Choosing the Perfect Fit in Senior Living

As your loved one ages, there will come a time when decisions must be made about the best living arrangements for them. Is remaining at home best or choosing a supportive senior living community? Does my loved one need memory care? 

Older People In Garden

As your loved one ages, there will come a time when decisions must be made about the best living arrangements for them. Is remaining at home best or choosing a supportive senior living community? Does my loved one need memory care? The choice between a senior living community or remaining at home can significantly impact their quality of life. We’ll explore the available options for senior care and look at essential factors so you can make an informed decision. 

Independent Living vs. Home

Independent Living Communities cater to seniors who can manage their daily lives without much assistance. They offer the added benefits of services such as housekeeping, dining, transportation, and a range of amenities like fitness programs, spas, gourmet dining, art studios, swimming pools, and events within the community. 

Unlike staying at home, where it can be difficult to maintain social connections, an independent senior living community provides readily available social connection and offers seniors an enriched life without the burdens of home maintenance or even the need to drive.

Assisted Living vs. Home

Assisted Living Communities bridge the gap between independent senior living and full service residential health care. Residents of assisted living communities enjoy daily social activities and meals but also receive help with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, grooming, and bathroom assistance. In contrast to staying at home, where specialized care may require multiple service providers, assisted living offers a comprehensive care solution with around-the-clock support. Appealing and nutritious meals are provided , as well as programs and activities, many opportunities for socialization, and beautiful indoor and outdoor settings are typically available in a lively and engaging community.

Memory Care vs. Home

Memory care communities are specialized environments for those with cognitive or memory-related conditions. The home can easily become a danger of its own for persons living with memory loss or cognitive issues due to heightened safety concerns and the lack of social engagement. Memory care communities provide structured activities to bolster cognitive abilities and have enhanced security measures to reduce the risks associated with wandering. The dedicated and trained staff understands the intricacies of dementia and Alzheimer’s, ensuring residents receive personalized and dignified care. 

Independent LivingAssisted LivingMemory Care  
Autonomy24/7 Care Assistance24/7 Specialized Memory Loss and Dementia Care
Full-Kitchen & Dining OptionsDining & Meal PreparationDining & Meal Preparation
Maintenance Free LivingMaintenance Free LivingMaintenance Free Living
Lawnmowing & Snow RemovalLawnmowing & Snow RemovalLawnmowing & Snow Removal
Transportation to AppointmentsTransportation to AppointmentsTransportation to Appointments
Housekeeping & LaundryHousekeeping & LaundryHousekeeping & Laundry
Pet-Friendly ApartmentsPet-Friendly Apartments & TherapyPet Therapy
Social Activities & ClubsHelp with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)Music Therapy
Baking & Cooking ClassesBathing & Toileting AssistanceEnhanced Security Measures
Arts & CraftsHelp Getting DressedStructured Cognitive Activities
Gardening & Vegetable PlotsMedication ManagementDementia-Friendly Environments
Lunch OutingsPersonal Care Assistance & HygieneHelp with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
Book ClubsSocial Activities & ClubsBathing & Toileting Assistance
Pizza NightsBaking & Cooking ClassesHelp Getting Dressed
Ice Cream SocialsArts & CraftsMedication Management
Food-Themed EventsGardening & Vegetable PlotsPersonal Care Assistance & Hygiene
Musical PerformancesLunch OutingsLibrary & Quiet Areas
Sports & TV Watching PartiesBook ClubsBeauty Salon
Game & Puzzle NightsPizza NightsHoliday Celebrations
Library & Quiet AreasIce Cream SocialsWi-Fi & Cable
Beauty SalonFood-Themed EventsReligious Services
Holiday CelebrationsMusical PerformancesRegular Events
Wi-Fi & CableSports & TV Watching PartiesAccess to Community Activities, Amenities, & Services
Religious ServicesGame & Puzzle Nights 
Regular EventsLibrary & Quiet Areas 
Area OutingsBeauty Salon 
Happy HoursHoliday Celebrations
Access to Community Activities, Amenities, & ServicesWi-Fi & Cable
 Religious Services 
 Regular Events 
 Area Outings 
 Happy Hours 
 Access to Community Activities, Amenities, & Services 

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Senior Living Community

If you have chosen the best type of senior living care but have a long list of communities to consider, use these factors to narrow your choice further. 

1. Location – Is the drive a long one? Will this make visiting a hardship? Proximity to family, friends, and medical providers is essential to consider.
2. Staff – Look for communities that have a healthy staff-to-resident ratio. Find communities with compassionate and experienced staff and caregivers. For those in memory care, look for proper training credentials.
3. Amenities – If your loved one needs specific amenities, evaluate what’s available before signing or committing. 
4. Health Care Services – Determine if the community offers your loved one medical care and support. Do they have specialized programs and services like therapy, or care navigation?
5. Safety and Security – Assess the security measures, such as emergency call systems and secure entrances. This is vital for those in memory care.
6. Activities and Programming – Inquire about various social, recreational, and educational opportunities available within and outside the community. Activities should promote senior independence and prevent isolation. 
7. Reputation and Reviews – Research the community’s reputation and read reviews from current and former residents.

Steps to Take When Choosing a Senior Living Community

After you have narrowed down your choices to a few communities, take these steps to find your ideal senior living community: 

1. Research – Gather all your information about the senior communities in your favored location.
2. Tour of the Community – Visiting each community in person if possible. This will give you a feel for the atmosphere, amenities, and staff.
3. Talk to Staff and Residents – Another essential reason to visit in person is that you’ll be able to talk with staff and residents and gain valuable insights into daily life within the community.

Reclaiming Your Role from Caregiver to Adult Child: A Journey of Renewed Bonds

Living with older parents can be extremely rewarding. A multigenerational household can have great benefits for families. Pew Research found that more than half of Americans in their 40s are part of the “sandwich” generation and live in a multigenerational home, usually with an older parent. However, living with an independent, active older adult is quite different than being a caregiver to one. 

Caring for an older parent can be overwhelming and stressful. It can negatively affect finances and have a great impact on the adult child’s emotional well-being. If, as an adult child, you’ve taken on the role of caregiver, you may find your life now revolves around medication reminders, driving them to appointments, and being their only source of social engagement. Conversations may be more about daily activities (“Did you take your medication?”) and less about cherished memories or those everyday conversations we have with parents. 

Caregiver burnout is real, especially if the older parent has memory loss conditions such as dementia or other complicated medical conditions. As much as you love your parents, it may be best to ease up as a primary caretaker and allow a professional staff within a secure and vibrant community to take over. 

Having a parent in a loving and caring community can create more time for you, the adult child, to rebuild the relationship between parent and child. There are many benefits for older parents to live in a senior living community. Chief among them is the 24-hour medical care available to residents. If a parent needs assistance with activities of daily living, medication management, or more intensive therapies, compassionate care delivered by professionals is close at hand. With the demands of caregiving lifted, adult children will have more quality time with loved ones. 

Find the Right Senior Living Community

Finding the best fit for your loved one will benefit them in many ways and allow adult children to be relieved of the responsibilities of caregiving. Seniors are choosing retirement communities over staying at home to focus on health and wellness, making new social connections, convenient dining options, and taking advantage of on-site, 24/7 medical staff. For those in memory care, safety and security will no longer be a worry with skilled caregivers close at hand. It is time to reclaim your role as a son or daughter while entrusting the caregiving responsibilities to someone else. Start looking today and begin your search for the best senior living community in your area.

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Debunking Senior Living Myths

There are a lot of myths out there about senior living communities. And if your only experience with a community was from several decades ago, some myths may seem easy to believe.

There are a lot of myths out there about senior living communities. And if your only experience with a community was from several decades ago, some myths may seem easy to believe. The truth is, society has changed its ideas about aging, and senior living communities have changed right along with it.

This post will dispel common senior living myths and give you a better idea of the reality: seniors choose to move to a community to enhance their lifestyle and give themselves more freedom to do what they want to do. Here are some retirement myths and the truth.

Myth: We’re Too Young to Move to a Senior Living Community.

Truth: One of the most common retirement myths has to do with the belief that there’s a “right age” to move. The reality is that you should move to a community when you’re active and ready for more independence. Why be bogged down with home maintenance, lawn care, cooking, housekeeping, and all your other household chores? A maintenance-free lifestyle gives you the freedom to do more of what you love to do. Today’s senior living communities are specially designed for active older adults who want a full and engaging life.

Myth: I Shouldn’t Move Until I Need Help Taking Care of Myself.

Truth: Moving while you’re still healthy allows you to stay in control of your choices. If you wait until an illness or health crisis occurs, you or your family may be forced to pick a community based on availability, not desirability. Plus, many independent living communities also have higher levels of care — assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehab — that you can take advantage of without the worry of moving again.

Myth: Senior Living Is Expensive.

Truth: The cost of senior living depends on the size of the residence you choose and the number of people who live in it. The cost of senior living is often comparable to or less than receiving the same services and support at home. Even if you’ve paid off your mortgage, homeownership can still be costly. Consider insurance, taxes, upkeep and repairs, utilities, gym memberships, dining, activities and emergency expenses. At a senior living community, everything is included in one rate — not to mention the convenience of having entertainment, social events, dining, housekeeping services and, if ever needed, higher levels of care.

Myth: I’ll Lose My Independence And Have To Be On Someone Else’S Schedule.

Truth: Most communities offer outings, activities, socializing, fitness, art classes and flexible dining options. Participation is up to you. If you want to spend your retirement traveling, you can explore the world, knowing your residence will be looked after while you’re away.

Myth: I’ll Have To Give Up My Hobbies.

Truth: Without the time-consuming tasks of home upkeep, you’ll have more time to spend on the things you love to do. You could also find other residents who share the same interests you do and start a club. Plus, you’ll have the chance to try new things and discover new hobbies.

Myth: They Won’t Have Any Activities I Like.

Truth: Senior living communities continue to change to reflect the needs and wants of residents. While earlier generations may have thought of retirement as a time to rest and relax, today’s Baby Boomers are different. Many communities have adapted and now offer a more active lifestyle focused on wellness. Today residents enjoy indoor saltwater pools, fitness rooms filled with state-of-the-art equipment, as well as fitness trainers and yoga and Tai Chi classes.

Myth: Senior Living Communities Feel Institutionalized.

Truth: Your last experience at a senior living community decades ago may have included long, white hallways and bright fluorescent lighting that seemed more like a hospital. Today’s senior communities are homelike, comfortable, and more closely resemble a resort. Some senior living communities even offer spectacular views of the city, water or other points of interest.

