Kale Power Smoothie Recipe and 9 Smoothie-Making Tips

Kale Power Smoothie Recipe and Smoothie Making Tips from the American House Blog

Why make a smoothie every day? Sometimes it may be difficult to fit all the necessary nutrients into your daily diet. Or you may not be a breakfast person but you need that morning fuel. Or, maybe you find that you generally have the 3 p.m. slumps and need a boost of energyWhatever your reasons, we’ve got a beneficial Kale Power Smoothie Recipe and 9 Smoothie-Making Tips that will help you start making tasty, energy-boosting smoothies every day (Think of having a smoothie as #5 on these 6 Resolutions that Will Change Your Life):

SUPER KALE SMOOTHIE

  • 8 oz. almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 cup blueberries

Blend ingredients well and enjoy!

9 SMOOTHIE-MAKING TIPS

If you’re new to making smoothies, that’s OK. There’s no need to make the same power smoothie recipe every day because there are so many choices out there! Experiment with these smoothie-making tips to find out which way you most enjoy your smoothie.

4 Basic Smoothie Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of a liquid – Water, or almond milk for a little more flavor. Almond milk is a healthier alternative to cow’s milk and easier to digest.
  • 1 Banana - For sweetness, thickness and nutrients. Did you know bananas can help lower high blood pressure with their high potassium and low sodium content? And they can aid in digestion, too.
  • 1 protein - For that good energy boost. Try spinach or kale (it won’t taste like you’re drinking a spinach shake, we promise). Fresh is always best, over any kind of protein powder — but if the powder is your thing, go ahead and add it.
  • 1 cup ice – As needed, to thicken up the smoothie.

5 Easy Smoothie Add-ins:

  • ½ cup of yogurt. Plain, Greek yogurt is the best. It gives you tons of protein and adds a thickness to the shake without all the added sugar of the mixed-fruit variety.
  • Fruit. Whether blueberries, strawberries, pears or kiwi (or whatever you have on hand), tossing fruit into a smoothie is a great way to add sweetness naturally – and get those nutrients!Staff_serving_2_residents_2011
  • Ginger. Shaving some fresh ginger into your smoothie helps aid digestion and quiet tummy troubles while giving your smoothie more of a sweet flavor.
  • Nut butters. These pack heart-healthy fats, protein and flavor into your smoothie. Choose almond, coconut, hazelnut or peanut butter (without the added sugar). Bonus: You can grind up your own almond butter in a food processor!
  • Flaxseeds. These may help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes — and they have Omega-3 essential fatty acids and fiber, both of which are crucial to your diet.

AMERICAN HOUSE

At American House, www.americanhouse.com, we value nutrition as an important part of staying healthy inside and out. Give us a call today at (248) 579-4422 to schedule a visit to see all the steps we take to keep you healthy and vibrant in your golden years!

If you’ve got a favorite smoothie recipe, we’d love to know! Share it with us here!

Loneliness and Health Complications In Seniors

We’ve all felt lonely at some point in our lives. Usually, it is fleeting and resolved rather quickly, but loneliness poses a real problem for some senior citizens. It’s important for friends and family members to reach out to each other often, especially since seniors can see increased health problems stemming from loneliness.

So, be sure to visit your senior friends and family members. If you’ve ever felt unsure what to say to your loved one to keep the conversation flowing, that’s OK. Use some of these great Conversation Starter Tips for talking to your senior loved ones. And loneliness is often worse on the weekends and at night, so be sure to send a card or bring pictures for your loved one to look at long after your visit is over (or even make a nightly phone call after dinner!).

HEALTH COMPLICATIONS FROM LONELINESS

Lower Immune System

There are many theorized biological reasons why a lonely person suffers from a lower immune system than someone happy and surrounded by loved ones. The bottom line is this: Those who are socially isolated have an immune system that is working in overdrive and can’t seem to fight off every infection and virus that comes across. That means lonely seniors have higher instances of cancer and other sickness that make them ill far too often.

Loneliness and Health Complications In Seniors - American House Blog

Loneliness is often worse on the weekends and at night for seniors, so be sure to send a card or bring pictures for your loved one to look at long after your visit is over.

