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How Seniors Can Keep – and Build – Important Muscle Strength

June 29, 2018

Each day at The Saybrook at Haddam, residents have numerous opportunities for physical exercise.  Our first-floor gym, which is equipped with cardio and strength-building equipment, is open all day long for residents to use at their convenience.  We also offer different exercise, Tai Chi, and yoga classes, and we host a walking club throughout the year. Most residents enjoy these classes with friends, which adds an important social element to their day.

One of the most important exercises we work on as a group is strength-building with light weights.  Under careful guidance, residents lift weights with their arms and legs, following various forms and repetitions – all designed to improve physical strength. It is interesting to note that seniors can use their own body weight to help build muscle by doing simple leg lifts and arm raises. Either way, these movements are important to help seniors manage daily tasks of living, maintain better balance to help avoid falls or injuries, and simply enjoy a better quality of life.

One of our more popular arm strength exercises is to hold light weights straight down by our sides and lift slowly until they are perpendicular and parallel to the ground. We hold for a second and slowly go down to the starting position before pausing and repeating.  We do other exercises to specifically build triceps, such as lifting a light weight with one hand, bending elbow up to ear and slowly extending the arm to the ceiling. We hold the elbow with opposite hand for support before slowly lowering down. For best results, the American Heart Association recommends doing these types of exercises twice a week.

We are encouraged by what we do when experts tell us how valuable these exercises are.  For instance, Webmd.com points to a review of multiple progressive resistance training, or PRT, studies of 6,700 older participants. They used free weights, exercise machines and/or elastic bands, two to three times a week, increasing difficulty and resistance over time. The study found “PRT produced a large improvement in muscle strength, a moderate to large improvement in doing simple activities such as getting up from a chair or climbing stairs, and a small but statistically significant improvement in doing complex daily activities, such as bathing or preparing a meal. After PRT, people had less pain from osteoarthritis.”

The article quoted researcher Chiung-ju Liu of the department of occupational therapy at Indiana University in Indianapolis who determined “Older adults seem to benefit from this type of exercise even at the age of 80, and even with some type of health condition.” Lu also said the data supported the idea that muscle strength is largely improved after the training, and the impact on older adults’ daily activities can be significant.

Talk to our activities director and wellness team for details on all of the important fitness activities we offer each day.  Let us know if you have a new game or program you would like us to consider for our healthy community – if it gets more seniors moving more often, we are all for it!

 

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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Thanking and Appreciating our Veterans

June 15, 2018

Since The Saybrook at Haddam opened our doors, we have welcomed dozens of military veterans to our community.  Some of these men and women served during World War II, the Korean War, or in Vietnam; others during peacetime.  We owe a debt of gratitude to each of them and to every person who stands up to defend our nation and protect our freedoms. This is why we are proud to look for small and large ways to say “thank you” to all veterans in our lives.

Today, in fact, The Saybrook at Haddam is traveling with a group of veterans and family members down to the Nautilus Museum in Groton, Conn., for a very special “Honor and Remember” event.  This ceremony, which is hosted annually by VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, pays respect for Connecticut military veterans, past and present, and serves as a memorial to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We appreciate the opportunity to be part of this tradition of highlighting the legacy, service, and sacrifice of all veterans to the country.

Additionally, we commissioned a local artist, Kristin Haddad, to create our own “Veterans Honor Wall” which is nearly complete.  This tribute, titled “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave,” prominently features a painting of the American flag with our national emblem and a soldier standing in salute.  The mural will eventually include a plaque from each branch of service (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard), each featuring the names of veteran residents from The Saybrook at Haddam. Stay tuned for details on our dedication ceremony!

On a regular basis, we host special veterans’ social events at The Saybrook at Haddam for residents, families and community members.  These events are meant to be an opportunity to share memories of time in the service, discuss some of our country’s history, offer thanks, and build friendships.  Each time we host these events, we are heartened by the spirit of the men and women who attend, and we are glad to offer small recognition.

