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Category Archives: Health & Wellness

How to Keep Your Spirits Up When the Pandemic Goes On And On

Back in the spring, you may have been able to put on a brave face and gear down for a month–or two–or three–of social restrictions. But now, in autumn where mask-wearing and social distancing is still part of the fabric of life, you may wonder whether pandemic fatigue is inevitable. Although it may be counterintuitive, it is possible to stay vibrant and healthy even during a marathon such as this.

First of all, try to plan at least one activity a day that you can look forward to—something that’s easy to do if you are a Sunshine resident as many communities still offer a full day of exercise classes and other activities . Nevertheless, if you live alone, there are still many ways to keep yourself entertained, such as:

  • Cooking a special treat
  • Giving yourself a facial
  • Knitting
  • Scrapbooking
  • Bird watching—even if only outside your front window
  • Reading your favorite authors
  • Watching a comedy or a Livestream musical concert
  • Taking an online class
  • Singing along with the radio
  • Dancing in your living room to CDs or YouTube videos

What to Do When You’re Feeling Blue

Another piece of advice is to set aside some time to take extra special care of your body. Follow the basics–get enough sleep, eat well, and stay physically active. Although overindulging in TV, smoking, eating junk food, or drinking too much coffee and alcohol may be tempting ways to manage uncomfortable feelings—they only give temporary relief at best. Instead, have a look at these short YouTube videos on how to work with fear, anxiety, and uncertainty during the pandemic. Also, consider taking up deep breathing or meditation. (Meditation apps like Headspace or Calm can help keep you grounded.) Sunshine residents have the option of chilling out in a socially distanced yoga or Tai Chi class or attending online church services in their community’s theater space.

Getting out of yourself and helping others is another way to feel connected. If you live in a Sunshine community, speak to your Life Enrichment Director about on-site charitable projects like cookie drop-offs to local first responders’ stations. Otherwise, your local volunteer center can point you to opportunities like phoning isolated seniors.

You can also beat the blues by interacting with family and friends by using Zoom or social media. (If you’re new to the online world, check out Next Avenue’s Video Chat Services, From A to Z article—or, if you’re a Sunshine resident, on-site staff can help facilitate a video-call. They can even provide a smart device if you don’t have one.)

One more tip: Consider writing down your bedtime and amount of sleep, food intake, exercise, mediation, phone calls, and activities, and noting how you felt afterward. This way you may discover that getting out and listening to the birds in the morning calmed you down while binging on Netflix left you feeling exhausted the next day.

Whether you opt for a health journal or not, please don’t keep your feelings to yourself if you are feeling down. Reach out for support from loved ones, friends, or your healthcare provider. Sunshine staff can also offer a listening ear and, if needed, they can direct you to community resources like 2-1-1. Should your feelings be overwhelming, you may find relief by calling the Disaster Distress Helpline, which is open 24 hours a day, at 1-800-985-5990.

Do remember that the pandemic won’t last forever. In the meantime, though, given the uptick in COVID-19 cases, you really do need to keep socially distancing and wearing masks—but along with this, make sure you prioritize your spiritual, emotional, and physical health.

About the Author

Katherine O’Brien is a Toronto-based health writer who specializes in writing about healthy aging and dementia. She understands firsthand the experience of being a dementia caregiver. Have a question or story idea for Katherine? Email us here.

How Senior Living Can Help Beat Pandemic Fatigue

If you’re the sort of person who thrives in social situations, gratitude may not be top of mind after eight months of social distancing. Nonetheless, if you happen to live in Sunshine Retirement Living, you may have more to be thankful than you realize. “Sunshine residents haven’t gotten hit as hard with pandemic fatigue as some other seniors, as we are all in this together as a community,” says Wellness Director Lauren Dubay.

