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How The Mediterranean Diet Can Help Boost Senior Health

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How The Mediterranean Diet Can Help Boost Senior Health

As we age, the nutrients our bodies need start to change. This makes it very important for the elderly to be more mindful of what they eat to stay healthy and prevent the development of various diseases such as Alzheimer’s. As highlighted in a previous post, following specific diets such as the Mediterranean Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 53%. Aside from promoting brain health, here are some more ways a Mediterranean diet can help boost the health of senior citizens:

Boosts the immune system

One of the most common fruits found in Mediterranean dishes is avocado. This fruit is relatively popular across America as the perfect topping on toast and as a great source of heart-healthy fats. US News states that the oils derived from avocado are rich in monosaturated fats, which are associated with cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory benefits, and phytosterols, which help reduce the absorption of cholesterol. Elderly people usually suffer from nutrient deficiencies which Parsley Health explains can bring forth various symptoms such as depression, lethargy, and brittle hair and nails. Power-packed with vitamin E, vitamin K, B vitamins, folate, potassium, and vitamin C, avocados and avocado oils can help provide elderly people with the nutrients they need to stay healthy and address some of these symptoms.

Improves gut function

As people age, the immune response of their gut becomes less effective. Medical News Today claims that this decline is often linked to the changes in the gut microbiome or the communities of bacteria and microorganisms that live in the gastrointestinal tract. These changes are often associated with inflammation, increased frailty, and a predisposition to intestinal illnesses. Fortunately, it is possible to rejuvenate the gut’s immune system. According to a study published in the Journal of the British Society of Gastroenterology, subscribing to a Mediterranean diet for a year can effectively alter the microbiome of elderly people in such a way that it improves brain function. The Mediterranean diet that follows the principle of eating lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish and olive oil and little red meat, sugar, and saturated fats slows down the loss of bacterial diversity and the production of harmful inflammatory markers.

Promotes longevity

Aside from protecting people against certain types of cancer and cognitive decline, the Mediterranean diet in old age is also said to promote longevity. The Insider notes how the Mediterranean diet has been associated with the regions of the world where people tend to live the longest and healthiest. One of the easiest ways to incorporate this diet into your meals is by using liberal amounts of olive oil in your cooking. Olive oil is a fantastic source of powerful antioxidants that help protect the body against free radicals that cause cell damage and contribute to the development of diseases. Michael Simmons shared in an article on the Medium that olive oil can help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and protect old people against strokes.

In summary, a Mediterranean diet not only provides a number of benefits that includes an improved immune system, longevity, and gut function, it is also easy to follow and should be a major consideration for the elderly across the world that will provide them with immeasurable benefits.

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living, March, 2020.

Seniors Enjoy Specialized Programs That Maximize Their Quality Of Life And Support Their Cognitive Health

Most of us know that people who are experiencing conditions such as Alzheimer’s or dementia need medical care. There are obviously doctor’s appointments to attend, medications to administer, and conditions and symptoms to be monitored and managed. But in addition to all of their medical care, people experiencing memory challenges also benefit from a wide variety of lifestyle factors that can support not only their cognitive health, but also their overall quality of life.

That’s why Copper Canyon Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Tucson, Arizona, prioritizes residents’ lifestyle in addition to their medical care. Residents enjoy a variety of programs that are meant to support their physical health, mental health, and overall quality of life.

Specialized Memory Care Programming

Copper Canyon applies a Montessori-style approach to its memory care programming. While the Montessori approach was originally developed for early childhood education, Copper Canyon has built upon this approach, modifying it to honor the age and experiences of their residents. The program provides sensory stimulation and encourages cognitive stimulation while building on existing social skills. This unique programming enables your loved one to live life to the fullest in a safe and secure environment.

The community also designs its memory care and other resident programs specifically to nurture the physical, social, spiritual, cognitive, and emotional needs of all residents. The community’s programming is built on the research-backed six “Sunshine Pillars of Wellness.” That means each resident can receive not only assistance with the regular activities of daily life, but also support in the following areas: physical engagement, social connections, spiritual support, intellectual discovery, sensory stimulation, and emotional expression. As part of this programming, residents can enjoy activities such as music therapy, aromatherapy, validation techniques, health and wellness activities, and life skills stations.

