Navigating the Transition

Posted on

Dec 15, 2017

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When its time to move to a senior living community, there are a lot of emotions involved. This can be a difficult change in a seniors life, and the lives of their family members. Adult children may be nervous about suggesting the move to their parents, and senior parents may feel they dont need to move, or they may think its a hassle.
These feelings are natural, and as a senior getting ready to make the transition, its important to understand how they can be managed.

Converse. Address any key issues you may be having, such as mobility issues, health issues, or difficulty with everyday activities. Listen and respect what your family members and loved ones believe is best for you and have an open dialogue for the greatest outcomes.

Prepare. Youve probably been living in your house for a number of years. Set aside some time to truly enjoy your home, whether that means having friends over for dinner, or spending an afternoon in the garden. Create some memories to take with you to your new home.

Decorate. When you get to your new home, fill the space with items old and new. Make plans to decorate the new apartment with items from your current home, but also mix in a few new items as well. New items can be a reminder that the new home has the potential for new, exciting experiences.

Plan. Now that you have a new home, its time to invite people to visit! Plan ahead with family and friends and get them to visit regularly to make your transition smooth. If youre used to a certain activity, such as a weekly lunch with a family member, try to stick to that routine. But dont have visitors too often, because youll want to spend time socializing with new friends at the senior community.

As a family member, be encouraging to your loved one during this time. Continue to talk openly with them and encourage them to engage in activities and social opportunities at the senior community. Speak with staff members regularly to stay current on how your loved one is adjusting to their new home.

During the initial conversations about the transition, consider visiting a senior living professional to help you. There are many resources in your area that can provide you with assistance with planning or moving to make it easier for everyone involved.

Editors Note: This article was submitted by Mike Lapinsky. Mike Lapinsky is the Marketing Director at Traditions of Hershey Independent Living and Personal Care.

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Ken Faces Two Fears with a Flight to the Ocean

We all have fears in our lives, and at certain times, most of us would admit that theyve held us back from doing something we wanted.But, when it comes to fear, theres also a silver lining: the feeling of overcoming it and moving forward. And from that day forward, that personal victorythat sense of accomplishment is something we can turn to whenever we need some extra courage.Ken, age 70, is no stranger to adversity and fear. And in this season of his life, hes been reflecting on his fears and is no longer content letting them hold him back.One fear has been with him since he was young. Kens family lived close to an airport while he was growing up. Standing in his backyard, he would look up and marvel at the airplanes coming and going all day long. He wondered what it would be like to be inside one of these planes, looking out the window and floating through the clouds. But paired with his curiosity, a sense of fear was also growing inside him.This fear of heights and flying has followed Ken into adulthood. Adulthood came early for Ken, as hes been working hard to provide for himself and his family for as long as he can remember. In fact, Ken was already working at age 12.Ken had a job in a state park close to his home. One day, while Ken was helping remove debris in the park, a falling tree knocked him into the water. Ken was stuck, and he remained submerged until he was rescued.It was a terrifying moment that has stayed with him since that day, resulting in a deep fear of water.Its true that Ken has faced many obstacles and heartbreak throughout his life. But hes never allowed that to stop him from working hard, especially when it comes to providing for others. Ken is proud to have raised a family, including adopting two children with his wife, Elizabeth. He shared that this has made him the proudest and happiest hes ever been.Those who know Ken well would tell you hes the kind of person who shows he cares through his actions. Like how he mowed his mothers lawn for over a decade, caring for her until she passed away three years ago.Ken was everyones favorite BINGO caller at his local church and would help them with maintenance and by fixing things whenever he could. The same goes for any neighbor or friendall they had to do was ask, and Ken would be there.Kens dedication and generosity have kept him continually working, and not having many opportunities to do something meaningful for himself. But, recently, Ken has expressed the urge to conquer his fears.When Wish of a Lifetime heard Kens story, we were honored at the chance to help him take some time for himselfand to face his fears in the process by flying on a commercial flight for the first time.When asked what this experience would mean to him, Ken said, Id be happyId get to do something I never did and face my fear of going high.But thats not the only fear Ken would face during his wish of a lifetime!Every flight must have a destination, and Kens was the ocean. Ken was thrilled to share this special trip with his wife Elizabeth. Together, they flew from Pennsylvania all the way to Florida, landing in Tampa.Kens first time on an airplane was positive, and he said the flight felt like riding in a Cadillacit was so smooth.After they arrived at sunny Clearwater Beach, they could see the glittering, white sand welcoming them. Hand in hand, Ken and Elizabeth walked across the beach, taking in all the sights and smells of the ocean.I think he was amazed, Elizabeth said, describing the moment when Ken saw the ocean for the first time in his life. With deep emotion breaking up her voice, she expressed how much the experience meant to them both.Thank you guys very much, I dont know how to express the thank you, I really enjoyed it, she said.As he stood with the tide tickling his feet, Ken felt the warmth of the sunshine on his back, but also the glow of pride from within him.I feel this would make me fulfilled that I overcame two lifelong fears, he said.Reflecting on his wish, Ken said he hoped his story could help others to do the same, at any age. And, to keep hope alive, even through challenging times:Keep your nose to the grindstone, he said. Someday, something good will happen.

