Physical Wellness

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What are Flavonoid-Rich Foods and How Can They Improve Your Memory?

Posted on: May 4th, 2022 by hhmin

Did you know there’s something you do multiple times each and every day that could help improve your health, wellness and memory? Research shows that eating flavonoid-rich foods could help protect your brain and even help with other areas of your overall health. If you’re asking yourself, “What foods contain flavonoids?” and “What foods are high in flavonoids?” This blog post can help. It will define flavonoids, discuss their benefits and show you what foods contain flavonoids.

What are Flavonoids?

Flavonoids is a term for a group of potent natural antioxidants found in many fruits and vegetables. There are six types of flavonoids: Anthocyanins, flavan-3-ols, flavonols, flavanones, flavones and isoflavones. Flavonols are the type of flavonoids most common in our diets.

Research by Harvard Medical School, has shown some flavonoids appear to have protective effects on the brain:

  • Flavones are associated with a 38% lower risk for self-reported cognitive decline
  • Flavanones have a 36% lower risk for self-reported cognitive decline
  • Anthocyanins have a 24% lower risk for self-reported cognitive decline

Benefits of Eating Food High in Flavonoids

One of the important contributors to cognitive decline is damage to the brain’s blood supply. People’s brain functions begin to decline in our 20s and 30s, but we usually don’t notice it until we reach our 70s. But the anti-inflammatory properties of flavonoids could help protect our brain’s blood supply, which in turn makes the downward slope less steep.

Foods high in flavonoids can help:

  • Manage high blood pressure
  • Lower your risk of heart attack or stroke and decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Decrease your risk of getting certain cancers
  • Fight inflammation
  • Keep blood vessels healthy
  • Increase the production of chemicals that repair brain cells, strengthen their connections, promote new brain cell growth and enlarge the size of your hippocampus

In fact, after adjusting for age, total food intake, major nondietary factors and specific dietary factors, a higher intake of total flavonoids has been associated with lower odds of Subjective Cognitive Decline.

How Much Flavonoid-Rich Foods Should You Eat Per Day?

The amount of flavonoids in the foods you eat can vary greatly; many fruits and vegetables contain several types of flavonoids, along with many other phytochemicals (chemical compounds produced by plants). So instead of trying to track a certain amount of flavonoids, you should just aim to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Recent evidence suggests that the most effective combination is two servings of fruits plus three servings of vegetables per day.

According to the Harvard Medical School study, the top 20 flavonoid-rich foods most associated with beneficial cognitive effects, listed from strongest to weakest, are:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Strawberries
  • Cauliflower
  • Raw spinach
  • Yams/sweet potatoes
  • Blueberries
  • Yellow/orange winter squash
  • Cooked spinach
  • Cooked carrots
  • Peaches/apricots/plums
  • Cantaloupe
  • Tomato juice
  • Applesauce
  • Green/red/yellow peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Tomato sauce
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Grapefruit

What About Flavonoid Supplements?

Flavonoids are made up of around 6,000 compounds so it’s difficult to know if the positive properties of flavonoid-rich diets can be replaced by purified flavonoids supplements. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), plant sources of flavonoids contain a complex mixture of secondary plant metabolites, not just flavonoids alone. This complex mixture of secondary plant metabolites can’t be simply exchanged by single purified compounds as dietary supplements. The NIH report also cautions that if flavonoids supplements are taken, potential toxicity issues, as well as potential nutrient/drug interactions, need to be taken into account. If you’re considering a flavonoid supplement, consult with your health care provider first.

We Offer the Essential Ingredients for a Happier, Healthier Life

At Holly Hall, one important aspect of both physical and social health is enjoying a good meal with friends and neighbors. That’s why our dining experience offers lots of delicious menu options prepared by our culinary team to help meet your health and wellness goals. To learn more or to come see our senior living community for yourself, contact us here.

What Aging in Place Really Means

Posted on: April 15th, 2022 by hhmin

A common myth about growing older is that staying in your private home will help retain your quality of life. The truth is, unless you have a plan in place for changes that naturally occur as you age, your quality of life will only go down. There is a better way. By deciding early on how and where you want to spend your time and handle major life events (such as illness, injury, or who will make decisions if you’re  unable to), you and your family can ensure you age in place successfully.

Even if you’re not yet retired, now is the time to put your plan together. To start, it’s important to learn more about aging in place and where to find help for seniors living alone. The more informed you are about your options, the better you and your loved ones will feel about making decisions for your future.

Why Staying Put Is Not Aging in Place

As we age, it’s natural to need more assistance in everyday living. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, approximately 70% of us will need long-term care at some point. This may mean a need for assisted living, skilled nursing, or memory support. Embracing this fact can make all the difference if you’re nearing retirement. After all, what is aging in place if you’re burdened by daily chores such as housekeeping, making meals, home maintenance and transportation, especially if you or your partner have a significant health issue? Retirement is meant to be enjoyed! And no one wants to make healthcare decisions on the spot, during a time of crisis.

To better understand where you may need support, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have mobility issues that make it hard to get around your house?
  • Do you find yourself worrying about paying your bills?
  • Are home repairs or maintenance piling up?
  • Is your house not as clean as it used to be?
  • Do you forget to take prescriptions?
  • Are you getting out and seeing friends/family less often?
  • Do you no longer enjoy driving?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may want to consider an independent living community like Holly Hall, where residents enjoy a vibrant lifestyle of flexible options, no matter what kind of support they need, while staying close to all the best of Houston. Knowing they have continuity of care available on-site, our residents never have to uproot themselves if their needs change. Instead, they can age in place (and spouses can stay together) with peace of mind. Not only that, but imagine how independent you can be without the worries of homeownership holding you back!

