All posts by Macey Abrams

Surgery Recovery Tips to Get You Home Faster

If you’ve recently had surgery or are preparing for one, it’s best to have a plan in place for your recovery. You’ll want to talk to your physician about what you can expect after surgery and if you’ll require rehabilitation services to get you back on your feet. But what else can you do to help speed up the recovery process?

In this blog, learn our top five surgery recovery tips to help get you home faster.

Top 5 Surgery Recovery Tips

There are several things you can do following surgery to help you heal faster. Most of the following tips can be applied to many different types of procedures, but it’s important to contact your physician for specific guidance to your situation.

1.   Follow Your Discharge Instructions From the Hospital

Following your discharge instructions is a crucial step in the recovery process. Set aside time to review them thoroughly and contact your physician or surgeon if you have any questions.

Understanding what to expect as you heal and what activities you can or can’t do will get you started on the right path. The last thing you want to do is attempt something your body isn’t ready to do, resulting in a setback or an injury.

Here’s some of the information you might find in your discharge forms:

  • Activity level (lifting, weight-bearing exercises, driving, etc.)
  • Dietary notes and restrictions
  • Therapy orders
  • Wound care details
  • Prescriptions
  • Side effects and complications
  • Mental health awareness
  • Contact information for your care team


2.   Set Aside Time to Rest


A common mistake people make after surgery is over-exerting themselves and trying to do too much too quickly. Sometimes pain medication can make it difficult to assess how your body handles activity. When it’s difficult to listen to your body, remember to refer to your discharge instructions for recommended activity levels.

Try to follow your surgeon’s guidance to ensure you have plenty of time to rest and heal, reducing your risk of complications or injuries. If unsure what to do, ask questions and share concerns with your physician’s office.

If your recovery process prevents you from performing routine activities of daily living on your own, consider an inpatient rehabilitation stay at a center near you. You’ll receive therapy services, enjoy meals and also reap the benefits of amenities like housekeeping and laundry services, activity programming and additional nursing care.


Related: Choosing the Right Rehab Center ____________________________________________________________________

3.   Keep Your Appointments

Keep Appointments

It’s likely that you’ll have follow-up appointments after surgery, and you may also have therapy sessions. It’s essential that you go to all of your appointments so your care team can monitor your recovery. Your physician can watch for signs of infection, evaluate your healing and provide additional instructions.

Appointments are also an ideal time for you to ask questions and share concerns. Make sure you write these down ahead of time, so you’re prepared and less likely to forget anything.

If you are participating in rehabilitation such as physical or occupational therapy, it’s important to go to each scheduled session to stay on track with your discharge plan. Your therapy team is another great resource to turn to for questions on activity level and healing time.

4.   Eat Nutritious Meals and Stay Hydrated

Nutritious Meals

You’ll want to drink plenty of water and choose healthy foods rich in vitamins, nutrients and protein to give your body the energy it needs to recover fully. Be mindful of your care team’s dietary recommendations and restrictions.

If you’re experiencing nausea or have other concerns about your diet, reach out to your physician promptly. Dehydration can happen quickly and may sometimes result in hospitalization or other complications.


Related: Post-Rehab Recipes You’ll Love ____________________________________________________________________

5.   Care for Your Incision

Caring for your incision correctly is crucial in reducing the risk of infection. Follow your discharge instructions on how to properly care for your incision and know the signs of infection. Call your physician’s office immediately if you notice the area is pink, red or has unusual drainage.

You’ll also likely receive guidance on how to keep the area clean and how often to change the dressing. Always wash your hands thoroughly before coming in contact with your wound. You may be restricted to taking baths instead of showers — or you may have to keep the incision dry for a set period of time.


Looking for a Rehabilitation Center Near You?

Are you looking for a rehabilitation center for your post-surgery care needs? Optalis Health and Rehabilitation offers seven locations in the Columbus area. We specialize in post-hospital inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. And we have pre-surgery reservations so you can reserve your room ahead of time and know what to expect in your recovery process.





Post-Hospital Rehab Insurance Questions

Dear Meredith,

My father was recently hospitalized for a broken hip. Dad’s doctor told us he’d need post-hospital rehab to help him get back on his feet following his stay.

Now we’re trying to figure out how (or even if) the rehab will be covered by his insurance, but it’s been really confusing trying to sort through what’s covered and what’s not. Can you give me any info on how insurance works for rehabilitation after a hospital stay?

