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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!


The Benefits Of Exercising For Seniors (And Some Helpful Tips)
Posted By: Becky Davis

For seniors, staying active is important for overall health. Most people exercise to lose weight or bulk up, but fitness offers many health benefits that aren’t visible, including the following.

Exercise and Disability or Illness

It is common to experience a decline in health as one ages. Exercise can help prevent certain illnesses and disabilities, at least for a time. If you already have a diagnosis of a medical condition, exercising can help you manage the symptoms and even improve. Diabetes, arthritis, and high blood pressure are some of the most common conditions that can be helped by exercise.

Exercising and Your Brain

Staying active will help your brain stay fit, as well as your body. Exercising is known to help decrease the chances of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. Taking the time to jog or walk can help your brain stay active, help with memory, and increase your creative skills. Physical exercise can even help you avoid depression.

Anyone can Exercise

You don’t have to be able to lift 100 pounds or run a marathon to get the benefits of an exercise routine. Low-impact exercises are great for seniors because they increase flexibility, muscle strength, balance, and stamina. Some of the best low-impact exercises for seniors include walking, Pilates, Tai Chi, swimming, yoga, and indoor cycling.

Exercising Tips

Physical activity will begin to affect you differently as you age, especially after 50. If you aren’t aware of those changes, you could end up injuring yourself. The rules of fitness will change and you will benefit from following those new recommendations.

The Important Warm-Up

Warming up before a workout is vital as it can raise your heart rate, prepare your muscles, and increase circulation. It will also increase the elasticity of your tendons. Be sure to warm up the muscles you are going to use for a specific exercise, or perform some light cardio, beforehand.

Stretching

When you were younger, you may have stretched a few times a week before or after workouts. When you are older, stretching becomes more of a necessity. It is important to maintain flexibility by stretching after exercising. A total body stretch two or three times a week is also beneficial.

From Cardio to Resistance Training

After the age of 50, your muscle mass and bone density decrease. Although cardio and strength training are important, it’s helpful to also focus on your muscles and bones. A complete exercise routine includes both.

Interval Training is Valuable

Cardio helps with burning fat as well as keeping your heart healthy. Rather than doing cardio exercises for a long period of time, try interval training. This involves doing more intense exercises with rest periods in between.

Your Changing Workout Schedule

For younger people, it may only take a day to recover from exercise. Many people even choose to switch workouts out each day. They may focus on legs one day and arms the next. But if you are 50 or older, your recovery time will increase. This is because your muscles and tissues need more time to recover. The time you take between exercising will depend on your health and comfort levels.

Talk to Your Doctor First

If you are not already active, you should speak with a physician before beginning to exercise. If you have heart disease, joint conditions, cancer, heart issues, and other health conditions, it is very important to talk to your doctor.

  • The following may be indicators of serious health problems that can become worse with activity.
  • Shortness of breath or dizziness when performing daily activities like getting out of bed or walking
  • Pain in your chest, neck, jaw, or arms when at rest or exercising
  • Swelling in the extremities, especially during the night
  • A rapid heartbeat or a known heart murmur

The Benefits of a Gym Membership

Many people get their best workouts in a professional facility. Gyms are popular throughout the country, so there are plenty to choose from. Most have updated equipment, fun classes, and trainers to keep you on track. But, not every gym is tailored to seniors.

The Bift Gym in Amarillo, Texas

The Bfit Gym in Amarillo was created for outpatient rehabilitation and seniors who want to stay in shape. Staff are friendly, professional, and experienced, as well as focused on each member. If you are 55 or over, and have graduated from our outpatient therapy program, our relaxed environment will tempt you to sign up for a gym membership that you will actually keep.

To learn more about outpatient therapy at Bift, contact Bivins Pointe today. You can reach us at (806) 350-2200 or email us for more information. We offer inpatient rehabilitation and a luxury neighborhood for long-term care as well!

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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 - Exercising at Home
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi, I'm Jessica and I wanted to share a few tips on how to stay healthy and do light duty exercises at home. If you have a can or a light object, you can do different range of motion with your arms. You can do marching in place with your legs, ankle pumps. If you need more information we have handouts available on our website or you can give us a call at Bivins Pointe (806.350.2200). You can do it! Upper Body Exercises Lower Body Exercises Laying Down Exercises


Senior Tip Of The Week: At Home Yoga Exercises
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

I’m Tammy and I’m going to show you a few yoga moves that can easily be done from a wheelchair, a chair, or a bed. We’re going to start with a cow pose. Just simply lift your chin, stretch that neck. A cat pose: put your chin into your chest, stretch the spine. Release the head from side to side, and release any tension in your neck. Relax those shoulders. Inhale deep breaths with each move. We’re going to do a side stretch, stretch the hips, and to the other side. And there you go! You can do it!


