Moving can be tough at any age. For seniors, the emotional toll of moving can cause anxiety about relocating and leaving behind their family home. Sometimes, a spouse has passed away, and the house is closely tied to happy memories of the years spent together there.
Even if you are looking forward to moving to a senior living community and all the life enrichment opportunities it offers, anxiety may still be a factor. As moving day gets closer, stress and anxiety often increase.
What can you do to help your loved one manage move-related stress and anxiety?
We have a few suggestions to help you and your family through this transition.
Tips to Help a Senior Manage Moving Anxiety
Psychologists call the anxiety a senior feels about moving relocation stress syndrome (RSS). This term is used to describe the unique challenges an older adult faces when they are making a move.
Here are five tips:
Making a Smooth Transition
We know downsizing can be daunting. That’s why we created this colorful graphic that highlights the dos and don’ts of helping a senior loved one downsize in preparation for a move to a senior living community.
The Quick Buy Program by Moving Station might be another helpful tool for you. Moving Station is a Sunrise partner that assists seniors with selling a home and offers a comfortable transition, allowing you to settle into your new lifestyle with ease.
If you are helping a senior loved one prepare for a move to an assisted living community, getting their house ready to sell is probably on your “to do” list. Presenting their home well to prospective buyers can help them get the best possible return on their investment.
We understand how important a successful home sale is to most seniors whether they’re just downsizing or planning a move to a senior living community. For many older adults, their house is their largest asset, and the proceeds from its sale can be used to finance their move to their next home.
What can you do to stage your family member’s home for a quick and successful sale?
Here are a few suggestions.
5 Tips for Staging a Home for a Profitable Sale
Assistance with Selling your Home
If you’re ready to move but don’t want to deal with the process of selling your home, the Quick Buy Program by Moving Station might be for you. Moving Station is a Sunrise partner that assists seniors with selling a home and offers a comfortable transition, allowing you to settle into your new lifestyle with ease.
Do you seem to develop a case of the “winter blues” that won’t go away until spring arrives each year? If so, it might be seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and more than just a post-holiday slump. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 6.5 million Americans over the age of 65 experience depression, and symptoms may worsen seasonally if you have SAD, especially for those who live farther north.
While less sunlight combined with spending more time indoors can increase feelings of sadness in the wintertime, you should be on the lookout for recurrent episodes of depression in late fall and winter.
Recognizing the Signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
If mood changes last for two or more weeks, it might be time to seek help. In addition to sadness, caregivers should be aware of the following signs of SAD in themselves or a loved one:
Exhibiting more than one or two of these symptoms is something that should likely be discussed with a physician. SAD often requires medical intervention.
Treating Seasonal Blues and Cabin Fever
If you're feeling a little blue this winter, there are steps you can take that might help lift your spirits and kick cabin fever.
At Sunrise, residents have the opportunity to engage in life-enriching activities every day. We invite you to visit us at your convenience to learn more!
With frigid temperatures and snow storms expected to last throughout this winter, many seniors and their families might be wary of what the rest of this season has in store for us. Creating an emergency storm plan is a step you can take to help relieve anxiety while also staying safe.
What does emergency planning for a senior require?
Here are a few tips shared by the disaster preparedness experts at the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Winter Storm Safety Planning Checklist
Check out this FEMA guide for seniors: Prepare for Emergencies Now: Information for Older Adults. It provides insight on tailoring your emergency plan for your individual needs, ranging from how to decide whether or not to evacuate to tips for creating a family communication plan.
Winter Respite at Sunrise Senior Living Communities
Sunrise communities have emergency supplies and plans in place to withstand winter storms while still providing optimal care for our residents.
If you’re looking for support during the winter months, a short-term respite stay at a Sunrise community might be the ideal solution. Respite guests enjoy the same services and amenities as long-term residents.
From a wide variety of life enrichment activities to well-balanced meals, a short-term stay to ride out the winter can be a welcome break for your loved one. And, you can gain peace of mind knowing your family member is in good hands with us.
Respiratory therapists play a crucial role in helping older adults enjoy the best quality of life possible. But not everyone understands what these dedicated healthcare professionals do or how hard they work to provide care for older adults.
In honor of January being National Respiratory Care Month, we are working to raise awareness about this profession.
How Do Respiratory Therapists Help Seniors?
Respiratory therapists treat people that have trouble breathing due to illnesses affecting the cardiopulmonary system. They may also provide emergency care for incidents such as heart attacks or strokes.
While they work with people of all ages, many illnesses common among older adults require the care of a respiratory therapist. These include the following:
You can find respiratory therapists working in a variety of settings, such as:
How are Respiratory Therapists Trained?
If you are a family caregiver for someone with a respiratory-related illness or a student contemplating a career in respiratory therapy, here’s what you should know.
Respiratory therapists fall into one of two categories:
For those who are interested, the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) maintains a list of accredited respiratory care programs across the country.
Promoting Healthy Lifestyles
While some health problems that require the intervention of a respiratory therapist can’t be prevented, others can. You can keep your lungs healthy in a variety of ways, such as not smoking and avoiding radon gas.
Two preventative measures that can also help are maintaining an antioxidant-rich diet and engaging in regular exercise. Both are a part of everyday life at our Sunrise communities.
The best way to learn more is to visit one of our communities in person! Contact us today to schedule a private visit.
Healthcare professionals who work with older adults have long believed that isolated seniors experience medical issues at a far greater rate than their more engaged peers. Now, there is evidence to support these views.
