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Benefits of Swimming for Seniors

Swimming is universally known as a great, low-impact exercise for all ages, but it’s a particularly beneficial exercise for older adults. Swimming for seniors offers more than just physical health benefits. On warm-weather days, swimming offers a chance to get much-needed fresh air and vitamin D.

On colder or rainier days, swimming indoors can be a relaxing act of self-care, and no matter the weather or water source, it’s always fun to swim with friends. Taking swimming classes as part of a senior fitness routine can offer camaraderie and a regularly scheduled activity to look forward to, helping to maintain familiar routines while getting gentle exercise.


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Let’s take a look at some of the specific benefits of swimming for seniors.

Health Benefits of Swimming for Seniors

It’s no surprise that swimming is good for your health, and it’s a perfect exercise for seniors because it offers an excellent source of cardiovascular exercise while going easy on joints. Unlike high-impact cardiovascular exercise like running, swimming uses the benefit of the water’s buoyancy to take stress off of the joints while providing gentle resistance to work up to a safe target heart rate.

7 Ways Swimming Keeps Seniors Active and Healthy

 

  1. Promoting cardiovascular health – Swimming is an amazing way to maintain cardiovascular health and help prevent cardiovascular disease. By working both the heart and lungs, swimming helps the body use oxygen more efficiently and improve circulation, reducing risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and helping to improve things like blood pressure and cholesterol.
  2. Improved flexibility – swimming allows for gentle stretching and safely expanding range of motion over time, helping improve mobility and promote comfort when moving outside of the pool.
  3. Improved bone health – swimming can help improve bone mineral density (BMD), helping to fight against bone loss diseases like osteopenia and osteoporosis
  4. Strength, posture, and stability – the water’s resistance combined with immersion means that swimming helps to condition muscles on the entire body, promoting improved posture and core strength, leading to improved balance and a lower risk of falls.
  5. Mental health benefits – the aerobic nature of swimming combined with its meditative qualities have been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and feelings of depression, and to promote general feelings of wellbeing.
  6. Improved sleep – because it works all of the body’s muscle groups, swimming helps tire you out (in a good way!) and helps improve sleep quality. Poor sleep can lead to mental health struggles, and higher risk of illness and mortality. With approximately 50% of older adults experiencing sleep difficulties, this is a particularly important benefit that swimming offers to seniors.
  7. Opportunity for social engagementisolation and loneliness are common issues that seniors face. When attending a swimming class as part of a senior fitness program, senior living residents enjoy regular social time with friends which is of great benefit to mental health and an overall sense of belonging and wellbeing. Attending a class with others also helps encourage swimmers to keep up a routine and stick with their fitness plan.

Pool Exercises for Seniors

If you or a loved one are currently living in or considering living in a senior living community, there’s a good chance your senior living community’s amenities will include an indoor or outdoor pool. Unsure which swimming exercises are best for older adults? The good news is you don’t need an instructor or special equipment to have a great aquatic workout. In fact, you don’t have to swim at all! Here are a few sample pool exercises for seniors to help you get started:

  1. Walking/jogging in the pool – Let the water work with you by pushing against you! Taking a slow walk in the shallow end of the pool or working up to a more vigorous pace gives you the heart-pumping workout of a jog on land with a fraction of the impact on joints. If you lose your balance, you won’t fall, and you can maintain a pace that’s comfortable for you while counting horizontal laps across the pool to track your progress.
  2. Flutter kicks – This senior pool exercise can be performed while moving or stationary. To do stationary flutter kicks, you can hold onto the side of the pool and kick your legs out behind you, or lie on your back and float your legs in front of you, keeping your legs as straight as you can and performing small kicking movements. To perform flutter kicks while moving, grab onto a kickboard and propel yourself forward with the same, rapid, straight-legged kicks. Remember to maintain a pace that gets your heart rate elevated but doesn’t feel exhausting.
  3. Pool edge wall push-ups – Unlike traditional push-ups that put a lot of strain on elbows and wrists, pool push-ups allow you to strengthen your core and arms while remaining standing. Approach the edge of the pool where you’re able to stand with some of your torso above the water. Hold onto the side of the pool with your arms a little wider than shoulder-width apart, standing far enough back where your feet are still able to plant firmly on the pool bottom. Gently lower your chest toward the edge of the pool, then push back to a more upright position. Increase repetitions as your strength improves.

