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Fighting the Winter Blues

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As the temperature drops and the days get shorter, it’s common to feel the winter blues.  In fact, nearly one in four adults experience different degrees of depression in the winter due to the lack of sunshine and limited activities. However, for the majority of us, there are several tactics we can do to help stay upbeat and positive this winter.

Additional Quality Time

If you’re starting to feel a little down this winter, spend additional quality time with friends and loved ones. Most people tend to isolate from others when their mood goes south, so it’s important to reach out to friends and family members for group support.  It can be as easy as spending time with them listening to music, playing cards, or even flipping through old photo albums.  A little additional time spent with others can go a long way to improve a person’s well-being.  If you don’t live within driving distance to your family members, consider setting up a video call.  A face-to-face video chat can help communicate with loved ones and improve your mood through uplifting conversations.

Daily Diet

Since we receive most of our vitamin D from the sun, choosing a daily diet rich in vitamins can go a long way in fighting the winter blues.  Vitamin D rich foods include salmon, eggs, tuna, milk, yogurt, sardines and fortified cereals.  Winter is also a great time to test out mood boosting soups and stews.  Key ingredients may include squash as it is a good source of magnesium and potassium, as well as eggplant, which is full of fiber, copper, vitamin B1 and manganese. Sweet potatoes is also a hearty winter food packed with vitamin b6, biotin, and anti-inflammatory flavonoids. Here’s a list of recipes for delicious dinners that include these key mood boosting ingredients.

Light Lamp

Researchers believe that sitting in front of a fluorescent light lamp, which mimics outdoor light, can cause a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood and eases symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Results show that this technique can start to improve depression symptoms within just a few days. Seniors should sit in front of the light for about 20 to 30 minutes within the first hour of waking up in the morning. They’re designed to be safe and effective and with prices starting at $39.00, light lamps are affordable.

While the winter months can be difficult at any age, all it takes is a little patience and some small adjustments in your daily routine to help beat the winter blues.  It’s important to remember that winter doesn’t last forever. Try to envision the spring and sunshine at the end of the blustery tunnel.

Yes, You Should Get a Flu Shot.

The Importance of Staying Vaccinated.flu-shot

It’s that time of year again – when flu vaccinations are highly recommended by doctors and pharmacies. While a flu vaccination won’t guarantee protection against the flu, it significantly reduces your chances of getting sick. Here are four reasons why you should get a flu shot.

 

Reduce trips to the hospital

Receiving a flu vaccine reduces the risk of doctor visits by approximately 50% to 60%, according to studies by Center for Disease Control (CDC). In addition, it may reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization, especially among children and older adults. One study reported that people 50 years and older who got the vaccine reduced their risk of getting hospitalized from the flu by 57%.

Partners as a preventative tool

The flu vaccine is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions. Flu vaccinations have been shown to reduce hospitalizations in people with diabetes by 79% and 52% in people with chronic lung disease.  An October 2014 article in JAMA reported adults who had received a flu shot were 36% less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke within the next year than those who weren’t vaccinated.

Affordable and convenient

The flu vaccine is offered by many pharmacies and within major retailers such as Walgreens and Target, so you don’t have to wait in long lines. Most places also take walk-in appointments, so there’s no need to schedule something far in advance. In addition to being convenient, the flu vaccine is also affordable. Your health insurance may cover the cost or in some cases, a local clinic may offer days where you can get vaccinated for free. Even if you do have to pay out of pocket, the average fee of $30.00 is well worth the price.

Keep your friends and neighbors healthy

Per the Harvard School of Public Health, 20%-30% of people are carriers of the flu virus who never experience symptoms, but are contagious.  When you get infected without knowing it, you could spread the virus to others such as your friends, neighbors and family members.  This means someone else may become sick and hospitalized, even though you never showed symptoms.

A seasonal flu shot is the single best way to protect against the flu. Do your part this winter to keep yourself and others around you healthy. Type in your zip code to find the closest place where you can get vaccinated today.

*It’s important to note that while a flu shot is highly recommended in most people ages 6 months and over, you should check with your doctor before receiving a flu vaccine if you’re allergic to eggs or certain antibiotics. Most types of flu vaccines contain a small amount of egg protein and while you can still receive a vaccination if you’re allergic, you should be vaccinated and supervised by a doctor who can manage allergic reactions. 