Research shows isolation is a serious health risk for older adults, and the problem is growing, with an increasing number of Americans experiencing isolation regularly. The good news is research consistently shows that feeling connected and involved benefits both mental and physical health—and there are several ways to get started.
Health Conditions More Common Among Isolated Seniors
When a senior is isolated, they are more likely to experience:
Older adults who are isolated are also at increased risk for becoming victims of fraud and scams.
What is Isolation?
If you are an adult child or family caregiver, it’s important to understand the difference between being lonely and being isolated. While loneliness can create health risks for seniors, isolation occurs when a person lacks opportunities to interact with people and is linked to early mortality.
Scientists from McMaster University explained the difference as, “a person can be socially isolated but not feel lonely, whereas an individual with a seemingly large social network can still experience loneliness.”
What Causes Isolation, and How Can You Overcome It?
Here are a few of the most common causes a senior may become isolated, as well as tips for handling each situation:
1. Grief and loss
The loss of a spouse or long-term partner puts seniors at high risk for both loneliness and isolation. Seniors often find it difficult to go from being part of a couple to being alone.
3. Lack of transportation
Another common reason older adults become isolated is a lack of affordable transportation. If your loved one has given up driving, they may be struggling to find options for getting around town.
The good news is that there are more choices today than ever before. Companies like Lyft and uberASSIST make it quick and easy to secure a ride to attend an event or run errands. You can also call your local Agency on Aging to ask for a list of reliable transportation providers.
Live an Active, Engaged Life at Sunrise
At Sunrise, we make it easy to live an active and engaged life. From socializing over a delicious meal in our dining room to attending wellness programs and activities, there are opportunities to Live With Purpose every day.
The holidays are a fun and festive time of year. But that probably made it tough to resist the calorie-laden treats that seemed to pop up everywhere.
If you indulged a bit too much, you might find yourself feeling a little sluggish in the new year. All of us can benefit from a well-balanced diet, but seniors need to be especially aware of how food choices impact everyday life.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) says the key is a diet that includes a balance of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. This can help with disease prevention and overall quality of life.
Aging Well and a Healthy Diet
Why is a healthy diet such an important part of aging well?
A well-balanced diet can impact your life and health in many ways. The NCOA reports that there are many benefits of eating well:
5 Tips to Improved Your Nutrition in 2018
Here are five ways to get your nutrition on a healthier track in the new year:
1. Eat filling foods
Feeling hungry can be one of the greatest challenges to sticking with a healthy diet. But foods with high fiber content can help you feel fuller faster and stay full longer.
Try to eat more high-fiber foods including:
2. Sit down and eat slowly
Mindfulness is important in many areas of life, including mealtime. Sitting down to eat—not eating standing up over the kitchen sink—can help you make better nutrition choices. It can also help you avoid overeating.
Paying attention to meal presentation is also helpful. Serving food on pretty dinnerware and setting an attractive table can make mealtime more inviting.
3. Serving size awareness
Nutrition labels can be deceptive if you aren’t careful. While you might take time to read the fat, sodium, and sugar content, it’s easy to overlook the serving size. And many times, those serving sizes aren’t very realistic.
For example, if you are enjoying a dish of ice cream, the serving size might be a half cup. Is that the amount you really eat? Pay close attention to labels to better manage portions.
4. Learn more about aging and nutrition
Knowledge is power when it comes to senior nutrition. One resource that can help seniors and family caregivers plan healthy meals is USDA’s MyPlate.
This tool is designed to help you visualize each meal and give you a better idea of what types of food should fill each section of the plate. Sunrise partners with MyPlate to promote the USDA's Dietary Guidelines and help seniors and their families make healthy food choices.
5. Healthy nutrition on a budget
We know that eating well sometimes means spending more at the grocery store. For older adults on a fixed income, that can take a real bite out of the monthly budget. But there are options that can help seniors bridge the gap,including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). You can also call your local Agency on Aging for a list of community-based programs.
Nutrition at Sunrise Senior Living
The dining program at Sunrise communities is an important part of residents’ overall wellness. An in-house chef at each community helps to ensure meals are both delicious and nutritious.
We extend an open invitation to older adults considering a move to senior living to join us for a tour and a meal. Contact a Sunrise community near you to schedule a time!
Seniors sometimes worry that Alzheimer’s disease might be causing the challenges and changes they or their spouse are experiencing. Almost every older adult knows someone with this diagnosis.
Many seniors fear that if they share these concerns with adult children or a physician, they will be forced to make changes they aren’t ready to make. As a result, they may go to great lengths to hide what they believe are the symptoms of the disease.
Recognizing the Signs a Senior Might be Struggling with Mental Health Changes
Memory Care at Sunrise Senior Living
If you suspect an older adult in your life may be struggling with early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, you might need help figuring out the best way to talk with them. We created Having the Important Conversations to support you in those efforts. This resource covers everything from showing empathy to understanding senior living lingo.
Caring for a senior while juggling all of the other responsibilities in your life can be stressful. It’s important to carve out a little bit of time for self-care so you can best care for your loved one.
A poll conducted by Gallup Industries found that the injuries and illnesses most common among family caregivers are:
Do any of these sound familiar?
If they do, it’s probably time for you to make a few resolutions for living healthier in 2018.
Be a Healthier Caregiver in 2018
We hope these suggestions can help you start 2018 on a healthier note:
1. Set personal goals: Begin by writing down the three things that are most important to you in life. Be honest! Then, take a hard look at which of your daily activities are taking time away from what is most important to you.
