3 Ways Vitamin C Can Help Seniors Sleep Better

3 Ways Vitamin C Can Help Seniors Sleep Better

It is a common misconception that you need less sleep as you age. Seniors need just as much sleep as younger adults. Unfortunately, many adults suffer from sleep disorders that prevent a good night’s rest. This can increase their risk of various health problems, including Alzheimer’s. Vitamin C may help seniors attain the sleep they need to thrive.

Understanding the Relationship Between Vitamin C and Sleep

Many people are familiar with how vitamin C benefits your immunity. What many don’t know is that vitamin C may be just as important for sleep health. Studies have shown that people with higher levels of vitamin C had better sleep health than those with lower levels. Those who met their requirements were also more resilient to the effects that occur from occasional sleepless nights.

Here are 3 ways vitamin C can help seniors sleep better:

  1. Increases sleep duration

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects about half of adults over 60 years old. The reasons why older adults have trouble sleeping can vary from physiological to lifestyle factors. Research has shown that those with lower levels of vitamin C in their blood experience more sleep disturbances throughout the night. This includes waking up frequently during the night and waking up early and not being able to return to sleep.

  1. Relieves movement disorders

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a common movement disorder that affects over 20 percent of adults over 80 years old. RLS causes seniors to experience discomfort in their legs often described as “pins and needles.” This feeling gives them an uncontrollable desire to move their legs, which can make it extremely difficult to fall asleep.

Vitamin C has been shown to minimize the symptoms of RLS. Because iron deficiency is associated with a higher risk of RLS, vitamin C can also help the body absorb and store iron.

  1. Improves obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is another common disorder among older adults. Sleep apnea makes it more difficult to breath by blocking the airway while you are sleeping. This disorder can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease and can even affect cognitive health. Vitamin C has been shown to alleviate sleep apnea by improving blood vessel functioning.

Consuming More Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient. This means your body doesn’t produce it on its own, so you need to incorporate it into your diet. Here are a few foods that are high in vitamin C:

  • Citruses like lemons and oranges
  • Berries, including strawberries and blueberries
  • Vegetables, such as broccoli, peppers, and leafy greens

Supporting a Healthy Lifestyle at Heritage

The benefits of vitamin C extend far beyond sleep health. Seniors also need vitamin C to keep their bones, skin, and blood vessels healthy. If you or a senior loved one is struggling to meet your vitamin C requirements, it may be time to explore senior living options.

Most communities, including Heritage Senior Communities, have healthy, nutrient-dense meals prepared daily. Contact us today to schedule a tour and join us for lunch and dinner!

5 Legal Documents Every Caregiver Should Have

5 Legal Documents Every Caregiver Should Have

Dear Donna,

As my parents age, I am starting to think more about their future. I want to help them enjoy the best quality of life as they grow older. To do so, I know I will have to work with their attorney on planning.

What legal documents should I have as a caregiver so I can make decisions on my parents’ behalf?

Jessica in Holland, MI

Legal Documents for Caregivers

Dear Jessica,

It’s great that you are preparing for your parents’ future. Many families wait until a crisis occurs before sorting out their loved one’s preferences. Not only can this make the process more stressful, but it can also affect a family’s ability to properly care for their loved ones. By preparing legal documents in advance, you can help prevent your family from having to make important decisions during stressful times. Here are 5 legal documents family caregivers should have.

5 Legal Documents Every Caregiver Should Have

 

  1. Living will: A living will, also referred to as an advance health care directive, is a document that allows people to record their wishes for end-of-life care. This document will be helpful if your parents become incapacitated and can’t make decisions for themselves. Although Michigan state laws do not consider living wills legally binding, having these documents is a great way to ensure their end-of-life preferences are met.
  2. Durable power of attorney for finances: A power of attorney is a person authorized to manage a person’s finances if they become incapacitated. A power of attorney has access to bank accounts, properties, and other assets. This document is helpful if you need to help your mom or dad pay bills or make important decisions about their finances.
  3. Health care proxy: A health care proxy, also referred to as a durable power of attorney for health care, is a document that authorizes someone to make health care decisions on another’s behalf. This document goes into effect only if they are unable to make decisions for themselves. A health care proxy includes decisions regarding health care providers and medical treatments. Proxies can even refuse treatments.
  4. Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) orders: DNR orders inform medical providers not to perform CPR if a patient’s heart stops beating. In Michigan, DNR orders are only valid when the person is home or at an assisted living community. If your mom or dad doesn’t want to be revived, their wishes should be documented in a DNR order.
  5. HIPAA authorization form: A HIPAA authorization form is another document that can be extremely useful to caregivers. While HIPAA rules usually allow medical professionals to give information to caregivers, obstacles still arise. A HIPAA authorization can prevent unnecessary complications and provide you with access to your loved one’s medical information.

