Archive | May, 2014

Trouble Staying Focused?

Resident Ebba, shows off a greeting card she made during the monthly card making activity.

Resident Ebba, shows off a greeting card she made during the monthly card making activity.

Concentration and attention are two of our most valuable qualities. They keep us focused in conversation, during work, and even during play. Unfortunately, concentration becomes more difficult as we age. However, scientists are not quite sure why concentration declines with age. It might be due to changes in brain activity and shifts in the brain’s frontal lobe. A research study at the Rotman Institute at Baycrest and the University of Toronto compared brain functioning in young, middle-aged, and older adults. Their findings confirm previous hypotheses. Concentration ability declines with age, particularly memory tasks.

Learn how to support an older adult in staying sharp as they age. If an older adult you know is working on a task that requires concentration, you can be helpful in facilitating their attention. Turn off all electronics. Beeping, buzzing, and ringing will certainly break someone’s concentration. If your older adult parent or friend is on a roll, working away for over 90 minutes, encourage him/her to take a break. Research demonstrates that 90 minutes is the perfect amount of time to remain productive in a state of high concentration. After 90 minutes, it’s important to take a short break away from the activity. Preferably, take time to do something physically active. Even if you stand-up from the computer, Sudoku, or crossword puzzle for only 10 minutes and do some light stretching, the important part is that you’re up and about. Before you begin an exercise routine make sure you check with your doctor.

The Doolittle Home’s approach to memory issues is unique. As a boutique retirement community, we are dedicated to individualized care. Our loyal and committed staff forms relationships with every resident and is sensitive to each resident’s particular memory level. Sometimes it is simple reassurance or assistance with the day of the week, a mealtime reminder or encouragement to join a group activity. We do not require all residents with memory limitations to live in a locked location of the home. We believe that keeping a person socially engaged and intellectually stimulated under supervision is the best response to loss of memory.

References

The Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest and the University of Toronto, reported in the February 2006 issue of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Vol. 18, No. 2.

 

 

 

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Tom Madden Stops by The Doolittle to Entertain

Tom Madden asking resident Eileen to dance.

Tom Madden asking resident Eileen to dance.

Tom Madden, a local entertainer, stopped by The Doolittle on May 15th to the delight of our residents. Tom’s repetoire was varied with songs spanning decades, from Frank Sinatra to Jimmy Buffet and even Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” for the staff. Tom was an expert at engaging his audience and had many residents in stitches with his jokes and his moves on the carpet. Tom quickly learned many of the residents’ names and inserted them into various songs, making everyone chuckle. Feet were tapping, hands were clapping and we even had a chorus of voices for a few of the songs.

Tom donated his time to introduce himself to The Doolittle. He plays several nights a week at Benjamin’s in Taunton as a solo performer and with his band. The home is very lucky to have Roz Champagne as our Activities Director for many years. Roz books fabulous entertainment and has many volunteers assist with activities every week.

If you have a talent or would like to volunteer your time at The Doolittle, please contact Roz at 508-543-2694.

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Healthy Eating in Older Adulthood

IMG_0259Nutritional needs change across the lifespan. Although overall calorie intake tends to decrease as we age, the requirements for micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals) increase as we age. Vitamin D and calcium are two important micro-nutrients for older adults. Older adults also require additional dietary antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B, and folate. Unfortunately, vitamin nutrient deficiencies are common among older adults due to diet plans that lack appropriate nutrition content. Therefore, it is essential that older adults make choices at mealtime that include nutrient-rich foods as well as a multivitamin.

Modifying your eating behaviors and diet is a quick and easy way to increase your vitamin intake. First, determine an appropriate vitamin supplement with your doctor. Two, evaluate your diet and identify areas that can be modified to include healthier food options. Three, include dark green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli to lunch and dinner. If you’re unsure how to incorporate healthy food in a way that satisfies your cravings, check out local cooking channels or purchase a cookbook from your nearest bookstore.

Micro-nutrient deficiencies in older adults can be explained by a constellation of factors, including but not limited to poor nutritional intake and normal physiological changes that accompany the aging process. Vitamins are essential to several bodily functions. One of the most important roles of vitamins for the body is antioxidant. Antioxidants are essential for energy production, a common deficiency for older adults. If you or a loved one are nutrient deficient or believe you might be, it is important to contact your doctor or a local dietician.

The Doolittle Home’s dietary staff, led by Food Service Supervisor Lori DiTomaso, prepares delicious meals in coordination with our dietician’s recommendations for each resident. Meal time is also a social time, with all residents eating their meals together in the dining room and rotating tables bi-monthly to ensure new stories and conversations.

LoriLori has been cooking at the Doolittle Home for 20 years. She was quick to explain that it “feels more like a family than a job.” Lori enjoys getting to know each of the residents and she enjoys watching the young dining room staff interact with the residents. It is good for both the high school students and the residents. Compared to other facilities she has worked in, it is unique to have personal relationships with each student. Lori feels that “all staff truly care about the residents and the home. They are not just doing their job.” This leads to staff longevity which enables the residents to know the staff they interact with each day. Contrary to what some might believe, Lori explains that her cooking at the Home is quite varied. She reviews menus with the residents on a bi-monthly basis and incorporates their suggestions for new dishes. She also explained how individual needs are addressed to ensure the dining experience is positive for each resident. For those who may have difficulty cutting their meat, it is cut for them in the kitchen and served cut up so they can enjoy their meal without feeling embarrassed to ask for assistance or to struggle on their own.

References

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/fw08/olderadults.html

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