Benefits of Positivity

Benefits of Positive Thinking

There are a lot of negative thoughts that can accompany someone who is dealing with dementia or someone who is caring for someone with dementia. This ailment can cause people to be stressed, bitter, angry or sad. These are all negative emotions that can influence the way we see a situation. One way to combat these kinds of feelings is to take on a positive attitude. A positive attitude can bring about positive change or results. When we change our mindset, we can change our lives. Below are listed some of the ways that a positive attitude or positive thinking can benefit an individual.

Benefits of Positive Thinking and Positive Attitudes

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
  • Solution-focused versus problem-focused
  • Increased sense of hope
  • Creates a better environment for those around you

Ways to Be More Positive

Having a positive mindset is not always easy. Many times it is a choice we make daily. While it’s not always the simplest thing to do, there are things you can do to practice positivity. Here are listed some of those practices.

  • Make a gratitude list
  • Read motivational books
  • Watch motivational speeches
  • Meditate
  • Engage in physical activities
  • Identify areas of negativity
  • Talk with a friend
  • Be open to humor
  • Spend time with positive people

These are all ways to increase overall positivity that can help you change the way you see your situation. Usually, these practices can open our minds and our hearts to find the best in any situation.

Positive vs Negative Thinking and Speaking

Below is a chart comparing positive and negative thoughts/words. If you find yourself mostly in the negative column, try using the phrases/thoughts from the positive column.

Negative Positive
I’ve never done it before It’s an opportunity to learn something
It’s too complicated Necessity is the mother of invention
I’m too lazy to get this done. I wasn’t able to fit it into my schedule, but I can re-examine some priorities.
There’s no way it will work. I can try to make it work.
It’s too radical of a change Let’s take a chance.
No one bothers to communicate with me. I’ll see if I can open the channels of communication.
I’m not going to get any better at this. I’ll give it another try.

While some situations are not ideal, there is always a silver lining. We can always do our best to approach new and challenging situations in a positive way. Having a positive outlook on seemingly impossible situations can help us deal with all that we are facing. Here at Orchard at Brookhaven, we want to support your positivity. We seek to find the best in all of our residents and all that they bring to our community. If you are interested in becoming a part of this community, please contact us.

Building Healthy Habits

Building Better Habits

January is the month where most people try and form new and better habits for the new year. Orchard at Brookhaven is committed to finding ways to help both our residents and staff create good living habits for the new year. In this article we’ll discuss some steps for building better habits in the new year.

Building Better Habits

How do most people feel when they start a habit? It’s thrilling at first. We tend to feel more vibrant, more aware, and more energetic than usual. But how much more rewarding is it when they are able to stick with that habit and begin to see positive results?

As human beings, we thrive on change, growth, and development. But these things take time. It can seem impossible to make a positive choice that day, let alone to begin a habit that you want to last for a lifetime. Therefore, before you begin to try and form a new habit, take a look at the big picture, and look at what you truly want for your future, the sacrifices you make today seem less painful.

Tips To Build Better Habits

Here are some tips to help form better habits for the new year.

  • Set attainable goals – Write out your goals surrounding your new habit and post them in a place you can see. This keeps your goals at the forefront of your mind and offers a kind of personal accountability…you see my goals and know if you are committed to forming good habits around them
  • Take small steps – If you try to take on too much at once, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Big changes don’t happen unless small changes happen first. If you want to transform some area of your life, start by doing something small
  • Be intentional – Forming positive habits requires intentionality.
  • Plan ahead – especially when you are just starting to build a habit. Set aside a specific time each day when you will work on creating this habit
  • Get a partner – Find someone who will go along with you and keep you motivated if you feel like quitting.
  • Find a reminder – What might you use as a ritual right before starting your habit. If you wanted to wake up earlier, this could mean waking up in exactly the same way each morning. If you wanted to stop eating cookies, you could practice snapping your fingers each time you felt the urge to eat a cookie
  • Substitute, don’t subtract – If you are giving up something in your habit, make sure you are adequately replacing what you have lost. If we stop eating the food we like, we need to replace that need with something else that we enjoy.
  • Forgive yourself – Don’t expect all your attempts to change habits to be successful immediately.  When you hit a roadblock or are not perfect, let it go and move on.
  • “But” – When you start to think negative thoughts, use the word “but” to interrupt it. “I’m no good at this, but, if I work at it I might get better later.” When we say the word “but” it negates whatever was said before it.  Therefore, our subconscious will hear whatever we say after the word “but” and focus on the positive statement.
  • Remove Temptation – Restructure your environment so it won’t tempt you in the first thirty days. Remove junk food from your house, cancel your cable subscription, throw out the cigarettes so you won’t need to struggle with willpower later.
  • Spend time with people doing what you want to do – Spend more time with people who model the habits you want. The single most impactful thing that helps us change our behavior is to see someone else doing it.

