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.

A ‘Presidential’ Sandwich Shop

Posted by in Community Spotlights.

Lunch at Presidential Place, a Senior Lifestyle community in Hollywood, Florida, has become a much-anticipated event, with residents lining up for a buffet-style “sandwich shop” and enjoying hand-crafted creations prepared exactly to their specifications. Like lots of pickles? Light mayo? Spicy mustard? Coming right up! One might wonder what makes these sandwiches so special, and the answer from each resident points overwhelmingly to the service!

Once a month, residents at this senior community are treated to a deli-style lunch served by the Presidential Place management team, with made-to-order sandwiches and sides. Cathleen Pinson, Director of Sales and Marketing for the community, notes, “Deli lunch is always a hit; the residents love it and so do we. It’s fun for us as managers to step away from our desks and we also get to custom create our own sandwiches and dine with the residents!”

Team members at Presidential Place enjoy the chance to share a meal with residents and love the opportunity for engagement in a relaxed setting, and residents agree wholeheartedly. Says resident Pauline, “It’s a bright, joyful change!” Resident Nancie agrees, “It’s wonderful!” Staff members call the monthly event “a fun and interactive time for residents and staff, something we hope to continue for a long time”.

Presidential Place, tucked away on a quiet residential street, offers a warm, inviting atmosphere that feels like home from the moment guests step through the front porch entrance, but the feature that makes this senior community truly unique is the relationship between residents and staff! For more information about this Senior Lifestyle community, or to schedule a tour, 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.

Beyond Bingo

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Programs.

In 1929, Edwin S. Lowe created the modern version of the game we know as Bingo, but a similar game has been played in Europe since the 1500s. Easy to learn and play, Bingo has grown in popularity over the years, enjoyed by both young and old in settings from church basements to Bingo halls to senior communities.  December is Bingo’s birthday month, and while we love Bingo as much as the next person, (maybe even more!) at Senior Lifestyle we also love the variety of senior activities available at our communities. We believe that the opportunity for social engagement is vital to the health and well-being of our residents.

At Senior Lifestyle, we’re proud to offer our residents diverse opportunities for interaction, creativity and the pursuit of their passions. Our residents are the inspiration for many of our most popular programs and they are encouraged to suggest senior activities based on their personal preferences and interests. From book and gardening clubs to our award-winning Brain Health University, our residents have options for engagement every day. With a laugh, family members often claim that their loved one is “never home” when they call because the senior’s schedule is packed with things to do. Residents often express surprise at the ease of joining an activity as well, noting that they are busier than ever now that social events and hobbies are just a few steps away.

Brain Health University, a 2012 ALFA Best of the Best award winner, presents residents with a unique opportunity to learn more about subjects that intrigue them in a setting that fosters personal growth and provides a great opportunity to make new friends with similar interests. The program offers 30 different courses designed to enhance cognitive function and promote social interaction. Upon completion of 18 courses, residents receive a certificate of graduation and a celebratory event.

Discover Your Mark combines creative expression with continuity of culture by helping seniors participate in meaningful artistic outlets that help to illustrate their values and the wisdom they’ve accumulated over a lifetime of learning. The process of aging provides tremendous promise for growth and development via the arts, and today’s thinking looks at age not as a decline, but as a time of new experiences, learning and creative and productive contribution. Older adults have an abundance of social and emotional knowledge, and one way to pass on that wisdom is through artistic expression, an activity known to promote physical and cognitive health.

By removing the fear of technology through fun and engaging programs, .com Seniors inspires Senior Lifestyle residents to become tech-savvy and provides the means to experience and experiment with technology. This unique program offers a variety of opportunities for program directors to encourage seniors to engage in socially positive technology like Skype and Facebook, providing vital connections to friends and loved ones. The program removes psychological and physical barriers to utilizing technology as well as leveraging technology to elevate the quality of other programs offered in the community.

Our activity professionals at each Senior Lifestyle community provide a wide range of programs to meet the wants and needs of each resident. From physical fitness to creative arts to cooking demonstrations and acting classes, there truly is something for everyone. If your interests include catching a show or browsing the local shops, Senior Lifestyle can get you there as well with transportation provided for outings in the surrounding communities. We can coordinate trips to museums, theaters and casinos; we love to plan trips based on resident suggestions. For more information about the senior activities available at a Senior Lifestyle community near you or to schedule a tour, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com. As for Bingo, it’s still on the calendar and you might even find us playing when you visit; it’s a classic for a reason and still as well-loved as ever!

Traveling With Elderly Parents

Posted by in Expert Advice.