-Bill from Columbus, OH

Dear Bill,

Don’t worry — you aren’t the only one left with lots of questions about post-hospital rehabilitation and insurance.

In fact, we get questions about insurance all the time. To help you out, I’ve gathered some of the most common post-hospital rehabilitation insurance coverage questions and answered them below.

Just a quick note—you didn’t mention whether your dad has private insurance or Medicare, so I’ll make sure I touch on both.


Meredith Dornburgh

Director of Admissions and Marketing, New Albany


Related: Choosing the Right Rehab Center


Q: How much therapy will my parent receive after a hospital stay, and will insurance cover it?

A: How much therapy your parent receives depends on their needs. Typically, someone who needs therapy following surgery or hospital stay will get about five days a week of therapy covered by their insurance, with about an hour a day for each necessary discipline (physical, occupational and speech therapy).

Regarding what insurance will cover, each plan is different — some might only cover 30 minutes instead of a full hour in a certain discipline. But generally, 30-60 minutes per discipline five times a week is typical for inpatient post-hospital rehabilitation.

It’s also important to note that how much therapy someone receives can depend on their insurance plan, which leads me to the next question we get a lot.

Q: What services does my parent’s insurance cover during post-hospital care?

A: Again, this depends on the insurance plan. But insurance typically covers therapy, nursing services, meals and activities.

The only thing that might not be included is a physician or specialist visit. However, most people can bill these services to another portion of their insurance.

For example, many who receive rehabilitation services at an Optalis community have either Medicare Part A, Part B or a Medicare replacement plan. Medicare Part A would cover therapy and services, while Medicare Part B would cover physician visits.


Related: Ask the Expert: How Much Does Post-Surgery Rehab Cost?


Q: How long will insurance cover my loved one’s stay in inpatient rehabilitation?

A: This can vary depending on your insurance. Most Medicare plans cover up to 100 days of rehab and skilled nursing, given that you meet the guidelines.

Commercial insurance plans are more variable — some have shorter benefit periods than Medicare. For specific timelines, contact an Optalis community today. We can help you by contacting your insurance provider and obtaining the necessary information.

Q: How long will my parent need rehabilitation?

A: This ties into the above question. Just because many insurances offer coverage for 100 days, this doesn’t mean 100 days will be necessary.

Insurance will only cover rehabilitation for as long as someone needs it. You may wonder — “how is that determined?”

Typically, that is determined by updated progress reports sent to the insurance company from the rehab center. The insurance company then reviews the reports and issues what’s known as a “last cover day.”

Trained doctors and nurses work at the insurance companies to determine these dates. But, you do have an appeal option that we can help you with if you disagree with the assessment.

Q: What will my loved one have to pay out of pocket?

A: Most insurance plans do have some sort of daily copay. Usually, those copays start after around 21 days for Medicare or Medicare replacement plans. However, that may start sooner for commercial plans.

Q: Can my parent come from home, or do they need a hospital stay before the insurance covers rehab?

A: Medicare does require a three-night, inpatient hospital stay before becoming eligible for rehab coverage. By contrast, commercial insurance or Medicare replacement plans typically do not require a hospital stay. However, they do require prior authorization.

At Optalis, we can take care of the prior authorization as long as we have the necessary medical information. It’s not uncommon for people to come into rehab from home because sometimes people return home from the hospital too soon.

That actually brings up something else I wanted to address — as mentioned above, Medicare does require a three-night, inpatient hospital stay. However, if someone goes home after such a hospital stay and decides they came home too soon, rehab can be covered by Medicare as long as they’re within 30 days of their qualifying stay.

However, don’t wait too long. The more time that passes from the stay, the more difficult it can be to acquire the necessary information from the hospital.

Q: I’ve heard people mention managed care insurance benefits before. What is that?

A: Managed care insurance benefits are a type of plan that contracts with healthcare providers to provide care at a reduced cost. Many communities like ours accept managed care insurance benefit plans.

Examples of managed care plans include commercial insurance plans like health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs). Other managed care insurance plans are Medicare Advantage plans and Ohio’s Medicaid Managed Care Insurance Benefit.

To read additional information on managed care insurance benefits, visit this dedicated webpage with helpful content and a section on frequently asked questions.

