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

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

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

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

Bone Health: How Older Women Can Stay Strong

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

Here’s what you need to know.

You Can Alter Your Bone Density Path

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

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

Exercise is Key

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

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

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

Diet Also Matters

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

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

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

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

Smoking is Bad for the Bones

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

A Healthy Lifestyle is Part of the Sunrise Experience

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the basic facts.

The Medicare Wellness Visit is Not a Typical Physical Exam

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

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

A physical exam includes:

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

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

●       Auscultation: Listening to sounds of the body

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

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

What to Expect During a Medicare Wellness Visit

During your visit, the physician will typically:

●       Review your medical history

●       Assess lifestyle and health risks

●       Review a list of all your health care providers

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

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

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

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

Medicare Wellness Visits are for Checking Mental Health, Too

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

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

Initial Medicare Wellness Visit vs. Annual Wellness Visit

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

How Much do Wellness Visits Cost?

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

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

The Sunrise Senior Living Team Supports Wellness

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

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

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

●       offering  meaningful activities that enrich lives

●       helping residents find balance and joy

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Yoga Benefits Older Adults

1. Yoga Works for All Ages

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

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

2. Every Aspect of Health is Touched by Practicing Yoga

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

3. Seniors Can Practice Yoga Anywhere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But as we age, other factors can creep in.

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

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

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

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

The Five Most Common Balance Problems

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

1. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

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

2. Ménière's Disease

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

3. Labyrinthitis

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

4. Chronic Conditions

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

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

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

5. Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

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

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

Plan for Future Care to Manage Falls

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

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

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

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

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

What Does Wife Appreciation Day Mean?

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

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

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

From Wives to Grandmothers to Caregivers

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

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

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

Expressing Appreciation at Sunrise Senior Living

How can we express our appreciation?

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

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

Sunrise Can Help

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Experts say there just might be.

Can You Lower Your Cholesterol Without Taking a Statin?

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

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

Cholesterol levels can affect your risk for both.

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

Facts You Should Know About the Benefits of Statins

According to research compiled by Harvard Medical School, statins:

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

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

●       May help ward off dementia and protect against osteoporosis

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

●       liver inflammation

●       muscle inflammation

●       sleep disturbance

●       loss of concentration

●       rash

●       nausea

●       nerve inflammation

●       diarrhea

●       impotence in men

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

Diet and Exercise May Help Lower Your Cholesterol

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

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

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

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

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

Natural forms of exercise

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

It is also important to note that few are smokers.

Take Steps to Better Health During Cholesterol Education Month

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

What else can you do?

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

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

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

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

The Most Common Questions About Financing Senior Living

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

1. How do I pay for assisted living?

Bridge Loans

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

In the meantime, there are senior living relocation specialists.

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

Rent the Home

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

Veterans’ Programs

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

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

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

Here are some pros:

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

●       No restrictions on how funds are used

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

●       You no longer have to make premium payments

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

But there are also some drawbacks including:

●       This may disqualify you for Medicaid

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

●       The settlement can be taxable as a capital gain

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

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

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

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

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

Pros of LTC:

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

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

Cons of LTC:

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

●       Premiums can increase

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

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

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

4. What does senior living really cost?

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

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

5. Does Medicare pay for assisted living?

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

Want to Learn More? Sunrise Senior Living Has Resources

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

10 Sunrise senior living communities awarded...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Common Scams Targeting Seniors

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

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

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

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

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

2. Know that Phishers are Fond of Scare Tactics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Don’t Trust Information Requests That Seem Generic

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

Online Safety at Sunrise Senior Living

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ideas for Promoting Intergenerational Family Bonding

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

1. Attend Cultural Events Together

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

2. Take a Class Together

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

3. Play Music Together

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

4. Grow a Garden Together

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

5. Practice the Art of Conversation Together

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

Living With Legacy at Sunrise Senior Living

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

Want to see these connections in action?

Come take a tour of a Sunrise community near you! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why the Mediterranean Diet is Good for Your Heart

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

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

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

1. Health Benefits Even if You Have Cardiovascular Disease

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

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

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

How does that work?

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

2. Healthy Fats Can Have Anti-Inflammatory Effects

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

3. Fewer Side Effects than Statins

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

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

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

5. Mediterranean-Style Cooking is Fun and Easy

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

Want to try eating Mediterranean style?

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

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

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

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

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

Cancer Screenings for Older Adults

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

1. Lung Cancer Testing

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

2. Colon Cancer Testing

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

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

3. Prostate Cancer Testing (Men)

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

4. Breast Cancer Testing (Women)

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

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

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

5. Cervical Cancer Testing (Women)

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

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

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

Your Choices Matter: Sunrise Senior Living® Wants to Help

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

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

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

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

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

Honoring Loved Ones on National Grandparents Day

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

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

Here are a few ideas.

Plant a Tree Together

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

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

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

Participate in a Community Clean-up Day Together

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

Volunteer Together

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

Enjoy Great Conversation Over Lunch

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

Sunrise® Seniors Live With Legacy

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

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

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

Find Out More

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

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

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

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

Ways to Look and Feel Younger as You Age

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

1. Be a Social Butterfly

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

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

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

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

2. Be Nuts about Exercise

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

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

3. Be Adamant about Eating Nutritious Foods

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

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

Sunrise Senior Living and the MyPlate Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few suggestions from experts on family relationships.

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Keep the Lines of Communication Open

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

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

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

4. Be Proactive and Do Some Planning

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

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

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

Consider Getting Some Help with Caregiving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dining Out When a Senior Loved One has Alzheimer’s

1. Make a Well-Planned Reservation

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

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

Start by asking these questions:

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

And as for that ‘big night’ out?

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

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

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

2. Choose Someplace Quiet—Really Quiet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Assist Your Loved One Whenever Possible

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

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

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

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

Memory Care at Sunrise Senior Living

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Practical Steps for Caregivers to Take

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

1. Take Stock of the Situation

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

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

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

2. Make Your Spouse a Priority

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

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

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

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

4. Make Use of Other Helpful Resources Available to You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Guide to Essential Vaccines for Seniors

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

1. Seasonal Flu (Influenza) Vaccine

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

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

2. Td or Tdap Vaccine

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

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

3. Pneumococcal Vaccines

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

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

4. Zoster Vaccine

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

A Designated Care Manager Can Help

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is a Home Safety Audit?

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

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

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

Going Beyond Basic Safety

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

How to Create a Convenient Environment for Your Senior Loved One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Beginning the search without first knowing the terminology.

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

2. Looking at Nursing Homes

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

3. Basing Your Search on Internet Research Only

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9 treatable conditions that mimic alzheimer's... Not all forms of dementia are caused by Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, there are plenty of conditions that mimic Alzheimer’s—well enough to stump doctors, in some cases. 

While it’s never good news when symptoms include memory loss, personality changes, and confusion, there is some hope.

Many of the conditions that mimic Alzheimer’s disease are treatable with early intervention.

From vitamin deficiencies to the side effects of drugs, there’s a lot that can happen to cause memory loss and confusion. 

Treatable Conditions Easily Mistaken for Alzheimer’s Disease

There are actually over 100 conditions whose symptoms can spark fears of Alzheimer’s disease. Here are nine of the most common.

1. Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Low levels of vitamin B12 can cause a type of anemia characterized by confusion, irritability, and slowness.

2. Other Vitamin Deficiencies

Similarly, deficiencies in vitamins B1 and B6 can produce Alzheimer’s-like symptoms. Niacin and folic acid deficiencies can also cause dementia, although it’s rare.

3. Depression

Older adults who are depressed often think they have Alzheimer’s. That’s because depression can cause forgetfulness, slowness, lack of focus, and disorientation.

4. Thyroid Problems

Either too much thyroid activity or too little can cause dementia-like symptoms.

5. Medication Side Effects

A common culprit in cognitive decline is medications. Confusion might be a side effect of a prescription drug the senior is taking. Or they might be experiencing an adverse reaction to a medication or an interaction between several prescriptions. Some of the medications prescribed to seniors can cause dementia-like symptoms simply because the liver and kidneys aren’t as efficient as you age. Drugs can build up in the body, causing a toxic reaction that can lead to mental decline.

Substances that may cause cognitive problems for older adults include:

●       Alcohol (when alcoholism is present)

●       Sedatives

●       Antidepressants

●       Anti-anxiety medication

●       Antihistamines

●       Narcotics

●       Corticosteroids

●       Cardiovascular drugs

●       Acid reflux drugs

●       Sleeping pills

●       Cholesterol drugs

6. Withdrawal from Drugs

Just as drugs can cause Alzheimer’s-like symptoms, discontinuing the use of some prescriptions can too. The resulting confusion and disorientation can mimic the cognitive challenges associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome and a sudden withdrawal from anti-anxiety drugs are two common examples.

7. Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH)

The gradual buildup of brain fluid causes pressure which can damage brain tissue. One of the first symptoms to appear in cases of NPH is an abnormality in the way someone walks. Others include delirium and confusion.

8. Brain Tumor

Benign tumors called meningioma can sometimes cause cognitive loss that’s mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease. These tumors can often be surgically removed.

9. Vascular Dementia

A stroke or mini stroke can cause vascular dementia. People who experience mini strokes very often don’t even realize they’ve had them. Only after signs of dementia start to appear do they suspect something is wrong.

Vascular dementia is sometimes treatable with cognitive rehab and certain medications.

Awareness of the Early Signs of Alzheimer’s

If you or a loved one have symptoms that might be Alzheimer’s, speak with your physician sooner rather than later. True Alzheimer’s can be managed more effectively through preemptive care, so early detection is important.

For a description of the true signs of Alzheimer’s disease that appear during the initial stages, visit us online to find out more. We have a complete resource center for people seeking clear, up-to-date information about Alzheimer’s disease.

7 healthy hobbies for older adults to stay... We all know intrinsically that some of our favorite things to do aren’t that good for us. 

If some of your favorite pastimes leave you feeling a little dull around the edges, perhaps it’s time to find some new hobbies.

Watching too much TV is a prime example of a hobby that doesn’t exactly help you with your mental or physical fitness goals. On the other hand, you don’t have to be a yoga fanatic or a master of vegan baking techniques to enjoy hobbies that contribute to your health.

