Is it Time to Consider Assisted Living?

MorningStar Fountain Hills-Front ExtIf you are worried about an elderly parent who lives alone and may not be getting the kind of personal daily care, meals, or company they need; it may be time to consider assisted living.  At MorningStar of Fountain Hills we specialize in providing care for seniors who need a little help with their day-to-day personal care activities but do not require 24-hour medical care.  

We have seen first-hand how the transition to assisted living eases the stress of either or both the senior’s life or the family caregiver’s life.  Moreover, we recognize that senior living at its best allows residents to not only survive but to thrive.  We achieve this with a wide range of care services, fine dining, and meaningful wellness programs and activities.  In addition, residents enjoy built-in companionship as they make new friends with fellow residents and our truly loving staff. 

To give families a good idea of what services are provided with assisted living, we are happy to answer questions.  Also, we suggest you take a look at our website where you will find a lot of information.  A good place to start is our Decision Guide under the “First Steps” tab.  Here we go over things to look for that may indicate your parent needs more help such as recent falls, unexplained weight loss, poor balance, and/or poor personal hygiene.   From there, take a look at our FAQs for more details.   

Under our “Wellness” tab we go over our dining services, life enrichment programs, and clinical care services.  We also like to direct interested families to “Our Heart” to read a little background on how MorningStar Senior Living began and what its mission and precepts are all about.  

While you will discover our company was founded on Judeo-Christian tradition, we honor all faith systems and worldviews as we believe it is our responsibility to respect residents’ spiritual preferences.  In fact, our goal is to meet a resident’s social, emotional, physical and spiritual needs as part of creating a comfortable home and compassionate care.  

Our mission statement of “to honor, to serve, to invest” sets us apart from other senior living communities Fountain Hills, AZ offers. We have built a foundation on honoring God, valuing our seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. Set in a warm, loving atmosphere with beautiful surroundings and resort-style amenities, MorningStar of Fountain Hills provides outstanding assisted living and memory care.

Our Holistic Memory Care is Individualized for Each Resident

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MorningStar of Happy Valley offers 61 private assisted living suites along with 27 secure memory care suites for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Our care services are extensive and we provide a wide range of amenities, wellness programs and activities. 

As dementia care specialists, MorningStar’s compassionate memory care revolves around comforting and caring for our most tender residents from the onset of the disease to the most advanced stages. We start with a physical space designed to enhance residents’ quality of life and features clear wayfinding; and safe, inviting common areas encouraging independence. Residents stay active with a gentle flow of meaningful activities including arts and crafts, listening or dancing to music, physical exercise, special celebrations and other events. Additionally our devoted team feels privileged to serve, and understands every person deserves to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity.

Once a resident joins our MorningStar family, we sit down with them and their family to get to know as much as we can about them including their history, vocation, talents, and preferences. From there we create a daily routine designed to stimulate or calm as a situation requires. Residents are also treated to tempting meals consisting of finger foods and family-style dining for a stress-free, companionable dining experience. 

We feature a welcoming interior designed by the award-winning senior interior design specialist, Thoma-Holec Design. Our many common areas include a 24-hour bistro with full bar; life enrichment room; spa; fitness and wellness center; massage/therapy room; salon; game room; theatre/chapel; and more. Situated on 2-acres, residents enjoy MorningStar of Happy Valley’s expansive outdoor amenities including a courtyard featuring artwork and trellises, barbecue and fire pit, and strolling paths. 

MorningStar Senior Living has senior living communities throughout the Western U.S. including MorningStar of Beaverton and MorningStar of Kirkland, which is scheduled to open in the last quarter of 2021. Please visit our website for contact information as well as pricing and availability.

The Cost of In-home Care VS Assisted Living

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Studies show the difference between the costs of assisted living and paying for in-home care services varies but in many cases assisted living may overall be the better bargain. Experts explain it is important to acknowledge all of the factors that go into the decision and to remember, if possible, it should not be strictly based on finances. They say a good rule of thumb is if mom or dad requires more than 40 hours a week of in-home care, you should probably consider an assisted living community.  

The breakdown of care services a loved one requires can include the services of a health professional to give shots, tube feedings, change dressings or other medical care. Mom or dad may require personal care assistance with the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as bathing, grooming, transferring/mobility, toileting, eating, etc. In assisted living communities like MorningStar of Happy Valley, a person has a 24/7 care manager, access to licensed nurses, and other therapeutic services available.   

