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Spring Arbor of Apex
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One of the most difficult decisions one has to make is moving parents from their home to an assisted living facility. It can be a challenge to know the right time for such a move and the type of housing that meets the needs of the individual. Let’s begin with different types of residences. 

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Spring Arbor of Apex is proud to announce the promotion of Tonya Headen-Lee to Executive Director effective March 1 2016! Tonya has served as Business Office Manager for almost 4 years and has earned the respect of the residents, their families and her team members.

Congratulations Tonya!
#HowYouLive
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Local children came to visit and play piano today. Beautiful classical music played by these talented children. #HowYouLive
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Spring Arbor of Apex team members are ready for the “Healthy Lifestyles” challenge which is happening company wide. Let’s all get in shape so that we can take better care of our residents! #HowYouLive
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There are lifestyle habits that you can adopt to maintain or potentially improve your health as you age. These habits, spanning four categories — physical health and exercise, diet and nutrition, cognitive activity, and social engagement — can help keep your body and brain healthy and potentially reduce your risk of cognitive decline. Research has suggested that combining good nutrition with mental, social and physical activities may have a greater benefit in maintaining or improving brain health than any single activity. A two-year clinical trial of older adults at risk for cognitive impairment showed that a combination of physical activity, nutritional guidance, cognitive training, social activities and management of heart health risk factors slowed cognitive decline. Embrace lifestyle habits that improve your overall health, such as exercising, consuming a nutritious diet, and staying cognitively and socially active — science suggests these may support brain health as well. It’s never too late to make changes to achieve a healthier lifestyle — or too early to start. Physical activity is a valuable part of any overall body wellness plan and is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline. If it’s safe for you, engage in cardiovascular exercise to elevate your heart rate. This will increase the blood flow to your brain and body, providing additional nourishment while reducing potential dementia risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Consider physical activities that may also be mentally or socially engaging, such as walking with a friend, taking a dance class, joining an exercise group or golfing. Incorporating activities and healthy exercise habits at a young age will allow you to enjoy the lifelong benefits of regular physical activity. However, it’s never too late to start — making healthy choices at any age is beneficial to your well-being. Always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program. Take care of your health Keep your heart healthy to help keep your brain healthy. Growing evidence suggests that many factors that increase the risk of heart disease also may increase the risk of dementia. These factors include smoking, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. * Visit your doctor regularly. * Get your “numbers” checked, including weight, blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. Actively seek treatment to keep yourself within healthy ranges. * If you have diabetes, manage it properly. * Stop smoking. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. * Take action to minimize stress. Studies have found that regular physical activity decreases stress, increases your ability to manage stress and leads to better mood overall. * Get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea can result in problems with memory and thinking. * Avoid excess alcohol. * Seek professional assistance to address anxiety, depression or other mental health concerns. Check back in for more details on the other ways to keep your brain healthy: a healthy diet and staying mentally and socially active.  For more information, contact Spring Arbor. #HowYouLive alz.org

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“ Take me out to the ballpark.” Resident’s enjoyed watching the Durham Bulls play and also enjoyed the sunshine and food! ‪#‎HowYouLive‬
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Long-term care insurance distributors and educators, recommend preemptive action against the impact of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. “Cognitive decline is a big and growing reason Americans need long-term care,” says Denise Gott, CEO, “and the best time to plan for it is before symptoms arise.” “Think of it this way,” she explains. “If you’re worried about your house burning down, you wouldn’t wait for smoke and flames before getting fire insurance or removing fire hazards.” When it comes to Alzheimer’s, most Americans fail to appreciate its danger and avail themselves of sensible precautions. Here are three guidelines: 1. Recognize the size of the problem. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and the number is expected to triple as millions of Baby Boomers enter their retirement years. Alzheimer’s is a progressive and fatal disease. Over time, more and more longer-living Americans may lose the ability to care for themselves. Millions will need long-term care. And they may need it for an extended period. Many dementia victims require LTC for seven to ten years or more, while others typically need care for about three years. 2. Determine whether insurance is the right option. Medicare does not cover many services that are needed by people living with dementia. Medicaid does provide substantial help, but only for those lacking the financial means to help themselves. If you fall into this category, public assistance may be your best bet. Otherwise, providing care is up to you. If you’re very wealthy, you may choose to self-insure. If you’re not rich but doing OK, private insurance may be your best option. An LTC policy lets productive family members keep on with their jobs and lives. Nobody has to become default caregiver, a role usually filled by a wife, daughter, or other female relative. 3. If LTC insurance makes sense for you, consult with a dementia-aware advisor. LTC agents are state-certified, but there’s no legal requirement they know anything about dementia. So it’s up to you to pick one who does. Ask questions such as, “How many years of care should my policy cover?” and “What mental or physical disabilities trigger benefits?” For more information on Alzheimer’s and memory care, contact Spring Arbor. #HowYouLive Massachusetts News Wire

