Fragrant, Sensory Sachets Given as Gifts

At Gwinnett Park, a resident named Paul has taken leadership of the DIY Culinary Herb Garden Program. When several fellow residents were in the hospital a few months ago, Paul led a group of other residents to dry the lavender from the Eldergrow garden. These residents created fragrant, sensory sachets as gifts for their friends’ return to the community.

In the video below, you can see a Sandy Springs resident caring for her Eldergrow Therapeutic Garden. As she waters the plants, she remarks on the colors and beauty of the garden. Caring for the garden is a purpose-building sensory activity for many residents.

https://www.facebook.com/TheMansionsatSandySpringsALMC/videos/1388749714897609/

Mansions Senior Living Brings Nature Indoors with Eldergrow

As the chilly winter months take hold outside, two Mansions Senior Living communities have found innovative ways to engage residents by bringing nature indoors. The Mansions at Sandy Springs in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, and The Mansions at Gwinnett Park in Lawrenceville, Georgia, have partnered with Seattle-based Eldergrow to bring their indoor therapeutic gardening programs to residents.

Eldergrow’s mobile, indoor gardens are handcrafted by veterans and adults living with disabilities. The gardens are filled with fragrant, sensory plants, and herbs. Both communities were the first in Georgia to implement Eldergrow’s DIY Culinary Herb Garden Program, which is designed for Assisted Living and Independent Living residents. As part of an “Herb of the Month” program, communities receive fresh Herb of the Month deliveries and monthly Around the World curriculum to accompany the herbs.

Eldergrow Program at The Mansions

In November of 2021, The Mansions at Sandy Springs launched Eldergrow’s Therapeutic Horticulture Garden Program. This program is Eldergrow’s original program designed for Memory Care residents and includes an in-person Eldergrow Educator who teaches classes and provides garden maintenance. Residents kicked off the program by participating in a planting party where they designed their own garden and learned some of the therapeutic benefits of gardening.

If you’d like to learn more about this program or The Mansions, please contact us today!

When is the Right Time to Move Into an Independent Living Community?

We all love our independence. Yet, that doesn’t mean that we can’t acknowledge that things may have gotten harder as we’ve gotten older. If you’re over 55, you may still embrace an active lifestyle, but may not want to do as much housework, or you may be isolated in your current environment.

How do you know that it’s time to move into a retirement community?

You Want More Social Interaction

Living alone can be lonely. While you may have friends or family in the area, that doesn’t mean that you can interact with them on daily basis. Research has proven that have an active social life reduces the chances of major health issues like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular problems.

You’re Tired of Housework

Even many younger people don’t enjoy housework and the responsibilities that come with owning a home. As you get older, however, these tasks become even harder. If you’re having trouble keeping up with house maintenance and yard work, downsizing and moving into an independent living community can make a lot of sense. Plus, you will be able to pad your savings with the sale of your home.

You Need a Little More Help These Days

As we get older, we may not be able to do as much as we did in the past – and that’s OK. It’s perfectly acceptable to enjoy our golden years and outsource the work to someone else. An independent living community makes this really easy. They are designed for seniors who want to have a more carefree lifestyle.

You’re Thinking About Your Budget

If you’re retired or on the verge of retiring, then you need to start considering what you’re spending on a monthly basis. More than likely, your retirement funds will be different from when you were working. If you’re considering staying in your home, you may need to add modifications to make your current house more aging-in-place friendly. These updates could cost thousands of dollars.

Or you might be thinking about hiring someone to clean and cook. While this can certainly limit how much you need to do, you also need to factor these costs into your monthly budget. This already on top of standard meal, transportation, and medical services costs.

With an all-inclusive senior independent living community like The Mansions, all these items will be included. You’ll pay one flat fee and have all your property maintenance, meals, and transportation needs included.

You’re Considering What Could Happen in the Future

While you might be perfectly healthy now, that doesn’t mean that you will be in the future – and you don’t want to wind up being a burden to your family. While many seniors only move into retirement communities once they’re having trouble, others are thinking ahead and want to be in a safe place long before they start developing issues.

You Want Peace of Mind Knowing that You’re Covered

It can be challenging living alone. If an emergency does happen, it could be harder to get help exactly when you need it. At The Mansions, we have 24-hour emergency pull cords and security cameras to ensure that you’re always protected and that we’ll be there as soon as you need us.

Signs You Shouldn’t Live Alone

It’s hard giving up the lifestyle that you’re used to, but there are some signs that indicate it might be time to start thinking about a retirement community:

  • You’re already having memory issues.
  • Your eating habits have changed.
  • You’re more depressed or unwilling to do your favorite activities.
  • You’re forgetting to take your medications, or you’re taking more than you should.
  • You’re not keeping up with home or personal maintenance.

