All posts by Jody Beckley

Guide to a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

February is well known for being American Heart Health Month, a yearly awareness campaign created to alert people of the risk factors for heart-related illnesses and encourage them to take steps in protecting their heart.

Optalis participates in various ways such as helping to educate adults on the disease and preventative ways to potentially reverse this troubling trend. Take control of your heart health with these helpful tips and tricks.

9 Tips for Improving and Maintaining Heart Health

  • Breakfast of champions. Don’t skip breakfast! Many people skip breakfast entirely or consume a sugary pastry or cereal, but a healthy breakfast helps us feel full longer. This lessens the chance of overeating later or reaching for quick, unhealthy comfort foods.
    Try — Starting the day with a bowl of oatmeal, this is a great source of protein and cholesterol-fighting fiber.
  • Mind your diet. A healthy diet is one of your best weapons to fight heart disease. Consume a variety of nutritious foods from all food groups; a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes as well as non-tropical vegetables oils. Limit saturated fats, trans fat, sodium, red meats, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. When consuming red meat, compare labels and select the leanest cuts available. Add in a variety of fish at least twice a week, if possible. Lastly, always watch your portion sizes!
    Try — Following Dash (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), research shows that people have fewer occurrences of heart disease when following this style plan.
  • Make sleep a priority. Adults often have bad sleep habits. When you don’t get enough sleep, you are more inclined to make bad food choices.
    Try — Averaging 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
  • Stay active. Find ways to stay active. Discuss senior-friendly forms of exercise with your physician. They can help explore potential options that might be more enjoyable and increase motivation.
    Try — Chair Yoga, an activity that can be performed in the privacy of your own living room or take a 20 minute walk with a significant other or friend every day.
  • Limit sodium. Put down the salt shaker. It isn’t uncommon for older adults to rely on convenience foods at meal times. But fast food, frozen dinners and even canned foods can be extremely high in sodium. Sodium and salt can both contribute to high blood pressure. Learn more about sodium and the unlikely places it might be sneaking into your diet, like ketchup, cereal and deli meats.
    Try — Low-sodium spices and fresh herbs when preparing foods, these are great cooking alternatives for taste and less sodium!
  • Schedule a physical. If you haven’t had a physical in the last year, we encourage you to schedule one. Medicare will cover one wellness visit each year. This gives your physician an opportunity to check blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar to spot any potential problems.
    Try — Keeping a scheduled wellness visit every year.
  • Kick the habit. Today’s generation of seniors were often smokers growing up. If you haven’t done so already, work on trying to quitting.
    Try — Consulting with your primary care physician, they will likely have suggestions to help.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. While some experts say the Resveratrol in a glass of red wine can be good for your heart, don’t overdo it. Consuming too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.
    Try — Limiting to one drink per day and staying properly hydrated.
  • Drink green tea. Some experts believe the antioxidants in green tea help keep your arteries flexible which may help to prevent plaque from building up.
    Try — Consuming one glass of green tea sweetened with honey every day.

Utilize the Nutrition Facts Label to Make Healthier Choices

1. Start with the serving information.
Allows proper calculation of consumption for packages containing more than one serving.
– Size of the serving
– How Many servings are included

2. Check Total Calories.
Know how many calories you are consuming when eating a portion or the whole package. This number is typically based on the daily recommended intake of 2,000.  *Suggested calorie intake varies by age, weight, level of physical activity and other health factors. Check with your Primary Care Physician to confirm your ideal daily caloric intake.

3. Limit Certain Nutrients
Compare labels to choose options with lower:
– Added Sugars
– Sodium
– Saturated Fats
– Trans Fat

4. Get Enough of Beneficial Nutrients
Eat foods with nutrients your body needs:
– Calcium
– Choline
– Dietary Fiber
– Iron
– Magnesium
– Potassium
– Vitamins A, C, D & E

5. Understand % Daily Value
% Daily Value (DV), tells the % of each nutrient in a single serving in relation to the daily recommended amount.
–   In order to consume less of a nutrient (sodium or saturated fat), choose foods with lower % DV, 5% or less.
–  In order to consume more of a nutrient (fiber or potassium), choose foods with a higher % DV, 20% or more.

