Importance of Oral Health for Older Adults

a woman getting her teeth cleaned

It’s common knowledge that exercise and a healthy diet play crucial roles in our overall health, especially as we age. However, many people are unaware that oral health is just as important. The risk of losing our teeth increases as we age, which can lead to other health issues such as malnutrition, oral cancer and other chronic diseases. Many retired older adults do not have dental insurance because the traditional federal Medicare program does not cover routine dental care, which can discourage them from making annual dental visits. Taking care of our oral health may seem like a small issue; however, when gone unaddressed dental issues can have a large impact in our overall health. 

Common Oral Health Problems in Older Adults

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, advanced aging puts older adults at risk for a number of oral health problems. While many of these issues can be treated upon early diagnosis, many of them have the potential to negatively impact our health and ability to age well. Here are a few of the most common oral health issues in older adults:

  • Tooth decay. According to the CDC, nearly 95 percent of all adults have had at least one cavity. While genetics can cause some individuals to become more prone to developing cavities than others, there are some other factors that can contribute to tooth decay. Older adults who take medications that cause dry mouth as a side effect, are more likely to experience tooth decay than those who do not. Saliva helps protect teeth and reduces bacteria which can ultimately protect teeth from decaying.
  • Gum disease. Severe gum disease can cause sore and bloody gums, difficulty chewing and tooth decay and complete loss of teeth. The CDC has reported that two in three older adults aged 65 and older have been diagnosed with gum disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, severe gum disease, also referred to as periodontitis, can cause other major health problems such as respiratory disease, rheumatoid arthritis, coronary artery disease and complexities in those with diabetes.   
  • Tooth loss. Those who have lost their teeth may find it difficult to eat nutritious fruits and vegetables, opting instead for softer, easily swallowed foods. Unfortunately, tooth loss is extremely common in older adults. In fact, one in five adults aged 65 and older have lost all of their teeth.
  • Chronic disease. According to the National Institute on Aging, approximately 85 percent of older adults have at least one chronic health condition, and 60 percent have at least two chronic conditions. People with chronic conditions such as, arthritis, diabetes and heart disease are more likely to develop gum disease, but less likely to get dental care than adults without this conditions.
  • Pneumonia. Older adults who do not practice proper oral hygiene put themselves at risk of bacterial pneumonia, especially those who consume tobacco products. Those who have poor oral hygiene have more bacteria in their mouths, which can travel to the lungs when they breathe.

Tips for Improving Oral Health in Older Adults

A lifetime full of habits, both good and bad, can have a tremendous impact on our oral health as we age. To protect their dental health and avoid major health concerns, it’s important that older adults maintain a proper oral hygiene regimen. Here are a few simple but effective steps you can take to protect your teeth and gums:

  • Visit the dentist. Regularly scheduled dental visits can help address problems before they become severe. Seniors should make appointments to see their dentist twice a year or otherwise directed by their practitioner.
  • Brush daily. If it’s not already a daily practice, older adults should start brushing their teeth twice a day—once in the morning and once before bed. Some dentists even suggest brushing after meals, but you might consider consulting your own dentist before brushing this often. Many dentists suggest using electric toothbrushes to ensure a better clean.
  • Take care of your dentures and mouthguard. Dentures are expensive! Taking care of dentures is also crucial to maintaining oral health. It’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions on how to care for them properly. In addition, if your dentures give you pain or discomfort, you should see your dentist right away.

According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following tips can help you maintain strong teeth and a healthy mouth:

  • Drink fluoridated water and brush with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Practice good oral hygiene. Brush teeth thoroughly twice a day and floss daily between the teeth to remove dental plaque.
  • Visit your dentist at least once a year, even if you have no natural teeth or have dentures.
  • Do not use any tobacco products.
  • Limit alcoholic drinks.
  • If you have diabetes, work to maintain control of the disease. This will decrease the risk of other complications, including gum disease.
  • If your medication causes dry mouth, ask your doctor for a different medication that may not cause this condition. If dry mouth cannot be avoided, drink plenty of water, chew sugarless gum and avoid tobacco products.
  • See your doctor or a dentist if you have sudden changes in taste and smell.

Healthy Living at Maple Knoll Village

At Maple Knoll Village, health is our priority. Our UC affiliated clinic offers specialty appointments for a variety of different healthcare needs. To learn more about our clinic or to schedule a tour, contact us here.  

