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Is it Normal to Have Anxiety as You Get Older?

As the most prevalent mental health condition in the United States, anxiety affects adults of all ages, but particularly seniors. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, up to 17% of adults 65 and older have an anxiety disorder diagnosis.

This doesn’t mean that only 17% of seniors experience anxiety, however. It’s extremely common for anxiety disorders to go undiagnosed, due to several factors including reluctance to discuss symptoms, lack of awareness that symptoms are present due to having experienced them for so long and interpreting them as ‘normal’, or symptoms being overlooked when focusing on the symptoms and medications of other co-occurring conditions. Because of this, experts estimate that the actual number of older adults suffering with anxiety is significantly higher.

Of older adults that do have an official anxiety disorder diagnosis, few are actually treated for it. According to a 2023 peer-reviewed journal, JAMA Psychiatry, only one third of adults 65 and older diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) receive any treatment for it. So unfortunately, while it is very ‘normal’ to experience anxiety as you age, thankfully it is treatable.

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It’s important to recognize the root causes, signs, and symptoms of anxiety in older adults, and get proper treatment. Let’s take a closer look at anxiety in older adults and how it can be managed.

Causes of Anxiety in Older Adults

Anxiety in older adults can have many different causes, some related to physical health and others more situational. Here are some common causes of anxiety in older adults:

Phobias – phobias, or pronounced irrational fears centered around specific things, are an extremely common form of anxiety and affect people of all ages. Common phobias include heights, being in a closed-in space or a very wide open space, flying, insects, or driving on the highway, among others. Phobias more common in older adults include the fear of death, fear of bad things happening to their loved ones, and fear of medical or dental procedures.

Social Anxiety – It can be nerve-wracking to attempt to be a social butterfly if you’re typically more introverted. Social anxiety takes this common nervousness a step further. For older adults with social anxiety, they may fear that they’ll do or say something embarrassing in a group of people due to factors related to their age. This fear of judgment and ostracization by others is often more pronounced if they have a medical condition that affects their memory or their physical appearance.

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) – PTSD has been commonly associated with war veterans, and many seniors are veterans of major world wars. In actuality, PTSD affects people of all ages and walks of life. Any trauma in one’s lifetime can develop into PTSD under certain conditions, and symptoms can sometimes take years, even decades, to surface.

Family History of Anxiety – While environmental factors are certainly a contributing factor to the development of anxiety disorders, there is evidence to suggest that some psychiatric disorders are heritable. A family history of anxiety disorders increases the likelihood of a senior experiencing anxiety themselves.

Medication Side-Effects – As we age, we’re more likely to acquire medical conditions that require prescription management. Prescription medications often carry side effects of varying severity, and anxiety and its physical manifestations (night sweats, palpitations, shortness of breath) is a common side effect of many medications.

Health and environmental conditions – When an older adult is living with a physical illness or is under financial stress, this can significantly contribute to feelings of anxiety. Fearing things like loss of mobility or independence, worrying about money, grieving the death of a loved one or friend, experiencing memory issues or chronic pain, and worrying about end-of-life planning are all very common and reasonable contributing factors to anxiety in the elderly.

“Normal” Anxiety vs Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is a natural feeling that everyone experiences from time to time, and is actually beneficial for certain situations. An anxiety response helps notify us of a real danger, gauge a level of threat, or keep ourselves alert when doing something risky or important.

When these responses in the body and brain are triggered by situations that aren’t truly threatening, or when these feelings are prevalent enough that they interfere with daily living and quality of life, this is when it’s worthwhile to seek guidance from a mental healthcare provider to explore the possibility of an official anxiety disorder diagnosis.

Normal feelings of anxiety may be breaching into anxiety disorder territory if you experience the following regularly, for prolonged periods or at extreme levels:

  • Feeling irritable or having angry outbursts
  • Feeling restless, antsy, on edge, like something “bad” is going to happen (this is often referred to as an impending sense of doom)
  • Struggling with concentration – forgetting words or losing your train of thought
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Feeling like you’re constantly worrying, or that your worrying is interfering with work, school, or interpersonal relationships
  • Feeling like worries are all-consuming, upsetting, or difficult to control
  • Physical symptoms like sweating, shaking, trembling, tense muscles, tension headaches, or gastrointestinal upset
  • Difficulty sleeping – either having trouble falling/staying asleep despite feeling very tired, or sleeping too much to ‘escape’ your worries and thoughts
  • Experiencing panic attacks
  • Developing compulsive behaviors in order to attempt to control worries and fears
  • Experiencing catastrophic thinking or ‘black-and-white’ all-or-nothing thinking
  • You find yourself turning to unhealthy distractions to numb your worried thoughts – excessively playing games, indulging in substances like alcohol or overeating

How Senior Living Communities Can Reduce Anxiety

Living in a senior living community helps older adults combat anxiety in several different ways:

Built-in Community of Support and Friendship

Feelings of isolation and spending a lot of time alone create a breeding ground for anxious thoughts and anxiety’s common comorbidity – depression. In senior living communities, a sense of community and social engagement is fostered through common spaces like community dining rooms, clubs and activities, and caring and attentive staff that help ensure residents are feeling as involved as they’d like to be in the community.

Maintaining Independence

Independent living communities are created to support as much independence as possible for seniors. From accessible living spaces, to senior fitness classes to promote mobility, to built-in security and on-demand maintenance, living in an independent living community can help put anxieties about losing independence to rest.

