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Older Adult Mental Health

Mental health in older adults – a common problem commonly left untreated

As we age, our lives are filled with life changing experiences that can affect our mental health, like being diagnosed with a serious illness or coping with the loss of a loved one. Some people learn to live with these changes. For others it can be challenging and create feelings of isolation and depression.

Mental health is especially important for older adults as they experience a lower rate of help for mental health conditions. According to the World Health Organization, over 20 percent of adults aged 60 and over suffer from mental health issues—most commonly depression, dementia, and anxiety.

Mental health in older adults is often under-identified by both older adults and their health care providers. The stigma of mental health conditions can also make people reluctant to seek help when they need it.

It’s vital to close this gap in mental health care for older adults and to raise awareness. Here are several ways to recognize what affects mental health in older adults, common symptoms and issues, and how to get help when you need it.

Common life changes that affect senior mental health

Seniors can experience common mental health issues like depression and anxiety, but are also more likely to experience mental health issues more common later in life like declining cognitive abilities. Here is a list of common life changes that seniors experience and can affect their mental health.


Losing a family member or friend is one of the most difficult events someone can go through. As people age, they are more likely to experience the loss of a loved one. Everyone grieves differently. They may cry, be angry, isolate themselves or feel empty and drained.

Serious illness or injury

Whether it’s an illness or an injury, a serious diagnosis can put an older adult’s mental health at serious risk. Older people are more likely to receive such a diagnosis as they age like reduced mobility, chronic pain, and terminal illness. A person’s mental health has a direct impact on their physical health.

Financial changes

When someone retires they may experience a drop in their regular financial status and this can create stress in a person’s life. Seniors often have to live on a tighter budget and their daily lives might be disrupted. These major changes can cause a lot of complicated emotions which can lead to mental health issues.

Moving to a new home

After years of filling a home with memories and warmth it can be hard to leave. Stressors of leaving due to financial issues, retirement, or because of physical needs can all add up to affect an older adult’s mental health.

Elder abuse

Seniors can experience abuse through a person’s deliberate acts or negligence. This can take many forms such as physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. Abuse can have an immediate and detrimental effect on a senior’s mental health and wellbeing.

The most common senior mental health issues and their symptoms


One of the most common mental health issues in seniors, depression is a persistently miserable mood or loss of interest in activities that once brought joy. Symptoms are wide-ranging, but can include apathy, difficulty getting out of bed, trouble sleeping, social isolation, and hopelessness. If left untreated, depression can lead to a poor diet and thoughts of suicide.


Commonly misattributed as a disease, dementia is a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, and make decisions to the point where it interferes with an older adult’s ability to do everyday activities. Symptoms of dementia include cognitive and mental decline, confusion, personality changes, memory loss, and jumbled speech. People experiencing dementia are often unable to live alone as they can not before activities of daily living.


A common reaction to increased stress, anxiety is the feeling of fear, dread, or apprehension. It is often a normal emotion when faced with a major decision, test, or event, but can be an indicator of an underlying disease if feelings are all-consuming and interfere with daily living.

Bipolar disorder

Believed to be caused by a combination of genetics, environment, and brian structure, bipolar disorder, bipolar disorder can cause manic episodes of high energy that last days followed by depressive episodes of low energy and low motivation. Episodes can also be associated with suicidal thoughts.

Why mental illness in older adults goes untreated

Mental illness in older adults can go untreated for a number of reasons. People with mental health issues often don’t seek treatment due to stigma and fears of being treated differently leading to shame. Another reason older adults can go untreated for mental health illnesses is the misconception that depression and anxiety are regular signs of aging, when, in fact, they are just as serious for older adults. Ageism in healthcare can also lead to overtreatment and undertreatment of seniors.

How to get help for senior mental health issues

The mental health of older adults can be improved by promoting active and healthy lifestyles. At Five Star Senior Living communities offer residents a chance to meet other seniors, participate in enriching programs, and reimage aging. Plus, with our fitness and rehabilitation partner, Ageility, physical wellness can help support emotional wellbeing.

Five Star team members are always there to support your needs, both big and small. We offer the highest level of service so there’s always an activity to enjoy or an event to attend for a chance to find love and connection.

Discover a community today.

Dating Over 60 – Tips for Finding Love Later in Life

Dating can be an intimidating task at any age, but especially for older adults. It can feel like dating is a young person’s game, must be done online, and most people don’t date when they’re over 60.

