13 Games That Can Be Beneficial For Seniors

“Life is more fun if you play games” -Roald Dahl. Seniors can especially enjoy board games as they can offer low-risk challenges and friendly competition.  Most of us have a dusty cabinet in our homes with a full stack of neglected board games. It may just be time to bring a box over to your aging loved one to reinforce bonds and reignite the spirit of competition.

Playing games often include side-effects of laughter. Laughter helps in producing endorphins (a chemical that gives the feeling of happiness) and that naturally help muscles to relax and blood to circulate which will evidently lower blood pressure. Laughing together and having fun can keep seniors happy and healthy. More importantly, sharing time playing board games can always be a great opportunity to reconnect with your aging loved one. Socialization is especially crucial for seniors as many often disconnect from social ties. We may not realize the importance but for them it’s quality time and a priceless gift.

Patients of Alzheimers and Dementia have also found many positive results of creative indoor games as they can help seniors improve cognitive functioning, retention, and speech formation. Keeping the mind of seniors’ active and engage means they are exercising the brain and building it stronger. A stronger brain has lower risks of losing its power and thus reduces the risk of cognitive decline, such as associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Creative Indoor Games:

1) Card Games -Card Games such as bridge, rummy; pinochle etc. can stimulate the brain and help memory loss.

2) Board Games – Seniors can enjoy board games like scrabble, carom, Ludo, dominoes, world safari, monopoly, bingo etc.

3) Mahjong – This game involves tile matching. The players simply locate matching tiles and remove them in pairs until they can’t go further or they clear them all.

4) In my suitcase (memory game) – In this game, one person lists an object and the next person has to repeat the previous names and then add his or her own, and so on.

5) What’s That Saying – This game includes hundreds of well-known sayings.  Players are given clue words to figure them out.  Be the first to guess the correct saying!

6) Reminiscing – Sharing with friends and family the most memorable events, favorite holiday, best advice received, best advice given, funniest moment, favorite memory etc

7) Guess the song – One person plays songs, shares lyrics, or gives clues and the rest guess which song it is.

8) Computer Games- The Internet can provide an unlimited variety of creative games. Find solo and interactive gaming options ranging from adventure, puzzle, and strategic games. Educational games are also a great option not only for children, but also seniors.

9) Crossword Puzzles and other interesting word games like Spellathon, make words, weave a story etc.

10) Pictionary- Challenge your creativity and artistic ability with the guessing game for the humble artist.

11) Dumb Charades- One of the funniest games ever. Guaranteed to promote laughter, reduce stress, and strengthen bonds.

12) Chess- The age old game has always put even the greatest minds to the test. The ultimate game of strategy and precision can be a productive challenge for seniors, especially when pursued more professionally.

13) Checkers- Similar to chess, also helps improve rhythmic processing and strategic thinking.

The Government Can Help You Pay For Long Term Care.

Do you want long-term care insurance, but find it to be outside of your budget? Luckily, there are ways to pay for long-term care without resorting to private funds. Here are some ways, you can receive financial-aid for long-term care from the government.

  • If you are on a limited income, you might be able to qualify for long-term care through Medicaid.
  • If you have served in the armed forces, have a medical condition, and signed documents from a physician, you may qualify for long-term care through veterans’ benefits.
  • Medicare covers long-term care only if your need skilled care or rehabilitation service. The maximum coverage for a nursing home stay is 100 days.
  • California residents who qualify for Medi-Cal can also receive payments for long-term care. Medi-Cal can pay for nursing home stays if deemed “medically necessary”, while assisted living facility costs can be aided by the Assisted Living Waiver program.

Retirement is such a significant stage of our careers and lives. Understandably, there are a lot of factors to oversee for a successful  plan. WellPath Partners can provide personal assistance and access to all retirement related services and resources.

Planning for Your Future Retirement?

What does the ideal retirement mean to you? While most individuals havedifferent dreams as to how they wish to spend their retirement, most will agree on the goal of financial independence. Most of the time, this means being able to pay for one’s expenses without having to work. Even if they do continue working, it is because the work is rewarding: they work because they want to, not because they have to.

How to achieve this ideal? Life always favors the prepared and retirement is no exception. In order to make your retirement goals a reality, you’ll need to make retirement planning a priority. Here are a couple elements to focus on while assembling your plan:

  • Debt reduction/management
  • Risk management/insurance
  • Income sources
  • Estate planning
  • Savings
  • Expected expenditures

Don’t feel overwhelmed! Retirement is such a significant stage of our careers and lives. Understandably, there are a lot of factors to oversee for a successful  plan. WellPath Partners can provide personal assistance to all retirement related services and needs.

