Vitamin D in the Elderly

Vitamin D!

Vitamin D deficiency is an issue of concern for more than just the elderly.  This important vitamin contributes to good health in a number of ways in your body.  It helps your body absorb calcium and maintain strong bones and teeth.  It also helps to reduce inflammation, builds your immune system, and helps to regenerate cells.  All of these areas can be beneficial, especially for the elderly!  So, how do we make sure that they are getting adequate amounts of this amazing, life-giving vitamin into their systems?

Start with sunlight!

Look up the most beneficial times of year and day to get vitamin D from the sun in your area.  Typically during the summer months our skin can absorb vitamin D from the sun.  During those times, be outside, when possible, during the safest parts of the day.  Be sure to have exposed skin in order to absorb the rays of the sun, but not for such lengths of time as to get sunburnt.

For people who live in extreme Northern climates, they are very aware of how the lack of sunlight can affect their energy levels, their immune systems and their sleep cycles.  Those who work nights and sleep days are also aware of the detrimental affect it has on their lives.  It's not surprising, then, that the elderly are a large group of individuals that struggle with a deficiency of this vitamin in their bodies.  They are often indoors more than out of doors, have slowing metabolisms and have trouble absorbing vitamins and minerals.

Eat up!

A number of foods are fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, but the best food source of naturally occurring vitamin D is found in cod liver oil.  We all know that the stuff is good for us, but some people just can't stomach the taste.  If you are one of those people, but would still like to enjoy the benefits of vitamin D from a food source instead of a supplement, try the cod liver oil that is lemon flavored.  It is also found in capsules.  It may not take away the unpleasant aftertaste, but you should at least be able to swallow it down!  You can also try sockeye salmon and tuna as beneficial options.

Vitamin D3 Pills


If you've tried both sunlight and diet and are still having a hard time getting your vitamin D levels up to par, talk with your doctor about supplementing with vitamin D.  Be sure not to take too much, as too much vitamin D can lead to vitamin D toxicity.  More specifically, vitamin D3 causes hypercalcemia, or excessive calcium levels.  After determining the proper amount to supplement, find out if there are other things that can help increase the absorption rates of the supplement.  Also look for signs that will assure you that it is helping to improve your deficiency. The benefits from vitamin D are so widespread and diverse, they are certainly worth taking notice.  So start today and begin utilizing the natural benefits of vitamin D for yourself and your elderly friends today!


Why Animals Benefit The Elderly

Assisted Living Petting Zoo Snake

Alternative therapies and helps of all kinds are being researched and used on a trial basis all across the country in the care of our elderly citizens.  Especially in the care of those with Alzheimer's and other types of dementias.  In speaking with health care practitioners, we find a number of therapies that might seem logical, clinical and sterile. We will also find just as many that are difficult to explain, but seem to have very consistent and very promising results.  One of these therapies is the use of animals with patients.  But why would an animal be able to help an elderly person, especially one that is struggling greatly with memory problems?

Fulfill the Need for Companionship

We all have a need for companionship, and as we age that need is amplified by the circumstances around us.  The older we are, the fewer friends and family might still be alive. We're many times bound by physical problems, keeping us closer to our home and neighborhood.  We may not have the skills to communicate using some of the newer technology that many of the younger generation seem to use for all of their communication. (Have you posted your latest Tik-Tok?)  Animals can help us bridge the companionship gap.  They are obviously not able to fully fill the void left by healthy human companionship.  But our animal friends make help immensely by making us feel comfortable and calm, completely lacking in judgment and criticism & for being loyal.

Increase our General Health

Studies have been done that show the effects of having an aquarium in elder care facilities.  They can help lower blood pressure as well as anxiety levels of those who watch them.  Having dogs, cats and birds around can also provide a similar benefit, provided they are generally calm animals.



Keep Speaking Skills Sharp

This one may seem silly, but caring for animals really can help with the upkeep of our communication skills.  People generally talk to the animals that they live with.  Some people tell them about their day, or comment on their surrounding for them.  Having an animal around can help keep communication skills sharp.  It can also aid in giving an elderly person something to communicate about to others.  If a neighbor comes to visit, the animal can quickly become the subject of conversation that would help to span other potentially silent moments during the visit.

Children Love Animals, Children Benefit the Elderly

We all know that animals will draw and keep the attention of children.  And there are definitely benefits to the elderly of having children around.  Children add life and vitality to otherwise dull and slow days.  Having an animal in the home or assisted living facility with elderly residents can make the place much more inviting and natural feeling for children to visit.  If they feel as if it's inviting, they'll be more likely to come back for a visit.

Caring for a Pet (and Others) is Good for Us

We all know that animals require care, some more than others.  Much of that care can be carried out by a responsible elderly person.  There may be a bit that they need help with, especially if their memory issues are getting worsening.  In these cases, it's especially important to have someone double check that the animals have been fed or watered. But, the care for an animal is a good way to keep us outward looking rather than inward looking all of the time.  It can be a tendency for some aging individuals to only be focused upon what is going on within their world.  At times neglecting anyone or anything around them.  Caring for a pet helps to alleviate this tendency and helps us to remember that we are responsible for others, as well.  Caring for plants or gardening helps in a similar manner.

Animals can benefit nearly everyone in some way, but especially the elderly.  We do not need to understand all of the science behind why it works to enjoy those benefits.  We are just glad that it DOES work!