Additional Tips

Food Journal

Maintaining a daily journal of food consumption throughout the day, as well as any exercise completed may help you stay on track.

Visit the Getting Healthy section of the American Heart Association’s website. They have helpful resources ranging from nutrition to physical activity and smoking cessation.


Staying Heart Healthy at Home

Dear Tacy:

My parents are both retired and starting to slow down a bit. I’m a little concerned that their more sedentary lifestyle is putting them at risk for heart problems. Do you have any tips you can share on how to keep your heart healthy as you grow older?


Dear Ruth:

I do!

The team at Optalis Healthcare created a list of 9 steps adults can take to lower their risk for heart disease. We developed it to share with our friends throughout the Midwest area in honor of National Heart Month.

9 Tips for Improving Heart Health

Cardiac-related diseases continue to be the number one killer of both men and women in this country. We’d like to help educate adults on the disease and help to reverse this troubling trend.

Here are a few tips you can use to keep your heart healthy:

  1. Don’t skip breakfast. A healthy breakfast like oatmeal has many benefits. It is a great source of protein so it helps you feel full longer. Oatmeal is also high in fiber which is good for keeping your cholesterol on track.
  2. Mind your diet: Commit to following the Dash Diet or the Mediterranean Diet. Both are plant based and linked to lower rates of heart disease. You might want to help your parents plan a few weeks of healthy menus to get started.
  3. Make sleep a priority. Seniors often have bad sleep habits. When you don’t get enough sleep, you are more inclined to make bad food choices. Ask your parents to make a promise to you that they will get 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
  4. Get moving! We’ve all heard it time and again, but exercise is one of the best ways to keep your heart healthy. Chair Yoga is an activity your parents can perform in the privacy of their own living room. Or you can encourage them to take a 20 minute walk together each morning.
  5. Schedule a physical. If your parents haven’t had a physical in the last year, encourage them to schedule one. Medicare will cover one wellness visit each year. It gives their physician an opportunity to check their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar to spot any potential problems.
  6. Kick the habit. Today’s generation of seniors were often smokers growing up. If they haven’t done so already, work with them on quitting. Their primary care physician will likely have suggestions to help.
  7. Put down the salt shaker. Sodium and salt can both contribute to high blood pressure. Encourage your parents to cook with low-sodium spices and fresh herbs instead of salt.
  8. Limit alcohol consumption. While some experts say the Resveratrol in a glass of red wine can be good for your heart, don’t overdo it. Too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.
  9. Drink green tea. Some experts believe the antioxidants in green tea help keep your arteries flexible which may help to prevent plaque from building up.

One last tip for you, Ruth is to visit the Getting Healthy section of the American Heart Association’s website. They have helpful resources ranging from nutrition to physical activity and smoking cessation.

Best Regards,

Tacy Bailey, Rehabilitation Manager

Long-Term Care Guide

What is Congestive Heart Failure

We sat down with a local Heart Specialist about Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) to answer some of your top questions including causes, symptoms, prevention and more. Check out the questions and answers below to learn more about CHF.

What causes Congestive Heart Failure?

CHF represents symptoms caused by injury to the heart. The injury causes the heart muscle to function abnormally, where it either becomes weakened or stiff. In either case, symptoms are similar. There are a large number of medical problems that may produce this heart injury. In the United States, the most common cause is coronary artery disease and injury to the heart muscle from a heart attack. Chronic, poorly controlled high blood pressure is another common cause. CHF may run in families and thus have a genetic component as well as association with certain types of infections (usually viruses) of the heart muscle (called myocarditis). CHF can also be caused by certain drugs, particularly those used to treat certain types of cancer. Excessive alcohol consumption may also injure the heart and cause CHF. In many cases, it is not clear what caused the problem, and in these cases, the CHF is idiopathic. The term cardiomyopathy is used to describe the disease of the heart muscle, and CHF (congestive heart failure) represents the symptoms resulting from the cardiomyopathy. A person can have cardiomyopathy without having symptoms of CHF.

What are the symptoms of CHF?

