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A Letter from Community Nurse, Stephanie Thompson

Well, I decided this month not tStephanie Thompsono write about some disease process or what you should or shouldn’t do to stay healthy.  You all hear enough out of me day after day about that.  Instead, I have decided to write about my experience at Eberhardt Village.

Before March of 2013, I had never worked in an assisted living setting.  I had always taken care of people that were sick and was helping get back to good health.  When I started here, I really had to shift gears.  I had to really step back and say, these people are for the most part healthy, living their lives and just need some overseeing, or be there if they really do get sick.  It took a long time not to want to treat or constantly want to make someone better.  What I have learned, though, is that an assisted living is really an awesome place for someone to be, and whoever invented the idea, had it right!  It is genius to have a beautiful place where you can have your own apartment, be waited on if you want, be able to come and go as you please, yet still have someone right there if something goes wrong!  It has been an absolute joy to get to know all of the seniors and their families.  So many make me feel like I am family, and let me tell you, that is going to be hard to leave. 

My husband and I have decided that we need to relocate back to the panhandle of Florida, where we once lived and thoroughly enjoyed.  We feel this is the time to do it while we are still able.  If there is one thing I learned from all of you, it is living life to the fullest and never take anything for granted.  You all have been a true blessing to me and I will miss you all greatly.  I will be giving Jo Ellen my address, when I get one, so I can receive newsletters to keep up with all that is going on.  You are definitely in good hands with the wonderful staff that works here, and those too, I am going to miss.  We will be back to visit, as most of our family are here.   I will definitely make this one of my first stops!

Take care and love you all,

Stephanie Thompson RN

Preparing for Your Immunizations

By Stephanie Thompson RN, Eberhardt Village Community Nurse

Stephanie ThompsonRN_EV

August is national immunization awareness month. There has been a lot of talk in the media about children not getting immunizations, but the need for immunizations does not end with childhood. Each year, thousands of adults in the United States suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized or even die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. Some of these include whooping cough, influenza, certain bacterial infections, hepatitis A & B, shingles and even some cancers.

For instance, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that though the shingles vaccine is recommended for all adults over age 60, only an estimated 15.8% of that population received it. Furthermore, less than 1/3 of females 19-26 years have received the HPV vaccine which prevents infection with the human papillomavirus, the virus that can lead to cervical cancer.

There are many factors why so few adults are receiving the immunizations thy need to maintain good health. One of the simplest reasons is that many people don’t realize the need for adults to receive vaccines. It has been reported that 40% of adults believe they do not need vaccines because they were vaccinated as a child.

ImmunizationProtection from some childhood immunizations wears off over time, leaving you vulnerable to disease. There has been a rise in the adult cases of whooping cough for example. Adults are now recommended to get one booster of Tdap whooping cough vaccine.

Some other reasons for adults not being immunized are gaps in insurance coverage, inability to pay for vaccines if not covered by insurance and limitations to access to care.

Many adults may be recommended for certain vaccines due to age, illnesses, hobbies or jobs. Some adults might be at higher risk of serious complications from vaccine preventable diseases.

Adult immunization does not only protect the person receiving but loved ones and those in the community as well. Vaccines can be obtained at your healthcare provider, pharmacies, work places, and health departments.

 

 

5 Ways to Stay Sharp As You Age

By Stephanie Thompson, R.N.

Americans are living longer than ever before with all of the great medical advances.  With this comes the fear of memory loss and dementia.  Whether you are 25 or 75, it’s always a good time to think of ways to keep your mind healthy.

5 ways to stay mentally sharp as you age - Arthur Home Eberhardt Village

Photo Credit: Carol Garbiano

The brain’s volume gradually shrinks as you get older.  Healthy lifestyle and good medical care may help keep the mind like the body, active and vital well into to old age.  Some of the ways to keep your mind and body healthy are:

1) Control cholesterol and high blood pressure.  These can lead to heart disease and stroke which are thought to contribute to the development of certain types of dementia.

