Keeping Your Brain Sharp!

As we get older, it is crucial to not only place an emphasis on maintaining our physical health, but we also have to take care of our cognitive health as well. Cognitive health is essential for performing daily tasks and activities, so here are five ways you can improve your memory and maintain overall brain function:

  1. Play Thinking Games: Your brain is a muscle and, like any other muscle, it needs to be trained to stay strong! Training your brain can help improve memory and keep you sharper for longer periods of time by creating “cognitive reserves.” These reserves may help the brain become more adaptable in some mental functions so it can compensate for age-related brain changes and health conditions that affect the brain.
  2.  Manage Stress: Stress is a natural part of life, but too much can have a negative impact on your physical and cognitive health. Chronic stress can change the brain, affect memory, and increase the risk for Alzheimer’s and related dementias. To help manage stress, try relaxation techniques, writing in a journal or light exercise.
  3. Challenge Your Memory: Regularly engaging in memory exercises can help improve cognitive performance and boost short- and long-term recall. Try to memorize a list or a popular song and test yourself an hour later to see how much you got right!
  4. Engage in Meaningful Hobbies: Doing what you love isn’t only emotionally beneficial, but it helps your brain function as well! Connecting with others who enjoy the same hobbies as you can keep your brain active and help you feel less isolated and more engaged with the world around you.
  5. Let’s Get Physical!: Taking care of your physical health is crucial to overall brain health. Take a walk outside, do some light yoga, or take a bike ride and release the endorphins that help stimulate old network connections.

As simple as these activities may be, they are all powerful ways to protect your brain, keep the mind active, and may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s-related cognitive impairment and dementia.

Summer Storm Preparation

Summer weather can be unpredictable, which means a sunny day can turn into a storm quicker than you can say, “Did I just feel a raindrop?” Here are some tips for staying safe when the weather turns bad and how you can protect yourself and your home:

  1. If you hear thunder, lightning is close behind. Seek indoor shelter as quickly as possible and stay away from objects that conduct electricity, such as metal fences or water. 
  2. Make sure your house is stocked with non-perishable foods, bottled water, flashlights and a first aid kit. It’s a good idea to store these all year round, but when storm season is coming up, check to make sure that you have everything so that you’re the most prepared you can be.
  3. Part of ensuring your safety inside is limiting the amount of potential hazards in your yard. Be sure to trim back dead or old tree branches to avoid breakage, and secure any loose items around the yard that can be uprooted by substantial winds. 
  4. Once the storm has settled, you still need to be aware of potential dangers. Do not drive through any flooded roadways, as you cannot predict how deep the water may be and may end up stranded. Also, be sure to keep clear of areas that have been hit badly by the storm. There is still the risk of falling debris.

One Step Closer to Normalcy: Updated COVID-19 Testing Requirements

There is a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to getting tested for COVID-19. On July 1st, 2021, the New York State Department of Health announced that operators and administrators of adult care facilities (ACFs) are no longer required to test or arrange for the routine testing of personnel for COVID-19, including employees, contract staff, medical staff, operators and administrators, irrespective of the individual’s vaccination status. 

According to the Department of Health, facilities should still continue to screen all staff during each shift, each resident daily and all persons entering the facility, including vendors, volunteers, and visitors, for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Unvaccinated individuals should be encouraged to wear a face mask or face covering. 

McPeak’s is committed to the health and well-being of its residents and will continue to adhere to these regulations for COVID safety; however, this update will give us more freedom in allowing visits from families and friends so our residents can continue to experience a fulfilling social life while at our facility. 

What To Look For When Visiting Aging Parents

As the world opens up more and we are able to visit with our families, it’s important to check in on our loved ones’ physical and mental well-being. Here are some things to look out for when visiting parents:

Checking the state of the house
Use your five senses as a checklist for examining the state of a loved one’s home. Are there any usual smells or odors in the house, perhaps from rotting food or if they have pets, are they not cleaning up after them? When you look around, do you notice laundry piling up or dirty dishes overrunning the sink? These are all ways you can begin to determine if there has been a change in behavior.

Personal hygiene
How does your loved one look? Have they bathed, are their clothes clean, do they seem to be taking care of themselves? Oftentimes, aging adults have a fear of falling in the shower, so in that case, you can look into getting a shower chair or having someone come to the house to assist with bathing.

Mobility
While it may not look like much at first, decreased mobility can have serious consequences, such as trips and falls. See if your loved one has trouble getting up from or sitting down in chairs, or if their balance seems off. If that is the case, you can start to take the next steps of how to create a safe environment in the house, in case of a fall, and develop a plan to get them help.

Socialization
Human contact and engagement are so important throughout our lives and especially as we get older. If you are concerned your loved one may be feeling isolated, you can start to look for senior centers nearby that offer programming, trips, even meals where they can sit around others. Seniors can also connect with local charities, churches, or synagogues and participate in volunteer programs.