Safety First

For older adults feeling anxious about falling and hurting themselves or experiencing a medical emergency while alone, senior living communities provide immense peace of mind. With staff available 24/7, buildings designed with safety in mind, and access to additional supportive services like physical therapy and senior wellness programs, this allows residents to put their minds at ease.

Enrichment Activities and Visits with Loved Ones

Staying active and keeping the mind engaged helps to sharpen cognitive skills and soothe anxiety. Senior living communities provide regular mind-stimulating activities like board games, language learning classes, and book clubs, and also supports socio-emotional wellbeing by offering special events for loved ones to participate in, and of course, regular visits with family and friends.

Prioritize Wellness with Five Star Senior Living

Aging doesn’t have to cause anxiety. At Five Star Senior Living, our Lifestyle360 program focuses on all areas of health – emotional, physical, intellectual, and community. Taking a holistic approach to senior wellness enables our residents to live their best lives and combat the most common sources of anxiety in older adults. To get started on your journey to a healthy, stress-free senior lifestyle, find a Five Star Senior Living community near you.

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Does Independent Living Include Meals?

Seniors and their families choose independent living communities for their convenience – from eliminating the burden of home maintenance to having access to activities and amenities right outside your door, and dining is no different. While dining options at independent living communities differ from community to community, the bottom line is that yes, independent living typically includes the option for chef-prepared meals, eliminating the need to grocery shop, plan meals, cook, and clean up, so you can enjoy every day without wondering, “what should I make for dinner?”.

Independent living dining also makes it easy and convenient to dine with other residents, helping to strengthen new friendships and provide social time you can look forward to each day. Let’s take a closer look at what type of dining options are most commonly available at independent living communities.

Dining at Five Star Senior Living

Included Meals

Depending on the independent living community you choose, you may have various options for which meals are included. Most commonly, independent living community dining includes two meals a day, prepared by senior living community chefs trained at the nation’s top culinary institutes. Whatever your culinary preferences and dietary needs, there’s a Five Star independent living community to (quite literally) suit your tastes.

Independent Living Dining Options

When you think of senior living dining, you may not realize just how many options are available! All of our independent living communities feature a community dining room where you can enjoy our chef-prepared meals with other residents. Many of our communities provide restaurant-style, all-day dining, meaning you’re not bound to a set schedule and can eat whenever you’re hungry. Depending on the independent living community you choose, you may also have access to other dining options such as:

  • The ability to reserve a private dining room for mealtime with family and friends or personal celebrations
  • Cafes for a morning latte or afternoon tea with a friend or a good book
  • Bars and cocktail lounges with happy hours to socialize over food and drinks

Feel like ordering some takeout or cooking at home? Go right ahead. In addition to ‘dining out’ at various dining venues within the community, many of our independent living apartments, studios, and cottages include kitchens or kitchenettes in their floor plans, enabling you to ‘eat in’ or prepare your own meals if that’s something that brings you joy. Don’t feel like cooking, but don’t feel like leaving your apartment either? Order delivery. Local restaurants and food delivery services will deliver to our independent living communities just as they would any other home or apartment complex.

No matter where you choose to eat in the community, our approach to senior dining remains the same – restaurant-quality, chef-prepared meals designed to satisfy your cravings with made-to-order options that are nourishing, healthy, and delicious. Have dietary concerns, allergies, or need to be on a special diet? Not a problem. Our chefs will work with you to accommodate your needs. You always have a say in what goes on the menu, and all of our food is backed by our Fresh Food Pledge.

Find an Independent Living Community with Meals Near You

At Five Star, we recognize that dining and meal planning is just one factor to consider when choosing an independent living community. As you consider which senior living community is right for you, our experts are happy to help. Contact us today with questions or use our community finder to browse Five Star Senior Living communities by location, community type, or amenities. We’re excited to help you find the right community for you to help you feel most at home.

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What is Assisted Living?

In assisted living, you receive personalized help with activities of daily living (ADLs) like bathing or showering, getting dressed, getting in and out of a bed or chair, walking, using the bathroom, and eating, while still living independently. In some assisted living communities, additional services like transportation, house chores, property maintenance, and medication monitoring may also be available.

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The Value of Assisted Living

Assisted living communities offer a great value because they typically include many services, amenities, and benefits wrapped up in one cost-effective package. You get to remove everyday burdens so you can spend your time playing cards with friends, take that art class you’ve always been interested in, or enjoy spending more time with your family.

Assisted Living Promotes Independence

One big misunderstanding about assisted living is that older adults who choose this option will lose their independence. In reality, residents who choose assisted living are free to create their own schedules and have time to participate in enriching activities. Assisted living helps out only where and when you need it.

How Does Assisted Living Work?

Assisted living works the way you want it to. In general, assisted living residents enjoy access to support services and medical care when needed in a home-like atmosphere that promotes as much independence as possible. There are all kinds of amenities and services in assisted living that vary from community to community. In addition to assistance with mobility and personal care, assisted living services may also include things like helping with housekeeping, medication management, apartment maintenance and utilities, wellness checks, and transportation to and from appointments or errands.

Beyond individualized support services, there are plenty of other amenities to foster independence and wellbeing like social activities with other residents, fitness classes, top-notch dining, and easy access to medical resources to put residents and their loved ones’ minds at ease.

