10/31/14

Are you safe from scams?

Today’s seniors grew up in a different world. They grew up learning to trust people and hold on to their savings and wealth. Because of these values, seniors are now the targets of many scams. To ensure the seniors in your life stay safe from scams, read up on three common cons that are currently targeting the elderly.

 

Door-to-Door Sales
Knocks on your door used to mean the neighbor kids were selling Girl Scout cookies or coming to mow the lawn. Now, a knock on your door could be a scam artist waiting to prey on an unprepared senior. Also known as the “gypsy scam,” scammers will come to your door asking to do repair work. They bring a few people with them, and while one person is negotiating the contract the others rifle through the home looking for valued possessions – including wedding rings.

“These people come from out of town,” said Officer Sloan, Rock Island’s Elderly Service Officer. “They look for seniors who might be living alone and target them for house repairs. They then take money and don’t complete the project.” Officer Sloan reminds seniors to never let anyone they don’t know in their home, to always hire a legitimate company to do repair work, and to always negotiate a signed contract before any work is done.

Health Care Fraud
All adults over the age of 65 are eligible for Medicare, which makes them a target for healthcare-related scams. Many times scam artists will call seniors posing as Medicare representatives to see if the person on the other line will give up their personal information, including social security numbers and bank accounts. Officer Sloan reminds everyone that Medicare and Medicaid will never call you and will never ask you for your full social security number. If you receive a call, hang up and call the company back directly to ensure you aren’t being scammed. Remember to never give out personal information over the phone!

Financial Fraud
Financial fraud is one of the most common types of scams as it can be carried out via phone, social networks, email, or mail. Brian Yaklich, Compliance Officer at Blackhawk Bank & Trust, warns seniors of lottery scams.

“Seniors will often receive a notification via mail or email that they’ve won the lottery in a foreign country. They’re asked to wire a payment up front for taxes then receive a lump sum from the lottery,” said Yaklich. If you receive a notification like this, remember that Americans cannot win a foreign lottery, and this is always a scam to have money sent to someone.

Another common financial scam that occurs via phone is what bankers and police call a distress scam.  A con artist will call a senior, pretending to be their grandchild, and say that they are in jail or stuck in a foreign country and ask that money be wired to help them out.

“The scammers are hoping that you act and not think during these calls. When in doubt, slow down and ask some questions. Call your family to verify if it was them or not,” suggests Yaklich.

 

The best ways to stay safe from scams is to always be alert, ask questions, and think clearly. At Friendship Manor, we’re being proactive to keep our residents safe. Take a look at our activity calendar for potential sessions on keeping safe from scams and other activities at Friendship Manor!

10/15/14
Silver Cross Steps June 2013 (103)

Silver Cross provides health and rehabilitation to more than just residents

In the spirit of helping the community at large as well as residents, the Silver Cross Health and Rehabilitation Pavilion provides physical, occupational, and speech therapy on an in and out-patient basis.

The Silver Cross Health and Rehabilitation Pavilion provides rehabilitation therapy to both in- and outpatients with a physician’s order. In the case that a patient doesn’t have a physician’s order, Silver Cross can help him or her obtain one if appropriate. Likewise, most insurance plans are billable through Silver Cross.

According to the Director of Rehabilitation at the Silver Cross Health and Rehabilitation Pavilion Mark Leverenz, OTR/L, Silver Cross specializes in problems often affecting seniors like balance deficits, joint replacements of upper and lower body, stroke rehab and other neurological impairments, and general strengthening and conditioning.

“[Programs are] all for the purpose of helping the person improve their level of functioning back to the point before they had their injury or illness,” said Leverenz.

These treatment programs utilize new technology like the Biodex Balance System—a computerized balance assessment and treatment tool—and NuStep exercise equipment, which helps patients regain range of motion.

“Anything that has caused a decline in function, we can address it,” said Leverenz.

More information can be found on our website, and any questions about outpatient rehabilitation and therapy services can be directed to Leverenz at 309-786-9334.

09/24/14

Your packing list for a short stay at a rehabilitation facility

A short stay at a nursing home or rehabilitation facility lasting around 20 days is not uncommon. After working out the details of the stay, someone may find herself asking, “But what do I pack?”

First, be sure to pack clothing. No, short stay patients will not be living in an open-back hospital gown for 20 days. Yes, Friendship Manor staff is happy to do laundry each week. Pack enough outfits for about five days, including underwear, pajamas, and slippers. Don’t forget proper clothing for outdoor excursions, too, like a coat, hat, and gloves if it will be cold.

In terms of personal care, most toiletries are provided at our Silver Cross Health Care and Rehabilitation Pavilion. Shampoo, soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and items of that nature are available.

