Moving an elderly loved one into an assisted living community is not something families take lightly. Many are concerned about the level of care and safety provided for an aging parent or grandparent. In some cases, medical conditions can make it difficult for a senior to do things on their own, which means they will rely heavily on the facility that they live in.
A lot of consideration should be given before moving a loved one into an assisted living community. Many great locations are out there and offer different accommodations and services. Families should look for somewhere that will give their loved ones the best quality of life with maximum safety.
The good news is that assisted living communities like Vista Living Senior Care are among the safest places your loved one can reside. They are designed with the needs of seniors in mind, which allows them to create an environment that feels like home but with a lower risk of injury.
A national survey found that 91% of adult children with a parent living in a retirement community were pleased with the safety and physical security provided by the facility. The survey also found that 60% of seniors who live alone felt unprepared for an emergency while 93% of retirement community residents felt that there was a safety plan in place to protect them.
Those with a loved one who is experiencing cognitive decline can look for facilities that also provide memory care. Even if a resident isn’t at the point of needing support now, it will be available when or if that day comes.
What is it about assisted living communities that make them safe for seniors?
Staff Members Are Available 24 Hours a Day
As a loved one’s care needs increase, it can become difficult for family members to juggle the responsibility and keep up with their own commitments. Assisted living communities lift that burden and allow seniors and their loved ones to live without the stress of an increasing workload.
When choosing a location, you should ask about staff availability. Someone should be on-site 24 hours a day. That means if your loved one has an accident or needs assistance in the middle of the night, help will be there.
Even if your loved one lives with other family members, it’s difficult for someone to be awake all night long. Assisted living communities typically schedule staff so that someone is available and awake all the time. This allows for a quicker response time and ensures that the person responding is alert and ready to provide support.
Rooms Include Railings, Handles, and No-Slip Surfaces
Assisted living rooms and communal spaces are designed and built around the needs of the seniors who will live there. That means they will have fewer tripping hazards and more safety measures.
These usually include things like sturdy railings on all stairways, handles in bathrooms, and non-slip surfaces on steps, hard floors, and bathtubs. They may also have additional features like a button to call for assistance.
Halls and doorways are sized to ensure that there’s plenty of room for walkers and wheelchairs.
Support for Activities of Daily Living
Activities of daily living refer to the things a person has to do to take care of themselves each day. The list includes things like bathing, eating, dressing, moving, and using the bathroom. These are things that most people take for granted. When a person ages or develops a health condition, it can affect their ability to do one or more of these on their own.
An assisted living community like Vista Living Senior Care provides additional support for activities of daily living. The care provided is customized to the needs of the resident so that they can live as independently as possible but remain clean, properly fed, and healthy.
It may not be immediately apparent that a senior is having a problem with activities of daily living at home until the situation becomes more severe. They may begin to miss meals or stop bathing. In an assisted living community, support is available along with staff who can monitor for changes that need to be addressed before they become a health problem.
Continued Monitoring of Health, Hygiene, and Wellness
Age comes with its challenges. Physical changes or medical conditions can make it difficult to live independently. Depression and other mental health conditions also become a bigger risk.
Moving into an assisted living community will help give families peace of mind. Staff continuously monitor seniors to watch for changes in their physical and mental health. They can alert a medical professional and family if an evaluation or further care is required.
Many conditions are much easier to handle and treat when they are caught early. Experienced staff will also understand how to look for the early signs of common age-related conditions and will know where to direct the resident or their family members to get assistance.
Extra Security Measures to Prevent Wandering
Security is essential to the wellbeing of seniors. Remembering to do things like lock the doors and windows at night can become difficult. A senior may look like a vulnerable target to a criminal. Keeping strangers out of your loved one’s home is important.
There’s also another side to the safety equation when it comes to senior living. Dementia can cause seniors to change their behavior suddenly and unexpectedly. They can begin to do high-risk things like wander off at random times, even in inclement weather. This is extremely dangerous and can have heartbreaking consequences.
