Monday, 25 September 2017 13:07

Healthy Eating for Seniors

We all have different dietary needs, especially as we age and might develop different health conditions. Today, we will discuss those needs and share healthy eating for seniors to adhere to, that can help maintain their health and prevent some common ailments that sometimes come with age. One challenge for many seniors is keeping up with cooking, which can be time consuming, tiring, and even dangerous if you have issues with mobility, coordination, or balance. That’s yet another great reason to consider retirement living—the help with meal times alone can offer enormous peace of mind and transform breakfast, lunch, and dinner from a source of stress to the pleasurable social activity eating can be at its best.

healthy eating for seniorsA senior care community makes it easier than ever for seniors to eat as often as they should and make sure each meal is not only delicious, but nutritious, too. It’s easy for seniors who struggle with meal prep and cleanup to turn to processed foods that are high in sugar, sodium, and preservatives. By enjoying three meals a day with their friends and neighbors at the retirement home, there doesn’t need to be as much worry about malnutrition, or getting the right amount of calories, vitamins, and minerals.

Seniors typically benefit from eating several small meals a day. That helps maintain insulin levels, keeps blood sugar steady, aids calorie intake, and prevents you from missing a meal if you were too tired at the end of the day to, say, enjoy an enormous dinner. Dishes like soups and stews can be rich in vegetables, protein, and carbs while packing a lot of flavor—and hydrating liquid. That can be ideal for addressing some of the most common health complaints for seniors that are easily treated with a change in diet, rather than prescription medications and supplements (though those can help, too!).

Sipping small amounts of liquid throughout the day can help you stay hydrated. If you have a health condition like diabetes that means you need to be mindful of sugars, avoid sodas, fruit juices, and naturally sweetened seltzers. Instead, drink plain water with a squeeze of lemon, sparkling water, dairy or nut milks, or herbal tea. Other drinks that are becoming more popular lately include kombucha and coconut water, though those can sometimes be sweetened.

In addition to staying hydrated, enjoy whole foods high in protein and fiber like whole grains, beans, peas, peanuts, boiled or baked potatoes, lean meats, and nut butters. Protein is a major building block for the body’s muscles and organs. It can be easy to tend towards eating too many carbs and not enough protein, so make sure you get some protein in at every meal. Fiber can help you avoid constipation, highs and lows with your blood sugar, or feeling hungry throughout the day. Vegetables are a great way to get plenty of fiber, including salads, cooked greens, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, and more. Many of the most fibrous vegetables out there are also vitamin powerhouses, too, meaning you get even more bang for your buck.

At Regency, it’s our top priority to help you live your very best life, whether it’s arranging fun activities for residents, having a caring, conscientious staff available, or preparing top-quality meals that will fuel all your favorite things to do, from playing with the grand kids to taking a walk outside to a rousing game of bingo. With the right foods, nothing can slow you down.

Written by: Meghan O'Dea

Published in Retirement Communities
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 13:30

Spring a Great Time for Fun in the Sun

Tennessee Senior LivingAfter the long winter, it’s great to know that longer, warmer days are ahead. Active seniors welcome the opportunity to get outdoors.

Here are a few ideas for getting more enjoyment out of springtime:

  • Plant a Garden – Whether growing vegetables to eat or simply enjoying the scent of freshly cut flowers, this is THE best time of year for those who enjoy digging in the dirt and watching the beauty of nature at work. Will April showers bring May flowers?
  • Take a Picnic – With a little preparation, seniors can enjoy a picnic meal with family and friends, in the back yard or at a city park. Don’t forget the sandwiches and lemonade!
  • Visit a Farmer’s Market – This can be a great option for finding fresh veggies if tending to your own garden is too big of a project to take on by yourself. Many of the larger markets offer not only food items but arts and crafts and entertainment as well. Festivals are a big part of this time of year as well, many of them offering a showcase of all things Southern.
  • Take a Nature Walk – Many communities offer their citizens access to a walking park or botanical center where they can exercise at a leisurely pace. For those who are more active, hiking trails can lead to unexpected delights. Walking increases muscle strength, controls blood pressure and blood sugar and offers socialization experiences.
  • Bird Watch – It’s fun to listen to the birds chirping and try to identify what kind they are.
  • Spring Clean – Now is a great time to clear out some of the clutter lying around. While this might be more of an errand than a fun activity people look forward to, it can be entertaining going through keepsakes and recalling old memories. Plus, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment while enjoying the fresh air. Senior caregivers should use this time to make sure air conditioning is working properly before the summer heat arrives in full force. Spring cleaning may include cleaning outdoor furniture and pulling weeds.
  • Spend Time with Family – With kids out of school for the summer break ahead, now is a great time to plan activities with grandchildren or day trips to go shopping in nearby cities.
  • Fly a Kite – Combine walking with the exhilaration of guiding a soaring kite.
  • Learn Something New – More daylight hours means more opportunities to participate in things going on in the community. This may be attending events at a church or community center or taking a class to learn something like ballroom dancing, yoga, painting, etc.

