Next up in our Aging Well Series is a topic many older adults easily overlook, as it’s not typically a top-of-mind area related to health and well-being. Yes, nutrition and exercise are critical to the equation, but just as important is a focus on play. Aging well is, in large part, about maximizing one’s quality of life—and what level of quality can there be if you’re not actually enjoying it?
Searching for the right assisted living community for your loved one can feel like climbing a mountain, especially if you’re new to the process. It’s an important decision, and one you’re unlikely to take lightly, as the community you choose will have a major impact on your loved one’s health, happiness, and financial outlook. Deciphering what differs one community from another and making essential considerations around issues like budget and value require a well-planned approach.
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Last month, we kicked off our Aging Well series to shed light on various aspects of optimizing one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being throughout their senior years. We began with a focus on good nutrition as an essential component of aging well, and we continue this month with nutrition’s go-to counterpart: exercise. Proper physical activity is vital to healthy aging, and it supports a wealth of benefits for seniors who incorporate this aspect into their daily lives.
Aging is a natural process, one that comes with its fair share of changes and challenges—not the least of which include those related to memory. Plenty of older adults joke about having “senior moments” when they forget something or lose focus. And truthfully, some forgetfulness and lapses in memory are to be expected with age.
The term “aging well” can mean various things to various people, but it generally revolves around the idea of optimizing one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being throughout their senior years. Because a number of factors contribute to this overall sense of well-being, we’re going to dive into the topic more deeply by highlighting a different aspect each month. Today, we begin with the ever-important element of nutrition.
Pets are those loyal companions who bring joy and meaning to the lives of those around them. From traditional pets, like dogs and cats, to other varieties including birds, rabbits, and more, there’s simply nothing quite like the feeling of bonding with an animal. It is for these obvious reasons that many seniors enjoy living with or spending time with pets. But did you know there are some unexpected benefits to pet interaction, particularly for seniors facing memory struggles such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia?
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can have one of the most tragic effects on a senior’s life: stealing their precious memories. There is, however, one key brain area that goes relatively undamaged in the process, and that is musical memory. A senior’s memories linked to music may be largely preserved, even for those in highly progressed stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
If you’ve felt the strain of a long, dark winter, you’re probably ready to embrace the promise of spring. March may roar in like a lion, but it goes out like a lamb—bringing us the renewed warmth of extended sunshine and a gentler forecast.
In many parts of the country, this winter has already proven to be a challenging one. With record cold temperatures and blizzards already on the books, the season of snow and ice has made its presence known. During times like these, it’s critical for seniors to be aware of the risks associated with hypothermia, and how to avoid these dangers. Here are some important insights about how hypothermia can endanger unsuspecting seniors and what you can do to prevent it.
One of the most prominent challenges for seniors living with Alzheimer’s is consistently remembering to take their medication—in the exact prescribed dosages and at the correct times. Depending on an individual’s specific physical and mental health needs, there’s likely to be a number of different medications to manage, with quantities and/or physician directives changing as the senior’s circumstances change. Ultimately, this process can become a highly complex one, and handling it properly is absolutely critical to a senior’s health and well-being.
Staying active during the winter months is essential for keeping a healthy lifestyle as you age. Winter makes it easy to pull the covers over your head and pretend you can sleep all day. But, if you take advantage of these fun activities, staying active in the winter will be the last thing on your mind.
In many parts of the country, winter’s chill is forcefully gripping the air. The next few months will urge the majority of us inside to keep warm and avoid the discomforts of colder weather. For seniors, the prospect of facing a snowy, icy, or otherwise freezing climate can be a daunting one. But these conditions are even more hazardous for those living with dementia, as the bite of winter often presents a number of heightened risks to their physical and mental health.
It’s a new year, and many of us have begun to bring our resolutions to life. From new exercise routines and healthier eating habits to relationship-building efforts and work-life balance, there are fresh goals popping up everywhere. It’s a common time to rethink the areas of our lives where progress can be made and our realities can improve. Arguably, seniors are no exception to this phenomena, though we’re proposing a potentially unexpected aim for this particular group.
Winter is a great time to stay active and enjoy the outdoors. However, with cold weather and shorter days, it can be hard to find the motivation to do so. Whether you’re a senior citizen looking for a way to stay warm or just someone who wants some helpful ideas on staying active during this time of year, these 5 tips will help you stay happy and healthy this winter.
Often, the responsibility of caring for a senior involves navigating a precarious balancing act. From work and family life to the many activities associated with senior caregiving, there’s no shortage of priorities fighting for your attention. Then, here come the holidays—a time traditionally thought to bring joy and peace, but which usually makes the to-do list of a senior caregiver that much longer and more complex.
The possibility that a loved one may be developing Alzheimer’s disease or another memory impairment can feel overwhelming. With age, a reduction in cognitive ability naturally occurs, but more significant declines in memory are cause for concern. And if you’re already caring for someone with a progressive neurodegenerative condition, you understand how challenging it can be. Given the physical and emotional toll such a responsibility can begin to take on a caregiver, it’s no surprise that many begin to seek out options for support.
As parents and aging loved ones transition into their senior years, there may be health and lifestyle challenges that eventually make living on their own an unsafe or impractical option. This doesn’t mean they can no longer maintain a sense of independence or live life to the fullest. It simply means that having access to a higher level of care is what makes sense at that time.
About one in every four seniors falls at least once a year, and the occurrence is even more common among those with memory and cognitive decline. With Alzheimer’s, for example, impairments in vision, perception, and balance increase as the disease progresses, making the risk of a fall that much more probable.
As the weather cools and the warm, brilliant hues of Autumn begin to cover the landscape, our thoughts automatically run to pumpkins, apples, and spice from lattes to donuts we begin to crave, and can't wait to indulge in the abundance of the season. Some people believe that the cooling temperature means it is time for seniors to head indoors and pull out the puzzles, knitting kits, and other forms of indoor entertainment. But not so fast. There is still more fun to be had outside. The fall is an opportune time for seniors to get out and enjoy outdoor recreations. Let explore a few.
