O2NE Program Graduates Nurses to Fill the Nursing Void

2016 O2NE LUNCHEON 124INDIANAPOLIS, IN — With the help of American Senior Communities and the Opportunities to Nursing Excellence Program, 10 senior healthcare workers, including three from the Ft. Wayne area, are starting careers as registered or licensed practical nurses.

They all completed nursing programs at accredited schools throughout the state, with costs paid by American Senior Communities (ASC), a network of 87 Senior Rehabilitation and Memory Care facilities throughout Indiana. Most of the graduates have passed state board examinations and are now licensed or registered nurses.

The Fort Wayne area graduates are: John Gilruth, a registered nurse at Glenbrook Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center; Comaron Langhorne, a registered nurse at Heritage Park, and Angie Hancock, a registered nurse at Betz Nursing Home.

ASC locations across the state nominate staff members who go through a rigorous application process to enter the Opportunities to Nursing Excellence (O2NE) program. Selected candidates are then offered the opportunity to return to school, fully paid for by ASC. They are also given a 30-hour work schedule while being paid for their regular 40-hour schedule, allowing additional time for classes and study without being penalized financially.

ASC also provides assistance for childcare, alleviating another common stress point for adults returning to school. Since the program asks graduates for no obligation to ASC, they are free to use the education wherever they choose. Over 135 participants have completed their education through the program, which started in 2008.

Donna Kelsey, CEO of American Senior Communities said, “It’s been amazing to see the impact the program has had on their lives, the lives of their families, and on the people they care for in our communities. It’s very moving to see the pride of accomplishment in their faces. They did the hard work; we just afforded them the opportunity to do it.”

A luncheon honoring this year’s graduates was held Wednesday at the Bridgewater Club in Carmel, where the graduates were presented a certificate and a special stethoscope to commemorate the achievement. The speaker was Sheila Guenin, vice president of long-term care for the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County.

Other graduates are Yohan Song, a registered nurse at American Village; Penny Warner, a licensed practical nurse at Monticello Healthcare; Kyanna Wilkerson, who will take the state exam to become a licensed practical nurse at Riverview Village; Katherine Brown, a licensed practical nurse at Riverwalk Village; Savannah McCracken, a licensed practical nurse at Seymour Crossing; Celicia “Nikki” Osborne, who will take the state exam to become a registered nurse at Washington Healthcare Center, and Chris Taylor, a registered nurse at Zionsville Meadows.

With the shortage of nurses expected to intensify in coming years, ASC’s program is widely welcomed. “The core idea behind the O2NE program is to continually breathe new life into the healthcare industry and for it to benefit all Hoosiers, not just those in our care at ASC,” said Kelsey. “We hope to be sending more graduates into the field for many years to come.”

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

Avoiding Caregiver Denial

dementia caregiversThe word denial is defined as “the refusal to admit the truth or reality.” When it comes to accepting the truth about a loved one’s recent dementia diagnosis, family caregivers can often have a difficult time accepting this new reality. While denial can sometimes be used as a coping mechanism, the longer you remain in this state, the more dangerous the situation can become.

Signs of Dementia Caregivers in Denial

It’s vital for dementia caregivers to recognize their loved one’s situation and have a realistic perspective about the future. This way, you can ensure the best overall quality of life not only for your loved one, but also to reduce some of the caregiver stress you may face. A few ways caregivers display signs of being in denial include:

  • Rationalizing new behaviors. You might be excusing some of your loved one’s actions or mood swings as just normal behaviors, or blaming it on stress or tiredness.
  • Ignoring the signs of dementia. Struggling to complete daily tasks, trouble with communication, often getting confused with time and space are just a few of the signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease that need to be taken seriously.
  • Not adapting to changes in lifestyle. After a dementia diagnosis, your loved one will most likely have a new routine and require extra care, whether from a family caregiver, a professional, or even need to move into a memory care assisted living community to ensure his or her safety.
  • Allowing loved ones to continue living life as usual. The lifestyle changes dementia brings means your loved one will no longer be able to drive or go on walks alone, as wandering is a serious risk. Even cooking dinner for himself or herself can be dangerous, as it’s easy to walk away from a stove after turning on a burner, forgetting it’s been left on.
  • Suppressing or projecting your feelings. When you’re in denial, it’s common to suppress your feelings about the situation. This can actually lead to anger or other strong emotions you feel you have no control over. Likewise, you might think you understand what your loved one is going through and project your own feelings onto him or her. However, it’s important to sit down and discuss your loved one’s feelings.
  • Not seeking any form of caregiver support. While talking to friends or family about your situation can be helpful, it can also aid in your denial. Those closest to you might be sharing in your denial over your loved one’s condition. A better idea is to join a caregiver support group so you can get objective opinions from a professional and others who are in similar situations.

