Where Better Care is a Family Matter

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.

Things to Consider When Preparing Your Will

senior couple with two babies

It’s a topic not many like to think about, but it’s important and necessary to draft a will in order to ensure your loved ones aren’t left dealing with lengthy and often cumbersome Probate issues. When someone passes without a living, valid will, their estate enters Probate where the laws of their state will determine how – and to whom – their personal possessions and property are divided up.

In order to avoid complications for your loved ones after you pass, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider when preparing your will:

Create a Summary of Your Assets

While it’s not the only thing to consider when preparing your will, a summary of your assets is a large portion of what you’ll need to cover. This will also assist your family members in locating things like other bank accounts, security deposit boxes, and life insurance policies that they may not know about.

When creating your summary of assets, keep in mind these things:

  • Life insurance policies (include policy number, company they were taken out with, and a contact number)
  • Bank accounts (include account number, bank name, and location)
  • Securities, annuities, 401K, Roth IRA or pension plans (include account numbers, company/institution name, and location or contact number)
  • Safety deposit box (include deposit box number, institution, and location)

You’ll also need to take down important information for your personal property and belongings, including who they will go to upon your death. Make sure you include:

  • Any personal property you own (include location and where the mortgage (if any) is located)
  • Your belongings: household furnishings, cars, recreational vehicles, jewelry, etc. (list out all of your personal effects)
  • Who is the beneficiary – this can be divided between multiple people, but you must state who gets what and how much

Determine Who Will Carry Out the Wishes of Your Will

When preparing your will, it’s important to know you’ll need two things: a witness and an executor. A witness is someone that will not be a beneficiary of your estate, and depending on which state you live in, you may be required to have more than one witness. They are there to sign stating your will is indeed your wishes and that you were of right mind when drafting the document. While not all states require a notarization, it’s always a good idea to get your will notarized.

An executor is the person that will ensure your wishes are carried out as written. This can be a spouse, child, or trusted relative or friend. However, if your estate is complicated, you may want to consider assigning an attorney as your executor.

It’s very important to include in your will that your executor has the power to pay your bills or handle any debts or related issues not outlined in your will.

Make Sure You Aren’t the Only One in Possession of Your Will

While most consider a safety deposit box a secure location to keep important documents, your will should not be one of them. In fact, upon your death, it may not be possible for your loved ones to retrieve your will without a court order.

If you’ve assigned an attorney as executor, they will have a signed copy on-hand. In addition, storing your signed and notarized will in a fireproof safe in your home is a good idea. You should also give a signed copy to a trusted friend or family member to hold on to in case your original is destroyed for any reason.

Check the Laws in Your State

While this list covers a large majority of what you should consider when preparing your will, each state has its own laws in regards to property disbursement upon death. Follow this link to find out how last wills work in your state.

For information on putting directives in place for loved ones in a long-term nursing facility, give Elmhurst Extended Care Center a call today.

April 2019 Newsletter

April is a wonderful month for residents to enjoy activities and the beautiful spring weather, and this month has no shortage of fun activities for residents and their family members at Elmhurst Extended Care Center! Check out our latest newsletter featuring the daily agenda, and take a moment to set aside some time to come spend having a little fun with your loved ones this spring.

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4 Ways to Keep Your Senior Active This Spring

four-waysToday marks the first day of spring, and with it comes a season of warmer climates, bright greenery and blooming flowers, and the perfect time of year to encourage the seniors in your life to get outside and stay active.

We’ve compiled a list of four different ways you can keep your senior active this spring, and these are all great to carry with them as well throughout summer and into fall!

#1 Get in the Habit of Walking Daily

Regular exercise and activity are important for senior health, and spring is a great time to start forming a habit of taking daily walks. Even if it’s just around the block, or even simply walking back and forth a few times in front of their house each day until they feel they can do more, the act of walking itself will strengthen their muscles and their mind. And the more they do it, the more they’ll be able to walk. As with all things in life, if they aren’t used, they’re lost. So starting a habit now of walking daily is important to keep seniors in good physical and mental health.

#2 Take Games Outdoors

Spring is the perfect season to soak up much needed outdoor time. After a winter of being indoors, the health benefits of getting outside can be wonderful and welcome for seniors. A great way for them to spend more time outdoors is to take their indoor games with them. Enjoying a game of checkers or backgammon at the park allows for plenty of time soaking up the positive effects of the sun’s rays, and it also allows for great exercise in the walk to and from the park.

Looking to keep your seniors’ mind sharp? Have them take a deck of cards to the park to play the game Memory. The cards can easily fit into a pocket, so they don’t have to worry about carrying anything.