Emergency Preparedness for Seniors

In the aftermath and destruction of Hurricane Ida, many of us are considering what we can do to better prepare for natural disasters and unplanned emergencies.  Add emergency planning together with senior care and aging, and we begin to have an entirely new set of questions.  Have we ever thought about how aging impacts our preparedness for an emergency or a natural disaster?  Tasks and other daily activities get more difficult on a monthly basis as we age.  Now think about emergency preparedness from the perspective of someone elderly who is living on their own.  From owning life saving medical alert devices to participating in a state-wide or even national emergency program, it is best to be prepared before an incident occurs rather than wishing that we had been prepared.  And, what's more, if we are prepared and our loved ones are prepared, perhaps we'll be able to help someone who isn't when the time comes!

Medical Alert Devices

Medical Alert Device

Seniors who are beginning to notice difficulty with walking or stairs should take some time to investigate medical alert devices.  It doesn't necessarily mean that you'll have to wear a necklace with a button (although that is certainly an option). There are watches available, too.  This way, at a very basic level, you are able to contact Emergency Services to come to your aid in the event of a fall or getting stuck while alone.  Many people do not think about needing them until there is a serious problem where they've found themselves unable to get up when they've fallen outside.  Consider Northern climates and whether or not you'd be able to survive for long if the temperatures drop to -20F.  Or, in the South, if you're in an area that gets very hot and humid, if you'd survive without water for long.  Cell phones can also serve as a mobile alert device, as long as it's in your pocket when you need it!  Take 30 minutes to research the options you have available and make a decision about whether you should be getting a medical alert device and wearing one for peace of mind.

Household Hazards

My grandmother lived for years with tripping hazards all around her house.  She loved her old rag rugs.  As she advanced in years, however, they became more of a nuisance and liability.  She lived on her own, but because of extreme arthritis, the effort of lifting her feet to avoid turning up the corners of the rugs became too much for her.  She finally got rid of the rugs in most places or had them replaced with options that were heavier and stayed down on the edges better.  Door knobs that are easier to open, close and lock are other possible safety improvements.  Replace rolling chairs with non-rollers and sturdier options.  Unusually high or low bedsides can be replaced with easily maneuvered beds set at the right height.  Showers and bathrooms can have tubs with doors, handles near the toilet and in the shower, etc. Take a little time assessing the potential household hazards that can be removed now and might allow our us to enjoy our aging years in comfort.

Preparedness Kits

Before spending money on building an emergency preparedness kit, first spend some time thinking about what emergencies could occur in your area.  In all areas of the country, power outages can occur.  If those outages last for a number of days, how will this affect a senior living alone or even a group of seniors who rely on others for help?  Water is the first and primary concern. We should have adequate water for at least three days time somewhere in our house. In Northern climates, that water must also be accompanied by a way to have heat should it go out. Water will do no good if it frozen solidly.  Light via flashlights, candles or lanterns is another good idea to consider when facing a power outage.  Shelter, heaters for warmth, fans to stay cool in warm climates, and food are also other considerations for these times.  How will we eat and stay warm (or cool depending on circumstances)?

You can read some great tips from the Red Cross on this PDF - for building a kit:

Form a Plan

Forming a plan that family/neighbors/friends know about is an important step for being prepared. In all of the preparations that we make or that we help a loved one to make, please keep in mind that plans are most effective if they are shared with others.  Many older people look out for one another.  If that is the case with you or your loved one, share necessary emergency numbers, keys or papers with those you trust.  Forming a chain of people to call is a great idea so that everyone knows when things are safe and that you're okay.  Lack of communication can be the scariest part of an emergency, so find a way to combat that, if you can.

These are only a few suggestions to help start you on your preparedness journey.  There are countless websites and books that can help you to prepare for specific emergencies in a more comprehensive way.  This article takes aging into consideration in the process.  Most of us do not think about the limitations that aging presents in these situations.  Start with simple steps.  Begin thinking and preparing today for these types of emergencies and rest easy knowing that you're as ready as you can be.

Sleeplessness In Older And Aging Adults

Sleeping as we Age

Have you noticed that as we age, genuine, deep sleep is more and more difficult to attain?  Many people blame this sleeplessness on the aging process, but is it right to do so?  There are certainly many older persons who can sleep well through the night.

Why Don't I Feel Rested?

Sleeplessness is caused in part by the aging process.  As we age, our bodies produce lower amounts of growth hormone while we rest.  This can result in making it harder to fall into a deep sleep.  Our bodies end up requiring more sleep to get the same amount of "rest" when compared to our younger years.  We will want to go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier.  We may also need to take a nap during the day to make up for the lost rest.  So what steps can we take to try to get a good night's rest again?

A Hard Day's Work

First, we can ensure that we have been active during the day.  As we age and go into retirement or stop working a regular job, it oftentimes gets harder to sleep at night, but not because of any health concerns.  Rather it is because enough energy has not be expended during the day to make us sufficiently tired at night.  Though our minds may refute this argument, the truth is, our bodies NEED certain levels of work or activity throughout the day in order to rest properly at night.  If our bodies don't have a sufficient level of activity, they also do not recognize or trigger the need for rest.  We need to try our best to raise our activity level during the day, finding work and exercise that's appropriate for our abilities at this stage of life.  Work hard and later enjoy a more restful night's sleep.

Clocks and Time Schedules

Consistent Sleep Routine

Another helpful step that we can take is to establish a regular routine of waking and sleeping.  Sometimes, as we age, our schedules can be thwarted by illness, aches, incontinence or even just out of boredom.  We find ourselves dozing at various times during the day.  Yet not able to sleep later, or staying up later watching television and sleeping in later in the morning.  Whatever schedule we decide makes us feel best, we should stick with it on a daily basis in order to obtain the most restful night's sleep possible.  Our sleep patterns are rhythmic and throwing off that rhythm can have an adverse effect on our sleep at night.