Admissions Coordinator Sigred Chasey advises, “We do provide [toiletries], but if you have a favorite shampoo or lotion you want to bring… well, I recommend you do that!”

Electric razors for men to shave, hearing aid kits, and denture care products should be brought from home.

However, most medication should probably stay at home, as medication may be brought in for respite care only, according to Chasey. Otherwise, “medication will be ordered for you,” she says.

Lastly, bring something to pass the time!

“There is down time… you do have to fill that time,” says Chasey.

While Friendship Manor offers a wide variety of activities, those going through rehabilitation or respite may not be up to taking part. Chasey recommends bringing books, an iPad, or other things to entertain oneself during a short stay at the Silver Cross Health Care and Rehabilitation Pavilion.

Learn more about our nursing and respite care on our website!

09/17/14

Assisted or independent living: that is the question

In the age of choices, it can be difficult to make decisions these days. Doug Higgins, R.N., Assisted Living Nurse Manager at Friendship Manor, has some pointers for figuring out whether your loved one is in need of assisted living or independent living services.

According to Higgins, the main deciding factor is the extent to which someone can accomplish activities of daily living. These include meal preparation, feeding, dressing and bathing oneself, ambulation (moving from place to place), and otherwise being able to take care of personal needs.

While services are available to help with these activities at a certain level in independent living situations, Higgins says, “There will be a point where that level exceeds what staff can provide with those services.”

For example, residents may need to be cued to eat or take medication. “There are times when patients really don’t have the ability to deliver medication to themselves in a way that is safe and consistent,” says Higgins.

In an assisted living situation, residents can be checked on as often as every two hours, providing a level of monitoring and safety that is not available in independent living.

So really, the choice between assisted living and independent living depends on how able a person is to take care of themselves with limited additional services.

“Someone may be able to ambulate with a walker, but going to meals and such might be beyond their ability,” says Higgins. “Bathing is the same thing.”

In order to help figure out exactly how much independence someone can really manage, Friendship Manor provides formal assessments, in which health professionals go into a resident’s apartment home and score their daily activities in order to find out which level of assistance is most appropriate.

“If there are any doubts [about a family member living at home],” says Higgins, “contact a facility—or multiple facilities—to have them do a formal assessment to help make those decisions.”

While seniors should exercise as much independence as possible—“use it or lose it”—safety should always be the top concern. For questions about assisted or independent living at Friendship Manor, contact Doug Higgins at (309) 794-4171 or visit our website.

09/10/14

Things that affect your risk of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones that occurs naturally with age when bone tissue can’t replace itself as fast as it deteriorates, leaving them brittle and prone to fractures.

Falling on weak bones can lead to a debilitating broken hip or a fractured wrist, making osteoporosis especially dangerous for seniors.

Over time, osteoporosis begins to show signs in the form of back pain, loss of height and a stooped posture, and unexpected fractures.IMG_1924

Kristie Leverenz, a physical therapist at the Silver Cross Health and Rehabilitation Pa
vilion
, said, “Leaning forward, being unable to stand up straight, and fractures for any reason are possible signs of osteoporosis and the need to start getting treatment for it.”

If these signs start appearing, talk to your doctor. In the meantime, take some advice on what to stock up on and what to avoid to lower your risk of osteoporosis.

Things that will strengthen your bones:

Exercise: Strength-training and weight-bearing exercises like walking, jogging, skipping rope, or stair climbing—exercises that produce impact—will help strengthen the bones in your back, legs, and spine.

“Bone is made stronger by weighting and unweighting a joint,” said Leverenz, “so walking is an excellent activity to do for seniors.”

Calcium: Stored in bones, this mineral keeps your bones and teeth strong. Calcium can be found in leafy green vegetables, low-fat dairy, salmon, and other foods.

Vitamin D: This vitamin is essential in helping your body absorb calcium, so it works to strengthen your bones, too! Sunlight is a free source of Vitamin D, but there are also supplements available for higher doses.

“Not getting enough nutrients can decrease bone density,” said Leverenz. She advises a higher intake of Vitamin D and calcium, “which can usually be found in dairy foods or supplements,” she said.

Things that will weaken your bones:

Salt: Sodium helps transport minerals throughout your body, and too much salt will transport calcium right out of your bones, leading to low bone density.

Caffeine: Drinks high in caffeine like coffee and soda can weaken bones by ruining your body’s absorption of strengthening calcium. Try a glass of milk with breakfast instead!

Inactivity: “Long periods of inactivity from a fracture or other injury can accelerate the development of osteoporosis,” said Leverenz. It makes sense that if exercising can facilitate higher bone density, inactivity will lead to lower bone density and higher risk of severe osteoporosis.