Orchard at Brookhaven is a senior living community in Atlanta that looks to build better and healthy habits for our residents. Please contact us more information about our community.

Centenarians - Living a longer life

Centenarians – How To Live Longer

A centenarian is a person who has reached the age of 100 years. Because life expectancies worldwide are below 100 years, the term is usually associated with longevity. In 2012, the United Nations estimated that there were 316,600 living centenarians worldwide. Jason Prall, director of The Longevity Project, traveled to nine countries and three continents, interviewing some of the world’s healthiest centenarians. He explored what it takes to live past 100 years old and whether it’s possible to reach that age while maintaining peak health. In this article we’ll explore some of his findings and recommendations for how to live longer.

How Centenarians Live Longer

Below were some of the key findings from Jason Prall’s research:

  • The healthiest centenarians lived simple lives, following farm-to-table diets, frequently interacting with their communities and exercising by biking or walking long distances to work each day
  • Populations with healthy centenarians do not appear to have many of the chronic conditions seen in Western culture. These conditions have only appeared recently, as Western influences like fast food and new technologies crept into their communities.
  • Research demonstrates how adults who live to 90 or 100 have learned to balance these somewhat contradictory traits. In order to flourish, they have to be able to accept and recover from the things they can’t change, but also fight for the things they can.
  • The oldest adults had other qualities in common as well, including positivity, a strong work ethic and close bonds with family, religion and the countryside. Most of the older adults in the study were still active, working regularly in their homes and on their land. This gave them a purpose in life.

9 Key Factor For Living Longer

Below are nine key factors that can help us living longer:

  1. Physical activitya National Institutes of Health study reports that just 2.5 hours of moderate activity a week could extend your life by 3.4 years.
  2. Being proactive with health – have regular check ups and take an active role in your wellness.
  3. Don’t over eat – eating to live rather than living to eat is a good motto to live by. Eating the right portions that give you the necessary calories in the different categories of food is important.
  4. Good genes – however, genes can be over ridden by utilizing all of the other healthy habits.
  5. Eat healthy food – maintaining a good diet is an important factor for living longer.
  6. Feel connected – social isolation and loneliness have been identified as having a higher mortality rate than obesity and alcoholism
  7. Feel respected – feeling respected and valued has a positive impact on emotional health.
  8. Have purpose – Orchard engagement staff provide many opportunities for the residents to be involved in purposeful activities.
  9. Stay positive – a positive outlook on life will help keep stress levels low.

Additionally, studies have also called out the below key points:

  1. In areas with higher-than-usual concentrations of centenarians, seniors are often an integrated part of their community. For many, church provides that connection. Religion encourages its believers to carve time during the week to go to church, which is not only a chance to strengthen their connection to God, but to mingle with family and friends. If you do not have, or are not interested in a faith community, find a community that works for you.
  2. Being outdoors provides added vitamin D from sunshine as well as encouraging you to be active and interactive. Being outside can also promote a positive outlook on life.

