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News and Events
- February 2017 - Seniors and Wearable Data
In an effort to live healthier lives, many people, including 17% of Americans over 65, use wearable data trackers to keep count of steps taken each day. Some trackers even go a step further and detail heart rate, physical activity, and sleep patterns. A study was conducted by CDW Healthcare in partnership with Big Cloud Analytics to discover how wearable data could be used to benefit the health of adults, especially those living in senior care facilities. The discoveries of CDW and BCA could change the way seniors approach healthy living.
The study included a pilot program at four senior care communities and tracked daily physical activities in addition to monitoring heart rate and sleep patterns for their residents. The tracker’s findings were used in comparison with daily activities. For example, if data showed increased heart rate, it could be tracked back to what the senior had scheduled at that moment- perhaps aerobics or swimming. The findings showed that an adult who participated in physical activity was more likely to have a deep bio-restorative rest at night than compared to someone who didn’t participate in any activities.
The study’s data was cross-compared with different scenarios and resulted in findings that could help your senior live a longer, happier, and healthier life. Some of the discoveries included results that showed adults who took sleep aids would sleep deeply but without restoration for the next day. In addition, seniors who wore the trackers were able to get personalized care that met their exact needs and preferences.
Wearable data comes in many different forms so that you or your senior can choose a style that fits them the best. Here are some different varieties to choose from:
- Withings Pulse Ox is worn on the wrist and allows seniors to track their activity status, heart rate, blood oxygen levels and quality of sleep. Checking the data daily will allow seniors to look out for their own health and well-being.
- The Fitbit Zip acts as a fitness tracker and is worn like a clip, so you don’t have to worry about it coming lose when walking or exercising. This clip tracks distance traveled, steps, and calories burned.
- The Misfit Flash looks like a watch, which is great for everyday use. Affordable and waterproof this fitness tracker monitors your daily exercise, calories burned and sleep patterns.
At Carespring of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton, we are always looking for ways to help our seniors thrive by living healthy and happy lives in our nursing home and rehabilitation centers. Fitness trackers are a great way to keep physically fit while paying attention to your body and its needs. Let us know what kind of fitness tracker works best for you!
- February 2017 - When Valentine’s Day Hurts
For many seniors, especially those who’ve lost a spouse, Valentine’s Day can be difficult. Adults who divorce or lose their loved ones later in life might experience mixed emotions during this time of celebration. Dating styles have changed throughout the years and elders might find dating challenging or uncomfortable. However, some older adults choose to find another partner. If you or your senior is interested in finding a special someone, here are some helpful tips for healthy and happy dating:
Open Your Horizons Meeting new people is always more fun with a friend! Take a friend or family with you and spend time volunteering at a local shelter or visit a city museum. Your local YMCA or recreation center will usually offer classes especially for seniors. Silver Sneakers or water aerobics classes are great, fun ways to meet other seniors and increase your chances of starting new relationships.
Online Dating Some adults prefer online dating because it acts as a quick and more direct platform for finding someone special. Dating sites are widely used, but it’s always important to act with care and protect your safety. Bring a friend or family member with you to make you feel more comfortable. Below are some popular dating sites.
- AARP Dating
Safety First Remember to stay safe when you venture out into the dating world, especially if you are meeting someone you don’t know well. These tips will keep you safe and happy while you navigate the dating experience:
- Always make sure someone knows who and where you are meeting. Tell your friends and family where you are going and give them the number of where you are headed, or be sure to carry your cell phone!
- Meet in public places. First dates in homes and in secluded places won’t always be safe. Make sure others can see you at all times.
- Try a phone conversation first before meeting in person. You might be able to tell if someone isn’t who they say they are, or if something feels “wrong” just by talking on the phone.
Have Fun! Dating can be a great way to make new friends even if the romance doesn’t grow. Try choosing activities that make you happy and invite a new special person along with you. Exploring your local city, trying a different type of cuisine, or taking a cooking class can be great ways to spend time together without all of the pressure.
At Carespring of Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati and Dayton, where our main priority is your happiness, we hope these tips will help you enjoy dating and meeting new people.
- February 2017 - February Health Around the World
While it has its perks, growing older can come with many challenges. At Carespring nursing home and rehabilitation and long term nursing care facilities, we are always looking for new and inspiring ways to help our patients live long and healthy lives. This week, our inspiration comes from around the world. Below are some ways that elders from all over the world are staying fit and active in their own ways. Let’s get inspired!
Australia- Embracing the Body and Mind
Stateside, fast-paced exercises such as circuit training and weight lifting are popular but can be harsh on the body, especially as you age. In Australia the focus is often on the connection between the mind and body. Exercise is not only about physical appearance but also about emotional balance and well-being. Yoga and Pilates are ways to foster your physical endurance through strength training and flexibility while also encouraging brain development.
France- Eat like the French!
Unlike most Americans, French eat without the time constraints of 30-minute lunch breaks. Try eating slowly, thinking about each bite. The French eating experience is as much about socializing as it is about actually eating. Try turning off the TV and other distractions and sit down with family or friends and enjoy your meal together. Focusing on food and conversation will help you pay more attention to your body, and allow you to recognize when you feel full.
Iceland- Love the Water
In the summertime, most public pools are packed with people, some for recreation, others for exercise. Don’t let the winter seasons stop you! In Iceland, you’ll find people utilizing public pools all year long. Along with an excellent form of exercise, especially for those suffering from achy joints or osteoporosis, swimming can be a great way to socialize with others. A healthy lifestyle isn’t only about exercise and diet- it’s important to do activities with friends and family too.
Sweden- Stay in Season
At the grocery store it’s possible to get anything you want, even if it’s not in season. Strawberries in December? Potatoes in the summer? Learn from the Swedes and try to eat what’s in season and grown locally. Eating foods at their time of harvest helps you avoid contaminates used in the shipping process. When you stick to foods that are in season, you are more likely to get foods richer in nutrients and flavor.
Staying fit and active doesn’t have to be difficult. When we incorporate small daily changes each week, a healthy way of living will form naturally. Let’s learn from our friends around the world and live a healthier lifestyle here in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton together.
- January 2017 - Most Common Senior Health Concerns
Now more than ever, research is showing that Americans have great probability of living longer, healthier lives. However, as we age our bodies and minds face many health challenges. It’s always important to stay informed about common health risks and how to overcome them. At Carespring in Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky, we encourage our residents to do their research in order to live a long and fruitful live. Here are some of the most common health concerns for elders and how to cope:
1. Arthritis- A staggering number of adults live with arthritis- nearly 1 in 5 adults, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Those living with arthritis have widely reported a decrease in the quality of life due to joint pain and discomfort. According to the CDC, physical activity can actually decrease pain and offset other arthritis symptoms. Exercise doesn’t have to be vigorous or painful—choose an activity that seems fun and adjust according to your ability. Swimming and aerobics are often helpful and gentle on joints.
2. Heart disease- Heart disease is common in elders and remains one of the most common causes for death for aging adults. Heart disease includes several different conditions and diseases, the most common are Coronary Artery Disease and Heart Attack. While some people are more prone to heart disease than others, eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly is proven to decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke.
3. Inlfuenza and Pneumonia- While all people are at risk of contracting influenza and pneumonia, the CDC reports, “the flu season takes the heaviest toll on people 65 and older.” Seniors easily contract these illnesses and have a more difficult time recovering. Flu shots and pneumonia vaccines are available, but checking with your doctor first is recommended!
4. Falling- Seniors are prone to accidental falls which can result in broken bones. Installing balance bars in the home, especially the bathroom, are helpful for seniors living alone or who prefer an independent lifestyle. Non-slip rugs are great for the kitchen or other non-carpeted areas. Balance exercises like yoga and tai chi are gentle on the body and are proven to help elders maintain balance and promote quick recovery from falls or other balance related accidents.
5. Depression- As seniors experience the death of their friends or loved ones in quick intervals, depression can result. Socializing with family or people in the community is a great way prevent or cope with depression. Try joining a card or book club with friends, or try an activity that is new and different. In addition, exercising regularly helps decrease the symptoms of depression.
At Carespring's nursing home and rehabilitation facilities, we value excellent care and health for our patients. We are always looking for ways to educate and empower our residents with the knowledge they need to live healthy and happy lives.
- January 2017 - What You Don’t Know
Navigating the ins and outs of illness and disease can be difficult for both the diagnosed and their families. Caring for and supporting those living with a memory disease or illness is especially difficult because many of the diagnosed also suffer from Anosognosia- or the lack of awareness of impairment. What happens when those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia are unable to understand and acknowledge their own illness? At Carespring, we are always looking for ways to inform our residents and their families. Here’s what you need to know about Anosognosia and how to best care for your loved one if they are diagnosed:
What is it? According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Anosognosia occurs when, “someone is unaware of their own mental condition or are unable to perceive their condition accurately.” Anosogonsia is common in those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia, Schizophrenia or after someone has experienced a traumatic brain injury.
What does it look like?
Anosogonsia can look similar to and is often confused with denial. Unlike denial, Anosogonsia patients are completely unaware of their illness during serious relapses, however some people may experience different and changing levels of awareness. To help you spot Anosogonsia in your loved one, here are some common signs you can look for:
* Those living with Anosogonsia might have the tendency to be more adventurous and less concerned with risk without noticing or recognizing the change in their behavior.
* Patients often confuse past events with present situations and often give fabricated answers to questions.
* When confronted with symptoms of Anosogonsia- forgetfulness, making poor decisions, and lack of self-hygiene, patients often become angry and irritable.
* Patients are usually unable to manage their finances alone.
Your loved one has Anosogonsia, now what?
Care for Anosogonsia patients is delicate due to their inability to fully comprehend the extent of their symptoms. Here are some tips to help you give your elder care:
* Create a schedule of activities for each day. Be sure to include meal and medicine times, when to bathe and other extracurricular activities to keep your elder healthy. Try hanging a calendar on the wall so your loved one is sure to see the schedule each day. Regularity and routine help those with diseases and illnesses that effect memory.
* Help patients with big tasks like managing finances, scheduling appointments, travel and cooking. Independence is hard to give up, so make sure you work on these tasks together as a team as much as possible.
* If you feel frustrated when your loved one is unable to comprehend their illness, stay calm. The best thing to do is to gently articulate your thoughts with compassion and respect.
Coping with illness is difficult no matter the diagnosis. Understanding how to assist your loved one through illness and recovery is the most important step. At Carespring nursing home and rehabilitation facilities in Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky, we aim to give you and your family the support you need to live a healthy and happy lifestyle.
- January 2017 - Resolution Reality Check
The holidays have passed and mid-January is here, reminding us of our New Year’s resolutions. If you’ve fallen off the wagon, or maybe you’ve forgotten, it’s never to late to jump back in and get on track. Perhaps you’ve committed yourself to being healthier, going on more adventures, trying something new, or eating more vegetables. Whatever your New Year’s resolution is, your friends at Carespring invite you to check-in on your progress and keep getting inspired. Here are a few tips to give you the energy you need to keep up with your resolutions all year long:
Mix It Up
Don’t be afraid to stray away from your normal exercise routine and replace it with something you’ve never done before. If you’re a walker, try water aerobics. Elders may find new aches and pains as the years go by, but there are various activities and exercises that can be adjusted so each person is comfortable. Each exercise has different benefits. Swimming is a zero impact exercise that is easy on the joints and perfect for those with arthritis and osteoporosis. Balance exercises like yoga help to prevent falls.
Take a class or try some of these exercises with an instructor:
* Pilates, like yoga promotes balance and good posture while challenging your body with long stretches that help you build muscle and strength. Make sure you have proper instruction before trying any new exercise on your own!
* Seated Exercises are especially common and great for active elders. Exercising while sitting in a chair decreases the risk of injury and harsh impact on the joints, but still allows you to stay fit and build up your strength. Check your local fitness center for seated exercise classes.
* Aerobic Exercise allows you to build muscle just like lifting weights without all of the lifting. Resistance bands help you become stronger by using the weight of your own body against the stretch of the band. These types of exercises help prevent falls and also increase your recovery time from other fall-related injuries.
Staying active doesn’t have to be a solo venture. Finding a friend to help you stay committed to your goals is sure to keep you inspired when you feel like giving up. Invite a family member or friend from your community to join you in an exercise class, a walk around the neighborhood, or just catch up over dinner or tea. Talking about and sharing your goals with someone you trust is an important step in achieving success and maintaining stamina.
Resolutions are great ways to keep fit and active all year long. Try some of these exercises by yourself or with a buddy to keep you happy and healthy. Whatever your goals for the coming year might be, your friends at Carespring of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton are always cheering you on.
- January 2017 - Fresh Flavors in Health Care
Many things have changed in the long-term and post-acute care profession over the years. Individuals now have an entire spectrum of care-specific housing options, including independent living and Alzheimer’s units, to choose from based on their personal health needs. The facilities that are open today are much different than the facilities available just one or two generations ago. With a focus on patient-centered care and major advances in technology and medicine, people are living happier, longer lives.
One area that has also received an upgrade is food. In 2015, NPR released an article featuring the luxury dining experiences that many retirement communities offer their residents, and U.S. News and World Report recently showcased several nursing homes around the United States that have significantly improved the dining experiences of their patients and residents.
But why is this trend happening across the country? The reason is simple: better, more nutritious food is connected to better health outcomes. There are multiple levels of a patient’s experience that are impacted, more than just their taste buds. As meals improve, residents tend to look forward to the experience. The more positive the dining experience, the more of a social event the meal becomes. With more social, positive interactions, residents can reduce anxiety, depression and other psychological factors. Additionally, meals that include foods that are familiar to the individual are showing positive outcomes, according to the NPR article. That article notes that if an individual is eating more foods that he or she would naturally eat at home, the more comfortably they feel eating those foods—thus getting the full amount of nutrients and calories that the dieticians and nutritionists to carefully consider in their menus.
The most obvious benefit to changing the foods and menus provided at various health care centers is the critically important role that nutrition plays in overall health and wellness. Residents must eat a variety of healthy foods to keep their body nourished, especially when an individual is ill or recovering from an illness—a time in which proper nutrition is the most important. As we age, our bodies require more assistance getting and absorbing all of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients it needs. The best way, according to most nutritionists, is to simply eat more foods that are packed with the right vitamins and minerals. However, when food does not taste good or meals are not enjoyable, people eat less—consuming fewer calories and nutrients.
In addition to creating delicious, healthy meals that residents will enjoy eating, many facilities across the country are supporting specific dietary restrictions and preferences, such as kosher meals.
At Carespring, we highly value each of our patient’s unique dietary needs. We consider our first-class dining options as an opportunity to care for each individual while creating an atmosphere and social event that everyone can enjoy. We work hard to make sure every individual has the food and overall wellness support they need to be healthy. If you have questions about our services or would like to learn more about Carespring's nursing home and skilled nursing rehabilitation facilities in Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati and Dayton, please contact your nearest Carespring location.
- December 2016 - New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthier Senior
The New Year is a wonderful time of year to pause and celebrate the accomplishments the last year has brought to our families and us. Setting goals to stay healthy and active is a great way to look forward to what the New Year will bring. At Carespring, we always encourage our residents and their families to make healthy lifestyle choices, from nutrition to exercise and everything in between! As the 2017 approaches, take a few minutes to set your New Year’s Resolutions to help you be healthier and happier. Here are a few tips to consider with your loved one:
Eat the Rainbow
Adding more fruits and vegetables during meals and snacks is always important, especially as you get older. Seniors should be eating at least 5 cups of fruit and vegetables daily. Choosing foods rich in color, such as green and purple are signs of nutrient-rich and should be consumed at nearly every meal when possible. Milk and dairy are great ways for seniors to add extra calcium to their diets, which helps their bones become stronger and more durable. Heart healthy proteins like tuna, shrimp and salmon are delicious, nourishing and will keep you full longer. For a great New Year’s resolution, try adding a different vegetable to your plate each week!
Staying physically active is a must for aging seniors. It’s recommended that seniors get at least 2 ½ hours of exercise each week. Make a health goal of trying a different type of exercise each month. Most recreation centers or local YMCA’s offer different group classes like Silver Sneakers or Tai Chi. These classes are great for seniors and gentle on joints. Swimming and water aerobics classes are great alternatives for seniors who have limited mobility. As you set you health goals for the coming year, remember that physical activity reduces the risk of disease and disability.
You read that right, sleep! Studies have shown that sleep helps our capacity for learning and memory. Try to get at least 7-8 hours of rest each night and avoid long naps during the day. A well-rested body is stronger and will leave you feeling more active and lively during the day. People who are sleep deprived are more prone to diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. So remember what the doctors say and, “Aim for Eight!” to feel refreshed and ready for the day.
No matter which resolution you come up with this year, remember, staying healthy is the best way to age gracefully. Making goals with friends or family will help you to stay on track as the year progresses. Choose a few resolutions to do with a buddy to make the year both healthy and fun. Happy New Year from our Carespring nursing home and nursing care and rehabilitation family to yours!
- December 2016 - Happy Holidays!
For many, celebrating the holidays can be a busy time of year. The chaos of buying gifts, cooking, cleaning, and preparing for celebrations can often distract us from the true essence of the holiday season—spending time together. Living away from home can be difficult for seniors, especially during the holiday season. As we approach the end of the year and prepare for the holidays ahead, your friends at Carespring Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky encourage you to celebrate with your seniors in fun and joyful ways. Take your senior out for a day of holiday activities or just enjoy being together. Here are some tips to keep your holidays cheery and active!
There’s no better way to muster up holiday cheer than decorating! The next time you visit, bring along some simple decorations that your senior will love. If they are able, invite your loved one to help decorate their room/living space. Lights and garland are simple but festive additions that will make your loved one’s room sparkle with holiday spirit. Listen to holiday music, bring a special treat, and treasure the time you have together!
Many assisted living communities kick off the holidays with a family and friends card campaign. If your loved one’s community doesn’t do this- start one yourself. Invite friends and family to send holiday cards to your senior to make the season special and festive. This is a great way to include your loved one in celebrations even if you live far away.
Bake Holiday Treats
If your senior is able to get away for an evening or afternoon, invite them to get in the holiday spirit by baking and decorating cookies or special treats. This activity can be catered to your loved one’s ability-decorate while sitting down, or if they are able, encourage them to help in the baking process. Sending a few tasty treats back with your senior will help spread the holiday cheer to other residents.
Holiday plays and concerts are a great way to keep busy and enjoy the holiday season. For some seniors, the holidays can be a difficult time- changing up routines and making special trips can be a great way to keep your loved one happy and healthy. The Nut Cracker and A Christmas Carol are holiday favorites!
No matter how you decide to make celebrate the holidays with your senior, keep in mind that the best way to spread holiday happiness is with your time. At Carespring, we welcome you to celebrate with our nursing home and skilled nursing and rehabilitation communities and visit your senior during this beautiful holiday season. From our Carespring family to you and yours, Happy Holidays!
- December 2016 - Gift Ideas for the Elderly
The holiday season has arrived, and with it comes the time for giving! Finding something special to give your senior can be difficult, especially if your loved one has downsized to an assisted living community where space for gifts is limited. Gifts that bring comfort, entertain, and taste delicious are always popular with our residents. At Carespring, we know there’s no greater gift than spending time with loved ones, but here are a few tips for finding the perfect present.
Treats and special foods
Chocolate is always a great gift idea, not only because it tastes delicious, but is also linked to improving brain health and cognitive skills. Candy bars or assorted chocolates are sure to be tasty gifts for any occasion. Chocolopolis, known for their hand-crafted, award-winning truffles delivers to every state in the US, making it the perfect place to give the gift of chocolate.
Homemade Gift Baskets
For a special and personal gift, gather a few of your senior’s favorite things to make a holiday gift basket. Small items that keep well, like specialty cookies and teas can be found at your local grocery store and make perfect additions to gift baskets. Choosing a theme such as “movie nights” or “spa-days” is a great way to come up with small items that your senior is sure to love.
Reading and active listening help keep the mind sharp and active. Audio books can be purchased online or at bookstores. Audible offers audio book subscriptions at a low-cost, so your senior can enjoy the gift of gab at anytime.
Games and Puzzles
Board games, crosswords and card games are a fun way to socialize and even improve memory and thinking skills. Games are an inexpensive way to provide an evening of entertainment for your loved one. There are different varieties of card games and puzzles such as, Sudoku, word searches or comprehensive puzzle books, making it easy to find what your senior would love!
Give your senior the gift of time by offering up your services to help with cleaning, organizing, or completing simple daily tasks. Spending quality time with loved ones is often more valuable than anything that can be bought. Accompanying your senior to buy personal clothes or even grocery shopping is a thoughtful way to show your love and appreciation.
Activities and Days Out
Keeping active and trying new things will keep your senior healthy and happy all year long. Movie passes, museum tickets, or passes for a tour of your local or nearby city are special ways to spend time together and shake up normal daily routines. Check out your city’s website or local newspaper for ideas and inspiration.
Remember, it truly is the thought that counts- gifts that come from you are special no matter their simplicity or extravagance. Try one of our ideas, or try them all! Here at Carespring Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky, we try to make every season special for our nursing home and skilled nursing and rehabilitation residents. We wish you and yours a very special holiday!
- December 2016 - Winter Hobbies for Health and Happiness
The holiday season is upon us and winter is here to stay! Although winter weather can be daunting, we encourage our nursing home and nursing care and rehabilitation residents at Carespring to stay active and healthy all year long. Unfortunately, the old adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” isn’t everything it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Along with healthy eating and exercise, interacting with others and participating in social activities are sure ways to keep those winter blues at bay. Research shows that seniors who spend time socializing and trying new activities have a better quality of life. Try some of these activities with your special senior for a fun and healthy winter season:
- Art and Crafts Keeping your mind alert and active is important for all people, but especially for seniors. Engage the mind and use your hands by taking up knitting, sewing, sculpting or scrapbooking. Card and ornament decorating is a perfect way to get into the holiday spirit during this wintery season. These activities are perfect to do as part of a large group social event or individually during evening down time.
- Swimming Don’t let the cool weather stop you! Take your senior out for an afternoon of swimming and enjoy socializing together. Most exercise clubs offer water aerobics or other pool activities, which is a great way to relieve pain especially if your loved one suffers from osteoporosis. The water’s buoyancy prevents pressure on joints, keeping this type of exercise painless. Signing up for activities at the nearest rec center is a great way to meet new people and learn different skills.
- Walking Walking is a great way to remind our residents of their independence and mobility, which is vital to maintaining good mental health. Walking, even if for a short amount of time, does wonderful things for both the body and mind. Rec centers, malls, and museums are perfect places to enjoy leisurely walks with your loved ones. With winter approaching, it can be tempting to stay inside, but it’s always important to do activities outside of your daily routine.
- Play games Open up the board game closet and see what’s inside! Card games like bridge and solitaire help our residents keep their minds agile and sharp. The critical thinking skills needed for board and card games help keep the mind fit, which is especially important for seniors who live with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Researchers hypothesize that keeping the mind healthy and quick can even reduce the risk of dementia. Crossword puzzles and Scrabble are some of our favorites.
- Volunteering When seniors stop working, they can often lose the sense of purpose that comes with maintain a job or running a household. If your loved one is capable, encourage them to volunteer at a local shelter, library, or community garden. Volunteering helps to establish a sense of purpose and self-worth, both of which are important for healthy living. Giving time to a cause or purpose is a great way to get involved in the community and discover new interests.
Whatever your loved one decides to do to stay healthy this winter, spending time with your senior is sure to brighten their day. Here at Carespring in Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky, we invite you to do these activities together with your senior for a happy holiday season. From our family to yours, we wish you a wonderful winter!
