Senior Living Blog

Having a Fun and Safe Summer

Summer is almost here! It’s time to get outside and enjoy everything that your community and nature have to offer. Whether that means going on a nice hike, exercising outside or simply relaxing by the pool, summer is all about taking in some sun and good weather. ISL’s Vibrant Life® program takes full advantage of the summer months by incorporating tons of fun outdoor experiences for residents.

 

However, summer’s hot temperatures can be potentially dangerous. Excessive exposure to heat can result in dizziness, sickness and even more serious conditions. By taking the steps below, you and your loved ones can stay out of harm’s way and still revel in all of summer’s goodness.

 

  • Always check the heat index
    • The heat index is basically how hot you feel on a given day. It factors in the amount of humidity in the air, which affects how easily your body can cool itself. Always check weather websites or your local TV and radio weather reports during the summer.
  • Don’t overdo it
    • If it’s particularly hot outside, don’t do anything over-the-top. Stay inside or relax in the shade. No need to exercise too hard or do something overly adventurous that could cause harm.
  • AC is your friend
    • There’s nothing wrong with cranking up the air conditioning! ISL communities all have quality, air-conditioned rooms and areas. If you’re outside your community, you can always seek out places with good AC, like malls and movie theaters.
  • Stay inside in the midday
    • Temperatures tend to peak in the early afternoon hours, so it’s advisable to stay indoors during these times. If possible, plan on running your errands or exercising outside before or after these hours.
  • Liquids, liquids, liquids
    • Staying hydrated is key to battling the summer heat. Always drink plenty of water or juice, and remember that alcohol and caffeinated drinks can often result in even more dehydration.
  • Dress for the occasion
    • What you wear is important too! Make sure you are outfitted with light, free-flowing and light-colored clothes. Hats and sunscreen should always be part of your outdoor accessories, too.

Now it’s time to get back to having fun in the sun!

National Arthritis Awareness Month

 Spring is setting in after a much longer than usual winter. While most people take advantage of the nicer weather to get outside and be active, some experience lingering, unexplained pain. It is easy for anyone to think pain is due to the aging process, but sometimes it can be attributed to arthritis. May is National Arthritis Awareness Month, so we want to take this opportunity to talk a little more about how to protect your joints.

Though we’ve probably all heard of arthritis, many don’t know exactly what it is. Arthritis is not a single disease, but instead refers to joint pain or disease. In fact, there are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions.

Arthritis can cause stiffness, swelling and severe joint pain, and lead to a loss of motion and mobility. Many people also don’t realize just how many Americans live with arthritis. It’s a condition that affects about one in four adults overall, and is the nation’s No. 1 cause of disability. That’s equates to over 54 million men and women.

Though you can’t always prevent arthritis, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of getting painful joints as you age.

  • Exercise and keep a healthy weight – Obesity causes unnecessary stress on joints. You should stay active and make sure you are taking care of your body. According to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center, being just 10 pounds overweight means the force on your knees increases by 30 to 60 pounds when walking.
  • Eat fish – Fish can be rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have a number of health benefits, including reducing inflammation in the body.
  • Be mindful of your joints – Work to protect your joints from injury. Lift with your knees and hips when picking up objects; don’t use your back. If you sit for long periods at work or home, make sure that your back, legs and arms are well-supported.
  • See your doctor – As with most diseases and conditions, identifying them early on can be key to getting treatment that can slow the progress of arthritis and preserve mobility.

At ISL communities, we make sure all of our residents are staying active, eating high-quality food, and living fulfilling lives that promote mental and physical health.

 

Don’t Let Allergies Ruin Your Spring

Spring is here! Flowers are blooming, the sun is out, and the snow is gone. People are spending more time outside and enjoying nature. However, the change in seasons also brings along the boogie man of spring: allergies.

Dealing with allergies can be frustrating, but you can take steps to make sure they don’t ruin your spring.

No matter if you’ve been dealing with allergies your whole life or you’re feeling the symptoms for the first time, doing the following can help you get through the season with as little sneezing as possible!

  • Wash your hands frequently, and especially after being outdoors. If you’ve been outside for a long time, taking a shower will help wash any allergens away and prevent you from spreading them around your home.
  • Wear sunglasses when you’re enjoying everything nature has to offer. Sunglasses provide protection against irritants.
  • Make sure you’re checking the pollen levels in your area daily. You should try to plan your outdoor activities for when the pollen count is lowest.
  • It’s not the most fun way to experience the season; but you should avoid opening your windows as much as possible, as it will increase the amount of allergens entering your home or vehicle.
  • Make sure you eat foods that are known to fight inflammation. Foods that can help combat allergy symptoms include apples, flax seed, ginger, leafy greens, walnuts and anything high in vitamin C.
  • Talk to your doctor. There are a variety of prescription and over-the-counter medications that could help bring you some much-needed relief.

At all ISL communities, we emphasize an adventurous lifestyle that gets residents outdoors and enjoying all that life has to offer. Itchy eyes and sore throats shouldn’t stand in the way of a beautiful hike or day at the park!

