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07

March is National Social Workers Month

 
Sunset is co-sponsoring an event entitled The Care Management Oscars. This event is a celebration of our West Michigan Social Workers and Case Managers. The Care Management Oscars is a great opportunity for all Social Workers to nominate their peers, get community recognition, and enjoy an evening among colleagues. This event is completely free and the only attendees will be Social Workers and Case Managers.

The event will be held at the Highland Country Club in Grand Rapids on Thursday March 20, 2014 starting at 5:30 pm. All West Michigan Social Workers are being encouraged to attend.

We invite you to check out the award categories and nominate your favorite Social Workers on the website at:
 
www.caremanagementoscars.com
07

MARCH is National Social Work Month

 
Sunset Communities and Services is proud to recognize March as National Social Work Month. Older adults constitute a valuable, often under-recognized resource in society. They offer a vast array of experiences, skills, and creativity. Social workers play a key role in supporting older adults’ civic engagement and in creating aging-friendly communities.

Often, families of all descriptions struggle to provide the best long-term care options for their loved ones—especially after a short term rehabilitation stay. Caring for older relatives requires planning and support, but most families report not being fully prepared for the challenge or knowing how to access the support they need. Social workers are here to help. 

Social workers play an integral role in care coordination for older adults, especially those living with advanced illness or multiple chronic conditions, by facilitating access to health and psychosocial services that improve health outcomes and support a safe living environment.

Social workers also interact with family caregivers of older adults to help them cope with multiple challenges, including grief and loss, mental health concerns, chronic physical illness and disability, economic insecurity, and family caregiving.

During this month we would like to recognize our social workers, who seek to provide your loved one with an improved quality of life and well-being.
12

Currently, 5 million Americans are living with a common form of heart disease known as Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). 

Brookcrest, Sunset Home Services & Sunset Manor have worked together to create a CHF protocol that helps people living with CHF receive consistent care, and take an active part in improving their heart health.

If you have concerns about an aging loved one call us at 531-4999 to speak with a nurse. 

Sunset’s Healthcare Team can help keep clients active and healthy so they stay out of the hospital. Get to know us before you need us!

Below is a list of guidelines that will help you stay heart healthy if you have CHF.

 Take Your Medications Every Day...

 · Take your medication as directed

Talk to your doctor about your medication if:

· Making any changes

· If you are going to run out

· If you cannot afford them

  Weigh Yourself Every Day...

· Weigh yourself in the morning, before you eat or get dressed

· Keep a written record of your weight every day

· Use the same scale

 Use Less Salt...                                

· No more than 2000 mg of sodium each day

· Use spices and herbs to flavor your food

· No added table salt

Exercise within Your Limits...

· End your exercise before you feel exhausted

· Stop exercising if you have sever shortness of breath or chest pain

· Do not exercise in very hot, very cold, or humid weather

 Call Your Doctor When You:

· Gain three or more pounds in one or two days

· Have shortness of breath

· Have swelling of your legs, ankles, or feet

· Have trouble sleeping or need to sleep in a chair

· Feel tired and weak even though you sleep well

· Have a dry cough for one or more days

 

 

 


 

06

Medicare Open Enrollment: What Do YOU Need To Do?

Ensure you take advantage of the annual Medicare Open Enrollment for 2014 prescription drug and health plans that began Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7.

During this period, Medicare beneficiaries can review as well as compare current health and prescription drug coverage and choose coverage that best meets their needs. In a given enrollment period, only 7 percent of beneficiaries switch plans, so we encourage you to research your options!

For additional details you can visit the Medicare website at Medicare.gov.

Open Enrollment Is NOW! 

Remember, you have until December 7 to make changes to your Medicare health or drug plan. While you always have your guaranteed benefits, there are other choices to think about to make sure your coverage still meets your needs. It's worth looking into!

If you have questions or would like assistance in reviewing your health and drug coverage options for 2014, the best way is to call your insurance company and ask.  But there are other resources available to help you sort out the details.

Senior Neighbors of West Michigan offers free assistance at 616-233-0295.  When you call, please have your Medicare card, current drug plan card, and a list of medications available. 

Senior Resources of Ottawa County provides counseling by phone or you can schedule an appointment to meet in person with a Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) counselor.  Call toll-free 1-800-803-7174 or 231-733-3572.

02

Mobility is the key ingredient to aging successfully and remaining active and independent throughout our lives. I think most will agree that is a universal goal as we grow older.

 October is an exciting time for physical therapists. This is our unique opportunity to highlight the fact that we are your trusted experts in restoring and improving motion, and we can improve your quality of life, helping you to keep healthy, fit, and active and avoid surgery and long-term use of prescription medications, in many cases.

Our focus for National Physical Therapy Month this year is sports injury prevention across the lifespan. Whether it's Little League or the Masters, participating in sports helps promote physically active lifestyles. Despite the documented health benefits of physical activity (weight management, cardiovascular endurance, improved muscular function, increased self-esteem, etc.), we know the potential for sports-related injuries exists. Participating in sports the right way is key to avoiding injuries that can sideline you for a significant amount of time.

 I invite you to visit www.MoveForwardPT.com to learn about the physical therapist's role in sports injury prevention. And, please take a moment to browse through our in-depth consumer information guides and videos for more about the many ways in which physical therapists can help improve your quality of life.

 Our role is to improve and restore motion to your life. As you make the important decisions about health care for you or your family, it is important to remember that physical therapists:    

  • Significantly improve mobility to perform daily activities;
  • Provide an alternative to painful and expensive surgery, in many cases;
  • Manage or eliminate pain without medication and its side effects, in many cases.

 When it comes to health care, one size does not fit all. A physical therapist's extensive education, clinical expertise, and "hands on" approach brings you a unique, individualized approach. When you are in the hands of a physical therapist, you have a plan of care that is safe and appropriate and addresses your individual needs and pre-existing conditions.

 Here's wishing you a happy, healthy National Physical Therapy Month. Keep "moving forward!"

16

We are joining the National Rehabilitation Awareness Foundation, and more than 6,500 facilities nationwide in observing National Rehabilitation Week, September 15 through September 21, 2013.

National Rehab week is designed to highlight the victories people with disabilities have made through rehabilitation; to recognize the contributions of rehabilitation professionals; and to call attention to the unmet needs of people with disabilities.

Rehabilitation is a medical specialty which helps restore people affected by potentially disabling disease or traumatic injury to good health and functional, productive lives and also helps minimize physical or cognitive disabilities.

Rehabilitation often centers on an interdisciplinary team approach to care by physiatrists (physicians specializing in rehabilitation); physical, occupational, respiratory and recreational therapists; speech and language pathologists; rehabilitation nurses, psychologists, vocational counselors and other professionals who work with patients to restore the greatest level of function or independence. The rehab team helps individuals overcome obstacles and accomplish normal tasks of daily living.

Nearly 50 million Americans are disabled. Disability does not discriminate - every person is at risk of disability. Therefore, everyone is a potential candidate for rehabilitation. Most Americans will require at least one rehabilitation service at some point in their lives.

Rehabilitation is an integral part of healthcare and a tremendous component in providing patients with positive outcomes.  Rehabilitation is individualized so every patient can progress at his or her own ability level.  Rehabilitation can lengthen life, improve the quality of life and reduce subsequent illness.

Statistics show that medical rehabilitation improves lives and saves money. For every $1 spent on rehab care, it is estimated that $11 are saved on long-term disability costs. People participating in rehabilitation programs of care are able to regain productivity and return to work, school and independent living.  Independence gained or retained through rehabilitation is priceless.

We encourage the people of West Michigan to Meet the National Rehabilitation Awareness Celebration Challenge

·        Let's work together to make America fully accessible.

·        Let's help ensure that people have access to quality rehabilitation services which can enable them to overcome injury or illness.

·        Let's take pride in the many accomplishments of those who have overcome disability.

·        Let's rid ourselves of prejudice and see people with disabilities as competent, capable, talented, caring and contributing members of our society.

·        Let's strengthen the commitment to medical research which will benefit people with disabilities.

·        Let's recognize the efforts of rehabilitation professionals whose expertise and encouragement have given people the ability and courage to make their own dreams come true.

·        Let's teach our children that disabled certainly does not mean unable.

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As a vital member of the West Michigan community Sunset is committed to supporting causes that directly affect our community. That is why we are partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association to help raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer research, care and support.

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s™ is the nation's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer care, support and research. Since 1989, this all age, all-ability walk has mobilized millions to join the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, raising more than $347 million for the cause.

Last year the Sunset team consisted of 10 employees and their spouses who raised $1014.50, easily surpassing their goal of $500, for the West Michigan Alzheimer’s Association.

Sunset staff members have assembled again to participate in the 2013 Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Saturday, September 14 at Millennium Park, 1415 Maynard Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534. Festivities begin at 9am and the walk, which is 3 miles long, will be over around noon. We encourage you to support our team, make a donation, or get more info at this website:

http://www.alz.org

Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research.

All Walk to End Alzheimer's donations benefit the Alzheimer's Association, whose mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

Support our Sunset Team for the Walk to End Alzheimer's™ and unite in a movement to reclaim the future for millions. With more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's, and nearly 11 million more serving as caregivers, the time to act is now!
13
Taking a successful vacation when you are a caregiver requires planning and coordination. Here is some information and questions to consider when planning your time away from home.

Vacationing With Your Loved One

Is the destination accessible for my loved one’s abilities? Ensure that stairs are kept to a limit that is acceptable and have railings. Are doorways wide enough for a wheelchair or walker? Will the bathroom accommodate your routine?

Are the activities within my loved one’s capabilities? Sometimes less is more. Be aware that your loved one’s abilities may be different when not in the comfort of home. Allow time for recuperation from the travel before activities are planned.

Have you checked the latest security regulations for airlines, trains and buses? It is best to check with your transportation provider prior to your travel about what will be expected for security and/or inspection. Make sure all medications are in their original containers and anything liquid is kept in a clear separate bag and ready for inspection. Check with your doctor to see if your loved one’s pacemaker or implanted medical device can go through the X-ray process or if he or she will need a separate “pat-down inspection.” An excellent source of information for travelers is the Transportation Security Administration (www.tsa.gov). This website has information for travelers with disabilities/medical issues including those with pacemakers, diabetes, mobility and hearing issues.

When going through security at airports, if a separate pat-down inspection is necessary, you may request a private room and caregivers can stay with their loved one.

Alert your travel provider prior to your travel of any special needs your loved one will have. Airlines can provide wheelchairs, or cart transportation through the airport. Special accommodations are also needed for individuals traveling with oxygen.

Remember that elders are more sensitive to extreme heat and more prone to dehydration. Ask your loved one’s doctor about any concerns he may have for fluid intake based on the climate you will be visiting.

Dress in layers to accommodate shifting between air conditioning and the outdoors.

Find the nearest location of an emergency room or urgent care provider in the area you are visiting prior to your trip.

When planning family reunions or large parties, ensure that elders have designated one-to-one time with extended family members. Your loved one may get lost in the hustle and bustle of a large party. Having designated time with your loved one will allow all family members to catch up on the news and events.

Do not compare this vacation with those of the past. When you fall into this pattern of thinking, you often focus on what is different or what you can’t do. Think of each vacation as a new chapter, a new adventure in your life.


Vacationing Without Your Loved One

Make arrangements for alternate caregivers well in advance of your vacation. Do not expect other family members to take on full responsibility for care with only a week’s notice. Ensure substitute caregivers know the dates and expectations for care they will provide.

Have your loved one and the substitute care provider meet before you leave so that they will both be more comfortable together. Ensure that the level of care needed matches the care provider’s abilities.

When using a formal provider for respite care, there are many options. Private home health agencies can provide assistance on an hourly or shift basis. Rest homes, assisted living facilities and nursing homes can often provide care on a short-term respite basis if they have openings. The private care provider will have to decide if your loved one meets the level of care their facility offers.

Have a scheduled check-in time with your loved one or their substitute care provider each day.

Be sure substitute caregivers have access to all information needed including: medication schedule (also be sure to have an ample supply of medication available), all emergency phone numbers including doctor, pharmacy, nearest relative, your contact information, a listing of medical conditions, power of attorney and health care proxy information.

Recognize that both you and your loved one will have a degree of worry and stress because this is a change in the routine. Caregivers often need to be reminded that part of taking care of someone else is taking care of yourself. Recognizing and acting on that need for relief is probably the greatest gift you can give your loved one. It is the gift that will allow you to continue caring.

Life changes and vacations change when you are a caregiver. Caregiving does not mean you have to give up your dreams of travel or your simple desire to “get away from it all.” Caregiving means that you have added a new dimension to your planning and creativity to your schedule, but the dream can still be fulfilled.

Sheryl Leary is the Family Caregiver Specialist for HESSCO Elder Services in Sharon, MA. In this role, she provides individual consultations for caregivers as well as educational programming for the community as a whole. Throughout her career, Sheryl has maintained a focus on caregiver issues and alleviating caregiver stress.

 By Sheryl Leary for Caregiver.com

29
While many people - elders and younger folks alike - like to have nice looking skin, it's important to understand that the skin has far more important value than simply making one look good. It's main functions include protecting the body from the sun, bacteria and infections. It also helps regulate your body's temperature, stores fat and water along with integrating vitamin D from the sun. Keeping an elderly person's skin healthy is critical as healthy skin will protect them from any number of problems.

If your elder is confined to a wheelchair or bed, it's critical that their skin be checked regularly for any reddened areas or any open sores. Bedsores / pressure sores can really become serious issues leading to significant infection if not dealt with early enough. A bedsore starts out as a reddened area - just like you may find on your foot if your shoe it too tight. If left untreated, these reddened areas can lead to a bedsore that gets all the way down to the bone. The surrounding flesh will be dead and a strong smell will likely be present. In severe cases like this, amputation and even death may occur.

To help keep bedsores from occurring, elders that are confined to a bed or a wheelchair should be repositioned at least every two hours. Even elders that sit in a chair or on a couch most of the day should be moved around as well. If they are mobile, be sure they get up and walk around on a regular basis. If your elder is bedridden or simply can't get up and move often, you may want to consider foot and elbow pads along with an air pressure mattress as added precautions. 

Although skin problems are the most common issue an elderly person will likely face, having them checked out by the doctor is really quite important. Skin cancer in the elderly is quite common, so you need to be on the lookout for moles that grow rapidly, have uneven coloring or have an irregular shape. Those that bleed should be of concern as well. Anything that simply doesn't look right or that has appeared out of the blue needs to be looked at by a doctor.

