How to prevent dehydration in the elderly

dehydration in the elderlyDehydration in the elderly can pose some very serious health risks. As a result, preventing dehydration in the elderly is vital to minimizing its effects. In order to prevent dehydration, you must be able to recognize the early signs and symptoms.

Generally, dehydration occurs when a person loses more water than they take in. Although dehydration is usually avoidable and the symptoms can resolve quickly upon treatment, detecting signs early can be difficult. Oftentimes, symptoms do not show until the case is in moderate to severe stages, which puts seniors at an even higher risk. The key to preventing dehydration in the elderly is recognizing the signs, symptoms, and appropriate treatment options.

Why is dehydration in the elderly common?

Although dehydration in the elderly is common, the symptoms and health risks should be taken seriously and treated promptly and appropriately.

What are the signs of dehydration in the elderly?

There are a variety of signs and symptoms ranging from moderate to severe including:

If you suspect an elderly person is dehydrated, there is an easy and quick test. If you gently squeeze on the skin of the forearm with your thumb and index finger, the skin should return to its original place almost immediately. If a person is dehydrated, the skin will remain in the pinched position. Once you are certain that dehydration has set in, you must assess their symptoms and immediately contact a physician. If the symptoms appear serious, you may even choose to call 911.

How is dehydration in the elderly treated?

Treatment options depend on the severity of symptoms. If the symptoms are moderate, the individual can usually be treated at home – just make sure they are drinking lots of fluids. Eating foods that are rich in potassium and sodium such as soups and broths, fruit juice, vegetables, and sports drinks like Gatorade can also be helpful in restoring the body’s electrolytes.

Severe dehydration is a medical emergency that requires hospitalization where the patient will receive replenishment of water and electrolytes through intravenous therapy or oral rehydration therapy options.

Fortunately, dehydration in the elderly can be avoided by making sure that they are adequately hydrated at all times. Consumption of 6-8 glasses of water a day is usually recommended. In addition to fluids, a healthy diet including foods with water-content and potassium are important for dehydration prevention.

At Paradise Living Centers, we make sure our residents are happy, healthy, and hydrated. Our staff is equipped with the experience and tools to ensure the best care for our residents. For more information about a variety of age-related health topics visit our blog. For any additional questions about Paradise Living Centers and the care we offer, please visit our website or call us at (480)878-4112.

Transferring power of attorney when your parent has Alzheimer’s

power of attorneyTransferring power of attorney when your parent has Alzheimer’s can be a sticky situation. Given the nature of the disease, your parent may not realize that their ability to make smart decisions is at risk because Alzheimer’s causes progressive mental deterioration in the patient. For those that are unsure about initiating this process, it is important to understand the basics first. A power of attorney is a legal document used by individuals who wish to have someone act on their behalf in making decisions, without requiring the individual’s active participation. When it becomes necessary to transfer power of attorney for your parent, you will need to explain to your parent that it is in their best interest.

Why should you transfer power of attorney when your parent has Alzheimer’s?

Because Alzheimer’s disease effects the brain, those diagnosed are often reach a point where they are unable to make their own smart and effective decisions. This can cause specific issues when the patient or individual is faced with financial or health care related decisions. If your parent agrees to, transfer the power of attorney, it will allow you to make these decisions once they are no longer able to.

It is important to recognize the signs early, to avoid any complications with the process. Legally, your parent must give lawful consent to signing these legal documents. Thus, if you wait until the disease progresses, it may be too late if they are no longer able to sign such legal documents.

By keeping a watchful eye on your parent’s cognitive abilities and speaking with their physician on a regular basis, you will be better able to recognize the early signs that it may be time to transfer the power of attorney. This can be particularly challenging if you do not live nearby your aging parent and you are unable to see them on a regular basis.

How do I transfer the power of attorney?

After deciding it is time, you must then follow the necessary steps to expedite the process.

There are many steps to legally transfer the power of attorney. The first, is to find an elderly care attorney near you. You may even want to speak with or interview a few to find someone you are comfortable working with. From there, the attorney will advise you on the next steps and help you along the way.

