Senior Living Blog

August Is National Eye Exam Month

It’s a fact of life that vision changes occur as you get older, says the National Optometric Association. But, when detected and treated as a result of annual eye exams, these changes don’t have to compromise your lifestyle.

As you reach your 60s and beyond, you need to be aware of the age-related eye health problems that could cause vision loss. However, many eye diseases have no early symptoms. They may develop painlessly, and you may be unaware of vision changes until the condition is advanced. The good news is that regular eye exams can significantly improve your chances of maintaining good eye health as you age.

Age-Related Eye and Vision Problems

In the years after age 60, a number of eye diseases may develop that can affect your vision and eye health. An annual exam can help detect these conditions early, thereby increasing the chances of keeping healthy vision.

Here are common vision disorders that can be detected during eye exams:

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects the macula, the center of the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye, causing loss of central vision.

Diabetic retinopathy can occur in people with diabetes, and can result in progressive damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina, which, untreated, can lead to vision loss.

Cataracts are cloudy areas in the normally clear lens of the eye that can interfere with normal vision. Current treatments are very successful in successfully restoring vision.

Glaucoma results from increased pressure within the eyeball, which, if untreated, can damage the optic nerve, resulting to partial or full vision loss. People with a family history of glaucoma, African Americans, and older adults are at higher risk for developing the disease.

Dry eye is a condition, common among older adults, in which the eyes produce insufficient tears or poor-quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eyes. Effective treatments are available.

How Often Should You Get an Eye Exam? What Will It Entail?

At age 65 and over, you should get an annual eye exam, says the American Optometric Association—or more frequently if you need monitoring and treatment for an existing condition. A comprehensive eye exam entails a review of your personal and family history for hereditary problems relating to eye disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or poor vision. The doctor will perform tests to check for vision acuity, eye muscle coordination, side (peripheral) vision, pupil response to light, color testing, eyelid health and function, interior and back of the eye, and measurement of fluid pressure within the eye.

Signs Your Loved One Might Need Senior Living Arrangements

How can we tell when seniors might be ready for the services of a senior living community? Look for these signs.

  • Depression or low mood. Do you observe a lower activity level? Are they seeing friends and partaking in activities they have loved for years?
  • Loss of mobility. Are they having difficulty moving around their home, or going up and down stairs? Having trouble walking or being unsteady on their feet not only limits mobility but also puts them at risk for falls.
  • Changes in routine. Do they show less interest daily routines such as cooking and cleaning? Illness or mobility issues could be keeping them from maintaining their usual routines. Are they taking care of themselves physically? Look to see if they are keeping up with basic daily routines such as bathing, brushing teeth and wearing clean clothes.
  • Personality changes. Are you noticing different attitudes and habits? Memory loss, difficulty in performing familiar tasks, poor judgment, misplacing items, disorientation, rapid mood swings, increased apathy or passiveness are all early warning signs of Alzheimer’s. A doctor’s evaluation can help determine the cause and treatment for these symptoms.

Please feel free to contact us for more information about finding the best senior living option.

This August Seniors Should Take Advantage of Summer

August is a month in which summer is in full swing- a season that reminds adults of favorite childhood memories like outdoor picnics, long bike rides and visits with family and friends. Those good memories are carried in the hearts and minds of seniors everywhere, and many relish the season fondly. And now that the long, hot summer days are in full swing seniors should seize the moment.

We at Claremont Place would like to suggest some ideas to take advantage of the last month of summer with the seniors in your life.

  • Family get-togethers: The summertime is a good time to invite family over because you can use the outdoors as part of your entertaining space. Make it easy and ask everyone to bring a favorite dish.
  • Take a short trip. Find places to visit within your city or town, or in the near vicinity. Ideas include zoos, sculpture parks, museum grounds, ponds or lakes, marinas, beaches, community gardens or nurseries, hiking trails, shopping villages and downtown areas. Even a walk around a pretty neighborhood you don’t visit very often can provide surprising sightseeing opportunities.
  • Backyard Picnic: Everyone loves a picnic! Eating outside can make even a simple meal seem a welcome change of pace. But you don’t have to trek to a park, beach, or forest preserve; it’s just as fun and much easier to have one in your own backyard.
  • Summer Events: In the summer, many community centers, churches and others serving seniors offer a variety of special summertime events that are fun and easy to partake in. A good place to look for information for these events is in your local newspaper, the library, or you can search online for senior events in your city.
  • Walks: With warm weather and extended daylight, take a walk in the early to mid morning or around dinnertime.
  • Ice Cream: Buy a box or two of your favorite ice cream at the grocer or head out for this all American cold treat, it is truly one of life’s pleasures.
  • See, Smell and Touch: Choose a good summer book to read in the shade of the outdoors; buy toiletries in a favorite summer scent, like lavender, or strawberry and bring in flowers from the garden. Sounds simple- it is.