Seniors and caregivers should check with their doctor before participating in any strenuous activity. Not only is getting outdoors good for Vitamin D production, but the fresh air can actually boost happiness, which is important considering the rise of feelings of depression during the colder months.

Say goodbye to winter and hello to springtime. To learn more about Regency Senior Living, call (615) 598-0245.

Written by Steven Stiefel

Copyright: tunedin123 / 123RF Stock Photo

Published in Active Senior Living

It’s never too early to plan holiday celebrations that take the needs of your senior loved ones into consideration. The holidays can be a tough time for many seniors as they may feel lonely, isolated, or extra aware of health issues that they didn’t have in years past. With a little preparedness, you can help them beat the winter blues and create a wonderful holiday season.

Make sure that you senior loved one has plenty to look forward to, even when you’re busy handling other aspects of holiday planning. Perhaps they can be in charge of special outings or activities with the grandkids, or can handle some meal prep or shopping. Elderly people, especially those with memory care issues, need to have plenty to anticipate and focus on. You may not be able to share quality time constantly during the hectic holidays, by try to schedule a little something as often as possible. One on one conversation might be less stressful, and there’s no better gift than your undivided attention.

You can also use this time together to ensure your loved one is doing well and that his or her needs are being met. Just as the comparing this holiday to previous years’ might be a point of sadness for seniors, it can also be a point of comparison for you to see how their health and mental wellness really are. If you see your loved one struggling with mobility or find you are having to make adjustments for him or her so they can get around, manage basic tasks, or remember things, you might want to consider a retirement community.

Senior housing and assisted living are great options for seniors who need a little extra help but don’t want to lose their independence. They can also help seniors avoid stress and depression by providing plenty to see, do and look forward to and plenty of social interaction. Retirement facilities also help residents stay healthy by providing well prepared, nutritious meals, exercise classes, and opportunities to garden, walk, and more.

This holiday season, celebrate the seniors in your life, and check in to ensure their quality of life is the best it can be as we say farewell to 2013 and begin a new year. By planning ahead for the holidays, you’ll better be able to anticipate your loved one’s needs both at family celebrations and in the months to come.

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Published in Active Senior Living

blog1You might have, like many people, started planning for retirement a long time before you actually got to the finish line. There were accounts to open, financial planners to chat with, paperwork to navigate, and dreams to dream about hitting the golf course, traveling, and spoiling the grand kids. Just as you began planning retirement well in advance, you should also get a head start on the conversation with both yourself and loved ones about when you will be ready for a retirement community.

Many hear the words “retirement community” and assume they might be like the nursing homes from decades ago. It’s important, first, to recognize that retirement communities today are for all ages of retirees and many offer different levels of care tailored to your needs. Planning for when you might want to join a senior home isn’t a depressing bet on when you will fall ill or become frail, but instead a proactive process to decide when you will be ready to join a caring community of new friends, more opportunities to explore and enjoy yourself, and receive a little extra assistance as needed.

Just as you planned the first phase of your retirement and when you could stop working, go ahead and consider when in the future you might be ready for the retirement community phase. If you are already asking yourself if you’re ready for senior housing, that could be a sign you’re almost ready. Perhaps you’ve realized a big house is harder to maintain as an empty nest, and that you don’t need all the extra bedrooms. Perhaps you are wondering if you’d prefer to live in another city not that you aren’t tied there by your career. Perhaps you simply like the idea of being surrounded by peers who are in a similar place and enjoy similar pastimes, much as you might have in college.

