Why You Should Consider Assisted Living

There are nearly 12 million Americans over the age of 65 who live alone, according to research conducted by the Pew Research Center. While living independently certainly has its benefits, it can often become a point of concern for family members, especially as their loved ones continue to age and lose the ability to completely care for themselves. At some point, many older adults have to decide whether to hire outside help, rely on a family member or move into an assisted living facility. This decision-making process can be challenging and made more complicated when failing health and finances are important factors to consider.

While there are many different options, most older adults typically decide between hiring outside help while staying at home or moving into an assisted living facility. According to U.S. News, senior home care typically includes assistance with daily activities such as eating, taking medication, bathing, cooking and cleaning. The level of assistance depends on one’s overall health and ability to care for themselves. Although assisted living requires moving from home, it also provides additional services such as planned activities, 24-hour care and additional security measures to keep residents safe. When deciding which option is the best, many older adults and their family members ask, “How do I know it’s the right time to move?”

Signs it Might be Time for Assisted Living

Coming to terms with a loss of independence can be extremely difficult for aging adults. In fact, for many adults, concerned family members often initiate the conversation of moving first. While we all age at different rates and in different ways, there are some clear signs that it might be time to move into an assisted living community.
Declining Health Conditions– As we age, we become more at risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. In fact, according to research conducted by AARP, “more than 70 million Americans ages 50 and older, or four out of five older adults, suffer from at least one chronic condition.” Managing these conditions, including traveling to doctor’s appointments and taking the appropriate medications, can pose problems for older adults. Assisted living communities take pressure off of managing these conditions, which allows residents to enjoy a higher quality of life.
Difficulty Managing Finances– Age-related memory loss can cause confusion when it comes to managing money. This makes paying bills on time and sticking to a budget more difficult. Other memory disorders, like Alzheimer’s and dementia, can also affect one’s ability to understand finances, putting them more at risk of scams, forgetting to pay bills or filing taxes properly.
Inability to Care for Oneself– If your loved one is unable to maintain their living space, bathe themselves or complete basic daily tasks, it’s time to consider assisted living. A lot of family members take on the responsibility of caregiving without understanding how demanding it can be, especially when they have their own families to care for each day. Assisted living facilities have caregivers on staff who will make sure their residents maintain proper hygiene, a healthy diet and live in a clean environment.
Lack of SocializationAccording to a study conducted by the National Institute on Aging, nearly 17% of all Americans aged 65 or older are isolated due to their location, living status, language or disability. Loneliness and isolation can have negative long-term effects on one’s health, such as cognitive decline, increased mortality and feelings of depression. Socialization is at the core of assisted living facilities. Planned activities, social dining areas and one-on-one interaction are everyday occurrences at most facilities.

Benefits of Assisted Living

While the thought of moving out of your home and into an assisted living community might seem intimidating, the benefits are overwhelming. Instead of thinking about moving as another reminder of aging, you might consider it as an opportunity for something new and exciting. Here are a few benefits of assisted living that you might not have considered:
You Gain Independence– While many people think of assisted living as a way to lose independence, the opposite is true. Instead of relying on a family member or outside party for assistance, all of those daily tasks, like shopping and cooking, are taken care of by staff. This leaves you with plenty of time to discover your interests and renew your hobbies instead of thinking about who will come to help.
More Value for Your Money– Many individuals are afraid to consider moving into an assisted living community because they think they can’t afford it. However, that’s not necessarily true. Many assisted living facilities offer many services under one fee. For example, you might find that meals and activities are included in your monthly fee, where in-home care is usually priced a la carte. While assisted living can be expensive, you might find it to be a better deal based on your needs.
A Safer Living Option– As we age we are more at risk of health emergencies, such as falling. When living alone, these injuries could become life-threatening. However, at assisted living facilities, there is always a staff person or registered nurse available to help, no matter the time of day.
Socialization- Assisted living communities provide a wide variety of activities for their residents. From sing-a-longs to arts and crafts, there’s always an opportunity to learn and socialize with others. Socialization is proven to be beneficial for one’s overall health, especially for those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Things to Consider

If you decide it’s the right time for assisted living, there are a few things to keep in mind. As you start touring different communities, they can all start to feel similar. At Maplewood Senior Living , we know what that can feel like. That’s why we have compiled a list of things to consider and questions to ask when looking for an assisted living community:

1. Ask to meet the team. How can a resident or family member get in contact with the management team?
2. Do they have apartments available? What sizes are offered? Is the furniture provided?
3. Ask about the culinary program. Is food prepared from scratch? You might consider asking for a menu or schedule a time to have lunch or dinner on the campus.
4. Are nurses available 24 hours a day?
5. What type of training is provided for the staff?
6. Do they provide call lights, pendants or life alerts? What’s the protocol for responding?
7. Is transportation available for outings, doctor’s appointments or grocery shopping?
8. What accommodations are available when more care is required?
9. What type of programming and cultural enrichment opportunities are available?
10. Ask to speak with a current resident who would be willing to share their experience with you.