Our Approach

Orchard at Brookhaven is a senior living community in Atlanta that is dedicated to promoting healthy living. Some ares we focus on include;

  • Healthy diets
  • Opportunities to stay connected
  • Purposeful activities
  • Beautiful gardens and walking paths
  • Brain health classes
  • A variety of exercise classes
  • Outings and social events
  • Worship services

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to schedule a tour of our community.

Brain Fitness Programs

Benefits Of Brain Fitness Programs

A Brain Fitness Program is a program to get your brain in better shape and is designed to drive beneficial chemical, physical and functional change in the brain. Multiple studies have shown a scientifically valid average improvement of more than 10 years in auditory, memory and cognitive function. In this article we’ll explore the benefits of brain fitness programs, and provide tips for improving your brains health.

Brain Health & Well-Being

Brain health is best supported by actions across three pillars of well-being:

  1. Body – physical health is closely tied to brain function
  2. Mind – intellectual stimulation is essential for brain health
  3. Spirit – emotional well-being is essential for brain health

Group Activity Benefits On Brain Health

Research supports that engagement in structured group activities provides cognitive wellness support by challenging our ability to process quickly and be nimble in our thinking. Our programs universally incorporate the power of positive social support.

Any mentally stimulating activity should help to build up your brain. Read, take courses, try “mental gymnastics,” such as word puzzles or math problems Experiment with things that require manual dexterity as well as mental effort, such as drawing, painting, and other crafts

Mental exercise is just as critical as physical exercise in keeping your brain fit and healthy. Mental exercises may improve your brain’s functioning and promote new brain cell growth, decreasing your likelihood of developing dementia. Like your muscles, you have to use your brain or you lose it.

Experts recommend sticking to brain training that involves real-world activities. Exercises to strengthen brain function should offer novelty and challenge. “Almost any silly suggestion can work,” says David Eagleman, PhD, neuroscientist and assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. “Drive home via a different route; brush your teeth with your opposite hand. The brain works through associations [which is why it’s easier to memorize lyrics to a song than it is to try and remember the same words without music], so the more senses you involve the better.”

10 Tips For Improving Brain Health

Below are 10 tips and brain exercise ideas to help improve your brains health.

  1. Test your recall. Make a list — of grocery items, things to do, or anything else that comes to mind — and memorize it. An hour or so later, see how many items you can recall. Make items on the list as challenging as possible for the greatest mental stimulation.
  2. Let the music play. Learn to play a musical instrument or join a choir. Studies show that learning something new and complex over a longer period of time is ideal for the aging mind.
  3. Do math in your head. Figure out problems without the aid of pencil, paper, or computer; you can make this more difficult — and athletic — by walking at the same time.
  4. Take a cooking class. Learn how to cook a new cuisine. Cooking uses a number of senses: smell, touch, sight, and taste, which all involve different parts of the brain.
  5. Learn a foreign language. The listening and hearing involved stimulates the brain. What’s more, a rich vocabulary has been linked to a reduced risk for cognitive decline.
  6. Create word pictures. Visualize the spelling of a word in your head, then try and think of any other words that begin (or end) with the same two letters.
  7. Draw a map from memory. After returning home from visiting a new place, try to draw a map of the area; repeat this exercise each time you visit a new location.
  8. Challenge your taste buds. When eating, try to identify individual ingredients in your meal, including subtle herbs and spices.
  9. Refine your hand-eye abilities. Take up a new hobby that involves fine-motor skills, such as knitting, drawing, painting, assembling a puzzle, etc.
  10. Learn a new sport. Start doing an athletic exercise that utilizes both mind and body, such as yoga, golf, or tennis.

Orchard at Brookhaven is a senior living community in Atlanta that’s committed to exploring all ways of supporting healthy living as we age. We offer many opportunities for our residents to engage in brain healthy activities. For more details about our programs please contact us.

Importance of engagement programs at senior living communities

Importance Of Engagement Programs At Senior Living Communities

When looking at the calendar for events and engagement at an assisted living community, what one hopes to see is a day filled with meaning. This means more than just activities to keep people occupied but rather activities and opportunities to stay engaged in their life in a meaningful way. Orchard at Brookhaven is a senior living community in Atlanta that understands this importance. Our engagement model is organized and designed to meet the needs of our residents in their different Groves, and are based on abilities and interests of the people who live here.

