4 Ways for Caregivers to Slow Down and Enjoy the Holidays

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

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

4 Ways for Caregivers to Slow Down and Enjoy the Holidays

1. Shop early and/or online.

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

2. Schedule some down time.

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

3. Get a good night’s sleep.

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

4. Remember what’s important.

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

AMERICAN HOUSE

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

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!

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!

Seniors Helping Seniors: American House Residents Spread Holiday Cheer

At American House, ’tis the season for giving. For the fourth year in a row, our residents are spreading the true meaning of the season by helping their less fortunate neighbors through the Holiday Hope for Seniors campaign.

The campaign, which started with a tree-lighting event at 25 American House communities Nov. 29, raises money to provide 710 local senior citizens with basic necessities like soap and toothpaste this winter. Our residents are thrilled to be able to harness their charitable spirit and raise money by selling paper ornaments for donations to the Holiday Hope for Seniors campaign!

While donations range from $5 to $20, every penny goes directly to help other seniors. According to MyTV20, a new study shows that 37 percent of senior citizens in the area are living in poverty — and we want to help. Our residents at American House know that it’s important all year long — but particularly around the holidays — to show others that someone cares.

“Each year, the scope of Holiday Hope for Seniors becomes bigger, and the impact becomes more noticeable,” said Rob Gillette, chief operating officer of American House. “We are excited about the opportunity to provide dignity and hope for senior citizens outside of our own American House walls, and help individuals in the community.”

This year, the Holiday Hope for Seniors campaign partnered with Lighthouse of Oakland County, The Senior Alliance, The Information Center, Adult Well-Being Services and The Luella Hannan Memorial Foundation to identify seniors in need of personal items this holiday season, and the goal is to raise $50,000. The Holiday Hope for Seniors campaign is run by the American House Foundation, which was founded in 2007 to invest in outreach for older adults in need of assistance along and in research opportunities through a partnership with the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University.

For more information about Holiday Hope for Seniors, or to pledge a donation, please contact Danielle Bruce at dbruce@americanhouse.com or (248) 203-1800.

The residents and staff at American House believe it is truly better to give than receive. Give us a call today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to find out what we can offer you (or your loved one) at one of our close-knit communities.

Becoming a Savvy Holiday Shopper

Melissa, the Bargain Shopper Mom, & Kathy, American House Executive Director.

Many families spend time preparing for Thanksgiving and the holidays by planning meals, decorations and guest lists — but how many have strategies when it comes to shopping for holiday gifts? We’re guessing not many. That’s why our staff in the American House Memory Care Unit partnered with notable blogger Melissa Buckles of The Bargain Shopper Mom to give our residents, families and friends a chance to learn her savvy secrets in a special holiday savings workshop.

Kathy, an American House Executive Director, being interviewed by Local4 about the evening’s holiday savings workshop by Melissa Buckles.

With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday coming one after the other, the Thanksgiving weekend certainly brings with it plenty of opportunities to go out and get that holiday shopping done. But navigating the sales, determining what deals are the best ones and saving as much money as possible can be daunting on these major – and busy – days of the year.

Shoppers learned all kinds of money-saving tips at the workshop, which was designed to help everyone navigate the Black Friday sales and get the most bang for the buck. Melissa offered strategies to develop a plan for in-store shopping and for making the most of sales online, in addition to providing other holiday shopping tips.Holding the workshop at American House Elmwood was a unique opportunity for residents to share in some of the holiday shopping tips and fun with family. Kathy Porman and the rest of the Elmwood staff explained how integral a rich activities program was to the success of her community.

Kathy, an American House Executive Director, sharing stories about the family environment at American House.

Check out the story about the event that was featured on Local 4 WDIV.  At American House, we know saving money is important — especially around the holidays. We want to make sure our residents and their families have all the advantages possible when spending their hard-earned money. Contact us today – or visit us on Facebook and Twitter — to see what other fun and informational activities we offer for our residents and their families!