The Senior Lifestyle Dining Experience

Posted by in Food and Nutrition.

Almost everyone enjoys a good meal. Food is fuel, but it’s also a catalyst for connection, relaxation and, for many, an outward symbol of love. We provide food for most of the important events and milestones in our lives: cake for birthdays, casseroles when a new baby arrives, chicken soup for an illness, and, of course, all manner of pies and whipped cream/gelatin concoctions at family reunions. In some cultures, daily meals can last three hours or more! In Italy, for example, the main meal of the day has at least four courses, providing plenty of time to savor the food and company. While meals at our communities may not last quite that long, at Senior Lifestyle we understand that a meal is more than just the food on the table; a meal is an event to be celebrated with friends and family.

Senior Lifestyle communities understand the vital role of the dining experience in our residents’ lives. Each meal represents an opportunity to socialize, make connections, and build relationships with neighbors. Residents at each community play an important role in the process as well, meeting at resident councils to provide feedback on the dining experience and providing recipes to be included in the weekly menu. David Cyplik, Corporate Director of Dining Services for Senior Lifestyle relates that the incorporation of resident recipes has become a popular feature at many communities, along with the use of locally sourced products.

David shares that the secret of a top-notch dining experience comes down to good rapport between the team and residents, stating that “the best experience we can provide happens when dining teams have a close relationship with residents and know their preferences and habits, how they take their coffee, what their regular breakfast order is, and even what dessert is a favorite!” He also notes that interactive features such as taco bars, carving stations, and made-to-order omelets are popular with residents and the dining team, allowing them to interact with one another and build relationships. Tableside preparation of desserts like Cherries Jubilee and Bananas Foster are also a big hit in many Senior Lifestyle communities, providing each chef with a chance to step out of the kitchen and spend time with residents.

Hungry yet? For more information on the dining experience, or to schedule a tour of a Senior Lifestyle community near you, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com. Join us for a meal and we think you’ll see why we consider the daily dining experience an event worth sharing!

Downsizing

Posted by in Expert Advice.

The decision to move to a senior community has been made, the community chosen and a suitable living space secured; what happens next? Most families face this question after the initial decision-making is complete. At Senior Lifestyle, the goal is to make each move as seamless and stress-free as possible for new residents and their families, and with over 30 years of experience helping families manage the move-in process, we’ve identified some tips that may provide additional guidance during the potentially trying process.

Quite often, the most daunting task that faces seniors or their loved ones when contemplating a move to senior living is tackling the issue of “stuff”. Identifying what stays and what goes is a difficult process for many, and most times this difficulty is magnified by the years and memories attached to each treasure. For most, the process is an emotional one to begin with, and this sorting just adds to the burden. Even the home itself holds memories and can be hard to leave. It can help to have family members step in to move this process forward, especially those who understand the emotional attachment to certain items.

 

Some key tips for downsizing

 

 

  1. Be clear on the size and layout of your loved one’s new living space. Keeping an item only to find that it just doesn’t fit into the new home’s area can be frustrating and time-consuming.

 

  1. Start with the least-used areas of your loved one’s home. The items in these areas may have slightly less sentimental value; therefore, decision-making will be a bit easier.

 

  1. Have a family get-together! If certain items are to be distributed to family members, sharing the history and memories attached to each object can be a meaningful way to pass them to new owners.

 

  1. Take photos. In addition to sharing the sentimental value of items shared, photos of the item with its new owner can ease the burden of parting with that item. Knowing that a cherished treasure will be well-loved may also aid in the “letting-go” process for your loved one.

 

Remember, making a move can be a stressful event for seniors, but with some patience and a clear understanding of your loved one’s needs in a new home, the downsizing process can be a positive experience for everyone involved. Sharing memories is a wonderful start to a new beginning in a senior community, so make the most of this opportunity! For additional information on any aspect of the move-in process, or to learn more about a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Be Our Guest

Posted by in Mind and Spirit.