Don’t Fall for Tax Season Scams

It’s April, and for many, the month brings warmer weather and beautiful spring flowers. For others, April is marked by the always-looming tax deadline, this year coming Tuesday, April 17.

Unfortunately, seniors – because they are most likely to have a “nest egg,” to own their home and/or to have excellent credit – are one of the more vulnerable populations for tax-related scams and fraud schemes.

To protect yourself and your loved ones from being a target, there are a few things the IRS and FBI suggest you look out for. Here are a few key ones.

  • Telemarketing scams often involve offers of free prizes, low-cost vitamins and health care products, and inexpensive vacations. If you receive a call from someone offering any of these, they are most likely a scammer.
  • Some scammers pretend to be IRS agents, demanding money for unpaid taxes. To recognize a con artist when you get a call, it’s important to remember that the IRS will never:
    • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should be made payable only to the U.S. Treasury, and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
    • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
    • Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
    • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • If you suspect a scam, do not give out any information. Hang up immediately and call 800-366-4484 to report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Following these tips can help you steer clear of danger.

Come tax season, all you should be worried about is what you’re going to spend your refund on!

National Caffeine Awareness Month

Who doesn’t like a nice cup of coffee to start the day or a soda with their lunch? While caffeine can provide an often necessary boost of energy, it’s important to remember that it is a stimulant, not a nutrient, and that too much caffeine is unhealthy.

March is National Caffeine Awareness Month and serves as good reminder to always be careful of how much caffeine you are consuming per day. If you’re on a first-name basis with your local barista, it may be time to rethink your daily intake!

According to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for America, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, most of the caffeine consumed in the United States comes from coffee, tea and soda.

About 400 milligrams of caffeine a day – or about four cups of coffee – is considered safe for most healthy adults, though you should always keep in mind that caffeine content in beverages varies widely and that caffeine affects each of us differently.

Mixing caffeine with alcohol should always be avoided. Mixing the two may lead to drinking more alcohol and becoming more intoxicated than you realize, increasing the risk of alcohol-related adverse events.

In general, a good rule of thumb is, if you feel jittery or overly restless after drinking a caffeinated beverage, you should stop. Too much caffeine may lead to sleep problems, migraines and other health issues – not to mention coffee breath!

 

Providing Quality Entertainment Options for Seniors

 At the heart of each ISL community is our commitment to providing a fun and active lifestyle for all residents. We place special importance on developing entertainment opportunities for residents that emphasize exercise and physical activity.

We do this because we know the key role active recreation plays in the well-being of seniors and in improving their quality of life. ISL’s Vibrant Life® program, designed for enhancing and enriching residents’ lives with well-rounded and meaningful experiences, guides us in our approach.

We create our programs with more than just physical exercise opportunities in mind. We know that residents who stay active and engaged can see remarkable mental, emotional and even spiritual growth. We want our residents to look forward to making each day as energetic and vibrant as possible.

We don’t take this lightly.

The Vibrant Life® program is all about inspiring our residents to be social and adventurous, to take their health seriously, and to realize the benefits of living an active lifestyle.

Each ISL community designs its Vibrant Life® program to specifically meet the wants and needs of its residents. Various outings and activities are offered that allow people to create their own schedules based on their interests, preferences, routines and abilities.

Providing quality, active entertainment options not only makes our communities wonderful places to be, but results in increased resident health and fitness, gives opportunities for socializing, and lets residents use skills and talents developed throughout their lifetime and even learn new skills.

We care deeply about our residents and always want them to feel that they are being treated by associates who truly value who they are as individuals.

Tips for seniors on downsizing your home

The prospect of a big, spacious home is a dream to almost any young family on the hunt to find a space to grow their lives in. However, years later, when the kids have moved out and you’ve passed the age of retirement, this big dream home is now more of a hassle than anything else. Downsizing is a smart move for most seniors because it takes away the burden of having to tend to a house that is no longer truly needed. The benefits of moving into a smaller place are numerous, but the act itself isn’t always easy, especially if you’ve been living in your home for a while.

We here at Integral Senior Living fully support seniors transitioning into a home that’s much more manageable, and we’ve devised a few tips for those wishing to make the move:

Start slow and steady

It’s best to start planning as far in advance as possible. Even if you’re not fully committed to downsizing your home for retirement, you should still come up with a plan in case you find yourself in a situation where the move is necessary, like you or your spouse getting sick. Look into housing options that are both appealing and affordable and start saving money. Having a solid plan will make the process much less stressful if you have to move on a whim and especially easy if you’ve been planning to downsize for a while.

Hire an agent who knows the ropes

Trying to sell your home and search for a new one at the same time is a nightmare for anyone of any age, and we don’t recommend going about it alone. Hire a top real estate agent in San Diego or the surrounding area to help you move. They’ll help you sell your current home and find a new one that’s within your price range and offers amenities suitable for seniors. And, he or she will be someone who you can count on to be there for you during a transition that can be tough.

