COVID-19 Vaccine

Tips For Talking About The COVID-19 Vaccine

As the COVID-19 Vaccine becomes more readily available, it is more likely that you or a loved one will schedule an appointment to get one. While it is not required, it is highly suggested that elderly with underlying health conditions receive the vaccine. This includes many seniors who are diagnosed with dementia. As the time draws nearer for you to get vaccinated, here are some tips for talking about the COVID-19 vaccine.

1. Encourage Open Discussion

If you and your senior relatives have different opinions and feelings about the COVID-19 vaccine, certain strategies can help bridge communication gaps, address concerns, and invite discussion. The following active listening traits can enhance your conversation:

  • Make sure your loved one knows that you have considered and understand their stance on getting the vaccine. Statements like “I understand your concerns” or “I know you’re uncertain” can be helpful in these discussions.
  • Paraphrasing and asking for clarification is a great way to actively listen. Reiterating what your parent says shows you’re paying attention, and provides an opportunity to explain and clear up misunderstandings. Phrases like “It sounds like…” and “So, what I hear you saying…” can be effective openings to summarize a loved one’s points and further conversation.
  • Asking questions. Seek to better understand your loved one’s point of view by asking specific questions such as “What about the vaccine concerns you?” This can deepen discussion and provide reassurance.

2. Discuss The Vaccine’s Efficacy

It’s widely understood that seniors are at increased risk for serious illness and death from the coronavirus, which is highly contagious.

According to the FDA, which ensures vaccine safety, the Moderna vaccine has a 94.1% efficacy rate. Meanwhile, the Pfizer vaccine boasts 95% efficacy.

It is ultimately every individual’s choice as to whether or not they choose to become vaccinated, however it is always best to be an informed decision maker.

3. Address Safety & Risk Concerns

Research suggests side effects of the vaccine are minimal, such as pain at the injection site or a low-grade fever. According to a study of 40 older adults published in the New England Journal of Medicine, no seniors reported adverse effects a month after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, early studies show that older adults may be at a lower risk of vaccine side effects when compared with younger people.

4. Rely On Trusted, Expert Sources

Avoid becoming overwhelmed by identifying one or a few credible, unbiased sources.

Seniors and their families can seek guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the World Health Organization (WHO). A trusted local medical institution may also be a good source.

5. Talk To Your Doctor

Every person who is considering the vaccine should talk to their doctor first. Sometimes, a personal outside perspective can provide much-needed information and counsel.

Not only can a doctor share medical expertise, but they can also ensure your loved one  doesn’t have allergies to a COVID-19 vaccine ingredient or other health conditions that could increase their risk of vaccine side effects.

6. Consider The Social Benefits & Return To Normalcy

Getting vaccinated won’t instantly transport recipients to their pre-pandemic lifestyle. There won’t be an immediate “back to normal”. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, older adults may have missed out on seeing family and friends and participating in countless activities. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine can be a step toward returning to beloved hobbies and rebuilding in-person social connections.

At Home Activities

At Home Activities & Games For Seniors

In the last few months (actually the last year), many people have been forced to spend more time at home. While this is not all bad, it can become mundane or boring. Even though you or a loved one may be stuck at home, there are still plenty of things to do to keep your mind and body moving. This article will outline some activities and games for seniors that are helpful and fun to do at home.

At Home Games For Seniors

  • Spelling Tray: Use a metal tray and spell out words with magnetic letters.
  • Matching: Matching or memory games are a great way to stimulate and work on short term memory.
  • Computer Games: Finding computer games or apps that encourage brain training is convenient for everyone. They are a great way to exercise those mental muscles.
  • Puzzles
  • Trivia games: Trivia games and other forms of board games helped stave off mental decline by promoting activity changes in the temporal and hippocampus regions of the brain

Exercise and Outdoor Activities For Seniors

  • Go for a walk
  • Ride a bike
  • Work in the garden
  • Wash the car
  • Swim in the pool
  • Practice Tai Chi
  • Practice Yoga

Music & Art Ideas For Seniors

  • Keep a journal
  • Work on crafts
  • Use playdough to create “sculptures”
  • Create a memory box
  • String beads for jewelry
  • Paint by numbers
  • Read a book or listen to a book

Whatever you might decide to do, there IS plenty to do! Being stuck at home does not have to be boring and sedentary. There are plenty of ways to get creative and moving! Hopefully you will discover what works best for you.

