Archive for the ‘Healing and Recovery’ Category

Resources for the Caregivers of  People with Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Christine Stone, RN

Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiving Center:

            This is always a good, first place to look for information.   Call 1-800-272-3900 for the 24 / 7 Helpline.   They can connect you to your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter.

ALZConnected Social Networking Community:

            This is a free membership public forum for caregivers and people with Alzheimer’s and other dementia s.  Why join?     Connect with people who understand.   Post questions and offer solutions.   Create public  and private groups around a dedicated topic.

Purple Cities Alliance:       purple

            Lists “dementia-friendly” cities where city workers, police, shopkeepers and others are educated in how to effectively  interact with people with dementia.

Alzheimer’s / Dementia Hospital Wristband Project:

            Lists hospitals which are using purple wristbands to identify patients with dementia.  All staff and  physicians receive additional education on the disease basics and how to communicate kindly and effectively with persons with dementia.

Music & Memory:

            It is well known that music is an effective way to reach people with dementia who otherwise seem  “unreachable.”  This website will guide you in making a customized “music playlist” for your loved one.

GreyMatters App:  (“grey matters to us”)

            GreyMatters is a tablet application that aims to improve quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers. Through an interactive life storybook, paired with music and games, the app helps  patients and families preserve yesterday’s memories, as well as share today’s joyful moments

Alzheimer’s Speaks:

            Alzheimer’s Speaks believes collaboration is the key to living a successful and purpose filled life with  dementia.  By working together, we can push both conventional and alternative efforts forward in search of answers. 

 Alzheimer’s Reading Room:

            The goal of the Alzheimer’s Reading Room is to Educate and Empower Alzheimer’s caregivers, their families, and the entire Alzheimer’s community.

Recognizing Mental Health Problems in Older Persons

Friday, March 23rd, 2018

Christine Stone, RN

     Mental health problems are should NOT be an expected part of getting older.   Think about the stereotypes –  the sad nursing home resident, the anxious little old lady, the feisty old man.   There is nothing about being older that guarantees mental health problems or memory loss.  But we’ve been “conditioned” to believe poor mental health is an inevitable part of aging.

     The diagnoses of depression and dementia have become the new “normal” – a regular part of growing old.  When we view depression as normal, we tend to overlook its symptoms – it becomes something to be endured, tolerated, or untreatable – which is completely wrong.    In addition to Alzheimer’s Dementia, there are over 10 known types of dementia, some of which are treatable or even reversible.   For this article, we’ll focus on depression and delirium – both of which are completely treatable.

     The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) identify depression as a real and treatable medical condition, not a normal part of aging.  Older people who are depressed are often misdiagnosed and inadequately treated.  It has been suggested that as many as 6.5 percent out of 35 million older Americans are depressed.   That’s 1 in 5 seniors living with this treatable condition.   So, whether they’re living in a nursing home or in the community, depression is not normal.

     Depression in seniors can occur when chronic illnesses create distressing symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and memory loss.  Inadequate treatment of these symptoms can lead to depression.   Generational  beliefs that depression is “taboo” make many seniors reluctant to report feelings of depression to health care practitioners.  

Is it depression or delirium?

     Infections, acute illnesses and/or physical injury can cause sudden and usually reversible changes in a person’s mental status.   The otherwise alert and oriented person becomes confused – doesn’t recognize family or close friends, doesn’t know where they are, sees or hears things that aren’t there.   The person experiencing these symptoms is usually completely unaware of their confusion or irrational behavior.   This is delirium – and it usually resolves when the infection or injury is adequately treated.

    Onset of the symptoms of depression can be very subtle, and may not be noticed in the day to day routines.   Often, it isn’t until depression is quite severe that it is realized how impaired or isolated the elderly person has become.   Things that used to bring pleasure are neglected or avoided, or there are changes in appetite, weight and sleep patterns.   There might be feelings of helplessness or hopelessness.   Sometimes depression is “situational”  – related to a loss or an acute illness –  is considered normal and will resolve with appropriate treatment (talk-therapy).   When the symptoms last longer than 6 months, or impact daily life –  it’s time to talk with your doctor.   Medication therapy alone, or in combination with psychotherapy, are extremely effective treatments for depression.  Your doctor may also order some routine lab tests to make sure there is no medical reason for your depression.

    If you think you or your loved one might have depression – call your doctor.  Once a diagnosis is made and treatment has started, improvement can be seen in as little as two weeks.     Isn’t that worth feeling better and the improvement in the quality of life?

