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The Benefits of Exercise for Adults with Arthritis

If you or a loved one suffer from arthritis, you’re familiar with the pain and frustration it can cause. Fortunately, along with other treatments, exercising can ease arthritis symptoms and prevent the condition from worsening.

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis affects the joints, causing swelling, tenderness, and pain. Two common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It causes the cartilage in joints to wear down over time. This type of arthritis can affect any joint, but it most often occurs in the spine, hands, hips, and knees.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a bit different, as it is an immune disorder that causes inflammation and damages the lining of the joints. RA can result in fatigue and joint deformity.

While arthritis can have an impact on your life, there are several ways to manage symptoms.

Exercise Can Benefit Adults with Arthritis

Treatments for arthritis vary, but arthritis sufferers can benefit greatly from exercise. 

It is well known that exercise can have a significant and positive impact on your physical and mental health. Those who suffer from arthritis can benefit from regular exercise in several ways, including the following.

Exercise Strengthens Joints

Arthritis affects the joints, and engaging in regular physical activity can strengthen joints over time.

When you exercise, you strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding your joints. Strengthening these tissues protects your joints and lessens the pressure on weak joints, which could result in less pain.

Exercise Helps Control Weight

Being overweight causes you to put more pressure on your joints, as they must carry the extra pounds. Regularly exercising can lead to weight loss, thereby relieving unnecessary pressure on the joints. 

If you’re at a healthy weight, exercise can also help you maintain your weight and promote joint health.

Exercise Allows for Better Range of Motion

Arthritis can limit your range of motion, but exercising can help you improve your joint mobility and flexibility. Performing exercises that help with your range of motion can ensure you don’t lose mobility in your joints.

Exercise Can Replace Damaged Cells

Osteoarthritis damages cartilage, wearing it down and limiting the amount of cushioning in the joints. Exercising can activate a process that causes the body to clear out damaged cells and replace them with new, stronger cells.

Regular exercise can also help rebuild cartilage, improving overall joint health. 

Exercises Tips for Adults with Arthritis

If you have arthritis and wish to start reaping the benefits of exercise, here are some tips:

  • Start slow if you’re a beginner
  • Engage in low-impact activities rather than high-impact workouts
  • Warm up before any exercise to limit injuries
  • Don’t overdo it
  • If you experience joint pain while exercising, stop the workout

The best exercises for individuals with arthritis include:

  • Low-impact aerobic exercises, like walking or cycling
  • Exercises to strengthen muscles
  • Exercises for flexibility, including stretching
  • Balance exercises

Before engaging in any exercise regimen, you should always speak to your doctor first. Your physician can provide valuable information and recommendations to help you avoid injury or worsening your condition.

Live an Active Lifestyle at a St. Petersburg Assisted Living Community

When you live in a St. Petersburg assisted living community, you can expect to be surrounded by staff and other members of the community who will encourage you and guide you through your fitness journey. 

Exercising is always better and more exciting with others. Independent living in St. Petersburg allows you to live your life to the fullest while having the support you need along the way.

Aging in Place: What Does It Mean?

If you or your loved one is approaching their golden years or has already entered them, you may be thinking about the different options available regarding what lifestyle to maintain as you age. 

There are many factors that affect seniors’ lives as they get older, including their health, socioeconomic status, and relationship with their families. Depending on these factors, there comes a time when every adult will have to decide whether aging in place is a reasonable expectation for them or not.

What Is Aging in Place and Who Is It Best for?

Aging in place is the concept of an aging person continuing to live in the residence of their choice (presumably the home that they already own or rent) for as long as they are able. Aging in place can mean living entirely independently, but it can also mean relying on an in-home nurse or a care professional either on a part-time or full-time basis. 

This lifestyle is best for seniors that are still mobile, aren’t showing signs of cognitive issues, and can maintain their self-care and home care routines without assistance.