2) Exercise regularly.  Keeping physically active helps maintain blood flow to the brain and reduces risk of high blood pressure.

3) Eat a healthy diet.  Antioxidants such as vitamin C,E, and A may be essentially important.  Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is also important.  High blood sugar levels lead to damage in the lining of the vessel which can lead to a lot of different complications.  Eating a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables and avoiding the saturated fatty foods will help do this.

4) Exercise your mind.  “Use it or lose it!”  We have all heard that saying.  It is important to challenge, stimulate, and effectively exercise the minds five main cognitive functions:  memory,  attention,  language, visual-spatial skills and executive function.  Some exercises for the brain are working crossword puzzles, looking at old photograph albums, working table puzzles, and reading the newspaper daily.  Brain exercises are important to maintain brain function and keep synapses firing and the mind sharp and alert.

5) Sleep.  Yes this is very important in keeping the mind healthy.  You should have 7-8 hours of sleep a night.  There is proof that we do not need less sleep as we age.  It is also okay to take that daily snooze.  When you sleep your brain has a chance to relax and process everything you did and learned that day.

The key to maintaining your brain’s health is engagement through mental, physical and social activity.  Your brain will stay busy putting you at lower risk for disease and keep your mind sharp as you age.

Understanding and Preventing Falls

By Stephanie Thompson, R.N.

June is National safety awareness month. The safety topic we are going to discuss is falls.

Falls are common and oftenFall1a devastating problem among older people, causing morbidity, mortality and can cause premature nursing home admissions. Some of the identifiable risks that are associated with falls are weakness, unsteady gait, confusion, and certain medications. Unintentional injuries are the fifth leading cause of death in older adults.   Identifying at-risk patients is the most important part of management.

To understand falls, one must understand the prerequisites for a normal gait. Among these are neural networks in the brain stem, musculoskeletal structures with regulated muscle tone, and proper processing of sensory information. Effective coordination of all of these components, along with adequate cognition and concentration is needed to prevent fall and maintain gait.

It is not surprising that many of these functions show at least some decline with aging and increase the risk of falls. Many changes occur with aging , such as decrease in step length and decrease in lower limb strength. Accumulating medical problems and side effects of medications to treat those problems also put one at a higher fall risk.

Medications are a well established risk factor for falls. It is important to consider the reason for taking a medication before deciding to stop it for the purpose of fall prevention because the condition the drug is used to treat might itself be a risk factor for falling. Each medication should be examined individually.

Some medication classes that have been associated with an increase risk of falls include:

  • Antihypertensive agents
  • Sedatives and hypnotics
  • Neuroleptics and antipsychotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Various interventions have been shown to decrease the risk and rate of falls. Some of these are:

  • Vitamin D- this supplement has been shown if given in doses of 800IU or more to decrease falls
  • Exercise-programs focusing especially on balance exercises have been shown to decrease falls
  • Medications-gradual reduction of psychotropic medication reduces the rate of falls. This should be done carefully and your physician should be consulted.
  • Vision-Visual impairment is one important risk factor. Annual eye exams and cataract removal have reduced falls
  • Environment- avoiding clutter, wearing foot wear that fits correctly, using assistive devices as needed, uneven surfaces are also good interventions for reducing falls

Eberhardt Village is a senior care facility located just off of Illinois Route 133 in the East Central part of Illinois. Both Eberhardt Village and The Arthur Home, a senior care and rehabilitation facility, make up the Eberhardt Senior Community campus.

Our facility is designed to accommodate 52 seniors, which includes 33 suites consisting of studios, single bedrooms, two bedroom apartments, and a hospitality suite.

 

 

Eberhart Village provides residents with leisure & recreational programs, including live music, wellness group and card club.

Eberhardt Village is an assisted living facility that provides a caring and home-like environment for active seniors. Our 27-acre campus is designed for seniors who want access to personal health care and services, but still desire to live an independent and social lifestyle.