Articles About Activities for Seniors, Dementia Patients and Caregivers

Exercise and Health Benefit for those Living with Dementia

Our residents enjoy exercising in their secured landscaped yards. Chair aerobics has many health benefits including: improved mood, better sleep, maintenance of motor skills, and improved memory/behavior. For more information about Dementia and exercise, please read Dementia- activities and exercise.

The article offers several suggestions for those living with dementia on how to stay active. You will notice the article mentions the exact same activities Sutton Homes residents participate in for example, housework such as assisting with baking and folding laundry. Exercise activities does not have to be structured! Have fun, be creative, and stay active!

 

Sutton Homes Memory Care Residents enjoy the outdoors and stay active! Our Mt. Dora residents are participating in chair aerobics.

Sutton Homes Memory Care Residents enjoy the outdoors and stay active! Our Mt. Dora residents are participating in exercise.

Helpful Article about Activities for People with Dementia

The article Activities For People With Dementia, by Jennifer Buckley, recently published on Caregiver.com contains a helpful, short list of easy and enjoyable ways to spend quality time with, and carry on conversation with people with dementia.

Some of these helpful suggestions include: reminiscing conversation using audio or visual aids to stimulate memory, singing and dancing and shared activities that stimulate the senses.

The article begins:

It is universally recognized that elderly people with dementia lose their short term memory first and their long term memory last. For example, they often remember people and events from their earlier years, but have difficulty remembering what they ate for breakfast the day before.

A while back, a family member asked me “what do you do with someone who can no longer carry on a normal conversation?” The short answer is “Relax and have fun.” The long answer would require writing a whole book. A short summary of some activities include the following…

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‘Ballroom For The Brain’ dance program provides many benefits for Orlando Alzheimer’s Patients

This wonderful article in the Orlando Sentinel, entitled Dance party stimulates minds, bodies of Alzheimer’s patients by Susan Jacobson, highlights this fun and healthy dance program for Alzheimer’s patients. The program, called “Ballroom for the Brain” helps seniors to keep their minds and bodies active, as well as have a great time!

Watch Video of Dance Class

Ballroom for the Brain Dance Class Video

To quote the article:

The weekly dance party is designed to stimulate the minds and bodies of people in the early stages of dementia. Saturday’s class was the final in a series that began June 21. Another series is scheduled for October.

“It’s a failure-free environment,” said Julie Shatzer, director of programs for the Alzheimer’s Association, who co-founded Ballroom for the Brain with John Davis, president of the Orlando chapter of USA Dance.

Ballroom dance requires participants to remember steps, move to music, make split-second decisions, trust a partner and communicate nonverbally — skills that proponents hope will help people with the disease.

“You’re touching, relating to someone; you have to manage complex steps,” Davis said…

“You’ve never seen anyone frowning on a dance floor,” she said. “Everyone is happy.”

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Spotlight on health benefits of pets in senior living

May is National Pet Month, Pets Benefit Seniors

May is National Pet Month, Pets bring many benefits to seniors

Animals can enhance the quality of life of our seniors. Sutton Homes Memory Care is pet friendly! Several of our homes have pets that live there full time. We also encourage families to bring their pets to visit our residents. Many of them do that on a regular basis.

The following article, found on http://www.aplaceformom.com highlights some of the specific health and wellness benefits that pets can bring to our loved ones.

May is National Pet Month, so it’s a great time to look at the number of benefits pets have on their owners, especially for seniors. As known benefits increase, senior communities are becoming more pet friendly, letting residents enjoy the benefits of an animal companion through pet therapy provided by a certified therapy animal and handler.

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Alzheimer’s Association Central and North Florida Chapter Presents BrainFest 2014

BrainFest2014-smBrain Up Central Florida! BrainFest, presented by the Alzheimer’s Association Central and North Florida Chapter is happening Saturday, March 15th in Winter Park.

Saturday, March 15
10am-4pm (rain or shine)
Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center
Winter Park, FL

FREE ADMISSION. FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

Get ready to rev your mental engines, fire up your neurons and learn tips and tricks for keeping your brain strong all life long. BrainFest 2014 will be a fun filled day of education, entertainment and activities focused on building and maintaining healthy brains. You will engage in mind-bending and brain-boosting activities focused on all the aspects of good brain health: nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, social engagement, mental stimulation and finding your purpose!