In a recent post, we explored The Truth About Play & Why It’s Not Just for Children, detailing how the practice of play impacts the human mind, body, and soul—and why it’s so important for seniors to engage in play regularly. From neurology to physiology and psychology, the benefits of play for seniors are clear and present, which is why this topic has become such a popular one. But as people age, they often lose their sense of play and its priority in their lives. Here, we’re exploring 10 inspiring ways to help seniors reignite their sense of play and find the fun again.
“For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment.” This powerful quote comes from the well-known book, Man’s Search for Meaning, by the revered Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl. It touches on the human nature of finding purpose and meaning in one’s life—a challenge that can become more elusive as we age. In one of our recent articles, we discussed The Undeniable Link Between Having Purpose & Aging Well, which explored some of the fundamental reasons why it’s important for seniors to stay connected to their sense of purpose.
There’s no shortage of reasons why older adults have a difficult time maintaining a strong connection to their inner purpose. With career goals set squarely in the rearview mirror and an empty nest on the road ahead, it’s no surprise that many seniors begin to lose some sense of purpose in their day-to-day lives. But research has shown that seniors with a sense of purpose are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, mild cognitive impairment, disabilities, heart attacks, and strokes, and are more likely to live longer than people without this kind of underlying motivation.
In childhood, play is practically a way of life. It’s how kids relate to one another, how they spend their free time, how they discover the world around them. As we age, however, play seems to become less and less of a focus in our everyday lives. Work and responsibility begin to take center stage, and play is often relegated to a tiny corner of our minds. The truth is play remains as valuable and important as ever, regardless of age. In fact, learning to reprioritize play can bring about major benefits for seniors in terms of health and wellbeing.
Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about the importance of human connection in seniors’ lives. Socialization seems to be a major gateway to overall health and a longer lifespan, and curating a sense of community can have immense benefits with regard to a senior’s ability to thrive. One interesting byproduct of this human connection piece is the opportunity for laughter.
Heart disease continues to rank as the number-one cause of death in the United States, impacting millions of Americans every year. And if you think you don’t have to be concerned about issues like cholesterol once you hit a certain age, think again. People age 65 and older are much more likely to suffer a heart attack, have a stroke, or develop heart disease and heart failure. Heart disease is also a major cause of disability, meaning it can limit one’s activity and significantly erode a senior’s quality of life.
United Methodist Homes (UMH) was a winner in the 30th Annual National Mature Media Awards Program. The program, presented by the Mature Market Resource Center, a national clearinghouse for the senior market, recognizes the nation’s best marketing, communications, educational materials, and programs designed and produced for older adults.
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common degenerative neurological disorder (after Alzheimer’s disease), affecting an estimated one percent of the population over the age of 60. With upwards of one million Americans living with Parkinson’s, it’s become a critical area of research and study and a particularly relevant topic for seniors. Many living with the disease or concerned about a future diagnosis wonder about whether it’s possible to minimize symptoms and/or progression through lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise.
It’s been just about a year and a half since the pandemic first reared its ugly head and began reshaping the “normal” we’d been accustomed to living. Now, with vaccine distribution in full swing, as well as declining numbers of severe illnesses from COVID, we’re seeing the beginnings of recovery from such a challenging time in our lives.
Estate Planning can be a complex but critically important process to ensure your wishes and that of your loved ones are honored. If you missed the recent webinar presented by Attorney Denise Mortati, here are the highlights!
There’s no shortage of challenges seniors face when it comes to staying connected to the larger community. From diminished mobility and lack of transportation options to the inevitable loss of family and friends in their social circle, it can be difficult to maintain a strong base of human relationships and a wide sense of community. But these aspects of a senior’s life are critical to healthy aging and the capacity to thrive.
As we age, changes are happening in many different areas of our bodies, and the brain is no exception. Research tells us that certain parts of the brain shrink, particularly those critical to learning and other complex mental activities. Inflammation may increase in response to injury or disease, and communication between neurons in certain areas of the brain may not be as effective. These types of changes result in potential impacts on cognitive function, even for healthy seniors.
The housing market is booming. After a year of pandemic-style living, it seems homes are flying off real estate listings in a matter of hours—that’s if they even make it there at all. Mortgages reached historic lows, and the demand for housing is at an all-time high. In fact, the National Association of Realtors recently reported the median sales price of homes to be up over 17 percent since last year.
As people age, the relationships they forge and maintain with friends become more important than ever. Having people to connect with socially and personally isn’t just fun; it’s actually fundamental to promoting a healthy lifestyle throughout the aging process. And while certain transitions and circumstances at this stage of life can make creating and sustaining active friendships more challenging, there’s no denying that these special bonds are instrumental for seniors.
Over the last 30+ years, the field of interpersonal neurobiology has emerged as a framework for studying the effects of relationships on the human mind and body. It’s an area focused on the fundamental role of human connection in our lives. Whereas important aspects of physical and mental health, like diet and exercise, have long been recognized as leading contributors to a long and healthy life, many researchers, scientists, and medical professionals are now acknowledging interpersonal relationships as an undeniable influence on living and aging well.
At least 14 million Americans aged 65 and older live with diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes, according to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ranked as the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, this disorder involves difficulty processing sugars from food, which can lead to dangerous levels of sugar in the blood. Diabetes is particularly concerning for the senior population, who are at increased risk for specific complications.
Guilt, by any measure, is one of the most difficult feelings senior caregivers face when transitioning a loved one from home to a care facility. Family members who find themselves up against this decision do not typically go into it lightly, often laboring over the question of what’s best for the senior in their life. Many times, the move is dictated by unforeseen circumstances or newly emerged medical conditions that make it impractical to care for the loved one at home. Whatever the case, both the decision and the logistics of placement can leave a caregiver riddled with an overwhelming sense of guilt.
According to The State of Mental Health and Aging in America, an estimated 20% of people aged 55 years or older experience some type of mental health concern. The most common conditions include anxiety, severe cognitive impairment, and mood disorders like depression, which is the most prevalent mental health problem among older adults. Depression can result in personal distress and suffering, as well as impairments in physical, mental, and social functioning.
