Healthy Holidays for Seniors

Christmas Dinner Knights of Pythias Retirement Center

For seniors, sticking to a diet is important. Overeating can lead to heart ailments, diabetes and other health conditions.

Healthy Holidays for Seniors

With Halloween a spooky memory, the holiday season is upon us. While many of us are getting dining room tables ready for Thanksgiving or planning Christmas and New Years parties, keeping an eye on our usually healthy diets is put on the back burner.

Younger adults are able to take a couple of gastric hits during these next few months, but for seniors, sticking to a diet is more important. A decreasing metabolism coupled with activity in later years means an older adult’s body can’t deal with a second (or third!) helping of stuffing as well as it used to. Overeating can lead to heart ailments, diabetes and other health conditions.

Of course, a big meal here or there won’t throw the body completely out of whack, but with a calendar full of get togethers scheduled over the next two months, seniors really need to watch what they eat so they can remain full of vitality into the new year.

A list of things to keep in mind during the holidays:

Seniors Enjoying a Christmas Party Knights of Pythias Retirement Center

We all look forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas and ringing in the new year!

Make Healthy Choices – Rich meals and tempting desserts all look and smell so good, but it’s important to keep from overindulging. Sure, have a cookie or snack before the meal, but leave it at that. You don’t need to sample everything on the table (no matter how good it looks). When the stomach starts to rumble, search out vegetables or fruit to keep hunger at bay and help fill you up before dinner.

  • Stay Hydrated – This is important all year round, but especially during the holidays. Dehydration can hit at any time, and with so much going on it can be easy to drink water consistently. Make sure water is available wherever you go, whether it’s to go caroling, shopping, or even just relaxing with family.
  • Follow Doctors Orders – If a senior has a strict diet for medical reasons, now is not the time to forget. All the tastiest treats seem to have enough sodium for the whole family! But too much sodium can be more harmful for seniors. The holidays can also be stressful, which can lead to overindulging, so making sure seniors are sticking to their diet is a must. This doesn’t mean an occasional piece of pie is forbidden, just not the whole pie!
  • Don’t Drink Too Much – This is true for everybody, although older guests might be taking medication that alcohol could disrupt. When holding a party, make plenty of non-alcoholic choices available for everyone.
  • Stay Active – Just because it’s cold, gray and wintery outside doesn’t mean we should take a break from physical activity. During the holidays, when stress levels can run high, spending 30 minutes a day walking, stretching or just moving around can help relieve that stress. And maybe work off that extra cookie you had at last night’s get together.
  • Take A Night Off – Seniors have made a lot of friends during their life, and it’s great to see them during the holiday season. But you don’t have to go to every social engagement. Spending a night or two just resting, watching a TV show or reading a book is a way to relax and let the body and mind have a rest.

We all look forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas and ringing in the new year. By following a few simple rules, 2018 will have a great, healthy start!

Starting the Season Off Right

UpFront Jazz Band

The UpFront Jazz Band will perform on Oct 31st photo source:

Starting the Season Off Right

Whether you call it Fall, Autumn, or whatever, October marks the time of year when the temperatures get cooler and days get shorter. It is also the time people start thinking about holiday gatherings and other get-togethers, starting with Halloween.

The importance of attending these holiday parties is two-fold. Loneliness can be hard for many of us during the holiday season, but it can affect seniors the hardest. With the weather getting gloomy, seniors don’t get to be outdoors as much and may get into a cycle of just staying in the rooms or at their home.

UpFront Jazz Band

The Knights of Pythias Retirement Center understands the importance of conversation and just being around others. On Oct. 31, we will be having a Halloween event and encourage our residents to put on a costume and enjoy the Upfront Jazz Band and baked potato bar starting at 4:30 p.m.

Halloween Boo Bingo

Another Oct. 31 event, the Halloween Boo Bingo, will be held at The Luepke Center. Even if residents don’t want to get dressed up, they can still attend and have a great time. Residents are asked to bring a white elephant gift in exchange for a bingo card and friends and family of our residents are welcome to attend.

