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Talking With Your Parent About A Senior Living Community

Life is full of phases. When you’re a child, you depend on your parent to care for you. As time moves on and you both age, you may see a reversal of roles: your parent may need more help with everyday chores, running errands, and eventually, making important life decisions.

At Kaplan, we’re here to help. If you feel ready for the conversation, we offer five steps:

  1. Take stock of the situation.

First, is your parent needing assistance completing routine tasks? These might include household chores, climbing the stairs, running errands or even getting to the doctor. Is your parent confident driving? When life at home becomes more difficult, it may be time to discuss senior living options. For example, if your parent is having difficulty:

  • Bathing or with other personal hygiene needs
  • Taking care of household chores
  • Remembering to take their medicine
  • Preparing meals
  • Shopping, driving, running errands
  • Participating in activities, like church or social groups

Click here for our full checklist.

While some seniors require extra help, others simply want to downsize or free up time for fun. For example, your parent may be ready to simplify life by eliminating certain responsibilities or tedious chores. Or perhaps they’re looking to connect with other seniors with similar interests or take part in onsite social activities.

Talking with a parent about senior living options can be complicated – especially if your parent is fiercely independent or doesn’t envision leaving home. But there are ways to broach the conversation naturally, especially if there are signs that it may be time to think about moving into a senior community. Research, empathy and a bit of tact will all come in handy when you prepare for the conversation.

  1. Start the discussion by brainstorming the “what ifs.”

If your parent could pick anywhere to live, where would it be? What amenities would they choose? What chores would they love to eliminate? And what activities would be fun to have right on site? What’s not important? A friendly, casual discussion can lead to some great insights.

A list can prioritize needs and help match must-haves with a community’s amenities, resources, and reputation. (Experts recommend reviewing at least three.) What are the pros and cons of each community? The matching process can also lead to additional questions you want to ask during a tour.

  1. Once you’ve done your research, it’s time for a visit.

First impressions mean a lot. And much can be taken at face value; for example, how you’re treated over the phone or when you walk through the door. How knowledgeable – and friendly – is the staff? Do the residents give off good vibes and seem happy and content? What about appearances of the community? When you’re inside, are the floors immaculate, windows sparkling and tables tidy? Are their small touches to make you feel at home? Such as flowers, plants and fresh décor? Sit down and eat a meal. Observe if other diners are enjoying their meals.

What to look for:

  • Friendliness, professionalism, and knowledge of staff
  • Cleanliness, neatness and personal touches
  • Friendly and engaged residents
  • Variety in dining choices with healthy menu options
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Plenty of space and community rooms
  • Additional security when and where needed
  • A vitality that can’t always be defined

Click here for more tips.

Also, visit when you and your parent are feeling relaxed and in a positive mindset. If the day is rushed or timing not conducive, consider rescheduling.

  1. How to strike the right note.

Approaching the topic of moving into a senior living community takes a combination of finesse, honesty and concern – and understanding the points that mean most to your parent. Be casual and caring; voice your concerns but don’t lecture. And be open to feedback. It’s your parent’s life, and they want to be in the driver’s seat.

 

Need help?

Call Kaplan at (516) 496-1505. We can discuss your needs, and if appropriate, suggest a visit. From Independent Living in our spacious apartments to Assisted Living with help from our qualified and caring staff, at Kaplan, we’re committed to serving all our residents, ensuring they have a happy, active and vibrant life.

Making Every Resolution Count

It’s 2019, time to make every resolution count. We’ve selected our ten favorites for seniors – or anyone wanting to see an improvement in their life. No matter your age, no matter your background, there’s always something new or different to aspire to.

