The two of us – Loraine and Raghu

Loraine and Raghu enjoying each other’s company.
(Please note: this photo was taken prior to the mandatory wearing of masks by all Twilight staff members.)

The two of us

This week, we meet Hunters Hill Village resident Loraine and Personal Care Assistant Raghu.

Loraine on Raghu

“Raghu helps me in many ways, including making my bed and getting my wardrobe organised.

“Raghu treats me like family and she is so helpful and kind.

“I look forward to talking to Raghu anytime, and I especially enjoy her company on the Hunters Hill Village bus trips.”

Raghu on Loraine

“Loraine is a very friendly resident. She is witty, always helpful, and has taught me to treat one and all with respect.

“Loraine enjoys reading, is interested in history, and shares a lot of knowledge about Australia with me.

“She keeps up with fashion and is always helpful to other residents.”

11 Best Exercises for the Elderly

The best exercises for those over 75 years wise. 

As the winter season hits, it’s good to get the blood flowing and keep the body warm with light exercise. This goes double for elderly Australians who arguably benefit more from good exercise more than other age groups.  

So, let’s discuss all the benefits of continuing to exercise as you get older and the different ways that you can get your heart rate up safely and healthily. Because age shouldn’t be a barrier to quality of life! 

Benefits of exercising 

Let’s quickly go through some of the benefits of exercise before we tell you the best ways to keep fit.  

  • Exercise is a great way to maintain or build muscle. Retaining strength is difficult for older Australians on diet alone, so a bit of light exercise is perfect for keeping fit.  
  • Maintaining and controlling weight. A lot of us lose or gain weight as we age which can be stressful.  
  • Develop a better sense of balance and prevent the risk of falls. Regular exercise keeps you standing upright and can even improve your posture.  
  • It’s great for mental health. Often after a work-out, you will feel a rush of endorphins from exercise as well as a sense of accomplishment for doing something productive. Would highly recommend.
  • Exercise is one of the natural ways to reduce symptoms of dementia. It helps prevent strokes and other medical complications that can cause cognitive impairment, as well as controlling (and reducing) chronic disease symptoms 

Some helpful tips for exercise 

Sport is very good for us, but it’s hard to get started and it’s even harder to keep up the habit! Here are some simple bits of advice to make being healthy simpler and that little bit easier on all of us.  

  • Start slow and use the first 5 minutes of exercise to warm up the joints and get the body ready for something more strenuous.
  • Do exercise in the morning or afternoon. Establish exercise as a habit and embed it in your routine. This will help you keep it up for the long term.
  • Make your exercise more social and do exercises in groups. This can mean walking with a group of friends (after COVID restrictions are lifted of course), digitally connecting during Pilates or signing up to an exercise class.  
  • Sit in a comfy chair. It sounds counterproductive to sit down when exercising, but this can be very beneficial to those who struggle doing exercise standing and keep balance. Sitting down will help you remain upright while you build up a sweat. This is very useful for elderly Australians who might not feel as confident standing. 

(Finally!) The exercises themselves 

It is important to remember to stop exercising at the first sign of pain. Do not push yourself if you are experiencing sensations of dizziness, feelings of nausea, or if you are seeing spots. Do not push yourself and consult your doctor if you are recovering from any injuries or illnesses.  

Those who are 65+ with no medical or health issues are recommended by Health Direct to exercise regularly, even daily

