4 Ways for Caregivers to Slow Down and Enjoy the Holidays

4 Ways for caregiver to slow down and enjoy the holidays meme

The holidays can be hectic – but for caregivers, they can be more than stressful. It’s easy to become frazzled during the holiday hustle and bustle, but it’s important that you remember these 4 Ways for Caregivers to Slow Down and Enjoy the Holidays (and don’t forget about these 20 Ways to Care for the Caregiver). Be sure to bookmark this article for reference in the future, and share with other caregivers in your life.

4 Ways for Caregivers to Slow Down and Enjoy the Holidays

1. Shop early and/or online.

Somewhere along the way, did buying gifts for loved ones became more of a hassle instead of a warm gesture of kindness to show your appreciation for family and friends? Don’t let that be the case! Instead, make things easier on yourself and do what makes the most sense for YOU. Make a list of the gifts you’ll be purchasing and shop in the season to avoid the crowds. Interested in shopping in your pajamas, while relaxing on the couch with a cup of coffee? If so, shop online, using your smartphone or tablet! Lastly, consider a one-size-fits-all type of gift: Zoo memberships, gift cards, books, etc.

2. Schedule some down time.

As a caregiver, you manage a full schedule between yourself and your loved one. During the busy holiday season, have you scheduled some time just for you? Recharge your own batteries — by way of reading a new book, taking a power nap, enjoying a brisk walk or picking up the phone to chat with a close friend. Because the more relaxed you are, the better caregiver you’ll be. It’s not being selfish; taking care of you is good for everyone!

3. Get a good night’s sleep.

This goes beyond just scheduling some down time for you. Getting a full night of sleep is beneficial physically because it allows your body time to recharge, literally, since your cells are busy making repairs. A good night of sleep lets your body rest, but it also lets your brain rest. Those million thoughts always swirling around get a break so that you can look at things with fresh eyes in the morning. Don’t skimp on sleep; five hours is not enough — particularly if you’re dealing with broken sleep because of your caregiving duties. Whenever you have the time, make it a priority to get a full night of sleep.

4. Remember what’s important.

It’s not about having the most elaborate, Pinterest-worthy holiday table decorations or variety of specialty foods on display. It’s not about having every last corner of your home free of dust bunnies. It’s not about having every last strand of hair in place, or being the first one (or second, or third) to send out holiday cards. The holidays are about spending time with those you love. It’s about spreading goodwill toward others. It may be about food (and these easy ways to make holiday meals healthier) and gathering around the table to talk and laugh. But it’s about happiness and doing things you love that bring joy to your heart. All the rest is just icing on the imperfect cake. Don’t ever forget that.

AMERICAN HOUSE

These 4 Ways for Caregivers to Slow Down and Enjoy the Holidays are useful tips to remember. Call American Housel today at (248) 579-4422 to schedule a visit and see all we have to offer our residents.

Sixth Annual Holiday Hope for Seniors

Holiday Hope for Seniors - American HouseSmall Donations. Big Impact.

Many families are starting to prepare for the holiday season: purchasing ingredients for holiday meals, cleaning homes, buying presents off of wish lists and getting ready to receive visits from family and friends.

Not often do you hear it on the news or see it firsthand, but many senior citizens in the metro Detroit area won’t be receiving gifts. They won’t be celebrating with family. Some don’t even have suitable accommodations that allow family or friends to visit.

But with the help of American House Senior Living Communities and the American House Foundation, we are working to change that one senior at a time.

At several American House communities, a tree lighting ceremony will kick-off the season of giving. On Thursday, December 4, from 5-7 p.m. please join us as our residents and their loved ones purchase magical bulbs that will make a difference in senior’s lives. Approximately $20,000 will be raised from the tree lighting ceremony to benefit individual senior needs. When seniors help seniors, there’s a bit of magic to be found.

In addition, the American House Foundation will be helping over 850 senior citizens in need this holiday season by hand-delivering bags containing personal and household items. This is an incredibly humbling experience for those on the ‘Route of Gifts.’ So please, come on this journey with American House and be the difference in a senior’s life!

