Heart Disease Awareness


Positive senior couple having fun on kitchen

February is Heart Disease Awareness Month, and it’s a great time to take a moment to learn and educate yourself and your loved ones on the signs and preventatives of heart disease. Heart disease is a major threat to seniors, and in fact is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, with approximately 655,00 deaths from heart disease each year. Some factors make a person more of a risk for heart disease such as diabetes, obesity, an unhealthy diet, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of physical movement, and smoking. It is definitely not something to be taken lightly and we want you and the ones you love to be around for a long time!

Pinpointing if you’re experiencing a symptom of heart disease can sometimes be tricky since they are similar to the side effects of lots of other things. Lots of time With signs of heart disease, the symptoms with come on quickly before a heart attack. Some of these might include: Sweating, irregular heartbeat, feeling faint, having a hard time catching your breath, weakness or lightheadedness, pain or pressure in the chest, feeling nauseous or vomiting, and unusual pain in the back, shoulders, or neck.

You might be thinking this sounds very scary, and it is, which is why taking good care of your heart and working to prevent heart disease is incredibly important. While it’s never a guarantee, here are some things you can do in your everyday life to help keep your heart healthy; quit smoking, keep an eye on blood pressure and cholesterol, visit the doctor regularly, get enough exercise, reduce alcohol intake, watch wait, eat a healthy diet, an

d minimize stress in your life.

Heart disease is a scary thing, but knowing the preventatives and symptoms can be a good start. If you’re ever feeling off and are not sure, seek medical help just to be safe. Vibrant Life Senior Living is here to care for your loved one, but it’s never too early to start right at home.

Loving your friends and family in VLSL

Alone time has taken on a new meaning after the crazy year we all just experienced. Sharing moments and spaces together was no longer something we could all take part in, and a lot of us missed out on some valuable time with the people we love. While there is a definite light at the end of the tunnel, right now we’re still all missing our friends and family. Showing the people in your life that you care is harder now than ever, and it requires a bit more creativity, but it isn’t impossible! Vibrant Life Senior Living wants you to know your loved one is being cared for to the best of your abilities, but there are some ways you can show them some love, especially as Valentine’s Day approaches!

We know you can’t stop by and give the gift of quality time, but here are so many nice ways you can send some love this Valentine’s Day to a person you care about.

Send them a handwritten note. The art of letter writing doesn’t have to be dead! Isn’t it so exciting to get mail that isn’t bills or garbage? Sending a handwritten letter is thoughtful and something you can hold on to forever! If you don’t want to write a full letter, a pretty card will work too.

Send a treat. There are lots of options with this one. Some popular valentines treats are flowers, chocolate, or cards, but there are also edible bouquets, cakes, or gift baskets! Whatever you think your loved one will enjoy will be sure to put a smile on their face.

Send them something comforting. Comfort is not something we took advantage of last year. Things like a cozy sweater, a blanket, or a stuffed animal can be great gifts to give someone in a Senior Living environment. You’re never too old for something cozy!

Connecting with others is such an important part of life, and if this past year has taught us anything, it’s to never take advantage of the time we have with our loved ones. No gesture is ever too small, and being thought of is truly the best gift.


Healthy eating, exercise, and a positive attitude in 2021!

A new year is a perfect time to create new goals, set resolutions, and check-in with yourself. A lot of people start the new year with a desire to work on their physical and mental health and while these should always be goals to keep in mind, the new year is a great time to set the tone for the upcoming year.

Taking care of your body is incredible not only for you to look better but more importantly to feel better. Physical exercise has a multitude of benefits for your body, like improving energy, heart and lung efficiency, and reducing your chances of developing heart disease. We all want to be around for as long as possible and moving your body is a great way to help that happen. Exercise doesn’t have to be a huge, strenuous activity either. Simpler things like going for a walk, doing a gentle yoga flow, or stretching are great ways to engage your muscles and make your body feel good for the day.

Physical health is incredibly important when it comes to keeping yourself in tip-top shape but having a positive attitude and eating right also make a huge difference in your overall wellbeing. Having a positive outlook on life can be challenging at times, especially when life gets hard, but speaking to yourself and others in a positive way will make you and others feel good. To go hand in hand with a positive attitude is consuming food that makes your body feel good. Food not only gives your fuel to get through the day but it is important to make sure you’re sustaining yourself with enough nutrients, especially during the season when there are a lot of illnesses. Foods like bell peppers, broccoli, chickpeas, strawberries, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, and yogurt are not only yummy and versatile but also really incredible boosts for your immune system! But of course, balance is always important, and indulging in your favorites like pizza or sweets is important for your well-being too.

