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When a senior you love is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, creating a plan that meets their needs is important. Primary care doctors often suggest that families begin investigating memory care programs.
But for many people, memory care is an unfamiliar term. We thought it would be helpful to explain what a memory care program is and how it differs from traditional assisted living.
What Does the Term “Memory Care” Mean?
In broad terms, memory care is a type of long-term care dedicated to meeting the unique needs of older adults who have Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia. Memory care programs are typically part of an assisted living community, but there are also standalone communities exclusively dedicated to adults with some form of dementia.
Utilizing specially designed living spaces and programming, memory care neighborhoods aim to keep seniors with memory loss safe while also enabling them to enjoy their best quality of life. At Sunrise, memory care is rooted in getting to know each resident in order to provide personalized care.
Older adults in a memory care program also benefit from the following:
Dedicated dining: Adults with dementia can struggle to eat independently. A noisy or busy environment can make focusing on food difficult, loss of hand-eye coordination can make using kitchen utensils challenging, and vision problems can make it tough to distinguish food on the plate. This all can lead to poor nutrition and weight loss. Dining programs in a memory care unit work around these challenges to support mealtime success and encourage good nutrition.
Life enrichment: Life enrichment activities and programs are designed to allow those with memory problems to be and feel productive and successful. At Sunrise, each Reminiscence resident is assigned a life enrichment manager (LEM), who is responsible for creating a care plan based on the resident’s personal preferences. A calendar of daily events might include repetitive tasks known to soothe agitation, art or music therapy to help residents connect with memories and experience joy, and physical activity that promotes better sleep quality. Most memory care units also have a secure outdoor area for residents to safely enjoy the fresh air and participate in activities such as birdwatching or gardening.
Family support: A loved one’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia can have a significant impact on everyone who loves them, so memory care programs also focus on family support. From one-on-one family meetings to support groups that provide families with an opportunity to voice their fears, sadness, and frustration, memory care programs help families cope with physically and emotionally challenging issues.
Memory Care at Sunrise
We know dementia is a disease that can leave families with many questions. Rita Altman, senior vice president of Memory Care & Program Services at Sunrise Senior Living, has advice on how to take care of yourself, navigate family dynamics, and learn whether long-term senior living might be an option for your loved one. Listen to The Senior Caregiver podcast to learn more.
Navigating the maze of senior care options can be confusing. The wide variety of choices gives families more options for a senior loved one’s care than ever before, but understanding the differences between them and which one might be the best fit can be overwhelming.
We have a few suggestions on how to conduct your search so you feel confident that you are making an informed choice.
5 Tips to Help in the Search for a Senior Living Community
The Senior Caregiver Podcast
Ready to learn more about how to search for senior living?
In this episode of The Senior Caregiver podcast, Kelly Myers, senior vice president of Sales, answers frequently asked questions and shares tips on making the most of your search.
The ideal time to search for a senior living community is before the need becomes urgent. This gives you the time you need to tour several communities, ask questions, and make an informed choice.
When a senior loved one has a sudden change in health or another type of emergency, however, you might need a short-term solution to keep your loved one safe while working on a long-term plan. In-home care can be a short-term solution to utilize while exploring local senior living communities and preparing for a move.
Caregivers from a home care agency can help with personal care, light housekeeping, and even meal preparations. In the short term, it might be just the right amount of support to keep a senior safe.
What should you ask an in-home care provider you are considering hiring?
We have a list of questions you might find useful.
Interviewing an In-Home Care Provider for Short-Term Assistance
1. Are caregivers employees of the agency or contract workers?
Some home care agencies rely solely on contract workers. This can keep costs lower, but it also may mean that your family member will have many different caregivers coming in and out of their home.
2. How does the agency screen employees? Are they bonded?
When considering someone who will be coming into a senior loved one’s home, it’s vital to understand how employees are screened and what type of background checks are conducted. These caregivers will have access to personal information, prescription medications, valuables in the home, and more.
Ask the agency how their caregivers are screened when they are hired and how they are supervised moving forward. Also make sure to ask if the agency bonds its caregivers and how they handle situations where something of value to the senior goes missing.
3. Can you meet the caregivers ahead of time?
It’s important to find a caregiver your older family member feels comfortable inviting into their home. Ask the agency if you can arrange for your family to meet the team member who will be the primary caregiver for your loved one before you make a commitment to using their services. Many agencies offer this as a courtesy to families.
4. What is the agency’s caregiver turnover rate?
Caring for older adults can be emotionally and physically exhausting. That is true for both professional and family caregivers. As a result, the senior care industry has a higher turnover rate than other types of employment. A turnover rate greater than 50 percent, however, might be a sign the home care agency has some internal challenges.
5. What happens when a caregiver is ill or has their own emergency?
Professional caregivers get sick and have emergencies, too. Make sure you ask what the procedure is when this happens.
6. How does the agency communicate with you?
Communication is another important area to explore. Ask the agency how they keep in touch with you and how often they will provide updates. Some agencies have their own cell phone apps that update family members in real time after a visit. Also inquire about the process for alerting you if something needs to be addressed immediately.
7. What does the home care agency’s training program entail?
The technology and resources available for in-home care are constantly advancing. You’ll want to make sure the agency you choose stays current with emerging best practices so your senior loved one receives the best possible care.
8. Does the agency have a minimum hour requirement?
It isn’t uncommon for home care agencies to have minimum hour requirements. Sometimes it is a per-visit minimum, and other times it is a weekly or monthly minimum. Be sure you understand what the agency’s practices are.
9. Is a service contract required?
Most agencies require a contract for service. Ask to see a copy of it so you have time to review it before you make any commitment.
Finally, remember to check the agency’s references and read online reviews. It will give you good insight on what families have to say about the agency’s care and customer service.
Respite Care as a Trial Stay
Another option to consider is short-term respite. Your senior loved one can stay at a local assisted living community for a few weeks to see how they like it without making a commitment. They’ll enjoy the same services and support as long-term residents. Call the community nearest you to learn more about respite care at Sunrise!
Tax season can be tricky for anyone. For seniors and their families, one potential source of confusion is determining who can—and who can’t—deduct senior care expenses on their taxes.
Some families aren’t even aware there is a tax deduction available, and others find the process too confusing to navigate. Families often ask if there is an easy way to figure out if they are eligible for a tax deduction and how much they might be able to deduct.
Much of the confusion stems from trying to determine a) what portion of a senior’s monthly fees are considered to be medical care and b) if a senior loved one meets the criteria to be considered a dependent.
There isn’t a universal answer to either of those questions. We can, however, point you to a few sections of the tax code you can read to learn more.
Senior Care Expenses and Tax Deductions
Being able to deduct some expenses can help families who are struggling to create a budget for financing senior care, so it’s a good idea to learn all that you can. There are two different IRS publications that discuss medical expenses and dependent status as they relate to deducting senior care expenses:
Because senior care tax deductions are so complicated, it is generally best to seek the advice of an accountant or financial planner who has experience in the aging services industry.
Financing Senior Care for a Loved One
There are other avenues for financing senior care that older adults and their families might not be aware of:
Team members at each of the Sunrise Senior Living communities across the country can walk you through these options in greater detail. Call the Sunrise community nearest you to set up a time to visit and learn more.
5 Healthy Self-Care Habits for Family Caregivers
Here are five steps family caregivers can take to stay healthy:
If you’re getting worn out by the demands of caregiving, you might need a few days to yourself. Whether it is to take a short vacation or just to enjoy a pedicure or massage, a short-term stay at a senior living community may be your solution and in the long run will strengthen your ability to be a good caregiver. Learn about respite care at Sunrise to see how we can help.
