Love your heart, help your brain

“You don’t have to have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

Dr. Martin Luther King

Let’s talk about stroke prevention. May is Stroke Awareness Month, and as a woman my risk for having a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) is higher than a man due to several factors. According to the CDC’s website “The lifetime risk of stroke for women between the ages of 55 and 75 in the United States is 1 in 5. Stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer does, making stroke the third leading cause of death for women.” African American women have the highest risk for mortality due to a stroke. Pretty shocking statistics.

Why are women more susceptible to strokes? We live longer than men, and stroke risk increases with age. Other factors that increase our risk are certain types of birth control, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, sickle cell anemia and obesity.

What is a stroke? A stroke is essentially the death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen that is caused by either a clot or a “brain bleed” which is also known as a hemorrhagic stroke. Because of the damage to the tissue it can cause abnormalities in muscle function, speech, swallowing and behavior, depending on which area of the brain is affected. The severity of a stroke is directly linked to the amount of time between the on-set of the stroke and professional medical evaluation, treatment and intervention.

Possible signs of stroke may include:

  • Numbness, tingling or weakness in one extremity or one side of the body
  • Sudden onset confusion, inability to speak or understand speech
  • Sudden, severe headache (with or without vomiting)
  • Abnormal or impaired vision in one or both eyes
  • Difficulty with swallowing or facial drooping
  • Impaired coordination, dizziness or loss of balance

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have had a stroke, call 911 immediately. Time is imperative to ensure proper treatment and to lessen any residual effects from the stroke. Remember to contact your primary care provider for advice on how to lessen your chances of having a stroke.

For additional resources or education please visit the stroke section of the CDC’s website.

Finding Your Balance

Dear Stress, I think it’s time that we spend some time apart…

While doing research for this blog, I have learned that every month has some kind of national observance. Or multiple observances. And silly national days, such as National Rubber Eraser Day (April 15th) or National Lima Bean Respect Day (April 20th). April is also national Stress Awareness Month, and it focuses on the best ways to recognize burnout and how to best care for ourselves while taking care of each other.

As a nurse, I am accustomed to running on caffeine and stress. Not to mention, we are the absolute WORST at listening to our own advice. This month I decided that I would try some stress relief techniques that I’ve learned over the years, just to see if they any effect on my outlook. And you know what? I honestly think it did!

“Always laugh when you can, it is cheap medicine.”

Lord Byron

Stress Management Techniques

  1. KNOW YOUR WORTH. Not everyone can do the job you do (this is especially true of healthcare). Be proud of yourself and what you bring to the table.
  2. LEARN TO SAY NO. Everyone wants to be an indispensable part of the team, but don’t let it affect your mental health. Recognize your boundaries, and realize when it is time to walk away.
  3. EXERCISE. Routine exercise can decrease stress hormone levels (that contribute to belly fat!) and increase endorphin levels, which improve your over-all mood.
  4. SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS. No explanation necessary.
  5. RE-ASSESS YOUR TO-DO LIST. Sometimes it is easier to have a “Done” checklist than a “To-Do” checklist.
  6. TAKE A NAP. This is my personal favorite! I am continually amazed at how refreshed I feel after a nap, even if it’s just 20 minutes.
  7. DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY. Learn a new hobby, snuggle your pets or hug a loved one.
  8. COUNSELLING. Sometimes we all need a little extra help or professional support in our daily lives. There is no shame in recognizing that you may need some additional resources to cope, especially with the strain that Covid-19 has placed on all of us.
  9. GUIDED IMAGERY AKA find your happy place.
  10. LAUGH.

Do not hesitate to reach out to your primary care provider for professional help or additional resources to cope with financial, mental or physical stressors that you may be experiencing. An added bonus of our campus is the availability of our chaplains to guide us through difficult times. There are many websites available that provide more education and resources regarding stress, anxiety and depression.

BREAKING NEWS

Spring is in the air; it’s Easter weekend; and Maranatha Village Chapel is reopening following months of lockdown due to COVID-19. This is big news! Once again worship services are available for Independent Living Residents and friends.

Residents are singing with the Psalmist David, “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord .’”

A TREASURE

Maranatha Village library is a treasure available to all residents. Located in the Northwood Apartment building, it houses several thousand books, over 300 DVDs, dozens of jigsaw puzzles, photocopies at five cents a page, and hand-made greeting cards.

The library is open daily on a self-service basis. Residents discover the treasure and are enriched!

Our library is just one of the many reasons why we’re not a nursing home, we’re much better! Contact us or visit to find out why our residents love it here.

ONE OF US

Chaplain Darryl Paddock has served as Maranatha Village Chaplain for 22 years. Canadian by birth, he has served as our Canadian Chaplain. A few days ago, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. This called for a celebration.

Maranatha Village residents put out their American flags. US citizen Darryl Paddock toured the village in an open convertible amid the cheers and best wishes of his friends. Now, he is one of us!

Vaccine Updates

After over a year of masking, social distancing, and quarantining, I am ready for some herd immunity! But how do we get there? How can YOU get vaccinated?

Why should I get this shot?

  • To protect yourself
  • To protect your loved ones
  • To protect your neighbors
  • To protect those that can’t protect themselves

How do I sign up?

