Saint Simeon’s Senior Living Blog

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By June Brown

Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease every year. Parkinson’s is a disease characterized by nerve damage in the brain, with common symptoms including tremors, loss of balance, and restlessness. Although Parkinson’s can’t be cured, there are many options for treatment to reduce symptoms, including exercise. There are also many things a patient can do to stay strong and improve their general well being, such as following a healthy diet.

Although people with Parkinson’s might want to reach for all the nutritious foods they can to boost their health, it’s important not to choose foods that can interfere with their medication or exacerbate symptoms of the disease. 

Avoid Protein When Taking Levodopa 

Levodopa is the most common drug for Parkinson’s disease. It’s essentially a protein that gets transferred into dopamine in the body. Dopamine is a brain chemical that’s not at sufficient levels in the brains of people with Parkinson’s. More dopamine can decrease symptoms of the disease. However, since Levodopa is a protein, patients should avoid eating too much protein in their food as this can prevent the drug’s absorption. 

Foods To Treat Health Issues That Parkinson’s Creates 

There are some common health issues that Parkinson’s sufferers experience, such as constipation. Parkinson’s can cause deterioration of the nerves in the GI tract, causing stools to move slowly, resulting in constipation. Boosting water and fiber intake is therefore important to keep one regular. Great fiber sources include fruits, vegetables, and cereals. Here are other health problems that could be experienced, and how to deal with them: 

  • Low blood pressure. This is a Parkinson’s symptom, but also a side-effect of some medicines. It’s important to boost salt and water intake to increase blood pressure, but this shouldn’t be done without first consulting a doctor. Eating small, healthy meals throughout the day is another tip to keep blood pressure at a healthy level.
  • Nausea. Some people with Parkinson’s disease have difficulty swallowing or chewing. Medications can exacerbate the situation, causing nausea or uneasiness. It’s important to follow some food tips to decrease Parkinson’s symptoms that can make eating a nightmare. Drinking liquids between bites of food helps to prevent the sensation that food is stuck in the throat. Avoiding fried foods can prevent nausea, while not mixing hot and cold foods in the same meal will prevent stomach upset as well as nausea.
  • Depression. This can be a side-effect of medication, but it’s also a symptom of Parkinson’s disease itself. In a placebo-controlled pilot study of omega-3 supplementation for Parkinson’s disease, it was found that depression was decreased in Parkinson’s patients when they were given an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. Great omega-3 food sources include fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines. By ensuring these feature in one’s regular diet, feelings of depression can be kept at bay. 

By staying in tune with one's body and choosing the right foods to ease symptoms, people with Parkinson's disease can feel better physically and have more energy on a daily basis. 

Diet always plays an important role in the management of disease, including Parkinson’s. By following a healthy eating plan, being mindful of medications, and choosing foods that fight symptoms, people with Parkinson’s can better manage the disease and maintain a higher quality of life. 

At Saint Simeon's, we are proud to be the first senior community in Oklahoma to offer Parkinson's care. Our dining services, provided by Morrison Community Living, is happy to provide dietary options that are conducive to helping our Residents better manage Parkinson's disease.

As the holidays get closer, you’re probably trying to think of some creative ways to show your loved one residing in an assisted living community how much you care. The holiday season presents the perfect opportunity to put others first, but finding that perfect gift sometimes can be challenging. For loved ones who have downsized a home and let go of many of the items they’d accumulated over their lifetimes, gift-giving becomes even more difficult. After all, they may not really need anything, and they do not have the space for more frivolous items.

The Perfect Gifts for Seniors in Assisted Living Communities

There are still plenty of great senior gift ideas that your loved one will cherish and find useful. However, before you start shopping, keep a couple things in mind. First, large and bulky items may not be the best idea for residents of assisted living communities, as storage space is tight. Secondly, it’s important to consider your loved one’s specific health needs while you shop.