Qualities of Life to Maintain While Aging in Place

Maintaining a sense of normalcy is why many seniors prefer the idea of aging in place to moving into an assisted living facility in St. Petersburg, Florida. However, aging in place can become problematic or unsafe if specific quality of life markers aren’t upheld. 

There are a few quality of life focus areas that should be prioritized in seniors, whether they’re living at home or transitioning to an assisted living facility.

Good Health and Mobility

Seniors can still age in place even if they aren’t in perfect health, but the ability to care for themselves is an important part of remaining at home (unless an in-home caregiver is present). This includes self-administering medications, eating a balanced diet, and engaging in regular physical activity to support muscle retention.

A Sense of Community

No matter where seniors choose to live, it’s important to make sure that they maintain a sense of community with as many friends and family members as possible. Isolation can cause certain health and cognitive issues to worsen, not to mention the fact that a lack of social interaction reduces the quality of life.

Seniors are at greater risk of serious injury if they don’t have family members or friends to call for support when they need it. Additionally, loved ones can help to support healthy habits like self-care and exercise by making them a shared activity to enjoy together.

Access to Healthcare and Support

Seniors can continue to age from home as long as they have the proper healthcare access. This means the ability to travel to and from the doctor or pharmacy and the ability to keep up with healthcare practices at home. For many seniors, a live-in or part-time caregiver is needed to transport them to healthcare facilities or help with everyday tasks.

When to Make the Transition to an Assisted Living Facility in St. Petersburg, Florida

Though aging in place can be a great lifestyle choice for many older folks, some will reach a point when it’s time to research skilled nursing facilities in St. Petersburg, Florida

If your loved one’s quality of life has declined or you feel they may be a danger to themselves while living at home, an assisted facility might be the best option. Additionally, if your loved one has a live-in caregiver but lacks community, transitioning to assisted living could give them the social stimulation they need to stay healthy and alert.

How to Help an Elderly Loved One Heal After Surgery

Surgery can be a difficult experience to recover from for older people, both physically and mentally. Even non-invasive surgeries can leave seniors with pain, side effects, and limited mobility. Many seniors need extra help while on the path to recovery.

Here are a few ways to help an elderly loved one heal after surgery.

Create a Safe Recovery Environment

Oftentimes, seniors may have restrictions after surgery that prevent them from getting around like they used to. They may need help moving around and are at a higher risk of falls and injuries. It’s best to create a recovery space that is safe, comfortable, and ready when they get home.

Consider Outside Help

Sometimes surgery recovery can be difficult and require a lot of care, particularly for major surgeries. If you cannot provide the care needed to help your loved one recover, it is a good idea to consider outside help.

Consider hiring a temporary in-home caregiver who can help with day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. Skilled nursing facilities in St. Petersburg, FL, can also provide a high level of care during recovery.

Keep a Close Eye

Even though plenty of routine surgeries and recoveries occur without incident, that’s now always the case. Sometimes seniors can experience unanticipated side effects or complications following an operation. 

It’s not a good idea to leave your loved one unattended for long periods following surgery, especially in the days immediately following. They may be unable to call for help, and medication can make it more difficult for them to realize a serious problem. 

Stay close and observe them for any new injuries or behavior changes so that you can catch any complications early.

Help with Eating and Hydration

It’s not uncommon for seniors to have little appetite following surgery. However, they must continue to eat and drink following their operation. Our bodies need nutrients and water to properly recover, so skipping meals is not a good idea.

Prepare meals that are easy to eat and be flexible with their preferences on food and eating times. Make sure they are drinking plenty of fluids, even if they aren’t thirsty. Maintaining a consistent diet and hydration level is critical to a healthy recovery.

Keep Up with Medical Appointments

Most surgeries require some sort of after-care that usually includes check-ins with the doctor. Medical staff will want to ensure that your loved one is recovering as expected and that the surgery was successful.

Even if it is difficult to transport your loved one to appointments, it is critical to their recovery. Take the doctor’s advice and consistently attend the required follow-up appointments.

