Senior Oral Health

Oral Health For Seniors

Taking care of your teeth and gums is important throughout your life, but changes that come with aging can put seniors more at risk for a variety of dental issues. Proper measures to ensure oral health for seniors is important, and there are a variety of reasons that can hinder proper care. In this article we’ll talk about some of the common oral health issues seniors face and what can make it more challenging for seniors to care for their teeth and gums.

Aging Factors That Hinder Proper Oral Hygiene

Below are some of the common changes that occur with age that can make it difficult for seniors to practice healthy oral hygiene:

  • Conditions like arthritis might make it difficult to practice good dental hygiene on a daily basis.
  • Memory loss may cause some seniors to forget to brush and floss their teeth altogether.
  • Changes in the mouth can lead to other health problems for some of the elderly population.

However, with the proper care and regular visits to the dentist, it’s possible for your teeth and gums to stay in great condition as you age.

Oral Hygiene Issues In Seniors

Some of the common issues seniors face when it comes to oral hygiene include:

  • Cavities and root decay – Older adults often face more cavities and decay on the root surfaces of the teeth. Root decay is common as the roots become exposed when the gum tissue recedes from the tooth.
  • Darkened teeth – Usually caused by changes in the bone-like tissues under the tooth enamel, as well as years of consuming foods and drinks that can stain the teeth. Also, sometimes the enamel can thin, causing the darker yellow dentin to be revealed.
  • Increased sensitivity – As your gums recede over time, areas of the teeth not protected by enamel become exposed and can be sensitive to hot, cold sweet or sour foods. Sometimes, sensitivity is a sign of a more serious condition like a cracked tooth or a cavity.
  • Dry mouth – One of the most common oral health issues in seniors is dry mouth, and it usually occurs due to medication side effects that reduce saliva flow.
  • Dentures – While dentures are helpful for many seniors, they require special care that can sometimes be difficult to maintain on a daily basis.
    • Poorly fitting dentures, poor dental hygiene, or a buildup of the fungus Candida albicans causes inflammation of the tissue under the
  • Uneven jaw bone – This is caused by tooth and then not replacing missing teeth. This allows the rest of the teeth to drift and shift into open spaces
  • Decreased sense of taste – Another common medication side effect that seniors face is a diminished sense of taste. Certain oral diseases or dentures can also affect our sense of taste.
  • Tooth loss – Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss.
  • Gum disease – Gum disease tends to affect people over the age of 40 more so than younger individuals. It’s caused by poor oral hygiene or a bad diet, as well as diseases like diabetes or heart disease. Smoking or drinking alcohol regularly put people more at risk for gum disease.
  • Thrush – Diseases or drugs that affect the immune system can trigger the overgrowth of the fungus in the mouth.

Proper Oral Hygiene For Seniors

Visit your dentist regularly, at least twice every year. Let the doctor know if you have noticed any changes in your teeth or gums, any increased sensitivity or loose teeth, pain, discomfort, bleeding or sores.

Practice good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth at least twice each day, especially after meals and before bedtime.  Use a toothpaste with fluoride, as fluoride provides extra protection against dental decay no matter your age. At bedtime, make sure to floss your teeth and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash to help reduce bacteria that cause plaque and gum disease.

Orchard at Brookhaven has a dentist that comes to the community for exams. If you are interested in learning more about the dental program at Orchard, please contact us today!

Negative Effects of Ageism

Negative Effects Of Ageism

The number of Americans 60 and older is growing, but society still isn’t embracing the aging population. Whether being up against the “old geezer” stereotypes or trying to obtain equal standing in the workplace, those who are 60 or older may all too often find themselves the victims of ageism. Ageism is an issue in our society and studies have found that there are negative effects of ageism as it relates to brain health. We explore the topic of ageism more in this article.

What Is Ageism?

Ageism is a prejudice against older people and, just as with any prejudice, it creates serious issues in society. In America, a great value is placed on being young, beautiful, healthy and rich. Aging is seen as a process that takes away the ability to achieve these coveted things. Therefore, getting older is seen as a debilitating process.

Is Ageism A Issue?

