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Senior Tip of the Week – Planning Your Future
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi my name is Becky and I bet if you’re like me, you want to have some control over your own future. I’ve heard it said that aging is not for sissies. In fact, it’s tough. Maybe you’re starting to forget things or you’re having trouble preparing a meal or you’ve forgotten to take your medications. There are so many things that can cause you to doubt yourself and to not feel safe. This is time to pay attention. You can decide what you want to do with your own future. Start thinking about, “What do I want to do as I get older? Do I want to live in a community with other people my age? Would I like to live in one of my children’s homes with them? Would I like to stay in my own home and have a caregiver come in and help me when I need it? These are things that are important to think about and if we’re wise, we’ll think about them before we have to make that decision. That’s the way to be a vital part of your own caregiving choices and that’s a good way to open the communication with your family. You can do it!


Senior Tip of the Week - Funeral Preplanning
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Many times when people are faced with the death of a loved one, they are really overwhelmed by how expensive it can be for them. Historically funerals have doubled in price about every 10-12 years. So when you pre-plan, you're able to lock in those prices at today's rate and keep that financial burden off your families. You can do it.


Senior Tip of the Week - Making Life Easier for Your Senior
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi I’m Casee. I’m here to give you a couple of safety tips for you and your senior. You’re gonna have your everyday glass. Our hands become weak and just don’t grip things as well when we’re older. Grab your everyday rubber bands, stick em around your glass, and that’s going to be easier to hold on to. Another tip is your furniture pads. Grab a furniture pad, stick it on your remote, on the power switch. That’s easier to feel for your on and off. You can also put some felt buttons on your volume control. As well as - these raised buttons can go on your telephone. Your mom’s gonna want to call you and even though you’re on speed dial we forget where that button is sometimes. So grab a big furniture protective pad and stick it on that speed dial. You can do it!


Senior Tip of the Week - Transfer Tips
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi I'm Sarah and I'm a registered nurse. I want to give you just a few tips on how to transfer a person who needs assistance from the sofa to a chair, or from the bed to a chair, or from a wheelchair to the commode - multiple scenarios. One of the things that's really going to help you is to get a belt. You can go out and buy a fancy transfer belt from a medical supply store or you can get a belt out of your closet. You just want to have something that doesn't stretch and you want to put it around the person's waist and be able to reach two hands underneath the belt. Put the chair and the sofa, or whatever seating arrangement is going on, at right angles butting up to one other. And with you, the assisted, you need to get a wide base of support with your feet. And you will put one foot between their feet and your other foot on their outside foot. And the wider your stance, of course, you're going to have more stability. You want to reach two hands underneath the belt and lift them to a standing position and you don't want your weight to be backwards. You want your weight to be slightly forward so if you were to fall, the fall's going to be back on the chair or the sofa. So reach under the belt, come to a standing position in your wide stance and just pivot. Just pivot. All you have to do is just pivot them, what is it that, a 90 degree turn and then gently seat them in the device or the chair in which you're moving to and make sure there's no rugs, cords, or certainly no burning candles around that could easily be knocked over in the process, but I hope that will help you with a safe and comfortable transfer. You can do it, Practice it with someone, a friend maybe, who is not so difficult to manage, and then you'll be able to do it with your loved one. Thank you so much.


Senior Safety Tips To Help Keep You Cool And Healthy In Summer
Posted By: Becky Davis

Everyone should take precautions to stay safe during the summer, especially the elderly. Even if you are healthy, the heat can cause dangerous conditions like heat stroke and hyperthermia. Here are some tips you and your family can use to stay safe and enjoy the summer!

Dress for warm weather

Protecting yourself from the rays of the sun can help you stay cool and safe. Be sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. You should also wear a hat to protect your scalp and face. Long sleeved clothing can also help, as long as it’s not too heavy.

Wear sunscreen at all times

Although this won’t help you stay cool, it will protect your skin from the sun. Most people wear lighter clothing and tend to have more exposed skin during the summer months. If you dress this way, always have sunscreen available. You can ask a family member, friend, or caregiver to help you apply sunscreen thoroughly.

Stay hydrated

It’s also very important to drink plenty of water. For senior citizens, it is especially vital because it’s more difficult for you to stay hydrated. Keep bottles or a filtered pitcher of water in the fridge so that good, refreshing water is readily available. Also, remember to pack water when going outdoors.

Talk to your doctor about medications

Some medications can actually be affected by temperature. You may find instructions for proper storage on your medication bottles. Pay attention to this, as the medicine may not be as effective in higher temperatures.