Starting the conversation now can also make the emotional side of this decision easier. Both you and your friends and family might have feelings to take into account and navigate. It will be easier to do this slowly over time when everyone can be more objective and logical than in the emotionally heightened rush after a crisis like hospitalization. Especially if you are currently living with family, the emotions surrounding caretaking can be complicated for everyone involved. Time and open dialogue can make the transition easier.

Even if you don’t intend to move into a retirement community for some time, go ahead and talk to your family, loved ones, doctor, and financial planners now so you can strategize the best possible way to make your move when you are ready. Just as you learned with the first phase of retirement, it’s always best to plan ahead!

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Published in Active Senior Living
Friday, 29 August 2014 12:31

Ooltewah Seniors Stay Active On the Move

cxnRegency Senior Living offers Ooltewah seniors a variety of activities meant to enrich their lives. You’re likely to find residents relaxing while creating arts and crafts, playing games like Bingo or The Price is Right, enjoying a social gathering, or perhaps participating in a scavenger hunt.

There’s plenty of facility-based activities with opportunities to be social, but Regency Senior Living is located in Hamilton County, offering the warmth of small town living with easy access to all that nearby Chattanooga has to offer. Our residents have opportunities to participate in outings to movies, musicals or even a local sporting event.

Some great possible outings in Hamilton County include:

Point Park Battlefield: See the site of the Civil War’s “Battle Above the Clouds” and enjoy a spectacular view of Lookout Valley, Moccasin Bend and downtown Chattanooga.

Hunter Museum of Art: Built on a 90-foot limestone bluff overlooking the Tennessee River, the Hunter Museum of American Art showcases the region’s finest collection of American art, spanning hundreds of years and including different media such as painting, sculpture, glass, and crafts.

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum: A choo-choo lover’s paradise, with restored vintage trains and trips running daily during the warmer months.

Trail-of-Tears/The Passage: This outdoor exhibit at Ross’s Landing in downtown Chattanooga tells the story of the displaced Cherokees.

Tennessee Aquarium: Chattanooga’s top attraction featuring a variety of animals in giant fish tanks and habitats, including sharks, giant catfish, trout, baby alligators, turtles, butterflies, jellyfish, penguins, and more!

IMAX 3D theatre: The super-theater is now showing 3D movies about the Galapagos Islands and the South Pacific. Add an IMAX film to your aquarium visit for only $6. Most films have run times of 45 minutes.

Ruby Falls: See the spectacular 145-foot high underground waterfall inside Lookout Mountain, along with cave formations like stalactites and stalagmites.

Incline railway: Travel a mile up the side of Lookout Mountain from the historic St. Elmo neighborhood to Point Park. Get ready for a steep ride on this beloved landmark.

Chattanooga Lookouts (an AA Southern League baseball team) games: The Lookouts play at AT&T Field, which seats 6,160 fans. They often have theme nights and play against regional teams like the Birmingham Barons, Huntsville Stars, Tennessee Smokies, Montgomery Biscuits, Jackson Generals, and Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

Bessie Smith Cultural Center: This facility, an African American Museum & Performance Hall, is named after the legendary performer and contains artistic exhibits, high quality musical events and performances, and historical educational and cultural programs.

These are just a few of the attractions that make Ooltewah a great place to live!

Published in Active Senior Living

Scheduling a game night with friends or watching a funny movie may be just the prescription for Chattanooga Seniors.

That’s because scientists have shown that laughter has many positive impacts on the mind and the body beyond momentarily feeling good.

For example, watching a funny TV show or movie triggers the release of feel-good chemicals into the body that make us forget our aches and pains as muscles relax and stress hormones lower. Relieving tension in the muscles helps us sleep better, which is a powerful antidote to stress and pain in itself. One man with a painful spinal condition was able to sleep for hours after watching Marx Brothers films.

Sharing a good joke or funny story with friends builds our sense of connection to them, enhancing those relationships. Smiling and laughing naturally attracts others to us. Wouldn’t you rather spend time with someone who seems genuinely joyful than someone who is often anxious, angry or sad?