What is Hospice Care? And why is it so important?

people holding hands

Hospice care provides physical, psychological, social and spiritual support for those who are in their last stages of a terminal illness. Typically, hospice care is suggested by a healthcare provider when a patient has six months or less to live. Many individuals who are experiencing terminal and chronic conditions such as cancer, heart disease, dementia and kidney failure use hospice as a way to prepare for the last stages of their journey. In addition, hospice care can help families cope with the forthcoming loss of a loved one through counseling and respite care. While hospice care is often focused on meeting the physical needs of a patient, many people are unaware of its robust offerings for both the individual receiving care and their family members.

What Does Hospice Care Provide?

Many hospice care providers take different approaches to services and types of support, however all hospice providers are required to offer certain services. According to the American Cancer Society, here are a few of the most common types of hospice services provided for patients:

Palliative care

Palliative care, or symptom management, is provided as a part of hospice and is designed to prevent or treat any symptoms related to an individual’s illness. Palliative care helps address any pain or discomfort in order to allow the patient to enjoy the last stage of life with their loved ones. The main goal of palliative care is to ensure the patient is comfortable and knows their options.

Home care

Most hospice care is given directly from an individual’s home. However, there may be some situations where hospice care needs to be given from a hospital or long-term care facility. A hospice team can arrange for care no matter where you are, and will be involved with your care plans and family members.

Spiritual care

In addition to managing pain and controlling symptoms, hospice care also provides an individual with spiritual or religious care, depending on their beliefs and preferences. Spiritual care can help an individual prepare to say goodbye to their loved ones to with planning a religious or spiritual ceremony and burial plans.

Family meetings

A hospice care team will meet regularly with family members and keep them informed about their loved one’s condition and help manage expectations. These meetings allow family members to discuss their feelings, ask questions and prepare for the death of their loved one. In addition, the hospice care team will share daily updates and make routine visits.

Coordination of care

The hospice care team is responsible for coordinating care for the individual and sharing information to those involved in providing medical care. This might include an inpatient facility, pharmacists, clergy and even funeral directors. Hospice care teams are also available anytime during the day or night if a question or problem were to arise.

Respite care

Caregiving can be extremely challenging for spouses and other family members. That’s why hospice services provide respite care. During respite care, an individual is cared for in the hospital or a nursing home so their caregivers can rest at home, attend to other responsibilities or simply take a break.

Bereavement care

After a loved one dies, the hospice care team will provide support to the family during the grieving process. Trained volunteers, clergy members or professional counselors will provide visits, phone calls, support groups or counseling sessions to members of the family. The hospice care team can also provide resources and other professional care when needed.

Who makes up a Hospice Care Team?

According to the Mayo Clinic, a hospice care team is made up of professionals ranging from healthcare providers to volunteers and home health aides. If you or your loved one is receiving hospice care, here’s who you can expect to be on your care team:

  • Doctors. Those who receive hospice care will be under the supervision of a primary care doctor, hospice doctor or medical director. Each patient will be able to choose their primary doctor who will oversee their care.
  • Nurses. Nurses will provide care in any setting, depending on where the individual is receiving hospice services. Nurses are also responsible for coordinating the hospice care team.
  • Home health aides. Home health aides provide additional support with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, eating and other routine tasks.
  • Spiritual counselors. Chaplains, priests, lay ministers and other spiritual counselors or advisers can help provide spiritual care and guidance to the individual receiving care and their family members.
  • Social workers. Social workers provide counseling, support, and referrals to other support systems and resources both for the patient and their families.
  • Pharmacists. Pharmacists provide medication management and offer suggestions on how to best relieve symptoms and manage pain.
  • Volunteers. Trained volunteers often provide a variety of services including respite care, transportation services and help with additional needs.
  • Other professionals. Speech, physical and occupational therapists can provide therapy when needed.
  • Bereavement counselors. Trained bereavement counselors offer support and guidance to family members after the death of their loved one.

Benefits of Hospice Care

Watching a loved one go through their final stages of life is hard for everyone involved. Hospice care provides comprehensive care that supports both the individual and their family members through this difficult time. While hospice can be provided in a hospital or long-term care facility, it can also be provided in the comfort of one’s own home, which allows patients to feel more comfortable and relaxed. Hospice also provides a comprehensive care plan, which takes the burden off of family members and allows them to spend quality time with their loved one without worry for the future. In addition, hospice care can be personalized to fit the needs of the individual and support their wishes for the future.

