With the changes in governmental programs and the health care  system the need for more care  given by non-professional care givers will be a reality.  Even if you are a strong resilient person, the stress of being a caregiver can take a toll on your health and well-being.  Stress management techniques will be an important part of your daily routine.

Some of the signs of stress that you may not even notice because you are concerned about those you are caring for are:

  • tired all the time
  • overwhelmed and irritable
  • either sleeping too much or not enough
  • losing or gaining weight
  • loss of interest in activities

There are a variety of things that can help you deal with the stress of being a caregiver.  If someone is willing to help, accept the offer.  If they want to pick up some groceries, cook for you, stay with the person you are caring for or even take them for a walk, allow them to provide help.  It will be a wonderful way to give you a break.

As a caretaker, it is normal to feel guilty about many things.  Focus on those things you can control and remind yourself that you are doing the best you are capable of.  No one is perfect.  If you recognize a need for help, you will want to seek it out.  There are many organizations, associations and support groups to help with specific ailments.    These affiliations can offer encouragement and advice.

You will want to make time for yourself.   Get out and socialize with friends and family members.  It is important to maintain a strong support system to help manage the stress associated with being a caregiver.  It’s also important  to stay healthy.  Walking, getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet are all things that promote good health.

Utilize respite care.  Respite care found at a nursing home, such as Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, has become a great option for both the one receiving care and the caretaker.  Though families take great joy in allowing their loved one to remain at home, the physical, emotional and financial strain for the caregiver can be overwhelming.  The family may choose to have their loved one stay at a nursing home where emergency access and professional assistance is provided for a few day or a few weeks.   It allows the caregiver to get a break, go on a much needed vacation or attend a function that would normally restrict them from attending.

Taking time for yourself actually makes you a better caregiver.  It’s hard for you to provide quality care for others if you are not caring for yourself.

One of the most important considerations in maintaining good health is to continue to manage a proper weight.  This is true in children and continues throughout life until we are seniors.

However, as everyone knows, it seems to become harder to maintain a proper body weight as the years go forward.   Slowly, the pounds may sneak onto your body and before you know it you aren’t your ideal self anymore.

But, if you have put on some extra weight, you are not alone.  In fact, the studies suggest that while ⅓ of the American population is of normal weight, ⅓ is overweight, and ⅓ is considered medically obese.

 To make matters harder, it becomes more difficult for the senior population to lose weight for a variety of reasons.  First, they are often less mobile and regular exercise becomes more difficult for them.  Second, with slowing metabolism in the senior population, it becomes much easier for weight to be put on.  Finally, a seniors diet may not be the best if they are not being looked after by someone on a frequent basis.

At Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, we take this issue into consideration with our senior residents.  We feel that it benefits the overall well being of the resident when they can exercise, have nutritious meals and can be monitored when they have certain dietary needs.


Our facility has a wonderful rehabilitation department to assist our residents with remaining physically active and also to manage any specific therapy needs that may be required on a medical basis.  From stretching, to cardiovascular, to strength development, our rehabilitation team is always ready to assist.

Nutritious Meals

Our dining experiences are exceptional for our residents.  Our dietician and team prepare an ongoing variety of nutritious meals that help to foster good health for our residents.

Additionally, if a resident has special dietary needs, our dietician will develop a meal plan, taking into account those special requirements.

A Loving Environment

I want to also mention that good health also comes from a warm and loving environment, which is provided.  From our incredible staff, to our wonderful residents and the loving families that surround us, we are indeed blessed with a truly caring and nurturing environment for good health.

It is vital for seniors to maintain good health and our program focuses on many aspects of health and wellness, including proper weight.

sauk city nursing homeYour bones.  An adult has 206 of them and they are needed for structure, protection, movement and more.  So, it’s important that you take care of your bones, just like you try to take care of your eyes or your heart.

