Pet Perks

GOC Pet Therapy01.jpgI will never forget my first pet.  Well…let me rephrase that.  I will never forget the first pet that I picked out that we had long term.  I grew up on a farm so there were many farm cats and other animals.  But my first true furry companion was a dog named Rusty.  To be perfectly honest I can’t remember where Rusty came from.  We got him when I was in middle school and he stayed in the family until I graduated from the University of Alabama and he passed away.  Rusty was a source of comfort for many a sickness, sadness and just an all-around “good dog.”  Now that I am all grown up and work with the elderly I see more now than ever the benefits of pet ownership.  And yes…you can have a pet in assisted living.

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Great Oaks Management’s Policy states that “The goal of each facility is to allow residents to benefit from the pleasure of pet companionship, while ensuring that the presence of pets in the facility does not infringe on the rights of all residents to live in a clean, quiet and safe environment.

Great Oaks Management Procedure:Pets may visit the Residence if the following conditions are met:

  1. The pet owner provides verification of current vaccinations.
  2. The pet is clean, properly groomed and healthy.
  3. The pet’s owner is responsible for the pet’s behavior and maintains control of the pet at all times.
  4. All pets residing in the facility must provide verification of current vaccinations, and must update the vaccination record annually. Dogs may not exceed 25 lbs in weight. A non-refundable pet deposit will be required prior to a pet moving into a facility.
  5. All resident pets must reside in the resident’s room. Pets will be allowed in the common areas of the Residence only when under the control of the owner or handler. Resident pets are not allowed in the dining room at any time. Residents who wish to keep pets in their rooms may do so provided they abide by the policies of the facility.
  6. Common household pets (including dogs, cats, fish, birds, guinea pigs, and hamsters) may reside in the facility, upon approval of the Administrator.
  7. The resident is responsible for providing care to the pet and the following:
    •  Purchasing food and other needed pet supplies
    • Feeding, grooming and/or cleaning up after the pet
    • Providing for toileting (e.g., emptying the litter box, taking the pet outside at regular times, etc.)
    • Arranging for/providing access to needed veterinary services
    • Exercising the pet as appropriate
  8. Pets must not be allowed to toilet on the floor (all dogs shall be toileted in an outside area). Litter from litter boxes or cages must be disposed of in a sealed plastic bag and placed promptly in a trash container. Pet waste and/or litter may not be disposed of in toilets.
  9. Pets may be fed only in the resident’s room.
  10. Pets shall not be allowed to interfere with an enjoyable living environment for all residents by barking, howling, biting, scratching, and/or whining. The facility shall ensure that pets pose no risk to residents, staff or visitors.
  11. If the conduct or condition of a resident’s pet constitutes a nuisance or a threat to the health and safety of other residents, staff, and/or other individuals, the resident will be responsible for permanently removing the pet from the premises. The final decision about a pet residing in a facility rests with the Administrator.

So, if your old school like my Granddaddy was and don’t want to even fathom the thought of an animal in the house then never fear…the policy protects you too!

 

Pic 1 - Lula Mae Ott.jpgThere truly are so many benefits to pet ownership.  For example:

Having a “fur baby” can:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Relieve stress
  • Combat loneliness
  • Ease depression
  • Encourage activity for seniors
  • Offer a greater sense of worth
  • Offer security to their owners

So check out the pet perks and what they could mean for you or your loved one today!

Bloom Where You are Planted

Spring has sprung and one of the most therapeutic things for me is getting out and tending to flowers in the yard.  Sadly, this only comes in small doses because my hectic schedule leads to the demise of many of my plants.  I love to tell the story of how my Mom came for an extended stay and made it her business to water my neglected yard. She started spraying the plants on my front porch as I stood watching barefoot in the parched grass.  “See how I’m reviving the porch plants? You must water them!”  I nodded in approval, barely having the heart to tell her that she was doing an excellent job of knocking the dust off those fake plants.  But given the chance, I love to plant, prune and water with the best of them.  Being that many of our facilities have the name “The Gardens” in them it only makes sense that we have flowers and other plants on the grounds of our communities.  Through the years I have learned valuable advice from many of my resident gardeners.  Here are a couple invaluable tips I have discovered over the years.

knockout roseKnock back the Knock Out Roses

One of my former residents, Mrs. Betty, had a lovely rose garden placed in her memory in front of our community by her family.  After the garden had been there a little over a year, I was instructed by one of our sweet lady residents to cut the bushes back if I wanted them to grow.  Cut it back??  But why??  It had some blooms.  She explained that the blooms had become scarce and that the bush would be more full with blooms and leaves if I cut it back.  So, paired with some thick leather gloves and long clippers I got to work.  In no time at all the roses were prettier than they had ever been.  Mrs. Betty would be so proud!

