Is it Alzheimer’s?

Posted by in Health and Fitness.

At Senior Lifestyle, we know that a dementia diagnosis can be frightening. We also know that for many people, the words “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s Disease” are interchangeable, making a diagnosis of dementia even more stressful. While Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for about 60 to 80 percent of cases, there are other types of dementia. Senior Lifestyle’s unique memory care philosophy, embrace, offers a holistic care program tailored to the specific needs of our residents with differing forms of dementia.

Dementia is not a specific disease, but a general term describing cognitive decline that is severe enough to impair a person’s ability to manage daily life. There are a wide variety of symptoms associated with dementia, with memory loss being the most recognizable; however, memory loss alone does not mean that a person has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Additionally, there is no one singular test for dementia; doctors may make a diagnosis of dementia based on a physical examination, a careful review of medical history, specific changes noted in everyday behavior, as well as laboratory tests. For a diagnosis of dementia, at least two of the following mental functions must be significantly impaired:

  • Memory
  • Communication and language
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning and judgment
  • Visual perception

While many forms of dementia are both permanent and progressive, meaning the condition will worsen over time, some types of dementia can be reversed when an underlying issue such as depression, medication side effects, excess use of alcohol or thyroid problems is addressed. Additionally, urinary tract infections in seniors can cause a sudden change in mental status known as delirium which often disappears when the underlying infection is treated. While the sudden onset of delirium can be frightening for both the senior and his or her caregivers, it is important to note that this condition is most often a short-lived change which subsides with treatment of the UTI. It is important to address any change in mental status with your health professional to determine the cause and course of treatment available.

When facing a diagnosis of dementia, it is vitally important for families to know what treatments and resources are available to them. At Senior Lifestyle, we encourage families to join Alzheimer’s/Dementia support groups such as those offered by the Alzheimer’s Association, including their online Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center. Additionally, we offer our award-winning embrace memory care philosophy, a program developed to provide care not only for the person with dementia, but for the entire family. For more information about memory care at a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our website at

Why choose assisted living?

Posted by in Health and Fitness, Expert Advice, Programs.

If you’re currently looking at moving to a senior community and comparing the benefits of moving to Assisted Living versus staying at home or “aging in place” you may have quite a few questions on the relative merit of each option. At Senior Lifestyle we believe that information is the most valuable tool we can offer prospective residents and families, so we’d like to share some of what we’ve learned from over 30 years in senior living.

When searching for Assisted Living in a senior community, it’s important to know what features are truly beneficial to you and what type of living fits your personal needs. It’s your lifestyle to choose, and we feel strongly that the process should be about just that: your life and your style! What can you expect from a Senior Lifestyle community?

Peace of mind

We call it “Care that’s always there”. Families can rest assured that their loved one will always have assistance available. Assistance with everyday needs is a moment away, and a wearable emergency call pendant or in-room pull-cord can summon help in an emergency. Licensed staff is on hand 24 hours a day to meet your needs.

Social opportunities

We often say that our residents love their apartments but don’t spend much time in them. Activities and events designed specifically for seniors provide each resident with opportunities to make friends every day, whether staying in or going out on the town. We tailor our programming to the needs and wants of residents and help build relationships along the way.


Our goal at every senior community is to remove worries about housekeeping, yard maintenance, shoveling snow, or any of the other daily chores that can take up your valuable time. Your time is better spent enjoying all that your new lifestyle has to offer! You’ll enjoy dining with friends in an inviting atmosphere that rivals any local eatery, with locally sourced ingredients prepared with care by our Executive Chef.

Help when it’s needed

Assistance with medications, dressing, bathing and other activities of daily living is available as part of your Personalized Service Plan, which can be adjusted as your needs change. We’ll build your plan to fit you and work with you to deliver the care and services you need.

For more information on Assisted Living in a Senior Lifestyle community near you, please visit our website at Our knowledgeable staff will be happy to schedule a tour of a senior community in your area and show you a lifestyle that provides all the comforts of home!