Sleep problems are a common difficulty among seniors. Some have trouble getting to sleep, while others say they just can’t stay asleep.
Studies show these issues can be linked to a variety of health conditions ranging from diabetes to high blood pressure. However, sleep experts can have trouble determining if the senior’s health condition causes the sleep problems, or if the disrupted sleep cycles lead to health problems.
The Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania tackled the issue. Researchers there investigated potential influences on a senior’s ability to get a full night of quality sleep—one of which was a healthy diet.
Nutrition, Sleep, and Seniors
Researchers found an interesting potential relationship between nutrition and sleep among seniors. Their investigation seems to show that poor-quality sleep or a lack of sleep can affect the food choices we make. When we are feeling tired and weary, we are more likely to reach for comfort foods that aren’t very healthy. These poor nutritional choices make sleep problems even worse.
Here are more of their discoveries:
Can Improving Diet Improve Sleep?
“We’ve all heard by now how important it is for our well-being to eat a healthy, balanced diet. But we’ve also heard just as frequently how important good sleep is for our overall health,” said Caitlin Rogers, Sunrise’s vice president of Dining & Nutrition Services.
“Now, the link between good sleep and good nutrition gives us extra motivation to make the right choices,” Rogers continued. “That can be easy to do by simply choosing items that are naturally high in both lycopene and vitamin C, like tomatoes, watermelon, and asparagus.”
Here are some more options that can help:
Sunrise Dining Program
Residents at Sunrise communities enjoy healthy and delicious meals every day. Our culinary teams use fresh, local ingredients to create a variety of dining options at every meal. Call today to schedule a time to join us for a meal at a community near you!
Social workers are unsung heroes of senior care. They connect older adults with community resources that help them to safely maintain their best quality of life. Whether a senior needs medical, emotional, spiritual, or physical support, a social worker can often be found acting as a bridge between the older adult and the providers who can help.
March is National Social Work Month, a time to pause and recognize the work of this dedicated group of professionals.
How Social Workers Help Seniors
Where can you find social workers assisting older adults and their family caregivers? Let’s take a look.
Interested in Volunteering with Seniors?
If you enjoy spending time with seniors but aren’t a social worker, we have other ways you can contribute. We’d love to have you share your time and talent with our residents by volunteering! Call the community nearest you to learn more about Sunrise volunteer opportunities.
As the population of older adults in the United States continues to climb, so too does the interest in aging well. From fitness activities to heart health, we’ve tackled a variety of successful aging topics. One topic that is always worth examining is the potential relationship between diet and cognitive health.
Older adults in Ikaria, Greece have some of the lowest rates of dementia in the world. Residents over the age of 85 rarely develop any form of the disease. In fact, there are 75 percent fewer incidences of dementia when compared to people of the same age in the United States.
What type of diet do people in this area follow?
For 95 percent of them, the answer is a Mediterranean-style diet. It is rich with plant-based foods and low in saturated fats, dairy, and meat.
You don’t have to look far to find the science to back up this way of eating. In fact, some researchers say that adopting a Mediterranean diet might even help slow cognitive decline for people who are already experiencing it.
How to Get Started on a Mediterranean Diet
Making the transition from a Western diet to a plant-based style of eating might feel overwhelming and intimidating at first, but we have a few tips to help:
Healthy Dining at Sunrise
The culinary teams at Sunrise communities are experts at creating meals that are both nutritious and delicious. We also offer fresh fruit and healthy snacks all day long in our community bistros. Contact us to set up a time to visit for dinner at a Sunrise community near you!
Technology has changed how many people prepare their taxes.
Computer programs that lead us through preparing and electronically filing our taxes are fairly inexpensive to purchase. The IRS website is easily accessible and provides the necessary forms for those who prefer to file manually.
It all adds up to an easier tax season for most of us. There is, however, one notable risk: identity theft.
Criminals are always on the lookout for opportunities to take advantage of people they believe have good credit and might be vulnerable to identity theft. Scammers see older adults as people who fit this description. By stealing a senior’s identity, the criminal can not only steal their tax return, but they can also apply for credit cards and loans in the older adult’s name.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that 13 percent of adults over the age of 50 were victims of identity theft in 2016. For 29 percent of these victims, their identity was used to commit tax fraud.
We have a few suggestions older adults and their families can use to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft during this year’s tax season.
5 Ways to Prevent Identity Theft during Tax Season
Are you interested in exploring some of the issues that make seniors vulnerable to fraud? This article shares good insight on why seniors are at a higher risk for financial fraud. It can help you further protect an older adult you love.
Driving can be a sensitive subject for seniors and their adult children. Because driving is linked to independence, most of us are reluctant to give it up.
However, aging brings some undeniable physical changes that can make driving more challenging. Because everyone ages differently, age alone can’t be the determining factor in when it is time for an older adult to give up their keys.
The challenges older drivers face range from diminished flexibility to slower reaction time. Research shows that fatal accidents among seniors begin to climb at age 75 and rise sharply at age 80.
If you are concerned about an older loved one’s driving, it might help to first evaluate their skills before you begin any discussion about hanging up the keys.
How to Evaluate a Senior’s Fitness for Driving
If you objectively evaluate your loved one’s driving and decide they are no longer safe behind the wheel, consider the best way to discuss the situation. Don’t just demand that they hand over their keys. Have a solid plan in place for the conversation, along with options for transportation.
Talking with a Senior About Giving Up Driving
Here are a few tips to help you discuss giving up the keys with an older driver:
If you’d like to continue learning more about this topic, we encourage you to visit the Seniors & Driving page on our website.
Many seniors have problems sleeping. In fact, almost half of all older adults say they suffer some form of insomnia. The National Institutes of Health says some of the most common reasons older adults suffer sleep disturbances are:
Physicians are sometimes reluctant to prescribe sleep medication for people with Alzheimer’s because of possible negative side effects. But if natural remedies are not helping, medication may be an option. Talk with your doctor to learn more.
If you are beginning to search for a memory care program for a loved one, we hope you will consider Sunrise. Our memory care programs focus on providing personalized care and offer opportunities for enrichment and fulfillment each day. Our life enrichment managers are trained in Validation Techniques.
We’d love the opportunity to show you around and answer all of your questions. Book a tour at your convenience to learn more!
Aging is tough on our bones. As we grow older, we begin to lose bone mass. Experts say bone loss can actually begin as early as age 30. Weakened bones can lead to serious issues like fractures and falls.
An estimated 10 million people in this country live with osteoporosis, a disease which reduces the density and quality of a person’s bones. As many as 1.5 million adults experience a bone fracture each year, including 300,000 fractured hips. Women are at higher risk for bone loss, as are people who consume a poor diet.
What can you do to keep your bones and your senior loved ones healthy as you age?
A great first step is to make smart food choices.
Better Nutrition for Building Better Bones
Weight and resistance training can pump up more than just your biceps—they can increase bone mass, too. As the bone is stressed during a workout, the body responds by sending signals to bone cells to create new bone. The result is denser, stronger bones.
At Sunrise communities, physical activity is a part of everyday life. Live With Action is one of our signature programs. Watch a video of one of our fitness classes to see Live with Action at work!
By Chris Winkle, CEO
Last week, Sunrise became the first-ever senior living provider to earn the distinction of “Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Senior Living Communities“ by J.D. Power, the most trusted name in market research. Sunrise ranked highest in 5 out of 6 study factors: caregiver/staff; services/activities; setup/orientation; rooms/building/grounds; and food/beverage.
