Senior Living Blog

Ideas for safe outdoor activities this spring

Here at Integral Senior Living, we’re so excited to finally be moving toward spring. The thought of being able to spend more time outside is like a breath of fresh air!
Here are a few ideas for activities you and your family and friends can do outside this spring, while staying safe and socially distanced.

  1. Outdoor wine tasting picnic – Have each person bring a bottle of wine for the group to try. Have the host hide the bottles and pour samples for everyone, then ask guests to guess which sample came from which bottle.
  2. Art – Create a masterpiece with chalk on your sidewalk for the neighborhood to see, or bring the supplies outside to paint a beautiful picture to hang in your apartment.
  3. Charades – This game is fun indoors and outdoors. Spice it up by adding different rounds, like a round where you can only use one word, or a round where you can only make noises that aren’t words.
  4. Talent show – Put on a show and let everyone see what special hidden talents you have. Sing a song, dance, play an instrument, recite a poem or anything else you have up your sleeve!
  5. Go birdwatching – Choose a few birds that frequent the areas where you live, and make a list of the ones you want to find. You could even have a competition with your friends and try to find them all first!

Need more ideas for socially distanced activities? Give the Vibrant Life director at your or your loved one’s community a call!

ISL president, CEO share a message about the importance of getting COVID-19 vaccine

For this month’s blog, we want to put an emphasis on the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Check out this video of Sue Farrow, Integral Senior Living’s founder and owner, and Collette Gray, ISL’s president and CEO, talking about their vaccination experience. Or simply read through the transcript below!


Sue: Hi, I’m Sue Farrow, and I’m the founder and owner of Integral Senior Living and Solstice Senior Living. 

Collette: And I’m Collette Gray. I’m the president and CEO of Integral Senior Living and Solstice Senior Living. 

Sue: This coronavirus has so drastically changed the way we work, the way we communicate and the way we engage with each other. 

Collette: We’re so thankful that you have been a part of this journey with us and have remained positive advocates for change during this entire pandemic. 

Sue: We are so excited to see the light at the end of this very long, very dark tunnel. And we’re here today in Marin to, well, we already have, we’ve gotten our first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Collette: So along with the WindChime of Marin family, we’re here today to tell you a little bit about our stories. I am 50 years old, I have a compromised immune system as I have multiple sclerosis, and I chose to get vaccinated after speaking with my neurologist and understanding that it is much better to be vaccinated than to get COVID. 

Sue: And because of my advanced age, I’m also in a high-risk category. And so, we really, today, wanted to relay to you how incredibly safe and easy it is to get this vaccination. 

Collette: We ask all of you to take the opportunity to get vaccinated at the first available opportunity you have in your community. 

Sue: And again, we are so thankful and eternally grateful to all of you who have been working tirelessly to get us to this point, and we humbly ask you to join us in this next, very important step, so that we can continue to keep our residents and fellow associates safe. Thank you. 

Our favorite resolutions for 2021

We can’t believe it’s already January again! With 2020 behind us, we’re excited for the opportunity to plan for the future and set new personal goals for 2021. Setting resolutions can be a wonderful way for seniors and their loved ones to inspire changes that will provide a better quality of life. If you can’t decide what you want to make your resolution for the year, we’ve provided a few of our favorites below.

Eat Healthy
Thanks to our Elevate® dining program, our culinary service associates ensure that our residents have high-quality, freshly prepared meals each day. Our customized menus are also tailored to the needs of the residents we serve. By enhancing the presentation of menu selections to accommodate dexterity challenges and modified diets, we promote dignity and independence in each dining experience. If your loved one is part of one of our communities, make your resolution to eat
freshly prepared options like your loved one does!

Be Active
Staying active is critical for every person, no matter their age. Make a concerted effort to exercise daily.
Going for a walk and participating in yoga or water aerobics are all great ways to stay limber, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your balance, posture and mood. In our communities, residents are offered fun daily activities to ensure that they stay active and live a vibrant life.

Stay Cautious
Although we’ve entered into a new year, we’re still facing the challenges that COVID-19 has brought.
Continue to follow the CDC and locally set guidelines for your area, and wear your mask! We’re counting on you to help us ensure that our residents stay safe. Learn more about what we’re doing to keep our
residents protected here:
We hope everyone makes at least one resolution for 2021 that will result in a positive change in their life. Happy New Year from all of us at Integral Senior Living!

Help spruce up your loved one’s senior living space for the holidays

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to turn our minds to decking the halls and enjoying all that winter brings us. Of course, we all know there will be some things that look a little different this year. At our communities, associates are dedicated to ensuring that our residents have the tools they need to embrace both familiar and new holiday traditions, and have the best holiday season possible. 

