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Making Family Connections

How genealogy can bring families closer together:

Did you know that genealogy websites are currently the second most-visited type of websites on the internet? This field is very popular with seniors, and it has many benefits for them as well. adult family homes Vancouver WA

One of the benefits for seniors who learn more about their ancestry is that it can connect them with their past. With people, events and stories that may have been forgotten. There have been studies that show that sharing family history is good for the younger generations as well. It helps form a sense of identity and can increase self-confidence as one understands more about their place in history and their larger family.

Older family member who share what they have found in their genealogy studies creates stronger connections with children and grandchildren. It can also even expand family support systems if links are made to distant or long-lost relatives.

Sometimes genealogical research can bring unexpected value to our lives. Besides filling in gaps in our knowledge about family members, it may help you locate a new branch of the family tree. It can also reveal important information about family medical history.

All in all, the quest for knowledge about your ancestry can be a very rewarding and satisfying activity. There are many resources at your library, and especially on the internet to get your search started. At Harmony Senior Homes, we know the value of family connections, and do everything we can to support those family ties.

Boost Your Immune System

Ways to strengthen your immunity:

Strategies for staying healthy become even more important as we age. As we get older, we become more susceptible to infections, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. To strengthen your immune system, let’s get back to the basics. Here are some tips to help get you started. adult family homes Washougal WA

Get vaccinated. It has been demonstrated that flu vaccines significantly lower rates of sickness and death for seniors.

Exercise not only improves circulation and heart health, it also works to relax your body and mind.

Reducing stress through whatever means possible will also give your immune system a boost. Stress works to suppress your immune system, which makes you more susceptible to illness.

Getting enough sleep is one of the best natural immune system boosters. It can also increase our response to the flu vaccine.

A positive outlook on life increases production of endorphins. When we’re engaged in activities that make us feel happy and productive, it also has an effect on our immune system.

Superfoods like kale, broccoli, berries, avocados and others have been shown to improve the performance of seniors’ immune systems. So try adding some more variety to your diet.

Stay hydrated. Seniors tend to experience thirst less than younger people, so it’s important to consciously get your 8 glasses of liquids every day.

You get the most out of life when you’re healthy and active, and supporting your immune system is one way of ensuring that you stay that way as you get older. Life at Harmony Senior Homes supports a healthy and active lifestyle for our residents.

Valentine Gift Ideas

Gift Ideas for seniors living in Adult Family Homes:

By the time we reach our senior years, we have received many gifts. But over those years the needs of senior loved ones change. Seniors in assisted living or adult family homes don’t want to add more clutter to their lives. They may have need of things that you might not think of when choosing a gift this Valentine’s Day. Beyond the traditional candy and flowers, we have some ideas your loved one is sure to appreciate. Adult family homes Washougal WA

A custom photo album or scrapbook is a gift that will always be treasured. There are many websites that will help you create an album or you can print out the photos and make a scrapbook together with your loved one.

Adult coloring books are trendy now, and they make a perfect gift for a senior along with a set of colored pencils or pens. There are coloring books created especially for seniors, some with larger coloring areas, and many with themes will interest older adults.

Load family photos onto a digital photo frame for your senior. This makes it easy for them to view special pictures of the people in their lives. You can update the photos annually.

One of the best gifts you can give is your time. Your loved one will always appreciate a trip to a favorite place such as movie or concert, to the library or museum. Or just go out to a restaurant for a meal together.

Get an iPod and load it with their favorite music. You can choose the songs together if you’re not quite sure what they would like to listen to.

A salon gift certificate is something many senior women would enjoy. Even better, you can take her yourself and make an afternoon of it. Often, the best gift you can give your senior loved one is the gift of your time and attention. It will be time well spent.

 

Holiday Traditions

How to adjust holiday celebrations for families of a person with dementia.

Families who have a member with dementia may notice that events that were once happy holiday traditions can be stressful or taxing for a person with dementia. Here we offer some suggestions for making adjustments to your holiday gatherings or activities so everyone can enjoy them without causing distress for the person with dementia. We also want to avoid burnout for the caregivers. adult family homes Clark County WA

A person with dementia may have once enjoyed big holiday gatherings, but now can be quite overwhelmed by the noise and commotion and all the people. It might be helpful to plan some smaller gatherings with a quieter atmosphere where the person with dementia can feel more comfortable.