Support to Help You Age in Place

Whether you’re exploring future options or remaining in your house as long as you can, there are many services available to help seniors living alone, from grocery and pharmacy delivery to a geriatric care manager (a professional who can help you determine what support you need and how to get it). These offerings become even more valuable if you live far from loved ones. While convenient, these services can add up over time, depending on how much support is needed. For more information, see the following online government resources designed to help seniors living alone:

Whatever your preference is for the future, one thing is certain — the plan you’re sure to regret is the one you don’t make at all. In fact, most retirees say they wish they’d planned for the future sooner!

What Does Aging in Place Mean at Holly Hall?

Independence, convenience, gracious Southern living — at Holly Hall, aging in place is everything you want it to be, without worries about the future.

“It’s been a near perfect fit for me, to live here at Holly Hall. I appreciate the campus itself, which is always maintained beautifully, the services around here are always good, and the people are friendly.”

Paul R., resident

We understand how difficult it can be to start the conversation about how to age in place successfully. To learn how we help seniors living independently plan for health care while enjoying an exceptional lifestyle, contact us to schedule a tour of our community and talk about your options. Remember, your next chapter is up to you, once you make a plan.

Fiber Recommendations by Age

Posted on: April 1st, 2022 by hhmin

Most of us know that fiber, a carbohydrate that can’t be digested, is important for our physical health. But it continues to remain a “dietary component of public health concern,” according to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). More than 90% of Americans aren’t getting the fiber they need. And it becomes even more important as you age. That’s because your metabolism slows down, your muscle mass decreases, and it becomes easier to gain weight. Fiber for older adults can help with all these issues. It can help lower cholesterol, decrease food cravings, and even increase testosterone in men. In fact, recent studies show that people who eat more fiber reduce their risk of death from any cause. In this blog post, we’ll explore the different kinds of fiber — and how much — your body needs. We’ll also share some tips on how to get more fiber in your diet.

What to Know About Fiber

To understand fiber requirements by age, first it helps to know how fiber works in your body. There are two types of fiber that you need, both made from the indigestible parts of plants: Soluble fiber (the kind that dissolves in water to move through your body) and insoluble fiber (remains intact as it moves through your digestive system). Soluble fiber attaches to cholesterol and helps remove it from your body, helping your heart and blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber helps keep you regular and can also reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.

So what are the fiber recommendations by age?  Referencing the 2020-2025 DGA, women age 51 and older need 22 grams of fiber daily, while men of the same age need 28 grams per day. If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry — incorporating high-fiber foods for older adults may be easier (and more tasty) than you might think.

The Best High-Fiber Foods

Incorporating more fiber into your diet doesn’t have to turn mealtimes into a chore. If you’re wondering how to increase your fiber intake, simply browse this list of high-fiber options that are also rich in flavor, and write down your favorites. Then keep your list on the fridge, so you can easily reference it before your next snack or meal and ensure you’re getting all the fiber you need.

  •   Fruits — Adding it to your yogurt, cereal, or salad is an easy way to add more fruit into your diet. By substituting fruit for dessert, especially if you’re diabetic, you’ll also help reduce your blood sugar levels.
  •   Vegetables — Broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, and other green, leafy vegetables are packed with fiber, which is why salads are such an easy way to work fiber into your diet.
  •   Nuts and seeds — Most nuts and seeds are rich in fiber, like these tasty examples:  almonds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts.
  •   Oats — An oatmeal breakfast is the perfect way to get fiber for older adults, since oatmeal is one of the healthiest grains you can eat, and popular mix-ins like raisins and bananas are high in fiber, too.
  •   Cereals and grains — Look for whole-grain bread rather than white bread, and use whole-wheat flour when baking. Ideally, you should have one cup of whole grains with each meal.
  •   Legumes and beans — If you’re wondering how to increase fiber intake in a significant way, incorporate more beans into your soups and salads. Just one cup of canned baked beans has 10 grams of fiber!

Here’s an easy way to check your groceries for fiber content: Foods containing a minimum of 2.5 grams of fiber are usually labeled a “good source” of fiber, and those labeled an “excellent source” contain more than 5 grams of fiber per serving. Remember, when reaching your goals for fiber recommendations by age, it’s also important to drink plenty of water throughout the day. This has multiple health benefits, but specifically helps keep fiber moving through your body, which prevents constipation and keeps your digestive system working properly.

A Healthy Diet and so Much More

The best high-fiber foods are just one part of our elevated dining experience at Holly Hall. See for yourself why our residents rate our food prepared by our culinary team so highly in their satisfaction surveys. Contact us to get a taste of the delicious lifestyle at Holly Hall today, and learn why generations of our residents are living up to our name. “Holly,” explains President Tamara Jenkins, “is a long-living bush that grows more beautiful with age.”

Top Chair Exercises for Seniors

Posted on: March 15th, 2022 by hhmin

If you’re not as mobile as you once were or have issues with balance… or you’re recovering from an injury or surgery, you can still get an excellent modified workout while sitting in a chair. Not surprising, exercising while seated, as opposed to certain types of standing exercises, is easier on aging joints, and therefore can reduce stiffness without adding pain.

That said, working out from a chair offers some nice fitness challenges. We’re not talking about a little arm waving here and you’re done. To prove our point, we’ve compiled a set of challenging chair workouts each focused on a particular area of your body. If you rotate the workouts throughout the week, you’ll ensure the maximum benefits of cardio fitness, muscular strength, and flexibility from head to toe. And we guarantee your bottom will never leave your chair!

