10 Activities to Enjoy with your Grandchildren this Summer

10 Activities to Enjoy with your Grandchildren this Summer

Grandmother playing with grandson

The summer season is upon us: rays of sunshine, chirping birds and blooming flowers! This time of year also brings more daylight hours to enjoy with your grandchildren and loved ones. So, what are some ideas to enjoy both the great outdoors and the company of your grandchildren? Read below!

Lemonade Stand

Set up a lemonade stand! You’ll be able to make the refreshing summer drink together and share it with others! Not only will passersby enjoy a fresh glass, but you’ll enjoy every moment of the experience with your grandchild!

Cloud Watching

Who needs a book when you can glance up at the sky on a warm, summer day and make stories out of the clouds? Encourage the children to use their imaginations!

 Ice Cream Sundae

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” Nothing says summer like an ice cream sundae! Gather your grandchildren together to create the wonderful treat – don’t forget the whipped cream, cherries and chocolate syrup!

Picnic in the Backyard

You don’t have to go far to have a picnic… try your backyard or local park! Pack a picnic basket full of your favorite lunch items and head outdoors!

Art Projects

Get out your art supplies! How about painting a birdhouse or even painting watercolor portraits of each other – the sillier the better!

Teach your Grandchild a Hobby

Do you have a favorite hobby you want to pass on to your grandchild? If so, share your talents such as crocheting, woodworking, cooking, etc. Your grandchild will hold these memories for a lifetime!

Sidewalk Chalk

This is a summer favorite for many children. Head outdoors with a bucket full of chalk and make designs on the sidewalk! The more colorful the better!

Fly a Kite

Did your grandchild come to visit, but it’s extra windy outside? Make the most of it by flying a kite high in the sky! Take turns guiding the kite through the air.

Watch a Sunset or Sunrise

Grab a blanket, head outdoors and watch one of nature’s most beautiful scenes!

Pictures

During all of your adventures, be sure to take as many photos as possible so that at the end of summer you and your grandchild can create a scrapbook together!

 

American House Coconut Point Groundbreaking Ceremony

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On April 29, 2015, the REDICO and American House Senior Living Communities team hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to symbolize the official start of construction on American House Coconut Point, the second community located in the Southwest Florida region.

According to Dale Watchowski, president and CEO of REDICO and American House Senior Living Communities, “Put simply, we like it here and we have established a platform that will allow us to effectively serve our senior living communities throughout the state of Florida.”

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American House Coconut Point will be a 194-unit independent living, assisted living and memory care community located on the border of Estero and Bonita Springs, Florida. The community will include 54 independent living, 76 assisted living and 64 memory care units, ranging in size from 327 to 879 sq. ft for studio, one-bedroom, one-bedroom/den and two-bedroom/two bath apartments.

The community will offer three levels of care:

Independent Living: Offering a comprehensive array of services and programs, independent living residents will enjoy restaurant-style dining in a beautifully appointed dining room. Other services include all utilities, high-speed internet (telephone is not included), weekly housekeeping services, scheduled and group transportation services, life enrichment director, spa and salon, gourmet coffee bar, library, game room, heated pool and covered parking.

Assisted Living: Assisted living residents will receive three (3) full meals a day plus snacks, daily maid service, morning and evening care, medication management program, showering assistance, escorts (if necessary), on-site therapy and will enjoy all amenities offered to independent living residents.

Memory Care: Memory Care apartments will serve residents with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or those requiring one-on-one assistance. This area will have more staffing/aids and will provide all meals plus snacks, a calendar of activities geared for cognitive development and the same level of care services as provided in assisted living. The memory care community is a secured space, providing safety and security to residents who may wander.

Some of the on-site activities, included in monthly fees, will include fitness classes, water aerobics, yoga, internet lessons, book clubs, current events groups, Wii activities, discussion groups, guest speakers, movies, art classes, various entertainers and several clubs which will reflect residents’ interests. Off-site activities will be available and will include trips to museums, movies, theatre, concerts and other points of interest in Southwest Florida.

“This community will enable seniors to declare their independence living free from the worries, responsibilities and demands of home ownership and opening new doors of relaxation, socializing, activity and health,” said Rob Gillette, COO of American House Senior Living Communities.