What are typical Assisted Living Accommodations? Is there privacy?

There are all kinds of assisted living communities offering different types of living arrangements. The most common assisted living accommodations are private apartments and suites. As for privacy, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the company of other residents, but private rooms are standard.

What is a Typical Day Like in an Assisted Living Community?

Each day at an assisted living community is different, but a typical day for an assisted living resident might start with having a team member assist them with getting ready for the day. They may then head down to breakfast in the dining room, and then join a community outing to shop downtown. Later, they might meet up with their card club to play a few hands or enjoy dinner with friends in the dining room. In the evening, a team member will assist them in settling in for the night. It’s all about what works best for you.

How to Know when Assisted Living is Needed

If you find that you or a loved one is having more accidents or falls at home, personal care and grooming is becoming more challenging, if you are experiencing difficulty managing your medications on your own, or if housekeeping chores have become too much, then assisted living might be right for you.

Assisted living is best for someone who needs some services to help enhance their independence. If more serious medical care or 24-hour supervision is needed, then assisted living might not the right option for you or your loved one and you may need a full-service nursing home.

Seniors who can perform ADLs without any assistance may be better suited for independent living communities. Many of the great benefits of assisted living are still available in independent living communities including social activities, housekeeping, local transportation and dining. Memory Care is another assisted living option best suited for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

What are the Benefits of Assisted Living?

Assisted living residents get to enjoy amenities and services like:

  • Private rooms with living areas, kitchens or kitchenettes and en-suite bathrooms
  • Restaurant-style dining
  • Local transportation
  • Enriching activities
  • Group outings
  • On-site wellness programs and classes
  • Ability to relax and pursue all your favorite passions and hobbies
  • Emergency call systems for help in a crisis
  • Peace of mind for you and your family knowing you’re in a safe and caring environment
  • Help with activities of daily living (ADLs)
  • Cost savings – assisted living is not as expensive as memory care or nursing homes

And of course, the biggest benefit of assisted living is personalized care—it meets you where you are. You get to dictate your schedule and participate in all the fun activities your community has to offer while assisted living staff give you extra support in the areas where you need it.

What Does Assisted Living Cost?

Assisted living is a convenient package option for seniors with value far beyond the dollar amount.

According to Genworth Financial, the average cost of assisted living in 2023 was $5,350 per month. Compared to the average monthly household expenses plus the addition of home aide and home maintenance / care services, and other incidentals such as groceries and transportation—the costs can really add up.

What’s included in the price of assisted living?

Assisted living costs include chef-prepared meals each day, maintenance-free living, on-site enrichment and wellness activities, transportation, and much more. Assisted living also includes things for which a monetary value can’t be assigned – building relationships with fellow residents, maintaining the power of choice over schedules and activities, and enjoying the peace of mind in knowing that home maintenance is cared for and medical help is readily available if needed.

Assisted Living vs. Other Senior Care Options

What’s the difference between assisted living and a nursing home?

Often misunderstood, assisted living communities and nursing homes are very different.

The goal of assisted living is to give some support to residents while they still live independently. Residents in assisted living often enjoy their own apartments that have a homey design and feel.

Nursing homes, on the other hand, provide 24/7 care for residents that typically live with more complex health conditions. The settings are typically in a more clinical environment with shared and private rooms that do not include living areas or kitchenettes.

Nursing homes typically cost significantly more than assisted living communities due to the higher level of care they provide. Genworth Financial reports that in 2023, the average assisted living community cost $64,000/year while a private room in a nursing home cost $116,800.

Assisted living vs. Home Care – Which is Better?

Assisted living is best if you want to be surrounded by a community of other residents, have services catered to your needs, and have a team of staff around you for support. Home care is the right choice if you prefer to stay in the comfort of your home, but this can come with drawbacks. Relying on home care limits social engagement and can contribute to feelings of isolation or boredom. Choosing home care instead of assisted living also means there may be no one here in the event of a medical emergency. With assisted living, accommodations are built in for mobility concerns, whereas it can be difficult and costly to retrofit a house.

With home care, you receive one-on-one care and companionship at set intervals. With assisted living, personalized care is spread across a team of staff members instead of a single individual, ensuring that you’ll always have the care you need when you need it.

What to Look for in an Assisted Living Community

When it comes to choosing the right assisted living community it’s important to look at communities that can provide the right service for your needs. While the bells and whistles of chandeliers and large fireplaces are definitely things you can enjoy, they won’t take care of you. Instead, focus on skilled staff, dining services, activity calendars, and cleanliness.

How to Smoothly Transition a Loved One into Assisted Living

How to talk to a loved one about moving to assisted living

Whether your loved one approaches you or you approach them, talking about a move to assisted living can bring up lots of emotions. The common misconception is that residents lose their independence, so finding ways to emphasize independence and enrichment are key.

When talking to a loved one about moving to assisted living, discuss every detail, even the things that may seem trivial. Your parent or loved one may be feeling anxious about the big change that comes from moving to an assisted living community. It’s best to broach the subject with compassion and an open mind. Avoid using phrases like “you have to move” and “you need to sell your home.” Let your loved one in on the decision making process from choosing a community to what type of activities they want to join.

Visit the Assisted Living Community

You and your loved one can prepare for this new chapter by touring assisted living communities. Meet the staff, chat with other residents, and encourage your loved one to ask as many questions as they want.

