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Socially Distanced Fall Fun at your Independent Retirement Community

Category Archives: Community Stories

As The Weather Cools Off, Get Cozy With These Activities

During normal times, the fall season usually means heading to a pumpkin patch to get lost in a corn maze, walking the streets of a fall festival, visiting a fall play, or some form of gathering in other crowded spaces that do not follow the current social distancing rules set in place to protect us. But we are committed to making sure you still have fun (and safe!) autumn this year!

The team at Dunwoody Pines Retirement Community in Dunwoody, Georgia shares some safe, socially distanced, and most importantly, fun ways to make Fall 2020 your favorite season yet.

Host a Fall-Themed Dessert Bake-Off

When you think of fall, the wonderful desserts associated with the season may come to mind. Pumpkin spice makes a yearly debut, and classic apple pie is synonymous with the taste of fall. Get your competitive and creative juices flowing, and pretend you are on a fall-themed bake-off competition with your friends and family. Choose a theme like “famous Halloween movies” or “cinnamon sugar” and start baking! Up the ante with fun prizes: Maybe the winner gets to choose the movie for the next movie night, or the loser has to wash all the dishes. This activity is sure to get everyone in the spirit of friendly competition!

Make Pumpkin Art

Who says that pumpkins have to be carved?! We certainly do not think so! The trend going around this fall season is to paint pumpkins with fun colors, scenes, or faces. Try your hand at some pumpkin art, but for a new spin, make it non-traditional—no knives allowed! Gather up all the glitter, paint, googly eyes and pipe cleaners you can find and create some fun faces on your pumpkin rather than carving them in. If you are looking for some classic home decor, try mixing baking powder with acrylic paint to add a terra cotta look to your pumpkins.

Roast Marshmallows and Make S’mores

As the weather gets cooler, campfires become more popular. Who doesn’t love gathering around a campfire with friends and family and enjoying the melty, chocolatey goodness of a fresh s’more? This one is a classic tradition for autumn, but sometimes it is the simplest of pastimes with those you love most that create the best memories.

Picnic in the Park

With the leaves changing and the air cooling off, it is a pleasure to enjoy a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Grab your favorite person and take a drive down a few backroads to see the tree canopies full of color. Choose a destination for a perfect picnic against a beautiful autumnal background. Your picnic does not have to be super fancy! Some snacky cheese and crackers, or simple sandwiches just like mom used to make are perfect.

Decorate Your Porch for Halloween

Another way to celebrate the new season is to get some new decorations! Try an easy Halloween DIY like decorating your porch with some simple pumpkins, fresh flowers and a fun scarecrow to make your home look more inviting. Show your commitment to the holiday spirit by dazzling up your porch or windows!

Although this season might look different from the outside since we have to stay socially distant and wear masks in public to stay safe, that does not mean we can’t have any of the traditional fall fun that we normally have! In fact, since we are likely staying home more this year, take the time to spend quality time—even if it’s virtual—with your friends and family. With these activities, you’re sure to keep the fun going all season long!

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

Social Distancing Doesn’t Have to Block The Fall Fun in Autumn

There is a chill in the air, the leaves are beginning to change, and you may have noticed that the days are starting to feel shorter. Suddenly, you are seeing Halloween decorations everywhere, and even Thanksgiving and Christmas ones too (don’t they seem to come out earlier every year?). This can only mean one thing: fall has arrived.

This year’s fall activities will look a bit different due to social distancing and mask requirements. But don’t worry, social distancing does not mean you cannot have fun-filled autumn this year. The experts at Belleview Heights Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Aurora, Colorado have curated the perfect list of fun fall activities you can do in the comfort of your home.

Create an Autumn Wreath

You could just buy a wreath already made, but where is the fun in that? We believe in flexing those creative muscles to keep your brain strong and active. Also, what is more, satisfying than making something custom for your home? Head over to the internet or your favorite home and garden magazine, and spend some time finding inspiration. Then, choose your favorite craft store to order all the necessary supplies. You could even make this a competition amongst friends and family to see who can design the best-looking wreath, or create a theme that everyone must follow, like “no greenery” or “must include acorns.” Have everyone submit photos of their creations and judge who won the competition. The options are limitless and you are sure to have an afternoon full of laughter and socially distanced fun.

