When the time comes to make senior care arrangements, many difficulties can derive as a result from families facing the harsh realities of change. There are numerous explanations as to why the discussion of assisted living is the cause of confrontation; some of these may include senior loved ones who are misinformed or have antiquated information regarding what retirement communities used to be like, others may lack the effort to communicate effectively to loved ones, many times there are either too many conflicting opinions when planning, or all of the above. Listed below are the most common conflicts families face while discussing senior care planning for loved ones whom have expressed an objection to assisted living and the possible solutions you can take to address and overcome these obstacles.

Senior Care Research Senior Care Options Tennessee

Are your parents denying the need for senior care? For instance, do your aging parents have a worsening disability? Perhaps they are experiencing a harder time maneuvering around the house, but deny it? We often consult with families who question, “How soon is too soon?” The answer is never! The best thing you can do for your loved ones is to research your options first. Find what works best for you and your family financially, geographically, and the provided senior care services. Research can also be extended to consulting with your senior’s primary health care professional, as they know their patient well. Likewise, our trusted Regency community consultants are available to provide you and your loved ones with the knowledge and understanding to make an informed decision regarding senior care planning. 

Opposing Change

Are your parents opposed to the possibility of senior care? This behavior is completely normal when seniors reach a season of life where living alone becomes almost impossible without some level of assisted care. If not communicated effectively, the conversation between an aging parent, child, or loved one can end in an argument, resulting in hurt feelings. A tip to communicate effectively: be brief and to the point. Express the areas of concern, let them know that their wellness is of most importance and provide information on possible ways to address the issues. While it is necessary to express your concerns thoughtfully, it is also just as necessary to listen to their concerns carefully. Once these have been addressed, create a list of pros and cons to assisted living and living at home with a caretaker. Debra Feldman, a senior care specialist, emphasizes to practice sensitivity and patience during this vulnerable time. Take things slow, as it may take some time for everyone to agree on the matter.

Conflicting Opinions

Does your family disagree on senior care? With more people involved, there is a greater chance that not everyone will see eye-to-eye. While avoiding conflict may be the easier path to keeping the peace, it may not be in the best interest of your loved ones. The path of least resistance is not always the best path to resolving senior care needs. If confronted with struggle of conflicting opinions, we strongly suggest you seek a family mediator to help execute non-biased decisions with senior care, estate planning, and inheritances if a will is not set in place. When the time comes to deal with these issues after your parents have passed, it will only become more complex as time goes on and resentment grows. Aside from the difficulties that often accompany the topic of senior living, we encourage you to consider the best options for your aging loved ones early, no matter the age. If you wish to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, we are here to answer any of your questions. We would be overjoyed to have you visit our community for a no obligation consultation and to welcome you and your loved ones into our Regency family.

 

Written by: Katie Hanley

regency senior christmasIt’s that time of year again – turkey, merriment, gifts, and a new year. In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to feel down. If your adult children are grown and live far away or perhaps you recently lost a loved one or spouse, the holidays just aren’t the same. While it may seem impossible, there are a number of ways to add holiday cheer this Christmas, whether you’re living at home, in assisted living, or other retirement home. Here’s some, just to name a few: 

  • Visit with loved ones, if possible
  • Bake festive holiday cookies
  • Take them to see a performance of "The Nutcracker" 
  • Attend a candlelight service at church
  • Sing along to Christmas carols
  • Make a family photo album or scrapbook
  • For distant loved ones, call or FaceTime

With seasonal depression often follows senior isolation during the holidays, which is now at an all-time high and brings mental and physical health risks to seniors who feel cooped up. It is reported that seniors exemplifying behaviors of isolation have an increase in mortality rate and are typically linked to having higher blood pressure and long-term illnesses. To avoid this, it is important to find your holiday cheer and remain active, despite the cold or overcast weather. For our Regency residents, we encourage you to participate in both on and off campus events. These may include dinners with family, Christmas light sightseeing, and nativity scene viewing. 