In one study, 70 percent of older Americans said they had been insulted or mistreated because of their age.  This can be seen in various ways:

  • Being called honey or sweetie
  • Being talked over in a conversation
  • Being thought of as crabby
  • Being ignored
  • Having someone rush around you as if you are too slow
  • Being mocked or treated as a child
  • Having someone do something for you that you are capable of doing

Negative Impacts Of Ageism

The negative impact of ageism has been well-documented. The effects can lead to the following:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Higher risk of heart disease
  • Older people who feel they are a burden to others see their lives as less valuable, increasing their risk of isolation and depression.
  • Ageism can cause a damaging cycle of marginalization which leads to low self-esteem, and in turn accelerates withdrawal and physical decline.

A study from Yale showed that negative beliefs about aging may be linked to brain changes related to Alzheimer’s disease – specifically, people who had more negative thoughts about aging had a significantly greater number of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, two conditions associated with Alzheimer’s.

Not only are negative stereotypes hurtful to older people, but they may even shorten their lives, a longitudinal study of 660 people 50 years and older, found that those with more positive self-perceptions of aging lived longer than those with negative self-perceptions of aging.

Positive Attitude & Benefits To Aging

People’s positive beliefs about and attitudes toward the elderly appear to boost their mental health. Research has found that older adults exposed to positive stereotypes have significantly better memory and balance, whereas negative self-perceptions contributed to worse memory and feelings of worthlessness.

A Yale study showed that positive attitudes about aging could extend one’s life by 7-1/2 years – a greater lifespan gain than from low cholesterol, low blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, or even being a nonsmoker.

The reality is that the majority of seniors are self-sufficient, middle-class consumers with more assets than most young people, and the time and talent to offer society.

Ashton Applegate talks about ageism in this Ted Talk. She states that most people are happiest in the beginning and end of their life. This attitude is a function of how the process of aging affects the brain but this can be taken away if someone experiences ageism.

Orchard at Brookhaven is a Senior Living Community in Atlanta that is committed to exploring all ways of supporting healthy living as we age. Please contact us for more information about our community or to schedule a tour.

Reduce Effects of Aging

Aging Process & How To Reduce Effects

Eleanor Roosevelt once said…”Today is the oldest you have ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be again.”   It has also been said that “Aging is a privilege that not all of us are privileged to have”. In this article we discuss the aging process and how to reduce the negative effects.

When Does Aging Start?

Aging happens, but it is how we think about aging and what we do as we age that matters.  Aging begins around age thirty and progresses at about 1 percent a year. This is such a slow process that we only see the results after years have passed. And for every aspect of physical and mental aging, some people may get better with age.  For example, by working out and getting the right amount of exercise, some people may get stronger than when they were young.

In the book, Super Brain, Deepak Chopra and Rudolph Tanzi state that, everyone ages differently. Identical twins who are born with the same DNA will have completely different genetic profiles at age seventy. While the chromosomes of the twins will not have changed, the years of experiences will have caused the activity of their genes to be switched off in a unique pattern.

How To Remain Healthy & Reduce Aging Effects

No matter which approach you take to remaining healthy as you age, your brain is involved because certain messages are good for cells and certain messages are bad. Below we’ve included some tips for diet and other activity considerations to help reduce the negative effects of aging.

Proper Diet To Reduce Aging

Eating fast food sends one kind of message while eating salads send another. Eat a balanced diet is important, and the preferred diet is the Mediterranean, which includes the following food types:

  • Olive oil instead of butter
  • Fish or soy-based protein instead of red meat
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Mixed nuts
  • Fresh fruits
  • Whole vegetables

Activities to Reduce Aging

Other ways of lowering the risk of aging include;

  • Avoid over eating
  • Don’t smoke
  • Consume alcohol in moderation and red wine is preferable
  • Wearing a seat belt
  • Take steps to prevent house hold accidents such as slippery surfaces, steep stairs, fire hazards etc
  • Get enough sleep
  • Get enough rest during the day
  • Keep regular habits but also include some new activities
  • Read or listen to books
  • Learn something new
  • Change the way you drive to the store once a week
  • Keep from being isolated, stay connected to friends and family
  • Get out and do something productive in your community
  • Find a daily routine for mediation, prayer, or some kind of mindfulness exercise
  • Practice stress management
  • Reach out to your support system and if you don’t have one, find people who can be your support system

Set up your daily living to create opportunities to make the best choices possible for healthy aging. Knowing what is good for you and doing what is good for you are two different things. Therefore learning what helps the body and mind age well is only one step in the process. Turning knowledge into a habit takes time and effort.

