The Power of Touch

Posted on

Aug 26, 2021

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Whether we are a newborn infant, a petulant teenager, an overwhelmed new mother or an aging senior citizen, the power of touch can produce miraculous results. With a simple touch, we can express love, support, gratitude, sympathy, and trust. A simple gesture of holding hands, patting shoulders and giving hugs can make all the difference in the world. Sight can be shut off by closing our eyes, we can plug our ears to block out sound, but its hard to completely lose the ability to feel. In fact, it is thought that the first sense we develop in the womb is touch. We are all gifted with the superpower to touch.

In a recent study by AARP, the absence of human contact is a huge problem for many senior citizens. Widowhood is often when seniors notice the absence of touch. The pillow next to them is cold for the first time in decades. There is no one to hold their hand at the movies or to hug them good morning before coffee. Children and grandchild often live far away so grandma hugs are frequent only on holidays. With age-related debility, sometimes the only touch some seniors feel is during a doctors appointment. This lack of contact can lead to isolation and depression. As we grow older, our sense of touch degrades but its importance never does. Aging people are sometimes less sensitive to touch, yet they are the ones who need to be touched the most.
The sense of touch is created by a myriad of sensors embedded in the nerve endings of our skin which can sense texture, vibration and pressure. Touch lowers our levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increases the amount of oxytocin (the love hormone) in our system. In senior communities, caregivers are encouraged to touch residents as often as possible. Hand holding, shoulder rubs and hugs have proven benefits. In a study reported by AARP, for residents with cognitive challenges, simple massages and other touch interactions create a host of behavioral improvements, improved digestion, boosted serotonin levels and can help the resident sleep better. Touch has also been shown to benefit conditions ranging from arthritis to voice disorders. Older adults with dementia were more likely to eat nutritious food when gentle touch accompanied verbal encouragement.
Reach out and touch someone today. Theyll be glad you did!

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What Is Life Enrichment?

For many people, the idea of a senior living community includes images of older adults sitting alone in their rooms or napping in a common area. These negative perceptions do not actually reflect the active lifestyle lived by most American seniors. According to a study by the University of Michigan, a growing number of older adults are embracing healthy living, staying physically active and remaining socially engaged.  When a senior and their family begin to consider transitioning to a senior living community, lifestyle, engagement and health are always top considerations. Simply because an older adult may need more daily assistance or support with the activities of daily living, it doesnt mean they will want to stop practicing their hobbies or keeping up with life enrichment activities they love. Many senior living communities help accommodate these pursuits through their life enrichment programs.So, how important is life enrichment for seniors? And what are the benefits of life enrichment programs? What Does Life Enrichment Mean?What does life enrichment mean? Life enrichment programs for seniors include plans and activities that support a seniors social, physical, emotional and cognitive well-being. In addition to encouraging creativity and personal growth, life enrichment programs are designed to keep seniors active, healthy and engaged in their community.While senior enrichment programs may seem like perks, they play a much more important role in senior living communities than just fun and games! Activities that suit a seniors active lifestyle and programs that engage their minds add greatly to the quality of life for older adults. Here are a few ways life enrichment programs benefit seniors:Keeping seniors activeAn active lifestyle is a vital part of healthy aging. Remaining active into the golden years of life can help seniors to maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints, prolong independence and help to manage chronic medical conditions. Life enrichment programs that include physical activity can keep seniors moving. At Anthology of King of Prussia, seniors enjoy access to an indoor pool, as well as exercise, fitness and wellness programs.Creating social connectionsStrong personal relationships give people comfort and support at any age. Feeling connected to others can help seniors reduce stress and anxiety, while also lowering the risk of depression. For seniors who live alone or who have limited mobility, it can be challenging to stay socially active. Life enrichment programs in senior living communities often have a social focus, which helps seniors to make connections. At Anthology of Farmington Hills, residents enjoy daily social, cultural and recreational activities, as well as thoughtfully designed common areas, including a sunroom.Supporting cognitive healthMany senior enrichment programs include activities that promote cognitive health. Keeping the mind active supports memory and reasoning abilities, while giving seniors an overall sense of achievement. By participating in life enrichment programs, seniors can preserve and sometimes improve their brain health. At Anthology of Plano, residents have a community activity center with game rooms, a library and reading rooms to enjoy books, games and puzzles, all of which promote brain health. Life Enrichment Activities for SeniorsDaily engagement through life enrichment activities for seniors helps to encourage bonds with loved ones, build new relationships and explore new hobbies. Anthology Senior Living designed our Elements of Life Enrichment program around our core philosophy and using our six dimensions of wellness. Anthologys six dimensions of wellness include:Physical HealthSocial HealthEmotional HealthIntellectual HealthSpiritual HealthEnvironmental HealthThis unique life enrichment program truly nurtures the full mind, body and spirit. From participating in a group fitness class to joining other residents for a card game or an off-site adventure, the Elements program keeps residents energized and encourages them to make the most of each and every day. Examples of life enrichment activities that are part of the Elements program include:A calendar of daily social, cultural and recreational senior living activities for residents to choose from, such as art classes, happy hours, fitness classes, yoga, dance and walking clubsFitness, exercise and wellness programs designed to engage residentsThoughtfully designed common areas and landscaped outdoor spaces for social gatheringsThe Directors of the Elements Life Enrichment program at Anthology provide opportunities and activities to keep residents engaged, while also improving the balance and functional movement for a better life within the Anthology communities. Our diverse monthly calendars are full of senior living activities that reflect the spirit and aspirations of Anthology residents. At Anthology Senior Living, we also understand that effectively improving seniors everyday experiences means not just customizing their activities to meet their specific preferences and tastes, but also ensuring that their daily routine has some variety.  About Anthology Senior LivingAll of Anthology Senior Livings assisted living communities provide warm, dynamic care in a supportive, engaging environment. The team at Anthology manages everything to allow our assisted living residents to enjoy each day to its fullest. At Anthology of Boynton Beach, and all our communities, we provide housekeeping services, linen services, laundry and groundskeeping so residents can focus on fun and enjoyment. Theres so much to do at Anthology Senior Living that you will wish you had moved in sooner! Every day, various organized activities are available to participate in. From art classes to happy hours to brain games and fitness classes, theres something to indulge every taste. At Anthology Senior Living, your time is always your own. Choose as many or as few activities as you desire. View our calendars and see the wide variety that we have to offer.Interested in finding an Anthology Senior Living community near you? Visit our community finder to learn about all our locations. Or contact us today to set up a tour!