If you’re feeling blue this Christmas, help spark your holiday joy by following these 3 tips for a more joyful Christmas this year for the entire family.

1. Involve them in your Christmas plans – Attending a candlelight service? Invite everyone to go with you. At Regency Senior Living, we encourage you to spend quality time with loved ones because nothing is better than the gift of family during the holiday season. 

2. Share your memories and make new ones – The holidays are a wonderful time to share some of your life stories to willing listeners. They will likely get a kick out of hearing your traditions when you were a kid. While sharing your old memories, make new ones. For example, make it an annual tradition of stringing popcorn on the Christmas tree with the family or host a lighting of the tree. This will give you something to look forward to in the holidays and years to come.

3. Stay occupied and positive - While stringing the popcorn is a rather tedious task, you might be able to find something else to help with this or other tasks, because it’s a great thing to feel needed. Perhaps you could be in charge of the annual lighting of the tree. If you are unable to contribute due to physical limitations, there’s something that you can do to contribute. If you feel down this Christmas because you believe that you have very little to offer your family, join in on planned activities and crafts, such as putting together a scrapbook, an ornament, or even record a family story.

In circumstances where getting together with family is not possible this holiday season, due to distance, health, or cost, you can still wish your friends and family a happy holiday using your tablet, phone, or computer. For those who aren’t able to be near family, remember you always have your Regency family.

Whatever your plans this Christmas, we wish you and all of your loved ones a very merry holiday season. Happy Holidays from the Regency Retirement Community!

Written by: Katie Hanley

The need to scale back for most approaching seniors occurs when the children are fully grown-individuals and no longer living in the house. This frequently leaves empty nesters with the task of decluttering and downsizing into a littler space.

Specialists at Lifehack.org encourage when downsizing, beginning with a smaller, more manageable space to kick off the project. If not, starting out looking at everything in whole can without question become overwhelming. Scaling back is more effective when drawn-out all over weeks or months, not days. It is important to realize that it will require a great deal of time to sort through, since it has taken a great deal to accumulate. With every large project, don’t expect to have everything done in the first day. Simply remember no matter how small, progress is progress.

Decluttering Tips:

•      Be careful of saying, “I’ll do it later.” The uncertainty of an unexpected move to assisted living might come as a surprise, leaving no time to organize belongings.

•      Hold a yearly spring-cleaning to regularly tidy up, so the clutter can be controlled.

•      Plan everything out. Outline a week after week objective to keep on track.

Step 1senior moving day

Sort assets into three particular heaps that are either to be given, kept or disposed of. Steer clear from the indecisive, fourth "maybe" pile, as this prompts to uncertainty, instability, and a decrease in progress. Strategize based on priority to weed out items. Some of those things might be old clothing that no longer fits, dusty, disregarded books lying on the shelf, or multiples of the same item. Learn when to let go. Lifehack believes if it doesn’t "spark joy" let it go. If compelled to dispose of such things, remember that one man's junk could be another man's treasure.

Step 2

When cutting back, it's important to consider the restricted storage space in the new home. Most of the time, space is tight, particularly in assisted living communities. To help pare down, ask about the measurements of your new space, if not given already. This can be used as a physical guideline for the amount kept. For more troublesome decisions on letting go, use the yes-no strategy. To simplify, adapt to certain things that can be redesigned or reformatted into a smaller space. For instance, family photographs can be inserted into a scrapbook. This approach not only preserves the pictures, but also additionally takes less valuable square footage.

Also, if it hasn’t been used in over a year, it probably isn’t worth holding on to. Be cautious with the unnecessarily storing behaviors in seniors, as it may to result in a home that is unsafe or even unsanitary. This should be an obvious sign for more prominent health concerns. For example, bills left unpaid or recommended medications missed, these could all be cautioning indications of a more serious problem, like dementia or Alzheimer's. See a doctor if these issues continue or worsen.

Step 3

Discarded things should be donated, sold, or recycled. The neighborhood library or school may love those bins loaded with unused books. Or perhaps you could use some extra money. Selling items can give a new life to what was once old and unused. Lastly, if all else fails, always recycle when disposing to ensure the health of the environment.