Many of us have a difficult time saying “no.” We agree to make a casserole for a church potluck we can’t attend. Or we bake five dozen cookies for a school fundraiser. These are noble gestures, but also ones that make life even more difficult for a family caregiver. Make 2018 the year you scale back, even slightly, on things that aren’t high priorities.
2. Care for the caregiver: For most caregivers, taking time for self-care is difficult to do. But staying healthy is really the only way to ensure you are able to continue caring for those you love most.
Set an exercise goal of 30 minutes three to four times a week. Split it up in to 15-minute increments to make it easier to fit into your schedule. You’ll still get the same health benefits. Walking, yoga, swimming, and Pilates can each nurture the body, mind, and spirit.
Equally important is to commit to eating a healthy diet and to prepare meals a week ahead of time. You’ll find you have more energy and feel less stressed if you do. Designate a few hours on the weekend to prepare for the week ahead.
3. Ask for help: Family caregivers often feel duty-bound to care for their loved one all on their own. Many feel too guilty to ask for help or accept it when it is offered.
Make 2018 the year you recognize that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. In the year ahead accept offers of help and suggest specific things that people can do to help out.
If you don’t have family members close by to pitch in, contact your local senior services or Area Agency on Aging. They may be able to help you get support with driving to appointments as well as medication and grocery delivery. Or, find a senior living community nearby that offers short-term respite care services.
Sunrise Senior Living Healthy Caregiver Guide
The Sunrise Senior Living website is full of advice and guidance on how to care for yourself while you are busy caring for a loved one. It covers everything from connecting with an online support group to using journaling to manage stress.
Take these tips into the new year to become a happier, healthier you!
Getting a good night’s rest can be difficult for many seniors. In fact, insomnia is reaching the point where sleep experts say it presents a serious health crisis in our country. The lack of quality sleep has a variety of causes, including sleep apnea, stress, irregular heartbeat, and lifestyle.
We know our diets are important to our overall health, and sleep is no exception. Shortened or low-quality sleep can wreak havoc on your goal of healthy eating. That’s because it increases the body’s appetite for comfort foods, which are high in fat and carbohydrates.
A study from the University of Pennsylvania revealed that the key to a good night’s sleep might lie in eating nutrient-rich foods—ironically, something insomnia makes you less likely to do.
Can a Nutrient-Rich Diet Help Seniors Sleep Better?
A study published in the Journal of Sleep Research reveals our bodies need amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to help us fall and stay asleep. When our diet lacks variety or contains a lot of processed foods, we miss out on some of those beneficial nutrients.
But when we eat healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and quality meat, we give our body the best chance of falling asleep naturally. The study, which was conducted at The Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania, uncovered interesting information on the potential link between sleep duration and nutrition.
Here are a few of their findings:
Balanced Diet at Sunrise Senior Living
The Signature Dining Program at Sunrise communities takes the guesswork out of what to eat to maintain a healthy diet. Each of our meals is well-balanced and designed to meet the MyPlate recommendations for older adults.
Sound tempting? Then join us for lunch or dinner at your convenience. It’s one of the best ways to see what life at Sunrise is really like!
We all know that a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and a generally healthy lifestyle promote successful aging. What isn’t as well-known is how the creative arts contribute to better overall health, especially as we age. Activities as diverse as music, dance, painting, quilting, singing, poetry-writing, and storytelling add meaning, joy, and a vibrant sense of wellbeing to the lives of older people.
Creativity and Better Health
A study conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts in conjunction with The George Washington University examined the impact creative arts can have on the health and wellness of older adults. The results were surprising, even for those who have long believed art improves quality of life.
After just one year a majority of participants showed areas of stabilization and improved health. This was evidenced by:
Psychology Today published a comprehensive review of more than 100 studies about the benefits of creativity. The results were undeniable: people who participate in any type of creative arts experience health benefits, including:
Finding Meaning and Purpose through Creative Arts
For those who spent their entire adult lives busy with careers and raising a family, retirement can suddenly leave them feeling directionless. Creative hobbies can help fill the gap and give older adults a sense of purpose.
Creating for the benefit of others can be especially rewarding. Some older adults might enjoy learning how to knit and join a volunteer group that knits blankets for hospitalized children.
Even the simplest creative projects can bring pleasure and improve health.
There are a variety of inexpensive creative projects for people of all skill levels! A few examples are:
Live an Enriching Life at Sunrise
At Sunrise communities, we know the benefits of living an artful life. It’s a core component of our Live With Purpose program. Residents have opportunities to write poetry, enjoy a watercolor class, visit a local art museum, explore creative writing, and so much more!
Call the Sunrise Senior Living community nearest you to learn more!
The holiday season is a time when many families travel home to spend time with loved ones. For some, it is one of the few in-person visits they make all year. And it isn’t uncommon for adult children to be surprised at the changes they find in their aging parents.
Even those adult children who frequently talk with their loved one by phone are sometimes caught off guard. This can be because older family members aren’t completely open and honest about how well they are—or aren’t—managing on their own.
Discovering a loved one is really struggling can create a rushed timeline to begin the search for assisted living.
If you are reluctant to tour assisted living communities on a loved one’s behalf when you’re home for the holidays, know that it’s a wonderful time to explore these communities.
Holiday Visits to Assisted Living Communities
Here are just a few reasons to visit assisted living communities during the holidays:
Contact Sunrise to Schedule Your Visit
Contact us today to schedule your family’s private tour of a Sunrise community near you or to request an event calendar to see what programs and activities are available that you might like to join. Our door is always open!
