Celebrate Summer at Autumn Green at Wright Campus

Posted by in Community Spotlights.

In the heart of northwest Chicago lies a hidden gem. Autumn Green at Wright Campus is just off the beaten path in a setting that rivals any green-space to be found in the Chicago area. A Senior Lifestyle community, Autumn Green provides an exceptional living experience for its residents, whatever their interests might be! Executive Director Lori Cantway says that the residents of Autumn Green are the real treasures, claiming “Our residents provide so much input, talent and great ideas, we just provide the beautiful atmosphere for events and activities!” Lori says that new program ideas are often brought about by a resident’s interest.

Summer is a wonderful time at Autumn Green; residents can explore the surrounding city, enjoy time spent outside on the patio, or just relax with friends and family in any of the community’s common areas. Outings to local areas of interest are popular with residents, but with so much to do right at home, spending time in this exceptional senior community is just as fun! Resident Bobbi D. sums it up: “Living the dream at Autumn Green!”

The highlights of summer for each resident and team member are the “On the Green” events. Highly anticipated year after year, these events provide fun for families and friends along with the opportunity to showcase resident talents and invite the local community to see what life at Autumn Green is all about.

Music on the Green happened on Thursday, July 20th from 2 pm to 3 pm, with live music in the courtyard. Anyone with a love for music will enjoy!

Market on the Green is Saturday, August 19th from 10 am to 2 pm. Vendors provide a wide variety of food, crafts, and treasures, along with entertainment for the whole family!

Movies on the Green takes place on Thursday, September 14th at 6:30 pm, with the movie starting at 7 pm. Cinema under the stars with a classic movie is sure to be a hit!

Join the residents and staff at Autumn Green at Wright Campus for any (or all) of these special events, and you’re sure to see why resident Annette B. says, “This is family.”

For more information about this vibrant senior community in the heart of northwest Chicago, visit our website or just drop in for a visit!

The Atrium Village’s Town Hall Meeting

Posted by in Community Spotlights.

At Senior Lifestyle we know that as citizens the chance to speak up and have an impact on public policy doesn’t happen quite as often as we might like; however, residents at The Atrium Village had the opportunity to have their voices heard recently. United States Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland held a well-attended Town Hall meeting in the Grand Lobby of Atrium Village on Friday, July 7th. With well over 200 people in attendance, Senator Cardin focused his remarks on healthcare policy and the issues currently facing seniors locally and nationally, highlighting a possible bipartisan effort to resolve the impasse on healthcare. Atrium Village residents and other attendees submitted questions to Senator Cardin for discussion during a lively question and answer session after the Senator’s prepared remarks.

Atrium Village Executive Director Reuben Rosenfeld says, “We at Atrium Village were thrilled at the turnout for Senator Cardin’s Town Hall meeting and happy to provide the forum for him to discuss these issues. It was a great opportunity for our residents as well as members of our local community to have their voices heard. The director of our county’s Department of Aging, Joanne Williams, the Baltimore County Executive’s special assistant for community outreach, Larry Simmons, representatives from AARP and the Alzheimer’s Association, and our County Councilman Julian Jones attended.”

Senator Cardin’s official biography states that he has been a national leader on healthcare, retirement security, the environment, and fiscal issues. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006, where he currently serves on the Foreign Relations, Finance, Environment and Public Works, and Small Business Committees.

We at Senior Lifestyle are proud of our residents and their willingness to remain engaged in the issues that affect them! The Resident Council at Atrium Village met prior to the Town Hall meeting to prepare questions for the senator, giving residents the opportunity to ask specific questions that were of concern to them personally, as well as present the questions at the event. The senator’s visit at Atrium Village was covered by local newspapers and TV stations, providing an even larger audience for the voices of our seniors! For more information about this Senior Lifestyle community, please visit our website.

The Importance of Connection in Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care

Posted by in Mind and Spirit.

Don’t you love it when you meet someone and have an immediate connection? There is something quite comforting in finding another human who shares the same background, favorite food, or even similar quirks. At Senior Lifestyle we’ve often noticed a common thread when families tour our communities: we ALL want to feel connected to the people around us, to discover a mutual interest or friend, and to feel a bond with our neighbors. Visitors to our communities often remark on the strong sense of family they see between residents and staff, and many times that sense of family is a deciding factor in their decision to move into a community. A recent visitor noted that his time at our community reminded him of a family reunion he attended this summer where he re-connected with cousins he hadn’t seen in over forty years. He said of their shared memories, “I realized that although we are separated by distance, our memories of childhood still connect us in a very tangible way.”

