LSS Blog

Older Adults: Stewards of the Church’s Future

For-such-a-time-as-this-graphicCalled and Chosen

No matter your age, God has called you for such a time as this. For such a time as this. That phrase comes from the book of Esther in the Bible. Esther was a Jewish woman who risked her life to serve God and to save her people when they were under the rule of the Persian Empire and about to be annihilated.

When deciding whether to go before the king to plead for her people, Esther’s cousin gave these words: “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

Think of your local church and its mission. It has been placed within the community and has a mission to seek the lost and strengthen the saved. And you play an integral part of that mission and the future of the church. Your knowledge, dedication and experience are needed. You have been placed specifically where you are because God is giving you the opportunity to make an everlasting difference. No matter your age, God has called you.

For such a time as this.

Read more on your purpose in the church with this downloadable pdf from Concordia University Seward, Nebraska.

SAIDO Learning visits Meridian Village

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Meridian Village played host to international guests on September 18. Four team members from SAIDO Learning in Japan made a special trip to Glen Carbon, Illinois to see the progress and integration of SAIDO Learning at Meridian Village.

The SAIDO Learning method involves a caregiver (called a “Supporter”) trained to work with older adults (called “Learners”) by engaging them in simple arithmetic, writing, and reading exercises. This non-pharmacological treatment helps to reverse and reduce the signs and symptoms of dementia through its focus in stimulating the frontal cortex of the brain. Chosen for it’s strong implementation of the program, Meridian Village is one of only two communities in the United States the Japanese Team will visit.

“We are impressed with the level of excellence and the stories of the residence,” said Christopher Muller, interpreter and member of the SAIDO Training Development Team. “It is very genki”

“Genki” is Japanese for “on top of the world” and encapsulates the success of the program and the Meridian Village Team that has been behind it all. They have already trained 22 team members with plans to train 6 additional team members every month.

DSC_5017_blog“It fits so well into our person-centered care philosophy that we already have in place,” said Colleen Bottens, Executive Director at Meridian Village. “From those in our Dining Service to Housekeeping, we plan on training the entire staff.”

Meridian Village is the first of the LSS communities to feature SAIDO Learning. With such positive results already being seen in residents, Colleen Bottens is very excited for what this might mean for those with dementia.

“Seeing the improvements in our residents has us all hopeful,” she said.

And that is very genki.

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We'd love to hear from you! Located in Glen Carbon, IL 62034, Meridian Village senior living offers independent living, REACH Short Stay Rehabilitation, assisted living, memory care assisted living, and skilled nursing. For more information or to arrange a visit, click here.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Thousands attended the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in St. Louis on September 6 to support the more than 5 million Americans that have Alzheimer’s.

Dava Elias-Dotzenrod, Executive Director at Richmond Terrace walked with her family and co-workers. “I have participated in the walk for years in support of my residents. However, since my first walk I have lost four aunts to this disease. Currently my mother is in a care center in Kentucky battling this disease.”

The 1.5 mile march down Market Street began at Scottrade Center with a rally hosted by News Channel 5 anchor, Art Holiday and Blues forward T. J. Oshie. Both have been personally impacted by Alzheimer’s and encouraged walkers to continue to spread the message and support those who are diagnosed.

There currently is no cure for Alzheimer’s. This debilitating disease is the most common type of dementia and can cause problems associated with thinking, behavior and memory.

“This is a horrible disease that strips you of dignity, steals your family and memories,” said Elias-Dotzenrod. “I hope I live to see this cure and I will continue to participate as long as I am able!”

This year’s walk raised over $565,000.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s

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If you’re thinking about your future plans, Lutheran Senior Services communities are great places to start. Offering independent living apartments and patio homes, our warm, welcoming campuses offer easy access to assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing should your needs change. For more information or to arrange a visit, click here.

Slater Place Memory Care Assisted Living opens!

The extensive makeover and expansion of Lenoir Woods hit another milestone in the five-year project with the dedication and opening of Slater Place Memory Care Assisted Living on August 26.

The result of a naming contest hosted by the residents, Slater Place comes straight from the history of Lenoir Woods. In 1864, Margaret Ann Bradford married Slater Ensor Lenoir. Together they built their now historic home in 1877 in Columbia, Missouri. It was a portion of that land that would eventually become Lenoir Woods.

Now, fittingly, 150 years after Margaret and Slater married, Slater Place opens attached to Bradford Manor—assisted living apartments, aptly named in Margaret’s honor in 2012.