Find a Nursing Home Near You

      There may come a time when, due to illness and old age, your loved one may require constant supervision and 24-hour medical care. In this case, a nursing home might be the best option. Due to the high number of available choices, here are some tips to help you choose the best place for your loved one:

  • Amass referrals: friends, family, co-workers, community members, etc. Your personal physician is also a good source
  • Look at the track record: ask the home for a citation log and state survey report. Records, including violations, surveys, and complaints, are also available at the state agency.
  • Check out the Consumer’s Union Nursing Home Watch list
  • Check the patient/staff ratio. The ideal ratio is six to eight residents for every health care worker.
  • Check the safety precautions and guidelines
  • Ask about the available medical services.
  • Look at the the programs available for residents
  • Be sure to keep distance in mind.
  • Count the nurses. The smaller the patient to nurse ratio, the better.

 

Top 6 Reasons You’re Not Living Your Best Life

Everything that lives must eventually die, but why do we die so early? As humans, we are more likely to develop long-term conditions that can affect our wellbeing when we age. Some long-term conditions can be genetic, but a majority of them are preventable. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the following six illnesses as the top 6 leading causes of death among older adults:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Chronic bronchitis or emphysema
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes and
  • Alzheimer’s disease.

These chronic diseases can not only lead to disability and death, but they also lower our quality of life.

The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion says that about half of all adults have at least one chronic condition and nearly one in four has two or more. Some of the risks and behaviors that can cause these chronic conditions include:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Too much sodium
  • Not eating enough fruits and vegetables
  • Cigarette smoking and
  • Drinking too much alcohol

If any of the risk factors or behaviors applied, it is not too late to lower the risk or even learn ways to better manage any chronic conditions. Here are 5 great ways to help lower the risk:

  • Exercise regularly
    • Older adults need at least 2.5 hours of exercise each week.
  • Maintain a healthy diet
    • Eat more fruits and vegetables with meals
    • Use spices, herbs and low sodium packaged foods
  • Quit smoking
  • Lower alcohol intake
  • Visit your health care provider for regular visits

Chronic diseases play a huge role in our life cycle and it is important to do all that we can while we can in order to enrich and prolong our lives. With these recommendations, it is possible to increase our quality of life and ensure that we can live the happiest and healthiest lives possible.

By

Jewelmani Bell

 

Stay Safe at Home!

“Help! I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up!” We all remember this famous line for the emergency response brand Life Alert. For many older adults, this mere commercial line becomes their reality. According to the World Health Organization, falls are the second leading cause of accidental injury deaths worldwide and adults over the age of 65 suffer the greatest number of fatal falls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in the United States, 1 in 4 older adults fall, but less than half tells their doctor. Although most falls do not cause injury, 1 out of 5 falls cause a serious injury such as a head injury or a broken bone. Some things that can increase the risk of falling include:

  • Weakness in your lower body
  • Lack of Vitamin D
  • Difficulty with balance and walking
  • Taking medications that affect balance (make you dizzy or sleepy)
  • Problems with vision
  • Foot pain or poor footwear
  • Home hazards (Broken steps, lifted carpet)

Not only do falls put us at risk for injury, they also cost a lot of money. According to the CDC each year, approximately 300,000 older adults are hospitalized for hip fractures and 95 percent of hip fractures due to falls are caused by falling sideways. On average, the cost of treatment of falls is $30,000 and that cost increases with age. Medicare and Medicaid covered more than 75 percent of the $50 billion of medical costs for falls in 2015. These expenses will continue to increase with the older adult population unless the necessary intervention methods are taken.

Falls are an abnormal part of the aging process and they can be prevented with help from our doctors, nurses, and physical therapists. The following are ways to lower the risk of falling:

  • Having a physician evaluate the risk of falling and reviewing any medications that may increase falls
  • Exercising
  • It has been reported that exercise can reduce the rate of falling among older adults.
  • Tai chi and aerobic exercises are great ways to get active
  • Getting annual eye exams and updating eyeglass prescriptions when necessary
  • Making home modifications
    • Installing grab bars in the tub or near the toilet
    • Putting railings on both sides of stairs
    • Removing carpet that is lifting and
    • Investing in additional lighting for rooms that are hard to see in

Falls can not only be dangerous for older adults, they can be fatal as well. However, with the appropriate resources and knowledge, falls can be prevented.

 

The Sun is Still Shining: Why Older Adults Matter

         

       In my senior year of high school, I decided to face one of my biggest fears. At around the age of seven after visiting a convalescent home, I developed this fear and was afraid of elderly people ever since.  In order to overcome this, I decided that I would get an internship working at a convalescent nursing home in my hometown. Before I began my internship, I prepared myself mentally to deal with grumpy old people who hated everyone and everything. After my first day though, I knew that the experience was going to change my life forever.