Stress and Heart Health

Posted by in Health and Fitness.

How do you handle stress? Believe it or not, your answer may say a lot about your health in general, and your heart health in particular. Increasingly, studies are finding that while stress itself isn’t detrimental to our health, our ability (or lack of ability) to manage stress can be. Our reactions to everyday stressors like flat tires and long workdays as well as big stress situations like an unexpected illness or the loss of a job form a stress management pattern that affects overall health and wellness. February is Heart Month, and since one of our goals at Senior Lifestyle is helping residents, families and staff maintain healthy hearts as well as overall health, we’re sharing some information we found both interesting and useful in managing stress.

How do our bodies respond to stress?  According to Mayo Clinic, your body is “hard-wired to react to stress in ways meant to protect you from predators and other aggressors.” While those threats may be rare today, others have crept in to take their places. Demands on your time in the form of heavy workloads, family obligations and other “everyday” stressors are perceived as threats, starting a cascade effect which begins in your hypothalamus, setting off an alarm system in your body. This alarm then prompts your adrenal glands to release hormones including adrenaline and the “stress hormone” cortisol. According to Mayo Clinic, “adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.”

The stress “fight or flight” system is normally self-limiting; that is, when the stress goes away, the response goes away, but when this cascade effect is prompted by one stressor after another, our bodies’ reactions to stress can go a bit haywire, with the fight-or-flight response always on, causing overexposure to adrenaline and cortisol, putting you at risk for numerous health problems, including digestive problems, headaches, anxiety, depression, heart disease, sleep problems and weight gain.

While stress is here to stay, the key to preventing stress-related heart health issues lies in managing stress efficiently. Learning about what stresses you and how to care for yourself in stressful situations is vital in managing stress. Stress management strategies may include:

  • Taking time to enjoy hobbies
  • Fostering healthy friendships
  • Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga
  • Having a healthy sense of humor
  • Eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise
  • Following a healthy sleep schedule
  • Seeking professional counseling if needed

Knowing your personal stressors and how to cope with them is an important part of stress management, and an important part of staying healthy. At Senior Lifestyle, we believe in treating the whole person, a holistic approach which can help ease stresses and promote efficient stress management techniques. For information on a Senior Lifestyle community near you, please visit our website at

Senior Independence Month

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Health and Fitness, Holidays.

What does independence mean to you? The answer may well depend on your age and life circumstances. At Senior Lifestyle, one of our goals is helping the seniors in our communities maintain their independence. We do this by creating environments that encourage social interaction, providing innovative programming that fosters creative thinking, and helping seniors find the right fit for their care needs, whether that is Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care or Skilled Nursing.

February is National Senior Independence Month, a perfect time for seniors to celebrate the independence they enjoy and to plan ahead to maintain that independence. Since maintaining independence is a major factor in the quality of life our seniors experience, Senior Lifestyle is sharing some practical tips from Seniors Speak Out, a senior advocacy group, to help seniors maintain independence at home and in the community:


An organized environment is great for both body and soul! Clear, well- lit walkways in the home help decrease the risk of trips and falls, while keeping necessary items like cell phones close at hand and readily accessible is vital in the event of an emergency.


A little preventive maintenance can be a lifesaver. Have banisters on stairs and railings on decks checked for looseness. Light up dark hallways and closets with motion-sensor lights to prevent falls. Installing grab bars in the bathroom is a great idea as well, provided they are installed before they’re needed. A little foresight goes a long way!

Get Tech Savvy

That cellphone can literally be a lifesaver. Set up with speed-dial for favorite contacts, it’s a senior’s link to the world. Cellphones can also serve as location devices as well as maps and navigations aids. Most are even equipped with a fairly bright flashlight. Home security systems can protect against theft and property damage, but their value doesn’t end there; motion sensing lights can detect intruders and fend off any unwanted guests, while providing welcome light when you need it.