There are ways you can use seasonal music and storytelling with a person who has dementia. Instead of using music in the background, take some time with your loved one to sit and actively listen to the songs, sing along, or play along. Many people with dementia are still able to enjoy singing, and the music can stimulate memories from the past.

Understanding that things are different now can help with the feelings of disappointment. Adapting your holiday traditions might mean that things have changed, but you can still find ways to enjoy reminiscing about past memorable holidays together.

Benefits of Physical Therapy

How physical therapy can benefit seniors:

There are several valuable things for older adults that can be achieved through physical therapy. Many of us know that physical therapy can help alleviate pain and recover from injury, or help with chronic conditions like arthritis. But physical therapy is also very effective in helping people prevent injuries and chronic conditions, by remaining fit and strong and flexible as they age. Much of age-related disability can be avoided or managed with physical therapy. Adult Family Homes Vancouver WA

It is wise to keep in mind that even ordinary physical changes that come along with aging may be delayed, prevented or reversed with physical therapy. Preventing falls is one of the important things physical therapy exercises can help seniors with. Balance problems are one of the biggest causes of falls for seniors, and physical therapy has very effective ways to address balance issues.

Physical therapy can also help seniors with stroke recovery, help them cope with the physical effects of chronic diseases such as diabetes, and manage or alleviate pain. Physical therapy could be a great option for you or a senior loved one. Whether you have an active lifestyle, or are more sedentary, a physical therapist can create an exercise plan that addresses your specific problems.

At Harmony Senior Homes we are dedicated to supporting the highest quality of life for our residents. Maintaining health and strength is essential to living the good life.

The Best Things About Getting Old

Contemplating the advantages of a long life:

We all know that the senior years come with their share of challenges, but most seniors would agree that there are also some things about aging that make growing older a wonderful stage of life. Here are a few things that get better with age.

Older people who are retired have more time for the activities and people they most enjoy. Grandchildren are one of the blessings seniors most often cite as one of their happiest relationships. Adult Family Homes Vancouver WA

Growing older gives one a broader perspective on the world, and on life. Seniors have the time and opportunity to participate in civic activities and volunteering. People over the age of 65 vote at a higher rate than that of any other age group.

Though it sounds like a platitude, wisdom really does come with age. One of the benefits of having a lifetime of experiences under your belt, is all the lessons that have been learned. Applying those insights to today’s problems and decisions, and helping others who may come to you for advice is a valuable way to use the wisdom that comes with a long life.

Many seniors feel a sense of accomplishment about their lives. Whether you’ve raised happy and successful children and grandchildren, sustained a happy marriage, served our country, retired from a meaningful career, or fulfilled life goals, it can all lead to feelings of satisfaction and contentment.

Another thing to enjoy about old age: many older adults are more comfortable with themselves. They give themselves permission to stop caring what other people think, and have a healthier self concept in old age.

These are just a few of the benefits to be found in living into old age. At Harmony Senior Homes we have the honor of witnessing many of these blessings daily.

Keep Reading!

The link between reading and longevity:

Those of you who love to read will be happy to hear this. A new study done by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health found that seniors who read books regularly live nearly two years longer than those who don’t. This study was looking for an association between book reading in older Americans and longevity. It gathered data for readers who read books, those who read newspapers and magazines, and those who don’t read at all. They studied 3,635 people who were 50 years or older, and it was sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. adult family homes Vancouver WA

The findings were interesting, to say the least. Book readers had a “survival advantage” over readers who read newspapers and magazines or didn’t read at all. The book readers had a 20 percent less chance of dying in the next twelve years, than the people in the study who didn’t read books.

More studies will need to be done on this relationship between reading and longevity, but these findings are very validating for those of us who enjoy our reading time every day.

There have been lots of other studies done on the effects of reading on the brain, but these have mostly focused on brain activity during reading, and are typically done with younger participants. The authors of this particular study summed it up by saying this suggests that, “the benefits of reading books include a longer life in which to read them.”