Assisted living communities have locking doors to keep unauthorized people out and prevent residents from leaving the safety of the facility. This is especially true if the community includes a memory care unit.
Cameras are also usually installed in key areas. Staff monitor residents so they know where everyone is at all times. It is a level of security that is difficult to achieve at home without making significant changes and having someone present 24 hours a day.
Encourages Better Physical and Mental Health
Good physical and mental health contribute to safety. When a senior is physically well, they are less likely to experience a fall injury or become ill. Being active won’t eliminate the risk, but it can help lower it.
Assisted living communities host groups and activities that can boost physical and mental health. Senior fitness classes give residents a fun way to build strength and flexibility. Having opportunities to socialize is great for their mental health, which helps the brain stay sharp.
Groups and activities are available outside of these facilities but having them conveniently located on-site makes it much easier for seniors to attend.
Housekeeping is Included in Care
Cleaning, yard work, laundry, and home maintenance are a normal part of living on your own. Even if you rent an apartment without a yard, you still have to clean it. These are tasks that become more difficult as we age.
A senior carrying a basket of laundry up and down stairs every week could be putting themselves at risk of falling or could suffer a back or knee injury. If an elderly loved one cannot keep up with the housework, their home may become dirty and unhygienic, which increases the risk of illness.
Vista Living Senior Care handles all the housekeeping so that residents remain safe and comfortable in a clean, tidy environment.
If you have questions about safety in assisted living, let us know. Visit Vista Living Senior Care now to learn more or to see our Phoenix assisted living community.
How to Know Your Fall Risk and Protect Yourself From Injury
Fall injuries are common, especially among adults over age 65. Approximately one senior in the United States experiences a fall every second. It is the leading cause of injury death in older adults. One out of every four seniors in the U.S. fall annually.
The problem isn’t isolated – it’s a public health concern.
Around 36 million falls are reported annually among older adults, with 32,000 resulting in death. Emergency rooms treat 3 million seniors for fall injuries each year with 300,000 hospitalized for hip fractures. Over 95% of all hip fractures are caused by a sideways fall.
Women tend to be at a higher risk than men for falls, making up around 3/4ths of all hip fractures.
Older people also tend to take longer to heal, which makes fall injuries a bigger concern. When an elderly person falls, they usually have a hospital stay that’s twice as long as those of their peers who are admitted for other reasons.
The risk of a fall injury increases as we age. This occurs because our bodies don’t work quite like they once did. Muscles tend to lose strength and our eyesight tends to wane, making it more likely to trip and fall.
Physical limitations can also force a person to overexert themselves, which further increases fall risk.
Staying in shape is a good way to help counter these changes, but it isn’t a guarantee. Even a senior who is in excellent condition can be just as likely to fall as other older adults. They are still prone to the common changes that come with aging.
That’s why it is important to know your fall risk and take steps to protect yourself from an injury. Avoiding a fall is the best way to stay healthy. Even if you are health conscious and physically fit, you still need to know the risks and how to avoid a trip and fall situation.
Assessing Your Fall Risk
The best way to assess your fall risk is with the help of your doctor. You should schedule a fall risk assessment. This usually begins with a series of questions about your health status and history. Your doctor will need to know about medical conditions or concerns you currently have.
You will be asked about any past falls as well as whether you have noticed changes in your ability to walk, stand, or balance.
Your doctor will perform a fall risk evaluation to determine if you have a low, moderate, or high risk.
Most doctors use the STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries) approach. You will be asked to perform a series of actions that test your balance, gait, and strength.
The “Timed Up and Go” or TUG test assesses your gait. You will be asked to sit in a chair and then stand up, walk approximately 10 feet, and sit again. Your doctor will time you. If it takes more than 12 seconds, then you may have a high fall risk.
You’ll also be asked to perform the 30-second Chair Stand test. You’ll sit in a chair again, this time with your arms crossed over your chest. When your doctor tells you to begin, you will stand up and sit down again, repeating the process for 30 seconds. Your doctor will count the number of repetitions you can do in that time. If the number is low, then you may have a higher fall risk.