What Equipment Will You Need?

Sturdy Chair – The right chair makes all the difference here, so choose well. Kitchen chairs and sturdy folding chairs generally fit the bill nicely. Look for a chair that is very stable (no squeaks, no swaying – and no wheels please!). A cushioned seat is a good idea, but avoid one you’ll sink into.

Clothing – As for clothing and footwear, choose stretchy nonbinding attire, and comfortable athletic shoes. You can also do a chair workout in cotton socks if you like.

Weights/Bands – Lightweight dumbbells and ankle weights add an extra challenge, but filled water bottles are a great substitute in many cases. Some chair exercises incorporate resistance bands, which you can pick up anywhere fitness equipment is sold.

Hydration – Don’t forget to keep a water bottle nearby and drink often

How Are Chair Exercises Beneficial?

We know that prolonged sitting isn’t good for your body, but when you use a chair as a piece of fitness equipment, medical experts promise good things will happen.

Regular chair exercising will:

  • Improve your flexibility and range of motion
  • Improve your balance and reduce your fall risk
  • Decrease your joint pain and stiffness
  • Strengthen your core muscles to improve posture and balance
  • Elevate your mood and improve concentration
  • Help lower your level of stress and improve your mod

Start with Safety Measures & Warm-Ups

Like every good exercise routine, it’s important to warm up your muscles and activate your joints. Focus first on sitting up straight:  slouching, shoulders back, head erect, stomach pulled in slightly. 

4 Important Safety Tips:

  1. Check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.
  2. Don’t forget to breathe – listen to your instructor for cues.
  3. Be sure to pause and sip water often to stay hydrated throughout your workout.
  4. Only do movements you’re comfortable with and never force anything that causes pain or discomfort. It’s OK to modify, e.g., to not raise limbs as high or do as many repetitions. You’ll improve and get stronger if you regularly work out.

6 Easy Warm-Ups:

Shoulder rolls  

Place hands on shoulders with elbows pointing out to the side. Rotate shoulders front 10x,  then to back 10x

Torso Stretch

Let your arm drop to each side 5x to stretch your torso.

Torso Twist

Position arms in genie position and twist torso left and right, 5x each side.

Neck stretches

With hands on your knees and your back straight, slowly look left, then to center, then right, then back to center 5x. For the second exercise, slowly raise head up slightly to look toward the ceiling, then slowly lower head toward chest slightly. Repeat the sequence 10x.

Ankle Rotations

Lift your legs out straight in front and off the floor. If you need support, hold on to your chair seat. Rotate ankles outward 5x and then inward 5x.

Marching

Sit up straight with feet flat on the floor. If you need support, hold on to your chair seat. Lift one knee and foot off the floor and alternate for a  total of 10x.

Watch these warm-ups in action and see more great warm-ups here.

Head-to-Toe Exercises to Try

The internet is filled with chair exercise videos demonstrating several ways to work out your whole body while seated. What follows is a sampling of some to try on your own at home. Many community centers offer chair fitness for seniors, and if you’re fortunate to live in a retirement community like Holly Hall in Houston, several chair exercise classes are always on the activities schedule. You can learn and perfect your chair exercise routine in a group class (which is a fun way to get fit) and continue doing them on your own whenever you like.

To try a few head-to-toe chair exercises on your own right now, see the list below. Simply click on the part of the body you want to work on, and the link will open to a short video led by Senior Fitness with Meredith. Each one is specially  designed for seniors who want to work out in a seated position. You’ll be amazed at how challenging these exercises can be

Arm/Upper Body Workout

Working out your upper body and arms is about much more than fighting “the sag.” These exercises will strengthen your upper body to help you resist pulled muscles and other injuries, while improving your posture and overall energy. Using a resistance band, you’ll work on shoulders, biceps, and triceps, as well as finishing movements to strengthen your core.

Leg/Hip Workout

Once you get up and out of your bed or chair, almost everything you do depends on good lower body strength. Mobility is the key to staying fit as you age. This seated workout will help you gain strength and stability in your legs, hips, hamstrings, and calves. This will help keep you confident about walking, taking the stairs, dancing, and more. 

Abdominal/Core Workout

A strong core is incredibly important to your well-being! We use our stomach and back muscles to do just about everything, from getting in and out of a car to climbing stairs to picking up grandkids, groceries, and more. A strong core is necessary for stability, strength, and endurance.  If you don’t use it, you lose it, and that may mean missing out on being able to pick up your grandchild, go dancing, or enjoy a walk in the park.

Aerobic/Cardio Workout

Your doctor will be a big supporter of this one, because you can get your heart rate up in this seated cardio workout specially  designed for older adults. You’ll walk and march your way to a healthier heart, stronger lungs, and the energy to do whatever you enjoy, whether it’s playing golf or playing with the grandkids. This full-body workout is great on its own for beginners, and also makes an excellent warm-up for more advanced exercisers.

Strength Workout

Work your way through a simple series of full-body exercises that help improve your overall strength. It’s just what you need to help fend off injuries, falls, and joint pain. Be sure to have your lightweight dumbbells (filled water bottles also work) on hand to increase the resistance. The workout includes simple exercises like knee raises, upper arm curls and raises, inner/outer thigh work, and more!

Your Mind, Body, and Spirit Will Thrive at Holly Hall.

