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Nutrition for the Elderly

Nutrition for the Elderly

John Johnson No Comments
Elderly Nutrition

As we age, our dietary needs change. While a well-balanced diet is critical for everyone, it becomes increasingly important for older adults as we look to mitigate health risks. Let’s explore how eating a well-balanced diet which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein is essential for living a healthy lifestyle for seniors.

In addition to these food groups, it is equally important to include critical nutrients in your diet. These nutrients are essential for your long term health, especially during your golden years.

Omega 3 – Studies have proven that Omega 3 helps to ward off heart disease. It is also effective for helping to prevent cancer, inflammation and even some types of arthritis. If you aren’t a fan of fish, consider alternatives such as walnuts, canola oil and even flaxseeds to add Omega 3 to your diet.

Calcium – As we age, our bodies need more calcium which can be found in foods like milk, leafy greens or fortified orange juice. While we know that calcium strengthens bones, it is also essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure.

Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B12 is important for healthy nerve function. It is also a key part of red blood cells and DNA. To boost your B12 naturally, enjoy foods like milk, eggs, fish and poultry.

Folate/Folic Acid – Essential for warding off anemia, most adults lack adequate folate levels.  Just eating a bowl of fortified cereal or eating a large serving of vegetables, will give you these extra nutrients.

Vitamin D – Without Vitamin D, your body can’t absorb calcium which impacts bone density. Those with low Vitamin D levels may experience cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and other series conditions.  To increase your Vitamin D, increase your daily exposure to the sun (and of course, wear sunscreen) or a supplement can be taken if that’s a more suitable option.

Potassium – Most people don’t get the recommended 4,700 mg each day.  Did you know that potassium wards off kidney stones, high blood pressure and will keep you feeling healthy?  By adding fruits like bananas and prunes into your diet, you can easily increase the amount of potassium into your daily food intake.

Magnesium – Magnesium is vital for your bones, heart and immune system. Unfortunately, with people eating more processed foods, magnesium levels are decreasing. It is critical to eat plenty of fresh foods and vegetables when possible.


Getting the proper nutrition and sticking with a balanced diet is difficult for many people.  The more you educate yourself and evaluate your options, the better likelihood you will have to improve your diet and will be able to help prepare and plan meals for the seniors in your life.  Meeting the nutritional needs for seniors is a risk that can be managed.  If you need more information or would like to talk with us, please contact us at:  www.smallalfcoalition.com/contact-us.


Fall Prevention: Helping the Elderly Stay at Home Longer

John Johnson No Comments
Elderly Falls

We all want to protect our elderly family members and help them stay safe, secure, and independent. Knowing how to reduce the risk of falling, a leading cause of injury, is a step toward this goal. Fall prevention and additional measures should be taken to reduce the risks of injury from falls. Doing so, will allow our loved ones to remain in their homes longer with fewer injuries and will increase their quality of life significantly.

Based on studies by the Center for Disease Control, moderate to severe injuries are sustained by 20 to 30 percent of people who fall. These injuries may include hip fractures, lacerations and head trauma. The CDC also shows that the most common cause of traumatic brain injury is falling.

Even when a fall is without injury, many elderly become afraid of falling. As a result, they avoid many activities they think might cause them to fall. This leads to a reduction in their physical fitness and mobility, which only increases their chances of falling.

Tips to Reduce the Chances of Falling

You can play an active role in risk management by preventing the chances of a senior member falling by being aware and taking action to help protect older adults.

  • Medications – Over medicating is one of the biggest causes of falls. Going over all medications, whether prescription or over the counter is the first step in decreasing the risk of falls. Some medications’ side effects increase falls because of drowsiness or dizziness. Some will interact in such a way that seniors lose their balance easily and become dizzy when certain medications are taken together. Anti-depressants and sleeping medications are particular medications to be mindful of when taken together. Additionally, some medications may not be necessary and should be eliminated. Others may need more definitive directions on when to take and the potential side effects associated.
  • Vision check – Failing eye sight is another factor that may contribute to falling. To keep vision at its best, be sure your elderly loved ones have yearly eye exams, more often if necessary, and eyeglasses are kept updated with the most recent prescription at all times. When vision is clearer, tripping is less likely.
  • Exercise – Though exercise is important for everyone, it is especially important for the elderly. It does not have to be strenuous but it does need to focus on keeping the legs as strong as possible. Certain exercises help improve balance. When balance and leg strength is improved, falling is less likely.
  • Eliminate hazards at home – Take a good look around the house with a focus on anything that could be a tripping hazard. Add lighting in areas where your loved one may need more light for better visibility of obstacles that can’t be moved. If the home has an upstairs, be sure the stairway has railings on both sides. Be sure sturdy grab bars are installed by the toilet that are within easy reach and ensure both inside and outside of the shower or bathtub have grab bars as well.

