Start Today: 10 Easy Exercises to Add to your Daily Routine

Maintaining your physical health becomes more important as we age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular physical activity can help delay, prevent, and manage chronic diseases in addition to reducing the risk of premature death. While starting a routine of easy exercises for seniors might seem overwhelming, just 30 minutes of physical activity per day can help you stay fit and reduce the risk of developing health problems. Staying active can also help boost your energy, maintain your independence, protect your heart and manage symptoms of diseases and illnesses. A consistent exercise routine doesn’t have to require equipment, either. Physical activity can be as simple as walking to the store, exercising in your home, or trying out a new exercise video with a friend. It’s never too late to find enjoyable ways to reap the many benefits of a daily exercise routine.

Benefits of Exercise for Older Adults
Exercise doesn’t only provide physical health benefits—it can improve mental health as well. According to HelpGuide, physical activity has many benefits for older adults, even for those starting an exercise routine later in life. Here’s what you can expect to happen when exercising consistently or adopting a new physical activity routine:

Reduce the impact of chronic disease. People who exercise consistently are more likely to experience better digestive functioning, improve their blood pressure and bone density and lower their risk of obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.
Enhance mobility, flexibility, and balance. Different exercises can help improve your balance, flexibility, and coordination—all of which reduce your risk of falling. Strength training can help manage symptoms of arthritis and other chronic conditions.
Improve the quality of sleep. Good quality sleep helps to restore energy levels, heal physical and cognitive damage and improve overall physical function. Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster, sleep without interruption and wake up feeling ready for the day.
Boost mood and self-confidence. When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins which act as natural mood boosters. The release of endorphins can help reduce feelings of sadness, depression, and anxiety.
Improve brain function. Physical activity can help improve brain function and increase creativity. In addition, exercise can also help prevent memory loss, cognitive decline and help slow the progression of memory and brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Types of Exercises
Adding variety to your workout routine can help you stay fit and reduce the risk of developing health complications. Finding a good balance between different types of exercises can help you strengthen your muscles, improve your coordination, reduce the risk of injury and decrease the time it takes you to heal if an injury were to occur. Here are a few of the most common types of exercises:

Aerobic exercise
Aerobic activities, such as walking, dancing, cycling, and swimming, help condition your heart and build your endurance. These exercises can be done at different intensities depending on your overall goals. Aerobic exercises done at a moderate intensity would increase your breathing and heart rate and may cause you to sweat. Those working at a vigorous intensity would be breathing rapidly and find it difficult to carry on a full conversation.

Muscle-strengthening
Muscle-strengthening exercises can help older adults prevent the loss of muscle mass and bone density, while also working to improve overall mobility and function. When done correctly, muscle-strengthening exercises will work for all major muscle groups. These exercises include working with resistance bands, exercise machines, and free weights.

Flexibility exercise
Flexibility can help you improve overall muscle function, while also decreasing the risk of fall-related injuries. Stretching can prevent injury, lessen pain, improve posture and physical performance and increase strength. Flexibility exercises include yoga and Pilates.

Balance exercise
Engaging in exercises that improve balance can help reduce the risk of falls, which is a great risk for older adults. Tai chi and yoga can help develop balance along with adding other exercises, such as backward and sideways walking, and heel and toe walking, to your daily routine.

Easy Exercises for Seniors to Try at Home
While everyone can benefit from exercise, older adults live healthier and more independent lives when physical activity is prioritized. Older adult exercise doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few easy exercises for seniors that can be done in the comfort of your own home without much equipment. The exercises below are designed to work the whole body, allowing you to build strength, improve balance and coordination and increase flexibility. As always, be sure to consult your healthcare provider or ask a certified personal trainer before trying anything new to your exercise routine.

Chair squat. Squats help build strength in the hips, glutes, and thighs. While standing in front of a chair, bend your knees and send the hips back and the arms straight out in front of you. Sit all the way down on the chair. As soon as you make contact with the chair, stand back up. Perform 10-12 reps.

Knee lift with a medicine ball. Hold a lightweight or medicine ball with both hands and lift it above your head. Lift the right knee while bringing the ball down to meet the knee. Lower the knee and raise the hands back up. Perform on the other side. Continue this exercise starting with 30 seconds and working your way up to one minute

Side leg lift. Stand sideways near a wall for support. Shift the weight into the right leg and lift the leg out to the side without tilting your torso. Keep your foot flexed and feet parallel. Lower the leg back down. Try 10-12 reps on each leg.

