Senior Living Blog

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/

The Long Hello

Curling up with a book can be like having a hot cup of tea with an old friend. Both can be comforting, enlightening and sometimes wrenching. If you are interested in the topic of Alzheimer’s there is a book that is getting a lot of attention on the subject that may be of interest to you.

THE LONG HELLO
Memory, my Mother, and Me
Is a stirring memoir of a daughter caring for a mother with dementia that is sure to become a touchstone for many others.

The Long Hello explores the emotional rewards and challenges that Cathie Borrie experienced in caring for her mother, who was living with Alzheimer’s disease, for seven years. Between the two, a wondrously poetic dialogue develops, which Ms. Borrie further illuminates with childhood memories of her family, and her struggle to maintain a life outside her caregiving responsibilities.

‘Is all this real or pretend?”
Those who’ve witnessed the cruel confusions, the frenzies, paranoia and unrepentant physical demand of Alzheimer’s disease know this query has no adequate reply.
Cathie Borrie, speaking with her mother, answers like this: “What do you want it to be?”
“Pretend.”

The book explores stories about Borrie as an admiring young daughter who loved spending time with her mom told alongside the details of eventually becoming her mother’s caregiver and confidante. It is as much a remembrance of her mom as it is the retelling of a difficult time, difficult disease and how taxing the illness can be on the caregiver.

“A sparse yet deeply affecting, poetic story of love and devotion, THE LONG HELLO is a memoir about caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s, a collection of conversations and memories revealing moments of clarity, absurdity, wisdom, and connection that pierce and heal the heart.”
Lisa Genova, best-selling author of Still Alice

More information about the book and author can be found at http://www.cathieborrie.com. The book is widely available online. If you pick up a copy, we’d love to hear what you think.

Show A Caregiver You Care

Family caregivers play an essential role in the life of an aging loved one. We see it everyday, as dedicated family and friends come threw our doors to visit a resident. They are caring, compassionate, patient, giving and kind and yet their role can be exhausting, overwhelming and at times thankless. Often the job of caring for another person is one of the hardest a person will experience in a lifetime. That is why it is so important to take the time to not only thank a caregiver for all that they do for your loved one. Even the simplest acts of kindness will go a long way in showing your appreciation.

  • With Words – This may sound simplistic, but too many people forget how much words of appreciation matter. Remind them how much their care is appreciated.
  • With Cards and Flowers– If you don’t get to express in words your appreciation, send a card or flowers to expresses your gratitude.
  • With a Give a Day Off – Often times family caregiver don’t ask for help from other family members. Don’t make them ask! Help relieve them of their duties for at least a day, if not longer. By taking a break they will feel re-energized.
  • With a Crisis: During times of crisis, what a caregiver often needs is presence — the presence of a family member or a close friend — not pity, not small talk, just your presence.
  • With Acknowledgement: Caregiving can be lonely at times. Some people who feel uncomfortable stay away, and caregivers have little time to go out. Reminding a caregiver that you are still a friend and allowing the caregiver to arrange to meet when and where it’s convenient is respectful and compassionate.
  • With a smile: Sometimes a simple smile is all you need to say “thanks.”
  • With your help: Does your family caregiver help running errands? Could they use a few home-cooked meals? Offering to help someone who’s stressed is a wonderful way to express your gratitude.

March is National Nutrition Month®

Everyone is Encouraged to ‘Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle’ Including Seniors

“Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle” is the theme for National Nutrition Month 2015. This year’s theme encourages people to adopt a healthy lifestyle that is focused on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices and getting daily exercise. We understand the importance of offering well-balanced, nutritional meals/snacks and promoting exercise to its residents on a daily basis to achieve a healthy senior lifestyle.

It is our goal is to serve nutritious meals and snacks that are not only delicious but also of course healthy by consistently incorporating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy. In addition we fully see the benefits of exercise for our residents and encourage them to be as physically active as possible each and every day.

During the month of March, we are encouraging all seniors to celebrate National Nutrition Month by taking a good look their food choices. A healthy diet filled with important nutrients can help stave off potential health problems that are common in senior citizens, like heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. One way to do this is to focus on healthy snacks. Contrary to their reputation, chosen carefully, and planned ahead, sensible snacks can be part of any healthful eating plan.

