Happy Thanksgiving from American Senior Communities!

Happy ThanksgivingAs we gather around the table to celebrate Thanksgiving this year with family and friends, we’re offered a moment to show our appreciation for all the blessings in our lives. Enjoy the traditions that are passed down from generation to generation, whether it’s the recipes shared or the seating arrangement, or just how we spend the day, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or football games.

A Few Historical Thanksgiving Facts

Keeping with the spirit of the holiday, here are just a few fun Thanksgiving facts about the history of the day you can share with your loved ones this year:

  • The Pilgrims were actually attempting to reach the mouth of the Hudson River when they left England in the fall of 1620, but instead landed in Cape Cod Harbor. Plymouth was settled in 1621, the first European settlement in New England.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the Pilgrims did not wear black and white clothing. Clothing colors were more earthy tones – lots of browns, greens and grays. Black clothing was something only worn on special occasions. They also did not have buckles adorning their shoes and hats; this fashion trend didn’t become popular until the 1700s.
  • The first Thanksgiving was not celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. It was actually a feast that lasted three days, sometime between September and November of 1623 and was based on the harvest festivals they were accustomed to in England.
  • It’s a myth that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims and the Indians together. In fact, it’s not sure whether the Wampanoag tribe were invited at all to the gathering. They may have actually crashed the party due to the fact that the Pilgrims were celebrating their successful harvest by shooting gunfire into the air and the tribe believed they were under attack.
  • The Pilgrims were not actually called “Pilgrims” until about 200 years after their arrival. The settlers were first knowns as “Old Comers” or “First Comers”, and later, as the Forefathers. In 1820, Daniel Webster referred to them as the Pilgrim Fathers based on William Bradford’s manuscript he’d found, in which Bradford called the settlers pilgrimes. It was then shortened to simply Pilgrims and has been used ever since.

American Senior Communities wishes our residents, their families and our amazing staff a very Happy Thanksgiving!!

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.


The Biggest Senior Nutrition Myths

senior nutritionThroughout our lives, eating a proper diet is essential for helping us stay healthy, active, and at an ideal weight. For seniors, eating healthy is even more important due to all the great benefits a good diet brings, like building stronger bones and teeth, aiding in digestion issues, building cognitive function, and keeping all systems of the body functioning as they should.

However, our eating habits and nutritional needs do tend to change as we grow older. Seniors need the proper nutrients possibly more than any other age group in order to maintain their health and feel better overall. Proper senior nutrition can help decrease the risk for issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Senior Nutrition: Debunking the Myths

That said, there are certain myths surrounding senior nutrition. Here are just a few of the most common ones, as well as some healthy eating tips for seniors to ensure your loved one is getting the nutrition that is so vital to quality of life:

  • As long as seniors are eating something, they’ll stay healthy. In seniors’ cases, eating anything at all is not necessarily better than eating nothing at all. Many older people find that cooking a meal gets too difficult or time-consuming, and will reach for prepacked snacks or frozen dinners. However, these types of foods are usually high in sodium and fats and can lead to health complications- even malnutrition!
  • All seniors will inevitably lose their appetites. It’s true that our metabolisms slow down as we get older and we’ll need less calories. However, when seniors lose their appetites altogether it’s usually a sign of a more serious health problem.
  • Seniors who are already at a healthy weight can eat whatever they want. It seems like we all know that one person who can eat whatever he or she wants without gaining a pound. However, just because they’re at what appears to be a healthy weight doesn’t necessarily mean that they are healthy. Eating excessive amounts of sugar or fatty foods can lead to complications like diabetes or heart disease.
  • Eating alone isn’t a problem for seniors. Studies have shown that a senior will eat better and more with others. Seniors are prone to depression, often stemming from loneliness, and are less inclined to cook a healthy meal just for one person. One of the main benefits of an assisted living community is the dining experience they offer to residents, with healthy, delicious meals eaten in a social setting.
  • Skipping meals is no big deal. When seniors don’t feel as hungry as they used to, they might think that skipping a meal here and there is just fine. However, this can lead to overeating when they do sit down to eat and can actually further decrease their appetites altogether.
  • Following general nutrition guidelines is all a senior needs to do to stay healthy. Our needs do change as we age, so food that is good for someone in their 30s may not have the same dietary requirements someone in their 70s needs. Seniors need additional vitamins and nutrients, like calcium and vitamin D for better bone health. Plus, some types of food may present adverse reactions to medications seniors are taking.

