All posts by Integral Senior Living

Integral Senior Living Chief Executive Officer Named to Argentum Board

CARLSBAD, CA. (May 11, 2016) Integral Senior Living (ISL), a premier senior living management company, is pleased to announce that Chief Executive Officer/Chief Operating Officer Collette Valentine has been named to the Board of Argentum. Her three-year term begins in May 2016.

“Argentum is pleased to have board members of such a high caliber as Integral Senior Living CEO/COO Collette Valentine,” said Argentum President & CEO James Balda. “We welcome her expertise and insight as a leader in Argentum’s efforts to increase innovation throughout the senior living industry.”

Collette has been the CEO/COO of ISL since 2014. She joined the company in 2010 as the Vice President of Operations and Marketing and in 2012 was promoted to COO. Prior to joining ISL, Collette was with Merrill Gardens for almost five years, serving as Vice President of Operations. Prior to this she was with Atria Senior Living Group as a Regional Vice President of Operations.  Throughout her eight year career at Atria, she held a variety of positions including: Divisional Operations Specialist, Regional Director of Operations, Regional Sales and Marketing Director, as well as Executive Director and Community Sales Director at an Atria/ARV community. She began her career with Harrah’s Entertainment as a Hotel Sales Manager. She is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in Business Management and is RCFE certified.

About Argentum

Established in 1990, Argentum is the largest national trade association exclusively dedicated to professionally-managed, resident-centered senior living communities. Argentum’s member programs promote business and operational excellence through education, research, publications, professional networking and online tools designed to foster innovation and entrepreneurism in the field of senior living. More information at www.argentum.org

About ISL

Integral Senior Living headquartered in Carlsbad, CA, manages a progressive selection of senior residences to meet the growing needs of today’s aging population. It currently manages 59 independent, assisted living and memory care properties throughout California, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Texas, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Florida and Indiana. It is ranked the 17th largest senior living provider in the U.S. according to Senior Housing News. ISL is founded on a care philosophy that fosters dignity and respect for residents and promotes their independence and individuality. The dedicated staff at each community is trained to maintain the highest standards of senior care services. For more information about ISL, visit Integral Senior Living’s website, blog and Facebook page.

Happy Mother’s Day!

May always means Mother’s Day, a day we take stock of all the reasons moms are important to us throughout our lives, and why we are so grateful for them. They have that magical touch to heal our wounds, lift our spirits with a smile and advise us like no one else, no matter what age we may be. This Mother’s Day, May 8th, celebrate  mom!

The best gift you can give your mom on Mother’s Day is to simply be there for her. Here are some ideas for spending quality time with her.

Get the family together. Gather together all the generations—grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings, and extended family and friends for a joint celebration. If the weather is nice, an outdoor barbecue might be the best venue.

Keep it simple. A memorable and unique celebration doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Head for your favorite coffee shop, ice cream parlor, or restaurant to share in a treat. Visit a long-adored park, or play tourist in your town, treating her to an outing.

Cook a favorite meal. Work side-by-side with your mom to prepare a meal that your family loves. Or, if she’d rather be excused to relax while you do all the cooking, that’s OK, too!

Take a short stroll/ride. According to your mother’s health and capabilities, plan a walk in the park, botanical garden, or a shopping mall (indoor or outdoor, depending on the weather). Even a stroll around your mom’s neighborhood can be relaxing, fun, and surprisingly interesting, as both of you point out landmarks, houses, shops, trees, and vegetation that catch your attention or bring back memories. And if a stroll is to physically hard, take a scenic ride in the car.

Living Apart. Of course if you cannot be with your mom on Mother’s Day, send flowers, chocolates or pick up the phone to connect with her. Let her know you are thinking about her, you can bet she is thinking of you!