For more information on how you can help, please visit the American House Foundation website.

~Chief Operating Officer, Rob Gillette

5 Ways To Thank A Veteran

Ways to Thank a Veteran - American House Blog

Have you thanked a veteran lately? Veteran’s Day in November is a designated day we appreciate and thank veterans for their service and dedication — but you can honor veterans in your life all year long! Here are 5 Ways to Thank a Veteran that you can easily implement any time of year:

5 WAYS TO THANK A VETERAN

1. Call

Make it a point to call your grandparent, parent, uncle, aunt, family friend or other loved one who served our country. You don’t have to talk about their military service, but reaching out and checking in means more than you can imagine. And who knows, maybe you’ll get to hear about some fabulous stories about days gone by (like this one from our very own Tuskegee Airman)!

2. Visit

Nothing is more precious to anyone — especially a veteran — than the gift of time. Your schedule is certainly hectic, but carve out some time to visit some veterans (either ones you know or even ones you don’t!) whenever you find the opportunity. It’ll be worth your time, promise. One American House resident’s visit with Navy veterans had him talking for weeks!

3. Offer assistance

Is your neighbor a veteran? Offer to stop by and do any light maintenance that may be needed – such as moving furniture or cleaning those hard-to-reach corners. Take the lawn mower or snow blower over before you do your own yard and save your neighbor the hassle. Or maybe there are veterans living at a nearby senior living community who would be delighted to have a little household help. (There are many veterans at American House; chances are, there is a location near you!)

4. Reach out

Don’t know any veterans personally? Reach out to your local American Legion chapter to find out ways your help would be most appreciated. If you see a service member while out and about, take time to say thank you. Offer military discounts if you have a business and spread the word on Facebook about any offers for veterans you may find.

5. Stop by American House

We are honored to have so many veterans living in our American House communities and we’re thrilled to be able to remember our veterans during ceremonies throughout the year (not just on Veteran’s Day!). You, too, can stop by and show your support for these men and women who displayed such courage and sacrifice in the name of our freedom. Call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a visit and fulfill these 5 Ways to Thank a Veteran.

What other ways can you think of to thank a veteran?

How to Cook Acorn Squash and Other Simple Recipes for Fall Foods (Plus the Biggest Mistake Most People Make When Cooking Vegetables)

How to Cook Acorn Squash and Other Simple Recipes for Fall Foods

Many people associate summer with fresh fruits and vegetables. But, did you know the fall season has just as many? According to Executive Chef James Nickleberry, there are plenty of fresh foods to use in recipes once the air turns crisp: zucchini, squash, beets, broccoli, pumpkins, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, turnips, collard greens, kale, pumpkin, onions, rosemary, parsley and sage.

“It’s a gourd and greens season,” Chef James said. “People think about cauliflower, but they don’t realize you can eat the greens off the cauliflower!”

Don’t forget about the fall fruits, too. Apples, of course (especially in Michigan!), grapes and pomegranates are fall fruits.

So, what to do with all these fresh ingredients? Here’s some simple inspiration from Chef James, including one of his very favorite fall recipes – sweet potatoes and apples.

HOW TO COOK ACORN SQUASH

“I’m a huge fan of baked acorn squash,” Chef James said. So, how does a professional chef prepare acorn squash? It’s pretty simple, actually: cut the squash in half, lather with butter, sprinkle brown sugar on both halves, wrap in foil and place in oven for an hour. When it’s done, take the foil off, stick a spoon in and eat it off the shell — Chef James style.

COOKING ZUCCHINI

According to Chef James, you can cook zucchini any old way you’d like! But, he says he prefers to cut the zucchini in slices, sauté with onion in the pan, sprinkle salt and pepper to taste (plus a little dash of sugar). For more flavor, add cherry tomatoes.

A CHEF JAMES’ FAVORITE: SWEET POTATOES AND APPLES

For a side dish that tastes like a dessert (or a dessert that seems like a side dish?!), cut some sweet potatoes into cubes and boil them until they are soft. Meanwhile, sauté some sliced apples with a dash of sugar, and perhaps some walnuts or cranberries.