High Blood Pressure

Interestingly, loneliness raises levels of cortisol in the body — the stress hormone — and in turn, blood pressure goes up. Therefore, those who aren’t lonely are happier and as a result, generally have less stress and lower cortisol levels — and lower blood pressure.

Strokes and Heart Attacks

Along with elevated blood pressure comes the increased risk of strokes and heart attacks, as well as other coronary issues. When the blood pressure is high, the heart is pumping harder and less is actually accomplished. Blockages can’t be pushed open and clots can form.

Disrupted Sleep

A lonely person likely isn’t having good, contented sleep at night. As a result, that person’s body doesn’t have the best chance at using that sleep for all its restorative purposes. Plus, lonely folks often have more interrupted sleep.

Depression

It’s no surprise that loneliness breeds depression. And with depression comes a slew of other less-than-ideal health conditions: Lack of care for self (as in follow up appointments with doctors) and poor hygiene (which can lead to dental problems and more) are just a few.

AMERICAN HOUSE COMBATS LONELINESS

At American House, we do everything we can to make sure your loved ones are happy, having fun and anything but lonely. Give us a call at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a visit and see for yourself all the unique activities and events we have planned in our communities and interesting facts about the nearby areas.

More seniors are joining online, but what’s there to do? Here’s 4 of our favorites:

2residents_ComputerMore and more seniors are getting online – are you one of them? For the first time ever in 2012, more than half of all seniors were using the internet, and even more so in 2013. By the end of 2014, who knows how many seniors will be plugged in and online!

So with more and more older adults getting online, what is there to do? Here’s a few of our favorites:

  • Staying in touch: There’s plenty of ways to stay in touch with your family online. Social media accounts can keep you involved in your loved ones’ lives. Try creating a Facebook account (or you ask a grandchild to help). Miss seeing their face and talking in person? Be sure to plug in to Skype and have a voice call with your whole family!
  • Find your inspiration: How’d you like to have a front row seat to thousands of the world’s smartest most influential people? TED puts you right in the midst of the latest and greatest ideas, and the people behind them. These short videos are accessible to anyone, and will challenge and inspire you!
  • Flint_Computer_2011Keep it personal: Sure, all this technology is great, but who doesn’t like getting snail mail every now and again? We do too! Surprise your family by sending a personalized postcard with a photo and a click and it’s mailed away. You can take a photo of anything you want to share – maybe your new American House apartment or one with your newest friends at community parties.
  • Learn something new: You’re never too old to stop learning! Ever wanted to take a class at Princeton University? How about Stanford? Now you can online. Whether you wanted to brush up on your math skills or learn psychology, you can browse courses to find something that interests you and enroll totally free. Study up!

Of course we’re just scratching the surface. Online is a great place to spend some time. How do you like to spend your time online? Did we miss one of your favorites?

4 ways to keep your senior loved ones looking – and feeling – their best

Just because they’re not in their 20s anymore doesn’t mean your senior relatives shouldn’t still be looking their best, right? When you look good, you feel good — so here are some tips on how to help keep your senior loved ones look stylish all year long!

1. Give a manicure.

manicureYour mom or grandma may not have the dexterity in her hands that she used to and it might be awkward and/or painful for her to paint her nails. Pick out a pretty polish (ask her what she likes or become a stealth observer the next time you visit her). Then, gather up your manicure tools: Nail polish remover, cotton balls, cotton swabs (for any off-the-nail messes), nail file and clippers. The next time you visit, spend some quality girl time doing her nails!

It will give you a great opportunity to talk up a storm! (Be sure to read these Conversation Starter Tips for Your Senior Loved Ones to have some topics ready to go.) TIP: Men enjoy having their nails cut and shaped, too! Just ask!

2. Cut, color, style.

You’re probably not a hairdresser (even if you are, keep reading!) but you can still help keep your loved one’s hair looking good. If your lovely lady or gentleman has a stylist they already treasure, go and get a gift certificate. Or, you can put some cash in an envelope (lovingly decorated, if you so choose) and hand it over with the express direction that it be used on a day of pampering at the hair salon.