Nurses Are Key to Healthy Senior Living

Every year, National Nurses Week focuses attention on the diverse ways the over 3 million nurses in America work to save lives and to improve the health of millions of individuals. This year, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has selected “Culture of Safety ” as the theme for 2016. Annually, National Nurses Week begins May 6 and ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale. During this week, nurses are honored by communities such as ours for their hard work, diligence, and kindness.

“Nurses bring so much to senior living. Their attention to detail, care, and compassion often make the difference in our residents lives,” said Linda Mather, RN, CALN, vice president of resident care for ISL.  “It never ceases to amaze me what they do- day in and day out in all our communities, they are the conduit between resident, family, and physicians.”

The work nurses do in a senior living community varies widely. What is most valuable is the ability of a skilled and trained nurse to observe changes in a resident’s condition. In caring for seniors, it is critical to be alert, as conditions can change very quickly.  Nurses are well equipped to communicate information to the doctor or family when further evaluation is needed. They care for more than the resident; they are caring for the families.

A key goal in senior living communities is to promote aging in place; maximizing on the purpose and quality of life for residents. Properly managed, care by nurses plays a significant part in the health and wellness of residents. Using nurses along with other professional and licensed care staff helps residents enjoy a life of independence and dignity. Together nurses and family work in collaboration with others to assist residents in a better quality of life.

Helping Seniors with Spring Cleaning

Let the sunshine in with these housekeeping tips 

Now that the days are getting longer and spring flowers are basking in the warmer weather outdoors, it’s time to take a look at the inside of your senior loved one’s living space. The time-honored tradition of throwing open the doors and windows to welcome the springtime sun and the refreshing breezes is still important for all of us—especially for seniors who may need help tidying up after the long winter.

Spring is the season of new beginnings, so here are tips for teaming up with your favorite senior to declutter, reorganize, and tackle corner-to-corner cleaning of living spaces.

Make a to-do list. Consult with your senior loved one to prioritize the tasks to get done, and write them down. Along with vacuuming, sweeping, wiping and scrubbing, don’t forget to include chores related to possible health and safety hazards:

  • Throw out expired medications and any that are no longer needed or prescribed.
  • Discard expired packaged foods and refrigerated or frozen items that might look (and smell) past their prime.
  • Test smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and other electronics (such as medical alert systems) used for health and safety monitoring. Replace batteries in needed.
  • Remove clutter from outside walkways, and indoor entryways, stairs, and heavily traveled areas.
  • Make sure all areas are adequately lit, and replace light bulbs if needed.
  • Remove slippery throw rugs and any other tripping hazards (such as ottomans and low-to-the ground furniture) that might cause falls.

Set a date. Unless you mark your calendar, as you would for a doctor’s appointment or any other important commitment, the spring-cleaning session might become a good idea that never happens. Decide whether the job can be handled over one weekend, or might be best spread out over several weekends.

Enlist help from family and friends. After you set firms dates and times to get the job done, ask family member and trusted friends if they’re available to pitch in. Let people know that any amount time they can devote to the task will be appreciated! Consider asking strong, healthy folks to come at a designated time to move furniture and do heavy lifting.

Involve your senior. It’s their home, after all, so give your seniors input into the cleaning process. Depending on their health, stamina and capabilities, older adults may not be able to easily manage some spring-cleaning duties. But jobs such as organizing shoes and clothing (and deciding which items can be discarded, handed down, or donated) or sorting through books and knick-knacks are often not overly demanding, and can help ensure seniors know that their contribution is critical to the cleaning and decluttering process.

April Is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month

Help raise awareness this month and all year long 

More than 1 million people in the U.S. have Parkinson’s disease, says the National Parkinson Foundation, and as many as 60,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects one in 100 people over age 60. While the average age at onset is 60, some people are diagnosed at 40 or younger.

