Beginning in March 2020, the entire world underwent remarkable changes to our daily lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For many elderly residents of New Mexico, it has meant many changes, particularly staying at home to prevent exposure to the virus. Even for those who’ve been vaccinated, the ongoing variants of the virus make some hesitant to be around others who may spread the virus.
Two Years and Counting
But think of how this virus affects older people -- those who have been cloistered at home for two years. As well as those who do try to go about their lives and go outside their home. Being around groups of people or in a vibrant setting may be overwhelming. Even a trip to the grocery store with all the bright colors and large variety of items, not to mention other shoppers nearby, may be more stimulation than that person has had in a long time. Some stores and offices buildings now have a one-way entrances and separate, one-way exits. These may be confusing to the elderly.
As you talk with parents, neighbors or friends who’ve been largely at home during the pandemic, encourage them to go slowly in re-engaging with the outside world. Perhaps it would be helpful if a family member or caregiver can accompany the senior for their initial trips to the doctor or to other appointments to help familiarize them with changes.
As you accompany your senior family member out of their home, pay attention to their body language. Are they more stressed or anxious than normal? Ask them how they’re coping with more activity and people nearby. It may be that after a few short trips out of their home, they adjust and again enjoy excursions and interactions in public settings. But if it is too overwhelming and stressful, it may be a sign that aging is progressing. If the senior is not comfortable being out of their environment, don’t push it. The pandemic has been awfully hard on all people, particularly the elderly. If your family member has been living alone at home, it may also be reaching a point where he or she would benefit from assisted living for more daily help and more social contact with others.
Help is Available
Unfortunately, we haven’t reached the end of the pandemic. While we try to get back to more normal activities, do be aware of the impact this time inside has had on the elderly in your life. If we can provide information or resources, or if it’s time to include assisted living care in a small, home-like environment, please let us know. At BeeHive Homes, our mission is to care for your family with compassion and kindness in a safe and loving environment.
Cause of Alzheimer's
A significant finding published in late 2021 may offer the probable cause of Alzheimer’s disease. The study was conducted at Curtin University in Australia. And published in the PLOS Biology journal. It identified that a probable cause for the disease was the leakage of blood of fat-carrying particles transporting toxic proteins in the brain.
Blood to Brain Pathway
The “blood to brain pathway”, researchers say, are likely leaks into the brain of particles in the blood called lipoproteins that carry fat particles. "While we previously knew that the hallmark feature of people living with Alzheimer's disease was the progressive accumulation of toxic protein deposits within the brain called beta-amyloid, researchers did not know where the amyloid originated from, or why it deposited in the brain," Professor John Mamo said in the article.
As such, researchers believe that if they can manage the levels of lipoprotein-amyloid in the blood and prevent leakage in the brain, new treatments can be developed to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and slow memory loss during aging.
In 2020, the US Center for Disease Control estimated that 5.8 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s disease. While younger people can develop Alzheimer’s, it mostly affects those 65 years of age or older. For every five years beyond 65, its prevalence doubles.
Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia. Ten warning signs of Alzheimer’s include:
Memory loss that interferes with daily life
Issues in planning or solving problems
Difficulty completing familiar tasks
Confusion with the time or place
Difficulty understanding visual cues or spatial relationships
Developing problems with words
Losing items and unable to retrace steps to find them
Another 2021 study documents the link between cataract removal and the development of dementia. Those who have cataracts removed have a 30% lower risk of developing dementia from any cause than those who do not have the cataract removal. It seems to tie specifically to a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
At BeeHive Homes our mission is to serve our seniors and their families. Our assisted living and memory care homes help seniors live independently while safely enjoying a home-like atmosphere. Our caregivers get to know each resident. And are trained to notice signs of dementia. We keep the family apprised of changes as well as work with the senior in memory care activities.
Many resources are available for those who begin to experience dementia. Or who may begin developing Alzheimer’s. We are happy to help connect you with them. BeeHive Memory Care Homes believe in making every day as good as it can be for our residents across all our homes in New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and Arizona. We hope that in the near future treatment options for those experiencing Alzheimer’s disease will be markedly better.
Food Help for New Mexico Seniors
For seniors who are still living at home, but relying on a monthly Social Security payment, you may be finding that the current inflation is really impacting the type of groceries you are purchasing. In 2021, the average price of protein in eggs, meat, poultry and fish has increased by 6%; many other items have seen even higher price increases.
The nutrition from healthy food is vital to seniors. If you or a family member are struggling to purchase food items to maintain a healthy diet, we really encourage you to reach out to some of the New Mexico resources to get help with food. Here are some that serve seniors in the communities around our BeeHive Homes.
In Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, the US Census estimates that 1 of every 7 seniors lives below the poverty level. As a non-profit, Silver Horizons offers a free grocery program for seniors through either a drive-up program or a home delivery option. To learn more, call them at 505-884-3881 or learn more here.
