Thee Low-Impact Sports for Seniors

Piggybacking off our last topic of the importance of senior mobility, this week we decided to look into three sports that are safe and fun for seniors to play. All of these sports help build social relationships and can be played with teams or by individuals together. We try to incorporate as many fun activities like this as we can into our Member’s lives at Renaissance. You can check out our monthly activities calendar here.

Bocci Ball

Bocci Ball is a fun communal activity that increases social engagement and has positive health benefits for seniors. Originating in ancient times, the Romans considered it a sport of rulers and statesmen. It’s played by throwing a black or red ball onto the court and then each team throwing their own set of balls trying to get their colored ball as close to or touching the first ball thrown. It’s traditionally played on a hard surface but it can be played on any surface that is level.

The sport helps increase senior mobility and challenges the mind to come up with new strategies. This simple but engaging game is a great go-to for something low impact but high fun!


Shuffleboard originated in England from a game known as shove groat. It evolved over time and has turned into the game today that we know as shuffleboard. It made it’s way over to the United States with the colonists and turned into a sport enjoyed by people across the entire US. Shuffleboard is played on either a smaller inside court or on an outside one, making it ideal for seniors. The rules are simple and can be learned in minutes but the strategies and skills needed can continually evolve.

This is great for keeping seniors moving and socializing. The sport can be played in teams or one on one which also makes it very versatile. The sport continues to challenge your mind while also giving you light exercise and health benefits.


Pickleball combines the best of badminton, ping pong and tennis into a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and athletic abilities. Pickleball was born in the mid-60’s when three friends from Bainbridge Island, Washington, were unable to find their badminton equipment so they improvised with the equipment at hand. Although the name is odd, the game has nothing to do with pickles but was named after pickle boats in crew racing. The game uses a paddle comparable to a large ping pong paddle and a ball that is similar to a whiffle ball.

Communicating With Loved Ones With Dementia

Understanding how to connect and communicate with our loved ones through this time is of the utmost importance. Learn more from these communication strategies for dementia. Here are 5 tips on how to effectively communicate with someone who has moderate to severe dementia.

  1. Recognize what you’re up against. Dementia inevitably gets worse with time. People with dementia will gradually have a more difficult time understanding others, as well as communicating in general.

  2. Avoid distractions. Try to find a place and time to talk when there aren’t a lot of distractions present. This allows your loved one to focus all their mental energy on the conversation.

  3. Speak clearly and naturally in a warm and calm voice. Refrain from ‘babytalk’ or any other kind of condescension.

  4. Refer to people by their names. Avoid pronouns like “he,” “she,” and “they” during conversation. Names are also important when greeting a loved one with dementia. For example: “Hi, Grandma.  It’s me, Jeff,” is to be preferred over, “Hi. It’s me.”

  5. Talk about one thing at a time. Someone with dementia may not be able to engage in the mental juggling involved in maintaining a conversation with multiple threads.

Top 10 Facts About Alzheimer's Disease

Researchers learn more and more about Alzheimer’s every year, and some of the statistics are staggering indeed.

The Alzheimer’s Association publishes an annual report detailing the complications and costs of the disease to caregivers and the health care system, and we’ve pulled out 10 of the latest facts about Alzheimer’s that A Place for Mom’s readers will want to know.

1. Half of adults aged 85 and over have Alzheimer’s.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Facts and Figures report, an estimated 45% of American seniors 85 and older suffer from Alzheimer’s, and one in eight people aged 65 and over (13%) has Alzheimer’s disease.  It is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.

2. More than half of the 5.4 million Americans with the disease may not know they have it.

In part because of the difficulty with detecting early-stage Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment (MCI), many of those with the disease remain undiagnosed. With research and time, our ability to detect early-stage Alzheimer’s continues to improve, though it will increase the overall number of people known to have the disease.

3. More women have Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer’s Association reports that nearly two-thirds of Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s are women. However, it is important to note that this does not mean there is a gender-based predisposition for the disease; the primary reason for this statistic is that women generally live longer than men.

4. Symptoms of the disease can develop in people as young as age 30.

We may think of Alzheimer’s as a disease of the elderly, but up to 5% of Americans with Alzheimer’s (around 200,000) have the early-onset variety, which can start to show symptoms as early as one’s 30s. Though the cause still isn’t well understood, some of these cases have a genetic component.