It’s helpful to look at your options long before you need to move into a retirement community, and these communities have many benefits that can improve your well-being and social interactions.

Why Consider The Mansions?

We know that you have a lot of options for senior independent living communities. At The Mansions, however, we go above and beyond to take care of your needs. We offer different levels of care to ensure that every resident gets the support that they require.

Our senior community accommodations offer all the comforts and amenities of living at home – without all the work involved. Find your new home at one of our locations in either Oklahoma City or Atlanta. Schedule a tour today!

The Science of Wellbeing

It’s no surprise that a connection to nature plays a positive role in our wellbeing. There have been hundreds of studies looking at this non-pharmacological approach to wellness and how it improves mood, pain management, and physical recovery. Neuroscience suggests that experiences rooted in nature are a positive distraction that can increase pain tolerance and improve coping and healing strategies (Franco et al., 2017).

Eldergrow Program at The Mansions

In 1996, Howard Clinebell coined the term “Ecotherapy” (a.k.a. “Green Therapy”), which refers to healing by healthy interaction with the earth. Scientists from the University of Essex found that as little as five minutes in a natural, “Ecotherapeutic” setting improved mood, motivation, and self-esteem (Barton et al., 2010). The act of gardening embodies these same wellness benefits.

A report done by the University of Washington found that daily gardening reduces the risk factors for dementia by 36% (Wolf et al., 2014). A systematic review in The Gerontological Society of America also found that specifically indoor gardening: (1) slows down cognitive decline in senior living residents with dementia, (2) reduces blood pressure, and (3) improves quality and quantity of residents’ sleep (Yeo et al., 2020).

Looking at the science of therapeutic gardening, it’s easy to see why nature can be so soothing. Mansions Senior Living is proud to partner with Eldergrow to bring the benefits of nature indoors year-round. Nature is a beautiful part of wellness and Eldergrow makes that wellness accessible to everyone.

References

Barton, Jo, and Pretty, Jules N. (2010, March). What is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health? A Multi-Study Analysis. Environmental Science and Technology, 44(10): 3947-55.

Franco, Lara S., Shanahan, Danielle F., and Fuller, Richard A. (2017, Aug). A Review of the Benefits of Nature Experiences: More Than Meets the Eye. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(8): 864.

The Effects of Isolation & the Importance of Socialization

As we grow older, we tend to become more isolated. Friends and family move away. We tend to restrict our social outings to the familiar, which can decrease over time. Eventually, our social group grows smaller. This can lead to extreme isolation. Studies have shown that loneliness and isolation can lead to serious health problems.

Effects of Isolation on Our Health

A report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) indicates that more than a third of adults over 45 and one-fourth of adults 65 and older are socially isolated. Older adults who are isolated are more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses.

The CDC also reports that isolation and loneliness can put a person’s health at risk. In fact, studies show that social isolation can increase a person’s chance of premature death – the risk might be higher than the risks associated with obesity, lack of physical activity, and smoking. It can also increase the chances of dementia by 50%, heart disease by 29%, and stroke by 32%. Further, if a person feels disconnected from society, it increases the risk of anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, cognitive decline, and potential suicide.

Yet, many older adults find it difficult to make new friends. There are many reasons for this. It’s harder to get out, or you might be too busy with other commitments. Others may feel that they just don’t have the skills to do it anymore. Most, however, can’t find the opportunities. No matter what the reasons, there are many benefits to socializing.

Why It’s So Important to Keep Socializing

Humans need regular social interactions. Studies have proven repeatedly that a strong social network can improve both physical and psychological health as well as decrease the chances of depression, reduce stress, and improve self-esteem.

Speaking of stress, lower stress levels can also improve your immune system response, making you less likely to catch a cold or other more severe infection. Socialization can also help your mindset. If you’re having fun, you’re less likely to feel depressed. Plus, if your social group likes to get out and do physical activities, then you’re more likely to stay physically healthy over time.

How to Stay Social

Most people don’t mean to lose touch. It’s just in our nature to put certain things like friendships on the backburner. You will probably have to take the initiative and reach out. While you might feel awkward doing this, you shouldn’t. Most people welcome the chance to reconnect with friends and family.

Invite People Over

Schedule a get-together with various people, especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve seen them. You can reminisce about old time.

Take Part in Activities

There are many clubs, organizations, and informational meets/seminars that can help you find likeminded individuals. Look for groups that do things that you’re interested in, and then get out there and connect with others.