Medications: Leverenz also added that steroid use may be a red flag to be tested for osteoporosis, as steroids affect the metabolism of minerals important for bone health like Vitamin D and calcium.

Bone health is important to overall health—especially in seniors. Stronger bones prevent potentially life-threatening fractures and breaks, so be sure to drink your Ovaltine!

Kristie Leverenz and the rest of our staff are dedicated to the health of our residents. See more about the services offered at the Silver Cross Health and Rehabilitation Pavilion!

 

08/19/14

Learn to prevent UTIs in seniors

Urinary tract infections in seniors can be very serious. Unlike younger people who just experience discomfort and inconvenience, UTIs in seniors can lead to serious health complications, such as altered states of consciousness, falls, and urosepsis, a serious infection.

Preventing UTIs in seniors is the best defense against potentially serious consequences. Doug Higgins, Assisted Living Manager and RN at Friendship Manor has tips for how to prevent UTIs in seniors.

Drink plenty of water

Staying hydrated is the single best defense against getting a UTI. Water is best, but persons prone to UTIs can also drink cranberry juice regularly, as it acidifies urine and fights bacteria.

“Most of us do not drink as much fluids as we should,” Higgins said. “Seniors should make sure they have ongoing and frequent replacement of fluids.”

Practice good hygiene

Scrupulous personal hygiene will help prevent most infections, but sometimes attempts to get clean can cause more harm than good. For example, using baby wipes for convenience can actually leave residue behind that can cause an infection. Also baths should be followed by a thorough rinse to remove soap residue and bacteria that may be in the water.

If you don’t have a hand held shower attachment, a spray bottle filled with water can be used to rinse off.

Wear loose fitting clothing

Cotton, loose fitting underpants are best for preventing UTIs. The material will let the area breathe and reduce the accumulation of bacteria.

Recognize symptoms early

If seniors do develop a urinary tract infection, early treatment will help prevent some of the serious complications that can develop. Early symptoms include a sense of urgency to urinate, going more often, and burning. Occasionally seniors will also experience fatigue and a low grade temperature when they have a urinary tract infection.

“The earlier you catch it, you can minimize the length of the disconcerting effects,” Higgins said. “Seniors’ immune systems are not nearly as robust as a young person’s and it can lead to very serious consequences.”

Friendship Manor provides skilled nursing care for its residents. Click here to learn more.

 

08/12/14

Meet Ron Miller, the friendly Friendship Manor bus driver

Ron Miller 1

Ron Miller is a familiar face at Friendship Manor, or rather just outside the Manor as residents board the Friendship Manor bus to visit destinations outside the senior living community.

The retired Moline firefighter, known as “Chief” to some residents for the last position he held, spends two days a week bringing residents to doctors’ appointments, shopping trips and the beauty parlor. It’s a service the residents enjoy having, especially those who have sold their cars or don’t like to drive in poor weather. But Miller enjoys it just as much as the residents.

“A lot of the people are from our greatest generation and talking with them is enjoyable,” said Miller who listens to everything from tales of yesteryear to the latest visit from a grandchild.

Miller is a favorite among the residents because he is always lending an extra hand, from bringing extra cloth bags on grocery day, to helping residents carry their bags inside their apartments.

“Ron is just an all-around great guy that is good with our residents and a fun guy to work with,” said Nancy Mann, Activities Director at Friendship Manor.

One of Miller’s favorite parts of the job is hearing how the landscape of the Quad Cities has changed over the years from residents who have been lifelong Quad Citians.

“They’ll say, ‘Oh I remember when that was just an orchard or field,’ ” Miller said. “I see how much the area has changed over the years from their perspective.”

When he’s not driving the Friendship Manor bus, Miller enjoys golfing when the weather is good and having a weekly game day with his parents. Miller said driving residents to their appointments and social activities outside Friendship Manor is a very enjoyable way to keep busy in his retirement.

“I like my coworkers and I like the residents,” Miller said. “I enjoy being part of making their lives easier.”

Click here to view our activity calendar to see what events Miller takes the Friendship Manor residents to.

08/5/14

90-year-olds credit exercise with keeping their mind, body sharp

Bob Chaney 1

They’re in their 90s and they still exercise for an hour a day, five days a week.

Meet Mary Acord, 95, and Robert Chaney, 90. They both have been active all their lives. Acord was an avid runner from when she retired to her early 80s, when she moved to Friendship Manor. Chaney played all manner of sports from football and basketball, to track and field. Both credit their active lifestyles to their continued good health.

“Being active like that really helps as you age,” said Acord. “You just feel good about yourself, that you’ve been able to do that. I had my 95th birthday just a couple
weeks ago. My kids were here and they were proud that I can do all those things.”Mary Acord (2)

Acord stays fit by attending a chair exercise class at Friendship Manor that works out every part of her body, and by following exercise DVDs in the fitness room three days a week. She credits her fitness routine with keeping her body healthy and her mind sharp. At 95, the only physical ailment she suffers from is poor vision.