For older adults with smaller appetites or limited energy, several small meals including snacks may be easier for their bodies to handle. Also snacks can prevent overeating at mealtimes and throughout the day. Snacks especially offer a great way to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole-grains and low-fat dairy.”

During National Nutrition Month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers smart snacking ideas that help seniors and anyone “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle.”

  • Plan your snacks. Keep a variety of tasty, nutrient-rich, ready-to-eat foods nearby, for when you need a bite to take the edge off hunger. Then, you won’t be so tempted by less-healthy options from vending machines, convenience stores or the contents of your own kitchen. Snack ideas include fresh fruit, air-popped popcorn, whole-wheat crackers, dried fruit and nut mixes, almonds and fat-free yogurt.
  • Make snack calories count. Snack on foods that fill the nutrient gaps in your day’s eating plan. Think of snacks as mini-meals to help you eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy – foods we often don’t eat enough.
  • Go easy on high-calorie snacks such as chips, candy and soft drinks. They often contain solid fats, and added sugars. Make these occasional choices that fit your day’s plan.
  • Snack when you’re hungry – not because you’re bored, stressed or frustrated. Exercise can actually be a great way to feed those emotional urges.
  • Snack on sensible portions. Choose single-serve containers, or put a small helping in a bowl rather than eating directly from the package.
  • Quench your thirst. Water, low-fat or fat-free milk and 100-percent juice are just a few options. Flavored waters might be high in added sugars, so check the label.

Making the right food and nutrition choices is a necessary part of biting into a healthy lifestyle. More information is available at eatright.org.

At our communies we will be reminding ourselves to remember to “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle” by keeping our minds and body healthy as we enjoy the many festivities the month brings, including Saint Patrick’s Day, the first day of Spring and a little March Madness!

Tax Time

Unfortunately being a senior citizen does not exempt oneself from taxes.
The following tax tips were developed by the IRS to help seniors avoid some of the common errors dealing with the standard deduction for seniors, the taxable amount of Social Security benefits, and the Credit for the Elderly and Disabled.

Standard Deduction for Seniors – If you do not itemize your deductions, you can get a higher standard deduction amount if you and/or your spouse are 65 years old or older. You can get an even higher standard deduction amount if either you or your spouse is blind. (See Form 1040 and Form 1040A instructions.)

Taxable Amount of Social Security Benefits -When preparing your return, be especially careful when you calculate the taxable amount of your Social Security. Use the Social Security benefits worksheet found in the instructions for IRS Form 1040 and Form 1040A, and then double-check it before you fill out your tax return. See Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits.

Credit for the Elderly or Disabled – You must file using Form 1040 or Form 1040A to receive the Credit for the Elderly or Disabled. You cannot get the Credit for the Elderly or Disabled if you file using Form 1040EZ. Be sure to apply for the Credit if you qualify; please read below for details.
Who Can Take the Credit: The Credit is based on your age, filing status and income. You may be able to take the Credit if:

  • Age: You and/or your spouse are either 65 years or older; or under age 65 years old and are permanently and totally disabled.
    AND
  • Filing Status: Your income on Form 1040 line 38 is less than $17,500, $20,000 (married filing jointly and only one spouse qualifies), $25,000 (married filing jointly and both qualify), or $12,500 (married filing separately and lived apart from your spouse for the entire year).
    And, the non-taxable part of your Social Security or other nontaxable pensions, annuities or disability income is less than $5,000 (single, head of household, or qualifying widow/er with dependent child); $5,000 (married filing jointly and only one spouse qualifies); $7,500 (married filing jointly and both qualify); or $3,750 (married filing separately and lived apart from your spouse the entire year).

Calculating the Credit: Use Schedule R (Form 1040 or 1040A), Credit for the Elderly or Disabled, to figure the amount of the credit. See the instructions for Schedule R (Forms 1040 or 1040A) if you want the IRS to figure this credit for you.
Also see Publications 524 (Credit for the Elderly or Disabled); and 554 (Tax Guide for Seniors).

Free IRS Tax Return Preparation – IRS-sponsored volunteer tax assistance programs offer free tax help to seniors and to low- to moderate-income people who cannot prepare their own tax returns.

For more information visit: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Seniors-&-Retirees/Tips-for-Seniors-in-Preparing-their-Taxes