Another sign a loved one is not able to live independently is how well they handle the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL), which experts say may decline even before ADLs. While similar to ADLs, the IADLs are defined as basic living skills starting with communication skills such as the ability to use a regular phone, mobile phone, email, or the Internet. Is the person able to drive themselves, arrange for transportation or use public transportation? Can they safely prepare, cook and clean-up their own meals? Do they have a way to get out and buy groceries? Other IADLs include managing medications such as taking the proper dosages and filling prescriptions in a timely fashion as well as managing personal finances, staying on budget and avoiding becoming victim to scams.

Other costs covered in assisted living are indoor and outdoor maintenance and repairs. In addition the facility accommodates elderly residents with handicap-accessible bathrooms and emergency call systems in each suite. At MorningStar of Happy, we provide housekeeping and linen & laundry services, private heating and cooling systems, basic cable and Wi-Fi. Moreover factor in the value of companionship as well as our meaningful wellness programs designed to keep your loved one active and engaged. It is our privilege to offer area seniors the best assisted living and memory care by creating a true home for all residents.

Choosing the Right Community for Your Loved One with Dementia

MorningStar Rio Rancho-LE1Are you considering a community setting for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia?  Experts say the first and most important thing to learn about an assisted living community offering memory care is whether or not they are up to the task of caring for your loved one.  Do services align with their needs and is the home capable of advanced care down the road?  A Place for Mom’s website says by asking the following questions, you should get the answers you need.     

Before you begin your search, they suggest taking a few minutes to think about the needs of your loved one.  Do they have a tendency to wander or exhibit aggressive behaviors?  Do they require help with eating and drinking?  Are they mobile or use a wheelchair or walker?  Other information to relay is if they need help toileting, require 24/7 supervision, or care for medical conditions such as diabetes.   

Once you establish that a memory care community is equipped to care for your loved one, now ask questions including how experienced is the staff; and do they have any special training.  If so, is it on-going?  Will your loved one have an individualized care plan?  Also what is the staff-ratio during the day and at night?  

Inquire about safety protocols starting with secured doors, courtyards, and grounds as well as an emergency call system.  Are hallways color-coded making it easier for residents to navigate about more independently?   Is there a nurse on duty, and how extensive are medical services?   Also, ask about the type of memory care activities and treatments available.  After you have learned what you can, experts say the final decision will most likely come down to your peace of mind. 

MorningStar’s goal is to provide the best senior living in Rio Rancho, NM; which includes compassionate memory care for those in the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia right through to the most advanced stages.  Our holistic approach to care is designed to affirm the value of the person and to find ways to celebrate the smallest successes.  Beginning with dedicated caregivers to activities, programs and meals tailored to our residents’ special needs, we bring a deep understanding of the disease to our care.  Please see our website for more information about MorningStar of Rio Rancho.

Our mission statement of “to honor, to serve, to invest” sets us apart from other senior housing Rio Rancho, NM has to offer. We have built a foundation on honoring God, valuing our seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. Set in a warm, loving atmosphere with beautiful surroundings and resort-style amenities, MorningStar of Rio Rancho provides outstanding assisted living and memory care. 



Indigenous People with a Lower Risk of Cognitive Decline

MorningStar Happy Valley-AL courtyardA recent article published in the Journal of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences reports on an interesting study involving the indigenous Amazon people of Bolivian knowns as the Tsimane. A total of 746 Tsimane adults, ages 40 to 94, were recruited for the study by a team of international researchers. The published results show participants experienced less brain atrophy than their American and European counterparts. In fact researchers reported a 70% slower decrease in brain volume than that found in Western populations. Accelerated brain loss volume is one of the factors known to contribute to cognitive decline and to be a sign of dementia.

The Tsimane study group was transported to Trinidad, Bolivia for CT scans in a trip that sometimes took up to two days. Their scan results were then compared to three industrialized populations in European and America. Researchers say the Tsimane typically have no access to medical care but lead a very active lifestyle and consume a diet high in fiber consisting of vegetables, fish and lean meat. 

An unexpected result was discovering the Tsimane people had high levels of inflammation, which is typically associated with brain atrophy in Westerners. The study authors suggest “Tsimane's low cardiovascular risks may outweigh their infection-driven inflammatory risk, raising new questions about the causes of dementia.” They explain inflammation in Westerns is generally associated with obesity and metabolic causes fueled by diets high in sugars and saturated fats, while the Tsimane’s inflammation is most likely a result of infectious diseases, the leading cause of death.  

