celebrate summerSummer is officially here, but as our older loved ones age, they lose the ability to do a lot of the things that mark a traditional summer vacation, such as camping, hiking, swimming at the beach, and volleyball tournaments. Now this pandemic has even taken away our barbeque parties and large family gatherings. What’s a senior to do?

Just because we’re stuck inside and a few of our loved ones may have started to lose some of their physical and/or mental capabilities doesn’t mean we can’t still have fun this summer. We have a few ideas you can use to celebrate summer with your loved ones in assisted living.

  • Geography Competition

Can you name all 50 states without looking them up? Can you accurately locate all 50 states on a blank map? Do you know where Mount Rushmore is located? Compare your knowledge to that of your friends and family and you might be surprised to find out how much you don’t know about your own country.

  • Got Kids? Send Pix!

Few things engage seniors like pictures of the grandkids, so send them pictures early and often, especially if your kids are at an age where they’re growing quickly. Keep the grandparents up to date with recent photos, as well as letters detailing the kids’ development and what they’ve been up to these days.

  • Send Hand-Written Letters

Phone calls are great, but there’s something about a hand-written letter that just makes someone feel extra special. You can write about whatever you would normally tell them over the phone: give them updates on what you’ve been doing; tell them funny stories; reminisce over old times, etc. The fact that they can keep a letter and read it over and over whenever they feel bored or lonely makes it priceless.

  • Crafts

Even while social distancing, we can still bond over the age-old custom of crafting. You can buy a paint-by-numbers kit (or freestyle a painting, if your talents lie that way) and send it to your loved one to hang in their apartment. You can make them jewelry that they can wear to feel special and remember you, even when you can’t be in the room with them.

They can also make their own crafts and send them to you. Swapping crafts might not be the same as making crafts together, but it’s still a great way for each of us to remind the other that we’re thinking of them.

  • Decorate!

Depending on what stage of reopening your state is in, you may or may not be able to go in and physically visit your loved one in assisted living, but you can always make decorations they can hang in their apartment or outside their window. You can make your handmade decorations around a theme, such as your loved one’s favorite movies, songs, or summer activities to make it extra fun!

If you’re looking for more ideas on how you can celebrate summer with your loved ones in assisted living, we have plenty of ideas. Reach out now to start a conversation.

caregiver burnoutIf you’re the sole caregiver of a parent or loved one, you’re at risk of burning out. Depending on the level of care your loved one needs and your other responsibilities, it can be difficult to find time to take care of yourself, but trust us when we say that doing so is absolutely necessary for your wellbeing, as well as that of your loved one.

If you’re constantly running around, attending to the needs of your loved one, you might not even notice if you’re burned out, so take a minute and see if any of these sound familiar:

  • You’re Always Tired

It’s one thing to feel tired at the end of a long day, or if you didn’t sleep well the night before, but if you find yourself feeling tired all day, every day, no matter how much sleep you got the night before, you could be suffering from caregiver burnout.

Sleeping more than normal is also a symptom of caregiver burnout, so if you’re sleeping more than usual and still feeling tired all the time, it’s time for a break.

At the same time, sleeping too little could also be a sign of caregiver burnout. If you’re always tired, but unable to sleep, it could be a sign of stress and an indication that you need some time off.

  • You’re Easily Irritated or Angry

If you find yourself snapping at your loved one and/or anyone else around you over the smallest inconveniences, it could be a sign that you’re burned out. Becoming consumed with anger when someone cuts you off in traffic or makes a simple mistake is also an indication that it’s time for a break.

At the extreme end, this can lead to thoughts of harming your loved one and/or yourself, in which case it’s definitely time to take some time for yourself and maybe find a professional you can talk to about your feelings.

  • Your Clothes No Longer Fit

Gaining or losing weight in significant amounts can be an indication that you’re stressed out and overworked. This may or may not go along with changes in eating patterns. Loss of appetite is commonly associated with both stress and depression, both of which are markers of burnout. On the other hand, if you find yourself stress eating, that’s also an indication that things are not going well and you need to take some time off.

  • Your Health is Declining

If you find yourself getting sick more often, developing headaches and/or other aches, pains, and/or indigestion, then it’s time to take a break before you become the one who needs a caregiver. New or worsening health problems are an indication that your body is unable to carry the load of stress and work you’re carrying and it’s time to get some help. Whether that means calling in friends or family members to take some of the load, or considering assisted living for your loved one, it’s important to get some kind of help before your health deteriorates irreparably.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites, and we are pet friendly. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family. We are also excited to open our Memory Care Neighborhood in the Spring of 2020.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.


quality check on assisted livingThere are many reasons to be wary of choosing an assisted living community, either for yourself or a loved one. Since residents enter assisted living because they are either physically and or mentally weakened, they are in a vulnerable position, and it’s a sad fact that predators are always willing to take advantage. But a good assisted living community should not only assist, it should also protect your loved ones. Here’s what you need to look out for to make sure you’re loved one is in good hands:

Contact Your ALFA State Affiliate

ALFA is the National Assisted Living Federation of America and they have chapters in every state (although they only recognize one chapter per state as being their official chapter in that area). They have tons of information on assisted living communities in your area, so look them up, see what information they have available on their website, and when you’ve exhausted their site, don’t be afraid to call them up and ask questions.

Contact Your Local Regulatory Agency

Each state has its own agency that’s responsible for monitoring assisted living communities within the state and ALFA is responsible for overseeing all of these regulatory agencies, which is why it makes sense to contact ALFA first. Many of the regulatory agencies maintain databases on the assisted living communities they regulate, and they may even have a way to compare their ratings, services, locations, etc. Take a look at their website and see what they offer in the way of information and comparison tools.

Contact Your Local Long-Term Care Ombudsman

A long-term care ombudsman is someone who works as an advocate for residents of assisted living communities, nursing homes, and board and care homes. They can help you get information about how to find a facility and obtain quality care for your loved one. They are also trained to assist with complaints and resolve problems, which means they’re more likely to know which assisted living facility in your area is the cause of most of the recent complaints.

The federal Older Americans Act requires each state to maintain an Ombudsman Program to act as an advocate and address complaints.

See Which Assisted Living Communities Are JCAHO Accredited

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) provides accreditation to assisted living communities, but accreditation is not mandatory. Only the assisted living communities that volunteer to participate receive accreditation, which means an assisted living community that’s not accredited may be just as reputable as one that is. That said, JCAHO maintains an online directory that makes it easy to access their information on each of the assisted living communities they have accredited, including a detailed report of their findings and a number score that is based on a 100-point scale.

Show Up

Once you’ve narrowed your search to a few good assisted living communities that meet your needs and budget, it’s time to start visiting them in person. While there are many great resources to help you gather information online, nothing beats actually walking it and seeing for yourself how the place looks and if it feels right for you and your loved one.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.