Once the power of attorney has been transferred, you will be able to act on your loved one’s behalf to make decisions pertaining to their health, finances, and other legal matters.

Caring for a parent who has Alzheimer’s can be very difficult. Fortunately, there are many resources that can make living with Alzheimer’s easier for both you and your parent. At Paradise Living Centers, we are experts in Alzheimer’s care and are happy to answer any additional questions or address any concerns you might have. Visit our website or call us at (480)878-4112 for more information.

5 tips for vacationing with an elderly parent

vacationing with an elderly parentInstead of fun and relaxing, for many, vacationing with an elderly parent can be overwhelming and stressful. The best approach for keeping things more relaxed and enjoyable is to get organized and plan ahead. In doing so, it is more likely that vacationing with your elderly parent can be a memorable experience that you can both cherish for years to come.

The ultimate goal is to plan a vacation everyone will enjoy, while also ensuring that Mom or Dad remains healthy and safe. To help you achieve that goal, below are 5 tips that will come in handy when vacationing with an elderly parent:

  1. Check with a physician first- One of the most important items on your pre- travel checklist should be getting clearance from your parent’s physician. This is especially important if Mom or Dad has a restrictive health condition that may make vacationing more complex. The doctor will be able to approve the destination as safe for travel and provide recommendations regarding medical facilities in your vacation destination, should a need arise. Doctors are also a good source for travel tips. Consider asking your doctor for any
  2. Organize documents and identification- Consider creating a folder of all necessary documents and identifications including driver’s licenses, passports, travel tickets, medical insurance cards, prescriptions, etc. Make photo copies of each just in case. This is a good travel tip for any age traveler, but it is especially important when traveling with a senior that may have special health needs.
  3. Arrange for special accommodations – Planning for necessary accommodations is vital when vacationing with an elderly parent. Make a quick phone call to the airline to make accommodations such as a wheelchair at the airport and special seating on the flight. The hotels or rental property may have options for rooms with shower bars and wheelchair accessibility.
  4. Pack light and smart- Pack light. You will not want to be lugging around a bunch of bags through airport security. Your main focus in the airport will be making sure everything goes smoothly so you and your parent get to the gate on time and that their accommodations are met. Avoid checking luggage whenever possible, packing all items into a carry-on suitcase. If you need more room, bring along a backpack or tote with any medications and documentation that need to be easily accessible.
  5. Plan breaks in the schedule – It can be tempting to “over plan” your vacation to fill your time and make the most of your trip. But a full schedule can be exhausting for an elderly parent. Putting together an itinerary in advance can be helpful, but remember to keep some open spaces for your parent to rest and to reduce becoming overwhelmed.

Being proactive will help you and Mom or Dad eliminate the chance of stress situation arising. It will also you a greater opportunity for enjoying your time together. The key to a relaxing vacation with your elderly parent is planning. In the weeks leading up to the trip, keep a checklist of items to pack, appointments, trip itinerary, and travel accommodations. This is also good advice for day trips as well. At Paradise Living Centers, we plan quarterly outings for our residents and we always check the accommodation for wheelchair access, restrooms and other needs our seniors may have. To learn more about Paradise Living Centers, visit our website for resources and don’t hesitate to contact us with any additional questions you might have.

Is your parent hiding dementia symptoms?

dementia symptomsRecognizing the symptoms and effects of a disease like dementia can be difficult. When the symptoms begin your loved one may try to avoid a diagnosis, which results in a delay in proper treatment and can lead to very dangerous risks to your loved one’s health and safety. Unfortunately, it is not unusual for a parent to start hiding dementia symptoms. If you see signs your loved one’s memory is slipping, there are many detection tools and tips that will help you alert you to encourage your loved one to seek a proper diagnosis and care for their symptoms.

The first question you must ask is, “How do you recognize the signs your parent might be hiding dementia symptoms?” Below are some helpful tips to help detect if your parent is hiding early stages of dementia:

Are they refusing to participate in activities they once enjoyed?