Prevent Dehydration In Seniors

Preventing Dehydration For Seniors

Dehydration can be a serious issue, especially for seniors. The simplest way to identify and prevent dehydration in seniors is to watch if you are feeling thirsty. It is important to respond to your feeling of thirst when it appears. Keep a water bottle nearby and take a swig whenever thirst strikes. Better yet: Try to drink water regularly throughout the day so you never reach that level. You can try setting personal hydration goals, say by challenging yourself to finish the bottle before lunch and drink another one before you head home in the evening.

Check Your Urine Color for Signs That You’re Dehydrated

Assessing the color of your urine when you use the bathroom can clue you in to your level of hydration. Typically, the darker your urine is, the less water you have in your body. You want your urine to be as clear and light as possible.

8 Glasses a Day and Then Some

e have all heard that the standard amount of water to drink per day is 8 glasses. As time has gone on, medical professionals have determined that this may not be enough for some to stay hydrated. The amount of fl oz you should consume per day varies from individual to individual. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that women drink 11.4 cups of water daily and men have 15.6 cups. The exact amount that’ll be right for you depends on a few things, including age and activity level.

Drink Extra

When a person is exercising regularly, sick or in hot weather, they should increase their intake of water. When we exercise, we get rid of a lot of the water in our bodies. It is important to replenish this supply after exercising. If you are sick, your body is likely attempting to fight off foreign bacteria. Water can help with this. It can also help to flush out bacteria that we do not want in our bodies. When you are outside enjoying the sun, you might not notice how hot you are. It is important to stay ahead of the heat and consume more H2O.

Think Beyond Water

There are other ways to get liquids in your body. Eating certain foods can help with water intake. Foods such as watermelon, celery, berries, grapes and lettuce are all high in water. You could drink seltzer waters along with juices or coffee. You could add hydrating supplements to your water. There are many different kinds of hydrating powders that can be added to water to make it more quenching.

Hydration is key to staying healthy and alert. Seniors are at greater risk for dehydration because of how body composition changes with age. Water is necessary for all bodily functions and we can have serious health consequences if we aren’t getting enough of it.

COVID19 Vaccine

What You Should Know About COVID-19 Vaccinations

It may have been more than a year since you have been able to see someone you love. The elderly community, particularly those in facilities, have been greatly affected by the global pandemic. Many facilities have had no guests through their front doors since March of 2020. Now, with vaccines becoming available, it seems as if there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This article will outline what you or a loved one needs to know about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Who Can Get the COVID-19 Vaccination?

Georgia residents who fall in the 65+ age range are currently eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines. The state of Georgia has formed a multi-step plan that will consist of phasing in the vaccine. The first phase will allow healthcare workers, residents and staff of long-term care facilities and law enforcement, firefighters, and first responders to receive the vaccine.

How Can A Person Get the Vaccine?

If you are eligible, you can find information on the site locations list online here.  As supplies increase, the vaccine will be offered in a variety of locations across Georgia, including doctor’s offices, federally qualified health centers, health clinics, retail pharmacies and mobile clinics. Georgia residents are being encouraged to call their local health departments for assistance with scheduling an appointment for the vaccine.

After Getting Vaccinated

After receiving both rounds (there are two) of the vaccination, individuals should still proceed with caution. Masks should still be worn and social distancing should still be adhered to. The vaccine is just one tool that can help slow the spread of the coronavirus. According to the CDC, it could take months for the population to build up immunity.

One thing everyone can agree on is that this pandemic has impacted everyone’s lives in some way. Here at Orchard at Brookhaven we have stood by our residents’ sides every step of the way. If you think a community like the one we offer could be the right place for someone you love, please contact us today.

Seniors Active During Winter

Ideas For Seniors To Stay Active During The Winter

In the cold months of the year, when going outside is not as much of an option, people may find it difficult to get adequate exercise. Thinking of outdoor activities can be challenging, but it is still possible to stay active, even when it’s snowing! Older adults shouldn’t let the winter months turn them into couch potatoes; there are so many health benefits that come from regular exercise, so it shouldn’t be ignored. Below are some ideas for seniors to help stay active during the winter.

