Creating Community: Why A Social Network is Important For Aging

The social distancing and lockdowns of Covid-19 shed light on the dangers of isolation and loneliness. That was especially true for seniors, who are already at risk of those things.

As we begin to see more studies and information disseminated on healthy aging, it’s more apparent than ever that social connections and community are an important piece.

An in-depth report on aging from the World Health Organization (WHO), found that having a sense of community or connectedness is the key to aging more successfully. Positive health benefits included lower rates of anxiety, stronger immune system, improved cognitive function.

Similar studies have found having a social network wards off depression and maintains or increases physical activity.  

The big question is how do we create a sense of community if we don’t have one already? According to a Livestrong.com article there are eleven ways to get started.

The first step to creating community is taking inventory of your current group. Look at how often you’re interacting and the types of activities and decide what you need to be fulfilled. Examine your relationships and determine which ones need nurturing and who is part of your real support system.

If you’re looking for new people to join your circle, consider meeting them through shared hobbies and activities. “Getting back to these interests can increase autonomy and feelings of purposefulness, as well as give you a chance to explore social connections with new people.”

Volunteering also opens doors into new friendships and provides the added benefit of giving back.

For more tips on how to create a healthy aging community, click here.

 

About Advena Living

Moving to an assisted living or long-term community comes with a built-in social group. We try to facilitate connections between residents as we get to know their individual preferences, hobbies and interests. Our Activities Directors provide ample opportunities for social engagement through activities in and out of the building and other special events.

Advena Living specializes in skilled nursing, long-term care, rehabilitation and assisted living services throughout the state. We have locations in Bonner Springs, Cherryvale, Clay Center, Clearwater, Rose Hill, Topeka, and Wichita.

Our name “Advena” means newcomer. We welcome newcomers seeking a senior living environment where they may continue to enjoy a full life.

“Life is Good”— A New Impression of Aging

Would you take a pill that granted you 10 extra years of life? That was one of the many proposed questions from an in-depth study regarding Americans’ perceptions of aging. (75% of people surveyed said yes, by the way.)

The collaboration between AARP and National Geographic, “The Second Half of Life Study,” focused on aging in relation to health, happiness, home, finances, dying and more. To get the best results, they surveyed more than 2,500 adults from 18 to their 90s across all different backgrounds, ethnicities and demographics.

The results were a lot to unpack. You can read the findings here. But the common theme was of hope and positivity when it comes to aging in America.

Research showed an increase in happiness as you get older. “The focus on happiness isn’t about wealth, beauty or any of the other standards typically associated with youth-driven pop culture. Instead, as people age, an optimism and contentment emerge in parallel with an alignment of expectations and realities.”

The study found happiness comes focusing on quality of life, relationships and independence.

Interestingly, we learned that stress and anxiety also diminish with aging. We have more concerns about our future when we are under 40 than in our 70s and 80s.

“The people in the study with the most real-life aging experience to draw on— those 85 and up—report that in almost every important category, life worked out just fine. Up to 90 percent say so about meaningful relationships, living arrangements, mental sharpness, finances and mobility.”

 

About Advena Living

At Advena Living, we welcome newcomers seeking a senior living environment where they may continue to enjoy a full life.

Part of our guiding philosophy is that we honor choice. We believe that community members should always have a say in how they live their lives. That means deciding when you want to eat, wake up, go to sleep and participate in activities.

We want you to continue to enjoy the simple daily pleasures, rituals and activities that make you  who you are.

Advena Living specializes in skilled nursing, long-term care, rehabilitation and assisted living services throughout the state. We have locations in Bonner Springs, Cherryvale, Clay Center, Clearwater, Rose Hill, Topeka, and Wichita.

 

 

Random Acts of Kindness: Why It Matters More Than You Think

The actor Morgan Freeman once said, “How do we change the world? One random act of kindness at a time.”

We all know it feels good to do nice things for other people. But new research suggests we may underestimate the impact kindness has on the recipients.

The study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology involved multiple experiments centered around giving away items.

In one, 84 participants chose whether to keep or give a cup of hot chocolate. Ninety percent chose to give away their drinks. The researchers then asked the participants to evaluate how they felt about it. They later talked to the recipients to see how it impacted their mood.

The study found that those 74 people who gave out the hot chocolate actually underestimated how good it made the receiver feel.

“They get that being kind to people makes them feel good,” said Amit Kumar, lead researcher and Assistant Professor of Marketing at UT Austin McCombs School of Business. “What we don’t get is how good [the random act of kindness] really makes others feel.”

“Performers are not fully taking into account that their warm acts provide value from the act itself,” Kumar said. “The fact that you’re being nice to others adds a lot of value beyond whatever the thing is.”