One of the most difficult aspects of providing care for a loved one is dealing with the need for occasional breaks in care. Whether those breaks are dictated by the caregiver’s need for time off to recharge, help after a surgery or illness, or a trip out of town, the change in routine can be troublesome to manage. Short term care is often a great option in these situations, especially when a caregiver doesn’t have a back-up, or an unexpected situation arises. A respite stay at a Senior Lifestyle community can provide peace of mind for family members, a change of scenery and social stimulation for a loved one, and a much-needed break for a primary caregiver.

Senior Lifestyle Short Term Care offers excellent solutions for a number of circumstances, whether planned or unexpected. Senior Lifestyle communities provide quality respite care for our guests, no matter the length of their stay. Short term guests enjoy the same amenities as long term residents, including delicious meals, activities, and a caring clinical staff that utilizes a Personalized Service Plan to meet each guest’s unique needs. A short term stay at a Senior Lifestyle community can also serve as a delightful introduction to the carefree lifestyle enjoyed by our residents for those considering a move to a senior community.

Short term care doesn’t have to be specifically for a respite stay; sometimes a short term visit to a Senior Lifestyle community can provide a guest with a sneak peek into the benefits of life at a senior community! The decision to move to a senior community can be difficult, even for those who feel ready to make a lifestyle change. Variables such as the location of the community, the level of care provided, and financial considerations will need to be factored in to a final decision on where to call home.

With over 30 years’ experience in senior living, Senior Lifestyle understands the factors that make a move successful and has developed the “Be Our Guest” program which allows a trial stay opportunity to “test drive” the lifestyle. Guests can join us for a few days’ visit before making a move to see if the community feels right to them, enjoying activities and events, dining with new friends, and meeting our team. The program truly allows guests to get a complete picture of life in a senior community and to see what daily life looks like for residents.

For more information on the “Be Our Guest” program or any of our short term stay opportunities at a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit the Senior Lifestyle website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Lake Barrington Woods hosts Adventure Camp

Posted by in Community Spotlights.

Remember camping as a kid? Whether you went to a day-camp or sleepaway camp, rode in an RV with your grandparents, or just pitched a tent in the backyard, it was an adventure! You might have been eating outdoors, encountering wildlife or the neighborhood cat, sleeping in a tent, or watching cartoons in Grandpa’s RV! However you camped, fun and adventure were on the agenda. On a camp adventure, regular rules didn’t apply, so hands could get dirty, feet could get wet, and new experiences were welcomed with open (if somewhat grubby and perhaps bug-bitten) arms.

Adventures aren’t just for kids! At Senior Lifestyle’s Lake Barrington Woods community in the Chicago area, residents and staff alike are an adventurous bunch! In August of last year, as part of Active Aging Week’s challenge to Explore the Possibilities, residents from Lake Barrington Woods attended Adventure Camp, a summer camp experience hosted by Lake Barrington Woods at local Sunrise Lake. The event was so popular that this year the community decided to invite some Senior Lifestyle friends from neighboring communities.

Resident and staff attendance at this year’s Adventure Camp is expected to be approximately 100 people. Adventure Camp will be held on August 30th at Sunrise Lake, which provides a perfect setting for the event with its accessible spaces, ramps, and walking paths. Residents and staff from The Sheridan at Green Oaks, Autumn Green at Wright Campus, Lincolnwood Place, The Sheridan at Tyler Creek, Fox Point, and Prairie Green at Fay’s Point will attend Adventure Camp this year.

Proving that there’s always room for a new experience, no matter the age of the camper, one of last year’s attendees tried the traditional campfire treat, S’mores, for the first time, while another who had never held a fishing pole caught her first fish! Says Mirka Biegunska, Director of Resident Programs at Lake Barrington Woods: “Adventure Camp provides an opportunity for our residents to experience the freedom and independence of their childhood years, and for some, it is the first experience attending a campfire singalong or fishing in the lake. Our residents are so excited to share the adventure with their neighbors this year!”