Researchers have found that social connections are healthy in ways we didn’t previously understand. Strong social connections have proven to lessen the risk of some forms of dementia, as well as mitigating the early effects of cognitive impairment in some people. Unfortunately, in the early stages of dementia, the person suffering often withdraws socially due to a fear of humiliation, isolating themselves in an effort to “cover” the emerging symptoms. It is especially important for friends and family to continue to stay connected and continue to engage their loved one during this time, but it is usually quite difficult to do so in the face of the progressing illness.

How do we stay connected when communication becomes difficult due to Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia? In many instances, communication becomes stressful for the person with dementia as they struggle to interpret verbal cues. Due to this, non-verbal communication, in the form of touch and eye contact, becomes vitally important. Learning to interact with a loved one suffering from dementia can make caregiving more fulfilling and less frustrating for both the caregiver and the cared for, leading to better engagement and quality of life.

At Senior Lifestyle, we’ve created a unique memory care philosophy, embrace. The embrace program combines the most recent research in the field of memory care with the real world best practices identified by Senior Lifestyle, which has worked with those that affected by Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia for over three decades. The guiding principles of embrace – Wellness, Enrichment, Challenge, Connection and Creativity – provide the foundation for Senior Lifestyle’s memory care philosophy, focused on creating a sustained, holistic approach to connecting with memory care residents on an individual level. If you’d like more information on how to truly connect with a loved one suffering from dementia, or would like to learn more about embrace, please visit our website. We’d love to connect with you!

The Pastime of Porch Sitting

Posted by in Mind and Spirit.

Rumors abound about the fate of the fine tradition of porch sitting: some says it’s a lost art; others claim that a renaissance of sorts is in the works. At Senior Lifestyle, we know that for a dedicated group of folks, both young and old, porch sitting is a thriving activity. Back decks and patios are great for barbecues and poolside parties, but everyone knows that the front porch is where the action is! For people-watching, lemonade-drinking, and story-telling, a front porch is vital. Our communities are proud to have some world class porch sitters, and we are always on the lookout for recruits to join the ranks. The benefits are awesome!

Coincidentally, there is actually a Professional Porch Sitters Union. Legend has it that Claude Stephens, an avid front porch sitter, founded the union in 1999 in Louisville, Kentucky, rather by accident. According to Claude, membership in this esteemed organization is easy. He says, “Starting your own chapter of PPSU is simple. You simply declare yourself a local chapter, pick a number to represent your Local Chapter identity and then sit back with friends and neighbors to celebrate with an interesting story or two. Meetings can be called at any time by any member and attendance is optional.” Who wouldn’t want to join a club with no dues, no rules, no agendas, and no scheduled meetings? Membership would only be limited by the number of chairs on the porch, and meetings would be impromptu, starting any time a member or two decided to sit a spell.

No front porch? No problem! The Porch Sitters Union website states, “We look at Porch Sitting as a broad term. While a classic Porch can be ideal, we believe it is not entirely necessary to enjoy Porch Sitting. Whether you are on a smaller portico, a veranda, a terrace, front porch, back porch…even the garage with the door open while watching the kids at play, that counts.”

We at Senior Lifestyle believe in the power of activity to keep minds and bodies healthy, but we also understand the benefits of simply “sitting a spell” with good company, conversation, and a cold drink! Our residents and families know this as well, and can often be found enjoying the benefits of membership, with or without a porch! For more information on your local Senior Lifestyle community, visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com, or simply drop by for a visit! Chances are, we’ll be on the porch.

We Embraced “The Longest Day” and Memory Care

Posted by in Special Events.

June, Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, has come and gone. At Senior Lifestyle, we supported The Alzheimer’s Association’s commitment to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s by participating in The Longest Day, a fundraiser that focuses on participants doing what they love to raise money for research into treatments and a cure for this disease. At our Senior Lifestyle communities, we celebrated and raised funds with activities such as parades, car shows, strawberry festivals, and concerts, with team members, residents and families taking part!

As a global team, Senior Lifestyle has raised $48,926.01 toward our goal of $50,000, with more donations still rolling in after events are completed. For quite a few team members, it’s personal; many have had loved ones struggle with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Whitney Lane, captain of Senior Lifestyle’s top fundraising team A Night to Remember, says, “I have worked with seniors for 14 years, many of whom have been affected by Alzheimer’s. My own grandmother passed away summer of 2015 after a long battle with this disease.”

