4 reasons why you should volunteer at a senior living community with your kids this summer

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our News You Can Use posts are meant to help seniors and their families as they learn and transition together through the physical and emotional changes brought on by aging.

School is out for summer and parents across the country are trying Child and seniortheir best to juggle their day-to-day responsibilities while keeping their kids occupied. Chances are “volunteering at a senior living community” isn’t on most parents’ list of things to do as a family before back-to-school seasons hits, but it’s a strong contender. Here are four reasons why you should consider volunteering at a senior living community with your kids this summer:

1) Story time!
Senior living residents are a wealth of experience and are usually happy to share their stories. Many of them have lived through major historical events like WWII, multiple prominent presidencies, and the moon landing. Talk about a great history lesson!

2) Tech talk
Lots of seniors would like to keep in touch with their families online, but don’t have the know-how. Computer classes are a growing trend in senior living communities, especially those with high schoolers at the helm. Tech-savvy teens and tweens can make great teachers on everything from how to turn on an iPad to how to send a Facebook message, so sharing their expertise with seniors makes for great practice, especially if they’re considering education as a career path.

3) Simple gifts
Youngsters tend to love gift giving, especially when the gift is homemade, like a drawing or other craft. What a better way to brighten your child’s day than letting them make their own art and taking them on a special trip to give it as a gift! Added bonus: the smiling face of a child is sure to brighten the seniors’ day too.

4) Pay it forward
No matter what your child’s age, volunteering is a first-class lesson in humility. Donating our time and attention to others is a strong reminder that it’s our civic responsibility to work together, to help each other, and to make a difference.

Ready to make a difference in your community? Call a Milestone Retirement community near you to find a volunteer experience for you and your family.

Testing the waters: 4 ways to make drinking water more appealing

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our News You Can Use posts are meant to help seniors and their families as they learn and transition together through the physical and emotional changes brought on by aging.

July is National Hydration Month, and for good reason. As temperatures climb, dehydration becomes a real threat, especially for seniors. According to the Mayo Clinic, as we age, our body’s ability to conserve water is reduced. This, coupled with a dulled sense of thirst, a delayed ability to respond to temperature changes, and the diuretic effect of many medications, puts seniors at a serious Pitcher of waterdehydration risk.

But, even with all these red flags, you might be having a hard time getting your mom, dad, grandma or grandpa to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Here are some tips on how to make a bland glass of water more appealing for optimum guzzling:

1) Infuse it!
Infused water is gaining popularity in upscale restaurants and organic grocery stores alike, but don’t let the price tags fool you. Making your own infused water at home is as easy as placing fresh fruit in water, allowing it to soak at room temperature, and moving it to the fridge for a cool, refreshing treat. Use these recipe suggestions to get your creative (and fruit) juices flowing.

2) Make a splash
Pour a splash of unsweetened juice (cranberry works particularly well) to give water a burst of flavor without any traces of pulp. Stick to juices that are all natural with no added sugars to get the most vitamins and antioxidants out of each swig.

3) Ice, ice… maybe?
Ice is nice, but if you’re looking for maximum flavor with minimum effort, fruit may be better. Freeze some strawberries, raspberries or tangerine wedges and use them in lieu of ice cubes to keep your water cool and add a hint of sweetness.

4) Call in backup
If the very thought of chugging glass after glass of water is enough to make your insides slosh, don’t hesitate to incorporate fresh fruits and veggies into your diet to help make your daily H2O quota. Foods like cucumbers, tomatoes, and radishes have a high water content and provide the extra health benefits of vitamins and fiber.

Helping a senior? If care at home is not working well, it could be time for a transition to senior living. Find a Milestone community near you.

Helping hand: The best places for seniors to volunteer

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our News You Can Use posts are meant to help seniors and their families as they learn and transition together through the physical and emotional changes brought on by aging.

After retirement, a lot of seniors find themselves with the ambition to volunteer Woman in garden volunteering and the time to do it. But with so many volunteer opportunities, where should a do-gooder retirees cast their charitable gaze? Here are some nonprofit suggestions that rely heavily on senior volunteers:

1) Senior Corps
A facet of the Corporation for National and Community Service, Senior Corps’ Foster Grandparent Program partners volunteers age 55 and over with children in their community. The program, which gives seniors the opportunity to mentor and comfort abused children and at-risk teens, is an extremely satisfying volunteer opportunity for retired teachers, nurses, or anyone who has a passion for helping children.