Questions? Optalis Can Help

I hope those answers helped clear things up for you. If you have any other questions, please contact us.

All of our directors of admission are more than happy to answer insurance questions. Every plan is different, so if you have questions about your plan and what it will cover at an Optalis community, feel free to reach out anytime.


Visual or Audible: Great Books For Seniors

Reading helps improve capabilities such as memory, cognition and attention span, especially in seniors. With so many resources available — audiobook and traditional physical books — the choices can almost seem overwhelming. Here are a few great options to ignite the book lover inside of you.

5 Audiobook Suggestions Perfect for Seniors

As of 2021, there were over $1.6 billion in sales on audiobooks in the United States. More and more people are enjoying audiobooks because it’s easy to listen wherever you are. Here are a few great options to tickle your ears:

1.) Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

This is a classic that deserves to be re-read (or re-listened to). If you’ve forgotten the story, it centers around a murder that takes place on a snowbound train (the Orient Express). It’s up to detective Hercule Poirot to find out who the real assassin is, and he’s got a fantastic list of colorful characters on board to choose from.

2.) Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee

Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor, and effortless precision—a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context, and new meaning to an American classic.

3.) The Price of Valor – David A. Smith

David A. Smith’s book is a must-read for elderly parents who served in World War II, or anyone who’s a history buff. This book takes a look at the life of a 17-year-old who was so determined to beat the Nazi regime, he forged his birth certificate to say he was 18 so he could enlist right away. He was ultimately successful in his attempts to keep the German army at bay at the Battle of Colmar Pocket, and became the most decorated hero of WW II.

4.) A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

This is an outstanding book for all generations. Writer Bill Bryson does a most unusual and effective thing: he takes highly complex scientific terms (remember high school chemistry class?) and explains them in easy-to-understand terms that make them utterly fascinating. It’s a great listen for anyone interested in earth science, history and evolution. 

5.) The Four Agreements – Don Miguel

People are never too old to change their point of view, even our aging parents. If mom or dad likes Eckhart Tolle, give don Miguel Ruiz’s classic a spin. This audiobook explores the self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering.

Related: Ask The Expert: Staying Active and Engaged in Long-Term Care >>

Hard Copy Books Seniors Will Love

1.) A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman

In this novel, a seemingly grumpy and bitter man hides behind a mean exterior. However, when new neighbors with young children move in next door, everyone sees a different side of him.

2.) The Mirror & the Light – Hilary Mantel

The story began in May 1536. A French executioner decapitates Queen Anne Boleyn in a heartbeat and while her remains are tossed into oblivion, Cromwell takes breakfast with her enemies. The blacksmith’s son from Putney rises to power and wealth from the bloodbath of the spring, while his formidable master, Henry VIII, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen, Jane Seymour.

3.) Invisible – Lorena McCourtney

As a well-written first-person mystery, Invisible is on the list of top ten novels chosen by seniors. Having a curious mind sometimes gets Ivy Malone into trouble, and her new discovery confirms that she can easily escape the public’s eye. Using her newfound anonymity and its unexpected advantages, she launches an unofficial investigation into vandalism at the local cemetery.

4.) The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway

A wonderfully told story of a Cuban fisherman in the Gulf Stream. He kills and loses a giant marlin – specifically mentioned in the citation accompanying the author’s 1954 Nobel Prize nomination.

5.) Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell

  • New York Times Notable Book (2020)
  • Best Book of 2020: GuardianFinancial TimesLiterary Hub, and NPR
  • On the list of top ten must-read novels for seniors.

A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a tender and unforgettable re-imagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, and whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing, seductive, impossible to put down—a magnificent leap forward from one of our most gifted novelists.

At Optalis, avid readers have plenty of opportunities to get their hands on good reads, from mobile libraries to well-stocked bookshelves on site.

Why Optalis? Learn about the Optalis difference >>


Assisted Living at Optalis

Are you looking for an assisted living community that combines the security of care with the comforts of home? Optalis’s Assisted Living communities are the perfect place for you or your loved one. We provide assistance with daily activities in a modern, active setting that allows residents to live independent, satisfying lives.

Services and Amenities at Optalis

Assisted living offers the assistance older adults need, when they need it. Life doesn’t stop when you move into assisted living—in fact, there are so many activities and offerings to enjoy that you may find yourself busier than ever. Each day is up to you, though. Nothing is mandatory, giving you the freedom to do as you please.