Myth: Seniors Are Lonely In Retirement Communities.

Truth: Loneliness is a risk of aging and making friends can be difficult. If you have groups of friends you socialize with, you can still see them. Just because your address changes doesn’t mean your social life has to! Many retirees choose to move to a senior living community because they want a rich social life. Living in a retirement community provides endless opportunities to develop close social connections and friendships, which is crucial as we age. At senior living communities, residents make friends, share meals, go on trips, and enjoy special occasions together.

Myth: Meals Are Plain And Unappetizing.

Truth: Like a lot of nursing home myths, this one is based on an old stereotype that’s no longer true. Not only is taste important when providing meals for seniors, but nutrition is key. Senior living communities offer an ever-changing menu of nutritional meals to give you options that fit your lifestyle and dietary needs.

Ready to Bust Some Myths?

Life Care Services® owns and operates a variety of senior living communities all over the country. If you’re ready to dispel common senior living myths for yourself, use our community locator tool and discover the truth about today’s senior living communities.

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The Best Exercises for Seniors: A Guide to Staying Active in Your Golden Years

Explore the best exercises for seniors and tips on how to get started, stay motivated, and enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle.

Staying active is vital at any age, but it’s especially crucial for seniors. Regular exercise provides many health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health, enhanced mental well-being, and helping seniors live a more independent lifestyle. There is growing evidence to show that it may slow the progression of dementia. In this blog post, we will explore the best exercises for seniors and provide tips on how to get started, stay motivated, and enjoy the numerous benefits of an active lifestyle.

Factors to Consider Before Starting an Exercise Routine

Before diving into a new exercise routine, taking a few precautions is essential. Speak with your doctor or physical therapist to determine which exercises suit your needs and health conditions. Pay attention to any discomfort or pain during training and adjust as needed. Begin with shorter durations and lower intensity, gradually increasing as your fitness level improves. To maintain long-term commitment, we recommend choosing exercises you’ll enjoy, and don’t be afraid to mix things up and try something new.

Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

Regular exercise is about as close to the fountain of youth as possible. Our top eight exercises have multiple benefits for seniors. The best news is that it is never too late to start. Seniors in their 60s, 70s, and even 90s have started exercise programs with fantastic results. No matter which exercises you choose, starting slow and easy is important. You’ll see the following benefits frequently throughout this blog:

  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Better balance and coordination
  • Increased bone density
  • Reduced risk of falls
  • Improved mental health
  • Better sleep quality
  • Stronger immune system
  • Weight management
  • Vibrant social connections

What Are the Types of Exercise?

If you haven’t seen the inside of a gym in a while, the terms weight-bearing, non-weight-bearing, and resistance exercises might be new to you.

  • Weight-bearing exercises are those that bear weight on your frame. These types of exercises include walking, jogging, stair climbing, tennis, and dancing.
  • Resistance exercises include all weight training or lifting weights.
  • Non-weight-bearing exercises include yoga, Tai chi, Pilates, cycling, and swimming. These are very gentle on your joints.

A good workout program can include all these workout types.

Top Exercises for Seniors

Below we’ve compiled the best exercises for seniors with benefits and tips to get started.

Walking for Seniors

Walking is one of the easiest exercises for seniors. It needs no special equipment, and most people can get started by opening their front door and going for a walk! Walking is considered a low-impact exercise, meaning it is easier on your joints, unlike running, which can put more stress on joints.

Benefits of Walking

Walking can improve your cardiovascular health, build endurance, strengthen muscles, and help to reduce high blood pressure. It can also maintain your joint flexibility and improve coordination which helps to reduce falls. Even taking a casual stroll can help improve your mood.

Tips to Get Started

If it has been a while since you’ve put on your walking shoes, start with a short stroll around your community and gradually increase the distance and pace as you feel comfortable. To stay motivated, consider joining a walking group or exploring different walking trails. If your community allows pets, but you want to avoid taking on the full-time responsibility of a pet, offer to walk other residents’ pups. As you get more comfortable walking, pick up the pace and add a light hand or ankle weight.

If the weather is a concern, you can always walk indoors.

Tai Chi for Seniors

Tai chi, an ancient Chinese martial art, promotes balance, flexibility, and mindfulness and is considered by some to be a “moving meditation.” Tai chi classes are often found at community centers, senior centers, local parks, or senior residences. If your senior community doesn’t offer Tai chi, ask your events director to add it to their list of programs.

Benefits of Tai Chi

Beyond the benefits mentioned above, Tai chi has been known to promote deep breathing, improve lower body strength, help with arthritis pain, and improve posture. Tai chi has been practiced by people worldwide for hundreds of years.

Tips to Get Started

Tai chi classes are fun and bring together like-minded people looking to mix up their workout routines. It is generally best to find an established teacher to teach the moves, and it is recommended to wear comfortable flat shoes. Since Tai chi is a very gentle exercise, seniors can do it once weekly or daily. Start with beginner-level classes, progress at your own pace, and have fun.

Strength Training for Seniors

Strength training has enormous benefits for seniors, and it’s never too late to reap the benefits. It’s important to start slowly and follow all the safety rules.

Tips to Get Started

Resistance training can be done using weights, resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises. Body weight exercises can be a great place to start because you don’t need any equipment and you use your body as the weight. An example of using your body weight would be wall pushups or chair squats. Consult a professional to learn the proper form to prevent injuries.

Benefits of Strength Training

Building muscle strength is crucial for seniors to maintain independence. Strength training helps prevent osteoporosis and can aid in the growth of muscle. It can also help maintain a healthy weight, boost metabolism, and improve balance and coordination.

Dance & Aerobic Activity

Aerobic exercises can encompass various activities, including aerobics classes, rowing, elliptical trainers, dancing, and even gardening. Of all aerobic activities, dancing may be the most fun. Dance fitness can include Latin, salsa, line dancing, and even ballet, tailored for adults and seniors.

Benefits of Aerobics

Aerobic exercise, called cardio, helps get your heart rate up and pumps blood and oxygen to your muscles and body. Like most exercises for seniors, aerobic training can improve heart health, help manage your weight, boost your metabolism, and can be fun to do.

Tips to Get Started

Seek out low-impact aerobics classes for seniors or try SilverSneakers. Wear walking shoes or other well-cushioned shoes for exercising.

Cycling for Seniors

Ready to feel the wind in your hair and feel like a kid again? Hopping on a bicycle can take you on a delightful journey physically and mentally, allowing you to explore new paths and rekindle that youthful spirit within.

Benefits of Cycling

Cycling, on a stationary bike or outdoors, can improve cardiovascular health, strengthen leg muscles, boost the immune system, and enhance balance and coordination.

Tips to Get Started

Biking for seniors is a safe exercise to engage in, but there are some precautions you should take.

  1. If you last rode your bike a while ago, be sure to have it checked over at your local bike shop. Make sure it is in top shape before riding.
  2. Always wear protective gear, including a bike helmet.
  3. Start slowly. If you haven’t been on a bike lately, take a leisurely ride around the community, keeping to flat roads or gentle inclines.
  4. Ride on designated bike trails rather than roads and streets.

Additional cycling options for seniors include:

  • Recumbent bikes
  • Electric bikes
  • Fat tire bikes
  • Stationary cycling at your gym or fitness center

Swimming for Seniors

For water-loving seniors, swimming can be a highly beneficial activity. Seniors can do other activities in the pool too, including aqua jogging, walking, and water aerobics; there are even senior water polo leagues to join.

Benefits of Swimming

When swimming, up to 90% of a person’s body weight is supported by water, which means it is gentle on the joints and is an ideal choice for seniors with arthritis or joint pain. Swimming is considered a full-body workout, which is an excellent choice if you have a busy lifestyle and are looking for one activity that will hit all muscle groups.

Tips to Get Started

Join a local pool or aquatic center to participate in swimming or water aerobics classes designed specifically for seniors.

Yoga for Seniors

Yoga and other non-weight-bearing exercises like Pilates, Tai chi, and qigong offer the benefits of a flexible body and may help improve sleep quality.

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is an excellent way for seniors to build strength and reduce stress. Yoga and other forms of stretching exercises are fantastic ways to improve flexibility. Greater flexibility in seniors can help reduce the risks of fractures and sprains. Keeping bodies limber through yoga improves posture and can aid in overall calmness and improved mental health.

Tips to Get Started

Look for senior-friendly yoga classes at local studios or community centers. Remember to use props and modifications to accommodate your unique abilities, and don’t over-stretch.

Chair Exercises for Seniors

A chair can adapt many standard exercises for those with limited mobility. Even cardio exercises can be done while sitting. Other exercises that can be adjusted include:

  • Strength and weight training
  • Yoga
  • Full-body workouts

Benefits

Like standard exercises, chair-based routines can help improve strength and flexibility, pumping heart rate, and putting less strain on joints. Chair exercises can aid in improving posture and circulation too.

How to Get Started

Many recreation and fitness centers have chair-based exercise programs and routines or search for “chair routines” online. Chair exercises can be done in a sturdy, comfortable chair, or a wheelchair.

Tips for Staying Motivated

Exercising is the easy part. Staying motivated is the tricky part. Some helpful tricks to keep on track include:

  • Set manageable milestones to keep yourself motivated.
  • Celebrate your progress!
  • Keep a journal or use an app to document your exercise routine and monitor improvements.
  • Take a before, during, and after photo. This can motivate you to keep going.
  • Enlist a friend or family member to join you in your fitness journey. Mutual support and accountability can go a long way.
  • Join a club or fitness group to foster community and make exercise fun.
  • Variety is the spice of life. Mix up your routines to prevent boredom and keep your body challenged.

The Importance of Rest and Recovery

Rest and recovery are crucial for your body’s health. Pay attention to signs of fatigue and allow yourself time to recover between workouts. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night to support muscle recovery and overall well-being. Incorporate relaxation practices such as deep breathing, meditation, or gentle stretching to help your body recover and manage stress.

Exercise As the Fountain of Youth

Physical exercise remains one of the best ways to keep bodies healthy and delay and reverse negative signs of aging. While we may not have discovered the elusive fountain of youth, embracing a consistent exercise program can help you age gracefully and maintain vitality. So, lace up those sneakers or roll out the yoga mat, and let the joy of movement be your fountain of youth, adding a splash of health, happiness, and energy to your life!

Find Your Community Today

At Life Care Services, we prioritize a healthy lifestyle for seniors. As a trusted leader with over 130 communities across the U.S., we offer a variety of care support and living options. For seniors looking to maintain health and wellness, a majority of our senior communities provide nearly every healthy choice mentioned above. Join us today and discover the best place to thrive, stay active, and create lasting connections.

