Essential oils are a great, drug-free way to support yourself and your loved one. Aromatherapy has incredible therapeutic value both emotionally & physically! Some benefits include:
✔️ improve mood + sleep
✔️ decrease stress
✔️ boost immune system
✔️ decrease inflammation
They can be an incredible tool, but sometimes overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Let’s go over a few basics:
How to Use Essential Oils
The two main ways to use essential oils is aromatically (inhaling) and topically (applying to the skin). Aromatherapy can be done by inhaling right from the essential oil bottle or using a diffuser. This is a great option for Seniors who live in a community or apartment to avoid the health and safety hazard of burning candles.
When applying topically, you can put directly on your skin in the area you are looking for support. It’s suggested to dilute with a carrier oil like coconut oil, especially when just starting out. Using a pre-made rollerball is an easy, no-mess way to apply this way.
Like with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Purity matters with essential oils. Bottles may be labeled “pure” or “therapeutic grade” but only include 10% essential oils and the rest fillers and chemicals. Research the brand and make sure it’s a safe product.
Popular Essential Oils for Seniors & Caregivers
Lavender : great for stress, calming the brain and body, improved focus
Frankincense : healing, cell regeneration qualities, skin & wound care
Citrus oils like Orange or Lemon : improves mood, cleans the air
Rosemary: supports immune & respiratory system
At Sunways, we are passionate about holistic options like this to support our Senior Community! Reach out to us to get more resources and information on essential oils or ways you can support yourself or your loved one naturally.
We all know that our diet directly effects our health. Many times we only focus on how it affects our physical wellness, however, research is now showing us that there’s a direct correlation between our diet and our cognitive well-being. This includes the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Studies show that people that eat green leafy vegetables have less cognitive impairment. Similar studies also illustrate that there is a direct relationship that connects a diet rich with those same green leafy vegetables with lower levels of obesity, heart disease and blood pressure which all corelate with dementia as well.
So great, now we know diet is important, but where do you start? Here are 4 foods that are pretty simple to get your hands on and easy to work into your or a loved one’s daily routine. The best part is, they also yield some of the best results!
Oh, and check out the smoothie recipe at the end where you can get a 4-in-1!
Antioxidants have amazing anti-aging properties, fight oxidative stress and impact cognitive function in a big way. There are a lot of fruit and veg high in antioxidants including berries, kale and herbs like basil or cilantro.
For a long time we were told to avoid fat like the plague, but studies show that not all fats are created equal. Healthy fats are essential for brain function. Research shows that a diet rich in them, especially omega 3 which are anti-inflammatory, has an positive effect on patients. Coconut oil is one of the best sources, as well as fish and grass fed meats.
This spice is a double whammy because it’s both high in antioxidants and is very anti-inflammatory as well. This is important since many studies show a direct link between inflammation and Alzheimer’s Disease. Turmeric is what makes curries that beautiful yellow color. You can find it in the spice isle at your local grocery store and add 1/2 teaspoon to a smoothie or sprinkle on roasted veggies.
Vitamin B, especially B6 and B12, is linked to preventing and slowing dementia. Foods like leafy greens, salmon, eggs and shellfish (clams, oysters, crab, clams) are all great sources.
Brain Power Smoothie
1 cup frozen berries (antioxidant)
1 cup kale or spinach (vitamin B + antioxidant)
½ cup coconut milk (healthy fat)
¼ teaspoon turmeric (antioxidant)
½ cup water
Combine in a blender on high until smooth. Drink up!
If you or a loved on is thinking about moving into a Community, tours are in your future. Whether you’re looking for Independent, Assisted Living, Memory Care or Skilled Nursing, it’s important to see a community first hand. The sights, the smells, the people…it all matters and it’s not something you can get from a website or marketing brochure.
There’s some Do’s and Don’ts to consider while you’re making the rounds, so lets jump in:
DO have a plan. Know what’s important to you, your loved ones and all the Caretakers involved. You don’t want to choose a community based on a staged bedroom’s color scheme…pull back those covers and know what REALLY matters. Not sure where to start? See our blog post on making a list.
DON’T just tour one community. We suggest touring at least three different communities to compare and contrast. This will confirm your decision and also give you an idea of other amenities, environments, floor plans and pricing options. You don’t know, what you don’t know.
DO tour during mealtime. Not only will this give you insight to the menu and daily options, but you’ll also get a feel for the other residents and see how the staff interacts. Just like at home, you see someone’s true colors around the dinner (or lunch) table!
DON’T forget to meet the staff. Learning about the care staff at a community is one of the most important reasons why you tour. Ask to meet the Head of Nursing or a staff member. Do they have nurses on staff? Are they there 24/7? What is the average tenure of their care staff (aka do they have a lot of turnover?) When you see them in the halls are they smiling and engaging?
DO check out the Activities Calendar. Socialization is one of the biggest benefits to living in a Community. Most will have their monthly calendar printed out and displayed in a main area for residents to access. If there are activities, trips, crafts and gatherings that are of interest, usually that’s a good sign that there are other residents with similar hobbies.
DON’T leave without getting all your questions answered. Seriously. Every single one. Make sure you have a clear understanding on the pricing structure and what next steps would be if you decide on that community.
Still a bit overwhelmed? Reach out to us and we can come up with a tour plan for you and even tag along to make sure you’re getting all the info you need to make the best decision. Let us know how we can help!
We all have decisions to make, but we can agree that some are harder than others. As a Caregiver, you’re faced with tough calls every. stinking. day. There are so many factors to consider and outcomes to weigh. One of the best things you can do is to try and take the emotion out of it and look at the hard facts, and the best way to do that is to write it down!
If you’re a list maker by nature, you’re saying “well, duh!”…but if you’re not, this could be a step outside your comfort zone. There are so many great things that come out of taking all the information out of the dark corners of your brain, and into the light of a piece of paper so you can really see what’s there.
Beyond everything, a list is a Caregiver’s best friend because it becomes an unbiased tool to communicate to family members and friends on where you’re coming from to get everyone on the same page…and we can all agree that sometimes that’s the hardest part in all of this.
Here’s our process when making a list to compare options and make a decision.
STEP 1: The brain dump
Write down all of the qualities that are important for you/your family in an ideal situation. What’s the “best case scenario”. Don’t hold back or tell yourself that it’s unrealistic…just write it down! There’s plenty of time later to pull the Reality Card, but for now, see what comes out when you let yourself brainstorm.
STEP 2: Prioritize
Ok, so here’s where that Reality Card comes in. It’s time to take that list and put them in order prioritizing them from most important (aka “must haves”) down to things that are just nice to have or pluses”. Now here’s the catch: they can’t ALL be deal breakers. Pick your top 3 that are non-negotiable and work your way down.
STEP 3: Use the list to compare
Now it’s time to use this list so you can compare apples to apples. Take it on every tour, or every meeting/interview you have with a service provider to make sure you are getting questions answered and reminded of what really matters.
STEP 4: Make a decision
Now that you have the facts, making the decision will probably be the easy part. You’ll have all the data you need on your top priorities to see which option hits the majority of your priorities…especially your top 3!
Once you get in the habit of jotting down lists to help make decisions, it becomes second nature. Even better, it becomes a tool you can use to as a Caregiver to take stress, guilt and pressure off knowing you have done your due diligence and have the facts to back it up.
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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.