Create a Transition Timeline

Moving can be a lot for anyone to manage. There’s precious items to be boxed up, closets to be cleaned out, and moving companies to be hired. Creating a timeline can help make the process a little less stressful. Start with an eight-week timeline focused on packing supplies, moving company quotes, and talking with staff at your assisted living destination. From there break down each week and set goals on what you want to accomplish for your senior family member.

Decorate to your Heart’s Content

Assisted living is all about empowering residents to be independent while making them feel comfortable. This new space is a new home, enjoy the furnishing and decorating process. Set up family photos, hang favorite pieces of artwork, and let your loved one surround themselves with the same items they have at home. This can be especially important for seniors with dementia. Filling a loved one’s space with familiar objects can help ease stress and reduce anxiety.

Spend Time with your Senior Family Member

Plan to spend move-in day with your loved one. Help them set up their new home, walk the property together, check out some of the activities together, and get a bite to eat together in the dining room.

Find an Assisted Living Community Near You

Your assisted living community is also your new home, which means the environment should be suited to you. Whether that’s palm trees and an ocean breeze, a view of the mountains, or the familiar surroundings of your local community, Five Star Senior Living’s got you covered.

Research communities online, book a community tour, or try before you buy with a short term or respite stay. Still have questions? Contact us today and a member of our knowledgeable and friendly staff will be happy to help you find the perfect assisted living community for you.

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Active Senior Living Communities Do Exist

At Five Star Senior Living we’re on a mission to dispel the myth that all senior living communities are like nursing homes. When we refer to our communities as ‘active senior living communities’, we mean it!

In this article:

Learn more about our active senior living communities and the activities, enrichment, and sense of kinship our residents enjoy at any one of 130+ locations around the country.

Experience Five Star Senior Living

At Five Star Senior Living, we truly live up to our name, providing a five-star experience for all of our residents, whether staying with us for a season or making us their permanent residence. We’re proud to offer active senior living communities in 28 states, providing the Five Star Experience for happy residents in over 130 locations.

From our award-winning senior health and wellness programs to restaurant-style dining, our values of putting people first drive everything we do. We take pride in creating a full-service environment that meets our residents where they are and encourages independence, while providing full support every step of the way.

Lifestyle360 Senior Health and Wellness

One of the ways we foster an active senior living community lifestyle is through our Lifestyle360 program, a holistic health and wellness program for seniors. We don’t just focus on physical fitness and mobility – our Lifestyle360 program encompasses all aspects of wellbeing:

Physical – Staying physically active promotes both outer and inner strength! Each of our communities offers unique physical activities, from walking groups, dance classes, aquatic therapy, and yoga, to weight training, bocce ball, and zumba.

Social – Making meaningful connections and building healthy relationships is important at any age. Our active senior living social activities include things like game nights, golf outings, museum and theater trips, live entertainment, wine tastings, and more.

Emotional – We understand that a big change like transitioning to an active senior living community can be stressful for residents and families, so we provide ample emotional support and self-care resources, including support groups, poetry and painting workshops, spa days, intergenerational enrichment programs, and more.

Intellectual – Scholastic, cultural, and creative activities stimulate the mind and help you stay engaged with the world around you. Activities include art classes, book clubs, trivia, birdwatching, language courses, technology classes, and more.

Spiritual – Our spiritual activities support each resident’s unique spiritual journey, helping to foster a sense of purpose and meaning. Choose from spiritual programs like Bible study, pet therapy, meditation, prayer groups, horticulture therapy, and more.

Ageility Senior Rehab & Fitness

Our active senior living communities are redefining fitness and rehab for older adults with our Ageility Physical Therapy Solutions program. Our state-of-the-art senior fitness and rehab clinics are located right within our communities, bringing an entire suite of services and equipment to both short- and long-term residents. Our active senior living communities boast Ageility programs like:

  • Group fitness classes and one-on-one personal training with trainers specializing in older adult fitness
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy
  • Memory care-focused fitness programs to foster strength and independence for residents living with Alzheimer’s and dementia

Learn more about how Ageility is changing the world of senior rehab and fitness.

Senior Living Activities

When we describe ourselves as active senior living communities, this doesn’t mean there’s pressure to participate in high-energy outings if you’re more comfortable staying home!

Whether you want to go out on the town and explore, or if you’d prefer to stay in and cozy up to a good book in the community library, we have senior living activities to suit every interest and meet residents where they are in terms of their level of mobility and social comfort.

Each of our active senior living communities offers its own unique suite of enriching activities, and we’re always adding new options catered to our residents’ interests. From local day trips to craft clubs, group exercise classes to quiet nature walks, there’s something for everyone at Five Star Senior Living.

Find an Active Senior Living Community Near You

At Five Star Senior Living, maintaining a vibrant, active life at every age is our priority. We’re so proud to offer our residents a lifestyle that blends comfort and support with purpose and enrichment, all in an environment designed with hospitality in mind. Are you looking to explore your options for active senior living? Find a community near you and contact us for a tour today!

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What Services Does Memory Care Provide?

When looking for support for an aging loved one, memory care services are an important consideration. You may be reviewing your options, looking at assisted living or nursing homes. Memory care facilities exist on their own, and memory care services may also be integrated within other senior living environments.

In this article:

Let’s take a look at the services that memory care provides and how to choose the best memory care program for your needs.

What Makes Memory Care Different?