Unique Dining Program

Even the community’s dining program is designed for the particular needs of memory care residents. Copper Canyon’s daily menu incorporates foods from the Rush University Medical Center MIND diet, which fosters brain health. This diet includes healthy foods such as green vegetables, nuts, berries, whole grains, beans, and lean protein sources like fish and chicken. The diet also excludes or limits foods that research suggests may not support cognitive health. The research suggests that even “modest adherence” to the MIND Diet can provide support for one’s cognitive health.

As part of Copper Canyon’s dining program, entrees are served on colored plates to stimulate appetite, and a server greets each resident individually with multiple daily menu choices. This unique 24/7 dining program, in conjunction with the community’s many Memory Care programs, is intended to help hold off memory issues for as long as possible.

Safety and Security

The Copper Canyon community was specifically designed with your loved one’s safety in mind. Each apartment offers a safe and convenient floorplan as well as safety pull cords. Each resident also wears a location-based pendant to provide you with an extra sense of security. The community’s grounds allow residents to enjoy the Arizona weather in a safe environment; the secured walking paths and enclosed gardens encourage a daily stroll, and residents can rest on the patio area’s comfortable benches to enjoy the beautiful views.

Your loved one will never be alone at Copper Canyon. The community’s team includes a highly-trained Executive Director, Health Services Director, and Life Enrichment Director. Each of these professionals, as well as the rest of the staff, are trained to provide customized, person-centered care to each resident, including options for health monitoring, medication management, assistance with dressing, bathing, grooming, and oral care.

All of these programs provide a lifestyle that supports your loved one’s quality of life in addition to their physical health.

To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Copper Canyon, contact our friendly team today.

A Specialized Memory Care Community Provides Many Advantages Over In-Home Care

When your loved one begins experiencing memory challenges and starts to need additional assistance with the activities of daily living, there are many options for providing them the necessary care. You or another family member or friend could provide the care yourself, or you could hire in-home assistance from a licensed professional.

But both of those options lack the advantages of a dedicated memory care community like Belleview Heights Assisted Living and Memory Care in Aurora, Colorado. The specialized care and programming at the community means your loved one will not only receive the assistance they need, but their quality of life will be maximized, as well.

Specialized memory care programming goes beyond in-home options

In-home caregiving can certainly provide your loved one with assistance like medication management, chores, dressing, shopping, and transportation. But at a community, your loved one also has the benefit of participating in specialized memory care programming that is designed to increase their quality of life.

At Belleview Heights, community activities are designed to nurture the physical, social, spiritual, cognitive, and emotional needs of all residents. The community’s programming is built on the research-backed six “Sunshine Pillars of Wellness.” Through this program, each resident receives support in the following areas: physical engagement, social connections, spiritual support, intellectual discovery, sensory stimulation, and emotional expression.

Community design keeps residents safe and happy

It can be tough to decide to move your loved one out of the home they’ve lived in comfortably for years. But for those experiencing memory challenges, the average home presents many safety concerns you may not have considered. Conditions like dementia or other memory challenges may affect a person’s spatial awareness and balance, meaning that everyday home features become much more dangerous. Normal items such as throw rugs, kitchen appliances, differences in flooring or elevation, and showers without safety features such as handrails, could cause accidents.

At a community like Belleview Heights, everything from the community’s grounds to the residents’ dwellings are designed with residents’ safety and comfort in mind. Living spaces are specifically designed with consistent, flat flooring, accessible bathroom safety features, and safety pull cords to keep residents safe and comfortable. Residents also wear location-based pendants to provide their loved ones with peace of mind. And the community grounds are designed to be both safe and secure as well as conducive to residents living a full, engaged life.

Social connection is crucial for memory care residents

Research suggests that socializing with others is a critical factor in slowing cognitive decline. If your loved one receives at-home care and cannot attend social events outside of their home like they used to, they may be missing out on many social opportunities that they used to enjoy.

At Belleview Heights, residents regularly socialize with both the staff and other residents. A certified Life Enrichment Director leads the community in engaging daily activities, weekly on-site social events, and fun cultural excursions as part of their researched-backed health and wellness program. Residents can enjoy programs such as music therapy, aromatherapy, validation techniques, health and wellness activities, and life skills stations.

Trained and licensed staff provide 24/7 individualized care

It could be the case that an in-home caregiver cannot be able to be with your loved one around the clock. That leaves you or another friend or family member to pick up the slack when your loved one needs medication, assistance with house chores, meals, or other help.

