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Tracy Visits Blog

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Are you spending time with your elderly loved ones this holiday season?

This Holiday season, when spending more time with your elderly loved ones, we offer some suggestions to help the conversation and communication go a bit smoother; for both you and your loved ones.

  • Allow extra time for your loved ones to talk. They may be nervous, tired or lack focus, plan for it, and do not appear rushed or uninterested. Loved ones will sense it and shut down.
  • Avoid distractions. Loved ones want to feel that you want to spend quality time with them and that they are important. Give your undivided attention. Aim to give your full attention during the entire visit.  Try to reduce the amount of visual (television, cell phone) and auditory(radio) distractions.
  • Sit face to face.  If your loved one has vision and/or hearing loss, reading your lips may be helpful for the conversation to make sense to them. Sitting in front of them may also reduce distractions. This helps send them the message that what they have to say to you, is important.
  • Maintain eye contact. Eye contact is one of the most direct and powerful forms of nonverbal communication. It tells your loved ones that you are interested in them and they can trust you. Put our phone away so you aren’t looking at it; this keeps your eye contact direct. 
  • Listen. Listen; listen; listen and try not to interrupt. Let your loved one talk and really listen.
  • Speak slowly, clearly and loudly. Make sure you are speaking clearly, slowly and loud enough.  Be patient, you may have to repeat. Remember; not all of our older loved ones have hearing loss; so make sure you don’t shout.
  • Stick to one topic at a time. Changing topics quickly can confuse the elderly; make sure you don’t switch topics too often or too quickly.
  • Bring pictures/look at photo albums. When possible; share pictures. We all enjoy seeing pictures, be it to learn new things or remembering old stories and happy times.
  • Give your loved ones an opportunity to express themselves, ask questions and share what they want to say. There may be topics we find not so interesting; however, if our loved ones bring them up, encourage conversation and let them share what they are thinking. Foster the conversation with more questions.

Call Tracy Visits to give your loved ones the GIFT of Time. 
A Caring Visit When You Can’t
  www.tracyvisits.com
612-791-0133

Games, crafts, other activities help to safeguard aging brain

Even in your 70s and beyond, simple activities including web-surfing, playing bridge and socializing can stave off mental decline, new research says.

Benefits were greatest in computer users and in those without a gene variation linked with Alzheimer’s disease. But even among seniors with that trait, mental decline that sometimes precedes dementia was less common among those who engaged in mind-stimulating activities.
 
The results don’t apply to costly, computer-based games that purport to keep the brain sharp – those were not studied. The benefits were found from activities that many seniors have access to.

“They don’t have to spend their life savings” on fancy gadgets, said Dr. Yonas Geda, the study’s senior author and a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic’s Scottsdale, Arizona, campus.

The study was published Monday in the journal JAMA Neurology. The researchers noted that the statistical link they found with reduced risk does not prove the activities were responsible.

Still, said Heather Snyder of the Alzheimer’s Association, the results support the idea that “being engaged mentally is good for brain health.”

The study looked at five types of activities that are thought to help keep the mind sharp: computer use; making crafts; playing games including chess or bridge; going to movies or other types of socializing; and reading books. The idea was to see if these activities could help prevent mild cognitive impairment. That condition involves problems with memory, thinking and attention that don’t interfere much with daily life but which increase risks for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

Almost 2,000 adults aged 70 to 93 without any memory problems participated. They lived in Minnesota’s Olmsted County, where the Mayo Clinic in Rochester is located. They were asked whether they had engaged in any of the five activities during the previous year and if so, how often. They were tested for the condition in mental exams at the beginning and every 15 months for about four years. During that time, 456 study participants developed the mild impairment.

Tracy Visits Talks About Answers to Aging

We are excited to share this TV Segment where Tracy Visit Share Answers to Aging.

http://reflect-qctv.cablecast.tv/vod/7150-Answers-to-Aging-How-to-Combat-Loneliness-7-High-v1.mp4


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Join us at the Rogers Senior Fair


Business and organizations will be at the Community Room to provide reliable information, dependable services and useful products that are intended to improve the lives of seniors in our community.

WHEN: October 3
TIME: 10 am - 1 pm
WHERE: Rogers Community Room, 21201 Memorial Drive, Rogers, MN

Click here for more details

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Tracy Visits is passionate about keeping your loved ones mentally engaged with each caring and compassionate visit.  Please read the 5 reasons below on the importance of keeping our loved ones socially active. 

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Seniors with dementia are at a higher risk of social isolation and depression if they don't have the support of loved ones. According to the Alzheimer's Association, research has shown that people who are regularly engaged in social interactions and activities are also better able to maintain healthy cognitive functions. If you have elderly relatives who have been diagnosed with dementia, here are five reasons to ensure that they stay active and social.

1. Loneliness has been linked to cognitive decline.
Research has found links between cognitive impairment and loneliness. According to AARP, one recent study by researchers at Southern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Group found that people who have more support in their lives have a lower chance of developing memory-loss symptoms. The study surveyed 2,249 elderly women over the course of four years, focusing on the amount of social support they had on a day-to-day basis. The results showed that those who had larger social networks were 26 percent less likely to develop dementia than the participants with smaller social circles. 

"If you stay connected, you have a better shot [at avoiding cognitive decline]," said Valerie Crooks, clinical trials administrative director at Southern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Group and lead author of the study. "Whenever we have even the most basic exchange, we have to think about how to respond, and that stimulates the brain. There are people who are outliers, who have two very close relationships and are fine cognitively. But people who have three or more relationships tend to do better."

2. Mental stimulation can have physical benefits.
Social interactions often lead to many additional healthily lifestyle changes. For example, the University of Rochester Medical Center explained that increased social activity among seniors has the potential to lower blood pressure and reduce their risk of cardiovascular problems and various forms of arthritis. This is usually because those who are socially engaged are also more physically active and are more likely to maintain a nutritious diet. Social activities can also help people reduce stress and anxiety, which is what ultimately leads to lower blood pressure levels.

3. Being social helps seniors avoid mental health conditions.
People who are frequently engaged in activities with friends or family, or who have someone reliable to talk to often have a more positive outlook than those who don't. Participating in hobbies and activities with others can also help them find pleasure in life when things get difficult. The Alzheimer's Society noted that remaining socially active may improve sleep quality as well. This is important, as getting a good night's rest is key to avoiding conditions like depression and anxiety, which people with dementia tend to be more vulnerable to. 

4. Social support helps seniors maintain their independence.
Social isolation frequently leads to depression and a myriad of other mental health issues like anxiety that increase the amount of extra support seniors need. The Alzheimer's Society explained that when people don't have the opportunity to express their feelings and emotions to others, this results in frustration that may cause further alienation from friends and family. Being surrounded by friends and individuals they can trust increases self confidence and sense of purpose. This is why many people experiencing memory loss move to a dementia care community where they have the full-time support of a caregiver and the opportunity to partake in a variety of events and social gatherings on a daily basis.

5. It can be beneficial to communicate through activities.
The Alzheimer's Society pointed out that it's not uncommon for people in the later stages of dementia to show a behavior or need through an action. For example, they may tap or move their feet across the floor for a number of reasons, whether this means they're frustrated or excited. If this is the case, talk to them while playing music or dancing. This will encourage self expression and can be very soothing for them if they were upset. They'll also benefit from the communication if you talk to them frequently while doing daily tasks like sweeping or cooking. Although they may not respond, listening and interpreting what you're saying will stimulate the brain.

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