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Senior Fall Prevention & Awareness

senior fall preventionThe grandparents might give you a hard time about breaking a hip when they try certain activities, but it’s no laughing matter. Falls are the top cause for fractures in seniors in America, including hip fractures and other severe injuries, although women are more likely than men to suffer fractures from falling. But broken bones aren’t the only thing to worry about. Falls are also the #1 cause of traumatic brain injury, which in turn can lead to a further increased risk of both severe, and even fatal falls.

And it’s expensive to boot. In 2010 alone, roughly $30 billion were spent in direct medical costs on seniors who had been injured as a result of falling.

September is senior fall prevention & awareness month, but it’s something we should always be vigilant in monitoring. While falls are a serious concern for seniors, it is never inevitable that someone will fall. Here are some things you can do to help make sure the older loved ones in your life are less likely to suffer from a fall.

Encourage Them to Exercise Regularly

Balance and fitness go hand in hand, so it’s more important than ever for people to stay fit and active as they get older. General fitness is necessary, but there are also classes geared specifically towards helping seniors build and maintain balance. Encourage parents and grandparents to take these classes if at all possible.

Diet

While some bone deterioration may be inevitable as we age, there are ways to make sure we don’t lose any more than we need to. Strength and balance training are both essential, but diet is also key. We all need to make sure we’re getting a healthy dose of all our vitamins on a regular basis, especially calcium and vitamin K, which helps transport the calcium to our bones.

Checkups

No matter what we do, we tend to lose some of our eyesight and hearing as we age. Make sure the seniors in your life are getting their eyes and ears checked regularly, as trouble seeing or hearing can result in serious falls. Other kinds of ear trouble can also impair their balance.

Stay Vigilant

If you don’t live with your senior loved ones, be sure to visit them regularly and take note if they appear to be having trouble sitting down, standing up, or walking. If they always appear to be holding onto furniture or walls, talk to them about it and see what can be done to help them.

If they live in an assisted living facility or nursing home, be sure to talk regularly with their caregivers about their fall risk and what measures are being taken to reduce that risk. If they’re taking any medications, be sure to stay informed about what those medications are and any potential side effects.

September is fall prevention & awareness month, but people fall all year round. Educate yourself, educate your loved ones, and make sure you have a system in place to help prevent falls.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

4 Ways to Prevent Pneumonia in Seniors

Pneumonia in SeniorsFall is in the air. Some of the leaves have already started changing and many of us have experienced reduced temperatures when we step outside, letting us know that winter is coming.

It can be a great time of year, but it can also be a dangerous time of year, especially for seniors. Not only do ice and snow pose an increased risk of falling, but the colder air tends to bring with it colds, flus, and other viruses. While they may be nothing more than nuisances to the rest of us, these diseases can be life threatening to seniors whose immune systems may not be as strong they once were, especially if the virus gets into their lungs and causes pneumonia.

Here are four ways you can help protect your loved ones from pneumonia:

1) Immunizations

There’s a reason medical professionals encourage everyone to get their flu shots every fall, especially seniors and those with weakened immune systems. There’s no such thing as a guarantee against getting sick, but getting immunized is one way to stack the deck in your favor. By making sure the seniors in your life get their flu shot every year, you’re decreasing the chances they’ll catch something that could turn into pneumonia.

2) Hygiene

There’s no need to seal seniors in a bubble to prevent infection, tempting as it may be at times, but by practicing good hygiene, you can help reduce the chances they’ll get sick. Wash your hands regularly in warm, soapy water, or use hand sanitizer. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands or apply hand sanitizer immediately afterwards. Stay away from seniors if you’re sick or if you’ve been around other people who have been sick – you don’t want to accidentally act as a carrier for a nasty cold or flu.

Also make sure seniors are taking good care of their teeth and mouth. In addition to colds and flus, other types of infections, including dental or oral infections, can also turn into pneumonia, so make sure seniors are still seeing the dentist regularly.

3) Stay Healthy

Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but by constantly practicing general good health, we reduce our risk of getting sick. That includes eating our veggies, keeping our sugar and alcohol intake to a minimum, avoiding tobacco products, and exercising regularly. All these practices, not only help keep our immune system strong and ready for action, they also help us feel great by giving our body all the things it needs, while avoiding the things that can be harmful.

