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 Ranked Among Top 1% of Care Providers Nationwide

senior-advisor-guest-blogThree American House communities were presented with SeniorAdvisor Excellence Awards for receiving consistently high ratings from residents and their families in 2013. American House Southland Senior Living, American House Village Senior Living, and Park Place Heritage Village were all recognized for being rated by families as the best of the best in senior living nationwide.

SeniorAdvisor.com is a consumer reviews web site established by A Place for Mom (APFM), the nation’s largest senior living referral service, as a way for seniors and their families to share feedback on senior living communities and services. The inaugural SeniorAdvisor Excellence Award identifies the top senior living communities who have received an overall average rating of at least 4.5 stars on the site. The award winners were recognized for having the best customer ratings and reviews out of more than 100,000 senior care providers currently on SeniorAdvisor.com.

Winners of the Excellence Award are located all over the country and represent the top tier of independent living, assisted living, and Alzheimer’s care communities on the SeniorAdvisor.com website. This exclusive designation places the winners in the top one percent of senior living communities nationwide according to consumers.

“We wanted to put a spotlight on those companies who have invested efforts to deliver excellent customer service to potential and existing customers, as evidenced by their high ratings,” said Eric Seifert, President, SeniorAdvisor.com. “The recipients of the first SeniorAdvisor.com Excellence Awards set a high bar of quality for other senior care providers to follow.”

Common themes among the reviews for these award-winning independent and assisted living communities in Detroit are the safety, affordability, welcoming atmosphere, and dining experience offered by American House. The reviews ring true to the American House vision of a “vibrant senior lifestyle in superior facilities” within a compassionate and caring environment at a “price affordable for retirees and their families.” What else about these three American House communities makes them award-winning, according to families? We’ll let them tell you in their own words:

American House Southland Senior Living

  • “Mom’s New Home”
  • “Really seems to offer a lot for a good price”
  • “Maria was very friendly and informative. The option of a furnished apartment was the deciding factor for me.”
  • “The food was delicious… My mom really liked it and it seemed to fit in with her lifestyle which is a little more active… She has been there almost a month and is very happy.”

American House Village Senior Living

  • “Stopped at this one… and liked it the best.”
  • “Very interested… Not a full meal plan, which might be interesting to my mom.”
  • “Very nice… This is the best.”

Park Place Heritage Village

  • “The entire staff has been very helpful and has welcomed my mother into this community. It’s a pleasure to see her in a safe and friendly environment.”
  • “When I saw this I was like, this is it, it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.”
  • “Park Place is absolutely beautiful. You have to see it for yourself. Mom thanks me every day that I found her new home. The staff is very friendly and accommodating. The assistant director Lindsay is a pleasure to work with. The dining room has linen table cloths; the waiters know the residents and what they like to eat and drink. Mom is meeting new friends and enjoying the outings.”

To see the full list of winning, please visit SeniorAdvisor.com.

Google authorship tag: Amelia Willson

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

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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.

Families Rate American House Communities Among the Nation’s Best

Guest Blog for American House
By Luc Bergevin, Caring.com Author

CaringStars2013_ProviderBadgeWhat goes into a great senior living community? Is it the friendly staff? A clean, safe, welcoming environment? The food? The best communities strike a precise balance between these and a multitude of other factors.

Residents and their families expect the highest-quality care, and are expressing their feedback more and more on reviews sites — not just in private conversations. Comments range from how well communities are serving basic needs to opinions about the menus, décor, activities, and other personal preferences for living. As American House puts it, “You’ll enjoy life on your terms.”

To raise awareness about the best assisted living and memory care communities in America, and recognizing the importance of consumer reviews in its Senior Care Directory, Caring.com launched the “Caring Stars” program in 2012. Caring Stars now represent the top 1% of providers nationwide.

Seven American House communities were among the honorees for superior service in 2013. These communities make up more than a third of the Caring Stars in Michigan, and serve as a testament to the power of actively engaging with and encouraging reviews from residents and families.

Below are some of the great things folks have said about American House on Caring.com:

American House Westland Hunter Senior Living: “Their staff is amazing, they really take care of residents. . . . They offer good advice for residents’ families about programs that could help out for whatever kind of situation you may come across with your family member.”

Regent Street, A Signature American House Community: “Anything my grandmother needed, she received efficiently and accurately. She needed a great deal of assistance and it was very difficult for her to let go of some of her control. The staff did an amazing job of making her feel as though she still had some self-control and dignity.”