In many cases, your elders delicate skin will drive them crazy as it will often be dry and itchy. The following 7 steps will help both you and your elder deal with their delicate skin:

1. Ensure that lotion is applied to their skin immediately after bathing. This will help hold the moisture in.
2. Try lowering the water temperature for showers or baths and don't let your elder linger during bathing time. Remember - the warmer the water, the more dried out the skin will become.
3. Stay away from soaps and lotions that are heavily perfumed.
4. Ensure your elder has plenty to drink throughout the day.
5. Consider purchasing a humidifier in order to return moisture to the air in your elder's home - especially in the winter months when heating systems tend to wring out all the moisture in the air.
6. Keep your elder away from caffeine and alcohol. If they must drink coffee or soft drinks, be sure they are the non-caffeinated versions.
7. Be sure your elder always wears a hat when outdoors and wears at least SPF30 or higher sunscreen. Limit direct exposure to the sun as much as possible.

By keeping these 7 points in mind, you'll not only make your elder's skin a whole lot more comfortable, you'll also be helping them ward off potentially serious medical issues.

Written By : Hal Robertson for seniorslist.com
15

Losing a spouse through old age, after spending a lifetime together, can prove to be very challenging and difficult. However, coping with the sudden and unexpected death of a spouse carries with it challenges that are unplanned and often times can feel unnecessary. Here are some suggestions that may help you, or a loved one, get through the most difficult times.

Recognize Your Weakness

Many times spouses can recognize things in ourselves that we are unable to see. When we lose that anchor we can feel vulnerable and helpless. It is important to identify that this is a natural progression to our healing. There is no way for you to know how many times your spouse's favorite song will be played on the radio or how many times a smell will signal a memory that the two of you shared together. It can even be difficult during the healing process to feel sad when others believe that enough "time" has passed. In moments like these it may be necessary to find a quiet place alone where you can feel the way that you need to feel at the moment.

Don't Forget Yourself

After the abrupt death of a spouse you can expect to feel "What's the use anymore". Find an activity or daily exercise and use it as a means to get out your emotions. This can be very therapeutic and provide a sense of normalcy through the difficult time. Remember to just take it one day at a time. Sometimes you may even need to take it one second at a time. It can be overwhelming to think of the coming week, month or year. Count every day as a victory and recognize what you have accomplished during the day regardless of how small it may be. Only focus on the priorities that need to be taken care of now. All other things can wait. It is your wellbeing that should be the main focus.

Release the Pain

Remember that no one is perfect and that includes you and your spouse. You may begin to feel some guilt or pain about things that were said or time that was not spent together. Journaling may prove to be a useful tool in channeling these feelings. Over time it is important to forgive yourself and your spouse for any negative feelings or actions.
 
Seek Spiritual Guidance

It is important to council with your spiritual leader or mentor such as your Pastor, Bishop or Minister. They can provide spiritual guidance and advice that can help you through this transition. Also, remember that personal meditation should not be overlooked. Spending time alone can help to channel your thoughts and help cope with the loss.

Enjoy Life

As difficult as it may be, find joy and gratitude in small things. Go for walks and recognize the beauty in nature. Be grateful for the good things that you have in your life. Remember to laugh and have fun. Enjoy yourself and most importantly enjoy life.

Written by Jessica Clouse for http://www.seniorslist.com/
01
The US Center For Disease Control (CDC) estimates that every year around 300 people in the US die from heat related ailments. In addition thousands of American citizens suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Summer draws people, including seniors, outdoors to enjoy the sunshine and outdoor activities with family and friends. Senior citizens are more susceptible to the effects of heat as their bodies return to normal slowly and their bodies cooling mechanism is not as efficient as younger people. Hence seniors should be aware of the health problems related to summer heat and the preventative and safety steps that they should take to avoid these problems.

The first thing to know is that the faster you move the faster your body heats up. Hence seniors should take it slow in the summer, especially when it is hot. All outdoor activities should be planned for early mornings when it is cooler. As much as possible, use the shaded areas under trees or covered porches. If possible air conditioning should be used when it is very hot and fans are not enough. If air conditioning is not available at home consider visiting public places like shopping malls, libraries, etc., that have air conditioning.

Proper ventilation is essential so that the temperature and humidity do not become too high. In places where there are no fans or air conditioning it may be dangerous if temperature rises above 90 F. Some seniors prefer to keep windows closed for security reasons even when a cool breeze is blowing. This problem can be easily solved by installing safety latches for windows so that they cannot be opened from outside but will allow air to enter.

Dehydration from the body accelerates during the summer months. Some medications list loss of fluids and electrolytes as side effects and can prove dangerous. It has been found that some diuretics, antibiotics and other medications can slow down the body's natural capacity to control body temperature. Seniors as well as others should always check with their doctors and pharmacists to find out if the medications prescribed have any such side effects. Those seniors who are on low carbohydrate diets should remember to take in a lot of fluids, as the extra protein in their diets can cause the body to get heated up quickly.

Seniors should plan ahead for outings. Wear light colored, loose fitting, cool clothing (preferably cotton) and use head coverings like hats or caps. Senior’s skin is more sensitive so they should use high SPF sun blocks (30+) and avoid direct sun as much as possible by seeking out shaded spots. Seniors should avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages as much as possible as they accelerate dehydration. Drink plenty of water. The body also loses sodium and potassium through sweating, so popular sports drinks can be good for rehydration also.

Beware of exhaustion symptoms which include mild nausea, lightheadedness, fainting, vomiting, clammy or cold hands and excessive sweating. The symptoms of heat stroke include strong pulse, body temperature above 104 F, hot, dry skin and mental confusion. Contact your local medical emergency team or 911 immediately when heat stroke symptoms are detected. In the meanwhile keep giving rehydrating fluids. These summer safety tips for senior citizens can help prevent heat related health problems. 
 
25
According to several recent studies, over 1/3 of falls at home occur in the bedroom, and most home fires originate in the bedroom. The majority of fatal fires occur while the residents are sleeping. Since the elderly spend about a third of their time in the bedroom, it is extremely important to correct bedroom safety hazards and take preventive measures to help avoid potentially life-altering disasters.
 
• Lighting: Provide a light which is easy to operate within comfortable reach of bed. Install a light switch at entrance to room. Use nightlights, especially in pathway from bed to bathroom. Have a working flashlight and your eyeglasses at the bedside.

• Walkways: remove all clutter, electrical cords, phone cords and protruding furniture from pathways, especially from bed to bathroom. Remove throw rugs or secure to floor with double sided tape.

• Bed height: Adjust bed to normal height for safe, easy access. To minimize dizziness, sit at the edge of the bed for a minute or two before slowly standing up.

• Communication: Install bedside telephone and attach list of emergency numbers in large print.

• Provide sturdy chair with arms for dressing and sitting activities.

• Install working smoke alarms on every level of home and immediately outside of bedroom.

• Never smoke in bed and do not use candles! Smoking in bed is the number one cause of fire in seniors' homes.

• Close the bedroom door when you go to bed. If there is a fire, this will slow it down.

• Avoid going to sleep with a space heater operating, as this is the number two cause of fire in seniors' homes.

Besides the above environmental issues, there are other ways to help minimize your risk of falls at home:

• Stay active physically; walking for exercise is an excellent way to keep your lower extremities strong and improve balance. Your neighborhood senior center may have exercise classes for stretching, strengthening and balance. Check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program to be sure it is okay.

• Avoid alcohol, especially if you are taking medications.

• Keep your mind active: Doing crossword puzzles, reading, playing cards and board games with friends are all great ways to help keep you oriented and more equipped to deal with everyday issues and emergency situations. There are even programs available in the marketplace which can significantly improve your memory and mental acuity, leading to greater independence and safety.

It doesn't take much modification to significantly reduce risks of falling and fire in the bedroom. It could mean the difference between remaining independent versus requiring long term care or succumbing to premature death.

Written by Ronna Sather for http://www.seniorslist.com/ 


19
There are many changes you can make to a bathroom to make it more accessible for seniors, but here are some less common modifications that can make it more accesible and safer.

1. Slide through Sliding Doors
If a senior has mobility issues and is using a power chair or wheelchair, access through doorways can be tricky. The wider the door opening, the easier it is to move through. One way to achieve more space is to install a sliding or pocket door.

2. Jack Up the Connections
Most people don’t have a telephone in their bathroom. And if a senior has a cell phone, they often don’t carry it with them everywhere they go. But what if she slips and falls? Without help she could be in trouble. Install a telephone jack and make sure she’s connected. 
 
3. Rollout the Drawers 
When the knees and hips get creaky, it’s a challenge to bend over and search through the dark corners of a cavernous vanity to find a roll of toilet paper. Make it easier by installing rollout or pullout storage shelves.

4. Everyday Essentials at Eye Level 
Medicine cabinets are so practical for seniors – they can keep all their medications, toothpaste, combs, brushes, make up, razors and shaving cream right at their fingertips. And when it’s at eye level, it’s easy to find.

5. Customized Counters
There’s no rule that says all counters and vanities have to be the same height. If two people share a bathroom, customize the vanity heights to their needs. If one is in a wheelchair and wants a lower height counter, that’s just what she should have. It doesn’t mean the other person has to change his routine too. 

6. Power Up the Sink 
If there isn’t room for everyone to have their own sink, bit one height isn't ideal, there’s still a solution—the adjustable height sink. You can adjust these sinks to a range of heights suitable for everyone.

7. Backing up the Pipes (in a good way)
Once you have the vanity counter at the right height, you don’t want obtrusive pipes taking up valuable space. Pipes can be installed toward the back rather than the middle. This can also provide more storage space.

8. Faucets on the Side 
The faucet on the side of the bathroom sink is not only easier to reach, it’s also quite stylish.

9. Bathe Under a Heat Lamp
So you’ve considered installing a walk in tub. One concern is whether they will get cold waiting for the water to drain. Not if you also install a heat lamp. It’ll keep them warm just like the August sun on the beach after a swim. 
 
 

11
Trips and falls are the leading cause of injury related hospitalizations and deaths according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Learning to prevent these falls can help seniors lead more active and independent lives. These great tips will help prevent falls and help seniors become more aware of potential hazards and how to avoid them.

1) Keep your hands empty while walking whenever possible. Free hands allow you greater access to grab on to furniture, walls, or rails for support when needed. It also allows you to be centered and balanced. Full hands might unevenly distribute the weight you are carrying and may result in falls of their own volition. Either way, full hands limit your ability to catch yourself from falling.

2) Remove clutter and obstructions from all walking pathways in your home. The more things you must maneuver around the greater the odds are that you will slip, trip, or fall due to miscalculations or being thrown off balance.

3) Wear sturdy shoes that provide active support. Make sure your shoes fit your feet and always wear shoes that have backs. Avoid house slippers, flip flops, and going around without shoes or walking around with only socks on your feet. Now is the time to really invest in good shoes for your feet that will provide support and comfort. This is not the time to visit the discount store. Make this a solid investment that is designed to last.

4) Install sturdy and supportive rails on all stairs or steps in the home. Even if it's only a short step down it's important that you have something to grab onto for support going up or down the steps. It is also important to keep the steps/stairs free of clutter and well lit at all times. Also make a point of installing grab bars in the shower and toilet area of the bathroom for additional support and in case of slips or falls.

5) Install motion or sound activated lights in your home so you aren't walking around in the dark or groping blindly for switches. Motion activated lights will also go off after several minutes of inactivity as well so you do not need to turn them off upon leaving the room. Also install nightlights in all rooms that come on automatically whenever it is dark.

6) Do daily exercises that promote balance. A loss of balance is one of the most common reasons for falls among seniors. The more frequently you do exercises that are designed to promote a sense of balance the lower the odds are that you will have a fall for this reason.

7) Don't climb step ladders or stools. Instead of climbing to reach things that are high up or located on top shelves, consider investing in a grab bar or asking someone to come over and help you rearrange your kitchen so that frequently used items are within easy reach and those that are rarely used are stored higher.

Senior fall prevention may not seem all that important today but if the time ever comes these tips will seem critical. Don't wait until it's too late to get the perfect backup plan for your independent lifestyle.

Written by John Nunnally for http://www.seniorslist.com/ 

04

Nursing assistants are key players in the lives of the people in their care. Each day, more than 4.5 million caregivers provide hands-on care to our nation’s frail, elderly, or chronically challenged citizens in nursing homes and other long term care settings. These important workers have various titles including: Nursing Assistant, Direct Care Worker, Nurse’s Aide, Care Assistant, Caregiver, Hospice Aide, In-Home Care Aide, Resident Assistant, Hospice Assistant, Patient Care Assistant, Personal Care Assistant, Geriatric Aide, Restorative Aide, Health Care Assistant, and others.

Career Nursing Assistants are trained professionals, who collaborate closely with other health care providers to provide quality care.  These Career Nursing Assistants are instrumental in promoting and safeguarding the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being of our residents and their families. 

Nursing homes, home care, and other long-term care agencies have a responsibility for providing quality care and a quality of life for the elder, frail and disabled citizens in our community, and the quality of care here at Sunset Retirement Communities & Services is directly related to the quality & compassionate nursing assistants who work here.

Nursing Assistants provide as much as 90% of the care received by residents in nursing homes and other long-term care settings. The 36th Annual National Nursing Assistants’ Week is a special week to recognize the efforts and dedication of these important health care workers.  In addition, the first day of this celebratory week is set aside to recognize and honor the “Wisdom Keeper” or Experienced Career Nursing Assistant who provides consistency and predictability to care giving for long periods of time, often working for 5, 10 or  as many as 35 years!

We urge everyone to celebrate the 36th annual observance of Nursing Assistants Week and to express encouragement and appreciation for the service performed by these caregivers in the public good.  We would like to publically recognize all of our nursing assistants for the caliber of commitment and quality of care that they provide each and every day.

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On June 4, 2013 over 800 seniors will once again rally together on the lawn of the State Capitol in celebration of the 6th annual Older Michiganians Day.

Older Michiganians Day is an opportunity for older adults and the aging network to meet their elected officials at the State Capitol.

Older adults and advocates from across the state will converge on the State Capitol on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., to celebrate our growing senior population and urge elected officials to make policies and budget decisions that are senior friendly. 

For more information, click here. 

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On Wednesday, May 29, 2013, an estimated 100,000 older adults will participate in local fitness activities throughout the country as part of the 20th annual National Senior Health & Fitness Day, the nation's largest health promotion event for older adults.

Organized as a public/private good health partnership by the Mature Market Resource Center, Senior Health & Fitness Day will offer fitness activities for older adults at more than 1,000 locations including hospitals, senior centers, retirement communities, and churches. The event is always held on the last Wednesday in May as part of Older Americans Month activities.

Keeping older Americans healthy and fit should be a year-round goal, and this event serves as a reminder to family caregivers and seniors that staying active benefits us physically, mentally and emotionally at every age. If your loved one's doctor approves and encourages activity, try something new this spring to keep you both motivated.

