Helpful Idea for an Activity for Someone with Dementia

Adult Daughter Comforting Mother Suffering With Dementia

If you are a caregiver for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, it can be difficult to come up with useful activities for your patient or family member with the disease. mmLearn.org offers real-life, quality caregiver training to anyone seeking practical ways to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of older adults in their care.

Below is a link to one of their videos, which talks about how to use tupperware for patients with dementia. This activity can help the patient exercise their mind and body, as well as spark memories from their past.

http://training.mmlearn.org/video-library/activities_using_tupperware

How Seniors Can Get Out of Their Comfort Zone and Get Moving… Just Like These Assisted Living Residents

Moving to an assisted living facility is a great opportunity for many seniors to start a brand new chapter in their lives. When it comes to transitioning to this new type of assisted living community, it is very important that seniors take advantage of all of the new resources and activities that are at their fingertips. Assisted living facilities provide many seniors with the unique opportunity to start trying new things and pushing themselves to get out of their comfort zone.

There are many assisted living communities today that offer different types of dance and exercise classes for their senior members. This is because it is so important for seniors to stay active and stay moving during this time of their lives. Daily exercise is essential to preventing joint pain, improving mood, promoting good cardiovascular health and maintaining a healthy weight.

While many senior assisted living facilities have been promoting this message for years, some fun-loving assisted living residents from Georgia are helping to show seniors first hand, just how fun getting up and moving can be. The two ladies, Mary Thompson, 80, and Eleanor Fredriksen, 83, have recently become viral video sensations with their upbeat dance routine to the popular Silento song “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae).”

The video, seen below, was posted on April 4th on the ladies’ assisted living center’s Facebook page. Since then, it has already received more than 27 million views on Somerby of Peachtree City official Facebook.

Fans of the slick moving ladies can now see their moves on the below YouTube clip as well.

 

While the video is helping the two women garner a great deal of attention, with several news outlets covering the women and their dance moves, it is bringing even more attention to the importance of seniors getting up and getting moving. Both ladies were able to push themselves to try something new, and to dance to something new, but above all things were enjoying a little extra exercise at their senior assisted living facility, all while having fun and making friends.

There are many seniors today who are not getting enough exercise. While pain, discomfort and lack of motion may all be excuses for sedentary lifestyles, it is important that seniors, even those with limited mobility are doing their best to stay as active as they can.

The video may be going viral, but the message behind it is clear: you are never too old to get, up get moving and have a little fun. It is good for the body, good for the spirit and a great way to stay healthy and enjoy life well into your golden years.

Dangerous Drug Interactions on the Rise

A recent study that was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, revealed that as many as one in every six seniors in the United States currently uses a potentially dangerous combination of over the counter medications, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements. This number represents a two-fold increase in those using potentially dangerous drug combinations over a five-year time period.

In a recent article published by CBS News, Dima Mazen Qato, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, stated that “This is a major public health problem.” Qato went on to explain that most of the dangerous interactions highlighted in this study involve the mixing of prescription medications with certain non-prescription medications that are increasingly being taken by older individuals. She went on to say that while it’s difficult to say exactly how many older individuals are dying each year because of these dangerous drug interactions, the problem seems to be on the rise.

The study in question looked at the drug- and supplement-taking habits of more than 2,000 adults in the United States between the ages of 62 and 85. Individuals were interviewed in 2005-2006 and again in 2010-2011 to get an idea of changing trends within this age group. Through these interviews, researchers discovered that the number of seniors who were taking at LEAST five different prescription drugs increased from 30.6% to 35.8% in this timeframe.

While it is possible for drug interactions to occur among prescription medications, in most instances, a doctor or pharmacist will look for such potential interactions and keep from prescribing potentially conflicting medication. The problem, instead, comes when patients mix prescription drugs with over the counter medications or dietary supplements.

The recent JAMA study found that the use of dietary supplements among seniors has increased notably, from 52% to 64% over the course of the study. There was also a 50% jump in the number of seniors who reported using multiple supplements at the same time.

The study also identified 15 of the most common potentially dangerous medication interactions, and determined that the numbers of those using at least one of these drug combinations rose from 8% in 2005 to almost 15% in 2011.

To help prevent potentially dangerous drug interactions from occurring, the researchers in this study recommend that healthcare providers educate their patients on some of the most common drug interactions, prescription or otherwise, that could take place with the medications they prescribe in order to help patients from making potentially dangerous mistakes unknowingly.

Additionally, if you believe that your loved one is at risk of suffering dangerous or even potentially deadly side effects due to mixing medications, or because of other drug-related mistakes, you may want to consider the benefits of an assisted living community. Individuals living in these communities are able to maintain incredible levels of independence and autonomy, but you can rest assured that their daily needs, such as the dispensing of medications, is supervised and controlled by experienced personnel.

5 Dangerous Myths about Senior Nutrition

March is National Nutrition Month – a great time for all of us to re-focus on our eating habits and see what we’re doing right and what areas of our life could use improvement, nutritionally speaking.

One thing that far too many people don’t understand is that as we age, our nutritional needs change, as well. Not only is this true, but the sad reality is that there are a number of very dangerous myths that exist regarding senior nutrition. By falling victim to these myths, aging individuals actually can fall victim to very serious health conditions, resulting in illness, injury, and detrimental changes to their quality of life.