Sound Sleep

How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep:

If you are having more trouble sleeping as you get older, there may be several reasons why. The first thing to do is check with your doctor who can do a physical exam to see if there are any underlying health issues that may be contributing to your sleeplessness. Medication for sleep may sometimes be prescribed, but is usually not the answer. The key to a good night’s sleep is building healthy sleep habits. Vancouver Washington assisted living

The first thing to put in place is a consistent sleep schedule. This means going to bed around the same time each night, and getting up at the same time every morning. This way your body’s internal clock will be working with you, which will help you fall asleep faster at night, and be ready to get up in the morning. Here are some other strategies to try:

  • Use your bed only for sleeping at night. Limit daytime napping, particularly in the afternoon.
  • Regular exercise can also help you sleep more soundly at night.
  • Make sure you wind down in the evening with peaceful and quiet activities.
  • There is lots of evidence that meditation, when done on a regular basis, can help improve sleep patterns.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine in the evenings. And don’t eat large, heavy meals too late in the day.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and very quiet at night.

Consistently getting a good night’s sleep is an essential part of a healthy life. Getting enough sleep helps us stay alert, refreshed and ready to face whatever comes up in our day. At Harmony Senior Homes a night of sound sleep is typical for our residents. A happy, healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to ensure sound sleep patterns.

Senior Mindfulness

The benefits of practicing mindfulness:

Many studies have been done that show the benefits of meditation and mindfulness for seniors. There are mental health benefits as well as physical benefits. Mindfulness is described by the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at University of Massachusetts Medical Center like this: “Mindfulness is a way of learning to relate directly to whatever is happening in your life, a way of taking charge of your life, a way of doing something for  yourself that no one else can do for you — consciously and systematically working with your own stress, pain, illness, and the challenges and demands of everyday life.” It is a cultivated self-awareness that brings a balanced sense of health and well-being. Harmony Senior Homes

The benefits, not just for seniors, but for all ages, include reduced stress, and decreased pain. Mindfulness produces increased relaxation, more energy, higher self-esteem, and better cognitive functioning.

Studies have shown that mindfulness boosts the immune system and decreases inflammation. It has also been shown to slow the progression of disease, while it protects against cognitive decline. Studies have also linked mindfulness to slowing down the aging process and increasing longevity.

Mindfulness and meditation can also help with depression and reduce feelings of loneliness. Loneliness and depression are linked to negative mental and physical health outcomes.

Sometimes people think of mindfulness as a religious practice, which it is not. It can be used by anyone of any spiritual tradition, as well as those who don’t practice a religion. It’s a way of developing a certain outlook on existence that creates a relaxation response in the body and mind. The big thing to remember is that anyone can benefit from the positive effects of a mindfulness practice, there is no down side.

To get started with a mindfulness meditation go to UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center and try one of the beginning meditations. They’re short and simple and enjoyable. Just see where it takes you.

Popular Mother’s Day Gifts

Gift ideas for Mother’s Day inspired by search data:

A poll was done to find the most often searched gifts for Mother’s Day. Although the day is almost here, there is still time to pull a gift together for your mom if you choose to give one that you make yourself, or one that can be easily picked up at a local store. Here are some of the most popular ideas to help if you’re stumped. Vancouver WA senior housing

The most popular gift idea in Washington state is a bamboo plant, and the most popular in Oregon is an edible fruit arrangement, both of which are great last minute options. Other searchers looked for information about chocolate gifts, cookie recipes and other food gifts including chocolate strawberries and cake pops. As you might imagine, many loving sons and daughters searched for flowers and flower arrangements.

Some were looking for electronic gifts including iPads, fitness trackers and bluetooth speakers. Jewelry is another favorite gift for mothers, as are spa and manicure gifts.

Some people were looking for ideas of a more personal nature such as a shadow box or a poem. A handwritten note or a love poem is always a highly appreciated gift. Family photos in a nice frame also make a treasured gift for any mom.

And here are some less traditional ideas that are perfect for some moms, maybe yours? A tea gift set, wind chimes, workout equipment, a coffeemaker, or a bird feeder. But the one gift that never fails to delight and satisfy any mom is the gift of your time. Visit or call on Mother’s day if you can. It’s a gift that will mean a lot to her.

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Comprehensive Care:
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  • Dementia and mental health specialized
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