Resolutions to Ring in the New Year at a Greenville Retirement Community

Category Archives: Senior living

Try these new year’s resolutions to help you reach your goals

A new year is traditionally the time when many of us set new goals, and seniors are no exception! In fact, about 60% of people will set a new year’s resolution for 2021. As we age, our goals will likely change, but the tradition of setting goals remains exciting and fulfilling as we challenge ourselves to become healthier, more intelligent, and better individuals that serve our communities.

Setting resolutions and goals can also be beneficial for our health. Studies show that seniors who regularly set goals and view life with a sense of purpose are 2-4x times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Setting goals maintains independence and can slow the aging process as well. With all of those benefits, here are a few resolutions to add to your list from our expert community leaders at Maple Brook Terrace Independent Living Community in Greenville, South Carolina.

Volunteer in Your Community

There are few things in life that are more fulfilling than giving to others. Consider volunteering for your local library, museum, or welcome center for your community to give tours, offer advice, or read to children. Studies show that older adults who volunteer often show lower rates of depression, increased physical fitness, lower mortality rates, and overall greater well-being. Offering time to your community can also provide you with a sense of purpose and allow you to meet new people of all ages.

Learn New Technology

Technology is ever-changing in the modern world, but that does not mean that we cannot try to keep up with it! As we head into the new year, we challenge you to learn one new piece of technology every week. Start with the basics like learning how to use your cell phone or trying out a smart TV. Then, as you feel more confident, you can broaden your technological horizons to include things like a digital camera or learning new settings on your computer! This is a fantastic way to challenge your brain, keep your cognitive skills sharp, and learn some ways to make your life easier using technology.

Attend a Virtual or Socially Distanced Exercise Class

It is never too late to take better care of yourself! Staying physically active is important for everyone, but particularly for seniors. When our schedules become less busy, we sometimes forget to prioritize staying active. Consider adding a virtual or socially distanced exercise class to your schedule in the coming weeks and see how you like it. If you find that yoga, karate, or Zumba is not your style, try another class until you find one that you love. Do not give up; there are plenty of options out there that are bound to get you feeling your best!

Spend More Time with Family (Virtually)

This past year was the year of social distancing and staying separated from family members, but we have high hopes that 2021 will be better! In the meantime, we recommend that you spend as much time with your family members as possible, even if it is virtually. This also relates to learning new technology, one of the first things you can learn is how to video chat.

Explore your Community

Maple Brook Terrace has beautiful grounds that we would love to show you! If you are a current resident of ours but are feeling like you might not have a grasp on everything we have to offer, we would love to give you another tour and show you all the amazing amenities that we offer. If you are not a current resident but are interested in learning more, be sure to reach out to us. We are currently conducting safe tours of our community and have safety regulations in place to make sure that we are all staying safe and healthy.

After you have set your resolutions, make sure you write them down and share them with friends and family. This will help you stay accountable and inspire your peers to set goals, too.

To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Maple Brook Terrace, contact our friendly team today.

Celebrating Holidays With These Exciting Christmas To Do List

It’s finally the holidays! We call it the most wonderful time of the year, and we are not letting this year’s restrictions stop us from spreading the holiday cheer! If you have a loved one living in a retirement community like Maple Brook Terrace in Greenville, South Carolina, you may be trying to coordinate your holiday celebrations to include the entire family. With visitor restrictions and social distancing guidelines still in place to keep us safe, our team at Maple Brook Terrace wanted to offer some ways to celebrate the holiday without compromising the safety of your loved ones.

Deck the Halls

One of our favorite ways to get in the holiday spirit is to decorate our community. We encourage you and your family to do the same! String some lights around a big, beautiful Christmas tree, pull out your Santa Claus figurines, and deck the halls. This can be a fun way to include the family too because you can have a virtual decorating call where all of you each decorate your own spaces and enjoy each other’s company during the process.