When you think of senior living, you may think of things like support for household chores, social opportunities like games and activities, access to specially-prepared meals, and accessible medical assistance. Memory care takes these aspects of senior care a step further by catering specifically to those with conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The enrichment of a memory care facility is focused on reducing confusion for residents and providing a safe environment for those who may be more apt to become disoriented.

Is there a Difference Between Memory Care and Dementia Care?

Memory care and dementia care are interchangeable terms. Memory care is the term most commonly used to refer to support for various memory-impacted conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Dementia being an overarching term that encompasses various conditions that impact cognitive functioning.

Benefits of Memory Care

When dealing with a memory-related diagnosis such as Alzheimer’s disease, it impacts not only the patient but their loved ones and other caregivers. Memory care provides numerous benefits to the residents, including:

  • 24/7 hands-on support for functions of daily living, ensuring that residents are safe and supported
  • Specially-trained caregivers who are experts in supporting those with memory-related conditions
  • Relief of caregiver burnout and the anxiety associated with being an untrained caregiver for a loved one experiencing memory loss
  • Specialized enrichment activities and therapeutic support for cognitive functioning
  • The reassurance that residents are nourished with regular meals and get appropriate social engagement
  • A consistent, familiar environment that helps reduce disorientation and stress
  • Immediate access to medical care

Memory Care Services at Five Star Senior Living

At Five Star Senior Living, we live up to our name in all that we do, and this includes memory care. Our specialized memory care services include:

Montessori-based dementia programming – our innovative Bridge to Rediscovery memory care program offers a nurturing, whole-person approach to memory care, catering your loved one’s environment and activities to their specific needs and preferences. Residents are supported in maintaining as much independence as possible while being safely supported by a team of trained professionals.

Customized memory care plans – we take your loved one’s entire life story into account when creating a customized memory care plan for them. This extra level of care ensures that they have as smooth a transition as possible and feel supported while living in our community.

Restaurant-quality dining with empowering choices – it’s important for those with memory-related conditions to continue to feel empowered about making choices, and to settle into predictable routines. Our memory care dining services offer an opportunity for social interaction and routine while providing residents with butler-style service to give them the power of choice over their meals to suit their taste.

Secured neighborhoods and safe environments – safety of our memory care residents is our top priority. All of our memory care neighborhoods are secured so that residents are only able to exit the property while supervised. We also ensure that our properties provide a consistent and safe environment, from visual cues to help prevent disorientation, to comfortable and familiar furniture.

Memory-specific recreational and occupational therapy – as part of our holistic approach to memory care, we ensure that residents receive personalized enrichment that helps them build a sense of purpose, keeps their spirits up, and allows them to retain as many skills as possible. We meet your loved one where they are and prioritize helping them to feel secure, valued, and engaged in their environment.

Safe opportunities for social interaction – A memory-related diagnosis can feel scary and isolating. Our caring and trained memory care professionals design programming that encourages residents to interact with one another and continue to enjoy social engagement at whatever level is most comfortable to them.

Support for families and caregivers – At Five Star, we know how stressful a memory care diagnosis can be on the family. Our compassionate memory care experts are here to provide guidance and reassurance every step of the way, empowering you to make the best choice for your family. If you’re unsure whether your loved one may need memory care, we can help you identify signs of memory loss and identify what the right next steps may be for you.

Find a Memory Care Community Near You

Choosing a memory care community can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. With senior living communities in 28 states, we’re here to help you find the right memory care community for your loved one. Contact us today to take the next steps in finding the right memory care for you.

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Senior Living Amenities to Look For

Are you considering a senior living community for yourself or a loved one? As you begin your search, benefits like maintenance-free living and the peace of mind that comes with things like access to medical care are clear, but with so many different senior living options to choose from, each with their own unique senior living amenities, it can be overwhelming trying to compare one community to the next.

In this article:

When it comes to choosing the right community, you’ll want to focus on the senior living amenities that matter most to you. Whether you’re looking for a vibrant local area to explore, sports and fitness opportunities for active older adults, or a more tranquil and relaxing atmosphere, we’ve gathered some of the many senior living amenities to consider while choosing where to call home.

Best Amenities in Senior Living

Ask senior living residents what their favorite amenities are and you’ll get a plethora of different responses! From enjoying restaurant-quality dining to strolling beautiful walking paths, getting pampered at an on-site beauty salon to enjoying group outings and activities, here are some of the most popular senior living amenities that help residents live life to the fullest.

Restaurant-Quality Senior Living Dining

Tired of cooking dinner every single night? Has takeout lost its appeal? If so, let senior living dining take the stress out of mealtime. Many senior living properties offer restaurant-style dining with all sorts of delicious and nutritious options to suit a full range of tastes and dietary needs. In fact, some rival five-star restaurants!

Custom senior dining options

Enjoy hot gourmet meals prepared just for you! At many senior living properties, chefs can adjust ingredients to accommodate allergies, dietary preferences, and restrictions. Whether you’re in the mood for hearty meat and potatoes, a vegetarian dish, or need something heart-healthy prepared with lower sodium, senior living dining staff are available to quite literally cater to the nutritional needs of seniors, both in terms of health and taste.

Senior Living Activities

One of the most rewarding benefits of being a senior living resident is being able to meet new friends and get involved in the community. Loneliness and isolation are increasingly common in older adult populations, particularly for seniors continuing to live at home on their own. Being a part of a senior living community affords opportunities(y) for residents to engage as much as they like to create a vibrant social life which is linked to increased overall wellness.

