Where Better Care is a Family Matter

Memory Care: 5 Superfoods to Improve Your Brain Health

memory care

As we age, it’s natural for our cognitive brain function to slow. However, we don’t want to lose pieces of it or its function entirely. Sufferers of Alzheimer’s and dementia are growing in numbers rapidly. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive list of 5 superfoods to improve your brain health and ensure your memory care plan is working for you, not against you.

Add these five superfoods to your regular diet to improve memory care:

Fish Packed with Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids aren’t just good for your heart health, they’re beneficial to your memory care. One of those fatty acids is DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, and this acid helps keep the neurons in your brain running normally. DHA impacts the structure and signaling systems in your brain and allows your memory to function at optimum levels.

Keep your brain at its best by replacing some of the red meat in your diet with fish like tuna, mackerel, and salmon.

Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables

It’s always been said to ‘eat your greens’, but what you may not realize is that some of those greens are literally keeping parts of your brain alive. Dark green, leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens and broccoli are incredible sources of vitamin E and folate.

Folate assists in lowering the levels of certain amino acids such as homocysteine in your blood, and homocysteine itself is responsible for killing off nerve cells in your brain. By adding these leafy greens to your diet, you’re stepping up your memory care and keeping those cells alive.

Avocados

Like our dark green friends above, avocados are rich with folate as well as vitamins E & C. Avocados are monounsaturated fats which allow increased blood flow and lowers blood pressure – two factors that have been linked with the cognitive decline found in patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Want an even better reason to add this fruit to your diet? It’s also chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, just like our fish friends salmon, tuna and mackerel.

Peanuts, Almonds and Hazelnuts

Diets that are high in healthy fats have shown positive results in staving off the decline in cognitive brain function. Peanuts, almonds and hazelnuts are all great sources of omega-3s, omega-6s, vitamins E & B, folate and magnesium.

If these stats aren’t enough to convince you to add plenty of omega-3s to your diet, this just might: People who incorporate omega-3s in their daily intake decrease their chances of developing dementia by 26%.

Blueberries, Strawberries and Acai Berries

As we age, our memory tends to age with us. However, research has found that blueberries, strawberries and acai berries are powerful contributors to assisting the brain with removing the toxic proteins that are associated with memory loss.

It’s no wonder that these berries made the list as blueberries are also a great food for lowering high blood pressure and boosting your immune system. Whether you’re young, old, or somewhere in between, memory care is something no one should take lightly. Add these superfoods to your diet and improve your brain health.

Worried you or a loved one might be losing brain function? Read our post on the 7 signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s not to ignore.

Elmhurst Extended Care Center has a dedicated and certified Memory Care Unit for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s. For more information or to tour our facility, give us a call today.

Don’t Ignore These 7 Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

Elmhurst Extended Care Center has a certified memory care unit specializing in patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. If you or your loved one is exhibiting signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, give us a call or stop by today.

We all experience “senior moments” and even in our forties and fifties, we can be forgetful, confused, and a bit disoriented. We may be able to attribute it to getting older, hormonal changes, or imbalances in brain chemistry as we age. After all, isn’t this normal? How can we tell if these moments are typical, age-related changes or signs of Alzheimer’s? Forgetfulness is very common especially as we age, but it’s critical to recognize when mild confusion or memory loss may mean something much more serious.

Memory loss that disrupts daily life may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s or dementia. The disease causes a slow decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. Even today, scientists still continue to unravel the complex brain changes involved in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It seems likely the damage to the brain starts a decade or more before memory and other cognitive problems appear.

If memory problems are seriously affecting your daily life, they could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. While the number of symptoms you have and how strong they are vary, it’s important to identify the warning signs and ask yourself some tough questions.

1. Memory Loss

Do you easily forget information you just learned? Do you lose track of important dates, names, and events? Do you forget significant milestones even happened? Do you ask for the same information over and over, or repeat thoughts or questions to others often? Do you rely heavily on memory aids like post-it notes or reminders on your phone?

2. Trouble Following Directions

Maybe you have a “tried-and-true” recipe that you could cook in your sleep, but now you suddenly have trouble assembling it? Is it hard to concentrate on detailed tasks, or do you have trouble making plans and sticking to them? Tasks that require problem-solving and attention to detail might be especially difficult.

Another place you may notice an impact is in your financials — you may have trouble keeping track of bills, which will be more obvious if are typically diligent about paying them on time.

3. Behavior or Personality Changes

The mood and personalities of people exhibiting signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s can change. Do you get upset easily, or feel depressed or anxious? While it’s normal for people to battle depression or experience frustration at times, changes in a person’s basic disposition or temperament aren’t normal and may be cause for greater concern.

Perhaps you or your loved one is exhibiting unusual behavior? Are you more prone to wandering, wearing clothes that don’t suit you or your environment, or engaging in “unsafe” behaviors?

