Home | About Us | Avalon Call Solution | History Of Avalon | Services | Contact Us | Request A Catalog   

  About Us
  Avalon Call Solution
  History Of Avalon
  News Feed
  Social Media
  Request A Catalog
  New Vendor Downloads

Sunrise Senior Living Blog

Sunrise Senior Living Blog

Bookmark and Share

Managing Diabetes During the Hectic Holiday Season

The holidays are a time for family gatherings and festive celebrations, many of which come with fabulous foods and alcoholic drinks. On top of that is the frantic pace of the season. Exercise often falls victim to a busy schedule. This can all add up to challenging days for adults with type 2 diabetes who are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

But with some thoughtful planning, it’s possible to enjoy the season without sacrificing your health.

Managing Diabetes during the Rush of the Holidays

Here are a few ideas to help you or a senior loved one manage diabetes during the holidays:

1. Plan Meals around Events

Holiday celebrations are full of great-tasting food that usually isn’t very healthy. It can be tempting to ditch your diet and indulge. But for someone with diabetes, that can be dangerous.

Instead, take a few minutes every evening to plan meals for the next day. You can also work in pre-party snacks that will help you fill up so you aren’t overly tempted by unhealthy treats at holiday events.

If you or your older family member will be attending a luncheon where food choices might be fairly unhealthy, for example, plan the rest of the day’s meals around it. Or, if the party will be at a restaurant, visit their website ahead of time to review the menu. This will help you determine the most diabetes-friendly option for you to order.

2. Schedule Reminders

The season’s festivities have a way of getting many of us off of our regular schedules. Nutrition experts remind people with diabetes how important it is to stick to a strict medication schedule.

Because many of the symptoms of a diabetic emergency are silent ones, a senior might not recognize they are getting into trouble until it’s too late. During the hustle and bustle of the season, take extra steps to adhere to your medication schedule. This might mean writing notes to yourself or setting an alarm on your cell phone.

The same holds true for testing your blood glucose levels. Don’t allow yourself to neglect this task because you are too busy enjoying the holidays. In fact, it is especially important if you have been indulging in treats and neglecting to exercise.

It’s also a good idea to order prescription refills ahead of time. Physicians and their staff may be taking holiday vacations, making them unavailable to approve or process refills as quickly as usual. The same holds true for pharmacies, which may be closed or have limited hours on holidays.

3. Alcohol in Moderation

The American Diabetes Association says that seniors who have their diabetes under control should speak with their physician about  enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two during holiday gatherings. As your physician will likely advise, however, it’s never a good idea for a diabetic to drink alcohol on an empty stomach or when blood glucose levels are low. Also, opt for light beer or a wine spritzer. Both can help limit alcohol intake while reducing calorie consumption.

4. Holiday Travel

If you will be away from home over the holidays, remember to plan accordingly.

The American Diabetes Association suggests taking at least double the amount of medication and testing supplies you need for the length of time you will be gone. Place half of them in a carry-on bag that you have easy access to during your journey. Then, pack the additional stash in a second suitcase. If one of your bags is lost during travel, you will still have the back-up supply.

It’s also smart to ask your physician for a written order for your medicine to have on hand while you travel. If something unforeseen happens, you can go to a local pharmacy to have your prescription filled.

With a bit of planning, seniors with diabetes can enjoy holiday events surrounded by family and friends.

Diabetes Management at Sunrise Senior Living

We know that a proactive approach to type 2 diabetes education and management is important for older adults. From free blood screenings to prevention classes, our communities have a history of helping to raise awareness about this disease that affects as much as 27 percent of older adults.

Our healthy dining options and in-house wellness programs make it easier for residents of Sunrise Senior Living to manage their diabetes. Schedule a private visit at the community nearest you to learn more!

How to Enjoy Holiday Parties While Sticking...

‘Tis the season for eating a little bit too much pumpkin pie. Or for indulging in too many scoops of cream-laden mashed potatoes. Without a doubt, November and December are tough months of the year to eat healthy. But for seniors who live with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, maintaining a restricted diet is a vital part of managing their disease. 

How can you relax and enjoy the holiday festivities while still sticking to your diet?

It all comes down to planning ahead.

Eating Healthy During the Holiday Season

Here are a few planning tips to help you or a senior loved one plan for a healthy holiday season:

  • Adapt Favorite Recipes: Drag out your recipe box and look over your holiday favorites. Explore ways to give your favorite family recipes a healthy makeover. It isn’t difficult to do. You can substitute unsweetened applesauce or bananas for some of the fat. Or, cut back on the sugar and add flavorful spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla instead.
  • Planning Daily and Weekly Menus: We know the holiday season can feel like one long, mad dash. It can help you stay on track if you take time each week to plan your meals. If you know you’ll be attending a big luncheon where healthy options will be limited, for example, plan a few healthy snacks to eat beforehand so you won’t be as tempted to make bad choices. And make sure your breakfast and dinner menus that day are light and well-balanced.
  • Talk with Your Host or Hostess: It is easy to avoid unhealthy foods during a cocktail party when everyone is busy mingling, as you can eat at home before the party. But a sit-down holiday dinner presents different challenges. No one wants to be a pest when a host or hostess is busy preparing for a holiday party, but knowing what is on the menu is important for adults with medical restrictions on their diet. Call the host or hostess a week before the party to explain your situation. If the planned menu doesn’t include any options you can eat, ask your host or hostess if it would be OK to bring your own. Most will understand and appreciate that you aren’t asking them to make a special meal for you.
  • Portion Control: If you absolutely can’t resist a few holiday treats, don’t use those slipups as an excuse to keep indulging. Portion control is the key. Eat a few bites of your favorite holiday food and give the rest away. Start the next day with a renewed commitment to sticking with your diet.
  • Start New Traditions: Another way to stay on track with your dietary restrictions is to start new traditions. Replace a few traditional but unhealthy holiday desserts on your menu with healthy ones. Dark chocolate-dipped strawberries or flourless honey-almond cake are two to consider.

Sunrise Signature Dining Program

Nutrition is part of our overall approach to empowering seniors to live their best life. The Sunrise Signature Dining Program includes meals and menus that accommodate special diets. From a low-sodium restriction to diabetes management, mealtime at our communities is both nutritious and delicious.

We extend an open invitation to older adults who are contemplating a move to a senior living community to visit us. One of our care team members will be happy to show you around and answer your questions. And we’d love it if you joined us for lunch or dinner! 

2017 Sunrise Signature Chef: David Chiasson's...

We pride ourselves on providing our residents with delicious meals that are nutritionally sound, and one of our favorite ways to keep our menus diverse and fresh is the annual Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge. 

On Thursday, Nov. 9, Sunrise Senior Living held our fifth annual Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge. Sunrise chefs from across the U.S. and Canada submitted nutritious recipes, and five finalists traveled to The Fairfax at Belvoir Woods, VA, to compete for the title of Sunrise Signature Chef.

After taste testing by a panel of Sunrise residents, David Chiasson from Sunrise of Burlington, MA, was selected to be this year's Sunrise Signature Chef!

David grew up watching Julia Child, and her influence helped him realize his desire to become a chef. After receiving a Culinary & Food Service Management degree from Newbury College, David traveled to France with renowned chef Jacques Pepin for a two-week food and wine culinary tour. David has a passion for cooking, and he loves knowing he makes a positive impact on the lives of the residents at Sunrise of Burlington.

David's pan-seared ginger-and-soy-marinated sea bass creation wowed the crowd. Below, we've included the recipe so that you can make David's dish yourself!

Pan-Seared Ginger-and-Soy-Marinated Sea Bass

Serves 8


  • 2 pounds sea bass filets, 4 oz. portions
  • 2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root
  • 3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (for pan searing fish and sautéing vegetables)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped garlic
  • ½ cup white wine (chardonnay)    
  • 2 cups sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms (stems removed)
  • 1 pound fresh spinach (washed, stems removed)
  1. Combine ginger, soy sauce, ¾ cup olive oil in bowl. Whisk together to combine. Add sea bass portions and toss to evenly coat. Marinate for at least 4 hours, or overnight preferred. 
  2. When ready to cook, remove fish from marinade and lightly pat dry with paper towel. Heat sauté pan until hot. Add the 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan. Heat until shimmering and almost smoking.
  3. Carefully place fish skin side up into hot oil. Sauté for 2-3 minutes per side or until nicely golden brown. Transfer fish to a baking dish. 
  4. Place fish in a 350-degree F oven for 5-6 minutes, or until fish reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. 
  5. While sauté pan is still hot, add chopped garlic and shiitake mushrooms to pan. Sauté until mushrooms are almost tender.  
  6. Add fresh spinach and toss with mushrooms and garlic. Add white wine to pan, and cover tightly and simmer until spinach is wilted. 
  7. To serve, spoon spinach and mushroom mixture on to center of the plate. Carefully place fish portion on top. Spoon a couple teaspoons of pan liquid over the top of fish. 

We hope you love David's recipe as much as our residents did!

2017 Nutritional Challenge: Brian Amery's Meatloaf

We pride ourselves on providing our residents with delicious meals that are nutritionally sound, and one of our favorite ways to keep our menus diverse and fresh is the annual Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge.

On Thursday, Nov. 9, Sunrise Senior Living held our fifth annual Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge. Sunrise chefs from across the U.S. and Canada submitted nutritious recipes, and five finalists traveled to The Fairfax at Belvoir Woods, VA, to compete for the title of Sunrise Signature Chef.

Brian Amery was a finalist, and he is the dining services coordinator for Sunrise of Wilmington, DE. Brian is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Prior to joining Sunrise, he worked at the Hotel DuPont for 15 years. He has held positions as executive chef for Fieldstone Golf Club, Sodexo, Aramark, and Compass Group corporations, as well as Gate Gourmet at Dulles International Airport, where he oversaw the production of 15,000 to 20,000 meals each day for 19 different international airlines.

Brian has been with Sunrise since 2014. He is also a designated trainer and job coach, supporting a cluster of seven Sunrise communities in the nearby Pennsylvania region. Brian takes great pride in helping to produce delicious home cooked meals for the residents at Sunrise of Wilmington. He enjoys spending time with his wife Lori and their five-year-old daughter Chloe, tropical vacations, playing golf, cooking for family and friends in his home, and listening to Jimmy Buffet.

Here is Brian's meatloaf recipe, which earned him a spot as a finalist in the 2017 Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge.

White Meatloaf with Mushroom Ragout & Steamed Asparagus

Serves 10


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 pound ground chicken breast
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage
  • 4 ounce pasteurized liquid eggs
  • 2 ounce panko bread crumbs
  • 1 ounce BBQ sauce
  • 1 ounce whole milk
  • 3 ounce onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground tri-color pepper corns
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  1. Soak crumbs in egg and milk. 
  2. Mix all ingredients in mixer, place into greased bread pan, and bake to internal temperature of 165 degrees F. 
  3. Let rest and hold at 140 degrees F or higher until ready for service.

Mushroom ragout:

  • 3 ounce Cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 ounce Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 ounce Oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 each shallot, brunoise
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram, chopped
  1. Saute all items, deglaze with red wine, and reduce. 
  2. Set aside and reserve for service.

Steamed asparagus:

  • 2.5 pounds small asparagus
  • 2 tablespoon whole butter
  1. Steam asparagus until tender, and toss with butter. 
  2. Hold at 140 degrees F or higher until ready for service.

Roasted fingerling potatoes:

  • 2 pound petite fingerling potatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  1. Toss potatoes and olive oil together. 
  2. Lay in a single layer on a sprayed sheet pan. Roast in the oven at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until tender.  
  3. Remove from oven and add parsley. 
  4. Hold at 140 degrees F or higher until ready for service. 

      To Serve: Slice meat loaf into 4 oz. slices. Place fingerling potatoes in the center of the plate and top with meatloaf and ragout. Place the asparagus directly beside.

We hope you love Brian's recipe as much as our residents do!

2017 Nutritional Challenge: Stephen Worden's...

We pride ourselves on providing our residents with delicious meals that are nutritionally sound, and one of our favorite ways to keep our menus diverse and fresh is the annual Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge.

On Thursday, Nov. 9, Sunrise Senior Living held our fifth annual Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge. Sunrise chefs from across the U.S. and Canada submitted nutritious recipes, and five finalists traveled to The Fairfax at Belvoir Woods, VA, to compete for the title of Sunrise Signature Chef.

Stephen Worden of Sunrise of Braintree, MA, is an American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary Educator. He received his first culinary training in the U.S. Coast Guard, later graduating from the vocational education program at Fitchburg State University. He also attended graduate studies at the Beringer School for American Chefs under renowned teacher and author Madeleine Kamman, and he completed culinary coursework at La Varenne at the Greenbrier, the New England Culinary Institute, and Johnson and Wales University. 

Stephen is a ServSafe certified instructor and proctor and was an instructor of culinary arts for 14 years. He has spent 40 years in the culinary industry in a variety of roles, including as the executive chef at country clubs, hotels, resort properties, and restaurants. Stephen has been with Sunrise since 2015, and he currently resides in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Here's the salmon filet recipe which earned Stephen a spot in the 2017 Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge.

Salmon Filet with Sweet Corn, Tomatoes and Basil

Serves 4


  • 4 each, 4 oz. salmon portions
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 each bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place salmon on a sprayed ½ hotel pan. Pour water, wine, and aromatics over salmon.
  2. Cover with foil and oven poach for 10-12 minutes, or until fish reaches internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Strain and reserve ¼ cup of the poaching liquid. Hold for service.


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon shallot, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (off cob)
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomato, halved
  • 2 tablespoon basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup fish broth (poaching liquid)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional items:

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  1. Heat olive oil in 10-inch sauté pan. Add shallots and cook until fragrant and transparent. 
  2. Add corn and continue to cook 2 minutes. 
  3. Add tomatoes until they start to release their juices. 
  4. Add stock and wine, and reduce volume to half.
  5. Add basil and adjust salt and pepper.
  6. Serve over salmon. If desired, add cream and butter, reduce until thickened, and serve over protein of choice.

We hope you love Stephen's salmon as much as our residents do!

2017 Nutritional Challenge: Quinn Hannon's...

We pride ourselves on providing our residents with delicious meals that are nutritionally sound, and one of our favorite ways to keep our menus diverse and fresh is the annual Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge.

On Thursday, Nov. 9, Sunrise Senior Living held our fifth annual Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge. Sunrise chefs from across the U.S. and Canada submitted nutritious recipes, and five finalists traveled to The Fairfax at Belvoir Woods, VA, to compete for the title of Sunrise Signature Chef.

Meet Quinn Hannon, a contestant from Sunrise on the Scioto in Columbus, OH. As the youngest of four children, Quinn learned early how to be tough and plan for anything. Later in life, he learned that these skills made the culinary arts a natural fit for a career. 

Quinn started out in the kitchen of several different bar and grill restaurants and became passionate about cooking. He began reading about and experimenting with food, and he eventually attended Johnson & Wales University. Since then, his culinary and leadership styles have evolved, but he has continued to practice his love for teaching others and giving residents an experience to remember.

Here's Quinn's delicious recipe, which earned him a spot in the 2017 Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge.

Chicken Osso Bucco with Gremolata and Roasted Vegetable Risotto

Serves 5

Chicken osso bucco:

  • 10 chicken legs
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 4 ounce olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, ¼ inch dice
  • 1 rib celery, ¼ inch slices
  • 2 tablespoon thyme, chopped
  • 2 cup white wine
  • 2 cup marinara
  • 2 cup chicken stock
  1. Season chicken legs with fresh pepper.
  2. Brown chicken legs in a Dutch oven with oil and set browned chicken aside.
  3. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of oil from Dutch oven, and cook vegetables and herbs until tender.
  4. Deglaze with white wine and loosen fond from pan, bring to simmer and reduce wine by half.
  5. Add marinara and stock to Dutch oven, and bring to a boil.
  6. Add reserved chicken legs to liquid, and cook covered at 300 degrees F for 45 min to an hour, or until chicken is tender and has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees F or higher for 15 seconds.


  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  1. Toss together and set aside for garnish.

Roasted Vegetable Risotto:

  • 1 medium zucchini seeded and cut in strips
  • 1 medium yellow squash seeded and cut in strips
  • 1/2 red onion cut into petals
  • 1 medium carrot cut into rosettes
  • 1 bunch asparagus cut into pieces
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon thyme, chopped
  1. In hot skillet, add 1 tablespoon oil, then add zucchini and do not move until lightly colored. Then, toss and let sit again. When slightly colored, add to metal mixing bowl with the garlic and thyme.
  2. Repeat coloring process for all vegetables. Toss all vegetables together and cover tightly with saran wrap set aside.
  • 2 ounce olive oil
  • 2 cup Arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 ounce heavy cream whipped to medium peaks
  • 3 ounce grated parmesan cheese
  1. Warm oil in sauce pan, add rice and toast until opaque 2-4 min.  Add white wine and stir until adsorbed.
  2. Add hot stock in ½ cup ladles to rice stirring between each until most of the liquid is adsorbed
  3. Continue adding hot stock until rice is creamy and tender.
  4. Add whipped cream, parmesan, and reserved roasted vegetables and fold to mix.
  5. To Serve: Two chicken legs with 2 oz. Braising liquid and 7 oz. roasted vegetable risotto, garnish with Gremolata.

We hope you enjoy Quinn's recipe as much as our residents do!

2017 Nutritional Challenge: Nick Napolitano's... We pride ourselves on providing our residents with delicious meals that are nutritionally sound, and one of our favorite ways to keep our menus diverse and fresh is the annual Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge. 

On Thursday, Nov. 9, Sunrise Senior Living held our fifth annual Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge. Sunrise chefs from across the U.S. and Canada submitted nutritious recipes, and five finalists traveled to The Fairfax at Belvoir Woods, VA, to compete for the title of Sunrise Signature Chef.