Here are a few of the best gifts for seniors residing in assisted living communities:

Technology. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and give the gift of technology. Tablets and iPads can be pre-loaded with your loved one’s favorite games, apps, music and books, and after a quick tutorial they should feel comfortable using them. Or, a cell phone can help keep them connected and safe, as they can keep it with them all the time. Seniors today are more technology-savvy than ever before, and many are ready to embrace items that not only provide entertainment, but can also make life easier for them.

Large-type books or books on CD. If your loved one is an avid reader but struggling to read small type as well as they used to, books with larger print are a perfect gift idea. Or, consider books on CD. Your loved one can enjoy sitting back and escaping into a story, without the worry of straining their eyes.

Photo albums/scrapbooks. Give the gift of cherished memories by putting together a photo album or scrapbook full of old family photos. Or, create an album full of recent photos of family and friends so your loved one always feels close to everyone. This also provides a great way for your loved one to remember all the important people in their lives.

Homemade or handmade goods. Does your loved one have a favorite treat? If so, consider gathering the kids for a fun day of baking. Then, you can assemble a gift basket with baked goods, hot cocoa, tea or coffee so your loved one can enjoy a special snack. Plus, seniors love getting unique gifts specially-made for them by the grandkids! Get the kids together for a craft-making session to create a one-of-a-kind gift for your aging loved one, whether it’s an ornament, a painting, a photo collage, and so on.

Newspaper or magazine subscriptions. A subscription to a favorite newspaper or magazine is a great gift idea for loved ones in assisted living communities. Consider a subscription to a newspaper from their hometown so they can stay up to date on all the latest news. After all, everyone looks forward to getting “real” mail.

Blankets or throws. During these cold winters, who doesn’t enjoy snuggling up with a cozy fleece blanket or soft throw? Several companies offer custom photo blankets, so get creative and get a blanket made from a favorite photo of the grandchildren or a pet. Or, maybe your loved one lost their spouse recently- a wonderful idea is to take some of the spouse’s clothing and have it made into a custom quilt. This way, your loved one will always have the memory of their spouse close to them.

Practical items. While these gifts might not seem very fun or exciting to you, they can be a big relief to loved ones who aren’t able to go out and purchase them on their own. Consider gifting practical items like tissues, toothpaste, and other toiletries, or stamps, stationary, and pencils. To make it fancier and little more festive, create a nice gift basket out of their favorite practical items.

Spend time together. Keep in mind that your time costs nothing at all, but it’s a precious gift for a senior. Visit as often as you can throughout the holiday season, or help them put up decorations to make their living space feel homey. Sit and talk about holidays from the past, or take them out to a restaurant for a nice meal.

Compassionate Assisted Living in Tulsa at Saint Simeon’s

Experience the difference of the assisted living community at Saint Simeon’s! The Dotson Family Assisted Living community at Saint Simeon’s offers three levels of care based on your loved one’s specific needs. Additionally, we offer a fourth level of care, Assisted Living Plus, the highest level of assisted living care in Tulsa. For more information about applying for admission to our assisted living community, please watch this video or contact us today.

Animals have offered companionship to humans throughout history, providing unconditional love and support when we may need it most. Think about how happy it made you to see your faithful dog run up to greet you at the end of a long day, or how calm you felt as you stroked your cat’s fur and listened to him purr contentedly.

Some studies suggest that spending as little as 15 minutes bonding with an animal can promote positive hormonal changes within the brain. Petting and playing with animals produces the “feel-good” hormone, serotonin, and decreases your stress levels. Pets also provide additional emotional, mental and physical health benefits to those of all ages. 

The Benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy for Individuals Living with Dementia

These health benefits can be especially important for seniors, and for this reason, senior living communities across the nation incorporate animal assisted therapy into their regularly-scheduled activities offered to residents. These animals promote health and healing for seniors with a variety of chronic conditions, help provide emotional stability during times of distress, improve socialization, and even provide some much-needed physical activity.

For individuals living with dementia, pet therapy programs do more than just brighten the days of these residents; they also provide additional important health benefits. Animals make wonderful companions to those in any stage of Alzheimer’s or dementia, as they do not judge behavior and actions. These special creatures also have a way of knowing when some residents may need some extra attention, and it’s common for these individuals to form strong bonds with the therapy pets.