Ten Popular (And Do-Able) Resolutions:

  1. Walk 10 minutes every day. This is a realistic goal and one that can enhance your overall wellbeing. If you already have an exercise plan, add 10 minutes. You naturally boost energy levels and may even see a decrease in food cravings. Exercise also releases endorphins which are essential to mood enhancement and keeping depression at bay.
  2. Learn something new. (Or excel at something you already love.) There’s nothing better than accomplishing a new feat, learning a skill or taking up a hobby. Self-improvement is uplifting and increases confidence levels. It also enables you to make new friends and look differently at the world.
  3. Read a book each month. (If that goes well, try for two or join a book club!) It may sound cliché, but reading does open doors to the world. Pick a genre you enjoy. Or better yet, try a new genre. Many individuals also enjoy audio books for a change of pace or to listen and discuss with a group.
  4. Make time for brain games. Much can be gained by taking part in games such as Sudoku, crossword puzzles and other stimulating activities. Brain games are enjoyable but can also enhance cognitive skills and inhibit certain types of memory loss and dementia.
  5. Eat right. Try cutting back on empty calories or adding at least one “super food” (those abundant in vitamins) to your diet every day. Super foods include berries, nuts, kale, salmon, dark chocolate and red wine. The adage, you are what you eat, holds true. By eating the right foods and enjoying goodies in moderation, you’ll find it easier to maintain a healthy weight and feel better about yourself.
  6. Sleep tight. Get the recommended eight hours of sleep every night. Experts also encourage good sleep habits, such as turning off your TV, phone or other devices, and going to bed at the same time every night. A good night’s sleep should leave you refreshed and ready to face a new day’s challenges.
  7. Review your finances and legal papers. The new year is an excellent time to do a financial review. When you’re in control of your money, you rest easier and feel more optimistic – and can make better spending decisions. Also ensure legal documents, such as a will or medical directive, are up-to-date.
  8. Try a new technology. One idea is to learn more about the functions on your smartphone. Or maybe download a new app you’ve wanted to try. The options are endless nowadays and can match virtually any interest – shopping, cooking, exercising and more.
  9. Volunteer for your favorite charity. Nothing is better than giving back. And when you can help someone else, you feel inspired yourself. It’s also rewarding to make a difference to a cause you’re passionate about. If you’re not as mobile as you used to be, there are ways to volunteer by phone or even online.
  10. Quit something that is bad for you. This can be smoking, overeating, drinking too much or even worrying. But there are smaller things to conquer as well, such as improving your posture or even smiling more. Any time you eliminate a bad habit (or improve on something) is a positive!

 

Keeping Your Resolution

According to Lifehack.com, only 12 percent of resolutions succeed. But there are ways to improve your odds. The best way is to pick a resolution you’ll keep. But seriously, keep things realistic. For example, don’t go overboard and try to reform your entire life in 30 days.

Ways to bolster success:

  • Take your time. Rarely is there instant gratification when it comes to a New Year’s Resolution. If your goal has multiple steps, write them down. If it includes an extended timeline (for example, losing weight), map out periodic goals with dates.
  • Give yourself some credit, be kind to yourself. Even if you take a step back in your goal, don’t fret. The worst thing to do is to let your inner critic get the best of you and undermine your efforts. Stay confident!
  • Focus, recommit and adjust accordingly. If you take more than a step backward, it may be time for a reality check. Is your goal attainable or have you bitten off too much? If you need to realign your goal, that’s okay. It’s better than throwing in the towel altogether.
  • Reflect on your priorities. If resolve is waning, perhaps the goal you had in mind isn’t the right one for you. Or, maybe you need to find a new approach to reenergize, like seeking an accountability partner, an online support group or maintaining a log. Rest assured that any progress you make is a good thing!

Sources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/walking-exercise-helps-seniors-stay-mobile-independent-201405287173

https://www.mylifesite.net/blog/post/boomers-can-achieve-better-health-with-super-foods/

https://www.seniorlifestyle.com/how-to-keep-your-new-years-resolutions/

https://www.nytimes.com/guides/smarterliving/resolution-ideas

Stay Connected

When we think of overcoming obstacles, it’s hard to argue that anyone had more to overcome than Helen Keller. Yet Helen was human, and she didn’t go it alone; she relied on her friend and teacher, Susan Sullivan. While our circumstances may not resemble Helen’s in any way, it can be easy to feel alone or bewildered.

Humans are hardwired to interact with others, especially during times of stress, says Frank McAndrew, Ph.D., writing for Psychology Today (www.psychologytoday.com). “When we go through a trying ordeal alone, a lack of emotional support and friendship can increase our anxiety and hinder our coping ability.”

McAndrew writes that rejection by others psychologically wounds us more deeply than almost anything else. Other studies confirm that loneliness isn’t good for anyone’s health. It increases levels of stress hormones in the body and leads to poor sleep, a compromised immune system, and, in the elderly, cognitive decline.