A fun side effect of the study was that they found random acts of kindness can actually be contagious. It creates a pay-it-forward effect where kindness spreads.

 

About Advena Living

At Advena Living, we believe in a person-centered approach to care, where we treat people with kindness, compassion and respect. We strive to accommodate community members’ personal choices, while supporting their care needs.

Advena Living specializes in skilled nursing, long-term care, rehabilitation and assisted living services throughout the state. We have locations in Bonner Springs, Cherryvale, Clay Center, Clearwater, Rose Hill, Topeka, and Wichita.

Our name “Advena” means newcomer. We welcome newcomers seeking a senior living environment where they may continue to enjoy a full life.

 

Activities, Purpose and Engagement in Long-Term Care

Numerous studies that find staying physically and mentally active as we age is important for the mind, body and soul. We try to live each day with that frame of mind at Advena Living of Bonner Springs when scheduling activities.

Our activities are designed around the community members preferences and interests.

You can often find two of our residents, James and Steve, in the garden at Advena Living of Bonner Springs. They’re usually tending to the plants and making things look nice. (If you get a chance, ask James about gardening and all the plants he’s grown here. He has quite the green thumb!)

When our marketing director Kim invited them to go apple picking this weekend, they were thrilled at the idea.

The three of them went to a city park in Kansas City, KS where they picked a bush of apples for a local food bank. Those apples were then donated to two organizations in KCK: Young Women on the Move, an after-school mentoring program designed to empower young girls, and Avenue for Life, which supports families experiencing homelessness.

Kim and our activities director Cortney often collaborate to schedule interesting activities to keep resident engaged and happy. We encourage staff to get to know residents personally, find out their likes/dislikes and favorite hobbies. From there, we can coordinate activities, events and outings that the community members enjoy.

 

About Advena Living

Whether you prefer to be outside most of the day, you’re an avid reader of romance novels, or you like to cheer on the Chiefs, we’ll help tailor our activities at all our Advena Living communities to you.

Part of our guiding philosophy is that we honor choice. We believe that community members should always have a say in how they live their lives. We will work hard to accommodate what you want your schedule to be every day.

Advena Living specializes in skilled nursing, long-term care, rehabilitation and assisted living services throughout the state. We have locations in Bonner Springs, Cherryvale, Clay Center, Clearwater, Rose Hill, Topeka, and Wichita.

Our name “Advena” means newcomer. We welcome newcomers seeking a senior living environment where they may continue to enjoy a full life.

“Mind after Midnight”— Why Our Brains Want to Go to Sleep Earlier

You’ve probably heard the saying, “nothing good happens after midnight.” Now new research shows there may be some truth to going to sleep earlier rather than staying up late.

A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Network Psychology suggests that the mind is not “designed” to be active after midnight.

The research goes on to say the mind doesn’t work the same way at night as it does during the daytime. And those physiological changes at night can lead to “psychiatric disorders and unsafe behaviors.”

“I think everyone knows that getting good sleep is important for thinking clearly and making good decisions, mostly because we’ve all felt stupid and made bad choices after a bad night of sleep,” said Andrew Tubbs, one of the study’s authors from the University of Arizona College of Medicine in a recent interview. “But the amount of sleep you have is just one part of a bigger puzzle because sleep happens in the context of our circadian rhythms, the 24-hour cycles in which we live our lives.”

Mind over Matter

According to Tubbs, “People are more likely to make bad decisions when they haven’t had enough sleep and they’re awake when their circadian rhythms are telling them to be asleep. For most people, that’s between 2 and 3 AM.”

The study does point out that many people reported that their creativity spikes after midnight. Tubbs said this fits into their Mind after Midnight hypothesis. “We think that one of the big drivers of risk is behavioral disinhibition, such that people say or do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. For someone creative, this disinhibition may help them turn off their inner critic and push forward with new and exciting ideas.”

Tubbs also added that there is very little data on what people do in the middle of the night. The study suggests further research is needed to explore the effects of nighttime activity on mental health.

 

About Advena Living

Whether you’re a night owl, early bird or self-proclaimed exhausted pigeon, there’s a place for you at our Advena Living communities. We’ll encourage a restful night’s sleep but we won’t tell you when you have to go to bed. That’s because we honor choice and we believe that community members get to have a say in how they live their lives.

We will work hard to accommodate what you want your schedule to be every day. If you typically wake up at 6 AM and start your day off with a fresh cup of coffee and a newspaper, we’ll make that happen. Similarly if you’d rather sleep in and ease into your day, we’ll help you with that too.

Advena Living specializes in skilled nursing, long-term care, rehabilitation and assisted living services throughout the state. Our name “Advena” means newcomer. We welcome newcomers seeking a senior living environment where they may continue to enjoy a full life, as well as passionate employees who want to feel fulfilled in their careers.

