Monthly Archives: May 2017

Safety First – Prevent Those Falls!

_a_blg-FallPrevention There are many reasons a person loses their balance and falls. It may be simply bending over to pick up an object that has fallen on the floor, causing you to lose your balance and fall forward. Maybe you are attempting to reach something that you have placed on a bottom shelf, way in the back, so you must bend over to attempt to reach the item and fall hitting your head on the cabinet. That pretty throw rug you just purchased to keep your floors clean has caused you to slip and fall.

As we age our reflexes and sense of balance decreases, our bones become more fragile and we are at increased risk for fractures and head injuries. Let’s admit it, we don’t bounce like we used to! You can decrease your risk for falls. Re-arrange your furniture so you have clear pathways. Keep items used within reach, usually waist high. Wear non-slip footwear at all times. Sit on your bed or chair to dress yourself instead of standing. No throw rugs! Sit when reaching for an object instead of standing. If you use a cane or walker, do not let go of it until you are seated. And of course, don’t forget to ask for help.

Remember, if you do not feel safe doing something for yourself let a family member or a Primrose Staff member know. We are happy to assist you!

by Rene Kilgore, RN, DON

Living with Diabetes

Diabetes has a disproportionate effect on older adults. It can be a debilitating disease that adversely affects the body’s functionality over time, and it is vital to understand how to properly manage it if you do. About 25% of people over the age of 65 living in the United States have diabetes, and although it can be hard to manage, there are some simple things than can be done to treat the disease and improve overall health.

Eat Healthy

As we age, it becomes harder for our bodies to maintain a good balance of nutrients. This can lead to moments of low blood sugar. This can happen without diabetes, but having the disease can further complicate these types of episodes – leading to problems with mobility, confusion and excess fatigue. Simply adopting a well-balanced diet can lead to improvements in health almost immediately. Natural foods like fruits and vegetables, and proteins that come in eggs, meats, and dairy are much better for the body than processed foods and sweets.

_K0C5921Exercise

Physical exercise is beneficial to everyone, regardless of age, but for seniors with diabetes it is especially important. An important thing to remember when making your exercise plan is that consistency is key. A low-impact exercise, like walking, several days a week is more beneficial to your body than a strenuous workout once or twice a week that could lead to injury.

Communicate

If you notice changes in your body, like sores that are not healing or an intense feeling of thirst or fatigue, tell someone! Nobody likes to go to the doctor, but when you have diabetes it is important to keep the lines of communication open. Developing the right treatment plan and maintaining your system of support will go a long way towards making your diabetes manageable. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! If you or a loved one are living with diabetes and have questions about how senior living might be able to help, Primrose would be honored to visit with you. Just go to www.primroseretirement.com for more information.

Understanding the Different Stages of Alzheimer’s

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, you know the fear and confusion it creates regarding what the future may hold. Each person experiences the disease in a different way, but it’s overall trajectory from early to late-stage is similar. Here is a summary of the stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.

No Visible Impairment

During this stage, the only way to detect Alzheimer’s is through a brain scan. No memory issues or other symptoms are present.

General Forgetfulness

Generally, the symptoms shown in stage two are often just chalked up to getting older and natural forgetfulness. Maybe personal items like keys or cell phones are misplaced. Perhaps names become more difficult to remember, or the wrong name is used when talking to someone.

_K0C6989Mild Cognitive Impairment

This is generally the stage where loved ones begin noticing that there is an issue. Medical testing may also expose cognitive impairment at this stage as well. People in stage three of Alzheimer’s may struggle to find the right words to say in general conversations, they may also exhibit difficulty in remembering things that they just read or information they just heard. It can also become difficult to plan and organize things.

Mild Alzheimer’s Disease

More clear cut symptoms of the disease are apparent at this stage. People at stage four can have trouble with simple arithmetic and financial management, forget the month or season, and have poor short term memory (they may not remember what they had for lunch).

Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease

During stage five of Alzheimer’s, people will need assistance with many of the basic activities of daily living. They will often become confused about where they are or what time it is. Dressing appropriately for the season or occasion will also become difficult. Generally, people at this stage still remember their families and can recall some details from the past, especially their youth.

Moderately Severe Alzheimer’s

At this stage, people need constant supervision to ensure their safety. They can mistake a person for someone else, causing alarm and sometimes violent behavior. Bathing and toileting are often not possible without assistance, and wandering becomes a major risk at this stage as well.

Severe Alzheimer’s

This is the final stage of the disease. Professional care is generally needed because people lose the ability to respond to their environment or to communicate. Alzheimer’s has no cure, but science is continually working to develop new treatments that help to delay the symptoms until one can be found. If you or a loved one are experiencing this disease and have questions, Primrose would be honored to assist you. Just visit www.primroseretirement.com for additional info.

The Secret to Happiness

“It’s not the things you accumulate or the money you have in the bank that truly makes you happy.” How many of us have heard this from friends and family members over the years? It turns out they were right all along according to data collected from a study on adult development being conducted at Harvard University.

A group of pioneers

The study began in the 1930’s and 40’s with two different groups of teenagers and has continued to monitor the participants, who are now well into their late 80’s and 90’s, to this day. One group consisted of Harvard graduates with affluent families and another of low-income inner city men between the ages of 11 and 16. For over 70 years, Harvard has been in regular contact with these men – keeping tabs on their health, their marriages, their financial status, their families – in order to determine what keeps them happy and healthy.

_K0C6727The key to happiness

Over seven decades, the data collected indicates that happiness and good health are not driven by wealth or fame. Instead, what they found consistently is that those who were the most socially connected to their families and friends were the ones who were the happiest and who lived the longest lives. Those who were well-off financially but lived in relative isolation lived shorter lives and experienced more health and memory-related complications while they were alive.

Stay connected

Maintaining regular, personal contact with others and finding ways to stay involved in your community are necessary to maintain health and happiness as we age. Senior living communities like Primrose offer many opportunities to spend time with other seniors, and they make it easy for family to visit as well. If you or a loved one have questions about senior living, we would be honored to assist you. Just visit www.primroseretirement.com for more information.

Supporting Loved Ones with Depression

If you currently have a loved one struggling with depression, you know how difficult it can be and how helpless it can make you feel. Senior citizens are at greater risk of experiencing the effects of depression, but those whose families best understand how to approach the condition are more likely overcome it.

Know the symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 7 million American seniors age 65 or older suffer from depression symptoms each year. If you notice overwhelming sadness, talk of death, loss of memory, or if your loved one talks of hopelessness of emptiness, it is a warning sign. There are also physical symptoms associated with depression like fluctuations in weight, weakness in the immune system resulting in more illness, and a greater risk for serious heart conditions like high blood pressure. If you notice any of these things, or any other behaviors that are unusual, be sure to talk to your loved one about seeing a medical professional.

Be inquisitiveCapture One Catalog0724

It can be embarrassing for loved ones to talk about their feelings. This is especially true if they have become secluded from the rest of the world. They are more likely to open up to family, though, so it is very important to be asking them questions about how they feel. Asking questions shows them that you care about their situation, and that you are trying to understand what they are going through. Once you know the cause of their depression, you can begin the work of finding them the help they need to recover. Questions such as “How long have you been feeling this way?”, or, “What would need to happen for you to feel better?”, or, “What is it that makes you feel bad?” are great ways to begin a conversation with your loved ones.

Be reassuring

Always be sure to let your loved ones know that you are there for them no matter what. Knowing that they have someone by their side oftentimes is the first step toward recovery from depression. Let them know that depression is not permanent, and that their situation will change. Many residents at Primrose came to us in a state of depression, having lost friends and family members. Many of them found that being surrounded by their peers – others who have experienced the same things they have experienced – was therapeutic in their recovery. If you have questions about senior living, Primrose would be honored to assist you. Just go to www.primroseretirement.com for additional information.

