Overcoming Hearing Loss with Technology

Engagement plays an essential role in our quality of life, whether it’s one-on-one or in larger settings. However, with aging, this may become harder to do as the ability to hear and see diminishes. Hearing loss and impairment affects millions of Americans, with estimates as high as 30% of adults over 65, and a dramatic 70% of adults 85 and up are affected.

Hearing impairment impacts overall health significantly. Imagine trying to participate in your favorite activity without the ability to hear. You would suddenly feel disoriented as you tried to understand what others were saying. Even following simple instructions for an activity would become difficult. This limitation could easily cause embarrassment and confusion. Which means soon, you might stop participating all together, leading to an emotional disconnection and eventually, isolation. The tendency to withdraw when faced with hearing impairment can quickly lead to a decline in an individual’s overall physical and emotional health.

Recently, the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published information from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) that looked at 2,000 adults aged 50 and older. They found those who began using hearing aids to combat hearing loss experienced a decline of cognitive deterioration by 75%. These staggering numbers lead some to believe that adults who may have been diagnosed with dementia could, in fact, be dealing with hearing loss. Fortunately, as technology grows, so does the opportunity to overcome these limitations.

One such advancement we use at Maplewood Senior Living is Eversound. Eversound is a unique headphone system that connects directly to any audio source, while at the same time minimizing exterior noise that can be distracting or confusing.

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Approach to Care

Living with, supporting and caring for a person with a dementia diagnosis can be very challenging, particularly if your loved one begins acting out or becomes aggressive or agitated while you are caring for them. One of the biggest questions that arises for a caregiver in these situations is “why?”  “Why are they upset?” “Why are they acting this way?” “Why can’t they sleep?” Why, why, why.

Obviously being in the role of caregiver can become very stressful, especially when you can’t be certain what is needed to help your loved one feel better, sleep, eat or just relax. While it can be challenging at times as the caregiver, the best thing you can do is try to understand what is causing the behavior. Continue reading “Approach to Care”

Locally Sourced Foods

Here at Maplewood Senior Living, food is one of our priorities and for good reason. The research is clear when it comes to brain health; what you eat matters.

Reaping the Benefits of the MIND Diet

There’s a fundamental reason that we choose to work with local purveyors. At Maplewood Senior Living, our memory care focus means we follow the latest research in the field and incorporate whatever we can to improve our residents’ quality of life. One such study in the field of Alzheimer’s and dementia confirmed the vital role played by diet and nutrition, and introduced the MIND diet.

The MIND diet was developed by nutritional epidemiologist, Martha Clare Morris, at Rush University Medical Center through a study that was funded by the National Institute on Aging.  MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, and it has many similarities to the Mediterranean diet.

With the MIND diet as a guide to our Maplewood cuisine, we focus on the key tenets which include eating the following foods regularly:

  • Vegetables
  • Green leafy vegetables in particular
  • Berries, especially blueberries
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Olive oil

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Residents Come First: Our Person-Centered Approach

“We recognize that a move to a senior living community is a very big emotional journey for families. One of the very first things we do to help make new residents and families feel comfortable is introduce them to our community staff. This allows them to get to know the many experts we have on staff and to ask any questions they may have. Our ultimate goal is to support residents and families throughout the journey so that they have a wonderful experience and thrive in our Maplewood [Senior Living] communities,” said Heather Freemont of Maplewood Senior Living.

Individual Preference & Tailored Approach

There are many ways Maplewood Senior Living puts residents first, and it starts with a tailored nursing plan. We understand that individual needs will vary, as well as personal preferences such as how residents prefer to engage with staff. When it comes to those with an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis, it is even more critical that we tailor the plan of care, as needs are so unique to each resident. We focus our efforts on treating our residents with dignity using the HEART (Humor, Empathy, Autonomy, Respect & Reaching out to others, and Trust & Triumph) approach. Our on-site nurses are available to help residents around the clock.