Denial can lead to serious consequences for both you and your loved one with dementia. For instance, not accepting the fact that your loved one’s health is deteriorating can lead to accidents like falls or medication overdoses. You might be delaying the professional help your loved one needs, putting their health needs and quality of life at risk.

You can also see a decline in your own health due to dementia caregiver stress, leading to you becoming a less effective caregiver. Getting the support you need early on will allow you a chance to share experiences, learn how to cope with your loved one’s situation, and also provide the opportunity to help others.

For more information about Memory Care Assisted Living at American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com/service/memory-care-assisted-living/.

The Senior Citizen’s Guide to Indianapolis

Indianapolis activities for seniorsThe state of Indiana is home to a wide array of indoor and outdoor attractions throughout its 92 counties and there are a variety of ways for seniors to stay active and engaged in the world around them. Indianapolis, our state capital, is the largest city in the state, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty
of attractions and activities for seniors to enjoy, especially during the warm summer months!

Indianapolis Activities for Seniors

Indianapolis has amazing museums, parks, historical sites, art galleries, theater and so much more! If you’re looking for some fun Indianapolis attractions to check out this summer with your spouse, friends or family, check out some of the best senior activities Indy has to offer:

  • Indianapolis Museums: You could most likely spend an entire week visiting all the various museums throughout Indianapolis, but some of the “must-see” museums include the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Indiana War Memorial, the Indiana State Museum, and of course, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, which is fun for the entire family.
  • Indianapolis Zoo: Get an early start to your day and head to the Indianapolis Zoo this summer! The animals tend to be more active in the cooler morning temperatures, and since it’s recommended for seniors to avoid being out during the hottest hours of the day, head there right when the zoo opens and then enjoy lunch at one of the many restaurants nearby.
  • Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra: Experience the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra this summer with Marsh Symphony on the Prairie, where you can bring your own food and blanket and enjoy an evening filled with beautiful music.
  • Shopping in Downtown Indy: If it’s retail therapy you’re after this summer, downtown Indy has more than 200 shops from large malls like Circle Centre to one-of-a-kind boutiques in the Cultural Districts, including Mass Ave.
  • Indianapolis Central Library: The Central Library, located downtown on East St. Clair Street, has been a staple in the city since 1917. The old and young alike are welcome to the library for a variety of events and activities taking place throughout the summer, from book discussions and educational classes to the Summer Showtime film series.
  • Summer Under the Sails at the Eiteljorg: The Eiteljorg Museum hosts its musical series, Summer Under the Sails, from June through early August, when museum goers can enjoy half price admission on Wednesday evenings and the sounds of local musicians.
  • Indiana Historic Landmarks Tours: Discover the history of our great state by visiting the Indiana Landmarks Center and signing up for one of their various tours, like the Monument Circle Tour, City Market Catacombs Tour, Morris-Butler House Tour and many more!
  • Concerts on the Canal: Presented by the Indiana Historical Society, enjoy an evening of free music under the stars, with food from the Stardust Terrace Café. Musical performances begin at 6 p.m. on concert Thursdays and feature a wide variety of genres, with everything from pop and rock favorites to jazz and blues.
  • Winery tours: Indianapolis and surrounding areas are home to several wineries, from Buck Creek Winery on the southeast side, Mallow Run Winery in Bargersville, to downtown’s Easley Winery and New Day Meadery. Sip on some delicious wine and leave the driving to someone else; many bus and tour companies in the area offer winery tours.