The blog, theconversation.com, cites a study conducted by Brigham Young University in 2015 that looked at multiple studies on loneliness and isolation – and its potentially adverse health impact. Consequences include increased stress (resulting in the release of cortisol) and even premature death. Jed Magen, Associate Professor of Psychiatry for Michigan State University, writes in the post, that “just like the person long ago in the wild, someone who’s lonely over the long term can experience cortisol responses.”

 

This is a red flag since the lonely often feel stressed.

You Can Combat Loneliness!

Worship with a friend, eat out, share a hug or pick up the phone.

We’ve compiled ten activities to give you a spark – or to share with someone you know who might be struggling with isolation.

  1. Eat out – One of our most time-treasured activities, breaking bread together or sharing a meal, is a terrific way to reunite with a friend or loved one. Plus, there are no dishes! If you’re on a budget, brown bag it and meet a friend at the mall, a park or at home.
  2. Adopt a pet – Caring for a furry friend has many benefits. It helps to recharge those nurturing instincts, something that fills our lives and creates purpose. (Think back to when you were raising a family; being needed was integral to your role.)
  3. Join a club – Pick up that forgotten hobby or learn something new! You’ll meet friends who share similar interests. Also check out your local senior center. They typically offer an array of activities, from art, photography to exercise.
  4. Visit neighbors – Many people are looking to reconnect in a world that seems to be filled with bad news daily. A new friend may just live a door down.
  5. Put on your walking shoes – Pair up with a friend and walk. Malls are an ever-popular destination. During nice weather, head to a park with well-paved, even surfaces.
  6. Use technology – If the weather’s not good or you’re not quite feeling yourself, try using a tablet to “facetime” a friend. Stay in touch with siblings, kids or grandkids! The technology is easy to use, and anyone with younger kids can show you how.
  7. Worship with a friend – If you’ve been spiritually active, there’s no reason to stop. The benefits are many: you reconnect with friends; it’s a recurring activity to look forward to; and, you can talk out troubles or listen to someone else’s. Many places also offer free transportation – another plus!
  8. Volunteer for a cause – What better way to connect with others. You can also share your passion and learn about the progress of your favorite charity.
  9. Share your talents – In your working life, maybe you were a carpenter, plumber or electrician. Or perhaps you were a teacher, accountant or business manager. Almost any field would appreciate you sharing your skills and experience with students.
  10. Stay healthy – When you maintain a level of fitness, you automatically feel better about yourself. You also gain confidence to be out more, socialize and take part in the activities you love.

Overcoming Challenges

Transportation. If you need help getting somewhere, don’t be afraid to ask a friend or family member. Or buddy up with someone you know who’s going to the same place. And with the advent of Uber and Lyft, there’s never been a better time to find a convenient, affordable ride. There are also ride services equipped to serve those with unique needs.

If you can help someone with a ride, don’t be shy to offer to help.

Health needs. Sometimes older adults may feel intimidated getting out, whether it’s because of physical challenges or the impacts of aging on their self-esteem. If you need assistance, services are available.

Growing older. It’s not always easy. But at Kaplan, we are here to support you and your wellbeing.

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/out-the-ooze/201611/the-perils-social-isolation

https://theconversation.com/loneliness-is-bad-for-your-health-90901

How Loneliness Affects the Mind and Body

6 Powerful Ways To Help Seniors Avoid Isolation

Family Traditions & Holiday Tips

“There’ll be parties for hosting

Marshmallows for toasting

And caroling out in the snow

There’ll be scary ghost stories…”

 

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.

A song that was written for and made famous by the Andy Williams’ Christmas Album, it adorns Christmas cards and is heard in stores everywhere. It even encourages us to exchange cheery greetings to strangers. But how can we truly make this holiday season the most wonderful time?

We’ve compiled our favorite holiday tips and ways to get the most from this treasured (but often overwhelming) time of year.

Set Reasonable Aspirations

How we anticipate an event, like the holidays, can grow in our minds so much that when it finally arrives, we feel let down or disappointed. Or we may expect perfection when perfection is simply unattainable. If this tends to be you, relax. Keep expectations real and try not to strive for the impossible. It feels good to let go, is better for your health and can positively impact those around you.