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Losing cognitive functions are a normal part of aging. An 80-year-old may not remember as sharply as a 20-year-old, but doctors have some advice on how to keep the brain sharp and boast mental capabilities. From exercise and diet to stress reduction, here are some ways to keep your brain young and functioning well. EXERCISE Studies have shown that physical activity and exercise are associated with less cognitive decline as you age. A recent observational study published in the American Academy of Neurology asked a group of individuals to describe their physical activity. The people in this group took a brain MRI and did cognitive testing throughout the years. “Essentially people who recorded doing moderate to heavy physical activity actually had better cognitive performance than people who recorded doing light or no activity,” said Dr. Clinton Wright, one of the doctors who conducted the study. Observational studies don’t prove causation, but they do support the idea. “We know that when we exercise, blood pressure and blood flow increase everywhere in the body including the brain and we know that more blood means more energy and oxygen.” That makes our brain perform better and also helps make the rest of our body perform better. Exercise helps increase the number of small blood vessels that bring blood to the brain and build the connection between the nerve cell and the brain, so those are important ways to keep your brain healthy. It is also important to keep vascular risk factors checked and well treated. People who smoke, have hypertension, diabetes or high cholesterol have shown more mental decline. Those things damage the brain, just like they damage the heart and the kidneys. That damage to the brain has cognitive consequences. Keep your brain active You have to think of your brain like it’s a muscle. Exercise it. Mental activity is the single-biggest predictor of staying sharp as you get older. For example, if you retired at 55 and watch television all day, your brain at 60 will be like an active person’s brain at 80. Keeping your brain active helps older people handle new challenges. Many elderly people must deal with technological difficulties like online banking and bill paying, managing medications through a website and viewing public transportation information. Doctors advise everyone to get enough sleep, avoid stress and eat a healthy diet. These factors strongly correlate with good brain function as one ages. “If you can do all that stuff, that’s great.” “Do as much of it as possible, it’s better than not doing it at all.” It is also important to treat depression through antidepressant medication, stress reduction and psychotherapy. Depression is common in older people. It’s also very treatable. The takeaway: What’s good for the heart is often good for the brain. For more information, contact Spring Arbor. #HowYouLive  miamiherald.com