5. The incidence of Alzheimer’s will increase to every 33 seconds by 2050.

The rate at which Alzheimer’s occurs — every 66 seconds in the U.S. — is projected to double by 2050 because of the growing population of people over age 65. The number of people who live into their 80s and 90s is also expected to grow, and the likelihood of Alzheimer’s increases with more advanced age.

6. The disease is the 6th-leading cause of death in the U.S.

“Alzheimer’s is becoming a more common cause of death as the populations of the U.S. and other countries age,” reports the Alzheimer’s Association. In part, this is because we are experiencing more success in reducing the rate of death from other causes such as heart disease, while the rate of death from Alzheimer’s continues to increase.

7. There are over 15 million American caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

Family caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients provide a whopping 80% of the care at home, while a mere 10% of seniors receive all their care from paid health professionals. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, most (70%) of those caregivers are women.

8. There is an increased likelihood of depression, emotional stress and financial problems among caregivers for those with the disease.

The communication difficulties and personality changes of Alzheimer’s can place incredible strain on caregivers. “The close relationship between the caregiver and the impaired person — a relationship involving shared emotions, experiences and memories — may particularly place caregivers at risk for psychological and physical illness.” (Facts and Figures) Therapeutic and social support are shown to reduce this risk.

9. The total cost of health and long term care services for Alzheimer’s is $259 billion.

Over $56 billion of that amount was paid out of pocket. About $175 billion, or roughly 70%, was paid by Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid coverage is particularly important for those Medicare beneficiaries who have very low income and assets but who need long-term care or skilled nursing.

10. There are an estimated 800,000 Americans with the disease living alone.

For all of the Alzheimer’s sufferers who are receiving support from family caregivers or who are living in an Alzheimer’s or dementia care facility, as many as 15% of people with the disease still live alone. Many of those have no identified caregiver, a situation which puts them at greater risk of medical emergencies, poor self-care, social isolation and a range of other issues.


The Importance of Senior Mobility

It has long been known that mobility is a key factor to maintaining a healthy and fulfilling life as we age. As we surpass the age of 65, mobility becomes even more important. One third of seniors over the age of 65 fall at least once a year. A small slip that you could bounce back from easily as a child is not so easy to rebound from as a senior.

In order to reduce the number and severity of these falls in seniors that are 65+, it is important to remain active and mobile. By remaining mobile as a senior, they are improving their cardiovascular health, balance, and strength. Oftentimes mobility also allows for more socialization which is a good preventive measure to take against dementia and Alzheimer's.

The Motion Wellness System is a system developed in the 1970’s to help improve senior mobility. It comes from the idea of a child’s playground. The first Motion Wellness System was created in England and includes balance beams, fitness steps and ramps, and pull-up bars. When seniors used this system they increased their coordination, balance, and overall health by staying active in a safe and not overly taxing way.

Since the 1970’s these systems have started to spring up all over the world. They are a fun and safe way for seniors to increase their mobility and they recently started gaining traction in the United States. They can be found in assisted living communities, parks, and other public places around the U.S. At Renaissance, we understand the importance of senior mobility and work with our Members everyday to make sure that they are getting up and getting active so that they can live the most fulfilling life possible.

Tips For Having A Safe And Fun 4th Of July With Your Elderly Loved One

Many seniors still want to feel like they’re part of the celebration- even if it’s a little harder for them to get around than when they were younger. Here are some tips and things to keep in mind to make sure that you’re loved one is able to enjoy this holiday with you!

  • Make sure that they’re not sitting in the direct sunlight all day. Try to find a shady, cool spot for them.

  • Bring a chair, cushion, or wheelchair for them so that they don’t need to stand all day. Standing for long periods of time can be very tiring and might not be best for your elderly loved one.

  • For seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s, make sure that they are not in big groups for long periods of time to avoid making them anxious, nervous, or angry.

  • Make sure they stay hydrated! Bring their favorite 4th of July themed drinks and make sure they drinks lots of them.

These are a few things to keep in mind to make sure that your holiday is as fun and safe for everyone has possible. Outside of these logistical things, however, make sure to enjoy the company of your loved ones. Ask your loved one to recount a memorable story from their childhood of 4th of July. Make crafts and eat delicious food. And, of course, have fun!