Not only can summer temps affect your medications, but they can also cause you to have adverse reactions to heat. This is because some prescriptions can cause you to sweat less or be unable to regulate your temperature. Speak with your doctor about the side effects of all your medicines to reduce the risk of overheating.

Keep cool, even indoors

It may not seem like increasing temperatures can affect you that badly while you are indoors. But, even small changes can be harmful. Using your air conditioning is one of the best ways to stay cool in the summer, but sometimes that is not an option. Here are some tips you can use if your air conditioner doesn’t do the trick or if you want to conserve that energy/expense.

  1. Use fans to move air around your home.
  2. Besides large fans, you can also use a personal fan that sprays a mist of water.
  3. Visit places that are well-ventilated or have air conditioners. This can also help you stay active.
  4. Eat something cool, like a popsicle.
  5. Avoid overexerting yourself on hot days, even if you think you are physically capable.
  6. If you exercise, be sure to do so in a well-ventilated, indoor area.
  7. Stay in contact with people. You should be open about your health and let someone know if you think you are in danger.

What are the most dangerous conditions caused by heat?

The following are two of the most dangerous conditions that can be caused by being hot for too long. Elderly people and those who do not stay hydrated are most at risk. It is important to be familiar with these to make sure you are safe this summer.

Hyperthermia

  • This term encompasses a number of conditions, all of which show that you should listen to your body and try to keep cool.
  • Heat cramps occur in your muscles when you are exercising or overworking them. Although your temperature stays the same, you should cool down if you begin to get cramps.
  • Heat syncope happens when you are out in hot temperatures, typically overworking yourself. You may feel dizzy or faint if you experience this condition. Heart medicines like beta blockers can make symptoms worse.
  • Heat exhaustion is a well-known condition that indicates your body cannot regulate your temperature. Symptoms include dizziness, thirst, nausea, and weakness. Sweating and a rapid pulse can also occur. If you think you have heat exhaustion, make sure to cool down as fast as possible.

Heat stroke

This dangerous condition requires immediate medical attention. If your air conditioner does not work or you overexert yourself, you can get heat stroke. Common symptoms include confusion, dizziness, an elevated body temperature, agitation, lack of sweat, a rapid pulse, and dry skin.

Staying fit and healthy with Bivins Pointe

If you love staying active during the summer but are concerned about your safety, you should speak with a healthcare professional. At Bivins Pointe, we understand that staying fit (and safe) is vital to your health. That’s why we offer outpatient therapy along with gym memberships at our Bfit Gym for people 55 and over. With over 3,000 square feet of space and specialized equipment for both exercise and therapy, there is something for everyone.

To learn more about the Bfit Gym, call us at (806) 350-2200or contact us by email. We also have inpatient rehabilitation and a luxury neighborhood for long-term care, as well as volunteer opportunities and events.


Senior Tip of the Week - Discussing the Future
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi, my name is Becky and I want to talk to you about how to discuss the future with your parents. The future needs of your parents are going to come. Denying them isn't going to change a thing. If you notice they're starting to forget things, misplace things, get confused about different things - it's ok to know that that's not an emergency, but it's not okay to ignore it because it is going together worse; it's just a fact of aging. So the best thing you can do is begin the talk early. Engage in a conversation with your loved one, listen to them. Take heart to what they have to say. They have opinions about their own care and many times they'll be different from yours, but still okay. so have that conversation, start it early, don't be afraid. Kind and thoughtful and honest conversations about the future will actually bring a lot of peace into your loved one's heart, and into yours too. So go ahead and start that conversation you've been avoiding. You can do it.


Senior Tip of the Week - Pre-planning a Funeral
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi, I’m Cindy. I’m going to talk to you today about preplanning a funeral. You know, preplanning a funeral is one of the last kind things that we can do for our families. When we don’t preplan, our families are faced with making many decisions, finding lots of information, and they’re under stress as they’re grieving the loss of a loved one while they’re trying to make these financial decisions. We can take that burden off of them, we can protect them from having strife when they have disagreements about what those decisions will be, by preplanning our funerals. You can do it.


The Benefits Of Choosing A Smaller Long-Term Care Community
Posted By: Becky Davis

Some long-term care facilities can feel like older people are existing there, waiting to die. When you think about this, it often makes you feel that you never want to put yourself or a relative through that experience. This is why a smaller, home-y model is becoming popular in the long-term care field.

Instead of residents being housed in rooms that are offshoots of a long and bleak corridor, this alternative layout is designed to create an environment similar to home. Residents live in private rooms in comfortable, peaceful home-y buildings with en-suite bathrooms.

The pros of living in smaller long-term care communities

Here are some of the benefits of choosing a smaller long-term care home for your loved one.

