Celebrate Labor Day

Posted by in Holidays.

Monday is Labor Day, a time when many Americans enjoy a day off, spending the time away from work with friends and family at picnics and parades across the United States. The holiday has also become the unofficial end of summer for many, a final celebration before school kicks into high gear and many areas of the country see cooler temperatures take over. Many Senior Lifestyle communities have special Labor Day celebrations planned with residents, staff and family members joining together for food and fun. As a country, we celebrate Labor Day every year, but how many of us know the history of the holiday?

According to the United States Department of Labor, the first Monday in September is “dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.” Labor Day celebrates the contributions workers have made to “the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” Municipal ordinances passed in 1885 and 1886 gave rise to the first official local Labor Day celebrations, while Oregon passed a state bill in 1887 to make Labor Day an official holiday in that state. On June 28th of 1894, Congress passed an act declaring the first Monday in September a holiday for workers across the United States and its territories, giving the holiday a federal stamp of approval.

There is still some mystery surrounding the actual founder of Labor Day, with some accounts showing that a general secretary for the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners first proposed the holiday, while others believe that it was a machinist and secretary for Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists who actually founded the celebration. What we do know is that the first unofficial Labor Day celebration took place in New York City in 1882, organized by the Central Labor Union.

The form of our contemporary Labor Day celebrations is very similar to the day envisioned by the first Labor Day organizers, who planned street parades to show the “strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” in each community, followed by community-wide parties organized “for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.” In many communities across America, we see these same celebrations, with some lasting the entire Labor Day weekend; parades, carnivals and town-wide Homecoming-style events are popular in many of these communities.

However you choose to celebrate your Labor Day, be sure to take a moment to reflect on the contributions of those who work to make our communities wonderful places to live. Senior Lifestyle celebrates the work ethic and team spirit of our staff, whose efforts show every day in the satisfaction of our residents and families! For more information on celebrations at a Senior Lifestyle community near you, or to schedule a tour, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

 

Downsizing Tips For Seniors

Posted by in Expert Advice.

Once the decision to move to a senior community has been made, the community has been 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, our 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 steps that may require additional guidance, and perhaps some extra patience!

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 memories attached to each treasure. For most, the downsizing 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Home Safety For Seniors

Posted by in Expert Advice, Research.

Safety at home is vitally important for seniors. Family members of senior loved ones often cite safety at home as a major factor when looking for assisted living arrangements, with concerns ranging from possible falls to the ability of the senior to operate home appliances safely. At Senior Lifestyle, we understand the concerns of family members as well as the need for the senior to retain as much independence as possible, so we’ve compiled some home safety tips to share.

FALLS

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one out of four seniors falls each year, with less than half of that number informing their doctor about the accident. While many falls don’t result in serious injury, one in five causes an injury such as a hip fracture or head injury. The CDC makes several recommendations for fall prevention:

  • Remove throw rugs and excess clutter like books and magazines from the floor, especially in high traffic areas. Be sure extension cords are secured and check for loose flooring that could present a trip hazard.
  • Be sure your home has adequate lighting; install bulbs that provide bright light with no glare. Automatic night lights are a great idea for nighttime trips to the bathroom or kitchen.
  • Install railings on both sides of stairs, as well as grab bars in the bathroom, both inside and outside the shower or tub and next to the toilet.
  • Keep walkways outside the home clear of grass clippings, weeds and mulch in the summer and ice and snow in the winter. Be sure to install exterior lighting near all entrances to the home.

BURNS

Burns are unfortunately one of the most common accidents at home for seniors, and since older adults do not respond well to burn treatments, burn and fire prevention are critical for safety at home. According to homeadvisor.com, individuals with balance, vision or memory issues experience a higher risk of burns. To lessen the risk of a fire or severe burn, keep the following in mind:

  • Set water heaters to a lower temperature. Conditions such as peripheral neuropathy interfere with some seniors’ ability to feel pain, leaving them vulnerable to burns. Some medications also inhibit the pain response, so decreasing the water temperature helps manage this risk.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home. Look at ways to simplify cooking, such as the use of a microwave instead of a conventional stove or oven. Many communities offer meal services for seniors as well, with home delivery or a community dining room available.
  • Remove sources of fire, such as lighters, candles and cigarettes if the senior is unable to use these safely. Plan an escape route as well, practicing the route frequently. Post emergency numbers in an easily accessible area of the home.