A cell phone can make a great holiday gift for an older adult. While many seniors have one, they often purchase these devices with few features. These traditional phones may have keys that are too small for hands with arthritis to manage, or screens that are difficult on older eyes.
Upgrading to a smartphone—that can connect to the internet and download apps—can make everyday life easier. But it can also put a senior at risk for problems like text messaging scams and identity theft.
Here are a few things to consider before you buy a smartphone for a senior this holiday season.
If you aren’t sure what type of smartphone to purchase, here are two to consider:
Finally, remember to take the monthly service plan fee into consideration before you purchase a smartphone.
Smartphone Safety Issues to Review with Seniors
Don’t forget to review potential safety concerns with your loved one after they open their holiday gift. Some might not be aware of the security risks smartphones can present, such as:
At Sunrise, 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 smartphone and Internet use while helping seniors explore technology.
We’d like to extend an invitation to you to visit Sunrise if your loved one is considering a move to senior living. Call the community nearest you to set up a time!
The activity and engagement that a happy career provides to older workers may help them live longer. We now know that isolation is a health risk for seniors and may contribute to a variety of medical issues ranging from obesity to depression.
What else can you do to age well if you are close to or older than the traditional retirement age?
Consider moving to a senior living community. Thriving communities can help older adults improve their quality of life in many ways.
Quality of Life & Senior Living Communities
Here are a few benefits senior living communities can provide:
1. Healthy lifestyle
Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly may help lower your odds for conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and depression. From nutritious dining programs to wellness programs and medication management support, senior living communities make adopting a healthy lifestyle much easier to do.
2. Peace of mind
Stress isn’t good for anyone at any age. It can increase blood pressure and lower the body’s immunity. The peace of mind that comes from knowing you have friends nearby, as well as the care and services needed now and in the future, can help an older adult relax and enjoy life.
3. Promote brain health
Just as your body needs to work out, so too does your brain. Taking classes, engaging in current events, and attending lectures are part of daily life at a senior living community. And these are all activities that give your brain health a boost.
4. Peers to relate to nearby
As we age, it isn’t uncommon for our social circle to become smaller. Friends may move away to be nearer to their adult children or relocate to a warmer climate. In a senior living community, however, you are surrounded by peers who are likely sharing similar experiences in life. Having a peer group to socialize and commiserate with is another key to successful aging.
5. Volunteer opportunities & creative arts
Residents of the Blue Zones, those regions of the world where people live the longest and are the happiest, have many things in common. Among them is an older population with a sense of purpose. In senior living communities, there are many opportunities for fulfillment. Some find it in the volunteer projects that are abundant in most communities. Others find it in the creative arts classes that take place every day. Finding purpose can add years to your life.
Live With Purpose at Sunrise Senior Living
Among our Signature programs is Live With Purpose, which encourages residents, team members, family members and even the broader community to engage in a very purposeful way. This program allows our residents to enjoy, express, learn, and grow while fostering a greater sense of community and meaning. It is a method of helping to ensure every resident has an opportunity to live their best life.
Want to see Live With Purpose in action? Check out these videos to see our residents, team members, families, and volunteers enjoying everyday life at Sunrise.
We are thrilled to announce that an additional five Sunrise communities earned the 2017 Silver—Achievement in Quality Award from the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL)!
The communities are:
The National Silver Quality Award is the second of three distinctions possible through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program, which recognizes long-term and post-acute care communities across the United States that have demonstrated their dedication to improving the lives of residents through quality care. These communities will be recognized at the 2018 AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention.
They join 11 Sunrise communities that earned National Silver Quality Awards earlier this year and five that earned Silver Quality Awards in 2016, as well as 181 Sunrise communities that have been recognized with Bronze Quality Awards over the last two years—the most of any single assisted living provider. See our National Quality Award webpage for the full list.
As part of the Sunrise Quality Promise, each of our communities is dedicated to providing high-quality care in a safe, comforting environment. We are honored to serve so many seniors and their families each day.
Congratulations to these five communities!
This time of year includes gatherings of friends and family, gift-giving, and holiday traditions. But it can also bring some challenges. Holiday parties are full of sugary treats, fried appetizers, high-sodium snacks, and festive cocktails.
For seniors trying to limit sodium intake and control high blood pressure, the holidays can be a real challenge. Indulging too much can put your health at risk.
So how can you enjoy the season’s festivities while sticking to a heart-healthy diet?
We have a few suggestions we hope are useful.
Tips to Enjoy a Heart-Smart Holiday Season
Heart-Smart Diet at Sunrise Senior Living
We know that food choices are an important part of aging well. The Sunrise dining program makes it easy for residents to eat healthy without sacrificing taste!
Caring for your loved one may at times be a complex task, and their needs can change quickly. But long-distance siblings and non-caregiving family members might not be aware of this, and the distance can prevent them from understanding just how challenging caregiving is on a daily basis.
The holidays are a good time to talk about a loved one’s care and to create a plan for the future. Holding a family meeting when everyone is in town is a great way to get started. It can provide the senior and other family decision-makers with an opportunity to work together.
Talking about Assisted Living during the Holidays
Here are a few tips to help your family meeting go more smoothly.
Unsure What Type of Care You Need?
The Sunrise Care Questionnaire will walk you through a series of questions to determine what level of care best meets their needs. In less than five minutes, you’ll have a better understanding of where to begin your search.
