Friday, December 19, 2014

Need Help Finding a Flu Vaccine?

If you haven't yet received your flu vaccine, the CDC has a tool to help. Simply enter your ZIP code in the Flu Vaccine Finder above to be shown locations near your home offering the vaccine. Even though this year's flu vaccine has been shown to not completely align with current flu strains (because of so-called "drift variants"), the CDC still recommends that everyone six months and older get vaccinated because vaccines have been shown to offer some protection against drift variants in the past. The vaccine could also provide protection against other flu strains that might become more common as the season progresses. To learn more, visit

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Study: People with Severe Dementia Less Depressed in Nursing Homes

European researchers have found that people with severe dementia are less depressed living in a nursing home than a community-based setting.

The researchers, based out of the University of Manchester, studied about 400 people with late-stage dementia in eight European countries. They found that 23 percent of the people living in facilities showed signs of depression, compared to 37 percent of the subjects living in the community. This pattern was consistent across all eight countries.

The researchers reasoned that the rate of depression might be lower in nursing homes because the residents have more opportunities to socialize and take part in activities than they do in the community. They noted, however, that the results are somewhat subjective based on caregivers' impressions.

To learn more, click here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Get Around with ProMed

ProMed has everything your residents need to maintain an active, independent lifestyle. Whether they need a little help balancing or are completely wheelchair-dependent, our mobility products will get them where they need to go in style.

What products best fit your residents' needs?

Our rollators are perfect for residents on the go. They provide balance and stability and can also be used as seating. They're ideal for both indoor and outdoor use and include convenient storage pouches for personal items.

We have a wheelchair for every resident. Our team will help you choose the perfect model based on seat width, adjustability, leg options, arm preferences and more. We also stock a complete line of wheelchair cushions to ensure your residents receive optimal support.

Folding walkers are available in both standard and bariatric styles. We also offer a full range of accessories, including glides, wheels, trays and baskets, to customize the walkers to your residents' individual preferences.

The unique LiftWalker is the ideal product for residents who need a little help sitting or standing on their own. It has stand assist bars that easily retract into the unit to turn it into a traditional walker.

If your residents just need a little help getting around, we also offer standard and quad canes.

Your ProMed territory manager is ready to tell you more about our mobility solutions. You can also connect with us by giving us a call at (800) 648-5190 or visiting us online at

Monday, December 15, 2014

Study: Seniors See Cognitive, Emotional Benefits from Social Media

It might be time to schedule a "Facebook 101" class at your facility.

Researchers in the United Kingdom found that seniors in long-term care facilities receive a number of cognitive and emotional benefits from being trained in using social media. 

The subjects were given a touchscreen computer and keyboard and received three months of training on using social media applications such as Facebook and Skype. The researchers found that, compared to the control group, the study participants showed improved cognition, a greater sense of self-competence and self-identity and were socially engaged. 

To learn more, click here

Friday, December 12, 2014

December 7-13 is National Influenza Vaccination Week!

It's National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW)! Did you know that flu season can begin as early as October, it usually peaks between December and February, and it can last as late as May? As long as flu virsues are spreading, it's not too late to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones through fall, winter and into spring. #GetAFluVax

Click here to download National Influenza Vaccination Week resources from the CDC, including flyers, posters and other educational materials.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Researchers: Hospice Benefit Should Be Redesigned for LTC Residents

Researchers at the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University Center for Aging Research are recommending that Medicare reconsider how they support nursing home residents who need hospice care.

The researchers said the current hospice benefit isn't a good fit for nursing home residents because of the way eligibility criteria is configured. Nursing home residents tend to have longer average hospice stays than individuals living in a community setting (nearly a third of nursing home residents receive hospice services for longer than six months, compared to less than one week for about one-third of hospice users overall). Residents are also more likely to dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, be women and have dementia.