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Top Five AI-Generated Considerations for Your Senior Living Search

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a technology that allows a computer or robot to mimic human actions or intelligence. With more than 50 years of experience in senior living, our team at Life Care Services has a wealth of knowledge regarding the needs of seniors, but it’s always nice to get a second opinion.

We thought it would be fun to ask AI “chatbot” ChatGPT the most important thing seniors should look for when looking for a retirement community. Following is the question we asked via https://chat.openai.com/chat and the response we received:

What is the most important thing seniors should look for when looking for a senior living community?

When looking for a senior living community, seniors should consider a variety of factors to ensure they find a community that meets their needs and preferences. However, one of the most important things to look for is the quality of care provided.

Here are some specific things seniors should consider when assessing the quality of care in a senior living community:

  • Staffing: A good senior living community should have enough staff to provide personalized care to residents. Staff should also be well-trained and qualified to provide the appropriate level of care.
  • Medical services: The community should have access to medical services, such as a doctor or nurse on staff or on call. This is especially important for seniors with chronic health conditions.
  • Safety and security: The community should have safety measures in place to protect residents from accidents and emergencies. This includes things like fire safety measures, secure entrances and exits, and emergency response systems.
  • Quality of life: Seniors should also consider the quality of life in the community. This includes factors such as the cleanliness and upkeep of the facility, the availability of social activities and events, and the quality of food and nutrition.
  • Cost: Finally, seniors should consider the cost of the community and whether it fits within their budget. It’s important to compare the costs of different communities and understand what services and amenities are included in the price.

By considering these factors, seniors can make an informed decision about which senior living community is right for them.

We couldn’t agree more, AI! Communities managed by Life Care Services focus on each of the above criteria to ensure residents and their families receive the best amenities, services and care for the highest quality of life. That’s why Life Care Services has been ranked #1 in Customer Satisfaction among independent living providers by J.D. Power four years in a row. As part of the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Senior Living Satisfaction Study, Life Care Services achieved the highest score in all six factors of resident satisfaction: resident activities, community staff, price paid for services received, resident apartment/living unit, community building and grounds, and dining.

Our community teams are equipped to provide the knowledge you need to find the senior living solution that best fits your lifestyle. To get in touch with a Life Care Services community near you, visit https://www.lifecareservices.com/find-a-community.

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Age Is Just a Number: Five Signs It’s Time for Assisted Living

Modern senior living communities are comfortable, pleasant places to live and offer wonderful amenities and services. Today’s assisted living is very different from years ago. Still, as a caregiver or loved one of an older adult, it can be challenging to determine if they’re ready for assisted living. We’ll look at the five most common signs indicating your loved one is ready for assisted living.

What is Assisted Living?

First, let’s define assisted living. Assisted living is a form of long-term care that helps seniors with activities of daily living or ADLs. ADLS are skills we use every day, such as bathing, grooming, dressing, and eating.  Sometimes, assisted living can be provided temporarily for someone recovering from an illness or injury. However, if you need permanent assistance with daily tasks, then it’s time for assisted living.

Sign #1: Worsening Health Conditions

Declining health is often a sign that it’s time for assisted living. If a senior lives alone, it could be harder for them to seek medical care. Unchecked medical conditions could increase their risk of falling or other life-threatening injuries. Any time a loved one experiences a fall or worsening health condition, it may be a sign that assisted living is a safer and healthier living option.

Sign #2: Social Isolation and Loneliness

Has your loved one stopped going out and visiting friends or engaging in social activities? If a senior has lost the ability to drive, it can be very easy to isolate.

Seniors who have lived in their homes and neighborhoods for many years may have lost familiar neighbors and friends. Entire neighborhoods may have changed, leaving loved ones with no one to talk to. There are many negative health consequences of social isolation for seniors. Social isolation can even lead to poor choices when it comes to health and safety.

At assisted living communities, residents can enjoy scheduled activities and social events throughout the week. At senior communities, fun and lively activities are just outside your residence door.

Sign #3 Unable to Manage the Home

Part of living independently is managing the home and yard safely. A common sign it might be time for assisted living comes from the house and yard. Hazards that might make living at home dangerous include:

  • Excessive clutter
  • Spoiled food
  • Poor lighting

Perhaps bills aren’t being paid, or the yard work is no longer completed. These all could indicate that assisted living is a better and safer option.

Sign #4 Forgetting or Unable to Take Medication

We can all forget to take medication from time to time, but when it becomes a habit, it could become a life-threatening problem for a senior who lives alone. Under medicating or accidental overdoses is a real concern. If a senior has more complicated medication management, such as insulin shots or blood pressure checks, they may be physically unable to manage or administer it independently.

In an assisted living community, nurses can support residents with medication management and administration.  24/7 care is available from caring staff which can help residents by:

  • Preventing overdoses
  • Recognizing allergic reactions and sensitivities
  • Administering the correct dose at the right time
  • Looking out for side effects
  • Peace of mind for family and loved ones.

Sign #5 Poor Eating Habits

Physical limitations and depression can cause seniors’ healthy eating habits to decline. Perhaps they cannot get to the grocery store regularly and now rely on low-nutrition convenience foods. A senior living alone may feel overwhelmed with grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning for a day’s worth of meals. What was once a pleasurable activity of dining with friends and family now may be more of a chore.

Today assisted living dining services are more sophisticated. Communities offer elevated dining experiences with:

  • Restaurant-style dining
  • Professionally trained chefs
  • Seasonal menus
  • Brain and heart-healthy foods
  • Accommodating diets (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.)
  • Private dining rooms
  • Casual bistros
  • Coffee shops
  • Cooking classes

Senior communities know that mealtime is important for residents and continue to update their offerings, culinary diversity, and dining experiences.

The Right Time for Assisted Living

For adult children it can be a struggle to determine when is the right time to help their parents find an assisted living community. However, if any of the above signs sound familiar, your loved one could benefit greatly in a senior community. Choosing the right community will take some research and guidance, and there are steps that will make the transition a smooth one for all. Life Care Services has over 130 communities across the U.S. and offers multiple living options that support a healthy, safe and peaceful lifestyle. Find a community near you or contact us today!

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Top 10 Traits of the Best Assisted Living Communities

You’ll find a lot to consider when searching for the right assisted living community. Aside from location every assisted living community can offer unique benefits. Generally speaking, you should look for high-quality care, an outstanding layout and architectural design, a vibrant community, and the services and amenities you want. But that’s just touching the surface! Here are the top ten most important features to consider when searching for the best assisted living community for yourself or a loved one.

1. Personalized Care

Personalized care offers residents a tailored approach to managing their health. Changes in a resident’s health can be addressed quickly. With a focus on an individual’s unique health needs personalized care helps foster a supportive environment and an increase of independence and autonomy.

2. Cost of Living

An assisted living community could have a lower cost of living but will vary by state and individual communities. It’s important to check that all fees fit within your budget. Be sure to ask questions on costs, including whether there are additional expenses related to special services or amenities.

3. Services & Amenities

Many of today’s assisted living communities offer resort-style amenities and services for residents. These special features are designed to ensure seniors are healthy and happy and continue to maintain the highest level of independence possible. Look for these services:

  • Transportation assistance
  • 24/7 staff support
  • Social programming and access to events
  • Housekeeping and maintenance
  • Medication management
  • Laundry
  • Spa and salon service
  • Personal care

Potential additional services and amenities may include medical care, 24-hour emergency response systems, secured buildings, and personalized care plans.

4. Innovative Technology

Technological advancements allow for increased interaction between residents, their families, friends, and the world. Technology can keep residents connected as well as offering powerful tools for managing medication and making better care decisions. Look for communities that use virtual reality, have accessible Wi-Fi, computer lounges, and other high-tech services.

5. Wellness Programming

Wellness programs that target the mind, body, and spirit are important to maintain mental and physical as well as an overall positive outlook.

Health programs can include:

  • Dietary support
  • Swimming and aquatic fitness
  • Heart health support
  • Fitness programs
  • Spiritual and religious programs
  • Yoga and meditation

A wellness program should be designed to enhance mental stimulation, physical activity, and create a social connection.

6. Social Activities

Social programming and events are part of the resort-style amenities and services many communities offer. It’s important to ask what the activity schedule is like and if it aligns with your interests and hobbies. Some popular social activities include:

  • Cocktail hours
  • Live performances or musical entertainment
  • Art classes taught by professional artists
  • Movie nights
  • Sporting events
  • Lifelong learning classes and intergenerational activities

An active social life is not only fun for older residents, it reduces isolation, promotes active aging and independence, and is part of a balanced health and wellness program.

7. High Quality Dining Experiences

Good food is a priority for everyone living in an assisted living community. We know that proper nutrition is important to overall health. However, today’s residents are looking for more when it comes to the dining experience.

A feature many residents are looking for in their senior communities is 5-star dining experiences and food variety, with options that fit different tastes, preferences, and diets (e.g., vegetarian or religious). Residents no longer want ordinary meals but prefer chef-prepared culinary works of art. Residents look for exciting dining areas, casual bistros, cocktail bars, and lounges.

8. Pet Friendly Communities

Whether you have a cat or a dog, pets are an important part of the family. Pets provide comfort and companionship for residents, helping them stay healthy and happy as they age in place.

If pets are important to you, a pet-friendly community is a must. Be sure to check if there are monthly charges associated with pets.

9. Welcoming, Beautiful Spaces

The interior and exterior of an assisted living community should be welcoming and make residents feel inspired and at ease. You should feel comfortable as if you’re in a place where you belong. It’s important that the assisted living community is bright, open, and airy. Natural light is essential to having a positive experience in the common areas and apartments.

10. Staff to Resident Ratios, Qualifications, Training

The staff at a quality assisted living community should have the proper qualifications and training, be friendly and helpful, available 24/7, and have a good staff-to-resident ratio. Families can rest assured with a good ratio, staff can meet the needs of residents.

Finding Your Assisted Living Community

The best assisted living communities are designed to make every day special for residents. These top 10 traits of assisted living communities are a starting point. Use them to help you find an assisted living community that truly fits your needs. Be sure to visit in person if possible and ask lots of questions.  Find one in your area that offers all of these features—and then sit back and take advantage of them.

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Burcham Hills Management Company Ranked #1

in J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Senior Living Satisfaction Study

Burcham Hills, managed by Life Care Services®, An LCS® Company, announced that its management company ranked highest in customer satisfaction with independent senior living providers for the fourth consecutive year in the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Senior Living Satisfaction Study. Burcham Hills is proud to be a part of Life Care Services, which also achieved the highest score in all six factors of independent living resident satisfaction: resident activities, community staff, price paid for services received, resident apartment/living unit, community building and grounds, and dining. 