The third part of the fall risk assessment is the 4-Stage Balance test. You will be asked to hold four different positions for 10 seconds each. The first involves standing with your feet side by side. Then you’ll be asked to move one foot halfway forward followed by one foot fully in front of the other. The last position involves standing on one foot.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend annual fall risk assessments for adults over age 65. People who have a high risk may need additional evaluations, treatment, or may need to consider extra support like assisted living.
How to Avoid a Fall Injury
It is impossible to eliminate the risk of a fall. Even young children can fall and injure themselves. However, there are steps you can take to minimize risk and stay as safe as possible.
If you have a moderate to high risk, you should consider what adds to that risk. Do you have medical conditions that could be better managed to protect yourself? Do you live a sedentary lifestyle causing your muscles to weaken? Do you take medications that increase your fall risk?
Consider all these factors when deciding what to do to protect yourself.
Stay in Touch with Your Doctor
Your doctor is a valuable resource when it comes to your health. Stay in touch with them and make sure you follow the recommended screening schedule. Your doctor can advise you if you need more frequent tests to monitor for changes.
Keep your doctor in the loop when making lifestyle changes or if you experience any difficulty or challenges related to physical or mental health.
Live an Active Lifestyle
Staying active is good for you in general. Keeping muscles strong and your body limber will help you avoid a fall. It can also help you react more effectively if you end up tripping or losing your balance.
Remember to be careful and use senior-friendly exercises when getting fit. Doing too much too fast will make you vulnerable to injury. Your doctor can recommend good exercise options based on your age, ability, and body condition.
Pay Attention to Your Body
Never ignore your body when it tells you something is wrong. New aches and pains indicate a problem. Even if the cause isn’t concerning, the discomfort will increase your risk of a fall. For example, backaches may not be uncommon, but they can alter the way you stand and move – which could cause you to lose your balance.
Talk to your doctor right away if you notice changes. Even if it is something minor, they may be able to recommend a solution to alleviate the problem or adapt to avoid a fall.
One of the reasons many seniors move into assisted living communities is safety. These places are designed to minimize fall risk with senior-friendly designs, railings, grab bars, and non-slip surfaces. They also have staff on hand to provide support and assistance as needed. Assisted living makes it much easier and more convenient to remain as independent as possible without raising your fall risk.
If you have questions about safety and assisted living, let us know. Visit Vista Living Senior Care now to see how we help older adults live their best lives without increasing their fall risk.
Safety and health are important in an assisted living home, but they aren’t the only things that matter. Seniors should be able to live life as fully as possible. They should have a place that they are proud to call home.
Vista Living offers beautiful accommodations that feel like a residence rather than a facility. While the visual appeal of an assisted living home is important, we also understand that seniors need to feel like they belong. They need a place that they can make their own. We encourage our residents to add personal touches that bring comfort and happiness to their accommodations.
There are several ways to make an assisted living room feel like home. The following list will help you and your loved one get started.
Talk to Your Loved One About the Move into Assisted Living
Communication can make the transition into assisted living much easier. If your loved one is moving into a new senior living home, make sure you talk to them first. Find out what is important to them when setting up their new room. For example, some seniors want to have a comfortable chair or a spot with good lighting to read.
If you have questions about what can be brought into a room, ask the facility’s staff. They can help guide you or provide suggestions that worked for other residents.
Choose Meaningful Pieces to Bring into Assisted Living
Moving into assisted living usually requires downsizing. Many seniors transition from a single-family home into an apartment or room. Space limitations mean that they cannot bring everything with them.
Having to give away, sell, or otherwise discard belongings can be heartbreaking for some seniors. It is much easier to begin decluttering and reducing a while before making the move. This will help your loved one adapt and reduce the workload when the time comes to leave their old home.
A good way to compromise is to choose a few meaningful pieces that will fit in their assisted living room. Seniors can pick out items that are important to them. Bringing these items along will help make their room feel more like the home they once loved.
Display Family Photos and Favorite Art on Walls
Looking at photographs brings back fond memories. They also remind seniors of the many people who love and care about them. The move into assisted living can be difficult. Loneliness is a big concern for elderly people who worry about being forgotten.
