Happy New Year!

Posted by in Holidays, Special Events.

The new year is almost here, and at Senior Lifestyle we can’t think of a better way to “ring in the new” than by expressing our gratitude to those who keep our communities running smoothly day after day and year after year, from the vital behind-the-scenes team members to the frontline, first-contact staff who strive to make the first impression exceptional for residents, guests and families.

Many thanks to the personal care and nursing staff in our communities, providing peace of mind for residents and families who know that clinical needs will be met in a caring professional manner. Thank you for treating our residents with dignity and respect while providing a compassionate listening ear and the expertise to manage medical needs from simple to complex.

Kudos to the dining teams in each community for making mealtimes an event to be eagerly anticipated with delicious offerings and an unmatched atmosphere. Every member of the dining team strives to make the dining experience an exceptional one for residents, families and guests; we see their dedication on display every day.

Maintenance and housekeeping staff in our communities are truly the glue that keeps everything together and moving forward. Their care and dedication is evident to everyone who enters, as they keep each community sparkling and perform tasks that make our residents’ lives easier and hassle-free.

No community would be complete without an imaginative, creative and energetic activity staff! From weekly craft projects to well-planned outings, these dedicated team members provide a creative outlet for residents as well as a vibrant social scene, always working to find ways to include every resident in the fun.

Management teams in each community deserve thanks for their leadership and for guiding and mentoring staff. Their role in helping to develop skills that advance careers and open doors to opportunities at every level of employment is vital. Many thanks to our marketing and sales teams, who are dedicated to helping families find the lifestyle that works for them and identifying ways to help them achieve that lifestyle. Their guidance has made the difference for countless families!

Last, but certainly not least, we’d like to thank our residents and families for their confidence in us, and for their inspiration. They are the heart of what we do and we pride ourselves on meeting and exceeding their expectations with every interaction, every event, and every activity, every day. We are honored to be a part of their lives.

We at Senior Lifestyle wish you the happiest of New Years! For information about any of our communities, to schedule a tour, or to learn more about joining our team, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Holiday Happenings

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Holidays.

December is a celebratory month at Senior Lifestyle, and along with Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, this month provides a host of other lesser-known holidays for us to enjoy. On any given day in December, there’s a fun, possibly somewhat odd holiday to observe, and while we aren’t sure who’s in charge of the goofy holiday calendar, we’re always willing to celebrate!

December 21st held several noteworthy celebrations, not the least of which is Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, winter in the Northern Hemisphere officially began December 21st at 10:28 am Central Standard Time, with the sun’s path reaching its southernmost position. After the 21st, the sun’s path starts to move northward, but the change is so slight that the path seems to stay the same, hence the term solstice, from the Latin words sol for sun and sistere, meaning to stand still. Perhaps not so coincidentally, December 21st is also National Flashlight Day (practical on the shortest and darkest day of the year) and Look on the Bright Side Day, a great idea for a cold, gray day in December!

Perhaps a little standing still is what we all need around this time of year. We get so caught up in following a plan sometimes that we fail to see the opportunities that present themselves daily, like a gift that’s always the right size and color. Hearing residents reminisce about holidays past and the presents they enjoyed most (hula hoops and tea sets seem to be popular!) is always a cheery and bright time in our Senior Lifestyle communities and it reminds us to slow down and enjoy the season.

We’re not suggesting that you ditch all your obligations and sit staring at the pretty lights until New Year’s Day, but we certainly hope that at some point during this season of wonder you are able to sit quietly and contemplate the bright moments of the waning year.  While you’re contemplating, remember to look forward to the bright new year that’s just around the corner.  If contemplating isn’t your style, we at Senior Lifestyle hope you have an impromptu get-together with friends and family to laugh and share your hopes for the new year.  We also hope that if a small child asks you to try the hula hoop, have a tea party, or watch the snow fall, you take the time to do so.  We promise, it will make your spirits bright!

However and whatever you celebrate, Senior Lifestyle wishes you the happiest of holidays from our family to yours, surrounded by friends, family and good cheer! For information on holiday events and celebrations at a Senior Lifestyle community near you, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Holiday Traditions

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Holidays.

If your loved one has recently moved to a senior community, they may be stressed about the changes that accompany a move. At Senior Lifestyle, we understand that any move can be stressful, and we know that for most, holiday traditions and celebrations must evolve to accommodate the changes that come with a change of address. If this is the first holiday in a senior community for your loved one, new traditions may be the key to a stress-free celebration.