In Sandoval County, the Sandoval County Senior Program offers home-delivered meals as well as congregate meals in a number of senior centers (on hiatus during Covid). Seniors are assessed by program staff for eligibility; the county does not charge for services but donations are appreciated. Transportation and homemaker services may also be available. For more information, call 505-867-7535 or visit their website.
Santa Fe County
In Santa Fe County, the Santa Fe County Senior Program offers a home delivered meal to seniors. A suggested donation is $1.50. More information is available by calling 505-992-3069 or visit their website. The City of Santa Fe also provides home-delivered meals. Call 505-955-4721 for information.
Across New Mexico
The Economic Council Helping Others, Inc. (ECHO) offers a Free Food for Seniors program through the commodity supplemental food program for income-qualified seniors age 60 and older. Call 505-326-3770 for distributions in Northwest New Mexico including Chama, Farmington, Dulce, Coyote, Gallup, Lake Valley, Cuba, Bloomfield, Blanco, Aztec, Shiprock, and Crownpoint. For distributions in Albuquerque, Belen, Bernalillo, Grants, Jemez, Espanola, Ranchitos, and Santa Fe, call 505-242-6777.
At BeeHive Homes, our assisted living centers offer nutritious meals to our residents. We care deeply that the elderly still living in their own homes are able to have groceries or meals at home. If you or a senior family member are struggling during the inflation of 2021-2022, please reach out to one of these agencies. A list of all food banks in New Mexico, offering help to all ages, is available here.
Mindful Meditation for the Elderly
Mindful meditation may not be a common practice for many people but it’s one that can have positive benefits for people of all ages, especially the elderly. This mental practice can calm the mind and body, reduce depression and pain, and increase the sense of well-being.
Mindful meditation describes a technique of relaxing while letting your brain observe and accept thoughts, focusing on the present and not judging your thoughts. Mediation has been shown to stimulate the memory centers in the brain. A recent study suggests meditation can even slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and age-related cognitive decline.
Meditation stimulates the brain’s prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for our “that feels good” sensations. Mindfulness is the focus during meditation to understand, acknowledge and accept what’s happening around you. Mindfulness can help manage moods, reactions to outside stimuli, and even reduce loneliness.
How to Meditate
To begin to practice mindful meditation, find a quiet place where you can sit or lie still. Take deep, calm breaths, focusing on inhaling and exhaling as you acknowledge other physical sensations. Work to clear your mind of intruding thoughts. When those thoughts happen, acknowledge their message then dismiss them. For example, if thoughts of pain or discomfort come to you, it’s okay to think something like: “Yes, I have some pain today. That’s happening in my body but my pain is not all of me. I am more than my discomfort.”
Give thanks for your mind and body, your thoughts and talents. Give yourself some praise for things that are part of you. Think about how you feel after spending some time in mindful meditation. Do you feel more at peace? Are you experiencing more pleasant thoughts? Have physical or emotional discomforts lessoned?
Meditation for the Elderly
Aging often comes with increased issues, both physical and mental. All of us face a limited lifespan and many of us encounter barriers that change how, or even where, we live as we grow older. Mindful meditation may make things easier in that process.
At BeeHive Homes, we also make life easier for the elderly and their families. Our assisted living homes offer comfortable, home-like settings for seniors who need help with the activities of daily living or memory care. We serve our elderly residents with care and compassion. If you or a family member are considering assisted living in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Rio Rancho or other New Mexico cities, please call to speak with one of our wonderful staff about the options at BeeHive Homes.
Welcome Pam to BeeHive Homes
We are super excited to welcome Pam Rogers to the BeeHive Homes family as our newest Administrator. She will be directing the wonderful care rendered in our assisted living homes in Alamogordo and Deming. Pam's love for her family, education, health and the senior community can be seen in all she has accomplished. And we look forward to having her "Zumba Gold" attitude permeate throughout our entire organization! Get to know Pam a little better by reading her short introduction below.
Note from Pam
A big hello to my new family at BeeHive Homes!
I am super excited and happy to get the honor and privilege to walk alongside the staff and residents of BeeHive Homes. I can’t wait to meet everyone personally. Until then I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself and the journey that has led me to where I am now.
I’ve been married for almost 30 years to my husband Scott. We have five kids ages 25, 22, 19, 17, and 16. I enjoy hiking, camping, kayaking, watching movies and reading books. I was a stay-at-home homeschooling mom for 14 years. Once we made the transition to public school, I decided it was time for me to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. During this time, I began getting into a healthy lifestyle and lost 60 pounds. I received my personal trainer certification after which I started working at a gym training and leading Zumba Gold which is specifically designed for senior adults. That’s when I realized how much I loved working with them and developed a desire to help them live active, fulfilling lives for as long as possible.