Meet Nick Napolitano, a finalist from Sunrise of Des Peres, MO. Nick has been working in the culinary industry for 13 years, having earned a culinary degree from Forest Park Culinary School and a degree in Restaurant Management from the University of Missouri-Saint Louis. Nick joined the team at Sunrise of Des Peres as the Dining Services Coordinator almost six years ago. 

Nick loves working for Sunrise and knows that residents look forward to meals each day, so it’s important to ensure they have a great experience. He is proud to have introduced “Fancy Fridays” at Sunrise of Des Peres, where items like filet mignon and lobster tails are prepared for residents one Friday each month. This helps residents Live with Anticipation as they look forward to a special occasion each month.

When Nick isn’t at work, he enjoys spending time with his four kids who range in age from 13 years to three months. He spends many weekends watching their games and just hanging out at home.

Here's Nick's delicious recipe, which earned him a spot in the 2017 Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge.

Braised Red Wine Short Ribs with Truffle Roasted Yukons & Asparagus

Serves 4

Short Ribs:

  • 2 pounds bone-in short ribs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup red wine (Port recommended)
  • 5 cups beef stock (unsalted)
  • 2 tablespoon thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  1. Seasons ribs with garlic and pepper. Sear ribs in a heated and oiled stock pot until golden brown on each side, then remove ribs from pot.
  2. Add mirepoix (onions, carrots, celery) and cook until tender; deglaze pan with red wine.
  3. Add ribs back in to stock pot, and add thyme, garlic, and beef stock.
  4. Cover pot with a lid or tightly with foil, put in preheated oven at 325 degrees F for two-and-a-half to three hours.
  5. Remove pot from oven and strain contents and reserve liquid for service.

Truffle Potatoes:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 2 tablespoons truffle oil
  • 4-5 medium-sized Yukon potatoes
  1. Dice potatoes to a medium size and put into a large bowl.
  2. Toss with olive oil, garlic, and pepper.
  3. Lay out evenly on a non-sprayed large sheet pan and bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.
  4. After done cooking, toss potatoes in while truffle oil.

Seared Asparagus:

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon
  1. Heat skillet with oil and add asparagus.
  2. Halfway through cooking, add pepper and garlic.
  3. When asparagus are tender, squeeze lemon over asparagus.
  4. To serve: Plate potatoes in middle of plate, short ribs over potatoes and asparagus on the side; drizzle strained braising liquid over top.

We hope you love Nick's recipe as much as our residents do!

Honoring the Dedication of Family Caregivers

The phrase “family caregiver” means different things to different people. For some, it might conjure an image of a parent caring for a child with a disability. Others might think of a spouse caring for a partner with Alzheimer’s. And then, there is what we consider the more typical family caregiver: an adult child who provides care for an elderly parent.

In a study titled Caregiving in the U.S., conducted through a partnership between the National Caregivers Alliance and the AARP, researchers took a long, hard look at who this nation’s caregivers are. The researchers examined what duties they perform for loved ones and the challenges they encounter trying to juggle so many important roles in life.

The results of this research may surprise you.

Getting to Know Family Caregivers

In honor of National Family Caregiver Month, here is a snapshot of caregivers and the duties they perform for loved ones.

  • The typical family caregiver is a woman who is 49 years old.
  • Almost one quarter of family caregivers are adults between the ages of 18 and 34. Most are the adult children of a senior, but some are the grandchildren.
  • An average family caregiver devotes almost 25 hours each week to caring for their loved one. They assist with household tasks, personal care, and running errands.
  • Some family caregivers carry an even greater burden: 23 percent provide 40 hours or more of support each week. Researchers refer to these family caregivers as “high hour caregivers.”
  • Six in ten high hour caregivers perform medical or nursing care tasks.
  • An average family caregiver has been providing assistance to their loved one for 4.5 years. Most expect this to continue for at least another five years.
  • On top of their caregiving duties, almost 60 percent of family caregivers work at least part-time.

Easing the Burden on Family Caregivers

Juggling work, a family, and the demands of caring for a senior can be mentally and physically exhausting.  According to research from The American Psychological Association, stress is a part of everyday life for a family caregiver. It’s a load that can take a heavy toll on the caregiver’s career, personal health, and happiness.

Studies show that family caregivers experience a multitude of health issues. The longer the role continues, the greater the number of problems, including:

  • Recurrent headaches
  • Back and neck problems
  • Stomach and digestive issues
  • Higher rates of depression
  • Weakened immune systems
  • More frequent episodes of cold and flu

What can friends and loved ones do to ease the burden of a family caregiver in their life?

We have a few suggestions for you to consider.

  1. Offer to Run Errands: Assist with errands. If you will be heading to the post office, drug store, and grocery store Saturday morning, for example, call the caregiver to see what they need from each of those stops. They might say “nothing” because they don’t want to be a bother. Ask again. For family caregivers, there are never enough hours in the day. Eliminating a few errands from their long “To Do” list will probably be a big help.
  2. Give Your Time: Offer to stay with the senior while your friend or family member takes a break. Giving the caregiver a few hours to themselves is probably one of the best gifts you can give them. Even better? Try to do this once or twice each month.
  3. Lend an Ear: Sometimes, family caregivers just need someone to listen. They might want to vent their feelings if siblings aren’t pulling their weight when it comes to helping care for a parent. Or, they could  need someone to hear them work through the challenges of juggling career and caregiving. Offering support can help the caregiver cope with their emotional struggle.
  4. Explore Senior Care Solutions: Family caregivers often recognize they need a break, but don’t have time to explore senior care options. You can help by doing some of the initial research on their behalf. This could mean researching which senior living communities nearby offer memory care for adults with dementia, or exploring what types of respite care services would be a good fit.

Sunrise Senior Living

If you are a family caregiver, we have resources designed to help both you and the senior you care for. Go to the Caregiving Support section of our website to learn about initiating important conversations with a senior, addressing caregiver needs, budgeting, and more.

Paying Tribute to the Greatest Generation on...

We call them the Greatest Generation. This term was created by renowned newsman Tom Brokaw to describe the generation of people who came of age during a time of great upheaval and change. The Great Depression and World War II shaped them. These austere years were followed by the most prosperous time in the history of our nation. 

But it all started with the sacrifices this generation made. Whether they headed off to war to defend our country or rationed staple items at home so they could contribute more to the war effort, this is a generation known for their strong work ethic, frugality, and commitment to country.

In honor of their service and sacrifice, we wanted to share a few ideas you can use to recognize the veterans in your community on Veteran’s Day this Nov. 11.

4 Ways to Honor Veterans in Your Community

Honor those who served or are currently serving by:

  1. Volunteering Your Time: It’s no secret that Veterans Affairs hospitals have struggled in recent years. If you are able, donating your time to help veterans and active duty service personnel who are hospitalized can make a big difference. According to the Veteran’s Administration, 75,000 volunteers a year contribute a total of 11 million hours of service to our nation’s veterans. From driving vans that take patients to and from medical appointments to simply providing companionship to those who are hospitalized, there are many ways to get involved. Contact the VA online to learn more.
  2. Joining a Letter Campaign: If you’ve ever watched a small-town parade or attended a local community festival, you’ve likely noticed veterans manning a booth to raise awareness. It might be to remind visitors about those still missing in action from the Vietnam Conflict or about soldiers currently serving the United States. Veterans want us to support and remember their fellow servicemen and women. One way is by writing letters and sending cards to currently deployed soldiers. Operation Gratitude, Adopt a Platoon, A Million Thanks, and Flags Across the Nation are all organizations that can help you connect with soldiers.
  3. Supporting Military Families: Many people don’t realize the sacrifice a family makes when a loved one is deployed. From financial struggles to difficulty managing a home and family alone, the spouses and children of servicemen and women need our support too. The National Military Family Association is a non-profit organization committed to serving military families. You can get involved in a variety of ways, including making a financial contribution, volunteering your time to help a family near you, advocating for family benefits, and more.
  4. Flying Your American Flag: Finally, you can honor our veterans by flying your American flag. Displaying the red, white, and blue sends a signal to our veterans and active duty service personnel that we recognize and appreciate their efforts and sacrifices.

Volunteer Opportunities at Sunrise

Sunrise is proud that many members of the Greatest Generation choose to call our communities home. We welcome volunteers who would like to donate their time to help these patriots continue to enjoy active and engaged lives.

Volunteers can accompany Sunrise residents on community outings, help with life enrichment programs, and teach classes, like computer skills or art projects. Call the community nearest you to learn more!

Understanding the Aid & Attendance Benefit for...

Many military veterans and their spouses are unaware of a benefit that can help them with the expenses associated with senior care. If they qualify, a couple may be eligible for as much as $2,127 a month in additional support. For adult children who are trying to help an older parent finance a move to senior living, that can make a big difference.

The benefit that we are referring to is the Aid and Attendance benefit.

In honor of National Military Family Appreciation Month, we are sharing information on eligibility and the current benefit amounts.

Aid & Attendance Eligibility Requirements

Navigating the Aid and Attendance benefit process can be challenging, especially when it comes to understanding eligibility. There are two primary conditions that must be met before the Veteran’s Administration will consider a veteran or their spouse for senior care benefits.

  • Active Duty Service: A veteran must have served at least 90 days of active military service to be considered, at least one day of which must have been during an acknowledged period of war. The Veteran’s Administration considers the following wars and conflicts as acknowledged periods of war:
    • World War I (Apr. 6, 1917 – Nov. 11, 1918)
    • World War II (Dec. 7, 1941 – Dec. 31, 1946)
    • Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 – Jan. 31, 1955)
    • Vietnam era (Feb. 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise Aug. 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975)
    • Gulf War (Aug. 2, 1990 – through a date yet to be determined)
  • Health Status: The next criterion a veteran or their spouse must meet is a healthcare status determination. Currently, the criteria to qualify for senior care assistance is:
    • Age 65 or older, OR
    • Totally and permanently disabled, OR
    • A patient in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care, OR
    • Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, OR
    • Receiving Supplemental Security Income

If these two requirements are met, the next step is what is called the yearly family income and net worth standard. Congress reviews and sets these each year.

Aid & Attendance Financial Determination

The Veteran’s Administration will review each senior’s individual circumstances. Compensation is based on financial assets and income, marital status, and the veteran’s healthcare expenses.

In 2017, the maximum award for each classification is:

  • Married Veteran: $2,127 per month
  • Married Spouse of Veteran Requires Care: $1,408 per month
  • Single Veteran: $1,794 per month
  • Surviving Spouse: $1,153 per month

Sunrise Senior Living is Home to Veterans

Sunrise communities across the country are home to many of our nation’s veterans. We are proud to have the opportunity to serve those who served our country so well.

If you are trying to help a veteran in your family determine if they are eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, we can help. One of our team members at a community near you can answer your questions and connect with you with additional resources for support. Call today to learn more! 

Sugar vs. Fat: The Heart Health Debate Rages on

At Sunrise Senior Living communities, nutrition is an essential part of our commitment to helping older adults live their best life. Partnerships like the one we have with the USDA’s MyPlate program allow us to stay on top of the latest research on senior nutrition and share what we learn with the residents of our communities.

One topic we continue to explore is the comparison between sugar and fat as they relate to heart disease. Back in the 1980s, adults were encouraged to follow a low-fat diet. Fat made you fat, we were told. Experts believed eliminating the fat in your diet was the best way to keep your heart healthy. What was long overlooked, though, was how much sugar many low-fat foods contained.

In late 2016, an enlightening new study shed light on what the real danger to your heart might be. Surprisingly, fat wasn’t the only culprit.

The Sugar vs. Fat Debate Heats Up

In November of 2016, Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research was published in JAMA Internal Medicine. This shocking article revealed a dubious relationship between sugar industry officials and Harvard scientists in 1967.

According to this investigation, Harvard researchers were compensated to downplay just how much sugar contributed to poor heart health. Because the fading sugar industry was desperate to keep demand for their product high, they paid scientists to overlook the negative impact of sugar. It appears that over the last 50 years, we have been following the advice of bad science when it comes to incorporating sugar and fat in to our daily diet.

Thanks to the work of Cristin Kearns, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, and two of her colleagues, we now know differently. These three researchers spent many hours tracking the work of an organization called the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF).

What Kearns found was alarming. Her team discovered that the “study” conducted by SRF was actually nothing more than a research review that claimed to find evidence consuming too much fat would lead to heart disease. It overlooked the fact that sugar was equally as dangerous.

So where does science stand today in the sugar vs. fat debate?

While the evidence continues to evolve, what researchers have to say might surprise you.

Can Healthy Fat Help You Lose Weight?

Researchers say fat has more calories per gram than carbs or protein. But cutting back on fat often doesn’t translate to weight loss. According to the experts at the Cleveland Clinic, that’s because when we cut fat from our diet, we often replace it with foods high in sugar. That causes blood sugar to spike which fuels fat cells, especially in the belly.

Healthy fats, by contrast, can keep you feeling full longer. And, they help you avoid spikes in blood sugar. Avoiding those ups and downs can prevent binging on unhealthy comfort foods and treats.

Healthy fats to eat in moderation include:

  • Walnuts and almonds
  • Peanut butter
  • Wild salmon
  • Flax seed
  • Olive oil and canola oil
  • Avocados
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Coconut
  • Greek yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Dark chocolate

Recipes from the Heart

If you need heart healthy recipes to spice up your menu planning, we can help. You can download our Recipes from the Heart cookbooks at no cost. Each one offers recipes that are popular with residents in the Sunrise Senior Living communities across the United States and Canada. 

Why Older Adults Might Want to Adopt a Senior Pet

Pets play an important role in many families. They offer friendship, companionship, and unconditional love. For seniors, they can fill a void left behind after the departure of children or the death of a spouse. 

Having a furry friend to talk to throughout the day and to snuggle up with on the couch in the evening can help combat loneliness. And research shows pets keep seniors healthier longer.

In honor of National Adopt an Older Pet Month, we explore how pets can help seniors live healthier lives.

Pets and Seniors: A Happy, Healthy Partnership

A study conducted at the University of Missouri revealed that seniors who own dogs enjoy better health. This often translates to longer life. The stronger the bond is between the older adult and their four-legged friend, the greater the benefits.

Researchers say this is because people who feel a strong emotional attachment to their pet are more likely to take good care of them. An older adult will spend time walking their pet and socializing with neighbors, including children, who are attracted to the senior's pet. 

Most seniors spend time petting and talking with their furry friend. And an older adult is also likely to engage in playful activities with their pet, such as tossing a ball or stick for them to fetch.

Each of these activities contributes to a healthier pet—and a healthier senior. Petting an animal has been shown to lower blood pressure. Walking helps with weight management and warding off disease. Lively activity also keeps an older adult from falling in to a sedentary lifestyle, which is known to be just as bad for seniors as smoking.

If you are helping a senior loved one find the perfect four-legged companion, here are a few things to consider.

Adopting a Pet Later in Life

The first thing to think about before adopting a pet is the senior’s budget. Some breeds of cats and dogs are known for having health conditions that will result in higher vet bills. Grooming expenses for long-haired pets can also take a bite out of an older adult’s budget. Make sure it is financially feasible for the senior to add a new member to the family.

Also think about the space a pet might require. For example, a small dog can make a few laps around the living room on a snowy day to work off excess energy. By contrast, a bigger dog will likely need to go for a walk outside even when the weather is frightful.

Finally, whether it is a dog or a cat, consider adopting an older pet. While puppies and kittens are fun to watch, their boundless energy might be too much for an older adult. Local shelters typically have a more difficult time finding homes for older animals, so start your search there.

Pet Friendly Living at Sunrise

Sunrise communities welcome pets. Your canine or feline companion can move in when you do!  In fact, we believe in the power of paws so much that every Sunrise Senior Living community has a resident cat or dog for residents and families to enjoy. Call the community nearest you to learn more.

Holiday Travel Tips When a Loved One has...

The holidays are a hectic time to travel. In some families, the holidays are the one time of year all generations are reunited. And no one wants to miss out on the reunion. If your family’s travel plans for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Hanukkah include a senior who has Alzheimer’s disease, preparing ahead of time is the key. 

Six Tips for Alzheimer’s Caregivers Traveling During the Holidays

Here are six tips to help make holiday travel easier for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease:

  1. Time of Day: The hustle and bustle of the holiday travel season can be overwhelming for all of us, but especially for those with memory impairment. Think about the times of day when your loved one is at their best and worst. Then, plan your travels around those times. If they suffer from sundowning, for example, schedule your day so you are done traveling before evening.
  2. TSA PreCheck Screenings: Call the airports you will be traveling through to ask about TSA PreCheck screening requirements. Adults aged 75 and older often qualify for expedited screening. This usually means they won’t have to remove shoes, belts, and other belongings at security. A senior with Alzheimer’s might also qualify for special considerations if you notify the TSA  ahead of time. For example, the TSA might be able to perform the security screenings for you and your loved one together.
  3. Meaningful Activity: The change in environment and all the sitting around might lead to increased stress and agitation for a person living with memory impairment. Planning meaningful activities, such as folding fabric swatches or flipping through a family photo album, might help keep them busy during long drive times and airport delays.
  4. Pack for an Emergency: None of us want to think a crisis will occur during a holiday getaway, but it’s better to be prepared just in case. Before you leave home, make sure you have your senior loved one’s important medical information with you. You can do this by making copies of their health file or by using an app on your cell phone, such as Health Tracker or CareZone, to save medical information for easy access.
  5. GPS Tracking: One fear shared by many families who have a loved one with Alzheimer’s is wandering. A change in environment can increase agitation, which in turn increases the risk for wandering. If you become separated from your loved one in a busy airport or at a roadside travel plaza, it can be distressing for everyone involved. GPS technologies thatuse cellular service can offer you peace of mind. Pendants, watches, and even shoes with GPS in the soles can help you track your loved one’s location in real time.
  6. Contact Cards: While you don’t want to diminish your senior loved one’s dignity, it is important that people know how to contact you if the two of you become separated during holiday travel. An easy way to ensure that is to create simple emergency contact cards. Put your name and contact information on a card, along with contact information for one or two additional trusted friends and family members. Place these cards in your senior family member’s shirt pocket, travel bag, wallet, and purse.

