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Senior couple sleeping on bed in bedroomWhile a good night’s sleep may seem like a common occurrence to many people, for millions of seniors, falling asleep and staying asleep is anything but ordinary. Seniors are among the most common population in the United States to suffer from sleep issues and insomnia, yet it is extremely important that seniors are getting even more sleep than younger adults.

Why is Sleep so Important For Seniors?

Sleep is important for everyone. A good night’s sleep is essential in letting the body repair and recover. Without sleep, humans would not survive. However, sleep is about more than just rejuvenation. For seniors it is extremely important to get a solid 7-9 hours of sleep per night because sleep helps seniors improve memory function and concentration; something that most seniors would agree they need a little help with. Sleep can also help seniors with the following:

  • Repairing cell damage from the day.
  • Boosting the immune system.
  • Lessening the chances of seniors forming depression and anxiety.
  • Alleviating issues with headaches and irritability.
  • Reducing the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, weight problems, and other serious health issues.

Seniors who are not getting enough sleep or who are unable to fall asleep within an hour of bedtime may be at risk for developing sleep issues as they fail to get the benefits they need from a quality night of rest.

Tips for Helping Seniors Fall Asleep

As many caregivers and family members of seniors know, many older adults struggle more and more with falling asleep, the older they get. While there are some sleep problems that are actually related to serious medical issues, for other sleep issues, setting the right routine is the key to success. Here are some proven ways to help seniors get on a sleep schedule, and stay on a sleep schedule every night:

  • Avoid watching television or looking at a screen right before bed.
  • Adopt a routine where seniors wake up, eat, nap and go to sleep at the same time every night.
  • Develop a pre-bedtime ritual such as reading or taking a bath.
  • Avoid caffeine after lunchtime.
  • Limit naps during the day to help keep a normal bedtime.
  • Set an alarm every morning and use natural sunlight to help the body fully wake up.

Little tips and tricks like this, especially when used together, can really help any senior get on a sleep schedule and stay on a sleep schedule so that they may have the proper amount of rest they need to be focused, happy and healthy throughout the day.

It is important to remember that sleep issues are not just a normal part of aging. Just because it is common among the elderly, it doesn’t mean that it is normal. Any senior who is struggling to get to sleep and stay asleep at night should consider these tips. If they don’t work, it may be time to visit a health care professional for more assistance.

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For the many adults today who are acting as caregivers to their senior parents, the art of caregiving comes with a great deal of responsibility. In addition to providing day-to-day support and care, familial caregivers also need to be prepared to handle emergency situations should they arise. There are a number of important documents that most seniors have and that they may need should an emergency arise. Every caregiver should be prepared with these documents and make sure that they know exactly where these documents are should they need them in the future.

Here is a list of the ten most important documents that every child caregiver should be able to access in case of an emergency.

  1. Birth Certificate and Marriage Certificate- These documents are actually very important and also often misplaced. Make sure to keep them in a safe location or a safety deposit box once they are located.
  2. Driver’s License and Social Security Cards- Most seniors who have caregivers don’t drive anymore and don’t carry around a wallet with their Social Security card. Keeping these documents on file can help you and your loved one out in case of an emergency.
  3. Insurance Coverage Card- Should your loved one need emergency medical care, an insurance coverage card would be of great importance. This coverage may also come in the form of a Medicare or Medicaid card.
  4. Organ Donor Information- While no one ever wants to think about their loved one passing away, if they are an organ donor, you will need to know where this information is, should the hospital need your loved one’s organs.
  5. Mortgage Information- In the event where your loved one is no longer able to pay for their mortgage or take care of their mortgage, you will need to make sure that you have documentation on their property and information on how to sell or make payments on that property.
  6. Legal Power of Attorney and Will- Whether your loved one has a power of Attorney, Healthcare Proxy or Living Will, these are all important pieces of information that give direction and insight should your loved one be rendered unable to make decisions on their own. You need to know what their wishes are and where the official documents dictating their wishes are stored.
  7. Safety Deposit Box Information- All seniors should not only have a safe-deposit box and a key but a list of the contents of that box as well as a directive that has the names and information of anyone who has access to that box.
  8. Financial Information- This includes trusts banking information, loan documents and details about stocks, bonds and other investments.
  9. Burial Plot and Funeral Information- Most seniors will already have a burial plot in place long before they pass. It is important to know where this plot is and to access any information your senior loved one may have left behind about their funeral wishes or intentions.
  10. Insurance Information- Make sure that you not only have copies of your loved one’s insurance policies, including their life insurance policy, but information on how to contact all of their insurance agents.