Lat pulls with a band. In a standing or seated position, hold a resistance band over your head with both hands. Create tension in the band by pulling with your hands, keeping the distance between them wider than your shoulders. Keeping the left hand in place, pull the right elbow down to the ribcage and press back up. Try 10-12 reps on each side.

Wall push-ups. Stand three feet away from a wall. Facing the wall, lean forward and place your hands flat against it, in line with your shoulders. Lower your body toward the wall and push back. Repeat 10-12 times.
Pelvic tilts. To help stretch the muscles in your back, take a deep breath and tighten your glutes. Tilt your hips slightly forward and hold for three seconds. Tilt-back and hold for another three seconds. Repeat 10-12 times.

Shoulder blade squeeze. Sitting up straight, rest your hands in your lap and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Keep your shoulders down and hold for 3 seconds. Release and repeat.
Toe taps. While sitting in a chair, lift your toes while keeping your heels on the ground. You should be able to feel the muscles in your shin working. Repeat this 20 times.

Knee lifts. Sitting in a chair with your arms resting by your side. Contract your right leg muscles and lift your leg. Your knee and thigh should be three inches off the seat. Pause for three seconds and lower your leg. Repeat 10-12 times.
Seated rotation. Sit on a chair and hold a lightweight. Holding the weight at chest level, keep your knees and hips facing forward. Rotate your torso to the right as far as you can while contracting the muscles around your waist. Rotate back to the center and then to the left. Continue alternating sides for 12 reps.

Exercising at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living, we’re always looking for ways to prioritize the health and wellbeing of our residents by creating easy exercises for seniors. Our state-of-the-art exercise equipment, certified personal trainers, and excellent group exercise classes allow residents to explore new activities that can help build strength and improve balance. To learn more about these offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

The Importance of Brain Health for Older Adults

Our brains do it all. In addition to managing voluntary and involuntary physical activity, they control our cognitive abilities, like memory and decision-making, which affect — in ways large and small — every moment of our lives. So of course our brains need to be protected, nourished, supported, and treated with the best possible care. Brain health for older adults is especially important.

At Maplewood Senior Living, our communities support brain health and overall health with everything we do. Our goal is to help you live a healthy, independent lifestyle.  We are offering Your Guide to a Healthy Brain, a complimentary guide for great tips and advice for Keeping Your Brain Healthy as You Age.  Download today (click the link) The guide highlights 7 specific areas you can focus on to help improve brain health today.

As we age, certain parts of the brain shrink, especially those that control learning and mental activities. In other brain regions, communication between neurons might not be as effective when compared to the brains of younger adults. While these changes are normal parts of aging, there are steps we can take to maintain our brain health. A healthy diet, hydration, engagement with friends and family, and even how much we sleep can all maintain brain health in older adults. To help, we’ve outlined the different ways you can make small changes that will lead to long-term brain health.

What is Brain Health?
According to the National Institute on Aging, brain health refers to how well a person’s brain functions across several different areas:
● Cognitive ability — how well you think, learn and remember
● Motor function — how well you make and control movements, including balance
● Emotional function — how well you interpret and respond to emotions (both pleasant and unpleasant)
● Tactile function — how well you feel and respond to sensations of touch, including pressure, pain, and temperature
Growing research suggests that making small changes to your daily routine could help you function better for longer. These changes can also help decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s and other age-related memory loss.

Diet and the Brain
While eating a balanced diet is a great step toward achieving overall health, some researchers have suggested there are specific diets linked to improving brain function. These include:
● Mediterranean diet
● Blue Zone diet
● DASH diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension)
● MIND diet

Mediterranean Diet or The Blue Zone Diet
The Mediterranean and Blue Zone diets are similar because they are primarily plant-based. Meat is eaten minimally, 1-2 times a week, and it is suggested to completely avoid added sugar, refined grains, trans fats, processed meats, and highly processed foods. Both diets are inspired by parts of the world that have communities where people eat food in its most natural state, are more active, value social interaction, and tend to live longer. These lifestyles also focus on being less sedentary. Exercise is achieved through walking, chores, gardening, and even harvesting food.

DASH diet
The DASH diet was created to prevent high blood pressure but it offers several health benefits. It mitigates sodium intake — the standard DASH diet encourages 2,300 mg or less per day. The lower sodium DASH diet recommends no more than 1,500 mg per day.

MIND diet
This is a combination of the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, there is great evidence that diet can improve brain health, potentially lowering cognitive decline and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. The MIND diet highlights vegetables, berries, nuts, olive oil, plant-based meals, and one glass of red wine per day.

