As people grow older, they find that they are not quite as agile, flexible or strong as they used to be. However, to maintain their health, seniors still need to keep an active lifestyle. They can’t do that if their body’s functionality is impaired. Physical therapy in Waunakee, WI and nearby areas helps seniors regain or improve their balance, strength and flexibility so they can continue living healthy, independent lives. Here’s how physical therapists can help elderly loved ones overcome the challenges of aging.

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Celebrate Earth Day
Since 1970, the world has celebrated April 22 as Earth Day, a time to bring environmental awareness and protection into the spotlight. Many communities honor the day with rallies or festivals where seniors set the stage. If you are looking to contribute, there are plenty of ways to get involved and leave the planet a little better than you found it.
Here are a few:
Take an intergenerational nature walk. Go for a nature walk with your grandchildren or other youngsters and share your favorite parts of nature. Bring along a trash bag and pick up any litter you see along the way.
Plant a legend. Arbor Day takes place this month, too. Honor both days by planting a tree with friends and family. This act will leave a legend of beauty for generations to come.
Paint the community green. Work with your neighbors and community managers to ensure that your home is operating a green as possible. Brainstorm together for ideas to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Lead a letter writing charge. Contact your local or state governments about ways to protect or improve the environment where you live. Encourage others to do the same.

Maplewood Sauk Prairie Offers Tips to Prolong A Senior’s Ability to Live at Home.

There are a variety of things to incorporate into a person’s daily living that increases safety and may prolong the ability for a senior to live in his/her home.
1. Bathroom Safety
• Utilize a shower seat.
• Have a cordless phone near a tub or shower, in case of an emergency.
• A walk-in shower or tub eliminates the need to step over a barrier which increases the risk of falling.
• Use a taller toilet seat. It makes it easier to get up or down.
• Install grab bars as an assistive aid and to help with stability.
2. Incorporate “Life Alert” or some monitoring agency. There may be a time when you can’t get to the phone because you fallen and by pushing a button on an assistive device the agency is notified that you need help.
3. Phone
• Multiple cordless phones around the house makes accessibility easier.
• Carry a cell phone on your person at all times.
• Use phones with large buttons for better visibility.
4. Rugs are tripping hazards
• Remove them or secure rugs in place with tape, tacks or non-skid backs.
5. Bright accessible lighting.
• Install automatic safety-motion lights for both the inside and outside of the home.
• Make sure the pathway to light switches is easily assessed.
6. Stairs
• Use non-skid strips for outside steps and porches.
• Make sure handrails or banisters are securely tightened for support.
• Remove runners on stairs. They are a tripping hazard.
• Indoor wooden stairs should have non-skid strips installed on them.
• Use and/or install a chair lift.
• Have a ramp for those who use a walker or wheelchair.
7. Outdoor
• Trim trees that cover walk ways.
• Install adequate lighting.
• Fix broken/cracked pavement or sidewalks
• Utilize non-skid materials on decks. It is a lot safer in wet weather.
• Fix broken or loose boards on decks.
• Secure hand and deck rails.
8. Bedroom
• Utilize bedrails to eliminate the possibility of falling out of bed.
• Have a phone next to the bed with emergency numbers programed or next to it.
• Proper bed height makes it easier to get into and out of bed.
• A firm mattress makes it easier to move on and off the bed.
• Have a light next to the bed.
• Utilize a night light.
9. Fire Safety
• Utilize smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If possible, have the smoke detector hooked up so it is part of a monitoring alarm system that will automatically contact the fire department.
• Have fire extinguishers accessible. Place them in rooms that are high traffic areas such as bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and living room.