 

Importance of Activities for Seniors

Playing bingo at The Arthur Home

Playing bingo.

Activities for seniors offer far more than just pleasure. Here’s our top five reasons why seniors, and their families, should participate in weekly activities.

Nurtures Relationships

Whether it is going to bingo night, a music event or joining the Red Hat Ladies Club, it is important to meet new people, build relationships and enjoy the benefits of having a social network. Social activities and relationships help seniors stay involved and active in their communities. Developing and nurturing relationships also helps seniors defeat loneliness and isolation.

It’s just as important for the families of seniors to be involved in activities with them to keep growing their already established relationships. The amount of quality time spent with your elder is a better predictor of their psychological well-being than the amount of time spent with them.

Keep Learning

Activities present an opportunity to learn new skills and brush up on current talents. From studying a new language to learning how to play chess, there are so many new hobbies to learn and engage in. No matter their chronological age, there is always an opportunity to learn something new for seniors.

Mental Stimulation

Activities stimulate the brain. Whether it’s signing up for a cooking class, playing a game of Wii bowling, taking up crocheting or playing UNO with friends, each activity keeps the brain and body engaged. Not only are social activities enjoyable, they also keep our brain sharp. Mental exercise stimulates the brain, providing long-lasting positive effects on seniors thinking skills, reasoning skills and memory.

Social Stimulation

If seniors don’t make an effort to stay socially active, they begin to withdraw from the world and suffer physical, mental, and emotional consequences. Social activities help give seniors a sense of purpose, whether it’s simply the routine of having a schedule and a place to be or the sense of accomplishment that comes from reaching a goal. Social stimulation also helps to promote positive self-awareness. These activities may include journal writing, reading, singing groups or even reminiscing with friends.

Improve Health

According to an article published in the Journal of American Medical Association, elderly people who remain physically and mentally active significantly reduce their risk for cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Taking part in group activities and social events help elderly people maintain a sense of meaning and purpose in life, which boosts their emotional well-being.

Assisted Living Versus Nursing Homes – What’s the Difference?

alvsnhWhen you or your loved ones reach a certain age, one of the most difficult decisions will be about living arrangements. If you’re considering alternatives to independent living, it is important to be well-informed about your options. In particular, there is a distinct difference between a nursing home and an assisted living facility. Think of both nursing homes and assisted living facilities as pizza, but one is New York style and the other is deep dish. They both can be great, but one might fit your preferences better.

Assisted Living

Assisted living refers to communities that seniors live in which provides a higher level of personal care than living independently. There may be a 24-hour caregiving staff, but not necessarily around the clock medical care. Sizes of assisted living facilities vary from small, like a single family home, to large planned communities. Assisted living is a wellness environment that encourages and supports the well-being of each community member. Our very own Eberhardt Village is an assisted living community!

Nursing Home

A nursing home provides around the clock medical care and focuses on sub-acute care. People can live in nursing home on a short term or long-term basis. Nursing homes are also known as skilled nursing facilities because of the skilled care that is provided. Arthur Home, or facilities like these, are great communities for individuals who need a higher level or more frequent amount of care. The cost of a nursing home is generally higher than the cost of an assisted living facility due to the specialized care residents at a skilled nursing facility receive.

So which one is right for you?

Assisted Living

  • You’re looking for a community where assistance is available, but not necessarily around the clock medical care
  • You or your loved one still wants to maintain a level of independence
  • You want to participate in community activities, meet new friends, and have new opportunities to socialize

Nursing Home

  • You or your loved one has complicated medical conditions
  • You’d prefer around the clock medical care
  • You or your loved one’s health is declining quickly
  • Help with everyday activities is needed

 

 

 

PawPrint Ministries Comfort Dogs Bring Excitement to Arthur Home

During an emergency response in a small Illinois town, Jennifer Dahn had her first IMG_4724encounter with a comfort dog team. Little did she know this would lead her down an extremely fulfilling path. Jenn has since created her own comfort dog ministry called PawPrint Ministries, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting hurting hearts in central Illinois and beyond. Jenn’s organization provides comfort dogs to disaster areas, schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. The distinct impact of comfort dogs has even been seen here at Arthur Home, a senior community located in Arthur, Illinois.