Learn How to Knit

With the holiday season coming up, also known as the season of gifting, now is the best time to pick up a new skill like knitting. For a relatively inexpensive amount, you could create some beautiful and handmade gifts for the whole family that they will cherish for generations to come. You could easily learn how to do the basic knit stitch in an afternoon. Then you are well on your way to designing cozy scarves, hats, and blankets for you and your loved ones. Not to mention, this activity is a great way to keep your hands and fingers nimble as you watch television, visit with friends and family, or even gaze out the window at the autumn leaves.

Host a Fall Movie Marathon

Holiday classics like Hocus Pocus and Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin are sure to get you in the fall spirit. But this year, we recommend that you skip the movie theater for an at-home movie marathon instead. There are several channels on television that host movie marathons all season long. Grab your comfiest blanket and fuzziest pair of socks, and snuggle up to your loved ones to watch all of your favorite fall classics. You could even make it feel like a movie theater with a ticket counter, popcorn buckets and movie theater sized candy boxes. Once you are all settled in, lean back that recliner, dim the lights, and watch the show!

Plant Fall Flowers

Many people associate fall with all the leaves falling off the trees and many of their garden plants dying until the following year, but we think this season should be celebrated by bringing new life into the earth. Try planting some autumnal flowers that are sure to thrive in the cooler temperatures to bring some color into your home or garden. The ones we think work best are chrysanthemums, asters, goldenrods, and pansies. These are all full of color and are sure to bring some joy into your life as you watch your new plant babies grow!

Just because we have to be conscious of social distancing does not mean we can’t still enjoy this fun season full of pumpkins, warm and cozy vibes, and all the fun desserts. We encourage you to try some of these activities and more the next time you need a pick-me-up!

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

Make Your Autumn Move Hassle-Free With These Tips

Have you decided that it is time to move your loved one into an assisted living community? Are you worried about the change in weather this fall making it more difficult for you to move? Moving can be daunting for some of us, especially if we have lived in our homes for a very long time and have accumulated a lot of things through the years. Also, for some, moving could also mean downsizing, and the thought of having to part with things could be a little upsetting.

Lucky for you, Quail Ridge Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Bartlett, Tennessee has several tips to help make moving a breeze. The community also offers an Easy-Move program that will make your move a seamless process. If you are planning your loved one’s move before the heavy winter weather hits, these tips will help:

Take Your Time

As you’re planning to move, remember that this process is a marathon and not a sprint. There are still a few months before the really cold weather sinks in, so that is plenty of time to properly pack up your loved one’s things and take the time to reminisce on those sweet memories as they arise. Taking your time can also help your loved one process their emotions through the process since moving can sometimes bring up lots of emotions. By carefully and thoughtfully packing up the essentials and giving your loved one as much time as they need, you can have a much easier experience. Patience is key!

Purge Things as You Go

It is no secret that living in one home for many years causes us to accumulate way more material items than we think. Some folks have lived their entire lives in one home! If this is you or your loved one, it might seem daunting to start packing everything up. The experts at Quail Ridge recommend that you purge things as you go to help decrease the number of things you actually have to pack.
Purging might include giving away heirloom dinnerware sets that you no longer use, donating clothing that you no longer wear or find comfortable, or selling outdoor equipment since mowing the yard will no longer be your loved one’s responsibility at Quail Ridge.

Enlist Friends and Family for Help

Moving is no easy task and it definitely should not be tackled alone! If you are planning a move this fall, you can lessen the load by enlisting your friends and family for help with packing and moving those heavy boxes. Safety is our utmost priority, so if something seems too heavy to be lifted, make sure you ask for help!

If anyone offers to help you move, be sure to give them specific tasks rather than just assume they know what you need from them. This way, you can check off everything that needs to be completed and everyone knows what still needs to get done.

Use Quail Ridge’s Easy Move Program

If you’d rather not worry about a thing, we have you covered! Instead of packing and moving or enlisting family and friends to help, Quail Ridge has partnered with North American Moving Services to take care of everything for you. With our Easy-Move Program, you won’t have to worry about packing boxes, renting a truck, or organizing your schedule on moving day. Dedicated and caring staff are available today to assist you and your loved one in all matters related to moving, with connections to trusted partners in fields such as financial planning, real estate, veteran assistance, moving professionals, and more.

Moving to our luxury community has several benefits for you and your loved one, and we cannot wait to welcome you home!

