Be Our Guest!

Posted by in Health and Fitness.

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 guest. 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?  

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. 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 seniors 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.

National Family Caregivers Month

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Health and Fitness.

November is National Family Caregivers Month, and at Senior Lifestyle we want to acknowledge and honor those who give selflessly of themselves, sharing their time and energy in the care of a family member. Family caregivers play a significant role in the health and comfort of their loved ones, sometimes to the detriment of their own health, but with proper support and self-care their role can be both manageable and meaningful. This year’s National Family Caregivers Month’s theme of “Caregiving Around the Clock” accurately depicts the dedication of family caregivers across the nation, who often juggle the responsibilities of home and work to provide care. 

Providing care for a loved one can be stressful; simultaneously holding down a job outside the home can add an extra element of stress to an already difficult balancing act. An estimated 65 million Americans currently provide care for a family member, often balancing work and home responsibilities on a daily basis. Many of these caregivers, especially those providing care for a spouse or significant other, are singlehandedly managing the spectrum of caregiving, from transportation to medication management, with no medical background or training. At Senior Lifestyle we recognize that caregiving, while fulfilling, is also highly physically, emotionally and mentally stressful and can be profoundly frustrating and isolating, even for those with medical training. 

The National Alliance for Caregiving, established in 1996, provides support for family caregivers through advocacy, research and the increase of public awareness of issues related to family caregiving. Caregivers can access resources including support programs, financial information and assistance in locating eldercare through the coalition’s website.  

Why is National Caregivers Month so important? Caregiving is a tough job and caregiver support is vital to the well-being of both the caregiver and the loved one receiving care. Some facts on caregiving: 

  • Over half of family caregivers are women 
  • Most caregivers work outside the home either part-time or full-time in addition to their caregiving responsibilities 
  • Nearly 70 percent of family caregivers report that they don’t see their doctor regularly because of caregiving duties 

What can family caregivers do to cope with their responsibilities? 

  • Download the Circle of Care Mental Health Toolkit, which covers topics including communicating with health professionals, finding community services providing caregiver support and taking care of yourself. 
  • Practice self-care. While some caregivers receive the support they need from family members or friends, the primary duties often fall on one person. It is vital for caregivers to learn what works best when they need to rest and recharge. Exercise works for some, while attending caregiver support groups works for others. For many caregivers, the simple act of taking a walk or taking a nap is a great way to regroup. 
  • Ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out. For many caregivers, this is the hardest thing to do. Often family members and friends really DO want to be helpful, they just don’t know how. Learn to delegate tasks whenever possible. 

When care can no longer be managed at home on a full-time basis, resources such as respite care, adult day centers and senior living communities are available. Senior Lifestyle communities provide respite care as well as assisted living and memory care and our trained community specialists are available to help families navigate the transition to senior living when the need arises. To learn more about senior care options in your area, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Diabetes Awareness Month

Posted by in Health and Fitness, Expert Advice.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, a time to shed some light on the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes and encourage everyone to take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test, a free, anonymous test to assess personal risk factors for the disease. Every year, more than one million people are diagnosed with diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, the disease is the 7th leading cause of death in America. Almost 85 million Americans aged 18 and older have prediabetes, and over 25% of seniors have the disease. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases with age 

At Senior Lifestyle our goal is to help those we serve live healthy, full lives; with that in mind we’re sharing some basic tips from the American Diabetes Association’s Living Healthy With Diabetes guide to help control the disease and avoid complications. You can also download the entire Living Healthy With Diabetes guide for your use at home. 

Weight Control 

For diabetics, maintaining a healthy weight can help manage the disease. For those who are overweight, losing even 10 to 15 pounds can make a difference. The American Diabetes Association recommends the Plate Method as an aid to creating a healthy diet.  

The Plate Method: 

  1. Imagine drawing a line down the middle of your dinner plate. Then on one side, cut it again so you will have 3 sections on your plate. 
  1. Fill the largest section with non-starchy vegetables like salad, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, and tomatoes. 
  1. Now in one of the smaller sections, put starchy foods such as noodles, rice, corn, or potatoes. 
  1. The other small section is for meat, fish, chicken, eggs, or tofu. 
  1. Add an 8 oz glass of milk and one small piece of fruit or 1/2 cup of fruit salad and you’ve got a great meal. (If you don’t drink milk, you can add an extra piece of fruit, light yogurt, or a small roll.) 

