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.

Older Drivers and Safety

Posted by in Expert Advice.

Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is happening now! From December 3rd through December 7th, the American Occupational Therapy Association is calling attention to different aspects of older driver safety. At Senior Lifestyle we know that the ability to get to appointments, shop for necessities and simply visit friends is vital to the well-being seniors, so we join AOTA in their efforts to raise awareness of this important facet of senior independence.

For many people, obtaining a driver’s license is a symbol of freedom and an outward sign of independence. Unsurprisingly, many older adults feel the same way about retaining their driver’s license. For seniors who live in areas with little or no access to public transportation, the ability to drive provides more than just a symbol of independence; it often serves as a lifeline. This circumstance can make it difficult for families to discuss giving up driving with a senior loved one, as it often necessitates outside help or even a move for the senior. The aim of AOTA’s Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is to promote understanding of the barriers older adults face when driving is no longer an option, and to increase awareness of the steps older adults can take to remain active, healthy and safe in their communities, whether they drive or not.

A recent Consumer Reports study notes that 40 million Americans aged 65 and older carry a valid driver’s license; 3.5 million of that group are still behind the wheel at age 85 and older. While many drivers are able to manage to the physical requirements of driving well into their senior years, there are some warning signs from Helpguide.org that a senior driver may need to consider giving up the keys:

  • Frequent close calls or increased citations

-A noticeable increase in dents and scrapes on the vehicle

-Traffic tickets or warnings from law enforcement

  • Eyesight or hearing problems

-A need to drive closer to signs or traffic signals to see them clearly

-Inability to hear horns honking or emergency sirens

  • Trouble managing the mechanics of driving and limited range of motion, slower reflexes

-Sudden lane changes and erratic braking and accelerating

-Inability to react quickly when necessary to traffic changes

-Lack of range of motion that prevents turning head to look back

If giving up the keys becomes necessary, it’s important to understand the frustration and even humiliation that your senior driver may experience; treating them with respect and dignity while having this difficult conversation is imperative. If a loved one is reluctant to admit that driving is becoming a problem for them, you may need to enlist the help of an impartial person such as their physician. It’s also important to provide alternatives such as public transportation or rides from friends and family members. For some seniors, the loss of this symbol of independence can cause depression; preventing isolation is an important part of the transition as well. At Senior Lifestyle, residents are often surprised and delighted to learn that social opportunities don’t require time behind the wheel; events and activities are always available in the community.

If you notice signs of impaired driving in your loved one, it is vital to have a conversation with them about your concerns; they may be feeling concerned as well, but worried about the logistics of giving up driving, and your efforts to broach the subject may in fact be a relief to the senior driver. Senior Lifestyle communities offer transportation options for residents who choose not to drive or are unable to do so safely. Many of our residents who still drive themselves also choose to take advantage of the transportation option and let someone else do the driving for them on occasion.

For information about transportation options at a Senior Lifestyle community near you, or more information about tackling difficult conversations with your loved one, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

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.

Driven to Care

Posted by in Community Spotlights.

What does it mean to engage in a service culture? At Senior Lifestyle, it means that our top priority is and always will be the well-being of our residents and their families, a goal represented in our mission and core values. Service culture is a guiding principle at every level of our organization, informing decisions large and small in every community, with every interaction, every day. 

Our Vision: 

To become the trusted leader in senior living services by creating great places to work and great places to live. 

We actively recruit individuals who reflect our mission and who model our core values, sharing our passion for collaboration and innovation in senior care. Our core values serve as the foundation of every Senior Lifestyle community, a shared value system that each team member uses to guide and define their interactions with fellow team members, residents and families.  

Our Mission: 

Every day, Senior Lifestyle’s caring team members purposefully brighten and enrich the lives of those we service with dedication to our core values: 

Hospitality 

Excellence 

Appreciation 

Respect 

Teamwork 

Core values are truly the HEART of each community. By providing an atmosphere of hospitality to each person with whom we interact and pursuing excellence in every facet of our care, we provide an unmatched environment for our residents and families. Showing appreciation for the efforts of every team member and respect for diversity and the contributions of every individual result in an atmosphere of teamwork. 

At Senior Lifestyle, our passion is promoting an environment of exceptional care, compassion and collaboration in every community. We believe that this embodiment of service culture results in an unmatched experience for our residents and families as well as our team members. To learn more about Senior Lifestyle communities in your area please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Honoring Our Veterans

Posted by in Holidays.

Sunday, November 11th is Veterans Day, an occasion often marked by parades, speeches and flag ceremonies to celebrate and offer our thanks to those who have served. At Senior Lifestyle we’re proud of the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces, so our senior communities across the United States will honor residents, family members and Senior Lifestyle team members for their service as well. With celebrations ranging from pinning ceremonies and Veterans Day recognition meals at local schools to care package packing parties for deployed service members, our celebrations are as unique as the wonderful people we honor. 

