Tips for Dining Out When a Loved One has Dementia

Tips for Dining Out When a Loved One has Dementia

Seniors with dementia can benefit from occasional social outings, including dining out at a local restaurant. The right preparation will help you and your loved one have an enjoyable experience.


Dining Out With a Senior Who Has Dementia

 Give the following suggestions a try to help your whole family enjoy dining out together.

Choose someplace familiar and accessible.

Visit a familiar restaurant that serves meals your loved one likes and finds easy to eat.

If your family member requires help in the restroom, choose a restaurant with convenient bathrooms. If your loved one is prone to anxiety and needs to feel sheltered, seek out a restaurant with booths that offer more privacy

Eat at a time that coincides with your loved one’s normal meal schedule, and avoid hours when their dementia symptoms are usually worse.

Create an emergency kit.

It is better to be too prepared than to be caught by surprise, so make a checklist of things to do and bring when going out to eat. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make sure your cell phone is fully charged.
  • Bring insurance papers, emergency contacts, and medication lists. It may sound excessive, but it can be a relief in an emergency.
  • Consider a change of clothes in case your loved one has an accident in the bathroom, spills food, or just gets cold.

Alert the restaurant staff to your loved one’s needs.

If you go out regularly with your loved one, it may help to print up small cards with information that you can give to staff at restaurants and shops you visit. It can be as simple as, “My loved one has dementia and may behave in unexpected ways. Thank you for your understanding.”

Calling the restaurant ahead of time for special accommodations, such as a particular table or dietary needs, is also helpful.

Understand what their behavior means.

If your loved one becomes agitated, your first instinct may be to take them home immediately. This may not be necessary once you understand the behavior.

Many individuals with dementia ask to “go home”–even if they are home. Ask your loved one why they have to go home. They may need the comfort of home, or think they have to do chores. Don’t try to argue; instead, offer them reassurance, and try to redirect their attention.

Seniors with dementia are prone to wandering for many reasons. Your loved one may be confused by the unfamiliar environment. They may be trying to ease pain or discomfort. Stay beside them at all times when you are out of the house.

Need extra help?

If visiting restaurants is no longer an option for your loved one and you are struggling to manage their care on your own, it might be time to consider a memory care program.

Specialized dementia care programs, such as those at Heritage Senior Communities, allow adults with dementia to live their best quality of life. Residents of our dementia care programs participate in guided life enrichment activities and wellness events designed to help them feel independent and empowered.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can provide your loved one with quality care, while giving you peace of mind.

How Michigan Seniors Can Stay Active This Winter

How Michigan Seniors Can Stay Active This Winter

Physical activity has been shown to improve health, memory, sleep, and the overall quality of life for seniors. It might be a bit more challenging to stay active this winter in Michigan and require seniors and family caregivers to take a few extra precautions to stay safe and healthy.

Tip for Senior Fitness during the Winter

Take a walk outside.

On more mild winter days, a walk outside isn’t out of the question. A walk around the block can provide seniors with mental stimulation and the physical benefits of exercise.

Make sure you dress appropriately and wear a hat, gloves, and comfortable shoes with good traction. If it is sunny, take measures to protect your eyes and skin.

Be careful of icy spots:

  • Keep rock salt near the door to scatter on your walkways.
  • Ask a friend or relative to help you clear away snow and ice.
  • Inside, immediately take off your shoes and change any clothes that have gotten wet.

Take walks indoors.

When the weather outside is frightful (or you just don’t feel like bundling up), there are plenty of places with indoor walking options:

  • Museums and art galleries
  • Aquariums
  • Malls, other shopping centers, and even supermarkets
  • Fitness centers with walking tracks

You can even workout in the safety of your own home. March in place, do stretches, or lift weights while you watch TV. Borrow workout videos from the library, or search YouTube for videos that can guide you through easy fitness routines.

Join a gym or YMCA.

Gyms are full of senior-friendly exercise options, including free weights, walking tracks, and treadmills. Staff members and personal trainers can help you create an individual fitness routine.

If possible, look for a facility with a pool. Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise, as it is low-impact and provides a full-body workout.

Many YMCAs in Michigan offer programs tailored to individuals with specific conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes.

Stay fit with a video game.

Many video games let you golf, bowl, and even bike right in the middle of your living room. Xbox and Nintendo Wii are two of the most popular consoles for fitness games, but there are many other options.

Caregivers, friends, or relatives can help seniors choose, hook up, and learn to use the video games. Most of these games can be used individually or in groups, making them great social activities.

Sign up for a class.

Many community organizations offer classes that can help you get moving, such as yoga or Pilates. Ask local libraries, senior centers, rec centers, and churches about classes they may have.

Even if an organization doesn’t provide classes, someone may be able to direct you to social groups based on physical activities, such as walking or swimming clubs.

Let the experts help.

At Heritage Senior Communities, you don’t have to worry about winter inactivity. Each of our locations offers a variety of activities year-round, including a daily exercise schedule, fitness rooms with exercise equipment, and Wii bowling.

Contact the experts at Heritage Senior Communities to learn more about how we help seniors lead healthy, joyful lives.

