“You’ve won a prize!” This may come as exciting news to many people, but if a senior hears it from a caller on the phone, it most often means they are getting scammed. This fake lottery or sweepstakes scam is one of many common traps that unscrupulous individuals use to steal money from unknowing seniors. [Read more…] about Popular Scams For Seniors To Watch Out For
Some of the toughest issues senior caregivers and their loved ones face come when an older adult feels he or she is lacking independence. As people age, it’s inevitable that they will lose some of their abilities to do certain activities. But maintaining a regular physical fitness routine can help older adults hold on to their independence for much if not all of their senior living. Southgate at Shrewsbury offers a variety of monthly fitness and exercise classes to our residents, spanning from yoga and pilates to aerobic swimming to tai chi. Our classes allow our seniors to improve and maintain their health and wellness in a fun, social atmosphere.
Terry Serio, nutrition educator for the University of Maryland Carrol County Extension Office, teaches about the relationship between fitness and independence to seniors in her community. Her courses discuss everything from food safety to nutritional guidelines, according to the Carrol County Times. She often speaks specifically about the importance of physical fitness.
“It helps them maintain their independence,” Serio told the news source about exercise for seniors. “If they are active and they’re doing things, then they keep up their stamina, they keep up their flexibility, they’re able to carry their own groceries from the market or hang their own clothes on the line.” She adds that seniors can find ways to exercise in their day to day tasks, such as gardening or playing with the grandkids.
A study from the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine give advice to caregivers and medical professionals looking for ways to motivate seniors to get active. The study suggests physicians write a prescription for exercise on an official prescription pad, as older adults are more likely to respond to doctor’s official orders. They can also talk to seniors about the importance of safety, and help assuage any fears about injury during exercise.
In addition to the fitness and exercise classes offered here at Southgate, there are many other regularly-scheduled activities to keep our residents active and social. Some of our seniors’ favorites are our weekly line-dancing and bowling league. We also have a fully-equipped health club and spa complete with swimming pool and exercise equipment. The health and wellness of our residents is our number one priority here at Southgate, and our community allows our seniors to choose what best fits their lifestyle and gives them the freedom to design their own day.
Life is full of traditions. Many are handed down through the years, and some are newly created between family and friends. Either way, traditions are part of the colorful fabric that intertwines our lives and holds us together, transcending time and distance. One common tradition this time of year is making New Year’s resolutions, which usually include stopping bad habits or starting good habits. This tradition is also a great way to stay connected and engaged with those special seniors in your life. By working together with your aging loved ones to put those resolutions into action, you can both maintain the momentum to keep those commitments throughout the year. Providing accountability for each other provides valuable reinforcement, offers the opportunity to stay in touch regularly, and gives you a greater sense of purpose, which is particularly important for seniors and their well-being . We have compiled a number of interactive New Year’s resolutions designed to keep you connected, in touch, and in tune with each other the entire year:
Start a letter journal.
Thanks to the Internet, handwritten letters are almost a thing of the past. However, seniors come from an era when writing letters by hand was an important, valued form of etiquette—a more personal way of keeping in touch. Purchase a bound journal, write a letter inside and give it to your loved one. He or she then writes a letter to you and returns the journal. The same can be done with individual letters written back and forth and pasted into the book. The process repeats throughout the year, or until the journal is full. Sharing a letter journal with your loved one is a unique way to strengthen your connection and getting to know each other better. An added perk is the excitement of looking forward to receiving “real” mail. You find yourselves thinking of each other more often and contemplating what bit of news to share in the next letter.
Plan to age gracefully.
Growing old has advantages as well as a few disadvantages, such as wrinkles, gray hair and changes to our bodies. It is never too late to decide to pursue a healthy lifestyle, which increases the odds of aging gracefully. Plan to exercise often, eat nutritious foods and encourage each other while doing so. If you live near your senior loved one, take walks or participate in a group exercise class together. Even if your senior lives far away, you can take walks during the same time of day and talk on the phone to plan healthy meals and other activities. Share your favorite recipes. Exchanging healthy recipes helps your elderly loved one eat more nutritious meals and gives you the opportunity to ensure she is eating well. As a bonus, your loved one sends you favorite family recipes that have been passed down through the generations.
Get tech savvy.
A study in 2010 found that seniors are the fastest growing demographic on social networks. If mom and dad do not already have a computer, now is the time to expand their horizons. It might seem a bit intimidating at first, but once they are comfortable, their prowess might surprise you. Communicating and trading pictures via email becomes a snap. Even better, webcams allow “face-to-face” conversations between family members who live far apart. The grandkids can relay their adventures, and everyone gets the pleasure of seeing each other laugh. You also get the chance to observe your loved one and check for signs of good or failing health. Southgate offers a variety of computer courses to our senior community on topics like becoming familiar with your electronic devices, internet safety, learning how to use social media and more. Our residents can check our activities calendar for dates and times of the courses offered.
