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Keys to Living Healthier

by Loretta Baxter, R.N., Administrator

One of the important keys to living longer and feeling healthy is exercise and better yet walking according to Claude Bouchard, director of the human genomics laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana.  It benefits your brain, heart, skin, mood and metabolism.  Even as little as 10 minutes of brisk walking can help.  That is what it takes to burn off the calories of one chocolate chip cookie.  Once you can do 10 minutes, put it to 15 minutes then 20.  Just start slow but start. *  At St. Monica’s, the Life Engagement team has walking partners that go out when the weather is nice, just check the schedule or ask Shannon Perez, Life Engagement Coordinator when the next walking session will occur.   Another way to exercise is to join our exercise groups that are daily at 9:30 in the lower level Atrium.  Our exercise facilitators are certified in teaching exercise to seniors and are very passionate about helping all of us move more, with greater flexibility, less pain and greater stability.  Another key benefit is that exercise reduces the incidents of falls, which is a wonderful benefit. *(“Live Longer!  50 Proven Ways to add Years to Your Life.” AARP Bulletin. March 2017. Vol. 58.

Golf Blog Image 2016

Celebrate life!

Gosh, I can’t believe a whole year has flown by since I wrote about our last golf outing. What a year it has been! We have very active residents and families who give credence to our “celebration of life” philosophy here at St. Monica’s.

We have always been blessed with loving and caring families, but this year we really have witnessed that family members are really participating in our events – much to everyone’s delight. What am I talking about? When we host a tea party, it is not uncommon for sons, daughters and the grandkids to join us. Want to take a walk in the park, no need to leave our grounds, we have 42 beautiful acres where family members walk hand in hand with their mom or dad. Exercise class, always fun, we have family members joining and laughing along. We have football families, church families, walking families, dining families, game show families, care playing families, etc.

I personally was delighted last year, at our golf outing, where we had two, three generational golfing families. One of them was Russ Kortendick where his son and grandsons made up a foursome. Much to everyone amazement and delight Russ Sr. showed everyone up by making the longest putt and taking home the prize! What a day to remember for him!

Last year’s proceeds built our SPA, this year’s golf outing proceeds go toward a new car to transport people to doctors’ visits. Download the registration form for this year’s outing on September 22.

Person Centered Care at St. Monica’s

_DSC1554Someone asked me how does the Positive Approach to Care (PAC) fit into Person Centered Care? These are one of those questions where I respond, “I’m glad you asked”. Attached is our model of Person Centered Care and how I see the different components fitting together.   The overarching umbrella is Person Centered Care which describes our philosophy of care whether you are an individual living in the Assisted Living area of our building or the new soon-to-be-built Memory Care. Person Centered Care describes how we relate to one another too.

The Positive Approach to Care (PAC) are specific techniques utilized to help care for those individuals who suffer from Dementia-related disease or Alzheimer’s. This is the training that 5 of our leaders received from the Teepa Snow organization in Cleveland, Ohio in February.

What are Personal Detractors? One of the characteristics of our Person Centered Care is that we aspire to have few if any language or behaviors present that our Personal Detractors. These are described in detail in the attached document. These were first described by Thomas Kitwood, a British Sociologist, who first coined the term Person Centered Care. We have conducted training with all St. Monica’s Employees on the concept of Person Centered Care and the Personal Detractors. How does this impact our care? For example, treachery is a form of deception in order to distract or manipulate a person, or force them into compliance. At St. Monica’s we have made the decision that we will not use treachery or small white lies. An example of where this might be used is sharing with an individual that “their son will stop by later, when we know he will not”.

Another key is Engagement and we will be talking in more detail about this at our next Board Meeting. Lyn Geboy and Beth Meyer-Arnold have determined baseline measures that demonstrate the amount of engagement among individuals living at St. Monica’s. We have a baseline that was completed prior to the start of our formalized Person-Centered care training and we will work to increase this through programming and staff training and interventions.

The last category and the most important is St. Monica’s values. These values which are based on the Augustinian Community Values that formed the foundation of what the Sister of St. Rita used to establish and form the culture at St. Monica’s. It is this culture that has led to such an outstanding legacy of care for the past 45 years and that which we hope to continue for the next 45 years. These values include: spirituality, compassion, trustworthiness, respect, cooperation, competence, commitment and understanding.

Together these components make up the framework of our Person Centered Care philosophy of care.

