Moments That Matter

Posted by in Mind and Spirit.

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, designated by Ronald Reagan as a time to show support to dementia sufferers and their caregivers in 1983, when less than 2 million Americans suffered from the disease. That number has grown to 5.7 million today and the need for awareness and support is greater than ever before.

There are currently over 16 million individuals in the United States serving as caregivers for loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s, and while showing support for the Alzheimer’s Association’s goals and honoring those caregivers is a great place to start, there are also tangible ways to show support for families dealing with the reality of a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease:

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

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

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.

Active Aging Week

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Special Events.

It’s Active Aging Week, and at Senior Lifestyle we’re celebrating in style! Our residents provide us with inspiration daily, choosing lifestyles of purpose and joy, breaking down barriers and changing our idea of aging. From dance classes to book clubs to group meditation, they bring fresh ideas for activities that do so much more than occupy time; they occupy hearts and minds and create lasting friendships, bringing positivity and fun to the aging process 

Active Aging Week, celebrated yearly on the last week in September, was initiated in 2003 by the International Council on Active Aging. The aim of this special week is to showcase the potential of older adults to live full lives throughout the aging process and to challenge our expectations of aging, not only physically, but mentally, spiritually, intellectually and socially.  

At Senior Lifestyle, we encourage the spark of creativity and the thirst for knowledge in so many ways; the following are just a sample of the innovative activities we offer our residents during Active Aging Week and every week: 

 

BRAIN HEALTH UNIVERSITY 

If you’re ready to stretch and strengthen your mind while having fun with your friends and neighbors, our award-winning Brain Health University program is for you. Featuring unique courses designed to exercise your brain, BHU is often fully enrolled and always a fantastic way to meet new friends in your community. BHU fosters personal growth as residents take courses that intrigue and excite them. Once residents complete 18 classes, they are granted a certificate of graduation from BHU and rewarded with a celebratory event. 

 

COOKING 

Food is at the heart of our community. Share meals and conversations with your neighbors as you bond over your favorite meals. Residents love getting together with friends and neighbors to swap family recipes and share their culinary creativity! If you really want to test your mettle in the kitchen, you can compete in one of our popular “Iron Chef” cooking competitions. Or, if you’re just looking to learn some new tricks, attend a hosted cooking demonstration! 

 

SENIOR SIDEKICKS 

Senior Sidekicks is an intergenerational program designed exclusively for our residents and local students. Through Senior Sidekicks, local students visit the community and join our residents for entertaining senior activities. The program offers amusing activities for seniors and students alike. Senior Lifestyle communities brim with energy as students from local schools chat and engage with residents. These events are always highly anticipated by residents and students alike. 

 

At Senior Lifestyle, Active Aging is a way of life. We encourage our residents to bring their activity ideas to the table so that we can offer a wide variety of programs that foster engagement as well as purpose. For more information on a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, or to hear more about our lifestyle opportunities, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Time to Embrace Autumn

Posted by in Mind and Spirit.

Autumn is just around the corner, which means leaves are falling, the days are getting a bit shorter, and school is back in session. For many, the changing season means a return to the regular routine after a long, lazy summer where schedules were flexible and plans changeable. Returning to a set schedule is comforting for some and a hassle for others, but for seniors with dementia a routine is vital. At Senior Lifestyle, our award-winning memory care philosophy, embrace, is built around comforting daily rhythms and activities that foster a sense of purpose for the individual with dementia. 

For families caring for a senior loved one with dementia at home, a routine is vital as well. It is critical that all family members know what plans are in place in order to maintain the level of care needed and to lessen the stress not only on the caregivers but the senior with memory loss as well. Knowing the routine and the schedule of care can bring a sense of security to a senior who is dependent on others for his or her care. Back-up plans are also a necessity; planning for emergencies helps to keep things running smoothly. When the need arises for care beyond what can be provided in a home setting, Senior Lifestyle is here to provide memory care in a homelike atmosphere dedicated to honoring each resident’s individuality and personal story. 

When memories fade, it’s the moments that matter most. Memory loss is difficult to navigate, and the aim of embrace is to provide a lifestyle that is in harmony with the interests and abilities of each resident while addressing the unique challenges arising from memory loss and cognitive impairment. To achieve that goal, each new resident meets with a team member to develop a personal history, an embrace narrative that details specific life experiences, allowing caregivers the opportunity to truly connect with residents. This narrative and our innovative, award-winning small group programs provide a comprehensive approach to memory care that is unique to Senior Lifestyle. 

Autumn in the air and on the calendar means change is inevitable, but while the needs of our residents may change, our dedication to providing exceptional care for those we serve in any season of life is perennial and constant. Senior Lifestyle’s commitment to providing innovative approaches to memory care is the foundation of the embrace philosophy, and it’s a commitment we’d love to share with those looking for exceptional care for a loved one. To learn more about embrace or any of our Senior Lifestyle communities, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Be Our Guest at Senior Lifestyle

Posted by in Mind and Spirit.

One of the most stressful aspects of providing care for a loved one is dealing with the need for occasional breaks in care. Whether those breaks are necessitated by the caregiver’s need for time off to recharge, help after a surgery or illness, or a trip out of town, the change in routine can be difficult to manage. Short term care is often a great option in these situations, especially when a caregiver doesn’t have a back-up or an unexpected need arises. A respite stay at a Senior Lifestyle community can provide peace of mind for family members, a change of scenery and social stimulation for a loved one, and a much-needed break for a primary caregiver.

Senior Lifestyle Short Term Care offers excellent solutions for a number of circumstances, whether planned or unexpected. Senior Lifestyle communities provide quality respite care for our guests, no matter the length of their stay. Short-term guests enjoy the same amenities as long-term residents, including delicious meals, activities, and a caring clinical staff that utilizes a Personalized Service Plan to see to each guest’s unique needs during their stay. A short term stay at a Senior Lifestyle community can also serve as a delightful introduction to the carefree lifestyle enjoyed by our residents for those considering a move to a senior community.

Short term care doesn’t have to be specifically for a respite stay; sometimes a short term visit to a Senior Lifestyle community can provide a guest with a sneak peek into the benefits of life at a senior community! The decision to move to a senior community can be difficult, even for those who feel ready to make a lifestyle change. Variables such as the location of the community, the level of care provided, and financial considerations will need to be factored in to a final decision on where to call home.

With over 30 years’ experience in senior living, Senior Lifestyle understands the factors that make a move successful and has developed the “Be Our Guest” program which allows a trial stay opportunity to “test drive” the lifestyle. Guests can join us for a few days’ visit before making a move to see if the lifestyle feels right to them, enjoying activities and events, dining with new friends, and meeting staff. The program truly allows guests to get a complete picture of life in a senior community and to see what daily life looks like for residents.

For more information on the “Be Our Guest” program or any of our short term stay opportunities at a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit the Senior Lifestyle 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! 

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.