To learn more, click here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Banish the Holiday Blues

Sleigh bells are ringing and Christmas carols are floating through the air, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is filled with the holiday spirit. In fact, you might find that many of your residents become depressed or blue when the holidays roll around. What causes the holiday blues and what can you do to banish them from your facility?

Getting to the bottom of “Bah humbug!”  
Think about your fondest childhood holiday memories. For many of us, they revolve around time spent with family and friends. As we grow older, family and friends move away or might no longer be with us. This can lead older adults to think about how quickly time has passed or become sad at the prospect of celebrating the holidays without loved ones. Health problems and concerns about money can also make it difficult to find joy in the holiday season.1

How can you help the residents at your facility have a jolly holiday?

Remember the past, but don’t live in it 
Many residents might hold on to what they remember as ideal holiday celebrations from their youth and become upset when they are unable to recreate them. The good news is that there are no “rules” about what makes for a good holiday celebration.

Invite residents to share their fondest holiday memories. What did they eat for Christmas dinner as a child? What was their favorite present from Santa? Recalling these memories should bring a smile to residents’ faces.

After they are finished recalling special Christmases past, gently remind the resident that while Christmas might be different now, the facility is dedicated to making sure they enjoy the holiday season and make lots of new memories.

Be a good listener 
When you notice that residents seem down, encourage them to talk about how they’re feeling. Acknowledge that they might be having “difficult” feelings, such as a sense of loss if their family members or friends have died or moved away. Remind the resident that there’s nothing wrong with not feeling jolly and that a lot of people get the blues during the holiday season.

The truth is, the holidays aren’t a magic wand. No matter how many get-togethers residents attend or gifts they unwrap, the holidays won’t automatically zap away worries, loneliness, sadness, frustration, anger or fear. This can be easy to forget when strains of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” are filling the air.

Lend a helping hand
The holidays can be overwhelming even for people who are in great health and have an easy time getting around. Many elderly people will have a difficult time performing holiday rituals such as shopping or sending Christmas cards. Could your facility organize a special shopping trip at a time when the stores are less likely to be crowded or offer to help address Christmas cards for residents who have a tough time gripping a pen?

Help create low-cost gifts 
Many senior citizens are on tight or fixed budgets. For these people, giving gifts during the holidays can be a source of anxiety. You can help ease these worries by hosting gift-making sessions during your arts and crafts time. One simple and inexpensive project is creating note card sets using paper and rubber stamps. Staff members can cut and fold heavy paper into the desired note card size and then residents can personalize the cards using a variety of stickers or rubber stamps and different colors of ink pads. Encourage residents to “autograph” the back of the cards. Simply tie a ribbon around the cards to make them ready for giving.

Residents who knit or crochet might also enjoy showing other residents how to make simple gifts such as bookmarks. Inexpensive yarn for these crafts is readily available at hobby stores.

Share the sights of the season 
Most towns are brightly lit with lights during the holiday season, but residents might not get a chance to enjoy them. Consider hosting an evening tour of the town in your facility’s van and slowly cruising past brightly lit homes and businesses. When you return to the facility, gather together for cocoa or spiced cider and discuss your favorite light displays.

Another idea that will both make your facility most festive and lift resident spirits is to have a holiday decorating contest. Residents of each hallway can team up with staff members to “deck the halls,” and then residents can vote for their favorite hallway. The team that decorates the winning hallway could receive a holiday pizza or ice cream party.

Holiday blues or depression?
How can you tell the difference between fleeting holiday blues and full-fledged depression? According to the National Institute for Mental Health, it’s important to watch for the following symptoms of depression1:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
  • Irritability or restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that were once pleasurable
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that don’t ease even with treatment

If you suspect that residents are depressed rather than suffering from a case of the holiday blues, encourage them to talk to a staff member or social worker. Depression is very treatable and nothing to be ashamed of.

1 National Institute of Mental Health. What are the signs and symptoms of depression? Available at: Accessed December 10, 2014.