Talk about the hard stuff.
This resolution is not fun, but it is the most important. While your senior is able, help set the standards of care he or she desires should he or she become incapacitated later. Decide if you will designate a family member or hire a senior care professional to be the primary caregiver. Talking about estate planning and wills, along with other related issues, helps prepare everyone for the inevitable. Discussing these things in advance ensures that your loved one’s wishes are recorded and understood by all. Making New Year’s resolutions together builds bonds with family and friends. Set your resolution, involve your loved one and help each other reach your goals.
It’s been a great year for our Southgate community and we wish all our residents and their friends and family a happy New Year and a wonderful 2017!
Can you feel it? The chill in the crisp New England air? There’s a storm coming. If you have arthritis, you may believe you can predict the weather — and that you can feel this frigid winter in your bones. In polls, about 3 out of 4 people say that weather makes their pain worse.
“We’ve had a particularly cold winter here in Washington, D.C., this year, and my patients have been more achy,” says rheumatologist David Borenstein, MD, clinical professor of medicine at the George Washington University Medical Center. He treats patients with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, and osteoarthritis, the more common form of wear-and-tear arthritis.
Several medical studies—although not all—back up these suspicions. As early as the 1960s, a University of Pennsylvania physician put people with arthritis into a weather chamber and found that falling barometric pressure and increased humidity increased the perception of pain. In 2007, Tufts researchers studied 200 people with knee arthritis and found that both barometric pressure and cold affected pain. In January of 2014, Dutch researchers found that in people with severe hip arthritis, barometric pressure and humidity had a modest effect on pain perception. (Weather can have other painful effects, too: There’s evidence that lightning can trigger migraine headaches, for example.)
Because so many people believe in the weather effect, it’s possible that it’s exaggerated. It starts to rain, and you think, “Yes, I did feel a twinge yesterday.” But since several studies have found that it’s a real thing, let’s ask two questions: “Why might this happen?” and “What can I do about it?”
How Your Body Feels Weather
Why would your achy joints feel worse when the mercury drops? “Neurophysiologists have a theory,” says Dr. Borenstein, who has an online radio show called “Speaking of Health with Dr. B.” When your body gets cold, it slows down the transmission of “fast” nerves that tell you where you are in space, and that lets “slow” nerves “send their message more,” says Dr. Borenstein. Those slow nerve fibers help our bodies experience pain. “People tend to be more sensitized to pain when the weather turns cold.”
The drop is barometric pressure before a storm makes joints ache in another way. When it drops, your body expands — literally. There’s less pressure on your body to keep fluids compressed. Most people don’t notice this. But if a joint is inflamed, and the fluid around it expands, even that little extra pressure on those sensitized nerves may hurt. “When a hurricane is coming, and there’s low pressure, patients notice that,” says Dr. Borenstein.
One thing that’s not getting worse: your arthritis. Weather changes may make you more sensitive to pain but they are not eroding your cartilage or making your condition worse. It just feels that way.
What Can You Do?
Here’s what won’t work: Moving to a different part of the country. “Climate is not weather,” says Dr. Borenstein. While day-to-day weather changes affect how you feel, once you adjust to a new climate, you’ll still have arthritis. “People think that they can move to Arizona where it’s dry and that will take care of their arthritis,” he says, but they base their experience on vacation, when they’re relaxed, not doing chores, moving more, eating out, and having a grand time. Then they move permanently and find that arthritis moves with them. “My rheumatologist friends in Arizona are quite busy,” says Dr. Borenstein, adding, “Whether the climate is moist or dry, hot or cold, if you have arthritis, the changes in cartilage are still happening.”
What living in a more temperate climate might help you do, however, is move more. And exercise is a key to minimizing arthritis pain — wherever you live. “Exercise has short term benefits but if you do it consistently there are long term benefits, too,” says Dr. Borenstein. “If you exercise your limbs, the fluid that accumulates around them flows back into your system.” So you feel less pain. In the long-term, regular exercise, especially strengthening exercises, helps your muscles “support your joints better,” he says. “The whole system works better.”
It’s also important to see your doctor regularly and watch your weight to take pressure off the joints. NSAIDS help with pain and inflammation. But you can also target your activities to reduce the pain your joints predict.
Big storm coming? Try to get to the gym before the rains, so you help minimize joint inflammation before the barometric pressure plummets. “If you have joints that are prone to swelling, you want to use ace wraps around them to support them,” suggests Dr. Borenstein. “It’s a non-invasive way to help joints work better.” Here at Southgate, we offer our residents many low-impact fitness classes such as pilates, yoga, and seated exercise and balance. Another great option to exercise your limbs and joints is our weekly water aerobics class in our heated indoor pool. Southgate is committed to the health and wellness of our residents, and offers an unsurpassed array of services and ammenities to our community.