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Alzheimer’s Care: How to Prevent Wandering

When a loved one develops Alzheimer’s, wandering can become a significant concern. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that up to 60% of those with dementia will wander at some point. Unfortunately, wandering can increase a senior’s risk of falling, injuring themselves, or experiencing illness due to elemental exposure. 

The only way to ensure your loved one doesn’t wander and injure themselves or others is to provide full-time supervision. Orlando retirement communities can offer a comfortable, home-like setting while providing the necessary security to keep those with dementia safe. 

If you care for your loved one who’s experiencing dementia at home, there are technologies and strategies to reduce the occurrence of wandering. And if they do wander, they will be more likely to return home safely. 

Prepare Your Home

You can take steps to deter your loved one with dementia from leaving your house unsupervised. These steps include:

  • Installing door and window locks and alarms
  • Hiding keys, purses, and wallets
  • Camouflaging doors that lead outside
  • Labeling interior doors to explain the purpose of each room

Many of those with Alzheimer’s may wander outdoors looking for a kitchen or bathroom. Labeling the interior doors to show the available rooms clearly can reduce outdoor wandering and provide a safe indoor space.

Reduce Confusion

Overstimulation can increase confusion in those with dementia. Loud noises, chaos, and new environments can lead to agitation, causing your loved one to feel like they need to escape the situation. Instead, try to create a calm, soothing atmosphere, especially during times of day when they’re more prone to wandering.

Plan Ahead

Preparing for your loved one to wander can ensure they return home quickly and safely. You can mitigate the dangers and locate your senior before they get too far or experience an injury by:

  • Asking your neighbors to call you if they see the person wandering
  • Keeping a recent photo in case you need to contact the police
  • List places where your loved one may go while wandering
  • Buy your senior a wearable GPS tracking device

The Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return program, formed in partnership with the MedicAlert Foundation, can help you quickly track down your loved one if they’ve wandered away. Consider enrolling them in this nationwide emergency response service.

Consider Orlando Retirement Communities

At some point, your loved one will require full-time supervision, especially if they develop a habit of wandering. Unfortunately, most caregivers aren’t capable of providing that level of care. 

Facilities providing memory care in Orlando can support those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia by providing them with support and security at all times. 

How Do Our Nutritional Needs Change as We Age?

As we age, our nutritional needs change. A healthy diet in our younger years may be inadequate for maintaining good health as we age. This is because as we age, our bodies undergo many changes, including:

  • Decreased digestive function
  • Lower Calcium absorption   
  • Decreased metabolism
  • Increased risk of disease and infection
  • Changes in hormone levels

The older we get, the more sensitive our bodies become to certain nutrients and vitamins. 

Vitamin B12 is a common example of this. Vitamin B12 is essential for normal nerve function and red blood cell production. As we age, our ability to absorb vitamin B12 can decrease, so many older people take supplements or eat foods fortified with the vitamin.

Since our nutritional needs change as we age, it’s important to know how to meet those needs to stay healthy and avoid many common age-related health concerns.

Increase Dietary Protein and Exercise

Protein is an essential nutrient that helps build and repair tissues in the body. It also plays a role in transporting substances through the bloodstream and is needed for healthy hair, skin, nails, and muscles.

As we age, muscle mass decreases due to less physical activity and muscle protein synthesis. Increasing your dietary protein intake, exercising, and stretching help to prevent this muscle mass loss. Protein helps build and repair damaged tissue, making it an essential nutrient for people over 50.

Increase Vitamin and Micronutrient Intake

You may have trouble absorbing certain vitamins and minerals because of dental problems or medications that interfere with digestion (like antacids). You might also have trouble digesting food properly if you’re taking medications that affect the kidneys or liver function.

Your body processes vitamins and minerals differently than it did when you were younger. As we age, our bodies are less able to absorb nutrients from food such as vegetables and fruits. That’s why older adults take vitamin supplements or multivitamins daily.

Decrease Sodium Intake

As we age, our kidneys might not work as well as they once did. This could make it more difficult for your body to remove extra salt from your diet — especially if you’re eating processed foods high in sodium.