How To Prepare Your Loved One For Rehabilitation After Surgery
Posted By: Becky Davis

There are many things to think about when you prepare your loved one to transition from the hospital to home. They may have suffered an injury or have a condition which will require rehabilitation therapy. If so, you need to know how you can help them through the rehab process. Here are some guidelines you can follow if your family member needs rehabilitation after surgery.

Transferring from the hospital to the rehabilitation facility

The case managers at the hospital and at the rehab facility will be your best contacts for a smooth transition. They are great at communicating with you and working out all the details with each other. They are good listeners and can navigate the move with care and expertise.

One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your loved one is to communicate with the staff at the rehab facility throughout your stay there. Regular visits by you and other family members enhance their progress and cheer their spirits. You can meet with some of the healthcare providers, nurses, and physicians on your visits as well. Many offer regular care plan meetings where family can get updated progress reports and work out the details of a good discharge plan.

Talk with their doctor or discharge planner about preparing any in-home care that is needed. Sometimes it’s an advantage for someone to help them at home during their rehabilitation after surgery. You will need a clear-cut plan for their care and the costs involved, and most importantly, a successful transition home.

Planning financially

Medicare costs are something you should research because unless there are extenuating circumstances, Medicare does not cover a long-term stay in a post-surgery rehab facility. You have three choices to consider if the patient's short-term Medicare approval expires. First, see if the doctor will examine them and help you with the application for an extension of benefits. Second, you have the option of paying out of pocket for the costs not covered. Finally, you can prepare for professional home care before the patient is discharged.

Developing a care plan

The team at the rehabilitation facility should meet with you shortly after your loved one is admitted to the program. An initial care plan meeting, especially if your loved one has a limited ability to communicate, is helpful for everyone. The purpose of this meeting and the creation of the plan is to answer your questions and help you determine expectations. You will also learn how you can help with the recovery process. Discharge planning may also be a part of this meeting so that you have a roadmap to guide your family member back to independence.

Going home and to outpatient rehabilitation

Your loved one may have some difficulty once they are able to return home. If they have a caregiver to help them at home, simply having an extra person may cause some stress. Make sure that there are no personality conflicts between your loved one and the caregiver. Work with them to determine any areas of risk, like rugs, transitions from room to room, and the access to bathrooms and kitchen. If possible, do this before your loved one returns home.

Make sure that you and other family members visit frequently so that your family member feels loved and that you are there for them. Finally, you should help them prepare for outpatient care at the rehabilitation center if it is prescribed. This can be easier on them than inpatient rehabilitation.

Know what your loved one can bring to post-surgery rehabilitation

When your family member is admitted to a rehab center, and before each outpatient appointment, make sure they have the following items.

  • Their identification or driver's license
  • Insurance cards
  • Eyeglasses
  • Hearing aids
  • A robe
  • Comfortable fitting clothes or pajamas
  • Socks
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Comfortable shoes with a non skid sole

To learn more about rehabilitation after surgery, please contact Bivins Pointe in Amarillo, Texas. We have many Amenities, events, volunteer opportunities, and the Bfit Gym. Contact us via email or give us a call at 806-350-2200 for more information. If you would like to visit us in person, our address is 6600 Killgore Dr. in Amarillo, Texas. We are ready to show you how we can help you and your family.


Who Usually Needs Long-Term Care Services And What Are They?
Posted By: Becky Davis

Those who cannot perform daily tasks anymore usually seek long-term care services, also known as nursing care. Normal aging, disease or disability can cause someone to need this type of support. Long-term care is not rehabilitation or treatment for you or your loved one to gain independence, but it is a vital service. It provides a way to help you or your loved one live their fullest life under the circumstances. It often provides a level of support to the family that allows them to better love their long-term care resident. If you are not sure if long-term care is right for you or your family member, understanding what this service is and who it benefits can help.

Who needs long-term care?