What Are Active Adult Communities and Which One Is Best for You?

If youre over 55 you may have considered a senior living community but have concerns that the traditional retirement community may not be a right fit for you. If youre still active and have a social life, engaging with friends and family, these communities may be less appealing. But there is an option that allows you to enjoy maintenance-free living with greater independence and a more active lifestyle: its called active adult communities.Active Adult Community BenefitsAs people become healthier and more independent in their later years, interest in active adult communities continue to grow. So, what is the draw?As noted, they offer a more independent living than other types of retirement communities. Residents dont need skilled nursing or help with daily self-care or meals. Active adult communities are usually more lifestyle oriented with a focus on socialization, wellness, and programs for active seniors. You will usually find:Outdoor activities and sports like tennis, golf, pickleball, basketball, etc.Exercise and wellness classes like yoga and mindfulnessUpdated fitness facilitiesOutside trails and parksAnd when you live in an active adult community youre still free from the burdens and demands of home maintenance. This is a big reason why many seniors choose retirement communities, and you still gain this advantage when you choose this more active and independent option.Some of these communities require that at least one person in each residence meet a minimum age requirement. About 80% of retirement communities have age-restrictions. Other communities target seniors over age 55 but dont limit residency based on age.You have the option of owning or renting properties that include townhomes, apartments, condos, and single-family homes. Some communities even offer the option of renting or buying a mobile home.Active Adult Community CostsThe average cost of a 55-plus community ranges from $1,500 to $4,000 per month. Of course the price depends on the specific community and its location. Typically, you can cage senior community costs by the cost of real estate in a given area. Other factors like the number of bedrooms or luxury amenities will affect the cost of an active adult community.Typically, your community will charge an HOA (homeowners association) fee in exchange for grounds keeping, landscaping, snow removal, and general maintenance. Be sure to ask about HOA or maintenance fees before you buy into a community. These fees vary widely, and you want to be sure there are no unwelcome surprises. Some good questions to ask:What are the additional fees?What do the fees cover?How much have fees increased in the past?How much are they expected to increase in the future?Before you sign for a property, also ask if there is a down payment for renting and what amenities are included with your property.Niche CommunitiesThe average cost of a 55-plus community ranges from $1,500 to $4,000 per month. Of course the price depends on the specific community and its location. Typically, you can cage senior community costs by the cost of real estate in a given area. Other factors like the number of bedrooms or luxury amenities will affect the cost of an active adult community.Typically, your community will charge an HOA (homeowners association) fee in exchange for grounds keeping, landscaping, snow removal, and general maintenance. Be sure to ask about HOA or maintenance fees before you buy into a community. These fees vary widely, and you want to be sure there are no unwelcome surprises. Some good questions to ask:What are the additional fees?What do the fees cover?How much have fees increased in the past?How much are they expected to increase in the future?Before you sign for a property, also ask if there is a down payment for renting and what amenities are included with your property.Niche CommunitiesA typical active adult residence varies from 650 to 2,200 square feet and sometimes more. Many are situated with easy access to trails and parks and are close to shopping centers. Some communities are even connected to retail businesses like coffee shops and cafes. For convenience, most active adult communities are located in suburban or urban areas with access to entertainment, museums, and restaurants.Youll find a variety of common areas are also typical. These encourage socialization as people interact in fitness centers, dog parks, pools, clubhouses, and outdoor kitchens. 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7 Ways Seniors Can Manage Chronic Stress and Cortisol

