Fall Prevention Awareness Week: September 22–29

This year’s theme is “Ready, Steady, Balance: Prevent Falls in 2016”

Among adults over age 65, falls are the leading cause of death from injury, nonfatal injuries from accidents, and hospital admissions for trauma. To bring attention to this critical health and safety issue, the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence sponsors Fall Prevention Awareness Week during the first week of the fall/autumn season. This year, during the week of September 22–29, older adults, caregivers, and families are encouraged to learn about seniors’ fall risks and how to prevent falls in 2016 and the years ahead.

“Falls can take a serious toll on older adults’ quality of life and independence,” says leading gerontologist Jon Pynoos, Ph.D., co-director of the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence, “and the risk for falls increases with age.”

Every 11 seconds, an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury, says the National Council on Aging (NCOA). At the heart of the message behind Fall Prevention Awareness Week is the good news that falls are preventable.

The NCOA advises seniors to stay safe with these six tips.

Find a good balance and exercise program. Strive to build balance, strength, and flexibility. To find a program, contact your local Area Agency on Aging for referrals. Find aging resources in your area at the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. Choose a program you like and take a friend, caregiver, or family member.

Talk to your health care provider. Share your history of recent falls, and ask for an assessment of your falling risk.

Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist. Medication side effects and drug interactions can increase your risk of falling. Remember to take medications only as prescribed.

Get your vision and hearing checked yearly and update your eyeglasses. Your eyes and ears are key to keeping your balance and avoiding fall hazards.

Keep your home safe. Remove tripping hazards (loose area rugs, clutter in main walk-through areas, and wet floors in the kitchen and bathroom, for example), increase lighting in stairways and hallways, and install grab bars in the bathroom and railings on stairs.

Talk to family members. Enlist family members and caregivers’ support in taking simple steps to stay safe on your feet. Falls are not just a seniors’ issue.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s Raises Awareness and Funds For Alzheimer’s Care, Support, and Research

September events spotlight Alzheimer’s and other dementias

The month of September has become a special time for focusing on research, awareness, and fundraising for Alzheimer’s disease nationwide and throughout the world.

Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) sponsors the fifth global World Alzheimer’s Month  in September to educate about the disease and challenge stigma. Worldwide, 35 million people and their families are affected by dementia. This year’s theme is “Remember Me,” for which ADI asks everyone to get involved by sharing their own favorite memories, or memories of a loved one, on social media during September with the hashtags #RememberMe #WAM2016.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, is the world’s largest fundraising and awareness event for Alzheimer’s. In fact many ISL communities take part in these walks. Participants of all ages and abilities gather for these local 2- to 3-mile walks, most of which are held on a day in September. To find a walk near you, go to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s website and type in your zip code.

Welbrook South Bay Celebrates National Assisted Living Week with a commitment to “Keep Connected”

Vista, CA (September 2016) Today’s seniors are expecting more from every aspect of their lives. The senior housing industry has responded by creating assisted living communities, a place where senior residents thrive. To celebrate the way more than one million people live, there is National Assisted Living Week® taking place September 11-17, 2016. This year’s theme “Keep Connected” showcases the integral role technology plays in assisted living communities such as Welbrook South Bay.

keep-connectedThe theme celebrates the countless ways assisted living and memory care communities are integrating technology into resident care. In fact, seniors are the fastest growing internet and social media users today. They typically use it to reconnect with people from their past, bridge generational gaps, and find online support for people living with chronic diseases.

“We take enormous pride in finding new ways to enhance the services we provide in assisted living,” said Heidi Gonzalez for Welbrook. “Incorporating 21st century technology whenever possible truly makes resident care better in so many ways and helps them enjoy a better quality of life.”

“Keep Connected,” recognizes the increasing opportunity technology can offer to enhance the care and overall experience in assisted living communities. During this week communities are encouraged to support opportunities for residents to use the latest communication tools to engage with the world around them. Furthermore, “Keep Connected” acknowledges the many ways assisted living staff and supporting business partners are revolutionizing the care provided in these communities through innovations in technology.