Watch out for these hidden sources of sodium:

  • Processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, and sausage
  • Canned vegetables and soups
  • Frozen dinners such as pizza or chicken nuggets
  • Salty snacks like chips and pretzels

Opt for low-sodium foods whenever possible. Carefully check nutrition labels when shopping for groceries.

Maintaining Good Nutrition as You Age — Tips from Orlando Retirement Communities

Eating healthy as you grow older is achievable. With a bit of planning and an open mind, you’ll be able to meet your nutritional needs without sacrificing taste or enjoyment. It doesn’t have to be a drastic change — it’s about making small changes for long-term gain.

Choosing from the area’s Orlando retirement communities can make it easier to maintain good nutrition as you age, as independent living near Orlando offers dining options and wellness programs that make it easy to maintain a healthy diet. 

What Makes Orlando Retirement Communities So Popular?

It’s practically a cliche at this point: Are you looking to retire? Then move to Florida — specifically, Orlando! There’s even a famous Jerry Seinfeld routine about it

Here’s the thing, though… Orlando retirement communities are incredible. The best thing about independent living facilities in Orlando is that, well, they’re in Orlando. And why is Orlando an awesome place to retire? 

No Snow

Check out any pictures from an Orlando retirement community, and you won’t see a flake of snow. A winter with temps below 50 is an outlier. All year you can take in the sights and enjoy everything that Orlando has to offer! You can truly live your best life, staying active and getting involved without getting trapped by a blizzard.

Theme Parks

Even if you’re not a theme park fan, chances are your kids and grandkids are. Want them to visit? Tell them you live minutes from Disney World, Universal Studios, and Seaworld. And if you enjoy theme parks yourself, you can live minutes away. Some parks even offer discounts to residents, in addition to any senior discounts you may already enjoy.

Low Taxes

Florida taxes are low — and not just income taxes, which probably don’t apply to you as a retiree. Sales tax in Florida is only 6%Laws also state that tax assessment values for Florida homes can’t increase by more than 3% per year. 

How about state inheritance or estate taxes? Not in Florida. If you want to leave possessions or income to the next generation, Florida is the place to do it.

A Large Retiree Population

People like to be around others who understand them. Orlando has millions of retired residents who call the city their home. If you’re looking for plenty of like-minded people in the same phase of life, Orlando is it. Tourists may come and go, but your fellow retirees have found a new home.

Services that Cater to Specific Needs

Because of the high influx of retirees, businesses cater to their needs. Medical providers abound in the city. And the entertainment is better than anywhere else. Do you want to see that band you love? They’ll probably be playing nearby at a venue with assigned seats. Do you like golfing? You’ll find the best golf courses in the world in Orlando. 

Finally, and unsurprisingly, Orlando has an impressive number of beautiful, spacious retirement communities!

What’s the Best Age to Move into a Retirement Community?

If you or a loved one is considering moving into a retirement community, you may be wondering what’s the best age to move. There’s no magical age to transition. Some seniors are eager to settle into a community, while others prefer to stay at home.

The decision is ultimately up to you, but there are a few factors you should consider that can help you make your decision.

Daily Activities

If daily activities are becoming more difficult to complete, it’s time to start thinking about assisted living or independent living facilities in Orlando. 

You should spend your retirement enjoying hobbies and socializing with friends and family, not struggling to complete daily chores like cooking and cleaning. Moving to an assisted living community can free up your time and take some of these responsibilities off your plate.

Home Maintenance

One of the most important factors to consider is at what age home maintenance becomes too overwhelming. For seniors living alone, home maintenance can easily become too much to take on. 

Between cleaning the inside of your home and maintaining the outside with landscaping and routine repairs, there’s a lot to stay on top of. If home maintenance is starting to become a burden, it may be the right time to transition.

Driving

In most communities, driving is a big part of independence and also necessary to complete daily tasks like grocery shopping and getting to medical appointments. If it’s becoming unsafe for you to drive, transitioning to assisted living is a good option. 

Many Orlando retirement communities offer transportation options that still allow seniors to travel wherever they need to go.

