The holidays are a time for family gatherings and festive celebrations, many of which come with fabulous foods and alcoholic drinks. On top of that is the frantic pace of the season. Exercise often falls victim to a busy schedule. This can all add up to challenging days for adults with type 2 diabetes who are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
But with some thoughtful planning, it’s possible to enjoy the season without sacrificing your health.
Managing Diabetes during the Rush of the Holidays
Here are a few ideas to help you or a senior loved one manage diabetes during the holidays:
1. Plan Meals around Events
Holiday celebrations are full of great-tasting food that usually isn’t very healthy. It can be tempting to ditch your diet and indulge. But for someone with diabetes, that can be dangerous.
Instead, take a few minutes every evening to plan meals for the next day. You can also work in pre-party snacks that will help you fill up so you aren’t overly tempted by unhealthy treats at holiday events.
If you or your older family member will be attending a luncheon where food choices might be fairly unhealthy, for example, plan the rest of the day’s meals around it. Or, if the party will be at a restaurant, visit their website ahead of time to review the menu. This will help you determine the most diabetes-friendly option for you to order.
2. Schedule Reminders
The season’s festivities have a way of getting many of us off of our regular schedules. Nutrition experts remind people with diabetes how important it is to stick to a strict medication schedule.
Because many of the symptoms of a diabetic emergency are silent ones, a senior might not recognize they are getting into trouble until it’s too late. During the hustle and bustle of the season, take extra steps to adhere to your medication schedule. This might mean writing notes to yourself or setting an alarm on your cell phone.
The same holds true for testing your blood glucose levels. Don’t allow yourself to neglect this task because you are too busy enjoying the holidays. In fact, it is especially important if you have been indulging in treats and neglecting to exercise.
It’s also a good idea to order prescription refills ahead of time. Physicians and their staff may be taking holiday vacations, making them unavailable to approve or process refills as quickly as usual. The same holds true for pharmacies, which may be closed or have limited hours on holidays.
3. Alcohol in Moderation
The American Diabetes Association says that seniors who have their diabetes under control should speak with their physician about enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two during holiday gatherings. As your physician will likely advise, however, it’s never a good idea for a diabetic to drink alcohol on an empty stomach or when blood glucose levels are low. Also, opt for light beer or a wine spritzer. Both can help limit alcohol intake while reducing calorie consumption.
4. Holiday Travel
If you will be away from home over the holidays, remember to plan accordingly.
The American Diabetes Association suggests taking at least double the amount of medication and testing supplies you need for the length of time you will be gone. Place half of them in a carry-on bag that you have easy access to during your journey. Then, pack the additional stash in a second suitcase. If one of your bags is lost during travel, you will still have the back-up supply.
It’s also smart to ask your physician for a written order for your medicine to have on hand while you travel. If something unforeseen happens, you can go to a local pharmacy to have your prescription filled.
With a bit of planning, seniors with diabetes can enjoy holiday events surrounded by family and friends.
Diabetes Management at Sunrise Senior Living
We know that a proactive approach to type 2 diabetes education and management is important for older adults. From free blood screenings to prevention classes, our communities have a history of helping to raise awareness about this disease that affects as much as 27 percent of older adults.
‘Tis the season for eating a little bit too much pumpkin pie. Or for indulging in too many scoops of cream-laden mashed potatoes. Without a doubt, November and December are tough months of the year to eat healthy. But for seniors who live with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, maintaining a restricted diet is a vital part of managing their disease.
How can you relax and enjoy the holiday festivities while still sticking to your diet?
It all comes down to planning ahead.
Eating Healthy During the Holiday Season
Here are a few planning tips to help you or a senior loved one plan for a healthy holiday season:
Sunrise Signature Dining Program
Nutrition is part of our overall approach to empowering seniors to live their best life. The Sunrise Signature Dining Program includes meals and menus that accommodate special diets. From a low-sodium restriction to diabetes management, mealtime at our communities is both nutritious and delicious.
We extend an open invitation to older adults who are contemplating a move to a senior living community to visit us. One of our care team members will be happy to show you around and answer your questions. And we’d love it if you joined us for lunch or dinner!
We pride ourselves on providing our residents with delicious meals that are nutritionally sound, and one of our favorite ways to keep our menus diverse and fresh is the annual Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge.
On Thursday, Nov. 9, Sunrise Senior Living held our fifth annual Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge. Sunrise chefs from across the U.S. and Canada submitted nutritious recipes, and five finalists traveled to The Fairfax at Belvoir Woods, VA, to compete for the title of Sunrise Signature Chef.
After taste testing by a panel of Sunrise residents, David Chiasson from Sunrise of Burlington, MA, was selected to be this year's Sunrise Signature Chef!
David grew up watching Julia Child, and her influence helped him realize his desire to become a chef. After receiving a Culinary & Food Service Management degree from Newbury College, David traveled to France with renowned chef Jacques Pepin for a two-week food and wine culinary tour. David has a passion for cooking, and he loves knowing he makes a positive impact on the lives of the residents at Sunrise of Burlington.
David's pan-seared ginger-and-soy-marinated sea bass creation wowed the crowd. Below, we've included the recipe so that you can make David's dish yourself!
We hope you love David's recipe as much as our residents did!
We pride ourselves on providing our residents with delicious meals that are nutritionally sound, and one of our favorite ways to keep our menus diverse and fresh is the annual Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge.
On Thursday, Nov. 9, Sunrise Senior Living held our fifth annual Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge. Sunrise chefs from across the U.S. and Canada submitted nutritious recipes, and five finalists traveled to The Fairfax at Belvoir Woods, VA, to compete for the title of Sunrise Signature Chef.
Brian Amery was a finalist, and he is the dining services coordinator for Sunrise of Wilmington, DE. Brian is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Prior to joining Sunrise, he worked at the Hotel DuPont for 15 years. He has held positions as executive chef for Fieldstone Golf Club, Sodexo, Aramark, and Compass Group corporations, as well as Gate Gourmet at Dulles International Airport, where he oversaw the production of 15,000 to 20,000 meals each day for 19 different international airlines.
Brian has been with Sunrise since 2014. He is also a designated trainer and job coach, supporting a cluster of seven Sunrise communities in the nearby Pennsylvania region. Brian takes great pride in helping to produce delicious home cooked meals for the residents at Sunrise of Wilmington. He enjoys spending time with his wife Lori and their five-year-old daughter Chloe, tropical vacations, playing golf, cooking for family and friends in his home, and listening to Jimmy Buffet.