Here are five ideas for easy, fun activities anyone can organize:

1. Planting flowers or a small vegetable garden.
2. Tidying up the house or yard together.
3. Visiting a museum or nature preserve.
4. Shopping at an outdoor farmers market.
5. Picking up an exercise DVD or taking a class.
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On Wednesday, May 29, 2013, an estimated 100,000 older adults will participate in local fitness activities throughout the country as part of the 20th annual National Senior Health & Fitness Day, the nation's largest health promotion event for older adults.

Organized as a public/private good health partnership by the Mature Market Resource Center, Senior Health & Fitness Day will offer fitness activities for older adults at more than 1,000 locations including hospitals, senior centers, retirement communities, and churches. The event is always held on the last Wednesday in May as part of Older Americans Month activities.

Keeping older Americans healthy and fit should be a year-round goal, and this event serves as a reminder to family caregivers and seniors that staying active benefits us physically, mentally and emotionally at every age. If your loved one's doctor approves and encourages activity, try something new this spring to keep you both motivated.

Here are five ideas for easy, fun activities anyone can organize:

1. Planting flowers or a small vegetable garden.
2. Tidying up the house or yard together.
3. Visiting a museum or nature preserve.
4. Shopping at an outdoor farmers market.
5. Picking up an exercise DVD or taking a class.
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Throughout the week of May 12–18, 2013, Brookcrest will be celebrating National Nursing Home Week® (NNHW) with special events for the residents, families, staff and community. “Team Care” is the official theme for NNHW, and “Everyone Pitches In” is a subordinate theme.

Team Care is meant to personify the many professionals and caregivers whose dedication and work ethic contributes to achieving excellence and high levels of satisfaction. While insiders know Team Care includes multitudes – staff, nurses, CNAs, therapists, consultants and others – families and the public may not realize the breadth of expertise Team Care brings to the bedside.

Customers may also not realize that they too can be active members of Team Care. In this person centered age, it is up to the care community to encourage personal involvement. At Brookcrest, we are open to letting “Everyone Pitch In” to achieve quality outcomes and satisfaction for individuals in our care.

Another teammate on Team Care is the recreational therapy staff. After all, living in a skilled nursing care facility should touch on all aspects of life, not just the resident’s immediate health needs, nor should everything be seen through the prism of treatment mechanisms. The recreational therapists on Team Care have the knowledge to create personalized activities based on resident and family input.

Care communities are more effective with Team Care spirit humming along at full throttle. “Everyone Pitches In” becomes a mission, not just a slogan. “Team Work” and “Team Spirit!” create a positive experience for all, including the staff. This camaraderie ultimately leads to improved health outcomes and high levels of satisfaction.
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05/09/13

Brookcrest staff was busy today, working hard to get residents settled in as they continue returning home to Brookcrest. But it was also brimming with excitement as staff, family and friends celebrated the home coming.

All returning residents received an electric green t-shirt with ducks on the front and the saying: “During the flood of 2013 we made like ducks and went with the flow!” underneath. Staff lined the sidewalks, applauding and high-fiving residents as they made their way into the building.

Inside, there was a slide-show playing with pictures showing the evacuation, the flooding, the clean-up and the new renovations. Many of the residents were evacuated so quickly they had no idea how bad the flooding really was. Ruth, a Brookcrest resident, was asked what she thought of the whole ordeal. “Well, it was raining when I left,” she replied, “But the sun was shining when I got back!”

Refreshments were served in the community room and people gathered to eat cookies, drink juice, chat and get caught up. People laughed and hugged, and everyone was smiling. An announcement was made, and soon the room began singing happy birthday to Selma, a special resident who just happened to be celebrating her 104th birthday on the same day as her return! 
 

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05/08/13
As residents continue returning home, Brookcrest staff members are working hard to reestablish their normal routines. All administrative staff has been working out of the newly renovated building since the beginning of the week. Several of the nurses, therapists, and resident-aids have been caring for residents and helping them with the transition back home to Brookcrest. Maintenance, housekeeping, kitchen, and laundry personnel are all back as well, and for many it felt like they never left!

It was truly awesome how many staff members were willing to work during the clean-up. Many took shifts working at other communities caring for Brookcrest residents, who really appreciated seeing their familiar faces. Others helped with the actual clean-up by mopping floors, moving equipment, cleaning rooms, and painting walls. It was because of their efforts that Brookcrest was able to open again, less than 3 weeks after the evacuation.

Sunset’s Board of Directors remains committed to staff, and allocated additional funds to help support staff members and their families. Everyone who works at Brookcrest was still compensated for their normal shifts. Those who worked, regardless of the job description, were paid their full rate. For any hours not worked, Brookcrest staff still received 60% of their wages. Not one position was eliminated during this difficult time, and everyone will be returning to work in the next few days. All Brookcrest staff members are eager for things to return to normal so they can do what they do best and do what they love to do; care for the residents! 

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05/07/13
As residents continue returning home this week, Brookcrest leadership is overwhelmingly grateful for all of the support received throughout the last three challenging weeks.

Grateful for the residents, who made their way through the evacuation without a fuss, and unanimously decided that Brookcrest was their home and they wanted to return. Grateful for the staff & volunteers who never stopped showing up and continually asked, “What can I do next?”

Grateful for the first responders who showed up immediately, and stayed until everyone was safely out of the building. Grateful for the buses, trucks, and vans that jumped right in and began transporting people, supplies and equipment. Grateful for the other West Michigan senior communities that welcomed Brookcrest residents in, and provided exceptional care for them while they were temporarily without a home.
 
Grateful for the insurance agents and mitigation companies that helped keep damage to a minimum and contributed to the clean-up strategy. Grateful for the restoration companies & builders who worked tirelessly to get Brookcrest open as quickly as possible, and helped make the building look better than before.

And grateful for the support from the West Michigan community. For the outpouring of prayers and support. For the great communication and positive reporting. For the never ending offers to help. For the belief that Brookcrest would once again provide quality services for West Michigan seniors in a spirit of Christian love.
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05/06/13
At 9:30 this morning Brookcrest welcomed home its first returning resident, less than three weeks since the building was evacuated due to the flood. All of Brookcrest’s residents will be returning throughout the week and will be welcomed home with a special celebration from the staff and volunteers.

Over the weekend staff made up the beds, stocked the pantries, and finished preparing resident’s rooms for their return. Inspections by the Fire Marshal, Building Inspector, and the State Surveyor were all cleared, so Brookcrest is once again open for business.

A private re-dedication ceremony was held for staff and volunteers early this morning. Chris Matzke, Brookcrest Administrator, thanked the staff for all of their hard work caring for patients at other communities, cleaning up the building, and working together as a team. The Sunset Chaplain, Rev. Jim Molenbeek, gave a quick message and offered a prayer of re-dedication.

Brookcrest is planning an Official Welcome Back Celebration for Thursday, May 9th at 11am. Families, first responders, and volunteers who helped throughout the flooding will be invited to attend. There will be commemorative t-shirts for the residents, a slide show with pictures from the flood, tours of the newly upgraded building, and refreshments. The celebration will run through the afternoon and takes place exactly three weeks after the evacuation. Welcoming of residents will begin outside on the lawn at 3400 Wilson Ave. in Grandville, and will proceed into the newly renovated lobby. The entire Brookcrest team is very excited to welcome home its residents, and also to thank all who took part in the evacuation, clean-up, and recovery process.

03
05/03/13
Almost 2 weeks to the day that Brookcrest was fully evacuated due to the flooding, the building is back open again. All administrative and care staff members are working out of their offices again, and the phones are being answered by the receptionist from the brand new front desk at 3400 Wilson Ave.

The restoration and construction crews have finished all repairs and are packing up their equipment. A few carpet installers and painters are finishing work on some last minute details. The building looks better than in did before the flood!

The Fire Marshall is conducting his inspection and will certify the building safe. Building Inspectors are currently surveying the repairs and improvements made to the building. The State Surveyor is scheduled to come through next and confirm that Brookcrest is ready to receive its residents.

Staff is working closely with the other West Michigan senior communities where the residents have been living. They are filling out paperwork and making all of the necessary arrangements for residents to return home to Brookcrest. Residents will begin arriving at Brookcrest early next week! 

02
05/02/13
Although Buck Creek has never flooded the building before, Brookcrest has long had an evacuation plan. Thursday, April 18, 2013 that planning really paid off. 4 months ago Brookcrest leadership met with the Grandville Fire Department to walk through the building and go over that plan. A copy of the evacuation plan had been given to the fire department prior, and duplicates are carried with them in their trucks. Although everyone hoped a flood would never happen, no one was unprepared.

Phase one of the plan called for a partial evacuation, moving some people out of the building and moving others away from areas most prone to flooding. Because of the historic rise of the water, Brookcrest leadership quickly decided to implement the next phase and call for a full evacuation.

The Fire Department was called and responded immediately. Staff and volunteers were called in and teams were divided into decision makers, runners, and caregivers. A small team of leaders began assigning tasks, while others disseminated information. A majority of staff were assigned to making sure residents were safe and untroubled.

Social workers contacted transportation companies to begin picking up residents and then called family members to keep them informed of the situation. The building operations team took care of moving supplies out of the building that would be needed at other locations. Recreational therapists, volunteers, and certified nursing assistants focused solely on the residents and got them ready for the move.

A state surveyor from the government regulatory agency was contacted along with the Ombudsman; an official who advocates for seniors. They both arrived shortly after the evacuation began and were in the building to monitor the situation and make sure things went well & without any major incidents.

Once everyone was out of the building, dedicated staff did a final sweep, getting personal items off the floor, turning off electrical equipment, and double checking to make sure every room was empty. Once a room was checked the door was closed and a glove was hung on the handle signifying the all clear.

Despite the urgent and sometimes hectic atmosphere, the plan was adhered to and everyone was successfully evacuated. The fire department commended Brookcrest leadership for having such a detailed plan and applauded the staff for implementing it flawlessly. The state surveyor also noted how well the plan was executed, and could not find anything wrong with the way Brookcrest handled the evacuation.
01
05/01/13
Clean-up after the flooding of Buck Creek has gone so well that Brookcrest is set to open looking nicer than before! Mitigation crews were able to get in the building the day after the evacuation to start the drying process. Shortly thereafter clean-up crews began mopping floors, cleaning equipment, and wiping down walls. Brookcrest Leadership has committed to making several upgrades throughout the building.

The therapy gym will be getting brand new exercise equipment including modular stairs, parallel bars, and a rickshaw; a weight lifting device that can accommodate wheelchairs. There will also be new cabinetry installed in the therapy kitchen which is used to teach rehab residents adaptive skills after a stroke or accident.

Resident’s rooms are being redecorated to create an even more like-home atmosphere. Old tile in the resident rooms is being replaced with new wood-grain finished vinyl flooring. All of the walls have received a fresh coat of paint, including accent walls with designer colors.
New carpeting is being laid in the hallways and offices throughout the building. A lot of the sinks and cabinets have been replaced in the supply closets and other work areas. They have also added two new roof-top air conditioning units to the building.

Outside, the landscaping crews have been hard at work. They have replanted all of the flowers and bushes that were destroyed by the flood. The lawns have been trimmed and cleaned up, and a fresh layer of bark has been laid down. The lines on the blacktop in the parking lot have been repainted as well.

The Brookcrest admissions staff and other departments have moved back into the building and are working out of their newly renovated offices. Staff has been busy preparing for residents to return home to Brookcrest very soon. An official announcement regarding a Welcome Home Event will be made in the next few days.
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04/30/13
Not only have other West Michigan senior communities been extremely helpful in housing Brookcrest residents during the recent flooding, they have been gracious in allowing Brookcrest staff to continue caring for the residents.

Brookcrest social workers and nurses are making regular visits with all of the displaced residents. Nurses are performing physical assessments and advising on any changes in the medical care plans. Social workers are talking with residents to determine if there are any mood, cognition or behavioral changes. They are also answering questions and beginning to discuss the return home to Brookcrest. All of the information is being tracked, and will be included in the resident’s secured medical records.

Several of the Brookcrest Certified Nursing Aids are working every day at other communities. Residents with higher levels of care are benefiting from the daily interaction of people they have worked with for many years and are familiar with.

Other dedicated staff members have been busy calling families and notifying them of all of the staff visits. They share the assessment results and update families on the progress of moving their loved ones back home to Brookcrest.

Because of the strong relationships between staff and residents, many Brookcrest staff members have taken it upon themselves to visit residents in other communities. Volunteers, Certified Nursing Aids, and other staff members continue to visit at night and on weekends with residents they have formed a special bond with. 

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04/29/13
The care of Brookcrest residents during the recent flooding went without incident, because of the many volunteers who came to help and the amazing support from other organizations throughout West Michigan.

As soon as the emergency plan went into action the first responders from the city of Grandville were on the scene. All available Brookcrest volunteers and employees were called in to help, and there was at least one staff member for each resident during the evacuation. None of the residents were worried or stressed because volunteers talked with residents, reassured them, and explained what was happening. Some residents were seen laughing & joking with first responders, while others were even sleeping!

West Michigan companies like Care Link, a medical equipment provider, and AMR ambulances were on the scene right away. They showed up during the evacuation to help transport patients and equipment. They continued working after the evacuation until every resident had the necessary equipment and had been safely transported to a secure location.

When Brookcrest began contacting other communities to arrange care for the residents, the response was incredible. The Laurels, a skilled nursing and rehab center with three locations in West Michigan was one of the first to respond. They sent their bus right over to Brookcrest to transport residents, and their staff could be seen wading through the water helping out.

Other communities didn’t wait for a phone call. Spectrum Continuing Health and Porter Hills Retirement Comminutes & Services reached out to Brookcrest and offered to temporarily care for some of the residents.

Within 36 hours, all of Brookcrest’s residents were safely residing at other communities like Heartland Health Care Centers, Brookhaven Medical Care Facility, Holland Home, Allendale Nursing Home, Clark Retirement Community, Covenant Village of the Great Lakes, Providence Life Services, and Grace of Douglas. Brookcrest also received assistance from St. Ann’s Home, Maple Creek, Beacon Hill at Eastgate, North Ottawa Community Health System and Transitions of Freemont.

The flooding was a challenging time for everyone at Brookcrest. But thanks to the great volunteers and amazing community support, Brookcrest residents are all safe and secure, and will be able return home as soon as possible! 
 

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04/26/13

When the Brookcrest residents were evacuated last Thursday, each one was sent with a change of clothing, a pillow, and other essentials items. Immediately after the building was safe to enter again, Brookcrest staff began boxing up residents belongings so they could be distributed and the building could be cleared for clean-up.

All clothing and personal items have been delivered to the residents who are currently residing at other West Michigan care communities. Larger items, like recliners and televisions have been labeled and are being stored in a secure room at Sunset Manor & Villages on Baldwin Street in Jenison.

Every effort is being made to help the residents feel comfortable and safe at their temporary lodgings. Brookcrest staff & volunteers are in daily contact with residents and have been able to deliver several special requests made by the residents. Particular items that some of the residents have requested include a special quilt, a favorite stuffed animals, and a laptop charger. All residents and families can arrange to receive personal items by contacting Brookcrest staff at 457-2770.