MorningStar of Happy Valley is proud to offer the area the finest assisted living and memory care available. Our distinct mission statement includes honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve; and we are honored to create a true “home” for residents. Please contact us to learn more about exceptional assisted living in Happy Valley and be sure to ask about our “Special Discount.”


Meaningful Activities Improve Quality of Life for Seniors with Dementia

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It is important for family members and caregivers to remember that while a person with Alzheimer’s or another dementia-related disease may be declining cognitively, they still have some abilities. Encouraging them to stay involved in meaningful activities is a good way to give them a sense of self-worth and purpose.  In fact, a published report from the National Institute of Health states, “engaging older persons with dementia in appropriate activities has been shown to yield beneficial effects such as increasing positive emotions, improving activities of daily living (ADL) and improving the quality of life.” It goes on to say it is important for those with dementia to stay as active and engaged as possible and that “it may even help to maintain quality of life in the more advanced stages of the disease.”  

As to what kinds of activities are the most effective, studies suggest trying to stimulate all five senses: sight, touch, sound, taste and smell; and the creative arts are a good place to start.  Singing is not only enjoyable but several studies have shown it to be one of the last abilities many of those with Alzheimer’s lose.  People can often remember the words to a song long after many other memories are gone.  Listening to music and dancing are other activities beneficial to those with dementia.  Dancing has even been shown to help stimulate social interaction, enhance mood, reduce anxiety and depression, and increase self-awareness and self-expression.  Walking and getting outside can also lift spirits, but as gait can be adversely affected by Alzheimer’s, evaluate the person’s ability to walk safely.   

At MorningStar of Fountain Hills, our goal is to be one of the best senior living communities Fountain Hills, AZ offers, which includes compassionate care to those with memory impairment.  Our holistic memory care is individualized for each resident and designed to stimulate or calm in response to a particular mood or situation.  Each day is filled with activities that incorporate music, dance, art, aromatherapy, or animals to heal and comfort residents.  

In addition, our Reflections Neighborhood provides daily health monitoring, assistance with meals prepared by our Executive Chef, and an enclosed, secure patio and courtyard.  Our memory care suites accommodate a resident’s own furniture and mementos so they are sure to feel right at home.  Please visit our website to learn more our community, our staff and the philosophy that guides our care.  

Our mission statement of “to honor, to serve, to invest” sets us apart from other senior living communities Fountain Hills, AZ has to offer. We have built a foundation on honoring God, valuing our seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. Set in a warm, loving atmosphere with beautiful surroundings and resort-style amenities, MorningStar of Fountain Hills provides outstanding assisted living and memory care. 


Tips to Improve Your Concentration

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Especially as we grow older, many of us find our thoughts are easily distractible and our mind tends to wonder. Dr. Kirk Daffner, a neurologist and director of the Center for Brain/Mind Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital, explains that, "Older people tend to have more difficulty filtering out stimuli that are not relevant to the task at hand." He adds mitigating factors including certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure or the natural age-related shrinking of the brain can increase a lack of concentration. 

Other things interfering with our focus are depression or sleep apnea, vision or hearing loss, and certain medications like anticholinergics (used to treat incontinence, depression, or allergies). Excessive consumption of alcohol and information overload can also be a factor. 

Medical experts say mindfulness, cognitive training, and a healthy life style may help improve a person’s concentration. Mindfulness is about focusing on the here and now and practicing it may help improve your brain’s wiring. Kim Willment, a neuropsychologist with Brigham and Women's Hospital, explains the process is easy. Start by sitting still for a few minutes each day, closing your eyes, and focusing on your breathing as well as the sounds and sensations around you.

Cognitive training can be done with brain games but doctors say you may need to keep challenging yourself for real results. Getting enough sleep each night, doing aerobic exercises, and following a healthy diet is another important part to improving concentrations.   

At MorningStar of Happy Valley, we represent the finest in senior living with a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. Offering assisted living and memory care, our goal is to create a “true home” for residents with a lifestyle of comfort, wellness and community. Please visit our website for more information. 


Wondering if Mom or Dad Needs More Care?

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Sometimes it is obvious an elderly parent needs more care such as having a bad fall or mismanaging medications resulting in a trip to the emergency room. Experts say even without such an overt situation, there are signs to look for suggesting a parent or another loved one may do better in an assisted living community.  

Warning signs include changes in the person’s behavior. For example, if mom has always been tidy but her home now looks neglected or smells, and dirty dishes are piled in the sink, she may not be handling things well. Other signs include a recent weight loss or gain and changes in grooming habits. Take note if she is having mobility problems or unexplained bruises or cuts, which might indicate she is falling.

