A life well lived includes many things and varies from person to person. Other than water, regular exercise, and a handful of other needs across the board, what brings us joy changes with the seasons, from one stage of life to the next, and differs between us and our loved ones. Some people enjoy playing golf while others prefer a great crib hand. Some enjoy big parties while others prefer quiet evenings with a few chosen friends. Whatever the scenario, they all include being social to varying degrees and offer several benefits for seniors especially.
Making new connections, as well as connecting with those you love and the community around you is just as important to healthy living as eating the right foods for healthy aging. From staving off loneliness that leads to depression, to physiological benefits, being social is good for the heart, mind and body.
A positive outlook isn’t just about being happy all the time. It’s grounded in a practical approach to the day that inspires and energizes one to live well by making healthful choices. Socially active seniors have an easier time beating stress because they have a community to support them through the rough times; talking things through with a friend is a therapeutic way of managing the unexpected twists and turns of life. Being social, even if it’s just a weekly coffee with a friend or regularly scheduled phone call can give one something to look forward to and become a healthy regular habit.
Socializing can boost the immune system and lower blood pressure—but how?! Well, those happy, warm feelings you get when laughing with a good friend is a rush of endorphins. Those endorphins in turn help energize you, and you might feel more inclined to make healthier choices from what you eat to how you spend your time…exercising! Socializing can even help lower your risk of dementia by stimulating your cognitive functioning and therefore boost brain health.
1. Join one of Verve Senior Living’s many signature Life Enrichment programs, from fitness classes to games’ nights and book clubs, and discover new friends with similar interests. You might just discover something new about yourself, too!
2. Consider adopting a pet. There are so many added benefits, like lower blood pressure and physical activity, but having a pet provides a great catalyst for social interaction.
3. Take it one step at a time. No one is expecting you to be life of the party right away. Give yourself a little grace! Say hello or even just smile next time you see your neighbour. Then the next time, ask how their day is going. As nervous as you are, they might be feeling the exact same way.
Need a few extra tips? Brush up on our effective and easy tips for seniors to make friends and then consider putting one or all into play. We want you to be socially connected at Verve, which is all part of our mission to help you achieve vibrant living through feeling supported, connected and engaged.
Having a regular, daily routine has multiple overall health benefits that range from physical care to maintaining cognitive function and keeping spirits up. With aging comes loss of physical abilities and independence, as well as cognitive decline and the loss of loved ones. The days tend to either fly by or crawl, and in their unpredictability cause stress, fear, loneliness and sadness. A regular daily routine can help return structure to the day, while boosting the mind, body and spirit.
Here are your 10 Daily Habits to incorporate into a regular routine:
1. Set goals.
Even if it’s one simple thing like “I will smile at someone today”, or “I’ll finally change the batteries in the remote today”, accomplishing just one thing a day can increase satisfaction and self-confidence. By having one task, you’ve infused your day with purpose and motivation.
2. Think of the positive.
Which for some people, might be the goal. It might be a happy travel memory, or focusing on something simple in the present like how delicious breakfast is. There’s always at least one – probably 10 – good things that happen every day if you really think about it.
3. Practicing daily gratitude is a part of thinking positive, but takes it one step further. Incorporate giving gratitude for 3-5 things that happened during the day that worked out, were wonderful, or even weren’t but still held value. Before you know it, the list will grow and you’ll start noticing the good in more than the negative.
4. Start the day with a healthy breakfast that gives your body energy and soul a boost. Verve dining is centered around this Living Loving Local philosophy with its chef-inspired dining that focuses on nutrition and great taste.
5. Moderate exercise.
Stretching, yoga, walking, Verve fitness programs! Maintain mobility, loosen stiff joints, relieve aches with any of these moderate daily exercises. Consider lifting water bottles if you don’t have light weights and invest in a resistance band to keep up a minimum muscle mass.