American House East II Senior Living: “The staff seemed very attentive to the needs of the residents and I came away feeling very confident in the level of care that my great- aunt was receiving. It is a wonderful, clean, and friendly environment that I highly recommend.”

American House Lakeside: “The staff is very accommodating and they know everybody. They will call me immediately about any concerns. I have no problems and I would recommend them. We’re really happy with our choice.”

American House North Senior Living — Flint: “American House North Senior Assisted Living has been great for me too. It is close to where I live, so I can easily visit my mom. It has also given me a sense of peace. . . . She is in a loving, safe community with great staff, activities, and friends.”

American House Farmington Hills Senior Living: “I think all American Houses are very dependable. Everyone was very friendly and helpful.”

American House Sterling Heights Senior Living: “My mother is given very good care at American House. We know she cannot live alone. . . . It gives us great peace of mind knowing she is there.”

We recently interviewed Ann Marie Folland, executive director of American House Sterling Heights, and asked about what makes her community so successful. She credited the genuine care of her team. “We embrace an attitude of not only providing a comfortable and safe living environment, but also of making a positive impact on the lives of seniors.”

As these award-winning American House communities have shown, delivering exceptional service is noticed by residents and families, whose reviews help spread the good word about special senior living communities. You can share your American House feedback on Caring.com too. Be sure to check out “Facts Every Reviewer Should Know” before doing so, and be proud of the fact that you’re helping other families to make the right senior care decision for their loved ones.

6 Resolutions That Will Change Your Life

new-year-resolution2Tired of making the same resolutions year after year — and then losing your steam by the time Groundhog Day hits? Instead, try making resolutions that are just easy and basic changes geared toward improving your daily life and making you a better person. Don’t think of these as resolutions; think of them as opportunities to incorporate something new and better into your world! Here are our 6 Resolutions that Will Change Your Life:

1. A new skill I want to learn.

Have you wanted to be able to knit scarves for Christmas presents or build a new patio? Maybe you’d like to grow a beautiful garden or entertain your friends and family with a spectacular harmonica performance. Either way, now is the perfect time to take up a new hobby.

2. One way I will help others.

We all want to make a difference in someone else’s life, but it may be difficult to determine the best way to do so. Whether it’s donating your time to your favorite cause, helping your friend fix things around the house or shoveling the walkway for your neighbor: Pick one way you can help someone else — and you may be surprised at how it snowballs!

3. At least one book I will read.

Reading that book you’ve thought about opening for some time now is a great way to enrich your mind. Jumping into the world of literature can relax you and transport your mind anywhere you want to go. Don’t have a book in mind? Head to the library and ask the librarian for recommendations. You won’t be sorry!

4. A bad habit I will break.

Quitting smoking, putting an end to complaining or stopping overeating are quite popular New Year’s resolutions. If you view them as a bad habit to break instead of something to “keep,” it’ll be easier to make the change.

5. A healthy habit I will start.

How can you better yourself? Start by implementing something positive! Try incorporating more healthy food choices, practicing some Tai Chi daily OR writing in a journal before bedtime. Pick something that’s good for YOU: Your mind, body or soul.

6. A new food I will try.

Resolutions don’t have to be difficult changes! Are you anti-green vegetables? Have you always avoided any “fancy” food that you didn’t grow up eating — or are you afraid to try dishes or cuisines? Make a promise to try a new food this year. And once you try that food, well, maybe you’ll decide you want to try all kinds of other foods, too!

RESOLVE TO VISIT AMERICAN HOUSE

At American House, we work hard at bringing out the best in our residents — and offering plenty of activities for them to showcase their talents! Give us a call today at (248) 579-4422 to schedule a tour as part of YOUR New Year’s resolution!

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!

Our American House Communities: Fun Facts About Various Locations

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With 31 communities to choose from (and growing all the time), chances are high that American House is already in your neighborhood! Check out these Fun Facts About Communities Where American House is Located while you’re deciding which community you’d like to live in:

MICHIGAN

American House Carpenter — Ypsilanti, MI
michigan-senior-livingHome of Eastern Michigan University, just six miles east of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan, “Ypsi” is home to the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum. Here sits an original Fabulous Hudson Hornet race car, the inspiration behind the Doc Hudson character in the Pixar movie “Cars.”