At Senior Lifestyle, we understand that maintaining independence can be tricky for seniors. Knowing what to hold onto and what to let go of is a tough road to navigate, especially for someone who has lived independently for many years. Giving up a driver’s license or accepting in-home help is a big step for many seniors, and leaving home for a senior community is an even bigger step. When changes need to happen, family members can and should focus on the positive aspects of those changes and the increase in quality of life. Asking for and accepting help when it is needed is a positive step toward staying independent.

National Senior Independence Month is a great time for loved ones to help seniors make changes that help increase quality of life. Do you have questions about the level of care you need or programs available at a Senior Lifestyle community in your area? To learn more about how we help our residents maintain their independence, please visit our website at

Fight the Flu

Posted by in Health and Fitness, Expert Advice.

The flu season is in full swing, but that doesn’t mean you have to join the party. At Senior Lifestyle, we know that a bout of influenza is not only miserable with its hallmark symptoms of fever, body aches, cough, sore throat and fatigue, it’s also dangerous for seniors, young children, and anyone with a compromised immune system. The flu can worsen existing chronic conditions such as asthma, COPD, and chronic congestive heart failure. While complications of the flu can happen to anyone, the risk is higher for these groups, so it is critical to avoid infection and remain vigilant during flu season to prevent exposure to the flu.

Flu shots are the first line of defense against seasonal flu, while good hygiene and common sense play a part in avoiding the flu as well. At Senior Lifestyle, our goal is to keep our residents, team members and families as healthy as possible at all times, including flu season, so we’re sharing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Take 3” list of preventive measures, which includes tips to limit the duration and severity of the flu if infection should occur:

  • Vaccinate! First and foremost, getting a yearly flu shot is the best bet in preventing the flu. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older receive the vaccine before the flu season hits their community, ideally before the end of October each year. While no vaccine can prevent every strain of the virus, the yearly vaccine is based on research that indicates which strains are most likely. It is vital that health care workers, those who provide care for infants under 6 months of age, and those at higher risk of complications of the flu be vaccinated.
  • Stop Germs. Good handwashing practices are a great defense against the flu. Wash hands often with soap and water. Limit the spread of germs by avoiding touching your nose, eyes and mouth. If you do become ill, stay home! Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and limit your contact with others until you are fever-free for at least 24 hours to avoid spreading the flu.
  • Take antiviral flu drugs if your doctor prescribes them. Antiviral medications can limit the duration and severity of the flu. For those at risk of complications of the flu, antiviral medications can mean the difference between a mild illness and a hospital stay. According to the CDC, antiviral drugs work best when started within 48 hours of the start of flu symptoms, but they can still be effective if started later, especially for people at risk of flu complications. Antiviral medications must be prescribed by a doctor.

At Senior Lifestyle, we understand that flu season is no fun, but taking commonsense precautions like vaccinating and handwashing can help you avoid becoming ill. If the flu does hit, be sure to limit your interaction with others until your illness abates, and take antiviral medications if prescribed by your doctor. For more information about what we are doing in our communities to combat this illness, please visit our website at

Hobbies are Healthy

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Health and Fitness.

What’s your hobby? Do you knit, bake, build ships-in-a-bottle? Studies show that hobbies (with the possible exception of things like competitive eating and sword-swallowing) are good for us, and since January is National Hobby Month, we at Senior Lifestyle would like to highlight a few senior hobbies that have proven to help maintain physical, mental and emotional health. Of course, pursuing a hobby is healthy at any age, but has a significant positive impact on health for seniors.

What makes hobbies healthy? For those with busy, stressful lives, hobbies provide an outlet that isn’t stressful or work-related, but just as importantly, isn’t just doing nothing, which can be just as stressful for the person who thrives on order, activity and a busy schedule. Taking time for hobbies offers busy people a chance to recharge as well as to reclaim some time for themselves. Additionally, purposefully choosing the activity instead of feeling pushed toward the next responsibility helps to ease stress.