Determine a Spending Budget

There’s nothing more unsettling than spending more than you should. First, it’s perfectly okay – prudent in fact – not to overspend! It makes good sense to stay within your means when shopping, entertaining or even preparing Christmas dinner.

Start with a budget early, preferably before the season is in full swing. Map out what you can spend. Then make a list. If the list exceeds your budget, revise until you’re comfortable with the plan. You’ll feel good being prepared and satisfied when you stay on track.

Focus on Friends or Family

Those who are closest to us can share the brunt of our mood swings or frustration. Why not let this time of year be a way to remind those you love how much you care? Try mailing a hand-written letter or calling someone you’ve not seen recently.

Make Time for Traditions

This can be one of the most rewarding aspects of bringing loved ones together – sharing and passing on the traditions of those who came before us. But it’s also a time to start new traditions – to welcome fresh ideas from others, enjoy something new or to be flexible if the times are changing.

Reflect On Memories

While the holidays can be delightful, for many, they can produce feelings of ambivalence, grief or loneliness. It’s okay to express these feelings either with a loved one or a professional, and it can be extremely beneficial to talk through painful memories. Fend off loneliness by spending time with family and friends and taking care of yourself. And always seek help if you start to feel overwhelmed by your emotions.

Stay Healthy

Everywhere you look there may be goodies, treats and a hundred different ways to cheat on your diet or exercise routine. Here, the adage to enjoy things in moderation prevails. When you stick to your routine, both in diet and exercise, you’ll not have to face the fallout from holiday weight gain. If your schedule ramps up this time of year, focus on getting a full night’s rest and remember to eat your fruits and veggies. These all help keep your stamina strong and illness at bay!

Think Of Yourself

Many of us spend time worrying about or caring for others, which is honorable in a way and can be a good thing. But always putting others first, combined with the demands of the holidays, can be a backbreaker. Remember, it’s okay to say no to invitations or requests for help. And don’t feel guilty about taking a few shortcuts here and there. Maybe it’s having dinner delivered rather than cooking from scratch or having Shipt or TaskRabbit do the shopping.

Give To Others

It is indeed better to give than to receive and not necessarily something of monetary value. Maybe it’s offering your time, helping a neighbor or sharing a smile. Giving can boost your mood, help fight loneliness, strengthen social bonds and provide additional health benefits.

Being Thankful

For many Americans, Thanksgiving represents perfection in a holiday tradition: family, friends, food, shopping, and of course football. As we reap the harvest and Black Friday deals, why not use this as a time to be thankful, to reflect on what’s most important?

There are hundreds of reasons to be grateful. Perhaps most important is that it compels us to live in the present moment. The website, the-benefits-of-positive-thinking.com, reiterates: “It helps you to be in the present by noticing what you do have and stopping to acknowledge it. This can be the company of a person, having food, or even being able to see.”

Things you might be thankful for:

  • Family, friends, neighbors and co-workers
  • Your pets
  • Food on the table, from Thanksgiving dinner to something microwave-ready
  • Gainful employment, having a chance to be fruitful
  • Being retired with more time to relax
  • Giving back
  • The beauty of nature, the changing seasons, a sunset, sunrise or full moon

Yes, there may be times we wish things were different – that we could achieve more, earn more, attain higher professional accolades or personal accomplishments. It’s human nature. But disappointments, as well as sorrow and pain, are a part of life. Sometimes it’s the difficulties that enable us to see how truly fortunate we are.

The power of positive thinking – shifting from the negative to the positive.

 

Constructively viewing life elevates the spirit. But did you know that being thankful can also impact goal attainment? By approaching life’s ups and downs in a positive, productive way, you accomplish more, feel better about the job ahead and stay on course.

Conversely, dwelling on the negative can interrupt your stride and hamper productivity. For example, you may get caught up on reliving the past or fretting about the future, rather than staying grounded in the present.

In his article for inspiyr.com, life coach and empowerment specialist, Jamelle Sanders, explains that gratitude shifts the narrative of your life: “So many people in the world today are battling through toxic thoughts and negative words. These thoughts and words create negative cycles in your life.”

He explains that being grateful changes the sequencing of words and the processing of your thoughts. “It seasons your words and focuses your thoughts on creating new possibilities for your life.”