But at a memory care community, your loved one is never alone, and you have complete peace of mind. Belleview Heights’ trained and licensed staff is available 24/7, ensuring that your loved one receives the assistance that they need at any time of the day or night.

It is clear that the immersive, caring environment of a specialized memory care community provides distinct advantages over in-home care options. A memory care community like Belleview Heights is where your loved one will be safe, healthy, and happy!

To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Belleview Heights, contact our friendly team today.

Stone Valley Provides Unmatched Care To Alleviate Pressure On Caregivers

Because we love our friends and family, we do everything we can to help them when they start experiencing memory challenges or needing assistance with the activities of daily life. We cook for them, clean their homes, go shopping for them, take them to appointments, and keep them company when they’re no longer able to attend social events like they used to.

But all of these additional activities, coupled with the emotional strain of caring for a loved one, can lead to a phenomenon called Caregiver Burnout. According to WebMD, Caregiver Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude — from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned. Burnout can occur when caregivers don’t receive needed support, or if they repeatedly exceed their physical or financial capabilities. Caregivers can experience fatigue, stress, anxiety and depression, and often feel guilty if they spend time on themselves rather than with their loved ones.

Thankfully, there is another option. Stone Valley Assisted Living and Memory Care Community in Reno, Nevada, provides its residents with unmatched care and quality of life. And they also provide their residents’ families and friends with complete peace of mind.

Trained and licensed staff provide 24/7 care

If you are the only caregiver for your loved one, you may find it difficult to arrange your schedule and complete other tasks that your loved one cannot participate in. You may have to arrange for someone else to be with them while you shop, attend work, spend time with your children or other family members, or simply take some time for yourself.

At Stone Valley, your loved one is never alone. The community’s trained and licensed staff is available for residents 24/7. In addition, you can be confident that every staff member interacting with your loved one will get to know your loved one personally. That means your loved one’s care will be consistent and always available, giving you complete peace of mind.

Safety and security are a top priority

It can be hard to turn over your loved one’s care to a new team of people. But Stone Valley makes the safety and security of its residents a top priority. The community itself is designed for resident’s safety, with flat, consistent flooring, easily navigable pathways, and secure, monitored grounds. In addition, each residents’ dwelling is equipped with a safety pull-cord. Finally, each resident wears a location-based pendant, so you can be confident that your loved one is safe at all times.

Community programs maximize your loved one’s quality of life

While you may be apprehensive about transitioning your loved one to a senior living community, their quality of life can improve by doing so. Stone Valley designs its memory care and other resident programs specifically to nurture the physical, social, spiritual, cognitive, and emotional needs of all residents. The community’s programming is built on the research-backed six “Sunshine Pillars of Wellness.” That means each resident can receive not only assistance with the regular activities of daily life, but also support in the following areas: physical engagement, social connections, spiritual support, intellectual discovery, sensory stimulation, and emotional expression.

The residents can also participate in a full calendar of social, physical, and mental activities. A certified Life Enrichment Director leads the community in engaging daily activities, weekly on-site social events, and fun cultural excursions as part of a researched-backed health and wellness program. Residents can enjoy programs such as music therapy, aromatherapy, validation techniques, health and wellness activities, and life skills stations.

If you’re feeling the pressure while being the caregiver for your loved one, it may be time to let Stone Valley alleviate that stress.

To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Stone Valley, contact our friendly team today.

Staying Safe While Preventing Social Isolation Is Key For Residents of This Pittsburgh Retirement Community

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak of COVID-19, a strain of coronavirus, a global pandemic. The virus can spread to anyone, but it is most serious for older adults. Seniors, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes) are at higher risk of severe illness, complications or even death due to the virus. Therefore, it is imperative that all people, especially seniors and those in close contact with older loved ones, take precautions.

Thankfully, some very commonsense practices can help protect you or a loved one who is in a higher risk category. But while separation and cleanliness are important factors, it’s also important to avoid total isolation and loneliness, which can negatively impact your loved one’s well-being.

These tips from The Haven at North Hills Senior Residence in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will help you and your loved ones stay safe while remaining connected.

