How To's and Tips, Senior Living

Improving Memory Recall in People with Dementia

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To continue the month-long conversation for World Alzheimer's Month, we've been taking a look at various topics surrounding Alzheimer's and Dementia. This week, we'll be diving into different methods anyone can use to help improve memory recall in people with Dementia. 

Stimulate the Senses
Perhaps one of the most effective ways to stimulate memory recall in people with dementia is to offer up items or activities that stimulate their senses. All 5 senses can be appealed to in order to increase their memory recall whether it’s looking at an older picture, smelling familiar scents or listening to music. In fact, many studies have been conducted on the effect that listening to music has on the brain, more specifically, how it positively affects memory recall. Similarly, the known implications of smell on triggered memories are substantial; combining stimulation of 2 senses or more can have profound impacts on people with Dementia. 

Reminiscence Therapy
While research on this topic is ongoing in relation to Dementia, there are definitive cognitive benefits of this kind of therapy in seniors on a larger scale. Reminiscence therapy can take a few different forms like looking back at photographs or listening to familiar music but all of them have a common goal: to help alleviate feelings of social isolation and depression in older people. While RT can help elicit a better mood, it’s also been found that our emotions play a heavy role in our memory recall. So an elevated mood due to recalling uplifting memories can help to further improve memory recollection; this link is called mood-congruent recall.

“...for example, an individual who is in an affective state of joy will recall more easily, and in a greater number, the information that has a positive affection than those that contain depressive material and negative affections.”

By helping someone reflect on happy memories, there’s an increased chance for them to remember more positive elements of their lives. 

Physical Fitness
While one of the biggest factors of memory loss is the build-up of plaque in the brain, a decrease in cerebral blood flow can allow that plaque to stay there. It’s for this reason why physical exercise is so important for elderly people, especially if they’re showing signs of Dementia. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise either; light stretching or walking can increase blood flow to the brain. 

With more circulation comes restorative processes like new cell growth in the memory center of the brain. Researches found that in animals that exhibit symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, those that were exercised “had greatly enhanced memory compared to sedentary ones due to improved adult hippocampal neurogenesis.” 

Memory loss due to a form of Dementia is never an easy thing to deal with, especially since there are so many different factors to consider. Hopefully some of these suggestions can help facilitate better memory recall, even if it is just a bit. 

How To's and Tips, Preserving Memories, Senior Living

How to Interview Someone with Dementia

Interviewing someone with Alzheimer's Disease

Recording and preserving the life stories, lessons, and memories of our loved ones is what got us started. Safeguarding your family’s legacy is important, but especially so if your loved one’s have started showing signs of dementia. September marks the 8th Annual World Alzheimer’s Month and to help raise awareness, this post will be centered around tips for interviewing someone with Dementia. Whether you’re a family member recording a relative’s stories or a caregiver working with residents, use some of these tips to help facilitate your interviews.

Body Language
Your body language and even just the way you carry yourself can have substantial impacts on how well your interview goes. The way you look, sit, smile, use hand gestures and a whole lot more can either help your interviewee feel more comfortable, or can put them on edge, depending on what these subtle cues tell them. Consider these tips when you’re interviewing someone with a form of Dementia:

-Sit, don’t stand: not only can sitting help you get a little closer to whomever you’re interviewing, it’s also a lot less confrontational.
-Keep your posture open: facing someone, chest forward, and no crossed arms or legs can convey your comfort and being at ease.
-maintain eye contact: eye contact (without staring) is one of the best ways to let anyone know you’re invested in the conversation.
-Facial expressions: showing emotion to someone you’re talking with can help them feel like you're listening to the actual content of their answers and not just listening to them talking.

Interview Structure
The overall shape and makeup of your questions can either make or break your interview with someone in memory care. Dementia physically alters the brain and affects areas dealing with new information. With this in mind, it’s best to keep questions or statements as concise as you can. In addition to keeping questions short and to the point, try to avoid multifaceted questions or questions that require too much context.