Put the cubes of sweet potatoes in a pan with butter and brown sugar, add the apples, and bake together at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

“It goes great with turkey and stuffing,” Chef James said.

VEGETARIAN ENCHILADAS

For a quick and easy substitute to a “regular” enchilada, try some seasonal mushrooms and spinach with potatoes instead of the beef or beans! Put the fall ingredients into corn shells, with some shredded mozzarella, and bake just like you would a regular enchilada — including your normal enchilada sauce. Yum!

…AND THE BIGGEST MISTAKE MOST PEOPLE MAKE WHEN COOKING VEGETABLES

What’s the biggest mistake people make when they cook vegetables, according to Chef James? They overcook them. Vegetables should be sautéed not boiled, he said, or steamed if they can’t be sautéed. TIP: When the veggies start to lose their bright color, you’re cooking all the vitamins and nutrients out of the vegetables.

AMERICAN HOUSE

At American House, www.americanhouse.com we have nutritionists and chefs who work together to create healthy AND tasty menus for our residents! Call us today at (248) 579-4422 to schedule a tour and have a slice of apple pie!

10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s in Recognition of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Signs of Alzheimer’s - American House Blog

Did you know that more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease? In fact, every 60 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s, a debilitating disease. It’s the most common form of dementia that erases a sufferer’s memory slowly; nearly two-thirds of those sufferers are women, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and at American House Senior Living Communities, we’re following the latest research to help residents and their loved ones stay informed when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, including tips for families.

It can be scary when a loved one starts acting differently. Here are 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s (from the Alzheimer’s Association), along with typical age-related changes:

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life

Forgetfulness is common – when it happens sporadically. But forgetting recently-learned information is one of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s. Forgetting about important events, increasingly needing devices to help memory (such as new sticky notes or electronic reminders) and repeatedly asking for the same information may indicate memory loss. In addition, the need to rely on loved ones for things usually handled alone is also an indicator.

Typical, age-related changes: Forgetting names or appointments sometimes, but remembering them later.

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems    

With early signs of Alzheimer’s, sufferers may find it difficult to develop or follow a plan — including recipes or a monthly budget. Working with numbers may become a struggle, especially when it comes to handling the bills each month. Concentration may lag — and distractions abound — and completing tasks may take longer.

Typical, age-related changes: Occasionally making errors when balancing the checkbook.

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure

With Alzheimer’s, it may become hard to do daily activities like remembering the rules to a game, driving somewhere familiar or managing a work budget. It’s the act of forgetting something that was once routine that is alarming. Try these 8 Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s.

Typical, age-related changes: Technology issues, such as sometimes needing helping using the settings on the microwave or DVR.

4. Confusion with time or place

Losing track of the date — the passing of time as a whole — can be pretty commonplace for people who have Alzheimer’s. It’s also not uncommon for those with Alzheimer’s to forget where they are, or to even forget how they got there.

Typical, age-related changes:  Momentarily forgetting what day of the week it is (like feeling like it is Friday when it’s only Thursday), but figuring it out eventually.

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships       

Vision problems — such as reading, judging distance and even determining color — may signal Alzheimer’s. Problems driving may then follow suit, which is obviously a dangerous activity at that point.

Typical, age-related changes: Cataracts and the accompanying vision issues.

6. New problems with words in speaking or writing       

The inability to follow a conversation and calling objects by the wrong name are common symptoms of Alzheimer’s. For someone who used to be a chatterbox, the sudden trouble keeping up with a discussion among friends can be a warning sign.

Typical, age-related changes: However, we’ve all had a word on the tip of our tongue slip our minds — no reason to fret, as long as it’s not a common occurrence.

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps        

This is more than just forgetting where you put that warranty for the oven. With Alzheimer’s, someone may place their keys somewhere strange — like the freezer — and not be able to figure out where they are. Repeatedly. The person may even accuse others of stealing them.

Typical, age-related changes: Intermittently misplacing things, but being able to retrace steps in order to find the missing items.