American House Charlevoix — Charlevoix, MI
This locale is surrounded by Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix, in a beautiful resort community that was once a popular respite for Chicago’s gang members during the Prohibition!

American House Dearborn Heights — Dearborn Heights, MI
This community is located close to The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in nearby Dearborn. Travel through time and view the history of the auto industry up close and don’t forget to visit the village that has preserved America’s past.

American House East I — Roseville, MI
It may be hard to believe that Michigan’s first commercial airport once sat where the Eastgate Shopping center is now located at Frazho Road and Gratiot Avenue.

American House East II — Roseville, MI
Because of the strong Irish population when Michigan became a state, the area became Erin Township — before finally becoming Roseville in 1926.

American House Elmwood — Rochester Hills, MI
The Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm is a registered historic place that showcases five generations of the Taylor-Van Hoosen families with the 1840 Van Hoosen farmhouse, 1850 red house, 1927 dairy barn and 1848 schoolhouse — along with 16 acres of gardens and historic grounds.

American House Farmington Hills — Farmington Hills, MI
Michigan’s only Holocaust museum, The Holocaust Memorial Center details the contributions and history of the Jewish community. Plus, there’s the popular Founders Festival every summer in neighboring Farmington.

American House Grand Blanc — Grand Blanc, MI
The Heritage Association Museum in Grand Blanc preserves historical information (and hosts a historical quilt-making group!). For sports fans, the annual Buick Open PGA tournament used to take place here.

American House Hazel Park — Hazel Park, MI
There’s live harness racing at the Hazel Park Raceway during the warmer months — and live simulcast racing all year long! The Budweiser Clydesdales have even been known to stop by here around the holidays.

American House Lakeside — Clinton Township, MI
Clinton Township is home to The Mall at Partridge Creek, a dog-friendly outdoor shopping area with a movie theater, restaurants, seasonal live entertainment, bocce courts and a children’s play area. Also, the Clinton-Macomb Public Library’s main branch is one of the biggest and nicest libraries in the area with lots of free events and activities.

American House Livonia — Livonia, MI
Watch your speed when you’re driving through here! Apparently the National Motorists Association in 2012 named Livonia the second worst city in the United States and Canada for speed traps (The worst? Flower Mound, Texas).

American House Milford — Milford, MI
Think Milford is a small town with not much going on? Think again! There are 250 specialty boutiques and restaurants, a YMCA, Central Park, bike paths, parades and more!

American House North — Flint, MI
Flint isn’t just known for its connection to General Motors — the Flint cultural center includes plenty of opportunities for learning at the Sloan Museum, Buick Automotive Gallery, Longway Planetarium, The Whiting, Flint Youth Theatre, Flint Institute of Arts and Flint Institute of Music.

American House Oakland — Pontiac, MI
The Michigan Fallen Heroes Memorial, the only memorial in Michigan to honor law enforcement members and fire fighters who lost their lives in the line of duty, is in Pontiac.

American House Petoskey — Petoskey, MI
Take some time in this beautiful resort community and head to the shores around Petoskey to reach in the water and find the Petoskey stone, Michigan’s state stone!

American House Riverview — Riverview, MI
As recently as the 1950s, Riverview was home to active missile silos, set to protect metro Detroit and its automobile and steel industries.

American House Royal Oak — Royal Oak, MI
Royal Oak is a bustling city, with a lively downtown area, the annual Labor Day Arts, Beats & Eats festival and home of the Detroit Zoo! The zoo offers a polar bear exhibit, journey through the Outback and plenty of attractions and events for all ages.

American House Southfield — Southfield, MI
Many of the area’s television studios and radio broadcast facilities are located in Southfield — along with the Miracle League of Michigan, Michigan’s first baseball field for children with physical or cognitive disabilities.

American House Southgate — Southgate, MI
Looking to have some outdoor fun? Southgate offers nine neighborhood parks and playfields, plus two community parks. In addition, there’s there are programs through the recreation department, events through the senior center, a municipal golf course and the Southgate Civic Arena — which offers two sheets of ice!

American House Southland — Taylor, MI
Got a little (or big) sports fan in your life? The Junior League World Series baseball tournament takes place in Taylor’s Heritage Park every year!

American House Sterling Heights — Sterling Heights, MI
Sterlingfest — an annual festival offering plenty of local and national musical acts, arts and crafts vendors, a carnival and more — takes place here one weekend each summer.