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

Keep your Loved one Warm and Comfortable as the Seasons Change

As the weather begins to cool down, many people start getting excited about the pumpkin spice lattes, fall leaves, and bringing out all their favorite fall and winter outfits from the bottom of their closets. For people with dementia or Alzheimer’s, however, the cooler weather also means that caregivers need to monitor their temperature and comfort a little more closely.

Those with memory challenges may not recognize that they are cold, may not feel cold, or may not be able to express that they are cold, so as their caregivers, it is up to those around them to proactively address this issue before it arises. The expert team at Marshall Pines in Evans, Georgia shares several tips to assist caregivers with monitoring temperature changes for their loved ones experiencing memory challenges.

Keep Blankets and Jackets Close By

Having something visible and within reach makes someone much more likely to use it. Having blankets and jackets close by and easily accessible increases the likelihood that your loved one will proactively use them, or that you will have them handy when they need a reminder. For example, having a blanket at the foot of the bed when your loved one is getting ready to take a nap makes it easier to adjust their bed layers to their comfort level. Remember to have jackets, scarves, hats, and gloves by the door as a reminder for both you and your loved one to layer up before going outside.

Monitor Your Loved One’s Hands and Feet

One of the easiest ways to check to see if someone is cold is by physically touching their skin, particularly their hands and feet. By simply feeling someone’s hands or feet, you can often tell if they are cold or not. People experiencing memory challenges may not feel cold or communicate to you that they are cold, so by monitoring their body physically, you can proactively ensure they remain warm enough. Marshall Pines recommends checking on your loved ones regularly to make sure they are properly hydrated and warm during the change of seasons.

Encourage Season-Appropriate Attire

Did you know that most of our body heat is lost through our heads? This is just one of the reasons that having appropriate layers is so important before heading outside into the cold weather. If you or your loved one is planning to go outside during the cooler temperatures, we encourage you to bundle up with season-appropriate attire prior to doing so. This may include coats, scarves, gloves, hats, sweaters, and warm socks, and shoes. Having on the appropriate attire is very important for body heat retention, especially for those who also have other conditions where body heat loss is a side effect of their medication.

Recognize the Signs of Decreased Temperature

Proactively ensuring that you and your loved one remains at a comfortable temperature is a far better course of action than reacting to a decreased temperature. Following the tips above and properly monitoring should prevent any temperature issues from arising.
But, in the unfortunate event that your loved one does experience a significant decrease in temperature, whether that is due to medication changes, inability to communicate, or dehydration, it is important that you can recognize the signs and symptoms. If your loved one is experiencing any shifts in behavior such as severe confusion, agitation, exhaustion, fumbling hands, shivering, or slurred speech, they may be experiencing hypothermia or a severe decrease in temperature. Check and adjust the thermostat to make sure that surroundings are kept warm and ensure that your loved ones bundle up to regain warmth. In the event that signs and symptoms worsen, contact your medical provider immediately.

The brisk air of fall signals the coming of many fun seasonal activities! Make sure that you and your loved one remain warm and comfortable, so you can enjoy the change of seasons.

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

With Virtual Reality Technology, Residents Can Travel Without Leaving Home

Summer is the season for family vacations. Many people have great memories of packing their suitcases and hopping into the car or onto a plane with their families for a summer trip. Whether you went to the same familiar beach every year, hiked a new mountain every summer, explored your local area, went camping, or were lucky enough to take a trip abroad, family vacations can be a source of memories of landscapes, experiences, and emotions that stay with us for the rest of our lives.

But this year, due to travel restrictions and social distancing requirements, summer vacations may not be a possibility. But for the residents at Caleo Bay Assisted Living and Memory Care community in La Quinta, California, reliving the joy from family vacations is still on the table. The community recently launched a virtual reality therapy program for its residents, which uses an Oculus headset to transport residents to experiences, places, and events outside of the community’s grounds.

The virtual reality program provides research-backed benefits to residents, as well as a new, sensational source of entertainment.

Travel While Maintaining Social Distancing

This year, because of the spread of the COVID-19, Caleo Bay and other assisted living and memory care communities temporarily canceled local recreational trips and family visits in order to protect their residents. Even though that decision keeps residents safe, the community still wants to ensure that residents receive the benefits of recreational outings and new stimuli.

