In last month's Senior Scene column, the executive director of The Homewood Residence at Rockefeller Gardens should have been listed as Cheryl Walker. As a matter of clarification, Kensington Place, The Concord and Huntington Green are "all-ages" apartment buildings; the first two offer the convenience of an elevator for seniors, and the latter offers special activities for seniors. Warrensville Community Apartments is home to a branch of the Jewish Community Center. In addition, the Superior Schoolhouse is used for occasional events by the Cleveland Heights Historical Society.
The Senior Section: A Resource Guide For Senior Adults
Warm temperatures are a welcome relief from the frigid weather we had last winter. Hot and humid weather, however, can bring challenges and dangers for seniors. Here are some tips to help keep you safe during the summer.
Keep cool. When body temperature rises, our body naturally sends more blood to circulate through our skin. This leaves less blood for our muscles, which in turn increases our heart rate. The body faces additional stress when humidity is high, because sweat cannot readily evaporate through the skin to cool us.
The Heights offers many options for seniors considering downsizing or needing additional assistance.
Built in 1923, The Alcazar, on Derbyshire Road in Cleveland Heights, is a beautiful Spanish-Moroccan building offering independent senior apartments. All apartments have full kitchens and some have balconies overlooking courtyard gardens. Breakfast is served daily in the dining room, and educational and cultural events are plentiful. The elegant ballroom hosts many special events. The Alcazar also offers bed and breakfast rooms, and extended-stay suites that cater to out-of-state and international visitors. As one resident said, “The world comes to The Alcazar.”
Cleveland and its eastern suburbs are home to many beautiful buildings, and some interesting architectural developments occurred here between the mid-1800s and the 1920s. Many local seniors recall their parents talking about life in the Heights during that time of transition, and some are fortunate enough to have witnessed firsthand the later years of this period of development.
The Superior Schoolhouse, located at the corner of Superior Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights, is believed to date to 1859. It was used as a schoolhouse for approximately 65 years. When the farmland around it began to be developed for residential use, new larger schools were built.
We have all heard of “aging gracefully,” but how do we actually do that? Aging gracefully involves taking an active approach to the aging process. Rather than waiting for aging to take its effect on us, we can make lifestyle choices that postpone or eliminate some of those effects. By taking a proactive role in our own well-being we can age as gracefully as possible.
Keeping our brains healthy is critical to healthy aging. According to Cleveland Clinic, normal cognitive decline starts around age 60, and the most common change is a decrease in the speed of processing information. The Clinic contends that keeping your body healthy is essential to keeping your brain healthy, and it recommends following a Mediterranean-style diet, getting regular exercise and keeping cholesterol and blood pressure at healthy levels.
Older couples and single people living on their own often have trouble making nutritious meals for themselves. Understanding nurtritional needs and appropriate calorie intake can be confusing. Fresh ingredients are frequently sold in packages that are too large to finish before they go bad. Eating healthfully can also cost more, and the time required to cook sometimes doesn’t seem worth the effort. Following are some tips to help you eat in a healthy way without a lot of effort.
In 2011, the USDA updated the Food Pyramid of healthy eating guidelines and created a new initiative called Healthy Plate. The guidelines are based on the USDA publication “2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans” (DGA), and have been revised to make it easier to make better food choices. The guidelines suggest how to balance calories; add more healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, to your diet; and decrease the amount of unhealthy foods, such as those with high-sugar and high-sodium ingredients.
As our needs change due to age, illness or injury, it can be difficult to sort through the myriad support services available. Choosing one that best meets our needs is a daunting and sometimes confusing task. Fortunately, there are local resources to help us to make a well-informed decision.
The estate and life-care-planning firm of Bartimole-Greene, located in Beachwood, is one such resource. The firm helps clients with legal and financial services. Kelsey Loushin, the on-staff care coordinator, assists clients with all aging-related needs. A well-respected veteran in the senior care field, she has an extensive inventory of local services, programs and products at her fingertips. “Our clients tell us what their goals are and then we do everything in our power to help them meet their goals," said Loushin.