Take Care of Day-to-Day Responsibilities

When your loved one is trying to heal after surgery, the last thing they should be worried about is everyday responsibilities that could be handled by someone else. You can support them by taking on tasks such as:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Cleaning the house
  • Looking after pets
  • Paying bills
  • Yardwork
  • Running errands

When your loved one is recovering, their responsibilities don’t just go away. You can alleviate some of their stress and make their recovery easier by taking some work off their plate.

Recover in an Assisted Living Facility in St. Petersburg, FL

Family members can provide great care for loved ones, but that is not the only after-care option after surgery. Seniors in an assisted living facility in St. Petersburg, FL, have access to dedicated and professional staff trained to help with everyday tasks and specific recovery phases. 

Assisted living communities can provide the high quality of care that is needed and give peace of mind to the entire family.

5 Exercises for Seniors to Prevent Falls

Falls are one of the leading causes of injury in seniors. As we age, we naturally lose flexibility and strength. This makes seniors more susceptible to falls and getting injured when they fall. 

While falls can’t always be prevented, some exercises can help seniors stay nimble and reduce their risk.

Here are five exercises for seniors to prevent falls.

1. Weight Shifting

Weight shifting is not a typical exercise you will see in classes or in workout videos. However, it is one of the most effective exercises to minimize the risk of falls for seniors. Weight shifting exercises can take many forms depending on the balance capability of the senior.

For beginners or seniors with limited mobility, start in a standing position and keep both feet on the floor. Simply shift weight from side to side, and stand next to a counter or something sturdy to hang on to if needed. 

The exercise can be progressed to include forward and backward shifting and can be a good introduction to single-leg balancing. It also teaches the muscles how to respond to instability and can go a long way when a senior is knocked off balance unexpectedly. 

2. Single Leg Balancing

Single leg balancing is a natural progression of weight shifting and is a more challenging way to test balance and build muscles for stability. If you’ve mastered weight shifting, try to slowly balance with one foot off the floor. 

Try to extend the time you can balance by just a second or two each day. A good routine to aim for is to stand on each leg for 30 continuous seconds. Single leg balancing is a good goal to reach for and can help build muscle and prevent falls.

3. Stretching

Stretching is often thought of as a follow-on activity to another exercise. However, stretching by itself is a great activity to improve flexibility and maintain nimbleness. Seniors who do not stretch regularly can become stiffer, which makes it more difficult to get around and very difficult to react quickly to a trip or slip. 

Stretching is also a good way to stay active, and it can be done by seniors with varying mobility levels. Even seniors with very limited mobility can stretch while staying seated.

4. Walking

Walking is one of the best exercises for people of all ages, especially seniors. Walking has many benefits, including improving heart health, mood, and balance. 

Seniors who walk regularly are less likely to experience a fall, and if they do fall, they are less likely to sustain a serious injury. It’s best to aim to walk at least 20 minutes a day, but even walking a few minutes a day can benefit overall health and wellness.

5. Sit-to-Stand

Sit-to-stand is a simple exercise that is performed just as it sounds. Start in a seated position and stand up. For beginners or seniors with limited mobility, start by using a chair with arms for support if needed. 

Over time, the exercise is more effective if you stand without pushing or holding on to anything. Just doing ten sit-to-stands a day can be an effective way to exercise muscles for balance, decreasing the risk of falls.

Stay Safe in St. Petersburg Assisted Living

Seniors who live alone are at a greater risk of experiencing falls and being injured after a fall. This is just one of the many reasons St. Petersburg assisted living is a good option for many seniors.

Assisted living and independent living in St. Petersburg provide a safety net for seniors because they are set up in a safe environment and are never far from help. Take action to keep your loved one safe by exploring assisted living today.

Stunning Plants You’ll Find on Walks in St. Petersburg, FL

Living in St. Petersburg is some kind of wonderful. Since official records began, St. Petersburg has never seen a temperature over 100 degrees. Plumeria grows along the walkways and streets, making it feel a little like paradise. 