If your family’s holiday traditions have centered around gatherings in your senior loved one’s home, moving the celebration to another family member’s home can ease the transition for your loved one in a senior community. If Grandma has always been in charge of the meal preparation, dividing up the labor required for that task may also ease the stress for family members as well as for your loved one. It may be difficult for a senior to give up these responsibilities, so be sure to find ways to keep holiday traditions inclusive for the senior. Perhaps instead of taking on the entire meal, preparing a favorite dish for the meal may be a meaningful new tradition for your loved one.

It’s very easy to become overwhelmed by the urge to make the holiday season perfect in every way, focusing on minute details and forgetting about the very real joys to be experienced. The need to micro-manage get-togethers, meals and gifts can sabotage what should be a time of togetherness. Oftentimes, we simply want the very best for our family and friends, forgetting that what’s most important to them is the time spent together. This is a time when it really IS “the thought that counts.” At Senior Lifestyle, we know that simple pleasures and gifts of the heart are the most meaningful and the holiday traditions that have endured are the ones that feature laughter and togetherness.

Senior Lifestyle communities offer residents and families numerous events designed to make the most of the holiday season with new friends, from singalongs to socials, so be sure to take advantage of these opportunities to make the season bright and create new traditions to cherish! For more information about a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Preventing Holiday Falls

Posted by in Health and Fitness, Holidays.

At Senior Lifestyle, we understand that the holidays can be a bit stressful. If you’re hosting a holiday get-together, you are most likely contemplating the menu, the planning, the shopping, and the cleaning as you prepare to welcome your guests. If your guest list includes elderly family members or guests, there may be another step to take in your party planning: assessing your home for fall risks. Fall risk is higher for seniors than other age groups, with the number of falls and the severity of injuries increasing as well, according to Dr. Lisa Cannada of Saint Louis University Hospital. According to the CDC, one out of three adults over the age of 65 falls, and holidays often see a surge in the frequency of falls, simply because house guests are unfamiliar with the layout of a home, says Dr. Cannada. Preventing holiday falls requires a small amount of extra effort, but some commonsense tips make the process easily manageable.

Several factors increase the risk of a fall for a senior in an unfamiliar setting. Says Dr. Cannada, “They may be unaware of other environmental factors in the home that could put them at risk for a fall such as loose rugs, damaged flooring, poorly lit areas and cluttered furniture.”

Dr. Cannada recommends taking the following precautions for preventing holiday falls:

  • It’s easy to accumulate clutter, such as boxes of décor and stacks of gifts from holiday shopping. Take the time to declutter your home and make improvements to prevent falls and keep family and friends safe.
  • Keep the path between your front door, driveway and mailbox well-lit and clear of debris.
  • For cold weather locations, keep salt and a shovel near the front door so you do not have to walk on an icy sidewalk in order to reach them.
  • Install a nightlight along the route between the halls/walkways of your home.
  • Clear clutter out of the hallways and off stairs
  • Secure loose area rugs with double-faced tape or slip-resistant backing;
  • Arrange furniture for a clear pathway between rooms
  • If you have young kids who will be visiting for the holidays or who live in your home, be sure to install child-proof gates next to the stairs in your home to prevent children from accessing them without adult supervision.
  • Children may receive lots of new toys for the holidays and scatter them around the house. It’s important to contain those toys in a dedicated play area and clean up toys after kids are done playing with them to avoid tripping.

 

Senior Lifestyle encourages you to limit fall risks in your home by taking precautions before guests arrive, and enjoy time with friends and family this holiday season. For information about a Senior Lifestyle community near you, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Semper Fi

Posted by in Community Spotlights.

Cardinal Village resident Dorothy (Peterson) Dinnauer is known for a love for her country and a keen sense of adventure, qualities that have served her well over the years. As a young woman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Dorothy was quite athletic, an exceptional swimmer and tennis player, and it’s no surprise to team members at Cardinal Village to hear that Dorothy was still running 5k races well into her 80’s. Says Linda George, Director of Memory Care, “I totally believe it. I would say she’s never stopped!” Dorothy’s caregivers at Cardinal Village agree, noting that as soon as Dorothy finishes breakfast each day, she’s ready for whatever is next. Whether the activity is painting, playing bingo, listening to music, crafting or games, Dorothy is eager to participate.

Dorothy celebrated her 98th birthday at Cardinal Village on November 10th, a birthdate she is proud to share with the United States Marine Corps. Her respect for this branch of service goes well beyond the coincidence of a shared birthdate, however. She says she’s always admired what the Marines represented, noting that “I liked their way of doing business. Everything was on the up and up. You knew what you had to do and what was expected of you.” Angela Carter, Director of Sales and Marketing at Cardinal Village, says that reflects Dorothy’s personality perfectly, noting that Dorothy is always forthright and faithful, qualities Marines are known for.

