For The Love of Dogs

For The Love of Dogs

Animals are increasingly recognized for the therapeutic value they provide to older adults. As aging takes a toll on lifestyle, a “man’s best friend” could be the answer to living a longer, happier and loving life. The evidence from research done on using animals for multiple forms of therapy is so apparent that some facilities are now building pet therapy into their residence care plan.

There are many choices in deciding how best to incorporated pets into a senior’s life. If becoming a pet owner is the best decision, here are some tips on choosing which pet will be best for your loved one:

  • Type of pet. What is the right choice of pet for their lifestyle and activity level? Dogs, for instance, make wonderful companions but demand greater care and training than cats, birds, or fish.
  • Future situations. What is in their foreseeable future? Are they planning to stay in the same place for many years, or will they be making a transition to an assisted-living facility?
  • Allergy considerations. Make sure you are aware of their allergies and what type of pets they should avoid.
  • Cost. Think about caring for the pet on a fixed income. “Caring” can include food, litter (for cats), vet bills, and medications.
  • Contingency care. Just as you would make accommodations for a child, make sure there is someone who can watch or take over caring for the pet in the case of an emergency.

Your health or lifestyle may not make it possible for you to own your own pet. If so, search for pet therapy programs in your area. Many programs make it possible for animals to visit your home or facility to make interaction and therapy possible.  According to, “stroking, holding, cuddling, or otherwise touching a loving animal can rapidly calm and soothe us when we’re stressed. The companionship of a pet can also ease loneliness, and some pets are a great stimulus for healthy exercise, which can substantially boost mood.”  Even fish foster healthy living. A Purdue University study demonstrates that the presence of an aquarium at mealtimes stimulates the appetite of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

So, For The Love of Dogs, listen to the research and consider incorporating these healing animals into the life of your aging loved one!

10 Things My Grandmother Taught Me

10 Things My Grandmother Taught Me

by Jen Sexton

Our ancestors are filled with so much knowledge and life experience. My grandmother passed away in 2003.  We were close. I spent many weeks each summer with her, listening to her, watching her, learning from her.  I miss my grandmother everyday but I am so grateful for the things she taught me while she was here. Today, I am feeling compelled to share the following with you…

The Top 10 Things my Grandmother Taught Me:

  • It is beyond important to use hand moisturizer daily. My grandmother, aunt and mom have hands that cannot be forgotten. To think about their hands now makes me smile.
  • Even when it feels like the world is coming down around you, one person’s smile can change your entire outlook.
  • Laugh often and easily, especially at yourself.
  • It is as important to tell your friends how much they mean to you as it is to tell your family. Friends can move mountains.
  • Be generous with your money and time.
  • Don’t serve microwavable pancakes. Although convenient, they’re really chewy and they taste terrible.
  • Sometimes the smallest token makes the biggest impact.
  • Living should be a bigger priority than making aliving. Don’t worry about what society thinks is right. Your own lived experience is the best teacher.
  • Keeping your keys on a spiral plastic wristlet may not look so cool, but makes you the most popular grandma in town to kids.
  • Unconditional love is the greatest gift you can ever give.
Take a Time Out

Take a Time Out

Would you consider 24 million a big number? Approximately 24 million people are impacted by what we call The Sandwich Generation. This is a generation of people who are simultaneously caring for their children and their aging parents. From on outsider’s perspective, it might look like a juggling act.

There are not many people out there who would be considered natural jugglers. Juggling is a practiced skill and doesn’t happen without dropping the ball. So, what can The Sandwich Generation do to sharpen their skills and make juggling an enjoyable lifestyle? Take a Time Out.

We send children to time out to recollect their thoughts, think about what they’ve done or settle them down. Although we are not talking about a time out in a punishment sense of the definition, it should accomplish the same thing. A time out should be something that brings a smile to our face, refresh our soul, help to recollect our thoughts and bring out our inner child happiness.

To become a juggler as a profession; a routine; a lifestyle, it’s important to practice, create structure and put your whole heart into it. Any good juggler will tell you that at times it can get frustrating, intense and trying. Sound familiar? So, take a time out to refresh and energize.

Balance, Strength and Good Judgment

Balance, Strength and Good Judgment

Falls in the home can be contributed to many things. Four tips that we hear time and time again are:

  • Have your vision checked
  • Keep a regular exercise program
  • Make your home safer
  • Have your doctor check your medication

According to the PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, preventable falls can steal away your ability to be active and independent. In older adults hospitalized because of hip fractures, approximately half cannot return home or live independently.

Research done at Colorado State University tells us that at least one-third of all falls in the elderly involve environmental hazards in the home.

Here are a few good tips for making your home safer:

  •  Look at the floors in each room. Do you have throw rugs on the floor? Do you have to walk over or around wires or cords?
  • Look at the stairs you use both inside and outside your home. Are some steps broken or uneven? Are you missing a light over the stairway? Are there objects on the stairs?
  • Look at your kitchen and eating area. Are the things you use often on high shelves?
  •  Look at all your bathrooms. Do you need some support when you get in and out of the tub or up from the toilet?
  •  Look at all your bedrooms.  Is the path from your bed to the bathroom dark?

Exercising good judgment and using proven research, we can do so much more today to prevent an accident from happening. Be safe and do what you can to stay on your feet.

Get Lost to Promote Brain Health

Get Lost to Promote Brain Health

Time and time again, studies have shown us that exercising the brain helps cognitive retention and is necessary for keeping us sharp as we age.

“Use it or lose it,” Jimmy Conners tells us.

 So. . .Get Lost!

Getting lost is just one of the ways we can fuel our brain. Find yourself in unchartered territory. . .walk a different route. . .explore a new trail. Forcing yourself to navigate your way will create brain stimulation. Visit a neighborhood you have never piloted through before, or steer your way through a venue for the first time. Building confidence and giving your brain a workout proves again that our brains are amazingly resilient and adaptive.

So, continue to get out of your comfort zone. Pulling yourself out of cruise control invites the brain to learn new things, enjoy new experiences and continue to grow.

In short, Get Lost and Enjoy it!