The setting can remind residents of being at home, not in a hospital

Developers and designers are focused on creating an experience for residents that is personalized and patient-focused. A facility like this appeals to those who are put off by an institutional-type environment. Features in home-y facilities include access to gardens or walkways, more sunlight, and a living room area where residents can gather and socialize. The staff will encourage residents to set up their own daily schedules with activities they enjoy.

The staff to patient ratio is better

Another benefit to this type of facility is the personalized care that residents experience from the staff. They are likely to develop a relationship with caregivers who value their needs. The environment also increases the likelihood that staff will recognize any developing health issues with a resident sooner.

Scientific data proves they are better

Studies conducted in 2007 and 2008 at Green House Project long-term care facilities have been done that show residents in smaller centers are able to take care of themselves for a longer period of time. Families of the residents report that they are happier with the environment and care in these facilities. Rates of depression are reported to be lower among residents as well. Studies have found that residents in both types of facilities have about the same rate of deterioration in their ability to perform activities of daily living but smaller facilities can help their end-of-life years be filled with more happiness and care.

Downsides

It may prove difficult to get into one of these popular facilities because they have fewer rooms and tend to be more expensive. Whether or not your loved one gets along with the other residents and caretakers will likely influence how much they enjoy their experience. The benefits of living in a smaller community, however, almost always outweigh any drawbacks!

Long-term care at Bivins Pointe

If you are looking for high-quality long-term care with exceptional service, Bivins Pointe can help. Our community will enhance your quality of life or that of a loved one. There are many opportunities for socializing in our long-term care "neighborhood", which include access to a kitchen area, a family area, and activities. Private rooms are 350-square feet and include a large individual bath and a computer workspace with wireless capability. Transportation is provided to and from appointments with medical professionals. Our facility is private-pay.

If you are interested in learning more about our luxury long-term care, our excellent in-patient rehab, our out-patient rehab using the Bfit gym, our events, or our current volunteer opportunities, give us a call today. You can reach us at 806-350-2200 or contact us by email to learn more. You can also come by for a tour of Bivins Pointe at 6600 Killgore Drive in Amarillo, Texas.


Senior Tip of the Week - Memory Loss and Mood Swings
Posted By: Becky Davis
  Hello, my name is Sarah and I'm a registered nurse. I wanted to talk to you today about two things that are going to occur as people age. Those two things are memory loss and mood swings, the two m's. Memory loss is going to occur but you will find that with the elderly, they may not remember where they put their reading glasses five minutes ago and certainly not what they ate the last meal, but they can recall events from 50 years ago or more. And it's very important that we listen to them and acknowledge their life experiences. My grandparents lived from 1900 to, one grandmother til 2006. Not that many years of course, the year 2006. They were so full of life experiences. They had lived happy times, exciting times and certainly through a lot of grief and loss. Their memories are so precious to me. One of the best things you can do is actually write those things down and re-recite them and that helps them to feel value and worth even in their later years. The last thing is mood swings. Expect mood swings in the aging process. That is very normal and sometimes you may see a parent that you have loved who is going through maybe more frustration and anger. Anger comes with frustration as they go through sensory deprivation and physical changes in their bodies. They’re probably more frustrated than you are over these things occurring. And so, be patient with them as they go through those mood swings and again just listening and having compassion and slowing down will be very helpful to them. You can do this! Aging is a wonderful process and let’s not let it slip by without giving recognition and worth to people no matter what stage they are in life.

Senior Tip of the Week - Supporting the Caregiver
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi, my name is Becky and I want to talk to you about caregiver support. You know a lot of families don't live as close together as they used to. For instance my sister lives 350 miles away, my brother lives 520 miles away, and I live in the same town as our mom. So logically most of the caregiving responsibilities fall towards me. When your family is like that, and you have one person providing the bulk of the caregiving, the best thing the rest of the family can do is to kind of create a caregiver support group. You can provide encouragement, support and respite when it's needed. I remember one day I got a card in the mail from my sister. when I opened it a gift card fell out with a note attached that said "Becky, I'm so appreciative of the good care you take of our mom. Thank you so much for taking all of this responsibility. We love you." I can't tell you how good that felt. The best thing to do is to pull together as a family and do the right thing for, not only each other, but for that caregiver and for your parent. When a family comes together to do the right thing, it's the best gift ever. You can do this!