 

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Pile Up the Pallets

In several of our other communities we have had fabulous gardens built up high so that residents do not have to stoop over to tend to them.  These pallet gardens are a wonderful way to let residents get their hands dirty and show their skills.  I love to get tips on when and how to grow vegetables in these gardens.  One of the best tricks that a resident in Daphne once told me was to always check your Farmer’s Almanac on when and how to grow seeds or plants in the garden.  Now you can access the Farmer’s Almanac online and it will allow you to pull up your location in Alabama and get tips specific to your region.

 

So, for some of the best therapy around, get down and dirty in the soil.  Plant some pretty flowers or vegetables like our residents.  It is a wonderful way to get cheap therapy and bloom where you are planted.

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Making Steps in the Right Direction

One of the highlights of the many varied activities that we have in our Assisted Living community has nothing to do with entertainment.  It does have everything to do with health and prevention.  When it comes to taking care of our feet, it is no small matter.  Yet many seniors lose the ability to safely trim their toenails or inspect their feet for other issues.  That is why the periodic visits from a podiatrist keep our residents feeling one step ahead!  Since the feet are closely tied to our overall health…here are some simple tips excerpted from GREAT FEET FOR LIFE: FOOTCARE AND FOOTWEAR FOR HEALTHY AGING by Paul Langer, DPM to keep your feet headed in the right direction.

loofahs-jpg-838x0_q67_crop-smartFoot Hygiene   The single most important thing one can do for foot health is good foot hygiene. This means washing the feet daily, wearing clean socks and caring for the skin and nails on a regular basis.

Skin Care  The skin of the feet must be resilient enough to withstand thousands of footsteps each day. Bathing the feet daily, applying moisturizing lotions to dry skin and managing calluses with lotions and a pumice stone helps our skin hold up to the demands of an active lifestyle. Never ignore rashes, painful calluses or skin that is red or tender as this can be a sign of infection. For those whose feet sweat excessively, foot powders and socks with less than 30% cotton are best for keeping the skin dry.

ca5c5fa4-12a5-404b-86bc-05c404b1a623Nail Care  Toenails tend to become thicker, discolored and more brittle as we age. This can make it more difficult to trim the nails and contribute to painful nail conditions such as ingrown nails or fungal nails. Nails should be trimmed straight across and rough edges or nail thickness should be reduced with a nail file.

Footwear   For those who are vulnerable to foot pain whether from arthritis, previous injuries or toe alignment issues such as bunions or hammertoes, it is imperative that you wear shoes that fit well, provide proper support and are not excessively worn. Poorly fitting shoes contribute to many of the most common causes of foot pain. Take the time to visit a reputable footwear retailer and spend the time necessary selecting a comfortable, supportive pair of shoes.fuzzy-socks

Falling Risk and Your Feet  Risk factors for falls include: poorly fitting shoes, shoes with elevated heel height, excessively worn shoes, sandals or shoes with an unsecured heel.

April is Foot Health Awareness Month.  So step up and make good choices for your foot health!  It will help keep you feeling footloose and fancy free!

Get Some Spring in Your Step

As the season of Spring begins to unfold with all of its grandeur and beauty perhaps it is a time for an awakening for you?  Here are some suggestions to get a jump start on the season of re-birth!

pexels-photo-169727See the Sunshine-Get out and enjoy the blooming flowers and all the beauty that the outdoor holds. Enjoy filling the bird feeders within your community.  There are quite a few science-backed health benefits to getting a daily dose of nature. Research has shown that getting outside can lift our spirits and brighten our mood so much that it can actually be a form of therapy.

 

 9680e44e-81fe-11e3-_508751cReach Out to Friends-Take the time to call an old friend or share a cup of coffee with a new one. The most important thing in any community is having people around to support and engage with.  Having interaction and forming friendships with each other keeps you vibrant and healthy.

 


connecting-imageBe Active and Engaged
– You have plenty of living left to do! Perhaps it’s time to lead or join an activity in your community.  We have people that volunteer at hospitals, read to children at local schools or do service work for non-profits.  Staying engaged with your community and continuing to make positive contributions, is invaluable.  The health benefits of volunteerism are well documented, including its impact on increasing longevity.

Keeping the Family Tradition

Mrs. Mildred RabyEditedIf you have been following these blogs then you have already read about three centenarians, people the age of 100 or more, that currently live in one of the Great Oaks Management assisted living communities.  Our fourth centenarian is Mrs. Mildred Raby, who at age 104, has lived through the history most of us only learned about in school. Mrs. Raby, a resident of Limestone Manor since 2011, is perhaps one of the most humble ladies I’ve ever met. She did not consider living to be 100+ as any kind of achievement or accomplishment. Then I learned that her older sister lived to be 108 years old. Obviously, longevity is a “family tradition!”

