Causes Contributing to Falls in the Elderly

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We know that falls can be dangerous, and in fact, they are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) statistics state that one-third of Americans age 65 years and older fall each year.  They report that, “every 13 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.”

However, there are several risk factors that can be addressed that may help prevent falls.  The National Institute of Health (NIH) explains that it is not only chronic health conditions that lead to falls but also safety hazards within or around a senior’s home.

The NIH cites muscle weakness, especially in the legs, along with a lack of flexibility and endurance as a significant risk factor that puts seniors at risk for a fall.  Another factor increasing risk is an unsteady gait when walking as well as poor balance, which can be contributed to chronic health problems and lack of exercise.  In addition older adults need to be sure to wear safe footwear and should avoid backless shoes or slippers, high-heeled shoes or shoes with smooth soles.

Furthermore, a condition known as postural hypotension (when blood pressure drops too quickly when getting up from a lying down or sitting position) can increase the risk of falling.  There are several chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s or diabetes as well as certain medications that can cause this to happen.  Also vision problems, sensory difficulties, confusion and medications can lead to dizziness and unsteadiness, and result in a fall.

The NIH advises seniors to report any fall to their doctor as is may be a sign of a “new medical problem that needs attention, such as an infection or a cardiovascular disorder.”  It could also be a signal that your medication needs to be adjusted or changed.

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.” Built on a foundation of honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve, we are committed to creating a true home for residents amid a lovely setting. We invite you to schedule a visit to discover the area’s finest memory care.

Sources:

ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/falls-prevention-facts/

nihseniorhealth.gov/falls/causesandriskfactors/01.html

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It’s Important to Know the Signs of a Stroke

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According to the Mayo Clinic, the following is a list of the signs and symptoms you need to know if you think someone may be having a stroke.  They recommend noting the time when you first notice the symptoms as it is important to know when seeking medical treatment.

The first sign is any difficulty with speaking or understanding as well as confusion.  A person may slur their words or have trouble processing what is being said.  Another thing to look for is any sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis in the face, arm or leg especially on one side of the body.  Ask the person to try and raise both arms over their head at the same time.  If one arm begins to fall, it may be a stroke.  Also, another indication of a stroke is if one side of the mouth is drooping when you ask the person to smile.

Other signs of a stroke can include trouble with seeing in one or both eyes and exhibiting symptoms such as blurred or blackened vision or seeing double.  In addition, trouble walking as well as dizziness or loss of balance and coordination can also be signs of a stroke.    Further stroke symptoms include a sudden onset of a severe headache along with vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness.

Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the signs of a stroke regardless of whether they appear to fluctuate or disappear.  The American Stroke Association’s F.A.S.T. acronym is an easy way to remember the signs of stroke. They state that you need to call 911 immediately if you or someone you are with experiences any of the following signs:

F        Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?

A        Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S        Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

T        Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Remember the longer a stroke goes untreated, there becomes a greater potential for brain damage and disability.  Once you have called for emergency assistance, continue to carefully watch the person.

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 a mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Built on a foundation of honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve, we are committed to creating a true home for residents in a magnificent setting. Contact us to schedule a visit to learn more about the best dementia care in Colorado Springs.

Sources: mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stroke/symptoms-causes/

strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/WarningSigns/Stroke-Warning-Signs-and-Symptoms_UCM_308528_SubHomePage.jsp

Seniors Need Good Nutrition for a Healthy Lifestyle

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Even for older adults, good nutrition is important for a healthy lifestyle.  A study from the National Institute of Health (NIH) states that “a good diet in your later years reduces your risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart diseases and certain cancers. As you age, you might need less energy. But you still need just as many of the nutrients in food.“

As a part of their findings, they recommend avoiding foods loaded with empty calories such as potato chips, cookies, soda and alcohol to ensure you get your proper amount of daily nutrients.  Instead they advise eating wholesome, nutrient-rich foods that are low in cholesterol and saturated or trans fats.

One of the benefits of eating well is that it may help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, Type II diabetes and bone loss as well as some types of cancer.  In fact if you already suffer from one of those diseases, maintaining a healthy diet along with staying physically active can help you to better manage them.  Additionally adopting a healthy diet can help to reduce your blood pressure and lower your cholesterol.