For example, instead of saying “I heard that your daughter likes painting and that you taught her how to do that when she was younger. Can you tell me about your daughter and some of her paintings?” break those questions into two separate topics: “Can you tell me about your daughter?” and “Can you tell me how your daughter learned to paint?”.

When conducting any interview, if you have the time, allow some breathing room at the start and end with casual conversation; it can help your interviewee get a little more comfortable or leave things on a positive note. If there’s not a whole lot of time, lead with a simple “How are you today?” and briefly explain what you’ll be doing.

Setting
If you’ve ever been on the other of an interview, you know it can be a bit nerve wracking and with people who have Dementia the whole process can be confusing as well. For this reason, it’s important to consider the setting of your interview with a focus on time of day and location. If you know the person’s schedule, aim for a time when they’re most likely to be awake and alert. Just as important as the time of day, consider setting up your interview in a familiar place for them. Not only can this help your interviewee feel more comfortable being in a familiar spot with some of their things can help facilitate memory recall, among other methods.

Recording an interview with someone who has Dementia isn't always the easiest thing; it requires preparation, patience, and empathy. But what makes it worth it is having those stories recorded and preserved for future generations. 

Company, How To's and Tips, Workforce Engagement

How Staff Scheduling Can Influence Your Community

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Establishing routines in your community can have substantial impacts on both staff and residents. In this post, we’ll be looking at consistent assignment, when staff members routinely care for the same residents (in 80% of their shifts), and how this can create lasting benefits in your community. Consistent assignment can have profound impacts on staff retention, resident engagement and satisfaction, referrals, overhead reduction, and more. Let’s take a look.

Deepening Relationships
While a rotating staffing method may make things like filling in a call out easier, it can also prove to be a hindrance to relationship building between staff and the residents in their care. Staff members in the senior living space often get involved, and stay involved, in the field because they care about their residents and because they genuinely want to make a difference, however a rotating schedule doesn’t always allow for this kind of relationship building. Having staff members routinely care for the same individuals allows for deeper connections which can lead to better staff retention and more satisfied residents.

Job Satisfaction
Being able to establish long-standing relationships with residents is directly correlated to job satisfaction for staff members; as staff members bond more with their residents, job satisfaction increases and vice versa. An increase in satisfaction is, in part, due to relationship building, but is also influenced by ease of job duties. When staff are scheduled using the consistent assignment method, they spend less time figuring out how to care for their residents (think about familiarizing yourself with a new resident, having to figure out resident personalities, etc.). There’s no surprise that staff members who are more content with their jobs are more likely to stay, providing a feedback loop: Deeper relationships leading to happier staff which provides more opportunities to develop those connections with their residents.

Better Care and Resident Satisfaction
Along with the development of deeper relationships and job satisfaction comes better care provided to the residents in your community. In many communities, the relationship between caregivers and their residents is akin to that of a family member and because of this, staff are more likely to offer up better care. With a rotating staff assignment, both staff and residents find it harder to connect with each other as the care provided in senior housing is often intimate and personal. Additionally, a more routine staffing schedule allows caregivers to pick up on subtle resident behaviors that could indicate a problem.

Better care for residents has deep implications on overall resident satisfaction and, as we know, the more satisfied residents are with the care they receive, the more likely they are to recommend your community to family and friends.

In a 2015 study, it was found that “The stronger the sense of camaraderie independent living residents had with others in their community, the more positive they were about living in the community ...as residents’ sense of camaraderie increased, so did their willingness to recommend the community to family and friends…”

So while consistent staff assignment may not be the complete solution for the problems we face in the senior living space, it is definitely worth giving thought to. From propagating relationship building to resident satisfaction and referral rate, consistent scheduling can lead long-term benefits for your community. 

 

How To's and Tips, Senior Living, Workforce Engagement, "Technology"

Implementing Person-Centered Care into Our Communities

TSOLife and Person-Centered Care

It’s generally accepted in the senior living space that Person-Centered Care (PCC) is an important facet in improving the lives of staff and seniors as well as raising the standards of the industry as a whole. But there are discrepancies between acknowledging the importance of PCC and implementing some of its practices into our communities. In this week’s blog post, we’ll look at how to implement Person-Centered Care into our communities.