If your parent is repeatedly refusing to participate in activities that they used to love such as board and card games, outside sports, and other common past times, this could be an indicator that they are struggling with their memory and beginning to forget how to play these games or other information needed for an activity. Observe their responses and ask why they are choosing to opt out or avoid any effort to engage.

Hiding their struggle with basic tasks

Often times seniors who struggle with memory loss or related diseases will struggle with daily tasks like driving or communicating with those around them, including family, friends, and neighbors. It is common to see a spouse or other loved one try to disguise this by completing their sentences, cutting them off in conversations they are struggling with or helping them with tasks they can no longer do themselves.

Is your parent acting secretive?

Your parent may be afraid to admit their memory is failing because they are afraid they will lose their sense of independence. They would rather lie and become extremely secretive to try to cover up their symptoms. This is a huge indicator of when your senior is hiding dementia symptoms.

Are they in denial?

One of the most common symptoms is blatant denial of any real memory issues. Your parent may blame their issues on their age and try to assure you that it is just a normal part of aging. They may also claim they didn’t hear the question. In cases of denial, it can be challenging, but it is important to recognize these behaviors and push your parent to seek professional help when necessary.

Does your parent have Agnosia?

Agnosia is a sheer lack of awareness of any memory impairment and it affects more than 80% of those with Alzheimer’s. It may appear similar to denial, but Agnosia is caused by anatomical changes or damage to the part of the brain that affects perception of one’s own illness. It can be especially hard to detect and requires a physician to diagnose.

When you suspect your loved one is hiding their dementia symptoms, it is important to suppress your anger. This is common and often unintentional.

If your parent is displaying any of the symptoms discussed, it may be time to make an appointment with their primary care physician to request a full assessment. For more information about dementia and other age- related health topics visit our blog and website.

At Paradise Living Centers, our Care Manager is a certified dementia practitioner and an invaluable resource to our residents and their families.

The Importance Of Planning For Long Term Senior Care As A Woman

Long term senior care

It may not be your first priority, but planning for long term senior care is important to think about before it is deemed necessary. At some point in your lifetime, you may face physical or mental challenges and no longer will be able to take care of yourself. In an effort to prepare for your future it is essential to plan for this potential reality. Long-term senior care includes a range of services and support for you and your care needs.

If you are still unsure about your need for long term care, we have outlined a few of the reasons women need to begin to plan for their future:

Women tend to live longer than men 

On average women outlive men by about three to five years. The average life expectancy for women is 83.5 years and 79.5 for men. While women may have more time with loved ones, living longer could require women to spend twice as many years in a disabled state than men. This statistical possibility means that women need to plan for higher costs in retirement and a need to start planning sooner rather than later.

Expenses of long term care

Because Medicaid doesn’t always cover long term care, an important aspect of planning for long-term senior care is determining how you will pay for it. Women are more likely to live alone later in life, and less likely to have someone available to help them with daily activities.

Men fare better than women

Women who are divorced or separated from a spouse are more vulnerable to poverty because they traditionally have lower incomes and access to fewer resources. It is also more common for elderly women to run out of resources later in life.

To start planning for long term care, consider these three questions:

How much care will I need?

Today a person 65 and older has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long term care service. Because women are outliving men, women on average need care for a longer period of time.

Who will provide my care?

Care providers and support can come from an unpaid caregiver, like a close relative or loved one, an at-home nurse, home care aid, or a long term senior care facility or assisted group homes, such as Paradise Living Centers who will provide 24/7 care services and other amenities.

Who pays for long term care?

Although you may want to spend money on a nice vacation or other luxuries, it may be necessary to forgo some things now to save for long term care. For low-income seniors and disabled Medicaid services will provide long term care, but your income must be below a certain amount to meet minimum state requirements.

With a full-time caregiving staff and a dedicated nurse available 24/7 at Paradise Living Centers, residents and their families receive the most compassionate and knowledgeable care. To learn more about what you can do to plan for your long term senior care contact Care Manager, Kristie Chadwick at (480) 878 – 4112 or email: or schedule a tour of Paradise Living Centers’ Paradise Valley and North Central Phoenix locations.