For more tips, visit:http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/15-9-5-senior-scaling back tips/

Is now your opportunity to spend your life free from added home expense and upkeep? Downsize into to a Regency Senior Retirement community today! Call us for more information at (423) 238-8087.

Written by: Katie Hanley

“Somehow we have to get older people back close to growing children if we are to restore a sense of community, a knowledge of the past, and a sense of the future.”
- Margaret Mead

Interaction between the generations is not only a great way to pass along knowledge and wisdom – it’s also fun.

People of varying ages can learn a lot from each other if everyone keeps an open mind and appreciates the unique challenges and opportunities that come with the territory. This might take the form of grandchildren teaching their elders how to use technology or sharing contemporary favorites in entertainment. Likewise, young ones can discover obscure songs or movies that are just as powerful today as they were decades ago, possibly observe timeless traditions and ways of doing things that have become lost art-forms.

The great challenge is developing a better understanding of others, which may involve the collision of values when members of different generations work and learn together.

Does the WWII vet who hasn’t spoken to many people about the horrors of war he witnessed have anything at all in common with a teenager prone to oversharing every detail of her day on social media? Can someone whose attitudes about race, gender and sexual orientation were formed during less diverse times talk intelligently with someone who grew up learning about the Civil Rights Era from history books?

When people come together, it helps to dispel inaccurate and negative stereotypes.

Organizational development scholar Dr Morris Massey said, “We don’t have to agree with the values of different generations, but we can strive to understand the mind-sets of different generations and how each group sees the world based on their experiences.”

Whereas a senior may prefer face to face or written communication, their children and grandchildren may primarily reach out via email or text message. Bridging such gaps requires flexibility in your thinking.

We are shaped by the events of our lives, and history happens in cycles. Baby Boomers, for example, probably had their values influenced by parents who grew up during the Great Depression, so they may find common ground with Generation Xers who remember double-digit inflation or new college graduates who have struggled to find good jobs since 2007.

The benefit of intergenerational interaction for seniors is reducing isolation and poverty among elders, who in turn improve the lives of children, youth, and older adults by sharing their insight on the world as tutors, role models, or mentors. Through regular contact, they can become advocates for one another and unite with solutions for illiteracy, environmental issues, health issues, crime prevention, and much more.ooltewah senior headphones

According to the organization Generations United, such intergenerational activities allow seniors to remain active and engaged, which contributes to living longer with better physical and mental health. They enjoy a higher quality of life by remaining engaged in their communities.

“Older adults who regularly volunteer with children burn 20% more calories per week, experience fewer falls, are less reliant on canes, and perform better on a memory test than their peers,” the organization states. “Older adults with dementia experience more positive effect during interactions with children.”

The benefit for others? Developing skills, values, and a sense of citizenship. Historical and cultural traditions are preserved.

“Together we are stronger,” states Generations United.

At Regency Senior Living, daily life is an intergenerational activity as younger staff help to care for seniors and those requiring daily help with tasks. We appreciate that our residents have a lot of wisdom to share with us and are a value to society by their efforts to contribute in whatever capacity they can.

The Charmm’d Foundation offers a checklist for communicating to different generations that can be viewed at http://www.charmmdfoundation.org/resource-library/effective-communication/checklist-communicating-different-generations

Jeff Clay, Vice President of Business Development at of Regency Senior Living, said his group recruits many volunteers who bring a variety of abilities to work alongside residents.

“For these volunteers, both young and old, we create opportunities for inter-generational experiences,” Clay said. “We understand that many schools and colleges require volunteer hours for their students, and we would love to support those efforts. Call today and speak with our Activities Director to learn of ways you can begin a fulfilling way of working with seniors!”

To learn more about Regency Senior Living, call (615) 598-0245.

