Top three books on senior living

senior reading book

Retirement, senior living and health care for seniors are all topics that can easily become overwhelming. But they don’t have to.

January is National Book Month, so we’re taking the opporutnity to share our favorite senior living resources that help answer some of the industry’s most frequently asked questions.

1. The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest

National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner set out to study what are known as “blue zones,” areas across the globe that have distinctively higher longevity rates and numbers of centenarians.

What causes these people to live longer? Buettner and his team found that the root of a long, enjoyable life is simple: community. From dining to activities, his book provides researched support for the lifestyle our Buckner team creates. This lifestyle, of course, helps residents at each Buckner senior living community live the fullest lives possible.

2. I’m Still Here

There may not yet be an official cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are effective strategies for treating it.

The best way to treat Alzheimer’s? According to author John Zeisel, Ph.D., the key is focusing on the individual’s strengths. Abilities such as connecting to music and art are things that don’t diminish over time. Zeisel teaches readers how to utilize these and other strategies to connect with a loved one living with Alzheimer’s. His book is a must-read for any caregiver.

3. Living with Purpose in a Worn-out Body

Author Missy Buchannan uses a series  of thoughtful devotions to answer the question many senior adults are asking: what’s my purpose now?

Aging naturally brings changes–lack of work, loss of loved ones, changing health. Buchannan’s words, however, help readers understand how to cope with these changes and still find meaning in everyday life. Whether you’re a senior adult or the loved one of a senior adult, learning to find this kind of hope is crucial–and something residents at Buckner communities work toward every day.

Friday photo: Beaumont seniors (and their pets) celebrate with Santa

senior with dog and santa

Residents at Calder Woods, a Buckner senior living community in Beaumont, know the joy of Christmas isn’t just for kids. They celebrated the season by taking photos with Santa himself during this year’s holiday open house. Even a few furry friends joined the fun!

Friday photo: Christmas lights in Longview

Christmas lights in Longview

Residents at Buckner Westminster Place in Longview have fully embraced the spirit of the Christmas season. Last week they donned their most festive attire and boarded the decked-out community bus for a trip to see Longview’s famous Christmas parade. Fitness instructor Rachel Norwood joined the fun and led residents in a Christmas-themed sing-along and dance routine on the drive there.

Friday photo: Snow in Beaumont!

seniors in winter

This week brought a rare snowfall to parts of Texas, including Beaumont where Calder Woods residents woke up Friday to a winter wonderland! Snow festivities included making a snowman, taking pictures, wearing sweaters and standing at windows to watch Jack Frost in action. The last time residents of the senior living community saw snow was 2009.

What not to say to a senior adult

senior talking with daughter

Senior adults are, at the core, adults.

They are real people with real stories, real emotions and real life experiences.

And yet, with the day-to-day humdrum of life, it can sometimes be easy to overlook the things we love most about these older adults while getting frustrated with the changes aging brings.

In the midst of these changes, there are certain things to not say, things we may not even realize we’re saying.

In this article by Next Avenue, a leading journalistic resource for senior adults and their families, author Linda Bernstein expertly lists eight things to never say to a senior adult.

As a faith-based not-for-profit senior living provider, we developed our own list of things to never tell a senior adult:

  1. “Sweetie.”

“Sweetie,” “sugar” or any variation of the two carry an inherent childlike tone. But senior adults are not children. They are grown adults with stories, histories and achievements. They’ve lived more life than some of their caregivers have combined, and therefore deserve the love and respect of an adult.

Instead of Sweetie, say “Mrs. Smith.” You can still provide tender affection with a soft touch or a gentle hug, but using a person’s name promotes dignity and respect.

  1. “Don’t you remember?”

While some senior adults living with memory impairment don’t recognize their changing brains, others do. They feel genuine frustration with the growing lack of control they have over their own bodies. Asking why they can’t remember only adds to the frustration and places the blame on the senior rather than on the Alzheimer’s or dementia itself.

Instead of asking questions, it may be helpful to simply listen. Then, provide your own comments. For example, instead of asking “Don’t you remember, we talked about this yesterday!” say simply, “Yes, we are going out to eat tonight. Would you like to join us?”

  1. “You need to _________.”

Senior adults have spent their lives giving and serving. They don’t need to be told what to do.

Instead of giving directions, give choices. Say “Mom, would you like to wear your sweater, or would you like to go without one?” Choices empower the senior adult to make the decisions for themselves. It puts them back in control, even as things around them feel out of control.

At the end of the day, a person is still a person. Recognizing that first and foremost will help further interactions with older adults to be fruitful and honoring to both parties. It helps minimize stress and maximize engagement.

‘Every day is Mother’s Day’ | Buckner Calder Woods

Ben Mazzara and family

BEAUMONT, Texas – Not many people go to work every day and see their mom. Ben Mazzara, executive director of Buckner Calder Woods, says he’s an administrator from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. but before 8 and after 5, he’s family. His mom moved in several weeks ago and now “every day is Mother’s Day.”<!–more–>

His 84-year-old mother had a stroke about six months ago while on the waiting list for a spot at Calder Woods. She’s in skilled nursing as she rehabilitates but she told Mazzara that after all she’s survived in her life – including a German bombing during World War Two in the Italian village she grew up in and Hurricane Carla in Galveston in 1961 – “no stroke is going to get me down.”

Mazzara, the only son in the family, is very close to his mother. His fondest memories are going on family cruises and going to church together. His parents were both born and raised in Sicily, Italy, so he grew up hearing them speak Italian around the house. He loved hearing stories of their home country.

Mazzara was also very close to his grandparents. Growing up, he visited his aging grandmother every day at a nursing home in Galveston. His father visited her in the morning; his mom visited in the afternoon; and Ben visited in the evenings.

“I had the grave yard shift,” he joked. “But I was what they call a ‘late in life’ child, so I was used to being around senior adults.”

One day, the executive director of the nursing home approached Mazzara and told him he should seriously consider getting a license to operate a retirement community. The director saw his passion and dedication to his grandmother, and at the time, he was a hospital administrator, so it wouldn’t have been a huge stretch.

Mazzara decided to go for it. He sat for the boards and 20 years later, he still loves every minute of it.

“I don’t look as this so much as a job as it is a ministry,” Mazzara said. “My favorite aspect is that we’re a faith-based Christian ministry. My mom loves God so much and she is truly devoted to her faith. It made the decision easy to choose Calder Woods.”

As his mother recovers from the stroke, he is hopeful she will be able to talk and walk again. But most of all, he’s looking forward to his mother’s Italian cooking.

“They staff treat her just like they would treat anyone else. They treat everyone as though it’s their own mother, and I treat everyone as if they were my own mother.”

Another reason Mazzara chose Calder Woods is because of its U.S. News five-star rehabilitation facility.

“There’s such a stigma attached to nursing homes and nursing facilities. We need to invite people from the outside to come in. If they look at Buckner, they’ll see we are a family and we exceed minimum standards.”

© Buckner International. - Developed by LevLane
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