Helpful Tips to Organizing Your Paperwork

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It is especially important for older adults to make sure their paperwork is up-to-date and organized.  This is necessary for not only your own wellbeing but so a family member (be sure to let them know where it is) can access the required documents in the event of an emergency.  Your organization should include all financial and medical records as well as legal documents.

To help you get started, several websites offer downloadable forms including personal medical history forms.  Update this form as needed to reflect changes in your or your loved one’s health and medications and include a family health history.  Your paperwork should also include information regarding your Social Security benefits and Medicare.

Financial documents should include information on stocks, bonds, and mutual fund investments.  You will also want to list all bank accounts and safety deposit boxes as well as credit card accounts.  Include in your financial records any mortgage obligations and other liabilities and debts along with the deeds and titles to property you own.  Don’t forget to add property tax information and your most recent tax return.  In addition record the location of all of your valuables.

Your legal documents should include your Will, a Power of Attorney and an Advance Medical Directive.  These documents cannot be signed by someone who is incapacitated so it is important to do it before the need arises.  An Advance Medical Directive can include a Living Will that allows you to state the type of treatment you may or may not wish to receive if you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.  You may want to include a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care that allows you to designate a person to make decisions for you in the event you are unable.

At MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan, we offer 55 beautiful, all-inclusive private suites for assisted living and 29 secure suites devoted to the individualized care for those with memory impairment.  Please visit our website to learn more about our loving community and use our online form to setup a tour.

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere. 

Sources: stretcher.com/stories/15/15nov23e.cfm

sageminder.com/Caregiving/CaregivingBasics/OrganizedCaregiver.aspx

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Know the Facts about Heart Disease

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According to the American Heart Association, heart attack warning signs involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes (or that goes away and comes back). They describe it like an “uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.”  Signs can also include discomfort in other areas of the upper body such as one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.  Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, sweating, nausea or lightheadedness.  As heart disease is the number one killer for both men and women in the U.S. as well as globally, it is important to know the facts and a great resource for up-to-date information is the American Heart Association’s website.

The site has lots of current information on the causes and treatment for atherosclerosis, which is the disease that develops when plaque builds up inside the arteries.  Once plaque has built up and narrowed the arteries, it is more difficult for the blood to flow through and increases the chance of a blood clot forming that can stop blood from flowing altogether.   Atherosclerosis is one of the leading causes of heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease.

Ischemic strokes are the most common type of strokes and occur when a blood vessel that feeds the brain is blocked (typically from a blood clot).  Hemorrhagic strokes are caused when weakened blood vessels rupture.  There are two types of weakened blood vessels that are typically responsible: aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).

Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart is not pumping blood as effectively as it should, and thus, not meeting the body’s blood and oxygen needs.  It is one of the most common causes of hospitalization in adults 65 years and older.  Treatment includes medications, surgery and lifestyle changes.  If left untreated, the problem can worsen.

Our post is for information purposes only and not a substitute for seeking medical advice from your health care provider.

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere.      

Source:heart.org/HEARTORG/Caregiver/Resources/WhatisCardiovascularDisease/What-is-Cardiovascular-Disease_UCM_301852_Article.jsp#

Brain Scans in Newborns Provide Important Information

Assisted Living Centennial CO

Two recent studies from the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine have discovered some important information regarding the brains of newborns and how they can determine later cognitive development.  One study published in 2013, reports that brain scans of infants can indicate some of the same gene variants found in adults suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and autism.   One of the study authors, Rebecca Knickmeyer, states, “These results suggest that prenatal brain development may be a very important influence on psychiatric risk later in life.”  She added, “This could stimulate an exciting new line of research focused on preventing onset of illness through very early intervention in at-risk individuals.”

The study involved 272 infants who were given an MRI shortly after birth and had their DNA screened for 10 common variations in the seven genes associated with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and depression.  One important finding was the discovery that “brain changes found in adults such as the variation in the APOE gene that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease were very similar to the brain changes in the infants with the same variants.”