Pumpkin Carving Event

Halloween Boo Bingo

Boo Bingo at the Luepke Center Oct 31st

On Oct. 22, we will be attending a pumpkin carving event in Troutdale, OR, as part of a Seniors Harvest Fun day. There are sure to be jack-o-lanterns of all shapes, sizes, and designs on display.

There are other ways for seniors to enjoy Halloween, too. If possible, joining grandchildren for a night of trick-or-treating is a great way to get a little exercise and be close with family. Talking about school or their costumes will let the children know their grandparents want them to be happy and well.

Of course, there doesn’t have to be a special event or holiday to keep our older loved ones from feeling alone. Weekly visits or even a phone call to talk about their day will let them know their family and friends are thinking of them.

For more information on the Halloween Boob Bingo night or other Knights of Pythias events, contact us today.

Staying Active Indoors

Staying Active Indoors

No matter your age, staying active is important for body and mind. Not only do you feel better after 30 minutes of exercise, seniors who stay active can help combat diabetes, heart disease, and even some forms of cancer. Flexibility, balance, endurance, and strength are also happy side effects of moving around every day.

However, as summer gives way to fall, the chances to walk around the neighborhood every day become limited. Cold, rainy weather is no fun to spend any time in, and it can make sidewalks slippery. But that doesn’t mean seniors have to sit in a chair for six months.

Knights of Pythias provides residents with a fitness room and two morning exercise groups: yoga and sit and stretch.


Yoga can be helpful for anyone, even those that are disabled, have problems with movement, or other health considerations. Each pose can modified to suit most fitness levels and some can be performed while sitting in a chair or wheelchair. Yoga can strengthen your body as well as improve flexibility and balance. Our Yoga classes are held on Tuesday and Thursday.

Elderly doing yoga at a retirement center in Vancouver WA

Sit and Stretch

Another way to improve flexibility is daily stretching. As we age, our muscles begin to lose some of it’s elasticity, affecting how we move around. Daily stretching keeps muscles and joints in good working condition and can be done at any age. In addition to the benefits of daily exercise, stretching can help with back pain, improve posture, and is beneficial for those who suffer from arthritis. Our Sit and Stretch classes are held at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The best part about Yoga and stretching? It can all be done indoors and out of the weather! Additionally, the fitness room is open until 8 p.m. and features treadmills, stationary bikes, weights, and a punching bag.

Since we do not have staff available to supervise, we recommend that the residents consult their doctor to figure out what the best exercise regimen would be for them.

Don’t over do it…

As with any kind of exercising, don’t over do it. As we get older, our bodies don’t respond like they used to. If you are just getting back into the swing of exercising, start slow until you feel strong enough to work out for longer periods of time. Always have access to water, too – no matter what activity you choose, staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do for your body.

Another helpful tip: choose activities that you are able to do or that you enjoy. This will make it easier to stick with a plan and keep you from getting discouraged. If you can find a “workout buddy,” this will also help keep you on track and you can encourage each other.

To learn more about our fitness room and exercise classes, contact Knight of Pythias Retirement Center today!

Senior Aid in Education

Senior Aid in Education

No matter where they live, Grandparents can help their grandkids in many different ways. Sure, a birthday or Christmas gift is always appreciated, but seniors can also give something more important – emotional support. With a new school year approaching, an encouraging word from a grandparents can go a long way over the next nine months.

The following is a quick list of ideas that grandparents can use to help:

  • Ask about what’s going on at school
  • Congratulate grandkids for their efforts
  • If possible, volunteer at their school
  • Learn along with kids
  • Talk about the future and planning


Grandfather and Grandson

If a grandparent shows interest in what they are learning, children learn that school/education is something of value.

If a grandparent shows interest in what they are learning, children learn that school/education is something of value. Talking about what the kids are learning about, school events, and new friends they may be making are easy subjects to broach. But, be specific with your questions – asking about the best part of the day (and the worst) will show your interest. If the children are studying a particular time in history, share what you learned by living through it.