Many older adults begin dating later in life due to a divorce or the death of a spouse, which can make the prospect all the more daunting. In many cases, this is all happening at a time when older adults’ social circles are shrinking. Retirement often means the loss of work friends. Friends and neighbors might relocate to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

Many of these worries are misconceptions that are either flat out false or can be looked at in a new and encouraging light. It’s important to remember love has no expiration date and dating after 60 years of age is common. Here are a few ideas to help you navigate dating in your 60s and beyond:

Dating in Your 60s: Tips, Tricks, and Advice

Sign up for a club, volunteer, or take a class:

This is one of the best ways to meet people at any age, but especially when you’re dating in your 60s. Like to give back? check out volunteering opportunities in your area. Want to stay active? Join a fitness class with Ageility. Like to learn? Paint in art class or learn a new language. Older adults who participate in activities reap many awards like lower rates of depression and cognitive decline, an opportunity to meet like-minded people, and more.

Join a senior center:

Most communities have a local senior center. They typically offer programs and activities for members that range from luncheons to yoga. Some even offer transportation for older adults who no longer drive. Membership fees are usually very affordable.

Be open to keeping relationships casual:

Don’t feel like you have to rush into anything when you meet someone new. Remember dating in your 60s is just about getting out there and having a good time at your own pace. Take the time to get to know someone, but if you find your stars align, by all means enjoy this new chapter!

Check out dating sites and apps:

At this moment, you’re living through the golden age of online dating. Never before has there been so many options, especially for seniors. Dating sites and apps offer age-specific, interest-specific, and life-style specific options so you can meet singles in their 60s, singles of a specific religious denomination, or singles who are farmers.

Connect with friends from the past:

Not sure if you’re ready for dating apps? Try reconnecting with friends. Worst case, you’ll get to spend quality time with a friend. Best case, you find someone who you’ll love spending every day with.

Dating After 60 in a Senior Living Community

Living at a senior living community is one of the best ways to foster any relationship—platonic or romantic. With plenty of activities, excellent local transportation to neighborhood attractions, and having your needs taken care of, you can dedicate your time to your friends and loved ones. Meet fellow residents at a community barbeque, a chair yoga class, or on a group excursion to a museum.

Explore New Connections at Five Star Senior Living

Dating can be daunting, intimidating, and nerve-wracking, but it can also be exciting, fun, and joyful. Remember you’re not alone, many older adults are looking for new and intimate connections—and many find them.

At Five Star communities, we offer the highest level of service so there’s always an activity to enjoy or an event to attend for a chance to find love and connection. Discover a community today.

Top 8 Holiday Gift Ideas for Seniors

We’ve all been there—standing in a store aisle or scrolling through a website looking for that perfect gift for a friend or family member. Finding the right gift can be a challenge, but the reward of seeing the look on a loved one’s face when they unwrap it is well worth it.

For older adults, finding the right gift can be even harder. What gift do you get for someone who has everything? For someone who insists they don’t need anything?

When it comes to gift ideas for seniors, the best choices offer practicality and functionality. Read on for a few options for the special senior in your life!

The best holiday gifts for seniors

  1. Private chef meal

    What gift is better for seniors than a personalized home-cooked meal? Hiring a private chef gives your loved one the unique chance to enjoy the company and wisdom of a local culinary master. Private chefs will shop for all the ingredients, cook them to perfection, and serve them up with a description of all the flavor elements.

    Want to give a great meal, but make it a little more personal? Check out one of the many meal kit companies that send you all the ingredients and recipes so your favorite senior can make a hands-on discovery of a new favorite dish.

  2. Blanket

    Give the gift of comfort with a cozy blanket so your loved one can stay warm while they’re thinking of you. A blanket may strike you as an unimaginative gift for a senior loved one, but that couldn’t be further from the truth considering all the blanket options out there.

    Electric blankets, which plug in for an extra layer of warmth, and weighted blankets, which can help ease anxiety and stress, are perfect senior gift options. If you’re looking for a gift for a loved one that has Alzheimer’s or dementia, fidget blankets sew sensory activities right into the fabric for an excellent hands on gift.

  3. Photo Memorabilia

    Capture the perfect gift with photo memorabilia like hanging picture collages, digital photo frames, and personalized coffee mugs. With large canvas prints, decorative photo albums, and laser-engraved 3D crystal photo frames (yes, you read that right), photo memorabilia is perfect for any senior in your life, but especially those who have homes in assisted living and may not have access to their own car. Photos are great for family members in memory care too as they can elicit feelings and memories.

    Bonus gift tip—If you like the blanket idea, be sure to check out customized blankets with family photos printed right on the fabric!

  4. Window bird feeder

    One of the best gift ideas for seniors is a window bird feeder. These attachable feeders provide stimulation, entertainment, and a connection to the outdoors for the nature lover in your life. With plenty of sizes to choose from, bird feeders attract all kinds of local avians for up-close views. You can also couple this gift with a bird identification journal. Plus, your family member’s pet cat will love it too!

