How To Stay Connected With Your Loved One in Assisted Living

When your loved one is staying in Assisted Living, you want to be sure they’re getting the care they need and enjoying their time. We at Sprenger Healthcare understand that it can be difficult to have your loved one away from you at an Assisted Living facility. This is why we do everything we can to make it as easy as possible for you to stay connected to them and their caregivers.

Although you can always call your loved one or visit whenever possible, there are other ways to keep a strong connection with them while in Assisted Living. To help, we’re sharing some of our tips for staying connected:

  1. Participate in activities: A variety of life enrichment opportunities are provided daily at our Sprenger Health Care Assisted Living communities. Interact with your loved one by participating in an activity with them. Not only does this allow you to spend time with your loved one in Assisted Living, it gets them to get out and socializing with others.
  2. Join them for dinner: Sharing a family meal is a great way to stay close to your loved one. After all, some of the best conversations and memories come from sitting around the dinner table. Stop by and enjoy Sprenger’s chef-prepared meals. Guests are always welcome. If you want to make it even more special, trying bringing your loved one their favorite home-cooked meals.
  3. Use Smile: Sprenger makes staying connected easy with Smile – an online tool used by caregivers to communicate with each resident’s family. With Smile, you can stay up to date on the activities your loved one is participating in and effectively interact with staff caring for them. Sprenger Health Care is one of only two companies in Ohio to offer Smile and now provides it at every Sprenger Assisted Living community.

Smile at Sprenger Healthcare

Using Smile is easy! When your loved one is placed in a Sprenger Healthcare’ Assisted Living Community, ask the Assisted Living Manager or Life Enrichment Director for information about Smile. You will be given a pamphlet with all of the information you need and instructions on how to sign up.

Why should you participate in Smile? This program gives families 24/7 access to their loved one’s daily activities and also allows our staff to securely send positive messages, pictures, and videos to families. Family members can also connect with the caregivers and staff at Sprenger by sending communications back through the system. Smile can be used on any computer, tablet or smart phone as long as you have access to the internet.

If you’re interested in learning more about Smile and how it can help you stay connected to your loved one in our Sprenger Assisted Living communities, please call 800-772-1116.

Prevent Mosquito-Borne Illnesses This Summer

By: Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging (WRAAA)

Mosquitoes are more than just summertime pests – many carry viruses and bacteria that can cause serious illness. Older adults are no more likely than younger people to be bitten by mosquitoes, but they are at higher risk for complications from mosquito-borne illnesses. You can minimize your risk by protecting yourself from mosquito bites and taking steps to control mosquitoes outside and inside your home.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites:

  • Minimize time outdoors during peak time for mosquitoes (from dawn until dusk), and be mindful that mosquitoes can bite at any time of the day or night.
  • While outdoors, use an insect repellent with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol.
  • Follow insect repellent product label instructions and reapply as directed.
  • Apply sunscreen first if you are also using sunscreen with insect repellent.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outdoors, if possible, during peak mosquito times.

Control mosquitoes outside your home:

  • Eliminate breeding sites. Mosquitoes breed in water. Look for any items around your home that can hold rain water (e.g., buckets, rain barrels, bird baths, tires, planters and puddles);
    • If possible, remove these from your property, cover them or move them to where they won’t catch water.
    • If removal is not possible, empty any water at least once a week and scrub the sides of the containers to remove potential mosquito egg deposits.
  • Use larvicides to treat large containers of water that will not be used for drinking and cannot be covered or dumped out.
  • Use an outdoor flying insect spray in dark humid areas where mosquitoes rest, like under patio furniture, or in the carport or garage; always follow label instructions.
  • Repair cracks or gaps in septic tanks and cover open vent or plumbing pipes using wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.

Control mosquitoes inside your home:

  • Keep doors and windows closed or covered with screens as much as possible.
  • Check window and door screens and repair or replace any that are worn, torn or have mesh larger than an adult mosquito.
  • Empty and clean household items that hold water (vases and flowerpot saucers) at least weekly.
  • Use an indoor flying insect fogger or indoor insect spray to kill mosquitoes and treat areas where they rest; follow label instructions and reapply as directed.

No single strategy will help you avoid every mosquito bite, but a combination of the steps above will greatly reduce your risk of a bite and related illness. If you experience flu like symptoms, especially if you have been exposed to mosquitoes, talk to your doctor.

Have a Safe, Not Sorry Summer

By Dr. Jim Collins

Summer is finally here and with it comes lots of fun, outdoor activities, and some of our favorite foods. The days will be longer, warmer and many of us will want to be outdoors as much as possible. While there are great times ahead, summer also brings a few dangers, especially to people over 65 years of age. Some older adults can experience heat exhaustion, dehydration and foodborne illnesses. Here are some tips to enjoy the summer and remain safe.

Protect Yourself from Heat-Related Illness

Hyperthermia refers to a group of heat-related conditions such as heat stress, heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Annually, thousands of people experience these conditions, but they could be avoided altogether. Older adults are especially vulnerable to heat-related illnesses because the aging body cannot compensate for the heat and cool itself down. Older adults run a higher risk of hyperthermia due to being overweight, having poor circulation or high blood pressure.

