Health Aim Inc


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Executive Senior Care Services & Solutions

Chronic Diseases, Alzheimers & Dementia, Mental Health, Aging Life Care, Health Education, Global Public Speaking

228 N Wiget Ln, Walnut Creek, CA 94598
  • Aging Life Care Association Member Logo Purnima Sreenivasan, MBBS, MD, MPH
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Living in the Moment…mihygge

Mindfulness? Wellbeing for everyone… Living in the moment. As the speaker talked about Living in the present… one evening, as I sat enthralled listening like others in that grand circle, that evening….and the story of a cat as an example…drew me nearer to mindfulness. The elderly group seemed to take in flawlessly, every word, and as they all went around with their experiences of living in the moment…. The room was filled with smiles, claps and stories to share later.

Yes, it is good to do this and that… but how many of us live in that moment , not just alive but be, but experience, savor, inhale, embrace, satisfy oneself..?

Most seniors live in the moment…. To some, as the memories dwindle, they are bound to those moments forever, to others, it is simply a moment.

From meditation, to reading, to worshiping, to fulfilling chores, to working on hobbies, seniors embrace living in the moment with style.

A lesson for us to learn, appreciate, with much love, kindness and devotion.

Here are some ways to live in the moment, or mihygge:

  1. Spend an afternoon leisurely
  2. Read a book as you soak up the sun
  3. Brew a favorite cup of coffee blend and sip in comfort
  4. Breathe and exercise with deep focus and peace
  5. Create an inviting place, declutter and enjoy minimalism
  6. Meetup with friends for an evening of sharing the fun
  7. Walking in a local park
  8. Visiting the town’s weekend market
  9. Taking a trip to see a friend
  10. Simply relaxing with a massage or a me time

The list could go on…There are ways many times during a day, where one can live in the moment…for life’s simple pleasures are really that simple! So have fun creating a list at any age, aging is a pleasure, a new era of living in the moment…or mihygge. We are excited to learn ideas from across the world, so please share, celebrate and empower many, Thank you.

Dining Experiences Can Be Important

While a ladle cradling a prized dish may be enticing or even nostalgic, so are the historical eateries, established, some hundreds of years ago. The spirit of warmth, if walls could talk or the floor to transform are discoveries waiting to be discovered.

Visiting the The White Hart Inn in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2017, or eating at MTR in Bangalore, India… is a certainly sight to be experienced, and a sight for all ages. Seniors like comforting known things, young people like challenging their own appetites, and the others similarly so …

What makes these behemoths monumental are the styles, traditions, recipes, décor, storytelling, that one may not yet in newer franchises. But that be said, there are many that are joining these unique lists with unique plans, unique dishes and growing new friendships, relationships and communities.

Here are ways to bring back the dining experiences for seniors:

  1. Menu and take outs from historical restaurants or ones closely catering to needs of elderly
  2. A trip to the local diner, with family, friends, group etc
  3. Private chef dinner at home
  4. Sharing stories around these places
  5. Celebrating favorite things or milestones at historical places
  6. Visiting local markets, trying out recipes from the past
  7. Making dining a part of tour itineraries
  8. Making these special dining experiences elderly friendly, disability friendly
  9. Empowering elderly to pick out their choices, vs vice versa
  10. Believing in the culture and value of dining

Dining as a winning of cultures, minds, strategies, finer culinary skills, we must bid adieu, but before we do, we welcome you to share your thoughts, pointers, experiences, names of such places. Finally, we look forward to and love you sharing this as healthy aging communities grow, prosper and embrace life’s simple pleasures.

The Knitting Kindred Spirit

Growing up in India, with only charcoal lit heaters in the central room, knitting around the fire was a common scene. This scenario so much tells us about our ancestral history, living, family structure, as seen in paintings, rugs, tapestry, castles, neighborhoods across the world.

Knitting is coming of fashion once again, as young people embrace as well as the elite of the society. Knitting is bonding together of threads, looms and memories woven with love, skills, knowledge, understanding, taking chances, creating, making for deeper significance.