  5. Shared experience gifts

    One of the great things about moving to a senior living community is that older adults get to meet new friends and make new connections, but seeing family members is still important. A shared experience gift is a great way to spend time with your loved one doing an activity they love or discovering something new.

    Check around your loved one’s local community to see what’s available like wine tastings at a vineyard, go for a river cruise, or visit a theater for a live show.

  6. Subscription box

    Give a gift that keeps on giving with a subscription box.

    The sheer breadth of subscription box services means you can get just about any bundle of goodies delivered right to your senior’s door like curated japanese snacks, murder mystery games, knitting patterns, book clubs, and much, much more.

    This gives your loved one something they can look forward to all year long even if you can’t visit them in person as much as you’d like. Many services provide auto subscriptions so you know your gift will come on time every time for your loved one.

  7. Diffuser

    Bring the aroma of a relaxing spa into your senior loved one’s home with a diffuser.

    The wide selection of diffuser oils come in fragrances like citrusy orange, calming lavender, soothing peppermint, and more. Diffusers can have calming effects for older adults with mental health issues like anxiety and depression. The relaxing smells make a senior’s home environment feel like the respite they deserve.

    Diffusers come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and light up colors so they can fit the decor of any space.

  8. Puzzle

    Puzzles are a classic gift that the older adult in your life can enjoy by themselves or with a friend. Pick a puzzle with their favorite painting or illustration, choose from the easier 250 piece puzzles to the challenging 4000 piece puzzles, or order a custom puzzle with a photograph of your family or a special pet.

    Puzzles are also an excellent gift for family members living with Alzheimer’s and dementia as it provides great mental stimulation.

Finding the right gift for seniors

As with gifts for any age, when looking for the perfect gift for seniors, remember that it’s the thought that counts. Gift giving should always be fun and no matter what you get for your family member, they’ll love it. Looking for other great gift ideas for seniors? Download our Ebook for more inspiration!

Fran Healy, WWII Veteran Shares His Story

Most people can’t tell you they landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, fought at the Battle of the Bulge, or earned a Bronze Star for their courage during World War II. Cornelius Francis Healy isn’t most people.

Fran, as he’s more commonly known, is 101 years and six months old. He spoke about his life from his home at The Gables at Winchester, a Five Star senior living community in Winchester, Mass.

A call to duty

Fran Healy grew up in North Cambridge, Mass. or—as he puts it— “Tip O’Neill country,” referring to Thomas O’Neill, the former Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives who served during the Carter and Reagan administrations.

Fran was drafted into the war toward the end of 1942, but he almost never left Massachusetts. He was allowed an exemption as the head of his family, helping support his widowed mother and two younger sisters. But feeling duty-bound to his country, Fran decided to enlist.

After his training, he was put on a convoy headed for England.

“The first day I remember it was only one or two ships, the next day a couple more, and about the third day we had about a dozen,” Fran said. “We were surrounded by U.S. destroyers who could drop it on the German submarines if they spotted them.”

While in England, Fran’s unit was attached to the Army’s 29th Infantry Division, known as the “Blue and Gray Division” for its blue and gray service badge. The unit was to become part of the largest seaborne invasion in history.

“They sent all these troops down to England, these fellows thought they were going to get 30 days off, but they were reassigned,” Fran said. “They were reassigned all right.”

The invasion

In their preparations for D-Day, Fran’s Major informed his unit they would be part of a provisional machine gun group after a large shipment of brand-new, heavy-duty half-track vehicles with mounted .50 caliber machine guns did not arrive in time for the invasion.

Fran spent the two nights before the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion with no sleep, one while he waited to board a ship and the other while he crossed the English Channel. With bad weather overhead, Fran and his unit landed on Omaha Beach. By the time he stepped foot on the sand, the German defenses had been silenced and the fighting moved inland.

“There was no front line, everyone was out of position. The 82nd Airborne, none of them landed where they were supposed to,” he said. “It took a day or two for everyone to get back to their units to form a front line.”

Despite the extensive planning that went into D-Day, Allied troops were caught off guard by French hedgerow country, mounds of earth topped with branches and shrubs. These property markers stalled tanks and slowed the Allied advance.

Fran and his unit were headed to the French crossroads town of Saint-Lô. Due to the dense hedgerows, the 20-mile journey took them six weeks to hack and fight through. As U.S. soldiers moved inland, they were bombarded with German 88mm anti-tank artillery guns.

“It was awful,” Fran said.

Finding the courage

At one point during the trek, a shell exploded between Fran and another soldier. Fran wasn’t hurt, but his companion was hit with shrapnel.