These are just a few of many senior pool exercises you can try. For more in-depth instructions and examples, it’s a good idea to talk with your community’s senior fitness director or, for specific joint or mobility concerns, work with a dedicated senior physical therapist to get the most benefit out of your workout.

Find a Senior Living Community with swimming Pool

At Five Star Senior Living, we see senior fitness and wellness as an integral part of the senior living experience. With our Lifestyle360 program and access to senior physical therapists from Ageility Physical Therapy Solutions, our properties are equipped to promote wellbeing and an active senior lifestyle.

Many of our senior living communities include access to a beautiful swimming pool, some indoor and some outdoor. To find the right senior living community for you, use our community finder or contact one of our community experts to answer any questions you may have. We look forward to meeting you (and seeing you at the pool!) soon!

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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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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!


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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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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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How Does Dementia Affect Sleep?

If you are the caregiver for an older adult who has dementia, you might be having difficulty getting them to sleep. Family members often say it seems like their loved one can go for days without sleeping. It makes for what experts call a “36-hour day.” It can be exhausting for the caregiver and the senior.


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While it isn’t always easy to pinpoint the cause of insomnia in a senior with dementia, there are some common issues. Here are a few to discuss with your loved one’s physician.

4 Causes of Sleep Problems in Seniors with Dementia

1. Overly busy schedule late in the day

It can be hard for people with dementia to process too much information or an overly busy environment. When a senior with dementia has an afternoon and evening schedule that is hectic, they might feel agitated and have trouble unwinding. This makes falling and staying asleep difficult.

A solution is to schedule activities and appointments early in the day. Keep the afternoon and evening quieter. Turn off the television and play soothing music instead. Take out magazines or old photos for the senior to look through. The goal should be to keep things peaceful and relaxing.

2. Sleep Apnea and other sleep disorders

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder which stops and restarts breathing during sleep. This can prevent a person’s body from getting enough oxygen and can cause snoring or gasping resulting in poor quality sleep.

According to the National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute, there are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. The most common is obstructive sleep apnea which occurs when your throat muscles relax and block the airway in the throat. Central sleep apnea happens when a person’s brain stops sending the signals needed to breathe.

People who are overweight, male, or have a family history of small airways are most at risk for sleep apnea. While people with sleep apnea snore loudly, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.

Share the situation with your loved one’s doctor to be sure there isn’t another problem preventing them from sleeping. Sometimes medical issues are responsible for sleep difficulties. It could be sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or restless leg syndrome.

Your physician might be able to order an in-home sleep study in lieu of a clinic-based test. That eliminates concerns about an adult who has a memory impairment spending the night in a strange environment.

3. Not having a routine

Adults with a memory impairment often do better when their days are structured and their routine stays the same. Lifestyle programs like Five Star Senior Living’s Bridge to Rediscovery establish set routines for memory care residents like activities, meals times, and hydration breaks. Researchers think having a set routine helps because it requires less short-term memory. For adults with memory loss, short-term memory is typically impacted early in the disease progression.

4. Other lifestyle and environmental issues

If none of the tips listed above seem to help, there are a few more things to consider:

  • Is their bedroom too hot?
  • Is their bed uncomfortable?
  • Is a medication or side effect causing sleeplessness?
  • Do they have undiagnosed chronic or acute pain?
  • Are they consuming too much caffeine, especially later in the day?

