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

Heatherwood Senior Living Boise, ID | Senior Independent Housing Boise, ID

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 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!

4 Tips for New and Expecting Grandparents

Heatherwood Senior Living Boise, ID | Senior Independent Housing Boise, ID

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.

According to the American Grandparent Association, there are approximately 70 million grandparents in the U.S., and that number is growing at the staggering rate of 1.7 million new grandparents a year. (That’s a whole lot of trips over the river and through the woods!)
If you or someone you love has recently been promoted to grandma or grandpa, consider these tips to avoid some common new grandparent pitfalls:
1)    There’ll be plenty of time for presents!
Often, grandparents want to start spoiling their grandchildren right away (sometimes even before they’re born,) with heaps of gifts. Avoid this strong (but fun) temptation. A lot of expectant parents want to pick out their own child’s things, for one, and for some, their growing family has already made space a bit of an issue.  (Want to give a gift that money can’t buy? Offer to babysit! New moms and dads can always use a bit more time for a night out….or a few extra hours of sleep.)

2)    Know when to share your opinion… and when to keep it to yourself.
Yes, your children will always be your children, but when a new baby comes along, it’s easy to forget that they’re the ones with the reins. It’s their turn now. So, try to respect their parenting decisions, even if you don’t always agree.

3)    Beware of “Granimosity”
Regardless of your relationship or physical proximity to the “other” grandparents, be sure to avoid the green eyed monster and not focus on how much time they get to spend with the new born.  A child’s love has no limit, so there’s no need to get jealous. There’s plenty to go around.

4)    Enjoy every minute of it
Almost 75% of all grandparents say that having a grandson or daughter is the single most satisfying thing in their life, and for good reason. One of the great joys of being a grandparent is enjoying the freedom of not being in charge.  So relish in every minute of it! Live in the moment, let yourself be silly and play with your grandkids, and enjoy the new, enriched dimension that they’ve added to your life.

For more information on life events brought on by aging, visit https://www.milestoneretirement.com/milestone-magazine 

Spring cleaning your parents’ house: Where to start

Heatherwood Senior Living Boise, ID | Senior Independent Housing Boise, ID

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 https://www.milestoneretirement.com/milestone-magazine 

When Irish Eyes are Smiling: 4 Tips for Senior Eye Health

Heatherwood Senior Living Boise, ID | Senior Independent Housing Boise, ID

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our Milestone Magazine 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.

As we age and change, so do our eyes.  After age 60, it’s important to follow these tips to keep eyes in tip-top shape.

1)    Eyes are what you eat
Eye-healthy diets are rich in antioxidants, vitamins A and C, and omega 3s, making green vegetables and fish great choices. (So, although the old wives tale that carrots are good for your eyes does hold some truth, the best diets come from a variety of lean proteins and veggies).  Inversely, diets that are high in saturated fats can lead to restricted blood flow to eyes (and a bunch of other important systems too!) so limiting fat, carbs, and sugar is always a good idea.

2)    Kick smoking to the curb
By now, we all know that smoking is a far from healthy habit, but its effect on aging eyes is particularly alarming.  The risk of developing cataracts doubles, on average, for smokers. For men smoking more than a pack a day, the risk jumps to 205% higher, and for women, it hovers around 63%.

3)    Make sunglasses a part of your look
Always wear sunglasses when you’re outside during the day, and, make sure your sunglasses are strong enough to shield you 100% of UV rays.  Wearing sunglasses helps reduce your risk of cataracts, pinguecula, and a handful of other eye problems.  So, although spending time outdoors has been linked to a list of senior health benefits, UV rays should be handled with caution.

4)    Let there be light!
Did you know that your eyes need three times as much light when you’re 60 as they did when you were 20? Keep the light levels in your home up to par by keeping your windows clean and curtains pulled back, and making sure you have enough light fixtures in your home, especially in places where they might impact safety (i.e., at the top and bottom of stairs).