It’s important to pay attention to your elderly loved one’s eating habits. If you notice extreme weight loss or gain, talk to their doctor to see if any changes are needed to keep them healthy, happy and improve their overall quality of life.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

Preparing for Long Term Senior Care

long term senior careWhile people may not like to think of themselves as growing older, it’s important to recognize that aging is simply a fact of life. Advances in medicine and healthcare have allowed the population to live longer than ever before. Plus, more people recognize the need for a healthy, active lifestyle as they age, which can help them avoid illnesses and injuries that previously affected the older generation.

Living longer means that planning for the future is more vital than ever. Older adults need to start considering how their needs may change as they continue down the path of aging, and what type of lifestyle they plan to lead.

Planning for Long Term Senior Care

Preparing for long term senior care consists of more than just the financial aspect, although thinking about how to pay for senior care is extremely important, too. Too many people have no idea how they’ll take care of themselves or loved ones in their old age. However, the best time to start thinking about long term care is before you actually need it.

Planning for your future now, while you’re still in good health and can make your wishes be known, can give you time to learn about all your options, do some senior community research, and start making decisions. Your preparation should include:

  • Having a conversation with loved ones. While there’s no exact time to start thinking about your long term care needs, having the conversation with your spouse or loved one about your wishes is important before a sudden illness or unexpected event occurs. It’s reported that 75% of adults never have a conversation about long term senior care with loved ones, and almost the same percentage wouldn’t know what to do if a loved one needed care. Talk to your family about who will provide the care should you need extra assistance; too often caregivers are thrown into their role by unforeseen circumstances.
  • Assessing your healthcare needs, now and in the future. Because adults are living longer than ever, it’s highly likely that you will need at least some form of care in your later years even if you are in peak physical condition now. Decide if downsizing and moving into a senior community would help provide peace of mind for you and your family that all your future healthcare needs will be met, or if another form of care would better fit your lifestyle.
  • Considering your financial situation and preparing for the cost of care. The cost of long-term senior care is on the rise and will continue to get more expensive. Know the financial options available and how you can start saving for the cost of senior care.
  • Creating a living will. Be prepared legally for the future, too. A living will, or advance directive, is a legal document that will spell out your wishes for end of life care should you become incapacitated and unable to express them yourself.

The sooner you begin planning for long term senior care, the sooner you’ll be prepared for any changes that may come. Your decisions about housing, your health and finances are all important considerations, as you can never be too prepared for the future.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

Top Reasons for Senior Emergency Room Visits

Emergency Room Visits and SeniorsBy the year 2030, nearly one in five persons in the United States will be aged 65 or older. This older population will make up the majority of the people visiting the emergency room in the coming years, due to several factors. Currently, it’s reported that almost one fourth of all seniors have visited an emergency room for one reason or another.

Caregivers providing elderly care to an aging loved one should be aware of these various reasons for emergency room visits so they can be better informed about the symptoms that could land their loved one in the ER. While it’s important to try to prevent some of these emergency room visits, it’s also important to know when the symptoms can be signs of more serious conditions.

