What is Meals on Wheels? And Is My Loved One a Candidate?

There are many different volunteer-based programs out there that are designed with seniors in mind and were created to help our aging population stay safe and healthy as they grow older. One of the many programs that has helped seniors across the country is Meals on Wheels. This national program has locations across the country, in virtually every major city (and many smaller communities) around the United States—and if you have a senior loved one who you think may benefit from this program, it is important to know about what Meals on Wheels is and who it is for.

What is Meals on Wheels?

Meals on Wheels is a volunteer-based program that is designed to deliver meals to individuals who are home-bound or unable to purchase or prepare their own meals. This is a great way for seniors who cannot grocery shop or cook on their own to still get healthy, hearty and nutritious meals, without having to leave the comfort of their own homes. This can help seniors stay safe and healthy.

Who Can Benefit From Meals on Wheels?

There are many people who benefit from Meals on Wheels, however seniors and the primary recipient of these Meals on Wheels programs. In addition to making sure that seniors are able to get healthy and nutritious meals, there are other great benefits to the Meals on Wheels program. Research find that it helps improve the quality of life for seniors and can include increased socialization. This is because in addition to bringing seniors food, volunteers also provide companionship to seniors who don’t get as much social interaction as they need.

Many of the Meals on Wheels chapters also provide home health and safety checks when they deliver food. This is a great way to make sure that seniors have someone looking out for them and make sure someone is looking for signs that these seniors may be in trouble.

There are many people who have senior loved ones living in other areas of country and who are worried about these loved ones living on their own. If you find yourself in this situation, Meals on Wheels can provide some peace of mind.

If you are worried about your senior loved one who is living alone and mostly home-bound, you may want to consider contacting the local Meals on Wheels in your loved one’s community. Fortunately, there are many different chapters across the country. Based on the need of the individual, seniors may get meals delivered once a week, or even have up to two hot meals delivered per weekday. With this in mind, make sure you reach out to the local program in your area to coordinate this service for your loved one.

Great Activities That Senior Centers Can Offer

Now that a new year is in full swing, there is no better time for seniors of all ages to start trying new things and expanding their horizons. For some seniors this may mean trying a new hobby or making a new resolution to be healthier, but for many seniors, this means joining a new senior center. Senior centers are a great place for adults age 60 and older can meet friends their age, try new activities, and stay healthy and active during the day. It is also a great way for seniors who may need a little help from caregivers during the day to get the care and attention that they need.

While many seniors know that senior centers exist, very few seniors know just how many features and amenities that can come with these senior centers. In fact, here are a few of the many great amenities that seniors can enjoy when they join a senior center. This includes classes such as:

  • Arts and crafts classes
  • Safety and education programs
  • AARP driving courses
  • Painting, pottery and knitting classes
  • Foreign language courses
  • Health education programs including CPR and more

Of course, many seniors will also join local senior centers as a way to get healthy and stay healthy, as many of these senior centers have gyms, pools, yoga classes, senior-friendly workout courses and more. This is a great way for seniors to get the exercise that they need in a safe and comforting environment. Some senior centers will also offer free hot meals to seniors who come during the day.

Many of these senior centers also have outings and they offer transportation services for adults who need them. These transportation services are great for seniors who are home-bound or who struggle to go drive on their own—and these services can help seniors get to the grocery store or help them get to the senior center at the start of the day.

There are both city-sponsored and private senior centers located all across the country. While private senior centers often offer more amenities like gyms and pools, they typically do cost a membership fee. The good news is that most cities have several private and city-sponsored centers—meaning adults will have a number of options to choose from.

Of course, every senior center is different and every senior center is going to offer their members with different features and amenities. Before joining any senior center, seniors should make sure that they do their research and find one that has the amenities that mean the most to them. Seniors should go with a family member or loved one when touring or considering area senior centers in order to find one that works for them—it can mark the beginning of an exciting new chapter for any senior.