2) The USO
The USO has been helping veterans and their families for 75 years and relies heavily on volunteers, who help by welcoming troops, serving them warm meals and a handful of other goodwill gestures toward soldiers returning home. Volunteering for the USO is a great fit if you or your spouse is a retired veteran.

The SCORE organization offers free mentoring and workshops to small business owners, making it an exceptionally gratifying choice for volunteers who retired from a career in business operations, sales, or finance. And the best part? SCORE mentors are partnered with business owners in their community, so volunteering your expertise and know-how can help boost your local economy!

None of these seem like a great fit? Don’t throw in the towel just yet. A lot of organizations like Volunteer Match and AARP’s Volunteer Resource Center specializing in matching people over the age of 55 with the perfect volunteer opportunity in their community.

For more information on how to stay physically and emotionally engaged after retirement, visit blog.milestoneretirement.com.

Planning a summer vacation? Here are the top 3 reasons to consider a respite stay for your mom or dad

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our News You Can Use posts are meant to help seniors and their families as they learn and transition together through the physical and emotional changes brought on by aging.

With summer just around the corner, you might find yourself daydreaming about summer vacation, and, if you’re a caregiver,thinking about who will take care 3 Ladies from The Summit Brochure of your mom while you’re away. Here are the top three reasons to consider respite , a short-term stay in an assisted living apartment, your mom or dad during your summer vacation:

1) Peace of mind
Vacations are meant for rejuvenation and relaxation, and there’s nothing relaxing about worrying that your mom might have fallen and no one was there to help her up, or that your dad hasn’t eaten all day since no one cooked for him. Residents using respite get all of the benefits of senior living residents do, including an onsite caregiving staff, meals and housekeeping, so you can rest assured that if your parent needs anything while you’re gone, someone will be there to help.

2) They need a vacation too!
Have you ever considered that maybe your mom needs a vacation just as much as you do? Whether your mom and dad live alone or with you, it’s easy for them to fall into a daily rut. Retirement communities that offer respite care include amenities like activities, group outings, swimming pools, and exercise rooms that your mom and dad can enjoy as much as they want during their stay, so you both get some R&R.

3) Who doesn’t love a test drive?
During a respite stay residents have the same activities and amenities, and enjoy the same meals as senior living residents, it’s a great way to “test drive” a retirement community. So, if you’ve talked to your mom or dad about senior living but they’re hesitant to make the move, a respite stay would give them the perks of community living without the commitment. Who knows, it might be the perfect way for them to adjust to a move to senior living!

Ready to give respite a try? Find a Milestone community near you to get started!


Memory loss vs. forgetfulness: How to recognize the difference

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our News You Can Use posts are meant to help seniors and their families as they learn and transition together through the physical and emotional changes brought on by aging.

If your mom and dad are advancing in years, chances are you’ve noticed some changes in their memory, like not remembering where they parked or forgetting to grab eggs at the grocery store. But where’s the line between “this is a normal part of aging” and “dad may need help”?ThinkstockPhotos-516131968  Here are some signs to look for when assessing whether or not your parent might be having a significant decline in their memory.

1) Repetitive short term memory loss
A lot of times, seniors with memory loss can recall the name of every friend they had 30 years ago, but they can’t remember what they ate for breakfast. Checking your parents’ short term memory is easy: ask them questions about their day. If they have a hard time with their responses, that might be a red flag.

2) Difficulty following storylines
If your mom has a puzzled look on her face every time you explain why you had a rough day at work or try to catch her up on your favorite TV show, you might want to look into other symptoms of memory loss. Why? Because memory loss impairs our abilities to recognize words, both visually and audibly. So, if your mom can’t follow your stories, it may be because she doesn’t recognize some of the words you’re using.

3) Failing sense of direction
Did your dad always have an impeccable sense of direction that guided your family through every summer vacation, but now he needs to pull out a map? Chances are, that’s a normal part of aging. But what if your dad gets lost on his way to the same grocery store he’s gone to for 15 years? Or takes the wrong turn on his routine morning walk around the block? If your mom or dad has multiple episodes of being disoriented in familiar places, that may be a sign of more significant memory loss.