Find An Indoor Pool

If at all possible, find an indoor pool to use. Swimming is a low-impact activity which is great for the joints and the muscles, and it’s especially beneficial for people suffering from arthritis.Water exercises have been shown to increase strength, flexibility, and agility among older adults, as well as improve cholesterol levels.

Try Exercises & Stretches At Home

If going to a pool or gym is not possible, there are other activities that can be done at home. In the age of the internet, looking up exercise videos is always a possibility. Yoga is a fantastic way for older adults to improve flexibility, improve balance, and keep bones healthy. There are also a variety of stretches and balance exercises that can be done at home to improve mobility and reduce the risk of falls. Bodyweight exercises or other calisthenics like sit-ups or squats are also great ways that older adults can improve strength and coordination.

Look Into Home Equipment

Investing in some exercise equipment at home can be a great way for older adults to add some extra strength or cardio training to their regimen. A basic pair of dumbbells can be used to burn fat and build muscle in the arms, chest, and back with various exercises. Larger machines like ellipticals or stationary bikes are also great for improving cardiovascular health. These machines are better for older adults than treadmills, as they’re lower impact and aren’t as hard on the knees.

Just because outdoor conditions aren’t ideal during the winter months, it doesn’t mean that older adults can’t stay active. Whether it’s exercising at the pool or the gym, walking around the mall, or working out at home, any type of exercise is better than none. It may be tempting to take it easy during the winter, but older adults need exercise just as much as anyone else, if not more so. Orchard at Brookhaven has programs to ensure that our residents are getting adequate exercise when it’s cold outside. Contact us to learn more about programs and approach to care.

Holidays and Covid-19

The Holiday Season & COVID-19

As the holiday season is fast approaching, it is likely that you are beginning to make plans with friends and family. Because COVID-19 is still a prevalent consideration, your plans for this year may look a little different. Perhaps you are figuring out how to handle the holidays with your loved ones because the risk of exposure is threatening to their health. You are not alone in these considerations, and this article is going to explore some potential options for getting together with families, but keeping your holiday season special and meaningful.

The Holiday Season & COVID-19 Expectations

  • The stress of the holiday season (especially in a year that could have been financially strained) combined with the stress of caregiving for someone with dementia can really affect a person. This year, it is especially important to keep in mind your own health and safety. You need to make your own mental and physical health a priority while planning to carry out your holiday traditions and caring for someone else.
  • Set up a time to Zoom with, FaceTime or call other family members. You could even start an email chain. Whatever your method of communication may be, talk about the holidays and your family’s plans. Make sure everyone is on the same page and is understanding of the situation your family is facing.
  • Give yourself permission to do only what you can reasonably and safely manage — this likely means much smaller and more casual gatherings, if at all. No one should expect you to maintain every holiday tradition or event, especially during a pandemic.

Celebrating with a Safe Distance

There are many ways to celebrate the holidays from a distance. Again, while it may not like look a “normal”, there are many memories that can be made.

  • Continue holiday traditions by dropping off favorite baked goods or a care package in a way that avoids close contact, such as leaving the special delivery at the person’s front door.
  • Schedule your own “holiday parade” and ask family members and friends to drive by the older adult’s home with homemade signs or other festive decorations.
  • Plan an outdoor visit with hot chocolate and blankets.
  • Go outside for a walk in the neighborhood to enjoy holiday lights and decorations.
  • Create and send holiday cards.

Connect through technology

  • Use video call software like Zoom or Skype to gather virtually. Since it can be difficult to have conversations with larger groups over video, adding some structure to the call can help. Play a trivia game, sing carols or share pictures from past gatherings.
  • Plan a video call to cook or bake a special recipe together.
  • Record and send a “video holiday card” that includes personalized messages.
  • If your loved one struggles with technology, ask a primary caregiver if they can help facilitate a video call.

Holidays can be meaningful, enriching times for both the person with dementia and his or her family. Maintaining or adapting family rituals and traditions helps all family members feel a sense of belonging and family identity. There are many ways that this holiday season can be adapted to be safe and fun. The faculty and staff at Orchard at Brookhaven are committed to helping you and your family keep as many traditions as possible. We are happy to support in any way. If you have questions about how we can support, please contact us.