Long Distance Caregiving

people holding hands

For adult children with aging parents that need assistance, knowing how to provide support doesn’t always come naturally. Adult children who act as caregivers for their parents are often raising families of their own and many are still part of the workforce. To make matters even more difficult, a number of them live long-distance. In fact, of the 34 million Americans who care for older family members, nearly 15% are long-distance caregivers. Long-distance caregivers refer to individuals living more than hour away from those they are providing care for, typically their parents or other relatives. In addition to the same pressures and challenges that face local caregivers, long-distance caregivers have the added challenges of needing to coordinate care, hire help and take uncompensated time off of work and pay for travel expenses. While caregiving from afar can seem nearly impossible, long-distance caregivers successfully take on a number of different roles.

What Can Long-Distance Caregivers Really Do?

According to the National Institute on Aging, long-distance caregivers can support their aging parents or other family members in a number of different ways. Here are a few of the most common roles long-distance caregivers play within their family unit:

  • Managing finances and paying bills
  • Hire in-home care such as home health, professional caregivers or nursing aides
  • Locate and coordinate with assisted living or nursing facilities
  • Provide emotional support for the primary caregiver and offer respire care when needed
  • Navigate health insurance claims and benefits
  • Consolidate paperwork, medical information and organize important documents in the event of an emergency
  • Evaluate the house to make sure it’s safe for a loved one

Tips for Providing Care from Afar

One of the biggest challenges for long-distance caregivers is staying informed and confident that their loved one is in the best possible care. According to AARP, here are some important tips to consider if you are providing care for a loved one but live long-distance.

Establish Access

If you are the primary caregiver or a sole child of an aging parent, it’s crucial to establish good information channels to stay up-to-date on your loved one’s wellbeing. In addition, it can be helpful to have legal and financial authority in order to make sound decisions on behalf of your loved one. Discussing financial matters can be uncomfortable, but it’s important to understand your parent’s financial situation in order to plan for the future. Come up with a plan for how they will pay for health care along with other everyday expenses. This includes looking into their long-term care insurance policies and major payments such as housing and any active loans.

While creating channels of access, long-distance caregivers should also request access to any important information such as medical records, banking and insurance information, since you may become responsible for paying the bills in the future. It’s important to have this conversation with your loved ones as early as possible in order for them to clearly state their wishes. This may also be an appropriate time to ask your loved ones to designate a durable power of attorney for both health care and financial decisions. This will allow a designated person to make decisions on their behalf when they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves.

Long-distance caregivers should also create an emergency plan for their loved ones. This includes assigning a local and trusted individual to have access to your loved one’s home whether that is through a garage code or an extra set of keys. For individuals living at retirement communities including assisted living facilities and nursing homes, most facilities have 24-hour security staff who can perform wellness checks when needed.

Stay Updated

It is essential for long-distance caregivers to find ways to communicate regularly with their loved ones and their care teams. Utilizing different technologies like FaceTime, WhatsApp, and Skype will allow you to see your loved one and give you peace of mind or alert you to any changes in their physical health. At Maple Knoll Village, the Family App allows family members to stay in contact with staff members and sends alerts and notifications to important announcements and policy changes.

Plan Your Visits

In-person visits allow you to assess your loved one’s wellbeing and can provide insight that might otherwise be hard to gather when living remote. Experts suggest trying to stretch any in-person visit to allow time for doctor’s appointments and any other in-person visits. This might also be a good time to meet current and potential service providers including housekeepers, facility staff members, social workers or physicians. When visiting, make sure to assess your loved one’s home or living quarters to check for signs of abuse or cognitive decline. If you see old food in the refrigerator, unpaid bills or signs of financial misconduct, it could be a sign that your loved one needs more support or different care providers.

Supporting Your Family from Afar

Caregiving is a difficult responsibility and doing it from afar doesn’t make it an easier. A lot of families find peace of mind when their loved ones have a safe place to call home, such as Maple Knoll Village. Our staff is mindful that long-distance family members are doing their best to provide support in the ways they are able. Remember to be kind to yourself!

Downsizing Guide for Seniors

two people moving boxes

It’s common for seniors in their sixties to consider downsizing to a smaller home or moving to a senior living community. In fact, 51% of retirees over the age of 50 move into smaller homes. However, this decision can be a difficult one. Many older adults are faced with leaving their family home and the memories that come with it. While this can be challenging, choosing to downsize can make life easier and safer for many aging adults and their families. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to successful downsizing. While some adults may choose to live on their own, others may find comfort in residing in a Continuing Care Retirement Community that offers all levels of care such as independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing. In addition to deciding where to move, older adults must also decide if the timing is right.

Is it Time to Downsize?