Wholesome, healthy foods help keep muscles, bones, organs, and other body parts strong and vitamin-rich food can boost immunity and fight against illness-causing toxins.  Furthermore, a healthy diet can help you feel better as well as give you more energy.

At MorningStar Senior Living of Billings, we wholeheartedly agree that good nutrition is important for seniors.  This is why our residents are served meals that are not only very healthy but also delicious.  Each of our meals are served restaurant-style in a beautiful dining room and prepared by our Executive Chef.  Please contact us to learn more about our wide range of services and programs offered by MorningStar.

This post is for informational purposes only.  Please consult your medical provider regarding any health concerns or questions. 

MorningStar Senior Living of Billings represents the finest in senior living with a mission “to honor, to serve, to invest.”  Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting team members with a felt calling to serve.  Dedicated to creating a real home for residents, we encourage you to visit to see for yourself our exceptional community for independent and assisted living.

Hearing Loss is Common Among Seniors

Alzheimer's Care

One of the most common conditions affecting elderly adults is hearing loss, known as presbycusis, and gradually occurs to nearly everyone.  Statistics indicate that one-third of all Americans between the ages of 65 to 74 have some hearing loss, and almost half of seniors older than 75 have difficulty hearing.

Presbycusis typically affects both ears equally and many seniors are unaware of the fact that they have experienced hearing loss as it happens so gradually.  One primary reason for elderly hearing loss is the cumulative effect that results from the deterioration of the cochlea or other parts of the inner ear or auditory nerves.

In some cases, health conditions more common among the elderly such as high blood pressure and diabetes can adversely affect hearing.  Furthermore, certain medications including some kinds of chemotherapy drugs also cause hearing loss.

Another cause of hearing loss affecting individuals of any age is long-term exposure to loud noise.  In this situation, the sensory hair cells in the ear that allow us to hear are damaged, and do no grow back.  It is one of the most common occupational hazards and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) reports that 10 million Americans suffer from irreversible hearing damage due to noise.

NIDCD also states that hearing problems are serious and it is important to have your hearing tested by a doctor if you are experiencing problems.  Start with your primary care physician as he/she can refer you to a specialist.  Your care may include seeing an otolaryngologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the ear, nose, throat, and neck.  After consultation and testing by an otolaryngologist, you may be referred to an audiologist.  They specialize in identifying and measuring the type and degree of hearing loss.  Finally they, or a hearing aid specialist, may fit you for a hearing aid if it is determined you need one.

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 a mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Built on a foundation of honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve, we are committed to creating a true home for residents in a magnificent setting. Contact us to schedule a visit to learn more about the best dementia care in Colorado Springs.

Source: nidcd.nih.gov/health/age-related-hearing-loss

Help Prevent Falls with Exercise

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We know that each year more than one-third of people age 65 or older suffer a fall and many of those incidents cause serious injuries or in some cases even death.  This is why preventing falls is extremely important for the elderly, and balance as well as strength exercises can help to prevent falls.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends 5 simple exercises that do not require any special equipment other than a chair (and someone to assist you if needed) that can improve balance and increase lower body strength. The series of exercises include the following:  standing on one foot; walking heel to toe; balance walk; back leg raises; and side leg raises.

These easy-to-do exercises can be done throughout the day and only take a few minutes to do each of them.  For further instructions on how they should be done, the NIH website offers a video on each exercise.  In addition the NIH recommends that seniors try to do three other types of exercises that focus on improving endurance, strength and flexibility.

At MorningStar at Jordan, we recognize the importance of exercising, and as such, provide our residents with a full calendar of daily activities that includes a variety of well-designed exercise programs.  With our large range of classes, there is something that is sure to please everyone.  Our calendar includes: Sit and Be Fit, Exercise with Sean, Group Exercise, and Senior Strong Workout.  Other opportunities for exercising include activities such as our Walking Club.  We encourage you to take a look at our fun-filled calendar to see all of the different activities and outings MorningStar residents participate in.

This post is intended for informational purposes only.  Before beginning any exercises, please consult with 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 serve, to invest.” We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting by creating a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. Please contact us to set up a tour to see firsthand the finest assisted living in Centennial CO.