- November 2016 - Living with Purpose
Do you know the value of your days? Of course, value is a difficult concept to count. We provide value to everyone with whom we interact during our days, and they bring value to our lives. But it is a widely regarded concept that living with intention—meaning waking up each day and having a purpose—can bring an incredible amount of fulfillment and intrinsic value to our lives. For some, waking each day and spending time tending to a garden or flowers brings a sense of purpose. For others, checking in on friends and family is a daily purpose. Regardless of what your individual purpose is, having some sort of direction and aim to your days can have an impact on your health, wellness and quality of life.
The New York Times blog The New Old Age featured an article called “Living on Purpose,” which summarized both qualitative and quantitative effects of living with a purpose. Individuals who were interviewed for the article reported that their own sense of self-worth, feelings of satisfaction and overall happiness levels all increased when they felt they had direction in their days. The article captures a reaction from Patrick Hill, a psychologist at Carleton University in Ottowa, who noted that “purpose reflects a commitment to broader life goals that helps organize your day-to-day activities.”
Similarly, but more scientifically, a study from Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago found that living with purpose and direction also has major impacts on our health, too. This study found that seniors who have “high purpose scores” are 2.4 times more likely to remain free of Alzheimer’s Disease. They were also less likely to develop mild cognitive impairments, or if impairments were already present, growth slowed by nearly 30 percent. Equally compelling are the results that people with high purpose scores have roughly half the mortality rate of individuals with low purpose scores.
So how can individuals of all ages develop and maintain purpose in their lives? The experts at Psychology Today have a seven-step plan to help every person, no matter their age, gain control of their lives by finding purpose.
- Reflect on your daily activities. Write down the activities that you do each day.
- Write down the reasons you engaged in those activities. Was your involvement motivated by someone else, or by your own interest?
- How did each activity make you feel? Did you look forward to it? Did you feel good when it was finished?
- Determine if the activities are changeable, meaning what would happen if you stopped doing that activity?
- Create a new list to keep track of your life’s goals and your dreams or ambitions—remember, we can have goals and ambitions at any age! What activities would you do if you could do anything?
- Consider your list of dream activities and the steps required to achieve them or perform them. What would need to change?
- Compare your lists. Can you make any bridges or connections from your daily activities to your dream activities? Work every day to find something that brings you joy and fulfillment, and when possible, cut back on activities that you dread or do not enjoy (unless you are instructed to do these activities by a professional, like a therapist or doctor).
The next step? Life a life of passion!
Certainly, finding purpose in each of our days can be a challenge. At Carespring Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky, we value the passions of all of our nursing home and nursing care and rehabilitation residents and patients as well as our employees, and we embrace the idea of creating a life that brings joy and purpose. How can we help you live your best life?
- November 2016 - The Importance of Where You Live
As part of the health care continuum, our team at Carespring fully understands the impact of your surroundings and environment on your health and wellbeing. We advocate for informed decisions when selecting your living environment, and we often challenge families to truly think about what is best for them or their loved ones. We support building loving and caring environments where our residents and patients can live their best lives—from temporary situations through long-term residency.
On a global scale, however, what does our health look like? How well are we taking care of ourselves, and how long are we living, in comparison to other individuals in other countries? While we know that every nation begins with its households, communities and neighborhoods, it is certainly interesting to see how other individuals in other nations are living. When a researcher for National Geographic studied the ‘Blue Zones,’ or areas of the planet in which people live exceptionally long, healthy lives, Dan Buettner found that all of these Blue Zones have certain things in common. As published in the New York Times, these characteristics are:
- A cultural environment that reinforces healthy lifestyle habits like diet and exercise
- Healthy social relationships and psychological well-being
- People who have a cooperative spirit
- People who tend to gardens
- Public health that is easily accessible
- Seniors are valued as members of their family and the community
Five regions of the world presented these characteristics most strongly.
Okinawa, Japan, was noted for its widespread gardening, which gives people daily activity and a purpose. It also provides the region with plenty of healthy foods, and the people live by an adage of eating until they’re only 80 percent full.
Sardinia, Italy, an island about 120 miles from the coast, boasts men and women who tend to follow the Mediterranean diet, but they also relax, take time to enjoy their surroundings, and display a generally positive attitude.
Loma Linda, California, is a community of nearly 9,000 Seventh Day Adventists, a religious group that has demonstrated much longer lifespans than the average American. Their culture is devoted to vegetarian lifestyles and does not promote smoking or drinking. They also nurture family relationships, faith, and volunteering.
Nicoya, Costa Rica, is a remote peninsula community that has a healthy, nutrient-packed diet. Individuals spend lots of time outdoors and focus strongly on their families and community at-large. That sense of purpose and belonging is powerful.
Ikaria, Greece, is an island about 35 miles off the coast of Turkey. Greek people from this particular area are three times more likely to reach the age of 90 than the average American. These individuals socialize, take time to nap, eat Mediterranean foods, and drink lots of herbal teas.
While these destinations may have you wanting to pack up your bag and head to a new location, there are plenty of important lessons to gather from these individuals’ experiences that you can apply to life here in Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky. Eating well, exercising, and having a sense of purpose in your life can provide an incredibly powerful will to live. At Carespring's nursing homes and transitional care centers, you will find that we do our very best to provide nutritious food, daily activities, proper social engagements and a loving community in which every member is important.
- November 2016 - Building a Support System
Day in and day out, Carespring employees look after our patients and residents. We care for them, keep track of their medications, ensure they eat good foods, and find time to help them enjoy the things that they love in life. We know first-hand that it’s a rewarding—but exhausting—job. We also know that we are not the only people taking care of our nation’s elderly, individuals with disabilities, and patients.
Across America, thousands of people spend their adult lives balancing caregiving for a loved one with all of the other responsibilities that come with life—careers, children, marriages, hobbies, finances, and more. Many of these caregivers rarely stop to think about their own health and wellness because they’re too focused on the wellness and health of others. There is an entire generation of adults referred to as the “sandwich generation” because they are ‘sandwiched’ between providing for their own young families and caring for their aging parents and loved ones.
As many of us know, when you burn a candle at both ends—no matter what the situation—eventually you burn out. It becomes increasingly important to have a support system if you are providing daily care. At Carespring, our employees rely on each other, the company’s leadership, and their own families and friends to stay afloat. We understand the importance of supporting our employees, giving them leadership opportunities, respecting time away from work, and creating a positive environment for those days that they do work with us.
In the same way, all caregivers need to find ways to care for themselves. It’s not a selfish act to take a break from time to time to recuperate and reflect. In fact, it usually helps our team come back to work focused and ready to do a great job every day. Building your own support system is an essential way to ensure that you are ready to handle the pressures of caregiving within your own life.
- Know your own preferences: How do you like to relax? What makes you feel refreshed? It may seem simple, but knowing a couple of ways that you can decompress when you start to feel stressed is important. Sometimes, when life is really hard, even figuring out how to relax can be a stressful decision!
- Look around: Are your taking on too much? Can your siblings—if you have them—do more to help you care for your loved one? Having open and honest conversations with your own immediate family, including your spouse and children, can help you better reflect on how you’re spending your time and if there are ways other people can help.
- Don’t feel guilty: Taking a break from caregiving is essential. It is important to mentally disengage for a while. You’ll find that your physical, emotional, spiritual and mental wellbeing is all impacted by caregiving, and taking the time to rejuvenate is as important as the work that you’re doing. Once you find proper respite care or another person who can step in while you’re gone, relax—everyone is better off with a break.
- Know when it’s too much: Caring for a loved one is a serious job, and there are no nights, weekends or holidays off. We know that—and we understand how this impacts families. If your loved one has a medical condition or requires care 24/7, it might be time to consider finding a new home for your loved one. This can be a hard thing to do, but in the end, your loved one may be much better off in the care of trained professionals.
When you are ready to consider other options, come connect with us in Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati and Dayton at Carespring! If our trained team of caregivers is caring for your loved one at one of our nursing homes or transitional care or rehabilitation centers, know that we have a support system in place for them—and we welcome you to be a part of it.
- October 2016 - Heading into the Election, Drug Costs are on Americans’ Minds
The nation is just days away from the next Presidential election, and voters are expressing their opinions about lots of issues. One that seems to be of concern for all Americans—independents, Republicans and Democrats alike—is the rising cost of prescription drugs.
According to a study performed by the Kaiser Family Foundation, rising drug costs for chronic conditions are viewed as a top priority by nearly 74% of the public, and 63% of the public say government-led action to lower the price of prescription drugs is a top priority for voters. As noted on the website, the study was designed and analyzed by public opinion researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation and included a sample of 1,205 adults.
The rising costs of prescription drugs is a widespread concern for Americans of all ages, but it is of particular interest to groups and organizations who help seniors with their medications—especially when Medicare is considered. As prescription drug costs increase, this creates a strain on the pockets of Americans as well as the Medicare system, which more than 56 million individuals rely on for health care coverage each year. The additional strain on Medicare then creates an additional strain on taxpayers, and if prescription drug costs continue to increase, the cycle is perpetuated.
At Carespring, we know that monitoring expenses is—and should continue to be—a high priority for many families. Our facilities provide exceptional care and work hard to exceed every patient’s expectations and help them achieve their highest potential. If you are working on managing your own expenses as a senior, or you are helping a loved one manage their health care costs, the following three tips from retirement health-plan experts at RetireMED®iQ may help you save money on prescription drugs:
- Understand your plan’s prescription formulary and tier levels: The formulary identifies which medications are covered under your particular insurance plan. Be sure to know and understand which of your medications are included in the formulary and which price tier they fall in. Working closely with your health care team may be a great way to find effective substitutes for any medications not included in the formulary, or you may realize that you need a different insurance or prescription coverage plan.
- Research the difference between copays and coinsurance: As prescription drug costs change and fluctuate, it’s important to know what type of responsibility you will have for your drug charges. Coinsurances are generally a percentage of the overall cost of your prescription drugs, while copays are a set amount that does not vary with changes in the cost of drugs. Being an informed consumer can help you assess and plan for future medical costs.
- Use preferred pharmacies: If you have the flexibility to get your prescriptions filled at one of your insurance plan’s “preferred” pharmacies – do it! Using pre-approved pharmacies can save you money every time you get your medications filled.
We know that the value of our hard-earned money is important, but nothing is more important than your health or the health of a loved one. Another excellent measure to reducing prescription costs is to safely and healthily—and with the insight of your doctor and medical team—reduce the number of prescription drugs you take for treatable conditions. If you can lower your blood pressure now through diet and exercise instead of relying on a medication, that’s a great way to improve your overall quality of life—and protect your budget, too!
For more information on health care and rehabilitative care, contact your Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky or Dayton Carespring facility and learn more about our rehabilitation and nursing home care services and our commitment to providing an environment of exceptional care.
- October 2016 - The Importance of Reducing Stress
Stress is a part of our everyday lives at every age. It may surprise you to know that some stress is good for our bodies—it has been shown to boost the body’s immunity and brainpower. Plus, stress can motivate us to success and work hard. Stress is more commonly a negative impact on the body, and high levels of stress over time—known as chronic stress—can be very detrimental to our health and wellness.
Chronic stress can cause fatigue, lack of ability to concentrate, irritability, and mood swings. It can also cause disease, according to the American Psychological Association. Stress can physically change your body and lower your immune system. It can also lead to negative stress-coping habits, like smoking, drinking, or overeating. Other forms of chronic stress can be hidden in other ways, like in depression or cardiovascular disease.
In addition to chronic stress, multiple studies have shown that sudden emotional stresses, like anger, can trigger heart attacks, arrhythmias, and even sudden death. These outcomes were most common in individuals who already had heart disease, but many of the individuals whose results were recorded were not aware that they had heart disease in the first place.
In short, stress is an important aspect to manage in our lives. Healthy levels may be helpful to our productivity and overall bodily health, but chronic, ongoing stress may result in negative situations.
Here are several different ways to reduce stress in your own life and in the lives of your loved ones:
- Identify what’s stressing you: What is causing your stress? Is it work? If so, is it a particular project or your entire job? If it is something at home, is it a bad relationship or an illness? Try to identify the stressor so you can take aims to reduce the problem.
- Rely on your network: Having strong connections with the people around you can be vital to your health and wellness. Open up to others about your experiences and your situation, and you may find that others are experiencing it, too.
- Go outside: Nature has a calming effect on our bodies. It can reduce tension, decrease frustration and increase your feelings of calm.
- Laugh: Laughing increases oxygen intake, relaxes muscles, lowers blood pressure, reduces cortisol levels, and naturally releases painkillers—plenty of reasons to have a laugh break every day!
- Breath deep: Deep breathing relaxes the tension in your face, neck and jaw—places where most people like to physically store stress.
- Socialize: Being with other people may help you forget about the issues that are bothering you and help you find new perspective on your problems. Walking away from a stressful situation can be incredibly helpful.
No matter which practice you choose, find a way to reduce stress in your life and work toward a healthy balance. Everyone has stress, but the way that we choose to handle that stress and improve our health is important to our lives.
At Carespring, our rehabilitation centers and nursing homes are ready to help you and your family overcome any challenges that you face regarding a loved one’s medical care in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky or Dayton. To have a stress-free conversation with our team, call your local Carespring facility today.
- October 2016 - Why Women are Outliving Men
Science continues to prove than women typically live longer than men, although the exact reasons as to why have never been fully understood. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a woman’s typical lifespan reaches 81 years while a man’s reaches only 76.
There have been many theories as to the difference in life expectancies between sexes. One theory suggests that women are generally healthier, eat more home-cooked meals and have less stress than men, all factors that could contribute to a healthier and longer life. A widely circulated study out of The Journal of Immunity and Aging looked at populations of Japanese men and women and found women’s immune systems age slower than the immune systems of men. This indicates an overall greater likelihood of women’s bodies being more capable of fighting infection and disease later in life than men. In addition, the study revealed that T-cells and B-cells, which help fight infections and boost immune functions, declined more slowly in women than in men. Finally, the study showed that men experience an age-related decline in the production of red blood cells that women do not experience, meaning men have fewer red blood cells available in their bodies to help transport oxygen from their lungs to their organs.
In addition to these biological differences between men and women, there are also other factors that can influence our life expectancy. As most people know and appreciate, a healthy lifestyle and healthy habits can directly impact our life expectancy. For instance, getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and taking care of our bodies can increase our life expectancy, sometimes by years. On the other hand, smoking, heavy drinking, poor diet and sedentary lifestyles all contribute to increased risk for early death or health complications.
Finally, genetics do play a factor in life expectancy, although not nearly as significant a role as lifestyle factors. As an article in A Place for Mom points out, “The good news, Tom Perls, founder of the New England Centenarian Study at Boston University, discusses in a Time.com article, is that about 70% of variation in longevity is probably due to environmental factors, while only 30% is due to genetics. That means we have more control over our longevity than we realize.”
At Carespring's Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati and Dayton facilities, we greatly encourage healthy lifestyle habits, a balanced diet, and healthy activity that each resident and patient can safely and healthily manage. Our staff is also deeply invested in the emotional, spiritual and mental wellbeing of everyone who comes to us for care, no matter if you come to us for short rehabilitation or nursing home needs.
If you have questions about how to help your loved one life a strong, happy and healthy life, we would be happy to discuss all the ways that Carespring can contribute to their positive wellbeing. We also enjoy seeing families get involved in their loved ones care and add additional layers of support to those that our staff at Carespring provide each and every day.
- September 2016 - Considering Long Term Care Insurance
It may surprise you to learn that more than 70% of people age 65 and older will need some type of long-term care in their lives. That means roughly a third of people won’t need long-term care at all, but of those who do, more than 20 percent will require care for more than five years. And yet, even with those statistics available, the question of long-term care insurance continues to be a topic of discussion among families as they prepare for their future.
Providing care in a facility offers your loved one stable, dependable care that is available around the clock, meaning trained staff is always nearby. For many people, the medical concerns alone are enough to make the decision to get long-term care insurance a simple one. Many families want to protect the loved ones closest to them from feeling obligated to pay for long-term care, if the situation were to arise. For others, the decision is more complicated. Long-term care insurance has seen steep hikes in premiums over the past few years, and that makes some plans largely unaffordable for families on a budget.
As the Washington Post recently noted in an article, long-term care insurance is just like other insurance—you pay a premium and hedge against risk. In this case, the risk is that you or your family will either be in the 30 percent of individuals who will not require long-term care insurance, or you and your loved ones will be able to cover the cost of your long-term care without the need for additional coverage.
There are a few important topics to consider during the conversation about long-term care. First, if you and your loved ones are planning for the future, it is good to know that long-term care is much more affordable if you first purchase the coverage at a relatively young age. While you can purchase long-term care up to age 75 from most companies, the premiums increase dramatically with age.
Second, regular health insurance—including Medicare—does not typically cover assistance with activities of daily living, like bathing, eating, drinking, and taking medication. Medicaid does cover some of these expenses, but in order to qualify for Medicaid, an individual must demonstrate a financial need and/or low income, meaning you would need to get rid of most of your money and assets before you qualify for the program.
Third, having long-term care insurance is not the only way to pay for care. As an article in US News & World Report points out, there are multiple other avenues of paying for care. These include short-term care insurance, combined life and long-term care insurance, long-term care annuities, health savings accounts, home equity, pensions or Social Security, and Medicaid, as previously discussed.
At Carespring, your family’s health and medical wellbeing comes first. Our team is prepared to discuss your personal financial situation and offer ways to support you during your decision-making time. If you ever have questions about our rehabilitation or nursing home services and the cost of having trustworthy medical care, please reach out to our facilities in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton to speak with a Carespring staff member.
- September 2016 - Diabetes Prevention Tips
Across the United States, close to 10 percent of the population has Type 2 diabetes. As Americans age, that number rises—among those over age 65, nearly 26 percent have the disease, according to the New Old Age blog in the New York Times. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, which means a person’s body does not use insulin properly and cannot make enough insulin to maintain stable and normal blood glucose (sugar) levels. Individuals with Type 2 diabetes make experience many complications from the disease, including skin complications, eye complications, nerve damage (particularly in the limbs), stroke, kidney disease and more.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that about one in four U.S. adults aged 20 years or older—or roughly 57 million people—had pre-diabetes, or a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis. Risk factors for diabetes include being physically inactive, having a close family member with diabetes, having certain family backgrounds, having a history of cardiovascular disease and more (for a full list of risk factors, visit the National Institutes of Health website).
While living with diabetes is certainly manageable, a 2002 large national clinical trial showed that among adults at risk for Type 2 diabetes, modifying an individual’s lifestyle can reduce the incidence of the disease by 71 percent in individuals over 60. The Diabetes Prevention Program, rolled out by the Centers for Disease Control in 2002, was created with the intention of helping millions of high-risk people delay or avoid developing Type 2 diabetes by losing weight through regular physical activity and a diet low in fat and calories. The program found that changes to diet and physical activity leading to weight loss are especially effecting in helping reduce risk factors for diabetes as well as cardiovascular disease.
With diabetes prevention, delay or daily care in mind, Carespring encourages all of its rehabilitation and nursing home residents, their family members, and our staff to care for our own bodies well. For those who have some or many of the risk factors for diabetes, we encourage healthy habits, including:
- Learning the risk factors for diabetes: there are a variety of resources available to help you understand and prevent, delay or treat diabetes. The more we understand our own bodies and how to care for them, the healthier we can choose to be.
- Managing your diet effectively: The study found that diets that were low in calories and fat helped participants to lose weight and manage their weight. At Carespring, we offer a variety of foods and options to live a healthy, well-balanced life.
- Getting physically active: Take a walk, go for a swim or work with our Carespring team to find an activity that works for you or your loved one.
- Taking a medicine prescribed by a physician: Talk with your doctor about finding a treatment plan that works for you if your diabetes is impacting your health and your lifestyle.
- Drinking plenty of water: Water enables our bodies to function efficiently and properly. Be sure to drink lots of water during the day, especially when the weather is warm.
At Carespring, we always encourage healthy habits for healthy lives. For questions about how you or your loved one can manage your diabetes as part of your ongoing care at Carespring, contact your local Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky or Dayton Carespring facility or talk with your care providers.
- September 2016 - The Power of Sharing Stories
Sharing stories is a longtime tradition in families, friendships and communities. Creating memories and then sharing those memories is a great way to bond and connect with other people around you, including elderly loved ones. For individuals with dementia, storytelling can be a challenge. As their memory fades, it can become difficult to recount details and specifics. Today, Northwestern University is challenging that idea by running a workshop that is intended to help couples in which one partner has dementia keep the spark alive.
According to a New York Times blog covering the study, “Each couple’s story serves as a reminder of both the good and challenging times they have shared, experiences both poignant and humorous that reveal inner strength, resilience and love and appreciation for one another that can be easily forgotten when confronted by a frightening, progressive neurological disease like Alzheimer’s.”
As one couple in the study pointed out, sharing stories about experiences they have shared together enables the couple to remind themselves of their romantic and loving relationship, which can often be overshadowed by the caregiver/dependent relationship that forms when one individual has dementia. By recounting stories that evoke laughter or a fond memory, the romantic relationship has the opportunity to reveal itself once again.
The storytelling workshop is also designed to enlighten other participants about their shared experiences. For many people, caring for a loved one with dementia or another neurological disease can feel like a lonely journey. But through the storytelling workshop, couples see that others are encountering the same situations, struggles and successes. In addition, sharing stories with other couples encourages group engagement and an opportunity to reflect on their own situation. The workshop has been so successful that members outside of the workshop participants are invited to observe. Medical students, trainees in social work and pastoral care, researchers and members of the public have been invited to observe the program participants and note how it impacts the couples involved.
One additional benefit of the program extends beyond its impact on the participants involved: “Noting that dementia is “a very hush-hush illness in our black community,” Ms. Nicholes said she hoped that telling their story would help others speak more openly about it and learn to “just roll with the flow.”
Beginning conversations about dementia and encouraging loved ones to discuss their experience can be difficult. Often, caregivers feel guilty for being tired of providing care or frustrated with their loved one. Individuals with dementia do not always know the impact their disease is having on others, and for many, they cannot remember the negative incidents at all. For some families, being a personal caregiver to a loved one is not in the family’s best interest or best for the patient’s care. In cases like this, the loving staff at Carespring can bring unlimited relief to a difficult situation. From providing mental, physical and emotional support to assisting with activities of daily living, our staff is prepared to help and continually support individuals suffering from dementia as well as their families. For more information on our services or to find out more about dementia care services, call your local Carespring facility and one of our dedicated representatives can help.
- September 2016 - Considering Senior Housing Options: NORCs
Today, families have an incredible amount of options when it comes to where their loved ones will live. Many individuals prefer to stay in their homes and age in place. Others have medical conditions that require more regular care and oversight. There are also a range of other options, including independent living facilities, senior retirement communities, and even senior neighborhoods. One such option is a naturally occurring retirement community, or a NORC.
NORCs are places that were not originally developed to be a senior retirement community, but ended up being a community in which many seniors or elderly individuals live. According to an article in SeniorsMatter.com, “sizeable elderly populations and NORCs come about when people decide to age in place at their homes instead of re-locating.” While NORCs originally had no major support systems in place, today’s NORCs receive support from NORC Supportive Services Program (NORC SSP) to provide services that promote healthy aging.
As the article on SeniorsMatter.com points out, there are several notable benefits to NORCs. For one, seniors naturally end up living near other seniors, which can help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially when compared to aging in place in a non-NORC home environment. That community building can be very healthy for seniors. Another benefit is increased independence, particularly for able-bodied and healthy seniors. Finally, many seniors can benefit from the low cost of NORCs.