Maybe that’s because it is. 

So when you’re hankering for a little exercise and fancy a walk, make sure to keep on the lookout for the stunning plants in a few of these equally stunning locations.

The Florida Botanical Gardens

Free to the public, the Florida Botanical Gardens are a great place to take in the flora of our great state. Sprawling over 100 acres, this is a place where you can walk as much or as little as you like. You can even bring your pets! Just make sure they’re leashed. 

As you meander through the many themed gardens, you’ll be able to see cactus and succulents, herbs, native plants, and more. Marlberry, firebush, sugarberry, and Stokes’ aster are some of the Florida natives, and you can even see topiaries and tropical fruits like pineapple!

Walks Around Your Assisted Living Facility in St. Petersburg, FL

Of course, your assisted living facility in St. Petersburg, FL, will have areas to enjoy our local St. Petersburg fauna. Just getting outside to take in a little fresh air in the early morning or enjoy the sunset is a good opportunity to see a beautiful flower that perhaps wasn’t there yesterday. 

Isn’t it great to know that you don’t need to go anywhere to enjoy the beauty of living in St. Petersburg? Florida’s stunning plants and flowers are right outside your door.

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

If you take a little excursion to this 245-acre preserve, you’ll be treated to some amazing spectacles of flora and fauna. Since the land was originally set aside to be developed as a zoo, it is naturally special. Situated along Lake Maggiore, the preserve features natural habitats so you can see how nature’s creatures do “independent living” in the wild.

Sawgrass Lake Park

If you just fancy a simple, short walk, Sawgrass is a great place to do it. This maple swamp conservation park is a nice place to walk your pets if you have any — but make sure you watch out for the gators. 

Sunken Gardens

Situated on four well-established acres in the Old Northeast neighborhood in St. Petersburg, the Sunken Gardens have been around for more than 100 years. You’ll see Chilean flamingos, water lilies, royal palms, and 500 other species of stunning tropical plants. 

Since the garden has been around for so long, it’s not only a great little piece of history but also a great place to see some rather large examples of the florae that have been cultivated for so long. This garden is a rare treat.

Gizella Kopsick Palm Arboretum

If you want a rare walk in the sunset, there may not be a better alternative than the Gizella Kopsick Palm Arboretum. Situated along the beach in the Bay, the breezes are calm, and so is the water along these clean, well-maintained paths. 

You may even get a few ideas about plants to start and keep in your own rooms. And since it’s so close to downtown St. Pete, the arboretum is a fantastic place to people-watch, make new friends, or meet up with old ones.

Walking in St. Petersburg Is an Adventure!

The key to getting the most out of life is getting out there and living it. Finding an excuse to “get out of the house” can be as simple as taking a walk among the stellar plants and blooms found all around St. Petersburg.

Active Curiosity: How to Engage Your Mind During Your Golden Years

Keeping your mind active during retirement is critical to ensure you can enjoy your golden years for as long as possible. Seniors are susceptible to mental decline as they age, and keeping your mind active is the best way to combat losing your sharpness.

Whether you are living independently, or enjoying St. Petersburg assisted living, here are a few ways to engage your mind during your golden years.

Read and Write

Reading is a lifelong habit to embrace. Reading can transport you to new worlds, teach you new things, and keep your mind engaged. Experiment with reading different genres, solicit book recommendations from friends and family, or even join a book club. 

Writing is another great way to engage your mind on a daily basis. It is a good way to reflect, put your thoughts down on paper, or engage your mind through storytelling. The best thing about writing is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. Try journaling, writing poetry, or even taking a writing class.

Continue to Learn

No matter what age you are, you should never stop learning. One of the benefits of retirement is the additional time you have to spend on things you enjoy. Including learning in your regular schedule is an effective way to engage your mind.

Consider reading a book on a topic you are not familiar with. Listen to a podcast or watch a video about a new topic. You can even enroll in a local class and learn a new language, an art form, or public speaking skills.

