Senior Living Blog

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.

Holiday Visits With Memory Care Residents

Holidays are the perfect opportunity to spend time together as a family, and this means visiting loved ones in senior living communities is even more important as the year comes to an end.

These visits are really important to residents’ well-being, but sometimes people are intimidated because they don’t know how to communicate with someone who is in memory care. We’ve put together a list of helpful tips that will help you navigate these visits and make it easier for everyone to spend some quality time together.

  1. Visit regularly – Set realistic expectations of how often you will visit, and then stick to it. Unexpected situations will come up, and that’s OK. Just be sure to communicate this to your loved one and their care provider.
  2. Be positive – Being warm and affectionate during your visits is important to your loved one’s mental well-being. Research shows that loneliness is a major health problem, and these visits can really help brighten your loved one’s day.
  3. Put together a visit bag – Fill this bag with photos, videos, news stories he or she might be interested in, etc. Is there a celebrity he or she really likes keeping up with, is he or she a huge sports fan? Bring newspaper clippings or fun facts about it! Everyone loves thoughtful details like these.
  4. Take a walk – If it’s nice out and your loved one is able to, go for a walk together! Going on a walk is a great way to keep the body and mind active. Just moving out of the room and getting a fresh change of scenery can be a huge mood booster.
  5. Don’t be intimidated by Alzheimer’s or dementia – Remember that patience is key, even if you have to repeat things from time to time. Find out what brings out the best mood with your loved one – a certain genre of music, photos, a specific room, and repeat it every visit.

Remember that these visits can provide wonderful opportunities for you and your loved one to bond, learn from each other and even make new memories.

If you think your loved one might be ready to transition into memory care, we’re here to help guide you through this process. With ISL’s Generations Memory Care program, our goal is to ease this transition and provide the best-quality care specialized to meet each of our residents’ needs.

Visit our communities page to find the location closest to you, and give us a call to learn more about our Generations Memory Care program.

Eating Healthy During the Holidays

The holiday season is that wonderful time of year when we get to spend time with our families, travel, and create memories with friends and loved ones.

While it is easy to get lost in the fun, the holidays can also mean big meals with tons of calories. Large meals coupled with weather that can lessen the desire to get outside and be active can lead to a period of unhealthiness for many. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the holidays without compromising your health.

  • Don’t overeat – This one sounds simple, but people tend to eat way more than they normally do during holiday meals. Using a smaller plate, filling your plate with vegetables and salad, and waiting at least 10 minutes before going back for seconds to see if you’re actually hungry can all help prevent overeating.
  • Don’t skip meals – Many of us skip eating during the day as a way to prepare for a big holiday meal. While these people believe they are smartly making room for a lot of food, in reality they are encouraging themselves to overeat. It is especially important to have breakfast, as research shows that people who eat breakfast tend to consume fewer calories throughout the day. Eating fiber-rich foods that are high in volume and will satisfy hunger, but won’t overload you with calories.
  • Get some physical activity – Just had a big, satisfying meal? This is a perfect time to go for a walk or do something else active you enjoy doing. Physical activity is a great way to offset a higher calorie intake, or a slice (or two!) of pie.

At ISL communities, our Elevate culinary program creates meaningful connections through cuisine, transforming the dining experience into a celebration that inspires the engagement of our residents, families and friends. It all starts with making sure we are preparing the healthiest, most nourishing food possible.

As our mission implies, we don’t want to merely put food in front of our residents, but connect with them in impactful ways through cuisine.

Elevate addresses not only our residents’ palates, but their desire for purpose, recognition of a lifetime of memories, lifelong growth and learning opportunities, and occasions to showcase their individuality through their own culinary signature items.

To learn more about our Elevate culinary program and everything else ISL communities have to offer, please give us a call or come take a tour. You may also visit our Communities page to find the community closest to you.

We hope everyone has a safe and healthy holiday season – just make sure you are more focused on spreading joy than you are spreading butter!

Knowing When To Make the Move to a Senior Living Community

The decision to move into a senior living community can be a difficult and, oftentimes, a stressful proposition. For many, the decision to become a resident, or to have a loved one move into a community, is an emotional experience that requires a delicate balance of compassion and resolve.

There are some signs that may help you make the decision for a loved one, including if they are having difficulty with basic tasks, are experiencing more frequent injuries – like increased episodes of falling – if they see significant weight loss, or if they seem to be leaning toward isolation and loneliness. These are just some signs, not all, and ultimately the decision to transition to a senior living community is based on a unique set of factors for each person.

If you’re still wondering whether senior living is right for you or a loved one, our ISL communities are here to help you every step of the way.

We encourage those who are just beginning the process of looking into senior living to take a tour and ask very specific questions about the community when they call or visit. We know it may feel overwhelming at first, but asking a lot of questions is the best way to figure out whether a community is right for you or your loved one.

Some sample questions include:

  • What type of care do you provide, such as Independent, Assisted Living and Memory Care?
  • What additional services are available if the needs of a resident change?
  • Are all services included in the monthly fee? If not, what and how much are additional services?
  • Do you have care staff around 24/7?
  • Do you have experience with Alzheimer’s? Parkinson’s? Diabetes? (or the specific diagnosis of you or your loved one)

For those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s, the loved ones who are making the decision to move to a senior living community need to have the comfort and assurance that the community they are moving to is a place of personalized care and professional service. Having a highly trained staff is crucial.

Knowing when the time is right to make the transition is different for everyone. At ISL, we are always ready to help any family through this period, and each of our communities is designed to ensure an inspiring and fulfilling quality of life for our residents, no matter what level of care they need.

The associates at our ISL communities would love to answer all your questions. Gives us a call or come take a tour. We’ll give you all the time you need to see that our communities are a great place to call home! You can visit our Communities page to find the community closest to you.

September Is Healthy Aging® Month

September is Healthy Aging® Month and a terrific reminder that maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle is important to our quality of life as we age. At ISL, one of our main priorities is making sure our residents are living an active lifestyle because we know keeping the calendar filled with engaging activities can keep everyone feeling and looking great!

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.

Healthy Aging® lists some tips that can help you and your loved ones live a healthier life – both physically and mentally. Here are five to help you get started:

  1. Don’t act your age, or at least what you think your current age should act like.
  2. Be positive in your conversations and your actions every day.
  3. How’s your smile? Research shows people who smile more often are happier!
  4. Start walking, not only for your health, but also to see neighbors and friends. Walking can be a social activity, not just exercise!
  5. Make this month the time to set up your annual physical and other health screenings if you haven’t already.

Following these simple tips can make improvements in your overall health. Plus, they can be fun!

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!