Atlanta Retirement Communities

St. George Village Blog

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  • Important Medication Tips For Seniors

    Should you be taking the medications you’re taking? If you’re 65 or older, that’s an important question to ask yourself and your healthcare provider. Why? Because some commonly prescribed medications can actually be harmful for older adults.

    As you get older, your body changes. These changes can in­crease the chances that you might have side effects from certain drugs. For example, your liver or kidneys may not function quite as well as when you were younger, so your body can’t pro­cess medications in the same way. This can lead to a build-up of the drug in your system, which can increase the risk of side effects such as falls, a drop in blood pressure or heart rate, drowsiness, or confusion.

    Many older adults have two or more health problems that require multiple medications and treatments. Because of this, older adults are more likely to experience potentially harmful interactions between their prescriptions. In fact, every year, one in three adults 65 and older has one or more harmful reactions to medications they are taking.

    “Older adults and their caregivers need to take an active role in managing their medications,” says Cathy Alessi, M.D., a physician who specializes in the care of older adults and is the president of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). “They need to ask questions of their doctor, nurse, physician assistant, or pharmacist, and read the information that comes with their medications. All medications have side effects, even those sold over-the-counter. That’s why patients should discuss the risks and benefits of any medication with their healthcare pro­vider before deciding which ones are right for them.”

    What should you do to lower your odds of having harmful medication side effects or drug interactions? Here are five tips from the American Geriatrics Society:

    1. Bring a list of all the medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, and over-the-counter drugs you’re taking to every medical appointment. The list should include the dosages you take and how often you take them. Be sure your emergency contact person or caregiver has an up-to-date copy of the list.

    2. If you notice a new health problem or symptom after starting a new medication, you may be having a harmful drug reaction. Tell your healthcare provider right away. If you have a serious reaction, such as difficulty breathing or swelling in your throat, call 911 and go to the emergency room immediately.

    3. Fill your prescriptions at the same pharmacy and get to know your local pharmacist. Your pharmacist’s job is to be aware of all the medications you’re taking. Most pharmacies use computer systems that alert the pharmacist to possible drug interactions.

    4. Once or twice a year, ask your primary healthcare provider to review your list of medications, supplements, and vitamins. Ask whether you still need to take each one, and at its current dose. There may be times when your provider will decide to stop some of your medications or adjust the doses. Just remember, though, that you should never change the dose or stop taking any medication without first consulting your provider.

    5. Whenever a healthcare professional prescribes a new medication, changes a dosage, or stops prescribing a drug you’ve been prescribed, ask for an explanation. It’s important that you understand these changes in your care.

    To help healthcare providers care for older adults who take multiple medications, the AGS has published a list of medications that may cause harmful side effects in older people when taken alone or in combination. In the healthcare industry this list is known as the “Beers List,” or “Beers Criteria,” and is named after the late Dr. Mark Beers, a geriatric medicine specialist who originated the list in 1991.

    For more information about how to safely manage your medications, visit www.healthinaging.org, the website of the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging.

    Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider About Your Medications:

    • Why are you prescribing this particular medication?

    • Are there other medications that might be safer or more ­effective?

    • What are the potential side effects? Which ones are serious enough to call you or 911?

    • How will I know if the medication is working?

    • Does this medication interact with any other drugs I’m taking?

    • Are there any dietary restrictions I should follow?

    Posted in Independent Living, Knowledge Center, Wellness | Tagged , , , , , ,

  • Meet Our Care Partner, Assistant Activity Coordinator Della Westerfield

    Della Westerfield enjoys being creative… and it shows in her dedication to her role as Assistant Activity Coordinator for The Springs, Treasures of Lakeview and Friendship House communities at St. George Village.

    Della calls on her background in community service and dance and exercise instruction when she plans activities for residents, such as storytelling, bowling, dancing, nature walks or special programs like the monthly “Love and Kisses” show.

    “I bring in different individuals and groups to entertain — we’ve had everything from dance troupes and musicians to singers and comedians doing monologues,” she says. “The program started out in the lounge of The Springs, but it’s grown so much that we moved it to the auditorium. A lot of our independent living residents love the show, too!”

    Della has a lifelong love of dance and performing. Her dream is to one day open a studio that teaches a wide variety of cultural dance, such as Irish, West African, Mexican Folk and more.

    “I’d like to provide an opportunity for kids to learn about different cultures through dance,” she says, adding that “it could bridge the gap of understanding.”

    Recently named SGV Care Partner of the Quarter, Della says she loves working at St. George Village because of the friendly, family-oriented atmosphere.

    “Everyone is so helpful to each other — staff and residents. Everyone is doing their part,” she says. “I find that really nice. You feel welcome here.”

    Posted in Independent Living, Lifestyle, Residents Corner, Wellness | Tagged , , , ,

  • Three Ways to Stay in Shape as You Get Older

    Gary Player, the most successful international golfer of all time, is an avid supporter of physical fitness for all ages.

    by Gary Player

    As a professional golfer, it has always been important to me to stay in shape—and you can do so, too. As a matter of fact, my commitment to health and fitness has been a big part of my success in golf, winning tournaments over the course of five decades. However, as I get older, I realize that it takes a little bit more stretching, a little more training and a little more recovery time to keep in shape.