Ideas for Easier Everyday Living with Arthritis

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

Submitted by Christine Stone, RN Clinical Liaison – LifeQuest Nursing Center

Living every day with the aches and pains of arthritis can be challenging. The tasks you used to do easily and without second thought now seem impossible or may make you avoid activities altogether. If your pain is unbearable, always notify your healthcare practitioner. But here are a few ideas to make living with arthritis easier.
1. Plant a portable garden or a raised-bed garden. If you want to grow small patches of flowers, herbs or veggies, make it easier by planting them in a bucket with a handle or in a small pot. Consider placing the pots on small tables with wheels – at knee height. The benefit? No more bending! In addition you’ll be able move the pots around to sun or shade as needed.
2. Replace doorknobs with handles. There are lever-style adapters that fit over doorknobs if you don’t want to get into complete doorknob replacement. Handles or lever let your elbow and forearm to all the work rather than your hand, wrist, and fingers.
3. Buy cooking pots with two handles. Using two handles distributes the weight more evenly between your hands and wrists.
4. Sleep better by using pillows. Place pillows under or between your knees to help relieve pressure. Special cervical (chiropractic) pillows can help for arthritis of the neck. Some people will place 6-8 inch blocks under the head of the bead to relieve arthritis in the spine. This may also help with symptoms of gastric reflux (heartburn). Just make sure you’re able to safely get in and out of the bed if you raise the head a few inches.
5. Worry-free walking & hiking. Invest in a good pair of rubber-soled shoes which provide a firm grip and secure traction. Walk on the grass if the gravel is wet. Walking in sand can be hard on the feet and ankles. Consider using (lightweight) trekking poles to keep you balanced and stable. Remember – it’s better make these easy adjustments and to give up walking altogether.
6. Love to knit? Rather than metal knitting needles, use birch or bamboo needles – they’re lighter and warmer. Consider using wool or wool blend yarn rather than cotton or other yarn fibers. Wool / wool blends are lighter, more pliable and easier to work with.

Adopting a Dog or Cat Later in Life

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Submitted by:     Christine Stone, RN   Clinical Liaison LifeQuest (and cat lover) 

I LOVE my cat. I can’t imagine living without a cat (pet) – – their companionship and unconditional love is irreplaceable.

It’s not uncommon for seniors to feel lonely or depressed when they retire. Their children have moved away or they’ve lost a spouse or close friends.   The American Humane Society states studies show pets help seniors overcome loneliness and depression by providing affection, company and entertainment.   Pets also provide much-needed mental and stimulation, and pets can also help their owners to remain physically active.

Seniors who adopt pets may also feel a sense of purpose (the “need to be needed”) when helping animals who might not have anywhere to live. This is particularly true with older companion animals which may not appeal to younger families with children. Mature pets are a great fit for seniors.   Adult pets may already be housetrained or litter box trained.

A dog or a cat? Which to choose?

Nothing against dogs, but a cat may be a better fit to a senior’s lifestyle. Cats are usually less active and don’t need to be walked or played with as much as dogs.   Cats are often content to spend hours sleeping on their owner’s lap.   I joke that my cat “sleeps 23 hours per day.” This is probably an exaggeration – but not by much!   Small dogs that can be active in the house might be a good choice – especially for seniors with mobility issues. Keep in mind that a larger dog would need to be walked and exercised several time a day. Small dogs and cats are easily transported to and from the veterinarian,

Other considerations:

Seniors who frequently travel or have medical care issues that require them to be away from home for extended periods of time should carefully weigh the benefits of adopting a pet.   It’s a good idea to have a pet care “back up plan.” Make sure a child, friend or neighbor knows about the pet and has a key to the house or apartment.

Also make sure there’s adequate money to care for the pet – food (and cat litter), medicines and vaccinations, veterinary bills.

Pets and companion animals bring joy to their owners – no matter what age. Careful choice of your pet will certainly bring years of happiness to you and your chosen “best friend.”

A very Special Day to say Goodbye!

Friday, June 10th, 2016

By Elise Adler

A year and a half ago a kind gentle man named Mr. F came to LifeQuest needing our care. After countless hours of Physical Therapy and loving nursing care we are happy to say he is on his way home today, “there is no place like home” he often reminded us.

Staff with mr f1It was a long difficult road but Mr F. and his lovely wife tackled each daily challenge with a positive attitude that is truly indescribable. Those of us who witnessed their bond of true love are still in awe of them.