Mindset Shift
One of the quickest and easiest methods for pushing your community toward more personalized care is to shift the outlook on residents from patients to people. This means considering each resident’s entire life story as a vital piece of what makes them who they are today. To contrast this, patient care is a rather truncated view of each person, looking at what is currently ailing them to fix it as quickly as possible.

This shift in perspective can also open up opportunities for insights that may be looked over otherwise. Trying to understand resident behavior at face value can prove to be difficult, as it is with anyone. But diving a bit deeper into personal history can help your staff understand why some of the out-of-the-ordinary behaviors exist.

The Little Things Matter
Similarly to shifting our mindsets, getting to know the intricacies of your resident’s lives can help your staff make decisions on how to best offer them the care that they need. Knowing a resident’s favorite food seems like such a trivial and insignificant tidbit of information, but if you have someone you're caring for in memory care who refuses food, knowing which foods they like or what food their mothers cooked growing up could help resolve their eating issues.

Even with residents who are mostly autonomous, having access to and being able to recall small things about them can help make them feel heard, that they have the support there if they need it. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and letting your residents know that they’re seen can help to bolster morale. Sometimes the little things can help in a tremendous way.

Easier Methods for Long-term Results 
One of the biggest hurdles the senior living industry faces when trying to focus more on personal care lies in how to implement these methods on a large scale, while also maintaining sustainability. Caregivers have a finite amount of time and energy to allocate to each resident, which makes personal care for every person a challenge. The answer lies in the newer systems and technology we can implement into our communities to make Person-Centered Care easier, thus making is a more long-term solution.

TSOLife’s Co-Founder and COO, Stella Parris, weighs in: "It's unrealistic for every single staff member to have an extended sit down conversation with every single resident right at move-in. So if you can get one person to have that conversation, but allow all staff to read, listen, share, and enjoy the information, it becomes possible for staff to get to know each resident to some degree."

Without implementing newer systems and tech, the industry as a whole won’t be able to achieve the best results when it comes to Person-Centered Care. Additionally, passing up opportunities for easier PCC will only perpetuate the cycle of caregiver burnout, staff turnover, and ultimately lower standards for the care for our seniors.

Of course, there are a number of ways to apply more personal methods into your community, but it’s important to employ a forward thinking mindset to help make Person-Centered Care an effective, long-term solution. Start with the ways you can start applying to your community today and go from there. We’re all in the business of improving the lives of our staff and seniors, so let’s help each other get there a little faster.

 

How To's and Tips, Senior Living, Workforce Engagement

Patient Care vs. Person-Centered Care

Person-centered Care

Although patient centered care and person centered care both have a resident's best interests in mind, they do have some differences that set them apart. In this week's post, we'll be looking at the differences between patient-centered care and person-centered care including what each means, and some of their key distinctions.

Defining Differences

Each of these avenues of care is important in its own right, but it’s important to note their differences. With patient-centered care, an individual’s overall physical health and health needs are at the forefront of any care they receive, but this is really only half of the equation. Person-centered care is based on the accumulated knowledge of people including both their personal and medical histories. We’re seeing a pull in the direction of person-centered care as an opportunity to view the seniors in our care more holistically, applying personal knowledge of each individual to the care they receive.

Longevity of Care

One of the most prominent factors in distinguishing these methods of care is its longevity. Treatment that centers more around a person’s symptoms and diagnoses can be intermittent or be short-term. Seeing people as patients can depersonalize them in order to maximize efficiency: find out what’s wrong, fix it, move on to the next. The reason the senior living space is pushing for more individualized care is to factor the actual person back into caregiving.

Personalized care often takes longer than patient-centered care, yes, but there are merits in establishing a relationship with our seniors. This allows caregivers to tie together someone’s physical health with their mental health, social health, and history: “A major failure of primary care... is the great underestimation of the importance of long-term relationships with patients.” (Starfield, 2011)

Additionally, care specific to each individual offers insights into the overall well-being of someone in your community. Taking into consideration all aspects of a person is crucial; this means their personal history and health as well as a general understanding of who they are. This is especially important as older adults sometimes have to maneuver from one health problem to another. A cumulative view of a senior’s health, rather than a snapshot, is much more effective at offering the attention they need.