Resources for Traveling with an Adult Who has Dementia

The Alzheimer’s Association has additional resources for families who will be traveling with a senior who has dementia. You will find more detailed information on air travel, packing tips, and planning.

For some seniors with dementia, traveling just isn’t a safe idea. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay at home and miss family holiday celebrations.

The holidays are a festive time of year in Sunrise Senior Living communities and a great time for a short-term respite stay. Your loved one can participate in all of the programs and activities our long-term memory care residents enjoy while also receiving the care and support they need.

Call the Sunrise community nearest you to learn more about holiday respite for a senior with Alzheimer’s.

5 Ways Seniors Can Stay Young at Heart

You’re only as old as you feel. Think young, stay young. Age is only a number. 

We’ve probably all heard some form of these clichés before. But research shows these phrases might be more than just platitudes. There may just be some truth behind them.

Researchers at University College London explored the issue and uncovered a fascinating result: people who thought of themselves as younger actually lived longer!

Attitude and Aging

The study included nearly 6,500 men and women with an average age of 66.

Participants were first asked, “How old do you feel you are?” Their replies were:

  • 70 percent felt three or more years younger than their actual age.
  • 25 percent felt close to their actual age.
  •  5 percent felt more than one year older than their actual age.

Eight years after being asked that initial question, researchers followed up to determine each participant’s status.  The first group, which had indicated that they felt younger than their actual age, had a lower mortality rate than the other two groups!

So it just might be that staying young at heart helps you live a longer life.

5 Ways to Help Seniors Stay Young at Heart

Here are five steps you can take to feel younger than your calendar age:

  1. Be Positive: Having an optimistic outlook can help you through challenging times while also building good coping skills. Being able to cope with life’s ups and downs without letting stress overwhelm you is an important skill to develop and maintain. Meditation and yoga are two practices that might help you learn to think more positively.
  2. Forget about the Number: Experts say that not letting  your calendar age dictate what you do and how you live is another key to successful aging. Some older adults withdraw from physical activities when they hit certain age milestones, for example, because they think they are too old for them. Or they give up on eating healthy because they think it doesn’t matter anymore. Keep focusing on wellness, and forget about how old your driver’s license says you are.
  3. Stay Active: Engaging in fitness activities and not becoming overly sedentary can also help you age well. In fact, a sedentary lifestyle is now considered to be as dangerous for your long-term health as smoking! If you don’t currently follow an exercise program, speak with your primary care physician for advice. Swimming, walking, Pilates, bike riding, and tai chi might be activities to consider.
  4. Keep Learning: Another avenue for staying young in mind and spirit is to keep learning. Tackle new hobbies. Study a foreign language. Take a guitar class. Learning keeps your mind challenged while also nurturing the spirit. “Use it or lose it” is a phrase healthcare professionals sometimes use to encourage older adults to keep their minds engaged with life.
  5. Live With Purpose: Finally, living a purposeful life helps you stay young at heart. It’s easy to fall into a trap of relying on television for entertainment after you retire.. Instead, find activities that help you feel productive. Many older adults find volunteer work gives them meaning and purpose. And new research shows volunteering might help seniors live longer, healthier lives.

Independent Living at Sunrise

Independent Living residents at Sunrise enjoy an active lifestyle free from the burdens of home ownership. No more mowing the lawn on hot summer days or shoveling snow on frigid ones. Call us today to learn more!

6 Steps You Can Take to Reduce Your Risk for a...

The term “stroke” refers to the death of brain cells. The condition occurs as a result of a blockage of oxygen to the brain. Strokes affect people of all ages, but they are far more prevalent in those over the age of 65. Seniors often live with a greater number of risk factors for strokes, such as high cholesterol, cardiac disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Though some strokes are mild and the senior may recover completely, others are devastating and lead to permanent disability and even death. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in this country. And while factors such as genetics, ethnicity, and gender can play a role, estimates are that as much as 80 percent of all strokes can be prevented.

In honor of World Stroke Day on Oct. 29, we are sharing the steps you can take to lower your risk and help your senior loved ones do the same.

Reducing a Senior’s Risk for Stroke

  1. Eat well: Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet might help you lower your stroke risk. Fill your plate with foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and low-fat proteins. Beans, nuts, and whole grains can also help.
  2. Lower sodium intake: Talk with your physician about how much sodium you or a senior loved one should be consuming each day. In many cases, sodium intake should be limited to 1500 mg a day to avoid high blood pressure or pre-hypertension. Avoid overly processed foods and fast food restaurants that are high in sodium and calories.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight: Maintaining a healthy weight might help you reduce the odds of experiencing a stroke. People who are overweight increase their risk for a stroke by 22 percent. Those who are considered clinically obese are 64 percent more likely to have a stroke.
  4. Stop smoking: Smokers are twice as likely to experience a stroke as their non-smoking peers. And it’s never too late to quit. Research shows that smokers who quit even at age 65 add up to 3.4 more years to their life. After one year of a smoke-free lifestyle, the added risk of stroke is effectively eliminated.  It’s also important to note that secondhand smoke can increase the risk for a stroke.
  5. Alcohol in moderation: The American Stroke Association recommends limiting alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks a day for men and one per day for women.
  6. Stay active: We now know that a sedentary lifestyle can be almost as dangerous for seniors as smoking. Staying active and avoiding sitting for long periods of time may help you prevent a stroke. Talk with your primary care doctor for their recommendation about what forms of exercise and how much you should engage in each week.

We hope this information helps you and the seniors in your life find ways to lower your risk for a stroke.

Senior Eats at Sunrise

At Sunrise Senior Living, we know eating healthy requires thoughtful planning. And adding new recipes on a regular basis can help you avoid eating the same boring food plans each week.

In Senior Eats, you will find tips and recipes to help seniors eat a well-balanced diet each day. From turkey and quinoa stuffed peppers to seared salmon with sweet potatoes, the choices are both delicious and nutritious!

How to Include a Grandparent in Your Halloween...

In today’s society, grandparents are often separated from their grandchildren by long distances. A senior’s adult children may move away to pursue career opportunities, get married, and begin raising a family far from their childhood home. 

Even if grandkids live nearby, school schedules and after-school activities can keep families moving at a frantic pace. It makes spending time with the older generation tough.

But seniors still play a vital role in shaping young lives. From acting as the family’s historian to being a source of unconditional love and support, relationships that cross the generations are important.

Bridging the Intergenerational Gap

New research indicates that when younger generations don’t have enough opportunities to connect with grandparents and other family elders, they are more likely to view aging through a negative lens. They may believe the stereotypes about old age and fear growing older and watching their parents age.

Finding ways to help bridge the generation gap is one way to prevent those fears and concerns from taking root in younger family members. Nontraditional holidays like Halloween provide an ideal opportunity to connect and bond across generations.

Intergenerational Halloween Ideas

What can you do to involve a grandparent in your children’s Halloween plans? Especially if they live far from your family?

We have a few ideas:

  • Costume Planning: Involve a grandparent in selecting a Halloween costume. If they can’t be there to shop with you in person, consider using video chat services like Skype or FaceTime to include them. If a grandmother or grandfather has good sewing skills, they might want to help create the costume.
  • Trick-or-Treat: If a grandparent can’t tag along while your neighborhood’s trick-or-treat, take the party to them. For example, if a parent lives an assisted living community, take the kids to the Halloween event there. They are typically held on a day other than Halloween to allow families to participate in both.
  • Ghost Stories and S’mores: A crisp fall evening can be a great time for a family night of ghost stories and s’mores, even if the celebration has to be shared via Skype. Grandparents can tell their favorite spooky stories, as can the children.
  • Halloween Cookie Baking: Baking Halloween cookies is another fun and tasty Halloween event several generations of your family can enjoy together. You can purchase inexpensive cookie cutters in shapes like a witch’s hat, a ghost, a pumpkin, or a bat. Kids can help their grandparent roll out the cookies in fun shapes, then bake and frost them.

Enriching Seniors Lives at Sunrise

Life enrichment is a priority for the entire team at Sunrise Senior Living. We share a commitment to helping each of our residents live every day with purpose. Learn more about our 8 Signature Programs and schedule a visit to a Sunrise community near you!

Halloween Safety When a Senior Loved One Has...

Each October, families in communities across the country celebrate Halloween. Costumes, scary decorations, and trick-or-treat are each a part of this night of ghouls and goblins. But for adults with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers, the night can present safety challenges.

Ghosts, skeletons and zombies are fun Halloween sights for most of us. But scary celebrations can confuse and agitate people who have dementia. Loved ones with mid to late-stage dementia need to be protected from activities and decorations that might be frightening for them.

Safely Celebrating Halloween when a Senior has Dementia

Here are some tips to help you keep a senior with Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia safe this Halloween.

Pay attention to Halloween decorations

While your family might have a tradition of going all out to decorate at Halloween, know that decorations can be confusing for people with dementia. They may have a hard time distinguishing make-believe coffins, skeletons, and ghosts from reality. A house full of skulls and fake eyeballs might get your family in the Halloween spirit, but they can easily create agitation and aggression in an older adult with Alzheimer’s.

Decorations that scream, howl, pop up from the ground, or fall from the ceiling can trigger episodes of wandering in seniors with Alzheimer’s. Consider limiting decorations to pumpkins and cornstalks and items that avoid the fear factor this year.

Be realistic about how much a loved one with dementia can safely handle

Halloween can provide your family with many opportunities for engaging in intergenerational activities together. But it is important to be mindful of how much your loved one can realistically handle.

While packing treat bags for trick-or-treaters might be a fun activity, carving a pumpkin might not be very safe. Instead, consider painting your pumpkins this year. You can download no carve pumpkin templates to use.

Protect a senior with Alzheimer’s when out and about in public near Halloween

As is true of most holidays, retail stores and businesses start the celebration early. This often means Halloween decorations go up in places such as the dentist’s office, the grocery store and even the bank. As you and your senior loved one run errands, be mindful of Halloween décor. While you might easily look past it, your loved one might not.

Plan ahead for Halloween night activities in your own neighborhood

Halloween night can be especially confusing and disorienting for a senior who has dementia. The costumes, noise, and confusion of having trick-or-treaters visit your home might cause anxiety and agitation for your loved one.

If your house will be a stop on the neighborhood’s trick-or-treat route, see if a loved one is available to entertain your family member in another area of the home during those hours.

Have soothing music available to play, as well as favorite snacks and beverages available. It might help to have busy work and projects to keep the senior preoccupied. A basket of towels to fold and refold and a deck of cards to sort and resort are two examples.

You can visit the Alzheimer’s Association Holidays and Alzheimer’s Families resource page to learn more about Halloween safety for seniors with dementia.

Memory Care at Sunrise Senior Living

Sunrise Senior Living has a proud history of caring for adults with Alzheimer’s disease. From our use of reminiscence therapy to safe, comfortable environments, no detail is overlooked.

If you are working to ensure a loved one lives their best quality of life despite the disease, a Sunrise community might be the solution. Call the community nearest you to schedule a private tour. One of our dementia care experts will be happy to show you around and answer your questions about caring for an adult with Alzheimer’s disease.

What Role Do Respiratory Therapists Play in...

While many people are aware of the role physical therapists play in older adults’ lives, the job of a respiratory therapist isn’t always as clear. In honor of National Respiratory Care Week, we want to help seniors and their families learn a little more about this important form of therapy.

From helping older adults cope with chronic illnesses, like emphysema and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), to assisting a senior who is recovering from pneumonia, here’s how respiratory therapists play a vital role in healthy aging.

What is Respiratory Therapy?

Respiratory therapists are a group of health care professionals who help people of all ages with issues related to breathing. There are two levels of respiratory therapists:

  • Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT): CRTs complete either a two-year associate’s degree program or a four-year baccalaureate degree program at an accredited college. After graduation, they are required to successfully pass a national written examination to earn their credentials.
  • Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT): After a respiratory therapist has successfully passed the written exam, they are eligible to take a national voluntary clinical simulation examination that leads to the highest accreditation level, a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT).

You will find respiratory therapists working in a wide variety of locations including:

  • A hospital emergency room, assisting patients with life-saving breathing treatments after problems such as an asthma attack or automobile accident.
  • An operating room, monitoring a patient’s breathing as they undergo a surgical procedure.
  • A physician’s office, conducting testing to evaluate a patient for a pulmonary-related illness, such as asthma or pulmonary fibrosis.
  • An inpatient rehabilitation center, providing treatment to a senior who has a chronic health condition or is recovering from a short-term medical crisis.

Respiratory Therapists and Seniors

Because older adults are more likely to live with chronic health conditions, they are a population respiratory therapists often provide assistance to. Older adults with weaker immune systems are also at higher risk for short-term illnesses, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

A few of the diseases that often require intervention by a respiratory therapist are:

  • Emphysema
  • COPD
  • Lung cancer
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Interstitial Lung Diseases
  • Sleep apnea
  • Cardiac disease
  • Chest trauma
  • Cystic fibrosis

Common Causes of Respiratory Diseases

What can you do to protect your lungs and to help your senior loved one do the same?

Here are a few suggestions from the American Lung Association:

  • If you smoke, stop. Smoking is one of the leading causes of respiratory-related illnesses.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke. Many older adults who have respiratory illnesses live with or previously lived in a home with a smoker. Research shows secondhand smoke can be almost as deadly as smoking.
  • Prevent infections from developing by getting your flu shot every year and washing your hands frequently.
  • Exercise regularly. It’s one of the best ways to improve your lung capacity.
  • Avoid indoor and outdoor pollutants, such as strong chemicals in household cleaners or weed killer.
  • Have your home and your senior loved one’s home checked for radon. According to the EPA, prolonged exposure to radon gas may cause lung cancer.

Living Well at Sunrise

Live with Action is one of the 8 Signature Programs at Sunrise Senior Living. Because we understand how important physical activity is to aging well and maintaining healthy lungs, we make that easier for residents to do each day. From Chair Yoga to Tai Chi, the options for staying active are plentiful.

We hope you will take a minute to enjoy this video of our Live with Action program. It is just one example of the vibrant life residents enjoy every day at Sunrise!

How to Nurture the Spirit During Retirement Years

If you’ve felt a growing desire to explore your spiritual side as you’ve grown older, you’re not alone. According to a Gallup poll, more than 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 say that nurturing their spirit or being part of a religious organization is very important to them. Both of these practices can help older adults navigate their way through traumatic events.  

In honor of October’s designation as National Emotional Wellness Month, we’re sharing a few ideas for activities that keep the mind and spirit strong.

Creating an Emotional Wellness Plan

Attendees at the 1971 White House Conference on Aging came up with an official definition of spirituality. They described it as, “the basic value around which all other values are focused.” When the spirit is healthy, the mind can be peaceful and strong as well.

So what can older adults do to nurture and protect their emotional wellness?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Wellness activities: Quieting the mind can be difficult, especially during a health crisis or after the loss of a loved one. Activities known for their ability to calm and soothe the soul are meditation, walking, swimming, and yoga. For older adults, chair yoga can be a safe way to reap the rewards of yoga without the risk of injury. As with any new form of exercise, talk with your primary care physician before starting.
  • Self-expression: Finding nonverbal ways to express your feelings and struggles can also help your emotional health. Creative art classes, journaling, music, and even dancing are great avenues to consider. Many local libraries, community education programs, and senior centers offer classes for seniors at nominal fees.
  • Legacy: As we age, many of us find our thoughts turning to our legacy. How will we be remembered? What mark will we leave on the world? Will there be anyone left who knows the family’s history and traditions? Engaging in activities such as writing an autobiography or documenting the family’s genealogy can help answer these questions. A fun intergenerational way to memorialize your history and legacy is by creating a video with several generations of the family. Younger generations can ask questions about your life and the family’s traditions for you to answer. You can document and preserve the whole conversation on video.
  • Gardening: Connecting with nature is another activity known to have mental health benefits. Gardening has been shown to help even seniors with Alzheimer’s disease manage anxiety and lift the spirit. Additionally, garden activities can be adapted for seniors who have mobility issues or other health conditions that making digging in the dirt more challenging. Raised flower beds and container gardens are two to explore.
  • Volunteering: Finding meaning and purpose in life after you retire and the kids are grown and gone is important. And it’s something seniors often struggle with. Volunteering your time and talent on behalf of a charitable organization might be the solution. Research shows among the many benefits of volunteer work is a longer, healthier life. Your local United Way or Area Agency on Aging are two organizations that can likely help you connect with a volunteer opportunity near you.

Your Day, Your Way at Sunrise Senior Living

At Sunrise, we offer 8 Activity Programs designed to help every resident live with purpose. From strength training to book clubs, art programs and music, our life enrichment calendar offers a robust variety of daily options.

We’d like to extend an invitation to you and your senior loved one to participate in a program of your choice at your convenience. Call the Sunrise Senior Living community nearest you to make a reservation!

How Art Therapy Benefits Adults with Alzheimer's

Managing troubling behaviors when a senior loved one has Alzheimer’s disease isn’t easy. Part of the struggle for family caregivers is the roller coaster of emotions the disease creates. Some days are good, and family members feel successful. But there are other days when a loved one’s Alzheimer’s-related aggression, agitation, and angry outbursts feel overwhelming.

While researchers aren’t completely sure what causes these highs and lows, many hypothesize that it’s related to difficulty communicating. Alzheimer’s often robs adults of their verbal skills as the disease progresses.