Here is Brian's meatloaf recipe, which earned him a spot as a finalist in the 2017 Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge.
White Meatloaf with Mushroom Ragout & Steamed Asparagus
Roasted fingerling potatoes:
To Serve: Slice meat loaf into 4 oz. slices. Place fingerling potatoes in the center of the plate and top with meatloaf and ragout. Place the asparagus directly beside.
We hope you love Brian's recipe as much as our residents do!
We pride ourselves on providing our residents with delicious meals that are nutritionally sound, and one of our favorite ways to keep our menus diverse and fresh is the annual Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge.
Stephen Worden of Sunrise of Braintree, MA, is an American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary Educator. He received his first culinary training in the U.S. Coast Guard, later graduating from the vocational education program at Fitchburg State University. He also attended graduate studies at the Beringer School for American Chefs under renowned teacher and author Madeleine Kamman, and he completed culinary coursework at La Varenne at the Greenbrier, the New England Culinary Institute, and Johnson and Wales University.
Stephen is a ServSafe certified instructor and proctor and was an instructor of culinary arts for 14 years. He has spent 40 years in the culinary industry in a variety of roles, including as the executive chef at country clubs, hotels, resort properties, and restaurants. Stephen has been with Sunrise since 2015, and he currently resides in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Here's the salmon filet recipe which earned Stephen a spot in the 2017 Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge.
Salmon Filet with Sweet Corn, Tomatoes and Basil
We hope you love Stephen's salmon as much as our residents do!
Meet Quinn Hannon, a contestant from Sunrise on the Scioto in Columbus, OH. As the youngest of four children, Quinn learned early how to be tough and plan for anything. Later in life, he learned that these skills made the culinary arts a natural fit for a career.
Quinn started out in the kitchen of several different bar and grill restaurants and became passionate about cooking. He began reading about and experimenting with food, and he eventually attended Johnson & Wales University. Since then, his culinary and leadership styles have evolved, but he has continued to practice his love for teaching others and giving residents an experience to remember.
Here's Quinn's delicious recipe, which earned him a spot in the 2017 Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge.
Chicken Osso Bucco with Gremolata and Roasted Vegetable Risotto
Chicken osso bucco:
Roasted Vegetable Risotto:
We hope you enjoy Quinn's recipe as much as our residents do!
Meet Nick Napolitano, a finalist from Sunrise of Des Peres, MO. Nick has been working in the culinary industry for 13 years, having earned a culinary degree from Forest Park Culinary School and a degree in Restaurant Management from the University of Missouri-Saint Louis. Nick joined the team at Sunrise of Des Peres as the Dining Services Coordinator almost six years ago.
Nick loves working for Sunrise and knows that residents look forward to meals each day, so it’s important to ensure they have a great experience. He is proud to have introduced “Fancy Fridays” at Sunrise of Des Peres, where items like filet mignon and lobster tails are prepared for residents one Friday each month. This helps residents Live with Anticipation as they look forward to a special occasion each month.
When Nick isn’t at work, he enjoys spending time with his four kids who range in age from 13 years to three months. He spends many weekends watching their games and just hanging out at home.
Here's Nick's delicious recipe, which earned him a spot in the 2017 Senior Eats Nutritional Challenge.
Braised Red Wine Short Ribs with Truffle Roasted Yukons & Asparagus
We hope you love Nick's recipe as much as our residents do!
The phrase “family caregiver” means different things to different people. For some, it might conjure an image of a parent caring for a child with a disability. Others might think of a spouse caring for a partner with Alzheimer’s. And then, there is what we consider the more typical family caregiver: an adult child who provides care for an elderly parent.
In a study titled Caregiving in the U.S., conducted through a partnership between the National Caregivers Alliance and the AARP, researchers took a long, hard look at who this nation’s caregivers are. The researchers examined what duties they perform for loved ones and the challenges they encounter trying to juggle so many important roles in life.
The results of this research may surprise you.
Getting to Know Family Caregivers
In honor of National Family Caregiver Month, here is a snapshot of caregivers and the duties they perform for loved ones.
Easing the Burden on Family Caregivers
Juggling work, a family, and the demands of caring for a senior can be mentally and physically exhausting. According to research from The American Psychological Association, stress is a part of everyday life for a family caregiver. It’s a load that can take a heavy toll on the caregiver’s career, personal health, and happiness.
Studies show that family caregivers experience a multitude of health issues. The longer the role continues, the greater the number of problems, including:
What can friends and loved ones do to ease the burden of a family caregiver in their life?
We have a few suggestions for you to consider.
Sunrise Senior Living
If you are a family caregiver, we have resources designed to help both you and the senior you care for. Go to the Caregiving Support section of our website to learn about initiating important conversations with a senior, addressing caregiver needs, budgeting, and more.
We call them the Greatest Generation. This term was created by renowned newsman Tom Brokaw to describe the generation of people who came of age during a time of great upheaval and change. The Great Depression and World War II shaped them. These austere years were followed by the most prosperous time in the history of our nation.
But it all started with the sacrifices this generation made. Whether they headed off to war to defend our country or rationed staple items at home so they could contribute more to the war effort, this is a generation known for their strong work ethic, frugality, and commitment to country.
In honor of their service and sacrifice, we wanted to share a few ideas you can use to recognize the veterans in your community on Veteran’s Day this Nov. 11.
4 Ways to Honor Veterans in Your Community
Honor those who served or are currently serving by:
Volunteer Opportunities at Sunrise
Sunrise is proud that many members of the Greatest Generation choose to call our communities home. We welcome volunteers who would like to donate their time to help these patriots continue to enjoy active and engaged lives.
Many military veterans and their spouses are unaware of a benefit that can help them with the expenses associated with senior care. If they qualify, a couple may be eligible for as much as $2,127 a month in additional support. For adult children who are trying to help an older parent finance a move to senior living, that can make a big difference.
The benefit that we are referring to is the Aid and Attendance benefit.
In honor of National Military Family Appreciation Month, we are sharing information on eligibility and the current benefit amounts.
Aid & Attendance Eligibility Requirements
Navigating the Aid and Attendance benefit process can be challenging, especially when it comes to understanding eligibility. There are two primary conditions that must be met before the Veteran’s Administration will consider a veteran or their spouse for senior care benefits.