Physical Activity 

Being active is another great way to help control the symptoms of diabetes and avoid complications. Be sure to speak to your doctor about what types of activity he recommends. Everyday activities like gardening, walking, raking leaves and carrying groceries can count toward your physical activity. Any physical activity can help lower your blood glucose; however, there are other benefits to maintaining a healthy habit of being physically active. 

Other benefits of physical activity include:  

  • Improving your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol
  • Having more energy
  • Relieving stress
  • Burning calories to help you lose or maintain your weight
  • Keeping your joints flexible
  • Increasing your strength
  • Improving your balance to prevent falls
  • Lowering your risk for heart disease and stroke

Medication Management 

If you have other conditions in addition to diabetes, you may be taking several different medications to manage those conditions as well as your diabetes. It is important to take each medication as prescribed and discuss any changes with your doctor. In order to stay on top of your medication schedule, the Living Healthy With Diabetes guide suggests the following: 

  • Keep an updated list of your medicines (prescription, nonprescription, dietary supplements including vitamins, and herbal remedies). Record important information about each medicine.  
  • Take all of your medicines exactly as your doctor tells you.  
  • Use one pharmacy to fill all your prescriptions if possible.  
  • Keep medicines in a cool, dry place.  
  • Use a pill organizer.  
  • Use a reminder timer, an alarm clock, or your mobile phone alarm to remind you when to take medicine.  
  • Link pill-taking to something in your daily routine (for example, take your medicine right after you brush your teeth).  
  • Use a chart or dry erase board to keep track of your pill-taking. 

At Senior Lifestyle, we encourage you to observe Diabetes Awareness Month, take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test, and if you do find yourself at an elevated risk for the disease, speak with your physician about what you can do to lessen your risk of diabetes. Many of the tips we’ve noted above are helpful in avoiding diabetes as well as living with it. To learn more about what we do to stay healthy and active at a Senior Lifestyle community near you, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Eat Better, Eat Together

Posted by in Health and Fitness, Food and Nutrition.

October is “Eat Better, Eat Together” Month, and at Senior Lifestyle we want to encourage everyone to celebrate the occasion! Everyone knows that sharing a meal is a great opportunity to socialize, make new friends and share ideas, but did you know that it’s a healthier way to eat as well? For teens, the practice of eating a meal with family has been associated with increased social skills, better eating habits and fewer behavioral problems. For adults, sharing a meal results in lowered stress levels.

Why is Eat Better, Eat Together Month important? At Senior Lifestyle we know that moments matter, and eating a meal together helps create those moments by fostering an environment of friendship and community. Coming together for a meal is a ritual that allows us the time and the atmosphere needed to build relationships. We also understand the importance of making good food choices and know that eating with others reinforces those choices. Beyond the health benefits, we also know that sharing a meal is simply fun!

At Senior Lifestyle we take dining seriously, and while “restaurant style” dining is a current trend, we aim higher. We believe the dining experience should be as meaningful as any other activity in our communities, and our approach to the dining experience, from locally sourced ingredients to menu input from residents reflects our commitment to quality. From the moment a guest, resident or family member enters the dining room to the last bite of dessert and sip of coffee, our goal is to provide an unmatched experience in every community. Additionally, we recognize that fine dining isn’t just about food; nowhere is the word community expressed better than around a dining table in the company of friends.

Residents at Senior Lifestyle communities play an important role in the dining experience, and not just when they join friends for a meal. Resident food committees collaborate with each community’s dining teams to evaluate and improve the dining experience, from food selection to atmosphere, taking a proactive approach to providing a personalized dining experience for every resident. Dining team members meet with residents to discuss and incorporate enhancements to the menu, special requests, and favorite recipes as well.

Dining is a vital part of the Senior Lifestyle experience, one we are proud to share with our residents, families and friends. We’re celebrating our dining experience during Eat Better, Eat Together month just as we celebrate the experience every month, so if you’d like more information on what’s on the menu at a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com and schedule a tour. We’d love to share a meal with you!

Immunizations For Health

Posted by in Health and Fitness.

