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In Their Own Words Blog

Autumn Pointe residents, friends, family and staff share things that make this community unique.

Senior Holidays

Tips for Celebrating the Holidays with Aging Parents

By Autumn Pointe,
December 4, 2018
There are plenty of things to celebrate during the months of November and December: the fall season is in full swing and the autumn colors are especially breathtaking as the month of November arrives, and pretty soon, the ground will be covered with pristine snow as we enter December. But without a doubt, the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays surely make this the most wonderful time of the year. Every family has their special way of commemorating the holiday visits. We’d have to imagine that this time of year is filled with plenty of gatherings with family and friends. It’s a joyful time of year, and a true pleasure to spend this magical time with those that mean the most to you. But when it comes to having your loved one, who lives in a senior living facility, attend these gatherings, it’s easy to see that traditions and routines might not be what they always were. This holiday season, here are a few things to remember when your aging parents visit your home or spend the night to guarantee a joyful and relaxing celebration: Know What to Expect When it comes to celebrating the holidays with your beloved seniors, it’s best to not only expect the unexpected but to be as mentally prepared as possible. Think about your loved one's comfort and stamina and be prepared to modify some family traditions in order to reset pre-defined expectations.   Don’t Over-schedule Try to plan enough time to visit without filling the occasion with endless appointments and tasks. Schedule a couple extra days or make plans for another short visit soon after. Shorter, more frequent visits may be better if feasible, while long visits can be tiring and emotionally draining on all sides. Observe and Listen Having time during the holidays with your loved…
Talking memory loss

How to Talk to Your Parents About Memory Loss

By Autumn Pointe,
November 15, 2018
There are few things in life as painful as losing a parent. It’s nearly impossible to imagine your life without them; you rely on their comfort, and you have lived your whole life surrounded by their love and support. The thought of them departing this life is unbearable to their children and family. But a reality just as heartbreaking is losing your loved one while their physical presence is still here. Watching someone you love struggle with the challenges that come with a dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis is tragic. The thought of the cherished memories you have built together suddenly disappearing is frightening for all involved. During this difficult period, it’s important to talk to your parents about what is going on with them physically, and how you can work as a team to cope with the ongoing difficulties. Here are a few things to keep in mind when talking to your parents about their memory loss: Plan the Conversation If you witness memory or behavior changes, don't speak up at the moment. However well-meaning, blurting out your initial observations, may cause your loved one to get defensive, upset or withdrawn. Take the time to come up with a plan for how to have a respectful, productive conversation. Consider if your family member has personally noticed symptoms if they get the impression their memory loss is a natural part of aging, and who the best person in your family is to broach this difficult subject. Set the Scene Select a time when it’s guaranteed that your discussion won’t be rushed; this ensures that all possible concerns and questions are answered and the next steps can be properly planned. It’s a good idea to have the conversation shortly before a scheduled appointment with your loved one's primary care doctor or geriatrician.…
Elderly social

The Importance of Social Activities

By Autumn Pointe,
October 18, 2018
One of the major benefits of staying at an assisted living community like Autumn Pointe Assisted Living is the diverse social network.  As we age, it is very important to stay social and continue to build and maintain friendships. Everyone knows that staying physically fit is important, but the human brain requires social stimulation to function as well. It’s also easy to feel isolated the older we get. Here are some of the other benefits of being social in your community. Improves Cognitive Function Almost every social activity requires us to be mentally sharp and focused. Studies have shown that socializing is a good workout for your mind and can help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Physical Health Many social activities also require physical activity. Whether it's biking with friends or playing ping pong, many activities allow you to have fun and stay in shape. We also tend to make better eating decisions when we eat with other people. Emotional Health Staying isolated from your community will have a negative impact on your overall health and could lead to depression. A 2012 study by Statistics Canada found that older individuals who engaged in regular social activities reported higher self-perception and lower levels of loneliness and life dissatisfaction. Acquire New Skills You can teach an old dog new tricks! Staying social is a great way to stay connected and keep learning new things. You can learn how to play poker, take a class on knitting, paint and more. There is so much out there in this ever-changing world. You could also learn how to use social media, which is a great way to stay connected with people outside of your assisted living home. Remain Independent As isolation can lead to many health problems that can impact your day to…
Pets assisted living