Written by: Katie Hanley

seniors make friends in assisted living

As it turns out, the key to happiness later in life is not personal wealth, although having money does make it a bit easier. No, the real secret to a happy life is having good relationships – with spouses, with friends and family. This month, we dig deeper to find out why and learn how moving into an Assisted Living community can improve this happiness.

Harvard University began a study tracking 724 men back in 1938. They came from different backgrounds, including college students and some living in Boston’s poorest neighborhoods. Every two years, these men have been interviewed by researchers about their lives and given medical exams to study their brains and blood. Most of the surviving participants are in their 90s.

The study’s fourth director, Robert Waldinger, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said 75 years of research has given us solid clues about what leads to happier and healthier lives versus lives dominated by struggles with depression and health problems. Strong social bonds play a vital role in protecting long-term physical and mental health. Those challenged by health problems are more likely to become isolated and experience feelings of melancholy in old age.

It’s not always easy making new friends at ANY age. When we are in our teens and 20s, the institutions of school and career provide ample opportunities to make friends because we spend so much time with other people. Waldinger suggested those who make an effort to replace workplace friends and colleagues with new friends after retiring are more likely to be happier in their senior years.

Those connected to family, friends, the community are generally happier and physically healthier, living longer than those who are less well connected. In contrast, those who are mostly isolated aren’t as happy and have shorter lives. Those in unhappy relationships at age 50 reported their emotional pain magnified their physical pain at age 80. H. Jackson Brown Jr. was right when he wrote that, “the decision of who to marry will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.”

Romantic feelings may be hard for many couples to sustain for generations, but even those in the study who bickered frequently with their spouses showed signs of sharper memories if they were paired with someone who they felt they could count on during tough times. This suggests that a secure relationship helps the brain.

Rather than finding that happier relationships cause better health later in life, the Harvard study suggests that people who are healthier are more likely to make and maintain satisfying relationships. It just makes sense that someone who feels miserable much of the time will project this on others and be less likely to attract companionship. This heightens the importance of listening to doctors when they tell us to monitor our blood pressure, eat healthier and stay physically active.

Where does Assisted Living come into this?

A move to a senior living community can be a rescue from the isolation of living in solitude. While we all appreciate our privacy and the freedom to take “me time”, a structured environment designed to facilitate making new social connections can not only kill loneliness but contribute to life-extending happiness.

At Regency, we have Activity Directors to plan exercise and fun outings. Rather than sitting isolated in a house, seniors come together to play games, watch movies together, have meals together, worship as a group, and much more. Calendars placed in our newsletters and posted around the community preview good times of joint fun ahead.

When someone new moves to the community, an activity director typically conducts an activities survey to ask the new resident what he or she enjoys doing. Even someone who was an only child and has been introverted most of his or her life can make fast friends when talking to someone they have things in common with during meal times.

Considering a move to Assisted Living can be a scary proposition for the senior, but once they’ve lived here for a few weeks, most feel a genuine sense of belonging in a new family. Some may discover that they are social butterflies spreading their “wings” for the first time in their lives. Researchers are confident that strong social bonds like these play an important role in protecting our long-term physical and mental health.

To learn more about Regency Senior Living, call (615) 598-0245.

Written and photographed by Steven Stiefel

 

Regency Senior LivingThe decision to move to Assisted Living can be a source of great conflict within families with aging loved ones no longer able to live alone. After getting settled in their new home, Regency residents often tell us, “I wish I had done this years ago”. But there was a time when they, too, were apprehensive about this life-changing situation and the implications on their independence.

Jeff Clay, Regency’s Vice President of Business Development, compared the process to the nervousness that a high school graduate feels going off to a college dorm -- except the “senior” is reversed with the child help the parent move to a new place. It’s not unusual for there to be initial feelings of homesickness and anxiety about making new friends in an unfamiliar place.

An aging parent may be adamant about not leaving a home where he or she has sentimental attachments, but grown children should encourage their senior parents to make such a movie before health worsens or there’s some sort of accident essentially forcing the decision. Actions taken during crisis situations may wreak chaos, especially if the parent is confused with the onset of dementia, so the process goes more smoothly with adequate contemplation and preparation.