“Here I am with a guy bleeding pretty badly, no first aid handy, but I spotted a rogue convoy about 900 feet away. So, I picked him up, half dragged him, half walked him,” Fran said. The convoy said medics would arrive in five minutes, so Fran waited and got his companion on a truck even as artillery shells blasted all around them.

After weeks of battling through hedgerows, Fran and his unit arrived at a hill on the outskirts of Saint-Lô. Fran volunteered to join a patrol to warn another unit of an impending artillery attack from the Germans. The volunteer patrol navigated the downhill terrain at night and delivered their message but were exposed by the sunrise on the way back. Under heavy machine gun fire from the Germans, Fran made it back to his unit in one piece.

Fran’s courageous act with the volunteer patrol earned him a Bronze Star, awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for heroic achievement in a combat zone.

Once he reached Saint Lô, Fran’s unit pushed onward to pursue the Germans. He arrived in Versailles when Paris was liberated at the end of August. “We spent about a day or two there in Paris. You’d think the war was over the way they celebrated,” he said. “It was for them.”

The final push

The unit pushed toward Belgium over the next four months and there were even a few weeks of relative quiet that included a Thanksgiving dinner. But “all hell broke loose” on Dec. 16, 1944, when the Germans launched their last major offensive campaign on the Western front known as the Battle of the Bulge.

“The weather was terrible. The clouds were hanging so low. It was snowing all the time for that whole week,” Fran said.

After about a week of fighting, the skies began to clear and air support arrived. Even after several decades, Fran’s fondness for the P-51 Mustang hasn’t faded. After Christmas, Fran witnessed his first dogfight, a close-range fighter aircraft battle.

“We were watching them up in the sky and one fellow was watching with a pair of binoculars and said, ‘hey there’s a plane up there with no propeller.’” That plan turned out to be the German Messerschmitt Me 262, the world’s first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft.

Life after the war

Fran rode across the Rhine River into Germany as the war came to a close. When his unit came to the Elbe River in April of 1945, the Allies were planning how to divide up post-war Germany.

Fran ended his service by tallying points that soldiers earned toward discharge. He was eligible in September of 1945. Life back at home was difficult.

“When I came back home it was frustrating. I felt lost, I didn’t feel comfortable anymore. My family walked on eggshells and we didn’t know what to talk about,” he said. “It took me a long time.”

Fran eventually became a licensed civil engineer for Massachusetts and worked on the construction of all the major highways. He married Margaret “Peggy” Cummings, with whom he had corresponded with through the war. The couple raised three sons, Paul, Don, and Kevin. Peggy died in 1986 and Fran never remarried.

A home with The Gables at Winchester Senior Living Community

As a widow, Fran lived on his own for nearly 40 years. He moved into assisted living at The Gables three years ago and says it’s the best decision he’s ever made, in fact. He wishes he had moved in a lot sooner.

“Everyone takes such good care of me here,” he said.

In his free time, Fran loves to keep active and exercises three times a week. Each night he has dinner with the same three ladies he met on his second day after moving in.

“It’s great here,” he said. “Best thing that ever happened to me.”

Fran never discussed his experience during the war until he was in his 80’s. His apartment at The Gables is decorated with accolades, letters from Presidents, invitations, press coverage, and other wartime recognition. Plus, he’s got plenty of objects of grandfatherly and great grandfatherly love from his four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

On Fran’s 100th birthday, The Gables held a parade outfront of their building with friends, family, other veterans, firefighters, police, and more. As a Five Star community always committed to its residents, The Gables is installing a flagpole near its main entrance and will hold a special Veterans Day ceremony to celebrate its arrival.

“I think about it every day,” Fran said of his time in the war. “It never goes away. Sometimes different events come back during the day. 78 years ago, but like it was yesterday.”

Assisted living at Five Star can open a world of possibilities for you or your loved one. Trade in household chores and errands for stress-free living and enhanced independence. Find out what assisted living—and all our other living options—are all about.

Up, up, and away

Maria Armstrong knows a thing or two about travel. Originally from Wisconsin, Maria has lived in North Carolina, California, and Honduras. She lived in Michigan where she earned a Masters degree before moving to Colorado. She now lives at Five Star Senior Residences of Dayton Place in Denver.

Having traveled so much on land, Maria set her sights on the air. She took a class on hot air balloons 25 years ago, but her maiden flight was canceled. Never giving up hope, Maria, 77, submitted a request to go up in a hot air balloon as part of a Lifestyle 360 program her community was running in October. Several months later in May, Maria’s dream came true and she was able to soar the skies in a hot air balloon for over an hour. An avid photographer, Maria was able to get some shots of her adventure.

We interviewed Maria to ask about her flight and what’s next on her adventure list.

How do you like living at Dayton Place?

