Written by: Meghan O’Dea
It might be surprising to those familiar with dementia and Alzheimer’s that music can have such a profound effect on those living with these conditions. After all, some of the hallmarks of various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, are less likely to tolerate distractions like background noise, crowded spaces, or other overstimulating environments. However, our brains process music differently than other types of sound, and music awakens connections to other parts of the brain in a way that, say, the chatter of a crowded restaurant or a garbage truck coming down the street would not.
Stanford researcher Daniel Abrams found that participants in a study who listened to the same symphony all had nearly identical responses. MRI scans showed that regions of the brain, dedicated to movement, planning, attention, and memory—the exact same parts of the brain that are most affected by dementia, were stimulated. Scientists have numerous theories about why we evolved to be hardwired for music in this way. Some think it is a result of language acquisition skills earlier in life. Others believe it is because of our innate ability to process history, thus retaining large amounts of crucial information. Another theory is derived from the way we socialize and communicate with one another. Whatever the reason might be, it is evident that music has had a profound effect on people for as long as we’ve been, well, human.
That opens a broad realm of possibilities for how music can be used to help seniors with dementia in effort to slow the rate of memory loss or ease the isolating symptoms of more advanced cases. From mnemonic devices that can be sung to help remember routines or daily processes to soothing melodies that can help calm a senior agitated by their inability to remember an almost-familiar face, there are all sorts of ways that music can be used therapeutically.
Music that inspires a great deal of emotion in the listener, positive or negative, has a proportional effect on the brain. The more a song affects the listener emotionally, the more his or her brain lights up in response. That means that hearing a favorite song can stimulate an otherwise withdrawn senior, help jumpstart a conversation, or match the mood enjoy on a good day. Similarly, mellow songs can be used to set the tone for bedtime or periods of rest.
You can enjoy music with your loved one by collecting some of their favorite songs, whether it’s Scott Joplin, Beethoven, Red Buttons, Frank Sinatra, or another artist. Perhaps your senior loved ones have some old records or CDs still that could provide clues as to what might create a positive response. Or you can try to chat with them about songs they enjoyed when they were younger. You might even ask family members or old friends about your loved one’s favorite tunes. When you play music, be sure you have good quality headphones or speaker setup, and if necessary, that it is compatible with hearing aids. You want to make sure the volume is comfortable, but loud enough to hear.
Listening to music together can be a great pastime that inspires conversation and helps you get to know your loved one on a whole new level. It can be such a joy to watch their faces light up and their bodies start to move to the beat. Be prepared to listen to stories that the song recalls or to thoughts and opinions about the artist. You never know what associations might be conjured up as neurons fire and the brain responds to each beat.
As with any other activity you undertake with loved ones with Alzheimer’s, be prepared to take a break if they become frustrated or overwhelmed. Going for a short walk or having a snack can be great way to hit the pause button. Also, make sure there is not any background noise or any other distraction that could make it hard for your loved one to focus on the activity at hand. If you need support in any aspect of senior caregiving with Alzheimer’s, contact the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s national toll-free helpline at 866.232.8484. From 9AM to 9PM, they have licensed social workers who can answer your questions. They are also available on Skype, live chat, and via email.
Written by: Meghan O'Dea
Did you realize that religious participation can offer higher levels of physical and mental prosperity in seniors, as opposed to non-religious seniors? Medical benefits have been linked to regular religious practices. Participation was correlated with:
Studies report that:
Religious seniors that attend religious services on a weekly basis, were described “very happy” at 45%, as compared to those who never attend at 28%.
Non-religious seniors reported to be “very unhappy” ranked at 4%, as compared to religious seniors at 2%.
Offering the feeling of self and social identity, 67% of seniors said that having religion in their lives offers more social fulfillment.
Out of the majority of seniors studied, statistics revealed that religion is the means of navigating through life’s difficulties, for example, the loss of a spouse or mobility.
The takeaway? These statistics that tie happiness and health to religion holds true. The correlation is clear, but the explanation of “why” for this relationship is less clear.
Regardless of the reason one thing is clear, we welcome all religious practice for the overall health of our community. This may incorporate nearby church organizations, neighborhood Catholic officials administering fellowship to parishioners, and honoring holy days, for example, Hanukkah for our Jewish occupants.
For many people, religion is not just a matter of spirituality but also a means of social connection. Many residents still attend church services or their pastor will make home-bound visits at communities to let seniors know they are still important to a church family, even if they are no longer able to make the service each week because of poor health or mobility issues.
