Meet our New Memory Care Director

Exceptional Senior Living is excited to announce and welcome Dr. Shannon Bland as our Memory Care Director. Shannon has a PhD in Gerontology from the University of Kentucky as well as a Masters of Music Education with an emphasis in Music Therapy from the University of Kansas.  Shannon plans to bring her love of music into the daily programming at Exceptional Senior Living. As a Board-Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) through the Certification Board for Music Therapists, she knows that if it's not familiar, it doesn't work. "Music and reminiscing go hand in hand," she said.  "Finding out what music our residents enjoy is extremely important to the success of any music and memory program. This age group typically enjoys music from the 30s, 40s and 50s as well as traditional gospel music, but it's about taking the time to find out what works for them." According to the Alzheimer's Association®, music can serve as a helpful enrichment tool for people living with Alzheimer's disease. Studies have shown music may reduce agitation and improve behavioral issues that are common in the middle-stages of the disease. Music can also provide a way for people to connect with someone living with Alzheimer's, even after verbal communication has become difficult. Shannon will also be introducing other creative and unique experiences, such as her science for seniors experiments to the Exceptional Senior Living Memory Care Neighborhood, as well as animal therapy. "A successful memory care program has both structure and flexibility with activities that work the mind and the body," said Shannon. "Being around older adults has always been my passion and I'm on this exceptional journey with them, every step of the way."…
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Baby Boomers Help Others and Themselves Through Volunteering

Census data shows that 46 million people in the United States are over 65 and the 76 million baby boomers will soon put the responsibilities of career and children behind them. In addition to all that extra time, this generation has more education and more career success than any prior generation. Baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, still have a strong desire to see change in their community. They have strong leadership skills and knowledge. They are healthier and more active than previous generations. However, studies show that only about one third lend their many talents and abilities to volunteer organizations. David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, says, “America’s baby boomers are an untapped resource of extraordinary proportions. They are the largest, healthiest, best-educated generation in history – and they can leave an incredible legacy through service to others.” Benefits of Volunteering Many retired adults lean toward traveling and part-time work instead of volunteering, even though studies show that volunteering can add as many as 5 years to one’s life. Volunteering is good for your health in many ways. It increases energy. It decreases depression. It lowers mortality rates. It lessens loneliness and isolation. It contributes to a sense of belonging and purpose. Volunteering provides a sense of making an impact. It helps form new relationships and bonds. Volunteering is a good way to meet new and interesting people, which is often missed after years of the comradery experienced with coworkers. It increases mental simulation through learning new things and putting career experience and skills to work again.   It’s a fact that helping others can also help you, so why do so few retirees and baby boomers volunteer? One reason could be that they haven’t found a meaningful place to put their skills and talents to work. The volunteer situations they tried proved to be menial and unfulfilling. When Julie, a retired child-care provider, showed up to pack meals to be sent to war-torn areas of Africa, there were more volunteers than there was work to be done. Julie left feeling that her time had been wasted.  As you determine where you would like to devote your time and abilities, consider three tips:   Volunteering is a way to invest in the future. The impact you make now can have lasting, long-term results. When former First Lady, Barbara Bush, spoke at the 2012 Points of Light Conference on Volunteering and Service, she said, “Volunteering and community service is a lot like planting peonies. You may not see the results right away, indeed you may never see them, but you never know when you will plant a seed that one day will sprout and bloom forever.”   Sign up for a short-term or one-time volunteering opportunity to see if the organization and the cause is a fit for your abilities. Events such as cleaning up a park, collecting warm coats for a homeless shelter, stocking the pantry at a food bank, or walking dogs at the animal shelter are excellent ways to get started.    Volunteers are more likely to volunteer long term if they feel passionate about the work. Think through the issues that matter to you—education, the homeless population, the unemployed, poverty, or child hunger. This will ensure that you find a place to serve that will have meaning for you. Consider some of the opportunities below.   Volunteer Possibilities Schools—If working with children and young people appeals to you, schools offer many opportunities with various time commitments. Schools need mentors, tutors, reading partners, after-school program helpers, and help with fund-raising activities. Foster Grandparent Program allows older adults to mentor children who need extra help in school, support through medical procedures, or just a good listener.   Churches—When Marilyn down-sized from her home with a large yard, she missed digging in the dirt, planting flowers, and pulling weeds, so she volunteered as part of the church beautification team. Churches utilize volunteers with a wide variety of skills, from childcare to financial committees.   Youth sports—Youth teams often must rely on working parents who may have little time and little knowledge of the game. These youth organizations can benefit from coaching by older adults who have both time and knowledge. It’s a great way to stay young and meet new people.   Healthcare—Older adults with a medical background are in great demand in local clinics and on medical trips abroad. Many groups offer volunteer vacations where a trip to a great location is combined with a volunteer aspect. Even those with no medical background can volunteer at hospitals or skilled-nursing facilities where many residents often just need someone to read or talk with them.   Small businesses—Many small business owners need advice but can’t afford consulting fees. Many retirees have decades of business experience and wisdom to share. Consider being a mentor or coach to a small business owner. SCORE is a non-profit organization that draws on the experience of retired business executives to offer free consulting services, run training seminars, and teach classes.   The Elderly—The Senior Companions Program of the Corporation for National and Community Service matches people over 55 with elderly members of the community who need a helping hand. This might involve sitting with an elderly person a few times a week to provide relief to the family, picking up groceries, or giving a ride to doctor's appointments.   Poverty or Hunger Programs—According to Feeding America, over 5 million homes in the United States make use of local food pantries for emergency food. Food pantry volunteers sort, shelve, and deliver donated products.   Homelessness—Habitat for Humanity is always looking for qualified baby boomers, especially those with construction and carpentry skills, to join work crews in locations across the United States. Even those with no construction experience are needed as job site “gofers” and for cleaning, painting, and landscaping. Several organizations undertake rebuilding projects in areas devasted by natural disasters. This is a great way to become involved in the local culture that can’t happen on a typical vacation.   There is no shortage of volunteer opportunities for baby boomers who want to make an impact on their community. Put your years of experience and knowledge to work again and start enjoying the long list of health benefits from volunteering.   Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” ~  Fred Rogers…
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Five Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