People of any age can need this service, but it is often considered for the elderly. This is because people lose the ability to perform activities of daily living as they age. If you struggle with daily functions, long-term care can benefit you. These activities include:

  • Bathing: Getting into or out of a bathtub or shower and washing your hair and body
  • Dressing: Putting on or taking off essential clothing
  • Continence: Having control of bladder/bowel function as well as associated personal hygiene
  • Toileting: Getting to, on and off the toilet; maintaining related personal hygiene
  • Transferring: Getting into or out of bed, chairs or wheelchairs
  • Eating: Feeding yourself using utensils and containers or medical systems

The older you are, the more likely you are to need nursing care. Those who have cognitive impairments may need specialized help as well. Because women tend to live longer than men, they will be more likely to receive long-term care. If you have debilitating conditions like Parkinson’s disease or movement issues, you can benefit from this service.

Who provides long-term services?

Many people receive long-term care at home by certified caregivers, but this is not an option for everyone. When these services are coming from friends or family members, the care cannot be monitored by a home health agency. This means that you or your loved one may not be receiving the best services possible. The same can be true of assisted living facilities or adult day-care centers because they are sometimes not staffed or equipped properly. Family members who offer long-term care to their loved ones are often exhausted and discouraged, making it hard to enjoy the time spent with them.

Facilities that offer long-term care are the best equipped to handle the needs of those who cannot live alone. Long-term care facilities sometimes offer this service alongside skilled nursing, which is meant for those with medical issues. There are facilities that specifically take care of those with Alzheimer’s or dementia as well.

Amenities at long-term care facilities

It can be difficult to choose the right long-term care facility for your loved one. There is a stigma that facilities focused on care for the elderly are low-quality and dangerous. But this isn't true. There are many places that offer safe, comfortable senior living. Some provide shared living quarters while others have private rooms in household environments with a kitchen, activity areas, and more. You can find other amenities and services in these facilities including the following.

  • Meals prepared by a chef
  • Customized and 24 hour care
  • Areas for families to visit
  • Activities and events
  • Workspaces
  • Transportation
  • Gym services
  • Television and internet
  • Religious services
  • Spa treatments
 

Long-term care services in Amarillo, Texas

If you or your loved one would like to learn more about long-term care services at Bivins Pointe in Amarillo, we would love to visit with you. We have large, comfortable private rooms with many amenities. Call us at (806) 350-2200 or contact us by email for more information. You can visit our facilities for a tour anytime at 6600 Killgore Dr. Come see how our caring team can help you and your family.


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


Post-surgery Physical Therapy: Benefits And Tips To Help You Heal
Posted By: Becky Davis

After surgery, physical therapy helps you manage the symptoms of pain and limited mobility. A physical therapist is trained to evaluate and treat problems with the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems of your body.

A trained rehabilitation therapist might perform massage, direct you in a regular exercise pattern, or use electrical stimulation to treat your pain. They want to help you recover from surgery or injury, while preventing you from causing additional damage.

Who can benefit from physical rehabilitation therapy?

People with a wide variety of conditions may be prescribed physical therapy. An athlete might need to see a physical therapist to help them get over an injury. Chronic conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, may also be helped by physical therapy. A person with this diagnosis can maintain balance and motor function through PT. Those with skeletal injuries, elderly persons, and others benefit from rehabilitation therapy when pain relief and mobility become difficult.

The benefits of physical therapy after surgery

You will see many benefits when you are prescribed physical exercise and therapy after your surgery. It might frighten you to think about moving your body after you have had a medical procedure. But you can build up stamina and energy by exercise, improving your mood and retraining your body.

Private gym access may be a good idea for you or a loved one as you recover from surgery. When you research rehabilitation facilities, look for this feature. Check out the staff to make sure they are knowledgeable and experienced in working with your doctor’s plans. In addition, they should be able to create their own fitness and care plans for you and your unique situation.

Overall healing

Although rehabilitation therapy after surgery may seem scary, you will actually need this to heal. Stretching, muscle strengthening and core exercises can help you recover range of motion, balance and strength. Your therapist will focus on the areas you need help with most, and ensure that you do not do any damage to the area where the surgery was performed.

Reduction of scar tissue

You may have scar tissue from an injury or surgery. It is painful to break up this material, but it can be successfully done with the direction of your doctor and a rehabilitation center. Scar tissue can be prevented after surgery with proper exercise and special kinds of therapy performed by a physical therapist.

