This weekend I was taking flowers to one of our precious residents for her birthday. When I walked into the assisted living community right away I noticed how beautifully the dining area had been transformed into the perfect setting for a birthday celebration. There were balloons, flowers, Happy Birthday signs, two kinds of cakes and more. (I also later found out that her son made homemade Butterfinger ice cream at his Mom’s request. YUM!) The resident’s family had done a lovely job celebrating their Mom and making her party special. I immediately was greeted by one of the daughters and we shared some friendly conversation and I told her how lovely everything looked for the party. It was during this conversation that it hit me…these adult children were in the phase of life where they still planned celebrations for their own children that were becoming young adults and making sure that their parent was celebrated as well. That is a TOUGH balancing act. Being so many things to so many people can be tough! So, I thought, what would be the best advice for new people coming into this role? The role of having a loved one in assisted living can be a challenge. What would be a good idea for their Mom on Mother’s Day? This family had it all figured out. Now for Mother’s Day of course balloons and birthday décor are not fitting. But taking time to spend time is the best gift of all.
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
Dwight Eisenhower once said, “Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.” In recognition of the birth of our great nation we also make a parallel to the independence of our great residents. Seniors full of life and vitality, have so much living to do and want to enjoy it to the fullest. To begin each day refreshed and full of life is the ultimate goal of our communities. If you are looking into assisted living for yourself or a loved one…I want you to consider who we are, what we do and what we provide…straight from our website.
“Each of Great Oaks Management’s retirement communities provide an enhanced senior living environment focused on active aging – an approach that aims to maximize the quality of life and well-being of seniors while fulfilling their individual needs and promoting purposeful living. Our care options and life enrichment programs allow our residents to live to their greatest potential in communities that are ideal for sharing past experiences and making new memories with neighbors, friends and loved ones.
Over the years, Great Oaks has developed an enthusiastic and determined team of healthcare leaders whose knowledge of the industry has allowed us to meet the diverse and changing needs of today’s active senior adults. Our mission has been to fulfill for seniors what we all want each and every day – to be happy and healthy, to focus on family, friends, and fun, and to maintain a sense of independence.” As we celebrate all the freedoms we have to enjoy this week, we want to thank our service men and women both past and present. If you would like more information on how to make the most of independence for you or your senior, visit our website at: http://www.greatoaksmanagement.com or give us a call today at 1-888-258-8082.
I 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.
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:
- The pet owner provides verification of current vaccinations.
- The pet is clean, properly groomed and healthy.
- The pet’s owner is responsible for the pet’s behavior and maintains control of the pet at all times.
- 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.
- 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.
- Common household pets (including dogs, cats, fish, birds, guinea pigs, and hamsters) may reside in the facility, upon approval of the Administrator.
- 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
- 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.
- Pets may be fed only in the resident’s room.
- 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.
- 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!
There 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!
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.
I can still see her face and hear her laugh. She was the first social director I knew at an assisted living. Was she on the staff? Oh no! She was a sharp dressed lady named Geraldine with an even sharper wit. Affectionately known to her family as “Gigi” she was one of the first ladies who taught me that residents in an assisted living have lots of living left to do. Ms. Geraldine would keep me apprised as to the latest “goings on” with the royals. Gigi loved Will and Kate and a good game of Skip Bo. She and the other ladies that made up her Skip Bo group were the first group I affectionately referred to as my sorority rush committee. Ms. Geraldine would be the first to tell you…life in assisted living is not about bingo and bedtime. It is much more and can be so fulfilling. She spent her golden years of life loving her family and her friends and living each day to its fullest. So, if you are looking at assisted living for yourself or a loved one…what are the benefits of the social aspects?
Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers found evidence that “elderly people in the U.S. who have an active social life may have a slower rate of memory decline. In fact, memory decline among the most sociable was less than half the rate among the least sociable. Senior author Lisa Berkman, chair of the Department of Society, Human Development and Health, went on to say, “We know from previous studies that people with many social ties have lower mortality rates. We now have mounting evidence that strong social networks can help to prevent declines in memory. As our society ages and has more and more older people, it will be important to promote their engagement in social and community life to maintain their well-being.”
Studies show that lack of socialization is linked to negative impacts on health and well-being, especially for older people. Having a variety of social opportunities and activities vastly improve the psychological and physical health of seniors. The benefits include reducing stress, increasing physical health, and defeating psychological problems such as depression and anxiety.
Assisted living promotes socialization with everything from a robust activities calendar to dining together in a community setting. Engaging in activities and other community events allows seniors to bond with new friends while promoting physical and mental health. This can prolong their quality of life and overall life expectancy. Does this sounds like something that would benefit your elderly loved one and you want to know more? Check out our latest Activities Calendar to see what is going on at one of our communities near you at www.greatoaksmanagement.com or call us today at 1-888-258-8082.
*In memory of former resident Geraldine Reilly.
Thank you to her family for allowing us to share this in her memory.
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.