If these two requirements are met, the next step is what is called the yearly family income and net worth standard. Congress reviews and sets these each year.
Aid & Attendance Financial Determination
The Veteran’s Administration will review each senior’s individual circumstances. Compensation is based on financial assets and income, marital status, and the veteran’s healthcare expenses.
In 2017, the maximum award for each classification is:
Sunrise Senior Living is Home to Veterans
Sunrise communities across the country are home to many of our nation’s veterans. We are proud to have the opportunity to serve those who served our country so well.
If you are trying to help a veteran in your family determine if they are eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, we can help. One of our team members at a community near you can answer your questions and connect with you with additional resources for support. Call today to learn more!
At Sunrise Senior Living communities, nutrition is an essential part of our commitment to helping older adults live their best life. Partnerships like the one we have with the USDA’s MyPlate program allow us to stay on top of the latest research on senior nutrition and share what we learn with the residents of our communities.
One topic we continue to explore is the comparison between sugar and fat as they relate to heart disease. Back in the 1980s, adults were encouraged to follow a low-fat diet. Fat made you fat, we were told. Experts believed eliminating the fat in your diet was the best way to keep your heart healthy. What was long overlooked, though, was how much sugar many low-fat foods contained.
In late 2016, an enlightening new study shed light on what the real danger to your heart might be. Surprisingly, fat wasn’t the only culprit.
The Sugar vs. Fat Debate Heats Up
In November of 2016, Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research was published in JAMA Internal Medicine. This shocking article revealed a dubious relationship between sugar industry officials and Harvard scientists in 1967.
According to this investigation, Harvard researchers were compensated to downplay just how much sugar contributed to poor heart health. Because the fading sugar industry was desperate to keep demand for their product high, they paid scientists to overlook the negative impact of sugar. It appears that over the last 50 years, we have been following the advice of bad science when it comes to incorporating sugar and fat in to our daily diet.
Thanks to the work of Cristin Kearns, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, and two of her colleagues, we now know differently. These three researchers spent many hours tracking the work of an organization called the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF).
What Kearns found was alarming. Her team discovered that the “study” conducted by SRF was actually nothing more than a research review that claimed to find evidence consuming too much fat would lead to heart disease. It overlooked the fact that sugar was equally as dangerous.
So where does science stand today in the sugar vs. fat debate?
While the evidence continues to evolve, what researchers have to say might surprise you.
Can Healthy Fat Help You Lose Weight?
Researchers say fat has more calories per gram than carbs or protein. But cutting back on fat often doesn’t translate to weight loss. According to the experts at the Cleveland Clinic, that’s because when we cut fat from our diet, we often replace it with foods high in sugar. That causes blood sugar to spike which fuels fat cells, especially in the belly.
Healthy fats, by contrast, can keep you feeling full longer. And, they help you avoid spikes in blood sugar. Avoiding those ups and downs can prevent binging on unhealthy comfort foods and treats.
Healthy fats to eat in moderation include:
Recipes from the Heart
If you need heart healthy recipes to spice up your menu planning, we can help. You can download our Recipes from the Heart cookbooks at no cost. Each one offers recipes that are popular with residents in the Sunrise Senior Living communities across the United States and Canada.
Pets play an important role in many families. They offer friendship, companionship, and unconditional love. For seniors, they can fill a void left behind after the departure of children or the death of a spouse.
Having a furry friend to talk to throughout the day and to snuggle up with on the couch in the evening can help combat loneliness. And research shows pets keep seniors healthier longer.
In honor of National Adopt an Older Pet Month, we explore how pets can help seniors live healthier lives.
A study conducted at the University of Missouri revealed that seniors who own dogs enjoy better health. This often translates to longer life. The stronger the bond is between the older adult and their four-legged friend, the greater the benefits.
Researchers say this is because people who feel a strong emotional attachment to their pet are more likely to take good care of them. An older adult will spend time walking their pet and socializing with neighbors, including children, who are attracted to the senior's pet.
Most seniors spend time petting and talking with their furry friend. And an older adult is also likely to engage in playful activities with their pet, such as tossing a ball or stick for them to fetch.
Each of these activities contributes to a healthier pet—and a healthier senior. Petting an animal has been shown to lower blood pressure. Walking helps with weight management and warding off disease. Lively activity also keeps an older adult from falling in to a sedentary lifestyle, which is known to be just as bad for seniors as smoking.
If you are helping a senior loved one find the perfect four-legged companion, here are a few things to consider.
The first thing to think about before adopting a pet is the senior’s budget. Some breeds of cats and dogs are known for having health conditions that will result in higher vet bills. Grooming expenses for long-haired pets can also take a bite out of an older adult’s budget. Make sure it is financially feasible for the senior to add a new member to the family.
Also think about the space a pet might require. For example, a small dog can make a few laps around the living room on a snowy day to work off excess energy. By contrast, a bigger dog will likely need to go for a walk outside even when the weather is frightful.
Finally, whether it is a dog or a cat, consider adopting an older pet. While puppies and kittens are fun to watch, their boundless energy might be too much for an older adult. Local shelters typically have a more difficult time finding homes for older animals, so start your search there.
Sunrise communities welcome pets. Your canine or feline companion can move in when you do! In fact, we believe in the power of paws so much that every Sunrise Senior Living community has a resident cat or dog for residents and families to enjoy. Call the community nearest you to learn more.
The holidays are a hectic time to travel. In some families, the holidays are the one time of year all generations are reunited. And no one wants to miss out on the reunion. If your family’s travel plans for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Hanukkah include a senior who has Alzheimer’s disease, preparing ahead of time is the key.
Six Tips for Alzheimer’s Caregivers Traveling During the Holidays
Here are six tips to help make holiday travel easier for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease:
Resources for Traveling with an Adult Who has Dementia
The Alzheimer’s Association has additional resources for families who will be traveling with a senior who has dementia. You will find more detailed information on air travel, packing tips, and planning.
For some seniors with dementia, traveling just isn’t a safe idea. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay at home and miss family holiday celebrations.
The holidays are a festive time of year in Sunrise Senior Living communities and a great time for a short-term respite stay. Your loved one can participate in all of the programs and activities our long-term memory care residents enjoy while also receiving the care and support they need.