If you are the family caregiver for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease, holiday planning requires a little extra thought. Parties in your home can be especially challenging.
But that doesn’t mean you should skip hosting a holiday celebration altogether.
Instead, learning how to plan a safe holiday gathering is the key.
Tips for Hosting a Holiday Gathering when your Loved One has Dementia
Explaining the situation to your guests is important. And details like timing of the party and creating a “safe space” for your loved one are also vital. The following suggestions can help make your holiday party go smoothly.
Explain the situation to your guests ahead of time.
As you receive RSVPs from guests, explain the situation to those who will be attending. While Alzheimer’s awareness has increased in recent years, many people still think the only symptoms of the disease are being forgetful and getting lost easily. It’s important for everyone to be aware of other potential issues.
This can be accomplished with an email or note that includes a quick sentence or two about the disease, like the example below:
“We are looking forward to seeing you at our holiday party! Since we’ve last spent time together, my father is now living with us. Dad has Alzheimer’s. It can cause him to behavior unusually or forget people’s names—even longtime friends and family members. Please don’t be offended. The disease is at fault, not him.
Also know that the disease makes daily life more difficult for him. Crowds and noise can be tough. So he might visit with guests for a while, and then rest in his room the remainder of the evening.”
Additionally, encourage guests to talk to their children about Alzheimer's. The bottom line is that it is kinder to everyone involved if guests aren’t surprised on the day of the event. This makes it easier and less stressful for everyone to recognize the condition and be more understanding of the situation.
Create a peaceful space for a party timeout.
For people who have Alzheimer’s, any change in routine can be difficult. This includes the party atmosphere, such as loud noises, confusion, and an influx of people. These can create agitation and possibly even lead to attempts to wander.
Prepare for this by creating a place for your loved one to take a quiet break if need. Consider enlisting a few friends or family members—those who understand the disease and common behaviors—to keep your loved one company during the event.
Before the party, have CDs or a playlist of soothing music ready to go. If your loved one tolerates headphones, listening to music with headphones might help to block out background noise.
If any of the party guests are close with your family member, they might enjoy spending one-on-one time with them during the party. This can also help your loved one feel calmer.
Pay attention to timing and details.
Most people with Alzheimer’s disease have times of day that are better and worse for them. Take that into consideration as you plan your holiday gathering.
If possible, schedule your event for a time of day when your loved one is typically at their best. A brunch might be better than a cocktail party if your family member suffers from sundowning syndrome. Or, an evening dessert bar may be a good fit if the early part of the day is most challenging for them.
Visit Sunrise during the Holidays
The holidays are a great time of year to visit a Sunrise Senior Living community! From the seasonal foods to fun, festive activities, you are sure to enjoy spending a few hours with us. Sunrise Senior Living's memory care services create a safe and stimulating environment for those with Alzheimer’s. Call the community nearest you to set up a time today.
Safety is always a top priority for the caregiver of a senior loved one. But during the holiday season, one specific risk becomes even more important to consider: fires.
Seniors face twice the risk of being seriously injured or losing their life in a fire. Those over the age of 85 have almost five times higher risk. While older adults account for only 13 percent of the nation’s population, they account for 35 percent of the deaths caused by fires.
Here are a few tips to review and share with your older loved ones to help keep them safe this holiday season.
7 Fire Safety Tips for Seniors during the Holidays
What Type of Senior Care Does a Loved One Need?
We understand that you often return home to spend time with older parents during the holiday season. And many times the topic of senior living options comes up. If you suspect it’s time for a change, we can help you determine what level of care might be the best fit.
The Sunrise Care Questionnaire takes just four minutes to complete. The results will help you figure out where to start your search for senior living.
As knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease advances, scientists have identified several possible causes of the condition. Some dementia experts suggest lifestyle changes may help reduce the risk of developing it, including healthy eating, brain exercise, and regular physical activity.
One particularly promising body of research raises an important question: can type 2 diabetes cause Alzheimer’s disease?
We know that one in four adults aged 65 and older live with diabetes and that one in eight older adults live with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have been exploring whether there is a link between the two.
Let’s look at what we know about diet, diabetes, and dementia.
Is There a Link between Diabetes and Dementia?
Since 2005, the evidence of a link between dementia and insulin resistance has grown stronger. In fact, some researchers have started referring to Alzheimer’s as type 3 diabetes. Studies indicate that older adults diagnosed with diabetes are two times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
The catch is that researchers don’t understand the cause and effect between diabetes and dementia. Most agree, however, that high blood sugar can negatively impact brain health.
It’s important to first understand what diabetes is and how it develops.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, and it’s on the rise in the United States. Most physicians believe the obesity epidemic is the culprit. Obesity is typically the result of poor lifestyle choices, specifically an unhealthy diet.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body isn’t able to make the right amount of insulin or doesn’t process insulin properly. As blood sugar levels rise in the body, blood vessels, including those in the brain, become stressed. This can cause arteries to harden and narrow.
When the blood supply to the brain isn’t adequate, an older adult’s cognitive faculties can decline. The adult may develop memory loss, have difficulty concentrating and completing tasks, and even struggle with mobility.
Excess glucose also makes it difficult for the brain to break down fatty membranes. When these membranes stick together, they form plaques and tangles that scientists think contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Lower Your Risk for Diabetes and Alzheimer’s
While there is no conclusive evidence so far, many researchers believe one of the best ways to protect yourself from Alzheimer’s disease is to prevent type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association says you can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by:
Controlling your blood sugar will help you live a healthier life which may, in turn, prevent or delay the onset of dementia.
