Home Safety For Seniors

Posted by in Expert Advice, Research.

Safety at home is vitally important for seniors. Family members of senior loved ones often cite safety at home as a major factor when looking for assisted living arrangements, with concerns ranging from possible falls to the ability of the senior to operate home appliances safely. At Senior Lifestyle, we understand the concerns of family members as well as the need for the senior to retain as much independence as possible, so we’ve compiled some home safety tips to share.

FALLS

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one out of four seniors falls each year, with less than half of that number informing their doctor about the accident. While many falls don’t result in serious injury, one in five causes an injury such as a hip fracture or head injury. The CDC makes several recommendations for fall prevention:

  • Remove throw rugs and excess clutter like books and magazines from the floor, especially in high traffic areas. Be sure extension cords are secured and check for loose flooring that could present a trip hazard.
  • Be sure your home has adequate lighting; install bulbs that provide bright light with no glare. Automatic night lights are a great idea for nighttime trips to the bathroom or kitchen.
  • Install railings on both sides of stairs, as well as grab bars in the bathroom, both inside and outside the shower or tub and next to the toilet.
  • Keep walkways outside the home clear of grass clippings, weeds and mulch in the summer and ice and snow in the winter. Be sure to install exterior lighting near all entrances to the home.

BURNS

Burns are unfortunately one of the most common accidents at home for seniors, and since older adults do not respond well to burn treatments, burn and fire prevention are critical for safety at home. According to homeadvisor.com, individuals with balance, vision or memory issues experience a higher risk of burns. To lessen the risk of a fire or severe burn, keep the following in mind:

  • Set water heaters to a lower temperature. Conditions such as peripheral neuropathy interfere with some seniors’ ability to feel pain, leaving them vulnerable to burns. Some medications also inhibit the pain response, so decreasing the water temperature helps manage this risk.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home. Look at ways to simplify cooking, such as the use of a microwave instead of a conventional stove or oven. Many communities offer meal services for seniors as well, with home delivery or a community dining room available.
  • Remove sources of fire, such as lighters, candles and cigarettes if the senior is unable to use these safely. Plan an escape route as well, practicing the route frequently. Post emergency numbers in an easily accessible area of the home.

MEDICATION SAFETY

Many seniors take multiple medications for chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease; additionally, medications are often prescribed for acute conditions such as infections or injuries, leading to a complex daily regimen that can increase the risk of accidental overdose. With older adults often seeing several different medical providers, the risk of unsafe drug interactions is also increased. Safemedication.com recommends some commonsense tips to decrease this risk:

  • Keep a list of each medication taken, both prescribed and over-the-counter. Include all vitamins and supplements. Provide this list to each doctor at each visit, as well as a trusted family member or friend in case of emergency. Talk to your provider about any side effects experienced.
  • Use one pharmacy. The pharmacist can check for drug interactions and help to maintain a current medication list.
  • Stay on schedule. Take all medications exactly as prescribed and maintain a daily routine to help decrease the risk of a missed dose or an accidental overdose.

At Senior Lifestyle, we know that whether your senior loved one is living in their own home, with a family member, or in a senior community, safety at home is a concern, and it’s a priority in our communities. For more information about a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Detecting Alzheimer’s Symptoms & Stages

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Health and Fitness, Food and Nutrition, Expert Advice, Research.

Alzheimer’s disease, a syndrome that affects the brain and cognitive function, can be a challenging disease to learn about, particularly when considering the devastating effects this disease can have on all those it touches. But knowing Alzheimer’s symptoms and Alzheimer’s stages can help prepare you in case someone you love receives this diagnosis or begins to show signs of Alzheimer’s.

Consider this: The Alzheimer’s Association – the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research – estimates that 5.4 million Americans have the disease. Of those afflicted, 96 percent are older than 65. Taken as a whole, dementia is the sixth leading cause of death in America, killing more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.

Those are frightening numbers that are only expected to grow.

Senior Lifestyle has developed award-winning programs and care to help cope with the effects of the disease. Senior Lifestyle’s memory care and Alzheimer’s care specialists work directly with staff, residents, and their families to ensure residents receive the comprehensive care and attention they deserve.

But the first step is identifying the diseases stages, symptoms and warning signs.

3 Stages of Alzheimer’s
Detecting the progression of Alzhiemer’s can be challenging because the disease affects everyone differently and there is much overlap between Alzheimer’s stages. Generally, experts divide Alzheimer’s into three stages.
1. Mild or Early Stage: Usually lasts 2-4 years; often undetectable, but characterized by frequent memory loss, especially of recent interactions and experiences, losing track of time and becoming lost in formerly familiar locations.
2. Moderate or Middle Stage: Lasts anywhere between 2-10 years; cognitive decline is easily observed; memory continues to decline and family may become less identifiable; memory, reasoning and basic motor skills continues to get worse; mood swings, delusions, aggression and uninhibited behavior may occur.
3. Severe or Late Stage: Usually last 1-3 years; individuals are unable to care for themselves for the most part as symptoms continue to devolve; Basic verbal communication and motor skills are extremely hindered.