4) Skipping parts of their daily routine
We all have days where we put less effort into our appearance (messy hair and sweat pants, anyone?) but if your mom goes days without brushing her teeth or changing her clothes, or if she appears to be avoiding bathing altogether, that might be a cause for concern. If you can’t see your mom every day, some things to look for when you visit are unkempt hair, uncommonly bad breath or stained clothes.

5) Losing things… a lot.
Have you ever been in a panic over misplacing something important and thought to yourself “where is the last place I had it?” People with memory loss have a really hard time answering that question, so a lot of their stuff, important, mundane, or anywhere in between, gets lost and stays lost.  Also, people with memory loss sometimes stash things away in “safe” places and forget where they are, compounding the lost-and-can’t-be-found conundrum.

Helping a senior? If care at home is not working well, it could be time for a transition to senior living. Find a Milestone community near you to get started.


Catching some Z’s: 5 tips for sleeping well as you age

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our News You Can Use posts are meant to help seniors and their families as they learn and transition together through the physical and emotional changes brought on by aging.

You might have noticed Mr. Sandman getting stingier with the dreams each year.  As we age, so do our sleep patterns, so it’s not uncommon for seniors to have a hard time falling asleep, Having problems sleepingstaying asleep, or sleeping at the right times. But never fear, if Mr. Sandman refuses to bring you a dream, you can still be a do-it-yourselfer. Here are some tips to help you sleep soundly:

1) Same old, same old
Keeping a consistent sleep schedule is crucial to falling asleep and staying asleep. This means going to bed around the same time each night, not sleeping in on the weekends, and avoiding afternoon naps. Having a sleep routine also includes coaxing your body into relaxation each evening, so try to find what helps you unwind, like reading or taking a warm bath, and make that a regular part of your night.

2) Here comes the sun
Your mother was right…again. Playing outside is good for you. Getting outside for at least one to two hours during the day helps our bodies fall asleep at night. Why? Because sunlight increases our bodies’ production of melatonin, which regulates our sleep-wake cycles, so slather on the sun screen and get out there!

3) Less is more
When it comes to eating anywhere near bedtime, keeping it light is key. Experts recommend refraining from eating large meals at least three hours before bedtime. Light snacks, on the other hand, like some crackers or yogurt, may actually help you sleep, so don’t be afraid to have a little nibble.

4) You’ve got to move it, move it
Exercising has been clinically proven to help people sleep soundly through the night. Aim for at least 30 minutes of elevated physical activity each day, but just like with meal times, timing is key. Be sure to exercise at least four hours before bedtime. Any less, and you run the risk of not being able to relax in time for lights out.

5) Beat it, Siri
If you’re having a hard time sleeping at night, you may want to make sure your bedroom is electronics-free. The power of suggestion is hard for our bodies to overcome, so if you’re used to reading your iPad or watching TV before bed, you might be doing yourself a disservice. Instead, try removing anything that glows from your bedroom, including overly bright alarm clocks, to help keep it cool and dark each night.

Helping a senior? If care at home is not working well, it could be time for a transition to senior living. Find a Milestone community near you to get started.


Spring cleaning your parents’ house: Where to start

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our News You Can Use posts are meant to help seniors and their families as they learn and transition together through the physical and emotional changes brought on by aging.

There’s a bug going around: The spring cleaning bug. As the weather gets warmer it’s tempting to throw open the windows, grab a mop and hop to it. If you have senior parents who still live at home, they might look to you for spring cleaning help. Here are some tips on how to get started spring cleaning your parents’ house:

1) Beeline for the medicine cabinet
It’s easy to forget to throw out old prescriptions or over the counter medication, so chances are, you’ll find quite a few outdated bottles. Need to get rid of a lot of outdated meds safely? Visit your local pharmacy or participate in National Take Back Day, a national initiative to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of prescription drugs. National Take Back Day is Saturday, April 30 this year. Visit the U.S. Department of Justice’s site to find locations and times near you.

2) Aim high
Chances are, your parents aren’t climbing up on ladders, especially if they have limited mobility, so anything above arm’s reach could use a refresh. Change the batteries in smoke detectors, dust off ceiling fan blades, and wipe down any lights. Remember: there’s a good chance that these high rollers only get cleaned or replaced once a year, so the more thorough the better!

3) Get low
Yep. You guessed it. The inverse is true. Chances are, your mom hasn’t cleaned underneath beds, behind the toilet, or other hard to reach spaces that require a lot of bending and squatting. Take a walk through your parents’ house and make note of any spaces that require hands and knees time to get a good cleaning. Then, starting at one end of the house, work your way through each room and let those dust bunnies have it! (Sorry, dust bunnies. It’s nothing personal.)