Keeping yourself feeling your best will help you feel better longer and inspire the people around you to do the same. Taking care of you and the ones around you is so important and thankfully there’s a never-ending list of ways to do just that. So, find the wellness activities that feel best for you and use this new year to get started.

New Year, New Ideas, Goals and Visions

Happy New Year! The start of a new year is exciting and refreshing, and especially after the chaotic year we’ve all just had, this new year will hopefully bring a breath of fresh air. It’s a great time to focus on how you want the year to look, goals to set yourself, and how you want to spend your time, the opportunities are endless! The new year signifies a new start, and while there’s no pressure to completely revamp your life, there’s no harm in taking some small steps to create a better year for yourself. New Year’s resolutions are just for you!

New Year’s resolutions can definitely be intimidating, so here are some things you can look at to improve your year even just a little.

Working on a wellness routine. This means something different for everyone. For some, it might be an elaborate diet, exercise, and skincare routine, and for some, it might just be drinking more water and doing some morning stretches. Wellness is personal and unique to you, but it really makes a difference in how you feel overall mentally, and physically.

Make a list of the things you want to prioritize this year. Are there a few things you have been putting off for a while? Or maybe goals you’ve been moving to the bottom of your list? Now is the best time to get started, no matter how tall the mountain. Making a list is only the begging but it can be a great way to continually remind your brain that it’s something that’s important for you.

Make time each week to do something for yourself. Self-care is very important, and life can get busy. It’s vital to your well-being if you set some time each week to do something that makes you happy. Maybe that’s watching a movie, taking a walk, or maybe sitting down to read. Everyone deserves a little time to themselves, and you do too!

Make a goal to keep organized. The organization is hard for a lot of people. There are lots of great ways to do this, some being physically keeping your space clean, but also keeping your mental space organized. Some people do this by always hanging up their clothes or keeping a list of things to do on the fridge, some might carry around a planner that helps them stay on track. It will make you feel better to know that you won’t let anything by you.

Let this new year be an excuse to take the best care of yourself and those around you. If someone around you needs a little boost to start this new year off on a good foot, let them know you’re there for the process as well. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a life-changing goal, but every little bit of wellness will change your life in the long run.

Staying Healthy This Holiday Season

This year has been really stressful for everyone health-wise. Keeping yours and your loved one’s immune systems healthy and strong can be hard but it doesn’t have to be. There are lots of things you can do to keep your immune system in tip-top shape, and while all bodies are different, doing what you can to stay healthy is really important, especially this year! As the cold weather sets in, so does the season of sickness. Aside from COVID, it’s also cold and flu season, so this year we really have to be at the top of our game when it comes to keeping ourselves healthy. We’ve made a list of some things you can add to your day to be a little safer this year.

Exercise. Moving your body is great all year round, and exercise is really great at keeping your immune system healthy. This doesn’t have to be a super hard workout, it could be any form of movement whether that be a walk, swimming inside, or stretching, keeping yourself moving to make both your body and mind feel good.

Wash hands. This one is important! Germs can live on any surface and our hands touch a lot of things throughout the day. Keeping your hands clean is incredibly important so that you don’t transfer germs onto your face, mouth, and nose!

Eating well. It’s no secret that eating well does wonders for your physical and mental health, but there are a few foods in particular that are great for fighting illnesses, they even taste good! Some foods you can look at incorporating into your diet this season are pumpkin seeds, chicken soup, garlic, spinach, sweet potatoes, and garlic. Yummy!

The health and safety of everyone are at the forefront of all of our minds this year, and while these tricks won’t ensure your health, they definitely won’t hurt! We hope you and your loved ones stay happy and healthy this winter season.

Gift ideas For Seniors

Winter is such a beautiful time of year! Snow on the ground, lights all around, decorations to enjoy, and the best part, giving presents! Seeing the joy on your loved ones’ faces when they open something you put thought and care into is a wonderful thing and just because we can’t celebrate the holidays together, doesn’t mean we can’t show those we love that we’re thinking of them.