Why Does Hair Turn Gray?

Ever wonder why your hair turns gray? It’s inevitable whether we want it to or not but have you ever asked yourself why we start to see those gray hairs intermingle with our beautiful colored locks? Well, research has been done to unlock the answer.  

Your hair is colored thanks to melanocytes. Melanocytes are stem cells located in the base of the hair follicle that the hair most pass through that give it pigmentation. Our specific type of pigmentation is based on our genes which is why you’ll typically see families with the same hair color.  

Now that we have a basic understanding of how your hair gets it’s color, we can dive into how it loses it. As you age, your cells begin to get weaker and break down. We can see this in how our skin reacts to age and by the graying of hair. When the cells at the base of our hair follicles get damaged or die, they stop producing the melanocytes that our hair needs to have color.

 While we still have lots to learn about hair and it’s growth, we do know that a lot of it is dependent on your genes. So if you’re going gray in your 50’s- make sure to thank your good genes!

Yogurt Linked To Better Bone Health

The largest observational study to date of dairy intakes and bone and frailty measurements in older adults has found that increased yogurt consumption was associated with a higher hip bone density and a significantly reduced risk of osteoporosisin older women and men on the island of Ireland, after taking into account traditional risk factors.

The study led by Trinity College Dublin in collaboration with St James's Hospital Dublin and co-investigators from Nutrition at Ulster University, Coleraine investigated participants from the Trinity Ulster Department of Agriculture (TUDA) ageing cohort study.

Total hip and femoral neck bone mineral density measures in females were 3.1-3.9% higher among those with the highest yogurt intakes compared to the lowest and improvements were observed in some of the physical function measures (6.7% better). In men, the biomarker of bone breakdown was 9.5% lower in those with the highest yogurt intakes compared to the lowest. This is an indication of reduced bone turnover.

To determine risk factors for being diagnosed as osteoporotic, the research team analysed a wide range of factors such as BMI, kidney function, physical activity, servings of milk or cheese, and calcium or vitamin D supplements as well as traditional risk factors for bone health (e.g. smoking, inactivity, alcohol etc.). After adjusting for all these factors, each unit increase in yogurt intake in women was associated with a 31% lower risk of osteopenia and a 39% lower risk of osteoporosis. In men, a 52% lower risk of osteoporosis was found. Vitamin D supplements were also associated with significantly reduced risks both in men and women.

Osteoporosis is a chronic condition associated with a reduction in bone strength and an increased risk of bone fracture. Over 300,000 people in Ireland are thought to suffer from the condition while the associated costs of osteoporotic fractures are estimated to be over €650 million annually in Europe.

Lead author of the study and research fellow at the Centre for Medical Gerontology, Trinity, Dr Eamon Laird said: "Yogurt is a rich source of different bone promoting nutrients and thus our findings in some ways are not surprising. The data suggest that improving yogurt intakes could be a strategy for maintaining bone health but it needs verification through future research as it is observational."

Dr Miriam Casey, senior investigator of this study and Consultant Physician at St James's Hospital Dublin said: "The results demonstrate a significant association of bone health and frailty with a relatively simple and cheap food product. What is now needed is verification of these observations from randomized controlled trials as we still don't understand the exact mechanisms which could be due to the benefits of micro-biota or the macro and micro nutrient composition of the yogurt."

The study included 1,057 women and 763 men who underwent a bone-mineral-density (BMD) assessment and 2,624 women and 1,290 men who had their physical function measured. Yogurt consumption information was obtained from a questionnaire and categorized as never, 2-3 times per week and more than one serving per day. Other factors examined included daily intakes of other dairy products, meat, fish, smoking and alcohol and other traditional risk factors that affect bone health.

The TUDA study was funded by the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Food Institutional Research Measure initiative and the Northern Ireland Department for Employment and Learning (DEL), Cross-Border Research and Development Programme: "Strengthening the all Island Research Base". The current research was a supported by the National Dairy Council, Ireland through a research award.

Blog Post: // Article: Greater yogurt consumption is associated with increased bone mineral density and physical function in older adults, E. Laird, A. M. Molloy, H. McNulty, M. Ward, K. McCarrol, lL. Hoey, C. F. Hughes, C. Cunningham, J. J. Strain, M. C. Casey, Osteoporosis International, doi: 10.1007/s00198-017-4049-5, published online 1 May 2017.

