Part 2: Celebrating Every Beat
As noted in our previous blog, February is American Heart Health Month, a 28-day celebration of heart health. To help seniors understand and avoid the risk factors for cardiac disease, Lifetime Wellness is supporting its partner communities in conducting a February wellness campaign focused around heart health in seniors. The theme is “Celebrate Every Beat…Live a Heart-Healthy Life.”
Part 1: Meeting the Need
“Many believe that heart disease is a fact of life in our senior years. Yet we have plenty of ways to keep our hearts in great shape, at every age,” says Callie Whitwell, chief operating officer and founding partner at Lifetime Wellness. “Understanding how to best approach daily health is essential, and being in the know about a heart condition can alleviate anxiety.”
Yet surprisingly, just 3 percent of seniors have the foundational knowledge to monitor their personal health, follow care plans, and pursue healthy behaviors. “We work with senior living communities to help residents understand how they can put less stress on the heart,” says Whitwell.
Once upon a time, activity and recreation programs in senior communities were typically low priority. Yet as the senior population surges, and seniors seek to stay active as a way of life, today’s senior living providers are rethinking their offerings to include wellness and life enrichment programs. In expanding their focus, many are finding they can’t go it alone. They’re looking for trusted partners to extend in-house resources and design an engaging, person-centered experience.
For the 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) – and their families – days can be filled with feelings of angst and isolation. We’re working to lessen those feelings and provide a non-pharma approach to memory care.
A groundbreaking program called Music & Memory™ has brought life-changing hope to people who suffer from ADRD, helping to trigger memories, build bridges, and improve quality of life. Launched in 2006 by Dan Cohen, the program took the spotlight with the 2014 documentary, “Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory,” and was recently endorsed by legendary singer-songwriter Carole King. With the therapeutic effects of personalized music, many people living with ADRD become more aware, animated, and “alive inside.”
Throughout the nation’s senior living communities, professional caregivers strive to deliver quality, compassionate care. But they’re often at risk of burnout. Physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion can erode their effectiveness in caring not only for residents but also for themselves – leading to compassion fatigue.
“Being a professional caregiver takes a special heart but can lead to ‘compassion fatigue,’” says Stephen Chee, director of employee wellness at Lifetime Wellness. His company provides person-centered wellness, life enrichment, and recreational programming to independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, and memory care facilities.
Baby Boomers – those 77 million babies born between 1946 and 1964 – have long grown up. And they aren’t going gently into their golden years. They’re demanding wellness as a way of life. To speak to the needs of this surging demographic, senior living communities are pursuing senior wellness programs that promote health, happiness, and whole-person development.
“Today’s seniors are more educated, more proactive, and more vocal than ever before,” says Callie Whitwell, chief operating officer, and founding partner at Lifetime Wellness. “They are clear in their expectations to live fully and age successfully.” Whitwell’s company provides person-centered wellness, life enrichment, and recreational programming to independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, and memory care facilities.
Falls can change lives – in the worst of ways. Each year, one in three seniors fall, and 20 percent sustain a serious injury, from head trauma to a broken hip. These injuries can reduce mobility and independence, and increase the risk of premature death. In fact, falls are the top cause of injuries, and death from injuries, among older Americans which makes fall prevention essential.
The good news is that falls are preventable. In the quest to reduce falls among seniors, leading senior living communities are implementing structured programs that take a long-term, unified approach to fall prevention. Read More
Senior loneliness is not only a pressing social issue, it’s also a major health risk. A groundbreaking study links social isolation with a higher risk of death in adults aged 52 and older.It’s been found to be as physically harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and contributes to cognitive decline, including the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD).
To fight the loneliness epidemic – experienced by more than 40 percent of seniors throughout the nation – innovators in senior care are taking new approaches. They’re helping residents to seek rewarding activities, make robust social connections, and find a renewed sense of purpose.
Leading senior care providers are constantly looking for the latest in care innovations to serve their community. An increasingly safe and popular option is aromatherapy – the practice of using essential oils from plants to address health challenges and support overall wellness.
In addition to being a nonpharmacological approach to meet behavioral health issues experienced by seniors in living communities, aromatherapy programs have helped in reducing medications for pain, anxiety, and depression, as well as improving sleep and lowering fall rates.
Today, more than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). By 2050, this number is projected to nearly triple. In the wake of an ADRD epidemic, the need for specialized training and support for caregivers is critical to ensure highly proficient and sensitive direct care to this growing population.
In 2003, two innovators in dementia care, Sandra Stimson and Lynn Biot-Gordon, founded an organization devoted to promoting standards of excellence in ADRD education. Called the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP), this group offers a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) program to professionals and other caregivers who provide services to ADRD clients.
Health literacy is our ability to understand health information and make the best health care decisions. A seminal study of these skills has issued a troubling report card: just 12 percent of all adults – and 3 percent of seniors – have proficient health literacy.
“Low health literacy has been linked to poor health outcomes, such as higher rates of hospitalization and less frequent use of preventive services,” says Callie Whitwell, chief operating officer and founding partner at Lifetime Wellness. Her company provides person-centered wellness, life enrichment, and recreational programming to independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, and memory care facilities throughout Texas and Oklahoma.
It’s been called “The Long Goodbye.” Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) cause memory decline, cognitive impairment, and eventual loss of daily functioning. Today, 5.7 million Americans are living with the disease – with numbers projected to more than double by 2050.
Of those living with ADRD, 90 percent struggle with behavioral and psychological symptoms, from agitation and aggression to psychosis. These symptoms can be devastating for the person with ADRD and challenging for those who provide care – family members and health care staff alike.