The J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Senior Living Study examines industry-level performance metrics of senior living providers and highlights the best practices that are critical to customer satisfaction, advocacy, and loyalty.

“Life Care Services is honored to again be recognized as the best in customer satisfaction among independent senior living providers,” said Joel Nelson, CEO of LCS, the parent company of Life Care Services. “Receiving this award for a fourth consecutive year is a significant accomplishment, especially considering our teams serve nearly 40,000 residents in more than 30 states. This award recognition is the result of our team’s focus on providing the best independent senior living experience for our residents.”  

Life Care Services ranked highest in independent living resident overall satisfaction with a score of 841 in the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Senior Living Satisfaction Study, 24 points higher than the prior year. The study is based on responses from residents of the largest* U.S. independent senior living providers within the previous three years.

To schedule an experience and learn more about Burcham Hills, request a visit online or call (517) 253-9980

About Life Care Services® 

Life Care Services, An LCS Company, has the experience required to boost community financial performance, increase occupancy, and develop new lifestyle and health initiatives to meet consumer expectations and help communities thrive. With a long track record of excellence, Life Care Services sets itself apart from other senior living companies with its unique, comprehensive portfolio of support services. Life Care Services is the nation’s second largest operator of senior living communities and has expertise in the management of both Life Plan and Rental communities. From independent living to assisted living, skilled nursing to memory care, at Life Care Services, Experience Is Everything. For more information, visit lifecareservicesLCS.com.

*Independent living providers included in the study must have had at least 7,000 living units and could not solely operate entrance-deposit communities. Included assisted living/memory care providers must have had at least 10,000 assisted living and/or memory care living units. Living unit data based on the Argentum Largest Providers Report, 2021.

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Nation’s third-largest senior living operator receives highest score in all 6 resident experience factors

Explore the best exercises for seniors and tips on how to get started, stay motivated, and enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle.

Staying active is vital at any age, but it’s especially crucial for seniors. Regular exercise provides many health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health, enhanced mental well-being, and helping seniors live a more independent lifestyle. There is growing evidence to show that it may slow the progression of dementia. In this blog post, we will explore the best exercises for seniors and provide tips on how to get started, stay motivated, and enjoy the numerous benefits of an active lifestyle.

Factors to Consider Before Starting an Exercise Routine

Before diving into a new exercise routine, taking a few precautions is essential. Speak with your doctor or physical therapist to determine which exercises suit your needs and health conditions. Pay attention to any discomfort or pain during training and adjust as needed. Begin with shorter durations and lower intensity, gradually increasing as your fitness level improves. To maintain long-term commitment, we recommend choosing exercises you’ll enjoy, and don’t be afraid to mix things up and try something new.

Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

Regular exercise is about as close to the fountain of youth as possible. Our top eight exercises have multiple benefits for seniors. The best news is that it is never too late to start. Seniors in their 60s, 70s, and even 90s have started exercise programs with fantastic results. No matter which exercises you choose, starting slow and easy is important. You’ll see the following benefits frequently throughout this blog:

  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Better balance and coordination
  • Increased bone density
  • Reduced risk of falls
  • Improved mental health
  • Better sleep quality
  • Stronger immune system
  • Weight management
  • Vibrant social connections

What Are the Types of Exercise?

If you haven’t seen the inside of a gym in a while, the terms weight-bearing, non-weight-bearing, and resistance exercises might be new to you.

  • Weight-bearing exercises are those that bear weight on your frame. These types of exercises include walking, jogging, stair climbing, tennis, and dancing.
  • Resistance exercises include all weight training or lifting weights.
  • Non-weight-bearing exercises include yoga, Tai chi, Pilates, cycling, and swimming. These are very gentle on your joints.

A good workout program can include all these workout types.

Top Exercises for Seniors

Below we’ve compiled the best exercises for seniors with benefits and tips to get started.

Walking for Seniors

Walking is one of the easiest exercises for seniors. It needs no special equipment, and most people can get started by opening their front door and going for a walk! Walking is considered a low-impact exercise, meaning it is easier on your joints, unlike running, which can put more stress on joints.

Benefits of Walking

Walking can improve your cardiovascular health, build endurance, strengthen muscles, and help to reduce high blood pressure. It can also maintain your joint flexibility and improve coordination which helps to reduce falls. Even taking a casual stroll can help improve your mood.

Tips to Get Started

If it has been a while since you’ve put on your walking shoes, start with a short stroll around your community and gradually increase the distance and pace as you feel comfortable. To stay motivated, consider joining a walking group or exploring different walking trails. If your community allows pets, but you want to avoid taking on the full-time responsibility of a pet, offer to walk other residents’ pups. As you get more comfortable walking, pick up the pace and add a light hand or ankle weight.

If the weather is a concern, you can always walk indoors.

Tai Chi for Seniors

Tai chi, an ancient Chinese martial art, promotes balance, flexibility, and mindfulness and is considered by some to be a “moving meditation.” Tai chi classes are often found at community centers, senior centers, local parks, or senior residences. If your senior community doesn’t offer Tai chi, ask your events director to add it to their list of programs.

Benefits of Tai Chi

Beyond the benefits mentioned above, Tai chi has been known to promote deep breathing, improve lower body strength, help with arthritis pain, and improve posture. Tai chi has been practiced by people worldwide for hundreds of years.

Tips to Get Started

Tai chi classes are fun and bring together like-minded people looking to mix up their workout routines. It is generally best to find an established teacher to teach the moves, and it is recommended to wear comfortable flat shoes. Since Tai chi is a very gentle exercise, seniors can do it once weekly or daily. Start with beginner-level classes, progress at your own pace, and have fun.

Strength Training for Seniors

Strength training has enormous benefits for seniors, and it’s never too late to reap the benefits. It’s important to start slowly and follow all the safety rules.

Tips to Get Started

Resistance training can be done using weights, resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises. Body weight exercises can be a great place to start because you don’t need any equipment and you use your body as the weight. An example of using your body weight would be wall pushups or chair squats. Consult a professional to learn the proper form to prevent injuries.

Benefits of Strength Training

Building muscle strength is crucial for seniors to maintain independence. Strength training helps prevent osteoporosis and can aid in the growth of muscle. It can also help maintain a healthy weight, boost metabolism, and improve balance and coordination.

Dance & Aerobic Activity

Aerobic exercises can encompass various activities, including aerobics classes, rowing, elliptical trainers, dancing, and even gardening. Of all aerobic activities, dancing may be the most fun. Dance fitness can include Latin, salsa, line dancing, and even ballet, tailored for adults and seniors.

Benefits of Aerobics

Aerobic exercise, called cardio, helps get your heart rate up and pumps blood and oxygen to your muscles and body. Like most exercises for seniors, aerobic training can improve heart health, help manage your weight, boost your metabolism, and can be fun to do.

Tips to Get Started

Seek out low-impact aerobics classes for seniors or try SilverSneakers. Wear walking shoes or other well-cushioned shoes for exercising.

Cycling for Seniors

Ready to feel the wind in your hair and feel like a kid again? Hopping on a bicycle can take you on a delightful journey physically and mentally, allowing you to explore new paths and rekindle that youthful spirit within.

Benefits of Cycling

Cycling, on a stationary bike or outdoors, can improve cardiovascular health, strengthen leg muscles, boost the immune system, and enhance balance and coordination.

Tips to Get Started

Biking for seniors is a safe exercise to engage in, but there are some precautions you should take.

  1. If you last rode your bike a while ago, be sure to have it checked over at your local bike shop. Make sure it is in top shape before riding.
  2. Always wear protective gear, including a bike helmet.
  3. Start slowly. If you haven’t been on a bike lately, take a leisurely ride around the community, keeping to flat roads or gentle inclines.
  4. Ride on designated bike trails rather than roads and streets.

Additional cycling options for seniors include:

  • Recumbent bikes
  • Electric bikes
  • Fat tire bikes
  • Stationary cycling at your gym or fitness center

Swimming for Seniors

For water-loving seniors, swimming can be a highly beneficial activity. Seniors can do other activities in the pool too, including aqua jogging, walking, and water aerobics; there are even senior water polo leagues to join.

Benefits of Swimming

When swimming, up to 90% of a person’s body weight is supported by water, which means it is gentle on the joints and is an ideal choice for seniors with arthritis or joint pain. Swimming is considered a full-body workout, which is an excellent choice if you have a busy lifestyle and are looking for one activity that will hit all muscle groups.

Tips to Get Started

Join a local pool or aquatic center to participate in swimming or water aerobics classes designed specifically for seniors.

Yoga for Seniors

Yoga and other non-weight-bearing exercises like Pilates, Tai chi, and qigong offer the benefits of a flexible body and may help improve sleep quality.

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is an excellent way for seniors to build strength and reduce stress. Yoga and other forms of stretching exercises are fantastic ways to improve flexibility. Greater flexibility in seniors can help reduce the risks of fractures and sprains. Keeping bodies limber through yoga improves posture and can aid in overall calmness and improved mental health.

Tips to Get Started

Look for senior-friendly yoga classes at local studios or community centers. Remember to use props and modifications to accommodate your unique abilities, and don’t over-stretch.

Chair Exercises for Seniors

A chair can adapt many standard exercises for those with limited mobility. Even cardio exercises can be done while sitting. Other exercises that can be adjusted include:

  • Strength and weight training
  • Yoga
  • Full-body workouts

Benefits

Like standard exercises, chair-based routines can help improve strength and flexibility, pumping heart rate, and putting less strain on joints. Chair exercises can aid in improving posture and circulation too.

How to Get Started

Many recreation and fitness centers have chair-based exercise programs and routines or search for “chair routines” online. Chair exercises can be done in a sturdy, comfortable chair, or a wheelchair.

Tips for Staying Motivated

Exercising is the easy part. Staying motivated is the tricky part. Some helpful tricks to keep on track include:

  • Set manageable milestones to keep yourself motivated.
  • Celebrate your progress!
  • Keep a journal or use an app to document your exercise routine and monitor improvements.
  • Take a before, during, and after photo. This can motivate you to keep going.
  • Enlist a friend or family member to join you in your fitness journey. Mutual support and accountability can go a long way.
  • Join a club or fitness group to foster community and make exercise fun.
  • Variety is the spice of life. Mix up your routines to prevent boredom and keep your body challenged.