With virtual reality, residents can experience the joys of new, faraway places without any of the typical hassles of physical travel. Just by putting on the headset, they are transported immediately—no airport security lines or luggage required. And because there is no physical travel involved, residents can remain safely socially distanced while experiencing both familiar and brand-new locations around the world.

Revisit Familiar Locations from the Past

In addition to pure entertainment, there is new evidence suggesting that virtual reality experiences have therapeutic benefits for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. A study from the University of Kent found that the new stimulation provided by virtual reality helped dementia patients tap into old memories. For example, one patient recalled a holiday after seeing a bridge that reminded them of that trip.

Virtual reality allows Caleo Bay residents to travel on-demand to familiar locations from the past. They can revisit a family vacation spot from childhood, the city they visited on a college trip, or perhaps where they honeymooned. These virtual travel experiences could possibly help them recall old memories. Because of the increased recall, caregivers may be able to learn more about the residents’ lives, improving their social interaction and relationships.

Go Beyond the Familiar to Explore New Places

Virtual reality can help residents beyond simply allowing them to relive past experiences. Caleo Bay’s state-of-the-art virtual reality therapy enables residents to explore bucket list journeys and experiences they’ve always wanted to complete, all within the comforts of the community. With VR Therapy, residents can explore the Caribbean Sea and virtually scuba dive with stingrays. Or, residents can discover an untapped passion for music with VR first row seats to the New York Metropolitan Opera House! Experiences that were previously too expensive, too far away, too time-consuming, or inadvisable due to health concerns are all possible with this virtual reality technology.

With virtual reality, Caleo Bay residents can experience all the entertainment and therapeutic benefits of travel—without ever leaving home!

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

Virtual Reality Experiences Can Improve Physical and Mental Health

Virtual reality technology has been used in the entertainment and gaming world for years. So when you think of virtual reality, you probably think of someone playing video games. You probably do not think of health and wellness.

But did you know that virtual reality can be used as a tool to improve health and fitness? And even more surprisingly, virtual reality has benefits for a population not commonly associated with using new technology—seniors in assisted living and memory care communities.

At Ashley Gardens, contact our friendly team today. Ashley Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care Community in Charleston, South Carolina, residents are not just using virtual reality for entertainment. The community recently launched a virtual reality therapy program for its residents, which uses an Oculus headset to allow them to experience places and events outside of the community’s grounds. Not only does the technology provide a new entertainment experience for the residents, but it may also help them maintain physical and emotional wellness.

Virtual Reality Can Help Residents Maintain Physical Health

Virtual reality, by its nature, is an interactive experience. Because of this, VR experiences can promote healthy movement. If a resident wants to take a virtual walk through a garden or museum, they can do so seated if necessary. But they can add physical movement to the experience by moving about the room to their level of ability. VR headsets can also be used to play games that keep residents excited and active.

There are also physical benefits associated with pure entertainment. Activities such as experiencing nature through a virtual reality headset can have the same positive effects as physically experiencing the same event. Through VR, residents can get the same physical benefits of a relaxing nature walk, such as lower stress hormones, improved heart rate, and relaxation of tense muscles.

VR Therapy Has Emotional Health Benefits, Too

In addition to the physical benefits virtual reality experiences offer, there are emotional health benefits, as well. VR therapy can promote socialization and decrease loneliness, as well as improve the connection between caregivers and residents. Regular social interaction is vital to seniors’ emotional and even physical health, as it creates a sense of purpose, improves feelings of belonging, and increases self-esteem.

Residents and caregivers alike are able to share in experiences together through virtual reality, improving their social connection. They can use VR to travel together to faraway places, take in amazing new landscapes across the world, visit museums, or listen to live music events. These activities bring Ashley Gardens’ residents and staff closer together, improving their relationships.

Research Suggests VR May Benefit Memory

Finally, as the cherry on top of all of the benefits, virtual reality provides residents at Ashley Gardens, research suggests that VR therapy may specifically benefit people with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

There is also evidence that virtual reality experiences can improve mood and may even improve memory recall for memory care residents.

In a small study from the University of Kent, researchers found that virtual reality experiences could help people living with memory challenges. As part of the study, Dr. Ang’s team used virtual reality devices on eight participants with a mean age of 69 and living with some type of dementia, including Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s. The study found that virtual reality may help participants recall old memories by offering new stimuli that they could otherwise not experience while living in their community. And even if old memories were not triggered, researchers saw improvements in participants’ mood simply from partaking in the experience.