“CHF” identifies a set of symptoms that include shortness of breath with activities, or sometimes at rest, difficulty breathing while lying down (orthopnea), fluid retention such as ankle swelling or abdominal bloating, increased palpitations, chest pressure or heaviness, progressive fatigue, poor appetite, sudden awakening at night with shortness of breath (PND), palpitations, and syncope (passing out).

How do you recognize the symptoms?

The symptoms may occur suddenly or occur very gradually over months. When sudden onset occurs, the patient will often easily recognize that there is a problem and thus seek medical attention. When symptoms progress very gradually, there may be a delay in seeking medical attention. Sometimes, the symptoms may be confusing and lead to several possible diagnoses. CHF may be confused with other conditions, such as pneumonia or other types of lung disease.

How is CHF diagnosed?

CHF is usually diagnosed in a patient presenting with the typical symptoms and findings on the physical exam. The most common test utilized to identify the underlying heart problem causing CHF is the echocardiogram. There are certain blood tests that may also suggest CHF. A “BNP” test may be used to differentiate shortness of breath caused by lung disease versus heart disease. A significant elevation in BNP (which is a blood test) strongly suggests that a patient’s breathing symptoms are secondary to heart disease / CHF.

How can someone prevent Congestive Heart Failure?

Since CHF is commonly secondary to problems like poorly controlled hypertension, coronary artery disease, and obesity, several preventive measures are encouraged. These include a heart healthy diet, maintenance of optimal cholesterol levels, avoidance of obesity, treatment of high BP, to name a few. Any risk factors for the development of coronary artery disease should be managed, including tobacco usage. Regular exercise is encouraged. However, there are instances where Cardiomyopathy cannot be avoided (genetic cause, chemotherapy, valve problem) and in these situations, early recognition and institution of appropriate treatment, at an early phase of the disease, is important.

What is the outlook for people with CHF?

The outlook for this condition depends on many factors. Most important is the underlying cause of the CHF, and the degree of symptoms. Many patients with CHF are very well managed with medications. Sometimes devices are required to manage arrhythmia. In some cases (the minority of cases), the condition advances to the point where heart transplantation may be warranted. There is a very broad spectrum of treatment possibilities – and outcomes.

What are the different types or degrees of severity for CHF?

CHF is classified as stage A-D, with stage A being those at risk for CHF (i.e., they have coronary artery disease), stage B is evidence of heart muscle problems but no symptoms, stage C is symptomatic CHF, and stage D is symptoms despite optimal medical and device therapy. Patients are also classified according to NYHA class – with class I being asymptomatic and class IV symptoms at rest.

Are there any medications to avoid or diet changes to be made when dealing with CHF?

For most patients, the major medications to avoid are NSAID’s (such as ibuprofen). These medications will worsen kidney function and symptoms of CHF. A low sodium diet is almost always recommended, and sometimes, a fluid restriction is recommended. My recommendation is to discuss any new medication with the physician before taking it.

Post-Hospital Rehabilitation

Finding Long-Term Care For Your Parent

If you’ve started to notice changes in your senior parent, you may be looking for answers. Maybe Dad is having trouble eating and bathing himself. Perhaps Mom has received a new diagnosis or her chronic illness has worsened.

After seeking solutions and discussing your concerns with a physician, you might wonder if long-term care is an option that’s right for your parent.

Here’s what you need to know about long-term care – what it is, who’s a good fit, and how you can find the right community.

What is Long-Term Skilled Nursing Care?

Long-term care communities provide assistance with the activities of daily living (ADLs), which include walking, eating, getting dressed, using the toilet, bathing, and standing up.

Essentially, they provide the support your parent needs when living at home is no longer an option due to difficulties with the ADLs listed above.

Assistance with ADLs isn’t the only thing communities provide, though. They also provide resources and programming to help residents live their best lives socially, emotionally, and mentally.

What’s the Difference Between Assisted Living and Long-Term Care?

Some people get confused by the difference between assisted living and long-term care. How can you tell which one is a good fit for your parent?

Long-term care is for seniors who are no longer able to safely live at home on their own and require some form of 24-hour nursing care. By comparison, assisted living is for seniors who need some help with activities of daily living but don’t need nearly as much daily care.