  1. Stretching. According to Active Health, stretching helps develop better flexibility to keep falls and muscle pains at bay. They also list a bunch of exercises that you can do to keep those joints loose. 
  1. Tai Chi. This is a very popular exercise with older age groups, and for good reason. It builds strength, flexibility and balance. It is also great for improving your mood and acts as a sort of physical meditation. Best of all? Tai Chi’s popularity means that there are many community groups available who run classes and online videos that you can join.  
  1. Walking. Light walking is commonly recommended for older Australians who want to exercise as an easy cardio exercise that anyone can do. If you want, this can be arranged to be done in groups or by yourself. We suggest you walk on flat ground with smooth paths and on trails that have a great view to get the best out of your workout.  
  1. Video games, Wii. If you still have a Wii console, grab that thing out of the closet and dust it off. Video games like the Nintendo Wii that involve big gestures and movement are a fun way to engage spatial awareness and involve a great deal of physical movement. This is something that can be done with the grandchildren as well, making it a fun social event. The University of Montreal also found that video games have other benefits for seniors, including simulating parts of the brain that deal with reactions time and spatial awareness.
  1. Chair routines. This is convenient for those who have trouble standing or are recovering from an injury or illness. Many exercise companies are offering up chair exercise programs like silent discos that can be done in the safety and convenience of your own home. 
  1. Yoga. Like stretching but with a calming effect on the mind and soul. Yoga is good for older Australian’s because it involves flexibility and strength.
  1. Lightweight training. This is good for those with some light weights lying around the house. As we get older, we start to lose some muscle fibre. So, using light weights can help maintain our muscle and help increase our strength and endurance.   
  1. Dancing. Good for those with music in them or even those with two left feet. Dancing involves coordination, rhythm and spirit so it’s great exercise. One study found that dancing has the same results as walking, stretching and toning in those aged 60-79 years old. There are different styles for anyone to enjoy, so pick your favourite from a gentle waltz to energic Zumba classes. 10 minutes of dancing at regular intervals are recommended to get the best out of this exercise.  
  1. Water Aerobics and aqua jogging. Water sports are great for getting the heart rate up without putting a strain on the body.  Water’s buoyancy takes the pressure off joints and also acts as a form of resistance to make you work! Water aerobics is often offered in local classes for older Australians, but if a group activity just doesn’t sound like you then consider aqua-jogging. While it may have a funny name, aqua-jogging is simply jogging or water up and down a pool. Simple but a lot more strenuous than it sounds. This is perfect if you have your own pool! 
  1. Stability ball training. Perfect for developing and maintaining core strength and balance. Open Fit states that stable joints are less prone to injury and falls, and stability ball training can train every part of your body. There are plenty of online tutorials and classes on using these balls that can be done in the convenience of your own home.  
  1. Golf.  First things first. This is golf without using a cart; the walk is half the journey here! We are aiming to get a decent cardio work out. Golf is perfect for those wanting to walk, but they want a little more purpose to their exercise. Not only are you walking to find that pesky little white golf ball, but you get to reward yourself at the end with a cool drink at the golf club. Currently, golf is not an option with COVID-19 restrictions. However, as we ease out of this time, golf serves as a nice way to get back into social activities and connect with others while remaining active.  

If you want some more information, the Australian Government Department of Health has some excellent tips for Australians (65 years and older) here.

Flu season update: All visitors to Aged Care Facilities must be vaccinated

The NSW Department of Health has made it mandatory that flu vaccinations are required for all visitors to this facility.

Furthermore, we are required to take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person does not enter or remain on the premises if they do not meet the influenza vaccination requirements.

We will be requiring appropriate evidence of immunisation status from individuals seeking to enter our homes. Accordingly, if you plan to visit or enter our facility you must provide this evidence. Without it, you cannot enter.

Appropriate evidence may be a statement or record from a health practitioner, or an immunisation history statement available from Medicare online or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.

Twilight will be maintaining records to support our compliance with this requirement. 

Exceptions – Please note that NSW Health is taking a reasonable approach to this requirement. If a person is allergic to the vaccine or has a medical reason for not being able to have it, then this may be acceptable.

There are however only limited medical contraindications for having the vaccine and Twilight will be requesting a copy of a medical certificate or similar evidence from a medical practitioner confirming that a person cannot have the vaccine for medical reasons.

For more information, check out the NSW Government Health

How to connect with elderly loved ones during COVID-19

Keeping in contact with loved ones in aged care during the coronavirus

Connecting with elderly loved ones during coronavirus

In times like these, our days might feel a bit more stressed and anxious. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by everything on the news and get swept into a rabbit hole of COVID-19 news and speculation.