ALZHEIMER’S NEWS

Recently in the news there have been several reports linking the MIND diet and the prevention of Alzheimer’s.  Researchers have discovered that those who boasted a diet with plenty of berries, leafy greens and fish saw a major drop in their risk of Alzheimer’s. MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. It’s similar to two other healthy meal plans: the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet. Read more at
http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/23/health/alzheimers-early-intervention/

Is It Time to Start Looking for a Senior Living Community?

Many seniors and their families tend to put off the decision to look into the possibility of moving into a senior living community. The process can seem overwhelming, triggering anxieties about loss of independence, affordability, change of lifestyle—and, in the near term, the difficult logistics of moving. But senior-care experts like us know how to help refer families to the best choices. We assist loved one and those looking for themselves with concerns about the ability to live independently. We are here to help you start the search for senior living options.

One thing we’d like to stress is that there are many more senior living options available today than there were even a decade ago. More than ever, there is a focus on personalizing the living experience for every resident. Lifestyle options are tailored to individual needs and preferences, so residents can choose from the many services and amenities available to them.

The ideal time to begin to look is at least six months to a year before the move will become necessary. Waiting until your loved one is in urgent need of regular care may narrow your choices.

Fun Things To Do with Grandkids This Summer

Summertime offers plenty of opportunities for families to connect—kids are out of school, vacation days are scheduled, and warm weather brings us out and about. When your grandkids (or great-grandkids!) come to visit, do you need some ideas for low-cost activities that are fun for all ages? We have a few suggestions for residents and their families—simple ways to have a good time together, anytime, anywhere.

Teach your grandkids a favorite hobby. Can you play the guitar? Do you know how to knit or crochet? Are you a good cook? Perhaps you’ve got a knack for crafts. A sport you love? Most of us have at least one thing we’re pretty good at. Give your grandkids a few lessons. Or else just let them gather round while you show ‘em how it’s done!

 

Take a slow walk around the neighborhood. Point out interesting things you’ve noticed: old trees, pretty plants, unusual houses, cute pets. Ask your grandkids to tell you what catches their eye.

 

Ride the bus. Take the train. Does your city have a trolleycar? Light rail? Head downtown, uptown, crosstown—or just choose a route and go. Even a short trip can be an adventure.

 

Make iced tea. Brew your own tea and add ice cubes. Bring the pitcher outside or serve it inside, depending on the weather and everyone’s mood. Have an iced tea party.

 

Go to a yard sale. Check the classifieds on Craigslist or in your local newspaper for neighborhood sales: garage, yard, estate, tag, moving. One person’s junk is another person’s treasure! If your grandkids or great-grandkids are small, give them a few dollars to spend on special trinkets.

 

Famous Quotes About Summer

“Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”—Henry James, American-English writer

“Summer has always been my favorite season. I feel happier.”—Zooey Deschanel, American actress

“Let a man walk ten miles steadily on a hot summer’s day along a dusty English road, and he will soon discover why beer was invented.”—G.K. Chesterton, English writer

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”—William Shakespeare

“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.”—Russell Baker, American writer and humorist

“When the sun is shining, I can do anything; no mountain is too high, no trouble too difficult to overcome.”—Wilma Rudolph, American Olympic champion in track and field

“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.”—St. Francis of Assisi

“In summer, the song sings itself.”—William Carlos Williams, American poet

July Is National UV Safety Month

Tips for Protecting Your Eyes from the Sun

The sun-filled month of July is the perfect time to raise awareness about the health and safety dangers of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Most of us know about the damaging effects of the sun on our skin. But we also want to remind residents and their loved ones to take precautions to protect their eyes as well. The sun’s UV rays can penetrate the structures of your eyes and cause cell damage, says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Dangers of UV Rays to Your Eyes
UV rays, a type of energy released by the sun, are invisible to the eye, yet they can cause eye problems, especially after years of unprotected exposure, according to Prevent Blindness, a national organization that advocates for eye health and safety. Long-term exposure to UV rays can lead to eye and vision-related disorders such as cataracts and macular degeneration (the primary causes of vision loss in seniors), as well as skin cancer around the eyelids.

Your Eyes’ Best Friend: A Good Pair of Sunglasses
The American Optometric Association recommends wearing quality sunglasses that offer UV protection and wearing a hat or cap with a wide brim whenever you spend time outdoors.

How do you choose sunglasses that will provide adequate protection for your eyes? Healthcare professionals choosing sunglasses that will do the following:

  • reduce glare
  • filter out 99 to 100 percent of UV rays; buy only glasses with tags or labels that clearly state the amount of UV radiation blocked
  • fit well and stay close to your face (wraparound sunglasses offer the broadest UV protection because they block light that hits your eyes from the sides)

Be aware that your risk of eye damage from the sun is much greater when rays are being reflected off water or snow. If you’re planning an outing at the beach or lake, by the pool, or on the slopes, pack your best-quality sunglasses!

Is it ALZHEIMER’S?

