Depression is a condition that affects many people of all ages around the world. Over the years, I have experienced within our community just how difficult and debilitating it can be for some of our elderly in the winter months. Winter SADness…or Seasonal Affect Disorder is not just a bad or sad mood. It is a real health issue and as with any type of depression, it is important to be aware and seek medical intervention when necessary. The National Institute of Mental Health gives this explanation and as well as symptoms and treatments:
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is not considered as a separate disorder. It is a type of depression displaying a recurring seasonal pattern. To be diagnosed with SAD, people must meet full criteria for major depression coinciding with specific seasons (appearing in the winter or summer months) for at least 2 years. Seasonal depressions must be much more frequent than any non-seasonal depressions.
Symptoms of the Winter Pattern of SAD include:
- Having low energy
- Weight gain
- Craving for carbohydrates
- Social withdrawal (feel like “hibernating”)
Treatments and Therapies:
There are four major types of treatment for SAD:
- Light therapy
- Vitamin D
These treatments may be used alone or in combination. Along with the difficulties that a chronic illness can bring, seniors are also likely to experiences losses in the social networks, which can contribute to the formation of clinical depression. Not everyone who experiences Seasonal Affect Disorder is clinically depressed, but SAD can increase the effects of those who do live with chronic depression. Families and caregivers should be on the lookout for indicators of SAD in their older loved ones during the winter months.
It is important to talk with your loved ones if you have concerns about their mental health and seek medical attention when necessary. Be supportive, be loving and help them remain calm as they cope.
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.
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.
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.
Foot 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.
Nail 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.
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!
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 on 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!
Listening 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.
Sue 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.
For most, knowledge is power. If you know the risks you should be able to avoid the consequences. That is the exact premise behind February being designated National Heart Month. American Heart Month, a federally designated event, is a great way to remind Americans to focus on their hearts and encourage them to get their families, friends, and communities involved.
Did you know according to the American Heart Association?
- The first American Heart Month, which took place in February 1964, was proclaimed by President Lyndon B. Johnson via Proclamation 3566 on December 30, 1963.
- The Congress, by joint resolution on that date, has requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating February as American Heart Month.
- At that time, more than half the deaths in the U.S. were caused by cardiovascular disease.
- While American Heart Month is a federally designated month in the United States, it’s important to realize that cardiovascular disease knows no borders. Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading global cause of death with more than 17.3 million deaths each year.
- That number is expected to rise to more than 23.6 million by 2030.
The Center for Disease Control reports that even though heart disease is still the leading cause of death for Americans, the rate of seniors hospitalized because of heart disease has decreased almost 50%, which indicates that nationwide education and prevention efforts are paying dividends. Assisted living communities are a great asset for those looking to make heart-healthy lifestyle changes. Some of the benefits include:
- Menus approved by dieticians
- Exercise programs to keep you moving
- Blood Pressure Monitoring and Medication Management
Below is the graphic put out to encourage seniors to stay active for heart health. For more information check out the link to the American Heart Association. For more information about our communities check out: http://www.greatoaksmanagement.com
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.
So, what kind of person are you? Are you the Grinch at Christmas or are you more like Buddy the Elf? Hopefully you are somewhere in between. The holidays are not all lights, baking and singing Christmas carols for everyone. This especially holds true for some seniors. The songs that stir the hearts of many during the season can evoke feelings of sadness for others. But the best thing to do is not to allow the blues to get the best of you during the holidays or anytime for that matter. Here are some tips to help you or a loved one cope and avoid a “blue” Christmas.
- Stay Active! Exercise is not only good for the heart it is also excellent for the mind. By doing reasonable exercise based on your doctor’s recommendations and your ability, you can keep the blood pumping. It also improves our metabolic rate and increases the production of endorphins which are those natural mood lifters in the brain.
- Makeover your Mood! Studies show that the simple act of getting a haircut or even a hot shave makes you feel better! Don’t discount the benefits of a nice pedicure too. Feeling better about yourself will help make your spirits improve.
- Eat Better! Now while the holidays offer many opportunities for sweet treats that we may only have once a year, it’s best not to indulge. While these goodies typically show their havoc on waistlines, they have also been proven to derail our moods and cause depression as well. So, don’t wait until the New Year to practice better eating. Everything in moderation and stick to a well-balanced diet.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that “some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and may feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up.” So, this is not something to minimize. If you feel that your loved one may need more professional help. Don’t delay and don’t minimize the situation. Reach out and show love. If they are living alone, consider a move to assisted living or to a situation that will help stimulate them socially. Be sure to keep them engaged. Remember the way we feel mentally has a huge impact on our health physically.
For more information and a guide to overcoming holiday depression for the elderly check out the link below for article published by the American Medical Resource Institute. www.aclsonline.us/artcles/the-guide-to-overcoming-holiday-depression-for-the-elderly-and-their-caretakers/
For more information on Assisted Living at Great Oaks Management Properties visit:
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