St. George Village Blog
Category Archive: Independent Living Knowledge Center Lifestyle News Wellness
Posted on January 13, 2014 by Stacy Anthony
For optimal health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults get a minimum of two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week. In addition, muscle-strengthening activities should be conducted two or more days a week.
Exercise can help prevent many physical problems and chronic conditions that come with aging, including weight gain, back pain and heart disease. Plus, it keeps the mind sharp and can help you feel happier, improving symptoms of depression and even dementia. To gain these benefits, however, you need to find a fitness program that provides the physical results desired and is enjoyable, too, so you’ll stick to it.
Before you begin any exercise program, McMahon has the following tips:
1. See your doctor, especially if you have a chronic condition.
2. Start slowly. Begin by walking, say, for 10 minutes or so a day. As you gain energy and your body builds stamina, increase your activity levels and make it more challenging.
3. Stay motivated. Have realistic short-term goals you can easily meet.
4. Don’t be intimidated. Remember that everyone had to walk in the door for the first time. Don’t let the thought of starting hold you back. You can do it.
Posted on December 30, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
In technology seminars offered regularly at St. George Village, participants learn how to make the most of their iPads and smartphones by using applications for emailing, making photos and videos, listening to music, using social media sites such as Facebook, and more. These classes take away the fear and put the fun into using current technology devices!
Recent iPad workshop graduates, pictured here with Jane Ratliff and a volunteer from BlueHair Technology Group (back row), proudly display their Certificates of Completion.
Posted on December 23, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Many older adults have found benefit from the centuries-old Chinese martial arts tai chi and qigong. “Chi” or “qi” (chee) means “life energy.” “Qigong” (chee-goong) literally means “life energy cultivation.” Tai chi consists of a series of flowing movements while qigong focuses on the repetition of isolated movements and breathing.
For example, Robert Johnson, M.D., Kaiser Permanente Chief of Palliative Care in Walnut Creek, Calif., has practiced tai chi and qigong since the 1970s. He believes these mind-body exercises promote good health, flexibility, strength and balance, which help reduce the risk of falling among seniors.
Each year, one out of three adults, age 65 and older, falls due to lack of balance or other reasons. Consider that a record 11,000 baby boomers turn 65 and become Medicare eligible every day, and that can add up to a lot of falls and serious injuries.
“We spend most of our day in sedentary jobs. Many of us sit in front of a computer or television for hours at a time,” Dr. Johnson said. “To age well, we need to move, stretch and keep our joints lubricated and flexible. Otherwise, our muscles, joints and tendons become stiff and brittle, and that can lead to falls and disabilities.”
Dr. Johnson recommends moving the joints in a circular motion. For example, place the hands on the knees and rotate the knees together in a clockwise and then counterclockwise motion. Also, try sitting in a squat position and stand up slowly to strengthen the quadriceps.
By clicking here, you can view a short video in which Dr. Johnson demonstrates a few basic exercises and explains why they’re helpful.
Along with doing exercises that promote flexibility, seniors can also help prevent falls and serious injuries by taking a few simple precautions at home:
• Reduce tripping hazards such as throw rugs, raised doorway thresholds, or loose carpet.
• Keep paths clear of electrical cords and clutter.
• Add grab bars where necessary—in hallways, stairways and bathtubs.
• Add a rubber bath mat in the shower or tub.
• Improve lighting throughout the house and use night-lights in hallways and bathrooms.
• Keep a phone and flashlight by the bed.
Posted on December 8, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Many seniors will be glad to learn that there are steps they can take to protect against vision problems—starting with an eye exam. A regular exam is important because some eye conditions and diseases do not show warning signs.
While it is commonly known that eye troubles increase rapidly with age—particularly after age 65—a lesser-known fact is that vision loss is also associated with a higher incidence of falls, injuries, depression and social isolation.
As part of an overall health-maintenance strategy, the American Academy of Ophthalmology urges seniors to have a comprehensive eye exam, especially if they have not had one in the past two years, whether or not there are symptoms.
The Academy also encourages seniors, their loved ones and caregivers to be aware of signs that indicate vision problems that require an eye exam. These problems can include:
• Bumping into or knocking over objects
• Stepping hesitantly
• Squinting or tilting the head when trying to focus
• Missing objects when reaching
• Discontinuing everyday activities such as reading and writing.
Simple, painless eye exams are crucial in detecting an eye disease or condition in its early stages, to help preserve your sight. During the exam, an ophthalmologist—a medical doctor who specializes in eye care—will provide a diagnosis and treatment of all eye diseases and conditions.
Despite medical evidence that healthy vision plays a critical role in overall health and happiness, many older adults in the United States do not seek regular eye care or face difficulty accessing and paying for health care services.
To ensure that all seniors throughout the country have access to eye care services, nearly 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists are available to provide eye care at no out-of-pocket cost to qualifying seniors 65 and older through EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, which matches patients to volunteer ophthalmologists.
“Sight problems should not be ignored at any age, but particularly in seniors, as problems are more common in this group of patients,” said Richard P. Mills, M.D., MPH, chairman for EyeCare America. “The earlier a patient seeks medical diagnosis and treatment, the greater the chances for saving and recovering one’s vision, which contributes to overall health and happiness.”
The program is sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation with additional support from Alcon. To learn more and to see if you qualify, visit EyeCare America.