So, it is important to stop, take a breath and connect with the people we hold dear. Our friends and family are an essential support network that we can rely on.

But with aged care, this situation becomes more difficult. Older Australians are more at risk and need a high level of risk management and care. Physical contact is now being limited to stop the spread of coronavirus. Twilight Aged Care, and other aged care facilities around Australia, are locking down our homes to protect vulnerable residents from the risk of coronavirus.

So, this means we will have to connect with elderly loved ones in new ways. Luckily, there are some simple alternatives and tips for doing this.

Common alternatives to visiting:

  • Skyping or Facetiming relatives is a wonderful way to keep in contact without any risks to health. Both Skype and Facebook are free applications that are easy to use, and some aged care facilities (Twilight Aged Care included) are organizing to keep families in contact with each other through these digital services. If you would prefer to use another application, contact our home and we will accommodate the request.
  • Calling or texting is also an acceptable way to message your loved one and make sure that they are feeling alright in these trying times. This is also a method that isn’t affected by a poor internet signal (from everyone in the area working from home at once!)

Digital tips for talking to loved ones in aged care:

  • Time this like a regular visit. Set aside the time you would usually allot when visiting them in aged care.
  • Follow the usual pattern of conversation that you would use when chatting. If you usually start chatting by talking about what you had for lunch, start this one the same way. Your loved one may have become accustomed to this style of conversation. Keeping patterns will prevent confusion (especially for residents who have trouble conversing) and will create a comfortable feeling of familiarity
  • Fill people in on recent events. Call or Skype in after family events and during birthdays. It’s the little things that make us feel included and less isolated
  • Talking to loved ones with dementia is complicated even in an ordinary situation, we have some advice for that here.

Getting in contact:

People who want to get in contact, schedule weekly online chats, or explore communication options with relatives and friends at Twilight Aged Care can do so here. Call the our home to get in contact with our Concierge.

  • Glades Bay Gardens tel. 9817 0722
  • Glengarry tel. 9969 0907
  • Horton House tel. 8886 2100
  • Hunters Hill Village tel. 9816 1239

Our new Concierge will work directly with friends and families to assist you with your technology needs. If you wish to discuss this further, please speak with our Facility Managers.

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Talking to a Loved One With Dementia

A lot happens to our loved ones after being diagnosed with dementia.  
Difficulties in tasks and communicating trickles into every aspect of their lives, including the ability to hold ordinary, every-day conversations. You might find it harder to communicate to your loved ones, who can lose focus partway through talking to you or become confused easily. Even normal chatter can be impacted. This is a heartbreaking thing to experience. Especially since conversations are an important part of preserving our relationships with people.  

Yet there are tips to help create a positive conversational experience. This is a short guide to help you have engaging and encouraging conversations with those living with dementia. Giving them a more active role in the conversation, and socially stimulating people; an essential part of slowing the symptoms of dementia.  

People with dementia may not realize they are hungry

1. Before Talking.   

Before even engaging with someone who is living with dementia – look at the room. Take note if there is anything distracting in the area, like a television or a radio turned on. Objects that will make too much noise. Turn these off or remove them from the area. 

Consider the time as well. Ask yourself if you have enough time to spare for the conversation. Is it near lunchtime? And if so, would the person you’re about to talk to be hungry or thirsty without realising it? This could make them irritable or tired when you talk to them and spoil any attempts at conversing. If either one is lacking, maybe it would be best to have a shorter conversation.  

2. Correct body language

Ensuring that your body language is engaged and direct is important. Physically turn so you are facing them and maintain direct eye contact – this will all make sure that you look like you are giving them your full attention. Sometimes, if they are distracted, a light touch on the shoulder can get their attention. However, only do this if you are familiar with them and confident that this physical contact will not be confronting.  