The holidays are prime time for travelers, and whether we’re visiting family or vacationing to get a break from winter, we love to hit the road, take a train, or board a plane to find ourselves a change of scenery. At Senior Lifestyle we know that holiday travel can be stressful for many and can often be especially difficult for seniors, so we’re sharing a list of tips and practical advice to make travel more enjoyable for seniors and their families. Whether you’re just going over the river and through the woods or making a coast-to-coast journey, a little forethought can make the trip easier for everyone. Before you begin your holiday travels, take a peek at the following advice about traveling with seniors:

If you’re traveling by car, plan to make frequent stops. Seniors need to stretch often and the break is good for you too! Prior to your trip, map out points of interest and if possible, build those attractions into your stop-and-stretch schedule. Be sure assistive devices like canes and walkers are easily accessible, along with any needed medications. It may seem a bit awkward at first, but also be sure to remind your loved one to use the restroom facilities at your stops and you’ll drastically reduce your chances of frantically looking for an exit with facilities in another ten miles.

If you’re planning to fly, try to book a non-stop flight to your destination. Long layovers or sprints through a crowded airport to catch a connecting flight aren’t fun for anyone, especially an elderly parent with limited mobility. It may take longer for your loved one to board as well, so check with your airline about their boarding policies for those with disabilities. Take advantage of the assistance offered at the airport; even if Mom or Dad normally walk unassisted, a wheelchair can help ease fatigue and make the airport experience less stressful. Be sure to reserve any special services needed when booking your flight, as they may be unavailable otherwise.

No matter what your mode of transportation may be, remember to be realistic about your itinerary. You may be up for an early hike in the morning, an afternoon swim in the pool and a late supper and dancing in the evening, while Mom and Dad may find that doing even two out of those three activities is too much for one day. Be sure to plan accordingly. If your parents like to turn in early, you may be able to spend some time enjoying things like dinner and dancing at your own pace, and there are no rules that say you have to spend every moment of your vacation together. The down time may be enjoyable for them, as well as a much-needed break for you.

Consult with your loved one’s doctor before planning a trip. Make sure he or she feels that your elderly parent is able to manage the stress of traveling and the change in routine. Make sure all medications are refilled and in their original bottles for ease of identification. Get a list of meds from the doctor as well, along with instructions for their use. When traveling by plane, be sure those meds are in a carry-on bag to prevent missing doses if checked luggage is delayed or lost.

A truly unique travel book, Planes, Canes, and Automobiles by Valerie M. Grubb is a great book to read prior to taking a trip with your senior loved one. The book is packed with practical advice, highly amusing travel anecdotes, and heartwarming stories about she and her mother’s extensive travels together over the past 20 years. It serves as a cheerful, funny guide to traveling with seniors.

No matter how you travel, enjoy this time with your parents! Remember all those road trips as a child in the backseat? How excited you were for the day when you had control of the radio, heat and air conditioning? Well, now’s your chance to exercise that control, at least to a certain extent. It’s also your chance to make some amazing memories with your loved ones, and maybe even learn a bit more about the people you care about most. Happy (and safe) travels from Senior Lifestyle!

Sales & Marketing in Senior Living

Posted by in Careers.

Sales and marketing in the senior housing market is a fulfilling career for many reasons, not the least of which is forging a relationship with seniors and their families. The manner of transition to senior living varies widely amongst individuals. Some families approach the move to senior living in a positive manner, looking forward to the retirement lifestyle, while others are in crisis mode and feel that their options are limited due to the circumstances surrounding their loved ones’ move. Senior Lifestyle’s goal is to provide the best possible outcome for both of those families, and that means listening more than we speak and hearing with the goal of understanding, not simply to formulate a response, but to form a true partnership for families in transition, whatever their circumstances. The key to this positive outcome is a skilled salesforce.

It’s often said that good salespeople provide the customer with what they need as well as what they want; they speak less and listen more. Janine Witte, Senior Lifestyle’s National Director of Sales, says successful relationship-building is a skill she looks for in those who join the salesforce at any Senior Lifestyle community. Additionally, she notes that those who recognize the key differentiators in their communities and are skilled in conveying how those key features are beneficial to seniors and their families find success in the senior housing industry. While the steps to securing a sale are universal, each family is unique and deserves to be treated as such.

Willingness to try new approaches to sales, marketing and lead-generating events is crucial to success in senior housing sales, especially in a growing industry where many of the consumers don’t want the product they (or their families) know they need. A solid foundation plan to become a visible presence in the larger community, perform activities such as daily calls and visits to referral sources, and a commitment to follow-up is crucial to success. The ability to create and follow a marketing plan, create opportunities to market the community, and most importantly, ask for the sale sets the Senior Lifestyle salesforce apart in every market. Additionally, individuals with backgrounds in real estate, insurance, or other fields where relationship-building is crucial to success often find the transition to senior housing sales to be a fulfilling and seamless career change.