How Brain Training Reduces Cognitive Decline

brain training

It is hard to imagine that someday you might forget the name of your children or loved ones. Unfortunately, this is a likely risk for many people. One in 50 people, 65 and older are of at risk of developing Alzheimer’s and nearly one-third of people age 85 and older is diagnosed. Fortunately, there are steps to take to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Remember, the brain is a muscle, and just like other muscles the brain can be strengthened with intense mental exercises and training that targets and works on the brain’s core cognitive skills.

A ten-year study compared the effects of three forms of brain training in a group of 2,802 cognitively healthy seniors. In this study, researchers found that brain training cut the risk of dementia by 33 percent. The study used computerized “brain games” that challenged memory and reasoning skills. Lumosity and LearningRx are two companies that apply digital games into a brain-training program and they each claim their programs can improve attention, memory or overall intelligence. At Paradise Living Centers, residents are provided with personalized attention in 45-minute, one-on-one sessions, designed to help improve cognitive ability.

While online brain training is still undergoing research for its claims about lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s, but it offers hope for those at risk of cognitive diseases. Regardless, there are a number of things we know that help boost brainpower without the use of brain training programs:

Learn something new

Try surfing for the first time, test out a new recipe or take a class. Doing something new will change the structure of your brain by creating new neural pathways. Making that new chicken recipe or better yet, taking a cooking class can increase your brain power.

Break a sweat

Go for a walk or a hike, take a Zumba class or do resistance training. Regular exercise not only benefits your physical wellbeing, it also increases neurogenesis, which means every time you exercise you are creating new brain cells.

Read a book

Turn off the T.V. and grab a book to help spark the imagination. Reading relieves tensions and stress, improves memory and concentration, and makes you think. It has also been shown to reduce mental decline. Consider a visit to your local library!

Eat your fruits and veggies

Not all food is created equal. Add avocado, salmon, and blueberries to your grocery list. These foods are among some of the most beneficial foods for your brain. Avocados contain vitamin K and folate, which improves cognitive function, memory and concentration. Salmon is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids to help keep your brain running smoothly and improve memory, and blueberries are great for protecting the brain from degeneration and stress because of the high amounts of gallic acid.

Get some rest

The brain needs sleep to function properly. If you don’t sleep, your ability to learn new information can drop by as much as 40 percent. During sleep your brain stores information into long-term memory. It also makes creative connections while you sleep, which allows people to generate ideas. Make it a point to get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep, and enjoy a nap every now and then. You’ll be doing your brain a favor!

Alzheimer’s is a debilitating disease and it currently has no cure. But exercising your brain and adapting healthy habits can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

At Paradise Living Centers our certified caregivers, memory care experts, and dedicated on-staff nurse care for our residents as if they were family. If your loved one is suffering from the symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s, contact their primary care physician for an exam. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia and it additional care is needed, call 480.878.4112 to speak with our Care Manager and learn more about our services.

The Importance Of Eye Health In Seniors



SU-Design-1494531809You were probably told not to sit too close to the T.V or to read in the dark. Although these are myths and won’t damage the health of the eyes, both will likely cause eyestrain. Fact or myth, it is important to take care of your eye health.

As you enter your forties and fifties, you may start to experience age-related vision changes. It is only a matter of time before you need glasses for reading. As you enter your sixties, seventies and beyond, you are at a higher risk of developing age-related eye diseases and conditions. These diseases include age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, low vision and dry eye. This is why it is important to take the accurate steps to maintain your overall health and the health of your eyes.

Some normal changes you may notice as a senior:

Be comforted in knowing there are things you can do to maintain and protect your eye health and decrease your risk of developing eye related diseases and conditions:

Regular eye exams with your optometrist are necessary when caring for your eye health. Your optometrist will evaluate changes in vision and examine the eye tissue to check for cataract and other potential issues.

At Paradise Living Centers we make our residents’ health a priority, which includes any concerns they may have with their eyes and changes in vision. To learn more about our services or if you would like to tour our Central Phoenix or Paradise Valley homes, contact us at (480) 878 – 4112.