For more information about this fun, useful and informative event visit:

http://www.brainupfl.org/eat-smart/brainfest-2014/

Planning a Senior-Friendly Trip to the Museum

By Janice Masters

A day trip to your local art or historical museum can be a great outing for older adults. Not only is it mentally and physically stimulating, the seniors you are with may have ties to the people, places, or events on exhibit—talk about high interest for them and for you! But as fun and memorable an experience like this can be, it can turn unpleasant quickly if you haven’t done your homework. The two most basic things to keep in mind are:

  • Know your people and
  • Know what to expect at your intended destination

Your People

Knowing the unique needs of the seniors in your care will go a long way towards ensuring a successful trip. If you are senior-care professional, make sure you have current medical information on everyone in the group. It is likely that at least some will be dealing with issues such as diabetes, hypertension, dementia, macular degeneration, balance issues, or muscular/joint pain. Knowing the general and specific health needs of your group will be a big help in choosing an appropriate destination. And once the trip is underway, it will enable you to assist them and/or any medical professionals should the needs arise.

Your Destination

How do you ensure the spot you’ve chosen for an enjoyable day out is appropriate for your people and minimize the chance of unpleasant surprises? No doubt about it: It’s best if you can check out the site yourself by visiting ahead of time. However, if that isn’t possible, start by getting as much information from the museum’s website as you can. Then, plan to spend some time on the phone with their staff (this may mean multiple calls) to help you answer the following questions and any others you may have pertaining to your particular group.

How long does it take to get there? If it’s more than 90 minutes, make sure you plan a restroom stop along the way. Use a Google Map, or better yet, drive the distance yourself to calculate travel time and search for rest stops. It’s also a good idea to bring enough non-perishable snacks and bottled water for each person on the trip (you and the driver included) in case people are hungry after the outing or—heaven forbid—your car or bus breaks down.

What is the price of admission? Make sure it’s appropriate for the people you’re escorting. Frequently, museums give a discount to seniors and/or large groups, but it may not be enough for those facing financial hardship. If that’s the case, find another museum. Many are free or run on a donation-only basis. Those who can afford it will be able to contribute, and if you’re taking this trip as part of your job, you may have some budget to cover the rest.

Are there stairs? How many and how steep? What is the access for those with walkers or wheelchairs? Are there elevators to all areas? A tour that takes museum-goers up and down many flights of stairs, as may be the case when visiting an historical estate, is not a good choice for people who have trouble walking, are dealing with joint pain, or experience shortness of breath.

Is the museum well-lighted? Many of us face deteriorating vision as we age, and dark interior spaces can increase the risk of injury for those with low vision. Bumping into furniture or tripping over a rug due to poor lighting is common. Whereas a younger person might suffer a bruise from such an incident, an older person may experience severe bleeding or broken bones. If you think the lighting is inadequate for your group to navigate safely, talk to the museum’s management about your concerns to see if anything can be done. If not, go elsewhere.

Are outdoor paths and walkways fairly flat or are there uneven surfaces? Uneven walkways can pose problems for anyone, but especially for seniors whose vision may not allow them to see potential hazards in time to avoid them and whose balance may not be what it once was. A fall that is merely embarrassing to someone younger can be truly life-threatening to an older adult.

If the tour is guided, what is the approximate (or even better, the exact) distance that will be covered? Though many active seniors can walk long distances many cannot. Unless you have a very spry and active group, stick with tours where the distance covered is limited or see if a shuttle is available for those who have trouble walking.

How long is the tour? More than an hour is too much for many seniors who have difficulty standing for long periods of time. No matter how fascinating a story the docent is telling, if your people are in pain they won’t hear it. It should help significantly if seating is available in most areas where the docent will be stopping, but 90 minutes is pushing it and over 2 hours is not advisable.

Is the docent used to working with the hard of hearing? Even if you ask about this ahead of time, it’s a good idea to pull docents aside before the tour begins to make sure they’re aware that they will need to speak up and speak clearly. Since slightly slower processing times can also be an issue for older adults, you may need to ask them to slow down a bit. If they forget while conducting the tour, don’t hesitate to politely remind them.

If it is a self-guided tour, is the print on museum exhibit labels big enough for people with low vision to read? Often the information on the description cards is quite small. Audio headsets are increasingly common in larger museums, which can help, but if you opt to use these, make sure your folks can easily operate them. Between not being able to read the descriptions and fiddling around with an electronic nuisance, the fun factor for your folks will plummet.