“Seniors may have a preconceived notion that Assisted Living is going to be a cold, hospital-like setting, but when they visit, they quickly realize that living at Regency simply means having an apartment, except there’s help available to do things like housekeeping, laundry and remembering to take their medications. Residents are free to come and go, and they enjoy delicious meals in a social dining area, along with planned activities,” Clay said.

This is a contrast to nursing homes, which are primarily focused on providing skilled medical care. Regency offers an alternative that balances the senior’s desire to have social opportunities with the rest of the family’s need to have the peace-of-mind that help is never far away. If a resident with a closed door falls in their room, pull stations next to the bed and in the bathroom with adjustable length cords can summon help, in contrast to homes that typically lack such amenities.

Clay said when siblings are involved in the decision to move a parent, there may be disagreement on what to do. A local caregiver may have a different opinion than another child who lives far away and doesn’t see the parents as often. The remote family may not realize how frail a parent has become or the heavy toll circumstances can take on the primary caregiver who lives closer. In these instances, Clay encourages the children to weigh all their options and look at the situation objectively.

  • Some signs that it is time to consider a move to Assisted Living:
  • When cooking is too much trouble or housework is too difficult.
  • When a senior can’t remember when to take medicine.
  • When the only human interaction is a family member or an occasional visit from a church friend.
  • When a senior becomes afraid to be alone in the home.
  • When family members spend more time taking care of the housework, yard maintenance, repairs and caring for a senior than they do making great memories.
  • When the senior can no longer drive or has to depend on others to go shopping or to appointments.

As seniors age and mobility becomes an issue, their social circles begin to shrink. Much like the incoming college freshman who is anxious at first but eventually makes friends at a university, senior citizens can find that the future is their next, exciting chapter of life.

Although it can be a difficult conversation to have at family gatherings, “the talk” does not necessarily have to be negative if there’s honest communication. Experts recommend that grown children share their genuine concerns and listen to how the senior feels, presenting options to choose from rather than dictating to parents what is going to happen.

Take the time to shop around for the best community for the parent, factoring in location, services and activities offered, and how much the elderly parent likes a place. They may not like the prospect of moving out of their home, but they will almost certainly have a preference on where they’d rather be if it eventually happens. For many, they settle on Regency because of our “family” type atmosphere as much as the amenities.

A short-term stay, i.e., “trying it out”, might be in order since Regency’s apartments are available on a month-to-month basis. Someone can usually tell after a couple of weeks whether Assisted Living is for them. This is normal for someone recovering from a surgery who may need help for a short period with daily tasks, so it can apply to someone getting a feel for our place before deciding whether to sell their home.

When a new resident arrives at a Regency community, we conduct an activity survey and talk to the family so we can begin to get a sense of what the senior considers fun. New residents are paired with others who they may have something in common with. Coming together regularly for meals in a social dining area is a sure way to make friends fast. Regency staff may visit the room to encourage residents to participate in scheduled activities, but they also respect residents’ privacy.

These are just a few of the things to consider when thinking about moving an aging or disabled loved one to an Assisted Living Community.

For more information, visit http://regencyseniorliving.com/ To learn more about Regency Senior Living, call (615) 598-0245.

 

Written and Photographed by Steven Stiefel

how do i save for retirement?Perhaps you’ve seen the television ads where Harvard Professor and Social Psychologist Daniel Gilbert asks a group of people hanging around a plaza to mark how much money they think they will need when they retire on a piece of ribbon. An experiment follows where the people stretch their ribbon across a field marked with numbers and are shocked to realize their planned retirement savings will not get them as far as they imagined. Gilbert points out that retirement could last 30 years or more.

The average life expectancy in the US is 81.2 years for women, 76.4 years for men. Time can become a liability as modern medical technology allows people to live longer lives.

The ads use fear to sell a product, but they are a reminder that people need to think more like squirrels gathering acorns for the winter ahead and put more money away for retirement during prime working years. But how are we supposed to save when we have mortgages, kids’ college education to pay, and so many financial responsibilities to juggle? How can baby boomers counteract losses from the financial and housing crisis of 2008 and 2009?