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Hearing Detroit with American House

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By: Bryn Bliska, MIT Media Lab

Photos by: Rebecca Kleinberger, MIT Media Lab

Bryn Bliska is a Master’s student and Research Assistant in the Opera of the Future group at the MIT Media Lab. She is excited to be facilitating collaboration between the Opera of the Future team, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and many amazing Detroit residents and community institutions for Symphony in D.

We recently returned from another amazing visit to Detroit – my fifth time in the city over the past six months. As Symphony in D has developed, I’ve met a huge range of inspiring people. One of the partner organizations that I’ve most enjoyed collaborating with is American House, a collection of senior living communities across the state of Michigan with several locations in the Detroit metropolitan area. We were first approached by three women on the American House team – Kristen Keller, Angie Kadowaki and Veronica Fiegel – back in November at Symphony in D’s official press launch. They were excited at the prospect of getting their residents involved, and we were equally excited at the opportunity to learn about Detroit from some of the people that know it best: those that have spent decades, if not their entire lives, calling it their home. After some dialogue and brainstorming, we landed upon a wonderful idea for our collaboration that has unfolded in a very powerful way over the ensuing months.

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During the early part of 2015, the American House team worked with their residents to collectively generate lists of unique historic sounds of Detroit. We were introduced to so many sounds we might never have otherwise come across that speak to Detroit’s rich and complex culture: the voice of legendary Detroit Tigers sportscaster Ernie Harwell; the implosion of the famed Hudson’sdepartment store building in 1998; and the popping noise that marks the opening of a jar of Sanders Fudge, to name just a few. In February, Tod and I then had the chance to sit down with about a dozen residents from different American House communities to review these incredible lists. Hearing first-hand about the personal meanings embedded in each of these sounds, I was moved by the passion with which everybody spoke about their city, and their memories truly deepened my appreciation for Detroit. The residents’ openness and generosity in sharing their stories with us is representative of the great hospitality and kindness that so many other Detroiters have extended to all of us from the Opera of the Future team.

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After this wonderful discussion, the American House team proposed a perfect culminating event for this phase of our partnership, which took place during our visit last week. Tod and I, as well as Opera of the Future graduate students Rebecca Kleinberger and Charles Holbrow, met a number of American House residents (including many familiar faces) at the Detroit Historical Museum. The American House residents and staff had synthesized their ideas of important historic sounds into a “Top 20” list, and had actually tracked down audio and video footage of each of these to share with us. Kristen gave a presentation of the items on this list, which included the whistle of the boat that used to carry Detroiters to their beloved Boblo Island Amusement Park (open from 1898 until 1993), the theme songs of Better Made chips and Faygo soda, and footage from the 1967 riot.

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Once again, we had the great fortune to hear individuals’ reflections on these sounds during the presentation, and also got to continue some of these conversations as we explored the museum afterward. Kristen, Angie and Veronica also bestowed upon us some very decadent, absolutely delicious Detroit-made goods, including all of the iconic foods we’d heard so much about. Tod, Charles, Rebecca and I all left the museum with our hands full, literally, as well as with our hearts full of gratitude for the people of American House and appreciation for the incredible city that we have felt so welcomed into. Through their creativity and dedication, the American House residents and staff have already brought so much to Symphony in D – and, personally, to my experience and understanding of Detroit. So to all of these wonderful people, and to the many others I’ve had the great fortune to interact with, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart! It is a pleasure and honor to work with you, and I am excited for what’s to come as Symphony in D continues to grow and take shape.

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Small Donations. Big Impact.

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During the 8th Annual Chili Cook-off, American House East I raised $1,107.00 in only two hours!

For the past eight years, American House East I has sponsored a chili cook-off to raise money for the American House Foundation.

Each year great care is taken to ensure that the event is fun, delicious, entertaining and charitable. This year was no exception! Delicious aromas of warm chili lingered, and jovial conversations could be heard throughout the dining area.

Participants sampled over 15 chilis paired with cornbread, fresh cut onions, sour cream and cheese. After trying the spectacular chili varieties, participants voted on their favorite. The people’s choice winner received a $50 visa gift card and two Detroit Tigers baseball tickets. Additionally, a panel of judges chose winners in the categories of White Meat, Red Meat, Vegetarian and Wild Game. Each winner also received a $50 visa gift card and two Detroit Tigers baseball tickets.

And, guess what? The official Detroit Tigers mascot, Paws joined the fun! He was sure to meet, greet and dance with American House East I residents, as well as take photos with the many children in the crowd!