Displaying pictures in their room will serve as a reminder that people care about them. They can also inspire positivity with memories of happy times.
Art can have a similar effect. Find creations that are significant to your loved one. If they enjoyed outdoor activities like camping or hiking, then images of nature might be a good addition. If they loved sailing or fishing, consider seaside art. If they were a musician, look for art that features music and instruments. Anything that matches their interests and personality will help make their assisted living room more inviting.
Arrange Furniture to Recreate Home
Most people are familiar with the layout of their homes. It’s a comfort to know right where everything is situated. While you likely can’t recreate every room due to limited space, you can try to arrange furniture to be similar to your loved one’s favorite rooms at home.
If they always had a chair next to a table or window, try to do the same in their senior living accommodations.
Using a familiar setup will help seniors feel more comfortable. And chances are they liked the previous layout and would appreciate something close to it in their new place. It can also make navigation easier for older adults with mobility concerns.
Use Their Favorite Colors, Patterns, and Themes
If you are looking for new décor for an assisted living room, try finding items in the resident’s favorite colors, patterns, or themes. This is a great way to add a personal touch while working with the available space.
A few good ideas are things like throw pillows, curtains, or a chair. These are items that can usually fit safely so they aren’t a tripping hazard and can introduce something special to the room.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, ask your loved one about their favorite colors and patterns. If they love nature, consider using earthy tones with patterns that feature leaves or wildlife. If they love classic style, look for fabrics with ornamental patterns like damask, houndstooth, or quatrefoil.
Introduce Something New for a Fresh Start
Moving into assisted living is the start of a new chapter in a person’s life. That shouldn’t be viewed as a bad thing. Instead, it should be presented as a positive. It’s a chance to begin again. They can meet new people, enjoy comfort, and try new things.
To commemorate the occasion, introduce something new to their living space. Is it time to upgrade their old television? Consider buying a new model with a better picture. Maybe a new comfy chair to relax in or a beautiful lamp to brighten their living space would work well. Try to find something that your senior will really appreciate in their new home.
Keep in Touch After the Move into Assisted Living
One of the biggest things families can do to make their loved one feel at home in assisted living is to stay in touch. Check in and find out how they are doing. After they have had some time to adapt, find out if there is anything that they would like to change about their accommodations.
Make a point to visit them and spend time together in their new home. It’s a chance to create new memories and reassure them that you are still thinking about them.
Learn More About Life at Vista Living Senior Care
If you have questions about setting up an assisted living room, let us know. Vista Living senior care staff are available to provide suggestions and information on senior safety. Together, we can create a healthy, welcoming environment for seniors.
Visit Vista Living senior care to learn more or to schedule a tour of our Phoenix assisted living home.
The prospect of moving into an assisted living community is frightening for many adults. Some fear losing their independence while others worry that life will become boring and dull. The words “assisted living” often conjure images of old nursing homes full of elderly people simply existing for the remainder of their days.
The reality of today’s assisted living homes is far from that musty old stereotype. The senior living industry has fully embraced the concept of living life to the fullest at any age. Elderly people deserve happiness and fulfillment just as much as younger people do. Moving into a retirement community doesn’t change the fact that senior citizens are human beings with thoughts, feelings, and unique personalities.
Those fears often make people hesitate when it is time to move into a retirement home. Some choose to age in place because they worry about what awaits in an assisted living community.
Living alone poses many risks for someone who is getting older and needs more support and care. Debunking the myths will help more people overcome their fear and find a better way to live as they age.
Before you decide where to spend your golden years, make sure you know the facts about assisted living communities.
I Don’t Want to Lose My Independence
Assisted living communities work with residents to determine the level of care and support that they need. Residents do not lose their independence. They can do as much on their own as they can.
You can decorate your living space however you like. There may be space limitations that reduce the amount of furniture and belongings you bring, but otherwise, it is treated like your home. You can hang photos, arrange furniture, and do whatever you like. You choose when you eat meals and when you go to bed.
