All of our residents here at Raya’s Paradise are looking forward to the Festive season. Of course, along with the season’s good cheer, comes the cold weather. 

This is a time for everyone at Raya’s Paradise to take just a little extra care to help avoid an illness or injury. The chances of catching a common cold, flu or even pneumonia are greatly heightened in the cold weather. 

At Raya’s Paradise, we are trying to get ahead of the problem and making sure all of our residents are aware of the risks at this time of the year. Here are 4 tips we give to everyone here at Raya’s: 

#1. Have the Flu Shot 

The best way to stay protected against the flu is by having a flu shot. The flu season starts in October and the CDC recommend that people get inoculated by the end of that month. The flu shot is the best way to stay free of this virus; one that has been responsible for a number of deaths over the past few years. Getting the flu shot will also protect family, friends and loved ones that come into contact with you during the festive period. 

#2. Eat Well 

Maintaining a healthy diet and eating well are important to keep your immune system strong. Vitamin D is particularly important at this time of year as you will have less exposure to the sun. The National Institute of Health recommend the following foods as a good source of Vitamin D: 

  • Salmon 
  • Tuna 
  • Swordfish 
  • Fortified milk 
  • Yogurt 
  • Orange juice 
  • Breakfast cereals 

#3. Dress Appropriately 

Dress in clothes that are designed for winter and that will keep you warm when outdoors. This includes your footwear. Dressing loosely, in layers will give you great insulation and let you remove a layer if you get too warm or go inside. Remember the small but essential things: hat, gloves, scarf, warm socks etc. Also, with your footwear, make sure you have good grip for rainy conditions and try to wear something waterproof too. 

#4. Preparing Your Home 

We take precautions to prepare the accommodation for winter: weather stripping windows and doors; checking heating and ventilation systems are fully operational; stocking up on supplies just in case deliveries are delayed in the poor weather. We also check all of the outdoor lighting is working to reduce the risk of trips and falls at night. 

With everything going on in December, taxes are the last thing we want to think about. But this is a crucial time if you’re looking to save some money when you send in returns in a few months. You probably already know to make sure you’ve used up your flexible spending account or to contribute to your IRA, but here are a few other things you can do during the year-end crunch.

  • Decide whether or not you (or your parents) will itemize deductions. Run the numbers to decide whether you’re better off taking the standard deduction (which is $5,950 for single filers or $11,900 for those who are married filing jointly). If you are going to itemize, look for opportunities to increase the amount of deductions before the year is over, since all deductions will lower your tax bill. For example, if you make a larger-than-usual donation to charity you’ll reap extra benefits. This may motivate you to do a little holiday cleaning, and take unused clothing or furniture to The Salvation Army or Goodwill. These organizations will provide you with a receipt, and you’ll be able to claim the item’s fair value as a deduction.
  • Make large gifts now. If you or your parents want to give someone a large cash gift, write the check and make sure it’s cashed before January 1. You can give as much as $13,000 to an individual without being required to pay gift tax.
  • Make an extra house payment. Here’s a trick for maximizing your deductions if you’ll be itemizing next year. Make your January mortgage payment early. As long as you mail it by December 31, the payment will qualify for this tax year.
  • Review medical expenses. How much have you and your parents paid for medical care out-of-pocket? If your medical expenses are greater than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income, you can deduct them on your tax return. If you are close, you may be able to find ways to get care or purchase supplies that will put you over the edge.
  • Consider claiming your parent as a dependent. If you pay more than 50% of your parent’s expenses, and their gross income is less than  $3,800 (not counting disability payments, tax-exempt income, or Social Security), you can claim them as a dependent. Again, if you’re just shy of qualifying, see if you can make up the gaps in the last few weeks of the year.

As always, be sure to check with your accountant before taking any of these steps.

We love our residents and are thrilled to be in the business of caring for them. This is one of our favorite times of the year where we host a holiday party at each community. We hope you enjoy these pics of the fun had by all.

Did you know that 1 in 4 older adults are not reporting falls?