Assisted Living at Maplewood Senior Living Communities

We know transitioning into assisted living from an independent living situation can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Our Maplewood Senior Living communities provide support and transitional care to make the change an easy one. If you’re interested in learning more about our assisted living communities or would like to schedule a tour, please contact us.

Navigating Travel with Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Dementia is used to describe a group of medical conditions related to memory loss. While long-term memory loss isn’t a normal part of aging, there are many older adults living with various types of dementia. In fact, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 5.8 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. However, with summer approaching, Alzheimer’s and dementia don’t have to stop you from exploring new places or visiting family and friends. In fact, many people living with these diseases continue to travel and even do so alone in certain circumstances. While travel has been severely curtained in recent months throughout the country, you may need to travel for unforseen circumstances. Even a trip to the store, or to visit family may need some preparation and of course, if you need to travel to a new living situation you may need to fly or take a long car trip.  If you are planning to travel with a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, the best way to  have a safe and enjoyable trip is to be prepared.

Preparing for Your Trip

According to the National Institute on Aging, as dementia progresses, it can impact our, “behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with daily life and normal activities.” Depending on the stage of dementia, traveling will pose different challenges. Your loved one’s ability to communicate, behavioral patterns and mood changes can all be affected by a sudden change in routine or venturing into unfamiliar environments. As you prepare each aspect of your trip, from accommodations to transportation, it’s important to think about your loved one’s needs and abilities.

Evaluating your transportation options

Depending on the nature of your travel, you will have to decide how to get to your destination. When traveling with someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, simplicity is key. You might consider minimizing your travel time by taking fewer stops or avoiding airport layovers. Whether you’re traveling by air or by car, there are a few important elements to keep in mind as you prepare your itinerary:

Traveling by Air
The Dementia.org team surveyed caregivers and those diagnosed with dementia to explore their experiences when traveling by air. Those who participated were asked to describe the challenges and surprises they encountered throughout their travels. Here is what they found:

Traveling through airports can be challenging for all people, especially for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. As the disease progresses, following instructions can become increasingly difficult.
Nearly half of the participants encountered problems with checking in, bag screening, finding the boarding gate and restrooms, hearing announcements and reading information on signboards.

Navigating the security checkpoint was exceptionally difficult for those with severe cognitive impairments, specifically those in the later stages of the disease. While it’s helpful for the person with dementia to travel with a caregiver, oftentimes caregivers are unable to help with security checkpoints such as individual screenings.

All of the participants noted that while there were challenges, traveling by air was possible if both the caregiver and loved one were prepared. The following tips helped ease the traveling process for participants in the study:

• Arriving to the airport early to leave time for unexpected challenges
• Notifying airport staff that you are traveling with a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease before your travel date and at the time of arrival
• Minimizing stressors including hand-held luggage
• Going through security checkpoints behind your companion. If you enter through security in front of your loved one, you won’t be permitted to return to them.
• Seek out quiet spaces of the airport including unused gates or sitting areas. These can be helpful in times of stress and chaos.
• Bring noise canceling headphones to help minimize distractions and agitations.

Traveling by Car
It’s recommended to travel by car when traveling with someone with dementia, especially if your destination can be reached within one travel day. Traveling by car gives the caregiver and loved one more control over their journey. Rest stops, food options and overall environment can mostly be controlled.

If you are in the midst of planning a road trip, remember to plan out your rest stops. Searching for a rest stop can be stressful during an urgent situation. Knowing where you will stop and which rest sites are close by will give you a better sense of control. It can also be helpful to consider how long your traveling day will take you, factoring in your loved one’s behavior and mood.

If your loved one is feeling overwhelmed or agitated, you might consider moving on to your safety plan. As you create your safety plan, make sure to consider where you might stop if something comes up or who you will need to contact in the case of an emergency.