The rich tradition of Lenoir Woods is a natural blend for the history of Lutheran Senior Services, John Kotovsky, president, told more than 250 residents, families and staff gathered for the dedication ceremony.

“In 1858, Reverend Johann Friedrich Buenger founded the first Protestant hospital west of the Mississippi,” he said on the roots of Lutheran Senior Services. “He had a great servant heart, and he would be proud of Slater Place.”

The two-story, 40-bed residence will serve those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Enjoy this gallery of images from the dedication of Slater Place:

Slater Place Dedication

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We'd love to hear from you! Located in Columbia, MO 65201, Lenoir Woods senior living offers independent living, REACH Short Stay Rehabilitation, assisted living, and skilled nursing. For more information or to arrange a visit, click here.

Stay Cool. Stay Healthy.

The intense summer heat that has cooked the nation to a crisp, clogged televisions with “Excessive Heat Warnings” and “Heat Advisories”, also poses serious health risks for seniors.

According to the NIA (National Institute on Aging), the summer warmth has put seniors at risk for developing hyperthermia (a condition where the body temperature becomes dangerously high). After exposure to the heat, the body becomes unable to regulate the body temperature making seniors more vulnerable to health problems such as heat exhaustion, dizziness, heat cramps, and heat stroke.

To keep cool, the NIA has the following suggestions:

● Stay inside on very hot and humid days

● If you do not have air conditioning, go somewhere where there is (i.e., churches, movie theatres, libraries)

● Drink plenty of fluids

● Avoid alcohol and caffeine

● Dress appropriately (i.e., lightly colored, loose fitting clothing)


For ways to help those suffering from a heat-related condition and for the full article, click here.

Live Longer — Write Now! How Creative Writing Can Help Seniors Stay Healthy

mature woman sitting in comfortable chair and using laptop

There’s a long tradition of writers gathering to swap stories and feed on each other’s creative energy. At Lutheran Hillside Village, a senior living community in Peoria, Illinois, that tradition has taken the form of the Pen Souls.

The members write in a wide range of styles on a wide range of topics. As a creative exercise, stories started by one member can be passed around and finished by another. These games help keep the creative “pumps primed”, which makes tackling larger, more personal projects easier.

“It’s good for mental dexterity — not to mention manual dexterity,” says Ken Jones, one of the founders of the group. “Just the act of writing keeps the joints strong.” And Ken knows his stuff — writing offers a wide range of benefits for older adults, from the intellectual to the physical to the spiritual.

For example, one psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin reports findings that indicate the act of journaling strengthens our immune system. Other researchers tell us that writing takes the edge off asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

It all comes down to stress. Writing down thoughts about stressful or unpleasant events can help the writer sort through his or her feelings about those events, which lowers stress levels. People utilize the logically-oriented language centers of the left brain when they write. In writing about bad times, we rationally “unpack” our emotions.

This works on a daily basis for journal-writers, but it can also work on a larger scale. Combat veterans are encouraged to keep a journal to help “unpack” traumatic events they experienced on active duty. That’s one reason that many groups have started interviewing World War II vets.

But another reason for this initiative is one that resonates with millions of seniors — the desire to preserve a piece of living history. “I wanted my children and grandchildren to have a better feeling for who I am,” says Jerry Carlson, a resident at Concordia Village in Springfield, Illinois. In his 70s, Jerry has spent months writing his life story for the benefit of his family. “I didn’t know much about my grandparents. I wish I’d asked more questions. I didn’t want my grandkids to say, ‘I wonder what he was like.’”

The Pen Souls’ work is collected in a series of large binders, which are available in the Village library. But over and above the creation of a sizeable body of resident-produced work, and the health benefits for everyone involved, perhaps the greatest result of the group’s formation has been the friendships formed. After all, writing can be a terrific social activity as well.

As longtime member Diana Carlson puts it, “It’s a wonderful way to get to know people in a different way. In fact, it’s the place where I get to know people the best.”

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If you’re thinking about your future plans, Lutheran Senior Services communities are great places to start. Offering independent living apartments and patio homes, our warm, welcoming campuses offer easy access to assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing should your needs change. For more information or to arrange a visit, click here.

Life in the Future: What’s the Big Deal about 3D Printing?

Explorer_April2014_4thStory_BlogPhotoDo you have a printer for your home computer? Then you’re familiar with how it can take the two-dimensional words and pictures on your screen and turn them into a two-dimensional copy on paper. In the not-too-distant future, though, you might have to make room on your computer desk for a second printer — one that prints in three dimensions!

