Why We Celebrate Memorial Day

Posted by in Holidays.

For many Americans, Memorial Day means a long weekend, a cookout, and the unofficial start of summer. There might even be a parade or a car show. School is out, or very nearly, so the air of celebration might even be a notch higher! Block parties with carnival-like atmospheres are common over Memorial Day weekend, and quite often this summer kickoff includes travel plans for families looking to get in some vacation time. These are all wonderful pursuits; however, they quite often lose the real meaning of the holiday. While you’ll most certainly find some of these delightful events happening at Senior Lifestyle communities, look a bit closer and you’ll also see the pride shown by residents, staff and families in honoring those who sacrificed so much for us.

Originally named Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a call to remember those servicemen and women who gave their lives in service of the United States of America. The holiday was originally conceived as a solemn day of honor for Civil War dead, proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic General John Logan. The date was chosen specifically because it did not fall on the anniversary of any specific battle. In his proclamation on Decoration Day, Logan stated, “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

While there is some confusion as to when and where Memorial Day actually began, New York was the first state to recognize the holiday in 1873, with all northern states following by 1890. Prior to World War I, Decoration Day, or Memorial Day, as it came to be called, was primarily a “northern state” holiday, with southern states honoring their war dead on different days. At the close of World War I, the holiday transformed from a day to honor Civil War dead to a day to honor all Americans who died fighting in any war. The National Holiday Act of 1971 established our current Memorial Day, falling on the last Monday in May. Additionally, in December of 2000 The “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed. This resolution asks that at 3 pm local time all Americans “voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to Taps.”

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend! Catch up with friends, eat a perfectly grilled burger, and make the most of your extra day off, but remember the origin of the holiday. Perhaps take a moment around three in the afternoon to reflect on the sacrifices of many to secure our freedom, as well. Senior Lifestyle and all our communities salute the men and women who gave their all for us, and we wish you a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day.

The Memory Care Virtuoso at Walden Place

Posted by in Resident Spotlights.

Walden Place resident Mary Tuthill has always been an exceptional communicator, and while dementia has changed her form of communication, it certainly has not dimmed her spirit. As a speech-language pathologist, her life’s work has been helping others communicate effectively, and her life at Walden Place, much like her life before dementia, is filled with laughter and music. Director of Resident Programs at Walden Place Amie Underwood says of their resident virtuoso, “Mary may not be able to speak using words like she used to, however, she speaks to me through her facial expressions, singing, whistling and laughing.”

The daughter of an Armenian immigrant who came to the United States in 1917, Mary is an accomplished pianist and opera singer. She is a coloratura soprano who performed as a professional soloist for the Presbyterian Church. Her daughter Sandra, also a speech pathologist, says that one of her earliest memories is watching her mother perform onstage. At a time when it was unusual for mothers to work outside the home, Sandra says that Mary was an incredible role model, managing the home and her career with humor and grace. She describes her mother as “brilliant” and the staff at Walden Place agrees wholeheartedly. They point out Mary’s love of music and her sense of humor, even when she is frustrated by the inability to find the right word to express herself. They also share that Mary has another talent: she is an expert whistler! Amie says that Mary can whistle like no one else; she can imitate any bird and whistle many songs to perfection. She is very fond of the movie The Sound of Music as well, and can often be found after dinner singing along with Julie Andrews or playing a medley of Christmas songs on the piano.

Mary’s daughter, Sandra, shares that when her mother was diagnosed with dementia, she worried about how the transition from assisted living to memory care would affect her, but says that she has been impressed with Walden Place. The community shows incredible dedication and compassion to their memory care residents. In fact, Sandra brings speech pathology graduate students to Walden Place for cognitive and language programming, a popular program that she says has an impressive waitlist! She shares that her students love visiting the memory care residents, and the feeling seems to be mutual. Residents and staff look forward to the visits, and the students gain valuable insight into non-verbal forms of communication which is a vital part of caring for a patient with dementia.

With programming that focuses on purposeful and enjoyable activities, the memory care program at Walden Place provides residents and families with meaningful interaction and opportunities to re-connect, and while a diagnosis of dementia can be daunting for any family, there can still be joy and laughter; Mary Tuthill is living proof of that. If you visit Walden Place and hear whistling or beautiful piano music, you can be sure that the virtuoso of Walden Place is sharing her unique talent for communication!

Residents at The Garnet of Casa Grande Partner with Loving Hearts Loving Meals

Posted by in Community Spotlights.

It’s been said that food is the universal language of love, and a partnership between The Garnet of Casa Grande and Loving Hearts Loving Meals seems to prove that point deliciously. Delivering homemade soups, cookies, and nutritious snacks daily to Cancer Treatment Services in Casa Grande, Arizona, Loving Hearts Loving Meals volunteers have been providing a unique form of support since 2014. The program is funded through private donations and fundraisers, including bake sales at monthly local craft fairs. Meals are delivered to patients on the day of their treatment to take home or eat while at the facility, helping them to maintain their strength during.

