Seniors Begin to Receive COVID-19 Vaccines

As the COVID-19 vaccines are currently being rolled out to the general public, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is making sure that the nation’s most vulnerable population — senior citizens — are vaccinated first. The CDC says that those who are 85 years old or older are at the highest risk to develop severe COVID-19-related illnesses or death, including being placed in intensive care on a ventilator.

As the CDC points out, the higher the age range, the greater the possibility of hospitalization or death. Those who are 65-74 years old are five times more likely to be hospitalized and 90 times more likely to die from the virus than those between 18 and 29 years old. For older people between the ages of 75 to 84, they are eight times more likely to wind up in the hospital and they are 220 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than their younger counterparts.

The CDC estimates that 3 million nursing home and assisted living facility residents will require a vaccination due to their living in closed quarters, as well as their age and their health. Most states are rolling out plans that make sure the oldest are vaccinated before the second half of 2021. Those who receive the “frontrunner” vaccines from Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer will have to get a second dose a few weeks later.

According to the Pew Research Center, 55% of those between 50 and 64 years old and 63% of those 65 and older said they were “very” or “somewhat” concerned about getting a serious case of COVID-19. When asked if they would be vaccinated, 60% of the 50-64 age group and 75% of those 65 and older said they would.

Moncef Slaoui, a chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, is worried that not everyone will want to take the vaccine. Dr. Slaoui said the vaccines will be “useless” if no one decides to get the shot.

McPeak’s Assisted Living provides care for your loved ones while ensuring they maintain a happy, healthy, and fulfilling lifestyle, right here in Suffolk County, Long Island, near downtown Patchogue. We offer art and music classes for our residents, as well as fun games and activities to keep them active. In addition, our facility adheres to strict CDC and New York State Department of Health guidelines and infection control protocols. Since June 2020, McPeak’s has been free of the COVID-19 virus.

We provide particular attention to residents with cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. With our affordable prices and excellent standard of care, we have the facilities to accommodate your loved one’s needs and allow them to live life to the fullest. For more information, please call us at (631) 475-0445 or visit our contact page.

 

 

RESOURCES:

https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2020/coronavirus-vaccine-distribution.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/older-adults.html#:~:text=The%20risk%20for%20severe%20illness,older%20adults%20at%20highest%20risk.&text=need%20to%20know-,Risk%20for%20severe%20illness%20with%20COVID%2D19%20increases%20with%20age,increase%20risk%20for%20severe%20illness

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/17/us/coronavirus-vaccines-nursing-homes.html

https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2020/12/03/intent-to-get-a-covid-19-vaccine-rises-to-60-as-confidence-in-research-and-development-process-increases/

It’s Not Too Late to Make New Friends

Today’s preschoolers and kindergartners are taught, as they grow older, to “make new friends and keep the old.” But for senior citizens, some feel that it is too late in life for them to meet new people. They realize they start to lose touch with their neighbors or co-workers once they retire or move away to be closer to their loved ones. Contrary to what they think, there is still time to expand their social circle.

A recent article from Senior News pointed out that, while it is important for older people to stay close with family, they should also make an effort to make new friends. The article goes on to say that, according to researchers in North America, building up a network of friends reduces the chance of a stroke and heart disease.

The National Institute on Aging also found that seniors who meet other people, whether through social activities or local programs, show signs of improved cognition. Those who are more socially active tend to live longer lives, improve their mood and feel that their lives are meaningful. The agency also found that such interaction keeps the brain fully functional and reduces feelings of isolation and loneliness. The Senior News article also stated that seniors, who have friends close by, feel secure in that they have someone to count on in the event of an emergency.

These new friends also provide a benefit to seniors. The researchers cited by Senior News show that having these people come into seniors’ lives can have a positive influence by encouraging them to eat healthy foods or quit smoking.

The article suggests ways to make new friends. This includes finding people who have the same interests as you; it could be movies, sports or politics. Another suggestion is to join a club, such as a senior league softball team, or attend a lecture that features an interesting topic. Someone who attends these events or joins an organization will soon meet another senior who shares the same interests, resulting in friendship.

McPeak’s Assisted Living provides care for your loved ones while ensuring they maintain a happy, healthy, and fulfilling lifestyle, right here in Suffolk County, Long Island, near downtown Patchogue. We offer art and music classes for our residents, as well as fun games and activities to keep them active. You can look forward to the company of others with mutual interests and the positive joys of making new friends. You’ll always have someone to talk to, someone who cares.

We provide particular attention to residents with cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. With our affordable prices and excellent standard of care, we have the facilities to accommodate your loved one’s needs and allow them to live life to the fullest. For more information, please call us at (631) 475-0445 or visit our contact page.

Pets and Seniors: A Perfect Partnership

Studies have shown that pets can help improve the overall health of older adults. Senior pet owners who were surveyed for these studies said their physical health improved, and they felt happier and not as stressed out since owning a pet.