Are restrooms easily accessible? Although this is important for museum-goers of all ages, it is especially critical for older adults who may have medical conditions or be taking medications that can create the need for a quick trip to the powder room. Make sure to ask if they are only accessible by stairs or if they can be reached by ramp or elevator. Also find out if there are enough stalls to accommodate several people at a time.

Is there a restaurant or café? If so what are their hours? What type of food do they serve? Is there sit-down service or is it cafeteria style? (This may not be a good option for those who have trouble standing for long periods.) What is the price range? Make sure both the cuisine and the cost are appropriate for your group or arrange to eat elsewhere.

Many fascinating art and historical museums are well equipped for older adults, but not all. So, whether you’re taking your mom or a large senior group to a museum for a memorable day out, do your homework, ask questions, and most importantly—have fun!

Janice Masters is the Resident Program Director at Royal Oaks Senior Living Community. She works with older adults at this beautiful independent living community in Southern California.

Article reprinted with permission from: Caregiver.com.

How to Enjoy the Holidays When Dementia is Part of the Picture

According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2013 Facts and Figures report, there are over 5 million Americans living with dementia today. Most of them are being cared for at home by a family member.  Holidays are all about a change in routine but that is often challenging for the person with dementia.  The holidays can be bittersweet for caregivers. While it is normal to feel overwhelmed or frustrated, making a few modifications to the holiday festivities can make them more pleasant for everyone.

Some Survival Tips for Caregivers

  • Simplify your expectations and your traditions, Share this with other family members
  • Include your loved one in holiday activities that he/she is able to do – simple baking, crafts, gift wrapping, sorting cards etc…
  • Incorporate some art therapy into your routine , This can provide a new way to  connect with your loved one, giving him/her a creative outlet. Art therapy has been found to promote relaxation, improved mood, and decreased disruptive behavior
  • Keep decorations to a minimum – avoid blinking lights, lighted candles, or decorations that could be mistaken for something edible such as decorative fruit or candy
  • Host quiet, small, slow paced gatherings, provide your loved one a private place to rest if needed
  • Honor daily routines as much as possible, avoiding festivities during stressful times of day (late afternoon for example)
  • Celebrate in the most familiar setting to avoid changes in the environment
  • Adapt gift giving taking into account safety of your loved one. Ideas include an ID bracelet, comfortable clothing, a CD of some soothing music, a family photo album, a simple art activity
  • Consider your own needs and give yourself excellent self care – prioritize holiday commitments, simplify baking and gift giving, delegate to other family members, exercise and eat well
  • Arrange for a respite to give yourself a break for a few hours or a few days

Enjoy the Season!

Jennifer Trotter MA, LMFT, LMHC is a Community Liaison for Sutton Homes Memory Care Homes. With 9 homes located throughout Central Florida, Sutton Homes provides care for residents in a secure environment.

Alzheimer’s Support Group

There will be a free Alzheimer’s support group  the 4th Thursday of every month from 6-7:30pm at the  JCC Southwest location. The group is for anyone who is directly caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia  or is interested in the disease.  The meetings are facilitated by professional social workers and licensed therapists.  The Alzheimers support group is done in conjunction withe the Alzheimer’s association.

Alzheimer;’s Support Group

4th Thursday of Every Month

6:00p-7:30p

Jack and Lee Rosen Jewish Community Center (JCC)

11184 S. Apopka Vineland Road

Orlando, Florida

All meetings are free and open to the public

Sutton Homes Joins 2012 “Walk to End Alzheimer’s”

For the second year in a row, Sutton Homes is joining “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” in Orlando. The walk is sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association and is  held in over 600 communities throughout the United States. It is the largest annual event to raise funding for research and support for the afflicted. The Central Florida walk will be held at Lake Eola in Orlando on October 27th at 9am. Last year, Sutton Homes raised $2000 from the event and has set its goal for 2012 at $3000! Learn more about the walk or sponsor our team!

Mothers Day Tea

Sutton Homes hosted a Mother’s Day tea at our home in Altamonte Springs. Resident’s were joined by their families and the staff to honor all the mothers. Together they enjoyed wonderful  homemade treats and punch. A strings ensemble provided beautiful music for everyone.

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