5 Tips for Improving Mental Health

By: Chris Phillips

As a society, we often place emphasis on physical health when we talk about being healthy. Physical health is incredibly important to your overall well-being, but so is mental health. Mental health doesn’t just focus on mental illness. It references the overall well-being of your mind and a healthy mind means a happier person in general. How do you stay mentally healthy?

Get Plenty of Sleep

Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep to operate at their highest level. Anything less than seven hours decreases a person’s ability to concentrate and increases chances of developing mood problems. If you are constantly moving and working when you’re awake, even if you get a sufficient amount of sleep, you could still feel tired and drained. Plan some down time to just lie around and do nothing.

Focus on Your Hobbies

Do you like to read? What about play cards? Go hiking and explore nature? Whatever it is, make sure you incorporate it into your weekly schedule. You need fun to balance the stress of working and life in general. Set aside some time every night to just unwind with whatever your favorite hobby is. How does the old saying go? All work and no play, right?

Stay Social

Communicating with your friends, family and other people in your life will give your mental health an enormous boost. Talk about your day with your husband or wife. Call your parents and tell them what’s troubling you. Ask a stranger about the weather. Humans are social creatures who want to be connected to others. Feed your need to be social and raise your mental health.

Exercise and Eat Healthy

Physical health plays a role in your mental health because your brain needs the right vitamins and minerals to stay healthy and you can ensure you get these vitamins by eating healthy. Exercise will help you reduce fat, build muscles and improve sleep. A better night’s sleep can only improve your mental health. It’s also said exercise will release chemicals in your brain to give you an instant mood boost.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed

You have a lot on your plate at work, at home and anything else you may be involved like church, clubs or school. You don’t have to do every favor or take on every task asked of you. It’s okay to say no from time to time. At the same time, you don’t have to face everything alone. You have a social support system and they can help you with any problems that arise. Do you need somebody to pick up your kids from school? Just ask! You don’t need to do everything alone.

Every person has a different life and a different stress level, but we all need to maintain a healthy mental state or we could find ourselves unhappy and overly stressed. Incorporate these tips into your life and watch as your mental health and overall happiness grows.

Sprenger Health Care Communities Gear Up For Relay For Life

Sprenger Healthcare is joining the fight against cancer as our communities across Ohio are ready to participate in this year’s Relay for Life. Relay for Life is a community-based fundraising event of the American Cancer Society, in which communities around the world come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost and fight back against cancer.

Sprenger Health Care facilities are participating in two Relay for Life events and we want you to join us in supporting this great cause.

The first Relay for Life event is Saturday, May 21, 2016 from 12:00 p.m. until 12:00 a.m. It will take place at Vermilion High School, 1250 Sanford Street, Vermilion, OH. The theme for this event is Under the Sea, so get ready for an underwater adventure.

The second Relay for Life event is Saturday, July 9, 2016 from 11:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. It will take place in Downtown Massillon at Tremont SE and 1st Street SE in Massillon, OH. The theme for this event is Disney and we can’t wait for you to be our guest!

Sprenger employees, family and friends are invited to join our teams. You can join either Sprenger Health Care team in six easy steps:

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  1. Visit RelayForLife.com
  2. Select “Find a team”
  3. Search “The Heart of Sprenger”
  4. Select Massillon or Vermilion
  5. Click “Join Our Team”
  6. Fill out and Submit Form

You don’t have to attend the event to participate in Relay for Life and help us in the fight against cancer. Each Sprenger community is hosting fundraisers in the days leading up to this event. Here is a list of some of the fundraising efforts coming up at each location:

  • Autumn Aegis: Raffle for pampering themed Gift Basket (May 7th)
  • Amherst Manor: Spaghetti dinner (May 11th)
  • Anchor Lodge: Bake Sale (May 6th), $3 Salad Bar (May 13th)
  • Elms Retirement Village: Candy bar sales (Ongoing ),  $3.00 Rigatoni (May 27th), Car Wash (TBD)
  • Towne Center: 2nd Annual Meatballs on Main Street (May 19th)

For more information, please contact Amanda Yandell at ayandell@sprengerhealthcare.com or 440-396-1827.

Sprenger Health Care Helps Prevent Falls with A Matter of Balance

Sprenger Healthcare is getting even more proactive about fall prevention with A Matter of Balance, an eight week program designed to help older adults manage falls and increase activity levels.

According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. However, falls can be avoided through fall prevention education and practical lifestyle changes. This is why Sprenger Healthcare is bringing A Matter of Balance to its communities.

