5 Ways Seniors Can Sit Less and Move More

5 Ways Seniors Can Sit Less and Move More

You may have heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking.” This expression comes from several studies that suggest a sedentary lifestyle may be worse than smoking for some people. While the idea of comparing sitting to smoking may be difficult to understand, the risks associated with sitting for long periods are difficult to ignore.

A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to:

  • Increased risk of disability
  • Increased risk of developing chronic health problems, like diabetes and heart disease
  • Negative effects on mental health
  • Higher risk of becoming overweight or obese
  • Shorter life expectancy
  • Greater risk of falling

The best way to avoid many of the health risks associated with too much sitting is to become active. If you’ve lived a sedentary lifestyle for a long time, it can be overwhelming to think about starting a new exercise program.

You may have reasons why you feel discouraged about exercising, including health problems, limited mobility, or aches and pains. However, becoming active is far simpler than you anticipate. Here are a few ways seniors can incorporate more physical activity into their daily routine.

Physical Activities for Seniors

  1. Walking: Walking is an excellent exercise for older adults. It has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including a reduced risk of falling, a lower chance of a heart attack, and improved mental health. Even better, it only requires a pair of good walking shoes. A brisk ten-minute walk after each meal is a great place to start.
  2. Swimming: Swimming is great for seniors because it is a low-impact exercise. This means it is easier on the body than other forms of exercise. This makes swimming particularly great for seniors with limited mobility or stiff joints.
  3. Yoga: Yoga is another great activity for seniors. It improves strength, endurance, and mobility, which are essential for older adults. One of the best things about yoga is it can be adapted for any skill level.
  4. Tai Chi: Tai Chi is an exercise that combines slow, graceful movements with breath control. Because it is gentle, it is an excellent option for seniors who are just starting to incorporate exercise into their routine.
  5. Senior fitness classes: Taking classes designed for seniors is another way older adults can get active. There are a wide variety of options to suit every need, interest, and fitness level. For example, Zumba is fun for those who like to dance. Strength training classes may be better for those who want to build muscle.

The Benefits of Exercise Extend beyond Prevention

Regardless of your age, it’s never too late to start exercising. Getting fit isn’t just about preventing chronic illnesses. Exercise comes with many benefits, including improved sleep, a faster metabolism, and better physical and mental health.

Heritage Senior Communities Encourages an Active Lifestyle

In addition to assisting seniors with the tasks of daily living, Heritage Senior Communities also provides plenty of opportunities for seniors to be active. Contact us today to schedule a tour.

What Are the Differences between Home Care and Assisted Living?

What Are the Differences between Home Care and Assisted Living?

Dear Donna,

My mother lives on her own, and her arthritis is making it difficult for her to keep up with a few basic tasks. She says she could use some assistance. We have narrowed down our options to home care and assisted living, but we are having trouble deciding between the two.

What are the differences between home care and assisted living?

Jill from Saline, MI

Understanding the Differences between Home Care and Assisted Living

Dear Jill,

When an aging parent needs assistance, it can be tough to know where to turn. It’s not uncommon for seniors and family members to be torn between receiving care at home or in an assisted living community. Both options provide many benefits, but your decision will depend on your family’s unique needs.

Here are a few of the main differences between home care and assisted living.

Understanding Home Care

Home care, more specifically private duty home care, is a type of support provided to seniors in their house. Its purpose is to enable older adults to remain living in their homes safely. Depending on the person’s needs, professional caregivers can help with anything from light housekeeping to preparing meals and running errands.

Your loved one may benefit from home care if:

  • They need minimal to moderate assistance.
  • They need help with nonmedical activities for a few hours a day.
  • Their home is senior-friendly and safe.
  • They have an active social life.

Private duty home care is usually a short-term solution. If their care needs extend beyond a few hours a day or what a home caregiver can provide, they may find an assisted living community better meets their needs.

Assisted Living Explained

Like home care, assisted living supports seniors with the activities they need to remain independent, but in a community setting. Residents live in a home-like environment, but have access to caregivers around the clock. This service alone can bring seniors and their families peace of mind.