Assisted Living is…

Like a retirement living community, the philosophy of assisted living embraces independence, choice and the opportunity for seniors to live enriching lives with additional care at their disposal. The everyday tasks of chores, home maintenance and meals are taken care of as well as the assurance that licensed nurses are on staff for residents.

In assisted living, family members are welcome to visit and participate in community life, and benefit from support services and the knowledge that their loved one is more than well cared for. In fact it’s well documented that older adults who need some assistance with daily living tasks, such as dining, cleaning or medication management often benefit and thrive from better nutrition, more social interaction and higher activity levels in assisted living communities.

To learn more about a healthy senior lifestyle in senior living contact Welbrook South Bay at 310-997-0838.

About Welbrook South Bay

Welbrook South Bay provides the finest in independent living, assisted living, and memory care options for residents. Located in Torrance, California, the expertly trained staff provides residents with the highest standards of senior care services. It is operated by Integral Senior Living, which manages independent, assisted living and memory care properties. ISL is founded on a care philosophy that fosters dignity and respect for residents and promotes their independence and individuality. For more information call 310-997-0838 or visit www.welbrooksouthbay.com.

Media Contact:

Heidi Gonzales

310-997-0838

welbrooksouthbaydsm2@ISLLLC.com

Resident Attends First Dodger Game at Age 91

Welbrook Senior Living’s beloved resident Ruby Weber has attended her first Dodger Baseball game at the age of 91.   Ruby was born in March of 1925 in Boise, Idaho.  She moved to  Salinas, California and then later to Hawthorne, where she has lived since 1958.  Ruby was married and has two girls, one of which has since passed at the age of 50.  Ruby had always been too busy with her family and never had the opportunity to go to a baseball game.  She was thrilled and amazed by the size of the arena.  Her picture even appeared on the jumbo-tron!  Due to her amazing experience at the Dodger Stadium, she wants to encourage other residents and staff to attend an upcoming game, so that they too can enjoy it as much as she did.  Ruby advised all our residents to reach out to the Welbrook staff with their own “Living the dream” wishes so that they too can experience their own life- long dream.

ruby-1 ruby-2

Chief Executive Officer is Named to Argentum Board

We are excited to share with you news about our Chief Executive Officer/Chief Operating Officer Collette Valentine. She was recently named to the Board of Argentum. Argentum is the largest national trade association exclusively dedicated to professionally-managed, resident-centered senior living communities. Members of Argentum exemplify the principles of choice, dignity, independence, and quality of life for seniors, all values that are incorporated into ISL communities. To support these principles, Argentum influences public policy, promotes business excellence, and ensures an informed public. Her three-year term began in May 2016.

“Argentum is pleased to have board members of such a high caliber as Integral Senior Living CEO/COO Collette Valentine,” said Argentum President & CEO James Balda. “We welcome her expertise and insight as a leader in Argentum’s efforts to increase innovation throughout the senior living industry.”

Collette has been the CEO/COO of ISL since 2014. She joined the company in 2010 as the Vice President of Operations and Marketing and in 2012 was promoted to COO. Prior to joining ISL, Collette worked for several years in senior living industry, gaining experience and expertise through a variety of management positions.

More information about Argentum can be found at www.argentum.org

Great News! New Study Shows Retirement is Good for Your Health

People become more active, sleep better, and reduce their sitting time when they retire, says a new study published in March 2016 by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The study, “Retirement—A Transition to a Healthier Lifestyle?,” followed the lifestyle behaviors of more than 25,000 adults age 45-plus for about three years, tracking such factors as physical activity, diet, sedentary behavior, alcohol use, and sleep patterns.

“Our research revealed that retirement was associated with positive lifestyle changes,” said lead researcher Dr. Melody Ding, senior research fellow at the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health. “Compared with people who were still working, retirees had increased physically activity levels, reduced sitting time, were less likely to smoke, and had healthier sleep patterns.