Memory Care at Sunrise
Our Reminiscence Neighborhoods at Sunrise Senior Living communities provide adults with memory impairment a safe, secure environment to call home. Specialized programs and activities help residents live their best life despite the disease.
If an adult you love has Alzheimer’s, we encourage you to visit a Sunrise community near you to see firsthand how we can help improve their quality of life.
Decking the halls or hosting seasonal celebrations can present a time management challenge for all of us. For already overwhelmed caregivers, however, the added pressures of the season can be downright exhausting.
Four in ten family caregivers say they just can’t manage it all on their own when the holidays roll around. Not asking for help can cause caregivers to withdraw and avoid celebrating the holidays altogether.
But caregivers deserve to celebrate the holidays, too. They need time to relax and enjoy family and friends.
Here are a few ways caregivers can participate in the holidays without experiencing burnout or depression.
Preventing Holiday Related Caregiver Overload
Sunrise Senior Living Welcomes Holiday Visitors
We know families often use the holiday season as a time to assess and plan for a senior loved one’s health and wellness needs. Many times, that includes touring local assisted living communities.
If your family will be researching senior living options for someone you love, we invite you to visit Sunrise. Our communities look and feel especially festive during the holidays! Call a Sunrise community near you to arrange a private tour.
Driving is closely linked with independence. Most of us take for granted the ability to hop in our car and head out to run errands or enjoy a road trip. But as we grow older, our ability to stay safe behind the wheel of a car can be compromised.
Vision changes caused by aging can make it tougher to see at night. Hearing loss can muffle sounds and cause an older driver to react too slowly to road hazards. Decreased flexibility might cause pain when looking over the shoulder to merge in traffic.
That’s why the American Occupational Therapy Association sponsors Older Driver Safety Awareness Week every year during the second week of December. It gives advocates in aging services, like those at Sunrise Senior Living, an opportunity to shine light on road safety for older adults.
Older Driver Safety Concerns
Here are a few suggestions to make sure an older adult is safe behind the wheel of a car.
Visit the eye doctor on a regular basis
Experts at the AAA Foundation tell us that as much as 85 percent of driving decisions involve our eyes. And it’s a fact of life that our visual abilities decline as we grow older. Aging eyes are more sensitive to glare, which is why seniors often have a tough time driving at night. The loss of depth perception commonly caused by aging makes it difficult for older drivers to judge their distance from other cars, pedestrians, bikers, and other objects along the road.
Taking steps like keeping the windshield, mirrors, and headlights clean and turning up the brightness setting on the vehicle’s instrument panel can help. But it’s also crucial to see the eye doctor on a routine basis. They can help identify any vision issues and intervene early.
Choosing the right vehicle can also make a big difference when it comes to senior driver safety. While they might want to hang onto an older vehicle because it has low mileage, new cars offer seniors important safety features. Easy-to-pull seatbelts, electric seat adjustments, and improved air bags are just a few.
It’s also important to remind older drivers not to sit too close to the steering wheel. In the event an accident causes the air bags to deploy, an older driver seated too close can be seriously injured. Experts from the National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration say a senior’s chest should be at least 10 inches from the steering wheel. If they can’t reach the gas pedal, consider adding a pedal extender to their vehicle.
Monitor medication side effects
Another overlooked issue that puts seniors at risk when driving is medication. Some medications slow reaction time, while others are known for causing drowsiness or dizziness. These can all be hazardous for drivers.
Take time to review each of your older loved one’s medications to identify potential risks. If you find any that concern you, talk to their physician about alternative options.
Online Driving Tests for Seniors
If you are looking for objective ways to evaluate or improve an older driver’s skills and abilities, here are two tools you might find useful:
Transportation Services at Sunrise Senior Living
If you’ve noticed change in a senior’s driving skills, Older Driver Safety Awareness Week gives you an ideal opportunity to discuss your concerns.
If your concerns about a senior’s safety extend beyond driving, a senior living community might be a solution to consider. From transportation services to a wide variety of life enrichment activities, Sunrise communities help older adults live their best life. Call us today to book a tour and learn more.
From shopping and decorating to attending cocktail parties, holiday season is a busy time for most. All of the hustle and bustle can leave you feeling a little worn out.
And when that happens, your immune system weakens—making it easier for the flu bug to make an appearance.
What can you do to shoo the flu this holiday season?
Here are a few steps caregivers and seniors can take.
5 Influenza Prevention Tips for Seniors and Caregivers
If, despite your best efforts, you think you’ve been bitten by the flu bug, call your doctor right away. There are prescription antiviral medications that can help if prescribed in time. While they might not be able to keep you from developing a case of influenza, they can help shorten the amount of time you are sick or lessen the severity of flu symptoms.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle at Sunrise
At Sunrise, we understand the role a healthy lifestyle plays in aging well. From wellness programs to tasty, well-balanced meals, we help each of our residents live their best life.
If you are helping an older adult you love search for a senior living community to call home, we’d love to have you visit a Sunrise community near you. Call us to arrange a time.
Most of us shop around before making a big purchase. We visit a variety of websites, ask friends for advice, read online reviews, and compare one option with another. That’s why a new statistic from WellCare is so surprising: 62 percent of seniors don’t review or shop around for Medicare Advantage plan options during open enrollment.
For most older adults, healthcare is their biggest expense, accounting for as much as 40 percent of their income. Men are more likely to review their Medicare options than women, but research shows neither group sees it as a priority. In fact, seniors spend more time comparison shopping for car insurance and cable television than they do for a Medicare plan.
