Looking for a Place to Retire? Why You Should Consider a Continuing Care Retirement Community

With nearly 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day, many are starting to consider where to spend their retired years. While many older adults prefer to begin retirement in their own homes, remaining completely independent can be difficult as they continue to age. In fact, according to an article published by Harvard Health Publishing, nearly two thirds of seniors need help doing one or more daily activities. For many adults deciding where to retire, the options can seem overwhelming. While some older adults are discouraged due to the initial high price of a Continuing Care Retirement Community, for many older adults, the benefits outweigh the cost.

Living Options for Seniors

There are many different types of independent living facilities, which vary in cost and size, available to those heading into retirement.

Low Income or Subsidized Housing– Retiring can be expensive. That why the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provide safe rental housing for those with restricted financial options. HUD housing also considers affordability, housing options and supportive features in the services they provide.

Senior Apartments– Senior apartments usually restrict the age of their residents starting at 55 or older, depending on the facility. While this option is a great option for those who are relatively independent, most senior apartment complexes do not usually provide additional services outside of landscaping maintenance.

Retirement Communities– Retirement communities usually offer a variety of independent living options for those over a certain age. Depending on the retirement facility, housing options generally include apartments, townhomes or condos. These communities most often include additional services such as; a meal plan, outside maintenance, recreation services, clubhouses and activities.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities– While many older adults are healthy and completely independent when they retire, a lot can change as they age. That’s why many older adults choose to move into a CCRC. These facilities offer a spectrum of care from independent and assisted living to skilled care nursing. In addition, these communities usually offer robust services including; housekeeping, activities, medical care, meal plans and maintenance. In addition CCRC’s give residents peace of mind. If they or their spouse become ill, the next level of care is usually just down the hall.

Benefits of Continuing Care Retirement Communities

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to retirement. In fact, one of the biggest decisions facing new retirees is where to live. Older adults consider Continuing Care Retirement Communities for a variety of reasons. Here’s why a CCRC, like Maplewood Senior Living Communities, is more than just a place to put your things.

• Aging in Place– Moving can get more difficult with age. However, all levels of care are easily accessible at Continuing Care Retirement Communities. This can give married residents with different care needs a peace of mind.
• Improves and Maintains Quality of Life- Isolation and loneliness affects more than 27% of older adults. This can cause major health concerns like depression and cognitive decline. At a CCRC, residents consistently have the opportunity to socialize with others, learn new skills and develop new interests. In return, many CCRC residents experience an increase in their quality of life.

Exercise– Many CCRCs have a dedicated wellness center available for resident use. Depending on the facility, many communities offer a variety of wellness classes, from exercise to nutrition. At Maplewood at Mayflower Place, we offer personalized fitness training, weight reduction and other specialty programs designed to complement any pre-or-post surgery needs, including our Post Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. Our fitness director will create a customized fitness program based on overall goals, health status and age of our individual residents. Find out more about our fitness center.

Relief for a Caregiver- CCRCs can be attractive to couples where one is the predominate caregiver for the other for a number of reasons. If needed, the spouse can receive extra care within the facility, where personal care assistants are available for support. This allows the caregiver to support their spouse, while also relieving the stress of caring.

What is The Cost of a Continuing Care Retirement Community

The cost of buying or renting a unit in a Continuing Care Retirement Community can be expensive when compared to other living accommodation options. However, for most adults, CCRCs allow them to live without worry for the future. While the entrance fee and rental cost of CCRCs are high, they aren’t unreasonable when considering all that they offer.

Monthly fees– Most CCRCs do not take a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to monthly rental fees. Many facilities offer a variety of floor plans and finance options to make their facility more accessible to perspective residents. While monthly fees can be higher than paying rent on a condo or senior apartment, they also include many amenities that will become more useful as you age, such as meal delivery, housekeeping services, help with medicine and laundry.

Healthcare Services– Many facilities include healthcare services. In addition, because CCRCs offer the entire spectrum of care, they will have high-quality nursing and medical staff on their campus at all times. In the case of an emergency, a resident will have access to care much more quickly than if they lived alone in their homes.

Lifestyle– One of the most important elements of living a long and healthy life is to stay physically and mentally active. Many older adults are attracted to the lifestyle a CCRC can provide. Providing high-quality activities for residents if often a top priority for Continuing Care Retirement Communities. Many facilities offer a wide variety of activities like book club, exercise groups, trips to restaurants, museums and musical and theater performances.