Sometimes just the fear of falling can be concerning, as it can change a person’s behavior and increase the risk of falling. The knowledge and training from the A Matter of Balance program can increase participant’s activity levels and confidence in their ability to move.

This program teaches participants to view falls as controllable and set realistic goals for increasing activity.  It’s an ideal program for anyone who is concerned about falls, has fallen in the past, or wants to improve flexibility, balance and strength.

A Matter of Balance classes start May 17th at Smithville Western Commons’ Wayne Manor (4138 Swanson Blvd., Wooster, OH, 44691) and will be held each Tuesday for eight weeks. Sprenger Health Care is also planning to implement this program in its other Ohio facilities.

The classes are led by Sprenger’s trained clinical experts. A new topic is introduced each session to help with strengthening and balance. Participants are encouraged to attend all eight classes, as each class builds upon the previous week.

To find out more about the A Matter of Balance program at Sprenger Healthcare or to register for classes, please contact Chris Fankhauser, Clinical Education Director, at 330-495-1792.

Caring for the Caregiver: What I’ve Learned Caring for My Mother

By Dr. Jim Collins

My Story

As a gerontologist, Caring for the Caregiver has been one of my favorite topics to present, and for a couple reasons. First, there is an endless amount of information to discuss, from stress and burnout, to depression and weight gain, to seeking help, accepting limitations and finding peace within the caregiver role. The other, and probably more important reason, is because I was a caregiver to my mother for several years while she lived with me, my wife and daughter.

My mother, Mary, was a nursing assistant for almost 30 years in the same nursing home. When she retired in her late 70’s, she became bored and went back to work at an assisted living facility, where she worked until she retired at the age of 80! Prior to her retirement, she began to decline physically and mentally. There were plenty of signs of dementia, but when I brought it up to family members and friends, they replied “You think everyone has dementia!” While that is not true, she was becoming forgetful, leaving the stove on, burning pans, and hiding them in the trash. She also began to fall – numerous times, and miraculously, without much injury.

The care I provided, along with assistance from my wife and some family members began 15 years before she moved into an assisted living facility. Making sure she had proper nutrition was top on my list, as was taking her to all of her appointments, shopping trips and social visits. I helped her manage her finances and made sure she always had enough money to do anything she wanted. Keeping her safe while enjoying quality of life was important to me and I always tried to balance the two the best I could. She is now 91 and lives in a long-term care community.

What I Learned

Years of caregiving can be very fulfilling as well as take a toll on you, not only physically, but mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. Typically, caregivers are the oldest adult daughters in the family, but in my family, I was most prepared to take care of my mother. Many years later, I’ve learned a few things about being a caregiver and want to share them with you. My hope is that these tips will help you help yourself, because you must first and foremost take care of yourself in order to provide care to anyone else.

Approach caregiving realistically. You can and will make a difference in the life of the person you care for, but know your limits. You simply cannot control everything, so don’t try. Diseases will progress, memory will decline and you must do what you can but not more than anyone is capable of doing. Nevertheless, do the best that you can and know in your heart you’re doing the right thing.

Monitor your own health and stress level. Listen to your body as it will always tell you the truth. Watch for headaches, stomach pain, and muscle strain. Be aware of your emotions. Are you experiencing sadness, anxiousness, are you over- or undereating, or has your sleep pattern changed? Any of these can be signs of stress, burnout or clinical depression or anxiety.

Take time out for yourself to rejuvenate. Everyone needs to take an occasional break from being a caregiver. Remember, give to yourself time to relax and return to your own hobbies and interests. Reach out to family and friends. Have a responsible person watch your loved one for a while so that you can get out, go shopping, see a movie, or go to dinner with a friend. By giving yourself a break, you will be relaxed and ready to get back to caregiving.

Never be afraid to ask for help. The old saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself” doesn’t fit the world of caregiving for long. No one can be a doctor, nurse, therapist, cook, housekeeper, and chauffeur all at the same time. We also don’t want to be a “burden” on anyone else, but we must approach caregiving not only livingly, but intelligently. Is there a good neighbor who can take care of a few things around the house for you? Can the grandkids get involved? Look into local health and social services for assistance. You will feel a lot better knowing you have help.

Accept change. As we age, many changes naturally take place biologically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Disorders and diseases come with their own unique changes. Learn to embrace change and accept it as a part of life. Nothing lasts forever, and everything is undergoing constant change. Accepting change will lighten your burden and you won’t feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.

If you are a caregiver, I hope that my words find their way into your mind and heart and help you serve your loved one the best way you can. Be proud. Not everyone is cut out to be a caregiver and that makes you a very special person.