3. Shop ‘til you drop.

shoppingbagsClothes make the man (or woman), right? If your senior loved one has a birthday coming up, or there’s a special holiday or event on the agenda, be sure to stop by and offer to take him or her shopping for some new clothes. Whether you pay or not, going shopping together is a great way to lift both of your spirits while you spend time together. But what if your loved one isn’t up for walking around the big stores and shopping malls for a few hours? Then bring the mall to them! There’s this great thing called the Internet, where you can browse tons of clothes in a fraction of the time – boot up your laptop or tablet and start shopping!

4. Bring on the skin care regimen.

Men and women experience dry and dull skin at any age, so help your loved ones brighten up their skin! Stock up on their favorite facial moisturizer, hand cream, body lotion and foot cream and they’ll start to experience that glowing skin all year long. For the ladies, try a special scented body lotion, or even some lavender-scented creams to help promote calmness and relaxation. Don’t forget a simple, but deluxe, face wash and body wash that your loved ones probably wouldn’t purchase.

VISIT AMERICAN HOUSE

At American House, we’re committed to helping our residents feel and look good! Call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a tour and find out all the exciting activities and amenities we offer for your loved ones.

American House Offers Certified Dementia Practitioner to Help Families and Staff Members

Having a loved one with dementia is tough. Having someone around who truly understands all sides of the effects of the decline in mental ability — for the afflicted, their family and caretakers — is absolutely necessary. At American House, we are proud to have someone who can help: Angie Kadowaki, our corporate life enrichment director and certified dementia practitioner.

NCCDPAngie received her designation from the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners after meeting several qualifications: She had to have a college degree; a minimum of five years of experience in a health-related field; a minimum of three years of experience presenting in services or seminars to health care professionals; and have numerous hours in the field before she could qualify for the extensive training program.

Part of Angie’s training means she is now able to offer family members a game plan on how to visit their loved one and not feel so sad and how to share moments in time with them. She provides valuable insight on how to communicate with someone who has dementia, how to make them more comfortable and how to make the journey less painful for family members. If you have a loved one with dementia, you know it can be hard to know what to do and say.

Angie offers some tips for families coping with these issues:

119547888“The best advice I would have for any family members is do what you need to do to enter their world,” Angie said. “Don’t expect them to become part of yours anymore. If you enter into their world, their reality, it’s so much easier for the family members and the person they love.”

This may seem a bit awkward at first, but you’ll soon catch on to the best ways to enter your loved one’s new world.

Says Angie: If your loved one says they are wearing a purple shirt when they are really wearing a blue shirt, don’t argue with them. Let it go. Trying to correct a loved one with dementia is lose-lose, she says.

“What have you gained by arguing over that?” she says. “You’ve created distrust.”

Angie said it helps to remember that family members are being invited on the loved one’s journey. Some key phrases to keep in mind:

  • “I can’t fix this.”
  • “I’m sorry it’s so painful.”
  • “Let me help you along the way.”

In addition, Angie is now able to conduct seminars with American House staff about thoughtful ideas on how to address the needs of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

AMERICAN HOUSE UNDERSTANDS DEMENTIA

Elmwood_Gazebo_2011

The American House Elmwood and Regent Street communities are official memory care communities, but Angie said training is offered throughout all American House communities for family members who have loved ones with dementia.

Anyone is welcome to call Angie at (248) 496-1791 with any questions regarding dementia.

To schedule a tour of any of our communities, call us at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com.

Easy Ways to Make Holiday Meals Healthier

Whether you’re the one in charge of making the holiday meals — or just contributing a dish or two — we’ve devised some EASY ways to make sure you’re able to avoid piling on the calories while not skimping out on the taste (or festivities). Here are some EASY THINGS TO DO, EASY THINGS TO AVOID and EASY SWAPS TO MAKE to keep your holiday meals delicious – yet healthy:

EASY THINGS TO DO:

If you’re cooking or hosting:

  • cooking-light-holidayUse olive oil or canola oil instead — It’s a healthier alternative to using other kinds of oils, like vegetable oil.
  • Use small plates — You and your guests can go back for seconds and thirds if desired, but it’s easier to limit excessive portions when you can only fit so much on your plate.