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Our Culinary Program – A Sensory Experience

At Maplewood Senior Living, our culinary experience is one designed to excite and engage the senses. We start with fresh, locally sourced ingredients that change with the seasons and offer peak nutrition for our residents. Our culinary team creates dishes to delight the palate while focusing on presentation, because along with tastes and smells, sight is also an essential part of our dining experience.

We focus on the senses. Why? Simply because the five senses can be hindered with age and yet they’re critical to improving our resident’s quality of life. Every detail of the dining experience has been purposefully developed, from the expertise, passion and creativity of our chefs and dining staff to our dining environments.

We tailor our culinary experience to help each resident thrive, even when their senses change. Here are just a few examples of how we cater to our residents:

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Virtual Reality & Its Benefits

By now, you’ve likely heard the term “virtual reality” (or VR for short), but if you haven’t experienced it yourself, it may be difficult to understand. Virtual reality incorporates the use of goggles, which display an image or video that appears to be real. Users can choose to move and look around, just like they were at the destination, enjoying the sights and sounds in a fully immersive 3D experience.

At Maplewood Senior Living, we use this technology across our communities and have seen great benefits for all our residents, especially those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. The Rendever platform was designed specifically for the senior population and invites them to recall familiar times by visiting virtual places or allows residents to experience new adventures.

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Why Caregivers May Experience Guilt & How to Overcome It

Believe it or not, guilt is a very normal part of the caregiver journey. Whether you’ve been caring for your loved one for years, or just started making decisions as their health changed, guilt can happen. It’s not because you’re doing anything wrong, it’s simply a normal experience that we recognize and frequently see with our families at Maplewood Senior Living.

What you need to know about caregiver guilt is that it happens for a variety of reasons, and it’s ok to speak up when you are experiencing it. You may have siblings or a spouse that is critical of your choices, or doesn’t seem to want to help. Or, you may simply become overwhelmed and wish you could take a break or had less responsibility. No matter the cause, there are many healthy ways to overcome caregiver guilt. Continue reading “Why Caregivers May Experience Guilt & How to Overcome It”

The Power of Purposeful Design

Purposeful design simply means we design our spaces on purpose, with elements that feel warm while functioning as a stimulant for cognitive ability and independence. With the right cues and programming, we see residents engage in the experience of their choice, which leads to an improved quality of life.

Here are just a few ways we incorporate purposeful design at Maplewood Senior Living.

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Will Airbags Prevent Hip Fractures in Older Adults?

Preventing falls in seniors is very complex, and it’s a BIG problem. Every year, 2.8 million older adults in the U.S. end up in the emergency department with fall related injuries. One in four seniors who experience a hip fracture die within a year. ActiveProtective is one of many companies around the globe trying to solve this problem. Check out their airbag technology now being testing in senior living communities.

Watch the video here.

 

Aging Innovation Resources

Innovation in aging tech, senior care and longevity science is happening across the globe, but it’s not always easy to find out what’s new and what’s next in the space. One of the best places to look is Aging2.0. This rapidly growing international community of aging innovators is on the cutting edge. Through its Leaders Circle, AllianceEvents, and Local Chapters, Aging2.0 is creating a global movement to improve the lives of older adults and transform the way we care for aging populations.

As an example, check out their Snapshot of Global Innovation in Aging and Senior Care. For 2018, Aging2.0 has identified eight priorities where innovation will have the greatest impact:

A2 Challenges

Aging2.0 is challenging big thinkers around the world to create solutions in these categories and the results of these “Grand Challenges” will be on display at the Optimize Conference in November 2018.

Maplewood Senior Living is proud to be an Aging2.0 Alliance member and is working to advance innovation in many of the Grand Challenges categories. More to come on that in future posts.

Here are some additional links to add to your resource list. Enjoy! 

Brian Geyser is VP of Clinical Innovation & Population Health at Maplewood Senior Living and serves as the Aging2.0 Local New Haven, Connecticut Chapter Ambassador. Connect on LinkedIn

Featured image provided by Eversound