Where Better Care is a Family Matter

6 Holiday Activities You Can Enjoy Indoors with Your Senior Loved One

The holiday activities you do with your senior loved one this season don’t have to be exciting to be special and meaningful. It’s all about spending time together, feeling included, and enjoying good company. Simply allowing them to join in brings joy and helps your loved one enjoy the season. Try out these fun and easy indoor holiday activities this season with them:

Holiday Activities You Can Enjoy Indoors with Your Senior Loved One

1. Put on their favorite tunes

Whether you use new technology or old, it doesn’t matter. Gather with your loved one this holiday season and enjoy listening to some of their favorite hits together.

2. Prepare and cook favorite holiday dishes

If your senior used to enjoy putting together and hosting family get togethers, it may be difficult for them now to know they aren’t able to do it on their own anymore. Bring them back in the kitchen and enjoy the preparation and cooking of the meal together this holiday season.

Here are 10 super easy holiday dishes you can make (and they’re healthy, too).

3. Ask for their help picking out presents

Your senior loved one may be surprised at just how easy it is to shop from the comfort of your home these days. If they’re unable to join you on a shopping excursion, bring the shopping to them by asking them to help you pick out gifts online.

4. Make a holiday wreath

Seniors love activities as they keep the brain stimulated and help to keep them feeling capable. Purchase all the supplies for wreath making, and then plan a fun indoor activity where you can each make a wreath of your own. If your senior is in a long-term nursing facility, help them display their wreath so they can enjoy it all season long!

Here are some great holiday wreath ideas to get you started.

5. Host a holiday movie night extravaganza

Bring out the comfy blankets, pop all the popcorn, and cozy up together around the TV as a family with your senior loved one this holiday season for a holiday movie night extravaganza. You could even find out what their favorite holiday movie is and make it your feature movie of the night!

6. Throw a cookie decorating party with your senior loved one

Get all the kids involved along with your senior and throw a cookie decorating party this holiday season. Put out bowls full of sprinkles, icing, and decorations, and let them go wild!

This recipe for the perfect sugar cookies will provide a great base for your decorations.

No matter how you plan on spending the holidays this year, make sure to include your senior loved one anywhere you can.

If you’re looking for the best nursing home in Elmhurst, look no further than Elmhurst Extended Care Center. Our facility offers both short and long-term care as well as a Certified Memory Care Unit for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Schedule your tour today or attend one of our family support groups for more information.

November 2019 Newsletter

November brings us a lot to celebrate at Elmhurst Extended Care Center! Make plans to join us for our Veteran’s Day service on Monday, November 11th at 2:30pm. Show your loved one how thankful you are for them this month by stopping by and enjoying some of the daily activities with them. You can even make plans to make their Thanksgiving this year extra special by visiting and sharing a meal. Find out everything going on this month in our latest newsletter:

Our Pulmonary Center of Excellence Has Launched! Interview with Respiratory Therapist at EECC, Tim Olsen

October is Pulmonary month, and at Elmhurst Extended Care Center, we are celebrating by launching our Pulmonary Center of Excellence in partnership with Integrated Respiratory Solutions and ALC Home Health. In honor of the center’s launch, we sat down with our in-house Respiratory Therapist, Tim Olsen, to learn more about how pulmonary and respiratory illnesses affect older adults.

What is the most common respiratory problem you see among older adults?

The most common respiratory problem I see among older adults is shortness of breath due to one factor or a combination. I frequently work with patients that have shortness of breath with walking or exercise. The feeling of breathlessness is sometimes due to lack of exercise, being deconditioned, a lung problem like pneumonia, or a heart problem.

What types of therapeutic solutions do you offer for residents suffering from pulmonary or respiratory issues?

Depending on the illness, I help them breathe better with breathing exercises and instructing in use of prescribed inhalers. About 60% of clients that use inhalers don’t use them correctly, so getting the maximum benefit from the inhaler is important. Most clients are fine when resting. When they walk – working with our physical therapists to improve strength and endurance – or climbing stairs, they get short of breath. Helping them normalize breathing when they get short of breath helps them do the activity and not feel as short of breath.

