Now that the Cold Weather is Here, Remember to Stay Warm!

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Many seniors are especially susceptible to the cold and end up feeling chilly all winter long.  There are several reasons why cold weather can be hard on the elderly including complications from common diseases and health conditions.

The American Heart Association explains that seniors with cardiovascular conditions can experience increased side effects from the cold as lower temperatures and cold winds reduce body heat and cause blood vessels to constrict.  This makes it more difficult for oxygen to reach the entire body, and someone with heart disease can have difficulty breathing.  Other health conditions common to the elderly include hypothyroidism (a low thyroid gland output), which can cause the sensation of cold feet and hands.  Also a sedentary lifestyle, problems with circulation from diabetes, and losing weight can cause seniors to be more affected by the cold.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) cautions that if an elderly person becomes very chilled, it can be dangerous and result in a condition known as hypothermia and may happen before a person is aware of the problem.  Even residing in a very cold house may result in a body temperature of 95°F or lower, which “can cause many health problems, such as a heart attack, kidney problems, liver damage, or worse.”

Tips to help the elderly stay warm and regulate their body temperatures include eating a nutrient-rich diet and participating in age-appropriate exercises.  The NIA advises seniors not to try and save money by skimping on heating their homes but to keep the temperature at least 68–70°F.  To cut heating costs, close off unused rooms, shuts blinds and make sure your house if well-insulated.  Also wear layers throughout the day and use a small throw to place over your legs or shoulders if you do feel a chill.  Furthermore at night, wear long underwear under your pajamas and socks as well as a knit cap if you are still cold.

At MorningStar of Billings, we specialize in providing seniors with a lifestyle of comfort, wellness and community.  Along with the area’s best independent living and assisted living, we are a highly-respected memory care facility.  Please visit our website to learn more.

MorningStar Senior Living of Billings represents the finest in senior living with a unique mission statement of: “to honor, to serve, to invest.”  Proving a true home for residents, our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and hiring staff with a felt calling to serve.  Offering independent and assisted living as well as memory care, we invite you to setup a tour to experience one of the area’s top senior living facilities.    

 

Source: nia.nih.gov/health/cold-weather-safety-older-adults

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Help Prevent the Spread of Colds and Flu

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At MorningStar of Billings, the health and wellbeing of our residents is our first priority. Along with offering a whole range of wellness programs and activities and delicious healthy meals, we provide all of the services residents need to feel their best.

One thing we have already done to keep our community healthy is to host our annual Flu Shot Clinic in early November.  If for some reason you have not gotten your flu shot yet, the CDC says it is not too late as the worst of the flu season is typically from December to February.  Please keep in mind that the 2017 flu season was one of the worst on record and had the highest death toll in decades.  The U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, MD, said an estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and about 900,000 were hospitalized with complications.

Above and beyond getting your flu shot, there are some things you can do to avoid spreading colds and the flu throughout the community.  Experts advise washing your hands thoroughly and often and do not forget to wash between your fingers, your fingernails and the back of your hands.  They say plain soap is fine, just wash for at least 20 seconds.  If you are unable to wash your hands, have a hand sanitizer available. When coughing or sneezing, use tissues to cover and catch the droplets to help prevent spreading germs.  Also avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Furthermore avoid contact with people who are ill and discourage family members to visit if they have a cold or other signs of illness.  If you are ill, keep your distance from others and wash your hands frequently.  Also drinking lots of liquids can help prevent illnesses as well as help you recover if you are sick.

MorningStar Senior Living of Billings represents the finest in senior living with our unique mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.”  Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing our seniors and hiring staff with a felt calling to serve in order to provide a true home for residents.  Please visit our website to set up a tour to see firsthand why we are one of Billings’ best senior living facilities.  

Source:

usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/09/27/surgeon-general-jerome-adams-influenza-americans-flu-shot-vaccine/1440838002/

Understanding Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

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The COPD Foundation states that, “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis.”  As COPD progresses, it results in increasing breathlessness as the lungs are further damaged.  The damage is permanent and is the 4th leading cause of death for people 65 to 84 years old.

Often in the early stages, people mistake the symptoms of COPD with fatigue and getting older.  In addition, many people may have the disease for years before experiencing the symptoms of COPD that includes breathlessness, wheezing, or a chronic cough.