Dementia and Sleeping A Lot

Alternatively some people with dementia sleep a lot. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, sleeping more is a common occurrence for people with later-stage dementia. As the disease progresses the person’s brain weakens. People with dementia become exhausted when trying to communicate, eat, or understand their surroundings. Excessive sleep can be a side effect of some medication as well. It’s important to monitor a person with dementia if they are sleeping a lot to prevent any physical health problems.

Sleep Positions and Dementia

Choosing the right sleep position isn’t just about comfort; it can also have significant implications for a person’s health. Sleeping on your side is generally considered the best position for most people because it can alleviate sleep apnea and acid reflux. One study found some evidence that sleeping in specific positions “could influence the clearance of neurotoxic proteins from the brain.”

During the day, our brains accumulate toxic byproducts in the central nervous system. These are flushed away during sleep via cerebrospinal fluid. That brain waste includes beta amyloid, which is a substance found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. A study done at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) found that the natural waste clearing system in the brain works best when people sleep on their side.

Memory Care at Five Star Senior Living

If you’ve concluded that your loved one’s quality of life would be better in a memory care community, we hope you will consider Five Star Senior Living. Our Montessori-based Bridge to Rediscovery Alzheimer’s and dementia care program provides personalized memory care based on your loved one’s specific abilities, preferences, and passions. Find a memory care community near you to learn more about how a Five Star can help your loved one with dementia rediscover a meaningful life full of joy and purpose.

5 Ways to Combat Loneliness in Seniors

We all experience loneliness at some point in our lives, but as we age we have an increased risk of experiencing loneliness. In fact, an estimated 13.8 million seniors live alone, according to a report by the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Chronic loneliness is the feeling of being alone, regardless of the amount of social contact. As an older adult, this can increase your risk of dementia by 50 percent.


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What Contributes to Senior Loneliness and Isolation?

Senior isolation is unfortunately a common occurrence. Many older adults live at home alone, often after the loss of a loved one. Reduced mobility or lack of physical exercise can also cause seniors to become housebound or get out less. Without frequent visits from family or friends, feelings of isolation can sink in and keep you from living your fullest, most vibrant life.

How To Reduce Senior Loneliness and Build Genuine Connections

The “epidemic of loneliness” is considered a public health concern. In May, a Surgeon General Advisory highlighted the dangers of loneliness, especially senior loneliness.

“Our epidemic of loneliness and isolation has been an underappreciated public health crisis that has harmed individual and societal health. Our relationships are a source of healing and well-being hiding in plain sight – one that can help us live healthier, more fulfilled, and more productive lives,” said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy in the advisory.

Here’s the most important thing to remember: you’re not alone. Your neighbor down the street may be having those same feelings of loneliness and isolation, just waiting for someone to knock on their door and say hello. Building genuine, human connections is one of the most powerful ways to overcome loneliness. Here are five ways to do just that and find joy, purpose and new friendships later in life.

1. Reduce isolation by getting to know your neighbors

Putting yourself out there to meet people in your community isn’t easy, but the benefits can be life changing. Staying connected with your neighbors doesn’t require any grand gestures, either. The report also discovered that performing small acts of kindness like offering advice to new neighbors, helping bring in groceries or just waving hello as you walk by can reduce the likelihood of feeling lonely.

2. Fight loneliness by getting involved in the community

Everyone has unique skills and talents they can offer their community. Maybe it’s a green thumb, an artistic side or simply a passion for pitching in wherever help is needed. Volunteering is a great way to do just that while also making new friends. Search online or ask a neighbor about volunteering opportunities in your community like tending to local gardens, tutoring kids after school or helping put together care packages for those in need.

3. Prevent senior isolation by getting and staying active

It’s no secret that keeping your mind and body active has major health benefits for older adults, but if done in a group, it’s also one of the most effective ways to fight loneliness. Finding the motivation to get and stay active, though, isn’t easy. The thing to remember is, having an active senior lifestyle doesn’t mean you need to hit the gym and work up a sweat every day. Activities as simple, easy and fun as joining a neighborhood walking group or, if immobility is an issue, working on a puzzle with a friend can help improve your overall well being while also keeping you connected to others.