Senior Tip of the Week - Relationship Building Activities
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi I'm Casee. I'm going to give you an activity you can do with your senior. Today we're going to talk about an indoor window sill garden. So, I chose succulents this time. What you're going to need first is a Mason jar, some pebbles and some potting soil. So go ahead and put your pebbles in first, then your potting soil. Grab your succulent, stick it up on top. You're going to want to put it in a container that's got a handle so that you can easily transfer from your window sill to your countertops, your sink. If you've got the time, I would plant an herb garden. That way your senior can taste, feel and touch this creation with you. Just remember that whatever you do try with your senior, your relationship is constantly changing so give yourself a break, and a little bit of grace, and keep trying new things letting this relationship grow into something new all the time. You can do it!


5 Tips That Can Help You Plan For Long-Term Care
Posted By: Becky Davis

Many avoid thinking about the day when they can no longer take care of themselves, or when a loved one is not able to live on their own anymore. Statistics show that 70% of the population will need some kind of long-term care once they have reached the "golden years." Long-term care can include assistance with daily routines, such as using the bathroom, eating, dressing, bathing, or walking.

Waiting to plan until you or your loved need this kind of support opens you up to greater challenges and the possibility of making major mistakes. The time you spend planning, researching, and preparing will pay off if the day comes that you or your loved one needs long-term care. The following are some things you may not have considered when it comes to planning for elder care.

Be careful what you promise to an elderly family member

Older loved ones may ask their family to avoid putting them in a long-term care home. This can be a difficult conversation. If you promise them you “will never put them in a nursing home”, you may be denying them the vital healthcare that they need. It will likely make it much harder emotionally for you to make a good decision.

Educate yourself early

Long-term care facilities have evolved over the years and now include skilled nursing, activities, and other benefits. It is best to start planning as soon as possible to know what would be a good fit for your family.

Depending on the level of need, there are many options available. Assisted living, independent living, and long-term care facilities as well as home health services, day care for adults, and hospice care are some choices that are available. They offer different levels of care for you to choose from based on your needs. Learning the benefits that each provides can help you to be better prepared for the future. Some people require more specialized care, like those who have Alzheimer's or dementia. An assisted living community may be a good choice if it offers specialization in memory care.

Find out what is available locally

The federal government offers many online resources for checking the scores of long-term care facilities. But, you should not rely solely on internet research. Set up appointments and visit the facilities which are available to you on a local basis. Finding places that are close to you or your loved one will help you stay connected.

Plan ahead based on health

Near the end of life, many people will be faced with questions about medical care. If you or your loved one are not capable of making decisions about health and living arrangements, someone else will have to make them. Your wishes should be communicated to loved ones and written down in a document like an advance directive. This will help everyone plan the type of care you or your loved one will need.

Planning financially is just as important. Knowing that you can afford long-term care will make the transition period easier. It is best to understand your insurance and every form of income you have to begin planning for care. Long-term care insurance is very beneficial and the earlier you purchase the policy, the more affordable it is.

Be sensitive towards all healthcare needs

The elderly often begin to worry as they age and have an increasing need for healthcare. Most older people want to stay in their homes and remain independent. They also hope to maintain good health and receive the care they need for the medical issues they currently have. They like to have a plan in place so that they will have money for everyday expenses. The need for long-term care can drastically remove the security that an elderly loved one has in these areas.

It is important to be sensitive to their needs and concerns. If they require a higher level of care, it’s helpful for you to consider their wants and needs and to remember that their health comes first. Moving to a long-term care facility can be daunting, but if it means a healthier and happier life, it can be a huge benefit.

Long-term care in Amarillo

If you would like to learn more about long-term care, the professionals at Bivins Pointe in Amarillo, Texas can help. We offer a variety of amenities, and events, skilled nursing, and rehab, as well as outpatient services at the Bfit Gym. Call 806-350-2200 or contact us by email for more information about our services. We would be happy to answer any of your questions and address your concerns. You can also visit our location at 6600 Killgore Dr. in Amarillo, Texas for a tour of our facilities.

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Senior Tip of the Week - Thoughtful Decision Guide
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi there. My name is Cindy. I'm going to talk to you today about pre-planning your funeral. It doesn't have to be a big stressful thing, you don't have to worry about it. You simply call the funeral home of your choice, invite a funeral consultant to your home, or go to meet them at their office. Fill out something as simple as this Thoughtful Decision Guide. They'll ask you questions about your life, you'll take a trip down Memory Lane, talk about your hobbies, your interests and the special things that have happened in your family. By doing this, you will save your family so much stress and worry about coming up with vital information at the time that they're grieving the loss of a loved one. You can do it!


Essential Tips For Choosing The Best Long-Term Care Facility
Posted By: Becky Davis

When it comes time to choose senior living for you or your family member, choices can be tough to make. Many seniors must move into a facility that is able to provide them with both quality of life and safety. There are many factors to consider when you are looking for a long-term care facility. You should make a record of your needs, or those of a loved one who needs this type of service. Research your options and visit the places you’re interested in before you make a commitment.