Each Senior Lifestyle community has a highly trained, skilled sales and marketing team with the expertise to help guide families through their unique journey to senior living. To learn more about the exciting career opportunities in sales and marketing at Senior Lifestyle, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

What to Expect When You Visit

Posted by in Expert Advice.

At Senior Lifestyle, we want your first impression to be a great one, so when you step through the door of any Senior Lifestyle community for your first tour, we strive to meet and exceed your expectations. We understand that making decisions about a loved one’s care can be stressful for all involved, so our goal is to make each step of your senior housing journey seamless and hassle-free. Amy Leake, Director of Sales and Marketing at our Carriage Court of Memphis community, shares, “We want guests to feel welcomed and at home when they tour our community, and part of that welcome is getting to know them personally and learning about what’s important to them. Small gestures like our welcome sign and the homemade treats offered as a takeaway at the end of a visit also help us show our guests hospitality and make them feel welcome.”

Not sure what to expect when you visit a senior community? Our list can help!

What can I expect when I visit a Senior Lifestyle community?

  • You can expect a professionally trained team whose goal is to understand your situation and create options for you and your loved ones. We’ll ask questions about your senior housing search to gain an understanding of your unique interests and your care needs so that we can address what’s most important to you.
  • You can expect a tour of our community tailored to your needs and interests. We want you to enjoy your new home, and the best way to do that is to discover activities and social settings that are of interest to you. Whether you enjoy games, cooking, gardening, music, sports, arts and crafts, or outings to nearby attractions, we have something for everyone and we’ll make sure we highlight what interests you on your tour.
  • You can expect to meet some of the team members you’ll see daily as a resident. We want you to feel comfortable and welcomed, and those familiar faces will be available to help you with your daily needs. You may even meet a soon-to-be new neighbor on your tour!
  • You can expect the utmost in professionalism. We understand that looking for senior housing can be daunting and the process can be confusing, especially when you’re comparing communities, amenities, pricing and location. We’ll do our very best to help you make sense of your options so you can make the most well-informed choice possible, whether that choice is our community or another on your list.
  • You can expect clear, easy-to-understand financial and payment information. Our aim is to assist you in finding and attaining the lifestyle you choose. Your financial health is as important to us as your physical and emotional well-being, and we’ll provide information on any benefits available to help you afford the lifestyle you’re looking for.

Each Senior Lifestyle community has a highly trained team with the expertise to help guide a family through their unique journey to senior living. To learn more about what a Senior Lifestyle community in your area has to offer or to schedule a tour, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

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!

What is respite care?

Posted by in Expert Advice.

At Senior Lifestyle, we realize that sometimes a short break from the responsibilities of home can be just what the doctor ordered, so many of our communities offer short-term stays designed to refresh and rejuvenate. Respite care is often seen as a break for a caregiver who may need to attend to other responsibilities, but the benefits offered to the senior loved one during their stay are just as important to us.

What is respite care and what can it do for me?

Respite care is a short-term stay in a senior community designed to provide the same level of personal care as well as attention to clinical needs that would be offered to a long-term resident in the same community. Stays can be as short as a week or two, or extended to 3 months or more, depending on the desire of the resident and the community they are visiting. Spending the winter months enjoying activities and social events instead of shoveling can provide a much-needed breath of fresh air and change of scenery!

Should I consider a short-term stay at a senior community?

In short: absolutely! There are many reasons to consider a respite stay, but here are some of our top reasons:

  1. If you are beginning to consider your options for senior housing, respite stays are a great way to learn about a community and experience the environment for yourself. Winter is an especially great time to visit, and we design our respite stays to act as a ‘staycation’.
  2. If you are recovering from a surgery or illness that leaves you uncomfortable staying at home alone, respite care in a senior community may be a great option for you. A short stay will give you and your family peace of mind as well as confidence that when you do return home, you’ll be ready to care for yourself.
  3. If your regular caregiver is unavailable for any reason, you may find that respite care provides a wonderful break for you in a caring environment. Your loved ones can rest assured that you will have a comfortable, relaxing stay in a Senior Lifestyle community.

What kind of care and amenities are offered with a respite stay?

Short-term guests in Senior Lifestyle communities enjoy the same amenities that our long-term residents receive. Exceptional dining, events and activities, and a personalized service plan assure that your stay will be enjoyable and your care appropriate to your needs. Senior Lifestyle’s unique “Be Our Guest” program provides guests the opportunity to stay in a furnished apartment, mingle with staff and residents, and “test drive” the lifestyle before making a commitment to a permanent move to a senior community.

To learn more about respite care offered in a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.