Guest Author: Coastal Orthopedics
More than one-third of people over 65 fall each year, and one fall makes you at risk for more falls. How can you create our own fall prevention plan to maximize independence in doing the things you enjoy each day? Great news! Here’s 3 steps to get started in your home or senior living facility today.
#1: Makeover your environment
Most falls happen when we trip over something unexpectedly. Take inventory of your living space:
Everything from leg strength to head movement without getting dizzy can be improved with specific exercise. Regular exercise, even 5 minutes per day, can add up to make a difference at any decade within almost any circumstance. Examples include:
Doctors don’t know what you are experiencing until you share your concerns with them. Your eyes, ears, brain, muscles, and breathing all contribute to your balance. Here are a few tips to build a great relationship with your doctors so they can help you:
The next level
About the Author & getting more help with fall prevention:
To collaborate with a doctor or physical therapist to restore your strength, balance, and function, speak to an orthopedic specialist at Coastal Orthopedics. It’s their mission to help patients live life to the fullest. Call today at 941-792-1404 or request and appointment online at https://www.coastalorthopedics.com/.
Since 1973, Coastal Orthopedics has provided comprehensive orthopedics, sports medicine, physical therapy and pain management services to the residents of Manatee and Sarasota Counties.
The safety of our loved ones is always our highest concern, and that has been magnified during the COVID Era. It’s difficult to see through all of the conflicting information being shared to determine if it’s fact or opinion. As a Caregiver, it’s important that you are arming yourself with the information you need to make the best decisions for your loved one and family.
Because of so many unknowns and fear, many Seniors who are truly in need of higher levels of care have delayed moving into a Senior Living Community setting since the outbreak of COVID. Now that many states, including Florida, are lifting a lot of the lockdown protocols, family Caregivers are trying to determine whether or not it’s the right time to move a loved one in, and how to determine if a community is safe.
Here are 7 questions you can ask the Community to determine safety and help you make an educated decision for your loved one:
1. What is their testing protocol?
This will vary depending on the state mandate (if there is one) and the community itself. Are they testing residents and staff consistently or just on a need-to basis if there are symptoms being shown?
2. What are their visitation protocols?
As more states start lifting the visitation ban on Senior Living Communities, it’s important that you understand what the rules and regulations are. Not just so you know if/when YOU can visit, but also to determine if safety measures will continue to be followed. In Florida, every community is able to create their own protocols for visitation. Some things to determine: is there a limit to the number of visitors a day/week? Are they allowed throughout the community or just a specific visitation area? Are temp checks and screening done beforehand?
3. What are their Caregiver/Staff safety protocols?
Dig into the training and monitoring of the safety protocols that staff have to follow. Are masks being worn and enforced at all times? Are there temp checks before shifts, hand washing routines, etc.
4. What is the Community’s Caregiver to resident ratios?
This is important information for so many reasons, but especially when it comes to COVID safety. If Caregivers are spread too thin, it’s difficult for them to monitor resident safety in terms of socially distancing, wearing masks in common areas, etc.
5. How many positive cases have they had? When was the last one?
This helps paint a bigger picture of the situation. That said, make sure you are asking when the last case was and how it was managed. For example: if a community had a handful of cases but not since May 2020, that is a major fact that should be considered.
6. What are the communication protocols with resident’s families?
Things are rapidly changing and it’s important that families of residents are informed. Are families notified when safety protocols change for staff or residents? What if a resident or staff member tests positive for COVID?
7. What are the community’s activity and dining protocols?
Socialization and engagement are some of the biggest advantages of being in a Senior Living Community. That said, we want to make sure they are being done in a safe way. What kinds of activities are currently on the calendar? Is there social distancing and/or masks being worn? Is there communal dining? How is that being managed?
Part of our job at Sunways is to be asking all of these questions proactively and getting that information to our clients. Managing this process is overwhelming for so many reasons. We’re a free service to families, so there’s nothing to lose by having us serve as your advocate and guarantee you’re making the best decision. Reach out to us and let us know how we can help!
Guest Author: Kristen Schenerlein
Do you find yourself feeling anxious or worrying a lot? Most of us do so, why? The reality IS that those anxious feelings are simply our minds getting ahead of ourselves… anxiety and worry shows us that we are not living in the present moment...we are thinking about the future. The future being something that is largely unknown. And what we are missing in those moments are what is going on right in front of our eyes. The sounds, the smells, the feelings… What would you say if I told you that the simple act of breathing could change your connection with the present moment...with those around you that you love and are so grateful for.
