Celebrating Life, How To's and Tips

Seniors Can Get More and Better Sleep By Following This Essential Advice

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Contributed by Karen Weeks of Elder Wellness

Are you a senior who struggles to get enough sleep? A routine of restful sleep at night can help seniors preserve their physical health while maintaining cognitive function; but if you need help getting the sleep you need, then you need to pay attention to the following tips.
 

Thoroughly Address Serious Sleep Issues

Though often overlooked, your sleep issues could be the result of an actual sleep disorder. Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorder, and restless leg syndrome (RLS), can keep seniors from getting the sleep they need to stay healthy. With proper testing and treatment, however, you can get these issues under control and get to sleep again. For seniors who use Medicare, be aware of the coverage regarding sleep disorders, testing, and treatments. For Medicare to cover testing, you may need to be under a certain plan, and you will need a referral from a doctor. You can find out more about various sleep disorders, tests, and how Medicare covers sleep issues by clicking here. When a sleep or health issue seems to be at the root of your lack of sleep, it may be time to talk to your doctor.


Develop a Healthy Diet and Exercise Routine

You may already be aware of how a balanced diet and regular exercise can impact your overall health and brain function—but did you know that diet and exercise can affect the way you sleep? Getting enough exercise and eating a balanced diet can help you get more restful sleep. One of the best ways for seniors to stay active during the day is by walking. Walking is underrated as a form of exercise, but even a few extra steps can improve your health and help you get better sleep. Seniors can use a pedometer or fitness tracker to get a better handle on their physical health and track the number of steps they take each day. The best pedometers and fitness trackers will count your steps, calculate the distance you’ve traveled, and keep tabs on how many calories you burn. Keeping these counts in mind can motivate seniors to get the exercise they need to preserve their body, their cognitive function, and the quality of their sleep.


Properly Prepare Your Mind and Body for Sleep

One of the most effective ways to promote better sleep is to develop a bedtime routine that helps your brain and body unwind. Many people with sleep issues find it helpful to complete a brain dump before they crawl into bed. You can use a journal to write down all your thoughts, worries, and things to do so that they aren’t keeping you up at night. If your body has a hard time relaxing before bed, try some steps to physically wind down as well. A warm shower or bath can regulate your body temperature for better sleep. You can even use relaxing yoga to release tension from your muscles and soothe yourself to sleep.


Create a Sleep Sanctuary in Your Bedroom  
 

If you have problems getting to sleep, you should make your bedroom a haven for relaxation. Stick to using your bedroom for sleep and avoid completing other activities, such as watching television or even reading, while you are tucked into bed. If it’s been a while since you purchased your mattress, consider shopping around for a new one that is more supportive and less worn down. The right bedding and pillows can enhance your sleep as well. You can find pillows made for various sleeping positions, designed to correctly support your neck and head however you like to sleep. Cooling sheets and layered blankets can also help seniors regulate body heat and stay cool enough to stay asleep.

Like diet and exercise, sleep is essential in helping seniors stay strong, healthy, and happy. So take some steps to improve your sleep, as well as your wellness and quality of life.

Photo Credit: Unsplash 

 

 

Elder Wellness is a resource for older adults who wish to keep their minds, bodies, and spirits well.

Celebrating Life, Company, Senior Living

Introducing the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program

This month, we introduced the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program, a first-of-its kind technology program that makes capturing and preserving life stories simple for users who don’t want to write the stories out themselves. Designed with senior living organizations in mind, the program lets the staff record their seniors telling life stories and preserves them on our family-facing Engagement Platform. By empowering the community to capture these stories, the seniors feel celebrated and families are given a precious keepsake that they'll cherish for generations.

Request a demo here to see for yourself how simple the tool is.

Our Story

The senior living industry seemed like an instinctive fit for TSOLife from the company’s very beginning. Senior living communities, in-home care providers, and hospices are full of individuals with incredibly rich life stories, many of which have never been shared, let alone documented. And too often these stories are lost before they’re ever recorded.

But it wasn’t until our newest team member came on board – someone who had grown up and worked with assisted living communities – that we were able to find the perfect product-market fit. He was explaining to us a specific relationship he had built with one of the seniors, Dave, a Navy Seal veteran, who would share the same war stories repeatedly. One day, Dave’s family visited, and the granddaughter had no idea that her grandfather had even served in the military!

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These situations were not uncommon. The staff heard these incredible stories in everyday interactions, but there was no simple way to document and share these narratives with the families who rarely had the chance to sit down and ask these type of questions.

The TSOLife is the bridge between the caregivers hearing the stories and a grandchild being able to listen to them.

So, with this technology, we developed the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program, providing these communities the tools and technology to be able to capture and record their life stories.

Senior Living is Changing

The senior living industry is growing at over 4.7% annually, and with a vast range of options for senior care, the need to differentiate from the competition is crucial to attract families. And wellness programs are one of the key differentiators assisted living communities are utilizing to attract prospects, elevate current resident satisfaction, and engage families. And daily bingo won’t do the job; outdated approaches no longer work with today’s families.

