All posts by Integral Senior Living

Alzheimer’s Update

With several promising Phase 3 trials going on in research and increased funding 2016 is poised to be a good year in the search to find a cure for Alzheimer’s.

  • Forbes Magazine has gone out on a limb and predicted that a breakthrough drug in the search to conquer Alzheimer’s may be on the way in 2016. Unlike the five existing therapies to treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease this drug looks cure it.   Eli Lilly’s solanezumab has been in development for 15 years.  Currently in Phase 3 studies, this experimental drug could be the first marketed treatment to slow the worsening of Alzheimer’s.
  • The Alzheimer’s Association, the leading advocate for federal Alzheimer’s disease research funding and caregiver support, highlighted the historic $350 million increase for Alzheimer’s disease research funding in the FY2016 budget, signed into law on December 18, 2015 by President Barack Obama. This marks the largest increase ever for federal Alzheimer’s research funding. The bill includes $350 million in new spending for Alzheimer’s disease research, a 60% increase over the 2015 amount and well above the president’s request of $51 million. This brings total funding to $936 million. Alzheimer’s researchers hailed the news. “This sends a positive message to younger scientists, who have been leaving the field in droves, that they can initiate and sustain their research careers investigating this disease … I am grateful to Congress for finally seeing the necessity of this action,” Gary Landreth at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, wrote to Alzforum.

The New Year is a Good Time to Explore New Living Options

We in the senior living industry always see an increase of inquires in the beginning of the New Year.  Why? The answer is really quite simple.  Over the holiday’s the reality of where a seniors loved ones mental and physical health is currently at becomes apparent when children or loved ones are home for the holidays and spending more time together.  We often find that if you are starting to ask the question ‘is assistance needed?’ then it may be time to begin inquiring into senior living options.

It is best to begin the search into senior living options, earlier rather than later so that all involved have the time and the best choices available to make the right decisions for a loved one.

Consider these questions when deciding whether it is time to inquire into senior living community options:

  • Emotions: How are they emotionally? Are there changes in their activity level and mood? Are they seeing friends and partaking in activities they have loved for years?
  • Health: Are they taking their medications correctly? Has there been significant weight loss? Unexplained weight loss could indicate a major health problem.
  • Home: What shape is the home in? If the home is in need of repair and un-kept, these can be signs that more help is needed.
  • Hygiene: Neglecting personal hygiene and cleanliness can be a sign that help is needed. 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.
  • Mobility: Are they having difficulty moving around their home? Having trouble walking or being unsteady on their feet puts them at risk for falling and injuring themselves.
  • Memory: Are you noticing changes in their personality? 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 of these symptoms.
  • Money: How are the finances? Any mishandled finances to cause concern?
  • Transportation Do you see any dents in a car? This may indicate erratic or unsafe driving.

There are different types of senior living communities to accommodate the varying needs of seniors. The three most common types of senior living options are:

  • Independent Living communities are for active older adults who require little or no assistance from others. They enjoy private dwellings, control over their own schedules, and freedom to come and go as they choose. Social networking, optional events, special interest clubs, and conveniently located services may be offered onsite as well as resort-like amenities with all the comforts of home.
  • An Assisted Living residence is a combination of housing, services, personalized assistance and care tailored to the individual needs of those who require help with activities of daily living
  • Memory Care is designed especially for residents with memory loss including Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Many independent and assisted living communities offer memory care areas within their communities. Residents live in a secured space and enjoy an environment and activities coordinated by staff members trained specifically for caring for those with memory impairment.

Thankfully there are many wonderful options in the 21st century for seniors. Check with us about the many senior living opportunities available today!

Ringing in 2016

It’s the New Year and with 2015 behind us, we look forward to all that 2016 has to offer.  With the coming of any New Year there are countless trends and predictions that come up.  While many can be wrong, it is fun to look ahead—here’s a glimpse at what to expect in the coming year.

Top Trends for 2016

Grocery: Tired of going to the grocery storeshopping and ordering groceries online has been growing steadily for a few years, but will surge in 2016. 