The history behind Veterans Day is a story worth knowing; the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs notes that while World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, it’s the “story before the story” that gave rise to the holiday we know as Veterans Day. Fighting ceased seven months prior to the Versailles Treaty when an armistice temporarily halted hostilities between the Allied Nations and Germany. This accord took place on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month and was originally known as Armistice Day. President Wilson proclaimed November 11, 1919 the first commemoration of Armistice Day, a holiday honoring veterans of the first World War, known as “the war to end all wars.” The day would most likely still be known as Armistice Day if World War II had not occurred; however, with the large number of American casualties, it seemed only fitting to make the day a time to give thanks to veterans of all wars, as well as those who served in peacetime. The day has been known since 1954 as Veterans Day, when President Eisenhower signed legislation designating November 11th as a day to honor American veterans of all wars. 

While veterans have recently been the grateful recipients of free meals, services and discounts on Veterans Day, many say that a heartfelt “Thank you for your service” would be just as welcome. The Corporation for National and Community Service also lists several ways to support and honor veterans on its website, including mentoring the children of veterans, providing educational opportunities to veterans, and assisting them in finding employment. Each veteran and family is unique, with different storiesand unique needs. Being able to share their stories and receive support is empowering for veterans, as well as those who provide support. 

In Senior Lifestyle communities everywhere, we’re honored to serve those who have served our country. Additionally, we feel it’s vital to recognize the sacrifices made by families of service members, those who manage households, careers and family life during the deployment of a loved one. We hope you’ll join us, on Veterans Day and every day, in thanking a veteran for their service and sacrifice. To learn more about Veterans Day events at a Senior Lifestyle community near you, please visit our website atwww.seniorlifestyle.com 

 

What is Hospice?

Posted by in Expert Advice.

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. Senior Lifestyle recognizes hospice care as a vital component of person-centered senior care, and while we realize the subject of hospice is often fraught with both emotion and confusion, we feel that this often-misunderstood facet of senior care is a valuable option that many families don’t explore because of the misconceptions surrounding it. This year’s theme for Hospice Month, “A
Program That Works. A Benefit That Matters”, sheds light on the purpose and aim of hospice: a focus on caring instead of curing, allowing patients with life-limiting illnesses to navigate their end-of-life journey with dignity and compassionate care. 

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization shares some history about hospice care, noting that the first modern hospice, St. Christopher’s Hospice, was created in suburban London by physician Dame Cicely Saunders. Saunders began working with terminally ill patients in 1948 and coined the term “hospice” to describe specialized care provided for dying patients. In 1963, while serving as a guest lecturer at Yale University, Dame Saunders introduced the concept of hospice care to medical students, nurses, social workers and chaplains. Pointing to photographic evidence of terminal patients with their families, she showed the dramatic improvement brought about by providing symptom control care. Hospice care as we know it today is a direct result of this lecture. 

Six important points to know about hospice from NHPCO: 

  1. Hospice care is usually provided in the home – wherever the patient calls home. This includes assisted living communities and other long-term-care settings. 
  1. Hospice cares for people with any kind of life-limiting illness. Patients of every age and religion can access hospice care. 
  1. Hospice is fully covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private health plans and HMOs. 
  1. Hospice is not limited to six months of care. Patients and families are encouraged to contact a hospice provider when they receive a terminal diagnosis instead of waiting until the “last days” to benefit from all that hospice care has to offer. Pain management and symptom control offer significant physical benefits for patients as well as increased quality of life. 
  1. Hospice is not “giving up”; rather the focus is on caring, not curing. Hospice organizations are also trained to help family members cope with the emotional aspects of caring for a terminally ill loved one, as well as the grieving process when that loved one passes. 
  1. Anyone can contact hospice – so call your local program to learn if hospice is right for you or your loved one. Each hospice provider in an area may do things slightly differently, so choose an organization based on your needs. Many hospitals and skilled care facilities can offer suggestions or information on hospice care. 

Senior Lifestyle communities welcome hospice organizations as care partners and recognize the incredibly vital service they provide not only for our residents but their families as well. Our communities partner with hospice organizations to provide care for our residents who choose to walk their end-of-life journey with us; we are honored to do so. To learn more about services and lifestyle options at a Senior Lifestyle community 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.

Welcome Back, JoAnne Morhland

Posted by in Community Spotlights.