These are just a few of the fun things to do in Indianapolis! What are some of your favorite summer activities?

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

How to Prepare for Hip Replacement Surgery

how to prepare for hip replacement surgeryHip replacement surgery has become an increasingly popular orthopedic procedure as the Baby Boomer generation ages. In fact, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, there are more than 320,000 hip replacement surgeries performed each year. Total hip replacement surgeries are considered one of the most effective procedures in medicine, resulting in quick, reliable relief from hip pain and increased mobility.

Prepping for Hip Replacement Surgery

Once you’ve made the decision that hip replacement surgery is the best option for you, you’ll undoubtedly have a few questions for your doctor or surgeon. In order to prepare for hip replacement surgery effectively, there are a few steps to consider before the day of your surgery:

  • Write down your questions. Before heading into a pre-op appointment with your doctor, take a few moments to write down the questions you may have about your surgery and the rehabilitation process. This will ensure that you won’t forget any questions and that you’ll be well-prepared for your appointment.
  • Make decisions about post-surgery care. If you have friends or family nearby who can stay over, enlist their help for your recovery. Or, consider a stay in a short-term rehabilitation facility to ensure you’re getting the post-operative care you’ll need.
  • Prepare your home. If you’ll be recovering in your home, you’ll have to make a few changes so you will have an easier time when you return from the hospital. If the bedroom is on the second floor, for example, be prepared to utilize the couch or favorite recliner in the living room as your bed. Also, remember to remove potential tripping hazards like throw rugs or cords and wires so you have a clear path.
  • Meet with a physical therapy team. Before surgery, it’s helpful to meet with the team or professional who will be providing physical therapy after your surgery. If you take the time to learn some of the hip replacement exercises beforehand, you will have an easier time completing them post-surgery.
  • Learn about possible complications. While complications only arise in around one percent of hip replacement surgeries, it’s still important to educate yourself about them. There may be side effects from anesthesia, infection, blood clots or blood vessel injury, etc. Find out what measures are taken to prevent such complications.
  • Strengthen and tone your body. If you’re slightly overweight, work on losing some of those extra pounds before your surgery. Building up strength and toning your muscles will make it less difficult to get around using crutches, a cane or a walker.

Adding Exercises for Hip Pain to Your Routine

Even if you’ve been slightly less active due to the hip pain you’ve been experiencing, it’s important to incorporate some daily exercises to prepare for hip replacement surgery. Starting exercises for hip pain now will help aid in your recovery time, too. In fact, exercise is actually one of the best things you can do for your hips, as it helps maintain range of motion and strengthen supporting muscles.

Along with relieving pain, hip replacement exercises are designed to help add strength and flexibility. Many of these exercises can be done on the floor, the bed, or a chair. For instance, you can lie in bed and work on rolling your ankles both clockwise and counterclockwise, keeping toes pointed toward the ceiling. Or, do some leg slides, where while lying down, you slide one leg out, keeping the knee pointed up and return to starting position, repeating on the other leg.

To strengthen your arms a bit in preparation of using crutches or a walker, sit on a sturdy chair, grasping the arms and pushing up, straightening your arms as you lift yourself off the chair. Repeat this five times at first, adding five more repetitions as the exercise becomes easier.

Your physical therapist can also advise on what types of exercises for hip pain and hip replacement surgery you can start doing in advance of your surgery date.

For more information about Moving Forward Rehabilitation at American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com/service/moving-forward-rehabilitation/.

The Danger Summer Can Pose to Seniors

summer safety tips for seniorsSummer is the time of year lots of people look forward to most, when we’re able to get outside and enjoy the warmth, sunshine and longer days with family and friends. However, all that fun in the sun can lead to some serious health issues, especially for the elderly.

Extreme summer heat actually causes thousands of heat-related illnesses throughout the country, and seniors are among the most vulnerable. While too much heat is dangerous at any age, the elderly have a particularly hard time dealing with overheating. One of the main reasons is that as we age, our body’s ability to regulate temperature through our sweat glands and blood circulation tends to decrease. Other reasons include factors like weakness from age-related illnesses such as heart disease or COPD, side effects from medications, and a reduced feeling of thirst that leads to dehydration.