 

When you talk positively, whether out loud or to yourself, the outcomes are more likely to be positive.

Sanders recommends writing down three to five things you are grateful for at the end of every day. This cultivates what he calls “a lifestyle of gratitude,” a factor that changed his outlook on life.

Realizing all you can be thankful for helps you to see things differently and react more confidently to people and situations. And you’re less likely to compare what you have to others or become depressed by what you don’t have.

Being thankful also provides numerous other health benefits. CBSNews.com medical contributor Dr. David Agus, interviewed by CBS This Morning, notes that when you smile, your whole body is changed. “The chemicals, the endorphins, actually make your brain feel better and do better.”

Agus adds that those who are grateful are more likely to demonstrate self-control, which can help them make better decisions regarding behaviors like healthy eating and not smoking.

Benefits of being thankful:

  • Mood changer and motivator
  • Increased energy levels and productivity,
  • Improved heart health
  • Releases endorphins, which can help to lower blood pressure
  • Greater fortitude to confront life’s challenges
  • Increased self-control for better life choices – like exercising more, eating right and spending time constructively
  • Reduces the reliance on alcohol or drugs
  • Lessens the risk for depression

As you carve the turkey this Thanksgiving, make it an occasion to embrace and express your gratitude fully; to look kindly upon one another. And to look within as a way for self-improvement and a better life.

Sources:

https://www.the-benefits-of-positive-thinking.com/importance-of-being-grateful.html

https://inspiyr.com/being-grateful/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-health-benefits-of-being-thankful/

The Importance of a ‘This is Me’ Questionnaire

Consider this situation: A 68 year old wheelchair-bound man with moderate to severe dementia is being assisted with shaving by a well-meaning dedicated CNA. He is very restraint, seems to be increasingly confused and, as the CNA continues to attempt to help, he becomes physically agitated. The CNA reports to the nursing director that he became unruly and it is charted that he is combative. Interventions are put in to place to protect the caregivers. This seems like the right course of action, right?

Now, consider this: The man began shaving at the age of 15. For 53 years, he shaved every single morning, without fail – in the shower! He never shaved while sitting in a chair in the middle of his bedroom while looking in a mirror on a tray table. This was not ‘how he did it’. Unwittingly, the CNA was attempting to have him learn a new behavior rather than tap into residual behavior. It was an un-winnable situation for both the man, and the CNA.

Finally, consider this: If the CNA has been able to look in the man’s file, found a questionnaire that he had filled out prior to beginning decline, that spelled out how he ‘did things’ in his daily life – that spelled out that he always began his day with a shower, that he drank his morning coffee before starting his breakfast, that he liked to fold his socks down and that he always got out of bed on the right side, AND that he always shaved in the shower. If this questionnaire had been available, the CNA would have been able to use that information to create a schedule of ADLs that fit in to this man’s understanding and residual behavior. The CNA would have had the opportunity to create a winnable situation for everyone.

Ideally, every person should fill out such a questionnaire. An excellent sample of one of these questionnaires is the one developed by IATB Dementia Care, LLC available for free download.at https://www.hsag.com/contentassets/df8e53c36037416abcb7a1e667b1f79b/c2_iatb-dementia-care-llc–my-way-an-advanced-directive_508.pdf

This questionnaire allows the person to record every aspect of their daily routine from the order of self-care routines whether or not they like their peas smashed into their mashed potatoes. It records the person’s occupation which may give future caregivers clues on how to connect and records favorite activities that can be used to develop therapy techniques that will work best.

The answers on this questionnaire can be used to assist with therapy and nursing for a person suffering from dementia, stroke or any other cognitive disorder. It can also help with assisting in the recovery of TBI, head trauma, brain surgery and a plethora of other conditions that affect the person’s cognitive abilities.

A person should fill out this questionnaire and keep it with their personal papers. They may want to update it every few years. In the event an illness or accident requires nursing or therapeutic interventions, the answers on this questionnaire may make the difference between a clean-shaven happy day, or the label as a combative rebel.

Wellness For Life: Healthier Lifestyle

Wellness can be achieved at almost any point in life. It can include eating right, exercising more and improving your mental outlook. Not new concepts by any means, but worth a fresh perspective.

You Are What You Eat.

