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.


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.



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:


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).


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!


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.


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!


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.


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?).


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.


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.

8 Tips to Reducing Alzheimer’s Risk

At American House, taking care of our residents is our No. 1 priority — and this includes providing the latest research on topics like Alzheimer’s disease when it becomes available. According to J. Carper at Senior Psychcare, new research into Alzheimer’s indicates that the disease develops over many years and is often influenced by lifestyle factors — and therefore there are things people can do to possibly delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Here are 8 things you can do now to cut your risk of Alzheimer’s:


1. Drink a cup of coffee


Coffee and caffeine may actually be good for the brain. Carper mentions a European study noting that those who drank 3-5 cups of coffee each day had a 65%-less risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Plus, other prominent researchers note that caffeine reduces dementia and many have shown the benefits of antioxidants in coffee.

As always, please discuss any dietary changes with your doctor — even an increase in caffeine — as there are other health factors that need to be taken into consideration when altering your diet.

2. Floss your teeth daily

Many people may not realize the connection between oral health and overall health. There may even be a connection between dental hygiene and your brain’s function: Carper lists studies that found those who had periodontal disease by the time they were 35 QUADRUPLED their odds of having dementia. In addition, other studies found that those with gum disease scored lower on memory tests. Why? It is assumed that inflammation in the mouth can travel to the brain.

Keep having those regular dental check-ups and treat any oral issues for better overall health.

3. Google and play online


Gary Small of UCLA used MRIs to track brain stimulation on participants who did online searches and found that doing so increased activity even more than reading a book, according to Carper. Jumping around on a Web site and engages the brain more than reading, so jump online for an hour or so and find something new to learn!

And while you’re at it, try to Skype with friends and relatives!

4. Keep growing new brain cells

How do you grow new brain cells? In many ways! Exercise helps — even going for a brisk walk every morning or trying some yoga poses in the afternoon. Stimulate your brain by doing crossword puzzles, Sudoku or other brain teasers. In addition, incorporating some brain-friendly foods into your diet, like salmon can help, as can working toward overall good health practices (like getting enough sleep).

As with any alteration to your exercise routine or diet, please consult your doctor before making any changes.

5. Drink some apple juice

An apple a day keeps the Alzheimer’s away! According to Carper, apple juice can increase production of the “memory chemical” acetylcholine. University of Massachusetts’ Thomas Shea, Ph. D., says this is how Aricept, the common Alzheimer’s medication, works. So, pour a glass of apple juice with breakfast and snack on an apple or two throughout the day!

Consult your doctor with any dietary changes, even just an increase in the amount of apples or apple juice you consume.

6. Cover your head

Professional football players — who notoriously receive numerous blows to the head throughout their careers — have 19 times the normal rate of memory-related diseases, Carper states. Researchers are now finding that any type of blow to the head throughout life increases the odds of dementia down the road. Wear a helmet when biking and protect that head!

7. Clear your thoughts

Mediation offers several benefits and brain health is one of them. Those who meditate regularly have less cognitive decline, Carper found. Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine says yoga meditation for 12 minutes a day for two months improved blood flow and cognitive functioning in seniors with memory problems. And the good news is that anyone can meditate!

96_XuohO5lhzzNyhC9RGViiuRJt5wkLD2hRhQDi0tV88. Increase vitamin D intake

One of the most common nutrients adults lack is Vitamin D — which also comes from the sun. Deficiencies increase risk of cognitive impairment, Carper notes, by nearly 400%! Get some sun for several minutes every day and look for ways to increase your intake of vitamin D through food sources or supplements.

Talk to your doctor before beginning a new vitamin regimen or changing your diet.

To find out more about becoming a resident at American House, call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com.

iBalance Machines Reduce Risk of Fall for Residents

At American House, we know improving overall health and wellness is important for our residents. That’s why we are very excited to announce the implementation of several iBalance machines for our residents to use during physical therapy!

MfMDEZHkPuccYyVYGkvn3NBCN170ccLghht02euzxagThe iBalance machines are special training tools that will be used to assess a resident’s risk of falling so physical therapists can then work with the resident in clinics to reduce that falling risk.

“We hope this initiative will make our residents healthier, keep them out of hospitals and reduce their risk of falls,” said Kevin Kieninger, the PR and Communications Coordinator for American House. “Coupled with physical exercise from HC Rehab Solutions and In-Home Rehab, the (iBalance) machines are part of the latest technology that measures where your fall risk is at.”

Beginning March 1, 2013, the iBalance machines will be available in three American House, communities: Sterling I; Dearborn Heights and Farmington Hills. Two of the rehabilitation companies working with American House residents will do therapy on the iBalance machines with patients, in addition to conducting patient clinics about the machine.

In addition, the rehabilitation companies, HC Rehab Solutions and In-Home Rehab, have implemented an initiative to have a custom-designed educational and interactive program surrounding the use of the new iBalance machines.

The following four topics are scheduled to be covered during the next several months at clinics:

  • A basic balance clinic, with a general balance assessment
  • Hydration, dehydration and the risk of falling
  • Senior fitness and staying active
  • Fall prevention

According to Kevin, the use of the new iBalance machines is part of American House’s health and wellness theme. “We’re hoping these tools will help the rehab companies implement physical exercise with the residents, and we hold up our end of the bargain by providing healthy food options,” he said.

During their physical therapy, residents can stand on the iBalance machine (which looks like a glorified scale, Kevin said) and go through a few movements to determine their ability to balance — and risk of fall. Under the guidance of a physical therapist, residents will lean in one direction and then have to reach over in another direction, all while the machine is calculating those movements. A risk factor number is created, and then the physical therapist can determine the best path to take to reduce that risk. The testing is then followed up by the physical therapist who will work to see measurable change.

To find out more about our health and wellness programs at American House’s, call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com.

Tips to Ease the Transition into a Senior Living Community

We are pleased to share that American House Senior Living Communities has been featured as a guest blogger on New Lifestyles.

Please check out our latest post for their blog, “Tips to Ease the Transition into a Senior Living Community.”