If you read our last blog article, The Secret to Health & Longevity That’s Too Important to Miss , you are familiar with the concept of “The Village Effect.” This metaphor for how human connection significantly impacts our minds and bodies points to the powerful link between socialization and lifespan. It’s an incredible concept supported by studies in social neuroscience, and it makes the case for just how important human connection is in the life of a senior.
It could be argued that no widespread experience has shed greater light on the universal need for face-to-face contact and personal connection than the global pandemic. Amidst this seismic threat to public health, people around the world have been rattled by overwhelming fear, stress and social isolation. For many, this reality has been accompanied by an unmistakable appreciation and longing for the kind of interaction that used to mark our everyday lives before the onset of COVID.
There are simply some factors impacting Alzheimer’s and its severity that are completely out of our control, including those like age and genetics. There are others, however, over which we have a great deal of influence, and one of the most prominent is nutrition. Advances in science and research have suggested that a person’s diet can have a significant impact on their ability to think and remember as they age.
Stress doesn’t discriminate based on generation, and no matter what’s going on in a senior’s life, there’s potential for them to suffer from the physical and emotional effects of stress. Circumstances like illness, loss of a loved one, loss of independence, a strained relationship, a move or other difficult changes to their daily life could be major contributors to stress. Learning how to understand and identify that stress is critical to working through it or supporting the senior in your life as they experience it.
Staying Safe, Healthy, and Engaged During The Pandemic – The UMH Way July 27, 2021 Life for residents at United Methodist Homes has begun to return to “normal” with high vaccination rates among our residents and our staff. With the continued threat of the Delta variant, we remain diligent in our commitment to our infection control safety protocols as well as screening every person who enters our buildings. The screening entails a temperature check and questionnaire to determine if an individual has symptoms or has participated in an activity that would put our treasured residents and dedicated staff at risk. Families are welcome to visit with the residents in the community or invite them to their homes. Residents are encouraged to gather together for meaningful programs, activities, events, and entertainment. They dine with friends in our Dining Rooms, they visit each other in their apartments, take trips to the beach, local restaurants, and much more! They have resumed trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, and other destinations to run errands. Our residents are able to live their best lives! Anyone who is unvaccinated must continue to wear a mask at all times when inside the community or when interacting with residents. As additional precautions, all our communities follow the recommendations of the Connecticut Department of Public Health and CDC and continue to maintain ample supplies of PPE and COVID tests, if needed. Please check out our Facebook pages to learn more about how UMH residents are thriving. December 2020 At UMH communities, we have been and continue to be dedicated to keeping our residents safe, healthy, and engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every member of our team is committed to the highest level of infection control protocols. Equally important is their dedication to keeping residents engaged in life and connected with each other and their loved ones. Top Reason New Residents are Choosing to Move In During the COVID-19 Pandemic To be HEALTHY – Vaccinations are on their way and residents in our Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing sites are at the top of the list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine! According to the State of Connecticut distribution plan, our residents and staff are considered a top priority. For this we are grateful. During the pandemic, our residents continue to get three, healthy, home-cooked, and delicious meals each day. They have the choice of socially distanced dining in our Dining Rooms or room service if they prefer. Residents receive personal care in their apartments by staff who are tested for COVID on a regular basis and follow all infection control processes. To be HAPPY – Social interactions are the key to good health. Many have struggled living at home, isolated from friends and family. According to a Gallup Poll, people need 6-7 hours of social interaction each day. This is not possible for many seniors living at home but is much more attainable in a UMH community. Socially distanced programs are held throughout the day and in the evening. Whether you are interested in painting, book discussion groups, live entertainment, fitness, or games, we have systems in place to keep residents healthy. Face masks are provided to all residents, and the staff keeps residents safe by wearing not only face masks but in many instances, face shields. We have an abundance of PPE and sanitizer available at all times. To be SAFE – Our infection control protocols are designed to mitigate risks associated with COVID-19. Every person entering the building goes through a health screening. Visitation with family and friends is handled in such a way to encourage human interaction while staying safe. Even during times of quarantine, residents stay active and engaged with visits from staff, one-on-one programs, or activities via our in-house TV channel where available. We help them maintain virtual connections with their loved ones to keep the lines of communication open. To have SOMEONE KNOW THEY ARE OKAY – Trained care staff are on-site 24-hours a day, available to check in on residents to make sure they are okay. Staff are available in the event of an emergency or just some small talk if a resident is looking for some company. Family and loved ones have peace of mind knowing the residents are being well cared for, both physically and emotionally. They receive regular communication from our leadership team that is transparent. If there are changes to our protocols, families are in the loop and know what to expect. Good relationships are critical during times such as these. December 8, 2020 The COVID-19 pandemic has caused distress and hardship for all of us, but seniors and those who care for them have been most severely impacted. At United Methodist Homes, we are breathing a sigh of relief that vaccinations are on the horizon. In the coming days, our community Administrators and Executive Directors will be sharing more information regarding the vaccination process with you, as more details emerge. New information about the vaccine continues to develop each day and plans for distribution are expected to continue to evolve as the situation develops. Currently, it is anticipated there will be three phases of vaccine distribution starting with the First Phase as soon as the vaccine is received. The First Phase will include healthcare workers, long-term care facility and assisted living residents. Those residents and staff, residing or working in our nursing homes or assisted living communities at United Methodist Homes will be included in this First Phase. Independent living residents in the Wesley Village Cottages may be included in the Second Phase to be delivered between January and May. Our skilled nursing facility (Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation Center) has already been notified that vaccinations should occur between December 22nd and December 28th and we expect similar notifications for other communities in the coming days. Each community will be managing the collection of required consents prior to the arrival of vaccinations. We understand you may have questions about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. Please click to review the information provided by The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine through our pharmacy vendor, Omnicare. We will