If you’re filling your plate:

  • Keep portions small — It takes your brain about 20 minutes to register that you’re full, so you could be needlessly over-stuffing yourself if you have a large plate full of food that you’re eating.
  • Eat filling, low-calorie foods FIRST — This way, you’ll be full on the foods that will keep you feeling that way longer (meaning you won’t have room to gorge on the other treats instead).

EASY THINGS TO AVOID:

chicken-soup-holidayCream Soups. Although these are a favorite comfort food during the cold months, cream-based soups are the most calorie-laden. If you’re a soup fan, pick one with a chicken broth or tomato base instead.

Soda and deluxe coffee drinks: Why drink your calories when you can enjoy them in food instead? Pass on the beverages loaded with sugar and fat in place of water (or plain coffee or tea) and you’ll be able to sneak in a few extra calories for dessert without compromising your daily intake as much — and it won’t feel like you’re missing out.

The snack table. We’re not saying you can’t snack, but don’t situate yourself right next to the M&M’s and cookies when you’re at a holiday party. You’ll be less likely to mindlessly eat them that way. Plus, you won’t get filled up on junk — which only fills you up for a short time and will send you in search of more snacks later. Eat the good stuff that keeps you full longer instead!

EASY SWAPS TO MAKE:

Instead of: Finger foods, candy, chips and dip and fried little appetizers
TRY: Fruit and veggie platters with a hummus dip, or nuts — and even some chilled shrimp

sweet-potato-holidayInstead of: Dark meat turkey
TRY: White meat turkey breast (no skin!). And if you’re the one doing the cooking, opt for gravy made of low-sodium chicken broth instead of the sinful creaminess of other gravies.

Instead of: Stuffing full of meats and butter
TRY: Rice. Bake some wild rice separately and it makes a smart side dish.

Instead of: Mashed potatoes
TRY: Sweet potatoes! These flavorful potatoes don’t need all the butter and milk that mashed potatoes do; Sprinkle some cinnamon (and a dash of brown sugar) to make these extra tasty.

Instead of: Cream pies
TRY: Pumpkin pie! It’s probably already on the menu, and pumpkin offers some great nutrients. Skip the crust and whipped topping, though.

AMERICAN HOUSE

At American House, we create many delicious foods for our residents to enjoy all the time — and especially during the holiday season. Give us a call today at (248) 579-4422 so you can stop by one of our locations and see for yourself all the great meals we have!

Conversation Starter Tips for Your Senior Loved Ones

Sometimes, visiting a senior relative may leave you at a loss over what to say and talk about after the weather is discussed. There’s a generation gap or two, so it may feel as though there’s not much you can chat about — but, in reality, there is! Here are some great conversation starters. Give them a try during the upcoming holiday celebrations and we bet you will be surprised at what you learn!

FIND SOME COMMON GROUND

senior-woman-talkingIs your relative’s favorite sports team — or athlete — in the playoffs? Do you both share a love of a certain TV show (Not sure? Now’s the perfect time to ask what’s the best show on these days!)? If you and your senior loved one share a hobby or passion, that’s the perfect opportunity for surefire conversation starters.

Certain things transcend age: Food, for instance. Everyone eats and someone has to be the one cooking that food! If you’re the cook in your family, and so is your grandma, you’ve found your common ground. Not only will you be able to chat freely now, but you may learn a thing or two.

Even if you aren’t sure if you have anything in common with your senior loved ones, try to find out. Think about the things you enjoy in your daily life and ask if anything piques the interest of your relative.

THE INFORMAL INTERVIEW

When all else fails, don’t _try_ so hard; show your genuine interest in the life your loved one has lived! One of the greatest things about having experienced so much life is the amount of stories to tell about years past — so ask away and just listen and learn about:

Their love story! Ask your senior loved ones how they met their spouse. These stories are absolutely priceless: Ask how they met, what their first date was, how they knew it was love and details of the marriage proposal. Even if you’ve heard a quick version of the story before, listen for more details this time. Not only will you learn a little about your loved ones, but you’ll also be providing them with the gift of being able to reminisce and share their wonderful stories with you.