It is also important to responsibly consider the negatives associated with NORCs. At Carespring, we highly value supporting the whole person, and this certainly includes an aging individual’s health and wellness. We support medical conditions, but we also support the emotional and spiritual aspects of our residents, too. Our trained medical staff regularly performs preventative tasks to encourage the continued health of individuals, and we are aware and educated on preventing and treating the ailments that often come with old age or more serious conditions that come with aging, like dementia. Without regular medical staff on assistance to check in with seniors, conditions can arise, particularly when the overall environment is not kept clean, tidy and safe. It is a common concern that NORCs can become unhealthy or unsafe for residents as they age and are less able to maintain their homes and community spaces. Another consideration is the true value of a NORC. While costs may stay low, this is often a result of losing several important and highly valuable services, like housekeeping, medical care, food, transportation, entertainment and more. In addition, NORC housing units cannot be sold on the open market. So while many seniors opt to age in place and keep their homes, units in a NORC must be sold back to the NORC cooperative at a low price. And, at the end of the day, the price of having excellent care and support like we provide at Carespring is truly an invaluable trade.
We encourage all of our families to consider what will be best for their loved one’s health, wellness and financial situation. We have dedicated staff members available to speak with families concerning any aspect of the Rehabilitation and Nursing Care and support at Carespring, and we would love to talk with you about your family’s future arrangements in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton areas.
- August 2016 - Celebrating Our Generations
In honor of the upcoming Labor Day holiday, we are taking the opportunity to reflect on and celebrate all of the generations of individuals that we serve. From older individuals who need daily support with the health to younger individuals in need of rehabilitation, Carespring works and engages with people in all stages of life.
When many individuals think about their careers, they think about the salary they will earn, the benefits they receive and the lifestyle they will live. However, there comes a point in time for most workers that retirement is the next best transition. If you have planned well, saved your money and prepared for the life you want to live, retirement can be a welcome celebration. For others, however, retirement brings with it a lot of anxiety. There are questions about financial matters and how long savings will last, how they will spend their time and foster good relationships with other people without the daily interaction of a workplace, and, of course, questions about health and how to pay for care when needed.
According to a report by the AP and shared in Fortune magazine, many Baby Boomers stayed with one employer for more than 20 years, and the thought is that traditional pensions played a role in that decision. However, “among those who have had at least 20 years with a single employer, the survey found that about half are excited about retirement, but a third are anxious about their post-work lives.”
The anxiety about aging may come from a lot of sources. At Carespring, we want the next chapter of life to be the best chapter of life, no matter what stage of life you are in. We hire talented, caring people to our company, some who are young. We support Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky families who are in the midst of change and need a helping hand as they transition a loved one or relative into a more secure, medically supportive environment like our Carespring rehabilitation and nursing care facilities. We also support our patients, whether they’re here short-term or for an extended period. We also encourage families to prepare for what’s next, including finding ways to save for long-term or post-acute care or getting the proper insurance in place before the need arises.
As Labor Day comes around, we encourage all of our families to spend time together and think about the future. Labor Day celebrates all of the working people, and we know how hard our loved ones have worked throughout their lives and how hard you work to keep your family safe, healthy and secure. Come celebrate our generations of successful caregiving, our dedication to our staff and workforce, and the way we support your retirement and future – no matter what direction it takes.
- August 2016 - Dementia Care Costs
Health care costs can be a burden on families. Cancer and heart disease are health issues that usually come to mind when we think of financial strain but another disease to seriously consider is dementia. The most up to date study of how much it costs to take care of people with dementia lists the amount as at least as high as heart disease or cancer.
With the baby boomer generation aging, dementia patient numbers are predicted to skyrocket. The study shows that nearly 15% of people ages 71 or older, about 3.8 million people, have dementia. If the number increases with the elderly population numbers, 9.1 million people will have dementia by 2040.
No other disease is predicting as enormous of an increase as dementia. This fact threatens to overwhelm the healthcare system, due to enormous costs.
Health Care Expenses
- Dementia- $109 billion
- Heart Disease- $102 billion
- Cancer- $77 billion
Care for dementia patients adds up. The majority of the cost involves helping patients who live in nursing homes or at home complete their daily activities as their cognitive and physical abilities deteriorate. Costs increase as patients become unable to care for themselves and their caregivers become unable to care for them either.
The study states the cost of care for dementia is $41,000 to $56,000 a year.
Financial costs are damaging but even more destructive is the emotional cost. Dementia caregivers deal with
- Social Withdrawal
- Lack of Concentration
- Health Problems
At Carespring, we offer independent living, assisted living and nursing homes. If you or a loved one are dealing with dementia, we have great resources available for you. We understand the difficulty of the situation, both financially and emotionally, and we will be with you every step of the way.
- August 2016 - The Dog Days of Summer
August hosts some of the hottest days of the year. Although warm weather is a cause for celebration, it is important to remember the correlation between warmer weather and heat stroke in the elderly.
The rise in temperature doesn’t have to be severe to have a significant impact on the health of your loved ones. Even slight increases in temperature (1 degree Celsius or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) can increase death rates for elderly people with chronic health conditions. The change in temperature is what creates the risk. If you live in a generally warm area like Miami or Phoenix, your body adapts to the heat. It is the cities with larger temperature swings, like Cincinnati, that pose a threat.
Death risk from heat stroke increases for those suffering from the following conditions:
- Chronic Lung Disease
- Heart Attack Sufferers
- Heart Failure Sufferers
Beat the Heat
- Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration is at the root of heat illness. Remember to drink plenty of water even if you don’t feel thirsty. Alcohol and caffeine will cause dehydration, so try to avoid them.
- Wear appropriate clothes. Wear light colored and loose fitting clothes on hot days. A hat is also a good idea.
- Stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day. The middle of the day is the hottest. If you are going to be out and about, try to do it before 10am and after 6pm.
- Relax. Don’t overexert yourself in the heat.
- Pay attention to the heat index. The heat index factors humidity and temperature to approximate how the how the weather really feels. Pay attention to changes and prepare for them when they occur.
- Seek out air conditioning. During heat waves, it is important to stay in air conditioned spaces.
- Know the warning signs for heat illness. Dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, fainting and breathing problems are all warning signs of heat illness.
At Carespring, we want everyone to have a fun summer, but we want them to be safe too. Please be aware of the heat of the next few weeks.
- August 2016 - Senior Olympics
Nothing brings the world together like the Olympics. Every athlete across the globe dreams of the Olympics and though most never make the elite standard, they are inspiring to watch.
Sports are a great way to learn about life, build confidence, grow, challenge yourself and promote a healthy lifestyle. These benefits and many more don’t need to stop once we are out of our youth. That is exactly what the National Senior Games Association believed when they formed in 1985 with the vision to promote healthy lifestyles for adults through education, fitness and sport. The group held the first National Senior Olympic Games in St. Louis in 1987 with 2,500 competitors and has taken off ever since.
The Games are held every two years for athletes over the age of 50 and are the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors. The Games boast 19 sports including:
- Road Race
- Table Tennis
- Track & Field
- Triathlon (400M Swim, 20K Cycle, 5K Run)
And three team sports:
To participate in the Games, you have to qualify the year before in your state’s sanctioned qualifying games. The 2017 National Senior Games will be held in Birmingham, AL and there is still time to qualify! You can view the qualifying standards here.
Seniors can remember their youthful days of athletics and still enjoy the thrill of competition. At Carespring, we couldn’t agree more with the Association’s vision to promote a healthy lifestyles amongst adults and encourage everyone to stay active.
- August 2016 - Cruise Ship Retirements
It is becoming more and more popular for people to live out their retirement on cruise ships. The idea has been sparked by a handful of news stories on retirees who have done exactly that. They sell their homes and other possessions and use that money, combined with savings, to remain permanent cruise ship passengers. Most people who choose this form of retirement pick a cruise ship and stick with it, but a few coordinate cruise ship switches from time to time.
It sounds like a dream come true, right? Well, there are a few things to consider:
- Less contact with family and friends. When you are on a cruise ship, visits with friends and family are few and far between. You could miss out on your grandchildren growing up or major events in the life of your friends. For some people, this is a dealbreaker.
- Medical care. Cruise ships do have medical care, but they don’t have geriatric specialists. Remember that along with family you are leaving your doctors, hospitals and other facilities behind. Cruise ship retirement is usually only suitable for very healthy retirees.
- No assisted living care. Just as you won’t get specialized medical care on a cruise ship, you also will not be able to receive specialized daily life care either. A cruise ship just can’t replicate the assets of an assisted living community.
- Expenses. Retiring on a cruise ship can be expensive, especially if you don’t have much in the way of savings. In Lee Wachtstetter’s case, her annual cost of cruise ship retirement was $164,000.
There are other items to consider when thinking of a cruise ship retirement. If you are remaining on the same cruise ship, you will visit the same destinations over and over again. Eventually, the novelty will wear off and you may become bored and feel stuck. Cruise ships also have to stop running for maintenance during periods of time. While this is going on, you will have to figure out where to stay. Finally, you have to be willing to give up your possessions. You can bring very little with you on a cruise ship. What are you willing to give up?
Retiring on a cruise ship sounds magical but isn’t very realistic. In the long run, assisted and independent living facilities are much more cost effective and best for your health. Carespring has nursing homes, assisted and independent living right here in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton. We provide an environment of excellence in care and services to help you have the best years of retirement possible.
- July 2016 - Physical Activity Needs for Older Adults
Early in our lives, physical activity is easily incorporated into our daily and weekly routines. There is gym class at school, organized sports, recess and time to play outside with friends. As we get older, physical activity becomes less and less a part of our lives and, unfortunately, can even become nonexistent. We work in sedentary jobs, our bodies ache and don’t cope as easily and we get out of the routine of staying active.
However, physical activity is crucial for your health, especially as we age. Physical activity prevents many health problems and keeps you independent longer. If you don’t have limiting health conditions, here are some physical activity guidelines the Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggest:
- 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (i.e. walking) every week
- Strengthening activities 2+ days a week, hitting all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms)
- 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (i.e. running) every week
- Strengthening activities 2+ days a week, hitting all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms)
What is Aerobic Activity?
Aerobic activity, also known as cardio, gets you breathing harder and your heart rate up. Running or doing the elliptical are common cardio options, but bike riding, dance, rowing and pushing a lawn mower can all work too. If you are completing moderate or vigorous activity for at least ten minutes at a time, you are effectively getting aerobic activity in.
What are Strength Activities?
Aerobic activities can help your muscles themselves, but it is important to also specifically strengthen your muscles. As you get older, our bodies easily lose muscle. This is why it is very important to maintain your muscles through strengthening exercises. You don’t have to go to a gym and lift weights to strength train, there are many options, like:
- Working with resistance bands
- Body weight exercises (push ups, air squats)
To build and maintain strength, muscle-strengthening activities need to be done to the point where it's hard for you to do another repetition without help. Try to complete 8-12 repetitions in a set and try to complete 2-3 sets in a workout.
At Carespring, we encourage all people in both Nursing Home Care and Rehabilitative Care to take their physical activity seriously. Especially as an older adult, it is important to stay active in order to take care of your health and get the most out of life. Our facilities in Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky are equipped with professionals and equipment that can help you and your loved ones maintain and healthy and active lifestyle. Keep moving!
- July 2016 - Advance Care Planning
Advance care planning can seem like an uncomfortable conversation, but it doesn’t have to be. Advance care planning is making decisions about the care you would want to receive if you become unable to speak for yourself. Planning your care and having these conversations is really about giving peace of mind to your loved ones and to yourself.
No one wants to think they would ever need such a plan, but the reality is that lack of advance care planning leaves our loved ones lost if an event occurs where they would have to make decisions on your behalf. Your loved ones may be left unsure and anxious over the decisions, and they may even cause disagreements among family members. To make sure your wishes are followed and to prevent your loved ones from feeling unsure, consider the following steps:
- Educate. Research the kinds of life-sustaining care available and measures that can be taken.
- Evaluate. Decide what treatment you desire in case you cannot speak for yourself.
- Communicate. Share your personal values and decisions with your family.
- Document. Put your wishes into writing with advanced directives.
We understand the conversation on advance care planning can be difficult. Here are some tips on how to have the conversation:
- Set the stage. Don’t blindside your loved ones with the conversation. Let them know that you would like to have a conversation and ask if they would rather have it with the whole family or individually. Take small steps; don’t spring forms and documents on them right away.
- Reference. You can segue the conversation to advanced care is relating it to a recent event. Something in the news, a book or a TV show can relate to end-of-life care and ease you into the conversation.
- Two-way street. Remember to allow the conversation to go both ways. Share your values and ideas and allow your loved ones to share theirs as well.
- Remember the purpose. Advance care planning is about making sure your wishes are followed and giving your loved ones the gift of never wondering, “Did I do what they would have wanted?”.
Advance care planning involves forms and documentation, such as a living will and assigning a power of attorney. Click here to learn more about the forms. At Carespring, we understand that advance care planning isn’t very comfortable to think about. However, we believe it is crucial to have a plan in order for your wishes to be honored and your family members to have peace.
- July 2016 - Helping Older Relatives with Nutrition
A car can only operate with fuel just like our bodies can only operate with food. Our cars also operate best with the proper fuel in the same way our bodies perform best when we eat well. The biggest key to improving your health is your diet.
As we get older, nutrition becomes even more critical to maintaining health. Eating healthy is getting harder with quick and convenient fast food chains popping up everywhere and processed foods taking over grocery aisles. Here are a few suggestions to help get on track:
- Healthy Options
In our facilities we prepare food to be served to our residents. We do our best to make sure we provide meals with great flavor and great nutrients. It is also important to us to offer healthy alternatives for everyone. For example, you can choose baked chicken over fried chicken from the dining room menu. An easy way to continue making healthy choices is tracking what you eat. Writing down what you eat allows you to see exactly what you are putting in your body and can motivate you to make good choices. We know that not every meal may come through us. When eating with loved ones, we suggest avoiding fast food places and eating out at restaurants even though it may seem more efficient.
- Drink Water
Hydration is something people often forget but it is key to nutrition. Water cleanses your internal systems, prevents headaches and fatigue and has endless benefits. Another little known fact is your body can confuse thirst with hunger. Drinking more water can prevent the urge to snack unhealthily. A great way to drink more water is to carry a water bottle around with you.
- Fruits & Vegetables
If you actually tab how many servings of fruits and vegetables you eat a day, the number may be surprisingly low. An important part of a healthy diet is fruits and vegetables. Vegetables, particularly leafy greens, provide nutrients the body needs and fruits provide plenty of vitamins.
- In with the Good, Out with the Bad
This tip is pretty simple. If you don’t have any junk food available to you, you don’t have any to be tempted with. Kick out the junk food and unhealthy items from your room and replace them with healthy snacks. Have a conversation with your loved ones about leaving the sweets at home when they come to visit. Instead, they can bring fruit baskets, nuts and other nutritious snacks.
At Carespring's Rehabilitation and Nursing Home facilities, we want everyone we interact with to lead the fullest, healthiest lives possible. Good nutrition is important in accomplishing a healthy lifestyle, and we hope you make is a family affair. Our Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton locations offer food prepared by a Master Chef. Stop by and join us for a meal to learn more about our approach to nutrition and wellness!
- June 2016 - 4th of July Celebrations
Happy Birthday to us! The United States is celebrating 240 years of independence this July and it is always a bash. Independence Day is the prime of summertime, filled with parades, cookouts, fireworks and lots of pride. Summer weather and time with friends and family can’t be beat! While the rest of the country gets its party on, it may be more difficult for seniors.
Seniors with serious health problems, in assisted living, or who have limited mobility may be unable enjoy the day in typical fashion. However, family caregivers can take action to make sure their loved ones are included in the fun.
Adapt the Food
Burgers, dogs, potato salad a desserts galore-- all staples of a fourth of July cookout. Unfortunately, these aren’t the staples of a heart healthy diet. To help your loved one celebrate, make the decision to include some healthy options in your spread. There are lots of alternative recipes and substitutions that can be made. For example, try a fruit salad over potato salad and offer fish alongside your burgers.
Be Weather Conscious
This time of year is always a heat wave and the heat can affect the elderly much more than the rest of the population. Make sure everyone in attendance of your party is taking the right measures: hydration, sunscreen and time in the shade. This is particularly important for seniors. Make sure they are dressed in loose, light clothes and pay attention to how they’re reacting to the heat.
Bring the Party to Them
Some seniors may be unable to leave their home for the holiday. In that case, bring the party to them. A parade and fireworks may not be an option, but the day can still be festive. Dress up in your red, white and blue and hang decorations. Wear patriotic party hats and glasses. Bring themed desserts and snacks. Watch the fireworks on TV. Another creative idea is to watch patriotic-themed movies. Some examples include 1776 and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Whatever you do, include your loved one.
At Carespring, we love the fourth of July as much as the next person. It is a great time of year to surround yourself with people you love. That is why we encourage you to include your elderly loved one in your celebration. Have a safe and happy Independence Day!
- June 2016 - Bonding Ideas for Long Distance Families
Families can end up living far away from each other for many reasons. Grandparents want to move to a warmer climate for retirement or children get job offers in other states, and before long, family becomes a long-distance relationship. Family is important: they are our support systems, our friends, our guidance--they share our memories. The elders in our family, whether parents or grandparents, play a special role, and it is important to keep up that connection.
When our family is close, it is easy to stay in touch and bond. Everyone can attend each other's events, visit and spend the day together. When you live far from your family, these aren’t possibilities. However, with the technology available today, it is easy to build familial relationships and stay connected.
Here are some ideas:
- Video Chat- It seems like every computer and phone has a camera in it. If your electronics don’t have a camera, you can purchase an attachable camera. Use these tools to video chat with your family. There are great apps like Skype and Facetime that make visual communication simple. Talking on the phone is nice, but actually getting to see your loved one is a special experience and a way to feel more connected.
- Send Letters- New technology is great, but there is nothing like receiving a letter in the mail. A letter means you took the time out of your day to sit and think about your loved one. The gesture is incredibly meaningful and the letters can be held on to for years to come. Handwriting can reveal a lot about someone’s personality and is another fun connection to share.
- Share Photos/Videos- Even though you aren’t there every day to see how everyone is growing or changing or to participate in events doesn’t mean you can’t see and experience their lives. It’s easier than ever to share photos and videos. Send school pictures of the kids and videos of their playing sports or performing in the school play.
- Plant a Tree- A creative idea is to plant a tree on a grandchild’s birthday and share with them how much the tree has grown and changed each year, just like them! It can lead to a great conversation.
- Share Hobbies- Distance may mean you can’t do activities together in person, but it doesn’t mean you can’t share the experience. For example, if you love to read, consider a book club. Decide with your family what books to read and then select on a day of the week to discuss what you have read. Maybe you can teach knitting or sewing via video chat and make each other gifts. If you love to garden, you can each grow one and share your secrets and advice.
Distance isn’t always ideal but it is often the case in families. The most important thing is to remember your loved ones and to make time for them. Speak with them often and when you do, be present. At Carespring, we encourage you to take every opportunity you can to grow that familial connection. It's especially helpful when one of your loved ones is in a transitional care, rehabilitation, or nursing care center.
- June 2016 - The Elderly and the Heat
Monday, June 20th is the first official day of summer. The weather will only get hotter from here. It makes for great pool parties and fun, but the heat can be sneaky. Everyone should be aware of the dangers of heat, but the elderly population in particular, needs to be extra vigilant as temperatures rise.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people aged 65 years or older are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. If your body isn’t sensing and responding to heat, you are at risk for a number of heat illnesses:
- Heat Rash- skin irritation from excessive sweating
- Heat Cramps- muscle pains or spasms
- Heat Exhaustion- an illness that can precede heatstroke; symptoms include heavy sweating, rapid breathing and a fast, weak pulse
- Heat Stroke- a life-threatening illness in which body temperature may rise above 106° F in minutes; symptoms include dry skin, rapid, strong pulse and dizziness
As we get older, overheating becomes more common. Your body has many natural cooling systems but the older we get, the less efficient these systems become. Decreased efficiency is due to:
- Decreased blood circulation
- Inefficient sweat glands
- Lung, heart or kidney disease
- A salt-restricted diet
- Certain Medications
- Being overweight or underweight
- A hot home
Here are some tips and reminders to stay cool this summer:
- Stay in air conditioned areas
- Hydrate- this is the most important factor in keeping cool. Drink water early and often. Don’t wait until you are thirsty.
- Check In- check in with your friends and neighbors and have them check up on you
- Wear appropriate clothing- loose, lightweight and light in color.
- Keep up with local news and weather
We, at Carespring, want you to enjoy your summer, but we want you to be safe too! Our facilities are located in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton, in a region that has notoriously hot, humid summers. We take special care to be cognizant of the impact that heat can have on our transitional care, rehabilitation and nursing care patients! Please be mindful of the impact of heat and educate your loved ones.
- May 2016 - Sleep Problems and Dementia
Sleep is a very important part of health that is often ignored. We get twenty-four hours every day and in our busy world, we feel like we don’t have enough hours to give up eight on sleeping. Not getting enough sleep, however, leaves us open to emotional instability, irritation, cognitive impairment and more. When we are younger, we want to stay up later and then we get busier and busier and to make time for everything else we cut out sleep. When we get older, sleep can become difficult. At any age, it is critical to take sleep seriously so that the body can heal and repair and be ready to perform the next day. Sleep is even more important with those who may be suffering from dementia.
Lack of sleep in patients with dementia can exacerbate the effects of the symptoms. If a dementia patient isn’t sleeping, their caregiver typically isn’t sleeping either. This causes overwork, exhaustion and frustration in the caregiver too.
To make sure that everyone is taking the best care of themselves, it’s important to address the sleep issues. However, these aren’t always easy to solve; effort has to be put into evaluation, and often there are multiple underlying causes. Seeking a physician’s help is important. Being able to give the physician as much information as possible can help the process along.
Sleep problems have some common causes to look for:
- Aging. As we age, like many other things, our sleep changes. The older we get the lighter our sleep becomes. The sleep may become fragmented and you spend less time spent in deep REM sleep. This is normal, but good to know. With this knowledge you know that it is easier to be woken up by noise, light, arthritis pain and other conditions and can make adjustments to mitigate the effect of these conditions.
- Chronic Medical Conditions.
- Urinary conditions
- Acid reflux
- Heart and lung conditions
- Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. With neurodegenerative diseases, the brain begins to deteriorate and affects the way the brain rests. Patients who suffer from these issues will have less deep sleep and be awake more time at night. The body's circadian rhythms (the inner system for aligning itself with a 24-hour day) get off track as a result of these disorders.
As mentioned before, sleep problems are often caused by multiple factors. When you can nail down these factors, you can fix the roots of the issue. If you are having trouble sleeping, it’s recommended to keep a journal of sleep patterns and issues so you can give the most accurate and relevant information. Pay extra attention to what you are doing during your day and what you are doing/what is happening at night, especially the week before a doctor’s appointment.
The sleep issues should be placed in one of these categories: difficulty falling/staying asleep, daytime sleepiness, abnormal breathing patterns during sleep and abnormal movements or behaviors during sleep. Once placed in a category, you and your doctor can begin to develop a plan.
At Carespring, we value the importance of sleep. We try to create the best sleep environments for our residents and we encourage seeking a physician’s help when needed. If you are a caregiver, make sure you are taking care of your sleep as well.
