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.

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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.

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.

Halloween and Other October Festivities

At American House, providing our residents with the opportunity for intergenerational activities is a key part of our mission. So when Deerfield Elementary chose to American House Elmwood for a trick-or-treat visit, our residents were thrilled. Young and young-at-heart alike had an amazing time, with the students being courteous as residents welcomed them to their home. The students’ costumes were creative and residents loved hearing about how they were chosen.

In the days leading up to Halloween, residents at American House Troy decided to turn their apartments into spooky, haunted residences. Executive Director Debbie Smith explained that senior citizens are often overlooked on holidays like Halloween, but not at our Troy location! The Detroit News stopped by to check out the spooky and fun ways residents decked out their apartments.

Not only did our residents celebrate the fun and exciting times of Halloween, but with October comes Oktoberfest! Detroit Tigers’ mascot Paws stopped by American House Stone to spend time and visit with residents. They had a day full of fun activities!

Want to see a recap from our entire fun-filled month of October? Check out our YouTube video!

Every month at American House brings a host of special and engaging activities. To schedule a tour and learn more about what we offer in our senior living communities, please visit our Web site or call (248) 579-4422. To stay in touch, find us on Facebook and Twitter.

American House Review from Resident Family Member

We are so pleased to share this review from an American House Resident Family Member.

“The outing you arranged for the Navy Veterans was ideal for my father. It has been over a week and he is still talking about it with joyful tears in his eyes! The servicemen who greeted him with a hearty handshake and kind words will remain in his memory forever. And that is saying so much, since his memory is starting to fail him. I have noticed an extra spring in his step and new stories about his days as a Seabee from along time ago. This trip really sparked something inside of him…something that I hadn’t seen in a while.”

– Denice M., Daughter of an American House Resident

Exercise for Seniors

Do you think exercising only happens in a gym with tons of expensive and complicated equipment? Or that it’s only for those without arthritis or other body aches and pains? Think again!

You, too, can easily exercise. And you can have fun while doing it!

The answer? Tai chi.

MEDITATION IN MOTION

Tai chi (sounds like tie-chee) is an exercise from China that has been around for thousands of years. It essentially combines aspects of karate, yoga, aerobics and Pilates. It is often referred to as “meditation in motion.”

Anyone can learn tai chi and benefit from the smooth exercise. Tai chi uses the focus of karate without the combat; the breathing of yoga without the twisting and turning; the cardiovascular benefits of aerobics without the impact level and the strength-building of Pilates without the pain.

Ideal for seniors, tai chi is very low-impact and easily modifiable to your own comfort level — and needs no equipment. Plus, tai chi is a very versatile exercise: It can be enjoyed inside or outdoors, alone or as a social exercise in a group environment.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Recently, studies have determined that tai chi improves symptoms in those who suffer from arthritis and Parkinson’s disease. In general, tai chi makes sense for senior citizens because it has many health benefits and minimal risk. It’s also known to bring pain relief, reduce stress and lower blood pressure.

Tai chi lowers blood pressure by improving something called arterial flexibility, or the “ability of an artery to expand or contract as blood pressure changes,” according to a recent article in The Atlantic magazine. According to the article, the more flexible arteries are the better one’s overall cardiovascular health. Poor arterial flexibility is a predictor of impending heart and circulation problems, according to the article.

Regular strength-training exercises (using weights, sit-ups and push-ups) help improve muscle tone — but studies show senior citizens in particular may not benefit from this as these exercises also lead to stiffening of the arteries. Tai chi isn’t touted as a strength-training exercise and may prove to be most beneficial for seniors.

One study compared two similar groups of senior citizens — those who regularly practiced tai chi and those who didn’t. The ones who did displayed greater flexibility in large and small arteries, plus greater muscle strength and lower blood pressure.

TAI CHI AT HOME

At American House, we have indoor and outdoor areas where you can practice tai chi — by yourself or in a group. Call us today to learn more about all the amenities we have to offer to keep you in the best of health!

~An article on the study was published in The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology and will also appear in a future print edition of the journal