Gum Disease May Increase the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease


Researchers at Tuft University reported a link between gum disease, also known as periodontitis and periodontal disease, to an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Periodontitis is a bacterial infection within the soft tissue of the mouth, and “about 47.2% of U.S. adults over 30 and 70% over 65 have gum disease,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The study, which was done with mice, discovered the correlation, but researchers hope the findings can be used to someday help reduce cases of Alzheimer’s disease. The authors cite Fusobacterium nucleatum (F. nucleatum), a bacterium that causes gum disease and is already linked to kidney disease, diabetes and coronary problems to be the problem. 

The lead author, Dr. Jake Jinkun Chen, professor of periodontology and director of the Division of Oral Biology at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine explains the purpose of the study is to identify and characterize the association of induced periodontal disease with Alzheimer’s disease. He says as F. nucleatum generates “inflammation both locally and systemically, it affects the Alzheimer’s disease phenotype, as Alzheimer’s itself is an inflammatory disease.” Additionally, since the bacteria migrate and penetrate the brain, it can worsen the symptoms and signs of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Researchers plan further studies in humans and say although there is not a proven link yet; good oral health benefits our overall health. They also say to decrease our risk for Alzheimer’s, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise.  

As Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases progress, a loved one may need more care than they can get living at home. When the time comes for memory care, we encourage you to consider MorningStar of Happy Valley, a senior living community offering specialized care for individuals with memory impairment diseases. Our holistic approach is guided by our signature program, Lavender Sky, and we help residents and their families navigate this challenging journey with love and compassion. Contact us or visit our website for more information.

MorningStar is guided by a culture rooted in our mission of honoring God, valuing seniors, and investing in our team, which allows us to deliver services with warmth, sincerity and depth of purpose. We have built a reputation for creating homes filled with an atmosphere of love and community. Please contact us to learn more about the finest senior living in Happy Valley, Oregon.


Receive the Care You Need at MorningStar of Happy Valley

MorningStar Happy Valley-loft

Does your elderly mom or dad dismiss the idea of assisted living fearing it would end their independence and life as they know it? Do they think assisted living homes are more like nursing homes of the past? We want to reassure you and your senior loved one that assisted living communities such as MorningStar of Happy Valley are not nursing homes. In fact, we do not offer skilled nursing services but rather provide assistance with the ADLs (activities of daily living), along with engaging activities and other services intended to improve and enhance quality of life.  

It is important to a senior’s overall health that they receive proper care as the website reports, “Functional status and the ability to care for oneself have a significant impact on a senior’s quality of life. Unmet needs for help with activities of daily living can lead to malnutrition, poor personal hygiene, isolation, illnesses like urinary tract infections (UTIs), and falls.” In fact, studies show seniors getting assistance with the ADLs allows them to feel like they are in control of their life again and helps them regain a sense of self-worth and purpose. 

At MorningStar of Happy Valley, we know seniors have a lot to offer and the human capacity to grow, to learn and to contribute is ageless. We act upon this truth daily, as we care for, inspire, and love the residents under our roof. Our beautiful community offers 61 graciously appointed suites for assisted living in a variety of floorplans. In addition, the Reflections Neighborhood provides 27 secure suites devoted to the individualized memory care of residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. 

We also offer respite care for those recovering from surgery or an illness, as well as short-term stays from one week up to a full month to see if we are a good fit. For trusted assisted living or memory care seniors and their families can count on, visit our website or contact us for further information.

MorningStar is guided by a culture rooted in our mission of honoring God, valuing seniors, and investing in our team, which allows us to deliver services with warmth, sincerity and depth of purpose. We have built a reputation for creating homes filled with an atmosphere of love and community. Please contact us to learn more about the finest assisted living and memory care in Happy Valley, OR.


Optimizing Brain Health in Seniors: A Guide to Eating Right


Your diet has a huge impact on your brain health. Numerous studies show that healthy diets are linked with improved cognitive outcomes in seniors. 

Unfortunately, there’s lots of misinformation out there. How can you know what to eat when every website, book, and magazine says something different?