- May 2016 - Helping Seniors Get the Most Out of Exercise
Exercise is important at any age, but it’s particularly critical for the elderly. Through the late teens and twenties, people are often the most active. Life, however, gets busy as people get older. They settle down, pursue a career, and raise a family. There isn’t much time left over for exercise. Then one day, a person may find themselves retired and realize they haven’t worked out in years. Nevertheless, you are never too old for exercise and the older you become, it should always remain a priority.
There is a difference between physical activity and exercise. Physical activity is movement that is carried out by the skeletal muscles that requires energy. Exercise, on the other hand, is planned, structured, repetitive and intentional movement that’s intended to improve or maintain physical fitness. The first step for seniors is to get into any physical activity. The older people get, the less resilient their bodies become and they can’t jump straight into the same regiment as in their twenties. This is especially true with the sedentary lifestyles our society has adopted. If you work at a desk job, you most likely sit with minimal movement throughout the day. When you come home, you may just relax on the couch until it’s time for some television in bed and then sleep. You don’t need a fitbit to tell you that you barely moved your body that day. Getting seniors out of a sedentary lifestyle and up and moving, even if just 30 minutes of walking a week, can dramatically improve their health.
Use it or Lose it
Around the time people turn 30, it’s easier for them to lose muscle without use and ultimately turn into fat. In addition to impacting physical appearance, a lack of physical activity can also lead to decreased health, lower the immune system, and exacerbate chronic illness. Exercise helps build bone density and limits the risk of developing conditions like diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. When you exercise, endorphins flow throughout the body and makes you happy. Since many seniors struggle with loneliness and depression, physical activity and exercise is a great way to improve mental and physical health. It also offers a chance to interact with others and socialize in a productive and fun environment.
Where to Start
Simply getting up and moving your body every day is a great start. From there, walking routines and other structured forms of exercise, such as aerobics or resistance training, can lead to you looking forward to, and seeking out, more physical activity and exercise. When planning an exercise routine, the most important factors to consider are duration, frequency and intensity. It is also important to take into consideration physical injuries or limitations. There are always way to modify a routine or program, so it’s important to find what works for you. Some people love to run, weight train, take zumba classes or practice yoga. There is a multitude of options out there, so have fun exploring.
At Carespring, we believe physical activity and exercise is essential for health and happiness. Working out doesn’t need to be hard core and lead to discouragment or physical pain. Consider a gym membership, take classes, download an app or even watch YouTube videos. We encourage you to do this together as a way to spend more time with your loved ones and friends. Find what works for you and go for it!
- May 2016 - The Importance of Face-To-Face Contact
Technology has dramatically changes within the last twenty years. Before, cell phones, computers and the Internet didn’t even exist. Today, technology is growing and changing every day. It seems like everyone has a cell phone and a computer. All of these inventions are great tools for communication and keeping in touch, especially if you live far away. However, it is not substitute for face-to-face interaction.
What’s Out There?
Landlines with cords and letters seem to be ancient history. People can now text, call, video-chat and use social media to connect. Smart phones and computers all seem to come with cameras and these cameras can be used for video chatting and Face timing. Social media platforms allow you to update everyone you know on your life and to stay updated on everyone else’s lives. Popular platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
It is easier than ever to stay connected with friends and family, or is it? It often feels like being offline and in the moment has gotten harder. With all the online connections we make it seems like the in person connections get harder. Even worse, all of this “social connection” can actually make us feel more isolated than before. With social media and new technology, all you see are the highlight reels of those around you. Meanwhile, you are living the behind-the-scenes of your own life, which doesn’t measure up to their highlight real. People often begin to feel left out and lonely, even though they are supposed to be more connected than ever. This is why face-to-face interaction is so important.
Take it Seriously
Skype, FaceTime and other video chatting programs attempt to fill the need for face-to-face interaction, but just because you can see each others faces doesn’t mean you are getting the benefits of being in person. Researchers at Oregon Health and Sciences University did a study that showed in-person visits and face-to-face communication were linked to the lowest level of depression among seniors. Diminished social contact can actively increase depression and negatively effect cognitive ability. There is no replacement for an in-person visit or conversation.
As we get older, socialization gets harder. Retirement or children moving out and supporting themselves significantly decreases opportunities to engage with others. Our health and our social interactions are intertwined. The more face-to-face interaction seniors have, the less likely they are to become depressed, their cognitive abilities are less likely to diminish and their overall health will be better.
At Carespring, we recognize the need for real-life social interaction. If you are a senior, we encourage you to vocalize your wishes to see friends and family. Birthdays and holidays are always a good reason to come together, so take advantage of them. Try joining social clubs or take classes for new hobbies. It is a great way to meet new people and make friends. Your local community center is another great place to find social opportunities.
If you do have an elderly loved one, we encourage you to visit them often in our Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton locations. Don’t just pick up the phone; come in person. We do our best to make sure each person we care for in our rehabilitation and nursing home settings doesn’t feel alone.
- May 2016 - The Power of Art
Adult coloring books are becoming wildly popular in the market today. Have you noticed this trend? Crayons, colored pencils and coloring books are no longer a childhood memory. People of all ages are buying coloring books because it reminds them of a simpler time, it allows them to get creative and it’s healthy for you, too!
Coloring has actually been proven to decrease stress and improve memory, especially in seniors. Art therapy has been around in the psychological field for years now and it has had tremendous results in healing and stress reduction. According to Bruce Miller, MD, behavioral neurologist at University of California, San Francisco Medical center, that even though mental functions may slow with age, one's creative abilities do not. According to neurology.org, there have also been studies published that have proven art has the power to delay the development of memory problems cause by old age. Researchers found those who practiced art were seventy-three percent less likely to develop memory impairments.
Physical activity is important to our health but we can’t forget to also exercise our mental activity. Art is an awesome means to do so. It allows for creativity and a way to express oneself when they can’t find the words to. It helps memory and relieves stress and anxiety. It’s also an approach to socializing. Taking art classes introduces you to new people and provides you with a lot to talk about.
If coloring isn’t what you are into, there are always other art forms to try. You may find you enjoy watercolor, painting, drawing or pottery. It’s worth it to explore your creative side.
Carespring loves creativity. We want all of the people we care for to be able to express themselves. We encourage you to bring an adult coloring book and a pack of crayons to your loved one and enjoy some time together. You may inspire a creative drive and bring some joy to life!
- May 2016 - How the Elderly Hide Dementia
Memory loss is very scary. The diseases that may be causing it are even scarier. Cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia steal your memories. You lose your whole identity. If you are a family member with a loved one who is dealing with this situation, you aren’t alone. It is important to recognize these diseases so you can get your loved one tested and to get them the help they need. In the beginning, the signs of dementia can be subtle. Your loved one may get confused or forget to pay the bills. If losing their keys or other memory loss is persistent, it could be dementia. It isn’t always easy to recognize because the elderly often try to hide it. They may be in denial or afraid, because it is a scary disease. Here are 5 ways the elderly can hide dementia:
- Lack of Participation in Favorite Activities-If you notice a loved one avoiding chores, games of other activities they used to love this may be an indicator. Dementia makes it difficult to remember how to do activities or remember rules, even if they were once second nature. If your loved one is refusing to participate in activities they used to enjoy it may because they can’t remember how.
- Covering-Up-Spouses often cover for their significant other. Pay attention if a spouse begins to do tasks, finish sentences or make excuses for their husband or wife. They are probably scared too, and in denial of the signs of dementia.
- Denial-Those experiencing cognitive impairment will be in denial of that fact. They will say they are fine. They will say they are just tired or that forgetfulness is normal and expected at their age. If they deny the issue, they don’t have to face it and feel that it will just go away. In reality, they may need to get help and start planning for future stages.
- Fear of Being Put in a Home-For a long time, the elderly have been independent, taking care of themselves and making their own decisions. At some point, dementia takes away your freedom. Your loved one may be keeping their signs and symptoms hidden to avoid being put in a home.
- Having Anosognosia- Anosognosia is a lack of awareness of impairment. Someone with is actually does not know they are ill. It affects up to 81% of those with Alzheimer’s.
At Carespring, we understand how difficult of a conversation this is to have with your loved ones. It is crucial to have this conversation and get your loved one to a doctor so they can begin to be treated. Some forms of dementia can even be solved with medicines or the process may at least be slowed. It’s important to discuss what caregiving wishes are and, if need be, to pick a home out if it comes to it. We understand this difficulty and we would love to support you through it. We provide excellent caregiving and nursing home facilities in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton areas and can discuss our options with whenever you are ready.
- April 2016 - Treating the Elderly with Respect and Dignity
Everyone talks about the generation gap between millennials and today’s elderly population. The biggest complaint lies in the younger generation’s lack of understanding of how and why they respect their elders. The world they are growing up in today is much different than the world the elderly generation grew up in. It is the information age. Everything is moving at a much faster pace than anyone has ever experienced before. More connections are made virtually than in person. All of this leads to a lack of patience and interpersonal skills, making it difficult to treat the elderly with the respect and dignity they deserve. Because everything is so fast-paced, the elderly are often underappreciated and forgotten because others are too busy for them.
It is a tragedy to treat seniors with a lack of respect, to forget about them and make them feel like a burden. They have so much to offer us,so much knowledge and wisdom. We have to learn from history to improve and they have lived through and experienced a lot of history first hand. Many people in this population have gone through the Great Depression, World War II, Vietnam, the Civil Rights Movement and many other events. Speaking with them isn’t a history class either, it is storytelling. It is a conversation, a dialogue where you can ask questions and get advice. The gem of wisdom is theirs to assign and yours to inherit. To do this, the upcoming generation has to learn to take the time to talk with their elders and treat them respectfully.
There’s a new adage-- Ageism. It is the tendency to regard older persons as debilitated and unworthy of attention. The younger generations defers to ageism, assuming their elderly counterparts are too old, dilapidated, incompetent and unable to understand them or to be worth their time. What needs to be remembered is that the elderly became elderly the way everyone else does; by living life. This means they were children and teenagers and young adults too. They survived skinned knees and high school. They have felt heartache and been put through their paces. These are different times but the things we face today aren’t different from what they faced then. Seniors have made it through, they have something to contribute. We should take the time to listen.
Simply paying attention shows a tremendous amount of respect. Think of how often you have wanted someone's respect, someone to just pay attention to you. The elderly deserve the same. If you take the time what you will find is that not only will you have made their day, but your own as well. As they age they begin to lose some of their independence. Offering respect and dignity is priceless when that happens. It is also good practice. If we learn anything from our elders, it is that respect will never go out of style. At Carespring, our transitional care, rehabilitation and nursing care centers have made respecting our patients the highest priority. Check out our Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati and Dayton area facilities today!
- April 2016 - Keeping up Grooming and Hygiene with the Elderly
As we get older we begin to require more assistance in our lives. Some of daily routines like shaving, bathing, brushing our teeth and more can get difficult. This can be an uncomfortable topic that seniors are unlikely to communicate about. Members of your family may recognize signs that an aging loved one may need help with their grooming and hygiene. Just because you notice this trend doesn’t mean your loved one needs to be placed in assisted living or a nursing home, but you should have a conversation with them about giving a helping hand in their daily lives.
The subject of grooming and hygiene can be a difficult one. Taking on this role can seem even more difficult. If you are taking steps towards entering into this role for your mom or dad, consider these tips to make the experience a little smoother.
• Talk - Communication is key. Our bodies are very personal and private spaces and relying on others to help clean and groom oneself can often feel awkward and uncomfortable. It may also feel embarrassing for seniors to require assistance in this area. That is why it is so important to talk with your loved one and discuss any questions or concerns. For example:
1. Do they prefer a family member or a professional caregiver to assist them?
2. Would they prefer someone of the same sex or the opposite sex to assist?
3. How often will they need assistance and when would they prefer to be assisted?
• Keep their routine - Habits are comfortable. To make the process a little easier on your loved one, try to stick to their usual grooming and hygiene routine. Operate in the same time of day they typically complete these tasks. Also keep the same soaps, sponges and other favorites.
• Use a plastic apron - To help stay dry during this time, consider a plastic apron or other waterproof clothes.
• Make proper installations - For the safety of your loves one, or to make your routine easier, consider installing handrails or other safety features. Grab bars, non-slip adhesives on the floor, shower stool or bench and a hand held shower sprayers are all great ideas.
• Consider their privacy - While it may be impossible to avoid nudity between you and your loved one, allowing them to hold a towel around his or her body may make them feel more decent. They may feel more comfortable covering their private parts while you bathe them. You will figure out how to work the towel around to be able to clean those areas, but have a conversation about this.
• Clean and rinse - Bacteria grow in skin folds so it is important to clean any folds and wrinkles, including breasts and genitalia. Rinse thoroughly so residual soap doesn’t irritate your loves one’s skin. Dry well to avoid fungal infections.
• Only bathe every few days - Bathing every day isn’t necessary and can exhaust both caregiver and the elderly.
In addition, make sure your senior is maintaining good oral hygiene. They should be seeing their dentist every six months or more. They should check their dentures for proper fit and extra attention should be paid to their gums. Keep up with shaving and hair cuts as well. This one can even be a fun outing for you and your loved on to a salon or barbershop. At Carespring we know how important it is to keep up with grooming and hygiene. This is one of our priorities. If you have any questions on the topic, we would be happy to answer them.
- April 2016 - Spring Activities for the Elderly
Spring is the Earth’s first breath of life and, now that we are into April, it is officially here. Spring in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton is arevival. This could be a revival for your house with spring cleaning or home improvement projects. This could be revival from bracing against the cold winter elements. People of all ages aren’t cooped up inside anymore. Just as excited about that as anyone else are the elderly.
With such nice weather it is a shame to stay inside. Here are some great activities for the elderly they can do outside:
- Gardening: Helping life grow and collecting a harvest a harvest is one of the most rewarding activities. It also helps you get in tune with nature. This is a fun and productive activity that can be done solitarily or as a group effort.
- Painting: Slowing down and observing nature is relaxing and beautiful. Painting can be an enjoyable afternoon spent taking in the sights and smells of the season while creating something beautiful. It can also be a nice change of pace and skill.
- Kite Flying: On a windy day, consider flying a kite. This activity can rekindle a lighthearted spirit and is just plain fun. It isn’t just for kids!
- Bicycling (or other exercise): There are many kinds of bicycles that can be found to suit any needs an elderly person may have. It is great exercise and a great way to enjoy the weather.
- Go to the Park: Visiting your local park, by yourself or with family, is always fun. They offer sweet treats, beautiful scenery and many different activities. The park is timeless. Spend some time exploring yours.
- Golf: Golf is another great activity for exercise for the elderly. You can enjoy a little competition and relaxation while experiencing the great spring weather.
Who says you can’t teach and old dog new tricks? Spring is an inspiring time to learn new things. Just because you or your loved ones aren’t familiar with these activities doesn’t mean you can’t give them a try! And for the days that aren’t so blissful as far as weather is concerned, (April showers do bring May flowers…) consider curling up with a good book and something warm to drink. You are never too old for a good story!
We love springtime are Carespring. Our hearts are light and so are our patients’. We encourage you to visit your loved ones whether they are in our independent or assisted living facilities or in transitional care or our nursing homes. Take advantage of this wonderful weather and walk and talk with them. We hope everyone is enjoying the season!
- March 2016 - Person-Centered Care
The Institute of Medicine defines person-centered care as “providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.” Behind every doctor, nurse, clinic or ailment is a patient. Under the veil of the word “patient” is a real person. Person-centered care is a perspective focusing on all aspects of health according to the patient’s personal preferences and beliefs.
We can take care of bodies but we also want to take care of the person. This includes their physical health but also their intellectual being, social and emotional wellness, creative being and spiritual being. This is especially important in the elderly population, as many people in this category can feel like they are losing their dignity, autonomy and individuality. They shouldn’t feel like they are losing their personhood just because they are aging.
In person-centered care you really have to engage with the patient. You have to build a relationship, come to know and understand them. This way, you can work together to create treatment plans, discuss health related options and other matters without being cold. Person-centered care is relational. The patient’s values and beliefs need to be honored and to do so, you have to get to know them. They have the right to determine how to best meet their needs and have an opinion on how to optimize their overall wellbeing. Person-centered care must be nurturing, empowering and respectful.
People don’t always remember exactly how they were treated or what conversations they had but they will always remember how something made them feel. The elderly are experiencing their care and the best experience is a connected one. They want to be seen for who they are, not a number not a chore and not just another body. Again, it is all about relationship
Whether you are looking for living communities and care for yourself or a loved one, it is strongly suggested that you visit and spend time in the community and with the people. Carespring is person-centered and we would love for you to see and experience it for yourself. Feel free to speak casually with our staff, and if willing, our residents too. We want to know our patients. Carespring is like a family. Person-centered care has helped us to achieve that. Our nursing homes and transitional care communities in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton, Ohio set the standard for person-centered care!
- March 2016 - Easter Activities
Easter Sunday is less than a week away. Whether you are religious or not, Easter is a wonderful holiday to celebrate new life and revival. You may be celebrating the holiday, or you may just be celebrating the birth of the spring season. Either way, it is a great time to celebrate! Here are some great activities to include with the elderly loved ones in your life.
Plan a potluck.
Gather friends and family and bring all different kinds of dishes and share them together. Great food and conversation is always in season, but this particular time of year it can be extra fun. Ask your loved one to pass down recipes and have fun learning from them. Have dish competitions. Make Easter-themed appetizers and desserts.
Host a talent show.
It’s likely you know someone who can play an instrument or sing. Maybe you know someone who can dance or someone who can stretch in really interesting ways. Your loved one probably has a great talent they haven’t been able to show off in a while. Getting together and having a little talent show is a great way to let the one you love share their personality again and amazing memories will be made.
There are endless Easter crafts. Cater to your loved one’s talents or preferences. Some ideas include coloring eggs or filling plastic eggs with candy, decorating and putting together baskets, or baking. You can donate eggs to churches or daycare centers for Easter egg hunts.
Giving a gift can show your love. To celebrate the season, you can give seeds. Then you can help your loved one start a garden with those seeds. If they aren’t much of a green thumb, you can give them an Easter lily to brighten up their living space.
Go to church.
If you or your loved one happens to be religious, help them get to church. If that isn’t possible, visit them and share the Easter story. Sing songs. Celebrate!
At Carespring we are excited to welcome spring. We encourage you to celebrate Easter with the ones you love, whether it is within our walls in our Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky facilities, or not. Happy Easter!
- March 2016 - Tax Tips for Seniors
Tax day (April 15, 2016) is a month away. But don’t worry--if you haven’t filed your taxes yet, you still have time. If you are a senior or you help a senior with their taxes, you know that taxes for this particular age group can be a challenge. When you are a senior, new elements are introduced: There is a senior deduction. If you collect from Social Security, some of that money may be taxable. There is also a credit for the elderly and disabled. The process can be confusing.
Here are some simple tax tips that may make you feel less intimidated:
- Don’t Assume: You know how the old adage goes. Social Security (SS) income is generally not taxable, but that is not always the case. It is critical that you don’t assume that you do not have to file any taxes so that you can avoid any fines.
- Understand Your Benefits: If you are collecting from SS, there is a possibility that a portion of it can be taxed. Daily Finance says that the general rule of thumb is the more income you have, the more likely a part of your SS benefits will be taxed. Calculate your base amount, which is equal to half of your SS benefits plus any other income you receive. If that amount (base amount) is larger than your filing status, a portion of your benefits is taxable.
- You Can Obtain a Higher Deduction: If you or your spouse are 65 years of age or older you can get a higher amount of standard deduction. You can get an even higher deductible if you or your spouse is blind. The most important thing to remember is that all seniors are entitled to a higher deduction.
- You Receive Additional Tax Credits: You may qualify for the tax break “Credit for the Elderly and Disabled” if you are your spouse are 65 or older and considered permanently or fully disabled. If you feel you should be receiving this credit, fill out the 1040 or the 1040A.
- Understand Local and State Taxes: In some states there are additional tax credits, breaks and freezers for seniors. Do your research on your state.
- Receive Your Refund Faster: E-filing and direct deposit will get your money back sooner, even about 2 weeks after you file. However, make sure you are aware of the fees associated with these services.
- Consider Seeking Tax Help: Taxes can be complicated and confusing. If you are having trouble understanding yours, consider contacting an expert for assistance. The IRS offers volunteer tax assistance programs for seniors who aren’t comfortable filing their own tax returns.
There are multiple Carespring locations in Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky. Please make sure you understand your state taxes, whether you are in Indiana, Ohio or Kentucky. Above all, if you are unsure, ask for help from a certified professional accountant.
- March 2016 - How Our Bodies Change as We Age
Everyone seeks the fountain of youth. The reality is, every minute we get older, and these minutes add up to months and years. One day, you find yourself at 65 and completely in the midst of the aging stages. Youth is a very short time period in our lives. Our minds fight the idea, money gets poured into anti-aging products, but our bodies are honest. Aging happens to everyone and understanding what is going on in the body can help us be less afraid or anxious about it. Here are 12 ways the body changes with age, from the outside in:
- Metabolism/Body Shape: Spine curvature can occur as we get older and our metabolism slows down. Hormonal changes are common, especially as women go through menopause.
- Mobility: Balance becomes more challenging with age, making mobility more difficult.
- Bones, joints and muscles: Our bones lose density and strength with age, making them more prone to fractures. Muscles mass shrinks and gets weaker. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Normal wear and tear can start pain and inflammation in the joints and arthritis can be common.
- Smell and Taste: As we age, our olfactory function declines, making our sense of smell (and sometimes taste) less sharp.
- Vision: Our eyes start to dry out and the lens can start to change shape, making vision more blurry or difficult to focus. Glasses are a simple resolution to this problem.
- Hearing becomes more difficult with age, especially higher pitches and frequencies.
- Teeth and Gums become weaker and more brittle. You are more prone to tooth decay, tooth and gum infection, gum disease, and tooth loss. Oral infections can be very serious. This is why it is important to maintain your oral hygiene.
- Hair and Nails become weaker with age. Hair will thin out and nails become dry and brittle. Nail cutting hygiene, especially toe nail cutting, is imperative to preventing fungal infections that become more common with age.
- Skin loses elasticity, becomes more fragile, prone to bruising and develops wrinkles and age spots.
- Bowel/Bladder: One of the more frustrating changes for seniors is inconsistency, constipation and difficulty urinating.
- Immune System gets weaker with age, increasing risk of infection.
- Memory retrieval problems are common in the elderly. This is associated with dementia but may not be related. It is important to consult your doctor about your memory problems to see if it is just a normal part of again or something more serious.
Information is power. With this information, you can take control of your aging and age healthier. It is important to practice healthy habits such as exercise, managing sleep and stress with little to no medication, weight management (whether it be losing some weight or putting on some weight), and eating healthy. You should also be in communication with your doctor about medications you are taking and the risks they have on your health as you age and what alternative options could be better for you.
At Carespring, we understand the aging process. We know it intimately. We help all of our residents in our independent living, transitional care and nursing home facilities through the aging process in the happiest and healthiest way possible. Aging isn’t a bad thing; it just calls for different lifestyle approaches. We would love to help you are someone you love through this process in life.
- March 2016 - Vocabulary Lesson on Senior Living
In the industry of care for the elderly, new lingo is being created and used. Words are powerful. They set a mood, they paint a picture. For a long time, the industry has used words that remind us of some of the more challenging eras of senior care and mental illness. Many of the words associated with the industry have a bad connotation, reminding us of institutionalization.
Times have changed. Senior care is better than ever, and with that the language around it has changed. The language has to change to provide an accurate image of facilities, care and amenities. Aging can be a very touchy subject and requires tact to discuss. That’s another reason for the new lingo; we don’t want to put a stigma on old age. The words of the industry should reflect potential, not limits.
