Senior Living Blog

Happy New Year!

We at ISL are ringing in the New Year with a story of love. Over the holidays, a couple that met at one of our communities decided to tie the knot.  Bob Segal and Joan Cimino are residents at Mission Hills Senior Living in Rancho Mirage, California. Bob moved in May 2016, and Joan one month later. At a summer event, the two danced for the first time and the rest you might say is history. Bob proposed and the two celebrated a lovely wedding at Mission Hills with friends and family in attendance. Both Joan and Bob are very social in the community. They regale the residents with stories from their past just to entertain. Joan often tap dances at musical engagements while Bob supports and adores her from the audience. Everyone enjoys their vibrant energy as they smile and laugh, encouraging others to do the same.

We wish this happy couple the very best in the new year!

To see more about the couple and their nuptials visit:

http://www.kesq.com/news/valley-couple-get-married-at-a-rancho-mirage-senior-center/235317485

R-E-S-P-I-T-E! Spells Relief!

Caregivers Can Plan Ahead for the Holiday Season and Make Time for Themselves

ISL Communities can help!

With a record number of senior adults staying in their homes longer, frequently older American’s are relying on family and friends for their care. In fact, millions of families provide unpaid care for seniors 60 or older, spending on average 20+ hours a week helping with ongoing home care. For these devoted caregivers, the holiday season can add additional stress; torn between the desire to travel or take extra time to spend with others, and the need to provide quality care for loved ones. But there is a solution that is often overlooked, it is called respite or short-term care. Respite care offers caregivers and families the opportunity to temporarily give some time back to themselves while their family member receives the care and services they need in a temporary, welcoming environment. Many Integral Senior Living communities offer respite care.

Respite care is a temporary, short-term stay. Think of it as a mini-vacation (3 – 30 days) for both the caregiver and senior who must have care. Respite services give caregivers that rare chance to step away from their day-to-day responsibilities. Often it is seniors who are providing care for their spouses. This is where a little respite care can make a huge difference. Taking that much-needed break to care for there own needs helps caregivers avoid burnout, stress and fatigue.

“We often see family members come to our communities exhausted and frustrated, reaching their breaking point. They need help and a break, sometimes to step back for a breath of fresh air,” said Collette Valentines CEO/COO of ISL . “Feelings of depression, frustration and isolation often become so overwhelming for the caregiver. Often they neglect their own health concerns and that is where respite care can help.”  

Respite stays can range from a few days to a few weeks.  And placing a loved one in a stay is easier than most families realize, in fact it can take less than 24 hours. All that is often required is a physician’s report, an assessment by the community and for the guest to bring his or her own pharmaceuticals with them.  The fee is based on needs, many starting at about  $150 a day. Compare that to a hotel stay and checking out a senior living community is a much better option, meals, 24-jour supervision, care needs (Assistance with daily living) is all included in respite.

There is evidence that the family caregiver who takes a break from the associated stresses is better able to provide quality care. The demands of providing care are much more than a physical demand.  It is often just as emotional taking care of a loved one.  To provide good care, the caregiver needs to allow time for themselves – it’s a tough round-the-clock, hands-on job.

Check out your local ISL community for more information about respite care services.

Stay Connected with Grandkids this Fall

Tips for keeping in touch once summer is over 

In the summertime, when kids are out of school, grandparents and grandchildren often have more opportunities to visit each other. Many grandparents and grandkids love spending time together during the summer months, but how can you stay close now that fall is here and the kids are back in school?

A 2012 AARP study showed that 45 percent of grandparents live more than 200 miles away from their grandchildren and 80 percent live at least 50 miles away, so if you feel like a long-distance grandparent, you’re not alone. These suggestions can help you feel connected when you’re far away from your grandchildren.

Use technology. If you’re tech-savvy, stay in touch through e-mails, video-chats via Skype sessions, and sharing digital photos. Catch up online with grandkids and post photos on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. Another option is to play games together online—your grandkids can probably suggest a few! Of course, old-fashioned phone calls are still fun, but consider filling in phone sessions with texting, a favorite mode of communication among younger phone users.

Snail mail! Be a maverick and send a handwritten letter. Kids don’t get much mail these days, so a getting hand-addressed letter or a card can be super-exciting! Illustrate your letter if you’re clever with drawing—or decorate it with age-appropriate stickers or photos of family or pets.