For residents at Ashley Gardens, VR will allow them to revisit locations from their past, including prior homes and vacation destinations. These experiences can inspire them to reminiscence and can improve their relationships with other residents and caregivers, ultimately improving their quality of life.

Whether Ashley Gardens residents use virtual reality therapy for entertainment, relaxation, social connection, or any other reason, the community is happy that they’ll be getting profound physical and mental wellness benefits from simply enjoying the experience.

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

Make Sure You’re Staying Healthy and Hydrated With These Tips

It’s common knowledge that staying hydrated is important for our health. And it’s also no secret that hydration is a particular concern in the summer months when the heat can increase water loss through sweating. In the hotter months, water requirements may increase by as much as 25% depending on activity levels.

Monitoring hydration is particularly important for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. People experiencing these memory challenges may not recognize their own thirst, may not feel thirsty, or may not be able to adequately express to others that they are thirsty. The expert caregivers at Marshall Pines Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Evans, Georgia, share proactive approaches to ensure that residents are properly hydrated.

Make Homemade Fruit Popsicles

Staying hydrated doesn’t always mean drinking water. Many foods also contain liquids that count toward daily hydration levels. Homemade fruit popsicles contain much-needed liquids that help you stay hydrated, plus healthy vitamins and minerals, all packed in a heat-busting frozen treat.

Making popsicles can also serve as a fun summer activity that can be enjoyed in the comfort of the air-conditioned indoors. Gather a mix of your favorite fruit juices and purees, such as watermelon, pineapple, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, and more. Ensure that they are well-blended (and in the case of seeded berries, strained) to remove any possible choking hazard, as people with dementia may experience increased difficulty swallowing.

Then, get mixing! Pour all of your favorites into popsicle molds. Experiment with flavor combinations, or even layer your flavors by pouring one flavor in, freezing, and repeating the process until the mold is full. Once your popsicles are frozen, you can enjoy the hydrating, cooling treat!

Keep Infused Water in the Refrigerator

It’s much easier to stay hydrated when your beverages are fun and flavorful. But instead of sugary, unhealthy soft drinks and athletic beverages, try making pitchers of infused water to have on hand. Add slices of lemon, cucumber, berries, oranges, melon, or even herbs like mint. Once again, have fun with different flavors and find your favorite combinations.

Let the ingredients infuse the water for several hours in the refrigerator, then pour into a glass (making sure to strain the floating fruits and herbs first) and drink up!

Keep Water Bottles Full and Within Reach

People, especially those with memory challenges, are more likely to drink water if it’s visible and easily accessible. Be proactive about hydration by filling up reusable water bottles in the evening so they are available the next day. For example, if you’re planning a typical day indoors, fill up a water bottle or two equaling the recommended daily intake of 64 ounces of water. In the morning, simply take them with you or put them on a table in the room you’re spending time in. If you’re planning a more active day or spending time outside, make sure to fill up an extra bottle to accommodate the increased water requirements due to the heat and activity.

Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

Being proactive about ensuring that you and your loved one are hydrated is always the best course of action. Making sure that they’re getting adequate amounts of liquid throughout the day should prevent dehydration issues.

But because the hot weather and certain medications can unexpectedly increase water requirements beyond the normal amount, it’s important to be able to recognize the early signs of dehydration so you can address them promptly. If your loved one is displaying changes in behavior, changes in skin color, weakness, muscle fatigue, dizziness, agitation, muscle cramping, or nausea, they may be dehydrated. Check and adjust the thermostat to make sure their surroundings are kept at a comfortable temperature, and ensure that they begin consuming some fluids. If these signs and symptoms continue or get worse, seek appropriate medical attention.

The hot weather makes it more important to stay hydrated. But with these tips, you can enjoy the last bit of summer while remaining hydrated and healthy.

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

Virtual Reality Makes Socially Distanced Traveling Possible

Summer 2020 was probably not what you thought it was going to be. Whether you planned a trip abroad, across the country, or mapped out a staycation of sorts, travel restrictions likely threw a wrench in your travel plans.

But the residents at Belleview Heights Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Aurora, Colorado, are still able to experience new destinations whenever they like. The community recently launched a virtual reality therapy program for its residents, which uses an Oculus headset to transport residents to simulated experiences, places, and events outside of the community’s grounds.