When the military asked for female recruits during World War II, Dorothy knew immediately that she would volunteer, and unlike most others, she knew which branch she’d join: the Marine Corps, the one she felt she was born to be part of. Says Dorothy, “They said they needed help so I said, ‘I’ll go.’ I really wanted to help the country.” Dorothy recalls the increased sense of purpose that followed the bombing of Pearl Harbor and like many others, she remembers exactly where she was when she heard the news: she was working as a secretary at Northwestern Mutual Insurance. In the aftermath of the attack that happened on December 7th, 1941, she recalls, “Families were broken apart, and people were learning about their loved ones who were gone. There were a bunch of young people who signed up right after that.” Dorothy served in the Signal Battalion from 1943 to 1946, working as a secretary in San Diego and San Francisco, processing paperwork for men returning from service in the Pacific. “They didn’t talk much about what they saw,” she recalls.

After the war, Dorothy returned to Milwaukee where she met her husband John, also a fellow Marine. She recalls that John was too shy to speak to her directly, so he would toss pebbles at her feet as she walked to the bus stop after work. John and Dorothy married and raised three children, passing on Marine Corps values and a “very strong ethical and moral fiber”, says daughter Sue. “We were taught there’s a right way and a wrong way. If you’re going to do something, you do it right or you don’t do it at all.” Retired Marine lieutenant colonel, a friend of Dorothy’s agrees, “When she talks, everybody, regardless of rank, respects her service and commitment and the fact that 70-some years later, she’s still proud she wore the eagle, globe and anchor. She has my total respect and that of so many other Marines.”

Clearly, for Dorothy, the Marine motto Semper Fi (Always Faithful) is more than a phrase, it’s a way of life.

For more information about Cardinal Village, or to schedule a tour, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Alzheimer’s Education for Kids

Posted by in Holidays, Expert Advice.

When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, the news can be devastating for families. At Senior Lifestyle, we understand that for families with young children, the impact of a dementia diagnosis can be especially difficult to manage. A child’s reaction to the disease affecting a beloved family member may depend on several factors, including the age of the child, the relationship between the child and the loved one with dementia, and where the person with dementia lives (at home, with family, or in a senior community). Providing Alzheimer’s education for kids will make the journey easier for all family members.

It’s vitally important to talk to kids about what is happening when a loved one is diagnosed with dementia. Speaking openly and honestly about the disease helps to alleviate some of the fear a child may feel about the disease. For younger children, simply stating that “Grandma has an illness that makes her forgetful” may be enough to de-mystify the illness. Older children and teens may be able to understand a more complex description of dementia; they may also need help in understanding their emotional reaction to the person with dementia. Teens may be embarrassed and upset by the behavior changes they see in their loved one and may want to limit time spent with their loved one. It is essential to respect this choice and not to force the teen to spend time with the family member, as this could make the situation worse. Allowing children and teens to talk about their feelings is also helpful in managing the effects of the disease on younger family members.

The Alzheimer’s Association shares that providing Alzheimer’s education for kids who live with a person suffering from dementia can help them to better understand the changes they see in their family member. Focusing on connections and remembering what the person with dementia can still do also helps children adapt to the changes in the household. It’s important for children to understand that while their loved one may be changing, there are still things they can do together. Some activities for children and family members with dementia include:

  • Putting together a scrapbook with photos and mementos
  • Watching old TV shows together
  • Singing or listening to favorite songs
  • Coloring or drawing pictures
  • Planting or weeding a garden

An Alzheimer’s diagnosis is frightening not only for the person diagnosed, but for the entire family as well. The disease brings changes, but these changes can be managed with the right support and resources. Senior Lifestyle’s Memory Care philosophy, embrace, focuses on maintaining connections with tangible reminders of favorite pastimes and interests, sparking memories and providing a sense of purpose for the person with dementia. We foster independence and communication for our residents and their families to make their interactions as enjoyable and memorable as possible. We invite you to learn more about our Memory care programs at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Give the Gift of Time

Posted by in Holidays, Expert Advice.

Are you struggling to find the perfect thoughtful-yet-practical holiday gift for an aging parent, grandparent or loved one? At Senior Lifestyle we understand that buying gifts for seniors can be a challenge. If your loved one has down-sized or moved to a senior living community, there may not be room for decorative items; in this instance, practicality often outweighs novelty when looking for the best gift for a senior. For loved ones struggling with decreased mobility or cognitive decline, gifts that improve quality of life, add comfort, or help maintain health are always a great idea. For families separated by many miles, gifts that allow seniors to maintain connections are a wonderful option. We’ve compiled a short list of gifts for seniors that we think you’ll find helpful as you do your holiday shopping.