Call the Sunrise community nearest you to learn more about holiday respite for a senior with Alzheimer’s.
You’re only as old as you feel. Think young, stay young. Age is only a number.
We’ve probably all heard some form of these clichés before. But research shows these phrases might be more than just platitudes. There may just be some truth behind them.
Researchers at University College London explored the issue and uncovered a fascinating result: people who thought of themselves as younger actually lived longer!
Attitude and Aging
The study included nearly 6,500 men and women with an average age of 66.
Participants were first asked, “How old do you feel you are?” Their replies were:
Eight years after being asked that initial question, researchers followed up to determine each participant’s status. The first group, which had indicated that they felt younger than their actual age, had a lower mortality rate than the other two groups!
So it just might be that staying young at heart helps you live a longer life.
5 Ways to Help Seniors Stay Young at Heart
Here are five steps you can take to feel younger than your calendar age:
Independent Living at Sunrise
Independent Living residents at Sunrise enjoy an active lifestyle free from the burdens of home ownership. No more mowing the lawn on hot summer days or shoveling snow on frigid ones. Call us today to learn more!
The term “stroke” refers to the death of brain cells. The condition occurs as a result of a blockage of oxygen to the brain. Strokes affect people of all ages, but they are far more prevalent in those over the age of 65. Seniors often live with a greater number of risk factors for strokes, such as high cholesterol, cardiac disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Though some strokes are mild and the senior may recover completely, others are devastating and lead to permanent disability and even death. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in this country. And while factors such as genetics, ethnicity, and gender can play a role, estimates are that as much as 80 percent of all strokes can be prevented.
In honor of World Stroke Day on Oct. 29, we are sharing the steps you can take to lower your risk and help your senior loved ones do the same.
Reducing a Senior’s Risk for Stroke
We hope this information helps you and the seniors in your life find ways to lower your risk for a stroke.
Senior Eats at Sunrise
At Sunrise Senior Living, we know eating healthy requires thoughtful planning. And adding new recipes on a regular basis can help you avoid eating the same boring food plans each week.
In Senior Eats, you will find tips and recipes to help seniors eat a well-balanced diet each day. From turkey and quinoa stuffed peppers to seared salmon with sweet potatoes, the choices are both delicious and nutritious!
In today’s society, grandparents are often separated from their grandchildren by long distances. A senior’s adult children may move away to pursue career opportunities, get married, and begin raising a family far from their childhood home.
Even if grandkids live nearby, school schedules and after-school activities can keep families moving at a frantic pace. It makes spending time with the older generation tough.
But seniors still play a vital role in shaping young lives. From acting as the family’s historian to being a source of unconditional love and support, relationships that cross the generations are important.
Bridging the Intergenerational Gap
New research indicates that when younger generations don’t have enough opportunities to connect with grandparents and other family elders, they are more likely to view aging through a negative lens. They may believe the stereotypes about old age and fear growing older and watching their parents age.
Finding ways to help bridge the generation gap is one way to prevent those fears and concerns from taking root in younger family members. Nontraditional holidays like Halloween provide an ideal opportunity to connect and bond across generations.
Intergenerational Halloween Ideas
What can you do to involve a grandparent in your children’s Halloween plans? Especially if they live far from your family?
We have a few ideas:
Enriching Seniors Lives at Sunrise
Life enrichment is a priority for the entire team at Sunrise Senior Living. We share a commitment to helping each of our residents live every day with purpose. Learn more about our 8 Signature Programs and schedule a visit to a Sunrise community near you!
Each October, families in communities across the country celebrate Halloween. Costumes, scary decorations, and trick-or-treat are each a part of this night of ghouls and goblins. But for adults with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers, the night can present safety challenges.
Ghosts, skeletons and zombies are fun Halloween sights for most of us. But scary celebrations can confuse and agitate people who have dementia. Loved ones with mid to late-stage dementia need to be protected from activities and decorations that might be frightening for them.
Safely Celebrating Halloween when a Senior has Dementia
Here are some tips to help you keep a senior with Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia safe this Halloween.
Pay attention to Halloween decorations
While your family might have a tradition of going all out to decorate at Halloween, know that decorations can be confusing for people with dementia. They may have a hard time distinguishing make-believe coffins, skeletons, and ghosts from reality. A house full of skulls and fake eyeballs might get your family in the Halloween spirit, but they can easily create agitation and aggression in an older adult with Alzheimer’s.
Decorations that scream, howl, pop up from the ground, or fall from the ceiling can trigger episodes of wandering in seniors with Alzheimer’s. Consider limiting decorations to pumpkins and cornstalks and items that avoid the fear factor this year.
Be realistic about how much a loved one with dementia can safely handle
Halloween can provide your family with many opportunities for engaging in intergenerational activities together. But it is important to be mindful of how much your loved one can realistically handle.
While packing treat bags for trick-or-treaters might be a fun activity, carving a pumpkin might not be very safe. Instead, consider painting your pumpkins this year. You can download no carve pumpkin templates to use.
Protect a senior with Alzheimer’s when out and about in public near Halloween
As is true of most holidays, retail stores and businesses start the celebration early. This often means Halloween decorations go up in places such as the dentist’s office, the grocery store and even the bank. As you and your senior loved one run errands, be mindful of Halloween décor. While you might easily look past it, your loved one might not.
Plan ahead for Halloween night activities in your own neighborhood
Halloween night can be especially confusing and disorienting for a senior who has dementia. The costumes, noise, and confusion of having trick-or-treaters visit your home might cause anxiety and agitation for your loved one.
If your house will be a stop on the neighborhood’s trick-or-treat route, see if a loved one is available to entertain your family member in another area of the home during those hours.
Have soothing music available to play, as well as favorite snacks and beverages available. It might help to have busy work and projects to keep the senior preoccupied. A basket of towels to fold and refold and a deck of cards to sort and resort are two examples.
You can visit the Alzheimer’s Association Holidays and Alzheimer’s Families resource page to learn more about Halloween safety for seniors with dementia.
Memory Care at Sunrise Senior Living
Sunrise Senior Living has a proud history of caring for adults with Alzheimer’s disease. From our use of reminiscence therapy to safe, comfortable environments, no detail is overlooked.
If you are working to ensure a loved one lives their best quality of life despite the disease, a Sunrise community might be the solution. Call the community nearest you to schedule a private tour. One of our dementia care experts will be happy to show you around and answer your questions about caring for an adult with Alzheimer’s disease.