4. Feeling lonely? Ask for help

Sometimes the hardest thing to do when we’re feeling lonely is to tell someone. It can feel like you’re being a burden. Or maybe you were raised to rely on yourself, not others. For those that bravely take that first step toward seeking help, though, there are all sorts of great resources available that can help you cope. The Social Isolation and Loneliness Outreach Toolkit from the National Institute on Aging and Connect 2Tools from AARP are good places to start. If you’re experiencing symptoms of senior depression alongside feelings of loneliness—like loss of appetite or lack of energy—also consider contacting a mental health professional who can offer guidance and coping strategies.

5. Move into a senior living community

It’s only natural that living alone can lead to feelings of loneliness, especially if you have lost a spouse. The desire to maintain independence and remain at home as you age is common amongst older adults, but isolation can be a dangerous side effect.

That’s where senior living communities come in. Life in a senior living community not only promotes your health and wellness, but also encourages socialization. With a lifestyle that provides you with more choices and more comfort, you have more time to pursue your passions. Senior living communities give you opportunities to know your neighbors, get involved, and stay active.

The Five Star Difference: Goodbye senior loneliness, hello life

At Five Star, helping our residents find joy, purpose and friends they can call family is our mission. Our innovative LifeStyle360 wellness program is designed to connect residents and combat loneliness by offering enriching and engaging activities for residents. Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what one resident had to say about how moving into a Five Star community helped her overcome her loneliness and live life to her fullest.

“This has been a huge blessing in my life. I found myself being very lonely and not eating well while living alone. My friends and family suggested I take a look at [Five Star] and it has been the best decision. I have made so many friends. I’ve gotten healthier with all the dining options. I go to many activities, especially Bible study. Anything I need they take care of. The community is so clean and inviting. I never want to leave here and wish I had moved sooner.”

To learn more about how life at Five Star Senior Living is can be the antidote to senior loneliness and isolation, contact one of our senior living experts or find a Five Star Senior Living community near you.

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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.

Picnic

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

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.

Pickleball

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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Signs of PTSD in the Elderly

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric condition that can affect people of all ages, including older adults, who have experienced or been a witness to a traumatic event or set of circumstances. It’s a complex disorder that can be physical or emotional and create a negative impact on a person’s mental health and quality of life.

PTSD can emerge or re-emerge later in life due to retirement, increased health problems, decreased sensory abilities, reduced income, loss of loved ones, decreased support, cognitive impairment, and other stressors. According to a 2016 study, In the U.S, 50 to 90 percent of older adults have been exposed to a traumatic event.

PTSD is also common in older adults who are military veterans, especially men. Combat veterans in particular can have upsetting and painful memories of wartime experiences even long after completing their military service.

What to Look For: Symptoms of PTSD in Older Adults

According to the National Center for PTSD, symptoms of PTSD in older adults can vary from person to person, but there are several common symptoms for people who have experienced trauma.

Reliving the trauma

When a person experiences trauma the memories of it may return at any time, even years later. These memories can be triggered by something that reminds a person of the event. Watching a war movie or seeing a graphic news report can all be triggering and cause flashbacks, nightmares, and panic attacks.

Avoiding triggers that remind them of the event

Seniors with PTSD may try to avoid things that remind them of the traumatic event like large groups of people or leaving the house. A senior may isolate themselves from close relationships to avoid discussing issues and past trauma.

Increase in negative thoughts and feelings

No matter a person’s personality, trauma harms a person’s mental health and wellbeing causing them to feel sad, numb, or apathetic. With seniors, this can manifest as losing interest in hobbies after retirement, depression, isolating from family, and having difficulty expressing happiness. Guilt, shame, and regret from the traumatic event may also increase negative feelings.