4. Trouble Communicating

Are you having trouble following or joining a conversation? Perhaps you have stopped in the middle of an ongoing dialogue with someone, and have no idea how to continue, or you repeat yourself. Do you struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word, or call things by the wrong name?

5. Misplacing Things and Losing the Ability to Retrace Steps

Everyone misplaces things from time to time, but can you retrace your steps to find them again? Do you put things in unusual places, like placing your wallet in the refrigerator? Do you accuse people of taking things that you later find you misplaced?

6. Decreased or Poor Judgement

Many people with Alzheimer’s disease may experience changes in judgement or decision making. You may even find yourself doing things that are very out-of-character and atypical of your personality. Are you using poor judgement when dealing with money? Giving large amounts to telemarketers or others? What’s more, you may be paying less attention to grooming or keeping your home tidy.

7. Withdrawal from Work or Social Activities

A person with signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects, or sports. You may even have trouble keeping up with your favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. You also may avoid being social because of the changes you’ve experienced.

If you notice any of these warning signs in yourself or someone you know and love, don’t ignore them. Schedule an appointment with your doctor. With early detection, you can explore treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms and help you maintain a level of independence.

Elmhurst Extended Care Center has a secured certified memory care unit for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s and our dedicated staff understands the challenges you face when dealing with these memory-related diseases.

Alzheimer’s disease progression can be slow, but the impact it has on families can be difficult to process. The most important aspect behind this emotionally-painful disease is that you are not alone. Rely on Elmhurst Extended Care Center to be your support and resource center.

For additional guidance and information for those facing Alzheimer’s and dementia, check out our regular Family Support Groups. Contact our facility today to find out when the next group will be held.

5 Foods that Lower High Blood Pressure

lower high blood pressure

If you struggle with high blood pressure, it can often times feel like you’re climbing an uphill battle and getting nowhere.

Avoiding caffeine and foods that are low in sodium are par for the course when you have high blood pressure, but what about foods that may actually be able to help lower it?

We’ve put together a list of 5 foods that combat high blood pressure. Rather than telling you what you should avoid, we’re here to give you some options of things you can start incorporating into your daily diet right now that are known for their ability in assisting to lower high blood pressure.

Leafy Greens

You knew this was coming, right? Leafy greens tend to make every healthy food options list and for good reason. They’re chock full of powerful vitamins and minerals.

In the case of using leafy greens to lower high blood pressure, focus on eating the ones that are high in potassium because it will assist your kidneys in getting rid of more sodium through your urine and consequently, lowering your high blood pressure.

Romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, and collard greens are great sources of potassium in leafy greens.

Not a fan of the green stuff? Throw it in a blender with your favorite fruits, some nut milk, and a bit of ice to make a delicious, heart-healthy smoothie. With a taste that good, your mouth will never even know you’re getting in your greens!

Blueberries

Blueberries made our list of 7 Immune Boosting Foods for Seniors, and the powerful punch these little guys have doesn’t stop there.

Blueberries are helpful in lowering high blood pressure because they’re loaded with flavonoids – a natural compound known for preventing hypertension as well as lowering it once you’re already there.

Chocolate

No, it’s not a trick. Chocolate has actually made our list for 5 foods that lower high blood pressure, dark chocolate to be exact.

Studies show that consuming dark chocolate can lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. Plus, eating chocolate tends to make people happy, and the happier you are, the better chance you have to prevent hypertension.

Just consume dark chocolate with care. Like with anything in life, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

Pomegranates

These beautiful and juicy fruits can have fast effects in lowering your high blood pressure. Not only are they quite capable in fighting hypertension, they can decrease the plaque build up in your arteries, improve your cholesterol, and reduce your risk of heart disease.

You can enjoy adding pomegranates to your diet by eating the fruit raw or drinking it in the form of juice. If you choose to go the drinking route, just make sure to watch for sugar content. Store-bought fruit juice can contain quite a lot more sugar, which may increase your health risks elsewhere.

Oatmeal

Adding whole-grain foods to your diet is a great avenue for lowering high blood pressure. Whole-grain foods offer valuable nutrients like fiber, magnesium, folate, and iron as well as potassium, which aids in reducing the sodium content in your body.

Not only is oatmeal stacked with these nutrients, but it’s also a perfect way to jump start your day with fuel from a high-fiber and low-fat source.

Make your morning routine a breeze and your oatmeal preparation fast and easy with this no-cook recipe for overnight oats. Exchange those chocolate chips for dark chocolate chips, and you’ve just amplified your breakfast bowl power.

Pssst….those bananas in your oats? They’re good for lowering high blood pressure, too!

When you realize that there are real and viable ways to help reduce your high blood pressure right at your fingertips, it can make climbing that uphill battle seem more like a walk to the park.