If walls could talk, they would reveal a legacy of love infused into the framework of Eagle Springs Memory Care. To be exact, messages of love and compassion that were written on the 2x4s and hidden beneath the drywall during construction in 1999. These messages were signed with care by JoAnne Mohrland, her daughter, and a group of new employees who were passionate and hopeful for the possibility-filled future of a memory care community in Walla Walla. This is just one of the special memories that is a daily reminder to JoAnne Mohrland that she is exactly where she needs to be; purposefully ending her career where it started as the Executive Director of Eagle Springs Memory Care.

 

JoAnne Morhland was with Eagle Springs from day one, supported by owners that trusted her drive and passion. She instilled the love she has for senior care into the very heart of the Eagle Springs community and as she joins this family again, she has a lifetime of experience and memories to help guide her, the staff, and the residents into the bright future of memory care.

 

“I am so happy to be back, pouring love into this community. Out of hundreds of residents and communities I have helped during my career, Eagle Springs has always had a special place in my heart. Walking through these halls just feels right,” said JoAnne.

 

It didn’t have to turn out so perfectly. After retiring in January of this year, JoAnne Mohrland had set her sights on some much-deserved vacations. However, a serendipitous phone call made her have a change of heart, and location. Upon hearing that Eagle Springs Memory Care needed an Executive Director, Joanne knew that she was the right person for the job. So, did the staff that anxiously awaited her return.

 

“When I heard JoAnne was coming back, I was so excited. I knew that we would be supported and appreciated in our jobs and that the residents would have everything they needed. She truly cares about both the staff and the residents. She often leads our residents in song and knows each of them by name. It is like she is giving the community a big hug,” said Veronica Manis.

 

The future is bright for Eagle Springs with renovations underway and new programs on the horizon. A newly-appointed Maintenance Director has begun updating equipment, fixtures, and décor. Plus, the Eagle Springs Memory Care community has recently implemented embraceTM Memory Care. This award-winning program provides opportunities for dementia residents to find more joy and connection through special moments in their lives.

 

“I relive happy memories every time I walk these halls. I love that I am again helping local families find comfort and hope. I couldn’t ask for a more fulfilling role or a more wonderful community. Both Eagle Springs and Walla Walla have given me such a warm welcome back. It truly feels like everything has come full circle,” says JoAnne.

Time For A Change?

Posted by in Expert Advice.

At Senior Lifestyle, we know that providing care for a loved one can be a daunting task, as well as an infinitely rewarding one. We understand that caregivers face an ever-changing array of challenges daily; frustration often walks hand in hand with fulfillment as the caregiver provides for both the physical and emotional needs of their loved one and outside support is vital for family caregivers at times when they are unable to be with their loved one. For families without this support, a visit can become quite stressful for both the caregiver and the senior, with quality time often taking a backseat to more urgent matters such as bill-payment and yard maintenance.  

Many caregivers describe the pull between practical matters and quality time as a balancing act. For adult children, this balancing act can become more difficult with each visit as more help with activities of daily living becomes necessary for the senior. Relationships between child and parent can become strained as their roles change. Adult children often feel guilty when unable to visit parents as often as they’d like, and even guiltier when they must delegate everyday tasks to their loved one’s friends or neighbors. Ironically, subtle changes in a loved one’s physical appearance, behavior, and ability to manage their surroundings are often more apparent to a long-distance caregiver than to a friend or neighbor who sees the senior regularly. 

When visiting a loved one, there are some behaviors to watch for that may indicate a change is necessary for the senior:  

 

  • Is the refrigerator adequately stocked? Is the food spoiled? Preparing meals can become a difficult task for the senior; it may be time to look into meal delivery or help with meal prep. 

 

  • Are there noticeable changes in the condition of the home? If your loved one has always been neat and tidy and you find that cleaning is going undone, this may be a sign that help is needed with housekeeping duties. The same holds true for personal appearance; dressing and grooming can become burdensome and exhausting for some seniors with decreased mobility.  

 

  • Are the bills paid? Do you notice unopened piles of mail? Paying bills and balancing a checkbook can become stressful for your loved one. A trusted friend or family member may need to step in to keep up with money matters. 

 

Finding local resources is a key factor in successful caregiving. Homecare agencies have been a boon to the aging-in-place trend and can often help keep a senior living safely at home longer by providing assistance with activities of daily living such as cleaning, cooking, and laundry. Local senior centers can often provide referrals for services as well. The National Institute on Aging has made several valuable resources available for caregivers who’d like to learn more about how to make the most out of the time they are able to spend with loved ones.   

Discovering that your loved one needs more care or help with activities of daily living than can be managed at home? Visit our website to learn more about respite care, independent and assisted living options in your area. Senior Lifestyle believes that preparing for and researching next steps such as respite care and assisted living can help caregivers focus more on quality time with loved ones and less on practical matters relating to safety and care. Shifting this focus helps families make the most of each visit, and that’s what counts.