While many people are aware of the role physical therapists play in older adults’ lives, the job of a respiratory therapist isn’t always as clear. In honor of National Respiratory Care Week, we want to help seniors and their families learn a little more about this important form of therapy.
From helping older adults cope with chronic illnesses, like emphysema and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), to assisting a senior who is recovering from pneumonia, here’s how respiratory therapists play a vital role in healthy aging.
What is Respiratory Therapy?
Respiratory therapists are a group of health care professionals who help people of all ages with issues related to breathing. There are two levels of respiratory therapists:
You will find respiratory therapists working in a wide variety of locations including:
Respiratory Therapists and Seniors
Because older adults are more likely to live with chronic health conditions, they are a population respiratory therapists often provide assistance to. Older adults with weaker immune systems are also at higher risk for short-term illnesses, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
A few of the diseases that often require intervention by a respiratory therapist are:
Common Causes of Respiratory Diseases
What can you do to protect your lungs and to help your senior loved one do the same?
Here are a few suggestions from the American Lung Association:
Living Well at Sunrise
Live with Action is one of the 8 Signature Programs at Sunrise Senior Living. Because we understand how important physical activity is to aging well and maintaining healthy lungs, we make that easier for residents to do each day. From Chair Yoga to Tai Chi, the options for staying active are plentiful.
We hope you will take a minute to enjoy this video of our Live with Action program. It is just one example of the vibrant life residents enjoy every day at Sunrise!
If you’ve felt a growing desire to explore your spiritual side as you’ve grown older, you’re not alone. According to a Gallup poll, more than 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 say that nurturing their spirit or being part of a religious organization is very important to them. Both of these practices can help older adults navigate their way through traumatic events.
In honor of October’s designation as National Emotional Wellness Month, we’re sharing a few ideas for activities that keep the mind and spirit strong.
Creating an Emotional Wellness Plan
Attendees at the 1971 White House Conference on Aging came up with an official definition of spirituality. They described it as, “the basic value around which all other values are focused.” When the spirit is healthy, the mind can be peaceful and strong as well.
So what can older adults do to nurture and protect their emotional wellness?
Here are some suggestions:
Your Day, Your Way at Sunrise Senior Living
At Sunrise, we offer 8 Activity Programs designed to help every resident live with purpose. From strength training to book clubs, art programs and music, our life enrichment calendar offers a robust variety of daily options.
We’d like to extend an invitation to you and your senior loved one to participate in a program of your choice at your convenience. Call the Sunrise Senior Living community nearest you to make a reservation!
Managing troubling behaviors when a senior loved one has Alzheimer’s disease isn’t easy. Part of the struggle for family caregivers is the roller coaster of emotions the disease creates. Some days are good, and family members feel successful. But there are other days when a loved one’s Alzheimer’s-related aggression, agitation, and angry outbursts feel overwhelming.
While researchers aren’t completely sure what causes these highs and lows, many hypothesize that it’s related to difficulty communicating. Alzheimer’s often robs adults of their verbal skills as the disease progresses.
Finding creative ways to allow adults with Alzheimer’s to express themselves might be the key. And art therapy is one such way.
Art Therapy and Adults with Alzheimer’s
Instead of struggling through a traditional conversation that can be stressful for an adult with Alzheimer’s, art allows family caregivers and the senior to use nonverbal communication. Even an adult with advanced Alzheimer’s can use creativity to express themselves. Whether they are cheerful, dispirited, or angry, art provides the older adult with a way to share their emotions in more productive ways.
Other benefits of art therapy for people with Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia include:
● Concentration skills: Art therapy helps older adults quiet their mind and focus. The physical damage that Alzheimer’s causes to the body makes this difficult to do. But creative arts stimulate different areas of the brain, utilizing cognitive abilities that are still functioning well.
● Intergenerational activity: Art projects also enable several generations to bond and spend time together. If a grandparent has Alzheimer’s, creating hands-on projects with a grandchild can lift their spirits. It also allows the senior to stay actively engaged in loved ones’ lives.
Many senior communities, including Sunrise Senior Living, include the creative arts in everyday life. Activities are designed to help older adults, including those with memory loss, enjoy meaningful, productive days.
There are many ways you can incorporate these types of activities at home when you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Here are a few easy and inexpensive ideas to try:
● Craft Store Supplies: Your local craft store can be a great source of inspiration. You can pick up all-inclusive kits to create a variety of projects, ranging from stepping stones to painted pottery. Or you can buy a canvas, paint, and paint brushes and let your loved one create their own art.
● Art for Alzheimer’s: As our country’s awareness about Alzheimer’s grows, so too do the number of opportunities for life enrichment. Some Alzheimer’s Association day centers and art museums offer art classes, many of which are for the caregiver and senior to enjoy together.
● Photo Albums/Scrapbook: While many people with Alzheimer’s can’t remember recent events, they may still enjoy vivid memories of the past. One way to honor those memories might be to create a photo album or scrapbook together. You can print or copy favorite family photos and use them to create a memory book. Brightly colored tape and themed stickers from the craft store can further enhance each page.
Dementia Care at Sunrise Senior Living
Sunrise Senior Living’s Memory Care Services are designed to help older adults with dementia enjoy meaningful days despite their disease. From art therapy to secure neighborhoods, we are proud of the work we do on behalf of people with memory loss.
We’d love an opportunity to show you around and help you learn more. Use our Contact Form to request a call from one of the Sunrise Memory Care experts today!
Who doesn’t love a great dessert at the end of a meal? Or a sweet treat with friends on a Sunday afternoon? For most of us, dessert means indulgence. And desserts often contain high amounts of sugar and trans-fat. For older adults on a restricted-diet, both can be bad news.
Even if you aren’t on a physician-directed special diet, dessert can still wreak havoc on your commitment to eating healthy.
So how can you enjoy a great dessert without consuming too much fat and sugar?
In honor of National Dessert Day on Oct. 14, we are sharing a few ideas!
Healthy Dessert Ideas
You can also create a healthier version of your own favorite dessert recipe by making a few substitutions.
How to Create a Skinny Version of Your Favorite Dessert
These substitutions can help you cut the fat and sugar in your or a senior loved one’s favorite treats:
We hope this gives you a few ideas on how to indulge without feeling guilty!