Eating a plethora of fruits and vegetables is one way to improve your health. So is reducing your caloric intake. Experts typically suggest a 25 to 40 percent reduction to help achieve a healthier lifestyle. While decreasingyour calories can lead to greater longevity, experts also recommend increasing your quantity of food, which means eating higher volumes of quality, lower calorie foods. Diets rich in antioxidants, like berries, beans and dark leafy green vegetables, can help with this goal.

  1. nutritionists endorse a Mediterranean (plant-based) diet, which features large amounts of vegetables and olive oil and only moderate amounts of lean protein. Others prefer the benefits of the Paleo diet, consisting mainly of foods eaten by early humans – meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit – but no dairy, grain or processed foods.

Naturopathic doctor, author, speaker and blogger, Dr. Marc Bubbs, believes that as you age, increasing your intake of animal protein is vital. He refers to proteins which contain the greatest concentrations of essential and branched-chain amino acids, as well as creatine for building and maintaining lean muscle. Dr. Bubbs notes that an optimal level of protein can also help to improve blood pressure and sugar levels and reduce inflammation. (Read more at his blog: https://drbubbs.com/blog/2017/9/6-tips-for-longevity-health.)

Exercise And Keep Moving.

Have you heard the phrase, “Sitting is the new smoking?” Roughly translated, Americans spend more time sitting today than ever before, both at work and leisure, with increased screen time on their phones, tablets and TVs, all which can have a negative impact on health.

The key is not to fall into the habit of a sedentary lifestyle. Not only will you feel better, regular exercise can improve your balance and cardiovascular health. Strive for 30 minutes a day; even light walking can benefit. Not exercising, however, may increase your risk for a heart attack, and some studies show your risk may double. (Source: Robert Nied, MD, a sports medicine specialist in California, https://www.rd.com/health/healthcare/5-keys-to-health-at-60-plus/).

People who exercise daily also reduce their chance of bone fractures. The Centers for Disease Control (www.CDC.gov) reports that people who do 120 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week lower their risk of hip fracture. Exercise also releases endorphins into your brain for stress relief.

Before starting any exercise program, please consult your doctor.

Find Purpose And Positivity.

Once the kids are grown and careers mature, many older adults feel at loose ends. Why not use this time to start a new hobby, volunteer or reignite a past pleasure? Not only will you find greater fulfillment but staying mentally active can also help delay or lower your risk of dementia.

Finding purpose also leads to positivity, which is essential for leading a well-balanced life. Get a boost by being around other positive people. When you share time with family and friends, you avoid isolation and can reduce stress.

Sharing your joys as well as troubles encourages more fulfilling relationships at any age.

Maintain A Well-Balanced Life.

Diet, exercise and lifestyle factors account for 90 percent of chronic disease, which includes diabetes (type-2), heart disease, cognitive decline and dementia, adds Dr. Bubbs. “Your body and physiology react to the inputs you provide it; remain sedentary and eat the wrong foods and your brain and body will suffer. Eat clean, healthy whole foods and move every day and you will be amazed at your level of vitality and youthfulness.”

At Kaplan, we’re here to support all facets of your wellbeing. Let us know how we can do more to assist you.

Sources:

https://www.rd.com/health/healthcare/5-keys-to-health-at-60-plus/

https://drbubbs.com/blog/2017/9/6-tips-for-longevity-health

https://www.lifecareservices-seniorliving.com/activity-the-key-to-health-and-longevity-for-seniors/

https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm

Is it Dementia?

For anyone over the age of 50, you know that the last time you misplaced your keys, or you forgot your sister’s birthday, you immediately thought ‘I have Alzheimer’s’. This knee-jerk reaction is a default for our generation. For years we’ve seen the commercials on TV, witnessed the cognitive decline of our older relatives and friends, and secretly or not, worried that someday dementia would be our reality. And while you can probably disregard missing your sister’s birthday and were likely just distracted when you set your keys down, there are nine signs of cognitive issues that you don’t want to ignore

