A New Year

Posted by in Holidays.

Whether you’re a resident, family member, team member or volunteer, you’re part of the Senior Lifestyle family! The new year is almost here, and at Senior Lifestyle we can’t think of a better way to “ring in the new” than by expressing our gratitude to those who keep our communities running smoothly day after day and year after year, from the vital behind-the-scenes team members to the frontline, first-contact staff who strive to make the first impression exceptional for residents, guests and families. 

Many thanks to the personal care and nursing staff in our communities, providing peace of mind for residents and families who know that clinical needs will be met in a caring professional manner. Thank you for treating our residents with dignity and respect while providing a compassionate listening ear and the expertise to manage medical needs from simple to complex. 

Kudos to the dining teams in each community for making mealtimes an event to be eagerly anticipated with delicious offerings and an unmatched atmosphere. Every member of the dining team strives to make the dining experience an exceptional one for residents, families and guests; we see their dedication on display every day. 

Maintenance and housekeeping staff in our communities are truly the glue that keeps everything together and moving forward. Their care and dedication is evident to everyone who enters, as they keep each community sparkling and perform tasks that make our residents’ lives easier and hassle-free. 

No community would be complete without an imaginative, creative and energetic activity staff! From weekly craft projects to well-planned outings, these dedicated team members provide a creative outlet for residents as well as a vibrant social scene, always working to find ways to include every resident in the fun. 

Management teams in each community deserve thanks for their leadership and for guiding and mentoring staff. Their role in helping to develop skills that advance careers and open doors to opportunities at every level of employment is vital. Many thanks to our marketing and sales teams, who are dedicated to helping families find the lifestyle that works for them and identifying ways to help them achieve that lifestyle. Their guidance has made the difference for countless families! 

Last, but certainly not least, we’d like to thank our residents and families for their confidence in us, and for their inspiration. They are the heart of what we do and we pride ourselves on meeting and exceeding their expectations with every interaction, every event, and every activity, every day. We are honored to be a part of their lives. 

We at Senior Lifestyle wish you the happiest of New Years! For information about any of our communities, to schedule a tour, or to learn more about joining our team, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Holiday Stress Management

Posted by in Holidays.

The holidays are coming. Where did the time go? Between decorating, baking, shopping and entertaining, it’s easy to get a bit frazzled this time of year. At Senior Lifestyle we know that holidays can become even more difficult to manage when your loved ones are aging, whether you are a caregiver or a relative traveling to Mom’s house for a short visit. Either scenario can be wonderful and memorable, but they can both be equally stressful as well. If you’re a caregiver you may struggle to enjoy the time together while managing your loved one’s medications and daily schedule, and if you’re traveling to visit, you may notice changes in your loved one that weren’t apparent at your last visit, overshadowing the joys of the season. Holiday stress shouldn’t detract from the joy of the season, and it doesn’t have to if you follow some simple guidelines. 

The excitement having friends and relatives visit often comes with an increase in anxiety for seniors and their caregivers. Everything from changes in routine to meal planning for a crowd can cause holiday stress. If you’re a caregiver, there are ways to keep the holiday season from becoming overwhelming for both you and your loved one. Mayo Clinic provides some practical holiday stress management tips to help keep the joy in the holiday season while minimizing holiday stress: 

  • Grief can be a stressor for seniors during the holidays. For seniors who’ve lost a loved one, the holidays can trigger difficult memories. Many find that talking about those loved ones who are no longer present and reminiscing about holidays spent with them can be a joyful experience. Acknowledging the loss helps to ease the pain and can become a meaningful activity. 
  • Dietary concerns seem to affect nearly everyone over the holiday season. The temptation to overindulge is ever-present and can be especially worrisome for seniors who are on multiple medications or need to follow a restricted diet. Eating a healthy snack prior to a large holiday meal can help to ease temptation and the effects of overeating. Staying hydrated and avoiding excessive alcohol intake also helps maintain healthy habits. 
  • Upholding traditions can become a point of contention and stress for seniors and their family members. When a senior can no longer take charge of the holiday meal or the decorating, it may be time to create new traditions that allow your loved one to remain an active participant. Going “potluck” for holiday dinners can limit the stress on one family member; additionally, scaling back on decorations can keep the tradition from becoming overwhelming. Gift-giving can even be accomplished with online shopping for those who can no longer manage the chaos of holiday-season malls. Keeping things simple and sharing responsibilities helps to ease holiday stress and adds joy to the time spent together! 