Food Service and Meal Plans– As older adults continue to age, adequate nutrition becomes crucial to their health and wellbeing. Depending on the facility, meals plans may be included in the monthly fee, or purchased separately. However, most CCRCs offer a wide variety of high-quality and nutritious meal plans that will keep residents feeling healthy and strong. At Maplewood at Mayflower Place, we take a ‘local first’ approach with our dining experience.

At Maplewood, we know the value of Continuing Care Retirement Communities. That’s why our team at Maplewood Mayflower Place is proud to offer a wide variety of services at our communities all over the country. If you’re interested in learning more, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Recognizing the Warning Signs of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

We all know that aging can cause wrinkles, gray hair and achy joints. However, as we age our bodies and minds undergo many physiological changes that aren’t as obvious. As our brains age, their neurological makeup also changes, which can cause forgetfulness and longer memory recall. While this is a normal part of aging, memory-loss is not. However, many older adults suffer from long-term memory loss in their later years. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, 50 million people have dementia, with 10 million new diagnoses each year. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, contributing to 60-70% of all dementia cases.

Differences between Alzheimer’s and Dementia

While they are commonly interchanged, dementia and Alzheimer’s are not the same diseases. Unlike Alzheimer’s, which is a specific long-term memory disease, dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. While many people are familiar with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, most are unfamiliar with the other various types. Of the 400 types of dementia, here are the most common aside from Alzheimer’s disease:

Vascular Dementia- This type of dementia can be caused when the vessels that supply blood to our brains get damaged. While there are far fewer cases of vascular dementia, it is the second most common type. Many diagnosed with this disease often notice challenges with problem-solving, focus and organization.

Lewy Body Dementia- Abnormal clumps of protein, called Lewy bodies, are found in the brains of people with certain diseases such as Lewy body dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Those with Lewy body dementia might suffer from visual hallucinations, acting out and have trouble with focusing.

Frontotemporal Dementia- The frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are associated with our personality, behavior and language. When the nerve cells and their connections to the brain begin to degenerate, it’s not uncommon for behavior, personality, thinking and judgement to begin to change. While there are different types of frontotemporal dementia, all of them are associated with nerve breakdown in the brain.

Mixed Dementia- It’s possible for adults to have many different types of dementia at one time. Researchers are performing autopsy studies to learn more about this condition and how it might be properly treated in the future.

Alzheimer’s disease refers to abnormal protein deposits that form in the brain causing plaques and tangles. These protein fragments and twisted fibers clog and damage the brain’s nerves, altering the chemical makeup of the brain. As the disease worsens, connections between brain cells can be completely lost, in addition to physical brain shrinkage. According to the National Institute of Health, most adults begin experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in their mid-60s.

Symptoms and Early Warning Signs

While the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can differ, they also have commonalities. Here are a few of the most common warning signs seen in dementia and Alzheimer’s patients according to the Alzheimer’s Association and Healthline Magazine.

• Changes in Memory- Increasing difficulty with memory can be an early symptom of both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Most changes will involve short-term memory, such as forgetting where they placed an item, what they were going to do, or asking the same questions over and over again.

• Difficulty with Word Recall- Those with early symptoms might notice an increased difficulty in communicating their thoughts or needs. For most people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, vocabulary recall and organizing thoughts can get increasingly difficult as the diseases progress.

• Challenges in Problem Solving- Working with numbers or developing a plan can also pose quite a challenge. Some people living with dementia have trouble with things like following a recipe and keeping track of monthly bills.

• Changes in Mood and Behavior- While this symptom is certainly hard to recognize in yourself, it can be one of the first warning signs you notice in others. Depression and changes in personality, such as shifting from shy to outgoing, can also be related to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

• Confusion- In general, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can be confusing experiences for those who have been diagnosed. Someone in the early stages of these diseases might become confused when they realize their memory has changed, making it difficult to interact and communicate with others.

• Repetition-Because Alzheimer’s disease and dementia affect memory, those who are living with it might find themselves repeating tasks and asking the same questions or telling the same stories.

• Struggle with Change- For those in the early stages, accepting the illness can be extremely difficult. It’s normal for those who have been diagnosed to experience periods of denial, making it difficult to adapt to change.