At Senior Lifestyle communities, our residents love new experiences, and providing those experiences for our residents, whatever their adventure may be, is our goal every day. We believe fun helps to keep us young at heart, and if our Adventure Campers are any indication, we may be onto something! For information about Lake Barrington Woods, Adventure Camp, or any of our communities, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com, and if you get the chance, have an adventure!

 

Our Team Members Embraced the Fight against Alzheimer’s

Posted by in Special Events.

Senior Lifestyle is proud to share the philosophy and goals of the Alzheimer’s Association and proud of our designation as a Global Team. The Longest Day event, which took place in June across America, provided us with an opportunity for total engagement in this important cause. Our corporate and regional team members as well as our local senior communities pulled out all the stops this year to meet our fundraising goals for this event, with 106 Senior Lifestyle teams and 254 participants taking part in the event. Additionally, families and residents at our communities always play a vital part in local events, pledging to spend time raising awareness on The Longest Day.

Our fundraising goal this year was $50,000, and we’re proud to say that we met and far exceeded that goal, with a current total of $87,732.28 in funds raised by all Senior Lifestyle teams! We’re proud to have such a committed group of people working to end Alzheimer’s, and until there’s a cure, our goals will remain high and we’ll do our best to exceed them every year. Planning for The Longest Day begins early each year, with many of our teams already looking forward to outdoing themselves at next year’s event. It’s this team spirit and sense of commitment that makes our Senior Lifestyle fundraisers so successful.

Whitney Lane, a Divisional Director of Health and Wellness for Senior Lifestyle, captained our top fundraising team this year. Whitney has been involved with the Alzheimer’s Association for some time, most recently as Engagement Chair for the Mid-South Alzheimer’s Association chapter. She says that while she has been involved in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in the past, this is her first experience with The Longest Day. She certainly made an amazing first impression! Whitney and her team put together a gala event, A Night to Remember, held on April 24th, with a silent auction, a photo booth, great food and entertainment. Local businesses provided sponsorships and the silent auction featured Walt Disney World passes as well as a vacation at a time-share in Hawaii!

Whitney says she had never attempted an event of this magnitude before, and was anxious about making everything work, but things came together well. We, at Senior Lifestyle, congratulate Whitney and her team for an amazing first effort and can’t wait to see what they do next year. When asked about an annual event, Whitney smiles and states that “people approached me after the gala and said they’d like to help next year because they want to keep this event going!” She also notes that she’s happy to accept the help and the opportunity to delegate a few of the gala-related tasks next year, as she’s still recovering from the event.

For information on a Senior Lifestyle community near you taking part in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and what you can do to support the goals of the Alzheimer’s Association, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is happening soon in your area, so join a team and support the cause!

Pets Help Us Stay Healthy

Posted by in Expert Advice.

Anyone who has owned a pet knows that coming home after a rough day and sharing quality time can help melt the stress away, but did you know that there are health benefits associated with having a pet? Surprisingly, researchers are only recently learning what many pet parents have known for years: our pets provide emotional support and unconditional love, having done so throughout recorded history. Researchers, though, have only recently begun studying the connection between pet ownership and health. “When you see how long we’ve had pets in our lives, and how important they are to us today, I think it’s amazing that the study of human-animal interactions is still so new,” says Dr. Sandra Barker, director of the Center for Human-Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University. “Researchers have only recently begun to explore this wonderful relationship and what its health benefits might be.”

The emotional and social benefits of sharing our homes with pets are fairly clear, but how does owning a pet affect our physical health? For dog owners, it comes as no surprise that they specifically are shown to get more exercise on a daily basis than those without a canine companion. This exercise in turn leads to greater cardiovascular health. Daily walks with our four-legged friends also help prevent obesity, and in older adults, can help maintain mobility. Additionally, dog owners have been reported to have lower heart rates and blood pressure, as well as faster stress recovery.

