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National Assisted Living Week: Assisted Living with Creative Flair

National Assisted Living Week (NALW) takes place every September and at Lester Senior Living, our residents embrace it with great enthusiasm. We celebrated every day in our Weston Assisted Living Residence from Sunday, September 8 through Friday, September 13.

Thanks to our community life coordinator, Keisha McDonald, the week is always filled with great programs aligned with the year’s theme. This year, it was “Spark of Creativity” and featured daily ways in which our residents could express their creativity. All programs were open to everyone throughout the community with one exception: a special all-white dinner party for our Weston residents.

The week kicked off with Movies & Mimosas and a screening of the film, “Woman in Gold.” On Monday, the Heller multi-purpose room became an art studio for those who like to paint, and we enjoyed musical entertainment by David Elgart. Continuing the art theme on Tuesday, residents attended an art lecture titled, “Impressionists: The Rebels of Their Time.”

That evening was the “Diner en Blanc,” an all-white dinner party for seniors in our Weston Assisted Living Residence, which was just beautiful. The Weston dining room was decorated with white ostrich feather centerpieces, white balloons, and crisp white table linens. Residents wore all white, sipped on sauvignon blanc wine, and feasted on an elegant meal. Everyone was in good spirits, buoyed by live entertainment by Frank Musumici. It was a great evening!

Our seniors were on a creative roll for the remainder of the week with an improvisation acting class, a decoupage class, a trip to the Morris Museum, and “We’ve Got Talent,” the Lester talent show. This multi-faceted event showcased the many talented residents who call Lester Senior Living their home and it was so much fun. The broad range of talent in our community is really something to behold. The talent included:

  • Songs performed by members of the JCHC Resident Choir as well as some soloists
  • Artwork on display
  • A dance routine
  • Comedy acts
  • Poetry readings

Our talented lineup included David Rozen, admissions and marketing manager at Lester Senior Living, who played guitar and sang “Sunrise, Sunset” to everyone’s delight, and musical entertainment by Mitchell Goldberg, JCHC’s Regional Director of Dining Services. You can see pictures from NALW and other programs our residents enjoy on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pg/LesterSeniorLiving.

These activities and many others on our monthly calendar are among the ways we support healthy minds and bodies, cater to a diverse range of interests, and promote an active lifestyle at Lester. We invite anyone who is interested in learning more to contact David Rozen at davidr@richardc95.sg-host.com or 973-929-2725 to arrange a tour-or reserve a spot at our next open house on Wednesday, October 23 (3:00 to 5:00 p.m.) and discover what the Lester lifestyle is all about.

When it’s Time for a Change—and Assisted Living

Many older adults wish to maintain their independence for as long as possible, remaining in their home. However, as we age, this often becomes potentially dangerous for many seniors without taking certain precautions or without help (as well as increasingly challenging).

For older adults who need help in the house, companion services or home health aides can offer some needed assistance such as light housekeeping, meal preparation, errands, bathing, and dressing. However, as helpful as these services are, they don’t provide the 360-degree supportive, active lifestyle that an assisted living community offers. Plus, staying in one’s home may necessitate making changes to the environment for safety and security—adjustments that are already part of an assisted living residence, alleviating any concerns.

It’s understandable that emotions or fear may drive the decision to stay in the home. However, given the freedom from worry and concern that assisted living provides, staying put may not be in the person’s best interests.

Assisted living opens doors to a refreshing new lifestyle with the support needed to maintain a healthy level of independence . . . and the freedom from the chores and responsibilities of keeping up a home.

At Weston Assisted Living Residence at Lester Senior Living, you’ll find an assisted living community that offers a social circle of peers, a range of programs and events to choose from, and just the right amount of daily support that help our residents get up and go—whether that’s help getting dressed in the morning, bathing at night, or making sure that medication is taken on time. And, your loved ones are assured of always being in a safe, secure environment that caters to their needs.

Imagine enjoying meals with new neighbors, exploring new hobbies or interests, or learning something in a class or on an outing; it’s all right here for the taking. Assisted living brings a new lease on life that also eases the family’s worries about their loved ones’ welfare and well-being on a daily basis, knowing that there is a wellness team on staff, aides to help with tasks of daily living, meals in a beautiful dining room with others, and plenty to do as desired—all under one roof. Residents and their family members will be confident in the knowledge that they are surrounded 360 degrees by safety, security, and comfort.

For a tour or more information, contact David Rozen, admissions and marketing manager: DavidR@richardc95.sg-host.com or (973) 929-2725.

Eat Your Peas & Carrots! The Importance of Good Nutrition at Every Age

Even the most active of older adults may find it difficult to keep up with creating and eating nutritious meals. There are many reasons, such as trouble chewing, decreased sense of taste or smell, dietary restrictions due to physical conditions, medication side effects, mobility issues (hard to shop or cook), or feeling isolated or lonely. However, as we age, a well-balanced, varied and nutritious diet is vitally important to help maintain not only physical health but cognitive health as well.