Owning a Pet in an Assisted Living Community

By Autumn Pointe,
September 17, 2018
There are few things in this world that can bring as much comfort and joy as being a pet owner. Especially so when you have a pet with you in assisted living. A dog truly is man’s best friend; they always greet you at the door at the end of a long day with an eager wag of the tail, and will never turn down playing a game of fetch with you after taking a leisurely stroll around the block. A cat is also a worthy and cherished companion; while they are known for their independence, they are just as eager to curl up with you on the couch as you settle in and relax. This special love and friendship doesn’t have to end (and frankly, shouldn’t end) when people make the adjustment from independent living to a senior living environment. Many assisted living communities, including Autumn Pointe Senior Living, recognize the benefits of pet presence in senior living. Dogs, cats, and other furry companions not only improve the lives of residents, but they can also help ease an individual’s transition to a senior living residence. But entering a new chapter in life, such as entering a senior living facility, requires preparation on what aspects of your current life are expected to slightly alter. Here are a few things to understand about owning a pet within an assisted living community. Understand the Current Community If the community a senior is moving into has plenty of residents who own dogs, then that facility can easily adjust to the pet you bring in. However, if the community has certain requirements, such as pets under a certain weight, you must take those things into account before that transition occurs. Know your Dog’s Breed Although they can be some of the most lovable breeds, large dogs…
Senior Volunteering

Volunteer Opportunities for Seniors

By Autumn Pointe,
August 17, 2018
When it comes to volunteering, seniors play a big part in interacting with the community. Each year, millions of seniors donate their time to various committees and organizations. Not only are seniors great at volunteering their time, but it can also be beneficial to their health. Below are some volunteer ideas if you know a senior who wants to donate their time. Among seniors who volunteer, most, “showed lower mortality and depression rates, fewer physical limitations, and higher levels of well-being compared to others in their age group.” In fact, the National Institute on Aging actually found that seniors who participate in meaningful and productive activities may lower the risk of certain health issues. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities for seniors to interact with kids, get outside and enjoy nature, or help organize donations. Volunteering at a local elementary school and reading to kids or helping out in the library is one way to get involved, or you could check out your local community center to see what opportunities are coming up. Many opportunities pop up during the holidays, so if you’d like to get involved make sure to pay close attention during the holidays. Here are some opportunities in Fort Calhoun: Girl Scouts: contact Prairie Hills Girl Scout Council at 402-564-8822 or Amy Vermaline at 402-642-5037 Boy Scouts: contact Mid America Council at 402-431-9272. Ed Lathrup is your Local Cub Scout Leader, and Clint Johnson is your Local Boy Scout Leader Washington County Youth 4-H Program: contact 402-426-9455 FCYSO (Fort Calhoun Youth Sports Organization): Contact Lance Steinhausen at fcyso22@gmail.com Goodwill Retail & Donation Center: contact 402-533-8000 for openings in their volunteer schedule Joseph’s Coat Thrift Store: contact 402-426-0440 for more volunteer information Washington County Food Pantry: contact 402-426-0440 for more information about volunteer opportunities at the food pantry…
Elderly activities

70’s in your 70’s – Summer Activities for Seniors

By Autumn Pointe,
July 19, 2018
Staying active is an important factor in a person’s overall health. More energy, better sleep, improved mood—avoiding a sedentary lifestyle can be directly attributed to a healthier body and mind. But with age comes restrictions on what activities are possible or even safe. That doesn’t mean that seniors are excluded from being active, but neither are they expected to sign up for a local 5K run. Here are a few examples of summer activities for seniors that are engaging without overexerting themselves. Gardening Planting and maintaining a garden is a great way to keep seniors engaged without being too strenuous. Having a project helps keep them on a daily schedule, offers some light lifting and movement, while being outdoors with the sunshine and fresh air. They can start small with a few potted plants or even join a community garden or garden club to stay social and meet new people. Remember sunscreen, sunhats, and staying hydrated so as to not overheat. Walking Like gardening, finding a walking route is an excellent way to get seniors moving and staying healthy. Having a schedule and exploring the surrounding area will mean taking in the scenery, and senior walking groups means staying social in the process. The same tips about sun and heat apply, and finding a route that doesn’t include steep inclines help remove any unwanted exertion. Crafts & Hobbies Though it may not sound very active, finding a hobby or crafting groups are encourage senior engagement. Whether finding a new craft at a local community center, or finding senior groups for fishing or cards, having that scheduled event gives seniors something to look forward to, and opportunities to socialize. A reliable mode of transportation should be factored into this. Autumn Pointe is located on a quiet country setting. Our picturesque surroundings encourage…

Fresh Air: A Simple & Natural Solution for Senior Health

By Jaclyn Svendgard,
March 1, 2017
Spring has almost sprung. Spring is a wonderful time of renewal that brings an easy joy and sense of revitalization with it. It welcomes us outside again to share the beauty of the crocuses and lilacs blooming and the warmth in the breeze - it is good for everyone's health - especially for seniors. Autumn Pointe Assisted Living Community is situated in the perfect quiet country setting to enjoy spring’s arrival and to get outside, relish the fresh air - and feel better! Take A Stroll Getting outside in nature and taking a walk is beneficial to us on so many levels: Strengthens Muscles Can Stop Bone Mass Loss Weight Loss Improve Sleeping Improve Immune System Learn more about the benefits of walking here. Take a Pet for a Walk Our residents are welcome to have small pets in their homes and pets are a great way to nug us outside - and you always have a walking partner. Have a Picnic Pack a little snack, and find a quiet, peaceful spot and enjoy “al fresco” dining. Bringing cards and playing a game outside is always fun too. Get a Bird Feeder Who doesn’t enjoy watching birds at a bird feeder. You can make a game out of it and get a bird identification book to help name the different birds that come to visit - helps stimulate our minds and memories as well. Just Be Simply sitting outside and enjoying the sights and sounds of being outside is a fulfilling way for everyone to improve their physical and mental health. Getting outside breaks up the day-to-day routine and brightens our mood. Just 15 minutes a day outside in the sun can boost your vitamin D levels, which can improve your immune system and help foster a more positive outlook.…
Assisted Living

