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 That means that hearing a favorite song can stimulate an otherwise withdrawn senior, help jumpstart a conversation, or match the mood enjoy on a good day.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
There are many great reasons for retirees to visit or relocate to the Madison area, but one key to the quality of life here is the rich abundance of things for seniors to see and do in Nashville, TN – many of the activities at a reduced price for seniors, or free.
Here in Madison, veteran residents often enjoy paying tribute to the fallen soldiers at the Nashville National Cemetery. It is a humbling experience to visit the monuments of the service men and women who so bravely fought, dating back to the Civil War Era. A quiet afternoon stroll through the greenway allows time for reflection and gratitude, while also enjoying a breath of fresh air and exercise. It’s a wonderful place to visit, especially on Memorial Day to see each grave decorated with small patriotic flags.
Looking for some good, ol’ fashioned bluegrass music? Look no further than Larry's Grand Ole Garage & Blue Grass Music Park. As many would describe this hole in the wall dive as Madison’s hidden gem, it offers family-friendly, foot-stomping music in true Southern style! Here, seniors and their families can enjoy good music, good food, and an overall good time.
We’re about 15 minutes from Downtown Nashville, which offers a wealth of things to see and do. The major attractions are:
Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art – Nestled in the foliage of the Tennessee hills, browse through the 55-acre historical estate, an elegant Georgian-style mansion surrounded byspectacular gardens. Don’t miss the garden-scale, outdoor train made entirely from materials found in nature. Bridges and cedar mountains make this exhibit fun for the whole family! Admission to the inside is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $4 for youth, and free for children 2 or under.
Grand Ole Opry – Seniors and their families can enjoy a piece of country music history at the Grand Ole Opry, which began as a broadcast radio station in 1925. Since then, the iconic home of American music has hosted country music legends, award-winning artists, and defined the Nashville music scene.
Ryman Auditorium – This performance hall has seen the likes of artists such as Elvis Presley, Paul Simon, and B.B. King. The Ryman is a tried and true testament of how one stage can connect us all through toe-tapping tunes. Visit the home where bluegrass music was born for a guided or self-guided tour today.
Belle Meade Plantation – A 34-acre Southern plantation with a name that literally translates to beautiful meadow is sure to not disappoint. The estate was founded by John Harding in 1807. Today, the grounds are a part of Tennessee’s historic architecture preservation and equestrian education. Visitors are welcome to tour the property, as well as shop, dine, and enjoy wine tastings. Tours begin every 30 minutes. Adults 65+ ask about their senior admission discount!
Nashville Showboat – All Aboard The Nashville Riverboat General Jackson to experience the city in an elegant “Old South” style. Carving through the banks of the Cumberland River, this luxury riverboat is reminiscent of the Victorian Era, offers stunning views, a delicious, freshly prepared meal, and entertainment.
Lane Motor Museum – Calling all automotive enthusiasts! Take a tour of Nashville’s beloved automotive collection. During your tour, you will spot restored and uniquely different automobiles, as well as motorcycles, aviation machines, and even some amphibious crafts. Lane Motor Museum isone of the few displays to specialize in sporty, European models.
John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge – Also known as the Shelby Street Bridge, this 3,150-foot-long iconic pedestrian bridge spans the Cumberland riverbanks, as one of the largest pedestrian bridges in the world. There’s no charge to visit this popular walking spot. There are benches along the way for those who need to stop and rest while enjoying the view of the river and the people enjoying their day.
Senior discounts are available at select hotels, retail stores, restaurants, and grocery stores near these attractions. At Maybelle Carter Senior Living, we arrange for our residents to participate in group outings to local attractions. Being part of a group of peers living together in Nashville Assisted Living makes for a great way to experience these sights and sounds.
To learn more about things for seniors to do in Nashville TN, visit http://www.visitmusiccity.com/visitors
Written by: Katie Hanley
There are many challenges that families face when discussing the idea of senior care with aging parents and loved ones. Due to lack of information, multiple opinions, and fear of the future, conversations about the making of senior care plans and assisted living can often lead to conflict, especially when friends and family don’t entirely agree on what constitutes the best alternative. In this month's blog, we will investigate three possible reasons for conflict as aging loved ones begin to require senior care as well as three possible solutions to resolve differences.
1. Resisting Harsh New Realities
Are your parents or loved ones resisting the idea of senior care? This is not uncommon in older adults reaching the season of life where daily activities become a challenge without some assistance. If you are struggling with discussing the idea of assisted living with mom or dad, it might result in hurt feelings or anxiety if not communicated appropriately. Conflicts can arise, resulting in family members talking AT one another instead of TO each other.
Solution: Be brief and clear-cut. To avoid hurt feelings, tell them that their health and happiness is of the most importance to you. Explain that you are not attempting to "be free" of them. It’s crucial to communicate your concerns effectively, because communication is key. Once you express your feelings and worries regarding their well-being, listen to their concerns with an open mind. Afterwards, appeal to logic by creating a checklist of pros and cons from among the best options. Helping an aging parent to accept senior care can be a challenge, even in the best of circumstances. The ideal approach is to be honest, yet compassionate and motivated, and remain patient in the journey to discovering senior care facilities and future plans. Senior care authority Debra Feldman encourages tolerance and understanding during this sensitive time. Empathy helps us to understand how frightening things can seem when losing our self-reliance.
2. Perception of Senior Needs
Is your loved one denying the need for senior care? In many situations, seeing is believing – but when it comes to aging seniors recognizing the time to accept help, this isn’t always the case. It is quite common for loved ones to perceive needs for assistance differently. For example, do your aging parents stumble at times or struggle to get around the house, but deny it when questioned?