The language is warmer and softer. This is not to simply change the vocabulary we use. We want to lead the effort to change that way that our communities view the elderly. We want to change the conversation about growing older or about needing a bit of extra assistance with activities of daily living. We want every individual who comes to us for a place to call home to feel like he or she is part of our family—you are our friend, our resident. You or your loved are the reason we come to work each day, and we want you to know that our passion lies in your care and your comfort.
This being said, it is not enough to simply change the words. At Carespring, we know that actions speak louder than words—no matter how important the words are that you choose. But we recognize that there is strength in quality performance and strength in the way that you feel when you walk through the doors.
At Carespring, we are committed to the new age of elderly care. We offer the highest quality care and living arrangements in our nursing homes and transitional care facilities. This ranges from our nurses, to our landscaping to the food we make. We want you and your loved one to feel welcome, rested and at home every time you visit us. We haven’t just changed our language; we’ve changed our attitude. Everyone we work with becomes part of the family. So come by and hear for yourself how we talk when we think no one is listening. We love our residents, their families and our staff. At Carespring, you are always home.
- February 2016 - How to Prevent Pneumonia
The groundhog promised the appearance of an early spring, but February is still a cold month. The cold drives us indoors and into close contact with our peers. Because of this close contact, illness can spread very quickly, which is why pneumonia is so common this time of year. Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lungs that is caused by an infection: viral or bacterial. The illness is particularly common in the elderly population and can cause serious health problems. How can we help our loved ones that are in this population avoid pneumonia? Here are 5 tips:
- Recognize Symptoms in the Elderly-Pneumonia comes with symptoms including fever, chills, cough, chest pain and shortness of breath. However, in the elderly, symptoms can also include confusion, lethargy, weakness and dizziness. Knowing these additional signs is a good way to recognize pneumonia early, and the earlier you catch it the better.
- Have Good Hygiene-This one isn’t complicated. Encourage your loved one to practice or continue to practice good hygiene: washing hands, using sanitizer, oral hygiene, and avoiding ill people. Pneumonia is often contracted because someone first has the flu. Good hygiene prevents the flu, which further prevents pneumonia.
- Get Immunized-Have your loved one get immunized to prevent contraction of pneumonia. It is also important to encourage them to receive the flu shot, as having the flu will increase your chances of getting pneumonia.
- No Smoking-Smoking causes a lot of health issues and weakens your lungs. Because of this, smoking increases your likelihood of getting pneumonia. Tell your loved one that it is in their best interest to quit smoking.
- Maintain General Health-To prevent pneumonia and illness in general, keep up your overall health. Encourage your loved on to keep up good hygiene habits, exercise and pay attention to their nutrition so that their immune systems will be boosted and they will be able to fight off infections.
Unfortunately, pneumonia can be very serious for the elderly and may lead to hospitalization or death. The good news is it is easily prevented and can be taken care of if you happen to get it. At Carespring's nursing homes and transitional care facilities, we are dedicated to our resident’s health. Our facilities are in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton and we keep them clean and our employees healthy. Your loved one’s health is our priority.
- February 2016 - How to Have an Effective Conversation with a Doctor
Your relationship with your parents is always changing. At the start of life you are their dependent and they guide you and have authority over you. As your relationship develops and you get older, you form a friendship and a new understanding. When your parents get to the age where you begin to take care of them more than they take care of you, things can get tricky.
You love your parents and you want to be involved with their care. Parents can really appreciate your enthusiasm and willingness to be involved but they can also dislike the idea of you being involved with their doctors. They may believe they are fine and not in need of any help. At the same time, they may be forgetting medication or not reporting symptoms. If your parent is resisting your involvement, try to understand where they are coming from.
For most of your life, your parent has provided, protected and cared for you. When the script is flipped and you begin to support and care for them, they may feel like they are losing their independence. Sometimes, they can feel as if they are being viewed as incapable of taking care of themselves. Once you understand how they are feeling, you can begin to have a dialogue about getting involved with their doctor. Let you parent know that you love them and want them to be feeling as well as possible. You respect them and their independence. You are simply being their advocate and you want them to get the best care possible. You’re on the same team!
Your parent could be resisting your involvement because of self-consciousness. You don’t have to be in the room for the exams or any other moments your parent might be uncomfortable with. You can communicate with the physician at the beginning and end of the appointment. Sending an e-mail to the physician in advance is also a good way to be involved and to communicate with the doctor without stepping on your parent’s toes.
If you do get involved with your parent’s care and appointments, talk to them about signing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) so that the doctor will be able to disclose all medical information with you. Also, talk to your parent about a health care power of attorney in case he or she becomes unable to make decisions for him or herself. Once you start joining on visits, consider keeping a notebook of medical problems, dates, concerns, questions and medications to keep care organized and the appointments focused. Discuss how you and your parent see the appointment going, when will you be in or out of the room, etc.
At Carespring's Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton area facilities, we strive to be professional, personal and positive. We provide outstanding professional transitional care and nursing home care. We also work to be personal, to know our patients and their families and we try to keep all outcomes positive. We understand your loved one and their family and want to create the best experience for everyone. If you are looking to get more involved with your parent’s care, we encourage you to do so.
- February 2016 - Tips for Making Your Senior Feel Loved
With Valentine’s Day less than a week away, love is in the air and on the brain. Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers; a Valentine can be a sweetheart, a friend or a family member. It’s a wonderful time to let the special person in your life know how much you care about them. This Valentine’s Day let your senior know you love them!
Seniors can sometimes view Valentine’s Day as a lonely time and reminiscent of a love they may have lost. Unfortunately, many seniors are widowed or living alone. That is why it is especially important to be supportive and express your appreciation for your senior this time of year. Here are some tips to make your senior feel loved:
- Talk with them. Ask them about their first loves, their most fun dates, the love they’ve experienced and the lessons they’ve learned. Let them tell you stories and go through old pictures and love letters with them. Showing you have interest in them makes them feel special.
- Continue an old tradition. Or start a new one! If your senior shared a Valentine’s tradition, help them continue it with you.
- Eat a special breakfast or lunch together. Take them to their favorite restaurant or cook their favorite foods.
- Get them a gift. Send a card and flowers to their residence. A personalized pillow, homemade craft, baked goods, or pieces of jewelry are all good ideas. Try to give a gift that shows how much you know and care about your loved one.
- Be there. Your time and presence can often mean the most. You will brighten up their day.
Whether your senior is in independent or assisted living, or you have a family member in transitional care, we want them to know that they are loved and well cared for here at Carespring. We strive to provide an excellent environment of support and care every day, but especially on days that highlight love like Valentine’s Day. If your senior is at one of our Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky or Dayton-area sites, we always encourage you to visit, especially this holiday. Happy Valentine’s Day!
- February 2016 - Communication Tips for Individuals with Dementia
The subject of dementia and loved ones who suffer from it is a heavy one. The journey is emotionally painful and indescribable if you are in it. As the disease moves forward in time, we see minor lapses in memory turn into serious deterioration. Seeing our loved ones struggle with dementia comes with frustration and many other emotions. If we can understand to connect and communicate with our loved ones through this process, we are equipping ourselves with the best tools to handle it.
People seeing their loved ones progress in the disease often feel as though their loved one is becoming a shadow of what they used to be. They feel as if their body is their but their loved on is not. It is true; dementia does change your loved one. They will become shadows of themselves. However, they are still living, their spirit is still alive and they still feel deeply. To make the connection with them, to open them up, is of the utmost importance. Communication is the best tool we’ve got.
Here are 10 tips to help you communicate with someone who has moderate to severe dementia:
- Accept your opponent. Understand what dementia is and what it means. Over time, dementia will get worse. Recognizing this is the first step to accepting what you’re up against and helps you understand your loved one better. Understanding is key in communication.
- Focus is key. When you are communicating with your loved one, make sure there are limited distractions for both you and them. The more focused you can get your loved one, the easier the communication will be.
- Be positive and respectful. Speak clearly and kindly. Be natural with your loved one and avoid condescension or anything that could cause them to question their worth,
- Use proper nouns. To help your loved one out, avoid pronouns such as “he”, “she” and “it”. Instead, use their name and your name.
- Talk about one thing at a time. People who have dementia have a hard time following tangents and will have a hard time following the conversation.
- Use nonverbal cues. This includes body language, eye contact and smiling.
- Be an active listener. If you are having a hard time understanding your loved one, kindly let them know.
- Don’t bicker. Be understanding. Don’t always correct your loved one about details they mix up or get wrong. It is okay to let delusions slide.
- Be patient. Give your loved one time. Wait for their responses and don’t respond with frustration.
- Know that there will be good days and bad days.
If someone you love is dealing with dementia and you feel it is best for him or her to move to a nursing home or have assisted living, let Carespring help you. We have facilities in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton areas and we understand the needs of those with dementia. We also understand the difficulties of seeing them go through it. Allow us to support you and your loved one.
- January 2016 - The Importance of a Positive Outlook on Aging
Aging is almost taboo in today’s culture. We feel if we don’t mention it, it won’t happen to us. The media portrays aging in less than glorious ways, making the elderly look helpless. They fall and they can’t get up, they see technology and are unable to understand. There’s a huge industry to prevent looking older as well. The negative stereotypes of old age can be destructive to us.
Getting older doesn’t have to look weak and grumpy and powerless. It should look like wisdom, fulfillment and happiness. Older people who view aging in a positive light score higher on memory tests, have better handwriting, walk faster and are more likely to bounce back completely from disability. A person with a positive image of themselves, on average, lives 7.5 years longer than if they think of themselves negatively.
This being said, how can we ourselves and older people to see aging in a positive way with all of this negativity being portrayed to us? Becca Levy, a psychologist who has been studying the effect of old age stereotypes for twenty years, did a study on how positive aging stereotypes affects physical strength. This study focused on a new approach to instilling a positive image: implicit intervention. Implicit intervention works to send subliminal messages to the receiver. In this case, 100 adults with the average age of 81 went through an “implicit association” exercise. Positive words like wise, creative, and fit flashed on a laptop screen with words associated with aging such as old and senior. The words were on the screen long enough for the brain to register them, but not long enough to read what they said. The exercise lasted fifteen minutes and occurred once a week for four weeks.
After the experiment, subjects were given physical tasks including repeatedly standing up and sitting down in a chair, walking across a room and balance tests. The implicit intervention improved not only strengthened positive aging stereotypes but also improved physical function.
Unfortunately, explicit positive messages can be ineffective. If you talk about again positively with someone, they can side-step the positivity, hold on to the negativity ingrained in them and disregard what you say. Implicit messaging doesn’t allow for you to react and resist.
At Carespring, we know you want your loved ones to see and understand their significance. We know our transitional care and nursing home patients are loved and intelligent and talented. We encourage a positive outlook to aging and look up to our residents with respect.
- January 2016 - Winter Safety for Seniors
The colder months of the year bring special concerns for seniors. From winter weather dangers to illness, keeping older loved ones safe and healthy requires proper planning and diligence. At Carespring, our facilities are always prepared for adverse weather and taking care of our patients and residents throughout the colder months. As family members and loved ones, there are plenty of ways you can contribute to making sure your loved one stays health and happy throughout the winter, too.
If your loved one is going to spend time with you outside of our Carespring facilities, make sure that your physical surroundings are safe for a senior, especially if walking can be occasionally difficult.
Be sure to:
- Spread salt on any icy surfaces.
- Make sure handrails are available near steps or slopes.
- Check to ensure your senior has proper shoes with traction.
- Dress appropriately, including gloves, heavy socks, a warm coat, a hat and scarf.
- Have approved heating devices with proper electrical and power cords. If you use a fireplace, gas heater or lantern, be sure the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector are up to date.
Illness and Disease Prevention
Because it can be difficult to get outside or participate in outdoor activities during the winter months, many people—particularly seniors—spend more time inside. More inside time means less exposure to natural sunlight, higher chances of sharing germs, and fewer opportunities to change their environment.
To best prepare your senior for a healthy winter, try to:
- Prepare a nutritious diet rich in vitamin D, which is found in foods like milk, grains and seafood.
- Check in with your loved one regularly to alleviate feelings of depression and loneliness that come with the darker and colder days.
- Know the signs of hypothermia, including lots of shivering, cold skin that is pale or ashy, feeling tired, confused or sleepy, slowed breaking or a reduced heart rate.
- Keep moving. Just because it is cold outside does not mean all activity has to cease. Encourage your loved one to join the group activity classes or take indoor walks to keep their bodies engaged.
- Get the flu shot early. Preventing the flu from spreading is a great way to keep your body, as well as those of your loved ones, healthy throughout the season.
- Breathe deeply—especially with seniors who have lung conditions. Cold air can trigger spasms, so make sure the environment around your senior is comfortable.
At Carespring, your loved one’s well-being is our priority—every hour of every day. Caring does not stop in the evenings, weekends or because of bad weather. Regardless of what is happening outside, our primary concern is always how our care is being delivered within our nursing homes and transitional care facilities. If you have any questions or would like to tour one of our Cincinnati, Dayton or Northern Kentucky Carespring facilities to see firsthand how we approach care all year long, contact us today: we’d be happy to welcome you to Carespring!
- January 2016 - Inspiration for the New Year
A new year always brings a fresh start and, with it, the opportunity to begin a new project, resolution, or commitment. The new calendar year often feels like the perfect opportunity to begin again, and research shows that this “fresh start” effect isn’t just a made-up idea. In fact, researcher Katherine Milkman has studied the momentum that propels so many of us in the early days of a new year: “Because in these fresh-start moments, people feel more distant from their past failures. Those failures are the old you, and this is the new you. The fresh-start effect hinges on the idea that we don’t feel as perfect about our past as we’d like. We’re always striving to be better. And when we can wipe out all those failures and look at a clean slate, it makes us feel more capable and drives us forward.” You can read more about this fresh-start effect in an interview with Milkman.
But as most of us know, the fame of New Year’s resolutions is that they often burn out by February. Whether your goal is to create healthy routines and stick to them, keep in better communication with your loved ones, or find a way to live happier, we want to inspire you to keep your resolutions far into 2016. So here are some of our favorite inspirational quotes from caregivers submitted to A Place for Mom to keep you focused and dedicated to your goals in the year ahead.
- Never forget to look after yourself. – Susan H.
- It soothes them! My mom hums all the time. She no longer has any words, but music makes her smile. – Sue O.
- Be honest to others about your needs and feelings. Don’t assume anyone understands the struggles and will respond accordingly. – Allyson W.
- Remember to take it one day at a time. Tomorrow is a whole new day to start over! – Becky E.
- Try to have at least one weekly activity that will bring a smile to your face in the hard moments. – Margaret L
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Allow yourself to break down or tell others to allow you to break down. It helps to relieve stress…and it’s okay. – Wendy W.
At Carespring, we encourage you to become even more active in your loved ones’ lives, no matter if they’re your children, friends, partner, parents or other loved ones. Whoever it is that you care for, let them know that you support them and their wishes. Our doors are always open to you and your family when their medical care requires the skill, expertise and patience of our loving staff. If you think Carespring could be the best move for your family for transitional care or long term nursing care this year, we will be there for you—encouragement and all. Visit one of our locations in Cincinnati, Dayton or Northern Kentucky for more information!
- December 2015 - Setting Healthy New Year's Resolutions
Celebrating the New Year often feels like the perfect opportunity for a fresh start. From a new calendar full of potential to a clean slate for goals, the New Year brings with it the chance to make the most out of the next 365 days. As many of us have learned over the years, the goals we create for ourselves and our families go nowhere if they are not realistic and enjoyable. Make the beginning of 2016 the perfect opportunity to set goals for you and your loved one that improve your entire family’s health and well-being.
Here are some healthy New Year’s resolutions for you and your older loved ones:
Eat nutritious food. At Carespring, we pride ourselves on providing high-quality meals and options for our residents and patients. But it’s also important to recognize that healthy eating doesn’t just happen under supervision. Making good choices about food options to keep in independent living arrangements can be a great start to healthy habits. Also, when visitors come to Carespring, we encourage them to bring the occasional treat, but to also offer healthy snacks and meals from home.
Be active. When medically possible, getting as much movement and physical activity as your body allows is a great rule of health and wellness for all people at all stages of life. For some of our older or sicker residents, physical activity needs to be limited. But taking a walk down the hall or practicing a few doctor-approved exercises each day can build up the muscles and prevent further spills, breaks or fractions.
Drop unhealthy habits. Many older Americans grew up in a time when cigarettes and other unhealthy habits were of high popularity. If those habits have stuck around, consider making 2016 the year to break them. It’s also equally important for residents and patients to be surrounded by individuals in good health—so resist the urge to smoke around older loved ones or engage in activities, like heavy drinking, that may pose risks to their health and wellness.
Be emotionally intelligent. Encourage your loved one to practice tuning in to his or her own emotions. For some older adults, especially those suffering from dementia, tapping into emotions can be a challenge. But as their support network, learn to understand your family’s trigger points or signs/symptoms of stress or frustration.
Sleep more. Every body needs its full amount of rest. Practice healthy sleeping habits and encourage your loved ones to do the same. Sometimes medication can have an impact on sleep, so be sure to talk with your loved one’s caregiving team to ensure that any adjustments are done under a doctor’s approval.
Celebrate life. Take time to enjoy the small moments in your day, including the seemingly insignificant events—like chatting with your loved one, sharing in a memory, or creating a new memory together. Those small moments add up to a life full of happy celebrations.
From the entire team at Carespring's transitional care facilities and nursing homes, we wish you a happy and healthy 2016!
- December 2015 - How To Connect Over Distance
Carespring offers 13 different transitional care facilities and long-term nursing homes in the Greater Cincinnati community, but we know that not all family members are fortunate enough to live within a quick drive to our locations. For loved ones who are located in other cities or states, keeping in touch can be a challenge, especially during busy times like the holidays. Keeping in touch with your loved one is important, so finding a method of communicating that works for your life and for your loved one is the first step in establishing a routine that works for everyone.
Here are some great tips to keeping in touch over long distances:
- Use technology to your advantage. Today, there are multiple ways of keeping in touch with your loved one. From cell phones to emails to texting and video chats, the options of reaching out are seemingly endless. Find a technology that is comfortable for your loved one—perhaps cell phones are hard to use because of the small buttons, or video chats are difficult because of Internet connectivity. Experiment with several options and talk with your loved one about what is easiest for them—and their support team—to incorporate into their life.
- Have fun. Sending your loved one care packages, photo albums, and online videos or movies can be a great way to not only update your loved one, but share special memories, too. Photos allow your senior to connect with faces that they may not see very often, and short, simple videos are a great way to send a greeting that your loved one can watch or listen to whenever he or she needs a dose of family.
- Meet them on their level. If you try out modern technology and find that it’s just too complicated or not going well for your situation, figure out what works best for your loved one. Perhaps old-fashioned letter writing is the best form of communication for him or her. Or, if music is a way that your loved one enjoys relaxing, consider sending music collections or personalized playlists for them to enjoy.
- Build a team. Knowing that your loved one has the support of his or her Carespring team is important to feeling comfortable and confident in the care being provided. This is especially important if you are not able to stop by our facilities and see the high-quality care for yourself. Reach out to your loved one’s facility and learn who tends to your family member the most. Understanding your loved one’s schedule, routine and likes and dislikes (especially as they change over time) can help you determine what makes the most sense for your family.
Above all, don’t be afraid to try out different ways of communicating. Your efforts go a long way for a loved one who may not have the advantage of having lots of family and friends nearby. Making and maintaining a healthy communication routine can be part of your loved one’s emotion and mental support and healing. For questions or concerns, contact your Carespring facility.
- December 2015 - Holiday Gifts for Seniors
December is a month packed with celebrations and holidays. From Christmas to Hanukkah to New Year’s celebrations, gift giving is a part of the season. Shopping for your loved ones who are in a facility—no matter if its transitional care or long-term nursing care—can be a challenge. If you need help figuring out what types of gifts would be appreciated without impacting medical care, we have a great gift guide for you. From sentimental gifts to presents with a purpose, here are a few ideas on how to shop for your loved one and still ensure their health, medical care and wellness are preserved.
At Carespring, we know how important memories, conversation, and companionship can be to an individual’s overall health and wellness. So when you’re shopping for your loved one, skip the knick-knacks that can take up limited space and opt for something that will make them feel good or inspire great conversation, like:
- Photobooks and Scrapbooks: Gather photos of your family and friends to share with your loved one, especially if they are unable to join your celebrations. The familiar faces and memories can be a perfect conversation topic for the entire year.
- CDs or Playlists: If your loved one spends time listening to music or perks up at a favorite song from the past, why not create a playlist of some favorites? Music is known to have tremendous impacts on individuals’ ability to remember their past, and it is often used as a form of therapy. Create a playlist and enjoy sitting with your family to listen to the tunes.
- Picture Frames: Personalize your loved one’s room and space with photos of your family in a beautiful frame. Having faces of their special people in their room can help bring a level of comfort and peace to seniors.
- Homemade Crafts: Homemade gift items are particularly fun if they are contributed by grandchildren or great-grandchildren!
Presents with Purpose
Attentive staff members constantly care for your loved one, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for additional gifts and comforts in their life. Finding presents or gifts that have utility can be a great contribution to their daily routine and may be a source of comfort. Consider adding any of the following gifts to make your loved one feel special:
- Blankets or throws: A warm blanket or throw can be a wonderful addition to your loved one’s comfort. Find something lightweight and soft enough to keep in their wheelchair, on their favorite chair or in bed.
- Technology: If you and your family communicate primarily through new technology, make it easy to stay in touch with your loved one by connecting him or her with a tablet, smartphone or iPad. Many devices can be tailored to meet your senior’s vision and hearing needs.
- Towels: This daily item can always use a refresh. Grab a soft, special towel to replace an older one or add to the regular rotation. A new towel can feel like a great luxury!
- Clothes: When is the last time you helped your loved one go shopping? It may be longer than you initially thought, which means it’s the perfect time to bring in new sweaters, comfortable pants, and accessories. If your loved one is able to leave on occasion, going shopping is a perfect way to spend time together.
No matter what ends up being wrapped and gifted, make sure that your holiday plans include spending special time with your loved one. The holidays can be a challenge for seniors, especially those who generally feel lonely. Come join your Carespring family for any one of our holiday festivities to celebrate the season with joy!
- December 2015 - Support Gifts for Gracie at the Barrington!
The Barrington of Fort Thomas is sponsoring the annual Gifts for Grace toy drive for the 4th year! This is a wonderful event that collects toys for children in need in honor of Grace Elizabeth Inyart. Grace passed away of complications from a tragic car accident in December of 2012. Staff at the Barrington banded together to create something positive from this terrible loss and so began this special toy drive.
We will be collecting unwrapped toy or monetary donations at the Barrington Fort Thomas through December 18th. This toy drive has grown every single year and we're so appreciative for the support we've gotten from the local community! Let's make this year our most successful yet!
- December 2015 - What Level of Care Is Right?
As our loved ones age, it might become evident at some point that they need a little bit of extra care. But with so many options available to today’s seniors, how can you know which level of support and care is right for your family? At Carespring, we offer four distinct types of care so you can best match your loved one’s needs: transitional care, independent living, assisted living and nursing care. Each type of care level has its own important medical support, and it matches your loved one exactly where he or she is in her life, wants and needs. Here is an overview of each of the types of care we provide and guidance on what might be the best lifestyle for your loved one.