Continuing to lead a vibrant, healthy lifestyle is a priority at Holly Hall. Our community is a beautiful place to enjoy independent living, whether you choose our cottages or apartments. And because we’re a Continuing Care Retirement Community, our residents have the security of knowing higher levels of care will be available to them on campus throughout the years – with no entrance fee ever required. 

To learn more about the Holly Hall way of life and all we have to offer, complete our contact form, and we’ll be in touch to set up a tour. We look forward to meeting you soon.

How Much Does Independent Living Cost?

Posted on: March 9th, 2022 by hhmin

You’ll have some important homework to do if you’re contemplating a move to independent living. First, you’ll want to think about where you’d like to live. Second, consider what’s important to you when it comes to lifestyle, services, and amenities. And then there’s the big question: How much does independent living cost? There is no standardized pricing when it comes to senior living communities. Not only do the types of communities differ, but costs can vary widely based on the state where the community is located, and even the city, as well as the services provided.

Defining Types of Independent Living

There are three primary types of communities that offer independent living; each type is  distinct when it comes to services and amenities, as well as care options offered. 

No Assistance Needed: 55+ Apartments

You’ve likely seen advertising for active adult communities. In simplest terms, this is apartment living like any other, except that all the residents are “of a certain age,” typically 55 and up. These complexes may or may not have on-site dining options, along with amenities that encourage social gatherings like pickleball courts, putting greens and BBQ pits, as well as a pool and fitness facilities. And the monthly fee may include maintenance of your unit and the exterior. Rents vary depending on location and unit size. As an example, one club in Florida offers a two-bedroom, 1,300-square foot apartment for $2,000 a month.

This option is the least expensive type of independent living for older adults in good health, primarily because it doesn’t typically include access to higher levels of care if your health needs change. The responsibility falls on the residents to pay for nursing help and other care. Much like any apartment rental, residences in a 55+ community feature standard, long-term leases with rent due each month; if there is any upfront fee to join the community, such a fee isn’t likely to be too substantial. 

Built-In Active Social Life: Retirement Communities

This option is closer to what most people envision in a place to retire. The fees in a typical free-standing senior living community generally include at least two meals a day in a communal dining room, along with laundry and housekeeping services, activities and events, and amenities such as a fitness center, pool, movie theater, and game room.

Typically, residents have access to 24-hour emergency assistance and security (and apartments are equipped with emergency pull chains and/or speakers). Some, but not all, free-standing independent living communities have medical staff and aides available to monitor changes in a resident’s health. But if higher-level care or continuous care is needed, the resident is usually responsible for hiring caregivers to provide them or must move elsewhere to get them. As to the question of how much independent living in a free-standing retirement community costs,  the fee to live in one averages around $2,500 a month. Not surprising, that’s higher than in a 55+ community because of the additional staffing, as well as the added services and amenities provided. That generally includes maintenance, dining services and transportation often at a monthly cost that is less than what you’d pay to maintain your own home.

The Ultimate Worry-Free Option: Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)

In examining and comparing the cost of independent living, you also need to look at CCRCs. Like other retirement communities, CCRCs (sometimes called Life Plan Communities) offer on-site dining options, with laundry, housekeeping, and maintenance all included in the monthly fee. Similarly, CCRC residents enjoy a full slate of activities and events, as well as a host of resort-style amenities.

The significant difference between the other options and CCRCs is the breadth of care services and living options offered, as well as the potential for an entrance fee. Some CCRCs charge a one-time entrance fee and an ongoing monthly fee. Holly Hall in Houston is a nonprofit rental CCRC offering independent living and a full spectrum of care, including assisted living, skilled nursing care, and rehab, all on one campus. For residents, this affords the opportunity to move to one location, engage in a vibrant, carefree lifestyle, and have peace of mind  knowing that long-term care will always be readily available and included in their monthly fee.

With the array of services and highly trained staff available, the cost of living in a CCRC community is at the high end of retirement community options. About three-quarters of all CCRCs charge an entrance fee in addition to the monthly fee, Holly Hall, a Christian Retirement community, has NO buy-in or entrance fee.  

For those communities that do have an entrance fee, the national average is around $300,000 – $350,000,  but it can vary widely depending on the location, the state, and the breadth of services. These CCRCs use the fee as a prepayment for care and living arrangements, as well as to fund operating costs. It’s worth noting that about 80% of  CCRCs/Life Plan Communities will refund between 50% and 90% of the entrance fee to you or your beneficiaries when you leave the community. But that’s a question you need to ask when you research your options.

Additionally, CCRCs typically offer a choice of contract types to help residents with budgeting. Be sure to ask the representative what contracts are available.  

While Holly Hall does not require entrance fees (they rent month-to-month) other CCRCs may typically offer up to three contract options. Here’s a look at those options and their associated costs:

Type A — Life Care

In addition to enjoying premium amenities and services, residents of Life Care communities can count on access to high-quality on-site care at predictable rates for the rest of their lives, generally with little to no increase in monthly fees over what they paid in their independent living residence. And they’ll pay far less for these services than they would on the open market. They know where they’ll get this care, who will provide it, and how much it will cost.

Type B — Modified Plan (aka Modified CCRC or Modified Agreement)

These communities include housing, services and amenities, with health care provided one of two ways: 1) a limited number of free days included as part of the entrance fee, with additional care billed at per diem market rates, or 2) an ongoing, minimally discounted rate. Health care services may be delivered on- or off-site, and two monthly fees may be incurred if couples require different levels of care.