A good assisted living community treats residents like adults and provides the assistance required without overstepping. An added benefit is that if your care requirements increase as you age, staff and resources are available to provide the extra support if and when you need it.
I Won’t Be Able to Do the Things That I Love
Moving into an assisted living community doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the hobbies and activities you love. While some seniors have medical limitations that reduce their ability to do intense physical activity, the facility itself will not stop you from enjoying your favorite things.
The best part is that living in a retirement community means you’ll have fewer responsibilities. You won’t have to maintain a home or lawn. All those chores are handled for you. That leaves more free time to do what you love or to try something new!
I’ll Live Alone in a Small Room
The size of your accommodations will vary based on the assisted living community you choose, but most offer cozy spaces that have everything you need. Modern facilities are designed to feel like a residence rather than a hospital or medical facility.
You will always be close to a group of your peers, so you have opportunities to socialize whenever you want. Communal areas are usually included, like dining rooms or living rooms.
Assisted Living Homes Are Depressing
Assisted living homes are far from depressing. Many are built to be active, lively places that nurture positivity. This starts with an inviting architectural design and extends into how the staff manages the location.
You should speak to an assisted living community like Vista Living to learn more about amenities and spaces that are available to residents. At Vista, we have luxurious accommodations inside and outside as well as activities so there’s always a reason to get up and enjoy the day!
Seniors Are Not Permitted to Leave
Assisted living communities are not prisons. While many will have security in place, this is meant to keep residents safe. Most will have cameras around entry points and in communal areas. Depending on the type of accommodations, guests may be required to check in.
That doesn’t mean that residents have to stay put. Many facilities offer transportation for medical appointments or to visit businesses and attractions. Some even plan trips so that groups of residents can enjoy a day out together. You can experience local shopping, dining, sightseeing, and entertainment outside of the facility.
Loved ones can also take residents to events, holiday gatherings, or to spend some quality time together.
I Will Have No Privacy in Assisted Living
Many people value their privacy. Moving into a group setting may sound intimidating. Assisted living communities provide an ideal balance of socializing and privacy. You can go out and meet up with groups of your peers but also escape back to your own private quarters.
You choose when you have visitors and decide when staff can enter your apartment or room. You still have full control over your living space.
The Food Served There is Horrible
Nutrition is an important part of good health. Assisted living communities work hard to provide healthy menu items that are also tasty. Many serve homemade meals that are carefully chosen with fresh ingredients that are good for the body.
These places also create a diverse menu so there’s something for every taste. Many facilities include three full meals per day plus snacks, so residents never go hungry.
When looking for an assisted living community, you should ask about their menu. See what’s currently being served. You can even ask to sample the food before you decide so you or your loved one know what to expect after moving in. You should also discuss allergies and dietary needs with the facility to make sure they can accommodate you.
Assisted Living is Just Like a Nursing Home
Many people use the words “nursing home” and “assisted living” interchangeably, but they are two different things. A nursing home provides more medical care in a clinical setting. Assisted living, on the other hand, provides personal care in a residential setting that’s more social and home-like.
Seniors who cannot live alone but want to continue having an active lifestyle will love assisted living. It is ideal for older adults who need minor nursing care and assistance with activities of daily living but want to remain as independent as possible.
I Can’t Afford to Move into Senior Living
The cost of senior living varies from one location to the next. When looking at fees, it is important to remember that moving in will eliminate many of the separate costs the average person pays when living on their own.
All daily care needs, housing, and food expenses are rolled into one monthly fee. Instead of paying for groceries, rent or a mortgage, utilities, cleaning services, transportation, and social activities, all of these are included.
You should consult the assisted living community you are considering to verify all costs and what is included. Paying one lump sum a month also makes it easier to manage finances with fewer surprises during retirement.
If you would like to learn more about assisted living or want to schedule a tour, let us know. Visit Vista Living Senior Care now and see what retirement living is really all about.
The stereotype of the grumpy senior citizen is not a fair representation of how a person should feel when they get older. While some conditions can lead to mental health changes, these should not be ignored. It’s important to seek help if you or a senior you love is exhibiting signs of depression.