According to Kaiser Health, seniors who do make time to shop around find themselves saving an average of $200 a year. Over 20 years, that can result in a savings of $4,000. This is a significant amount for an older adult on a fixed income.
So, how can you explore your Medicare options and make sure you are enrolling in a plan that offers you the best value at the most economical price?
We have a few suggestions you might find helpful.
Exploring Your Medicare Advantage Plan Options
Our first suggestion is to review the Annual Notice of Change letter you should have received in the mail from your current Medicare Advantage plan. Your provider is required to inform you of any changes they are making with regard to pricing, physicians, hospitals, and other plan details. This will give you an idea on how much you should expect to spend in the year ahead if you stick with your current plan.
Next, head over to the Medicare Plan Finder tool on Medicare’s official website. You will need your current plan identification number, a list of your medications, as well as your preferred pharmacy, physicians, and hospitals. The tool will walk you through entering your personal information step-by-step.
Once you have everything entered, the site’s database will match you with a list of plan options near you. The plans will be sorted by their annual cost to participants, but it’s important not to let price be the only factor you use to select a provider.
What else should you consider when choosing a Medicare Advantage plan?
Here are a few factors to take in to consideration:
If you are struggling to navigate your way through what seems like a maze of Medicare Advantage plans, help is available.
Every state has an experienced group of volunteers who offer free one-on-one counseling to help seniors. It is known as the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, more commonly referred to as SHIP. Visit the SHIP website to locate personal assistance near you.
The winter holidays are a time of year when many adult children travel home to celebrate the season with aging parents. This visit also gives them a chance to see firsthand how their older loved ones are doing.
Sometimes, the warning signs that a senior isn’t managing well are obvious. Repeated falls that have left the senior with bruises are worrisome. A banged up car can signal they aren’t safe driving.
Other times, it is a variety of small concerns that can add up to big trouble if left unaddressed.
As you head home for the holidays, here are some tips to help you objectively assess your senior loved one’s situation.
Is Your Senior Loved One Safe at Home?
Most adult children who live far away rely on phone calls to keep in frequent contact throughout the year. The holidays might be a rare opportunity for the two generations to connect in person.
Here are a few things to watch for during your holiday visit:
If you notice the above signs during your holiday visit home, it might be time to consider the support of an in-home care agency or a move to a senior living community.
The holidays are a lively and festive time of year to visit a Sunrise Senior Living community! We extend our warmest welcome to you and your family to join us for a tour and lunch at your convenience.
Call the Sunrise community near your senior loved one to schedule a time for a private visit!
Decking the halls for Christmas or Hanukkah is something many families do together every year, with decorations adding sparkle to the holiday season. But for an older adult with memory loss, these decorations may create disorienting experiences that pose safety challenges.
Thankfully, there are several ways you can make the holidays a safe and happy season for everyone in the family.
Choose Safe Decorations This Holiday Season
Here are a few factors to consider before you hang a single strand of tinsel on the tree:
Memory Care at Sunrise Senior Living
From exercise to pet therapy, Sunrise communities are designed to help seniors with dementia thrive in a safe, secure environment.
The holidays are a great time of year to visit a Sunrise community! You are sure to enjoy our seasonal foods and festive activities while you learn about our innovative approach to memory care. Call the community nearest you to set up a time today.
The holidays are a time of year when many families pause to enjoy quality time together. Decorating the tree. Lighting the Menorah. Exchanging gifts. Every family has their own traditions. But for older adults who live on a fixed income, the holidays can take a big bite out of their budget. This is especially true when it comes to buying gifts for all of the grandchildren.
This year, instead of spending a lot of money on gifts, consider other ways you can celebrate the season with your grandchildren.
Creating Meaningful Holiday Memories
Here are a few ideas to help you manage your budget while bonding with the grandkids:
Finally, if you live in an assisted living community, take a look at the holiday programs scheduled there. You can invite each grandchild to pick their favorite activity.
With a rich variety of life enrichment activities to choose from at Sunrise, each member of the younger generation will surely find an activity the two of you can enjoy together.
For a senior with memory loss, maintaining a normal schedule is important—even during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
Making the holiday season dementia-friendly is an important step in allowing a person with memory loss to be part of the festivities. One way to do that is through meaningful holiday gifts. But coming up with gift ideas for a person with memory loss isn’t always easy to do.
Holiday Gift Guide for Adults with Alzheimer’s
Here are a few ideas you may find useful when shopping for a senior loved one who has dementia.
Discussing Memory Care during the Holidays
The holidays can be the one time of year the whole family is reunited. From aunts and uncles to grandchildren, families tend to go home during this season.
To prepare to go home this holiday season, try listening to The Senior Caregiver Podcast. This includes an episode on how to talk to your children about Alzheimer’s, as well as episodes on other aspects of caring for a senior loved one.
Does staying stronger help you live longer? It’s a question researchers have been exploring. Until recent years, body mass index (BMI) was a measurement physicians often used to determine health. But we now know BMI isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Simply put, body mass index measures your weight in relation to your height. It doesn’t, however, separate fat from muscle. So an athletic person who has significant muscle mass could earn an unhealthy BMI score despite being very fit.
Research shows how important strong muscles are in aging well. Weight training a few days a week to build or preserve muscle mass can help seniors maintain core strength and balance. Both are critical in preventing falls, a leading cause of disability and even death among older adults.
