Senior Living Blog

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

What to take with you when moving into an Assisted Living or Memory Care Community

Often we get asked, “what should I bring” when moving into a community like ours. While the decision of what to bring is of course personal, we do know from experience to start with the premise that you actually need very little when moving into an assisted living or memory care residence.

  • First and foremost people need less than they think. Most residents bring too much with them. Once here they realize how few items they actually need. And for those suffering from memory loss, too many items especially clothing options can confuse or frustrate the resident.
  • If furnishing your own apartment check to make certain that what you intend to bring will fit and is safe. Avoid furniture with sharp corners; chairs that are unstable and throw rugs, which can make a person easily, trip.
  • Leave your valuables with a trusted family member or friend.
  • Do bring a touch of home with you. Family photos, beloved trinkets and a few well-loved items will make your new residence feel like home with these in place.
  • Comfortable clothing is fashionable at our community. Bring clothes that you enjoy wearing and that you can move around in comfortably.
  • Please leave behind your over-the-counter medications or items with medications included in them.

Lastly we encourage new residents to stay busy, introduce themselves to the other residents and participate in our many activities. By doing so you’ll feel at home in your new community.

Alzheimer’s Updates

Can it be true – can we drink beer to ward off Alzheimer’s disease?

An ingredient in beer hops, xanthohumol (also known as Xn) has been shown to protect the brains of mice from cell damage according to a report by Dr. Jianguo Fang in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Fang said that Xn was shown to not only fight free radicals but to jump-start signaling and protect cells from neurotoxicity.

The report states that one way to get the benefits of Xn is to ingest a daily intake of products containing Xn, such as beer.

More information can be found at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2931944/The-perfect-excuse-pint-Regular-beer-drinking-help-ward-Alzheimer-s-Parkinsons-say-scientists.html

Understanding the differences between Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care and a Skilled Nursing Facility

You are not alone if you find yourself confused between the many different options when it comes to care types and styles of senior living communities. While ISL Communities offer independent living, assisted living, and memory care, let me give you a brief description of the four most dominate senior living options available.

Independent Senior Living Communities are best suited to seniors who are living an independent, self-sufficient life. They offer a carefree lifestyle, freeing residents of the many burdens of daily life. Meals are prepared, housekeeping, laundry and transportation services available as well as 24 hour on site staffing and great social events and activities.

Assisted Living Communities is a combination of housing, personalized assistance services and care tailored to the individual who require help with activities of daily living. In these communities you’ll find more support services such as assistance with bathing, grooming, and dressing while still enjoying independence.

Memory Care Communities are designed especially for residents with memory loss and other forms of dementia. Memory care is often provided in a secure area or special wing within an assisted living community.

Skilled Nursing Facilities (Nursing Homes) offer the highest level of care for residents (outside of a hospital) with an emphasis on medical care. They offer 24-hour supervised care with meals, activities and health management support for residents.

Valentine’s Day for that Senior in Your Life

By Judith Jones, Claremont Place

As we all know, Valentine’s Day conjures up thoughts of romance and love. We appreciate the extra attention we get on February 14th, , often evoking the warm feelings felt when we first fell in love. But for seniors, Valentine’s Day can be a day of mixed feelings.
For many of our residents, the love of their lives have passed away, leaving them with wonderful memories of days gone by but also a feeling of sadness. Valentine’s Day can bring some added weight to their sorrow. Finding a special way to show them some extra love on Valentine’s Day can make a big difference.

  • Here are some ways you can fill a senior’s Valentine’s Day with some extra love:
  • Flowers warm the heart and soul, have some delivered
  • You are never to old for chocolate- share some on Valentine’s Day
  • A good old fashioned Valentine Card says a lot, don’t forget to send one
  • Take an old photograph of the couple and frame it up
  • Offer your time and spend the day, or at least part of the with your senior

These are just some ideas that let the senior in your life know that you are thinking of them.

CAREGIVERS

By Tricia Elliker, Community Marketing Director at Claremont Place Senior Living.

If you are a caregiver, consider making some special caregiver resolutions this New Year. Go beyond the pledge to loose weight, work out or give up that favorite no-no and think about resolutions that promote your health and wellbeing in a positive way. The New Year is a good time for you, the caregiver, to step forward and take a Caregiver Pledge for yourself that looks to the positive in everyday life.

Here are 5 pledges to set you on the path for a happy and healthy 2015:

  1. I will respect myself and ask that others respect me
  2. I will take care of my physical self, getting enough rest, eating well and living a healthy lifestyle
  3. I will take care of my mental self, fulfilling my spiritual needs and seeking friends and family to share my thoughts and ideas
  4. I will seek professional help when needed, and not view this as a failure
  5. I will find love and laughter each day

Alzheimer’s News

There is a new film coming out in January about Alzheimer’s that is receiving a lot of attention. The film is “Still Alice” starring Julianne Moore. Moore plays Alice Howland, a brilliant college professor grappling with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Happily married with three grown children, the renowned linguistics professor starts to forget words. When she receives a devastating diagnosis, Alice and her family find their bonds tested in this intense drama.

Early Hollywood talk is that Moore may get an Oscar nomination for her role in the film. “Still Alice” opens nationwide in theaters on January 16, 2015.

Catch a glimpse of the trailer at:
https://www.yahoo.com/movies/watch-exclusive-still-alice-trailer-get-104687790272.html

Tax Season is a Good Time to Talk Money

When it comes time to do taxes, it can also be a good time to start the conversation about money with the senior in your life. Discussions about their financial well-being are necessary but not easy. But tax time is an excellent time to open the dialogue — and perhaps an upside to this trying annual rite we experience each year.

Often seniors don’t want those younger than themselves involved in their finances, and conversely the younger adults don’t always want to know how much the senior has or what they’re doing with it which is understandable.

Yet tax season gives a natural opening to start the conversation. Money is an issue filled with emotion and not just for seniors. But take it slow and steady; give yourself time to talk to the senior in your life about their finances. Begin or continue the conversation sooner than later. It is an important task, and one that is best done when there is time and the ability to address the matter at hand.