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December 2013

A Very Merry Christmas from Lakeshore Senior Communities!

Christmas-groupsThe month of December is filled with joy and laughter at The Meadows and Heartland. Visits by church groups, a Mom’s Preschool group and the Girl Scouts, along with entertainment by Nashville Christian School Kindergarten, Mr. Bill Schleuter, and Westminster Presbyterian Church Hand Bell Choir were among those whose performances brightened the spirits of our residents.

Christmas-dinnerOne of our favorite holiday traditions is Christmas Dinner at both The Meadows and Heartland. Families and friends enjoyed a delicious dinner and delightful entertainment throughout dinner. Staff and volunteers served dinner and enjoyed the evening as much as our guests! We are indeed blessed to celebrate Christmas with our Lakeshore family.

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Come be a part of our active, independent living community – homes now available

Housing-options_blogLakeshore’s Harpeth Meadows Senior Community in beautiful Bellevue has several residences available for occupancy:

607 Birch Glen Court

Elmwood floor plan with 2 bedrooms/2baths, covered and screened patio with 1 car attached garage. Also includes fireplace and custom bookcase unit. This remodeled home is available for immediate occupancy.

317 White Oak Lane

Applegate floor plan with 2 bedrooms/2baths, covered patio with 1 car attached garage. This remodeled home is available for immediate occupancy.

368 White Oak Lane

Ferndale floor plan with 3 bedrooms/2baths, covered patio with 2 car attached garage. This home also includes a fireplace. This remodeled home is available for immediate occupancy.

604 Birch Glen Court

Ferndale floor plan with 3 bedrooms/2baths, covered patio with 2 car attached garage. This home also includes a fireplace. This home will be remodeled.

375 White Oak Lane

Ferndale floor plan with 3 bedrooms/2baths, covered and screened patio with 2 car attached garage. This home also includes a fireplace and two custom bookcase units. This home will be remodeled.

Please contact Larry Stinson at (615)662-3281 for additional information and visit our website for details on our Independent Homes neighborhoods conveniently located in Bellevue and Donelson.

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20 Great Holiday Gift Ideas for Seniors

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Sometimes it is difficult to know what to give our loved ones when they have downsized.  They may insist they do not need anything, but you can’t stand the idea of a giftless holiday.

Here are some helpful gift ideas that will bring hugs and smiles all around.