In senior care facilities, meeting the needs of seniors comes with the job. However, at Maybelle Carter, we like to go above and beyond for our senior residents and staff, providing more than assisted or memory care. We can also guarantee the best religious and spiritual care through congregational services, worship, learning, and prayer. Living in senior retirement with neighbors that share the same or a similar religious belief can furthermore excel happiness, growth, and health. That is what we're about at Regency – giving the best opportunities and care to our senior community.
At Maybelle Carter, faith is commonly known as our cornerstone. Being a Christian organization, we urge the practice of religion, regardless of belief or culture. If you’re looking for a senior living community to meet your religious needs, take a visit through our facility and spend the day to get to know our staff and residents. Better yet get the full experience, and join in the fun at one of our activities or events. Call us to schedule your next visit us today. We are happy to welcome you and your family to our Maybelle Carter family!
Written by: Katie Hanley
Did you know that there are many different levels of Senior Care? In the event that you are thinking about senior care but do not know which option will be the best fit, there are multiple senior care choices accessible to you that differ greatly according to the level of self-reliance and senior satisfaction. At Maybelle Carter seniors are offered full continuum care, alongside similar aged peers. Listed below are the list of pros and cons for each.
Independent Living: this retirement way of life is perfect for individuals who are still dynamic and free, but also like to have someone cook and clean for them.
In-Home Care: this senior care, also known as “aging in place” is dependent upon the state of the senior, which includes standard checkups to ensure the health of the senior.
Assisted Living: this senior living alternative is perfect for seniors who find they require more hands-on assistance with daily tasks like showering, dressing and, administering pharmaceuticals.
Memory Care: this specified senior care program offers care to residents experiencing the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's.
For further counsel on selecting the appropriate senior care, consult with a specialist or primary care physician. Also, if you have questions regarding senior care arrangements, get in touch with us today to schedule a no obligation evaluation! We cheerfully welcome you, your friends, and family to join our Maybelle community today.
Written by: Katie Hanley
The holiday season is upon us! Time to break out the Christmas decorations, string lights, eggnog, and cozy winter sweaters. ‘Tis the season to be merry! Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family. However, for many seniors, the holidays are often thought of as confusing, stressful, and in some cases saddening, especially in those suffering from seasonal depression or the loss of a loved one. Make this Christmas season special for the entire family by contributing these 5 tips to happier holiday and add more joy for the senior in your life:
1. Take a trip down memory lane. Stories are a great way to engage with seniors, as they have quite a few. As you spend time with your senior loved ones, ask them questions like, what were your family traditions when you were younger? Comparing differences and similarities is a great way to bond over Christmas dinner. Seniors love to share memories of happy times. Likewise, it can be great for the youngsters to hear about what it was like when the seniors were their age.
2. Cherish your time. Always cherish the seniors in your life and make quality time for them, especially during the holidays. At Regency, we encourage families and friends to spend time together. Whether that be a Christmas dinner, a drive out to see the magical winter lights, nativity scenes, or a candlelight church service. Just remember to have fun, chances are they will, too! Just a few minutes of uninterrupted, quality time is a lifetime of appreciation and happiness for seniors.
3. Recognize Depression. Experiencing some degree of depression around the holidays is extremely common in aging seniors. If you believe that the senior in your life might be experiencing seasonal depression this Christmas, we encourage you to make time for them. Don’t ignore the warning signs – let us know how your Regency family can help in any way!
4. Be mindful. For many seniors suffering from memory loss, the holidays can be confusing time. Be mindful that they may not remember certain past events or sometimes even names or how they are related. Use caution to not make them feel anxious or elevate confusion when they are experiencing a memory lapse. If it appears they do not remember, simply share the memory with everyone. Chances are they may not be the only one to have forgotten.
5. Ask them to help out in some small way. Our senior residents love getting the chance to help, even if their contribution is small. Include them so they feel needed by asking for a helpful hand or words of wisdom this holiday season. Give them the task of setting the dinner table, stirring the gravy, or if your senior is in a wheelchair, they can help out by peeling the potatoes. You can also include them in the traditional lighting of the Christmas tree. Gather the family around to watch the illumination kick off the holiday season. While many seniors are unable due to physical limitations, there are still many ways even older folks can help with.
Whatever the season holds for you, Regency Senior Living is honored to celebrate these special times with you and your family.
Written by: Katie Hanley
Everyone searches for the key to happiness throughout life, and everyone also seems to have differing opinions on what that key is. Is it family? A loving partnership or marriage? Wealth? Actually, it turns out that it is a combination of these – having a wealth of good relationships is the real key to living a long, happy life.
In 1938, Harvard University started a study, and began tracking 724 men. These men came from a variety of backgrounds ranging from college students to men living in some of Boston’s poorest neighborhoods. The researchers initially interviewed these men about their lives, medically examined their brains and did blood work, and continued this process every 2 years. The majority of the surviving men from the study are now in their 90s.