These documents are some of the most important pieces of information any person can own. Knowing where these documents are and how to locate them can make life easier for seniors, their families and their caregivers should an emergency ever take place.

Senior Woman Having Fun

For many people of all ages, hot summertime temps create an undeniable urge to jump in a pool of water to cool off. However, for senior caregivers, helping their older loved ones cool off in the summer can come with some safety concerns. For many seniors, swimming is one of the best summer activities out there. It not only helps them stay cool in comfortable as the heat rises, but swimming is a great exercise for seniors that doesn’t place extra pressure on the joints.

Swimming is not only a wonderful way for seniors to get exercise, improve muscle tone and stay healthy, but it can be a fun activity for seniors to do with their grandchildren, and the whole family.

If you are helping a loved one jump in for a dip this summer, here are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure they are staying safe while having a great time in the pool.

  • Seniors should always get their doctor’s approval before swimming. While swimming is generally very easy on the body, it is still a rigorous form of cardiovascular exercise.
  • Always start slow, seniors should begin by walking and wading in the pool before jumping in to swimming laps.
  • Seniors always need to swim with a buddy in case something happens.
  • Just because swimming cools the body off, it doesn’t mean you are dehydrated. Any senior who is planning on swimming needs to take water breaks so they can hydrate. Swimming is still a dehydrating exercise.
  • Limit swim sessions to no more than 30 minutes particularly at first, this can be a lot of exercise for any senior and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
  • If seniors aren’t great at swimming or haven’t been swimming in a while, consider using aides or flotation devices when they first get started.
  • Be on the lookout for signs of exhaustion, sudden fatigue, dizziness, falls or feeling weak can all be serious side effects of swimming too much or too hard.
  • If there is no lifeguard on duty, make sure to have convenient access to life-saving devices.
  • Make certain someone in the area knows CPR before allowing a senior to swim on their own.

Several studies have found that swimming can help boost brain function in seniors, all while reducing stress, toning muscles and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. In fact, swimming is so good for the body that many seniors who swim regularly are able to build up muscle control and a strong core control so much that they have a significantly lower chance of suffering from a fall.

With so many great benefits, it is easy to see why swimming is such a popular activity for many older adults today. Just remember to keep these important safety tips in mind when helping seniors swim this summer so you can make sure they are enjoying their time in the pool in a safe way so that they can keep swimming all summer long.

 

Woman Comforting Senior Man With Depression

Depression has become a serious epidemic in the senior community. Every day, more and more seniors are dealing with the effects of depression and unfortunately they are not getting the help that they need. Although depression is extremely common in this age group, many seniors are hesitant to get treatment. Some seniors simply don’t understand their treatment options, others don’t want to look weak, while even more are worried about burdening their families.

While seasonal depression is a very common issue among seniors, and it typically occurs in the winter, it doesn’t mean that depression isn’t also a problem in the summer months as well. There are a number of signs and signals that may let you or a loved one know that a senior in your life is battling depression. It can be easy to spot the signs, but it can be even more difficult to convince a senior to get the help that they need. Here are five ways you can help a senior in your life that may be dealing with depression.