Transitional Care is the specialized care required, either on a temporary or continuing basis, to maximize your loved one’s health potential and help him or her return home following a health event. Carespring’s centers employ industry experts and licensed therapists to implement a comprehensive plan of care for patients, encouraging a smooth transition from the facility to a patient’s home. We offer state-of-the-art facilities with cutting-edge equipment and therapists to help fully embrace your loved one’s medical needs.
Independent Living: Independent living communities are often are great choice for seniors who are independent enough to live on their own, but desire the companionship of other seniors and the knowledge that staff and help are available on site. At Carespring, our independent living condominiums come with excellent amenities, like meals prepared by a Master Chef, an exercise facility staffed with a full-time therapist, a cocktail lounge and much more. We also offer travel opportunities, community social events and opportunities to build great friendships with neighbors at the Carespring community!
Assisted Living: Assisted Living centers are a great combination of observation, on-site medical support and independence. At Carespring, our residents each has his/her own spacious apartment that can be decorated and cared for however your loved one chooses. It is, after all, a place to call home! In our assisted living facilities, medical staff and assistants are always available to help with small activities that require support, like bathing, dressing, going to the bathroom and remembering to take medications. But, all of this care happens within the comforts of individual apartments, giving you and your loved one the peace of mind knowing that help is just around the corner.
Nursing Care: Nursing Care is a typically a long-term care facility, where your loved one can receive the 24/7 observation and medical care that he or she needs. No matter if your loved one can simply no longer take care of himself or if she needs some extra support due to Alzheimer’s or dementia, skilled nursing care provides a team of medical caregivers that are specially trained to offer personalized medical care. At Carespring, we are proud of our nursing facilities. They are different than other options you will find the in area. We offer bright, cheerful rooms with Internet and flat-screen TVs. Most of our care centers have a Starbucks coffee shop and a Montessori school located inside of them. Our centers are designed to help your loved one be active, invested and involved in their medical care and evolving lifestyle.
- November 2015 - Visiting Your Loved Ones is Vital to Their Health
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can make any family’s schedule a challenge. From wrapping up work before the holiday break to getting your home ready for visitors, finding time to visit your loved ones in their nursing home, transitional care center or assisted living facility can feel like another item on your to-do list. However, it’s important that these visits happen, and not just to bring joy to one another’s lives. Spending quality time with friends and loved ones can have a direct impact on their health and overall wellness.
For many seniors, especially those who are spending their first holiday season in a nursing home or transitional care center, the holidays can be a challenging time. Often, many individuals have experienced many losses in their life by this age, and the holidays tend to be a time in which those memories resurface. That feeling of loneliness can be very isolating and often leads to depression and a full set of mental and physical health risks.
Seniors who are lonely and experience social isolation have been found to have:
- Higher rates of mortality
- Increased risk of long-term illnesses
- Higher blood pressure
- More susceptible to elder abuse
As the blog A Place for Mom writes, “humans are wired to interact and socialize, and they especially need these interactions as they age…” Think back to the conversations that you’ve had with your loved one in the past month. How many of them involve memories from other holidays or special events? It’s likely that the majority of conversations that you have with a loved one are dotted with memories of human interaction and emotional connections. Those exchanges often help our seniors feel loved and appreciated. Try to recreate those feelings throughout your visits!
Another important way that visiting your loved ones impacts their health is by serving as another set of eyes and ears on their caregiving team. At Carespring, we highly value the quality care that we provide to our residents and patients. But no one knows your loved one as well as you! Coming by for regular visits can help you feel reassured in the care they are receiving as well as helping to identify any early signs of discomfort, unrest or illness that are not necessarily medically noticeable.
If you are feeling particularly pressed for time or you live at a far distance, send your loved one a special holiday care package! Our team at Carespring will ensure that your loved one receives the items and he or she can enjoy the special items that you send for the holidays. We embrace the season and want every member of our Carespring family to celebrate however makes them happy. Let us know how we can help bring the holidays to your family!
- November 2015 - The Gathering Table: Using Thanksgiving for Your Family’s Benefit
It is not often that an entire family is able to gather together in one spot. From packed schedules to living far away, there are lots of obstacles when it comes to sitting your family down together. But holidays provide a perfect opportunity to gather everyone, near and far, and use that time for your family’s health benefit. Families often love to tell stories and gather information and updates from one another—why not put that time and energy towards understanding your family’s medical history and long-term care wishes?
Conversations about care and health—both positive and negative—can feel like a bad topic for a joyous occasion. However, the ultimate payoff is right around the corner: understanding your loved one’s wishes for care as they age, and better understanding your own health and wellness through your family’s history. For many adults, seeing their own parents age can be overwhelming. But many adult children also experience a lot of relief and comfort when they do take the time to sit down and listen to their parents or older relatives about what they see for their own health as the years pass.
According to the National Institutes of Health and the A Place for Mom blog, 96% of Americans think that family history is important, but fewer than 30% of Americans actually attempt to get their family’s history and information. To encourage more families to embrace the importance of discussing these topics, in 2004, the Surgeon General declared Thanksgiving to be Family History Day—a day dedicated to finding out and documenting your family’s medical history.
If you’re unfamiliar with health conversations or find them overwhelming, consider using the national resource of CareConversations.org. The website has several free checklists and resources for families who need to have conversations about health and long-term care planning, plus it guides families through important periods of transition—like researching and selecting an assisted living or nursing home facility. CareConversations.org also shares stories of the importance that having care conversations has played in real people’s lives. Their video gallery is filled with families’ experiences with these conversations and their impact on the their lives.
Carespring also loves gathering stories, which is why we have our own dedicated space to sharing the testimonials and real-life feedback from individuals and families that have come through or are currently using our facilities. From the importance of therapy to compassionate care, these testimonials help to capture the love and emotion that our staff provides to your loved ones each and every day. Take some time to read the Carespring stories, and share your own with us!
- November 2015 - Hidden Costs of At-Home Family Caregiving
Many families feel that providing at-home care is the best option for their aging loved one—but is it truly the best choice for your family? There are many items to take into consideration when it comes to deciding to accept the role (and challenge) of being a family caregiver. From emotional stress to finances, at-home family caregiving can impact everyone involved both positively and negatively.
At Carespring, we completely understand the desire for our loved ones to age in place. That’s why we work incredibly hard and with the best quality care possible to enable those patients who can safely return to their homes after a short-term or rehabilitation stay to do just that. We also recognize, however, that this is not the best solution for many individuals. Some medical situations require too much trained caregiving to be safe for at-home care. Other situations are simply too much for a family to assume, especially when financials are at risk. It is hard to put a value on the best type of care, but we often see the same hidden costs creep into caregiving that not all families anticipate.
According to a report by Indiana University and reported on by A Place For Mom, “nearly 10 million adult children are caring for older parents in America. The unpaid care they provide is estimated to be worth $375 billion dollars per year.”
The survey and reports collected by A Place for Mom found five primary costs of caregiving:
- Lost Wages – Serving as the primary caregiver greatly impacts, if it does not eliminate, the ability to pursue work outside the home. Those lost wages average to about $143,000 per average caregiver.
- Decreased Employability – When a family member is out of a job for months or years to dedicate time to caring for a relative or loved one, it can often be difficult returning to the workforce, particularly at a job level similar or equal to the job he/she had prior to caregiving.
- Increased Health Care Costs – The physical and mental toll that caregiving provides on an individual and family is demonstrated in increasing health care costs.
- Lost Savings and Retirement – Out-of-pocket expenses add up very quickly for families, especially for items that are not covered by insurance or their loved one’s savings or insurance plan.
- Reduced Productivity – A Place for Mom reported “MetLife found that American businesses lose an estimated $34 billion each year due to employees’ need to care for aging loved ones.”
The combination of each of these items factors into the annual cost of more than $375 billion dollars each year for at-home caregiving. When combined with the mental, physical and emotional burden that at-home caregiving can place on a family or an individual, it is clear why so many families rely on care providers like our team at Carespring to ensure the best medical care possible for their closest loved ones and relatives.
- November 2015 - What It's All About
When we receive feedback like this from our employees, that is truly what it's all about. We're lucky, at Carespring, to have an incredible leader in Barry Bortz, and wonderful employees like Barrington's Kevin Brooks.
Thanks for all you do for us Barry!
- November 2015 - Preparing for Flu Season
Although winter brings with it holidays and lots of cheer, it is also marked by the return of flu season. For seniors, this is an especially critical time to maintain proper health and wellness, particularly if your loved one is already susceptible to illness because of preexisting conditions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that “it’s estimated that between 80 percent and 90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older, and between 50 percent and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in that age group.”
These statistics tell a striking and scary story. Luckily, there are several ways that we can actively help our older friends and family members protect themselves during this flu season and throughout the winter months.
- Schedule a Flu Shot. The CDC recommends that all individuals over the age of 2 receive an annual flu vaccine, and this recommendation extends in particular to individuals aged 65 and older. In fact, the CDC created a special “high dose” flu shot specifically for this group of older individuals that contains four times the amount of antigen than a standard flu shot. The CDC also notes that this year’s flu vaccine (the 2015-2016 strand) has been modified from last season’s vaccine to better match circulating viruses.
- Practice Good Health Habits. Embracing habits that promote good health and prevent the spread of germs and disease is critical during the flu season. Some of the most basic hygiene can protect seniors, caregivers, friends and family from spreading the flu virus or other harmful germs. These practices include washing your hands, staying home or in bed when you’re not feeling well, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose, and frequently disinfecting surfaces like doorknobs and handles.
- Be Aware of Flu Symptoms. Being able to identify flu symptoms early can help with flu management and prevent the virus from spreading to other people or becoming a severe issue for the individual who is sick. Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
- Contact Your Doctor or Caregiver. If you feel that you might have the flu, be sure to limit your visits to a susceptible family member or older relative. Be sure to protect your own health as well as that of your loved one. If you think your loved one is coming down with the flu, alert their medical care team as soon as possible to ensure that the proper treatment plan is in place and symptoms are monitored closely.
It is always helpful to be vigilant in the winter months, when we spend more time indoors and in closer proximity to other individuals. Children who may carry more germs from school or daycare may want to limit time near vulnerable friends and family, especially if they show symptoms of the flu virus. For more questions or concerns, or to learn more about where your loved one can get the flu vaccine, call your local Carespring facility.
- Schedule a Flu Shot. The CDC recommends that all individuals over the age of 2 receive an annual flu vaccine, and this recommendation extends in particular to individuals aged 65 and older. In fact, the CDC created a special “high dose” flu shot specifically for this group of older individuals that contains four times the amount of antigen than a standard flu shot. The CDC also notes that this year’s flu vaccine (the 2015-2016 strand) has been modified from last season’s vaccine to better match circulating viruses.
- October 2015 - Safely Celebrating Halloween with Seniors
This week, communities across the country are celebrating Halloween. Halloween is a derivation of “All Hallow’s Eve,” or the night before All Saints’ Day, which is a Catholic religious time to honor saints and martyrs. The costumes, ghosts and calling on spirits comes from the Celtic tradition of Samhain, according to History.com. On November 1, the Celts marked the end of summer and the harvest season and the beginning of the cold, dark months of a new year. “Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth,” according to the website.
No matter your background, Carespring wants all residents and patients to enjoy this festive holiday, which is now marked more notably by costumes, pumpkins and Trick-or-Treating. Our facilities encourage celebrations and laughter at all ages. If your loved one wants to get into the haunted holiday, here are some tips on how to celebrate Halloween, senior style:
- Prepare your room: As long as decorations do not interfere with medical treatment or compromise your loved one’s care or safety, decorations can be a fun way to celebrate. Many individuals and families show their involvement by putting small décor, like gourds and pumpkins, in their loved ones room, or decorating their door to reflect their personality. Be sure to talk with your specific Carespring team to make sure nothing will impair proper medical treatment, which is always our primary concern.
- Talk about upcoming visitors: If you know that a local scout troop or another organization is coming by to show off their costumes, be sure to discuss this with your loved one. It could be disorienting to suddenly have lots of foot traffic in the building, not to mention the potential confusion of the costumes and “Trick-or-Treat” ritual if it’s not expected. If your loved one is sometimes confused or has trouble remembering the process of these festivities, be sure to communicate with your Carespring staff to make sure they understand your loved one’s interest (or lack thereof) in being involved.
- Celebrate! You can help your loved one pass out candy to visitors, complete a craft or do a favorite hobby together. Painting, scrapbooking, pumpkin decorating and other themed activities can be a lot of fun. You can also have a special dinner or treat, or watch a favorite movie to celebrate.
If want to know about your local Carespring community’s plans for Halloween, please reach out to the facility directly. Our staff are more than willing to help craft personal health and wellness plans for your loved one, including healthy and fun celebrations of holidays like Halloween.
- Prepare your room: As long as decorations do not interfere with medical treatment or compromise your loved one’s care or safety, decorations can be a fun way to celebrate. Many individuals and families show their involvement by putting small décor, like gourds and pumpkins, in their loved ones room, or decorating their door to reflect their personality. Be sure to talk with your specific Carespring team to make sure nothing will impair proper medical treatment, which is always our primary concern.
- October 2015 - Feeling Beautiful at Any Age
For both men and women, feeling attractive as our bodies naturally age can be a challenge. From the mainstream media’s definition of beauty to our own standards about wrinkles and age spots, looking in the mirror can yield surprises that we never anticipated. Despite those surprises, a 2014 Gallup study revealed that 66% of Americans aged 65 and over 'agree' or 'strongly agree' that they always feel good about their appearance.
At Carespring, we want all of our patients and residents to be on the path to feeling great—no matter their age. Our staff understands that physical appearance may not be high on the priority list. After all, we are primarily focused on restoring and maintaining health and wellness and, when possible, a healthy and safe return to home. But for some of our long-term residents, taking care of physical aspects can be great for confidence. Having daily routines can help motivate individuals who are able to get up and out of bed and interact with their community. Seniors can still have simple activities, like getting their hair styled or their nails properly cared for, that impact their health and their happiness.
Here are a few tips to keep your loved one feeling great at any age:
- Encourage hearing and vision tests. Undiagnosed vision and hearing impairments may impact your senior’s feeling of independence and self-assuredness. Correctly outfitting your loved one with glasses or hearing aids, if needed, can help them feel great about participating in activities, understanding conversations and feeling comfortable walking independently, if able.
- Address incontinence issues. No matter how great her hair and nails look, not having control of her bladder or bodily functions will be a major factor in your loved one’s willingness to leave her room.
- Schedule hair and nail appointments. Proper nail care “can reduce the transmission of disease because the hands and feet are often exposed to many microorganisms which can grow quickly in the nail beds,” according to CNA Training Help. In addition, maintaining hair appointments can help keep hair manageable and clean. Plus, the regular self-care routine may encourage individuals to invest in their own wellness and have something to look forward to on their calendars.
- Encourage healthy lifestyles. The combination of physical activity—from in-bed movements to daily exercise routines—and healthy eating habits can be a powerful force in overall health. If your loved one invests in his or her food choices and takes ownership of that portion of her health, it can encourage ongoing positive behaviors that contribute to a larger commitment to health and wellness.
If you are worried about your loved one’s commitment to health, please reach out your Carespring facility to understand your loved one’s current options and areas for improvement. Our staff are more than willing to help craft personal health and wellness plans for your loved one.
- October 2015 - Preventing Caregiver Burnout
If you are a caregiver for a loved one, you are not alone. You are part of a growing number of individuals who tend to the needs of a family member, relative or friend. According to Health in Aging, “as many as 43.5 million Americans care for older parents, grandparents, spouses and other older loved ones.” There are literally millions of people who have accepted the challenge of providing care—something that we know a LOT about at Carespring.
Every individual that joins our workforce understands the demands that are placed on caregivers. They face it themselves every single day. Our patients and residents are like family, and we understand the emotional and physical fatigue that follows in the shadow of caregiving. We also have regular conversations with families about other aspects of caregiving, like being responsible for medical decisions (if designated with the proper legal rights) and handling finances associated with care. All of these aspects of providing care can weigh heavily on an individual and, if not carefully managed, can have a significant impact on the caregiver’s quality of life.
If you are a caregiver, be sure to care for yourself, too. Your rest, recovery and mental conditions are equally as important as the loved one you are caring for. After all, will your loved one be better off if you come down with a bad illness—or worse—because of a compromised immune system or fatigue?
Although many families feel strongly that in-home care is the best option for their loved one, it is critically important to understand when home care is not the best option. Certain medical conditions and illnesses are not suited for home care; there is simply too much to monitor and too much at risk. In those cases, our staff at Carespring can be trusted to provide the type and quality of care your loved one needs and deserves.
If you are the main caregiver, there are some very important steps you can take to prevent caregiver burnout—a real issue that comes with the very selfless agreement to care for a parent or loved one.
Take steps to prevent caregiver burnout:
- Find your own support network. Having a professional to speak with about the challenges can be greatly rewarding and provide a much-needed outlet to share concerns and burdens.
- Take care of yourself. Eating well, exercising, taking breaks and vacations—these are all behaviors that lead to an overall balanced life that is much easier to manage.
- Get proper information. Keep an open dialogue with your loved one’s medical doctors and nursing staff. Ask questions any time you need to, and feel free to ask for second opinions if something does not feel right to you.
- Have the proper paperwork in place and organized. Securing the correct documentation can make getting medications, scheduling in-person visits and arranging for care much easier.
Above all, treat yourself kindly. Everyone is better off with a healthy, knowledgeable, well-rested caregiver.
- October 2015 - Teaching Children About Alzheimer's
For many families, Alzheimer’s disease is a difficult topic to bring up at the dinner table among adults, much less when young children are around. But for young children who are seeing their grandparents or older adults in their lives suffer from the disease, understanding the process and what is going on is very important, says New York Times author Paula Span.
In an article posted on her New Old Age blog, Span reviews various children’s books that are intended to help primarily young, school-aged children better grasp the changes that they are likely observing in a grandparent or relative with Alzheimer’s. The books, according to Span, hit the mark when it comes to describing the cognitive changes that happen, such as memory loss and poor judgement. The books, though, failed to address some of the more complicated aspects of Alzheimer’s and ones that can be scary or frightening to young children, such as irritability, depression, wandering, the loss of ability to do daily activities of living, or sleep disturbances.
Span argues that the lack of inclusion of these aspects of Alzheimer’s disease are important for children to acknowledge and have a sense of why the changes are happening. The author also notes that very few children’s books discuss the continued decline and eventual death that follows the disease, and almost none talk about the fact that Alzheimer’s is not contagious and that it is different from aging in general, an important point to make to a young child who may have very limited interactions with much older people.
If your family has young children who have a loved one or grandparent in their lives who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, Span recommends one book, The Memory Box, which was written and published more than 20 years ago. In addition, a mother who had three young children of her own wrote a piece for Parents.com in which she leaves feedback for other families after journeying through the difficult conversations within her own:
- Be straightforward: Use terms that you child can understand and be specific about behaviors. Children have the capacity to understand a lot about the world as long as it is told in a vocabulary that resonates with their lives.
- Take advantage of free resources: This article was sourced from several free resources, and one quick search shows thousands of articles, books, videos and pamphlets that can help families discuss Alzheimer’s with their young ones. It may also help to speak with your Carespring staff to come up with a list of the signs and symptoms that are most prevalent at your loved one’s stage of the disease.
- Talk about what’s changing: For many children, it can be confusing if one day Grandma seems fine and the next visit she can’t remember their names. Children can become afraid and uncomfortable if they don’t understand what is happening in a situation, and it will make them less likely to engage and interact.
No matter their age, children deserve to have a conversation with their parents and siblings about what is changing, says Span. Feel free to connect with your Carespring staff members who are helping care for your loved one, or stop at the front desk and ask to connect with an Alzheimer’s specialist who can assist you with these conversations.
- September 2015 - When Old Age Meets New Age
When it comes to modern society, it’s nearly impossible to imagine a world with no technology. People communicating without cell phones or email. Finding out directions without a map service. Making travel plans without online flight services. Many days, it feels like the entire world is online and missing a single login can cost you valuable information or knowledge.
However, that is not the truth. That modern society reflects a sliver of the world today—it reflects primarily first-world countries, and it definitely reflects people ages 65 and younger. In an article by The New York Times blogger Paula Span, “only 54 percent of Americans over age 65 have access to the Internet, according to Pew Research studies. Among those 77 and older, the proportion drops to about a third.”
That means that nearly one in every two seniors is not fluent in the world of technology. Think of the disadvantages this causes them in today’s society. From keeping in touch with family to listening to music of their youth, seniors are missing out on proven happiness sources (check out the July 2015 post: Hitting the High Notes).
There are several training programs in place for seniors who are interested in learning about new technologies and then staying up to date on the latest advancements:
- org’s mission is to provide older adults education for and access to computer technologies to enhance their lives and enable them to share their knowledge and wisdom.
- OASIS Connections helps seniors build “skills and confidence using computers, the Internet and portable devices. We partner with public library systems, job help centers, senior centers and faith-based organizations to teach digital literacy skills.”
- It’s Never 2 Late is dedicated to helping older adults realize the full benefits of adaptive technology. The company was founded in 1999.
Participation in one of these programs can enable a senior to learn the technology, of course. But it can also help with confidence and his or her overall sense of belonging to a community—a critical factor in helping to ward off depression in seniors.
At Carespring, we believe in the use of innovation and technology to ensure that our facilities are state of the art, and that our residents and patients are well cared for, fulfilled, engaged and happy. In fact, this is part of our mission and vision: Innovation and Operational Effectiveness: We will use innovation and technology to best utilize our resources and to maintain the financial stability necessary to meet our high standards and to do it an affordable fashion.
If there is a way that we can help your loved one become more engaged or stay connected with you through technology, please let us know! We will work with you to ensure your family feels confident in the quality and type of care we provide at Carespring.
- September 2015 - Find Grace in Aging
Our society is often bogged down with negative stories and commentary about growing old. Seniors often find that as they progress past the age of 60, the media reflects fewer and fewer images of people who look like them. While many seniors do not have issues with aging in general, it can be difficult to thrive in an environment that does not fully embrace aging or discussions about aging or death. Families can be supportive of their loved ones as they move through the aging process in several simple ways.
Embrace the power of age. As Nora Ephron wrote in her book I Feel Bad About My Neck, aging past 60 can be a challenge as people who you love in your life—both family and friends—die. For many families who have experienced a loss of a loved one, many would be quick to say that reaching old age is a milestone that not everyone gets to meet. Embrace the power of age—it means your loved one has lived a long life with decades of stories, experiences and change.
Accept the fact that things will change. Family vacations might look a little bit different than they used to when you were a kid. Sunday night dinners might take place around a different table. And your loved one might not be exactly the same person he or she was years ago. These are all important changes, and they are also signs of reality. Things change. And it’s okay that they change. Learn to find new traditions that incorporate the new situations or environments, and help your loved one accept these changes, too.
Avoid Stereotypes. As the author of the article “The Art of Aging Gracefully” so bluntly writes: Get over your own stereotypes of getting older. What preconceived ideas so you carry with you about age? Do you make snap judgments about older drivers, or older people in the grocery store? Each of those smaller thoughts builds up into a much larger issue of stereotyping individuals of older age—putting both you and your loved ones at a disadvantage to aging gracefully.
Create Meaning. At Carespring, we hire staff who feel called to work in our facilities and with our patients and their families. We find meaning in our work and what we do. In fact, most people work their entire lives to create meaning in their day-to-day situations. So help your loved one tune into that desire to find meaning, and help them participate in activities that enhance their community or their individual selves.
For more support or assistance, talk with your Carespring team about how to support your loved one as they age. Or, if you are interested in getting involved in our facilities, please let us know! We are always looking for passionate people to support our residents and patients.