Causes and Risk Factors of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Because there are so many different types of dementia, it is difficult to identify the exact cause. Underlying health issues, environment and family history can impact a person’s potential for developing dementia. Other disorders, such as Huntington’s disease, traumatic brain injury and Parkinson’s disease, are also linked to dementia. This means the risk of developing dementia is significantly increased when one of these disorders has already developed.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Scientists believe that for most people, Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the brain over time.” Like dementia, the exact cause of Alzheimer’s cannot be identified, however there are certain risk factors that can make an individual more susceptible to the disease.
Some factors like family history can increase the risk of developing the disease, especially if a first-degree relative has been diagnosed. Those with Down syndrome often develop Alzheimer’s disease, which is most likely related to having three copies of chromosome 21. Environmental factors such as living a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and poorly controlled diabetes can all increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Treatment

Taking the step to get checked out by your doctor can be incredibly difficult. However, there are many treatment options available for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. While there isn’t a treatment that can reverse the disease, there are medications that can help lessen the symptoms. Oftentimes, an early diagnosis gives individuals the opportunity to participate in clinical trials, which ultimately help researchers learn more about the disease.

Living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia at Maplewood Senior Living

Our communities at Maplewood Senior Living are committed to providing a comfortable environment for individuals living through each stage of their dementia. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

Living Life in the Blue Zone

For most people, aging is mysterious. While there are many ways to hypothesize how we might age, such as family history, genetic testing, and overall lifestyle choices, there’s no specific formula that will tell us exactly what awaits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, life expectancy in the United States is 78.6 years. However, there are many people who live beyond that expectancy. In fact, nearly 72,000 Americans reached the age 100 in 2014, which increased by 44 percent from 2000. So, the question stands—what’s the secret to living a long and happy life? While many have their own theories, the National Geographic sought to find out exactly why people live so long. What they found, along with the Blue Zones Team, is that the secret to longevity is made up of nine common denominators.

The Power Nine

Blue Zones and National Geographic studied areas around the world which were home to the highest proportions of people who reached age 100. In their studies, they found nine common similarities known as:

Move Naturally– For most centenarians, movement was engrained in their environment, meaning many of them spent their days walking instead of driving a car and using their bodies instead of modern conveniences.

Purpose– Those who live longest have a reason to wake up in the morning and feel excited about the day ahead.
Downshift– Having a stress-reducing routine that’s part of normal daily life helps reduce the risk of suffering from stress-related illnesses, like chronic inflammation.

80% Rule– Many who live long lives are disciplined when it comes to food and stop eating when they are 80% full.

Plant Slant– A common theme among centenarians was a plant-based diet. Many only eat meat on average five times per month.

Wine at 5– Surprisingly, drinking alcohol frequently, but in moderation has been contributed to longevity.

Belong– Those who attend faith-based services four times per month will add between 4 to 14 years of life expectancy.

Loved Ones First– Research from this study found that those who kept their loved ones at the center of their lives lived longer than those who did not. This includes caring for a parent or grandparent, growing a family and finding a life partner.

Right Tribe– The most successful centenarians belong to social circles that support healthy habits and ultimately help one another make decisions that promote good health and wellbeing.

Incorporating the Power Nine into Our Everyday Lives

Refocusing our lives to emulate the nine values related to longevity can seem like a daunting task. Instead of focusing on the result, making small changes every day is much more manageable. Here are a few ideas to get started:

Finding Purpose

It’s not uncommon for our purpose and passions to change throughout our lives. If you find that your life is missing purpose, it’s not too late to find it again. As National Geographic found in its studies, those who age successfully have a reason to get out of bed each day. In fact, another study found that having a purpose in life directly affects the way we age. You might consider writing out a list of all the things that give you joy and bring true happiness. As you reflect and narrow down your list, your true purpose might become clearer.

Another way to find your purpose is to envision your “perfect” life within your own reality. This could include finding a way to live out your purpose or make changes to eliminate negativity from your life. You might consider creating small, but concrete steps to keep you moving towards your ideal life.

Finding a purpose also requires tuning into the world around you. Connecting with others and finding ways to contribute to your community can also bring a sense of purpose and pride. Where do you feel like spending your time? Who do you want to spend your time with?

Creating your Inner Tribe

When we talk about finding a “tribe,” we’re really referring to a group of people who reflect core values and qualities we hope to possess ourselves. Just like our friends or partners, your tribe will inspire you to discover your best self. If you don’t have an inner tribe, finding one probably feels impossible. While it does require effort and authenticity, finding your inner tribe is possible no matter your stage in life.