While June is specifically designated as Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness month, Senior Lifestyle supports those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers year-round. We support the Alzheimer’s Association by participating in The Longest Day, as well as other community events such as Walk to End Alzheimer’s, because we believe a cure can be found. Until that day, we embrace the challenge to enrich the lives of those suffering from Alzheimer’s by providing exceptional memory care.

Senior Lifestyle’s memory care philosophy, embrace, isn’t just a memory care program, but a real place in the communities where our team members connect with residents on a personal level to honor their experiences and improve their quality of life. For more information on our unique approach to memory care, or to learn more about a Senior Lifestyle community near you, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Memory Care Residents Enjoy Community Concerts

Posted by in Community Spotlights.

The Shoreline of Clinton, a Senior Lifestyle community, caters exclusively to residents who need memory care. For Executive Director Mary Ellen Ierardi and her team, the focus each and every day is on creating an enriching and fulfilling lifestyle for every resident. The Shoreline of Clinton emphasizes a social atmosphere for residents to make deep and lasting connections with team members and one another. Mary Ellen feels that the care provided is a labor of love and a daily opportunity to find new ways to engage residents in meaningful activities. Since the community is dedicated solely to memory care, the residents enjoy an exceptional level of freedom within the safety of a dedicated memory care community.

The Shoreline of Clinton, located 20 minutes from New Haven, also has close ties to the local community. It partners with area organizations to host and sponsor events like the Clinton Chamber of Commerce Summer Concert Series. The concerts take place each Thursday at 6:30 pm in Clinton, with Shoreline residents and staff often in attendance. This community involvement provides residents with a sense of pride and purpose, allowing them to continue to take part in meaningful activities and events.

July 20th marks a special event for The Shoreline of Clinton, as the community sponsors local favorites, The Navels, playing rock and roll hits from the 60’s to today at the Clinton Summer Concert Series. Residents and staff are excited to attend and, in honor of the event, The Shoreline is providing a unique treat for anyone who stops in for a tour on the afternoon of the concert from 4:30 until 6 pm. Residents will help prepare a unique boxed treat – a delicious antipasti plate for two with provolone, salami, marinated mushrooms, pickled eggplant, roasted red peppers, Castelvetrano whole green olives, crackers, and a sweet treat of chocolate chip cookies for dessert! Visitors to The Shoreline can simply pick up the box following their tour and take a leisurely walk down Main Street to the Vece Gazebo at Pierson school to enjoy the music of The Navels.

At Senior Lifestyle, we understand that finding exceptional care for a loved one can be a daunting task, so our goal is to keep the process as hassle-free as possible from your first tour to move-in. Please visit our website for more information about memory care communities like The Shoreline of Clinton!

Victoria Jordan knows the Key to Longevity

Posted by in Resident Spotlights.

As Carriage Court of Kenwood resident Victoria Jordan approaches her 105th birthday, she reflects on the secrets of the trade behind living a long and meaningful life. When asked about the key to longevity, she simply states “I just go along . . . no one bothers me and I don’t bother anybody else” (or she jokes that it may be a matter of good genes). Whichever the answer, she continues to spend her time dressing impeccably and rocking in her favorite chair. Although she generally enjoys living in the present, Victoria takes a moment to look back on all the experiences that have lent a hand in shaping who she is now.

Born into a family of Italian immigrants, Victoria grew up understanding both English and Italian, though she confesses that she did not have much interest in practicing the latter. Primarily raised by her Italian grandmother after her mother passed away when she was a toddler, she recalls spending time with her sister, Harriett, and her brother, Rocco who she endearingly refers to as “Rocky.” Despite any cultural or linguistic differences, she and her siblings attended regular school with the other children in her area. Victoria recalls that her grandmother loved to cook and spend time taking care of her grandchildren, traits that would eventually become useful to Victoria herself.

Victoria explains that she eventually married a man who made a living as a tailor and settled down in Warren, Ohio before having children of her own. She giggles at the idea that her continued sense of fashion is due to her husband’s career, but it explains why the staff at Carriage Court have yet to see Victoria dressed in a pair of slacks. She is always “dressed to the nines” according to Carriage Court team members who spend time with her daily.

We at Senior Lifestyle wish all the best to Victoria as she nears her birthday on September 13th and hope that everyone can take a lesson from her. While she laughs at the idea that she holds the key to longevity, she certainly holds the keys to a happy life! Whether it is learning to smile more, becoming more compassionate, or simply taking pride in your sense of style, Victoria has nearly 105 years’ worth of wisdom to share.

A Season for Independence

Posted by in Holidays.