After a few years there, I was hired at an Independent Living/Assisted Living/Long Term Care facility where I was the Well-Being Coordinator. It was my responsibility to help our residents and staff grow in all areas of wellness (Physical, Social, Intellectual, Emotional, and Occupational). I also worked a great deal with those who struggled with different types of dementia and supporting the family members who were caring for them. I became a facilitator of a support group for the families, worked one on one as a caregiver for someone struggling with Parkinson’s dementia and served on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s committee for 2 years. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Health & Wellness with Ashford University which is now known as University of Arizona Global Campus.
I began feeling the call to do more, specifically for those who were moving into Assisted Living facilities. I completed the New Mexico Assisted Living Administrator training so I could be in a better position to care for residents and their families. I have seen families struggle deciding where to place the care of their loved one. In this new position, I want to help them through the process and give them the support they need knowing their loved one is in good hands at BeeHive Homes.
I also want the staff to know I'm looking forward to working with them and being a part of the team. I know that having a good staff morale creates a happier environment for residents. So, know I am here for you to help and encourage you in any way I can.
I hope through this introduction you’ve been able to get a glimpse of my heart and how truly blessed I feel to be welcomed into the BeeHive family. Please know you can contact me anytime with any comments, questions or concerns.
Thank you so much,
New Year's Resolutions for the Elderly
Preparing for a new year is a tradition that means more than just turning the page on a calendar. It’s a time to assess our habits (hence the New Year’s resolutions). For the elderly, it’s an opportunity to celebrate a holiday and to focus on some positive things in life.
Top Six Ideas For a Happier New Year
If you’re planning a New Year’s celebration with your aging family members, it may be earlier on December 31st than the traditional stroke of midnight. Here are some ideas to help older adults find New Year’s resolutions that can impact their health and happiness.
Make meals and snacks more nutrient-dense. Fewer calories are needed as we age so getting adequate vitamins, minerals, and fiber means consuming healthier foods.
Exercise for 10 minutes a day. For seniors, this may mean slow circles with your wrists or ankles or other stretching exercises, always under a doctor’s supervision.
Reach out to others. Isolation is a concern for all elderly people. Making a phone call or writing a letter is good for the giver and the receiver.
Stimulate your mind. Start a new book, work on a crossword or jigsaw puzzle, listen to classical music. Break the habit of the same TV programs and enjoy a new activity.
Preserve the past. Perhaps you have old photos of family members who need to be identified. Spend some time with your grandchildren to share photos and memories of your parents and grandparents or early memories.
Think positively. Start a “Blessings List’ by writing blessings or joys on scraps of paper and tucking inside a pretty container. Focusing on good things improves our overall state of mind.
Growing older can be difficult when it’s harder to get around. Or if health problems are present. Finding moments to celebrate and share with others can make hard days better. At BeeHive Assisted Living and Memory Care, our comfortable homes and compassionate caregivers provide support and care to our residents. When living at home is no longer safe or enjoyable, we hope you’ll reach out to one of the nearby New Mexico BeeHive Homes for assisted living, memory or dementia care, or adult day care.
Memory Care vs Assisted Living
If it’s no longer safe for you or an aging family member to live alone, you may need to find an assisted living home that provides care and assistance with the activities of daily living. Some assisted living homes are strictly that, a group setting where staff provides assistance, meals, transportation and activities. Others, like many BeeHive Homes, also offer memory care.
What's the Difference?
Memory care communities are a type of assisted living facility in which the staff have additional training and experience with the concerns that residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s often experience. Those issues may include wandering, aggressive behavior, anxiety, memory loss, and even difficulty in swallowing.
At BeeHive Homes, our memory care homes usually care for just 12 to 17 residents. So the more intimate setting is easier for someone struggling with dementia. Also, each memory care home is secure, keeping residents who may wander safe and protected. Our staff receive ongoing education to understand how best to help residents with dementia and memory loss by lessening distress and anxiety.
Specialized activities may also help with memory care. Some assisted living homes focus more on keeping residents entertained with games or a comfortable TV room. Memory care homes often use music as a calming background. They also offer dementia-specific activities such as art and sensory experiences. A few examples are finger painting, folding washcloths, and paging through colorful books and magazines.
As dementia or Alzheimer’s progress, residents may need increasing care. Our team of administrators and caregivers recognize the changing needs and update care plans as needed. Many memory care residents may still enjoy gathering with others for meals and socialization. But we’re also attentive to their need for dignity as well as proper nutrition.
Safety is always a top priority. Our memory care homes include safety precautions to allow for as much independence as possible while keeping your family member safe. If you or a loved one are concerned about living independently at home, particularly if dementia may be developing, please contact your nearest BeeHive Homes location to learn more about our assisted living and memory care homes.