According to J.D. Power’s analysis of senior living communities, "Communities that provide exceptional service are rewarded by their customers becoming brand ambassadors, positively speaking about their experience with an average of seven individuals. For those that fail to meet expectations, customers turn into brand assassins, speaking negatively about the brand to an average of 13 friends, relatives and colleagues.” And referrals are key when gaining prospects.

The TSOLife Solution

The Legacy Preservation Program is a key component to a company’s comprehensive wellness program - a perfect solution for senior living organizations looking to champion patient-first, holistic care in ways that families have come to expect. Best practice communities start with the mission and develop their wellness culture from that core foundation. At the same time, communities become more attractive to potential investors who see a forward-thinking organization. The TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program meets both mission and operational objectives.

What You Can Do with TSOLife

The Legacy Preservation Program begins with training material for the staff, so they will be able to conduct the interviews with ease and confidence, navigating those crucial conversations.

To capture the stories, users use the TSOLife mobile application. There’s two main features within the app, the first is an audio recording tool used to interview the resident. The staff member just selects the resident she’s interviewing, and has a conversation about the resident’s life, asking open-ended questions like, “What was it like growing up in Tampa or tell me the story how your husband proposed.”

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The second feature is called Magic Moments. This was designed with Memory Care Facilities in mind - residents who are not easily capable of recalling past life events. When a resident has a moment of clarity and remembers a memory from her youth, the staff member can pull up the app and capture the moment instantly

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Now going back to our friend Dave, imagine his caregivers having that conversation about his favorite memories, but being able to record it with the TSOLife app. Just hit send, and that audio is transcribed and organized into individual stories and preserved on our TSOLife Engagement Platform. We notify Dave’s family, saying “Hey, take a look at Dave’s life stories, look at this amazing activity that X Community did with Dave.” And the family simply clicks on the link and is taken to Dave’s personal TSOLife account. His grand kids can read his stories and listen to their grandfather’s own words recount his heroic stories as a Navy Seal.

For the Magic Moments, we combine all the videos taken of the residents into a seamless video and send it to the families once a month.

And for residents like Dave, his incredible life stories are captured and preserved for his family to enjoy today and cherish for years to come. There will be grandchildren and great grandchildren that will have the opportunity to hear the life story of their late family member, all because of the work TSOLife and Dave’s community are doing.

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We’ve already seen the effect TSOLife has on families, and now, when used properly, it can provide a relatively inexpensive way to attract prospects, keep families engaged, and foster meaningful relationships for senior living organizations. Pairing this program with a community that already offers extraordinary care and amenities, and your community can significantly elevate themselves above the competition.

To see how it works in action, schedule a free web demo today! Learn more about the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program here.

Celebrating Life, How To's and Tips, Senior Living

5 Fresh Activities for Seniors in Assisted Living

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Seniors in assisted living want to stay connected to their interests and passions. Families want to know that mom or dad is in a good community. Activity directors want fresh, worthwhile ideas that will generate participation and enthusiasm.

Meaningful activities can combat against depression, a common risk in long-term, senior living. Physical activities are hugely important, but the importance of cognitive exercises and social interaction cannot be downplayed.

The problem is that most assisted living communities have a very small activities budget. So, when resources and abilities are tight, make sure your activities calendar is packed with energetic and meaningful activities that will generate the most participation and greatest impact.

We’ve put together a quick list of some of our favorite assisted living activities that can lead to purposeful discussions and meaningful interactions.

Life Story Workshops 

Workshops that encourage discussing and writing life stories provide the opportunity for seniors to preserve their memories and leave their legacies. Seniors will enjoy sharing happy memories and the “good ole’ days”, but even more, talking about difficult memories can turn into a positive experience and contribute to a stronger community. There are numerous clinical studies that show that sharing life stories can be therapeutic for seniors suffering from depression.

Organize a group sharing session with a weekly theme, such as “Christmas Family Traditions”, “Favorite Vacations”, or “Childhood Memories”. Check out these prompts for intriguing questions and themes that you can use for inspiration.

Small groups work best with this activity so that an intimate environment is created and trust can be built. However, if resources and staff are limited, have seniors with similar interests partner with one another, or showcase a select few residents each week, and give them the floor to speak.

Remember to keep the sessions casual so that the senior feels relaxed, but structure is key in ensuring a smooth activity and the most meaningful interactions.

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Intergenerational Programs

Intergenerational programs facilitate visits from younger visitors to interact with senior residents. True intergenerational programs are, as Nancy Henkin of Temple University says, “not nice, but necessary.” This is an opportunity to create meaningful and fun interactions. The residents have the opportunity to be surrogate grandparents to local youngsters while children are able to learn from their elders. 

According to Senior Lifestyle, seniors who regularly volunteer with children burn 20% more calories per week, experienced fewer falls, were less reliant on canes, and performed better on memory tests than their peers.

 Depending the cognitive and mobility levels of your community, arts and crafts, reading activities, puzzles and games, or even lunch dates are just a few of the intergenerational activity possibilities. This is also an opportunity for youth to teach basic computer usage, bringing residents closer to their families through email, Skype, sending greeting cards and so much more. 

