An interview with Debra Block, NCCAP (National Council for Certification of Activities Professionals), Life Enhancement Coordinator, 6W Berenson, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center
Debra Block recently joined HSL as the Life Enhancement Coordinator on the newly renovated sixth floor west of the Berenson Allen building on Hebrew Rehabilitation Center’s (HRC) Roslindale campus. She has introduced an interactive theater and film program for patients at HRC. I sat down with her recently to learn more about her work with patients and the therapeutic value of theater arts.
Every year, around January 1, most of us make a list of New Year’s resolutions. Seems like it’s human nature to be introspective at this time and take a look at what we’d like to improve. At Hebrew SeniorLife, our seniors have many New Year’s resolutions, including many that may be on your list.
Since researchers have not yet determined what causes Alzheimer’s disease, you may be wondering if there is anything we can do to prevent it?
The answer is YES. RUSH University nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, ScD, and colleagues’ research has shown a link between nutrition and the role it may play to prevent or delay the onset of dementia decline. One of the studies showed the benefits of the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) on cognition – it included 960 participants with an average age of 81. The research analyzed food frequency and cognition scores over 10 years. Those on the MIND diet scored being 7.5 years younger cognitively!
In my time at HSL, I have come to value the power of art in our patients’ and residents’ lives. Science backs this up: For example, a recent study at The Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York showed that Alzheimer’s patients had fewer emotional problems the week after a museum visit, as well as an improvement in mood, self-esteem and greater sense of social support.
In the doctor's office, examining how an older adult walks can reveal a lot. It captures a snapshot of overall functioning and well-being, provides insight into patient mobility and independence, and foresight into fall risk, hospitalization, and disability.
Believe it or not, walking is not an automated task – it is highly complex! It relies upon the full spectrum of our body’s systems: the heart and lungs, the bones, joints, and muscles, the nerves, and our brain and spine. But when one of these systems weakens or fails, the brain is needed even more to compensate.
Our Vitalize 360 program, which is part of life in all Hebrew SeniorLife communities, helps seniors make lifestyle changes that lead not only to improved health, but to a richer quality of life. Vitalize 360 looks at the entire well-being of a person and encourages them to consider all aspects of their lives, including health, nutrition, physical and mental fitness, community links, lifelong learning and spirituality. The platform combines personalized coaching with research based tools in an effort to improve participant’s quality of life.
We sat down with Brendan Kearney, Vitalize 360 coach, to learn more about how he uses the program to help seniors on the NewBridge campus identify what matters most to them so that they can live their best lives.
At any age, gardening is one of the best activities we can do outdoors. It stimulates all the senses, awakens our connection with nature, and rewards us with fresh flowers and nutritious fruits and vegetables.
It’s no secret that getting out and about can become harder with age, especially for seniors with complex health conditions. But this doesn’t mean that meaningful recreation has to go out the window. At Hebrew Rehabilitation Center (HRC), staff from Life Enhancement, Nursing, IT, and the Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) have come together with volunteers and family members to help launch a creative solution to this dilemma.
May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month, a time when Hebrew SeniorLife, the Institute for Aging Research, and health care providers all over the country work to promote good bone health through prevention, detection and treatment of osteoporosis, and to educate vulnerable populations on risk factors.