Preparing Legal Documents

Having legal documents prepared in advance is one of the best ways to ensure you meet your parents’ wishes. At Heritage, we always recommend you seek advice from an elder law attorney when creating legal documents. They can help you understand state laws, review your documents, and walk you through the process of verifying that they will hold up in court.

I hope this encourages you and your parents to start preparing legal documents!

Regards,

Donna

 

Heritage Senior Communities Offers Personalized Support

Heritage Senior Communities provides high quality care for seniors across Michigan. Appledorn Assisted Living community in Holland, for example, offers personalized support with daily meals, laundry, and housekeeping. Contact us today to schedule a tour.

3 Signs It’s Time to Move to Assisted Living

3 Signs It’s Time to Move to Assisted Living

Dear Donna,

My mom used to be very sociable. She loved people and was the life of the party.

After she turned eighty, however, she completely stopped going out. We can barely convince her to attend a family birthday party. I think she should move to assisted living where she can be around more people her own age.

How can I tell if it’s time for my mom to move to assisted living?

Sharon from Saline, MI

How to Tell When It’s Time for a Move to Assisted Living

Dear Sharon,

Many adult children struggle to know when their aging parents need assistance. Although isolation is one sign your mom or dad can benefit from assisted living, it’s not the only determinant. Here are a few other ways to tell if a senior loved one can benefit from moving to an assisted living community.

3 Signs It’s Time to Move to Assisted Living

  1. High risk for falling

Falling is a leading cause of injury among adults over 65 years old. Some seniors are so afraid of falling they avoid leaving the house altogether. While this might make them feel safer, they are usually increasing their risk of an accident.

By not leaving the house, they reduce their movement. This can prevent them from moving the muscles needed to sustain their physical health and balance. Not only does this increase their risk of falling, but it also reduces their ability to recover from a fall.

If your loved one is at risk for falling, they might benefit from moving to a community where they can have access to a medical professional.

  1. Medical conditions

Nearly 80% of seniors have at least one chronic medical condition; 68% have two or more conditions. Older adults with medical conditions typically have a harder time managing their health independently, so they often require assistance.

A few instances when your mom’s or dad’s medical condition can make them good candidates for assisted living include:

  • Recovery from illness or injury
  • Trouble managing medications
  • Increasing or worsening chronic health conditions

Assisted living can benefit seniors with medical conditions by having someone available to monitor their health and help them manage their medications.

  1. Trouble preparing nutritious foods

Difficulty eating a healthy diet is another sign that your loved one may benefit from assisted living. There are many age-related changes that can make it difficult for seniors to eat healthily. For example, reduced mobility can make it hard to cook and grocery shop. This can cause them to forgo fresh foods in exchange for foods that are full of preservatives.

A healthy diet is crucial for seniors to maintain their health and avoid malnutrition. Here are a few signs that your loved one may have trouble getting enough nutrition:

  • Expired foods in the fridge
  • More “convenient meals” like frozen dinners and canned goods than fresh foods in their kitchen
  • Noticeable weight loss or weight gain

Assisted living can help because they have team members who are dedicated to providing nutrient-dense meals for residents each day.

The Process Happens Gradually

Determining whether your loved ones are ready to move to an assisted living community takes time and careful consideration. I hope this helps!

Regards,

Donna

Heritage Senior Communities

If you are having trouble deciding if it’s time for your aging parents to move to an assisted living community, please feel free to contact us. Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square Assisted Living Center, can help you determine if it’s a good fit.

5 Ways to Start the Conversation About Senior Living

5 Ways to Start the Conversation About Senior Living

Dear Donna,

Last year, my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. At first, our whole family chipped in to help, and we were able to work together as a team to provide care for him. Now, as things settle down and in to a routine, my siblings come around less and I’m mostly left to take care of my dad alone.

My mom tries to help, but she is overwhelmed, too. I’m afraid to talk to them about a senior living community. I don’t want to stress them out more. What should I do?

Sincerely,

Carrie from Saline, MI

How to Initiate a Conversation about Senior Living with a Loved One

Dear Carrie,

It sounds like you are doing a great job caring for your dad! But there are many senior care options for you and your family to consider. It sounds like, as you said, the right option might be helping your parents transition to a senior living community. Beginning that conversation can be difficult for both the adult child and their older loved one.