After 75 years of research, there are now some solid clues that can help piece the happiness puzzle together. Harvard Professor of Psychology, Robert Waldinger, is now the 4th director of the study and says that those who lead healthier lives also have strong social bonds which protect their mental and physical health over the long-term. In contrast, individuals with health problems have a higher probability of becoming isolated which can lead to unhappiness in old age.
This seems like a fairly simple concept…stay healthy and make friends. However, consider the various phases of life and making friends: when we are in school, there is a built in network of individuals to choose to build relationships with; when we enter the workforce, our careers provide opportunity to form even more relationships.
What happens when we retire though, and our colleagues/friends move on or become out of touch? Waldinger suggests that happiness is more likely for healthy seniors who make an effort to build new relationships after retirement. A person who is connected with friends, family and their community will tend to live a healthier, happier life than a person who is less connected.
The study also found that there were connections between mental unhappiness in younger years (caused by unhappy relationships) and physical pain in later years. For instance, some people reported that their physical pain at age 80 was magnified due to their emotional pain at age 50. This is why H. Jackson Brown Jr. said that who you marry determines, “90% of your happiness or misery.”
Even though romance may be hard to maintain in a relationship that lasts for generations, the study suggested that individuals who argued with their partner regularly had sharper memories. This was dependent upon the individual feeling that they could count on their partner in tough times, suggesting that secure relationships help strengthen the brain.
What role does an Assisted Living Community, like Maybelle Carter, play in this?
When a senior moves into this type of community, they are not isolated. The community fosters a healthy balance of freedom and privacy with an environment designed to help create and grow social connections. There are planned outings, games, meals, and a variety of great physical activities that are planned by staff in order to nurture the mental and physical health of residents.
Even though the prospect of moving to an Assisted Living Community can be scary at first, the majority of people feel like they belong with their new “family” within a few weeks of getting settled in. Some even discover that they are not as shy as they thought, and find a new freedom by spreading their social wings! These types of strong social bonds can play a very important role in long-term physical and mental health, according to research.
To learn more about Maybelle Carter, call us at (844) 602-2602.
Written by Kristen Camden
Sometimes it can feel as if your grandchildren are from a different planet and making arrangements to see them in-person is the equivalent of arranging a short interstellar voyage. If you want to have a greater presence in their lives, you have to go where they are and speak their language.
Here are a few tips to make that happen...
Get Smart... phone – Today's youth live on their mobile phones, experiencing everything by snapping photos for sharing on social networks and silently text messaging their friends (who oddly enough, may be sitting right next to them). This is quite a change from previous generations who are accustomed to paying friends and neighbors a visit and sharing long conversations as social gestures. If kids bring their gadgets when they visit you at Maybelle Carter, it probably isn't meant disrespectfully; most of them simply have these devices glued to their hips, figuratively speaking.
You can prove yourself to be one savvy senior by texting occasional, brief messages to your grandkids. They're more likely to respond to a brief "Hello" or a short joke than attempts to have a prolonged conversation. These days, communicating with youngsters is about competing for attention in a world full of distractions. You don't want to overdo it, but an occasional message does the trick. Be aware that teens have their own shorthand when texting. "BRB" means "be right back", for example, while "LOL" means "Laugh Out Loud". A simple Google search can help you decode their language.
Get Social (A Lil Bit) – Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can be a double-edged sword. You get a glimpse into the lives of loved ones, but you may also see more than you bargained for, especially when it comes to young people who may be on their best behavior around their elders but act silly in front of their friends. Some people fail to understand that Facebook is a megaphone and treat it more like a diary, oversharing aspects of their lives. Respect their need for privacy and you may be rewarded with more frequent online interactions and a glimpse into what's happening in their world. Facebook Messenger, which works like text messaging, can be a gateway for short written conversations between face-to-face visits.
Get Skyped – Skype is the name of a video conferencing software program available on most desktop and mobile computing devices. For free over the Internet, you can broadcast from a camera and see video of your loved one displayed. This is great for situations where frequent interactions in the flesh just aren't practical. Little ones like great-grandchildren will react to seeing your face and hearing your voice so that when you visit for the holidays, you're already familiar.
Maybelle Carter offers a computer in the residence living room where they can access the Internet using the router in our offices. This allows residents to have a link to the outside world across the world wide web. Indeeed, there are several ways Tennessee seniors can use modern technology to have more frequent interactions with grown children and grandkids.
Our campus sits on 7 beautiful acres where we garden, play shuffleboard and horseshoes, walk on the walking track and enjoy grilling out. We have watercolor painting classes, wii bowling tournaments, musical entertainers, and card & board games. Indeed, there's no shortage of ways to enjoy life here among one another.