Travel Considerations to Keep in Mind

In general, traveling can be stressful for all people with various ability levels. Once you’ve decided to travel, there are a few simple things you can do lessen the stress and anxiety surrounding the trip:

Start your trip prepared- You want to start preparing and packing for your trip a week or so before the travel date. As you begin packing, make sure to take extra clothing and personal care items with you in the case of an emergency. Get plenty of sleep the night before and bring foods that your loved one enjoys and will eat without hesitation. Lastly, leave yourself plenty of time to get ready in the morning before beginning your road trip or heading to the airport.

Write and share your itinerary- Before your trip, write down all of your travel plans, including hotels, and even rest stops you plan to visit. This itinerary should be shared with family and friends who will be available to assist you if needed.

Take important documents with you- In the case of an emergency, you will need to access important documents. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it is suggested to take the following essential documents with you while traveling:
• Doctor’s name and contact information
• A list of medications and dosages
• Phone numbers of local police, hospitals and poison control
• Copies of all legal papers including a living will, power of attorney and proof of guardianship
• Name and contact information of emergency contacts
• Insurance cards and information

Be alert to wandering- If your loved one is at risk of wandering, make sure they are wearing an ID bracelet or write their name and your contact information in their clothing.

Dealing with an emergency- If your loved one is prone to outbreaks and aggression, make sure to pay attention to their warning signs. If you are driving when an outbreak takes place, pull over immediately. If you need to calm down someone with dementia, there are proven techniques to help you.

Embracing Summertime Travel at Maplewood Senior Living

Travel doesn’t always have to be a source of tension for you or your loved one. Our staff at Maplewood Senior Living are seasoned professionals who can help you prepare for your trip and provide you with travel tips and tricks. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

Importance of Hydration for Older Adults

The summertime can be a great opportunity to spend time enjoying the outdoors and beautiful weather. However, as temperatures continue to rise, dehydration can pose a serious threat, especially to older adults. When our bodies expel more water than is put back in, we can become dehydrated quickly. Our bodies need water in order to perform basic functions like regulating our temperature, emitting waste and lubricating our joints, among many others. Dehydration can cause a number of serious side-effects, especially if it goes unaddressed for long periods of time.

Causes and Symptoms of Dehydration

Because our ability to store fluid decreases as we age, older adults are more at risk of dehydration. In fact, according to an article published by the Journal of the National Medical Association, “Dehydration is the most common fluid and electrolyte problem among the elderly.” Many older adults experience a weakened thirst response, which keeps them from feeling thirsty and can often lead to dehydration. In addition, various underlying health conditions, such as decreased kidney function, and the medications used to treat them can cause increased urination, leading to significant fluid loss if it doesn’t get replaced. While these conditions can pose an increased risk, there are several common causes of dehydration:

Heat Exposure– Hot and humid weather conditions can lead to increased sweating and loss of fluid. If these fluids aren’t replaced, it can cause dehydration quickly.

Diarrhea and Vomiting– When we are ill, it’s not uncommon to experience both diarrhea and vomiting. However, when this happens, our bodies discard both fluids and electrolytes which can cause massive dehydration if it persists for a long period of time.

Fever– An increased fever can often lead to lack of thirst and loss of fluid.

Underlying Health Conditions– Some diseases, such as diabetes and kidney disease, can cause you to lose additional fluid. Those who suffer from diabetes can experience an increase in blood sugar levels. When the kidneys are unable to retain the sugar, it gets dumped into the urine and can cause increased urination.

Decreased Mobility– Older adults who need assistance with eating and drinking have an increased risk of dehydration.

It can be difficult to identify when we are dehydrated, especially if we think we are getting enough fluids. While thirst and dark colored urine are obvious signs of dehydration, there are more subtle signs that can present themselves. According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some of the most common symptoms of dehydration in older adults:

• Extreme thirst
• Less frequent urination
• Fatigue
• Dizziness
• Confusion
• Muscle weakness
• Rapid heart rate
• Low blood pressure

If you ever experience diarrhea for 24 hours or more, can’t keep fluids down, or have bloody and black stool, make sure to contact your doctor or healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Benefits of Staying Hydrated

We lose water just by breathing! In order for our bodies to function properly, we have to consistently replenish our water supply. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, men need to consume 3.7 liters of fluids each day, while women need 2.7 liters. Exercise, sickness and weather can all contribute to our daily hydration needs. While the importance of hydration often goes unrecognized, staying hydrated has many health benefits:

Helps maintain bodily functions– Our bodies are mostly made of water, so it makes sense that we need it to function. Normal bodily functions like producing saliva, digesting food, regulating our internal temperatures, excreting waste and absorbing nutrients all require water. The more we pay attention to how much water we consume, the more likely we are to have a body that functions well.