 

Dementia Blog

Caring for those with Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Dementia BlogAlzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. with more than 5 million Americans living with the disease. 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another Dementia. http://www.alz.org/documents_custom/2016-facts-and-figures.pdf

With these staggering numbers St. Monica’s has stepped forward to help educate families who often are in the position to be alerted to the problem and then also be in a care taking role.

We are offering classes for anyone who wants to learn more about dementia or Alzheimer’s. It might be someone who is spending more time checking on mom or dad or a spouse or loved ones who are deeply entrenched in a caretaking role. The classes are August 6th or November 5th. The cost is free and it is offered at St. Monica’s from 10:00 – 11:30 am.

Another type of classes we are offering are for professional Certified Nursing Assistants, LPNs, RNs, and Social Workers –healthcare professionals who would like to learn “Positive Approaches” that work in caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s and/or Dementia. They will receive Continuing Education credit for it. These classes cost $25 to cover the materials are offered from 10:00 to 11:30 on May 26th, September 8th and November 3rd.

The classes are taught by Certified Dementia Trainers who have gone through online and in person seminar classes and testing and have successfully presented before peer review certified presenters. The trainers have experience working in the healthcare field with individuals who have Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

One of the areas we describe in detail in the training is the difference between “what is normal aging” and “not normal aging”.   Briefly, it is normal aging to “not be able to recall a word” or “taking time to remember someone’s name”.   Often just giving those of us who are older a little more time will solve that issue; however, there are many symptoms that go along with “not normal aging”. One that we all are quite aware of is “not knowing how you got somewhere and not being able to find your way home”. Which is where the “Silver Alerts come into play for senior adults who are missing. There are many more symptoms that we discuss in the class.

One of the main precepts of our philosophy is focusing on the “positive” and what people have left versus what they have lost. It is easy to talk about Alice has lost her short term memory and she repeats herself all the time versus her positive attributes. Alice still has that positive attitude and loves to help people and let’s talk about those days when she worked as a nurse or how much she enjoyed being a mom to her 4 children.

The other aspect that we spend time on is the physical changes to the brain. The brain actually loses 1/3 of its mass during this devastating disease. Understanding what the various parts of the brain do and how this disease affects individuals is a key part in deepening our understanding which is crucial for us to maintain our compassion. For example, one of the first changes is loss of brain mass in the parietal lobe or the front of the brain. This is where our frontal lobe is located and where we make decisions and judgements. This is why we might say, “Oh, Alice has lost her filter”.   Before she would not have said, “you know Loretta, that dress really makes you look fat”, or she might start swearing when you never heard her swear before in your life”.

Again understanding how the brain works and the impact of this disease on the brain helps our understanding and this leads to greater compassion and patience.

If you have any questions, you can contact Dana Petit to sign up for the classes at St. Monica’s at 262-639-5050 or visit our home page for registration and more information.

Health Screenings Image

The Importance of Health Screenings

“I don’t know that I would have gone to the physician’s office because it seemed like such a small skin change” commented, Deb who works as an RN at St. Monica’s. She participated in a Skin Cancer screening by Dermatology Associates at St. Monica’s Health Fair and Open House in 2013. While participating in the Skin Cancer screening, a small 1/8” pearly bump was found on her nose and she went to see Dr. Lynott. He did a biopsy and diagnosed her with basal cell carcinoma. She ended up having a Mohs’ procedure where the cancerous skin cells are removed in layers and examined under a microscope during the procedure so that the greatest amount of healthy tissue is preserved. Deb ended up having a complete recovery.

This is just one example of the types of health screenings held at St. Monica’s Health Fair and Open House. Others are Avada Hearing screening, Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar screenings. It is a way to find out more about your health without spending a lot of money. You can also learn more information not only about your health but resources available in the community.

Many times individuals are overwhelmed about making the decision to seek help for an elderly parent or friend. This is a perfect opportunity to find out what is available in the community. Some of the services that will be present to talk about what they do are home care organizations such as Gentiva Home Care, People Care, Bright Star and Society’s Assets. Then there will be Independent Living apartment options presented through Parkview Gardens. Another type of care is Alzheimer’s Care which will be represented by Azura and Hospice care will be represented by Hospice Alliance and Allay Hospice.

This does not take into account other service organizations such transport through companies like Paratech Ambulance Service and Caledonia Fire Department. Other community resources available will be Safe Assured ID which will demonstrate the latest technology so that law enforcement personnel can quickly access information they need to find wandering seniors.

You will be amazed at the resources available in our area for seniors. It is just taking the time to stop in and start learning. St. Monica’s Health Fair and Open House will be April 20th from 9 am to 1 pm.