Programs like Five Star Senior Living’s Lifestyle 360 ensure that a range of activities and events will appeal to those with varied interests and with an emphasis on physical, spiritual and emotional wellness.

Here are some of the activities you may want to look for as you consider a Five Star Senior Living Community:

  • Senior fitness group exercise classes, including indoor and outdoor low-impact options
  • One-on-one senior personal training sessions
  • An accessible swimming pool for classes or recreation
  • Dancing classes and social dances
  • Outings to shop or simply sightsee in the local area
  • Group vacations or trips to further away destinations
  • Exploring hobbies like cooking, gardening, crafting, or birdwatching
  • Game Night and groups including card games, billiards, bingo and board games
  • Movie nights at an on-site theater
  • Holiday parties and celebrations
  • Music – including community singing groups or musical ensembles, community pianos, performances by visiting musicians, and music therapists (therapy).
  • Special events welcoming families and friends
  • Companion animal visits and wildlife enrichment activities
  • Bible Study or other religious worship

And so much more.

Senior Living Concierge Services

Being able to take a morning swim or settle in for an evening book club meeting with friends may be just what you’re looking for when choosing a senior living community, but beyond leisure activities, it’s important to consider the practicalities of daily living. While moving to a senior living community eliminates much of the maintenance of owning and maintaining a home, there may be certain daily activities that residents require assistance with while continuing to live more independently. Being able to maintain as much independence as possible is important for residents, and a senior living concierge helps make that possible.

What is a senior living concierge?

A senior living concierge provides day-to-day assistance to make life easier for senior living residents while supporting their independence.

Senior living concierge services at a Five Star Senior Living Community may include:

  • Transportation services
  • Help with errands like dry cleaning
  • Coordinating pet care
  • Appointment-setting and reservations
  • Administrative and logistical tasks like receiving packages, mail, helping with moving, etc.
  • Greeting/receiving guests

Senior Living with a Swimming Pool

Do you love the water? Consider a senior living community with a pool and dive right in! Beyond being a fun activity that provides a relaxing, resort-like feel, swimming is an excellent, low-impact way for seniors to maintain cardiovascular health while supporting joint health and building strength.

Whether relaxing on a pool float in a warm-weather community’s outdoor pool or swimming laps in a year-round indoor pool, you can choose from an assortment of senior aquatic activities that are just right for you. Many senior living communities with swimming pools offer group swimming or water aerobics classes for fitness and fun. You can also take one-on-one swimming lessons, or simply use the pool for recreation and relaxation.

Senior Living Amenities at Five Star Senior Living

As you consider what options and amenities are most important to you in your senior living search, we welcome you to contact the Five Star Senior Living team to help you find the perfect senior living community for you. Whether you’re looking for a bustling social calendar or a tranquil retreat, our senior living amenities make it easy to find the perfect fit. Learn more about the Five Star Lifestyle.

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Best Stretching Exercises for Seniors

Whether you’re hitting the weights at the gym, going for a stroll with friends, or just getting ready for the day it’s important to include stretching into your daily routine. The best stretching exercises for seniors are stretches that focus on the muscles you use the most in your daily activities. Stretching offers your body huge health benefits like muscle flexibility, strength, and range of motion all of which can prevent joint injury or other health problems.

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There are two important types of stretching to focus on before and after physical activity. Dynamic stretching is best done before your activity because it helps wake up the neuromuscular system and get your body and joints ready for exercise. Dynamic stretches should mimic the movements you will do during your exercise or physical activity.

Static stretches are best done after your physical activity when your muscles are warm and pliable. Holding static stretches in place for 30 seconds can help muscles recover faster and lead to less pain and stiffness.

What Are Good Stretches for Seniors?

Regular stretching offers numerous physical and mental health benefits for seniors. These exercises enhance flexibility, blood flow, posture, and balance, reducing the risk of falls. Some studies have shown that stretching can increase serotonin levels, reduce stress, and generally feel better.

Some of the best stretching exercises for seniors focus on hip flexors and thoracic rotation and extension movements that improve flexibility and range of motion in the hips and upper back region while countering the effects of prolonged sitting.

“When these muscles become short and tight, they contribute to poor posture, low back pain, and poor mobility,” Ageility Fitness Manager Kathryn Cunningham says.

When static stretching, try to hold your stretch for 30 seconds to give your muscles time to relax. Other great static stretches for seniors include:

  • Neck: bring your chin toward your chest and turn your head side to side.
  • Shoulder and upper arm: hold a towel in one hand over your head, letting it drape down behind your back.
  • Chest: extend both arms to the side with palms facing outward and reach back with your hands. Use a wall if you have a hard time holding your arms up.
  • Hamstring: lie on your back and extend one leg perpendicular to your body Grasp your thigh, not your knee, and slowly pull your leg towards you.
  • Quadriceps: Lay on your side and bend your knee to bring your foot behind you. Pull your foot towards your body. You can use a belt or towel to help if you can’t reach your foot.
  • Lower back: Lay on your back with knees bent, feet together and feet flat on the floor. Lower legs to one side, twist your torso until you feel a stretch.

These additional safety tips from The National Institute on Aging can assist you in your stretching exercises.