continue to share additional information as it becomes available. If you have additional questions, please reach out to the Administrator or the Executive Director of your community. We are hopeful that vaccinations will begin the process of healing from the COVID crisis. It is important to understand that the vaccination process will take months, and we will continue our infection control practices as guided by CDC and the State of Connecticut through the process. Sincerely, David M. Lawlor President & CEO, United Methodist Homes July 24, 2020 At UMH, our top priority is the safety and well-being of the residents who live in our communities while finding new and creative ways to keep them active, engaged and connected with each other and their loved ones during these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic. The requirements of social distancing and PPE do not get in the way of us living our mission and continuing to focus on relationships and encouraging our residents to live lives full of meaning and purpose. Important Changes In order to keep COVID-19 at bay, all UMH communities conduct Infection Control Rounding each day to monitor the goings-on in the community to ensure that staff and residents alike are adhering to proper safety measures. Every person who enters one of our buildings is required to have their temperature taken and complete a Health and Travel Questionnaire. An Executive Order from the office of Governor Lamont mandates weekly COVID-19 testing of all nursing home patients and staff. It is mandated for assisted living staff who have not previously tested positive for COVID-19. All testing will continue until no new-onset positives are found for at least 14 days since the most recent positive result. As new information is learned about the virus, we consult our team of clinical experts and adhere to the advice from the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and make adjustments to our protocols as necessary. Resident Life Our communities are offering many programs throughout the day for residents to participate in either virtually or in-person with proper social distancing. Residents are enjoying exercise classes, musical entertainment, word & trivia games, themed snacks & traveling happy hour carts, fashion shows, and of course, Bingo. Residents are encouraged to visit with each other and take walks around our beautiful property while wearing their face masks and practicing proper social distancing. Families are now enjoying outdoor visits with their loved ones in areas specifically dedicated to this purpose. Maintaining emotional connections with loved ones is critical for good mental health, especially now. We have begun the process of opening the Dining Rooms in some of our communities. Residents continue to have the option of receiving top-notch room service with healthy and delicious entrées and snacks, delivered to their apartment with a smile by our staff. Additionally, some residents have opted to take advantage of our outdoor dining venues. On-site physicians and other care providers such as podiatrists and therapists are now permitted in community spaces that accommodate the need for social distancing. This is a great benefit to our residents who have concerns about going to medical appointments off-site. We have assisted residents with telehealth appointments and will continue to do so as they request this service. We are offering transportation to medical appointments for those requiring an in-person visit. Some communities have also begun offering scenic drives for a change of scenery. We are continuing to work with prospective residents and their families by conducting virtual tours and moving new residents into our communities. Please reach out to a member of our marketing team if you would like to schedule your tour. We appreciate all the kind and supportive words from our residents, families, and friends and ask for your continued understanding as we navigate this evolving situation. Wishing you good health, David M. Lawlor President & CEO, United Methodist Homes March 19, 2020 We understand you may be concerned about the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 and how it may impact the UMH communities. Ensuring residents are cared for in a safe and healthy environment is our top priority. We are taking all the recommended precautions and appreciate your help and understanding as we manage the risks presented by COVID-19. Please know we receive regular guidance from the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), United States Center for Medicare Services (“CMS”), and the Connecticut Department of Health (“DPH”).
While the pandemic wages on and we edge closer to one full year of the often overwhelming threat of COVID-19, some things remain steady as ever—like the clockwork transition from one season to the next. As the onset of blustery, cold weather kicks into high gear, many seniors and their loved ones are challenged to maintain a strong focus on safety and social distancing, all without succumbing to the potentially harmful effects of social isolation, cabin fever and boredom.
With holiday spirits and festivities in full force, there’s a great deal of focus on the sweets and treats that make the season bright. It can be tempting to overindulge in the many tasty desserts that typically grace our tables this time of year. Although it’s often a challenge to keep one’s health and nutrition in mind while enjoying the tasty pleasures of the holidays, it’s especially important for seniors to prioritize healthy habits and manage appropriate levels of sugar, salt and fat.
Some of the first images that come to mind when thinking about the holidays are those so-called sugar plums dancing in our heads. From stuffed turkeys and sweet potato pies to rich side dishes and sweet treats, there’s a seemingly endless array of festive delights to tempt the taste buds. While it’s fine to indulge in seasonal savories from time to time, it’s also important for seniors to keep their health and nutrition in check.
Approximately one third of seniors are lonely, according to the most recent National Poll on Healthy Aging. Notably, this poll was conducted before the onset of a global pandemic that spurred dramatic protocol for social distancing and self-isolation. Spread-prevention measures have brought on an even more severe state of loneliness for people of all ages, but especially for older adults, who are already at high risk of experiencing these types of feelings.
It’s completely natural for seniors to experience some changes in their sense of taste. In fact, many have lost about two thirds of their overall taste buds by age 70, impacting their sensitivity to tastes like sweet and salty. Certain medications and medical conditions can also diminish a senior’s taste, causing some foods to seem bland. That’s why it’s common for seniors to overcompensate with higher intakes of sugar and salt.
Nutritional needs are finicky things. As we age, our bodies change, our appetites transform and our health requirements evolve. In response to these adjustments, some seniors face unintentional weight loss or experience other dietary realities that put their overall health at risk. Therefore, seniors must be extra vigilant about what and how often they eat.
Autumn is arriving, and with it comes the rush of thoughts about upcoming holidays, changing temperatures and what’s in store for winter this year. There’s no doubt some of this unknown will be faced with anxiety about how to plan for the next several months. In particular, many seniors and their loved ones worry about how to handle any necessary quarantine measures.
As each calendar day ticks by, we’re reminded again and again how deeply the coronavirus has impacted every single one of us. For months, we’ve scrambled to discover new ways of coping, new ways of living and working, new ways of defining “normal” in so many aspects of our lives. Unsurprisingly, these challenges have triggered a range of emotions, from fear and anxiety to sadness, loneliness and stress. If you (or a senior in your life) are struggling with these types of feelings, it’s important to prioritize your mental health and take advantage of opportunities to enhance your personal well-being.