Does your loved one struggle with mobility, low vision or hearing loss? Adaptive devices like Audiobooks and television headphones or speakers can bring enjoyment back to reading or watching favorite shows, while a large button universal remote like the Doro HandleEasy simplifies the operation of a TV or home stereo for those with low vision or limited dexterity. Adaptive clothing options include MagnaClick shirts which replace buttons with easily fastened magnetic closures and Hickies, a lacing system which turns any shoe into a slip-on. Walker bags and belt bags are also great gifts to provide hands-free storage for seniors.

Products that provide comfort are practical and thoughtful gifts for seniors. Innovative new products such as a Mosaic weighted blanket have been proven beneficial in alleviating insomnia. Weighted or heated lap blankets are quite popular. Desktop UV lamps that mimic sunlight can help to alleviate Seasonal Affective Disorder for seniors who are unable to get outside, while a sound/white noise machine can help your senior loved one sleep soundly. Many additional ideas can be found at Modern Senior Products.

Gifts for seniors that help to maintain social and family connections are as easy as creating a photo book through one of the many services like Shutterfly and Snapfish or even presenting a digital photo from such as the Aura, which allows updates remotely and eliminates the need for a memory stick. Does your loved one wish to share family lore but isn’t sure where to start? StoryWorth makes the process easy for seniors to share stories, emailing a question/story prompt each week to your loved one. They then simply write their answers and the stories are compiled into a beautiful keepsake book.

For gifts that keep giving, a subscription to a meal ingredient/delivery service like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron are a healthy option. Seniors who still enjoy cooking but aren’t able to get out for fresh ingredients may find these subscriptions or a subscription to a grocery delivery service helpful and practical. “Item of the month” clubs include options such as fruit, cheesecake, coffee, flowers and more and can be found at www.amazingclubs.com. For those seniors who love movies,  consider a subscription to Netflix.

At Senior Lifestyle we’ve learned that regardless of circumstances, seniors overwhelmingly agree that it’s the thought that counts. They also share that the gift of time is always most welcomed. No matter what your budget is, a phone call, a visit, or an email providing updates on family members can bring joy to the season for your senior loved one, whether they live at home or in a senior community. We’ve also found that the gift goes both ways, providing the giver with joy as well! For more information on a Senior Lifestyle community near you please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

A ‘Presidential’ Sandwich Shop

Posted by in Community Spotlights.

Lunch at Presidential Place, a Senior Lifestyle community in Hollywood, Florida, has become a much-anticipated event, with residents lining up for a buffet-style “sandwich shop” and enjoying hand-crafted creations prepared exactly to their specifications. Like lots of pickles? Light mayo? Spicy mustard? Coming right up! One might wonder what makes these sandwiches so special, and the answer from each resident points overwhelmingly to the service!

Once a month, residents at this senior community are treated to a deli-style lunch served by the Presidential Place management team, with made-to-order sandwiches and sides. Cathleen Pinson, Director of Sales and Marketing for the community, notes, “Deli lunch is always a hit; the residents love it and so do we. It’s fun for us as managers to step away from our desks and we also get to custom create our own sandwiches and dine with the residents!”

Team members at Presidential Place enjoy the chance to share a meal with residents and love the opportunity for engagement in a relaxed setting, and residents agree wholeheartedly. Says resident Pauline, “It’s a bright, joyful change!” Resident Nancie agrees, “It’s wonderful!” Staff members call the monthly event “a fun and interactive time for residents and staff, something we hope to continue for a long time”.

Presidential Place, tucked away on a quiet residential street, offers a warm, inviting atmosphere that feels like home from the moment guests step through the front porch entrance, but the feature that makes this senior community truly unique is the relationship between residents and staff! For more information about this Senior Lifestyle community, or to schedule a tour, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Posted by in Holidays.

Many residents in our Senior Lifestyle communities across the country have remarkable memories of the events leading up to World War II. The attack on Pearl Harbor is an especially vivid memory for most, with residents noting that they remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the devastating news. At Senior Lifestyle, we want to commemorate those memories and reflect on the sacrifices so many made in the war effort. Senior Lifestyle salutes the veterans of all wars and we are honored to provide care to every resident we serve.