Do you have any tips for preventing pulmonary disease?

First, don’t smoke. If you do smoke, quit now.

Second, choose your parents wisely. Just kidding. But it’s important to know that some breathing problems are genetic, placing residents at higher risk for breathing problems.

Third, get the flu shot and wash your hands several times per day. (Of course the usual times, before eating, after the bathroom, and after using your phone or keyboard.)

Lastly, don’t smoke. Tobacco companies have had hundreds of years to perfect an addictive drug delivery system.

What are 3 signs and symptoms someone should look out for that signals the onset of a pulmonary or respiratory infection?

Children get a fever with an infection. As we age, we may not have a fever with an infection. Frequently, the first sign of a respiratory infection is fatigue, increased cough, or a productive cough (a cough with colored phlegm).

What do you enjoy most about being a part of the Elmhurst Extended Care Center family as the resident Respiratory Therapist?

Engaging with the residents about their goals to return home is what I enjoy most. Frequently, after short term rehabilitation, they return home stronger and with better endurance than before the event. Working with the knowledgeable patient care staff and enjoying the sense of community between the residents and staff comes in at a close second.

Looking for the Best Pulmonary and Respiratory Therapy in Elmhurst? Look no further.

Schedule a tour of our skilled nursing facility today or request a call back by one of our friendly staff members.

October 2019 Newsletter

Don’t miss our Halloween Costume Content this month! We’ll be enjoying this fun contest with our residents at Elmhurst Extended Care Center at 3pm on October 31st. You can also join us for our Sing-A-Long featuring John Boda on October 16th. For a look at our full calendar of events for the month of October, check out our latest newsletter:

When It’s Time to Consider Long-Term Care for Your Parent

senior assisted living

Making the decision to consider long-term care for your parent can be a difficult one to make. However, if you’ve been the primary or only caregiver for your loved one, it’s important to recognize when they might be better served by a skilled nursing facility equipped to handle all their needs.

Overcoming Feelings of Guilt and Nursing Home Stigma

When you are looking after the care, health, and wellbeing of a parent, it can feel incredibly overwhelming to come to the realization that you are no longer in a position to continue doing so. Oftentimes, caregiving children are overcome with feelings of guilt and letting their parents down. This results in a continuation of care that could bring about other health concerns for your loved one. It can also create resentment towards your parent later in life due to the taxing burden that caregiving can become.

It’s important and necessary to set your personal feelings aside and look at the care of your parent from a perspective entirely focused on what would be best for them.

In addition, nursing homes haven’t always had warm and fuzzy feelings associated with them. However, by touring different locations, you can quickly get a good feel for how that stigma is just that, and you’ll find that many skilled nursing facilities have really become quite the oasis for residents seeking both long and short-term care.

A tip for finding the perfect long-term care facility for your parent: Take advantage of Respite Care stays. This will allow your loved one to get acquainted with the facility and the staff members to help them discover if long-term care at the facility would be enjoyable.

Signs It’s Time to Consider Long-Term Care for Your Parent

If you’ve been feeling like it might be time to consider long-term care for your parent, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to assist with the decision-making process.

Are you finding it increasingly difficult to handle the physical care your parent needs?

This might sound like a simple question, but it’s important. If physically helping your loved one is difficult for you, you’re only putting them more at risk. Skilled nursing facilities have trained professionals on-site that are easily able to handle the physical demands of caregiving. To avoid risking a fall or injury to your loved one, take a serious look at what physical demands you are capable of meeting in a way that won’t put your health at risk.

Are you finding yourself suffering from chronic exhaustion or feeling emotionally drained?

The answer to this question has a great impact on your overall health, both mentally and physically. And if you’ve been struggling with exhaustion or mental fatigue, that can be negatively affecting your parent as you care for them, including bringing on feelings of parental guilt, and the inability to provide the quality of care they need.