Tools and techniques used in physical rehabilitation therapy

After surgery, you or a loved one might need help to improve muscle conditioning, range of movement, or strength. It is vital that you see a well trained physical therapist for help with this rehabilitation. This should help you with pain management, avoid future injury, perform daily living tasks, and even re-learn how to move your body. All of this can be done through the expertise of a physical therapist.

Electrical stimulation therapy

Often, a physical therapist will use a machine that is connected to sensors and wires to treat your muscles and tissues with electricity. The therapist will place patches on the skin near your injury. These are connected to the machine by wires that the electrical current will pass through.

At most, you may feel a slight tingle (but no pain) when the machine is turned on. This is not something to be afraid of. When this equipment is used the right way, you should not experience strong pain. The current alters nerve conduction and muscle contraction in the affected area. This increases blood flow to the part of your body being treated, and may even diminish the pain you experience after treatment.

Application of heat and cold to affected areas

Your therapist may apply heat or cold to the injured area of your body during your treatment. They will know if your situation calls for one or both of these techniques. Heat and/or cold can help reduce swelling and stimulate blood flow, to reduce pain.

Mental activities

Mental health is another important thing to consider during rehabilitation after surgery. Your cognition, emotional health, and memory can all be affected when you do not heal properly. Anesthesia can also affect these. This is why rehab facilities try to include fun events and activities like trivia, chess, musical and dance performances, and painting. These can stimulate the brain, improve hand-eye coordination, and give you an improved sense of well-being.

Tips to help with your rehabilitation

Taking part in all your PT exercises and fun events, as well as following all doctor’s orders, will help you heal quickly. The following tips can also help you heal, but be sure to speak with your doctor and rehab therapist before changing your diet or medications:

  • Take supplements and vitamins as needed
  • Avoid unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Keep track of your mental and physical health
  • Ask your family to be involved with your rehabilitation

Rehabilitation therapy after surgery in Amarillo, Texas

If you or a loved one are facing post-surgery physical therapy, contact the experts at Bivins Pointe today. Our trained staff can provide you with more information about our Rehabilitation and Recovery services, events, amenities, and the Bfit Gym. Please feel free to visit us in person at 6600 Killgore Drive in Amarillo to find out more and tour our facilities. Contact us by email or call (806) 350-2200 to find out how we can help you or your loved one.

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4 Easy Speech Therapy Exercises For Stroke Patients
Posted By: Becky Davis

If you or a loved one have had a stroke, you know that rehabilitation therapy is vital to recovery. It is likely you or your family member have trouble talking, coming up with words, or reading and writing. This condition is known as aphasia. You may also struggle with eating or drinking.

Speech therapy is designed to help with these issues and get you back to communicating. It is best to work with a professional speech therapist during recovery, but there are some things you can do on your own too.

What is aphasia?

This condition affects those who have had a stroke. It prevents many patients from speaking, understanding speech, thinking of words, and reading or writing. Aphasia is a result of brain damage and will show in patients in unique ways. The good news is that this condition can be treated through speech therapy, prescription medications, and art therapy, among other treatments. Not every patient will recover in the same way, but every patient should seek recovery and healing.

The key to successful speech therapy

Having a speech therapist work with you or your loved one is one of the most important steps in healing. These experts help patients find out what areas of speech they need help with and create a plan to follow during recovery. They work personally with patients to develop speech patterns, word recognition, and comprehension. You or your loved one may also be placed in therapy groups so that conversational skills can be improved. Repetition is vital in speech therapy, so it is important to attend all sessions and do exercises at home.

What kind of exercises will the therapist provide?

Although speech therapy in a professional setting is important, there are many things you and your family member can do to recover speech abilities. These include simple, repetitive exercises and adapting normal daily tasks to suit your needs. Ask your speech therapist about how often you can do exercises on your own or with your loved one.

Tongue movements

Moving your tongue in and out of your mouth, from side to side, and up and down is easy and fast. Do each movement for two seconds for the best results. For example, start by moving your tongue out of your mouth, holding it for two seconds, and then bringing it back in for two seconds. These exercises are best done in front of a mirror so you can make sure you are doing them correctly. Family members can also help with the exercise.

Singing therapy

Melodic intonation therapy, or singing therapy, allows stroke patients to sing words and sentences when they cannot speak. It is thought that this is possible because singing is a right-brain function, while speaking is a left-brain function. This typically only works for those who have had a left-hemisphere stroke.