Turn off the T.V

Cutting off any screen time in the evenings a couple of hours before sleeping will help notify your body that it's time to begin winding down to rest.  That means perhaps not texting or video chatting with your friends and family after a certain hour.  Choose quieter activities that are not as stimulating, such as crossword puzzles, restful music, reading books, playing solitaire, etc.  Help your body to be able to identify the cut off time from evening activities to sleeping time by establishing a nightly routine.  Soon enough, you will find yourself longing to retire for the evening and looking forward to the rest that comes with it!

Doctors Orders

Finally, if you are still having problems sleeping after all of these steps, talk with your doctor.  See if your doctor can suggest any other steps or changes you might make in your life.  Your doctor may also be able to diagnosis if you have insomnia or other sleep depravation conditions.  Supplementing melatonin is an option for some people.  Others might need something a little stronger in order to help them set the rhythm of sleep again.  Before you head to the doctor, however, be sure that you've tried everything in your power to re-gain sleep in a natural way.  Older adults tend to take more medications than younger people and the combination of drugs can sometimes impair sleep.  Natural sleep patterns will always trump medicated ones.

Time for Bed

Sleeplessness is frustrating and tiring by very definition!  Even though we won't sleep like babies as we grow older, we can take many steps to improve the rest we are getting.  Relax, don't stress and soon enough you'll be dreaming of the good old days again!

Personality Changes and Dementia

A Few Early Signs of Alzheimer's

  1. Lapse in memory that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges solving problems
  3. Trouble making plans
  4. Mixing up time and places
  5. Problems using words in speaking and writing
  6. Misplacing things and then not being able to retrace steps to locate
  7. Overall decrease in judgement - trouble making decisions
  8. Withdrawal from social activities
  9. Change in mood or personality

 What would a change in personality mean?

Personality is something that we rather take for granted.  It is true that certain aspects of it are inborn, but there are other aspects of one's personality or at least of the persona that they portray, that are learned and practiced over time.  We come to depend upon how well we know a person because their personality remains consistent over time.  We know, for instance, whether they are generally polite or cranky.  We know if they are honest or tend to lie.  We know if they tend to be soft-spoken or loud.  All of these things help us to feel as though we are on solid ground when describing who a person is.  But once dementia or Alzheimer's enters the picture, the ground can begin to shift right under our feet.

Because different types of dementia affect different parts of the brain, the disease may affect personality and behaviors in different ways.  If a person has dementia that affects the frontal areas of the brain, their personalities may seem to shift more drastically.  It's an important thing to ask about at onset so that you can begin to prepare yourself mentally for how you will deal with the changes you may encounter in the coming months and years.  Generally speaking, most individuals with dementia do not completely change their personality.  For instance, a person who was nice and calm would not become violent, unless there were other issues such as hallucinations or drug interaction problems going on, but it can occur.  Most often the changes that occur are an amplification of their former personality.  A soft-spoken person may become even quieter.  An angry person may become very overbearing and upset easily.

As the disease progresses into advanced stages, several of a person's learned behaviors begin to fade.  If they were a voracious reader, they may lose the ability to read.  If they wrote often, they will most likely lose that ability.  If these were important things to them, and particularly if they were activities that you shared with them, it can seem as though you do not know who they are anymore.  We often associate people and our relationships through hobbies and interests.  This can also, understandingly, cause a great deal of frustration on their part.  They are losing things that they consider to be important parts of themselves.  During their lucid moments, if they recognize any of this, it will be frustrating and disappointing to them.

While there is not much that one can do to prevent this from occurring in the advanced stages of the disease, we can begin to prepare ourselves by knowing the likelihood that these changes may occur.  We can also take time while we have it, to enjoy their true personality that we've grown to love over time.  Take every opportunity to spend time with them and support them through this scary time, assuring them that whatever happens, you'll still remember their true nature.  And as you speak of them to others, you'll emphasize who they are rather than the disease to others.  This will do more to maintain their dignity than anything else you can do.  Their life and personality is a gift to us while our love and care is our gift to them.

Moving to Assisted Living? How to Downsize


  Downsizing is one of the most popular trends around the nation right now.  There are as many motivations to downsize our lives as there are lives.  Some downsize in order to move into tiny houses, some downsize in order to simplify their lives, or to allow them more time to travel.  Today we're going to talk about downsizing our possessions in preparation for a move into an assisted living situation.

How many of us are living with entirely too many items in our possession?  If we're honest, probably nearly every person in our country could stand to shed some excess in this area.  We've all got excess.  If you raised a larger family, especially on a homestead or farm, you most definitely have excess.  We're not here to examine how we find ourselves in such a situation, however, but rather how to deal with getting rid of some of the excess so that we can move forward into a healthier atmosphere for us!

The house.  What to do with the house?  It's a hugely daunting question if you've never considered how to make a transition from owning your own home to living somewhere else.  There is a proverb that says, “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  This is precisely how you'll need to deal with getting rid of your house & possessions, one small step at a time.  First, know that you will not be able to do this alone, or quickly.  It will take time.  The first step would be to get an assessment on the value of your home/property.  Check with a local realtor with whom you can list it if you will be needing the income in order to fund your move into an #assistedlivingfacility.  If you do not need that extra income, consider giving it as an inheritance to someone you love, or preparing to sell it in order to gift the profit for those you love.  When you begin discussing the process with your family, be prepared for all kinds of emotional responses.  People have a number of emotions that are connected with places and memories & it is natural to see a full spectrum.  If there is a smooth way to pass it on or sell it to a family member without causing resentment, do so, otherwise you should feel no guilt at selling it on the market to avoid resentment between family members.