While the risk of falling can be greatly reduced by following the tips above, some falls may still happen.  To make sure every possibility is covered, we suggest making a checklist to follow. This list isn’t a onetime list but rather should be reviewed often so nothing slips through the cracks.

Schedule a Doctor’s Appointment

Schedule a doctor appointment and be there with your elderly family member so you can be sure the doctor has all the necessary information and the right questions are asked. Take a list of all medications, including all over the counter ones that are currently being taken. If you can take the containers, do so as that will give the doctor all the information needed for each medication.

Talk to the doctor about any previous falls or instances of almost falling. Give as much detail about this instances as possible so the doctor can help with developing prevention strategies.

Also, discuss any health conditions that could be a contributor to a potential fall. Be as complete as possible in talking about dizziness, numbness, joint pain and breathing difficulties. The doctor may test balance, muscle strength and how the elderly person walks.

Wear stable footwear

Be sure shoes are always worn. Avoid shoes with high heels, have slick soles, or are considered sandals or slippers. Shoes that fit well, have nonskid soles and designed to help maintain balance are best.

Keep moving

Staying as active as possible is necessary in reducing the risk of falling.  Any type of exercise is recommended, whether it is a water activity or simply some form of walking.  Continual movement will help muscle strength and mobility.

More than ever before, most falls can be prevented.  Being informed and aware of the tools available, will allow your senior loves to be able to live happy and independently in their homes for much longer.  Please contact us at SmallALFCoalition.com/contact-us if we can be of assistance to you.  We would be happy to share more knowledge and tips with you that may be unique to your circumstances.

Is It Time for Assisted Living or Nursing Home Care?

John Johnson No Comments
Assisted Living and Nursing Home Senior Care

As our older loved ones age, they need more assistance and care. It may not be possible for them to remain at home but they are not ready to give up their independence either. Is it time for Assisted Living or Nursing Home Care? It may be the perfect answer to get the care needed while allowing as much independence as possible.

Assisted Living for seniors offers as much or as little assistance and care as each person needs. In every case, the focus is on the safety, health and comfort of our senior loved ones. Rooms in Assisted Living facilities are designed to allow residents to have some of their own furniture arranged the way they want it.  Some rooms are meant for double occupancy by a husband and wife or an unrelated resident as a roommate which can also be a cost savings alternative.  Seniors are able to live comfortably without the worry of being alone should something happen as help is available within minutes around the clock.

The services available to individuals residing in assisted living facilities varies.  If a resident requires help with bathing, personal grooming, getting dressed and/or getting the right medications at the right times, trained personnel are there to provide it.  If a ride to a doctor’s appointment or other appointment is needed, a car, van or bus is available to provide transportation.  Typically, vans and buses are usually outfitted for those with walkers or wheelchairs.

Delicious and healthy meal options are provided as part of the service so seniors are able to have good nutritious meals without having to do the work.  Seniors will have more opportunities for socialization than when they were in their own homes. Crafts, games and music as well as exercise programs are made available to those who wish to take advantage of the planned activities.  Outings to events, to the park for a picnic or just out for an afternoon of shopping are planned on a regular basis.

What is the difference between Assisted Living and Nursing Home senior care?

Nursing homes offer some of the same amenities to residents that they can take advantage of that are provided by Assisted Living facilities, however, nursing home facilities provide 24 hour care by licensed and registered nurses (clinical) while assisted living provides “communal living” and services to assist with daily living as needed.  Privacy is reduced and most residents are in smaller rooms that allow for little of their own furniture.  Residents in nursing homes are less able to be independent so staff, often nurses, do more of the care.  Assisted Living encourages residents to do as much for themselves as they are able to do.