At Five Star It’s fine. I have a two-bedroom apartment. The good thing is I can have my dog, Ogie, and cat, Molly, here. That’s very important to me. They have a lot of activities going on. Some of which I don’t go to, but at least they’re available.

How was the flight?

It was so much fun, I had a great time, took some pictures, and the day was cloudy which was okay because it wasn’t really hot. We went north and then kind of circled around and came back.

How long were you in the air?

About an hour. It was a good ride. I’d taken a hot air balloon course years ago, but wasn’t able to go up to fly. This was my second chance to do so.

What interested you in going up in the hot air balloon?

I think it was just on my bucket list so I did it. I had the opportunity to do it so I did.

Did you celebrate after?

We had champagne after the ride. That’s sort of the normal thing to do.

Are there any other things on your bucket list?

I used to own horses, but I never got up to Rocky Mountain Park. I’d like to go up there and do a trail ride. That would be super fun although I’m sure I’d be sore for a week after. When I lived in Honduras I had my own horse and the people thought it was so funny to see an American girl riding a horse through the capital city. I was too young to drive so to go anywhere I had to ride a horse.

Are you scared of heights at all?


Any advice to someone thinking about going up in a hot air balloon?

Don’t be afraid of heights. You have to stand up the whole time.


Maria’s aerial adventure is a testament to never giving up on her dream. Do you have your own bucket list? Maybe you want to make a Baked Alaska, write a short story, or see the Grand Canyon. No matter what your dreams are, it’s never too late to pursue them.

A lifetime of love

Seventy years ago Dwight D. Eisenhower won the U.S. presidential election, the average cost of a house was $9,000, and Don and Charlene Hietman got married. The Heitman’s, who are in their late 80s, celebrated their 70th anniversary last month at their home at Five Star Residences of Dayton Place in Denver, Colo.

The celebration

The couple celebrated their seven decades together by taking a limousine with their three adult sons and their wives to an Italian restaurant.

“I thought it was a delivery truck,” Don said of the limousine. “When you got inside of it, it was beautiful.”

The next day was a big anniversary party with over 70 people at Dayton Place, complete with a barbecue surrounded by family, friends, champagne, and cake.

The couple was especially appreciative of LifeStyle 360 Program Director Katelyn Buschman, who helped organize the party and made everything run smoothly.

“It’s our family here. Our boys are working and they are busy with their lives so the people here are our second family.”

How they met

When asked about how they met, Don didn’t miss a beat.

“Well it happened on the fourth of April, 1948,” Don said. “Many years before you were born.”

The Heitman’s, who hand off story details as seamlessly as two jazz musicians handing off solos, are both from neighboring small towns in Ohio. Charlene said she was 13 years old at the time when her friend asked her to accompany her to a downtown shoe shine shop to meet up with her boyfriend and some of the other boys who worked there. Don, who was 15, was among the other boys.

“[Her boyfriend] was going to get her something at an ice cream store a couple doors down so Don went with,” Charlene said. “They brought back Drumsticks. Don handed me my Drumstick and then as I started to take it he jerked his hand back with it. We all laughed of course and I got my Drumstick,” Charlene said.

From there, the two began spending time together going to the movies, riding bicycles, and skating.

“We just seemed to click,” Charlene said. “He was very shy and so was I, we were very young.” The next fourth of April, a year to the day after they met, Charlene received a dozen roses. “Here I was, a 14 year old with a dozen roses,” Charlene said. “I told him that sealed his fate. He wasn’t going to get away.”

On the fourth of April, 1951 the young couple got engaged during Charlene’s senior year of high school. While their actual wedding anniversary is June 7, the couple still celebrates April 4. Charlene’s mother, who liked Don, said the only requirement was Charlene needed to graduate high school. Her graduation was on a Tuesday and the following Saturday the couple got married.

Two weeks after getting engaged, Don left town for the AirForce. A bit of a surprise decision, Charlene said it ended up being one of the best decisions Don ever made. Don spent 28 years in the service and the couple lived in Colorado and Italy.

Their home at Five Star

The couple have lived in a cottage at Dayton Place for the past six years and have enjoyed every minute of it.

“We love it. No steps, that’s a big thing, and we have a beautiful front porch that we call our garden room,” Charlene said. “We can sit out there especially in the afternoon and enjoy the flowers that we bring.”

Some of their favorite community activities are movie nights, pizza nights, the scheduled outings, and spending time with other residents. The couple also likes to enjoy their porch with their miniature Australian shepherd, Mollee. “She’s dedicated to the two of us,” Don said. “She’s really Charlene’s dog because she follows her all over.”

The secret recipe

Their advice for younger couples? Never go to sleep mad or upset, spend lots of time together, and never forget to say “I love you.” “You’ve got to love each other,” Don said. “That’s the most important.”