Finding creative ways to allow adults with Alzheimer’s to express themselves might be the key. And art therapy is one such way.

Art Therapy and Adults with Alzheimer’s

Instead of struggling through a traditional conversation that can be stressful for an adult with Alzheimer’s, art allows family caregivers and the senior to use nonverbal communication. Even an adult with advanced Alzheimer’s can use creativity to express themselves. Whether they are cheerful, dispirited, or angry, art provides the older adult with a way to share their emotions in more productive ways.

Other benefits of art therapy for people with Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia include:

●     Concentration skills: Art therapy helps older adults quiet their mind and focus. The physical damage that Alzheimer’s causes to the body makes this difficult to do. But creative arts stimulate different areas of the brain, utilizing cognitive abilities that are still functioning well.

●     Intergenerational activity: Art projects also enable several generations to bond and spend time together. If a grandparent has Alzheimer’s, creating hands-on projects with a grandchild can lift their spirits. It also allows the senior to stay actively engaged in loved ones’ lives.

Incorporating Art Therapy into a Senior’s Day

Many senior communities, including Sunrise Senior Living, include the creative arts in everyday life. Activities are designed to help older adults, including those with memory loss, enjoy meaningful, productive days.

There are many ways you can incorporate these types of activities at home when you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Here are a few easy and inexpensive ideas to try:

●     Craft Store Supplies: Your local craft store can be a great source of inspiration. You can pick up all-inclusive kits to create a variety of projects, ranging from stepping stones to painted pottery. Or you can buy a canvas, paint, and paint brushes and let your loved one create their own art.

●     Art for Alzheimer’s: As our country’s awareness about Alzheimer’s grows, so too do the number of opportunities for life enrichment. Some Alzheimer’s Association day centers and art museums offer art classes, many of which are for the caregiver and senior to enjoy together.

●     Photo Albums/Scrapbook: While many people with Alzheimer’s can’t remember recent events, they may still enjoy vivid memories of the past. One way to honor those memories might be to create a photo album or scrapbook together. You can print or copy favorite family photos and use them to create a memory book. Brightly colored tape and themed stickers from the craft store can further enhance each page.

Dementia Care at Sunrise Senior Living

Sunrise Senior Living’s Memory Care Services are designed to help older adults with dementia enjoy meaningful days despite their disease. From art therapy to secure neighborhoods, we are proud of the work we do on behalf of people with memory loss.

We’d love an opportunity to show you around and help you learn more. Use our Contact Form to request a call from one of the Sunrise Memory Care experts today!

Tasty Desserts that Won't Sabotage Your Diet

Who doesn’t love a great dessert at the end of a meal? Or a sweet treat with friends on a Sunday afternoon? For most of us, dessert means indulgence. And desserts often contain high amounts of sugar and trans-fat. For older adults on a restricted-diet, both can be bad news. 

Even if you aren’t on a physician-directed special diet, dessert can still wreak havoc on your commitment to eating healthy.

So how can you enjoy a great dessert without consuming too much fat and sugar?

In honor of National Dessert Day on Oct. 14, we are sharing a few ideas!

Healthy Dessert Ideas

  • Fudgy Cream Cheese Brownies: The folks at Health magazine created this skinny version of fudgy brownies. A few substitutions help bring the calorie count down to 127 per serving and the fat to just 6.7 grams.
  • Deep Dish Apple Pie: Apples are so fresh and tasty this time of year! It’s the best season to enjoy freshly baked apple pie. But deep dish apple pie often racks up 700 to 800 calories a slice and as many as 30 grams of fat. Eating Well magazine has a healthier version of this perennial favorite apple pie you can enjoy instead. And the good news? It contains just 10 grams of fat and 345 calories.
  • Quinoa Pudding: This protein-packed pudding is a blend of many favorite tastes: lemon, apple, cinnamon and raisins. You can serve it with berries and bananas to pump up the health benefits even further.
  • Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars: While you might not think anything with “cheesecake” in the name can possibly be healthy, this recipe for Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars really is. It is rich with protein and fiber, while also combining the tastes of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

You can also create a healthier version of your own favorite dessert recipe by making a few substitutions.

How to Create a Skinny Version of Your Favorite Dessert

These substitutions can help you cut the fat and sugar in your or a senior loved one’s favorite treats:

  • Beets: This one might surprise you! By adding two thirds of a cup of finely grated raw beets to your favorite brownie recipe, you can cut the required amount of sugar by a quarter cup.
  • Eggs: Egg whites are healthier than egg yolks. You can substitute two egg whites for one egg next time you make dessert. In doing so, you'll cut an average of 60 calories and six grams of fat from your treat.
  • Applesauce: Another easy substitution is swapping sugar for unsweetened applesauce in a 1:1 ratio. Professional bakers suggest for every cup of applesauce substituted, you reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup to prevent the recipe from becoming too mushy.
  • Almond milk: This is an easy one! Trade whole milk for almond milk the next time you are whipping up one of your family’s preferred treats. It’s lower in calories, cholesterol, and fat. And almond milk is also lactose free.

We hope this gives you a few ideas on how to indulge without feeling guilty!

Sunrise Dining Program

We talk about healthy meals a lot on our blog because we know eating well is a part of aging well. Residents at Sunrise communities enjoy delicious, nutritious food choices at every meal.

But you don’t have to take our word for it! We extend an open invitation for you and your senior loved one to join us for lunch or dinner to see for yourself. Call the Sunrise community nearest you to schedule a time.

Inflammation-Fighting Foods that Help Manage...

Arthritis is one of the most common health conditions in people over the age of 65. According to the Arthritis Association, one third of seniors who live with arthritis say it limits their daily life. And one quarter say it causes severe pain. Inflammation is often one of the culprits behind the pain and symptoms of the disease.

But inflammation affects more than just those who live with arthritis. People who have Lupus, heart disease, Crohn’s disease and even sinusitis all suffer when muscles and joints in the body become inflamed.

What can you do to reduce inflammation in the body? How can you help a senior loved one who is struggling with a chronic disease impacted by inflammation?

The old adage “you are what you eat” rings true when it comes to diet and inflammation.

Fighting Inflammation in Older Adults

Let’s get the bad news out of the way right up front. Those sugary treats we all love to indulge in, especially when we aren’t feeling the greatest, contribute to inflammation in the body. As do highly processed foods, red meat, sodas, fried foods and margarine. Overcoming the cravings for these types of comfort foods might not be easy, but it will pay off in the long run with improved quality of life.

Just as avoiding some foods can help lower inflammation in the body, so too can eating smart.

Results of a study published in the Arthritis journal in 2015 showed just how much a healthy diet can impact chronic disease. Researchers found that after six weeks of eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, people living with osteoarthritis reported considerably less pain and a drastic improvement in physical mobility.

Harvard Health has a list of foods they say may help seniors reduce inflammation:

  • Fatty fish
  • Soy
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Tart cherries
  • Broccoli
  • Green tea
  • Nuts (walnuts, almonds)
  • Berries
  • Leafy greens
  • Tomatoes

The bottom line is that a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean Diet or the DASH Diet, might help improve the quality of life for adults with chronic diseases.

Other Ways to Beat Inflammation

There are other steps you can take to reduce inflammation. Here are a few to discuss with your physician:

  • Gentle exercise, such as walking, swimming, Tai Chi or Chair Yoga
  • Alternating between hot and cold therapies (i.e. rotating between a heating pad and an ice pack on painful joints)
  • If you are overweight, losing even five pounds can help reduce inflammation
  • Meditation is great for reducing stress which can lead to lower levels of inflammation in the body
  • Massage therapy is another avenue to explore as it has been shown to help loosen and relax swollen muscles and joints

Eat Well at Sunrise Senior Living

At Sunrise Senior Living, we recognize the important role diet plays in aging well. We make it easy for residents and their loved ones to see firsthand just how healthy each meal is.

In our Nutrition Center, you can view every food served at every meal every day. From carb count to fiber and sodium, the nutritional break down for every meal is listed!

Fire Prevention Awareness Week: What Seniors... National Fire Prevention Week kicks off this year on October 8. Since 1922, this week has been used to raise awareness about fire safety in remembrance of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.Over the past three years, the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) has emphasized preventing home fires with the proper use of smoke detectors. This year, the NFPA has chosen the theme, “Every Second Counts.” 

This is a topic that is especially important for older adults. That’s because seniors face twice the risk of being injured or fatally harmed in a home fire compared to the general population.

Research also shows adults over the age of 85 face even more startling odds: they are at almost five times higher risk of harm in a home fire. This means that while older adults account for only 13 percent of the nation’s population, 35 percent of deaths related to fires are seniors.

What can you do to help an older adult you love lower their risk?

We’ve pulled together a few suggestions.

Fire Safety Tips for Seniors

  1. Smoke Alarm Alternatives: As this year’s theme suggests, when a fire breaks out in the home, every second counts. For older adults with some hearing loss, relying on a traditional smoke detector might not be good enough. They might not hear it if they are sleeping. New fire safety technology offers extra support, such as sending an alert to a smartphone or wearable device. Other smoke detectors can flash a light or even shake the bed to wake a sleeping senior. 
  2. Home Security System: It's also a good idea to add fire safety protection to a senior’s home security system. One especially helpful feature can alert the fire department if sensors detect smoke in the home.
  3. Plan Two Escape Routes: Help your senior loved one plan and practice evacuating their home via two different escape routes. Make sure both ways of vacating the home are easy for an older adult under stress to navigate.
  4. Escape Routes Lighting: It is important to make sure escape routes are easy to access day or night. Adding motion sensor night lights to illuminate the path—both inside and out—can help the senior safely escape after dark.
  5. Predetermined Safe Place: You will also need to discuss a plan for where your older loved one should go once they escape their home and are waiting for help to arrive. Agree on a safe place, preferably a trusted neighbor’s home. 

The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) created a complimentary checklist to help families prevent and plan for home fires. If you are the caregiver for a senior loved one, it can be a great tool to help you walk through their home and assess it for fire safety concerns.

We’ll be happy to talk about the safety programs we have in place when you visit one of our communities for a personal tour

How to Educate an Older Adult about Identity Theft

October is National Crime Prevention Month. While many of us know that older adults are at higher risk of becoming a victim of crime, we often think first of a purse snatching in the parking lot or a break-in at their home. But experts say identity theft is also a growing concern for older adults.

With identity thieves setting their sights on seniors, it’s important to take time to help educate this population who grew up before identity theft was even an issue.

Here’s what adult children need to know to help a senior avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.

Seniors and Identity Theft

Identity thieves gain access to a senior’s personal information in a variety of ways. Four of the most common ones are:

1. Theft of Medical Information: Unsuspecting seniors may carry important documents, such as their Medicare card or Social Security card, in their wallet or purse. They may need to use them often and keep them in their wallet for convenience. But if their wallet is lost or stolen, thieves have access to the senior’s most personal information. 

Unfortunately, thieves also steal data files from medical centers. They do this by hacking into the health care system’s computer system or by bribing an employee. The information the perpetrator finds is all they need to assume the senior’s identity.  They can then open credit cards, access checking and savings accounts, and even file income taxes in the older adult’s name.

2. Mail Theft: Another way criminals obtain older adults’ important personal information is by stealing their mail right out of the mailbox. Thieves believe seniors are likely to have strong credit history and therefore be profitable targets for identity theft. Medical bills, insurance statements, and investment plans often contain information that can help make it easier to assume someone’s identity.

3. Grandparent Scam: While this one seems hard to believe, it is a fairly common scam. A person with a voice that sounds young calls claiming to be a grandchild. They might even know the name of the older adult’s grandchild and use it. The scammer claims to be in trouble and begs for money to be wired to them or for a credit card number. A frantic grandparent complies, and it turns out to be a scam.

4. IRS Agent Scam: Another growing type of fraud is the IRS agent scam. The scammer calls or sends a threatening email telling the victim they owe the IRS money that must be paid by credit card immediately or they will be arrested. It is important to know that the IRS will never call about a payment. You will receive a written letter explaining any outstanding debts, and it will include information about how to appeal.

If you’d like to learn more about identity theft and older adults, you might want to read a guide created by the IRS. The IRS Taxpayer’s Guide to Identity Theft is a complimentary toolkit that should help answer your questions.

To stay updated on the latest news for older adults and their families, we invite you to follow The Sunrise Blog. We share safety alerts, health and fitness resources and survival tips for weary family caregivers.

Tips to Help a Senior Family Member with...

Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment period is almost here! This is the one time of year older adults can review their current health care plan and make changes. If you are new to Medicare or are the adult child of a Medicare recipient helping them through the process, we know the options can be overwhelming.

We’ve pulled together answers to some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Medicare Open Enrollment to help you get started.

Q: What are this year’s dates for Medicare Open Enrollment?

A: Medicare Open Enrollment follows the same timeline every year. Seniors can explore new options and make changes to their existing coverage between October 15 and December 7. 

Q: If my senior loved one is happy with their current health plan, do they still need to conduct a review of their coverage? 

A: Yes! Plans change from year to year. A provider you are counting on might opt not to be part of a plan again, or the insurer might decide not to continue the relationship with the provider. This is why it is always a good idea to review your loved one’s current coverage and make sure their physicians, labs, pharmacies, outpatient centers, and hospitals will continue to participate in the plan next year. 

Q: If we don’t want to make any changes to our current Medicare coverage after we conduct our review, do we need to enroll in the same plan again?

A: If you are happy with your current coverage and don’t wish to make any changes, you don’t need to do anything. Unless you tell Medicare otherwise, your current coverage will continue in 2018.

Q: When do changes we make during 2017 Medicare Open Enrollment go in to effect?

A: Any changes you make to your plan or your older loved one's will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

Q: I’ve seen ads on television for Medicare Advantage Plans. What are these?

A: Medicare Advantage plans fall under a senior’s Medicare Part C benefit. They are offered through private health insurance companies who contract with Medicare to provide services. Insurers must provide coverage that is at least as good as a senior’s traditional Medicare.

Q: Where can I find more plan and coverage information?

A: If you have general questions, you can visit How to Get Medicare Coverage online for more detailed information. (This is an online version of the guide you should have received in the mail from Medicare.)

If you can’t find the answers you need on the Medicare website, or if you prefer to speak to an expert, you can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (633-4227) with your questions.

When a Senior Loved One Needs Assistance

If you are an adult child who finds yourself providing an increasing amount of hands-on care and support to a parent, assisted living might be an option to consider. This senior housing option is designed to help older adults thrive in an environment that supports independence and success.

If you aren’t quite certain what type of care your senior loved one needs, we encourage you to complete our Senior Care Questionnaire. This four-minute assessment will help you objectively evaluate your parent’s needs and determine what type of senior care is the best fit.

Busting the 5 most common myths about flu shots

Just as the fabulous days of fall transition into colder temperatures, the return of flu season is upon us. While experts say getting an annual influenza vaccine is the best way to avoid being bitten by the bug, not all older adults are believers. For many seniors, the myths about flu shots keep them from being vaccinated.

And that can be dangerous. Estimates are that 75 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths and well over half of all seasonal flu-related hospitalizations are people 65 years and older.

With that in mind, we decided to take time this week to separate fact from fiction when it comes to influenza vaccines.

Five Common Myths about Flu Shots and Flu Season

Myth #1: The flu shot gives you a small dose of the virus to help you build up your immunity to it.

FACT: This is one of the single most deadly myths about the flu shot. Many seniors believe that if they get the vaccine, they will develop the flu. But the experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that this just isn’t so. According to the CDC, the virus in the flu shot is inactivated. A person who receives a flu shot will not get sick from an inactive virus.

Myth #2: Flu vaccines don’t change much year to year, so you don’t really need to get one each fall.

FACT: The label “vaccine” can lead people to believe this myth. The truth is that the formula does change every year. It is re-formulated to target strains of the flu experts believe will be a problem each season.

Myth #3: Getting the flu shot in October is too early. Waiting until December or January means you’ll be protected for the whole flu season.

FACT: Flu shots are effective in helping to prevent the virus for a whole year. Since flu season sometimes heats up in November, experts advise getting the vaccine in October. This gives the vaccine time to work before the worst of flu season begins.

Myth #4: Medicare recipients must have their influenza vaccine at a physician’s office or it won’t be covered.

FACT: Not true. Health care providers who accept Medicare can usually provide the vaccine to you at no cost. For many Medicare recipients, getting the vaccine at the flu shot clinic at a local senior center or at their pharmacy may be quicker and more convenient. Check with the provider to make sure they accept Medicare first.

Myth #5: If you don’t feel sick or if you aren’t exhibiting flu-like symptoms, you can’t spread the virus.

FACT: This myth can be dangerous for older adults. Family caregivers might not take time to get their flu shot. That can lead them to unintentionally passing the virus on to a senior loved one whose immune system may be compromised. A lack of symptoms doesn’t mean the virus isn’t present. In fact, researchers say 20 to 30 percent of people who have the influenza virus don’t exhibit any outward signs of it.

If you have more questions about the flu shot or the 2017-2018 flu season, the Seasonal Influenza Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a great place to find answers.

Healthy Living at Sunrise

Flu safety is just one of the many health and wellness topics we share information about. We talk about aging-related issues ranging from stroke prevention to strength training, making new friends in retirement and healthy hobbies for older adults every day. Follow the Sunrise Senior Living Blog to stay on top of the latest news affecting older adults!

Common myths about a power of attorney

At Sunrise Senior Living communities across the country, we often receive questions from older adults and their family members when they are planning for future care needs. We know it can be confusing. We also understand that there are a variety of misconceptions out there. And many of them relate to the Power of Attorney document (POA).

These misconceptions can create problems for seniors and their families if an emergency arises. We thought it might be helpful to address a few of the most common myths about what a POA is—and isn’t.