Repairs our muscles– When we use our muscles, both during a normal day and during exercise, they can become fatigued without adequate fluids. When we drink water, we ensure our muscles have the nutrients they need to recover and get stronger.

Increases energy levels and brain function– Research suggests that mild dehydration can have a negative effect on our mood, cognitive skills and memory.

Decreases risk of headaches– Some individuals experience headaches as a symptom of dehydration. When our bodies are dehydrated, our brains can actually contract from the loss of fluid, resulting in a headache. Replenishing our bodies with fluids can decrease the risk of a headache from dehydration.

Aids in weight loss– Consuming water can increase feelings of fullness and also helps boost metabolism. Our brains can also mistake dehydration for hunger, so if it’s not time to eat, you might consider drinking water before consuming food. Always remember to consult your doctor before making changes to your diet, especially when weight loss is your goal.

Tips for Consuming More Water

Staying hydrated can be a constant challenge for older adults, especially if they struggle with feeling thirsty or take medications that compromise their fluid levels. A good place to begin is to add more water to your everyday routine. You might consider consuming a full glass of water with every meal or starting each day with a glass of water. This way, drinking water becomes a habit. If you or your loved one have a hard time remembering to drink water, setting a timer for certain times throughout the day can help. In addition to consuming water, there are a number of different ways we can stay hydrated from the foods we eat. Here are a few suggestions to start with:

Eat more fruits and vegetables
Most fruits and vegetables have high water content, which means in addition to receiving nutrients, your body also gets refueled with fluids. Fruits like watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, peaches and oranges are mostly made up of water and have added fiber and nutrients that help boost immune function and promote feelings of fullness. Vegetables like cucumber, lettuce, cabbage and zucchini are high in water and low in calories. You can find a full list of hydrating foods provided by Healthline magazine here.

Soups
Consuming hydrating meals, like soup, can help you consume more hydrating fluids as opposed to only drinking a glass of water. Adding in additional hydrating vegetables can make soups filling, hydrating and nutrient dense.

Smoothies and Beverages
For some people, staying hydrated is easier when it comes in different forms. Smoothies made of yogurt, berries and other liquids like milk or water, are high in vitamins, nutrients and will also keep you satiated. Adding raspberries, lemons and cucumbers to your water can add a subtle flavor which makes it a tastier option than plain water.

Staying Hydrated at Maplewood Senior Living

Our staff at each of our Maplewood Senior Living communities make it a priority to provide plenty of options for hydration to our residents. Infused water beverages, soups, smoothies and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables are provided with each meal. In addition, our staff hosts educational seminars for residents to learn more about nutrition and ways to stay healthy and active. To learn more about our offerings, please contact us!

Why Every Older Adult Should Be Crafting

Depending on where you live, this summer could be looking a lot different than you might have anticipated. For many, travel plans and other summer activities have been put on hold. However, this could be a great opportunity to try things you’ve never done before. While many people might not identify as being creative or artistic, there are arts and crafts options for everyone. Not only is crafting a great way to have fun and socialize with others, it also offers a myriad of health benefits. In fact, some experts believe that crafting and other leisure activities can actually reduce the chances of developing a cognitive impairment by up to 50%. In addition, researchers suggest that crafting-related activities can have a positive effect on a person’s mental and physical wellbeing.

Benefits of Crafting-Related Activities

Creative activities, such as arts and crafts, can help boost mental health by stimulating different parts of the brain, depending on the activity. Trying new activities as an older adult can also provide a sense of accomplishment and improve self-esteem. Crafting covers a wide range of activities from knitting and sewing to painting and coloring. No matter the activity, crafting can provide numerous health benefits:

Promotes Socialization
Untreated isolation and loneliness can cause serious health problems in older adults, such as increased cognitive decline and depression. However, arts and crafts activities provide an opportunity to socialize with others, especially if you join a crafting group or club that meets consistently. Socialization, along with exercising your own creativity, can help enhance quality of life.

Acts as a Form of Therapy
As we age, communicating our thoughts and feelings can become difficult, especially if diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Finding new ways of communication becomes increasingly important with age. Participating in arts and crafts is a wonderful way to practice self-expression when traditional communication becomes more difficult.