Enjoy Mild Weather Outdoors

Lucky for us, it usually does not get very cold in South Carolina until later in the winter season, so we still have mild weather. Enjoy this by taking a walk outside with your dogs, sitting on your porch swing to enjoy the cool breeze, or opening the windows to let some of the fresh air in your home. Also, take a tour of your neighborhood and enjoy all the beautiful Christmas light displays that your neighbors have decorated their homes with!

Play holiday Music

There is only one month of the year when no one will judge you for your love of holiday tunes, so now is your chance to embrace it. As you clean your home, cook your meals, or even enjoy some solitude, play some holiday music to help you get in the spirit of the season! Holiday music is lively and fun, so it is bound to uplift your mood if you are feeling down about having to skip the social gatherings.

Help with Online Shopping

Gifting is an integral part of the holiday season, and since shopping in stores is not recommended these days, your loved ones may need help exploring the world of online shopping. Seniors love to give thoughtful gifts their families are sure to love, so give them a call and see if there is any way you can help them check off their Christmas lists! One way to do this is to simply ask what they would like for you to order and have it shipped straight to their homes. This way they can still wrap the gifts and deliver them independently.

Get Crafty

The holidays often bring out the creative sides to many of us, so this year should be no different. If you suddenly find yourself with a lot more time on your hands than usual, consider adding some fun crafts to your to-do list. Some of our favorites are knitting warm winter hats, hand-painting Christmas ornaments, and clothespin snowflakes, where you disassemble clothespins and glue them together to make snowflakes.

Have a Movie Marathon

Holiday movies are the best movies, and there are so many of them that are staples in many families. We recommend scheduling a cold winter night to snuggle in blankets and watch your favorite holiday movies. Complete this experience with warm cookies, popcorn, and other treats to make it feel like the best movie theater you have ever visited.

Organize a Contactless Cookie Exchange

Another fun way to celebrate the holidays is to organize a contactless cookie exchange. Call all your friends and invite them to participate with you. Each person can bake a half-dozen cookies for each participant, then leave them on each other’s porches. Depending on how many participants you have, you should end up with tons of cookies to try (and maybe even some new favorites).

The staff members at Maple Brook Terrace are wishing you and your family a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year!

To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Maple Brook Terrace, contact our friendly team today.

Fun and Healthy Resolutions That are Perfect For You and Your Senior Loved Ones.

It’s hard to believe that 2020 is almost over. This has been a crazy year to say the least, but it has also given all of us some much-needed time for personal development. As we head into a new year, some of us might be thinking about their goals for 2021 and may even set a new year’s resolution or two. Setting goals is important for everyone, but it can be especially beneficial for seniors to help maintain their youthfulness and health! Our expert team at Park View Estates Assisted Living and Memory Care has put together some fun and healthy resolutions that are perfect for you and your senior loved ones.

Make Healthier Choices

This one might seem obvious. It seems that most people set their sights on getting in shape or dieting in January every year, only to go back to their old ways by February. In order to make a resolution reachable, it has to be realistic. We recommend a resolution to be to simply make healthier choices rather than aim for a complete overhaul. Something as simple as exercising for 10 minutes a day or eating an extra serving of vegetables is very doable and can make a huge difference in overall health.

Start a New Hobby

Have you always wanted to learn how to knit? Cook? Build model airplanes? Whatever the case may be, there is no better time to start than the beginning of a new year! If you are heading into next year feeling like the last might have been too stressful for you, we suggest finding a soothing hobby to help you relax and ease your mind.

Reach out to Old Friends

Anytime is a good time to rekindle old friendships, but especially the new year. If you have been thinking about reaching out to your high school best friend, here’s your sign that you should. Give them a call and see how they are doing. Maybe the two of you could set a resolution together and keep each other accountable.

Start a Gratitude Journal

There is so much to be thankful for in this world. The smallest things like food on our table or warm weather can often be overlooked in the hustle and bustle of daily life. We recommend starting a gratitude journal to help you focus on the good things when the not so good things feel overwhelming. Feel free to start small. Write down three to five things that you are grateful for one to two times a week. Taking the time to be grateful can really lift your spirits!