8. Decreased or poor judgment

Have you questioned the actions of a loved one lately? Such as handing out large sums of money, or maybe even forgetting to comb their hair when going out in public? Alzheimer’s affects people’s decision-making skills and clouds judgment.

Typical, age-related changes:  Occasionally making a bad decision.

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities         

When someone who normally loves to watch the World Series or Super Bowl suddenly has no interest in the games — or even what teams are playing — Alzheimer’s may be a factor. Keeping up with hobbies and social interactions becomes difficult and changes from the disease may make a person want to avoid others.

Typical, age-related changes: Sometimes not wanting to go to a party or fulfill other social obligations.

10. Changes in mood and personality       

Alzheimer’s is a neurological disease that greatly impacts mood and personality. As a result, sufferers can become depressed, suspicious, fearful, confused or anxious — and new situations and people may lead to increased frustration and unease.

Typical, age-related changes: On the other hand, over time it’s not unusual to develop specific routines — and if those routines are disrupted, it can be typical to become irritated.

AMERICAN HOUSE

Not only are we working with residents and their loved ones to keep them informed on Alzheimer’s disease research, but American House also offers memory care for residents. Call us today at (248) 579-4422 to schedule a tour!

Top 10 Benefits of Pet Ownership for Seniors (And P.S.: American House is Pet Friendly!)

Think back to your childhood. Chances are some of your favorite memories involve your cherished family pet (or pets). Days spent playing fetch in the yard with Fido, cuddling with purring fur ball Fluffy or talking walks around the neighborhood with Rover likely make you reminisce with a smile. Well, those same warm feelings can be yours all over again!

Benefits of Pet Ownership for Seniors - American House BlogAMERICAN HOUSE IS PET FRIENDLY

Cats and dogs are wonderful additions to your life — and at American House, we understand and encourage that type of bond! Many of our communities are pet friendly, so don’t worry about bringing your furry friends along with you when you move.

Or, if you don’t already have a pet, perhaps you should consider getting one! Pets offer plenty of benefits, not the least of which is constant companionship. You’ll look forward to spending time petting your new cat or dog, and you’ll be able to relax and find comfort with your new-found friend.

The Top 10 Benefits of Pet Ownership for Seniors:

  1. Pets help lower YOUR blood pressure
  2. Animals help relieve stress
  3. Four-legged friends ease the pain of loss after a loved one passes away
  4. Pets offer security and unconditional love
  5. You’ll be more active with a pet around
  6. Furry friends provide comfort when you’re sad
  7. Those who have pets have less depression
  8. They’re a great opportunity for social interaction
  9. Pet owners have fewer doctor visits
  10. Having a pet helps you establish a routine and responsibility

AMERICAN HOUSE

We want American House to feel just like home and that includes allowing your pet to live with you, too. Call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to find out which of our communities welcome pets. Then, picture all the things you and Fluffy or Fido will do here!

How To Be A Lifelong Learner

One of the keys to longevity is to seek learning opportunities that challenge your mind. We know you’ve learned A LOT in your life, but there’s always room for more. Not sure what to learn about? If you have access to a computer with Internet, you have an entire WORLD of learning at your fingertips!

Here are some ideas on How to be a Lifelong Learner using online resources:

A COLLEGE DEGREE

Is one of your life goals to earn a college degree — but maybe you’ve given up hope of achieving it? Don’t! It’s never too late! You may have heard the University of Phoenix commercials on the radio or watched them on TV, but did you know YOU can enroll and start earning credits toward a degree…at ANY age? It’s true. There are plenty of online college courses now that anyone can enroll in, whether you want a degree or just the knowledge gained.

How To Be A Lifelong Learner - American House BlogLEARN A NEW LANGUAGE

Hola! Bonjour! Guten tag! Ni hao! In how many languages can you say “hello?” Well, if you want to learn how to say even more popular words and phrases — and even converse in another language — look no further than your computer. If you want to learn how to say a simple phrase, just search for “Google translate” in your search bar. You simply type a word, pick what language you’d like it translated to, and viola — it will appear.