It’s business as usual for many Sunshine communities–and this means a full slate of social and recreational activities. Residents have the option to exercise daily and attend socially distanced musical entertainment, as well as virtual webinars hosted by outside professionals. On top of this, residents can go on scenic bus drives or participate in activities like Virtual Reality, crafts and decorating, or games and clubs. They can also get involved in a variety of charitable projects like this Elmo drive or this animal shelter drive. When it comes to spirituality, residents can attend live stream church services or bible studies in theater spaces (currently run by resident volunteers), or have phone or Zoom calls with rabbis.

Adjusting Activities for Safety

To keep communities safe, Sunshine limits numbers for group activities, although multiple sessions are held if there is sufficient interest. For example, Garden Way in Eugene, OR, delivers three sessions of Strong Bones and Balance exercise classes throughout the day as well as three sessions of Chair Chi per week.

In exercise classes, group leaders wear face shields, and guests and team members are required to wear masks. Residents have their temperatures checked before each activity and are encouraged to wear facial coverings and to wash their hands before and afterwards. Physical distancing is enforced in groups and all surfaces are disinfected after each activity.

Some games have been modified to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. For instance, only the Life Enrichment Director can touch the cards during blackjack games. Communities have also retired their regular bingo slide cards and now use printed and laminated cards that they can easily wipe down after a game. “We’ve modified everything to fit every community’s state and local regulations,” says Dubay. “It’s a little extra work but our residents are worth it.”

Creating New Holiday Traditions

Although holidays can be challenging when in-person visits are not allowed, Dubay points out that Sunshine has extremely creative teams working to bring new traditions to their communities. This Halloween, some communities held parades in which families, neighbors, schools, staff member’s children, and friends walked around the building in their costumes. For Veterans Day, some Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets or boy scout troops will be coming to honor veterans with a display in front of Sunshine buildings.

For Thanksgiving, Windsor Heights in Beachwood, OH, plans to host a big family video-chat dinner. (Residents will be able to see their families on a large screen in the dining room while a camera will capture residents eating in the dining room.) Over in Bartlett, TN, the Quail Ridge community is putting together a cookbook of family recipes. On Thanksgiving Day, families and residents will make and share these meals via video call. Families of Quail Ridge residents are also being asked to “adopt” a tree in the backyard of the community to decorate for the holidays for a tree lighting ceremony.

Throughout the year, facilitating phone calls and video chats, as well as indoors window or patio visits, is a primary focus for Sunshine communities that do not allow guests.

“I think the hardest part for our residents is not seeing their families, so setting up visits and calls is a high priority for us,” says Dubay. “We are trying to always give them a one extra to make them feel special and a part of our Sunshine family.”

About the Author

Katherine O’Brien is a Toronto-based health writer who specializes in writing about healthy aging and dementia. She understands firsthand the experience of being a dementia caregiver. Have a question or story idea for Katherine? Email us here.

Why Specialized Memory Care Can Be the Perfect Fit for Seniors Living With Dementia

If you love someone with dementia who needs some extra care, you may be on a mission to find them the highest quality support possible. After doing your research, you may well join countless family caregivers in concluding that specialized memory care is hands-down the best alternative.

Unlike nursing homes or assisting living places, which offer a memory care wing at best, specialized communities cater to the specific needs of people with dementia–an incredibly complex condition with effects that can extend far beyond memory loss. Seniors with advanced dementia sometimes have problems walking or eating, get easily frustrated or agitated, or experience depression. Memory care employees receive specialized training so they can meet the diverse physical, emotional, and intellectual needs of these residents. In contrast, the staff of a multi-care place are trained in multiple areas and are expected to care for residents with a variety of health issues.

Another bonus is the person-centered care offered by memory care communities. Staff who follow this philosophy make it a point to treat people with dementia with dignity and respect and provide opportunities for them to engage in meaningful conversations and relationships. They also conduct detailed assessments to understand the history, interests, values and preferences of each resident, and thus design a care plan that meets their individual needs. Staff also tend to check in with residents more frequently and provide extra structure and support.