Amenities and Hospitality New Albany Courtyard

  • Private, one-bedroom assisted living suites
  • 24-hour professional nursing staff
  • Health and wellness monitoring
  • Medication management
  • Assistance with bathing, dressing and grooming
  • Housekeeping and linen service
  • Restaurant-style bistro menus prepared by chefs
  • Transportation
  • Emergency call system
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy available
  • Podiatry, dental, optometry and psychological services


  • Pet therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Creative arts
  • Games, cards and puzzles
  • Exercise programs
  • Cooking programs
  • Intergenerational programs
  • Social gatherings
  • Cultural programs
  • Clubs and special events
  • Scheduled outings

Ready to discuss moving in?

Contact MacIntosh




Assisted Living Apartments in Central Ohio

Our assisted living communities offer spacious, private, one-bedroom suites. They feature:


  • Separate living, sleeping and kitchenette areas
  • Individually controlled heating and air conditioning
  • Emergency call system
  • Full private bath
  • Walk-in closet



Residents are free to decorate their suites as they wish. We encourage you to personalize your suite with your own furnishings. See the suites for yourself by scheduling a video tour. You can also view our assisted living floor plans right here to get a better idea of the space.

Make Yourself at Home in an Assisted Living Communities

Optalis has five friendly, welcoming care communities that offer assisted living in the Central Ohio Area.

In addition to spacious assisted living suites, residents can enjoy communal spaces, such as:

  • Beautiful courtyard with walking paths
  • Well-appointed dining room, restaurant-style meals, room service and readily available snacks
  • Beauty salon and barber shop

With the help of provided transportation, they can also enjoy everything that the surrounding area has to offer. We’re located in Canal Winchester, Columbus, Hilliard, New Albany and Circleville, all close-knit communities with a strong heritage of family values.

Continuum of Care

Nurse helping elderly woman put on necklace

One major benefit of Optalis is that we offer multiple levels of care all on the same campus, including long-term care and rehabilitation. Should you or your loved one ever be in need of more care, there’s no need to find another community and make a difficult move. Residents can receive the help they need from medical professionals who are already familiar with them.

In fact, our rehabilitation is so popular that many seniors who come to us for our rehab services later decide to move into our assisted living community.

Here’s what one resident had to say:

“I do not write letters anymore BUT, let it be known that I think the people, all of them here, are fabulous, super attentive and caring in every respect. To all incoming residents – you may never want to go home, the people here are exquisite!

— Bill F.

Contact Canal Winchester   Schedule a Tour of Canal Winchester

Benefits of Journaling for Seniors

Since the 1970’s, researchers have been studying the effects of journaling, finding that it is vastly beneficial for senior adults. Here are the 6 main reasons to keep a daily journal.

Why You Should Journal

1. Record Your Life Experiences + Preserves Memories
Revisiting entries is a great way to keep information for memoirs or family histories. While your journal can stay private, you can use information from it to pass along about your life to future generations.

2. Keep Your Mind Active + Maintain Brain Function
Several studies between the 1990s and 2000s showed that journaling helps older adults keep their mind active and their communication skills sharp. It may also aid in slowing down memory loss as well as compensate for memory loss by allowing you to document and revisit past decisions and actions.

3. Manage Stress
Journaling can help manage stress by prioritizing fears and tracking anxieties. Writing down your thoughts can help clear your head. Positive journaling – where you focus on gratitude and positive self-task – is a great guide through times of anxiety and grief.

4. Assist with Rehabilitation
People who are undergoing medical treatment or recovering from an illness can use a journal to help them share their feelings and experiences with nurses or caregivers, which can help with rehabilitation and therapy. Expressing yourself in a journal can also help you focus on areas you need to work on in your recovery or what’s going well.

5. Fight Depression
Regular practice has been shown to help with symptoms of depression as well as help older adults come to terms with aging and lifestyle changes, in turn helping people enjoy the present.

6. Better Sleep
In 2018, a study by Baylor University and Emory University, found that journaling before bed decreases distractions, overthinking and worry, which allowed participants to fall asleep faster.

Keeping a journal benefits seniors by allowing them to further identify and refine their interests and talents. We encourage continued growth through life enrichment, and keeping a daily journal can help you expand your horizons as well as organize thoughts and relax the mind.


