September 20, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Its almost that time of year again…Snowbird season! It begins in October and runs through April. I live in Florida and you could almost change the name from the Sunshine State to the Snowbird State! They flock down in the winter from New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Canada, and really any state where the temperature is frigid, and the snow plows are a plenty. According to Florida Realtor Magazine, by 2025 one in every five people living in Florida will be elderly.
Two million baby boomers head south every year. Most snowbirds are between the ages of 50 and 69. They are active, well-educated and adapt to the warmer lifestyle quite well.
Have you ever considered a snowbird style retirement? Many purchase Independent Living or Retirement living homes in communities and spend their winters enjoying fun in the sun with their seasonal friends while avoiding the harshness of the winters back in their hometowns.
So, let’s talk turkey, I mean “snowbird”. It’s a nickname for the Junco bird, but it’s used to describe a group of seasonal travelers who go to warmer climates. The term has been affectionately known to describe retirees specifically.
Where are the snowbirds coming from? About four out of five international snowbirds traveling into the United States yearly are coming from Canada. Many of these snowbirds will eventually sell their winter homes and move permanently and make their Retirement Community home and become a “sunbird”.
While Florida is well known for being a desired Snowbird destination; Arizona, Las Vegas, Hawaii, California, and Texas are attracting more seasonal retirees. In Texas, they have a different term of endearment. They are known as “winter Texans”.
If you think becoming a Snowbird is right up your ally, consider the packing, the winterizing of your home, the address changing, tax preparation, and ordering prescriptions. The checklist goes on and on and should be considered and well planned out.
On a very positive note: “Snowbirds: Seasonal Migration of the Elderly in Florida” study shoes that more than 63 percent of snowbirds rate their health as “very good” or “excellent”. In the same report, those that live in the same area year around, reported to have more complicated health issues.
At the end of the day, what any Snowbird needs the most is a retirement community with the amenities and location that meets all their needs. If you think the Snowbird lifestyle is a good choice for you and you need to start your search for a southern retirement living community, visit SeniorLivingGuide.com where many options are located in one place.
The Snowbird lifestyle allows Seniors to enjoy the best of both worlds, they are able to spend their summers in their hometowns with their family and friends, maintaining a aging in place lifestyle. In the winter when the weather is less than desirable, they are able to leave and spend time in a more resort style senior living community in a fashion that may be more of a vacation, lending to a more healthy and happier retirement.
September 13, 2018
September 6, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Nutrition is important at any stage of life, but seniors even more so as their nutritional needs change. Maintaining a well-balanced diet is necessary for health, overall wellbeing, and vitality. Many seniors may suffer from physical health issues, dementia, Alzheimer’s, mood, and/or diabetes. Many of these can be improved with daily nutrition.
Many older adults lack basic vitamins that are especially important to aging bodies:
- Calcium and Vitamin D-needed for bone health, as we age less calcium is absorbed
- Vitamin B12
Pro-active planning for nutritional and delicious meals for a senior may seem like a lot of work on the front end but in the long run may take away the stress of making a variety of meals every night that should to be healthy and nutritious. Seniors need to eat on a schedule, they are very routine oriented especially if there is any cognitive decline. Routines for those suffering from dementia and/or Alzheimer’s can improve their day to day moods and irritability.
While the idea of meal planning may seem daunting, check out these positives:
- Saves Time (all meals completed in one day)
- Saves Money
While a meal of broiled chicken, steamed broccoli, and brown rice is healthy, you probably won’t have too may asking for seconds. Most Seniors are going to opt for a tasty dish over a healthy dish, they also have diminished olfactory senses with impacts seniors interest in food. In other words, if it doesn’t tickle their taste buds, they will be significantly less inclined to eat a meal.
Now, I mentioned that meal planning can save time. This you will find interesting and requires organization in the beginning. This can be accomplished by utilizing a few cookbooks that are tried and true with recipes that are delicious, healthy and time saving. They must also be easy to follow and uncomplicated. Once you have chosen your cookbooks, code your recipes with colored stickies by which ones are around 20 minutes prep time and protein/vegetable. Develop a meal planning sheet or utilize a Google Meal Planning Doc for 3-4 weeks of meals. Once these have been completed, you can reuse them ongoing week after week. Keeping in mind that a variety is as important as taste, rotating a schedule for example: Chicken, Fish, Beef, Fish, Chicken, Vegetarian, Fish to ensure 3 out of 7 days of fish and only one beef day.
How does meal planning save money? How many times do you “run” to the grocery store? If you are planning ahead with less trips to the grocery store, you are saving money. For example: if you “run” to the grocery store to pick up a lemon for a recipe, do you ever just come home with a lemon?