Type C — Fee-for-Service

Housing, services and amenities are provided, but any available long-term care is charged based on fee-for-service market rates. If a resident requires short-term care, that resident must continue paying the monthly fee on their independent living residence, plus the costs of housing and health care received in an assisted living, memory support or skilled nursing residence, which may or may not be on the same campus.

Live at Holly Hall and Choose Peace of Mind for Life

Gaining an understanding of how much independent living costs is an important first step in what type of community is best. Holly Hall, in Houston, Texas, has a clear advantage over many CCRCs in that we don’t charge an entrance fee, yet we offer all levels of living and care to our residents, including independent living in beautiful cottages and  spacious apartments.

As a CCRC, we offer residents a home and a welcoming neighborhood in which to make a lifetime of memories with the security of knowing their health care needs will always be met. To arrange a tour, simply complete our request form and we’ll be in touch shortly.

Smart-Home Devices for Seniors to Maintain Independence

Posted on: February 15th, 2022 by hhmin

As technology continues to advance, everything around us keeps getting smarter and — more importantly — easier to use. One place that’s making a huge difference is around the house, where smart-home devices are making everyone’s life more enjoyable.

 

This blog post will take a look at some of the available senior smart devices and show how they can help you live a more convenient, efficient, healthy, and safer lifestyle.

Add IQ Points to Your Home

Smart devices make it easier for seniors to maintain their freedom and independence while providing peace of mind for themselves and their families. Although we haven’t quite attained the ease and convenience enjoyed by the Jetsons, today there are robot vacuums and smart speakers, lights and locks, and more. Please note, in general, you don’t have to be tech-savvy to use these devices, but you may want some help setting them up.

 

Convenience

Turn your home into a voice-activated marvel that allows you to feed the dog, make a call to a friend or family member, or turn the radio on with just a few words.

  • Smart-home hub: These devices use Alexa, Siri, or Google Home to set up timers, reminders, or calendar events, or to listen to music, hear  the news, or get updates on weather and traffic. They also allow you to connect your smart-home devices together. So you can use voice control for your television, light, thermostats, locks, doorbells, security cameras, and more. 
  • Robot vacuum: Put away your upright vacuum and let one of these devices autonomously navigate your home’s floor plan. Robot vacuums are capable of moving around and underneath furniture, reaching dust and dirt in tough-to-clean spaces.You can even instruct the vacuum to clean when you’re not at home. They usually can be controlled remotely using a smartphone or your smart hub.
  • Smart pet feeder: Here’s an easy way to automatically dispense the same amount of pet food and water every day. 
  • Smart outlets: These are one of the most economical and simplest ways to convert your home into a smart home. Connect a lamp or a coffee maker to a smart plug, and you’ll be able to control and schedule these devices through your smart hub or phone.
  • Smart kitchen appliances: With your phone or smart hub, you can preheat your smart oven, change the temperature and turn it off. Smart refrigerators provide an easy way to set timers, create lists, and track expiration dates for perishable items. 
  • Smart clothes washer and dryer: Track your wash and dry cycles, monitor energy usage, and be alerted when dryer ducts start to become dangerously clogged. 
  • Smart air filter monitor: These air filter attachments can alert you when your heating and cooling systems are at risk of clogging, which produces poor home air quality, higher energy bills, and is the leading cause of heating and cooling system failure. 
  • Smart leak detector: Placed in your water pipes, a smart leak detector monitors for changes in water pressure and usage that can indicate a running toilet, water heater, outdoor hose or faucet, and sends an alert to your phone. 

 

Savings

Installing smart devices can be a good way to cut down on costly utility bills by allowing you to monitor your energy usage. Some smart devices can even learn from your habits to help save you money.

  • Smart-home thermostat: Control your home’s temperature directly from your phone, tablet, or smart hub. If you’re returning home and you want to turn on the heat  beforehand, you can do this directly from your smartphone, allowing you to come back to a nice warm home. Some types of smart thermostats will learn your heating habits and start to program themselves. They can also sense when your home is empty and turn the heat down, helping reduce unnecessary energy usage. Plus, you can check your energy history to see how much you’ve used.
  • Smart bulbs: These can be controlled via your phone/tablet, as well as through a smart hub, allowing you to turn your lights on/off with your voice. That way it can help prevent you from tripping over objects in the dark. Plus, you can set it up to turn your lights on and off at particular times throughout the day. Smart bulbs are also long-lasting and use 80% less power than an incandescent bulb. 
  • Smart water heater: Remotely manage your water temperatures and monitor energy usage with a smart water heater.

 

Health

Today’s technology can help you stay motivated and remind you when you need to do things like take medication or go for a walk.

  • Smart pill dispenser: Good for managing multiple medications that need to be taken at different times throughout the day. Just load your medications and program them to be dispensed and available according to the prescribed schedule. Some smart pill dispensers even have locking mechanisms that prevent theft or accidental overdoses.
  • Activity trackers: Today’s wearable trackers for seniors can count steps and calories burned and audit sleep patterns. Some even have tracking features like heart rate monitoring and offer battery life that lasts a whole year without recharging.  

 

Safety 

Smart devices are a great way to create a safety net around your home, giving your family members peace of mind knowing you’re safe and secure. 

  • Smart doorbell: When someone rings the smart doorbell on your front door, it will stream the video footage directly to your phone or tablet, allowing you to identify who’s visiting. You can also speak to them via a two-way microphone.
  • Smart locks: These pair well with smart doorbells because they can allow you to lock and unlock your doors remotely using your smartphone or smart hub. If you have visitors who come over at specific times, you can also schedule your door to unlock automatically before they arrive. Some models can be paired with other phones so a trusted friend or family member can get inside without a key.
  • Smart indoor camera: Many indoor cameras feature motion sensors that start recording the moment they detect any movement, so you can be notified with an alert on your phone. You can also control some cameras through your smart hub. 
  • Smart garage door controller: This smart device allows you to open and close your garage door with your phone whether you’re at home or traveling.