Still not sure which is a good fit for your parent?  Use this evaluation chart and questionnaire to assess your parent’s ADL ability level. You can also talk to their doctor or discuss their situation with the staff at a long-term care or assisted living community.

How Much Does Long-Term Care Cost?

Because of the level of care and services, the cost of long-term care can be higher than having your parent remain at home. However, the costs are more comparable than most people realize.

For example, Genworth estimates that in 2021, the median monthly cost in the Midwest for a home health aide was around $5,053 -$5,529 and for homemaker services started at $4,957.

In comparison, a semi-private room at a community that offers long-term nursing care was around $7,300 – $9,000 per month, which includes the same services a home health aide and homemaker would.

Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that living at home would also come with other costs, such as utilities, transportation and mortgage payments — as well as necessary medical supplies. Ultimately, you should base your decision on your parent’s needs and whether or not those will be best met at home or a comprehensive long-term care community.

As discussed above, you should ask your parent’s primary care physician for their advice to help you make your decision.

How to Pay For Long-Term Care

If you and your parent decide that a long-term care community is the best fit for them, there are three main ways to pay for it: Medicaid, private pay or long-term care insurance.

Generally, most commercial insurance types will not cover long-term care services. If your parent does not have long-term care insurance, they’ll need to pay out-of-pocket.

If they can’t cover the costs themselves, they’re likely financially eligible for Medicaid (Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care if that’s the only care your parent needs).

What Happens In Long-Term Care?

Your parent’s needs are unique, and a good long-term care community will address them as such.

Here are some examples of the long-term care services you might find at a community:

  • A plan of care for each resident, centered on personal goals and functional abilities.
  • Support with ADLs to promote independence, mobility and self-care.
  • In-room amenities such as individual room temperature control, TV with cable, private phones and storage space.
  • Gathering spaces for socializing and relaxing.
  • Enclosed courtyards to let residents enjoy park-like surroundings.
  • Full-service salons and barbershops to allow residents to look and feel their best.
  • Scheduled outings and activities to keep your parent engaged and entertained.

Long-Term Care Activities

A big part of what long-term care communities provide is a wide range of activities and programs. A quality long-term care community will provide activities geared toward resident interests to make sure their mental and social needs are being met.

Here are some long-term care activities that residents at Optalis senior living communities enjoyed recently:

  • Local Zoo visit
  • Monthly birthday party
  • Group singalongs
  • Church and rosary services
  • Resident council meetings
  • Art classes

This is just a sampling of the activities your loved one can join in on every day. There are also plenty of community events tailored to residents.

Of course, no one will force your parent to participate in an event or activity that they don’t want to. While socializing is proven to have enormous health benefits for older adults, they still have autonomy and can choose not to participate.

Finding the Right Long-Term Care Community

The best way to evaluate a long-term care community is to visit. Make sure you get a tour of the community and have the staff answer your questions to help you best evaluate it.

Optalis Healthcare offers multiple communities throughout southeastern Michigan and central Ohio, all with personalized offerings to help residents live their best, most fulfilling lives.



Long-Term Care Guide

6 New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers

As we head toward the start of a new year, weary caregivers may be struggling to find ways to lead healthier lives. The demands of caring for a senior loved one can take a toll on both the physical and emotional health of the caregiver.

What can you, as a caregiver, do to start off the New Year on a healthier note?

Here are 6 New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers

  1. Seek out help. Some caregivers view caring for an aging parent or senior loved one as their duty and obligation. Asking for help is seen as a sign of weakness or a lack of dedication. Try to remember that a few hours of support a week can keep you healthier over the long haul. Ask yourself: If something happens to you, who will care for your loved one?
  2. Make nutrition a priority. More and more research proves that nutrition plays a key role in living a healthy lifestyle. When you are under a considerable amount of stress, such as that created by caregiving, it is even more important. Make it a goal to eat five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Besides helping you improve your physical health, the vitamins and minerals found in many fruits and vegetables can also help lift your spirits and boost your mood.
  3. Get moving. Moderate exercise for a combined total of 30 minutes a day can help to improve your physical well-being. Taking a 15-minute walk around the block in the morning and spending another 15 minutes on a stationary bike later in the day can add up to a healthier caregiver.
  4. Stay personally connected. While social media and video chat services are a good way for caregivers to stay in touch, personally connecting with friends and family is also important. Make time to go out with loved ones at least once or twice a month. Talk with your local agency on aging about respite care options if your loved one isn’t safe staying alone while you are out.
  5. Schedule your physical. Caregivers often put their own health on the backburner while caring for a senior loved one. Make it a priority to have a physical and schedule whatever screenings your primary care physician feels are necessary. Prevention and early intervention are an important part of maintaining your ability to care for your aging parent or family member.
  6. Find a support group. For many caregivers, just the idea of having to fit a weekly or monthly support group meeting into their calendar may seem impossible. That is where an online caregiver forum can help. You can connect with your peers in groups like those offered by the Family Caregiver Alliance.