Day-to-day thoughts and activities

  • Write about current local and national news events and your opinions about them.
  • Note when you felt happiest throughout the day.
  • Reflect meaningfully on a personal issue that’s important to you.
  • Keep track of any fun or unusual things you do every day.

Movies and music

  • Write down the names of movies you watch, provide a brief synopsis of what happened in the movie, and talk about how you felt about each one.
  • Jot down the lyrics to your new favorite songs or the classics that you love.

Memories and Wisdom

  • Think about what made you happy years ago and what makes you happy now. If you notice differences, write about how and why things have changed.
  • Create your own motivational quotes – a “wise words from me” type of list.
  • Write down actual memories you have from your childhood or young adulthood in order to keep them fresh in your mind.

Just for fun

  • List the things that make you laugh.
  • Write down recurring dreams.
  • List the things you would love to do sometime in your life, and follow up in your journal when you do them.
  • Pick something and make note of it every day, such as the names of flowers you may have come across and where you found them.

Food or fitness journal

  • Make note of what you’ve eaten, also helps be mindful about what you eat.
  • Keep track of your workouts, help stay committed to an active lifestyle.

Gratitude journal

  • Before going to sleep, make a list of everything you were thankful for that day, week or month.

Remember that journaling doesn’t have to be paper based. Technology like blogs, Word and other word processing applications as well as specialized apps help you keep up the habit of writing daily and let you incorporate photos and other graphics into your journal. If you’re interested in going high tech, check out some of the most popular journaling applications like:

How to Make New Friends in Assisted Living

When you make the move to an assisted living community, the thought of meeting new people can be a little intimidating. As we grow older, it’s natural to hesitate when it comes to making new friends, especially if you already have a supportive family and friend group.

Don’t let that hesitation stop you from enjoying all the new people around you and making new friends. As you settle into your new home, try some of these tips for staying social in an assisted living community.

How to Make Friends as an Older Adult

Making friends as an older adult is not without its challenges. After all, it’s not as easy as it was back in kindergarten when you could bond over recess or your favorite color.

In fact, Psychology Today makes the point that no longer having school, college or a job in your life can make it even more difficult to form new relationships.

“Once you’re out of those structured environments, it’s hard to make new friends. … as you reach your later years, near retirement, or retire, making new friends can feel impossible. It’s not,” writes Andrea Brandt, Ph.D.

Brandt advises that adults seeking new friends should make an effort to meet new people and, most importantly, keep an open mind when they do.

“Having only friends who think exactly like you—or who come from the same background—limits your learning opportunities,” she says. “You may surprise yourself and discover that someone you initially rejected as friend-material, thinking you had nothing in common, becomes a close friend if you give them a chance.”


Related: Staying Social as You Age: 5 Tips for Seniors in Central Ohio


Making Friends Is a Breeze at Optalis Communities

At Optalis, we know emotional wellness is just as important as physical wellness. If you’re making the move to assisted living at an Optalis Community, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to socialize, meet new people and develop lasting friendships.

At our Canal Winchester, Mill Run, New Albany, Pickaway and Whetstone communities, the following features can help you stay social:

  • Well-appointed dining rooms and restaurant-style meals to help you share laughs and stories with your fellow residents
  • A beauty salon and barber shop where you can get your haircut and catch up with friends.
  • Beautiful outdoor spaces that allow for a relaxing walk or talk with friends.

You can also take part in a wide variety of activities, such as:

  • Creative arts
  • Exercise programs
  • Cooking programs
  • Intergenerational programs
  • Cultural programs
  • Clubs and special events

Of course, none of those activities are mandatory. You can participate in as many or as few activities as you wish—it’s entirely up to your preferences.

If you’re curious about what specific activities are offered, you can visit each community’s activity page to see a calendar of events. That will make it easy for you to get a feel for what your life will be like at an Optalis senior living community.

Mill Run Activities | New Albany Activities | Pickaway Activities | Whetstone Activities

Staying Social Outside the Assisted Living Community

Just because you move into an Optalis senior living community doesn’t mean that you’re limited to meeting new people within the walls of the building. The Columbus and Central Ohio areas offer a wealth of activities and destinations that are perfect for seniors looking to make new friends.

At Optalis, we offer transportation services as well as scheduled outings, making it easy for residents to enjoy everything Columbus and the surrounding areas have to offer.