For more ways you can help lower high blood pressure, give the expert staff at Elmhurst Extended Care Center a call! Our highly-trained and experienced dietitians are skilled in powerful food knowledge for heart health.

Bonus tip: try substituting your canned veggies for frozen ones. Canned vegetables have added sodium while frozen are just like getting them straight from the earth, they’re just a tad colder.

Occupational Therapy – Getting You Back Better Than Ever

occupational therapy

Many older adults may hear the term occupational therapy and say, “What do I need that for? I don’t have a job.”

Not so fast — Occupational Therapy has become increasingly important to a senior’s vitality and well-being. It’s a complete game changer when it comes to enhancing their well-being and getting them back to feeling better than ever.

Live Strong Again With Occupational Therapy

As you age, you want to be able to maintain both an adequate level of autonomy and the ability to perform activities of daily living on your own.

Occupational therapy exercises for seniors focus on activities that allow you to maintain independence and help you overcome physical, mental or social problems as a result of a disability or aging.

Physical Therapy vs. Occupational Therapy? What’s the difference?

Within your plan of care, your doctor may recommend both physical and occupational therapy. An easy way to remember the difference is that occupational therapy (OT) is about the technical execution of daily activities. It tends to be more focused on improving life skills and involves adaptive tools that lead to a better quality of life.

Physical therapy (PT) typically helps to improve mobility and is more likely to only treat the physical source of the injury: damaged tissues, muscle, and structure.

When a physical therapist treats an older adult with a broken arm, their main goal will be to restore full mobility to the hands and elbow.

But, an occupational therapist will help that person relearn how to eat using utensils and comb their hair.

There’s an obvious synergy between the two therapies, and it’s no wonder they are often presented hand-in-hand.

Overcoming Daily Challenges

Let’s face it … everyday tasks that were once easy and completed with little or no thought, have now become quite challenging. And what’s worse, you feel the need to constantly depend on others for help.

Occupational therapy can help compensate for the hurdles you face each day. From dressing and feeding yourself, to home management or participating in social activities, OT can bring back your sense of confidence and independence.

Preventing Falls

Did you know that one in four older Americans fall every year?

Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65 and over. As we age, most of us lose some coordination, flexibility, and balance — primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.

When you or a loved one have experienced a fall, you’ll find just why occupational therapy is so essential. Our OT specialists help seniors with problem-solving strategies so they can stay active.

Modifying Your Home For Better Care

Occupational therapists make your life a lot simpler with convenient devices like built-up eating utensils, semi-automatic cutting boards, and more. Plus, OTs can help you acquire devices like a bathtub bench to make things easier.

The occupational therapists at Elmhurst Extended Care Center truly care about your longevity – even after you’ve left our facility. We’ll help you learn how to optimize your home to promote full participation in all activities of daily life so you can thrive.

Let EECC’s Occupational Therapy Specialists Lead You To A Healthier Life

Our OT specialists are on-staff to assist you or your loved one to gaining more independence, a new lease on life and a healthier outlook.

Even simple occupational therapy exercises done daily can improve function and help you get back to feeling better than ever.

Some of these include:

  • Relaxation Exercises
  • Range-of-Motion Exercises
  • Memory Exercises
  • Fine Motor Activities
  • Functional Strengthening

Wherever you are in your journey, our job is to help you feel the very best. Trust Elmhurst Extended Care Center to provide you with the care you deserve.

Hear how our short term rehabilitation program helped Anne after a fall that broke her hip.

7 Immune Boosting Foods for Seniors

This list of 7 immune boosting foods for seniors provides foods you can start including today.

As we age, we tend to eat less, and our diets become less varied with the essential foods we need to keep us healthy and at our best. That’s why it’s vital to ensure diets maintain a richness of immune boosting foods for seniors.

We’ve compiled a list of 7 immune boosting foods for seniors and how you can incorporate them into their diets.

1. Spinach

Spinach is packed with a multitude of antioxidants as well as beta carotene, vitamins A and C, fiber, magnesium, iron, folate, and more. Regular consumption of spinach acts as a sunscreen for your eyes, protecting them against age-related macular degeneration.

In order to preserve all the immune boosting effects of spinach, you’ll want to cook it as little as possible. Eating it raw offers full benefit.

Don’t like spinach raw? Try adding it to a smoothie.

2. Yogurt

Yogurt is a great source of immune boosting foods for seniors. It contains vitamin D as well as good bacteria that can allow your body to fight diseases by stimulating your immune system.

However, you have to be careful when selecting yogurt for the purpose of boosting immune systems. Some yogurts have removed the active and live cultures that contribute to the good bacteria in your body.

Make sure the yogurt you select contains lactobacillus, bifidus and acidophilus as these will give you the benefits you’re after.