It takes roughly 21 days to form a new pattern of behavior or a new habit. Pick one thing to change out of the list above and try to keep it going for 21 days.

Orchard at Brookhaven is a Senior Living Community in Atlanta that is committed to helping people age well. We provide many opportunities for our residents to help their body, mind and spirit stay healthy, strong and well. Please visit our dining page, activites page or contact us if you have any questions about healthy activities and diet to reduce aging risks.

Aging And Changing Appetites

Aging & Loss Of Appetite

Many people experience a loss of appetite with age. This can make mealtime an unpleasant experience for some seniors who either struggle or may be experiencing a loss in appetite. The consequence can sometimes be a refusal to eat. This is an important issue to address because we need good nutrition to stay as healthy and active as possible. And, it can be difficult to convince someone who has no appetite to eat.

If someone isn’t eating, the first thing to do is find out if there is a serious health condition or medication side effect causing the problem. If you know someone who suddenly loses their appetite, it is important to discuss this with a doctor and get a check- up as scheduled as soon as possible.

Illnesses That Can Cause A Loss Of Appetite

Some of the following illnesses can cause change in taste and appetite:

  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Gum disease
  • Cancer
  • Salivary gland problems
  • Medication side effects

10 Reasons For Loss Of Appetite

While not an exhaustive list, we have called out ten of the most common reasons for loss of appetitive below.

1) Lack of Exercise
Regular exercise and physical activity can help increase appetite.

2) Dehydration
Many seniors do not get enough fluids and get dehydrated.  This can cause a loss of appetite.

3) No Routine
Having a daily routine with meals can help the person be ready to eat.

4) Difficulty Preparing Meals

Seniors who live independently might not be eating because preparing their own meals has become too difficult.

5) Changing Sense of Taste

As we age, our taste buds are less able to detect flavors and therefore food may become bland or unappetizing to them.

6) Difficulty Chewing, Swallowing, or Eating Independently

There are many reasons why eating becomes challenging. The next article will focus on adaptations for people who are having difficulty eating.

7) Sensitivity to or Loss of Smell
Over sensitivity to smells can cause someone to not want to eat.

8) Depression or Loneliness
Having no one to eat with can increase someone’s sense of loneliness.

9) Loss of Control
Sometimes, not being able to choose what to eat makes someone not want to eat at all.

10) Mealtimes Become Unpleasant
When we try to convince someone to eat that doesn’t have an appetite, it can become conflictual and mealtimes can become emotionally unpleasant.

Orchard at Brookhaven’s team keeps hydration and healthy eating a TOP PRIORITY. You can learn more on our Dining page.

Difficulty Eating: Common Causes & Recommendations To Improve

Some of the common causes that can lead to difficulty eating are:

  • Normal aging
  • Dental problems
  • Medications
  • Medical treatments like surgery
  • Stroke, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, other health conditions

There are a lot of different tips and tricks to make eating less difficult. Some of our recommendations to help are:

  • Have a regular meal and snack routine.
  • Do not wait for the person to tell you they hungry.
  • Serve smaller portions.
  • Large portions that fill an entire plate can be intimidating.
  • Give only two choices.
  • Don’t ask open ended questions like “What do you want to eat?”
  • Use adaptive utensils.
  • Offer finger foods.
  • Use smoothies, shakes, and protein powders to boost calories.
  • Add calories with healthy fat options like avocado, peanut butter, cheeses, olive oils etc.
  • Offer easy to eat and easily accessible snacks.
  • Use favorite aromas to boost appetite (bacon, bread, cookies, garlic, chocolate).

Orchard at Brookhaven’s teams are trained in how to help residents with their personal nutritional needs, as well as how to support residents with changing abilities so they can continue to engage socially with others during mealtime.  Meals are healthy AND delicious. Call now to schedule a visit and enjoy a meal on us!

Safe Driving With Age

At What Age Is It Still Safe To Drive?

How do we know if it’s still safe to continue driving? Making the personal decision to stop driving is a difficult one.  Older adults are often resistant because driving, for most, represents a loss of independence.

The Georgia Department of Public Health recently implemented an Older Drivers Safety Program as current data projects by 2025, in Georgia, motor vehicle crashes will account for the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths among older adults age 65 and up.