Practicing sounds

After you have done tongue exercises, you can practice sounds. This involves repeating letters and sounds in groups or individually. For example, you can try saying one letter you have trouble speaking or pair it with the vowels a, e, i, o, and u to create other noises. Try saying these ten to twenty times each.

Other speech therapy exercises

Smartphone apps are becoming more popular when it comes to health. There are apps to help with weight loss, apps for mental health, and even apps that help with speech therapy. These can evaluate you or your loved one’s current speech abilities and provide customized exercises. Although they don’t replace a speech therapist, apps can be a valuable resource to those who cannot afford rehabilitation therapy.

Patients can also play games on the computer like solitaire or do crosswords. These help with comprehension, visual processing, and problem solving.

Adapting tasks and chores is another way you and your family member can add speech therapy exercises into your day. For example, you can say items out loud when making a grocery list or read them from a store flyer. Reading the newspaper with a family member also provides therapy opportunities. Try finding specific sections or going over the weather. Looking at family photos and remembering events can be helpful as well.

Speech therapy in Amarillo, Tx

Adding speech therapy exercises to you or a loved one’s daily routine can enhance recovery. If you or your family member have too much trouble with these exercises, ask your speech therapist how best to adapt simple tasks to your routine.

If you would like to learn more about speech therapy, contact the experts at Bivins Pointe in Amarillo, TX today by calling 806.350.2200. We offer speech, physical, and occupational therapy, as well as fitness memberships at our Bfit gym.

Bivins Pointe also has volunteer opportunities, activities and luxury amenities for all of our patients and residents.

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Understanding Speech Rehabilitation Therapy And Its Benefits
Posted By: Becky Davis

Patients who have swallowing difficulty or communication problems need a diagnosis and treatment. This is where speech rehabilitation therapy becomes a useful tool. Patients with medical conditions like brain injury, stroke, and developmental delays can all benefit from speech rehab. The following can help you better understand if this therapy is right for your needs.

The speech pathologist and their training

Your speech therapist should have a master of arts or sciences degree in communication sciences or speech-language pathology. These professionals must spend several semesters working in externships. These provide hands-on training in hospitals, schools, or clinics.

A speech therapist must also pass a national exam and be certified to practice. They are given a Certificate of Clinical Competency. This gives them the right to have one of the letter designations after their name of M.S., M.A., or CCC-SLP. Continuing education is required for these therapists if they want to stay certified and licensed to practice.

The differences between speech therapists and other professionals

A patient may have difficulties that a speech pathologist and an occupational therapist can help solve. So, both therapists may have overlapping goals for you. The speech therapist's focus will be on helping you with communication issues, including reading and writing. The occupational therapist might work with you on thinking or cognitive skills. All these are important for your ability to perform daily life functions. With occupational therapy, the focus is on helping you do things, instead of only communicating.

Speech therapists will also help you if you have issues swallowing food. They are trained to know how to help your unique needs, especially if you have difficulty after a stroke or illness. If changes to your diet need to be made, they can suggest easier types to chew and swallow.

Returning back to “normal” after speech rehabilitation therapy

Be careful with the expectation that you or a loved one will return back to “normal" after rehabilitation therapy. This is a relative term that can mean different things to different people. It may not be realistic to expect a complete, 100 percent recovery depending on the nature of the condition. Speech therapists will help you develop and meet customized treatment goals and help you get independence back. For example, many kinds of neurological traumas, illnesses, head injuries, or strokes can leave residual speech deficits. These may persist even after you have completed speech rehabilitation.

Speech therapists are there for you to provide resources and referrals that you may need as well. They can help you find counseling services and even work with a nutritionist during your therapy for long-term healing.

Speech therapy services in Amarillo, TX

For more information about speech Rehabilitation and Recovery and other types of rehab therapy, contact the experts at Bivins Pointe in Amarillo, Texas. We have many Volunteer opportunities and would be happy to tell you more about our Amenities and the Bfit Gym. Contact us via email or call (806) 350-2200 for help with questions about your care or that of a loved one. You can also visit us in person at 6600 Kilgore Dr. in Amarillo, Texas to tour our facilities.

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How You Can Make The Right Decision When Choosing Senior Living
Posted By: Becky Davis

If you or your senior parent want to maintain an engaged lifestyle, but can no longer live without care, senior living might be a good option. These communities can provide you peace of mind, safety, and comfort. The first important decision you must make is to choose the right type of care for you. To do this, you should understand the types of care available and what questions to ask.

