associated with better physical health and cognitive performance for aging people. From a societal view, these interactions are positive, too.
“Focusing volunteer efforts on young people improve their (young people’s) chances of success in life,” Carstensen said. “These mutual benefits are perhaps the most compelling reason for programs that connect young and old.”
Engagement plays an essential role in our quality of life, whether it’s one-on-one or in larger settings. However, with aging, this may become harder to do as the ability to hear and see diminishes. Hearing loss and impairment affects millions of Americans, with estimates as high as 30% of adults over 65, and a dramatic 70% of adults 85 and up are affected.
Hearing impairment impacts overall health significantly. Imagine trying to participate in your favorite activity without the ability to hear. You would suddenly feel disoriented as you tried to understand what others were saying. Even following simple instructions for an activity would become difficult. This limitation could easily cause embarrassment and confusion. Which means soon, you might stop participating all together, leading to an emotional disconnection and eventually, isolation. The tendency to withdraw when faced with hearing impairment can quickly lead to a decline in an individual’s overall physical and emotional health.
Recently, the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published information from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) that looked at 2,000 adults aged 50 and older. They found those who began using hearing aids to combat hearing loss experienced a decline of cognitive deterioration by 75%. These staggering numbers lead some to believe that adults who may have been diagnosed with dementia could, in fact, be dealing with hearing loss. Fortunately, as technology grows, so does the opportunity to overcome these limitations.
One such advancement we use at Maplewood Senior Living is Eversound. Eversound is a unique headphone system that connects directly to any audio source, while at the same time minimizing exterior noise that can be distracting or confusing.
Living with, supporting and caring for a person with a dementia diagnosis can be very challenging, particularly if your loved one begins acting out or becomes aggressive or agitated while you are caring for them. One of the biggest questions that arises for a caregiver in these situations is “why?” “Why are they upset?” “Why are they acting this way?” “Why can’t they sleep?” Why, why, why.
Obviously being in the role of caregiver can become very stressful, especially when you can’t be certain what is needed to help your loved one feel better, sleep, eat or just relax. While it can be challenging at times as the caregiver, the best thing you can do is try to understand what is causing the behavior. Continue reading “Approach to Care”
Here at Maplewood Senior Living, food is one of our priorities and for good reason. The research is clear when it comes to brain health; what you eat matters.
Reaping the Benefits of the MIND Diet
There’s a fundamental reason that we choose to work with local purveyors. At Maplewood Senior Living, our memory care focus means we follow the latest research in the field and incorporate whatever we can to improve our residents’ quality of life. One such study in the field of Alzheimer’s and dementia confirmed the vital role played by diet and nutrition, and introduced the MIND diet.
The MIND diet was developed by nutritional epidemiologist, Martha Clare Morris, at Rush University Medical Center through a study that was funded by the National Institute on Aging. MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, and it has many similarities to the Mediterranean diet.
With the MIND diet as a guide to our Maplewood cuisine, we focus on the key tenets which include eating the following foods regularly:
- Green leafy vegetables in particular
- Berries, especially blueberries
- Whole grains
- Olive oil
“We recognize that a move to a senior living community is a very big emotional journey for families. One of the very first things we do to help make new residents and families feel comfortable is introduce them to our community staff. This allows them to get to know the many experts we have on staff and to ask any questions they may have. Our ultimate goal is to support residents and families throughout the journey so that they have a wonderful experience and thrive in our Maplewood [Senior Living] communities,” said Heather Freemont of Maplewood Senior Living.
Individual Preference & Tailored Approach
There are many ways Maplewood Senior Living puts residents first, and it starts with a tailored nursing plan. We understand that individual needs will vary, as well as personal preferences such as how residents prefer to engage with staff. When it comes to those with an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis, it is even more critical that we tailor the plan of care, as needs are so unique to each resident. We focus our efforts on treating our residents with dignity using the HEART (Humor, Empathy, Autonomy, Respect & Reaching out to others, and Trust & Triumph) approach. Our on-site nurses are available to help residents around the clock.
At Maplewood Senior Living, our culinary experience is one designed to excite and engage the senses. We start with fresh, locally sourced ingredients that change with the seasons and offer peak nutrition for our residents. Our culinary team creates dishes to delight the palate while focusing on presentation, because along with tastes and smells, sight is also an essential part of our dining experience.
We focus on the senses. Why? Simply because the five senses can be hindered with age and yet they’re critical to improving our resident’s quality of life. Every detail of the dining experience has been purposefully developed, from the expertise, passion and creativity of our chefs and dining staff to our dining environments.
We tailor our culinary experience to help each resident thrive, even when their senses change. Here are just a few examples of how we cater to our residents:
Believe it or not, guilt is a very normal part of the caregiver journey. Whether you’ve been caring for your loved one for years, or just started making decisions as their health changed, guilt can happen. It’s not because you’re doing anything wrong, it’s simply a normal experience that we recognize and frequently see with our families at Maplewood Senior Living.
What you need to know about caregiver guilt is that it happens for a variety of reasons, and it’s ok to speak up when you are experiencing it. You may have siblings or a spouse that is critical of your choices, or doesn’t seem to want to help. Or, you may simply become overwhelmed and wish you could take a break or had less responsibility. No matter the cause, there are many healthy ways to overcome caregiver guilt. Continue reading “Why Caregivers May Experience Guilt & How to Overcome It”
Purposeful design simply means we design our spaces on purpose, with elements that feel warm while functioning as a stimulant for cognitive ability and independence. With the right cues and programming, we see residents engage in the experience of their choice, which leads to an improved quality of life.
Here are just a few ways we incorporate purposeful design at Maplewood Senior Living.