Dr. Ding said that a major life change like retirement creates an opportunity to make positive lifestyle modifications—to set aside negative routines and develop new, healthier behaviors.
Study data showed that retirees:

  • Increased physical activity by 93 minutes a week
  • Decreased sedentary time by 67 minutes per day
  • Increased sleep by 11 minutes per day
  • Decreased smoking (50 percent of female retirees quit smoking)

The differences were significant even after adjusting for factors such as age, sex, urban/rural residence, marital status, and education.

Dr. Ding said retirement gave people more time to pursue healthier lifestyles. “The lifestyle changes were most pronounced in people who retire after working full-time,” she said. “When people are working and commuting, it eats a lot of time out of their day. When they retire, they have time to be physically active and sleep more.”

In terms of sedentary time, researchers found that the largest reduction in sitting time occurred in people who lived in urban areas and had higher levels of education.

These findings include everyone in the study who retired. When researchers looked closer, they found that those whose health was not the prime reason for quitting work made the most dramatically positive lifestyle change—but those who retired for health reasons still improved their health habits quite a bit.

Dr. Ding said she hopes the research will encourage people to think positively about retirement.

The new research suggests that retiring as soon as you’re financially, physically, and emotionally able will likely lead to a healthier and happier time of your life.

Father’s Day

June is a month filled with activities that indeed warm the heart and soul. A pinnacle point of the month for our communities is the celebration of Father’s Day, a day that gives us a great opportunity to honor all the Dads we love to care for each and every day.

The many fathers who live with us in our communities have experienced a lifetime of living and through it, all have sustained the strength and wisdom fathers so willingly impart. Fathers take great pride in their families and in the America they helped build.
Dad’s always offer up sayings and quotes they become famous for revealing. They often contain a hidden message or push you to succeed at a difficult task, or simply to signal that questions were now over.

We recall some of those “Dadism’s” that may sound quite familiar to you.

  • Because I said so, that’s why!
  • Go ask your mother…
  • The sooner you learn to stand on your own two feet, the better off you’ll be.
  • That’s just the way life is, son.
  • Do you think money grows on trees?
  • I haven’t developed gray hairs for nothing!
  • My dad would always try to get me to eat my dinner by saying “It’ll put hair on your chest.” I never understood this because I was a little girl.
  • When where I could find a helping hand, father replied, ” At the end of your own arm”.
  • “Be sure you leave things better than you found them.”

Happy Father’s Day!

Should You Join a Caregiver Support Group?

How support groups can help caregivers, and what happens during group meetings

Are you a caregiver or do you know a caregiver who’s feeling stressed, overwhelmed, burned out, or depressed? Attending local caregiver support group meetings can be an effective way to reduce stress and boost spirits because participants can interact with others in similar situations, get useful advice, and find out about helpful local resources.

Studies have shown that support groups have a significant positive effect on caregivers’ well-being, depression, and feelings of being overwhelmingly burdened.

But it might seem intimidating to walk into a room full of strangers and feel obligated to share personal details about your caregiving situation and your less-than-positive feelings about your day-to-day challenges.

Here’s a summary of reasons that joining a caregiver support group can be well worth your time, and how typical meetings work.

The benefits of caregiver support groups

  • Get valuable caregiving tips and resources from social workers, health-care professionals, and experienced caregivers
  • Share and receive advice on managing challenging behaviors
  • Get and give support and advice on making difficult decisions or dealing with family conflicts
  • Learn how other caregivers cope with their situations and make time for themselves
  • Laugh and cry with other caregivers who truly understand your situation

How caregiver support group meetings work

  • A facilitator, often a social worker, leads the meetings
  • Each group has a regular schedule, usually weekly or monthly on the same day, and at the same time and location
  • Meetings usually last about two hours, but don’t let that stop you from attending. Tell the facilitator if you need to arrive late or leave early.
  • If you miss a meeting, no problem. You are not required to go regularly. Attend when you can or when you need extra support.
  • It’s completely optional to share. If you’d rather not speak, that’s OK—just let the facilitator know. Once you become more comfortable with the group, you’ll likely feel more inclined to share your experiences and knowledge.
  • During meetings, the facilitator usually asks participants to briefly introduce themselves and summarize their caregiving situation. Participants are then encouraged to ask questions, solicit advice about specific situations, or suggest topics for discussion.

