Every year we look for different ways to enjoy the holidays and come up with new activities to keep our seniors engaged. One of the ways that we can be certain to have a sure-fire good time for all is to include children or young people in whatever we have planned. The inter-generational activities prove to be a good time for all. Last week one of my sister facilities shared some photos of coloring Easter eggs using shaving cream. Such a fabulous fun! Something, where everyone can get their hands a little dirty and be creative at the same time, is a great idea for all ages. We are planning is to invite some local children who are out on Spring Break this week and do Shaving Cream Marbled Easter Eggs. Want to make some of your own? Here is what you need and what to do.
SHAVING CREAM MARBLED EASTER EGGS
Items You will Need:
3 or 4 colors of liquid water or food coloring
Jelly roll pan or disposable pan
Paintbrush or pencil to swirl your colors
Cooking cooling rack
Paper towels or wax paper for under the cooling rack to catch the paint drips
Towel to clean up messes
Apron or old shirt
Set your cooling rack up with paper towel or wax paper below
Fill a section of your pan with shaving cream – I did 3 sections, each section had two colors that gave us 3 different color combinations
Sprinkle several drops of each color of food coloring on the shaving cream
Swirl your shaving cream and food coloring. Don’t over swirl or the colors will mix too much and will not be as bright.
Place your egg in the pan, and swirl the egg around until is covered with colored shaving cream
If shaving cream becomes overly mixed just make another section and add food coloring and swirl again
Allow eggs to dry overnight. Shaving cream will partially dry, leaving a nice mess that needs to be cleaned up.
Using a paper towel rub off the dried shaving cream from each egg.
I admit it. I don’t get enough sleep. Sadly, most people do not. Sleep is as necessary to our bodies as food and water. With new devices and monitors that track sleep patterns you can even determine the amount of time you are in deep sleep. But just keeping tabs on your sleep may not be enough to get you on track for catching up your shut eye deficiency. Not getting adequate rest can be very serious. It can be especially serious for seniors who are already a risk for falls and balance issues. Lack of sleep just increases the opportunity for accidents. So, what can you do to get a good night’s sleep?
WebMD offers these tips to Sleep Tight:
Stick to a regular bedtime. Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Your body will get used to the routine.
Avoid afternoon naps. If you sleep during the day, you’re more likely to stay awake at night.
Drink less fluids at night. Trips to the bathroom break up your sleep.
There are many suggestions and “schools of thought” as to how much sleep is needed. Most experts still agree that somewhere between 7-8 hours a night is recommended. But don’t forget to factor in those NAPS!! Now while a nap sounds heavenly to me. It can create confusion or longer stretches of night time rest. I had a resident tell me that he just couldn’t sleep like he used to do. Upon further discussion, I realized that he had not accounted for his hour and a half morning nap and two hour after lunch nap. He hadn’t added these napping hours to his sleep bank! It made more sense that with getting shut eye during the day and his decreased physical activity during the day as to why he wasn’t sleeping for long stretches in the evenings like he had previously. But by simply getting more exercise and changing his nap schedule his resting at night was improved.
If you are having trouble sleeping, be sure to talk to your doctor. March is National Sleep Awareness Month and a good time to evaluate your sleep and its relationship to your overall health.
Across the state at our different properties we have communities that have gardens right on property. We even have some residents (at their choosing) that manage the porch plants at their properties. As a person that lacks a green thumb, I’m so grateful! Gardening is good for you, and research confirms that the health benefits are striking for those who have reached the age of AARP eligibility. Routine activity — such as a little bit of gardening every day —promotes a longer, healthier life. So, what are the benefits?
Some benefits of GARDENING include:
Helps mobility and flexibility
Encourages use of all motor skills
Can improve endurance and strength
Helps prevent diseases such as osteoporosis
Reduces stress levels
While there are many wonderful benefits of gardening, you still must be SAFE and use precautions!
There are a few cautions for senior gardeners. They should:
Wear a hat and protective clothing to protect from damage to the sun
Wear sunscreen on all exposed skin and reapply it every two hours
Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
Be careful not to be out in the hottest part of the day
During this month of love, I thought it a perfect time to discuss the most loved things about assisted living. It has been interesting over the years for me to get the perspective not just from the families, but from the residents themselves on what was their favorite. So here is the TOP THREE FAVES of Assisted Living Communities.