  • Stretch when your muscles are warmed up.
  • Stretch after endurance or strength exercises.
  • Don’t stretch so far that it hurts.
  • Always remember to breathe normally while holding a stretch.
  • Consult your doctor if you are unsure about a particular exercise.

Stretching Exercises Before Walking for Seniors

We all know that any physical activity is good for your health, but walking in particular is a great way to boost immune function, increase cardiovascular benefits, and prevent frailty in seniors.

Try warming up before a walk with dynamic leg stretches, marching in place, and swinging your arms. Follow it up with a short walk, cool down, and another stretch. Repeat this process a couple of times before you set out.

Golf stretching Exercises for Seniors

Before teeing off, spend a few minutes warming up with some golf stretching exercises. Take slow warm-up swings without the club that are half the range of your normal swing. Then pick up your club and gradually increase the range of your swing.

Ageility clinical specialist Heather Ford says that a simple, active warmup of your muscles before any workout is important.

“Getting the body moving prior to starting any activity is the best way to prepare your body for the ‘work’ it is going to do during your desired activity,” Ford said.

Stretching Exercises for Seniors with Arthritis

If you have arthritis you know the challenge of waking up with stiff joints. Doing a few gentle stretches in the morning can help ease your discomfort. The best stretch for you depends on the type of arthritis you have. Consult your physician before trying out any new stretches. It’s important for every stretch to stretch to the end range of a muscle, but never so much that it’s painful.

Physical Wellness at Five Star Senior Living

At Five Star Senior Living, residents have fun and stay active through our holistic Lifestyle 360 program. We believe the path to independence is rooted in regular exercise and physical wellness, which is why we offer exercise classes, group activities, and more.

With our partners at Ageility, you have access to an entire suite of services, from physical, occupational and speech therapies to wellness and personal fitness training—everything you need to maintain strength, mobility and true independence. Find a community today and discover a healthier and more fulfilling chapter in life.

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Ideas for Decorating a Senior Living Apartment

Moving into a senior living apartment is an exciting new chapter in your life. It’s an opportunity to embrace a fresh start and make new friends. But how do you go about decorating your senior living apartment? Whether you’re making the move into an independent living or assisted living apartment, our guide to decorating and furnishing can help you create a new stylish space that is welcoming, and comfortable.

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Are Senior Living Apartments Furnished?

It’s one of the first questions that everyone asks. The answer is some senior living apartments come furnished while others are unfurnished, it can all depend on the specific community, but both offer their own benefits. An unfurnished apartment is a blank canvas that allows you to furnish and customize it exactly how you want. A furnished apartment provides you with essentials like a couch, table, and chairs so you can focus on setting up your favorite decorations and displaying beloved photos.

How to Make Senior Living Feel like Home

Moving into a new apartment can be challenging, especially if you’re downsizing from a larger, well-lived-in home. With our helpful tips and some planning, you can furnish your senior living apartment so it feels just like home.

Personalize with Beloved Memories

Incorporating cherished items and photos into your new home adds a personal touch that warms and comforts. Photos of family and friends, your favorite pieces of art, and most beloved knick-knacks can be great conversation starters too.

Choose Comfortable and Functional Furniture to Right-Size Your Home

Opt for furniture that gives you the best of both worlds providing comfort and functionality. For example, a coffee table with added storage underneath. Many furniture manufacturers offer pieces that can keep you comfortable while you right-size your space such as power lift chairs, multifunctional coffee tables, and extendable dining tables. Don’t forget to vertically maximize your space with bookcases and shelves.

Harness the Magic of Mirrors

Hanging large mirrors on the wall can help reflect light around your apartment and open up the room. Plus your mirror can be framed or unframed to help match the style and theme of your other decorations. Mirrors, combined with white furniture, can also help further disperse natural light.

Layer with Soft Furnishings and a Splash of Greenery

Throw blankets, cushions, rugs, and curtains add warmth, comfort, and character to your living space. You can also update them to match different moods and seasons. Adding in a plant or two can also add a touch of nature to your apartment. Artificial flowers and plants also add that earthy charm with low maintenance.

Keep Safety in Mind

When you move into a senior living apartment it’s important to consider safety when picking furniture. Incorporate furniture like rounded tables for ease of access, Use the three foot rule to ensure adequate space for all accessible areas, and set up proper light placement especially in areas that you’re most likely to fall like floor lips between rooms.

Be sure to reach out to your community prior to your move to see if they have any guidance on decorating a senior living apartment or moving your belongings into an apartment. Senior living communities like Five Star Senior Living are experts on resident move-ins and may have tips specific to their community.

How to Furnish and Decorate an Assisted Living Apartment

Furnishing an assisted living apartment is much like decorating any senior living apartment, but with an added focus on safety and accessibility. Maintain wide paths through hallways and around furniture to minimize the risk of bumps and falls.

Assisted living apartments should avoid area and/or throw rugs and loose power cords which can also cause falls. Accessible furniture and appliances are also essential such as large knobs on cabinets and glow in the dark light switches. These small additions to a senior living apartment can add up to a safer and more comfortable home.

Decorating your Five Star Senior Living Apartment

At Five Star Senior Living most of our apartments come unfurnished and we encourage our residents to bring their most cherished items, but we also work with residents to provide whatever furniture they may need.

An unfurnished apartment allows you to create a space all your own. Whether it’s the chair you sit in each morning to enjoy your coffee or the bookshelf that holds all your favorite novels, our team members will work with you before your move-in to make sure everything fits safely and securely.