American House Sterling Meadows — Sterling Heights, MI
Macomb County boasts a large Polish population, so the annual American-Polish in Sterling Heights festival brings in lots of fellow Polskis to enjoy the food, music and atmosphere. Did we mention the food?

American House Sterling Woods — Sterling Heights, MI
As Michigan’s fourth-largest city, Sterling Heights was ranked the safest city in the state in 2010 according to FBI statistics and in the top 100 best places to raise a family according to Best Life magazine.

American House Stone — Rochester, MI
During nearly all of December, the businesses in downtown Rochester participate in The Big, Bright Light Show, a glorious display of holiday lights adorning the façade of every building. It’s a breath-taking sight to see!

American House The Village — Rochester Hills, MI
Take a swim or rent a paddle boat to enjoy the water at Spencer Park — or head out to the fishing pier and then have a picnic while you’re at it.

American House Troy — Troy, MI
The Troy Historic Village is an interactive museum that chronicles the city’s journey through time. If you’re more into present-day fun, head over to the Somerset Collection, an upscale shopping mall with plenty of stores and restaurants.

American House West Bloomfield — West Bloomfield, MI
Diversity is key: Here, you’ll find the state’s third-largest Japanese population, along with the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit and the Chaldean Cultural Center.

American House Westland Hunter — Westland, MI
Westland boasts 36 parks, offering activities including picnic areas, horseshoe pits, walking trails, scenic river overlooks, pavilions, tennis courts and more for the whole family to enjoy.

American House Westland Joy — Westland, MI
The Nankin Mills Nature Center in Westland is now a historic and nature interpretive center, but was originally a gristmill before Henry Ford took over and used it for workers to make stencils for Ford Motor Company.

American House Westland Venoy — Westland, MI
The Norwayne Historic District is a historic residential subdivision that was originally built after World War II to house returning soldiers who were heading back to work. The area has parks, a church and a community center.

Park Place, A Signature American House Community — Warren, MI
The city isn’t just about the General Motors Technology Center, TACOM and TARDEC; the Warren Community Center invites residents to enjoy plenty of events and activities hear year-round.

Regent Street, A Signature American House Community — West Bloomfield, MI
The West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve, with 162 acres containing more than 100 bird species and various other animals, joins several other parks and trails for the outdoor enthusiast.

FLORIDA

florida-senior-livingAmerican House Bonita Springs — Bonita Springs, FL
If you’re looking for a beach town with plenty to do, you’re in luck: Bonita Springs offers 10 beach access areas, several parks, the Everglades Wonder Gardens, the Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track, Lover’s Key State Park and so much more!

AMERICAN HOUSE

Which location seems most interesting to you? Give us a call today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to set up your tour today so you can start enjoying your community tomorrow!

4 Ways to Bring More Gratitude into Your Life

thank-you-gratitudeWe spend a lot of time being thankful at American House . We know everyone else does, too: A fun family tradition on Thanksgiving can be to go around the table and have each person talk about something for which he or she is grateful. But while it’s natural to focus more on the things you’re thankful for during November because of Thanksgiving, we’ve found 4 Ways to Bring More Gratitude into Your Life, ALL YEAR LONG:

1. Brush your teeth with a positive thought.

You have a daily schedule when you wake up: Turn off the alarm clock, put your slippers on and head into the bathroom for your morning routine. An easy way to start your day on a positive note is to incorporate a little gratitude while you’re getting ready. Make it a point to think about what you are thankful for while you are brushing your teeth! That gives you two minutes to focus on the good things in your life and head into the daily grind in a great mood. Don’t forget to review the best parts of your day when you brush those pearly whites at bedtime, too!

2. Pay it forward.

pay-it-forwardIt’s amazing how much helping someone else out can make you appreciate everything in your own life. Don’t just do it on “Pay it Forward Day” (April 24, 2014, in case you were wondering). Bringing a smile to someone else’s day — by paying for the coffee of the person behind you in line, donating your time to help friend or saying a kind word to the disgruntled cashier at the store — is something that can be done on a daily basis. You could even donate services or products, like so many generous folks in this An American House Wedding love story! When you make a conscious effort to go out of your way for someone else, it allows you to be thankful for the little things.