Busting the Myths about a Power of Attorney

Myth:  If a senior signs a POA, they forfeit their independence and rights to make their own decisions.

FACT: The reality is that the scope of a Power of Attorney document can be as broad—or as narrow—as you want it to be. For example, a POA can be written to require a physician statement attesting that the senior is incapable of making his or her own decisions.

Myth: A Power of Attorney is good only in the state in which it was written.

FACT: This one is a little more complicated. Some states will recognize a POA created in another state, while others won’t. And laws regarding financial and health care POA documents vary from state to state. This can make it difficult for retirees who spend time traveling or who have a second home. For example, the state of New York requires two documents for health care decisions: a health care proxy and a living will. The proxy names a person who will make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to, and the living will expresses your wishes for care. If you aren’t sure what the laws are where you live, you can look up your state’s requirements for living wills and health care power of attorney documents here.

Myth: A Durable Power of Attorney and a Health Care Power of Attorney are one and the same.

FACT: Not true! A Durable Power of Attorney is for property-related decisions and actions. The document outlines who can make financial and business-related decisions on your behalf. By contrast, a Health Care Power of Attorney grants a trusted friend or family member with the ability to make health care decisions. It is important to know that the authority of a Health Care Power of Attorney is recognized differently in each state.

Myth: Seniors are the only people who need a POA.

FACT: Unfortunately, serious illnesses and accidents can strike at any age. It is important for adults to create whatever documents their state of residence recognizes. Should an unforeseen event render you unable to speak on your own behalf and there isn’t a POA in place, a family member will typically need to go through the lengthy and expensive process of obtaining a guardianship.

Financing Senior Living

Another topic families often ask us about is financing senior living. If you or a senior loved one has questions, our Financial Options Resource Center can be of help. We encourage you to explore resources ranging from short-term bridge loans to the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Benefit.

What senior women should know about breast cancer

Breast cancer is a disease for which risk increases with age. The numbers are quite startling: 82.2 new cases (per 100,000 women) are diagnosed in women younger than 65 years compared with 403.8 for those aged 65 and older. In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are taking time to share what senior women need to know about the disease.

Breast Cancer Awareness among Older Women

Let’s first break down what we know about breast cancer and older women a little further:

  • Age Increases Risk: According to Harvard-affiliated researchers, half of all newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer are in women over the age of 60. Nearly 20 percent of them are women aged 70 and older.
  • By the Numbers: One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. But it’s not just women who develop breast cancer. While the odds are significantly lower, one in 1,000 men will develop it too.
  • Family Ties: If a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) has a history of breast cancer, your risk for developing it nearly doubles. But don’t let a lack of breast cancer in your family lull you into delaying preventative screenings. While family history plays a role, less than 15 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a family member who has or has had the disease.

Breast Cancer Prevention

What actions can women take to help prevent breast cancer?

  • Maintain a Healthy Diet: We hear this one often when it comes to cancer prevention, and breast cancer is no different. Harvard researchers found that women who ate foods with high carotenoid levels had a 19 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those who didn’t. Carotenoids are found in fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep Moving: Staying physically active is one of the best ways to manage your weight. As you grow older and your metabolism slows, it’s easy for the number on the scale to creep up. A study by the American Cancer Society found that women who gained 21 to 30 pounds after age 18 were 40 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than women who maintained their weight! Experts think fat-related estrogen found in overweight older women might be the culprit.
  • Beware of Hormone Therapy (HT): Hormone therapy used to be a widely prescribed method of treating hot flashes in women. But research has uncovered risk factors associated with HT ranging from heart disease to breast cancer. The Women’s Health Initiative found that long-term use of combined estrogen plus progestin therapy increased the chances of developing breast cancer by 24 percent. Physicians weigh the risks for each individual patient and prescribe the smallest dose of HT for the shortest amount of time possible.
  • BRCA Screening: The actress Angelina Jolie helped raise awareness of this screening test. She underwent a double mastectomy after learning she had the BRCA mutation, a gene mutation which increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It’s worth having a discussion about this testing with your personal physician.
  • Smoking: Research shows that pre-menopausal women who smoke raise their risk for breast cancer significantly. What’s interesting is that for post-menopausal women, being exposed to heavy doses of second-hand can be very dangerous. If you smoke, work with your physician to find a smoking cessation program. And if someone you live with smokes, ask them to step outside to light up.

Preventative Screenings for Breast Cancer

While the statistics on breast cancer are fairly solid, the recommendations on preventative screenings aren’t. You may have heard conflicting reports on the news yourself. It can be a little unsettling for women of all ages.

Here is what two important advocacy groups have to say on the matter of mammograms and breast cancer:

  • American Cancer Society: The organization’s experts recommend yearly screening mammograms starting at age 45 and continuing for as long as you are in good health. These are guidelines many physicians in the U.S. adhere to.
  • U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF): The USPSTF takes a more conservative and somewhat controversial approach. They recommend mammograms for women beginning at age 50 and continuing every two years through age 74.

This is obviously a conversation every woman will need to have with her own physician.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle at Sunrise Senior Living

At Sunrise, we make it easier for older adults to live their best life. One way we do that is through the Sunrise Dining Program. Healthy, delicious meals are a part of everyday life.

We invite you to download a complimentary copy of one of our Recipes from the Heart cookbooks. For seven years, our staff and residents have been sharing their favorite recipes for friends and visitors to enjoy!

Is a sedentary lifestyle as dangerous to... Failing to incorporate physical activity into your daily schedule doesn’t just mean you’re missing out on great health benefits. It might also endanger your health.

Modern living has made us a nation of sitters. Unfortunately, inactivity tends to become even more of a problem as we age. For those who act as caregivers for an older adult, knowing about the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle can go a long way towards promoting better health.

Older Americans are Prone to Inactivity

As a caregiver, you may hear a lot about the benefits of exercise, especially for older Americans. From keeping the joints active to improving mood, there are lots of reasons for getting up and moving around each day.

For seniors, however, that can sometimes be a challenge. Age-related symptoms and chronic health conditions can make it difficult to enjoy physical activity. That can lead to a whole host of medical problems, researchers say.

Everyone can be prone to too much sitting, but seniors are particularly vulnerable to what’s been dubbed “the sitting disease.”

Understanding the Benefits of Exercise vs. the Dangers of Inactivity

Caregivers should know that this is not just about seniors missing out on the benefits of staying active. There are actual dangers that may exist when older adults sit for too much of the day.

In fact, living a sedentary lifestyle can actually be as bad as or worse than smoking, according to new research.

Here are some of the ways living a sedentary lifestyle can be just as dangerous.

Inactivity Can Lead to Difficulty Performing Daily Activities

When the body doesn’t get enough physical activity, it begins to lose lean muscle tissue. That leads to increased difficulty performing the activities of daily living (ADL). Dressing and bathing are just a few examples of ADLs that become more challenging. And for seniors who have arthritis, a sedentary lifestyle is associated with increased pain and swelling of damaged joints.

Bone Loss Progresses Faster

Seniors are already at higher risk of experiencing bone loss. Add living a sedentary lifestyle to the mix and it is a recipe for poor bone health. Staying active –especially with activities that promote strength --- helps encourage bone growth.

Depression is More Likely

We’ve all felt the mood-lifting effects of physical activity. That doesn’t change as we age. For seniors who may be prone to depression, it’s even more important to stay active.

There’s Greater Risk of Heart Disease

‘Sitting is the new smoking’. That’s the new mantra among many health care professionals today. Part of the reason for that is a 2014 study that found the sedentary lifestyle is actually worse for some people than smoking. Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia studied 32,000 women over 20 years.

They found that physical inactivity did far more damage to the heart than smoking. Similar findings connecting heart disease to being sedentary have been replicated in other studies.

Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Not using your muscles after a meal means your body doesn’t properly process sugar. That can increase the risk of high blood glucose levels, a condition known to be a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.

Look for Ways to Be Active Every Day

For caregivers and their senior loved ones, it’s important to understand the health risks of being sedentary for too much of the day. If you care for a senior loved one and are concerned about his or her level of physical activity, start looking for ways to add more movement to the day. (It’s important to talk to their doctor first, however, before starting any new physical routine.)

Want to keep learning about aging well?

We have more tips for staying active here on the Sunrise Blog. You can, for example, learn how seniors can get exercise just from performing everyday tasks. Follow us to stay connected!

Once a teacher, always a teacher Once a teacher, always a teacher. No one knows that better than Sunrise of Poland resident Jean Williams and newly licensed nurse, Delonte Carter.

Delonte had been a dedicated and popular member of the Sunrise of Poland team in northeastern Ohio for several years. A lead Care Manager, he was responsible for assisting residents with personal care and the activities of daily living. Delonte always went the extra mile, even pitching in to help with maintenance after the Maintenance Director was promoted.

But Delonte felt called to learn and grow. He was compassionately committed to older adults and needed to find a way to improve the lives of more seniors every day.

In the spring, he sat down with Executive Director Kerry Collins Smith to do a little soul searching.

“I want to do more,” Delonte told Kerry. But he wasn’t quite sure what that might entail.

The two of them spent time discussing his options and exploring ideas for what he could do next. They decided a career in nursing was a logical path for Delonte to take. Without wasting any time, he enrolled in a local nursing school.

But there was one hurdle standing in his way: the entrance exam.

Delonte was more than a little nervous about taking the test. A good amount of time had passed since he studied math, a core component of the exam, and he just wasn’t sure he could do it.

Unfortunately, Delonte didn’t pass the entrance exam on his first attempt.

Discouraged but not defeated, Delonte returned to Kerry’s office for advice. Kerry suggested finding someone to help refresh his math skills. A tutor, perhaps, so he could retake the test.

 As luck would have it Jean Williams, one of Sunrise of Poland’s residents, was a retired teacher and tutor. Together, Delonte and Kerry approached Jean to see if she would help.

Jean readily agreed and the two of them got to work. Jean proved to be a tough teacher! She worked with Delonte often and didn’t cut him any slack. He spent time studying with Jean every chance he could. And she gave him homework to work on in between tutoring sessions.

Finally, test day arrived again. This time, Delonte passed with flying colors. He went on to attend nursing school, graduate and become a licensed nurse.

On his final night as a Care Manager, Jean was the last resident that he helped. Then, on his first morning as a nurse, Jean was the first resident that he provided care for.

And Delonte’s story doesn’t end here. On his first day as a nurse at Sunrise of Poland, Kerry asked him what he wanted to do next.

His reply?

Become an Executive Director.

October 5th is World Teacher Day. In honor of World Teacher Day, Sunrise Senior Living salutes Jean and all of the teachers and tutors like her who help change the lives of people like Delonte every day.

How you can advocate for a senior loved one on... September 29 is Alzheimer's Action Day, a day set aside to raise awareness about the disease that affects one in ten older adults. 

For the caregivers who provide daily care and compassion to senior loved ones, it can be a day to pause and reflect. An opportunity to ask: Are there ways to be a better advocate?

Here are six ways to advocate for your senior loved one’s care.

Advocating for a Senior with Alzheimer’s

1. Learn About Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease

It’s important to know that there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are ways to help manage some of the symptoms. There also are actions you can take to make your loved one’s days more pleasant.

At the moment, medications for Alzheimer’s provide only modest benefits but scientists are working to develop better options. The Alzheimer’s Association has a database of clinical trials, if you want to consider enrolling in one of them.

2. Find a Healthcare Professional Who Understands Dementia Care

An adult with Alzheimer’s needs a doctor who understands the disease, and who’s also well-versed in working with older adults. As the primary caregiver, you need a doctor who returns phone calls, coordinates care effectively, and prescribes medications carefully.

3. Understand How to Best Work With the Doctor

Arriving prepared to doctor’s visits will help your loved one get the care they need. Bring the questions you want to ask, notes about observations of your loved one’s behavior, and a list of any medications that he or she takes.

Listening carefully to the doctor can help you get better care for your senior loved one. It also helps if you take notes to refer to later.

4. Understand the Different Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

People who have Alzheimer’s disease suffer two types of decline: cognitive and functional. It’s helpful to understand the common symptoms that occur at each stage of the disease.

Understanding the behaviors of your senior loved one and what to prepare for as the disease progresses can help you cope.

5. Be Safety-Minded and Plan for the Future

Completing a safety check at your loved one’s home is a must. You might also want to have a discussion about safety if your loved one is still driving. If they are reluctant to give up the keys when it’s appropriate, if might help to enlist their doctor to talk to them.

Planning for future care is another discussion you should have with your loved one. Despite your best efforts, they may eventually require memory care. In the right environment, people with the disease can continue to thrive.

6. Remember to Take Care of Yourself

Finally, caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s can be a taxing job that brings a unique mix of stressors. Many caregivers feel the effects of stress in all areas of their lives.

Your job, family relationships, and mental health can all suffer if you don’t take care of yourself. Watch out for signs of caregiver burnt out and train yourself to accept offers of help from friends and family.

Sunrise Senior Living Can Help

We have resources for family caregivers like you. Whether it’s trusted information about Alzheimer’s disease or respite care for your loved one, a Sunrise community is just a phone call away. 

How to spot the earliest signs of Alzheimer's... For some people who develop Alzheimer’s, the first signs of the disease don’t include memory loss. 

The earliest symptoms can appear as issues that are easily mistaken for a different ailment. Sometimes they are simply shrugged off as normal, age-related changes.

But it’s during those early stages of Alzheimer’s that treatment is likely to do the most good. That’s why it’s important to learn to recognize the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

The Earliest Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

Family members and friends can help senior loved ones by becoming familiar with early symptoms. Merely keeping an eye out for forgetfulness just isn’t enough to detect important – but subtle – changes including:

1. Poor Judgment

If your loved one seems to be exhibiting poor judgment and it’s uncharacteristic of them, that behavior can be a warning sign. For example, you may find them believing everything telemarketers say. Or they might be making purchases from a telemarketing phone call without stopping to think about what they are doing.

2. Weakened Ability to Solve Simple Problems

Anyone can make a mistake when balancing a checkbook. But when it becomes an ongoing issue, it may be a potential warning sign. Abstract thought process can be damaged early during the development of Alzheimer’s.

3. Withdrawal from Social Circles

When a senior loved one no longer seems to enjoy socializing, look deeper. It could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have forgotten how to participate in their favorite hobby, turning time spent with long cherished friends into a confusing, embarrassing ordeal.

 4. Confusion Over Visual Images and Spatial Relationships

Difficulty reading, judging distance, or passing by a mirror and thinking it’s someone else may all be early warning signs, too. Note that vision changes due to the normal aging process are different than problems with visual and spatial relationships.

5. Growing Problems Finding the Right Words

Does your senior loved one frequently stop mid-sentence because they have lost their train of thought? Everyone has an occasional problem finding words but when it’s persistent, it could be an early symptom. Remember, we’re looking for patterns, not just one time occurrences.

6. Trouble Keeping Track of Dates or Seasons

Getting confused about the day of the week happens to us all, especially if it’s after a holiday. But if it’s a consistent problem for your senior loved one, it could be a concern.

7. Personality Changes

Preferring routine is a normal, age-related change. But when a senior is easily upset by small changes to their daily routine or when activities that take them out of their comfort zone cause agitation, it can signs of a problem.

8. Memory Problems

The symptom most commonly associated with memory loss is forgetting things that were just learned, heard or experienced. This involves the short-term memory and it is typically impaired fairly early in the disease process.

9. Misplacing Belongings and No Ability to Retrace Steps to Find It

Anyone can misplace something. Many of us do so on occasion. But it can be a warning sign when your loved one can’t retrace his or her steps to find it. This is memory loss that disrupts daily life, partly because it occurs over and over again.

10. Trouble With Routine Tasks

When someone is losing track of what used to be familiar, that could be another indicator. Forgetting how to check their email or what steps to take to turn on a microwave are two common examples.

Learn More by Listening

If you have a loved one you feel may be exhibiting early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to consult a doctor. Early intervention may lead to treatments that help you better manage symptoms.

As a caregiver, you can learn more by listening to Episode 5 in the Sunrise Senior Living series of health podcasts. It’s full of useful information about the early signs of Alzheimer’s as explained by Rita Altman, Senior Vice President of Memory Care & Program Services.

Bone health & older women: how to stay strong Our bones begin to age long before the body hits retirement. That 

That is almost always a surprise to people! How you treat your body in younger years can impact how healthy your bones are as you grow older. The good news is, it’s never too late to start thinking about bone health. It’s especially true if you’re a woman. 

No matter what your age, staying strong is important for your bones.

And drinking milk isn’t enough. Of course it’s good to think about calcium intake, but keeping your bones healthy and strong is more involved.

Bone Health: How Older Women Can Stay Strong

Once we reach age 30, our bones have essentially reached their peak. While that may seem hard to believe, it’s important to realize that there are steps you can take to keep bones strong and dense. 

Here’s what you need to know.

You Can Alter Your Bone Density Path

During youth, our bodies are producing bones faster than they are being broken down. After the ripe old age of 30, however, this production balance tips. Our net production of bone begins to drop. For some women, that translates to a loss of bone density that worsens every year.

That’s a grim picture, but there are several steps you can take to slow down that process.

Exercise is Key

Of the factors that you can control, the one that stands out is exercise.

Exercise is important for preventing and combatting a number of health issues, but older women often aren’t aware that staying active helps bone health, too.

One health concern among older women is osteoporosis. Did you know that living a sedentary lifestyle puts you at greater risk for this disease? According to the National Institutes of Health, the benefit from weight-bearing exercises helps keep bones strong.

Diet Also Matters

Coffee and tea with caffeine are said to be good for brain health, but too much can weaken your body’s ability to absorb calcium. We all know the importance of calcium for bone health. You can enjoy your morning cup of joe, but don’t overdo it.

Heavy alcohol consumption also may have a negative effect on bone health. Like drinking too much coffee, heavy alcohol consumption can interfere with vitamin D levels in your body. Vitamin D is essential for a healthy skeleton.