The main benefits researchers have discovered regarding pet therapy for those with dementia include:

  • Decreasing anxiety and agitation. A 2002 study revealed that after memory care residents spent time with a therapy dog, they experienced less anxiety, agitation and exhibited fewer negative behavioral changes throughout the day. More recently, in 2008 another study found that individuals living with dementia experienced a variety of psychological benefits due to the therapy animal’s unconditional acceptance, which increased their self-esteem and allowed them to interact socially in ways they previously could not.
  • Improving mood and reducing depression. You know how it’s difficult to stay sad when a dog licks your face, or when a cat head-bumps you asking to be pet? For seniors with dementia, the soothing presence of a pet provides the companionship and unconditional love so many of them crave.
  • Boosting physical activity levels. Animals provide individuals living with dementia the opportunity to stay active in small ways that can make a difference. For instance, going for a brief walk around the community, tossing a ball, or simply stroking fur are all ways animals improve activity levels.
  • Improving nutrition. After visiting with an animal, residents tend to eat more, leading to what may be much-needed weight gain over time. As an added bonus, these residents require fewer nutritional supplements, which reduce some of the costs associated with their care.

The “Chief Executive Cuddler” at Saint Simeon’s: Simone the Therapy Dog

The mascot of Saint Simeon’s, Simone the Golden Retriever, is everyone’s dog and brightens the lives of residents daily. She has a way of reminding residents of pets they used to have, and she spends time in both our Memory Center and other parts of the community. We also have other therapy dogs visit regularly to enhance residents’ overall quality of life.

Additionally, Saint Simeon’s recognizes the benefits animals and nature can have on residents’ quality of life. Our campus, located just a few miles from downtown Tulsa, boasts beautiful grounds with ample opportunities for birdwatching, as well as relaxing fish ponds, walking and rolling paths, and vibrant flora that encourages residents to get outside and enjoy nature. Watch this video featuring Flora and Fauna Coordinator, Kathy Hinkle, to learn more about the benefits plants and animals offer to seniors at Saint Simeon’s.

You’ll find the compassionate, individualized memory care and the support your loved one needs at the Memory Center at Saint Simeon’s. We offer a comfortable, home-like setting staffed by professionals specifically trained in Alzheimer’s and dementia care, with innovative services and amenities that allow residents to thrive. For more information about applying for admission to our memory center, please contact us today.







Saint Simeon’s Foundation is thrilled to announce that Western Days 2017: Seasons of Change was a huge success, raising $463,000 in support of Saint Simeon's. The event, held on Tuesday, Sept. 12 at Cox Business Center, marked the 21st annual milestone of the fundraising event.

Carol and Shawn Lawhorn served as Event Chairs, with Lisa and Tom Schooley serving as Patron Chairs. Marcia and Ron MacCleod served as Auction Chairs. Ellen C. and Donald B. Atkins were celebrated as Honorary Chairs. The Atkins are among the most long-standing, loyal, and committed supporters of Saint Simeon’s. 

The Pioneer Spirit Award was presented to Saint Simeon’s Resident Anne Evans. Saint Simeon’s applauds Anne Evans for her pioneering spirit in seeing her husband, the late Father Bob Evans, through his call to ministry and many changes in life.

Hundreds attended Western Days 2017: Seasons of Change, which featured a marvelous silent auction, as well as the always entertaining live auction.  Live auction items ranged from a vacation for two in Charleston, South Carolina, a six-night stay for up to 10 in Angel Fire, New Mexico, an elegant evening at Polo Grill for 10 with paired wines, and a dinner for 10 prepared and served by local Episcopal priests.

The evening also featured the traditional General Store stocked with handmade items from Saint Simeon’s residents, and a delicious dinner. In addition, Western Days attendees were entertained by musical performances from Shelby Eicher and his band mates.

Wildcatter Underwriting sponsors of Western Days were Caron and Shawn Lawhorn.