Challenge your Brain Daily

As seniors age, they can benefit from giving their brains a little exercise! Working on puzzles, reading, learning new things, and any of the previous resolutions mentioned above are all excellent ways to challenge your brain. By doing your chosen activity daily, you are ensuring your mental health stays as strong as possible for as long as possible. Again, start small so that you can turn your goal into a habit. Try reading the daily news with your morning coffee or working a crossword puzzle while waiting in the doctor’s office. Before you know it, your mind will be sharper than ever!

Setting goals and resolutions are fun ways to challenge ourselves to create new habits that are healthier than our current ones. If you feel that trying to reach all of these goals is too much, try starting with just one, and take it day by day to see how it can really change your health. The team at Park View is committed to providing a healthy, active environment for all of our residents and supporting them in all of their goals.

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

Get Creative This Holiday Season With New Exciting Activities

This is the season for festive fun at your local senior living community! Our goal is to make this holiday season the best one ever, especially since 2020 has been such an unexpected year. We love hosting tons of resident activities and events to bring our community together, but this year it has not been safe to host large groups of people. But that cannot stop up from having holiday fun!

Our spirited staff at Sage Park in Gahanna, Ohio has created this list filled with inspiration for ways to make your Christmas season joyful and bright. And yes, we checked it twice!

Reindeer Games

To help your loved ones get in the spirit of the season, consider inviting them to play a few reindeer games! The best games are ones that stimulate mental activity and promote safe socialization. Get the best of both worlds by hosting a holiday trivia night within your household complete with snacks, eggnog, and other Christmas treats. Another fun family activity is a puzzle; we love puzzles because they are fun for all ages. Gather everyone around one table to put a puzzle together to strengthen your teamwork skills and have some fun. Lastly, everyone loves a good old-fashioned game of bingo, but we recommend making it match the spirit of the season. Instead of using numbers and letters, opt for Christmas characters instead.

Santa’s Helpers

Gift-giving is an important holiday tradition for many seniors, and they may need some help doing it safely this year since shopping in stores is not recommended. Help your loved ones create their Christmas shopping list and guide them through the world of online shopping. Once the gifts all arrive, you could host a wrapping event within your household to help wrap all the presents. Get tons of fun wrapping supplies like ribbon, gift tags, wrapping paper, tape and boxes, and invite your family to join in the festivities. Another fun way that you can include your loved ones in the Christmas festivities is by helping them decorate their homes or allowing them to help decorate yours. If you are keeping your distance, you could also surprise them by decorating their front door!

Cheers to the New Year

As the year comes to a close, it is important to reminisce on all that happened this year and to set goals for 2021, as well. We think one of the best ways to memorialize the year is through scrapbooking. Scrapbooking is an excellent way to enjoy crafting as well as enjoy a sense of wellbeing as we focus on all the good that has happened in the past year. After having completed a year in review scrapbook, consider setting some goals for next year, things such as exercising for 10 minutes per day or reading for 20 minutes per day are great goals to keep the mind and body sharp as we start a new year. After discussing the goals that you would like to set, make sure you write them down and keep them in a visible spot that you see daily to remind you of your goals! We also love using habit trackers to check off each day that you accomplish your goal.

This holiday season may look different from the year’s past, but that does not mean that we have to sacrifice the fun. We hope you found this list of holiday activities to be inspirational and that you enjoy spending some quality time with your loved ones this holiday season even if that is from afar!

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

Imagination Is The Only Limit With New Virtual Reality Program

For many, winter is the season of traveling south to avoid the snow and cold weather. Those who planned to travel to Florida, head to the coast, or even travel internationally may be feeling less than cheerful this season with travel restrictions still in place. Family vacations are a source of lifelong memories, experiences, and shared emotions that are vital to maintaining a healthy social life. So even if travel is not possible, it’s important to find a substitute.