Uber for Seniors—What Every Older Adult Should Know

There are many seniors who find they are no longer able to safely drive on their own. This is one of the biggest challenges that many seniors face as they start to grow older. When seniors no longer feel comfortable driving at night, find they are getting in more accidents when driving, or who struggle to react as quickly as they need to when behind the wheel, may want to consider giving up their keys.

However, while giving up your keys can be a scary prospect, one of the biggest concerns that seniors have—is how they are going to get around. From going to the grocery store, to visiting friends and family and everything in between, giving up your keys can make many seniors worry they may be missing out on a lot of their life. However, that is until now. Thanks to the popularity of ride-sharing services, there are now great options for seniors who still want to get around.

Apps like Uber and Lyft have become extremely popular for older adults as they can easily help seniors get to and from every where they need. With these apps, all seniors need to do is to call a ride to their home and they can have someone pick them up and drop them off right where they need to do. No worrying about parking, no driving, no having to park far away walk. In fact, there are many seniors who are able to live at home longer, and maintain their independence thanks to services such as Uber.

In fact, Uber has been taking extra steps in order to make sure that seniors around the country are able to easily get the rides that they need for medical appointments, errands and other essential trips. This is why, now even seniors without smartphones can contact Uber directly in order to organize a ride—this is a great option for seniors who are not particularly tech-savvy.

Uber has also launched their Uber Central program, which was designed with caregivers and senior centers in mind. There are now Uber Central hubs in countless senior centers throughout the country, that allows you to request, manage and pay for rides through one centralized platform so caregivers can order rides for seniors, even when they can’t do it for themselves.

Now seniors who are on-the-fence about giving up driving can make this decision with confidence, knowing that even when they can’t drive themselves, they can still get everywhere they need to be with these safe and reliable ride services.

How to Make Friends When You’re Retired

Now that you’ve started the great adventure that is retirement, you may be looking forward to taking some down time, or maybe you’ll even use your newfound freedom to start a few hobbies. But, what happens if you start to miss your workplace routine? Or worse – what if you get bored? Well, there’s good news for you! With over 49 million Americans over the age of 65, you’re bound to meet some new friends who are also retired. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

Volunteer in your community

If you’ve got some extra time, find an organization to volunteer for. Whether it’s at your local farmers market, the library or community center, volunteering is a great way to get yourself out there and meet other people with similar interests. There are online resources like VolunteerMatch.org that can help you find the perfect opportunity.

Go to networking events

There are lots of ways to find networking events happening in a city near you. With websites like EventBrite and Eventful it’s easy to see what’s going on that would be fun to go to. It doesn’t have to always be events for seniors either. You can check out networking events for the industry you previously worked in, or ones geared towards hobbies you’re interested in. Always wanted to be a better public speaker? Try Toastmasters. Looking to meet business owners or invest in a local spot? Check out Meetup.com. Regulars at these events will be happy to see a new face. Or, you can recruit a friend or family member to join you!

Hang out with your grandkids

If you’re lucky and live close to your grandkids – hang out with them! This can also be a nice relief for your kids to have someone to take their kids to the park or out for ice cream. Plus, going out with your grandkids gives you an excuse to chat with other grandparents who are out with their grandkids. It’ll give you time to bond with your grandkids and instill real world knowledge and values into them. If the idea of talking with your grandkids gives you anxiety or you’re struggling with ideas to keep them occupied, try:

– Setting up a time to show them how to fill out a W4 form and file their taxes. It may sound boring to them now, but they’ll appreciate this when they get their first job!
– Hosting a cooking class. Little kids will enjoy baking treats, while older grandkids will be grateful to know how to cook for themselves!
– Helping them create budgets and understand the importance of saving up when they’re young. It can also be helpful to explain the different types of insurance you need as an adult and how to find reliable insurance companies. This can include car insurance, renter’s insurance and even the appropriate amount of life insurance you may need.