What are the signs to look for when it is time for your loved one to move into an assisted living or a nursing home facility is a common question that we are often asked?  If your loved one is isolated from the company of others because they can no longer get out and about on their own, it may be time.  Also, not having good meals because cooking is not something they can do anymore or if they are having a hard time remembering which medications to take when.  If bathing, grooming and getting dressed are becoming too difficult to do on their own, assistance on a regular basis is appropriate.  All of these examples are signs that it may be time to consider assisted living or nursing home care.

Finding the right community based on your family needs is our specialty.  Regardless of what city or part of the country you are in, we will provide you with the best options and resources you need to choose the right type of care and residence for your needs.  Please contact us at www.smallalfcoalition/contact-us.

How to Make the Holidays Special for Seniors

John Johnson No Comments
Create holiday memories with Seniors

The holidays are hectic and can be a stressful time of year. With all the hustle and bustle and activity going on during the holiday season, it’s important to remember why we celebrate and to spend time with your elderly loved one or that special senior in your life. As many have lost a spouse or friends through the years, this time of year is often difficult for them. Make the holidays special for seniors.

This year, give the gift of your time by simply spending time with the seniors in your life. There are many ways to include the seniors in your holiday festivities, here are a just a few:

Help Put Up Decorations for the Holidays

If your elderly loved one doesn’t live in your home, they may not put up decorations themselves as it’s too much trouble or they are not physically able. That doesn’t mean they don’t want them up. Gather the family, get a tree and decorations and help put them up in their home or place of residence.

Jewish families can decorate for Chanukah. Set up a Menorah and table decorations in blue and gold featuring dreidles and gelt. On the first night of Chanukah, bring some latkes and sufganiyot made from your loved one’s favorite recipes and have a festive party to light the first candle.

Make Tree Decorations

Your loved one may remember making homemade decorations for their Christmas tree when they were young. Go through some craft books or search online and find a few that you can make together. When the decorations are finished, hang them on the tree and take a photo to capture the memory.

Have a Holiday Sing-a-long

Invite other family members and close friends over for a night of singing carols and having refreshments.  Record or video the sing-a-long as a special keepsake.

Have a Story Night

Seniors often have entertaining stories about the holidays when they were growing up. This is a good time for your children to learn what holidays were like years ago before the digital age. Encourage questions so your elderly loved one can share the wealth of knowledge they have. To add to the specialness of this time, serve cookies, pie or whatever you like along with hot cocoa or hot spiced apple cider. If your senior family member is capable, have them help make these treats using their favorite recipes.

Take a Drive to See Lights and Holiday Decorations

This is typically a holiday favorite as everyone enjoys driving around and seeing all the colorful holiday lights around town.  Seniors often miss out on this, especially if they no longer drive. Invite your loved one to go with you to see the lights around town and in the neighborhoods. Afterwards, stop for a hot beverage and talk about the different decorations you saw on your ride. Or, if a car ride isn’t possible, take photos of the lights in your area that can be shared with them.

Go to a Holiday Concert or Pageant

During the holidays, pageants and concerts are held almost nightly. Get a listing of the events in your area and let your loved one choose one or two to attend. Make it an event for the whole family or just a special time for just you and your loved one to spend time together. Afterward, remiss about a special holiday event that is near and dear to their heart.

We hope you take one or all of these ideas to make this holiday season extra special with your special senior in your life. As always, if we can be of assistance, please contact us today.  We wish you and your family a blessed holiday season.

Alzheimer’s Disease – Memory Loss and Early Warning Signs

John Johnson No Comments
Small ALF Coalition - Alzheimer's care

Alzheimer’s Disease is still not well understood in spite of being a well-known disease that affects millions of people. To raise awareness of what the disease is and how it affects families, caregivers and medical professionals, November has been made National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. During this month, events to bring more awareness to the disease are held so information can be shared in the hope that combining efforts will result in finding better treatments and an eventual cure for the disease.