You’ve heard it said, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, but you may not have heard “A dog is good for your health.”  Some people think dog ownership means dog hair on the sofa, veterinarian bills, and an extra mouth to feed, but recent medical research may change that way of thinking. Research has shown a number of surprising health benefits of dog ownership, especially in older adults. Dog ownership is good for your heart. Studies show that owning a dog reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, three factors that contribute to heart health. In addition, for those who have had a heart attack, studies show that dog owners have higher recovery rates. The largest study of the health benefits of dog ownership followed the health records of more than 3.4 million people in Sweden for 12 years. The study, published in Scientific Reports, showed that owning a dog is linked to a longer life, especially for people who live alone. Dog owners were found to have a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and from other causes than people who did not own a dog. Typically, older adults who live alone have a higher risk for early death than those who live with other people, but the study found that those who lived alone with a dog had a 33% reduced risk of death, and an 11% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Dog owners make fewer visits to the doctor. Pet owners over the age of 65 have been shown to seek medical help almost 30% less than older adults without pets. A Journal of Personality and Social Psychology study found that pet owners on Medicare “reported fewer doctor contacts over the 1-year period than respondents who did not own pets.” Dog ownership increases physical activity. Dog owners spend more time outdoors and are more active. A study in the journal Gerontologist found that older adults who walked dogs had “lower body mass index, fewer activities of daily living limitations, fewer doctor visits, and more frequent moderate and vigorous exercise.” A dog has to be walked even in bad weather, so there’s no excuses. Some owners may be limited in their ability to go for long walks around the neighborhood or in the park, but many fun activities can be done at home to keep both owner and dog active. Hide a treat. Hide treats or even toys around the house or yard. Finding the item will provide mental stimulation for your dog and entertainment for you as you watch them hunt for the treat or toy. You can also buy dog toys and puzzle games that allow you to hide a treat inside or put a small amount of peanut butter in a Kong brand toy. Chopped carrots are also a safe, healthy treat. Teach obedience. Make learning basic commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘down’, and ‘come’ into a game. Reward the effort with a treat or playtime. Tug of War. Use an old sock, a rope toy, or even braided strips from an old T-shirt to make a tug-of-war toy. Be careful to avoid an accidental bite and always let your dog win. Play fetch. Soft balls or stuffed toys are great for indoor fetch. Use a racket ball or tennis ball in the yard. Remember that you don’t need to throw the ball very far to give your dog exercise and entertainment. Play “chase”. Older adults can invent safer ways of playing chase with their dog. Most dogs love to chase the light from a small laser light or pen light as it shines on the wall. Buy a bottle of bubbles and watch your dog chase the floating bubbles. Invite grandchildren or other young people to play with your dog. You’ll enjoy watching them play and your dog will be ready for a nap when the children leave. Play the ‘Shell Game’. Hide a treat under plastic cups and let your dog find the treat. You can also play “Which Hand” by hiding a treat in your closed fist. Most of these activities cost very little and just take a little creativity.  Always consider your own safety first and avoid falling or tripping.  Dog ownership increases socialization. When dog owners walk their dogs, the chance of social contacts increases. A walker with a dog is considered more approachable than someone without a dog. A dog provides an instant topic of conversation and people love to talk about their dogs, so a dog is an instant icebreaker.  Dog ownership reduces loneliness. You may know someone who got a dog to combat the empty nest syndrome when their children left home. A dog adds life and noise to a home that can be too quiet. A dog brings purpose and focus to each day, which is one reason dog owners have less depression, especially elderly women. Loneliness contributes to cognitive decline in older adults. Having a dog is shown to increase serotonin and dopamine, the brain chemicals related to wellbeing. That’s why dog therapy programs in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes are so successful. Dogs also ease tension between married couples and help calm Alzheimer’s patients.  The responsibilities of caring for a dog give an older person a sense of purpose and a reason for getting up and out.  We can care for and talk to our dog. A dog is a friend who offers unconditional love and companionship.   You do the math. Dog ownership decreases blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride levels, doctor visits, loneliness, and stress. Dog ownership adds to activity level, social connections, wellbeing, serotonin and dopamine levels, and sense of purpose. When you add it all up, it’s easy to see that the health benefits of dog ownership are worth the expense and a little dog hair.    To see more research, go to these links: Scientific Reports study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-16118-6 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology study: http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1990-31740-001 …
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About Exceptional Senior Living

Welcome to Exceptional Senior Living!

Exceptional Senior Living offers seniors the ability to maintain their independence and receive assistance with daily activities. Our beautifully landscaped grounds and comfortably refined atmosphere make Exceptional Senior Living the place seniors want to call home.

At Exceptional Senior Living, it's all about possibilities. Our residents are encouraged to savor each day by taking part in a variety of daily activities. With services that range from a salon and spa to a movie theatre, large courtyard, and putting green, there is always an amenity to enjoy.

Our fine dining team specializes in home-style favorites and provides a personalized restaurant-style dining experience for each person served. With our maintenance-free lifestyle, you can kick back and enjoy our library, fitness studio, putting green, or library.

With 24-hour personalized care, our well-trained staff provide discreet assistance in activities such as grooming, bathing, dressing and medication management.

Live life to the fullest at Exceptional Senior Living of Prospect!

Reserve your new senior apartment today by calling (502) 907-3778.