• Self-Reflect- First think about what types of qualities you want from your inner tribe. What are your goals? What activities do you wish you did more? What are your favorite hobbies? By focusing on these desired qualities, you’ll be able to identify them more quickly when they present themselves in different people.
• Try New Things- Sometimes our inner tribe have qualities or talents we wish we had. To identify with these qualities ourselves, we have to do things we’ve never tried. You might consider taking a new class, trying a new hobby or attending a concert or show. By trying new things, we open ourselves up to new friendships.
• Live Out of Your Comfort Zone- When we’re comfortable, yet not fulfilled, we haven’t reached our potential. If we consistently push ourselves out of our comfort zones, we put ourselves in positions to learn from others and create meaningful relationships with those we might not meet otherwise.

Focus On Movement

As reported in the research, National Geographic found that centenarians had lifestyles that focused on healthy habits, including movement. Because many people in the United States drive more than they walk, many times movement has to be a deliberate act. Here are a few natural and easy ways to incorporate movement into your daily life:

• Park Your Car Far Away. If you are able to do so, try choosing a parking space other than the one right by the front door. The additional steps will add up quickly and ultimately help you build endurance and strength.
• Walk and Talk. The next time you talk on the phone, you might consider taking a walk while chatting. The more movement you can add to your day, the better off you will be long-term.
• Stand Up Each Hour. If you spend most of your day sitting down, try to set an alarm to get up and move around. Movement can help stimulate your brain, stretch your muscles and shake off feelings of fatigue or tiredness.

Prioritizing Power Nine at Maplewood Senior Living

Our Maplewood Senior Living communities want each resident to live long and joyful lives. That’s why we implement power nine practices into daily life through food options, social opportunities and a wide variety of activities. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a virtual tour, please contact us.

The Power of Journaling During a Crisis

As self-isolation protocols continue across the nation, especially in senior living communities, it can be hard to stay positive. Many seniors have spent months away from their families, friends and grandchildren while doing their part to stay safe. This sense of isolation can be difficult to cope with and can have lasting effects on our wellbeing. It’s crucial for seniors to find ways to cope with the emotional stress of being both lonely and isolated from others. Journaling, which involves the practice of exploring thoughts and feelings through writing, can be a great way to keep your brain active while also working through your emotional stress.

Benefits of Journaling

Journaling is often thought of as an old-fashioned hobby, however, it’s much more than that. In fact, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center, “Journaling can help manage anxiety, reduce stress and cope with depression.” Those who practice journaling regularly might notice a variety of health benefits, especially during difficult times.

Reduces Stress
Experiencing long-term stress can negatively impact your health, including your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Journaling is a great way to express your emotions, which in return can help manage stress and frustrations.

Produces Positive Health Outcomes– A study found that those who engaged in expressive writing, which focuses on expressing deep thoughts and feelings, reported improved immune system functioning along with fewer stress-related visits to the doctor, reduced blood pressure, improved lung function and improved liver function.

Keeps your Memory Sharp– Many researchers believe that journaling consistently can help recall memories while also keeping the brain stimulated and sharp. Writing can help boost memory and improve comprehension skills.

Boosts Mood– Writing down our emotions, even if they are difficult ones, can help us release negative thoughts and give us a greater sense of control.

Sharpens Your Emotional IQ– Our emotional IQ refers to our capacity to understand, evaluate and manage emotions. A regular journaling practice can help us tune into our own emotions, which allows us to connect to our needs and desires. As we do this consistently, our ability to practice empathy and compassion, both with ourselves and others will become a well-formed habit.

Improves Communication Skills– Journaling is a great way to practice our ability to communicate effectively. If you find it difficult to express yourself to others, you might consider using journaling as a way to get to the core of your emotions. As you maintain your journaling practice you might find it easier to communicate your needs, thoughts and desires to others.

Sparks Creativity– You might surprise yourself with your own creativity! It’s normal to feel uncomfortable when you first start journaling, however, the more you practice the easier it will become. Writing helps unleash your creative side, allowing you to explore ways of self-expression and acceptance.

Types of Journaling

If you’ve never written in a journal before, you might feel clumsy in the beginning. However, you don’t need to be intimidated. There are many different types of journaling, which can help provide some structure, especially as you start out. Once you get more comfortable within your practice, you might be ready to branch out into other styles.