Activities are another area where memory care communities stand out. Sunshine Retirement Living, for example, designs its memory care activities based on relevant research in cognitive impairment. (Activities include exercise programs, cultural outings, music therapy, aromatherapy or other sensory therapies, and virtual reality therapy).

Physical Details Make a Difference

Building design also plays a role in distinguishing memory care communities from multi-care facilities. Buildings and landscaping on a memory care campus are designed to promote a safe and easy-to-navigate environment. Research shows that certain furniture placements and layouts can alleviate anxiety and improve familiarity for residents with memory impairment. You may not have realized this, but the use of color and contrast can also help orient residents. For instance, contrasting paint colors can help people with dementia distinguish between vertical and horizontal surfaces. (Speaking of color, Sunshine’s memory care communities serve meals on brightly colored plates to encourage residents to eat more and avoid weight loss.) In addition, memory care staff make it a priority to create a calm and soothing environment–too much noise or stimuli can increase anxiety and agitation in those living with dementia. Walls may even be free of mirrors, as people with memory impairment may become disoriented after seeing their reflection.

Of course, safety is another hallmark of memory care communities. Individual apartments feature safety mechanisms on stoves and ovens, and elevation changes are avoided to help reduce fall risk. The buildings are also designed to minimize wandering with exits requiring a special code. This concern about wandering also extends to the grounds. At Sunshine’s memory care communities secured walking paths and enclosed gardens encourage residents to walk outdoors without getting lost. (Residents can also wear location-based pendants to provide an extra sense of security for families.)

If you’d like to learn more about specialized care, consider booking a tour so you can see first-hand why a memory care community may make more sense than the one-size-fits-all facility.

About the Author

Katherine O’Brien is a Toronto-based health writer who specializes in writing about healthy aging and dementia. She understands firsthand the experience of being a dementia caregiver. Have a question or story idea for Katherine? Email us here.

Getting The Flu Shot Is Important Every Year, But This Year, It Might Just Be Essential

It is possible that both the flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter season. We are all aware of ways to protect ourselves from COVID-19, such as wearing a mask, washing our hands, and maintaining a social distance of six feet or more from peers outside of our households. All of these are also good measures to prevent the flu, but there is one even better: the flu shot.

While getting the flu shot will not protect you against COVID-19, there are many important benefits to getting the vaccine this year. Retirement community Park View Estates in Fountain Valley, California shares why getting the flu shot this year is far more important than years previous.

Flu Vaccines Reduce the Risk of Contracting the Flu

The flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor visits. According to the CDC, the 2018-2019 flu vaccination prevented an estimated 4.4 million influenza cases. This one is obvious, right? We all know that by getting the flu shot, we are protecting ourselves from getting the predicted strains of the influenza virus that are going to be the most widely spread, but this goes beyond just that. By reducing your risk of contracting the flu, you are also reducing the risk of hospitalization, which directly reduces your risk of contracting other viruses, such as the one that causes COVID-19.

Flu Vaccines Save Healthcare Resources

By getting a flu vaccine and preventing yourself from having to go to the doctor and/or hospital for an emergency room visit or hospital stay, you are saving healthcare resources such as medical supplies, hospital beds and rooms, and medical workers’ time and energy. This allows them to put all their focus into caring for others, including COVID-19-related patients.

Flu Vaccines Protect Those Around you

If you’ve never heard of herd immunity, here is your crash course. For a vaccine to be effective for an entire community (rather than for a single individual), herd immunity must be present. Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease (which occurs when you get a vaccine). This means that the spread of the virus is much more difficult as more become immune simply because the virus cannot find a new host who is not immune and dies within its current host. In simpler terms, if you cannot serve as a host for the flu, you cannot spread it to others. As a result, the whole community becomes protected, even those who have not gotten the flu shot. As it relates to the flu, the more people who get the flu vaccine, the larger the “herd” becomes, and the vaccine, therefore, protects everyone in the community.

