Social Wellness Month

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Health and Fitness.

July is Social Wellness Month, a time to focus on nurturing oneself and one’s relationships. Social wellness focuses on the giving and receiving of social support, identifying the network of friends and family an individual can turn to in times of crisis as well as times of celebration, and ways to keep relationships healthy. Since social support acts as a buffer against adverse life events, it is especially vital for seniors to have a strong social network in place and to have ways to grow and nurture that social network. Volunteering, pursuing a hobby, or joining a local senior center are all ways for seniors to gain valuable social interaction and grow relationships. 

At Senior Lifestyle, we understand that social wellness may be more difficult to attain and maintain for seniors, especially those who are homebound or who don’t live near family and friends. Since studies have shown that social interaction provides a multitude of health benefits for seniors, one of our main goals at Senior Lifestyle is to expand the social options available to our residents and families. We know that by providing increased opportunities to socialize, we can enhance and enrich the lives of those we serve.  

Seniors reap the benefits of positive social interaction in a number of ways, from increased social and emotional well-being to improvements in physical and cognitive functions. Research shows that: 

  • People who have a strong social network tend to live longer. 
  • The heart and blood pressure of people with healthy relationships respond better to stress. 
  • Strong social networks are associated with a healthier endocrine system and healthier cardiovascular functioning. 
  • Healthy social networks enhance the immune system’s ability to fight off infectious diseases. 

 

At Senior Lifestyle we encourage our residents to take part in activities and events designed specifically to increase social interactions and social wellness, and we strive to improve the well-being of our residents by providing creative outlets, clubs tailored to individual interests, outings designed to entertain and educate, and opportunities to simply socialize in a comfortable, welcoming environment. To learn more about social opportunities available at a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com and schedule a tour today! 

Engage at Every Age

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Health and Fitness.

May is National Older Americans Month, a time to recognize the contributions of seniors in our communities and encourage continued engagement. Every year, the Administration on Aging, part of the Administration for Community Living, leads our nation’s observance of Older American’s Month. This year’s theme, Engage at Every Age, focuses on the importance of involvement in activities that enrich the lives of seniors, whether those activities promote spiritual, emotional or physical wellness. Additionally, the theme highlights the contributions seniors make in their communities across the country, a positive impact that strengthens each community and provides a link between generations.  

At Senior Lifestyle, we see the positive impact of active seniors every day as our residents participate in intergenerational activities, share their life stories, and engage in mentorship programs that benefit not only youth, but every individual involved. Our communities support active, engaged seniors with programs designed to keep our residents involved in whatever form of activity they enjoy and we’re proud to provide an atmosphere in each Senior Lifestyle community that fosters a sense of engagement and purpose for our residents, truly a place to Engage at Every Age!  

 

Lance Robertson, ACL Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging, released the following statement in celebration of National Older Americans Month: 

Everyone has their own story. And telling those stories is an outstanding way to engage with other people. It’s how we pass wisdom to others, get to know each other, learn about the past and advocate for a brighter future. Everyone – young and old alike – enjoys hearing a good story.  And there are lots of important stories to tell about older Americans. 

I encourage Americans young and old – and, best of all, young with old! – to take a moment this month to share your stories. By sharing the stories of aging and older Americans, we celebrate our triumphs, share our wisdom, advocate for each other, and build stronger communities for all of us. 

One easy way you can share your story is through the Older Americans Month Selfie Challenge. Show us how you “Engage at Every Age” by posting a selfie (or groupie) of you participating in activities that improve your well-being using the hashtag #OAM18. 

As we celebrate Older Americans Month, why not make a personal choice to stay engaged? Get involved, take an active role in your care, pick up or continue a beloved hobby, or just make your goal one of increased social activity! Want to know more about how we Engage at Every Age at Senior Lifestyle? Check out our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com for a community near you and add your voice to the growing number of seniors who are actively choosing what aging looks like. 

The Social Scene

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Health and Fitness.

At Senior Lifestyle, we understand that for many, social interaction is a basic part of everyday life, but we also know that for some seniors, socialization can be hard to find. For a senior who doesn’t drive and lives alone, social interaction can become nearly non-existent if family or friends are not available for visits or to help with transportation. For a senior acting as caregiver for a spouse, the result is often the same. While they may have the means to leave the house, performing the duties of a caregiver may limit the time they are able to be away. Loved ones who are homebound may also miss many of the benefits of social interaction for seniors. 