More than any other age group, seniors gain the most benefit from stress management. Stress is an everyday part of life that is unavoidable, but not all stress is created equal. Something is bound to trigger a stress response, whether its heavy traffic, lost keys, or a disagreement with your spouse. And sometimes its more serious like health issues, looming retirement, or the struggle to live on a fixed income. We all have to learn to manage this kind of stress in a healthy way.But too much stress for long periods, known as chronic stress, is what causes emotional, mental, and physical problems. How long youre under stress and how much youre able to control it plays a huge role in your overall health. Even though chronic stress isnt good for anyone, its especially problematic for seniors, as it dramatically increases cortisol levels and triggers serious health conditions. 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This is when your immune system becomes less sensitive, and therefore less reactive, to viruses, bacteria, and other attackers. As your immune system slows its response, inflammation increases. In other words, chronic stress leads to a sluggish immune system and chronic inflammation.Chronic inflammation is a big deal. Its been linked to many chronic health conditions like cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, depression, and anxiety.How to Tell if Youre Experiencing Chronic StressIts not always easy to notice chronic stress, because its something youve been living with for a while. Chronic, high levels of stress can begin to feel normal. You just get used to it. But physical and emotional symptoms usually appear at some point. Here are some chronic-stress warning signs to look for:Appetite changes (eating more or less)Frequent headachesUpset stomachHeart palpitationsDepressionLow energyFeeling overwhelmed or agitatedDifficulty concentratingIf you have been experiencing several of these for a while, its possible youre living with chronic stress and high cortisol levels.How Chronic Stress Affects SeniorsOlder adults are more sensitive to the cortisols effects. Chronically high levels of cortisol more negatively impacts cognitive performance and the memory areas of your brain. This could be because it takes older adults longer to recover from surging cortisol. The hormone doesnt come back down to normal levels as quickly as it does in younger people.In general, cortisols effects are exaggerated in seniors, causing a greater increase in inflammation, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and blood sugar. All of these are risk factors for heart disease.Some studies suggest that chronically high cortisol levels could be linked to the progression of dementia.What Causes Chronic Stress in Seniors?Different seasons of life come with different stressors and stress triggers and the golden years are no exception. Here are some common reasons older adults experience chronic stress:Chronic health conditionsCaregivingFinancial insecurityLonelinessRetirement or other major life changeLoss of a spouse or loved oneMovingCognitive decline (thinking or memory changes)If youre experiencing any of these circumstances, consider what stress symptoms youve been experiencing and for how long. Also remember that people handle stress and different levels of stress in different ways. Just because your neighbor never stressed over impending retirement doesnt mean that it wont affect you.Moving or caregiving doesnt stress everyone, but if its affecting you, its best for your health and well-being to address it.7 Ways to Lower Cortisol LevelsYou dont have to live with chronically high cortisol and chronic stress. You can improve your health by taking these steps to achieve a healthier lifestyle and help you improve stress management.1. Eat Healthier to Lower Cortisol LevelsThere are all kinds of reasons for adopting a healthy eating plan, and managing cortisol levels is another one.What you eat affects your cortisol levels. Processed foods and foods with a high glycemic index (GI) have been found to elevate cortisol. This means youll want to avoid sugary drinks, fast food, refined carbs, and other highly processed foods.Your calorie intake also affects cortisol. High-calorie foods immediately increase cortisol, and not eating enough calories disrupts cortisol levels and can even cause an increase.Its as if unhealthy eating affects your digestive system, stresses your body, and triggers cortisol.2. Be Physically Active to Manage Chronic StressRegular, intentional exercise is best, but if that is too much of a stretch for you, any physical activity will help. This means that anything that gets you up and moving is more helpful than remaining sedentary. You might not think of walking, gardening, or yoga as exercise, but these count as physical activity. Experiment with what works best for you.Exercise is known to relieve stress, making it very helpful for managing cortisol levels.3. Dealing with the Past Drops CortisolWhen it comes to past failures, your first reaction is probably avoidance. Who wants to dwell on it? But there is another optiondealing with it! If youre carrying a previous failure or stressful experience, believing that its not affecting your presentthink again.Evidence suggests that if you write about that past event, processing it in a healthy way, it will reduce your cortisol levels even as you deal with your current stressor.4. Meditation or Prayer Helps Manage StressMeditation and prayer have proven effective stress management tools. If you remain consistent in practice you are better able to manage anxiety and uncertainty. Managing stress this way brings down your cortisol levels and has a notable long-term impact as this habit becomes part of your daily life.Even highly stressed people see an exceptional difference in their stress levels after successfully practicing prayer or meditation for a period. Its a practical stress management tool for seniors who might have physical limitations that make exercise difficult. Anyone can meditate or pray, and it can be done anywhere.5. Stay Socially Connected to Manage CortisolIts important for seniors not to lose their social connections. Not only does social engagement help keep cortisol levels down, it also helps keep your mind sharp and can ward off dementia. Much research suggests staying connected to people you love can improve your well-being and overall health.When you know a loved one is nearby, it puts you more at ease, especially if youre going through a stressful time.6. Good Sleep Keep Cortisol Levels DownGetting adequate, quality sleep cortisol lower, especially when faced with a stress-triggering task. One study assigned a group of participants to a normal nights rest and the other group to a night of sleep deprivation. The next day, everyone had to perform stressful tasks like giving a speech and solving a math problem in front of an unfriendly audience. The sleep-deprived group showed higher cortisol levels than the rested group.And its not just the next day that you can feel the effects. Other findings indicate that elevated cortisol levels can continue into the second day after getting poor sleep.This can be a challenge for seniors, especially if you struggle with physical or health problems that make sleep uncomfortable. Discuss sleep aid options with your doctor to give yourself the best opportunity for a good nights rest.7. Music and Art Help Manage StressIf you havent had much exposure to art or classical music, it might benefit your health to experiment and discover what you enjoy. When you enjoy art or music, stress and cortisol ebb away.One study indicates that cortisol levels drop faster after you experience enjoyable art. Specifically, the study directed a group of participants to listen to relaxing, classical music, while another group listened to rippling water. The third group listened to nothing at all. Afterwards they were asked to perform a stressful task. The group who had listened to the classical music had faster dropping cortisol levels than the other two groups.Seniors Who Manage Chronic Stress Maintain Better HealthWhile good stress management is important at any age, its especially important for seniors. When you understand that stress is directly linked to physical reactions involving cortisol, it can remind you that stress has very real physical effects. These effects are so real that they can cause serious health conditions and promote chronic disease.Managing stress is managing health. And implementing some or all of these stress-reduction tips can help you manage the stressors that you cannot change.TYE Medical offers premium incontinence products in a variety of sizes and absorbency levels. Shop our online store for free and discreet shipping!