Tidbit of the Week

  • Weekly Tidbit for August 12, 2018: Seated Stretching Exercises for Everyone to Try

    According to a recent article by DailyCaring.com, “Stretching is a great way to ease joint pain and muscle aches, and also improves mobility, flexibility, coordination and circulation. On top of the physical benefits, it also reduces stress and boosts mood.”

    What’s not to like? And since these stretching exercise are done while seated, you may be able to get people to participate who might otherwise be reluctant to attend a traditional exercise class.

    Click on the link below to access a 4-minute video from DailyCaring.com with simple seated stretching (say that three times fast!) exercises that you can try with your residents. The woman in the video leads the exercises slowly, so it is well-paced for older adults. She also has a British accent, and we all know that makes everything sound better J

    When the weather is nice, try doing these stretches outside in the courtyard or patio!

    Easy & Gentle Seated Stretching Exercises


  • Weekly Tidbit for August 5, 2018: Keep Legs Strong for Better Mobility and Lower Fall Risk

    Lots of people in assisted living communities struggle with balance and lower leg strength. This leads to less walking and overall mobility, and an increased risk and fear of falls. Any time we can get residents to use those muscles and keep them strong is beneficial. One fun way to do this is by using group games to motivate residents to do sit to stands.  

    At Caritas House in Baltimore, when residents play a group game like horseshoes, ring toss, etc., the staff divides the group into 2 teams. They then encourage the residents to stand up for their turns since their aim is better to score when they are standing instead of sitting. The residents don't question it and the staff reassure them that they are safe and won’t let them fall. They give positive feedback (and lots of cheering!) for standing and then for scoring. One resident there who had difficulty standing on her first turn grew more confident and better with each turn.  In the end, she did about 20 sit to stands!

  • Weekly Tidbit for July 29, 2018: Tidbit Contest Winner!

    We are excited to announce that Sunrise Senior Living of Annapolis has won the FFC Tidbit Contest! Lynn Norton, the Activities and Volunteer Coordinator there, created a great contest to encourage residents to walk regularly. Here’s her tidbit:

    I am Lynn Norton from Sunrise of Annapolis and I have a “Walk for Life” Club for our residents that is attached to a contest to encourage them to walk more and to keep up the momentum they have already made thus far!  We have a large bulletin board in our Bistro Area where residents walk by three times a day to meals. It’s very visible for them to see the progress they themselves are making or others that they plan to beat. Each resident receives a pair of walking shoes that are cut from paper, and each time they walk they see the Concierge to have a new set of shoes or footprints dated with their name on it to be added to their “tracks” (see attached pictures of the board).

    At the end of September when we have our Annual “Go For Life” Relay (which is a big event), we will announce the winner and present them with a new pair of walking shoes!  Of course, we will have runner ups with smaller prizes and all participants will come away with a trophy or medal for participation. The club walks every day at 6:45 pm after dinner, however, if the residents prefer to walk in the morning or afternoon that is fine too. They can walk as many times as they choose.  When the weather is bad we walk the hallways inside the building.  We focus this activity on getting heart healthy and physically fit, and the theme is “Keep It Moving!”

  • Weekly Tidbit for July 22, 2018: Bring a Buddy to Exercise!

    Like most assisted living communities, yours probably has a group of active residents who consistently attend exercises classes, walking club, yoga, etc. Praising these residents for staying active and attending classes is a great way to keep them motivated and remind them that all of their work is paying off!

    Also like most communities, you probably have a group of residents who do not wish to attend exercise classes and walk only when necessary despite encouragement from staff. These residents may feel intimated by the thought of an “exercise class,” are afraid that they won’t be able to keep up, or simply don’t see the value in going. 

    You may want to start a “Bring a Buddy to Exercise” program! Have residents who do exercise pick a friend that does not normally come, and ask him/her to encourage that friend to come to a class or other activity that involves moving. You can even have a contest to see how many people you can get to a class, with “new” attendees earning extra points! Have an ice cream social or other fun event once you’ve reached your goal for number of attendees. Give it a try and let us know how it goes!


  • Weekly Tidbit for July 15, 2018: Exercise Ideas for People with Dementia

    DailyCaring.com has a great article this week with ideas for exercises to do with people with dementia, tips for how to get them to participate in physical activity, and a list of the many benefits of exercise for this population. Much may sound familiar to you as it echoes many of the things we’ve discussed in past tidbits, but it is a great summary and easy to share with your staff. Click on the link below and take a look:

    Ideas for Exercise and Physical Activities for People with Dementia

  • Weekly Tidbit for July 8, 2018: Stroll to the Salon and Spa

    We loved this story and wanted to share it with you. Please click on this following link to see: http://mashable.com/2014/08/20/robbie-kaye-photography/

    So how can this relate to function focused care? If you have a salon at your facility, encourage your residents to walk there. There are so many motivating factors…they can socialize with friends at the salon, catch up with their hairdresser (we ladies know that can be a close bond!), and end up looking beautiful too!

    If you don’t have a salon at your site, how about hosting a regular “spa day” for your residents? Hold it in a room that isn’t often used and encourage residents to walk or self-propel there. A volunteer or staff member can do hair and nails, and even make up. Encourage residents to do some exercises while they wait for their turn. Perhaps a resident can lead the exercises with light weights, elastic bands, or foam noodles.