Eating a brain-healthy diet doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow this guide for optimal brain function as you reach your later years in assisted living facilities

The Mediterranean Diet: What Is It, and How Does It Help?

The “Mediterranean Diet” is gaining popularity in the world of medicine and nutrition. Research shows that adults who follow this pattern of eating have reduced risks of age-related health problems later in life. 

Whole Foods 

The Mediterranean Diet includes mostly whole fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains. 

Meat and fish are treated as a side dish rather than the main element of each meal. Studies have shown that this reduces your risk for health problems over time. 

The key to following this diet is to avoid processed, refined foods as much as possible. It’s best to eat food grown from the earth whenever possible. 

Healthy Fats

You can eat dietary fats and still follow the Mediterranean Diet. However, your fats should come from healthier sources, like olive oil and fish. 

The Mediterranean Diet doesn’t include many saturated or trans fats, which are often found in the packaged foods you see at the store. 

Protect Your Brain: Anti-Inflammatory Eating Habits

The Mediterranean Diet works so well in part because it reduces the amount of inflammation in your body. 
Your body generates an inflammatory response when you consume unhealthy fats, refined carbs, and added sugars. 
High levels of inflammation are associated with autoimmune diseases and cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. Inflammation in your brain can negatively impact your mood, cognitive functioning, and lifespan. 

Whole, unprocessed ingredients do not contribute to inflammation. In fact, they can actually reverse some of the inflammation you already experience. Certain spices, like turmeric, have beneficial anti-inflammatory properties. 

Avoid Sweets

Seniors in assisted living facilities should be extra careful to avoid meals and desserts with lots of added and refined sugars. Blood sugar problems can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems as you age. 

Of course, enjoying your favorite treats once in a while isn’t harmful. However, if you make cookies and candy a regular part of your diet, you may experience inflammation and increased blood sugar. 

This is bad news, especially for diabetic seniors in assisted living facilities. Cut out added sugar as much as possible to enjoy better cognitive health for years to come. 

Your Guide to Eating for a Healthy Brain

If you’re concerned with your brain health, you should keep this guide in mind as you make daily food choices for yourself. Focus on whole, unprocessed foods and enjoy sweet treats in moderation for optimal brain health.

4 Benefits of Yoga for Seniors in Assisted Living


Moving your body is beneficial at any age, but especially for seniors in assisted living. Yoga is a wonderful way to decompress, relieve stress, and care for yourself. 

You might not know about some of the surprising benefits of yoga for seniors. Here’s what yoga can do for residents in assisted living

1. Reduced Joint Pain

Joint pain is an issue for millions of seniors around the world. As you age, your bones and cartilage can weaken and become stiff. This makes everyday movements especially difficult. 

Yoga takes some of the pressure off your joints and improves your mobility. When you stretch and take deep breaths, your muscles and connective tissues receive more oxygen. This can help heal damaged tissues and regain your range of motion. 

If you’re in assisted living and want to experience joint pain relief, a relaxing yoga session might be just what you need. 

2. Relaxation 

This one might seem obvious, but the importance of stress relief and relaxation cannot be overstated. Seniors benefit immensely from taking the time to slow down and reflect on their daily lives. 

Yoga is one of the most relaxing forms of physical activity. Senior yoga is usually slower-paced and supportive of your joints. Unlike other more intense exercises, yoga doesn’t run a major risk of injury. 

During a yoga class in assisted living, you get to sit back, stretch, and enjoy some calming breathing techniques. 

3. Healthier Blood Pressure 

High blood pressure affects many seniors due to changes in their cardiovascular systems as they age. Unfortunately, high blood pressure is linked to an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and other health problems. 

Yoga has been shown to reduce blood pressure in many different age groups, especially seniors. There are a few potential reasons for this. 

Relaxation has a positive effect on blood pressure levels. When you’re less stressed and more mindful, your heart rate and blood pressure go down. Your body also releases less cortisol.

Physical activity, in general, improves blood pressure levels in seniors, so it makes sense that yoga works well for this purpose. 

As long as your yoga sessions are joint-friendly and calming for you, you can reap the blood pressure benefits!

4. Improved Mental Health

Senior mental health is just as important as physical health. Maintaining your peace of mind is especially important when you’re in assisted living. 