As you’ll see below, many healthy hobbies can be just as much fun as the bad ones.

Seven Hobbies That Make You Healthier

In the spirit of staying physically and mentally fit, here are seven examples of hobbies that are actually good for you.

1. Bird Watching

As hobbies go, it’s hard to beat bird watching or ‘birding’ as it’s called by enthusiasts. Here’s why.

Benefits of Birding

Birding is...

  • Physical. Just being outdoors is good for you. Plus, you’re often moving around so you’re staying physically fit.
  • Mental. Birding often involves long periods of time waiting quietly in a natural setting. There’s lots of time for peaceful introspection with no distractions.
  • Good for your soul. Birders gain a strong appreciation for nature, which is like medicine for the soul.
  • Great for keeping you alert. Birders may suddenly have to snap out of their contemplation and grab those binoculars (or camera) if a bird appears.
  • Social. Birders often flock together in groups to trek after birds. Their common interest draws them together off the field, too, as they gather to discuss and compare notes.

2. Golfing

Almost everything that can be said about the benefits of birding can also be said of golf. Sure, golf courses are completely landscaped but you’re still outdoors enjoying the fresh air.

In addition to the cardiovascular benefits, there’s a social aspect that’s great for your health, too. In fact, golf is one of the more social hobbies out there. 

In celebration of National Golf Month, here are a few more reasons to play golf.

Golf is…

  • Social.  Even if you’re not playing a full round, there’s the clubhouse where golfers meet friends for lunch.
  • Physical.  Golf requires walking around and swinging a club. Even if you use a golf cart, you’re still moving about quite a bit.
  • Mental. Whether you’re trying to shave points off your game or just trying to hit the fairway, golf requires mental discipline and concentration.
  • Psychological. Golf can boost your ego, too. Every small victory, from a successful putt to an actual win, makes you confident. That is great for your psychological well-being.

3. Gardening

Like birding and golf, gardening gets you outdoors next to nature. It’s also physical and offers many of the same benefits listed in #1 and #2. In fact, the rest of the healthy hobbies on our list are all, in some way or another, similar to birding and golfing. And they offer many of the same benefits.

4. Photography

If your subjects are located outdoors, then photography counts as a hobby that helps improve physical fitness. Even when you’re photographing indoor subjects, it can be a physical activity simply because you sometimes have to bend down to get the right angle. It’s often a social hobby, which is good for you, too.

5. Join a Walking Club

The physical benefits of walking are obvious, but there are also social benefits. Joining a neighborhood walking group can help you feel more engaged and connected to your community. Even having a buddy you walk and talk with can help lift your spirits and boost your mood.

6. Cooking

One of the many joys of cooking is providing healthy meals for friends and family. Some people make a hobby out of cooking by attending cooking classes near their homes. Cooking is active because you’re on your feet slicing, dicing and chopping. It’s social because you share it with others, either in a class or by serving them what you’ve cooked up.

7. Taking Classes

Keeping an open mind to new ways of doing things is great for the mind. One of the best ways to learn about new ideas is to take a class. Many people say that one of the best advantages of senior living is close proximity to a wide range of enrichment classes.

Residents at Sunrise Senior Living communities enjoy a variety of fascinating classes. That’s because learning is one of the pillars of well-being that’s built into the Sunrise Signature Experience. Call us to find out more or check the most recent activity calendar at a Sunrise community near you.

How the food pyramid changes as we age Generations of Americans have based their food choices on the familiar Food Pyramid. 

Created by the USDA to educate Americans about the proper balance of food groups to eat, it’s a useful, visual tool that reminds us to eat more healthy foods and less unhealthy foods.

The food pyramid is still around, but these days you might notice that a few changes have been made. For starters, it’s not a pyramid anymore!

The new food pyramid is a plate.

Called MyPlate, there are two versions: one for people over 50 and one for younger people. The idea is that dietary recommendations change as we age. Here’s what that looks like, decade by decade.

How Your Food Pyramid Changes As You Get Older

The following nutrition recommendations are based on the MyPlate suggestions, which in turn are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

In Your 30s

How you approach nutrition during your 30s can set the pace for decades to come. That’s why you should be moving away from the unhealthy snacks you may have enjoyed in your 20s. No more donut runs in the afternoon, and skip that bag of chips with lunch.

In Your 40s

Many people are at the height of their careers and child-rearing in their 40s. Living life in the fast lane often means nutrition takes a back seat to family and career.

Time for cooking meals from scratch can seem limited, but it’s worth the effort. Your years of eating junk food should be far behind you by now since your metabolism is beginning to slow down. Try to find recipes that follow the MyPlate guidelines.

Double down on the lean protein and plenty of fruit and vegetables.

In Your 50s

Your metabolism is changing, so it’s a good idea to reconsider the traditional notion of three large meals per day. Think about eating smaller portions more often throughout the day to keep pace with a slowing metabolism.

In addition, keep up your exercise routine. Some physical activities you may have enjoyed twenty years ago, like running, might not be as much fun on the joints. This could be the time to find new ways to stay fit for the rest of your life.

In Your 60s

If you’re taking any medication, it’s important to stay in touch with your doctor about food interactions. In addition, make conscious efforts every day to stay hydrated. Fluids make an appearance on the MyPlate for Older Adults in the form of water, tea, soups, vegetables, and fruits. 

In Your 70s and Beyond

Your appetite may diminish as you age, so it’s important to stay mindful of good nutrition. In addition, it’s essential to good health that you stay active. One improvement on the old Food Pyramid is that the new MyPlate guidelines include fitness activities.

 “Find an exercise that you enjoy and look forward to doing, then do it at least 3 – 4 times per week for 30 minutes to boost your cardio fitness and maintain lean muscle mass.”

-Sunrise Senior Living Vice President of Dining Services Caitlin Rogers

MyPlate, Sunrise, and You

MyPlate was designed to help people improve their diets. It’s also used by leaders across the nation to develop nutrition policies and food programs for Americans.

Since Sunrise Senior Living is a National Strategic Partner with the MyPlate program, we adhere to these guidelines as well!

Residents at Sunrise communities enjoy a pleasing selection of healthy, appetizing meals prepared with important nutritional guidelines in mind. Menus change each week and feature fresh ingredients and seasonal selections. Find out more by visiting a community near you, or visit us online for a look at the Sunrise Dining Program.

Vision symptoms seniors shouldn't ignore Nobody should ignore vision problems. That’s a given. But seniors should be on extra high alert for changes in their vision. 

It’s because these changes could very well be signs of an age-related eye disease. And, because some of these diseases can appear suddenly, it’s important to catch those signs early on.

Having your eyes checked once a year is one of the best ways to protect your vision.

Since this is National Eye Exam Month, it’s a great time to remind seniors that certain vision symptoms should never be ignored. You can learn about those symptoms below, but scheduling an annual eye exam is crucial for maintaining good eye health.

Vision Problems That Should Never be Swept Under the Rug

Take note of the following symptoms, and if you experience any of them, call your doctor.

  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Dry eyes
  • Tearing
  • Cloudy vision
  • Itching
  • Trouble reading, especially if the print is small
  • Eye strain
  • Burning
  • Gritty feeling
  •  Headache
  • Twitching eyelids
  • Pain in the eyelids
  • Inflamed eyelids
  • Things look yellow
  • Difficulty telling green from blue
  • Difficulty seeing an object placed against the same color background

Vision Issues that Might Require Emergency Care

There are also vision issues that might be a sign of a medical emergency. Call your primary care physician or 911 if you or a senior experiences:

  • Uncontrolled eye movement
  • Sudden blurry vision
  • Double vision
  • Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes

Don’t attempt to self-diagnose!

Vision Issues Common Among Older Adults

Some eye diseases that your risk of developing increases with age include:

1. Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a common age-related farsightedness that’s easily corrected with eyeglasses. While it’s not serious, it should be corrected in order to preserve your vision.

2. Floaters

Floaters are another age-related change that doesn’t pose a serious threat to eye health. However, if you suddenly notice multiple floaters, it could be signs of a retina problem, and you should seek immediate medical attention.

3. Cataracts

If your vision is cloudy, there’s a chance it could be cataracts. By the time you reach 80, the likelihood of your having cataracts is 50 percent, according to WebMD. Other symptoms from the list above which are also associated with cataracts are yellow colors, double vision in one eye, and sensitivity to light.

4. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

The dry form of AMD progresses slowly over a number of years, while the wet form is far more aggressive. Wet AMD can cause vision loss in just weeks. The main symptom is the loss of central vision, which is permanent. Its progression, however, can be slowed by laser treatments.

One of the top reasons for scheduling that annual eye exam is to check for signs of Macular Degeneration.

5. Glaucoma

Glaucoma risk increases as you age, but family history plays a role, too. If not caught and treated early, it can result in blindness. There are no early symptoms for most people. The main method of detecting glaucoma is to—you guessed it—visit your eye doctor once a year.

Making Home Safer for Seniors with Vision Problems

For anyone suffering vision problems, making the home safe and comfortable is essential. That includes keeping rooms well-lit. Installing sensor lights in bathrooms can help, too. There are even interior design techniques aimed at helping people with vision loss.

At Sunrise Senior Living communities, we’ve worked in dozens of subtle design elements expressly for the purpose of helping residents with aging eyes. They include the use of contrasting colors, positioning furniture to minimize glare, and easy-touch lamp sensors. It’s all part of the Sunrise Signature Experience, created to exemplify the highest standards in quality of life, in every dimension. Call us to schedule a tour and see for yourself!

How to talk with a parent about money You and your aging parents probably have a lifetime of difficult conversations behind you, but the toughest could be yet to come. 

Asking your aging parents how they’re doing financially and how they plan to live out their years is right up there among the top worst ways to spend an afternoon together.

Ignoring the topic, however, is a bad idea. Don’t wait for a crisis to start discussing financials.

Tough Discussions are Often Loaded with Deeper Meaning

Talking about money is hard at this stage in life because your parents’ may feel it signifies a loss of independence. It also narrows in on a closely related subject: how to handle finances after your parents are gone.

Nevertheless, you’ll need to know about these matters. Being in the dark about an older loved one’s finances can set you up for misunderstandings down the road.