Clean-up has been going extremely well, and the timeline to get all of the residents back home is fast approaching. Although a specific date has not been finalized, Brookcrest leadership is confident it will happen in the next couple of weeks. 
 

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04/25/13
The rooms and hallways at Brookcrest are empty, but the clean-up process is nearly finished. Staff & volunteers have been busy wiping down walls, cleaning equipment, and disinfecting every inch of resident’s rooms, getting them ready for move-in.

Because of the detailed emergency preparedness plan that was followed, damage was kept to a minimum and repairs will soon be completed. Restoration professionals are patching holes and replacing old flooring. New carpet has been ordered and will be installed in the next few days.

The Brookcrest leadership team has been in daily contact with regulators, keeping them up-to-date on the progress. Environmental engineers have been through the building to oversee clean-up and repairs. In the next few days the Fire Marshall will check the safety systems and make sure they are properly working. Finally, a Resident Readiness Team will inspect the building and clear it for residents to return home.

Brookcrest’s clinical staff has been visiting with the residents, giving them daily updates on the progress. Everyone is adjusting to their temporary settings, but are extremely glad when they see familiar faces from Brookcrest. The consensus among staff & residents is that they are all eager to get back home!
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04/24/13
All of the Brookcrest residents are adjusting to their temporary living arrangements, but most are eager to get back home to Brookcrest. Due to rising flood waters last Thursday, most residents were evacuated to other skilled nursing communities, while some spent the night in the auditorium at Sunset’s main campus on Baldwin Street in Jenison. Employees from Care Link, a medical equipment company, transported the residents’ hospital beds to Sunset, so everyone slept comfortably while the Brookcrest staff worked through the night arranging other accommodations.

Several West Michigan senior communities were extremely helpful in welcoming the Brookcrest residents. They sent staff over to Sunset to help with the paperwork and transport residents with their buses. Arrangements were also made for Brookcrest staff to continue caring for the residents at the other communities.

Because of the strong relationships between staff and residents, some of the Certified Nursing Aids from Brookcrest are actually working in the other communities so residents can see a familiar face. Recreational Therapists from Brookcrest are also making daily visits to talk with residents keeping them up to date on the clean-up progress and assuring them that they will be able to come home soon.

Brookcrest Social Workers and Care Managers have met with all Brookcrest residents to discuss the transition process and answer any questions. Other Brookcrest staff members have been making phone calls to family members to keep them up to date on their loved ones.

The Leadership team at Brookcrest is working closely with the insurance company, making sure clean-up is going smoothly and assessing any further damage. Insurance agents were on the scene during the evacuation, and have been very helpful in expediting the clean-up process. Brookcrest is also working with regulators to make sure the building will be safe for the residents to return in the next few weeks. 

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Brookcrest Flood Update: Operational Again in Weeks, Not Months!

Clean up at Brookcrest is going much quicker than expected after the flooding last week Thursday. Once all of the residents were safely evacuated from the building, mitigation professionals used plywood and sandbags to prevent more water from entering the building. Late Thursday night Buck Creek began receding and by Friday all of the water was out of the building. A “dry room” was established in the Lakeshore dining room for all of the cleaning equipment, and the restoration crews began the process of drying the building. 

Brookcrest was completely dry on Monday! The damage was assessed and a clean-up plan has been put into place. The only significant damage at this point is to the flooring and crews will be replacing 100% of the carpet in the building.

Mitigation and restoration crews are working around the clock repairing damage and cleaning Brookcrest; mopping & waxing floorings, sanitizing equipment, moving equipment, moving furniture, and painting. In a few days landscaping work will begin: cleaning the grounds, washing the building exterior, installing wood chips, and removing debris.

The number one goal at this point is to restore Brookcrest to full operations as quickly as possible, so that the residents may return home. Although a specific date cannot be set at this point, it is safe to say that clean-up is going very quickly and Brookcrest will be operational again in weeks, not months! 

22
Brookcrest Flood: Resident Info Update 

On Thursday, April 18, 2013 Buck Creek overflowed its banks and flooded Brookcrest Rehab & Life Center, forcing the evacuation of all of its residents. The Brookcrest staff followed the emergency plan, and is happy to report that everyone made it through without a scratch! The spirits of staff & residents remained very high throughout the process.

All Brookcrest residents were successfully moved to other West Michigan communities, and are being cared for by Brookcrest staff members as well as staff from the other facilities. Any questions regarding Brookcrest residents can be directed to dedicated staff at the main Sunset campus by calling 457-2770. Family members were notified of the moves and are being kept up-to-date on their loved ones.

The Brookcrest command center is staffed during regular business hours and anyone can call 457-2770 to get answers to any questions they have. A voicemail system has been set up if the line is busy or for afterhours calls.

As of Monday, April 22, 2013 the building is dry, and mitigation and restoration crews have already begun the clean-up process. The goal is to get Brookcrest back to operational status as quickly as possible, so residents can return home.

Your prayers and support are appreciated. Please pray for staff that they might have wisdom and discernment in decisions that need to be made, and that obstacles may be quickly overcome. And please continue to pray for Brookcrest residents, that they may remain healthy and their spirits high. 

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08



Get Involved in National Healthcare Decisions Day -- April 16, 2013 

Brookcrest, along with other national, state and community organizations, is leading a massive effort to highlight the importance of Advance Directives; an effort that has culminated in the formal designation of April 16 as National Healthcare Decisions Day.

An advance directive is a legal document that describes medical decisions you would make for yourself if you are unable to do so for any reason. Examples of these decisions include whether or not you would wish to be resuscitated in the event of a cardiac arrest, whether you would choose mechanical ventilation if you are unable to breathe on your own, and whether you would want artificial methods used to feed and hydrate you if you are unable to eat or drink fluids on your own.

All adults can benefit from thinking about what their healthcare choices would be if they are unable to speak for themselves. These decisions can be written down in an advance directive so that others know what they are. Advance directives come in two main forms:

1. A "healthcare power of attorney" (or "proxy" or "agent" or "surrogate") documents the person you select to be your voice for healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself.
2. A "living will" documents what kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life.

Only a small minority of Americans have executed an advance directive, despite several states engaging in advance directive awareness events and numerous organizations devoting substantial time and money to improving education about advance healthcare planning.

National Healthcare Decision Day is designed to help raise awareness about the importance of advance care planning on this special day—and throughout the year. To help realize this goal, they have created a web site (nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org) with information and tools for the public to talk about future healthcare decisions and execute written advance directives in accordance with Michigan laws. 
 

01
Love Your Occupational Therapist!

April is National Occupational Therapy Month. Nearly one-third of all occupational therapists work with older adults. They perform many types of activities, employing many types of therapies, with the overriding goal of helping older adults regain or maintain a level of independence that will allow them to age in place for as long as possible.

Occupational Therapy is rehabilitation “above the waist.” It helps with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) like dressing, grooming, eating, and cleaning.

Occupational Therapy services also include:

• ADL evaluations
• Cognitive status evaluations
• Therapeutic exercise programs
• Home environment safety evaluations
• Perceptual motor & visual deficit training
• Adaptive equipment management & education
• Home safety & modification education
• Energy conservation & work simplification education
• Upper extremity splinting, positioning, joint protection
• Sensory/fine motor upper extremity deficit training

Occupational therapy has been proven effective for seniors living with various medical conditions or recovering from surgery. In addition to working with individuals to increase strength or regain important life supporting skills, occupational therapists work throughout the community to ensure that everyone is doing what it can to help older adults maintain their independence.

If your life is better because of occupational therapy, wouldn't you like to help other people become more aware of what occupational therapy can accomplish?
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Reducing Risk Of Kidney Disease Is Easier Than You Might Think

Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. They are located near the middle of your back, just below the rib cage. Your kidneys are a filtering system, that filters about 200 quarts of blood each day. They remove about two quarts of waste products and excess fluid in the form of urine. In addition to removing wastes and fluid from your body, your kidneys perform these other important jobs:

  • They regulate your body water and other chemicals in your blood such as sodium, potassium, phosphorus and calcium
  • They remove drugs and toxins introduced into your body
  • They release hormones into your blood to help your body:
    • regulate blood pressure
    • make red blood cells
    • promote strong bones

Damaged kidneys can lead to complications like anemia (low red blood cell count), weak bones, poor nutrition and nerve damage. Chronic kidney disease can be brought on by diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders. Also, kidney disease increases your risk of having heart and blood vessel disease. These problems may happen slowly over a long period of time. Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. If kidney disease gets worse, it may lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.

Anyone can get chronic kidney disease at any age. However, some people are more likely than others to develop kidney disease. You may have an increased risk for kidney disease if you: 

  • Have diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have a family history of chronic kidney disease
  • Are older

If you are at risk, there are things you can do to prevent chronic kidney disease. You should speak to your doctor about how to reduce your chances of developing kidney disease. You can also: 
 
  • Have regular checkups by your doctor or clinic
  • Follow your prescribed treatment for diabetes and/or high blood pressure
  • Lose excess weight by following a healthy diet and regular exercise program
  • Stop smoking, if you are a smoker
  • Avoid using large amounts of over-the-counter pain-relieving medications
  • Make some changes in your diet, such as eating less salt and less protein
  • Limit your intake of alcoholic drinks. 

 

04

March is National Social Workers Month


Brookcrest is co-sponsoring an event entitled The Care Management Oscars. This event is a celebration of our West Michigan Social Workers and Case Managers. The Care Management Oscars is a great opportunity for Social Workers to nominate their peers, get community recognition, and enjoy an evening among colleagues. This event is completely free and the only attendees will be Social Workers and Case Managers.

The event will be held at the Highland Country Club in Grand Rapids on March 21, 2013 from 5:30-7:00pm. All West Michigan Social Workers are being encouraged to attend.

We invite you to check out the award categories and nominate your favorite Social Workers on the website at:

www.caremanagementoscars.com.
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PATH (Personal Action Towards Health) is a six-week workshop for caregivers helping seniors with long-term health conditions like arthritis, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, and depression. If you are taking care of someone living with these conditions, or know of a spouse or family member taking care of people with these conditions, we encourage you to sign up for this workshop.

People who have taken the workshop say they are better able to face the daily challenges of caring for those with an ongoing health condition. Caregivers can learn how to create action plans, manage symptoms, and how to exercise safely.

There is growing recognition that with this training, participants can do more to manage the chronic conditions that affect about 90% of adults age 65 or older.

The workshop is based on Stanford University’s widely tested Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, and is the same workshop offered by Spectrum Health, Metro Hospital and Grand Valley. It is taught by Lois Hekman, RN from Sunset Home Services and Nancy Johnson, RN from Sunset Manor.

What:     PATH Workshop
When:    Mondays (beginning March 4th) from 1:30-3:30 pm
Where:   Sunset Village Classroom


If you know of a family caregiver who might benefit from this workshop
please call Lois at 667-1470.
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Steps to a Healthy Heart

About a million people in the United States last year lost their lives to cardiovascular diseases. It basically means of all the deaths, about 40% were attributed to the heart. For both genders, it is definitely the number one leading cause of death. Heart diseases arise as a result of the development of plaque within the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis. The buildup comes about in a gradual process over a period of time, as a result of streaks of fat forming within the heart, specifically within arteries walls. As streaks continue to buildup they form a hardened plaque that constricts the flow of blood to the arteries. As a result, it leads to a stroke, heart attack or the formation of blood clots.
 
Understand Risk Factors to the Heart

Always understand the clear risk factors that you might possess. These are factors such as the history of your parents or any other close family member who had cardiovascular diseases that should tell you whether you are at risk. Diseases of the heart tend to arise and worsen with age, while the diabetic have very intense and elevated chances and risks of attaining cardio diseases as a result of chronic high blood sugar that is associated with the arteries narrowing. In addition, individuals having diabetes mostly have very negligible levels of good cholesterol or HDL, while the levels of blood fats or triglycerides, increases.

The Heart and Healthy Food Choices

What you eat can determine the health of your heart, and whether you have any chance of suffering the consequences of cardiovascular diseases. Make sure you have limited the intake of fried, red meat, fatty foods and greasy delicacies. Fill your daily diet with vegetables, fresh fruit, lean meat sourced from seafood or poultry, foods rich in fibers for instance whole grain cakes and breads and oatmeal.

The Heart, Healthy Weight and Dangers of Overweight

Overweight and cardiovascular problems like each other, as your risks rise with each pound you gain. Just losing about 10-20 pounds could lower the likelihood of getting heart related problems. Always work with a dietitian or your doctor to develop a healthier eating habit and plan to minimize weight.

Regular Check of Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Numbers

Always make sure your doctor has checked the cholesterol numbers as well as blood pressure of your family and yourself. If the number sets are rising or already high, the menace to the heart is very vast. Let the doctor aid you in developing a better or modifying your diet as you add lots of exercises to control these numbers. In dire cases, you can have your doctor prescribe the right medication that can aid in getting the blood pressure or cholesterol level to normal limits.

Regular Exercise Programs could Save the Heart

Always engage in physical forms of exercises and physical activity that can take thirty or so minutes every day in a whole week. Firstly, visit your family doctor to find out the forms of physical activity that are good for your age and immediate physical condition. Simple things like gardening or cleaning your house or garage fast might be a good way to exercise as you live healthy.

Avoid Possible Tell-tale Symptoms

A burning sensation within your chest might simply be a case of heart burn, although it might be the heart suffering from a cardiovascular disease. Additionally, symptoms such as tightness in the breastbone or into the neck, arm or jaw and shortness of breath are tell-tale symptoms that there may be trouble with you heart. Never dismiss these symptoms and schedule a visit with your physician if you have concerns about your health.

Written by Benson Mwani for http://www.seniorslist.com 
 
 
 
 

11

The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type is coronary heart disease (also called coronary artery disease), which occurs when a substance called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Coronary heart disease can cause heart attack, angina, heart failure, and arrhythmias.

Every year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. About 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States each year—that’s 1 out of every 4 deaths. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

The situation is alarming, but there is good news—heart disease is preventable and controllable. We can start by taking small steps every day to bring our loved ones and ourselves closer to heart health.

Check out the CDC website for daily tips throughout February, as we bring attention to American Heart Month.

The five major symptoms of a heart attack are

• Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
• Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint.
• Chest pain or discomfort.
• Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder.
• Shortness of breath.

If you think that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 9–1–1 immediately.

28
Getting the Right Coverage - Making Changes to Medicare Plans

You can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage when certain events happen in your life, like if you move or you lose other insurance coverage. These chances to make changes are called Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs). Rules about when you can make changes and the type of changes you can make are different for each SEP.

The official US government website for Medicare has tons of useful information regarding SEPs, health & drug plans, facilities & doctors, and services & benefits.

