Sleep On It

There’s an Irish Proverb that says: “A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.”

I’m no morning person and if I don’t get my rest…I am even less charming.  It’s so true that sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on anyone.  According to the National Institute on Aging, “Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as all adults—7 to 9 hours each night. But, older people tend to go to sleep earlier and get up earlier than they did when they were younger.”  Lack of sleep isn’t good for anyone.  But in the elderly it can be particularly troublesome.

Senior citizens with sleep deprivation are at a higher risk for:

  • Having more cognitive issues and memory problems
  • Mood problems such as depression and irritability
  • Increased risk of falling and other accidents

But just because you are in the older age demographic does not mean that you can’t be proactive about your sleep.

Here are 6 Steps to Better Sleep from the Mayo Clinic.

1. Stick to a sleep schedule

Set aside no more than eight hours for sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours. Most people don’t need more than eight hours in bed to achieve this goal.  Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

2. Pay attention to what you eat and drink

Don’t go to bed hungry or stuffed. In particular, avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime. Your discomfort might keep you up.  Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too.

  1. Create a restful environment

Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Exposure to light might make it more challenging to fall asleep. Avoid prolonged use of light-emitting screens just before bedtime. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.

4. Limit daytime naps

Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you choose to nap, limit yourself to up to 30 minutes and avoid doing so late in the day.  If you work nights, however, you might need to nap late in the day before work to help make up your sleep debt.

5. Include physical activity in your daily routine

Regular physical activity can promote better sleep. Avoid being active too close to bedtime, however.  Spending time outside every day might be helpful, too.

6. Manage worries

Try to resolve your worries or concerns before bedtime. Jot down what’s on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.

 

Working towards developing good sleep patterns can result in better health.  But always be sure to report your sleep concerns to your physician.  They can help determine if medications or a medical condition are a factor that may need intervention.

 

 

Shine a Purple Light

I will admit that until I began working in the senior living sector, I knew very little about Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.  It was not something I had seen on a personal or family level.  That has changed.  Now I know and care for people affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.  I understand that they are not all one in the same.  There are even different types of dementia.  I have come to know some of the devastating effects they take on lives.  Since June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, I thought I could help do my part by shining a purple light.

Did you know that according to the Alzheimer’s Association:

  • Alzheimer’s is fatal. It kills more than breast and prostate cancer combined.
  • Alzheimer’s is not normal aging. It’s a progressive brain disease without any cure.
  • Alzheimer’s is more than memory loss. It appears through a variety of signs and symptoms.

Per the website alz.org, “A number of studies indicate that maintaining strong social connections and keeping mentally active as we age might lower the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. Experts are not certain about the reason for this association. It may be due to direct mechanisms through which social and mental stimulation strengthen connections between nerve cells in the brain.”

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During the month of June, the Alzheimer’s Association asks you to learn more about Alzheimer’s. Share your story and take action.  It may be as simple as bringing awareness via social media.  Alzheimer’s disease awareness is represented by the color purple, and in June, thousands of Americans will turn their Facebook profile purple with an “END ALZ” icon.  If you need help or more information on ways you can raise awareness of the truth about Alzheimer’s, visit alz.org/abam to get started.

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Berry Sweet

This week we shared some delicious fresh strawberries from our local folks at Backyard Orchards.  They were absolutely divine!  Not only were they tasty…they were delivered right to our door from one of the owners!  Talk about sweet!  And since National Pick Strawberries Day is coming up on May 20th, I decided to share some health benefits and a strawberry dessert recipe from one of our residents.

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Now I have been obsessed with strawberries since my days as a young girl in the 80s playing with my Strawberry Shortcake dolls.  (Yes, I may be giving away my age.) But I had no idea how good they are for you!  According to organicfacts.net, strawberries have many nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that contribute to overall health.  These include folate, potassium, dietary fiber and magnesium.  They have 150% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C in a single serving!  Together, these components are responsible for the overwhelming health benefits of strawberries.  Here are 6 of the Top Health Benefits of the Strawberry

  1. They boost your immune system.  Want to stay well and fight off sickness? Eat a healthy diet, rich in this healthy fruit.
  2. They reduce the risk of eye related ailments.  Strawberries are helpful because of the potassium they contain that helps our eyes maintain the right pressure.
  3. Strawberries have even been shown to help maintain normal blood pressures!
  4. They lower the risk of arthritis, gout and cancer.
  5. Strawberries have been shown to help regulate proper functioning of the nervous system.
  6. They also can help prevent heart diseases and reduce cholesterol.