4) Educate Yourself

Know the early signs of pneumonia in seniors so you can act as soon as possible. Rather than a cough or fever (although you should certainly be on the lookout for those symptoms as well), seniors are more likely to experience weakness, dizziness, or confusion. Since these can be common signs of aging, especially in those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, pneumonia often goes undetected until it’s too late. Be on the lookout for any changes in their health or attitude and talk to their doctor if you’ve noticed anything unusual that could point to a serious health risk.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

7 Reasons Senior Dental Health Is So Important

senior dental healthMany people tend to think of dental health as something that’s separate from and unrelated to the rest of our health. Maybe it’s because dental insurance is generally sold separately from health insurance, but the fact is the health of our teeth and mouth is a vital component of our overall health. If our mouth isn’t healthy, we’re not healthy. Although everyone should be on top of their dental health, below are seven reasons senior dental health is so important and why.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia can be deadly for seniors, many of whom are already suffering from a weakened immune system. A link has been found between pneumonia and poor oral health, which can leave bacteria in the mouth that gets inhaled into the lungs, where it develops into pneumonia.

Heart disease

While heart disease can sometimes seem like an isolated incident in an otherwise healthy individual, in fact there are often warning signs we ignore because we don’t think they’re related. But studies have proven that gum disease and heart disease are connected, even to the point where common problems in the mouth can be as effective at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.

So if you want to make sure your senior loved ones (and yourself) don’t suffer from heart attacks or strokes, make sure you’re all brushing your teeth, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly.

Diabetes

Periodontitis, which is a severe form of gum disease, hinders the body’s ability to use insulin, which can lead to diabetes. But it can go the other way, too, because high blood sugar (a common effect of diabetes) can lead to gum infection.

Denture-induced Stomatitis

When the tissue underneath a denture gets inflamed, it’s known as denture-induced stomatitis. It can be very painful and can be caused by poor dental hygiene, dentures that don’t fit right, or a build-up in the mouth of a fungus known as Candida albicans.

Gum disease

Gum disease has been linked to a variety of health problems all over the body – not just the mouth. It can be caused/exacerbated by a wide range of habits, including poor dental hygiene, an unhealthy diet, tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco), and dentures and bridges that don’t fit right. Other illnesses, such as diabetes, anemia, and cancer, have also all been linked to gum disease.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications, as well as radiation for those getting treated for cancer in the head/neck regions. While dry mouth may seem like a minor annoyance, it’s actually a serious health concern. Saliva not only helps us digest our food, it also helps keep the mouth clean by controlling bacteria and preventing infections in the mouth. So if you or your loved one is experiencing dry mouth, be sure to tell your dentist immediately.

Root Decay

Root decay is very common in elderly patients as the gum recedes from the tooth and the root (which doesn’t have any protective enamel) is exposed to bacteria and food acids. As with everything else, this could be an indication of and/or precursor to a larger health issue, so if you or a loved one are experiencing any tooth pain, make sure to get it looked at right away.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Top 5 Senior Scams and How to Avoid Them

senior scamsIt’s an unfortunate fact that seniors are prime targets for scammers. They are perceived as being more trusting and many of them have acquired savings and valuable assets to help get them through retirement. The combination is too tempting for many scammers to resist. Below are the five most common scams targeting seniors and how you can avoid them.

Congratulations! You’re a Winner!

Everyone likes to win. With all the stories of big lottery winners taking home millions of dollars, it’s exciting to think about what we would do if we won a lottery or giveaway of some type. Scammers take advantage of this by contacting unsuspecting targets and telling them they’ve won some sort of sweepstakes, but with a catch: the target has to pay to cover the taxes and fees before they can get their prize.

Winners never pay in order to receive their prize. That would defeat the purpose. Legitimate sweepstakes and lotteries have other forms of income to pay their bills, such as the tickets purchased by everyone who enters the lottery. Any time someone tells you that you have to pay to get a prize, hang up and report the incident to the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) right away.

An Exciting Investment Opportunity

Because many seniors are more concerned than ever about saving/investing for retirement, they are prime targets for investment fraud. Scammers will often call the target claiming they have a great investment opportunity for them with little-to-no risk and big returns.

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always consult a reliable, trustworthy financial analyst before making any big investments.

You Haven’t Paid Your Taxes

This scam has been targeting all age groups – not just seniors. Someone calls pretending to be from the IRS, saying the target has not paid their taxes, and if they don’t pay immediately, they’ll face serious consequences, such as a revoked drivers’ license or arrest.