4) Spare me!
Do your parents have a spare room or guest space? Chances are, if they haven’t had visitors in a while, the room could use a good cleaning. Wash any bed linens, vacuum, dust, and, if the guest room has an accompanying bath, be sure to scrub down the counters, toilet, and shower.

5) Can the clutter
Clutter, like old bills, newspapers and magazines tends to accumulate throughout the year. Ask your mom or dad where they keep their old mail, sit with them and decide what they should hang on to and what is safe to throw in the recycling bin.

If they’re not ready to part with much, that’s ok. Going through old mail and papers with your parents isn’t just a way to keep their house tidy, it also lets you see the kind of mail they’re getting and protect them from popular scams targeted at seniors. If you find any mail that you think might be linked to a scam, report it to AARP’s Elderwatch.

For more information on caring for senior parents, visit blog.milestoneretirement.com

Celebrate National Nurse’s Week May 6 through 12!

National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. In concert with this week of National celebrations, Milestone Retirement Communities would like to recognize the care and advocacy that nurses within all of the communities provide each day to our residents.

The Milestone-family of nurses represents a diverse group of individuals who have dedicated their professional lives of service to the care of our senior members of society.

We have student nurses who are working through the nursing education process, we have licensed practical/vocational nurses, we have registered nurses and we have graduate-level nurse educators amongst our nursing family. Regardless of their educational preparation or years of experience, we are all united as nurses for one single objective: providing safe, ethical and individualized care that meets each resident’s unique needs and circumstances.

Please join us in celebrating nurse’s week beginning May 6 and recognizing the contribution each nurse makes each day to provide the very best care to the residents who call one of our senior living communities their home.

6 Ways the Baby Boomers Made Senior Living Better

Choices and options – that is what today’s seniors want when looking for a retirement community to call home. In this article, reprinted by Reader’s Digest, author Michelle Seitzer points out that today’s senior living communities are listening. You will find many of the amenities and services discussed below at the Milestone Retirement Communities – We’ve been listening too!

Today’s post-retirement living? It’s nothing your Grandma would recognize

By Michelle Seitzer – SeniorsForLiving.com
Reprinted by Reader’s Digest

Baby boomers have a history of challenging the norms and demanding something different—and better. In the 1960s, they exercised freedom of expression about civil rights, the war, and feminism. Now that they’re in (or approaching) their 60s, they’re voicing their desires about the future of senior housing, and with nearly 10,000 boomers turning 65 every day, senior living operators and developers better pay attention. And what do boomers want?

  1. Pets welcome.
    If Fido can’t go, they’ll pass. But it’s not enough for Fido to just come along; boomers are looking for amenities for their best furry friends too. Think doggie spas and fenced-in runs.
  1. Pamper me.
    The sterile hospital feel is so retro, and not in a good way. Tomorrow’s senior housing consumers want it to look and feel like they’re on vacation, and in a sleek, contemporary setting (modern is in). Don’t forget the robust list of amenities: boomers want to have ample choices, more services, maybe even chocolates on their pillows.
  1. More space, please.
    On the whole, downsizing is not in their vocabulary. Most boomer consumers want space for all their stuff, a dedicated place to entertain new and old friends, and plenty of room for the grandkids to visit.
  1. Anti-boredom.
    Yes, they want to play golf, but boomers want to be active in other non-sports-related ways, “on-campus” and off. They want workshops to tinker in, gardens to cultivate, and volunteer opportunities in which to be engaged. They want fitness centers and a social wellness calendar packed with Zumba, yoga, pottery, guest lectures, concerts, computer classes, mixers and more.
  1. The city life.
    Experts are seeing a surge in popularity among urban housing options and settings for retirees, who are no longer worried about school districts, parking, and other metro area drawbacks typically associated with parents of young children. A city’s “walkability” is an important consideration here as well, both in terms of walking distance and ease of walking (for those who may have mobility issues now or later).
  1. A wired world.
    Wi-fi is not a luxury but a necessity. Boomers and seniors are the fastest growing online demographic, so they’ll need to stay connected. Besides, how else will they be able to Skype with the grandchildren or post pictures from last night’s wine and cheese social to Facebook?