• Gratitude Journal– Some people choose to keep a journal focused on the positive aspects of their day. Those who practice gratitude journaling often list three aspects of their day that provided joy or for which they are grateful.

• Personal Diary– This type of journaling allows a person to write about their day—what they did, who they meant or what kinds of emotions they have been dealing with. Keeping a personal diary is a great way to hold on to memories and relive experiences later on in life.

• Dream Journal– If you are prone to dream, or at least remembering them, you might consider a dream journal. Keep a journal by your bedside and each time you wake up to a dream, make sure to jot it down. Dreams can provide a lot of insight into our emotional and creative selves.

• Planning or Bullet Journal- Writing doesn’t come naturally to all people—that’s why some people find bullet journaling especially helpful. If you want to keep track of your day or even find a way to express your emotions efficiently, bullet journaling is an excellent option. This type of journaling involves keeping a bullet list of your thoughts or emotions in a clear and concise way.

• One Sentence Journal– Some people choose to write only one sentence a day in their journals. This type of journaling, similar to bullet journaling, allows you to focus on exactly how you’re feeling and what you want to remember when reminiscing in the future.

Journaling Tips for Beginners

Sitting down and writing can be challenging for so many people. However, writer’s block doesn’t have to keep you from expressing yourself through journaling.

As you first begin, consider writing in your journal as soon as you wake up. This will help you get your thoughts together and is especially helpful for those keeping a dream journal. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will get with writing. Set goals for yourself, such as writing every day for five minutes, or at least twice a week for beginners. Remember, it’s important to be gentle with yourself, especially if you’re new to journaling. Don’t judge what you write and always keep going!

Expressing Ourselves at Maplewood Senior Living

We know how important self-expression and creativity can be to our health, especially during uncertain or stressful times. Our residents at Maplewood Senior Living have been exploring different creative outlets, while having fun in the process. If you’d like to hear more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

The Stress-Reducing Benefits of Aromatherapy

As we continue to face uncertain times across our nation, many people are looking for ways to cope with stress and anxiety and reduce their side effects. Long-term stress can have a number of negative effects on the body, both physically and mentally. In fact, according to The Mayo Clinic, long-term stress can lead to anxiety, irritability, anger, headaches, sleeping problems, digestive issues and chest pain. Among the traditional remedies for combating stress, such as exercising, counseling and eating a healthy diet, many individuals are using other holistic approaches like aromatherapy.

A Brief History of Aromatherapy

According to Healthline Magazine, aromatherapy uses natural plant extracts to treat common health issues and promote overall well being. The practice of aromatherapy uses authentic essential oils in various ways to strengthen the healing process, while also building the immune system.

While aromatherapy is new to some, the practice has a long history dating all the way back to 100 AD. According to the Alliance of International Aromatherapists, many researchers credit the Persians who used distilled essential oils in their healing practices in the 10th century. The history of aromatherapy is also found in the Egyptian culture where resins, balms and fragrant oils were used by priests for religious ceremonies, offerings and embalming. In this same time period, aromatic oils were being used in ayurvedic practices in China and India.

By the 19th century, just as German and French physicians were recognizing the potential of using essential oils in treating diseases, many medical doctors were establishing themselves on the use of chemical drugs as an effective treatment for their patients.

However, as modern medicine continues to evolve today, many are going back to aromatherapy to reap its many benefits. Aromatherapy is known for both its psychological and physical benefits. Depending on the essential oil, aromatherapy can help improve mood, promote relaxation and reduce stress. In addition, this practice can stimulate the immune system, ease muscle tension and boost circulation.

When to Use Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is commonly used to treat a wide variety of mental and physical problems from stress and anxiety, to headaches and digestive issues. The essential oils used in this practice trigger messages to be sent to your brain’s limbic system, which controls your emotions, memory and how we learn. When we use aromatherapy, we stimulate the limbic system and are able to communicate our needs with our brain.

Christine Marnelakis, MOT, CDP, at Maplewood at Newtown told us, “we use aromatherapy scents often. To help residents awaken and engage, a citrus scent is the best. For meditation, where it is beneficial to be as relaxed as possible, lavender is very good for calming. We also do one on one programs with family members. The scent of lemon can help residents reminisce about hot summer days drinking lemonade or the scent of cinnamon reminds them of holiday baking.”