The IRS does not call or email citizens. They use the postal service, and they should never be pushy or aggressive, which scam callers usually are to intimidate their targets into paying up. If you get a call or email claiming to be from the IRS and threatening you for not paying your taxes, feel free to hang up or delete the email, because it’s not legitimate.

I Need You to Bail Me Out

Another common scam is when the conperson calls pretending to be a relative who has been arrested abroad and needs to have money wired to them to bail them out.

In reality, that relative may never have been to that country at all. Be sure to contact other family members to confirm that person is really there and that the situation is legitimate. No one wants to leave a family member hanging in their hour of need, but you should never wire money anywhere without first confirming the person is who they say they are.

We Can Fix Those Windows For You

Some scammers show up on your doorstep offering home repair services you don’t need … or didn’t think you needed. These scammers get their targets to pay upfront for work that will be done at a later date. In reality, the work is poorly done or never done at all.

Never pay for services before you’ve received them. Most licensed contractors don’t go door-to-door soliciting work, but if you’re not sure, you can always ask for their business card and do your own research later.

What To Do When A Loved One Can’t Go Home From The Hospital

When A Loved One Can’t Go Home From The HospitalNo one likes hospitals and every patient is eager to get out of there as soon as possible. Once they escape the uncomfortable, sterile environment full of strangers, they just want to go home – to retreat to their own space. It’s perfectly normal for patients to want that, but what if it’s not an option?

For some aging patients, especially if they’re very sick, they may not be able to take care of themselves, and if they live alone, going home after the hospital could be dangerous. At that point, if you’re the caregiver, you’ll have some tough choices to make. No one can make them for you (though you can certainly ask for advice), but the decision will ultimately be yours and you will have to make it based on the needs of your loved one.

Home Care

In the best-case scenario, you might be able to hire someone to come in and help your loved one around the house. If your loved one needs help cooking and cleaning, but is otherwise healthy and self-sufficient (i.e. you don’t need to worry about them accidentally leaving the oven on or not being able to get out of bed on their own), a home nurse might be a good option. This is also a possibility when your loved one does live with someone (such as a partner or an adult child) who can look after them, but needs some help with the caretaking.

Whether or not this is an option will also depend on your financial situation and where your loved one lives. In some of the more rural areas, it might not be possible to get someone out there.

Assisted Living Facility

The last thing most patients want to do is move from a hospital to another strange environment, but if you’ve decided assisted living is the way to go, you’re going to have to convince your loved one it’s in their own best interests. Assisted living is a great option for people with a variety of needs. Most of them have different levels of care, so if your loved one is still relatively self-sufficient, but needs some help with daily tasks, an assisted living facility can be ideal. If they need more extensive care, they can also probably find what they need in an assisted living facility.

Nursing Home

If/when your loved one gets to the point of needing professional medical attention on a regular basis, they might need to go from the hospital to a nursing home. Like hospitals, nursing homes maintain a nursing staff 24/7. They cannot perform surgeries or run many of the tests that hospitals can perform, but they can help take care of patients with chronic and/or deteriorating medical conditions.

Hospice

The worst-case scenario is hospice. This is for when it has become clear your loved one will never get better. Their condition will only continue to deteriorate until the end, and while keeping them in the hospital might delay the inevitable, few people would prefer to die in a hospital. Hospice can give them the care they need while helping to make them as comfortable as possible in their final days.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

What You Don’t Know About High Cholesterol CAN Hurt You

High cholesterolHigh cholesterol is one of those things that easily sneak up on you. There’s just something about human nature that makes us want to bury our heads in the sand rather than receive bad news – as if it can’t hurt us if we don’t know about it.

When it comes to our health, a large part of the problem is the lack of information available, and much of the information we do have access to is conflicting. But knowledge is power, so here are 8 things you need to know about cholesterol to help you and any loved ones you may be caring for.

1) There are no symptoms that come along with having high cholesterol until it’s too late, which is why it’s vital to get your levels checked regularly.

2) When you do get your cholesterol checked, make sure you get your HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels measured, not just your total cholesterol, which doesn’t tell you much of anything. Your cholesterol numbers might be slightly higher than the average, but if it’s mostly HDL and low LDL, you have nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if your overall cholesterol is low, but it’s mostly LDL with low levels of HDL, that’s something you should be concerned about. Also keep an eye on your triglyceride numbers, which you want to be lowest of all.