More than 19 million people in the U.S. are affected by depression each year. Out of the approximately 34 million Americans who are 65 or over, more than two million suffer from depression.
The mental health disorder can appear on its own due to life changes or with a co-occurring illness like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.
The older a person gets, the more likely they are to go through difficult life events, like the death of someone they love. One-third of windows and widowers show signs of depression during the first month after losing a spouse. Half of those individuals remain clinically depressed for the following year.
Depression can also lead to thoughts of suicide. It’s considered a significant predictor of suicide in older adults. People over age 65 account for around 20% of suicide deaths. White males who are over age 85 have nearly six times the suicide rate in the United States with 65.3 deaths per 100,000.
People with depression may also face increased financial costs because of the disorder. Healthcare costs are around 50% higher for older adults who show signs of depression compared to those who do not.
Understanding the disorder makes a big difference in the life of a senior with depression.
According to a National Mental Health Association survey conducted in 1996, around 68% of participants over age 65 knew little to nothing about depression. Only 38% of respondents agreed that depression is a health problem. And only 42% said they would seek support from a medical professional if they experience depression. The rest reported that they would try to “handle it themselves.”
What’s worse is that over half of participants, approximately 58%, believed that depression is just a normal part of getting older.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. Depression is a disorder and should not be considered a normal way to go through life at any age. That’s why everyone – especially seniors – should know the signs of depression.
Becoming Pessimistic or Feeling Hopeless
Seniors who exhibit personality changes, like becoming pessimistic, should be evaluated immediately. Pessimism and feeling hopeless are common signs of depression. Personality changes can also indicate another underlying problem, like dementia.
These changes should be evaluated by a medical professional. Seniors should talk to their healthcare provider and be honest about changes to ensure that they receive the care they need.
Feelings of Helplessness, Worthlessness, or Guilt
Feeling worthless, helpless, or guilty are also common signs of depression. Many people with the condition engage in self-blame, even in situations that they have no control over or did nothing wrong. Others report feeling like they have nothing to offer the world.
Self-blame often comes with over-generalization of situations to reflect the patient’s mental state. For example, a depressed person may think that if they fail at one activity, it means that they are a complete failure. They take one external situation and turn it into a general, internal thought that coincides with their negative outlook.
A person who is experiencing these feelings should focus on being kind to themselves and avoid negative thinking. Situations should be reframed to be more realistic and positive. It is not easy but will gradually get easier the more you do it. This is a good method to share with seniors who have depression and experience feelings of guilt and worthlessness.
Losing Interest in Once-Loved Activities
Anhedonia refers to a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed or a decreased ability to experience pleasure. It isn’t exclusive to depression but is considered a core symptom of it.
Seniors with depression may suddenly become disinterested in their favorite pastimes. The physical limitations of aging can make it impossible for someone to do things they once enjoyed, which can cause or worsen depression. In other cases, they may be physically capable of engaging in a hobby but simply choose not to do so.
Patients may be advised to schedule a consultation with a psychologist or psychiatrist to diagnose and treat the condition. Visits with a therapist can also help.
Lower Energy Levels and Fatigue
Decreased energy and fatigue are also common signs of depression. This can occur due to the condition or as a result of its other symptoms, like poor diet, inactivity, and insomnia. Inactivity caused by depression can lead to physical discomfort like joint pain and stiffness.
Exercise is beneficial in staving off depression in seniors. Finding a senior-friendly exercise routine is a good first step. Physical activity releases endorphins that make a person feel good. It also helps build strength, endurance, and energy. Staying fit improves cognitive function as well.
Make sure the workout routine you or your loved one chooses is suitable based on their age and mobility. Even adding short sessions throughout the week can have a positive effect.
Unexplained Change in Appetite
Over and under eating can be a sign of depression in seniors. This is because many of the regions in the brain that are used to generate appetitive responses are also associated with depression.