While dog owners outnumber cat owners in the United States, we certainly can’t leave our feline friends out of the health benefit conversation! Cats have some unique qualities that are beneficial to their owners’ health. Although most cats don’t require the same amount of physical activity from their owners as dogs, their purrs have been proven to lower blood pressure and stress. The purring of a contented cat also resonates at a frequency rate between 20 and 140 Hz, a range that is considered medically therapeutic and has been shown to lessen recovery time from muscle injuries and broken bones.

You don’t have to actually own a pet to reap health benefits; therapy animals have become more and more common in settings such as hospitals and senior communities, with patients and staff reporting positive results after interacting with them . At Senior Lifestyle, we’ve seen the connection between pet ownership and health firsthand, and some of our senior communities even have a permanent pet resident! These special ambassadors of goodwill welcome visitors to our communities and provide residents and staff with companionship each day. To learn more about any of our pet-friendly senior communities near you, please visit our website.

Remington House Hosts Family Dinner

Posted by in Community Spotlights.

At Remington House, a Senior Lifestyle community just east of Atlanta, hospitality is a way of life. From the moment guests enter the beautifully appointed senior community, a warm and welcoming atmosphere surrounds them. A sense of family is readily apparent as well; many residents share that they felt at home the moment they first stepped in the door. This sense of family extends to every visitor at Remington House, with staff and residents alike extending a warm welcome.

Family is an important facet of life at Remington House, and nothing says family like a shared meal! The long-standing tradition of generously feeding guests is alive and well, says Director of Sales and Marketing Leslie Piper. She states, “Sharing a meal with guests is a highlight of Southern hospitality, and our menu reflects our Southern heritage, with attention to detail, thoughtful preparation, and an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients.”

The service staff at Remington House understands the importance of the dining experience and truly caters to each resident’s individual tastes, from traditional favorites to special dietary needs. With an abundance of farmer’s markets in the Conyers area as well as gardens on the grounds of the community, farm-to-table fresh ingredients are always available for use, and residents’ favorite recipes and foods are often incorporated into the menu.

In the spirit of true Southern hospitality, Remington House will host a farm-to-table Family Dinner on Saturday, August 26th from 4-7 pm. The meal will feature chef-prepared farm fresh recipes, as well as great company and conversation in a beautiful setting. To join the Remington House family for the Next Course, RSVP to 770-336-1157. Tours of this Senior Lifestyle community will also be available, convenient for those wishing to walk off that second or third helping of a favorite dish!

Keeping our Residents Healthy with Vaccinations

Posted by in Expert Advice.

August is back-to-school month, with children returning to class and young adults leaving for college. August is also National Immunization Awareness Month, an opportunity for people of all ages to make sure they are protected against dangerous or even deadly diseases. While vaccinations for school-age children are often the focus in August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminds us that adults need immunizations as well. Vaccinations against the flu, measles, and pneumonia provide protection to not only those immunized, but their communities as well.

At Senior Lifestyle, the health of our residents is our highest priority. Our communities take every opportunity to promote recommended vaccinations for residents, families, volunteers, and members of the surrounding community. Whitney Lane, RN, BSN, MSW, a Senior Lifestyle Divisional Director of Health and Wellness, shares that each Senior Lifestyle community holds an annual flu shot clinic, that also offers the pneumococcal vaccine. Timely immunizations against these and other diseases is a vital part of preventing widespread outbreaks and maintaining the health of our seniors.

Vaccinations produce immunity to disease by introducing a weakened form of the antigen of the disease, causing the body’s immune system to create antibodies against that antigen. When faced again with that particular antigen, our body’s defenses are able to act quickly to contain the threat and limit or avert that illness. For those with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, avoiding infections like the flu can help limit complications of the underlying disease.

For seniors, keeping up with vaccinations is imperative. As we age, our immune system can weaken, increasing our susceptibility to certain diseases and illnesses. In addition, certain vaccines lose their efficiency over time, making booster shots necessary. Wellness visits for adults should include a discussion with your doctor about what immunizations are recommended.

For more information about health and wellness topics, or to learn more about a Senior Lifestyle community near you, please visit our website.