Having spent the majority of their lives together, Don and Charlene agreed they just love each other’s company. That’s not to say they don’t have their boundaries.

“The only thing I don’t like is going shopping,” Don said while laughing. “I tell her ‘I’ll drop you off and I’ll wait in the car.’”

The Heitmans were humble as they reflected on their decades together. “I guess 70 years is a long time,” Charlene said while laughing. “We’ve just gone one day at a time.” “We’re working on 71 right now,” Don added.

Father’s Day with Dad in Assisted Living

Are you celebrating Father’s Day with your dad at his assisted living community this year? No matter your father’s mobility level, there are Father’s Day activities for senior living residents that are sure to help him feel loved and celebrated. From day trips like museum tours and baseball games to planning a special Father’s Day celebration at the assisted living community, we’ve put together some ideas to help you make this Father’s Day one he’ll remember for years to come.

The Best Father’s Day Activities for Dads in Assisted Living

  • Decorate his room – if staying in at the assisted living community, can make it feel special having family decorate his space
  • Bring him his favorite food or a restaurant meal – if he can’t leave the property, bring him something he loves from his favorite place that he doesn’t get to go to
  • Make a scrapbook together – rather than bringing one to present to him, bring supplies and sit together as a family and look through pictures, reminisce and assemble the book together
  • Play family-friendly games – board games with the grandkids, lawn games if the weather is nice and celebrating outside, etc.
  • See what the team at the assisted living community might already have planned. Many assisted living communities, like Five Star Senior Living, offer special activities to celebrate the dads and grandfathers in residence on this special day. From movies to barbecues, games and karaoke contests, you may discover activities that every age can enjoy.

Put on a family talent show or singalong with the grandkids

A Father’s Day celebration doesn’t have to be elaborate or involve a road trip. Let the grandkids put on a skit or sing songs. The play can be as involved as they want, with costumes and set design, or can be as simple as the kids singing some of your dad’s favorite songs with help from your iTunes downloads.

Create personal Father’s Day tributes

You might also consider creating a slideshow video of favorite family moments – including past Father’s Day celebrations. With a laptop, a little bit of tech savvy, and an hour or two of free time, you can easily produce a video of favorite family photos. Set the slideshow to one of Dad’s favorite songs, whether he prefers golden oldies or classic rock, and let the images kick off an afternoon of reminiscing and storytelling.

If your dad is mobile and comfortable leaving the property, try these Father’s Day day trips for senior living residents:

1. Take Your Dad out to a ball game

Minor league ball games offer major fun for the whole family – at a fraction of the price of a major league baseball game. This allows you to share the special experience of a ball game with Dad without so much overwhelm and waiting in lines. To avoid the crowds, show up just after the first inning begins and leave before the bottom of the ninth.

2. Visit a museum

Is your Dad interested in military history? Airplanes? Natural science? Whatever his interests, he’s sure to love discussing them with you and his grandchildren. Take the whole family to a museum and listen as your Dad shares his own stories of years passed.

3. Go to the movies together

Don’t overlook a family movie outing. Whether a recent blockbuster or a classic movie from when your dad was younger, sharing the experience of watching a movie with family can provide an engaging and comfortable activity to share. If Dad would prefer to stay at the community for Father’s Day, find out what movies the assisted living community has coming up. You may not have to leave to view a family favorite classic. Just remember to ask if you should bring your own snacks or if the community is providing popcorn.

Additional tips for planning a safe and memorable Father’s Day in an assisted living community

Plan ahead for your father’s special needs

While your father might enjoy a short day trip, he may also get tired spending too much time outside, especially if your travels put you in the center of large crowds. Expect to spend no more than two or three hours away from home. You can always continue the celebration back at his assisted living community by enjoying a meal together or playing games in one of the common areas.

A Father’s Day celebration doesn’t have to be elaborate or involve a road trip. Let the grandkids put on a skit or sing songs. The play can be as involved as they want, with costumes and set design, or can be as simple as the kids singing some of your dad’s favorite songs with help from your iTunes downloads.

You might also consider creating a slideshow video of favorite family moments – including past Father’s Day celebrations. With a laptop, a little bit of tech savvy, and an hour or two of free time, you can easily produce a video of favorite family photos. Set the slideshow to one of Dad’s favorite songs, whether he prefers golden oldies or classic rock, and let the images kick off an afternoon of reminiscing and storytelling.

How to Know if it’s Time to Move to a Retirement Community

Retirement is your reward after a lifetime of hard work and planning. It’s your time to have fun and pursue your passions both familiar and new, like writing that novel or spending an entire day as a couch potato watching movies. No matter what it is, you’ve earned it.