IMG_4689Before PawPrint Ministries, Jenn was a personal trainer who loved her job with no desire to leave it. When asked about becoming involved with comfort dogs, she said, “I never in a million years imagined myself doing this. I’ve never been a huge fan of big dogs. But when you see these dogs in action, you can’t even describe it.” PawPrint Ministries began in April of 2014 and quickly grew from having one comfort dog to six certified comfort dogs and seven in training. Their main office is located in Decatur, Illinois. PawPrint Ministries works with PawPrint partner teams who own the dogs and dedicate their time to train the dogs, take the dogs out, and raise awareness and funds for PawPrint Ministries.

IMG_4750Over eight months ago, PawPrint Ministries took their first trip to Arthur Home, which has quickly grown into one of their favorite locations because of the excellent staff and enthusiastic residents. Jenn says, “The staff and the residents… their faces just light up. Just a couple of minutes with our comfort dogs can turn their day around. To walk into someone’s room who may have been having a bad day, to let them snuggle these dogs, and to see their whole demeanor change… That’s why we do it. For that one person who we impact.” Jenn understands that oftentimes people have to leave their animals behind when they move into a new community and they miss that connection. Speaking about Payton, the comfort dog, Jen says, “He doesn’t judge. He doesn’t speak. He just walks in with compassion.”

In addition to various visits that usually take place six days a week, Jenn and the comfort dog team have many moreIMG_4717
ongoing projects. PawPrint Ministries has teamed up with pharmacies in Decatur to raise money to bring two additional comfort dogs into Illinois in order to give back to veterans. These dogs would be trained by veterans and then would make visits to the many veterans in Illinois who could benefit from interacting with a comfort dog. These veteran specific dogs have the power to make a profound impact on people. Jen reminisced on one encounter she had with a veteran, saying, “Last time at Arthur, we met a veteran and Eli, the comfort dog, is learning to salute. Eli held his paw up and saluted, and the man did it right back.”

PawPrint Ministries can be found at Arthur on the second Tuesday of each month at 10AM! Meet Jenn, Payton, and the rest of the team on either August 9th or September 13th!

Vote for Eberhardt Senior Community

lg-headerEberhardt Senior Community is currently in a contest to possibly win$30,000 for a technology makeover by the RK Dixon Make My Non-Profit Run Better Contest! We have made it to the final round, but are in desperate need of votes!!

The contest runs until July 29th at 5pm. You can vote once per day per device. Currently we are in 3rd place but hopefully we can reach out to enough people that we can soar to the top!

Vote today at: http://www.mmnprb.com/search/

Alzheimer’s Awareness

Here are 5 myths you should know…

Myth 1: Memory loss is a natural part of aging.

Reality: As people age, it’s normal to have occasional memory problems, such as forgetting the name of a person you’ve recently met. However, Alzheimer’s is more than occasional memory loss. It’s a disease that causes brain cells to malfunction and ultimately die. When this happens, an individual may forget the name of a longtime friend or what roads to take to return to a home they’ve lived in for decades.

It can be difficult to tell normal memory problems from memory problems that should be a cause for concern. The Alzheimer’s Association has developed information to help you tell the difference. If you or a loved one has memory problems or other problems with thinking and learning that concern you, contact a physician. Sometimes the problems are caused by medication side effects, vitamin deficiencies or other conditions and can be reversed with treatment. The memory and thinking problems may also be caused by another type of dementia.

Myth 2: Alzheimer’s disease is not fatal.

Reality: Alzheimer’s disease has no survivors. It destroys brain cells and causes memory changes, erratic behaviors and loss of body functions. It slowly and painfully takes away a person’s identity, ability to connect with others, think, eat, talk, walk and find his or her way home.

Myth 3: Only older people can get Alzheimer’s

Reality: Alzheimer’s can strike people in their 30s, 40s and even 50s. This is called younger-onset Alzheimer’s. It is estimated that there are more than 5 million people living with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. This includes 5.2 million people age 65 and older and 200,000 people younger than age 65 with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease.


Myth 4: Drinking out of aluminum cans or cooking in aluminum pots and pans can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

Reality: During the 1960s and 1970s, aluminum emerged as a possible suspect in Alzheimer’s. This suspicion led to concern about exposure to aluminum through everyday sources such as pots and pans, beverage cans, antacids and antiperspirants. Since then, studies have failed to confirm any role for aluminum in causing Alzheimer’s. Experts today focus on other areas of research, and few believe that everyday sources of aluminum pose any threat.