Restoring Relationships

Individual, long-term care is commonly praised for its impacts on both seniors and staff. While patient-centered care can offer an environment for relationship building, it’s more likely that a stronger connection would develop between residents and caregivers that offer individual attention: “Patient-centered care also aims to improve clinical practice by building caring relationships that bridge demographic, social, and economic differences between clinicians and patients” (Epstein, 2010).

Not only is building relationships with your residents beneficial for their overall health, connecting staff with them helps to reduce staff turnover. There’s a positive feedback loop between person-centered care and the prosperity of a given community: look at residents holistically to offer better care, build stronger relationships between staff and seniors, have caregivers stay in their communities longer.

There are a lot of buzzwords and trends surfacing in the senior living space, but the reason we have to keep this conversation active is so we can continue to push for higher standards, better care, and happier people; staff, seniors, and families alike. Keeping up with our resident’s health is imperative, but seeing the whole person can help have positive impacts on the care that they receive.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read through our blog posts and for your support! Stay tuned for some of our next blog posts on how to implement more person-centered care in your communities. What are your thoughts on patient and person-centered care? Let us know on LinkedinFacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

 

How To's and Tips, Senior Living

Your Community's First Impression

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Much like with people, your community’s first impression is crucial to bringing in new residents as well as helping to retain the seniors already in your care. There are quite a few aspects of your community that contribute to what prospects think of your space from small things like a friendly face upon entering, to what amenities your community can offer. In this week’s blog post, we’ll be looking at what factors of your community affect first impressions.

Snap Judgement
We’ve all heard the statistics that that, on average, people begin to make judgments during first encounters in the first 7 seconds, and your community isn’t much different. Even if you’ve walked into your community hundreds of times, try walking in with a critical eye occasionally. Tours definitely help with this, but after a while of doing something, we can all become a bit jaded, especially with busy schedules.

Take a good look at the face of your community including landscape maintenance, paint, sidewalk and parking lot conditions, and it’s overall cleanliness. The first face new prospects see is also something to consider. Can they give whoever walked through the door undivided attention? No matter who the staff member is, everyone in your community can implement these practices.

Impressionable senses
A first impression isn’t always about what someone sees; the other four senses can give them clues as to how to interpret your community. The benefits of potentially welcoming a new resident into your community outweigh the cost to appeal to their senses, which in some cases is nothing. Touch and auditory stimulation can both be free and can help foster a positive outlook on you and your community. A handshake, a candle, and the sound of busy residents are simple but effective.

As with most of us, whether or not you eat and what you eat can influence your mood. Offering a meal to people touring your community is a great way to show them the quality of your meals, while also appealing to a few different senses at the same time.

Who do they meet?
Who prospects meet is potentially the most important aspect while on a tour. When showing people around your community, who do they meet? Interacting with an AD or ED can have a significant impact on how your community is perceived. This tells them that you’re never too busy to offer the care that they’ll need.

Additionally, introducing potential residents to seniors that are already part of your community can help foster the relationships necessary to secure them as a resident. An easy way to bring people together is through resident profiling. The information in your resident profiles can help you quickly establish a connection, linking seniors together through preferences and life experiences. Since this is where seniors will be spending a lot of their time, it’s important to help them integrate and make meaningful connections with staff and other residents.

Of course, there are a ton of different factors that can make or break an initial reaction to your community, but as a general guideline, ask yourself what would be most important to you if you were moving into your community. Chances are, people looking to move loved ones into a senior living community would be looking for the same things. For more on what potential residents are looking for in your community, you can read more here

Thank you so much for taking the time to read through our blog posts and for your support! What are your thoughts your community's first impressions? How do you put your best foot forward? Let us know on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

 

How To's and Tips, Senior Living, "Technology"

Tech Integration in Senior Living

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Technology adoption and senior living may not be completely  synonymous at the moment, but we’re facing a shift in assisted living communities that might call for more tech with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life. For this reason, it’s important for us to to consider implementing new technologies into communities to benefit both staff and seniors.