Mansions Game Time

Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community as well as meet new people. You’ll usually find people of all age groups doing these sorts of activities. If you can’t commit to a regular volunteer schedule, look for groups that offer on-off participation.

Move to a Senior Living Community

Part of the reason that you might be isolated is that you’re still living in the home where you’ve been for many years. A senior living community offers a way that you can still have your own home – but with curated activities and communal dining, you have more opportunities to meet new friends.

Joining activities is key, and the right community will provide shopping outings, wellness classes, doctor’s visits, crafts, clubs you can join, and more. You can invite people you’ve just met over for tea or coffee, or you can sit with new people during mealtime. No matter how shy or reluctant you are, there’s bound to be a way for you to connect with new friends.

The Mansions Offers Many Socialization Opportunities

At The Mansions, each of our communities has its own schedule of events. We also provide regular outings to shopping districts, restaurants, casinos, and almost any other activity you can imagine. If you need help making friends, our staff is happy to make introductions to ease the way. We make socializing easy.

Schedule a free tour today!

How to Stay Healthy During Winter

Winter can be many things – a relief from the warm weather, the start of winter sports season, and even the possibility of snow. Yet, it can also result in ice and freezing cold temperatures as well as the rise in flu cases. While you may enjoy the weather, you may not enjoy these aspects of this time of year. It’s important to take steps to stay healthy throughout this season.

Dress Appropriately

While it might be snug and warm inside, the second that you walk outside, you need to be prepared for the weather. Always dress in lawyers. Seniors are highly susceptible to colder temperatures, and too much exposure to freezing temperatures can result in hypothermia, frostbite, and other illnesses. And to ensure that you won’t be exposed to terribly cold temperatures, stay inside if the thermometer drops too far below freezing.

Beware of Icy or Snowy Sidewalks

If you live in a senior living community, sidewalks will be cleared on a regular basis. If you still in your own home or you’re taking a stroll around your community or shopping area, sidewalks and crosswalks might be covered in ice and snow. If you’re not careful, this can result in slips or falls, which can easily lead to fractured bones or dislocations.

If you still plan on leaving the house or retirement community, invest in ice claws. These can be attached to your shoes and reduce the possibility of slipping.

Stay Healthy

Many of us will tend to hibernate during the winter, reducing our outdoor activities and social interactions. This can lead to depression, especially around the holidays. Poor mental health can lead to reduced immune resistance and other physical issues.

On nice days, go for a walk. If that’s not possible, go to your fitness center or to the swimming pool. Participate in social activities with your friends and family. Host dinner parties. Participate in the daily activities at your retirement home. Take steps that keep you active.

Try a New Hobby

If most of your favorite things to do involve being outside, then it might be time to think about starting a new activity. Consider picking up crocheting or knitting. If these types of activities aren’t your cup of tea, then join a book club or maybe even learn how to do standup. New fitness activities like yoga or tai chi can keep you active as well as improve your range of movement. The possibilities are endless.

If you’re living in a retirement community, check out the monthly calendar. See what’s being offered. You might find inspiration there to learn something new!

Get Your Flu Shot

While the flu shot is important every year, it’s especially crucial this year with the chance of contracting both flu and COVID-19. Being up to date on your shots will reduce your chances of contracting these.

Wear Your Masks

If you’re going out in mixed company, most of us will be indoors. With the threat of COVID-19 still high in many places, wearing a mask while indoors will reduce your chances of being infected.

Watch Your Diet

Because many of us are less active during winter, you could gain weight. People tend to snack more or just eat whatever is easiest to make. You must eat a balanced diet throughout the year. Luckily, if you’re staying in a senior living community like The Mansions, this is quite easy with our chef-prepared meals. We’ll ensure that you get balanced meal no matter what the outside weather is like.

Take Care of Your Skin

Winter can be brutal on your skin. The air is typically drier, and we’re probably running the heat to stay warm. This can lead to cracked or dry skin. Have plenty of moisturizer on hand, and make it a point to hydrate your skin at least once a day.

Another issue is that skin can become thinner during the winter. You should always wear some light outer layers to protect your skin.

Many of us forget that even though it’s winter, you can still get sunburned. Be sure to always wear sunscreen any time that you’re outside. If you take part in winter sports, sun reflection off the snow and ice can lead to bad sunburns. Take precautions!

Let Us Remove the Stress of Winter!

At The Mansions, we’ll take care of all your winter needs. If you need to go to a local restaurant or shopping area, we’ll do the driving. No need to fight the winter conditions. Our sidewalks and outside common areas are always cleared of snow and ice to ensure your safety.