According to a 2010 study by the Centers for Disease Control, 10.9 million people aged 65 or older have diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to convert food into energy. Insulin is a hormone the body manufactures to convert food into the glucose that our bodies need.
People with diabetes get too much glucose in their blood because their body may not make enough insulin, may not use insulin in the right way, or both. This can lead to complications, such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, circulation problems and a higher-than-normal risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
During the winter many people find it difficult to get out of the house to do errands and socialize with friends. Those with limited mobility are unable to get out any time of the year. Fortunately, there are local companies that bring their services to people’s homes.
Amy Roth, a Heights-area dressmaker and tailor, will come to your home to pick up your mending and tailoring. With more than 40 years of couture experience, Roth can alter your clothing to make garments easier to put on and take off. “It’s called adaptive sewing,” said Roth. “I can replace buttons with snaps or Velcro.” Roth also makes comfort and convenience items for seniors, such as wedge pillows for back pain, and privacy curtains to create a sleeping area on the first floor of your house. Call Amy Roth at 216-904-1786.
Spa On Wheels For Seniors is a mobile service caring for feet and nails. Owner Wanda Ragins is a licensed manicurist and pedicurist with nine years of experience.
Many local businesses and religious organizations are offering enjoyable social and cultural activities for Heights seniors and their families.
Events are free, unless otherwise noted. Please call ahead to confirm times, make reservations or learn about handicapped accessibility, if needed.
Happy holidays to all of our readers, and best wishes for a wonderful New Year!
On Dec. 3 the Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center (SAC) will host a breakfast and a concert featuring a trio from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Breakfast begins at 10 a.m. and the concert begins at 11 a.m. (One Monticello Blvd, Cleveland Heights, 216-691-7377)
Because many older adults own their homes outright, have retirement savings, and were taught by their parents to be trusting and polite, they are often targeted by unscrupulous people looking for easy money. According to the FBI, “con artists exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say no.”
A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted after a blood vessel breaks or a blood clot blocks an artery. When this happens, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs. According to the National Stroke Association, when brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost. These abilities might include speech, movement and memory. How a stroke patient is affected depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.
Although memory loss can be a normal part of the aging process, it is a cause for concern to many older adults. While normal age-related memory loss is common and natural, it can be slowed and even prevented through diet and certain activities.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Some degree of memory problems, as well as a modest decline in other thinking skills, is a fairly common part of aging.” Normal memory loss can include occasionally misplacing your glasses or car keys, forgetting a person's name, or not being able to remember a word that is “right on the tip of your tongue.”
The National Senior Games held in Cleveland last month brought attention to the importance of physical fitness for older adults. The games, held in a different city each year, promote healthy and active lifestyles for athletes age 50 and older.
While most of us may not consider ourselves athletes, the games, and the presentations held during the games, educate seniors at all levels of ability about the importance of physical activity and staying healthy.
As we age it is natural to lose some of our strength and ability. Daily tasks become harder to do and we also may not have as much stamina and endurance as we used to. Sometimes we forget important things, or we may be recovering at home from a fall or an illness and be unable to care for ourselves independently. Home care companies can be a good solution to provide help at times like these.
Home care workers, also called caregivers, will come into the home and help with chores such as cleaning, cooking, laundry and pet care. Caregivers can also provide companionship—playing board games, reading aloud and providing medication reminders. If necessary, they can also help with personal care tasks, such as bathing and dressing.
The baby boomer generation is changing the way people experience their retirement years With a longer life expectancy, a greater interest in physical fitness, and uncertain economic times, boomers are living their golden years in ways that are different from those of past generations.
Baby boomer is the term used to describe those born between 1946 and 1964, during the post-World War II economic boom. The Huffington Post estimates that approximately 78 million Americans fit this definition, and they are “changing the face of aging.”
