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. 

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.

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.

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Residents Must Still Protect Themselves from COVID-19

Although New York State has “flattened the curve” and has seen a drop in coronavirus cases, that does not mean we are out of the woods yet. Senior citizens, especially those who reside in assisted living facilities, must still remain vigilant when it comes to protecting their health and preventing the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.

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Exercising Your Brain Can Help Ward off Alzheimer’s

The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, along with many neurologists, reported that mental exercise can help reduce your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease. These experts say that exercising your brain 20 minutes per day, three times a week can decrease your chances of developing Alzheimer’s by 70%.

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