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.


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!

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.

Detroit Symphony Orchestra Brings Music to American House Residents’ Ears

i3_jvPUpwz_K5wkPrRDKzL3Fib5YzAILzgySvI5xcCoBeing able to experience the wonderful culture of the area — especially the Detroit Symphony Orchestra — is one of the great benefits of living at American House Senior Living Communities! We’re very proud to have deepened our partnership with the DSO to present 36 engagements in 2013 where musicians will perform for residents at more than 20 of our American House locations.

“We’re committed to enriching the lives of our senior citizens throughout the area,” said Rob Gillette, chief operating officer of American House. “Countless studies have shown the benefits of both music and a rich social life in older adults. We are confident this partnership will prove beneficial for both our seniors and the DSO musicians themselves.”

Each month, three American House communities will host the DSO sessions for residents. Three to four DSO musicians will play for one hour at the community and residents have the opportunity to talk to the musicians during a meet and greet afterward. American House sponsors the sessions so residents are able to enjoy the DSO free of charge.

DSO musicians will also present “Inspiration Days,” in which American House residents will learn more about these artists’ paths to becoming professional musicians, hear and watch them demonstrate their instruments and have the opportunity to ask questions.


Here is a list of American House Senior Engagement locations, where the Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians will perform. April and May locations have been confirmed, but look for DSO ensembles to visit your local American House throughout the coming year!

APRIL 2013

  • Sterling II: 2 p.m. Monday, April 8 at 33433 Schoenherr, Sterling Heights, MI 48312.
  • Baldwin House: 2:30 p.m. Monday, April 15 at 200 Chester, Birmingham, MI 48009.
  • Riverview: 2:30 p.m. Monday, April 22 at 20300 Fort St, Riverview, MI 48193.

MAY 2013

  • Carpenter: 2 p.m. Monday, May 13 at 3470 Carpenter Road, Ypsilanti, MI 48197
  • Hazel Park: 2:00 p.m. Monday, May 20 at 777 E. Woodward Heights, Hazel Park, MI 48030
  • Sterling I: 2:00 p.m. Friday, May 31 at 11255 15 Mile Road, Sterling Heights, MI 48312
  • **INSPIRATION DAYS: 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 28 at Dearborn Heights: 26600 Ann Arbor Trail, Dearborn Heights, MI 48127

** “Inspiration Days” are visits where residents learn about the artists’ paths to becoming professional musicians, hear and watch them demonstrate their instruments and have the opportunity to ask questions.

For more information about the DSO partnership or the current performance schedule, please call (248)203-1800, or visit www.americanhouse.com
or www.dso.org.

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.”

American House and Detroit Symphony Orchestra Expand Partnership Into 2013

imagesPartnership to bring world-class musicians to over 20 American House communities

DETROIT – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and American House Senior Living Communities have announced plans to deepen their partnership, which will bring individual musicians and small ensembles from the orchestra to engage with residents at over 20 American House locations in the metro Detroit area throughout 2013. An extremely broad geographic area will be served, spanning Roseville to Westland and Riverview to Pontiac.

In the fall of 2011, the DSO launched its Neighborhood Residency Initiative (NRI), comprised of orchestra concerts, chamber music, educational and social service partnerships, and senior engagement programs focused in and around six metro Detroit communities: Beverly Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Dearborn, Grosse Pointe, Southfield, and West Bloomfield. In early 2012, a series of customized small ensemble performances were piloted at three American House locations in these communities. In 2013 over 20 of these concerts will be presented in and around these areas.

In addition to providing an intimate musical experience for American House residents, a growing body of research has concluded that music has therapeutic effects on older adults, including: strengthened memory and cognitive function, chronic pain management, improvement in mood, and overall improvement in quality of life.

“We’re committed to enriching the lives of our senior citizens throughout the area,” said Rob Gillette, Chief Operating Officer of American House. “Countless studies have shown the benefits of both music and a rich social life in older adults. We are confident this partnership will prove beneficial for both our seniors and the DSO musicians themselves.”

This partnership is a collaborative initiative of the DSO’s Neighborhood Residency Initiative, and American House’s own life enrichment program, which is a holistic combination of rich experiences as wellness, including group outings, community exercises, and healthy food options. Music initiatives are becoming an increasing part of the culture at American House. In addition to this partnership, residents of American House formed a traveling choir in mid 2012, led by conductor Daniel Greig.

“At American House residences, we are able to deeply engage with music lovers that are unable to travel to performances,” said Kareem George, Detroit Symphony Orchestra Managing Director of Community Programs. “Our musicians are making personal connections with former decades-long subscribers as well as seniors new to classical music. We are so thankful to American House Senior Living Communities for this opportunity to provide a special service to our seniors.”

In addition to the tailored small ensemble performances, DSO musicians will present “Inspiration Days,” in which American House residents will learn more about these artists’ paths to becoming professional musicians, hear and watch them demonstrate their instruments, and have the opportunity to ask questions.

These programs will span across over 20 metro Detroit area American Houses, where the aim is to reach over 1,000 senior citizens and their families. The majority of these audiences would not otherwise be able to experience live classical music performances.

For more information about the partnership or current performance schedule, please call 248-203-1800, or visit www.americanhouse.com or www.dso.org.


Founded over 30 years ago, American House Senior Living Communities provides the most rewarding life experiences for each and every resident. The company offers maintenance-free apartment and villa living, restaurant-style dining, activities, education, wellness, transportation, housekeeping, and third party medical and personal care services. By combining the independence seniors and their families want with the assistance they may need, American House has helped thousands transition into the next phase of their lives with ease. For more information, please visit www.americanhouse.com or call (248) 203-1800.

The internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which celebrated its 125th anniversary in December 2012, is known for trailblazing performances, visionary maestros, collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists, and an unwavering commitment to Detroit. Esteemed conductor Leonard Slatkin, called “America’s Music Director” by the Los Angeles Times, became the 12th Music Director of the DSO during the 2008-09 season and acclaimed conductor, arranger, and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik was appointed Principal Pops Conductor in November 2012. The DSO’s performance schedule includes Classical, Pops, Jazz, Young People’s, Neighborhood concerts, and collaborations with chart-topping musicians from Smokey Robinson to Kid Rock. A commitment to broadcast innovation began in 1922 when the DSO became the first orchestra in the world to present a radio broadcast and continues today with the free Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series. Making its home at historic Orchestra Hall at the Max M. Fisher Music Center, one of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, the DSO actively pursues a mission to impact and serve the community through music. For more information visit dso.org or download the free DSO to GO mobile app.

5 Important Steps to Find the Best Assisted Living Community

All homes are not the same and all assisted living communities are not the same, either: They each offer their own specialized care options and varied levels of care. At American House, we know choosing the right assisted living community for you or your loved one can be a daunting process — but we’d like to make things easier.

When searching for the best assisted living community, we urge you to take the following five steps:


Do some research and find a few assisted living communities to check out. Ask for recommendations from friends, family and co-workers. Once you’ve scoped out a few communities online or by phone, gathering information on prices, services and amenities, you can also visit their Facebook pages to see what others have to say.

Don’t forget to read online reviews as well. You can read some reviews from American House residents here and here.

Then, to really get a feel for the community, ask if you can make an unannounced visit or schedule a tour. Stay for a meal in the dining room to taste the quality of the food and see what the everyday dining experience is like. Pay attention to cleanliness, how the staff interacts with residents and whether residents appear relaxed.

At American House, we’d love to have you stop by anytime! When you schedule a tour, you can enjoy our delicious apple pie as you dine with residents.


Arrive armed with a list of questions and don’t be afraid to demand answers! Ask if the community is licensed to do business as an assisted care center — and follow up with the state health department to confirm. Another important question to ask is whether there is security in the community.

Find out if there is a doctor on site or if you can receive care from your current provider. Ask if on-site physical, speech and occupational therapists are available — and if not, if transportation to your particular specialist is provided.

At American House, we know that figuring out what to ask can be overwhelming, so we’ve compiled a list of the Top 16 Tips for Choosing a Senior Living Community, along with the Top 10 Principles to Look for When Choosing a Senior Living Community.


Some services offered by assisted living facilities are not apparent upfront, and fees related to such care are not always covered by services like Medicare or Medicaid. Long-term care insurance will often reimburse for assisted care, but you’ll have to check the terms of your policy.

Find out what exactly is included in your rate: Charges for medications given per day; admission or community fees; a la carte fees; rate raises. Use our list of the Top 16 Tips for Choosing a Senior Living Community to help guide your questions about hidden fees.

At American House, we offer varying services and would love the opportunity to talk to you about options.


According to the Fox Business article, Nancy Thompson — a spokeswoman for AARP — said many seniors overlook the importance of transportation when comparing assisted living communities.

While some communities have their own vans to transport residents to weekly trips and social outings, some charge extra for other trips — so ask what is included. At American House, we offer personal and scheduled transportation — including trips to malls, banks, grocery stores and pharmacies, along with trips to senior centers, museums and other group outings.


HP_Exterior_2011Each person wants and requires different amenities — and with their assisted living communities. You may need specialized care, certain kinds of medical attention, plenty of socialization options or other preferences for your new home.

The best way to find out if a community fits your specific needs is to investigate several of them before deciding. That way, you can feel confident you made the best decision and move forward with getting comfortable in your new home!

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

American House Choir performs Christmas carols all around town

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa-la-la-la-la, la la la la.” Admit it: You started singing along in your head, didn’t you? There’s just something about music that makes people smile — it doesn’t matter if you are making it or listening it.

Our American House Choir, comprised of all American House residents who love to sing, was thrilled to showcase its talent and go on a seven-stop Christmas Carols Tour throughout metro Detroit in December. The choir sang everyone’s favorite carols in hopes of spreading some cheer and bringing smiles to many people of all ages.

One of the highlights of the American House Choir’s Christmas Carols Tour was a stop at Children’s Hospital in Detroit. The children and staff were so excited to listen to the cheery tunes float down the hallways and it made our residents happy to be able to bring a little bit of the Christmas spirit to them.

Other stops included performances at Henry Ford Cottage Hospital in Grosse Pointe Farms; the Auburn Hills Community Center in Auburn Hills; the Macomb County Senior Services building in Mount Clemens; the Livonia Civic Center and the Livonia Senior Center in Livonia and Deerfield Elementary School in Rochester Hills.

Our American House Choir debuted earlier in 2012 and has already performed for residents on several occasions, including Veteran’s Day and 9/11. This was the choir’s first tour around town and we are very excited and proud of the accomplishments of our choir! You can watch some of their performances (and other American House videos) here.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Facebook to keep up with all our events and have a chance to see the American House Choir perform.

At American House, we offer a variety of activities for our residents to showcase their talents and passions. To find out more about becoming a resident at American House, call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com.

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.