Determine the type of care you need

If you are ready to choose a senior community for yourself or a loved one, it is important to understand each type. A variety of communities fall under the general term of “Senior Living.” You can choose from independent living for retirees to a place where residents receive memory care, rehabilitation, or skilled nursing.

Independent living communities

Services offered here are usually designed to provide a lifestyle that is maintenance free. Home repair, snow removal, lawn care, trash removal, and other services are a part of the package. Some communities even offer laundry, housekeeping, and dining options. These facilities are known for engaging residents in life enrichment, programs, trips, and activities.

Assisted living facilities

Some seniors need more help from their caregivers like bathing, dressing or medication organization. Restaurant style dining is offered at assisted living facilities, but it should be nutritious. Social activities, life enrichment, and physical fitness programs are often included as well.

Long-term care

If your family member needs higher levels of healthcare, then you should consider a long-term care facility The staff is capable of watching over residents every day and keeping them safe. These places will help with daily tasks, but they are equipped for more specialized care as well.

Memory care centers for those with Alzheimer's or dementia involve 24/7 care by trained staff members. These nursing homes offer enrichment programs that are designed for those with memory loss and management of medicine. Transportation, dedicated dining assistance, laundry, housekeeping, and personal services are also offered. The biggest advantage of this kind of senior living is that it is designed to keep those with memory loss safe.

Rehabilitation therapy

Sometimes, getting care means staying somewhere temporarily. Rehabilitation therapy and skilled nursing are often offered in the same facility. If you need short-term rehabilitation, these clinics can work well for you. Occupational, physical, and speech therapy are usually offered by trained therapists and skilled nurses. You can also find other amenities in these facilities like fine dining, spas, and gyms.

Ask questions

No matter what type of senior living facility you are looking for, make sure to book appointments at the places that interest you. Prepare questions ahead of time to find out if they offer the services you need and want. Think about places where you can transition into assisted living or a nursing home if necessary.

You should read reviews online or speak with people who have used the facilities to get an idea of their reputation. You can also call and ask about their success rates, what kind of activities they offer, and about the privacy and comfort of their rooms.

Rehabilitation, skilled nursing, and long-term care at Bivins Pointe

The experts at Bivins Pointe in Amarillo, Texas can help you make the decisions that come with choosing senior living. Our experienced and dedicated team offers skilled nursing, rehab therapy, and Long-term Care. If you want to learn more about our Amenities, the Bfit Gym, and Rehabilitation and Recovery, call us at (806) 350-2200 or Contact Us by email. You can also schedule a tour and visit us in person at 6600 Killgore Dr. in Amarillo, Texas.


5 Tips To Make The Most Of Your Rehabilitation After Joint Surgery
Posted By: Becky Davis

Stiff and painful joints may have caused you to sit out of playing in the park with a grandchild or give up a favorite activity. Fortunately, you can look forward to the restored mobility that knee or hip surgery can provide. Rehabilitation after surgery is vital to helping you recover and return to an active lifestyle. The following five tips can help you get the most out of your post-surgery rehabilitation therapy.

Identify the purpose of your rehab therapy

After surgery, your therapy begins in the hospital and will continue for several weeks. Usually both physical and occupational therapy are done after knee or hip replacement. Therapy is typically done at specialized facilities.

To understand the importance of rehabilitation after surgery, consider that you are working to restore normal movement in the joint. Therapists will help you build up muscles in and around the joint, which can help reduce swelling and pain. In addition, rehab after surgery will help you prepare to return to your normal activities, avoid blood clots, and assist you with circulation.

Be aware of possible mobility issues

It is not likely that you will be allowed to drive for several weeks if you have a total joint replacement. Arrange for someone to help you with necessities like getting to the drug store, grocery store, and your appointments. You should also ask your therapist to show you how to get in and out of the car safely so that your joint is not injured.

Note milestones during your progress

Ask your rehabilitation therapist to show you a written plan for your therapy. It should include the number of days per week you will receive therapy, note specific goals, and set a timeline for the process. The goals may include walking up and down the stairs, walking without the aid of a cane or walker, and dressing without help. Your rehabilitation therapist will monitor your progress in reaching those goals and make adjustments in the care plan if you need them.

Keep going

It is common to feel tired and sore after your rehabilitation therapy, but do not give up. You can reach your goals for greater mobility by completing all prescribed therapy sessions. As you progress through the therapy, you are likely to walk longer distances without fatigue and be able to complete several tasks independently. By the end of your post surgery rehabilitation, you should be back to your old self.