Become a mentor

Were you a rockstar in your profession? Do you have a hidden talent that you’re ready to flaunt? Why not become a mentor and show off your skills! Mentorship can be on your time and at your own pace. Whether it’s tutoring for an after-school program or volunteering to teach guitar lessons, you can pick your schedule and who you want to mentor. A good place to start when seeking mentorship opportunities are local libraries, schools and community centers. You can also try Mentoring.org for an opportunity near you.

Try Pet Sitting or Dog Walking

Who said your new friends could only be people? Dogs are man’s best friend for a reason, after all. If you’re an animal lover, why not pick up a couple of pet sitting or dog walking shifts? Plus, dog parks are a fun place to meet other people and get outside for a bit of exercise.

Go Back to School

It’s never too late to learn something new! Going back to school will not only help you grow in a subject matter or personal interest, but you’re bound to meet new people and expand your network of friends. Who knows, you may even qualify for a scholarship!

Join a Senior Center

Senior centers are a great, affordable (if not free!) way to find friends through routine social events, fun classes, exercise opportunities and more. The key is finding a center that feels right for you.

Finding friends in retirement doesn’t have to be hard. There are plenty of activities, events and volunteer opportunities that can help you get out there and meet new people. Try these tips and let us know how it goes in the comments!

Everything You Should Know About Dementia

Dealing with a dementia diagnosis and learning how to work with your loved one can be difficult. However, dementia is a common problem across the country and learning how to handle it is something that can be done.

Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related issues affect about 50 million people around the world and almost 6 million Americans. Alzheimer’s Disease International says that only 20 to 50 percent of dementia cases are recognized and documented in primary care.

A dementia diagnosis for your family member or loved one can be hard to wrap your head around and understanding the complexities of the condition can be difficult. However, doing a little research and educating yourself on how to handle this situation can make the problem easier for you and your loved one.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a general term for the deterioration of mental ability to the point that it interferes in everyday life. Alzheimer’s is one common form of dementia. Because it is not a specific disease, it is used as a term that describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory. The symptoms that are commonly associated with someone with dementia include:

  • Memory loss
  • Problems with communication or language
  • Poor reasoning
  • A poor ability to focus and pay attention

Dementia is caused by damage to the brain cells to the point where it interferes with the ability of brain cells to communicate properly with each other. Damage to different regions of the brain are associated with different forms of dementia. For instance, the hippocampus is the center for learning and memory.

Some problems in the brain and body that can worsen thinking and memory problems improved and should be treated, such as:

  • Depression
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Excess use of alcohol

If not addressed, these issues can contribute to the deterioration of the brain.

Coming to To Terms with Dementia

The hardest part about dealing with dementia can be just accepting the diagnosis. Allowing yourself and your loved one to grieve and mourn over the situation can be therapeutic and healthy. The sooner you are able to accept the diagnosis, the easier it will be to get acquainted with the new situation.

If the situation is especially tough, it may be helpful to seek out professional help and speak with a counselor or therapist.

Opening up to others about the diagnosis, like other family members or friends can help with acceptance and can provide support during times of need.

Helping your loved one deal with their own diagnosis is something that is not easy, accepting the fact first for yourself can allow you to help guide your loved one through the process of acceptance.

Also, it may be hard for your loved one to come to terms with their diagnosis, and, in some cases, they may be experiencing anosognosia. Anosognosia is a side effect that comes with dementia-related illnesses. Anosognosia is the inability to notice and perceive a condition like dementia in yourself. While it is easy to get confused with denial, anosognosia is characterized by the fact that the individual is unaware of the condition rather than just unable to accept it.

Handling Someone with Dementia

>As you move on from the diagnosis, learning how to act and react around someone with dementia is important and will make life easier on you and them There are a few situations that you may encounter if you are caring for someone with dementia and how to handle them to make your time less stressful.

Aggression

One prominent side effect of Alzheimer’s is aggression. While it may be common, understanding that your loved one is not being aggressive on purpose is important. It is normally triggered by something such as being in an unusual situation, lack of communication or being uncomfortable.