The Importance of Rest and Recovery

Rest and recovery are crucial for your body’s health. Pay attention to signs of fatigue and allow yourself time to recover between workouts. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night to support muscle recovery and overall well-being. Incorporate relaxation practices such as deep breathing, meditation, or gentle stretching to help your body recover and manage stress.

Exercise As the Fountain of Youth

Physical exercise remains one of the best ways to keep bodies healthy and delay and reverse negative signs of aging. While we may not have discovered the elusive fountain of youth, embracing a consistent exercise program can help you age gracefully and maintain vitality. So, lace up those sneakers or roll out the yoga mat, and let the joy of movement be your fountain of youth, adding a splash of health, happiness, and energy to your life!

Find Your Community Today

At Life Care Services, we prioritize a healthy lifestyle for seniors. As a trusted leader with over 130 communities across the U.S., we offer a variety of care support and living options. For seniors looking to maintain health and wellness, a majority of our senior communities provide nearly every healthy choice mentioned above. Join us today and discover the best place to thrive, stay active, and create lasting connections.

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The Best Make Your Retirement Work for You: Pension vs. 401k

Are you looking towards retirement in a few years? Maybe you have already retired from work, downsized, and enjoying your freedom. Whatever stage you’re in, you’ll always need to examine your finances and make necessary adjustments. Planning for retirement early is best, but it’s never too late to start. We’ll look at the differences between a pension vs. a 401k and how you may be able to maximize your retirement options.

Are you looking towards retirement in a few years? Maybe you have already retired from work, downsized, and enjoying your freedom. Whatever stage you’re in, you’ll always need to examine your finances and make necessary adjustments. Planning for retirement early is best, but it’s never too late to start. We’ll look at the differences between a pension vs. a 401k and how you may be able to maximize your retirement options.

What is a Pension Plan?

A pension plan is an employee benefit where an employer makes monetary contributions to a fund. The employer promises to pay the eligible employee a certain amount after retiring. Pension plans are more likely to be offered in unions, government positions, and the public sector. However, these traditional pension plans are harder to come by as an employee benefit.

What are Public Pensions Plans vs. Private Pensions

The difference between public and private is public pension plans are from the federal, state, or local governments. In comparison, private pension plans come from private companies. Private pensions are rarely offered today.

The takeaway:

  • Pension plan is a retirement plan where the employer makes contributions.
  • A pension manager determines the funds or investments.
  • Funds can be accessed in the future when you retire.
  • Payouts occur throughout the pensioner’s lifetime.

What is a 401(k)

A 401(k) is a retirement investment option offered by many employers in the US. A 401(k) has tax advantages, making it attractive as part of a retirement investment package. When you start a new job, you may have the option to sign up for the company’s 401(k) plan. Employees agree to have a certain percentage of every check paid into the 401(k). Some employers will match a certain amount. Most investments are in the way of mutual funds.

There are two types of 401(k) – traditional and Roth. The differences between the two are in how they are taxed.

  • A Roth is created with after-tax income.
  • Traditional are created with pre-tax income.

Lastly, there are limits to how much an employee can contribute to a 401(k). The IRS has made adjustments for the 2021 and 2022 plans. Check with your company’s fund manager for up-to-date contribution amounts.

The main takeaways with a 401(k):

  • Funds are taken from an employee’s pay (but may be matched by an employer)
  • Money is distributed into investment funds.
  • More flexibility with 401(k)s but greater risk.
  • At retirement funds, only last until the money runs out.

Which is Better, a Pension Plan or a 401(k)?

Both pensions and 401(k) have their pros and cons. If you have a pension now, you are protected by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. This means the PBGC will (in most cases) pay if your employer goes out of business or can’t pay retirees. Pensions, as stated earlier, are becoming rare and harder to find as a benefit. A 401(k):

  • Offers portability – if you leave your company, your investments can be rolled into an IRA or 401(k) at your new company.
  • Gives employees more flexibility in how funds are managed.

Both plans have their benefits and downsides. It will depend on you and your situation to determine what’s important.

Is One Plan Safer Than the Other?

Generally speaking, a 401(k) may present greater risk since many pension plans are protected with PBGC. With a pension, you are guaranteed a certain monthly amount for life during retirement. If you don’t have a large 401(k) at retirement, it could run out of money early.

What Happens When I Quit?

There are numerous scenarios for your 401(k).

  1. If you quit your job before retirement, your 401(k) will be converted into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
  2. You could also cash out your 401(k), but you will incur tax penalties.
  3. If you are taking another job, your old 401(k) could be moved into the new company’s 401(k) plan.
  4. You could leave your old 401(k) with the past employer indefinitely.

You’ll need to check with your company for specifics on how they manage an outgoing 401(k).

The options for how your pension is managed if you leave your job before retirement includes:

  1. Taking the money out as a lump sum amount.
  2. Opting for regular payments in the future

Many companies have forfeit clauses regarding pensions. That is, if an employee quits and has only been at the job for five years or less, they lose all benefits of the pension. Check with your HR department on details surrounding terms and tenure.

Retirement Investment Options and Senior Living

Financial matters and planning are crucial during the retirement years, before, during, and after. Life Care Services have a variety of senior living communities that can work with your budget and retirement plans. If you have financial questions regarding any of the LCS communities, contact us today.

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Perfect Books for Seniors and Older Adults

There are countless good reasons to read. It’s relaxing; it’s portable. Reading is an excellent form of mental stimulation, and you can be transported to new worlds or back to yesteryear. Reading informs, educates, and delights. It’s never too late to get back into reading. We’ll look at books on aging and dementia, suggest a few great fiction reads, and offer tips for reading aloud to seniors.

There are countless good reasons to read. It’s relaxing; it’s portable. Reading is an excellent form of mental stimulation, and you can be transported to new worlds or back to yesteryear. Reading informs, educates, and delights. It’s never too late to get back into reading. We’ll look at books on aging and dementia, suggest a few great fiction reads, and offer tips for reading aloud to seniors.

Considerations for Reading to Older People

There are a few considerations to think about when reading books to older adults.

  1. Be sure to ask what the person enjoys reading! When reading aloud, it’s important to pick books that they like.
  2. Don’t limit to current books. Ask if they would like to read books from “back in the day.” Books from their past can be great conversation starters.
  3. For those that love poetry, poems and haikus can be perfect for those with shorter attention spans.
  4. Those with dementia or other memory loss may not be able to follow along or comprehend all the details. Be prepared to stop and start.
  5. Some older adults could be hard of hearing. Be sure to speak clearly and at an appropriate level.

Below are suggestions for reading aloud to seniors.

Loving Voice: A Caregiver’s Book of Read-Aloud Stories for the Elderly by C. Banks. This collection of short stories was expressly written to be read aloud to older people who are bed or home-bound. This collection is highly regarded by professional caregivers and contains stories from established writers and lesser-known contributors.

The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 by John Bishop. Hilariously told in theatrical style, this murder mystery is fun and a real page-turner. Great to be read aloud in a group setting.

books on aging well can give you tips on health, finances and more

9 Books on Aging Well

When looking for books on aging, search for topics on what happens as people age, the positive aspects of aging, and overall pro-aging stories. A few suggestions include:

  1. Aging Well: Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life by George E. Vaillant. In this book, a renowned psychiatrist and researcher draws upon decades of studies from the Harvard Study of Adult Development to explore what it means to age well. He identifies key factors that contribute to a fulfilling and contented old age, such as maintaining close relationships, adapting to life’s challenges, and finding purpose and meaning in one’s later years.
  2. The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner. Dan Buettner travels the world to identify regions, known as Blue Zones, where people tend to live exceptionally long and healthy lives. In this book, he distills the lessons learned from these communities, offering practical advice on how to increase longevity and well-being. Buettner emphasizes the importance of lifestyle factors such as diet, social connections, and physical activity in the quest for a longer, healthier life.
  3. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande. Apracticing surgeon and writer, Gawande delves into the complex issues surrounding aging and end-of-life care. He explores how modern medicine often focuses on extending life at the expense of quality of life for the elderly, and he advocates for a more compassionate and person-centered approach to aging and dying. Gawande’s book encourages readers to consider their values and priorities when it comes to aging and end-of-life decisions.
  4. Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life by Louise Aronson. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction, Aronson’s book shows a vision of old age filled with wonder, joy, and hope.
  5. This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism by Ashton Applewhite. Applewhite’s book is an uplifting rallying cry for older generations. The author tracks her journey from boomer to pro-aging advocate and debunks plenty of myths we’ve all grown to believe are true.
  6. Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Age, by Jo Ann Jenkins. Jenkins, the CEO of AARP, focuses on health, wealth, and the self for those 50+. Topics include mindful aging, caregiving, and finance topics.
  7. Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife Edited by Carleen Brice. A collection of essays from Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Susan L. Taylor, Nikki Giovanni, and more examine aging from a Black woman’s perspective. Deeply moving and uplifting.
  8. Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives by Daniel J. Levitin. Levitin is a neuroscientist and has written extensively on neuroscience. In Successful Aging, he shows how aging is a stage of life that has extraordinary benefits creatively, physically, and cognitively.
  9. I’m Too Young to Be Seventy by Judy Viorst. Viorst has written about what it means to be 50 and 60. Here she talks about the joys and sorrows of being a septuagenarian with a healthy dose of humor. Readers will love her helpful tips on being married to someone who is “thermostatically incompatible” and dealing with middle age children.

Fiction Books for Seniors and Older Adults

It may surprise some, but Agatha Christie remains the bestselling fiction writer of all time. Her mystery novels are beloved by multiple generations making her collection a great way to start an intergenerational book club. Additional authors seniors might enjoy include:

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. Major Pettigrew is a worldwide favorite and tells a charming story of finding love and hope.

The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. A funny, larger-than-life character you won’t soon forget.

Bowl of Cherries by Millard Kaufman. Kaufmann created the Mr. Magoo character and was an award-winning screenwriter; he wrote Bowl of Cherries at age 90.

Books for Seniors with Dementia

Depending on the state of dementia, older people may still be able to enjoy reading books. Look for books with large print to relieve eye strain. In the case of more advanced memory issues, short stories, letters from family, news articles, or magazine articles are great alternatives to longer forms of reading.

Picture books are another excellent reading option for those with dementia. Choose subjects the senior is familiar with and has a passion for. Board-style books are a perfect choice for seniors with dexterity or grip issues.

A Bevy of Blue: Picture Book for Dementia Patients by Emma Rose Sparrow has beautiful photos featuring the color blue. Part of a series that includes different levels for those at varying stages of memory loss. A Bevy of Blue is level 2 good which focuses on photos but with sparse text.