While families were at war, females strengthened communities through joys of knitting together. Most aging seniors have challenged themselves with things that we don’t know. Learned a new art, redefined skills in arts, cooking, knitting and more…

Knitwear has changed, the needles are available in wood now, machines can churn up woolen garments successfully, and technology helps in preprogramming and machine dependency…. However the cherished hand knit blankets and sweaters are a treat and mystery, as they have stories to tell.

Receiving a pink hand knit blanket on the occasion of my second daughter’s birth by many elderly, not only made me emotional but special. How many would have been the recipient of such intricate love?

As I go over my own mother’s hand knit garments which are now hand me downs…

Here are a few of my favorite things about knitting:

1. Knitting is time taking love of patience, tolerance, kindness and happiness

2. Knitting is a treasure, to save it is to know your local shops, find gifts that are hand knit and support a local business in our town

3. There are uses for wool, felt, find out ways to use them as arts, share a trick or two with others

4. Ask the elderly, to get insight into the traditions that may be lost forever

5. Reuse, repurpose and redecorate if you have an eye for vintage style

6. Visit a local wool farm, during travel or country… help a farmer , help a friend, help heritage

7. Dress warmly for the occasion in style with pride from hand knit hand me downs or local thrift shops

8. Join a knitting club or bring the knitting club to senior homes, living, centers or places

9. Lobby for senior organizations that support arts and in turn support an elderly’s business for passion or profit

10. Empower the elderly to do things, appreciate and create communities to continue their favorite things.

So as we close, knitwear is always chic, fashion symbol, tag a local sheep farmer business, woolen mill or wool wear shop in your town in the comments section or message us, and let’s make this an experience we can’t wait to experience, Thank you.

Moving to a Senior Living Facility with Dementia

It’s relatively easy to find perfect residential long-term care for most seniors. There are so many different types of senior services and senior living arrangements! With all the offerings, there is something for everyone. However, it is not always straightforward when your loved one has some form of dementia.

It can be hard to tell whether the care in any senior living home is going to match up well with the progressive nature of dementia. There are a lot of factors that go into selecting a senior living home for a dementia patient. And even if you are able to get it right today, you need to know that the fit will last.

 

Tips for choosing the right senior living home for a senior with dementia:

Safety Precautions and Devices

Visit the facility and find out what safety precautions and devices the facility has in place. An ideal facility should have non-slip flooring, adequate lighting, grab bars, and monitoring systems. Also look at window doors and window locks. Does someone check residents in and out when they leave? Did they design their security with dementia in mind?

Dementia Trained Staff

The staff should have adequate training on how to handle seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and any other types of dementia. The facility should have attentive, compassionate and attentive staff.

Look at Special Memory Care Programs

There are a few memory-care or dementia-care facilities and programs across the country. There may not be one in your area, but you don’t know until you look for it. Search online, but also ask around. These programs can go by many names, including “memory care” and “special care”. Staff there will understand the difficult behaviors that may arise and how to diffuse them, they know how to communicate with their residents, and they are trained to recognize the subtle signs that can indicate changes in a resident’s mental and/or physical health.

A Structured Routine

There should be a structured routine for seniors living within the facility. Although this won’t affect dementia directly, it can reduce any overall stress by creating stability. Reducing any additional insecurity about what’s going on around a senior with dementia is helpful.

Does Age Really Matter When Deciding to Transition to Senior Living?

Contrary to what many believe, senior living facilities aren’t exclusively for people of a specific age. Many facilities have a minimum age of 18 years! There are only two things that really matter when deciding to transition to senior living.

They include:

If You Need the Services Provided

One major thing that matters when transitioning to senior living is if you need or want the services offered. Irrespective of your age, you may need a professional caregiver to provide daily assistance. In that case, it’s clear you can benefit from the services available in “senior living”. So, you can decide to hire in-home care services or move to a senior living facility to get your needs met.