One thing you can do to make sure your loved one is able to get into the holiday spirit is to help them decorate their apartment! Here are a few ways your loved one can spruce up their space to add some festive cheer: 

  • Set up a small artificial tree. These mini-evergreens are sure to bring big smiles to the faces of residents – especially if they’re adorned with ornaments and mementos from their past. 
  • Hang up a few stockings – on the mantle, if you have one, or even just on the counter! We don’t want Santa to be left without a place to put smaller presents for your loved one when he passes through. 
  • Utilize the window space to hang a wreath, drape some glowing LED lights or stick on some holiday-themed removable decals! 
  • Decorate doorways with garland, or even mistletoe! 
  • Send supplies for your loved one to make a new ornament for their tree. They’ll love a thoughtful gift like that, and have an opportunity to engage in a creative outlet. 
  • Swap out the knick-knacks that typically lie on your dresser, counter or even your table for festive options. Create a Christmas-themed town, set out Santa and his reindeer, or replace them with holiday photos of loved ones! 

It’s so important to find new ways to lift our spirits during the holidays this year. And what better way to do that than to transform your loved one’s living space into a festive holiday area? Their room can become a warm, cozy and inviting living space throughout the season with just a few easy changes. 

How to take care of yourself this holiday season

We have officially hit holiday season! We’re hoping that this season is the most wonderful part of 2020 (it won’t be hard to top many parts of this year!) for you and your family. While we know that many people are shifting their focus to spreading joy to others, we just want to make sure we remind you to take the time to take care of yourself and protect others. 

Here are some of our tips for staying healthy this holiday season:

  • Invest in your mental health. Devote some time to your mental health – it’s just as important as your physical health! Our Vibrant Life® directors ensure that there are a number of mental health-boosting activities every week, so you can choose from things like a relaxing walk to enjoy some fresh air, arts and crafts, writing letters to your loved ones, or even spending a day just relaxing. This year has definitely been difficult, so be sure you are communicating if you feel depressed or overwhelmed. 
  • Indulge in treats. In our opinion, the best desserts and snacks are typically around during the holiday season. So while living a healthy lifestyle is important, it is also good to allow yourself to indulge in a few more treats than usual. Don’t overthink it, but remember to still mix in some healthy vegetables or lean meats in order to get the nutrients you need. And of course, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. 
  • Combat germs. This year, we’ve learned a lot about how to keep each other safe from viruses and bacteria. But with flu season upon us, it’s doubly important to make sure you’re putting the CDC’s best practices to use! Besides simply arming yourself with the flu vaccine, take other preventive measures to fight germs. Learn more about what our communities are doing to combat germs here: 

Enjoying the holidays with your family and friends is the most important part of the season, so do your best to keep yourself healthy and happy! Happy Thanksgiving and happy holidays from Integral Senior Living! 

How to celebrate Halloween safely this year

We’re so excited to put together Halloween-themed activities that will allow our residents to
get together in a safe way and give everyone a chance to enjoy some spooky fun this October.
Although this holiday will look different from how it has in the past, it is important to keep
creating memories.
Our Vibrant Life® team is dedicated to making sure all residents enjoy engaging and fun
activities. This is always a priority, but the pandemic has given us the opportunity to be even
more creative when planning activities.
We’ve put together a list of activities, decorations and recipes that you can do at home, while
your loved one completes these activities in their community. Be sure to Zoom or FaceTime
your loved ones, so you can show off all the fun!

  1. Decorate pumpkins. Carving is not the only way to create fun designs. We recommend
    buying paint or Sharpies to help you give your pumpkins that spooky feeling.
  2. Make sweet potato jack-o’-lanterns. A lot of the foods made or bought around
    Halloween can be unhealthy and full of sugar. Put together these sweet potato
    pumpkins for a healthy and easy snack!
  3. Host Halloween charades. Write down some Halloween-related nouns (ex. a spider,
    bobbing for apples, a witch) and have each person act one out.
  4. Have a costume or door-decorating contest. Have everyone vote on the best Halloween
    costume or apartment door – in some of our senior living communities, we will also go
    socially distanced trick-or-treating around the building!
  5. Make “Shrunken Heads in Cider.” Use this recipe from Martha Stewart to create a
    spooky punch for your family and loved ones!
  6. Create spiral ghosts. Cut white paper into a spiral to imitate a ghostly silhouette, then
    draw on eyes with a black Sharpie and hang them up to decorate your space!

“When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam, may luck be yours on Halloween.” – Unknown

Tips to keep life vibrant this fall

The start of September means the beginning of all things fall-themed – pumpkin spice lattes, fall decorations, bonfires, corn mazes and of course slightly cooler weather. 

We all know that autumn will look a little different this year, especially for our friends and families in our senior living communities; but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still make it fun. Our Vibrant Life® program makes it easy for residents to stay engaged, but we wanted to share some ideas for loved ones to join in on the fun. 

Here are just a few ideas for things you and your loved ones can do this season!

  • Decorate the outside of their window with leaves, pumpkins and messages telling them you love them. You can also send them a box of decorations they can use to decorate the inside of their apartment, or the outside of their door. 
  • Send a gift basket of fall-scented bath products or candles for your loved one to enjoy, or even just a nice card! 
  • Bring your loved one their favorite fall food. Whether it is pumpkin bread, butternut squash soup or candy corn, we know they would love a nice treat! Be sure to contact your executive director to inquire about COVID-19 visitation protocols.  
  • Surprise them with an autumn-themed Zoom call or drive-by, where all of their friends and family have gathered (in a safe way) to wish them a happy fall and remind them that you care. 
  • Send your loved one a fall-themed jigsaw puzzle or picture to paint for them to create and then display.