Driver Safety & Aging

With aging comes physical change that can impact a person’s ability to drive safely.

  • Vision or hearing impairments
  • Slower reaction times when moving
  • Memory changes
  • Stiff joints or weak muscles
  • Fatigue or lack of concentration
  • In ability to turn your head decreases range of motion and visual field
  • Changing sensation in your feet can lead to mistaking the gas or brake pedal

The Orchard at Brookhaven partners closely with residents and families in an effort to provide resources personal counsel and support wise decisions about driving.

DMV Resources For Aging Drivers

If you have a question about whether it is still safe to drive, going to the DMV and renewing your test is a good way to find out.

Safely Prolonging Driving With Aging

Exercise programs, and physical therapy provided by Healthpro Heritage is available for all residents to help maintain mobility for those who can and want to continue safely driving.

For those who choose to stop driving, Orchard offers personalized transportation to medical appointments or shopping needs and concierge coordination and assistance is available for setting up accounts with services like Go Go Grandparent.

It is extremely important to talk to a doctor about health conditions or medications that can affect brain function and put you or someone else at risk while driving. These changes can include:

  • Increased stress and anxiety
  • Feeling “foggy” or quickly confused
  • Trouble using a map or following directions
  • Inability to make quick in the moment decisions needed for navigating freeways or busy intersections
  • The ability to react quickly
  • Vision change
  • Comprehension of road signs or stop light messages
  • Abilities to complete the correct sequence of a task

Discussing When It’s Time To Stop Driving

Even more difficult can be the conversation we have with someone who needs to stop driving.  For help with this conversation we go to Teepa Snow to see what some of the key phrases and steps are to support someone when they are no longer able to drive safely.

Aging and Depression

Aging And Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders affecting 7% of adults in the United States in any given year. According to the World Health Organization, it is the leading cause of worldwide disability. Men and women may experience depression differently, with women being affected twice as often as men, and men more prone to suicide because of it. In this article we’ll discuss more about depression and aging.

Sadness vs. Depression

Everyone has felt depressed due to circumstances like a setback in one’s career or the ending of an important relationship.  However, for most people, this sadness is temporary. Depression is more than just feeling sad or blue due to a circumstance. It is a common but serious mood disorder that needs treatment causing severe symptoms that affect how a person feels, thinks, and function in day to day life.

Clinical depression, or major depressive disorder, is relatively long-lasting, can get worse over time, and significantly interferes with a person’s daily activities.

A common misperception is that depression is a sign of weakness or a character flaw that someone should be able to snap themselves out of. However, most people who experience depression need support or treatment to get better.

Depression & Aging

Depression is a common problem among older adults, but it is NOT a normal part of aging. In fact, studies show that most older adults feel satisfied with their lives, despite having more illnesses or physical problems.

However, important life changes happen as we get older and these will usually cause feelings of uneasiness, stress, anxiety or sadness. Examples include:

  • The death of a loved one
  • Moving into a senior living community
  • Dealing with a serious illness
  • Retirement
  • Children moving away
  • Changing roles within a family
  • experiences of isolation
  • Loss of productive and purposeful work/activity

Signs Of Depression

So signs of depression can include the following:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness, or having trouble sitting still
  • Loss of interest in once pleasurable activities, including sex
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Frequent crying
  • Eating more or less than usual, usually with unplanned weight gain or loss
  • Thoughts of death, suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches, pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause that do not ease with treatment

If you have a combination of these signs persisting for more than 2 weeks, you could be suffering from depression.

Depression In Older Adults

Depression in older adults may be difficult to recognize because often sadness is not the main symptom. Elders may have other, less obvious symptoms of depression and may not be willing to talk about their feelings.

Signs Of Depression In Older Adults

Some of the more common signs of depression in older adults can include the following:

  • Feeling tired
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Seeming irritable or grumpy
  • Confusion
  • Attention problems

Older adults may be taking medications with side effects that contribute to depression or have medical conditions, such as heart diseasestroke, or cancer, which may cause symptoms.

Vascular Depression

For older adults who experience depression for the first time later in life, the depression can be related to changes that occur in the brain and body as a person gets older. Older adults may suffer from restricted blood flow and over time, vessels may stiffen and prevent the blood from flowing normally to the body’s organs, including the brain.

