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.

Plan For The Future

Posted by in Personal Finance.

October is Long-Term Care Planning Month, a time to assess plans for future care needs and the financial options available to seniors to cover the cost of care. One of our goals at Senior Lifestyle is to make the transition to senior living as seamless as possible for new residents and families, and we know that one of the most difficult aspects of making new living arrangements for senior loved ones is the “financial conversation.” We understand that discussions about money can be emotionally charged, and although the conversation itself may seem intrusive to both parents and adult children, it is a necessary one.  

Understanding what funds and financial options for senior living are available is vital to the search for senior housing. Having solid financial information at the outset of the senior housing search can help streamline the process and will save a great deal of time and frustration, not only for seniors but for their families as well.  

At Senior Lifestyle, we care about not only the physical and emotional wellbeing of our residents, but their financial health as well, and that’s why we recommend the services of companies like Elderlife Financial. A leading senior solutions company, Elderlife Financial helps families understand their financial options for senior living and locate and finance senior housing needs, offering a variety of services to facilitate the moving process, including: 

Financing Senior Living 

A bridge loan can help fund senior living while waiting for Veteran’s benefits or insurance payments to begin or waiting for the sale of a home. This service allows families the peace of mind of an immediate move. 

Veteran Benefits Assistance 

Many veterans are unfamiliar with the benefits available to them. Elderlife Financial can assist in the process of gathering the necessary information to apply for the “Aid & Attendance” pension benefit, as well as providing short term funding while waiting for benefits to be approved. 

Assistance with Insurance  

If a long-term care policy is in place to pay for care, Elderlife financial can help navigate the often-complex process of making a claim and qualifying for benefits. Additionally, life insurance policies are a potential source of funding for senior living and can be sold or borrowed against to pay for care.  

 

At Senior Lifestyle we know that the search for senior housing can be daunting, but our community advisors are here to help you navigate the journey and understand your financial options for senior living. For information on a Senior Lifestyle community near you, visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com to schedule a tour and meet with an advisor. Financial resources are available on the Senior Lifestyle website as well, so help is just a click away!

Eat Better, Eat Together

Posted by in Health and Fitness, Food and Nutrition.

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

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

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

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

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

How Are We Doing?

Posted by in Expert Advice, Technology.

There’s a common saying that notes, “If customers are happy with your service, they’ll tell you; if they aren’t happy, they’ll tell everyone else,” and with the prevalence of online review sites today, that idea can seem uncomfortably accurate for some businesses. However, online reviews give customers the opportunity to point out not only what’s wrong, but what’s right as well. They also give the reviewee an opportunity to make things right by reaching out to the customer when a negative experience is reported. At Senior Lifestyle we look at reviews as a vital tool in our plan for continuous improvement and encourage everyone we interact with to share their experience.

Are we doing well? What can we do better? Every business asks these questions, but without feedback from customers, it’s often hard to judge the answers. Any business with a long-range plan wants to hear the bad reviews as well as the stellar ones; continuous improvement depends on knowing what needs to be improved upon. Reviews provide companies with valuable information that may not be evident at the point of sale. Consumers can leave online reviews for nearly any business, product or service, from a hospital stay to a pet grooming experience. Review sites like Indeed and Glassdoor even provide a forum for job-seekers to learn more about companies for whom they hope to work.

Why do people leave online reviews? Everyone likes to be heard; we share our opinions every day in conversations with friends, family and co-workers, so it makes sense to share those opinions with the companies from which we purchase products and services. Oftentimes, online reviewers can remain anonymous, an aspect which may pave the way for more honest evaluations. Honest feedback, whether positive or negative, not only helps the organization being reviewed, but helps fellow consumers make decisions as well.

Senior Lifestyle believes that informed consumers and potential team members make better choices, and we truly want feedback from our senior community residents, families and team members. We gain valuable insight from visitors in our communities as well, whether they volunteer, provide a service for our residents or come to the community for a tour. Our goal is to provide the best possible experience for everyone we interact with, so don’t hesitate to let us know how we’re doing! For more information on how Senior Lifestyle works to provide an exceptional experience or to learn more about any of our communities, 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.