Experts point to a few different options to make money go farther in retirement years so we can afford to live in an Assisted Living community when the time comes:

  1. Make Time an Ally Rather than a Predator – For someone approaching retirement age, options are limited short of winning the lottery (not a very reliable retirement plan). This is why it is so important for young adults entering the workforce to start making 401(k) contributions early so they can take advantage of the power of compound interest, illustrated in TV ads as a domino effect with tiny dominoes leading to a towering one with a loud thud at the end.
  2. Sacrifice – This would seem obvious, yet people often buy things they don’t really need because a surplus of discretionary cash is “burning a hole” in their pocket, as the saying goes. Successful retirement planning requires years of saving to provide for a time when we are no longer generating income from a steady job. It takes discipline and willpower to put money away rather than spend it for instant gratification. We benefit later by forgoing small luxuries today such as making lunch rather than eating out as often.
  3. Get a Handle on Debt – Older Americans tend to have more credit card debt than younger Americans. To have savings, it is critical to get ahead of debt. Paying the minimum each month adds a lot of interest on top of the original balance. A personal loan can consolidate the debt into a fixed monthly payment at a lower rate. Experts advise against dipping into tax-deferred money from retirement accounts to pay credit card debt due to penalties for taking out funds too early. Focus on paying down the card with the highest interest rate first, according to USAA Certified Financial Planner Scott Halliwell.
  4. Work While Retired – Some dream of the day when they can put a career in the rear view mirror, yet others miss having a sense of purpose, camaraderie and spending power that comes from a job. It’s great when “clocking in” is an option, but for some, it remains key to survival and a real challenge with limited opportunities as a result of age discrimination and a tight job market.
  5. Stay Active and Healthy – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stresses the importance of exercising, eating healthy foods and getting blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly to reduce the burden of medical costs tied to lifestyle choices. The 10 leading causes of death (accounting for 74% of all deaths) are heart disease, cancer , chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, unintentional injuries, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
  6. Get Insurance – Medical bills and funeral expenses can lead to growing debt. Long-term Care Insurance may be needed to pay for costs not covered by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid beyond a predetermined period. About 70% of people over age 65 will require at least some type of long-term care services during their lifetime.
  7. Get Expert Help – A financial advisor can help plan retirement in such a way that defers or saves tax burdens. Working with a “fiduciary” will guarantee you are advised by someone with a legal duty to act solely in your interest rather than someone who will sell you costly plans loaded with big commissions that may take a big bite out of your savings.
  8. Save More than You Think You’ll Need – Even if you’re confident that your savings will support you through retirement, don’t fail to anticipate emergencies like medical issues, natural disasters or a job loss that could strike.
  9. Don’t Rely on Social Security or Medicaid – By 2050, there will be fewer working people supporting retirees, according to US News & World Report. With one in six older Americans living below the poverty line, it’s a safe bet that the social safety net will be increasingly strained.
  10. Stay Flexible – When the time comes, seniors may need to consider financing their care by selling their homes, companion living, pursuing VA Aid and Attendance funds, getting reverse mortgages, or low interest bridge loans from lenders like Elder Life Financial.

In our February 2016 blog, we wrote about ways to get more out of retirement years on a limited budget. In the September 2015 blog, we covered long-term care options to pay for Assisted Living. We recommend reading those for greater detail on the actions recommended in this blog. These steps can help those seniors pay for care when they eventually need help with the basic personal tasks of everyday life in an Assisted Living Community like Regency.

Baby Boomers and millenials have special challenges as a result of the financial devastation of 2008-09, but the principles remain the same: Spend Less Than You Earn, Save Whenever Possible. With some discipline and luck, they ultimately may not have to endure a lower standard of living in retirement years.