When this happens, an older adult with no family history of depression may develop what is sometimes called “vascular depression” due to lack of oxygenation. Those with vascular depression are also typically at risk for heart disease, stroke, or other vascular illness.

Orchard at Brookhaven seeks to prevent depression for residents through education, collaboration, and encouraging activities for the body, mind and spirit. Transitional counseling, private therapy, support groups, assessment, and medical treatment are all available should depression be of concern. For more information please schedule a consultation.

Sleep Pattern Change With Age

Sleep Pattern Changes With Age

Sleep patterns tend to change as we age. Most people find themselves to have a harder time falling asleep and report waking more often during the night and earlier in the morning.

One of the reasons why people wake up more is because they spend less time in deep sleep. Many older adults get less sleep than they actually need. It is a common misconception that sleep needs decline with age. Most people need seven to nine hours of sleep a day and this does not change with age. Older adults should strive for the same amount of sleep as younger adults.

Sleep Changes That Occur With Age

Common sleep experiences for older adults can include the following:

  • It may be harder to fall asleep
  • I may spend more total time in bed
  • The transition between sleep and waking up is often abrupt
  • Less time is spent in deep, dreamless sleep
  • Older people wake up an average of 3 or 4 times each night
  • Older people are more aware of being awake

Sleep occurs in stages. A normal sleep cycle is repeated several times during the night and will include dreamless periods of light and deep sleep as well as active dreaming periods known as REM sleep.

Older adults will often share that they experience insomnia, so it’s important to consider a person’s sleep hygiene and what they can do to improve their sleep. Research suggests that much of the sleep disturbance among the elderly can be attributed to physical and psychiatric illnesses and the medications used to treat them.

Causes of Insomnia

Causes of insomnia can include the following:

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Poor sleep environment
  • Irregular sleep hours
  • Consumption of alcohol before bedtime
  • Use of electronic tablets before bed
  • Falling asleep with the television on
  • Anxiety from feelings of needing to go to the bathroom
  • Discomfort or pain from chronic illness

Extended periods of insomnia can lead to other health conditions like depression, confusion, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, hypersomnia, and sleep apnea. It has also been reported as to causer higher incidents of car accidents in elders.

Ways to Improve Sleep

Consider the following things to help you get a better night sleep:

  • A light bedtime snack may be helpful.
  • Many people find that warm milk increases sleepiness, because it contains a natural, sedative-like amino acid.
  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine (coffee, tea, cola drinks, and chocolate) for at least 3 or 4 hours before bed.
  • DO NOT take naps during the day.
  • Exercise (moderately) in the afternoon.
  • Avoid too much stimulation, such as violent TV shows or computer games, before sleep.
  • Practice relaxation techniques at bedtime.
  • Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake at the same time each morning.
  • Use the bed only for sleep or sexual activity.
  • Avoid tobacco products, especially before sleep.
  • Ask your provider if any of the medicines you take may affect your sleep.
  • If you cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do a quiet activity, such as reading or listening to music. When you feel sleepy, get back in bed and try again. If you still cannot fall asleep in 20 minutes, repeat the process.

Circadian Rhythm Changes With Age

In addition to changes in sleep architecture that occur as we age, other factors affecting sleep are the circadian rhythms that coordinate the timing of our bodily functions, including sleep.

Human beings typically have 1 of 3 Circadian Rhythms.

  • The Early bird who gets up early and goes to bed early
  • The Diurnal who gets up early, rests in the middle of the day, and stays up late
  • The Night owl who gets up late and stays up late

Older people tend to become sleepier in the early evening and will wake earlier in the morning compared to younger adults. This pattern is called advanced sleep phase syndrome. The sleep rhythm is shifted forward so that 7 or 8 hours of sleep are still obtained but individuals will wake up extremely early because they have gone to sleep quite early. The reason for these changes in sleep and circadian rhythms as we age is not clearly understood. Many researchers believe it may have to do with light exposure and treatment options for advanced sleep phase syndrome typically include bright light therapy.

If you are living alone and struggling with sleep, reach out to Orchard at Brookhaven for a complimentary consultation. We are happy to help you find a resources and people who can help.

Pet Therapy Benefits For Seniors

Pet Therapy Benefits For Seniors

Pets can improve your quality of life. Orchard at Brookhaven is a senior living community in Atlanta that invites your pets to come live with you if they are under 25 pounds. Orchard will also have many opportunities for residents who love animals to be able to regularly interact with them because we understand that pet therapy provides benefits for seniors.