From a simple phone call or text to a friend, to an organized community activity, socializing a little every day is a proven way to boost your mood and maintain cognitive functioning. Plus it’s fun!
7. A good sleep routine promotes healthy sleep patterns for quality, 7-8 hours of sleep. Enforcing a regular nightly routine that includes no screentime before bed, a dark room, and preparing the body for sleep can help improve your sleep quality. Sleep routine to promote good sleep (Dark, no screens, prep the body for quality 7-8 hrs sleep)
8. Personal hygiene.
Both morning and night, regular teeth brushing and washing helps prep the body for day or sleep, while maintain your health.
9. Challenge cognitive abilities.
Daily reading, word or number puzzles after breakfast or as an afternoon activity will help keep the mind sharp! Even learning to play an instrument or taking dance lessons helps challenge the brain to think in new ways.
10. Don’t underestimate the great outdoors.
Nothing beats five minutes in fresh air, absorbing the beauty of nature to calm the spirit and boost the mood.
Start by making a list of YOUR favourite activities and incorporate a few of them daily to tailor your routine to something you’ll happily maintain for years to come.
Living with Alzheimer’s or dementia is challenging. Keeping your older loved one feeling secure, happy, and above all safe, becomes top priority as they start to have trouble remembering, processing, and reasoning.
Simply thinking about a routine daily task can be overwhelming. By introducing a few simple measures into your home, you can help boost their independence while reducing frustration, stress, anxiety — for them, and for you, as you learn to navigate this new challenge.
6 Simple steps to make your home dementia-friendly
1. Lock the door
Wandering is a common activity for those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Deadbolts, child locks (like the toddler knob-covers), alarms, and even disguising the door to look like an extension of the wall can all help in preventing your senior loved one from inadvertently trying to escape.
2. Clear out the clutter
Removing distracting piles, clutter and items that aren’t necessary can help those living with dementia focus on exactly what they need.
3. Simple signage
Putting up simple “Food” or “Bed” signs with one-word or picture indicators can be helpful. In places like the bathroom and kitchen, labeling faucet handles with “hot” and “cold” is a great way to make those rooms extra functional. Consider adding decals or other decorations on large windows or glass doors, as these can be difficult to see for those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
4. Use contrasting colours
While painting the bathroom door a different colour is helpful, having a toilet seat that stands out is a great way as well to help make this task easier for those with dementia. Same goes for the kitchen. A bright plate on the plain table will highlight the food and because they’re clearly able to see the food on a bright, un-patterned plate, they’ll have an easier time eating it independently.
5. Support along the way
Installing handrails in stairways, adding no-slip strips to stairs, lighting the halls, and a gentle reminder to not carry anything while they’re walking can all help aid balance and minimize falls.
6. Out of sight, out of mind
As much as you want to draw attention to certain items and places, hiding the things you don’t want them to use – like knives, pet food, etc. – can help as well.
Some companies make adaptive dining and personal hygiene products to make these daily tasks easier on those living with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s Disease.
A few don’ts
Unsure if the above is really necessary yet for your senior loved one? Understanding the signs and symptoms of dementia is the first step. Your local Alzheimer’s Association is always available to offer additional tools and resources. Selected Verve Senior Living residences may offer respite stays to give those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as their caregivers, a welcome break with peace of mind that your senior loved one is well-cared for by a trained, loving support team.
We might not even think about the stresses that could face us as seniors, after all, this is our time to reap the rewards of a lifetime and just relax…right? But the sad fact is, we face stressful situations no matter our age. Sure the stressors may change: Instead of worrying about work and kids, we worry about health, increasing loss of independence, and the loss of loved ones. The way we mentally, and therefore physically deal with those stressors, can have a huge impact on our overall health.
