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.

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.

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.

Thanks and Giving

Posted by in Holidays.

Thanksgiving is upon us and once again we here at Senior Lifestyle find ourselves grateful for the traditions we share, the opportunity to spend time with friends and family, and the official start of the holiday season. Every year at Senior Lifestyle we’re humbled by the giving spirit of the people in our communities. We are thankful for our team members for their contributions to each community, our residents and families for placing their trust in us, and our community volunteers for giving of themselves.

Whether you host a Thanksgiving feast or join friends for dinner out, we hope that somewhere between baking pies, basting turkeys and Black Friday shopping, you have the opportunity to truly reflect on the gifts of the holiday season. We’d also like to provide the following, a handy list of Thanksgiving facts to educate and amaze those friends and family members in the short interim between the last piece of pie and the kickoff of the football game!

The history of Thanksgiving as a recognized holiday begins with Sarah Josepha Hale, an editor and writer who repeatedly lobbied for a national day of thanksgiving in hopes that the holiday would bring unification to the states and “awaken in Americans’ hearts the love of home and country, of thankfulness to God, and peace between brethren.” A prolific writer, Hale was the author of several book and hundreds of poems, most notably “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Her advocacy started in 1846 and paid off when President Abraham Lincoln supported legislation to make the holiday official in 1863.

Butterball has provided a much-needed service for novice turkey roasters since 1981, when a group of home economists answered 11,000 calls from anxious hosts with turkey related dilemmas. Since then the number of experts has grown to over 50, who answer over 100,000 questions via phone, online chat, email and text during the holiday season. Some of the more memorable calls include the confused cook who wondered if she could still safely cook her turkey when it was sudsing; she had apparently washed the bird in dish soap. Also noteworthy was a call from a man who had discovered a turkey from 1969 in his father’s freezer and wanted tips on how to cook a 30-year old bird. Just for the record, he was advised to dispose of it and buy a new one. The most common question: What’s the best way to thaw a turkey? Hint: NOT at room temperature on a bus trip home from a casino, as one gentleman attempted, and DEFINITELY not in the hot tub in the back yard as another gentleman opted to try.

Football has long been a part of the Thanksgiving tradition. The first Thanksgiving football game was held in 1876 between Yale and Princeton. The Detroit Lions first played football on Thanksgiving Day in 1934, hosting the Chicago Bears in front of 26,000 fans. The game was broadcast by the NBC radio network on 94 stations, and the Lions have played every Thanksgiving since then, except for the period between 1939 and 1944. The game was televised for the first time in 1956.

A final fact: it’s not the tryptophan in the turkey that makes us drowsy, it’s the carb-laden side dishes that bring on the yawns! Certain nuts and cheeses actually contain more tryptophan per serving than turkey, while yams, potatoes and dinner rolls are full of carbohydrates that cause sleepiness after a little overindulgence. And remember, if the room gets quiet after your Thanksgiving feast, you can always liven things up with your newfound Thanksgiving facts and wow the crowd with your knowledge!

Happy Thanksgiving from Senior Lifestyle!

Minimize Holiday Visit Stress

Posted by in Holidays, Expert Advice.

The holidays are here, and at Senior Lifestyle we know that holidays can become difficult to manage when your loved ones are aging. Whether you are a caregiver or a relative traveling to Mom’s house for a short visit, either scenario can become stressful. If you’re a caregiver you may struggle to enjoy the time together while managing your loved one’s medications and daily schedule, and if you’re traveling to visit, y0u may notice changes in your loved one that weren’t apparent at your last visit, overshadowing the joys of the season.

The excitement of having friends and relatives visit often comes with an increase in anxiety for seniors and their caregivers. Everything from changes in routine to meal planning for a crowd can cause holiday stress. If you’re a caregiver, there are ways to keep the holiday season from becoming overwhelming for both you and your loved one. Mayo Clinic provides some practical tips to help keep the joy in the holiday season while minimizing holiday stress:

  • Grief can be a stressor for seniors during the holidays. For seniors who’ve lost a loved one, the holidays can trigger difficult memories. Many find that talking about those loved ones who are no longer present and reminiscing about holidays spent with them can be a joyful experience. Acknowledging the loss helps to ease the pain and can become a meaningful activity.
  • Dietary concerns seem to affect nearly everyone over the holiday season. The temptation to overindulge is ever-present and can be especially worrisome for seniors who are on multiple medications or need to follow a restricted diet. Eating a healthy snack prior to a large holiday meal can help to ease temptation and the effects of overeating. Staying hydrated and avoiding excessive alcohol intake also helps maintain healthy habits.
  • Upholding traditions can become a point of contention and stress for seniors and their family members. When a senior can no longer take charge of the holiday meal or the decorating, it may be time to create new traditions that allow your loved one to remain an active participant. Going “potluck” for holiday dinners can limit the stress on one family member; additionally, scaling back on decorations can keep the tradition from becoming overwhelming. Gift-giving can even be accomplished with online shopping for those who can no longer manage the chaos of holiday-season malls.

Holiday stress is manageable. With some extra forethought, the holiday season can be a joyful occasion for seniors and caregivers, as well as visiting friends and family. Simplifying, planning ahead and managing expectations can ease anxiety for everyone involved. At Senior Lifestyle, we believe building new traditions and finding new ways to celebrate can add meaning to the season!

Moments Matter

Posted by in Holidays.

November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, designated by Ronald Reagan as a time to show support to dementia sufferers and their caregivers in 1983, when less than 2 million Americans suffered from the disease. That number has grown to nearly 5.4 million today and the need for awareness and support is greater than ever before. With this in mind, Senior Lifestyle supports  Go Purple with a Purpose for Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness and Caregivers Month and we invite you to do the same. The Alzheimer’s Association shares ways to show your commitment to a world without Alzheimer’s:

  • Educate your colleagues about Alzheimer’s
  • Encourage friends to wear Purple
  • Host a Purple with a Purpose Event
  • Decorate your office or home door Purple
  • Light your building Purple
  • Send communications in Purple
  • Turn your Facebook icon Purple
  • Hang Purple ribbons or a banner on your building or home

There are currently close to 15 million individuals in the United States serving as caregivers for loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s, and while showing support for the Alzheimer’s Association’s goals and honoring those caregivers is a great place to start, there are also tangible ways to show support for families dealing with the reality of a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Educate yourself about Alzheimer’s disease. Learn how to help manage the disease and its effects, as well as how to respond to the person with dementia.
  • Stay in touch. Visits, calls and notes are meaningful.
  • Offer support in the form of a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on. The stress of a dementia diagnosis affects the entire family.
  • Engage the person with dementia. Even as the ability to communicate lessens, the dementia sufferer benefits from contact and familiar faces.
  • Offer to help with tasks on the family’s to-do list. Prepare a meal, offer a ride or help with errands.
  • Provide a reprieve for the caregiver by spending time with the person living with dementia.

 

At Senior Lifestyle we understand that when memories fade, it’s the moments that matter. Families facing a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease need support and patience in order to adjust to the reality of living with the disease and its effects. We offer support to caregivers by providing respite care and connections with support groups as well as providing education for families and caregivers. Additionally, our embrace philosophy offers a holistic approach to care for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. To learn more about support for caregivers or our unique approach to memory care at a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.