Some of the main heat-related health issues include:

  • Dehydration. As mentioned above, dehydration is a cause of concern for seniors because our sense of thirst tends to decrease as we age. This means seniors aren’t drinking enough to keep them properly hydrated on a blazing summer day.
  • Heat Exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is non-life threatening, however it can be a serious condition nonetheless. It can occur after several days of exposure to high temperatures as the body begins to lose salt and fluid. Some of the warning signs of heat exhaustion include nausea, headache, muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness, blurred vision, vomiting, rapid weak heartbeat, excessive sweating and dizziness.
  • Heat Stroke. Heat stroke is a very serious heat-related illness and is a life-threatening condition. It occurs when the body cannot cool itself down properly. Symptoms of heat stroke include headache, dizziness, disorientation, agitation and confusion, body temperature over 104 degrees, staggering, flushed or hot, dry skin, rapid heartbeat, and loss of consciousness. If you or an elderly loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s vital to seek emergency medical help immediately.

Summer Safety Tips for Seniors

Stay cool over the hot months ahead with some of these summer health tips and safety tips for seniors:

  • Watch the forecast. When the local weather forecast predicts hot and steamy weather, make some indoor plans for those days. Find a senior center, library or visit a museum to stay in an air-conditioned space.
  • Keep your home cool. Use your air conditioning throughout the summer if you have it. If A/C isn’t an option for you, cover windows in direct sunlight during the daytime to keep the house cooler, and open them at night to let in some fresh air. Use ceiling fans or floor fans, too.
  • Dress appropriately. Avoid dark, thicker clothing in the summer and instead choose lighter colors and natural, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of liquids including water and juices, but limit caffeinated and alcoholic drinks, as these act as diuretics and actually cause you to lose fluids.
  • Avoid sun exposure during peak hours. The hottest hours of the day are generally between 10am and 3pm, so try to stay out of direct sunlight during those times. If you do go outdoors, seek shaded areas and remember to wear sunscreen and a hat or sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes.
  • Limit strenuous outdoor activity. If you exercise outdoors, save it for the cooler morning or evening hours, as your body will be working a lot harder during the hottest hours of the day during strenuous physical activities. Take frequent breaks from whatever you’re doing to cool down and allow your body the time it needs to recover.

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

The Best Senior Workouts

best senior workoutsExercise has long been known as one of the most important keys to healthy aging. Seniors who are physically active on a daily basis enjoy less aches and pains, more energy, better mobility, boosted moods and even improved memory. In fact, exercise has been shown to even reverse some of the signs and symptoms of aging!

If you aren’t currently taking part in any sort of senior fitness program, there’s no time like the present to start. Don’t let your current physical health discourage you from exercising; there are plenty of safe exercises for seniors that allow you to start off slowly and gain more strength and endurance gradually.

Senior Fitness Made Easy

Seniors of any health or fitness level can easily add some physical activity into their daily routines. Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle is not healthy for those over the age of 50, as being inactive for long periods of time leads to a loss of independence. Older adults who start exercising later in life even show greater improvement in their physical and mental health than those years younger than them!

Before starting any new senior workouts, consult with your doctor to make sure you get the clearance to get started. This is especially necessary if you have any pre-existing conditions. Then, determine what your goal is. Are you looking to drop a few pounds? Do you want to improve your mobility and strength? Would you like to be able to walk two miles without breaking a sweat? Setting a goal will help keep you motivated as you progress in your fitness routine.

