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Posts Tagged ‘levels of care for seniors’

What Are the Risk Factors of Glaucoma in Seniors?

glaucoma in seniorsThe term glaucoma refers to various eye disorders, all of which are progressive and tend to result in damage to the optic nerve (which is a bundle of roughly one million nerve fibers that are responsible for transmitting visual signals from the eye to the brain). Glaucoma is considered to be loss of vision as a result of damage to the nerve tissue.

Primary open-angle glaucoma is the form of glaucoma patients experience most often, and it’s caused by an increase in the pressure of the fluid in the eye. Such pressure can cause gradual damage to the optic nerve over time and loss of nerve fibers. It can ultimately result in vision loss and even blindness.

1) How Old You Are

Most people over 60 are at risk, but African Americans tend to experience an increased risk after age 40. After these markers, the risk for glaucoma goes up each year.

2) Your Race

African Americans are more likely than Caucasians to develop glaucoma and to experience permanent vision loss as a result. Asians are more likely to develop angle-closer glaucoma, with people of Japanese descent being especially more likely to get low-tension glaucoma. Latin Americans are most at risk in very elderly populations.

3) Your Family History

If your family has a history of glaucoma, you’re more likely to develop it yourself.

4) Other Medical Conditions

Having certain medical conditions can increase the chances you’ll also develop glaucoma. Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and low blood pressure have all been linked to glaucoma. Many people worry about high blood pressure (which can cause vision loss from glaucoma if left untreated), but few people worry about their blood pressure getting too low (hypotension). Nevertheless, hypotension is as serious a medical condition as hypertension and can cause damage to the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss.

5) Physical Injuries In And Around The Eye

Getting hit in the eye isn’t just extremely painful, it can also cause the pressure in the eye to escalate, either immediately after the injury and/or some time after the incident itself. Severe trauma to the eye can also dislocate the lens, which causes the drainage angle to close, thereby increasing pressure on the eye and causing all sorts of problems.

6) Other Risk Factors Related To The Eye

The anatomy of the eye itself varies slightly from person to person and the unique way your eyes are constructed might put you at an increased risk for glaucoma. For example, how thick your cornea is and the appearance of your optic nerve can both provide an idea of your personal risk for glaucoma. Conditions you might have developed over time, such as retinal detachment, tumors and any kind of inflammation in or around the eye, can all cause and/or exacerbate glaucoma. Some studies have also suggested you might be at increased risk for glaucoma if you’ve experienced a lot of nearsightedness.

7) Use Of Corticosteroids

Use of corticosteroids for an extended period of time has been linked to secondary glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a frightening prospect that can seriously inhibit our independence along with our vision. Because age is a primary factor in the development of glaucoma, you should be especially vigilant in looking out for it as loved ones get older, especially if they have one or more of the other risk factors.

At Stillwater Senior Living, we do everything we can to answer the questions of our seniors in our community. 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.

The Importance of Companion Pets In Assisted Living

Companion Pets In Assisted LivingIt’s National Pet Month, and while the health benefits of pets have been long established, we would like to take a few minutes to recognize the importance of companion pets in assisted living and how TRULY beneficial it is.

In addition to all the well-known health benefits that pets provide to all of us (lowered blood pressure, lower stress levels, lower cholesterol, etc.) pets can also provide companionship and a sense of purpose at a time of life that can often be lonely. Pets provide unconditional love, companionship, and nonverbal communication, which, for many seniors, can be just what the doctor ordered.

While walking a dog provides good cardiovascular exercise, it can also be a bridge to socializing with others. A dog isn’t just man’s best friend, he can also be man’s best wingman. Try walking a friendly, good-looking dog in any well-populated area and you’ll have people wanting to pet your dog and other dogs wanting to introduce themselves to your dog. It’s a great icebreaker for talking to other people in your community, especially other dog owners, and can help alleviate some of the feelings of isolation that come with getting older.

Assisted living facilities that allow animals have noticed how beneficial they can be with new residents, who are often especially withdrawn and uncommunicative. Sometimes a resident’s first significant interaction in the facility is with an animal, and that opens a pathway to talking with other residents and staff.

Taking care of a pet can also provide seniors with a sense of worth and boost their self-esteem. At a time when many people start to feel like they’re no longer contributing anything to the world, a pet can help reduce those feelings by assuring seniors they are needed and loved.