We hope these tips help you make this a healthier year!



Preventing Vitamin D Deficiency

Older adults in the Midwest are at higher risk for a vitamin D deficiency during the winter than their friends in southern climates. That is because most of us spend less time outdoors during the winter. Less exposure to sunlight means the body has less opportunity to produce vitamin D naturally.

More and more studies are proving just how important vitamin D is for overall well-being. It helps with everything from bone health to preventing depression, cardiac diseases, and some forms of cancer.

Foods High in Vitamin D

One of the challenges for getting enough vitamin D during the dreary days of an Midwest winter is that it doesn’t occur naturally in many foods. Most foods high in vitamin D are enriched during production. A few good foods to work into your daily diet include:


  • Milk and dairy products
  • Fish and oysters
  • Mushrooms
  • Eggs
  • Pork

Increasing your intake of foods rich in calcium will help your body better absorb vitamin D. Those can include:

  • Almonds and sesame seeds width=
  • Kale, okra and spinach

Remember to check the labels on foods such as cereal and orange juice to see if they have been enriched with vitamin D and calcium. Opt for those brands that have been.

Your Daily Dose of Vitamin D

Understanding how much vitamin D you need can be tricky because the experts don’t always agree on a number. Here are the recommendations from two agencies involved in vitamin D research:

The U.S. Food & Nutrition Board sets their standards as:

  • 600 IU/day for children and adults
  • 800 IU/day for seniors

The Vitamin D Council advises:

  • 1,000 IU/day per 25 pounds for children
  • 5,000 IU/day for adults and seniors

Our best advice is to talk with your primary care physician or your senior loved one’s geriatrician for their recommendation.

Diagnosing a Vitamin D Deficiency

The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency can be quite vague. They typically include fatigue and muscle pain. Your physician can order a blood test to make that diagnosis. There are also tests you can take at home. It might be that you or your senior loved one will require prescription doses of vitamin D for a few months to build back up. Your physician will be the one to make that call.



Assisted Living at Cranberry Park

Are you looking for an assisted living community that combines the security of care with the comforts of home? Cranberry Park’s Assisted Living communities are the perfect place for you or your loved one. We provide assistance with daily activities in a modern, active setting that allows residents to live independent, satisfying lives.

Services and Amenities at Cranberry Park

Assisted living offers the assistance older adults need, when they need it. Life doesn’t stop when you move into assisted living—in fact, there are so many activities and offerings to enjoy that you may find yourself busier than ever. Each day is up to you, though. Nothing is mandatory, giving you the freedom to do as you please.

Amenities and Hospitality New Albany Courtyard

  • Private, one-bedroom assisted living suites
  • 24-hour professional nursing staff
  • Health and wellness monitoring
  • Medication management
  • Assistance with bathing, dressing and grooming
  • Housekeeping and linen service
  • Restaurant-style bistro menus prepared by chefs
  • Transportation
  • Emergency call system
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy available
  • Podiatry, dental, optometry and psychological services


  • Pet therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Creative arts
  • Games, cards and puzzles
  • Exercise programs
  • Cooking programs
  • Intergenerational programs
  • Social gatherings
  • Cultural programs
  • Clubs and special events
  • Scheduled outings

Ready to discuss moving in?