If you are thinking that this all sounds amazing, but time is truly not on your side. There are other options to consider in food delivery services specializing in the dietary needs of senior adults and more generic health or whole foods centric that offer meal delivery right to your front door. These services may be found online by doing some your research.
As a Senior may transition over from an aging in place environment and meal planning is no longer an option; nutrition, healthy eating, and tasty food should still be an important factor in considering any type of Senior community or Assisted Living. So, taking into consideration the Senior community or facilities dietary offerings is as important as any other amenities. When you begin your research, visit us online at SeniorLivingGuide.com to check out the different menus, Chef’s, and dining options available at Senior communities at any location where you may want to make your next reservation. Bon Appetit!
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August 30, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
The elder abuse epidemic that continues to climb in this country is rarely addressed but is alarming. In the United States, more than a half a million elder abuse are reported while its estimated that millions more go unreported. Understanding the many faces of what elder abuse look like are the best forms of education on prevention. The more informed you are, the more you can do to protect yourself. Elder abuse is actual physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. These can be caused by neglect, abandonment, or isolation. Elder abuse is also found in identity theft and/or taking advantage of an elderly person financially.
The emotional treatment or psychological pain of older adults includes:
- Yelling and Screaming through intimidation
Elder abuse can truly happen to anyone and the abuser could be a friend, family member, caregiver or a stranger. Many times, emotional abuse is conducted by the caregiver. For many caregivers a support system should be in place to help avoid this type of scenario.
Seniors that can be more vulnerable to elder abuse are one’s that live alone. If you live alone, do not isolate yourself and continue to be social with your family and friends. Get involved in your church, local community events, volunteering or senior centers. Keeping your mind sharp and being physically fit will help make you less of a target and vulnerable to elder abuse as well.
The most reported form of elder abuse is financial. You must limit the amount of information that you share with people, including on social media and personal information that you are filling out online. When you receive your bank and credit card statements, review them carefully to make sure that they are correct. Do not just throw documents in the trash, make sure that you shred all your important documents that have any personal information on them; including social security numbers, banking numbers, and any other personal information.
Everyone deserves to live in safety, security with respect and dignity. If you suspect that a senior or elderly person is at risk from neglect or is being abused, or preyed upon financially, speak up. To report abuse, many states have Elder Abuse hotlines or call your local law enforcement. Learn more about signs, prevention and how you can help educate and those abused at elderabuse.org .
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August 21, 2018
Courtesy of Hazel Bridges
If you’ve ever laughed because your grandparents or elderly parents eat dinner at 4:30 p.m. so they can be in bed by 8:00 p.m., you may be unaware that physiological changes brought on by age may cause older adults to sleep less and on a different schedule than they used to. They may be up several times a night and sleep a lot during the day, but experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep each night regardless of age.
If insomnia or some other cause of sleep deprivation is at fault, it needs to be addressed with strategies aimed at making it easier to get to sleep. There are many tips for improving your ability to sleep, and often the simplest ones are the most effective.
A good soak in a warm bath can help lower your body temperature and heart rate enough to make you feel sleepy. It’s a relaxing, soothing way to wind down as bedtime approaches, and scented bath salts can help augment the effect. It’s worth a try, especially if you’re used to pacing the floor and watching late-night television for hours on end.
Create a good sleep space
Setting up a proper sleep environment is essential for improving your night’s rest. That means keeping the bedroom dark, cool (about 72 degrees), and quiet. Consider using blackout curtains if light from outside is a problem, or turning on a source of white noise, such as a phone app or a floor fan, to create a constant source of masking sound so the neighbor’s dog or passing motorcycles don’t jar you awake. Establish your bed as a place for sleeping only and try not to go to bed until you feel tired.
Seniors who suffer from sleep deprivation often make the mistake of getting in bed whether they’re tired or not. Avoid vigorous physical activity an hour or two before bedtime and turn off all electronic devices, including the computer and television, at least an hour before going to bed. Winding down is about easing your mind and getting ready for sleep. Reading a book and listening to soothing music or a CD with sounds from nature can sometimes help overcome insomnia.
The more you sleep during the day, the harder it may be to nod off at night and get the REM sleep your body needs. While napping is something many seniors enjoy during the golden years, don’t let it wreak havoc on your sleep. However, you should avoid taking stimulants during the day to stay awake if you’re used to napping, as they can affect your sleep at night as well. If necessary, establish a sleep routine in which you go to bed earlier than usual each night.