Read a book at the same time. Let your grandchild choose a book he or she wants to read—or recommend one you liked at a similar age. Use video-chat sessions to either read the book aloud or to discuss the book as you go. You can also talk about the book via emails or on Facebook.

Stay in touch with your own kids. Your grandchildren’s parents can your best allies in helping you maintain contact with your grandkids. Your kids will likely be thrilled to keep you informed of events in your grandchildren’s lives, which gives you conversation-starters when you communicate with your grandkids.  

Share your hobby—or take up a hobby together. Teach your grandkids an art, craft, sport, pastime, or activity you love or talk about a personal passion—horses, music, robots, science, collecting, gardening, etc. Or encourage grandkids to show you a pastime they love. You might find common ground for a shared hobby you can pursue and discuss for years to come.

Medicare Sign Ups October 15 – December 7, 2016

It’s that time of year again

For 2017 Medicare coverage, Open Enrollment begins for Medicare  in the fall of 2016, from October 15 to December 7.

People with Medicare can change their choice of health coverage (whether they receive that coverage through a private Medicare Advantage plan or traditional Medicare), and add, drop or change Medicare Part D drug coverage.

During this annual enrollment period (AEP) you can make changes to various aspects of your coverage.

  • You can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa.
  • You can also switch from one Medicare Advantageplan to another, or from one Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan to another.
  • And if you didn’t enroll in a Medicare Part D plan when you were first eligible, you can do so during the general open enrollment, although a late enrollment penalty may apply.

It’s very important that Medicare beneficiaries review their drug plan annually. Why? Because Medicare private drug plans can make changes each year; changes can include which pharmacies are in their networks as well as which drugs are covered and the costs.  Most people can only change their plans during the Fall Open Enrollment Period.

Find out whether medications you are taking will be covered on your plan next year. If your physician had to submit a prior authorization exception request and you need the same medication next year, call your plan to find out what you need to do to make sure that your plan continues covering your medication. Your physician may need to submit a new request and he may be able to do so before the end of the year to ensure that your coverage continues without interruption.

Now is the time to be asking questions! For more information visit

http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/the-medicare-annual-coordinated-election-period-has-begun/

For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Learn the Ways To Prevent the Disease in Older Women

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual worldwide campaign organized by major breast cancer charities to raise awareness, offer support to those affected by breast cancer, and to encourage research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure.

Studies show that women in the U.S. who live to the age of 80 have a one in eight chance of developing breast cancer during their lifetime. Data from the National Cancer Institute show that half of those diagnoses will occur in women aged 65 and older.

For women with a first-degree relative (sister, mother, or daughter) diagnosed with breast cancer, the risk is doubled, according to Breastcancer.org. The risk of developing breast cancer soars to five times higher than average for women with two first-degree relatives who have been diagnosed.

However, research indicates that at least 80 percent of breast cancers are caused by lifestyle or environmental factors—and not by a genetic predisposition that runs in families, says Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Scientists and medical practitioners have estimated that at least 25 percent of new breast cancer cases could be avoided if women maintained healthy lifestyle practices and understood risk factors. How can older women increase the odds that they will remain breast-cancer free—or that they will beat the disease if diagnosed?

Be physically active. Current guidelines recommend physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week, or 21 minutes a day. But recent studies have shown that postmenopausal women who exercise twice as much—300 minutes per week, or about 42 minutes a day—were much more successful at reducing fat levels linked to developing breast cancer in later life.

Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can boost the risk of developing many types of cancers, including breast cancer, especially after menopause.

Don’t smoke. Smoking increases older women’s chances of acquiring health conditions that are the leading causes of death in the U.S.: heart disease, stroke, and at least 15 types of cancer, including breast cancer.

Avoid post-menopausal hormones. Contrary to medical advice women were given for years, recent studies have shown that post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) should not be continued long term to prevent chronic diseases like osteoporosis and heart disease. While there is evidence that HRT may lower the risk of some diseases, studies show that both estrogen-only hormones and estrogen-plus-progestin hormones can increase breast cancer risk. Most doctors now advise women who do take post-menopausal hormones to continue the treatment for as short a time as possible. Ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of post-menopausal hormones for you.

Get screened. Despite some controversy, studies show that breast cancer screening with mammography can help find cancer early—when it’s most treatable. For women who are age 55 and over, mammograms are recommended every other year, although women can choose to have them every year. Clinical breast exams and self-exams are no longer universally recommended as reliable methods for cancer detection, but women should be familiar with their breasts so they can notify a health care provider if they notice changes in how their breasts look or feel.