Yoga allows you to connect with others, your breath, and your body. Mindfulness has been shown to increase neurological connections in the brain, starting with just five minutes per day. 

Taking a senior yoga class gives your brain a chance to rewire itself in healthy ways. 

Boost Your Health with Yoga in Assisted Living 

Exercise doesn’t have to be stressful on your body (or your mind). Take a yoga class in assisted living to improve your physical and mental health for years to come!

Tips for Using the Internet for Medical Information


Let’s be honest, many of us rely on the Internet for medical advice. While it can supply good answers, doctors also caution you have to be careful what sites you trust. There are many websites providing good medical information but there are also sites with misleading or even dangerous advice.

Dr. Michael Langan, an internal medicine physician at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, cautions anyone with a blog can dispense information and advice; and a good way to avoid misinformation is to ask your doctor to recommend the sites they trust. Additionally, the National Institute on Aging recommends using health websites sponsored by Federal Government agencies. They say a good place for reliable, up-to-date information is the National Institutes of Health, but at the same time, remind everyone that the Internet is no substitute for seeing your doctor or other health professional who can give you advice that caters to your specific situation. 

Other things to look for include name recognition such as the Mayo Clinic or the Cleveland Clinic. Moreover, remember sites that end in .gov, identity U.S. government agencies; .edu, educational institutions; and .org, usually designates nonprofit organizations (such as professional groups; scientific, medical, or research societies; and advocacy groups). A .com is a commercial site.

The NIH says to look for the date of the information (often can be found at the bottom of the page) and see if the authors and contributors are identified. If the author is listed, what is his/her background and what is their goal in writing the article or the intent of the organization it is written for. Is there any financial motive for the information? Check out the About Us or Contact Us pages as they provide background information about the organization.   

At MorningStar of Happy Valley we promote a healthy, engaged lifestyle, while providing comfort and security. Our beautiful home has 61 stylish assisted living suites with a choice of floor plans. In addition, 27 secure suites in our Reflections Neighborhood are devoted to caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.  Please contact us to learn more about our amenities, care services, availability and pricing.   

MorningStar is guided by a culture rooted in our mission of honoring God, valuing seniors, and investing in our team, which allows us to deliver services with warmth, sincerity and depth of purpose. We have built a reputation for creating homes filled with an atmosphere of love and community. Please contact us to learn more about the finest assisted living and memory care in Happy Valley, OR.


Trying to Lose a Few Pounds?

Morningstar-final-19221-copyIn addition to the types of food we eat, dieticians say it is also important to pay attention to portion size when attempting to shed a few pounds as it will help us reach our goal.  When trying to diet, sticking to nutrient-dense, relatively low-calorie foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats and poultry are your best choices; but no matter how healthy a food is, you still should not over consume.  

This is where portion control plays a part.  Amy Gorin, a plant-based registered dietitian and owner of Plant-Based Eats, a collection of curated meal plans, grocery lists and nutrition tip sheets, explains that whole foods like almond butter and dark chocolate are good for us, they should be eaten in moderation and in proper portions.  In other words, the bottom-line is a large chocolate bar should not be consumed in one sitting.    

However, to complicate matters, experts explain that in many cases, strictly following portion sizes suggested on the container would differ from what a registered dietician would recommend.  The problem with across-the-board portion sizes is they do not address age group, gender, and activity level of the particular person.  Add to that, portion size is a critical component to losing weight especially in foods that are higher in calories.  

Also eating the right amount of food helps to maintain a balanced gut. The Harvard Health Men’s Watch, suggests “a healthy gut microbiome stimulates the body’s immune system and may shield against an array of chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.”

MorningStar of Happy Valley provides residents comfort, security, built-in companionship, and predictable budgeting.  Our beautiful community offers assisted living and memory care with a broad range of amenities and services to meet every need including a nutritional, delicious dining service.  Contact us or visit our website to see what sets our community apart from other senior living communities in Happy Valley, OR.

MorningStar of Happy Valley provides the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve to create an atmosphere that promotes a healthy, engaged lifestyle.  Please contact us to learn more about our exceptional assisted living and memory care.