You may be at risk for COPD if you have a history of long-term smoking, a job that exposed you to dust or chemicals or other indoor air pollutants, second-hand smoke exposure, or lots of exposure to outdoor air pollution.  You may additionally be at risk if you had lots of respiratory infections as a child or have a genetic risk factor for emphysema that is related to a deficiency of the Alpha-1 Antitrypsin protein in the bloodstream.

COPD is diagnosed with a simple procedure known as a spirometry test that measures how well your lungs are working.  If your results show signs of COPD, you will need to consult with your doctor regarding treatment.  It is important for anyone with COPD to get a yearly flu shot and a vaccine for pneumonia as they can help to prevent some infections.  Good nutrition and staying as active as possible is also important.

The Mayo Clinic reminds anyone diagnosed with COPD that is not the end of the world.   They say most people have a mild form of the disease and require little therapy other than to quit smoking.  For more advanced cases, there are effective therapies available to “control symptoms, reduce your risk of complications and exacerbations, and improve your ability to lead an active life.”

This post is intended for informational purposes only.  Please contact your health care provider with any questions or concerns you have regarding your health. 

MorningStar at Bear Creek brings a unique vision to senior living with our mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. We are dedicated to creating a true home within an ideal setting and invite you to schedule a tour to see firsthand the best assisted living for dementia residents in Colorado Springs.

It’s Not Too Late to Get a Flu Shot

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Along with changing leaves and cooler temperatures, autumn also signals the start of the flu season. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older gets a seasonal flu vaccine each year by the end of October, getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial. Even as late as January, there is still time left in the flu season, so it’s still helpful to get protected.

The flu season begins to increase in October, and typically peaks between December and February but can last as late as May.  Also, as it takes about two weeks after your vaccination for the protective antibodies to develop, it is important to get it as soon as possible. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the various viruses that are in the vaccine.

The CDC stresses it is especially important for people 65 years and older to get a flu shot as they are at greater risk for serious complications that can result in hospitalization and, in some cases, even death.   This is because seniors’ immune systems are generally weaker than those of younger adults.  Complications of flu can include: bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.  The CDC also recommends people 65 years and older get a flu shot approved for their age group and not a nasal spray vaccine.

Additionally you need to know that last year’s flu shot will not protect you from this season’s flu virus.  Not only has your immunity from last year’s shot started to wane, but each year the viruses change so you need the protection of the new antibodies.  The flu shot you receive this year has been designed to protect against the flu viruses that researchers have determined will be the most common in the 2018- 2019 flu season.

At MorningStar at Bear Creek, under the guidance of our extraordinary care team, we proudly provide assisted living for dementia residents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other memory impairment. Our community offers 48 secure suites including studio and one and two-bedroom floor plans along with all of the services and amenities to ensure your loved one the best care. Please visit our website to learn more.

MorningStar at Bear Creek brings a unique vision to senior living with our mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. We are dedicated to creating a true home within an ideal setting and invite you to schedule a tour to see firsthand the best assisted living for dementia residents in Colorado Springs.

 

Social Connections May be Key to Preserving Memory

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According to an article published by the Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience journal from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, social connections may be key to preserving memory.  The study, led by Elizabeth Kirby, an assistant professor of behavioral neuroscience at the university, explains their findings influence “a body of research in humans and animals that supports the role of social connections in preserving the mind and improving quality of life.”

The university’s research involved studying a group of mice 15 months to 18 months old, which is the period in a mouse’s life when it starts to have significant memory decay.  For three months, some mice lived in pairs while others were housed in groups of seven.  The researchers put the mice through a series of trials each day that tested their recognition and memory skills.  Consistently the mice housed in larger groups improved their performance on the tests, which researchers believe may suggest they “used their hippocampus, an area of the brain associated with memory.”

The study is important for humans as our hippocampus declines with age as it does in mice and other animals, and helps to identify the impact of social connections on brain health.  Kirby says seniors should “think about your living situation as you age.”  If you have the privilege of choosing where you live, make the choice that lets you be socially engaged as long as possible.”

MorningStar at Bear Creek provides compassionate, loving assisted living dementia care to those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other memory impairment.  We recognize the importance of strong social connections and offer an array of wellness programs and activities that encourage social as well as physical, intellectual and spiritual connections.  Please see our website for more information about our exceptional community.