Tips For Reviewing Engagement Programs At Senior Living Communities

When reviewing an engagement calendar, look for the following types of opportunities:


  • Ways to give back to the community
  • Opportunities to be involved in activities that are related to past roles and work
  • Activities that have specific outcomes such as building, cooking or creating a product.
  • Opportunities to feel important and respected
  • Educational opportunities
  • Fulfill a sense of meaning and purpose

Leisure and fun:

  • Ways of being engaged in activities that provide fun, creativity and laughter. This can be different for different people and so there needs to be a variety of options.
  • Outings
  • Crafts
  • Games
  • Group social activities
  • Play
  • Parties

Rest and restoration:

  • Ways to restore energy throughout the day
  • Traditional “down time” such as a nap
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Sitting on the porch
  • Listening to relaxing music
  • Aroma therapy

Health and Wellness:

  • Exercise that has been reported through research that gives the optimal amount of healthy gains is aerobic exercise
  • Aerobic activities such as walking
  • Options for exercise that takes into account differing abilities and likes
  • Tai Chi
  • Yoga
  • Dance

What To Look For On The Engagement Calendar

Another way to look at engagement is to see whether the options for filling the day with meaning and joy meet three other categories which include mind, body and spirit. An engagement calendar should be coordinated and designed to provide holistic wellbeing for each person who lives in the community.

When looking at potential senior living communities in Atlanta, take time to review the calendar of events. Is there something that will interest you or your loved one?  Will that staff work with you and your loved one to find the right flow of day? When looking at the calendar for Orchard at Brookhaven, you will find that the different options have an image next to the activity.  This is how we give you an idea of how our staff keep the day balanced for our residents.

Dementia & Engagement Programs

When someone is living with dementia, it will be even more important for the staff to get to know this person so that they find ways to support them in their day so that their day makes sense to them.  It will also be important for the staff to understand how each person likes to spend their day and provide the opportunities needed to make their day have meaning and joy. Make sure to take extra care and ask questions around the senior living communities approach to dementia care if you’re searching for a place for a loved one with dementia.

Our engagement staff are committed to providing a holistic approach when engaging with our residents. Please visit our engagement model page or contact us for more information about our approach.

Preparing For A Hospital Visit

Preparing Ahead For Emergency Room Visits

A visit to the emergency room (ER) can cause stress for a person who is living with dementia. It is important to think about how to manage the visit before an emergency occurs. In this article we’ll provide some tips for how to better prepare ahead of a visit to the emergency room.

Preparing Ahead For Emergency Room Visits

Below is a checklist of items to better help manage the visit before an emergency occurs:

  • Ask friends or family members who would be willing to accompany you or meet you in the ER. Keep a list of names and numbers by the phone.  Have that person stay with the person living with dementia while you answer questions.
  • Be ready to explain the symptoms and events leading up to the ER visit.
  • Tell ER staff that the person is living with dementia and explain how best to talk with the person.
  • Comfort the person. Stay calm and positive.
  •  Be patient. If your visit is not life-threatening it may take some time to be seen by a doctor.
  • Be prepared to wait for lab results.
  • Be aware that emergency room staff have limited training in dementia.
  • Be an advocate for your person.
  • If the person must stay overnight in the hospital, try to have a friend or family member stay with him or her.

Do not leave the emergency room without a plan. If you are sent home, make sure you understand all instructions for follow-up care.

