The Importance of Social Connections in Senior Living

As we age, the number of family and friends we have tends to decline over time and this can bring on difficulties with our physical and mental health. They say that with age, comes wisdom. Well, unfortunately, it also brings on a variety of barriers and obstacles that can get in the way of finding new social connection when others are no longer available to us. One study from the U.S looked at how social connectivity affected cognitive decline in seniors.

Over a 12-year period, seniors without dementia were measured by social activity levels and then tested periodically on their cognitive abilities. The cognitive decline in seniors was 70% less in those who were engaged in more social connection. At MLP, we promote social interaction through our dining experience and through the many group activities we hold every day. We have many common areas for residents to sit and socialize. We have a teatime in the morning and afternoon everyday where our residents can enjoy a beverage and a snack while they mingle with other residents in their community. We encourage all our residents to get out and engage with their peers to keep them happy and healthy.

You Are What You Eat

Edna, a resident at MLP Residence, is extremely pleased with the food that is served here.

She says “There isn’t a meal that I have not liked since I have arrived. There is always lots of flavour and variety and the dishes are presented amazingly. What I most like here at MLP is that every meal is prepared fresh by their in-house chef and never pre-packaged or semi-prepared as is served in other senior facilities. All meals are designed and balanced for their food value and nutrition. I get three healthy meals per day and snacks are served twice a day – in the afternoon and evenings. I enjoy going for my walks, two times every day, in their beautifully manicured gardens and views of the rolling country hills.”
Eating healthy helps with mental and physical energy necessary for daily life functions and protects us from infection and chronic diseases. As we age, the need for calories decreases, while the need for nutrients increases.
Healthy eating & physical activity can help prevent or slow down the progress of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis & some forms of cancer. It can also help in coping with physical & mental stress.

Staying Social

It is hard placing a family member in a retirement home.  However, what a lot of younger people don’t realize is that most seniors actually thrive in an environment where everyone has the same interests.

Fred, a resident at MLP Residence loves living here and thrives on the company and activities that are planned for the residents.  Fred says “Before I came to MLP I had lost weight and was lonely, after moving here I have gained weight and I really look forward to attending and participating in all the social activities that take place here.  One of my favourite events is when we have a singing group come and perform.  We all sing along and some of us get up and dance to the lively music played by the band. I also enjoy the company of the other residents, a group of us spend our afternoon playing cards. I love playing Wii with other residents in the lounge – the staff here are so friendly I can usually persuade one of them to play Wii Bowling with me, and of course,  I always win! Moving to MLP is the best decision I have ever made!”

Foot Care

Mobility is a big component of independence, and as we get older this could be worrisome for some seniors having issues with their feet. Foot health may not be most important health concerns, but it certainly could end up being one over time. Poor foot health can majorly impact a senior’s ability to work/volunteer, to live alone and to participate in social/physical activities. Foot health can eventually lead to other health issues related to back pain, knee pain and hip pain which can also damper mobility.
Often doctors can tell by your feet first when diagnosing health concerns, such as diabetes, arthritis, and circulatory disease. There are other signs of poor foot health such as, dry skin, brittle nails, burning/tingling sensations, feeling cold, feeling numbness at times and even discoloration of toenails or skin.

Here are some foot care tips seniors:

  • Wear shoes that fit
  • Walk regularly
  • Have corns/calluses removed professionally
  • Bathe/soak feet daily
  • Keep nails cut and shaped correctly
  • When in doubt, get your feet examined

Over the years whether it is related to mistreatment, the normal wear and tear over the years can cause different changes in our feet. When seniors age, their feet tend to change drastically such as losing the fatty pads that cushion the bottom of their feet, as well as additional weight can also change the structure of our feet. Observing your feet weekly, can keep you on top of any changes your feet may be going through and get it looked at from a foot care professional.

Valentine’s Day and Seniors

Some people think that Valentines day is just for couples, well I am here to tell you its not. It is the best way to shower those family and friends that mean the most too you with love and affection. It is also a great chance to spend it with an older adult who is close too you.

We have come up with some ideas that seniors can do or be a part of for Valentine’s day!

  1. Create a celebratory atmosphere: Take the time to decorate in spaces of their home or if they are apart of Retirement residence, make their main lounge full of festive decorations they can enjoy with other residents with lots of pink and red hearts, festive garland or even window stickers.

  2. Valentine Activities for Seniors: Valentines day themed puzzles whether it be jigsaw, sudoku, a word search is a great choice. More involved group activities would be a Valentine’s day themed Bingo or crafting is a great activity to join in together.