  1. Take All Symptoms Seriously- One of the best things that family members and loved ones can do for someone battling depression is to take their issues seriously. Be on the look out for symptoms and side effects and don’t take them lightly. If a senior is no longer eating or no longer doing the activities they love, this could be a call for concern.
  2. Let Them Know It’s OK- There is a lot of stigma that comes with depression. Many seniors don’t want to admit that they are dealing with depression and are afraid to talk about their feelings. One of the best things that a caregiver or loved one can do is to encourage someone battling with depression to talk about their feelings while you let them know it is alright to feel that way and that you are there to support them.
  3. Help Them Find Assistance- As a caregiver or loved one it is your job to do what you can for this special senior in your life. Help them find the assistance they need to overcome this depression. A little assistance can go a long way in helping many seniors make the decision to get the help they need.
  4. Don’t Put Labels On Them- It can be difficult to talk to a senior who is denying that they are sad or depressed. With this in mind, it is important to not put labels on seniors. Instead of telling them they are “depressed” talk to them about why you want them to feel better. Putting labels on their condition can only frustrate some seniors.
  5. Remember That Depression is an Illness- There are so many people who think that their senior loved one is choosing to be sad or act depressed. This can be frustrating, especially for family member and loved ones who are doing everything they can to help that senior. However, it is important to remember that depression is an illness, and a disability, it is not a choice.

The faster a family member or loved one can take action and start helping their senior loved one, the better off all parties will be. Many seniors are able to get the help that they need and start living the happy and healthy lives they have always wanted to live.

Happy Senior Man And His Dog

There has been a great deal of research on the way in which pets, particularly dogs can impact the lives of seniors today. Pets can help prevent loneliness, encourage seniors to get exercise and even help seniors fight off depression. However, there is one very specific way in which dogs are helping seniors who battle dementia and mores specifically Sundowners Syndrome.

When seniors have a canine companion in their lives they are able to have constant love, support and companionship from their pets. This can really go a long way in helping seniors feel loved and appreciated as they deal with the devastating effects of dementia. Since dogs need to be on a specific schedule with eating, exercising and going to the bathroom, many seniors with dementia also find that the constant mental stimulation that pets provide can really go a long way in improving their dementia symptoms.

Many studies have found that routines and responsibilities can keep the mind sharp and keep dementia patients focused. It can also help them remember more of their own daily routine, when they have the constant reminder of an animal to keep their day structured. This type of structure and the need for care can also provide seniors with the mental stimulation that they need in order to keep their brains sharp and functioning. While stimulation such as this won’t cure dementia or prevent it from worsening, it can slow down the progression of the disease significantly.

The non-verbal communication that dogs provide can also really help those that experience Sundowners Syndrome. Sundowning occurs when seniors with dementia get confused or agitated at night, so much so that they can enter a state of complete confusion and even do harm to themselves. These episodes can also make it very difficult for seniors with dementia to sleep. The structured schedule that dogs provide can help many dementia patients with Sundowners Syndrome, as can the tactile stimulation of interacting with pets.

Many times, the non-verbal communication and acceptance that dogs offer can soothe those with Sundowners Syndrome, especially when they are struggling to communicate verbally about their own agitations. One of the biggest challenges that Alzheimer’s and dementia patients tend to have has to do with acceptance and understanding. The presence of non-judgmental support systems such as dogs can provide dementia patients with that support that they seek. Some individuals are simply comforted by the presence of an animal when they become agitated, while others find the art of petting an animal or walking a calm dog can provide them with a soothing activity that can calm their nerves and help them refocus their energy in a more positive way.

Pet therapy has long been a common practice for seniors as well as children, the seriously ill, mentally disabled and physically challenged individuals. However, for those seniors who are particularly struggling with dementia and Sundowners, the presence of a furry friend may help them have the support and the structure they need to get through these difficult spells.

 

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In communities around the country, groups of senior ladies are making their way around to their communities most popular spots, dressed to the nines in bold red hats. These women lovingly refer to themselves as Red Hatters and they are part of a growing group known as the Red Hat Society. Nearly 100,000 women from all over the United States and 31 different countries around the world have already joined this organization and the numbers are already growing.

Their motto is “you’re never too old to play dress-up” and their purpose is a simple one. These women dress up in red hats and go to museums, shows and restaurants together in groups. It is a social club that is all about fun and members can be found from all walks of life, including a growing group of women who live in assisted living facilities.