Poor eating habits will lead to other health concerns, so they should be addressed right away. Eating a nutritious diet and making sure the recommended daily quantities are adhered to is a good start. You or your loved one should also consult a doctor to seek treatment for depression and to ensure that no other health issues are contributing to the situation.
Difficulty Remembering or Making Decisions
Depression can affect cognitive abilities. A person with the disorder may have difficulty processing and remembering information. It can also cause indecisiveness.
Seniors with depression may exhibit an inability to adapt to changing situations. They also may show poor executive functioning, meaning they have trouble completing all steps to accomplish a task or reach a goal.
A senior experiencing these symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional. They will also need additional support and understanding from loved ones while they find treatment.
Too Much or Too Little Sleep
Depression shares a close connection with sleep. Almost all patients diagnosed with depression also report problems with their sleep patterns. This is one of the first things many doctors look for when determining if a patient has the disorder.
Sleep and depression share a bidirectional relationship. That means that they build off each other. Depression can cause problems with sleep while poor sleep contributes to depression.
Sleep issues that often appear with depression include hypersomnia, insomnia, and obstructive sleep apnea. Insomnia is most common and occurs in an estimated 75% of adults with depression. Only about 20% experience obstructive sleep apnea and 15% experience hypersomnia.
The way sleep is affected can change. For example, a single period of depression can switch between hypersomnia and insomnia. Finding treatment for depression is the best way to stop or reduce sleep-related symptoms.
Thoughts of Suicide or Attempted Suicide
If you or a senior you love express thoughts of suicide or attempts suicide, seek professional help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day and can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.
Thoughts and threats of suicide should always be taken seriously. While seeking help, the patient should be placed in a safe environment. If they are at home, that means removing anything that could be used to harm themselves, like pills or weapons.
While therapy may be the initial approach to treating depression, it may not be enough. Patients who feel suicidal should be evaluated and may require antidepressant medication. A medical professional can determine the best course of action to protect the patient and help them find treatment.
Senior depression is a serious issue that can appear regardless of health status, living situation, or lifestyle. Assisted living residents should let staff know if they experience any of the symptoms outlined above.
Visit Vista Living Senior Care to learn more about senior health and wellness.
Staying fit should be a top priority for every senior citizen. When your body is in good shape, you will live more comfortably with fewer limitations. A healthy person is better able to fight off illness and recover from injuries. Improved strength and balance will reduce a senior’s fall risk.
Exercise also improves mental health and wellbeing. Physical activity releases endorphins that boost mood. Regular workouts improve cognitive function and motor skills, lowering the risk of dementia.
Sometimes, going outside or leaving your home isn’t an option. Bad weather makes travel dangerous while social distancing can force seniors to remain in their homes. When this happens, you should have a plan to continue your exercise routine indoors.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 42.5% of people ages 65 to 74 met the federal guidelines for aerobic activity. Approximately 30.9% of people ages 75 to 84 met the guidelines. Those were improvements from previous years, which were around 35.7% and 24.5% respectively for each age group. These numbers should continue to increase as more seniors focus on their health.
Overall, a regular workout routine can improve your quality of life and help you remain independent for longer. The key is knowing how to safely exercise, even if you cannot leave home. The following list will help you build a senior-friendly indoor workout routine.
Walking Around at Home
Walking is a basic form of exercise that is beneficial at any age. It improves cardiovascular health, leading to better circulation and lower blood pressure. Studies conducted at the University of Tennessee and University of Colorado found that walking reduced the risk of stroke for older women.
A Harvard study of 12,000 people found that those who walked briskly for about one hour a day were less likely to experience the effects of over 30 obesity-promoting genes.
The easiest way to get started is to have a planned route through your home. You can increase distance by doing more laps, walking around the perimeter of each room, and by walking around furniture.
Assuming you have no limiting health issues, you should try to get in around 2.5 hours of walking per week. That translates to approximately 30 minutes of daily walking on most days of the week. If you can jog instead, then you can reduce that duration to 1 hour and 15 minutes weekly.
Before you begin, make sure you have cleared away any tripping hazards like low-sitting furniture and rugs. You should have a clear, even path to follow.