While aromatherapy is used to treat a variety of conditions, here are some of the most common:

Stress- When we experience stress, our bodies can experience it too. Long-term stress can cause a wide variety of health problems if it goes unaddressed. Lavender, in its oil form, is clinically proven to reduce stress when used properly. This essential oil is perfect to use in times of stress and uncertainty, because it calms the nervous system, lowers blood pressure and helps the body feel relaxed.

Anxiety– It’s not uncommon for people to experience anxiety in times of uncertainty. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, there are nearly 40 million American adults who suffer from anxiety. Studies have found that those who use aromatherapy to address their anxiety symptoms have experienced less pain and depression when compared to those who have not.

Insomnia– Quality sleep is essential to brain function and memory, and also lowers our risk of chronic diseases. Studies such as this one published by The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, found that participants who were given essential oils were able to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer than those who were given a placebo.

Dementia– Those who have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s might experience occasional to frequent bouts of irritability and frustration. Many dementia patients have found that using aromatherapy helps relieve some of these symptoms.

Chronic Pain– When coupled with a massage, aromatherapy can provide relief to those who experience chronic pain, especially when the pain is mostly muscle-related.

How to Use Aromatherapy at Home

If you’re unable to visit a certified aromatherapist, that doesn’t have to stop you from reaping the benefits of its practice in the comfort of your own home. Here are a few ways you can adopt aromatherapy into your daily routine. As always, if you are new to using essential oils, make sure to contact your healthcare provider before doing so.

Add to Your Bath Water– Many people find comfort in soaking in a warm bath, especially when experiencing stressful situations. When essential oils are added to bath water, it can enhance the experience and help you relax and unwind.

Use With Steam– Essential oils can help relieve congestion and sinus blockage when they are coupled with steam. Add a few drops of essential oils into hot water and inhale the relaxing scent.

Spray On Fabrics- Lavender is commonly used to help relieve stress and also promotes quality sleep. You might consider diluting a few drops of this essential oil with water in a bottle and spray it onto your pillow cases or bath towels.

Essential Oils and Their Purposes

There are hundreds of essential oils, however some can be toxic, so it’s important to do your research before using them. According to Medical News Today, here are the most commonly used essential oils and what they are used to treat:

• Eucalyptus is often combined with peppermint to help alleviate cold and flu symptoms. However, many people are allergic to eucalyptus, so consult your healthcare provider before using.

• Lavender can be used to relieve many different ailments including stress, poor sleep, headaches and migraines.

• Black Pepper, used in its essential oil form, is commonly used to help promote circulation, reduce pain and bruises and improve flexibility.

• Lemon should be used when experiencing depressive symptoms since it is known to improve mood, while helping reduce any stress-related symptoms.

• Thyme can also help reduce stress-related symptoms along with fatigue and nervousness.

• Rosemary can help boost memory, while supporting circulation and the nervous system.

Tips for Using

If you’re using aromatherapy for the first time, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns. While aromatherapy is quite simple in practice, there are a few things first-time users should be aware of:

• Always remember to use certified 100% essential oils and avoid synthetics.
• When applying directly onto your body, always dilute the oil or use a carrier, such as lotion.
• You might consider testing a small patch of skin when using an oil for the first time to check for any sensitivity.

Staying Stress-Free at Maplewood Senior Living

We know that these are hard times for everyone. Our staff members and residents at Maplewood Senior Living Communities have been working together to remain positive and find constructive ways of coping with stress. If you’d like to book a virtual tour to see our facilities or learn more about our offerings, please contact us!

Dementia Caregiving during COVID-19

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, nursing homes across the nation have put policies in place to protect their residents and staff members. As residents in nursing homes and senior living communities continue to practice social-distancing by remaining mostly in their homes, caregivers have been presented with unique challenges.

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, there are nearly 34.2 million caregivers who provide unpaid care to older adults in the United States. Of those caregivers, 15.7 million provide support to a family member who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Due to COVID-19, many of these caregivers have been unable to access traditional resources, such as respite care or relying on other family members to help carry the responsibility.

Signs of Caregiver Stress

Even without the stress of COVID-19, caregiving is emotionally and physically challenging. Whether you’re caring for a spouse or family member, it’s not uncommon to experience stress, especially as your normal routines and access to resources have changed. While we all experience stress and anxiety in different ways, these are the most common signs:

Poor Sleep- When people experience stress, one of the most common indicators is a change in sleeping patterns and poor-quality sleep. Most adults function best with six to eight hours of sleep per night.