Mrs. Raby was born December 17, 1912, when many modern conveniences that we take for granted, like electricity and indoor plumbing were not available in most homes. Like other centenarians, Mrs. Raby has witnessed some remarkable changes in the world firsthand. The mother of five raised a family when housework was hard labor, before the inventions of washing machines, microwaves, disposable diapers, and Dirt Devils.

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Those in her caring support-system admit that Mrs. Raby is not as active as she once was, but looking around her apartment at Limestone Manor I saw family photos and mementos from her past. After observing a wooden plaque on the wall with the Madison County Seal of Friendship, I learned that Mrs. Raby retired from a career with the Madison County License Department in addition to raising a family.  Trophies from the 1979 PTA Rook Championship were proudly displayed along with a Certificate of Recognition and birthday wishes from the Mayor of Athens.

 

IMG_0707There is no denying that being the “Rook Champ” and maintaining a happy social life has positively contributed to her good health. Experts say that most centenarians have a “roll with the punches” attitude toward life and Mrs. Raby is no exception. Her advice to others on the secret of longevity was simple – “You just have to keep on going.” Seven words which convey determination, perseverance, patience and a positive outlook.

 

All of the centenarians seem to have a remarkable ability to “shake off” what life has thrown at them and to move on! They have great stories to tell. You should take the time to listen to a centenarian and take a look at their amazing life!

A True Merry Maker

For most centenarians, long life is a precious gift and not a burden. At 103 years old, Sue Clark remembers most everything from her life – names of old friends, growing up IMG_0676on a farm in Giles County, Tennessee, details of her husband’s transfer to Redstone Arsenal, receiving a teaching degree from Martin College, enjoying a good golf game, and memories of watching her students grow. The Limestone Manor resident and retired kindergarten teacher has remained happy and healthy by staying busy (and motivating others to join the fun). She recently celebrated her birthday on March 3 with neighbors, friends, family and the mayor!

IMG_0675 copyListening to Sue Clark share fun memories was fascinating. After moving to Athens, Mrs. Clark started a home kindergarten in 1963 that helped mold and shape many a student.  She created the foundation for students to use their imaginations and grow their intellect. With a twinkle in her eye, she talked about her 20 year career in teaching and the various activities she did to make learning fun.  Her stories included everything from building a playhouse in the backyard to train-rides, to “Hobo Hikes” and eating a sack lunch in an open field. It was obvious that she loved children and motivating them was her biggest reward. You could tell that Mrs. Clark was having fun too!

Another thing that she enjoyed was music and being involved in church. Mrs. Clark was part of a singing group, The Merry Makers.  After closing her kindergarten, she told a friend…”I have all of these band instruments left over from teaching, what can we do with them?”  They organized a group that performed around town. The Merry Makers and their entertainment is what originally brought her to Limestone Manor Assisted Living, where Mrs. Clark now resides.

IMG_0680Sue Clark first visited the senior community singing and spreading cheer to everyone.  As a resident, she now enjoys the varied activities and especially the music that Limestone Manor has to offer.  But truth be told she still loves to tell stories.  These she now shares with the other residents, staff, family, friends and many visitors at the Manor.  Her walls beautifully display a lifetime of memories.  But the true beauty of the trip down memory lane…comes straight from the source.

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Timeless Charm & Grace

According to a recent article by Good Housekeeping, living longer life may have something to do with Assisted Living Communities!  The article states, “Beyond inviting our older relatives and friends into our homes, it’s important to encourage elderly relationships — which is why, despite popular belief, older folks tend to thrive in independent or assisted living environments. These living arrangements provide more ways to mingle, to connect, to thrive.”

This holds true for Mrs. Carrie Miller.  Mrs. Miller celebrated her 103rd birthday this past December.  As we sat down to talk with her we learned a little bit about her Southern charm and grace.  Mrs. Miller is from Georgia and moved to the Gardens of Clanton in 2010.  She grew up with five siblings, one of which was her twin brother named Jay.  She has made a wonderful life and has been blessed with 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.

A former homemaker, she enjoys going to parties and her favorite holiday is Christmas.  She is quite the fashionista and when she was ready to greet us, she showed us several of her outfit choices before selecting the perfect one that was one of “her” colors.  She looked quite lovely of course.  She has always been a social butterfly and when asked what makes her happy she said it was her children, family, friends AND…listening to the Chosen Two singers that share music at the Gardens of Clanton.  She loves life and hearing a message in song.  She shared that her favorite part about living at the Gardens is having wonderful help always there for her and having friends to talk to.  So blessed to have her charm and grace.  Grateful that her life has been enriched by her time at the Gardens of Clanton.

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