Avoid food and alcohol at night
It can be hard to sleep when your body is digesting, so avoid eating a meal or heavy snacks close to bedtime. Alcohol can also have an unsettling effect at night time and produce repeated trips to the bathroom. For the same reason, it’s a good idea to avoid drinking a lot of water before going to bed.
Regular physical activity which increases your heart rate and metabolism will work to your advantage at bedtime. Walking, jogging, bicycling, or yoga can work your muscles and limbs enough to create a natural and healthy fatigue by bedtime, and are all safe and low-impact forms of exercise that are perfect for seniors. Avoid any such activity within three hours of going to bed so that you have time to come wind down and relax.
Sleep testing and Medicare
Sleep studies help doctors identify disorders and fashion treatment strategies for patients with chronic sleep problems. Such testing measures information while you sleep that can help in fashioning a diagnosis. Medicare may pay for “medically necessary” testing for seniors, while Medicare Part B may cover tests and devices ordered by a doctor to diagnose sleep apnea. Medicare may also cover a three-month trial for CPAP therapy.
Finding a way to get the sleep you need can be as simple as getting more exercise, or it could involve medical testing and a diagnosis requiring specialized treatment. In either event, it’s worth getting restful sleep that helps keep your body healthy and your mind sharp.
Photo Courtesy of Pexels.com.
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August 17, 2018
August 8, 2018
August 3, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
You’ve retired! Congratulations! You are looking forward to your future as you have planned for this day for a long time. Are you thinking about retiring where you’ve vacationed with your family for years, staying close to home or taking a leap of faith and moving? If you are thinking about moving away from the comforts of your home state, are you considering a very practical approach and doing a little research?
What are your criteria for deciding which state to retire to? Do you look at how each state ranks?
- Socially-Do the people seem to have meaningful friendships?
- Financially-What is the cost of living, tax rates, etc.
- Community- Do you think you will love the community where you live?
- Physically – Overall good health in the community with exceptional health care
According to a new Bankrate study, South Dakota ranks as numero uno as the best state to retire. Followed by Utah, Idaho, New Hampshire, and Florida. The studies ranking, and percentages were based on:
- Cost of living (20%)
- Crime (10%)
- Culture (10%)
- Health care quality (15%)
- Taxes (20%)
- Weather (15%)
- Wellbeing (10%)
While there are many listicles providing different results, Business Insider sited Florida as the best retirement state while Money Magazine sited New Hampshire. A few criteria used to determine these front runners are affordability, quality of life, and healthcare.
Money also releases a list based on cities to retire in the U.S. basing its rankings on local taxes. The list provides details on demographics over the age of 55, median home price, average tax rate, and top income tax rate.
While we tout a few of the front runners in retirement meccas, its only fair to mention those that fall vastly short. Alaska and New York are mentioned in several listicles as the least desirable. Alaska has severe weather, high crime, and a low percentage of Seniors.
To many, Florida is where many retirees flock and it may be top of mind as there are so many options in retirement communities. The Sunshine State has the highest percentage of 65 years and older out of any other state.
If you’re looking for a retirement lifestyle where life expectancy is significantly longer than most states, Hawaii may be your ticket! The downside to this state is that the cost of living is one of the highest in the nation.
When it comes to deciding on a retirement destination and looking at all the options and listicles, it can be very confusing. These options and rankings are based on different criteria. What’s important to you? We know that with most retirees that the weather, topography, friends, and family are what gets them excited about your new destination. So, looking through these different listicles and how they based their ranking should also be what’s important to you. Once you decide on this next phase of your life and where you want to move, visit us online at www.SeniorLivingGuide.com , we can help find your next home!
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July 27, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Its happening, you are making the move from your family home and familiar neighborhood and friends to a retirement community, either active or assisted living. You have worked very hard to make sure that you are making wise decisions and you know what you want or need in the place you will be moving. You know that one of the main ingredients that you need for yourself is to continue to be as active and social as possible. You know that you need to make new friends in your new living environment, as this is important to you. The good news is that it’s very possible.
For older adults, new environments and living spaces, new routines and new faces can be reason enough to become isolated from people and things that they enjoy, become lonely and feel depressed.
It’s important to acknowledge this as a possibility before making the move. Planning ahead to make an effort to meet and interact with the other residents is important prior to the move. Look at the calendar of events and outings. Go ahead and sign up for activities and clubs. Keep your commitments!
There are also other ways to meet new friends daily that share the same common interests. Check out the following:
- Hobby focused groups
- Book Clubs
- Watch TV with groups vs. privately
- Run errands with groups-Ex: grocery store
- Support Groups-Ex: emotional, medical
If your community offers welcoming events for new residents, attend the event! Each new resident needs the same love and support that you did when you first arrived. If you don’t feel that you had a welcoming environment, be the one that makes the change! You never know who you are going to meet. You don’t want to miss out!