Some older adults always knew downsizing would be part of their retirement plan. For others, it took retiring to realize they would like a change of pace. Whether moving to a retirement community is a new idea or it’s always been part of your plans, it can be tricky to know what time is the right time to make such a major life decision. Let’s take a look at retirement living and how to decide when might be the right time to consider moving to a retirement community.

What is a retirement community?

The term retirement community is a broad one, but generally refers to senior living neighborhoods or housing complexes designed for older adults.

Retirement communities give older adults the option to spend their time doing what they love without the stress of the day-to-day chores, home maintenance or driving. There’s a wide range of communities to choose from, from 55+ communities and independent living to assisted living or memory care. No matter what kind of lifestyle you want, there’s a place just for you.

Signs it’s time to consider moving to a retirement community

Only you will know when it’s the right time to move to a retirement community, but there are some tell-tale signs to know when you might want to make the move.

You want to enjoy stress-free living

You’ve spent your life working, keeping your home clean and cooking meals. Now it’s time to reward yourself with the freedom to do what you love and have a retirement community handle the rest. Retirement communities offer in-house dining with customizable menus, housekeeping options and more to make sure nothing gets in the way of what makes you happy. Even planning what to do with your free time is easier with scheduled events, classes and entertainment.

Your friends and family have moved or passed away

Social circles can shrink for older adults due to reasons outside their control like family moving to a new area or friends passing away. If you find yourself wanting to move closer to family or forge new bonds with friends, it might be time to move to a retirement community. Retirement communities bring older adults together to enjoy each other’s company with a wide range of amenities to let you live life to the fullest.

Transportation has become a problem

If driving at night has become difficult or the thought of getting in the car to go to the grocery store is stressful, a retirement community might be right for you. Retirement communities are strategically located close to shops, services and other amenities for convenience. Plus, there are all kinds of transportation options available at retirement communities like buses, excursion vans and scheduled trips that bring you where you want to go. Moving to a retirement community also doesn’t mean you have to give up your car—plenty of retirement communities have parking lots or parking garages nearby.

You want to build strength after an injury

Building your strength back up after an injury, surgery or illness can be tough, but retirement communities can make it easier. Most retirement communities have a rehab and fitness partner who can help you in recovery. Five Star Senior Living communities partner with Ageility, a personalized rehab, fitness and wellness provider for older adults. You can try out a retirement community with a short-term stay and you may find you’d like to stay even longer.

Access to personal or nursing care is important Many retirement communities offer close and easy access to the care you need. Maybe you need some extra support throughout the day through personal care or you need daily nursing care. No matter your needs, you can find a community that will support you.

Find a retirement community near you

Remember that the right time to move to a retirement community is when you’re ready and moving to a community has never been more exciting, due to the abundance of options and amenities that are available. When you decide it’s time to consider moving to a retirement community, Five Star can help you find the right retirement community to enjoy this new stage of life exactly the way you want.

7 Thoughtful Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Seniors

Whether it was fixing you chicken noodle soup on sick days as a kid, being your biggest cheerleader at your college graduation or volunteering to take the grandkids for ice cream over the holidays, you’ve always been able to rely on your mom for love and support. You may appreciate it even more Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Seniors now as a mom, yourself. Figuring out what to give someone who’s given you so much, though, isn’t easy.

With Mother’s Day approaching, you might feel overwhelmed trying to pick out the perfect way to say thank you, especially if Mom is a senior and already has so much. Though it truly is the thought that counts, here are seven creative, thoughtful and easy Mother’s Day gift ideas for seniors from our Senior Gift Guide eBook to help you get inspired and show mom just how much she means to you this Mother’s Day.

1. Family photos

A photo of the family is a perfect senior gift idea that will be treasured for years to come. It’s versatile, too—for example, you can incorporate the photo into personalized gifts, like comfy throws, photo books, mugs or calendars with birthdays and special dates highlighted with family pictures. Visit your local CVS or Walgreens for options.

2. Crochet tools

Not only will you likely end up with a slew of handmade blankets and scarves, but the hobby provides a range of sensory stimulation for older adults. If they’re a beginner, a basket of crochet hooks, yarn and scissors, plus a handy guide, is a great start.

3. A group or partner fitness class

Working out is more fun with a friend or family member, so give the gift of fitness to both your loved one and yourself. Exercising together means more time spent together, and more accountability, too. Of course, not all fitness programs are ideal for older adults. Check out Ageility Rehab & Fitness, which offers individual, partner and group senior fitness programs specifically designed for older adults. Or find a fitness trainer who has experience with seniors.

4. Journal

Penning thoughts and experiences is a great way to keep the mind sharp, not to mention it leaves a legacy. Keep your family’s story alive for future generations with The Story of a Lifetime, a book that asks hundreds of questions about all of life’s great relationships, milestones and traditions. Also check out The Best Journal Ever, a daily positivity journal for happiness, wellness and self-care, or 642 Things to Write About, which offers prompts for writer’s block.