       On my first day, I walked into the facility expecting the absolute worst. I was prepared for older adults who were so combative and so hostile that I would be forced to quit my internship.  However, I quickly found out that older adults weren’t as bad as I thought, and I soon realized that they would turn out to be some of the sweetest, most influential people I had ever met.

       As I continued interning, I got the chance to interact with some of the patients and also got to know them a bit more. A lot of them either had family that did not visit or didn’t have any family at all so when I did stop by to talk to them, they appreciated every minute of company. I met with veterans, business owners and housewives that were willing to share their wisdom and words of encouragement.

       Fast forward 4 years and I have graduated college and continue to work on issues that affect the aging population. According to the US Census Bureau, there are over 46 million people aged 65 or older and they account for nearly 15 percent of the total United States population. This population continues to grow and is expected to reach 98 million (23 percent) by the year 2060. With a growing older adult population, it is important to focus on issues such as chronic disease management and fall prevention that will make their quality of life better.

       From my experience, older adults can often be either forgotten or looked at as a burden because of their age. When I saw how easily people could be forgotten, I was encouraged to not take these moments for granted. The older adults I met told me about what it was like to live through certain decades and see society progress. Seniors have been so influential to me and they ultimately helped me develop of a sense of purpose. Since they have had more life experience, they were able to share that wisdom with me which made their mentorship more valuable than words can explain. After reflecting on my experiences, I realize that the prejudices I held before were very irrational and this realization also allowed me to understand the importance of the role that older adults play in society.

By Jewelmani Bell

 

Questions to Ask at a Senior Retirement Center

       Making the life-changing decision to move into a retirement community can be a daunting task. Luckily, there are a plethora of options available for prospective movers. With such a wide array of choices, the key is to be an informed consumer. In addition to touring housing facilities, asking the right questions can save oneself from inconvenience as well as ensure a high quality of life. Here are some typical questions that work wonders in making this decision.

  • What kind of recreational programs are available and who do they cater to?
  • Knowing the type of recreational programs available will provide insight  Is the community an affinity retirement community?
  • Affinity retirement communities are specially set-up to accommodate a particular lifestyle or interest. Which services and programs cost extra?
  • Knowing all the costs of amenities and which services cost extra will prevent surprises on your first bill. Are there any you should know about?
  • Will I be able to age in place?
  • Knowing if services are available to accommodate residents as they age, become ill, or suffer memory loss will save the hassle of having to move to another facility in the event of a decline in health.
  • What are the ties with the local community and schools? Retirement communities with ties to schools and colleges provide great opportunities for involvement with the non-retirement community. Many affiliated colleges offer free courses to seniors at partner retirement centers.

For more suggestions, please visit our Senior Resources page on our website.

 

The Difference Between Home Care & Home Health

There are times when a patient requires medical care, but doesn’t want to leave the comfort of their home. For these patient, an option called home care and home healthcare is available. While home health care represents a range of medical services, home care refers to non-medical services. In short, home  healthcare is a service that allows patients with special needs to stay in their homes. The advent of portable technology has made home healthcare more viable than ever. Home care recipients tend to be patients recovering from surgery, the disabled, patients of chronic illness, or simply aging individuals. Patients of home healthcare may find that being able to enjoy the comforts of one’s own home contributes to a faster recovery than inpatient hospitalization.

Home healthcare comes with the benefit of giving a patient independence from a facility schedule, giving them the opportunity to recover at their own pace.

Home healthcare services can entail:

  • Rehabilitation services
  • Physical therapy
  • Skilled nursing
  • Caring for wounds
  • Pain management
  • Prescription management
  • Illness monitoring

In contrast to home healthcare, home care services are non-medical services provided to enhance the recipients sense of dignity and quality of life.

Home care services include:

  • Meal preparation and delivery
  • Homemaking, such as cleaning, laundry, and yard work
  • Assistance with ADLs or activities of daily living, such as bathing, toileting, getting dressed, etc
  • Orienting memory-care patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia
  • Medication reminders
  • Running errands.
  • Companionship and friendship

Explore the Option of Long-Term Care

Long-term care is a term that encapsulates any kind of medical care or help given to an individual to perform daily activities, over an extended period of time. Unless illnesses are chronic or the patient is suffering an ongoing medical condition, the main focus of long-term care is the assistance of activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs are routine activities such as bathing, dressing, toileting, and transferring from the bed to a chair. Long-term care also includes services such a meal preparation, medication administration, housework, and money management to name a few. Although long-term care is a term used for services typically provided for the elderly, it also applies to extended care for the disabled and chronically ill. Due to the broad nature of long-term care, there a many different types of services available:

  • Home care
  • Assisted living
  • Community programs
  • Supportive housing programs
  • Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs)
  • Nursing homes