Exceptional Assisted Living & Memory Care at MorningStar of Happy Valley


MorningStar of Happy Valley’s goal is to be the best senior living community in the area. We attribute our success to God’s grace and to staying true to our mission of servant-leadership. To help us accomplish these lofty goals, we are blessed to have a team of individuals with big hearts and a true love for seniors. 

Our founding principles are based on “casting a new light” on senior living and treating each resident with the utmost respect and dignity. We believe the human capacity to grow, to learn and contribute is ageless; and we act upon this truth daily as we care for, inspire and love the residents under our roof. At MorningStar we want seniors to recognize they are never too old to set a goal or to dream a new dream.

We take great pride in a reputation for excellence and authenticity in both how we serve and why we serve throughout our MorningStar communities in eleven states. Specializing in compassionate memory care delivered by our distinguished team and guided by our proprietary program “Radiance,” we know the highest expression of living is when we are fully engaged in sharing with others our talents, time and energy. 

As people are living longer than any other time in history (by 2055 90 million Americans will be 55+ and the number of people 75 to 85 is set to triple), senior living is quickly becoming a popular option for older adults. Residents appreciate predictable budgeting, resort-style amenities and services, companionship and a home where they can safely age in place.

Seniors’ wellbeing, comfort and safety are something MorningStar of Happy Valley takes very seriously.  Our beautiful community has 61 stylish assisted living suites as well as 27 suites in our Reflections Neighborhood devoted to memory care of those suffering from Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related diseases. Please contact us today to see how we can help support you or a loved one.  

MorningStar is guided by a culture rooted in our mission of honoring God, valuing seniors, and investing in our team, which allows us to deliver services with warmth, sincerity and depth of purpose. We have built a reputation for creating homes filled with an atmosphere of love and community. Please contact us to learn more about the finest assisted living and memory care in Happy Valley, OR.

Finding Community and Connection in Senior Housing: A Guide for Older Adults


Even though senior housing communities are supportive, enriching environments, many older adults hesitate to participate in the social scene when they first move into senior housing

If you feel uneasy about the social environment in your senior housing area, don’t worry. You are not alone. Follow this guide to improve your social life and connect with other residents. 

Reflect on the Past

Looking back on your younger years as you move into senior housing might seem odd. However, this can be useful for finding your tribe in your new community. 

You probably had to start your social life from scratch when you entered middle school, high school, college, or even new workplaces. Moving into senior housing is no different. You can apply some of the same strategies you used then to make new, long-lasting friendships now. 

Remember what you learned about people’s personalities and habits back then. Are there any personality traits you want to avoid? What stood out to you when you met different people throughout your life? 

Sometimes the best way to move forward is to look back and reflect on what you’ve learned. 

Have a “Yes” Mindset

Start saying “yes” more! 

Of course, there will be times when you have to say “no” to an activity, event, or gathering, but try to limit this as much as possible. Part of building a strong sense of community is trying new things while meeting new people. 
Even if you don’t enjoy everything you try, you can store this knowledge for future use. You never know what you might gain from the experience of trying something new.

Pay Attention to Community News

Most senior housing communities have bulletin boards and other central areas for current news and events. Senior housing communities often host various recreational activities to encourage team building and socialization. 

Pay attention to the upcoming activities in your community. These are great opportunities to connect with familiar and new people alike. You might meet your new best friends at the next art class or outdoor hike.

Keep an Open Mind

It can be difficult to adjust to a brand-new social scene, especially if you are used to your family or solo time. Keeping an open mind will help you break out of your shell and meet new friends. 

Try not to judge anyone you meet at first glance. Getting to know someone’s heart and personality takes time, so give everyone a fair chance.

Find Your Tribe in Senior Housing 

Follow these tips to improve your social life in senior housing. These tips work for almost any senior housing community in the country. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised by what — and who — you discover!

The Link between Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline


According to the Medical News Today website, studies find hearing loss may contribute to social isolation, lower quality of life, disability, depression, and dementia. This can be especially problematic for people aged 80 years and older, who tend to have more advanced hearing losses. 