Irritability- When we feel stressed in addition to not sleeping well, it’s common to feel irritable. You might notice yourself saying things you might not normally say or having less patience than normal.

Depression- Long-term stress can cause you to experience depressive symptoms such as constant sadness, feeling hopeless and withdrawing from activities that usually give you happiness.

Loss of Concentration- When the stress of caregiving becomes too much, it can be hard to concentrate on anything at all.

Health Problems- Stress can take a toll on our immune systems, especially when we experience stress long-term. You might be more susceptible to the common cold or flu when under tremendous stress.

How to Combat Caregiver Stress

Caregiving can be extremely demanding, so it’s not uncommon for caregivers to experience periods of stress and burnout. However, this doesn’t mean caregivers have to live this way. In fact, according to Healthline Magazine, there are a variety of simple ways to combat stress.

Self-care is the most important thing caregivers can do to combat feelings of burnout, especially during these times of self-quarantine. Because the quarantine doesn’t have a certain end-date, it’s crucial to keep checking in with yourself and how you’re feeling. Pay attention to your stress levels and acknowledge when you begin to experience them more often. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and make sure to save time in your daily routine for something you enjoy.

One of the best things you can do for yourself while caregiving in quarantine is stay connected with your support team. This might be a friend, a group of caregivers, or a family member that you can talk to regularly. With these times being so unpredictable, it might help to regularly schedule your call.

Tips for Dementia Caregivers during COVID-19

Caregiving during emergency situations, such as the current coronavirus pandemic, may require an emergency plan. The Alzheimer’s Association has gathered resources and provided a number of ways for caregivers to successfully support their loved one even through these hard times.

Focus on Preventing Illnesses

Caring for a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s is already challenging, so keeping a normal routine despite these circumstances is important. You might consider showing your loved one the essentials of handwashing and lead by example. Handwashing schedules and friendly reminders in the restroom and near sinks might help prompt your loved one to wash more frequently. If you’re exposed to other people, remember to wear a mask and gently remind your loved one to do the same.

In the case of an illness or emergency, it’s important to be prepared with a medical care plan. People dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s might experience changes in condition or react unexpectedly in emergency situations, creating a new plan that is conducive to COVID-19 parameters will help you feel prepared in unanticipated medical situations. You might consider addressing these points in your care plan:
• Contact your healthcare provider to learn about their new procedures regarding routine and emergency visits
• Ask your healthcare provider if telehealth visits are available if chronic care situations should arise
• Ask your provider to help you navigate emergency situations if one should ever present itself. What is the proper protocol?

Help Keep Families and Friends Connected

Self-isolation can be harmful to those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Caregivers, especially those who aren’t related to their loved one, should make an effort to keep the individual connected to their family. If your loved one is used to connecting with certain people on a regular basis, you might consider scheduling consistent phone calls, video chats or exchange emails with family and friends. While social distancing limits physical connection, it’s important to find ways your loved one can stay emotionally connected to those they care about.

Plan Low-Risk Outings

For Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, maintaining a routine can make the difference between a good day and a bad one. If your loved one is used to going outside or running errands with you, low-risk outings might be a good alternative to your regular outings. Walking outside, visiting a park or even going for a drive is a great way to make the day feel exciting and productive. However, if you do decide to go out, make sure to abide by social distancing guidelines when around others who don’t live in your home.

Observe and Respond to Behavioral Patterns

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, those who are living with dementia often rely on behavior as a way to communicate non-verbally. These behaviors can be expressed through screaming, striking-out or becoming emotional. Caregivers must rely on these behaviors as a form of communication.

As routines change, you may notice your loved one relying on non-verbal communication more than usual. If you’re unsure what’s being communicated, it can be helpful to rule out root causes of the behavior such as, hunger, pain, loneliness, overstimulation, fear or frustration.

The Alzheimer’s Association has provided a list of strategies to help mitigate the behavior and identify root cause (you can find the entire list here):
• Offer a favorite food
• Look at photographs together
• Read a book or magazine
• Exercise
• Create a peaceful environment
• Provide tasks
• Connect with friends and family

Get the Care You Need at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living, we prioritize the health and safety of all our residents in every community. That’s why we’re focused on providing additional care and support to our caregivers during this time. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a virtual tour, please contact us.

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.