Discover a Smarter Way to Enjoy Life at Holly Hall

If you’re looking for an active, vibrant lifestyle, consider independent living at Holly Hall. Our 20+ beautifully landscaped acres offer easy access to the best activities and amenities central Houston has to offer, including NRG Stadium, Rice Village, Hermann Park, the Museum District, and great restaurants and shopping. To learn more about our smart independent living lifestyle, contact us here.

The Basics of Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Chronic Lung Diseases

Posted on: February 1st, 2022 by hhmin

What is pulmonary rehabilitation?  

Pulmonary rehabilitation is an exercise, therapy and education program for people with chronic lung disease that makes it hard for them to breathe. It helps to rebuild fitness and reduce the severity of their symptoms.

 

Who is pulmonary rehabilitation for?

People with lung conditions such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), emphysema, chronic bronchitis or asthma are candidates for pulmonary rehabilitation. Doctors also recommend it for those with muscular dystrophy, scoliosis, cystic fibrosis, or other health problems that limit their lung function. This form of rehabilitation may also be needed before and after lung surgery.

 

Where is pulmonary rehabilitation administered?

Pulmonary rehabilitation is typically an outpatient program in a hospital or clinic. It’s delivered by a specialist team of doctors, nurses, therapists, nutritionists and social workers. After you’ve been going for a while, you may be able to do some of the exercises at home. Make sure to check with your health care team that you’re ready to start an exercise routine yourself.

 

What are the benefits and risks of pulmonary rehabilitation?

Pulmonary rehabilitation helps you feel in control of your lung disease. By exercising your lungs and muscles, you’ll become stronger and more active. You’ll be less out of breath and find it easier to manage daily activities such as work, social outings and activities you enjoy. This type of therapy rarely poses a risk of injuries or other problems.  

 

What can you expect during a session?

Your rehabilitation program will likely be a series of two to three weekly sessions over a period of several weeks or months. A health care provider will design a plan for lung therapy based on your overall health, the health of your lungs, your age and other factors. To do so, they will test your oxygen, blood pressure and heart rate while you exercise, and perform a series of tests to check your breathing. They’ll measure and compare your lung function at the beginning and end of the program to see if your breathing has improved.

  • Exercises: You’ll have a personalized exercise plan to help your lungs and heart work better. Most plans include leg and arm workouts to improve your endurance and muscle strength. These may be simple strengthening movements for your arms and legs or use fitness equipment such as a treadmill or exercise bike.    
  • Breathing techniques: You may learn specific breathing techniques such as yoga breathing, blowing into a mouthpiece or use a computer to learn to control your breath. These techniques teach you how to avoid feeling out of breath when you are active or under stress.
  • Education: Your health care team will help you understand your treatment plan, including using an inhaler the right way. They will also teach you how to avoid situations that make your symptoms worse and how to avoid infections. They may also teach you how to “save your breath” while doing everyday tasks that involve bending, reaching, and lifting and how to control and manage your lung disease. If you smoke, your team may be able to help you give up the habit.  
  • Counseling: Emotional support is vital for anyone affected by a chronic disease. Stress can take up energy and affect your breathing, so learning how to control stress is vital. Individual or group counseling is helpful in managing emotions and keeping a positive outlook.
  • Nutritional guidance: Depending on your situation, you may work with a nutritionist or dietician.  Nutritional counseling ensures you’re aware of what to eat for the nutrients you need, help you maintain a healthy weight, and continue to feel your best.
  • Support groups: It’s scary to have a disease that affects breathing. Support groups allow you to meet others with your condition and understand what you’re going through. It’s an opportunity for you to get the social and emotional support you deserve and to give support to others in return.

 

Is supplemental oxygen used during pulmonary rehabilitation?

If you need oxygen therapy, your therapist will determine whether you receive it through your nostrils or with a facemask. You may also need to carry or wheel around a portable oxygen tank. Oxygen therapy can reduce bouts of breathlessness by boosting the amount of oxygen in your blood. This boosts your energy and helps you sleep better.  Your therapist will assess the amount of oxygen you need by measuring the levels in your blood. The amount of oxygen will vary during different types of exercise. You’ll be guided on how to use oxygen as you exercise.

 

What can you expect after pulmonary rehabilitation?

Everyday activities such as walking or climbing stairs should be more manageable. You should also feel fitter and breathe more easily.

 

How much does pulmonary rehabilitation cost?

Your insurance coverage and the type of pulmonary rehabilitation will determine how much you pay. Medicare Part B covers a comprehensive pulmonary rehabilitation program for moderate to very severe COPD and may also cover pulmonary rehabilitation for other chronic lung disease. Check your eligibility for coverage on the Medicare website here.

 

Where can you find a pulmonary rehabilitation program near you?

We offer an exceptional pulmonary rehabilitation program directed by Dr. Rupesh Vakil, located in our comfortable and welcoming senior living community in Houston, Texas. We offer care and therapy for respiratory illnesses such as:

  •   Emphysema
  •   COPD
  •   Bronchitis
  •   Pneumonia
  •   Hypertension
  •   And many others

 

If you need help getting back your respiratory function after a hospital stay and before going home, our dedicated team will help you feel your best and improve your ability for daily activities.  Check out our health care and rehabilitation services earning a top 5-Star quality rating from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Contact us today to arrange a personal appointment.