For more information on how to stay physically and emotionally engaged after retirement, visit Milestone Magazine

From Our Kitchen To Your Table: Chocolate Almond Torte with Orange and Apricot Whipped Cream

Heatherwood Senior Living Boise, ID | Senior Independent Housing Boise, ID

Looking to make something sweet for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day? Why not try one of our chef favorites: Chocolate Almond Torte with Orange and Apricot Whipped Cream!

Submitted by Diane, Food Service Director at Heatherwood Senior Living in Boise, Idaho.

Apricot/Orange Whipped Cream

Ingredients
1/2 cup    Whipping cream
¼ cup        Orange-Apricot Marmalade
½ tsp.        Vanilla

Whip cream, marmalade and vanilla to desired consistency.

Chocolate Almond Torte

Ingredients
10 oz.        Chopped semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
1/2 lb.        Unsalted butter, cubed
6               Eggs
1/2 cup      Sugar
1/4 cup      Slivered or sliced almonds, toasted

1.    Preheat oven to 325 F.
2.    Toast almonds on sheet pan until light brown, set aside to cool.
3.    Cut a round of parchment paper for the bottom of a 10” spring form pan, then butter the parchment covered bottom and sides of the pan.
4.    In mixer combine eggs and sugar and using whip attachment, whip on high speed until the mixture quadruples in volume.
5.    Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and butter together over a double boiler.
6.    Blend well and set aside to cool down to warm.
7.    In a large bowl fold egg mixture into the chocolate using a large rubber spatula.
8.    Pour torte batter evenly into the pan.
9.    Bake approximately 20-25 minutes. Check periodically with toothpick.

Ganache Topping

Ingredients
2 cups         Chopped chocolate or chips; semi-sweet or bittersweet
1 cups         Heavy cream

1.    Bring heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.
2.    Place chopped chocolate or chips in a bowl and pour the hot cream over it, stir to melt the chocolate. Be sure the mixture is smooth.
3.    Pour over the chocolate torte while still in their pan, sprinkle with almonds and allow to cool completely before removing the sides of the pan and slicing cake.
4.    Top slices with a dollop of Orange/Apricot Whipped Cream, orange zest and chocolate shavings before serving.

Keeping the romance alive: 4 tips for dating after 60

Heatherwood Senior Living Boise, ID | Senior Independent Housing Boise, ID

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Milestone Magazine 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.

As hearts, flowers, and brightly wrapped candies make their way into grocery stores across the country, we’re reminded that Valentine’s Day is almost here! Luckily, Valentine’s Day, dating and romance are for everyone, not just teens to 30-somethings. Here are 4 tips for dating after 60:

1) Break up with your excuses
A lot of seniors make excuses like “I’m too old for that,” or “Now isn’t the right time.” Dating after 60 has become a part of mainstream society and, if you’re single and looking to make a potential romantic connection, or just meet more people, it’s a perfect time to start.

2) Why so serious?
One of the best things about dating over 60 is that you get to set your own expectations for what you want out of the experience. The  goal of dating in your 20s and 30s might have been to meet someone, get married, and start a family, but the dating expectation for a lot of seniors is more relaxed. Looking for some more members of your book club? Or for someone who has also been dying to try that new brunch spot in town? After 60, there are generally less “expectations” about dating should look like, or what your expectations should be.

3) Honesty is the best policy
When it comes to dating, some things do not change with age: honesty is, and always will be, the best policy. If you’re dating multiple people, be sure to tell all of them. If you’re just looking to meet new people or aren’t interested in starting anything serious….yep, you guessed it, be honest about that too. And, if you’ve recently started dating again, be sure to tell your family. (It could be just as much of an adjustment for them as it is you!)

4) Have confidence in yourself
If you’re starting to date again after years of being single, after a divorce, or after the loss of a spouse, meeting new people can, and probably will be, full of social and emotional pitfalls. Don’t let your own insecurities or the occasional dating fluke let you down. Learn how to leave your uncertainties behind and have confidence in yourself!