With our included meals and fitness/wellness center, you can stay healthy all winter long. You also won’t feel alone when you take advantage of our packed activity calendar. Schedule a tour today. We look forward to showing you everything that The Mansions has offer!

Atlanta Named One of the Best Places to Retire!

We’ve always enjoyed living in Atlanta, but we were more than pleasantly surprised to see that Atlanta has been named one of the best places to retire. In a recent report by WalletHub, Atlanta ranked 10th on a list of 180 U.S. cities of best places to retire. It ranked extremely high for many criteria items.

How the Cities Were Ranked

To get its rankings, WalletHub compared retirement-friendliness of the cities across four dimensions:

  • Affordability: cost of living, taxes, and cost of health care
  • Activities: number of music venues, museums, and other forms of entertainment
  • Quality of Life: number of seniors, air and water quality, weather, etc.
  • Health Care: quality of services

And those dimensions were then graded using 48 metrics. Metrics were evaluated on a 100-point scale with scores closest to 100 having the most favorable conditions.

How Did Atlanta Do?

Overall, Atlanta ranked 1st for its age-friendliness and 7th for recreation opportunities. In fact, according to the Georgia Sun, Atlanta “has the most golf courses and art galleries per capita compared with the other cities. It also ranked first for its availability of adult volunteer activities.”

That’s highly impressive!

The number one ranking city on the report was Orlando, FL, followed by Charleston, SC. The worst cities to retire in were San Bernardino, CA, Newark, NJ, and Bridgeport, CT.

There’s Many Reasons We Love Atlanta

It’s for good reason that our Mansions properties have several locations in the Atlanta area. We know how much Atlanta has to offer. When you move into one of our affordable luxury senior living communities, you’ll have immediate access to many different activities, including dining, hiking, shopping and more.

As part of our all-inclusive services, we provide transportation to anywhere you want to go. We also have activities on-site as well as a health and fitness center. Not sure if The Mansions is right for you? Schedule a tour so we can show you our amazing properties as well as allow you to meet some of our happy residents.

Comparing Independent Living Communities: Questions to Ask Yourself

When you’ve finally made up your mind that it’s time to move into an independent living community, you need to select the right one for your needs. While this might be a straightforward process, it can actually be quite time consuming and an energy suck. So, you need to narrow down your options before you even schedule a tour. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to ensure that you pick the right one.

What’s Your Budget?

Before selecting a senior care community, you should review your budget. Many communities are “all-inclusive”. This means that most items are included, including utilities, telephone, housekeeping, food, and more. For example, at The Mansions, our costs are extremely affordable in comparison to owning your own home. Just check out this worksheet.

While a new independent senior living community will make financial sense, ensure that your selected one fits your budget. You’re probably on a fixed income. Verify that your current selection won’t exceed that. Don’t forget to take into account fun activities that you’ve always enjoyed, including travel, dining out, etc. So, always ensure that you have a little extra. If any senior living community exceeds your budget, exclude it.

What Do You Really Want – or Need – to Remain Happy?

You’re probably looking at an independent living community because you’re tired of taking care of your home or maybe cooking. Whatever the reason, there are still things that you probably want. For example, you would like to stay close to where your family and friends live. Or maybe, you want to continue going to the same restaurants and shopping districts that you’ve done in past.

Consider what you can live with and without. You might not want your large, two-story home anymore, but that doesn’t mean that you still don’t want a space that can accommodate your favorite items. So, maybe a time senior apartment won’t fit the bill, but a condo or townhouse will.

What Activities Are Included?

Most senior living communities have a calendar of activities that are offered throughout the month. Looking at the different activity calendars can give you an idea of what’s offered. You may even want to drop on when some of these activities are occurring to determine how well attended they are. If no one shows up on a regular basis, then this might not fit your requirements.

You may even want a fitness/wellness center. Most retirement communities do offer these amenities, but if it’s on your list, be sure to ask.

What’s the Makeup and Age of the Residents?

You want to make sure that you’re going to be living with people with whom you can easily make friends. So, asking about the demographics of the place – couples versus singles and men versus women – will help you decide if the makeup fits your needs.

What’s in the Contract?

Before signing any type of contract, it makes sense to have your lawyer and financial adviser to review it. You want to understand what you’re going to get before signing on the dotted line and handing over your first payment. All-inclusive contracts typically include nearly everything that’s offered at the community, including transportation, meals, utilities, and more. While a fee-for-service contract will have lower starting fees, you’ll probably have to pay for additional services. It’s important to determine what extras you’ll have to fork cash over for before agreeing to move into a place.

During the Initial Tour

It’s important once you narrow down your search to consider a few more items during your initial tour of the property.

Does This Feel Like Home?