Does your parent need rehabilitation or specialized supervision?

If your loved one requires rehabilitation, oftentimes it can require around-the-clock care, and you may not realistically be able to provide it. If they aren’t receiving the amount of care they need to fully recover, it can hinder their ability to heal as well as create a much longer timeline for rehab. On the same token, if your loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia, they could greatly benefit from a long-term care facility that offers a certified Memory Care Unit.

Elmhurst Extended Care Center Offers Long-Term Care in a Home-Like Environment

If you are considering long-term care for your parent or loved one, stop by Elmhurst Extended Care Center. We offer long-term skilled nursing care in a home-like environment where our residents thrive. Schedule your tour today or attend one of our family support groups for more information.

September 2019 Newsletter

September is going to be an exciting month at Elmhurst Extended Care Center! Come check out our Car Show on the 14th presented by the Cadillac/LaSalle Car club. Make sure to put Grandparent’s Day on your calendar and stop by to visit with your loved one. For more on what’s happening this month at EECC, check out our latest newsletter:

4 Exercises to Do After Knee Replacement Surgery

senior men playing chess outside

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States. When you’ve gone through knee replacement surgery, it’s natural to want to get back up and moving as quickly as possible. But in order to do so, regular exercise is a must. It will help restore your strength and mobility and make use of your new knee that much easier and more enjoyable. Here are some exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine to help extend mobility, flexibility and strength:

1. Sitting Knee Extension

Sit up straight in a chair. It’s important that your chair be firmly set on the ground – no wheels or uneven flooring underneath. Bend your knees over the edge of your chair, resting your feet on the floor. Lift the leg of your new knee up until your knee is straight (do not lean back to do so). Hold your elevated leg in this position for 5 seconds, and then slowly return your knee to a bent position, foot on the floor. Repeat this exercise 10 times, 2-3 times a day.

2. Standing Knee Flexion

Using a walker or back of a heavy chair for support, stand upright facing your support piece. Slowly bend the leg you had knee replacement surgery on so that your foot comes up behind you. Bend your knee as far as you can, and then gently bring it back down for your foot to rest on the ground. Repeat this exercise 10 times, 2-3 times a day. This exercise is also easy to do while standing at the kitchen sink! Simply use your kitchen counter for support.

3. Heel Slides

Lying down flat on your back, gently bend your new knee. Slide that foot up towards your buttocks as far as you can go. Make sure to keep your other leg flat on the bed. Hold your bent knee position for 5 seconds, then gently straighten your leg back out and relax for 15 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times, 2-3 times per day. Make sure to take your socks off as they can make this exercise difficult and slippery. If you notice your unoperated knee trying to bend and slide up, place a pillow under that knee and focus on pushing your unoperated knee down into it as you slide your new knee.

4. Straight Leg Raise

Lie flat on your back. Bend your unoperated knee and place that foot flat on the bed, knee bent. With your knee replacement surgery leg, tighten your quad (the muscle at the front of your thighs), and raise your operated leg straight up. Make sure to keep your raised leg straight. Do not bend the new knee. Hold this raised position for 5 seconds before lowering it slowly back down. Relax for 15 seconds and then repeat 10 times, 2-3 times per day.

If you’re in need of physical therapy following your knee replacement surgery, give us a call at Elmhurst Extended Care Center. Our skilled therapists work with post-surgical patients for short-term rehabilitation that will progress you to your highest level of function. Find out how we can make your recovery process enjoyable and productive when you call us at 630-516-5000.

Natural Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol

person at doctor reviewing test results on computer

Lowering your cholesterol can play an important role in your overall health. Just the same way fat doesn’t dissolve in water, neither does cholesterol, and too much of it can create problems. There are good types of cholesterol (HDL) and bad types (LDL). High levels of LDL can cause heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and clogged arteries. If you want to lower your cholesterol, then you should consider trying these natural ways of doing so:

1. Reduce Saturated Fats in Your Diet

Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods but mainly come from animal and dairy products. While it isn’t necessary to eliminate them completely from your diet, it’s important to focus more on having a diet high in monounsaturated fats instead. The American Heart Association suggests aiming for a diet that consists of just 5-6% of caloric intake from saturated fats.