Hospital Planning For Someone With Dementia

Due to the nature of the disease, it is very probable that, at some point, the person you are caring for will be hospitalized. Hospitals are not typically well-designed for patients with dementia. Preparation can make all the difference. Below is a checklist of items to consider:

  • Think about and discuss hospitalization before it happens.
  • Build a care team of family, friends, and/or professional caregivers to support the person during the hospital stay.
  • Ask the doctor if the procedure can be done during an outpatient visit. If not, ask if tests can be done before admission to the hospital to shorten the hospital stay.
  • Ask questions about anesthesia, catheters, and IVs. General anesthesia can have side effects, so see if local anesthesia is an option.
  • Ask if regular medications can be continued during the hospital stay.
  • Ask for a private room, with a reclining chair or bed, if insurance will cover it. It will be calmer than a shared room.
  • When talking about the hospital stay, include the person living with dementia as much as possible.
  • Before leaving home, tell the person with dementia that the two of you are going to spend a short time in the hospital.
  • Have an advocate with your loved one 24 hours a day, especially at night. 
  • The hospital routine runs 24 hours a day and therefore your loved one will be checked on throughout the night and will not get a good night sleep.
  • Ask for the rules for overnight visitors and if needed, have the doctor write an order that allows your loved one to have an advocate at all times.
  • Hire a caregiver to cover the night shift for them; others rotate the responsibility among siblings or a few close friends.
  • Remember the person living with dementia is already experiencing challenges with everyday life. The hospital can cause extra stress which can limit their abilities.
  • The person living with dementia needs an advocate at all times.

Orchard at Brookhaven is a senior living community in Atlanta that is committed to helping support their families during hospital stays. Our staff is available to help families create plans for their loved one if a hospital stay is needed. Please contact us for more information or to schedule a tour.

Meditation Benefits Seniors

Meditation Benefits For Seniors

Orchard at Brookhaven offers many programs to improve and promote healthy living. One of the offerings at Orchard is Meditation. Meditation offers time for relaxation and heightened awareness in a stressful world where our senses are often dulled. Research suggests that meditation benefits seniors in many ways, and it goes beyond just temporary stress relief.

Educators, spiritual leaders, and mental health experts have developed dozens of forms of meditation. The variety suggests there is a form of meditation to suit most people, regardless of personality or lifestyle.

Benefits Of Mindfulness Meditation For Seniors

Senior can benefit from mindfulness meditation in many ways, below we cover some of the top benefits:

  • Understand your pain: Mental pain and anxiety are a background noise that can underlie much of what we do.
  • Lower stress: There is a lot of evidence that excess stress causes a variety of illnesses and makes other illnesses worse. Mindfulness decreases stress.
  • Connect better:  Mindfulness helps you give them your full attention.
  • Improve focus: It can be frustrating to have our mind stray off what we are doing and be pulled in six directions. Meditation hones our innate ability to focus.
  • Reduce brain chatter: The, chattering voice in our head seems never to leave us alone.

Steps To Start Meditation

Below are tips and steps for creating a meditation practice:

  • Try to select a regular time for your meditation.
  • Sit upright in a comfortable chair or cushion, wearing comfortable clothing.
  • Begin by concentrating on your breathing.
  • When you are ready to turn your attention inward, shift your attention to your special phrase, such as “I AM.”
  • Empty your mind of all thoughts except your special words. As thoughts come, observe them and allow them to pass through.
  • Expect nothing. Don’t worry about how you are doing.
  • When finished, take time to savor the experience.

If you meditate and find yourself harassed by thoughts, feelings, and especially memories, don’t despair. Taming the mind to listen means having to go through some retraining in the beginning. As you keep your attention on your breath, the mind will quiet down and you will eventually experience that still, small voice within you

Most Popular Meditation Types

There are many forms of meditation, below are three to try when beginning your practice.


  • Mindfulness is a form of meditation that urges practitioners to remain aware and present in the moment.
  • Rather than dwelling on the past or dreading the future, mindfulness encourages awareness of a person’s existing surroundings. Crucial to this is a lack of judgment. So, rather than reflecting on the annoyance of a long wait, a practitioner will simply note the wait without judgment.
  • Mindfulness meditation is something people can do almost anywhere. While waiting in line at the grocery store, for example, a person might calmly notice their surroundings, including the sights, sounds, and smells they experience.
  • A form of mindfulness is involved in most kinds of meditation. Breath awareness encourages practitioners to be aware of their breathing, while progressive relaxation draws attention to areas of tension in the body.