National Senior Citizen's Day is right around the corner. Use it as a trigger to start the difficult conversations you should be having.

Talking Finances with Senior Loved Ones

Here are some ideas on how to begin this discussion.

Start Early – Before a Crisis

Even if your parents aren’t showing signs of mental decline or serious medical issues, it’s good to learn as much as you can about their financial situation. Even if you’re not taking over their affairs anytime soon, you’ll want to know about certain fundamentals if anything should happen suddenly. For instance, you’ll want to know what long-term planning they’ve done and where to find their important documents.

Start with the Will: Make it a Family Goal

If your parents have wills, find out where they keep them. With an attorney? Good. In a safe deposit box? Not so good. It can be difficult to gain access to a deceased person’s safe deposit box.

If they don’t yet have wills, it might be a good time to create them. This is often a softer way to begin general discussions of money because it’s not uncommon for members of younger generations to have a will these days. You could even approach this as a group event: every adult in your family could work on their wills.

Ask About Legal Matters: Talk About Your Own First

You’ll also need to know whether your parents have granted Power of Attorney --- for health care or finances ---to anyone. To make these conversations a little easier for everyone, it might help to begin by sharing your own situation.

Perhaps you’ve already drawn up these legal documents yourself. If you have a spouse or children, it’s a wise thing to do. If you’re ever in a situation where you can’t speak for yourself, these documents let loved ones what know your wishes. Planning your estate isn’t just an aging issue, so it’s a good way to ease into the topic with your parents.

Consider Asking About Lifestyle: Do Your Homework

One money topic that’s especially difficult to broach with aging parents is how to plan for future care. They may be independent and healthy now, but that could change quickly. Have you discussed with them how they’ll continue living a happy, healthy lifestyle during retirement? And after their needs change and they need a little extra help?

The best way to begin this discussion is to prepare well ahead of time by doing your homework so you know the options. The goal is to find a solution that provides a quality retirement lifestyle for your parents.

Learn About the Range of Independent Living Options

Sunrise Senior Living offers the full range of retirement options from Independent Living to Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing. If your parents are active, healthy, and still able to care for themselves, an Independent Living community offers the benefits of living in your own home but without having to deal with home maintenance and chores. Some of our communities offer an option to purchase a home, too.

Call Sunrise Senior Living to find out more. We have senior living communities all over the United States, parts of Canada, and the UK.  

From reading to food choices: ts there anything... It’s hard to believe that simple activities you can do at home may help ward off a disease as complex as Alzheimer’s. 

It’s also surprising that advice your grandmother may have given you could protect your memory in the face of dementia.

However, there is ample evidence that simple lifestyle changes can indeed reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.

“This Recipe Works”

A study of 1200 people at high risk for Alzheimer’s was conducted over the course of two years. One group was given a total “lifestyle makeover” which included nutrition advice, an exercise trainer, social activities, and careful management of heart health.

What they found was that these lifestyle changes may reduce memory decline. In the group who received the makeovers, there was significant evidence of reduced risk of memory loss after only two years.

It seems that the simple things are what turn out to be protective.

Upon hearing the results of the study, Vice President of Medical and Scientific Relations at the Alzheimer’s Association, Maria C. Carrillo, Ph.D., was quoted as saying, “This recipe works.”

Lifestyle Changes to Make Today that May Ward Off Alzheimer’s

What does it mean to have a lifestyle makeover? What types of changes can you make to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s?

Here are a few you can make right now.

1. Develop Healthier Eating Habits

Rita Altman, R.N suggests following a Mediterranean diet, which consists of whole grains, nuts, berries, fish, legumes, green leafy vegetables, and red wine. Olive oil is a component of this diet as well, which should come as no surprise!

2. Stay Active

After you retire, you likely have more time to focus on getting more exercise than you did when you were working full time. Regular aerobic exercise has been studied by scientists who have noted parts of the brain grow when you’re more physically active. Those parts are the areas that control learning and memory.

3. Take Classes

You don’t have to take classes to keep on learning (you can read, too), but they certainly make it easier! The brain is like a muscle. Keep using it and challenging yourself to learn new things and you’ll strengthen the neural networks that form the structure of your brain.

4. Sign up for Some “Speed of Processing” Training

Scientists have long speculated that playing brain games may help ward off Alzheimer’s. Now, however, they’re finding evidence that not just any game will help.

A specific type of game called “speed of processes” training has been shown to be more effective at helping maintain cognitive function. For a full description this type of training, read our helpful article on speed of process training, where we cover the matter in more detail.

5. Keep Stress Levels Low

When you’re stressed out, your body pumps out a stress hormone called ‘cortisol’. Over time, cortisol can damage the brain by changing the structure and actually shrinking the part of the brain that’s responsible for memory.

More Tips for Healthy Living From Rita Altman

If you’d like to learn more about the latest in Alzheimer’s research and healthy living, Rita Altman, SVP of Memory Care & Program Services at Sunrise has a blog. She’s a nationally recognized expert who’s published regularly on the Huffington Post, as well as our Sunrise Blog for caregivers, seniors, and professionals. Visit Rita’s blog and sign up for our monthly newsletter!

Planning an intergenerational summer party

Backyard parties are a summer tradition that almost everyone loves, no matter what age they might be. Planning is often the key to success.

This guide will help you plan a summer party that pleases and delights across the generations, from Generation Z to the Greatest Generation.

Be Mindful of Older Adults’ Comfort When Choosing a Venue

Most would agree that the best place for a summer party is your very own backyard. But that can be a problem if your yard isn’t big enough to accommodate a crowd. If you’re choosing a venue, keep in mind that the older adults coming to the party may have special needs.

Even if the party is in your yard, you will want to consider the following issues in your plans:

1. Mobility and access. Is the ground level? Can seniors who use mobility devices easily manage the area? Are there steps?

2. Comfort.
Where are the restrooms? Are they easy to access?

3. Sun safety.
Is there shade? Can people go indoors or under a tent or pavilion to escape the sun?

4. Heat safety.
Is there an area where people can escape the heat and cool down in air conditioning? If not, are there fans?

5. Fluid Intake. Can you set up a ‘hydration station’ that’s easily accessible for everyone? Can you replenish the supplies without too much effort?
Older adults often don’t adapt to the heat as well as younger people. They may also have trouble staying hydrated, either because they don’t experience thirst the same way anymore, or because their bodies aren’t as efficient at hydration and cooling down processes.

One additional tip to be aware of is that seniors are often more sensitive to the sun than their younger counterparts. This may be caused by medication side effects or simply be because our skin gets thinner as we age. In any case, seniors are at higher risk for developing skin cancer so it’s important to provide sunscreen and shade at your party.

Choose the Right Party Food

Many seniors have dietary restrictions that can keep them from enjoying typical party food. BBQ is especially tricky since the marinades often contain lots of salt and spices. Plus, BBQ meat itself tends to be very fatty. All of these can pose health risks for seniors.

Luckily, there are plenty of healthy BBQ recipes out there that will appeal to everyone while also satisfying doctors’ recommendations. All it takes is a little forethought.

Don’t Forget About General Safety

As for decorations, a little ambient lighting can turn your backyard into a festival-like wonderland, even if it’s not yet dark outside. You will need a few hurricane lanterns, string lights, or globe string lights strung through the trees or on the deck.

Keep in mind, however, that lights need electricity and extension cords can become virtual tripwires. Seniors—even those without vision loss—might not see them, especially as the sun goes down and the light begins to wane. Make ‘staples’ with old wire coat hangers and hammer them into the dirt to keep them from posing a tripping hazard to party guests.

Intergenerational Activities are Important All Year ‘Round

Enjoying good times across the generations at a backyard party is a fine way to while away the dog days of summer.

At Sunrise Senior Living, we understand the importance of connecting with members of other generations as a part of remaining active. In fact, we work at least one intergenerational activity into the schedule each week at our communities. It’s part of our Live with Purpose program.

Want to learn more?

Call us to discover the many ways we support wellness at Sunrise Senior Living.

How do assistance dogs improve quality of life... Somewhere between 36 and 44 percent of U.S. households own a dog, according to the Humane Society

In two-thirds of those households, the dog is considered a member of the family. For people with chronic health conditions, it’s a safe bet to say a dog is more than just a family member.

If it’s an assistance dog, it can be a life-changer, too.

In celebration of National Assistance Dog Week, we’re here to share some incredible facts about assistance dogs and how they can improve quality of life.

Part of the Caregiving Team: Assistance Dogs

For older Americans who have chronic health conditions, assistance dogs can play a vital role on their caregiving team. It’s no secret that pets can help all of us in amazing ways, physically and mentally. But for people with chronic issues like mobility problems, seizures, or neurological disorders, assistance dogs can be essential to feeling safe, secure, and as independent as possible.

Assistance Dogs vs. Service Dogs

First, what’s an assistance dog, and how is it different from a service dog?

‘Assistance dog’ is the general term for dogs that help people. They may provide any number of services, including companionship, stress relief, assistance with tasks of daily living, or medical alerts.

Service dogs, on the other hand, are a special type of assistance dog. They’re trained to help people who have physical disabilities, neurological disorders, or chronic illnesses.

Types of Assistance dogs include:

  1. Service dogs
    1. Mobility assistance dogs
    2. Seizure alert dogs
    3. Seizure response dogs
    4. Service dogs for children with autism
    5. Hearing dogs
  2. Psychiatric service dogs
  3. Companion dogs (an unofficial designation)

Assistance Dogs Offer Freedom and Independence

Assistance dogs trained to help people with mobility issues (technically ‘service dogs’) can open up new worlds with the support they provide. For someone who uses a wheelchair to get around, one major obstacle can be dropping things. People who’ve experienced this type of frustration describe it as a feeling of desperation.

That’s where assistance dogs come in. Relying on an assistance dog who can pick things up for you is always better than having to ask someone else for help. They can open doors, too—both literally and figuratively!

Assistance dogs can also help people get undressed. They’re trained to pull clothing off, which is especially helpful if your mobility problem involves your arms or back.

