Find a Community

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.

In this article:

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.

Contact Us Today

"*" indicates required fields

*Select an option:*
* All fields required.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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.

In this article:

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.

In this article:

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.

Contact Us Today

"*" indicates required fields

*Select an option:*
* All fields required.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

9 Fun Outdoor Activities for Seniors

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

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

In this Article:

6 Outdoor Activities for Seniors

Nature Walks

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


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


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

Outdoor Yoga

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


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

Local Events

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

3 Outdoor Activities for Seniors with Limited Mobility

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

Scenic Drives

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

Outdoor Concerts

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

Bird Watching

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

Contact Us Today

"*" indicates required fields

*Select an option:*
* All fields required.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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.

Contact Us Today

"*" indicates required fields

*Select an option:*
* All fields required.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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.

Contact Us Today

"*" indicates required fields

*Select an option:*
* All fields required.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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.

Contact Us Today

"*" indicates required fields

*Select an option:*
* All fields required.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Common Mental Health Issue for Older Adults

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 brain 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 over-treatment and under-treatment 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 reimagine 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 near you today.

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

*Select an option:*
* All fields required.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Depression in Older Adults – Symptoms, Risks, & How to Get Help

Having a bad day or feeling down once in a while is a normal part of life, but having these same feelings day in and day out is usually a sign of something worse—depression. In older adults, depression is not just being melancholy, having “the holiday blues”, or being upset at the loss of a loved one. It’s a very real, but treatable, medical condition.

In this article:

Senior depression is not a normal part of aging, but older adults are at higher risk for experiencing depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control, depression in seniors can often be misdiagnosed due to healthcare providers mistaking depression symptoms as a natural reaction to illness or other life changes.

While seniors are at higher risk for depression, the vast majority of seniors are not depressed. Additionally most seniors see improvements in their symptoms when treated with antidepressant drugs, therapy, or both.

Here are some tips to recognize depression in older adults and how to get help:

Symptoms of Depression in Older Adults

It isn’t always easy to recognize the signs of depression in older adults— you may notice a plate of empty food or a loss of interest in hobbies that were once pleasurable. One of the biggest tell-tale signs of depression is prolonged feelings of sadness or anxiety that can last for weeks. Older adults with depression may also be experiencing:

  • Feelings of guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, sadness, or pessimism
  • A lack or loss of interest in activities that once brought pleasure
  • Decreased energy
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts

Common Causes of Depression in the Elderly

The exact causes of senior depression are unknown, but experts believe it may be caused by a combination of factors in a person’s life. While it’s important to know the symptoms of depression in older adults, it’s just as important to know what can put someone at risk for experiencing depression. Each person is different, but here is a list of potential factors that can contribute to depression in older adults:


As adults age, their worlds can feel increasingly isolating. Partners and loved ones can pass away; neighbors, friends, and family may move; and the ability to physically leave home may become more difficult.

Medical issues

Older adults may struggle after a medical procedure or illness. A surgery that doesn’t allow a person to be as active as they once were or an illness like cancer, stroke, or chronic can contribute to feelings of helplessness.

Traumatic or stressful events

Major traumatic events in a person’s life can happen when they’re least expecting it. Seniors can be victims of abuse, experience the death of a loved one, or have financial problems that can all affect their mental state.

Using alcohol or drugs

Certain medications can cause changes in a person’s behavior and mentality. It’s always best to talk to your doctor about how your medications are affecting you or a loved one. Alcohol consumption can also lead to similar emotional changes.

How to Help Seniors with Depression

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to help and support seniors with depression. If you are concerned about a loved one who may be experiencing depression here is a list of ways you can support them:

Talk it out

Communication is key. Having a one-on-one conversation with a loved one is one of the best ways to know what’s going on with them. Sometimes just venting can help an older adult, other times you may find they need help, but are struggling to ask for it. Either way take some time to discuss what is happening in their life.

Frequent check-ins

Moving to a senior living community is a major change for an older adult. One way to make them feel more at home is by making frequent visits or phone calls. Set up a schedule and carve out time to let your family member know you’re there for them. Simple questions like “how are you doing?” and “what did you do today?” can go a long way.

Schedule activities

If you’re able to visit in-person, spend time playing games, going for walks, or venturing out into the local town. Set up an activity like going to a museum, a new restaurant, or seeing other friends and family to give the older adult in your life an event to look forward to.

Accompany them to see a health care provider

Approach this subject delicately, as your family member may be hesitant to seek help. By offering to join an older adult to an appointment, you can show that they’re not alone no matter what they’re going through. This can also be an important step for your loved one to be diagnosed and, if needed, treated.