MorningStar at Bear Creek brings a unique vision to senior living with our mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. We are dedicated to creating a true home for residents within an ideal setting and invite you to schedule a tour to see the best assisted living dementia care in Colorado Springs.   

Source:usnews.com/news/health-care-news/articles/2018-05-31/study-a-social-circle-is-key-to-protecting-the-aging-mind

Learn More About Macular Degeneration

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The National Eye Institute states that age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of visual loss in America.  According to their statics, close to 2.1 million people 50 years and older had macular degeneration in 2010.  That number is expected to more than double by 2050.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say approximately 6.5 percent of Americans age 40 and above have some degree of the disease.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs most often after age 60 and causes loss in the center of the field of vision. The two types of macular degeneration include dry macular degeneration that causes the center of the retina to begin to deteriorate.  In wet macular degeneration, new blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak blood and fluid.  Unusually fuzzy or distorted vision is one symptom and the dry form (85 to 90 percent of AMD cases) is more common than the wet form.  Wet macular degeneration typically leads to more serious vision loss.

The degeneration of the macula affects our ability to read, recognize faces, drive, and many other visual tasks that requires us to see fine detail.  As the condition progresses, the areas of blurred vision may increase and blank spots may appear.

The good news is that patients with dry AMD are less likely to go blind than in the past with today’s treatment options that include a specific combination of high-dose vitamins and minerals.  Dr. Peter Campbell, a retina specialist, says that “Prompt recognition of macular degeneration is important to avoid it advancing to the point where failing central vision means people can no longer recognize faces.”  The most important advice he gives is for people over 60 to get regular eye exams.  Risks for the disease include age, smoking and family history.

At MorningStar at Bear Creek, our community is devoted to providing assisted living for dementia residents.  Our memory care is based on our extensive knowledge and experience with dementia-related diseases and we support residents from the early onset of the disease through the final stages.  Please visit our website to learn more.

This post is intended for informational purposes only.  Please contact your health care provider with any questions or concerns you have regarding your health.

MorningStar at Bear Creek brings a unique vision to senior living with our mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. We are dedicated to creating a true home within an ideal setting and invite you to schedule a tour to see firsthand the best assisted living for dementia residents in Colorado Springs.

Source:health.usnews.com/health-care/patient-advice/articles/2018-02-23/macular-degeneration-managing-this-vision-condition

How to Choose the Best Walker for Your Needs

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Many older adults, especially those in senior assisted living facilities, are no longer as steady on their feet as they used to be.  This puts them in danger of a fall, which can have many serious repercussions on a seniors’ health.  If you are considering getting a Walker to help you move more safely around, you need to know something about them.

For starters since there are several kinds of Walkers, you should consult with your healthcare provider or physical therapist to assist you on finding the most suitable one.  They will make sure it is your size as well as the right type.  To determine size, you should be able to stand between the rails, and the width of the Walker should be level with the insides of your wrists. A professional will also teach you how to use the Walker and provide tips for normal activities such as sitting down while using a walker.  This is done by backing up until you feel the seat of the chair behind you.  Now bend forward at your hip and reach behind with one hand to grab the armrest.  Do the same with your other hand as you carefully lower yourself onto the center of the chair.

Common types of Walkers include a basic Walker that has four legs with rubber tips on each one.  To use, a person must pick up the Walker as they take a step.   A wheeled Walker can have two fixed wheels on the front that do not swivel side to side or have rubber tips on the front legs and small wheels on the back.  These Walkers allow people to walk more naturally as they do not need to be picked up with each step.  A three-wheel walker has one wheel in front and two in back and offers the advantage of being lighter and easier to move around in smaller spaces.

Rollators are four-wheeled Walkers and can be equipped with a seat for a basket.  These Walkers are quipped with hand brakes and are ideal for people who do not need to apply a lot of weight to the Walker.  However they are not recommended for people with dementia as they may forget to use the hand brake.  Please visit MorningStar of Billings to learn more about one of the area’s top choices in senior assisted living facilities.

MorningStar Senior Living of Billings represents the finest in senior living with our unique mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.”  Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing our seniors and hiring staff with a felt calling to serve in order to provide a true home for residents.  We invite you to set up a tour to one of Billings’ foremost senior living facilities.