Impact of Untreated Vision Loss
Routine eye exams are an important part of health care. Especially for seniors. Research shows that untreated vision loss is associated with cognitive decline in older adults. Which can also be the case with untreated hearing loss.
A 2021 article in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, reports a study of 1,202 participants who were followed for nearly 7 years. Those who scored poorly on vision tests were more likely to experience deficits in memory, language and the ability to identify objects in space. These are indications of a loss of cognitive abilities.
Our senses tend to decrease as we age. Thus ensuring our vision be corrected to the best level possible is important. Poor vision could lead to a greater risk of falls. As well as less enjoyment of the environment around us. And, as this study suggests, poor vision leads to a possible tie to cognitive loss.
The American Academy of Ophthalmologists recommends an eye exam every year or two for adults aged 65 and above. Glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration are the two leading causes of blindness. And both have no noticeable symptoms. Some diseases, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, vitamin deficiencies or an increased risk of stroke, can be identified by the blood vessels in your eyes.
The residents of the BeeHive assisted living homes across New Mexico are just like family members to our staff. We can coordinate transportation to medical appointments, including eye appointments, for our residents. And we help family members stay informed about those visits.
Care for the elderly over the last 100 years has most often been in the home of a family member. However, the 1965 enactment of Medicare and Medicaid brought about a rise in residential group care for seniors. Often, these facilities were more hospital-like nursing homes. But some residential care facilities took a more home-like approach to provide intermediate level care, also known today as assisted living.
Residential care for seniors could provide an alternative to those who perhaps weren’t safe to live alone but also were not ready for skilled care in a nursing home. Assisted living offered companionship with others, meals, housekeeping, and assistance with daily activities. Residents who don’t need assistance with bathing, dressing or toileting may benefit from what’s known as “Independent Living”, providing the companionship and help with some meal preparation and household tasks.
One researcher notes the term “assisted living” was first used in 1985 and was in general use by 1991. At first, assisted living homes were seen as an option for wealthy clients but today, options are available for most middle-income seniors, and some programs, such as New Mexico’s PACE (Programs for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly), may be an option for Medicaid and Medicare recipients. Long term care insurance and veteran aide and attendance benefits is also widely accepted.
Facility Back to Home
At BeeHive Homes, we offer over 30 assisted living homes across New Mexico. Areas include the Albuquerque metro, Santa Fe, White Rock, Alamogordo, Deming, Farmington, Hobbs, Raton, Clovis, Edgewood, Gallup and Portales.
Our homes are homes. Not traditional corporate group housing. Each home has just 12 to 15 residents, so it’s much more intimate than a large corporate facility. We offer services in dementia care and Alzheimer’s care, and a caring and compassionate staff. Our goal is to care for your family member as if they were our own. We invite you to call and learn more about assisted living in Albuquerque, Santa Fe or our other New Mexico homes.
Albuquerque Assisted Living Options
If you or an elderly family member are looking at the options in assisted living in the Albuquerque area, there are several options. Different factors may come into play as you decide what’s the best place for homelike care for an aging senior.
The location of the assisted living facility may be the most important for some families. Perhaps having close access to your elderly spouse or parent is top of the list so that you can visit regularly. Across the Albuquerque metro area, there are a number of large assisted living homes. Some with hundreds of apartments for residents. Another option for location-focused assisted living in Albuquerque are BeeHive Homes. We currently have nine assisted living homes in the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho area. Four Hills, Enchanted Hills and Bernalillo are also options for BeeHive locations. One is likely close to you and offer all the same services as larger assisted living facilities, but in a smaller and more homelike setting.
As we all know, the Covid-19 pandemic has created more awareness of health precautions for the elderly. The health and well-being of our residents and staff are our top priority. We follow recommendations from the CDC and New Mexico health orders, while having ongoing cleaning and disinfection procedures in place.
Since our assisted living homes have just 15 or fewer residents in each home, there is more limited exposure than in a large facility. Large facilities may house hundreds of residents and a much larger staff. Our smaller assisted care homes mean we care for your family member as if they were our own, in a calmer and more intimate setting.
If you think a large assisted living center can offer more than a small home like BeeHive Homes, we’re here to change your mind! Each BeeHive Assisted Living Home is like a family home environment. Likely much more similar to the resident’s own home than you’ll find in a larger corporate facility. We offer home-cooked meals, laundry services, and an inviting living room for gathering, working on a puzzle, or watching TV. There’s cable TV access, private telephone jacks in resident rooms, and an emergency call system. BeeHive’s trained staff help with bathing, administer medications, provide companionship. And if needed, memory care and Alzheimer’s/dementia care is available in BeeHive homes specially designed.
See what other families and our staff have said about BeeHive Assisted Living facilities in our video or take a tour through our photos and videos.