They Also Help During Seizures

For people with health conditions like epilepsy, a seizure response dog can help tremendously. These dogs are trained to summon or provide stimulation if there’s a seizure. In addition, there are seizure alert dogs. They can actually sense the early warning signs of seizures and warn their master to move to a safe place.

Assistance Dogs and Alzheimer’s

Assistance dogs have also been extremely helpful for older adults who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Sometimes vision worsens as the disease progresses, so dogs can help by accompanying someone on walks.

They can also help when someone is confused, by guiding them home if they get lost. As the disease progresses, an assistance dog can be a calming influence making their human companion feel more secure and relaxed.

Finally, assistance dogs can adapt to their partner’s habits over time. This helps them anticipate and react to their human’s needs.

Dogs at Sunrise Communities

Almost everyone benefits from interacting with dogs (and cats). That’s why all Sunrise Senior Living communities welcome residents to bring their own pets. We even have full-time ‘resident’ dogs and cats at all our senior communities!

If you’re searching for a community where you can bring your beloved four-legged companion to live with you, call us at 888-434-4648 to speak with a senior living counselor and learn more about pets at Sunrise! 

How to make friends during retirement and why... If you’re retiring or recently retired, you probably have a long list of things you can’t wait to do. 

There’s a certain irony about retirement. Now that you have the time for all those back-burner projects and activities, you may have trouble finding people to do them with.

That’s because once you retire it can hard to keep up a network of friends.

Last year, the Stanford Center on Longevity produced research showing that older generations (boomers) are the most likely to be ‘disengaged’ from social networks. Other studies correlate those findings; with the 50+ set most likely to report they feel isolated and lonely.

Isolation and Loneliness are Bad for Health

Did you know that isolation and loneliness aren’t just depressing? They’re actually bad for your health.

Feeling cut off from society and isolated can have a negative effect on both mental and physical health in older adults. The good news is you don’t have to submit to isolation and loneliness.

Expanding Your Circle of Friends during Retirement

Here are four ways to make friends once you’ve retired.

1. Volunteer

There’s no better way to have a positive effect on society—and yourself—than by doing good for others. Whether it’s ladling soup to help end hunger or walking the dogs and hanging out with the cats at your local animal shelter, there’s a volunteer opportunity to fit every personality and every social angle.

2. Join a Club

Another avenue for building long-lasting friendships during retirement years is to bond over similar interests. Clubs are great for that because they bring people together expressly for this purpose. They can be a way to show and share your expertise with others.

They’re also your chance to take up a new hobby.

Ever wondered what square dancing is like? Join a group and you could be touring the circuit as part of a traveling dance group. Love the close-knit camaraderie of a quilting circle? That, too, could take you far—all the way to a blue ribbon at the State Fair!

Some clubs are more athletic, and some seniors get quite serious about their passion for sports and competition. Ever thought about competing in the Senior Olympics? The network of Olympians is an extremely social bunch.

3. Become a Mentor

As boomers age, they represent an approaching tidal wave of changes in how seniors live and engage with society. Within their ranks, they possess vast resources stemming from their experience, their education, and their financial means.

Imagine sparking a social revolution, where seniors become mentors to the younger generation, helping them solve practical problems in business, education, society, and beyond. It’s already happening in some communities.

Becoming a mentor is how you become engaged with younger generations who are shaping the world of today and tomorrow. It’s a great way to put your knowledge and experience to work, and an even better way to connect with other generations in a meaningful way.

4. Consider Relocating to an Active Adult Community

One of the exciting advantages of moving to a senior living community is the variety of social opportunities. At Sunrise, whether it’s independent living, assisted living, or memory care, an active social network awaits newcomers.

Opportunities for Socialization at Sunrise Senior Living

Every Sunrise Senior Living community features its own programming and activities, offering residents a variety of meaningful ways to make friends. If you’d like to see a sample of a weekly activity calendar, visit the Sunrise Senior Living community nearest you online.

You’re welcome to join us for any activity that looks intriguing so you can see the Sunrise difference firsthand!

National Immunization Awareness Month: Which...

August is National Immunization Awareness Month. 

For seniors, this time should serve as a vital reminder of the important role that vaccines play in maintaining their health. As adults age, their immune systems becomes weaker, the U.S. National Library of Medicine reports. Immunizations can help prevent diseases that may have severe consequences for seniors. Yet despite their benefits, research shows that most Americans over the age of 60 don't get all the inoculations they need to protect themselves.

Why seniors need immunizations
Because of seniors' declining immune systems, they become not only more vulnerable to catching diseases, but they also face drastically increased risks that they develop complications from these illnesses. They'll also typically take longer to heal, or will experience lasting side effects from their sicknesses. While trying to fight off one disease, the immune system gets even weaker, which makes them more susceptible to contracting additional illnesses. The compound effects of even typically mild viruses, like influenza, can become deadly under these conditions.

The Library of Medicine reports that older immune systems have a harder time detecting cell defects, which includes invasions from dangerous viruses and bacteria. Immune cells die off at faster rates in older ages, and are slower to replenish. This puts added stress on the healthy cells. 

To improve seniors' chances of avoiding dangerous illnesses, they should be inoculated against the most common and risky conditions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that older adults should get scheduled immunizations for the flu, shingles and pneumonia, and tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, with the latter three available in one vaccine called the Tdap vaccine. 

Vaccines can drastically reduce the risks of severe illnesses for seniors.Vaccines can drastically reduce the risks of severe illnesses for seniors.

Most seniors are not adequately vaccinated 
Yet, despite the risks of not acquiring immunizations, PBS reports that 75 percent of adults over the age of 60 don't get the shingles vaccine, one of the most important shots for seniors to get. It only takes one dose to protect against the shingles virus.

"Approximately 33 percent of seniors don't get their yearly flu vaccine."

Shingles is caused by the same virus that leads to chicken pox, but the effects of shingles can be much more severe and long lasting. It can cause fever, rashes and most notably, it can be very painful. The pain can linger for weeks, months or even years in some cases. The CDC reports that the shingles vaccine has very mild and short-lived side effects, perhaps some swelling or itching at the injection site. They're also relatively easy to obtain - doctors, pharmacists and health clinics routinely offer the shot, and it may be covered by certain insurance or Medicare plans.  

At the same time, approximately 33 percent of seniors don't get their yearly flu vaccine. Forty percent are missing shots for pneumonia. More than 50 percent of people over age 60 are skipping updates to their tetanus vaccines. 

A big part of the problem in getting seniors to receive their vaccines is education - many are simply unaware of the shots they need or how to get them. Doctors and loved ones should talk to seniors about immunizations and suggest appropriate shots to get. Seniors should be sure to ask their doctors about the vaccines they're eligible for at their next appointment, or schedule one specifically for getting caught up on immunizations. Doctors can assess which inoculations are most effective and secure for their needs, so they can be confident the vaccines will be safe for them. 

So take some time this August to talk to your doctor or find more information for your older loved ones about how to get their immunizations.

9 Sunrise Senior Living communities awarded for...

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

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

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

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

The warm, supportive environment at Sunrise has helped many of our locations to win high-ranking customer service awards. The warm, supportive environment at Sunrise has helped many of our locations to win high-ranking customer service awards.

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

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

Social phobia, GAD and other senior anxiety...

Anxiety disorders are common, but often misunderstood, mental health issues. 

While we all feel worried or overwhelmed at times, anxiety disorders go above and beyond a typical case of stress. According to the American Psychiatric Association, anxiety disorders cause disproportionate levels of fear and nervousness, to the point that it interferes with people's everyday lives. People with one of these conditions may react with extreme stress to common situations, or become so fearful that something will go wrong that they avoid common situations, no matter how unrealistic their concerns may be.

Though about 30 percent of all adults in the U.S. experience some form of anxiety disorder in their lifetimes, making it the most common of all mental disorders, they are still believed to be under diagnosed in senior populations. In order to provide your loved one with the best comfort and support, caregivers should look for signs of anxiety disorder and know how to approach getting treatment.

Rates of anxiety in seniors
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that it was a common misconception in the medical community to think that anxiety disorders decrease with age. In actuality, cases of anxiety may have just been going undiagnosed because older adults are less likely to seek treatment for mental health issues. Mental Health America added that as much as 14 percent of seniors may meet the requirements for an official anxiety disorder diagnosis. Additionally, another 27 percent may not have a diagnosable disorder, but live with enough anxiety symptoms that interrupt their ability to function normally.

"Anxiety disorders are frequently comorbid with chronic depression."

Anxiety disorders are frequently comorbid with chronic depression, another mental health issue that afflicts many adults as they age. Growing older brings about a lot of life changes, from adapting to new limitations to their health to losing friends and loved ones to adjusting to new schedules and habits. These changes can trigger depressive episodes. Seniors may also begin to feel stress and worry about the new direction their lives are going in, adding to anxiety disorders as well.

Medications may lead to these developments through side effects or potential misuse. Other substances, like alcohol, can worsen symptoms, too. 

Not all anxiety disorders experienced by seniors are the result of aging, however. Many of them may have been living with these conditions, untreated, for years.

Seniors may develop anxiety disorders as they age and face drastic life changes. Seniors may develop anxiety disorders as they age and face drastic life changes.

The different types of anxiety disorder
Recognizing the warning signs for an anxiety disorder in an older loved one can be tricky, as not all conditions manifest in the same way. According to the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation, some of the most common disorders include:

  • Panic Disorder. People who have panic disorder feel intense physical symptoms of stress and fear called panic attacks. These can be triggered as an extreme response to normal stressors, such as a preparing to undergo a medical procedure, or they can manifest randomly from seemingly unknown reasons. It's possible for people to have an occasional panic attack in highly stressful, unique situations without having panic disorder. The American Psychological Association states that experiencing four or more panic attacks may be a sign of a chronic disorder. Panic attacks can feel like a heart attack or stroke to someone who has not experienced them before. They can include shortness of breath, rapid heart beat, chest pain, weakness, dizziness, nausea, sweating and shaking.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder. This condition is specifically tied to social situations. Typically, a person with social anxiety experiences intense stress and worry when they socialize, or even thinks about having to socialize, with other people, fearing they may be embarrassed or judged by others. This can affect a person's life in a fairly minimal way, just causing them temporary stress before or during social engagements. In more extreme cases, however, people may be unable to appropriately interact with others and will do whatever they can to stop socializing in any way. 
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Seniors living with GAD feel significant, constant worries. These worries can stem from overreactions to common life events, such as deeply fearing an accident every time they have to get in a car, or they may feel anxious and stressed for no discernable reason at all. They feel as if they are on high alert at all times. They often have trouble relaxing and concentrating and will startle easily. It can include physical symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, hot flashes and muscle aches. People with GAD are usually aware that they are panicking for no reason, but cannot get their bodies to stop having a panic response. 