Moving into Orlando Retirement Communities

There’s no perfect age to move into a retirement community, and the right time is ultimately up to you. Talk to friends and family and the community you’re considering before making your decision.

Congratulations To Our Volunteers and Team Members Of The Year

We’re beginning our celebration of Westminster Communities of Florida’s Volunteers of the Year and Team Members of the Year! Over the next two weeks, beginning on Wednesday, we’re holding recognition banquets in Tallahassee, St. Petersburg and Orlando to celebrate these individuals. Be on the lookout for our announcements of the winners prior to each banquet, and fun photos from the event itself.

Congratulations to all the amazing people who make Westminster Communities of Florida a great place to live and work!

Volunteers of the Year

Team Members of the Year

Aging Adults with Alzheimer’s: Do They Need a Special Doctor?

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be devastating. As there is still no cure, aging adults with Alzheimer’s and their families are often left with few options to cope with the disease. A specialized doctor can help patients and their families understand their options and what to expect. 

Types of Alzheimer’s Specialty Doctors

There are two primary types of Alzheimer’s specialty doctors: neurologists and neuropsychologists. 

Neurologists are medical doctors who specialize in brain and nervous system disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. Neurologists perform brain imaging tests and in-depth evaluations that may include testing vision and speech. 

These tests can help determine whether there are other medical complications present and measure the severity of Alzheimer’s. 

Neuropsychologists specialize in evaluating and treating the brain’s cognitive functions such as language, memory, and attention span. 

For seniors experiencing difficulty with thinking, speech, or other symptoms interfering with daily life, a neuropsychologist can perform several tests to determine the severity and prognosis of the disease.

How a Specialized Doctor Can Help

While specialized doctors can’t make Alzheimer’s go away, they can help seniors and their families better manage it. They can recommend medications that may slow the disease’s progression or help alleviate related symptoms such as stress and anxiety. 

They can also provide a baseline for tracking disease progression, which can help guide future medical decisions. Florida is home to many specialized doctors, and some even make house calls to Orlando retirement communities.

Alzheimer’s Care in Orlando Retirement Communities

Just because a senior is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease does not mean that they can’t keep learning, explore new hobbies, and enjoy their retirement. Orlando is home to some of the best care communities for seniors. 

Whether you need minimal assistance or long-term memory care in Orlando, you can find a community that suits your needs.

Care for Your Aging Parents Without Crossing Lines: The Dos and Don’ts

As parents age, they often experience health and mobility issues that require help. This responsibility usually falls to their children. 

For some families, moving a loved one to one of the many Orlando, Florida, retirement communities is a good option. If you find yourself in a caretaking role, here are a few do’s and don’ts for caring for your aging parents without crossing lines.

Do’s

Being a caregiver for a parent isn’t always easy, but there are a few principles that you should always try to follow.

Listen

Just because your parent may be having health or mobility issues doesn’t mean that they don’t know what they need. If they say they don’t need assistance, listen to them carefully before imposing your wishes. 

Be Respectful

The best caregivers are the ones who are respectful. When you step into a caregiver role, remember that your parent still deserves the same respect they always have. If your parent feels respected, they’re more likely to accept the help they need, making things easier and more pleasant for everyone involved.

Know When to Ask for Outside Help

Sometimes, parents need more help than an untrained caregiver can provide. Orlando retirement communities offer the help your parent needs in addition to a welcoming environment that will keep them as active as possible. 

Don’ts 

Despite their best efforts, caregivers may struggle to find the right balance between being helpful and doing too much. Here are a few don’ts when it comes to caring for aging parents.

Overdo It 

One mistake caregivers make is offering too much help. If your parent needs help down the stairs, that doesn’t necessarily mean they need help walking everywhere. It’s important to balance what your parent needs help doing with what they can still do independently. 

Insist that You Know Best

Disagreements will inevitably arise between you and your parent. Try your best to trust their judgment, and don’t overrule their wishes by insisting you know best without good reason to do so.

Forget About Yourself

The adage is true: You can’t care for others without first taking care of yourself. Caregivers can easily become overwhelmed and put self-care on the back burner. Neglecting yourself will eventually catch up to you and make you a less effective caregiver.