Driving
For the majority of our lives, driving is a form of independence that is very important to us. However at a certain point, driving may not be the best idea for older loved ones. Look at the car itself and see if there are scratches or little dents that may indicate they are having some trouble driving.

If you find your loved one is struggling to live independently, it may be time to consider assisted living. McPeak’s has strived to preserve the health, safety, comfort and general welfare of the elderly and infirm by providing them with modern comfort, warmth of family, and company of good friends. We are ready to help you make the most of each and every day.

5 Tips for Staying Cool and Safe During the Summer

No one is immune to the sun, and for more vulnerable groups like seniors, excessive heat and sun exposure can be especially dangerous. As you spend more time outside, here are some tips to keep safe and cool during the summer months:

Stay Hydrated
One of the best things we can do for our bodies during the summer is staying hydrated. Remember to drink about eight glasses of water and/or fruit juice during the day to replace the water your body sweats out and increase intake if you are doing any physical activity.

Stay Cool
In extreme heat and high humidity, the body has to work extra hard to maintain a normal body temperature. On days like this, it is better to stay inside in the air conditioning or near a fan. If you are going out, movie theaters, malls, and restaurants are all good options for beating the heat for an hour or two.

Wear Loose-Fitting Clothing
Let your body breathe! The best clothing to wear in the summer includes light breathable fabrics like cotton that allow heat to escape your body. Be sure to also wear colors that will reflect the sun such as whites, yellows, light purples and blues.

Know the Early Signs of Heat-Related Illness:
Dehydration, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion are all very dangerous illnesses that can affect you if the proper precautions are not taken. Signs of these illnesses include disorientation, headache, lethargy, nausea, a flushed face, high body temperature, rapid pulse, dizziness and confusion. Take immediate action if you feel any symptoms coming on.

Have Emergency Contacts
Prepare a list of family, friends, or caregivers that can be contacted if you feel yourself being affected by the heat.

Soak Up the Sun with These Outdoor Activities!

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, make sure you are getting outside and enjoying your summer! Here are five summer activities for seniors that will get you moving, socializing, and help you make the most of the day!

Visit the Beach
Nothing says summer like a trip to the beach. Taking a walk by the water or simply sitting in a beach chair and soaking up the sun can be very relaxing and has many added health benefits! Increased sunlight lets seniors absorb more vitamin D, which is essential for brain, bone, and muscle function, all while increasing the release of serotonin for mental uplifting.

Take a Fishing Trip
Fishing is a great way to relax and be with nature with a (sometimes) edible reward! For seniors who have limited mobility, fishing is also a great way to socialize without having to move around too much.

Listen to Outdoor Music
There’s nothing more relaxing than enjoying a warm breeze and listening to your favorite music. See if your town offers outdoor concerts, or visit local restaurants that have live music for a unique dining experience.

Have a Picnic
Picnics are a classic summer activity that provide a great way to connect and relax with family and friends. Pack a bag of your favorite sandwiches, snacks and drinks and enjoy your picnic at the park or beach!

Take Regular Activities Outside
You don’t need a special occasion to enjoy the outdoors. Change up your scenery and take regular day activities such as reading, eating, playing games, or even talking on the phone outdoors!

A Step Forward For Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease

On June 7, the FDA approved Aducanumab (Aduhelm™) as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, a debilitating disease that affects the lives of over 6.2 million Americans. Compared to medications that only address symptoms, Aduhelm is the first FDA-approved therapy to potentially delay cognitive decline from the disease, thus tremendously improving the lives and well-being of those who are suffering. 

Here is what you need to know about Aduhelm:

How does it work?
Aduhelm is an amyloid beta-directed antibody, which means it removes amyloid plaques from the brain, thus delaying the decline in people living with Alzheimer’s.

 

Will Aducanumab restore lost memories or cognitive function?
There is no evidence that Aduhelm can restore lost memories or cognitive function, but it can help provide more time for people with Alzheimer’s to live independently and hold onto memories longer.

 

How is Aducanumab administered?
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Aduhelm is administered intravenously (IV) via a 45- to 60-minute infusion every 4 weeks. Infusion can be done at hospitals or infusion therapy centers, and can even be administered at a person’s home by specialized nurses.”

 

What are the side effects?
The FDA includes a “warning for amyloid-related imaging abnormalities (ARIA), which most commonly presents as temporary swelling in areas of the brain that usually resolves over time and does not cause symptoms, though some people may experience headaches, confusion, dizziness, vision changes, or nausea.”

If you or a loved one are considering Aduhelm, talk to your doctor or health care provider to learn if this is right for you.

Remembering Those Who Served on Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a wonderful time to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation’s freedom.

Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day began to be observed soon after the end of the Civil War to commemorate soldiers who died in battle. The graveside ceremonies consisted of laying flowers and reciting prayers. Over the years, it eventually became known as Memorial Day to remember those who died in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. In 1966, the U.S. government named Waterloo, New York the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Five years later, the government made Memorial Day a federal holiday.

Today, most Americans associate Memorial Day with the beginning of summer, beaches and barbecues. However, we should not lose sight of the fact that this is a very solemn day for those who have served in the armed forces. There are some ways to let them know they are not forgotten.

If you have a senior loved one who served, and is at an assisted living facility, make some time to visit them. (Before visiting, contact the facility to see what the visitation guidelines are and if social distancing is required.) If your relative lives far away, give them a phone call or send them a card thanking them for their service. If you are interested in sending a letter to thank a veteran, you can visit this website for more information.

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 observes all holidays, including Memorial Day. 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.

6 Ways Seniors Can Stay Active This Summer!

After the year we’ve had, there is nothing more refreshing than stretching out our legs and spending some time outdoors. However, along with summer’s green leaves and warm breezes, there also comes very high temperatures and unpredictable weather. Safely enjoy the season with these six activities that will keep seniors cool and on the move!

1. Take a walk down by the water
Nature walks in local parks and arboretums are a great way to get out and relax outdoors! Not only will you see the local flora and fauna, but it doubles as both a great social activity if you go with friends or a great way to clear your mind if you go alone. Be sure to wear sunscreen and bring a bottle of water!

2. Catch a sporting event
Nothing says summer like a classic baseball game! Take a trip to your grandchild’s game, minor league or even a professional event. Many stadiums offer discounts for senior citizens! They also provide handicapped seating for those who have difficulty sitting in stadium chairs.

3. Read outside or indoors with the A/C on
Reading is a great activity for seniors year round, but reading can be especially relaxing during the summer. Seniors can read in the shade and enjoy the outdoor breeze, or they can read inside with the air conditioner on. If they have some issues with their eyesight, they can also try audiobooks, which are a great alternative and can be rented at the library or downloaded to a computer or smartphone!

4. Enjoy a cold treat
Ice cream, you scream, we’re all hot and need a little something sweet. Cooling down with a cool drink, fresh fruit, or special dessert adds some excitement to the day and is a refreshing way to beat the heat!

5. Look at the birds
Another classic summer activity, bird watching is a great way to connect with nature and check out all the colorful summer species returning to Long Island! Keep a list of the birds you see and discover new ones you may not have seen before; hummingbirds and orioles are very active this month, so keep your eyes peeled!

6. Get your hands dirty
Add a little bit of color to your yard and plant some new flowers or vegetables! Gardening is very cathartic and adds unique expression to any space, sometimes with edible results, depending on what you plant. Take a trip to the farmer’s market or your local garden and pick out your favorites to plant this season!

With all these activities, be sure to monitor loved ones for the signs of sunburn and dehydration. Be sure to wear sunscreen, sunglasses and protective clothing and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Overall, stay safe and cool this summer, and don’t forget to have fun!

FAQ: Preparing to Move into an Assisted Living Facility

There often comes a time when we must consider the quality of life and living arrangements for our aging loved ones who may not be able to take care of themselves. In that case, you might consider moving them into an assisted living facility, like McPeak’s. Here are some frequently asked questions that can help guide your decision:

1. How do I go about choosing between facilities?
Every facility is different, so it is important to sit down with your loved one to determine exactly what you are hoping to find, what’s important to you, and what your criteria are. Going over this before you start looking is important, as your loved one may have some expectations or needs that may be different from yours.

2. What is the difference between assisted living and a nursing home?
Assisted living allows seniors to maintain an independent lifestyle with access to assistance to help meet their personal needs. Nursing homes are more ideal for seniors who are not medically stable and need more consistent attention. Assisted living homes also provide a more homelike feel rather than institutionalized nursing homes.

3. What should I bring with me?
Before you pack away everything, go through and pick out things that are special and easily recognizable so your loved one has a piece of home with them. Items such as books, photos, quilts, and even small pieces of furniture can help ground seniors, especially those who may have memory loss issues, as they can identify familiar settings, thus easing their transition.

4. How much does it cost?
Assisted living homes such as McPeak’s are approximately one-third of the cost of living in a nursing home, as all amenities such as food, electricity, aide visitation, and housekeeping are included in the base price. Currently, the rate at McPeaks is $3,300.00 per month.

5. What does dining look like for residents?
At McPeaks, there are three meals served daily which eliminates the need for grocery shopping and cooking. Special diets are observed and prescribed by a physician.

6.What is the visitation policy?
To keep seniors safe during the COVID pandemic, visitation is very limited; however, post-COVID, the hope is that seniors and their families will have more freedom to come and go, visit with family, go out overnight etc. In the meantime, the staff at McPeak’s continue to get tested weekly for COVID-19 and offer vaccinations to any staff members and residents who would like to have the shot.