While you may not be able to tell on your own what kind of anxiety disorder your loved one is living with, if you notice a pattern of panic, fear and worry that interrupts their ability to function normally you should consider advising them to speak to their doctor. Look for signs that they are avoiding activities or social settings they used to enjoy, or stress reactions that are disproportionate to the issue they are facing. Ask guiding questions about their levels of anxiety and try to help them identify possible triggers for these feelings.

Breathing exercises, medication and physical activity may help seniors battling anxiety disorder.Breathing exercises, medication and physical activity may help seniors battling anxiety disorder.

Treating anxiety disorder
Consulting your loved one's medical provider is the only way to get an accurate diagnosis and begin a path toward recovery. Treatment options may include daily medications, drugs that are only needed when facing a direct panic attack, support groups or individual therapy. 

You can also help your loved one work on personal coping strategies at home outside of their therapy sessions. They may need to adjust other prescriptions they're on, or avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can increase anxiety. Breathing exercises and meditation may help in some cases, as can working out. Go for walks with your loved one to help them get fresh air and increase the mood-boosting chemicals released during physical activity.

Above all else, be patient, calm and compassionate when interacting with your loved one. If they feel like they're being a problem for you, it can increase their anxiety. Ask them how you can help make them feel better and reassure them often. Anxiety disorders are treatable, as long as your loved one has the support and resources they need to combat them.

Seniors with ADHD: Stats, facts and tips

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a fairly common mental condition that impacts millions of Americans. 

Though many people associate ADHD with energetic young children who struggle to pay attention in class, there are actually many nuances to this condition. As doctors get a better understanding about what ADHD is and how it manifests, they are also learning more about the people who have it, including the fact that adults, even seniors, may be living with this disorder as well.

What is ADHD?
ADHD is a cognitive disorder marked by trouble focusing, hyperactivity and impulsivity, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

Once separated into ADHD and ADD (attention deficit disorder), the condition has been reclassified under the ADHD umbrella and categorized into one of the three types:

  1. Inattentive type heavily impacts how well a person is able to focus. People with inattentive type ADHD may have trouble staying organized, noticing details, misplacing things and forgetting tasks they need to complete. They get distracted easily and may leave projects incomplete as a result. 
  2. Hyperactive type is tied to excessive movements. People with hyperactive type ADHD often fidget, talk excessively, struggle to sit still, interrupt other people while they're talking and seem to always be on the go.
  3. Combined type includes an overlap of symptoms between inattentive and hyperactive types, such as a person who is easily distracted and needs to move around a lot.

While the cause of ADHD is not known, medications and therapy treatments can help manage the symptoms of the disease. While 5 percent of children have the condition, many outgrow it as they age, or otherwise learn to control it well enough that it no longer manifests in their daily lives. About 2.5 percent of adults live with ADHD.

Forgetful seniors may be living with ADHD, which may be confused for dementia. Forgetful seniors may be living with ADHD, which may be confused for dementia.

ADHD and seniors
Though millions of adults are living with ADHD, it often goes undiagnosed past school ages. Adults living with undiagnosed ADHD may struggle to stay organized and focused, but don't understand why. It can impact their work and relationships without them realizing the cause. The condition is not often considered as a culprit.

Not as much is known about adult ADHD as childhood ADHD, and that's especially true for seniors. Few studies have examined the impacts and prevalence of the disorder among older population, but since many people do not outgrow the condition, many seniors may be unknowingly struggle with it. 

Adults with ADHD are more likely to retain the inattentive symptoms and lose the hyperactivity, according to Today's Geriatric Medicine. This can cause lifelong problems that cause older adults to compensate for their disorder in ways that can be exhausting for them to keep up with. Seniors may be tested for anxiety and depression as they age, but ADHD is not commonly looked for unless the patient addresses the specific attention issues themselves. 

The presence of ADHD can be especially problematic for older adults, as the condition can mask or be confused with other health issues, The New York Times reports. The forgetfulness of ADHD could lead caregivers and medical providers to suspect early stage Alzheimer's, for example. People who are unable to focus on objects in their environment may be more prone to falling, which can cause a great deal of injury for older adults who have weaker muscles and start to experience bone loss, yet the cause is linked to balance and strength problems instead of ADHD. Anxiety and depression are also commonly blamed for distractions caused by ADHD.

"Most doctors are not thinking of A.D.H.D. as a characteristic of somebody who is 60 or over," Dr. Thomas Brown, associate director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders at the Yale School of Medicine told The New York Times. "They figure it's just cognitive decline from aging."

Treating ADHD for seniors
Despite the fact that seniors have lived their lives with this condition, doctors still recommend treatment for managing symptoms once it's discovered. It's becoming more common for seniors to seek out treatment for ADHD when their children or grandchildren are diagnosed - these cases may be the first an older adult has ever heard about ADHD and realized that they've long lived with the same symptoms. 

"Testing for ADHD relies heavily on patient self-evaluation."

Seniors who think they may have ADHD should talk to their doctors. Testing for ADHD relies heavily on patient self-evaluation as they report the symptoms they experience of the condition. According to the Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Center of Maryland, distinguishing ADHD from other cognitive problems seniors often face relies on how long a senior has been living with the symptoms - ADHD will have started much earlier in life and will have been noticeable to the person who has it long before they see the doctor. 

Most seniors reportedly respond well to ADHD medications. However, these drugs are usually stimulants, so they may not be safe for all older adults. These medicines can interact with other prescriptions seniors are taking, complicate cardiac problems or cause an over stimulation that makes older adults more easily agitated. 

Therapy, especially programs that work on cognitive behavioral therapy, can help seniors manage their ADHD as well. This process helps people realize when they are being impacted by their condition, recognizing common thoughts and patterns they fall into when they are struggling with attention and memory. Seniors can then take steps they've planned out with their therapist to stop the effects of their ADHD before they get out of control. 

Doctors can also help seniors develop more manageable coping mechanisms, such as developing better systems for staying organized. By finding ways to lessen the impacts that ADHD has, people living with this condition may function better while they have the disorder.

Exercise has also been proven to help mitigate the effects of ADHD. Seniors should talk to their doctors about a safe workout routine they can do at their age - some seniors may benefit more from low-impact activity. 

Recognizing the problem is the first step - talking to your doctor is the next. If you think that you or an older loved one may be living with ADHD, talk to a physician about diagnosis and treatment options.

Arthritis by the numbers

For many seniors, the pain of arthritis is a daily occurrence. 

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that half of all people over the age of 65 have had some form of diagnosed arthritis. This unpleasant condition causes pain and discomfort in joints, making mobility a challenge for the people who have it. Treatment options can range from an over-the-counter pain reliever to invasive surgeries to repair or replace major joints. 

So, what does arthritis is the U.S. look like by the numbers? 

54.4 million people are affected
According to the CDC, more than 54 million adults in the U.S. have a type of arthritis. The majority of those are aged 65 or older, but as many as 7 percent of all 18 to 44-year-olds have this condition as well. Though rare in children, it's not unheard of - as many as 300,000 people under the age of 16 are living with arthritis. 

23 percent of overweight adults have arthritis
There are many contributing factors that make some people more susceptible to developing it than others - age, lifestyle, medical conditions and weight can all play a role. People with higher weights are more likely to experience the effects of arthritis - while only 16 percent of normal or underweight people report arthritis, 23 percent of overweight people have. The number jumps even higher for the obese, with 31 percent of obese people reporting the condition. 

31 million people have osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of the condition. It's caused by bones rubbing together at the joints where cartilage has been eroded, typically as a result of age. The Arthritis Foundation reports that 31 million people in the U.S. have osteoarthritis. Another 1.5 million report rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that attacks healthy joints and causes painful inflammation. All told, there are more than 100 different forms of arthritis, including fibromyalgia, gout, lupus and psoriatic arthritis, which affects people with the psoriasis skin condition.

Arthritis is the No. 1 cause of disability in the U.S.
The Arthritis Foundation reports that 23.7 million adults say arthritis limits their mobility. The pain and swelling that takes place in the joints can make it hard for them to move. A woman who once loved to knit but now has arthritic fingers will struggle to keep up with her hobby. A man who could walk and run with ease in his youth will limited by the pain in arthritic knees. 

That doesn't mean that seniors who have arthritis should stop being active, however. While some kinds of motion can exacerbate symptoms, exercises that build up the muscles around the joints can actually work to reduce pain, states the Mayo Clinic. Stretching, range of motion and strength-training workouts typically yield the best results. Seniors who have arthritis should discuss the conditions with their doctor to determine if there are activities that would benefit them. 

49 percent of adults with heart disease have arthritis 
Arthritis is often comorbid with other health conditions. The Arthritis Foundation states that 49 percent of adults with heart disease have some form of arthritis, as does 47 percent of adults who have diabetes and 44 percent of adults who have hypertension. These combinations can make it even more difficult for seniors to get the amount of exercise they need to stay healthy. As such, it's important for seniors to mention their arthritis when discussing treatment options for other conditions to ensure there aren't any conflicts between remedies for either. 

Nearly half of all adults who have arthritis have another serious health condition as well.Nearly half of all adults who have arthritis have another serious health condition as well.

20 million people lose work because of osteoarthritis
The Arthritis Foundation reports that osteoarthritis is the top cause of work loss in the U.S., impacting more than 20 million people. The economic burden of this is a loss of more than $100 billion each year.

700,000 cases of osteoarthritis-related knee injuries
The pain of arthritis isn't just limited to the direct affects of the condition itself - arthritis can weaken the joints and make people more susceptible to additional injuries. Knee injuries top the list with 700,000 cases reported each year as a result of osteoarthritis. 