Some of the best workouts for seniors include:

  • Chair exercises. If you currently have limited mobility, chair exercises offer a perfect way to incorporate a little physical activity into your daily routine. These exercises can be done safely while seated, and allow you to build and tone muscle, lubricate the joints and increase circulation.
  • Balance exercises. Maintaining balance and stability are key to preventing senior falls. If you’re struggling with issues like arthritis, low or high blood pressure, heart disease or medication side effects, balance exercises allow you to remain steadier on your feet.
  • Stretching exercises. Staying limber and flexible as you age is important to remaining as independent as possible. Being flexible means you have a better range of motion, allowing you to easily complete daily tasks like unloading the dishwasher or bending down to pick up something off the floor. Stretching exercises keep you flexible and improve your overall athleticism!
  • Strength and endurance training. Strength training helps provide relief from chronic pain, and even just a small change in your muscle mass makes a noticeable difference in your strength. You’ll have more endurance to do things like go on long walks, go up and down a flight of stairs, or even simply get in and out of a car.
  • The main benefit of swimming or water exercises for seniors is that it presents little risk of injury and is low impact, so it’s gentle on sore or aching joints. It’s a complete body workout that helps improve heart health, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, and improves your muscle strength and flexibility.
  • Core exercises. Every move you make uses your core muscles, and without a strong core, you’re more at risk for injuries from a fall due to poor balance and mobility. Core exercises for seniors help prevent those injuries, improve body strength and mobility, and also make it easier to complete daily tasks.

Many of these senior workouts can be done right from the comfort of your home, or you can also consider joining a senior fitness program like American Senior Communities’ New Energy Wellness. This unique program is designed specifically for seniors and helps build balance, vigor and endurance through customized workout regimens.

For more information about New Energy Wellness at American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com/service/new-energy-wellness/.

Coloring Books: They Aren’t Just for Kids Anymore!

benefits of adult coloring booksFor years, coloring was considered a child-only activity; a great way to keep the little ones occupied and quiet for a short time. However, in more recent years, adult coloring books have entered the market and started a new craze of sorts. No longer associated only with kids, coloring has been shown to have many therapeutic benefits for adults of all ages.

Art therapy has long been proven as beneficial to seniors. Studies have shown that seniors who participate in art projects tend to use less medication and visit the doctor less often, and they often experience less depression. Whether art is practiced as a hobby, a career, or even a lifelong dream they’ve wanted to fulfill, it’s clear that using some creativity can improve overall quality of life.

Benefits of Adult Coloring Books for Seniors

Coloring has been found to be a meditative activity for seniors. Why is meditation important? First of all, it has been shown to increase the brain tissue connecting the two hemispheres, which activates both logic and creativity. Logic helps us choose the color for a particular section, while creativity helps us mix and match colors. Using both hemispheres together can help improve brain function and memory.

Some of the other main benefits adult coloring books offer to seniors include:

  • Alleviates stress. As seniors color, stresses of the day start to disappear as they get lost in their latest design. You essentially forget your troubles while you’re involving in a coloring activity.
  • Reduces anxiety. Coloring helps you relax and lessen anxiety, which has been linked to a number of symptoms such as headaches, nausea, insomnia, excessive worry, and more.
  • Improves mood. As you start to relax when you color, your mood will improve and help you become more worry-free, even if only for a little while.
  • Promotes social interaction. Coloring with others and sharing your latest projects keeps you socially active and engaged with others; plus, it’s a great activity to enjoy with your grandchildren!
  • Provides a feeling of accomplishment. Art is a process of creating something from nothing; and bringing a design to life with beautiful colors gives a satisfied sense of accomplishment.
  • Brings back a youthful feeling and memories. Coloring books for seniors can help bring back those stress and worry-free days of childhood, and those happy memories can further help you relax and unwind, ultimately boosting your energy and mood.
  • Improves hand-eye coordination and helps maintain motor function. Coloring involves small, purposeful movements that can improve and maintain hand-eye coordination and motor skills.

The best part of coloring is that you don’t have to be a skilled artist to enjoy it. You can simply find a picture that entices you and color it any way you choose, using colored pencils, crayons or watercolor pencils. There are a wide variety of adult coloring books on the market today featuring everything from random designs to nature scenes. Rediscover your inner child by trying out an adult coloring book!

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


The Link Between Anxiety and Dementia

anxiety and dementiaAnxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting more than 40 million adults over the age of 18, which represents a total of 18% of the population. Anxiety can be brought on by stressful life events, or it may simply be due to your personality, genetics, or even in your brain chemistry.