If you’d like more ideas on how to make those at our senior living communities feel loved, contact your community’s Vibrant Life® Director. They have continuously brought creative ideas to the table to help our residents stay safe and live vibrant lives. 

Living a Vibrant Life® While Staying Safe

As you all know, all of our communities have been taking extra precautions to ensure that COVID-19 does not enter our communities. While this does mean that we have put protocols into place such as social distancing and limiting visitors, it doesn’t mean that we’ve stopped having fun with our residents! 

Our Vibrant Life® program is meant to enhance and enrich our residents’ lives through seven core components: be inspired, be well, be challenged, be adventurous, be family, be social and be connected. Some of these components typically look a little different than they have in recent months, but we are proud of the work our associates are doing to help our residents live vibrant lives. 

Here are just a few of the things our wonderful communities have been up to while still following recommendations from the CDC and local health departments: 

  • Writing letters to their family members
  • Watching movies together and holding book clubs – sitting six feet apart, of course!
  • Playing bingo while maintaining social distancing (pictured)
  • Delivering delicious, home-style meals to residents in their apartments  
  • Enjoying happy hour – a glass of wine helps, right?

We’re lucky to have so many supportive families asking how they can keep in touch with their loved ones. We’ve been encouraging them to “visit” via FaceTime, Skype, phone calls, cards and letters. These items may seem small, but they mean the world to our residents!

We’d also like to thank our families who are doing their part to keep the virus out of our communities by not visiting their loved ones. We know this is really hard, but it’s what’s best for our residents.

Our amazing associates and residents are rolling with the punches as we all navigate through the uncertainty that has come along with COVID-19. We will continue to work together, as a family, to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents. Get the latest updates about COVID-19 here:

How to have a fun summer while staying safe from coronavirus

As the weather begins to turn warmer and we move into summer, we’re thinking about new ways to have fun while staying safe. With COVID-19 sticking around, we must still follow recommendations by the CDC to stay safe while living a vibrant life.

Our first priority is keeping our residents and associates safe, but we also believe in the importance of allowing and encouraging our residents to engage with their friends and families. So, we’ve compiled a few things to think about when you’re making plans to visit your loved one this summer.

  1. Hold visits with your loved one outdoors while social distancing and wearing proper PPE. Recent studies show that transmission of COVID-19 may be less likely to occur outdoors than indoors.
  2. Bring along activities that can be done while social distancing, or while on different sides of a window. Some examples of this could be a window marker to play tic-tac-toe, a game of horseshoes or making art together!
  3. Continue to visit your loved one over Skype, FaceTime or Zoom. We encourage our residents’ friends and families to continue helping us keep our community safe, and this is one of the main ways you can help!
  4. Pack a picnic and enjoy it with family or friends while maintaining social distance. Sharing a meal is a great way to connect with people while staying safe.
  5. Get moving! Get outside! Enjoy a nice walk or a round of golf. Keep in mind your limitations, wear sunscreen, and drinks lots of water. The heat can be brutal in some areas, so limiting your time outdoors may be necessary.

Don’t see anything on this list that excites you? No worries – our amazing Vibrant Life® directors have tons of ideas and ways to keep you entertained and engaged. You can even make your own suggestions to bring the fun to you.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us keep our residents and associates safe over the past few months. We’re excited to continue ensuring that our residents live a vibrant life.

How to celebrate Father’s Day during coronavirus outbreak

We blinked, and now June is right around the corner. Summer is approaching quickly, and along with it are the holidays it brings. In June, we celebrate Father’s Day. This special day honors the great men in our lives who have served as our fathers, father figures, mentors and role models. The way we celebrate these great men may look a little different this year, but the extent to which we celebrate and honor them will not. Here are a few Father’s Day ideas to share the love while also keeping your loved ones healthy and safe.

Create a Video Card: Gather the troops and make a video card to share with your loved one. Ask your family members and friends to record a video describing a favorite memory and/or their favorite things about the man of the hour. Compile all the videos to share with your father. This is a gift that will continue to spread happiness and love with every press of the play button.

Host a Sidewalk Celebration: Bring the celebration to your father. Coordinate a time with us so he can come to a window or patio to be properly celebrated. Make festive signs, and spend time catching up with him.

Make a Photo Album: Pictures are worth a thousand words. Find photos from every chapter of your father’s life and put them in a photo album. To make it interactive, encourage him to write down the memories associated with the picture on the back of each photo. This is a great way to pass along the stories and experiences of our loved ones.

At ISL, we look forward to honoring the incredible men in our community with special meals offered through Elevate® dining and celebratory activities planned through our Vibrant Life® program. So mark your calendars for Sunday, June 21, 2020, and start planning your Father’s Day celebrations today!