Solution: Families often dispute about the needs of senior care. Those involved all have varying opinions on the way those needs should be met. To minimize family conflict, it is recommended to seek guidance from the senior’s health care professional. Keeping the best interest of their patient, a trusted doctor or nurse practitioner can help recognize the needs and objectively recommend options to aging seniors and their families. Following your visit with a physician, the next logical step may be to meet with one of our community consultants at Regency. Call and schedule a no obligation appointment today to learn more about senior living and senior care plans for your loved ones.
3. Dominance of Decisions
When families do not see eye-to-eye on important decisions, typically there is at least one loved one dominating the decision-making process. In some cases, this can be a sibling, other family member, or even a senior who refuses care.
Solution: If it seems easier to keep quiet in regards to senior control, think again. While it may keep the peace, it’s important to vocalize your concerns, especially if you feel the aging senior is not being well cared for. If faced with conflict and limited control over estate and inheritance, a family mediator might be able help. Such unpleasant conflicts will only grow more complicated if resentment boils over in the future. Losing a senior parent, when that time comes, is difficult enough without family arguing over things that ideally should have been settled years before.
Despite the preliminary challenges that accompany transitioning into assisted living, it is crucial to consider living alternatives for aging loved ones, their overall health and well-being. Again, our Regency community consultants are always here to answer any of your questions. We would love to have you come in and see our warm community. We look forward to introducing you to our Regency family. We welcome the opportunity to act as a true resource to you and yours.
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
Not only does intergenerational activity pass along knowledge and wisdom, it can lead to longer, healthier lives. While finding common ground may be a bit of a challenge, it can be rewarding for all ages. Studies have proven this interaction reduces isolation and poverty among seniors while enabling them to serve as mentors for younger adults.
As Margaret Mead states, “Somehow we have to get older people back close to growing children if we are to restore a sense of community, a knowledge of the past, and a sense of the future.”
Here are a few tips for intergenerational activity:
Keep an Open Mind
Seniors and grandchildren alike can learn a lot from each other if both parties keep an open mind and appreciate the unique opportunities and challenges that can accompany the interactions.
Differences in generations can also bring a collision of values. It is important to respect the variances in lifestyle and belief. When individuals come together, inaccurate and negative stereotypes are broken. As organizational development scholar Dr. Morris Massey said, “We don’t have to agree with the values of different generations, but we can strive to understand the mind-sets of different generations and how each group sees the world based on their experiences.”
Find Common Ground
Both seniors and those from Generation X can relate to the impact a downturned economy played on their lives. Baby Boomers were most likely influenced by parents who grew up during the Great Depression. That provides common ground for younger generations who struggled with a double digit inflation and a challenging job market.
Bridging the differences of age and beliefs requires flexibility in actions and thinking. The Charmm’d Foundation offers more tips in staying flexible and communicating with other generations at http://www.charmmdfoundation.org/resource-library/effective-communication/checklist-communicating-different-generations.
Differing generations can become advocates for one another to provide solutions for illiteracy, crime prevention, health and environmental issues. Generations United provides that intergenerational activities allow seniors to remain active and engaged. This interaction results in longer life spans with better mental and physical health while keeping them engaged in their communities.
Research from the organization also stated, “Older adults who regularly volunteer with children burn 20% more calories per week, experience fewer falls, are less reliant on canes and perform better on a memory test than their peers. Older adults with dementia experience more positive effect during interactions with children.”
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
When is the “right” time to move a loved one into an Assisted Living Community, such as Maybelle Carter? That question is not easily answered for many seniors or their loved ones, as the topic can be a great source of conflict. However, once an aging family member or loved one is unable to live alone, the topic becomes unavoidable.
The great news is that even though this life-changing decision can be scary, many Maybelle Carter residents tell us, “I wish I had done this years ago.” Think of the process in terms of the nervousness a high school graduate feels when they are transitioning from living at home to going off to college and living in a dorm room. The feelings of being home sick and anxious about an unfamiliar place and people are normal in both cases.
There is a misconception among some that Assisted Living communities are cold and sterile, like a hospital. This notion may be attributed to nursing homes, which focus primarily on providing residents with skilled medical care. In reality, Assisted Living communities offer seniors their own apartment, complete with a staff to help with housekeeping, laundry, and daily reminders that may be needed for medications. They also offer residents the freedom to come and go freely, delicious meals provided in a social dining room, and activities that are planned by the facility.
Even as great as the idea may sound and be presented, a loved one that is aging could adamantly refuse to leave the home that they live in, which may hold sentimental value or attachments. However, the discussion does not necessarily have to be negative if it is approached with open and honest communication.
It is suggested by experts that children and family share their concerns with their aging parent, provide options, and then listen to how their loved one feels. This method is far healthier and more beneficial to all parties involved, as opposed to dictating when and what changes will be made. Another reason why it is important to encourage, and discuss the benefits of, moving to an Assisted Living Community is to avoid the topic being forced by worsening health or an incident.
Once the topic has been discussed, take time to visit and learn about various communities to see which one is the best fit and most liked by the parent. Things to consider are the location, along with what services and activities are offered.
Even though the idea of moving out of their home may be met with negativity, they would much rather be part of the process and have a choice of where they will be living, if the time comes. For many, settling on Maybelle Carter’s Assisted Living Community is due to the family-like atmosphere, as much as the activities and amenities offered.
The peace of mind that comes along with knowing a loved one is cared for, balanced with the senior’s need and want for social interaction and independence, is what is offered at Maybelle Carter.
These are just a few considerations when discussing or moving an aging or disabled loved one into an Assisted Living Community.
To learn more about Maybelle Carter, call us at (844) 602-2602.
Written by Kristen Camden