Many people are not aware that Alzheimer’s ranks 6th among the leading causes of death.  It’s shocking that more people die from Alzheimer’s than from prostate cancer and breast cancer combined. Also, of all the leading causes of death, Alzheimer’s is the only one still on the rise. As of yet, causes of the disease are not fully known. Some risk factors are known and progress has been made in diagnosing it. Some treatments are available but it cannot be cured at this time.

You may have a family member or a loved one who might have Alzheimer’s but they haven’t been diagnosed.  If so, here are some signs to look for that may indicate the onset of the disease.

  • Memory loss. If a person can remember events from their past but recent memories are forgotten, it could be a sign of Alzheimer’s.
  • Language difficulties. While most people stumble on a word at times, someone with Alzheimer’s will have difficulty with common everyday words. It may become difficult to understand what they say.
  • Repeating things. Does your family member repeat questions or stories even right after asking or telling them?
  • Being confused or disoriented. Even in places they have known for years, Alzheimer’s patients may not know where they are. They can also forget what they are doing, such as cooking.
  • Changed personality. Mood swings are common. A person with this disease may become angry or upset without any reason. One of the most upsetting aspects for family is a sudden distrust of the family but complete trust in someone they have never seen before.
  • Odd or changed behavior. If you notice anomalies such as changes in dressing or the individual is wearing the same clothes every day and doesn’t bathe or puts things in places that are completely wrong such as a hairbrush in the oven, these could be signs of Alzheimer’s.

Recently, studies are showing another possible indicator of Alzheimer’s. The sense of smell appears to diminish in Alzheimer’s patients and could be one of the earliest signs, showing even before there is any memory loss. Studies are being done using peanut butter to test smelling ability on people with risk factors for Alzheimer’s. Treatments are more effective the earlier the disease is diagnosed so this study shows a lot of promise in providing earlier and more effective treatment.

Families often try to keep loved ones afflicted with Alzheimer’s at home and care for them on their own for as long as possible. In the earlier stages of the disease, this is possible but it does instill a heavy toll on the family. Breaks from caregiving are necessary from time to time so non-family caregivers come in to give the family some respite. As Alzheimer’s progresses, families are often not able to continue giving the necessary care at home. At this point, a skilled memory care facility is more appropriate.

A memory care facility isn’t just a nursing home. It is designed to provide care for Alzheimer’s patients and those afflicted with other forms of dementia. These facilities are usually secured so residents cannot leave on their own. This is for their safety and the safety of others. Some places have privacy fenced yards or gardens so residents can safely spend time outdoors. Programs and activities are focused on exercising the mind to keep it as functional as possible. Physical therapy and exercise are offered to keep patients active and healthy. Medications are managed so patients get what they need at the right times. Healthy meals, laundry, cleaning, personal assistance and full time supervision are also provided.

If you have a family member or know someone with Alzheimer’s, take time in November to do what you can to raise awareness of this devastating disease.  We are here to help in any way that we can.  Please click here if you would like our help and we will be in touch shortly.


Taking Care of Mom and Dad: Find Senior Care in Florida

John Johnson No Comments
Senior Living in Florida

Taking care of a parent is a reality for one out of eight Americans today. Luckily as caregivers, we have many senior living options and services available to find the next home for our loved one. It’s common knowledge that senior adults want to remain in their home as long as possible. It’s confirmed by an AARP study that 89% of people choose to age at home if given this choice. However, there are some telling signs to look for to help recognize when it’s time for assisted living or a new senior living residence. A few examples are:

  • Wandering
  • Lapses in memory
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Home safety issues
  • Escalating care needs
  • Caregiver stress

As you are considering your senior living options, we have provided you with helpful information on how to find Senior Care in Florida and tips to make the decision making process easier.  We understand that it can be difficult to navigate and shuffle through all your choices – we are here to help you.

We are sure you’ve heard the motto “live life to the fullest.”  With warm weather and many choices of living arrangements for seniors, Florida is an ideal haven for senior living.  To help put this in perspective, did you know:

  • Florida has the highest 50+ density in the U.S. and continues to be the number one destination of retirees according to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.
  • Population in Florida age 60+ is 4,454,625; one-third of the population are senior citizens
  • Florida has the highest percentage of elderly where 19% of residents are seniors
  • Sun City Center, Florida is the home to the 55+ market; with more than 20,000 private homes and 14 facilities offering unique community lifestyle:
    • All-volunteer community with age restrictions requiring at least one resident per household to have reached 55 years of age.
    • Many families own a golf cart as the city has been given special permission to drive unlicensed golf carts on the streets.
  • In the 2014 Cost of Care Survey conducted by Genworth Financial, Florida ranks in the top 3 amongst the lowest cost for a one-bedroom, single-occupancy assisted living apartment.