Another study from the university released late last year may provide yet more clues as to why some individuals develop cognitive problems later on in life.  The research, which was led by the director of the Early Brain Development Program at UNC’s Dept. of Psychiatry, John H. Gilmore, MD, found “white matter microstructure present at birth and that develops after birth predicts the cognitive function of children at ages 1 and 2.”

Dr. Gilmore explained that this was the first study ever done to measure and describe the development of white matter microstructure in children and its relationship to cognitive development.  During the study, 685 children had diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) scans done on their brains to identify white matter tracts in the brain as well as to describe the organization and maturation of the tracts.

Researchers concentrated on the 12 white matter fiber tracts that are important to cognitive function and studied their relationship to developing cognitive function and their heritability.

Gilmore said “With a better understanding of these relationships, we ultimately hope to be able to identify children at risk for cognitive problems or psychiatric disorders very early and come up with interventions that can help the brain develop in a way to improve function and reduce risk.”

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere. 

Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s is Difficult to Do Alone

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The Alzheimer’s Association just released a new survey on June 1 in conjunction with the start of the Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month.  To summarize, the Association found that while 91 percent of respondents agreed that “it often takes a village to provide care for someone living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, far too many caregivers are doing it alone.”

In fact 64 percent of caregivers said they felt isolated or alone in their situation and 84 percent wished they had more support with caregiving tasks, especially from other family members.  However the number one reason people stated that they did offer help was they felt another person had assumed the responsibilities.  Other respondents said they lived too far away to make it practical to assist with daily care.

Ruth Drew, the Director of Family and Information Services for the Alzheimer’s Association, explains that the problem is only going to get worse as life expectancies are getting longer and the number of older Americans is growing.  If there is no cure in the next couple of decades, statistics indicate that Alzheimer’s disease will almost triple by 2050 and increase from the 5.5 million afflicted today to 16 million.  Ms. Drew added that most families are unprepared and have not planned for the devastating toll this disease can inflict.

Please remember that the Alzheimer’s Association is a great resource and can help people navigate the disease with tools such as a 24/7 helpline, videos, infographics, and guidance on financial and legal planning.  Furthermore, families will find tips on long-distance caregiving and care coordination to help families better manage caregiver responsibilities as well as a community resource finder to help connect families with local resources.

At the MorningStar at Jordan’s Reflections Neighborhood, we feel honored to be able to care for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases.  We offer 29 secure studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom suites designed to allow residents to move freely about in spacious surroundings including enclosed courtyards and strolling paths.  Our highly individualized care ensures each resident is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere. 

Source: alz.org/documents_custom/2017_abam_natl_pr_060117.pdf

 

Get Screened for Osteoporosis

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report in 2015 that states 25 percent of all American women aged 65 years or older suffer from osteoporosis.  They found that in men over 65 years, it is closer to 6 percent.  Since anyone with osteoporosis is more at risk for dangerous fractures, it is important for seniors to be aware of whether they suffer from the condition.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, “Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” Healthy bones look like a honeycomb when viewed under a microscope, but for those with osteoporosis, the holes and spaces in the honeycombs are much larger and the abnormal porous bone is compressible or sponge-like.  As the bones lose density or mass and are made up of more abnormal tissue structure, the bones become less dense, weaken and more likely to break.

Healthy, strong bone is composed of protein, collagen and calcium. Osteopenia is the term used when a person’s bones are slightly less dense than normal bones but are not considered as severely compromised as those with osteoporosis.

Thankfully it is easy to evaluate a person’s risk of fracture with a painless X-ray absorptiometry test (also called DXA or DEXA).  The noninvasive test measures the bone mineral density (BMD) of the spine, hip or total body bone density and only takes about 10 to 20 minutes.