Exercise for Brain Health
Recent studies suggest that the activities you do to strengthen your body, heart, and lungs can also improve your brain health. According to the Cleveland Clinic, physical activity can benefit the brain by promoting cardiovascular health, improving blood flow to the brain, reducing inflammation, and lower levels of stress hormones. To reap the brain benefits of exercise, experts suggest aiming for 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as walking, biking, or swimming.

Mental Stimulation
Practicing new and challenging activities can help you build and preserve cognitive skills and mental acuity. Our brains can learn and grow even as we age, but to do so, they need stimulation. Training our brains includes practicing a new activity each day. According to Harvard Health, “much research has found that creative outlets like painting, learning an instrument, writing, and learning a new language can improve cognitive function.” Here are a few tips to get you started in training your brain:
● Pick one new activity and devote your time and attention to it.
● Sign up for a class. This is a great way to learn the basics of the activity, especially if it requires special skills like reading music or painting.
● Schedule time for your activity. Life can get away from us! It might be helpful to schedule practice time at the start of each week to ensure consistency.

Social Connectivity
Isolation and loneliness can have a deleterious effect on one’s physical and mental health. Research has shown that those who are socially isolated can experience cognitive decline, chronic illness, and depression at higher rates than those who maintain social connections. Volunteering, spending time with grandchildren, joining a club, or even attending an exercise class are all great opportunities for connecting with others. Even speaking with a loved one on the phone or through a video call can help combat isolation and loneliness.

Mental Health and Stress Management
Stress affects our minds and body. Not surprisingly, our brains suffer because of it. Stress raises the level of cortisol in our bodies, which may impair thinking and memory. Stress presents in other nefarious ways: you may drink more, overeat, undereat, eat more of the wrong foods, decide not to exercise. Any of these stress indicators take a toll. All the lifestyle changes we listed above will improve both mental health and stress levels. If you’re suffering from stress, ask your doctor about therapy or medications that may help.
A few de-stressing tips: Be positive. Avoid multi-tasking. Exercise (even a short walk can help). Add music into your daily life. Make sure you laugh regularly. Visit with a friend or family member.

How Maplewood Senior Living Supports Brain Health
At Maplewood Senior Living, our communities support brain health and overall wellness with everything we do. Through our delicious and nutritious dining options, exercise classes, support groups, and robust activity schedule, our goal is to help each resident live a happy, healthy lifestyle. To learn more about the benefits of choosing Maplewood Senior Living or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

Why Cardiovascular Health is Important

Exercise is important at every age but maintaining a consistent exercise routine as we get older can help keep us independent for longer. Studies have suggested that physical activity, such as cardiovascular exercise, is the number one contributor to longevity. In addition to helping us live long and independent lives, exercise, in general, helps maintain weight, reduce the impact of chronic diseases, improve immune and digestive functioning, regulate blood pressure, lower the risk of obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and even some cancers. Older adults are more at risk of living sedentary lives, especially as they undergo physical changes that might make exercise seem more challenging. However, by making an exercise plan that fits your needs and modifying exercises to fit your abilities, exercise can be a part of your life at every age.

How Much Exercise Does an Older Adult Need?

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, physical activity needs to change as we age. Older adults need 150 minutes, or 2.5 hours a week, of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as cardio. Just 30 minutes of physical activity can be physically and mentally beneficial for older adults. The guideline also suggests that older adults practice muscle-strengthening exercises two days a week and three days of cardiovascular exercises, such as walking or dancing. As we age, it’s normal to lose muscle mass and bone density, however, physical exercise can help reduce the risk of these conditions.

Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise for Older Adults

While all types of physical activity are beneficial for our overall health, cardiovascular exercises have special benefits for older adults. Exercise can help older adults manage their blood pressure, improve bone and joint health and preserve their long-term cognitive function. Here are a few benefits that come with maintaining a consistent cardiovascular exercise practice:

Improved Immune Function. Our immune systems help fight off illnesses and protect us from diseases. A healthy immune system will also help heal our bodies from illnesses more quickly. According to Harvard Health, exercise can promote good circulation, which allows the cells that make up the immune system to move throughout the body more freely and more efficiently.
Enhanced Respiratory and Cardiovascular Function. According to the American Lung Association, regular exercise helps strengthen your lungs and heart. As we exercise, oxygen gets infiltrated into the bloodstream, transporting it to our muscles. As our exercise routines become more consistent, our bodies become more efficient at oxygenating our muscles.
Increased Bone Strength. Just as our muscles respond to exercise by getting stronger, so do our bones. Older adults are more at risk of losing bone density and developing osteoporosis. However, regular cardiovascular exercise can help strengthen our bones and reduce the risk of losing bone mass and developing osteoporosis. Exercising for bone strength can also help reduce the risk of falls and decrease the recovery time from a fall-related injury.
Decreased Risk of Chronic Illnesses. According to the Mayo Clinic, aerobic exercise can help decrease the risk of developing a chronic illness and help manage symptoms of an existing illness. Low impact exercises can help improve muscle function for those with lower back pain, while those suffering from arthritis can reduce pain and stiffness through cardiovascular exercises. Also, exercise can help improve the quality of life for those with cancer and lower the risk of dying from breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers.
Improved Gastrointestinal Function. Regular cardiovascular exercise can help boost metabolism, regulate the elimination of waste and encourage overall digestive health. Those suffering from slow digestion and constipation often find relief when implementing a consistent exercise regimen.

Types of Cardiovascular Exercises for Seniors

As our physical abilities change as we age, it’s important to make adaptations in our exercise routines to decrease the risk of injury and promote overall safety. Incorporating cardiovascular exercises into your routine doesn’t have to be as challenging as it sounds. Here are a few cardiovascular exercises that can be added to your fitness routine:

Ballroom Dancing
Dancing in general is a great way to get your heart rate up, build muscle and strengthen bones. Ballroom dancing, however, has become popular among older adults because of its ability to strengthen cognitive function. Remembering steps and the fast-paced movements keep our brains sharp and help with balance and coordination, which can protect us from fall-related injuries.

Water Aerobics

Water aerobics classes can help older adults reap the benefits of cardiovascular exercise without putting much impact on bones and joints. Practicing aerobic exercises in the pool can provide more resistance to add a strength-training element to this exercise as well.

Swimming

If you prefer independent exercise, as opposed to group activities, swimming laps can be a great alternative. Swimming can help build lung capacity, build endurance, muscle strength, and promote heart health.

Recumbent Biking

Biking is also a low-impact exercise, which is a great activity for older adults. For those who struggle with balance and coordination, or who prefer a safer activity, recumbent bikes can provide all the benefits of traditional cycling without the risk of injury or falling.

Making an Exercise Plan that Fits Your Lifestyle

Establishing an exercise routine can feel challenging, especially for those new to exercise. However, following a few simple steps can make your cardio routine a reality. First, start by choosing an activity that you find interesting, fun, and that will raise your heart rate. Choose the length of your workout, starting with just 20 minutes if you are doing something new or haven’t exercised for some time.

And, lastly, set your workout schedule each week, choosing the days you will exercise and at which time during the day. Sticking to this schedule will help you be consistent and allow you to establish a routine without having to make hard decisions each day. As you get into your routine, you might consider setting goals for yourself such as exercising three days a week or adding a new level of intensity after a month of consistent exercise. As always, it’s important to consult with your doctor before adding a new exercise to your routine or adding levels of intensity.

Keeping Up with Cardio at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living, we know how important cardiovascular exercise is to the overall health of our residents. Each of our facilities comes with a robust workout and wellness facility that offers group and private classes. To learn more about our facilities or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

Exercise and Brain Health

People choose to exercise for many different reasons. While some people exercise to reap the physical benefits, others enjoy physical activity as a way to release stress and anxiety. As we age, exercise becomes increasingly important to our overall well-being. Consistent exercise can prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, lower blood pressure, and improve our mental health. What most people don’t know is that exercise can change the brain in ways that improve thinking and cognitive function. Some studies even suggest that a single exercise session can provide the same cognitive benefits as longer and more regular exercise.

Risk of Cognitive Impairment in Seniors

Older adults are naturally more at risk of cognitive impairment when compared to other age groups. The most common cognitive impairments can be caused by medication effects, depression, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Without taking steps to protect our brain health, we can put ourselves at risk of developing cognitive impairments in our later years. People with these types of disorders can experience a variety of symptoms, the most common of which are listed here:

• Decreased Processing Speed. Processing speed refers to the time it takes our brain to complete a mental task such as finishing an assignment, following instructions, or comprehending a conversation. It’s likely for older adults to notice cognitive changes related to their processing speed.

Problems with Attention. Some older adults with cognitive impairments may notice that their minds wander when trying to concentrate on a specific task or conversation. This can also express itself through difficulty when focusing on more than one thing at a time.

Memory Problems. Changes in memory are very common among older adults. Some age-related forgetfulness is normal; however, memory loss is not.