Today we said good-bye to our special friends. They will be missed and thought of each day but the happiness Staff with mr f 2we feel for them will linger in our hearts and last a lifetime. We were so pleased to see them go home today hand and hand together for the next chapter our lives. We wish them much love and happiness.

Thank you to the team at LifeQuest who not only cared for Mr. F but to all of the employees and Residents who treated Mr. and Mrs. F like family!

We are all blessed to have know them…

Animal Assisted Therapy

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Animal assisted therapy draws on the bond between animals and humans in order to help improve and maintain an individual’s function and is being used to assist in the process of enhancing the individual’s quality of life in nursing homes. Once the patients become settled into their new environment, they may lose their sense of self-efficacy and independence. Simple, everyday tasks are taken away from them and the patients may become lethargic, depressed, or anti-social if they do not have regular visitors.

Animal assisted therapy (AAT) is a type of therapy that incorporates animals in the treatment of a person; especially elderly people in nursing homes or long term care facilities. therapy dog 3The goal of using animals as a treatment option is to improve the person’s social, emotional, and cognitive functioning and reduce passivity. Supporters of AAT say that animals can be helpful in motivating the patients to be active mentally and physically, keeping their minds sharp and bodies healthy.

There are numerous techniques used in AAT, depending on the needs and condition of the patient. For elderly dementia patients, hands on interactions with the animal are the most important aspect. Animal assisted therapy provides these patients with opportunities to have close physical contact with the animals warm bodies, feeling heartbeats, caress soft skins and coats, notice breathing, and giving hugs. Animal assisted therapy counselors also plan activities for patients that need physical movement. These planned tasks include petting the animal, walking the animal, and grooming the animal. These experiences seem so common and simple, but elderly dementia patients do not typically have these interactions with people because their loved ones have passed or no one comes to visit them. Their mind needs to be stimulated in the ways it once was. Animals provide a sense of meaning and belonging to these patients and offer something to look forward to during their long days.

The AAT program encourages expressions of emotions and cognitive stimulation through discussions and reminiscing of memories while the patient bonds with the animal. Many of the troubling symptoms in elderly dementia patients include decreased physical functioning, apathy, depression, loneliness, and disturbing behaviors and are all positively therapy-dog4affected by AAT interventions. Animal assisted therapy is very useful in helping these negative behaviors decrease by focusing their attention on something positive (the animal) rather than their physical illness, motivating them to be physically active and encouraging communication skills for those with memory loss. Numerous researchers found that communication with animals have a positive effect on older adults by increasing their social behavior and verbal interaction, while also decreasing tense behavior and loneliness.

We believe in Animal Assisted Therapy here at LifeQuest. We have numerous furry friends that come to visit on a regular basis and we encourage families and friends to bring in their pets (documentation from a veterinarian is required). Seeing the smile on the patients face is rewarding to everyone involved.