Older adults choose to downsize for a number of different reasons. For some, aging is expensive, and downsizing provides a viable option to cut costs and reduce monthly expenses by lowering or eliminating mortgage payments, home insurance and property taxes. For others, things like stairs, multiple levels, a large yard and long walkways can become dangerous and limit one’s ability to age in place. No matter the reason for downsizing, choosing where and when to move are complicated decisions. If you or your loved ones are contemplating downsizing, there are some basic questions that can help you decide if it’s the right time to downsize:

  • Do you have unused rooms in your home?
  • Can you afford to stay in your current home for 10 or 20 years down the road?
  • Is your yard easy to maintain? Can you safely complete household tasks?
  • Do you feel isolated?
  • Do you have too much stuff to manage?

At some point, you may realize that your home isn’t the safest or most economical place to age. If you have a lot of wasted space or have difficulty maintaining your family home, it could be the right time to downsize.

Where to Downsize?

There are two very common options when it comes to choosing where to downsize. Many older adults are faced with deciding between moving to a residential community or aging in place. Generally speaking, residential communities include independent living, assisted living, or nursing homes. In addition, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, such as Maple Knoll Village, offer all three types of care. In a residential community, residents are not responsible for yard work, maintenance, and do not have to make mortgage payments. Traditionally, those living in a residential community pay a monthly fee that includes utilities, housekeeping and even some meals. Most communities offer onsite medical care, memory care, and offer social activities on and off-campus.

The second option, aging in place, can be an attractive option for those wanting to live independently for as long as possible. In addition, older adults often choose to age in place when they are in excellent health or if the facilities in their area have poor reputations or are too expensive. For those aging in place with minimal needs, a smaller home with less chores may be an attractive option. However, it’s important to consider how many years they are likely to still be independent. For those with complex medical needs, aging in place can be more difficult and require hiring outside help to provide care or relying on the support of friends and family members.

Tips for Stress-Free Downsizing

Once you decide where to go, you’ll have to start the physical act of downsizing your belongings. While it may feel overwhelming, there are many ways to make downsizing feel like a manageable task. If you or a loved one has a potential downsize in the future, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Start preparing early. Downsizing always takes longer than you might think. Giving yourself plenty of time to sort and pack your items will make transitioning into a new space much easier. In addition, moving companies often need advanced notice, especially if you are moving out of state.
  • Prioritize communication. It’s not uncommon for adult children to notice their parents having difficulty maintaining their home. If this happens, adult children may need to approach the topic of downsizing with their parents. Adult children may consider offering to help clean out the garage or sort through items in storage. As the topic continues, it’s important for children to reassure their parents that they have a say in the matter.
  • Set realistic goals. Downsizing can feel like an enormous task. The key to successful downsizing is to set small and attainable goals. You may consider starting with one room or one closet at a time. Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary items like boxes, tape and markers.
  • Sort your items. Experts agree that sorting your items into separate categories for taking with you, gifting, selling, donating and throwing away can help you stay organized and efficient.
  • Keep the memories! One of the hardest parts of downsizing is having to part with precious memories and keepsakes. However, it’s possible for many items to be compressed. For example, photo albums and home movies can be stored onto DVDs or hard drives for easy storage. If you have a collection of items, consider keeping your favorites and donating the rest.

Making the Move to Maple Knoll Village

Our residents agree that one of the most difficult parts of transition into a retirement community is choosing how to downsize. However, the amenities, peace of mind, and sense of safety that comes with living at Maple Knoll Village is well worth the move. To speak learn more about life at Maple Knoll Village or to schedule a tour, please contact us at 513-782-2717.

Financial Resolutions for the New Year

a man reads a piece of paper

It’s not too late to make a resolution for 2022. While many people choose to focus on health-related resolutions, January is a great time to reevaluate your finances and gain financial control of the coming year. According to U.S. news, nearly 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. However, these four financial resolutions are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) and are simple enough to stick with all year long.

#1 Track and Prioritize Your Spending

Whether you’ve spent your entire life budgeting your money or are looking to get back on track, tracking your spending is a good place to start. You might consider starting by reviewing your spending habits over the last year, identify where you seem to spend the most money, and brainstorm ways you’d like to cut back. You can track your weekly and monthly expenses by hand, spreadsheets, or by using an app on your smartphone.

#2 Meet with Your Financial Advisor

Your financial advisor is the best person to give you advice and help you set financial goals because of their familiarity with your specific financial situation. You might consider reviewing your investment allocations and together set goals for the coming year. Some of your goals could include giving to your favorite charities, reevaluating your will, or making financial plans for a vacation in the next year. 

#3 Plan for Health Care Expenses
Health care is not only expensive, but it’s hard to predict exactly what your needs will be in the next several years. That’s why it’s a good idea to have both proper coverage and additional savings that can cover unexpected expenses. The best way to plan for your health care needs is by being proactive and staying healthy. Here are a few ideas to help keep you safe and healthy, while also avoiding hospital visits.