December 7th is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, a time to commemorate the events of December 7, 1941, a date whose events will be remembered by Americans forever. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese was intended to cause the United States to decrease its presence in the Pacific, but instead catapulted the United States into World War II. The day following the bombing of Pearl Harbor found President Franklin D. Roosevelt asking Congress to declare war on Japan in a speech that called the attack by the Japanese “a date which will live in infamy”. The resolution passed, and the United States joined the Allied war effort.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, December 7th, 1941, the Japanese commenced a bombing raid of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. At total of 360 Japanese war planes came out of the clouds and left most of the United States’ Pacific fleet damaged or sunk, rendering Pearl harbor helpless and largely defenseless. While radar operators were aware of a large group of incoming aircraft, they were told not to sound the alarm as a group of American B-17s were expected to arrive at any time. More than 2,400 Americans died and 1,200 were wounded defending Pearl Harbor from the attack, while the Japanese lost fewer than 100 men. Thankfully, all three of the American carriers stationed in the Pacific were out to sea at the time of the attack, saving hundreds of lives and providing the U.S. with a decisive victory over Japan six months later at the Battle of Midway.

While December 7th is not a federal holiday and banks, post offices and schools remain open, Americans observe the date with flags flown at half-mast, wreath-laying ceremonies and memorial services to honor those who were injured or killed in the attack. Of special significance is the memorial ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, built upon the remains of the sunken ship, which rests in the harbor. The memorial, built by Austrian-born architect Alfred Preis, was dedicated in 1962 and serves as a remembrance of all military personnel who were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

We at Senior Lifestyle invite you to join us as we remember the Americans injured or lost at Pearl Harbor and to reflect on the long-term effects of that “day of infamy”. We reserve a special place of honor for those residents in our communities who survived the attack, or were moved to enlist as a result of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They have our utmost respect and gratitude.

Beyond Bingo

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Programs.

In 1929, Edwin S. Lowe created the modern version of the game we know as Bingo, but a similar game has been played in Europe since the 1500s. Easy to learn and play, Bingo has grown in popularity over the years, enjoyed by both young and old in settings from church basements to Bingo halls to senior communities.  December is Bingo’s birthday month, and while we love Bingo as much as the next person, (maybe even more!) at Senior Lifestyle we also love the variety of senior activities available at our communities. We believe that the opportunity for social engagement is vital to the health and well-being of our residents.

At Senior Lifestyle, we’re proud to offer our residents diverse opportunities for interaction, creativity and the pursuit of their passions. Our residents are the inspiration for many of our most popular programs and they are encouraged to suggest senior activities based on their personal preferences and interests. From book and gardening clubs to our award-winning Brain Health University, our residents have options for engagement every day. With a laugh, family members often claim that their loved one is “never home” when they call because the senior’s schedule is packed with things to do. Residents often express surprise at the ease of joining an activity as well, noting that they are busier than ever now that social events and hobbies are just a few steps away.

Brain Health University, a 2012 ALFA Best of the Best award winner, presents residents with a unique opportunity to learn more about subjects that intrigue them in a setting that fosters personal growth and provides a great opportunity to make new friends with similar interests. The program offers 30 different courses designed to enhance cognitive function and promote social interaction. Upon completion of 18 courses, residents receive a certificate of graduation and a celebratory event.

Discover Your Mark combines creative expression with continuity of culture by helping seniors participate in meaningful artistic outlets that help to illustrate their values and the wisdom they’ve accumulated over a lifetime of learning. The process of aging provides tremendous promise for growth and development via the arts, and today’s thinking looks at age not as a decline, but as a time of new experiences, learning and creative and productive contribution. Older adults have an abundance of social and emotional knowledge, and one way to pass on that wisdom is through artistic expression, an activity known to promote physical and cognitive health.

By removing the fear of technology through fun and engaging programs, .com Seniors inspires Senior Lifestyle residents to become tech-savvy and provides the means to experience and experiment with technology. This unique program offers a variety of opportunities for program directors to encourage seniors to engage in socially positive technology like Skype and Facebook, providing vital connections to friends and loved ones. The program removes psychological and physical barriers to utilizing technology as well as leveraging technology to elevate the quality of other programs offered in the community.

Our activity professionals at each Senior Lifestyle community provide a wide range of programs to meet the wants and needs of each resident. From physical fitness to creative arts to cooking demonstrations and acting classes, there truly is something for everyone. If your interests include catching a show or browsing the local shops, Senior Lifestyle can get you there as well with transportation provided for outings in the surrounding communities. We can coordinate trips to museums, theaters and casinos; we love to plan trips based on resident suggestions. For more information about the senior activities available at a Senior Lifestyle community near you or to schedule a tour, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com. As for Bingo, it’s still on the calendar and you might even find us playing when you visit; it’s a classic for a reason and still as well-loved as ever!