101 Uses for Coconut Oil

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

coconut oil

101 Uses for Coconut Oil
1.     In cooking as a great oil with a high smoke point. Great for baking, stir-frys or as a dairy free replacement to butter. 51. To make a simple homemade soap
2.     Added to foods or drinks daily for energy 52. In natural homemade diaper cream
3.     As a coffee creamer when emulsified into coffee  53. As a natural shave cream and after shave lotion
4.     On the skin as a basic lotion (or coconut oil lotion bar) 54. When used consistently on skin it can help get rid of cellulite
5.     In homemade lotion bars for soft, smooth skin 55. To season cast iron skillets
6.     In homemade deodorant or deodorant bars 56. It’s anti-inflammatory properties can help lessen arthritis
7.     As an eye-makeup remover 57. Can reduce the itch of mosquito bites
8.     As a cloth diaper safe diaper cream (just rub on baby’s bottom) 58. Can help resolve acne when used regularly
9.     In making your own Remineralizing Toothpaste 59. Can be rubbed into scalp daily to stimulate hair growth
10. To lighten age spots when rubbed directly on the skin 60. I’ve used in kids ears to help speed ear infection healing
11. To prevent stretch marks during pregnancy 61. In clay and charcoal soothing soap
12. To support healthy thyroid function 62. A small amount can be rubbed into real leather to soften and condition (shiny leather only… test a small area first)
13. In homemade Mayo without the high PUFA vegetable oils 63. By itself as a great tanning oil
14. To help increase sun tolerance and avoid burning 64. Mixed with salt to remove dry skin on feet
15. As a naturally SPF 4 sunscreen 65. Can help speed weight loss when consumed daily
16. In homemade lotion recipes 66. Can help improve sleep when taken daily
17. To get rid of cradle cap on baby- just massage in to head, leave on for a few minutes and gently rinse with a warm wash cloth 67. To dilute essential oils for use on skin
18. Topically to kill yeast or yeast infections 68. A tablespoon melted into a cup of warm tea can help sooth a sore throat
19. As a delicious tropical massage oil 69. To help soothe the itch of chicken pox or poison ivy
20. It’s high Lauric acid and MCFA content helps boost metabolism 70. It has been shown to increase absorption of calcium and magnesium
21. A tiny dab rubbed on your hands and then through hair will help get rid of frizz 71. Internally as part of the protocol to help remineralize teeth
22. In homemade soap for laundry 72.  Some evidence shows that the beneficial fats in coconut oil can help with depression and anxiety
23. Mixed with equal parts sugar for a smoothing body scrub (use in the shower) 73. By itself as a natural deodorant
24. Rubbed on lips as a natural chap stick 74. By itself or with baking soda as a naturally whitening toothpaste
25. Topically, can help skin heal faster after injury or infection 75. For pets struggling with skin issues when used externally
26. Directly on the perineum to help heal after birth 76. In coconut oil pulling chews
27. As an incredibly intensive natural conditioner- Rub into dry hair, put a shower cap on and leave for several hours 77. In homemade vapor rub
28. In homemade slow cooker soap 78. In homemade peppermint lip balm
29. In place of Lanolin cream on nursing nipples to sooth irritation (also great for baby!) 79. In magnesium body butter
30. Can help sooth psoriasis or eczema 80. In coconut oil dog treats
31. There is some evidence that regular ingestion of coconut oil can help prevent  Alzheimers 81. As a completely natural baby lotion
32.  With apple cider vinegar as a natural treatment for lice that actually works 82. On hands after doing dishes to avoid dry skin
33. In natural Homemade Sunscreen 83. Mixed with catnip, rosemary, or mint essential oils as a natural bug repellent
34. In healthy brain boosting snack for kids like Coconut Clusters 84. In homemade meltaways (like candy)
35. In a filling and energy boosting Brain Power Smoothie 85. Many use it as an anti-aging facial moisturizer
36. Rub coconut oil on the inside of your nose to help alleviate allergy symptoms 86. Use to make coconut cream concentrate for a brain boosting snack
37. Nursing moms often take 3-4 tablespoons a day (and Vitamin D) to increase milk supply and nutrients 87. Can be used internally and externally to speed recovery from UTIs
38. In homemade shampoo bars 88. In a salve for cracked heels
39. Mix a tablespoon with a tablespoon of chia seeds for an all-day energy boost (do NOT take this at night!) 89. When taken regularly, it can boost hormone production
40. Can help improve insulin levels 90. Can relieve the pain of hemorrhoids when used topically
41. Oil pulling with coconut oil and a drop of oregano oil helps improve gum health 91. Can boost circulation and help those who often feel cold
42. Can help improve cholesterol ratios 92. On cuticles to help nails grow
43. Blend a tablespoon into hot tea to help speed recovery from cold or flu 93. Rub into elbows daily to help alleviate dry, flaky elbows
44. In Homemade Natural Bug-Off Lotion Bars 94. To help avoid chlorine exposure when swimming
45. As a replacement for vegetable oils in any recipe or in cooking 95. Internally during pregnancy to help provide baby necessary fats for development (especially when taken with Fermented Cod Liver Oil)
46. In coconut based grain free granola 96. With other oils as part of an oil cleansing regimen for beautiful skin
47. Can help reduce appearance of varicose veins 97. Whipped with shea butter for a soothing body balm
48. After initial heat is gone, can help speed healing of sunburn 98. One reader swears by using coconut oil to treat yeast infection. She suggests soaking a tampon in it and inserting the tampon for a few hours.
49. Is an immediate source of energy when eaten that isn’t stored as fat 99. Naturally clears up cold sores
50. As a natural personal lubricant that won’t disturb vaginal flora 100.Ingesting coconut oil daily can help with allergy symptoms

The Sun

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015


That luminous circle of light that ascends into the sky every morning can be just as good for your health as it is damaging. In fact, some experts now believe that the sun’s rays provide more benefit than harm—provided you get the right dose.