It won’t matter how affordable, close to your favorite activities, or nice the people are if the place just doesn’t feel like home. If you can’t imagine yourself living in the senior living community, then it’s not the right one for you.

How is the Atmosphere?

Does it feel like everyone is enjoying their time there? Is it welcoming? If you’re getting a vibe that everyone is not enjoying themselves, then that might be significant sign. Try to visit the community during the day to really see how people use the common spaces. Talk to the residents. If they’re honestly raving about the space, then it’s probably a good place to live.

What Are the Meals Like?

Meals are extremely important. Ask when mealtimes are. Are you allowed to eat any time you want? Are the menus flexible? Are the meals created by a chef? If the meals seem pretty prepackaged or the dining hours are only at set hours, then this might not be right for you.

Thinking about all these concerns prior to selecting a community will ensure that you will find the perfect place to live your golden years.

The Mansions properties always strive to ensure that our residents enjoy their stays with us, and we are highly accommodating to their needs. Schedule a free tour to learn more about our properties.

Is It Time to Move Your Parents Into an Assisted Living Community?

Most of us don’t want to think about our parents getting older. But the truth of the matter is that it will happen – even if we’re not mentally ready for it. While we all like to think that Mom and Dad will be able to stay in their homes for the rest of their lives, there may come a time when a health crisis or other issues will require you to move your parents into an assisted living community. When is the right time to consider this?

It’s Tougher for Them to Do Daily Activities

If your parents are having trouble doing activities likes cooking or even dressing themselves, then an assisted living facility can be a good choice for them. As parents get older, it can be harder to do daily living activities. This doesn’t mean that they still aren’t independent in many ways, but they might need just more assistance to get through the day.

They Often Forget to Take Medications

Medications are important, and forgetting to take them – or taking too many – can be life threatening to your parents. If you notice that there are expired medications in the house or your parent has ended up in the hospital for taking too many pills, these are all signs that it’s time for some more help.

At an assisted living facility, experienced medical staff will ensure that medications are distributed and that your family member is taking them properly.

Your Parents Feel Isolated

It can be tough for you to visit as often. If your parents don’t have a good social circle, this can lead to many issues, including depression and drinking. If you notice an increase in unhealthy habits in your parents or a decline in their health – since isolation can lead to premature death – you should consider an assisted living community.

Decline in Mental Faculties or Changes in Personality

Changes in personality, forgetfulness or aggression that isn’t normal could be indicative of larger issues. These might be difficult for you to deal with on your own, and your parents might need more assistance to get through the day.

Increased Frailty

As adults get older, many will develop different types of chronic diseases. These can lead to major health concerns that require management. Plus, your parent might become frailer, meaning that falls can result in serious injury or even death.

They Can’t Do Things Around the House

As anyone gets older, yard work, cleaning, and regular house maintenance gets harder. If your parent is experiencing issues with taking care of the home, then you could get a maid to assist with the work. That, however, is an extra expense that might cut into an already tight budget. Many older people will still try do work around their own homes that could be risky. If they simply can’t take care of their property anymore, it would be easier on them to sell it and move into a community where these things are addressed by others.

Inability to Take Care of Their Own Finances

If bills are being missed or taxes aren’t being filed, then this could indicate that your senior parents just can’t take care of these anymore. Especially if a family member is suffering from any type of dementia, this can get harder as the years go by. If you’re not careful, your parent may even fall victim to financial scams that will have an even bigger impact on Mom’s or Dad’s finances.

They’re Just Not Eating Well

As we get older, it becomes harder and harder to cook or even go to the grocery store. If you’re finding unhealthy or even lots of expired foods, or your parent is rapidly losing or gaining weight, they might not be eating right. An assisted living facility will have a chef that will offer healthy meals throughout the day.

How Do I Approach the Subject?

It’s not easy to broach this subject with parents who have been used to living on their own for decades. In fact, you might even get a violent reaction. It’s important to take steps to make the move easier. Don’t only talk about the positives of moving into an assisted living facility or make empty promises.

Listen to their frustrations and fears. Be ready to address them and comfort your parents. Work closely with them to find a retirement community that matches their current lifestyle. Ensure that your parent’s needs are taken care of at their new home. Help them meet new people, and visit often.

While you might have a lot of guilt about making this move, remember it’s for their own good. They’ll be better protected and will quickly meet likeminded people.

Why Choosing The Mansions Is the Right Choice?

At The Mansions, we pride ourselves on our caring staff. With our different levels of care, we can accommodate every need of our clients. With locations in both Oklahoma and Georgia, our residents can take advantage of different activities, meal plans and fitness options. Learn more now!