At Senior Lifestyle, the health of our residents is our highest priority, so our communities take every opportunity to promote recommended vaccinations for residents, families, volunteers and members of the surrounding community. Whitney Lane, RN, BSN, MSW, a Senior Lifestyle Divisional Director of Health and Wellness, shares that each Senior Lifestyle community holds an annual flu shot clinic and offers the pneumococcal vaccine as well. Timely immunizations against these and other diseases is vital to preventing widespread outbreaks and maintaining the health of our seniors.

August is back-to-school month, with children returning to class and young adults leaving for college. August is also National Immunization Awareness Month, an opportunity for people of all ages to make sure they are protected against dangerous or even deadly diseases. While immunizations for school-age children are often the focus in August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminds us that adults need immunizations as well. Vaccinations against the flu, measles and pneumonia provide protection to not only those immunized, but their communities as well.

For seniors, keeping up with vaccinations is imperative. As we age, our immune system can weaken, increasing our susceptibility to certain diseases and illnesses. In addition, certain vaccines lose their efficiency over time, making booster shots necessary. Wellness visits for adults should include a discussion with your doctor about what immunizations are recommended.

Vaccines produce immunity to disease by introducing a weakened form of the antigen to the disease, causing the body’s immune system to create antibodies against that antigen. When faced again with that particular antigen, our body’s defenses are able to act quickly to contain the threat and limit or avert that illness. For those with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, avoiding illnesses like the flu can help limit complications of the underlying disease.

For more information about health and wellness topics, or to learn more about a Senior Lifestyle community near you, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

 

Dog Days of Summer

Posted by in Health and Fitness.

The dog days of summer are upon us! From July 3rd to August 11th, the period of oppressive heat is known as the “dog days.” This time is so named because the hottest days of summer are associated with the dog star Sirius, the brightest star in the Canis Major constellation. The dog star rises and sets with the sun in summertime, specifically in conjunction with the sun on July 23rd. Since the ancient Romans believed that Sirius gave off heat and actually added to the warmth of the sun, they called this period of hot weather “dog days.” Over time, the period of 20 days before and 20 days after Sirius’ alignment with the sun, July 3rd to August 11th, became known as the dog days of summer.

At Senior Lifestyle, we know that the hot, humid weather of the dog days of summer can make dogs (and people!) feel sluggish and lazy. If the very thought of moving around in the heat makes you feel sweaty and tired, don’t despair; there are ways to keep your cool while staying active:

 

Swimming or Water Aerobics

You no longer have to find a secret swimming hole or brave the local community pool! Many fitness centers (as well as many Senior Lifestyle communities!) have a pool available. While swimming laps is still a great option, water aerobics and other water-related exercise classes are a wonderful alternative and can provide fun and friendship in addition to a great workout. Swimming is low impact so it’s easy on joints, and many active seniors find the warm water to be therapeutic as well.

Yoga or Pilates

Both yoga and Pilates are great for restoring and maintaining physical and spiritual balance. With a range of experience levels for everyone from the novice to the seasoned yogi, these classes provide gentle stretching, focus on breathing and the added benefit increased mobility. At Senior Lifestyle communities, our Health and Wellness and Activities teams focus on providing an array of options including yoga and Pilates to help our residents remain active seniors.

 

Walking

Walking provides an immense cardiovascular benefit and is a great exercise for those with arthritis or other joint diseases. Walking paths are available at local parks, senior centers and shopping malls; many of these locations offer walking clubs as well, pairing participants with partners of similar abilities and interests, making for a great social opportunity for active seniors. Our Senior Lifestyle communities are designed to provide walking areas both inside and out so that a nice brisk walk or a leisurely stroll is a great idea no matter what the weather outside looks like!

Whatever the weather, exercise is an option at Senior Lifestyle, even during the dog days of summer. With options for every fitness level and interest, we help our residents maintain health and wellness, building endurance and strength along with building friendships! For more information about health and wellness options at a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

 

Embrace Social Connections

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Health and Fitness.

We’re celebrating Social Wellness Month at Senior Lifestyle. Social Wellness Month is a time to nurture relationships and focus on healthy social connections, but what happens when a loved one isn’t able to maintain those connections? When facing a diagnosis of dementia, families often find themselves struggling to find ways to help foster and maintain true connectedness with their loved one. Senior Lifestyle’s embrace memory care philosophy focuses on helping families stay connected. By creating a unique life narrative for each resident detailing their specific life experiences, we are able to create a lifestyle attuned each resident’s personal nature—familiar and uniquely their own. This life story becomes a touchstone for friends and family members to aid in communication and connection.