Emergency Room Visits and Seniors

If you are providing elderly care for a loved one, here is a list of some of the common reasons a senior will visit an emergency room:

  • Injuries from falls or accidents. Falls are the leading cause of injury in seniors, leading to hip fractures, lacerations and head trauma. With winter weather on its way and slick conditions outside, make sure your loved one wears proper shoes or boots when walking outside this season.
  • Pneumonia. Older adults can be extremely susceptible to pneumonia; in fact, it is the fourth leading cause of death among the elderly. It usually progresses from a milder upper respiratory infection or the flu, and symptoms can include coughing, shortness of breath and confusion.
  • Complications after a surgery. Another common reason for emergency room visits is when a senior experiences complications after a surgery. It’s reported that one in five older adults will visit an emergency room within a month of their original hospital stay, and will end up being readmitted to the hospital.
  • Chest pain. Chest pain can be a sign of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States. However, chest pain can also be related to other problems, like heart attacks, blood clots, or respiratory infections.
  • Side effects from medications. Seniors are usually on a variety of medications, making it difficult to properly manage them. Drug interactions can cause adverse effects on an older person’s health, and overmedication can also be an issue.
  • Dehydration. It’s common for older adults to not feel thirsty as often as they used to, which can lead to them not drinking as much water as they need. Dehydration can lead to a number of problems, like dizziness and a weak but rapid pulse, and also urinary tract infections.
  • Stroke. Stroke is often called the “silent killer”, as many older adults ignore some of the warning signs. According to WebMD, these signs include sudden numbness or weakness of the arms, legs or face (usually on one side of the body), sudden confusion or trouble speaking, seeing, walking, severe headache and dizziness.
  • Back pain or abdominal pain. Various pain throughout the body, especially in the back or abdomen, are also reasons for senior emergency room visits. Back pain is usually related to spinal disorders like vertebral disc disorder, injury, or arthritis, while abdominal pain can be a result of food poisoning, kidney stones, malnutrition or dehydration.

Familiarizing yourself while these common medical issues that land a senior in an emergency room will help you prepare and know how to handle these situations in a calm manner.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

The Best Ways to Boost Your Immune System

How to Boost Your Immune SystemCold and flu season is upon us, and while the exact number of deaths each year from seasonal flu is not known, we do know it’s a serious illness that lands numerous amounts of people in the hospital in the United States. Seasonal influenza can lead to a variety of other complications, like pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure.

In the elderly, most deaths from the seasonal flu are associated with the secondary complications that come from it, like bacterial pneumonia; pneumonia, respiratory infections and the flu are actually the leading causes of death for those age 65 and older. As we age, we become more susceptible to these infections, as well as other inflammatory diseases and cancers.

How to Boost Your Immune System

Germs are all around us, and it’s important that we take care to keep them from entering our bodies. Our immune systems are comprised of a very complicated network of cells, tissues and organs designed to keep us healthy and fight off infection and disease. As we get older, our immune system can start to change, and some of the cells can begin to lose their ability to communicate with each other and allow in more potentially harmful germs.

So how can you stay healthy and strengthen your immune system in preparation for the colder months ahead? Well, the first step is to practice healthy living overall! For instance, kick those nasty habits like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, maintain a healthy weight, control your blood pressure, get enough sleep and exercise regularly. Remember to wash your hands often and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze to avoid the spreading of germs.  Get to the doctor for your annual physical, too, as well as for screening tests for the risks you might be facing in your age group.

Immune System Boosters to Keep You Healthy

Studies are still being conducted to better understand how our immune systems work. However, there are a few immune system boosters for seniors and extra precautions older adults can take to help prevent more serious health issues from arising.

Here are just a few ways to give your immune system that extra boost it might need in the coming months:

  • Eat a healthy diet. Fill your diet with fruits and veggies, which are rich in vitamins, as well as beta-carotene and zinc. It can be easy for older adults to get stuck in a rut with their foods, so try some new things. Make sure you’re eating a low-fat diet with plenty of whole grains and lean proteins. Adding in some superfoods like kale and berries helps, too!
  • Get regular exercise. 30 minutes of regular exercise a day can help keep the doctor away! Staying active helps strengthen your immune system to better fight off those nasty infections. Studies have shown that people who don’t exercise are more likely to get colds than those who do.
  • Stay socially connected. Even better? Work out with a buddy. Keeping those social connections strong also makes your immunity levels strong.
  • Get adequate sleep. For adults, it’s recommended to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is one of the best ways to allow our bodies time to recover and rebuild our strength and energy levels.
  • Drink plenty of water. It’s common for seniors to not feel thirsty very often, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need to stay hydrated. You need at least 8 glasses of water per day to keep your mucous membranes moist- your daily coffee, tea or soup all count as water!
  • Avoid unwanted stress. Constantly feeling stressed out can take a toll on your health and make you more vulnerable to illness and infection. Learn how to manage stress, whether through meditation, social connections, or exercise.
  • Get vaccinated. It’s recommended that older adults receive an annual flu shot to help reduce the risk of sickness and even death.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

Happy Veteran’s Day from ASC!

History of Veterans DayThe History of Veterans Day

At the end of World War I, the hope was that it was the war to end all future wars. Combat officially ceased at the 11th hour of the 11th day on the 11th month of the year in 1918 and officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919.  President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Veterans Day- known then as Armistice Day- on November 11, 1919, saying “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given American to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

In 1938, Armistice Day became a national holiday. Later, in 1954 after such wars as World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938 by changing the word “Armistice” to “Veterans”. Veterans Day thus became a day to officially honor American veterans of all wars.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are over 21 million veterans in the United States as of September 2015. The largest group of veterans are those aged 65-69, with over 3.1 million in that group. The next largest are those ages 70-74, with over 2.2 million. In the state of Indiana alone, there are close to 500,000 veterans.

Veterans Day Events in Indianapolis

In Indianapolis, citizens of the community and surrounding areas honor veterans with a number of activities. Head to the Indiana War Memorial at 10:30 in the morning to hear a patriotic musical preclude featuring the Indiana National Guard’s 38th Division Band. This is followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m. with a presentation of colors, singing of the National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, a memorial prayer and more, ending with the sounding of “TAPS’ and retirement of colors.

Following the memorial service, the Flanner and Buchanan Veterans Day Parade begins right around noon. More than 80 units will march through the city, starting at Michigan and Pennsylvania Streets, south to New York Street, west to Meridian Street and finishing at North Street. This parade has been in effect for 46 years, thanks to volunteers and financial support from local businesses and veteran communities. In fact, the entire parade is funded by donations.

Finishing off the day’s celebrations, later in the evening the Veterans Day Banquet is held at Primo Banquet Hall & Conference Center on National Avenue in Indianapolis. A reception at 5:30 starts of the night, followed by the banquet at 6:30.

Veterans can also enjoy several “freebies” and discounts on Veterans Day throughout the country. Click here for more information!

We are proud that many residents of American Senior Communities locations throughout Indiana are veterans. ASC honors veterans with events throughout the year.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

GPS Tracking Devices for Dementia Patients

Tracking Devices for Dementia PatientsAccording to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6 in 10 people with dementia will wander. This can be dangerous for the person with dementia and cause significant stress for his or her caregivers, even though 94% of people who wander are found within a mile and a half of where they disappeared. Wandering and getting lost can occur at any stage of dementia, so being on the lookout for the warning signs is vital for the person’s safety. If you notice your loved one is gone for extended periods of time when he or she is just running up to the store, starts pacing, or appears lost in an unfamiliar environment, it’s time to make a plan so you’re prepared in the event of an emergency situation.

Some of the Best GPS Tracking Devices for the Elderly

Because wandering can be so dangerous and even life-threatening, GPS tracking devices for dementia patients are a great option to provide peace of mind for the sufferer and caregiver alike. These tracking devices have become an increasingly good way to reduce wandering overall and keep elderly loved ones safe.