5 Times Caregivers Should Use Respite Care

Posted on: January 24th, 2022 by hhmin

If you’re of a certain age, you may remember those old TV commercials for Rolaids® antacid. The announcer would ask a housewife, blue-collar worker, or celebrity, “How do you spell relief?” If you’re a caregiver, particularly if you’re caring for a spouse, parent, or older adult 24/7, your answer may well be “respite care.”

What is respite care?

Respite care is a form of short-term substitute care that provides temporary relief for caregivers. You can receive a break for a few hours, a few days, or several weeks. Services may take place in the home, at an adult day care program, or in a residential setting such as an assisted living community. A trusted relative or friend may also be available to provide informal respite care.

At Holly Hall, we offer respite care services for periods ranging from a couple of days to a week or two. Seniors who stay with us for short-term respite care benefit from private rooms, chef-prepared meals, life-enriching activities, and attentive, caring staff.

When should you use respite care?

There are many situations where respite care can provide much-needed help. Here are some examples of how respite care can fill the gap when a full-time caregiver isn’t available.

  1. You need a break. Caregiving is exhausting, especially when you’re the sole caregiver in your family. If you’re feeling stressed out, burned out, depressed, or feeling frustrated or angry, you need respite care. A short break will allow you to recharge your batteries and be a better caregiver.
  2. You’re going on vacation. Caregivers rarely get a vacation unless they plan for it. Give yourself permission to step out of your caregiving role and get away for an extended break. Caregivers are at greater risk for many chronic conditions. Don’t wait until you have a health crisis of your own. Prioritize your own health needs so you can look after the health of your loved one.
  3. You need to travel out of town. When you need to travel for work or an important family event without your loved one, respite care can provide the help you need. It also gives your loved one a chance to meet new people and enjoy new experiences.
  4. You’re renovating your home. If you’re renovating a bedroom or bathroom for an aging parent, they may prefer a quieter place to stay while the work’s being done. A respite-care stay offers a safe, supportive environment for your loved one and less stress for everyone concerned.
  5. You want to give senior living a trial run. If you’re thinking about moving a loved one to a specific community, a respite care stay allows you to test it out before making a final commitment.

What are the signs of caregiver stress?

Caregiving can be emotionally and physically exhausting. To determine if you need a much-deserved break, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you feel emotionally and physically drained on a regular basis?
  • Are you concerned that in the event of an emergency, there is no one you trust to take care of your loved one?
  • Do you find yourself becoming easily irritated with things that previously never bothered you?
  • Are you neglecting your own health needs due to lack of time or lack of desire?
  • Are you experiencing resentment toward other family members who could help you but don’t?
  • Is your social life suffering?
  • Is there an unusual change in your eating habits?
  • Do you have feelings of helplessness?
  • Have you been resorting to unhealthy behaviors like smoking or drinking too much alcohol?

Don’t wait until you’re at a breaking point. Support is available at Holly Hall.

As a caregiver, you’re constantly thinking of someone else’s needs. But to be a better caregiver, you must think of your own needs too. To learn how respite care at Holly Hall can help you help yourself and give your loved one the care they deserve, get in touch. Even if you don’t need respite care now, it’s a good idea to research your options so when you do need a break, you’ll know exactly where to go.

A short-term stay is also helpful after your loved one has been discharged from the hospital. Our Healthcare Center offers 24-hour skilled nursing, along with a full range of rehabilitation therapies to help your loved one regain their strength so they can return home safely.

7 ways assisted living improves quality of life

Posted on: January 17th, 2022 by hhmin

You may be wondering if a loved one would be better off in an assisted living community where they could get the help they need. After all, you could hire a caregiver to provide assistance in your loved one’s home. But would help be available 24/7? And do you really want to manage the caregiving schedule and have to scramble when plans go awry?

As you’ll discover, assisted living communities offer much more than personal care. From social opportunities and transportation services to nutritious meals and wellness programs, assisted living offers older adults an active, enriching lifestyle, as well as help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and mobility.

To learn how assisted living can improve quality of life for your loved one — and for you if you’re struggling with caregiving or just worried about your loved one — consider the following benefits.

The benefits of assisted living

If a parent or loved one isn’t able to live safely on their own or needs more care than you can provide, assisted living can give you peace of mind and give your loved one a new lease on life. Here are some of the benefits you can look forward to.

