Fall Is Coming

fall wardrobe choices for Aileen Brazeau

from Pinterest


Our weather is still warm, and thank goodness we have finally had a few rain storms, but I am getting excited about putting some new fall outfits together. We don’t get much of a change of season here in South Orange County. But the leaves will turn, the evenings and early mornings will get cooler. The air smells fresher and more crisp. Fall is kind of the best of both worlds for me. Warm, breezy afternoons, cool evenings, and a chance to switch to warmer fall colors for a few months.

Of course Fall also means that another year has gone by all too quickly, and that part bothers me a bit. It seems each passing year goes by more quickly. I wish I could make things slow down just a little. The other side of Fall season means the Holidays are coming, and I love them. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years..the best time of the year.


Aileen Brazeau

Aileen At Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day 2012

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How Much Sleep do Seniors Need?

pets for companyI was told that as we age we need less sleep. I must tell you that the truth is this. As we age we sleep less, but that doesn’t mean we need less sleep. Yes, our bodies are no longer changing and growing like a teenager.  Well, okay, they are growing and changing, that is still true, just not in the same way a youngsters body is.

The National Institutes of Health has put forth the proposition that older adults need 7 to 9 hours sleep, just like everyone else.  The fact that as we age our sleep tends to get interrupted more frequently with trips to the restroom, and just less REM sleep overall.  Brain function can become impaired at any age when we don’t give our minds and bodies enough rest and exercise. So I think it’s important to do the following:

  1. Find a way to ease aches and pains before retiring for the night, perhaps a warm bath, or a cup of tea
  2. If you are prone to leg pain, find just the right type of pillow to place between your knees
  3. Get plenty of exercise during the day, it’s good for your brain and will help you to sleep better
  4. If your mind gets restless when you lie in bed, try soothing music as a background for your sleep
  5. Dance whenever you can. Even if it’s by yourself at home. Dancing releases endorphins, and music makes us happy, when we feel happy and relaxed we sleep better.
  6. If you get really sleepy in the middle of the day, don’t be afraid to take a short nap. There are some people who have more trouble sleeping when they get overtired.

So remember, no matter how old we are we need our sleep…


Aileen Brazeau



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Keeping Our Seniors Happy and Healthy During the Cooler Months

Karen Watson is a good friend of mine and she often contributes guest posts for my blogs. I hope you enjoy her writings!



Karen Everett Watson – Gerontologistpets for company


The chilly winter months may leave us all dreaming of spring, but for older people, there are extra concerns. Elders are a lot more sensitive to the cold and often neglect some essentials during the winter. You can help keep them healthy and happy by just paying attention to a few life essentials.

Sunlight – The golden rays of the sun are vital to us all, especially during the winter. Sunlight gives our bodies a boost of Vitamin D and helps elevate our moods. Research is now finding that strong light can help those with dementia sharpen their cognitive skills. For elders who don’t have dementia, it can help keep it at bay.

Tips –

  • Encourage your loved one to get outside for a few minutes, even if it’s just on a sunny porch.
  • Move their favorite sitting spot near the sunniest window.
  • For bed fast elders, invest in a strong sunlamp. Never leave them unattended while it’s on. Start with only a few minutes under the lamp. Elderly skin is also more sensitive to heat. What feels good on you, might burn them, so keep it at a safe distance. Read the directions carefully!

Fluids – Without the warmth of the sun, many elders will neglect to drink enough. Most of our heaters dry out the air in our homes, which makes it more necessary to replenish our bodies with extra fluids. Remind your elder to drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration can be deadly. Elders often suffer from kidney problems, so getting enough fluids can actually extend their lives. Here’s a few tips to get more fluids without much fuss.

  • Water, water, water – Invest in a good water bottle and make it your elders constant companion.
  • Add fluids to the menu – Juices, teas, soups, and low-sodium broths and bouillon.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine – they actually dehydrate the body.
  • Don’t forget about their skin! Make sure they apply a non-allergic skin lotion daily!

Clothing – Elders are a lot more sensitive to the cold. So make sure they dress warmly before going out.

  • Encourage them to dress in layers. This way they can take off their coat, but having a sweater underneath, can keep them from feeling drafts.
  • Have a throw blanket in their favorite sitting spot.
  • Put an extra blanket on their bed.
  • Close off unused rooms to keep the living areas warmer.

Exercise – No matter what your age or your physical ability, a body needs to move. Use it or lose it is even more true for elders. Here are few ways you can encourage them to keep on using that body.

  • Take them shopping.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Not mobile? – try some chair exercises.
  • Too cold to walk? – Walk around the house.
  • Bedfast? – Do leg stretches and lifts laying down and sitting on the edge of the bed.

Socializing – Winter time can be very lonely for elders. They aren’t as mobile as they were when they were younger. Cold weather can even hamper neighbors from visiting. Human contact is just as essential as food, shelter, and clothing.

  • Make sure your elder gets to go to their place of worship once a week.
  • Encourage family members and neighbors to call and drop by.
  • Sign your elder up for meals on wheels – even brief contact can make an elder’s day.
  • See what programs are offered at the local senior center. Many have adult day care.
  • Take them to lunch or drop by with one of the grandchildren.
  • Call them every day. Try to make it at the same time, so they can count on hearing your voice.
  • Get them an easy to use cell phone with all the family members’ numbers in it. Many of the new ones have a strap so they can put it around their neck. These are great in case they fall or have an emergency.
  • Does your loved one have a pet? If not, you might consider getting them one. Pets can offer so much to seniors. Having a dog, or cat gives all of us purpose each day to tend to their needs. In return, we get so much love and enjoyment!

I hope you found at least some of these suggestions helpful for you and your loved one. Even if you are far away from them, if you can provide gentle encouragement, that is still a start.





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Promoting Memory Care

Aileen Brazeau recently hosted a community discussion on the subject of  Memory Enhancement Programs for seniors.

The discussion was led by  Gerontologist Jane L. Mahakian, PhD, MFT,  previous director of Elder Care Programs at the University of California, San Francisco, and CEO/founder of Aging Matters, Inc.  Topics of discussions included the differences between normal memory Jane-Mahakian-PhD speaks at San Clemente Villaschanges, mild cognitive impairment and early-stage dementia.

 A support group continues to meet the last Thursday of each month at San Clemente Villas to share news and ideas, and to learn more about the different levels of memory loss and dementia, and ways to detect them.  The support group invites care givers, relatives, and those concerned about their own memory skills; to gather information from geriatric experts on hand and receive  input from thought leaders about modern dementia identification tools/ treatments.

The event coincided with the new Memory Enhancement Program being offered to residents at the Villas’ deluxe assisted care community.  The conversation served to underscore  how the Villas new “Memory Enhancement Program” (MEP) incorporates state-of-the-art methods.

Participating MEP residents of the Villas attend daily memory improvement classes, conducted by Coordinator Diana Sanchez, that are loaded with cues and reminders. These provoke those residents to keep their minds and bodies in motion to help Memory Care at San Clemente Villasthem remain as independent as possible as long as possible.

“There are classes, twice a day, covering virtually any kind of cognitive deficiency,” says Dr. Mahakian. “You want those in MEP, even ones with mild cognitive impairment, to be as regularly stimulated as often as possible.  It is so true that using a mind helps forestall losing a mind.”

Individual supportive counseling is provided for each participant, weekly testing is done to verify progress being made, and there are monthly support groups for residents and families.

This program is another example of Aileen’s  commitment toward enhancing the experience of the senior citizens in our world.


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