Every year, there are more than 27,000 people, ages 65 years and up who die from falls. The numbers are astounding; so, our team here at Raya’s Paradise decided to interview several members of our 24-hour, on-site Wellness staff to learn best practices they use to help keep your loved ones safe.

What we learned was that most falls are typically attributed to normal changes of aging, like poor eyesight or poor hearing. There are Illnesses and physical conditions that can affect your strength and balance as you age. However, it is the little things in the house, like rolled-up rugs, and cords, and lamps and not enough lights, clutter that can really add to a fall,”  they explained. To combat hazards, Raya’s Paradise housekeeping and caregiving team facilitate routine room checks to ensure our residents are in a clean and safe home.

Moreover, the introduction of new medications often results in changes in balance. Medications used to treat depression, sleep and blood pressure are often the drivers for related falls. In fact, many medication for diabetes and heart conditions can also result in a change of gait and balance leading to falls. Upon moving into one of our communities, our Wellness team at Raya’s Paradise takes time to examine your medications. “We know that you are more likely to fall if you are taking four or more medicines and that you are also more likely to fall if you have altered your medications within the past two weeks. Therefore, we often partner with our house-call physician and pharmacy to determine if all medications are really needed and if there are any high-risk drug interactions.”

We encourage you to stop by Raya’s Paradise and speak to a member of our Wellness team to learn more about the risks of falls and ways to stay safe!

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Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, an annual report released by the Alzheimer’s Association®, reveals the burden of Alzheimer’s and dementia on individuals, caregivers, government and the nation’s health care system.

Share the facts and join the fight.

Our Caregivers & Residents enjoyed a spectacular Thanksgiving celebration this year with Turkey and all the fixins.

The biggest travel day of the year, the day before Thanksgiving, is almost here. For families with an aging loved one, that brings up the question of how to get that person to the feast. Whether travel means just a few hours by car or a plane ride, here are some tips for making sure your voyage goes as smoothly as possible.

1. Talk to your loved one’s doctor. Make sure that it’s OK for them to travel before you take off, and that the place where you’re headed is somewhere they can handle. Your doctor will let you know if there’s any special preparations you need to make in advance, and can also give you advice on medication to take if problems with anxiety or other issues arise. Make sure that you fill your loved one’s prescriptions before you go.

2. Do some advance planning. Think through your trip with your loved one’s limitations in mind. Are you renting a car? Then make sure you’ve requested a minivan or other vehicle that will be easy for them to get into and out of. Make sure you can fit their wheelchair and any other bulky equipment. If you’re flying, put in a request for seats meant for the disabled and notify the airline of any dietary restrictions. Also request a wheelchair so that you have some help navigating the airport. Contact both your hotel and airline to make sure they are able to handle any medical equipment that your loved one needs. Request a hotel room at ground level.

3. Be realistic. You may need to scale down on your usual travel routine. Keep things simple. For example, consider renting a cabin in the woods that’s just a two-hour drive away, rather than going to Europe or planning anything that will require a lot of walking (such as visiting an amusement park). Do your research in advance to make sure the location is properly equipped to have your loved one as a guest. Put plenty of padding in your schedule and don’t overload on the activities: it will likely take much more time to do things than normal.

4. Make sure you have necessary supplies. Special stockings can help if your loved one will be sitting for long periods, so that their extremities don’t go numb or a blood clot forms. Make sure you have protective gear for the sun, and especially that you have enough water since seniors are more susceptible to dehydration. Make sure medical information is with you at all times in case there’s an emergency.

It’s well known that having friends boosts your wellbeing.  In fact, today’s research has even shown that having numerous friends reduces the risk of medical conditions like heart disease. “Stereotypes of aging tend to paint older adults in many cultures as sad and lonely,” says lead author Dr. Wändi Bruine de Bruin in a release by the Americans Psychological Association. Recent studies have also demonstrated the continued importance of friendship and positive relationship networks for assisted living residents without cognitive impairment and for residents with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia.