Pet therapy has also been proven to be especially useful in helping seniors deal with “Sundowner’s Syndrome,” a condition in which those with Alzheimer’s suffer periods of increased confusion and agitation in the evenings. Animals can help soothe patients during these tough times with their non-verbal communication and unconditional acceptance of the patients. For some seniors, it can even serve as a reminder of a pet they had when they were growing up, which can help to calm them.

As vital as pets can be to those living in assisted living facilities, buildings that allow their residents to have pets need to be careful that the needs of both the patient and the pet are being met. If the patient is forgetful and doesn’t always remember to feed or walk their pet, they may need help from the assisted living facility staff. After all, seniors tend to move to an assisted living facility because they need help with certain day-to-day tasks of living and taking care of themselves. While the fact that they need help taking care of themselves does not necessarily mean they can’t take care of an animal, it might mean it would be a good idea for the staff to keep an eye on the animal and make sure they are not being neglected. In order to avoid this problem, some assisted living facilities might choose to keep pets in the building that are in the charge of the staff, but that are available to spend time with all residents.

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.

Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Parkinson's awarenessApril is Parkinson’s Awareness Month and the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) provides a host of resources you can take advantage of to help raise awareness for Parkinson’s in your own community. From social media badges and hashtags to green tree ribbons, they are full of ideas and tools you can use to raise awareness for Parkinson’s.

The PDF is promoting the hashtag #EndParkinsons to help raise awareness for the disease during the month of April. You can use the hashtag and see what other people are posting under that hashtag to help bring awareness of Parkinson’s to your community.

Better yet, you can familiarize yourself with some of the early warning signs of Parkinson’s There’s no cure yet, but the earlier you identify it, the better your chances for being able to minimize some of the damage it causes and help maintain your health and independence as long as possible.

Shaking/Tremors

Shaking or twitching can sometimes be experienced after exercise, an injury, or can be caused by certain types of medication. But if none of these are the cause of your tremors, and it happens repeatedly, you might want to talk to your doctor.

Small Handwriting

Our handwriting can change as we get older, either as a result of stiff limbs and/or poor eyesight, but if you notice your handwriting has suddenly gotten much smaller and/or words are closer together, it might be a sign of a deeper problem and you should consider consulting your doctor.

Trouble Sleeping Or Holding Still

We all have the occasional night when we can’t fall asleep and spend the night tossing and turning. That’s normal, but what’s not normal is falling out of bed while asleep or kicking/thrashing while asleep. If your partner notices a sudden increase in your activity when your asleep, or even wants to move to another bed because of your constant movement, it may be an early sign of Parkinson’s.

Trouble Moving

Many of us experience stiffness as we age, especially after long periods of sitting or lying still. But if you still feel stiff while/after moving for a few minutes, you might have a problem. Some people in the early stages of Parkinson’s have reported feeling like their feet are “stuck to the floor,” their arms don’t swing back and forth when they walk, and other people telling them they look stiff.

Constipation

Everyone has the occasional bowel movement that gives them trouble, but if you notice you’re consistently straining every time you go the restroom, you should probably consult your physician.

Speaking Quietly

A change in how you speak can also be a sign of Parkinson’s. If your friends and family notice that you suddenly sound hoarse or that you’re speaking softly, even if you think you’re speaking normally, it might be time to see your doctor.

Masked Face

People in the early stages of Parkinson’s might look serious, depressed, or even angry, even when they’re not in bad mood. It’s known as masking and it might come along with staring off into space and/or going for long periods without blinking.

Having one or two of these symptoms might not necessarily mean you have Parkinson’s, but if you’re experiencing two or more symptoms, they could be warning signs, especially if they come on suddenly and don’t appear to have any outward causes.

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.

How To Talk To Your Kids About End-Of-Life Care

end-of-life careNot everyone wants to think about what will happen as they age, especially when it comes to considering possibilities like dementia or a stroke leaving them incapable of making decisions about their own health. But the fact that those possibilities are so frightening is exactly why it’s important to talk to your children about end-of-life care now, before things take a turn for the worse.

Nevertheless, many people continue to put off having this extremely important conversation because it makes them so uncomfortable. Here are some ways you can ease the stress on both you and your children.