Prepare and plan ahead for rehab

Before surgery, it is advisable to make your rehabilitation plan and select a rehab provider. Make a decision about receiving rehabilitation at home or at a center that specializes in providing care and therapy for patients after surgery. This may be the best thing for you, especially if you live alone.

Your overall health and the design of your home may also make a stay in a short-term rehabilitation facility the best choice for a successful recovery. If you can, book your stay at the center before your surgery takes place. You can go into the operation confident that you have done everything to plan ahead, and your recovery will be smoother.

Rehabilitation after surgery in Amarillo, TX

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A Short Guide For Healthy Eating After Age 60
Posted By: Becky Davis

Many adults know that their dietary needs change over time, especially if they are trying to lose weight or gain muscle. However, many seniors do not know that how they should eat now varies dramatically from when they were younger. The first thing you should do when changing your diet is consult with your doctor to make sure you are making the best choices for your body. The following is some helpful information on good dietary habits after the age of 60 that may also help you.

You should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

No matter your age, you should eat fruits and veggies every day because they are healthy and provide necessary vitamins. When you age, you will need more of different kinds of nutrients like fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. If you are not sure which foods are the best, consider eating both fruits and veggies that span the colors of the rainbow.

Green vegetables, like spinach and broccoli, are packed full of iron and potassium, as well as vitamins A, B2, C, and K (which helps keep bones strong). Fruits, especially deep colored varieties, also hold minerals and nutrients, as well as antioxidants that can help decrease damage to your cells.

You can eat carbs, as long as they are healthy

Those who are dieting often choose not to eat carbohydrates because some can cause weight gain rather than weight loss. But, there are healthy carbs out their that can help you stay energized, especially if you are over 60. Products made with whole grains, even if they are enriched products, are better than white bread. Foods like wild rice and quinoa are great sources of whole grain, as well as cereals.

Whole grain products are also known for their high fiber content. Fiber can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as keep your digestive system regular.

Low fat dairy options are best

As you age, your bones can lose their strength and density. Women are at more risk than men of getting osteoporosis, a bone condition that results in brittle bones. This condition causes many women to experience broken bones, most commonly in the hips, wrists, and spine. Besides taking medicine, there are other ways you can help prevent this from happening.

Foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D can help strengthen your bones. Dairy is best known to provide these nutrients, but you should be careful not to consume too much fat when eating dairy products. You can find many healthy, low-fat options like cheese, milk, and yogurt to keep your bones strong and avoid fatty foods.

Be sure to eat protein regularly

If you are over the age of 60 and experience energy loss or fatigue, you may need to eat more protein and iron. These nutrients provide your body with energy and help you feel healthier in general. Lean, red meats are often considered the best for consuming protein. You should also consider including lighter meats in your diet, like chicken and turkey, as well as beans, peas, fish, and green vegetables.

Don’t forget to drink water

With such a large selection of flavored drinks in stores today, it can be hard for anyone to drink enough water. Sometimes, seniors do not even eat enough, let alone drink enough water. If you struggle with staying hydrated, try adding fruit to your water, or consuming fruits and veggies with a higher moisture content. These include tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, and lettuce.

What to avoid when you are over the age of 60

As with any diet, it is important to avoid certain unhealthy foods, especially those found in processed products. Fast food and processed foods are not good for your body at any age because they hold trans fats that can cause issues like heart disease. Avoiding these foods can help you stay heart-healthy.

Refined sugar is also a common, yet unhealthy substance in many foods. You may think you are eating healthy when buying canned fruits or even some types of yogurt, but these often contain refined sugars. Most women in the U.S. should only consume up to 100 calories of sugar per day, while men should not go over 150 calories. If you are concerned about these sugars, be sure to read the labels on all foods and opt for more natural sweet treats like fresh fruit.

Bivins Pointe in Amarillo, Texas

At Bivins Pointe, we care about the health of all our patients and visitors. We offer rehab and recovery services, as well as the Bfit clinic and gym, which caters to those aged 55 and older. Our therapists are focused on providing the best care to seniors and those who need rehabilitation after surgery. Diet is important for everyone, especially if you are recovering from surgery or illness. Fresh, nutritious meals are provided daily by professional chefs in our Elizabeth Jane Bivins Culinary Center.

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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.


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