- September 2015 - Life Planning Early in Life
When it comes to preparing for end-of-life care, we often consider elderly loved ones, our parents and grandparents, and those individuals who are facing imminent death. However, these individuals are not the only people who have opinions about the type and length of care they receive, where they want to spend their final days, and how they would like to be remembered.
A study from the journal Pediatrics found that with a developmentally appropriate document, adolescents and young adults found the opportunity to share their end of life care a positive experience and provided a choice about their future plans. In that study, 52 participants ages 16-28 who were living with metastatic or recurrent cancer or HIV infection reported that they wanted to choose and record several items, including:
- The kind of medical treatment they do and do not want
- How they would like to be cared for
- Information for their family and friends
- How they would like to be remembered
The overwhelming fact is that each year, more than 11,000 adolescents and young adults ages 15-34 die of cancer and other life-threatening conditions, and the number of youth with chronic and life-limiting conditions is increasing, according to the study.
If an individual is over the age of 18, he or she must have an advance directive in order for end-of-life wishes to be considered legally binding. Up until that age, those choices default to parents or legal guardians or other legally noted individuals. A very common guide for youth is called “Voicing My Choices,” a planning guide for adolescents and young adults who would like to delineate some of their options, choices and decisions regarding their own end-of-life care. The Voicing My Choices website clearly states that the document is not a legally binding document, and offers the following explanation to the benefits of completing the document:
State laws related to advance care planning vary greatly. Voicing My Choices may not meet all the requirements in every state. However, most healthcare providers and family caregivers want to honor patient wishes no matter how they are expressed. In most cases, the information provided in Voicing My Choices will give the necessary information to provide the treatment and care requested by the patient.
In an important summary about how to talk to children about dying, HospiceNet notes that children are largely very aware of death. Many societies avoid discussing death and dying because they want to protect the youth from experiencing the negative emotions that come from a loved one’s or friend’s passing. However, death is a natural part of life, and “If we permit children to talk to us about death, we can give them needed information, prepare them for a crisis, and help them when they are upset.”
At Carespring, we work with patients and residents of all ages and life conditions. If a young person’s position is more serious, we can help you and your family connect with the right resources for your situation and for your loved one. If you have any questions about the process, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your local Carespring facility and staff.
- September 2015 - Laughter is the Best Medicine
It sounds like something your mother might say, but in fact, many studies have shown that laughter can truly impact an individual’s health and wellness. For seniors, whose physical wellness is often directly correlated to emotional wellness, laughter truly can impact their day-to-day experience and generate improvements in their condition.
According to Laughter Online University, a website dedicated to the teaching of and education about therapeutic laughter, the human brain is hard-wired to react positively to laughter. When we are near people who make us laugh, our brains release hormones that are widely considered the “feel good” hormones (dopamine). The release of dopamine in the brain makes us feel happier and more positive.
The important link between laughter and physical wellbeing is involved in the feedback cycle of laughter. As noted by Sebastian Gendry, CEO of Laughter Online University,”:
Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can impact the body by bringing more stress into the system and decreasing its immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts and emotions trigger neurochemical changes that reduce the immunosuppressive effects of stress.
By surrounding ourselves—and our loved ones—with laughter and positive experiences, our lives can become healthier and more fulfilling. The website SeniorHomes.com lists the benefits associated with laughter as:
- Reduced levels of inflammation
- Drop in cortisol (the stress hormone)
- Reduced blood pressure
- Stimulation of the immune system
So how can you build in laughter and positivity into your loved one’s life? Here are 10 great activities to enjoy with your senior!
Tap into someone else’s laughter through online videos (Babies giggling is great!)
- Start a gratitude journal
- Spend time with young children
- Spend time with pets
- Go to an appropriate comedy venue (or invite a comedian to come to you!)
- Do something silly, like play dress up or talk in a funny accent
- Go dancing
- Listen to happy music
- Watch stand-up comedy
- Fake it! Faking laughter often stimulates true laughter
At Carespring, we always want to promote health and wellness. So it’s important to note that no matter the activity that you choose, remember that healthy laughter comes from a place of positivity, not a place of negativity. Be sure that the activity you get involved in (for example, a stand-up comedy routine) is tasteful and not hurtful to people or your loved one. Now dust off your funny bones and get to laughing!
- September 2015 - Let’s Get Moving!
Although summer isn’t technically over yet, September often brings with it an enjoyable change in weather. The humidity starts to drop, temperatures become more bearable, and the sweltering afternoons of August start to drift away. With that change in environment comes a great opportunity to embrace the outdoors again.
We all can use a little bit of fresh air every now and again, and getting outside for fresh air and a little movement is a great combination of important activities. At Carespring, we always love a nice sunny day, and we want all of our residents and patients to be able to experience it! We welcome you to come and enjoy the sun with your loved one.
The importance of activity
Physical activity is critically important at all stages of life. From a young age, getting enough movement into your day helps prevent many diseases and ailments, like osteoporosis, obesity and low levels of energy. Physical activity continues to bring major benefits to seniors, too. In fact, a study out of Northwestern University focused on the benefits of movement on seniors aged 60 and older. The study found that sedentary behavior is a “major risk factor for future physical disability,” including basic activities of daily living (known as ADLs) like bathing, going to the bathroom, and getting dressed.
Many studies have created a connection between the amount of time individuals spend sitting and the increased risk of health conditions—some of which can be chronic. This correlation is now being referred to as “sitting disease.”
How to get moving
There are plenty of ways to incorporate small bits of movement into your loved one’s life, and many of these activities can actively help you and your family build great habits and reduce your risk of chronic conditions as a result of sitting disease.
Here are a few of the activities that our team enjoys doing with our residents and patients, and we encourage you to find low-impact activities to enjoy on your own!
- Enjoy yoga or tai chi, both of which are easily adapted for participants who cannot get out of their wheelchair or a chair
- Small strolls through the garden or around the sidewalks of your building. Be careful not to walk in busy parking lots.
- Do an activity around your home or your senior’s room that encourages minor movement, like redecorating or reorganizing a cabinet
- Always maintain an activity level that supports healthy breathing and plenty of rest
As always, involve your Carespring team in your family’s life transitions. We are always here to help you along your journey!
- August 2015 - Paying Special Attention: Infections in the Elderly
As we age, our immune systems tend to weaken and be less effective in helping our bodies prevent infection and illness. For the elderly, this can mean a regular occurrence of sickness that can feel difficult to overcome. As a family member or caregiver, it is in your best interest to be familiar with the challenges a loved one may face with their health and how to best treat and care for those particular infections.
Below are some of the most common—and treatable—infections your senior may face, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). At Carespring, we are always observing your family and loved ones for any signs of change or indications that their health is in any way compromised.
Urinary Tract Infections
According to the AAFP, urinary tract infections (UTI) are “the most frequent bacterial infection and the most common source of bacteremia in older adults.” A traditional UTI can be the source of dysuria, fever, frequent urination and physical tenderness. UTIs can be treated with antibiotics and plenty of fluids.
As covered by A Place For Mom, skin infections in the elderly are quite common and infections can be diverse: shingles, pressure ulcers, bacterial or fungal foot infections, cellulitis, and MRSA. Most skin infections can be treated with antifungal creams, ointments, antibiotics and vaccines.
Bacterial Pneumonia + Elderly Influenza
“Pneumonia and influenza combined are the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and about 90 percent of these deaths occur in adults 65 years and older…” These stats from AAFP are reason enough to become educated about the frequency of pneumonia and influenza and seniors, as well as how to identify and treat the illnesses. Seniors are at a greater risk for both of these conditions because of weakened immune systems, changes in bodily functions and more. However, the complications that result from the illnesses are the real focus of pneumonia and influenza in the elderly. Influenza is easily transmitted, and it often results in the more complex diagnosis of pneumonia, which is more challenging to treat in seniors. However, if your loved one comes down with their illness, antiviral medications can treat influenza and antibiotics can mitigate pneumonia. The importance is identifying the diseases early enough for treatment.
At Carespring, we know that in order to provide the best care possible, it’s critical that our residents and seniors are healthy and happy in all aspects of their lives—from physical health to mental health to spirituality. If you have any questions about the care your senior is receiving, contact your Carespring office today.
- August 2015 - Talking the Talk: Communication and Dementia
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. And although science and medicine are making great gains when it comes to dementia, we still have a long way to go in fully understanding our loved ones who are suffering—especially as their basic communication skills deteriorate.
At Carespring, we empower families and caregivers to try healthy, safe ways of communicating with their loved ones—from music to pictures to stories. Finding ways to connect emotionally can help mitigate and manage other forms of expression that are associated with dementia, like anger and confusion.
Here are some tips about what to say and how to best communicate and connect with your loved one with dementia:
• Position: Make sure your loved one can see you while you’re speaking with him or her. Being eye level can also help individuals with dementia more readily connect with the speaker.
• Surroundings: Try to have conversations in quiet spaces. When your loved one is in a busy room with lots of stimuli, it can become increasingly challenging to stay focused on one speaker or one topic.
• Touch and Tone: Be animated when you speak, as non-verbal communication can be just as impactful as the words you’re saying. Speak clearly and enunciate, and try to keep your voice lower. Seniors with and without dementia can pick up lower voices more clearly than high ones.
• Focus: Unlike conversation with your peers, a loved one may not be able to quickly shift from one topic to another in the middle of a conversation. Try to remain on one point of conversation until you’ve finished your discussion, and then move on.
• Generosity: Be generous when allowing for mistakes throughout a conversation. For many seniors, small details can be hard to recall, and so they often get confused or fill in the blanks. Correcting every inaccuracy can derail the point of the conversation if you are simply chatting casually.
• Specifics: On the other hand, while you’re being generous with your loved one’s confusion or mistakes, be specific in your speech. Use proper names when you can (“Hi, Mom. It’s me, Karen.”) instead of using only pronouns (me, we, they, them, etc.)
As challenging as it may feel for you as you are working through a conversation, don’t forget to put yourself in your loved one’s position. Many other expressions of emotion—like aggression or accusations—are a result of internal frustration at the inability to communicate. So speak slowly, take a deep breath, and remember that your loved one is experiencing an emotional and physical change that you cannot quite fully comprehend. Feel free to speak to a Carespring staff member if you need extra support for your family.
- August 2015 - Medicare vs. Medicaid: Understanding the Difference
Finances at any point in life can be stressful. But when finances determine how your loved one might spend their next two decades, it takes on an entirely new function. Simply understanding the difference between Medicare and Medicaid can help as a family begins to format a financial plan. Here is a brief overview of the two programs and what they offer to beneficiaries.
Medicare is the government-provided insurance for individuals over the age of 65. It is also available to individuals with disabilities who are under the age of 65. One common misperception of Medicare is that it provides coverage for long term care in skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes. Medicare only covers short-term stays for individuals who need to recover after a hospitalization.
The website A Place For Mom provides a great outline for the importance of understanding when—and perhaps more importantly when NOT—Medicare is accepted. “… Medicare does not pay for custodial care. Medicare should primarily be considered health insurance. This means Medicare does not pay for the following types of senior care:
- Assisted living
- Long term care at a nursing home
- Residential care homes
- Any long-term care
Medicaid, on the other hand, is the government-provided assistance program that does pay for long-term care for individuals who otherwise cannot pay for care. Medicaid has very strict eligibility requirements that individuals must meet, including the total value of personal assets. Because individuals must demonstrate a financial need to qualify, families often must make drastic sacrifices to ensure their loved one is properly cared for. Even then, not all facilities accept Medicaid funds and restrict their client base to private pay only.
Medicaid can be treated like health insurance. Although the program is federally funded, the funds are dispersed primarily through individual states. Every state varies in the way it implements and regulates those Medicaid funds.
Handling Your Finances
It is always in your best interest to involve an elder care attorney or financial planner in your financial decisions regarding your own care or that of a family member. Our Carespring staff are always available to discuss options, but we are not experts as to what is the best decision for your family. We would be happy to connect you with the proper team to help guide you and your family as you navigate this portion of your lives.
- August 2015 - Tips for Moving
The summer season is a popular time for families to make big changes—take new jobs, switch schools, or move to a new home. Moving can be a challenge for every family, but moving with a senior loved one can add additional layers of complication to the process.
For many older individuals, the moving process takes much longer than it does for younger family members. Not only are the physical tasks like packing and moving boxes more difficult (or sometimes not safe), moving can have a great emotional and mental impact on seniors. As we age, we tend to prefer our comfort areas—those spaces that we are familiar with and in which we feel safe. Disrupting that stability can pose many disadvantages to seniors, their health and their adjustment to the new living situation.
At Carespring, when we welcome new residents or we help to transfer an individual from one facility to another, we recognize a few ways that we can encourage families to help their loved one through the process. From helping your family member mentally prepare to physically helping to pack their belongings, we have a few tips and tricks to make the process as smooth as possible for everyone involved.
Preparing to Move
Before you help your senior loved one move from one location to another—whether it’s from their home to a skilled nursing center or from transitional care to a long-term facility—you can help your family prepare for the move in several ways:
- Respect emotions: Packing up their belongings can be very emotional. Enable your loved one to determine what items and valuables he or she wants to take with them to a new home. You may be surprised at some of items that provide comfort.
- Help with packing: The physical impact of moving can be very hard on seniors. From packing boxes to taping them up and labeling them correctly, this is one area where younger relatives and friends can lend the biggest hand.
- Establish comfort: Although it may seem natural to want to furnish a new place with new furniture and belongings, keeping some of your loved ones familiar items—like couches and beds—can be a great source of comfort in a new environment.
During the Move
Throughout the moving process, one of the best things to do is establish connections and help identify important people along the way.
- Primary contact: Feel free to call your loved one’s new place of residence in advance of the move to let them know who the best point of contact is throughout the process.
- Alert doctors: Keeping your loved one’s doctors and medical providers informed about the change can be helpful for their own records, but they may also have great advice about how to handle any stresses and emotions that your loved one will experience.
- Be aware: If you’re noticing that your loved one is stressed, don’t worry. Many individuals—both elderly and young—experience stress during times of change. But if you start to see that the stress is morphing into severe anxiety, get your medical team involved.
After the Move
Once the boxes are unpacked, the real journey of adjustment begins.
- Introduce your loved one: Make sure you introduce your loved one to their new care team and important people throughout the building. This is just as important for your senior as it is for the staff who will care for them.
- Establish routine: Take a walk through the facility with your loved one and help familiarize them with regular paths, new furniture and how to get back to their room, if needed.
- Check in often: Check with your loved one and his or medical team to ensure that the process is going as smoothly as possible. If you’re able to visit several times right after the move, this may help your loved one feel less alone and more comfortable in the new setting.
As always, involve your Carespring team in your family’s life transitions. We are always here to help you along your journey!
- July 2015 - Dehydration in Seniors: What You Need to Know
We’re officially into the dog days of summer, meaning long, humid days and soaring temperatures. While it’s critical that everyone stays hydrated and healthy during this risky season, it’s important to keep a special eye on the seniors in your life who may not be able to quickly identify dehydration symptoms.
Dehydration is a common reason for hospitalization in seniors. As we age, the natural levels of water in our bodies decreases, meaning we must increase water intake to maintain hydration. Similarly, the number of medications that may impact our water levels increases, meaning seniors are more susceptible to dehydration and hyperthermia than other individuals.
The daily recommended drinking amount for adults is eight 8-oz glasses of water or other liquids. The benefits of staying hydrated are numerous, including enabling organs to complete their functions, flushing toxins out of the body, carrying nutrients to cells, and providing an ideal environment for your nose, ears and throat. Staying hydrated can also keep our loved ones more alert and provide higher levels of energy.
Here are a few ways you can help your loved one stay safe and hydrated throughout the summer:
- Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning and again with every meal
- Keep a bottle of water nearby at all times for easy sipping
- Flavor water with fresh fruit, like lemons, limes or oranges, for increased taste
- Ask staff at Carespring to help you keep track of how much water your loved one is consuming each day
- Provide incentives for drinking plenty of fluids
- Drink an extra glass of water for every physical activity
- Take a cold bottle of water with you for any outdoor activities
- Eat fruits or foods that have high volumes of water, like melon and cucumbers, when and if possible
If you suspect your loved one is not drinking enough fluids, keep your eyes open for signs of dehydration, including increased thirst, dry mouth, excessive sleepiness, decreased urine output, headaches and dry skin. Also, feel free to check in with your loved one’s medical team to find out if any medications will make seniors particularly susceptible to dehydration.
- July 2015 - Tech Tips for Seniors!
The senior population is set to double by 2050, bringing the total number of Americans age 65 and older to a massive 84 million. As more people enter the senior market, the demand for products and services that cater to the senior market will continue to grow.
One area that is already experiencing a shift towards older individuals is technology. Technology changes incredibly quickly, and it is largely focused on young consumers. But several companies are working towards creating senior-friendly apps and devices, according to NBC News.
In 2014, nearly 60 percent of individuals above the age of 65 used the Internet, which jumped up nearly six percent from 2012. One very trendy response to this increase in technology consumption is the remodel of senior safety devices to a more modern, sleek design. For example, the Life Alert system has been around for many years, but its cumbersome design prevented many seniors from wearing it. However, a company called Lively stepped in a created a watch that displays time, counts steps and includes an easy-to-press button that calls for help.
Similarly, a device called the grandPad offers a modified version of an Android tablet that is easier for older eyes and hands to use—like having bigger buttons and fewer menu options to click. GreatCall offers similar features for seniors on its line of smartphones.
Great technology can improve the lives of seniors and keep them independent, yet connected. Technology can also improve the way we care for our seniors. Electronic medical records enable us to keep all of the important information about a resident as they transition, perhaps moving from rehabilitation to a skilled nursing care center. Certain technologies also provide back-up support when caregivers are not present or a senior wants to age in place at home. These devices include automatic prescription reminders and dual sensory alerts (flashing lights combined with the doorbell, for example).
Each individual’s preference for technology can vary, but we find that many seniors find great value and personal enjoyment once they are accustomed to using digital technology. Talk with your loved one about how they might try to incorporate new communications tools or games into their day. Be sure to share your new ideas with your Carespring staff!
- July 2015 - Hitting the High Notes
Over the years, more and more research has been published that touts the importance of music in brain development and cognition. At Carespring residences and centers, music is folded into many aspects of who we are and what we do—from exercise classes to gentle music in rooms to occasional live performances.
One story that caught the attention of millions of Americans was the film “Alive Inside,” which featured incredible research and testimonials of music as therapy for individuals with dementia. The film is incredibly powerful and shows how music can open up a senior’s memory—taking them back to a time that they remember. Tapping into those reserves of memories and sensations helps seniors communicate and find expression for their emotions.
Ongoing research shows that simply listening to music is beneficial, but playing an instrument can open up new connections in the brain, physically changing the way our minds operate. There’s not a lot to lose with music!
We encourage seniors, residents and their families to find a variety of ways to interact with music and incorporate it into their lives, including:
• Attending performances: Most cities have small musical groups that can come to your center to perform, if transportation and mobility are a concern. Scout troops may also visit, particularly during the holidays.
• Listen to the radio: Music is always available! Residents can tune into a variety of stations from the comfort of their own space. Satellite radio offers even more options than AM/FM, and your loved one could tune into recordings of songs from his or her youth.
• Add music to daily activities: If there are activities or ways that you could encourage your loved one to listen to music, let us know! We add music to our exercise classes, but perhaps your loved one would like to listen to the radio while sitting in the garden.
For more active seniors, joining a local Church choir or music lessons might be a fun way to bring music into their life. Carespring employees are always open to new ideas, so let us know how we can help you improve your life of the life of your loved one! For more information about music and how you can incorporate it into your life, read this article from the Orlando Sentinel.
- July 2015 - Recommit to Health and Wellness
Believe it or not, we are already halfway through 2015! As time continues to march on, it is good to create regular health and wellness checkpoints throughout the year. July is a great time to revisit medical records, make appointments to see any specialists or just rekindle a personal devotion to health and wellness.
While it may seem like a long-lost cause, revisiting New Years resolutions is often a great way to assess progress. Around the holidays, many individuals, including seniors and their families, take the time to plan out goals for the year ahead—and of course, many of these goals revolve around wellness and self-care. It’s not too late to recommit!
Consider ways to refocus on health and wellness, either for yourself or a loved one, including:
- Selecting healthy foods: Many times, nutrition can make a big difference in an individual’s sense of wellness. Review menus and eating patterns to see if there are any foods or ingredients that are causing problems or certain times that are not ideal for meals. Adjust menus and schedules accordingly.
- Find ways to move more: Exercise and movement are important factors in stimulating recovery and the body’s ability to self-correct. Carespring offers many activities for our residents—if you or your loved one has not yet participated, consider doing so this summer.
- Get organized: A great way to rekindle a commitment to health is simply organizing current paperwork and important information. Planning ahead can relieve a lot of stress for individuals and their families. Make sure doctors’ numbers and email addresses are correct and current, that medications have not expired and necessary refills are available.
Finding ways to balance health and wellness is important to maintaining a high quality of life as we age. For many seniors, some physical activity is limited. However, there are great ways to stimulate the mind and spirit, ranging from trying new technologies to simply finding a therapist or friend to communicate with. Sharing fears, desires, happiness and worries with another person can be a great way to relieve stress on an individual.
Find more ways to focus on health and wellness, and be sure to let the staff at your facility know how we can support you and your loved one as you recommit yourselves to healthy aging.
- June 2015 - Harnessing the Power of the Sun
This past weekend marked the official start of summer, which means summertime activities will be moving at full-speed ahead. Lately, it seems like spending time in the summer sun has been getting a bad reputation. We are the first to say that protecting skin and eyes from harmful UV rays is critical to maintaining great health. However, there are some great benefits that come from that big star in the sky!
Many seniors suffer from a vitamin D deficiency, which can seriously impact overall health. Supplements often contain extra doses of vitamin D to ensure that our loved ones are receiving all of the nutrients they need, but we can also encourage our own bodies to produce vitamin D. The best way to do this? Sunshine.
The body produces vitamin D as a natural response to sunlight. The reason that vitamin D is essential for seniors is because it helps the body absorb calcium, which is pivotal to strong, healthy bones. In addition, vitamin D helps our muscles grow, regulates cell growth, carries messages through the nervous system, and fight infection—all important functions in every body, but particularly in older bodies.
Spending excessive amount of time in the sun cause be damaging, so monitor all outside activities closely. However, grabbing some fresh air and rays can produce a lot of health benefits. Here are some activities to enjoy this summer while you and your loved one are basking in the sun’s rays:
- Sit in a garden and enjoy the morning sunshine
- Take a walk through a nearby park
- Visit an outdoor restaurant or take your shared meal outside
- Find out if the activity director can move group activities outside for a limited time
- Secure a comfortable seat near a window to enjoy the late-night sunsets of the summer
Whatever you do, don’t forget to wear proper sunscreen, hats and eye protection! Be sure to stay hydrated and consider any medications that have side effects that can be exaggerated by sunshine.
But most of all, enjoy the time in the sun with your loved one!
- June 2015 - Coming Soon: Boonespring!
A judge’s ruling has cleared the way to build a $25 million nursing care center that will create more than 200 jobs in Boone County.
Ground should be broken this year for the 143-bed Boonespring Transitional Care Center, which will encompass 94,500 square feet at 10250 U.S. 42 in an unincorporated area near the city of Union. It’s expected to open in 2017.
The center will be built and operated by Carespring Health Care Management, which is based in Clermont County’s Miami Township and opened a similar 143-bed nursing home last year in the Campbell County city of Cold Spring.