Once you've answered the largest question, you'll more than likely have an easier time with the smaller things you need to deal with.  It will also help you in other areas.  If you're selling or gifting the house, you'll have a time frame within which to work in order to have your things taken care of.  You can decide whether your large appliances or farm tools will convey with the house or property.  The smaller items will become much easier to handle.

Beginning with the more valuable furniture and possessions, decide which things give you joy & those that you'd like to have around you for the remainder of your life. Do not feel guilt about having them moved.  Do you enjoy playing an instrument?  Will you have room in the place you're moving to? Bring it along & you'll find that after you've downsized, you'll have more time to practice.  Do you have a favorite hobby?  Bring the items along that will enable you to participate in the hobby as long as possible.  Downsizing does not mean getting rid of everything you enjoy, but rather narrowing your scope to keep only those things that you DO enjoy and ridding yourself of the rest.

If you can, try to go through your home in categories & move as quickly as you can from one category to the next.  Discard those things that have no value to you or others.  Donate those items that have use to a charity.  Goodwill is working together with USPS to accept items that you ship free of charge.

You'll have obvious needs where you're going.   If you need kitchen items, consider which ones are the most pertinent to your situation.  Now is a good time to get rid of the excessive kitchen gadgets, pan collections, tea sets, silver service, etc.  If you're moving to a smaller location, you'll more than likely not be the one hosting large family gatherings & will, therefore, need fewer kitchen items.  Keep basic linens & clothing items.  Keep photos that are meaningful to you, distribute the rest that may hold more meaning for others in your family.

Above all, keep the lines of communication open with all of the people who will be affected by the decisions you're making.  You want this move to be a positive one for you and for your family, so don't allow petty miscommunications and misunderstanding to ruin the good things that can come from this time of transition.  Moving is always stressful, but taking it one step at a time, one day at a time, you'll be able to accomplish the huge task of downs

Overcoming Loneliness

Loneliness is an evasive thing.  People have been studying it for years, especially in elderly adults who seem prone to sadness and isolation.  But, those studies have contradictory data.  Some of them include statistics for people who “feel isolated” while others only study data from people who have been so lonely and depressed that they’ve opted for medical help.  Because of all of this conflicting data, we don’t really know as much about the causes of loneliness as we’d like.  We do, however, know more than we used to.  There are certain consistencies in the data that help us narrow down some factors of loneliness.

Moving to a new place and living there for less than a year appears to be a catalyst for loneliness, especially in older people.  This is most likely due to changing relationships.  If a senior citizen moves, they’ll lose relationships that they may not have even recognized as important to them.  They’ll no longer chat with the postal worker or the same grocery store attendants that they used to.  They may not be able to invite the neighborhood boy that mows their lawn for a lemonade.  Over time, they’ll gain other social connections that are similar, but immediately after a move, those changes can add up to an unoccupied space that others used to fill for them.  It will take some intentionality after a move to form new relationships but establishing them is important for all involved.

Being involved in a church or another place where you can volunteer also seems to have larger impacts on the elderly.  Perhaps because the connections formed there can give you some commonality of purpose and a desire to help others, involvement in these types of things, keeps people from being lonely.  Knowing that you are contributing to society and that your input is needed and appreciated can do a great deal to stave off loneliness and depression.  Those who choose not to be involved in these have higher rates of loneliness.  Find out small ways to get involved in an activity that interests you, but this also helps others.  It will be beneficial for the organization and for you!

Hobbies are another option for pushing off loneliness.  The data is not conclusive on why hobbies can help, but it seems reasonable enough to say that if you have a hobby that you’re passionate about, you’re probably a bit more interesting to talk to.  If you find someone that is interested in the same thing, you can connect with them on a deeper level of communication than just the weather.  Even if the other person is not interested in exactly the same thing, they’ll understand your passion and your interaction will be livelier.  You may also learn about what they are passionate about!

Loneliness can have huge and lasting impacts on our health.  It is said to be just as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day!  It can lower your immune system’s ability to fight.  It can also cause you to be pushed to the outside of social networks with others who are lonely.  It is a strange conundrum that if you are feeling lonely, people tend to push you further away.  This may be because your loneliness makes them feel more lonely, in turn.  But all of these things are based upon people’s feelings & perceptions of their situations.  If you can change those feelings and perceptions, you can change being lonely.

A recent study in the UK watched people on public transport.  Those who initiated conversations with strangers were reported as less lonely.  Those who only talked if someone else initiated conversation were more lonely and those who refused to interact with strangers were the most lonely.  They then studied the same people and asked those who were not generally comfortable with initiating conversation to begin doing that.  It is a simple and seemingly inconsequential change for someone to make, but it had huge impacts on their feelings afterward.  They felt generally more positive and less lonely!

You may be feeling lonely and isolated, but that does not mean you have to become an extreme extrovert to overcome those feelings.  Sometimes it is the small, daily acts that can have the largest impact over the course of months of our lives!  Initiate conversation.  Get a hobby.  Start volunteering.  Recognize the loneliness dissipate.