Did you change plans for 2013? You should have already gotten your new membership card in the mail. If you haven't, contact your new plan.

Do you want to switch plans? Learn about other times when you can make changes to your Medicare coverage.

You can switch once to a 5-star Medicare plan anytime during the year. Find 5-star plans in your area at www.medicare.gov.

*Make sure you tell your health care providers (doctors, home care agencies, etc.) if you changed plans!

07
Sometimes, there’s just no substitute for a face to face visit. Adult children may be getting a wake-up call this season when you visit aging parents. Little things you can’t learn in a phone call can come to light.

Their health may be a concern because you see visible changes on your visit, such as weight loss or the appearance of neglect. Their cognitive skills may be a worry because you notice that they are having trouble tracking the conversation. Or the memory loss you chalked up to “just getting old” is now a significant problem. Sometimes, they just look frail.

What to do? 

Research indicates inquiries and visits to retirement communities & services are way up at this time of year. No wonder. Adult children who live out of their parents’ area want to know what to do if there is a “next step” needed. That makes sense. The problem with that is, you’ll likely face parental resistance. They don’t like change and especially don’t like the idea of giving up the family home. Approaching the subject requires finesse and respect. Get professional advice if this entire area overwhelms you. If you plan what to say and when to say it, you will do better than moving ahead without thinking too much about it.

A visit to your parents during this time of year is an opportunity. If you don’t see them every day, use the visit as a reason to take stock. Take your cues from what you see to take action. Here are five essentials you need to know.

1. Do they have legal documents, such as a durable power of attorney for finances, and a health care directive (“living will”)? If they don’t’ have them, perhaps you can help get them going. One can prepare them without an attorney if you are comfortable with this, and the documents themselves are free. One day, you may be very glad you did get these in order. If your parents do have them, learn where they are stored. It can help to get a copy for yourself, especially if you are named as the “agent” on one or both of these documents.

2. Are there any plans for managing at home with help if they need it? If grocery shopping, cooking, or bathing is getting difficult, it’s time to consider who could help and how to arrange for help at home. How to finance the help must be discussed.
 
3. If you are worried about their isolation being at home without help and without social contacts check out suitable alternative living situations. Do your research and visit a few prospects. It may get the conversation going about necessary change.

4. If paying bills on time and keeping track of finances is an issue, find out if your parent is willing to accept your help with managing the money. Offer to take over the responsibility. Perhaps you can get your parent’s permission to open an online account and automate the bill paying task with your oversight or help.

5. Learn what to do if a health emergency arises. You’ll need to keep a record of your parent’s doctors, medications, diagnoses, and day to day health management. This can save you from panic when the time comes. It’s just about inevitable with aging parents that some health crisis is going to come up sooner or later. And this is where the discussion needs to happen about end of life wishes. Prepare yourself by being sure of what your parents want with the legal document (#1, above) you will need.

Holidays can be so busy, it may be easier to just overlook any danger signs you see with aging parents. Here’s hoping you won’t overlook anything. Take a deep breath, prepare yourself to face these responsibilities and lead the way. As your parents continue to age, you will feel much greater confidence when you are prepared. And as I tell my husband, the work of being prepared is good modeling for our own kids. I want them to have it easy and know just what to do when it’s our turn to be the aging and maybe frail parents. According to our 20-something kids, we’re already the aging parents!

Written by Carolyn Rosenblatt for AgingParents.com
21



May the wonder of the birth of Christ, the greatest gift, bring you joy and peace now and in the new year!

10
The official US government website for Medicare has tons of useful information regarding health & drug plans, facilities & doctors, and services & benefits. It’s also a great resource if you have questions about the open enrollment period that just ended on December 7.
 
Did you change plans for 2013? You should have already gotten your new membership card in the mail. If you haven't, contact your new plan.

Did you miss Open Enrollment? Learn about other times when you can make changes to your Medicare coverage.

You can switch once to a 5-star Medicare plan anytime during the year. Find 5-star plans in your area at www.medicare.gov.
24
Medicare Open Enrollment: What Do YOU Need To Do?

Open Enrollment for Medicare is October 15 – December 7. Now’s the time to check out your options.

• Review your current plan, including costs and coverage for next year. Look for a letter in the mail from your plan with information about changes for 2013.

• Click on this link to Medicare.gov to review and compare plans available in your area, including Medicare’s 5-star health and drug plan rating system.

• By December 7, choose a plan that works for you, and enroll if you're changing plans.

For more information and help making choices, visit www.medicare.gov, contact your local SHIP, or call 1-800-MEDICARE.

The new Medicare.gov has a new design that makes it faster and easier to find the answers to your Medicare questions. The new Medicare.gov includes features not available before, like:

• Many ways (right from the homepage) for you to do the most common tasks, like finding out about costs, coverage, and plans
• New labels to help you get the information you want faster

BONUS!!! Click here for a FREE side-by-side comparison table of Medicare Advantage Plans with Prescription Drug Coverage! (Courtesy of Senior Neighbors)
01
Happy National Physical Therapy Month!

Mobility is the key ingredient to aging successfully and remaining active and independent throughout our lives. I think most will agree that is a universal goal as we grow older.

October is an exciting time for physical therapists. This is our unique opportunity to highlight the fact that we are your trusted experts in restoring and improving motion, and we can improve your quality of life, helping you to keep healthy, fit, and active and avoid surgery and long-term use of prescription medications, in many cases.

Our focus for National Physical Therapy Month this year is sports injury prevention across the lifespan. Whether it's Little League or the Masters, participating in sports helps promote physically active lifestyles. Despite the documented health benefits of physical activity (weight management, cardiovascular endurance, improved muscular function, increased self-esteem, etc.), we know the potential for sports-related injuries exists. Participating in sports the right way is key to avoiding injuries that can sideline you for a significant amount of time.

I invite you to visit www.MoveForwardPT.com to learn about the physical therapist's role in sports injury prevention. And, please take a moment to browse through our in-depth consumer information guides and videos for more about the many ways in which physical therapists can help improve your quality of life.

Our role is to improve and restore motion to your life. As you make the important decisions about health care for you or your family, it is important to remember that physical therapists:

• Significantly improve mobility to perform daily activities;
• Provide an alternative to painful and expensive surgery, in many cases;
• Manage or eliminate pain without medication and its side effects, in many cases.

When it comes to health care, one size does not fit all. A physical therapist's extensive education, clinical expertise, and "hands on" approach brings you a unique, individualized approach. When you are in the hands of a physical therapist, you have a plan of care that is safe and appropriate and addresses your individual needs and pre-existing conditions.

Here's wishing you a happy, healthy National Physical Therapy Month. Keep "moving forward!" 

25
As a vital member of the West Michigan community Sunset is committed to supporting causes that directly affect our community. That is why we are partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association to help raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer research, care and support.

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s™ is the nation's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer care, support and research. Since 1989, this all age, all-ability walk has mobilized millions to join the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, raising more than $347 million for the cause.

Sunset staff members have assembled a team to participate in the 2012 Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Saturday, September 29 at Millennium Park, 1415 Maynard Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534. Festivities begin at 9am and the walk, which is 3 miles long, will be over around noon. We encourage you to support our team, make a donation, or get more info at this website:

http://www.alz.org

Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research.

All Walk to End Alzheimer's donations benefit the Alzheimer's Association, whose mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

Support our Sunset Team for the Walk to End Alzheimer's™ and unite in a movement to reclaim the future for millions. With more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's, and nearly 11 million more serving as caregivers, the time to act is now!
Join the Team!
18
National Rehab Week

We are joining the National Rehabilitation Awareness Foundation, and more than 6,500 facilities nationwide in observing National Rehabilitation Week, September 17 through September 23, 2012.

National Rehab week is designed to highlight the victories people with disabilities have made through rehabilitation; to recognize the contributions of rehabilitation professionals; and to call attention to the unmet needs of people with disabilities.

Rehabilitation is a medical specialty which helps restore people affected by potentially disabling disease or traumatic injury to good health and functional, productive lives and also helps minimize physical or cognitive disabilities.

Rehabilitation often centers on an interdisciplinary team approach to care by physiatrists (physicians specializing in rehabilitation); physical, occupational, respiratory and recreational therapists; speech and language pathologists; rehabilitation nurses, psychologists, vocational counselors and other professionals who work with patients to restore the greatest level of function or independence. The rehab team helps individuals overcome obstacles and accomplish normal tasks of daily living.

Nearly 50 million Americans are disabled. Disability does not discriminate - every person is at risk of disability. Therefore, everyone is a potential candidate for rehabilitation. Most Americans will require at least one rehabilitation service at some point in their lives.

Rehabilitation is an integral part of healthcare and a tremendous component in providing patients with positive outcomes. Rehabilitation is individualized so every patient can progress at his or her own ability level. Rehabilitation can lengthen life, improve the quality of life and reduce subsequent illness.

Statistics show that medical rehabilitation improves lives and saves money. For every $1 spent on rehab care, it is estimated that $11 are saved on long-term disability costs. People participating in rehabilitation programs of care are able to regain productivity and return to work, school and independent living. Independence gained or retained through rehabilitation is priceless.

We encourage the people of West Michigan to Meet the National Rehabilitation Awareness Celebration Challenge

• Let's work together to make America fully accessible.
• Let's help ensure that people have access to quality rehabilitation services which can enable them to overcome injury or illness.
• Let's take pride in the many accomplishments of those who have overcome disability.
• Let's rid ourselves of prejudice and see people with disabilities as competent, capable, talented, caring and contributing members of our society.
• Let's strengthen the commitment to medical research which will benefit people with disabilities.
• Let's recognize the efforts of rehabilitation professionals whose expertise and encouragement have given people the ability and courage to make their own dreams come true.
• Let's teach our children that disabled certainly does not mean unable.
10

National Assisted Living Week begins on Grandparent’s Day, Sunday, September 9 and continues until September 15, 2012. NALW is an opportunity for us to say “thank you” to our assisted living residents, who have made significant contributions to our community. They have been the teachers, business people, civic leaders, public officials, parents, and now grandparents, who have contributed so much to the West Michigan Community. This week gives us a chance to honor these citizens’ contributions along with staff, families, friends, and volunteers at Brookcrest.


National Assisted Living Week (NALW) was established in 1995 by the National Center for Assisted Living to provide a special opportunity to bring together residents, families, employees, volunteers, and the surrounding community to celebrate residents and the services provided by the staff within assisted living communities. This year, NALW will feature the theme “Art for the Ages.”


We invite everyone to join us in celebrating residents’ lives and thanking volunteers, family members, staff and others throughout the week. And we urge you to visit friends, and loved ones who reside at any facility and also to learn more about assisted living services and how they benefit West Michigan.
04
Disagreement About Caring For Parents

Along with the stress involved in caring for an elderly parent, there is usually conflict between family members regarding how things should be handled. It helps if everyone can identify not only potential sources of conflict, but ways to deal with those conflicts in a calm and productive manner. Conflict is a part of life. It does not need to become a way of life.

When families encounter conflicts in dealing with elderly parents, those conflicts can become constructive if they produce a positive change in the way issues are dealt with, lead to a unity of purpose, or promote collaboration between family members. This only happens when the focus shifts from "what you want" to "why you want it." One child may want Mom to move to an assisted living facility while another may want Mom to remain in her own home. If each holds to their position without discussing their motivation, it is unlikely that a frank discussion will ever occur. However, if both can talk about why they want what they want, there is a very good chance that their conversation will lead to a discussion that will result in a good solution.

So how can you resolve problems in a productive manner? There are several steps to conflict resolution which lead to positive solutions.
Clarify everyone's position - not just what they want, but why they want it. Sometimes conflict arises out of assumptions or false notions. When people sit down and talk openly about their feelings, they often find that there is really not much of a conflict at all.

Analyze everyone's position, interests, and issues completely and thoroughly. The more emotionally charged the situation, the longer this may take. Be prepared to spend some time or agree to meet several times to be sure that everyone's position is heard and clearly understood. If you sense that some people may not be speaking honestly or bringing up everything they want to say, try this phrase, "If I were you, I probably would ________" This demonstrates empathy and encourages others to discuss things without reservation.

Start to look for areas where everyone is in agreement and write those down. Then begin to prioritize the areas where there is disagreement. Put minor issues first, deal with those, and then move on to bigger issues where there is more disagreement. Sometimes when small issues are resolved the desire to continue resolving problems becomes more intense. Sometimes the mere act of resolving a few small problems demonstrates that there is a possibility that problems can be solved. Always focus on the long-term goal and let the solutions help to reach the long-term goal. Look closely at solutions that don't seem to be steps to meet the ultimate goal. Begin to work together as a group to figure out the best solutions to the problem.

If these steps don't work, consider a third party to help with a resolution (social worker, minister, close family friend, etc.) or determine if there are some people involved in the decision-making who really should not be included at all. This can be done by looking at whether or not they are impacted currently by the problem and whether or not they will be impacted by the solution. For example, sometimes grandchildren can become quite vocal about what everyone should do for Grandma, but they do not provide any care to her currently and would not be affected by any new living arrangements. These are people who need to be removed from the decision making process.

Do not expect that every disagreement will be resolved within the family. Sometimes it helps to seek professional help to provide an objective voice. If this outside person is a trained professional such as a social worker, physician, therapist, etc. they may be able to help expand solutions to the problem by identifying other resources that they family may not be aware of.

Written by Susan K. Ross for seniorslist.com 

23
Closing the “donut hole”—Medicare prescription drugs are becoming more affordable

The health law includes benefits to make your Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) more affordable. This year, if you reach the Part D coverage gap (also called the “donut hole”):

• you’ll get a 50% discount on covered brand-name drugs
• you’ll pay 86% of the plan’s cost for covered generic drugs

You’ll keep getting these benefits until you reach the end of the coverage gap. You’ll get even more savings on your brand-name and generic drugs during the coverage gap over the next few years until it’s closed in 2020.

Find out more about the coverage gap and savings you’ll get until 2020 at www.medicare.gov.
15
Brookcrest is “home” to a great group of people, but it is also a temporary place of recovery for another group. Brookside is our short –term care wing, and it is one of the best rehab wings in West Michigan. We are ranked in the top 5% of agencies in the state for staff-to-patient ratios. We have one of the lowest rehospitalization rates in the state (6.6%), and shorter lengths-of-stay (14 days) than the national average (22 days). 

We are very proud of our great outcomes at Brookcrest and are commemorating with a Summer Celebration! August 20th through the 24th we will be holding special events each day, including an open house of our state-of-the-art rehab wing. 

Wednesday, August 22 from 2 to 4 pm, you are invited to tour Brookside, our short-term care wing at 3400 Wilson Ave. in Grandville. Come see our renovated rehab rooms with free Wi-Fi, private telephones, and satellite television. Meet our friendly rehab staff and check out the therapy center, including a full kitchen and washer & dryer, where we help patients get back to active living.