Most of us know that our physical and mental abilities change as we age, but not many of us know exactly why. The short explanation is that, just like a car, parts naturally wear out over time. The longer explanation is an interesting look at human biology.
Recent signs of spring are causing many of us to start thinking about gardening. In-ground gardens can be hard on aging backs and knees, though, because of the stooping and kneeling required to plant and maintain them. Container gardens are a great alternative for those who love gardens but find them hard to keep up.
According to the office of the Ohio State Fire Marshall, a fire occurs in an Ohio residence every 30 minutes. The fire marshall’s office reports that one-third of those who die in Ohio fires are aged 60 and over.
There are many opportunities for Heights seniors to keep active. Volunteering is an option that can benefit both your neighbors and your community. Learn about local opportunities by contacting the Heights Emergency Food Center at 216-381-0707, Meals on Wheels at 216-291-2737, the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging Senior Companion Program at 216-391-9500, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program at 800-942-2677, HandsOn Northeast Ohio at 216-432-9390 and many local churches and synagogues.
Seniors Helping Seniors, an in-home care company, hires seniors to work with others seniors who are in need of help. The caregivers are paid for their services, and assist with a variety of tasks to help keep their peers living independently in their homes. No previous experience is necessary, and caregivers in the Heights area are needed. Call 440-759-0319 for information.
The cold temperatures and slippery conditions that accompany our Cleveland winters can create many dangers for senior adults. Taking precautions to stay safe in cold weather can help prevent weather-related accidents and health problems.
Hypothermia and frostbite can occur from overexposure, both indoors and out. To prevent this, the National Institute on Aging recommends dressing warmly. Indoors, wear thermal underwear, socks, slippers and a nightcap, and use plenty of blankets when sleeping. Outdoors, wear loose, layered clothing: a hat, scarf, gloves, thick socks, warm boots and a waterproof coat. Keep your face and neck covered.
December holidays bring many fun social and cultural activities for Heights seniors and their families. Many are listed here. Call ahead to check if reservations are required, and to confirm handicapped accessibility, if needed. Events are free, unless otherwise noted.
A Market Bazaar will be held at McGregor on Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Holiday gifts, keepsakes and baked goods will be for sale. McGregor will also host Holiday Storytelling with Zeta Phi Beta on Dec. 8 at 3:30 p.m. (14900 Private Drive, Cleveland, 216-851-8200.)
Senior Citizen Happenings are sponsored by the City of University Heights. Events take place on Thursdays at 2 p.m. at the University Heights Library.
According to the AARP, around 71 percent of people over the age of 45 prefer to stay in their homes as they age rather than moving to long-term care. As we age, however, it is common to experience declines in our physical abilities. This can result in falls and possibly severe or fatal injuries. Taking precautions to reduce the risk of falls will increase one’s ability to remain at home.
In general, move furniture to create clear walking paths; remove clutter from stairs and landings; repair broken, uneven steps, and loose handrails; keep exterior stairs and walkways clear; keep rock salt by each door to remove winter ice; install a shelf and hooks inside the door for keys, coats, handbags, and other items.
Senior Citizen Happenings are sponsored by the City of University Heights. Events take place on Thursdays at 2 p.m. at the University Heights Library.
Oct. 4: Wesley Walker, senior repair specialist for the Home Repair Resource Center, discusses the center's new and expanded services for senior citizens in communities beyond Cleveland Heights.
Oct. 11: Chris Thompson, director of regional engagement of the Fund for Our Economic Future, talks about recruiting key partners and mapping strategies to strengthen the region’s economic competitiveness with world markets.
The federal government offers several forms of financial assistance to military veterans and their families through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Programs include disability compensation, pension plans and burial benefits.
Disability compensation is a benefit paid to a veteran due to an injury sustained or disease acquired while on active duty, or aggravated by military service. The amount of compensation depends on the severity of the condition, and whether the veteran is married or has dependents.
Aging brings with it some good changes—developing values, building friendships, establishing careers and raising families. Aging can also bring difficult changes—forgetfulness, decrease in strength and energy, illness and injury, and the deaths of loved ones.