10 Alzheimer’s Warning Signs

1. Memory loss that affects daily life
2. Inability to follow directions or solve simple problems.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks
4. Becoming disoriented about space and time
5. Trouble with depth perception, colors or reading
6. Problems expressing thoughts in conversation
7. Misplacing things or putting possessions in nonsensical places
8. Poor judgment with money, clothing or grooming
9. Withdrawal from friends and social network
10. Mood swings

Unfortunately, there is no way to totally prevent or cure Alzheimer’s, but research and medicine continue to progress. By recognizing Alzheimer’s symptoms and identifying Alzheimer’s stages, you or your loved ones can start memory care treatment that can temporarily slow signs of the disease and improve quality of life for those afflicted and for their families.

Raising Alzheimer’s Awareness

Posted by in Health and Fitness, Special Events, Research.

Did you know nearly 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia? And that every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s?

It’s time to take an active role in reducing those numbers. A growing body of researches suggests that there are ways you can potentially reduce your risk of decline in cognitive abilities. In honor of our partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association® on The Longest Day, we wanted to share some key lifestyle routines you can adopt today that may help keep your brain healthy as you age.

GET MOVING- Studies suggest that cardiovascular activities can reduce your risk of cognitive decline. Engaging in cardiovascular activities increases your heart rate, and therefore increases blood flow to your brain and body. This type of activity also reduces the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, which are linked to a higher risk of dementia. Working out doesn’t have to be strenuous on the body, it can be simple things such as power walking, jogging, riding a bike, or swimming.

BE CHALLENGED- Another great way to support your brain health is through mental stimulation. Those who continue to learn and challenge their brains have been shown to have a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Make it a point in your life to be mentally engaged. Learn a foreign language, practice a musical instrument, read books and newspapers, work on puzzles, or pick up a new hobby.

GET SOCIAL – Studies suggest that being social reduces your risk of depression, and may delay the onset of dementia. There are many ways to get or stay social. Participate in a club or group, volunteer, be actively involved with friend and family, or get involved with your local Alzheimer’s Association’s events. The key is to stay connected to causes, activities, and people that are important to you.

Research suggests the combined effects of the lifestyle routines above along with good nutritional habits have the most powerful impact. By following these simple steps you can help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and support a strong and healthy mind. To find out other ways to sharpen your cognitive abilities, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website today or join Senior Lifestyle in their quest to GET MOVING, BE CHALLNGED, and GET SOCIAL all while raising funds and awareness for those impacted by Alzheimer’s on The Longest Day.

If you have a loved one you are concerned about having Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, we invite you to learn more about our Senior Lifestyle® Memory Care program at select communities that provides the finest in memory care.

Understanding Our Approach to Dementia Care

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Health and Fitness, Research.

The Shoreline of Clinton Senior Living Facility Resident, Family and Caretakers

Get the help you need in seeking dementia care. Here you’ll find advice from Senior Lifestyle on the options for caring for someone with dementia.

In our earlier article we discussed the different types of dementia. Today we explore the nature of caring for someone with dementia and the Senior Lifestyle approach to dementia care.

Alzheimer’s disease now affects over five million Americans, and this only accounts for 60 to 80 percent of all cases of dementia. However, despite the widespread prevalence of dementia, awareness of the options for dementia care seem to be lacking. As scientists are still diligently researching a cure for dementia, the proper way to medically treat someone afflicted with dementia is still far from a forgone conclusion. Yet in spite of the challenges posed by dementia, many steps can still be taken to improve the quality of life for those who suffer from this disease.

Neighborhood:
Many senior living communities, including Senior Lifestyle communities, offer specialized memory care neighborhoods that are designed especially to meet the needs of those with dementia. Such communities can relieve family members of some of the burden that comes with caring for someone with dementia while offering the time, attention and community that these people need and deserve.

Family:
At Senior Lifestyle we understand that dealing with dementia and seeing your loved one enter into a new lifestyle can be a trying ordeal. That’s why we approach dementia care with a strategy that is inclusive of both residents and their families. Because the maintenance of routine and the encouraging of regular participation in activities that residents enjoy are an integral part of dementia care, we enlist the help of families to better get to know our residents and build meaningful relationships with them. With these strong bonds, we aim to keep residents of our memory care communities engaged on a daily basis and to maintain a high quality of life.

Safety:
Additionally, memory care communities work diligently to ensure the safety of their residents. At many of our communities, we employ Intel-GE Care Innovations QuietCare technology, a system that can track and report certain living patterns and alert members of staff to potential problem areas. This is just one more facet of how Senior Lifestyle is committed to ensuring its residents receive the highest level of care.

Caring for someone with dementia is always going to be a challenging journey. However, with Senior Lifestyle on your side, a broad system of support can be established to ensure that you and your loved ones enjoy your days to the fullest while receiving the care that they need in specialized communities.