Parkinson’s involves the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain, called neurons, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Some of these dying neurons produce dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. As the disease progresses, the brain produces less and less dopamine, and the person loses the ability to control movement.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s

Symptoms vary from person to person, according to a variety of factors, including age of onset and disease progression, but primary motor signs include the following:

  • Tremor or the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
  • Slowness of movement
  • Rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk
  • Instability of posture or impaired balance and coordination

Medications and Treatments

Many medications and treatments are available to help treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s, but there are none yet that reverse the effects of the disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors may also suggest lifestyle changes, especially ongoing aerobic exercise. Physical therapy that focuses on balance and stretching may also be effective. Speech-language pathologists may help improve speech difficulties. In later cases, surgical procedures such as deep brain stimulation may be recommended.

Living Well with Parkinson’s

After a diagnosis of Parkinson’s each person’s journey is different, but the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation recommends these common strategies for maintaining a high quality of daily living with Parkinson’s:

Manage nutrition and medications. Find routines and treatments that work best for you and follow them consistently.

Pursue activities that are important to you. Keep doing activities you love to do, and you may alleviate your symptoms and boost your mental well being. Painting, tai chi, yoga, exercise—keeping up with these favorite activities may help you take charge of your life with Parkinson’s.

Connect with the Parkinson’s community. Become better informed about Parkinson’s, and meet other people who are living with the disease.

Get involved with advocacy groups, clinical trials, support groups and educational conferences. Be both a benefactor and a participant in the Parkinson’s community and the community at large.

Plan ahead to adapt to the disease on your own terms. Make a priority of living well at home and at work as the disease changes by using assistive technologies and seeking the expertise of professionals such as occupational therapists, speech therapists and nutritionists wen needed.

The Peaks at Old Laramie Hosts an Open House

Lafayette, CO (April 2016) — The Peaks at Old Laramie Trail, a new assisted living and memory care community currently under construction has been receiving attention from those interested to see learn more about the spectacular new development. To accommodate interest, the community recently hosted its first Open House. Managed by ISL, the new community is located in Lafayette, Colorado and is expected to be complete in August 2016.

Many members of the community attended this event. Food, beverages and fun were enjoyed by everyone at the event. Visitors also enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about all that The Peaks has to offer.

The Peaks at Old Laramie Trail is located at 660 Old Laramie Trail on 8.5 acres. It represents a new standard in senior living for the area. When completed, the Mediterranean-style community will offer a total of 84 assisted living and memory care apartments. The community will feature a gracious sunset view dining room, private dining room for entertaining, a gym with senior-specialized equipment, a spa & beauty salon, a theater and chapel, 24/7 staffing, secure access, a dedicated pet area, outdoor dining and barbecue areas, individual dedicated gardening areas, and a state-of-the-art emergency call system.

The spacious studio, 1 and 2 bedroom assisted living apartments will feature zoned heating and air conditioning, walk-in closets, large well-lit bathrooms and easily-accessible showers, and an emergency call system. The memory care area will feature private units with shared or private bathrooms, a dedicated entrance, well-landscaped interior courtyards, covered porches, dedicated dining and activity areas, and a secure interior that provides residents the freedom to move around at will.

About ISL

Integral Senior Living headquartered in Carlsbad, CA, manages a progressive selection of senior residences to meet the growing needs of today’s aging population. It currently manages 58 independent, assisted living and memory care communities throughout California, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Texas, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Florida. It is ranked the 17th largest senior living provider in the U.S. according to Senior Housing News. ISL is founded on a care philosophy that fosters dignity and respect for residents and promotes their independence and individuality. The dedicated staff at each community is trained to maintain the highest standards of senior care services.

For more information about ISL, visit Integral Senior Living’s website, blog and Facebook page.

Seniors and Caregivers May Qualify for Tax Deductions for Assisted Living Costs, Medical Expenses, and Elder Care

More than 700,000 seniors live in thousands of assisted living facilities throughout the U.S., says a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control ad Prevention (CDC). And nearly 87 percent of residents pay for these facilities out of their own and their families’ financial resources. The good news is that seniors and caregivers may be eligible for tax deductions for assisted living costs that are related to medical or dental expenses.