Technological Considerations

There’s no question that technology has become an integral part of our everyday lives, especially as applications shrink in size and become wearable. In the senior living space, technology like this is thriving, although adoption rates may not reflect a proactive state. Among seniors ages 65 and up, roughly four in ten are smart phone users and almost seven in ten are daily internet users. As we see an increase in the use of technology throughout elder communities, we have to adjust not only to accommodate changing lifestyles, but also to improve the care that we can offer.

With the accumulation of data, caregivers would have more opportunities to provide effective care for their residents. From wearable tech that can offer up health insights through biometric data, to smart shoes to help guide the visually impaired, the goal of implementing newer devices into senior living communities is to provide better, accurate, and more proactive care.

Existing Tech

Since the technological landscape is in a constant state of motion, adoptability becomes a crucial factor in successful implementation. In a 2017 study conducted by the PEW Research Center, researchers found that among seniors, the majority of them felt a lack in confidence when setting up and using new electronic devices, but that once they’ve established a level of understanding they “engage at high levels with digital devices and content”. So how can we leverage tech that seniors and caregivers already use?

Striking the Balance

The gathering of data and use of new technology is likely to garner concern from some seniors or caregivers. Because of this hesitation, we have to find ways of bringing in newer systems that mesh well with people’s values and lifestyles as they are.  The TSOLife program strikes the balance between personal human connection and newer technologies. Simplicity for seniors and caregivers is another large contributing factor in the programs success rate. Our easy-to-use application helps provide opportunities for more engagement for residents and more efficient processes for caregivers.  This has lead to a high adoption rate among seniors in the communities we've partnered with. 

Implementing newer applications to make lives easier is the ultimate goal. Taking full advantage of the devices community members already use is a great way to ensure a higher adoption rate and better processes. 

How To's and Tips, Senior Living, Workforce Engagement

Why Families Choose a Community

Looking for assisted living community

Looking for assisted living communities to house your loved ones is never an easy decision, especially with all of its moving parts. Considerations could range from how much (or how little) care they’ll need, proximity, activities, and a host of other things to think about. While it’s important to make sure potential residents and their families like your community, it’s also important to make sure that you have the capacity to care for them. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the top things families look for when choosing an assisted living community and how we can help make yours more appealing.

Changing Needs

There are so many different facets of change when it comes to the aging process, it can be difficult to keep up with all of them. From mental and physical changes to nutritional changes, residents in your care, as well as potential residents, need assurance that their needs can be met as they change. To see some of the needs that families could be looking for, check out AARP’s caregiving checklist for insights.

Staff Turnover

This is one of the more important aspects families may want to know about: how often does your community go through staff? If there is a revolving door of caregivers, it could be reflected in the quality and quantity of the care they’re able to provide residents. We’ve mentioned before that the industry average for caregiver turnover is around 42%. Communities that have trouble with staff retention tend to give more generalized care to their residents, which could contribute to lower resident satisfaction as well as caregiver job satisfaction. The TSOLife platform can help lower turnover by providing opportunities to staff to forge meaningful connections with their residents.

Staff-to-Resident Ratio

A community’s staff to resident ratio is directly influenced by staff turnover rates; the more staff you have coming and going, the less caregiver face time residents will get. Each state has its own standards for what the minimum ratios are between caregivers and seniors under their care. In Florida, the minimum staff to resident ratio is 1:20 for CNAs and 1:40 for licensed nurses. By helping to increase staff in assisted living facilities, the TSOLife program can positively impact the ratio of workers to residents. Families and potential residents alike both want to see more quality time spent with caregivers, which we can help ensure through both storytelling and through useful resident profiles.

Staff Training and Personality

Another important aspect sought after by families looking for assisted care is the overall training and personality of the staff, from dining staff all the way up to community directors. Yet another facet to caregiving that ties in with staff retention, having well-trained and satisfied staff comes with time and vertical movement in your community. The longer you can hold onto any given staff member, the more likely they are to make lasting impressions on your residents.