The University of Michigan’s National Poll on Healthy Aging found that 68% of senior pet owners (ages 50-80) have a dog, 48% own a cat and 16% keep a small pet (bird, fish, hamster) at home. When asked about the health benefits of owning a pet, 79% of those surveyed said they felt less stress, 73% said their pets provide them with a sense of purpose, 65% said they were able to connect with other people and 64% said their pets made them feel more physically active. The latter was mostly true among dog owners.

An article from The Gerontologist, a publication of the Gerontological Society of America, found that, not only did dog owners engage in 150 minutes of physical activity per week — as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — but they were able to improve their walking behavior. In addition, they were more likely to put in 30 minutes of walking than younger non-dog owners and walk at a much faster pace. As a result, dog owners lost weight and made less frequent trips to the doctor.

But it is not just their physical health where seniors see improvement. According to the Michigan poll, 72% of pet owners who live alone and/or have poor physical health said pets help them take their minds off their loneliness and/or symptoms associated with mental or physical illness. Science reported that pet owners who stare into their dog’s eyes for at least five minutes experience an elevation of oxytocin, a hormone found in the brain which improves a person’s mood.

Another surprising result from the Poll on Aging is that 62% of senior pet owners found that their daily routines are more structured because of their animals. By getting into a routine, owners found a greater sense of purpose in their lives and, because they are more mentally acute, they lower their risk of cognitive decline.

McPeak’s Assisted Living provides care for your loved ones while ensuring they maintain a happy, healthy, and fulfilling lifestyle, right here in Suffolk County, Long Island, near downtown Patchogue. McPeak’s offers a variety of services for its residents, including a full-time recreational program with pet-assisted therapy. With our affordable prices and excellent standard of care, we have the facilities to accommodate your loved one’s needs and allow them to live to the fullest. For more information, please call us at (631) 475-0445 or visit our contact page.

 

 

RESOURCES:

https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article/57/5/930/2632039

https://www.healthyagingpoll.org/report/how-pets-contribute-healthy-aging

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-reasons-seniors-should-consider-getting-a-pet-2019-04-03

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/348/6232/333

How to Host a Socially Distant Thanksgiving for Senior Family Members

In addition to turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, there is another item on this year’s Thanksgiving menu: social distancing. With the holiday fast approaching, it is important to consider what this means for your family when it comes to protecting you and your loved ones against COVID-19, especially with senior family members who may be in attendance.

Here are some tips to help create a safe Thanksgiving for senior family members:

 

  • Be vigilant while conducting a guest list to limit risk.

While creating a guest list, keep in mind the risk level regarding the spread of COVID-19, especially when older relatives are coming. Consider having guests tested for the virus 24-48 hours prior to Thanksgiving.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking into consideration the levels of COVID-19 infections in your community, the infection levels in the areas your guests are traveling from and whether or not they have been social distancing prior to the event.

  • Keep it clean.

It is crucial to deep clean surfaces before, during, and after the event. The last thing you want is a senior guest being afraid to move around for fear of touching a surface and contracting the virus. An attainable approach to this task is focusing on common surfaces such as doorknobs, countertops, and faucets. In addition to regular cleaning, set up a private sanitizing station in an easy-to-reach location, for senior guest use only. Setting up additional sanitizing stations for all guests also serves as a friendly reminder for younger guests to keep their hands clean for the safety of their elders.

 

  • Designate a separate bathroom for seniors. 

If availability permits, designating one bathroom specifically for senior family members is a great way to lower the risk of cross-contamination of virus particles. This may be especially helpful in eliminating the stress of sharing a common space with younger family members who may be less careful and concerned with contracting and spreading the virus.

  • Carefully choose and explain your serving style.

Consider a buffet style serving that each guest approaches one at a time. Senior family members should either serve themselves first or have a family member carefully make them a plate to eliminate their contact with cross contamination.

 

Mutual understanding and respect of the rules and precautions are vital to any social gathering, especially one during a pandemic that puts seniors at high risk. It is normal to be anxious during the holidays, especially during these difficult times, and this anxiety may be heightened for senior family members. This is why it is so important to create a safe environment for them to gather with their loved ones and give thanks. However you plan to spend your Thanksgiving, make sure it is safe and enjoyable!

McPeak’s Assisted Living provides care for your loved ones while ensuring they maintain a happy, healthy, and fulfilling lifestyle, right here in Suffolk County, Long Island, near downtown Patchogue. With our affordable prices and excellent standard of care, we have the facilities to accommodate yourloved one’s needs and allow them to live to the fullest. For more information, please call us at (631) 475-0445 or visit our contact page.