How to find a caregiver support group near you
Check out the ISL community in your area. Many of our communities host caregiver support group meetings monthly and would love to see you join.

Integral Senior Living Embraces a “Vibrant Life”

Innovative Program Rolls Out to All Communities

We at ISL know well that living a vibrant life at any age is a life worth living. Now we are  taking the idea of vibrant living a step further by making it easier for residents to be vibrant with our new Vibrant Life® program.  Beginning in April, we are rolling out this innovative program throughout all of our communities.

vibrant-life

Vibrant Life® is an innovative approach designed for enhancing and enriching residents’ lives across seven core components for well-rounded and meaningful experiences. These core components provide the balanced structure for implementing diversity across the Vibrant Life® program, which is embraced through several signature programs.

“Each component fosters an overall well-being of living, truly living. There is a trend in today’s society that says ‘my kids are grown, my career is complete, now what?  What purpose do I have, now?’  We are challenging our communities to answer those thoughts.  With each day, there is a purpose.  Each day brings vibrancy all on its own. It’s time to embrace life and we are here to help residents do just that with our Vibrant Life® program,” said Collette Valentine, CEO/COO of ISL.

Vibrant by definition means full of energy and enthusiasm.  Vibrancy is what separates the mundane from the brilliant.  It is the key ingredient that changes mediocrity to exceptional, and conventional to extraordinary. The key to living is to living vibrantly.

ISL’s Vibrant Life® program consists of seven core components to foster the overall well-being of its residents. In order to promote the ongoing focus of these core components, it has created four Signature Programs to ensure its residents experience a Vibrant Life®.

The 7 main components to living a Vibrant Life®:

  1. Be Inspired— Gain a deeper sense of spirituality & feed the soul!
  2. Be Well— Intellectual stimulation, get moving & stay active!
  3. Be Challenged— Ignite competitive spirit, learn, grow & motivate!
  4. Be Adventurous— Try something new every day, explore & experience the unique!
  5. Be Family— Cherish family connections, share & continue family traditions!
  6. Be Social— Embrace friendships, celebrate the moments, talk, laugh & listen!
  7. Be Connected— Engage in meaningful community involvement, share experiences & expertise!

The 4 Signature Programs include:

  • PATH TO WELLNESS is a program that encompasses all aspects of wellness with tiers of achievement to encourage participation and provide the satisfaction of personal accomplishment.
  • LIVIN’ THE DREAM is a program designed to take our residents dreams and make them a reality.
  • THIS IS YOUR LIFE encourages social connectivity. Individual residents are showcased throughout the year to share their life stories and personal accomplishments.
  • VIBRANT LIFE® INSPIRES promotes the ability to give back to the local community through charitable endeavors.

ISL is assisting residents in all its communities to find their purpose, to search out how each can better incorporate the seven components to living: Be Inspired, Be Well, Be Challenged, Be Adventurous, Be Family, Be Social and Be Connected.

“Our mission is ‘to optimize health and well-being by passionately promoting a Vibrant Life® filled with joyful experiences, meaningful endeavors, and abundant opportunities so that our residents connect with family, friends and the local community,’ adds Valentine.

Check out the Vibrant Life® at all our ISL Communities- and see what vibrant senior living is all about!

Seniors and Caregivers May Qualify for Tax Deductions for Assisted Living Costs, Medical Expenses, and Elder Care

More than 700,000 seniors live in thousands of assisted living facilities throughout the U.S., says a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control ad Prevention (CDC). And nearly 87 percent of residents pay for these facilities out of their own and their families’ financial resources. The good news is that seniors and caregivers may be eligible for tax deductions for assisted living costs that are related to medical or dental expenses.