As a person ages, it is not uncommon for bone loss to occur.  In fact, bone fractures in the senior population are often the result of weakness within the bones.  There are two common conditions that can occur:

  • Osteopenia – When bone mineral density (BMD) is lower than normal, but not low enough to be considered osteoporosis

  • Osteoporosis – The “fragile bone disease” that is characterized by decreased bone mass due to a deficiency in calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D, and other vitamins and minerals

There are many causes of these conditions, but one main cause is the aging process in general.  You see, our bodies are constantly making and replacing bone.  As young adults, we make bone faster than we reabsorb the the existing bone.  However, that process slows down as we age and therefore the reabsorption of bone is faster than we can make it, leading to bone density loss.

As stated above, one of the common issues with bone loss is the increased risk of fractures.  In fact, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis causes approximately 2 million fractures per year.  The most common fractures in the senior population are the hip, spine and wrist.

To determine if you may have osteopenia or osteoporosis, you should speak with your doctor.  They may recommend a test that measures the amount of bone density that you currently have.

Three factors to keeping your bones healthy throughout your life include:

  • adequate amounts of calcium

  • adequate amounts of vitamin D

  • adequate exercise

Take your bone health seriously and work to ensure that your bones remain strong.  Take care of them and they will take care of you.

Sauk City, Wisconsin (May 3, 2013) – Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, a trusted nursing facility in the local community, is offering the use of LiteGait® equipment in rehabilitation procedures to smoothly facilitate Partial Weight Bearing Gait Therapy. By using the equipment, a Sauk Prairie physical therapist is free to correct the posture, balance, and coordination of patients while they walk.

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Maplewood has served the Sauk Prairie and surrounding communities for 42 years and this past year has had a lot of changes. Rooms have been updated with deluxe mattresses, tvs and chairs, more rehabilitation services are offered, and a new administrator was gained. There is a lot to celebrate and Nursing Home Week, May 12-17 was the perfect venue to do just that. The theme for the week was “Team Care”. Each day the residents and staff participated in a different activity.

nursing week in sauk city wiEvery mother loves to have her children close. On Sunday, Mother’s Day, Maplewood treated participants to an entertaining morning of music and a danish. The day was electric and the halls were brimming with smiles, flowers and families. On Monday, it was game day. The highlight was looking at 7 sets of pictures and finding the differences in each picture. Tuesday brought a pizza party in the park, complete with old fashion games. Wednesday many employees and family members made the day special. Together, their offerings created a pet parade with an array of animals including well-behaved dogs, a horse, guinea pig, love bird, Macaw and turtle. Thursday was a day filled with team work as the employees played team building games. It was quite a show for the residents to enjoy and it brought an already close group of employees even closer. Friday was another well enjoyed day. The game played was Family Feud and the answers to the questions related to Maplewood’s current residents. It was another bonding experience as caretaker and resident talked about life “back in the day”, reminiscing about their first car and favorite hobby.

The activity department offers a lot of things for the residents to do on a daily basis. Celebrating during National Nursing Home week was an added bonus. The next celebration to note is on June 20th as residents and family members enjoy a summer picnic.

Many of us look forward to this time of year when we can be out in the fresh spring air, enjoying the birds and plants that are growing in our gardens. Working in the garden is great exercise and rewarding in many ways. As with any exercise, gardening can put stress on our bodies. With proper techniques, you can reduce chances of pain and injury.

You should treat gardening as a sport and warm up before you start. Stretch the most used muscles in your upper and lower body; this will help you become more flexible and able to handle the tasks ahead. Light stretching when you are done helps prevent stiffness later.

As we get older, it becomes more difficult to do as much at one time as we once could. Most injuries occur from doing too much too quickly, so spread out your activities throughout the week.

Keep good body mechanics in mind. Remember to lift heavy bags of dirt or mulch by keeping your back straight and bending your knees. Keep the bag close to your body and lift with the strength of your legs.

When shoveling, dig and lift, turning your whole body before you empty the contents. Avoid lifting, twisting and throwing, especially heavy or wet materials. Avoid bending forward for long periods of time; this can cause problems by putting pressure on your back and knees.

Take frequent breaks and trying to alternate use of different muscle groups; this will help minimize repetitive stress on your spine and muscles. Take a break every 30-60 minutes to get a drink of water every 30-60 minutes.