Additive manufacturing (better known as 3D Printing), is a hot, hot topic in technological circles nowadays. Similar to how 2D printers lay down a layer of ink on a piece of paper, 3D printers lay down layer after layer of plastic or metal, one on top of the other, to create a three-dimensional product.

Already, people can go online and purchase “blueprints” that allow them to print their own consumer goods right at home. All you need is a printer (simple ones start at around $200) and the material you need to print with.

For families, this new technology might mean printing new toys for children. For businesses, it might mean printing machine parts faster, cheaper, and smaller than ever before. For doctors, it could mean crafting custom-made replacement joints identical to the bones they’re replacing.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Bigger printers can fabricate the frames of houses or vehicles out of fiberglass or steel. And research is currently going on to use 3D printing to build organs for transplants.

To learn more . . . click here to visit Wikipedia.org and search for “3D Printing”.

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If you’re thinking about your future plans, Lutheran Senior Services communities are great places to start. Offering independent living apartments and patio homes, our warm, welcoming campuses offer easy access to assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing should your needs change. For more information or to arrange a visit, click here.

Living Healthy to 100: Five Tips from a Top Gerontologist

DSC_0608By Danita Blackwood
Thinking about your health? You might listen to David Carr, M.D., the clinical director for the Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science for Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dr. Carr has reviewed thousands of medical studies in his practice and has some positive news about healthy aging: we can achieve significantly healthier outcomes with easy lifestyle changes and less effort than you might think.

So what are the top five tips this healthy aging expert shares with patients?

“Exercise is number one,” Dr. Carr says. “There are studies that suggest regular physical activity can have positive effects on physical health, quality of life, and cognition. Even as little as 20 minutes of walking a day can yield great benefits.”

Thirty minutes of exercise, five times a week, is the minimum bar set by the Department of Health and Human Services. Build up gradually in your regular routine. For example, choose the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the distant side of a parking lot instead of circling until a spot near an entrance opens up.

Dr. Carr’s longevity prescription also includes a workout for your brain and social life. “Cognitive and social stimulation are number two,” he says. “There is simply not much stimulation if you stay home alone and watch TV. The brain is like a muscle – it needs to be used, stimulated, and pushed.”

In his geriatric medical practice, Carr has found having a “care” is part of the “cure”, because people who have social connections live longer. “Interacting with other people in social situations is crucial. It’s also important to keep your hobbies going – board games, puzzles, cards, playing a musical instrument, staying active in volunteer work.”

Dr. Carr’s number three tip is focused on your plate: “A good heart healthy diet will probably also turn out to be great for the brain,” he says. “You should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day and consume fish at least a couple of times a week.”

His next tip for living to 100 or more includes regular health checks to catch diseases early when they’re still treatable. “Controlling risk factors for vascular disease is tip number four. We know the number one killer of the brain and heart is vascular disease or atherosclerosis. If you have high blood sugar, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, you should see your family doctor for treatment, and keep those risk factors under control.”

Finally, Dr. Carr has found relaxation to be vital. “I’m convinced that high stress levels over a lifetime can have a very negative impact on our organ systems,” he says. “So trying to keep stress under control is probably the fifth leg of the table.”
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Healthy living is the cornerstone of life at a Lutheran Senior Services community. Plus, they’re great places to meet new friends, explore new hobbies, and experience an active lifestyle. Visit us at LSSLiving.org today to learn more.

Mr. Roboto, RN — Why We’re Talking About Robot Caregivers for Seniors

Mr. Roboto RNBefore we talk about robots, let’s talk about the flying car. From “The Jetsons” to “Back to the Future” and beyond, the flying car has long been the quintessential American vision of what the future would (and should) look like. Recently, the Pew Research Center asked 1,000 U.S. residents what they thought about various futuristic technologies, and the flying car topped the list of inventions that we can’t wait to see come to market.

But let’s stop for just a second and think about this. On a daily basis, how many old cars do you see broken down on the side of the highway? How many vehicles that ran out of gas or experienced technical difficulties halfway between one destination and another.

Now think about what would have happened if that car broke down…while flying over your house.

Which is not to say the flying car is a bad idea; after all, no invention is inherently good or bad. It’s all in how it’s used. And that brings us to another futuristic technology — one that Americans felt least optimistic about on that Pew study mentioned earlier — robotic caregivers for the elderly.