Now, gift-giving can be a little bit stressful if you’re not sure what to get. You want something that you know they will like, and the pressure is on! The good thing is, most people are just as happy to be thought of, so try not to stress too much. To make this holiday season a little easier, here are some great gift ideas for your loved one this season.

Gift basket. This is a great idea if you have a few little things you think they’ll enjoy, not to mention they can keep the basket! Fill yours with snacks, trinkets, activities like cards, books, or a game, anything will put a smile on their face.

Something cozy. This winter will be a bit lonelier without having the usual number of visitors, so something cozy and comforting like a blanket, sweater, socks, or slippers would be a great gift to keep them warm this winter season.

A photobook. Looking at photos is such a great way to jog memories, bring comfort, and be reminded of the love they have in their life. Put together a photo album of some moments you think they will be happy to remember. Another great way to incorporate photos is to have them printed on a blanket! Places like Costco, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Amazon can make you a custom photo blanket so you can safely snuggle with all the people you love.

Entertainment. We’ve all had to pick up a few extra hobbies to keep ourselves busy this year, thankfully the options are endless! A great gift to give this season are things like games, puzzles, activity books, novels, or music.

Give them a call. If nothing else feels quite right, one of the best gifts to give someone is simply a call on the phone or over video. Life is really hectic and lots of us are very stressed, talking to someone on the phone can be such a huge help.

Everyone is in need of a little extra love this year, and thankfully, it’s pretty easy to let someone know that you care about them and are thinking of them. Whatever you decide to get your senior loved one this season, we know they’ll love it because it’s coming from you.

Merry Christmas to all from Vibrant Life Senior Living!

New PSA Music Video – IF YOU DON’T GET IT, YOU MIGHT SPREAD IT, by Dean Solden

Hello everyone,

During this difficult time, we all need to find some ways to let off some steam, and get some stress release. As many of you know, music helps me, as I am also as professional musician, besides being Founder of Vibrant Life and a part of the Management Team.

A few weeks ago, late at night, I wrote a tune called, If you don’t get it, you might spread it.  It was originally intended for our young staff, who early on in the virus crisis, were still learning the ropes about social distancing, hand washing and staying at home.  It evolved into a general message to the public.

I did an original “home-video” version.  Now, with the help of some friends across the country, mostly done in our home studios, we have made a more professional version of the song.  You can find it on youtube, and you can find it right here.

Please pass this on to any person or group you feel still needs the reminder.  It also may help you move your feet around a bit!

Enjoy, stay home, and stay safe,

Dean Solden, Founder, Vibrant Life Senior Living

deansoldenmusic.com     deansolden.vibrantlife@gmail.com


What’s Happening inside Senior Communities During the Virus Crisis

By Dean Solden

During this Coronavirus Crisis, I’ve read and heard a lot about how difficult it has been for seniors, especially over 60, or 65, or 75 – but I haven’t read or heard about what it’s actually like inside a senior living community while this is all going on.  Well, I run senior living communities and I can tell you exactly what’s going on.

The first thing I can tell you is this – up to this point, the people who live with us in our senior communities at Vibrant Life Senior Living have been amazing.  They barely blinked when it was announced a few weeks ago that their families couldn’t come and visit them for fear of spreading the virus.  (There is always that one annoying relative).

And they haven’t been that upset about the virus itself.

Maybe they are not paying that much attention to it, or maybe this is one place where having just a little bit of dementia is a little protective.  We are not blasting the TV with Coronavirus news every minute and that may be helpful.  They are just not focusing on it as much as the rest of us are.

In this last week we keep getting notices from the many agencies that sends us such things – CDC, CMS, AHCA, our state, our licensing board, our trade associations – they have mandated us to restrict group activities and group dining.  As a result of that, our residents are starting to get a bit edgy.  They used to enjoy their routine of coming to the dining room three times a day and sitting at the same table with the same people.  They looked forward to being served by one of our staff members, with their wonderful smiles, and enjoying the little banter and jokes they have with them.  They liked gearing up and getting out of their room for some of their favorite activities during the day between meals. And they especially love the music.  Now two to three weeks into this ongoing situation, they are starting to get a little stir crazy. But for the most part, we haven’t seen as much depression as one would think.