America is a nation of independent thinkers, generations of people who have worked to be self-reliant, self-sufficient and self-governing. We declared our independence in dramatic fashion over two hundred years ago and we continue to do so on an annual basis in some form in most every community in America. From backyard barbecues to parades and fireworks, Senior Lifestyle celebrates our residents and their spirit of independence not only on July 4th, but every day of the year with senior living options designed for their lifestyle preferences. Independent living means that our dedicated staff is there to accommodate the unique lifestyle our residents choose so that they can enjoy the freedom to do what makes them happy. The flexibility afforded by this lifestyle option often has residents wondering why they didn’t make the decision to move sooner!

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 is an even bigger step. Loved ones can help navigate these obstacles by having open conversations with senior family members that focus on long-term needs and maintaining a level of independence that fits those needs. When changes need to happen, family members can also focus on the positive aspects of those changes.

Asking for and accepting help when it is needed is a positive step toward staying independent. Families can help senior loved ones maintain independence by practicing interactive caregiving, partnering with the senior to accomplish activities of daily living instead of “taking over.” Quite often, in the interest of efficiency, caregivers complete tasks for the senior only to discover that the performance of these tasks is vital to the senior’s sense of purpose and overall quality of life.

Support your loved one’s independent streak! Our senior living options at Senior Lifestyle are designed to promote optimum levels of independence for our residents, along with the freedom to enjoy the lifestyle they deserve! To learn more about Independent Living and the senior living choices at a Senior Lifestyle community near you, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Team Member Spotlight: The Path to Success

Posted by in Community Spotlights.

There’s a quiet but important success story happening at Valley View Gardens, a story that began with a simply stated desire to do more, to learn more, and to be more. The success came about through tenacity, trust, and recognition of talent.

Tierre Thornton says that very early on in her role as Executive Director at Valley View Gardens, she was approached by a young woman named Takeshia, a caregiver who expressed a desire to move forward and attain her LVN certificate. Takeshia had been at Valley View Gardens for some time, but hadn’t felt comfortable expressing this desire until she met Tierre and the new Executive Director asked, “How can I help in your success?” Tierre describes Takeshia as “a quiet yet methodical” caregiver with a tenacity and determination to succeed that was humbling to watch. She encouraged Takeshia to use that tenacity to meet the goals she had set for herself.

Tierre and Takeshia developed steps to follow toward her goal of becoming a Licensed Vocational Nurse, with Takeshia quickly becoming a resource for training new care associates as well as being promoted to a Med Tech position. Takeshia, who has been at Valley View Gardens since 2009, shares that she worked as many shifts at Valley View Gardens as she could while finishing her last semester and sitting for her board exams to become an LVN. She says she was frustrated and disappointed when she didn’t pass her first test, but again she looked to Tierre for motivation and Tierre “gave her a push” to try again. That push, and her determination, fueled her next attempt. She was licensed in May.

Takeshia states that working with seniors at Valley View Gardens has been a privilege for her; she understands the needs of her residents and expresses that “you become family when you care for a resident. It means a lot to the elderly when caregivers truly care about their daily lives.”

While Takeshia doesn’t know exactly where her future in nursing will lead her, she does know that she has the skills to succeed as well as a solid foundation of support at Valley View Gardens, thanks to a mentor who listened to her goals and helped create a roadmap to success. Tierre, who says that Takeshia is a ”rock star” for her dedication and trust in the process, credits the culture of talent recognition at Senior Lifestyle for giving them both the tools to ensure success.

Congratulations to Takeshia!

Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

Posted by in Special Events.

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, a time to go purple to show support for the millions of people worldwide struggling with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. It’s also a time to recognize caregivers for the unwavering support they provide to those suffering with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. At Senior Lifestyle, we support The Alzheimer’s Association’s commitment to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s by participating in The Longest Day, a fundraiser that focuses on participants doing what they love to raise money for research.

The Longest Day may seem like every day in the life of a caregiver; providing aid for activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, and eating can become sources of frustration for the person providing the aid as well as the loved one with dementia. Quite often the only thing in the caregiver’s control is their response to the frustrating circumstance.

Effective communication techniques can help limit some of the frustration felt by the caregiver and the person with dementia. It is incredibly important to remember that your loved one is not in control of their behaviors; the disease dictates the behavior. In addition, every behavior is an attempt to communicate; once you decipher the need behind the behavior, you will be in a better position to meet that need.

Wondering about The Longest Day? There’s still time to participate! Contact your local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association or visit our website to find the Senior Lifestyle community closest to you. Learn about The Longest Day events in your area, and then vow to make every minute of The Longest Day count!