Know the risk factors. There are a number of breast cancer risk factors that women cannot control. Knowing which ones apply to you can help you understand your own risk. The following list of factors can increase a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer. (Keep in mind that most women who have one or more of these risk factors never develop breast cancer.)

  • Age 60 years or over
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • First menstrual period before age 12
  • Menopause at age 55 or over
  • First childbirth after age 35
  • No children
  • Tall height (5-foot-8 or taller)
  • Dense breasts
  • History of benign breast disease (like atypical hyperplasia)

Fall Prevention Awareness Week: September 22–29

This year’s theme is “Ready, Steady, Balance: Prevent Falls in 2016” 

Among adults over age 65, falls are the leading cause of death from injury, nonfatal injuries from accidents, and hospital admissions for trauma. To bring attention to this critical health and safety issue, the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence sponsors Fall Prevention Awareness Week during the first week of the fall/autumn season. This year, during the week of September 22–29, older adults, caregivers, and families are encouraged to learn about seniors’ fall risks and how to prevent falls in 2016 and the years ahead.

“Falls can take a serious toll on older adults’ quality of life and independence,” says leading gerontologist Jon Pynoos, Ph.D., co-director of the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence, “and the risk for falls increases with age.”

Every 11 seconds, an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury, says the National Council on Aging (NCOA). At the heart of the message behind Fall Prevention Awareness Week is the good news that falls are preventable.

The NCOA advises seniors to stay safe with these six tips.

Find a good balance and exercise program. Strive to build balance, strength, and flexibility. To find a program, contact your local Area Agency on Aging for referrals. Find aging resources in your area at the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (http://www.n4a.org/). Choose a program you like and take a friend, caregiver, or family member.

Talk to your health care provider. Share your history of recent falls, and ask for an assessment of your falling risk.

Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist. Medication side effects and drug interactions can increase your risk of falling. Remember to take medications only as prescribed.

Get your vision and hearing checked yearly and update your eyeglasses. Your eyes and ears are key to keeping your balance and avoiding fall hazards.

Keep your home safe. Remove tripping hazards (loose area rugs, clutter in main walk-through areas, and wet floors in the kitchen and bathroom, for example), increase lighting in stairways and hallways, and install grab bars in the bathroom and railings on stairs.

Talk to family members. Enlist family members and caregivers’ support in taking simple steps to stay safe on your feet. Falls are not just a seniors’ issue.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s Raises Awareness and Funds For Alzheimer’s Care, Support, and Research

September events spotlight Alzheimer’s and other dementias 

The month of September has become a special time for focusing on research, awareness, and fundraising for Alzheimer’s disease nationwide and throughout the world.

Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) sponsors the fifth global World Alzheimer’s Month (https://www.alz.co.uk/world-alzheimers-month) in September to educate about the disease and challenge stigma. Worldwide, 35 million people and their families are affected by dementia. This year’s theme is “Remember Me,” for which ADI asks everyone to get involved by sharing their own favorite memories, or memories of a loved one, on social media during September with the hashtags #RememberMe #WAM2016.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, is the world’s largest fundraising and awareness event for Alzheimer’s. In fact many ISL communities take part in these walks. Participants of all ages and abilities gather for these local 2- to 3-mile walks, most of which are held on a day in September. To find a walk near you, go to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s website (https://act.alz.org/site/SPageServer/?pagename=walk_homepage) and type in your zip code.

ISL Celebrates National Assisted Living Week with a commitment to “Keep Connected”

assisted_living_weekToday’s seniors are expecting more from every aspect of their lives.  The senior housing industry has responded by creating assisted living communities, a place where senior residents thrive. To celebrate the way more than one million people live, there is National Assisted Living Week® taking place September 11-17, 2016. This year’s theme “Keep Connected” showcases the integral role technology plays in assisted living communities such as those managed by ISL.

The theme celebrates the countless ways assisted living communities are integrating technology into resident care. In fact, seniors are the fastest growing internet and social media users today. They typically use it to reconnect with people from their past, bridge generational gaps, and find online support for people living with chronic diseases.

ISL takes enormous pride in finding new ways to enhance the services we provide in assisted living.  “Incorporating 21st century technology whenever possible truly enhances are resident care in so many ways and helps them enjoy a better quality of life.