Assisted living may be best for your loved one if:

  • They have mobility challenges.
  • They have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
  • Their home is an unsafe place to live.
  • They don’t have many opportunities to socialize.
  • They require moderate to extensive assistance to remain independent.

Deciding between Home Care and Assisted Living

When it comes to choosing between home care and assisted living, the answer is rarely easy. Both home care and assisted living come with many benefits. By assessing your loved one’s needs and understanding your options, you are more likely to find a solution that benefits your family.

I hope this helps you better understand the differences between home care and assisted living.

Sincerely,

Donna

Heritage Senior Communities

At Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square location, we encourage seniors and their families to visit our community. Contact us today to find out if our senior living options are a good fit for you or your senior loved one.

How to Prepare a Senior Family Member for Assisted Living

How to Prepare a Senior Family Member for Assisted Living

Dear Donna,

In a few months, my mom will move to an assisted living community. She has asked me to help her prepare for the move.

She is very sentimental, and it’s always been difficult for her to throw things away. I know she has to downsize, but I am unsure how to approach the topic. Can you give me a few tips on how to prepare a senior family member for assisted living?

Regards,

Marlene from Saline, MI

Helping a Senior Loved One Prepare for Senior Living

Dear Marlene,

Preparing a senior family member for assisted living can be difficult, especially if they have lived in their home for a long time. They have had years to accumulate their belongings, and only months or weeks to sort through them.

For many, the hardest part of moving isn’t getting rid of things they don’t need. It’s dealing with the feelings attached to their belongings. Throwing things away can feel like getting rid of memories.

Helping a Senior Loved One Downsize Before Moving to Assisted Living

  1. Start early

When it comes to downsizing, one of the best things you can do is start early. Waiting until the last minute adds unnecessary stress to the process and makes the transition more difficult for everyone involved. By starting the process early, you will have enough time to help them sort through their belongings and reminisce about meaningful items. Your loved one will appreciate not feeling rushed during the process.

  1. Plan ahead

Planning is another way to make downsizing easier. Set some time aside to list and categorize everything you need to sort through. Once you have everything listed, decide on a deadline for each category. Make sure your time frame is realistic. It’s usually best to overestimate the amount of time it will take to finish sorting through each group of items. Doing this will help keep you on track to finish everything on time.

  1. Consult with a senior move manager

A senior move manager is a professional who specializes in helping seniors move. They can be a huge help when it comes to helping older loved ones downsize. They understand the physical and emotional challenges that often come with a senior move. Their training has prepared them to help in a way that leaves seniors feeling in control of what happens to their belongings.

Moving Can Be Difficult at Any Age

Moving from a house to an assisted living community requires a lot of change, which can be difficult at any age. Not only is your loved one leaving a place they’ve called home for a long time, but they are also moving to a new environment filled with all new people. Be empathetic of their situation and remind them of the exciting things to look forward to in their new community.

I hope this helps the move go smoothly.

Regards,

Donna

Heritage Senior Communities

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square Assisted Living location, provides support to seniors and their families while transitioning to assisted living. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

3 Tips for Managing Caregiver Guilt

3 Tips for Managing Caregiver Guilt

Caring for an aging loved one can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be demanding. Stress from taking care of another person can trigger a lot of difficult emotions, including guilt.

Guilt occurs when you feel like you have done something wrong or failed an obligation. It can rob you of your joy and harm your overall happiness. Although feeling guilty is often unavoidable, there are a few ways you can cope and prevent it from affecting your quality of life.

Here are a few tips for managing caregiver guilt.

Managing Caregiver Guilt

  1. Acknowledge your feelings and where they come from

The first step in managing caregiver guilt is to acknowledge your feelings. It’s a common misconception that you can get rid of guilt completely. Believing you can will only set you up for failure and lead to more guilt.