The Power of Senior Friendships

In the tapestry of life, social connections are the vibrant threads that weave together our experiences, joys and challenges. For seniors, these social connections hold even greater significance, serving as a cornerstone for their overall well-being, contributing to a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life. In this blog, we explore the many benefits of senior friendship and shed light on how these connections truly enrich retirement.The Human Need for ConnectionFrom the moment were born, humans thrive on connection. As we age, this need remains steadfast, if not more crucial than ever. Seniors with strong social networks feel connected, valued and supported, benefiting their overall well-being and health.The companionship of friends serves as a powerful buffer against the challenges that can accompany aging. Maintaining close friendships has even been linked to decreased levels of loneliness and depression in seniors. The simple act of sharing stories, laughter and moments of vulnerability creates an emotional support system that helps seniors navigate lifes ups and downs with resilience and positivity.How Senior Living Fosters FriendshipsAt Anthology Senior Living, daily engagement encourages residents to bond with loved ones, build new friendships and explore new passions. Designed around our core philosophy and using our six dimensions of wellness, the Elements Life Enrichment program truly nurtures full mind, body and spirit. Whether participating in a group fitness class, joining other residents for an off-site excursion or playing a poker game, new experiences keep residents energized and encourage them to make the most of every day.Seniors at Anthology of Burlington Creek can enjoy a variety of events and activities. These aim to spark curiosity, promote engagement and bring happiness to their daily lives, keeping seniors connected.How Social Connections Keep Seniors HealthyScientific research underscores the life-changing impact of social interactions on senior health. Spending time with friends, family and peers links to a range of benefits, including:Mental and emotional well-being: Regular social engagement can help combat feelings of depression and loneliness in seniors, leading to a more positive outlook on life.Cognitive health: Engaging in stimulating conversations, participating in group activities and sharing experiences can help maintain cognitive function and even reduce the risk of cognitive decline. These interactions stimulate cognitive functions, keeping the brain active and sharp. Friendships help us grow mentally and learn new things by discussing current events, sharing memories and exploring new interests. Staying social can lower risk of depression, improve brain health and possibly slow down the progression of dementia, according to the Alzheimers Association.Physical health: Believe it or not, friendships can have a tangible impact on seniors physical health. Engaging in social activities for seniors and spending quality time with friends can reduce stress levels and promote a healthier immune system. Friends motivate each other to be active, do fun things and take care of themselves, which improves their well-being.Longevity: Studies suggest that seniors with active social lives tend to live longer, enjoying a higher quality of life as they age.Embracing Technology for ConnectionIn todays digital age, technology has opened new avenues for seniors to stay connected, even when physical distances separate them. Video calls, social media platforms and online interest groups offer opportunities to forge connections beyond the walls of their immediate surroundings, fostering a sense of unity and shared experiences.How Do I Meet New Friends After Retirement?As we grow older, finding friends and staying socially active doesnt happen on its own. It demands dedication, encouragement and persistent effort to cultivate genuine bonds.Here are several ways seniors can meet new people and reap the health advantages of social engagement:Try volunteering within your local community.Seek the support of community resources, like senior centers and senior living communities.Enroll in classes or workshops, whether for learning new skills or for leisure. This introduces you to people with shared interests, and the setting encourages regular interactions, making it easier to form friendships.Attend local events, fairs, markets and festivals. 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Horticultural Therapy Garden Connects Someren Glen Residents with Nature Year-Round