The aging process is an interesting one for sure. And like any other phase of life, one’s golden years are accompanied by unique ups and downs, joys and sorrows, moments of anxiety and moments of peace. There are changes to mind, body and spirit. There are new things to learn and new opportunities to embrace. And while there’s no stopping the aging process, there’s much that can be done to live your senior years with the utmost satisfaction and enjoyment. In most cases, this journey is best supported by a healthy approach to diet and nutrition.
When you’re caring for an aging loved one, it’s easy to get caught up in the self-defeating inner dialogue that’s tied to feelings of guilt.
Many adults who are navigating the nuances of their golden years can experience a sense of loss in terms of engagement with activities that fill their days with purpose. What they may not be considering is that this stage in a person’s life is often the ideal time to take up a new hobby. From physical benefits to mental and emotional health advantages, engaging in an enjoyable hobby can offer seniors immense meaning and value. As you acknowledge this reality and begin to think about what hobbies pique your interest as well as meet your individual needs, you might defer to senior staples like gardening, knitting and painting. And while these are certainly excellent choices if they suit your particular fancy, there are also some lesser-known options you may never have considered before.
As seniors look forward to summertime after the long, dreary months of winter’s chill, the idea of having to continue social distancing may feel incredibly disappointing. In the midst of a global pandemic, safety remains a primary concern for older adults who face increased risk in contracting the virus. But the cancellation of community gatherings and in-person events doesn’t have to be devastating. There is still a host of fun and energizing summertime activities for seniors to enjoy even as they remain safely socially distant. It’s more important than ever for older adults to stay physically and mentally healthy. The change of season is a perfect time to capitalize on the socially distant activities—both indoors and out—that put a swing back in your step, or that of an aging loved one.
Caregivers are called upon to do so much, continually giving of themselves in any number of ways. Many are sandwiched between the needs of their elderly, dependent parents and the responsibilities of tending to their children who haven’t yet left the nest. In the midst of balancing this complex family life with a potential career, there’s often very little time and energy devoted to caring for themselves. But when the caregiver neglects their own needs, they risk some highly detrimental outcomes, not the least of which is physical, mental and emotional burnout. According to the most recent Caregiving in the U.S. study, conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and the AARP Public Policy Institute:
It goes without saying that, on the whole, technology is more readily adopted and easily navigated by younger generations—those who were born into the computer age and grew up with smartphones at their fingertips. But it’s also true that, now more than ever, technology has emerged as essential to people spanning every age group, in one way or another. Thanks to ongoing advancements in mobile technology and user-friendly interfaces, seniors are quickly becoming a much larger demographic of users.
If you’ve been keeping up with our latest series on social isolation, you understand that the senior population faces increased risk to their physical, mental and, emotional well-being during our current global health crisis. Part 1 of this series introduced some of the triggers that can cause an unhealthy level of loneliness for you or the senior in your life, while Part 2 offered specific ideas for prevention and mitigation. In this final installment, we’re delving into the critical role technology plays in fighting the isolation felt by so many seniors throughout this time of social distancing.
In our last post, Social Isolation Series, Part 1: Identifying Triggers for Loneliness in Seniors, we introduced the need to address some of the most pressing challenges facing seniors during the current global health crisis and widespread isolation measures. With acute loneliness endangering both the mental and physical health of older adults, it’s important to focus on getting the information you and your loved ones need to navigate this difficulty effectively.
In this unprecedented time of concern that stems from a global health crisis, the need (and, in many cases, the mandate) to self-isolate and practice strict social distancing has taken a major toll on mental health for people in every category of age, gender, social status and geography. We’ve all been impacted by the pandemic in one way or another, and for many, the most prominent effect has been an overwhelming feeling of loneliness.
As a primary caregiver for an aging parent or loved one, it’s easy to get so caught up in meeting their needs and managing all of the responsibilities that you neglect your own mental and physical well-being. The demands of being a caregiver can become extremely overwhelming, taking a toll on your mind, body and emotional state. Without proper awareness and a balanced approach to this lifestyle, you may find yourself suffering the effects of caregiver burnout.
Feeling like the senior in your life has slowly slumped into a daily rut? It’s certainly common for elderly adults to develop a routine that eventually dulls their spirit and negatively impacts their physical and mental health. But there’s good news: You can introduce a whole host of stimulating activities to help improve your aging loved one’s quality of life.
People aged 65 and older are much more likely than younger people to suffer a heart attack, have a stroke or develop coronary heart disease and heart failure, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institute on Aging (NIH). Heart disease is the number-one cause of death in the United States, and the NIH indicates that it’s a major cause of disability, which can limit activity and erode quality of life for millions of seniors.
It is all too common for seniors to experience feelings of sadness and loneliness during the cold and dark winter months. If you or an aging loved one are finding it difficult to overcome the winter blues this season, you are certainly not alone. With less daylight, declining temperatures and the dangers associated with getting out during periods of snow and ice, it’s no wonder so many seniors undergo the effects of cabin fever and other mood-depleting factors.
It is never too late to help your aging loved one focus on their cognitive health and improve their brain function. While it’s certainly true that age plays a major role in the decline of memory and other cognitive abilities, studies show there are proven ways to work on maintaining and enhancing these capabilities at any age.
As temperatures drop and colder weather settles in for the season, it can be easy to slip into a state of boredom. For seniors, in particular, it’s important to head off the winter blues with an array of enjoyable events and activities. Staying engaged and active is a critical component of maintaining positive health and well-being in the later years of life.
For lots of us, the holidays are a time of immense joy and excitement. From the sounds of spirited carols to the smells and sights of longstanding holiday traditions, there’s much to celebrate during this special season.
The calendar doesn’t need to be turned to December for you to enjoy holiday or winter-themed movies! These feel-good flicks are great to put on any time, especially for seniors in assisted living communities. A movie marathon is one of many great winter activities. Here’s our list of favorite holiday movies for seniors.
Do you or a senior loved one need to find a memory care community? Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia have specific needs that often can’t be met when they live at home. Fortunately, memory care communities are designed specifically for those seniors’ needs in mind.
Are you considering making the move to a senior living community? For seniors who face memory or health challenges, it’s better to move to senior living now rather than putting the transition off. In fact, before you face physical challenges, you should consider making the move. Here are a few reasons it’s a smart decision to move to a senior living community as soon as possible.