Four Surprising Facts About Assisted Living

By Jaclyn Svendgard,
February 1, 2017
Looking for an assisted living facility that is right for you or your loved one takes time and care. Not only is it important to start the search early, but it is it is crucial to do your homework to ensure that the place you choose fits your specific needs. Here are four things you should know as you begin your search. All facilities are not the same - Although each state has specific regulations that facilities must follow, there is no standardized definition of assisted living care. There is often differing levels of service, with price structures that justifies the services provided. Some communities offer lighter levels of care, while others have a full nursing staff available if needed. Each level typically requires more specific licensing requirements.  They are not nursing homes – Many people mistakenly believe that their loved ones require nursing home care when an assisting living setting might be the perfect level of care. Some important differentiators between the two include: Independence - Assisted living residents are largely self-reliant but may require some assistance with daily living personal care tasks. Mobility – Individuals who live in assisted living are not bedridden and have a higher degree of mobility. Private rooms – While nursing home residents often have semi-private rooms, assisted living quarters generally include studio or one-bedroom options. Less care needed – Individuals who live in assisted living do not require ongoing medical attention. Unique community – Every assisted living community has its own unique personality. Most are lively and provide plenty of activities to keep residents occupied, while also offering privacy. Many facilities will even allow residents to have a small pet if they desire and they can use their own furniture to create a comfortable, homey setting. Not as costly as you think –…

Staying Upbeat During the Winter Months

By Jaclyn Svendgard,
January 18, 2017
Now that the holidays are over, the rest of winter begins to settle in. For seniors, winter can be an especially challenging time. It is harder to get outside for a walk or receive visitors. Being cooped up, combined with the shorter days and cold, can lead to a less stimulating environment. However, this doesn’t mean seniors should merely hunker down and wait for spring. In fact, engaging in a little daily exercise, extra social time, and other activities that make you feel good will go a long way towards your health and happiness! Exercise: For the body, as well as the mind Exercise can be a challenge during the winter months. It’s easy for lethargy to set in when the days are shorter, the skies darker, the sidewalks icy, and the temperatures chilly. Still, exercise is a huge mood-booster, and of course, great for maintaining your mobility and fitness level. On days you’re able to, even getting out for a short walk has the benefit of giving you sunlight, fresh air, perspective, and exercise. For indoor exercise, walking in hallways or malls is another idea for a cardio workout. Finding a senior exercise class in your community will have the twofold benefit of physical fitness and social opportunities. If you live in assisted living, your center may have exercise classes. Eat Right: Fresh and healthy foods for the waist, immune system, and the brain Eating fresh fruits and vegetables in winter gives our body a boost, and can also help keep us trim and lift our spirits. Although the tendency in winter is to gravitate towards heavier, carbohydrate-laden foods, these can cause blood sugar surges that, after a short boost, leave us feeling cranky and tired. Foods rich in vitamin C will help ward off winter illnesses, and those…

Visiting Aging Loved Ones During Winter

By Jaclyn Svendgard,
November 1, 2016
When the weather turns colder, it’s easy to stay cooped up inside your own home, warm and cozy. Even running necessary errands like grocery shopping can fall by the wayside when you don’t feel like braving the bitter cold. The winter months can be hard on people of all ages, and that’s especially true for elderly adults. Seniors are more susceptible to illness and infection when the temperatures dip, and are also at risk of falls and accidents on the ice.Even more than the physical hardships cold weather brings upon the elderly, though, is the emotional aspect. Seniors who live in assisted living homes may find family members visiting them less often in the winter months, leading to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and even depression. If your elderly loved one is facing isolation this winter, here are some steps you can take to help stave off their loneliness: Visit frequently. Try to schedule regular visits as often as possible, even if you don’t live close and it may be inconvenient. Many seniors look forward to family visits, so try to plan a few events throughout the winter months to enjoy a family dinner and some good conversation. At the very least, call or email your loved one frequently to stay in touch. Utilize technology. Learning programs like Skype and video chatting gives seniors a way to stay in touch with friends and family no matter how far away they may be. Even if an in-person visit isn’t possible, the use of today’s personal communication technologies makes it possible to have face-to-face conversations. If your elderly loved one isn’t particularly tech-savvy, take the extra time to visit them in person and walk them through how to use this important technology. It could make a world of difference in their lives! Encourage…