Limit unnecessary travel and visitation

The more people you come in contact with, the more likely you are to catch or spread COVID-19. That’s because the virus spreads in close quarters. When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth, which may contain the virus. People in the area can possibly breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing or sneezing is infected. The more people in an area and the closer they are together, the faster the disease could potentially spread. To protect our senior loved ones, it is important to limit travel that is not absolutely necessary, especially airplane travel or public transportation, which could put you in close contact with hundreds or thousands of strangers.

The Haven has also temporarily changed its visitation policies in order to protect the community’s residents. Visitors are not allowed at the community except for in very limited circumstances approved by the Executive Director. In addition, The Haven strictly prohibits anyone from entering the community that might have been exposed to COVID-19 through travel or community spread, or who is exhibiting any signs of illness.

Ensure your living areas are clean and sanitized

Even if you are not sick and are washing your hands frequently as recommended by WHO, it is still possible that the virus could live on surfaces in your home for a few hours up to several days. If you leave your home and come back, your clothes, hands, and shoes could potentially transfer the virus to doorknobs, countertops, handles, floors, or other surfaces. If you touch those surfaces and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you may be exposed to the virus. It’s therefore important to periodically clean and sanitize surfaces in your home with bleach, alcohol, or a disinfecting wipe or spray.

At The Haven, staff are always conscious of the cleanliness of the community. That is even more true now, as staff members are being extra-diligent about cleaning and disinfecting frequently-used surfaces.

Connect digitally to avoid loneliness

While WHO recommends physically distancing yourself from others during the COVID-19 outbreak, it is still possible to connect with our loved ones digitally. Loneliness and isolation can have a negative impact on well-being and the immune system. Therefore, to alleviate the strain of social isolation around this situation, staff at The Haven are helping to facilitate video conferencing and other virtual communication tools between residents and their loved ones. Remember that you can give your loved on a call on the phone or via video anytime you like!

Implementing these tips will help keep our senior loved ones safe from COVID-19 as well as connected with friends and family.

To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of The Haven at North Hills, contact our friendly team today.

Preventing Anxiety And Agitation Leads To a Higher Quality of Life For Those Experiencing Memory Challenges

Many people mistakenly believe that the symptoms of dementia are limited to memory-related experiences, such as forgetfulness. However, research suggests that up to 80% of people with dementia also experience anxiety and agitation, which can cause emotional distress for them as well as for their caregivers.

Agitation is a general term describing a restless or upset state in which a person displays excessive motor activity or verbal or physical upset. Agitation can be caused by a number of factors, including medication changes, environmental changes, or any other situation that introduces a new stimulus that is difficult for the person to process. Situations that can cause agitation include changes in residence, changes in caregiver arrangements, travel, or the unfamiliarity associated with new people, events, or locations.

Fortunately, the caring staff at Stone Valley Assisted Living and Memory Care Community is trained and experienced in preventing agitation in their valued residents. Stone Valley has provided the following tips to caregivers who want to prevent agitation in their loved ones.

Create a calm, steady environment

One of the most common causes of agitation in those experiencing memory challenges is their environment. If their environment is changed or has too many stimuli, your loved one may have difficulty processing this information and may become agitated. Here are a few things you can do to create a calming environment:

  • Remove environmental distractions such as background noise, glare, or background distractions such as radio or television, when possible.
  • Provide your loved one with a safe, comfortable, quiet space for them to enjoy when they begin to become agitated.
  • Simplify your loved one’s tasks and routines. The more straightforward, simple, and constant you can make their daily routine, the better.

The professionals at Stone Valley have carefully designed their community to provide a calming, steady environment for the residents, including comfortable living spaces and productive, enjoyable daily routines.

Plan enjoyable activities, including physical activity

For those living with memory challenges, participating in a familiar activity that they enjoy can have a relaxing effect as well as provide an opportunity to connect with others. Therefore, the staff at Stone Valley has created an activity calendar full of both physical and mental activities to keep residents engaged and happy.

Those with memory challenges may experience particular benefits from era-appropriate music, which the community incorporates into its music therapy activities. According to the Mayo Clinic, listening to or singing songs can help prevent agitation. The benefits of music are often amplified when combined with movement like dance or clapping along to the beat. Music can also help residents relax and connect with their neighbors and caregivers.

To keep residents happy and engaged, Stone Valley provides specially designed memory care activities programming, including music therapy, aromatherapy, appropriate physical activity, and plenty of opportunities to socialize with neighbors.