Meal Planning

Meal Planning

Food is a matter of much discussion all across the country.  It evokes emotions all across the spectrum, especially if people have food related illnesses that need to be controlled, like diabetes.  Food is a topic of debate even with people in their younger years.  Should you have more protein in your diet or more fat?  Should you limit your carbohydrates?  How much sugar is acceptable and which forms of sugar are healthy?  How do dietary needs change as we get older?  We can easily open up a can of worms if you bring up a specific kind of diet plan, and everyone seems to have an opinion about what is best.

For elderly people, diet and meal planning may not be as much of a hot topic but it has, perhaps the greatest potential to change health outcomes among any group of people alive.  The method discussed below will be for a one or two person household that has to plan for every meal throughout the week.  But it can be applied to a larger family or groups of individuals - such as those living in assisted living or independent living communities.  There are a variety of ways to make this process even easier, one is by using an internet-based food delivery system.  Another way is to use or another internet-based business to order staple supplies, like canned goods, that you can used for multiple meals.  It saves you the expense and trouble of arranging the transportation of going to the grocery store.  There are other systems, such as nutria-system, that will do the work of meal planning for you and you only need to arrange for the pick up or delivery of the food.   If you are on a tight budget, also look into a program called, “Meals on Wheels” which may be available in your area for a meal on a regular basis.

The Approach

If you are starting from scratch, print a blank calendar for one month.  Divide each day into 3 sections by placing lines across the box.  On a separate piece of paper write down the things you’ve discussed with your doctor or nutritionist that need to be incorporated into your diet.  Many elderly people find that they are not getting enough protein, some also find that they need to cut sugar out of their diets.  Some need to include more foods with iron or calcium.  Whatever your needs are, write them out on the paper beside your calendar so that you do not lose sight of that while you’re making your plan.  Research which foods carry the goal nutrients you’re hoping to increase & write them beside your list.  If you choose to plan for an entire month, but most people plan for 2 weeks at a time.  If you meal plan for a month, plan to use fresh, quickly perishable foods at the beginning of the month (berries, asparagus, etc).  Longer lasting produce in the middle of the month (carrots, cabbage, apples). And finally, canned options for later in the month.

Now, think about your day & your natural appetite.  If you are not usually hungry in the morning, you can still plan for what you’ll eat for breakfast but make the portions smaller so that you do not feel ill upon eating.  Be sure to write water at the top of each day’s meal if you are trying to improve your hydration.  It is a simple item that often gets overlooked when one lives alone.

As you plan for your breakfast, be sure to include a protein, fat, carbohydrate and a fruit or vegetable each meal.  Protein is very important at the first meal because it helps to keep your blood sugars stabilized throughout the day.  The carbohydrate will give you the quick energy that you need to get up an get moving.  An example of a balanced breakfasts might be: 1 scrambled egg (or egg white) with spinach, 1 piece of toast with butter, & a handful of cherries.

Another option might be: A bowl of oatmeal with fruit and cream, and a hard-boiled egg. Some people try to eliminate anything sweet from their diets, but it is better to include fruit with a low glycemic index so that you eat a bit occasionally instead of starving yourself of it and then crashing and eating half of a chocolate cake.  If you find that you need to reduce your sugar intake drastically but cannot kick the cravings, begin taking a strong probiotic.  These bacteria help to digest the sugars and the candida in your body, balance out your own gut bacteria and eventually nearly eliminate cravings for sugars.

Lunches are generally the largest meal of the day, but feel free to adjust to your own lifestyle.  Include a type of starchy carbohydrate to hold you over for the afternoon, something like rice, potatoes or pasta.  Whole grains options are much better for sluggish digestion than their enriched and bleached counterparts. Add in a protein, and a lot of vegetable options.  Have milk or another type of drink that includes calcium if you’re supposed to be improving your calcium intake.   This is generally the best time to take vitamins, as well, as your stomach will be more stable and the heavier food makes it easier to digest them without upset.

Suppers should include similar things to lunch, but in lighter proportions for easier and faster digestion.  Remember that you’ll be lying down a few hours after you eat, so if you like spicy food, you may want to have it over the lunch hour rather than the supper hour so that heartburn will not keep you awake!

With all of these things in mind, make out your meal plan.  Include a few foods that you enjoy, but do not have regularly, like fish perhaps.  This gives you something to look forward as you begin to prepare for your week.

From Grocery Store to Pantry Shelves

After you’ve finished shopping in the store or online, and before you put the items away, get your meal plan out.  Look at what types of meals you have listed.  If you have several meals that include ground beef, for instance, that need to be browned, take the opportunity to brown it now.  You can freeze it in individual meal portions for use later in the week or month.  Also take care of washing, shredding, dicing and chopping any produce that will need that preparation.  One of the chief complaints that I hear from senior citizens regarding food preparation is that it doesn’t seem worth it to go to all that trouble and have all those dishes “just for me”.  If you consolidate the food prep into one evening, it cuts down drastically on the dishes because instead of having to haul out the frying pan for each time you need to brown a ¼ # of meat, you only haul it out once and wash it once.

Make sure to mark any of the portions that you refrigerate or freeze in advance so you know what  is included and perhaps even write which meal you planned it for.

Sharing Is Fun

Another thing to consider when you’re making your meal plan, if you have the funds to do so, is to plan a couple of meals that you could share with others.  Plan on having someone over a couple of times during the month.  This will give you confidence to do so without having to come up with a plan at the last minute.  It will also help you to have something to look forward  to.  If you have young children that come to visit, consider adding the ingredients for cookies or a dessert to your shopping list so that you’re prepared.