When dealing with a loved one that is being aggressive, you should avoid engaging in an argument or reciprocating the aggression in any way as it will almost certainly make the situation worse.  The best thing you can do in these situations is to try to identify what exactly is making him or her act this way and fix that. If you can, trying to shift focus away from whatever is bothering them can be a good way to diffuse the situation.

Confusion

It is common for someone dealing with a memory-related condition like Alzheimer’s to be frequently confused about a situation they are in. While you may want to give a long explanation about why you are at a certain place or what you are doing, it is normally easier to say as little as possible so as to not confuse them further.

Daily Tasks

Many dementia patients wish to try to stay somewhat independent and perform daily tasks that they are used to, however, due to their condition, these tasks become much harder and sometimes even dangerous. The need or want to remain independent can come from a place of fear or pride, regardless of where it comes from, it needs to be managed in some way or another.

Signs of Dementia

While there currently no cures for Alzheimer’s or similar forms of dementia, it is still advisable to check for diagnosis so you and a health care provider can know how to handle the situation.

Some early signs of Alzheimer’s that you can look for include:

  • Memory loss that disrupts life
  • Confusion about time or place
  • Problems with speaking or writing
  • Poor judgement
  • Changes in mood or personality

If you believe your loved one may be suffering from a memory-related disease like Alzheimer’s it is important to see a healthcare professional to find out what to do. If symptoms do suggest dementia, an early diagnosis allows a person to get the maximum benefit from the treatments available to them.

In Conclusion

If you are having trouble taking care of a senior and are looking into senior living facilities, consider and getting in contacting with our admissions representatives. Landmark Senior Living is available today for a tour of one of our seven affordable facilities. Call now for more information.

Matthew Boyle

COO @ Landmark Senior Living

Matthew Boyle is the Chief Operating Officer at Landmark Senior Living, a series of top rated Assisted Living Facilities in the midwestern United States. He has been working in the healthcare space for 7 years and graduated from Duke University in 2011 Summa Cum Laude. Guided by a relentless pursuit of excellence, Matthew and the team at Landmark are dedicated to creating a supportive environment for the elderly.

New Year, New You—Easy Health Tips for Seniors To Start 2019 Off Right

The new year is right around the corner, which for many of us means it is time for those New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions are hard not only because they are difficult to stick with, but because they require you to make a major change in your life and how you are doing things each and every day.

However, if you choose the right resolutions and take the right approach to really sticking with your new plan for the new year—they can change your life for the better. Any senior out there who is looking for some healthy new resolutions for the upcoming year can start seeing some really positive changes in their overall health and well-being if they are just willing to make the effort.

If you want to be inspired by some new healthy resolutions for 2019 here are a few tips to help you get started.

  • Starting a new exercise regimen. Starting to exercise doesn’t have to be difficult, it can be fun. For seniors, finding the right form of exercise is all about finding something you enjoy and something that will keep you active. Perhaps it is squash or golf. Many senior centers and retirement communities have fitness classes designed for seniors that can also be a fun social activity. Worried about arthritis and joint pain? Swimming and water aerobics are great options—you just need to find something that works for you so that you actually stick with it.
  • Improve your balance. Falls are the number one reason that seniors end up in the emergency room and they can have a serious impact on their health. Many seniors end up hospitalized or worse because of a fall—so in 2019, why not make a resolution to improve your balance? This is a great way to prevent falls. Strengthen your muscles, consider balance ball exercises, and take the time to do a fall-risk assessment to help with prevention—they can all help you make sure you aren’t falling in the new year.
  • Take care of your mental health. Being healthy is about more than eating right and exercising. This year, make a resolution to boost your brain and give it the “workout” it requires. If you are able to keep your brain stimulated, it will only improve your brain function and improve your memory. Plus, exercising your brain is easy, you just need to do one brain boosting activity every day. This can be word games, puzzles, Sodoku, or playing a musical instrument.