We realize that there are many variables that come into play when considering the geographical location for your loved one and Florida may not be the ideal location for you.  Our reach extends beyond Florida so rest assured that we can be of assistance to you.  Nonetheless, Florida is a great option if it meets your needs.

You may be asking, where do I start or what do I do next?  We are a resource and service for you, free of charge.  We believe in information sharing and providing you with what you need to ease the decision making process.  In addition to the services and information listed on the Small Assisted Living Coalition website, a few additional resources are:

Assisted Living Federation of America

National Caregivers Library

Please let us know how we can help you by calling us at (813) 857-2551 or contact us through the website.

Small ALF Coalition Founders

John Johnson No Comments
Small Assisted Living Coalition logo

Meet the Small ALF Coalition Founders, John and Angelett Johnson

As founders of the Small Assisted Living Coalition and as owners of a small assisted living facility (small ALF), we are excited to share industry insights, tips and our experiences with you as we embark on a new online journey together. But, first we would like our readers to get to know us, what we offer the community and why we are passionate about the senior industry.  Our goal is to build a relationship with our readers and support your business endeavors in any way we can.

Growing up in Chicago and being a “grandma’s boy,” I learned early on that I’m protective, loving and am compassionate for helping the elderly. I saw these characteristics as “gifts” and hoped that one day I would have the opportunity to service the senior community and bring smiles and joy to the elderly. My wife, Angelett, was born and raised in Tampa and has always had a heavy heart for helping seniors in need and has enjoyed establishing strong ties within the community. Together, we knew we had something unique to give back and offer the community.

In 2009, my wife and I embarked on a decision that transformed our lives and that was to become a small ALF owner. Our first resident had dementia (which is often associated with memory loss) which allowed us to work first hand to provide care for someone with this condition. Working with this resident lead us to become active in the Alzheimer’s Association as we wanted to give back where we could.

Over the next few years, we saw a vision and an opportunity to make a difference in servicing the community by coming together as one to share resources, insights and to help one another. As the old saying goes, “Two is always better than one.” With that, the Small ALF Coalition was formed and has grown two-fold.

The Small ALF Coalition prides itself in offering the following:

  • Placement of your family members into an environment that aligns with their lifestyle.
  • Assistance with navigating financial funding and providing resources.
  • Offering personal care services to meet your unique needs.
  • Partners with both small and large facilities.

Additionally, we provide a forum for all assisted living facility owners to come together as a community to help one another. We encourage you to become a member if you are not already.

Please continue to follow our blog as we provide tips and insights and become your online resource for staying abreast about what is happening in the senior industry.  For instance, did you know that almost 42% of facility residents have some form of dementia, and about one-third of them are being cared for either in specialty homes or in designated unites of larger institutions?  One-third have heart disease and half suffer from three or more chronic illnesses. These are just some of the findings from a recent study by the federal National Center for Health Statistics.

Are you intrigued? We look forward to embarking on this journey and building an online relationship with you.  Please contact the Small Assisted Living Coalition at (813) 857-2551 or use our contact form to discuss how we can help you.

-John and Angelett Johnson

A New Beginning!

John Johnson No Comments

Welcome to the official blog spot of the Small Assisted Living Coalition!

In this new Blog area, we will be sharing with you various experiences regarding Assisted Living Facilities, and how these experiences can be of benefit to you and yours! We know that the burden of placing a loved one into a home that is safe and secure is a big deal to you. And so, we believe that through these experiences that we would share with you, it is our hope and prayer that you will be blessed immensely, encouraged, and well-informed in making this often-hard decision.

Know today that we are here for you, and if you are in need of a professional consultation with us to help you determine a place that will fit your loved one, contact us today!

More is to come, so stay tuned!

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