Show-and-Tell

Do you remember looking forward to “Show-and-Tell” day in your elementary school class? Now, after years and years of collecting keepsakes and memories, show-and-tell can be an opportunity for rich stories to emerge from your residents and for memories to resurface that haven’t been thought about for years.

Seniors are encouraged to choose an important belonging and share the story behind it to the group. Whether this is an old photograph, family heirloom, or a grandchild’s drawing, seniors have a chance to share something meaningful about their past. The seniors feel celebrated and honored. 

Celebrate Their Heritage

Celebrating the tangible and intangible aspects of your resident’s culture and ethnicity can add to the uniqueness of the seniors and strengthen the community as a whole. Activities that promote greater understanding of your differences while encouraging a conversation will help you learn about your community.

In addition to celebrating diverse holidays and serving ethnic foods, your community can honor the intangible aspects that have helped shape the seniors you serve today. This can be done through cultural speakers, music, cooking and art classes, or story sharing.

Volunteering Opportunities

Service to others is one of the most intrinsically fulfilling opportunities you can provide for your residents. Besides the innate reward of helping others, volunteering promotes good physical and mental health and helps seniors pursue their passions in retirement.

While they may not be able to physically lend a helping hand, they can do good within the walls of the community by making blankets for a charity, writing cards for a children’s hospital, packaging or sorting care boxes, and more. Immobility does not eliminate volunteering opportunities. Get creative, partner with a local charity, and bring in outside volunteers. In return, not only will your seniors feel good about themselves, you’ll be fostering a culture of compassion – not just for the residents, but for the local community and beyond.

 


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TSOLife (The Story of Life) focuses on preserving legacy and passing down life stories for future generations. Our mission is that no grandchild should have to wonder what their grandparent was like. Our unique solutions create the most personalized way to pass down personal stories that families will share and cherish for generations.

Learn More!

Company, Documenting Your Story, Celebrating Life

Everyone Has a Story to Tell: A Case Study

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A legacy preserved forever.

Michael Fronk touched the lives of everyone he encountered with his sense of humor and upbeat spirit. Although he is well known and beloved in his community, he didn’t want to miss any opportunities to grow closer to his family. His family and friends arranged for TSOLife to interview and film Michael sharing precious life stories. The Fronk family is located all over the country, but Michael’s personal and customized documentary has brought them all closer. His memories are now preserved in a unique short film. The documentary will contribute to the personalized funeral service that Michael desires.

We believe that everyone’s story is worth telling and too often these stories are lost before they are ever recorded.

The challenge.

Michael Fronk’s family and friends felt the sense of urgency to capture his legacy before it was too late. Like many families, the Fronks didn’t have the time or resources to personally interview, film, and transcribe his stories. They wanted to find a way for Michael’s grandchildren and great grandchildren to know the kind and charismatic man that he was.

Documenting Michael's stories.

The Fronk family wanted to preserve Michael’s legacy before it was too late. The solution was a TSOLife customized and professional documentary.

Michael was touched when his family approached him with the project. In 2 hours and in the comfort of his own home, the TSOLife team was able to interview and film Michael as he recounted childhood adventures and passed down life lessons and wisdom.

With professional editing that included cuts, photos, and high quality cameras, the Fronk family had a truly unique and customized keepsake. In addition to DVDs, the film, raw footage, and transcriptions were all safely archived on the TSOLife online platform so that family and friends could share and access whenever, forever.

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A unique & personalized documentary.

The TSOLife team visited Michael three months after delivering his documentary to check in. We had developed a special friendship and were thrilled to find out that he was feeling much better.  He beamed as he expressed his gratitude to us for helping him pass down and preserve his stories for his descendants.

Michael talked continuously about the many calls he received from long lost friends and even grandchildren who saw his video online and wanted to reconnect. As it turns out, Michael’s documentary had over 500 views on Facebook, was shared 20 times, and reached over 6,300 people! He was very flattered and pleasantly surprised by its success.

This documentary helped bridge the generational gap and strengthen the bonds amongst Michael’s family. Michael’s loved ones have peace of mind knowing that their beloved elder’s stories are forever preserved.

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What he likes about it so much is that “you can talk about a person all day long but to hear their voices, their stories, what their dreams were, how their fathers met their mothers… That’s immeasurable.”

The Fronk family has a unique and special piece of Michael that they can show at his memorial that goes beyond just a photo slideshow or scrapbook. Michael is comforted by the fact that he is controlling the message at his funeral, passing on advice and leaving his loved ones with an uplifting note. The documentary is not just a photograph but is a living memory.

“My documentary is something that my family will have to remember me by. They have something almost tangible, certainly visual, that serves as a reminder of my love for them.”

-Michael Fronk

View Michael's Documentary!



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ABOUT TSOLIFE

TSOLife focuses on creating innovative ways to preserve legacy and pass down life stories for future generations. Our mission is that no grandchild should have to wonder what their grandparent was like. Our unique solutions create the most personalized way to pass down personal stories that families will share and cherish for generations.

Learn More!