Thank you for putting on a spectacular event to benefit local seniors in need!

American House Foundation

For more than 30 years, American House has been an advocate for the elderly in their own communities, but in 2007, the founding family wanted to reach beyond their own borders to support seniors in need outside the safety and care of American House communities.

Many older adults in the Detroit area are suffering needlessly. They are left alone and forced to choose between food and heat, medication and housing. These are choices no one should have to make, especially in later life. American House, created the American House Foundation in partnership with the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, to help put an end to these significant aging issues.

Gifts that are generously donated to the American House Foundation will provide hope and preserve the dignity of older adults enduring hardship. 70% of gifts received by the American House Foundation will go directly to helping seniors today. 30% of gifts received by the American House Foundation will fund research for a better tomorrow.

Make American House Bonita Springs Your New Home!

Are you a Florida resident? If so, we will soon be opening the perfect new home for you… American House Bonita Springs!

Over time, the financial costs and physical strain of owning a home or condo can become overwhelming. Making the decision to move into a rental senior housing community can go a long way in helping to alleviate some of that stress. Most often, many utilities that are additional monthly expenses, like water, gas and electric, are included in your rent. There are no maintenance costs, like mowing the lawn, fixing a leaky roof or replacing a hot water heater. Moving into a senior living community means that all those maintenance issues – indoor and outdoor – are taken care of for you! This means less stress and more time to enjoy your family and friends. And those social gatherings you’re always hearing about? Well, those are usually free too!

The decision to transition to a senior housing community can be a difficult one – you’ve spent many years in your family home and created special memories that last a lifetime. Let American House Bonita Springs help you create new memories!

Maintenance-free Living

American House Bonita Springs is a completely maintenance-free senior housing community:

  • Full-time, on-site maintenance: Consider the on-site maintenance staff as your personal ‘handyman’ ready to take care of any task big or small.
  • Kitchen appliance upkeep: Most apartments in American House Bonita Springs have full kitchens. So what happens if you’re having problems with your stove or refrigerator? Don’t worry! These big ticket items won’t put a strain on your budget, rather the on-site team will do what’s necessary to repair or replace your appliances!
  • Worry-free travel: Leaving on vacation to travel across town or to a different state? You’ll have peace of mind knowing your home will be just as it was when you left.

Life Enrichment

There’s never a dull moment at American House Bonita Springs. Someone is always there to share a laugh with you, catch up on the latest TV show, or take a walk around the neighborhood. Moving into a senior living community allows for plenty of socialization and new friends! At American House Bonita Springs, the community is full of things to do: swimming, cultural outings, crafts, music, food – it’s limitless.

The perks of living at American House Bonita Springs outweigh the potentially difficult decision of moving into a senior housing community. With maintenance-free living and several options to keep you active and engaged, American House Bonita Springs may be the perfect place for you!

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.

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).

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.

American House resident Hattie Manley talks about serving others and living the good life

Hattie Manley PhotoYou don’t have to slow down just because you’ve grown a little older. American House Oakland’s Hattie Manley is the perfect example of living life to its fullest. Born in Nashville, Tenn., it wasn’t soon after Ms. Manley moved to Pontiac, Mich., and became a staple of community service.

For her more than 63 years of service to the community, Pontiac recently recognized Ms. Manley with the Pontiac Women Achiever’s Award. When asked what inspires her, Ms. Manley simply responded, “I like to do things. I’m a doer. I like to be a positive light in the community and help people who need it.”

Her favorite place to volunteer is her church, St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church, where she runs the outreach food programs. In addition to serving food for the community, she also cooks and serves Sunday breakfast every week and handles funeral dinners — with the help of her volunteers.

“Meals are associated with fellowship and community,” Ms. Manley explained. “If I can prepare dinner for someone, that’s one less thing people in need have to worry about.”

Ms. Manley was even dedicated to helping people in her professional career, where she was a licensed practical nurse (LPN) for two years. She also went for additional training and became a registered nurse (RN) for 30 years at Pontiac General (which now goes by Doctors’ Hospital of Michigan).

Ms. Manley is also passionate about the younger generations in the community.

“The young people need to keep advancing,” she said. “You don’t have to stop – you can always do something. You can always make something better.”

In her free time, she still loves to cook and spend time with her family. She has 30 grandchildren, 36 great grandchildren and more than five generations of family.

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.