Surprisingly, potassium also may play an important role in bone health. One reason bones weaken is that certain acids in your body work to remove calcium. Potassium may work to neutralize those acids, so try to incorporate bananas, sweet potatoes, and yogurt into your diet.

Other nutrients to take in for bone health include vitamin D, vitamin K, and of course, calcium.

Smoking is Bad for the Bones

Another factor which interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium is smoking. As if you needed yet another reason to quit, think of your bones if you are a smoker.

A Healthy Lifestyle is Part of the Sunrise Experience

As is true of many health factors, your lifestyle can make a tremendous difference in how your body ages. Older women who commit to a healthy diet and exercise patterns can keep their skeletons strong.

From our excellent dining program to our Live With Purpose signature activities programs, we take health and wellness seriously at Sunrise. Come see for yourself how our residents thrive by booking a tour at a community near you

What is the medicare wellness visit and how... You may have noticed that health care laws have changed a lot over past several years. 

For seniors, one of the biggest changes has been the welcome addition of the Medicare Wellness Visit.

If you’re not sure what a Medicare Wellness Visit entails or how much it costs, you’re not alone. The new benefit is open to everyone who receives Medicare, but there is still much confusion about what it entails.

Here are the basic facts.

The Medicare Wellness Visit is Not a Typical Physical Exam

The Medicare Wellness Visit is not a physical exam. This is where most people get confused. What’s actually covered in the wellness visit may not match your expectations. That’s because most people are expecting a routine physical.

Most of us believe an annual trip to the doctor is part of routine care. We call it a ‘physical exam” and expect the doctor to check for physical problems. According to the National Institutes of Health, that’s absolutely correct.

A physical exam includes:

●       Inspection: Looking at the body to determine presence of problems

●       Palpation: Using the hands to feel parts of the body to detect physical problems

●       Auscultation: Listening to sounds of the body

●       Percussion: Tapping parts of the body to produce sounds that give clues about health

Unlike a physical exam, however, the Medicare Wellness Visit can be completed without the patient removing any clothing. The goal of the visit is for both you and your doctor to stay on top of your health, including talking about your medical history and planning future medical care.

What to Expect During a Medicare Wellness Visit

During your visit, the physician will typically:

●       Review your medical history

●       Assess lifestyle and health risks

●       Review a list of all your health care providers

●       Create a list of all medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter medications

●       Develop a schedule for health screenings you will need in the coming years

You and your doctor may also address important senior wellness topics.

This conversation might include a discussion about how well you’re doing with the Activities of Daily Living (ADL), such as dressing, walking, and bathing. You may even touch upon subjects like handling finances and keeping up with housekeeping.

Medicare Wellness Visits are for Checking Mental Health, Too

Your doctor may assess your risk for depression and for cognitive impairment during this visit.

For a full list of what’s involved, visit the Medicare Learning Network .

Initial Medicare Wellness Visit vs. Annual Wellness Visit

After enrolling in Medicare, your first wellness visit is called the “Welcome to Medicare Visit.” After your initial welcome visit, you are eligible to have an annual wellness visit once every 12 months.

How Much do Wellness Visits Cost?

Both the “Welcome to Medicare Visit” and the annual “Medicare Wellness Visit” is covered in full by Medicare. You do not pay a copayment.

Some seniors are surprised to find they are billed for their annual Medicare exam. That may occur if you schedule a traditional ‘physical exam’ instead of asking for the Medicare Wellness Visit. So make it clear what you are interested in when you call to set up your appointment.

The Sunrise Senior Living Team Supports Wellness

The health care changes that brought about the Medicare Wellness Visit are geared towards helping seniors maintain healthy lives. Medicare’s emphasis on prevention and whole-person wellness is truly an encouraging development. It’s an approach to wellness that we wholeheartedly support here at Sunrise Senior Living.

In our communities, you’ll find wellness comes in many forms.

●       focusing on the needs of each individual resident with personalized care

●       offering  meaningful activities that enrich lives

●       helping residents find balance and joy

If you’d like to know more about the Sunrise approach to wellness, visit us online to learn about our signature ‘Live With Purpose’ programming

Yoga & the older adult: nurturing the mind,... When it comes to healthy activities for seniors, it’s hard to imagine anything that brings more benefits—and joy—than yoga. 

Long touted as a great way to stay flexible and relax the mind, scientists are finding that yoga may do much, much more.

But scientists aren’t the only group making discoveries about yoga. Older Americans are increasingly turning to yoga practice after witnessing the benefits to body, mind, and spirit.

If you haven’t tried yoga, don’t be shy. Lots of seniors fear the Downward Dog and similar poses for a variety of reasons. Learning how yoga nurtures all three aspects of the self may help you overcome whatever fears or misconceptions you have.

Here are three top reasons why seniors across the nation are making time for yoga class on their weekly schedules.

How Yoga Benefits Older Adults

1. Yoga Works for All Ages

In your very first class, you’ll learn that yoga is a highly personalized activity. Your teacher will stress that it’s not a flexibility competition, nor should you feel pressure to assume a pose that feels uncomfortable.

In this regard, yoga works for people of all fitness levels and for people of all ages.

2. Every Aspect of Health is Touched by Practicing Yoga

As the title of this article suggests, yoga offers benefits to all three aspects of well-being: mind, body, and spirit.


Yoga can produce a mind-calming effect that’s similar to meditation. It also allows your central nervous system to have some down time, which works wonders for clearing out the cobwebs.

Yoga also may help with focus and attention, as it helps relieve stress. Finally, research from the University of California Los Angeles suggests that yoga may also help with cognitive issues associated with Alzheimer’s.


Yoga can’t cure diseases, but the poses you strike can certainly help improve your physical health. The benefits that have made yoga famous—improved flexibility and strength—are wonderful for your overall physical well-being.

In addition, certain poses can have a positive effect on targeted areas of the body.

One example is your lungs. Yoga’s breathing exercises combined with poses like Mountain Pose and Goddess Pose can help open up your chest. This can help your lungs function better.

Other examples include your back and your bones. Yoga may help seniors with back pain, and bone strength gets a boost from all the weight-bearing exercise.

Inflammation, the enemy of good health, also seems to respond well to yoga. That’s good news for a lot of seniors. Inflammation is a symptom of many chronic diseases, including heart disease and arthritis.


Whether you’re aware of it or not, yoga can create a sense of harmony and awareness of spirit when you incorporate it in to your week. If you are seeking stress relief, coping skills, or a sense of balance in the world, yoga may deliver.

3. Seniors Can Practice Yoga Anywhere

One thing that endears yoga to millions of people around the world is its highly flexible nature (no pun intended). In other words, yoga can accommodate any personality type and any scenario.

Your practice can be a solitary event where you roll out a mat in your bedroom and go through your Sun Salutations on your own, in complete privacy.

On the other hand, some seniors enjoy yoga in a class environment. They look forward to the camaraderie they feel with others as they work through poses together. It’s for this reason that so many senior centers and senior communities offer ‘Yoga for Seniors’ classes on site.

Yoga is Part of Living With Purpose at Sunrise Senior Living®

Here at Sunrise, we’re no stranger to the benefits of yoga for seniors. Our ‘Live With Purpose’ programming incorporates activities to enrich the mind, body, and spirit. In fact, every Sunrise community has eight signature programs offering residents the chance to engage every dimension of well-being.

Want to learn more? Visit us online to find out more about life enrichment activities at Sunrise!

5 most common balance problems seniors experience Maintaining good balance is important at any age. 

When you’re younger, good balance is mostly a matter of keeping your core muscles strong—and maybe feeling lucky you didn’t inherit the family gene for clumsiness.

But as we age, other factors can creep in.

Weakened muscles or poor vision can compromise our ability to remain steady on our feet. As can some medications. But the natural aging process doesn’t have to mean you’re constantly on the brink of falling.

If you or a senior loved one is struggling to remain steady on your feet, the cause might be something other than age.

Balance problems can stem from a specific injury, disorder, or disease.

The cause could be one of the balance problems outlined below.

The Five Most Common Balance Problems

Since it’s Balance Awareness Week, we wanted to share a quick summary of balance problems that caregivers and seniors should know about.

1. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), BPPV is one of the most common types of balance disorders. Few people have probably heard of it. But if you’re over 60, keep an eye out for its primary symptom: intense vertigo when moving your head. This can occur even when you’re merely rolling over in bed. It’s an inner ear disturbance that has a number of causes, including a head injury, an ear infection, and aging.

2. Ménière's Disease

The NIH also lists this as a common cause of balance problems. One sign of the disease is a ‘full’ feeling in the ear.  People with Ménière's Disease also may experience vertigo, ringing in the ears, and sporadic hearing loss. Hearing loss can affect balance and increase the risk of falls.

3. Labyrinthitis

When the inner ear becomes infected and inflamed, the result can be balance problems. Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection often linked to a case of the flu.

4. Chronic Conditions

Certain chronic conditions can result in balance problems, too. If you have eye problems, for example, you may find it more difficult to keep your balance.

Long-term medical condition that affects the nervous system can have an impact on balance, too. Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis are just a few.

In addition, arthritis, heart problems, and certain medications seniors take for chronic illnesses can all contribute to unsteadiness.

5. Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Older adults may be more prone to shingles, a skin condition caused by a virus. In some cases, the shingles virus can affect facial nerves near the ear. That condition is called Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

The vertigo experienced by people with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is often accompanied by ear pain and loss of the ability to hear. If you or your senior loved one experience these symptoms, seek medical help.

Plan for Future Care to Manage Falls

If balance problems persist, it is important to take a hard look at the senior’s home environment. Is an older home with poor lighting or multiple sets of stairs putting them at greater risk for a fall?

Falls happen to one of three older Americans each year and remain a leading cause of disability among seniors. It may be time to consider a move to a community that is designed to meet the unique needs of older adults.

If you’re not sure what type of senior housing is the best fit for you loved one, take the Sunrise Senior Living Care Questionnaire. It’s a commitment-free way to explore your options!

From wife to grandmother to caregiver: honoring... Wife Appreciation Day is observed each year on the third Sunday in September. 

This year, it falls on September 17th. The day provides us with an opportunity to acknowledge and thank the older women in our family for the important role they play in our lives.

What Does Wife Appreciation Day Mean?

This special day gives us a chance to reflect on how blessed we are. It encourages us to pause and reflect on just how much the senior women in our families do for us.

And when we do so, we realize that what older women do for their families is nothing short of incredible.

Think about the older women in your own life. Whether it’s your mother, grandmother, or wife, it’s probably pretty obvious how much she’s contributed to the family’s happiness and welfare. And to keeping the family connected and engaged through all of life’s transitions.

From Wives to Grandmothers to Caregivers

As wives, these women have done whatever is necessary to raise children, work outside the home, and tend to their family’s needs with love and devotion. They made sure that their children had what they needed to thrive.

As they grew older, these mothers became grandmothers who never stopped giving of themselves. Most never stopped devoting their time to attend to and fulfill the needs of others. As many became caregivers to their spouse or parent, they expanded their role and continued to care for the loved ones in their lives.

The senior women in our lives deserve nothing but the best as they grow older.

Expressing Appreciation at Sunrise Senior Living

How can we express our appreciation?

The team at Sunrise encourages you to pay tribute to the constantly shifting roles that older women have played—and continue to play—in every aspect of our lives. Start with a simple “thank you.” It can make a real difference in your older loved one’s life.

But don’t stop there. Take time to express your gratitude today and every day. Small gestures, such as a bouquet of flowers, a phone call or card, can be every bit as meaningful as grand ones.

Sunrise Can Help

Sometimes, the caregivers amongst us need help. Or just a short-term break to refresh and restore the body, mind and spirit.

Sunrise Respite Care services can be a solution. Your loved one can take a break while the person they provide hands-on care to stays with us for a few days or weeks. Respite guests receive the same support and services as our long-term residents.

Contact the Sunrise community closest to you to schedule an in-person visit to see firsthand what respite care at Sunrise Senior Living  is all about.

Can you lower your cholesterol without taking... So you’ve learned that you or your senior loved one has high cholesterol. You aren’t alone. 

It is a growing concern across our country. To help manage it, the doctor may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering drug called a statin.

Listening carefully to the doctor and doing what’s prescribed is important for good health, but you may be worried about the side effects of statins.

Is there anything you can you do to avoid taking a statin?

Experts say there just might be.

Can You Lower Your Cholesterol Without Taking a Statin?

One option is to talk to your doctor about ways to lower cholesterol without taking a statin. As you discuss statins with the doctor, it’s important to stay focused on the overall health picture. That includes two serious concerns:

  1. Heart disease is the number one killer of older Americans.
  1. Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability for adults over 65 in the U.S.

Cholesterol levels can affect your risk for both.

To help guide those discussions, here are some basic facts about statins compared with other options you might want to explore to help lower your cholesterol.

Facts You Should Know About the Benefits of Statins

According to research compiled by Harvard Medical School, statins:

●       May lower LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 50 percent or more

●       May reduce the risk of strokes by up to 31 percent

●       May help ward off dementia and protect against osteoporosis

But statins are a class of drugs that often come with serious side effects. These side effects include:

●       liver inflammation

●       muscle inflammation

●       sleep disturbance

●       loss of concentration

●       rash

●       nausea

●       nerve inflammation

●       diarrhea

●       impotence in men

With a list like this one, it’s easy to understand why some adults want to explore other options for managing their cholesterol.

Diet and Exercise May Help Lower Your Cholesterol

Following a heart-healthy diet may improve cholesterol levels. So too can exercise.

But do you know what foods make up a heart smart diet? Or what forms of exercise are senior-friendly?

Scientists are finding new evidence every year that the lifestyle and traditions of countries that border the Mediterranean Sea can improve heart health.

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

If you love the tastes of Spain, Italy and Greece, then you’re in luck. Olives, nuts, garlic, and healthy fats like olive oil and avocados form the backbone of this special eating plan. Fewer servings of meat are also a mainstay, as are beans, legumes, fish and vegetables.

Natural forms of exercise

People that live along the Mediterranean Sea also adhere to a way of living that promotes natural forms of exercise. They walk or bike instead of taking a car. Many spend time tending to their garden each day. The sedentary lifestyle that is increasingly common in Western cultures is rare here.

It is also important to note that few are smokers.

Take Steps to Better Health During Cholesterol Education Month

Since September is National Cholesterol Education Month, it’s a good time to make an appointment with your doctor. Have your blood cholesterol levels checked and ask about what kinds of lifestyle changes you can make to naturally lower your levels.

What else can you do?

Start by eating a healthy diet that’s inspired by Mediterranean-style cooking. Visit our Senior Eats Blog for healthy recipes and nutrition tips for older adults.

5 common questions families have about... Senior living has changed dramatically over the past decade or so. 

Today, there are more choices than ever before. There are also more options for financing senior living.

If you’re like most families, you and your senior loved one have lots of questions about paying for senior living. We thought it would be helpful to answer a few of those we hear most often.

The Most Common Questions About Financing Senior Living

Here are answers to some of the common questions families have about how to pay for senior living.

1. How do I pay for assisted living?

Bridge Loans

If your family has decided to sell your senior loved one’s home to pay for senior living, a bridge loan can help. This is a short-term loan that helps pay for assisted living until the home sells.

In the meantime, there are senior living relocation specialists.

They specialize in helping seniors sell their property when they’ve decided to move to senior living. Typically, these realtors belong to the Senior Real Estate Specialist Council, a national network of realtors who have special knowledge of the market.

Rent the Home

If your senior loved one isn’t ready to let go of their home, consider renting it. Rental payments can help cover the cost of senior living. An upside to this option is you don’t have to deal with selling the home before transitioning to senior living.

Veterans’ Programs

Veterans who are eligible to receive a VA pension may be eligible to receive benefits to help pay for assisted living. The Aid and Attendance Program is administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. You can contact the regional office nearest you for more information.

2. Can we use a life insurance policy to pay for senior living?

You can if you take advantage of what is called a ‘life settlement’.

Here are some pros:

●       A large lump sum is issued to pay for home improvements, in-home care, or assisted/senior living

●       No restrictions on how funds are used

●       Life settlements can pay up to seven times more than the cash surrender value

●       You no longer have to make premium payments

●       There may be tax deductions available if used to pay for long-term care

But there are also some drawbacks including:

●       This may disqualify you for Medicaid

●       The death benefit is transferred to the new owner of the policy

●       The settlement can be taxable as a capital gain

●       You may pay a broker fee (6% of the face value of the policy, for example) unless you try to sell it yourself

●       Your senior loved one may have to undergo a medical exam

3. Does long-term care (LTC) insurance cover assisted living?

LTC insurance policies cover people who have chronic conditions or disabilities requiring them to seek help for the basics of daily living. Policies differ but may help pay for care at home, in an assisted living community, or in a long term care center.

There a lot of factors to consider when it comes to using long-term care insurance to finance senior living.

Pros of LTC:

●       Benefits may be used in a home setting, assisted living or a long-term care center

●       While they typically don’t cover the entire cost of care, LTC insurance can make care more affordable

Cons of LTC:

●       Most policies have limits on how long and how much they’ll pay

●       Premiums can increase

●       If you become unable to afford the premiums, you could lose your investment

●       Can usually only be used to reimburse seniors for the cost of services for assistance with the activities of daily living (ADL)

●       Coverage is based on strict requirements for the assisted living community

4. What does senior living really cost?

Monthly fees for assisted living across the country average $3,628, but that is just an average. Some areas of the country can be higher, and some will be lower.

The good news is services and support can typically be customized. This a la carte system allows seniors who don’t need those services to opt out and pay lower fees. In other words, residents don’t have to pay for services they don’t want or need.