10. Power Outages
• A cell phone allows a person to communicate regardless if the power is out.
• Have a flashlight and batteries within easy reach.

ipodfamily
In 2012, a video clip of a man named Henry who has severe dementia went viral. It was spectacular because he was reawakened after listening to Cab Calloway – one of his favorite musical artists. The video came from a documentary called Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory, which is based upon the healing power of personalized music.
Music is linked to personal memories. Our brains are hard-wired to connect music with long-term memory. Simply hearing favorite songs from youth can bring back memories of a first love or specific life event.
People with severe dementia benefit from music’s ability to tap into an individual’s emotional recall. A person suffering from Alzheimer’s has trouble recalling names, places and facts, but can recall memories from their youth. Favorite music or songs can trigger memory and connect personal experiences to that song which provides therapeutic benefits such as calming chaotic brain activity and enabling the listener to focus on the present moment allowing them to regain a connection with others. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, yet regular users of a personalized music program will be more alert, engaged and conversant.
Maplewood has embraced the “Music and Memory” therapeutic program which has been known to bring life-changing benefits to those with cognitive and physical impairments. These benefits include:
• Individuals who display low communication skills begin to talk or become social.
• One who is depressed may feel happier.
• A person who has been less mobile may experience increased physical activity.
• Individuals are more cooperative, attentive and willing to accept care which enables more person-centered care.
• Because individuals are calmer and less agitated, sundowning (confusion and restlessness) is often reduced or eliminated.
• Those who listen to pleasurable music can reduce pain levels by more than 20%.
• Family and staff are able to connect in a more meaningful way with residents
Music and Memory is a personalized music program which utilizes iPods and is making a positive impact for a majority of residents living in care facilities. Maplewood Health and Rehabilitation Center – a 120 bed facility, located in Sauk City, WI, currently has 10 iPods to be used in this program and is looking for more so it can reach all its residents. Instead of filling the landfill with an old style iPod that was replaced with a smart phone or the latest and greatest model, consider donating your old iPod to Maplewood.
“Any unused iPods that are lying around your home will work. We are most interested in collecting any type of well-cared-for iPod and its charger. The iPods collected will be wiped clean of any music, restored to factory settings and put to good use at Maplewood. If you don’t have an iPod to donate and want to donate money, all funds collected will be used to purchase iPods and music from iTunes.”, explains Patty Spurgeon one of Maplewood’s certified Music and Memory technicians.
Call Patty for more information, 608.643.3383 or feel free to drop off your gently used iPods & chargers at Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, 245 Sycamore St., Sauk City, WI.

While you’re asleep, your brain is busy. Medical experts say even at rest, crucial cognitive functions are taking place, and neurons in the brain stay active. Amazingly, as you slumber, the brain performs several vital functions: it processes information, forms new memories, makes creative connections, cleans out toxins, and stores information about physical tasks.

Maplewood of Sauk Prairie Encourages You to Laugh out Loud
Is laughter really the best medicine? Many medical experts report that laughing produces significant health benefits.
Easy exercise: Think about what happens when you get the giggles: Your heart rate increases, you can’t catch your breath and your facial muscles are sore. That’s right – laughing is like a mild workout, burning up to 50 calories in just 10 minutes.
A happy heart: In addition to aerobic benefits, laughing heartily can improve circulation and help balance blood pressure levels, boosting cardiovascular health.
A stress-free smile: While some stress is good, too much can cause both mental and physical health problems. Laughter relieves stress by reducing stress hormones and releasing endorphins (feel-good chemicals) in the body. People usually feel more relaxed and happier after laughing, even during trying situations.
Rest and Relief: Laughter is considered a natural pain reliever, both by releasing endorphins and by serving as a temporary distraction from either physical or emotional pain. Watching a comedy before bedtime can ease painful symptoms and relax your muscles so sleep comes easier.
Fun Friendships: People love having someone to laugh with. Connect with friends by sharing a joke or two. The result is an active social life – a crucial component of good health and happiness.
“In this world, a good time to laugh is any time you can.” Linda Ellerbee
“All you need in the world is love and laughter. That’s all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other.” August Wilson
“Nothing shows a man’s character more than what he laughs at.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“There is little success where there is little laughter.” Andrew Carnegie
“You can’t deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.” Stephen King
“Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.” Mark Twain