The Boone County facility will focus on rehabilitation through in-patient care for joint replacements, hip fractures and brief illnesses. Most patients are expected to return to their own homes, while others will stay for extended periods. Many of the beds will be for Medicaid recipients. Carespring also accepts private pay and Medicare.
About 100 of the jobs at the Boone County center will go to nurse practitioners, nurses, nurse managers or nurse’s aides, said John Muller, executive vice president of Carespring. The rest will go to licensed social workers and therapists, dietitians, housekeepers and front-office personnel, including a licensed nursing home administrator who is yet to be hired.
“Total payroll will probably be $6 million or $7 million a year,” Muller said. “The total operating budget is about $12 million a year, and most of that goes back into the community in payroll and buying supplies, linens, power and water.”
Pharmacy and laboratory jobs with other employers are likely to be created to help serve the Boonespring Transitional Care Center, Muller said. The construction project itself will employ up to 200 other people.
Carespring Construction will be the general contractor. Muller said the company was likely to use the same architects and subcontractors that built the Cold Spring facility. Reztark Design Studio of downtown Cincinnati was the architectural firm for the Cold Spring project, and Leed Design Associates of Madeira did the interior.
Although the buildings will be similar in size and function, the exterior of the Boonespring center will be different, Muller said.
“Design and construction will begin within the next few months now that our path is clear,” said Barry Bortz, CEO of Carespring.
Judge Phillip Sheridan of Franklin Circuit Court sided June 8 with Carespring and Kentucky officials in a civil suit filed by a competitor, Baptist Convalescent Center Inc., an Erlanger nonprofit that does business as the Village Care Center. The Boone County project was approved by Kentucky officials in February 2014, but Baptist claimed Carespring shouldn’t have been granted the certificate of need required to transfer bed licenses it bought from a defunct nursing center in Campbell County.
Muller said Carespring argued that Boone County needed more nursing beds. The county now has just 317 long-term skilled nursing beds despite a population of 135,000, he said.
“Its not a war,” Muller said of the lawsuit that pitted the two nursing home firms. “We’re care providers. It’s what we do. We’re very excited that Boone County and Northern Kentucky are the winners here. These beds need to come back into service.”
Carespring acquired the 286 bed licenses for the Boonespring center and the Cold Spring center when the Lakeside Nursing Home in Highland Heights closed in 2006. That property is now used by Northern Kentucky University for dormitories.
In addition to the Coldspring Transitional Care Center, Carespring operates 10 other facilities throughout Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio.
- June 2015 - Ideas for Celebrating Father’s Day—with or without Dad
Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 21. For many families, Father’s Day is a wonderful time to take a step back and remind your father…or a father figure…how much they have impacted your life. Father’s Day, much like Mother’s Day, is a popular time for families to visit their loved ones in a skilled nursing facility or an independent living residence. It’s a great time to eat together, reminisce and tell Dad how much you appreciate him.
Here are some ideas on how you can celebrate with your father or grandfather:
- Page through old family albums together and let your father share his favorite memories about your relatives
- Head to the movie theater for the afternoon and see a film together
- Read the newspaper together
- Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and sit quietly in your father’s favorite place
- Listen to old records together
- Take a stroll in the park or the garden
- Bring your pet (or borrow a friend’s!) and enjoy some time playing
However, as families get older, Father’s Day can also be a difficult time if your father or grandfather is no longer alive. Honoring their memory on this day can be a great way to share in the sorrow, but it is sometimes too hard for families, especially if a loss was recent.
Here are some ideas on how you can honor your father or loved one after they’ve passed:
- Invite members of your family to join you in reliving memories of your father
- Write a letter to your dad to let out any emotions and sadness
- Visit one of his favorite places
- Participate in one of his favorite activities
- Ask young children in your family to draw pictures of your loved one
- Make Father’s Day the day when you cook one of his favorite foods or carry on a tradition of which he was particularly proud
And, for some families, simply not celebrating Father’s Day is best for their family. Do what works best for yours!
To all of the fathers out there: Happy Father’s Day!
- June 2015 - Path Cleared for Construction of Boonespring!!
A decision in Franklin Circuit Court this week cleared the path forward for the construction of the long awaited Boonespring nursing home facility. The final order of the Commonwealth of Kentucky Certificate of Need required to build the nursing home in Boone County, was affirmed in a decision released today by Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd. The court decision was the last hurdle needed by Boonespring in order to proceed with construction of the 143-bed nursing/transitional care facility at 10250 US Highway 42, just outside of the City of Union in Boone County.
A press conference that will include Judge-Executive Gary Moore, Boone Cty. Fiscal Court Members, Representatives Dennis Keene (D-Wilder), Sal Santoro (R-Florence) and Senator John Schickel (R-Boone Cty.), other lawmakers and local officials, will be held at Boone County Fiscal Court on June 16, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. In April, Boone County Fiscal Court gave its unanimous final approval for the site development. Details about the project, timeline and economic impact to the community and state will be announced at the press conference.
The $25 million Boonespring project received approval in February 2014 from the Commonwealth of Kentucky to move the bed licenses from Campbell to Boone County and a lawsuit filed by a competitor has held up construction of the project. The bed licenses were acquired in 2006 when the state closed down Lakeside Nursing Home in Highland Heights. “We look forward to building a beautiful new facility to provide care services to the underserved areas of Boone County,” says Carespring CEO Barry Bortz. “Design and construction will begin within the next few months now that our path is clear.” The new facility will focus on rehabilitation in-patient care for joint replacements, hip fractures and brief illnesses. Most patients return to their own homes, while others stay for an extended period.
Residents and supporters have joined the effort for approvals for Boonespring through the website SupportBoonespring.com. Company officials have worked with local and state representatives and elected officials for several years to gain support for the project. “We applaud the efforts of Governor Steve Beshear, Representatives Dennis Keene, Sal Santoro, Adam Koenig, Addia Wuchner, Arnold Simpson, Diane St. Onge, Tom McKee and Tom Burch and Senators John Schickel and Chris McDaniel for their support with throughout the state approval process,” said Barry Bortz. “We are also very appreciative of the support we have received from Judge-Executive Steve Pendery and the Campbell County Fiscal Court and Judge-Executive Gary Moore and the Boone County Fiscal Court, along with The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. These officials know that health care for loved ones is so important to the families they represent.” Read the letters of support here: http://supportboonespring.com/albums/elected-officials/.
Carespring Health Care Management will own and operate the new Boonespring facility and the company currently owns three other Northern Kentucky transitional and nursing healthcare facilities, the newest in Cold Spring. Transitional healthcare has a focus on shorter-term skilled nursing and physical rehabilitation such as physical, occupational and speech therapy. Boonespring will provide extended healthcare as well. Carespring accepts private pay, Medicare and Medicaid. Many of the beds are for Medicaid recipients.
- June 2015 - Everybody Catch Some Zzzs!
In the event you needed another great reason to take a nap, we have several for you! Sleep has been getting a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. Getting a good night’s sleep—which, for older adults, is an average of 7-8 hours—has incredible health benefits that everyone, regardless of age, can enjoy.
As we age, it’s very natural that our sleep patterns change. There are many factors that contribute to this change, including new medications, major changes in life, pain or aches due to illness or general aging…the list is numerous and can vary person to person. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the length of uninterrupted sleep time to reap all the benefits.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep contributes to:
- Clearing the body of adenosine, which makes us feel sleepy during the day
- The critical restoration of tissues and cells
- More relaxed muscles, which in turn relieves tension and reduces symptoms of certain types of pain
And for older adults, sleep is particularly important for brain functions, like memory and cognition. A study out of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that the equivalent of 3-4 extra hours of sleep could possibly improve the brain’s ability to make new memories in patients who have Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Missing out on a proper night of sleep can have significant impacts on individuals, particularly older adults. Lacking the proper time to rest, the body can react by a depressed mood, excessive daytime sleepiness, nighttime falls, and the need for additional medications.
Here are some ways the National Sleep Foundation recommends we get a better night’s sleep:
- Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual—preferably one that does not involve technology
- Exercise daily
- Evaluate your bedroom or sleeping environment to ensure that you have ideal lighting, temperature and noise levels for sleeping
- Get comfortable: sleep on a nice mattress and pillows
- Avoid “sleep stealers,” like alcohol and caffeine
- Turn off electronics before you go to sleep
By changing these behaviors, we can all rest assured that we’re getting the sleep we need and enabling our bodies to rest, recuperate and recover.
- June 2015 - Celebrate the 4th of July with Coldspring!
Coldspring will be hosting a special 4th of July celebration on Thursday, July 2nd at Coldspring (300 Plaza Dr. Cold Spring, KY 41076). We will have food, fun, games and fireworks for on and all! This event is open to the public and we would love to see all of our healthcare friends here! The celebration starts at 6:00, with fireworks beginning at 7:30. We hope to see you there!
- June 2015 - The Importance of Belonging
For many seniors, transitioning into the next phase of life can be a challenge. For those loved ones for whom aging means a new home, the sense of loss can be enormous. But that sense of loss can—and should be—discussed in a matter of new opportunities and a new way to find a place in their community.
A sense of belonging is incredibly important to people as we age. Entering that stage of life where we need extra help or can’t remain healthy at our own homes uproots that security and often causes that sense of loss. As a study by the Legacy Project concluded:
“In the face of instability and physical changes, illness, and other losses, we engage in an ongoing effort to create and preserve meaning through place-centered activity. We give meaning to places like our home, and our home in turn shapes the meaning available to us as we age.”
However, facilities like Carespring work very hard to create a new community that is welcoming and open to all residents. We know it will never replace home, but it can offer experiences and help individuals find meaning in their new phase of life. We encourage our residents and patients to try new activities, make friends and discover richness in their lives that they did not expect to find.
This richness is incredibly important to enable seniors to find fulfillment, and there are five primary areas in which seniors or older individuals need this fulfillment. Those five areas are, as identified by researcher Andrew Scharlach (Generations, journal of the American Society on Aging, Summer, 2009):
1. Continuity – individuals are able to maintain lifelong relationships, activities, and interests even as they get older and may experience more limitations.
2. Compensation – services and products exist to ensure that basic health and social needs of individuals with increasing limitations are met.
3. Connection – relationships become more important as we age. Individuals who have more actual and potential sources of social support have better physical and psychological well-being, and greater resilience in response to illness and other life stressors.
4. Contribution – opportunities to develop and contribute life wisdom. We need to feel as though our life still has value, that we can add something to the world around us – if only a smile or hug.
5. Challenge – the need for stimulation and growth remains important through the life course.
If understanding the need for community is hard to do, spend some time listening to this story by NPR called “Iggy and the Children of the Dirt.” It’s a fascinating story about one man’s journey to create a community for his own sense of belonging as he enters his older years far away from his native country of India.
To learn more about how your local Carespring community promotes a sense of belonging, make an appointment to speak with the facility administrator. We’re happy to share with you our goals and our desire to make your loved one feel at home.
- May 2015 - Four Legged-Love
May is National Pet Month: a perfect time to consider the benefits of having a furry friend in your life, or in the life of a loved one. Pets bring many families joy. In fact, across the United States, it’s estimated that 37-47% of families have a dog in their home, and 30-37% of families have a cat. Seniors should be no different!
At Carespring, we love to get our facility pets involved in our team events. Pets can be an incredible source of comfort and security, and they often have physically beneficial impacts, too. Studies say that exposing seniors to pets can:
- Reduce the risk of heart disease
- Curb feelings of depression and loneliness
- Provide opportunities for social engagement and exercise
- Increase awareness and alertness
- Decrease blood pressure
In addition to these health benefits, seniors who engage with pets regularly—whether in their own homes, through a facility’s pet, or through pet visit days—find a sense of security in the routine that comes with pets.
At Carespring, we offer several options for our residents, including the ability to have your own pet in some of our independent and assisted living residences. Dogs and cats make wonderful additions to our family, and we have seen the benefits of these pets first-hand.
However, before committing to caring for a new pet, we recommend doing a bit of research to be confident that your pet is right for you. Health of both the individual and the pet are important considerations. Many seniors have compromised immune systems, making them susceptible to diseases that dogs and cats may carry. Or, for instance, is a therapy pet more suitable that a typical dog or cat? Many organizations, including Therapy Pets of Greater Cincinnati, train pets to provide comfort and security or to respond to specific medical needs.
Another important consideration is the age of the owner and of the pet. If you or your loved one has trouble with mobility, owning a new puppy is most likely not a good match. However, an older, trained dog or cat may make a perfect companion.
For many individuals, moving into a residence that is not their own home can be emotional and require a bit of time to adjust. For these loved ones, adding a pet to the routine can be disruptive instead of calming, and each family should consider their unique situation. If you have questions about whether your Carespring facility is dog or cat friendly, please call! We will be glad to answer any questions and help you and your family create the best environment possible to be stronger, better, always.
- May 2015 - Carespring Celebrates National Red Nose Day!
On Thursday, May 21st, all eleven Carespring facilities were excited to participate in National Red Nose Day! All of our team members were given Red Noses and encouraged to wear them during their work day. Red Nose Day is a campaign dedicated to raising money for children and young people living in poverty by simply having fun and making people laugh. Carespring made a donation to the Red Nose Foundation, joining the fight against childhood poverty. The Red Nose mission allowed team members to feel like they were a part of community enrichment through our donation, but was also another way for them to bring joy to the patients we serve. This year was the inaugural year for National Red Nose Day and it was a joy to see the affect it had on our communities! Laughter truly filled the halls! If you're interested in learning more about Red Nose Day, visit their website at www.rednoseday.org.
Check out pictures from our first Red Nose Day at Carespring Facilities!
- May 2015 - Hillspring Celebrates National Nursing Home Week With a Trip to the Wild, Wild West!
Hillspring of Springboro had a little fun celebrating Nursing Home Week, May 10-16th, by taking patients and employees on a trip back to the Wild, Wild West! Check out the fun poem our caregivers wrote and this great picture of our Administrator, Gregg Weaver!
WELCOME TO THE TOWN OF HILLSPRING!
WHERE THE FOLKS COULD BE ON THE WILD SIDE
BUT I GUARANTEE IT’S A DARN FUN RIDE!
A BETTER BUNCH OF GOOFY FRIENDS
YOU’LL NEVER FIND ON EARTH AGAIN.
THEY MAY ACT LIKE LIFE’S JUST A DARE
BUT IT ALWAYS SHOWS HOW MUCH THEY CARE!!
IF YOU NEED A HAND OR JUST WANT TO SHARE
THESE GOOD OLE’ FOLKS WILL BE THERE!!
SO COME ON IN AND STAY AWHILE
WE WILL GREET YOU WITH A FRIENDLY SMILE.
IF YOU’RE HERE TO STAY OR PASSING THROUGH
WE ARE MIGHTY HAPPY TO BE MEETING YOU!!
- April 2015 - Springing Into Action
Springing into Action
For our elderly loved ones, winter can be a challenge. The cold weather restricts mobility and limits even the occasional outdoor activities. So with the burst of sunshine and warmth that come with spring, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of social activities to restore an elderly loved one’s optimism—and health, too.
There are many studies that document the importance of social activities and community-based living for seniors. The health benefits of being surrounded by and involved in shared activities, such as exercise, games and volunteer work, are numerous. One study out of Berkeley showed that social connections can slow cognitive decline, increase motor activity, and decrease risk of developing emotional disorders like depression.
With the change to sunnier, warmer days, April is the perfect time to increase a loved one’s The mild spring weather leaves plenty of opportunity to focus on reigniting personal passions, like gardening, and finding ways to make those activities safe and healthy for loved ones.
Here are five great ways to spring into action:
- Have a picnic outside. The fresh air and sunshine (wear sun protection!) can do wonders for an individual’s emotional health.
- Grow a garden. Planting seeds in a pot or elevated window box can be a great way to bring the outdoors to a more mobile-restricted loved one.
- Paint a birdfeeder. This group activity can result in a great decoration to place outside in view a loved one’s room.
- Spring cleaning. It can be fun! Take time to go through a loved one’s cards, notes and memories from the past year. They can then be stored for easy transition.
- Exercise outside: Taking the health benefits of group exercise to the outdoors is a great way to keep activities interesting and enjoyable. Be sure to modify exercises safely!
- April 2015 - Locals OK Boonespring - but a judge has the final call
UNION – After more than five years of political and court battles, will Boone County finally receive a new nursing home?
County officials seem to think the end is in sight; this week, they granted final approval to the $20 million Boonespring project planned near Union. "I'm extremely excited about the project," said Judge-executive Gary Moore. "I believe there is a need for a senior living facility such as this. We have a growing, aging population in Boone County, and it's a great fit."
The unanimous vote by Boone County Fiscal Court paves the way for construction to begin within just a few months – as long as the final, legal hurdle is cleared. A state judge has yet to rule on the legality of the project, and no timetable has been set for when that might happen. The ruling has been anticipated for months following oral arguments in Franklin Circuit Court last November.
"I'm hopeful that the courts will grant the approval," Moore said. "Again, the need is definitely there. And it would be very unfortunate if they don't."
The county has 11,300 residents aged 65 or older and is projected to add 9,900 more by 2020, but it has just 317 licensed long-term care beds. The ruling could end five years of legal and political wrangling over whether Loveland-based Carespring Health Care Management is able to move the license for 143 additional nursing home beds from Campbell County to Boone County. The company's chief competitor in Northern Kentucky, Baptist Life Communities, has repeatedly challenged the move in court and in the state legislature.
The project has long had the support of Gov. Steve Beshear, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and Northern Kentucky lawmakers. "It's cause for a lot of celebration," Beshear said in December at the grand opening of a sister facility in Cold Spring. "And I certainly don't want to put any pressure on them, but next year, in Boone County, we would like to see something happening there."
About a year ago, the Cabinet amended the state health care plan to allow Carespring to move the beds to Boone County, but Baptist Life Communities challenged the amendment in court. The judge's ruling will address the legality of the amendment. Should the judge rule in favor of Carespring, the company could break ground on Boonespring within a matter of months.
"A rising tide lifts all boats: if we are able to move forward, it benefits everybody in Northern Kentucky," said Carespring executive vice president John Muller. "But being locked up in Franklin Circuit Court doesn't benefit any Northern Kentucky senior."
The company plans a 94,000 square-foot facility on about nine acres of land in the 10000 block of U.S. 42 at Whispering Trail, just outside the Union city limits. The project cost would cost between $20 and $22 million, and it would create 200 permanent jobs. The facility would provide short-term care to individuals recovering from injuries or illness, as well as long-term care for the elderly. The project has sailed through the zoning change process in recent months, with unanimous votes every step of the way. No opposition was presented by Union-area residents, who in 2013 had objected to an earlier site proposed for the project.
- March 2015 - Carespring Has An Amazing Showing at the Cincinnati Heart Mini Marathon!
Carespring has been participating in the Heart Mini Marathon in Cincinnati for years and this year was especially successful! Carespring raised over $20,000 and have more than 225 people walk or run! Kim Majick, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Admissions spearheads the event at Carespring every year, gathering participation and support from coworkers and partners of Carespring. "This cause is close to my heart, personally, but is also a cause that is important to many of our patients and staff. Almost everyone has either experienced heart disease themselves, or has a close friend or loved one who has, so the efforts of the American Heart Association touch so many lives," says Majick.
Carespring goes the extra mile to make an impact on the community that we serve and the participation in the Heart Mini Marathon is just one example of that. It's always incredible to see our Caregivers give back to Cincinnati and Dayton and we appreciate them for their community involvement. We can't wait to see what we can do at the 2016 Heart Mini Marathon!
- November 2014 - Shawneespring Hosts #Layup4Lauren Event
From Channel 12 WKRC:
UPDATED: Tuesday, November 25 2014, 03:55 PM EST HARRISON, Ohio
(WKRC) -- Shawneespring, a Transitional Care Center in Harrison, Ohio hosted a “#Layup4Lauren” challenge on Saturday afternoon, November 15th, 2014, in honor of Lauren Hill. One woman, who shares Lauren’s spirit of never giving up, threw up the ball and missed eight times before a hoop was brought over that was more her size. She then made a basket on the first try. All the money raised on Saturday benefited “The Cure Starts Now" foundation.
- September 2014 - Cold Spring Nursing Home to Open in November
COLD SPRING – The Carespring transitional care facility, located between Ky. 9 and U.S. 27, is set to open in November.
According to Kim Majick, executive vice president of Carespring Health Care Management, construction of similar facilities usually takes 18 months and this 94,500-square-feet facility is right on schedule. "This is a one-of-a-kind facility with an amazing design,” she said.
Carespring, a company headquartered in Loveland, Ohio, operates 12 nursing care facilities including Coldspring at 300 Plaza Drive, two facilities in Fort Thomas and one in Erlanger.
Majick said Carespring also hopes to build a similar facility in Boone County, if the nursing care beds can be moved from Campbell to Boone.
She said the transitional care at Coldspring will include “short-term rehabilitative services” for people recovering from sudden injury or illness and planned surgeries, as well as those who require long-term nursing care. The two-story facility will serve 143 residents, according to Majick, who said a self-serve Starbucks coffee shop is planned for each resident floor. “One of the things we recognize is that patients and residents really want private rooms, so we have developed a design that allows every resident to feel like they’re in a private residence,” she said.
Majick said Carespring maintains an in-house therapy team, which includes physical, occupational and speech therapists, so that the same people are working with residents on a regular basis.
Other amenities of the Coldspring facility will include a beauty shop, three different physical and occupational therapy gyms, a chapel and a family guest suite, where family members can stay overnight or longer.
- March 2014 - Barrington Ft. Thomas Thanks Gifts for Grace Supporters
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2014
For Information, Contact
Kathy Groob, 859-291-9001
SUBJECT: Barrington Ft. Thomas Thanks Gifts for Grace Supporters - Donors Invited to Final Sunday of the Month Brunch
Ft. Thomas, KY–The Barrington of Ft. Thomas is inviting of its donors to the Gifts for Grace program to brunch this Sunday or any final Sunday of the month when they host their monthly Champagne Brunch. For two years Barrington has sponsored the Gifts for Grace toy drive, honoring the memory of five-year-old Grace Elizabeth Inyart. Grace was involved in a car accident in August 2012 that left her without the ability to walk or talk. Grace spent her fifth birthday in the hospital after intensive therapy, made it home with her family just before Thanksgiving. The story does not have a happy ending, however. Grace acquired pneumonia and due to complications died at Midnight on December 2, 2012. Staff at the Barrington sought to make something positive out of a tragedy and organized a toy drive for needy children.
Many local businesses and individuals joined in support of Gifts for Grace. These include Fort Thomas Florist, The Law Offices of Fessler, Schneider and Grimme along with other residents and families of The Barrrington who made the project a success within a short time.
“There are two of young boys that especially touched our hearts,” said Carespring Registered Nurse, Debbie Berling who was the aunt of Grace Inyart. “Evan Lebrecht and Ean Hart both made heart felt donations. The boys celebrated birthdays on the same day and because of Grace’s story, all of the toys from their party in 2012 were donated to Gifts from Grace. They again donated their presents in 2013. This is a true selfless act. We want to show our appreciation to the special and awesome support that people have shown to a little girl whose life was cut short but has affected many others in her short life. We are not able to meet each person who contributed, but want to take this time to thank everyone for their support and participation with Gifts from Grace.”
The Barrington Champagne brunches are held on the final Sunday of each month from 11:30 a.m until 2 p.m. RSVPs are required by calling 859-572-0667.
The Barrington of Ft. Thomas is an independent living community located at 940 Highland Avenue, Ft. Thomas Kentucky. For a personal consultation and tour, call 859-609-3307.