Even dermatologists, who worry about the sun’s ravaging effects on the skin in the form of cancer, age spots, and wrinkles, acknowledge that we could all use a little sun exposure. “Being out in the sun boosts our mood, improves sleep, and promotes vitamin D production,” says James Spencer, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York. “There’s no controversy about that.” Still, he emphasizes, the operative word is little when it comes to exposure. “The majority of people aren’t putting on sunscreen every time they step outside, and that 5 or 10 minutes a day of casual exposure is probably all you need.” Much attention has been paid to the benefits of vitamin D, which is manufactured when the sun’s UV-B rays hit the skin and which protects against cancer, bone brittleness, heart disease, and a host of other ills. But there are other payoffs to a small daily dose of sunlight, including:

  • Better sleep. Natural daylight helps shut off your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone produced at night that makes you drowsy. This can help you maintain a normal circadian rhythm, so you’re more likely to feel tired at bedtime when it’s dark outside. Going outside for 15 minutes at the same time each day, preferably in the morning, gives your body a clear signal that it’s no longer night. Also, forgo the sunglasses if possible, since this will enable sunlight to pass unhindered through your eyes to the brain’s pineal gland, triggering the gland to stop releasing melatonin.
  • Happier outlook. A type of depression called seasonal affective disorder affects some people during the winter when they don’t get enough sunlight. Experts now believe that sunlight has widespread mood-elevating effects, possibly because the “happy” hormone serotonin increases when nights are short and days are long. In fact, psychiatrists often recommend that depressed individuals go outside in the sun for 30 minutes a day. Bonus: You can slather on all the sunscreen you want and still reap the mood benefit.
  • Protection from autoimmune diseases. Exposure to UV radiation appears to suppress an overactive immune system, according to an April report published in Environmental Health Perspectives. This could explain why exposure to UV rays may help with autoimmune diseases like psoriasis and lupus; one recent study also suggests it might help alleviate asthma.
  • Lessening of Alzheimer’s symptoms. Elderly Alzheimer’s patients exposed to bright lighting during the day—from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.—got better scores on a mental exam, had fewer symptoms of depression, and lost less function than did those exposed to dim daytime lighting, according to a study published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The researchers attributed the improvement to more-regular circadian rhythms, which are thrown out of whack when advanced dementia sets in.

The Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

You really are harming your brain when you don’t get a good night’s sleep.

Most people think that when you sleep, your brain goes to sleep too.  “Not true” says Duke University brain researcher P. Murali Doriaswamy, MD.  He states there are several parts of the brain that are more active at night than during the daytime.  These parts help clear out and recycle all of your brain’s toxins.  In particular, one protein which is recycled during sleep is involved in developing certain amyloid plaques – thought to be a marker for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Extensive periods of sleep deprivation can injure neurons essential for alertness and cognition, and lead to irreversible brain damage and decreased brain volume.   It’s not clear whether the lack of sleep cause the brain to shrink or whether a smaller brain makes it harder to sleep.   Either way, a good night’s sleep helps to repair daily wear and tear on the brain.

Unfortunately short naps during the day aren’t the answer   Naps simply don’t provide the necessary restorative benefits as a full night’s sleep.   And people who think they’ve “adjusted” to sleeping only four or five hours per night are wrong.  Memory tests show they are not functioning optimally.

What can you do to ensure a good night’s sleep? continue!>

Introducing LifeQuest Nursing Home New Salon & Spa Services!

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

 Introducing New Salon & Spa Services! Click here for PDF flyer

We are excited to introduce new salon and spa services for residents now provided by the creative and talented team at Matura Salon & Spa Management who possess a genuine passion for helping people look their best while improving overall well being.       “We take pride in the quality of our salon and spa services, “ notes Cathy Cox, Matura Field Manager, who will be overseeing the salon program at Life Quest Nursing Center. “If for any reason a client is not satisfied with a service, we will be happy to schedule a new appointment, with our compliments. That’s our customer service guarantee.”

New salon & spa services offered by Matura:

  • Mini Facial
  • Gel Manicure
  • Warm Hand & Foot Treatment
  • Cellophanes Color
  • Color Enhancer
  • Highlighting
  • Gentleman’s Manicure

Matura professionals are licensed and skilled cosmetologists, nail technicians, massage therapists and estheticians extensively experienced in hair cutting and design, color, manicure, facial, hair removal and massage therapy services.

Matura team members are additionally certified in the Alzheimer’s Association® essentiALZ ™ CARES Dementia Program with demonstrated learning of quality dementia care practices and a basic understanding of Alzheimer’s and other related diseases.

All salon and spa services will be available now by appointment offering residents both convenience and relaxation for a most enjoyable salon visit. Residents are welcome to visit the Salon and meet our new staff.