Senior Living Blog

Thanksgiving Celebrations

Thanksgiving is a special time spent giving thanks with friends and family. When you have a
loved one who is in a senior living community, the holiday can be become more challenging. If
you are in charge of organizing the festivities, it is important to make sure that you go about your
usual traditions as much as possible. One way to do this is through your Thanksgiving meal.

The ISL signature Elevate program transforms the dining experience into a culinary celebration
that inspires the engagement of our residents, families and friends. We create dishes inspired by
residents’ cherished recipes and time-honored traditions, which allows the rest of the community
a glimpse into their cherished culinary memories. The Elevate program allows residents to
engage in creating new memories based on lifelong experiences created around the dinner table.

Is your loved one facing dietary restrictions? Do they have trouble cutting certain foods? You
may need to alter your Thanksgiving menu to accommodate his/her needs. These are questions
the chefs at our community consider every day. We make sure to provide nutritious meals that
are tailored to the needs of the residents we serve, despite their dexterity challenges and modified
diets.

From all of us at ISL, we want to wish you and your family and friends a safe Thanksgiving!
Tune in to our Facebook page, as we will be posting all the fun Thanksgiving celebrations at our
wonderful communities all over the country. We encourage you to gather and celebrate all of
life’s gifts this November.

Five tips for avoiding the flu

October is the beginning of the much-dreaded flu season. At Integral Senior Living, we want to make sure our residents and their families are living their healthiest lives, which is why we are sharing a few tips and tricks on flu prevention.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 9.2 million and 35.6 million cases of flu arise each year in the United States.

The flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness that is caused by influenza types A and B viruses. Flu activity often begins in October and can last until as late as May. It is important to take preventive steps to minimize your exposure, build up your immunity and reduce your risk of infection.

See the list below for our top five tips for staying clear of the flu!

  • Get a flu shot – While seasonal flu shots do not protect against all strains of the virus, the vaccine does trigger antibodies to develop in the body which then provide protection against that specific virus strain.
  • Stay home when you are sick – If you are feeling under the weather, is it better to stay home and regain your strength. The bacteria and viruses that can be found at your office, school, etc. can actually worsen your symptoms.
  • Cover your mouth and nose – Find yourself coughing and sneezing constantly? Use a tissue or the corner of your elbow to cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing. This will not only prevent those around you from getting sick, but also help by keeping your hands clean.
  • Wash your hands regularly – Use soap and warm water when available. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer will also do the job.
  • Maintain your immune system – Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep, and exercise regularly.

Want to know more about our communities and our outstanding level of care? Visit our Facebook page to get a glimpse into the daily lives of our residents, then visit our Communities page to find the community closest to you.

We look forward to meeting you and helping everyone live a healthy life!

Healthy Aging Month – Tips on staying healthy as we get older

September is Healthy Aging Month and the perfect time to start practicing habits with positive health benefits!

At Integral Senior Living, we pride ourselves on creating an environment for our residents to age happily and healthily. We are always creating opportunities for our residents to get active and stay engaged through our Vibrant Life program.
Nevertheless, healthy aging is about more than just staying active. If you aren’t practicing good, healthy habits, this month is the perfect time to start! It’s never too late to make positive changes. See our list below for healthy habits you can start today for a healthier tomorrow!

1. Eat a healthy, balanced diet – This is an easy one! Adding more fruits, leafy greens like spinach and kale, and omega-3-rich fish like salmon, tuna and halibut into your diet can have remarkable health benefits. Not only do these foods contribute to better overall health, they also can directly benefit eye health. Our Elevate dining program helps residents maintain a healthy diet with an enhanced culinary experience, integrating fresh cooking and our residents’ favorite home-style meals.

2. Get enough sleep – Your mind cherishes sleep the same way your body cherishes food. The amount of sleep you get each night becomes more important the older you become. Older adults should aim to get seven to eight hours of asleep a night. Developing a regular bedtime can make falling asleep easier. Lack of sleep can cause depression, irritability, increased fall risk and memory problems.

3. Get active, be active, stay vibrant – Strive for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day! Regular exercise tends to lead to notable health benefits and may delay or improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. ISL residents achieve this through our signature Vibrant Life program designed to enhance and enrich each day through personal schedules based on their interests, preferences, routines and abilities.

4. Wear sunglasses and a brimmed hat when outdoors – Protecting your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays when you are outdoors is vital for your eye health. Choose sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.

5. Cultivate relationships – Meeting new people and forming a connection with them can have a positive impact, not only on life experiences, but also on mental health! Staying socially engaged has been shown to keep the mind active. Additionally, it’s important to have a support system and social network you can rely on each day.

These simple tips can have a positive influence on aging for both physical and mental health. For more tips on ways to make the most out of Healthy Aging Month, check out Healthy Aging!