Monitor your loved one’s physical comfort

Physical discomfort can cause agitation. Unfortunately, your loved one may have difficulty communicating their needs prior to becoming agitated. In order to prevent agitation, address your loved one’s pain, hunger, thirst, toilet needs, fatigue, and any infections or skin irritation. Make sure they are dressed in comfortable clothing that fits and ensure that the room is a comfortable temperature.

In addition, frequently check with your loved one’s doctor regarding any medications that could cause agitation, particularly sleeping pills, anxiety medication, or pain medication.
The staff at Stone Valley is trained to monitor residents’ needs, even when those needs are not verbally communicated. Residents enjoy delicious meals, safe and comfortable spaces, and enjoyable activities, all of which prevent agitation and provide a superior quality of life.

To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Stone Valley, contact our friendly team today.

Relocating To An Active Senior Living Community is An Upgrade For Many Seniors

Making a decision to leave one’s long-term home and downsize to a retirement community is difficult. You may have to leave your beloved neighborhood, your friendly neighbors, your favorite corner store, and the home you’ve made memories in for years. But for many seniors, all of that is worth the benefits of experiencing their golden years in a vibrant, active community of their peers.

For residents at Dunwoody Pines Retirement Community in Dunwoody, Georgia, the ease, convenience, and sheer fun of living at an independent senior living community is an upgrade to their lifestyle. The all-inclusive resort-style retirement community takes the worry out of living and puts the fun back into residents’ lives.

No More Home Maintenance

One of the major benefits of downsizing and relocating to a retirement community is leaving home maintenance behind. The stress and time associated with cleaning your larger home, lawn care, and home repairs can take a toll on seniors, who may not be able to keep up with these tasks as well as they did in their 30s and 40s. At a retirement community like Dunwoody Pines, all of that is taken care of, and seniors can focus on friendships and enjoying themselves.

Residents will no longer have to worry about vacuuming or scrubbing bathrooms with Dunwoody Pines’ weekly housekeeping services. And if something in their residence needs repair, the community’s fantastic on-call maintenance staff is available to take care of it. The days of mowing lawns and pulling weeds are over because the community’s attractive grounds and private swimming pool are all perfectly maintained and ready to use at any time.

Meals Are Planned and Prepared

The average American age 65 or older spends 43 minutes per day preparing food, serving meals, and cleaning up afterward. Add to that the time spent planning meals and grocery shopping, and it could mean more than 5 hours per week just worrying about what you’re going to eat! In addition, many seniors are not preparing a wide variety of meals or meals containing optimal nutrition.

At a retirement community, residents can enjoy a wide variety of healthy meals. The best part? There’s no planning, shopping, cooking, or cleanup required! All of these delicious meals are prepared by a skilled chef and their team. And at Dunwoody Pines, residents are extra-spoiled with the community’s unique 24/7 dining experience.

Social Events are Already on the Calendar

Moving to a new community and making new friends can be daunting. But making friends could not be easier at an active senior living community like Dunwoody Pines. The community maintains a full calendar of both physical and mental activities that residents can participate in with their neighbors. Activities include those hosted within the community, such as movie showings, exercise classes, board games, and cooking classes, as well as community outings, like museum trips and lunches at local restaurants. Not to mention that Dunwoody Pines is just minutes from all the shopping, restaurants, and cultural highlights of Atlanta. There is something for everyone to enjoy, and it’s easy to make friends at your new community who enjoy the same activities you do.

Safety and Security are a Priority

Senior living communities are specially designed not only for the enjoyment of the residents but also for their safety and security. At Dunwoody Pines, caring, talented staff are available 24/7, meaning that residents have complete peace of mind. The community is monitored and secured, and emergency response systems are in place in case of an event. The staff also gets to know each resident so they can lend a helping hand when needed.

With all of these perks, it’s no wonder why residents at Dunwoody Pines are loving their senior living community!

To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Dunwoody Pines, contact our friendly team today.

Nutrient Deficiencies Are Common in Older Adults, But This Community Uses Healthy Lifestyle Programs To Prevent Them

Everyone knows that it’s important to get their vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, nutrient deficiencies can occur for a variety of reasons, whether it be poor nutritional intake, chronic or acute health conditions, medications, or a combination of these factors.