Now the staff is a different matter, and I’ll talk about that in more detail another time.  I can tell you this – they are getting a little scared.  Here in Ann Arbor Michigan, we are just seeing and feeling the effects of the virus first hand.  The first few weeks we had a few scares – some staff got sick – but they all tested negative, when we could get them a test.  Unless they are showing virus symptoms, their doctors won’t test them.  Now people they know are starting to get tested positive, and that is scary.  We managers do all we can to reassure them, and also let them know they are our modern-day heroes. Their children and grandchildren will talk about them for years to come.  I truly am in awe of our staff – the people who work at Vibrant Life.

Some of the family members, however, are taking this hard.  Especially the ones who used to come everyday and visit and sit with their loved ones, and even give us a hand.  For many of you,  devoted spouses and friends, daughters, and sons, coming to our senior community every day has been a big part of your life.  You feel this as much, if not more, than our residents.  We truly feel for you and with you.

To counterbalance the lessening of activities and the loss of the visitors, we have been doing a lot of videoconferencing.  For the last few years, since the advent of Skype and Facetime, I’ve been wanting to do this, but it just never took off. Well, now it has.  Adding Zoom to the mix, we now have many families video-chatting almost every day.  We have people performing at home and sending in videos.  The “people who live here” love it!  They don’t always understand how they can see their loved one on a tablet in front of them, and they especially don’t get how they can see them on their phone – isn’t that for talking not seeing? But they are getting the hang of it.  They truly get immense pleasure from these video calls.  So, please, if you have been doing this –  keep doing it!

I don’t know what it is – maybe the people who live here have just gone through so much in their lives, from World War II to the Korean War, from the Vietnam War to 9-11,  or even just remembering their parents going through the depression –  but they are strong.  This is a different kind of crisis for them – this isn’t about food or shelter or money.  They still have their routines, they still have three meals a day, their naps, take their medications, banter with the staff, and watch their favorite programs.  And so far, they aren’t thinking too much about getting the virus, and the results it could have.

Yes, there have been inconveniences, they don’t get their visitors, and spending so much time in their room can get a little stir-crazy, and they don’t have their favorite entertainers coming in. But they are chugging through.  Maybe it’s because it’s just been a few weeks, and after you’ve lived for eighty or ninety years or more,  a few weeks is just a speck of time.  But I’ll tell you this, the people who live at Vibrant Life communities may be frail, but they’ve got steel in their veins.  Out of all of us, administration, staff, families and themselves, they have been the rock.  We don’t just have their back, they have ours.

About the author: Dean Solden is the founder and co-owner of Vibrant Life Senior Living, which has four communities throughout the state of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, and outside of Lansing and Toledo.  He is also  professional jazz musician and writer and loves the “people who live” and the “people who work” at Vibrant Life Communities.

We Were Featured on WMUK 102.1 FM: Have a listen!

Dean-Solden-Vibrant-Life-Senior-LivingI was recently interviewed on WMUK 102.1 FM where I spoke about the importance of memory care in combating dementia and Alzheimer’s. I’d like to give a big shout out to WMUK for having me on and helping spread the word about a topic I am so passionate about. It was truly a delightful experience.

Click the orange button below to hear the full interview.

About WMUK

WMUK 102.1 FM is owned and operated by Western Michigan University and broadcasts across Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana. They are a non-profit public radio station and charter member of NPR . They are also affiliates of American Public Media (APM) and Public Radio International (PRI). WMUK also provides international programming from the BBC World Service and the CBC.

“Music does something for everyone,” Solden says. “Most people can relate to the joy you feel listening to music on various levels. For dementia specifically, they are just people with dementia, so they get the joy that anybody gets out of music. But what a lot of people don’t know is that music can actually improve functioning and mood. Music helps the brain. Your brain has multiple parts to it. When you listen actively or participate in music, it lights up all parts of your brain. Music helps everything to do with the brain.” says Dean Solden.

Click here to listen to the full interview and read excerpts. 

Radio Interview


More Information on Music Therapy and Memory Care

Our music program is a big part of what we do at Vibrant Life. Here is some additional information on why it is so important in the work we do with senior care.

The Science Behind Music Therapy to Combat Dementia

Vibrant Life’s Music Therapy Program 

Don’t Define Me, Just Remind Me (music video)

Want to Know More About Music Therapy?

If you or someone you love is experiencing memory loss issues we’d love to talk with you about our program. Vibrant Life has four locations throughout Michigan with care ranging from assisted living to memory care services. Music therapy is central to the culture and well-being of our staff and our residents.

To learn more please call us at the nearest facility or fill out a contact form.