If you would like to see firsthand what our ISL communities are all about, we’d love to show you around! Please visit our Communities page to find the community closest to you.

We look forward to meeting you and helping everyone live a healthy, active lifestyle!

Summer Safety Tips

At ISL, we love encouraging our residents to stay active and get outside, but we always make sure they’re doing it safely. Our residents are like family to us, and our care professionals are there with them every day to make sure they’re happy and well taken care of, whether our residents are independent living, assisted living or Generations Memory Care residents.

Warmer weather means cookouts, picnics, festivals, gardening and lots of other outdoor activities. While these may seem harmless, spending time in the heat can be especially dangerous for seniors. In fact, according to the EPA, people age 65-plus are several times more likely to suffer from heat-related cardiovascular disease than the general population. However, this doesn’t mean you should hide indoors. We’re here to give you some tips to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable summer!

  1. Stay hydrated – Did you know seniors are more prone to dehydration? Compared to when they were younger, seniors aren’t able to retain as much water, and their sense of thirst gets less precise. Make sure you’re constantly drinking water when you’re out in the sun, and try to avoid dehydrating drinks like alcohol and coffee.
  2. Avoid the sun in peak hours – Depending on where you live, the sun is strongest from about 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., so try to limit your sun exposure during these hours. Aside from its being the hottest part of the day, the UV index is higher than usual during these times, which increases your risk of getting a sunburn.
  3. Apply SPF – On that note, make sure to wear sunscreen every day, even if you won’t be in the sun for very long. Look for sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, and reapply frequently. Remember to also protect your eyes from sun damage by wearing sunglasses!
  4. Know the signs – It’s important to know when the heat is making you sick. Heat stroke symptoms include high body temperature, dizziness, headache, confusion and nausea. If you’re feeling any of these symptoms, move to a cool, shady place and call 911 immediately.
  5. Keep the bugs off – Seniors are more susceptible to West Nile virus, so if you’re in a place with a lot of mosquitos, especially at night, be sure to protect yourself with bug spray to reduce your risk of getting bitten by a mosquito carrying this virus.

Want to know more about our communities and our outstanding level of care? Visit our Facebook page  to get a glimpse into the daily lives of our residents, then visit our Communities page to find the community closest to you.

Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month – prevention

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, and during this month especially we want to show support for the millions of people worldwide struggling with Alzheimer’s or dementia and the caregivers who provide care and meaningful connections for them every day.

Throughout our communities, our Generations Memory Care program is designed to provide the highest quality of care to each of our residents based on an individual approach designed specifically for them. We know firsthand how difficult it is to deal with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and although there is no conclusive research on prevention, there are certain lifestyle choices that promote a healthy body and mind that can help prevent Alzheimer’s and other related diseases. Here are some changes you can start implementing today!

  1. Keep your heart healthy – Research suggests that there is a connection between cardiovascular conditions and your brain, with conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol increasing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Maintain a healthy heart by incorporating cardio exercises and a heart-friendly diet, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and fish.
  2. Grab your friends and family – As humans, we crave social interaction, and our brain does too! Having regular face-to-face interaction with people who care about you and staying socially engaged may help protect you against Alzheimer’s and dementia. There are many ways to meet others and make new friendships! Try volunteering, taking a group class, getting to know your neighbors or even joining a club.
  3. Exercise your brain – The brain is just like a muscle – if you don’t challenge it regularly, it will get weaker. Continuing to learn new things and engaging your brain as you get older is one of the most effective ways at preventing Alzheimer’s or dementia. Look for activities that require communication, interaction and organization, and practice them every day. Some great ideas are studying a new language, learning to paint or sew, practicing memorization, and playing strategy games or brain teasers. You can even choose to improve an existing skill, like getting better at golf or learning a new song on an instrument you already know.

Our Generations Memory Care program aims to maintain a sense of home for your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, making sure that he or she receives the highest level of comfort and care. Read more about what sets our innovative program apart!

Staying Active

No matter your age, staying active and healthy is one of the most important aspects of your life. Keeping an active lifestyle has a variety of physical benefits, like lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke, and improving your strength and balance to prevent injuries. The best part about exercise is that it also has a huge impact on your mental health!

Staying active not only helps improve your mood, but helps improve your ability to think and make decisions. Our Vibrant Life program focuses on a well-rounded approach to healthy living specifically tailored to each of our residents, combining all types of activities for our residents to choose from.

We want to share some of our favorite fitness tips for seniors that can be adapted to all levels of fitness.