The Garnet of Casa Grande is an award-winning community providing both Independent and Assisted Living programs with a wide variety of amenities and activities for residents. Perhaps just as importantly, The Garnet supports local volunteer programs. A fortunate meeting at an open house hosted by the Cancer Support Center in Casa Grande paved the way for this delicious volunteer opportunity. Tammy Nash, Executive Director of The Garnet of Casa Grande, met manager Diane Gaines of the Cancer Support Center and asked what she and her staff could do to help those in the community; Diane had the perfect opportunity: a program called Loving Hearts Loving Meals. Tammy says, “We are so humbled to have the opportunity to reach out and help someone within our community.”

Tammy and her staff at The Garnet of Casa Grande make homemade soups and cookies for delivery to the Cancer Center, providing the patients with much-needed support during their treatment. She says, “We here at The Garnet are so happy that by us just dishing up a bowl of soup or baking some cookies we are helping those fighting a battle that is much more at times than they can handle.” Tammy adds that she and her staff at The Garnet share the love for anyone fighting a battle with cancer and are glad to provide something to keep patients comfortable while going through their journey.

To learn more about the spirit of volunteerism at The Garnet of Casa Grande or to schedule a tour of the community, please visit our Senior Lifestyle website. To learn more about Loving Hearts Loving Meals and other support services for cancer patients, visit the Cancer Support Center’s Facebook page.

Financial Health

Posted by in Personal Finance.

For adult children, “the financial conversation” is one of the most difficult aspects of changing the living situation of their parents. Discussions about money can be fraught with anticipated conflict, and although the conversation itself may seem intrusive to both parents and children, it is a necessary one. Understanding what funds and financial options are available is vital to the senior living decision-making process. Having this information at the outset may save a great deal of time and frustration, not only for seniors but for their families as well. Any move can be emotionally difficult, so eliminating as much stress as possible is a great idea for all involved!

At Senior Lifestyle, we care about not only the physical and emotional well-being of our residents, but their financial health as well. That’s why we recommend the services of companies like Elderlife Financial. A leading senior solutions company, Elderlife helps families plan, locate, and finance senior housing needs, and provides a variety of services to facilitate the moving process, including:

  • Financing Senior Living
    A bridge loan can help fund senior living while waiting for insurance payments or Veteran’s Benefits to begin, or while waiting for the sale of a home. This service allows families the peace of mind of an immediate move.
  • Veteran Benefits Assistance
    Many veterans are unfamiliar with the benefits available to them. Elderlife can assist in the process of gathering the necessary information to apply for the “Aid & Attendance” pension benefit, as well as providing short term funding while waiting for approval.
  • Assistance with Insurance
    If a long-term care policy is in place to pay for care, Elderlife can help navigate the often-complex process of making a claim and qualifying for benefits. Additionally, life insurance policies are a potential source of funding for senior living. They can be sold or borrowed against to pay for care.

You don’t have to navigate the senior living journey alone; we care about your financial health, and our community advisors are here to help. For information on a Senior Lifestyle community near you, take a look at our website to schedule a visit and meet with an advisor. Financial resources are available on the Senior Lifestyle website as well, so help is just a click away!

Senior Lifestyle Embraces The Longest Day

Posted by in Special Events.

Have you heard the news? A $400 million increase in funding for Alzheimer’s research was signed into law in early May! Thanks to the unwavering efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association, this is the second year in a row that funding has been historically increased. With more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s Disease, the need for advocacy has never been greater. For the millions of families affected by this disease, the Alzheimer’s Association represents access to support services, reliable information, and most of all, hope for a cure. These same families are often at the forefront of fundraising efforts within their communities, providing a visible connection at local fundraising events like The Longest Day. At Senior Lifestyle, we’re proud to embrace this event alongside those families and advocates for the second year in a row.

On June 21st it’s all about love; love for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease, and doing what we love to raise funds to support much-needed research into a cure. For some, The Longest Day might be about pursuing an activity that reminds them of time spent with a loved one now suffering from Alzheimer’s. For others, organizing an event such as a block party may be the best way to spend the day. Still others will plant gardens, sing karaoke, play cards, or bake. From sunrise to sunset on June 21st, people everywhere will be showing love by sharing what they love; the possibilities are endless! Recent increases in funding for research are heartening, but the fight is far from over. We have the power to increase available funding by doing what we love – what’s not to love about that?

Track and field legend Wilma Rudolph, who made history as the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympics, once said, “When the sun is shining I can do anything; no mountain is too high, no trouble too difficult to overcome.” At Senior Lifestyle we believe these words, and that is why we are honored to be a Global Team with a goal of raising $50,000 for The Longest Day. By partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association in the fight against this devastating disease, we know that we CAN make a difference and we challenge those in our communities to join us in our efforts. To join us, whether at a community in person or from your own neighborhood, visit your local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to form or join a team, pick an activity you love, then share that love with others and raise funds to fight Alzheimer’s Disease. To find out what we have planned for The Longest Day, visit the Senior Lifestyle website to find a community near you and join the team!