Why are senior hobbies so important for maintaining health? For many seniors, the retirement years represent a drastic change from busy lifestyles spent working, raising children and being active in the community. At Senior Lifestyle, we believe that retirement doesn’t have to mean inactivity, and that’s why we focus on providing activities and events that spark creativity, foster independence and promote socialization. Residents are always encouraged to share their hobbies and our Senior Lifestyle Programming Coordinators love to incorporate new ideas into our activity calendars, so show us your hobby!

A few of our most popular offerings:



Do you have a green thumb? From growing fresh vegetables to cutting gardens, you can get your hands dirty and make a beautiful difference in your surroundings!



There is something magical in creating a painting or a sculpture. Novices and seasoned artists alike channel creative energy and experiment with different mediums while making new friends.



Enjoying a night on the town, a shopping excursion, or taking in a new show at the local theatre is always more fun with friends! If you love to be out and about, we always have a fun trip planned and you’re always welcome to join us.



Are you passionate about your health? Walking clubs provide company and conversation, classes are offered in Tai Chi, Chair Dancing and more, and our fitness areas in Senior Lifestyle communities provide all the tools to stay in shape!

Senior Lifestyle encourages you to enjoy National Hobby Month by trying a new activity or looking into senior hobbies offered in your area. You may just find a great way to spend your time as well as some new friends! To learn more about activities offered at a Senior Lifestyle community near you or to schedule a tour of your local Senior Lifestyle community, please visit our website at

Quality of Life

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Health and Fitness.

January traditionally symbolizes new beginnings, a time to reflect on your life and its purpose, identify what makes you happy, and make changes. Not so coincidentally, the first month of the new year is also International Quality of Life Month. At Senior Lifestyle, we understand that while many of us focus on resolutions for the new year, we may not often think about how those resolutions will affect our quality of life. Weight loss is often a resolution, but when we tie it to quality of life, THEN we begin to understand that increased health, feelings of accomplishment and the satisfaction of meeting a goal help to contribute to an increased sense of our quality of life. This is especially important for seniors, as their resolutions may often be tied to maintaining or increasing health.

Quality of life is defined as “the degree of satisfaction an individual has regarding a particular style of life.”  But what really constitutes “quality of life”? Much like the pain scale at your doctor’s office, the answer varies from person to person and is completely subjective, and measuring these qualities is an altogether separate issue for each individual. Any evaluation of quality of life depends on how each person feels about relationships, work, health, spirituality, and a host of other factors. For many seniors, being able to live independently is the key; for others, feeling a sense of purpose and belonging is a major factor. Having a sense of life purpose is vital to the concept of quality of life as well.

A positive view of life is vitally important for seniors, resulting in increased energy, less stress and better appetite, amongst other benefits. Quality of life is closely tied to life purpose, the way in which an individual feels that he contributes to his community, and at Senior Lifestyle, we strive to help each resident uncover that purpose and move toward fulfilling their life purpose, knowing that the activities that give one person pleasure and a sense of purpose are unique to that person. We strive to really know our residents in order to help them discover their gifts, the talents and qualities that bring an enhanced quality of life. Staying mentally and physically active and staying connected to family, friends and community are also factors that increase quality of life for seniors.

At Senior Lifestyle, we focus on providing activities proven to help increase the quality of our residents’ lives through social events, outings and opportunities to volunteer in the community-at-large, as well as fostering strong connections with friends and family. To learn more about programs designed to enhance quality of life at a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our website at

Changing Needs

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Health and Fitness.

The holidays are a wonderful time to re-connect with loved ones, enjoy family traditions, and recharge for the coming year. They also provide a unique opportunity to spend quality time with elderly relatives. At Senior Lifestyle, we understand that once the hustle and bustle of the holiday season has passed, you may have concerns about changes noticed in your senior loved one over the holidays. According to a study by the National Alliance of Caregiving and AARP,  roughly 15% of the estimated 34 million family members who provide care for an elderly loved one live more than an hour from their care recipient, so holiday visits often provide the clearest view of the changing needs of senior loved ones.