Peace of Mind
There is something to be said for having someone there to look out for you, day or night. It is also very reassuring to know that communities have emergency response systems. Another very beneficial help is transportation assistance. Some of our residents find that driving later in life becomes stressful. Having someone to take them safely to appointments is a huge help and comfort to them and their families.
Enjoying Eating Again
Not only do you have someone there to cook three home-cooked meals a day, plus snacks….but eating with other members of the community makes the dining process so much more enjoyable.. Seeing new friendships form as residents fellowship around the table is a very gratifying part of my job.
Handing Over the Housework
I don’t think I have EVER had one single resident that was sad to hand over the cooking, cleaning or the laundry. It is a huge perk of moving into an assisted living! I laughed when my husband came to my community the first week I started.. His exact words were, “they do your laundry, cook your food and clean your room? I don’t get that at home!!”. He’s a real comedian.
With so many things to love, it may be time to look into assisted living for your loved one. These are just three of many reasons that our communities are loved by our residents. Schedule a tour today and check out first hand what may be a perfect fit for you and yours.
While many have sworn off New Year’s Resolutions, it may not be a bad idea to consider what areas may need improvement in our lives. And improvements apply to all ages! However, it is important to be realistic in tackling our individual concerns. I can’t help but think of some of those home improvement shows. A couple looks at tackling this punch list of things that must be fixed…but when the budget or other “things” complicate the completion…they must settle on what can be accomplished. So, as you consider your own self renovation project, give yourself a break. Be realistic and optimistic. Here are 3 things to consider if you have made a list…or even if you feel like you have jumped ship from the resolutions you started on earlier this week.
Give Yourself a Break!
Nothing says that just because you may have already stopped what you started on January 1st that you can’t achieve your goal. Michael Jordan once said, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Like the rest of us, Michael Jordan has had his share of failures and mistakes but one way NOT to accomplish a projected goal is to quit or not even make the effort. Take time out and focus on being realistic with your expectations.
No two people are completely alike. Even twins have their differences. Don’t look at a situation and expect your result to be like someone else’s. Your goal should be just that…YOURS. Your road to results, may have guidance and perhaps similarity to someone else’s situation, but you want to look at it with realistic eyes. I remember two ladies discussing their aches and pains one day. One lady was barely seventy and the other in her nineties. The seventy-year-old said that knee replacement changed her life! The next thing I knew I had a ninety-year-old lady calling her daughter wanting to get her knees done! Set goals that are attainable and healthy. Take small steps to set yourself up for success.
One of my favorite phrases that I hear people say is “Treat Yourself!” I think this especially applies if you are working towards a goal. Now while this may not mean go and pig out and derail a healthy eating plan once you complete one successful week. It DOES mean to be sure and give yourself a pat on the back for small steps along the way towards your goal. Develop a reward system that works for you.
In researching and thinking about the blog this week, I looked back at some of the best advice some of our seniors had to give this past year. I will close with these thoughts and want to wish you all the best in 2018!
Keep your mind open and don’t stress if you have to start at the bottom to work your way up. You can do it! Learn the value of hard work.
Knowledge is power. Continue your education because that is something that no one can take away from you.
Wake up each day with an open mind and a full heart. Everyone will not always have the same values as you. Stay rooted to what you know while still showing kindness.
This week we will celebrate and honor our Veterans. Veterans Day 2017 will be on Saturday, November 11th, 2017 and designated as a Federal Holiday on Friday, November 10th, 2017. As the daughter, granddaughter and sister of Army men, this topic is close to my heart. I was reading up on the observance and read that there is even a Veterans Day Poster contest. This year’s poster features the Abraham Lincoln statue at the Lincoln Memorial located at the National Mall in Washington D.C. The inscribed quote on the poster is from Abraham Lincoln and is also the VA motto which reads “To care for him who shall have born the battle.” This motto made me proud of the many Veterans that we have had the opportunity to care for in our assisted living communities. In a Veterans Day Proclamation from 2001, Former President George W. Bush said, “Throughout the course of American history, courageous men and women have taken up arms to secure, defend, and maintain these core principles upon which our Nation’s freedoms depend.” It is because of this bravery that we enjoy those freedoms.