5. Homemade gift cards

Remember when your folks smiled as you presented them with cards you made as a kid? You know, the ones where you promised to do the dishes, mow the lawn and handle any other chores? Those handmade cards are a great Mother’s Day gift idea guaranteed to still make them smile today!

6. Birdfeeder

Birdwatching can have a positive effect on the mind and engage the brain. A birdfeeder can make a great Mother’s Day gift for seniors, and for an extra special touch, get a bird feeder that’s custom engraved. Then, hang it in an ideal spot where they can see from a window.

7. Tablet

A tablet computer will keep your loved one connected to you, allow them to follow the news and stories that matter to them, offer some fun games to play, and is a nifty way to listen to audio books. Plus, being a tech-savvy tablet user is the perfect way to stay in touch with the grandkids! Five Star Senior Living—Where Every Day is Like Mother’s Day

No one deserves a break more than moms. That’s why, in a Five Star Senior Living community, they can finally kick back, relax and let someone else take care of those pesky chores for a change. We handle those, along with providing transportation and dining so moms can spend more time doing the things they love with the people that matter most. Now that’s the Mother’s Day gift that keeps on giving! Find a community near you to learn more.

How Seniors Can Find Purpose After Losing a Loved One

Chances are if you’re an older adult, you’ve had to cope with the loss of someone close to you. It may be the loss of a parent, the death of a spouse or the loss of dear friends. From graduations to honeymoons to nights full of joy and laughter, each left an indelible mark on your life and their absence can lead to feelings of profound sadness, grief and loneliness. The loved ones you surround yourself with give your life purpose. Without them, it can be much harder to find.

That’s why it’s so important, especially as an older adult, to be part of a community that provides meaning, deep connections and a sense of belonging. All are shown to have numerous physical and mental health benefits, especially when coping with the loss of a loved one. Living in community is also one the best ways to combat senior isolation and loneliness so you can live your fullest, most vibrant life. Struggling to find community and purpose after a recent loss of a loved one? These five tips can help.

1. Be creative

When grieving the loss of a loved one, there’s much satisfaction to be found in creating something from scratch, whether it be painting a watercolor or building a birdhouse. Even if you feel you don’t have the skill or talent, just the act of creation can help cultivate a curiosity and joy and keep your body and mind active. Creating can also be a powerful tool for expressing your grief and remembering the ones you love through activities like putting together a photo album of memories or cooking their favorite dishes.

2. Stay active

It can be difficult to imagine going about your regular activities without your loved one by your side. Yet, maintaining a routine of practices you enjoy like yoga, walking or gardening can give you a reason to get out of bed and out your front door each morning. Active living can also have many life-changing benefits that encompass the five dimensions of wellness—physical, intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual.

3. Explore hobbies

It can be easy to feel guilty for wanting to do the things that make you happy after a recent loss. It’s important to remember, though, that you can give yourself permission to pursue your passions. Grieving the loss of a loved one can hold you in place and keep you from the fulfilled life you deserve. Give yourself time and space to heal, but also explore your interests and find renewed purpose in enjoying the hobbies, old and new, that excite you.

4. Get involved

Losing a loved one can make you feel disoriented and like you’ve lost a sense of purpose. Serving others by volunteering your time to local organizations is a powerful way to find purpose by becoming a valuable member of your community. Consider your talents, experience and what you enjoy. Maybe after school tutors are needed at the local school or ushers at your favorite concert hall. Volunteering is a rewarding and fulfilling experience, and a great way to honor and contribute to the groups and organizations that were close to the hearts of loved ones you’ve lost.

5. Seek relationships

You’ve spent decades forming strong, deep relationships with the ones you love. That makes losing them that much more difficult to bear. As a senior, it can also feel like you’re past the time of starting new relationships and putting yourself out there wouldn’t be worth the trouble. Here’s the thing: there are many lonely older adults like you in need of a friend to lean on and celebrate life’s joys with. Invite your neighbor on a walk, join the local church choir or try dating after the loss of a spouse and you’ll soon discover that there’s no age limit on building genuine human connections.

Five Star Senior Living: Where Helping You Find Your Purpose is Our Passion

You shouldn’t have to cope with losing a loved one alone. At Five Star, you’re surrounded by friends and neighbors who have been through the same struggles and can help walk alongside you on the hard days, as well as celebrating the good ones. Our innovative LifeStyle360 wellness program also offers plenty of opportunities for residents to explore hobbies old and new, be creative, and keep their mind and body active. Find a community near you to learn more about Five Star offers a vibrant, fulfilled life full of friends who become family.