If a loved one is receiving substantial medical care in assisted living and/or is in a special needs unit in a community, he or she may qualify for a tax deduction. This includes residents with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia who require substantial supervision to protect their health and safety.

For seniors residing in independent living communities, however, the only eligible deductible expenses would likely be those directly related to medical costs. 

Qualifying for Assisted Living Deductions

Detailed record keeping throughout the year, even for related expenses like mileage to and from doctor visits, can add up to substantial writeoffs at tax time.  First, the taxpayer must determine if he or she is entitled to itemize deductions. If the taxpayer is the senior, he or she can deduct qualified medical expenses. If the taxpayer is the caregiver, that caregiver must first find out if the senior qualifies as a dependent, depending on these IRS requirements:

  • The person the caregiver is claiming as a dependent must be married to or related to the caregiver.
  • The senior must be a citizen or resident of the United States or a resident of Canada or Mexico.
  • The senior must not file a joint return.
  • The senior must not have an annual gross income in excess of $3,950 (in 2015). Gross income does not include Social Security payments or other tax-exempt income. For those with incomes above $25,000, some portion of Social Security income may be includable in gross income.
  • The caregiver must provide more than half of the support for the senior during the year.

Consult a tax professional to learn more. Also this website offers more information on dependency at: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p554/ch05.html.

Which Senior Living Expenses Can Be Deductible?

For assisted living expenses to be tax deductible, the resident must be considered “chronically ill.” A doctor or nurse needs to have certified that the resident either:

  • Cannot perform at least two activities of daily living, such as eating, toileting, transferring, bath, dressing, or continence; or
  • Requires supervision due to a cognitive impairment (such as Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia).

Who Can Qualify for the Deduction?

To qualify for the deduction, the senior’s personal care services need to be provided according to a plan of care prescribed by a licensed health care provider. This means a doctor, nurse or social worker must prepare a plan that outlines the specific daily services the resident receives.

Typically, only the medical components of assisted living costs are deductible and ordinary living costs like room and board are not. However, if the resident is chronically ill and the facility is acting primarily for medical care and the care is being performed according to a certified care plan, then the room and board may be considered part of the medical care and the cost may be deductible. Residents who are not chronically ill may still deduct the portion of their expenses that are attributable to medical care, including entrance or initiation fees.

Which Medical Expenses Can Be Deducted?

  • Premiums paid for insurance policies that cover medical care are deductible, unless the premiums are paid with pretax dollars. Generally, the payroll tax paid for Medicare Part A is not deductible, but Medicare Part B premiums are deductible.
  • Payments made for nursing services. An actual nurse does not need to perform the services as long as the services are those generally performed by a nurse.
  • Medical fees from doctors, laboratories, assisted living residences, home health care and hospitals
  • The cost of long-term care, including housing, food, and other personal costs, if the person is chronically ill.
  • The cost of meals and lodging at a hospital or similar institution if a principal reason for being there is to receive medical care. The amount included in medical expenses for lodging cannot be more than $50 for each night for each person.
  • Home modifications costs such as wheelchair ramps, grab bars and handrails.
  • The cost of dental treatment.
  • The cost of travel to and from medical appointments.
  • Personal care items, such as disposable briefs and foods for a special diet.
  • Cost of prescription drugs.
  • Entrance fees for assisted living.
  • Room and board for assisted living if the resident is certified chronically ill by a healthcare professional and following a prescribed plan of care. Typically this means that they are unable to perform two activities od daily living (ADLs) or require supervision due to Alzheimer’s disease or other conditions.

To claim the deduction, the medical expenses have to be more than 10 percent of the resident’s adjusted gross income. (For taxpayers 65 and older, this threshold will be 7.5 percent through 2016.) In addition, only medical expenses paid during the year can be deducted, regardless of when the services were provided, and medical expenses are not deductible if they are reimbursable by insurance.