The Benefits of Finding a Community

Moving to a senior living community can also have numerous benefits for an older adult with depression. Communities like Five Star Senior Living offer a welcoming atmosphere that brings older adults together to make new connections and stay active with a suite of programs and activities.

AlerisLife and Five Star Senior Living communities believe a person’s quality of life is ageless. At Five Star Senior Living communities, we offer a wide range of senior living options built with a high level of service and sense of community.

Contact us to find a senior living community near you.

Contact Us Today

"*" indicates required fields

*Select an option:*
* All fields required.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How to Stay Active – 7 Tips for Seniors

Maintaining an active lifestyle is important at any age, but it can be especially important for older adults and seniors in retirement to help boost health and wellbeing. Staying active has scores of health benefits, from strengthening bone health and improving blood pressure to lowering the risk of diabetes and supporting neurocognitive function.
It’s vital to keep moving as you age, and it’s not uncommon for older adults to lose their strength and balance which unfortunately can result in falls. In fact, 1 in 4 older adults report falling every year. For some seniors, healing from an injury can take longer. A sedentary lifestyle without regular exercise and active movement can lead to more frequent falls, injuries, and pains.

But don’t think you have to hit the gym weights everyday. While focused physical exercise is a great way to stay active, it’s not the only way to have an active senior lifestyle. Many senior living communities offer fun activities throughout the week that are catered to your abilities to keep you living your best life.

Here are seven great tips that will inspire you to maintain a healthy and active senior lifestyle:

7 Ways to Maintain an Active Senior Lifestyle


Exercise classes/groups

What better way to lead an active retirement than to break a sweat? Many senior-living communities offer a plethora of exercise and fitness classes like tai chi, weight training, and walking groups. At Five Star, we partner with Ageility, an AlerisLife operating division that focuses on rehab and fitness classes for older adults. Classes and groups are often on a set schedule. Communities make signing up a breeze so you can get to work and even meet some new friends.


Put that green thumb to work by digging into the joys of gardening. Spending time tending to homegrown fruits and vegetables is a perfect way to not only get you off the couch, but also outside. Gardening is also easy to weave into any routine, as plants usually only need to be tended to once in the morning and once in the evening. Many senior living communities offer garden clubs or resident gardens where you can get started. Zucchini, lettuce, and tomatoes are a few great options for beginning gardeners. Herbs like chives, oregano, parsley are also great options and can be grown inside with ease!


As one of the best exercises out there, swimming is an excellent exercise for active older adults. The resistance of the water makes you use your whole body, keeps your heart rate up, and helps build endurance. There are a lot of Five Star communities that have swimming pools inside the community grounds, but if there isn’t one, be sure to ask your community’s team members if there are recreation centers nearby that you could use.

Senior Clubs

Staying active in retirement isn’t all about weight lifting and cardio. Senior living communities like Five Star have many activities including clubs, which are a great way to have fun both on and off your feet. Channel your inner thespian with theater groups or lead great discussions at book clubs. There’s also social clubs like men or women’s clubs, tea time, and game clubs. Each community offers different activities, but you’re guaranteed to find a club that you’ll look forward to attending.

Classes for older adults

If you love to learn, signing up for a class offered at your senior living community is a great way to stay active. Classes can range from poetry writing and charcoal sketching to learning a new language and dancing. With set times each week, classes can be a great workout for your mind, body, and soul. Check out your community’s monthly activities calendar to see what classes are available or ask your Lifestyle 360 director for more information.

Playing video games

You read that right. Believe it or not, with systems like the Nintendo Wii and the Nintendo Switch, you can go bowling with a friend, compete in olympic style games, and dance to music all at your own pace. Many communities come equipped with gaming systems that are easy to use and make for hours of fun. The best part is you can set your own schedule because staying active with video games is as easy as pressing on the power button.

Getting a pet

It would be hard to list all the benefits of having a pet, but let’s just say there’s quite a few! Having a pet keeps you active as you nurture and care for your four-legged friend. Most Five Star communities are pet friendly so you can enjoy your pet, as well as your friend’s pets. Having a pet like a dog can give you a great reason to get up and go for a refreshing walk in the morning to start your day.

Join Other Active Seniors at Five Star

When it comes to active senior living, Five Star communities have you covered. Every Five Star community has a Lifestyle360 director and a robust activities calendar that offers new and regular programs, events, and activities each month. Be sure to check out your community’s calendar or join the resident council to voice your thoughts on what the calendar should include.

Take Steps Toward an Active Retirement Today

AlerisLife and Five Star communities believe a person’s quality of life is ageless. At Five Star communities, we offer a wide range of senior living options built with a high level of service and sense of community. Contact us to find a senior living community near you.

Contact Us Today

"*" indicates required fields

*Select an option:*
* All fields required.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.