Myth 5: Aspartame causes memory loss.

Reality: This artificial sweetener, marketed under such brand names as Nutrasweet and Equal, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in all foods and beverages in 1996. Since approval, concerns about aspartame’s health effects have been raised.

Nurses’ Corner

The holiday season is upon us!! We here at The Arthur Home hope everyone has had and continues to have a safe and happy holiday season!! Our facility is looking very festive and the residents are really enjoying the decorations and the carolers!

With all of the excitement of the holidays, times can also be very stressful. Stress comes in many forms, and can have a negative effect on health if it continues too long or feels overwhelming (USDVA, 2015). Many tools are available to help you manage and reduce your stress. Here are some basic stress management suggestions you can use to help reduce stress this holiday season (USDVA, 2015):

  • Physical Activity – Take a brisk walk or engage in other physically demanding activities. This may reduce your stress. Regular physical activity is best.
  • Relaxation Training – Learn relaxation and mindfulness skills. these skills can assist you to manage the arousal that is associated with stress, and daily relaxation may protect you from at least some of the consequences of stress.
  • Expression – Speak up in respectful ways. Sharing thoughts and feelings in an assertive and respectful manner can sometimes help buffer stress. Keeping those thoughts inside can increase your stress.
  • Time Management – List what needs to get done, make plans for addressing issues, and stick to the plan. there are several self-help books on time management at libraries and book stores.
  • Positive Thinking – Stress is often associated with negative, self-critical thinking. Focus your attention on positive thoughts about yourself, favorite songs, poems, favorite prayers, or hobbies.
  • Pleasant Activities – you may be experiencing the effects of stress if you are not making time for fun in your life. Plan to have regular, enjoyable activities and see if this buffers your stress.

Again, we wish everyone a very blessed Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year!

Jessica and Alicia

Nurses’ Corner

Nurse holding hand _for blog 12-2-15We have undergone many new changes in the nursing department at The Arthur Home over this last month! Crystal Stiner has decided to move forward in her nursing career. I thank her for all of her contributions to the facility and wish her all the best of luck in her future endeavors!

I was honored to be asked to step up into the Director of Nursing position! I have the privilege of working with an amazing group of people all throughout this facility. Together, I think we can make some great changes in the right direction for The Arthur Home!

I am happy to announce that Alicia Howard has agreed to accept the Assistant Director of Nursing position. I am very excited to have her by my side! She brings forth many great ideas and is an incredible asset to the team.

I appreciate all of your patience in this time of transition. I am so very grateful to have such an amazing, hardworking staff, and appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our wonderful residents!

Thanks!

Jessica Alumbaugh, RN, BSN, DON

P.S. – As winter approaches, so does that dreaded time of the year for colds, flu, and pneumonia! Please remember to practice proper hand washing techniques diligently to protect our staff, residents and guests. Thank you.

5 Ways to Avoid Catching a Cold this Winter 

If you feel constantly surrounded by a chorus of coughs and sneezes – at work, at the grocery store, or even at home – you’re not alone.

Here are five things you can do to avoid catching a cold.

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1. Wash your hands. 
Do so often, especially after using the bathroom or touching inanimate objects, like bathroom faucets and door handles, in public places. Also, try to stop touching your face. It sounds silly, but the average American touches their eyes, nose, mouth, or face every 20 seconds, according to Gregory Poland, MD, director of the Vaccine Research Group at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., allowing germs easily access into the body.

2. Go to bed early.
You need plenty of sleep to keep your immune system in tip-top shape this time of year.

3. Eat healthy food with plenty of vitamins.
This will also keep your immune system going strong. Cold and flu season runs in tandem with candy season – from Halloween to Easter. So make an effort to fill your plate with vegetables at lunch and dinner, and snack on fruit  throughout the day.

4. Exercise.
We know it’s no longer swimsuit season, but do your best to stay moving during the cooler months. Regular exercise is another immune-system booster, which can prevent cold bugs you do catch from making you sick.

5. Try zinc lozenges.
If you feel a cold coming on despite your best efforts to stave off germs, research has shown that zinc lozenges might shorten cold duration. “They bind to the viral particles and help prevent some of the replication,” says Michael Benninger, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. “It won’t prevent you from getting a cold, but it may make your cold less sever and last not quite as long.”