Within the details of the study, it was found that the most important component for assisted living and independent living consumers’ satisfaction is caregiver/staff. And so, this J.D. Power award really belongs to our dedicated and compassionate team members, who strive each day to provide our families with an exceptional personalized experience.
Since Sunrise’s founding more than 35 years ago, we remain deeply focused on our customer-centric mission, always seeking to innovate and further individualize our approach in caring for and supporting seniors. This happens in a variety of ways, from our Designated Care Managers, to meaningful resident programming that’s tracked on digital calendars, to customized dining menus and open communications responsive to families’ needs.
There are many more examples I can give, but at the heart of these efforts and J.D. Power achievement is one thing: our team members. I cannot say enough about how proud we are of them – their commitment, skills, and love for serving seniors within the warmth of our Sunrise communities. Thanks to our team!
Chris Winkle has been chief executive officer for Sunrise Senior Living since April 2014.
Sunrise Senior Living received the highest numerical score in the J.D. Power 2018 Senior Living Satisfaction Study, based on 2,539 total responses among 7 senior living communities measuring experiences and perceptions of residents/family members/friends, surveyed October-December 2017. Your experiences may vary. Award applicable to United States only. Visit jdpower.com
Foods that are Harmful to Pets
Let’s focus on safety first. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals maintains an Animal Poison Control Center where pet owners can call for advice. Foods that can cause serious illness to a pet include:
Many human medications and over-the-counter medicines can also be harmful to pets. If your pet accidentally ingests one, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Poison Control Hotline at (888) 426-4435 for help immediately.
Give Your Best Friend a Treat on Love Your Pet Day
What can you do to celebrate the unconditional love your pet gives to you?
Treat them to a healthy snack you prepare yourself!
• Dog Treat Kitchens: This website is home to recipes for a variety of healthy treats and snacks you can make for your dog. They even have recommendations for dogs with special dietary conditions, such as obesity and intolerance to wheat.
• Healthy cat treats: While felines are known for being a bit persnickety, most probably won’t turn their nose up at a tasty, homemade treat. Sites like Style Tails and Mess for Less have some healthy recipes to help you get started.
• For the birds: Not all pet companions have four legs. Birds are a popular choice for older adults because they are easy to care for. You can bake healthy treats for your feathered friend using natural ingredients, too. The Spruce has some quick and easy recipes to try.
Pets are Welcome at Sunrise
At Sunrise, we understand the important role animals play in our lives. That’s why you will find a resident cat or dog at each of our communities. They are adopted from local shelters and cared for by residents and staff alike.
We celebrated our animals this year with the first-ever #PetsofSunrise Facebook contest! Visit our Facebook page to see more than 60 adorable photos of Sunrise pets.
At Sunrise, we take your care personally and are committed to providing each family with an experience tailored to their preferences and needs. Sunrise recently ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Senior Living Communities” by J.D. Power, the most trusted name in market research, and we are honored to be the first-ever senior living provider to earn this distinction.
A few highlights:
Our knowledgeable, dedicated team members, are at the heart of why Sunrise has earned this achievement. “For more than 35 years, Sunrise has created a unique approach to senior living that is deeply focused on providing the very best personalized, high-quality care to its residents. We are proud that this J.D. Power study, which captures the voice of senior living customers across the country, demonstrates that we are successfully delivering on our customer-centric mission. We are grateful to our highly trained, compassionate team members for helping Sunrise earn this distinguished recognition,” said Chris Winkle, Sunrise’s CEO.
Visit a Sunrise Community
We welcome families to come visit our senior communities and see first-hand what personalized senior care and service at is all about – from our caring staff, to dining and activities programming.
Contact us or find a community near you and schedule a tour.
Sunrise Senior Living received the highest numerical score in the J.D. Power 2018 Senior Living Satisfaction Study, based on 2,539 total responses among 7 senior living communities measuring experiences and perceptions of residents/family members/friends, surveyed October-December 2017. Your experiences may vary. Award applicable to United States only. Visit jdpower.com
As your caregiving duties gradually increase, the symptoms of overload can slowly sneak up on you. In fact, you might not recognize any trouble until you reach the point where you are overwhelmed and burned out. Sometimes, caregivers can experience a health crisis of their own before they realize anything is wrong.
Caregiver burnout is defined as “a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude—from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned.”
How to Recognize the Early Signs of Caregiver Burnout
The common signs of caregiver overload can include:
● Feelings of sadness and despair
● Quick to anger
● Easily tearful
● Unintended change in weight
● Loss of appetite
● Change in sleep habits, (i.e., sleeping too much or too little)
● Lack of interest in your favorite activities
● Withdrawing from socializing with friends and family
● Relying on alcohol, cigarettes, or medication to cope
● Frequent colds and illnesses
● Emotional and/or physical exhaustion
4 Tips to Help Caregivers Manage Stress
If more than one or two of the signs outlined above sound familiar, it might be time to take a step back and take some time for yourself to get on a healthier track.
The winter months can be brutal for arthritis sufferers– who add up to 50 million adults in the U.S. alone. As the temperature drops, people with this chronic health condition often report that their level of pain increases.
For some, prescription medication can help ease their symptoms, but others are reluctant to take it. Side effects of arthritis medications can include upset stomach, swelling in the feet, bone loss, increased appetite, and more.
The good news is there are some natural alternatives for relieving the pain and symptoms of arthritis.
7 Natural Ways to Manage Arthritis this Winter
Tools and Resources for Adults with Arthritis
We know arthritis can sometimes make even the smallest tasks more difficult. It might be painful to button your shirt or bend over to tie your shoes. That’s why we assembled a list of resources to help. Check out some arthritis-friendly products that can help with everything from opening jars to brushing your hair.
If you’ve ever moved before, you probably aren’t surprised to learn that moving is considered to be one of life’s most stressful events.
Moving can very traumatic for older adults. Many seniors have lived in their current home for decades and raised a family there. That can make leaving the home behind both physically and emotionally difficult, but it is a decision most older adults will eventually have to make.
Why Do Older Adults Move?
Seniors relocate for a variety of reasons. The three reasons most often cited in a small study conducted by a senior relocation specialist were:
If you are trying to help an older adult you love begin the process of relocating, it’s important to take your time and find a realtor who understands the unique challenges that come along with selling a home when you are a senior.
How to Find a Senior-Friendly Realtor Near You
Having a licensed real estate agent who knows how to help a senior and their family through this transition is important. That is why the National Association of Realtors created a special designation for realtors who work with seniors.
The Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES) credential means a realtor has gone the extra mile to learn how to be a true resource for older sellers. To qualify, a licensed real estate agent must complete a training program that helps them learn more about the challenges of moving when retired.
Visit the SRES website and use your zip code to search their database for a specialist near you.
Interviewing Potential Real Estate Agents
Once you’ve done your research and found a few realtors who seem like they might be good options, put together a list of questions to ask when you interview each one of them in person. A few suggestions to add to your list are:
Interior Design Resources at Sunrise
Sunrise has an online library of design resources to assist older adults who are relocating. Our complimentary Home Design Guide is packed with helpful information ranging from furniture arrangement tips for aging eyes to strategies for making bathrooms safer.
February is a month dedicated to matters of the heart: heart-healthy diets, living a heart-smart lifestyle, and celebrating happy hearts on Valentine’s Day. Many people are surprised to learn that Valentine’s Day is more than just a holiday created by the greeting card industry. In fact, its roots date back to the Romans.
While there are many legends surrounding Valentine’s Day, the most popular one involves a romantic, kind-hearted priest and a foul Roman emperor.