Sure, they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks—but that doesn’t have to be true! There is no better time than the present to change your bad habits, adopt new healthy ones and make some great resolutions that will change your life for the better in 2019 and beyond.

This Year—Give a Senior Center a Try

The year 2018 is quickly coming to a close, which means it is time to start thinking about the new things that you will try in the new year. For any senior out there who is looking to make 2019 their best year yet—why not consider joining a senior center?

There are senior centers in cities and towns all over the country, and they are a very important and valuable resource for seniors who want to enjoy some companionship with their peers during the day. These seniors centers are great for active seniors who want social outings but can also help seniors who struggle to get out of the house and cook for themselves as easily as well.

Most senior centers are available for a free or very affordable membership (depending on the actual center) and are easy to join. If you are considering looking for a new senior center for your new year, you may be surprised to find just how many senior centers there are out there. As you start to look at your different options, here are some tips on how to make sure you are finding the right senior center for you.

Here are a few different things you can expect to find in certain senior centers:

  • Routine social events. Whether they are outings to destinations in the community, ice cream socials or dances, a great senior center will always have fun big events for all of its members to enjoy.
  • Fun classes. Many senior centers will have art classes, foreign language classes and classes designed to teach seniors new, fun skills, all as part of their program.
  • Hot meals. This is one of the most important things that you can expect from a senior center—a place to get a hot, nutritious meal. While you don’t necessarily have to eat at the senior center, it is important to know that you can eat a hearty breakfast and a healthy lunch at your community center.
  • Exercise opportunities. It is so important to stay active as you age, and a great senior center will offer exercise opportunities for the seniors who utilize their services. This can be organized exercises classes, access to a gym or trips to a local pool—all in the name of staying active and healthy.
  • Transportation services. There are many senior centers that offer transportation services, such as bus trips to the grocery store, transportation to events or even transportation to pick members up—it isn’t something every senior center has, but it is a great resource when it is available.

Most importantly, you will want to find a senior center that you feel comfortable with. If you keep these tips in mind and know what to look for, you will know when you have found a great senior center to meet your needs.

Tips for Seniors on Selling Their Home

One of the most difficult decisions that many seniors will have to make is when they should sell their home. It is a dilemma that many seniors deal with, when they must decide to let go of their long-time home and move either into a more manageable place, in with a relative or to an assisted living community.

It is difficult enough or many families to convince their senior loved one that they should move at all, but it can be even more challenging to decide when is the right time to sell. After all, a home is often the most valuable asset that a senior has, so they should be careful about when they are selling so they can make the most of this decision.

If you feel that now is the right time for you or your senior loved one to sell their home—here are a few tips to consider.

  • Make sure you know the current value of the home. Most seniors have been in their home for a very long time when they are finally ready to sell. This can make it difficult to really know the home’s current value. If seniors are not knowledgeable about current prices, it could cause them to accept much less for their home than it is really worth.
  • Work with an agent who is familiar with seniors. It is important that you work with a real estate agent who is familiar with senior housing options. There are many agents who work closely under the guidelines of the Housing for Older Person’s Act and who can help seniors make appropriate sales decisions. This is also a smart way to avoid schemes and scams during the transaction process.
  • Have a plan on where you are going next. It can be really difficult to line up your moving time lines, but for seniors, it is typically best to make sure that they have a new place lined up before they sell their old one. This will make the entire moving process easier and ensure you don’t have to live in temporary housing. Whether you are moving to an assisted living community, nursing home or just a different house, it is always smart to have your next location ready for your move.
  • Take your time when packing. This is one of the most difficult steps in the moving process for more seniors. Moving not only means all of the buying and selling paperwork, but it means packing up a home and years of memories. Seniors should give themselves more time than they originally think when packing. This can not only be a very physically taxing undertaking but a very emotional one—and one the is typically much harder than most seniors assume.