Whichever combination of tools you use to be sure that you’re eating properly, be sure to use a meal plan of some kind.  Any large changes to your current diet should be considered with your health professional and/or doctor.  A healthy diet can be the difference between years of good health and energy and years of just getting by with little energy and stress.  No one really likes to plan meals well in advance, but stress is eliminated, budgets are easier to maintain and health is improved when we do!  Good luck!  If you run out of  ideas, have someone over to eat with you and maybe you can brainstorm together some options that might be good for both of you  to include on your menus in the future!


Recognizing Excellence - Chris Thomas of BeeHive Homes!

Today we recognize and highlight one of our many top team members, Chris Thomas, who is an administrator for our BeeHive Home in Santa Fe, the BeeHive Home in White Rock and the BeeHive Home in Raton.  At BeeHive Homes we always try to attract the best caregivers and talent in the world.  Chris is a great example to all who provide care for others.  He joined the BeeHive team almost three years ago, leading his team to not just engage our residents but showing how best to build relationships through service, activities and genuine concern and love for all.

Recently we received the following letter from the daughter of one of our residents.

Letter Dated Jan 8, 2021

Dear BeeHive Assisted Living - 

As the daughter of a resident at the [name of home removed] Beehive, I wish to commend Chris Thomas, Administrator for the exemplary work he is doing.

I spent many years in healthcare working as a nurse for both non and for - profit organizations.  Chris is an administrator working hands on to ensure the safety and care of my mother in a way that is not only impressive but a rare quality seldom seen in administrators.  He goes the extra mile and deserves recognition from his supervisor and/or owner of this franchise.

I did not find an email address for the BeeHive Corporate Office or the owner of Santa Fe's BeeHive Home in searching online so I am sending this the old fashioned way, USPS.


Elise R.  LPN, B.F.A.


Thank you Chris for your efforts to brighten the day of everyone who crosses your path!  We value and appreciate your leadership and example to others in the assisted living industry!  Thank you for offering the best in senior care through your meaningful relationships and service to those cherished residents thriving in our homes!

25 Assisted Living Care Facilities in New Mexico

24 Assisted Living Care Facilities in New Mexico

The state of New Mexico has a lot of recreational activities to offer such as skiing, hiking, and mountain biking. Additionally, nature lovers would especially like the beauty of its landscape, including desert, dense forests, mesas, and snowy mountains. In fact, New Mexico is at the top of the list for seniors looking for an affordable but beautiful retirement destination. Most seniors now choose New Mexico as the best place to put down roots during their golden years.

If you’re one of those who are considering New Mexico as a retirement destination, you should know that Roswell, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces are less expensive destinations than Santa Fe. If you’re planning to find assisted living in New Mexico, you can check any of our suggestions below. For your consideration, we have chosen 24 assisted living care facilities in New Mexico that offer care, love, and security for you and your aging loved one—facilities which can be considered the HOME of the residents.

1. BeeHive Homes of Alamogordo

BeeHive Homes of Alamogordo

BeeHive Homes of Alamogordo

Featuring a wonderful home-style living, BeeHive Homes of Alamogordo is specifically designed to accommodate and care residents with memory loss.  Its assisted living home is small by design, which creates a more family-like environment.

Residents receive more time from the caregivers to ensure that their need requirements are consistently met and real relationships between staff and residents grow. Each resident has his/her own individual room and bathroom for personal independence and privacy. Their delicious meals are served in a family-like setting as opposed to a large cafeteria.  Residents can participate in individual and/or group activities.

Family members are also encouraged to visit and participate in their lives and care as well.

2. BeeHive Homes of Albuquerque

BeeHive Homes of Albuquerque

BeeHive Homes of Albuquerque

Known as one of the premier Albuquerque assisted living facilities, BeeHive Village provides a wonderful home-like environment, making it the perfect transition from an independent living facility. This facility promotes senior independent living with caregivers who can help/assist.

The facility offers the finest of assisted living care. Residents can enjoy home-cooked meals, healthy and rejuvenating activities, and most especially meaningful relationships.

3. BeeHive Homes of Albuquerque West

BeeHive Homes of Albuquerque West

BeeHive Homes of Albuquerque West

BeeHive Homes of Albuquerque West offers better health and happiness. The facility has trained staff who can provide medication assistance and serve 3 meals every day with each one tailor-made to your aging parent’s changing health needs.

Since relatives and friends are not always available, BeeHive Homes of Albuquerque West has professional caregivers providing loving care to your aging loved one. The facility hires only the most compassionate and kindest individuals to care for the residents. You need not worry about your aging parents well-being as the facility staff members endeavor to provide a safe, secure, and enjoyable environment for their residents.

4. BeeHive Homes of Four Hills

BeeHive Homes of Four Hills

BeeHive Homes of Four Hills

Featuring home-style living in smaller facilities, BeeHive Homes of Four Hills is intended to offer a family feel with more quality care and intimacy to your aging loved one. The residents of this facility enjoy individual rooms and bathrooms to support independence, delicious home-cooked meals, activities and exercise, caring and compassionate caregivers, group association with open dining and living areas, and family participation. Each home in the facility has 12–16 rooms.

5. BeeHive Homes of Taylor Ranch

BeeHive Homes of Taylor Ranch

BeeHive Homes of Taylor Ranch

Designed as a smaller home with 12–16 rooms for a more comfortable atmosphere, BeeHive Homes of Taylor Ranch focuses on providing the very best assisted living services to its residents. Although small, the facility is still able to provide plenty of privacy for your aging loved one. But it also has a family-style living with a large open dining room and living room where your aging parent can have plenty of contact with the caregivers and other residents

This facility provides a private room with individual three-quarter bathroom, large room that can accommodate an individual or a couple, a family home environment, pendent emergency call system, private telephone jack or use of house phone, cable TV access, home-cooked meals, 24-hour care and assistance, medication administration and assistance, individualized and group daily activities, and linen, laundry, and daily housekeeping services. It also has an inviting large living room, dining area, convenient bathing area, kitchen, patio, and porch. To ensure personalized care, the facility has excellent resident to staff ratios. 