Take the right steps for better health: National Women’s Health Week


National Women’s Health Week kicks off on May 14 and will be celebrated through May 20. The goal of Women’s Health Week is to remind women to make health a priority and to encourage them to take the right steps for better health. Adopting a healthier lifestyle includes fitness, nutrition, diet, and mental health. To successfully improve your overall health, it is best to start with small steps:

1. Get Active

As a general goal, you should try to exercise for 30 minutes to an hour every day. Walking, running, hiking, weight training and resistance training are all beneficial. If fitness isn’t your favorite thing, one way to get motivated is joining a team or taking a group class like yoga, spin or Zumba. Make your workouts fun and social by inviting a friend along. If 30 minutes seems impossible at first, start with 15 minutes. Adding more physical activity can help prevent excess weight gain, combat health conditions and diseases, improve mood, and boost energy.

2. Eat Healthy

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the information on healthy eating. A simple rule of thumb for any healthy diet is balancing your intake of protein, fats and carbohydrates.

• Protein is important for the growth and repair of the bodies’ cells and for building muscle. Daily intake for an average adult is about 50 grams. Foods such as chicken, fish, legumes, beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts and seeds are excellent sources of protein.

• Healthy fat is vital. Fat contributes to energy intake and helps the body absorb essential vitamins. An average adult should take in 70 grams per day. The best sources of healthy fats are fish, nuts and seeds and avocados because these foods contain the least amount of saturated fat, which can raise blood pressure.

• Carbohydrates are another important nutrient for the body. They are the main source of energy for fueling our bodies and the average adult should consume approximately 310 grams of carbohydrates a day. Skip the breads, cakes and cookies and go for the good carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains.

3. Reduce stress

Stress and anxiety can have detrimental effects on your health and mental well-being. When daily life and problems are overwhelming it can result in loss of sleep, feelings of depression, increased anxiety and can even be a contributing factor to serious health issues like heart disease, cancer and stroke. It is extremely important to find ways to reduce stress and combat its symptoms. Here are a few tips that you can do anywhere at any time:

• Try meditation, simply sit straight up with both feet on the ground, close your eyes and recite a mantra such as “I feel at peace”. Doing this can help ease anxiety and make you more resilient to stress. If this is difficult, there are guided meditations online that you can use.

• Take deep breaths. This is one simple way to relieve stress and lower your heart rate. When you contract the diaphragm (muscle in the middle of your chest) it activates our body’s relaxation response.

As you age, chances are likely that you will face some health issues, but when you commit to adopting healthy habits, these issues can be minimal. In honor of Mom and Women’s Health Week, we encourage you to take steps to make healthier lifestyle choices. At Paradise Living Centers we understand the challenges of staying on track and we are here to our residents maintain healthy practices and to address their changing needs. To learn more about our services or tour our Central Phoenix or Paradise Valley homes, contact (480) 878 – 4112.

Changing your eating habits as you age

Eating Habits


Looking and feeling the best you can begins from the inside. How you nourish your body determines a number of different factors about the way you look and feel. As we age, there are many changes that go on in our bodies that can improve or be detrimental depending on diet.

One of the first things we see is a slowing of our metabolism. Activity levels often slow down as well and the combination naturally results in weight gain. Learning about the nutrients needed for your body to run efficiently is invaluable. This change will inevitably affect your food choices and yes, this could mean eating fewer doughnuts and more fruits and vegetables. While this is beneficial at any age, eating a diet rich in leafy greens and lean proteins can help keep weight gain to a minimum and increase energy levels and clarity.

When you were young you may have been able to eat just about anything without giving it a second thought, but an unhealthy diet will take its toll and can ultimately lead to a variety of health issues. In addition to changes in metabolism, there may be changes in the digestive system where you may not be able to eat the same rich foods or greasy burgers you once did. We also often see a decrease in appetite and emotional health changes can impact eating habits too. It is important to be aware of any changes and to continue to provide our bodies the proper balance of nutritional foods and calories.