As Wesley Village celebrates 50 years of superb senior care, our community reflects on its people. From our courageous patients and residents, their families, our employees, community members and our volunteers. Each person makes a significant difference in continuing a legacy of people caring for people.
The fall season brings changes. Changes in leaves, changes in weather and changes in activity. Many seniors get bogged down by the cooler weather and opt to stay inside during this time. Find out how to get outside with these local and affordable activities:
In the fall, leaves change color, temperatures get cooler, and pumpkins are harvested. The change of season offers new activities like apple and pumpkin picking, visits to local farms, delicious treats, and spending time outdoors with family and loved ones. Here are 5 activities for seniors to enjoy in Hartford County.
Spirituality can be celebrated in many ways. In senior living communities, religious and spiritual services are included in campus calendars and are an important aspect of residents’ daily lives. Communities offer on-site church, prayer and reflection services that encourage many residents to get involved and meet others who share common beliefs. Memorial services honor those who have passed by praying, singing hymns, and offering words of comfort to family and loved ones. Wesley Village honors religious and spiritual wellness by offering on-site prayer and memorial services, rosary prayer groups, prayer shawl ministries, and a special campus Chaplain, Cathy Nickse.
With warm weather and time in the sun, staying hydrated is challenging for everyone, especially seniors but many don’t realize they can become dehydrated at any time during the year. Dehydration is a common cause of hospitalization, especially in the summer months. Although the warm season is a time to be on guard for dehydration, this could be a potential risk at any time of the year. That’s why it’s so important to keep an eye out for signs of dehydration in yourself if you’re a senior, or in a parent or senior loved one, if you’re a caregiver.
Are you wondering what type of senior living community is right for your loved one? The choice between memory care and assisted living is one that many families struggle to make. Is your loved one simply forgetful or do they have a greater need for memory care and assistance? There are many signs to look out for and questions to ask yourself to determine if a memory care community is a right decision for your loved one.
Senior living communities thrive on providing residents with positive culinary experiences. Every detail down to the silverware and plating is taken into consideration when creating each dish. The residents in these communities receive three chef-prepared meals in comfortable dining rooms. On average, Wesley Village serves 12,000 meals a year to our resident and patient population.
Summer is a great season to spend time with family and friends, and there are plenty of fun and affordable activities seniors can enjoy. If you’re looking for fun ways to pass the time and make memories this summer, here are a few activities you should put on the calendar.
Summer is the perfect season to spend a little time outdoors. One of the best summer activities is visiting the wonderful local ice cream shops the Newington and Farmington, CT areas have to offer. This is a great option for seniors whose families are visiting or even those who want a nice day out to enjoy the fresh air. Here are some of the must-visit ice cream shops seniors in central Connecticut should try.
Summer is the perfect time to get some sun and have a tasty, frozen treat. Luckily, if you’re a senior living in the Shelton, Connecticut area, you have plenty of delicious ice cream spots to try! Here are five of the best ice cream shops seniors should visit in the Shelton, CT area.
Cost is a major concern families consider when it’s time to move a senior loved one into assisted living. While you might be able to pinpoint upfront costs, like the monthly rent in a community, there are other costs that you may not anticipate. Here are some unexpected expenses your family should plan for before moving your senior loved one into an assisted living community.
Moving your loved one to assisted living is a huge transition that comes with a lot of questions. If this is your first time searching for senior living options, you might not even know where to start. Fortunately, staff members at assisted living communities work with families every single day to ensure their parent or senior loved one is in the right environment for their needs. And, it’s likely that some of the questions you have are pretty common. Here are a few of the most common questions senior living experts are commonly asked, along with the answers we’re happy to share.
If your parent or aging loved one has recently experienced an injury, illness, or major surgery, you suddenly have all these worries about where they will live and how you will care for them. Selecting the best housing option for a parent in this situation can feel complicated or confusing. When you’re starting out your search for senior living, you’ll find that there are a number of options, making your decision even harder.
Moving out of your home and into a senior living community comes with a lot of big changes and adjustments. However this can be an exciting time if you choose a community that’s a good fit for your needs.
As your loved one gets older, the risks and downsides of them living on their own increase. Your first thought may be to ask them to move into your home, but this isn’t always the best senior care option for every family. Before you make any decisions about moving your parent or senior loved one into your home, consider the pros and cons of this option first.
Before your parent or senior loved one is ready to move into an assisted living community, you need to consider the costs associated with this option. Many families have no idea what to expect in terms of the monthly assisted living costs, especially if this is the first time you’re going through the process.
Has a senior loved one struggled to recall the name of an old friend or remember the street that their first house was located on? Little facts like these can be a challenge for seniors to remember as they get older. If someone you love faces memory challenges, don’t worry. There are steps they can take to keep their minds active and improve memory functions. Explore the best activities and cognitive games for seniors that will help their minds stay sharp.
Love is a many-splendored thing… In our UMH senior living communities, Valentine’s Day can never come and go without the sharing of stories – love stories, of course. And who doesn’t love a good love story, right? In this article, residents from our communities share their lifelong love stories and a bit of advice, as well. We hope they will inspire you – and warm your heart this Valentine’s day!
Just to be clear, there is no single definition for “assisted living” when it comes to the services and care a community will provide.
Navigating the senior living process can be a huge challenge for families. With so many options and so many different communities to consider (all at different price points), how can you be sure your family is making the best choice? As you look at different senior housing options in Connecticut, keep in mind that the right option for one senior might not be the right option for another.
Do you have some questions about assisted living before you consider helping your parent make the move? Explore the answers to some frequently asked questions about assisted living in Connecticut.
It’s that time of year. Snow, holidays, baking, and presents. While many people love the winter months, the cold, snowy, icy weather can pose a number of challenges for seniors, especially if they still live in their own homes.
Planned giving is an excellent way to remember those organizations and charities that have meaning or are special to you and your family. Gifts can be made while you are living or after you are deceased, and can be made from wills, trusts, annuities, retirement plans, or life insurance. Gifts can have a tremendous impact on the future of an organization or charity, enabling renovations and updates, expansion, and additional staff and services, just to name a few benefits.