  1. Find your niche – The best way to get motivated to exercise is to find an activity you like, and these can be even better if you do them with friends. Set up a weekly walk with your friends to combine a workout with a social activity, or sign up for a class to make new friends!
  2. Find your groove – Cardio activities are great both for your mood and, you guessed it, for your heart. Cardio also helps you feel less fatigued throughout your day. Walking, swimming, aerobics and cycling are all great activities to choose from.
  3. Find your strength – Strength training helps prevent loss of bone mass and improves balance, both very important as you get older. It’s important to listen to your body in these types of exercises, so don’t be afraid to use your own body weight instead of exercise equipment if you have no experience with strength training! Be sure to talk with your doctor or a trainer to find the exercises that are right for you.
  4. Find your flex – Working on your flexibility can help improve your range of motion for daily activities, so it’s important to include some flexibility and balance exercises. Try yoga, stretching exercises or dancing to stay limber!
  5. Find your moment – At the end of the day, just making small changes to get moving will make a big difference. You can pick a farther parking spot to get a few more steps in, go for a hike with family or play with your grandchildren to help get your body moving and healthy. Find the activity you enjoy the most, and go with it!

Our Vibrant Life program throughout our communities helps our residents stay active by offering a wide variety of different activities for all fitness levels. With so many types of activities and exercises to choose from, it’s easy for our residents to stay active while having fun. If you want to learn more about how we help our residents reach their fitness goals through Vibrant Life and our fitness centers, visit our Facebook page or website. We’d love to help you start your health journey!

How To Find the Senior Living Community That’s Right for You

As we or our loved ones age, it becomes time to start thinking about living arrangements and what’s best for each individual. In a previous blog post, we talked about how to know when it’s the right time to move into a senior living community. But what do you look for once you decide it’s time? There are many factors that make this a very personal decision for each person, but here is a list of some of the most important things you should consider.

Assistance with daily living is possibly the main factor that will affect your decision. What are your specific needs right now, and what necessities can you anticipate for the future? Do you need an assisted living community with someone to help out with tasks like cooking, transportation or other day-to-day things, or do you need someone who can provide special care for residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s-related diseases? It’s important that the community you choose has the caregivers on staff who are right for you.

Some questions to ask are …

  • Do you have experience with Alzheimer’s? Parkinson’s? Diabetes? (or the specific diagnosis of your loved one)
  • Do you have a nurse on staff 24/7? An in-house physician?
  • How many associates are working during the night shift?

Your senior living community will become your new home, so you need to make sure that the community offers activities that match your interests and pace. Are you looking for a gym or fitness center? Is there a regular schedule of events and activities you would like? It’s also important to consider necessities like availability of barber shops or salons, or whether the community is pet-friendly. Make sure your community’s recreation programs are perfect for you!

Some questions to ask are …

  • Do you have transportation to doctor’s appointments?
  • Do you have any outdoor space and an activities calendar?
  • May I meet another family with a loved one at the community?

A trickier part of the search for the right senior living community is the budget aspect. It’s important to sit down with a trusted individual and take a look at the finances. Compare the monthly bills you may be paying now to any monthly fees the community may have. There are many financial factors to consider when making this move, so don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t feel pressured to say yes if you’re not ready.

Some questions to ask are …

  • What is the monthly cost per apartment type?
  • What are your billing and payment policies?
  • Are all services included in the monthly fee? If not, what and how much are additional services?

Most importantly, whether you’re looking for yourself or for a loved one, don’t do it alone! Be sure to ask any friends or family members for their feedback, especially if there are some who have already gone through this process. Making the move to a senior living community is a big decision, and it’s important for everyone involved to be able to voice their opinions and concerns.

If you’re ready to start your journey of moving into a senior living community, or if you’re just getting started and want to get an idea of what to expect, schedule a tour at any of our communities across the country. Our highly trained care associates will be able to show you every aspect of our communities, including the available living options, our exciting Vibrant Life activities and our healthy Elevate dining program. Visit our Facebook page or website to get a glimpse into a day in the life of our wonderful residents!

National Nutrition Month – Healthy eating tips

It seems that every week there is a new diet trend experts are urging us to follow, and with so many options, it’s hard to know what the right way to eat is. We believe there is no one correct approach to nutrition and that everyone’s journey is different, but since March is National Nutrition Month, we’ve compiled our favorite healthy eating tips that will help you make small but significant changes in your lifestyle.

  1. Forget strict diets – A main reason we give up on eating healthy is that we choose to adopt a rigid, boring diet that we get sick of right away. Instead of doing this, focus on eating more healthy foods that you actually enjoy, and mix them into your weekly grocery run.
  2. Eat more fish – Seafood is a great way to add proteins, minerals and vitamins into your diet in an easy way, so it’s important to try to eat fish at least once a week. Oily fish in particular help prevent heart disease, so pick up some salmon, mackerel, trout or tuna!
  3. Cut saturated fats – We’re all familiar with the term “saturated fats,” but do you know where they are found? Try to eat less of foods like cakes, hard cheese and cream, and when choosing cuts of meat, opt for the leaner cuts and slice off any visible fat. Saturated fats increase your risk of heart disease, so it’s important to avoid them as much as you can.
  4. Don’t skip breakfast – Some people think not eating breakfast will lead to losing weight, but skipping this meal only makes you hungrier later in the day. Research shows that people who eat breakfast regularly are less likely to be overweight, so use this meal as an opportunity to get your daily serving of fruits!
  5. Don’t go hungry – You might be tempted to think that, by having fewer meals a day, you’ll lose more weight; but this isn’t necessarily true. Going hungry for long stretches of time just causes you to overeat when you finally make it to your next meal. Instead, plan for those moments of hunger by having healthy snacks around, like almonds, granola bars or apples.