Yoga and Meditation are practices that can help you in being more present in your lives. Centering yourself, connecting with your breath...something that we ALL take for granted. Truly breathing deeply, with conscious attention to the timing and pace of your breath are shown to have positive effects on both your body and your mind. A recent study in the journal of Neurophysiology found that “paced breathing also uses neural networks beyond the brainstem that are tied to emotion, attention, and body awareness. By tapping into these networks using the breath, we gain access to a powerful tool for regulating our responses to stress.”
As we age, the impact of a yoga and meditation practice go far beyond the reduction of stress and anxiety… they provide a myriad of physical and cognitive benefits as well. Due to the fluid nature of the practice of yoga, where you are connecting the breath work previously mentioned with simple body movements, ( yes, there are simple movements I promise...ones you can even do from a chair!)...you may find an alternative to painkillers while building muscle strength and easing tension in joints, which also helps with reducing stress often stemming from pain and discomfort. This movement also increases blood flow...which aides in creating a calmer more peaceful state within your mind, as well as your body.
Regular practice is important for overall health of cognition and memory...a clear mind is a beautiful place to be, right? Not to mention that you will notice improvements to your mood… something that can help us in riding the waves of life that seem more challenging as we age! If you embrace these ideas of a more peaceful you...and are open to exploring a bit more ...maybe experiencing for yourself how simple movements of the body and connection to the breath can have such amazing impacts on your overall quality of life...there are now so many resources online. At Neuro Challenge we have created a few, ranging from 5 minutes to 30 minutes for varying levels, so take a look and start where you are...no pressure...just attention to the present moment to lock in all the benefits of these ancient practices.
PS- here is a little 13 min that I recorded today on LongBoat Key...just for you!
Also, Zoom Classes offered every Sunday too!
About the Author:
Kristen Schenerlein is the Program Director for Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson's, a non-profit whose programs and services are dedicated to improve the quality of life of people with Parkinson's Disease and their Caregivers. She also is a yoga instructor at Feel Good Yoga Longboat Key.
When someone has dementia, changes the brain causes cognitive decline and impacts how they listen, comprehend and communicate. This can be such an emotional transition for family Caregivers, because you feel like you’re losing your ability to connect with your loved one like you have in the past.
Integrating some of these communication techniques can make caregiving less stressful and improve the relationship you have with your loved one.
1. Relaxed body language and facial expressions. Smile!
At times when they are confused by your words or meaning, they’ll pick up on non-verbal communication like body language. If you are coming across frustrated or mad, they will focus on that, not what you’re actually saying. Uncrossing your arms and smiling makes the world of difference!
2. Eye Contact.
This helps hold their attention during the interaction to avoid distractions.
3. Hand motions and props to SHOW what you mean.
Non-verbal gestures and cues can help your loved one understand your message if they are having a hard time with word association. If you are asking them if they want a glass of water, at the same time, use your hand to make a drinking gesture to help them along in the conversation.
4. One topic or choice at a time. Yes or No. This or that.
Too many options will lead to confusion, so simplicity is key! Yes or No questions are best, or just 1 choice…”Do you want to watch the news or the baseball game?” Not, “What do you want to watch?”
5. Physical contact.
Physical touch brings reassurance, feelings of affection and security to your loved one. A simple embrace or a hand on their back or arm while speaking makes a big impact and will put them at ease.
6. Slow, calm, patient tone.
Cognitive decline slows the ability to process information. When speaking, try to speak a bit slower and keep a tone that is calm and even…yes, we know this is easier said than done! Sometimes taking a few breathes before engaging or re-attempting the question helps.
7. Short, simple sentences.
We don’t realize that our typical verbal communication is more like one big run on sentence! When that happens, it’s difficult for our loved one to connect the beginning of the message with the middle and end. To help this, break up the message or story into small chunks and simple sentences so they can follow along, and even if they get a bit lost along the way, they are still comprehending each section.
If you are looking for more resources or information on care options for your aging loved one, please reach out to Sunways directly so we can help support you on your journey!
Respite care can provide a much needed break for family caregivers and help avoid burnout. According to the AARP and NAC report, “Caregiving in the US 2020”, more than a third of family Caregivers rate their job as highly emotionally stressful, and nearly 1 in 5 reports a high level of physical strain.