But Maybelle Carter is located in Madison. This means we are fortunate to be surrounded by the Nashville Metropolitan area, which provides us with many interesting adventures. Maybelle Carter bus outings take us to a variety of places.
"We're 5 minutes from the OpryLand Hotel, Grand Ole Opry House, General Jackson Show Boat and the Opry Mills shopping mall," explained Jennifer Todd of Maybelle Carter. "Just minutes away is Nashville proper, which includes attractions such as the Parthenon, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, the Farmer's Marketing, the Nashville Symphony, Nashville Ballet, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, the Nashville Zoo and Loveless Café."
Our bus outings take us to grocery stores, Wal-Mart, dollar stores, Opry Mills, The Mall at Green Hills and Rivergate Mall, as well as restaurants and Summer Crest Winery. Nashville is also home to Goo Goo Cluster candy and Moon Pies. "East Nashville offers one-of-a-kind shopping and restaurants like The Pharmacy and 5 Points Pizza – our residents dine there occasionally," she said.
Faith is also an important part of most seniors' lives. Our area is home to 75 churches of varied denominations.
"Pro sports are big here as well," she said. "Our teams include the Tennessee Titans (football), Nashville Predators (hockey), and Nashville Sounds (minor league baseball)."
Being in the South, antebellum mansions also provide fascinating destinations for residents to go sight-seeing on outings. "Southern mansions include Andrew Jackson's home, The Hermitage, as well as BelleMeade Plantation, Belmont Mansion and Two Rivers Mansion," Todd said.
Maybelle Carter provides all of the comfort and security of small town community with all of the great adventures offered by our proximity to a major American city.
If you have difficulty remembering words and names or recalling once familiar places or people, you might need to see your doctor.
It's a scary thought, and diagnosis is best left to medical professionals who conduct a physical examination, review family history and do a blood test to rule out other causes for common symptoms.
Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer's live 8-20 years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, depending on age and other health conditions.
If you have it in the early stages, you'll find that memory loss is mild and you will have good days and bad days. One of the most important things you can do if diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer's is to get legal, financial and care plans in place. Doing so allows you to share your wishes for future decisions, and also allows time to work through the complex issues that are involved in long-term care.
This is also the time to consider future safety topics, such as what to do when driving is no longer an option.
As Alzheimer's worsens, there's a danger of becoming confused and wandering off.
For this reason, you might want to accept the unpleasant reality that you need help.
That help is available at Maybelle Carter Retirement Life Community's Remembrance Village, where caregivers are specially trained to help seniors faced with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
We have licensed nurses on staff 24/7 and 3 dietitian-approved meals, plus snacks, throughout the day. We help the senior manage their medication and assist with dressing, bathing and grooming. State-of-the-art security protects residents from wandering off, and our newly designed accommodations create a stress-free, comfortable environment with less confusion. Residents can enjoy our private outdoor secured courtyard. Weekly personal laundry and linen services are also included.
For more information about Maybelle Carter Senior Living's Remembrance Village, visit http://maybellecarter.com/nashville-retirement-living-amenities/memory-care-madison-tn or call (615) 868-2290.
The Alzheimer's Association is organizing the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer's in Nashville on Oct. 11 at the Public Square Park. The event raises money to help advance Alzheimer's support, care and research. To donate and/or participate, visit http://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk2014/TN-MidSouth?fr_id=5429&pg=entry or volunteer with Andrew Jackson at (615) 315-5880.
Alzheimer's Association: http://www.alz.org/
The Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center: http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers
Alzheimer's Reading Room: http://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/
The New York Times "New Old Age" Blog: http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/
At Maybelle Carter Retirement Life Community, our activity room is typically busy with morning exercise groups, Wii bowling and golf and other programs. Staying in motion has health benefits for people of all ages, including Madison seniors.
Exercise can be fun, especially when done as a group activity.
You can get more benefits by talking with friends while walking rather than sitting. If you are physically able, take stairs instead of elevators or escalators when out and about in Nashville on a shopping trip.
Even a little bit of exercise can help improve the way we feel and how our bodies react to chronic conditions, even if you aren’t lifting anything particularly heavy or walking great distances.
Seniors should check with their physician before beginning any new exercise regimen. Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles and can help your body stay limber, but you don’t want to overdo it. Seniors concerned about balance can sit or use a rail in many cases. Start with a routine that’s comfortable and simple to keep your heart and muscles active.
Beyond the obvious physical benefits, getting some exercise improves mood and contributes to greater happiness. Working out with others provides support and motivation while combating loneliness.
Ask us at Maybelle Carter Retirement Life Community about ways we help keep Nashville seniors healthy and active.