Holiday stress is manageable. With some extra forethought, the holiday season can be a joyful occasion for seniors and caregivers, as well as visiting friends and family. Simplifying, planning ahead and managing expectations can ease anxiety for everyone involved. At Senior Lifestyle, we believe building new traditions and finding new ways to celebrate can add meaning to the season! For information about a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Gift Ideas For Senior Loved Ones

Posted by in Holidays.

Are you struggling to find the perfect thoughtful-yet-practical holiday gift for an aging parent, grandparent or loved one? At Senior Lifestyle we understand that buying gifts for seniors can be a challenge. If your loved one has down-sized or moved to a senior living community, there may not be room for decorative items; in this instance, practicality often outweighs novelty when looking for the best gift for a senior. For loved ones struggling with decreased mobility or cognitive decline, gifts that improve quality of life, add comfort, or help maintain health are always a great idea. For families separated by many miles, gifts that allow seniors to maintain connections are a wonderful option. We’ve compiled a short list of gifts for seniors that we think you’ll find helpful as you do your holiday shopping. 

Does your loved one struggle with mobility, low vision or hearing loss? Adaptive devices like Audiobooks and television headphones or speakers can bring enjoyment back to reading or watching favorite shows, while a large button universal remote like the Doro HandleEasy simplifies the operation of a TV or home stereo for those with low vision or limited dexterity. Adaptive clothing options include MagnaClick shirts which replace buttons with easily fastened magnetic closures and Hickies, a lacing system which turns any shoe into a slip-on. Walker bags and belt bags are also great gifts to provide hands-free storage for seniors. 

Products that provide comfort are practical and thoughtful gifts for seniors. Innovative new products such as a Mosaic weighted blanket have been proven beneficial in alleviating insomnia. Weighted or heated lap blankets are quite popular. Desktop UV lamps that mimic sunlight can help to alleviate Seasonal Affective Disorder for seniors who are unable to get outside, while a sound/white noise machine can help your senior loved one sleep soundly. Many additional ideas can be found at Modern Senior Products. 

Gifts for seniors that help to maintain social and family connections are as easy as creating a photo book through one of the many services like Shutterfly and Snapfish or even presenting a digital photo from such as the Aura, which allows updates remotely and eliminates the need for a memory stick. Does your loved one wish to share family lore but isn’t sure where to start? StoryWorth makes the process easy for seniors to share stories, emailing a question/story prompt each week to your loved one. They then simply write their answers and the stories are compiled into a beautiful keepsake book. 

For gifts that keep giving, a subscription to a meal ingredient/delivery service like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron are a healthy option. Seniors who still enjoy cooking but aren’t able to get out for fresh ingredients may find these subscriptions or a subscription to a grocery delivery service helpful and practical. “Item of the month” clubs include options such as fruit, cheesecake, coffee, flowers and more and can be found at www.amazingclubs.com. For those seniors who love movies, consider a subscription to Netflix. If your senior loved one has a pet, a subscription to a pet food delivery service such as Chewy.com or NomNomNow.com can ease the burden of purchasing and transporting food, treats and toys for a beloved pet. 

At Senior Lifestyle we’ve learned that regardless of circumstances, seniors overwhelmingly agree that it’s the thought that counts. They also share that the gift of time is always most welcomed. No matter what your budget is, a phone call, a visit, or an email providing updates on family members can bring joy to the season for your senior loved one, whether they live at home or in a senior community. We’ve found that the gift goes both ways, providing the giver with joy as well, and residents in Senior Lifestyle communities love to welcome family and friends for visits! For more information on a Senior Lifestyle community near you please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

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.