  • Use your pendant. In case of a fall or injury, your pendant is designed to alert Security and send help to you as soon as possible.
  • Get familiar with your health insurance. Whether you’ve just changed your Medicare plan or can’t remember the specifics of your policy, now is a good time to review the fine print.
  • Remember to get your exercise. Walking, building your muscles, and eating a well-balanced diet will help keep you safe, while also protecting you from unseen health care expenses.

#4 Protect Your Credit

Unexpected expenses can happen to anyone, no matter how prepared or careful you are with your finances. If something does happen, and debt is unavoidable, you’ll want to be sure your credit history is in a good place in the event you have to borrow. Here are a few ways you can protect and improve your credit score:

  • Make automatic payments for your monthly bills. This allows you to pay your credit card bills on time without having to write a check or pay online. One late payment can hurt your credit score.
  • Understand the safety measures set on your credit card and bank accounts. In the event your bank account or credit card is compromised, you’ll want your bank to call you and immediately freeze your card. You might consider keeping a contact number for your bank in a safe and accessible place.

However you decide to prepare for the New Year, we wish you health and happiness all year long!

Holiday Health Tips for Seniors

Plate with Either Side

The holiday season is in full swing, which means many of us are preparing for celebrations with family, friends, and good food. The holidays present a wonderful opportunity to connect with others, but can also be a source of stress and anxiety. November and December are busy months for many of us. It’s also a time where our routines and schedules are inconsistent and diets consist of special and often heavy foods. In fact, high cholesterol, an increase in blood pressure and foods that cause inflammation in the body are common during this time.  If we’re not careful, the holiday season can have a negative effect on our health—both physically and mentally. Here are a few tips to help you maintain your healthy habits throughout the holiday season.  

Simple Tips for a Healthy Holiday

To help keep you healthy, reduce stress and avoid the holiday blues, you may consider implementing the following tips the next time you find yourself celebrating with family and friends.

  • Walk after large meals. We all know that feeling after we’ve eaten too much at a holiday brunch or dinner. While we might be tempted to nap after a large meal, taking a walk might be a better option. Moving our bodies, especially after a large meal, helps us digest our food and turn it into energy instead of storing it into fat cells.
  • Wash hands frequently. As we gather inside for celebrations, it’s not uncommon for colds and other wintertime illnesses to spread quickly. To decrease our risk of contracting the flu or common cold, make sure to wash your hands frequently using warm water and antibacterial soap. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a good option if you’re traveling or don’t have access to soap and water.
  • Stay hydrated. Fancy cocktails are a fun holiday treat. However, it’s best to drink in moderation and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Alcohol based drinks can cause inflammation in the joints, which can cause pain and decreased mobility. Water helps flush out toxins and helps aids in digestion.
  • Get quality sleep. Our bodies heal and replenish themselves while we sleep. Getting enough high-quality sleep supports basic body functions and is also important in maintaining our mental health. It’s not uncommon to veer from our normal daily routines during the holiday season, however, it’s important to maintain our sleep schedules when possible.
  • Maintain your exercise routine. Exercise releases endorphins, which are our body’s natural pain reliever and happiness booster. Exercise is also an important factor in maintaining balance, coordination and can help reduce healing time from injuries. So, bundle up for a walk outside or try an indoor workout you can do from the comfort of your own home.
  • Rest after traveling. Traveling can become more difficult as we age. Road trips and airplane rides can take a lot of energy. Make sure to get adequate rest after a travel day. This might mean skipping out on the shopping and opting for some quiet time instead.
  • Prioritize healthy meal options. Before you enjoy special holiday foods, make sure to consume vegetables and fruits which are high in nutrients and support optimal health.   
  • Manage stress. The holidays can be stressful! However, it’s important to learn how to manage stress because too much of it can disrupt different function in the body including the immune and digestive systems.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick. In addition to washing your hands frequently, you should also do your best to avoid those who are sick with colds or the flu. You might consider avoiding crowded places when possible or protect yourself by wearing a face mask.

Celebrating the Holidays at Maple Knoll Village

As you celebrate the holidays with family and friends, our staff at Maple Knoll Village are here to keep you safe and healthy. From the Hemsworth Wellness Center to the Bistro on the Green, we have everything it takes to make this holiday season a healthy one.