Make a list of needs

Begin with a list of personalized needs for you or a loved one. Consider the immediate needs and potential needs for the future. These may include help with dressing, eating, getting in and out of bed, bathing, remembering medications, using the restroom, and cleaning.

There are other factors to consider besides daily needs. The level of care required may change in the future. Can the facility you are considering handle that kind of change? Can the long-term care facility manage if you, or a loved one, has a specialized need? It’s helpful to consider residential life and any activities that are offered as well.

Research long-term care facilities near you

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to admit yourself or a loved one into a facility without doing some research about it. Public information is available from many online sources regarding the ranking of nursing homes and long-term care facilities. You can also find helpful reviews and testimonials online.

Think carefully about the location you choose. Sometimes it is hard to balance good care with the need to be close to family for convenient visits. If dementia or other conditions need to be considered, ask the facilities you consider about if and how this specialized care would be provided.

Staff information should be high on your list of research. Things you can ask include the staff to patient ratio and how much time staff members spend with each resident during the day. You can also ask about employee turnover rates. Health issues are a top priority too. You should ask questions about how the facility prevents pressure sores and infections, and how they maintain overall safety.

Ask about extra features and amenities

You or a loved one may have an expectation of what a long-term facility will be like, but you should ask about their amenities. If you are fairly independent, there may be private rooms available and setups which give a measure of independence with the option to increase care when it is needed. Ask specific questions about furnishings and other things that are provided or encouraged for residents to bring when they move in.

Activities should be provided at the facility you choose, they help residents thrive mentally and emotionally. Shopping trips for those who can manage it or local trips that include a small measure of exercise are great for seniors. For those who cannot manage this level of activity, there are facilities that provide sedentary activities and in-house events.

You should ask about meals and how the long-term care facility will meet the dietary needs and wants of you or your loved one. Some facilities only serve the basics, while others will provide healthy and beautiful meals to their residents.

Visit each facility

One last thing, which is time-consuming but essential, is to visit each the facilities you are considering and go through your checklist of needs. Be thorough and ask questions whenever you can. Get referrals and check the health scores of the facility. Doing your homework is worth it to have the confidence that you have chosen the right long-term care facility for you or your family member.

Long-term care in Amarillo, Tx

If you or your loved one need Long-Term Care in Amarillo, contact Bivins Pointe today. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about our services and Amenities. For more information about us and our facility, call (806) 350-2200 or contact us by email. You are welcome to visit our location at 6600 Killgore Dr. in Amarillo, Texas for a tour and to see how our caring Team can help you.

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The Sandwich Generation
Posted By: Becky Davis

One day a few years ago I picked my mom up to take her to Walmart. I helped her get into the passenger seat of my car. Then I folded up her walker and opened the back door to put it in. It was then that I noticed the car seat buckled onto the back seat. I had a revelation at that moment. I thought to myself, “This is why I’m so tired!”

I’m in what they call the sandwich generation. I’m caring for my grandchildren (at every single opportunity) and my parent(s).

It hadn’t been too long ago that I helped my mom pack up the home that she and Daddy had lived in for the previous 50+ years. My dad sat and said, with every article we showed him, “There’s nothing wrong with that!” or “No, I want to keep that!” or “No, we’re not getting rid of that!” He couldn’t even part with a Southwest Airlines necktie that a pilot had given to him many years before.

Mom and I decided that it might be a good week for him to go visit my sister and her family in Midlothian.

Mom and Dad had decided that it was time to downsize, to move to a more manageable place. They had long talked about moving to an independent living facility where my grandmother used to live. She loved it there and Mom and Dad were looking forward to living there someday. But Mom wasn’t ready to stop cooking and cleaning (can you imagine??). Daddy’s dementia was progressing and she needed help but she just wasn’t quite ready to give up anything else.

We finished packing up the house and had a garage sale. Then she hired some movers and I helped her move them into a 2-bedroom apartment.

I have a sister and a brother but neither of them live close. My dad was spending time at my sister’s (which was a lifesaver for us with the move) and my brother had just started a new job. So I was pretty much on my own, with help from my immediate family here in town. I’m not going to lie, it was really hard. And I wasn’t sure it was the right move.

That’s how it is when parents age. Sometimes you may think you know what is best for them, but if they’re independent and can think for themselves – they get to choose. And it’s right, they should be able to choose. It’s their life. Although my dad had dementia, my mom was very much of sound mind – still is.