Fitness:  For the first time in a decade, the American College of Sports Medicine’s survey of fitness professionals says that wearable technology, including fitness trackers such as Fitbit and Jawbone, GPS and heart monitors, and smart watches such as the Apple Watch, will be the No. 1 trend for the New Year.

Real Estate: America’s 55-74 year-old generation is expected to start selling their bigger, traditional homes and opt for smaller, more manageable living arrangements in greater numbers this year.

Baby Boomers: The first wave of Baby Boomers turn 70 in 2016. And ready for this the Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers in numbers this past year to become the largest U.S. generation. There are an estimated 75.3 Millennials (ages 18 to 34) compared with 74.9 million Baby Boomers.

Food

  • Power Bowls- Bowls are the new plates. All sorts of creative one-dish meals are being served in a bowl with various monikers – protein bowls, Buddha bowls, broth bowls, quinoa bowls and globowls – for globally inspired bowl meals.
  • Ancient Grains: Quinoa darted to the top of the heap, but 2016 will be a time for other ancient grains to shine – including teff, millet, amaranth, spelt, kamut, kaniwa, freekeh and farro.
  • Avocado Oil: According to Pinterest, it will become the new coconut oil.

Senior Travel

  • Of the 95% who will travel domestically in 2016, Summer Vacations, Multi-Generational trips, and Weekend Getaways are the primary impetus behind such plans.
  • Popular domestic destinations are either a city/town or a beach, with Florida, Las Vegas, California, New York and Hawaii being mentioned the most.

Events

Top Anticipated Movies – get ready for prequels and superheroes

  • Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice March 25
  • Captain America: Civil War May 6
  • Independence Day: Resurgence June 24
  • Ghostbusters July 15
  • Star Trek Beyond July 22
  • Bridget Jones Baby September 16
  • The Girl on the Train October 7
  • Rogue One a Star Wars Story December 16

Ready or not 2016 is here. We wish you the best and a Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays and a Healthy New Year!

Regardless of which holidays you celebrate, most people take time off at the year’s end to celebrate, gather with family and friends, and to reflect on days past and those to come. Wishing a joy-filled holiday season to our staff, residents and their loved ones, as well as all our community neighbors. We look forward to sharing 2016 with you.

Here are a few inspiring words of wisdom to carry you through the holidays and stay with you throughout the New Year.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. Wishing you happiness.”—Helen Keller, American author, political activist, educator, lecturer

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”—Charles Dickens, English novelist

“Happiness is there for the taking—and the making.”—Oprah Winfrey, American entertainer, actress, producer, and philanthropist

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” — Mother Teresa, Roman Catholic nun and missionary

Caregivers: Tips for Less Stress Over the Holidays — and More Joy!

The holidays can be a stressful time of year in any household, especially if you’re a caregiver for an aging loved one. Changes in routine, raised expectations, busier schedules, and more frequent social interactions can quickly become overwhelming for loved ones and caregivers alike.

These tips can help caregivers manage stress and anxiety for themselves and those they care for while focusing on less-demanding fun and merriment.

Simplify! Resist the pressure go all-out for the holidays. You’re not obligated to attend every event, host gatherings in your home, or keep up with all family holiday traditions. Choose just a few activities, decorations, or foods that are meaningful to you and feel doable.

Start new traditions. While it’s true that honoring family traditions may help a loved one with dementia connect with holiday celebrations, it’s OK to scale down favorite festivities, or carry out just a few traditions. Another idea is to try something new. If your loved one seems receptive, attend a holiday concert you’ve never gone to before. Instead of cooking a holiday meal, eat out or order a prepared meal. Take a drive to look at neighborhood holiday decorations. 

Keep up self-care. During this busy time, it’s easy to let your own needs and well-being slip. But making time for exercise can boost your mood and renew valuable stamina. Keep exercise as simple as walking in a shopping mall or dancing to holiday tunes. Try to limit sugary foods and alcohol that can result in an energy crash. Step outside for some mood-elevating vitamin D from sunlight.