Call your primary care physician or pharmacy for advice. However, not all offices or pharmacies currently have the vaccine available since it is in such short supply. Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club have recently started offering the vaccine for eligible individuals. A list of locations where the vaccine can be offered is found at Covid Vaccine | Map (mo.gov)

Another option is to call your local health department. According to the latest updates available, Cox, Mercy and Jordan Valley all have sign-up lists that are available on the Springfield Greene County Health Department website Vaccine for High Risk Individuals, 65+ Population | Springfield, MO – Official Website

Another helpful website to register to receive the vaccine is Covid Vaccine (mo.gov).

The VA is currently following CDC guidelines for their administration schedule. Per the information I received, the VA will call you when you qualify for your first dose of vaccine, but you are more than encouraged to receive it elsewhere, if the opportunity arises. For any further information regarding the VA, please visit Gene Taylor Veterans’ Outpatient Clinic – Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks (va.gov)

As for our campus, Walgreens has come to the Lodge to offer immunizations to our residents/staff, with a large majority of the residents and staff having already received their second dose. Jenni Hall, COO, has attempted to set-up an immunization clinic on-campus for Independent Living, but has not yet been successful.

We still have a long road ahead of us, but it’s looking better every day! So please continue to #maskup and social distance per CDC guidelines. #PremierRehabilitation #MVLife #FauciOuchie #herdimmunity

SPOILED, BUT LOVING IT!

Most seniors understand the dangers associated with a fall, especially among the very elderly. A weather forecast predicting freezing temperatures and ice is taken seriously. Schedules may be adjusted and proper precautions taken.   

The current icy condition has generated a type of lockdown. Everyone is watching their step. Recognizing the danger involved, the Maranatha Village maintenance team immediately began to salt sidewalks, driveways, and streets. One resident watching this process from the inside looking out, said: “I’m being spoiled, but loving it!”

Learn to Love Your Heart

What is the first thing that comes to mind when someone says February? Is it cupid? A cute little groundhog predicting our weather for the next 6 weeks? As a nurse, my first thought is often that February is American Heart Month, a month that tries to bring increased awareness to heart disease and stroke. Now we all know the importance of keeping our heart healthy, but what are some ways that we can keep our ticker in tip-top shape?

It’s OK to follow your heart,

but take your brain with you.

1. Know your risk factors. While some major risk factors cannot be changed, such as increasing age, being male, going through menopause or hereditary disease, others can be altered. These include stress levels, smoking or alcohol intake, hypertension, obesity, lack of physical activity, poor sleep hygiene, diabetes, poor nutrition or high cholesterol.

2. An apple a day. A diet high in saturated fats, sodium and cholesterol contribute to heart disease. Many physicians promote following the Mediterranean diet to improve over-all health, and includes things such as fish, whole grains and olive oil in exchange for vegetable oils. The DASH diet is also popular among physicians and stands for a Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension. It includes fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, as well finding flavorful alternatives to adding salt to meals.

3. Get up and move! Even something as simple as taking a walk can reduce your risk of heart disease. Start a walking club with friends and family, as long as you can adhere to current social distancing practices. As an added bonus, exercise can also boost your immunity in the winter months.

4. Schedule some “me time.” Focusing on things that make you happy can decrease stress levels, improve productivity, and relieve physical ailments. Create a cozy space, snuggle your pets, or unplug from social media to give your mind a chance to reset.

5. Be grateful. Every day is a gift, regardless of how difficult it may feel at times, especially now. Give yourself a pat on the back for things you have accomplished today, even if it is as small a task as putting the laundry away. Tell your spouse, friend, or co-worker that you appreciate having them in your life.

6. Practice good sleep hygiene. This includes maintaining a routine sleep schedule, avoiding daytime naps, not using laptops/tablets or cell phones in bed, and creating a quiet, calming space to rest in.

7. Trust the professionals. Most importantly, follow the guidelines provided by your primary care doctor and consult him/her before starting any new diets or exercise programs, and comply with any prescribed medications.

For more information regarding heart disease, exercise and diet please visit the American Heart Association website American Heart Association | To be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives

A CHAPLAIN’S JOY

Chaplain Shawn Oberg visited Jeanette Fox in the Long-Term Care activities center. Two happy people!

Chaplain Oberg says: “Among my various roles and duties at Maranatha Village, visiting residents is among my favorite activities. I do this with Long Term Residents, as well as those in Assisted Living and also in Independent Living.

I enjoy getting to know all the truly wonderful residents! And I love hearing their stories of life – Life in their careers, their families, their military service, and Life in Jesus! Sometimes it is serious, sometimes funny, and sometimes “puzzling”!

Absolutely Wonderful

Esther Corey (left) and her late husband, Hugh Corey, ministered together for many years, as did Bonnie Wilkerson and her late husband, John Wilkerson. Esther and Bonnie both moved to Maranatha Village to settle into a Christian community.

Esther has lived in the Village for eight years; Bonnie has made the Village her home for one year. They have similar backgrounds, know a lot of the same people, and have become good friends. Thus, it was natural for them to respond to a neighbor’s invitation to a brunch. The fellowship at Maranatha Village is absolutely wonderful!