Learning how to navigate the relationship with our parents as they age can be tricky. It’s not unlike when you have your first child. There are no rules and the dynamics of every relationship are different. I did read a book called Loving Your Parents by Terry Hargrave that was super helpful.

After 4 months in the 2-bedroom apartment, I moved my parents again. Into the independent living facility that my grandmother had lived in. They loved it there! I think it was everything they’d hoped for, but weren’t sure they were ready until they got there. It was good that they moved there together. When Daddy died a year or so later, the residents were so supportive of Mom. She was among friends, some new and some she’d known for years, and we kids knew that she was in good hands.

Would it have been best for them to move to the independent living facility from their home? Yes, probably. Was it hard to move them twice in 4 months? Absolutely. Did they have the right, and freedom, to choose for themselves? Without a doubt.

Becky Davis
Director of Marketing and Admissions
Bivins Pointe


Fun Summer Activities For Your Senior Family Member
Posted By: Becky Davis

When the summer months reach higher temperatures, it can be difficult for seniors to find ways to stay active. Staying active is vital in keeping their minds sharp, their spirits up, and their bodies in good shape. The following are several activities you can turn to that will help improve memory and maintain general cognitive function during the summer months.

Play a game

Games are one of the simplest ways to stay busy and active during the summer months, especially if it’s too hot to go outside. There are an endless number of board games to choose from, like Scrabble, checkers, chess, and backgammon. Charades is a good way to introduce exercise and is a great way to engage a larger crowd.

Card games can also bring hours of entertainment, and are a portable alternative you can take anywhere. Consider poker, blackjack, gin rummy, and spades. If you’re lacking an opponent, solitaire is a good option. There are also games you can play with only a pen and paper, such as hangman and tic-tac-toe. There are puzzle books made for crosswords, sudoku, and word searches that can be used on rainy days as well.

Get crafty

When you have no choice but to stay near the air-conditioning, get creative. Crafts are an excellent activity for seniors because they can give them new skills and keep them challenged mentally. You can try painting, knitting, sewing, scrapbooking, or even woodworking.

One soothing way to do crafts is to make art to music. Bring out some paper and artistic tools of any kind, including paints, chalk pastels, and even crayons, and turn on some music. There is no wrong way to create art, especially when listening to music.

Provided it is cool enough, you can also take arts and crafts outdoors. Maybe you know an experienced artist, or someone you can hire, to come over and lead an outdoor painting class. You can also set up a painting corner in your own garden or take a field trip to a more scenic area.

Get some exercise

Summer is the best time to get out and try new physical activities. Exercise is key for people of all ages, but especially for seniors because it can be difficult for them to stay moving. If temperatures are too high, you can take your family member to the pool for some swimming or water aerobics. This activity is gentle on aging joints. You could also consider yoga, dancing classes, or joining a league for a sport they enjoy.

If those activities require too much movement, try simply taking a trip to get them out. Many towns have local events that pass through during the summer where you can take your family. You could take them to the movies, or on a walk through the local zoo. Fairs are also good opportunities for exercise and fresh air, and provide the chance for new and exciting experiences, like experimenting with food trucks.

Photograph activities

One thing that almost always lifts the spirits of seniors is going through old photographs. Bring out an old photo album and talk about the past, encouraging your elderly loved one to share their memories about each photo. If you have a bunch of pictures that are unorganized, you could ask them to help you put them into photo albums. You can also turn the process into an opportunity for scrapbooking projects.

Spend time at home

Sometimes the easiest way to beat the heat is to stay home and get some work done around the house. Encourage seniors to declutter unneeded possessions that no longer bring them joy. Redecorating is another fun way to stay active, keeping seniors engaged while they refresh their surroundings. See if there are any minor home repairs that they can perform or help with. Many times, the simple feeling of accomplishing something can raise a senior’s spirits.

To learn more about activities that you and your senior loved one can do, contact Bivins Pointe in Amarillo, Texas today. You can call us at 806-350-2200 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our Events and our Rehab and Recovery Services. You can also find out more about the Bfit Gym, our first-rate Amenities, and current Volunteering Opportunities. Visit us in person at 6600 Killgore Dr in Amarillo, TX to Tour our facility and see how we can help you or your loved one.


Pointe Personalities: Meet Joan Parker
Posted By: Becky Davis

Nowata might sound like a dusty ghost town in rural America, but it’s actually a thriving oil and gas community near Tulsa, Oklahoma. In the early 1900s, it became known as the world’s largest shallow oil field. Nowata means “welcome” in Delaware Indian, quite the opposite from the legend of a traveler who happened upon a dried-up spring and posted "No Wata" as a warning to others.