“It has been verified through scientific exploration that more than 80 percent of all diseases are due to stress and strain that originate in the mind and reflect on the body.” – American Medical Association
As our body naturally reacts to stress, it goes into a “fight or flight” response, which over time, leads to high blood pressure, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, diabetes, headaches, anxiety & depression, and a weakened immune system. Symptoms to watch for include:
Proper stress management includes a healthy balance of the following four lifestyle factors:
Distractions and instant gratification techniques only go so far and will not help to assuage the root cause of your stress. Taking mindful moments in your day for proper reflection can feel uncomfortable, but will help you to work through the issue in the long-run. Writing things down in a stream of consciousness way can help you to identify why you’re feeling stressed, and even help to start problem-solving solutions. Talking things through with a friend or counselor is another way. Practicing daily gratitude is a wonderful way to end the day and show you that while there may be some aspects of life that aren’t perfect, there’s still a lot that is. Enjoy the small moments, and watch how they add up.
Daily exercise is one of the best ways to reduce chronic stress, doing both the mind and body good. Regular aerobic exercise can help improve cognitive health, reduce blood pressure, relieve the physical effects of stress, and help release endorphins to combat stress hormones. Tending to your physical health will also help your body stay in shape and mind shape to maintain independence longer. One wonderful routine exercise is yoga to boost physical and mental health.
Maintaining friendships can get trickier as we age, but is also an important factor in self-confidence, cognitive functioning, and overall wellness. Try our 5 effective and easy tips for seniors to make friends, or learn more about Verve’s Life Enrichment programs specially designed to boost community, like our expressive art therapy and why it’s therapeutic. There are also benefits to owning a pet as a senior, such as socialization and companionship.
Verve Senior Living is dedicated to delivering chef-inspired dining to all of its residents, based on our Living Loving Local philosophy that is focused on fresh, local ingredients that are packed with nutritional benefits. Why? Because we believe that healthy eating is paramount to not only boosting physical wellness, but the mind and soul benefits from the experience and energy.
If you’re feeling irritable, indigestion, heart palpitations, having trouble sleeping or tension headaches, excessively indecisive, and feeling a general malaise, please speak with your health care professional as these are all symptoms of stress that shouldn’t be ignored. Always remember: you’re not alone. Help is available.
To view more Living Loving Local recipes, click here!
Knowledge is power, and obtaining knowledge about dementia at any stage, particularly during the early stages, can make it all the more powerful. In the case of early detection, it can mean early intervention and early protection. Getting an early diagnosis can help individuals and families to be proactive and gain more control over their lives.
Many are often afraid of what the doctor may discover if they do go for a check up, however delaying the investigation may actually make matters worse. As we already are aware, there are some types of dementia’s that are treatable; in fact, reversible. Obtaining a proper diagnosis will help to properly deal with the situation. Knowing can also assist with:
Although receiving a diagnosis of dementia can be difficult, many individuals and families experience relief of knowing the reason for the symptoms they are experiencing.
The Most Commonly Observed Signs/Symptoms of Dementia
Below is a list of the most common symptoms that are often exhibited in earlier stages.
Changes in Memory
“Normal” is when a person temporarily forgets where they placed their keys or cell phone for a few minutes. However, if someone frequently misplaces things and this becomes a daily occurrence, then this is something we should pay attention to. Other examples include repeating questions or regularly forgetting to take medications.
Changes in Thinking
Disorientation and/or not knowing how to go to a place one is familiar with; inability to perform a routine they normally do; or having difficulties recalling the day of the week are all examples of changes in one’s thinking abilities. An example is when a person is trying to make their yummy apple pie but are having difficulties with following the steps involved.
Changes in Judgment
Saying or doing things that are inappropriate in public or to a random person or making decisions or taking actions that can put themselves, or another, in harm’s way. For example, trying to stand on a chair that has wheels in order to reach for something.
Changes in Communication
Changes in communication abilities can range for each person. Some people may have difficulties not recognizing words or using words in a conversation that don’t fit or make sense. For example, using the word “kitchen” when what the person is actually trying to say is that they are hungry. There could also be difficulties with comprehending the words spoken to them.
