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Cape Girardeau summers have a lot going for them—sunshine, ice cream cones by the riverfront, going for walks, grandkids free from school enjoying outdoor sports, and more. But the high heat and humidity can also be difficult to endure, even for Missouri weather veterans. As the warm trends continue into August and September (and, let’s face it, sometimes October), it’s important to keep heat safety in mind so you can keep enjoying the good things summer has to offer.

As we age, it gets harder for our bodies to adapt to sudden or extreme fluctuations in temperature. Older adults are also more likely to have health conditions or take prescription medications that affect temperature regulation and even hydration levels.For example, if you have high blood pressure or heart problems, you might be prescribed a diuretic, aka water pills, which can make you more susceptible to dehydration.

Here are five tips to keep in mind when it heats up outside.

Stay hydrated

Drinking at least eight glasses of water a day is always a good idea, but it’s especially important during the heat. You should drink more water than usual as a rule of thumb, even if you aren’t thirsty. Dehydration can sneak up on you, and you don’t have to feel thirsty to become depleted.

Stay away from sugary drinks like soda or lemonade when in the heat. The high sugar content can actually cause you to lose more fluids. Sports drinks like Gatorade can help replenish salt levels if you’ve been sweating, but be careful if you’re watching your sodium levels. Talk to your doctor about sports drinks if you’re on a salt-restricted diet.

Dress for the occasion

Taking in some sun is fun and great for you. However, as good as the sun can be, you still need to protect yourself while enjoying catching those rays. When spending time outside, you should wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, sunglasses, and hats that shade your face. Wide-brim hats are ideal, but any hat with a brim is better than none.

Always remember to apply sunscreen, even if you won’t be outside for hours—sunburns can start to occur in as little as ten to fifteen minutes for pale-skinned individuals. And just because it’s overcast doesn’t mean you can skip the sunscreen; harmful UV rays are still able to penetrate cloud cover. Sunburns can be more severe in older adults, so preventing them in the first place is your best bet.

Plan fun indoor activities

Summertime isn’t just about the outdoors! Since grandkids are out of school, there are plenty of indoor activities you can enjoy together. Going to the movie theater to see a film and eat popcorn, checking out books at the library, putting together crafts, or visiting a museum are just a few great options for summer memory making. And let’s be honest—eating ice cream in the air conditioning is still a pretty great deal.

Check on one another

This one is good advice just in general, but especially during excessive heat, it's a good habit to check in with your friends and neighbors to make sure they’re staying cool and feeling well. And then they can return the favor for you!

Know the symptoms

Heat exhaustion can creep up on a person, so it’s important to know the symptoms so you can notice them in yourself and others around you. Some of the most common symptoms are excessive sweating, a flushed face or redness on lighter skin tones, headache, nausea, dizziness, and confusion. If these symptoms are present, get into the shade or preferably air conditioning as quickly as possible and rehydrate. Here is a complete reference from the CDC of symptoms and actions to take.

Keep these tips in mind, and stay safe out there while you enjoy this time of year. It’ll be snowing again before we know it!

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When you’re living life and feeling well, thinking about what happens to your family if something happens to you might not be top of mind. Whether you need medical treatment or something else happens, your loved ones will suddenly become responsible for your affairs and may have to make decisions that need to be made with a ticking clock.

No matter your age or health status, there are essential documents you need to have in order just in case so you can make your loved ones’ lives a little easier. We've provided you with a sample list, though it's important to consult a lawyer for your specific needs. After all, it’s better to be prepared and not need them than to need them and not be prepared.

Will

A Last Will and Testament gives you the ability to dictate what happens to your estate in the event of your passing and who is in charge of distribution of assets. Without it, if your times comes, your estate goes into probate and your state's intestacy laws decide how your debts get paid and how your assets are distributed. This process can be a hassle for your family and can cost thousands of dollars to negotiate and handle. Make sure your Will is in a safe place where your family members can easily locate it.

Living Will

A Living Will differs from a Last Will and Testament in that it helps you decide who is in charge of your greatest asset: yourself. Should you become terminally ill or incapacitated and unable to consent to treatment of any kind, your Living Will designates a power of attorney who is responsible for giving consent and making those decisions on your behalf.

Similarly, you may want to sign a Do Not Resuscitate order. This means that in case of extreme illness or incapacitation, it gives doctors the authority to not use life support with your permission beforehand. This lets you maintain control of decisions that may otherwise end up in a physician’s or your family members’ hands.

Powers of Attorney

You may not realize you need more than one power of attorney but you do: one for finances and one for healthcare obligations. Your healthcare power of attorney is in charge of consenting to medical procedures or treatment on your behalf should you become unfit to consent yourself. This person should also be included on a HIPPA release form, meaning they can have access to your medical history and legally receive information about your condition from your care provider. Your financial power of attorney is the person designated to have access to your finances in case you become unable to pay bills and manage your financial affairs.