For instance, you might not have the ability to prepare meals for yourself, carry out household chores such as laundry and vacuuming, feed yourself, or take a bath. You might have mobility issues or limited sight. These things happen to people of all ages! But they’re all conditions that are well catered to in a senior living situation. Life in these homes is built around accessibility for people at all ability levels.

If You Want to Be There

It’s really up to you. If you believe that a senior living home would be the best place for you, then you qualify to move in to most facilities. It’s not about your age. You can move to a senior living community when you are in your 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s or 100 and beyond. Whether you seek accessible facilities, a community to be social, medical supervision, or some other feature, it doesn’t matter what draws you. As long as you want to be there. 

So if you’re interested in looking at senior living facilities, don’t hesitate because you’re afraid you’re too young. You’re not. If you would benefit from being there, if you want to be there, then go for it.

What NOT to Say to a Senior Choosing a Senior Living Community

Your senior loved one has made a decision to move to a senior living community, and you have the opportunity to offer them your support and encouragement, or your criticism and sadness. You may have some feelings of your own on the topic, but the decision is theirs. And that’s why it’s important to offer your support, and pay attention to their experience. After all, this isn’t happening to you. They’re the one moving.

Moving from a family house to a senior living home is definitely a personal and emotional process that is usually difficult for everyone. Maybe the person is moving from the place they have called home since they were born, or a place they have lived with their family for decades. You need to be the one moving to a senior living community to understand how difficult and sometimes demoralizing the thought of living your home can be.

You might not have bad intentions when a senior is choosing a senior living facility. But there are some words and phrases that you should avoid saying at all cost during such a time. Here are some of the things you should never say to a senior who is moving to a senior living facility.

“How Do You Know You’ll Be Safe? What’s Security Like There?”

Where your friend currently lives, is there a security system or staff? Chances are there isn’t. If there is, the senior living facility probably still does have better security.

So what worries you about safety, really? If you consider your safety concerns and decide you really do need to find out the answers, this is still not an appropriate question to ask someone who’s already decided to move. There’s no need to transfer your concerns and stress to them. Ask the facility if you’re still worried. Any senior living facility, assisted living home, or senior community should speak freely with the public about the security measures they have in place.

“This is the Beginning of the End”

For whatever reason, some people think it’s clever or witty to say this to seniors moving into assisted living or other senior accommodations. It’s not witty, it’s hurtful. It’s a universal truth that we’re all moving closer to our passing. Wherever we live.

In truth, moving into communities where medical care is more available, help with daily activities is easier to obtain, and other people around are in similar stages of life can be the beginning of a new beginning. With more community and less daily struggle.

“You Can Move in With Me”

For some reason, offers to move in with friends and relatives often seem to come after a decision to go to senior living has already been made. And it may sound nice to offer, and you may really mean it. But right now what your parent, friend, or neighbor has is a solid plan that they made after evaluating their options. Be very careful about upturning their plans unless you are 110% sure that you’re prepared, willing, and qualified to fill in for all the roles that the senior living facility would play for them. If you do make them question their path, and then if they don’t accept your offer, understand that you were too late. They made their plans and are sticking to them.

In conclusion, be mindful of the experience your aging friend or relative is having. If they’ve decided to move to a senior living facility, their wishes need to be respected, and supported. This decision is difficult for many people, and receiving criticism and doubt from loved ones doesn’t serve any useful purpose .

Settling into Senior Living: the Do’s and Don’ts for New Residents

Being the new kid on the block happens over and over in our lives. Now you’re about to be the new resident in a Senior Living home. Here are some things that you can do to set yourself up for success as you join a retirement care community.

 

Plan the Move

When you schedule your move-in date, be sure you’ve left yourself enough time to pack in an effective, organized manner. Give away or sell the things you don’t really want to continue owning. If time is short, that may mean you need to recruit some helpers from family and friends. The shorter the time, the more helpers needed. Just keep in mind- if you needed three friends to help pack, you’ll need 3 friends to unpack too. Or else you’ll end up surrounded by boxes and feeling lost in a new place, instead of surrounded by familiarity and able to find things.

