Importance of Maintaining Our Strength as We Age

During a lifetime, the human body is always undergoing many visible and invisible changes. As we grow older, we are constantly reinventing ourselves on a physical, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional level. While most people become stronger spiritually and emotionally, due to the experiences they have accumulated, throughout the years their bodies start to lose their strength.

Some individuals age beautifully and manage to stay alert and active throughout their entire lives. They invest their spare time in fun activities, such as yoga or jogging, which keep them active and healthy in the long run. On the other hand, some experience the symptoms of osteoarthritis and other age-related health concerns, which stop them from getting involved in engaging outdoor activities that would otherwise do wonders for the body, mind, and spirit.

What Happens to Our Muscles as We Age?

As we age, our entire bodies suffer dramatic changes that inevitably impact our lifestyle and well-being. Over time, aging muscles, joints, and bones can lower one’s level of flexibility, mobility and independence. Aging muscles start to lose mass and shrink. While this process is natural, it can take place at a faster pace when a sedentary lifestyle is part of the equation. The muscles of aging people decrease in number and size. Muscles have a longer response time when people are in their 50’s, compared to the one that they had when they were in their early 20’s.

Also, tendons, the bands that connect bones to muscles, have a reduced water content, which makes it more difficult for tissues to manage stress. As a result, tissues become stiffer. In most cases, these changes result in a decreased handgrip strength, which means that aging people become less able to perform daily tasks, such as changing a light bulb or opening a jar.

Moreover, the heart starts to pump smaller quantities of blood to the organs that require nutrients and oxygen to function properly. As a result, aging individuals get tired faster than ever before, and need longer periods of time to recover after a sleepless night or an intense workout. Also, their bodies have a slower metabolic rate, which means that the body needs more time to transform the foods that they eat into energy. Slow metabolic rates may lead to other health concerns, such as elevated levels of bad

How to Prevent Muscle Loss Successfully?

People over 30 start losing muscle function and mass. This is the unpleasant truth that any adult must acknowledge to be able to implement the light lifestyle changes leading to healthy aging.. Muscle loss is an important concern that should be taken very seriously, considering that it could easily impact one’s mobility, strength, and overall quality of life. The loss of strength and muscle mass caused by aging, also known as sarcopenia, can be linked to several symptoms, including hormonal imbalances, a reduced ability to convert protein into energy, loss of stamina, and weakness.

The good news is that a well-balanced prevention plan meant to counterbalance the most disrupting effects of the natural aging process could help the elderly hold on to their independent lifestyle, attractive appearance, and youthful spirit for a longer period of time, defying their chronological age. Such a plan is based on three key principles -a personalized workout regimen, a healthy diet, and a positive outlook on life may give seniors the chance to overcome many age-related concerns, and adjust to inherent changes with more ease.

Exercise is seen as the most effective and accessible treatment for muscle loss. While any type of sustained physical activity could yield positive results in the long run, strength training and resistance training seem to be the two most efficient options at hand for people who wish to delay the effects of the natural aging process. Using resistance bands or weights, these two engaging activities can help aging people boost muscle strength. At the same time, resistance training is the best choice for individuals who want to give their neuromuscular system a much-needed push and enhance their body’s ability to transform protein into valuable energy.

Dietary habits also influence the strength and well-being of seniors in a significant manner.  Healthy eating provides a number of notable advantages at any age, including a stronger body, an increased lifespan, and a better mood. The ideal diet for rebuilding muscle should include higher amounts of complex carbohydrates; pasta, granola, or whole grain bread, and lean protein; fish, chicken and beans.

In some cases, aging adults may need to boost their protein intake to protect their muscles and delay the effects of aging. This goal can be achieved in more than one way, by adding fresh spinach to a smoothie, or by adding seafood or chicken to at least one daily meal. By eating high-quality proteins each day, aging people could delay muscle mass and function loss, prevent depression and anxiety, and even think clearer. Before deciding to embrace a personalized diet and exercising routine, patients should rely on the expert advice of a physician to make an informed decision and undergo positive changes that could actually transform their bodies and entire lives in the most satisfying manner.

Therapy Can Help Restore Strength and Independence in Older Adults

With age, our physical coordination reports a gradual decline. This is one of the reasons why aging adults are no longer able to complete tasks that they once considered elementary. Under these circumstances, it goes without saying that intense workouts are not exactly the best option at hand, especially when the elderly are dealing with other health concerns, such as diabetes or elevated blood pressure. Also, after a long period of inactivity, older adults may be forced to deal with another pressing problem: muscle atrophy, commonly linked to prolonged bed rest after an injury or an illness.

Older adults experiencing a decline in physical coordination and loss of muscle strength could benefit from a personalized workout regimen designed and monitored by a physical therapist that is based on their individual necessities, age, and physical condition. A skilled therapist can establish the optimal frequency and intensity for a workout plan meant to boost the patient’s strength and endurance.  Rebuilding muscle can take time, especially after long periods of rest.  During therapy, patients will learn to maintain a positive mindset and set realistic goals.

Many people of all ages experiencing muscle loss, generalized weakness or a decrease in strength could benefit from rehabilitation.

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Diana Stanley-Newbold, Registered Dietitian at Meadows Manor

Diana Stanley-Newbold, RDN, LD

Registered Dietitian

With over 35 years’ experience as a Registered Dietitian, it is my honor and responsibility to ensure that each person in our care achieves their best nutritional level. I review each person and consider not only their medical needs, but also incorporate individual food preferences.