Be informed of what resources that you have at your disposal and take advantage of them. If you have a special interest and its not available, find out if you can start a new group.
If you feel like you are taking these steps on your own and you’re still struggling to make friends, confide in a caregiver to see if they can provide a solution. If you prefer, confide in a family member or someone that you feel comfortable talking about your struggle seeking their advice.
Actively taking steps to make new friends can be exhilarating and stressful at the same time. Maintaining healthy friendships in retirement is good for your mental and emotional health. It can help with anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Be happy and find your new found lifelong friendships in retirement!
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July 16, 2018
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Courtesy of Janet Campbell
When you’re tending seniors, you want to provide the best possible care to ensure the best quality of life. In order to be effective and efficient it can help to create a checklist, whether mentally or physically, of the areas you should discuss on a daily basis. Follow these important guidelines to ensure you’re covering the crucial aspects of your senior’s care and making the most of home health care visits.
Sleep. As we grow older, getting sufficient sleep is an area in which many seniors struggle. It’s also an area that can have ramifications in other parts of life, contributing to a variety of mental and physical health concerns. According to The Guardian lack of sleep is linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, reduced ability to focus, poor memory and a shorter life span.
For seniors, the concerns are even more far-reaching, with some studies showing poor sleep quality contributing to dementia, depression and the decline of other mental faculties. These together can be a slippery slope. With health concerns mounting, some feeding each other such as obesity contributing to sleep apnea and heart disease, depression can then worsen, sleep can worsen and a vicious circle can quickly develop.
There are many ways to encourage better sleep quality. One idea is to establish a bedtime routine including a warm, relaxing bath to help unwind. Sunlight can help trigger healthy body rhythms, so spending time in the outdoors during the day can also be a boon. Physical activity can also help seniors sleep, so long as they avoid exercising within three hours of bedtime. Also offer an appropriate sleep environment, free of noise and lights. Seniors should have a comfortable bed that alleviates pain as well. For those who wake up groggy or achy, consider upgrading to a new mattress better suited for an aging body’s needs. It is best to replace your mattress every seven to eight years to get a good night’s sleep. If you dream of reducing the number of times you toss and turn each night, refer to this guide to choose a comfortable mattress.
Diet. Meeting a senior’s nutritional needs is another key way to enhance quality of life. As we age the body’s metabolism gradually slows, and as some experts point out this can mean less calories burned. Seniors should opt for foods that are nutritionally dense instead of consuming empty calories. The diet should be tapered down according to need, rather than adding the nutrient-dense choices.
The diet choices should be simple, satisfying and nutritious. Plates should be half-filled with fruits and vegetables, and whole grains should be the source of at least half of the grain choices. Whole grains include foods such as brown rice, whole grain cereals and whole grain breads. Seniors should avoid consuming excessive amounts of sodium. The diet should include healthy fat sources such as nuts, avocados, vegetable fats and fatty fish. Protein sources should include eggs, chicken, fish, beans and nuts.
Exercise. Getting sufficient exercise is another key component in maintaining good quality of life for seniors. OnHealth explains loss of muscle mass associated with aging contributes to the metabolic decline in seniors. Staying fit helps keep muscles and bones strong, helps maintain a healthy weight, and helps maintain or restore balance. Seniors who stay active can reduce their risk for health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, depression, obesity and back pain. A senior fitness program can enhance flexibility, memory function and improve mood as well.
Seniors can begin exercising at any age but should discuss a new exercise program with their physicians. Scheduling sessions can help stay on track, and celebrating progress can be an encouragement. Seniors should include aerobic, strength training, balance and flexibility exercises in their regimen. Gentle chair yoga is a good option for many seniors new to exercise.
Easing a worried heart. Has your senior been fixated or overly worried about life lately? Chatting lightly can begin loosening up a senior who has become wound too tight about the ups and downs of life. First and foremost you must listen – most folks benefit from a sympathetic ear even if their listener doesn’t give them a solution to their problem. But if there are recurring issues then you could begin gently guiding them to take some action towards acceptance, no matter how small it might be. It could be as simple as some advance planning for the inevitable, or volunteering part time.
Better health, better life. Helping a senior maintain a good quality of life is paramount. Check off these three things when visiting seniors: Ensure seniors get sufficient sleep, enjoy a healthy diet and participate in an exercise program. Make the most of home visits with these simple guidelines.
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