Letter of instruction or intent

A letter of instruction or intent gives your executors an explanation of how you want your assets and affairs managed. This should include instructions on pet care if you have one, digital passwords for paying bills or maintaining accounts, location of deeds and other paperwork, a list of asset distribution specifics, Social Security and other identification information, bank account information, and anything else important you want to include. While this document is not legally binding, it can be very helpful in preventing a free-for-all or disputes between family and beneficiaries.

Funeral Plan

One of the most stressful situations is planning a funeral for a family member. There are a lot of decisions to make in a very short amount of time. Having a plan in place or outlined can help you family plan this event a lot easier. (If you don’t want a funeral, you should also let family members know). If you already have a plot reserved for you and other family members, make sure your family has a copy of the agreement is accessible and knows where the plot is located.

Copy of Marriage licenses and/or divorce decrees

Before your spouse can claim any assets, they have to prove they are indeed your spouse. Even if you’ve been married for 50 years, your spouse will need to provide a copy of your marriage license before they can legally claim anything. Similarly, a decree of divorce is necessary to outline possible alimony, property agreements,  or the division of assets that may be questioned should you pass.

Keep these in the same place you keep your other estate plan documents so they’re easy for loved ones to locate in case they’re needed.

Designated Beneficiary Accounts

Designating beneficiaries to manage your accounts is essential to providing your loved ones with peace of mind. Putting a person in charge of your bank, retirement, investment, or other accounts makes it a lot easier for claims to be filed and benefits to be received.

Financial Accounts Lists

Have a list of the accounts and bills you maintain so your beneficiaries and loved ones can maintain them for you if necessary. Make sure those in charge of your affairs can access those accounts and know how and when to pay bills to maintain your financial obligations. If any services need to be canceled, they’ll need to know who to call to take care of it. Making sure your accounts are transferable can keep them out of probate, as well.

Tax returns

Even after you’re gone, you still have to pay taxes on any income you may have earned in the year prior. Keeping records of your taxes is important for financial planning and in case of an audit, but can come in handy should you become unable to file your taxes. They can also help your accountant or next of kin file your tax returns in the event of your passing. 

In Summary

Having these documents organized and up-to-date can help your loved ones make decisions on your behalf or settle your assets in event of an emergency. For a full list of documents you might need, contact a lawyer who specializes in estate planning. They can help you file the documents you need and find a plan that works for your needs. Make sure your family or beneficiaries know where to find these important documents if they need to. Give yourself and your loved ones some peace of mind.

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Downsizing 101

Moving to a retirement community like The Chateau will help you live a more hassle-free life. But for many people, the move will also require some downsizing. At the end of the downsizing road you’ll find more freedom and less stress, but the process itself can be a little daunting. What do you keep? And what do you do with all the stuff you don’t want to keep?

We all accumulate things over time, sometimes more things than you realize until you start sorting through it all. Here are a few tips to remember while working through the downsizing process.

Tackle one thing at a time

It didn’t take a few days to accumulate your whole household, so don’t try to complete the full downsizing job over one weekend. Try starting with a goal of working through one room or one closet so you don’t become overwhelmed. Starting earlier rather than later will help everyone feel less strain and keep things moving smoothly.

Establishing three piles for your things—keep, give away, and pitch—will also help the decision-making process. Leaving a “maybe” pile will make more work for you in the long run, so it’s best to avoid it altogether. If you have duplicates of anything, those are an easy place to start. A good rule of thumb is if an item doesn’t bring you joy when you hold it, toss it or give it away.

Giving Spirit

The downsizing process is a great time to start deciding who should keep special items, like family heirlooms or trinkets a particular person has always enjoyed. Making these decisions early can alleviate stress or confusion over who gets what down the road. Plus there’s the added bonus of seeing your family and friends enjoy these items!

Donating items is also a great way to pare down your stuff and help out someone in need at the same time. There are several places where you can donate in Cape Girardeau to support a variety of causes. The Safe House for Women’s Thrift Store, Teen Challenge Thrift Store, Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary Thrift Store, and Goodwill are some great options for household objects big and small.

Be patient

Going through a whole household of things can be draining for everyone, so be patient with yourself and your family. If the job gets too tough emotionally or physically, it’s okay to take a break.

Enjoy simplifying

One of the great things about maintenance-free living at The Chateau is that you won’t need as much stuff to keep your home in tip-top shape. We offer many amenities for our residents, so you’ll be able to simplify without having to sacrifice convenience or comfort.

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So, you or a loved one is in the hospital.  Maybe it was a bad fall or maybe you had a surgery or even a stroke.  Good news is you're on the mend and discharging soon!  But the doctor says you need therapy, and you probably have a lot of questions.Where do I go for therapy? What kind of therapy? Why can't I go home? 