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

The top 3 reasons why winter is the perfect time to consider senior living

Heatherwood Senior Living Boise, ID | Senior Independent Housing Boise, ID

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our Milestone Magazine 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.

For many parts of the country, winter’s low temperatures, potentially dangerous weather conditions, and early nightfall are enough to make it America’s least favorite season. But for seniors, Jack Frost’s hijinks can do more than cost him a  popularity contest. Here are the top 3 reasons why winter is the perfect time to consider senior living:

#1 – Safety

Winter can mean rain, frost, ice, and snow, all of which can lead to hazardous driving conditions and an increased fall risk. According to The National Institutes of Health, 1.6 million older adults go to the emergency room each year due to fall-related injuries, and chances for falls in cold weather increases significantly after age 65.  And, it should come as no surprise that, according to the Journal of Community Health, seniors who live alone face a higher fall risk than those who live in a community setting, potentially because of  senior living communities’ maintenance-free lifestyle, and on-site staff.

#2 – Nutrition

Raise your hand if you want to trudge out into the cold to go to the grocery store! No takers? …. That’s what we thought. In the winter, keeping a kitchen stocked with healthy food becomes even more of a chore, especially if you live in an area that doesn’t have easy access to fresh produce year-round. As a result, seniors face an even higher risk of malnutrition in the winter months. Most senior living communitiestake the guess-work out of staying well-fed by including meals that are prepared with senior nutrition guidelines in mind and served on-site.

#3 – Socialization

After multiple studies on the impact of socialization on seniors’ mental and physical health, the results are in: socialization leads to a better quality of life.  So what does that mean for seniors who “get out” less during the winter months? Seniors who live alone face heightened risks of seasonal affective disorder and clinical depression.  Compare that to senior living options that offer full activity calendars and a myriad of social opportunities that can lead to a heightened sense of purpose and improved physical and mental health. (Plus, who doesn’t love beating their neighbor at a game of Bingo?)

So what are you waiting for? If you or someone you love is considering senior living, now is the time to make a move! Find a Milestone Retirement community near you to get started.

Senior-friendly Christmas Cookie Recipe

Heatherwood Senior Living Boise, ID | Senior Independent Housing Boise, ID

Anyone who loves a senior understands the importance of being informed on senior issues, and so do we. Our Milestone Magazine 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.

The holidays are here and you know what that means: Christmas cookies! For seniors with arthritis pain or limited diets, making and enjoying Christmas cookies doesn’t have to be a thing of the past. Try making this Christmas cookie recipe, complete with senior-friendly modifications, with your family this year!

Ingredients:

  1 1/8 cups   Oil
  1 1/2 cups   Brown Sugar
  2   Eggs
  1/3 cups   Molasses
  3 1/3 cups   Flour (All-Purpose or Gluten Free)
  3 tsp   Baking Soda
  1/4 tsp   Salt
  1 1/2 tsp   Cinnamon
  1 1/2 tsp   Ginger

 

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two cookie sheets.
  2. Cream the oil and sugar together in a bowl.

Senior-friendly modification: Need a sugar substitute? Try date sugar. It has the added benefits of fiber, B6, and magnesium. And, it can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio in recipes that call for brown sugar. Nifty!

  1. Beat in eggs and add molasses.

Senior-friendly modification: Stirring, especially stiff mixtures, can be difficult for arthritis sufferers. Instead, try using a hand mixer on a very low speed.

  1.  In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Add the egg mixture and stir until well blended.
  2. Roll bits of dough into 1-inch balls.

Senior-friendly modification: Those with limited manual dexterity can also use a teaspoon to form the dough into mounds before dropping them onto greased cookie sheets.

  1. Dip each ball in sugar and place on a cookie sheet, sugared side up, about 2 inches apart.

Senior-friendly modification: Trying to limit your sugar intake? Leave the “dip” step out. (They’ll be delicious as-is!)

  1. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies have spread and tops have cracked. Let cool on wire rack, and enjoy!

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.