Increases Physical Health
Many older adults experience a decline in their fine motor skills as they age. We use our fine motor skills each day when we feed ourselves, use our phones, button our shirts or put the key in the door. These activities can become more difficult for a number of reasons. However, the more we practice these skills, the better they become. Arts and crafts activities, such as sewing and knitting, help refine our fine motor skills.

Protects Against Aging
Crafting has the ability to involve many different areas of the brain, which ultimately strengthens memory, processing and problem-solving abilities. The more we provide a stimulating environment for our brains, the more their ability to become flexible and adaptable increases.

Acts as an Anti-Depressant
When we do something pleasurable, our brain releases dopamine which acts as a natural anti-depressant. Whether we’re creating something from nothing, or learning how to work with our hands, dopamine is released and helps to protect us from feelings of depression.

Tips for Crafting with Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia

Arts and crafts can be beneficial for all who participate, but it can be especially therapeutic for those with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Keeping the brain stimulated and actively engaging the mind can help slow cognitive decline and increase the overall wellbeing of these individuals. While most arts and crafts activities can be adapted to be appropriate at any ability level, there are some tips you might consider when crafting with those diagnosed with a memory disease.

• While stimulating the brain is good, over-stimulation can cause confusion and anxiety. When leading a crafting activity, keep instructions simple and avoid crafts with many different steps.

• The objective of an arts and crafts activity is to promote enjoyment. When we take the pressure off of achievement, and instead focus on building upon the strengths and abilities we already have, the activity will be much more beneficial to a person’s overall wellbeing.

• If you’re working one-on-one, you might consider tapping into your loved one’s favorite pastimes or incorporate their favorite music into the activity.

• Lastly, keep safety in mind. If you are working with materials that are potentially harmful, keep them out of reach until it’s time to use them. If possible, each participant should be assigned a helper to assist in projects that require more skills.

Crafting Ideas for Older Adults

Choosing a crafting activity can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start. These activities are great for beginners and can be adapted to fit any skill or ability level.

Knitting and Crocheting
Both of these activities help improve mood and contribute to overall wellbeing, especially when done in a social setting. In addition, there are many clubs and groups designed just for beginners. If you’re interested in finding an activity to do alone in your spare time, you might consider purchasing beginner level kits that come with guides and instructions. You can find them on Amazon.

Coloring and Painting
Anyone can color! Coloring is a great form of self-expression and is a perfect crafting activity for beginners. Adult coloring books are available in many different styles and provide a gentle guide for those who are new to coloring or don’t know where to begin. If you prefer to craft with paint, there are still many different options. You might consider beginning with a guided painting picture, or unleash your creativity by painting on rocks for your garden or as a gift for a loved one.

Decoupage
This activity allows you to take a normal household item, like shoe-box or food container, and turn it into a work of art. You can use whatever you have at home, such as wrapping paper, scraps of fabric or other items to make it unique and playful. By using your hands to cut and place small items, you can actually improve your fine motor skills.

While all of these activities can be adapted when necessary, here are a few activities that are especially beneficial for those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia:

• Collages- This is a great way to help evoke memories while inspiring creativity. You might consider using newspaper clippings, or photographs from major life events to decorate your space.

• Greeting Cards- This activity can be adapted to fit any skill level and can allow your loved one to feel connected to friends and family. Start with pre-cut shapes, photographs or glitter markers to make the cards special and unique.
• Clay Modeling- This is a great way to use fine motor skills while also using your creative side. You can model the clay into certain shapes and dry them to make artistic embellishments to give as gifts to friends and family.

Getting Creative at Maplewood Senior Living

Our residents have been releasing their creative sides in many different ways at our Maplewood Senior Living communities. From rock painting to t-shirt making and quilting, our residents have found many ways to unleash their inner artist. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

Yoga Benefits for Seniors

It’s no surprise that as we age, our bodies and their capabilities continue to change. We might experience illnesses more often, cognitive changes and loss of flexibility and balance. While these changes can cause disturbances in our day-to-day lives, they can also put our health and lives at risk. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of injury and death in older adults, responsible for nearly 27,000 fall deaths in seniors each year. Unfortunately, this rate is estimated to rise with the influx of baby boomers reaching retirement. While falling can cause bruising, it can also cause broken bones, head trauma and eventually lead to cognitive decline.

Can Yoga Improve Balance?