Improved Memory Linked To Chocolate Consumption- Isn’t That Sweet?

A recent study done by Valentina Socci at a university in Italy has concluded that there is a significant link between chocolate and memory function. To be more specific, there has been a link discovered between the flavanols in the cocoa tree and the preservation of the hippocampus. 

Flavanols are naturally occurring compounds found in trees and plants and some of the highest levels are found specifically in the cocoa tree. These flavanols help to preserve and boost the function of the hippocampus which is the frontal part of the brain that is most responsible for creating memories.

The study focused on other studies that have been done in the past in relation to the ingestion of cocoa and it’s affects on the memory. Interestingly enough, the patients that see the most improvement in memory after ingesting the cocoa flavanols are people with mild cognitive decline.

The consumption of chocolate can have immediate effects on memory. Tests can only detect these effects if they are extremely rigorous. Where you can really see the advantages of the flavanols is in long-term regular ingestion of chocolate. Daily intake of chocolate for 5 days to three months show the best results for improving memory function.

The flavanols increase the blood circulation to the hippocampus which stimulates the brain and helps to preserve memory, the report finds.

So, if you the next time you see the piece of chocolate laying around, don’t feel bad- eat it!  

Why More Men Are Moving to Assisted Living Communities

Traditionally, it’s been mostly women in assisted living homes. As the life expectancy for men continues to increase, the ratio of men to women has shifted within assisted living homes. Currently, the average lifespan for men in the United States in 76 but in other countries in the world, the life expectancy is as high as 81.7 years old. While women’s life expectancies have remained fairly stagnant over the last 25 years, men’s have continued to increase steadily upwards. Although their longer life spans are one reason for the increasing presence for men in assisted living communities, there are a few others that we have uncovered and outlined below.

More Severe Illnesses
Because men are living longer, they are also running into more severe health concerns that they may not have faced in the recent past. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are some of the most common illnesses for aging individuals. Renaissance of Richfield and Bath’s Memory Care facility provides a viable solution for children that are dealing with a parent that has this disease. Services like these are one of the reasons that we are seeing more men moving to Assisted Living communities.

Innovations in Senior Living Arrangements
The days of old, stuffy accommodations with underpaid and under appreciated and cranky staff members are slowly becoming a part of the past. Renaissance’s homey feel and many amenities make the transition to assisted living not only bearable but desirable. Your loved one can now look forward to healthy eating, scheduled activities, and around the clock health services from their community which makes the move much easier.

 There are many reasons why were are seeing more men moving to assisted living communities like Renaissance but these are some of the keys!


Teaching Your Grandchildren About Memorial Day

Everyone knows that Memorial Day means a day off work, spending time with family, and backyard BBQs. Unfortunately, sometimes the real meaning of the day gets lost amongst the celebrations. While it’s fine to enjoy your family and have fun on this day while the weather starts to turn warm, you can also use it as a way to build stronger relationships with your grandchildren while telling them what the holiday is all about. Below we’ve outlined some ways you can share more about the origins of the holiday while building a deeper connection to your young loved ones.  

Tell them about your own experience in the military. Explain to them the difference between when you grew up and how they’re growing up. Tell them about how your service affected your life and what it means to you to celebrate Memorial Day. Kids love to hear how the world was once very different than the one that they live in today. You can pass down stories that you’d like them to remember and, one day, recount to their grandchildren.

Take a trip to a local memorial. You can take a fun trip with your family to a local memorial. Taking a trip to Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park would make a great and informative outing. You can make this experience uplifting by making a picnic and talking about your childhood with your grandchildren. You can let them know that all these men and women that are being honored fought to make their present day a reality.

Attend a parade. There are many parades that you can attend with you grandchildren on Memorial Day. The Hudson Memorial Day Parade would be a great destination and activity to do with your grandchildren. It's only 20 minutes away from Renaissance! The jubilance of the parade will make them squeal with delight but you can also explain the meaning of the holiday as the different parts of the parade go past. This is a way to make the origin of the holiday both interesting and fun.

 Regardless of what you decide to do this year for Memorial Day, make sure that the main point of the holiday is spending time with your loved ones. You can make this an informative and fun day that helps you build bonds with your grandchildren while also educating them on both your life and origin of this holiday.