658,000 Americans need knee surgery each year to treat osteoarthritis 
In the late stages of arthritis, surgery may be the only option for treatment. Americans report 658,000 cases of knee surgery each year to combat late-stage osteoarthritis. 

In 2009, hip and knee replacements costs $42.3 billion
More than 904,900 knee or hip replacement surgeries took place in 2009 to treat arthritis or injuries caused by arthritis, for a total cost of over $42.3 billion.

Arthritis costs the state of California $12.1 billion annually
California takes the hardest financial hit from arthritis costs at more than $12.1 billion, the CDC reports. New York, Texas and Pennsylvania round out the top five, while Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska and Wyoming have the lowest costs. Washington, D.C. is the least financially impacted by arthritis at $226 million each year. Treatment options may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, topical ointments, corticosteroids injections, physical therapy, surgery, acupuncture and massage. 

The cost of treating arthritis pain totals billions of dollars each year.The cost of treating arthritis pain totals billions of dollars each year.

But West Virginia has the highest rate of arthritis overall
Despite the fact that California spends the most on arthritis, West Virginia actually has the highest rates with 33.6 percent of adults affected. Hawaii has the lowest numbers of people with arthritis at only 17.2 percent of its adult population.

26 percent of woman report a form of arthritis
While 26 percent of woman have had some type of arthritis diagnose, only 19.1 percent of men have been diagnosed with the condition. 

Doctors predict a 49-percent increase in cases of arthritis by 2040
As the general population grows older, doctors predict that more cases of arthritis will arise. The CDC reports that by the year 2040, as many as 78 million adults in the U.S. will have a type of arthritis, affecting 26 percent of all adults aged 18 or older. That's a 49 percent increase!

5 seniors with inspirational fitness stories

It's common for older adults to start to slow down as they age. 

Maintaining bone and muscle strength, balance and cardiorespiratory health can become more of a challenge. As a result, some seniors have a hard time staying as physically fit as they once were.

This can lead to a difficult cycle, however, as the less activity you get, the weaker those systems can become, which further limits mobility. The way you stay active as you age may change over time, but that doesn't mean it has to stop entirely. In fact, many inspiring seniors are able to make stunning athletic achievements at every age:

1. Johanna Quaas, 91-year old gymnast
Johanna Quaas wowed the audience at the June 2017 International German Gymnastics Festival with an impressive parallel bar routine that would be inspiring at any age - but at 91-years-old, Johanna's athletic skills are particularly impactful. According to the Washington Post, Johanna currently holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest gymnast, a title she's held since 2012.

She began the sport in 1934 - when she was just 9 years old. After having her family, she took some time off to focus on coaching, but began competing again for herself when she was 56. 

On top of that? She's also a championship handball player as well!

"I do gymnastics to avoid being susceptible to falls and that is a good preventive tool," she said.

When she was first named the world's oldest gymnast, her goal was to still be participating in the sport when she was 90. That milestone has come and gone, and Johanna has no intention of stopping any time soon. 

2. Ed Whitlock, 85-year-old runner
Ed Whitlock made a name for himself in the world of marathon running with a number of impressive titles and records, including being the first person over the age of 70 to complete a full marathon in less than three hours. The New York Times reported that his most recent record was set in October 2016 at the the Toronto Waterfront Marathon - Ed became the oldest person to finish a marathon in less than four hours. 

Running a marathon is grueling work - to maintain speed for 26.2 miles takes incredible strength and endurance. It often requires a lot of training and supplemental exercises. Yet Ed didn't need any special guidance or resources for his achievements. He simply ran laps for a few hours every day. When he set his record at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, he was wearing shoes that were 15 years old. 

"I believe people can do far more than they think they can," Ed told The New York Times. 

Scientists studied Ed's physiology in 2012 and found that his muscles had an incredible capacity for taking in oxygen, which can greatly improve endurance. Many athletes, like runners and swimmers, focus on training that can help them increase their own intakes, known as VO2 max. Ed's consistent running schedule made it easier for his body to process oxygen, which made it easier for him to run, creating a fitness cycle that helped him to excel in his sport. 

Just months after completing the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Ed passed away from prostate cancer in March 2017. He was an incredible example of what people can achieve at any age so long as they are willing to put the time and energy into it. 

3. Charles Eugster, 97-year-old rower and body builder
During his university years, Charles Eugster was on a competitive rowing team and then joined the Swiss Army. He told The Telegraph that he let his fitness routine start to falter as he began his professional career and started a family in the 1940s and 50s, but decided he wanted to make a change to get back in shape when he was 63 years old. 

Charles picked up his old rowing hobby again and started signing up for competitions. He racked up an astonishing 40 gold medals at World Rowing Masters by the time he was 93 years old.  

Those achievements weren't enough for him, however. Though he was accomplishing great things in rowing, he felt his overall fitness was below where it possibly could be. As a result, he joined a body-building club when he was 87 years old, and eventually moved on to running and swimming as well. He stated that anyone his age could participate in these events if they were willing to train appropriately.

When he passed in April 2017, he held U.K. records in five different athletic events and one world record. 

4. Dick Roche, 77-year-old roller derby skater
At 77-ears old, Dick Roche is the world's oldest known active roller derby skater. At age 70, he became a founding member of the Lane County Concussion roller derby team in Eugene and Springfield, Oregon, where he has skated competitively for several seasons, according to the LLC. 

Roller derby is a fast-paced, full-contact sport that requires a significant amount of training to stay in shape. Players must stay on roller skaters for the duration of each game and often use full-force hits to try and knock opponents down. Despite the intensity of the game, Dick is a central figure in men's competitive roller derby who doesn't let his age keep him on the sidelines. 

"I've got lots of energy, I'm having fun," he told the University of Oregon, adding that he joined the sport because it looked like fun.

His daughter and two grandchildren also play roller derby. 

5. Don Pellman, 101-year-old Olympian
In the 2015 San Diego Senior Olympics, Don Pellman set five new world records - at age 100. The New York Times reported that he was the oldest person competing in the games when he became the first centenarian to complete the 100-meter dash in under 27 seconds, and the first to clear the bar at an official height for the high jump. 

In addition to his achievements as the first centenarian, he also set new records in shot-put, long jump and discus for his age bracket.

As a youth athlete, Don was a gymnast and high jumper. The Times reported that he left his college track career to get a job during the Great Depression. It wasn't until after he retired in 1970 that he, with the urging of his children, decided to once again pick up the sport he still missed. He's completed 127 meets since then. He's now 101 years old. 

Don clearly loves to push himself and aim high - despite his impressive feats, he said he was disappointed he didn't perform even better on the high jump. Nonetheless, he's still tied with Jesse Owens's record for setting the most world records in one day.

Staying in shape as you age
While not everyone needs to be setting records in their chosen sport in their 80s, 90s or 100s, staying in shape is still important for seniors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise. In addition, they should do two days a week of strength training. This can be as simple as taking a brisk walk and performing some low-impact body weight exercises at home. Gym memberships, group fitness classes or joining a sports group are good ways to also stay active for those who enjoy such hobbies. 

If you've been inactive for awhile, it's not too late to get into better shape at any age! Talk to your doctor about finding a safe fitness plan that works for you - you can start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and amount of time you put into activities until you reach your personal fitness goals. 

11 Sunrise Communities Recognized with 2017... We are thrilled to share that 11 Sunrise Senior Living communities were recently recognized with a 2017 Silver - Achievement in Quality Award.  

The Silver Quality Award recipients join five Sunrise communities that earned Silver Quality Awards in 2016 and 181 Sunrise communities that have been recognized with Bronze Quality Awards over the last two years – the most of any single assisted living provider.

“These 11 communities have achieved a significant milestone on their quality journeys by successfully applying the rigorous Baldridge-based standards of this program to benefit our residents,” said Ed McMahon, Ph.D., VP of Quality for Sunrise. “The award is a testament to the dedication and passion our team members have towards quality improvement and I commend them for this outstanding achievement.”

The 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. A total of 191 centers were named this year as Silver Quality Award recipients, including the following Sunrise communities:

  • The Carlisle (San Francisco, CA)
  • Sunrise of Dresher (Dresher, PA)
  • Brighton Gardens of Dunwoody (Dunwoody, GA)
  • Sunrise of Fair Oaks (Fair Oaks, CA)
  • Sunrise of Holbrook (Holbrook, NY)
  • Sunrise of Leesburg (Leesburg, VA)
  • Sunrise of Paoli (Malvern, PA)
  • Sunrise of Presque Isle Bay (Erie, PA)
  • Sunrise of Severna Park (Severna Park, MD)
  • Sunrise of Springfield (Springfield, VA)
  • Maplewood Park Place (Bethesda, MD)

Congratulations to these 11 communities! 

Protecting seniors against skin cancer

Most people know how important it is to keep young kids protected from the sun in the summer. 

Research has shown that too much exposure to UV rays during youth can lead to serious health complications as people get older, including skin cancer. Sunscreen ads often target parents of small children, emphasizing the importance of keeping kids protected from the harsh sun rays.

Children aren't the only demographic at risk, however. Though some cases of skin cancer can take many years to form, it can also act quickly, impacting people of any age. Because of the misconceptions that skin cancer takes time to appear, many seniors aren't taking the necessary precautions to limit their risks of developing the condition in their golden years. 

"Sun damage is cumulative over a persons lifetime."

Risks of skin cancer for seniors
Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Dermatology, with an average of 1 in 5 people expected to develop the condition in their lifetimes. While it may be treated and eliminated when it's caught early, some types of skin cancer can be fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than 9,000 people died of skin melanomas in 2014, the most lethal form of the cancer.

Exposure to UV rays, whether from the sun or tanning beds, dramatically increases the risks for skin cancer development. Sunburns are particularly dangerous, as it takes just one to five blistering sunburns before a person reaches their 20s to increase the chances of getting this cancer by 50 to 80 percent. 

However, the Skin Cancer Foundation reports that sun damage is cumulative over a person's lifetime. At age 40, the average person has received 47 percent of their cumulative sun damage. By age 60, it jumps to 100 percent. Though bad burns and sun exposure in childhood can dramatically impact skin cells in the future, older adults are compounding onto an existing problem when they soak up too many UV rays. 