Oil Baron Presenting Sponsors included The Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma – The Rt. Rev. Dr. Edward J. Konieczny, E. L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation/David Hogan, and William S. Smith.

Tool Pusher sponsors included Phyllis and Steve Anderson, Ellen C. and Donald B. Atkins, Phyllis and George Dotson, John W. and Jerry E. Marshall Foundation, Ralph and Frances McGill Foundation, ONE Gas, Sherman E. Smith Family Foundation, and Trust Company of Oklahoma.

Driller sponsors included gifts from Mandy and Blake Atkins, Bank of Oklahoma, John and Lucy Barker, William L. Berry, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, Debra Cadieux, H.A. and Mary K. Chapman Charitable Trusts, The DeKraai Family Fund, Don Carlton Honda, The Hille Foundation, Kelly and Tony Jezek, George Kaiser Family Foundation, Mary and Rob Martinovich, ONEOK, and Lisa and Tom Schooley.

Dealing with major life changes is difficult at any age. For seniors who intend on remaining in their homes for as long as possible, moving to an assisted living community might present certain extra challenges.

However, if you’ve started to notice that your loved one’s health has been declining, that social isolation is an issue or that his or her memory is not what it used to be, these are all clear signs that an assisted living community could improve quality of life. It’s important to note that your loved one’s health and safety should not be at risk if the individual wishes to continue living independently in the home.

5 Tips for a Successful Move to an Assisted Living Community

Even when moving to assisted living is the best option to allow loved ones to continue to thrive, the decision to make the transition was undoubtedly not one that was taken lightly. It’s common for new residents to go through an adjustment period as they get settled into their new lifestyle, getting accustomed to a new routine, meeting their neighbors and the staff and getting used to the change in their living conditions.

Remember that your loved one may be going through a mourning period of sorts. However, missing their long-time home and all the memories attached to it will dissipate in time. Some seniors may even be worried their independence will become compromised, not realizing at first all the ways the daily help they’ll receive will actually improve their quality of life.

Here are five tips to ensure your loved one successfully adapts to life in the assisted living community:

  1. Stay positive. Although moving to assisted living was a major life change for all parties involved, it’s important to encourage your loved one to fully embrace his or her new lifestyle. Studies show that seniors who receive the right level of assisted living care ultimately feel a boost in their independence.
  2. Personalize the living space. Ease some of the feelings of loss your loved one is experiencing by ensuring the new accommodations feel as homelike as possible. Bring favorite items from their old home, such as favorite photos, a few knick-knacks, the cozy blanket from the bed, etc. Replicating the space as much as possible can help create a familiar space that makes the transition easier.
  3. Encourage participation in social activities. Social engagement is vital to a happy, healthy life, and assisted living communities truly go above and beyond by offering activities for all interests. While you want to allow your loved one the opportunity to make their own decisions, you should still encourage participation in the activities the community offers.
  4. Make frequent visits in the beginning. After the move, provide your loved one with a little extra attention, support and TLC throughout the initial adjustment period. Let loved ones know you’re right there with them every step of the way, and take some time to visit more frequently during the first month or so.
  5. Try to avoid being overprotective. At the same time, it’s important to allow new residents ample time on their own to settle in. This provides the opportunity for them to feel in charge of their own decisions, even if it’s about something as simple as what activity they’d like to join in or where to place personal items in their new space. Becoming too overprotective may prevent loved ones from adapting successfully on their own.

Discover the Right Level of Assisted Living Care at Saint Simeon’s

At Saint Simeon’s you’ll find a variety of senior housing options designed to meet you or your loved one’s specific needs. Check out this video to discover which area is right for you, from independent living in our charming cottages to skilled nursing care for short-term stays.

The Dotson Family Assisted Living community at Saint Simeon’s offers three levels of care based on you or your loved one’s specific needs. Additionally, we offer a fourth level of care, Assisted Living Plus, the highest level of assisted living care in Tulsa. For more information about applying for admission to our assisted living community, please watch this video or contact us today.

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