 

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

When senior citizens were younger, they probably didn’t take getting a good night’s sleep so seriously. Whether it was pulling an all-nighter when they were in college or working 12 to 16 hours a day inside a factory or behind a desk, they could get by on a few hours of shut-eye. But studies have shown that a lack of sleep can affect both your mental and physical health.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) recommends that adults, especially older adults, need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. However, seniors may have a difficult time falling asleep, either because they are sick or in pain. Seniors who do not get enough rest during the night may experience certain ailments the following day, including irritability, forgetfulness, depression and more falls or accidents.

There are other health problems that are brought on by poor sleep habits. These include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

In addition to getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night, the NIA offers these tips that will make you restful and relaxed throughout the night:

  • Avoid taking naps of 30 minutes or more. Although you may feel tired during the day, you might not be able to fall asleep later that night.
  • Set the same bedtime schedule — when you go to bed and when you get up — every day. That also includes Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Find a routine to get you ready for bed, whether it’s a warm bath, reading a book or listening to soothing, calming music.
  • If you exercise, try avoiding doing it within three hours of bedtime. Although you may feel physically tired, your heart rate and temperature may be raised, making it harder to fall asleep.
  • Avoid eating heavy meals before going to sleep. That may result in stomach issues that could keep you awake. Also, stay away from caffeine late in the day (that includes coffee, tea, soda and chocolate). Be careful of taking certain medications as well, as those can keep you awake. Avoid alcohol, as that will actually keep you awake.
  • Turn off all electronic devices before going to bed. These serve as distractions and will prevent you from getting an uninterrupted night’s sleep.
  • Set your bedroom to a comfortable temperature and lower the lighting in the room as you prepare for bedtime.

McPeak’s Assisted Living provides care for your loved ones while ensuring they maintain a happy, healthy, and fulfilling lifestyle, right here in Suffolk County, Long Island, near downtown Patchogue. With our affordable prices and excellent standard of care, we have the facilities to accommodate your loved one’s needs and allow them to live to the fullest. For more information, please call us at (631) 475-0445 or visit our contact page.

How Seniors Can Celebrate Halloween

The sights of jack o’lanterns, kids in costumes and homes decorated as haunted houses remind us that Halloween is coming soon. Senior citizens get a kick out of the festivities as much as the children do when the day approaches. In celebration of the spookiest day of the year, here are some activities that seniors can enjoy:

  • Wear your favorite costume — One of the fun things about Halloween is the opportunity to dress up as a famous TV character or movie monster. These costumes can be purchased at outlet stores, which means there is no need to spend a lot of money, especially on something that is going to be worn only once a year. In addition, they can get together with their friends and have a costume party.
  • Watch an old-time scary movie — Today’s horror films rely on gore and gratuitous violence to provide scares, but they don’t compare to the originals. Seniors will fall back in time as they watch these monster movies they grew up with, such as Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man and The Mummy, and see the actors who were the legends of horror back in the day, including Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney, Jr.
  • Listen to a spooky story — Nothing gives a chill than listening to a tale of terror. Thanks to today’s technology, senior citizens can download audiobooks from Kindle or their local library and choose a scary story from their favorite author. It may be a good idea to stick to the classics from writers such as Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, or Edgar Allen Poe. They can also stream old-time radio stations on the Internet and hear spooky shows like Lights Out!
  • Decorate pumpkins — For those who aren’t into frights and screams, seniors can put their artistic skills to good use and give pumpkins a special look. They can paint funny or scary faces on their pumpkins and use other crafts to give it a special look. They can use spare parts from a Mr. Potato Head and place the ears, nose and eyeglasses. For hair, they can utilize colored yarn and glue to give the pumpkin an almost-human look.

For the families, if they have a loved one in an assisted living facility and they are unable to visit due to time constraints or distance, they can send a Halloween card to their loved one as a way of saying “We are thinking about you.” Children can create a Halloween-themed collage with “I love you” in the middle.

McPeak’s Assisted Living provides care for your loved ones while ensuring they maintain a happy, healthy, and fulfilling lifestyle, right here in Suffolk County, Long Island, near downtown Patchogue. With our affordable prices and excellent standard of care, we have the facilities to accommodate your love one’s needs and allow them to live to the fullest. For more information, please call us at (631) 475-0445 or visit our contact page.

Seniors Should Prepare for the Upcoming Flu Season

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging senior citizens to get a flu shot before the end of October. As people age, they become more susceptible to viruses such as influenza, so it is more important than ever for them to get vaccinated.

Recently, three vaccines have been approved for older people: Fluzone High-Dose Equivalent, which has four times more antigens than the standard dose and is shown to be effective in reducing hospitalizations from the flu; Fluad, an additive which is used to improve the immune system’s response to the vaccine; and Fluad Quadrivalent, which is a higher-dosage version of Fluad.