Flu Vaccines Indirectly Protect You from Other Diseases

When you get your flu vaccine, you are protecting yourself from what scientists believe will be the most prevalent strains of the influenza virus in our community for this year’s flu season. If you do not get the flu shot, and you end up contracting the flu, you are consequently lowering your immune resistance since your body now has to battle the flu in addition to protecting you from the germs you come in contact with in daily life. This leaves your body susceptible to contracting other viruses or diseases with greater probability, including but not limited to COVID-19, Norovirus, Pneumonia, and others. To prevent this, support your immune system by preventing the flu with a flu shot.

We know that getting shots is not fun, but infection prevention is of utmost importance this year and every year. At Park View Estates, we are committed to keeping our community safe through rigorous cleaning techniques, proper hygiene, and making sure all staff members have received their flu shots.

To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Park View Estates, contact our friendly team today.

How You Can Stay Safe From The Flu During These Trying Times

After eight months of taking precautions against catching COVID-19, you probably don’t want to hear about yet another infectious illness you need to guard against. Nevertheless, now that the weather is getting colder, it’s crucial you do everything you can to avoid getting the flu–especially if you are over 65 or have asthma, diabetes or heart disease. The good news is that there are simple things you can do to try and prevent the flu, like getting vaccinated. (Please delay getting your shot if you suspect you have COVID-19, though.)

Although no vaccines have yet been developed for COVID-19, several vaccines are on the market that can help protect you from catching the flu. Ask your doctor whether you should take a flu vaccine geared towards seniors–either Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, which contains four times more antigen (the part of the vaccine that helps your body build up protection against flu viruses) than regular vaccines, or the adjuvanted flu vaccine. Whichever one you choose, know that studies have consistently found that flu vaccine has reduced the risk of medical visits and hospitalizations associated with influenza.

You may not be aware of this, but some Sunshine Retirement Living communities offer on-site flu clinics. If they don’t offer this service, staff can arrange for transportation to your local pharmacy or medical clinic. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consider asking for a pneumococcal vaccine along with a flu shot, as the flu can sometimes lead to pneumonia. (Other complications of the flu can include heart attacks, or dehydration, which can result in kidney problems or seizures.)

Practicing good public health hygiene can also go a long way to preventing the spread of flu. Both the flu and COVID-19 are spread by droplets or smaller virus particles from infected people or when people touch a surface with viruses on it and then touch their face, according to John Hopkins Medicine. Keep in mind that the measures used to prevent the spread of COVID-19–social distancing, mask-wearing, hand washing and avoiding crowds–can also reduce transmission of the flu.

Is it the flu or COVID-19?

There are similarities between the coronavirus and the influenza virus. Typical symptoms of both diseases include sore throat, cough, a runny nose, body aches, headache, shortness of breath, fatigue, and fever, though some people may not feel sick or show any symptoms. Some people with COVID-19 experience a change in or a loss of taste or smell—but that is not a flu symptom. Although COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and to cause more serious illnesses in some people, the flu can sometimes take a turn for the worse. In more serious cases of influenza, the warning signs are:

  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Persistent dizziness or confusion
  • Seizures
  • Not urinating
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Severe weakness or unsteadiness
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen

If flu symptoms last more than two days, get tested by a doctor immediately. You can be given antiviral drugs that can treat flu illness and prevent serious flu complications.

A side note on the Norovirus

Another virus you need to pay attention to is the norovirus, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain and is the leading cause of illness and outbreaks from contaminated food in the United States. Although most outbreaks occur in food service settings like restaurants, luckily, the chefs employed by Sunshine Retirement Living are extensively trained in norovirus prevention.

In fact, infection prevention is of utmost importance to Sunshine Retirement Living. Staff is rigorously trained on proper cleaning techniques and cleaners regularly disinfect surfaces, using cleaners/disinfectants geared to the norovirus, the coronavirus or the influenza virus. Check in with your retirement community to learn what their virus prevention is—and rest assured that keeping you safe and healthy is top of mind for us.