We can put it off for years and years, but eventually, tomorrow becomes real. As we age, we want to travel the world and still leave something for our kids to inherit. At the very least, we want to be self-sufficient so we are not a burden on family. Planning ahead and continuing to save as we approach retirement can literally pay off in the long run.

To learn more about Regency Senior Living, call (615) 598-0245.

Copyright: olivier26 / 123RF Stock Photo

8 Age-Related Impacts on the Body

Friday, 27 May 2016 18:32

senior citizen fitnessWhenever someone passes the century market on this planet, they are usually asked, “What is your secret to long life and good health?”

The young have the freedom to live with reckless abandon, confident they will live forever. In reality, we discover as we age that our health often reflects earlier choices and pays dividends later in life. Ask anyone in their 30s and 40s who is warned by their doctor to watch their cholesterol or lectured by a dental hygienist to brush and floss.

In our increasingly sedentary society, there’s no surprise that more than a third of adults are considered to be obese. A 2011 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that each hour people spent sitting down and watching TV after age 25 was linked to a deduction of 22 minutes from their overall life expectancy.
According to the National Institute on Aging, staying active and taking charge of one’s health are key to managing future well-being.

Here are 8 Areas of Age-Related Change that older adults will likely face and how to prepare:

THE BRAIN
Problem: Forgetfulness is so common as we age that our culture deems it as “having a senior moment”, but there is a difference between momentary confusion and the onset of memory loss and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Solution: Alcohol misuse can increase the risk of damage to the brain, as well as damage to the liver, esophagus, throat and larynx. Scientists do not yet know what causes Alzheimer’s disease, but they do believe it arises from a complex series of brain changes that evolve over decades, possibly a mix of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that affect each person differently. Diet and physical exercise are recommended to reduce the risk. Memory Care may be of great use to those who have access to a senior living community like Regency.

BONES AND JOINTS
Problem: Decades of carrying around our body weight bears down on the bones and movable joints. Osteoporosis weakens bones to the point where they break easily, most often in women. Arthritis comes in different types but usually means cartilage in a joint wearing away. Inflammation can result in pain and stiffness.
Solution: Scientists recommend consuming calcium and vitamin D to prevent weakened bones, as well as exercise. Our bones begin to weaken in our 40s. Lifestyle changes and flexibility exercises can pay off later in life. Weight loss is a recurring theme, as doctors say that losing as little as 5 percent of your body weight can pay big rewards, lowering the possibility of Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, some types of cancer, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and other problems. At Regency’s communities, residents are encouraged to participate in physical activities to maintain their health.

EYES & EARS
Problem: Around age 40, people slowly begin to notice changes in vision such as inability to read small print without reading glasses. Hearing also declines due to a condition called Presbycusis.
Solution: Vision loss is inevitable, but you can protect yourself by having annual eye exams to detect early signs of cataracts, glaucoma or retinal disorders that may develop around age 60 or as a result of diabetic vision loss. Hearing aids can improve the quality of life for seniors with hearing loss. In younger years, moderating exposure to loud noises can delay hearing loss.

DIGESTIVE & METABOLIC SYSTEM
Problem: About 40 percent of adults ages 40 to 74 — or 41 million people — have pre-diabetes, a condition that raises a person's risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Heartburn can also be an issue as stomach contents can leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus.
Solution: Lifestyle changes such as losing weight and increasing physical activity reduce the development of diabetes by 71 percent in people over age 60.

BLADDER & PROSTATE
Problem: Loss of bladder control is very common in older people, with 1 in 10 people over age 65 experiencing leaking, particularly women. For men, the prostate grows bigger with age, making it harder to pass urine. Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer among men in the US.
Solution: Ask a doctor if your medicines can affect the amount of urine you produce. Limit alcohol and caffeine while drinking more water to improve bladder health. Seek treatment for urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections. Seniors experiencing these issues greatly benefit from the compassionate care they receive at Regency, where light housekeeping tasks are performed by others.