One of the concerns seniors often have about moving to a senior living community is that they’ll lose touch with old friends. However, you shouldn’t worry—it’s just as easy to maintain friendships in a senior living community as it is at home.

Guests are free to visit you, either in your apartment, in our comfortable public spaces or for one of our activities. You can invite them over just like you always have for meals, an afternoon visit, a game of cards or whatever else it is that you enjoy doing with them.

Why Is It Important for Seniors to Be Social?

Friends aren’t just for fun—they’re also for your health. Staying social can help keep you healthy and prevent feelings of isolation.

According to the Mayo Clinic, friends can help improve your health and wellness by:

  • Increasing your sense of belonging and purpose
  • Boosting your happiness and reducing your stress
  • Improving your self-confidence and self-worth

In a recent study on relationships and aging, William Chopik of Michigan State University found that friends can be just as important as family.

“The really surprising thing was that, in a lot of ways, relationships with friends had a similar effect as those with family—and in others, they surpassed them,” Chopik said in an interview with Time.

Chopik went on to say that “The general point is that the more support, the more positive interactions, the better. … The important thing is having people you can rely on, for the good times as well as the bad.”

Stay Healthy, Stay Social at Optalis

Learn more about how life at an Optalis Community can help you stay social, healthy and happy by reading our blog, exploring our website or contacting us.


Skin Care Tips: Preparing for the Summer Sun

Dear Latonya:

I’ve always spent a lot of time outdoors all year round. I think it has finally caught up with me. The damage to my skin is becoming more and more obvious. From brown spots to dry skin, I feel like sun damage is making me look older.

Late night television seems to be full of infomercials promoting products that claim to be able to reverse the signs of aging. Is that even possible?

What can I do to treat my skin and protect it from further damage?

Diana in Columbus, Ohio

Dear Diana:

What a great question! If you’ve watched the evening news lately you probably already know that skin cancer is the leading form of cancer in this country.

The Statistics on Skin Cancer

One in five people will be diagnosed with skin cancer during their lifetime. Between 1982 and 2011, the rate of Melanoma doubled. This is an especially alarming statistic because 75% of all skin cancer deaths are from Melanoma.

So in addition to the cosmetic concerns you expressed, there is also the potential for serious health risk from the sun.

The good news is skin cancer is largely preventable. It starts with learning more about sun protection.

Protecting Your Skin from the Sun

Protecting your skin begins with making a commitment to adopting a sun-safe lifestyle. This includes:

  1. Wear Sunscreen All Year: Apply sunscreen any time you will be outdoors or riding in your car. Skin cancer experts recommenda sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Don’t ease up on wearing sunscreen during winter months. The sun’s rays can be just as damaging when the weather is cold and the reflection off of the snow is high.
  2. Dress for Protection: A hat that shields your face from the sun, a loose-fitting, long-sleeved blouse and sunglasses are all good sun gear basics.
  3. Sunscreen Mistakes: A common mistake people make when applying sunscreen is not to apply it in areas they can’t see, like the back of the neck or ears. Another one is not applying enough sunscreen. The rule of thumb is to apply a shot glass amount of sunscreen every 4-6 hours. If you are working up a sweat in the heat or swimming, apply it even more frequently.
  4. Stay Hydrated: While most of us know that staying hydrated can help prevent sun stroke, did you also know that it’s good for your skin? Staying hydrated can also keep your skin from looking and feeling dry.
  5. Exfoliate Skin: Making sure you exfoliate your skin can get the dead skin cells off your body. That will help give your skin a more youthful appearance.
  6. Moisturize Often: Another good way to protect your skin and maybe even reverse the signs of sun damage is to moisturize your skin often. Chlorine from the pool or salt water at the beach can all have a dehydrating effect on the skin. Choose a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid for best results.

Depending upon how significant your sun damage is, a dermatologist may have medical interventions you can try.

I hope this helps, Diana!


Nurse Practitioner

Have any questions you’d like answered from our resident experts here at Optalis? Contact us today to find out any information you’d like to know about our services.

Keeping Your Senior Safe in the Summer Heat

When the mercury soars, seniors in the Columbus area are at greater risk for heat-related problems. These can range from minor sun poisoning to life-threatening dehydration or sunstroke. Being aware of potential issues can help you keep the older adult you love safe this summer.