3 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Dementia

In 2031, the baby boomer generation will begin turning 85 – and more than 3 million of them will have Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. Despite the best efforts of researchers around the globe there is still no cure, but there are things you can do today that may help reduce your risk of developing dementia.

_K0C6512Avoid stress

Overthe years there have been many studies that link high anxiety with the development of dementia. This is especially true of those who are already at high risk for the disease either genetically or because of certain physical conditionslike high blood pressure or diabetes. Examine your situation and determine what your main stressors are, and then develop a plan to eliminate as many of them as possible. Then, find ways to do more of the things you love. It could be anything from gardening to world travel, but the more time you spend on these things the better your overall health will be.

Quit bad habits

Put down the cigarettes! If you are a smoker, you have a 45% higher risk of developing dementia than a non-smoker of the same age. Also, up to 14% of all dementia cases could possibly be attributed to smoking. Eat more fish and berries and less fast food. Fish, especially salmon, is high in omega-3 fatty acids which build new cell membranesin the brain, control blood clots, and slow Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Berries contain high levels of compounds that fight memory impairment and reduce plaque development in the brain.

Stay connected

Maintaining strong social connections with friends and family, and keeping your brain active, could lower the risk of dementia. This is an area that is still being studied, but experts think that social and mental stimulation strengthen the connections between the brain and nerve cells. If you or a loved one are thinking of making a move to a retirement community like Primrose, it is easy to stay connected. There is always something going on to keep our residents active, and new friendships and social opportunities abound.

If you have questions about senior living, we would be honored to assist you. Just go to www.primroseretirement.com for additional information and to find the Primrose community closest to you.

3 Steps to Healthy Aging

How do you see yourself as you age? Some seniors see themselves as being healthy and active. Others may not have such an outlook and instead might feel frail and weak. Regardless of how you may feel right now, there are many simple things you can do to help minimize your risk of future illness and improve your overall health. Here are three of them:

_K0C7535Enjoy some playtime

Doing more of the things you love can increase your lifespan, improve your memory, and help battle the negative effects of depression. What your playtime consists of is up to you – time with grandkids, travel, music, volunteering, learning, etc. – the important thing is that you love what you are doing. Retirement communities like Primrose provide a care free atmosphere that makes it easy to engage in these kinds of activities with friends and family.

Stay connected

As we age, it is not unusual to see close friends pass away. Oftentimes their loss, or the loss of a spouse, can leave a void that causes depression and seclusion. It is important to stay connected and continue to develop a network of friends that you can spend time with. Perhaps that involves joining a senior bible study at your church, or plugging into your local senior center. Retirement communities like Primrose are a great place for seniors to connect. It is easy to get to know the person in the apartment next to yours, and there are many different social opportunities available throughout the week as well.

Be proactive

Regularly scheduled checkups with your doctor may not be the things you look forward to the most, but they can help to improve – or even save – your life. As we age we become more prone to certain illness and disease. Being proactive with your health will help to uncover warning signs and allow you to take corrective action before there is a problem rather than waiting until there is something wrong.

At Primrose, part of our mission is to provide a healthy, happy environment for seniors. To find out what we can do for you or your loved ones, visit www.primroseretirement.com for more info or to contact the Primrose closest to you.

Experiencing Memory Loss? Tell Your Doctor!

Most seniors who notice memory loss beginning to occur in their lives will neglect to inform their doctors – even if it interferes with the basic activities of daily living. According to a study conducted by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, just one-quarter of surveyed adults said that they discussed memory issues with their doctor.

Dealing with the fear

Among seniors, there is a real fear of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia and a denial that this kind of thing could possibly happen to them. People also feel a sense of embarrassment in admitting that they have memory problems. They worry that people will develop a lower opinion of them, which can lead to a sense of loneliness and isolation.

capture-one-catalog1059Causes and treatment

One important thing to remember is that memory loss can be attributed to factors other than dementia. Often times, once a doctor is made aware of the issue, they can pinpoint things such as hyperactive thyroid conditions or vitamin deficiencies that are the true culprits. In fact, 42 percent of respondents to the study who discussed memory issues with their physicians received treatment of some kind. This treatment could be as simple as adding a vitamin to your daily nutrition regimen. Seniors who do have dementia and keep their memory loss a secret can miss out on memory care treatments that are only available to those who have received a formal diagnosis. These treatments, while not able to cure dementia, can slow its progress and greatly improve a person’s quality of life – especially if the diagnosis comes in its early stages. Also, if a dementia diagnosis comes early, the patient has the ability to participate in the decision-making process with regards to their future treatment options.