Laughter raises the number of infection-fighting antibodies and boosts our immune cells too. One study of people with diabetes found lower blood sugar levels after watch a comedy than sitting through a tedious lecture.

Humor also gets our blood flowing in the same way as a workout, so we actually can burn calories and improve blood flow enough to fight off cardiovascular problems.

With so many benefits, you might wonder how you can have a few laughs, especially if you are stressed out or simply not in the mood.

Some suggestions include goofing around with children, playing with a pet, reading the funny pages, going to a comedy club, or making time for fun activities like bowling or karaoke with friends.

Bring more humor into your life and enjoy the medicinal effects of a good laugh. 

 

Photo Credit: Kyrre Gjerstad via Compfight cc

Published in Active Senior Living

Doctor's appointments can be overwhelming at times. Time in the exam room seems to fly by at warp speed. Did you have time to tell your doctor in Ooltewah or Chattanooga about that funny symptom that has been on your mind? What was the dosage for the new medication again? It is imperative that you and your physician have open communication in order to assure that you get the best possible medical care.

A small amount of pre-appointment preparation will allow you to have a more relaxed and beneficial experience at your next doctor's visit.

CALL AHEAD!
When you call your doctor's office to set up your appointment, explain that you are a senior patient and request a bit of additional time be added to your exam time. This will give you a few additional minutes to discuss your issues with your doctor in an unhurried fashion. Typically you can give a list of your health issues to the nurse. They can pass them along to your physician.

BRING AN EXTRA SET OF EARS ALONG WITH YOU
A reliable third party can listen with you and help you be certain the details of your doctor's visit won't be forgotten.

MAKE A LIST
Write down any concerns that you have. A checklist will help you remember exactly what you want to discuss.

A HISTORY OF YOU
Bring along your complete medical history, a binder will help keep you organized. This is essential when visiting a new doctor. Key information includes current doctors' information, recent prescriptions, allergies, your insurance information, past and ongoing health concerns and treatments.
There are also some things you'll want to do during your appointment:

OPEN UP
Be prepared to discuss your symptoms. This will help your physician pinpoint the issues you are having.

SUMMARIZE
As your appointment is wrapping up, be sure to request that your doctor to review the important points made during your appointment. Feel free to go over anything that was discussed. This is the time to ask any lingering questions you may have.

LET'S BE CLEAR
Your doctor or nurse will be able to go over any written instructions with you at the conclusion of your visit. This review will allow you feel certain that you are clear regarding what the next steps are for your treatment.

Working together with your doctor is imperative in working toward your best health. A little preparation and active participation in your own health matters can help you and your doctor get the most out of your next doctor's appointment.

Photo Credit: heipei via Compfight cc

Published in Active Senior Living

The Affordable Care Act has been the source of great controversy. You may know it as Obamacare, as some have called it. What does this program mean for seniors in the Ooltewah, Tennessee area?

Lawmakers created the ACA to increase affordable health care options by creating marketplaces for purchasing private insurance. They also sought, with this law, to reduce the growth rate of Medicare spending so the life of the program can be extended. This is accomplished by fighting fraud, waste and abuse in the system, reforming payments to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions that can lead to harmful acquired infections.

People who qualify for Medicare do not need insurance from the marketplace, but that doesn’t mean there’s no impact on seniors from Obamacare.

The program saves seniors money by reducing the coverage gap for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage – the so-called “doughnut hole” – and completely eliminating it by 2020. Seniors also save money they had been spending on deductibles, copayments and other cost-sharing for preventive care by taking advantage of annual wellness checkups. 

In the first 11 months of 2013, 85,302 participated in annual wellness screenings and 72 percent of Original Medicare Part B enrollees in Tennessee received all free services.

Tennessee seniors benefit from incentives Obamacare creates to reward providers that meet quality goals or show significant progress in improving the outcome of patient care. Focusing on quality improvement moves the entire system toward one rewarding better care rather than simply more care.

Beneficiaries can make more informed choices when it comes to their health care. The ACA invests in developing quality of care measures across all providers.