Summer Safety Tips for Central Ohio Seniors

  1. Hydration: Encourage the older adults in your life to stay hydrated during the hot, humid summer days in Ohio.  Drinking 8 to 10 glasses of liquids each day is important. Water is best. Some foods have high water content and they can also help improve hydration. Those foods include melons, berries, cucumber, and leafy greens.
  2. Avoid caffeine: Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages should be avoided. They can have a diuretic effect that increases an older adult’s risk for dehydration.
  3. Use sunscreen: Two common mistakes people make are putting too little sunscreen on before heading outdoors and then failing to reapply it throughout the day. This is even more important as we age and our skin becomes more fragile. Keep your senior loved ones stocked up with sunscreen and remind them to use it. A rule of thumb dermatologists share is that you should apply the equivalent of one shot glass full of sunscreen every two hours.
  4. Medication side effects: Some medicines that are more commonly prescribed for seniors can also increase their sensitivity to the sun. Knowing which ones can be a problem can help prevent sun-related illnesses such as heat stroke.
  5. Finally, be aware of the symptoms that can indicate a problem. Most common ones include:
    1. Excessive sweating
    2. Weakness and fatigue
    3. Cold, clammy skin despite the temperature
    4. Fast, weak pulse
    5. Nausea or vomiting
    6. Fainting

If a senior loved one begins exhibiting any of these symptoms, seek immediate help. Early intervention is critical to preventing a heat stroke. Also keep in mind that heat-related illnesses often occur more quickly in older adults than they do in younger people.

Looking for a senior living community for your loved one? We have multiple locations to fit your senior loved one’s wants and needs. Contact us at 614.345.9500 to find out which community is a best fit!


Senior-Friendly Festivals in Central Ohio

Summer in Central Ohio is a great time to visit local festivals. However, a festival that requires a lot of walking or doesn’t offer shade may make it difficult for your senior parents to enjoy themselves.

But everyone is different. Your parents may be able to walk for hours but can’t stay in the sun for long. Or they may need a wheelchair for long distances because they tire easy.

We’ve looked at some of the area’s highlighted festivals and events this summer and rated them A-C (A as highest rating) for accessibility, walking distance, access to shade, and access to water.


Topiary Takeover

Through September 11, Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

Franklin Park Conservatory offers close parking, walkways that are smooth and well-tended, limited sun exposure, and opportunities to sit and rest if needed for your senior parent. Through September 11, you can take a wild journey across the world with the Topiary Collection featuring twenty-five topiaries made of living plants!


Paul Busse Garden Railway

Through January 8, 2023, Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

Franklin Park Conservatory offers close parking, walkways that are smooth and well-tended, limited sun exposure, and opportunities to sit and rest if needed for your senior parent. Through January 8, the Paul Busse Garden Railway returns to the Grand Mallway this summer. Take a trip to your favorite destinations: Fairytale Land, Wild West Town, European Travels and the animal-themed Who Lived Here.


Try these senior-friendly locations in Central Ohio!



Columbus Arts Festival

June 10-12, Scioto Mile

The advent of the Scioto Mile makes this event much more accessible for seniors. Park at a nearby parking garage. The walkway along the mile is accessible, but it’s a little hilly and may pose challenges for your parent if they have mobility issues. More than 280 nationally acclaimed artists display their works during this event, so if the sun gets too much, most of them have space to welcome you under their canopy.


Jazz and Rib Fest

July 22-24,  Scioto Mile

Although highly accessible, downtown Columbus lacks shade, so the ribs aren’t the only things that are hot. Luckily, the music venues are all in parks which offer shade. Some of the music venues aren’t close to water vendors, so bring a small cooler or, at least, a water bottle or two for your parent to prevent dehydration. Handicap parking is available on the street and in nearby parking garages. If COSI finishes its underground lot in time, there should be plenty of parking available.


Ohio State Fair

July 27-August 7, Ohio State Fairgrounds

You would think, with rides, food booths, and just about everything requiring electricity, power cables would be a big problem for anyone who is in a wheelchair or has difficulty walking. However, in most places, cords have been covered in what are called “yellow jackets”, which ramp over the cords. Most restrooms and all entertainment areas are accessible, and the stages even have assisted listening devices.