  1. Trouble planning and/or solving problems such as having trouble remembering a recipe you’ve made a hundred times before, having trouble keeping track of your monthly bills, or having difficulty planning your weekly grocery shopping.
  2. Memory lapses that interfere with your daily life such as asking for the same information repeatedly, forgetting the punchline of a joke you’ve told before or increasingly relying on reminder notes for things you used to handle on your own.
  3. Confusion on times and places such as losing track of seasons or the passage of time (is it afternoon?), forgetting where you are, or how you got there.
  4. Trouble with visual images and relationships such as difficulty judging distance to the curb, determining what color something is, or difficulty reading.
  5. Problem finding the right word whether speaking or writing such as losing your train of thought when speaking, repeating a story you just told or calling things by the wrong word.
  6. Trouble retracing steps and misplacing things such as not being able to go back over your steps to find something you’ve misplaced.
  7. Trouble with judgement or decision-making such as making poor financial decisions or giving away large sums of money to telemarketers.
  8. Withdrawing from social engagements such as work projects, sports, or hobbies.
  9. Marked changes in mood and personality such as a becoming confused, suspicious, depressed or anxious and becoming easily agitated.

It is very important to keep things in perspective! While it seems that everyone is talking about dementia, less than 8% of people over the age of 60 are diagnosed with the disease. And each of the warning signs above can also be due to normal aging, side effects of medication or simply a busy life. Speak with your doctor and tell him/her of your concerns. Ask them to perform a cognitive evaluation. If it is a medication interaction, switching dosages may help. If it is, however, dementia related, early detection will allow the doctors the greatest chance of intervention.

Wellness For Life

Wellness can be achieved at almost any point in life. It can include eating right, exercising more and improving your mental outlook. Not new concepts by any means, but worth a fresh perspective.

You Are What You Eat.

Eating a plethora of fruits and vegetables is one way to improve your health. So is reducing your caloric intake. Experts typically suggest a 25 to 40 percent reduction to help achieve a healthier lifestyle. While decreasingyour calories can lead to greater longevity, experts also recommend increasing your quantity of food, which means eating higher volumes of quality, lower calorie foods. Diets rich in antioxidants, like berries, beans, and dark leafy green vegetables, can help with this goal.

  1. nutritionists endorse a Mediterranean (plant-based) diet, which features large amounts of vegetables and olive oil and only moderate amounts of lean protein. Others prefer the benefits of the Paleo diet, consisting mainly of foods eaten by early humans – meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit – but no dairy, grain or processed foods.

Naturopathic doctor, author, speaker and blogger, Dr. Marc Bubbs, believes that as you age, increasing your intake of animal protein is vital. He refers to proteins which contain the greatest concentrations of essential and branched-chain amino acids, as well as creatine for building and maintaining lean muscle. Dr. Bubbs notes that an optimal level of protein can also help to improve blood pressure and sugar levels and reduce inflammation. (Read more at his blog: https://drbubbs.com/blog/2017/9/6-tips-for-longevity-health.)

Exercise And Keep Moving.

Have you heard the phrase, “Sitting is the new smoking?” Roughly translated, Americans spend more time sitting today than ever before, both at work and leisure, with increased screen time on their phones, tablets and TVs, all which can have a negative impact on health.

The key is not to fall into the habit of a sedentary lifestyle. Not only will you feel better, regular exercise can improve your balance and cardiovascular health. Strive for 30 minutes a day; even light walking can benefit. Not exercising, however, may increase your risk for a heart attack, and some studies show your risk may double. (Source: Robert Nied, MD, a sports medicine specialist in California, https://www.rd.com/health/healthcare/5-keys-to-health-at-60-plus/).

People who exercise daily also reduce their chance of bone fractures. The Centers for Disease Control (www.CDC.gov) reports that people who do 120 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week lower their risk of hip fracture. Exercise also releases endorphins into your brain for stress relief.

Before starting any exercise program, please consult your doctor.

Find Purpose And Positivity.

Once the kids are grown and careers mature, many older adults feel at loose ends. Why not use this time to start a new hobby, volunteer or reignite a past pleasure? Not only will you find greater fulfillment but staying mentally active can also help delay or lower your risk of dementia.

Finding purpose also leads to positivity, which is essential for leading a well-balanced life. Get a boost by being around other positive people. When you share time with family and friends, you avoid isolation and can reduce stress.

Sharing your joys as well as troubles encourages more fulfilling relationships at any age.

Maintain A Well-Balanced Life.