3. Find the silver lining.

Sometimes it’s really hard to see the positive in a crummy situation. And you may not be able to think about it right away, but once you decide to look at things in a different light you’ll find that your entire outlook will change. This isn’t about making lemonade when life hands you lemons (although that’s certainly a fantastic adage!), but it’s more about noticing that there is something light behind that dark cloud hanging above you during those trials and tribulations. Got a flat tire? In the rain? When you call the auto club for assistance, it’s a great time to find a way to Pay it Forward by showing your sincere appreciation to the employee and his or her help coming to your rescue — or maybe it’s the perfect time to have an excuse to catch up with your mechanic nephew.

4. Think of the glass as half full.

glass-half-fullIt’s time to stop complaining! When you are quick to jump to pointing out the negative aspects of your circumstances, you end up bringing more negativity upon yourself — because that’s all you see. Instead, promise yourself to curb the complaining and bring in the positive affirmations. It can take a while to catch yourself spewing out the pessimistic remarks, but we promise you’ll see an impact. Here’s proof: One Easy Way to Lead a Longer, Healthier Life. And nobody wants to spend their time with a Negative Nancy, anyway, so don’t be surprised if your social circle expands and you’re receiving more dinner invitations when you become known as the neighborhood optimist!

Giving thanks to American House

Want to see all the things we’re thankful for — like our wonderful residents and thoughtful staff? Call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a visit so you can see for yourself (Psst: There’s apple pie involved, too).

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.

5 Festive Halloween Door Decorating Ideas from Pinterest

If you’re looking to get into the Halloween spirit without (or in addition to) carving the ol’ jack-o-lantern, there are oodles of ideas out there on how to decorate your door. Scary? Funny? Crafty? Colorful? We’ve collected 5 Festive Halloween Door Decorating Ideas from Pinterest that will have your neighbors asking you for ideas next year!

And, there’s a door decorating idea for everyone — from the person who doesn’t have the time or energy to do much detailed decorating to the person who turns their home into an orange-and-black tribute:

Because You Don’t Want to be Left Out:

Photo credit:  pinterest.com

This Halloween door decoration idea is SIMPLE. As in, grab some scissors, construction paper and tape and you’re done — plus, it’s not time-intensive. If you’re not really sure how to decorate your door or you aren’t really a Halloween-y person, this is the one for you. Surprise all who come to your door by cutting out big googly eyes and a startled mouth to create a Ghost Face.

In the Spirit, but Not Too Crafty:

Pinterest Door MummySay you love the season leading up to Oct. 31 every year, but you’re not the type to accumulate glitter pumpkins or make intricate Halloween scenes. No worries — just take a roll or two of toilet paper and turn your front door into a Mummy.  Grab some black, white and purple (or yellow, or orange, or green) construction paper and make some really big eyes for your mummy.

Creative, Whimsical and Comical:

Pinterest Door WitchBetween miscellaneous items you already have and a quick trip to the dollar store (or Halloween costume shop), you can create an entertaining door decoration sure to bring smiles to your guests’ faces! Items needed: Witch hat; gloves; a black cape (or garbage bag), some colorful striped tights and a pair of black ballet flats or witchy boots. Arrange and adhere the items to your door and — presto! — it looks like the Wicked Witch crashed into your door! Don’t forget the broom.

Martha-Stewart-in-Training:

Pinterest Door BooIf you’re the crafty type, it’ll probably take you no time at all to create this darling “BOO” door hanging . The best part is, every person who makes this will create a completely different look. Head to your local craft store to pick out some wooden letters, and then use Mod Podge to stick some decorative scrapbook paper to the letters. Once you have turned the letters into your own style, tie them together and you have a cute Halloween door hanging to use for years to come.

Wreath Lovers Unite:

Pinterest Door WreathAre you a fan of holiday wreaths? Then this one is for you! Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.” — A wreath paying homage to Edgar Allan Poe speaks to the more intense side of Halloween. It’s classic, yet meaningful and stylish at the same time. And, it’s just the kind of thing you can create yourself with this detailed tutorial.

Halloween at American House

AH haunted house blog picAt American House Troy, residents and staff members are working together for the fourth year in a row to create a haunted house inside their community! Executive Director Debbie Smith said everyone is working on turning one apartment into a real haunted house for residents, their friends and family, and the public to enjoy. Stop by later this month and see what the collaborative effort cooked up!

We have plenty of fun activities at our American House communities that make us unique. Give us a call at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a tour today!