The Legend of St. Valentine
According to the legend, Roman Emperor Claudius II forbade young men from marrying. He believed marriage weakened soldiers. A certain Bishop Valentine, however, believed in the power of love and the institution of marriage. He bravely held secret marriage ceremonies in direct opposition to Claudius’ laws.
When the emperor learned what the bishop had done behind his back, he ordered the bishop to be arrested and imprisoned.
Once in prison, Valentine befriended his jailor, Asterius, and his beautiful daughter. Asterius’ daughter and Bishop Valentine developed a special bond. When a jailed Valentine still refused to stop hosting secret marriage ceremonies, Claudius ordered his execution.
When execution day arrived, Valentine penned a farewell message to Asterius’ daughter. He signed it, “From Your Valentine.” His execution day was Feb. 14, 270 A.D.
That is the legend of how Bishop Valentine became a patron saint.
Thankfully, today’s Valentine’s Day celebrations are much cheerier.
Celebrating Valentine’s Day
While the tradition of giving cards to symbolize love dates back to the Middle Ages, today’s celebrations are much more involved. We now honor the day with cards, flowers, jewelry, and chocolates. Many couples also become engaged or married on Valentine’s Day.
Americans spend a staggering $18.5 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts and festivities. A few more fun statistics that highlight how we celebrate this holiday include:
Watch out guys! There is one more statistic you need to be aware of: 53 percent of women say they would end their relationship if their partner didn’t give them a gift on Valentine’s Day.
Celebrating Holidays Big and Small
At Sunrise communities, we know how important it is to celebrate life’s holidays and milestones. But we also know how important it is to celebrate life every day.
Live With Purpose is one of our signature programs. It includes eight different ways to enrich your body, mind, and spirit. Learn more about our programming and activities here.
Tax season is upon us once again. The constant changes in tax laws can be tough to keep up with every year. Seniors might find tax season to be especially difficult because their retirement income may be derived from sources other than employment, and the related tax laws can be confusing.
Tax season also brings with it the potential for identity theft. Seniors are often targeted in financial scams of all kinds, and experts believe that tax refund fraud likely reached $21 billion during the 2016 tax season.
If you need help preparing your tax return this year, you’re in luck. There are a variety of resources, many of which are free, designed to help make tax preparation easier and safer for seniors.
Tax Preparation Resources for Seniors
Here are a few tax services catering to older adults:
Preventing Senior Identity Theft During Tax Season
Every year, more and more people fall victim to scams and fraud in connection with tax season. Taking a few extra steps to protect personal information can help you avoid becoming a victim.
Tax Deductions and Caregivers
One common question during this time of year is whether or not assisted living expenses are tax-deductible for a resident.
The answer is that in some cases, a senior or their loved one who helps finance assisted living expenses can take advantage of a medical care tax deduction. Review these tax deductions for assisted living before you meet with a tax preparer this year.
Did you know that some types of cancer are preventable? In fact, experts believe as much as one third of all cancers could be prevented by making good lifestyle choices.
February is National Cancer Month, and we are sharing possible changes you can make to reduce your risk of developing cancer.
Take Steps to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute, you can reduce your risk factors by:
Nutrition and Aging
As we grow older, our nutritional needs change. While most older adults require fewer calories, they often need to increase their intake of vitamin D, calcium, potassium, and fiber. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a program called MyPlate that helps older adults reduce their risk for disease by ensuring that nutritional needs are met.
At Sunrise, our chef-prepared meals are nutritious, delicious, and designed to support the dietary needs of older adults. Visit our Dining at Sunrise page to learn more.
Super Bowl LII is almost here! This year’s game will be held on February 4 in Minneapolis, Minn. If you are preparing to host a party for friends and family, putting together a tasty but healthy menu might be at the top of your “to do” list.
Because older adults tend to require special diets due to chronic health conditions, finding ways to lighten up traditional Super Bowl party foods is important so everyone can enjoy the party. From chili to chocolate, we have a few menu options to consider.
Healthy Super Bowl Party Foods
Another fun idea is to consider adding a few games to this year’s Super Bowl viewing party. Sites like PrintYourBrackets and The Spruce make this easy to do.
Learn More About Senior Nutrition
Senior nutrition is an important part of everyday life at Sunrise communities. If you are interested in learning more about healthy nutrition for older adults, we encourage you to bookmark the Senior Eats section of our blog. We routinely add new recipes, articles, and resources so that seniors can read the latest news about nutrition and aging well.
Would you be surprised to learn that cardiac-related disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in this country? It is. This statistic is especially troubling because, in many cases, heart disease is preventable. Healthy lifestyle choices can make a big difference in the long run.
February is National Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about heart disease and the steps each of us can take to prevent it.
Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Download Our Complimentary Heart-Healthy Cookbook
Heart-healthy meals are part of everyday life at Sunrise communities. You can enjoy some of the same healthy meals as our residents! Since 2014, we’ve assembled a cookbook of our residents’ favorite foods every year. We invite you to download copies of Recipes from the Heart for recipes you can use in your own kitchen.
When you are a caregiver for a senior loved one, winter can seem to drag on. This is the time of year many caregivers struggle most—when the holidays are long gone, but spring still feels far away. Winter weather can make it too cold or icy to venture outside, especially if your loved one has mobility issues.
February is a time some caregivers may develop a case of cabin fever or the winter blues as a result of spending so much time stuck indoors. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to lighten your mood and boost your spirits until sunnier days arrive again.
7 Ideas to Prevent Cabin Fever this Winter
Respite for the Caregiver
If you can’t seem to shake off cabin fever this year, you might need a few days free from the demands of caregiving. Recognize that taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your loved one. Whether it is to take a short vacation or just to enjoy a pedicure or massage, a short-term stay at a senior living community may be your solution and in the long run will strengthen your ability to be a good caregiver. Learn about respite care at Sunrise to see how we can help.
More than half of all adults in this country have high cholesterol. Surprisingly, experts say only one in three of these adults have the condition under control.
Adults over 65 are at the highest risk of having a stroke or heart attack linked to high cholesterol. This makes it especially important for seniors with high cholesterol to adhere to their prescribed medication.
Since high cholesterol itself doesn’t typically have any symptoms, older adults may be unaware of just how dangerous this condition is and what they can do to get it under control.
Decoding the Different Types of Cholesterol
Let’s start with a quick overview of each type of cholesterol and what the numbers mean.
Cholesterol screening measures three types of fat in the blood stream:
How to Help a Loved One Manage Their Cholesterol
Physicians frequently cite low rates of compliance as a primary barrier to helping older patients manage their cholesterol. Seniors often struggle to follow doctor’s orders with regard to diet, exercise, and taking their cholesterol medication as prescribed.
One reason might be that it is difficult to immediately see the health benefits of managing cholesterol. As a caregiver, you can help with:
Senior living communities offer health assistance around the clock and provide programs to help residents with health concerns. We provide Live With Action programming, since physical activity is key to senior health and wellbeing.
If you think it is time to encourage a parent or other loved one to consider moving to a community, we understand that starting the conversation can sometimes be difficult. View our tips for having important conversations to help the discussions go smoothly.
Minor vision problems can occur at any age, especially for those who spend a lot of time staring at a computer or cell phone screen. Between video games, computers, smartphones, and tablets, eye strain has become an increasingly common issue for kids and adults alike.
But as we grow older, there can be additional vision issues that develop more frequently. Knowing what symptoms indicate a more serious problem is important for seniors and their adult children.
National Glaucoma Month
January is National Glaucoma Month. This eye disease is often referred to as a “sneaky vision thief” because there are very few symptoms until later in the disease. But one of the earliest signs of glaucoma is a serious one: loss of peripheral vision.
Having an annual eye exam is the best way to detect the presence of glaucoma early.
