Senior Living Blog

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. 

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!

Integral Senior Living remembers the women who make a difference

As we move into Women’s History Month and look forward to International Women’s Day on March 8, our team at ISL is taking a moment to think about the many contributions women have made throughout history and the benefits they have brought to our lives.

It’s so important not only to honor the women who have made history, but also to recognize the women we know personally who have changed us for the better. Everywhere we look, we are surrounded by incredible women. These are mothers, daughters, aunts, grandmas, friends and colleagues who have made significant contributions to the people in their lives through hard work, dedication, determination and lots of love.

We encourage you to take the time to connect with the women around you and engage in meaningful conversations with each other. There are so many things we can learn from passing along one another’s stories and experiences.

At ISL, we believe in honoring the stories our residents have by getting to know their past and supporting them moving forward. We always encourage residents to never stop learning and exploring. Through our signature programs like Elevate® and Vibrant Life®, we do everything we can to offer new experiences.

Whether you are a resident, loved one or incredible care associate, we honor you this month.


Elevate your senior living meals and share love this Valentine’s Day

Whether you’re spending Valentine’s Day with your significant other or your family, or if you’re just taking some time to practice self-care, the day is all about love.

“Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” –Robert Heinlein

One great way to celebrate is to partake in fellowship over a meal. Our communities will be offering special menus just in time for the holiday that you won’t want to miss.

With our Elevate® dining program, we make sure every meal is as delicious as it is nutritious; but we go above and beyond on special occasions. The program is designed to go beyond traditional senior living meals by making most things from scratch and focusing on tailoring each menu to the needs of the residents. By enhancing the presentation of menu selections to accommodate dexterity challenges and modified diets, we strive to promote dignity and independence while providing residents the opportunity to enjoy the meals they love.

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 program.

Integral Senior Living offers nontraditional resolutions for seniors

Each time January rolls around, we take time to assess the past year and work harder toward our life
goals, one small step at a time. But New Year’s resolutions can be hard to decide on. Should you work on
your health? Your personal life?
Here are some nontraditional resolutions you could make:

  • Make a new friend – Friendships help us all stay connected and give us someone to spend time
    with. Friends can help us process emotions, engage us in thought-provoking conversations and
    make us laugh. When you really think about it, friendship helps us stay mentally and emotionally
  • Do a puzzle a day or find other ways engage your brain – Keeping your brain busy helps it stay
    healthy. A great goal is to strive to do something that really makes you think every day.
  • Learn something new – There are always new things we can learn, no matter how much we
    think we know. This is a great time to learn something you’ve always wanted to.
  • Write letters/keep a journal – Journaling can help you understand your thoughts and feelings
    more clearly and can improve your mental health. And who doesn’t love receiving a letter from
    a friend or loved one? Writing and receiving letters can be a great way to keep in touch and
    show someone that you’re thinking of them.

At Integral Senior Living, our New Year’s resolution is to continue to support and encourage our associates to the best of our
ability. This is something we’re always working toward, but it’s never a bad idea to begin pursuing
something with renewed passion at the beginning of the year.
So to start off 2020, this month we’re celebrating our Vibrant Life directors! This month includes
National Activity Professionals Week, which is observed in order to recognize the contributions made by
activity professionals in nursing homes, retirement communities and senior centers throughout the
nation. We are so thankful to have such amazing associates supporting us in our mission to help each of
our residents live a Vibrant Life.