Aside from pure entertainment, virtual reality experiences offer unique benefits to residents, particularly now, when physical travel is restricted.

Virtual Reality Travel Experiences are Safer and Less Expensive

As amazing as traveling is, there are some parts that are not very much fun: long flights in small airline seats, unfamiliar public transportation, language barriers, and the high cost of accommodations, just to name a few. And currently, travel restrictions and social distancing recommendations can make taking a trip a less enticing idea. For those experiencing memory challenges or who need help with the activities of daily living, physical travel can be even more difficult or outright cautioned against by their doctors.

In addition, because of the spread of the COVID-19, Belleview Heights and other assisted living and memory care communities temporarily canceled local recreational trips and family visits in order to protect their residents. Even though that decision keeps residents safe, Belleview Heights still wants to ensure that residents receive the benefits of recreational outings and new stimuli.

With virtual reality experiences, residents at Belleview Heights can experience the joys of new, faraway places without any of the typical hassles of physical travel. Just by putting on the headset, they can relax and enjoy museums, landscapes, cities, and monuments from all over the world from the comfort of their familiar community. They can travel on-demand and immediately—no airport security lines or luggage required. If they want to travel from Asia to Europe to South America and back again, there’s no travel time in between. It’s the world’s easiest, safest, fastest, and most cost-effective way to travel!

Virtual Reality Can Help Those with Memory Challenges

There is also evidence that virtual reality experiences can improve mood and may even improve memory recall for memory care residents.

In a small study led by Dr. Chee Siang (Jim) Ang, a senior lecturer from the University of Kent, researchers found that virtual reality experiences could help people living with memory challenges. As part of the study, Dr. Ang’s team used virtual reality devices on eight participants with a mean age of 69 and living with some type of dementia, including Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s.

Each participant was monitored during the 15-minute virtual reality sessions. Dr. Ang’s team subsequently reviewed feedback from the participants and their caregivers to learn the effects of the experience. The study found that virtual reality may help participants recall old memories by offering new stimuli that they could otherwise not experience while living in their community. For example, one patient recalled a holiday after seeing a bridge that reminded them of that trip. Because of the increased recall, caregivers were also able to learn more about the participants’ lives, so it improved their social interaction and relationships.

VR experiences may also improve mood. Dr. Ang’s team reported that “at an art session some weeks later, one of the patients who had taken part commented that it had been ‘brilliant’. He appeared to enjoy reminiscing about the experience and was inspired to draw a seaside picture, suggesting that his VR experience had had a positive effect on his mood and motivation to engage with the art session.”

Even though real-life traveling is off the table right now, residents at Belleview Heights are still enjoying travel experiences. Thanks to the community’s virtual reality program, residents can experience the world from the comfort and safety of their community.

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

Summer Isn’t Just Fun in The Sun; It’s Good For You, Too

Many people name summer as their favorite season. And it’s completely understandable; from the time we start school, we associate summer with time off, swimming pools, vacations, and pleasant weather. But summer has benefits beyond simply providing a stage for our yearly adventures—the summer season brings with it numerous health benefits, as well.

Safe Sun Exposure Has Health Benefits

Anyone who has experienced a nasty summer sunburn may be tempted to swear off the outdoors from May to September. But sitting in the sun has its health benefits, so it’s worth slathering on the sunscreen and heading outside for some safe sun exposure.

First, exposure to sunlight is known to improve our mood. Being outside in the sun is associated with the production of serotonin, a hormone that improves mood and helps you feel calm and focused.

Sun exposure also has other health benefits. Safe sun exposure allows the skin to produce Vitamin D, which promotes bone health by aiding in the absorption of calcium. Research has suggested that sun exposure could also lower blood pressure and curb appetite. It may also reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and possibly some autoimmune diseases.

Summer Produce Packs a Nutrient Punch

Because of the beautiful weather, mounds of delicious fruits and vegetables come into season in the summer. Enjoy crisp, juicy produce like tomatoes, berries, melon, greens, avocados, squash, cherries, peaches, peppers, cucumbers, and more. They’re all at peak freshness during the summer months, so you can load up your refrigerator with the best product for a lower price than at other times of the year.