Finally, research published in the American Journal of Medicine shared the results of a study conducted at UCLA. Scientists there say that building muscle mass can also help older adults reduce their metabolic risk, a contributor to heart disease. Their work showed that the greater a senior’s muscle mass, the longer their life expectancy.
What can you and your senior loved ones do pump up your muscle mass?
It’s not really as complicated as you might think.
Tips for Seniors and Caregivers to Build Muscle Mass
The clinical term for the loss of muscle mass is sarcopenia. Health professionals suggest thinking of it as osteoporosis of the muscles. And it starts much earlier than you might expect.
Experts say sarcopenia begins impacting adults as early as their thirties. But there are steps you can take to prevent this decline:
Senior-Friendly Fitness Resources
While joining a fitness club like your local YMCA can offer great social benefits, not everyone is comfortable working out in a public environment. You and your senior loved one might find resources on these two sites helpful for creating your own fitness routine.
Health & Wellness at Sunrise
At Sunrise Senior Living, we know how important it is for older adults to stay active and engaged with life. One of our 8 Signature Programs is Live With Action, which incorporates tips from our partner, the NIA, to help our residents stay physically active.
We share what we’ve learned about aging well in our Elder Care Resources and Information Center. Visit it to find information on exercise, nutrition, heart health and more!
As the calendar inches closer to winter, older adults may find themselves spending more time indoors. While walking and biking are popular forms of exercise on summer days, cold and snowy weather can put a damper on outdoor fitness activities.
But we all know how important maintaining an active lifestyle is to warding off disease. Exercise can play a role in preventing health conditions that range from depression to diabetes. Staying strong can also help to lower an older adult’s risk for falls.
The key is to find senior-friendly forms of fitness that can be performed indoors on days when snow and ice make exercising outdoors less than desirable.
Winter Fitness Activities for Older Adults
The good news is that there are a wide variety of fun and interesting fitness activities for older adults to explore. Here are a few that earn high marks from seniors:
As with any new form of exercise, talk with your primary care physician before getting started.
Wellness Programs at Sunrise
At Sunrise, one of our 8 Signature Programs is Live With Action. Because we know aging well requires staying active, you will find a variety of physical fitness programs every day at each of our communities. We invite you to visit us at your convenience to learn more.
The physical and emotional toll of caring for a senior loved one can be draining and isolating at times. There is probably no other time of year when that is more apparent than the holidays.
What can you do to help prevent the holiday blues and potentially a case of depression?
Here are some suggestions for tackling this holiday season and the year ahead.
Preventing Caregiver Depression during the Holidays
Prevention starts with recognizing that no caregiver can do it all on their own any time of year, let alone during the busy holiday season. Failing to accept this can put you at risk for a host of health problems, including clinical depression.
Here are some steps you can take now to prevent falling victim to the holiday blues or depression:
Warning Signs of Caregiver Depression
Emotional wellness also necessitates caregivers learn to recognize the early signs of depression. These warning signs often include:
If more than one or two of these warning signs could be used to describe how you are feeling, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. Early intervention can help prevent a case of the blues from developing in to a more serious diagnosis of depression.
Sunrise Senior Living Caregiver Support Center
With more than 65 million adults in this country acting as a caregiver for someone they love, we know the need for resources and support is great. Check out our caregiver support center.
You will find resources that range from videos on caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s to ideas for finding a caregiver support group. You are likely to find answers to many of your caregiving challenges here!
With these resources and tips, we hope you’ll be able to make this holiday season a special time for your senior loved one, your family, and yourself.
When an aging person needs a helping hand with personal care and household chores, an adult child or child-in-law shoulders the responsibilities about half the time. And the sibling who takes on this demanding role often has a career and children of their own.
It becomes a difficult juggling act that can leave a family caregiver feeling, at times, unappreciated and exhausted.
This Thanksgiving, make sure to express your gratitude to your sibling in truly meaningful ways. Additionally, commit to finding ways to support their caregiving efforts.
Thanking the Caregiver in Your Family
Being a caregiver for your loved one is a tough job—so tough that it isn’t uncommon for a family caregiver to end up experiencing a health crisis of their own.
Even if you live far away, you can still pitch in. In fact, long-distance siblings should go the extra mile in providing physical and emotional support to the sibling who is juggling this role.
Here are a few ways you can provide meaningful support to the caregiver in your family:
Our final suggestion for thanking a sibling caregiver is to give them a vacation. Stay with your parent while your sibling enjoys time on their own or with their family. If your budget permits, help finance a long weekend at a local spa or a trip to a family-friendly destination like a national park for your sibling to enjoy.
Short-term Respite Care at Sunrise
The best way to learn more about respite care services is by visiting a Sunrise Senior Living community in person. We’ll show you around the community, share information on life enrichment activities and dining, and help you get a realistic look at what each day at Sunrise is really like.
Book a respite tour today to get started!
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.
‘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:
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!
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!
We hope you love David's recipe as much as our residents did!
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
Roasted fingerling potatoes:
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!
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.
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
We hope you love Stephen's salmon as much as our residents do!
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
Chicken osso bucco:
Roasted Vegetable Risotto:
We hope you enjoy Quinn's recipe as much as our residents do!
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
We hope you love Nick's recipe as much as our residents do!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
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!
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
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!
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:
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!
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.
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.
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 healthcare professionals who help people of all ages with issues related to breathing. There are two levels of respiratory therapists:
You will find respiratory therapists working in a wide variety of locations including:
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:
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:
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!
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:
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!
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.
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!