  1. Personal care. Assisted living communities provide a range of personal care services, including help with bathing, dressing, toileting, mobility, eating, and medication management. These are known as activities of daily living (ADLs). Help is tailored to individual needs and provided by dedicated caregivers who typically receive training in helping seniors with ADLs to reduce the risk of falling and injuries.
  1. Safety and security. Assisted living communities are designed to make life easier and safer for residents. Physical safety features typically include hallway handrails, low- or no-entry walk-in showers, grab bars in bathrooms, and good lighting. Many communities offer 24/7 security and some, including Holly Hall, are gated. Residences are also equipped with emergency call systems, and some communities offer personal emergency call devices so residents can get help no matter where they are.
  1. Nutritious meals. Grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking can become a challenge for loved ones as they age or lack motivation to cook for themselves. This can negatively affect their health. Meal programs at assisted living communities give seniors access to healthy, nutritious meals three times a day. In addition to good food, residents can enjoy good conversation with friends and neighbors in the communal dining room.
  1. Socialization. Living alone, especially if you can no longer drive, is a recipe for isolation — a situation that can lead to depression and other health problems like cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline. In assisted living, residents become part of a supportive community designed to foster social connection. There are common areas where residents can gather, as well as group classes and activities, including bridge and board games, art and music classes, book clubs, guest lectures and performances, movie showings, worship services, and field trips.
  1. Fitness classes. Assisted living is designed to support residents’ independence. Fitness classes help residents maintain their independence and autonomy. At Holly Hall, assisted living residents can participate in group fitness classes to improve balance, strength, flexibility, and endurance. Certified instructors and fellow class members help make fitness fun and keep everyone motivated. And if you just want to go for a walk, our 20-acre campus offers walking trails and greenspace to enjoy the great outdoors.
  1. Transportation. Most assisted living communities offer transportation for shopping and outings. Even though residents may still drive their own cars, many prefer to go with a group to make trips more social and not have to worry about careless drivers or finding a place to park. Transportation can also be arranged for doctor appointments.
  1. Less work and worry. Aging in place at home gets harder as you get older. There are chores to do, bills to pay, repairs to manage, and stairs to climb. At an assisted living community, residents don’t have to deal with homeownership hassles. To make life easier, housekeeping, laundry and linen services are provided, along with all maintenance in your assisted living apartment. Residents are free to do what they want.

Count on us to make life better.

If a parent or loved one can no longer live independently at home, an assisted living community like Holly Hall could provide the support they need to stay healthy and safe. To learn if Holly Hall is right for you, contact us. We’re always happy to answer your questions or schedule a tour so you can see for yourself what makes Holly Hall the first choice for Houstonians for over 70 years.

9 colorful plants for your winter garden in Houston

Posted on: December 20th, 2021 by hhmin

In many parts of the country, winter is a time for leafing through seed catalogs and dreaming about what to plant in the garden once spring arrives. But in Houston, gardeners can grow plants all year long. Of course, not all plants do well in all seasons. So to help you decide which plants to grow when, here are some of our favorite flowers and plants to bring color to your winter garden.

 

  1. Pansies: These winter-tolerant flowers are available in more colors than a box of Crayola crayons, including yellow, gold, orange, purple, violet, red, white, and purple. If their eye-catching colors aren’t enough to love them, they’re also edible — use them to decorate cakes and salads. The winter variety, V. heimalis, is also known as ice pansies. They can freeze solid and emerge from that state ready to grow and flower.

 

  1. Snapdragons: These tender perennials can give your garden height (from 12 to 36 inches) and just about any color except blue. Snapdragons need full sun to partial shade and handle the frost well. But once it starts heating up, they stop blooming.

 

  1. Begonias: This easy-to-grow annual is a favorite in Houston because they bloom year-round and come in a full spectrum of colors. There are varieties suitable for planting in a garden, container, or hanging basket.

 

  1. Lantana: This perennial from the verbena family doesn’t care how cold it gets in Houston or whether or not it snows. It thrives in little moisture and full sun, and attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. Some varieties have a trailing habit, perfect for spilling over a container or hanging basket. Upright varieties can grow large, so you’ll need to trim them in spring and fall.

 

  1. Petunias: This popular annual comes in a variety of hues, including white, yellow, violet and pink, as well as multicolored varieties. They prefer cooler temperatures, so are well suited for Texas winters. Large-flowered varieties look great in window boxes. You can also find trailing varieties.

 

  1. Alyssum: With their dense clusters of small flowers, sweet alyssum is an ideal groundcover for winter gardens. Though not as vibrant as pansies or snapdragons, alyssum creates a neutral base for more colorful plants to pop. In our hardiness zone, alyssum can grow year-round but may stop flowering in the heat.

 

  1. Camellias: Southerners love this evergreen plant that flowers in colors from pale white to pink to deep red. The two most successful camellia species for Texas are “Japonica” and “Sasanqua.” Both prefer somewhat shady locations with well-drained soil amended to be more acidic than native soil. Hardy hybrids that withstand freezing temperatures include “Polar Ice,” “Snow Flurry,” “Winter’s Hope,” “Winter’s Rose,” “Winner’s Star,” and “Winter’s Charm.” 

 

  1. Lenten Rose: This hardy perennial forms a clump of attractive green foliage decorated with nodding blossoms. It’s ideal for a woodland garden or a part-shade border. An established plant can reach 20 inches in height and at least as wide, decorated with as many as 100 flowers.

 

  1. Ornamental Kale and Cabbage: Ornamental kale and cabbage bring color to dormant garden beds in winter. Ornamental cabbages have big round heads, with large succulent leaves of blue-green, pink, magenta, and white. Ornamental kales are frillier and more open, like a wildflower bouquet. The tall maroon-red kale (Redbor or Scotch kale) grows to 3 feet tall. Shorter types come in hues of red, pink, lavender, blue-green, and white. If you ever grow tired of looking at them, you can eat them.

 

Cultivate a vibrant retirement at Holly Hall.

With a maintenance-free lifestyle and a host of life-enriching amenities and services, older adults thrive at Holly Hall. From daily wellness checks to a calendar full of activities to engage mind, body, and spirit, Holly Hall residents have every opportunity to live each day to the fullest.

 

If you enjoy gardening, there are spaces on campus to grow flowers, fruits and vegetables indoors and out, including a greenhouse, outdoor raised beds and garden beds. We also have a Garden Group that meets monthly. It’s a great way to meet other gardeners, share knowledge and stay active year-round.

To learn how independent living or assisted living at Holly Hall can help you or a loved one flourish, contact us. The more you know about our continuing care retirement community, the more convinced you’ll be that Holly Hall is right for you