Those are all wonderful reasons to eat strawberries!   And if you are like me and are drawn to desserts with the delicious fruit…here is a link to our website with a finger licking favorite that is perfect to feature your fresh strawberries and just screams summertime.


strawberry

Gardens of Daphne resident Shirley Hartley loves sharing her baking skills.  She has her very own recipe book called “Squirrelly Shirley Cookbook Specials” that has sold over 300 copies. Here is one of her strawberry favorite recipes that she wanted to share!

 


 

Mother’s Strawberry Cakeslice cake

1 box white cake mix

1 small box strawberry Jello

1 cup oil

1/2 cup of milk

4 eggs

1 cup of frozen strawberries, thawed  (do not drain)

1 cup chopped pecans

Mix first 4 ingredients.  Mix in eggs, one at a time.  Add strawberries and pecans.  Pour in greased and floured pans and bake at 350 degrees ( 9″X13″ pan for 40 minutes) or (Two 9″ pans for 20-25 minutes)

Frosting

1 stick of butter, softened

4 cups of confectioners sugar

Combine until smooth-Add 1 cup of strawberries thawed and drained and 1/2 cup chopped pecans

 

 

Use it or Lose It

While strumming his guitar my Dad once told me that when it came to singing or playing an instrument that you must use it or lose it.  That’s crazy I thought.  I mean if you have an ability, you have an ability… right?  WRONG!  Try singing after not having done it in a few years and you might be shocked at the quality or tone that you produce.  It’s not pretty, trust me.  Just in the way that you must utilize a talent to keep it going, you also must work your brain to keep it healthy.

According to John E. Morley, MD, director of St. Louis University’s Division of Geriatric Medicine and author of The Science of Staying Young, “simple games like Sudoku and word games are good, as well as comic strips where you find things that are different from one picture to the next,”In addition to word games, there are other brain stimulating activities.

working-puzzle

  1. Socialization to improve the brain situation!  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, studies show that seniors who regularly participate in social interactions can retain their brain health. So keep connected with others. For those friends and family that live far away, correspondence by e-mail or social media or even writing letters can keep you connected.  Don’t stay holed up in your house alone.  This is not healthy for you on multiple levels including your brain.
  2. Keep Moving!  A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that, among seniors, “moderate physical activity is associated with a reduced incidence of cognitive impairment after 2 years.” Simply taking a walk or doing chair exercise is a great way to get that heart pumping and keep the blood flowing to the brain.
  3. Lay Your Cards on the Table  Playing games with others is another way to maintain and increase brain health. Regularly playing board or card games, or engaging in other intellectually stimulating games with others helps keep your mind active.

The vitality of your brain is the superhighway to your overall health.  There are also many brain healthy foods that physicians recommend.  Check out the following list from healthable.org for a list of Foods to Keep Your Brain Fit!

brain-foods

For information on one of our properties visit http://www.greatoaksmanagement.com

The Importance of Socialization and How It Affects Brain Health

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It’s a good practice to remind us of that there is always something we can do to keep our brain healthy.  While we all read lots of information about eating right and exercising as ways to stay physically healthy, several recent research studies have shown a strong correlation between social interaction and a healthy brain in senior adults.  The same studies showed that social isolation and limited contacts with others increased the likelihood of both poor physical health and the development of dementia in senior adults.  A summary of some of the findings are:

  • Social relationships are consistently associated with bio-markers of good health.
  • Positive indicators of social well-being may be associated with lower levels of interleukin-6 in otherwise healthy people. Interleukin-6 is an inflammatory factor implicated in age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer.
  • Some grandparents feel that caring for their grandchildren makes them healthier and more active. They experience a strong emotional bond and often lead a more active lifestyle, eat healthier meals, and may even reduce or stop smoking.
  • Social isolation constitutes a major risk factor for morbidity and mortality, especially in older adults.
  • Loneliness may have a physical as well as an emotional impact. For example, people who are lonely frequently have elevated systolic blood pressure.

Worried about your parents?  Look for senior centers in the area where you parents live.  Senior centers offer daily social opportunities for senior adults and often provide assistance with transportation in rural areas.  Check out the Church your parents attend.  Many Churches have Senior Adult groups which offer at least a monthly social interaction opportunity.

If your parents like to read, check out the local Library web site.  Many local Libraries have book clubs which meet weekly and share their thoughts on the latest books.  This kind of activity will not only offer a social interaction opportunity, it will also foster a favorite hobby.  Bring the Grand-kids to visit.  Research shows that interacting with children improves the overall health of senior adults.  If the Grand-kids are far away, check out local day care’s for an opportunity for your parents to drop in occasionally to read a book to the children there.

The important thing is don’t give up.  Senior parents are often reluctant to venture out and try new things.  Focusing on how this will help them with their memory and brain health just may be the ticket to getting them involved.