Monounsaturated fats will help promote good levels of HDL while lowering your bad levels of LDL. Some monounsaturated fats you can begin incorporating into your diet include:

  • Olives
  • Olive oil and canola oil
  • Tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts and cashews
  • Avocados

2. Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise is a great way to lower your cholesterol, and you don’t have to overextend yourself to see a difference. By adding moderate physical activity to your schedule five days a week, your HDL levels can begin to rise, and your LDL levels will begin to drop. If you’d rather exercise less often, you can do so more vigorously three times a week.

Suffer from arthritis? This blog has a great list of exercises you can do that will help eliminate joint pain, improve flexibility, and can keep you on track for lowering your cholesterol.

3. Add Omega-3s to Your Diet

It’s no secret that there are healthy fats out there, but did you know that these fats actually aid in lowering cholesterol? By adding Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet, you can help manage and prevent heart disease. And they don’t just help lower your cholesterol either. They’re also helpful in lowering blood pressure. Consuming fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and halibut, or taking supplements like fish oil or krill oil will boost your Omega-3s and help lower your cholesterol.

4. Avoid Smoking and Second-Hand Smoke

When you think of lowering your cholesterol, you might only be considering what’s going into your mouth. But the truth is, what’s going into your lungs also plays a large role in how good or bad your cholesterol is. Cigarettes contain the toxin acrolein, which is a vapor produced by burning plants. This man-made toxin is highly poisonous and easily absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs, making it a large contributor to heart disease as it affects the way your body metabolizes cholesterol. Whether you’re a smoker yourself or find yourself around other smokers, it’s important to know that this can contribute greatly to high cholesterol, so it’s best to avoid it all together.

For more ways to lower your cholesterol naturally, give our expert dieticians and nursing team a call at Elmhurst Extended Care Center today.

Respite Care Offers Solutions for Caregivers to Take Vacation

senior care, old age, senior hands

Summer is in full swing, and with it comes the time where families venture out on vacation together. However, if you find yourself caring for a loved one full-time, it can be difficult to arrange taking time away from them to enjoy a vacation away. What many caregivers aren’t aware of is that skilled nursing facilities offer short-term overnight stays for those needing assistance with daily living. It’s called Respite Care, and it offers the best solution for your loved one to be properly taken care of when you need it.

Respite Care Provides Your Loved One with Dedicated, Trained Professionals While You’re Away

One of the biggest challenges when trying to find short-term care for your loved one is having peace-of-mind in knowing they’ll be given the best care possible. By choosing a skilled nursing facility with an on-site, around-the-clock team of caregivers, you can rest easy knowing they’ll be taken care of while you’re away.

Is your loved one exhibiting early signs of Alzheimer’s? Have a special diet that must be monitored closely? Need assistance with regular tasks such as walking to the bathroom or taking their medications? By choosing a nursing facility that offers dedicated and trained professionals who specialize in these areas, you’ll know the staff can assist your loved one with anything they need.

Respite Stays are Easy to Schedule

You have enough on your plate as a full-time caregiver already. So making it easy to schedule a respite stay for your loved one is a no-brainer. When planning your vacation this summer, make sure to schedule your loved one’s respite stay at the same time. It’s always a good idea to call and set up a time to tour the facility they will be staying at while you’re out of town. Once that’s complete, it’s a matter of simply providing a few documents so that your loved one’s stay runs smoothly for both you and them.