Planning a move to a senior living community can be a challenge, but Five Star Senior Living offers you a world of choice, unparalleled comfort, and a community that empowers you. Find your community today.

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How Senior Living Communities Can Help Kinless Seniors Thrive

Nearly one million older Americans are considered kinless, meaning they lack a spouse, partner, children, or siblings. Some seniors may wonder who will care for them as they age in the absence of a family support structure. Kinless seniors often have to explore alternative solutions to ensure their well-being as they age.

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According to The New York Times, several demographic factors have increased the number of kinless seniors, particularly baby boomers including: lower marriage rates, higher divorce rates, and less children.

The good news is that senior living communities such as Five Star Senior Living, a division of AlerisLife, offer a viable solution. Some of the benefits that kinless seniors may expect at a senior living community include participating in social activities, joining support groups, getting involved in volunteer work, and having the dedicated support of skilled team members.

AlerisLife chief wellness officer Melinda Skirvin, RN, BSN, MHA says it’s important to advocate for each resident. “It’s our job to fight when they can’t and be their family when they don’t have a family there,” she said.

Who Will Care for Kinless Seniors?

Senior living communities like Five Star that feature independent living, assisted living, and memory care lines of service can provide you with a supportive environment that lets you thrive.

  • Built-In Community: Senior living communities create a sense of belonging and community. You can build meaningful relationships with fellow residents to create a supportive social network and make new friends.
  • Transportation Support: If you are unable to drive, senior living communities typically offer transportation services, ensuring residents can access essential services and activities.
  • Nutritious Meals: Senior living communities can provide restaurant-style dining with nutritious and delicious meals, removing the burden of cooking and grocery shopping for kinless seniors.
  • Safety: Communities prioritize safety with features like emergency response systems, security, and on-site staff who are trained to assist in case of emergencies.
  • Health and Medication Support: Assisted living communities within senior living communities offer personalized health and medication support, ensuring residents receive the care they need.

Advantages of Independent Living Communities

Independent living communities are great if you seek an active and maintenance-free lifestyle. Some benefits include:

  • Housekeeping
  • Building maintenance
  • Lawncare
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Fitness and wellness programs
  • Access to on-site dining options
  • Supportive staff and emergency response systems

Advantages of Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living communities provide an extra level of care beyond what an independent senior living community provides and can support for you if you require assistance with activities of daily living. Key benefits include:

  • Personalized care plans
  • Assistance with daily tasks
  • Medication management
  • 24/7 access to skilled team members
  • Engaging activities and events

Tour a Five Star Senior Living Community

At Five Star, no one is alone. If you, or a kinless senior you know, are seeking a supportive and enriching living environment , consider exploring the options available at Five Star Senior Living communities. We are dedicated to supporting kinless seniors as they thrive and become a part of our family. Find a local Five Star Senior Living community near you and discover more choice and more comfort.

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9 Fun Outdoor Activities for Seniors

Life is a journey that is always changing. As you get older staying active becomes essential to your vitality and joy. One of the best ways to stay active is to find fun outdoor activities for seniors. Getting in touch with the great outdoors not only keeps your body moving, but also offers you mental wellness.

From pickleball and yoga to nature hikes and outdoor concerts, there’s an outdoor activity for every senior.

In this Article:

6 Outdoor Activities for Seniors

Nature Walks

A leisurely stroll through a park or a hike through a nature reserve are excellent ways for seniors to enjoy the outdoors. Fresh air, changing scenery, and gentle exercise can boost your mood and keep you healthy. Invite friends and family along to make it a social outing.


Combine two of life’s greatest things, the outdoors and food, and you get a picnic. Get your friends and loved ones together, choose a scenic spot, pack some tasty treats, and soak up some sun.


Gardening is a rewarding activity for seniors looking to put their green thumb to work. Tending to flowers, herbs, or vegetables lets you enjoy physical activity, mental engagement, and the satisfaction of watching your work bloom.

Outdoor Yoga

What’s more relaxing than bird watching in the woods? How about embracing your inner zen by practicing yoga outside. Yoga enhances flexibility, balance, and mental clarity. There are a wide variety of schools of yoga and many can be done outdoors.


Considered the fastest growing sport in the United States, Pickleball is best summed up as a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. The game’s simplicity, short-sprint play, and low impact on joints make it popular and one of the most fun outdoor activities for seniors looking for a fun workout.

Local Events

Check out your local newspaper, town website, or community social media pages to find out what’s happening near you. Holiday celebrations, parades, museums, botanical gardens, and more are all right outside your door.

3 Outdoor Activities for Seniors with Limited Mobility

If you’re a senior with limited mobility you can still enjoy the great outdoors with activities that suit your needs and enhance your wellness.

Scenic Drives

Sit back and enjoy the view with a scenic ride. Plan out your route along roads with captivating views or gorgeous houses.

Outdoor Concerts

Whether it’s a local band jamming on the gazebo, an orchestra playing music from a classic film, or the world’s biggest rockstar at a stadium, seeing an outdoor concert is one of the best and most accessible ways to get outside and hear great music at the same time.

Bird Watching

Unlocking your inner ornithologist is a relaxing and fun pastime. Set up a bird feeder in view from your window or combine birdwatching with a nature walk. Bird watching can give any senior a deeper connection to nature.

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