Breath Awareness

  • Breath awareness is a type of mindful meditation that encourages mindful breathing.
  • Practitioners breathe slowly and deeply, counting their breaths or otherwise focusing on their breaths.
  • The goal is to focus only on breathing and to ignore other thoughts that enter the mind.

Zen Meditation (Zazen)

  • Zen meditation, sometimes called Zazen is a form of meditation that can be part of Buddhist practice.
  • Many Zen practitioners study under a teacher because this kind of meditation involves specific steps and postures.
  • The goal is to find a comfortable position, focus on breathing, and mindfully observe one’s thoughts without judgment.
  • Again, this form of meditation is similar to mindfulness meditation but requires more discipline and practice. People may prefer it if they are seeking both relaxation and a new spiritual path.

Orchard at Brookhaven is senior living community in Atlanta that believes in the benefits of meditation. Meditation is one of the offerings we provide to improve and promote healthy living. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to schedule a tour.

Tai Chi Benefits Seniors

Benefits Of Thai Chi For Seniors

Tai Chi, a mind-body relaxation exercise, was devised by Chang San Feng for meditation and self-defense in the thirteenth century A.D. The 108 forms are performed in a slow relaxed manner, taking 30 minutes altogether. Tai Chi is a gentle system of traditionally standing group exercise that integrates breathing and rhythmic movements to achieve a conditioning effect. Tai Chi has been shown to have many benefits for seniors. In this article we’ll explore the topic a bit more.

What Is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi originated as a form of martial arts but now has multiple forms and styles that have been adapted from the original form. Whereas Tai Chi was traditionally used in sports and competition, more recently Tai Chi has been advocated to have multiple medical benefits. The largest body of research about Tai Chi focuses on fall risk benefits.

Tai Chi involves learning multiple poses that are linked together with slow movements that emphasize control and balance. These routines or “forms” can range from the classic 109 postures to as few as 42. The focus required to complete the movements and postures and recalling the sequence of postures has been credited with both the mental calm and the cognitive benefits associated with Tai Chi. Improvement in balance and decreased fall risk are attributed to the slow repetitive work and the emphasis on control and coordination especially at the ankle.

Tai Chi Benefits On Sleep For Seniors

There are many studies on the benefits of Tai Chi for older adults. In a clinical trial studying the effects of Tai Chi and sleep quality, 62 older subjects aged older than 65 years were studied for a 12 week period. Tai Chi was found to have a significant impact of sleep quality. Below are more details about the study.

  • The intervention was the Tai Chi Exercise sessions were held three times per week for 12 weeks.
  • Duration of exercise was 5 minutes at first session which gradually increased to 20 to 25 minutes by the midpoint of intervention.
  • The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index was used for pre and post evaluation of older adult sleep quality.
  • In the Tai Chi group sleep quality was improved significantly.
  • The conclusion indicated that the Tai Chi Exercise can have a significant effect on sleep quality in older adult.

Tai Chi Benefits On Balance For Seniors

Another study that focused on Tai Chi and both function and balance found that Tai Chi warrants further study as an exercise treatment to improve the health of older people. Below were some benefits identified:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Reduced fear of falling
  • Reduction of risk of multiple falls by 47.5%

Other Benefits Of Tai Chi For Seniors

Additional studies have found the Tai Chi shows benefits for older adults in the following areas:

  • Fibromyalgia and an increase in quality of life score.
  • Cardiorespiratory function
  • Immune capacity
  • Mental control
  • Flexibility
  • Balance control
  • Muscle strength
  • Mindfulness
  • Stress reduction

Orchard at Brookhaven is a senior living community in Atlanta that understands the benefits of alternative exercise programs for our residents. Tai Chi is just one of the programs we offer to promote health benefits and living well as we age. Please contact us for more information or to schedule a tour of our community.