Keep it Merry and Bright: 4 Ways to Help Your Senior Loved Ones Avoid Depression This Holiday Season

Heatherwood Senior Living Boise, ID | Senior Independent Housing Boise, ID

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.

As we round the corner into November, we approach Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season. For most, that means shopping, food, and family, but for some seniors, the holidays can be a difficult, lonely time that can trigger seasonal depression. Memories of holiday seasons gone by, isolation, and loneliness can lead to what psychology professionals call “The Holiday Blues.” Although the Holiday Blues can affect anyone, an estimated 6 million Americans over the age of 65 have reported feeling down during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
Here are four ways to help your senior loved ones avoid seasonal depression and have a string of holly, jolly holidays:

1) Take some time to smell the turkey!
The holiday season can be a stressful, busy time, but try to not let your daily to-do list get in the way of spending time with older family members. Remember: something as simple as a fifteen-minute phone call can brighten someone’s day!

2) The more the merrier
The holidays take preparation. From cooking to decorating, lighting, and wrapping, there’s plenty to do. Avoid the habit of plowing through your to-do list solo. Instead, if you live in close proximity to your aging parents or grandparents, or if you know of any seniors in your neighborhood, ask them if they’d like to join in the merrymaking. That way, you’ll both get a chance to get into the holiday spirit!

3) Make someone else’s holiday
Lots of nonprofit organizations, such as soup kitchens, food banks, and Toys for Tots, are in need of volunteers during the holiday season. Try volunteering with your senior loved one. It will give them an elevated sense of purpose while helping a good cause.

4) Celebrate the present, but don’t forget the past
A lot of seniors suffering from the Holiday Blues are mourning the loss of loved ones, like their siblings or spouse, and aren’t ready to make new holiday memories without them. Pay special remembrances to family members who have passed away by looking at old photos, making their favorite foods, or going around the room and sharing your favorite memories about them. By acknowledging deceased family members, you remind your senior loved ones that although the people who played such crucial roles in their holiday memories are gone, they’re certainly not forgotten.

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

Treats, Not Tricks: 4 Ways to Keep Seniors Safe This Halloween

Heatherwood Senior Living Boise, ID | Senior Independent Housing Boise, ID

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 Halloween just around the corner, it seems like everyone is getting into the spooky spirit. The haunted holiday can be synonymous with fun for the young and the young at heart alike, but a word of caution: the holiday can also present some specific safety concerns for seniors. Here are four ways to stay safe this Halloween.

1) Make like Dr. Frankenstein — Hit the switch!
Keeping the lights on inside your home and outside on your porch or driveway reminds vandals, who might see Halloween night as a toilet-paper-and-egg-filled opportunity that you’re home. Also, since a lit house has come to mean “welcome trick-or-treaters,” be sure to place a note on the door if you do not celebrate the holiday or if you will not be handing out candy. (Your doorbell will thank you).

2) Don’t get tricked by treaters
Yes, chances are all trick-or-treaters are harmless, but the ol’ better safe than sorry adage is true. Don’t hesitate to turn away trick-or-treaters who ask to come into your home for a glass of water or to use the bathroom. Remember: It’s your home and you reserve the right to say no.

3) Don’t be like Dracula – Stay in for the night
Each year on Halloween, streets are filled with tiny ghosts and goblins, many of whom are buzzing with a mix of sugar and excitement. So, it’s no surprise that, according to the National Safety Council, one of the biggest safety concerns on Halloween night is the risk of hitting pedestrians. This risk is heightened for senior drivers who might struggle with night vision or delayed reflexes. Avoid Halloween-induced driving stressors by running errands during the day and planning on staying in after dusk.

4) Throw a party — do the monster mash!
If being alone on Halloween night gives you the spooks, make it a party! Don’t hesitate to invite a close family friend or relative to stay with you, or to help you hand out candy, even if it’s only for a few hours. And, if you know families with young children from your neighborhood, church groups, or other social groups very well, invite them by to trick-or-treat personally. It’ll encourage you to get to the Halloween spirit and will put your mind at ease that you have some set visitors stopping by to see you throughout the night.

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