Make sure that you have a light and happy facial expression. Smiling will help reassure and calm the person you are talking to, especially if they become frustrated during the conversation.  

3. Tips for talking with someone with dementia 

Using objects can help communicate with people living with dementia

One-on-one conversations are usually best when talking to a loved one with dementia. This will ensure that you have a greater chance of capturing their attention and ensuring that the conversation is manageable and understandable with time to respond. 

If you have a group conversation instead, the discussion may become complicated and hard for them to follow. Don’t put too much pressure on them to keep up with the conversation topics and ensure that you engage them every now and again. 

Talk about the things that you know they are interested in. Talk about their hobbies, and stories about their younger years – this can help to bring back happy memories and create a more engaging and cheerful conversation. Ask them the story about a photo in the room or a treasured object, the visual cue can help them orientate the chat and stimulate a pleasant memory.  

Using non-verbal cues like pointing or acting out ideas can help get conversation points across and simplify talking points. If you are prepared, you could bring along a photo album to stimulate conversation or a familiar toy from earlier years. However, common objects in the room can serve a similar purpose.  

Speak clearly and slowly, with pauses at the end of sentences so that your loved one can fully process what you are saying. Do not raise your voice or yell at them if you think they are being slow to respond, sometimes they may need time to think about a reply. 

Using closed-ended questions is also better for engagement. For example, asking someone, “would you like a cheese sandwich for lunch?” is better than asking, “what do you want for lunch?”. The simpler version of the question makes it easier to engage with a person living with dementia who may find the latter question too open-ended and complex.  

4. Things to avoid doing

Avoid using the discussion as a test of how far spread their dementia is. This will put pressure on the performance of the conversation and create tension that they will be able to feel. This is a chat and not an interrogation. 

Realise that there will be good and bad days when talking to a loved one with dementia. Sometimes they not be very responsive or engaged with the conversation, and there is nothing you can do about that.  

Stick to one idea at a time when talking, and if you are discussing a complex topic, talk about it in smaller segments. Maybe try using the names of places and people instead of pronouns like “he” and “she” to clarify things better. Avoid using slang or turns of phrase. People who are living with dementia tend to regard these are literal and become confused. 

It is also important that you refrain from correcting them if they get a fact or remember something wrong. Instead, use this to engage with them. For example, instead of saying “You stopped working at the hospital years ago, remember?” engage and say, “Tell me more about your work”. Correcting them may result in your loved one becoming further confused or frustrated with the conversation, and the aim is to retain a light and encouraging talk. 

If you want more information on communicating with someone living with dementia, Alzheimer’s Society is a great source.

Knowing when your home isn’t for you: Lola talks about ‘Downsizing’

Lola Voss found downsizing to an independent living unit greatly increased her independence.

No one would believe that Lola is 90 years old. She has great energy and a lively, welcoming personality.

Which is why being diagnosed with macular degeneration was such a disruption to her lifestyle. Her fading eyesight meant that she had trouble living by herself, reading phone books and following recipes. She also found that maintaining her four-bedroom house was getting harder and harder.

In this time of difficulty Lola left her home and moved into the independent living units which are part of Twilight’s Hunters Hill Village. These are self-contained full size apartments operated by Twilight Aged Care that allow residents a free and easy style of living.

Lola Voss’s move to Hunters Hill is part of a growing trend of older Australians ‘downsizing’. Where people are finding their houses are too large to maintain or do not suit their lifestyle anymore, they move ‘down’ into smaller and more manageable homes without the maintenance. With Sydney’s expensive property market, selling and downsizing is a financially viable option. According to Real Estate View Australia, there is a “growing trend seeing Australians aged 50-59 selling their large, family sized homes to move into smaller, more luxurious dwellings in more desirable areas”.

Lola says that moving to a smaller home was not a financial decision, but an aspirational choice. She feels more independent in her new home. The apartment does not need the vast amount of upkeep that her four-bedroom home required and now she has more time to do what she wants. She can cook for herself, go shopping with her daughter-in-law, and relax listening to Talkback radio.