A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition (BJN) found particular deficiencies common in community-dwelling adults over the age of 65. Fortunately, Copper Canyon Assisted Living and Memory Care Community in Tucson, Arizona, takes special steps in designing its resident programs in order to help its residents prevent nutrient deficiencies and live a healthy lifestyle

Calcium

According to the BJN study, 65% of men and 73% of women over 65 are deficient in calcium. Initially, a calcium deficiency may not present any symptoms. But in more severe cases or over a prolonged period, low calcium levels can lead to serious symptoms such as muscle cramps and spasms, extreme fatigue, and dry or itchy skin. It can also lead to osteoporosis or osteopenia, which results in low mineral density in the bones.

Calcium can be found primarily in dairy foods and dark green leafy vegetables. Copper Canyon ensures that its unique 24/7 dining program includes these calcium-containing foods so residents can get this necessary nutrient.

Vitamin D

If vitamins and minerals had pals, Calcium and Vitamin D would be best friends. Vitamin D helps the body transport calcium to the bones. But it also helps reduce inflammation, particularly chronic inflammation. Unfortunately, the BJN study found that 84% of men and 91% of women over 65 don’t get enough vitamin D.

Vitamin D is actually manufactured in our skin when we are exposed to sunlight. We can also eat foods containing Vitamin D in order to increase the level of this essential vitamin. Copper Canyon residents get to do both! The community’s grounds are secure and set up to encourage residents to take short walks in the Arizona sun. The community also offers an activity calendar including outdoor activities.

Thiamin

Also known as vitamin B1, thiamin plays a critical role in energy metabolism. This vitamin is particularly important for older adults, as a thiamin deficiency can lead to short-term memory loss, muscle weakness, and cardiovascular symptoms. The BJN study found that found that 50% of men and 39% of women over age 65 were deficient in this essential nutrient.

Thiamin can be found in whole grains, meat, and fish. Copper Canyon makes sure to include plenty of these healthy foods in its dining program.

Magnesium

Magnesium is yet another mineral that helps aid in retaining bone density and muscle coordination. But it is also essential for more than 300 biochemical reactions within the body, and it helps support a healthy heart and immune system. The BJN study found that 73% of men and 41% of women were low in magnesium. Magnesium deficiency may cause fatigue, muscle cramps, mental symptoms, irregular heartbeat and osteoporosis.

Luckily, foods such as leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, dry beans, whole grains and low-fat dairy products are all great sources of magnesium, and they are all included in Copper Canyon’s menus.

Selenium

Selenium is an essential trace mineral, meaning that humans only need it in small amounts. But even so, the BJN study found that 30% of adults over age 65 were deficient in this essential nutrient. Selenium plays a role in helping our bodies prevent cell damage, as well as helping maintain metabolism and thyroid function. Selenium deficiency can lead to fatigue, mental fog, muscle weakness, and a weakened immune system.

Selenium can be found in foods like fish, meat, eggs, brown rice, and some nuts and seeds. Many of these options are available for Copper Canyon residents daily as part of their meal plans.

Although many older adults are at risk for certain nutrient deficiencies, Copper Canyon ensures that its dining program and wellness activities are designed to help prevent these common issues.

To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Copper Canyon, contact our friendly team today.

Community Activities Can Help Keep Residents’ Minds Sharp And Their Souls Happy

Board games and card games are fun to play with friends. But it seems these games may also help protect our brain function as we age. In a report published in the Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences, Scottish researchers suggest that games may help protect seniors from cognitive decline.

This research supports what researchers and experts have suspected for years: that the more we use our cognitive skills, the more likely we are to retain them. That’s exactly why Marshall Pines, an assisted living and memory care community in Evans, Georgia, includes music, games, and other social activity in its programming for residents.

Research suggests that games can keep seniors’ wits sharp

A team of researchers led by Drew Altschul of the University of Edinburgh found that people in their 70s who regularly play board games, card games, or word games score higher on tests of memory and thinking skills than those who don’t play those games. Further, people who increased their game-playing were found to be more likely to maintain those memory and thinking skills as they aged.

Many researchers and experts who study dementia and Alzheimer’s believe that engaging in challenging or complex tasks, or even strategy games, require the exercise of cognitive functions that help protect seniors from cognitive decline. Similar to working out a muscle, exercising one’s brain by playing challenging mental games can help maintain our “mental muscle” as we age.

The experienced staff at Marshall Pines has created a specialized activities calendar for its residents that includes weekly table games and word games in addition to other research-backed programming to support residents’ mental health.