While there are many causes of falls in older adults, many falls can be attributed to a lack of balance. Research suggests that there is a connection between our ability to balance and our cognitive skills. Researchers from Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine studied this relationship by asking older adults to stand on one leg, while lifting the other in front of them, bent at the knee. The results of this study suggested that most of those who reported failing the test and who previously had no history of balance problems, had small lesions on the brain which can be a precursor to a stroke or dementia. Strengthening your balance or speaking to your doctor if you notice a change in your balance can help you address health concerns before they become a problem.

Benefits of Yoga Practice

The risk of falling dramatically increases as we age, so it’s important to do what we can to prevent falls. Focusing on exercises that improve endurance, strength, balance and flexibility not only reduce the risk of falling, but can also decrease recovery time after a fall, as well as decrease the severity of the injury. Yoga works to build all four of these skills, making it an important element of a fall prevention plan. In addition to decreasing risk of falls, yoga has a number of benefits, especially for older adults who practice consistently.

Movement
Traditional exercise, such as running and weightlifting, can become more difficult on our joints as we age. Yoga allows us to build strength and increase our heart rate without putting strain on the body. Yoga uses your body weight as resistance, and is a great way to build muscle and improve posture without damaging the body.

Flexibility
Yoga uses different forms of stretching and holding to lengthen our bodies and develop a greater range of motion. Many older adults become inactive as they age, resulting in a small range of motion, which can make it more likely to experience a fall.

Good Bone Health
Yoga can be helpful in preventing loss of bone density and can even work to build bone. This exercise involves gentle twisting and stretching which can help give relief to those who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis.

Keeping Your Mind Sharp
Exercise in general releases endorphins, which can positively affect our mood. Similarly, the practice of yoga allows our bodies to function better, relieve stress and help us feel in control.

Balance and Stability
By strengthening the core muscles, yoga can help improve one’s balance, ultimately decreasing the likelihood of falling. Not only can yoga help prevent falling, the endurance and strength that comes with it can also help seniors recover more quickly if a fall were to occur.

Improves Respiration
Focused breathing is a major element of each yoga movement. Those who practice consistently might notice an improvement in their respiratory system.
Relieves Anxiety
Yoga is known to reduce stress and anxiety through its repetitive motions, focus on breath and slow movements. When you maintain a consistent practice, yoga also has the ability to reduce inflammation in the body.

Holly Foss, Fitness Director at Maplewood at Brewster, spoke to us about the positive impact her yoga classes have had on residents, especially those receiving memory care, “I have been brought to tears many times from witnessing the calming effects yoga has on even those residents with the most advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. My class provides a safe, calming space where they can take a break and relax their brains. It truly is amazing to witness.”

“You can actually feel the energy in the room shift a few minutes into the class. Residents who have a hard time focusing and following direction, are making eye contact, maintaining focus and following every movement. Seeing our residents regain confidence and pride in themselves makes everything I do worthwhile,” said Holly.

No matter what their fitness level is, Maplewood Senior Living helps all our residents begin or maintain some form of exercise. There are many classes for beginners such as yoga, water aerobics, body and balance, joint ease and fit for life. Often it is about getting residents to turn their brain off for a while and focus on their bodies instead. Sometimes, we turn down the lights, use a lavender scent to calm them, light a candle, add relaxing music and even adjust our voice. The residents really look forward to this time to unwind.

How to Do Yoga Poses Correctly

In order to strengthen our balance, it’s important to focus on yoga poses that require you to transition from one move to the next. Maintaining a consistent practice will allow you to build the strength and endurance that can protect you from falling. In partnership with the University of Miami, the Yoga Journal published a series of yoga poses that will help you build balance and strength.

Mountain Pose– Begin in a standing position with your feet parallel and close together. Slightly bend your knees and contract your abdominal muscles to draw the ribs in while stretching your hands out to the side.
Chair Pose– Starting from the Mountain Pose, bend your knees over your ankles, pull your abdominal muscles in and reach your arms above your head.
Tree Pose– From Chair Pose, slightly bend the right knee and place the right foot either above or below the inside of the left knee. If you feel unsteady, hold onto the wall or chair. Repeat on the other side.
Standing Pigeon– Stand with your feet hip-width apart and lift your left foot over your right knee. Sit back into a single-chair pose while keeping your foot flexed. Lower as much as you can, while holding onto a sturdy chair if needed.

Stay Healthy and Active at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living, we know how detrimental falling can be to one’s health. That’s why we offer exercise and lifestyle classes to help prevent falls and related injuries. If you’re interested in hearing about our services, or want to schedule a tour, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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!