Its additional services which are payable to service providers include nursing services provided by a Home Health Care Agency, Home Health Care Agency and Hospice services, private phone, pedicures, and beautician/barber services.

6. BeeHive Homes of Volcano Cliffs

BeeHive Homes of Volcano Cliffs

BeeHive Homes of Volcano Cliffs

At BeeHive Homes of Volcano Cliffs, your aging parent can enjoy an individual spacious room with bathroom to promote individual independence, independent living and personal care, delicious chef-prepared home-cooked meals, activities and exercise catered to the seniors, compassionate and caring caregivers, group interaction with open living and dining room areas, and continual family participation.

7. BeeHive Homes of Bernalillo

BeeHive Homes of Bernalillo

BeeHive Homes of Bernalillo

BeeHive Homes of Bernalillo also offers a home-like setting with home-cooked dietitian-approved meals and snacks served in a home-style dining room, private rooms and baths, as well as amazing care, love, and security for you and your aging parent. The facility has an open door policy and no designated visiting hours.

Every day, the facility allows four hours of activities to keep the residents’ body and the mind active with dominos, bingo, arts and crafts, card games, and range of motion exercises.

The facility staff provides daily housekeeping, laundry, appointment scheduling, transportation arrangement, medication assistance, and general health monitoring. It also has an on-call registered nurse who is available as needed and an emergency call system.

8. BeeHive Homes of Bosque Farms

BeeHive Homes of Bosque Farms

BeeHive Homes of Bosque Farms

For a homier more comfortable atmosphere, BeeHive Homes of Bosque Farms provides 2 smaller homes with 15 rooms each. Despite it being small, the facility still provides plenty of privacy for its residents. It also provides a family-style living with a large open dining room and living room for your aging parent to have plenty of contact with other residents and caregivers or private space.

Like other Beehive Homes, this facility also provides delicious home-cooked meals, a family home environment, 24-hour care and assistance, medication administration and assistance, trained staff (including dementia care), and excellent resident to staff ratios to ensure personalized care, among others.

What’s more, both homes in Bosque Farms are senior assisted living homes and other facilities offer Alzheimer’s/dementia secured assisted living homes for residents with cognitive impairment.

9. BeeHive Homes of Clovis

BeeHive Homes of Clovis

BeeHive Homes of Clovis

Featuring a family-style living environment, BeeHive Homes of Clovis offers a small home-like atmosphere with plenty of privacy. It allows residents to comfortably transition from independent care. It also has family-style living with a large open dining room and living room where your aging loved one can enjoy with other residents and caregivers.

At BeeHive Homes of Clovis, your aging parent can enjoy a private room, which can accommodate an individual or a couple, with individual three-quarter bathroom, pendent emergency call system, private telephone jack or use of house phone, as well as deliciously cooked meals, 24-hour care and assistance, medication administration and assistance. It also has excellent resident to staff ratios to ensure personalized care.

What’s more, BeeHive Homes of Clovis has trained staff for dementia care. It has both Senior Assisted Living homes and Alzheimer’s/Dementia Secured Assisted Living homes for residents with cognitive impairment. It has electronic security and enclosed yards and patios to prevent cognitively impaired residents from wandering.

10. BeeHive Homes of Deming

BeeHive Homes of Deming

BeeHive Homes of Deming

BeeHive Homes of Deming offers individual rooms and bathrooms to promote and support independence, delicious home-cooked meals, activities and exercise, and caring caregivers to its residents. What’s more, this facility offers respite services to those who need a bit of extra help before returning home after a hospital or rehab stay.

11. BeeHive Homes of Edgewood

BeeHive Homes of Edgewood

BeeHive Homes of Edgewood

BeeHive Homes of Edgewood offers assistance to residents with their activities of daily living, meal preparation (three times a day), activities, and medication management. It has excellent resident to staff ratios for personalized care.

Your aging loved one can enjoy a family, home-like environment, home-cooked and dietician-approved meals, and 24-hour staff onsite. 

Other services provided include home health care, hospice, nursing or therapy provided by home health, podiatry care, beautician and barber services, as well as private phone.

12. BeeHive Homes of Farmington #1

BeeHive Homes of Farmington #1

BeeHive Homes of Farmington #1

Offering care, love, and security for you and your aging parent, BeeHive Homes of Farmington has an open door policy and no designated visiting hours. It is considered the home of the residents and not a facility.

Residents enjoy three dietitian-approved meals and snacks served in a home-style dining room. They are able to enjoy 4 hours of daily activities, such as dominos, bingo, arts and crafts, card games, and range of motion exercises, to keep their minds and bodies active. What’s more, BeeHive Homes of Farmington residents are provided with an on-call consulting Registered Nurse available as needed and an emergency call system.

13. BeeHive Homes of Farmington #2

BeeHive Homes of Farmington #2

BeeHive Homes of Farmington #2

BeeHive Homes of Farmington provides three restaurant quality, dietitian-approved meals daily and snacks served in a home-style dining room. Residents can enjoy activities that will keep their bodies and minds active every day. They are given spacious private rooms with cable/satellite TV hookups. On-call registered nurses are also available as needed.