5. Does Medicare pay for assisted living?

Unfortunately, it does not. And that is often a surprise to adult children. Because Medicare is a health care program, it only covers services determined to be medical in nature. A rehab center, a hospital stay or a physician appointment are examples of services covered by Medicare.

Want to Learn More? Sunrise Senior Living Has Resources

Call or visit a Sunrise Senior Living community near you to learn more about paying for assisted living. We can help you explore the options available to you and your family. 

10 Sunrise senior living communities awarded...

NRC Health recently named the recipients of the 2017 Excellence in Action award in the Health category.

Among the list of winners were nine communities from Sunrise Senior Living, including Bertram House of Swampscott, MA, John Bertram House, MA, Sunrise at Parma, OH, Sunrise of Cinco Ranch, TX, Sunrise of Cohasset, MA, Sunrise of Fair Oaks, VA, Sunrise of Rockville, MD, Sunrise at Fox Hill, MD, The Colonnades, VA, and Sunrise of Sandy, UT.

The Excellence in Action award honors nursing, assisted living communities and independent living communities that go above and beyond in ensuring employee and resident satisfaction. These ten Sunrise communities brought in some of the highest scores by residents and employees among all qualified NRC Health organizations, coming in the top 20 percent of survey results in the past year.

Sunrise award winners
Each of the 2017 Sunrise Senior Living communities were awarded for high scores in customer satisfaction. To achieve this honor, these Sunrise communities were among the top 10 percent of surveys to receive "Excellent" as a response to the question "What is your recommendation of this facility to others?" and answers of "Definitely yes" in response to "Would you recommend this as a place to live to your friends and family?"

About the services at Sunrise
Sunrise is devoted to meeting the unique needs of each resident and provides a variety of senior care options including: assisted livingalzheimer's and memory careindependent livingshort-term respite care and skilled nursing services. Each of these services are tailored to the specific needs of each resident in a warm and comfortable environment.

It can be daunting to decide what kind of care your loved one needs as they get older. Taking the Sunrise Care Questionnaire can help you determine which services could best benefit an older loved one in your life. Ready to speak with someone? Call 888-434-4648 to speak with a senior living counselor today.

How to protect a senior loved one from phishing... As a family caregiver, you play a starring role in keeping your senior loved one safe. 

Besides making sure daily needs are met, monitoring their health, worrying about their well-being, and trying to make sure they experience joy every day.

With all that you have on your plate, it’s understandable if you don’t have time to keep up with technology. But the tech world continues to move forward, and that includes many savvy ways in which phishers are out to scam older Americans.

According to the 2016 BBB Scam Tracker Annual Risk Report, older Americans are most likely to fall for scams involving a family or friend “emergency.” But that doesn’t mean there aren’t several other types to watch out for.

Common Scams Targeting Seniors

Here are the top tips for protecting your senior loved one from today’s most savvy phishing scams.

1. Always be Suspicious of Emails or Phone Calls Asking for Personal Information

The most popular means of contact for phishers are phone calls, websites, and emails. Each is used approximately 18 to 23 percent of the time, according to the BBB Scam Tracker Report. 

It’s easy to ignore a phone call when you don’t recognize the number on the caller ID. That’s why emails have become a primary avenue for scammers to snatch up sensitive personal data.

It might be useful to take the same approach to security that you use with phone calls. Encourage your senior loved one to respond only to emails from trusted friends and family members. Ignore and delete all others.

2. Know that Phishers are Fond of Scare Tactics

Phishers aren’t just talented scammers and technical whizzes. Very often, they are well-versed in the power of emotional manipulation. Seniors who aren’t aware of these scare tactics can be vulnerable to identity theft.

For example, a phisher may send an email telling recipients they need to update some information in their accounts. If this isn’t completed, they warn, the account will be locked or services will be delayed.

Seniors, who can often be more trusting, may feel pressured by those tactics and fall right into the trap. Even if they’ve been warned about clicking through to a website from an email or giving out personal data over the phone, the threats they perceive may cause them to ignore any danger signals they may be picking up.

What if your senior loved one receives email from a source they use ---such as their bank or physician’s office --- and they believe the emails are legitimate?

They should contact the merchant directly in order to update any information.

Also encourage them to type the address of the company’s website directly into the browser bar rather than clicking on the link in an email.

For phone calls, have them hang up and call the merchant directly.

4. Don’t Trust Information Requests That Seem Generic

One quick way to spot a phishing email is to look for “Dear Sir/Madam” or other generic-sounding phrases. If an email truly is from your senior loved one’s bank, credit card, or an online merchant they do business with, it will most likely use their name and/or part of their account number.

Online Safety at Sunrise Senior Living

Internet and email safety awareness is essential for older Americans. Phishing scams can have devastating results. But with good guidance and lots of caution, most seniors can avoid becoming a victim.

At Sunrise Senior Living, our residents enjoy the benefits of technology, just like younger generations. After all, email, online photo-sharing, and browsing the internet are all part of keeping up with loved ones and with the world.

Our Live With Learning program encourages safe internet use while helping seniors explore technology. To learn more, call us or schedule a visit to a Sunrise community near you using our online form.  

Intergenerational activities to promote family... Families are busier than ever these days. It can make scheduling quality time together with senior loved ones quite challenging. 

Once you do manage to arrange some family time, you might find yourself struggling to come up with outings and activities that everyone enjoys.

Intergenerational activities are the backbone of strong families and societies, however, so it’s more than worth it to make the effort.

For kids, time spent with older adults offers a multitude of benefits. From increased self-esteem to better social skills and healthier attitudes about aging, the advantages are clear. 

For seniors, the benefits are many and varied, too. A greater sense of joy and fulfillment and better physical well-being are among the top benefits of spending time with younger generations.

September is Intergenerational Month, so it is a good time to think about strengthening family bonds across the generations.

Ideas for Promoting Intergenerational Family Bonding

If you’re wondering what you can do to build strong family ties, here are a few ideas.

1. Attend Cultural Events Together

Some things never change, no matter what age you are. Enjoying the sounds of a live orchestra, the sights of original artwork, or the beauty of a professional dance performance is enriching, rewarding, and uplifting, no matter what generation you belong to.

2. Take a Class Together

Families that learn together also grow together. Kids feel empowered when they’re learning alongside the adults in their lives. Seniors benefit when they’re able to share their wisdom and knowledge on a subject.

3. Play Music Together

If you are musically inclined, there’s no better way to form strong bonds than by creating music as a family. Even if you aren’t, you might enjoy learning to play an instrument together.

4. Grow a Garden Together

Gardening is a healthy hobby to begin with, but consider the added benefits of sharing the task with other generations. It’s an ideal way to form deep family ties. And gardening can be adapted for senior safety. Raised beds and container gardening are two such ways.

5. Practice the Art of Conversation Together

One of the lasting traditions of older generations is the tea party. Of course, these days it might be conversation over coffee, but the idea is the same. Enjoying a calm moment or two when everyone can share, laugh, and learn from one another is priceless.

Living With Legacy at Sunrise Senior Living

The Live with Legacy program at Sunrise Senior Living offers residents the chance to share their experience and wisdom with other generations. Learn more in this video with the Sunrise Activities and Volunteer Coordinator, Morning Carson.

Want to see these connections in action?

Come take a tour of a Sunrise community near you! 

Why is the Mediterranean diet good for your... It’s no secret that the Mediterranean Diet is believed to boost health in many ways. 

Lauded for its emphasis on plant-based foods, healthy oils, and whole grains, this popular eating plan provides science-backed health benefits.

These benefits range from better brain health to lowered risk of breast cancer in women. But for many older Americans, there’s one benefit that trumps them all.

Meals prepared in the Mediterranean style may reduce the risk of death for heart patients.

That’s significant because heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. This is true for both men and women.

But what is it about food prepared in the Mediterranean tradition that supposedly delivers heart-healthy benefits? After all, there are plenty of diets that tell us to stick mostly to plant-based foods and whole grains.

Why the Mediterranean Diet is Good for Your Heart

A few subtle distinctions, according to researchers, are difference between the Mediterranean Diet and similar-sounding diets.

For example, when it comes to helping the ticker stay healthy, higher consumption of monounsaturated fatty acids seems to do the trick. Olive oil and nuts, two important components of the Mediterranean diet, both contain monounsaturated fat. Similar-sounding nutrition plans don’t always incorporate nuts and olive oil.

Here are some of the other benefits you can reap by following the culinary traditions of countries that dot the Mediterranean Sea.

1. Health Benefits Even if You Have Cardiovascular Disease

In one fascinating study, researchers found that for patients with cardiovascular problems, eating Mediterranean-style was associated with significant reduction in the risk of death. That’s further good news about this heart-healthy diet because it means the benefits aren’t just preventative.

People who already have heart problems may be able to improve their heart health.

What this is telling us is that heart patients may be able to alter the trajectory of their condition simply by eating different foods.

How does that work?

The secret, according to scientists, lies in those healthy oils—precisely what distinguishes the Mediterranean diet from similar-sounding eating plans.

2. Healthy Fats Can Have Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Foods that make up the Mediterranean diet, including olive oil, oily fish, and nuts, contain powerful anti-inflammatory ingredients. They’re so powerful, in fact, that researchers believe them to be more effective than statins in reducing death rates in cardiovascular patients.

3. Fewer Side Effects than Statins

Statins are commonly-prescribed drugs that lower cholesterol. As is true of many medications, statins do come with side effects. Another benefit of the Mediterranean diet is that side effects are few, if any. Most doctors and health care professionals prefer a diet-driven approach to health over a drug-based treatment when possible.

4. The Use of Herbs and Spices is in Line With MyPlate Guidelines

One striking aspect of foods prepared this way is the use of spices. From oregano and basil to fennel and rosemary, food is prepared with a wonderful variety of flavors. This makes meals taste delicious. The bonus is you’ll also be following the USDA’s MyPlate recommendations for healthy senior eating!

5. Mediterranean-Style Cooking is Fun and Easy

For seniors who don’t want to spend a lot of time shopping or cooking, the Mediterranean diet offers a refreshingly simple cooking style. Recipes call for basic ingredients that are often simple and easy to remember.

Want to try eating Mediterranean style?

Sunrise® can help you get started! Download our cookbook and see for yourself how easy it can be to cook delicious, heart-healthy meals. 

Which cancer screenings do older adults need? Everyone deserves to feel healthy and in control of their own lives. 

According to the American Cancer Society, an important step in that direction is following the guidelines for important cancer screenings.

This is especially vital for older adults because they are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than any other segment of the population.

Caregivers and seniors should know what screenings to schedule and when.

Cancer Screenings for Older Adults

In recognition of national Stand Up to Cancer Day on September 9, here’s a guide to the tests you should know about and discuss with your physician or your senior loved one’s.

1. Lung Cancer Testing

If you or your senior loved one are an active smoker or quit within the past 15 years, the doctor may recommend screening for lung cancer. The test is a low-dose CT scan which looks for early signs of lung cancer. Be sure to have a discussion with your healthcare provider about the risks, limitations, and benefits of this test.

2. Colon Cancer Testing

Colon cancer testing is recommended for anyone over 50. The screening test, which is covered by Medicare, looks for pre-cancerous polyps. If any are found, they can hopefully be removed before they become cancerous.

There are several types of colon cancer screenings and Medicare coverage depends on factors like risk and date of the last test. The American Cancer Society has a complete breakdown of how Medicare coverage works.

3. Prostate Cancer Testing (Men)

Prostate cancer screening is recommended, but seniors should talk to a doctor about the risks and benefits. When deciding whether or not to be tested, remember overall health is a factor, not just age.

4. Breast Cancer Testing (Women)

Mammograms play an important role in screening for breast cancer. The recommended frequency is every two years. Some women who are at high risk for breast cancer choose to be screened every year.

If you’re not sure whether you or your senior loved one are at high risk for breast cancer, talk to your healthcare provider. Family history is part of risk, but age plays a role, too.

The risk of breast cancer increases as women age. A physician may recommend other tests in addition to a mammogram for those who are high risk.

5. Cervical Cancer Testing (Women)

Cervical cancer testing is recommended, but only if you haven’t been regularly screened during the past ten years.

Still want to know more about cancer screenings for every age?

The American Cancer Society created a handy timeline of recommended cancer screenings for each age.

Your Choices Matter: Sunrise Senior Living® Wants to Help

Cancer screening is just one important part of an overall program for health. Your lifestyle choices matter, too. Decisions about diet, habits, and exercise contribute to your health status, and should always be considered carefully.

You can stay up to date on the latest research on aging by reading the Sunrise Blog. We cover topics most older adults want to know more about ranging from health and fitness to diet and nutrition.

Meaningful ways to honor a grandparent Our society has benefitted from the dedication and determination of older Americans who helped shape our nation. 

In our busy lives, however, we may not always take time to show our appreciation for their sacrifices.

That’s one of the reasons we encourage families to celebrate National Grandparents’ Day every September.

Honoring Loved Ones on National Grandparents Day

A day dedicated to formally honoring grandparents, this year Grandparents’ Day occurs on Sunday, September 10.

What sorts of activities can you plan for honoring grandparents on this day?

Here are a few ideas.

Plant a Tree Together

Trees are often thought of as symbols of legacy. They last through the ages, and benefit every generation. And they just make the world a better place!

It’s why one of the nicest ways to honor a grandparent is to plant a tree together in their honor.

As the young sapling grows into a full tree, it can become a lasting symbol of the connection between a grandchild and a senior loved one. 

Participate in a Community Clean-up Day Together

Connecting through nature and a love of the great outdoors is a great way to spend time together. Keeping the community clean, beautiful, and trash-free is a common goal everyone can get behind. Why not combine these two ideas and join a community clean-up day together?

Volunteer Together

Volunteering happens to be good for senior health. And there are lots of ways the different generations can volunteer together. Besides joining a community clean-up day, you can also look for opportunities to help at a local food pantry, community kitchen, or animal shelter.

Enjoy Great Conversation Over Lunch

Some restaurants and coffee shops offer discounts to intergenerational groups on Grandparents Day. Show your support for the restaurant’s recognition of Grandparent’s Day by enjoying lunch or coffee there with a senior loved one. Consider inviting their friends and make it a real party!

Sunrise® Seniors Live With Legacy

Everyone benefits when the generations connect and share in a multitude of small ways every day. In fact, that idea is a pillar of each Sunrise Senior Living® community. Through weekly planned activities, residents in our communities are able to share their wisdom with younger generations in a variety of meaningful ways. It’s part of our Live With Legacy program.

Live With Legacy is a person-centered approach to community living where residents, team members, and families join together to share in the rich tapestry of experiences older Americans have to offer.

Sunrise® residents enjoy a variety of intergenerational activities that take place in different settings. These include intergenerational classrooms, one-on-one activities with kids, and visits from school groups. There are countless opportunities each week for residents to share meaningful connections with the youngest generation.

Find Out More

If you’d like to find out more about the Live with Legacy program at Sunrise®, we invite you to visit one of our communities near you. Come for a tour, meet our dedicated team members and ask about volunteering opportunities. Volunteering allows you to enjoy intergenerational friendships every week!

Aging with success: tips for looking and... Scientists haven’t figured out how to roll back the hands of time, but they do have plenty of advice on how to look and feel younger as you age. 

Decades of research boils down to this: adopting a healthy lifestyle can add years to your life.

It’s Healthy Aging Month, which makes it’s a great time to commit to living a healthier life.

Ways to Look and Feel Younger as You Age

Here are the top tips for looking and feeling younger as you age. They’re research-backed and time-proven so you can feel confident about adopting at least one of them, if not all.

1. Be a Social Butterfly

Enjoying hobbies and activities in a group isn’t just more fun—it could also lengthen your life. Socializing reduces feelings of isolation, keeps us active, and promotes positive feelings. Since feeling lonely can contribute to depression and other medical problems, seniors who give up socializing may be jeopardizing their health.

One popular way to stay social is by joining interest-based clubs like a knitting group, a bridge club, or a church group. Taking classes is another fun idea. Attending the theater with friends, traveling in a group, and volunteering can also fulfill the need to interact with other people in enjoyable, productive ways.

Researchers who study socialization and seniors have observed not just improvements in longevity but also in quality of life. They have even compared the effects of joining social groups to those of getting regular physical exercise.

But don’t go canceling your gym membership just yet! There’s no substitute for physical activity. And our next tip is all about staying active and fit.

2. Be Nuts about Exercise

There are many ways to look and feel younger, but none compares to being physically active. From decreasing stress hormones to keeping the weight off, exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.

The good news is you don’t have to join a gym or take up jogging to reap the benefits!  There are endless ways to get your exercise, and only a handful requires a gym. Whether you opt for fitness walking, yoga or gardening, the key to aging success is finding activities you enjoy and doing them every day.

3. Be Adamant about Eating Nutritious Foods

You’ve probably heard this last one all your life. Eating a healthy diet is the best gift you can give yourself. The problem for most people is understanding what constitutes a healthy diet, especially for the changing nutritional needs of older adults.

If you’d like a handy guideline to keep you on track, the USDA’s Choose My Plate program offers tons of great tools, tips, and other resources for healthy-minded seniors.

Sunrise Senior Living and the MyPlate Program

Choose My Plate is part of the federal government’s MyPlate initiative. The program seeks to help Americans adopt a healthy diet based on their personal food preferences.

Sunrise Senior Living is proud to be a National Strategic Partner for the MyPlate Program. As a partner, we help promote the idea of eating nutritious food in our communities. Sunrise residents enjoy daily delicious meals in accordance with MyPlate guidelines.

For regular updates on what’s cooking at Sunrise, visit our healthy eating blog, Senior Eats. Or set up a time to visit by calling the Sunrise Senior Living community nearest you today!

Managing sibling rivalry while caregiving When aging parents begin to experience health problems that require caregiving, sibling rivalry can emerge. 