Focus on what you can do rather on what you can’t. Valuable advice from AARP: “Think about what you can accomplish instead of what you can’t.” Further, celebrate what your loved ones can do, rather than mourning their diminished capabilities. Revel in the holiday joys you and your loved one will experience this season, instead of missing those you’ll bypass. Try to give thanks for the help you are receiving rather than resenting those who aren’t supportive. AARP reminds us that negative thinking activates your body’s stress response. Redirect your thoughts when you feel yourself slipping into a detrimental mindset.

The Village at Mapleshade Opens For Residents

PLANO, TX (December 13, 2015)— The newest senior living community in Plano is now open. The Village at Mapleshade, a new assisted living community hosted a very successful grand opening event to celebrate the occasion.  With the opening, it joins two other communities owned by SRP Medical: Spring Creek Village in Spring, Texas and The Village at Stonebridge in McKinney, Texas.

“For those in the greater Plano area, we are now providing the best quality senior living care in our beautiful and unique environment,” said Michael Larsen for Mapleshade.  “We encourage anyone interested in learning more about assisted living to come by and see what makes The Village at Mapleshade a wonderful home.”

At the event were members form the Plano and Richardson Chambers of Commerce and Council Members David Down, Rick Grady and Tom Harrison who helped with the ribbon cutting. Attendees enjoyed appetizers, signature cocktails, casino games, prizes and tours of the new community.

The Village at Mapleshade represents what seniors today are looking for in a senior living community. The community promotes a life of engagement and balanced living for its residents through activities and events focused on personal health and growth for enjoyment and meeting new friends. Residents enjoy a private dining room, bistro, restaurant, salon and day spa, fitness/wellness center, library, movie theater, and even a rooftop patio for entertaining.

The assisted living community has 92 apartments, including studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. The community provides a wide range of services and activities for residents who choose or require assistance with their daily needs as well as those who wish to remain as independent as possible.

The community is located at 3670 Mapleshade Lane, Plano, Texas 75075. For more information call 972-964-8444 or visit http://www.VillageatMapleshade.com.

About The Village at Mapleshade

The Village at Mapleshade offers assisted living care services for seniors. The expertly trained staff will provide residents with the highest standards of care and services. It is operated by Integral Senior Living, which manages independent living, assisted living, and memory care properties. ISL is founded on a care philosophy that fosters dignity and respect for residents and promotes their independence and individuality. For more information visit http://www.VillageatMapleshade.com and

https://www.facebook.com/villagemapleshade.

The Benefits of Music for People with Memory Loss

Recent research strongly suggests that listening to, dancing to, and singing music can lift the spirits of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Neurologist Jonathan Graff-Radford, in an article in the Mayo Clinic’s blog, says that “musical memories” tend to be preserved in Alzheimer’s because the disease leaves key brain areas relatively unaffected.

Studies have shown that exposure to music can relieve stress, lessen anxiety and depression, and reduce agitation in people with Alzheimer’s and related memory-loss conditions.

Playing music can also bring relief and joy to caregivers by lightening the mood—thereby lowering anxiety and stress—and helping caregivers connect with loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease, especially those who have trouble communicating.

How can you use music to help relieve the symptoms of a loved one with Alzheimer’s and to foster connection? Consider putting their favorite music on an iPod (making sure that caregivers know how to turn it on and use it) or get them a portable CD player and CD’s.

What kind of music does your loved one respond to? The power of music may be understood because implicit memories are relatively well preserved in people living with dementia. Implicit memory is associated with routines and repetitive activities. All of us tend to listen repeatedly to music we like. Because Alzheimer’s affects the ability to form new memories, music we once loved remains accessible in the brain.

Music can calm or stimulate. To relax your loved one during meals or a hygiene routine, play music or sing a song that’s soothing. To boost the mood, choose faster-paced tunes. 

Avoid overstimulation. Eliminate competing noise. Turn off the TV. Shut the door. Set the music volume for your loved one’s hearing ability. Choose uninterrupted music (no commercials), which can cause confusion.

Get moving! Encourage loved ones to clap with the song or tap their feet to the beat. Dance along!

Sing out loud. Singing along can boost the mood and enhance your relationship. Some early studies suggest musical memory functions differently from other types of memory, and singing can help stimulate unique memories.

Pay attention. If your loved one enjoys particular songs, play them often. If he or she reacts negatively, play something else.