When praising a grandchild for a job well done (in school or at an event), make sure to mention more than the end result. Talk about the preparation or extra work they did to help them reach their goals. It may be a cliche, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true: it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.


If you live near enough to your grandchildren, volunteering at the school can show them how much you value education. Find out who their teachers are, or ask their parents, about what you can do to help. This could be anything from being a guest speaker to a lunch buddy – anything that shows you care about your grandchild and their education.


You’ve learned many things during your time on Earth – share them with your grandchild! Talk about your life experiences with them, help them finds books about what life was like when you were younger, or just show them how to follow a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. If you express an interest in reading, following directions, and lifelong learning, so will they.


Sometimes, school can be overwhelming. With classes, homework, and even a sport, time can easily get away from us. Let your grandchildren know you are rooting for them and that the hard work and planning for future goals will work out for the best.

After all, you did that and got a great grandchild out of it! Even if you aren’t in the same city, an occasional note or phone call will let your grandchild know you are thinking of them. It could inspire them to do the same for their grandchildren.

Safety Tips for Summer Heat

Two elderly ladies beating the summer heat

Seniors can be affected by heat-related issues faster and with great consequence than younger folks. So it’s important for them to be aware and take precautions.

Safety Tips for Summer Heat

With summer in full swing, temperatures are on the rise. For the most part, we enjoy mild summers in the Pacific Northwest. And we take advantage of the few months of sunshine we get. But, there are times when the thermometer climbs past the 80’s and into the 90’s – sometimes even triple digits. When the weather gets that warm, and sticks around for a few days, it’s time to take the proper precautions.

While many of these suggestions work for everyone, they are even more important for our older loved ones. Seniors can suffer from poor circulation and inefficient sweat glands. The inability to sweat due to certain medications, and other issues make sweltering heat more of an issue. Seniors can be affected by heat-related issues faster and with great consequence than younger folks. So it’s important for them to be aware and take precautions.

Here are a few tips our older loved ones can follow when the temperatures begin to get too high:

  1. Hydration – drinking plenty of water is a good idea every day, but even more so during warmer days. On the flip side, avoid caffeine or alcoholic drinks as those tend to dehydrate the body.
  2. Wear Proper Clothes – Obviously, it doesn’t make sense to get all bundled up to go out in the middle of summer. While it is still a good idea to cover up as much as possible with a long-sleeved shirt, pants, or long dress, make sure the clothes are made of lighter material and are a little loose fitting. Adding a large-brimmed hat will help protect your skin from the sun as well.
  3. Keep Cool At Home – If your home is not equipped with air conditioning, and you know it will be a warm day, open the windows to your home in the morning while it is still cool. As the temperature begins to rise, close the windows and shades to keep the cool air trapped in your home. In the evening, open everything up again. For safety sake, close windows at night, although second-story windows may be left open.
  4. Keep Cool Away from Home – When a string of 90-degree heat hits, it can be difficult to keep the home cool. It’s a good idea to find air conditioning elsewhere. In times of extreme heat, cooling stations are often set up around Clark County. Or you could visit the mall, go to a movie theater, or find a community center where you can spend a few hours during the warmest parts of the day.
  5. Pay Attention to Your Body – If you begin to feel faint, dizzy, or nauseous, you may be getting heat stroke. Get inside as soon as possible or call someone for help.

These are just a few ways to stay safe in the summer heat. It’s important for family members to check on older loved ones as well to make sure they are taking the proper precautions. Stopping by for a visit or even a phone call can make sure a senior is in good spirits and taking care of themselves.

Don’t forget those furry friends

One more thing to keep note of – higher temperatures can also affect pets, sometimes more dramatically. Many of the above steps – making sure plenty of water is available, staying out of the heat, and keeping the house cool can keep things comfortable for our furry friends as well. If you must leave the house, keep your pets at home. Leaving your dog in the car while you walk the mall or take in a movie for a few hours is a death sentence for our four-legged friends.

There is a lot to be aware of when the temperature goes up and up and up. But, it doesn’t mean seniors can’t enjoy the sunny days. Using the above tips, and a little common sense, can make a summer day enjoyable for all.