Difficulty Expressing Oneself. Decreased speed in verbal fluency is a cognitive impairment that refers to the ability to recall vocabulary. If our verbal fluency was to decrease, we would have problems expressing ourselves in conversations.

Losing Things. Forgetting your keys or an occasional appointment can be normal behaviors for people of all ages. However, older adults with cognitive impairment are often unable to remember important information consistently.

Social Withdrawal. Older adults experiencing cognitive impairment may notice changes in their behavior and begin to withdraw from their normal activities as a way to disguise or hide their symptoms.

While many older adults suffer from cognitive decline, it doesn’t have to be this way for everyone. There are simple things we can do to decrease the risk of developing these impairments. Dr. Wendy Suzuki, the author of Healthy Brain, Happy Life, and member of the advisory board at Maplewood Senior Living, knows the important role exercise plays in brain health.

In an interview with KTVU FOX 2, Dr. Suzuki reported that “Keeping our bodies moving is so important. Even one walk outside releases the neurotransmitters in our brain that keep us happy and boost our mood.” In her research, Dr. Suzuki has discovered there is a biological connection between exercise, mindfulness, and action. When we exercise, our bodies feel more alive and our brains perform better.

Benefits of Exercises for the Brain

As we exercise, our heart rate increases, causing an increase in blood flow to the brain. This allows our brains to receive more oxygen, nutrients, and proteins, while also promoting the growth of neurons. Additionally, the chemicals released in our brain during exercise can also make us feel less stressed and anxious. As she writes in her book, Dr. Suzuki believes that exercise has a direct effect on brain health and can provide a variety of benefits. Here are some of the most common benefits of physical exercise on brain health:

Reduces Stress– When we exercise regularly, our norepinephrine levels increase, which helps regulate the way our brain reacts to stress. Ultimately, exercise allows us to cope with both mental and physical stress in healthy ways.

Improves Mood– You might have heard that exercise is a natural mood booster. Exercising for just 30 minutes a day can release endorphins, which can help boost your mood while also decreasing the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Increases Confidence– As we exercise and begin to grow and build muscle, it’s natural to feel a sense of confidence, which can carry over into many different aspects of our lives.

Prevents Cognitive Decline– Although research is limited, some studies have suggested that exercise can help keep blood flowing to the brain, which can reduce the risk of damage or deterioration. Some research has suggested that white matter fibers, which are associated with brain function, are less likely to deteriorate with consistent exercise. Other researchers believe that aerobic exercise can help slow the shrinkage of the hippocampus, which controls our memory.

Increases Creativity– You might notice feeling sharper and clear-headed after physical activity. Exercise can make us feel more alive and help spark our sense of creativity.

Decreases The Risk of Dementia– As we exercise, we decrease our chances of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression, all of which are linked to dementia.

Physical Exercises for the Brain

Any type of exercise will allow you to reap the benefits of physical activity for the brain. Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated! If you don’t know where to start, you might consider one of these three simple exercises:

• Walking will increase your heart rate, allow blood and oxygen to flow to the brain, and release mood-boosting endorphins. Walking is also great for mental health, especially for those who have a hard time de-stressing and relaxing. After a 30-minute walk, you might notice feeling less agitated.

• Dancing requires our brains and bodies to communicate with each other. Remembering choreography might take some practice, but it can also help our brains stay sharp.

• Swimming or other water-based activities are great for older adults who experience joint and muscle pain. Water activities are low impact and can decrease the chance of injury.

Protecting the Brain through Exercise at Maplewood Senior Living

Health is one of our top priorities at Maplewood Senior Living. Each of our communities offers group-led physical activities that are designed to pose a challenge while also prevent injury for all residents. We know exercise can be powerful, that’s why we encourage all of our residents to get moving! To learn more about our offerings, please contact us here.

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 way the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides 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 peace of mind.
• Improves and Maintains Quality of Life- Isolation and loneliness affect 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 special 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 the 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 predominant 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 prospective 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 is often a top priority for Continuing Care Retirement Communities. Many facilities offer a wide variety of activities like a 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, meal 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 in our communities all over the country. If you’re interested in learning more, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Tips for Boosting Your Immunity

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

Symptoms of a Weak Immune System

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ways to Strengthen Immunity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simple Recipes from Our Chefs

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

Chef David Simmonds provided his Booster Smoothie recipe:

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

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

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

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

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

Chef Giovanni Maffei provided his Mango Pudding recipe:

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

Enjoy a Healthy Lifestyle at Maplewood Senior Living

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

Home Exercises for Seniors

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

Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

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

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

How to Exercise at Home for Seniors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live an Active Lifestyle at Maplewood Senior Living

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