Play Games

Games may not have a good reputation for stimulating brain activity in young people, but games have come a long way since the development of smartphones and other mobile devices. Today, there are an array of word games, number games, and other brain teasers that can engage your mind while also being fun.

You can also try out new board games or puzzles with friends and socialize at the same time.

Exercise 

The mind and body are closely linked, and keeping your body in good shape is an important part of engaging your mind. Studies have shown that daily exercise boosts mood, increases problem-solving skills, and improves overall cognitive health. Exercise does not have to include intensive activity. Gentle exercises you can try include:

  • Walking
  • Water aerobics
  • Seated exercises
  • Stationary cycling
  • Tai chi

A great way to build exercise into your daily routine is to find a partner or group of friends to exercise with. Consider enrolling in a class or joining a walking club.

Stay Social 

Social interaction is a critical piece of overall health for seniors. People who do not get adequate social interaction may experience feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can lead to a number of negative health outcomes.

It is important to build regular social activity into your routine. Social activity can be anything from having coffee with a friend to attending a game night to seeing friends at your walking club. 

Socialization doesn’t always have to be in person, either. You can catch up with friends over the phone or video chat with family members at any time. There’s no right or wrong way to socialize, but engagement with others is critical to keeping your mind sharp.

Staying Active in St. Petersburg Assisted Living

St. Petersburg is a wonderful place to retire and stay active as long as possible. Assisted living communitiesprovide opportunities to socialize, learn, and stay on top of your overall wellness. 

Getting into assisted living early on is also a great way to plan for your future and ensure that you will have access to things like skilled nursing and memory care in St. Petersburg, FL.

3 Questions to Ask During an Assisted Living Facility Tour

If you are looking for a St. Petersburg assisted living facility, you may not know exactly what to look for. Many facilities offer similar amenities, but if you are new to assisted living communities, it can be hard to differentiate and determine what is the best fit. 

Choosing where to live or where to place a loved one is a big decision, and one you shouldn’t make until you are fully informed. Here are three questions to ask during an assisted living facility tour.

1. What Is the Caregiver to Resident Ratio?

Caregivers are one of the most important components of Saint Petersburg assisted living facilities, along with the caregiver to resident ratio. 

If the ratio is high, that means the caregivers will have more responsibilities and less time to dedicate to each resident. On the other hand, if the ratio is low, residents tend to receive more personalized care. 

2. What Are the On-Site Dining and Meal Options?

Regardless of the reasons you or a loved one will be moving to assisted living, you should know what meal options are offered each day. Some facilities offer robust dining options for each meal, while others offer more modest meal services. 

The type of food services offered can make a big difference in the quality of life and how much time is needed to dedicate to dining and food preparation. Make sure to get a tour of the meal facilities if there are any. 

3. What Level of Security Is Provided?

One of the main benefits of moving into assisted living is the added layer of security the community can provide. Make sure to ask what type of security measures the facility has. Ask if they have a 24/7 security officer and security cameras, and find out what their visitor protocols are. 

In addition to providing security for the community, the facility should have detailed plans for keeping residents safe at all times. Ask about protocols for dangerous situations such as falls and medical emergencies and what type of emergency response is available to residents.

Finding a Home in St. Petersburg Assisted Living 

Assisted living should feel like home. Selecting the right facility can not only make sure all needs are met but go a long way in making you or your loved one feel comfortable. 

Whether you are touring a facility in person or attending a virtual appointment, all of your questions should be answered by the end of your visit. Understanding exactly what a facility offers is the best way to make an informed decision.

Congratulations To Our Volunteers and Team Members Of The Year

We’re beginning our celebration of Westminster Communities of Florida’s Volunteers of the Year and Team Members of the Year! Over the next two weeks, beginning on Wednesday, we’re holding recognition banquets in Tallahassee, St. Petersburg and Orlando to celebrate these individuals. Be on the lookout for our announcements of the winners prior to each banquet, and fun photos from the event itself.