#3 Start a Planter Garden

Gardening itself can be quite meditative, but it also offers a great way to get in regular exercise. Not to mention it brings them outside where they can enjoy the sun and colors of the changing season. During the spring, seniors can plant summer flowers, fruits and vegetables in containers. By utilizing containers rather than just planting them in the ground, it offers a variety of ways they’re able to display and tend to their garden. Raised beds or planters in the yard make for better access for those that aren’t able to get up and down as easily.

#4 Find Community Events That Get Them Socializing

It’s quite common for seniors to spend far too much time in their homes, away from society and isolated. This can cause a decrease in mental health and can aid in the progression of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Find events around their community that will get them out of the house and socializing with others. Oftentimes, there are senior citizen centers that offer many opportunities for gathering and enjoying activities. You may also find options for volunteering that your senior would enjoy such as assisting with a local elementary school or heading up a town bake sale fundraiser. Look for community events that your senior will be excited about so that they’ll be more likely to find reasons to get out of the house this spring.

If you or a loved one are in search of short or long term care, consider Elmhurst Extended Care Center. Family owned and operated since 1960, our dedicated and professional staff exhibit care for residents that goes beyond the status-quo. Schedule a tour today to see for yourself the difference at EECC.

“Food is healing, enjoyable, and brings people together.” An Interview with Registered Dietitian for EECC, Christine Fitzgerald.

EECC Registered Dietitian Christine Fitzgerald

The daily meals and snacks enjoyed by short and long-term residents at any skilled nursing facility are incredibly important. Better health, both physically and mentally, and longevity of life often go hand-in-hand with a proper diet. We sat down with our in-house Registered Dietitian, Christine, to find out more about the passion she has in her career and how that pairs perfectly with our residents here at Elmhurst Extended Care Center. Here’s what she had to say:

What inspired you to become a Registered Dietitian?

I’ve always had an innate passion for food. I remember rushing home from school to catch the last half of Emeril Live before jumping in to the kitchen to cook dinner with my mom every night. As I became older and involved in athletics, I developed an interest not only in cooking, but in the healing power of food. As a gymnast and swimmer for over 10 years, I was constantly eating to fuel my body and realized that my curiosity towards food was more of a lifestyle than the hobby I initially thought.

Growing up, I was very lucky to have parents who emphasized family meals. Despite our busy schedules, there was always time to sit down together and enjoy a healthy and home-cooked dinner. I learned from a very young age that food is healing, enjoyable, and brings people together. While I didn’t always know I wanted to be a dietitian, I found myself eager to share this love with others and ended up in my first nutrition class.

What things do you take into consideration when planning a menu for residents?

When creating a menu for residents, I prioritize freshness, flavor and variety. I make sure there is something for everyone to enjoy and that our meals are both nourishing and delicious, just as food should be! My go-to when it comes to planning menus is using in-season ingredients to create the freshest and most flavorful dishes possible. I always keep in mind what I would want to eat and strive to make sure the environment is not a barrier against enjoying meals. It’s tough to be away from home. Through physical stress and hospitalizations, many of our residents can feel overwhelmed when they walk through the door.

I’ve found that the quickest way to connect with people is through great food. Taking a little extra time to plan a thoughtful and delicious menu goes a long way towards helping our residents feel at home during their stay.

When a resident has special nutritional requirements, how do you accommodate for those?

Working directly with the residents to fulfill their individualized preferences and nutritional needs is one of the most important parts of my job. The first thing I do is introduce myself to the residents and assure them that their nutritional needs can be met. Typically, residents are eager to discuss meal preferences right away… everyone wants to know what they’re eating! Making that instant connection can really help us get off on the right foot and help new residents feel comfortable. Once the initial interview is in the books, I get to work on communicating needs with my staff and executing requests. With a full commercial kitchen at EECC, we can accommodate pretty much anything!

What are some ways you provide nutritional education to residents at EECC?

Educating the residents is all about individualization. While I enjoy sharing my knowledge of nutrition with others, I recognize that not everyone wants the information. The biggest misconception about dietitians is that we are here to make everyone eat their salad and skip the fries. While a balanced diet is important, it’s not everything. I love inspiring people to have a healthy relationship with food and empowering them to understand there is no such thing as the perfect diet.

With regards to education, some of the residents want detailed information in scientific format. Others prefer a more casual conversation about their lifestyle and ways to achieve nutrition goals at home. I’ve even used food models to help people visualize portion sizes! Nutrition isn’t a one-size-fits all model; Whether it is teaching someone the difference between carbs, protein, and fats, or giving detailed education about dialysis and minerals, nutrition education is intended to best serve the resident and their needs.