Experts say consider other things too, such as social isolation and the person’s inability to get around on their own if they no longer drive.  Also, check the refrigerator for signs of spoiled food or a lack of food. 

Even a few of these things may be a sign they could benefit from the services of an assisted living community like MorningStar of Rio Rancho, a true home with an atmosphere of love, kindness and compassion. Along with a broad range of hospitality and care services, luxury amenities and wellness programs, our private suites come in a choice of floorplans including studio and one- and two-bedroom configurations.   

Care services include 24/7 Care Managers, Certified Medication Managers, Licensed Nurses, routine health monitoring, and much more.  In addition, residents enjoy delicious meals prepared largely from scratch and served restaurant-style in our lovely dining room.   If you are looking for the finest senior living in Rio Rancho NM, please give us a call for more information, and be sure to ask about our Move-in Specials.

Our mission statement of “to honor, to serve, to invest” sets us apart from other senior housing Rio Rancho, NM has to offer. We have built a foundation on honoring God, valuing our seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. Set in a warm, loving atmosphere with beautiful surroundings and resort-style amenities, MorningStar of Rio Rancho provides outstanding assisted living and memory care.

We Work Around-the-clock for the Benefit of Our Residents

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At MorningStar of Happy Valley, our goal is to provide residents with a comfortable, inviting home where they can safely age in place. Our services, amenities and wellness programs are all geared toward accomplishing this. Residents also receive the often overlooked benefits of community living such as healthy social connections and peace of mind knowing loving support is available whenever they need it.  

All assisted living residents have an individualized care plan created to help them maintain their independence, and our 24/7 care managers make sure the plan is carried out.  MorningStar’s care managers are dedicated, hard-working individuals who provide loving care to our incredible residents and enjoy building strong relationships with them. 

Many of our daily activities are just plain fun and include movie nights, trivia and card games, art classes, exercise classes and much more. Our all-day meal service is targeted to seniors’ palates as well as their nutritional needs. We believe food is a healing medicine unlike any other and is the centerpiece of personal wellness that starts with proper diets and healthy choices. When enjoyed in community, it provides far more than physical nutrients but bonds us as family and friends.

We are also pleased to announce a new partnership with Genesis Rehabilitation, a leading provider of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and respiratory therapy for older adults. The alliance includes full-time, in-house Genesis therapists and expands our resident services in integrated wellness, promoting optimal independence and abundant life for seniors. 

Along with many support services, MorningStar of Happy Valley provides the physical environment to ensure older adults live as safely and as comfortably as possible.  Assisted living suites are equipped with handicap-accessible bathrooms and each unit has an emergency call system. In addition to 61 assisted living suites, we have 27 secure suites devoted to the individualized care of residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Visit our website for more information about trusted assisted living and memory care.

Superfoods Make Meals Healthier & Tasty

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While nutritionists are quick to point out the best diet is to choose healthy options from across all food groups (paying attention to calorie limits), they say superfoods deserve special recognition. This is due to the fact they contain “some very important nutrients that can power-pack your meals and snacks, and further enhance a healthy eating pattern.” Research has shown a healthy diet can lessen our risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers; and superfoods make it that much easier to do.

Superfoods include richly colored, sweet berries high in antioxidants, which are known to help fight off diseases. Experts say frozen berries are as good for us as fresh ones and are a good alternative off-season. Several types of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids fall into the superfood category and include salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, trout and anchovies. 

Various nuts are on the list but dieticians warn they are calorically dense so don’t eat too many at one time. Almonds, pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts are all high in protein as well as monounsaturated fats found to help reduce heart disease. Olive oil is considered a heart healthy oil and is a good source of vitamin E, polyphenols, and monounsaturated fatty acids. Other superfoods are legumes, cruciferous vegetables, and yogurt. 

At MorningStar of Happy Valley, we offer 61 graciously-appointed suites for assisted living with a choice of floorplans ranging from spacious studios to one- and two bedroom apartments. Our resort-style amenities include a 5-star all-day food service largely prepared from scratch, with daily and weekly specials as well as a la carte items. Nutritional choices include low sodium, sugar free, no sugar added, vegetarian and low fat making it easy for residents to self-manage their diet. Menus also include super foods such as acai berries, Omega 3 fats, dark chocolate and dark greens.

In addition to assisted living, MorningStar of Happy Valley provides 27 secure suites for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Please visit our website and use our Virtual Assistant to obtain more information.