3. Garlic

Garlic is not just good for giving you bad breath. It’s a powerful contributor in fighting off infections and boosting immune systems. Garlic also helps lower cholesterol levels as well as regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

To reap the benefits of garlic, you’ll want to make sure you’re using raw garlic, not powdered.

Worried about bad breath? Cut garlic cloves into pill size pieces and swallow them instead.

4. Broccoli

Your mom was right when she said broccoli is good for you. In fact, broccoli is a wonderful immune boosting food for seniors. It’s a superfood packed with vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and fiber.

Perhaps most notable, broccoli is rumored to possibly aide in the prevention of cancer.

As with spinach, broccoli is most beneficial when consumed raw or only slightly cooked to maintain all the nutrients.

5. Blueberries

They might be tiny, but they pack a powerful punch. Blueberries should be a staple in nearly every diet containing immune boosting foods for seniors as they are low in calories and high in nutrients.

Blueberries also aide in cardiovascular health and may improve memory care.

Eat them by themselves, add them to your cereal, or team up to boost your immune system by adding them to your yogurt. Just be sure to always wash your blueberries (and any other raw fruits and vegetables) before consumption.

6. Almonds

Vitamin E is a key ingredient to a healthy immune system, and almonds are loaded with it. However, vitamin E can’t be absorbed properly without the presence of fat. Fortunately for you, almonds contain healthy fats that allow the vitamin to be absorbed properly.

It doesn’t take a lot to reap the benefits of almonds as an immune boosting food for seniors. Just one, half-cup serving of whole, shelled almonds provides almost 100% of the daily recommended intake amount.

7. Green Tea

While you may not physically chew it, green tea is another great source for antioxidants that enhance immune function. It also makes our list for 7 immune boosting foods for seniors because of its suggested ability to kill influenza viruses.

When preparing green tea, make sure not to add milk to it as the polyphenols (the part that may aid in killing off influenza viruses in your body) will bind to the proteins in the milk, rendering it ineffective.

So go ahead and wash down our previous six immune boosting foods for seniors with a nice, hot cup of green tea!

If you’re looking for long term care or a short term care facility with skilled nutritionists that know how to properly implement immune boosting foods for seniors, contact us. We’re happy to discuss the nutrition we implement for our residents with you!

The Elmhurst Extended Care Center Difference

skilled nursing facility

Elmhurst Extended Care Center isn’t your average, cookie-cutter nursing home. As the only family owned and operated nursing home in DuPage County, we focus on the family aspect and the compassionate, home-like environment of our facility to provide every resident and their family peace of mind in knowing they’re receiving the best possible quality care. Our staff-to-resident ratio is one of the highest in Illinois, and all of our residents receive individualized care plans to ensure both their goals, and their family’s goals, are met.

Skilled Nursing Facility

Our passion for providing a skilled nursing facility for short term rehabilitation, long term care, and a memory care unit for those with Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is reflected in that we are on the preferred provider list of many local area hospitals and have a five-star rating with Medicare – not to mention U.S. News and World Report ranked our facility as one of the Best Nursing Homes in the country. We also hold a three-year special commendation from Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities because of the excellence our experienced and caring staff exhibits.

Rehabilitation Center

The rehabilitation center at Elmhurst Extended Care Center utilizes the most current medical equipment to ensure you’re able to get back to your highest level of function. We take great pride in the rehabilitation care we provide our residents, and our dedicated, in-house team of therapists has over 70 years combined experience to help you achieve improved health and quality of life.

Short Term Rehabilitation

When you’re looking at short term rehabilitation, it’s important to choose a facility that will be able to handle your needs around the clock. Our nursing staff is on-hand 24 hours a day, and all our therapists are in-house – allowing you the access you need to get back up and running. We’re also Medicare certified, and our short term rehabilitation services include physical, occupational, and speech therapy.

Long Term Care

Deciding where to pursue long term care can be a challenge. That’s why we make the decision easier on you by providing a skilled nursing facility designed to give a home-like environment with private and semi-private room options priced far below other nursing home centers. We also facilitate ease of daily life by providing complete, comprehensive care including blood sugar monitoring, medication administration, laundry services, housekeeping, and assisting with meals as well as providing activity programs and amenities such as a beauty salon, patio, aquarium, and much more. We know that each person has their own set of individual needs as well as their own challenges in transitioning to a long term care facility. To make certain those are met, our team focuses on person-centered care, rather than on the facility as a whole.

Making It Even Better

We’re always looking at ways to improve the quality of life for our residents – whether you’re with us for short term or long term care. Just this year, we’ve made several improvements to do just that. We now offer refrigerators in our private and semi-private rooms for short term rehabilitation patients. Our front lobby was renovated to create a reception area and admissions office to provide a more comfortable and private admissions process, and before the end of the year, we’ll have an additional dining and activities area on our secured second floor Memory Care Unit.

To experience the difference our family-owned facility has to offer, check out our skilled nursing facility, and give us a call or stop by for a tour.