Sunrise Dining Program
We talk about healthy meals a lot on our blog because we know eating well is a part of aging well. Residents at Sunrise communities enjoy delicious, nutritious food choices at every meal.
But you don’t have to take our word for it! We extend an open invitation for you and your senior loved one to join us for lunch or dinner to see for yourself. Call the Sunrise community nearest you to schedule a time.
Arthritis is one of the most common health conditions in people over the age of 65. According to the Arthritis Association, one third of seniors who live with arthritis say it limits their daily life. And one quarter say it causes severe pain. Inflammation is often one of the culprits behind the pain and symptoms of the disease.
But inflammation affects more than just those who live with arthritis. People who have Lupus, heart disease, Crohn’s disease and even sinusitis all suffer when muscles and joints in the body become inflamed.
What can you do to reduce inflammation in the body? How can you help a senior loved one who is struggling with a chronic disease impacted by inflammation?
The old adage “you are what you eat” rings true when it comes to diet and inflammation.
Fighting Inflammation in Older Adults
Let’s get the bad news out of the way right up front. Those sugary treats we all love to indulge in, especially when we aren’t feeling the greatest, contribute to inflammation in the body. As do highly processed foods, red meat, sodas, fried foods and margarine. Overcoming the cravings for these types of comfort foods might not be easy, but it will pay off in the long run with improved quality of life.
Just as avoiding some foods can help lower inflammation in the body, so too can eating smart.
Results of a study published in the Arthritis journal in 2015 showed just how much a healthy diet can impact chronic disease. Researchers found that after six weeks of eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, people living with osteoarthritis reported considerably less pain and a drastic improvement in physical mobility.
Harvard Health has a list of foods they say may help seniors reduce inflammation:
The bottom line is that a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean Diet or the DASH Diet, might help improve the quality of life for adults with chronic diseases.
Other Ways to Beat Inflammation
There are other steps you can take to reduce inflammation. Here are a few to discuss with your physician:
Eat Well at Sunrise Senior Living
At Sunrise Senior Living, we recognize the important role diet plays in aging well. We make it easy for residents and their loved ones to see firsthand just how healthy each meal is.
In our Nutrition Center, you can view every food served at every meal every day. From carb count to fiber and sodium, the nutritional break down for every meal is listed!
This is a topic that is especially important for older adults. That’s because seniors face twice the risk of being injured or fatally harmed in a home fire compared to the general population.
Research also shows adults over the age of 85 face even more startling odds: they are at almost five times higher risk of harm in a home fire. This means that while older adults account for only 13 percent of the nation’s population, 35 percent of deaths related to fires are seniors.
The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) created a complimentary checklist to help families prevent and plan for home fires. If you are the caregiver for a senior loved one, it can be a great tool to help you walk through their home and assess it for fire safety concerns.
We’ll be happy to talk about the safety programs we have in place when you visit one of our communities for a personal tour.
October is National Crime Prevention Month. While many of us know that older adults are at higher risk of becoming a victim of crime, we often think first of a purse snatching in the parking lot or a break-in at their home. But experts say identity theft is also a growing concern for older adults.
Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment period is almost here! This is the one time of year older adults can review their current health care plan and make changes. If you are new to Medicare or are the adult child of a Medicare recipient helping them through the process, we know the options can be overwhelming.
Q: What are this year’s dates for Medicare Open Enrollment?
A: Medicare Open Enrollment follows the same timeline every year. Seniors can explore new options and make changes to their existing coverage between October 15 and December 7.
Q: If my senior loved one is happy with their current health plan, do they still need to conduct a review of their coverage?
A: Yes! Plans change from year to year. A provider you are counting on might opt not to be part of a plan again, or the insurer might decide not to continue the relationship with the provider. This is why it is always a good idea to review your loved one’s current coverage and make sure their physicians, labs, pharmacies, outpatient centers, and hospitals will continue to participate in the plan next year.
Q: If we don’t want to make any changes to our current Medicare coverage after we conduct our review, do we need to enroll in the same plan again?
A: If you are happy with your current coverage and don’t wish to make any changes, you don’t need to do anything. Unless you tell Medicare otherwise, your current coverage will continue in 2018.
Q: When do changes we make during 2017 Medicare Open Enrollment go in to effect?
A: Any changes you make to your plan or your older loved one's will go into effect on January 1, 2018.
Q: I’ve seen ads on television for Medicare Advantage Plans. What are these?
A: Medicare Advantage plans fall under a senior’s Medicare Part C benefit. They are offered through private health insurance companies who contract with Medicare to provide services. Insurers must provide coverage that is at least as good as a senior’s traditional Medicare.
Q: Where can I find more plan and coverage information?
A: If you have general questions, you can visit How to Get Medicare Coverage online for more detailed information. (This is an online version of the guide you should have received in the mail from Medicare.)
If you can’t find the answers you need on the Medicare website, or if you prefer to speak to an expert, you can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (633-4227) with your questions.
When a Senior Loved One Needs Assistance
If you are an adult child who finds yourself providing an increasing amount of hands-on care and support to a parent, assisted living might be an option to consider. This senior housing option is designed to help older adults thrive in an environment that supports independence and success.
If you aren’t quite certain what type of care your senior loved one needs, we encourage you to complete our Senior Care Questionnaire. This four-minute assessment will help you objectively evaluate your parent’s needs and determine what type of senior care is the best fit.
Just as the fabulous days of fall transition into colder temperatures, the return of flu season is upon us. While experts say getting an annual influenza vaccine is the best way to avoid being bitten by the bug, not all older adults are believers. For many seniors, the myths about flu shots keep them from being vaccinated.
And that can be dangerous. Estimates are that 75 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths and well over half of all seasonal flu-related hospitalizations are people 65 years and older.
With that in mind, we decided to take time this week to separate fact from fiction when it comes to influenza vaccines.
Five Common Myths about Flu Shots and Flu Season
Myth #1: The flu shot gives you a small dose of the virus to help you build up your immunity to it.
FACT: This is one of the single most deadly myths about the flu shot. Many seniors believe that if they get the vaccine, they will develop the flu. But the experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that this just isn’t so. According to the CDC, the virus in the flu shot is inactivated. A person who receives a flu shot will not get sick from an inactive virus.
Myth #2: Flu vaccines don’t change much year to year, so you don’t really need to get one each fall.