“Twilight really looks after you”, Lola says. It is easy for her to arrange for the on-site kitchen to provide a meal when she feels tired. There are personal alarms available for immediate attention. Staffs often do routine checks on the condition of the unit, making sure that appliances are functional, and residents are comfortable. And there is more to look forward to as Hunters Hill Village is building a new cafe on its grounds. This will give Lola the opportunity to grab a coffee in the morning and have a community space on her doorstep to meet with friends and family.

If you have friends, family or neighbours that want to know more about the Hunters Hill Village Retirement Living have questions or would like to arrange a tour, please call Helene Francois on 0404 805 865.

Twilight’s Traditional Brandy Custard

Is the Christmas season over? Yes.

Does that mean we have to stop eating delicious, custard-covered food? Absolutely not!

This recipe is perfect for those wanting to keep the Christmas spirit going for that little bit longer.

It’s a resident favourite from the Twilight kitchen and is often prepared by Ramina, one of the chefs who works in each of our four homes. It’s a treat you can enjoy all year round.

Ingredients

  • 185 thickened cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 60ml brandy

Let’s get started!

Method

  • Step 1

Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it comes to a gentle simmer. Remove from heat.

  • Step 2

Use a balloon whisk to whisk together egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a bowl until pale and creamy. Gradually whisk in milk mixture. Return to pan.

  • Step 3

Place over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens and coats back of spoon. Make sure that it does not boil or else it will curdle the mixture. Remove from heat. Stir in the brandy. Serve warm on top of your favourite pudding.

The elderly and sexuality: Keeping it sexy.

Sexuality is a crucial part of ageing.

There are a lot of stereotypes about the elderly being beyond sexuality and the need to feel attractive. But this could not be further from the truth.

Sexuality is a large part of who we are as people, and this doesn’t stop as we get older.

Reinforcing someone’s sexuality in their later years is very important. It is crucial to give women the option to feel pretty, and men to feel handsome. Make sure that they feel seductive and desirable. And allow them to become the silver foxes and vixens that they truly are.

However, in carer situations, the ability for older people to express themselves in these ways become limited. It is up to carers and family members to acknowledge the elderly as people who should have the opportunity to have a sexual identity.

WHY BEING SEXY IS IMPORTANT

Sexuality is critical for people to retain a positive sense of identity and self-value. It is a basic human need to feel good about ourselves. It is important to look and feel glamorous – to be a little bit sensuous.

Many elderly people are single. Some with partners who have passed on, and a large percentage of those entering aged care who do not have a partner. Many older Australians are seeking a romantic interest within their local community or care facility.

So a nice hair cut now and then, or a good shave, shows that they are still out there and looking for love. Ensure people have the option to put on nice jewelry. Buy a tailored outfit. Go shopping. Let them choose their own clothing for an expression of style.

Simple activities like this allow the elderly a better quality of life, a better sense of personal identity and healthier interpersonal relationships.

LET’S TALK ABOUT SEXUALITY

As odd as it sounds, it is important to talk to older people about their sex life and sexuality. Having an open communication about their wants and needs will help you address anything troubling them or look at things that they could be missing. It shows that you are respecting them. Recognise sex and sexuality as something meaningful and important in their lives.


Ensure the elderly have means to show their sexuality.

Discuss it with other people – like friends and family – to normalise the conversation and create a greater awareness.

Some quick tips for talking with residents about sexiness and their sex lives:

  • Start on general topics and process gently to specific subjects of sexuality
  • Use open ended questions which encourage responses
  • Be non-judgmental
  • Respect responses
  • Be receptive to clues

Yes. We do have to acknowledge that it will be a little strange at first. But starting these conversations like these will have a big impact on their everyday lives.

The ability for the elderly to present themselves sexually in their day-to-day life is an essential part of people’s identity but is often ignored.

If you want to read more about this topic, then I would recommend the following by HelloCare and Mental Health.org.