Unlike glaucoma, other vision problems common among seniors do come with early warning signs.
If you or a loved one notice any of the following symptoms, it’s important to call your doctor or visit your local emergency department:
Two additional vision changes seniors encounter are halos and cloudiness. Older adults may know these as the symptoms of cataracts. Many people delay talking with their physician about it because they don’t think of cataracts as a serious health concern. But this is a myth—untreated cataracts can cause blindness.
Medicare and Vision Coverage
Some seniors delay visiting their eye doctor because of financial concerns. While it’s true that Medicare doesn’t pay for glasses, Medicare Part B does cover some routine screenings. Vision coverage typically extends to a yearly vision exam, as well as glaucoma and macular degeneration testing.
Visit Your Medicare Coverage: Eye Exams to learn more.
Supportive Environment for Adults with Vision Loss
Sunrise Senior Living communities are thoughtfully designed to accommodate the unique challenges of older adults with a focus on comfort and convenience. Seniors with vision loss will find safety is our primary concern, and we design living spaces that create a safe and supportive environment.
Many seniors face physical challenges like limited mobility, balance, sight and hearing. From hand rails and grab bars to assistance with the activities of daily living, we help adults with vision impairment live their best quality of life. The Sunrise team is committed to becoming your partner, your guide, and your trusted resource. Contact us or call 1-888-434-4648 to schedule a private visit!
One debate seniors and their families often have is whether it is less expensive to age in place at home or to move to an assisted living community.
Some believe that once the mortgage is paid in full, aging at home is the most economical choice. This might be music to the ears of a senior who isn’t interested in leaving a home they’ve lived in for decades.
Let’s take a look at the expenses associated with aging at home.
Evaluate Current and Future Expenses
When a senior drives and is able to handle their housework, yard, and meal preparations, aging in place can be a good financial decision.
But there are still expenses associated with remaining at home even if the mortgage is paid:
As the senior experiences physical changes, it might become necessary to enlist the support of a home care agency and to make modifications to their home. Both of these safety expenses can quickly add up quickly.
Home Safety Modification Expenses for Older Adults
Modifying your home for safety can come at a steep price. Depending on how old the home is, the list of necessary modifications might be a long one.
According to a MetLife survey, the average costs of home modifications for aging in place are as follows:
Home safety and emergency alert systems are also a factor. Families typically spend the following:
Aging in Place with the Support of Home Care
Then, there are the expenses associated with in-home care and assistance. These costs vary widely depending upon the type of assistance needed and how the caregiver is employed.
Families have several options:
Our final piece of advice is to make sure you are taking all of these costs into consideration when you are making a plan for your loved one’s future.
The True Value of Senior Living Communities
Senior living communities offer older adults and their families an affordable option for care. Many of the expenses associated with aging at home are included in the basic fee: rent, utilities, transportation, maintenance, and housekeeping, to name just a few.
Our team members are happy to help families learn more about the true cost of assisted living and suggestions for financing a move to assisted living. At Sunrise, we understand that everyone has unique circumstances that determine how they can best afford the cost. Contact a Sunrise community near you to schedule a private meeting!
Caring for your skin goes beyond knowing which lotions and cleansers to use. A healthy skin care regimen also includes staying hydrated, paying attention to sun exposure, diet, lifestyle, and more.
How to Have Younger-Looking Skin as You Age
Wrinkles, dark spots, and dry skin are just a few of the signs of aging. While genetics plays a role in skin health, lifestyle is important, too.
Here are a few choices that can give you healthier, younger-looking skin:
Wellness Programs at Sunrise Senior Living
At Sunrise, we take a comprehensive approach to wellness. From nutrition and exercise to art and music, we help residents live richer, fuller lives.
If you are looking for more information on aging with success, we encourage you to visit our Elder Care Resources and Information page where you will find tips and tools to help seniors and caregivers alike.
If you’ve ever laughed so hard that your stomach hurt, you’ve probably reaped some of the health benefits of humor. It’s more than just a cliché—laughter really is the best medicine. Laughing helps with everything from boosting mood to burning calories.
Researchers say there are both short-term and long-term benefits associated with making laughter a part of your everyday life.
Short-Term Health Benefits of Laughter
Experts say enjoying a hearty laugh with friends provides benefits similar to a mild workout: elevated heart rate, reduced stress, and increased blood flow throughout the body. It also helps you burn a few calories! According to Maciej Buchowski, a laugh researcher from Vanderbilt University, you can burn as many as 50 calories from 10 to 15 minutes of laughter.
Laughing can also help to reduce stress hormones in the body, which often results in an almost immediate reduction in anxiety.
For weary caregivers or seniors struggling with a chronic illness, this reduction in stress might also help boost your immune system. When your immune system is strengthened, you become better able to fight off germs and viruses.
Laughing for Long-Term Health
Laughter has several notable long-term health benefits:
We have a few helpful suggestions for lightening up and laughing more:
10 Ways to Laugh More Every Day
Laugh Often at Sunrise
At Sunrise communities, laughter, and companionship are a part of our residents’ lives every day. Whether it is enjoying some one-on-one time with a neighbor to look at videos of grandkids, or attending a life enrichment activity like game night, there are endless opportunities to stay engaged with life.
The best way to learn more is to visit us in person. Call the Sunrise community nearest you to schedule a time!
Living an active and engaged life with opportunities to grow and learn is important at every age. Many seniors say the chance to participate in life enrichment activities is one of the primary reasons they decided to move to a senior living community. While programs and events might seem like a luxury, they really are a necessity.
Why are life enrichment and wellness programs important as we age?
Participating in life enrichment programs and activities on a regular basis promotes brain health. It also helps overcome the health risks associated with isolation and loneliness, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, and more.
Here’s what else researchers have to say.
The Importance of Staying Engaged with Life
There have been a variety of studies published on the topic of life enrichment and aging. Here are the benefits that a few found:
Evaluating Life Enrichment Activities at Senior Communities
If you are weighing which senior living community might be the best fit, be sure to take a close look at the life enrichment opportunities each one offers.
Here are a few tips to help you do that:
1. Review the monthly activities calendar.
Ask the community’s life enrichment director for copies of the past few months’ activities calendars and take some time to review them.
If the team member showing you around doesn’t introduce you to the life enrichment director, ask to meet them. You should ask the director questions such as these:
Our final tip is to actually attend some activities in person! Highlight a few programs on the calendar that look interesting, then ask the staff if you can join in. Participating will help you get to know some of the current residents and determine whether or not the community is a good fit.
If you are anxious about going alone, most senior living communities are happy to have you bring a friend or family member along with you.
Live With Purpose at Sunrise
At Sunrise Senior Living communities, we know how important it is to Live With Purpose. We offer eight Signature Programs that help each resident make the most of life every day. From generosity to reflection and artistry, our dedicated team of life enrichment professionals creates opportunities for residents to live purposeful lives every day.
Alzheimer's is a disease that continues to challenge researchers. In recent years, however, one theory has seen growing support: the potential link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
If you’ve visited our blog before, you know we talk a lot about nutrition and the role it plays in aging well. A healthy diet helps prevent everything from falls to cardiac disease. Studies suggest that diabetes causes brain insulin resistance which can impact cognitive function and could lead to Alzheimer’s, thus another reason to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Possible Link Between Alzheimer’s and Diabetes
There is some debate over the extent to which diabetes contributes to the progressive symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease. There is still a lot to learn, but there does appear to be a relationship between obesity, diabetes, and the Alzheimer’s.
The hormone insulin may hold the key to understanding the relationship between Alzheimer's and diabetes. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and sends a signal to the body when it needs to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. When those signals don’t work properly, however, diabetes can be the result.