In addition to the increased exposure from living a longer, the SCF explains that seniors are even more vulnerable because they have diminished defenses against skin cancer. Immune systems get weaker, healing capacity is reduced and skin gets more fragile and thinner as people age. That means that older adults are more susceptible to fast-acting skin damage from the sun's radiation. 

Research shows that men are more likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer in older age than women. The AAD reports that while women under 40 have higher rates of skin cancer than men of the same age, by age 50 men are significant more likely to develop the cancer. By age 80, the rate for men developing skin cancer is three times the rate for women. Caucasians are also more likely to have skin cancer than any other race, but it's important to note that any person from any demographic could potentially develop this dangerous disease.

Just one to five bad sunburns in your life can dramatically increase skin cancer development.Just one to five bad sunburns in your life can dramatically increase skin cancer development.

How seniors can protect themselves from skin cancer
The best way to prevent or delay the development of skin cancer is to limit your exposure to harmful UV rays. The American Cancer Society specifies that there are two main types of UV radiation to be aware of:

  • UVA rays cause skin cells to age more rapidly, leading to wrinkles and contributing to the development of some forms of skin cancer. They are the most common type of ray used in tanning beds.
  • UVB rays are stronger than UVA rays, and can directly alter skin cell DNA. They are the main cause of sunburns and skin cancer.

Both rays permeate the atmosphere through sunlight.

To stop the harmful effects of these rays, seniors should first aim to avoid spending too much time in direct sunlight, and should stay away from tanning beds entirely. UV rays are strongest from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., so avoiding lots of outdoor activities during these peak hours will limit risks. Aim to garden or mow the lawn in the morning, or go for a walk after dinner instead of during midday.

Of course, avoiding the sun entirely isn't a practical solution. When you do need to spend extended periods of time outside during the day, you should protect your skin. Wear light weight, long-sleeved shirts, hats with wide brims and UV-blocking sunglasses. 

Sunscreen is essential any time you plan to go outdoors during the day. Though rays are strongest on sunny summer days, even when it's overcast or the middle of winter, you could still be at risk from this radiation. In fact, the ACS states that some cloud coverage can actually reflect UV rays and make them stronger. 

Sunscreens are rated with an SPF number - a Sun Protection Factor. The higher the SPF, the more UV rays are filtered out before they are absorbed into the skin. SPF 30 can filter 97 percent of UVB rays, while 50 can stop 98 percent. Most sunscreens only protect against UVB rays, but some brands will also target UVA. These are usually classified as broad-spectrum sunscreens. Just check the labels to see how much coverage a particular formula will offer. 

You should use about 1 ounce of sunscreen with each application, the SCF advises, and you should reapply it every two hours that you're in the sun. It's best to apply it at least 30 minutes before going outside to give it time to absorb properly. 

Protecting your skin from the sun with hats, sunglasses and sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher can reduce your risks of skin cancer. Protecting your skin from the sun with hats, sunglasses and sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher can reduce your risks of skin cancer.

Checking for skin cancer
When skin cancer does form, the key to effective treatment is to catch it early. You can perform self-checks at home to look for some of the most noticeable signs of skin cancer, which include:

  • Moles that change in shape, size or color.
  • Skin lesions or sores that don't heal.
  • New growths on your skin.
  • Spots that are a different color or shape than other markings on your skin.
  • Growths that are itchy or bleeding.

If you notice any moles or growths, keep an eye on them with regular visual exams and note if they start to charge. If they do, you should contact your doctor immediately. Yearly exams with your dermatologist can give you more in-depth screenings, and are especially recommended for people who have had cancerous or pre-cancerous spots before.

When detected and treated early, melanoma has a 98 percent survival rate. Late-stage melanoma, on the other hand, has an 18 percent survival rate, according to the AAD. Treatments options can range from micrographic or excisional  surgery for removing an early-stage cancerous growth to topical creams to radiation therapy for late-stage skin cancer. 

Though skin cancer is common, it doesn't have to be unavoidable. Take the necessary precautions to prevent this disease from forming, and be sure to regularly check your skin or talk to your doctor about ways to screen for skin cancer so it can be caught and stopped early.

Frailty and surgery: Respite care at Sunrise

Frailty can be a significant health concern for older adults. 

Frail seniors struggle to maintain homeostasis - that is, their bodies are unable to self-regulate as efficiently as they could when they were younger. For example, if it's a particularly warm summer day, a healthy senior's body would be able to regulate its core temperature through sweating. A frail senior, however, would not be able to adjust to the rising temperatures as well, which could put them at an increased risk for overheating and hyperthermia. 

This lack of homeostasis makes frail seniors vulnerable to a number of increased health conditions. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, these risks include greater instances of falls, delirium and disability. As many as 25 to 50 percent of people over the age of 85 are considered frail. 

"Frail seniors are more likely to have complications during medical procedures."

The impacts of frailty on surgery 
Experiencing frailty on a regular, daily basis can create plenty of problems for seniors, but it presents an even greater threat during surgery and recovery. U.S. News & World Report states that frail seniors are more likely to have complications during medical procedures. In some cases, if the potential risks of an operation would be more severe than the patients' condition, surgeons may opt for alternative treatments instead, even if the procedure would typically be the best course of action for a non-frail patient. 

That's not always a realistic solution, however. Surgery may be the only realistic option, even for frail seniors. If they fall and fracture their hip, for example, a senior may have no other choice but to immediately undergo an invasive surgery. 

When time allows, many medical professionals will assess a senior's level of frailty and may try to reduce the condition. U.S News & World Report includes a typical set of metrics for gauging the level of a patient's frailty, including:

  • Weight loss of 10 pounds or more in a year, as well as shrinking and losing height. 
  • Significant fatigue and consistent exhaustion. 
  • Muscle weakness and low scores on grip-strength tests. 
  • Slower walking speeds.
  • Decreased/low levels of physical activity. 

If a senior meets three of these five criteria, they may be considered frail by medical standards. Their care team may try to combat some of these conditions prior to a non-urgent, but necessary, surgery. Low-impact exercises programs can be implemented to build muscle strength. High-calorie diets supplemented with protein shakes could be used to increase body weight. By improving some of the conditions that make a senior frail, doctors can decrease the risks a surgery may present.

Frail seniors often have longer recovery times, but hospitals aren't always the best setting for them to heal. Frail seniors often have longer recovery times, but hospitals aren't always the best setting for them to heal.

The downside to hospital recoveries for frail seniors
Sometimes, however, there's no time to delay a surgery to allow a patient to improve their physical condition. For sudden, emergency operations on frail seniors, it's important that they have extra care and attention during their recovery process. A study published in the British Medical Journal found that readmission rates for patients over the age of 85 have increased since 2005. As surgical procedures on frail seniors improve, mortality rates have dropped, but doctors are finding that the healing process has become more complicated, leading to these extended hospital stays or quick readmissions for care. 

Hospitals, though they offer beneficial access to medical professionals and resources, are not always conducive to seniors' healing processes, however. CNN reports that people over the age of 70 are likely to leave a hospital more disabled than they were when they came in if they have an extended stay. From exposure to antibiotic-resistant super bugs to sleep disruptions caused by hospital lighting and frequent noise, the hospital setting can greatly impede healthy recovery for seniors. They also may not get as much exercise as they need for preventing further muscle loss and weakening, or might not be fed adequately for the unique dietary needs many seniors have. 

Take the Sunrise Care Questionnaire to help you determine if respite care is right for your loved one. Take the Sunrise Care Questionnaire to help you determine if respite care is right for your loved one.

How respite care can improve recuperation
When frail seniors need extended care after surgery, finding an alternative setting to a hospital can be tremendously helpful. That's where respite care can come in. Respite care is a temporary stay at an assisted living facility providing advanced levels of health care. Whether a senior needs time to heal after an operation, recover from a fall or get over another injury or illness, short-term respite care can provide the services they need in a more relaxed setting. At Sunrise Senior Living, professional nursing staff and emergency response systems ensure seniors get the highest level of care during their recovery in an environment that caters to their specific needs. 

Care don't need to wait for a medical emergency in order to explore respite care options, either. Respite care can serve as a trial period for seniors who are considering a switch to assisted living, or it can be used to provide family care givers with a vacation or break if needed. It's a helpful resource that supplies extra medical support that seniors may not have access to at home, while placing them in a better atmosphere for healing that many hospital wings are able to provide for extended care. 

With regular, low-impact, moderate-intensity exercise, seniors can reduce their symptoms of frailty, which can improve their ability to recover quickly after an illness, operation or injury. When they do need extra assistance during a recuperation period, however, respite care can reduce the long-term, negative impacts of medical procedures by offering top-notch services in a healing environment. As a result, seniors can prevent exacerbating their frailty, catching infections or developing further disabilities, helping to ensure they have longer, healthier lives.

Hot-weather dangers for seniors

Hot summer weather can provide plenty of opportunities for fun, but it carries some risks as well. 

While it's great to pack the family up for an afternoon at the beach, or to spend time outdoors for a cookout or picnic, when you're the caregiver for an older loved one you have some extra precautions to take. Older adults are more vulnerable to certain health ailments, due to age-related changes to their immune system and the possible effects of chronic illnesses or injuries. It's important to keep an eye on them when the temperature increases to quickly identify and treat any of these heat-related conditions:

1. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke
If your loved one's core body temperature rises too high, they can be at risk for hyperthermia, also known as heat exhaustion or the more serious heat stroke.

  • Heat exhaustion is the first stage of hyperthermia. When a person spends too much time in extreme heat or high humidity, they'll start to feel the effects of overheating. Symptoms include heavy sweaty, dizziness, faster and weaker pulse, low blood pressure, nausea and headache, according to the Mayo Clinic. Heat exhaustion typically takes place when a person's temperature is above the normal 98.6 F, but under 104 F. 
  • Heat stroke is more severe than heat exhaustion. This takes place when a person heats to an internal temperature at or above 104 F. Other symptoms include confusion, slurred speech, seizures, vomiting, red skin, rapid breathing, fast heart rate and headache, as reported by the Mayo Clinic. 

If left untreated, heat stroke can cause internal organs to shut down and may lead to death.