Since studies have shown that social interaction provides a multitude of health benefits for seniors, one of our main goals at Senior Lifestyle is to expand the social options available to our residents and families. We know that by providing increased opportunities to socialize, we can enhance and enrich the lives of those we serve. 

Seniors reap the benefits of positive social interaction in a number of ways, from increased social and emotional well-being to improvements in physical and cognitive functions. Some of the benefits of social interaction for seniors include: 

RENEWED SENSE OF PURPOSE 

Interacting with other seniors in meaningful ways allows seniors to feel engaged and involved in the world around them. While caregivers are a wonderful source of company and comfort, studies show that our senior loved ones need to socialize with their peers as well. Sharing conversation or an activity with someone who shares similar interests not only provides positive interaction but may also spark a friendship. Seniors with physical limitations can still provide companionship and conversation with others who may be lonely, with both reaping the benefits of a purposeful social interaction and fostering a feeling of connectedness within their social circle. 

AN INCREASE IN MEMORY AND COGNITIVE FUNCTION 

Social activity reduces the risk of age-related memory loss, improving cognitive function and providing a boost to self-confidence. Seniors who feel confident that their wit and memory remain sharp are more apt to continue with social activities and to have a positive attitude toward social interaction. Even as mobility declines, this confidence in the senior’s ability to socialize helps to drive more interaction with peers, which in turn boosts the cognitive function of all involved, giving socially active seniors and their peers even more reason to attend group functions. 

POSITIVE IMPACT ON PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH 

Research shows that socially active seniors have a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well as rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. While isolation has a negative impact on our immune systems, social interaction and a feeling of connectedness provides a positive effect, a boost that helps us avoid illness as well as emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression. Creating opportunities for social interaction provides the benefit of overall improved health for the senior population of any community. 

At Senior Lifestyle, our goal is to help those we serve live life to the fullest, so we strive to improve the well-being of our residents by providing creative outlets, clubs tailored to individual interests, outings designed to entertain and educate, and opportunities for our residents to simply socialize in a comfortable, welcoming environment. To learn more about social opportunities available at a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com and schedule a tour today! 

What to Look for in a Senior Living Community

Posted by in Mind and Spirit.

At Senior Lifestyle, we know that the search for exceptional senior care can be difficult; many families are uncertain about what is available for their loved ones, what level of care is appropriate, and what to look for in a senior living community. As a leading provider of senior care for over 25 years, we understand the frustrations many families face when looking for senior living arrangements, so we’d like to share some tips on what to look for in a senior living community:
ACTIVITIES
Social interaction is a vital part of any senior living community, and a variety of activities helps residents and families maintain a balance between privacy and socialization. Since every resident has different tastes and needs, we strive to provide a wide array of activities from book clubs and gardening to tai chi and aqua aerobics. In fact, at Senior Lifestyle we often find that our most popular offerings are those brought to our attention by a resident or family member who wishes to share a favorite hobby or pastime.
LOCATION
Does your loved one wish to live close to a family member? Are they looking to move to specific geographical area such as Florida or Arizona? Is the community close to shopping, medical care, and entertainment? Whether looking in your local community or in another state, you and your loved one should feel comfortable with the location of the senior community within the larger geographical area.
ENVIRONMENT
Is the senior living community attractive and clean? Is it easily accessible? Whether the community is brand-new or an established landmark in the area, it should be well-maintained and comfortable, from the common areas to the private living areas. At Senior Lifestyle, we pride ourselves on the dedication of our staff to the maintenance of each building and its grounds.
ATMOSPHERE
Do you feel welcomed when you enter the community? Communities should convey a sense of warmth from the first visit. Make a point of speaking with residents and staff as well as watching their interactions with one another when visiting a senior living community. Mutual respect and friendship give our Senior Lifestyle communities the family atmosphere that our residents and families expect and enjoy.
AMENITIES
Does the community have a library? Is there a space for family and friends to gather? Are you looking for a pet-friendly senior community? At Senior Lifestyle, we know that when looking for a place to call home, it is important to consider not only your personal living space, but the common areas of the community as well, both inside and outside. If you or your loved one enjoy walking and other outdoor activities, look for a community with well-lit paths or a courtyard. If swimming is something you enjoy, be sure to ask if there is a pool for resident use. Since each resident has unique needs, we make an effort to create a variety of common areas for residents to enjoy in our Senior Lifestyle communities.
Founded in 1985, Senior Lifestyle offers independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing communities with consultants at each community to help families define their personal needs and what to look for in a senior living community. Senior Lifestyle has been routinely recognized as a leader in the delivery of innovative programs and hospitality services for all levels of care. For more information about a Senior Lifestyle community in your area or to schedule a personal tour, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Helping Hands

Posted by in Mind and Spirit.