1) Plan ahead.

By doing your research ahead of time, you can plan for what comes next. Know what the average costs of end-of-life care are and put a plan in place for how you’re going to pay for it. Even if you don’t currently need an assisted living facility, doing your research and knowing where you want to go if it comes to that can make the transition that much easier on both you and your children.

Not only will this step make you feel better, it will make the idea more palatable for your children. Even those who don’t want to think about what’s coming will most likely find comfort in knowing there’s a plan in place and what that plan is. It will let them see it’s not so bad after all and will create a guideline for them to follow when it’s time to put the plan into action.

Be sure to write everything down and make sure everyone involved has a copy so there will be no second-guessing in the event of an emergency.

2) Talk about it early and often.

You don’t necessarily need to have one big Talk with your children about what they should do as you age. You can drop it into conversations throughout your lives together. As situations arise with friends and family, you can mention what you want done if you ever end up in a similar situation. Make it a two-way conversation by asking them what they think they would want if they found themselves in a vulnerable position. It can help introduce empathy into the discussion by forcing them to consider the situation from the other side, making them more likely to see things from your perspective, and by extension, respect your wishes.

3) Use media to help you broach the subject.

No one likes to hear the words, “We need to talk,” and trying to start a conversation that way can sometimes have the unintentional effect of making everyone defensive before the conversation has even begun. In order to avoid that, you can watch a show or movie together that addresses the issue. Talk about a book or show them an article you recently read on the topic. Use that as an icebreaker to start discussing the issue in general before moving on to what you specifically want to happen at the end of your life.

At Stillwater Senior Living, we do everything we can to answer the questions of our seniors in our community. 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.

Does Location Matter When Choosing Assisted Living?

Does Location Matter When Choosing Assisted LivingWhat’s the most important factor in a business? Location, location, location. We’ve all heard it, but how much does it play a role when choosing the right assisted living facility for you or a loved one?

As important as location is, it remains just one factor to consider, although it usually has an impact on other considerations, such as price. Below are some reasons seniors might choose to live somewhere other than their top choice city:

1) There’s no adequate assisted living facility in their hometown.

Like most of us, seniors generally want to stay in their communities, whenever possible. It’s where all their friends are and often they’ve spent years putting down roots in that neighborhood. But if it’s a small, rural town, there might not be an assisted living facility nearby, or if there is one, it’s less likely to have all the amenities they need. In that case, they might be better off moving to a nearby city with a better-equipped assisted living facility.

2) Proximity to medical facilities.

Assisted living facilities and nursing homes can provide significant medical care to their residents, but they have their limitations. While doctors may visit their patients in assisted living facilities, most facilities don’t have a doctor in the building 24/7, and as we age, we’re more likely to need professional medical treatment. Those with chronic conditions are especially likely to need to stay close to a medical facility, which means even an affordable assisted living facility in their home town might not be the right choice if it’s too far from the nearest hospital.

3) Proximity to loved ones.

Assisted living facilities can provide seniors with everything they need on a day-to-day basis, but nothing can replace the care and attention of close friends and family. Even if the senior’s children or grandchildren can’t take care of them in their home full time, just having them nearby to be available for visits and check-ins can mean a lot. Social isolation is one of the biggest challenges seniors face, but that can be abated by having someone nearby who cares for them and is readily available.

While some seniors might want to stay close to home, others are just as likely to want to move away, depending on the circumstances. If they live in the Midwest, for example, they might want to relocate to a warmer climate. Enough seniors choose to do this that seeing all their friends move south might create an incentive for them to follow. That way they’ll have a ready-made community when they get down there, and as a bonus, warmer climates have been known to help ease chronic conditions like arthritis, in which case their doctor might even recommend the relocation.

At Stillwater Senior Living, we do everything we can to accommodate the needs of our seniors in our community. We are conveniently located to a variety of other medical providers, and will help our seniors stay in touch with their family in any way that we can if their family lives far away.

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

Tips for Couples Moving Into Assisted Living

couples moving into assisted livingIt can be hard enough to move one family member into an assisted living facility, but what if both parents are still living and one or both of them require professional care? Even if one spouse is perfectly healthy and active, they may not be able to fully care for their ailing partner, especially in the case of degenerative illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, in which they need to be monitored full time.