There are currently two recognized forms of diabetes:
Insulin Resistance and Alzheimer's Disease
Insulin resistance is believed to contribute to the creation of beta amyloid plaques in the brain that are present in people with Alzheimer's. There is evidence to suggest insulin resistance in the brain reduces cognitive function; in fact, some scientists have started calling Alzheimer's “type 3 diabetes.”
More research is needed to establish a definitive connection between these two conditions. But it is worth taking steps to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes—including eating right and exercising—as you grow older.
For more information and advice on type 2 diabetes prevention, visit the American Diabetes Association.
Healthy Living at Sunrise
We know eating well often begins with having fresh, new ideas for well-balanced meals. That’s why our Sunrise chefs take pride in preparing meals that delight our residents’ taste buds while meeting important nutritional needs.
We invite you to visit our Senior Eats blogs to see some of our recipes!
Winter can present a variety of health concerns for seniors in colder climates. One that is often overlooked is a vitamin D deficiency.
Because seniors who live further north typically spend less time outdoors on frosty winter days, they aren’t exposed to the sun’s rays. That lack of exposure to sunlight can result in less vitamin D being produced by the body.
Vitamin D and Healthy Aging
For many years, the role vitamin D played in aging well wasn’t fully understood, but we now know that vitamin D impacts wellness in many ways. When the body is deprived of adequate amounts of vitamin D, the risk for these medical issues can increase:
Recognizing the Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
One challenge caregivers face in recognizing a vitamin D deficiency is that the symptoms can be very vague. They are often attributed to another chronic health condition or overlooked entirely.
Common signs of vitamin D deficiency:
Diagnosing and Treating Vitamin D Deficiency
If you and your loved one aren’t spending much time outdoors this winter, you may want to schedule an appointment with your physician. They can help determine if either of you is deficient in this important vitamin.
The doctor can order a simple blood test if they suspect there is a problem. This will allow them to assess if a deficiency is present and how severe the condition is. Depending on the seriousness of the deficit, the physician may either order a prescription dose of vitamin D or suggest a daily dose of an over-the-counter supplement.
One challenge is that vitamin D doesn’t occur naturally in many foods. However, there are some good options, such as:
You can also be on the lookout for foods enriched with vitamin D during production, such as orange juice and breakfast cereals.
Finally, calcium helps your body better absorb vitamin D. Make sure to include a few foods that are rich in calcium in your diet:
Well-Balanced Meals Every Day
Residents at Sunrise communities enjoy well-balanced meals prepared by an in-house chef every day. Because we know the importance of healthy food choices in aging well, we’ve made it easy for residents and their loved ones to look at the ingredients and nutritional breakdown of every meal, every day.
Just visit our NetNutrition site to take a peek at the meals planned for today!
Many family caregivers find their role rewarding but are often stretched too thin. They juggle caring for a loved one with the demands of a career and providing support for other family members that rely on them.
And then there are the challenges many caregivers don’t talk about: the guilt and fear that they are failing everyone.
What Causes Caregiver Guilt?
Family caregivers experience guilt for a variety of reasons. Here are a few of the most common ones:
Wherever the guilt comes from, experts say the caregiver who is experiencing it is probably suffering from overload.
Steps to Help Overcome Caregiver Guilt
We have a few suggestions that you might find useful:
1. Learn the warning signs of caregiver overload.
Understand that caregiver guilt is normal and you are not alone. Many others feel the same way from time to time, and it might help to join a support group. But if you feel that way all of the time, it could be a sign of caregiver overload. Learning to recognize the signs of caregiver overload is important in preventing a serious case of burnout.
Listen to what memory care expert Rita Altman has to say about caregiver burnout in this episode of The Senior Caregiver podcast.
2. Join a caregivers support group.
Connecting with a group of fellow caregivers is another step you can take toward overcoming guilt. You will likely hear your peers express struggles similar to yours. Knowing your feelings and emotions are normal can make a big difference in managing caregiver guilt.
There are many online caregiver support groups available to help make it even easier on your busy schedule. You can find one by visiting the Family Caregiver Alliance online.
3. Don’t try to do it all on your own.
Asking for and accepting help for specific tasks can help you gain both time and perspective. Both can help you better manage the stress, anxiety, and fear that often leads to caregiver guilt.
If you don’t have any family members or friends who can pitch in, consider respite services for a temporary rest which in the long run will strengthen your ability to be a good caregiver. Home care agencies or senior living communities, such as Sunrise, are great options for short term respite care for your loved one.
4. Do something positive for yourself each day.
While this one might feel like a luxury a busy caregiver, recognize that taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of a loved one. Take 10 to 15 minutes once a day to do something positive like chair yoga at your desk, meditation, calling a friend, or writing in your journal. The perspective you gain from doing so will likely help decrease the guilt you are feeling.
5. Practice positive self-talk.
When you beat yourself up every day about every little thing, you can create a cycle of negative self-talk. This can further contribute to feelings of guilt and self-doubt about how you are managing your caregiver role.
Instead, make an all-out effort to stop negative self-talk. Replace it with reminders of all you do for those around you each day.
Caregiver Support at Sunrise
The Sunrise Blog is packed with tips and advice for family caregivers, and we update it several times each week. We encourage you to bookmark it and stop back often!
Moving can be tough at any age. For seniors, the emotional toll of moving can cause anxiety about relocating and leaving behind their family home. Sometimes, a spouse has passed away, and the house is closely tied to happy memories of the years spent together there.
Even if you are looking forward to moving to a senior living community and all the life enrichment opportunities it offers, anxiety may still be a factor. As moving day gets closer, stress and anxiety often increase.
What can you do to help your loved one manage move-related stress and anxiety?
We have a few suggestions to help you and your family through this transition.
Tips to Help a Senior Manage Moving Anxiety
Psychologists call the anxiety a senior feels about moving relocation stress syndrome (RSS). This term is used to describe the unique challenges an older adult faces when they are making a move.
Here are five tips:
Making a Smooth Transition
We know downsizing can be daunting. That’s why we created this colorful graphic that highlights the dos and don’ts of helping a senior loved one downsize in preparation for a move to a senior living community.
The Quick Buy Program by Moving Station might be another helpful tool for you. Moving Station is a Sunrise partner that assists seniors with selling a home and offers a comfortable transition, allowing you to settle into your new lifestyle with ease.
If you are helping a senior loved one prepare for a move to an assisted living community, getting their house ready to sell is probably on your “to do” list. Presenting their home well to prospective buyers can help them get the best possible return on their investment.
We understand how important a successful home sale is to most seniors whether they’re just downsizing or planning a move to a senior living community. For many older adults, their house is their largest asset, and the proceeds from its sale can be used to finance their move to their next home.
What can you do to stage your family member’s home for a quick and successful sale?
Here are a few suggestions.
5 Tips for Staging a Home for a Profitable Sale
Assistance with Selling your Home
If you’re ready to move but don’t want to deal with the process of selling your home, the Quick Buy Program by Moving Station might be for you. Moving Station is a Sunrise partner that assists seniors with selling a home and offers a comfortable transition, allowing you to settle into your new lifestyle with ease.
Do you seem to develop a case of the “winter blues” that won’t go away until spring arrives each year? If so, it might be seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and more than just a post-holiday slump. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 6.5 million Americans over the age of 65 experience depression, and symptoms may worsen seasonally if you have SAD, especially for those who live farther north.
While less sunlight combined with spending more time indoors can increase feelings of sadness in the wintertime, you should be on the lookout for recurrent episodes of depression in late fall and winter.