Even if you’d like a more thorough immersion into a language, that’s available, too. There are online courses, YouTube videos and DVDs to order so you can learn at home, at your own pace. You can even gather a few friends and have a weekly language lesson! Spice things up by making a cultural day of it, including snacks, clothing and music from the country whose language you are learning. Fun AND educational!

SEW, KNIT OR CROCHET

If you’ve always wanted to make yourself a cute and cozy hat, give some homemade scarves to your loved ones for holiday or birthday gifts, or even lovingly create an heirloom blanket for that new baby in your life, now’s your chance! Whatever you want to make, chances are there’s a YouTube video to help you through each step.

All you have to do is type in “How to make a scarf: YouTube” into your favorite search engine (or on the YouTube page) and dozens of results will come up. You may have to watch a few of them to see which one is the best for your skill level and design needs, but you’ll be on your way to creating something lovely — and learning a new skill — in no time.

LEARN ABOUT BUSINESS, MENTAL HEALTH, BODY LANGUAGE AND MORE

Have you ever heard of TED Talks? TED is a nonprofit geared toward spreading information via powerful speakers. You can watch thousands of different talks online, on a myriad of subjects.

Visit www.ted.com to see their full overview. Browse through and watch videos on technology, entertainment, design, business and global issues. Or, if you’re looking for a particular subject matter (like “How I Beat Stage Fright”), type that and “TED Talks” into your search bar and see what pops up.

The things you learn will surely make great conversation topics when you meet up with your friends!

HOW TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER AT AMERICAN HOUSE

At American House, our residents never stop learning! We have plenty of opportunities for learning new skills and more with the activities we plan. Call us today at (248) 579-4422 to schedule a tour and see all the benefits life at American House has to offer!

5 Tips To Keep Seniors Safe From Fraud and Scams

Unfortunately, there are people out there hoping to take advantage of the kindness of senior citizens. But don’t worry, with these 5 Tips to Keep Seniors Safe from Fraud and Scams, your loved ones can learn how to protect themselves and avoid being scammed.

1. Don’t ever give personal information in response to an email.

The amazing thing about technology is that anyone can make a pretty close duplicate of anything online — meaning there could be a fake website and email that looks EXACTLY like the real one, except you can’t tell at first glance. That’s why you never want to respond to an email with any personal information; even if the email looks like it’s from your cable company/financial institution/health care provider/etc. No bank or other reputable company will ask you to give personal information in an email.

Tips To Keep Seniors Safe From Fraud and Scams2. Don’t trust links sent to you.

On that same note, don’t click on a link from an email and enter your personal information on that website you’re sent to — because it could be a fake site. This is especially true when you come across something on social media. It bears repeatingthat scammers create scams to “phish” for information from you. They’ll make you think you’re at a real website, but when you enter your personal information — bank account number, Social Security number, etc. — it leads straight to the scammer who now can use that information fraudulently. If in doubt, open a new window and perform a search for the business, then go to their website from there (and make sure the web address starts with “https” when entering personal information; the “s” means secure).

3. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. You’re not being given a million dollars just because.

Haven’t entered a sweepstakes or the lottery? Then you didn’t win one. And unless you actually have family across the pond, some lovely person in Nigeria doesn’t need you to help them transfer money (with a huge reward payment for you for doing so). Sure, sometimes people are lucky. If someone really wants to give you money, they will — no strings attached. Don’t ever give out any personal information (including bank details) to someone who says you’ll get tons of money in return.

4. Trust your gut.

If alarm bells are ringing in your head and your instincts are telling you something isn’t right, trust that feeling. Even if you may not be able to specifically pinpoint what seems amiss. Your grandson Johnny is calling and asking you to wire him money to Portugal — but you swear that doesn’t sound like him and you really didn’t think he was out of the country? Yeah, it’s probably not him. Call his mom or talk to someone else before sending him any money.