Their first job.  Did your aunt work at the old Hudson’s department store in downtown Detroit? Did your dad sell newspapers on the corner for five cents each when he was just a boy? The journey that your loved ones made to building a living and growing a career makes for a great story and is likely to lead to more topics to talk about, including: How much their paychecks were compared to what a good living wage is today; what their first home cost and how much a gallon of gas was so many years ago.

Their school years. Before the invention of computers, school was very different. Ask your loved ones about school subjects like sewing. Auto shop. Geometry. Ask what was the best thing – and the worst thing — about going to school. This can lead into discussions about college, or about how education has changed throughout the years, or what inane things they were taught that were never actually used in real life (the square root of anything, perhaps?).

DAILY ACTIVITIES

At American House, we have plenty of activities for our residents to be involved in that they would love to talk about — so just ask them! Find out everything we offer here by calling us at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a visit.

Better With Age: 10 Misconceptions About Growing Older

Jon Matyas CarMany times, we dwell on youth as the best time of a person’s life — but SO many things just get better with age, including confidence, family, grandchildren and the wisdom you gather throughout your years.

Stepping into the next phase of your life can be a glorious, exciting time and the experts at American House Senior Living Communities are here to quash the top 10 Misconceptions about Growing Older:

1. You’ll FEEL old. You are only as old as you feel, right?! You may hear music on the radio and scoff, or witness technology that has sprung up in recent years and feel the years in your age — but you don’t have to! Here’s proof: You can use Facebook just like the younger generations. Not only will you stay connected with friends and family, but you can also learn about what’s popular and trending around you — AND it even improves your mental abilities!

2. You’ll be bored and cranky. Once you retire, you may think you’ll have so many hours to fill in a day and not enough that you can do to stay busy and active. No worries. At American House, we offer such a variety of activities and events that it’ll be hard for you to be bored (Especially when we do things like visit the Detroit Symphony Orchestra!)

Woman_Reading_Grandkids_20113. You won’t see your family much. Empty nest syndrome? We understand. Your family grows and changes, with loved ones leading busy lives. It can be hard to stay in touch as often. That’s why we’ve implemented a way for you to “see” your family via Skype!

4. You’ll be sick. A lot. Just because you’ve tacked another year on your age doesn’t mean you will be ill that much more. Sure, you may be more susceptible to some ailments now, but there are things you can do to say fit and healthy — including Tai Chi.

5. You’ll lose your memory. There’s no reason to believe you won’t be as sharp as you’ve always been. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are a possibility, but not everyone suffers from these. You can start taking steps now to reduce your Alzheimer’s risk.

6. You’ll lose your social circle. Friends move and it may seem that you don’t get together as often anymore. But when you live at American House, your social circle is in the same area as you — making it easy to make new friends during our events and activities.

7. You’ll be put into an “old-folks” home. We wish this term was never coined, because living in an American House community has so many benefits and is all about keeping you youthful! We can offer some tips to ease the transition into a senior living community, if you’re apprehensive.

8. You’ll stop learning and changing. Of course you won’t stop learning new things! In fact, you’ll probably learn even more now that you have the time to spend doing things you enjoy. We’ll help with projects like this crafty Pinterest flowerpot,

878022439. You’ll become weak and frail. Your body may not be in the same shape physically it was in your 20s, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop being fit. Talk to your doctor about a reasonable exercise routine and keep eating healthfully. Plus, we have some tools that can help you reduce your risk of falling.

10. The rest of your life is out of your control. It’s never too late to start taking care of yourself! You’ve worked hard, so don’t stop taking care of yourself now. Find out one easier way to lead a longer, healthier life — with these 10 longevity tips!

For information on how American House can make growing older more fun and interesting, call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com.