It’s the small town where Joan Parker grew up, where her daddy worked in the oil fields before eventually becoming a banker.  It’s also where Joan learned about resilience and courage, both valuable traits that would serve her well throughout her life. 

“I never was afraid of much of anything,” Joan says.  “I think my dad taught me that.  Mom was a worrier but Dad never did worry about much of anything.”

Joan’s dad believed in keeping up with the times, so he bought a new car every other year.  Their home was the first in town to have a dishwasher, but the last to have a dryer.  The weekly wash flapped in the summer breeze on an outdoor clothesline, and dripped dry in the basement during the winter months.

They lived across the road from a nine-hole golf course, so Joan taught herself to play.  “I would go across the road and tee off on number six,” she said.  “I always had golf clubs. They may not have been the right ones, but I had a few and that’s all I needed.”

After high school, Joan earned a degree in history from The University of Oklahoma and started her teaching career.  “At that time, a woman could be a nurse, secretary, or teacher.  So I decided to be a teacher,” she explains.

Following a fast romance she married Dick Parker, a petroleum geologist she met through mutual friends in Midland, Texas.  He was transferred to Amarillo six months after the wedding, but she stayed in Midland to finish the school year before joining him.  They spent 11 years in Amarillo where she taught at Horace Mann, eventually moving to Perryton to raise their three sons.

Joan loved volunteering with organizations like United Way, Senior Citizens, Camp Fire Girls, the hospital auxiliary, Perryton Club, the Beehive Day Care Center, and the Presbyterian church. Teaching adult Sunday school was one of her favorite things, along with baking for various events.  “I was the cookie queen of Perryton,” she says with a grin.  “I gave myself that title.” 

Being a mom to three sons was wonderful – it was just what Joan wanted.  The first two boys – Tim and Hugh – joined their family through adoption.  Then Rob came along, and the family was complete.   

Today, her son Tim is an OB/GYN in Denison, Texas; he and his wife, Melinda, have three children.  Rob is a banker in Amarillo; he and his wife, Mary, have three children.  Hugh passed away in 2016, leaving behind two children and two grandchildren.

Life handed Joan her most significant loss in 2014, when her husband, Dick, passed away.   Faith has always been a big part of her life, and it has given her peace and comfort during the difficult times. 

Now a long-term resident of Bivins Pointe, Joan enthusiastically participates in the faith-related activities offered, including church services on Sundays and Bible chats three times a week.  She also looks forward to playing bingo and farkle, and would love to find some experienced bridge partners.

When her family takes her out for a meal, you can bet on one thing: she’ll order a filet steak, rare.  “I love rare beef,” she says.  “Daddy always said that mom cooked the hell out of meat.  I never liked it that way. I was always good at cooking rump roast, arm roast, really any kind of roast.”

Desserts are also a favorite of Joan’s, especially dark chocolate.  And if key lime pie is on the menu, “I’ll eat mine and someone else’s,” she jokes. 

So if you’re ever in the neighborhood with an extra bag of chocolates, stop by and say hello to Joan.  She’s a great conversationalist, especially on topics she is passionate about like sports, classical music, travel, and history.  And if you’re a bridge player, she really wants to talk to you – but only if you’re an experienced player.  She may be a teacher, but she has to draw the line somewhere. 

By Kelli Bullard


Community Connection: Happy at Home
Posted By: Becky Davis

Happy at Home: Support and Resources Are Available

“I’m not sure how much longer Mom will be able to live on her own.”  Have you ever voiced a concern like this?  Maybe it was about your grandmother, an uncle, or a close family friend.  There are many factors that affect a senior adult’s ability to remain independent, and sometimes family members just don’t feel like they have all the answers they need. Emotions can cloud their judgment, making it difficult to maintain an objective viewpoint. 

For residents of Amarillo and the surrounding area, there is an agency that’s here to help. The Area Agency on Aging of the Panhandle serves as the advocate for the older population living in the 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle. With a mission of promoting dignity, independence, and quality of life for older people, the AAA offers a range of comprehensive and coordinated programs for individuals age 60 and older. These services are designed to benefit senior adults as well as their caregivers. 

Eligible participants can take advantage of many valuable programs, such as:

  1. Congregate and home-delivered meals produced by Bivins Culinary Center
  2. Social interaction and educational experiences at Jan Werner Adult Day Care’s state-of-the-art campus
  3. Transportation to appointments, grocery store, pharmacy, etc.
  4. Minor home repairs and modifications, such as wheelchair ramps, through a partnership with the Texas Ramp Project
  5. Light housekeeping or assistance with personal care, such as bathing
  6. Legal assistance/representation and benefits counseling to help navigate questions about Medicare, prescription drug plans, supplemental insurance plans, Social Security, and more
  7. Advocacy for those in long-term care or assisted living, through the development of positive relationships to aid in resolution of complaints or concerns

Of primary importance is the care of the individual, and the Area Agency on Aging has been on the cutting edge of these efforts in the Texas Panhandle for more than two decades.