2016 Medicare Open Enrollment: October 15 to December 7

Make Needed Changes Now to Medicare Plans 

Now is the time to review and reassess Medicare plans for older adults so that coverage will be adequate and cost-effective for 2016. From October 15 to December 7, 2015, the 2016 Medicare Open Enrollment period is designated for older adults enrolled in Medicare to take these actions:

  • Change their Part D (prescription drug) plan
  • Enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan
  • Change Medigap plans
  • Change Medicare Advantage plans

DailyCaring, an organization that supports families caring for older adults, says that “even though we all wish we could ‘set it and forget it’ with health insurance, Medicare plans change all the time.” To save money, older adult’s plans should be reassessed every year so that necessary changes can be made during the Open Enrollment period.

DailyCaring offers tips for knowing which changes to look for in the paperwork and how they could make a big difference in costs.

How to Find and Evaluate Key Plan Changes

In early October, older adults should have received an annual notice from their health insurance company. The package might be dauntingly thick, but look for the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC), a thinner booklet. The first pages of the ANOC booklet should summarize key plan changes for 2016.

Will the current plan still cover needed services and prescriptions for 2016? You don’t need to take any action or make any changes if:

  • Current plans are still being offered
  • Ongoing medical care and prescription needs for 2016 will be covered
  • New medical care and prescription needs for 2016 will be covered
  • Procedures or tests that may be needed in 2016 will be covered

But if plans are changing and you think switching plans might be a good idea, look into these issues:

  • If the plan premium is increasing 10 percent or more, you might be able to find a better plan.
  • Has the deductible gone up? It used to be zero and now it’s not? Consider switching plans.
  • For prescription drug coverage, figure out changes in drug premiums and tiers, and how these will affect what’s paid out of pocket. This investigation process might take some work, but this is where you can save a lot of money.
  • How much did you spend in co-pays this year? Were some expenses not covered, and might those expenses happen in 2016? If so, consider switching to a Medigap plan with fixed costs.
  • Are you paying for a Medigap plan but your senior doesn’t have many doctor visits (apart from annual checkups and preventive care)? A better option might be Medicare Advantage plans with lower premiums and other benefits like hearing and vision coverage.

For more information on this topic and related topics of interest to caregivers of senior adults, visit the DailyCaring website.

Helping Seniors Enjoy the Holiday Season

The busy holiday season can be challenging for any of us, but older adults can find the added activity to be especially draining. Low mood, confusion, and stress may put a damper on seniors’ holiday merriment.

Below are some tips on how to help seniors find joy, relaxation, and connection during this potentially tough time.

Reminisce. Take out the photo album, listen to old records, watch family movies, tell stories of holidays past. Sharing memories can be powerful and engaging for older adults.

Plan for alone time. Set aside a room or area in which the senior can take a break from the overstimulation of family gatherings.

Include the senior. Make a point to invite your senior to participate in as many family activities as they can handle. Simple tasks include setting out dinnerware, folding napkins, and adding ornaments to the tree. Helping out will give them a sense of purpose and usefulness, helping them feel more involved and needed.

Connect. Loneliness can bring on depression, so it’s important for seniors to connect with others during the holiday season. Go out of your way to visit and talk with older people in your life more frequently than you might have done during the rest of the year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 ‘Tis the Season of Thanks

We would like to extend a big THANK YOU to all of our wonderful staff, residents and extended family and friends as we give thanks, this Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays, a time when we can reflect and focus on the virtues of everyone who is a part of our life and, of course, enjoy a day centered on good food! We wish we could gather everyone together for what would be a most spectacular of Thanksgiving celebrations. Instead of this, we can give thanks for what the year has meant to us all. There is a saying that feeling appreciation and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift and not giving it. So we want to begin the holiday right and share our appreciation for all of you.

Thanksgiving is more than just being grateful and a day off of work. It is a day for appreciating our good fortune and sharing it with others. Whatever your creed or beliefs on this Thanksgiving Day remember the real reason for the celebration.

Travel safely over the holiday, spend time with your treasured family and friends and enjoy every last morsel of the wonderful feast on this our day of Thanksgiving!