Here are 5 pointers to help you:

  1. Listen

A good way for you to start the conversation is actually to just listen. Ask your parents what they like about living in their home. Use these points to make the transition more positive, and redirect the notion that they are losing an aspect of their life. In addition, ask them about their opinions or knowledge of senior communities. By doing your own research first, you can immediately address any misconceptions they have.

  1. Use positive language

If you want to paint a positive picture, use positive language. Be sure to use the word “community” and never “home” or “facility.” Talk about the opportunities they’ll have and the many ways this community will make their lives easier and more fun!

  1. It’s not all sewing and bingo

There are so many activities in a senior living community. From social gatherings to special outings, your senior loved ones will have something to do any time they want. And surrounded by their peers, they’ll be making new friends and might even try something they never knew about before. Most seniors actually say they wish they’d made this transition sooner!

  1. Keep the door open

Seniors often feel stress about this transition and are fearful that they will lose their independence. Let your senior loved ones know they don’t have to decide today—it can be an ongoing discussion. Reassure them that they will have a say. But it’s also important to remember that diseases do progress, sometimes rapidly. The conversation you were having a couple months ago will likely change as your parents age. Even if they don’t like the sound of a senior living community at first, it doesn’t mean they didn’t hear the positives. Revisiting the conversation can be helpful.

  1. Test the waters

Finally, it never hurts to take a tour of a nearby community. This is your opportunity to talk to staff and residents and to take an in-depth look at the daily details of living in a senior community. You can also let your loved ones know about short-term stays so that they can give it a try without committing!

As a bonus, May is National Parkinson’s Month, so there may even be events especially for seniors like your father. Check out the events at a Heritage Senior Community near you, and contact them for more information.

Kind regards,

Donna

Fire Prevention Tips Older Adults Should Know

Fire Prevention Tips Older Adults Should Know

When it comes to older adults and fire deaths, the statistics are alarming. They’re probably all the incentive most of us need to take steps to protect the older loved ones in our lives.

Here’s a brief rundown of the statistics that highlight fire hazards for seniors.

Fire Dangers and Older Adults

This is what we know about older adults and fires:

  • Although adults over the age of 65 represent less than 15 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for nearly 40 percent of all fire deaths in 2014.
  • This same group of older adults was over 2.5 times more likely to perish in a fire than the rest of the American population.
  • Worse still, persons over 85 were four times more likely to die in a fire than the general population.

These deaths are often quite preventable by taking a few precautions. Since October is Fire Prevention Month, we thought it was a good time to review fire safety for seniors.

Let’s first talk about fire prevention tips that older adults and their caregivers need to know. And address how you can help save lives in the event a fire occurs.

Fire Safety Tips Older Adults Should Know

Fire safety starts with education. Here’s what you should know:

  • Space heaters should be placed at least three feet from curtains, furniture, or any type of flammable material. Make sure heaters are turned off whenever you leave the house.
  • Be sure working smoke detectors are installed on every level of your older loved one’s home. At a minimum, there should be functioning smoke detectors in the kitchen, hallways, bedrooms, and other often used living areas. Just as important, smoke detectors should be tested at least twice a month.
  • Have an escape plan in case a fire occurs. For older adults, a fire escape plan must be designed around their abilities and limitations, including mobility aids like wheelchairs, walkers, and canes. These devices should all be stored within easy reach at all times, especially during sleeping hours. Whenever possible, create an alternate escape plan just in case the main one is inaccessible.

Preventing Smoking-Related Fires

Smoking-related fires are the most common cause of fire deaths among both the general population and older adults. In fact, smokers are nearly seven times more likely to become victims of home fires than nonsmokers.

Five smoking safety rules seniors should never ignore include:

  • No smoking in bed or while lying down, ever
  • Use only large, heavy ashtrays and never leave them sitting on the arm of a chair or any other piece of furniture
  • Make sure that all cigarette butts are extinguished before disposing of them by wetting them thoroughly with water
  • Check between and under furniture cushions for smoldering butts before going to bed or leaving the house
  • Never smoke anywhere near an oxygen tank, not even in the same room

Preventing Electrical Fires

Electrical problems are another common cause of fires. These tips can help you identify potential hazards, such as:

  • Prevent appliances from overheating by making certain computers, stereo equipment and TVs have plenty of room for air to circulate
  • Never use or plug in an appliance that has a damaged cord
  • Keep all electrical cords where they can’t be walked on or damaged in any other way

Heritage Senior Communities Keeps You Informed

Part of our mission is to do all that we can to protect older adults from fires and other preventable tragedies. Hopefully, this information will help you and your family stay safe.

Please feel free to contact us any time for more information about senior living and to visit our blog frequently to stay updated on issues related to aging and caregiving.

 

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