We’ll have live entertainment out in the well landscaped courtyard, which includes a multi-level therapy path that helps patients improve mobilization. There will also be free food & drinks, as well as giveaways, and a chance to win a $50 Meijer gift card. 

Nobody really thinks about rehab facilities until you need one, and when you do, it’s important to know that Brookcrest is one of the best. Stop by and see for yourself on Wednesday, August 22!
06
Friday, August 10, 2012 at 1pm the Wyoming High School football team will meet some of the very people that will benefit from their 3rd annual Alzheimer’s charity “Reason to Hope” football game.

The team will take a tour of Brookcrest Christian Rehabilitation & Life Center, 3400 Wilson Ave SW Grandville, MI 49418, which includes a dementia special care unit, The Garden, designed to meet the needs of people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The team, decked out in their purple Alzheimer’s jerseys, will also volunteer at Brookcrest, escorting residents outside for activities, sitting & visiting, offering wheelchair rides, and throwing the football with residents who are interested.

Wyoming High School started the “Reason to Hope” fund raiser in 2010 to raise awareness & funds for the Alzheimer’s Association by selling t-shirts and holding special community events. Last year they raised $6700.00 and are expecting to exceed that total this year.

The fundraiser will culminate with the “Reason to Hope” football game featuring the Wyoming Wolves & Sparta Spartans, Friday September 21st at 7pm at Wyoming High School.

Brookcrest has been a major sponsor of the event, providing the purple Alzheimer’s jerseys that the team wears for this special event.
“We are blessed to have a community that cares. “ Says Joel Elsenbroek, Business Development Manager for Brookcrest. “Brookcrest is all about being a good neighbor and getting involved.”

Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research, and funds raised will go directly toward supporting their efforts.
30
Losing a spouse through old age, after spending a lifetime together, can prove to be very challenging and difficult. However, coping with the sudden and unexpected death of a spouse carries with it challenges that are unplanned and often times can feel unnecessary. Here are some suggestions that may help you, or a loved one, get through the most difficult times.

Recognize Your Weakness

Many times spouses can recognize things in ourselves that we are unable to see. When we lose that anchor we can feel vulnerable and helpless. It is important to identify that this is a natural progression to our healing. There is no way for you to know how many times your spouse's favorite song will be played on the radio or how many times a smell will signal a memory that the two of you shared together. It can even be difficult during the healing process to feel sad when others believe that enough "time" has passed. In moments like these it may be necessary to find a quiet place alone where you can feel the way that you need to feel at the moment.

Don't Forget Yourself

After the abrupt death of a spouse you can expect to feel "What's the use anymore". Find an activity or daily exercise and use it as a means to get out your emotions. This can be very therapeutic and provide a sense of normalcy through the difficult time. Remember to just take it one day at a time. Sometimes you may even need to take it one second at a time. It can be overwhelming to think of the coming week, month or year. Count every day as a victory and recognize what you have accomplished during the day regardless of how small it may be. Only focus on the priorities that need to be taken care of now. All other things can wait. It is your wellbeing that should be the main focus.

Release the Pain

Remember that no one is perfect and that includes you and your spouse. You may begin to feel some guilt or pain about things that were said or time that was not spent together. Journaling may prove to be a useful tool in channeling these feelings. Over time it is important to forgive yourself and your spouse for any negative feelings or actions.

Seek Spiritual Guidance

It is important to council with your spiritual leader or mentor such as your Pastor, Bishop or Minister. They can provide spiritual guidance and advice that can help you through this transition. Also, remember that personal meditation should not be overlooked. Spending time alone can help to channel your thoughts and help cope with the loss.

Enjoy Life

As difficult as it may be, find joy and gratitude in small things. Go for walks and recognize the beauty in nature. Be grateful for the good things that you have in your life. Remember to laugh and have fun. Enjoy yourself and most importantly enjoy life.

Written by Jessica Clouse for http://www.seniorslist.com/
23
While many people - elders and younger folks alike - like to have nice looking skin, it's important to understand that the skin has far more important value than simply making one look good. It's main functions include protecting the body from the sun, bacteria and infections. It also helps regulate your body's temperature, stores fat and water along with integrating vitamin D from the sun. Keeping an elderly person's skin healthy is critical as healthy skin will protect them from any number of problems.

If your elder is confined to a wheelchair or bed, it's critical that their skin be checked regularly for any reddened areas or any open sores. Bedsores / pressure sores can really become serious issues leading to significant infection if not dealt with early enough. A bedsore starts out as a reddened area - just like you may find on your foot if your shoe it too tight. If left untreated, these reddened areas can lead to a bedsore that gets all the way down to the bone. The surrounding flesh will be dead and a strong smell will likely be present. In severe cases like this, amputation and even death may occur.

To help keep bedsores from occurring, elders that are confined to a bed or a wheelchair should be repositioned at least every two hours. Even elders that sit in a chair or on a couch most of the day should be moved around as well. If they are mobile, be sure they get up and walk around on a regular basis. If your elder is bedridden or simply can't get up and move often, you may want to consider foot and elbow pads along with an air pressure mattress as added precautions.

Although skin problems are the most common issue an elderly person will likely face, having them checked out by the doctor is really quite important. Skin cancer in the elderly is quite common, so you need to be on the lookout for moles that grow rapidly, have uneven coloring or have an irregular shape. Those that bleed should be of concern as well. Anything that simply doesn't look right or that has appeared out of the blue needs to be looked at by a doctor.

In many cases, your elders delicate skin will drive them crazy as it will often be dry and itchy. The following 7 steps will help both you and your elder deal with their delicate skin:

1. Ensure that lotion is applied to their skin immediately after bathing. This will help hold the moisture in.
2. Try lowering the water temperature for showers or baths and don't let your elder linger during bathing time. Remember - the warmer the water, the more dried out the skin will become.
3. Stay away from soaps and lotions that are heavily perfumed.
4. Ensure your elder has plenty to drink throughout the day.
5. Consider purchasing a humidifier in order to return moisture to the air in your elder's home - especially in the winter months when heating systems tend to wring out all the moisture in the air.
6. Keep your elder away from caffeine and alcohol. If they must drink coffee or soft drinks, be sure they are the non-caffeinated versions.
7. Be sure your elder always wears a hat when outdoors and wears at least SPF30 or higher sunscreen. Limit direct exposure to the sun as much as possible.

By keeping these 7 points in mind, you'll not only make your elder's skin a whole lot more comfortable, you'll also be helping them ward off potentially serious medical issues.

Written By : Hal Robertson for seniorslist.com 
 

18

The US Center For Disease Control (CDC) estimates that every year around 300 people in the US die from heat related ailments. In addition thousands of American citizens suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Summer draws people, including seniors, outdoors to enjoy the sunshine and outdoor activities with family and friends. Senior citizens are more susceptible to the effects of heat as their bodies return to normal slowly and their bodies cooling mechanism is not as efficient as younger people. Hence seniors should be aware of the health problems related to summer heat and the preventative and safety steps that they should take to avoid these problems.

The first thing to know is that the faster you move the faster your body heats up. Hence seniors should take it slow in the summer, especially when it is hot. All outdoor activities should be planned for early mornings when it is cooler. As much as possible, use the shaded areas under trees or covered porches. If possible air conditioning should be used when it is very hot and fans are not enough. If air conditioning is not available at home consider visiting public places like shopping malls, libraries, etc., that have air conditioning.

Proper ventilation is essential so that the temperature and humidity do not become too high. In places where there are no fans or air conditioning it may be dangerous if temperature rises above 90 F. Some seniors prefer to keep windows closed for security reasons even when a cool breeze is blowing. This problem can be easily solved by installing safety latches for windows so that they cannot be opened from outside but will allow air to enter.

Dehydration from the body accelerates during the summer months. Some medications list loss of fluids and electrolytes as side effects and can prove dangerous. It has been found that some diuretics, antibiotics and other medications can slow down the body's natural capacity to control body temperature. Seniors as well as others should always check with their doctors and pharmacists to find out if the medications prescribed have any such side effects. Those seniors who are on low carbohydrate diets should remember to take in a lot of fluids, as the extra protein in their diets can cause the body to get heated up quickly.

Seniors should plan ahead for outings. Wear light colored, loose fitting, cool clothing (preferably cotton) and use head coverings like hats or caps. Senior’s skin is more sensitive so they should use high SPF sun blocks (30+) and avoid direct sun as much as possible by seeking out shaded spots. Seniors should avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages as much as possible as they accelerate dehydration. Drink plenty of water. The body also loses sodium and potassium through sweating, so popular sports drinks can be good for rehydration also.

Beware of exhaustion symptoms which include mild nausea, lightheadedness, fainting, vomiting, clammy or cold hands and excessive sweating. The symptoms of heat stroke include strong pulse, body temperature above 104 F, hot, dry skin and mental confusion. Contact your local medical emergency team or 911 immediately when heat stroke symptoms are detected. In the meanwhile keep giving rehydrating fluids. These summer safety tips for senior citizens can help prevent heat related health problems. 
 
09
Sunset Association employees in Jenison, Grandville 'win by losing'

By Cathy Runyon | Advance Newspapers

Employees of the Sunset Association celebrated their weight loss with -- what else? -- food, and of course, recognition of the winners of the Biggest Loser-style competition, sponsored by their health care provider.

The "Win By Losing" contest was from Feb. 27 through April 27 against six other companies with similar numbers of employees. The 47 Sunset employees lost a total of 430.50 pounds, about 200 more than the second place team.

"It was an easy, non-threatening way to promote weight loss and getting healthy as so many people need to do today," said Kris Dotings, Sunset's director of advancement.

Read the article on Mlive here: http://www.mlive.com/jenison/index.ssf/2012/07/sunset_association_employees_i.html
25

The Revolving Door: Avoiding Hospital Readmissions

While one is usually anxious and happy to leave the hospital for home, flaws in the discharge process can lead to a quick return. Some statistics that might surprise you: 5% of Medicare recipients are readmitted in to the hospital within 5 days of discharge; 20% are readmitted within 30 days; by 90 days the % rises to about 35%.

Some of the primary reasons for readmission include poor communication with physicians and other members of the patient’s care team, conflicting or misunderstanding medical information/instructions, missed doctor’s appointments and medication errors. A fragmented process and communication issues account for most of the preventable incidents, which disproportionately affect older adults and those with multiple conditions. In a study published by the Journal of Hospital Medicine, more than half of patients over age 70 years responding to a post hospitalization telephone survey did not recall anyone talking with them about how to care for themselves after hospitalization. Poor communication and follow up care lead to issues like medication errors, falls, infections and dehydration. Family caregivers may be ill prepared for increased eldercare needs of a loved one weakened by a hospital stay and illness.

Those at highest risk of readmission are patients with heart failure, COPD, psychoses, intestinal problems, and/or who have had various types of surgery (cardiac, joint replacement, or bariatric procedures). Those taking 6 or more medications, who have depression or poor cognitive function, or have been hospitalized in prior 6 months. And those who are discharged on weekends or holidays.

Studies have indicated that 40-50% of readmissions are linked to lack of community services/follow-up care. For patients in the 85+ age range, more than half require assistance with daily needs in the period following hospitalization. One study indicated that patients who lived alone and did not receive home care services were twice as likely to be readmitted as those who received in-home care services.
In the Medicare Care Transitions Act of 2009, the federal government mandated reduction in hospital readmissions with better care coordination and follow up services, such as home health care.

Here is a checklist of things to consider and ask about to ensure a safe return home for you or someone you love:

Specific, clear follow up care instructions in lay terms. Ask to have things explained, and preferably have a family member, friend or geriatric care manager with you to listen as well. These should include: your diagnoses and reason for the hospitalization, all medications with instructions, follow-up appointments, any therapy or treatment you will be receiving (and who will be providing it, when will it occur, how can you reach them).

How you are functioning currently and your strength level. Are you in a weakened state or will you be on medications that make you drowsy? If so, you may need extra help with home care tasks and someone with you to ensure safety.

Signs or symptoms you should be monitoring. Should you be watching for certain things that may indicate an infection or threat? What should you do/who should you call if you notice this sign or symptom?

Will you receive Medicare home health services or in-home rehabilitation? When will those services begin and how long can you expect them to continue?

How will you get medical equipment or medications you need immediately?

How will you get safely home on the day of discharge? (Consider again your functional state and strength.)

Physical therapy and skilled nursing services in the home are often covered by Medicare after a hospitalization. Your discharge planner can assist with making this referral and the patient may choose which provider they would like to use. Make sure you consider the questions above and determine if you and your family can meet your needs or if you may need additional home care services. While these services are typically not covered under Medicare, a little bit of extra support can make all the difference in your safe transition home.

Shannon Martin, M.S.W., CMC, is Director of Communications at Aging Wisely, LLC (http://www.agingwisely.com), a professional care management and patient advocacy organization and EasyLiving, Inc. (www.easylivingfl.com), a licensed home care agency, in Clearwater, FL. Shannon serves as adjunct professor at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, where she created a course on “Eldercare”. Prior in her career, Shannon served as social services director and admissions coordinator in an assisted living/skilled nursing facility and worked as a social worker and volunteer coordinator for a large hospice. 

18
Nursing Assistants @ the Heart of Care

Nursing assistants are key players in the lives of the people in their care. Each day, more than 4.5 million caregivers provide hands-on care to our nation’s frail, elderly, or chronically challenged citizens in nursing homes and other long term care settings. These important workers have various titles including: Nursing Assistant, Direct Care Worker, Nurse’s Aide, Care Assistant, Caregiver, Hospice Aide, In-Home Care Aide, Resident Assistant, Hospice Assistant, Patient Care Assistant, Personal Care Assistant, Geriatric Aide, Restorative Aide, Health Care Assistant, and others.

Career Nursing Assistants are trained professionals, who collaborate closely with other health care providers to provide quality care. These Career Nursing Assistants are instrumental in promoting and safeguarding the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being of our residents and their families.

Nursing homes, home care, and other long-term care agencies have a responsibility for providing quality care and a quality of life for the elder, frail and disabled citizens in our community, and the quality of care here at Sunset Retirement Communities & Services is directly related to the quality & compassionate nursing assistants who work here.

Nursing Assistants provide as much as 90% of the care received by residents in nursing homes and other long-term care settings. The 35th Annual National Nursing Assistants’ Week is a special week to recognize the efforts and dedication of these important health care workers. In addition, the first day of this celebratory week is set aside to recognize and honor the “Wisdom Keeper” or Experienced Career Nursing Assistant who provides consistency and predictability to care giving for long periods of time, often working for 5, 10 or as many as 35 years!

We urge everyone to celebrate the 35th annual observance of Nursing Assistants Week and to express encouragement and appreciation for the service performed by these caregivers in the public good. We would like to publically recognize all of our nursing assistants for the caliber of commitment and quality of care that they provide each and every day.
01
Trips and falls are the leading cause of injury related hospitalizations and deaths according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Learning to prevent these falls can help seniors lead more active and independent lives. These great tips will help prevent falls and help seniors become more aware of potential hazards and how to avoid them.