  1. A warm fuzzy throw.  You can’t have too many throws that keep you warm when you are watching television or reading a book.  And they make a nice lighter blanket for a single bed.  Throws can even be customized with photos or favorite sports teams.
  2. Food.  What about a special fruit basket or fruit-of-the-month club?  Or maybe a special batch of their favorite cookie, fudge or cake that they no longer make. They might like a special candy.  Hard candies are nice for those taking medicine that creates a dry mouth. Local produce delivered to their home might be welcome as well.   It’s a thoughtful treat they might not think about for themselves.
  3. Clothes.  Sometimes shopping trips become less frequent and a senior might need a new sweater or jacket.  Front opening blouses or shirts are easier for many to put on.  Jogging suits are also popular with both men and women.  They might appreciate sleepwear, robes, slippers or underwear.
  4. Batteries.  It is always a good idea to have extra batteries on hand.  Many need batteries for hearing aids, watches and maybe a favorite electronic device.
  5. Movies.  Classic movies like Sound of Music, My Fair Lady and A Wonderful Life would be fun to watch as a family and provide future entertainment for your family member.  Other popular movies include “The Bucket List”, “Lincoln” or movies they can watch with their grandchildren like “Up”, “The Princess Bride” or “The Polar Express”.
  6. Kindle or Tablet. Think about loading a Kindle or iPad with books, movies, family photos and magazines they would like.  Then spend an afternoon showing them how to use it, send emails to their grandkids and even surf the internet.
  7. Easy to use Mobile Phones.  Many smartphones of today offer large buttons, photo speed dial, visual rings and more. There are also landline phones that can be adjusted for volume.
  8. Lift Chairs.  For those who have trouble with their knees or experience weakness, a recliner built with an easy-to-use lift might be just what the doctor ordered.
  9. A Magnifier and Family Photo Album.  A family album already filled with pictures that bring back special memories of friends and families is always valued.  Why not add a lighted magnifier to assist in viewing those great photos?
  10. Lap Desk.  A bean bag lap desk, some note cards and stamps would make a great gift.  A portable lap desk can be used for crafts, eating and reading.
  11. Grocery store and restaurant gift certificates.  Being able to manage grocery expenses or splurge on a lunch or dinner with friends helps ensure good nutrition.
  12. Coupons for Rides.  If your family member has stopped driving, provide a book of coupons for excursions they can share with family members.
  13. Donations to a favorite cause or charity of your relative or friend.  A friend of mine asked her family to provide a piano for their church.  She can attend weekly and enjoy her “present”.
  14. Walking shoes.  Athletic or comfort shoes that encourage walking or exercise can provide healthy benefits.  A handsome walking cane might be appreciated as well.  The folding canes are especially handy.
  15. Manicure, massage or spa treatment.  A day of pampering might fit the bill.  Whether it is massage, a manicure/pedicure or a welcome haircut, these personal treats boost well-being.
  16. Movie, concert or play tickets.  Retirees on a budget might not spend on these type of outings so tickets would be welcome.  And also, maybe your accompaniment.
  17. Classes or lessons.  Maybe your family member always wanted to learn how to use a computer, play a card game or tackle a new craft.  A class at a senior center or community center might encourage social interaction and new skills.
  18. Wreath for their front door.  While holiday decorating might not be as important, a fresh new wreath for their door is a welcoming touch for their home.
  19. A Handyman Day.  Putting in new light bulbs, fixing a squeaky door or repairing an appliance might be more meaningful than any other gift.  Put a bow on your head.
  20. Easy to use tools and pens.  For those with arthritis or grip problems, there are many padded grip tools like the OXO Good Grips kitchen tools and soft pens.

We had fun coming up with these ideas.  If you have some ideas that have been popular with your family, please be sure to share them with us.

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Scriptures of Promise

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During the month of December, much of the world pauses to acknowledge the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The Bible speaks of this event throughout scripture, hundreds of years before its occurrence. Let us continually give thanks for the most precious gift we have received, not just during these special holiday celebrations, but in every month of the year.

Isaiah 7:14 – Prophecy  “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”

Isaiah 9:6 – Prince of Peace  “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

John 1:14 – The Word became flesh  “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Matthew 1:16 – Joseph and Mary  “…and to Jacob was born Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”

Matthew 1:21 – Jesus is Savior  “And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.”

Matthew 2:1 – Born in Bethlehem  “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem…”

Luke 1:14 – Joy and Gladness  “And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.”

Luke 1:35 – The Son of God  “And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.”

Luke 2:9-12 – Good News and Great Joy  “And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.”

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Minimizing Holiday Stress for the Elderly

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The holidays conjure up images of Bing Crosby, Martha Stewart decorations and splendid feasts. However, we all know that along with the festivities comes stress. For the elderly, the holidays can especially be a time of stress. Holidays are inherently nostalgic, which makes seniors remember happier, younger times. This brings to mind loss: of youth, of friends and loved ones.

In addition, holiday “joy” seems to be everywhere: in newspaper ads, on magazine covers, and on TV commercials. While this holiday saturation may get some of us in the mood, it may make seniors feel they are missing out.

This holiday season, try these tips to reduce the stress on your family and your elderly relative. Along the way, you may just find some joy creeping in around the angst.

Be realistic. Know your senior’s limitations as well as your own. Allocating an entire Saturday to driving your mother around to Christmas shop may sound like a great idea. In reality, however, it may turn into an exhausting endeavor—for both of you. Before you head out to do your father’s shopping, make a reasonable list of gifts and recipients. Try to think of two or three stores where you can find all of these. Don’t forget to use a scooter that is available at many stores. Your mom may claim she can walk the whole way but may stop protesting after the third aisle.

Think outside the box. So your mother wants to Christmas shop, but in reality it’s hard for her to get out or walk very far? Bring a laptop, snuggle up next to her on the sofa with a steaming cup of hot tea, and do some virtual shopping. The recipe for a perfect climate controlled afternoon!