Pet therapy is a broad term that includes animal-assisted therapy and other animal-assisted activities. Animal-assisted therapy is a growing field that uses dogs or other animals to help people recover from or better cope with health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and mental health disorders. Animal-assisted activities, on the other hand, have a more general purpose, such as providing comfort and enjoyment. More and more communities are implementing pets as part of their daily programming.

Pet therapy builds on the pre-existing human-animal bond which has developed over thousands of years. Animals have, throughout the years, helped alert indigenous people about dangers and threatening situations. Therefore, we inherently know that if animals are at rest, all is well. Additionally, because dogs and humans have evolved together for thousands of years, eye contact between dogs and humans, releases oxytocin in the body which helps create social bonds.

Benefits of Pet Therapy

There are many benefits of pet therapy and interacting with a friendly pet has been found to help with:

  • Improve physical and mental issues
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Improve overall cardiovascular health
  • Release endorphins that produce a calming effect
  • Help alleviate pain
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve overall psychological state

Goals of Pet Therapy

Pet therapy can be used in different ways, and some of the goals of a pet therapy program can include:

  • improving motor skills and joint movement
  • improving assisted or independent movement
  • increasing self-esteem
  • increasing verbal communication
  • developing social skills
  • increasing willingness to join in activities
  • improving interactions with others
  • motivating willingness to exercise

Other Benefits of Pet Therapy

Other benefits of pet therapy include:

  • Increasing happiness
  • Lessening depression
  • Decreasing loneliness and isolation
  • Reducing boredom
  • Reducing anxiety because of its calming effects
  • Improving the relationship between someone and their healthcare provider

Who Can Benefit From Animal-Assisted Therapy?

Animal-assisted therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a range of health problems:

  • Children having dental procedures
  • People receiving cancer treatment
  • Elders in long-term care communities
  • People with cardiovascular diseases
  • People living with dementia
  • Veterans living post-traumatic stress disorder
  • People with anxiety

People with health problems are not the only ones who can reap the benefits. Family members and friends who sit in on animal visits say they feel better, too.

Pet therapy is also being used in nonmedical settings, such as universities and community programs, to help people deal with anxiety and stress of life. Animal-assisted interventions are goal oriented and structured to intentionally incorporate animals in health, education and human service for the purpose of therapeutic gains and improved health and wellness.

Orchard at Brookhaven will utilize innovative programs such as pet therapy to enhance connection and provide continued life giving experiences for residents. Meaningful relationship is a cornerstone for this luxury assisted living providing services for families of Brookhaven, Buckhead, Decatur, Druid Hills, Virginia Highlands, Morningside, Toco Hills, Roswell, and the metro Atlanta area.

If you are interested in learning more about pet therapy, the following link can provide additional information:

Benefits of Vitamin D

Benefits Of Vitamin D

Orchard at Brookhaven is dedicated to helping you stay healthy and happy throughout your life and offer a wide variety of ways to do this to meet your individual lifestyle. The staff at Orchard keeps up on the latest news and research in senior health in order to help their residents live their best life.

We invite you to come visit and see the 40 thousand square foot outdoor green space provided at Orchard. One of the reasons this space was designed is because we know the many benefits of fresh air and sunshine. The human body makes vitamin D when in direct sunlight and residents will be encouraged to spend time outside every day.

Benefits of Vitamin D

  • Improved Sleep
  • Maintaining healthy bones
  • May Regulate insulin levels
  • May help reduce Cancer
  • Improve Cognitive health
  • Help with Osteomalacia
  • Reduce Osteoporosis
  • Boost mood
  • Improve heart health

Getting more vitamin D can help improve sleep which can result in waking up more refreshed and focused and it increases the bodies ability to absorb Calcium, which is vital to bone health. Studies show increased vitamin D can help reduce Osteoporosis by slowing bone mineral loss which reduces bone fractures. And new research suggests that vitamin D, especially when taken with calcium, might help prevent certain cancers.

There are many other health benefits not commonly knows such as improving insulin sensitivity as it helps the body also absorb and use sugar and glucose as energy instead of storing it as fat. Early research suggests that vitamin D might play a role in cognitive health. In one small study of adults age 60 years and older being treated for dementia, researchers found that taking a vitamin D supplement helped improve cognitive function.