Feeling on edge

PTSD in seniors can also manifest as stress, jitters, and anxiety. This can cause trouble sleeping, concentrating, and unwinding or relaxing. Angry outbursts in older adults can become more common and aggressive. Feeling on edge all the time can potentially lead to drug use or drinking too much alcohol.

Treatment of PTSD in Older Adults

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms it’s important to ask for help and find the best treatment. Reach out to healthcare providers, family, friends, and anyone else who can offer support.

Trauma-focused therapy that focuses on processing the traumatic event and using prolonged exposure to expose a person to the thoughts, feelings, and situations that have been avoided. Medication is another option for older adults with PTSD. Always talk with a doctor or psychiatrist to find out what kind of medications can help.

Caring for Elderly with PTSD

When caring for an elderly person with PTSD it’s important to be patient, understanding, and compassionate. It’s vital to create a safe and comfortable environment and to minimize triggers. Establishing a routine can also be helpful to promote security and stability.

Remember you or your loved one don’t have to go it alone. Healthcare providers, The Department of Veteran Affairs, and other support networks can offer an empathetic and nurturing approach to seniors with PTSD.

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The Top 10 Senior Travel Tips

Whether you’re a seasoned globe trotter or you’ve waited until after you’ve retired to enjoy your first big trip, travel needs and preferences can change significantly as we get older. Travel is a great opportunity for seniors to explore new places, experience different cultures, and connect with loved ones.

Traveling to places both near and far is also a great way to maintain an active lifestyle and stay engaged physically and socially. However, traveling in retirement can present its own set of challenges from selecting the right destination to navigating transportation.

Once you’ve found your next dream vacation and packed your bags, use some of these helpful senior travel tips to get the most out of your journey—no matter where you go.

1. Look for senior travel discounts

When you’re booking your hotel, airline, and other travel accommodations, be sure to check for special offers and discounts for seniors. Organizations such as AARP can offer discounted rates to members. Also, don’t be afraid to ask businesses for discounts as many are happy to offer them to older travelers.

2. Plan ahead with a clear itinerary 

It’s always best to be prepared. Once you’ve picked your destination, map out each day with sights to see, restaurants to enjoy, and shops to visit. This way you’ve got activities planned if you’re looking to get out

3. Pack light

When packing, choose clothing items that can be mixed and matched for different occasions—clothes you can dress up or dress down. Also, try to limit yourself to a few pairs of comfortable shoes.

4. Consider a bus tour or cruise

Traveling for seniors is all about comfort and accessibility without sacrificing any of the fun. Bus tours and cruises are an excellent way to travel wherever you want with comfort and ease. Both bus tours and cruises are often package deals with entertainment, meals, and other accommodations all conveniently rolled into one purchase.

5. Stay connected

Make sure you stay in touch with loved ones back home by bringing a smartphone or tablet. It’s never a bad idea to purchase a cell service plan in a foreign country, but remember many hotels, cafes, and other popular areas will have free or cheap wifi so you can access the internet.

6. Prepare for emergencies 

No matter if you’re traveling solo or with a tour group, it’s always best to prepare for anything. Bring spare batteries for hearing aids or other medical devices, have important numbers accessible on your phone, prepare medication ahead of time, and keep your personal documentation with you at all times.

7. Find a senior travel group

One of the best ways to have an enriching trip is to share it with other like-minded people. Joining a senior travel group is a great way to meet friends while you explore new places.

8. Research where you’ll stay

While searching for your lodgings, look for hotels and resorts that cater to older adults with amenities like wheelchair accessibility, bathroom grab bars, and more.

9. Consider your health

When you plan your itinerary, keep your health in mind. Make sure your schedule has open time for rest and relaxation. Try to research restaurants that can have foods you can enjoy and make sure you take any necessary medication with you.

10. Take care of yourself

This is the golden rule of travel. Make self-care a priority with enough rest, nutritious meals, and adequate hydration. This will help maintain your health and energy so you have the energy you need to see all the world has to offer.