FACT: The label “vaccine” can lead people to believe this myth. The truth is that the formula does change every year. It is re-formulated to target strains of the flu experts believe will be a problem each season.
Myth #3: Getting the flu shot in October is too early. Waiting until December or January means you’ll be protected for the whole flu season.
FACT: Flu shots are effective in helping to prevent the virus for a whole year. Since flu season sometimes heats up in November, experts advise getting the vaccine in October. This gives the vaccine time to work before the worst of flu season begins.
Myth #4: Medicare recipients must have their influenza vaccine at a physician’s office or it won’t be covered.
FACT: Not true. Health care providers who accept Medicare can usually provide the vaccine to you at no cost. For many Medicare recipients, getting the vaccine at the flu shot clinic at a local senior center or at their pharmacy may be quicker and more convenient. Check with the provider to make sure they accept Medicare first.
Myth #5: If you don’t feel sick or if you aren’t exhibiting flu-like symptoms, you can’t spread the virus.
FACT: This myth can be dangerous for older adults. Family caregivers might not take time to get their flu shot. That can lead them to unintentionally passing the virus on to a senior loved one whose immune system may be compromised. A lack of symptoms doesn’t mean the virus isn’t present. In fact, researchers say 20 to 30 percent of people who have the influenza virus don’t exhibit any outward signs of it.
If you have more questions about the flu shot or the 2017-2018 flu season, the Seasonal Influenza Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a great place to find answers.
Healthy Living at Sunrise
Flu safety is just one of the many health and wellness topics we share information about. We talk about aging-related issues ranging from stroke prevention to strength training, making new friends in retirement and healthy hobbies for older adults every day. Follow the Sunrise Senior Living Blog to stay on top of the latest news affecting older adults!
At Sunrise Senior Living communities across the country, we often receive questions from older adults and their family members when they are planning for future care needs. We know it can be confusing. We also understand that there are a variety of misconceptions out there. And many of them relate to the Power of Attorney document (POA).
These misconceptions can create problems for seniors and their families if an emergency arises. We thought it might be helpful to address a few of the most common myths about what a POA is—and isn’t.
Busting the Myths about a Power of Attorney
Myth: If a senior signs a POA, they forfeit their independence and rights to make their own decisions.
FACT: The reality is that the scope of a Power of Attorney document can be as broad—or as narrow—as you want it to be. For example, a POA can be written to require a physician statement attesting that the senior is incapable of making his or her own decisions.
Myth: A Power of Attorney is good only in the state in which it was written.
FACT: This one is a little more complicated. Some states will recognize a POA created in another state, while others won’t. And laws regarding financial and health care POA documents vary from state to state. This can make it difficult for retirees who spend time traveling or who have a second home. For example, the state of New York requires two documents for health care decisions: a health care proxy and a living will. The proxy names a person who will make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to, and the living will expresses your wishes for care. If you aren’t sure what the laws are where you live, you can look up your state’s requirements for living wills and health care power of attorney documents here.
Myth: A Durable Power of Attorney and a Health Care Power of Attorney are one and the same.
FACT: Not true! A Durable Power of Attorney is for property-related decisions and actions. The document outlines who can make financial and business-related decisions on your behalf. By contrast, a Health Care Power of Attorney grants a trusted friend or family member with the ability to make health care decisions. It is important to know that the authority of a Health Care Power of Attorney is recognized differently in each state.
Myth: Seniors are the only people who need a POA.
FACT: Unfortunately, serious illnesses and accidents can strike at any age. It is important for adults to create whatever documents their state of residence recognizes. Should an unforeseen event render you unable to speak on your own behalf and there isn’t a POA in place, a family member will typically need to go through the lengthy and expensive process of obtaining a guardianship.
Financing Senior Living
Another topic families often ask us about is financing senior living. If you or a senior loved one has questions, our Financial Options Resource Center can be of help. We encourage you to explore resources ranging from short-term bridge loans to the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Benefit.
Breast cancer is a disease for which risk increases with age. The numbers are quite startling: 82.2 new cases (per 100,000 women) are diagnosed in women younger than 65 years compared with 403.8 for those aged 65 and older. In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are taking time to share what senior women need to know about the disease.
Breast Cancer Awareness among Older Women
Let’s first break down what we know about breast cancer and older women a little further:
Breast Cancer Prevention
What actions can women take to help prevent breast cancer?
Preventative Screenings for Breast Cancer
While the statistics on breast cancer are fairly solid, the recommendations on preventative screenings aren’t. You may have heard conflicting reports on the news yourself. It can be a little unsettling for women of all ages.
Here is what two important advocacy groups have to say on the matter of mammograms and breast cancer:
This is obviously a conversation every woman will need to have with her own physician.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle at Sunrise Senior Living
At Sunrise, we make it easier for older adults to live their best life. One way we do that is through the Sunrise Dining Program. Healthy, delicious meals are a part of everyday life.
We invite you to download a complimentary copy of one of our Recipes from the Heart cookbooks. For seven years, our staff and residents have been sharing their favorite recipes for friends and visitors to enjoy!
Delonte had been a dedicated and popular member of the Sunrise of Poland team in northeastern Ohio for several years. A lead Care Manager, he was responsible for assisting residents with personal care and the activities of daily living. Delonte always went the extra mile, even pitching in to help with maintenance after the Maintenance Director was promoted.
But Delonte felt called to learn and grow. He was compassionately committed to older adults and needed to find a way to improve the lives of more seniors every day.
In the spring, he sat down with Executive Director Kerry Collins Smith to do a little soul searching.
“I want to do more,” Delonte told Kerry. But he wasn’t quite sure what that might entail.
The two of them spent time discussing his options and exploring ideas for what he could do next. They decided a career in nursing was a logical path for Delonte to take. Without wasting any time, he enrolled in a local nursing school.
But there was one hurdle standing in his way: the entrance exam.
Delonte was more than a little nervous about taking the test. A good amount of time had passed since he studied math, a core component of the exam, and he just wasn’t sure he could do it.
Unfortunately, Delonte didn’t pass the entrance exam on his first attempt.
Discouraged but not defeated, Delonte returned to Kerry’s office for advice. Kerry suggested finding someone to help refresh his math skills. A tutor, perhaps, so he could retake the test.
As luck would have it Jean Williams, one of Sunrise of Poland’s residents, was a retired teacher and tutor. Together, Delonte and Kerry approached Jean to see if she would help.