About the Author

Katherine O’Brien is a Toronto-based health writer who specializes in writing about healthy aging and dementia. She understands firsthand the experience of being a dementia caregiver. Have a question or story idea for Katherine? Email us here.

Virtual Reality Program Allows Memory Care Residents To Transcend Their Environment

In 2020, now that travel has become increasingly restrictive (at least for the short-haul) it’s refreshing to learn that seniors living with dementia at Sunshine Retirement Living communities can now tour the world via virtual reality (VR). Their virtual adventures have included everything from swimming with sharks to going on an elephant safari to visiting the Louvre Museum in Paris or attending an opera for the first time.

Not only is VR therapy a stimulating and enjoyable way to spend the afternoon, but it also seems to unlock memories in people with dementia. Through VR, residents have had memory breakthroughs and recalled experiences from their childhood and important family memories that were previously lost because of their dementia, says Sarah Peters, Sunshine’s Director of Marketing. Although some residents choose simple virtual experiences, like walking on a beach or through a forest, that too often helps them connect to memories of family camping trips or other past events, she notes. In addition to its VR Bucket List program, Sunshine offers a weekly group VR program, which also has therapeutic benefits, she says.

Helps residents feel more connected

The timing of Sunshine’s virtual reality initiative could not have been better, given that its communities have had to temporarily halt outside recreational trips and family visits to prevent the spread of COVID-19. VR therapy has helped relax and alleviate the anxiety of some residents, says Peters, adding that in a time of social restrictions, feelings of isolation and seclusion can be a big danger to residents. “Virtual reality allows the residents to get experiences away from the community. The group VR setting also gives them that sense of a shared adventure.”

This cutting-edge therapy integrates real-time computer graphics, body tracking devices, visual displays and other sensory inputs that resemble real-life situations, giving users the sensation of being in a different place than their actual physical environment. In a VR session at Sunshine, residents wear headsets while the Life Enrichment Director guides the experience with a handheld device. If families give permission, the hardware can be connected to a display for other residents to also watch and follow along in the experience.

Sunshine has expanded VR therapy to all assisted living, transitional assisted living and personal care communities as well as to some independent living places, with a goal of rolling it out to every community. “The response from residents and family caregivers to VR therapy has been fantastic,” says Peters.

Promising research on VR and dementia

Although research about the benefits of virtual reality on people with dementia is in the early stage, a 2019 study by the University of Kent indicates that it has huge potential. “It provides a richer and more satisfying quality of life than is otherwise available, with many positive outcomes,” said one of the researchers, Dr. Jim Ang, in this press release.

In the study, eight patients living with dementia used a VR headset to virtually visit a cathedral, a forest, a sandy beach, a rocky beach, and a countryside scene. One key finding was that VR helped patients recall old memories by providing new stimuli. For example, one patient recalled a holiday after seeing a bridge that reminded them of that trip. At an art session, some weeks later, one patient was inspired to draw a seaside picture.

To get a sense of just how exciting virtual reality can be, check out this video and article about the VR program at Sunshine’s Azalea Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care in Tallahassee, Florida. In the video, resident Bobye Townsend virtually experiences a space shuttle ride and re-experiences a SCUBA adventure on the Great Barrier Reef from decades ago. She absolutely beams with joy as she describes her VR excursions: “It was the most amazing thing that’s ever happened to me, and I’ve done a lot of things and been a lot of places,” she is quoted as saying.

To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Azalea Gardens, contact our friendly team today.

How You Can Keep Fit While Keeping Home

In a world where social distancing has become the norm you may wonder how to keep healthy and active. The good news is that you can find a plethora of YouTube exercise videos, making home workouts easier than ever. Not all videos are created equal, though, so we’ve scoured the Internet to find excellent videos geared to seniors who want to get or stay fit.