Build Up Your Personal Library

For additional book recommendations for seniors, ask around at social gatherings or the local library. Commit to reading more by attending a book group. If you don’t have a book group near you, start one!

Reading can be a part of a supportive wellness program for all seniors. Many Life Care Service communities have active reading clubs and groups. Explore our senior living options, and find a retirement lifestyle better than a fairy tale!

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How Much Exercise Do Seniors Need?

It’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program. They will advise on programs based on current health and fitness levels. There’s no way around it. Regular exercise for seniors can greatly improve not only physical health but mental health too. We know how good exercise is at any age, but for seniors, it’s especially important to get out and move. We’ll explore how much exercise is too much for seniors, along with the benefits of exercise, what types are great for seniors and more.

It’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program. They will advise on programs based on current health and fitness levels.

There’s no way around it. Regular exercise for seniors can greatly improve not only physical health but mental health too. We know how good exercise is at any age, but for seniors, it’s especially important to get out and move. We’ll explore how much exercise is too much for seniors, along with the benefits of exercise, what types are great for seniors and more.

Importance of Health and Fitness for Seniors

Engaging in regular exercise might be the closest thing to the fountain of youth. Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes in older adults. Additional benefits of exercise for seniors include:

  • Better balance and a decrease in falls
  • Improved mood and outlook
  • Greater overall energy levels
  • Improved bone health
  • Stronger muscles
  • Greater range of motion and flexibility
  • Improved quality of sleepThe best news about exercise and seniors is that it’s never too late to start. Even if you have lived a generally sedentary life, starting and sticking to a regular exercise program can improve the quality of your life.

    What is Moderate Exercise vs. Vigorous

    As you begin a fitness program you may hear a lot about moderate and vigorous exercise. Aerobic activity at a moderate intensity includes brisk walking or hiking, bicycle riding, water aerobics, and even yard work. You’ll know you are engaging in moderate exercise by using a 10-point scale. Sitting would rate at a zero. A casual stroll along a flat surface might rate a 2. Moderate intensity is at a 5-6 when you can feel your heartbeat, and you’ll be breathing harder, but you can still have a conversation. Anything above a 6 is considered vigorous.

    You can also check with your doctor and ask about what a target heart rate would be for your age and level of fitness. Purchase a heart rate monitor for an easy way to track your moderate and vigorous intensity levels.

    The intensity level will vary from person to person. What’s moderate for some may be vigorous for someone else. As you become more fit, you’ll see that you can exercise longer and your level of fitness will improve. Any moderate activity could be amped up and turned into a vigorous workout.

    How Often Should Seniors Exercise

    How often a senior should exercise will depend on current level of fitness and what their capabilities are. If you’re just starting to get back into an exercise routine and after your doctor’s approval, it’s best to ease into workouts and work up to the recommended time of:

  • 2 ½ hours (150 minutes) for moderate intensity
  • 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) for vigorous activityBroken down, that’s about 30 minutes a day, five days a week of moderate exercise, and 15 minutes a day for five days a week for vigorous activity.

    Because everyone’s fitness level is different, it’s important to do physical activities at a level that is appropriate for you and your capabilities.

    Remember, physical exercise is not only done at the gym. If you mow the yard at a moderate intensity level and it takes 30 minutes, you’ve just had a workout. Additional ways to add in physical activity include:

  • Playing with the grandkids
  • Taking a pet for daily walks
  • Walking to the bus stop or grocery store
  • Taking the stairs
  • Yard work

How Much Exercise is too Much for Seniors?

Too much exercise for seniors can increase the risk of physical injury and even a fatal medical event, such as a heart attack. Engaging in exercise without warming up or simply doing too much in one work out session can increase the risk of injury. It is important that you check with your doctor before engaging in any physical exercise routine.

After the doctor’s okay, you may feel eager and excited to get back into it. That’s a great attitude! When you begin a new workout, ease into the routine, take it slow and note how you feel before and after. With changing bodies, there may be exercises that you no longer can or need to do. In most exercises, there’s a modification or substitute you can do to accommodate mobility issues and other issues.

After exercising, you’re bound to feel stiff and sore muscles for a day or two after. But others sign of discomfort such as nausea, shortness of breath, or fatigue are signs you may be overdoing it. Or it could be signs of something more severe, and you should talk with your doctor immediately.

Types of Exercise Best for Seniors

Within our Life Care Services Communities, there are opportunities to engage in group exercise classes, walking clubs and wellness programs and other physical activities.

To get a well-rounded exercise plan, be sure to include aerobic activity, weight training, and strength and balance training.

Aerobic activities include:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Dancing and aerobics classes
  • Water aerobics
  • Swimming
  • Bicycling

Stretching and balance training include general stretching exercises, yoga, Pilates, tai chi, ballet, and other forms of dance. Yoga and Pilates can be adapted for those with mobility issues.

Weight training may sound intimidating, but the benefits are hard to ignore. Many weight training programs can be modified for those with limited mobility or who are wheelchair or walker-dependent. If you feel like you need help in the weight room, gyms and recreation centers have personal trainers who can help with form. You shouldn’t do all these activities in one day. If you don’t know how to properly perform an exercise, enlist a personal trainer who can help you maintain good form.

You shouldn’t do all these activities in one day. Set up a schedule such as Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for weight training and Tuesday and Thursday for stretching and balance training. The important thing is to be as consistent as you can.

The Best Time to Start is Now

Starting something new, like an exercise program, has its challenges. It may come as a surprise that we can no longer do certain activities or exercises due to age or injury. But it is important to remember that it really is never too late to get in shape and be the fittest you can be.

If you’re thinking of moving into a retirement community for yourself or a loved one, be sure to check out the amenities and services offered. As fitness becomes more integral to your life, you’ll want to live in a community that will be supportive of that lifestyle. Life Care Services has over 130 communities across the United States. Our communities have some of the finest fitness services around, including swimming pools, state-of-the-art fitness centers, personal training, and more. To find a community, talk with us today!

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Is it Alzheimer’s or Dementia? How to Tell the Difference

Many people think that Alzheimer’s and dementia are the same and use the terms interchangeably. However, there are distinctions between the two. It is important for effective treatment and management to know these differences. We’ll learn more about dementia, the types, causes, and how it differs from Alzheimer’s.

Many people think that Alzheimer’s and dementia are the same and use the terms interchangeably. However, there are distinctions between the two. It is important for effective treatment and management to know these differences. We’ll learn more about dementia, the types, causes, and how it differs from Alzheimer’s.

What is Dementia?

Many people assume Alzheimer’s is a broad term for all dementia. Alzheimer’s is actually a common form of dementia and falls under the dementia umbrella, not the other way around. More specifically, dementia is considered a syndrome, not a disease. Dementia is a decline in mental function with a loss of memory, cognitive functioning, problem-solving, remembering, reasoning, thinking, attention, and other issues.

Dementia is not a normal part of aging, and some types of dementia are very rare. People with the following factors may be at a higher risk of developing dementia:

  • Age
  • Trauma or head injuries
  • Poor heart health
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Family history
  • Certain health conditions

Early symptoms of dementia can be mild such as forgetfulness or losing track of time. Dementia can progress and lead to changes in behavior, depression, confusion, and even the loss of remembering faces of loved ones. Treatments for dementia can help manage symptoms. Currently, there is no cure for irreversible types of dementias.

What are the Types of Dementia

We often think there are only one or two kinds of dementia. However, medical professionals have identified up to 400 different types of dementia. Some have similar or overlapping symptoms, which can make a diagnosis difficult. In some cases, one person may have multiple types of dementia. If this happens, it is called mixed dementia. We’ll discuss a few types of dementia, from the more common to rare forms.

Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) is a common form of dementia. Proteins called Lewy Bodies build up within the body and result in symptoms of reduced mobility, shuffling walk, and other signs, including cognitive changes and mental decline. It may be challenging to determine if a person has DLB or Parkinson’s disease because Lewy Bodies are present in those with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s Disease Dementia

Parkinson’s dementia develops in some but not all people with Parkinson’s disease. People diagnosed with Parkinson’s may develop dementia late in the disease. To complicate matters, dementia with Lewy Bodies and Parkinson’s dementia symptoms may overlap, but each will appear in a different order.

Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is a very common type of dementia. This type of dementia is caused by reduced oxygen and blood flow to the brain cells. Blood vessels within the brain narrow and reduce oxygen and blood flow. Without blood flow and oxygen, brain cells die. Keeping blood pressure in check may help prevent vascular dementia.

Frontotemporal Dementia

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) affects everyone differently, and there are several types under the umbrella of FTD. Every kind of FTD can have unique signs and symptoms. A few types of FTD include:

  • Picks Disease
  • Primary Progressive Aphasia
  • Semantic Dementia
  • Behavioral Variant FTD
  • Logopenic Variant

FTD is not a common type of dementia and can be hard to diagnose. It is a progressive form of dementia and affects behavior and speech.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a brain disorder that affects about one out of a million people yearly worldwide. Generally, people with CJD are diagnosed after the age of 60. CJD has similar symptoms to other forms of dementia. These include:

  • Faulty memory
  • Behavioral changes
  • Lack of coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty walking and balance

There are three types of CJD, sporadic, hereditary, and acquired. Each of these types may have overlapping symptoms alongside unique ones, a different prognosis and treatments may vary. One of the differences between CJD and other forms of dementia is the progressive nature of CJD. Many diagnosed with CJD die within a year, whereas other forms of dementia have a slower progression.

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is a form of dementia that affects the brain and spinal cord. There is fluid in the spinal cord called cerebrospinal fluid or CSF. When the flow of CSF to the brain’s ventricles is blocked, this will disrupt normal processes. Classic dementia symptoms with NPH include forgetfulness, fatigue, and difficulty walking.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s is a specific type of dementia and is one of the most common forms. It is named after Alois Alzheimer, who in 1906 discovered a strange new disease that affected the cerebral cortex.

It’s important to recognize that Alzheimer’s is an actual disease affecting the brain, whereas dementia refers to many brain disorders. Alzheimer’s is located within this group of disorders.

A second major difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s is that some forms of dementia can be reversed. These include dementia caused by a vitamin deficiency, drug interaction, or drug toxicity. Alzheimer’s is not a reversible disease and is considered degenerative and incurable.