There are many ways to protect yourself from heat-related illnesses. Stay inside air-conditioned places during extreme heat. Limit your exposure to the sun and get rest inside cool and comfortable places. The sun is hottest between 10am and 2pm, so stay inside during these peak hours. Wear light, loose-fitting clothes, wear sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats. Always drink extra fluids during hot weather and limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol you would normally consume. Sunscreen, especially SPF 30 or higher is recommended.

Enjoy Summer Activities Safely

The summer is a great time for gardening, swimming, walking, golfing, and going on short or longer trips. Studies show that older adults who remain active have higher life satisfaction than those who do not. Remaining active is also a great way to prevent or treat depression and loneliness.

To better ensure safety during the summer, talk to your doctor to make sure you are in good shape to handle physical activities. Any physical activity is better than none, so to improve cardiovascular health, go for walks, try biking, hiking, yoga, and watch your emotional state go from good to great! Keep an eye on community programs that may be interesting such as museum exhibits, gardening clubs, farmer’s markets, or outdoor symphonies. Summer is also a great time to volunteer and help children and animals in your community. In addition, since many younger people prefer not to attend college classes in the summer, you may want to take a couple courses yourself while there are fewer people on campus and more parking spaces.

Summer Foods and Eating Wisely

Far too many people become sick annually due to eating contaminated foods that have sat out in the heat for too long. Bacteria and viruses can make us very ill and cause death. Symptoms of food poisoning can occur within 24 hours or even days or weeks later. Symptoms of food poisoning include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and nausea.

Tips to avoid food poisoning include washing your hands before and after you handle food. Scrub your hands with soap for at least 20-30 seconds with warm, soapy water and rinse. Use a food thermometer to ensure that cooked foods reach safe temperatures. Hamburgers should be 160 degrees, steaks 145 degrees, chicken 165 degrees and fish should be cooked to 145 degrees.

Never place cooked food on a plate that previously had raw foods like meat, poultry, seafood or eggs. Always use clean and sanitized utensils, plates and cookware. Don’t allow raw meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, cut fresh fruits or vegetables sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Be sure to scrub out your cooler before filling it with ice.

Although summer is full of fun, activities, and outdoor living, it can also bring many dangers that can be easily avoided. To maximize your summer, stay cool, limit direct sun exposure and wear sunscreen. Get some exercise, but be careful and consult your doctor before adding too much physical activity to your daily routine. Get out and volunteer. Eat, drink and enjoy all that summer brings, but do it carefully and safely. Have a wonderful summer! 

Sprenger Healthcare adopts innovative and fun physical therapy with Jintronix

Jintronix is a new, FDA approved, virtual rehabilitation platform designed by leading experts in physical and occupational therapy as an exciting and effective tool for physical rehabilitation. It offers “gamified” exercises that are designed to improve a patient’s functional abilities.

“Our patients seem to truly enjoy Jintronix. It has increased their willingness and the amount of time they participate in therapy” says Laura Toetz, Director of Rehabilitation at Amherst Manor Retirement Community.

This easy to operate system supports the treatment of multiple conditions, providing activities optimized to target specific clinical outcomes, such as, fall prevention, motor control, balance, muscle strengthening, postural control and flexibility. It offers seated and standing tasks from low to high levels of difficulty. In addition, each activity can be customized by therapists to suit the needs of each individual patient.

Jintronix participants are guided by on-screen indicators that provide immediate feedback and help patients perform each task with correct form and technique while being overseen by a physical therapist. With the assistance of Jintronix, Sprenger therapists can increase productivity by spending less time setting up exercises and more time assessing and manually working with patients. They can also easily monitor and track patients’ progress, allowing them to adjust therapy regimens accordingly.

Sprenger Health Care is leading the way in innovative care, as it’s one of the earliest companies to partner with Jintronix. Currently, this platform is used along with other more traditional therapy techniques at four Sprenger Health Care communities; Amherst Manor Retirement Community, Sprenger Health Care of Mishawaka, Grande Village Retirement Community and Towne Center Community Campus, with plans for introducing it into more communities in the future.

To learn more about Jintronix, please contact Laura Toetz at  Visit to find the Sprenger Health Care community nearest you and find out more about the therapy and rehabilitation programs we have to offer.

Exercise, Balance Training and Fall Prevention for Seniors

By: Shelia Kries, PT

As the older adult population ages, physiological changes occur and the probability of falls increases that may result in negative outcomes. These outcomes span from pain, fear, isolation, to a decreased quality of life, high monetary costs, loss of mobility and loss of independence. The Otego fall prevention approach is an evidenced based program that has been developed to address the many variances that affect our aging population.

When it comes to falls, prevention is best. By identifying factors that contribute to falls and research based programs, we are able to develop and delay the effects of aging. We know that age associated functional declines in muscle strength and the sensory systems, in addition to several other issues, contribute to reductions in balance that may increase fall risks.

The aging population can “manage” some of the common problems that accompany age.  Exercise, along with nutrition and staying educated on side effects of prescribed medications, play a crucial role in this prevention process. This article’s primary focus is the rehabilitative aspect of fall prevention.