Healthy New Years Resolutions for Caregivers to Make in 2018

Healthy New Years Resolutions for Caregivers to Make in 2018

Caregivers for older adults are the unsung heroes of families all across the country. They give their time, energy, and love to their family’s elders every day. Unfortunately, this commitment to a senior loved one may cause them to experience problems of their own. They often neglect their physical and mental health, which can result in increased stress, depression, and an overall weaker immune system.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of healthy New Year’s resolutions for family caregivers to make as we head into 2018.

5 Healthy New Years Resolutions for Caregivers in 2018

The coming new year gives each of us an opportunity for change and renewal. This applies to caregivers as much as anyone. Here are five New Year’s resolutions caregivers can make to improve their own quality of life in 2018.

  1. Ask For Help

No matter how rewarding an endeavor it is, caring for an older adult is a big responsibility filled with stress and hard work. That’s why it’s imperative caregivers ask for and receive help from other friends and family members. Resolve to ask for help consistently in the new year or to take advantage of respite care at a senior living community.

  1. Practice Stress Management Techniques

One of the most common struggles caregivers experience is the inordinate level of stress that often accompanies their responsibilities. Finding positive ways to manage this stress should be one of every caregiver’s top priorities. Resolve to learn and practice relaxation techniques, such as meditation, guided imagery, or yoga.

  1. Practice Proper Self-Care

Just like anyone else, caregivers need to tend to their own well-being before they can be of assistance to others. Let 2018 mark a new era in your self-care habits. Resolve to get adequate amounts of sleep, exercise, and nutrition this year so you can begin to restore your own health and wellness.

  1. Explore Senior Living Options

We know the idea of moving a senior loved one into an assisted living community is difficult for some caregivers to consider. You might be surprised, however, at the high quality of life it provides to the older adult and to the family. Make early 2018 the time you begin to visit senior living communities and learn more about what they have to offer.

  1. Enrich Your Personal Life by Pursuing Your Own Interests

Our fifth and final tip is one that caregivers often struggle the most with. That is, to resolve to enrich your own life in 2018 by reconnecting with former hobbies and interests or establishing new ones. It can help to renew your spirit and reduce your stress. Both of which make you a better caregiver for your loved one.

The team at Heritage Senior Living hopes this information serves to encourage and inspire you. We also hope you’ll return to our Senior Care Blog often for more tips on aging well.

It’s Never Too Late to Quit Smoking

It’s Never Too Late to Quit Smoking

While it can be difficult to quit smoking at any age, it can be much tougher for older adults addicted to nicotine. The added difficulty often comes from the mistaken belief that it’s too late to benefit from giving up smoking.

Older adults who continue to smoke into their sixties and seventies often believe that the damage has been done and that it’s too late to reverse it. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. There are positive benefits from giving up smoking no matter how old you are.

Why It’s Never Too Late to Benefit from Giving up Smoking

If you or an older adult in your life wants to quit smoking, keep two things in mind. First, you can quit no matter how many times you’ve been unsuccessful at it in the past. Second, you will experience health benefits almost immediately after quitting.

Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll experience in just the first 3-4 days after you stop smoking:

  • Within 30 minutes after you stop smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure return to normal
  • Your lungs will begin to clear after less than 48 hours
  • In less than 72 hours, your body will be free of nicotine
  • Within 4 days, it will be easier to breathe and your energy level will increase

These benefits do not depend on age— you will experience them no matter how old you are.

The Long-Term Benefits of Quitting Smoking at Any Age

Four long-term smoking cessation benefits you or your senior loved one will experience include:

  1. Reduced Rates of Common Illnesses

Non-smokers get sick much less frequently than smokers do. They have significantly lower rates of colds, bronchitis, and the flu. This is just as true for someone who quits when they’re in their seventies or eighties as it is for a 30-year-old.

  1. More Money in Your Pocket

Smokers begin to save hundreds of dollars a month the moment they give up the habit. This is definitely a benefit that doesn’t depend on age. And having a few thousand dollars extra each year is a good thing no matter how old you are!

  1. Decreased Risk of Heart Disease

Smoking is the number one cause of heart attacks and smokers are at much higher risk for them than non-smokers. No matter what age you are when you quit smoking, the risk of heart disease begins to decrease within 24 hours and continues to decline as long as you abstain.

  1. Reduced Cancer Risk

Giving up smoking at any age will help to immediately reduce the risk of several forms of cancer, including cancer of the lung, colon, esophagus and throat. Even those who have already been diagnosed with cancer will benefit from an improved immune system.

This is just a small sampling of the benefits associated with smoking cessation. And remember—these benefits have nothing to do with age.

Quit Smoking, Start Benefitting

Do not let anything deter you or your senior loved one from experiencing the wide array of health benefits that come from giving up smoking. Even if you’ve tried to quit a dozen times before, you can still succeed and improve your quality of life significantly.

The team at Heritage Senior Living hopes this information serves to encourage and inspire you. We also hope you’ll return to our Senior Care Blog often for more tips on aging well.


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