Most injuries occur when you try to do one last thing, so stop before you become fatigued, stiff, sore or experience pain. If you have pain, ice the area for 15-20 minutes. If that does not help, contact your health care provider.

There are many ergonomic garden tools available to help make gardening experiences safe and products without injuries. Happy Gardening!

As experts tell us, the right diet can prevent certain disease such as heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure. They are finding that eating certain foods may help our minds. At this time there aren’t any treatments proven to cure dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, yet they have found foods that have a positive effect in overall mind health.

A “Brain Healthy Diet”, which is low in fat and cholesterol, is effective in reducing heart disease and diabetes by supporting blood flow to the brain. As we get older, it is harder to learn new things because the aging process of our brain cells become inflamed making it harder for cells to communicate with each other.

    Foods recommended by Alzheimer’s Association that help to keep you at the top of your game:

Blackberries: They contain great antioxidants, called polyphenols. According to a 2009 Tufts University Study, these antioxidants improve your ability to retain new information.

Coffee: 1,400 people who were in their 40’s and 50’s, participated in a study where they drank between three to five cups of coffee a day. They reduced their odds by 65% of developing Alzheimer’s Disease over those who drank fewer than two cups a day.

Apples: Remember the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Apples (especially the skins) contain an antioxidant plant chemical called quercertin. They protect our brain cells by keeping the mental juices flowing. Cornell University did research on quercetin. They found quercetin defends our brain cells from free radicals that attack our outer lining of the brain which contains neurons. Loss of these neurons may lead to cognitive loss.

Chocolate: Researchers have found that eating as little as 1/3 ounce of chocolate (the size of 2 Hersey’s Kisses) a day helps protect age related memory loss. It helps lower blood pressure because the polyphenols in cocoa increases the blood flow to the brain.

Spinach: A 2006 Neurology study discovered by eating three servings of green, yellow and cruciferous vegetables a day, a person can slow cognitive decline by 40%. Spinach is packed with nutrients like folate, vitamin E and vitamin K that help prevent dementia.

Cinnamon: Research done at the University of California, Santa Barbara is still in the infant stage; however, the study found two compounds in cinnamon, proanthocyanidins and cinnamaldehyde, are known to inactivate the tau proteins and beta-amyloid plaque which cause brain cells to die – a trademark of Alzheimer’s Disease. Put a sprinkle of cinnamon on your oatmeal or in yogurt.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: In the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, proteins and beta-amyloids attach to brain cells which prevent them from communicating with each other. Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains a compound rich in oleocanthal, which helps disable the beta-amyloids and proteins that cause memory loss.

Salmon: Found in salmon is a top source of DHA, the predominant omega-3 fat in your brain, believed to protect against Alzheimer’s Disease. It is also a good source of Vitamin D. Researchers have found that people deficient in Vitamin D are 40% more likely to suffer from age-related memory loss.

Curry: Curry powder contains turmeric, a spice that is a cousin to ginger. Turmeric contains a compound rich in curcumin known to block the formation of beta-amyloid plaques. It also fights inflammation and lowers artery-clogging cholesterol that reduces blood flow to the brain.

Concord Grape Juice: Good for your heart and good for your brain is Concord grape juice. It contains polyphenols found in red wine and concord grape juice, that can give your brain a boost. In a research study done at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, volunteers that were given a daily drink of concord grape juice for three months, significantly improved their memory and verbal skills over the others who were just given a placebo.

With warmer weather temperatures coming, it’s time to be reminded of heat related injuries and illnesses.

Although staying hydrated is important all year long, it can become a medical emergency with hot, humid weather. Infants, the elderly, athletes and outdoor workers are at the greatest risk for heat stroke often referred to as Hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is when the body temperature is elevated dramatically with body temperatures of 104 degrees F (40C or higher). Heat stroke is a medical emergency and can be fatal if not treated promptly and properly.

Different people may have different symptoms and signs of heat stroke. Signs include: high body temperature, absence of sweating with hot, red or flushed skin, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, strange behaviors, confusion, hallucinations, agitation, disorientation, seizure or coma.