Orlando Retirement Communities

Sometimes retirement communities are a better fit for your parent than in-home care. Whether they need a little help or support care around the clock, you can find a community for them in Orlando. Be sure to consult with a trusted physician about your parents care for the best fit.

How to Motivate Seniors to Make Healthier Eating Choices

When you’re old enough to have lived through at least one war and a pandemic or two, raised children, suffered losses, and known great joys, you’re not likely to respond well to someone telling you to eat your broccoli. Encouraging seniors to make better eating choices is tricky. You want to help them live longer and enjoy better health, but if you are a family caregiver, you know it’s challenging to get seniors to break old habits.

The nutritionists working in Orlando retirement communities face this challenge often, and it can be difficult — even for professionals. However, the following tips can help you gently motivate a senior in your life to eat a healthier diet.

Add, Don’t Subtract

Taking away your loved one’s favorite ice cream or comfort-food casserole is not going to win you any points. Try adding new, healthier foods into the mix instead. Some healthy options include:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Grass-fed dairy products
  • Omega-boosted eggs
  • Whole grains
  • Almonds and other nuts
  • Chia and flax seeds
  • Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as, Salmon or Tuna

Focusing on trying new things and making mealtime more adventurous is often a more palatable approach than cutting out “bad” foods a person has been eating their whole life.

Make Meal Prep Fun

Offer to come and help your parent or friend prepare meals for the week. Don’t focus on “healthy,” focus on fun. Bring the ingredients for one or two make-and-freeze healthy meals — a few portions for you to take home and a few to share. This may motivate your loved one to try healthy new foods and maybe even to share a few recipes of their own next time. 

Many seniors in Orlando, FL, independent living facilities become bored with cooking, especially if they are preparing food for only themselves. Having company in the kitchen is a great motivator for cooking nutritious food instead of eating whatever is convenient.

Share the Benefits of Specific Foods

Eating “healthier” is an ambiguous goal, but eating foods that are good for your vision, cholesterol, or a better mood is something to get excited about. Explain the specific benefits of a certain food, such as how almonds can help control blood sugar, and the seniors in your life may be more motivated to eat them.

Keep Their Palette in Mind

You’re not likely to motivate an older person to eat healthier if your suggestions include a lot of strange ingredients and foods they’ve never heard of. Try making your favorite recipes healthier instead. For example, add shredded, sautéed vegetables to meatloaf or replace half of the potatoes with cauliflower for mashed potatoes. Showing seniors that they can still enjoy their favorite dishes while eating healthier is a great way to keep them motivated.

Make It Beautiful

The old saying “We eat with our eyes first” is true. Even a salad of raw vegetables can look exciting if you take a little extra time to arrange it attractively. Keeping foods colorful, bright, and enticing to the eye will increase your loved one’s interest in trying them.

Healthy Options at Orlando Retirement Communities

One thing you shouldn’t have to worry about when your loved one moves into an Orlando retirement community is their healthy diet. Make sure the facility you choose offers a variety of nutritious, homemade meals in addition to private kitchenettes. 

How to Design a Gallery Wall for Your Photos and Keepsakes

We often give a lot of thought to decorating a home with stylish furniture, drapes, rugs, and accessories. Sometimes it is easy to miss the incredible vast expanse of walls available to us as a perfect canvas.

Add a Breathtaking Perfect Focal Point to Any Room

There are many reasons why adding a gallery wall to your home can be a great idea. Not only is it a brilliant way to display your favorite prints and photos, but a well-laid gallery can also add endless character and visual appeal to any room.

When designing a gallery wall, start with a theme, such as memories, travel, hobbies, collections, etc. Then explore different color schemes, textures, frames, and other elements. Finally, take stock of the wall area, and create a layout to hang the collection.

Have Fun Designing a Unique Gallery

If you are looking for some inspiration, here are a few ideas to help you put together a stylish and aesthetically-pleasing gallery wall.

Enhance the Wall Behind Your Couch

The blank wall behind the couch can be a daunting area to decorate, and a gallery wall can be a perfect idea for this space. A nice little trick is arranging your display on the floor to visualize how it looks before hanging the pictures on the wall.