3) The body makes most of its own cholesterol – only about ¼ of the cholesterol in our body comes from the food we eat. Because of the specific form cholesterol takes in most of our foods, most of it doesn’t get absorbed, so you don’t actually need to worry about foods that are high in cholesterol, especially since they are often among the most nutritious foods available to us.

4) That said, genetics do play a factor. Some people are genetically predisposed to make more cholesterol than others, and in some cases, the ratio of HDL to LDL might be less than favorable. Diet and exercise both play a role, but it’s always a good idea to check your family history and be sure to remain vigilant about getting your levels checked.

5) While we tend to focus on high cholesterol, it’s important to remember that there is such a thing as cholesterol levels that are too low. Cholesterol is vital to maintaining our health – it helps carry nutrients around the body and HDL actually helps keep our arteries clean. So don’t get too focused on getting your cholesterol as low as possible – if it’s in the healthy range and you have a good ration of HDL to LDL, you’re fine and you don’t need to worry about it.

6) Cholesterol levels tend to rise as we age and women in particular tend to experience higher triglyceride levels after menopause, so be on the lookout for all of those warning signs.

7) The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends adults over 20 get their cholesterol levels checked every 5 years, but those who are at risk (especially people over the age of 45) might need to get their levels checked more frequently.

8) High blood pressure and smoking are also both associated with higher levels of cholesterol, so if you have a loved one who smokes and you know they have high blood pressure, try to be extra vigilant about making sure they get their cholesterol checked regularly and keep their diet and exercise regimen as healthy as possible.

Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is not only good for helping to prevent heart attacks and stroke, but also dementia and a whole host of other potential health problems. It’s just one more reason to educate yourself on the facts of cholesterol so you can protect yourself and those you are caring for.

At Stillwater Senior Living, we do everything we can to answer the questions of our seniors in our community, as well as help them manage their health. If we do not have the answer, we will find someone that does.

CONTACT US TODAY for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Tips For First Time Caregivers

tips for first time caregiversBecoming a caregiver is something we rarely plan for. Few children say, “I’m going to be a caregiver when I grow up,” but when faced with age and/or chronic illness, many people do turn to their grown children or other family members for help in dealing with their newly-fragile state, including some of the more basic aspects of day-to-day care.

If you now find yourself thrust into the position of caregiver and don’t know where to begin, we’ve got some tips for you:

Get Informed

Whatever medical issues your loved one is dealing with, you should make sure you at least know the basics. What are the typical outcomes? Treatments? Side effects of the medications? You should know as much as you can because you’re going to be the one dealing with them. This can mean a quick internet search (or very intensive internet search, depending on your research style), asking a librarian or bookseller for book recommendations, and talking to medical professionals who specialize in that field.

It should also mean you’re present at doctor’s meetings. Patients often fail to ask their doctors the right questions (or any questions) or they forget to mention symptoms. As a caregiver, you are responsible for acting as your loved one’s advocate and nowhere is that more important than the doctor’s office. Not only do you have to keep the doctor informed of all developments, but you are in the best position to make sure the patient takes all their medication when they’re supposed to, gets the prescribed exercise, eats right, etc.

Get Help

Aging can be a lonely time of life for many people, but sometimes the caregiver can also be left feeling isolated. Even if you’re surrounded by friends and family, they might not understand what you’re going through or the specific challenges associated with being a caregiver.

Fortunately there are communities out there to provide support, advice, and a sympathetic ear. There are online communities as well as ones that meet in person. You can check MeetUp.com to see if there are any groups in your area already meeting to discuss these things. If not, you can start your own group. Either way it’s important to know you’re not alone.

Take Care Of Yourself

As any mother will tell you, when you’re caring for someone else, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself, and what little time we do spend in self care can often leave us feeling guilty. But the fact is that taking care of yourself is an important aspect of taking care of your loved one. If you’re not at your best, then you won’t be able to provide the best care. So make sure you eat right, exercise regularly, and take time to enjoy some of your favorite hobbies every now and then. You and your charge will both be better off for it.

And remember there’s no reason you can’t make taking care of yourself part of taking care of your loved one. You’re probably in charge of their meals anyway, so while you’re cooking up something delicious and nutritious for them, make some for yourself. Consider what exercises they’re capable of and exercise together. Do a puzzle together. Read out loud to them. Taking care of them will be a lot of hard work, but there’s no reason it can’t also be fun every now and then.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.