Best Physical Activities For Seniors

Best Physical Activities For Seniors

There are many well-known benefits of being physically active. One of the best ways to combat the progression of dementia is by consistently moving your body. Regular movement can help with mood swings, brain function, sleep and heart health. While it may be difficult to determine the best exercise for you or a loved one, there are a wide range of activities to engage in that can help with physical health.

Indoor Activities For Senior

Not all exercise has to take place out of doors. There are many things to choose from that take place in the nice, cool air. Below is an extensive list of activities you can do indoors that will help to keep you strong and healthy.

  • Indoor gym
  • Yoga
  • Bowling
  • Walking around a shopping mall or large building
  • Pilates
  • Youtube workouts
  • Play the Wii
  • Basic balance exercises

Outdoor Activities For Seniors

One of the greatest benefits of being outside is the sun! Why not kill two birds with one stone? Being outside provides many opportunities for exercise and beautiful scenery. Below is a list of different activities to do on a nice, sunny day.

  • Practice a sport with a younger child
  • Garden
  • Walk/jog/run
  • Canoeing/Kayaking
  • Ride a bike
  • Swim
  • Go for a hike
  • Play golf
  • Pickleball
  • Rake leaves

Chair Based Exercises For Seniors

For Seniors who may have mobility issues, there are some chair based exercises that can help with pain relief, muscle tightness and joint stiffness. The list below are some suggestions on how to use a chair to help with mobility issues.

  • Stretch your back
  • Work your knees
  • Use a resistance band on upper and lower body
  • Meditation
  • Sit and Stand
  • Practice good posture
  • Build shoulder strength with seated press/raises
  • Stretch and strengthen the knees
  • Use a light-weight medicine ball to strengthen core

While this article does not cover every type of exercise that you could do, it is a starting place. Staying active is so important for overall health and can be especially beneficial for those who are struggling with memory loss. Orchard at Brookhaven offers daily activities that can keep the body moving. If you are interested in learning more about our community and activity programs, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Oral Care and Dementia

Oral Care and Dementia

Caring for someone with dementia can be very involved. One aspect of health that can easily be overlooked is oral care. This aspect of a senior’s health is important to keep up with consistently so that other health issues do not develop as a result of neglect. An abscess in the mouth can lead to many serious complications, cause undue pain and suffering, and interfere with a senior’s ability to get proper nutrition. Because dental problems can worsen quickly, every caregiver should make dentist appointments and daily dental care an important part of their loved one’s care plan.

Teeth Cleanings For Seniors

Most routine cleaning is covered under insurance. Because daily brushing can be a difficult task to get people with dementia to do, it is suggested that extra cleanings are scheduled. These scheduled visits can help with the upkeep of good oral health that includes prevention of plaque and tartar build up and prevention of serious gum diseases. Routine and frequent appointments are especially important to combat already existing oral complications.

As dementia progresses, elderly people can become increasingly irritated and defiant in relation to cleanings. This is expected, as dentist appointments can be stressful and uncomfortable. If you are able, attend appointments with your loved one. You should also seek out a dentist who is experienced and comfortable working with people who have dementia. This can make the entire visit more comfortable and smooth. Eventually trips to the dentist will become too much. When this day arrives, you can assist your loved one with flossing, brushing and rinsing as much as possible.

4 Oral Care & Dementia Tips

While a dementia patient’s health is usually a caregiver’s main focus, quality of life is equally important. The following tips are the best way to maintain good oral health from day to day.

  1. Allow consumption of sweets (in moderation) – With the doctor’s permission, there is no reason not to live a little. You could even have a piece of pie with them!
  2. Drink water after eating foods that are high in sugar – This will help to flush out residual food particles and bacteria, preventing the buildup of tartar and plaque. Proper hydration also helps to keep their mouth moist and inhibit bacterial growth.
  3. Eat lots of fruit – surprisingly, this is a great too for maintaining dental hygiene. Ending every meal with small portions of fruit is a great way to incorporate it into their diet.
  4. Floss regularly – While this can be difficult to maintain, it is one of the most important parts to the oral care routine. You could even purchase disposable floss tools that can be efficient and convenient.