Watch your body language. So often, our elderly relatives feel like they’re a burden. You may be exhausted and impatient, but be careful not to show it. Take deep breaths. Relax your shoulders. Uncross your arms. Smile often. Give little hugs. Let them feel like you have all the time in the world.

Be a good listener. Let’s face it: often the elderly have a lot to be sad about. Instead of reprimanding them for whining, or telling them to cheer up, invite them to talk about their feelings. Try saying, “I bet you’re missing your husband this year, aren’t you? How do you feel?” Listening validates their feelings.

Recall happy memories. After you’ve let your mother vent, transition her into a more positive conversation. Redirect your father’s attention by asking him to recall funny anecdotes. If you have children or teens, urge them to ask their grandparents leading questions like “Tell me about your first Christmas with grandma.”

Let your elderly relative help. Everyone likes to feel useful and that’s especially true of seniors, who are accustomed to taking care of others. Make a mental list of everything that has to be done: bows applied to gifts, place cards set out, vegetables peeled, ornaments hung, tables set. Ask your mother or father for help with one of these tasks.

Prevent over-stimulation and isolation. As odd as it sounds, a large family dining table can be a lonely place for an elderly person who cannot hear well. This is especially true if he has been living in a quiet environment, like an assisted living or nursing home. Seat your senior at the dining table at a position where she can hear well. Often the middle of the table is most comforting, because she is surrounded by people and can hear more easily. Sitting at the end of a table causes noise distortion and the perception that everyone is talking at once.

Take turns being the “temporary caregiver” at family gatherings. It’s easy to get caught up in the laughter and conversation and busyness of a family event and leave the senior out. By assigning different relatives to take turns being the companion at these events (Jim takes the first hour; Linda takes the second, etc.), it ensures that your elderly relatives feel part of the festivities.

Maintain routines. If your mother or father is accustomed to an afternoon nap, make sure you budget time for it. Routines extend to meal times and portion sizes as well. Too much on the plate can be overwhelming and lead to the senior just pushing the food around.

Above all, you can control the holiday chaos by budgeting time to enjoy special music together, snuggle by a fire, and just be together. That companionship is undoubtedly the greatest gift your special senior can receive this year.

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Cherished Traditions

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While today’s hustle-and-bustle lifestyle causes many of us to rush through the month of December, many of life’s most precious memories are made when we slow down and take time to enjoy time-honored traditions with family and friends.

In America, we have traditions that have been passed down for generations, many of which have interesting beginnings. The first White House Christmas tree was set up by President Franklin Pierce in 1853. The first department store Santa made his appearance in 1890 when store owner James Edgar of Boston would dress as Santa and walk about his store talking to children. One tradition that came to America along with the early settlers was that of hanging stockings by the chimney to be filled with gifts. This long-held tradition came from the legendary Saint Nickolas who dropped a few coins down a poor man’s chimney for his daughter’s dowry. The coins landed in her stockings that had been hung by the chimney to dry.

Two of our residents at The Meadows were kind enough to share some of their special memories of Christmas that have meant the most to them.  Geralene Morrison shared that as she was growing up in Cornersville, Tennessee, Christmas celebrations lasted for several days with the family visiting one another’s homes. She remembers the men going into the woods to cut a tree (usually cedar) and the children would make paper chains for garland.  One gift that stands out in her mind is the Betsy Wetsy doll she received one Christmas. She also remembers that her uncle made a bed for the treasured doll. Boiled custard was a favorite holiday treat – and still is today! Geri looks forward to more special times with her three sons and their families.

Lena Carman grew up near Brownsville, Texas and remembers the Christmas season being warm and sunny. Since she grew up during the Great Depression gifts were not abundant, but the six children in their family always managed to receive a gift.  She remembers receiving a doll one Christmas that she wanted so badly. She kept that doll in her home for many years. Most of the time, Christmas dinner was chicken instead of turkey, because they had chickens in their yard and turkey was hard to come by. Lena also has many fond memories of celebrating holidays with her husband, three daughters and their families.

While our traditions may change through the years, it’s important to keep the spirit of the season alive and remember those who made our holidays a special time.

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