The Latest Buzz: Drinking Coffee Helps You Live Longer


Your morning cup of Joe might do more than keep you awake. Turns out, drinking coffee every day could increase your lifespan.

A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine followed the coffee habits of 170,00 people in the United Kingdom over seven years. The participants ranged from 37 to 73 years old. None of them had cardiovascular or cancer at the start of the study.

Researchers controlled factors like lifestyle, socioeconomic status and chronic medical problems.

The study found 1.5 to 3.5 cups of unsweetened and sugar-sweetened coffee was consistently associated with a lower risk for early death. This was not true for artificially sweetened coffee.

Previous studies have looked at the correlation between coffee drinking and mortality. In all studies, it was suggested that the benefit came from the substances in coffee, rather than the caffeine. That implies the benefit comes from both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.

Researchers are quick to point out: correlation does not necessarily mean causation.

 

About Advena Living

Start your day off with a hot cup of coffee at Advena Living. If you prefer warm tea, we have that too. It’s important to us that our community members feel at home. We believe everyone should have a say in their lives. That means deciding when to eat, wake up, go to sleep and participate in activities.

Advena Living is a family-based company in Manhattan, KS. We specialize in skilled nursing, long-term care, rehabilitation and assisted living services throughout the state.

Our name “Advena” means newcomer. We welcome newcomers seeking a senior living environment where they continue to enjoy a full life, and where their personal choices are respected and upheld.

The Importance of Having Fun in Long-Term Care

We saw a fun video on TikTok where a senior living community did dolphin rides with their residents. They inflated a dolphin float, put it on a dolly and wheeled people through the building. It looked like so much fun that we knew we had to try that at Advena Living of Bonner Springs. As you can see in this video, our community members had a fantastic time! (Be sure to check out our Advena Living of Bonner Springs Facebook page for more fun photos and videos.)

At Advena Living, we believe you shouldn’t have to give up who you are or stop having fun just because you’re moving to a new environment.

That’s why it’s important for all of our communities to have activities and events that are entertaining and engaging.  We try to have a variety of things going on from daily activities, to events for family members and friends, to outings around town.

We value input from our community members and try to tailor our social calendars to their preferences.

About Advena Living

At Advena Living, we want everyone who lives at our communities to feel at home. Each person gets to live how they want, on their own schedule. That means having a say in when to eat, wake up, go to sleep, and participate in activities. Because we follow a person-centered care approach, we include community members in decisions that affect them.

We are a family-owned company with skilled nursing and rehab in seven locations through Kansas. Our name “Advena” means newcomer. Communities welcome newcomers seeking a senior living experience where they may continue to enjoy a full life, and where their personal choices are respected and upheld.

 

What to Know About Short-Term Rehabilitation

Life is unpredictable. One minute you’re fine and the next, an accident or illness changes everything. After a visit to the hospital, the doctor may recommend a short-term rehab stay before you return home. While it may seem daunting, communities like Advena Living exist to help you get stronger and back home quicker. So what can you expect?

 

What is Rehabilitation Therapy?

Short-term rehab services or post-acute care is for individuals who are working hard to recover and return home after surgery, illness or injury.

Advena Living and other rehabilitation communities offer safe and supportive environments along with intensive therapies to help accomplish each person’s specific health goals.

 

Types of Therapies

Physical therapy focuses on improvement of coordinator, balance, strength and endurance.

Occupational therapy uses goal-directed activities to help restore, maintain and improve daily living skills.

Speech and language pathology looks at how to improve swallowing, hearing, speech and language. Speech therapists assess and provide treatment to help individuals recover lost skills or develop new ones.

 

Length of Visit

The typical length of stay is about 20 days, according to various sources, although it could be shorter or longer depending on your progress.

Medicare covers inpatient rehab in a skilled nursing community for up to 100 days, after a qualifying hospital stay meets the 3-rule. That means you must be admitted to the hospital as an inpatient for at least 3 days. The AARP Medicare Plans website provides more detailed information on Medicare Coverage.

 

Packing for a Short-Term Stay

If you do have to complete a post-hospital rehabilitation stay, you will need to bring comfortable loose clothing for therapy, as well as other personal items.

Here are a few suggestions of necessary items for your stay:

  • Shoes with non-skid soles
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Underwear, socks
  • Pajamas, robe, slippers with tread
  • Toiletries: shampoo, soap, cosmetics, toothpaste and toothbrush, etc.
  • Other personal hygiene products
  • Dentures, glasses, hearing aids, cane, walker
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Entertainment: laptop or tablet, books, magazines, crossword puzzles, cards, knitting

It is not recommended that you bring valuable items, jewelry or cash.