    Most older people face such struggles, no matter how athletic they have been throughout their lives.

    Staying fit is extremely important at any age, and not just for athletes. It can lead to improved sleep, weight control, concentration and mood.

    It’s important for you to keep active as you get older to help stave off high blood pressure and cholesterol, heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as other medical conditions that se­niors often face, such as osteoporosis and depression.

    Keeping in shape can also reduce the likelihood of falls and help you remain independent for years to come. For instance, regular jogging increases men’s life expectancy by 6.2 years and women’s by 5.6 years, the Copenhagen City Heart Study found.

    Fortunately, you can get in shape at just about any age. Consider the more than 10,000 adults over the age of 50 who participate every two years at the National Senior Games presented by Hu­mana. They’re an excellent example of people who not only recognize the importance of fitness but excel at multiple athletic activities.

    Three Tips

    You don’t need to be a super-athlete to stay in shape, but it’s important to get out there and do something. Here are three tips to help you keep fit:

    Fitness Classes. Many health plans offer fitness classes—such as SilverSneakers through Hu­mana Medicare Advantage—or yoga to give older individuals a fun, easy way to stay in shape. Staying fit in a group setting can be motivating and help you stay social.

    Health Screenings & An­nual Physicals. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, all Medicare members now have access to one free annual wellness visit. Many preventive screenings, including type 2 diabetes and various cancers, are now also covered. Meeting with your primary care physician will give you more detailed, personalized information on what you can do to get and stay in shape.

    Exercise Like a Kid. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you can’t exercise like a kid. After all, a recent American Cancer Society survey found that women are more likely to be physically active if it feels more like play and less like work. Simply jump on a bike or play an interactive video game, such as Wii bowling or—my favorite—Wii golf. You can also find multigenerational playgrounds across the country to help stay in shape.

    Posted in Independent Living, Knowledge Center, Lifestyle, Wellness | Tagged , , , , , ,

  • Our New Pavilion is Open!

    Care Partners from the dining rooms, maintenance staff and administration gathered for the official ribbon cutting ceremony on July 8, 2013.

    Outdoor dining recently became a reality at St. George Village with the completion of the new Pavilion on the dining room patio.

    A dedication service for the new structure was held on July 2, which included a blessing by Monsignor Peter Rau from St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church. More than 50 residents attended the service and then enjoyed mimosas, coffee and doughnuts in the new outdoor dining space.

    Additionally, an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, attended by SGV care partners from administration, the dining rooms and maintenance, was held on July 8.

    St. George Village is so pleased to offer this new outdoor addition and hopes residents will enjoy dining al fresco.

     

    Posted in Independent Living, Lifestyle, Residents Corner | Tagged , , , ,

  • Celebrate Summer!

    In honor of the onset of summertime, we at St. George Village share this poem and wish you all the fun and joy of the warmest season of the year.

    Summer Sun
    by Robert Louis Stevenson

    Great is the sun, and wide he goes
    Through empty heaven with repose;
    And in the blue and glowing days
    More thick than rain he showers his rays.

    Though closer still the blinds we pull
    To keep the shady parlour cool,
    Yet he will find a chink or two
    To slip his golden fingers through.

    The dusty attic spider-clad
    He, through the keyhole, maketh glad;
    And through the broken edge of tiles
    Into the laddered hay-loft smiles.

    Meantime his golden face around
    He bares to all the garden ground,
    And sheds a warm and glittering look
    Among the ivy’s inmost nook.

    Above the hills, along the blue,
    Round the bright air with footing true,
    To please the child, to paint the rose,
    The gardener of the World, he goes.

    Posted in Independent Living, Lifestyle, Residents Corner | Tagged , , , , , ,

  • Discussing the World, Staying Intellectually Engaged

    Members of the Great Decisions class at St. George Village listen to a guest speaker’s presentation at a recent meeting.

    Iran, Egypt, China, Africa, NATO, the future of the Euro and the threat assessment of certain countries to the United States and other countries — these are the topics St. George Village residents are learning about and discussing in the Great Decisions program.

    Great Decisions is America’s largest discussion program on world affairs. This national civic education program, administered by the Foreign Policy Association, takes place in communities all across the U.S. Discussions highlight eight of the most thought-provoking foreign policy challenges facing American each year.

    Great Decisions members are provided with background material — a study guide and a short DVD presentation — to review before each lecture takes place. Then they are treated to presentations by foreign affairs experts including university professors and ambassadors, who speak on the designated topic.

    The Great Decisions program requires participants to commit to attending the eight presentations, which are scheduled throughout the year. About 30 SGV residents currently are members of the class, a number that has remained stable for the six years the program has been in existence.

    SGV’s Great Decisions members find the presentations intellectually stimulating and thought provoking. And they never allow their diverse political views to get in the way of their discussions.

    “We try to leave politics out of this particular situation,” says Pat Tritt, who organizes the program’s schedule and lines up the guest speakers. “Everyone is respectful of each other’s opinions.”