Alzheimer’s is a disease that often does not make itself known to the person who has it, as most people living with the disease are not aware of their own diagnosis. In fact only 45% of seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (or their caregivers) report being told the diagnosis by a health care provider. This is startling when compared with the fact that 90 percent or more of those diagnosed with cancer and cardiovascular disease are told what they are facing.

Alzheimer’s does not happen overnight, and yet despite acknowledging the benefits of knowing about the diagnosis, it is not happening enough.
Benefits of disclosing a diagnosis include better diagnosis (opportunity for a second opinion), better decision-making about their lives for both the present and the future, and better medical care. Don’t be afraid to ask, and advocate for yourself or loved one if you believe Alzheimer’s may be an issue.

To find out more information about the signs of Alzheimer’s visit http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_10_signs_of_alzheimers.asp

Spring Cleaning: Senior Hoarding

It happens more frequently than you may think? As parents age so does the amount of accumulation in their homes. You walk in and notice immediately that pile of newspapers on the table, stakes of unopened mail, old toiletries not thrown away and the heaps of paper towel packages awaiting use. How did it get like this you ask yourself?

All the research shows that people are slow to recognize the problem. It can be a lifetime accumulation of possessions combined with a daily influx of junk mail, bills and newspapers that quickly overwhelm seniors who may already be struggling mentally, physically and emotionally.

According to experts, seniors may be more likely to allow clutter for a variety of reasons, including fear of loss, anxiety, depression, not knowing how to get rid of possessions, or even memories associated with specific items that to anyone else hold no intrinsic value. It’s a tough situation to face and for seniors, the risks of living in clutter is real, from slipping on loose papers to the threat of fire to the health effects of mold and mildew. Clutter can also interfere with family relationships and leave adult children wondering if they should go over to visit or will they be embarrassing their parent.

While there is no easy answer, spring is naturally the time of year when the topic of cleaning comes up. Take the opportunity to assist the senior in your life by rolling up your sleeves and bringing in the boxes. Working with at least three boxes per room/area is a good start: One for items to keep, one for items to donate, and one for items to throw away.

Spring is a good time to help seniors de-clutter for their own health and well-being. A little help is all they may need!

Siri will Make Your Life Easier

Apple Assistant Helps Senior’s

Siri is not only a teenager’s best friend but now seniors are catching on to her! Siri is Apple’s personal assistant and it allows you to use your voice to set reminders, send messages, read email, search for information and much, much, more. Siri is a voice assistant feature found in the iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPad (IOS 5 and higher), iPad mini, and the iPod Touch.

How Siri Works It’s actually really simple:

  1. Press and hold the iPhone’s physical “Home” button to open Siri. (Or hold it up to your ear if you have enabled the ‘Raise to Speak’ option).
  2. You will hear two quick beeps to tell you that Siri has woken up and is waiting to do your bidding.
  3. Once Siri has opened, ask a question or ask Siri to perform a task such as emailing or texting. Siri will automatically detect when you have stopped speaking, but you can optionally press the microphone icon to show you have finished speaking.
  4. If you requested Siri to do something such as send an email or text, Siri will show you a draft of the proposed message before it is sent.  To send the message, say “send” or touch the “send” button.

You can generally speak in a natural way when asking for help from Siri.

Now fun begins —
Siri can Set Alarms and Reminders, Add to Your Calendar and More

  • “Set the timer for 15 minutes”
  • “Stop the timer”
  • “What time is it?”
  • “What is today’s date?”
  • “Wake me in an hour”
  • “Set an alarm for 8am tomorrow morning”
  • “Turn off all alarms”
  • “Remind me to take my medication at 8pm”
  • “Remind me to send a birthday card to Ella on March 25”
  • “Doctor’s appointment next Wednesday at 2:00 pm”

Tell Siri to Read and Send Emails 

  • “Send an email to my daughter Joan“
  • “Send a message to my grandson Keith on his mobile and tell him I’ll be here soon”
  • “Read my most recent email message”
  • “Read my new text messages”
  • “Reply to Cheryl’s text message”

Tell Siri to Create and Find Notes  

  • “Note: the car is parked in Row 5, Level 3 at the airport”
  • “Create a grocery list note”  (substitute the desired name of your list)
  • “Add bananas, milk, and bread to the grocery list note”
  • “Find the grocery list note”

Tell Siri to Play Music and the Radio, and Find Apps
For music and apps, substitute the name of a song, artist or app that’s located on your iPad.

  • “Play sports radio”
  • “Play some Frank Sinatra”
  • “Play Solitaire“
  • “Open Magnifying Glass“
  • “Launch App Store“


Other Things You Can Ask Siri

  • “What is the temperature outside?”
  • “How hot will it be weekend?”
  • “Search for images of cute kittens”
  • “What movies are playing near me?”
  • “Who starred in the movie, Gone With the Wind?”
  • “Show me NFL scores from Sunday ”

For more information check out the Siri Guide at http://www.siriuserguide.com/how-to-use-siri/