Be smart about your location

The benefits that come with downsizing are going to be negated if you move into a place in a bad location. If possible, move close to family members or close friends. If that isn’t an option, move into a place where you don’t have to worry about who is going to help you if you’re sick, injured, or unable to do certain day-to-day tasks. A housing community tailored to seniors’ needs, like Integral Senior Living, is an excellent option for those looking for a comfortable home with necessary accommodations.

Downsizing isn’t something that’s easy, and it can be a very emotional process. However, with some proper planning and time management, the move doesn’t have to be too burdensome. If you’re a senior in the San Diego or Carlsbad area, don’t hesitate to consider Integral Senior Living for your next home if downsizing from your house is something you plan on doing.

Senior Citizens and the Opioid Crisis

The opioid epidemic is a serious health crisis for our country, and senior citizens are not immune to what’s happening. Every day, more than 90 Americans die of an opioid overdose. This includes overdoses on illegal heroin as well as the abuse of prescription pain relievers like hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, morphine, codeine, fentanyl and others.

A recent analysis from Stanford University found that seniors covered by Medicare have “among the highest and most rapidly growing prevalence of opioid use disorder.” The report found that more than six out of every 1,000 Medicare patients are diagnosed with an opioid disorder, compared to one of every 1,000 patients covered by commercial insurance plans.

Unfortunately, abuse of opioids isn’t the only way seniors are contributing to the crisis. Many have become what is known as an “accidental drug dealer.” These are seniors whose prescribed medication is stolen or periodically taken from their homes. Sadly, many times this is done by friends and family members who have access to their medicine cabinets. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 percent of people who abuse opioids get them from a friend or relative.

So what can you do about it?

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, getting immediate professional help is crucial to not falling victim to further abuse or even to an overdose. Treatment options that are available include:

In order to safeguard any prescription pain reliever you use from theft, we advise you to follow these rules:

  • Store your medications in a secure location like a home lock box.
  • Count your pills regularly so you’ll know if a pill is missing.
  • Never share your medications with anyone.
  • Dispose of unused medications.

There are many drop off locations around the country to securely get rid of unused or expired medications. Visit the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Controlled Substance Public Disposal locator to find the one nearest you.

Valentine’s Day and National Heart Month

Many people have hearts on their minds as they move into February. This month not only holds the holiday built to celebrate love, Valentine’s Day, but also marks American Heart Month, which is an excellent time to educate yourself on heart health.

Led by the American Heart Association, this federally designated awareness month sets out to remind people to focus on maintaining healthy hearts and to help raise heart disease awareness with their families, friends and communities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading global cause of death with more than 17.3 million deaths each year. And that number is expected to rise to more than 23.6 million by 2030.

Keeping a healthy heart is key to continuing to have a high quality of life as we age. Here are a few simple ways you can help prevent heart disease.

• Eat healthy
• Stay active
• Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke
• Control your cholesterol and blood pressure
• If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation
• Manage stress

We place special emphasis on getting nutritious meals and promoting an active lifestyle at our communities because we know how important it is to overall health, especially in regard to the cardiovascular system.

It’s also important to make regular visits to your doctor. Early diagnosis of any heart disease or irregularities can help save your life.

We wish you all a happy and healthy Valentine’s Day! Make sure you remember to wear red on Feb. 3 to celebrate National Wear Red Day as part of American Heart Month!

New Year’s Resolutions

With the arrival of a new year comes the opportunity to plan for the future and focus our energy on personal resolutions. Setting personal goals at the beginning of a new year is a wonderful way to inspire change in one’s life.

For seniors, it can be especially important to make resolutions that will provide a better quality of life both now and in the future. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

  • Eat Healthy
    • The struggle for most people is making sure we make good food choices. Resolve to eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer fried and fatty foods. Go for fiber-rich foods like whole grain bread, brown rice and whole grain pasta. Choose healthy fats, such as olive and canola oils, and stay away from highly processed food. We developed our award-winning Dining by Design program to help ensure our residents have high-quality, freshly prepared meals each day.
  • Be Active
    • Staying active is critical for everyone, and especially as we age. Make a concerted effort to exercise daily. Going for a walk and participating in yoga or water aerobics are all great ways to stay limber, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your balance, posture and mood. Residents are offered fun daily activities to keep you living a vibrant life.
  • Routine Doctor Visits
    • Visiting your doctor regularly, not just when you get sick, is something everyone should do. Making sure any medications you’re taking are working properly, getting important screening tests for vision and hearing, and staying up-to-date on any immunizations are crucial to staying healthy. Our communities have highly trained staff to make sure you are receiving the proper medical care you need.
  • Check in More
    • Too often, seniors become isolated because of mobility issues. If you know someone who has trouble leaving their house, set dates to visit them throughout the year. Sometimes, just spending a few minutes with a friend or loved one can brighten their day.

We hope everyone makes at least one resolution for 2018 that will result in a positive change in their life. Happy New Year from all of us at Integral Senior Living!