It is also not a requirement to bring bedding, but if you have a warm blanket or pillow that will make you more comfortable, bring those items.

 

Learn More about Short-Term Rehab

To learn more about short-term rehabilitation stays at Advena Living, call our Marketing and Admissions Director at (785) 789-4750.

 

About Advena Living

If your goal is to get well, strengthen and return to your home in the greater community, the team at Advena Living will make that our goal as well. We provide in-house physical, occupational and speech therapy services seven days a week, and we specialize in return-to-home plans and services. We can help you restore mobility, independence and autonomy as we work together on a plan to accomplish your goals to the best of our ability.

While the intention is to go home, that doesn’t always happen. For different reasons, an individual may not meet their goals and may require long-term care. Advena Living specializes in skilled nursing, long-term care, rehab and assisted living services throughout Kansas. Our name “Advena” means newcomer, which is what we do—welcome newcomers seeking a senior living environment where they may continue to enjoy a full life, and where their personal choices are respected and upheld.

The Speed of Aging: How the Rate Determines Health Issues

Have you ever looked at someone the same age as you and thought that person looked much older or younger than you? Perhaps it’s because you are actually aging at different speeds.

A 2015 study looked at the pace of aging by studying biomarkers such as blood pressure, gum health, cholesterol, lung and kidney function, among others. The participants were all 38 years. Shockingly, after studying those biomarkers, the biological age of individuals actually varied between 28 years old to 61 years old. Those who were aging more quickly appeared older and reported more health issues.

This year, research supported by the National Institute on Aging took that data one step further to see if studying these biomarkers and the rate of aging could serve as early indicators for chronic conditions.

Aging Rate Predicts Health Problems

Researchers looked at the same participants, now seven years later at the age of 45 in hopes of coming up with a “Pace of Aging” score which would determine if someone was aging one year each calendar year, or if they were aging faster or slower than that.

The test found mid-life and older adults who scored higher were at increased risk for chronic disease, disability and mortality. The study also found young adults with childhood adversity indicated faster aging.

“Together, these measurements can help us understand the factors that drive accelerated aging in at-risk populations and identify interventions that can slow aging to build aging health equity,”

said Daniel Belsky, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University and the first author on both the 2015 and 2022 studies.

To learn more about this research, click here.

 

About Advena Living

At Advena Living, we know that age is just a number and it’s more about how you feel. That’s why we strive to be more than a traditional, institutional nursing home to give people a better quality of life. We want community members to able to continue to enjoy the simple daily pleasures, rituals and activities that make them who they are.

We know that moving to a long-term care or assisted living community can be a challenge. That’s why our team works to ensure that new residents do not feel alone and are comfortable in their new environment. We strive to make the concept of “home” a real thing for everyone who lives at our communities, no matter how they define it.

Advena Living is a family-owned company that specializes in skilled nursing, long-term care, rehab and assisted living services throughout Kansas. Our name “Advena” means newcomer, which is what we do—welcome newcomers seeking a senior living environment where they may continue to enjoy a full life, and where their personal choices are respected and upheld.

Happy and You Know It: 10 Real Ways to Attain Happiness

Within the past couple of decades, there have been numerous studies on happiness and how to attain it. While there haven’t been any groundbreaking discoveries, a team of international researchers were able to pinpoint certain activities that are actually achievable.

Seeking Happiness

In the study, the team came up nearly 70 ways people are often told how to be happier. That number alone shows that this is a widely studied topic and people are often seeking ways to achieve happiness and lead more fulfilled lives.

Researchers then asked academic experts on the science of happiness to rate those dozens of ways to determine which ones were most feasible and effective.

Achievable Strategies

At the top of the list, they found these 10 strategies can lead to greater happiness:

  1. Invest in time with friends and family
  2. Join a club
  3. Be active both mentally and physically
  4. Practice your religion
  5. Get regular physical exercise
  6. Be nice to others
  7. Be generous
  8. Check your health
  9. Experience nature
  10. Socialize with colleagues outside of work

For the complete list, which includes volunteering, sleep and gardening, click here.

About Advena Living

At Advena Living, we believe our community members should continue to enjoy the simple daily pleasures, rituals and activities that make them who they are.

We know that moving to a long-term care or assisted living community can be a challenge. That’s why our team works to ensure that new residents do not feel alone and are comfortable in their new environment. We strive to make the concept of “home” a real thing for everyone who lives at our communities, no matter how they define it.

Advena Living is a family-owned company that specializes in skilled nursing, long-term care, rehab and assisted living services throughout Kansas. Our name “Advena” means newcomer.  We welcome newcomers seeking a senior living environment where they may continue to enjoy a full life, and where their personal choices are respected and upheld.