Once you acknowledge your guilt, try to understand where it comes from. A few common reasons why caregivers may feel guilty include:

  • Feeling bad that they resent the time they spend caring for their loved one
  • Not being able to spend time with other friends or family members
  • Comparing themselves to other caregivers who appear to be doing a better job
  • Feeling anger towards a loved one for something they have no control over
  1. Join a support group

Support groups can be effective tools for managing guilt. They allow you to connect with other caregivers in similar situations. Not only can you learn from their experiences, but you can also take satisfaction in knowing you are not alone.

Support groups come in a variety of formats. Online groups may be best for those who have trouble finding time to meet with others. They can also be helpful for caregivers who struggle to express their feelings in-person or want to remain anonymous. In-person groups may work best for those who need to meet face-to-face to feel connected.

  1. Take advantage of respite care

Respite care is a service that gives short-term relief to caregivers. It can be a lifesaver for those who don’t have friends or family available to share the workload. This service can be arranged for any period of time. Some caregivers choose a few hours, while others need a few days or weeks.

One of the best things about respite care is that it can take place anywhere. Professional caretakers can come to your home, or your senior loved one could stay at a senior living community.

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

Many caregivers make the mistake of thinking they can do everything. Caring for a loved one takes a lot of time and patience, and it’s impossible to do alone. Trying to do so can become self-destructive and lead to chronic stress and caregiver burnout. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to ask for help. Taking time to care for yourself will allow you to better care for your loved one.

Respite Care at Heritage Senior Communities

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square location, provides respite care services to seniors and their families. If you and your senior loved one live in Michigan and would like to learn more about our respite care services, we invite you to schedule a private tour. We would love to show you around and tell you more about our community!

Vision Health & the Importance of an Annual Eye Exam

Vision Health & the Importance of an Annual Eye Exam

As you age, you may notice some changes in your vision. Many occur from the natural aging of the eye and can be improved with extra light or prescription glasses. Sometimes, vision changes are not a normal part of aging and are the beginning stages of eye disease. These are the ones seniors need to be mindful of.

Normal Age-Related Changes

  • Your eyes produce fewer tears as you age, which can cause them to feel dry or irritated.
  • You may find you need more light to read and perform other tasks.
  • Over time, the lenses in your eyes become less flexible. This can make it more challenging to focus on objects that are closer to you.
  • Changes in the lenses of your eyes can also cause the light entering your eye to scatter, which can make glares appear more frequently.
  • Over time, the lenses in your eyes may also become discolored. This discoloration can make it more challenging to distinguish between different colors.

Common Age-Related Eye Diseases

  1. Age-related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older adults. This disease gradually destroys the macula, which is the part of the eye responsible for focusing central vision.

  1. Glaucoma

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases that cause fluid and pressure to build up behind the eye. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause permanent damage to the optic nerve.

  1. Cataracts

Most Americans develop cataracts by the time they turn 80. Cataracts occur when the lenses of the eyes become cloudy. The only way to treat them is by cataract surgery. There is not much you can do to prevent cataracts from developing, but using updated eyewear prescriptions can delay surgery.

  1. Dry eye

Dry eye occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears. If left untreated, dry eyes can lead to complications like ulcers and corneal scarring. These can cause some loss of vision. Dry eye can be improved by keeping the eye lubricated with products like artificial tears and prescription eye drops.

The Importance of Regular Eye Exams

Getting regular eye exams is the best way to protect your vision. It gives doctors a chance to catch the disease early, and treatments can significantly slow its progression.

During an eye exam, doctors can also uncover other health conditions. Hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and carotid artery blockages are a few diseases that can be identified in an eye exam. By catching these early, seniors have a better chance of reducing their risk of suffering from more complicated health problems down the road.

The American Optometric Association recommends that adults 60 years and older get an annual eye exam. Medicare Part B covers eye exams if you have diabetes. It may also cover tests related to particular treatments. To learn more about which eye exams and screenings your Medicare benefit will cover, visit Your Medicare Coverage.

Staying Healthy at Heritage

Heritage Senior Communities offers a variety of senior living options throughout Michigan. From assisted living to respite care and specialized dementia care, we have an option that will meet your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more about our communities.