As people continue to live longer, it is becoming increasingly common for people over the age of 60 to report that they are still married, rather than single or widowed. Assisted living facilities all over the country are adapting and coming up with solutions to accommodate the varying needs of aging couples.

Here’s what you can do if you’re thinking about moving your parents into an assisted living facility:

1) Do Your Research

Depending on where you live and your financial situation, you may have a variety of facilities to choose from. Find out what each facility offers, including their options for couples, their ratings, their pay scales, etc.

The earlier you do your research the better. Don’t wait until you already need the facility because then you’ll be pressed for time and an emergency situation might develop. Be prepared with your information so that, as soon as you start seeing warning signs, you can begin talking to them about their options for assisted living.

2) Know the Costs

Long-term care for elderly family members can place a high financial burden on families, and again, the earlier you prepare, the better off you’ll be. In addition to saving early and often, your research into facilities should include the types of payment they receive. Not all of them accept Medicaid and which facilities you can afford will depend on which ones accept the types of payment you can provide.

In the case of couples where one partner needs more assistance than the other, it’s good to know that most facilities only charge each partner for the services they use. This means that, if one partner is still fairly independent while the other needs extensive care, the independent partner will only pay for room and board while the other will be charged for their medical expenses and necessary monitoring.

3) Be Prepared to Compromise

The aging process is different for everyone, but that doesn’t mean couples have to be separated. Just as compromises had to be made when they first moved in and started their lives together, they will be equally necessary when the time comes to move to an assisted living facility. Each partner will have different physical, medical, and emotional needs and it’s important to make sure they all get met. That will inevitably require some sacrifices on both sides, but for many couples, the process of moving into the next phase of their lives in an assisted living facility can be made that much easier if they can stay together.

There are many options available to help a seniors stay together. Here at Stillwater Senior Living, our staff will do everything they can to ensure a smooth transition into the next adventure of their marriage.

CONTACT US TODAY to find out ore and take a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Understanding Options and Terms in Today’s Senior Care

Options and Terms in Today’s Senior CareFinding senior living options isn’t easy, and it can be confusing. The number of Americans 65+ will increase by 3% each year over the next 20 years. By the year 2030, there will be over 70 million people over the age of 65. According to the Department of Human Services, the senior population will grow faster than the total population in all 50 states. Aging comes with adaptation and change, and there are many senior housing options to choose from. While most seniors want to stay home, this may not be the safest or least expensive option. In fact, at least 60% of seniors looking at nursing homes end up choosing an active senior living community.

More Option for Different Levels of Care

Finding senior living options can be a confusing process. Loved ones aren’t aware of all their options and they don’t know where to start looking. A recent survey found that most families start their search by looking at nursing homes. However, people looking at nursing homes rarely move into them. Out of 100 people looking at nursing homes, 59% of them end up choosing an active senior living community.

Senior housing options have increasingly evolved over the last 20 years, which could explain a lot of the confusion. Nursing homes are not synonymous with assisted living, which most people believe. Nursing homes used to be the main type of place for long-term care. Today’s nursing homes are mainly set up for short-term stays after a stay in the hospital to recover or have physical therapy.

Physical, mental, and financial health are the factors that contribute to a senior’s long-term and short-term care options. These three things determine the level of care that is needed based on financial resources, and there are many different options of care.

Assisted Living Offers an Extended Quality of Life

A variety of care allows active seniors to thrive because many senior living communities provide physical, mental and emotional stimulation in addition to medication management and nutrition. The socialization aspect of community living helps keep seniors happy, active, and alert. With varying levels of care, families can choose the best option for their loved ones. The great part about this is that many communities offer options where seniors can go through different levels of care as they get older.

Researching Senior Living Options

If you are planning your retirement or looking for a place for your loved one, there are many resources available to help guide you. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for an active senior living community or skilled nursing care, a senior living adviser can help to educate you and provide financial and senior living resources to match the needs of your family.

There is no need to search for nursing homes when there are other options available that are more appropriate. Today’s senior living options offer more personalized care. Here at Stillwater Senior Living, our staff will design a personal care plan that is tailored to the needs of your loved one.

CONTACT US to find out more and take a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.