Tips on Estate Planning and Elder Law

The task of writing a will, appointing beneficiaries, and all the possible financial implications can seem complicated and a bit overwhelming. The temptation is to fall back into the “I’ll do it tomorrow” mode and and put the whole thing off until you find yourself making decisions based on an emergency.

The excerpt captured below is from Ellen Waldman’s article that shares some important tips on elder law and estate planning. While the article mentions Ashland, Oregon, the information is helpful for seniors and caregivers all over the country. Consult your local elder law and estate planning attorneys for more information on planning Power of Attorney and Advance Directive for health care.

Expert in the Field: Allen Drescher

By Ellen Waldman
Ashland Daily Tidings, Ashland, OR, Posted January 5, 2015

Everyone knows that lawyers are often the brunt of a joke. It usually goes something like this:

Q: How many lawyer jokes are there? A: Only three. The rest are true stories.

In my years in the field, I have found that the attorneys here locally have been extremely competent, helpful and caring individuals. No joke. The field of elder law and estate planning often addresses family dynamics and end-of-life concerns. This requires a special type of person, and we are fortunate to have many such professionals here in Ashland.

Allen Drescher has practiced law in Ashland and Southern Oregon since 1973. His practice areas include estate planning, real estate, business law and elder law. He has extensive experience with wills, trusts, probate, guardianships, conservatorships, asset protection, elder abuse and other issues facing seniors and “those of us who refuse to acknowledge that we are seniors,” in his own words. If you have moved here from another state, if someone in your life who was appointed to a position can no longer fill that role, or other important changes have occurred, it’s time to visit your attorney. And if you have not yet started this process, it’s not a minute too soon.

Here are some very important tips from Allen:

1. What are the main reasons people need to see an attorney going into the New Year?

The start of the New Year gives us the opportunity to address some of the issues and tasks that we have put off or ignored through the prior year. Estate planning is something that we are generally inclined to put off (or ignore) since most of us, when we are still healthy, don’t think about this. The beginning of the New Year reminds us that another year has passed — we are a year older than we were at the start of last year — and we are one year closer to the time when it will be too late to plan for that eventuality that all of us must face.

2. How can families legally prepare for their aging loved ones, as well as for themselves?

For both our aging loved ones and ourselves we should have the following basic estate planning tools: A Power Of Attorney; an Advance Directive for health care; a will or trust; proper beneficiary designations on any retirement accounts, life insurance policies, annuities, etc.; and a clear expression of our wishes for the disposition of our remains. Additionally, a trusted family member can be added as a signer on a bank account or made a joint owner of a financial account. They can also be designated as the pay-on-death or transfer-on-death beneficiary of the account.

3. What is important to do legally when someone is diagnosed with dementia or cognitive impairment?

Suitable arrangements need to be made to provide for the person’s needs and to protect the person’s assets and income. The advice of a geriatric care manager or elder law attorney should be obtained to learn of the challenges that will be faced and the means by which those challenges can be addressed and surmounted. While the person is still mentally competent, it is important for the person to sign documents required to delegate authority regarding the person’s finances and health care in order to avoid the necessity of a guardianship or conservatorship.

4. What is the best way to locate an attorney who is focused on aging adults?

A personal reference is a good starting point. The lawyer’s experience and qualifications can be checked online. The Oregon State Bar Association (www.osbar.org) will provide information on how long a lawyer has practiced law, the sections of the bar that a lawyer belongs to and whether the lawyer has been disciplined. These are filters that will narrow your search. Before making an appointment you should ask to speak to the lawyer by phone, and confirm that they have some expertise in your area of concern and that you will get along with one another.

Please consider taking advantage of all this excellent guidance and knowledge in our town. You can be assured that your wishes and needs can be clearly and legally stated. This is a great way to start off a New Year by taking care of yourself and your family. The best to you in 2015.

Ellen Waldman is a Geriatric Care Manager, certified through the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers. She specializes in helping families make decisions and implement solutions around caring for their aging loved ones. Milestone Retirement Communities is honored to have Ellen’s expertise shared with you from the columns she has published in the
Ashland Daily Tidings in Ashland, Oregon.

If you would like to read more of Ellen’s “Aging Happens” columns – go to the Ashland Daily Tiding’s home page, type Ellen Waldman in the search field at top left of the page and click the spy glass icon. All of Ellen’s articles will appear in the search results.