Southern Plantation Hosts a Pickle & Jelly Jamboree

Posted by in Community Spotlights.

At Southern Plantation in Georgia, hospitality is a way of life. Residents enjoy the proximity to Atlanta and all it offers, as well as the comfortable, serene atmosphere of the Loganville area. Respect for the traditional arts is alive and well, says Angela Allen, LPN, the Executive Director of Southern Plantation’s senior community.

Because traditions like canning and preserving food are important to residents and staff alike at Southern Plantation, the community has planned an event centered around honoring these traditions. The Pickle & Jelly Jamboree will take place on Saturday, August 19th, from 10 am until 2 pm, with music, food, and prizes for best pickles and jelly. The event is open to the public and entries will be judged by local VIPs. Director of Sales and Marketing Nancy Griggs says that the hope is for this event to become an annual tradition itself. Staff and residents have even composed an ode to pickles in honor of the event:

Are yours sweet or are yours sour?

We’ll be tasting and judging entries each hour.

Are they dill and crunchy too?

Lots of variations, more than a few.

Picking the best tasting pickles, jams and jellies.

Our judges will leave with big full bellies.

Provide your recipe, attached to the jar.

Winners in each category will be far from par.

So submit your best and hope you win.

The judging will begin promptly at ten!!

Many residents share fond memories of harvesting and preserving food as children and young adults. Says Southern Plantation resident Nancy Williams:

“I am so delighted to hand down my mother’s easy recipe for homemade jelly. I am one of 8 children so my mother had a full garden of fruits and vegetables to assist with the amount of food we needed with such a large family. I had 5 brothers and they were the ones to go pick from the garden. My mother would not let the girls go without my brothers as there were bad snakes in and around our garden. My favorite jelly was my mother’s blackberry and grape jelly and I am looking forward to making it and entering it into the contest!”

For more information about this event and the traditions at Southern Plantation, or to learn more about a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our website. If you happen to be in the Loganville area on August 19th, stop in for a music, food, and some traditional fun!

The Importance of Friendships | Senior Lifestyle

Posted by in Expert Advice.

Here at Senior Lifestyle, we think that, of all the awesome holidays in August, Friendship Day may in fact be our favorite! We like this holiday so much that we feel it should be Friendship Day every day, because every day in our senior living communities, friendships are developed or even re-kindled when new residents move in. We often hear stories from family members and residents about the discovery of long-lost friends “just down the hall” and we’re delighted when friends re-connect! New friendships are wonderful too, and often happen when residents welcome new neighbors to take part in an activity or a social hour. There’s an old song that says “Make new friends, but keep the old…” and we feel there’s no better advice!

According to the official Friendship Day website, in 1935 the United States Congress declared the first Sunday in August to be National Friendship Day. The idea caught on, and Friendship Day became an annual event. The day has become so popular that it is now celebrated internationally, and in 1997 Friendship Day gained a world-renowned Ambassador of Friendship when the United Nations voted none other than Winnie-the-Pooh to this prestigious role.

Congressional proclamations and celebrity endorsements aside, research from Harvard Medical School shows that frequent social interaction and strong social connections are healthy, no matter your age. Quality over quantity appears to be a key to this health benefit, as individuals with a limited but strong social support system seem to fare as well as those with a vast group of connections. The effects of these strong social bonds appear to be as powerful in their influence of long-term health as a good diet, adequate sleep, and a non-smoking lifestyle. Studies show that this benefit is especially meaningful for seniors, as it decreases the risk of dementia significantly.

When asked what factors led to a search for senior living, many residents at Senior Lifestyle communities say that a need for more social interaction was a deciding factor. Additionally, the availability of group activities is often a source of satisfaction for these residents. What does all this mean? In a nutshell, it means that forming (and maintaining) strong friendships and social connections not only feels good, but it IS good! As health strategies go, it doesn’t get much easier than being a friend: no weights to lift, no special equipment, and no membership required!

To learn more about Senior Lifestyle, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.