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 from dementia often withdraws socially due to 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 engage their loved one during this time, but quite often difficult to do so in the face of the progressing illness. At Senior Lifestyle, we create a welcoming embrace neighborhood that balances structure with freedom of movement, encouraging residents to interact at their comfort level not only with fellow residents, but with friends and family as well.

In many instances, communication becomes stressful for the person with dementia as they struggle to interpret verbal cues, so non-verbal communication in the form of touch and eye contact becomes vitally important. Our small-group programs are designed to address the unique needs that arise from memory loss and impairment, with simultaneous activities bringing energy to each neighborhood throughout the entire day. We are there every moment of the day to ensure that the daily rhythm of life is filled with joy and serenity. We help family members become attuned to this daily rhythm and take opportunities to connect with loved ones.

Can an individual maintain social connections after a diagnosis of dementia? At Senior Lifestyle, we help memory care residents do just that. Our award-winning memory care philosophy, embrace, focuses on daily interactions which bring purpose and joy to life, giving residents the opportunity to be part of a thriving community. To learn more about our embrace memory care philosophy, or to schedule a tour of a community near you, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

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! 

Summer Travel With Seniors

Posted by in Health and Fitness.

Summertime is prime time for travelers, and whether we’re visiting family or traveling to an exotic locale, 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 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 summer travel with seniors, 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. Confirm that 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. Enjoy your summer travel with seniors with happy (and safe) travels from Senior Lifestyle! 

Summer Safety for Seniors

Posted by in Health and Fitness.

It’s summertime and the living is easy, but along with warmer temperatures and abundant sunshine, summer brings some special health considerations for seniors. Older adults are at risk for heat-related health problems for a variety of reasons, including chronic health conditions like heart disease or COPD, as well as age-related physical changes and the side effects of certain medications.  

Taking proper precautions may help ensure a safe summer experience, so at Senior Lifestyle we’re sharing tips from Care.com to help older adults enjoy the warmer months: 

STAY COOL 

As we age, our bodies lose the ability to manage temperature changes efficiently, leading to conditions such as heat exhaustion and a severe condition called heat stroke, a medical emergency in which the body loses its ability to regulate temperature, resulting in high core temperature, confusion, rapid pulse and difficulty breathing. “Seniors are much more vulnerable to the harmful effects of heat, as their bodies do not adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature,” says Dr. Lubna Javed, formerly of HealthCare Partners Medical Group in Las Vegas. “Some chronic medical conditions and prescription medications can impair the body’s ability to react efficiently to rising temperature.” Many communities have cooling centers for those whose homes lack air conditioning, and libraries, movie theaters and shopping malls provide welcome cool spaces as well. 

STAY IN TOUCH 

For homebound seniors, having a trusted neighbor, family member or friend who checks in regularly can be an important safety measure in the summer. For those who enjoy working in a garden or taking a daily walk, both wonderful outdoor activities for older adults, having someone who knows your routine is vital. Keeping emergency phone numbers handy and sharing this information with a friend or neighbor can help in the event of a heat-related health emergency as well.  

STAY HYDRATED 

Since older adults often become less aware of thirst and bodies naturally lose the ability to conserve fluids, it is vital for seniors to stay hydrated, especially in the summer months and when exerting themselves. Being mindful of fluid intake can help prevent hyperthermia, and since some medications can exacerbate dehydration, making hydration a habit will help keep you healthier. Setting an alarm or a reminder to drink water can help to establish a routine.  

STAY SMART 

Be sure to wear appropriate clothing and protective gear when engaging in outdoor activities. Sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and loose fitting, light-colored clothing are all important accessories for older adults (as well as younger people!) when walking, gardening or simply spending time outdoors. Outdoor activities for older adults are a great way to stay active and stay healthy; however, be sure to dress for the weather and consider getting that outdoor exercise early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures drop a bit and the sun isn’t quite as strong. 

Senior Lifestyle communities offer a wide variety of summertime activities, from gardening clubs to afternoon ice cream socials, all tailored to the comfort and safety of our residents and with special health considerations for seniors in mind. To learn more about a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com