For both conditions, it's important to get your loved one out of the heat immediately. Move them to the shade if they're out in the sun, or preferably take them inside. Take off any extra layers of clothing to help them cool faster and have them drink as much water as they can, or a hydrating sports drink that contains electrolytes. If you suspect your loved one has heat exhaustion, call a doctor if their symptoms don't improve after one hour. In the case of a heat stroke, take them to an emergency room or call 911 right away. To help lower body temperature quickly, try submerging your loved one in a cool bath if possible, or dab them with a damp, cool cloth while they sit in front of a fan.

"It can take just minutes for the inside of a car to heat to dangerous levels."

The Mayo Clinic also warns that people over the age of 65 will typically have a harder time regulating their body temperatures than younger people, due to a weakening of their central nervous system. If your loved one has heart or lung disease they are at an elevated risk, and some medications can exacerbate the effects of overheating as well. 

To help prevent hyperthermia, be sure your loved one takes frequent breaks from physical activity. If you're hiking together or walking on the beach, sit and rest in the shade from time to time, even if they don't feel tired. They should also drink plenty of water throughout the day. 

Your home should be kept at a reasonable temperature for safety as well. Use fans and air conditioning when possible, and make sure your loved one stays hydrated throughout the day, even if they are just resting indoors. It's possible to overheat even when they aren't out in the sun.

Seniors should never be left locked in an unattended car for any length of time, either. According to the National Weather Service, it can take just minutes for the inside of a car to heat to dangerous levels, even if the windows are rolled down or the car is parked in the shade. 

Sunburn causes severe skin damage that can make your loved one sick.Sunburn causes severe skin damage that can make your loved one sick.

2. Sunburn and sun poisoning
Getting sunburned is a painful experience and can become extremely dangerous if it's bad enough. South Dakota State University reports that seniors are more sensitive to the effects of the sun and can burn more quickly than younger adults. 

Severe sunburn can peel, blister and cause fevers. As the Cleveland Clinic reports, sunburn damages skin at a cellular level, which can lead to significant damage, bruising and eventually skin cancer. differentiates sunburn from sun poisoning by adding that sun poisoning usually also included bumps that may itch, chills and nausea.

To treat sunburn, you can try over-the-counter products like aspirin, or topical ointments such as aloe vera gel. If your loved one feels sick or fatigued after getting a sunburn, however, they should go see a doctor as soon as possible. 

To prevent sunburn or sun poisoning, you need to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF. This should be applied at least 20 to 30 minutes before going outside and again every two hours they're outside. Even if it's a cloudy day, your loved one should still apply sunscreen, as harmful UV rays can penetrate the cloud cover.

They should avoid being out in the sun when it's at its peak from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. If they need to be out during these hours, or any time they are facing long exposures to the sunlight, they should use sunglasses, wide brim hats and light, long-sleeved coverings to protect their skin from prolonged direct contact with the sunshine. When out during the day, it's important that they take periodic breaks to rest in the shade. If they start to feel hot or their skin begins to look red or pink, they should go indoors. 

Keep in mind that certain medications will make seniors even more sensitive to the effects of the sun. Check their prescriptions or talk to their doctors so you know if there are any medicines you need to look out for. 

Dehydration is a dangerous risk in the summer - be sure your loved one drinks plenty of water when it's warm out. Dehydration is a dangerous risk in the summer - be sure your loved one drinks plenty of water when it's warm out.

3. Dehydration
Not getting enough fluids is easy to do when it's hot outside. Your loved one will be sweating more during the heat of the summer, and if they aren't making a conscious effort to increase their water intake they can quickly succumb to dehydration. 

When a person gets dehydrated, it makes it hard for all of their body's systems to function properly, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Symptoms include:

  • Feeling thirsty.
  • Having a dry or sticky mouth.
  • Not urinating much, or having dark-colored urine.
  • Having headaches.
  • Experiencing muscle cramps.

If dehydration is severe, symptoms will expand to include rapid heartbeat, dry skin, dizziness, confusion and rapid and shallow breathing.

Dehydration is easily treated if you act quickly. If you suspect your loved one is dehydrated, they should drink water or a sports drinks fortified with electrolytes. If drinking water is hard because their dehydration has made them feel ill, they may opt to suck on ice cubes or gently sip water instead.

If ingesting more liquids doesn't relieve symptoms, or your loved one loses consciousness at any time, call 911 or take them to an emergency room. Severe, prolonged dehydration can be deadly. Don't wait for signs of dehydration before you start ensuring that your loved one is drinking enough water - be proactive and give them plenty of access to hydrating fluids and keep them cool in the summer.

Other illnesses can exacerbate dehydration. If your loved one is sick and experiencing vomiting or diarrhea as well, it's important that they have a steady intake of fluids. 

Have fun this summer
With so many outdoor activities to enjoy, there's no reason to stay inside and hide from the sun all summer. Just be sure to follow safety precautions - like applying sunscreen, providing plenty of water and helping your older loved one take breaks to rest in the shade - and they can stay safe and healthy all season long.

4 easy meals you can make in 30 minutes

When you're a family caregiver, meal planning can be hectic.

From upkeep of the house, laundry, keeping track of doctor appointments and cooking meals, there's a lot of responsibility that rests on your shoulders. As such, you may not always have enough hours in the day to accomplish all the things you want, or need to.

Nutrition is a crucial element of your loved one's health, however. You need to make sure they're eating enough and getting nutritional meals. But this doesn't have to be a time-consuming task. Try one of these 30-minute meals to save time:

1. Honey-Dijon Sheet Pan Chicken
Sheet-pan dinners are always an efficient choice. It only takes a couple of minutes to prep all the ingredients for your dish, put them together on one tray and then pop it in the oven. You then have 20 to 30 minutes to take care of anything else you need to do around the house, or just sit down and enjoy a well-deserved break. 

This particular recipe from Buzzfeed includes lean chicken and some hearty root vegetables for a balanced meal that will be good for the whole family:


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 medium red bliss potatoes, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided 
  • 1 Tbsp. rosemary, thyme or sage, divided
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 425F. 

Pat your chicken dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Lay the potatoes and carrots on your sheet pan. Add half the olive oil, half the herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss together.

In a large bowl, combine remaining oil with honey and Dijon. Add the rest of the herbs and some salt and pepper. 

Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel again to remove any residual moisture. Add them to the bowl and toss in the dressing until coated.

Place the chicken on the sheet pan, spreading the potatoes and carrots out around it.

Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken, until it's no longer pink in the middle or the internal temperature reads 165F on a meat thermometer. 

Let rest for 5 minutes, then serve. 

Roasted chicken is a healthy protein to prepare for dinner.Roasted chicken is a healthy protein to prepare for dinner.

2. Pecan Crusted Pork Chops With Honey Balsamic Veggies
Did we mention how convenient sheet-pan dinners are? This recipe comes from Simply Sissom, and uses heart-healthy pecans to coat these delicious pork chops. Vitamin-rich carrots, Brussels sprouts and yellow potatoes help make this a well-rounded, healthful meal. 

The original recipe takes closer to 45 minutes than 30, so you may want to prepare your marinade ahead of time or get a ready-use sauce to shave several minutes off your preparation!


  • 4 center-cut pork chops
  • 8 oz baby potatoes, chopped
  • 8 oz Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 cups finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350F. 

To make the marinade, combine balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup Dijon, olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a small bowl, or shake up in a tightly sealed mason jar.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the eggs with the remaining Dijon.

In a separate medium-sized bowl, mix chopped pecans with paprika, salt and pepper.

Pat pork chops dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss pork chops in the eggs until they're coated on all sides. Transfer to the pecan bowl and liberally coat. 

Lay the vegetables onto a sheet pan and coat with your marinade. Push veggies to either side of the pan to make room for the pork chops in the middle.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the thickness of your pork chops until they are no longer pink in the middle or reach an internal temperature of 160F on a meat thermometer. 

Let rest for 5 minutes and then serve.

3. Lemon-Lime Salmon with Veggie Saute
Salmon is a great protein to use in your dishes. Oily fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for brain health. The brightly-colored veggies and sweet zing of the citrus in this recipe from Taste of Home make this a great weeknight meal for the summer. 


  • 6 4-oz salmon filets
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 tsp seafood seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 medium yellow bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 10-oz package of frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, halved 
  • 2 cups cut asparagus
  • 2 tsp dried tarragon


Preheat oven to 425F. 

Place salmon in a baking dish. Add lemon juice, lime juice, seafood seasoning and salt.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until filets easily flake with a fork.

While the salmon cooks, heat a large skillet to medium. Add olive oil.

Saute peppers and onions for 3 minutes. 

Add corn, mushrooms and asparagus. Continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tarragon.

Plate salmon and veggies and then serve.

Prepare heart-healthy salmon for your loved one. Prepare heart-healthy salmon for your loved one.

4. Penne with Butternut Squash
This hearty recipe from the Food Network is chock-full of nutrients and flavor. It takes only 15 minutes of work to prepare and is table-ready in half an hour! Crushed red pepper adds an extra kick, but be sure to season the pasta to yours and your loved one's tastes.


  • 12 oz whole wheat or multigrain penne
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups diced, peeled butternut squash
  • 12 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium shallot, or half red onion, minced
  • 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp fresh oregano, or 3 tsp dried
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Heat a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. Add a pinch of salt.

Add penne and cook until al dente, about 12 to 14 minutes.

Reserve one cup of pasta water, then drain.

While pasta boils, heat a large skillet on medium-high. Add half of the olive oil.

Add squash, salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes, or until squash is tender and golden-brown. Transfer to plate and set aside.

Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan. Saute mushroom with salt and pepper for about 5 minutes or until lightly brown.

Stir in garlic, shallots or onions and red pepper flakes. Cook for another 2 minutes or until the shallots or onions are soft. 

Add penne, squash and 1/2 cup pasta water to the skillet. Cook until thoroughly heated for about 2 minutes. 

Mix in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Slowly add remaining pasta water until cheese is no longer thick and stringy. 

Add oregano, salt and pepper. Top with the remaining cheese and serve.

Articles last updated at Sep 22, 2017 20:25:49pm.
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