General exercise routines

Our first recommendation is the National Institute for Aging’s sample workouts of varying lengths. Other fitness resources include:

Strengthening

Strength training is one of the most effective things you can do to stay active and independent as it can ward off age-related muscle loss and keep bones and joints strong, all of which and help prevent falls. Here are a few resources that will show you how to build strength safely:

Balance

Incorporating balance exercises into your routine can also help prevent falls. One of the best ways to add a little balance into your life is to take up Tai Chi, a gentle exercise practice that can enhance mobility as well. Here’s two good introductory videos: Easy Nine-Minute Daily Practice and Tai Chi for Seniors. Also consider the Discover Tai Chi For Balance and Mobility Scott Cole Wellness Series, which can be purchased on Amazon.

If Tai Chi does not appeal, Feldenkrais, which uses gentle, mindful movements, may be a better fit. Check out Seven Balance Exercises You Need to Know | Feldenkrais Style.

Flexibility

Any exercise routine should include stretching, as this keeps muscles strong, flexible and healthy, increasing range of motion as well as circulation and blood flow. The National Institute for Aging has produced a nice playlist of stretching videos. You can also improve your flexibility by practicing yoga, as many poses emphasize stretching. Here are some yoga picks geared to seniors:

The ELDOA Method, a series of precise exercises, is another practice that can boost flexibility as well as posture. These exercises, which also provide pain relief, create space within a precise segment of the spine, using myofascial tension and muscle contraction. Cornerstone Pilates has a great beginner warm-up video as well as one that targets L5-S1 on the lower back.

Cardio

Finally, don’t forget cardiovascular exercise as this can reduce your risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and dementia. Walking is one of the best cardio choices for older adults–although, in times like these you may not feel safe going outside. Fortunately, walking at home videos like this one can provide the same benefits.

Other cardio options includes aerobics geared to seniors or fun dance workouts like Quarantine Dance Party, Line Dances for Seniors and Beginners and Low-Impact Salsa Dance for Beginners. You can even learn ballet at home—an amateur dancer and her 70-something mother have created a website for “beyond 50s” and beginners.

These are just a few of the many ways you can keep fit (and have fun!) while you’re cooped up in your apartment. Bear in mind that it’s especially crucial to keep physically active during troubling times, as exercise can boost your emotional well-being as well as your physical health.

Related Links

Tips on staying fit and mobile as you age.

About the Author

Katherine O’Brien is a Toronto-based health writer who specializes in writing about healthy aging and dementia. She understands firsthand the experience of being a dementia caregiver. Have a question or story idea for Katherine? Email us here.

How The Mediterranean Diet Can Help Boost Senior Health

As we age, the nutrients our bodies need start to change. This makes it very important for the elderly to be more mindful of what they eat to stay healthy and prevent the development of various diseases such as Alzheimer’s. As highlighted in a previous post, following specific diets such as the Mediterranean Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 53%. Aside from promoting brain health, here are some more ways a Mediterranean diet can help boost the health of senior citizens:

Boosts the immune system

One of the most common fruits found in Mediterranean dishes is avocado. This fruit is relatively popular across America as the perfect topping on toast and as a great source of heart-healthy fats. US News states that the oils derived from avocado are rich in monosaturated fats, which are associated with cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory benefits, and phytosterols, which help reduce the absorption of cholesterol. Elderly people usually suffer from nutrient deficiencies which Parsley Health explains can bring forth various symptoms such as depression, lethargy, and brittle hair and nails. Power-packed with vitamin E, vitamin K, B vitamins, folate, potassium, and vitamin C, avocados and avocado oils can help provide elderly people with the nutrients they need to stay healthy and address some of these symptoms.

