Seniors have their own Olympic fun
The swoosh of basketballs going through the net, the clank of golf balls landing in the cup and the sound of laughter filled the air during the first annual Senior Health Care Olympics held in Winter Park on July 10. The community event brought together about 150 area seniors from local health care facilities, their friends and family, volunteers and health care professionals representing nearly 20 health care providers.
Hosted by Westchester of Winter Park Assisted Living Facility, the “Olympics” featured resident teams from Westchester, Orlando Health and Rehab Center, OLT-Windsor Place, Chambrel at Island Lake, Renaissance Retirement Living Community, Longwood Healthcare, Eastbrooke Gardens, Serenades by Sonata, Grand Villa of Altamonte Springs and Regents Park of Winter Park.
In addition to basketball and stationary cycling, the “Olympic athletes” also took part in low-impact volleyball, archery, shot put and golf. The events were designed to be fun and allow participants of all skill levels and mobility to participate. Pictured, Esther OKeefe, from Renaissance Retirement Living Facility Community, participates in archery.
Flexing your compassion muscle
Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D., says compassion cannot be learned by talking about it. Children must practice compassion in their daily lives. “Inspiring a spirit of volunteering in elementary and middle school helps kids develop their compassionate muscles – muscles they will use over and over again as they reach adolescence and adulthood,” she says. “Developing compassion in elementary and middle school-aged children is akin to developing muscle strength. The more you use your muscles, the stronger they get.” Price says that children can learn to feel connected to their communities and know they can make a difference in the world through acts of compassion.
The Jewish Pavilion is a non-profit that encourages people of all ages to interact with seniors who reside in independent, assisted and skilled nursing communities. They have worked with Congregation Ohev Shalom, Temple Israel, Beth Chaim and Shir Shalom. The Children from Congregation Ohev Shalom (Marc is pictured) have had “extra practice” through visiting their elders on a monthly basis. Visit www.jewishpavilion.org for more information.
Feel what it’s like to have dementia
Simple tasks like writing a letter, folding laundry and setting the table are incredibly complex for patients with dementia. This became self-evident to Jewish Pavilion staff and volunteers when they participated in a Virtual Dementia Workshop at Indigo Palms in July. The Jewish Pavilion will organize a second workshop for people who are interested. Call 407-678-9363 to add your name to the list. Pictured is Toby Vandemark wearing equipment for her Virtual Dementia Tour.
Disabled permits have new regulations
Blue permanent disabled parking permits have new requirements put in place by Florida lawmakers. Effective Oct. 1, any person currently issued a blue permanent disabled parking permit must renew their permit every four years. In addition, already in effect, if your blue permanent disabled parking permit is lost or stolen, a replacement will only be issued if you submit the same documentation required for renewals. The new law does not affect red temporary disabled parking permits, nor people who have disabled (wheelchair) license plates. Visit www.octaxcol.com for more information.
Have a lost seniors action plan
Senior Helpers, one of our nation’s largest in-home care companies for seniors, has launched the “Senior Lost and Found Action Plan.” It’s a checklist for families to follow if their elderly loved one gets separated or lost:
• Give your senior a smart phone and create an “If I’m Lost” folder on the home screen. In the folder, include the senior’s family and caregiver numbers, 911, a cab company phone number and the senior’s home address.
• Install a GPS tracking system on the senior’s cell phone. Make sure they have one for their car and they know how to use it.
• Make a plastic laminate card with all pertinent information in your senior’s wallet and attach it to their car visor.
• Have your senior wear an ID bracelet – they come in very fashionable designs.
For Seniors With Dementia and Alzheimer’s:
• Consider disguising the doors in your home – painting or hanging posters on the inside of doors to disguise them as bookshelves or other furniture can often deter a senior from attempting to walk out.
• Install door chimes on all entry doors – this alerts those at home whenever a door is opened. This comes in handy especially in a two-level home. Security systems also offer this type of alarm.
• Alert your local authorities of the risk of wandering – many local police stations maintain an Alzheimer’s and dementia patient “registry.” Caregivers provide personal information that would be critical in a search and rescue effort, such as name, height, weight, etc.
• Caregivers should keep a list of previous homes, occupations – this is helpful if authorities need to search for a senior. Elderly with Alzheimer’s tend to recall former homes, occupations and other milestones as though they are present day. Some seniors with dementia are wandering in attempt to “return to their roots.”
• Utilize personal tracking devices – consider buying GPS devices that seniors can wear around their ankles, wrists or even in their shoes.
To learn more about how to care for your senior loved one through the Senior Helpers’ Senior Gems Program, please visit www.seniorhelpers.com. There, you can also request a complimentary Senior Gems DVD.
Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org