Engagement Coordinator for Raya’s Paradise, Elsa Argueta added, “my goal is to encourage and create opportunities for our residents to make new personal connections. Through programs designed based on our residents’ hobbies and interests, I have found that seniors begin to gravitate to those with shared interests. This way they are able to keep up the social interactions that keep them mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy.

At Raya’s Paradise, we are aware that making friends in a new place can be a challenge. Elsa added, “because of this, we create events for new residents that allow for connections. These connections result in a feeling of community and family.” As a best practice, Elsa recommended that though a new residents may be somewhat anxious, tired, or overwhelmed by a move, “it is a great start to attend outing and activities as they act as a good way to strike up conversations, ask questions, and find out what upcoming programs and special events there are to look forward to.”

At the final stage, Alzheimer’s disease begins to affect a person’s physical as well as their mental capacity. At this point, the person will require intensive, round-the-clock caregiving: assistance with dressing, eating, using the bathroom, and other ordinary tasks. The goal at this point is to make sure your loved one is comfortable and that they maintain as much dignity as possible.

At this stage, communication becomes difficult, and the person loses the ability to have a conversation. They might need assistance in order to walk, and their muscles might become rigid or possess abnormal reflexes. As the disease progresses they will likely also become unable to control their bladder or to swallow. At this stage, it is important to watch for infections; there is an especially high chance of pneumonia.

Due to the extent of your loved one’s needs now, this is the time when you’re most likely to need to move the person to a facility where they can receive the proper care. This is a decision that will require lots of research and education to make sure you’re making the right choice. On this website, we have many different resources to help you find the right Alzheimer’s care solution.

Though they have trouble speaking, your loved one is still “there.” They feel emotions such as calmness, fear, and love. They can also still use their senses to perceive you and the world around them – this is their primary way of interacting. Your main focus will be on providing for their physical well-being, but try to find ways to connect with them. You might read to them, look at old photographs, play music they might like, give them some potpourri to smell, or make them a meal they would enjoy. Think about the basic life pleasures that many of us take for granted – these are the kind of things your loved one can take pleasure in at this point.

This stage of the disease is one that is difficult for caregivers, both on an emotional level and on a physical level too. As the end of your loved one’s life approaches, you might be feeling sad, relieved, or numb to any feeling at all. These reactions are all normal. Receiving guidance from a bereavement specialist, therapist, clergy member, or other support can help you address these feelings in a healthy way. It is important to confront your grief.

For seniors in delicate health, forgetting to take medication or taking it improperly can have more dire consequences than one might think. The federal government estimates that 10% of hospital admissions are due to taking medication incorrectly, and over 125,000 people die each year as a result of this problem. Almost a quarter of nursing home admissions might be due to seniors having trouble with taking their medication. Unfortunately, this is an alarmingly common problem, with over half of all seniors taking medication incorrectly. Half of those, in turn, make the kind of mistakes that could have serious ramifications! When we consider this information in light of the challenges of seniors with dementia, it’s clear that this is a problem caregivers and family members need to be alert about.

There are many devices and solutions available to help keep loved ones on track. One simple remedy is buying a pill dispenser or a similar device. Your local drug store probably carries basic versions that will both organize pills and sound some kind of alarm or another reminder. There are also more elaborate and expensive systems that might, for example, call a designated caregiver if the senior has missed a dose. There are even smartphone apps for this issue. Drug companies themselves are also trying to help, with phone calls to seniors who are taking their products.

However, studies have shown that these methods don’t solve the problem. Sometimes this is because the devices are too complicated for seniors to use, or because they are not equipped to handle the typical senior’s complex medication regimen. And these systems often require input from a senior who may no longer be organized or independent enough to do what’s needed. Even if a loved one sets up the system initially, snafus like dead batteries or a malfunction could cause that effort to be useless.

For this reason, the best solution is to have a family member or other caregiver help the seniors with managing their prescriptions. A human helper can also address when forgetfulness is not the issue so much as unwillingness or lack of understanding about why a particular medication is important. This can be a particular concern for dementia sufferers who are determined to hang on to control and demonstrate their independence. Ideally, there would be some kind of gadget or gizmo to make this problem go away, but this is one issue that requires a human touch.