Once a risk has been identified through testing, further attention to be considered includes: range of motion, strength, proprioception, pain and posture.  A licensed therapist can develop a prescribed balance and exercise training program that addresses postural stability impairments as well as training programs for performance enhancement. A good understanding of balance, postural stability and sensorimotor training (SMT) is necessary for success. Effectiveness is also dependent on the ability to identify the deficits and develop a program that addresses these deficits.

The Sensorimotor Training approach addresses both static and dynamic components of balance as well as the multitude of systems that control balance in order to train effective strategies and elicit automatic postural responses in order to promote postural stability. This program is adapted for the aging population and utilizes trained Therapy staff to provide this program.

While balance is a commonly used term to describe the ability to maintain an upright position, “postural stability” is a more specific description of the overall aging balance. Postural stability can be defined as the ability of an individual to maintain their center of gravity (COG) within the base of support (BOS). Other areas that are contributory include the many complex physiologic and neurological processes that contribute and control postural stability. This is where the sensorimotor system has an affect on balance in this population. A good understanding of both areas of the musculoskeletal system along with the input from the central nervous system is essential in development and implementation of any balance recovery program.

Normal balance requires use of righting reactions, which require normal proprioception, range of motion, strength, and use of ankle, step and hip strategies. Therefore the treatment focus is on strength, flexibility, balance and reaction times, as these are considered modifiable risk factors for fall prevention. Research has shown that adults, even in the 90’s can improve in each of these areas with training.

The progression of this program has shown the best outcomes when a patient advances through three phases of SMT: Static, dynamic and functional. With in each stage individuals complete the task/exercise (1) different postures, (2) progressive BOS, (3) challenges to the center of gravity. The success of this type of training is based on several factors of addressing core areas, which includes the base of support, ankle strength, proprioception moving up to the pelvis region/posture. The main goal of SMT is to increase muscle reaction and tissue endurance rather than total joint strength. Instead of focusing on strength, the focus is placed on restoring the automatic reflexive stabilization for dynamic balance. The training outcome between normal strength training and SMT, notes that SMT showed improved objective testing scores.

We encourage you to further explore specifics of Sensorimotor training, and the Otega Exercise program to further educate and utilize these methods in reducing the falls in the aging population.

Sprenger Healthcare Begins 30 Private Bed Expansion Project at Amherst Manor Retirement Community


AMHERST, OHIO (July 12,2016) – Amherst Manor Retirement Community, managed by Sprenger Healthcare, is undergoing extensive renovation and expansion to better serve the needs of the aging population in Amherst, OH.

Thirty private rooms with individual bathrooms and walk-in showers are being added to Amherst Manor to increase comfort and privacy for short-term residents of rehabilitation and skilled nursing. In addition, the project will make room for a new dining room, living room, and more common areas, including a pub/lounge area and an outdoor courtyard, for all residents and their loved ones to enjoy.

The expansion also consists of a new, state-of-the-art 2,700 square foot therapy gym, which will be more than three time the size of the current therapy gym at Amherst Manor.  

 “This expansion of Amherst Manor will give us more capacity to meet the needs of our residents as they change and evolve,” says Kristen Gollinger, Administrator at Amherst Manor.

The larger and more functional therapy gym will feature a full kitchen and bedroom suite for occupational therapy support and added state-of-the-art equipment for all therapies. This is in addition to the advanced tools already offered at Amherst Manor, including Biodex equipment, VitalStim and Jintronix. Jintronix is a new, fun and effective tool for physical therapy that provides “gamified” exercises designed to improve a patient’s functional abilities.

Along with the expansion of Amherst Manor, the building will undergo extensive renovation. Its existing front fascia will be given a new look with the adding of a Porte-cochere to provide convenience for guests and give Amherst Manor extra curb appeal. Furthermore, much of the existing space at this facility is being converted to better serve residents with more spacious rooms and extra common areas for activities and socialization.

Amherst Manor Retirement Community was originally founded in 1959 by Grace Sprenger. Although it started as a 26-bed nursing facility, today Amherst Manor offers continuum of care options, including skilled nursing, assisted living, independent living, short-term and orthopedic rehabilitation, hospice care and respite care. It’s located on nine wooded acres in the historic village of Amherst. Residents enjoy a park-like setting that’s just minutes from downtown shopping restaurants and entertainment.

The expansion and renovation of Amherst Manor Retirement Community is scheduled to be completed in fall 2016.

About Sprenger Healthcare

Sprenger Healthcare has been family owned and operated since 1959. With 10 facilities throughout Northeast Ohio and Indiana, Sprenger offers the full continuum of aging services including: Short Term Rehabilitation, Skilled Nursing, Memory Care, Assisted Living, Independent Living, Hospice, and Home Health. Our innovative care, excellent customer service, and compassionate, dedicated employees have made Sprenger Healthcare a leader in providing exceptional health care. Sprenger communities have a history of excellent Resident and Family Satisfaction Surveys, 5 Star Ratings, Deficiency Free Surveys, and US News & World Report Rankings. For more information on the programs we offer and to hear more about the Sprenger difference, please visit our website, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.