Sometimes a person experiences heat exhaustion before progressing to heat stroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, headache, muscle cramps, aches and dizziness.

Some people develop symptoms of heat stroke suddenly without warning. Cooling the victim is a critical step in the treatment of heat stroke. It is important to notify emergency services immediately. Someone who may be suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke should be moved to a cool place. If they are conscious, offer sips of water while waiting for emergency medical personnel.

    Tips to reduce sun or heat exposure:

* Wear wide brimmed hats to keep head and face cool. This also protects from damaging sun exposure and protects the face, ears and neck.
* Wear light colored, loose fitting long sleeved tops – except when working around machinery.
* Have plenty of water available. Take drinks frequently (every 15 minutes).
* Take breaks in the shade or a cool environment during the hottest part of the day.
* Adjust gradually to working in the heat. It may take 10-20 days to acclimate.
* Wearing a sunscreen with at least 15 SPF.

Medicare Part A Tip

Medicare Part A was designed to cover an individual's need for short-term rehabilitation, medical care and treatment.  It does not cover long-term custodial care.

Certain criteria must be met to be eligible for Medicare Part A benefit.  One important factor is a three-day qualifying hospital admission.  When all criteria have been met, the benefit may be provided for up to 100 days.  The first 20 days of the Medicare A stay are fully covered.  The following 80 days are considered coinsurance days and the resident, or supplemental insurance is responsible for $148 per day.  Medicare will pay the remaining balance.

To maintain Medicare coverage for rehab or skilled nursing services, the resident must show continued improvement.  Once their goals have been reached, the benefit will cease.  Therefore, it is possible that the full 100 days may not be used.

Ancillary charges like transportation and beautician services are not covered by Medicare.

Please contact the Social Services or Business Office for more information on Medicare and insurance coverage at Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, located in Sauk City, WI.

Pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers.  No appointment is necessary so you can stop in to ask advice, even if you are not picking up medication.  They are also the "Drug Experts" and can intervene to prevent medication errors if they know all of the prescription and over the counter medications that you are taking. 

There are a lot of benefits in choosing one pharmacy that fits your unique needs and preferences.  On a personal level, developing a relationship with your pharmacist is a good idea.  The better a pharmacist knows you, the more able he is to tailor treatment to help improve your health and possibly save you money.  The consistency of using the same pharmacist allows educated recommendations on not only prescription medications, but over-the-counter medications as well.

Using one pharmacy impacts society because it saves tax payers money.  Each year, over 770,000 people are injured or die in hospitals due to an adverse drug event.  The national hospital expenses associated with treating patients with an adverse drug event is estimated to be between $1.56 and $5.6 billion annually.  A pharmacist can review a patient's medication profile to optimize drug therapy outcomes.  Record of all of allergies, medical conditions and medication history can easily be accessed at one pharmacy.  Pharmacists are able to view the Electronic Health Record, EHR, to help make drug decisions and promote safety which in turn may reduce hospitalizations.

Safety is significantly improved with the use of one pharmacist by reducing medication errors and drug side effects.  Computer programs at a pharmacy include medication histories.  This can help catch prescription errors, particularly with incorrect dosage or duplicate therapy.  The program can also track when medications are picked up.  This helps the pharmacists to see if you are using your medication correctly and if you are picking it up too frequently or infrequently.  If the pharmacist knows all of the medications you are taking, the side effects and potential drug interactions for over-the-counter medications, herbals and dietary supplements are identified.  They are also aware of the medications that need to be gradually decreased in dose in order to stop taking it and can monitor that they are being decreased correctly.  (There are some drugs that if you suddenly stop taking it, you could have a serious adverse drug events.)

At Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, located in Sauk City, WI, an in-house pharmacist can help with all of the resident's pharmaceutical needs. 100% of care is provided on location, including dispensing of medicine.  It is done on a daily basis, thereby eliminating the waste associated when there is a change in medication.  Friendly pharmacists are available to review drug interactions for each resident.  And an in-house pharmacy is convenient because you don't have to leave the facility in order to fill a prescription.