Posted on November 15, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
BlueHair Technology Group is on a mission! Their goal is to educate seniors about current technology and how to connect and communicate with family and friends through email, games, video chat, Facebook, etc., on devices like iPads and smartphones.
St. George Village is pleased to offer a variety of classes taught by BlueHair Technology founder Jane Ratliff and her staff as a service to its residents and members of the community.
Meet Jane and learn more about BlueHair Technology in this video presentation.
Posted on November 10, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
During Medicare’s annual open enrollment period, which ends December 7, millions of Medicare beneficiaries must decide on their Medicare Advantage (MA) health plan for the coming year. While many factors go into deciding about a plan—cost, choice of doctors, benefits—there’s one important question Medicare beneficiaries should ask: What is the quality rating of the plans I’m considering?
A high rating means better health care and the best value for your money. Medicare uses a system called Star Ratings. Plans receive a rating of up to five stars. These ratings are based on things like how well the plan does at keeping people healthy by making sure they get the treatments, tests and vaccines they need to prevent illness, how quickly you can get an appointment and see specialists, and how the plan responds to your complaints and concerns.
For 2014, over a third of MA plans will receive four or more stars, which is an increase from 28 percent in 2013. Seven of the 11 MA plans earning five stars this year are members of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, an organization representing the nation’s leading health plans.
You can learn more about MA plans—and their quality ratings—using the Medicare Plan Finder. MA plans are called “Medicare Health Plans” in the Plan Finder.
The National Committee for Quality Assurance also evaluates quality in MA plans; those rankings can be found at www.ncqa.org.
— Patricia Smith, president and CEO, Alliance of Community Health Plans.
Posted on November 1, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Several St. George Village residents put on their travelin’ shoes last month and enjoyed a two-day trip to historic Charleston, S.C.
Their busy itinerary included a visit to Drayton Hall — an 18th century unrestored plantation house — as well as a tour of Charleston Harbor, a carriage ride around the city, shopping at famous Charleston Market and dining at some of the city’s well-known restaurants.
As you can see, everyone had a LOT of fun!
Posted on October 25, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
The CDC urges the millions of Americans with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, stroke, or heart or lung disease to get a flu vaccine. A chronic health condition, even if it’s well managed, increases a person’s risk of serious illness from the flu. This could result in a sudden and costly trip to the hospital—or even death.
“We have known for years that the flu is a serious disease, especially for people with certain chronic health conditions,” says Dr. Anne Schuchat, Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service and CDC’s Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Last season, nearly 92 percent of adults hospitalized with flu had a long-term health condition, as did about 53 percent of children sent to the hospital.
Health conditions that increase the risk of flu-related problems include:
• Asthma and chronic lung disease
• Brain and central nervous system conditions
• Heart disease
• Blood disorders
• Diabetes, kidney and other endocrine and metabolic disorders
• Liver disorders
• Weakened immune system
• People under 19 years old and on long-term aspirin therapy
The chronic conditions most reported for adults sent to the hospital with flu include heart disease (37 percent), metabolic disorders such as diabetes (36 percent), chronic lung diseases (26 percent) and asthma (21 percent). For children, the most frequent conditions (obesity not included) include asthma (20 percent), brain and nervous system disorders (13 percent) and chronic lung diseases other than asthma (6.3 percent).
The flu can also make chronic health conditions worse. For example, people with asthma may be more likely to experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and if people with congestive heart failure get sick with the flu, their condition could become even worse.
The message is clear: People with chronic health conditions should get a flu shot every season as soon as vaccine is available in their community. This season’s flu vaccine protects against the viruses most likely to cause the flu this year. Flu vaccines have been given for decades. They’re safe and can’t give you the flu. Close family members and caregivers also need to get vaccinated to reduce the risk of spreading the flu to those at high risk. People with chronic conditions should not get the nasal spray.
Flu vaccine is offered in many locations. Use the vaccine finder to find flu vaccine near you. You may also find more information about flu and the vaccine by visiting the CDC online or calling 1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).
Posted on October 20, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
On October 9, St. George Village residents and family members dined and danced the night away at a Hawaiian Luau. Guests were welcomed with leis and a warm “Aloha!” before enjoying Mai Tais during Hawaiian Happy Hour. The Hawaiian dinner buffet was followed by a performance of traditional hula dancing by representatives from the Kele’s Pacific Paradise troupe.
Afterward, guests were invited to participate in hula dancing. The men even rolled up their pants legs, donned hula skirts and danced to the beat! It was a memorable evening of food, friendship and fun.
Posted on October 11, 2013 by Stacy Anthony
Fifteen St. George Village care partners and two of the community’s residents attended the 6th Annual Culture Change Summit on Sept. 26. The purpose of the Summit is to bring together interested parties for a discussion of how to effectively change the way people think about seniors and the aging process.
Keynote speaker and a “Regulator turned Educator” Carmen Bowman spoke to conference attendees about her experience as a nursing home surveyor and discussed how to make senior care communities feel less institutional and more like home for residents.
St. George Village was well represented, with care partners from Culinary, Dietary, Skilled Nursing (Treasures of Lakeview), Personal Care (The Springs), and Independent Living attending. SGV Social Worker Meredith Swinford participated in a Speakers Panel, where she shared the progress St. George Village has made on its Person-Centered Care journey.
One of the highlights of the day was celebrating a declaration from Gov. Nathan Deal, designating September 26, 2013 as “Culture Change Day in Georgia.”