We’ve all heard the phrase: “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”, yet making time for self care and respite is one of the hardest things for Caregivers to do. It’s important to remember that taking a break will only make you a better Caregiver, with more emotional and physical stamina to care for your loved one!
Here are a few options:
If you or someone you love is a Caregiver in need of respite and wants some more information about specific services or communities that will meet your needs, reach out to us! Sunways is a FREE service for Seniors and their Caregivers and we’re here to help!
Remember: “Self compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” -Christopher Germer
Recently we were a guest on the well-known entrepreneur podcast, The Shrimp Tank! The podcast is a nationally syndicated podcast on iHeart RADIO and in their words, “Is where street smarts and book smarts collide.” They interview up-and-coming business owners to talk about their experience, lessons and how they’re making it happen!
To say we were grateful for the opportunity to be on the podcast is an understatement! Listening to podcasts to gain inspiration, insight and knowledge has made a HUGE impact on our entrepreneurial journey. When we’re both in the office, you’ll usually find a podcast of some sort playing in the background so we can be passively learning while going about our day. If you haven’t tried doing the same….you should!
The conversation with Micah and Mark from The Shrimp Tank focused on our background, but also our future…and to us, that’s the most exciting part. Here’s just a few of the take-aways that we cover:
We hope you take a listen to the whole interview and enjoy! Clink the link below to get the audio and video recording.
One of the hardest parts of being a family Caregiver is time management. There are just NEVER enough hours in the day! Most Caregivers are juggling multiple responsibilities and usually caring for multiple people, like maybe an aging parent and also a child at home. Add on a full time job, a spouse, personal projects and life in general, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a growing To Do list.
Here are 10 tips to improve your time management skills, which in turn, will lower your stress levels!
1. Plan ahead
Many times we tell ourselves that we “don’t have time to plan”, when in actuality, we don’t have time NOT to plan! This could be organizing your calendar for the week on a Sunday, creating a meal plan for your trip to the grocery store, or even coordinating caregiver services for your loved one. Taking 15 minutes to “plan” will save your hours of confusion and frustration down the road.
2. Schedule “me time” first
Lets be honest, in a crunch, the FIRST thing to get kicked to the curb is self care and personal time. Remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup! When planning for your day or week, pencil in time for yourself to recharge and hold yourself to doing it.
3. Define roles and responsibilities
When working with others to care for an aging loved one, expectations need to be clear on roles and responsibilities so everyone is on the same page. If not, tasks will fall through the cracks, tempers flair and more time is spent scrambling and re-arranging schedules to fix the mix-up.
4. Make a list and write it down
Taking the information and tasks you need to do out of your head and onto a written list is a great way to make sure you’re being effective with your time, and allows you to create a gameplan instead of flying from one task to the next with no direction.
5. Prioritize your To Do list
Speaking of, once you have your list, PRIORITIZE IT! Not every task is equally important. Complete harder or more urgent tasks first to guarantee you feel good about what you accomplished that day.
6. Be strategic
Once you’ve prioritized your To Do list, be strategic about tackling it! What can you “double up” on? For example: maybe you can call your family member while you’re folding laundry. Another tip is to piggyback your errands. For example, if you have to go grocery shopping and deposit a check at the bank this week, plan to do both on the same trip out to avoid multiple trips!
Studies show that when there is clutter and confusion in our environment, our brain tends to act the same way. This impacts our ability to focus and slows down our productivity. Spending a few minutes to clear the kitchen table before sitting down to tackle your agenda will make a big difference on how quickly you get it done.
8. Accept Help
This is one of the HARDEST things for a family Caregiver to do and is one of the most important! Asking for help, and more importantly ACCEPTING IT will make a huge impact on your time management and stress levels. It takes a village!
9. Have a morning routine to set the tone
Studies show that people who have a focused morning routine are more productive and intentional throughout the rest of the day. Taking control of your mindset and “setting the tone” for the day is incredibly empowering. Try integrating a gratitude journal or some light stretching.
10.Avoid procrastination paralysis
This is a toughie. Procrastination is an easy habit to fall into, especially when it comes to tasks we don’t want to do! Avoid adding things to your To Do list by immediately just getting it done. For example, document and file your prescription receipts or doctor documents as soon as you get them, instead of “getting to it later”.
Guest Author: Alley Hathaway
Although much of a person’s life is spent planning, (planning for a wedding, for children, school, retirement) few will plan for their end-of-life care. While not all people will use hospice services in their lifetime, understanding the options available is of great importance. Hospice is associated with many myths, so here are the facts of hospice care, according to an employee of Tidewell Hospice.