1) Keep your hands empty while walking whenever possible. Free hands allow you greater access to grab on to furniture, walls, or rails for support when needed. It also allows you to be centered and balanced. Full hands might unevenly distribute the weight you are carrying and may result in falls of their own volition. Either way, full hands limit your ability to catch yourself from falling.

2) Remove clutter and obstructions from all walking pathways in your home. The more things you must maneuver around the greater the odds are that you will slip, trip, or fall due to miscalculations or being thrown off balance.

3) Wear sturdy shoes that provide active support. Make sure your shoes fit your feet and always wear shoes that have backs. Avoid house slippers, flip flops, and going around without shoes or walking around with only socks on your feet. Now is the time to really invest in good shoes for your feet that will provide support and comfort. This is not the time to visit the discount store. Make this a solid investment that is designed to last. 

4) Install sturdy and supportive rails on all stairs or steps in the home. Even if it's only a short step down it's important that you have something to grab onto for support going up or down the steps. It is also important to keep the steps/stairs free of clutter and well lit at all times. Also make a point of installing grab bars in the shower and toilet area of the bathroom for additional support and in case of slips or falls.

5) Install motion or sound activated lights in your home so you aren't walking around in the dark or groping blindly for switches. Motion activated lights will also go off after several minutes of inactivity as well so you do not need to turn them off upon leaving the room. Also install nightlights in all rooms that come on automatically whenever it is dark.

6) Do daily exercises that promote balance. A loss of balance is one of the most common reasons for falls among seniors. The more frequently you do exercises that are designed to promote a sense of balance the lower the odds are that you will have a fall for this reason.

7) Don't climb step ladders or stools. Instead of climbing to reach things that are high up or located on top shelves, consider investing in a grab bar or asking someone to come over and help you rearrange your kitchen so that frequently used items are within easy reach and those that are rarely used are stored higher.

Senior fall prevention may not seem all that important today but if the time ever comes these tips will seem critical. Don't wait until it's too late to get the perfect backup plan for your independent lifestyle:

Written by John Nunnally for http://www.seniorslist.com/
29
May 30th is National Senior Health & Fitness Day, and serves as a reminder that staying active has benefits at every age.

This year's theme is "Get Moving ... Start Improving!" National Senior Health & Fitness Day is organized as a public-private partnership by the Mature Market Resource Center, an information clearinghouse for the older adult market.

Keeping older Americans healthy and fit should be a year-round goal, and this event serves as a reminder to caregivers and seniors that staying active benefits us physically, mentally and emotionally at every age. If your loved one's doctor approves and encourages activity, try something new this spring to keep you both motivated.

Here are five ideas for easy, fun activities anyone can organize:

1. Planting flowers or a small vegetable garden.
2. Tidying up the house or yard together.
3. Visiting a museum or nature preserve.
4. Shopping at an outdoor farmers or flea market.
5. Picking up an exercise DVD or taking a class. 
 

21
Ask yourself this question. Do we stop laughing because we get old, or do we get old because we stop laughing? Humor, and specifically laughing, has an amazing impact on our bodies' health. The bigger the belly laughs the better.
On a general level you probably already know that it’s better to laugh than not to laugh but do you know why? And how does laughter lower blood pressure exactly?

Laughing actually increases blood circulation, delivers oxygen and nutrients efficiently, help the immune system, fights stress chemicals and allows the muscles to relax. Wow! All that from a simple guffaw?

Stress is a principal contributor to high blood pressure and laughter is an excellent antidote for stress. Aside from simply altering our mood for a moment making us feel better, laughter also reduces four stress related hormones, epinephrine, dopac, growth hormone and cortisol. Reducing these hormones reduces the amount of oxidation in the blood vessels which means less plaque.

In addition, laughter relaxes muscles. Those muscles not actually involved in the physical act of the laugh relax. The ones doing the laughing relax immediately after the laugh. Relaxed muscles make for less strain on the blood vessels reducing pressure. And a good laugh can be internalized and relived. How many times have you thought back to a joke or humorous situation and chuckled to yourself. Each time you do so, your body is responds positively.

Two organs benefit the most from laughter; the heart and the lungs. A good belly laugh is like an aerobic exercise for your heart. No it's not the same as 30 minutes of walking, but for people who may not be able to exercise, it's a decent substitute. The lungs expel more air than they take in during a good laugh and this acts as a cleansing breathe. When the laughter is over, you will breathe deeper sending oxygen enriched blood to the body.

Did you know that people who laugh regularly, you know the type, everything is funny to them, have a lower standing blood pressure than those who don't? Like exercise, the blood pressure goes up during the laughter but then drops significantly after the laugh. Okay, laughter by itself is not going to replace a good diet and regular exercise, but it can go a long way in improving your point of view and reducing stress. And that's not something to laugh about!
 
Written by Rachel Wilson for http://www.seniorslist.com
14
National Nursing Home Week puts a spotlight on our residents and staff and encourages all to celebrate those that make a positive difference in their lives every day. The week also provides an opportunity to honor all those who contribute to our nation’s nursing homes – residents, family members, employees and volunteers.

This year’s theme; “Celebrating the Journey” reminds us that every life should be honored, every life’s story needs to be told and that every day we have the chance to begin writing a new chapter. Whether the day is filled with comedy or drama, nursing home residents and caregivers are co-authors and leading characters in each other’s life story. What distinguishes Brookcrest from other health care settings is our focus on caring for the whole person.

“Celebrating the Journey” means holistic care. This is seen when staff give comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, hugs when spirits sag, friendship to lighten a day, confidence when in doubt and companionship to counter fear and loneliness. “Celebrating the Journey” produces meaningful, and most importantly, positive outcomes, satisfaction and an excellent working environment.

We encourage you to share your positive experiences at Brookcrest on our facebook page here!
08
Nurses continue to dominate in people's perceptions of the most trustworthy profession, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Nursing has topped the pollster's list 12 out of 13 years. When asked this year how nurses rated when it comes to meeting their expectations of honesty and ethics, 84% of 1,012 adults responded with “very high” or “high” according to annual polling data from Gallup.

"The public's continued trust in nurses is well-placed, and reflects an appreciation for the many ways nurses provide expert care and advocacy," said Karen A. Daley, RN, Ph.D., president of the American Nurses Association, in a statement. She added that nurses' reputation for trustworthiness is reflected in policy initiatives such as Affordable Care Act, which puts nurses into broader leadership roles.
Physicians and pharmacists also were ranked highly in the poll.

Car salespeople, lobbyists and members of Congress ranked lowest on the list.
30
You seem to be restless all day and feel terrible pain during nighttime. It seems endless, the cycle of pain and immobility, not having the means to do the things you used to do and the stress and boredom that go with it. When you are tormented by the pain of arthritis, you most likely would long for some rest rather than exercise which seems to be exhausting and painful altogether.

It is a mistaken notion that exercise can further damage your joints. On the other hand, doing moderate exercises have shown significant impact in the overall well-being of patients suffering from arthritis. Patients should of course refrain from doing high-impact exercises as this may aggravate their condition. There are, however, a variety of low-impact or moderate exercises that have shown incredible benefits such as reduction of joint pain and the strengthening of muscles around the affected joint. It has also improved overall health and fitness by creating a healthy self-esteem, reducing depressive symptoms, controlling obesity, improving sleep, and boosting energy.


Top 7 Exercise Plans for Arthritis

• Exercises in the pool
• Yoga
• Pilates
• Callanetics
• Qigong
• Tai Qi
• Walking 
 


Water Therapy

Water therapy or pool exercises are great for people with arthritis. The water's buoyancy helps relax the affected joints and aids free movement as it does not put too much strain on your joints while you do the exercises. It would be advisable to use warm water as this dilates the blood vessels and helps increase good blood circulation which is recommended for your swollen joints.

Yoga

The practice of yoga originated in India more than 3,000 years ago. This is one of the mind-body integrating movement practices that have spiritual origins. The word yoga is derived from Sanskrit; which means to "yoke," or unify the three mantras of mind, body, and spirit. This is an alternative to traditional exercise which mainly focuses on bodily strength and endurance. Yoga is a combination of physical movement exercises, spiritual cleansing, and certain lifestyle modifications. It is centered on having the chakras aligned in achieving equilibrium in your holistic frame of well-being.

Pilates

The essential principle of pilates focuses on breathing and body awareness. This program widely promotes spinal health. This can also be customized to fit your need especially if you have swollen and painful joints to begin with. This is done by contracting your muscles without mobilizing your joints.

Callanetics

Callanetics is a non-impact exercise regimen which was developed by Callan Pickney in 1980 that incorporates small yet precise pulses or movements for those who want to shape up as well as improve their arthritic symptoms. It is proven to improve the conditions of people with scoliosis, osteoporosis, arthritis, and Crone's disease. 
 
Qigong

Qigong is a traditional Chinese medicine treatment like that of acupuncture. Qi means "breath of life" and gong means "achievement". It supports the notion that good health is derived from a free flowing qi system while diseases could mean that there is blockage in the natural flow. It also includes proper breathing techniques, physical poses, as well as a good focus of intention. The benefits derived from this program include increased mobility of the affected joints, less inflammation or swelling, reduction of pain and tenderness, decreased anxiety, and an overall state of well-being.

Tai Qi

One of the principles of eastern arts is Tai Qi. Same with Qigong, this also integrates the importance of combining both physical and mental exercises to be able to acquire holistic and balanced positive results. This is a low-impact exercise technique which also involves deep breathing as well as visualization exercises coupled with stretching regimen and cardio workout. This has proven to decrease stress as well as reduce tension, stress, and arthritic symptoms such as joint pain, inflammation, tenderness, and the like. It thrives in the principle that to heal the body and alleviate bodily toxins, one must deal with the inner self and free ourselves of emotional baggage or stressors that could have caused us these diseases in the first place.

Walking

Walking has always been the simplest and basic form of exercise that almost anyone can do. No trainings or coaching needed whatsoever. This is great to clear our minds of worthless thoughts and help strengthen our flexibility and endurance as well. A breath of fresh air is what we need when we want to rejuvenate and think. Just make sure that you have the appropriate walking shoes with good support and shock absorbency. You determine the pace and how far you walk. Do not overwork your legs though; just be cautious because it might aggravate rather than help if you are not careful. Develop a rhythm and enjoy the walk. You can do this with your wife or husband; it would be a fun and intimate activity for both of you.

These exercise regimens alone would not be a guarantee that your symptoms will be improved. This should be supported by a healthy diet, plenty of rest, water therapy, drinking multivitamins and food supplements, and having a positive mental attitude. You will go places as long as you have faith. It may be a long and rigorous ride, but it will be well worth it along the way.

Written by Cristian Stan for http://www.seniorslist.com
13

Daily Activities after Hip Replacement Surgery

Surgery to replace a damaged hip joint offers many people the opportunity to regain lost function and to return to daily activities with increased ease and comfort, but the 6-8 week recovery period requires many changes in the way you carry out your daily activities. Occupational therapists can help by teaching new ways to move safely during recovery and by providing ingenious equipment for activities such as bathing, cooking, and dressing.

Why Is Occupational Therapy The Preferred Service For People Recovering From Hip Replacement Surgery?


Occupational therapy education is based on the physical and psychological implications of illness and injury and their effects on people's ability to perform the tasks of daily living. The clinician's knowledge of adapting tasks and modifying the environment to compensate for functional limitations is used to increase the involvement of clients and to promote safety and success.

During rehabilitation and as you prepare to return home, your occupational therapist will:

Instruct You in the Proper Seating Position

It is important not to bend forward in your chair or cross your knees or ankles until your doctor gives permission. Sit in a raised chair or an elevated surface for maximum safety and comfort.

Teach You How to Use a Walker

• Teach how much weight to put on the operated leg and how to keep your hip properly aligned.
• Demonstrate safe techniques for entering and exiting from a car
• Teach you methods for transferring from the walker to a chair, a bed, or a bath chair in the tub or shower
• Educate your family and caregivers about your surgical hip precautions and the best way to help you

Provide You with Equipment for Dressing

• a dressing stick to pull on underwear or slacks without bending from the waist
• a sock aid to position and draw a sock or stocking onto the operated leg
• a shoe horn to put on shoes without bending at the waist

Demonstrate Safe Techniques for Getting Into and Out of Bed and Positioning the Hip Properly While Sleeping

• A firm bed that is not too low is the most safe and comfortable option.

Suggest Tips for Completing Household Tasks Easily and Safely

• carry hot liquids in covered containers
• slide objects along the counter rather than lifting them
• sit on a high stool when working at the counter
• use a reacher to pick up objects from the floor
• use a basket or bag attached to your walker to free your hands
• remove scatter rugs to prevent tripping.




If you are considering hip replacement surgery, contact Brookcrest to get on our “Preferred Waitlist”. You can call the Admissions Office at (616)531-4999, and we can get preliminary information and find out whether you would prefer a private room in a quieter area or a semi-private room on our more active main hall. While we can make no guarantees that we will have a bed available, we can start making plans to accommodate you.

The 32-bed Brookcrest Rehab Wing offers 10 private rooms for short-term rehab clients, individual one-on-one therapy, higher staff-to-client ratios than 95% of other facilities in Michigan, a television and telephone for each bed, free Wi-Fi for computers, and the best staff in the area! 
 

03

April is National Occupational Therapy Month.  Nearly one-third of all occupational therapists work with older adults. They perform many types of activities, employing many types of therapies, with the overriding goal of helping older adults regain or maintain a level of independence that will allow them to age in place for as long as possible.

Occupational Therapy is rehabilitation “above the waist.”  It helps with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) like dressing, grooming, eating, and cleaning.

Occupational Therapy services also include:

·          ADL evaluations

·        Cognitive status evaluations

·        Therapeutic exercise programs

·        Home environment safety evaluations

·        Perceptual motor & visual deficit training

·        Adaptive equipment management & education

·        Home safety & modification education

·        Energy conservation & work simplification education

·        Upper extremity splinting, positioning, joint protection

·        Sensory/fine motor upper extremity deficit training

Occupational therapy has been proven effective for seniors living with various medical conditions or recovering from surgery. In addition to working with individuals to increase strength or regain important life supporting skills, occupational therapists work throughout the community to ensure that everyone is doing what it can to help older adults maintain their independence.

If your life is better because of occupational therapy, wouldn't you like to help other people become more aware of what occupational therapy can accomplish?

27

The Sandwich Generation - Care for the Caregiver

 

"The Sandwich Generation": those caught between caring for their aging parents and their own children. Many Baby Boomers (the generation born between 1946-1961) find themselves a part of this Sandwich Generation. The typical Baby Boomer is a 46 year old female, having some college education, and working full time. This is the typical demographic of the person trying to balance a full time job, caring for elderly parents and caring for their own growing children. It goes without saying that trying to juggle these responsibilities comes at a cost-usually to the caregiver. But who cares for the caregiver?