Source:nihseniorhealth.gov/exerciseandphysicalactivityexercisestotry/balanceexercises/01.html

Even Moderate Exercise Looks to be Important for Learning and Memory

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Decreases in brain metabolism have been shown to be a characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease and predictive of cognitive decline and the conversion to Alzheimer’s in older adults. Scientists believe that physical activity can modulate brain glucose metabolism but until now it was unclear what level of intensity and duration of exercise was most beneficial.

Recently the National Institute on Aging published an article that found “even moderate physical activity may increase metabolism in brain regions important for learning and memory.”   The NIA-supported study was led by Dr. Ozioma Okonkwo of the University of Wisconsin.

Researchers had cognitively normal, late-middle age (average age 64 years old) participants wear an accelerometer for 7 consecutive days to measure their daily physical activity.  Afterward, they looked at the amount of time each participant engaged in “light (e.g., a slow walk), moderate (e.g., a fast walk), and vigorous activities (e.g., run).”  The data was analyzed to determine how they “corresponded with glucose metabolism within brain areas that have been demonstrated to be impacted in people with Alzheimer’s.

Increasing the levels of moderate physical activity showed an increase in cerebral glucose metabolism across all brain regions examined.  Participants that engaged in light physical activity had no changes to the metabolism in any of the brain regions examined.  Another thing that impacted the amount of brain glucose metabolism was the duration of time spent in moderate physical activity.  Researchers found that the more time a person spent doing moderate levels of physical activity (average 43.3 min/day to average 68.1 min/day), the greater the increase in brain glucose metabolism.

The NIA says it is encouraging evidence that physical activity may be beneficial for neurometabolic function.  Moreover they say it is a “critical contribution to the efforts to identify the intensity and duration of physical activity that confer the most advantage for combating Alzheimer’s-related changes in mid-life.”

MorningStar at Bear Creek is a memory care community that uses progressive methods to palliate symptoms and revive joy.  Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing our seniors and hiring staff with a felt calling to serve, and is devoted to creating a true home for residents within a serene setting.  Please contact us to schedule a visit to experience firsthand our loving community.

Source:nia.nih.gov/news/moderate-physical-activity-linked-increases-metabolism-across-brain-regions

Pets are Welcome at MorningStar

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It was not that long ago that seniors moving into an assisted living or memory care community had to leave behind an important companion, their pet.  Today however, more and more communities are recognizing the benefits of pets to the elderly, and many such as MorningStar at Bear Creek, allow residents to bring their pets with them.

There has been a lot of research that validates the benefits of pets in seniors’ lives.  In fact, A Place for Mom website reports on a study that shows, “just 15 minutes bonding with an animal sets off a chemical chain reaction in the brain, lowering levels of the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol and increasing production of the feel-good hormone serotonin. The result: heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels immediately drop.”  They go on to say that interactions between pets and humans can “lower cholesterol levels, fight depression and may even help protect against heart disease and stroke.”

Another reason pets can be good for the elderly is that animals live in the here and now and do not think about tomorrow, which for some seniors, can be worrisome.  In addition animals offer unconditional love, emotional support and affection.  This is one reason why pet therapy programs are used in convalescent homes, hospitals, mental health centers and children centers.  Many people participating in such programs experience an improvement in appetite as well as “more social interaction and tactile and cognitive stimulation after interactions with pets.”

There is also research that indicates pet therapy is beneficial for those suffering from dementia diseases such as Sundowners Syndrome and Alzheimer’s.  The animal’s complete acceptance and non-verbal communication has proven to be soothing for patients.

Please visit our website to learn more about MorningStar Memory Care at Bear Creek.  But to really see our heart, we encourage you to schedule a visit and see for yourself the warm and inviting atmosphere found at MorningStar.

MorningStar at Bear Creek is a memory care community that uses progressive methods to palliate symptoms and revive joy.  Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing our seniors and hiring staff with a felt calling to serve, and is devoted to creating a true home for residents within a serene setting.  Please contact us to schedule a visit to experience firsthand our loving community.

Sources: aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/articles/pet-friendly-assisted-living

agingcare.com/Articles/benefits-of-elderly-owning-pets-113294.htm