The residents at Stone Valley Retirement Living in Reno, Nevada are experiencing new sights, visiting their favorite vacation destinations, and doing it all safely from the comfort of their homes. The community recently launched a virtual reality program that uses an Oculus headset to transport residents to fun experiences, exciting vacation spots, and events outside of community grounds.

Research shows that virtual reality benefits folks living with Alzheimer’s and dementia in a variety of ways, but it also excites and entertains!

Travel new places while safely social distancing

Due to COVID-19, all assisted living and memory care communities, including Stone Valley, have canceled or rescheduled retreats, excursions, recreational activities, and family visits to protect residents. Even though this is necessary to keep residents safe, Stone Valley staff members still want them to enjoy their time and make sure that they are providing plenty of entertainment options for residents.

Virtual reality transports residents to a destination of their choice. All it takes is a few button clicks, and in no time at all, residents can visit the Smithsonian or see Niagara Falls. The only limit is imagination! And since VR requires no physical travel, residents can maintain social distancing while experiencing new places all around the world.

Explore new destinations with VR

Whether it’s a favorite vacation spot or a special past experience, VR brings the freedom to explore to Stone Valley residents! Those that have always wanted to travel to virtually anywhere in the world now have the freedom to do so. Residents can travel to volcanic beaches, concerts, museums, and landmarks without worrying about costs, safety protocols, or delays associated with physical traveling.

Virtual Reality offers less expensive and less physically demanding alternatives for seniors

Some seniors have always dreamed of front row tickets to a concert. Others have always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. Or maybe they’ve wanted to visit Big Ben in London since they were a child. Previously, these experiences might have been too time-consuming, too expensive, or not recommended by their healthcare provider. But with virtual reality, residents can break down all of these barriers and virtually check things off their bucket lists, without ever leaving the comfort of their community. As fun as traveling in real life is, there are some disadvantages, such as long waits in the airport, heavy luggage, crowded transportation, and expensive hotel stays, just to name a few. All of these negatives are not even a factor with virtual reality. This new technology requires no travel waits, expenses, or luggage. Residents can instantly travel from one side of the world to the other and back again without packing a single bag or waiting in a single security line. There is no doubt about it, traveling with the Oculus headset is the fastest, easiest, safest, and least expensive form of travel!

Even though traveling in real life is still off-limits, residents of Stone Valley are still able to experience new sights and enjoy new travel experiences thanks to this wonderful virtual reality technology.

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

Community Living May Offer a Safer, More Suitable Option for Memory Care Needs than In-Home Options

Have you and your family members decided that it may be time to look for additional care for your loved one? There is a myriad of options for senior care available, and it is imperative that you choose the option that best fits your family and your loved one’s needs to keep them safe, happy, and cared for.

It can be challenging to decide which option will best fit your family. Memory care needs are unique and not always best served with the home health or even senior community options. While it may be your initial reaction to try to keep your loved one at home for as long as possible, that may not be the best option. Communities such as Sage Park Assisted Living and Memory Care Community in Columbus, Ohio may offer a safer, more suitable memory care option that can better meet your loved one’s needs than in-home care.

Community Design

As seniors age, their big, beautiful homes may now begin to present safety concerns. Normal household conditions such as stairs, multiple flooring surfaces, bulky furniture, and slippery bathroom rugs can all pose a danger to seniors with memory challenges who may struggle with spatial awareness, balance, and other difficulties. Other everyday items like kitchen appliances, showers without handrails, and medicine cabinets could cause serious accidents.

It is possible to modify certain elements of the home to try to mitigate certain risks, but at the end of the day, dedicated memory care facilities, such as Sage Park, are designed to prevent these accidents. Seniors are given living spaces that far better suit their needs, with multiple safety features including flat flooring to prevent falls, safety pull cords in the bathrooms to call for help, accessible rooms and bathrooms, and location-based pendants that provide loved ones with peace of mind. Sage Park has even taken their promise to create a safe and engaging community a step further, creating an easily navigable facility that provides residents with a full and happy life.