Anxiety is highly treatable through professional care, therapy or medication. However, it’s fairly common for those with anxiety to not seek the treatment they need. In fact, only about one-third of anxiety sufferers receive any sort of treatment. When left untreated, anxiety disorders can have damaging short-term effects, and more recently, researchers have begun studying the long-term effects of these symptoms, too.

Can Anxiety Cause Dementia?

While studies are still being conducted regarding the long-term consequences of untreated anxiety disorders, research is beginning to suggest that anxiety and dementia may be linked. A recent study of Swedish twins completed by the University of Southern California found that data collected over a 28 year period revealed the twin who had experienced more anxiety was more likely to develop dementia in later years; 68.4% more likely than the twin with lower anxiety.

Another study published in the journal Neurology suggests that middle-aged women with introverted personalities who have experienced long-term stress and anxiety are also at a higher risk for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. 800 women between the ages of 38 and 54 had their cognitive development assessed over a period of 38 years, and by the end of the study, 257 of the participants had developed dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. They found the women with neurotic personalities under long-term stress had the highest risk.

Why does anxiety cause dementia? One possibility is that chronic levels of psychological distress can raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and these high levels of cortisol can have damaging effects on the hippocampus, one of the most critical areas of the brain for memory.

Dementia and Depression

Anxiety and depression tend to go hand in hand. However, the symptoms of depression can often be more prominent, overriding the anxiety symptoms. Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with some type of anxiety disorder.

Depression is a well-established potential risk for dementia. Numerous studies have been conducted over the last several decades that identify depression, even being depressed in younger years, as a risk factor for developing dementia. The reasons for this link are still unclear as well; it could be that certain proteins in the brain increase with depression, increasing the risk of developing dementia in later years. The symptoms of depression include issues like difficulty concentrating or remembering details, decreased energy levels, insomnia, loss of interest in activities, and, of course, feeling sad or anxious. Researchers have found that these symptoms lead to a more rapid decline in cognition and memory.

It’s important to seek treatment for anxiety or depression, as treatments are readily available. Make an appointment with your primary care physician, who can prescribe the right treatment or a referral to a mental health professional.

For more information about memory care assisted living at American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com/service/memory-care-assisted-living/.

Helping Aging Loved Ones Improve Nutrition Habits

senior nutritionEating a healthy diet is important for those of all ages, but for seniors who may be experiencing a variety of health conditions, it’s especially vital. The difficulty surrounding senior nutrition is that as we age, our nutritional needs begin to change, and there can be several obstacles getting in the way of healthy eating.

For example, perhaps health is an issue for some seniors, and illness or disability prevents them from preparing healthy meals. Arthritis could make it difficult to lift pots and pans or open cans and jars. Or, sometimes seniors can have dental issues that make chewing too hard. A senior’s money situation could also affect the ability to eat healthy, as many seniors live on fixed incomes and turn to cheaper, processed foods that fit better into their budgets. Finally, it’s possible that seniors simply aren’t educated about healthy food choices and how to cook nutritious meals. Whatever factors are affecting your loved one’s eating habits, there are things you can do to help improve them.

Aiding in Senior Nutrition

Help your senior understand the importance of a nutritious meal, first and foremost. Small dietary changes in the beginning can help lead to a change in lifestyle that leads to healthy eating habits and smart food choices. Some of the ways you can promote senior nutrition include:

  • Take your loved one shopping. If possible, head to the grocery store with your loved one and help him or her shop for food. You can monitor the foods chosen and encourage healthier choices.
  • Plan for the week ahead. After shopping, help your loved one plan meals for the week ahead. If he or she needs a little help creating healthy dishes, research some recipes and prepare them together. You can also assist with putting together healthy snacks by pre-chopping veggies or suggesting options like yogurt or nuts that require very little preparation.
  • Consider your loved one’s tastes. When planning meals with your loved one, don’t forget to consider some favorite dishes. The elderly will be far more likely to eat if the meal is one they enjoy.
  • Create a colorful plate. Brightly-colored vegetables, like broccoli and carrots, and deeply-colored fruit like berries and melon should be offered and made easy to eat. Smoothies are a great way for your loved one to get some nutrients, and consider steaming vegetables so they are soft and easy to chew.
  • Pack in the protein. Getting enough protein is vital for seniors, as protein can help slow weakness from muscle loss as we age. Protein is available in many ready-to-eat foods that require very little preparation, like tuna, peanut butter, or hard-boiled eggs.
  • Choose whole grains. Whole grain foods like oatmeal, brown rice, breads and crackers are heart-healthy choices and much better than white bread or rice, saltine crackers, etc. Half the grains your loved one eats should be whole grains.
  • Add some flavor. Changes in smell and taste are common as we age, making foods become tasteless or less appetizing. Instead of reaching for the salt shaker, try seasonings like vinegar, herbs and spices or even lemon juice.
  • Keep hydration in mind. Dehydration is a common issue among the elderly, so make sure your loved one is drinking enough water daily. You can also consider certain nutritional supplement drinks for extra proteins, vitamins, minerals and calories. However, don’t let your loved one fill up on beverages before a meal, as that can lower appetite.
  • Enjoy a meal together. Seniors tend to eat more in a social setting. Offer to have lunch with your loved one, whether in the home, assisted living community, or take them out to a local restaurant.

Your loved one will benefit from some nutritional guidance from time to time, so it’s important to pay attention to his or her eating habits and needs. Helping elderly loved ones get the foundation for a healthy lifestyle through proper senior nutrition should always be encouraged.

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


It’s Time for the Indianapolis 500!

Indianapolis 500 20162016 marks the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, which takes place over Memorial Day weekend on Sunday, May 29th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This event is known as “the Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” and thousands upon thousands of racing fans flock to Indianapolis to fill the stands each year to watch drivers race 200 laps, or 500 miles, around the track.

The Indy 500, as it’s often known as, is one of the oldest, most prestigious and important automobile races today. In fact, it is the largest single-day sporting event in the entire world, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the largest sporting facility in the world, holding upwards of 250,000 fans. In 2011, the race celebrated its 100th anniversary, and this year the 100th running of the race will be held, marking it a very important and historic year.

History of the Indianapolis 500

A century ago, the Indianapolis 500 looked quite a bit different than it does today. It all started in 1906, when Indiana automobile dealer Carl Fisher proposed an idea to build a private auto testing facility to better determine the top speeds of the cars on the road back then. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built on 328 acres of farmland five miles northwest of downtown Indianapolis in 1909, a gravel-and-tar track that was later repaved with 3.2 million bricks. In the beginning, cars from different manufacturers would race each other in order to showcase their full speed and power to entice spectators into buying these new models. Motorcycle races were also held at the track, but as crowds diminished a bit it was decided that one single race each year would be held instead.

The first 500 mile race was held on May 30, 1911 and saw over 80,000 spectators with 40 qualified cars lined up at that starting line; in order to qualify for the race, cars needed to be able to sustain a speed of 75 miles per hour for a consistent quarter mile. Ray Harroun won the race driving his Wasp, the first car with a rearview mirror, clocking an average speed of 74.59 miles per hour and finishing in six hours and 42 minutes. Since 1911, the race has been held every year on Memorial Day weekend, with the exception of 1917-18 due to World War I and 1942-45 due to World War II.

Over the years, the Indianapolis 500 saw a variety of advances in cars, engines, driver safety, and top speeds. In 1925, Pete DePaolo was the first driver to average more than 100 mph for the 500 miles. By 1950, average speeds had increased to 128 mph and today, top drivers often hit over 220 mph!

The 100th Running of Indianapolis 500 in 2016

The Centennial Era of the Indianapolis 500 was celebrated between the years of 2009-2011, when a variety of special events and festivals were held to honor the 100 year old racing tradition. 2016 presents the historic 100th Running of The Indy 500 as presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. General admission tickets are still available, however, all reserved seating in the massive grandstands and all hospitality suites are already sold out. Special events this year include concerts by Journey and Blake Shelton, and the race itself will start promptly at 12:12pm on Sunday, May 29th. Will you or someone you know attend this historic event?

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

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