While the holidays are typically associated with good cheer, they can also be stressful -- particularly for older seniors and the people who care for them. Let’s count down four tips designed to help caregivers and their loved ones embrace the spirit of the season and enjoy the true meaning of “Happy Holidays.”
Are you searching for memory care in Connecticut for a senior parent or loved one? Memory care is a highly specialized type of care that, while being perfect for some, isn’t for everyone. There’s a difference between a senior having forgetful moments and needing to be in a memory care facility. To learn a little bit more about what memory care is and what your options for memory care in CT are, let’s look at some of the questions we’re frequently asked.
Farmington, Connecticut has a lot to offer seniors, especially when it comes to dining options. If you’re looking for an assisted living community for yourself or a senior loved one, you want to be sure there’s plenty to do in the area you choose. And, just because you live in a senior living community doesn’t mean you have to eat there every day! You can still go out and enjoy all the exciting dining options a town has to offer.
What is assisted living? If you’re asking yourself this, you’re not alone. While it may seem like a basic question, it’s one that staff members at senior living communities are frequently asked. Between assisted living, nursing homes, retirement communities, and more, there are a lot of terms that are easy to confuse when you’re considering housing for a senior loved one. To find out if assisted living is right for your family member, you need to understand what this type of senior living entails and the level of care it can offer.
Most people use the terms “assisted living” and “nursing home” interchangeably. However, they offer two very different types of care. And depending on the needs of you or a senior parent, one option could be the right choice while the other could fail to meet specific needs. Before deciding between assisted living or a nursing home, you need to really understand how these two options differ. Let's look at what assisted living communities and nursing homes have to offer, and find out how to determine which one is best for you or your loved one.
Did you know smoking cigarettes kills more than 480,000 Americans each year, with more than 41,000 of these deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke? It’s true. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.” It’s no wonder a large number of organizations around the United States have banned tobacco products from their locations. In the healthcare industry specifically, with so much evidence of the negative effects of tobacco use, there has been a huge push to go tobacco free.
Did you know that 14% of Connecticut's population is made up of senior citizens? And, the number of citizens over 65 is expected to increase by 38% over the next 15 years! As more and more Connecticut citizens join the senior population, there’s never been a better time to focus on senior wellness. With a high senior population, there are plenty of opportunities for seniors to stay active. Whether your parent or a senior loved one lives at home or in an assisted living community, it’s really important for them to keep moving.
In today’s age, many seniors are living at home alone. Some may be thriving – they live independently, can cook, clean, drive, socialize and are as sharp as a tack. This is the ultimate goal: to stay in the family home for the rest of their life. However, the reality is that most seniors don’t thrive at home in their later years and although family members chip in and offer their assistance, the quality and consistency may lack. Medication management is something that should not be taken lightly, as it ensures the good health of your loved one. Sadly, without proper education and training, medications are often mismanaged, or dosages are skipped altogether. At assisted living communities, your loved one is guaranteed the care they need to thrive in their golden years. This article will break down the importance of senior medication management and options you have when it comes to care.
As a parent or loved one ages, a bad fall or a crisis may seem inevitable. In fact, every 11 seconds, a senior is admitted to the emergency room due to a fall-related injury, and every 19 minutes a senior dies due to a fall-related injury. And, according to the World Health Organization, “in the United States of America, 20–30% of older people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as bruises, hip fractures, or head trauma.” These are major risks you don’t want your parents to take with their health.
The 27th annual National Mature Media Awards recently honored the nation’s best marketing, communications, educational materials, and programs produced for older adults.
After a parent or loved one has a bad fall or faced a serious illness, they may be required to go through short-term rehabilitation. As part of the recovery process, it is common to consider a move to a more supportive living environment after they leave the rehab facility. This is the best option to keep their physical recovery on track. Transitioning to assisted living is a wise choice, both from a safety and a care perspective. As your parent’s time in a short-term rehab is coming to a close, you can start taking steps now to ensure transitioning to assisted living is an easy process.
A fall is traumatic, both for the senior who experiences the fall and the family who is scared and now faced with decisions about their loved one’s future care. If your parent is recovering in the hospital or a rehab facility, you’re probably eager to get them home and back on the road to the recovery. But, after a fall, transitioning to assisted living could be the best move for your loved one.
You’re overwhelmed and Mom or Dad needs more care than you can provide them as their cognitive health declines. You’re worried for their safety and you’re beginning to think it’s time to get outside help. Does this sound like you? It’s most likely time to start looking into senior care options, especially if your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
After looking at handful of potential homes for an aging loved one, all your options probably start to seem the same. However, each community is unique, with specific features that sets them apart. One difference you should pay attention to is whether a community is nonprofit or for-profit. This could have a huge impact on the experience your loved one has. Before you choose a community for our loved one, you need to learn more about how nonprofit and for-profit communities differ. Once you know more about these distinctions, you able to make the right decision for your loved one and your family.
Salty air, gently rocking boat, warm sunshine and the thrill of catching fish - sounds like life on the ocean! David Kruh, 3 year resident of Middlewoods of Farmington, spent most of his life on the Connecticut shoreline, having grown up in Old Saybrook. From an early age, he developed a love for fishing and the open water. Although David sometimes goes to Old Saybrook to fish with his brother, he admitted to staff members at Middlewoods of Farmington that he hadn’t been on a charter boat in a very long time. After hearing this, the Middlewoods Dream Team, led by Activities Director, Tanya Janeczko and Maintenance Director, Mike LaMere, worked to make David’s dream come true.
Are you dreading having the “assisted living” talk with your parent? Maybe you’ve already talked to them about moving into an assisted living community, and they were resistant to the idea. Leaving your home and moving into a whole new community can be uncomfortable and overwhelming for seniors, but in most cases, it’s the best way to promote their wellbeing.
Let’s face it. Your parent or loved one has been collecting things for a long time. And helping them to get rid of some of it may be a challenge — especially when the clock is ticking on their move to an assisted living community!