How to keep your brain healthy

How To Keep Our Brain Healthy

One of the things that is the most daunting about aging is how to keep our brain healthy. There are new findings that show that the brain is capable of building new connections throughout life. Neurogenesis is how the brain renews and upgrades itself. In this article we’ll explain what Neurogensis is and provide ways for how to keep our brain healthy as we age.

What Is Neurogenesis?

Neurogenesis is the process of how the brain keeps growing new brain cells throughout life. The brain is malleable and adaptable, and this allows the brain to make new connections. The brain produces new brain cells as long as you are alive. Your rate of neurogenesis is tied to the quality of life.

Orchard Senior Living is committed to helping our residents stay healthy and happy, and to create an environment that supports Neurogenesis. One way that they do this is to always work to promote the highest quality of life for everyone who lives in our community.

Importance Of Learning New Things As We Age

Learning new things is key to neurogenesis. The following occur when we learn new things:

  • The mind is stimulated and neurogenesis increases.
  • It provides the environment for newly created neurons to survive and stay healthy.
  • It teaches us new things about our world and gives us a broader perspective about life.

Cognitive testing shows a declined in mental abilities in two points in our life, after leaving school and after retiring. When we stop learning and challenging our brain, and slow down our mental engagement, we slow down neurogenesis. People who continue to be mentally engaged during these two times in life DO NOT show a decline in cognitive ability.

Importance Of Stimulating The Brain

Through research with mice and humans, scientists have found that brainy activities stimulate new connections between nerve cells and may even help the brain generate new cells, developing neurological “plasticity” and building up a functional reserve that provides a hedge against future cell loss.

Any of the following mentally stimulating activity should help to build up your brain:

  • Reading
  • Taking courses
  • Learning a new skill
  • Learn an instrument
  • Take dancing lessons
  • Word puzzles
  • Math problems

The following are activities to experiment with that require manual dexterity and effort:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Crafts
  • Models
  • Sewing
  • Cooking classes

Importance Of Changing Your Routine

Studies have found that it can be beneficial to change our routine as we age. Consider the following:

  • When driving to the store, try a different route
  • Try going to a different store – if there are two Walmart’s and you usually go to one, try going to the other one to make your brain work harder
  • Changing something is your daily routine requires your brain to be more engaged and helps in neurogenesis.

Staying Engaged Socially & Mentally As We Age

The importance of staying engaged both socially and mentally as we age can not be understated. Consider taking part in the following activities:

  • Join a book club
  • Volunteer at church or at a local organization
  • Meet friends for coffee or lunch and pick a current topic to discuss

There are also many resources that can help keep our brain active. We recommend taking a look at Luminosity to help you work on attention and memory. AARP also provides exercises and programs to help keep your brain active and healthy. You can learn more at‎.

Importance Of Mental Stimulation As We Age

Mental stimulation is the secret ingredient to staying young in mind. This involves challenging your brain, getting it to jump those mental hurdles it might shy away from. If, for example, you like to do the easy level of a simple crossword, try the harder levels and get your brain to work harder. Stretching your brain in this way will improve your mental sharpness and help you stay brain healthy as you age. The key to any new challenge is to make sure it is still a fun and enjoyable experience.

Don’t be stuck always doing the same things. Try and learn a new skill or hobby. You could learn a new language, develop computer skills to wow family members or join a new class. Visit new places, go to a museum you never visited or meet new people. Anything new that you learn helps to increase brain connections and stimulates neurogenesis.

Orchard at Brookhaven is a senior living community in Atlanta that’s dedicated to providing programs and activities that help our residents continue to grow and keep their brain healthy. Please contact us for more information or to schedule a tour.

Fall Prevention For Seniors

About 30% of people 65 years of age or older have a fall each year, increasing to 50% in people 80 years of age or older. Falls can cause distress, pain, injury, prolonged hospitalization, and death. Falls also result in loss of confidence and independence, particularly where family members, care partners and health professionals’ reactions are to be overly protective. In this article we’ll talk about some of the reasons why aging can lead to falling, and provide some fall prevention tips for seniors.