  3. Celebrate with Family & Friends: It is always nice to get together with your favorite people on the holidays. As times are tough and we are adjusting to this new normal being in a pandemic, sometimes that can be hard to do. Pick up a device such as computer or phone and call or video chat that person you love.

  4. Watch a Romantic Movie: This is a great option when you are stuck on ideas, a festive movie is always a good way to get in the holiday spirit. Watch a movie alone or if you are lucky enough to have a retirement residence with a theatre, you can watch a movie with others.

  5. Have a Party: Celebrating holidays through parties are always a great way to bring people together. Put up those heart shaped decorations and enjoy those heart shapes snacks and drinks. Play some festive games and have a few laughs!

Osteoporosis & Older Adults

Let’s talk bone health! We all have them, we all need them but what happens to them as we grow
older? Our bones are mighty and can easily heal when damage occurs, but as we get older the healing
process and ability to “spring” back begins to decrease. This will often result in bone conditions, such as osteoporosis. Osteoporosis increases our risk for painful fractures that don’t heal quickly or at all due to loss of bone density. Older adults, especially, are at a higher risk of fracturing their wrists, spine and hips due to falls and brittle bones.

To help slow down the process of osteoporosis, it is recommend by Health Canada to maintain a healthy
body weight, maintain a physically active lifestyle and eat foods high in calcium. This can be difficult to maintain when living on your own, here at MLP Residence we offer seniors around the clock care, daily exercise programs and homemade meals. Osteoporosis is not entirely preventable but at MLP Residence we will do all we can to prevent serious injuries.

Choosing the Right Retirement Home

Making the decision to move yourself, or a loved one, into a retirement home can be overwhelming for all involved – but it doesn’t have to be daunting! Choosing the right retirement residence is the first step in ensuring a successful, smooth transition and at MLP Residence we are here to help.

When searching for a retirement residence, you want to find a seniors community that meets your wants, needs and interests. Take the time to carefully research all services provided, amenities offered and activities. Similar to how you shop around for a new car, tour many facilities. Ask lots of questions (as they say, no question is a bad question – especially when it comes down to choose your new home) and take your time deciding. Here at MLP Residence we continue to support your independence! We provide residents with services that are tailored to their individual needs and social activities that everyone enjoys. If you, or your loved one are ready to take the next step, please stop by or give us a call for a tour of your new home!

Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

There have been studies showing that exercise has its benefits for seniors. Exercise has shown that keeping up with exercise can help prevent health issues from diabetes to heart disease. Exercise does not have to be strenuous, even a light walk around the block or up and down a hallway are great options for a light exercise as it’s a powerful tool for preventable disease.

  • Improved Mental Health – Exercise is great for our mental health; it releases endorphins through our body making us feel good and happy as it acts as a stress reliever. Mental Health issues can cause insomnia and trouble sleeping for some. Exercise is a great benefit to those older seniors that may have disrupted sleep as it improves sleeping patterns.

  • Decreased Risk of Falls – Seniors are at a higher risk of falls, which can potentially get in the way of their independence. Exercise increase flexibility and strength, which can also come hand in hand with improving balance and coordination. Falls can take seniors a long time to recover in some circumstances, so anything that can prevent falls from happening is extremely important in senior health.

  • Social Engagement – There are lots of activities for seniors to stay active, whether is be joining a gardening group, walking group or even a light exercise class. Not only do these activities keep senior active and alert, they also encourage seniors to be social. Maintaining social ties and relationships are important for seniors as it keeps them active and avoid feelings of loneliness or even depression. Its important for seniors to find an active activity they love, and they will look forward to keeping up with it.

Winter Tips for Seniors

Living in Canada means snow will be upon us, and the weather will not be forgiving. Understanding we
can’t and won’t let snow stop us from going outdoors, we have put together some helpful tips for our
beloved seniors:

  1. Stay indoors if you can! If you don’t have a reason to go out, stay indoors. Sit back in your comfy
    recliner, kick your feet up and put on your favourite tv or radio show.
  2. Layer up if you must go outside. We spent our younger years telling our children to wear their
    jackets, boots, hats and mittens to prevent getting cold but now it’s time we listen to our advice.
    Make sure you wear layers (sweaters, thick pants, warm socks), as well as warm mittens, hats
    and scarves that will keep the chill (and snow!) out.
  3. Don’t shy away from hiring someone. There’s nothing wrong with asking for assistance! The
    young gentleman down the road would love to shovel your driveway for you. Hire him and his
    friends to ensure you don’t slip on hidden ice, or hurt yourself trying to shovel the snow.
  4. Use public transportation. If you don’t have to drive and have access to public transportation,
    you are much safer with this route!