If life is truly about entertaining every possibility, Carmella Barone, 94, and Eileen Pastore, 91, are ready for excitement on any given day. These two ladies, both residents of Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation Center in Shelton, Connecticut, share a vibrant spirit, a young-at-heart attitude, and a love of gaming. Since moving to the award-winning healthcare community, neither of them have stopped talking about their dream to experience the night life at Mohegan Sun. Sure, they’ve taken day trips to the casino and enjoyed themselves, but these ladies are hoping for just a bit more. They both know that to really experience the excitement of Mohegan Sun, they need to stay awake a little later. After all, life is a late night out and an even later morning in, right?
You hear about Medicare and Medicaid a lot, on the news or from your family members or friends. But, if you’ve never had to draw from either program, you might not know how they differ. When people are looking for ways to pay for their senior loved one’s healthcare or assisted living expenses, Medicare and Medicaid could be beneficial sources of funding, depending on your needs. Explore this article to learn a little bit more about the differences between Medicare and Medicaid, who qualifies for program eligibility, and whether or not these programs could help cover your loved one’s healthcare expenses.
Happy Fourth of July! As we enjoy Independence Day, it’s important to remember that this day is SO much more than just a day off from work. Since 1776, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence. This national holiday is a symbol of patriotism and pride for all Americans, and while you enjoy your backyard barbecue, beach day, or fireworks, it’s important to remember who helped get us to where we are today – our veterans.
Trying to choose and afford a senior living community for your loved one can make your head spin. There are so many options and levels of care; how are you ever going to choose the right one?
Are you at a point where you’re no longer sure it’s best for your senior loved one to live at home? For many people, it’s a hard decision to relocate a parent or other loved one into a senior living community in Connecticut. But, when this is the best place for their needs to be met, the decision is much easier.
Through the award-winning Journey of Dreams program offered at UMH senior living communities, a committee of staff members have the opportunity to make residents’ lifelong dreams come true. Recently, the committee had the privilege of fulfilling Francis (Frank) Linden’s dream, who is in the unique position of being both an employee and a resident of Wesley Village. Frank comes from a small family, many of whom have passed. His father died was he was around 20 years old and his mother passed away 10 years later. Frank is an only child and he and Claudia never had children. Although his biological family is small, Frank has a close relationship with them and also with the co-workers he refers to fondly as his “work family.”
As an estate planning attorney, I have worked with many clients who do not know what a Power of Attorney is, and why they should execute one as part of their estate planning documents. In this post, I am happy to explain the ins and outs of this important document, and why it’s necessary to any estate plan, for those of all ages. I’ll also explain the difference between a financial Power of Attorney and a medical Power of Attorney.
When a family member is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, their life isn’t the only one that changes; your family members’ lives change, too. Caring for a loved one with these diagnoses is a huge challenge. As their symptoms progress, they become more and more dependent on care, which might be hard to manage if you work full time or live far away.
For Christmas, most families give their loved ones clothes, games, or sweets, but this Christmas, Don Walkley, a 92-year-old resident of Crosby Commons Assisted Living Community, received a 5,923 piece LEGO set of the Taj Mahal. Lining the shelves of his apartment are famous buildings Don’s built from intricate LEGO sets, including the White House, Eifel Tower, and the Lincoln Memorial, but none have compared in size to his new Taj Mahal display. Don’s family chipped in for Christmas and surprised him with the $300 puzzle and since December, Don has worked hours every day to complete the massive puzzle.
If you’re caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease, you know how challenging and delicate this stage of life can be. Although every person with Alzheimer’s has different needs, there are some steps you can take to make caring for them easier, from providing structure in their lives to changing your communication styles.
As you've most likely come to realize, the aging process is inevitable. Whether you're caring for a loved one or going through the process yourself, you've probably experienced some uncertainty and hesitation on how to handle this change.
Are you and your family members searching for the best senior housing option for a loved one? Preparing to make this monumental decision isn’t easy. You want to ensure your loved one is happy and healthy, but you also have other important factors to consider like price and care needs.
Planning for retirement and care for one’s later life can be hard to do. With so many possible costs and unexpected events, budgeting and saving money aren’t easy tasks. You never know how much money will be needed to afford senior living costs.
The slogan “home is always better” is often used by senior home care companies to tout their services and dismiss the benefits of senior living communities. But the truth is, home is not always better for older adults -- despite what savvy marketers want you to think. Let’s take a closer look at four reasons why the family home may not be the better fit for your aging loved one.
Are you or a loved one ready to make the move to assisted living but hesitating because the thought of downsizing is daunting? We understand! No one wants to get rid of their “stuff,” but when a move to assisted living is necessary, decluttering and downsizing is a must. In this resource, we break down helpful ways to downsize so you can successfully transition to your new home in a senior living community.
Marian Taylor, resident of Wesley Village, was born on March 26, 1922. Her father was a Methodist pastor and she moved about quite a bit as a child, living in various parsonages in parishes where her father was assigned. Marian had a happy childhood, though she was constantly changing schools and making new friends. This is the life she knew and it fit seamlessly with the role she would later assume as the wife of a Methodist pastor.
What makes a house a home? It's not the fancy furniture or shiny chandeliers, but the family who gathers there. At UMH senior living communities, our staff members are one of the main reasons why our residents feel so at home! By fostering caring relationships, staff play an essential role in helping our residents navigate the journey of aging - from the very first visit, to the day they move into our community and every day after that! Read our "Meet the Family" spotlight below to see how Gloria Bachorowski makes our residents' home such a special place....
Is it time for you or a senior loved one in your family to move into an assisted living community? There are a number of reasons it could be time to move, like healthcare needs or just the simple desire to enjoy retirement. While you may be ready to make the transition, you also want to be sure you can afford the type of senior living community you’re comfortable with.
Are you concerned about how you’re going to afford senior living for your loved one? If so, you’re not alone. Many families struggle with how to cover the costs of caring for their loved ones. Explore these five ways you can cover senior care costs for your loved one, while still ensuring they