Since age-related decline can progress quickly, it is vital to use the time spent in person with elderly loved ones to assess any changes seen, paying close attention to their living situation as well as physical and mental health. Since seniors can be quite adept at minimizing any worsening or new problems, time spent face-to-face is an important factor in assessing emerging or changing needs of senior loved ones.

During gatherings, be sure to look for the following signs that your loved one may be in need of additional help such as in-home caregiving or assisted living:

  • Changes in balance and mobility

Changes in gait or a reluctance to walk may indicate muscle, joint or neurological problems. Decreased mobility also increases the risk of falls, so it is vitally important to seek medical advice if you see these changes. Keeping the home free of clutter may also help your loved one feel more confident in getting around.


  • Home Environment

If things appear to be out of place in a normally tidy atmosphere, it may be an indication that your loved one is struggling to keep up with the responsibilities of living at home. Check the refrigerator: are items out of date or spoiled? Look at incoming mail: are unpaid bills piling up? Noticeable changes in appearance such as lack of personal grooming or wearing unwashed clothing are also signs that additional help may be needed.


  • Weight Loss

Weight changes can be a sign of depression, unaddressed medical conditions or even dementia. Weight loss is often the first visible sign of a decline in condition. For many seniors, the prospect of preparing and eating a meal alone is emotionally draining, and the effort required to do so may be physically exhausting as well. If you see evidence of weight loss or a dramatic loss of appetite, it is vital to address the issue with your loved one as well as a doctor.

Did you notice changes in your senior loved one over the holidays? Be sure to share your concerns with your loved one and any caregivers involved in their activities of daily living, as well as your loved one’s doctor. At Senior Lifestyle, we understand that it can be disconcerting for seniors to admit the need for additional help, but it is imperative to address the changing needs of senior loved ones. Helping seniors maintain an enriching and healthy lifestyle is our goal, so if you have questions about a Senior Lifestyle community near you or you’d like to learn more about senior care options, we invite you to visit our website at


Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Health and Fitness.

Are resolutions part of your New Year’s ritual? If so, you’re in good company, as the practice of making New Year’s resolutions, thought to have been instituted by the ancient Babylonians, is still traditional for many. The Babylonians felt that making promises would bring favor from the gods and start the new year in a positive way, with resolutions often involving paying off debt and returning borrowed farm equipment. Today, resolutions range from personal health and fitness goals to random acts of kindness, each one as unique as the person who makes it. At Senior Lifestyle, we understand that each new year brings new opportunities to build, learn and improve, and resolutions are always a part of the plan. According to, the top 5 resolutions for 2017 were as follows:

  1. Lose Weight/Healthier Eating
  2. Life/Self Improvements
  3. Better Financial Decisions
  4. Quit Smoking
  5. Do more exciting things

Did you know there’s actually a Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day? There is, and it falls on January 17th in 2018, so if you’ve found yourself regretting any hasty promises, this is the day for you! Only 44.8 % of people polled by claimed to have maintained their resolutions past the 6-month mark. At Senior Lifestyle, we’ve found that the secret to making New Year’s resolutions you’ll actually keep is to set achievable goals and break those goals into manageable steps. Those resolutions that are set aside before February are often crafted from great aspirations, they just ask too much too soon and we become overwhelmed. Studies show that people who make detailed resolutions are far more likely to keep those resolutions than those who set vague or unfocused goals, so if you’re looking to stay the course, make a plan!

Each year at Senior Lifestyle we resolve to actively seek out innovations that help our residents live their best lives, to consistently approach senior living modeled on person-centered care, and to provide opportunities for team members in each of our senior communities to grow and succeed. All lofty goals, of course, but all worthy of our attention and all achievable! Our resolutions are defined and refined yearly, and best of all, shared by every member of our organization. To see our New Year’s resolutions in action, we encourage you to visit a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, or visit our website at

Happy New Year!

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