The right time to sell a home can be different for everyone—you just have to decide what makes the most sense for you and your family.

7 Ways to Beat S.A.D.

Now that winter is practically here, there are more and more seniors who are struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D. If you aren’t already familiar with S.A.D., it is a common condition that impacts people of all ages during the winter season. It causes depression and depression-like symptoms and is often linked solely to the season and time of year.

Unfortunately, while S.A.D. can impact any person, of any age, it is most common in seniors. This is why it is so important that seniors are proactive about this condition and aware of what they can do to prevent them from falling victim to S.A.D.

  1. Get outside. Even if it is just to sit outdoors for a few moments wrapped in a blanket. Getting outside and breathing in fresh air and enjoying real sunlight can go a long way in battling S.A.D.
  2. Exercise. Even something as simple as walking the mall is a great form of exercise and one that can help you release endorphins that will boost your mood and help you feel more like yourself.
  3. Change your diet. Positive diet changes can go a long way for anyone battling depression or depression-like symptoms, and a complete diet change during a S.A.D. episode can give the body the jump-start it needs to reset and get back to feeling like normal.
  4. Take a vacation. Sure you won’t be able to do this every time you feel depressive symptoms—but this is a great solution for seniors who suffer with S.A.D. every year. Instead of bearing through the winter and another year of seasonal depression, plan a trip to somewhere sunny during the winter. It is a great way to get ahead of the problem before it starts and to get over your feelings of seasonal depression by basking in the sun.
  5. Light therapy. There are many studies that like S.A.D. to the fact that people aren’t getting enough sunlight in the winter. A great way to change this is to invest in a light machine. Light therapy can help any senior get over their S.A.D. symptoms.
  6. Stay connected. There are many seniors who not only deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but who also deal with loneliness and isolation. A great way for seniors to combat these feelings of isolation is to stay connected with friends and family. Weekly dinners, regular video conferencing and more can all help any senior with S.A.D.
  7. Meditate. During the cold, gloomy days of winter when you really need a boost, try meditation. Any person at any age can meditate and it is a great way to change your mood by boosting serotonin levels. With meditation you can not only calm your mind but get rid of anxious energy and negative thoughts.

Of course, if seniors continue to experience depression-like symptoms, it is important that they visit their doctor for more help. While S.A.D. typically goes away when the seasons change, this isn’t always the case and if you are worried about anyone hurting themselves, or hurting others, it is important that they get help right away.

Indoor Activities for Seniors When the Weather Gets Cold

It is that time of year again.  That time of year when the temperatures start to drop, and it starts getting cold, wet and miserable out.  However, it is important to remember that being outside in the winter isn’t just uncomfortable, it can also be dangerous, especially for seniors.  This is why when seniors have the choice between going outside in bad weather or staying indoors, it is always best to play it safe.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of ways to have fun and prevent yourself from feeling locked up when the weather is bad.  Here are a few different safe, engaging and fun activities that any senior can enjoy when the weather outside gets frightful.

  • Do a puzzle, either alone or with a friend!
  • Do crosswords from the paper or from a crossword book—there are plenty of options out there.
  • Listen to old music—or maybe even do some dancing!
  • Knit or sew something that will help keep you warm when the weather is cold.
  • Read a new type of book you have never tried before, it can be fun to branch out.
  • Start an indoor garden.
  • Redecorate a room in the house, there is no better time to do it.
  • Stay active with easy indoor exercises like stretching, touching your toes or jogging in place.
  • Have a movie marathon featuring old movies from the past—it can be a fun trip down memory lane.
  • Take the time to sit down and video chat with family members from around the country. This is a great opportunity to catch up with those that live far away.

While it is normal to want to get out of the house, and no one likes feeling cooped up, it is important for seniors to remember that going out in bad winter weather can actually be a safety issue.  Instead of risking a fall or your health by heading outdoors, keep these fun indoor activities in mind. They can help pass the time until the weather clears up and it is safe to go back outdoors.