Diet, exercise and lifestyle factors account for 90 percent of chronic disease, which includes diabetes (type-2), heart disease, cognitive decline and dementia, adds Dr. Bubbs. “Your body and physiology react to the inputs you provide it; remain sedentary and eat the wrong foods and your brain and body will suffer. Eat clean, healthy whole foods and move every day and you will be amazed at your level of vitality and youthfulness.”

At Kaplan, we’re here to support all facets of your wellbeing. Let us know how we can do more to assist you.

Sources:

https://www.rd.com/health/healthcare/5-keys-to-health-at-60-plus/

https://drbubbs.com/blog/2017/9/6-tips-for-longevity-health

https://www.lifecareservices-seniorliving.com/activity-the-key-to-health-and-longevity-for-seniors/

https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm

The Seven Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

While some Alzheimer’s experts break the disease into three stages (early, moderate and end), Dr. Barry Reisberg from New York University developed a much more specific identification model with seven distinct stages. While the speed of the progress through the stages is different for each patient, the stages are present for everyone with the disease. As shared on www.alzheimers.net, the Seven Stages are:According to the Alzheimer’s Association, every 65 seconds someone in the US develops Alzheimer’s Disease. That means in the time it will take you to read this article, 8 people in will develop this disease. While there are 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, by 2050 that number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million if a cure is not found. The statistics are staggering.

Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive illness that increases in intensity and impact as time goes on. As Sir Francis Bacon said in 1597 (and was later oft-quoted by Thomas Jefferson), knowledge is power and knowing the Seven Stages of Alzheimer’s can empower you to adapt for yourself or your loved ones.

While some Alzheimer’s experts break the disease into three stages (early, moderate and end), Dr. Barry Reisberg from New York University developed a much more specific identification model with seven distinct stages. While the speed of the progress through the stages is different for each patient, the stages are present for everyone with the disease. As shared on www.alzheimers.net, the Seven Stages are:

Stage 1: No Impairment

During this stage, Alzheimer’s disease is not detectable, and no memory problems or other symptoms of dementia are evident.

Stage 2: Very Mild Decline

The senior may notice minor memory problems or lose things around the house, although not to the point where the memory loss can easily be distinguished from normal age-related memory loss. The person will still do well on memory tests and the disease is unlikely to be detected by physicians or loved ones.

Stage 3: Mild Decline

At this stage, the friends and family members of the senior may begin to notice memory and cognitive problems. Performance on memory and cognitive tests are affected and physicians will be able to detect impaired cognitive function.

Patients in Stage 3 will have difficulty in many areas including:

  • finding the right word during conversations
  • remembering names of new acquaintances
  • planning and organizing

People with stage three Alzheimer’s may also frequently lose personal possessions, including valuables.

Stage 4: Moderate Decline

In stage four of Alzheimer’s disease clear cut symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are apparent. Patients with stage four Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Have difficulty with simple arithmetic
  • May forget details about their life histories
  • Have poor short-term memory (may not recall what they ate for breakfast, for example)
  • Inability to manage finance and pay bill

 

Stage 5: Moderately Severe Decline

During the fifth stage of Alzheimer’s, patients begin to need help with many activities. People in stage five of the disease may experience:

  • ​​​​​​​Significant confusion
  • Inability to recall simple details about themselves such as their own phone number
  • Difficulty dressing appropriately

On the other hand, patients in stage five maintain a modicum of functionality. They typically can still bathe and toilet independently. They also usually still know their family members and some detail about their personal histories, especially their childhood and youth.

Stage 6: Severe Decline

Patients with the sixth stage of Alzheimer’s disease need constant supervision and frequently require professional care. Symptoms include:

  • Confusion or unawareness of environment and surroundings
  • Major personality changes and potential behavior problems
  • The need for assistance with activities of daily living such as toileting and bathing
  • Inability to recognize faces except closest friends and relatives
  • Inability to remember most details of personal history
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  • Wandering

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Stages 7: Very Severe Decline

Stage seven is the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Because Alzheimer’s disease is a terminal illness, patients in stage seven are nearing death. In stage seven of the disease, patients lose ability to respond to their environment or communicate. While they may still be able to utter words and phrases, they have no insight into their condition and need assistance with all activities of daily living. In the final stages of the illness, patients may lose their ability to swallow.

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