Create a Small Cozy Space for Relaxing or Reading

If you have a small nook, it can be an ideal opportunity to put together a warm and inviting little space with your favorite pictures, such as family prints, artwork, favorite book covers, and more. 

Prop up a comfy chair or an ottoman next to it, and you will have your sanctuary to unwind in.

Elevate Your Home Office to the Next Level

Your home office can be a great space to create a gorgeous display of achievements or select framed children’s artwork. A gallery wall can be the pride of the place and help you personalize any room to make it feel like home. 

Show Off Your Hobby with Pride

Do you have a seashell, postcard, or basket collection? Rather than store them in boxes, a tastefully-designed gallery wall can be a fascinating way of displaying your favorite pieces. 

Customize Your Decor in Orlando Retirement Communities

Oftentimes, we assume a gallery wall is all about prints and frames. There are no hard and fast rules and absolutely no limit to how creative you can get. Here are a few interesting and exciting ideas to inspire your decor:

  • A well-arranged display of your craft pieces
  • Mix-and-match frames with varied shapes, sizes, and textures
  • Favorite quotes printed in beautiful fonts
  • A color-coordinated assembly to add color to a room
  • Black and white prints

Assemble different sized frames that complement each other to maintain a visual balance on your wall.

Whether you are hoping to spruce up your lovely home in independent living facilities in Orlando, FL, or looking for affordable ways to create a functional new space, you cannot go wrong with a gallery wall. 

As vibrant as the neighborhoods are in Orlando retirement communities, your indoor spaces can also be perfect for bringing your decor ideas to life.

The Importance of Stretching as We Age (3 Simple Stretches for Seniors)

As you age, you experience a variety of changes in your body. Things like muscle weakness and decreased circulation can have negative effects on your overall health and well-being. This is why it is important to stay active and do what you can to keep your body strong. 

One way to improve your overall health and strengthen your body from the inside out is by practicing daily stretches. Learn more about the benefits of stretching and three simple stretches for seniors living in Orlando retirement communities.

The Benefits of Stretching

Regular stretching provides a number of benefits for senior citizens, including the following:

  • Increases flexibility
  • Enhances mobility
  • Improves breathing
  • Strengthens muscles
  • Reduces risk of injury
  • Improves circulation
  • Provides relaxation

To experience optimal results, you should make it a priority to practice your stretches at least once daily. At certain independent living facilities in Orlando, there may be daily exercise programs available that incorporate stretching to help seniors improve their health.

3 Simple Stretches for Seniors in Orlando Retirement Communities

The following are three simple stretches that seniors can practice to feel stronger, healthier, and more flexible.

1. The Gentle Twist

One of the most popular stretches for seniors is the gentle twist stretch. This stretch is good for lower back pain. 

To complete a gentle twist stretch, plant your feet flat on the floor while seated in a chair. Place your knees at a 90-degree angle while sitting slightly forward on the chair.

Take a deep breath and press yourself down into the seat. You will feel your spine lengthen as you lift your arms upward over your head. Exhale and turn yourself gently to the right while putting your left hand on the outside of your right knee and your right hand wherever it feels comfortable. Release and repeat on the other side.

2. The Reach Back

The reach-back stretch is great for increasing flexibility and improving the range of motion in your shoulders. It can also help stretch your chest muscles. 

To perform a reach-back stretch, sit with your spine straight and your feet placed firmly on the ground. Reach behind yourself and interlace your hands. If you cannot interlace your hands, you can grab the opposite wrist instead. 

Inhale deeply until you feel your spine stretching and your posture becoming taller. Try to roll your shoulder upward and back. Take three deep breaths and release.

3. The Hamstring Stretch

Hamstring stretches are important for maintaining strength and flexibility in the legs. 

To complete a hamstring stretch, place your right heel on a bench with your leg straight and toes pointed upwards. Without rounding your lower back, slowly bend the hinge forward from the hips until you feel a suitable stretch. Hold this for 10 to 30 seconds and then release. Switch legs and repeat. 

To make a hamstring stretch easier, you can perform it while seated in a chair, with your heel placed on the floor in front of you.

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