How about some more good news?  The Chateau Girardeau Rehabilitation Team is here to help you and your family navigate the rehabilitation process.  We are there with you every step of the way.  From admission to post-discharge, our highly-skilled team of care experts will work with you and your physician to develop the best care program for your individual needs and goals.  We have on-site physical, occupational and speech therapists as well as a team of nurses and registered dietitians who are all there to make sure you receive the best care and have the best experience possible.

We absolutely understand that choosing a rehabilitation center is a big decision.  The first steps start in the hospital and our Nurse Navigator will be there to help with any questions you may have.  Here are just a few:  

Will Medicare pay for my stay?

Medicare may pay if you have been admitted to the hospital for three consecutive nights and you meet the medical criteria for therapy or nursing up to 100 days.  

How long will my stay be?

Your length of stay will depend on your individual situation.  Our goal is to get you home as quickly and safely as possible!

How will I get to my doctor's appointments?

The Chateau offers transportation to and from local doctor's offices and hospitals.  We even have a dedicated aide available to accompany you if needed.

How do I choose The Chateau?

If you are in the hospital and interested in coming to The Chateau, please let Social Services or your Case Manager at the hospital know that you are interested and they will send us your information.  If we are able to admit you, we follow up with you and your family to make arrangements for your arrival.  If during any of our visits with you, a family member is interested in visiting The Chateau to learn more, we are happy to oblige!

 

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Healthy Summer Tips

 

5 Tips for Healthy Living

As soon as summertime hits, there are suddenly dozens of different magazine and online articles claiming to have the newest “healthy” tips. To help us stay on track and stick to the most effective healthy habits, The Chateau’s Assistant Dining Director and Registered Dietician Laura Vollink shares her 5 tips for covering the bases of a well-rounded and healthy lifestyle.

1. Healthy Hearts

To keep your heart healthy, eat a variety of colors and lean meats. Fill your plate with things that are low in salt, sodium and saturated fat. Stick to foods like apples and leafy greens.

2. Healthy Digestion

Healthy digestion starts with fiber. Some great sources of fiber are fresh fruit and veggies, whole grain, brown rice and quinoa. Be sure that when you increase your fiber, you also increase your water intake!

3. Healthy Bones

Calcium is the ticket to healthy bones. Choose foods that are high in calcium and Vitamin D, like dark leafy greens, low fat milk and yogurt. Regular activity is also essential for maintaining good bone health.

4. Healthy Hydration

Staying hydrated is even more important in the summer months. Even if you don’t feel overheated or thirsty, be sure to continually drink water. And, when given the choice, always opt for water over sugary beverages.

5. Healthy Life

A good rule of thumb is to make your plate look like the one on Choose My Plate. Incorporate balance into your life. Eat healthy as often as you possibly can—but don’t forget to allow yourself a treat every once in awhile, too. Balance is everything.

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 When it comes to planning out the years of retirement, everyone’s journey is different. That’s why we offer continuing care so that our residents can spend their retirement enjoying their lives--not constantly worrying about what’s next. But how can you decide what level of housing and care is right for you? Here are some of the major differences between Assisted and Independent Living.

Independent Living

Life in The Chateau Estate homes has all the benefits of living on your own with the one giant added benefit of maintenance-free living. As a resident of the Estates, you’ll have the freedom to decorate, cook, relax and do all the things you’ve always done--but with a community of people just up the hill for culinary services and social outings.

The Chateau Suites offers 1- and 2-bedroom apartments for active seniors looking to downsize. The “suite” life includes restaurant-style dining, social events and daily activities, exercise classes and more. And all of our amenities are available right in your building! Like in the Estates, you have the freedom to customize your apartment and live your life your way.

Assisted Living

Assisted Living offers residents services to make life a little easier--like housekeeping, medication management, transportation, and emergency response available 24-7. Assisted Living at The Chateau Terraces is designed for individuals who need additional care and assistance with activities of daily living. Residents of Assisted Living enjoy a wide variety of community amenities including: restaurant style dining, access to a beautiful landscaped courtyard, and daily events and activities.

The Right Choice for You

As a resident of a continuing care retirement community, you have the benefit of knowledgeable staff at every level of care. Should you start life in Independent Living at The Chateau and need Assisted Living in the future, our staff is available to help navigate you through that transition. Our staff is also available to help you determine which level of living best suits your or your loved one’s current needs.

Independent living benefits those retirees who want to have their own space and the power to run their home, but who want to be a part of community, or live worry-free from the less glamorous parts of homeownership--like housekeeping, lawn care, or shoveling snow.

Assisted living is intended for older adults who need help on a day-to-day basis, with things like cooking, cleaning, bathing, or remembering to take their medication. If you’ve found that yourself or a loved one is no longer able to safely or effectively live alone, assisted living is a wonderful solution. It’s the independence of your own space with the peace of mind knowing that someone is always just around the corner if you should ever need help.

Making the right decision for your needs is one that you shouldn’t make alone. Talk it over with your family, your doctor, or one of our staff members at The Chateau. For a tour of each facility, call today!

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