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October 25, 2017
Most of us recognize there are many situations that can precipitate loneliness for seniors; just to name a few: loss of a loved one, changes in health, and separation from family. Each circumstance can lead to varying degrees of sadness, lack of motivation, fatigue, weight loss, depression and can further impact other health conditions.
The epidemic of loneliness has become widespread within our society and experts believe loneliness should be treated as a health crisis because of the profound effects it can have on one's mental and physical health.
A Dutch case study followed a large group of seniors over a three year period was recently published in the "Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry" and concluded that loneliness harms the brain and may speed up dementia. Further, it was determined loneliness harms the heart. Other various studies compiled by the "Journal of the American Medical Association" have also shown that the percentages of fatal heart disease are greater among individuals who lived alone than those who lived with a spouse, roommate or in a community setting.
It is imperative for seniors to remain engaged with strong social networks to avoid isolation.
Here are some of the many ways to fight against Loneliness:
- Staying connected with family, friends and neighbors on a regular basis
- Visiting local senior centers, which can open doors to services and resources for seniors who are dealing with loneliness and is an additional way to meet other seniors through the many activities they provide for senior interaction
- Church organizations are an excellent resource which provide supportive and spiritual help for those dealing with depression and further source of new friends and activities
- Gathering information about transportation options, as lack of transportation is a big factor behind seniors not socializing
- Learn something new; whether it a new hobby or subject matter it can provide a gateway to socialization with others
At Sterling Estates, we recognize the symptoms of loneliness and assist our Residents in socializing with their peers within the community and strongly encourage them to be involved in daily activities of interest, including music programs and concerts in house, 'Tech Talks' and educational classes, devotional programs, cooking classes, ballroom dancing, bocce ball tournaments, working in our new communal garden and "Happy Hour", among many others including group outings to cultural events. Further, our Wellness Program offers group classes in water aerobics, balance improvement, strength training, and walking outside on our many walking paths throughout our neighborhood just to name a few. We are committed to providing our Residents with a social and meaningful interactive living experience; hence, a happy and healthy lifestyle!
Brain Health: “What was I Thinking?”
September 14, 2017
As we age, we sometimes worry about not being able to remember things and if our brains will always function properly. Here’s some great news: studies have shown physical exercise helps us maintain a healthy brain. It is believed that this occurs due to many factors including improved blood flow to the brain. A new report also shows that seniors who stay socially active have reduced incidence of dementia.
Consider: when you go on a walk outside, you must look where you are going, have strength to keep you upright, and think about stepping over curbs or small objects that may be in your way. A lot of interaction with your brain and muscles occurs to move your legs, your eyes to look for what’s in front of you, and your heart to deliver more blood to the muscles so that walking can occur. Research has shown that an all-around exercise program composed of strength, aerobic fitness, balance, and flexibility is most effective at improving cognitive function.
We know that regular exercise has a variety of benefits including improving your mood, reducing anxiety and stress, and helping us sleep better, which all lead to better cognitive ability. Other known ways to maintain a healthy brain includes performing “brain games” such as word finds, crossword puzzles, or Sudoku puzzles. Playing bridge, cribbage, canasta, a friendly game of poker or other card games make you think and also interact socially with others. The time is now, so let’s get started! Be social: get with your friends and go for a daily walk around your neighborhood or local park; find a group of friends to play cards with or work on the daily crossword, Jumble, or Sudoku puzzles.
Here at Sterling Estates, we offer a variety of programs, activities, and resources that can help improve brain function. This includes daily exercise classes such as Tai Chi, seated and standing aerobic and strength classes, water aerobics, and Zumba. We also offer the Dakim BrainFitness program, which engages residents in easy-to-use, personalized mental workouts on a regular basis. We stay very social throughout the day: we gather at mealtime; we have lots of differing activities, educational speakers, musical performances, parties, and happy hours, etc. We take trips to cultural events; plays, symphonies and museums. We can’t stop the aging process, but we can try our best to slow it down!
How to Reduce Your Risk for Falling:
September 14, 2017
As you age, your risk for falling dramatically increases. These falls can change your life in many ways. When discussing fall prevention, there are 2 main factors to consider. Assessing and making changes in your environment and fitness level should be the primary focus when trying to prevent falls.
1. Create a Safe Environment at Home
Does your home have any obstacles in your walking path? Are there any rugs present? Is there enough lighting throughout? Do your shoes fit properly? Do you have grab bars in your bathroom?
If you want to stay as independent as possible, try to check off this list when examining your home.
• Proper Lighting
• Space to roam throughout
• Type of flooring is even and the same height;
are rugs present
• Furniture is the right height 20” from the floor
• Cabinets are easy to reach
• Support Bars are installed
• Vision Checks yearly
• Proper Fitting Footwear
• Front Entrance is easily accessible
• Medicines that do not have counteractive side effects
2. Start a Fitness Program.
[Before starting a fitness program, always make sure to consult your doctor.]
A well designed fitness plan includes a variety of exercises and should include the following:
• Water Therapy. This will reduce joint stress, assist in eliminating inflammation, and strengthen muscles.
• Strength exercises. Participate in exercises that specifically focus on your small muscle groups to improve your overall balance.
• Dynamic exercises. These are functional exercises that incorporate more than one movement.
• Balance Apparatus. These are machines that are specifically geared towards improving balance and proprioception by teaching the body and brain to control weak muscles and joints. Examples are Biodex Balance Machines that help record your balance challenges and track areas of improvements.
At Sterling Estates, we strive to improve our Residents’ balance and fall risk. We accomplish this by engaging them in Balance Challenges, Warm Water Therapy, Dyna-Fit Classes, and One-on-one Personal Training. All of these exercises help to improve balance and proprioception.
Focusing on Strength, Balance and Room Safety guarantee you are heading in the right direction to reducing your risk of falling!