Like many forms of dementia, Alzheimer’s worsens over time and affects a person’s language skills, thoughts, and memories. Often symptoms can overlap between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and adults over 65 are at a greater risk. However, younger people can also develop both Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Treating Alzheimer’s Disease vs. Other Types of Dementia

Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or most forms of dementia, there are options and treatments to manage symptoms. Since there are many overlapping symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia, treatments may also intersect. Treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia include medications that can help with:

  • Memory loss issues
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression

Of course, with so many forms of dementia, treatments may be specific to a particular type. For instance, a spinal tap is used for those with normal pressure hydrocephalus and not with any other forms of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Learn More About Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Alzheimer’s and dementia have been with us for many years. And, every year, we learn more and find effective programs and treatments so individuals with any type of memory loss can live with dignity and purpose. There are additional ways to learn more on Alzheimer’s and dementia.  Connect with LCS Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the lives of current and future generations of seniors through initiatives that support Alzheimer’s research and care.

Talk with your doctor if you or a loved one are concerned with memory loss issues or other signs of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Receiving a diagnosis early can help you better understand your options and prepare for the future.

At Life Care Services, we provide professional services in safe environments for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. To learn more about our resources, request a tour, or use our search tool to find a Life Care Services ® near you.

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15 Heart-Healthy Foods for Seniors to Enjoy

Healthy eating for seniors is not always top of mind, but it is especially important as we age. That’s because poor diet is a major risk factor for chronic diseases, disability, and death, with nearly two-thirds of seniors over the age of 65 in the U.S. consuming a poor diet. Improving nutrition for older adults is a conversation worth having, and it’s also important to remove the stigma that healthy food for older adults isn’t enjoyable. There are so many wonderful fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, proteins, dairy, and more to love!

Healthy eating for seniors is not always top of mind, but it is especially important as we age. That’s because poor diet is a major risk factor for chronic diseases, disability, and death, with nearly two-thirds of seniors over the age of 65 in the U.S. consuming a poor diet. Improving nutrition for older adults is a conversation worth having, and it’s also important to remove the stigma that healthy food for older adults isn’t enjoyable. There are so many wonderful fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, proteins, dairy, and more to love!

Life Care Services®  communities prepare a wide variety of delicious and healthy meals for seniors. It’s all about balance. When dietary restrictions allow, it’s okay to enjoy an ice cream cone or a piece of pizza! However, there are numerous heart-healthy foods for seniors that offer exciting flavors and excellent nutrition to not only provide flavor-filled taste but also health benefits.

Here are 15 foods for seniors that are great for the heart, body, and soul!

Protein

  1. Fish

    Yes, one of the best foods to promote heart health is filled with fat! Fish, such as salmon or tuna, contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which fight back against cardiovascular disease. Consider easy heart-healthy recipes for seniors with fish as a main course, prepared in the oven. For those who don’t enjoy seafood, fish oil supplements are available to receive your daily omega-3s.

  2. Skinless Chicken, Turkey

    Known as lean meats, skinless chicken and turkey with fresh herbs and spices are staples of low-sodium meals for seniors. With the skin removed, and without added salt, older adults consume meals that are healthy, especially if high blood pressure is a concern.

  3. Eggs

    While eggs are high in cholesterol, they are nutritious and good for the heart when prepared properly and consumed in moderation. Avoid fried eggs and enjoy this protein without the yolk, which is where nearly all of the cholesterol is found.

    Nuts

  4. Walnuts

    A wonderful snack, walnuts (like fish) are filled with omega-3 fats and are a good choice to prevent heart problems. They are also an excellent source of fiber.

  5. Almonds

    Filled with unsaturated fats, almonds are another healthy nut and should be enjoyed without the heavy salt and sugar, which can lead to heart health challenges. This nut is also a good snack for lowering what is classified as bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

  6. Cashews

    Choose unsalted or low-sodium cashews for heart-health benefits. The cashew has been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, it can help lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol ratings for some with type 2 diabetes.

    Fruits

  7. Berries

    From blueberries to strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cranberries, fruits of this variety are filled with nutritious antioxidants, fibers, vitamins, and of course, delicious juices! Meal preparation for seniors should include berries, especially on salads and low-fat yogurts.

  8. Pears, Peaches

    Fresh fruits including pears and peaches are both highly nutritious and can promote heart health, as well as good digestion and anti-inflammation. However, it is important that those fruits be fresh and not canned in heavy syrups or glazes, which often contain lots of sugar.

  9. Apples, Oranges

    Similar to pears and peaches, fresh apples and oranges are healthy foods for older adults, from the high fiber and potassium in oranges to polyphenols in apples. The same concern around canned apples and oranges applies. Dried fruits are also less healthy, as the process actually removes many of the healthy benefits.

    Vegetables & Grains

  10. Leafy Greens

    Spinach, salad greens, fresh lettuce, kale, and many other types of leafy greens boost vitamins and vital nutrients to promote heart health. The best types of leafy green vegetables are usually dark greens. Leafy greens are a great foundation for senior cuisine, especially when preparing meals for those with high blood pressure or a high risk of cardiovascular disease.

  11. Carrots

    A colorful, tasty snack or addition to many dishes, carrots are filled with heart-healthy qualities. Carrots reduce bad cholesterol which can lead to heart disease and is a sought-after food when weight loss is a goal.

  12. Whole Grains

    The inclusion of whole grains in senior diets helps reduce heart concerns, including the effects of type 2 diabetes. Whole grains include brown rice, bran, oatmeal, barley, sorghum, and many other varieties.

    Dairy

  13. Reduced-Fat Milk

    While even low or reduced-fat milk still contains unhealthy fats, consuming it in moderation (usually two or three servings per day) will provide heart-healthy benefits, like calcium intake. It is best to avoid flavored milk, which often adds unhealthy fat and sugar.

  14. Reduced-Fat Cheese

    Many delicious kinds of cheese are prepared with reduced-fat options which limit the trans fats and saturated fats often contained in traditional cheeses. When consumed in limited quantities, reduced-fat cheeses can be a part of a heart-healthy diet.

  15. Butter Substitute

While traditional butter does contain calcium and vitamin D, it is also filled with high-fat content.  Consider healthy alternatives to butter such as avocado spread, vegetable-oil spreads, nut butters, or other substitutes.

Enjoy Delicious Meals and Welcoming Communities with Life Care Services

Healthy food for seniors should never compromise quality, taste, and the ability to find joy in a wonderful meal. Professional culinary experts at more than 130 Life Care Services communities across the U.S. prepare dishes so residents enjoy every bite. We also know that food is about more than just nutrition – it’s also about friendship and family. Share a healthy meal with those you love and get to know new friends around the dinner table. We’re always here to help you with senior living support, so find a community today!

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The Best Volunteer Opportunities for Seniors

Older adults have valuable life experiences, and retirement is an opportune time for seniors to give back by sharing what they have learned.

Older adults have valuable life experiences, and retirement is an opportune time for seniors to give back by sharing what they have learned.

Senior volunteers can be assets to any project, organization, or initiative, and the agreement is beneficial for both sides. From physical activities to sharing knowledge in a variety of settings, retirees have plenty of options for volunteering, and just need to know where to look.

Life Care Services® has compiled a list of top volunteer opportunities for seniors, and we’ll go over why volunteering for seniors is important.

Where Can Seniors Volunteer?

Everyone, regardless of age, wants to feel like they are contributing to society. There are a number of retired senior volunteer programs and activities that are fulfilling and provide older adults with a feeling of inclusiveness.

Hunger, Service, and Relief Organizations

Older adults have a wide variety of options to give back, including through organizations that distribute food, clothing, and resources to those less fortunate.

Examples include:

There are an endless number of other organizations that offer local senior volunteer programs like Habitat for Humanity and the American Red Cross. Find an organization that meets your interests and skillset!

Mentorships

Senior volunteers have a lot to offer younger generations who look to them for advice and guidance. Older adults often work with children and young adults through mentorship programs. This can include academic tutoring or school-sponsored reading programs, but also social and cultural mentorships through organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Additionally, many of these bonds can be forged through intergenerational activities that are often facilitated through Life Care Services senior living communities. From daycare partnerships to arts and crafts, there is an abundance of options for seniors and children to explore and grow together!

Entertainment and Cultural Centers

Seniors are valuable contributors to local groups that provide entertainment and cultural services for communities. Volunteer work for seniors is needed at the following venues:

  • Museums
  • Historical sites
  • Community tours
  • Theatres
  • Concert venues
  • Sporting events
  • Gardens/nature centers

Many older adults are perfect for these roles as they may already have significant knowledge in specific areas. What was once considered a hobby or interest can be turned into a daily or weekly volunteer opportunity.

Animal and Agricultural Organizations

Volunteering for seniors doesn’t always have to include human-to-human interactions. Many local humane societies, animal shelters, and related organizations have opportunities for older adults to care for animals.

Organizations like 4-H also have local clubs where seniors can work with youth through agricultural education, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) initiatives, and more.

Assisting Military Veterans

Supporting local military service members and their families is a critical desire for many seniors. This connection is associated with the national pride that many have garnered themselves from serving in our nation’s armed forces. There are many volunteer opportunities for seniors who want to assist veterans.

Organizations and projects include:

  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) – Dedicated to volunteerism, Veteran’s Affairs (VA) assistance, and honoring those who have served. Local VFW posts and VFW auxiliary also provide a sense of community
  • United Service Organizations (USO) – Connecting volunteers to servicemembers through special events, welcoming ceremonies for troops, and more.
  • Honor Flight Network – Celebrating America’s veterans through trips to national memorials.

Fraternal Societies & Community Organizations

Many seniors find fulfilling volunteer work through connection and inspiration. Join a fraternal or community organization that provides charity and outreach to make a difference, such as:

From providing scholarships and financial support for medical care to a multitude of other measures, volunteering as a dedicated member of an organization provides its own sense of community while helping others.

Why Should Seniors Volunteer?

It’s clear that there are many ways for seniors to get involved with volunteer activities, but why is it important to them?

The short answer is fulfillment and time well spent. Those two reasons look different for everyone, but generally, senior volunteers have the opportunity for the following:

  • To learn something new
  • To make new social connections
  • To relieve stress
  • To find new interests
  • To immerse themselves in existing interests
  • To learn
  • To effectively manage their time

Experience is Everything at Life Care Services

The senior living lifestyle is never defined by one activity or amenity. However, volunteer opportunities for seniors provide gratification for residents, allowing them to experience joy and recognition for their continuing contributions as older adults. Life Care Services communities are available for seniors and their families to begin to define those experiences, and our staff is here to provide the support and care necessary. We will help you or your loved one determine the next steps for an enriching life. Get in touch with us and talk with our team about your ambitions. Find a community in your area, today!

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13 Tips to Help Seniors Thrive in Retirement

Retirement is a wonderful time to explore newfound freedoms, enjoy some well-earned relaxation, and grow as individuals.