Daily outdoor doses of vitamin D can improve energy levels and therefore improve mood. One study showed that a deficiency could increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease as well as hypertension. It appears to be able to reduce inflammation, to combat arterial plaque and generally to encourage health and normal blood flow.

Orchard at Brookhaven offers walking paths, gardening, exercise classes, and a variety of sitting areas to help you enjoy the sunshine and outdoors.

Ways To Increase Vitamin D Levels

Wondering how you can increase your vitamin D levels? Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Spend time outside in direct sunlight taking walks, gardening, or just sitting in the sun for limited time periods. It’s important to also remember to stay hydrated when out in the sun for any length of time.
  • Vitamin D isn’t found in many foods; however, you can get it from fortified milk, fortified cereal, and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines.
  • Taking a vitamin D supplement. However, we recommend you consult with your physician or a healthcare professional when choosing.

Orchard is thrilled to have two onsite primary care physician practices that will help residents and families determine helpful vitamin supplements. Dr. Lisa Flachbarth of Agape Chronic Care, and Dr. Susan Castle of Whole Family Medicine are both seasoned medical practitioners understanding the value of a wholistic proactive approach to healthcare for persons living with chronic conditions. Set up a consultation to learn more about these Orchard affiliate partners and services.


What Are Geriatricians & Do I Need One?

When looking for Senior Living, be sure to ask about the community’s medical staff or partnerships with local physicians. Orchard at Brookhaven is currently forming partnerships with physicians in the Atlanta area to ensure we can provide resources and affiliate providers for our residents.

Onsite Medical Providers

Having a trusted onsite medical provider available at an assisted living adds to the collaboration of care and can simplify appointment coordination for families.

Orchard at Brookhaven will have two primary care affiliate partners. Agape Chronic Care, a geriatric mobile physicians’ practice serving Metro Atlanta, and also Whole Family Medicine, a functional medical practice whose private practice office is located in Decatur. Orchard has also partnered with Geriatric Psychiatry practice, Healthcare for Seniors and will be able to provide onsite mental health assessments for residents who need them.

What Is Geriatric Medicine

If you are finding that it is time to consider relocating to Senior Living in Atlanta, it may also be time to look into a Geriatric Physician. Medical care becomes more complex as you age as many people are living with more than one medical condition. Geriatric Medicine is a specialty that focuses on medical issues and diseases more common when aging aging.

A Geriatrician most often treats people over the age of 60 who are either healthy or have multiple medical issues. They specialize in how medical conditions impact one another and pay close attention to how each medication interacts with others and how both medical conditions and medications uniquely affect someone as they age.

When To Consider A Geriatrician

If you are over the age of 60 and have one or more of the following you may want to consider the value of a Geriatrician.

  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Dementia
  • Orthopedic or old injuries
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Osteoporosis
  • Allergies
  • Diabetes
  • High Blood pressure
  • Pain
  • Sleep problems

The above conditions can complicate the aging process because they create added stress to the body and usually involve a variety of medications. As challenges arise, it will be important to find a way for your physicians to communicate with one another and for someone to look at the whole picture of your wellness. A Geriatrician may be the professional to help.

Geriatrician Specialties

A Geriatrician is a specialist in the following areas:

  • Knowledge about normal changes in the body over the age of 60
  • How differing medical conditions impact one another
  • How the effects of medication change with age and interact with one another

A Geriatrician can serve as the medical team leader. Orchard at Brookhaven’s affiliate partners are not just a resident’s doctor and specialist, but in times when other specialists are needed, they also manage coordination of care to ensure a more personalized team approach.

Most of the time, a general internist or family physician can serve as primary care provider, especially if he or she is experienced in dealing with older people. But if you are especially frail or have complicated medical problems, you might want to switch to a geriatrician. Whomever you choose as a physician, make sure that they are committed to promoting health and wellness throughout the aging process.

Find A Geriatrician

Below are some local organizations to help you start find a Geriatrician near you.

Orchard at Brookhaven is also here to help! Contact us if you have further questions about Geriatricians in metro Atlanta, Decatur, Tucker, Norcross, Sandy Springs, Roswell, or Brookhaven and learn more about other onsite programs and if our luxury senior living is a good choice for you.