Changes in Personality
Mood swings or showing extreme emotions or exhibiting attitude and behaviours not normally characteristic of the person is common. For example, when a person used to be very patient with others but is now very impatient.
Any combination of the above are important signs/symptoms of dementia that we should not ignore nor delay in seeking medical attention. Early diagnosis and “treatment”/”management” is still the best way that both care-giver and care-receiver can maintain optimum quality of life.
If you suspect that you or someone you care about is exhibiting symptoms of dementia, start by speaking with a family doctor. You can also seek education and support from organizations like the Alzheimer Society of B.C., Family Caregivers of B.C. or even smaller personalized businesses like Dementia Solutions. There is help available. You do not have to journey alone.
Karen Tyrell CPCA, CDCP is a Dementia Consultant, Educator, Author & Advocate, and Founder of Personalized Dementia Solutions Inc. (www.DementiaSolutions.ca). Karen offers her expertise on dementia care through speaking engagements, workshops, support groups and by working one-on-one with families and caregivers to provide emotional support and practical solutions.
The contents of this blog are provided for information purposes only. They are not intended to replace clinical diagnosis or medical advice from a health professional. For any health-related issue, always seek medical advice first from a trained medical professional.
Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing is as delicious to enjoy as it is pretty to look at!
Navigating retirement residence living can feel daunting at first. What level of support is required, and when? Where is the best place to live that will have all of the requirements for your or your loved one’s physical and mental wellbeing?
Understanding the difference between the levels of care available is the first step towards selecting what’s right for you or your loved one’s needs.
This “entry level” of care is a great way for seniors to dip their toe into retirement residence living. It provides a ready-made social environment that fosters engagement and connection within the community. Support is on-hand if required, with a team of professionals ready in case of health concern. But residents in Independent Living do just that! You have the freedom to live independently, come and go as you please, with the bonus of having access to the retirement residence’s amenities, services such as our chef-inspired dining—experienced in our community dining room, or you have the flexibility to dine in your suite—and senior’s programming like socials and fitness clubs. Independent living offers the freedom to live your way, with peace of mind and available care when you need it.
The essentials of Independent Living:
Our team of caring professionals is ready to assist residents with daily activities while encouraging independence where possible. Like Independent Living, socializing is encouraged through numerous programs, activities, and amenities. Individualized attention is placed on assisting personal care needs and inspiring purposeful living with spirit and energy. Assisted Living residents enjoy three exceptional, chef-inspired meals daily in our dining room, medication administration assistance, and Life Enrichment activities designed for cognitive and physical benefits.
The essentials of Assisted Living:
Memory Care Services
Our secure Memory Care households are purposefully designed for peace of mind that your loved one is safe and looked after by trained professionals. Every activity is designed to stimulate cognitive needs, while design elements are in place to ease the anxiety that goes hand-in-hand for those living with mental frailties. Distractions are minimal in this specialized environment, and we ensure you have 24/7 support from highly trained team members in a loving, safe and secure environment.
The essentials of Memory Care:
Weighing Your Senior Living Care Options
The choice is personal and depends on numerous factors such as physical capability and mental awareness. For example, a loved one with early onset dementia may do very well in an assisted living community, while those with a current independent lifestyle may be struggling more with the day-to-day and could benefit from extra support that a retirement residence offers. The cost of each level of care varies, as does the physical layout depending on which wellness level you choose and the residence.
Find your retirement community to explore your options today.
These beautiful summer days that stretch into warm oblivion inspire nostalgia—and the need to start a summer project! What better time to take advantage of the air conditioned inside, or a breezy afternoon on the patio, and reminisce over some old photographs? Perhaps it’s too many evenings in front of HGTV, but we’re feeling inspired! Forget photo albums and shoeboxes, from candles to clothes, we’ve got seven creative ideas for your old photographs.1.