MEDICATION SAFETY

Many seniors take multiple medications for chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease; additionally, medications are often prescribed for acute conditions such as infections or injuries, leading to a complex daily regimen that can increase the risk of accidental overdose. With older adults often seeing several different medical providers, the risk of unsafe drug interactions is also increased. Safemedication.com recommends some commonsense tips to decrease this risk:

  • Keep a list of each medication taken, both prescribed and over-the-counter. Include all vitamins and supplements. Provide this list to each doctor at each visit, as well as a trusted family member or friend in case of emergency. Talk to your provider about any side effects experienced.
  • Use one pharmacy. The pharmacist can check for drug interactions and help to maintain a current medication list.
  • Stay on schedule. Take all medications exactly as prescribed and maintain a daily routine to help decrease the risk of a missed dose or an accidental overdose.

At Senior Lifestyle, we know that whether your senior loved one is living in their own home, with a family member, or in a senior community, safety at home is a concern, and it’s a priority in our communities. For more information about a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Seniors Get Social

Posted by in Technology.

While nothing replaces the comforting aspect of face-to-face conversation, social media, when used correctly, is a valuable tool that enhances the quality of life and aids communication. At Senior Lifestyle, we use various social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to share information with our residents, families, team members and the communities we serve. One of the most delightful advantages of sharing the pictures of an event in one of our senior communities in Chicago or Charlotte on social media is that a family member in St. Louis or St. Paul can enjoy those pictures as well! While families may be separated by geography, social media for seniors can help to erase some of the distance, a worthwhile benefit for our residents and families. 

If you’ve ever spent time chatting with a senior loved one about social media, you’re likely to have heard something like, “I don’t do that Facebook thing; I don’t even like to text!” or “Computer stuff confuses me and I never remember my password!” While seniors have traditionally not been large consumers of social media, that seems to be changing. A Pew Research Center study notes that young adults (ages 18 to 29) are the most likely to use social media – fully 90% do. Still, usage among those 65 and older has more than tripled since 2010 when 11% used social media. Today, 35% of all those 65 and older report using social media, compared with just 2% in 2005. Seniors are using these tools to connect with family across the miles, to research issues that impact them, and in many cases, to re-visit destinations they’ve traveled to in the past through pictures and online “travelogues.” 

While many seniors are joining the online world, some continue to say that they just don’t see the benefit of social media and having an online presence. Some feel intimidated by technology, but with the advent of computer systems designed specifically for seniors, this no longer has to be a hindrance for those interested in learning more about social media. 

Some benefits of using social media for seniors: 

  • FAMILY CONNECTIONS 

A common refrain amongst seniors is “I wish I heard from my family more often.” Feelings of isolation have often been a leading cause of depression for seniors, and in a world where seemingly everyone has a phone on their person, this can be remedied. Skype calls, shared photos on Facebook and video “home movies” on Facebook can bring families closer across the miles. 

 

  • ONLINE COUPONS & DISCOUNTS 

With the prevalence of online savings through sites like Groupon, discounts offered by businesses on their Facebook pages, and other online opportunities to save, the days of clipping coupons may be past. For seniors on a fixed income, these discounts can add up. 

 

  • COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT 

Whether a loved one lives at home or in a senior community, a sense of belonging is vital to well-being. Socializing with like-minded friends, online or in person, brings a feeling of involvement for seniors, especially if the senior is unable to leave home or their community on a regular basis. 

 

At Senior Lifestyle, while we remain quite fond of in-person social interaction with our families and friends with daily activities in our senior communities, we also see the benefits of social media, especially when a resident is able to connect with family across the miles or friends are re-connected online. We encourage you to connect with us online as well. To learn more about our online presence, visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter; we’d love to connect with you! 

Immunizations For Health

Posted by in Health and Fitness.

At Senior Lifestyle, the health of our residents is our highest priority, so 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 and offers the pneumococcal vaccine as well. Timely immunizations against these and other diseases is vital to preventing widespread outbreaks and maintaining the health of our seniors.

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 immunizations 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.

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.

Vaccines produce immunity to disease by introducing a weakened form of the antigen to 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 illnesses like the flu can help limit complications of the underlying disease.

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