“Keep Connected,” recognizes the increasing opportunity technology can offer to enhance the care and overall experience in assisted living communities. During this week we encourage our communities to support opportunities for residents to use the latest communication tools to engage with the world around them. Furthermore, “Keep Connected” acknowledges the many ways assisted living staff and supporting business partners are revolutionizing the care provided in these communities through innovations in technology.  

Happy Assisted Living Week!

A Resident at The Groves of Tustin is crowned at the Miss Newport/Miss Irvine USA Pageant

In April, ISL put into place in its communities a program that is truly enhancing the lives of residents called Vibrant Life®. One component of the program is called  “Livin’ the Dream,” designed to take residents dreams and make them a reality.

terry-scholdererRecently The Groves of Tustin made a dream come true for one of their residents, Terry Scholderer. She was recently crowned at the Miss Newport Coast USA/Miss Irvine USA Pageant 2016 as part of her “Livin’ the Dream.”

The pageant was held at the Red Lion Resort in Anaheim with over 300 people in attendance. Terry got her hair done at the community’s salon and then had her makeup professionally done by an artist at the pageant. She wore a custom purple evening gown that was made just for her for this event and was escorted on stage by her son Mike. She was then given her official “Memories Matter” sash and was crowned by the outgoing Miss Irvine Teen USA, Monica English! There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Terry waved to the audience and soaked in her moment in the spotlight!

The event was inspired when a group of beauty queens visited The Groves at Tustin. Terry was simply infatuated with them and enjoyed interacting with the group. This sparked an idea with the community’s Sales and Marketing Director Anna Gounev, who personally runs the Miss Irvine/Miss Newport Coast USA Pageant.

“We thought that it would be a great opportunity for Terry to live her dream and take part in the pageant,” adds Anna.

 ISL’s Vibrant Life Program consists of four Signature Programs that were developed as a tool to help insure  communities provide quality programming that contribute to the overall well-being and self-worth of our residents. ISL is assisting residents 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.

Do Seniors Need a Living Will?

What is a living will and who should have one?

Discussions about end-of-life and critical-care issues are never easy and often get put aside because no family members are at that stage, but planning ahead can prevent confusion, conflict and unnecessary suffering during times of worry and grief.

Knowing a loved one’s wishes before an illness or accident ensures that family members won’t have to make difficult choices on the loved one’s behalf during a crisis.

Livings Wills Are Legal Instructions

Also called advance directives or healthcare directives, living wills are written, legal instructions detailing a person’s preferences for medical care if he or she is unable to make decisions. Advance directives guide healthcare choices for medical professionals and caregivers if a person is terminally ill, critically injured, in a coma, in the late stages of dementia or near the end of life.

Advance directives aren’t just for older adults. Because unexpected critical-care and end-of-life situations can occur at any age, it’s crucial for all adults to prepare these documents.

Studies show that older adults feel especially relieved to know that their specific and personal end-of-life preferences are documented and will be carried out, therefore freeing their families from making these decisions.

Living Wills and Power of Attorney

A living will typically works together with a medical power of attorney (POA). Some states combine the two into one document. The medical POA enables a person to select somebody (a spouse, other family member, or a trusted friend) to make medical decisions on his or her behalf. These two documents can allow you to control the types of medical treatment you’ve chosen, and who will make sure your wishes are honored.

Which Medical Treatments Should You Think About?

The living will typically spells out medical treatments you would or would not want to be used to keep you alive, as well as other options such as pain management and organ donation. Talk to your doctor, healthcare agent (the person with POA), your family, and friends about your personal wishes. Would you want to extend treatment in any situation? Would you want treatment only if recovery is possible?

These are some of the primary issues to consider:

  • Resuscitation to restart the heart. You don’t need a living will to have do not resuscitate (DNR) and do not intubate (DNI) orders. These orders can be prepared separately and put in your medical record.
  • Mechanical ventilation to take over breathing if you can’t breathe on your own.
  • Tube feeding to supply the body with nutrients and fluids intravenously or through a tube in the stomach.
  • Dialysis if your kidneys cease to function.
  • Antibiotics or antiviral medications used near the end of life.
  • Palliative care to keep you comfortable and manage pain at end of life, including being allowed to die at home, getting pain medications, being fed ice chips to soothe dryness, and avoiding invasive tests or treatments.
  • Organ and tissue donation for transplantation.
  • Donating your body for scientific study.