Recognizing the Signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
If mood changes last for two or more weeks, it might be time to seek help. In addition to sadness, caregivers should be aware of the following signs of SAD in themselves or a loved one:
Exhibiting more than one or two of these symptoms is something that should likely be discussed with a physician. SAD often requires medical intervention.
Treating Seasonal Blues and Cabin Fever
If you're feeling a little blue this winter, there are steps you can take that might help lift your spirits and kick cabin fever.
At Sunrise, residents have the opportunity to engage in life-enriching activities every day. We invite you to visit us at your convenience to learn more!
With frigid temperatures and snow storms expected to last throughout this winter, many seniors and their families might be wary of what the rest of this season has in store for us. Creating an emergency storm plan is a step you can take to help relieve anxiety while also staying safe.
What does emergency planning for a senior require?
Here are a few tips shared by the disaster preparedness experts at the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Winter Storm Safety Planning Checklist
Check out this FEMA guide for seniors: Prepare for Emergencies Now: Information for Older Adults. It provides insight on tailoring your emergency plan for your individual needs, ranging from how to decide whether or not to evacuate to tips for creating a family communication plan.
Winter Respite at Sunrise Senior Living Communities
Sunrise communities have emergency supplies and plans in place to withstand winter storms while still providing optimal care for our residents.
If you’re looking for support during the winter months, a short-term respite stay at a Sunrise community might be the ideal solution. Respite guests enjoy the same services and amenities as long-term residents.
From a wide variety of life enrichment activities to well-balanced meals, a short-term stay to ride out the winter can be a welcome break for your loved one. And, you can gain peace of mind knowing your family member is in good hands with us.
Respiratory therapists play a crucial role in helping older adults enjoy the best quality of life possible. But not everyone understands what these dedicated healthcare professionals do or how hard they work to provide care for older adults.
In honor of January being National Respiratory Care Month, we are working to raise awareness about this profession.
How Do Respiratory Therapists Help Seniors?
Respiratory therapists treat people that have trouble breathing due to illnesses affecting the cardiopulmonary system. They may also provide emergency care for incidents such as heart attacks or strokes.
While they work with people of all ages, many illnesses common among older adults require the care of a respiratory therapist. These include the following:
You can find respiratory therapists working in a variety of settings, such as:
How are Respiratory Therapists Trained?
If you are a family caregiver for someone with a respiratory-related illness or a student contemplating a career in respiratory therapy, here’s what you should know.
Respiratory therapists fall into one of two categories:
For those who are interested, the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) maintains a list of accredited respiratory care programs across the country.
Promoting Healthy Lifestyles
While some health problems that require the intervention of a respiratory therapist can’t be prevented, others can. You can keep your lungs healthy in a variety of ways, such as not smoking and avoiding radon gas.
Two preventative measures that can also help are maintaining an antioxidant-rich diet and engaging in regular exercise. Both are a part of everyday life at our Sunrise communities.
The best way to learn more is to visit one of our communities in person! Contact us today to schedule a private visit.
Healthcare professionals who work with older adults have long believed that isolated seniors experience medical issues at a far greater rate than their more engaged peers. Now, there is evidence to support these views.
Research shows isolation is a serious health risk for older adults, and the problem is growing, with an increasing number of Americans experiencing isolation regularly. The good news is research consistently shows that feeling connected and involved benefits both mental and physical health—and there are several ways to get started.
Health Conditions More Common Among Isolated Seniors
When a senior is isolated, they are more likely to experience:
Older adults who are isolated are also at increased risk for becoming victims of fraud and scams.
What is Isolation?
If you are an adult child or family caregiver, it’s important to understand the difference between being lonely and being isolated. While loneliness can create health risks for seniors, isolation occurs when a person lacks opportunities to interact with people and is linked to early mortality.
Scientists from McMaster University explained the difference as, “a person can be socially isolated but not feel lonely, whereas an individual with a seemingly large social network can still experience loneliness.”
What Causes Isolation, and How Can You Overcome It?
Here are a few of the most common causes a senior may become isolated, as well as tips for handling each situation:
1. Grief and loss
The loss of a spouse or long-term partner puts seniors at high risk for both loneliness and isolation. Seniors often find it difficult to go from being part of a couple to being alone.
3. Lack of transportation
Another common reason older adults become isolated is a lack of affordable transportation. If your loved one has given up driving, they may be struggling to find options for getting around town.
The good news is that there are more choices today than ever before. Companies like Lyft and uberASSIST make it quick and easy to secure a ride to attend an event or run errands. You can also call your local Agency on Aging to ask for a list of reliable transportation providers.
Live an Active, Engaged Life at Sunrise
At Sunrise, we make it easy to live an active and engaged life. From socializing over a delicious meal in our dining room to attending wellness programs and activities, there are opportunities to Live With Purpose every day.
The holidays are a fun and festive time of year. But that probably made it tough to resist the calorie-laden treats that seemed to pop up everywhere.
If you indulged a bit too much, you might find yourself feeling a little sluggish in the new year. All of us can benefit from a well-balanced diet, but seniors need to be especially aware of how food choices impact everyday life.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) says the key is a diet that includes a balance of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. This can help with disease prevention and overall quality of life.
Aging Well and a Healthy Diet
Why is a healthy diet such an important part of aging well?
A well-balanced diet can impact your life and health in many ways. The NCOA reports that there are many benefits of eating well:
5 Tips to Improved Your Nutrition in 2018
Here are five ways to get your nutrition on a healthier track in the new year:
1. Eat filling foods
Feeling hungry can be one of the greatest challenges to sticking with a healthy diet. But foods with high fiber content can help you feel fuller faster and stay full longer.
Try to eat more high-fiber foods including:
2. Sit down and eat slowly
Mindfulness is important in many areas of life, including mealtime. Sitting down to eat—not eating standing up over the kitchen sink—can help you make better nutrition choices. It can also help you avoid overeating.
Paying attention to meal presentation is also helpful. Serving food on pretty dinnerware and setting an attractive table can make mealtime more inviting.
3. Serving size awareness
Nutrition labels can be deceptive if you aren’t careful. While you might take time to read the fat, sodium, and sugar content, it’s easy to overlook the serving size. And many times, those serving sizes aren’t very realistic.
For example, if you are enjoying a dish of ice cream, the serving size might be a half cup. Is that the amount you really eat? Pay close attention to labels to better manage portions.
4. Learn more about aging and nutrition
Knowledge is power when it comes to senior nutrition. One resource that can help seniors and family caregivers plan healthy meals is USDA’s MyPlate.
This tool is designed to help you visualize each meal and give you a better idea of what types of food should fill each section of the plate. Sunrise partners with MyPlate to promote the USDA's Dietary Guidelines and help seniors and their families make healthy food choices.
5. Healthy nutrition on a budget
We know that eating well sometimes means spending more at the grocery store. For older adults on a fixed income, that can take a real bite out of the monthly budget. But there are options that can help seniors bridge the gap,including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). You can also call your local Agency on Aging for a list of community-based programs.
Nutrition at Sunrise Senior Living
The dining program at Sunrise communities is an important part of residents’ overall wellness. An in-house chef at each community helps to ensure meals are both delicious and nutritious.
We extend an open invitation to older adults considering a move to senior living to join us for a tour and a meal. Contact a Sunrise community near you to schedule a time!
Seniors sometimes worry that Alzheimer’s disease might be causing the challenges and changes they or their spouse are experiencing. Almost every older adult knows someone with this diagnosis.
Many seniors fear that if they share these concerns with adult children or a physician, they will be forced to make changes they aren’t ready to make. As a result, they may go to great lengths to hide what they believe are the symptoms of the disease.