Assisted Living Apartments in Central Ohio

Our assisted living communities offer spacious, private, one-bedroom suites. They feature:


  • Separate living, sleeping and kitchenette areas
  • Individually controlled heating and air conditioning
  • Emergency call system
  • Full private bath
  • Walk-in closet

Residents are free to decorate their suites as they wish. We encourage you to personalize your suite with your own furnishings. See the suites for yourself by scheduling a video tour. You can also view our assisted living floor plans right here to get a better idea of the space.

Make Yourself at Home in an Assisted Living Communities

Cranberry Park has five friendly, welcoming communities in the Central Ohio Area.

In addition to spacious assisted living suites, residents can enjoy communal spaces, such as:

  • Beautiful courtyard with walking paths
  • Well-appointed dining room, restaurant-style meals, room service and readily available snacks
  • Beauty salon and barber shop

With the help of provided transportation, they can also enjoy everything that the surrounding area has to offer. We’re located in Canal Winchester, Columbus, Hilliard, New Albany and Circleville, all close-knit communities with a strong heritage of family values.

Continuum of Care

Nurse helping elderly woman put on necklace

One major benefit of Cranberry Park is that we offer multiple levels of care all on the same campus, including long-term care and rehabilitation. Should you or your loved one ever be in need of more care, there’s no need to find another community and make a difficult move. Residents can receive the help they need from medical professionals who are already familiar with them.

In fact, our rehabilitation is so popular that many seniors who come to us for our rehab services later decide to move into our assisted living community.

Here’s what one resident had to say:

“I do not write letters anymore BUT, let it be known that I think the people, all of them here, are fabulous, super attentive and caring in every respect. To all incoming residents – you may never want to go home, the people here are exquisite!

— Bill F.

7 Tips for Holiday Planning

If this is your loved one’s first year in a long-term care community, holiday planning can be a stressful time. Even if they’ve lived there for some time, it can still be difficult. Your celebrations will be different from how they were in years past — but “different” doesn’t have to mean “bad.”

Here are some tips to help plan for the holidays with a loved one in long-term care.

Holiday Planning to Make the Most of the Holidays

1. Decorate their room or suite.

Deck out your loved one’s room just like you would their old house. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, make decorating a family affair.

It’s also a good idea to incorporate pictures of previous holiday celebrations. That way, Mom or Dad can be filled with warm thoughts of time spent with family and friends.


Related: Holiday Decorating with a Loved One with Dementia


2. Encourage your loved one to join community events.

Senior living communities do everything they can to provide residents with fulfilling and entertaining holiday celebrations. Encourage your parent or loved one to join in the holiday events, from choir group performances to Christmas tree lighting ceremonies to Thanksgiving meals.

Review the community’s events calendar together and share copies with loved ones. Plan to have various family members join your mom or dad for the events that are the most appealing to them. And don’t forget to include the grandkids: Residents love the opportunity to show them off!

3. Create a family visitor calendar for the holidays.

It can be as simple as setting up a private group on Facebook or using Google calendars. Ask loved ones to sign up for various days throughout the holiday season. This helps prevent your loved one from having multiple visitors on some days and none on other days.

4. Prepare family members for any changes in Mom or Dad.

If you have any relatives who live out of town and haven’t seen Mom or Dad since they moved into long-term care, they may not be prepared to see the changes in their loved one. Take some time to have a talk with your relatives and catch them up with any relevant health issues.

For example, if Dad is having memory problems, coach them on how to best communicate with someone who has dementia. If Mom has lost a lot of weight, prepare them for that so they don’t make any surprised comments when they first see her.

Also, consider writing out some instructions on how to get to the room or suite your parent is in. The staff at the community will certainly be glad to help them find the right room, but it can put them more at ease if they have an idea of where they’re going.

5. Talk with your parent about their feelings this holiday season.

Esther Heerema, MSW, advises that you have a conversation with your parent about spending the holidays in long-term care. Hereema is a licensed social worker who has worked extensively with individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

“You know that phrase about the elephant in the room? Acknowledge it. Your family member may need to process the changes from last year and talk extensively about what she is missing out on this year,” Hereema says. “She also might appreciate hearing that you’ll miss her amazing turkey stuffing that she makes every year, or just that you will be missing her.”

6. Take them home to join your celebrations.

If their health allows it and you live within a reasonable difference from the community, take them home for the big day. If you have other relatives coming to your house to celebrate, ask if they can pick up your parent so you don’t have to fit it in your busy schedule of holiday preparations.