Thanks to the Older Americans Act of 1965, funding has been available for critical services that keep older adults healthy and independent – services like meals, job training, senior centers, health promotion, benefits enrollment, caregiver support, transportation, and more.  United Way is also a provider of funding for AAA services, along with other state and local sources.

The best part of these services provided by the Area Agency on Aging?  They’re available at no cost to the individual.

 “Services are paid for by tax dollars, so it’s there for senior adults and caregivers to take advantage of,” says Jaime Sharp, AAA caregiver program specialist.

The first step is to call the Area Agency on Aging at 806.331.2227.  Callers will be directed to an intake referral specialist who will direct them to the appropriate resources or refer them to a representative for the program they need.

Caregivers are also encouraged to take advantage of the programs available to them, including respite care, support groups, caregiver conferences, a quarterly lunch and learn, and a resource library in Amarillo and in several rural communities.

For anyone who is contemplating the care of a loved one who is entering their golden years, take heart in knowing that there are answers available – and these answers come from those with a wealth of knowledge and experience. You want your loved one to maintain their dignity and an excellent quality of life, and that desire is shared by the people at the Area Agency on Aging. 

By Kelli Bullard


Guest Blog: 5 Creative Ways to Keep Senior Minds Sharp & Active
Posted By: Becky Davis

5 Creative Ways to Keep Senior Minds Sharp & Active

Aging not only brings about a lot of physical changes, but mental ones, too. Case in point, the 
World Health Organization posits that around 15% of adults aged 60 and up suffer from one cognitive disease or another. And while some of these changes are inevitable due to age, there are certainly a few things you can do that'll keep you and your loved ones mentally fit. Read on for 5 tips to keep a senior's mind sharp and active!

Listen to Classical Music


People have long linked classical music to cognitive functions. 
An experiment conducted by psychologists at Northumbria University have found that classical music, specifically Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, can enhance mental alertness and memory. Participants in the experiment reportedly performed better in cognitive tests, which required mental-concentration, when listening to Vivaldi's piece. What's more interesting is the most obvious increase in performance happened during the Spring concerto, which exhibits a more spry sound, as compared to the more somber Autumn concerto.

Continued Studies


 Researchers from the University of California have found that adults can get over the negative effects of cognitive aging through continuous learning. This is a big finding, as more and more seniors across America have gone back to the classroom in their golden years, either to pursue previously unexplored passions or to finish degrees they never got to complete in their youth. These days, not only do they have the time and resources to pursue a degree, but there are also more options now for avid learners of all ages. Maryville University’s guide to traditional versus online degrees points out that the two differ mostly in terms of distance and scheduling. If your retired loved one is looking to enroll in a traditional school, then it’s important to keep in mind how far their prospective university is from their homes, and what time of day their classes will be held. On the other hand, seniors with mobility issues may also consider taking the online option, which lets them learn more about their chosen topics from the comforts of their home. What’s more, here in Texas, seniors can even attend up to six hours of undergraduate or graduate courses from public universities for free if they request for the exemption.

Sleep


Sleep isn't just a period of recovery for our bodies, as it's also the time our brains process everything that happened within the day. And while many adults sleep a lot less than they did in their youth due to work and other responsibilities, seniors and older adults cannot afford to do the same. That's because they have a difficult time forming memories compared to younger people. This means people that are a little more advanced in age need to adhere to a strict 8-hour sleeping schedule to maintain their cognitive functions.

Play Games and Puzzles

University of Konstanz's research on chess has found the game to be a great memory exercise. Chess incentivizes players to memorize thousands of possible moves (along with the optimal counter-moves), thereby providing our brains with the necessary activity to keep them sharp. Other puzzle games such as Sudoku have also been known to help individuals remain mentally active — in some cases even warding off the onset of cognitive impairments.

Exercise



Physical exercise is also linked to your mental capacities. 
Professors from the kinesiology department at the University of Illinois have found that people who exercised regularly tended to fare better in cognitive tasks than those who didn't. Individuals who exercised on a regular basis were also observed to exhibit greater mental focus. While this option may be a little harder for those advanced in age, simply walking in the morning will suffice.

 

Article specially written for bivinspointe.org

By Bianca Adkins