Health care professionals recommend a bone mineral density test for all postmenopausal women with risk factors and all women 65 or older.  Men should be tested at age 70 or at age 50-69 based on risk factors.  The test lets you and your doctor know if you have normal bone density, low bone density (osteopenia) or osteoporosis, and if there appears to be a problem, what steps to take to help prevent broken bones in the future.  If you are taking osteoporosis medications, professionals advise having a bone density test by central DXA annually or once every two years to determine if your medication is working.

This post is intended for informational purposes only; please consult your health care provider regarding any medical concerns.

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere.     

Sources:

webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20150813/1-in-4-senior-women-in-us-has-osteoporosis-cdc

nof.org/patients/what-is-osteoporosis/

Wearing the Right Shoes Can Help Prevent Falls

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There are many misconceptions about what is the safest footwear for older adults.  The fact is many of the qualities we think are important in a shoe can actually cause seniors problems.  Research from the Foot and Ankle Center at the Orthopedic Hospital in L.A. found that all too often shoes that were considered “safer” were to blame for falls that caused injuries.

The study, led by director, Dr. Carol Frey, interviewed 185 men and women over 55 and discovered that the shoes worn by those 65 years and older were often to blame for their fall.   They found “70 percent of the older people who fell had been wearing athletic shoes, oxfords or loafers,” and were considered to be sturdy, safe footwear.

The problem seemed to stem from the fact that bulky rubber soles worn on carpet can be hazardous as a shoe gets caught or dragged on the floor causing the person to trip.  Flat-soled athletic shoes were found to be problematic as they become slippery on wet surfaces.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) recommends seniors wear shoes with low heels, non-slip soles and completely surround the foot and to avoid loose or backless slippers or slip-on shoes, such as sling backs or flip flops.  Seniors’ shoes should have a wide toe box, laces and a non-skid sole (avoid heavy lugged soles), and when shoes and socks are removed, your feet should not have any marks on them.

NIA says the best everyday footwear for seniors is a walking shoe with a light rubber sole that offers both traction and support.  In addition avoid shoes with rubber toes as they can stick to carpet resulting in falls as well as shoes with worn out soles or smooth leather or plastic soles.

Our post is for information purposes only and not a substitute for seeking medical advice from your health care provider.

At MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan, we represent the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.  Please contact us to schedule a tour. 

Sources:

nytimes.com/1998/02/24/science/when-the-elderly-fall-shoes-may-be-to-blame.html

nihseniorhealth.gov/falls/faq/faq20.html

Stay Hydrated and Healthy

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A recent study from the University of Chicago Medical Center reports that 40% of heat-related fatalities in the U.S. were in people over age 65.  The Mayo Clinic explains that there are several reasons why older adults are more susceptible to dehydration including “their ability to conserve water is reduced, thirst sensation is less acute, and seniors do not respond to fluctuations in temperature as well as when they were younger.”

The National Institute on Aging also cites other factors why the elderly do not fare well in extreme heat conditions such as heart and blood vessels problems and less effective sweat glands.  In addition heart, lung, or kidney disease can weaken individuals and often cause fevers.   Medications such as sedatives, tranquilizers and other heart and blood pressure medicines can inhibit the body’s ability to cool by sweating or act as a diuretic.

At around the age of 50, our body’s kidneys do not conserve fluid as well as they once did, and by age 70, the problem generally worsens.  Also many seniors experience a decrease in appetite and can forgot to drink and eat for long periods of time.  Chronic conditions including dementia and diabetes can also interfere with getting enough fluids as well as being overweight or underweight.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, it is more important for seniors to be aware of overheating and to stay hydrated.  The symptoms of heat exhaustion include: paleness, heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, tiredness, headache, and rapid, shallow breathing.  If you suspect heat exhaustion, call 911 immediately and move the person to a cool place.  While you wait for medical assistance, have them lie down, remove any heavy or tight-fitting clothing and apply cold water or compresses directly to the skin.   Offer water or juice if they are able to drink.

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

At MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan, we represent the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, homey community.      

Sources: mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/basics/risk-factors/con-20030056

aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/articles/elderly-heat-stroke

nia.nih.gov/health/publication/hyperthermia