Housework Keeps You Fit
You can get things done and stay fit by working chores into your exercise routine. Doing things around the house also burns calories and uses your muscles. The effectiveness of each session will depend on what you are doing, so this might be harder to measure. However, it’s still beneficial in the end.
Have a plan to do as much of the housework as you safely can. You should only do things that you can do based on your mobility and health status. For example, if you have back problems, then carrying a heavy basket of laundry may not be a good idea. However, you could stand and fold the laundry once it’s done to get more time on your feet.
Vacuuming and sweeping floors are also great for physical health because it requires you to both stand and move your arms.
If you have questions about staying safe, talk to your doctor. They can assess your health and mobility and let you know if there are any chores you should avoid.
Low-Impact Yoga or Tai Chi
Tai Chi and Yoga are popular exercises for seniors. They are similar, both being low-impact and gentle on the body. They also introduce a mental component that encourages peace and calmness.
The internet is a great resource for seniors who want to expand their at-home exercise routine with one or both practices. You can search for free online videos that discuss how to get started. You can also connect with instructors that offer virtual classes for a more interactive experience.
Don’t forget to check in with your assisted living events coordinator to find out if they will be offering Yoga or Tai Chi classes or something similar. If you live in a retirement community, then you may have access to group workouts that don’t require travel to an off-site studio or gym.
When learning Tai Chi, Yoga, or any other new workout routine, remember to start slowly. Let yourself learn how to perform each move correctly for maximum benefit and to minimize the risk of injury.
If you are participating in a virtual class, remember that you should focus on personal progress rather than what those around you are doing. Everyone starts at a different ability level, so you should work to improve upon where you were rather than trying to catch up with others. This is the best way to stay motivated and push yourself to do better without getting frustrated or risking injury.
Strength and Balance Exercises
Good strength and balance are essential for senior citizens. Both have an impact on your daily activities. They play a role in your quality of life and significantly influence your fall risk.
A fall injury can be devastating for an older adult. Every year, around 3 million people go to the emergency room due to a fall. At least 300,000 older adults are hospitalized for hip fractures annually. Over 95% of those fractures are caused by a fall. Falls are also the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.
Anything that you can do to reduce your fall risk is a smart move.
Many exercises that can help in this area. You can try walking heel to toe, putting one foot in front of the other so that your heel and toes touch each time you step. Walk 20 steps this way.
You can also try a single-limb stance. Hold on to the back of a sturdy chair. Lift your right foot and hold that position for as long as you can before switching to your left foot. You should work toward being able to perform this exercise with both legs for one minute without holding the chair.
Wall push-ups are another senior-safe exercise option. Stand one arm length away from a wall. Lean forward and put your palms on the wall at the same height and width as your shoulders. Next, slowly lower your body toward the wall and push back up. It works just like a regular push-up but without having to get on the floor.
Seated Exercises for Senior Citizens
Seniors with mobility limitations may prefer to try seated exercises. These involve sitting in a chair. It’s a better choice for people with back or balance issues. You can still burn calories and build muscle without risking your safety.
Always use a sturdy chair that doesn’t have wheels. You can warm up by doing 30 to 60 seconds of marching while seated followed by 30 seconds of arm circles. Repeat this process for 3 to 5 minutes before moving on.
Next, you can choose exercises based on your needs. If you want to build leg strength, try pillow squeezes. Place a pillow between your thighs or knees and squeeze using your inner thigh muscles. Hold the squeeze for 3 seconds before releasing. You should repeat this exercise 12 times.
If you want more of a challenge, add dumbbells to your seated workout. While sitting, hold a dumbbell in each hand and lift them to shoulder height. Next, raise your arms as high as you can then return them to your shoulder height again. Do this at least 12 times.
There are many ways to stay fit while at home. Come up with a workout routine that suits your needs without risking your safety. If you have questions, your doctor can provide more insight into what an ideal exercise regimen looks like for you.
Many assisted living communities offer exercise classes and fitness opportunities to residents. If you are interested in learning more about senior care, visit Vista Living.