Improves gut function

As people age, the immune response of their gut becomes less effective. Medical News Today claims that this decline is often linked to the changes in the gut microbiome or the communities of bacteria and microorganisms that live in the gastrointestinal tract. These changes are often associated with inflammation, increased frailty, and a predisposition to intestinal illnesses. Fortunately, it is possible to rejuvenate the gut’s immune system. According to a study published in the Journal of the British Society of Gastroenterology, subscribing to a Mediterranean diet for a year can effectively alter the microbiome of elderly people in such a way that it improves brain function. The Mediterranean diet that follows the principle of eating lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish and olive oil and little red meat, sugar, and saturated fats slows down the loss of bacterial diversity and the production of harmful inflammatory markers.

Promotes longevity

Aside from protecting people against certain types of cancer and cognitive decline, the Mediterranean diet in old age is also said to promote longevity. The Insider notes how the Mediterranean diet has been associated with the regions of the world where people tend to live the longest and healthiest. One of the easiest ways to incorporate this diet into your meals is by using liberal amounts of olive oil in your cooking. Olive oil is a fantastic source of powerful antioxidants that help protect the body against free radicals that cause cell damage and contribute to the development of diseases. Michael Simmons shared in an article on the Medium that olive oil can help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and protect old people against strokes.

In summary, a Mediterranean diet not only provides a number of benefits that includes an improved immune system, longevity, and gut function, it is also easy to follow and should be a major consideration for the elderly across the world that will provide them with immeasurable benefits.

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living, March, 2020.

Seniors Enjoy Specialized Programs That Maximize Their Quality Of Life And Support Their Cognitive Health

Most of us know that people who are experiencing conditions such as Alzheimer’s or dementia need medical care. There are obviously doctor’s appointments to attend, medications to administer, and conditions and symptoms to be monitored and managed. But in addition to all of their medical care, people experiencing memory challenges also benefit from a wide variety of lifestyle factors that can support not only their cognitive health but also their overall quality of life.

That’s why Copper Canyon Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Tucson, Arizona, prioritizes residents’ lifestyle in addition to their medical care. Residents enjoy a variety of programs that are meant to support their physical health, mental health, and overall quality of life.

Specialized Memory Care Programming

Copper Canyon applies a Montessori-style approach to its memory care programming. While the Montessori approach was originally developed for early childhood education, Copper Canyon has built upon this approach, modifying it to honor the age and experiences of their residents. The program provides sensory stimulation and encourages cognitive stimulation while building on existing social skills. This unique programming enables your loved one to live life to the fullest in a safe and secure environment.

The community also designs its memory care and other resident programs specifically to nurture the physical, social, spiritual, cognitive, and emotional needs of all residents. The community’s programming is built on the research-backed six “Sunshine Pillars of Wellness.” That means each resident can receive not only assistance with the regular activities of daily life, but also support in the following areas: physical engagement, social connections, spiritual support, intellectual discovery, sensory stimulation, and emotional expression. As part of this programming, residents can enjoy activities such as music therapy, aromatherapy, validation techniques, health and wellness activities, and life skills stations.

Unique Dining Program

Even the community’s dining program is designed for the particular needs of memory care residents. Copper Canyon’s daily menu incorporates foods from the Rush University Medical Center MIND diet, which fosters brain health. This diet includes healthy foods such as green vegetables, nuts, berries, whole grains, beans, and lean protein sources like fish and chicken. The diet also excludes or limits foods that research suggests may not support cognitive health. The research suggests that even “modest adherence” to the MIND Diet can provide support for one’s cognitive health.

As part of Copper Canyon’s dining program, entrees are served on colored plates to stimulate appetite, and a server greets each resident individually with multiple daily menu choices. This unique 24/7 dining program, in conjunction with the community’s many Memory Care programs, is intended to help hold off memory issues for as long as possible.

Safety and Security

The Copper Canyon community was specifically designed with your loved one’s safety in mind. Each apartment offers a safe and convenient floorplan as well as safety pull cords. The community’s grounds allow residents to enjoy the Arizona weather in a safe environment; the secured walking paths and enclosed gardens encourage a daily stroll, and residents can rest on the patio area’s comfortable benches to enjoy the beautiful views.