At Senior Lifestyle, we know that volunteers are the backbone of every community. They provide unique talents and perspective, selflessly sharing time and energy for the benefit of others. During National Volunteer Week we celebrate and recognize the efforts of those who work for the betterment of their communities across the country. 

Volunteerism is alive and well through organizations like Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, AmeriCorps, a network of national service programs that foster civic engagement, and RSVP, one of the largest volunteer networks in the nation for people 55 and over. This network matches senior volunteers with diverse service opportunities in their communities, from tutoring and mentoring disadvantaged youth to organizing neighborhood watch programs or assisting victims of natural disasters. RSVP’s programs provide those with a lifetime of experience to share with opportunities to share that experience with others in a meaningful way. 

While volunteers make an impact in the lives of those they serve, they may not know about the personal benefits of volunteering. In addition to feeling a renewed sense of purpose, meeting new people with similar mindsets and discovering an outlet for their skills and talents, volunteers often reap health benefits, with studies finding that volunteers of all ages experience fewer hospital stays than those who don’t volunteer and have better overall health and lower stress levels, as well as more stamina. In addition, volunteers often learn new skills, become more connected with their communities, and benefit both socially and professionally from the relationships built in the course of volunteer work. Other benefits of volunteering include: 

CONNECTIONS TO OTHERS 

Sharing a volunteer opportunity strengthens your ties to the community and broadens your support network. It can also be an opportunity to sharpen your social skills. 

MIND AND BODY HEALTH 

Volunteering improves self-confidence by providing a sense of pride and purpose. Additionally, volunteering helps combat depression. 

FUN AND FULFILLMENT 

Volunteering can provide a meaningful break from everyday work, school and family commitments, often these breaks can re-energize the volunteer when they return to their everyday tasks. Volunteering can often lead to new hobbies, or even provide the opportunity to enjoy current hobbies and share them with others. 

Whether you can give an hour per week or an hour per month, volunteering is time well spent and will make a difference in your community and your life. To learn more about the benefits of volunteering in your area, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com. 

Stress Awareness Month

Posted by in Mind and Spirit.

Stress: it’s all about how you handle it. When not managed properly, stress is responsible for a host of problems, from gastric issues like indigestion to depression and eating disorders. April is Stress Awareness Month, the perfect time to reflect on how we can better manage stress in our daily lives in order to stay healthy mentally, emotionally and physically. 

At Senior Lifestyle we often meet families dealing with stressful situations, families who look to us for guidance as they navigate the senior living journey. Whether looking for the perfect senior community for Mom, helping Dad downsize, or managing care at home for grandparents, stress is often part of the equation, and while a little stress is normal, chronic, long-term stress is not and it can have quite a negative impact on health.   

Since we know navigating the senior living journey can be stressful and our goal at Senior Lifestyle is to create the best possible experience for those we serve, we’d like to share some tips and stress management habits we’ve collected to help manage stress: 

GET SOME SLEEP 

Be sure you’re getting the right amount of sleep. You can’t manage stress (or anything else) if you’re exhausted. Being rested and refreshed will make you more effective at whatever you do, so get that shut-eye. 

KEEP A JOURNAL 

The simple act of putting words on paper gives them power and weight. Creating a record of positive thoughts, things you’re thankful for, and small victories will help to cement those memories in your brain, causing a shift toward more positive thinking, a major stress-reliever. 

TAKE A BREAK 

Whether you meditate, take a nap, or binge-watch your favorite Netflix offering, take time out to do absolutely nothing. Take your mind off the tasks at hand for a while and regroup; you’ll find that returning to a chore is easier when you’ve had a positive, stress-free period of time to prepare. 

TAKE A WALK 

Sometimes a breath of fresh air really is all you need. A change of scenery and a nice breeze can clear your head so that you can return to your task with renewed energy and perhaps even a better perspective. 