Specialized Programming

At Sage Park, a certified Life Enrichment Director is available on site to support residents and lead engaging daily activities, weekly on-site social events, and fun cultural excursions as part of a researched and proven health and wellness program. Programs such as music therapy, validation techniques, aromatherapy, life skills stations, and other health and wellness activities ensure that your loved one is completely supported and can remain social and included in our community.

Another program designed specifically for Sage Park’s memory care residents is the dining program. It incorporates foods from Rush University Medical Center’s MIND diet, which aims at maintaining a healthy brain. Meals are served on colored plates that stimulate appetite, and a server helps each resident individually choose their meals from multiple daily menu choices. Coupled with our other memory care programs at our community, Sage Park helps support residents’ memory care needs and quality of life.

24/7 Staff Access

Home health care may be difficult to acquire, and when your loved one finally receives services, they may be for only a few hours a day. That is not the case at Sage Park. Residents have 24/7 access to trained and dedicated staff members to assist them with whatever they need, with the goal of keeping your loved one safe and enriched during their residency.

We understand the choice between in-home care and a memory care community is a difficult one, and we invite you to schedule a tour with us to learn more about all the services we offer and how we can help.

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

Make sure you are prepared for your community tours with all the information you need

If you have decided that it is time to start looking for a memory care community for your loved one, you’ll want to make sure you get all the information that you need to make the best decision for you and your family. One of the most important steps in the community decision process is the tour, which gives you the opportunity to have all your questions answered as you take a look around. You can also socialize with potential neighbors, taste a meal, and learn all there is to know about the community before you sign on the dotted line.

But how are you supposed to know which questions to ask to make the most of your visit and ensure that you are making the most informed decision about your community? Central Parke Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Mason, Ohio has compiled the following list of the most common questions that you should be asking to help you plan for your community visit.

Questions about Care

As we age, our needs change. It is important to make sure the community you choose can adapt to your loved one’s care changes over time. Here are some questions to ask:

  • What levels of care does the community provide?
  • How do you handle changing needs in care over the short-term and long-term?
  • What memory care treatments or programs are offered here?
  • Can outside or visiting care be arranged?
  • Does each resident have an individual care plan? If so, how is this determined? How often is it updated?

Questions about Safety

Each memory care community will have different safety levels, features, and technologies within their facility. Make sure you are asking the right questions, including the ones listed below, to ensure the well-being of your loved one.

  • How is the community secured?
  • Are staff members available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week?
  • What are the systems in place for an emergency? How can I seek medical care for my loved one if they need it?
  • Is training ongoing for staff? What is the staff-to-resident ratio?

Questions about Community

When thinking about your loved one’s quality of life, it’s important to explore the benefits of retirement living that are centered around your loved one’s comfort, relaxation, friendships, and adventure. Here are a few questions you might consider asking about the community:

  • What kind of events and/or activities are offered?
  • What if my loved one does not feel like participating in certain events or activities? Can they choose to stay in their residence instead?
  • Tell me more about the amenities you offer.
  • Is my loved one allowed to have overnight visitors? What about hosting a family get-together or dinner?
  • How does the community promote health and wellness?
    Are any services available at the community, such as a pharmacy, salon, etc.?

Questions about Cost

As with any change in living arrangements, one determining factor will likely be the cost. It is crucial that the memory care facility you choose is within your budget. Asking these questions can help you make an informed decision and avoid additional fees in the process.

  • What is the cost to live here?
  • What is included in the rental cost? Examples of things included might be utilities, internet, etc.
  • Is a deposit required? If so, how much is it, and how can I get it back if I choose to leave?
  • What services and amenities are not included in the rent? How much can I expect to pay for them?
  • What situations may cause rent to increase?

At the end of every community visit, you should always ask the person giving you a tour, “Why should I choose this community over the other options in the area?” Asking this gives your tour guide the chance to set themselves apart from their competition and show you what sets them apart.

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

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.