In the past, one resident was honored at our community by the remarkable Quilts of Valor organization. We all gathered to watch this emotional ceremony, learn more about the special people who choose to live at The Saybrook at Haddam, and, again, offer thanks.  We cannot seem to do that enough. (Please note that the Quilts of Valor Foundation is always seeking volunteer quilters and welcomes suggestions of quilt recipients.)

We look for other little ways to honor and respect veterans and their families in our daily activities at The Saybrook at Haddam.  We often screen historical films and documentaries that focus on different battles or times of war; we have many books and magazines in our libraries that about military history; we host book clubs and discussion groups that oftentimes take on an historical or military theme.  Residents always seem to learn something from these activities – and from fellow residents – which is one of our important goals!

We welcome any veteran of any age (or current service member) to visit our community to meet and talk with fellow veterans.  The National Veteran’s Association reports that there is tremendous value and therapeutic benefits when vets gather and share their stories.  We see this here on a regular basis and encourage it anytime!

For us, coming together on national days of remembrance such as Veterans’ Day or Memorial Day is important to do to show respect for those who served.  We make a special point, however, to go one or two steps further and find ways to extend a hand and offer our gratitude when it is not expected.

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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We’re happy to answer any questions you have and provide additional information about The Saybrook at Haddam.

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Tips for Safe and Healthy Travels for Seniors

June 1, 2018

Many residents at The Saybrook at Haddam are life-long travelers – and many have taken trips all around the globe.  We love when residents share photos and stories of their adventures, both far and wide.  In our own small way, we help fulfill their joy of traveling by hosting “travel tour” videos featuring world-class destinations such as Paris and Bejing, and taking many short, local trips to embrace the beauty of our Connecticut River location.  But in the summer – with the warmer weather – we know many independent seniors will be embarking on trips with family and friends. To help keep everyone healthy, we wanted to take a quick look at some advice for seniors and traveling.

The Center for Disease Control has extensive information on things senior citizens should do before any travel.  The most obvious (and most important) is to visit a doctor 4–6 weeks before any travel to assess health and fitness status, receive vaccines, order necessary medicines and prescriptions, and discuss general concerns.  All travel should factor a senior’s physical limitations and only appropriate/manageable activities should be planned.  This may mean some seniors maybe shouldn’t hike down into the Grand Canyon or spend a lot of time standing in a museum. Seniors should also give themselves time to recover from jet lag, motion sickness, or changes in altitude and climate.

Before travel, seniors should be up-to-date on routine vaccines, such as measles/mumps/rubella and seasonal flu as many of these diseases are often more common in other countries. There are some vaccines recommended for specific countries to avoid diseases such as hepatitis, typhoid, polio or yellow fever. They also should consider getting a tetanus booster since more than half of tetanus cases are in people over 65.

Seniors should talk with their doctor about prescriptions for malaria, altitude illness, or travelers’ diarrhea, making a note of possible drug interactions with other medications. They should carry enough medicine for high blood pressure, diabetes, or arthritis to last for their trip and for a few extra days in case of travel delays. All prescription medicine should be in its original container, packed in carry-on luggage in case checked luggage gets lost.  Carry a copy of the prescription to refer to if needed.  Please be aware that counterfeit drugs may be prevalent in certain parts of the world, so seniors should only take what they bring with them.

It is recommended everyone (especially seniors) follow food and water precautions during all travel outside the United States to avoid additional complications.

The greatest concern for seniors traveling is physical injuries. Seniors can minimize their risk of serious injury by:

  • Always wearing a seat belt
  • Avoiding rides in cars after dark in developing countries (or in small, local planes)
  • Never traveling at night in questionable areas

Note that many health plans, including Medicare, will not pay for services received outside the United States, so supplemental travel health insurance is recommended.

Whether seniors are traveling to the beach, going overseas, or making their way to their children or grandchildren’s homes this summer, these precautions are always good to take seriously.  Our Wellness Team is ready to discuss travel plans and health advice with residents and their families.  Simply stop by the office or set up an appointment and we will make the process as smooth as possible. We look forward to hearing more stories and seeing more photos of all the wonderful places residents voyage to this summer!

 

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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We’re happy to answer any questions you have and provide additional information about The Saybrook at Haddam.

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