Music therapy can benefit memory care patients

Research also suggests that music can have incredible benefits for residents experiencing memory challenges. According to the Mayo Clinic, listening to or singing songs can provide emotional and behavioral benefits for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Often, someone experiencing memory challenges will retain musical memories, as the key brain areas linked to musical memory are often relatively untouched. The benefits of music are often amplified when combined with movement like dance or clapping along to the beat. Music can also help residents relax and connect with their neighbors and caregivers.

At Marshall Pines, residents enjoy music together every single day, and the community focuses on providing era-specific music to bring back fond memories and decrease anxiety. Residents can enjoy dedicated music sessions daily, including smooth jazz time, spiritual songs, and sing-alongs.

Social activities and interaction lead to a higher quality of life

Aside from the benefits that the games and music provide, research suggests that simply socializing with others can provide tremendous benefits for those experiencing memory challenges. Socialization can help slow cognitive decline; a strong social network appears to help individuals retain more memories than peers who are more isolated. Socialization also boosts self-esteem, which in turn supports better sleep habits, healthier eating habits, and more interest in exercise. Regular socialization also provides a sense of inclusion as well as a strengthened sense of time and place.

Residents at Marshall Pines have multiple opportunities every day of the week to socialize with their peers and the community staff. They can participate in one of the multiple scheduled activities, and they can also socialize at mealtimes or in common areas. Whether residents are playing games, enjoying music, or participating in another activity altogether, the strong social support at a memory care community like Marshall Pines can provide cognitive benefits beyond simply engaging in these activities alone.

To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Marshall Pines, contact our friendly team today.

An All-Inclusive Senior Living Community is The Perfect Place to Achieve Your Lifelong Goals

The beginning of a new year is traditionally the time when many people set goals for their lives. In fact, about 60% of people make at least one New Year’s resolution each year. And seniors are no exception. While the types of goals we set may change as we age, the excitement of setting goals, improving our lives, and trying new things never fades.

And living at an all-inclusive retirement community can make goal-setting even easier and more fun. Without homeownership woes, meals, and coordinating social events to worry about, residents at The Landing at Behrman Place in New Orleans, Louisiana, can focus on achieving the goals they’ve always dreamed about.

Set yourself up for success this year with these goal setting tips.

Start with your values

When you’re setting goals, it’s easy to get distracted by what society has conditioned us to think is important. But ultimately, your goals will only satisfy you if they align with your values and desires. In other words, before you set any goals, check-in with yourself first about what would make you truly happy.

For example, it may sound impressive for a senior to run a marathon or write a novel. And if you’ve always wanted to do those things, those may be great goals for you to set. But if you’ve never liked exercise or you prefer music to reading, those goals aren’t the right ones for you. If you care more about spending time with your family than you do about learning ballroom dancing, then set a goal to call your family daily or schedule a trip to see them…and leave your dancing shoes at home.

Your goals should be something you actually care about, not simply something that sounds impressive to others. Goals that don’t align with your values and desires may sound impressive, but you won’t be sufficiently motivated to achieve them. Since the ultimate result is not something you care that much about, you will likely be unwilling to put in the effort necessary to achieve the goal. And even if you do end up achieving one of these misaligned goals, the victory won’t be as sweet.

Aim high, but consider your limitations

As we age, we can develop certain limitations that keep us from doing things we otherwise might like to do. For example, you may have loved mountain climbing in your youth, but a bad knee means that it’s not healthy for you to start scaling cliffs anytime soon. If that’s the case, you don’t have to give up on your goal, but you may have to modify it. Instead, you can compromise by setting a goal to complete five new hiking trails that are appropriate for your abilities.

It’s wonderful to set goals that are beyond what you or others think you can achieve. But when you do so, be sure to consider your limitations to ensure your goals are achievable.

Write your goals down in detail

Did you know that physically writing your goals down actually increases your chances of achieving those goals? According to Forbes,  vividly describing your goals in written form is strongly associated with goal success.” And people who very clearly describe or picture their goals in great detail are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals than people who set more general goals or who don’t take the time to write out the details.

Additionally, putting pen to paper to write down your goals helps with a process called “encoding”—meaning that when you write your goals down, you’re more likely to remember them and keep them top of mind.

Transitioning to a retirement community doesn’t mean your New Year’s resolutions can’t be as big as ever. With these tips, you’re on the right track to make this year your best one yet.

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