I help establish menus and recipes as well as the food purchasing, production and sanitation practices to ensure that the meals provided are delicious, nutritious, and safe to serve our residents. Our residents and families have enriched my life tremendously and I have enjoyed receiving lots of wonderful recipes, cooking advice and tips from them through the years.

Ashley Wilson, Life Enrichment Director at Meadows Manor

Belinda Hawkins

Social Services Director

As the Social Services Director, my job is to assist residents in maintaining or improving their ability to manage everyday physical, mental and psychosocial needs. It is my honor to help our short-stay guests prepare to return home, while helping our long-term residents successfully transition to their new home on our campus. I am passionate about being an advocate for our residents and families.

Belinda Hawkins, Social Services Director at Meadows Manor

Ashley Wilson

Life Enrichment Director

I officially have the most fun job here at Meadows Manor North! As the Life Enrichment Director, I design therapeutic and recreational programs for our residents. Each activity is created to focus on areas of whole person wellness such as: encouraging socialization, engagement, creativity, entertainment, cognitive health and relaxation. 

Be sure to view our monthly activity calendar here. As individuals, we need the connection with others and to have our minds and heart engaged at every level. Our team is passionately focused on providing the best programming and activities to engage every person on our campus.

Tasha Dashiell, Rehab Director at Meadows Manor

Tasha Dashiell, PTA

Rehabilitation Director

Tasha Dashiell leads our Meadows Manor North team of physical, occupational and speech therapists. Tasha is a graduate of Lakeland College and brings 10+ years of experience in geriatric and skilled nursing as well as over 8 years as the rehab director. The therapy team utilizes state-of-the-art therapy equipment and technology to create a customized and appropriately challenging program for each
person they serve. Therapy plays a vital role in patients to achieve their recovery goals and return to life at home as soon as possible.

Misty Pomeroy, Business Office Manager at Meadows Manor

Missy Pomeroy

Business Office Manager

As the Business Office Manager, I help our rehab guests, residents and families navigate the various insurance networks and ensure financial security for our residents. I also manage the billing and trust accounts for our residents. It is my privilege to assist with the application and recertifications of the Indiana Medicaid process. This helps to lessen the burden to families and give the peace of mind knowing that care is covered.

I have more than 10 years’ experience in Indiana Medicaid. It is my pleasure to assist families with any Medicaid and Medicare questions as that can be challenging to know all of the details. The greatest part of my job, without a doubt, is serving our residents—who all are truly an extension of our family.

Jamie Totten, RN, Rehab Unit Nursing Manager at Meadows Manor

Jamie Totten, RN

Nursing Unit Manager

As a Nursing Unit Manager, myself and my fellow nurse managers have designated areas in the building in which we oversee the quality of care. It is my honor and responsibility to oversee the rehabilitation recovery unit and make sure that care is streamlined and that our rehab guests and care team are supported.

I am a registered nurse with experience in intensive care (ICU), medical and surgical care, (Med/Surg) and senior care. I have always had a passion for serving others, and I am proud to be a part of the team at Meadows Manor North.

Leslie Morrison, Community Liaison at Meadows Manor

Leslie Morrison

Community Liaison

As the Community Liaison, I am your main contact for admission and placement at Meadows Manor North. It is my privilege to talk with families about care options and gain a deep understanding of how we can best care for your loved one. I work directly with families and our local hospitals and physicians to prepare everything prior to your stay. As a preferred provider for Union Hospital, we are a trusted and proven provider in the Wabash Valley.

Whether you’ll be staying here with us long term or coming to us for a short rehabilitation visit, I’m here to ensure your visit exceeds your expectations.

Niki Short, RN, Infection Control Specialist at Meadows Manor

Nicole Eup, RN

Infection Preventionist

As a Registered Nurse and Infection Preventionist, it is my honored role and with utmost importance, to keep our residents and our staff safe from communicable diseases. I am responsible for the prevention, monitoring and reporting of the spread of infectious diseases. My role combines epidemiological and public health practices for optimal prevention.

I develop, direct and implement the operation of infection prevention for the entire campus. I also collaborate with the care team and physicians to create education and sustain infection prevention strategies. This is done by providing ongoing staff development, training and quality assurance monitoring to make sure that we maintain the highest standards in line with the professional guidelines, and state and federal regulations.

Diane Brenton, RN Director of Nursing at Meadows Manor

Diane Brenton

RN Director of Nursing

As the Director of Nursing, I am proud to be responsible for ensuring all nursing and care members are performing at the highest level. I make sure that the quality of the care, compliance and clinical programs meets the needs of every person in our care. At Meadows Manor North, I am focused on hiring the very best staff to care for those we serve; and I am honored to work with such amazing, compassionate individuals.

Since 1980, I have had the pleasure of working at Meadows Manor North in various roles as a charge nurse, staff development and assistant director of nursing to my current role as Director of Nursing. Even as a little girl, being a nurse is all I ever wanted and I am so very blessed. It is my duty, and my promise to provide the very best of myself and our team to serve our aging community.

Wendy Baker, HFA Executive Director at Meadows Manor

Wendy McNamara-Baker, HFA

Licensed Health Facility Administrator

It is my privilege to be the Administrator at Meadows Manor North. As the Administrator, I am responsible for the global operations of the campus. I work with every department to supervise, plan, develop skills and monitor the appropriate standards of care. I am highly involved working closely with our hospitals, families and residents to ensure that we are exceeding their expectations.

Since 2007, Meadows Manor has been the central focus of my heart and mission. I am proud of my team and the passion in which they deliver loving, compassionate, quality care. It is a honor to serve our aging community and families for generations here in the Wabash Valley.