In 2015, researchers reported on a 25-year study, which focused on a link between hearing loss and dementia. At the start of the study, the 3,670 participants were 65 years or older and followed for over 25 years. Using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) to measure cognitive decline, researchers say there appeared to be a correlation between self-reported hearing loss and cognitive decline. However, participants who used hearing aids did not show a significant cognitive decline, suggesting the use of hearing aids may offer a protective effect.

Experts say hearing loss may adversely impact a person’s ability to socialize as they miss out on vital verbal and emotional information that may directly impair brain structure and function. Or it could be that the person uses more energy to make sense of what they hear; and reduces the energy they have left for memory, language processing and attention.

It is recommended at age 60, all adults get a baseline hearing test and be rechecked every couple of years, regardless of whether they experience symptoms. John Hopkins Medicine reports one in 3 adults over age 65 has hearing loss, but due to a gradual change in their hearing, they may not be aware of it.  

Symptoms of age-related hearing loss, or presbycusis, include the speech of others sounding muffled or slurred; high-pitched sounds, such as "s" or "th" being hard to distinguish; and having difficulty understanding conversation, especially if there is background noise. The person may notice men’s voices are easier to hear than women’s, because it is lower-pitched. 

If a loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s or another dementia-related disease, MorningStar of Happy Valley is ready to help. Our comprehensive memory care supports residents and their families with services, wellness programs and activities essential to quality of life. MorningStar’s holistic approach is encompassed under the expanse of possibilities we call “Lavender Sky,” and uses Montessori-based therapy techniques. As dementia care specialists, we feel it is our privilege – our calling – to walk alongside residents during this unexpected and challenging journey. Please visit our website for more information about exceptional assisted living and memory care in Happy Valley, OR.

MorningStar is guided by a culture rooted in our mission of honoring God, valuing seniors, and investing in our team, which allows us to deliver services with warmth, sincerity and depth of purpose. We have built a reputation for creating homes filled with an atmosphere of love and community. Please contact us to learn more about the finest assisted living and memory care in Happy Valley, OR.


4 Helpful Coping Strategies for Seniors Moving to Assisted Living


Today’s assisted living communities are warm, welcoming environments that allow residents to explore their interests and bond with one another. However, finding senior housing can be a long process that brings up conflicting emotions. 

Many seniors feel reluctant to leave behind their routines and worry that assisted living facilities will be restrictive. Here are some tips to pass on to your loved one so they can cope with the move to assisted living

1. Spend Time with Family and Friends

Aging adults often worry that moving to assisted living will isolate them from their loved ones. To combat these fears and ease their minds, encourage them to spend lots of time socializing. 

Personal interactions, whether with family members or close friends, protect against senior health problems. Socializing and connecting more deeply can help your loved one cope with their upcoming move. 

2, Get to Know Your Senior Housing Community

You should inform your loved one of the amenities, benefits, and social events that come with their new senior housing community. 

If they know what to expect, they are less likely to stress over the move. Show your loved one the assisted living community’s website or arrange for additional in-person visits before the move. 

Many senior housing communities host welcoming gatherings to make new residents feel special and included. Check your assisted living facility’s website for more information. 
3. Make a List of the Positives 

Focusing on the positive aspects of moving to assisted living can get your loved one excited instead of worried. 
Encourage your loved one to make a list of all of the amenities and positive things that they will enjoy once they move. You can help by reminding them about the following:

  • Swimming pools

  • Group fitness classes

  • Additional help around the house

  • Senior-focused medical care 

  • Improved social health

  • Freedom and independence 

  • Gorgeous scenery

These are just a few examples of what your loved one has to look forward to when they move into assisted living. 
It’s not always as simple as telling them to “think positively,” but if you encourage your loved one to hone in on the benefits, they are less likely to stress over the stigma. 

4. Practice Self-Care

Before your loved one moves into assisted living, help them arrange a self-care day. Engaging in self-care is one of the best coping strategies for any major life change. Seniors especially can benefit from taking time to care for their physical and emotional health. 

Make Moving More Exciting with These Coping Strategies

You can help your loved one thrive before they get to move-in day. Encourage them to try these coping strategies to make their move to assisted living less scary and more exciting.