Why Do Seniors Fall?

In a study of 8.3 million people, falls are one of the main reasons why people are readmitted into the hospital:

  • 16% readmission rate for people with cognitive impairment
  • 13% readmission rate for people with a previous fall
  • Falls were the second leading diagnosis at readmission for patients with cognitive impairment or whose initial hospitalization was fall related

8% of falls are unpreventable and they are due to and unknown or emergent medical condition such as:

  • Seizure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Orthostasis

Risk Factors For Seniors Falling

The risk of falling is multicomponent and the more risks a person has, the greater their risk of falling. The strongest risk factors for a fall are age and a previous fall. Other examples of risk factors include:

  • being male
  • higher care needs
  • incontinence
  • medication use
  • delirium
  • cognitive impairment or dementia
  • poor vision
  • postural hypotension
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • muscle weakness
  • postural instability
  • mobility and/or balance problems
  • vitamin D deficiency
  • arthritis

Common Fall Risk Factors

While aging is one of the risk factors for falling, Orchard at Brookhaven is committed to using fall prevention protocol and fall prevention programs to help our residents age well.

Three of the most common modifiable intrinsic fall risk factors are muscle weakness, balance deficits and gait instabilities. These intrinsic risk factors may be modified by exercise referred to as structured, planned and repetitive physical activities in community-based organized exercise programs. Balance is important for maintaining postural equilibrium and thus for the avoidance of falls. Besides balance, muscle strength and power is required for the successful performance of activities of daily living.

Preventing Senior Falls At Home

Below are some tips to help prevent seniors from falling in their home:

  • Remove Obstacles – Walk through your home and take note of anything that could be a hazard. Culprits include throw rugs, cords, baskets or plant stands. Eliminate these from walking paths. Assess your furniture pieces to make sure they are placed in ways that don’t obstruct walking paths.
  • Turn on Lights – Keep lights on in dimly lit areas or use night lights with sensors. Place flashlights in convenient locations in the event of a power outage and make sure to keep a lamp on your nightstand. If you’re concerned about the expense of leaving lights on, consider investing in energy-efficient LED bulbs.
  • Choose the Right Shoes – Your favorite slippers may be comfortable, but slip-on shoes are not recommended in most circumstances. Select shoes with non-skid soles that offer your foot support.
  • Try in Home Balance Exercises – Keeping steady on your feet is an excellent way to stay in shape and is an integral part of fall prevention.
  • Take a Walk – Staying physically active is a great approach to fall prevention. A daily walk around your block, neighborhood or local walking paths will strengthen your legs as well as increase your endurance. Consider walking around the mall during the winter months.
  • Call Your Physician – If you take prescription medications, consult your physician about possible side effects that can cause loss of balance. If you’ve experienced changes in your physical abilities, inquire about therapy services that can address your mobility and balance.

Exercise is an accepted stand-alone fall prevention strategy, particularly if it is balance training or regular participation in Tai Chi. Dance shares the ‘holistic’ approach of practices such as Tai chi. It is a complex sensorimotor rhythmic activity integrating multiple physical, cognitive and social elements.

Senior Exercise Programs To Prevent Falling

Some exercise programs that have been studied to determine their success in reducing falls include:

  • Tai Chi training appears to reduce balance impairments in patients with mild-to-moderate Parkinson’s disease, with additional benefits of improved functional capacity and reduced falls.
  • Tai Chi, a balance-based exercise, has been shown to improve strength, balance, and physical function and to prevent falls in older adults.
  • Yoga interventions resulted in small improvements in balance and medium improvements in physical mobility in people aged 60 years and
  • Dance offers older people an opportunity for greater social engagement, thereby making a major contribution to healthy ageing.

Orchard at Brookhaven is a senior living community in Atlanta that’s committed to using fall prevention protocol and fall prevention programs for our residents. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule tour, please contact us.