5. Don’t give personal information to anyone who calls you. Even to “verify” or for “security purposes.”

If you didn’t call them, you cannot be certain the person is really who they say they are. They could be posing as an insurance adjuster, relative, utility employee or someone else who “needs” your bank account number/Social Security number/other personal information.

This includes NOT giving out your address, your middle name, your last name, your maiden name, etc. If they are calling you from the company they say they are, they will have all that information at their disposal. If, however, you do call them at a trusted number, you can give out your security codes if necessary — without revealing all of your personal information.

AMERICAN HOUSE

At American House, your loved ones are taken care of. We talk to our residents about scams they may encounter, because we want to keep them safe in all matters — such as with these 5 Tips to Keep Seniors Safe from Fraud and Scams. Visit us today at www.americanhouse.com to find a community near you and schedule a visit!

American House Named Most Responsive Senior Living Community By SeniorAdvisor.com

Everyone at American House Senior Living Communities is honored to be named the MOST RESPONSIVE SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY by SeniorAdvisor.com. The site gave us a responsive rating of 91 percent for all our communities! The next most-responsive community had an 88 percent rating; but the third- and fourth-place finishers? They only had mere 43 and 38 percent responsive ratings, respectively.

What you have to say matters. Period. That’s why everyone at American House Senior Living Communities makes it a priority to read your online comments and reviews — and RESPOND to them. So you know you’ve been heard. Because when you know you’re being heard, you know your loved one is in excellent — and attentive — hands.

Read about the ratings here.

Like what you read? Visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a tour of an American House Senior Living Community today!

The Most Responsive Senior Living Providers on SeniorAdvisor.com [Infographic]

Infographic posted with permission from SeniorAdvisor.com.

4 Signs That It’s Time To Move Into A Senior Living Community

Moving into a senior living community is NOT being sentenced to an “old folks” home anymore. New retirement communities are chock full of socializing and fun, enriching activities. It’s about shedding the homeowner responsibility for the freedom of living in your own place without all the constraints – and upkeep. Not sure it’s time to move, though? Go through this checklist of 4 Signs That it’s Time to Move into a Senior Living Community (and use these 5 Important Steps to Find the Best Assisted Living Community when you decide it’s time).

Signs That It's Time To Move Into A Senior Living Community1. Do days go by without any in-person interaction?

It’s lonely if you don’t have anyone at home to talk to. There’s no one to share a laugh with at a new TV show, or to take a walk around the neighborhood. Isolation isn’t healthy, especially for seniors who are dealing with the loss of a spouse. But more importantly, staying connected with others is one of the key points in How to Lead a Longer, Healthier Life (Plus 10 Longevity Tips). Moving into a senior living community allows for plenty of socialization and new friends!

2. Having a hard time with all the interior and exterior home maintenance?

Cutting the grass and shoveling snow can be a difficult task and paying someone to come over may be a headache in itself. It’s understandable. And you can forget about roof repairs or fears of the hot water heater giving out — ouch! Moving into a senior living community means that all those maintenance issues — indoor and outdoor — are taken care of for you. Less stress, more time to enjoy your abode…and decorate it with memories! Don’t forget to use these 16 Tips for Choosing a Senior Living Community  during your search!

3. Getting bored?

You don’t have to be bored! That’s one of the 10 Misconceptions about Growing Older! Luckily, senior living communities are FULL of things to do: Sports, crafts, music, food – it’s limitless. There are trips to fun events, regularly scheduled outings such as grocery shopping or doctor’s appointments and in-house programming for everyone to participate in during the week.

4. Have you fallen? More than once?

One of the good things about senior living communities is the varied level of care they’re able to provide. This means you can have easy access to a medical team and staff to take care of certain things that you may not be able to do for yourself. And if you’re at American House Senior Living Communities, we use iBalance Machines to Reduce the Risk of Falls  for residents. Need a little extra help? We’re here with you.

AMERICAN HOUSE

Deciding when to move into a senior living community can be a difficult one — but at American House Senior Living Communities, we’re here to help you through the process. Visit www.americanhouse.com to find a location near you and schedule a visit today. You can take a tour and talk to our team of caring staff members about your transition into a senior living community.