    Posted in Independent Living, Knowledge Center, Lifestyle, Residents Corner | Tagged , , , , , ,

  • Honoring and Remembering Our Fallen Heroes

    Pictured here are some of our resident veterans who, along with other St. George Village residents and staff, turned out for our annual Memorial Day flag-planting service.

    Today, Memorial Day, we remember our nation’s fallen heroes, the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect and preserve our freedom.

    Every spring, St. George Village holds a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association — residents, their families and SGV staff members can “Sponsor a Flag” for $5.00, in honor or memory of a loved one. Each sponsored flag is planted on our front campus during Memorial Day weekend, and a list of those who sponsored flags and the people they honor is on display.

    This year, SGV raised $1,395 for Alzheimer’s research and 279 flags were placed on the front lawn during the dedication service.

    We thank our friends at Roswell Funeral Home, who generously donate the flags for our annual Memorial Day service!

    Posted in Lifestyle, Partnerships, Residents Corner | Tagged , , , , , ,

  • Meet the SGV Staff: Dave Fagerstrom

    One of the first things you notice about Dave Fagerstrom is his welcoming smile. Dave, who has been a driver for St. George Village since August 2011, says that being behind the wheel gives him a reason to smile.

    “I love driving!” he says. “And I enjoy spending time with our residents. It’s great to feel I’m being helpful to them by getting them where they want to go.”

    Originally from Jamestown, N.Y., Dave served in Vietnam as an Air Force helicopter pilot. After serving his country, he began a career in banking as a branch manager and eventually moved to Atlanta in 1979. He discovered his true love of driving in retirement, when he did a stint as a tractor-trailer driver.

    Today, Dave ferries SGV residents to doctors’ appointments and routine errands like grocery shopping and stops at various banks and dry cleaners. But he especially enjoys SGV Trip Days.

    “On Thursdays, we take day trips to places like Calloway Gardens, Amicalola State Park or the outlet mall,” he says. “It’s a lot of fun!”

    The St. George Village staff invites you to get to know us better! We’ll highlight a different staff member occasionally in our blog as an ongoing feature.

    Posted in Independent Living, Lifestyle, Residents Corner | Tagged , , , , , ,

  • It’s Springtime! How Does Your Garden Grow?

    Bill Crosby says gardening is a not only a fun hobby, but also a great way to make new friends.

    Looking out over the northwest corner of St. George Village continuing care retirement community’s lake is a sunny, serene patch of land that boasts a variety of beautiful vegetable and flower gardens maintained by SGV residents.

    Assisted Living resident and avid gardener Bill Crosby appreciates the opportunity to continue his long-time hobby, which has been valuable in more than one way.

    “I’ve had a garden almost every place I’ve lived,” he notes. “Gardens are a very good thing for a new neighbor to participate in, because you make friends fast! Other gardeners talk to you, and you can share your produce with your neighbors.”

    SGV’s plant operations department tills the land and prepares it for planting each spring.

    Mr. Crosby plants several vegetables, including cucumbers and bell peppers, but tomatoes reign supreme. He plants different varieties, small to large, and shares them with friends because “everyone loves a tomato!”

    He also admires the flowers that some of his fellow gardeners have planted in lieu of vegetables. But whether it’s flowers or vegetables, he says gardening is a great hobby to have.

    “I recommend that anyone who has the space plant a garden,” he comments. “St. George Village has been so nice about assisting us with the gardens. It’s a little extra that they give us, and we really enjoy it.”

    Posted in Lifestyle, Residents Corner | Tagged , , ,

  • An Active Lifestyle Improves Physical and Mental Health

    Former Miss America contestant and dancer Mary Ann Hearn enjoys the many fitness classes, such as stretching, strength training, Tai Chi and yoga.

    An active lifestyle contributes to a healthy body and mind — staying active enhances the immune system and helps prevent illness, improves memory, reduces stress and increases your sense of well-being. St. George Village resident Mary Ann Hearn is the embodiment of an active lifestyle.

    When Mary Ann moved to SGV, she was pleasantly surprised to find the extensive list activities offered by the community.

    “I’d visited one retirement place in Florida [where I was living at the time] and knew it was not for me,” she recalls. “But my daughter and her husband had been looking at continuing care communities here in Atlanta and when they saw St. George Village, they knew this was the right place.”

    Mary Ann says she’s always been physically active and attributes that activity to her continued good health and mental sharpness. The former Miss America contestant and dancer enjoys the many fitness classes offered at SGV, such as stretching, strength training, Tai Chi and yoga.

    “Whenever they offer an exercise class, I take it,” she laughs. “Tai Chi is wonderful for my posture and balance. And I particularly love the yoga class!”

    Mary Ann says that participating in classes or other activities such as gardening and serving on SGV’s Election Committee have not only helped her stay physically and mentally sharp, but also helped her meet people and make new friends. She encourages fellow seniors to participate in activities they enjoy and to occasionally try something unfamiliar.

    “It’s always good to try something new,” she says. “Or else you’ll never know. You may really like it!”

    Posted in Independent Living, Knowledge Center, Lifestyle, Residents Corner, Wellness | Tagged , , , , ,