Understanding Dementia

An estimated 5 million Americans suffer some degree of dementia, and that number will grow as our population ages. Dementia affects approximately 1% of people in the 60-64 age group, and the percentage jumps to 30-50% of people older than 85 years. It is the leading reason families begin researching nursing homes or other skilled care options. Alzheimer’s Disease While dementia is an overall category that includes a number of brain diseases, Alzheimer’s Disease is a specific disease within that category. In fact, Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 50–70% of all dementia cases (according to the Alzheimer’s Association). Though Alzheimer’s Disease is increasingly common, it is not considered a normal part of aging. It is a progressive disease that worsens over time, unlike other forms of dementia that are medically treatable and can be reversed. Preventive measures There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, but research indicates that onset of the disease might be delayed through a variety of simple choices, including: Drinking enough water. Since the brain is about 75% water, providing it with fresh supplies can help keep it alert while ridding the body of waste. “Eight glasses a day” has become a popular mantra, […]

3 Surprising Heart-Health Tips

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:3, NIV) February is American Heart Month, so in addition to celebrating love and romance and Valentine’s Day, many people are re-committing to healthy living. After all, healthy habits can help ensure that you and your loved ones will be able to enjoy each other’s company for a long time. Heart-health tips are available all over this time of year, and many of them are simple common sense: stop smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, exercise more. But Providence Life Services offers these three tips that may be different from what you were expecting: 1. Stop dieting Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to heart health, but for many people “dieting” usually means a cycle of losing, gaining, fasting, bingeing, up, and down. If that’s you, stop dieting. Instead, commit to an overall healthier style of eating. Start with these two steps: Avoid fast foods and processed foods, and add more unsweetened fruits and vegetables to your meal plan. 2. Drink moderately For women, one serving of alcohol each day can raise good cholesterol and reduce inflammation and blood clots. For men, two drinks a day is […]

Residents and Presidents

FEBRUARY 16, 2011 – “There is little doubt that older Americans are highly engaged in political participation,” begins Robert H. Binstock’s article, “Older People and Political Engagement.” Binstock goes on to cite evidence that shows seniors (people age 65 and older) in the past seven presidential elections voted at a substantially higher rate than people 44 and younger. And it’s not just presidents and potential presidents that inspire political involvement by seniors. They are involved at state and local levels as well. Providence Life Services makes it a goal every year to host a Legislative Reception at each of our Retirement Living and Assisted Living communities, featuring state-level politicians. These events are always well-attended by our residents. Not only do they listen attentively to the guest legislator, but they also come prepared with questions to ask. These citizens are engaged! In 2010, for the first time in five years, every Providence community hosted a Legislative Reception — and some hosted more than one! The communities showed great variety in the types of events they got their state politicians to participate in: Emerald Meadows (Grand Rapids, Michigan) partnered with a local law office in April to do a presentation on Veterans’ […]

A Blizzard of Teamwork

ILLINOIS (February 2011) – While many people will talk about the Blizzard of 2011 in terms of inches of snow or degrees of cold or number of hours stranded on Lake Shore Drive, people at Providence Life Services communities are more likely to share stories of warm fellowship, bright smiles, and going the extra mile. For example, at Providence Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center of South Holland, Administrator Richard Nolden stayed on duty more than 24 hours. His primary responsibility during the February 1–2 blizzard was to drive his four-wheel-drive truck to employees’ homes and transport them safely to work. “Our people were willing to come in,” he says, “but in many cases they just didn’t have a means of getting here. That was one way I could help.” The Wednesday morning shift was short on kitchen help, so the Social Worker and Activity Director (who had stayed overnight) donned hairnets, gloves, and aprons to make breakfast. Kitchen worker Janet Kooy walked from her home a mile away and arrived in time to serve. Staff from the corporate office in Tinley Park, which was closed due to the weather, showed up at the community to pitch in wherever they could — serving trays, […]

Preventing Bedsores

What is a bedsore? A pressure ulcer, sometimes called a “bedsore,” is an injury caused by unrelieved pressure on a specific area of the skin. Pressure ulcers begin as reddened areas, and without proper circulation and nutrition they can develop into damaged skin and tissue. Pressure ulcers most commonly occur on bony parts of the body that sustain pressure when a person sits or lies for long periods of time. When pressure squeezes the blood vessels that deliver nutrients and oxygen to the skin, the skin begins “starving” to death. What factors increase the risk for pressure ulcers? – Inability to change positions – Loss of bowel or bladder control – Poor nutrition or dehydration – Lowered mental awareness How can I prevent pressure ulcers? Limit Pressure If you are in bed, change your position at least every two hours. If you are in a chair or wheelchair, change your position frequently. If you are able to shift your own weight, do so every 15 minutes while sitting. Reduce Friction When shifting position or moving in your bed, lift yourself across the sheets. Avoid repetitive movements such as rubbing your foot on the sheets to scratch an itchy spot. Avoid […]