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Earth Day planting with resident gardener Lisa Mathisen!
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The most important thing you can do is plan ahead If you have concerns about the ability of an aging parent or relative to live independently, you may want to investigate assisted living—and sooner rather than later. The best time to look is six months to a year before your parent will need to make the move. If you wait until your parent is being discharged from a hospital or rehab center, you'll have fewer choices. And, as an investigation we conducted a few years ago clearly showed, finding a good, safe, and affordable facility can be problematic due to states hodgepodge system of licensing, inspection, and staff training standards of varying strictness. Assisted-living facilities are residential units that sometimes include a kitchen, housekeeping, meals, transportation to doctors and activities, and various levels of personal assistance. More than 900,000 Americans now live in about 39,500 assisted-living facilities, according to estimates, but there is no federal oversight of the industry. Each state sets its own definition of assisted living and decides what licensing procedures and inspections are required. One result is that there are more than 26 designations used to refer to what is commonly known as assisted living, including "residential care," "board and care," "adult home," and "retirement residence." The following game plan will help you find the best facility for an aging relative. Is assisted living appropriate? Your first step is to make an honest appraisal of whether your relative can continue to live at home. If he or she needs only a minimum of help and dislikes the idea of moving, home care might be a better choice. But for gregarious people who are beginning to experience a decline in function, assisted living might be a good option. For help assessing your relative's physical, mental, and financial situation, consider consulting a geriatric-care manager, who should be knowledgeable about the assisted-living options in your area, including the facilities' financial strength. You can search for one on the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers website, at www.caremanager.org.  You can also get recommendations from family doctors or local senior centers. Several websites provide information on nearby facilities.  SnapforSeniors senior housing locator seems to be comprehensive, and it has some good information on long-term-care and funding options, too.  NewLifeStyles.com. does not require you to enter personal information on the site, and it doesn't make referrals, which prevents lots of annoying phone calls later. Once you have a list of facilities, make an appointment to visit them with your parent or relative. You can find a checklist of things to look for and questions to ask. Your first tour will probably be led by the director of marketing. You will see the common areas and available apartments. Notice if the facility's décor suits your parent's taste, but don't let that be the deciding factor. Nice chandeliers and fancy furniture don't provide good care. Of course, the place should be clean and well lit. Look for safety features like grab bars on all the walls, including the hallways, and nonslip flooring materials, especially in the bathrooms. Try to have a meal while you're there to check out the food. Watch for red flags Observe the interaction between staff members and residents. Is it cheerful and respectful? Do staff members seem genuinely interested in the residents? If you see few residents in the common areas or participating in activities, it might signal that the facility is not full, which could bode ill for its financial stability. Get a copy of the admissions contract and the residence rules. If you sense reluctance by administrators to part with such information at this early stage, consider it a red flag. The facility's contract outlines fees, services provided, and residents' rights, and explains who will handle medications, when reassessments of a resident's condition take place, and when a resident might be asked to leave because he or she needs more services than the facility provides. The contract should also specify whether a resident is allowed to return to the same unit after a hospital stay. Nursing homes are required to hold a room for Medicaid patients, but many assisted-living facilities are not. Make sure that yours will. Return unannounced several times to your top two or three choices. Visit at different times of day, especially around mealtimes and the early evening to see how they are managed at busy and quiet times. Ask to speak with the residence administrator. Even if it means coming back for another appointment, this is important. He or she is the person who sets the mood and philosophy of the whole place.When you meet, ask to review the facility's licensing or certification inspection report. This should be readily available to the general public and will outline any complaints or black marks the residence has received during inspections. Ask how any problems were corrected. Also ask about who will draw up the care plan for your relative and how much input he or she and the family will have. Find out how the facility will accommodate your relative's current and future needs. For example, someone with diet-controlled diabetes might eventually need insulin. How will the facility handle that? Find out how many employees are assigned to each resident. And look for a facility that has a licensed nurse on duty or on call at all times. Ask about the staff's training in such areas as safety, emergency care, first aid, mental health, residents' rights, and medication administration. Add up the costs carefully When you've narrowed the field to one, review the fees. Note the costs for any extra services your relative will need, policies regarding the return of a deposit or down payment, costs involved during hospitalizations, and the possibility of unexpected rate increases. Most costs for assisted living have to be paid out-of-pocket. Make sure you take into account the possibility of added costs if your relative needs more assistance than the level covered in the base rate. For example, if more help is needed with what are known as instrumental activities of daily living, such as medication management. Contact your state's long-term-care ombudsman, who acts as an independent resident advocate. He or she will have a record of complaints lodged against a facility and how they were handled. You can find your state's contact information through the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center, atltcombudsman.org, or by calling 202-332-2275. Finally, have the contract reviewed by an attorney before you sign it. You can find one in your area who specializes in elder-care issues on the website of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, at naela.org. For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor. #HowYouLive Consumer Reports
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