 

Mark the Occasion

Have a meaningful farewell from wherever you’re leaving, whether it’s from one assisted living facility to a better one, or from a house to your first assisted living home. Don’t rush the move, and don’t act as if it doesn’t mean anything. It actually means a lot. You have established great relationships with people in your neighborhood and leaving can be a very emotional and personal process. Although you’re not giving up your relationships, they may be changing. So take a day to celebrate your old home and it’s community.

 

Set up a Familiar Environment

It is very important that you set up a familiar environment when moving to a senior living facility. Don’t buy the perfect new carpet or couch right away. Instead, move with what you’re already familiar and comfortable with. For example, arrange your new bedroom so that when you wake up in the morning, your eyes will find the same familiar items in view. Set the living room with the same old decor, pictures, or TV. This will help you feel immediately at home.

 

Medication Management

Have your medications plans in place so they’re not disturbed by the move. Do you need a refill or a doctor’s appointment? Depending on the community, obtaining emergency medications and other medication management services can be handled by staff, or can be left to family members. Find out how things work and plan ahead.

 

You’re Here! Now What?

The new facility and community may have some routine and culture of its own. And you have your own routines. You don’t have to just scrap your old traditions. Feel free to drink your tea and read at the same time you used to, and keep other daily routines too. If your plans conflict with what’s going on around you, remember that you can always join in another day. But if you want to capitalize on your newness to make more friends right away, you can do that too! Just remember that the choice is yours.

How to Evaluate Senior Living and Care Options

When choosing an appropriate senior living option, make sure that the place you pick suits all your needs and those of your loved ones. Whether you’re looking for yourself, your parent or your spouse, the future resident’s needs take precedence in evaluating options.

Here are the steps to take.

1.     Determine All Your Needs

Before you even start looking for an assisted living facility, you should first assess your monetary, physical, and everyday life needs. Determine the things that are going to be important not only to you, but also to any loved ones it may affect. After establishing all your needs, you’ll certainly find it easier to evaluate senior living and assisted living facilities.

Use your needs to decide whether to focus on:

  • Assisted Living
  • Independent Living Communities
  • Memory Care Housing
  • Senior Apartments
  • Nursing Homes
  • Residential Care Homes

2.     Tour the Facility

Once you’ve selected some candidates, be sure to visit each location. Check out the kitchens, social spaces, bedrooms and the outdoors. Are there nice places to walk around in nature? Check out whether the rooms have pleasing decor, and are clean and safe. Observe safety procedures and security in general and check whether there are fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems that are operational.

3.     Find Out More About the Staff

Is there enough staff at the facility you’re considering? A great facility should have a lower staff-to-patient ratio. Also find out whether the staff is well trained and how long most of them have been working at the facility. A fast turn-over is a bad sign. If possible, check how staff is hired. Do most staff have multiple jobs, or do they get paid well enough to only work one job?

4.     Understand Contracts and Fees

Check out the services being offered and which ones are included and not included in the monthly fee. Take your time to look at and understand the contract well. If possible, hire an attorney to have a look at the contract.

5.     Look for Licensing or Accreditation Reports

If you’re in a state that licenses assisted living homes, ask for the inspection reports. Besides licenses, check whether the facility has been accredited by any organization. The more licenses and accreditations, the more confident you can be that the services provided are top-notch.

6.     Find Out About Activities Offered

Check what activities are available at the facility. What are some upcoming activities? Are the activities on the schedule ones that the resident would enjoy? How often do they happen? Find out whether there are onsite and offsite activities. Finally, ask about religious services if they interest you.

7.     Look into Their Medical Services

Does this facility pick up or drop off prescriptions for residents? Some do. There are also facilities that offer residents free transportation to the hospital or to the doctor. Some facilities allow for purchase of basic medical supplies on sight. Understand what exactly happens in case the health of a resident deteriorates. Find out what type of assessments are usually done.