Today, there are some amazing GPS tracking devices for the elderly on the market. Here are just a few:

  • Comfort Zone® Check-In: Comfort Zone Check-In is a program offered by the Alzheimer’s Association to assist in the monitoring and return of a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It can be paired with a variety of devices and plans, so you can choose the solution that will work best for you.
  • MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return®: Another program offered in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association, MedicAlert® is a 24-hour nationwide emergency response system that allows caregivers to call an emergency hotline to report a lost loved one, activating a community support network and law enforcement agencies to help locate the dementia sufferer.
  • Project Lifesaver: Project Lifesaver’s mission is to “to provide timely response to save lives and reduce potential injury for adults and children who wander due to Alzheimer’s, autism and other related condition or disorders.” Seniors are given a small transmitter that is worn around the ankle, and if they wander, caregivers call a local Project Lifesaver agency and a trained team will respond immediately.
  • PocketFinder: The PocketFinder GPS tracking device is small, waterproof, and has an extended battery life. You can view a GPS location as well as an address, how far you are from that address, and the speed at which the device is moving. It can alert you when it leaves a specified area you’ve designated by setting geo-fences, so you’ll know the moment your loved one has left an area.
  • Mindme: Mindme is a device that is about the size of an electronic car key, and like PocketFinder can provide location updates as well as when your loved one has moved out of a specified area. It can also report location within 30 feet every 5 minutes and allows you to contact a Mindme response center in case of an emergency.
  • GPS Smart Sole: This device is a wearable technology in which satellite monitoring is used in a sole which is placed into a shoe, providing real-time tracking of the wearer. You can set up a “safe zone” for your loved one, and the device will provide a detailed report of location history that you can track from a smart phone, tablet or web browser.

Get peace of mind and keep your loved one safe with these GPS tracking devices for dementia patients. These products are a must-have that can potentially save a life.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

Chair Exercises for Seniors

Chair Exercises for SeniorsIf you have limited mobility, you might think you’re simply not able to get involved in any sort of physical activity. Maybe you’re worried about injuring yourself or focusing too much on what you’re not able to do. However, studies have shown that the benefits of exercise far outweigh the risks of becoming sedentary. For seniors in particular, exercise can help lessen pain, increase energy levels, improve balance, reduce the risk of falls, and even boost your mood!

Seated Exercises for Seniors of all Abilities

The good news is that exercise comes in many varieties, and by simply adopting a more creative approach, you, too can experience all the benefits of exercise. There are many different forms of senior chair exercises available, allowing the elderly to build and tone muscle, lubricate the joints and increase blood circulation. Seated exercises prevent seniors from the danger of falling down and limit the amount of energy they expend.

Experts recommend getting your heart rate up for 30 minutes every day, as well as including strength training at least twice per week. If you’re just beginning a new routine, start off slowly and increase your activity level; set manageable goals and as you meet them, you’ll find the motivation to continue!

Here are some popular chair exercises for seniors of all abilities:

  • Toe taps: To help improve activities like going up and down stairs, strengthen the muscles in the lower front and rear of your legs. Sit toward the edge of the chair with your heels touching the ground and your legs straight out in front of you. Point the toes toward the ground then up towards the ceiling, repeating the movement 8-10 times.
  • Bicep curls: Strong biceps allow you to carry groceries and laundry, so strengthen the front of your upper arms by using a light weight in each hand (you can even use soup cans!), turning your palms forward and lifting the weight toward your shoulders. Complete 8-12 repetitions, stopping when your arms fatigue.
  • Tummy twists: Hold a ball or weight at your waist with your arms at a 90 degree angle and pulled into your sides. Using only the upper body and keeping your belly pulled in, twist to the left as far as you can, come back to the middle, and twist to the right. This helps improve your core strength and posture.
  • Seated row: Work your chest and upper back muscles by holding your arms out in front of you with thumbs toward the ceiling and your elbows bent. Pull both elbows back as far as possible while squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Leg extension: If you have trouble getting up from the sofa, this type of chair exercise focuses on the quads, which are essential for standing and sitting. Slowly lift the right knee toward the chest and then return to the starting position, repeating with each leg 8-10 times.
  • Lateral raise: Another way to improve your posture is to incorporate lateral raises into your routine, which help tone the shoulders. Hold a light weight in each hand, keeping your back straight. Keep your arms by your sides and turn palms toward one another, relaxing the shoulders and lifting the weight out to the sides until your arms are parallel to the floor. Do this for 8-12 repetitions.