For more information on what can and cannot be deducted for medical expenses see Publication 502 on the IRS Web site at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf and/or seek the advice of a tax professional.

Integral Senior Living Embraces a “Vibrant Life”

Innovative Program Rolls Out to All Communities

We at ISL know well that living a vibrant life at any age is a life worth living. Now we are  taking the idea of vibrant living a step further by making it easier for residents to be vibrant with our new Vibrant Life® program.  Beginning in April, we are rolling out this innovative program throughout all of our communities.

Vibrant Life® is an innovative approach designed for enhancing and enriching residents’ lives across seven core components for well-rounded and meaningful experiences. These core components provide the balanced structure for implementing diversity across the Vibrant Life® program, which is embraced through several signature programs.

“Each component fosters an overall well-being of living, truly living. There is a trend in today’s society that says ‘my kids are grown, my career is complete, now what?  What purpose do I have, now?’  We are challenging our communities to answer those thoughts.  With each day, there is a purpose.  Each day brings vibrancy all on its own. It’s time to embrace life and we are here to help residents do just that with our Vibrant Life® program,” said Collette Valentine, CEO/COO of ISL.

Vibrant by definition means full of energy and enthusiasm.  Vibrancy is what separates the mundane from the brilliant.  It is the key ingredient that changes mediocrity to exceptional, and conventional to extraordinary. The key to living is to living vibrantly.

ISL’s Vibrant Life® program consists of seven core components to foster the overall well-being of its residents. In order to promote the ongoing focus of these core components, it has created four Signature Programs to ensure its residents experience a Vibrant Life®.

The 7 main components to living a Vibrant Life®:

  1. Be Inspired— Gain a deeper sense of spirituality & feed the soul!
  2. Be Well— Intellectual stimulation, get moving & stay active!
  3. Be Challenged— Ignite competitive spirit, learn, grow & motivate!
  4. Be Adventurous— Try something new every day, explore & experience the unique!
  5. Be Family— Cherish family connections, share & continue family traditions!
  6. Be Social— Embrace friendships, celebrate the moments, talk, laugh & listen!
  7. Be Connected— Engage in meaningful community involvement, share experiences & expertise!

The 4 Signature Programs include:

  • PATH TO WELLNESS is a program that encompasses all aspects of wellness with tiers of achievement to encourage participation and provide the satisfaction of personal accomplishment.
  • LIVIN’ THE DREAM is a program designed to take our residents dreams and make them a reality.
  • THIS IS YOUR LIFE encourages social connectivity. Individual residents are showcased throughout the year to share their life stories and personal accomplishments.
  • VIBRANT LIFE® INSPIRES promotes the ability to give back to the local community through charitable endeavors.

ISL is assisting residents in all its communities to find their purpose, to search out how each can better incorporate the seven components to living: Be Inspired, Be Well, Be Challenged, Be Adventurous, Be Family, Be Social and Be Connected.

“Our mission is ‘to optimize health and well-being by passionately promoting a Vibrant Life® filled with joyful experiences, meaningful endeavors, and abundant opportunities so that our residents connect with family, friends and the local community,’ adds Valentine.

Check out the Vibrant Life® at all our ISL Communities- and see what vibrant senior living is all about!

The Reserve at North Dallas Celebrates Grand Re-Opening

 

Dallas, Texas (April 4, 2016) — The Reserve at North Dallas, an independent and assisted living community managed by ISL, recently celebrated its grand re-opening. It recently changed its name from Town Village North Dallas and completed a major remodel to better serve the residents. The remodel also reflects changes the Dallas marketplace is seeking when it comes to outstanding senior living options.

At the event, guests enjoyed valet parking, signature cocktails, delicious desserts and hors d’oeuvre as well as personalized tours and music throughout the community.

“We are very excited to celebrate the completion of our remodel. Our community is simply stunning and now provides the best in senior living!” said Greg Morris, executive director of The Reserve at North Dallas.