Retirement is a wonderful time to explore newfound freedoms, enjoy some well-earned relaxation, and grow as individuals. Finding fulfillment in retirement isn’t the same for everyone. Different interests and goals mean every person has the ability to create a custom plan of what retirement looks like for them.

There is a misconception that determining how to thrive in retirement solely depends on your financial outlook. In reality, flourishing in retirement is about creating a plan that will help you embody an enjoyable, healthy lifestyle.

If you are looking for ideas about how to make a retirement plan that fits your interests and goals, you’ve come to the right place. Life Care Services® has put together several retirement tips that seniors can use to thrive.

  1. Have a new perspective
    • We often become entrenched in keeping to a tight schedule at the height of our careers and when raising children. Some retirement advice you can take to heart: look at your life by objectives and not by available time. If you want to experience something new, go for it!
  2. Enjoy a hobby
    • From playing cards to hiking, retirement is the perfect opportunity to spend time on your existing hobbies or to find new ones! You get to determine activities that are meaningful and provide challenges that will be rewarding to accomplish.
  3. Invest in friendships
    • Social interaction as a senior is great for mental wellness. It’s also a time to rekindle important connections with existing friends and to discover new friendships with others in a senior living community. Look forward to a lot of smiling and laughing!
  4. Act on your health
    • Health visits are not just for when you’re sick. Retirement presents the opportunity to check in on your health with medical professionals who can provide guidance for both physical and mental health. This also includes forming healthy eating, sleeping, exercise, and resting habits.
  5. Review your financial plan
    • While financial planning is a part of retirement, it’s easy to see it isn’t the only component. Still, you will want to work directly with a professional to organize a plan for your retirement years, and for your family’s future. Many times, seniors may try to plan based on the goals of others their age. It’s important to determine a budget you are comfortable with and allocate your finances as you see fit.
  6. Give back
    • The word “giving” is often associated with philanthropy. While financial donations to organizations, schools, and other areas are a great way to give, so is providing advice, mentoring someone, volunteering, or simply supporting others with kindness.
  7. Share your knowledge
    • Many seniors have children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who would love to hear stories that can be passed down for generations. Retirement is a time to organize those thoughts and to do your own research on family lineage and history.
  8. Embrace learning opportunities
    • Your retirement is not an end to learning, it is a beginning! Seniors have a great opportunity to master new ideas and concepts. Consider taking a class to expand your skills or sitting in on a lecture about a topic of interest.
  9. See the world
    • While not a goal for everyone, traveling is an experience many in retirement want to take part in. What does your map look like? Plan destinations with loved ones, family, and friends. New sights and global cultures are waiting for you.
  10. Plan a routine (or don’t!) 
    • Setting routines help many retirees keep structure to their day, similar to what they had while working. Others may want to shed the need for that structure. Sticking to a routine is a personal decision, but it can be helpful for some who still want to keep structure to their daily activities.
  11. “Work” where you love
    • Many seniors who are retired may have stepped away from their careers but want to find fulfillment in part-time jobs or as paid volunteers. Now is the time to find a position that makes you happy and provides enjoyment when you go to work.
  12. Live in a place you love
    • Your living environment should be a top priority in retirement, with access to amenities and comforts that suit your desires. Forget cleaning a home or needing to provide maintenance, a senior living residence should be one that lets you relax and unwind after a day of fun!
  13. Enjoy it all
    • When you consider what you want out of retirement, enjoyment should be the number one goal. Breathe it in, and have a great time experiencing all there is to love about retiring.

Thrive in Retirement at a Life Care Services Community

Life Care Services has a wide variety of senior living retirement communities available around the U.S., all of which support residents and their custom retirement plans. We will help you accomplish your goals and align your interests, in addition to presenting options you may not have even known were available.

Ready to get started? Find your community, today!

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What to Look for When Researching Senior Living

Taking care of ourselves can seem like a struggle no matter where we are in age, but as we reach our senior years, there’s a point where meeting our daily needs can become a real challenge.

Taking care of ourselves can seem like a struggle no matter where we are in age, but as we reach our senior years, there’s a point where meeting our daily needs can become a real challenge. Additionally, many of us are looking for company and companionship as we age and senior living can be a great option to fulfill those desires.

If you find yourself struggling to get through your day to day activities or simply want to make new social connections, it might be time to look into senior living options.

Life Care Services knows how hard it is to find a senior living community that can cater to your individual needs. We’ve created this helpful guide to assist you with your upcoming life decision.

Choosing the Right Community for You

The first step to take is to assess what level of care you need at this moment. Where are the areas you seem to be struggling? From there, you can search for communities that offer those specific amenities and begin to narrow them down by location.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you get to nitpick.

What to Look For

Scheduling a visit to a community is the best way to get a feeling for how good of a match a community is. There, you’ll be able to gauge the atmosphere of the community, how clean the amenities are, and the sense of familiarity between the other residents.

By scheduling a visit for a day you know an activity or event is taking place, you’ll be able to experience how the residents interact with each other, and with the employees. This can be a great insight into whether you could see yourself fitting into the community and allow you to line up your needs with the amenities offered. It is important to make sure that the community you choose is going to feel like home to you.

There is more to a senior living community than the physical care they can offer. By doing some introspection on your own lifestyle and interests, you can simplify your research.

Activities and Programs

Consider the hobbies and activities you enjoy in your everyday life. It is important as a senior to keep engaging in the hobbies that have brought you joy in life, or find something new! You want a community where you’ll still be able to indulge in your favorite activities and the employees are enthusiastic to help accommodate those interests.

As a part of your research, look for a community calendar. Not only should the programs available peak your interest, they should also meet social, emotional, vocational, physical, environmental, spiritual and intellectual needs. If a community’s calendar is looking sparse, that may be your sign to look into other options.

Location

Location can play a big part in how much you enjoy your time in a senior living community. Remember, there is no obligation to stay in the same area you’re currently living in. If you have no family living in your vicinity, it may be a smart move to consider finding a community closer to them so you’ll have some support.

If you do decide to relocate, there are plenty of options in urban, rural or resort settings. Warmer climates tend to be popular, but four-season states are also great options. A good deciding factor is to focus on the lifestyle you are looking for. The ideal locations for snow-skiing are going to be vastly different than the communities that offer golf year-round.

Cost of Living

Before you can decide on a senior living community, you must do some math. The cost of living varies across the country, so it’s important to research the cost of taxes and expenses in your ideal location. By lining those numbers up alongside the fees of your prospective communities, you can give yourself a better idea of what your future expenses will look like.
Balancing your budget can also depend on the cultural offerings of your chosen location. Your expenses are going to be higher in an urban location, with museums and theatres to indulge in, compared to suburban and rural areas. A part of the balance is creating an equilibrium between what you want and what you can afford.

Inclusivity

The most important quality of any senior living community is that it is welcoming. A great indicator that a community will accept you and all of your quirks is when that community is filled with people from all walks of life. If you visit a community and find yourself surrounded by people of all different races, ethnicities, sexualities and genders, then you know that there is a reason all of those people want to be there.

Senior Living Community Types

A senior living community is a great way for seniors to transition into an environment where their individual needs can be met, while retaining as much independence as possible.

Each type of senior living community revolves around the level of care seniors will require day-to-day at a community. Service options include:

  • Independent Living
  • Skilled Nursing
  • Assisted Living
  • Memory Care

Start Your Research with Us

Life Care Services seeks to provide every senior the comprehensive care that will turn a community into a home. By catering to the individual, we fulfill our mission of enriching residents’ experiences in all aspects of community life.

Find a community in your area today!

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Tips for Taking Care of Your Mental Health as a Senior

Protecting our mental health and mental wellness is easier said than done. We tell ourselves to smile or find the good in life, but the truth is, some days can be hard.

Protecting our mental health and mental wellness is easier said than done. We tell ourselves to smile or find the good in life, but the truth is, some days can be hard.

The issue of senior mental health is in a category of its own. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), at least one in four older adults experiences a mental disorder, with depression being the most common issue. People aged 85 and older also have the highest suicide rate of any age group.
As we get older, fears may creep in if we have to navigate any of the following:

  • Depression and/or anxiety from isolation
  • Mobility issues
  • Disrupted daily routine
  • Lack of regular exercise
  • Dietary changes

To protect our overall health, it’s important to maintain positive mental health as we age. There is so much for seniors to experience. With a little help, you may find that your mental wellness can be better than ever.

Our Mental Health Tips for Seniors

Life Care Services, An LCS® Company, has compiled a list of the best tips for mental health that seniors can use to enjoy life and remain happy. Let’s take a look at five tips that we have found effective for our residents.

1. Take Part in Social Activities

Senior living communities are built on the foundation of social activity among residents. Seniors can stay active with aerobics, swimming, or walks with friends. Engaging socially is also often done through crafts or playing games. Social relationships can help our mental wellness and reduce the fear of social isolation, while also improving physical and emotional health.

2. Keep a Proper Sleep Schedule

A lack of quality sleep for older adults can reduce quality of life for people over 65. Studies suggest that poor sleep for seniors can relate to poor mental wellness, with hospitalizations, higher mortality rates, and more. There is a myth that we need less sleep as we get older. The National Sleep Foundation debunks that myth, and advises seniors to receive between seven and eight hours of sleep each night.

3. Consult with Medical Professionals

Maintaining positive mental health is a struggle for many people. All seniors are encouraged to take the time to address mental wellness challenges – there is no shame in seeking help. Seniors often benefit from mental health counseling where they can discuss their concerns with a medical professional. Stress can degrade mental health and lead to high blood pressure. Mood changes can also hurt your mental health, as can a lack of cognitive function. Receiving treatment is sometimes necessary and a medical consultation will help you determine an actionable plan if you experience any warning signs.

4. Spend Time with Loved Ones

Family support is a critical component to the psychological impact of aging. Elderly mental health support is built on connections with family members, good friends, and other loved ones. For example, a study from the Gerontological Society of America found that there is a strong mental health benefit between grandparents spending time with grandchildren. In this case, greater affinity or an emotional closeness reduced depressive symptoms for both parties. Similar studies between grandparents and younger grandchildren have been found to also lower depression risks for seniors.

5. Continue to Do What You Love

As our bodies age, we may not always be able to take part in the same activities we enjoyed earlier in life. However, there are often alternatives for seniors. Were you extremely athletic as a younger adult? Perhaps you took part in cultural events and inspired the world. You can still be a part of those activities as a fan, coach, contributor, and supporter. Seniors are encouraged to follow their passions and continue to expand upon what they love.

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