If a loved one is receiving substantial medical care in assisted living and/or is in a special needs unit in a community, he or she may qualify for a tax deduction. This includes residents with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia who require substantial supervision to protect their health and safety.

For seniors residing in independent living communities, however, the only eligible deductible expenses would likely be those directly related to medical costs.

Qualifying for Assisted Living Deductions

Detailed record keeping throughout the year, even for related expenses like mileage to and from doctor visits, can add up to substantial writeoffs at tax time.  First, the taxpayer must determine if he or she is entitled to itemize deductions. If the taxpayer is the senior, he or she can deduct qualified medical expenses. If the taxpayer is the caregiver, that caregiver must first find out if the senior qualifies as a dependent, depending on these IRS requirements:

  • The person the caregiver is claiming as a dependent must be married to or related to the caregiver.
  • The senior must be a citizen or resident of the United States or a resident of Canada or Mexico.
  • The senior must not file a joint return.
  • The senior must not have an annual gross income in excess of $3,950 (in 2015). Gross income does not include Social Security payments or other tax-exempt income. For those with incomes above $25,000, some portion of Social Security income may be includable in gross income.
  • The caregiver must provide more than half of the support for the senior during the year.

Consult a tax professional to learn more. Also this website offers more information on dependency at: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p554/ch05.html.

Which Senior Living Expenses Can Be Deductible?

For assisted living expenses to be tax deductible, the resident must be considered “chronically ill.” A doctor or nurse needs to have certified that the resident either:

  • Cannot perform at least two activities of daily living, such as eating, toileting, transferring, bath, dressing, or continence; or
  • Requires supervision due to a cognitive impairment (such as Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia).

Who Can Qualify for the Deduction?

To qualify for the deduction, the senior’s personal care services need to be provided according to a plan of care prescribed by a licensed health care provider. This means a doctor, nurse or social worker must prepare a plan that outlines the specific daily services the resident receives.

Typically, only the medical components of assisted living costs are deductible and ordinary living costs like room and board are not. However, if the resident is chronically ill and the facility is acting primarily for medical care and the care is being performed according to a certified care plan, then the room and board may be considered part of the medical care and the cost may be deductible. Residents who are not chronically ill may still deduct the portion of their expenses that are attributable to medical care, including entrance or initiation fees.

Which Medical Expenses Can Be Deducted?

  • Premiums paid for insurance policies that cover medical care are deductible, unless the premiums are paid with pretax dollars. Generally, the payroll tax paid for Medicare Part A is not deductible, but Medicare Part B premiums are deductible.
  • Payments made for nursing services. An actual nurse does not need to perform the services as long as the services are those generally performed by a nurse.
  • Medical fees from doctors, laboratories, assisted living residences, home health care and hospitals
  • The cost of long-term care, including housing, food, and other personal costs, if the person is chronically ill.
  • The cost of meals and lodging at a hospital or similar institution if a principal reason for being there is to receive medical care. The amount included in medical expenses for lodging cannot be more than $50 for each night for each person.
  • Home modifications costs such as wheelchair ramps, grab bars and handrails.
  • The cost of dental treatment.
  • The cost of travel to and from medical appointments.
  • Personal care items, such as disposable briefs and foods for a special diet.
  • Cost of prescription drugs.
  • Entrance fees for assisted living.
  • Room and board for assisted living if the resident is certified chronically ill by a healthcare professional and following a prescribed plan of care. Typically this means that they are unable to perform two activities od daily living (ADLs) or require supervision due to Alzheimer’s disease or other conditions.

To claim the deduction, the medical expenses have to be more than 10 percent of the resident’s adjusted gross income. (For taxpayers 65 and older, this threshold will be 7.5 percent through 2016.) In addition, only medical expenses paid during the year can be deducted, regardless of when the services were provided, and medical expenses are not deductible if they are reimbursable by insurance.

For more information on what can and cannot be deducted for medical expenses see Publication 502 on the IRS Web site at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf and/or seek the advice of a tax professional.