A lot of the questions we get are based around qualifications, eligibility, insurance, and cost. I also hear a lot of questions about care and the team of caregivers.
A common misconception is that, with hospice, a patient receives less care than an individual not under care. When a patient signs on to service with Tidewell, a whole team of caregivers assist in the plan of care. Patients have access to a nurse whenever they need additional assistance with symptom management. CNAs, chaplains, social workers, physicians, case managers, and many other caregivers make up the interdisciplinary team. Interdisciplinary teams meet weekly to discuss patient needs and plans of care. On top of this, patients can choose to keep their primary care physician. Whether a patient is in a facility, at home, or in the hospital, continue to care for them.
As for who qualifies for hospice care: An individual must have a prognosis of six months or less, according to a doctor, if their admitting diagnosis follows its normal, natural progression. Of course, if someone were to come onto service and live beyond six months, Tidewell may still be able to provide care. Basically, the care team re-evaluates the patient’s eligibility and, if he or she still qualifies (meaning: if the patient still is in that “six-month” prognosis window), he or she will stay on service with hospice.
If a patient qualifies, the cost of care related to the admitting diagnosis is completely covered under insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid. In the case that someone is in need of our services and is uninsured, we have sliding scale fees and have, thanks to our Philanthropy Department (now the Tidewell Foundation), we are able to provide about $2 million in unreimbursed care every year. Tidewell Hospice is a not-for-profit hospice, and, because of this, we never turn patients away. If someone needs services, is hospice eligible, but cannot pay, Tidewell will still accept that patient. We put patients before anything else.
About the Author:
Alley Hathaway is the Community Relations Representative for Tidewell Hospice
Tidewell Hospice has served Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties for 40 years and is always looking for new ways to help their community.
Our health goals and meanings evolve as we age, so when we strip away all the myths and scary ideas of what hospice is, we can make truly informed decisions.
Being a family Caregiver, especially for an aging loved one, can be a taxing journey. It’s often a thankless job, and very few people really know what it entails…emotionally, physically, financially or mentally.
If you have a family Caregiver in your life who’s a family member or friend, there are some ways you can support them. Many times, the smallest gesture goes the furthest, so it’s not about spending a lot of money. Here are 5 easy ways you can offer support and love to a family Caregiver in your life TODAY:
Guest Author: Misti Schroeder, LMFT LMHC
With Healthy Aging Month right around the corner, we are obligated more than ever to look at all aspects of healthy aging, including mental health. We have come to learn that each generation has its own set of rules and standards about how to deal with life’s crises in many different ways. The stigma of mental illness and seeking treatment for it. is one that we see very commonly in the baby boomer generation. Given that the rates of mental illness are rising in this population we could be looking at a dangerous combination. According to recent surveys it is estimated that “20 percent of people age 55 or older experience some type of mental health issue and the number of older adults with depression is expected to double between 2010 and 2030” (Siervo, 2019).
It is now more important than ever that we begin to reduce this stigma and identify these signs and symptoms of mental illness in our loved ones and the ones that we care for. Grief and loss, loneliness, isolation, increasing medical concerns and lack of productivity are just a few of the life stressors we see in our mature adult population. These are also major risk factors for depression and anxiety. It is important to understand that although these are natural parts of the aging process, they do not have to be all encompassing and pathological. Caregivers play a very important role. By being educated and open to discussing these common issues, caregivers can provide support and assistance when things appear to be out of the ordinary.
Below are some signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for:
When these signs are noticed, action can be taken to assist those we care about to facilitate the healthy aging process. Here are a few things that can be tried when the above symptoms are spotted:
About the Author:
Misti Schroeder, LMFT LMHC
Director of Business Development
Suncoast Behavioral Health Center
Rowan, K. (2013, May 30). Baby Boomers' Mental Health Faces Crisis, Report Says. Retrieved July 14, 2020, from https://www.livescience.com/36542-baby-boomers-mental-health-crisis.html
Siervo, M. (2019, February 28). Mental Health and Baby Boomers: Reducing Stigma Key to Healthy Aging. Retrieved July 14, 2020, from https://www.wellmedhealthcare.com/mental-health-and-baby-boomers-reducing-stigma-key-to-healthy-aging/
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Elli is the President of Sunways and loves spending time outside with her family, and is passionate about cooking and holistic health.