Diabetes Alert Day is Tuesday, March 28

You Better Watch Out

According to the book “Fast Food Nation”, 96% of American schoolchildren can identify Ronald McDonald. The only other fictional character which they were able to recognize more – was Santa Claus. Just let those facts sink in. Then ask yourself, ‘What exactly does that say about our nation?’

Today in the United States more than two-thirds of adults are considered to be overweight or obese. The numbers are staggering. Diabetes is a common factor in the majority of those numbers. In fact, the two main causes of diabetes are obesity and lack of exercise. Diabetes has become a serious epidemic in our country. It affects more than 29 million Americans or about 9% of the U.S. population. An estimated 86 million Americans have prediabetes and 90% of those don’t even know they have it. Probably the most alarming fact is diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.

Every year on the fourth Tuesday in March, The American Diabetes Association observes Diabetes Alert Day. It is a one-day, wake-up-call to inform Americans how serious and important diabetes is, as well as to alert everyone to the increasing numbers of people who are affected by this disease and how severe the outcome can be when left undiagnosed and untreated. This day encourages all to take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test; a quick and easy test you can take online in minutes. This alert day also encourages anyone and everyone to participate in work friendly activities that teach you how you can reverse the effects of diabetes and live a healthier and longer life.

There are two types of diabetes; type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is the more severe form and is referred by different names like insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes-juvenile diabetes because it usually occurs in children and teenagers. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces little or no insulin which then causes the body’s immune system to attack its own body, and in this case, a part of the pancreas. Scientists do not know why, but they do know the immune system mistakenly recognizes the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as foreign, so it destroys them. It is this characteristic that classifies type 1 diabetes as an autoimmune disease.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diagnosed cases and has several causes, but lifestyle and genetics are the most common. A combination of these can cause insulin resistance when your body doesn’t use insulin well. Insulin resistance is the most common cause of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 is also hereditary, which doesn’t guaranty you diabetes if your parent or parents have it, but it does mean you have a greater chance of getting it. Researchers have not been able to pin point which genes carry the risk, but the medical community has been researching certain genetic mutations that lead to a risk of type 2.

Symptoms of diabetes include: extreme increase in thirst, recurrent urination, unexplained weight loss, an increase in hunger, and tingling in your hands or feet. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor who can run a variety of tests, such as a fasting or a normal plasma glucose test.

To help reduce your risk of getting diabetes, tips include exercising regularly, eating a balanced and healthy diet, limiting processed foods in your diet, managing your weight, limiting your alcohol intake, and not smoking.

As Eric Schlosser, the author of Fast Food Nation wrote, “Fast food is popular because it’s convenient, it’s cheap, and it tastes good. But the real cost of eating fast food never appears on the menu.”

The facts don’t lie. Ignoring them can be deadly. On March 28 take part in Diabetes Alert Day. Be aware. Be active. Be involved. It is time that we make healthier life choices for ourselves and for our children. It’s okay that Santa Claus is at the top of the list of fictional characters’ children recognize. Let’s change who number two is. Children don’t make choices where they eat, parents do.

 

 

 

 

 

Love You Forever

When the author of the ever-popular book, “Love You Forever” first wrote those famous words: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be” he didn’t write them, he actually sang them. There is a much darker side to this popular children’s book, the actual story behind the famous four lines. The author, Robert Munsch, sang those words inside his head, speaking them not even out loud for his wife to hear. He did this after his wife gave birth to their stillborn baby, the second stillborn they would have to mourn. After the loss of their second child the doctors informed them they would never be able to conceive a child on their own. The couple went on to adopt three children, but the loss of his first two babies as well as the little song he made up to sing inside his head silently, “my way of crying” stayed with him over the years, eventually becoming the blockbuster book published in 1986. By 2001 it was listed as No. 4 on Publishers Weekly’s list of best-selling children’s books.

The parents, who would have read that book to their babies, back in 1986, would be around 60 years old. Certainly, not an age most would think need care, but the idea that we as children should take care of our elderly parents seems simpatico with that book’s theme. It’s a common theme throughout our lives, that we will always take care of what is ours. A nice thought, a solid ideal, but one that can fall short when the actual task comes to hand.

As our parents age and become elderly, where they need our assistance, we often find ourselves in a position we did not plan for or give much thought to. Often like making out a will, if we don’t do it, then won’t that mean we won’t die? Why take on worry when it’s not at our door? But the reality of this situation is our parents are aging and living longer lives and we are marrying later in life and starting our families later, meaning we have our own children still in the home, still to be raised by us as we were by our own parents. Do you see where we are coming in this crossroads of life we didn’t want to ‘look’ at for fear it would happen?