We pause and say thank you and recognize the brave and selfless men and women that have served this great nation. We also want to remind our Veterans that there is a very helpful resource available to many of them based on eligibility that can help pay for the cost of assisted living. Per veteranaid.org, hundreds of thousands are eligible for this little-known VA benefit, including spouses of veterans. These funds can be used for assisted living at many facilities. To learn more you can contact your local Veterans Affairs Office or check out www.benefits.va.gov
Learn more about your local Great Oaks Management Property and VA Benefits by calling us today at 1-888-258-8082.
Ah yes, we are now possibly tearing open the wrappers of many a piece of candy and finishing off those sugary treats as we enter November and the month of the Thanksgiving Feast! Perhaps that is why November is considered National Diabetes Month. This observance was created so individuals, health care professionals, organizations, and communities across the country can bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. The American Diabetes Association reports that “half of all Americans age 65 or older have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. An estimated 11.2 million (nearly 26 percent) Americans over age 65 have already been diagnosed with diabetes, a figure that will continue to increase if we do not act to prevent diabetes in this population.”
There are many things the “experts” tell us to do to get to and stay at a healthy weight and prevent type 2 diabetes: Choose healthy foods, make healthy meals, be active 30 minutes a day. But where should you start? It’s can be overwhelming. And it can be even harder if you have a lot of changes you want to make.
It’s easier to make lifestyle changes one step at a time. Think of each small step as one piece of your effort to change your habits. Making changes one step at a time gives you the best chance to reach and stay at a healthy weight and prevent type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that making just a few small changes can make a big impact on your weight and health. Learn how to make these changes step-by-step.
Things that you want to consider are:
Weight: Staying at a healthy weight can help you prevent and manage problems like prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease, high blood pressure, and unhealthy cholesterol.
Diet:Always ask your healthcare provider about healthy eating plans and what you can and can’t have in your diet. Each person is different and industry standards have changed.
You may want to check with your health care provider or dentist if you find chewing difficult, don’t want to eat, or have trouble with your dentures.
You feel that life events such as the death of a loved one or moving from your home are keeping you from eating well.
You think your medicines may be making your food taste bad or affecting your appetite.
You think you should take a daily vitamin like iron or vitamin C.
Exercise: Physical activity can do a lot for your health, even if you haven’t been very active lately. Take a walk, do chair aerobics, just get up and move if you can! As with all health changes, discuss your exercise plan with your primary care physician.
It’s been about four years since I had my shoulder surgery. It was by far not my first surgery, but it was the first procedure that I recall having intensive physical therapy. Now granted, I’m in my 40s, but I truly believe that the success that I experienced with my shoulder recovery was due largely in part to my “buy in” to doing physical therapy. October is National Physical Therapy Month. Physical therapy for the elderly can be such an important part of the healing process as well as a factor in continued health.
The following is helpful information for seniors and the advantages of physical therapy interventions per medicine.jrank.org:
Physical therapy has an important role in healthcare delivery and relates to maximizing function, preventing decline, decreasing pain, and treating physical illnesses. For elderly individuals, who often have decreased physical reserve, any medical illness or injury can lead to decline. Inactivity and bedrest, a common consequence of illness or injury, contributes to and intensifies muscle weakness, causing deterioration in walking and loss of function.
Illnesses, such as Parkinson’s disease, fracture, or stroke, can affect walking and balance directly. Chronic diseases, such as arthritis, may cause pain or restriction of movement. Exercise, activity, and other physical therapy interventions can, therefore, have a profound effect on overall health, restoring an individual’s ability to perform the daily activities required to live independently in the community.
The physical therapist typically works closely with other healthcare professionals, such as nurses, physicians, social workers, and occupational therapists, to refine both diagnosis and treatment. This interdisciplinary approach allows for the integration of all domains of health to more fully address the needs of the elderly.
If you or someone you know can benefit from physical therapy for strength and healing contact your primary care physician to see what options may be best for you.