Jean readily agreed and the two of them got to work. Jean proved to be a tough teacher! She worked with Delonte often and didn’t cut him any slack. He spent time studying with Jean every chance he could. And she gave him homework to work on in between tutoring sessions.
Finally, test day arrived again. This time, Delonte passed with flying colors. He went on to attend nursing school, graduate and become a licensed nurse.
On his final night as a Care Manager, Jean was the last resident that he helped. Then, on his first morning as a nurse, Jean was the first resident that he provided care for.
And Delonte’s story doesn’t end here. On his first day as a nurse at Sunrise of Poland, Kerry asked him what he wanted to do next.
Become an Executive Director.
October 5th is World Teacher Day. In honor of World Teacher Day, Sunrise Senior Living salutes Jean and all of the teachers and tutors like her who help change the lives of people like Delonte every day.
For the caregivers who provide daily care and compassion to senior loved ones, it can be a day to pause and reflect. An opportunity to ask: Are there ways to be a better advocate?
Here are six ways to advocate for your senior loved one’s care.
Advocating for a Senior with Alzheimer’s
1. Learn About Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease
It’s important to know that there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are ways to help manage some of the symptoms. There also are actions you can take to make your loved one’s days more pleasant.
At the moment, medications for Alzheimer’s provide only modest benefits but scientists are working to develop better options. The Alzheimer’s Association has a database of clinical trials, if you want to consider enrolling in one of them.
2. Find a Healthcare Professional Who Understands Dementia Care
An adult with Alzheimer’s needs a doctor who understands the disease, and who’s also well-versed in working with older adults. As the primary caregiver, you need a doctor who returns phone calls, coordinates care effectively, and prescribes medications carefully.
3. Understand How to Best Work With the Doctor
Arriving prepared to doctor’s visits will help your loved one get the care they need. Bring the questions you want to ask, notes about observations of your loved one’s behavior, and a list of any medications that he or she takes.
Listening carefully to the doctor can help you get better care for your senior loved one. It also helps if you take notes to refer to later.
4. Understand the Different Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
People who have Alzheimer’s disease suffer two types of decline: cognitive and functional. It’s helpful to understand the common symptoms that occur at each stage of the disease.
Understanding the behaviors of your senior loved one and what to prepare for as the disease progresses can help you cope.
5. Be Safety-Minded and Plan for the Future
Completing a safety check at your loved one’s home is a must. You might also want to have a discussion about safety if your loved one is still driving. If they are reluctant to give up the keys when it’s appropriate, if might help to enlist their doctor to talk to them.
Planning for future care is another discussion you should have with your loved one. Despite your best efforts, they may eventually require memory care. In the right environment, people with the disease can continue to thrive.
6. Remember to Take Care of Yourself
Finally, caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s can be a taxing job that brings a unique mix of stressors. Many caregivers feel the effects of stress in all areas of their lives.
Your job, family relationships, and mental health can all suffer if you don’t take care of yourself. Watch out for signs of caregiver burnt out and train yourself to accept offers of help from friends and family.
Sunrise Senior Living Can Help
We have resources for family caregivers like you. Whether it’s trusted information about Alzheimer’s disease or respite care for your loved one, a Sunrise community is just a phone call away.
The earliest symptoms can appear as issues that are easily mistaken for a different ailment. Sometimes they are simply shrugged off as normal, age-related changes.
But it’s during those early stages of Alzheimer’s that treatment is likely to do the most good. That’s why it’s important to learn to recognize the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
The Earliest Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
Family members and friends can help senior loved ones by becoming familiar with early symptoms. Merely keeping an eye out for forgetfulness just isn’t enough to detect important – but subtle – changes including:
1. Poor Judgment
If your loved one seems to be exhibiting poor judgment and it’s uncharacteristic of them, that behavior can be a warning sign. For example, you may find them believing everything telemarketers say. Or they might be making purchases from a telemarketing phone call without stopping to think about what they are doing.
2. Weakened Ability to Solve Simple Problems
Anyone can make a mistake when balancing a checkbook. But when it becomes an ongoing issue, it may be a potential warning sign. Abstract thought process can be damaged early during the development of Alzheimer’s.
3. Withdrawal from Social Circles
When a senior loved one no longer seems to enjoy socializing, look deeper. It could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have forgotten how to participate in their favorite hobby, turning time spent with long cherished friends into a confusing, embarrassing ordeal.
4. Confusion Over Visual Images and Spatial Relationships
Difficulty reading, judging distance, or passing by a mirror and thinking it’s someone else may all be early warning signs, too. Note that vision changes due to the normal aging process are different than problems with visual and spatial relationships.
5. Growing Problems Finding the Right Words
Does your senior loved one frequently stop mid-sentence because they have lost their train of thought? Everyone has an occasional problem finding words but when it’s persistent, it could be an early symptom. Remember, we’re looking for patterns, not just one time occurrences.
6. Trouble Keeping Track of Dates or Seasons
Getting confused about the day of the week happens to us all, especially if it’s after a holiday. But if it’s a consistent problem for your senior loved one, it could be a concern.
7. Personality Changes
Preferring routine is a normal, age-related change. But when a senior is easily upset by small changes to their daily routine or when activities that take them out of their comfort zone cause agitation, it can signs of a problem.
8. Memory Problems
The symptom most commonly associated with memory loss is forgetting things that were just learned, heard or experienced. This involves the short-term memory and it is typically impaired fairly early in the disease process.
9. Misplacing Belongings and No Ability to Retrace Steps to Find It
Anyone can misplace something. Many of us do so on occasion. But it can be a warning sign when your loved one can’t retrace his or her steps to find it. This is memory loss that disrupts daily life, partly because it occurs over and over again.
10. Trouble With Routine Tasks
When someone is losing track of what used to be familiar, that could be another indicator. Forgetting how to check their email or what steps to take to turn on a microwave are two common examples.
Learn More by Listening
If you have a loved one you feel may be exhibiting early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to consult a doctor. Early intervention may lead to treatments that help you better manage symptoms.
As a caregiver, you can learn more by listening to Episode 5 in the Sunrise Senior Living series of health podcasts. It’s full of useful information about the early signs of Alzheimer’s as explained by Rita Altman, Senior Vice President of Memory Care & Program Services.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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:
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
● nerve inflammation
● 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.
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?
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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!
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!
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!