The CDC found that vaccinations are effective in reducing illnesses as a result of the flu, as well as the number of hospitalizations and death. Statistics from the agency found that 50-70% of those hospitalized with the flu are 65 years old and older. Of those who died from the flu, 70-85% were in the same age group.

It is also recommended that seniors with long-term health conditions receive the flu shot. That includes those with asthma, diabetes and chronic heart disease. The flu can actually exacerbate these medical conditions, putting seniors at risk.

In addition to receiving a flu shot, there are other ways that senior citizens can protect themselves from the flu. This includes washing their hands frequently, staying away from others who may be ill, getting plenty of rest, exercising, drinking plenty of fluids and eating healthy foods. Those who are sick should remain in bed and avoid being around those who don’t have the flu.

McPeak’s Assisted Living provides care for your loved ones while ensuring they maintain a happy, healthy, and fulfilling lifestyle, right here in Suffolk County, Long Island, near downtown Patchogue. With our affordable prices and excellent standard of care, we have the facilities to accommodate your loved one’s needs and allow them to live to the fullest. For more information, please call us at (631) 475-0445 or visit our contact page.

How Seniors Can Adjust to Their New Surroundings

For seniors, making the transition to an assisted living or senior care facility can be quite difficult. They have to become acclimated to a new place after spending nearly all their lives in a home of their own. This new experience can be overwhelming for them, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips for seniors on how they can make their stay an enjoyable one:

  • Meet other people — Sometimes, meeting other people can be as easy as just saying “hi.” It can be intimidating at first, but once they introduce themselves, they will get to know the other residents.
  • Get the lay of the land — If the senior did not have the chance to tour the facility before moving in, they can ask a staff member to show them around. They can see where other parts of the facility such as the dining area, the lounge or the game room are located.
  • Join a class — Many assisted living facilities have art classes, in which residents take part in drawing and painting. This allows seniors the opportunity to exercise their creativity and to meet new people.
  • Attend a meeting — Council meetings are held at assisted living facilities to address any issues affecting fellow residents. When the senior attends a meeting, they get to learn what is going on in the facility and offer their input as well.
  • Take part in activities — New residents can meet other people while playing games or other organized activities. They can get to know the residents over a game of checkers, Scrabble or cards.
  • Learn something new — Some facilities host experts who provide lectures on famous historical and political figures and entertainers. Seniors will have a greater knowledge of the subject matter and find out who else has the same interests as they do.

McPeak’s Assisted Living provides care for your loved ones while ensuring they maintain a happy, healthy, and fulfilling lifestyle, right here in Suffolk County, Long Island, near downtown Patchogue. We offer art and music classes for our residents, as well as fun games and activities to keep them active. We provide particular attention to residents with cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. With our affordable prices and excellent standard of care, we have the facilities to accommodate your loved one’s needs and allow them to live life to the fullest. For more information, please call us at (631) 475-0445 or visit our contact page.

September 13 is National Grandparents Day

This coming Sunday is National Grandparents Day. Now is a good time to finally visit your loved ones, especially those who are in assisted living facilities.

National Grandparents Day honors the families’ elders and celebrates the familial bonds between the young and old. The holiday’s beginnings can be traced back to 1956 — the same year that McPeak’s was founded. Marian McQuade, a West Virginia resident, was helping put together a celebration for seniors over the age of 80 when she noticed that the local nursing home residents were alone and had no one to visit them. From there, she sought to establish a holiday for all grandparents and those seniors who may have been forgotten by their families.

On July 15, 2020, the New York State Health Department allowed visitors inside and outside assisted living facilities, but with strict guidelines. Among them:

  • facilities cannot have any new coronavirus cases within a 28-day period
  • facilities must complete and pass inspections of their infection control practices
  • visitors must provide their contact information upon checking in, undergo a temperature check, wear a mask and practice social distancing
  • residents will be allowed no more than two visitors at a time
  • at least one of the visitors must be 18 years of age or older (those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult)

The COVID-19 pandemic caused the shutdown of health facilities throughout New York, leaving residents with loneliness, isolation and depression. A visit on their special day would definitely make them feel better.

McPeak’s Assisted Living provides care for your loved ones while ensuring they maintain a happy, healthy, and fulfilling lifestyle, right here in Suffolk County, Long Island, near downtown Patchogue. With our affordable prices and excellent standard of care, we have the facilities to accommodate your loved one’s needs and allow them to live to the fullest. For more information, please call us at (631) 475-0445 or visit our contact page.

Positive Attitude, Respect for Elders Help Older People Live Longer

Scientific data compiled and analyzed by Orb Media found that senior citizens who had a more positive outlook about aging were more likely to live longer and be less prone to health problems. In addition, seniors who encountered younger people who show respect for their elders were also reported to be in better health.

Continue reading “Positive Attitude, Respect for Elders Help Older People Live Longer”