However, this group is about more than just buying fun hats, it has actually proven to be a very valuable resource for many senior women today, especially those who are receiving at home care or who are dealing with feelings of loneliness and isolation. Depression and feelings of loneliness are becoming increasingly common in elderly women, and social groups such as the Red Hat Society help provide these women with the social interactions that the need to live safe, healthy, happy and balanced lives. The goal of the Red Hat Society is to provide women over the age of 50 with the “Five F’s”: 1. Fun 2. Friendship 3. Freedom 4. Fulfillment 5. Fitness.

The group not only has local chapters in cities all over the country, but specialty chapters in different nursing homes and assisted living facilities as well. With these groups, senior women who want the opportunity to get out of their assisted living facilities and explore the area around them can have a chance to experience new place and try new things, all while making great friends.

For women who are struggling with loneliness or isolation or for those who feel a loss of independence, this group can be a great opportunity for them. There are many senior women who have also found that groups such as the Red Hat Society can help them feel more independent and help them easily transition to life in assisted living as they maintain an active social life outside of their senior living facility.

While many will notice the parade of senior women in purple outfits and red hats visiting their local restaurants and attractions, this group is about so much more than dressing up. With the Red Hat Society, many women dealing with the challenges of senior life in today’s world can get the support they need from their peers and a little extra social time they may desire to feel like themselves as they transition to life in assisted living. For those who don’t have a local chapter in their assisted living facility or home town, the National Red Hat Society is always interested in helping women start new chapters all over the world.

Two happy senior citizens dancing and smiling in a dancing class

For millions of high school students from around the globe, spring time means time for big dresses, tuxedos, limousines and corsages as prom season gets underway. For many high school seniors, prom is one of the most memorable nights of their entire life. However, now many senior citizens are looking to capture the same magic they had in their own high school proms with a trend that is sweeping the senior citizen community; senior citizen proms.

Just as the name suggests, these “proms” are simply a chance for seniors living in communities to get together, dress up and recreate their old proms, with all of the pomp and circumstance included. There is dancing, punch, dresses and in most cases, even a prom king and queen by the end of the night.

This is something that is spreading among assisted living communities and it is a great way for seniors to not only have a little fun and some social interactions, but it can also provide some really important cognitive stimulation for seniors as well. For many senior citizens, the idea of recreating a prom not only brings back good memories from their past, but it acts as a way for them to recall memories from their past as well. This can seem like a relatively simple notion, but for many seniors battling memory issues and dementia recalling their own proms can be used as a tool to improve their long-term memory. Bringing back photos and memories from their own experiences can help many seniors improve their own recall skills.

Above all things, this “senior prom” trend is providing many seniors living in retirement homes and assisted living communities with a new chance to get out of their comfort zone, try new things and have some much-needed social time. With more seniors than ever battling issues with isolation, loneliness and depression, it is so important for older adults to have a little extra social time to boost their spirits and help them live a balanced and healthy life.

For those living in retirement communities that haven’t caught on to this trend yet, it is really a rather simple type of party to throw. Many senior communities host their events right on their premises, with others planning larger “field trips” of sorts to bring all of their residents to new and exciting venues in their area. Most communities will also, just like most high schools, pick a theme for the evening and create decorations and magical backdrops to go along with the feeling of the evening.

While it may be a little on the silly side for some, the senior citizen prom trend is one of the fastest growing trends in the senior community. With more and more assisted living facilities catching on and throwing their own proms, it is safe to say that this is one senior living trend that won’t be going anywhere soon. Besides, who doesn’t love a good excuse to dress to the nines for an evening of dancing and fun?

Senior Couple - Video Gaming

While video games may seem like an activity that is meant strictly for younger generations, there are more and more seniors who are turning to the gaming devices for a source of unparalleled fun and entertainment. Here are just a few of the surprising senior health benefits that can come from a little video game play.