National Nursing Home Week

Posted by in Mind and Spirit.

Walk into a nursing home in your community and you’re likely to see a mixture of staff, residents, family members and volunteers. They might be engaged in activities, listening to live music, or preparing to take a sightseeing trip – in short, not what most people envision when they picture nursing homes. Today’s nursing homes, or skilled care facilities, as they are also called, have evolved into vibrant communities for senior living with purposeful activities, entertainment and daytrips to local destinations of interest to residents. Providing levels of care tailored to the individual needs of residents, these centers for senior living are an integral part of the continuum of care that is vital to communities large and small across America. Senior Lifestyle recognizes and applauds these nursing centers for their contribution to senior living by celebrating National Nursing Home Week.

From May 14th through May 20th, we’re celebrating this year’s theme for the event: “The Spirit of America.” Each nursing center reflects the theme in its own way, with proud veterans, immigrants, and residents and staff of many faiths and backgrounds working together to create a sense of community. Established in 1967, this celebration honors the contributions of each of these groups to create a unified senior living environment as vibrant and diverse as it is beneficial to the community at large.

How can you celebrate National Nursing Home Week? Take flowers to the community, offer to volunteer at an event, share your talents with residents, or simply stop in and say hello at a nursing center when you have time. For more ideas, visit the National Nursing Home Week website at www.nnha.org. To learn more about how Senior Lifestyle communities celebrate in your area, visit our website to find one of our nursing homes near you.

Derby Fever at Carriage Court of Marysville

Posted by in Special Events.

The folks at Carriage Court of Marysville know a thing or two about traditions and fun-filled events, and the Kentucky Derby combines the best of both. Racing forms, beautiful hats, and a heartfelt rendition of “My Old Kentucky Home” were the order of the day on Saturday, May 6th at Carriage Court. Residents, families and staff enjoyed the spectacle of the 143rd Run for the Roses with a cookout that rivaled any to be had on race day in Louisville. Program Director Robin Bryant says, “the residents loved this event, from the parade of hats to the food to the race itself. We love any excuse to have a great party, and may have to plan for the Preakness and the Belmont as well!”

The Kentucky Derby has been billed as the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” and Saturday’s running was no exception. A wet track and cool conditions at Churchill Downs brought out the best in frontrunner Always Dreaming, who made a decisive move with about a half-mile to go to win the race. Thunder Snow, on the other hand, decided that the soggy conditions did not suit him and refused to run, much to the dismay of those who bet on the colt. He appeared to take a misstep out of the gate and by all accounts did his best to unseat his jockey. Resident Allen Shaw picked Always Dreaming for the win, stating he was glad to have left Thunder Snow off his racing form.

If you’d like to learn more about upcoming events at Carriage Court of Marysville, call Robin Bryant at 937-642-2202 and ask for a tour, or visit the Carriage Court of Marysville website!

Senior Lifestyle Celebrates National Nurses Week

Posted by in Health and Fitness, Holidays.

May 6th, National Nurses Day, marks the beginning of a yearly, week-long celebration of nurses. The celebration culminates on May 12th, the birthday of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale. Nightingale was known as “the Lady with the Lamp” due to her propensity for doing nightly rounds while treating wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. She drastically reduced the death rate of the wounded with her strict adherence to handwashing and hygiene practices. Her work in the Crimean War and in establishing St. Thomas’ Hospital and the Nightingale Training School for Nurses paved the way for the profession of nursing as we know it today. Prior to Nightingale’s work, nursing was considered a menial job, looked down upon by the upper classes. Nightingale, however, felt that nursing was a divine calling for her. This sentiment is echoed by many nurses today, who call the profession a vocation. Senior Lifestyle is proud to recognize the contributions of nurses everywhere who answered this call and providing quality care as well as compassion in every setting.

Nurses are the foundation of the medical profession. They often work long hours to assist with care needs both large and small, whether in a hospital setting, a provider’s office, or a senior living community. While on shift, personal concerns take a backseat to patient care. Nurses also spend a great deal of time on charting, paperwork and continuing education, often on their own time. Even with all these factors in play, many nurses, like Florence Nightingale, claim that the profession chose them! Nursing is consistently ranked as one of the most trusted professions, and rightly so; nurses often see us at our worst. They care for us when we’re in pain, frightened and confused; despite nearly impossible workloads, they dispense kindness and comfort along with medications, easing the stress of being a patient.

At Senior Lifestyle, we are continually amazed by the dedication our nurses show each day, providing top notch clinical care and an unmatched level of compassion for our residents and their families. They prove that nursing is as much an art as it is a science, especially in senior living. To learn more about Nurses Week celebrations in a Senior Lifestyle community near you, please visit our website, and of course, be sure to celebrate Florence Nightingale’s legacy by thanking a nurse!