Congratulations to all the amazing people who make Westminster Communities of Florida a great place to live and work!

Volunteers of the Year

Team Members of the Year

The Ultimate Packing Checklist for Your Move to Assisted Living

Moving to an assisted living facility in St. Petersburg, FL, is an exciting time. You are starting a new chapter and will be in a comfortable environment that caters to your needs. 

Still, moving involves change, which can be hard for people at any age. The transition to assisted living may take a little adjustment, and if you don’t plan properly, you may find yourself in an unnecessarily stressful situation. Take the guesswork out of the move by adhering to this ultimate packing checklist.

Photos

You want to make your new space in assisted living feel like home. A good way to do this is by surrounding yourself with photos of family and friends. Familiar photos will quickly make your new space feel more like home.

Decorations and Art

In all likelihood, your new assisted living accommodations are not pre-outfitted with any art or decor, so make sure to bring your own. Decorations are another easy way to personalize your space and settle in.

Legal and Financial Paperwork

You must always have easy access to important legal and financial paperwork. You never know what could happen, and you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you don’t have access to the documents you need.

Clothes for All Seasons

Florida residents enjoy warm weather for most of the year, but you need to be prepared even in Saint Petersburg assisted living facilities. Make sure to bring warm clothes, clothes for hot weather, and clothes for the rainy season.

You never know when there will be a last-minute outdoor activity, or a fun opportunity to travel offsite with other residents, so you’ll want to make sure you always have clothing options for various weather situations.

Activities

Assisted living facilities can keep you busy with lifelong learning, music, theater, active wellness opportunities, and more. However, there will always be times when you find yourself alone in your living quarters. Whether you like to sketch or do puzzles, make sure to pack activities that you enjoy to fill your days during your retirement.

Moving to an Assisted Living Facility in St. Petersburg, FL

St. Petersburg, FL, offers some of the most impressive assisted living facilities around. They offer great accommodations and amenities and give residents a real sense of community

Whether you are looking to remain very active or settle into a slower pace of life, you can find it in assisted living. With the help of a packing checklist and a little planning, your move to your new residence can be stress free.

Switching Assisted Living Facilities? How to Ease the Transition

While some seniors move into assisted living in Saint Petersburg, FL, and never move, that’s not always the case. There are a variety of reasons seniors may be switching facilities. Maybe the facility is closing down, perhaps there was a negative change in staff, or maybe the community just didn’t have the right services and amenities.

Whatever the reason, switching assisted living facilities can be a big change. Here are a few tips to ease the transition.

1. Plan Ahead

Change can be difficult and even scary at times, but it can be made much worse without a proper plan in place. A plan to move to a new assisted living facility in St. Petersburg, FL, can include considerations like making a timeline for packing belongings, deciding who is going to help with the move, and assigning the people who will be involved with settling in at the new community.

Planning ahead takes a lot of guesswork out of the move and gives everyone involved more time to get used to the idea of the transition. Without a plan, seniors and family members may have to make last-minute arrangements, which can make for a stressful time.

2. Get Help from Family

Having family assist with the transition to a new community can be invaluable in making the process feel easier and more familiar. Family members can also help with the logistics, such as packing and transportation. 

Taking on a transition without the help of family can add to feelings of uncertainty and make moving more difficult.

3. Communicate with the New Community

A critical component of transitioning to a new space is communication with the staff of the new community. The staff will need to be involved in coordinating the physical move, but their participation can make the transition easier in other ways, too. 

Start having conversations with the staff early on in the process so that they have time to prepare for their new resident. Staff can also accommodate any special needs or requests, which can often foster a more relaxing and stress-free process.

Moving to a New Assisted Living Facility in St. Petersburg, FL

Even though change can be hard to embrace, moving to a new community can be a positive transition. Finding the right fit in assisted living is important. When a senior finds a place where they feel like they have real community, it can make all the difference in their ability to enjoy their retirement.

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