The law also establishes criminal background checks for employees of nursing homes. Employees with direct access to patients in long-term care facilities

There are controversial aspects to the law, but these are just a few of the ways Ooltewah seniors benefit from the Affordable Care Act. 

Published in Active Senior Living

blog6There’s no denying that tastes in housing have changed in the past decade. The same young professionals who bought rambling suburban homes when they started families in the 80s are contemplating retirement, and often want something totally different for their next place to live. Forbes explains that “Boomers buying for the long haul are looking for good access to transit, medical care and recreation; for high-speed Internet access and security systems; and for energy-efficient appliances.”

That’s often very different, and more urban-oriented, than their needs to be near work, in a good school district, or to have plenty of room for the family during their professional years.  This is part of the reason so many retirees contemplate downsizing. It gives them some financial gains, fewer maintenance demands, and the opportunity to live somewhere in line with their new lifestyle needs.

If you are considering downsizing as part of your retirement plan, there’s a few things you can do to make it an easy process. For one, it helps to know where you will be downsizing to. Talk to your financial planners and take a look at your accounts—you might be surprised at what options net the biggest gains. Retirement communities can actually be less expensive when you look at the overall cost of your current home, including utilities, gas to commute to the things you like to do, groceries, and more. By deciding first where you will be living, you can then see how much space you will have to work with and what your actual needs will be. For example, if you’re moving to an apartment, townhome, or condo, you may not need the extra large gas grill or the leaf blower in your garage.

In fact, rooms like the garage can be a great place to begin downsizing. Attics, basements, and garages can accumulate a lot of junk over the years that you simply won’t need at your new home. Take old paint cans, oil, light bulbs, and other maintenance leftovers to hazardous materials recycling—your city website can tell you where the drop off for these items is. Then you can move on to things you rarely use—untouched clothes that no longer fit in the back of your closet, children’s games and clothes you no longer need, or extra dishes and kitchen things.

When you’re left with the things you use frequently or are deeply sentimental, you know you are well prepared to downsize! Think of how pleasant life will be when you are surrounded only with your favorite things in a home that’s perfectly suited to your new lifestyle and day to day activities! Get closer to friends, family, and all the fun outings you enjoy while shedding the stress and cost of so many belongings.

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Published in Active Senior Living

blog5As wonderful as it is to be happily settled in a home you love, part of what makes your golden years so golden is the chance to see and do new things and get together with friends and family you care for. You’ll appreciate the convenience and community of your retirement facility even more after breaking your routine and cutting loose on a cruise, a train trip to a niece’s graduation, or simply visiting a new state for a change of scenery.  We have some travel planning pointers that will help you have the best time possible:

· The older we get, the more easily our immune systems are stressed. If you are flying, be sure to stay hydrated to help avoid a travel cold. You can also take a decongestant or chew gum to keep your ears from hurting as the altitude changes. Before travel, take vitamins and eat extra vegetables and fruits to help your immune system amp up for the extra stress.

· Call your bank ahead of time to be sure they know where you are traveling. It would be very frustrating to arrive only to have your credit and debit cards shut down for suspicious activity!

· Plan around your limits. Just because you have health or mobility issues, or simply don’t have as much energy as you did in your 20s, doesn’t mean you can’t travel and have a great time. Plan your itinerary around when you have the most energy, or if you know one day will be strenuous, try to make the next luxurious and relaxing.

· Make special arrangements as far ahead of time as possible. The more information you have on travel days the better. For example, it would be nice to know in advance how the stewardesses on your airline will store your cane or walker. Some medical items like oxygen need to be approved or verified with official notice from your physician. Best to not let these details wait until the last minute.

· Purchase luggage of a size and design you are comfortable handling. There have been many new styles in the past several years, including some with multiple wheels on the bottom than can roll from any direction at the touch of a finger. Nothing simplifies travel like luggage you can handle yourself without strain.

Don’t forget one of the very best parts of travel—getting to come home! When you’ve had a wonderful time with friends and family, or even on your own, it can be lovely to come back to a place equally as welcoming, with many friendly faces. It’s not discussed as often, but homecoming is a great perk of the retirement community life.

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Published in Active Senior Living

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