LOSS OF TEETH
Problem: Bacteria ruins the enamel that protects teeth, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Infection, if left untreated, can ruin the bones, gums and tissue that support the teeth.
Solution: Brushing twice a day prevents plaque from forming into tartar that leads to destructive gingivitis. Going to a dentist twice a year for a routine cleaning can prevent plaque buildup.

SKIN
Problem: Years of exposure to sunlight, stress, dehydration, and toxins such as cigarettes lead to changes such as dryness, wrinkles and age spots. Skin cancer is the most common type in the nation. Melanoma can be fatal if it spreads to other organs in the body. Shingles can affect those over 50 who suffered chickenpox earlier in life.
Solution: There is now a shingles vaccine show to boost immunity against the virus. Experts recommend staying out of the sun to keep skin healthy and young looking. We also need to avoid dehydration caused by overheating in the winters and using air conditioning during summertime.

BALANCE
Problem: Falls can come as a result of reduced vision, muscle strength, coordination, and reflexes, as well as inner ear infections, diabetes and heart disease or circulation problems. Increased use of medicines can cause dizziness.
Solution: Removing hazards in the home can reduce tripping incidents. Keeping a healthy weight, moderate exercise, drinking less alcohol, eating less salt, and eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods can all reduce blood pressure and thus lower the risk of stroke, heart disease, eye problems, and kidney failure. Walkers and canes can provide greater support and improve mobility. Talk to a doctor to determine if unwanted side effects of medicines are causing dizziness. Seniors and their families may experience greater peace of mind by moving to a senior community such as Regency where their physical needs are key to the design.

These are just a few of the keys to realizing the Fountain of Youth and living a long, healthy life. Beyond the body itself, attitude and being socially connected also impact our lifespans.

Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise plan or making other changes that can affect your health. To learn more, visit http://www.nihseniorhealth.gov.

To learn more about Regency Senior Living, call (615) 598-0245.

Written by Steven Stiefel

Copyright: karelnoppe / 123RF Stock Photo

memory care from Regency Senior LivingChange is an inevitable part of aging as time makes our bodies and brains slow down. Memory loss is a normal part of the process, but how do we know whether forgetfulness is the result of mild cognitive impairment or a more serious brain disorder?

With Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, the mental decline is severe enough to disrupt daily life by affecting core brain functions that control our ability to learn and recall information, as well as focus on tasks and solve problems.

Because Alzheimer’s is most prevalent in people over age 65, it can be difficult to tell whether the symptoms are normal or something more serious. Alzheimer’s is a slow, progressive illness that damages nerve cells in the brain.
What’s the distinction between a typical “senior moment” and a sign of Alzheimer’s?

  • It is the difference between a bad decision made once in a while and more frequent cases of showing poor judgment and decision making.
  • It is a senior missing a monthly bill payment as opposed to lacking the ability to manage a budget at all.
  • It is forgetting or mistaking which day of the week it is, in contrast to losing track of what season it is.
  • A senior might momentarily forget what something is called, but someone suffering from dementia will struggle just to have a conversation and fail to recall familiar people.
  • Finally, anyone can lose track of where we’ve left something, but the person with Alzheimer’s is utterly incapable of retracing their steps to find something they have left in a place that defies logic, e.g. the keys left in the freezer.

It’s important to base future decisions on the outcome of a diagnosis from a qualified medical professional rather than acting harshly based on assumptions and fears. A checkout may point to other, treatable causes that can be mistaken for Alzheimer’s, including depression or drug interactions.

The Alzheimer’s Association has a lot of helpful information on its website that can help families recognize the warning signs and symptoms, as well as research possible treatments and find support. Visit http://www.alz.org/ for more.

Regency retirement communities work hand-in-hand with their local Alzheimer’s Association chapters to assist in continued education, host support groups for our families, and educate the markets we serve. Importance is placed on residents retaining their dignity and privacy as we provide personalized care and activities.

To learn more about Regency Senior Living, call (615) 598-0245.

Written by Steven Stiefel

Copyright: voronin76 / 123RF Stock Photo

Spring a Great Time for Fun in the Sun

Wednesday, 30 March 2016 13:30

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

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