The freshness and availability of produce during the summer make it easy to get the necessary nutrients in your diet. Juicy berries provide antioxidants in a low-sugar, bite-size package. Leafy greens provide Vitamins A and K as well as fiber. And watermelon, a true summer staple, is not just a sweet treat—it’s a fantastic hydrator. Watermelon is 92 percent water and contains natural sugars and minerals that replenish what we lose when we sweat. It’s like nature’s sports drink!

Longer Days Improve Our Sleep

For those struggling with poor sleep or sleep disorders, the summer season may help. Summer daylight hours are longer, and the day-night cycle more closely mimics our sleep patterns than the dark winter months. That means the summer sun can help us get our circadian rhythm back on track. Early morning exposure to the sun helps us wake up with more energy. Sun exposure during the day, as well as a later sunset, help us ease into sleep at a more natural time than in the winter months.

We’re More Active in Summer Months

Because of the gorgeous summer weather, we’re more likely to get outside and be active in the summer. There is a multitude of enjoyable physical activities to choose from this season, so it’s easy to get daily exercise. And you will probably have so much fun that it won’t even feel like a workout! Whether you choose swimming, hiking, volleyball, walking your pet, gardening, waterskiing, or one of the other hundreds of summer activities, you can have fun and stay active more easily during this season.

There are many reasons to love summer. Aside from enjoying the great weather, time off, and entertainment, it’s easy to be healthy and active during the season. It’s one of the many reasons summer makes us feel so good!

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

Make Summer Your Healthiest Season Yet With These Tips

We associate summer with fun in the sun. But did you know that summer is a great time to add some healthy practices to your routine? Because of the great weather, slower pace, and availability of lighter, healthier foods, summer can be a wonderful time to not only have fun, but also get healthier.

These tips from Marshall Pines Assisted Living and Memory Care Community in Evans, Georgia, can help you boost your health this season.

Get Some Sun, but Make it Safe

Sunshine doesn’t just feel nice—it’s good for you, too! Safe sun exposure has many benefits. The first, and perhaps most well-known, the benefit of sunlight is that it allows our skin to produce Vitamin D, which aids in the absorption of calcium and promotes bone health. Sun exposure is also a mood-booster; it is associated with the production of serotonin, a hormone that improves mood and helps you feel calm and focused. Spending time in the sun also leads to improved sleep, and research suggests that it could also lower blood pressure, curb appetite, and reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and possibly some autoimmune diseases. Sunshine may even help people live longer!

But too much sun can be harmful. It can lead to sunburn, skin damage, or heat exhaustion. It is best to make sure that your sun exposure is safe. Wear plenty of sunscreens and reapply according to the package instructions. If you’re sensitive to heat, make sure you enjoy the sun in the early morning, before the hottest part of the day.

Wear the Proper Clothing for Your Activity

When the weather heats up and the sun beats down, it’s even more important to choose your clothing wisely. Make sure that your clothing is appropriate for whatever activity you’re taking part in. In general, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen will help keep you cool in the summer heat, while synthetics like acrylic and polyester can trap heat and feel abrasive on the skin. Clothing that fits well is important, too. Make sure your clothes are sized correctly but do not cling to your body. And if you’re going to be in the sun or near biting or stinging insects, you may want to wear long sleeves or pants to protect your skin.

Ensure that you’re wearing the proper footwear, as well. Flip flops are convenient, but they’re often not very supportive. Save the sandals for the pool or when you won’t be walking around. If you’ll be hiking, exercising, or walking a lot, choose breathable, supportive shoes like athletic sneakers to protect your feet and ankles.

And remember your sunglasses! Just like your skin, your eyes can accumulate damage from sun exposure. Bring along a stylish pair of shades to protect your eyes.

Stay Hydrated in the Heat

In warmer weather, we tend to be outdoors and sweat more than in the fall and winter months. That means more water loss. It’s important to drink plenty of water every day, but even more so in the summer.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the typical recommended water consumption for the average adult is 64-80 ounces of water per day. However, depending on your level of activity and exposure to heat in the summer, you may need to drink extra water—up to 100 or more ounces per day. You can also increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumber, and other water-filled produce to help you meet that goal.

If you’ve been outside for a long period of time or have been exercising, you may also want to take in extra electrolytes to ensure you stay hydrated. Have a sports drink handy if you’re planning one of these activities.

With these tips, you’ll not only have a fun summer but a healthy one, too!

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