Are there ever any circumstances where you work with family members of residents to develop a nutritional plan for their loved one? If so, what does that process typically look like?

Every day! As I described above, I like to meet with new residents ASAP to discuss food preferences and address questions or concerns they may have about their meals. Oftentimes, this initial interview is in the presence of family members and friends. Connecting with the residents’ family members provides invaluable insight from the people who know them best. If a resident isn’t eating well or doesn’t seem to like the food but isn’t vocal about why, in almost every case I’m able to consult a family member to unpack exactly what’s going on.

Whether it’s a missing condiment on the plate, the wrong flavor of juice, or someone who doesn’t like their food to be touching, family members are the best detectives. I often hear that the residents “don’t want to be a bother” to staff so concerns may go unvoiced. We are in business to serve the residents and working with the people who know them the best is absolutely key towards providing excellent care.

What do you enjoy most about your position at EECC?

While I have worked in multiple settings as a dietitian, my time at EECC has already proven to be a wonderful opportunity. My role is both challenging and fulfilling and every day brings about new experiences and opportunities for growth. I love getting to work in multiple settings on a daily basis. Seeing the residents as the dietitian to complete nutritional assessments keeps my clinical knowledge sharp and I get to learn about new trends in science and medicine. Healthcare is very fast-paced and stimulating so experiencing it every day definitely keeps me on my toes!

On the other hand, I have dual responsibilities at EECC and serve as the Dining Director to take on a more managerial approach. I get to work with food safety and sanitation regulations, customizing menus for the facility and I oversee all the procurement and production of meals. Working simultaneously in both avenues is a bit uncommon for a dietitian and has been my favorite part about this role. Every day is a bit unconventional, exciting, and has made me a more well- rounded professional.

Experience the Elmhurst Extended Care Center difference for yourself. Call or stop by today for a tour of our facility!

The Importance of a Certified Memory Care Unit for Your Loved One Suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia

memory care unit

Memory care units offer those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia a safe environment with around-the-clock care. While a standard long-term care facility can provide a home-like environment for residents and patients, it’s best to find a facility with a certified memory care unit when considering where to place your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Memory Care Units Offer Unique Layouts for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients

The physical layout of a certified memory care unit is strategically designed to offer the best environment for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. The design is created with wandering in mind – a symptom common for patients suffering from these diseases – and minimizes symptomatic behavior while also making it easy for residents to navigate around the unit.

At Elmhurst Extended Care Center, our wander management system within our certified memory care unit allows residents to freely move about the floor while ensuring their safety and security in the area.

It’s important that, although wandering is intended to be minimized in a memory care unit, Alzheimer’s and dementia patients are still able to enjoy plenty of movement and stimulation. EECC has designed our unit with two multipurpose areas for dining, visiting and activities. Each area is on opposite ends of the floor, promoting continuous movement and stimulation.

Dedicated, Trained and Experienced Staff Make Up Certified Memory Care Units

As Alzheimer’s and dementia patients require specialized care, it’s important that the staff at your long-term care facility are trained especially for this. Memory care provides intensive, long-term medical care, and as such, the staff in the certified memory care unit is a key factor in the comfortability of your loved one.

Elmhurst Extended Care Center holds our compassionate staff in high regard. They are regularly trained in behavior management in order to maximize each resident’s highest potential. Some of the benefits of our memory care unit include:

  • Developing individualized plans for person-centered care
  • Providing adaptive activities programs focused on each resident’s abilities
  • Striving to reach each resident’s highest potential
  • Encouraging participation in favorite life activities and familiar tasks
  • Assisting family members and loved ones in understanding these complex diseases

Memory Care at Elmhurst Extended Care Center

Through our skilled staff and ongoing training in dealing with these complex and difficult diseases, EECC understands the challenges that you face when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia. We offer a monthly Alzheimer’s and dementia support group along with DVDs and other valuable information that can support and assist you with your loved one and their care.

If you’d like to see if the certified memory care unit at Elmhurst Extended Care Center is the right place for your loved one, schedule a tour today.

Worried your loved one may be developing Alzheimer’s or dementia? Here are 7 signs and symptoms.

January 2019 Newsletter

Happy New Year! Elmhurst Extended Care Center is starting the year off right with loads of activities and fun for our residents and their loved ones to join in on. Stop by for craft club, sensory groups, pet therapy and so much more! Don’t forget to mark your calendars for our Family Group on the 29th at 4pm. Also: Those searching for more insight into dementia and Alzheimer’s, EECC has information and DVDs to help families understand the dementia process and Alzheimer’s disease. Chat with Cindy in Activities to arrange time to view these helpful DVDs. For our full schedule of activities, see our latest newsletter below.
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