Assisted Living vs. Private Duty Care: How to Make the Most of your Money

Teen Women With older women

There comes a time during the aging process where normal daily activities become more difficult and require more assistance. This often requires older adults and their families to make a decision about where they should be living and how to receive the appropriate care. However, many seniors fear losing their independence and are hesitant about leaving their homes. Often, seniors are faced with deciding whether to move to assisted living or pay for private care in their home. This situation can be a sensitive matter for many older adults, and one that involves many different factors.

Difference between Senior Home Care and Assisted Living

Senior home care is a popular option for older adults who need more assistance but don’t want to leave their homes. Depending on the company, most senior home care services offer assistance with daily living such as bathing, getting dressed, toileting, medication management and household tasks like meal preparation, cleaning and transportation to medical appointments. Many senior home care companies have minimum hour requirements for the week and minimum hour blocks for the day. Depending on the needs of the senior, these hourly rates can become quite costly. However, for those who require small amounts of assistance, home care companies might be a better financial option. Generally, home care companies charge between $25 and $30 an hour, with 3-4 hour daily minimums and a minimum of 8 hours per week.

Assisted living generally offers the same services as senior home care, but requires an individual to move from their homes. At Maple Knoll Village, Breese Assisted Living offers 1-2 bedroom apartments that are attached to the main building. Assisted Living services include three meals daily, full time activity staff, medication assistance, daily help with bathing, dressing, toileting, and bed making. AL staff also complete reassurance and spot checks every 2 hours even during the nighttime. In addition, weekly housekeeping and laundry services are included in the monthly rent. Most importantly, and unlike many home care companies, Assisted Living residents have access to a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, and state tested nursing assistants at all times.

Which Option is Right for You?

There is not a “one size fits all” solution to senior care. Each family and each resident have their own values and non-negotiables when it comes to deciding which type of care is the best fit. However, there are a few factors that should be carefully considered throughout the decision-making process. These include safety, access to care, ability to manage activities of daily living, financial resources and connections to other people and socialization.

Safety is a key element in deciding whether a resident should bring in home care or make the transition to assisted living. Some questions to consider include: Can I bathe, dress, and take care of my daily needs in a timely and safe manner? Does my loved one have the cognitive capacity to make sound decisions? Is my loved one at high-risk of falling?

While maintaining independence is an important part of healthy aging, it can also be misunderstood. If a senior lives independently at home, but is isolated and lacks daily socialization, it can have a profoundly negative impact on both their mental and physical health. In fact, according to the National Institute on Aging, isolation and loneliness are linked to higher risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, and even death.

Cost Comparison

It’s no surprise: Aging is expensive. Unexpected health needs can deplete financial assets very quickly. That’s why it’s important to know your options as you decide which healthcare situation best suits your needs. At Maple Knoll Village, the following services are included with Assisted Living:

  • 3 meals daily
  • Full time activity staff
  • Assistance with medications
  • Assistance with meal set up
  • Assistance with bathing twice a week and as needed
  • Daily dressing and grooming assistance
  • Assistance with incontinence care
  • Reassurance and spot checks 24 hours
  • Bed making, doing dishes, tidy-up, taking trash out
  • Reminders for meals, activities and personal care
  • Personal laundry weekly and as needed
  • Social and recreational programming
  • Weekly housekeeping
  • Assistance with arranging off-campus transportation
  • 24 hour emergency response by licensed nurses
  • Complete maintenance
  • Wheel chair escort throughout the building

While the cost of Assisted Living is higher than living independently, it’s important to consider your quality of life and the financial resources needed to fund private duty home care. As your need for care increases, the cost to provide at-home care can quickly surpass the cost of Assisted Living, which can often provide more comprehensive services.

Assisted Living at Maple Knoll Village

While we want all residents to live independently for as long as possible, Assisted Living can offer peace of mind for many residents and their families, in terms of finances, physical safety, and overall well-being. If you’re interested in learning more about Assisted Living or private duty care, please contact Erin Navaro, residential services manager at 513-782-2428.

Importance of Hydration in Older Adults

Hydration and its importance

Staying hydrated is an essential part of healthy aging, especially for those 65 and older. As we age, our risk of becoming dehydrated increases for a number of reasons. Foremost, our ability to conserve water decreases with age making it more difficult to stay properly hydrated. Older adults may also experience a diminished sense of thirst, which can be caused by age and even some medications. While dehydration might not seem like a major health concern, it can ultimately lead to poor health and medical outcomes, increased hospitalization and even premature death.