Looking for a stress-free place to stay on your next senior travel adventure?

One of the most difficult parts of traveling can be leaving the safety and comfort of home. With Five Star Senior Living’s short-term stays you can travel across the country and experience the best parts of home at one of our communities.

Short term stays are great for older adults who want to recover from an illness or injury, have a safe and supportive environment with like minded people, or want to experience what senior living is all about.

We balance independence with aging so you can lead a more active, social, and fulfilling lifestyle all on your terms—each day done your way. Don’t wait to make the most of your retirement years—find a community near you today.

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The 5 Best Vacations for Seniors with Limited Mobility

As we age, checking off bucket list items can seem more and more daunting, but it doesn’t have to be—especially when it comes to travel. There are a wealth of vacation and travel options designed specifically for seniors with limited mobility to explore new destinations and enjoy new experiences.  When it comes to the best vacations for seniors it’s all about comfort and accessibility without sacrificing the fun and adventure of travel. From trying the best dish at a restaurant in a new city to sailing the seven seas on a cruise ship, there’s never been a better time for seniors to pack their bags and see what the world has to offer.

1. Niagara Falls

One of the most breathtaking natural wonders in the country, Niagara Falls is also one of the best vacations for seniors to travel to because of its easy accessibility. The falls can be viewed from several handicap-accessible observation decks that all offer stunning panoramic views of the 3,160 tons of water that flow over the falls every second. With accessible boat tours, helicopter rides, museums, wineries, and gardens, seniors can enjoy the falls with the whole family. Cross the border into Canada to get a behind the scenes view of the falls or venture to neighboring Lewiston and Youngstown for gorgeous river views and a picnic at Fort Niagara.

2. National Parks

America’s National Parks system comprises some of the most beautiful and unspoiled wilderness areas in the country. Many parks have accessible trails and scenic drives that are great for seniors with limited mobility. Many parks also offer educational programs and tours led by park rangers so you can learn about the natural history as you enjoy stunning vistas, diverse wildlife, and recreational activities. National parks are an excellent choice for seniors looking to reconnect with nature and explore the country’s great outdoors. Some great senior-friendly parks include Acadia National Park in Maine, Yosemite National Park in California, Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii.

3. Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach in South Carolina combines natural beauty, outdoor activities, and senior-friendly amenities to create the perfect choice for seniors looking for a seaside vacation. Enjoy miles of pristine beach, crisp ocean views, and warm sunshine while you relax. The surrounding area also offers a wide range of activities like golfing, fishing, and nature walks. With gorgeous scenery, an active atmosphere, and senior amenities, like senior discounts and limited mobility accessibility, Myrtle Beach is a premier senior vacation destination.

4. Accessible Cities like Boston, Philadelphia, and San Antonio

History, entertainment, and charm come together in these three cities making them perfect for seniors. Rich in history and host to a thriving food scene, Boston is a very walkable city that gives seniors the ability to learn about American history and grab a great bite to eat around every corner. Philadelphia offers a similar atmosphere as Boston with numerous museums, historical landmarks, and more. San Antonio boasts a richly diverse and accessible zoo with over 750 animal species making it a great choice for seniors traveling with the whole family.

5. Consider a cruise

Cruises are one of the best vacation options for seniors looking to scratch that travel itch. Many cruises are specifically designed to cater to older adults with comfortable and safe lodgings, onboard amenities, and entertainment for every interest. Cruises also give seniors the opportunity to explore multiple destinations in one trip like cities in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, and much more. Packaging multiple trips gives seniors great value for their money as many cruises offer all-inclusive trips.

Nurture your sense of adventure in retirement with Five Star

The only thing better than heading out on a new adventure is knowing you’ve got a special place to return home. Five Star Senior Living balances independence with aging so you can be more you.  We meet residents where they’re at and empower them with enriching activities and a vibrant community rich in support. Don’t wait to make the most of your retirement years—find a community near you or contact us to get started.

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