How to Use Technology to Stay Young: Facebook Improves Seniors’ Mental Abilities

We know that Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with family members and friends, but did you know using Facebook may actually have health benefits for those older than 65? A recent study shows that seniors who spend time on the social media site undergo an improvement in their cognitive abilities.

University of Arizona graduate student Janelle Wohltmann created a study of participants ages 68 to 91 and gave them baseline tests to capture their mental abilities and how they were socially. Then the seniors were separated into three groups for the study:

  • Group One was trained on how to use Facebook, asked to become friends with others and told to post messages on their account at least once a day.
  • Group Two was trained to use Penzu — an online diary that has no social sharing aspects to entries — and asked to post messages daily.
  • Group Three was put on a “wait list” for training for Facebook — but they never actually took the training.

fRsTXg6tVhHFFtPotYHLQc-5aQdGuA69ezc7QPykP0cAfter approximately two months, all the participants were once again tested. Of all the groups, Group One, where participants learned how to use Facebook, saw a 25% increase in their scores from before they had their training. The other two groups? They saw no real change in performance.

It turns out that the more seniors actively participated in being social, even online, the more they “exercised” cognitive skills and kept them fresh. This is also important because studies have shown that those who are more socially connected also fare better emotionally because they are more engaged and have a support system in place.

SENIORS USE FACEBOOK AND MORE

At American House, we encourage using technology to stay connected to friends and family — so it’s a bonus that using Facebook brings about a likelihood of increasing cognitive abilities simultaneously! However, we also stress the importance of being secure online and protecting privacy.

Besides Facebook, our residents have recently started using another bit of technology to stay connected to loved ones near and far: Skype. Our residents began learning how to chat via video and they’ve had a great time with it!

To find out more about what social activities we’re offering for our residents at American House, call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com.

American House Foundation: Small Donations. BIG Impact

images-1We’re honored at American House to be able to have a hand in helping raise more than $101,000 for the American House Foundation during the 5th annual Celebration of Dignity and Hope fundraiser on May 2, 2013! We had a fantastic time mingling and enjoyed great food and an auction and raffle. Saying THANK YOU to all our volunteers and generous donors doesn’t cover how proud we are to be able to help out local seniors.

The American House Foundation

542575_10151164225876121_2110734856_nIn 2007, the American House Foundation began as a way to invest in outreach for older adults in need of assistance — in addition to funding research opportunities through a partnership with the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University. The foundation joins forces with other local non-profit organizations — including Lighthouse of Oakland County and Macomb County Habitat for Humanity — to identify and provide local seniors with basic needs. Too many older adults are deciding between paying for food or medication, which shouldn’t happen. The foundation works to prevent those tough choices.

How the foundation helps

943273_10151449445361121_144047577_nDonations raised through the American House Foundation are used to help local seniors in many ways, including:

  • Giving a walker to an 82-year-old grandmother
  • Providing transportation for a 79-year-old man who’s fighting to make ends meet
  • Paying for health screenings that diagnose problems before they progress
  • Uncovering the causes of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Providing community health forums that bring resources to those in need
  • Keeping an elderly couple from having to choose between medication and meals

Where donations go

Many of our own American House employees volunteer their time with the American House Foundation and because of the wonderful volunteers, the foundation runs with little overhead and administration fees. As a result, more funding is able to go directly to outreach and research. Most importantly, none of the money collect goes toward American House Senior Living Communities – all of it goes directly back into the community.

About 70 percent of donations go directly to outreach and helping seniors meet vital needs, including:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Medication
  • Medical Equipment

The remaining 30 percent of donations go to helping Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology research critical areas of aging, such as:

  • Homelessness
  • Depression
  • Disability
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Hypertension

Donate to the American House Foundation

wGVwiKVKU3e0A3JiPoifZNppPzTBOFfCtvJIpgD7iL4Be sure to read about the Holiday Hope for Seniors campaign, which is also run by the American House Foundation! The event continues to grow each year and our seniors love helping out.

You can help out, too! To donate to the American House Foundation today, call Danielle Bruce at (248) 203.1800 or email her at dbruce@americanhouse.com.