7. Take some time for yourself.

This is the most important rule when planning for the holidays with a loved one in a long-term care community. AgingCare offers these holiday tips for caregivers:

  • Take a break when you feel yourself getting stressed.
  • Ask for help from family members and friends.
  • Make a to-do list to help yourself stay organized.
  • Simplify your holiday plans. Decide which traditions are too much work and let them go.
  • Accept imperfection. Feel like you’re not doing enough? Nobody is perfect. Do your best and accept the rest.


Related: 5 Holiday Survival Tips for Central Ohio Caregivers


Making the Most of Long-Term Care Year-Round

When seniors are no longer able to live on their own and need daily help, a long-term care community is often the best place for them. The holidays may make you feel a little blue that Mom or Dad is no longer at home, but remember that they are in a place where they’re safe and are being well-cared-for.

Here are a few additional resources that may help during the holidays and year-round:

Visual or Audible: Great Books For Seniors in Long-Term Care

How Often Should I Visit My Loved One in Long-Term Care?

Long-Term Care Guide


Staying Active Indoors this Winter

As we move into the colder months, staying active can seem difficult between the brutal cold and fears of falling alone.

Many are looking for ways to stay active indoors out of the cold! We hear that statement often during the late fall and winters, and not just from seniors.

Here we have a few ideas to consider:

Get Moving!

  1. First, walking is a great form of exercise! But some may be reluctance to walk outside when it is snowy and icy. The good news is that there are several ways to get a daily walk in that won’t require you to brave the elements. Many shopping malls open early for walkers. Lace up those sneakers and walk before the rush of the crowds begins for the day. Call the nearest  shopping mall to see what they offer.
  2. If there isn’t a mall near that offers morning walking or if you prefer to walk later in the day, consider going to a department store or home improvement store. Walking laps around the outside aisles of these larger stores is another easy way to get your walk in. Wear a pedometer or fitness tracker to monitor your progress.
  3. Another idea is to check with your health insurance provider to see if they partner with Silver Sneakers. Many Medicare replacement plans offer a membership at no cost to seniors. Silver Sneaker classes take place at YMCA branches, local rehab communities and other fitness centers.
  4. For days when the weather is just too bad to leave home, consider investing in a treadmill or stationary bike. If you ask friends and family, you might even be able to find a used one in good condition. Another few snowy day activities might be Wii fitness games or taking a virtual Chair Yoga class on YouTube.

Keep Your Mind Sharp

  1. Staying mentally active is also important when cabin fever starts to set in. Playing cards, painting, sketching and listening to music are all good activities. Consider learning how to play an instrument or taking up a new foreign language. Many can be done completely online.
  2. Strolling Trivia is one of the most requested events in our communities. Participants answer challenging trivia questions while strolling along. Topics range from current events to American history. Visitors are always welcome to join us!

We hope these new ideas will help you stay active this winter!

Open Enrollment: Who, What, Why and How

Many find that working your way through the Medicare Open Enrollment process for the first time can be very daunting! Seniors are bombarded with information by mail and even on television commercials but what information is actually necessary for open enrollment?

Here’s a quick overview of what you should know to help make the most of Medicare:

  • Medicare Open Enrollment allows older adults enrolled in Medicare to make changes to their plan once each year. Open Enrollment takes place every year from October 15th through December 7th.
  • Any changes that you make during this time will go into effect January 1st of 2023.
  • During the Open Enrollment period, you can sign up for original Medicare (parts A and B), Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage), or a Medicare Advantage Plan (part C).
  • Seniors may be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan in lieu of traditional Medicare, these types of plans are offered by private insurance companies through an HMO or PPO.
  • Each year Medicare plans, providers and options change. This year, plan premiums are historically low so with some research, you might be able to find a more desirable plan with a wider range of providers to better meet your needs. Medicare plans for the upcoming year typically become available on in October. To review potential options, use the Plan Finder Tool on the Medicare website.
  • There are also Medicare specialists available to help you through this process. You can search to find one near you. It’s important to call for an appointment early, however. Don’t wait until the deadline is looming to try to book time.