Your loved one will never be alone at Copper Canyon. The community’s team includes a highly-trained Executive Director, Health Services Director, and Life Enrichment Director. Each of these professionals, as well as the rest of the staff, are trained to provide customized, person-centered care to each resident, including options for health monitoring, medication management, assistance with dressing, bathing, grooming, and oral care.

All of these programs provide a lifestyle that supports your loved one’s quality of life in addition to their physical health.

To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Copper Canyon, contact our friendly team today.

A Specialized Memory Care Community Provides Many Advantages Over In-Home Care

When your loved one begins experiencing memory challenges and starts to need additional assistance with the activities of daily living, there are many options for providing them the necessary care. You or another family member or friend could provide the care yourself, or you could hire in-home assistance from a licensed professional.

But both of those options lack the advantages of a dedicated memory care community like Belleview Heights Assisted Living and Memory Care in Aurora, Colorado. The specialized care and programming at the community means your loved one will not only receive the assistance they need, but their quality of life will be maximized, as well.

Specialized memory care programming goes beyond in-home options

In-home caregiving can certainly provide your loved one with assistance like medication management, chores, dressing, shopping, and transportation. But at a community, your loved one also has the benefit of participating in specialized memory care programming that is designed to increase their quality of life.

At Belleview Heights, community activities are designed to nurture the physical, social, spiritual, cognitive, and emotional needs of all residents. The community’s programming is built on the research-backed six “Sunshine Pillars of Wellness.” Through this program, each resident receives support in the following areas: physical engagement, social connections, spiritual support, intellectual discovery, sensory stimulation, and emotional expression.

Community design keeps residents safe and happy

It can be tough to decide to move your loved one out of the home they’ve lived in comfortably for years. But for those experiencing memory challenges, the average home presents many safety concerns you may not have considered. Conditions like dementia or other memory challenges may affect a person’s spatial awareness and balance, meaning that everyday home features become much more dangerous. Normal items such as throw rugs, kitchen appliances, differences in flooring or elevation, and showers without safety features such as handrails, could cause accidents.

At a community like Belleview Heights, everything from the community’s grounds to the residents’ dwellings are designed with residents’ safety and comfort in mind. Living spaces are specifically designed with consistent, flat flooring, accessible bathroom safety features, and safety pull cords to keep residents safe and comfortable. Residents also wear location-based pendants to provide their loved ones with peace of mind. And the community grounds are designed to be both safe and secure as well as conducive to residents living a full, engaged life.

Social connection is crucial for memory care residents

Research suggests that socializing with others is a critical factor in slowing cognitive decline. If your loved one receives at-home care and cannot attend social events outside of their home like they used to, they may be missing out on many social opportunities that they used to enjoy.

At Belleview Heights, residents regularly socialize with both the staff and other residents. A certified Life Enrichment Director leads the community in engaging daily activities, weekly on-site social events, and fun cultural excursions as part of their researched-backed health and wellness program. Residents can enjoy programs such as music therapy, aromatherapy, validation techniques, health and wellness activities, and life skills stations.

Trained and licensed staff provide 24/7 individualized care

It could be the case that an in-home caregiver cannot be able to be with your loved one around the clock. That leaves you or another friend or family member to pick up the slack when your loved one needs medication, assistance with house chores, meals, or other help.

But at a memory care community, your loved one is never alone, and you have complete peace of mind. Belleview Heights’ trained and licensed staff is available 24/7, ensuring that your loved one receives the assistance that they need at any time of the day or night.

It is clear that the immersive, caring environment of a specialized memory care community provides distinct advantages over in-home care options. A memory care community like Belleview Heights is where your loved one will be safe, healthy, and happy!

To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Belleview Heights, contact our friendly team today.