Symptoms of Dehydration

Dehydration is one of the ten most common causes of hospitalizations in older adults. While dehydration can look different for each individual, there are some common signs which can include headaches, constipation, muscle cramps, dry mouth and fatigue. Dark urine is also a common side effect of dehydration and can act as a good warning sign. If a person is getting enough water, their urine should be lighter in color. However, it’s important to note that some medications can interfere with urine color. Other common symptoms of dehydration can include decreased urination, dizziness, confusion, low blood pressure, cold hands and feet and increased heart rate.

Benefits of Drinking Water

Drinking enough water is a simple way to take charge of your health. While it can feel difficult at times, getting adequate hydration throughout the day actually has numerous health benefits such as improving cognition and reducing joint pain. Here are a few ways your body benefits from hydration:

  • Improved brain performance. According to the National Council on Aging, even mild dehydration can affect one’s memory, concentration and reaction time. Proper hydration helps stabilize your emotions and can even decrease feelings of anxiety.
  • Aids with digestion. Proper hydration can decrease the risk of constipation and ensure the digestive system is working properly. Water helps transport nutrients throughout the body and also allows waste products to leave.
  • Provides more energy. Dehydration can decrease the amount of oxygen that gets to the brain, causing your heart to work harder and ultimately making you feel more tired. By drinking more water, you’ll prevent dehydration and feel more energized throughout the day.
  • Decreased joint pain. The cartilage in our joints is actually made up of 80% water. Staying hydrated throughout the day can increase lubrication in our joints, reducing friction between the bones.
  • Regulates temperature. Our bodies store more heat when we’re dehydrated, which lowers the ability to tolerate warm temperatures. Dehydration also prevents our bodies from being able to sweat when we overheat, putting us at great risk of heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.
  • Prevents kidney stones. Kidney stones develop when mineral crystals form within the urinary tract. Kidney stones can be extremely painful to pass and can cause complications if gone unaddressed. Staying hydrated helps dilute the minerals found within the urinary tract, which helps prevent kidney stones from developing.

Tips for Staying Hydrated

Drinking water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated. In addition to consuming water, there are a number of different ways we can stay hydrated from the foods we eat. In fact, most fruits and vegetables have a high water content. Watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe and oranges are great sources of hydration and have added fiber and nutrients that also boost immune function. Eating soups and smoothies with your meals will also help you consume water in a more fun and filling way. Adding raspberries, lemons and cucumbers can make drinking water feel like a treat.

Preventing Winter Illness in Older Adults

Older adult massaging throat

Cold winter temperatures can cause an increased risk of health problems and weather-related injuries for older adults. Hypothermia, frost-bite, influenza and falls in the ice or snow can present major health concerns during the winter months. Because older adults lose body heat faster than compared to their younger years, staying warm enough during the winter can be a challenge. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults ages 65 and older are at a high risk of developing complications, such as pneumonia from the flu. Flu activity is the highest between December and February, and can last until the springtime. While the flu might seem like a nuisance for many people, it can cause serious health complications for older adults, especially for those with weakened immune systems.

Complications from Influenza

Influenza in older adults triples the risk of both heart attack and stroke within the first two weeks of infection. Pneumonia, which is an infection of the air sacs in one or both of the lungs, is characterized by severe cough, fever, chills and difficulty in breathing. Pneumonia often occurs as a complication of influenza and can cause serious health problems, including death, for older adults. If you have been ill with influenza and experience severe coughing with large amounts of mucus, trouble breathing, shortness of breath, severe chills or sweating, a fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, and chest pains, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Tips for Preventing Winter Illness

Get the flu and pneumonia vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise older adults to get the flu vaccine each year starting in September. The vaccine is proven to be the best way to protect against influenza and its complications. Flu vaccines are updated each season and can reduce the severity and duration of the illness. Older adults should also consider getting the pneumonia vaccine, as the illness can cause severe problems.

Practice good hygiene

Germs from your hands can enter through your nose and mouth, causing you to become ill. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water to disinfect any germs and prevent illnesses from entering your body. Use antibacterial hand sanitizer when on the go.

Wear a mask

Wearing a mask isn’t only preventative towards COVID-19. In fact, wearing a mask when in public can help prevent the spread of the flu and other wintertime illnesses. It’s also important to wear a mask when you are ill or feel an illness coming on to protect others from getting sick.

Eat a healthy diet

Eating a well-balanced diet of fruit and vegetables can help keep the immune system functioning and even reduce the risk of developing wintertime illnesses such as influenza and the common cold. Staying hydrated also helps the body fight off infections. Studies have shown that foods high in vitamin C such as citrus fruits, peppers and broccoli can help boost the immune system and prevent illness.

Avoid touching your face

You may touch your face more often than you think! However, during the flu season it’s important to keep your hands away from your nose and mouth, as germs can enter the body and cause us to get sick.