This can sabotage efforts to provide good care, despite everyone’s best intentions.

The key to avoiding extra stress and even an all-out family feud is to learn to manage those sibling conflicts that get in the way.

Deep-seated conflicts among siblings often originate in childhood, which can make them tricky to smooth out. Even adults who think they’ve managed to leave those old feelings behind often find them resurfacing when family pressures heat up.

Old Rivalries Can be Replaced by a New Set of Family Dynamics

The good news is there are several pathways to improve relationships with your siblings. The key is finding the one that works for your unique situation.

Here are a few suggestions from experts on family relationships.

1. Keep a Good Perspective on What’s at Stake

Sibling rivalry may cause a noticeable rise in stress levels for everyone, including your parent(s). Caregiver issues and health issues associated with aging already pose possible heightened stress levels, but adding sibling rivalry to the blend raises the toxicity levels even higher.

Your sibling squabbles could potentially become an added health issue for the very person or people whose health you’re trying to protect!

Take a step back and remind yourself what’s at stake and what is most important: your parent’s health and safety. When you pause to do that it might make it easier to work through issues with your siblings.

2. Know That the Stakes are High in Other Ways, Too

Barry J. Jacobs, a family therapist and clinical psychologist with the AARP, says the way everyone behaves during caregiving will stick with you for the rest of your lives. In other words, these caregiving years can set the tone for how well you and your siblings get along in the future, long after your parent(s) are gone.

3. Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Communication can get scrambled when emotions are running strong. It’s also hard to keep everyone informed when siblings live all over the country. Poor communication can spark tense relations, so work hard to stay in touch.

A big complaint in such situations is that one sibling feels hurt or disrespected when they learn of a decision that was made without them. Very often, medical conditions can arise suddenly, so someone forgets to notify a far-away sibling.

Whatever the cause, creating a plan for better communications may help your family avoid potential conflicts.

4. Be Proactive and Do Some Planning

As with most things in life, a little planning goes a long way. The time to talk about caregiving roles and responsibilities is before a major crisis. The best way to ensure pleasant collaboration between you and your siblings is to divide the tasks ahead of time and decide which, if any, caregiving roles will be outsourced.

Planning the financial aspects of your group caregiving is essential, too.

Not to be overlooked as a critical source of sibling conflict are the financial aspects of caregiving. Be sure to talk to your siblings and plan this side of caregiving.

Consider Getting Some Help with Caregiving

When there’s an issue that none of you feel confident handling on your own, it may be time to seek outside help. Whether it’s what to do when the primary caregiver goes on vacation or how to finance senior living options, Sunrise Senior Living can help.

Call us today and find out about the services we offer short-term visitors when you need a break or talk with a Sunrise resident on what it’s like to enjoy living as a full-time resident at one of our Sunrise communities.

Tips for dining out when a family member has...

Do you and your family enjoy dining out? Most of us do! For busy families, there’s nothing like sitting down to a delicious meal served by friendly staff whose job is to make you feel welcome. 

The joy of eating out doesn’t go away when you get older either. Indeed, for many older adults, dining out at restaurants provides a welcome opportunity for socialization and getting out into the community.

For those who have Alzheimer’s, it can be one of the few remaining outings they can still enjoy.

With just a little planning, you can help your family member with Alzheimer’s enjoy an outing to a restaurant. Here are some tips to help you get ready for the big night out.

Dining Out When a Senior Loved One has Alzheimer’s

1. Make a Well-Planned Reservation

In the case of dining out with your loved one who has Alzheimer’s, a reservation isn’t as simple as usual.

If you’ve never assessed the restaurant for ‘Alzheimer’s-friendliness,’ you’ll want to visit first or at least call and ask a few questions. The aim is to find out how accommodating the restaurant will be for someone whose surroundings matter a lot, and for whom enjoying a meal may be a challenge

Start by asking these questions:

  • Will there be a long wait?
  • Are the tables easy to get to?
  • Is the seating comfortable and stable?
  • Will the staff be helpful with your situation?
  • Is the restroom manageable for your loved one?
  • Is the service fast so your loved one doesn’t get restless?
  • Will there be something pleasing on the menu for your loved one?

And as for that ‘big night’ out?

You might want to make it a ‘big afternoon out’.

Earlier reservations are often a better idea. People with Alzheimer’s often do better during the daytime than in the evenings.

The other advantage of an early reservation is the restaurant is less likely to be crowded. You’ll definitely want to choose a time when the restaurant isn’t too busy. The next tip explains why.

2. Choose Someplace Quiet—Really Quiet

In a national survey of diners of all ages, a quarter reported that the most irritating aspect of dining out was the noise. In fact, noise levels ring in as the number two complaint that people have about restaurants, preceded (only by a slight degree) by ‘bad service’.

So imagine the experience of someone who has a disease that heightens their sensitivity to noise and confusion. Alzheimer’s can make it difficult for people to concentrate when even the slightest noise distraction is present.

That can cause a range of reactions. From simply feeling incredibly annoyed or frustrated to outbursts of anger, people who have Alzheimer’s may not be able to cope with the noise in some restaurants.

As you assess noise levels, keep in mind that ‘noisy’ is a relative term.

A restaurant doesn’t have to be overly raucous for the noise levels to present anxiety triggers for someone with Alzheimer’s. Just hearing one side of a cell phone conversation can be a trigger.

Even people who don’t have the disease can find it grating to hear a ‘halfalogue’, as scientists have labeled an overheard phone call. Apparently, our brains are hard-wired to try and predict the side of the phone conversation that’s not audible.

When choosing a place for dining out, keep in mind that even a restaurant that seems only mildly noisy to you may simply prove too much for your loved one. Call ahead and ask about their ‘no cell phones’ policy.

3. Assist Your Loved One Whenever Possible

Choose seating that helps your loved one cope with being out in public. Booths are preferred over tables because they offer more privacy. They also shield your loved one from distractions, which can make them confused or frustrated.

And speaking of confusion, lengthy menus can cause someone with dementia to feel overwhelmed with all the choices. Help them choose. It might be easiest to review the restaurant’s menu with your loved one online and make your selection before you even leave home.

If need be, order finger foods so your loved one doesn’t experience frustration with utensils. A helpful list of such foods and other modifications, created by our very own SVP of Memory Care, Rita Altman, R.N., can be found here.

Finally, if your loved one needs to use the restroom, accompany him or her to make sure everything is okay. The National Institute on Aging recommends going into the stall with them if they need help.

Memory Care at Sunrise Senior Living

At Sunrise Senior Living, we understand the importance of creating pleasant days for seniors with Alzheimer’s.

Whether it’s dining out, participating in daily exercise, or scheduling visits with children and pets, residents in our Reminiscence Neighborhoods are involved in many daily activities that offer engagement and comfort. Call the Sunrise Memory Care community nearest you to learn more!

How to protect your marriage when you are a... Every marriage has its own set of circumstances, and none is challenge-free. 

When one of you takes on the role of primary caregiver for a senior loved one, your marriage can feel the strain.

Many caregivers have jam-packed schedules. It often means they don’t have much free time for themselves. That alone is enough to put a strain on a marriage. Then there’s the added stress, the financial uncertainty, and the emotional fallout of coping with an aging parent—especially if there are health concerns in the mix.

Nevertheless, many couples find ways to survive the caregiving years.

There are ways to protect your marriage when one of you is a caregiver. Like every other relationship challenge you face, you have to work at it.

Some Practical Steps for Caregivers to Take

Before your caregiving role puts too much of a strain on your relationship, take a moment to read these words of advice. As you’ll see, the steps to take aren’t complicated. But they do take commitment.

1. Take Stock of the Situation

The first step is accepting how caregiving is affecting your relationship. If you haven’t noticed, your spouse probably has.

Secondly, at the end of the day, you’re probably not as keen to do housework, go grocery shopping, do yard work, or perform other chores you may already be handling for your senior loved one. That can cause tension.

Third, have you noticed that you feel fatigued more often, now that you’re a caregiver? That has a tremendous effect on your relationship. And, as we all know, fuses get awfully short when we are tired. Tension can fill the air pretty quickly under these circumstances.

2. Make Your Spouse a Priority

It’s easy to get all wrapped up in the urgency of day-to-day needs of your senior loved one. No matter what, your marriage should be a priority. Find a way to carve out time to talk to your spouse, do things together, and plan small special events for just the two of you to keep things special.

3. Draw Upon the Resources You Have: Family & Professionals

Caregiving should be shared. So when others offer to help, say “yes!” Then jump on the chance to give yourself a break. You could use the time to recharge or spend time with your spouse.

There are also paid home care professionals who can help. For example, home care companions can help with doctor’s appointments and other errands. This leaves you more time to keep your life (and your marriage) on a healthy track.

4. Make Use of Other Helpful Resources Available to You

The restorative power of time off can work wonders for caregivers and their spouses. Taking a trip together to someplace different than you’ve ever been before can make the world seem bright and new again. That can help restore your bonds and renew your energy. Even a ‘staycation’ where you’re not responsible for anyone but yourselves can rejuvenate your marriage.

That’s where respite care can help you. Respite care is a short-term stay in a senior living community that offers caregivers a break from the role of caregiver for a short time. It’s how caregivers can restore their energy, keep their sanity, and focus on their marriage.

5. Recognize the Signs That You’ve Reached the Limit

You and your spouse might come to realize that your role as caregiver is placing too much strain on your marriage. If you’ve tried everything, including getting a break through respite care, it may be time for a change.

Sunrise Senior Living offers all levels of care and service for seniors who want to live fulfilling, safe, and independent lives in a new home. Our senior living counselors can help you understand your options. If you, your spouse, and your senior loved one realize it’s time to make a change, call us at 888-434-4648. 

What immunizations should seniors discuss with... Vaccines are a marvel of modern medicine, created to prevent a range of diseases that can be deadly. 

Therefore, it’s surprising to know just how many older adults have fallen behind on their vaccinations.

If you’re over the age of 65, you may need boosters for many of your vaccines.

August is National Immunizations Month. It’s a good time to talk to your doctor about getting current on your vaccinations. From shingles to diphtheria, there are a number of vaccine-preventable diseases of which you should be aware. 

A Guide to Essential Vaccines for Seniors

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people over the age of 65 should always be up-to-date on the following:

1. Seasonal Flu (Influenza) Vaccine

It’s been decades now that doctors have been telling seniors that they’re at greater risk for complications from the flu than younger adults. As you age, your immune system weakens, leaving you more vulnerable to conditions arising from getting the flu.

Each year, seniors are overwhelmingly represented in the statistics for flu-related hospitalizations and deaths. Seniors who believe that the flu vaccine is dangerous should be aware that the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both recommend that seniors stay up-to-date with their flu vaccines. It is the best-known way to prevent influenza.

2. Td or Tdap Vaccine

The Td booster vaccine protects against tetanus and diphtheria. The Tdap vaccine protects against those diseases plus pertussis, which is ‘whooping cough’. All three bacterial diseases are potentially life-threatening.

Diphtheria can cause breathing problems, which arise from the thick covering that develops in the back of the throat as a result of the disease. Tetanus causes ‘lockjaw’, which leads to death in about 20 percent of cases.  Pertussis causes severe bouts of coughing that can last for weeks and may lead to seizures, brain damage, and death.

3. Pneumococcal Vaccines

Pneumococcal disease is really an infection. It’s caused by bacteria and can cause pneumonia, bacterial meningitis, a blood infection, or a middle-ear infection. It affects both the very young and the very old. The only known way to prevent this disease is vaccination.

Older adults are at higher risk of Pneumococcal disease than any other age group.

4. Zoster Vaccine

The Zoster vaccine protects against a common disease for older adults: shingles. You may already know someone who’s had shingles. It is extremely painful and symptoms include a blistering rash. The Zoster vaccine won’t fully protect you but it will cut your risk of getting shingles in half. If you do develop shingles, the vaccine may make your case less severe.

A Designated Care Manager Can Help

If you’re preparing to talk to your doctor about getting current with your vaccinations, it’s nice to have someone to help. At Sunrise Senior Living communities, every resident has a Designated Care Manager (DCM). They are trained caregivers who provide a helping hand with just about every aspect of daily living.

They’re also active in creating and maintaining each resident’s Individualized Service Plan (ISP), so talking to your DCM about vaccines is a good way to incorporate this issue into your healthcare regimen.

Would you like to meet a Sunrise DCM? Schedule a visit to Sunrise community near you today!

How to conduct a home safety audit of a... Many older Americans would prefer to stay in their own homes for as long as they possibly can. 

Making that decision means weighing a lot of factors, including home safety. One way to find out whether your senior loved one’s home is safe, comfortable, and functional is to conduct a Home Safety Audit.

Since it is National Safe at Home Week, now is a great time to think about conducting one on your senior loved one’s home.

What is a Home Safety Audit?

Everyone needs a home that’s safe and secure, but seniors may need a few modifications made to their homes in order to feel comfortable and be safe.

It’s hard to look at a familiar place with an objective eye for safety, which is why the AARP has published a home safety audit checklist. It’s very thorough, so it’s daunting to look at!

On this checklist, you’ll find questions about safety issues in the home that you might never think of on your own. For example, can you hear the doorbell ring from every corner of the house? Is the front door peephole at the right height? Are locks easy to use?

Going Beyond Basic Safety

The AARP checklist may seem comprehensive because it’s so long but, believe it or not, there’s more to a safety audit than what’s found there. We recommend using that checklist as a starting point but here are some other factors to consider.

How to Create a Convenient Environment for Your Senior Loved One

There are other environmental factors to consider, as well. Here are a few to remember when you are assessing a senior’s home for safety issues.

●       View furniture as a possible aid to balance. Furniture should be placed so that your senior loved one can use it to stabilize themselves. That means it should be sturdy and pathways should be kept clear. Furniture shouldn’t tip easily, either.

●       Consider fabric colors with an eye for contrast. Aging eyes often find it difficult to distinguish between similar colors. When the rug is dark like the floor, the risk of tripping on the edge of the rug is greater. There are dozens of ways to use contrasting colors to help seniors with aging eyes navigate and feel secure.

●       Allow for plenty of natural light. It helps seniors who have vision problems navigate around their home easier and safer. And there are other benefits natural light provides. Primarily, it helps keep our circadian rhythms in balance. That means better sleep and improved mood!

No Matter Where You Call Home, It’s Your Castle

No matter where you live or what type of dwelling you inhabit, your home provides a sense of comfort and independence. It should be safe, secure, and comfortable as well as aesthetically pleasing to you. Your home is your castle, a place where you can relax and enjoy the things you love to do. That is true for adults of all ages.

At Sunrise Senior Living communities, residents are proud of where they live. Living spaces are beautifully designed and carefully orchestrated with updates to enhance safety and comfort.

Thanks to our in-house design team, Sunrise communities are known for their aesthetically pleasing, stylish decor. We’re proud of what we’ve done with each of our communities, creating safe, unique living spaces for our residents to enjoy.

We’re so proud that we’re sharing our insight and expertise with you. Download the complimentary Sunrise Senior Living Home Design Guide today to incorporate some of our tips in your own home or living space!

Mistakes to avoid when you are searching for a... Shopping around for a senior living community can make you feel like you’re lost in a foreign country. 

The language is different, you’re not sure whom to ask for help, and you just want everything to be easy and normal again.

It doesn’t have to be that way, however. Many have gone before you, successfully finding a proper setting and a new home for their senior loved ones.

The key is avoiding the common mistakes that people make in their search for senior living.

5 Mistakes to Avoid When You’re Searching for a Senior Living Community

There are many pitfalls to avoid. These are five of the most common mistakes made by families like yours, who are searching for the right community for a senior loved one.

1. Beginning the search without first knowing the terminology.

For many, the first mistake is beginning their search without first learning the ‘language,’ or lingo of senior living. Once you know the difference between ‘independent living’ and ‘assisted living’, for example, narrowing your search will be easier.  

2. Looking at Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are mainly for short-term rehab stays and for people who require higher levels of medical care on a long-term basis. Because people are more familiar with the term, however, they often start their search with nursing homes.

3. Basing Your Search on Internet Research Only

Let’s assume that you, your family, and your senior loved one have had a few discussions about moving out of their home. Your next step will be finding out about your options. The internet is a good place to start, but that’s all it is: a good place to start.

Continue your search by visiting some of the communities that seem to fit your needs. Take your time touring the community and asking questions. If you can, stay for a meal with current residents. They will be the best source for determining what the community truly offers older adults.

4. Failing to Involve Your Senior Loved One in the Decision-Making Process

According to Kelly Myers, SVP of Sales at Sunrise Senior Living, the decision to move to a senior living community should never be presented as a surprise. To your senior loved one, that can feel like a sneak attack.

The more involved your senior loved one is in making the decisions, the better. It allows everyone more time to get used to the idea. The sooner the whole family is involved, the more time there will be to talk about what’s important to your loved one.

5. Not Taking Time to Meet Staff and Residents Before You Choose

Your senior loved one faces the prospect of moving into a totally new environment where they don’t know a soul. A better option is to let them become a part of their new community even before moving day.

At the communities you’re considering, ask if you and your loved one can meet some of the staff at the community. Even better, ask if your senior loved one can attend some of the community activities or events. That way, they will get to know the residents and maybe even make a friend or two before moving day.

Sunrise Senior Living Has Resources & Tools to Aid the Decision-Making Process

Finally, there are tools that can help you in your search. One such tool is “The Care Questionnaire” on the Sunrise Senior Living website. Filling out the questionnaire can give you insight on what type of care your senior loved one needs.

Print it out for your own resource or use it to begin a conversation with one of our care counselors. We also invite you to call us anytime at 888-434-4648 with your questions about senior living. We’ll be happy to help!

Articles last updated at Nov 18, 2017 02:33:19am.
Next update in 60 minutes.

Copyright 2017, HomeGuardian.biz