Myth #1: Malnutrition Isn’t a Concern for those Who Eat Regular Meals

This myth applies not only to seniors, but to the general population, as well. Far too many Americans assume that since the U.S. is a comparatively wealthy nation, problems like malnutrition do not affect us like they do developing nations.

Unfortunately, malnutrition is a very real problem in the U.S., especially among seniors. In fact, a recent study revealed that in 2012, 3.7 million seniors in the U.S. were malnourished.

There are a number of reasons for this, the most prominent among them being income. Many seniors live on a fixed income, and when money is tight, fresh, nutritious foods are some of the first to go. Additionally, seniors who experience memory loss and other problems may not have the short-term memory needed to properly manage and track their nutritional needs and nutrient intake.

Myth #2: Seniors Can Follow the Same Nutritional Guidelines as Everyone Else

There are numerous nutritional guidelines available to help individuals eat the right foods in the right amounts and meet their nutritional needs. However, despite the way they are promoted, these guidelines are actually quite different for people in differing stages of life.

Specifically, these one-size-fits-all guidelines fail seniors in a few significant ways. Primarily, they do not account for the changing nutritional needs of older individuals. As we age, our bodies need more calcium and a greater amount of certain vitamins and minerals, and these specifics are not relayed in most nutritional guidelines. Additionally, these nutritional guidelines do not take into account common health conditions that are common among older individuals. In fact, rigidly following these guidelines could worsen certain conditions, like heart disease and diabetes.

Myth #3: Seniors Need Fewer Nutrients because They Have Slower Metabolisms

While it is true that our metabolisms slow as we age, this does not mean that we need fewer nutrients. We should look to limit certain metrics, like overall caloric intake and the amount of fat we consume, but in terms of nutrients, the truth is that seniors will likely need more nutrients in their older years, as the ability to absorb nutrients from food decreases in older age.

Myth #4: Loss of Appetite is Normal Among Seniors

Again, while our metabolisms will slow down as we age, this does not mean that seniors should ever lose their appetites altogether. In fact, a complete loss of appetite is often an indicator of a more serious medical condition. As such, it’s important for older individuals to monitor their weight and to pay attention to their appetite in order to identify any problems before they have a chance to do too much harm.

Myth #5: Assisted Living Facilities Don’t Have Good Food

People tend to think that any institution that offers prepared food to a wide number of people is likely to only offer food that tastes bad and is unappealing. However, this could not be further from the truth in modern assisted living communities.

In fact, many communities today offer residents a wide variety of dining options to meet their changing needs and preferences. For example, communities might have a traditional cafeteria style option along side a formal dining room and a smaller, a la carte bistro or sandwich shop so that residents can find fresh, healthy food in whatever form they desire, all while having the ability to mix and match their options day to day, week to week. When visiting potential communities for you or a loved one, make sure to check out all available dining areas to get an idea of the nutritional options available at that location.

High Cholesterol in Seniors

Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy substance present in the blood that can contribute to a number of extremely serious health conditions, including stroke and heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 71 million Americans are currently suffering from high cholesterol, but only 1/3 of this group has their high cholesterol under control.

Part of the reason why so many people with high cholesterol do not have their condition under control is that high cholesterol is not symptomatic. In fact, the only way for individuals with high cholesterol to even know that they have this condition is through a blood test. Because of this, regular screenings are key to identifying high cholesterol and keeping it under control.

Unfortunately, high cholesterol is an especially common problem among seniors, as cholesterol levels can increase as a person ages. While most people can do with a cholesterol test once every 5 years, women over the age of 50 and men over the age of 45 may need to be screened more regularly.

Ways to Lower Cholesterol

In addition to prescription medications that can help individuals keep their cholesterol at safe levels, there are a number of lifestyle changes that individuals can make to help manage their cholesterol:

  • Quitting Smoking – smoking can significantly increase an individual’s cholesterol, so quitting smoking can make a huge difference in your life if you’re trying to bring your cholesterol down to normal levels. Additionally, smoking is an independent risk factor for a number of health problems, including high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • Exercising – working out regularly can help you to lower your cholesterol levels naturally. It’s recommended that people, seniors included, get two and a half hours of physical activity every week.
  • Eat Well – Certain foods and types of foods can contribute to high cholesterol, including trans fats, and saturated fats. However, other foods, like fiber and polyunsaturated facts, can help to lower your cholesterol. As such, make sure you’re paying attention to what you’re eating and make decisions that will benefit your health.
  • Keeping a Healthy Weight – being overweight or obese can contribute to your cholesterol levels, so maintaining a healthy weight through healthy eating and exercise can help to lower your cholesterol.

Benefits of Lowering Your Cholesterol

There are a number of distinct benefits that accompany having your cholesterol in a safe range. In addition to lowering your chances of suffering a stroke, heart attack, or being diagnosed with other cardiac diseases, having appropriate levels of good cholesterol can also reduce a senior’s chances of experiencing dementia.

Additionally, making life changes that can lower your cholesterol, like exercising, eating well, and quitting smoking, will also have significant benefits in other areas of your life, as well. As such, making the decision to get healthy and lower your cholesterol can help improve your overall health, help you sleep better, and can have significant improvements on your overall mood.

There are a number of different health conditions that become more likely as we age, and the best way to protect your health as you move into your later years is to stay informed. Get regular health screenings and make sure that you stay proactive about your health and managing any conditions that you might have.