Clean high touch surfaces

It’s important to consistently disinfect common areas in your home such as the kitchen and bathroom. Germs can multiply even in your home and increase the risk of developing influenza and other illnesses. Keep disinfecting wipes easily accessible in high touch areas and use them on doorknobs, light switches and counters.

Staying Healthy at Maple Knoll Village

We know how dangerous the flu can be for our residents at Maple Knoll. That’s why our community provides the flu vaccine and healthy meal options which support an effective and strong immune system. How are you staying healthy this winter?

Healthy Eating for Seniors

Healthy Vegetables

Eating the right types of food can play an important role in healthy aging. However, proper nutrition can look differently as we age. Some older adults tend to lose muscle mass, making it important to consume higher amounts of protein, while others may find their bodies absorb certain nutrients at a slower rate. Eating what is right for our aging bodies can help us stay energized, maintain a healthy weight, lower the risk of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. In addition, maintaining a healthy diet can also extend your quality of life and promote longevity. The first step to eating right is to learn about the ways age can affect our appetite.

How Aging Affects the Appetite

Medical issues and normal changes that come with aging can interfere with nutrition for older adults. It’s important to be able to recognize and identify these issues in order to address them in a timely manner. According to the National Institutes of Health, here are a few of the most common dietary changes older adults may experience:

  • Taste Disorders. Taste disorders can cause older adults to lose their appetites. As we age, it’s common to lose taste buds, causing food to taste differently than it did before. While it can be tempting to add sugar and salt to enhance the flavor of food, it’s recommended to flavor with herbs and spices instead.
  • Medications. Certain medications can affect how food tastes, which can cause a change in appetite. Medications can also interfere with how our bodies are able to absorb nutrients. If you’re taking a medication, you might consider asking your healthcare provider if there are any changes you need to make to your diet.
  • Oral Health. Problems with your teeth, such as loose fillings, uncomfortable dentures or missing teeth can make eating a painful experience. If you have any discomfort while eating, you might consider speaking with your dentist. Softer foods, such as soups and smoothies, can provide nutrients while also reducing the feeling of pain while eating.

Tips for Cooking for One or Two People

If you are used to cooking for a large family, learning how to prepare enough food just for yourself without wasting can be difficult. However, this doesn’t mean you have to forego cooking healthy meals completely. Instead of settling for frozen dinners or take-out, you might consider the following cooking tips provided by the Mayo Clinic:

Make a plan

You’re less likely to waste food when you plan out all of your meals in advance. Try jotting down meal ideas for the week and preparing a shopping list. This way, you’ll have everything on-hand when you are ready to cook your meal.

Stock your pantry

Having healthy food options on hand will make cooking and preparing food feel much easier. Keeping canned vegetables, beans and fruits stocked in your pantry will make fixing a healthy meal possible at any time. You may consider purchasing whole grain foods such as brown rice, quinoa, barley and pasta to make meals more satisfying.

Take advantage of your freezer

Buying foods in bulk can help keep your grocery costs down. You can always store extra ingredients in the freezer to keep them fresh for longer. You can freeze many foods including bread, meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Freezing is a great way to prevent food waste. Always make sure to write the date on whatever foods you are freezing.

Prepare one-dish meals

Dishes that serve as a whole meal are great options for those cooking just for themselves or one other person. These dishes usually include items from different food groups such as meats, whole grains, legumes and vegetables. One-dish meals might come in the form of stews, casseroles or chili. While one-dish meals might produce a lot of food, most make excellent freezer meals.

Cook once, but use twice

Plan your meals so that you can freeze extra into individual servings or eat throughout the week. For example, if you roast a chicken for dinner one night, you can use leftovers to make chicken soup or chicken salad and eat that for several meals.

Prioritize convenience

We all have days where we feel under the weather or run out of time to prepare a healthy meal. It’s best to plan ahead for these days! Low sodium canned soups and healthy frozen meals make great options for times like these.

Healthy Recipe Ideas for One

If you’re having trouble finding inspiration for your next meal, look no further. BBC Good Food has compiled a variety of recipes that are specifically designed to feed one person, but can be adapted to feed more. Here’s one to get you started:

Chicken Breast with Avocado Salad


  • 1 skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

For the salad:

  • ½ small avocado, diced
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • Half small red onion, thinly sliced

Step one:

In a skillet, heat 1 tsp of oil over medium heat. Rub chicken with paprika. Cook chicken on 4-5 minutes each side until cooked through.

Step two:

Mix the salad ingredients together, season and add the rest of the oil. Thickly slice the chicken and serve with salad.