Autumn is my favorite season of the year. The trees show off their brightest and boldest colors as the leaves start to change. We break out the fall clothing (well, perhaps on some days…let’s be honest I live in the South). My favorite sport of college football is in full swing and I love the local Friday Night Lights as well. So, in honor of this beloved season, I wanted to share a delicious recipe to get you in the mood for fall food. And when we think of FALL, many of us think of pumpkin spice everything! Pure pumpkin is considered a SUPER FOOD as it is low in calories and fat and is a naturally rich source of fiber and Vitamin A (AN ANTIOXIDANT). So here is a delicious and easy recipe for Pumpkin Spice Muffins that is sure to be a crowd pleaser and bring in the wonderful taste and fragrance of FALL!
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 can (15 ounces) 100% Pure Pumpkin
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water or orange juice
PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Paper-line or grease 30 muffin cups.
COMBINE flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil, and juice in large mixer bowl; beat until just blended. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture; stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 3/4 full.
BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store muffins in a covered container or re-sealable plastic bags.
FOR 72 MINI MUFFINS:
PREPARE as above; filling 3/4 full. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes.
FOR 12 JUMBO MUFFINS:
PREPARE as above; filling 3/4 full. Bake for 33 to 36 minutes.
Now that I feel like I have caught my breath after National Assisted Living Week, I want to share something that I have known about for quite some time. As a matter of a fact, I benefitted from it as a child myself. See…as a little girl, my Mom would take me with her to work. My Mom has always been a pro at styling hair and in my younger years, this was her profession. As a beautician, she would do hair for her regular customers, but she also did hair at the local nursing home and assisted living. Now in my single digit years, my trade was singing and tap dancing. This proved to be quite the asset to my mom with her scissors, perm rods and hairspray. She would always plan for me and some of my other performing arts sisters to put on a show for the older folks. I loved every opportunity to perform (and to talk) so I was game. Little did I know then, but these residents were as happy to see me as I was to see them. I remember the performances of course. But I also remember eating gingerbread cookies, looking at pictures and having a captive audience to whatever I wanted to talk about. I also remember the stories. At almost 42 years of age, I still remember Hazel. Mrs. Hazel was my friend. She always wanted me to sing and tap dance for her. Mrs. Hazel didn’t have grandchildren of her own and it was her delight to have our little visits. But it was something I enjoyed very much as well. I think it was this type of friendship in my formative years that led me to where I am today. I may not be tap dancing anymore…well, come to think of it…maybe I do. I am an Assisted Living Administrator, so technically I sing and tap dance for seniors on a regular basis. Just to whatever tune they are requesting I suppose. 😉 But it is a joy. A joy that started a very long time ago for me. I witnessed the most beautiful visits this past week from a class of preschoolers with our residents at the Gardens. It was wide open, head back laughing FUN! Literally fun for all ages. The new rage is intergenerational involvement. But the concept is not new at all. Studies have shown that these type of interactions prove beneficial for both sets of people…young and old. Below are the benefits for seniors and children according to legacyproject.org.
Active, involved older adults with close intergenerational connections consistently report much less depression, better physical health, and higher degrees of life satisfaction. They tend to be happier with their present life and more hopeful for the future.
Young and old can fulfill the role of student and teacher for each other, and it’s not always the older person who does the teaching. Children like to feel needed, and they can teach elders lots of things – like how to find some pretty cool stuff on the Internet! Children can also help older people, particularly those facing health challenges or other losses, see the world anew again, through a child’s eyes.
Benefits for Children
In general, children develop higher self-esteem, better emotional and social skills (including an ability to withstand peer pressure), and can even have better grades in school.
Through sharing in an older adult’s interests, skills, and hobbies, children are introduced to new activities and ideas. Through their life experience, older adults can often bring with them a tremendous amount of patience. Knowledge, skills, and attitudes children pick up from elders tend to stick with them through life more than those picked up from other sources.
As a product of this type of intergenerational impact, I can tell you that you are missing out if don’t find your own Mrs. Hazel. I also now see this type of influence through the eyes of my residents and for them as well, it is a beautiful thing. Thank you to those precious children that shared bubbles and ice cream with your new friends at the Gardens last week. We look forward to seeing you again real soon!
*Photograph from my personal archives circa the early 80s. I’m the brunette in the front. No, I’m not a natural blonde. 😉