CLEAR THE CLUTTER 

An untidy physical environment can contribute to stress. Take time each day to keep clutter at bay, putting things in their proper places. This can be helpful for our mental environment as well: keep negative thoughts and worry at a distance and focus on the task at hand to become more productive. 

Incorporating good stress management habits during Stress Awareness Month can help you manage stress, whatever the source. At Senior Lifestyle, we know that life can be stressful and we understand the concerns that accompany caring for senior loved ones. Our Community Advisers can help alleviate that stress and address any concerns you have regarding senior living, so don’t hesitate to reach out to a Senior Lifestyle community in your area by visiting our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com 

What it Means to be Wellderly

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Health and Fitness.

Are you wellderly? At Senior Lifestyle our goal is to be sure that every resident in our senior communities has the opportunity to be wellderly, so we celebrate Wellderly Week starting on Monday, March 19th with events designed to provide activities in which our residents may find a new passion or talent. We at Senior Lifestyle often hear that age is just a number, but what that number signifies varies widely. For seniors, a life filled with purpose and meaning can make all the difference. Age does not have to limit learning, growth, or vitality, and for many seniors, their retirement years present an opportunity to develop interests that were shelved during their working years.

What does it mean to be “wellderly”? There is a big difference between the number of years you live, or life span, and the number of years you live in optimal health, or health span. Researchers are in the process of studying men and women who are at least 85 years of age who have lived long lives devoid of chronic disease. These people have a very long health span and Eric Topol, MD, a Scripps Health geneticist, refers to these extraordinary people as the “wellderly” and is working to find out what makes them so.

Some goals to optimize the aging process and build the foundation for “wellderliness” from Pamela M. Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP, FACSM, an internationally renowned expert in integrative and preventive medicine:

  1. Focus on achieving a long health span. The goal is not to live long—that’s the life span, which is the number of years you live—rather, it’s to focus on living the longest and most joyful health span possible. Health span years are ones characterized by independent, vibrant, joyful, satisfying, and vital living, either devoid of impairment or with minimal impairment as a result of disease or disability. It’s all relative. The key is to live life to the fullest as you define it.
  2. Practice a healthy lifestyle. You know the drill by now. Mental, spiritual, and physical fitness are of paramount importance if you’re going to live long and well. Wherever you are on your journey, from beginner to master, the key is to keep up your daily practice of nourishing mind and body, continuously creating new challenges and seeking new adventures. That’s the essence of thriving, not just surviving.
  3. Get real. No one—not even the Super Wellderly—escapes aches and pains, sagging body parts, creaky joints, fading vision, and diminished energy. The good news is that if you’re taking optimal care of yourself, you’ll more likely experience less of this age-related mind-body impact. Ditch the “antiaging” hype and embrace the realistic, rewarding goal of augmenting and supporting an optimal aging process.

Finally, express gratitude every time you wake up and realize that you’re still here to thrive and continue this awesome adventure of life.

For our purposes at Senior Lifestyle, the word wellderly refers to those seniors who are able to participate in the activities that bring them joy, give them purpose, and keep them active, pursuits that we at Senior Lifestyle believe contribute greatly to the quality of life of our residents. In our senior communities, we tailor our activities, events and outings to the specific wants and needs of our residents, often discovering new favorite activities from the suggestions of residents. For more information about upcoming events and activities at a Senior Lifestyle community near you, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

The Power of Positivity

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Resident Spotlights, Community Spotlights.

Carlisle Palm Beach resident Myra Goldick embodies the spirit of the Carlisle, with a warm and welcoming smile for everyone she meets, a genuine love for her community, and a desire to help others, especially those in transition. Carlisle Palm Beach Executive Director Chris Kochan notes, “Myra is the perfect example of the Carlisle. The Carlisle isn’t referred to as the Carlisle by Myra, she calls this her home. Myra is the first person who volunteers to help our new residents and make them feel welcome in our community. There hasn’t been a day where Myra hasn’t shown her beautiful smile. Her warm heart and caring sets her worlds apart from others!”