“You don’t need to be able to see too well to exercise,” Acord said.

Chaney works out in his apartment doing a routine he has developed from his own expertise, as well as exercises taught to him by physical therapists at Friendship Manor. He begins each hour-long workout with a series of stretches, then goes into leg exercises including squats, planks to keep his core strong and strength training with rubber bands and weights.

“I think it’s vital and I think without it, I would be bedfast,” Chaney said. “I have a terribly bad back, but I can pay careful attention to what I’m doing and I can work around it.”

Over the years Chaney has modified his workout. For example, he still walks, but needs a break every quarter mile. But stopping working out isn’t an option for him.

“There’s no question about it. You either stay active or you sink,” Chaney said. “As you age, you have less equilibrium, less strength, less flexibility, so you have to modify your activities accordingly. But you can still do most of the things you always did, but maybe a little differently.”

Click here to take a virtual tour of Friendship Manor and learn more about the exercise options for seniors at Friendship Manor.

07/22/14

How to ensure your parent is taking their medication properly

Friendship Manor

Not taking medications properly can be a critical problem, especially for seniors. Besides the medications not doing the job they are supposed to, such as preventing Alzheimer’s or dementia from progressing, taking medication at the wrong time, without food or fluids, in the wrong dose, or not at all, can lead to dizziness, ulcers, stroke, and congestive heart failure.

Dan Clem-McKinley, Director of Friendship Manor In-Home Services, said the key to making sure your parent or loved one is taking their medication properly is keeping an open line of communication between your parent and their doctor.

“We all know as we get older we have the tendency of forgetting,” Clem-McKinley said. “If I would be dealing with my parent, the first thing I would do is ask, ‘What medications are you on? When are you taking them? What is the dosage?’ And if they are doing it correctly, then that’s OK.”

Clem-McKinley said the key is double-checking with both your parent’s medicine supply as well as the doctor who prescribed it to ensure the information your parent has told you about their medication is correct. The latter will require a release from your parent that you may discuss their medications with the doctor.

For example, it is not uncommon for seniors to continue taking pills even after the doctor has stopped prescribing them, or to still be taking a prescription that was filled in 2011, and still has six refills remaining on it because they didn’t take it as often as they should.

Clem-McKinley has even encountered situations where seniors have kept prescriptions for years, thinking the doctor may prescribe it again and they can save money by not discarding the old medicine.

Once you know what your parent or loved one is supposed to be taking and when, it is important to double check that the medications are being taken on time by doing occasional spot checks and making sure the right amount of medication is left and asking why if the number is off.

“The children need to be active in their parents’ lives if they can,” Clem-McKinley said. “That’s the first step, keeping the communications open, even if you live out of state.”

If you are concerned that your parent or loved one is not taking their medication properly, or you are unable to monitor them on a daily basis, Friendship Manor can help. Friendship Manor In-Home Services can provide daily medication reminders, where a trained staff member will go to the senior’s home, multiple times a day if needed, and ensure medication is taken properly.

At Friendship Manor the nursing staff ensures residents take their medication on time, according to the proper instructions and dosage.

Click here for more information about Friendship Manor In-Home Services.

07/15/14

15 years later, resident still loves living at Friendship Manor

 

Pat

Fifteen years ago, Pat Vogel added up all her expenses to keep her home verses moving into Friendship Manor. The costs were the same, but if she stayed in her home, she also had to keep her bushes trimmed, her lawn cut and snow shoveled.

“I figured I may as well come here,” said Vogel who is still glad she made the move all those years ago.

What she enjoys most is constant companionship without having to leave the Manor.

“If you love to play cards, there is always a group of people who want to play,” Vogel said. “Me personally, because I love to read, I love the library.”

Vogel also looks forward to the monthly cocktail parties complete with music from the 40s, monthly birthday parties and the Friendship Manor staff.

“The staff are all just like our daughters and sons,” Vogel said. “They’re all just wonderful. I think they all love their jobs.”

She has been able to keep up a sewing and alterations business she has owned for more than 40 years while living at Friendship Manor. She still keeps her loyal customers and has even gained a few new ones from among the Friendship Manor residents.

“It’s like always having grandma around to sew on a button,” Vogel said.

Vogel also loves the food, especially because she doesn’t have to purchase or prepare it herself.

“We have fresh fruit, I think it is marvelous,” Vogel said. “If you want to make yourself a salad for dinner, you don’t have to buy all those cucumbers and tomatoes. It’s all right there for you.”