Dublin Irish Festival

August 5-7, Coffman Park

Dublin plays host to the world’s second largest Irish celebration, but if your parent has mobility issues, some areas may be inaccessible.  On the other hand, you’re sure to find a spot to view many of the 65 acts and 535 performers. Wheelchairs are available at Information Tents.


Columbus Food Truck Festival

August 19-21, Franklin County Fairgrounds

This festival has moved to the Franklin County Fairgrounds. Sample delicious food from more than 70 Ohio food trucks, experience live music and explore vendors of locally-made crafts.


Columbus Greek Festival

September 3-5, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Taste souvlaki and baklava and enjoy the best of Greek culture in the Short North. There’s a nearby parking garage, as well as on-street parking, so you shouldn’t have to walk more than a block to get to the festival. The courtyard and parking lot where the festival is held are flat and even, and the cathedral is accessible.


Country Living Fair

September 13-15, Ohio History Center’s Ohio Village

While each of the buildings inside Ohio Village is accessible, your parent may need some help to get in. However, staff members are there to help, so just ask. Handicap parking is available right outside the front door, but regular parking fees of $5 per day apply. Your parents are sure to love looking at (and perhaps buying) the modern handcrafted treasures and vintage pieces on display.


Columbus Oktoberfest

September 9-11, Ohio Expo Center/ Ohio State Fairgrounds

The location is very accessible, and there’s lots of parking nearby. The only hazard to watch out for is the crowds, especially at night. Early evening lets you avoid the sun and the sometimes-too-exuberant festival-goers. That said, enjoy the best German food Columbus has to offer, as well as polkas and other performances.


Columbus Italian Festival

October 7-9, St. John the Baptist Church

It’s not easy to get around this festival, and there’s no close parking. That said, there are areas where you can enjoy the bands and music and food; just avoid the potholes. This is a great festival to bring both grands—parents and kids—because all the activity is centralized. And this is one of the friendliest festivals around, so if your parent has difficulty walking or needs to sit down, just ask, and someone will help out.

Central Ohio has a lot to offer seniors, whether you live here or you’re just visiting. If your parent needs some help, whether a respite stay, post-surgery rehabilitation, skilled nursing, assisted living, cardiac care or memory care, we can help at one of our 7 area communities. If you would like to know more about the options available at a location near you, please contact us.


Test Your Stroke IQ

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and one of the leading causes of long-term disability. Nearly 800,000 people suffer a stroke every year. Women, African Americans, and Hispanics are at higher risk for experiencing a stroke. One in three deaths in Hispanic women is the result of a stroke. However, experts say that almost 80% of strokes are preventable.

Preventative Tips

Begin by taking this Stroke IQ test developed by the American Heart Association. This test will help you separate the facts from the myths. There are also preventable risk factors that everyone should know.

Lifestyle choices and other diseases contribute to strokes. Knowing what those choices are and taking steps to manage them can help cut your risk.

  • Alcohol plays a role in stroke prevention. Some studies have shown that one glass of wine each day can help reduce risk, but two or more increases your risk.
  • Atherosclerosis is a leading cause of strokes. This disease is caused when fatty deposits build up in artery walls. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes all contribute to it. Find ways to manage each.
  • People with Atrial Fibrillation (Afib) are five times more likely to experience a stroke. This condition is caused when the upper two chambers of the heart beat in an unpredictable pattern. Many people don’t even realize they have Afib. Talk with your doctor for advice on how to determine if you have this condition that affects 2.5 million Americans.
  • Inflammation caused by diseases such as Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis can increase the odds that you will experience a stroke. If you live with chronic diseases like these, talk with your physician to see how they can evaluate you for inflammation and help find ways to control your risk.
  • Diet and exercise also play a role in managing your risk. Many conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are caused by poor diet and lack of exercise. Reducing salt and sodium can help decrease risk.
  • One of the lesser known health conditions that can lead to a stroke is sleep apnea. It occurs when people have pauses in their breathing while they are asleep. It causes oxygen levels to fall, which can lead to a stroke. The good news is sleep apnea is generally treatable and controlling it can decrease your risk.
  • Finally, we come to smoking. It is one of the leading causes of stroke. Smokers have double the stroke risk of non-smokers. That is because smoking decreases the amount of oxygen in the blood, causing the heart to work harder and blood clots to form more easily.

To learn more about prevention, warning signs, and risk factors, visit the Resource Center at the National Stroke Association.