For scheduling Respite Care at Elmhurst Extended Care Center, you’ll need to provide these documents:

  • A list of current medications with dosage amounts
  • A copy of their medical history
  • A copy of their most recent physical from their physician

Respite Care Isn’t Just for Vacations

While knowing you don’t have to say goodbye to family vacations just because you’re a caregiver is wonderful, it’s also important to know that you can utilize Respite Care services at any time. Here are a few times you may find Respite Care to come in handy for you and your loved one:

  • You need to take a trip for work
  • Friends are coming to visit for a few days and plan to stay with you
  • You get sick and need time to recuperate
  • You’re feeling the strain from caregiving and feel a short break will reinvigorate you in taking care of your loved one

Respite stays are also a great way to try out a skilled nursing facility before committing to long-term care for your loved one. It provides both you and them the opportunity to get a good feel for the staff, the facility, as well as how your loved one feels in their new space. If you’ve been considering long-term care for your loved one, Respite Care is a great place to start.

Elmhurst Extended Care Center is the Best Nursing Home for Respite Care

It’s incredibly important to know your loved one is being taken care of with the same loving, generous commitment that you bring to them as a caregiver at home. At Elmhurst Extended Care Center, all of our residents are like family to us – and their families are an extension of our own. If you’re looking for the best nursing home for your loved one, look no further.

We also offer Respite Care for your convenience. If you’re interested in touring our facility or scheduling a respite stay for your loved one, contact us today.

Exercising with Arthritis

An object in motion stays in motion. – Newton’s first law.

Most arthritis sufferers believe that exercising will only exacerbate their painful and stiff joints. However, the reality is quite the opposite. In fact, by not exercising, you’re allowing your muscles and surrounding tissues to become weak, thus creating more stress on your joints.

While it may seem cumbersome at first, exercise can actually help ease the pain and stiffness that comes with arthritis. And you don’t have to run a marathon to feel the relief. Moderate exercise can keep you mobile and ease the pain you’re experiencing in your joints.

We’ve compiled a list of exercises that are perfect for individuals with arthritis, and you can do them from the comfort of your own home.

Exercises to Increase Your Range of Motion

Relieve stiff joints and bring about more flexibility and use with these daily exercises:

For shoulders: Roll your shoulders backward and forward together and in rotation.

For arms: Practice slowly raising your arms over your head and lowering them.

For hips: While standing, bend your knee back while trying to touch your bottom with your heel – you can use a counter or desk for support.

Exercises to Strengthen Your Muscles for Joint Support

Strong muscles are critical in supporting and protecting your joints. You build strong muscles with regular exercise, even if just for a few minutes a day. Try practicing these workouts every other day:

For upper strength: While sitting in a chair or at the table, hold a weight in one hand. With your elbow bent at a 45° angle, slowly lower the weight down, then lift it back up towards your arm.

If you’re just beginning, grab a can from your pantry to use as a weight. It may not seem like much, but regular use will build up your muscle strength.

For lower strength: Lie on your side on the floor or bed, keeping the leg against the floor straight. Prop your upper body up by your forearm. With your other leg, bend at the knee and cross it over the leg against the floor, placing your foot firmly on the floor. Slowly lift your straight leg up and down about 6-8” off the ground.

Exercises to Improve Your Overall Fitness

Aerobic exercises will provide you with more stamina and energy, and they can improve your overall cardiovascular health as well. Aerobic exercises that are low-impact are much easier on your joints, and you only need about 10 minutes a day to feel the positive effects. Here are some low-impact aerobic exercises you can try:

  • Go for a walk
  • Take a bike ride or ride a stationary bike
  • Exercise on an elliptical machine

If you have a pool or have access to one, water aerobics is a wonderful way to keep low-impact while getting in the exercise your body needs to help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. It’s a great alternative for those with Rheumatoid Arthritis as well as it cushions the joints!

Whatever you do, don’t push yourself too hard too soon. Listen to your body. But don’t let that joint pain keep you from doing the things that could actually make it better!

If you’d like more advice or tips on how to exercise with arthritis, give us a call at Elmhurst Extended Care Center. Our dedicated and knowledgeable team is more than happy to answer your questions and advise you on ways you can improve your current condition.