    Have a great week!

  • Weekly Tidbit for July 1, 2018: It's Never Too Late to Reinvigorate!

    We know many of you have made some great progress over the past months in adopting the Function Focused Care philosophy to your assisted living community. We want to encourage you to keep up the good work as you move forward!  Some of you may need a little push to keep it going. We get that. Perhaps you started out strong after the initial education sessions, but by now the excitement has worn off a bit and, like New Year’s resolutions that start out with great intentions, your great ideas and goals have fallen by the wayside.

    Well, it’s never too late to reinvigorate! (Hey, that rhymes). If you are the FFC champion at your facility, grab a friend on your staff to team up with. It’s easier to get things moving with more people on board. Maybe it’s time to identify a few new “FFC Champions” on your staff to bring new energy and ideas to the effort. Revisit your goals and the goals you’ve set for residents. Are they outdated? Unrealistic? Have some of the motivating factors for residents changed? For example, perhaps a resident used to come to an exercise class because her friend was there too, but now she no longer comes because that friend has moved. You may need to work with staff to develop new motivating ideas for residents.

    Share your successes—no matter how small--with staff and family members to help encourage everyone to stick with function focused care.

    Light a firecracker under FFC and you might be amazed by what you see!

    Have a safe and Happy Fourth of July!

  • Weekly Tidbit for June 17, 2018: End the Fall Cycle

    Falling is an ever-present concern and challenge for care communities, and falls at home is often the reason why people move to a care community. Too often, however, staff and residents’ fear of falling can lead to a vicious cycle:

    • An ambulatory resident falls and gets hurt.
    • The resident recovers physically, but may now be afraid to walk for fear of falling.
    • The staff also fear that the resident will fall again, so they continually tell the resident to “sit down so you don’t fall,” reinforcing the resident’s fear.
    • The resident then sits more and walks less (if at all), and consequently becomes weak (which is just one of the many negative effects of immobility).
    • One day, the resident tries to walk or transfer without assistance (common among people with dementia who forget they need help) and falls because he/she is now so weak.

     …And the cycle begins again.

    How do we break this cycle?

    Tricks of the trade:

    1. Review with staff why people with cognitive decline (who may not be able to communicate their needs verbally) want to get up and walk on their own. Are they bored? Do they hurt from sitting for a long period of time? Do they need to use the bathroom? Do they forget they need help to walk?
    2. A supervised 5-minute walk could be enough to satisfy their need to move for a while, and may help decrease negative behaviors later on due to boredom or discomfort.
    3. Instead of saying, “Sit down, you might fall!”, try to get in the habit of saying something like, “I see you want to walk. Please wait and someone will help you very soon.” Then take the individual for a short walk down the hall, to a common area, or outside to a patio or courtyard. Spending those 5 to 10 minutes walking with a resident will end up saving lots of time in the long run. Have staff take turns doing supervised walks.
    4. Perform fun “sit to stand” exercises throughout the day with residents….put on some music, have them grab the rails along the hallway and do 5 minutes of sit to stands with them. They help keep leg muscles strong and use up excess energy too.
    5. Spread the love and encourage physical function…..ask the resident, “Could you stand up and give me a hug?” –The reward back is a big hug from you!
  • Weekly Tidbit for June 10, 2018: Combine a Baseball Tradition with BINGO!

    This week’s tidbit is inspired by Sheila, the Activities Director at Brighton Gardens in Columbia, Maryland. She wanted to integrate a bit more physical activity into their community’s popular BINGO  events, and decided to combine the traditional “7th Inning Stretch” from baseball games with BINGO.

    After the 7th round of BINGO, Sheila and her activities staff encourage the residents to participate in their “7th Game Stretch” to get everyone moving after sitting for a while. They stand and stretch, and those who cannot stand can move their arms and march their feet. Sheila said that despite a few grumbles from some of the residents, they all participate. Congratulations to Sheila and the staff at Brighton Gardens for coming up with a creative and fun way to get everyone moving!

  • Weekly Tidbit for June 3, 2018: Exercise "Snacking"

    Has anyone ever heard the term “Exercise Snacking”?  A study in 2014 (published online in Diabetologia) found that in individuals with insulin resistance (which many of your residents may have), short bursts of intense exercise may be an effective alternative to a prolonged bout of continuous, moderate exercise for improving glycemic control. The authors wrote that "Dosing exercise as brief, intense 'exercise snacks' before main meals is a time-efficient and effective approach to improve glycemic control in individuals with insulin resistance." For more details on the study, click on the link below.

    Exercise Snacking Improves Glycemic Control

    Other research has also supported exercise snacking, showing that short bursts of exercise throughout the day are just as beneficial for health as one long exercise session. And this isn’t just true for your residents! Try it yourself throughout your day and see how you feel. While residents do sit-to-stands using a handrail in the hallway with a chair or wheelchair behind them, you can do squats or lunges next to them.

    So, consider getting your residents moving with 5 minutes of exercise before each meal, and play some upbeat music a few times throughout the day to encourage dancing, sit-to-stand exercises, noodle exercises with foam noodles, etc. Spontaneous exercise is fun…remember, it doesn’t have to be on the activity calendar to happen!