1. Ceramic tiles with whimsical sayings and pretty pictures are gift store staples. Why not create our own from photos that mean something to you and hang or stand real memories around your home? Follow these DIY steps for custom ceramic tiles from Brit+Co.
2. Still into sending letters or paper invitations? We love this DIY photo envelope liner idea from Paiges of Style to personalize each and every piece of mail!
3. Make Memory Candles with this DIY tutorial that turns old photographs into personalized glass candle holders using black and white photocopies, transparent contact paper, and dollar store votive holders.
4. Then there’s the tried-and-true photobooks, custom printed calendars, and wall prints. From Staples to London Drugs and several online options, you can turn your pile of prints into coffee table books, usable family calendars, and fine art.
7. Still have negatives? Turn those into art, too! See Pinterest.ca for a plethora of ideas. But first, make sure you digitize them to preserve the images in case you want to print them at a later date.
Before you dive in though, protect your prints to save those memories forever:
Step One: Scan all pictures into a computer or external hard drive.
Step Two: Upload to the cloud (iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive), just in case!
Step Three: Then sort and ensure each one is digitally labeled so you’ll never forget who, when or where. And neither will your children this way, when they have a neat, organized way of viewing their history—and in a format they actually might, rather than an old, cluttered shoebox!
Retirement can feel like an elusive stage of life. Laced with promise and the excitement of freedom from life’s responsibilities finally, it can also be a source of anxiety-inducing uncertainty. How will you afford everything you need for the rest of your life? Do you have to work later just to afford necessities in this economy? How will you spend your days if you’re not working? Will you be forced into the cliché picture of four o’clock dinners and crib every night?
Below we bust the five financial and life myths that seniors are led to believe about what retirement living looks like.
Myth #1: Retirement residence food is uninspired
Food is an extremely important aspect for seniors when they are thinking of moving into a residence. While the consensus is it’s the same re-heated frozen entrée every night, Verve Senior Living residences pride themselves on chef-inspired dining that starts with incorporating fresh, locally sourced ingredients that serve a nutritional purpose along with their tasty end result as part of our Living Loving Local program. Our chefs and dining room team also aim to get to know your personal preferences, for an inspired experience every meal.
Myth #2: Retirement residence living is unaffordable
It’s a common belief that independent and assisted retirement living in a community are more expensive than home care. However, it’s important to factor in the costs of homeownership like mortgages, as well as the human cost of general indoor/outdoor maintenance. You might have to bring in someone to mow the lawn as you age, or take over the weekly cleaning. All those costs are already factored into your retirement residence fees. You can use the pool without having to “pay extra”, food is always on the table, and the stress of home ownership is a thing of the past.
Myth #3: Retirement residences living signals a loss of freedom
Au contraire! Think of it as cruise ship living, all the time. There’s always someone to make the meals and take care of your quarters; and not having to do those things means more time to pursue the hobbies, fitness and extra-curriculars you love—and even those you’ve always wanted to but haven’t had the time for! Support at Verve Senior Living is there when you need it, and there’s a comfort in knowing a team of professionals is on hand encouraging you to participate in life.
Myth #4: Health and wellness decline in retirement residences
Verve Senior Living’s Life Enrichment programs, professional support team, in-house chefs, and amenities are all designed to encourage an active, inspired life. From the purposefully built memory care households to our independent living apartments, every Verve community promotes engagement, safety, and specially designed seniors’ programming for health and wellness.
Myth #5: It’s never going to feel like home in a retirement residence
We can’t replace or replicate the memories you’ve made in your home, but we strive to create an inspiring environment with warm, caring support and the option to personalize your space, connect with your neighbours, and engage in activities. We want to encourage your independence, however that may look, and family and friends are always welcome at Verve Senior Living! We recognize that being social is imperative to happy, healthy living.
Take a tour of a Verve Senior Living residence near you today to discover what inspired senior living looks like.