BeeHive Homes of Farmington offers responsible and caring staff to assist residents with their ADLs.

14. BeeHive Homes of Farmington #3

BeeHive Homes of Farmington #3

BeeHive Homes of Farmington #3

BeeHive Homes of Farmington #3 provides residents with individual rooms and bathrooms, the best home-cooked meals, daily activities and exercise to keep their minds and bodies active, group association with open dining and living areas, and responsible caregivers.

15. BeeHive Homes of Farmington #4

BeeHive Homes of Farmington #4

BeeHive Homes of Farmington #4

BeeHive Homes of Farmington #4 provides residents with individual rooms and bathrooms, the best home-cooked meals, daily activities and exercise to keep their minds and bodies active, group association with open dining and living areas, and responsible caregivers.

16. BeeHive Homes of Gallup

BeeHive Homes of Gallup

BeeHive Homes of Gallup

BeeHive Homes of Gallup offers three daily restaurant quality, dietitian-approved meals and snacks to residents, daily activities that will help keep your aging parent’s body and mind active, responsible and caring staff who can provide assistance with ADLs and medication. On-call consulting registered nurses are also available as needed.

17. BeeHive Homes of Hobbs

BeeHive Homes of Hobbs

BeeHive Homes of Hobbs

Providing the best of elderly care for residents with dementia and memory loss, BeeHive Homes of Hobbs assisted living makes every effort to bring the comforts of home into its facility. Your aging parent will surely enjoy home-cooked meals, healthy and rejuvenating activities, as well as meaningful relationships.

18. BeeHive Homes of Portales

BeeHive Homes of Portales

BeeHive Homes of Portales

Taking great pride in its staff, facilities, and residents, BeeHive Homes of Portales is well maintained and exceptionally clean to constantly provide a nurturing and welcoming environment for you and your aging loved one.  The facility provides well-trained staff/caregivers who are not only qualified from a skill level but also hold values and standards that support the mission and core values of BeeHive Homes. It has trained staff who can provide dementia care.

Since the facility is designed for cognitively impaired residents, it has both senior assisted living homes and Alzheimer’s/dementia secured assisted living homes.

Electronic security in Alzheimer’s/dementia secured assisted living homes are installed and yards and patios are enclosed to prevent cognitively impaired residents from wandering.

19. BeeHive Homes of Raton

BeeHive Homes of Raton

BeeHive Homes of Raton

BeeHive Homes of Raton provides private furnished rooms, which can accommodate an individual or a couple, with cable and telephone hookups and pendant emergency call systems.  It has excellent resident to staff ratios to ensure personalized care.

Residents will surely be provided with three home-cooked, dietitian-approved meals daily and snacks available throughout the day. They are also provided with ADL assistance by 24-hour trained professional staff. They also join activities that promote daily physical fitness and creative and social interaction.

20. BeeHive Homes of Enchanted Hills

BeeHive Homes of Enchanted Hills

BeeHive Homes of Enchanted Hills

BeeHive Homes of Rio Rancho strives to maintain a clean, positive environment for you and your aging loved one.

Residents enjoy private furnished rooms with cable and telephone hookups and pendant emergency call systems. The rooms can accommodate an individual or a couple; it’s huge enough. They are also provided with three home-cooked, dietitian-approved meals daily and snacks and maintenance-free living with daily housekeeping and weekly laundry services. They have access to 24-hour trained professional staff (including dementia care).

The facility has excellent resident to staff ratios to ensure personalized care. It prepares daily activities to promote physical fitness and creative and social interaction of the residents.

Since the facility is designed for cognitively impaired residents, it has both senior assisted living homes and Alzheimer’s/dementia secured assisted living homes. To prevent cognitively impaired residents from wandering, they install electronic security and enclose its yards and patios.

21. BeeHive Homes of Rio Rancho #1

BeeHive Homes of Rio Rancho #1

BeeHive Homes of Rio Rancho #1

Featuring a family home environment, BeeHive Homes of Rio Rancho #1 offers 24-hour care and assistance to its residents. This facility is also designed for cognitively impaired residents that’s why it has both Senior Assisted Living homes and Alzheimer’s/Dementia Secured Assisted Living homes.

At BeeHive Homes of Rio Rancho #1, personalized care is guaranteed as it has excellent resident to staff ratios.

22. BeeHive Homes of Rio Rancho #2

BeeHive Homes of Rio Rancho #2

BeeHive Homes of Rio Rancho #2

Offering the very best of elderly care, BeeHive Homes of Rio Rancho #2 makes every effort to bring the comforts of home into the facility. It is designed for cognitively impaired residents—having both Senior Assisted Living homes and Alzheimer’s/Dementia Secured Assisted Living homes.

23. BeeHive Homes of Roswell

BeeHive Homes of Roswell

BeeHive Homes of Roswell

Featuring a family-style living in a residential setting, BeeHive Homes of Roswell maintains a low resident to staff ratio to allow the residents to receive the maximum attention and the best quality of care.

24. BeeHive Homes of Santa Fe

BeeHive Homes of Santa Fe

BeeHive Homes of Santa Fe

At BeeHive Homes of Santa Fe, your aging parent will experience the very best in elderly care services with dietitian-approved homemade meals, wellness activities, and meaningful association.

25. BeeHive Homes of White Rock

BeeHive Homes of White Rock

BeeHive Homes of White Rock

Opening soon, BeeHive Homes of White Rock takes pride in maintaining a clean and welcoming environment for you and your aging loved one, with a positive, caring, and supportive staff.