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is the key to getting all the important vitamins and minerals; B vitamins, Vitamin D, calcium, and potassium are especially important. Fresh produce is more nutritionally beneficial than canned or frozen counterparts (although those will do in a pinch), can be seasoned in countless ways, and adds wonderful color and fiber to meals. Including a variety of high-fiber foods every day (whole grains are in that category) also helps you improve digestion, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce your risk of heart problems by moderating blood pressure and lowering high cholesterol.

There are several health maintenance nutritional programs recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

  • For people ages 50 and older, the USDA food patterns suggests eating 1.5 to 2.5 cups of fruit (such as a two-inch peach or 1/4 cup of dried fruit) and 2 to 3.5 cups of vegetables (this is measuring uncooked leafy vegetables) every day.
  • The USDA Food Guide MyPlate Plan offers tips for building a healthy, balanced diet, which include making half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • The DASH Diet is designed to help reduce blood pressure and emphasizes foods that are heart healthy. It recommends daily serving amounts of 2 to 2.5 cups each of vegetables and fruit.
  • Avoid high-calorie/low-nutrient foods such as chips, cookies, soda, and alcohol (of course, an occasional treat is always fun).
  • Pick foods that are low in cholesterol and fat (especially saturated and trans fats).
  • Eat together. Make meals a social event you look forward to. Research suggests that people eat better when they are in the company of others. Whether at an Oneg Shabbat, dinner, or lunch with friends or family, social meals are happier meals for everyone around the table.

In cold weather, vegetable soups are a great way to fill up with good-for-you ingredients, and adding legumes, beef or chicken for protein makes for a well-rounded meal in a bowl. (At Lester Senior Living, our homemade soups are so popular, we stock them in our General Store so residents can enjoy them any time in their apartments.) Working with a nutritionist can help provide easy-to-follow guidelines to ensure you’re getting what you need to stay healthy. Some physical exercise is also important, whether it’s walking at a comfortable pace for some distance, chair yoga, or working out in the gym.

If you’re thinking of a retirement community and want to sample the dining options at Lester Senior Living, we invite you to contact David Rozen about our Friends & Neighbors weekday program or take advantage of a short-term respite stay in our assisted living residence. These both enable guests to sample delicious, glatt kosher meals with residents in our elegant dining rooms. Contact David at (973) 929-2725 or davidr@richardc95.sg-host.com.

Lester Senior Living is located at 903-905 Route 10 East on the Alex Aidekman Family Campus of the Jewish Federation in Whippany. The distinctive retirement community offers independent and assisted living as well as memory care options for seniors, ages 62+. For more information visit www.jchcorp.org.

How Person-Centered Care can Alleviate Sundowning in People with Dementia

If you have a loved one with dementia, you may have seen or dealt with the issue of sundowning—problems sleeping or increases in behavioral problems that start at dusk (sundown) and can last into the night. Sundowning usually peaks in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s and other dementias and eventually diminishes as the disease progresses. However, while sundowning is an active condition in the person with dementia, it can present challenges for caregivers and the patient.

Symptoms of sundowning are agitation, anxiety, and increased confusion, changes in sleep patterns, and nighttime restlessness. Because the sleep-wake cycle is often disrupted, this can lead to more behavioral problems.

Although the causes of sundowning are not totally clear, contributing factors may be:

  • Physical and/or mental exhaustion
  • Less need for sleep (common in older adults)
  • Reactions to nonverbal cues from tired caregivers
  • Misinterpretations of surroundings due to lower lighting or shadows
  • Disorientation stemming from the inability to distinguish dreams from reality during sleep
  • Disrupted circadian rhythms (one’s internal body clock), leading to a mix-up of day and night

Managing sundowning
There are some easy steps caregivers can take to reduce the symptoms of sundowning for persons with dementia. If disorientation caused by the dark is a problem, keeping the lights on in the evening can help. The sleep environment should be kept at a comfortable temperature and the overall environment should be calming. Having an active day helps anyone sleep better at night, as does avoiding stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and watching TV during periods of nighttime wakefulness.

Physical factors that are disrupting sleep (such as sleep apnea or issues related to incontinence) can often be addressed medically after an examination by a physician. However, there’s another way to manage or even reduce sundowning: person-centered dementia care. In fact, this type of individualized care has been shown to greatly reduce—even eliminate—sundowning in residents in the Memory Care Suite at Lester Senior Living.

Person-centered care
The caregivers in our Memory Care Suite are all trained in the Comfort Matters™ approach, an internationally recognized dementia care program that emphasizes person-centered care. In fact, the Weston Assisted Living Residence, where the Memory Care Suite is located, recently received accreditation as a Comfort Matters provider.

This level of personalized care places the emphasis on the individual’s comfort at all times, catering to each resident’s preferences and needs in the moment. Because our memory care residents may eat or sleep when they want to, select the activities they wish to enjoy, and have the attention of a caring team in a soothing environment, they are happier, calmer, and less likely to experience the upset or disorientation associated with sundowning.

If you have a loved one suffering with a memory disorder, and would like to find out more about Memory Care at Lester, contact David Rozen at (973) 929-2725 or davidr@richardc95.sg-host.com.