Asked about her habit of making new residents feel right at home, Myra downplays her role and says she’s just doing what was done for her when she came to the Carlisle. Says Myra, “It meant a lot to me to be welcomed to the Carlisle in a time of crisis and stress after my husband passed. I think everyone worries about being accepted as part of a group and this community made me feel comfortable and connected right away. The Carlisle is such an upbeat place to call home!” She loves that the Carlisle team recognizes how important it is to welcome new faces by sharing a meal or inviting someone to join a group, noting that she and the other Community Ambassadors take their roles very seriously simply because they’ve all faced the same challenges each new resident faces.

Myra, a native New Yorker, has made a lifelong habit of looking on the bright side. Her talent for positivity has seen her through a childhood bout with polio, a midlife diagnosis of post-polio syndrome, and three very successful and distinctive careers. When diagnosed with polio at the age of 10, Myra turned to her love of drawing and painting to give her the strength she needed to endure multiple surgeries and rehabilitation. She continued to study art and pursue her passion for creativity throughout school; her innate artistic talent and drive to create won her a full scholarship to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Upon graduation she began work in the cosmetic industry, building a successful career. When she was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome and could no longer travel, Myra went back to school and learned the art of hat design, embarking upon her second career as a milliner. After retirement and a move to Florida in 2003, Myra began her third career as a motivational speaker, disability advocate and author, inspiring others with her creative energy and lessons on gratitude and the power of positivity.

When asked to contribute words of wisdom, Myra shares, “Living a successful, happy life requires one to adopt a sense of gratitude. Remaining thankful helps create a positive attitude. While life often offers great pleasure and joy, at one time or another most of us will encounter adversity and sometimes-great tragedy.  It is wise to remember that within every disappointment there is a lesson to learn as well as a gift. Discover the gift and the healing will begin.” She also notes that gratitude is best shared, saying, “It’s important to cultivate the habit of thankfulness; that’s why I speak so often about the things I’m passionate about. The more we share the power of positivity, the more the mindset is reinforced in ourselves and others.”

The Carlisle Palm Beach is proud that residents like Myra call the community home and proud to help Myra share her words of wisdom. To learn more about what makes this Senior Lifestyle community special, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com or schedule a visit with a Community Adviser today.

The Heart and Mind Connection

Posted by in Mind and Spirit.

February isn’t just for Valentine’s Day and white sales; the shortest month is filled with holidays, observances, fun little footnotes, and every four years, an extra day! It’s also American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness of heart healthy lifestyles and practices, and while we’ve focused on the effects of stress and diet on heart health, studies show that there’s another very important concept that helps hearts stay healthy: thankfulness. Additionally, we can train our brains to help increase this positive impact by turning negative thought processes around and focusing on positive reactions.

The heart/mind connection has been the subject of recent studies showing that the connection goes both ways, meaning that a healthy heart also helps lower the risk of dementia and memory loss. Heart disease and dementia share several risk factors, so protecting your heart also helps to protect your brain health. Angelos Halaris, MD, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine notes that roughly half of the people battling heart disease develop depression, while people with depression are two to three times more likely to develop heart disease, noting that the connection can be a difficult cycle to break. “People know that their livelihood and life is in danger, and that becomes a major stress factor in the life of that individual, so we start going around and around in circles,” he says.

We know that thankfulness is good for us, but how do we cultivate an “attitude of gratitude”? The heart/mind connection is useful here as well: like many things, gratitude is a learned behavior and we can actually train ourselves to be thankful:

  • Make it a habit

Say “thank you” regularly. Seems easy enough, but it’s something that’s often forgotten. From the person who hands you your morning coffee to the spouse who loads the dishwasher to the co-worker who fixes the jammed printer, opportunities abound to show gratitude. Taking the time to pen (or type an email) thank you note also reinforces gratitude!

  • Be “in the moment”

When we focus on what is happening right now instead of worrying about what should happen next, we are more able to be grateful for the little things. Whether you’re exercising, eating a great meal, or enjoying a conversation, focus on being completely present in order to fully appreciate each experience.

  • Keep track

Create a “thankfulness journal”. Keeping a written reminder of what we’re thankful for not only serves as a great reminder to be positive, it reinforces that positivity by cementing those memories. And of course, there are journal applications you can download to your phone as reminders to keep a written record!

At Senior Lifestyle, we strive to create a culture of gratitude, celebrating both large-scale successes and everyday triumphs with residents, team members and families in our communities. To learn more about a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

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:

Declutter

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.

Upgrade

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 www.seniorlifestyle.com.