Recognizing the Signs a Senior Might be Struggling with Mental Health Changes
Memory Care at Sunrise Senior Living
If you suspect an older adult in your life may be struggling with early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, you might need help figuring out the best way to talk with them. We created Having the Important Conversations to support you in those efforts. This resource covers everything from showing empathy to understanding senior living lingo.
Caring for a senior while juggling all of the other responsibilities in your life can be stressful. It’s important to carve out a little bit of time for self-care so you can best care for your loved one.
A poll conducted by Gallup Industries found that the injuries and illnesses most common among family caregivers are:
Do any of these sound familiar?
If they do, it’s probably time for you to make a few resolutions for living healthier in 2018.
Be a Healthier Caregiver in 2018
We hope these suggestions can help you start 2018 on a healthier note:
1. Set personal goals: Begin by writing down the three things that are most important to you in life. Be honest! Then, take a hard look at which of your daily activities are taking time away from what is most important to you.
Many of us have a difficult time saying “no.” We agree to make a casserole for a church potluck we can’t attend. Or we bake five dozen cookies for a school fundraiser. These are noble gestures, but also ones that make life even more difficult for a family caregiver. Make 2018 the year you scale back, even slightly, on things that aren’t high priorities.
2. Care for the caregiver: For most caregivers, taking time for self-care is difficult to do. But staying healthy is really the only way to ensure you are able to continue caring for those you love most.
Set an exercise goal of 30 minutes three to four times a week. Split it up in to 15-minute increments to make it easier to fit into your schedule. You’ll still get the same health benefits. Walking, yoga, swimming, and Pilates can each nurture the body, mind, and spirit.
Equally important is to commit to eating a healthy diet and to prepare meals a week ahead of time. You’ll find you have more energy and feel less stressed if you do. Designate a few hours on the weekend to prepare for the week ahead.
3. Ask for help: Family caregivers often feel duty-bound to care for their loved one all on their own. Many feel too guilty to ask for help or accept it when it is offered.
Make 2018 the year you recognize that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. In the year ahead accept offers of help and suggest specific things that people can do to help out.
If you don’t have family members close by to pitch in, contact your local senior services or Area Agency on Aging. They may be able to help you get support with driving to appointments as well as medication and grocery delivery. Or, find a senior living community nearby that offers short-term respite care services.
Sunrise Senior Living Healthy Caregiver Guide
The Sunrise Senior Living website is full of advice and guidance on how to care for yourself while you are busy caring for a loved one. It covers everything from connecting with an online support group to using journaling to manage stress.
Take these tips into the new year to become a happier, healthier you!
Getting a good night’s rest can be difficult for many seniors. In fact, insomnia is reaching the point where sleep experts say it presents a serious health crisis in our country. The lack of quality sleep has a variety of causes, including sleep apnea, stress, irregular heartbeat, and lifestyle.
We know our diets are important to our overall health, and sleep is no exception. Shortened or low-quality sleep can wreak havoc on your goal of healthy eating. That’s because it increases the body’s appetite for comfort foods, which are high in fat and carbohydrates.
A study from the University of Pennsylvania revealed that the key to a good night’s sleep might lie in eating nutrient-rich foods—ironically, something insomnia makes you less likely to do.
Can a Nutrient-Rich Diet Help Seniors Sleep Better?
A study published in the Journal of Sleep Research reveals our bodies need amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to help us fall and stay asleep. When our diet lacks variety or contains a lot of processed foods, we miss out on some of those beneficial nutrients.
But when we eat healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and quality meat, we give our body the best chance of falling asleep naturally. The study, which was conducted at The Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania, uncovered interesting information on the potential link between sleep duration and nutrition.
Here are a few of their findings:
Balanced Diet at Sunrise Senior Living
The Signature Dining Program at Sunrise communities takes the guesswork out of what to eat to maintain a healthy diet. Each of our meals is well-balanced and designed to meet the MyPlate recommendations for older adults.
Sound tempting? Then join us for lunch or dinner at your convenience. It’s one of the best ways to see what life at Sunrise is really like!
We all know that a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and a generally healthy lifestyle promote successful aging. What isn’t as well-known is how the creative arts contribute to better overall health, especially as we age. Activities as diverse as music, dance, painting, quilting, singing, poetry-writing, and storytelling add meaning, joy, and a vibrant sense of wellbeing to the lives of older people.
Creativity and Better Health
A study conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts in conjunction with The George Washington University examined the impact creative arts can have on the health and wellness of older adults. The results were surprising, even for those who have long believed art improves quality of life.
After just one year a majority of participants showed areas of stabilization and improved health. This was evidenced by:
Psychology Today published a comprehensive review of more than 100 studies about the benefits of creativity. The results were undeniable: people who participate in any type of creative arts experience health benefits, including:
Finding Meaning and Purpose through Creative Arts
For those who spent their entire adult lives busy with careers and raising a family, retirement can suddenly leave them feeling directionless. Creative hobbies can help fill the gap and give older adults a sense of purpose.
Creating for the benefit of others can be especially rewarding. Some older adults might enjoy learning how to knit and join a volunteer group that knits blankets for hospitalized children.
Even the simplest creative projects can bring pleasure and improve health.
There are a variety of inexpensive creative projects for people of all skill levels! A few examples are:
Live an Enriching Life at Sunrise
At Sunrise communities, we know the benefits of living an artful life. It’s a core component of our Live With Purpose program. Residents have opportunities to write poetry, enjoy a watercolor class, visit a local art museum, explore creative writing, and so much more!
Call the Sunrise Senior Living community nearest you to learn more!
The holiday season is a time when many families travel home to spend time with loved ones. For some, it is one of the few in-person visits they make all year. And it isn’t uncommon for adult children to be surprised at the changes they find in their aging parents.
Even those adult children who frequently talk with their loved one by phone are sometimes caught off guard. This can be because older family members aren’t completely open and honest about how well they are—or aren’t—managing on their own.
Discovering a loved one is really struggling can create a rushed timeline to begin the search for assisted living.
If you are reluctant to tour assisted living communities on a loved one’s behalf when you’re home for the holidays, know that it’s a wonderful time to explore these communities.
Holiday Visits to Assisted Living Communities
Here are just a few reasons to visit assisted living communities during the holidays:
Contact Sunrise to Schedule Your Visit
Contact us today to schedule your family’s private tour of a Sunrise community near you or to request an event calendar to see what programs and activities are available that you might like to join. Our door is always open!
A cell phone can make a great holiday gift for an older adult. While many seniors have one, they often purchase these devices with few features. These traditional phones may have keys that are too small for hands with arthritis to manage, or screens that are difficult on older eyes.
Upgrading to a smartphone—that can connect to the internet and download apps—can make everyday life easier. But it can also put a senior at risk for problems like text messaging scams and identity theft.
Here are a few things to consider before you buy a smartphone for a senior this holiday season.
If you aren’t sure what type of smartphone to purchase, here are two to consider:
Finally, remember to take the monthly service plan fee into consideration before you purchase a smartphone.
Smartphone Safety Issues to Review with Seniors
Don’t forget to review potential safety concerns with your loved one after they open their holiday gift. Some might not be aware of the security risks smartphones can present, such as:
At Sunrise, our residents enjoy the benefits of technology, just like younger generations. After all, email, online photo-sharing, and browsing the Internet are all part of keeping up with loved ones and with the world.
Our Live With Learning program encourages safe smartphone and Internet use while helping seniors explore technology.
We’d like to extend an invitation to you to visit Sunrise if your loved one is considering a move to senior living. Call the community nearest you to set up a time!