A national conversation has been brewing on this subject for some time now, spurred in part by the release of the 2012 feature film “Robot & Frank.” In that movie, Frank Langella plays a retiree (also named Frank) whose son is so overtaxed with busy work and family schedules that he is unable to provide the help his aging father needs. His answer: a robotic live-in caregiver to help Frank live safely in his home.

There are a lot of busy working families for whom “Robot & Frank” struck a chord. And when you add in the idea that the senior population is set to double in size within the next 15 years thanks to the aging Baby Boomers…and then add in predictions of nursing shortages to handle the growing need for caregivers…you can see why this conversation is beginning to heat up.

Right now, major companies and thinktanks are working toward developing helper machines to assist seniors in their homes. One robotics firm, Giraff Technologies, predicts this new market could become a $10 billion a year industry by as soon as 2016. Other groups are already coming to market with self-guided mechanical nurses and other robotic medical assistants.

Slowly but surely, robots are becoming a part of everyday life. After all, Roomba self-guided vacuums have been tidying up our houses for years and law enforcement agencies have been using ‘bots for bomb disposal details for almost as long. But is it inevitable that robots will find their way into the medical industry?

The jury is still out on that. Either way, it’s important to remember that, just like the flying car, no invention is inherently good or bad. It’s all in how it’s used.

“I think it’s safe to say that no robot will ever really be able to replace a human nurse in the ways that really matter,” says Jennifer Duhon, director of assisted living at Peoria’s Lutheran Hillside Village senior living community. “It’s one thing to pass out medications and register vital signs, but human interaction plays such a crucial role in healthcare.”

“It’s all about the little things,” Jennifer says. “A comforting touch on the shoulder. Being able to ‘read’ the need in a person’s eyes when they don’t want to talk about what’s really bothering them. No matter how sophisticated a machine gets, it will never really ‘get’ how to give the kind of care people really need.”

It could be that robotic caregivers end up becoming very useful tools in a family’s toolbox — someone to help an aging parent out of bed or to place a call if a grandparent suffers a fall in the home. But if healthcare ever became entirely automated, it goes without saying that something important would be lost. It’s up to all of us to remember that when it comes time to make decisions about long-term care for our aging loved ones.

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If you’re thinking about your future plans, Lutheran Senior Services communities are great places to start. Offering independent living apartments and patio homes, our warm, welcoming campuses offer easy access to assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing should your needs change. For more information or to arrange a visit, click here.

Fran Reinagel: Meet Meridian Village’s Very Own “Ace of Cakes”

DSC_9422bIf you watch television at all, chances are you’ve seen ads for at least one show dedicated to the art of cake decoration. Well, long before “Ace of Cakes” went on the air, Fran Reinagel had been there and done that.

For 25 years, Fran was the head of “Fran’s Cake Decorating,” a small business with a big clientele. “We worked out of our house,” Fran says. “Sometimes we did one cake per weekend, sometimes we did as many as eight. Eight cakes made for a crazy weekend.”

Operating out of her 600 square foot garage, Fran baked up creations that were the centerpieces for countless weddings, birthdays, and other celebrations. And when she wasn’t working for her customers, she was teaching the next generation of decorators. “One of my students went on to win a lot of these contests you see on TV,” Fran says. “That was nice to see her do so well.”

IMG_1521bAfter Fran’s husband passed away, she decided it was time for a change, so she began the process of moving to Meridian Village. “I didn’t want to cut two acres of grass every few weeks,” she says, “so I donated my house to the LSS Home Conversion Program. They took care of everything and it takes a certain amount off my service fee each month. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

“I’m really liking it here,” Fran says. “There’s a lot to do. For example, I’d never been line dancing before and now I’m in the club. I’d never played water volleyball before, and now I’m on the team.” And in fact, Fran and her fellow Meridian Village Barracudas just won silver at the Senior Olympics! “There’s so much to do here you have to pick and choose because you can’t possibly do everything.”

But it seems Fran is determined to try. To help her out, she recently purchased a new Segway scooter to get back and forth between her patio home and the main building. Now that Fran’s out of the bakery, she’s ready to try her hand at all kinds of new things!

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We'd love to hear from you! Located in Glen Carbon, IL 62034, Meridian Village senior living offers independent living, REACH Short Stay Rehabilitation, assisted living, memory care assisted living, and skilled nursing. For more information or to arrange a visit, click here.