At each and every one of our Integral Senior Living communities, we are dedicated to making sure our residents are making healthy choices every day. Our Elevate dining program allows our residents to enjoy tasty, nutritious meals. Visit our Facebook page or website to learn more about all of ISL’s signature programs.

Keeping Your Heart Healthy

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many of us have our hearts on our minds. While chocolates and flowers are great, this is also a great time to think about keeping your heart healthy.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Because of this, the American Heart Association has designated February as American Heart Month, to raise awareness about heart disease and how to prevent it. Whether you’re ready for a complete change of lifestyle or you just want to start small, we’ve put together a list of tips that can help you start taking better care of your heart in 2019.

  • Spice it up – We all know your diet is directly related to your heart health, and one of the easiest ways you can make a positive change is by swapping salt for other common kitchen spices when cooking. Paprika, cumin, pepper, onion powder and garlic are just a few spices that will boost up the flavor profile of your meal without being as damaging as salt. Experiment with different combinations of spices and find your favorites!
  • Take a stand – Did you know that sitting still for too long is bad for your health no matter how much you exercise? Be sure to take short walks throughout your day, and find ways to add in a few more steps.
  • Catch some Z’s – Adults who sleep fewer than six hours per night are twice as likely to suffer from heart attacks. Be sure to make sleep a priority and get seven to eight hours every night!
  • Transition away from trans-fats – Trans-fats are linked to increased risk of a stroke or heart disease in your lifetime, so how do we avoid these? Trans-fats are generally found in snack food, prepackaged baked goods and fried fast foods. Check the labels of the food you buy to make sure what you’re eating has zero trans-fats. As a good rule of thumb, you should be eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fish. For an extra challenge, try avoiding meat more often!
  • Don’t stress – It might be easier said than done, but learning to manage your stress can make a major impact in your well-being. Long-term stress can cause damage to your artery walls by increasing your blood pressure and heart rate, so it’s important to learn how to take a few deep breaths throughout your day. Find an activity you enjoy that makes you relax, like painting, yoga, running or cooking. Our Vibrant Life program can definitely help you find some ways to enjoy your time and get rid of the stress!

Keeping your heart healthy is one of the best ways to ensure a positive and vibrant life. Across all of our communities, we ensure that our residents are staying active and eating healthy. Visit our Facebook page or website to learn more about all of ISL’s signature programs.

How To Stick To Your New Year’s Resolution

With the turn of the New Year, it seems as if everyone is talking about New Year’s resolutions. Every year we decide to make an effort to better ourselves, but a few months later we seem to lose motivation and it becomes harder to stick to our goals.

So how do we make sure we have a better chance at accomplishing our resolutions this year? We’ve put together a list of tips to make our health and wellness goals a little easier in 2019.

  • Start small – bigger goals can seem more appealing, but sometimes these are harder to stick to. An easy tip is to break up your bigger goals into smaller goals so you can stay focused on accomplishing them little by little. For example, instead of saying you want to lose 20 pounds, start with setting a smaller goal of losing 5 pounds by the end of February.
  • Healthy eating – if you’re one of the many whose goal is to start eating cleaner, make it your mission to add one healthy item to each meal! Swap out dessert for fruit or water instead of soda. A few small changes can really make a difference over time!
  • Have a resolution partner – it becomes easier, and more fun, to have someone to talk to about where you are with your goals. Check in with each other weekly or monthly, whatever makes the most sense to you, and help keep each other on track!
  • Reward yourself – if your goal was to exercise three times a week and you did it for a full month, be sure to celebrate it! Don’t wait until the end of the year to do this; check in with yourself every month or so to reward yourself for a job well-done.
  • Be easy on yourself – it’s OK to mess up! The important thing is to get yourself back on track as soon as you realize it and stay motivated to accomplish all your goals. Making a mistake at breakfast does not mean the whole day is a disaster.

Sticking to your resolutions in 2019 can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. All across our communities, we have care associates ready to help you accomplish your health and wellness needs at any point during the year.

With our Elevate dining program, we make sure every meal is as delicious as it is nutritious, and our Vibrant Life activities have exercise programs perfect for every level of fitness. Want to know more? Visit our Facebook page or website to get a glimpse into the daily lives of our residents as well as the Elevate dining and Vibrant Life programs.