Though the temperatures along the Colorado Front Range have dropped and the sun sets well before 5pm, the growing season has only just begun at The Suites at Someren Glen skilled nursing and memory support neighborhood. Our flourishing community was recently gifted a horticultural therapy garden from Eldergrow through the legacy of former Christian Living Communities residents and supporters, Gil and Jeanette Deters.Enriching Community Life through Horticultural TherapyOur new garden from Eldergrows Therapeutic Horticulture Program brings nature indoors. It is thoughtfully designed for older adults living in skilled nursing and memory care communities like Someren Glen. The accessible, sustainable, and mobile garden includes a variety of eye-catching and beautifully fragrant plants, providing the kind of sensory experience that can only come from time spent among nature.With the support and expertise of Eldergrow educators, Someren Glen residents planted their garden in September and have since enjoyed the connection, calm, and happiness that comes with nurturing a garden. Teaming with Eldergrow increases residents ability to interact with nature throughout the year, providing a hands-on experience to care for and learn from the Eldergrow garden, shares Steve DeBelle, Executive Director at Someren Glen.Every two weeks, Eldergrow educators visit our community to teach classes and support residents as they connect with the plants multi-sensory characteristics, learn garden care, and maintain the health and growth of the garden. DeBelle is already seeing the impacts of the garden, sharing, The residents love it. They are very engaged in caring for the garden. It was a wonderful addition to our community.For one of the gardens caretakers, Someren Glen resident Shirl, the new garden brought back dear memories of her grandmother, who grew and tended roses. The plants give back so much to us, she expressed. I feel so proud of this garden!The Benefits of Horticultural Therapy for Older AdultsIn addition to the joy and delight already being felt from tending the Eldergrow garden, its potential long-term benefits for Someren Glens residents are significant. Studies indicate that therapeutic horticulture can reduce depression, improve balance, and lower risk factors for dementia. According to the Mather Institute, an organization focused on aging services research, a review of 20 years of research studying the impacts of indoor nature interventions in residential care environments showed that the positive outcomes of active interventions such as those provided through Eldergrows Therapeutic Horticulture Program included improved psychological well-being, life satisfaction, social well-being, engagement, and quality of life.How CLC Supporters Make The Fine Art of Living Possible at Someren GlenAs a neighborhood of Christian Living Communities, a nonprofit organization with a mission of enriching the lives of older adults, Someren Glen is a creation and expression of the exceptional residents who call our community home and those who have come before them, such as Gil and Jeanette Deters. The CLC community held a great significance to the Deters, who planned for their love and caring to extend to this community beyond their lifetimes.This is the 16th year that the Deters gift has enriched the lives of residents at The Suites at Someren Glen. Their legacy lives on in the hearts of the many older adults and families who have been impacted by their generosity. Someren Glen can strive for and sustain our vision, mission, and values because of the investment of donor support. Learn more about supporting Someren Glen and other CLC communities at www.christianlivingcommunities.org/support-our-mission.Contact us today to learn more about our long-term care services, purpose-filled life enrichment programming, and award-winning skilled nursing neighborhood at The Suites at Someren Glen.