  If you find yourself in this group, it is very important to remember to take care of yourself. If you don't, the stress of juggling so many responsibilities will take its toll on you. Remember, you are no good to anyone if you are not taking care of yourself.  There are several things you should do to take care of yourself. The first is to eat well. Avoid junk food and simple carbs as they can raise insulin levels and actually increase your stress levels.

Include yourself on the list of people you take care of- make yourself a priority. You can't provide care for others if you let your own health and well-being decline. Taking care of yourself must become a necessity, not an indulgence. Thinking of yourself this way may seem foreign but remember, it's not optional.

Remember to spend time with family and friends. You deserve that time and it can fortify you to continue as an effective caregiver. Many people find themselves spread too thin and when something needs to give, it's usually the time spent with family and friends.

Call upon brothers and/or sisters to share the load. In time, caring for an aging parent can become impossible to do alone, especially if you work full time. Speak with siblings and ask them how they can participate in your parents' care. It's not a burden for only one.

Consider utilizing the services of a home care agency. Affordable in-home care is available to relieve you of some of the daily activities of living. Help is available for assistance with bathing, cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, and even general companionship. This can be a low cost way to free you up to spend quality time with your aging parents.

 Seek the advice of an elder law attorney. This can be money well spent. Make sure wills are drawn up. Consider obtaining any documents required to designate a power of attorney should it become necessary.

The help of a Geriatric Care Manager can be a valuable asset, especially to Boomers who live a long distance from their aging parents. Geriatric Care Managers are professionals that specialize in issues related to seniors. Care managers function as an advocate for their clients through needs assessment, problem solving, care coordination and referrals for other services as needed.

Being the caregiver of an aging loved one is never an easy task, but by making yourself a priority and utilizing the help of others, you can handle the takes healthier and longer.

Written By : Murphy Ortiz for http://www.seniorslist.com/

 

22
 

MARCH is National Social Work Month

  
Sunset Communities and Services is proud to recognize March as National Social Work Month. Older adults constitute a valuable, often under-recognized resource in society. They offer a vast array of experiences, skills, and creativity. Social workers play a key role in supporting older adults’ civic engagement and in creating aging-friendly communities.

Often, families of all descriptions struggle to provide the best long-term care options for their loved ones—especially after a short term rehabilitation stay. Caring for older relatives requires planning and support, but most families report not being fully prepared for the challenge or knowing how to access the support they need. Social workers are here to help. 

Social workers play an integral role in care coordination for older adults, especially those living with advanced illness or multiple chronic conditions, by facilitating access to health and psychosocial services that improve health outcomes and support a safe living environment.

Social workers also interact with family caregivers of older adults to help them cope with multiple challenges, including grief and loss, mental health concerns, chronic physical illness and disability, economic insecurity, and family caregiving.

During this month we would like to recognize our social workers, who seek to provide your loved one with an improved quality of life and well-being. 
 
 

13

Reducing Your Risk Of Chronic Kidney Disease Is Easier Than You Might Think

 
Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. They are located near the middle of your back, just below the rib cage. Your kidneys are a filtering system, that filters about 200 quarts of blood each day. They remove about two quarts of waste products and excess fluid in the form of urine. In addition to removing wastes and fluid from your body, your kidneys perform these other important jobs:

• They regulate your body water and other chemicals in your blood such as sodium, potassium,  
    phosphorus and calcium
• They remove drugs and toxins introduced into your body
• They release hormones into your blood to help your body:

1. regulate blood pressure
2. make red blood cells
3. promote strong bones

Damaged kidneys can lead to complications like anemia (low red blood cell count), weak bones, poor nutrition and nerve damage. Chronic kidney disease can be brought on by diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders. Also, kidney disease increases your risk of having heart and blood vessel disease. These problems may happen slowly over a long period of time. Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. If kidney disease gets worse, it may lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.

Anyone can get chronic kidney disease at any age. However, some people are more likely than others to develop kidney disease. You may have an increased risk for kidney disease if you:

• Have diabetes
• Have high blood pressure
• Have a family history of chronic kidney disease
• Are older

If you are at risk, there are things you can do to prevent chronic kidney disease. You should speak to your doctor about how to reduce your chances of developing kidney disease. You can also:

• Have regular checkups by your doctor or clinic
• Follow your prescribed treatment for diabetes and/or high blood pressure
• Lose excess weight by following a healthy diet and regular exercise program
• Stop smoking, if you are a smoker
• Avoid using large amounts of over-the-counter pain-relieving medications
• Make some changes in your diet, such as eating less salt and less protein
• Limit your intake of alcoholic drinks.


07

Hypertension & Diabetes: The Road to Renal Failure

 

There are several conditions and diseases that can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD). Hypertension and diabetes are just two of the most common causes. When we talk about hypertension, we are talking about blood pressure. Blood pressure is determined by the force of blood being pumped from the heart, and force of blood against the walls of the arteries. When uncontrolled, blood pressure can be life threatening. Blood pressure that is high can make the heart work too hard, harden the walls of arteries, and can lead to a stroke or brain hemorrhage. It can also cause the kidneys to function poorly or not at all. A blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher is considered high. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg.

More than 65 million American adults have high blood pressure according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). The disease is more common among African Americans, and can lead to worse complications.  Therefore, African Americans are at greater risk, not only to develop the disease, but also to suffer its consequences. African Americans are more likely to develop the type of hypertension that can be controlled by salt restriction. It is especially important for African Americans to undergo screening tests for hypertension and seek treatment early.

Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure can damage the blood vessels and nephrons (functional units of the kidneys) in the kidneys. This causes the nephrons to stop doing their job of filtering out wastes, sodium and excess fluids from the blood. With no place to go, the extra fluids and sodium linger in the bloodstream, putting extra pressure on the walls of the blood vessels, and raising the blood pressure. This extra pressure damages the kidneys even further.

On Your Next Visit to the Doctor…

Remember to Ask:

1. What is my blood pressure reading number? (a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher is considered high)

2. What should be my blood pressure goal?

3. What is a healthy weight for me?

4. Is it safe for me to start doing regular physical activity?

5. Would you recommend I start taking blood pressure medication and if so, what is the name of it?

6. Should I change my diet in any way?

Diabetes:

Diabetes is another condition that can lead to CKD. The American Diabetes Association describes diabetes as a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms seem harmless.

Symptoms of Diabetes:

•         Frequent urination

•         Excessive thirst

•         Extreme hunger

•         Unusual weight loss

•         Increased fatigue

•         Irritability

•         Blurry vision

If detected early, treatment can decrease the chance of developing the many complications of diabetes. Not everyone with diabetes develops kidney disease. Factors that can influence kidney disease development include genetics, blood glucose (also called blood sugar) control and blood pressure. It’s important to your health to control your blood glucose. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), keeping your glucose level close to normal helps prevent or delay some diabetes problems, such as eye disease, kidney disease and nerve damage. One thing that can help you control your glucose level is to keep track of it. You can do this by:

•            Testing your own glucose a number of times each day (self-monitoring blood glucose). Many people with diabetes test their glucose 2 to 4 times a day.

•           Getting an A1C test from your healthcare provider about every 3 months if you take insulin and at least every 6 months if you don’t take insulin.

It is very important that diabetic patients keep tight control of their blood pressure. Blood pressure has a dramatic effect on the rate at which kidney disease progresses. Even a mild rise in blood pressure can quickly make kidney disease worsen. Four ways to lower your blood pressure are:

1. Losing weight,

2. Eating less salt,

3. Avoiding alcohol and tobacco,

4. Getting regular exercise.

One of the first signs of renal failure is when your kidneys leak small amounts of protein called albumin into the urine. This is called microalbuminuria. If the condition worsens, overt proteinuria can develop. It is vital to see a doctor regularly. The doctor can check blood pressure, urine (for protein), blood (for waste products), and organs for other complications of diabetes.

Again, diabetes and hypertension are just two conditions that can lead to CKD. There are many other conditions that can lead to renal failure.  For more information go to http://www.aakp.org/

Written by Jerome A. Bailey

This article originally appeared in the 2006 Special Edition of Kidney Beginnings: The Magazine.

 

01

Depression or Dementia?

Determining whether a loved one has dementia or depression can often be difficult.  This is because the two illnesses have so many similar symptoms.  And studies have suggested that as many as half of dementia patients also have depression.  So with so much overlap how do you determine if your loved one has dementia, depression, or possibly both?  Here is some information that can help in making that determination.

Diagnosis

  First let us discuss the common symptoms between the two illnesses.  Anxiety, irritability, poor sleeping habits, agitation, apathy, difficulty concentrating, and memory loss are all common symptoms.  The key difference is that dementia affects cognitive ability while depression affects emotions.  So someone with depression may not want to drive the car, pay the bills, or pay attention to details while someone with dementia simply can’t do these things.  And to further complicate things; a person who experiences the early signs of memory loss may build up so much anxiety and fear that it actually launches them into depression.

So here are some tell-tale signs to look out for to determine if a doctor’s visit is necessary: fatigue, sleeping too much, frequent crying episodes, sad feelings, hopelessness, poor appetite, overeating, and thoughts of dying or suicide.  When these symptoms last for at least two weeks, it’s time to take action.  According to Leslie Kernisan, M.D. there are five questions you should ask a loved one if you suspect depression:

  • Do you often feel helpless?
  • Do you often get bored?
  • Are you basically satisfied with your life?
  • Do you feel worthless the way you are now?
  • Do you prefer to stay at home rather than go out? 

 Talking to a Love One

How do you bring up the topic of depression to a loved one?  It’s important to understand that most elderly people don’t want to talk about depression simply because it’s embarrassing.  So let them know it’s normal and they have nothing to fear.  Showing empathy and actively listening make it easier for them to open up and asking open questions such as “you seem more tired and down than usual, are you okay?” may help to get them talking.

 Treatment Options

There are many options available to helping someone who is experiencing depression.  First, this diagnosis should be confirmed by a medical doctor.  And depending on the severity the doctor can recommend treatment options.  Besides prescribing antidepressants, there are other ways to help as well.  Exposure to fresh air and sunlight are effective as well as physical exercise.  Simply planning daily activities around the senior’s interests can help to get them involved and excited again.  Joining a support group can let your loved know they aren’t alone in their feelings and many other people are going through the exact same thing.  Going to counseling may also help in resolving some depression issues.  The most important thing is to just take action.

If you suspect your loved one is experiencing depression please speak up and address the issue.  By getting involved you may save your loved one years of hopelessness and dramatically improve their quality of life.


Written by Stephanie Roberts for
SeniorsList.com

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The official US government website for Medicare has tons of useful information regarding health & drug plans, facilities & doctors, and services & benefits. It’s also a great resource if you have questions about the open enrollment period that just ended in December.

Did you change plans for 2012? You should have already gotten your new membership card in the mail. If you haven't, contact your new plan. 

Did you miss Open Enrollment? Learn about other times when you can make changes to your Medicare coverage.  
 
You can switch once to a 5-star Medicare plan anytime during the year. Find 5-star plans in your area at www.medicare.gov.

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Brookcrest has recently converted several suites on Brookside, our short-term rehabilitation unit, to private rooms.  We now have 10 private rooms to offer clients who are recovering from knee replacements, hip fractures, shoulder surgery, chronic heart failure, spinal fusions, stroke recovery and more.

The private rooms are spacious and include many luxuries including 32” HD TVs with satellite service, direct-line private phones and free Wi-Fi. All of the rooms have been or will be getting new paint and flooring, and new furniture has been order as well.  A majority of the rooms also provide an expansive view of our natural water wonderland; the Buck creek flood way! 

Brookcrest has established an amazing reputation over the last 35 years as a non-profit faith-based organization that provides on-on-one therapy, with a higher staff-to-patient ration than 95% of other facilities in the state. In recent years, we have seen increased competition and new facilities being built in our area. Despite our incredibly compassion staff, some clients have opted to go to these newer facilities because they offered private rooms.

Brookcrest, because of the flood way, is not able to rebuild or expand, but we are proud to be able to offer private rooms as well.  By creating private rooms we can give the people what they want while continuing to provide quality care in the spirit of Christian love. 

We are planning an open house for employees and neighbors once all of the rooms are complete and the new furniture has been delivered. In the meantime, we invite you to stop in and see the progress and upgrades that we are making here at Brookcrest for our short-term rehab clients!

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7 Safety Tips for Fall Prevention

Fall Prevention
Trips and falls are the leading cause of injury related hospitalizations and deaths according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Learning to prevent these falls can help seniors lead more active and independent lives. These great tips will help prevent falls and help seniors become more aware of potential hazards and how to avoid them. 

  1. Keep your hands empty while walking whenever possible. Free hands allow you greater access to grab on to furniture, walls, or rails for support when needed. It also allows you to be centered and balanced. Full hands might unevenly distribute the weight you are carrying and may result in falls of their own volition. Either way, full hands limit your ability to catch yourself from falling. 
  2. Remove clutter and obstructions from all walking pathways in your home. The more things you must maneuver around the greater the odds are that you will slip, trip, or fall due to miscalculations or being thrown off balance.
  3. Wear sturdy shoes that provide active support. Make sure your shoes fit your feet and always wear shoes that have backs. Avoid house slippers, flip flops, and going around without shoes or walking around with only socks on your feet. Now is the time to really invest in good shoes for your feet that will provide support and comfort. This is not the time to visit the discount store. Make this a solid investment that is designed to last. 
  4. Install sturdy and supportive rails on all stairs or steps in the home. Even if it's only a short step down it's important that you have something to grab onto for support going up or down the steps. It is also important to keep the steps/stairs free of clutter and well lit at all times. Also make a point of installing grab bars in the shower and toilet area of the bathroom for additional support and in case of slips or falls.
  5. Install motion or sound activated lights in your home so you aren't walking around in the dark or groping blindly for switches. Motion activated lights will also go off after several minutes of inactivity as well so you do not need to turn them off upon leaving the room. Also install nightlights in all rooms that come on automatically whenever it is dark.
  6. Do daily exercises that promote balance. A loss of balance is one of the most common reasons for falls among seniors. The more frequently you do exercises that are designed to promote a sense of balance the lower the odds are that you will have a fall for this reason. 
  7. Don't climb step ladders or stools. Instead of climbing to reach things that are high up or located on top shelves, consider investing in a grab bar or asking someone to come over and help you rearrange your kitchen so that frequently used items are within easy reach and those that are rarely used are stored higher.
Senior fall prevention may not seem all that important today but if the time ever comes these tips will seem critical. Don't wait until it's too late to get the perfect backup plan for your independent lifestyle.

Written by John Nunnally for www.seniorslist.com
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