All the above suggestions may not work for everyone, but these strategies can certainly help with oral care for people with dementia. Hopefully these tips can help you develop or adapt a similar plan that works for you and your loved one. Orchard at Brookhaven is a luxury assisted living facility in Atlanta that’s here to help you and your loved one create or implement a plan. If you think our community may be the place for you, please call us today.

The Vegan Diet and Alzheimer’s Disease

The Vegan Diet and Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease characterized by loss of memory and other cognitive functions. More elderly individuals die from this disease than any other. Two common characteristics of this disease are the formation of amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain. The vegan or plant-based diet, is characterized by eating foods that do not come from animals or are not made with products that come from animals.

What people are eating has proved to be an important factor in people developing dementia. Studies have shown that people whose diets are high in animal meat are closely related with Alzheimer’s. Along with AD, populations of peoples who consume a large amount of animal meat also are associated with obesity and high cholesterol: two health issues that can cause further complications for those with AD. “According to Chicago Health and Aging Project; Washington Heights-Inwood and Columbia Aging Project, New York; and Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging, and Dementia study, Finland; consumption of saturated fatty acids, which mainly come from dairy products and meat, increases the risk of developing AD.”

Tips for Seniors Eating Vegan

Here are some tips that people can follow to ensure that they are eating well.

  • Reduce the number of foods with saturated fats and trans fats. (desserts, cheeses and fried foods)
  • Exchange dairy items for fruits, veggies or legumes.
  • Consume foods containing Vitamin E (nuts, seeds, whole grains, and leafy vegetables).
  • If using multiple vitamins, choose those without iron and copper, and consume iron supplements only when directed by the physician.

As you can see, a diet can greatly affect your physical health. Eating a certain kind of diet can help with many health issues that people may struggle with. Here at Orchard at Brookhaven, we offer foods that fit anyone’s dietary needs. We are happy to work with each one of our residents to create an eating plan that works best for them. If you would like more information about the many services we offer, please contact us today!

Food Delivery Services for Seniors

Food Delivery Services for Seniors

For people with dementia who are living with a family member or alone, food preparation can be an issue. One way to solve this problem is by looking into food delivery services. Food delivery services offer quick and convenient ways to get you or your family the meals that are needed. When the food you need is delivered right to your doorstep, it can make all the difference in the world!

Best Food Delivery Option For Seniors

There is no “one size fits all” for food delivery. Different services come with different options. When considering which food delivery options may be best for you or someone you know, consider the following items:

  • Ability to cook- What services do I or someone else need that fits our ability to cook something?
  • Budget- How much do I want to spend? or How much can I spend?
  • Diet Restrictions- What nutritional guidelines do I need to follow?
  • Frequency- How often do I want the food delivered to place of residence?

Grocery Delivery

Getting to the grocery store can be challenging with regular routines: It’s hard enough to go to work, get the kids to school, and still find time to do laundry and get dinner on the table. If you are a caregiver or someone who has difficulty leaving the house, getting fresh food can feel extra challenging.There are several services who will deliver your groceries right to your doorstep! All you have to do is shop online or using an app. This option is safe and convenient for seniors who don’t want to leave their homes or can no longer drive to the store. The following grocery stores and apps would allow doorstep grocery delivery.

  • Kroger
  • Publix
  • Instacart
  • Shipt
  • Target
  • Walmart

Meal Kit Delivery

You can also have meal kits delivered right to your door. These kits come with everything you might need to cook a delicious dinner. Each meal delivery company provides a type of convenience service that combines the efforts of chefs, nutritionists and personal grocery shoppers, and delivers them into the hands of enthusiastic eaters or willing home kitchen cooks, with weekly menus and delicious, pre portioned fresh ingredients including vegetables and meat for you to easily prepare.The following companies and apps offer meal kit delivery.

  • Blue Apron
  • Hello Fresh
  • Sun Basket
  • Green Chef
  • EveryPlate
  • Freshly

As you can see, there are many, many options for getting fresh, healthy and tasty food if you can’t make it to the grocery store. Many of these options are budget-friendly and easy to set up. Taking the time to choose what’s best for you or your family could save everyone some time and sanity!

Orchard at Brookhaven is a luxury assisted living community in Atlanta Georgia. Our team has been certified and follows the Grind Dining approach and cater to all types of dietary needs. Please contact us to learn more about our community.