Recently $5.5 million has been invested into the community in a major remodel. With this, both the independent living and assisted living community is filled with a vibrant lifestyle; where residents’ lives are filled with joyful experiences, meaningful endeavors, and abundant opportunities to connect with family, friends, and the local community. To enhance the new look, the community built Flo’s Café, to provide a great gathering spot for guests as well as an event venue to showcase the hospitality and sense of community. In this unique dining experience, craft bean-to-cup freshly brewed premium coffee and other delicious treats are served.

The Reserve at North Dallas is a senior living community that has both independent living and assisted living options. It has 243 independent living and 26 assisted living residences. In the next month, the multi-million dollar renovation will be complete with major enhancements to the lobby and bistro/bar area, movie theater, fitness center, expansive dining room, private dining room, outdoor area and upgraded apartment amenities, as well as an entire rebranding of the updated community.

The Reserve at North Dallas offers the best in independent living, giving residents a lifestyle that incudes the services and amenities they need while maintaining the independence they want.  For its assisted living residents, life gets easier as help with daily tasks are readily available.  It is located in the heart of Dallas, situated minutes from Interstate 635 and Highway 75, at: 12271 Coit Road, Dallas, TX 75251 (972) 866-7575.

About ISL

Integral Senior Living headquartered in Carlsbad, CA, manages a progressive selection of senior residences to meet the growing needs of today’s aging population. It currently manages 58 independent, assisted living and memory care communities throughout California, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Texas, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Florida. It is ranked the 17th largest senior living provider in the U.S. according to Senior Housing News. ISL is founded on a care philosophy that fosters dignity and respect for residents and promotes their independence and individuality. The dedicated staff at each community is trained to maintain the highest standards of senior care services.

For more information about ISL, visit Integral Senior Living’s website, blog and Facebook page.

How to Help Seniors Prevent Falling

Older adults have an alarmingly high chance of falling inside and outside the home. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 out of 3 people age 65 and older falls each year. After age 80, that increases to a 1 in 2 chance. That means your senior adult has a 33 percent to 50 percent chance of falling this year.

Physical Changes that Increase the Risk of Falls 

  • Age-related muscle loss lessens strength and weakens bones.
  • Aging bodies and medications make balance more difficult.
  • Worsening vision impairs seniors’ ability to stay upright and clearly see what’s nearby.
  • Diminished flexibility, especially in hips, knees, and ankles, can cause to falls.
  • Lower endurance (how long you can stand and walk with tiring) raises fall risk.
  • Lower strength, balance, and flexibility make seniors feel less confidence in their walking ability.

Falls can be devastating to seniors’ health in the short term and long term. In older adults, falls can cause hip fractures and head injuries. They’re the leading cause of death from injury, because of traumatic brain injury.

Even if a fall is not life threatening, seniors can face long-term consequences because their bodies are less able to recover fully. Overall health can worsen and care needs increase, sometimes leading to extended stays in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities.

The good news is that falls do not have to become an inevitable rite of passage with aging. The chances of falling can be substantially lessened with small modifications around the home.

Steps Toward Preventing Falls

  • Area rugs are a major trip hazard. Tape them down or consider getting rid of them.
  • Declutter the house, especially the main walk-through areas. Clutter tends to pile up quickly, but try to keep shoes, newspapers, books, and clothing out of the path of seniors.
  • Hallways and stairways should be well lit. Seniors tend to make more frequent trips to the bathroom, especially at night. Light up hallways leading to the bathroom. Make sure the steps on the stairwell are well-lit for easier navigation in the dark.
  • The kitchen and the bathroom often have wet floors. Add nonslip mats in the kitchen and bathroom, near the sinks and bathtub or shower to greatly reduce falls on slippery surfaces. Apply stick-on nonslip strips to tub and shower floors.
  • Consider adding safety supports. Add an additional railing on the stairs or install grab bars in the bathroom.
  • In the bedroom and kitchen, move frequently used items down from high shelves. Put them within easy arm’s reach.