A healthy diet packed with vital nutrients can act as preventative medicine and ward off many potential health problems common in seniors. Several common health problems that can be avoided include: constipation, heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and kidney disease. Consistent healthy eating habits made up of foods rich in nutrients paired with mild to moderate physical activity can make a big difference.

A change in eating habits or loss of appetite may indicate:

To make improvements and begin eating a healthier diet, here are some foods and food groups to keep in mind:

Eating healthy goes beyond just eating kale salads, chicken and brown rice for every meal. Not sure where to begin?  A variety of healthy recipes and meal ideas can be found here.

Another important thing to remember when adopting a healthier, more balanced diet is to stay hydrated. Remembering to drink water is always important, but it is especially vital because our ability to conserve water is reduced as we age. Certain medications can also affect senior’s ability to retain water and Alzheimer’s or dementia patients may forget to eat or drink. Staying hydrated is essential for preventing serious health problems.

At Paradise Living Centers our nurse, caregivers and chef work together to ensure our residents are eating a consistently healthy diet that meets their individual needs and tastes. To learn more about our services or tour our Central Phoenix or Paradise Valley homes, contact (480) 878 – 4112.

5 Fun Activities for Grandkid Visits

Grandkid visits

Most grandparents will agree that spending time with the grandkids is their favorite pastime. It is equally rewarding for children to get to know grandma and grandpa, and develop a relationship separate from their parents. The challenge comes when you’re not sure what to do for those highly anticipated grandkid visits.

Let’s face it, as much as you adore them, keeping grandkids entertained can be a challenge and even exhausting at times. To help make your next grandkid visit less stressful, we’ve put together recommendations for five fun and educational activities to do:

1. Getting creative

An arts and crafts project is a great activity for you and your grandkids (especially little ones) to enjoy together. It allows kids to tap into their creative side, get a bit messy (within reason) and have something to take home to share with Mom and Dad. The Coffee Filter Butterfly Craft is a simple project, but you will need a few supplies and some space for set-up. The kitchen table or an outdoor patio always works well. If working with paint has you worried, Playdoh or clay can also be fun for your budding Picasso or Michelangelo.

2. Going on a scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunts can be a fun way to get your older grandkids up and moving. They will get a little exercise and it will also make them think. Start by putting together a list of things for them to look for around the house or at a nearby park, this will not only keep them busy but also encourages the kids to use their observational and problem-solving skills. Supervision is necessary with younger children, but kids ages 11 and older may be allowed to venture on their own if you leave in a safe community.

 3. Cooking up something fun

Art may not be your grandchild’s thing, but almost all kids love a chance to mix up something good to eat. Share a family recipe or bake some goodies for dessert. Cooking is a nice way to bond and have them help in the kitchen. Baking is also a great activity for teaching the kids how to measure, follow directions and develop patience. And when you are done, everyone is rewarded with a delicious snack!

 4. Playing games

Ditch the devices and get out some of the old board games. Playing traditional board games, card games and putting together puzzles get everyone involved and interacting. There are games for all levels and at each stage, games offer an opportunity for the kids to learn strategy and competition, develop skills in reading and math or motor skills—depending on the game of choice. For little ones there are games like “go-fish” and “Hungry Hippo” and for the older grandchildren check out Catan and Blokus, or you can always pull out the classics like Scrabble and Monopoly.

 5. Let them entertain you

One way to liven things up is to have the kids put on their own talent show. Give the kids some of your old clothes to dress-up in or supply costumes and let them come up with the rest. They can show-off their talents singing, dancing, acting or doing magic tricks—this is their chance to shine. The kids will bring out their creativity, while you sit back and cheer them on.

For our residents at Paradise Living Centers, we offer a number of activities for your loved one to enjoy and we encourage family members to participate as well. Our weekly activities include arts and crafts, museum and theater outings, movie night, pet therapy and live music every Friday. To learn more about our assisted living homes in Paradise Valley and Central Phoenix and the various activities Paradise Living Centers provides, we invite you to call our Care Manager, Kristie Chadwick at (480) 878-4112 to schedule a tour and meet our team.