Activity Diversity

Along with a genuinely good place to live, prospects want to see how they’ll be spending their time in your community. Our platform is a great alternative to traditional community activities and helps residents open up about their lives and preferences. By getting to know their residents better, caregivers can offer activites tailored to what seniors under their care actually want. Additionally, residents who participate in our program could potentially alleviate any late-stage depression through the means of life review therapy. Potential residents and families ultimately want to see that it’s not just a place to live, but also a community to be part of.

 

There are so many other aspects to consider when looking for an assisted living community, but what we’ve covered are a few of the heavier topics that people want to see. The TSOLife program can help your community be more effective in the care that it provides, while also drawing in new residents and staff alike.

How To's and Tips, Senior Living, Workforce Engagement

No One is Looking at Employee Retention Like This

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Employee turnover is plaguing the senior living industry. According to recent surveys, the annual rates of staff turnover in assisted living range from 21% to 135% across states and reach a national average of 42%. This means increased costs and lowered community-wide satisfaction. It can even decrease occupancy.

When faced with this challenge, senior care providers are encouraged to offer competitive wages, proactively recruit, improve training, and provide a comfortable work environment, among other tangible things. Yet, no one is making substantial strides in increasing staff retention.

That’s why we need to look at employee retention through a new lens.


Organizational Commitment

Organizational commitment  is closely linked with staff turnover. Employees that are committed to their jobs are less likely to quit and perform better; it’s even a better predictor of turnover than job satisfaction. So how do senior living providers foster organizational commitment?

Organizational culture.

Culture is not just marketing ploy for companies. The power of its influence shapes how staff perceive their jobs and their commitment. Establishing an organization that values morale, teamwork, and participation in decision making doesn’t happen overnight. If being intentional about your company’s culture isn’t on your radar, Entrepreneur provides an article on building a strong company culture here.

 

Interpersonal Relationships

A common thread among employees in this industry is their fondness of the residents, and this unique relationship with the seniors can actually translate to job commitment. When staff engage with residents through meaningful conversation, a bond is created that directly contributes to retention. The residents become more than patients: they’re extended family. And saying goodbye to family is much more difficult than leaving for transnational purposes.

A study looked at employees who were considering leaving their jobs compared to those who actually quit. On the basis of their ranking of reasons for staying and leaving, the study suggests that “stayers” appeared to assign more importance to the intrinsic or people-oriented rewards of their jobs, such as relationships with residents, feelings about caring for sick people, and relationships with supervisors. Further, their fondness of the residents was a prominent reason for them staying, as exemplified by the typical comment: “they [residents] wrap around your heart”.

However, with all the must-haves in senior living, the stress of meeting regulations and staying compliant, and ensuring residents are happy and healthy, making time for “meaningful interaction” often slips through the cracks. That’s why it is critical that staff integrate these interactions into their daily routines. Simple tools and technology can help promote purposeful conversation.

Because of the therapeutic and cognitive benefits, there is a huge emphasis on storytelling for seniors. However, storytelling also gives context into the resident’ lives, and helps the staff view the residents as more than a task, they’re a grandfather/daughter/successful entrepreneur/world traveler with a rich history behind them.

Strong bonds and residents who feel celebrated mean happier employees. And happier employees stay longer.

 

Looking at Employee Retention in a New Light 

With the projected care staff shortage and the increasing need for services related to the growing elderly population, a focus on staff turnover is critical in meeting the needs of the aging population.

The success of your senior living organization greatly relies on your ability to attract and retain employees who are passionate about carrying out the company’s resident-centered philosophy into their daily routines.

A focus on increasing organizational commitment and employee-resident connection might be the missing link in your staff retention strategy.

 


 TSOLife Logo-2

TSOLife (The Story Of Life) focuses on preserving legacy and passing down life stories for future generations. We help senior living communities leverage technology to capture, preserve, and share the life stories of the residents in their care. It fostering purposeful engagement and providing a precious keepsake for the families.

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How To's and Tips, Celebrating Life

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.