It is common for these changes to cause feelings of frustration, anger, sadness and helplessness. Following is a list of tools that people of any age can use to stay peaceful and happy amid whatever loss they may be facing:
Arthritis is a chronic, often painful disease that affects the joints of the body. There are more than 100 forms of arthritis, but according to the Arthritis Foundation (AF) the two most common among older adults are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
OA is a characterized by a breakdown of cartilage that protects the bones. The bones then begin to rub against each other, causing stiffness and pain. RA is an autoimmune disease that attacks the protective membrane that lines the joints. Fluid then builds up in the joints, causing inflammation and pain. OA affects one or more joints in the body, while RA affects the entire body, as well as the internal organs.
The AF states that arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States. Sixty-five percent of Americans with arthritis are over the age of 65. Of those, 60 percent are women. There are nearly 1.5 million people living with arthritis in Northeast Ohio.
According to the Department of Senior and Adult Services (DSAS), the provider of Adult Protective Services (APS) for Cuyahoga County, there were 3,426 cases of alleged elder abuse reported last year. The problem, however, may be even larger than that. The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA) estimates that 84% of incidents are not reported to authorities.
Person-centered care is a method of retirement home management that nurtures the physical, mental and emotional needs of the residents. It focuses on enhancing the quality of life, and empowering residents by involving them in almost every aspect of decision making about their care.
According to The Ohio Person-Centered Care Coalition in Columbus, “Person-centered care is a relationship-based approach to care that honors and respects the voice of elders and those working closest with them. It involves a continuing process of listening and changing things in an effort to individualize care.”
The purpose of person-centered care is to make life for the residents less institutional and more home-like. This applies not only to the personal care of the residents, but also to the meal service methods and atmosphere, the number and type of recreational activities, and even the design of the buildings themselves.
The Person-Centered Way: Revolutionizing the Quality of Life in Long-Term Care, a book by Ohio gerontologist Dr. James H. Collins, gives examples of approaches to person-centered care. These include allowing residents to wake up at whatever time is most comfortable for them; to eat when they are hungry, rather than at prescribed mealtimes; and to eat what they want to eat, rather than having to choose from a set menu. Collins describes person-centered care as offering “privacy, dignity, autonomy, and self-worth” to the residents.
Cleveland Heights resident Elaine Wolk takes art classes at the Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center. She won an award for her outstanding artwork at the Lee Road Library Senior Art Show. Wolk will have additional work on display at the library during the month of June.
Hospice care provides support for terminally ill people and their families. There are several misconceptions about hospice, due to misunderstandings about what hospice is and a common reluctance to think about end-of-life realities. Clearing up these misunderstandings can help families better decide if, how and when to incorporate hospice into the care plan for a loved one.
Hospice care consists of a team of doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, pharmacists, social workers, spiritual counselors, companionship volunteers and bereavement specialists.
For senior adults with mobility challenges, simple everyday activities like bathing, cooking, laundry and climbing stairs can become increasingly difficult. Unfortunately, most Heights-area homes are not designed to support the decline in physical ability that often occurs with age.
The beginning of the New Year is a time when many of us resolve to make positive changes in our lives. This year, consider resolving to be a good neighbor to a senior adult in need. Is there a senior in your neighborhood who lives alone, or a senior couple who have trouble getting around? It is common for an older person to feel isolated and depressed, especially during the winter months when it is difficult for them to leave home.
There are many things we can do to reach out to our older neighbors. One of the most appreciated gifts is simply to spend time talking with them. Helping people feel special and cared about is one of the greatest gifts we can give.
Here are some ways to help seniors our local seniors:
The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library offers several free programs to help area seniors stay active and informed. Senior Spot, held every Wednesday at the University Heights Library, offers a variety of classes. Upcoming topics include the "University Circle Arts District" and "New Year Traditions around the World." Senior Spot also offers a book discussion group, which meets on the second Wednesday of each month at Whole Foods Market.