Regardless of your current physical condition or your age, you can work to overcome your mobility issues and start reaping the physical, mental and emotions rewards by utilizing the above chair exercises for seniors.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

Tips for Dealing with Behavioral Issues in Dementia Sufferers

dementia behaviorsIf you’re caring for a loved one with dementia, you’ll probably be challenged by their actions and behaviors as the disease progresses. It’s important to remember that dementia causes changes in the brain, and this is the main reason why your loved one is acting the way they do. Caregivers need to learn how to react and prepare for some of the common situations they’ll face when caring for someone with dementia. This will help you stay calm and employ certain strategies to accommodate any problem dementia behaviors.

Dealing with Dementia Behaviors

The key to dealing with dementia behaviors is to identify the causes of the behavior and learn how to make changes in a calm, caring atmosphere. Most problem behaviors occur due to the dementia sufferer being unable to properly communicate their needs to you. They get stressed and frustrated, which causes them to react in an inappropriate manner.

Knowing the what’s, why’s, when’s, where’s and how’s behind the behaviors can help a caregiver get through some of those tougher moments.

  • What: Identify the cause of the problem. Is your loved one having difficulty expressing him or herself? Is your loved one at risk of harming him or herself, you, or others? Is their environment or a task at hand causing confusion and frustration? Try to figure out what is causing their reaction and/or discomfort.
  • Why: Try to understand why the dementia sufferer is acting a certain way, rather than focusing on what they are actually doing. Be empathetic and put yourself in your loved one’s place and try to figure out why they are feeling the way they do.
  • When: Are there certain times of the day when your loved one is more difficult? For example, those with dementia have a tendency to experience more difficulty in the evening hours. This is known as sundowner’s syndrome. Knowing when to expect problem dementia behaviors will help you plan and prevent them.
  • Where: Is their environment causing them stress? Are they in a new place or are there too many people around, loud noises, too much stimulation, etc.? Figure out if changes in your loved one’s environment is causing the problem behavior.
  • How: Once you’ve identified the causes behind your loved one’s behaviors, learn how to effectively deal with them.

There are many ways to manage and reduce the stress in a dementia sufferer’s life. It’s important to find what works best for your loved one, as every dementia patient has different needs. For some, using calming music can help soothe them through stressful periods, like mealtimes or evening hours. For others, light physical activity like walking or seated exercises can be a great stress reliever. Helping your loved one remember the past by asking questions or looking at old photos can also help calm them.

The most important thing is to remember that dementia behaviors are simply a product of the disease itself. As a caregiver, try to practice patience and forgiveness; you are in control of your reaction to their behavior.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

Halloween is also for Seniors at ASC!

Halloween for Seniors at ASCAt American Senior Communities locations across the state, residents are getting ready to celebrate Halloween this week with staff, friends and family, and even the general public! Holidays like Halloween provide an opportunity for residents to get involved socially within their senior living communities by taking part in activities like costume contests, trick or treating with local children and fun parties.

The Halloween festivities taking place at American Senior Communities was recently features on the SeniorHomes.com blog. Several communities are hosting Family Trick or Treat events, in which children are welcome to trick or treat from our residents and share in the fun, entertainment and refreshments provided.

ASC’s own Eunice Trotter talks about some of the various events scheduled throughout the week and why Halloween for seniors is a great social activity for everyone. Please click here to read the full article.

For more Halloween events throughout the American Senior Communities locations, visit the Events page on our website. We encourage you to stop by, wear your favorite costume, and meet some of our amazing residents and staff!

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

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