Take control

In the end, as with most physical issues, it is of the utmost importance to let your doctor know any time you notice that something is not right with your body. Nobody knows your body better than you and the longer you wait to tell someone, the greater the risk.

If you or a loved one are dealing with memory loss issues and have questions, Primrosewould be honored to assist you. Just visit www.primroseretirement. com for additional info and information about how to contact the Primrose community closest to you.

3 Diseases That Are Particularly Dangerous for Seniors

As we age, we are at risk of increased vulnerability to certain types of diseases. Seniors need to stay educated about these illnesses so that they can be proactive in taking the steps necessary to reduce the likelihood of physical problems. Here are three of the most common diseases facing seniors:

Capture One Catalog1030Heart Disease

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death i n adults age 65 and older. Blood pressure and cholesterol are the biggest risk factors to monitor, but when there are problems they can often be completely symptomless. That is why it is vital for seniors to undergo periodic blood testing to accurately monitor and, if necessary, treat these factors. Maintaining a well-balanced diet and staying physically active are also great ways to prevent heart disease.

Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association indicates that one in four adults over the age of 60 has diabetes. Seniors, in particular, are at great risk from the negative health effects of this disease. There are two different types of Diabetes. Type 1 is hereditary and much less common than Type 2, which can be controlled through diet and, in some cases, medication. Diabetes can be easily identified with blood testing and the earlier it is detected the more treatable it is.

Arthritis

52 million adults in the U.S. experience some form of arthritis, with seniors being among those at greatest risk. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of the disease, but rheumatoid and gout are also prevalent. Be on the lookout for swelling of joints or chronic joint pain – and if you experience these conditions be sure to get in contact with a doctor. There are effective treatments for arthritis available once it has been diagnosed.

Whether you are looking for help in managing these diseases or your trying to prevent them altogether, Primrose can help. Just visit www.primroseretirement.com for more info and to find the Primrose closest to you.

4 Spring Activities for Seniors

If you are one of millions across the country who endured a harsh winter season, the warmth and beauty of spring is surely a welcome sight. In fact, the National Institute of Health says that, regardless of age or physical limitations, getting outside and taking in some fresh air and sunshine can improve cognitive function and make you a happier person – so what are you waiting for? Have a ball trying one of these springtime activities!

Take a walk

Physical activity can give you more energy, is great for your heart, and it can help your body combat symptoms of illness. Enjoy the spring scenery of a local nature trail or park, many of which are easy to navigate whether you are walking or in a wheelchair. It feels good and it is good for you – a win-win in anyone’s book!

_K0C8205Get your hands dirty in the garden

Gardening is actually a great form of exercise and a stress-reducer. It can even help make you stronger and increase your endurance. There is something about planting and harvesting your own food that feels good, and anyone can enjoy this popular pastime. There are even raised gardens for people in wheelchairs.

Do some spring cleaning

If your home has a little bit too much clutter, spring is a good time to tidy up. Local Salvation Army or Goodwill stores would welcome your second-hand items, allowing you to enjoy the benefit of having a bit less “stuff” and a bit more room in your home. You can even bring your children in to help and make some new memories together.

Check out your local farmers’ market

Find a recipe for a fresh spring salad and head to the farmers’ market to purchase the ingredients. It will help you to eat healthy, and nothing tastes better than locally grown fruits and vegetables. You may even find some flowers to help adorn your home!

No matter how you enjoy your spring, remember that Primrose is here to help answer any senior living-related questions you may have. Feel free to visit us at www.primroseretirement.com and find the Primrose closest to you.