 

Best Practices When Deciding for Seniors with Diminishing Mental Capacity

Ability to make one’s decisions is essential to individual autonomy. If ever a person loses their ability to understand choices and repercussions, that is when they begin to need help making decisions. You may find yourself having to make choices for a parent or spouse.

Seniors with diminished mental capacity may not be in a position to make their own decisions. However, they can still know what they want and express it. Not having the capacity to make sound decisions is based in ability to understand and evaluate options and predict repercussions. It does not mean that a person doesn’t know what they want.

When deciding for a senior loved one with declining mental capacity, you should always try to strike a balance between acting in the patient’s favor and respecting his or her autonomy. The following practices can help you do that.

Assess Them

The first thing to do is to have your aging loved one assessed professionally by a clinician. The specialist’s job is to determine whether the individual has the capacity to make sound decisions. If it’s found that they understand and make their own decisions, then always allow them to make their own decisions.

Act in Their Best Interests

This may include alleviating the patient’s anxiety, taking time to educate the individual and their family, considering lucid intervals and the person’s physical conditions like difficulty in speech, which can sometimes interfere with capacity. Doing so is the only way to act in the best interest of the senior with diminishing mental capacity.

Disclosure of Diagnosis

In the past it was an accepted practice for doctors not to speak directly to their patients about deteriorating mental capacity. That has now changed. Today, it’s considered a patient’s right to be informed about their health condition and treatment discussions. So, involve the patient and disclose to him or her results of diagnosis. When you’ve assessed diminishing mental capacity and found out that the patient has dementia, it is good to let the patient know of their condition. Especially when it is still at its early stages. In other words, the stage of the mental illness and the time of diagnosis should be considered.

As mental illness progresses, competency and decision-making capacity will definitely be affected, and this may make the patient’s ability to fully understand the diagnosis as well as its implications could be limited. When it the mental illness is at its advanced stage, there may be no need to disclose the diagnosis to the patient because they might not even care. This means that the disclosure would actually be futile.

Don’t assume that you should make all the decisions alone for seniors with diminishing mental capacity. Always involve them whenever possible. You should also ensure that you always act in their best interest when you are deciding anything for them.

 

Art & the Painter’s Dilemma

When the flamingoes danced, the irises swayed in joys… the history of painting came alive with …

With modern touches, technology advances, anyone can become a painter, a thinker, an artist??

Think again… A couple painting that I inherited when I took over an older Doctor’s practice hung on my office walls for a few years, until one fine day, I realized the person sitting to be examined in front of me, asked me if she could have the painting in the wall of the bathroom? To my utter surprise and shock, it belonged to her late mother, she had traded / bartered that painting in the 1950’s with the previous doctor in this office for medical care and treatment.

Paintings did have a story after all… Later those other paintings that graced the walls of the office, were treasured and do even today. Think about this, brings me back to painting, the arts as a social gathering, festive merry making, as seen in the renaissance, or culture, traditions upheld , or even so history of feasts, foods, animals, nature…

Elderly appreciate art, artistic things, artistic talk or people …

Here are some of the best known ways to celebrate art with/for/by seniors:

1. An art museum / theater outing day

2. Painting , ceramics, art at place movement, event, seminar,

3. Wine with art/ food and art gathering

4. Art display and sharing

5. Creating artistic impressions with objects, produce, flowers,

6. Painting in the park, outdoors

7. Commemorating painters, their works, local, state, country or international

8. Visit to volunteering at art centers in city, senior’s center

9. Art with children or family

10. Art with pets, animals, at the zoo or elsewhere.

Art in any form, is a joy to behold. Let us relive arts and revive arts for everyone. If you have an upcoming event, art to display, we would love to see, share, and empower people across the globe to embrace arts as part of healthy living and aging. Thank you.

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