We as adult children of parents, who are aging, believe our parents would want to be cared for by us, possibly live with us when that time came when they needed assistance. But the truth is, they all don’t want to, in fact – a majority of them do not want to. Less than a third (31%) of those surveyed for a Gallup & Robinson research project on aging and quality of life said they would live with a younger family member when they could no longer live on their own. We are raised by our parents to be independent, to build our own lives, hopefully close by, but on our own all the same. Our parents drilled that into us because they also love their independence. The assumption that they want to be living with us when they are elderly or cared for – primarily by us – is not true. Remember when you came home after college, flopped into their basement and thought your Mom was going to continue to cook your favorite meals and do your laundry? Do you remember how well that went over? You were shocked to find your Mom not home and your Dad had turned the basement into his ‘big game room’ filled with deer heads and stuffed turkey.  You were ushered to the door and it was soundly locked. The keyless entry on the garage was changed and it no longer bore your birthdate. They are independent. They are active, viable, and busy on their own. They love you, they love your children, but they raised you with the understanding the world had opportunities galore for you to thrive and survive. They did not, nor do not, want to live in your home to see what a bad job they did raising you.

Arthur home

Thankfully Eberhardt Village and Arthur Home have paid attention and have kept up on what the elderly of this new generation are looking for. Eberhardt Village offers many amenities for their active seniors including; card club, live music, transportation to scheduled outings, a Main Street Eatery and so much more. Located on sight is a Beauty & Barber Shop, a full laundry facility with complimentary washers and dryers and even a weekly housekeeping service. If the needs are greater they have Arthur Home, a full-scale nursing home for both long and short term skilled care. Plus, they offer rehabilitation services for those who just need time to mend and get back on their feet. At Arthur Home they know that not everyone has the same wants or likes for their living arrangements so they offer two different room styles, many just remodeled, which fit the many needs of their seniors. Wireless internet, built-in dressers, call lights and so much more.

By offering continuum care with options that include completely independent living, assisted living, and even nursing home-level care, Arthur Home and Eberhardt Village meet the needs of today’s senior. Enabling them to make their new home –  their last home, which has been a reoccurring ‘MUST’ among elderly who are moved around from one place to the next. They want their own home. And with this new era, long gone are the days of ‘Old Folks Homes’, replaced by the up to date living communities that are centered on meeting the needs of viable seniors who like yoga, who play euchre on their computer and enjoy going on trips to shop. They like to spend their money, not save it for you. They made you independent for a reason. And the resources for you to earn a good life and make a good savings of your own are more abundant than ever before.

If you remember the book “Love You Forever” you must then also remember the very end of the story. The son, grown now, went to his mother’s home to hold her and rock her. He didn’t go down the stairs to the den that was converted into a bedroom. Perhaps the author was telling us something?

De-Mything Stereotypes

There are many stereotypes surrounding elder care and nursing facilities. Before we talk about the most common examples, it’s best to define stereotype. Stereotype is “any commonly known public belief about a certain social group or a type of individual.” The media industry tends to give nursing homes a negative stereotype by portraying them as depressing and abusive.  These stereotypes can give the public a negative outlook and opinion on these homes, especially if a person has never visited one.  In rare cases, some of the stereotypes may be accurate, but the majority of nursing facilities are opposite of what people assume.

Depressing

The media and entertainment industry tend to portray nursing facilities as being depressing because they show them as a place for people to go and die, which isn’t true.  It may be hard to envision a close loved one somewhere other than his or her home, but in most cases a nursing facility is what’s best for the family member.  Elders keep busy with many activities throughout the day and company is always welcome to join.  There are always people around which makes the environment more lively than living at home alone.  Plus trained staff are around to provide assistance when needed.

Smell

If you’ve never walked into a nursing home, you probably assume they smell bad, which is actually the opposite.  Nursing homes tend to smell clean and sterile.  In order to keep a safe and germ-free environment for the residents, employees use sanitizers and cleaners throughout the day.  Bathrooms and shower areas are cleaned on a regular basis, as are tables, chairs and other surface areas that receive heavy contact.

Abusive

One of the worst stereotypes about nursing homes is that they’re abusive.  Contrary to belief and what is played out in the media, most of the employees that work in a nursing facility love their job and their field of work. When people like what they do, they create a positive and fun environment for people around them. People who care for the elder also tend to be caring, compassionate and patient people which radiates onto people living in the communities.

While there are stereotypes that surround elder care and nursing facilities, it’s important to keep in mind that the majority of them are inaccurate.  Nursing facilities are a safe and loving environment for your loved ones where they will feel right at home.

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.