Video Games Can Promote Healthy Exercise

Video game systems such as the Wii are a great way to promote healthy exercise. Plus, seniors can play these physical games either on their own or with friends and family members. From tennis and boxing to bowling, golf and dancing, there are all different types of Wii video games out there that can promote healthy exercise in seniors. In fact, more and more assisted living facilities and retirement homes across the country are adding Wii counsels to their activity rooms as a fun way to promote healthy exercise among their residents.

Video Games Can Improve Memory and Cognitive Function

Any activity that helps seniors improve their memory is important. Researchers at UC San Francisco found that video games designed to improve cognitive control can actually improve the mental function in seniors and improve their memory and sustained attention ability.

Video Games Lessen Depression Levels

While seniors may be one of the most at-risk groups for depression, a study at the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging at the University of California actually found that seniors who play entertaining video games that combine both play and exercise actually have improved mood, mental health, and decreased chances of depression.

Video Games Can Improve Balance

A study published in the Journal of Gerontology from the University of Illinois at Chicago actually found that seniors who play computer games had better balance than seniors who don’t. Improving motor skills actually helped these older adults maintain better walking speed and better overall balance, important skills for the senior community that is impacted by millions of fall-related injuries every year.

Video Games Can Help Improve Vision

The wildly popular shooting games that so many young gamers play, can actually help seniors improve their overall vision. In a 2012 study in Seeing and Perceiving, a study found that these first-person shooting games can actually help seniors with cataracts improve their vision.

Video Games Can Help Foster Positive Relationships

For seniors who want another way to relate to their grandchildren, video games are a great tool to consider. This can give grandparents something new to do with their grandchildren and a new topic to discuss as well.

While it may sound a little out of the box, seniors should now no longer just look to video games as something for their grandchildren, as there are some really great and surprising senior health benefits that come with playing these virtual games. Plus, they are fun mood-boosting ways for seniors to spend their days.

Video games should no longer be seen as mindless activities that take up kids’ free time. When played correctly, the right video games can actually provide a great deal of cognitive stimulation and help seniors live happier, healthier lives. What is more fun than that?

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.

Two Senior Women Sitting Outdoors On A Chair

For many seniors, there comes a time when they need to make the transition from living at home to living in a senior community. The great news about this transition is that senior living facilities are not what they once were and there are countless misconceptions about assisted living communities that make people apprehensive about moving. There are so many unique options available for older adults from LGTB-friendly communities, to spa like retreats, living centers for couples and specialty homes where seniors can have their own apartments or even homes. Transitioning to senior living can be an exciting time, but it is also a move that many seniors meet with some hesitation.

Typically, one of the biggest concerns that seniors have about transitioning to a senior living community is that they will have to leave their old life behind. Whether it is frequenting their grandchildren’s soccer games, attending their monthly card club or making it for a weekly nail appointment, moving to an assisted living facility can seem like pressure to leave your old life behind; but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some important facts for any senior to remember whenever they feel trepidation about transitioning to senior care.

  • Don’t quit your old routine. There are so many older adults who think that moving to a senior facility means having to change everything about their life. Think of the transition simply as moving to a new home, not a new way of doing things. If you have a set routine, whether its reading before bed or going to the gym every day, stick with it.
  • Keep your friends. Just because your friends don’t live in senior communities it doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to interact with them. Don’t leave your friends, social clubs, groups and organizations behind, stay with them. It will only help you feel more comfortable with your transition.
  • Consider a ride sharing service. If you are worried about maintaining independence and still being able to run errands as you please in your senior living community, consider using a ride sharing service like Uber. It can help you get around and stick with your normal way of doing things once you move to your new home.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things. It is important to hold on to the things that matter most to you when you transition to a senior living community, but you also shouldn’t be afraid to try new things when you make this transition. This can be an exciting way for you to meet friends, and push yourself to try new experiences. You can still maintain some of the parts of your old life when you make the move, but it doesn’t mean you can’t try new things either.

Yes, moving to a senior living facility can mark a tremendous change in the life of any senior. However, seniors need to remember that it doesn’t mean they have to leave their old life behind. While they can move forward to a next chapter, there are still plenty of ways to stay connected to the life they once had.

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