Musical Minute -Vibrant Life Choirs – Singing and Chanting

by Dean Solden, founder of Vibrant Life Senior Living, and professional musician

Just about every week I have the pleasure and opportunity to play music either with or for “the people who live here” (residents) at Vibrant Life Communities.  I have a ball, and so do they.

For years, I have played jazz, rock, oldies, standards, and even my original music.  They love it all.  I don’t just play the traditional songs of the 30’s and 40’s – we have many other musicians who come in every week and play and sing with the people who live in our communities.  I like shaking it up!

Two New Vibrant Life Choirs

Recently, however, instead of just playing for the people who live with us, they get to be musicians too!  We have started two new choirs in our communities:

  • The ‘Tic-Toc” memory care choir at our New Friends Memory Care community in Kalamazoo
  • A yet unnamed choir in our Vibrant Life Superior (Ann Arbor/Canton) location.

Check out the Tic-Toc Choir Music Video HERE. 

It is amazing how well the Vibrant Life Choirs sing!  Now THEY are the active participants, not just the listeners.  In too many activities in too many days, the people who live in assisted living communities are the observers and not the participants.  Almost everyone they come in contact with during the day is the “alpha-male”.  Music is a great way for people to actually participate in one of life’s most treasured activities – Singing!

RelatedVibrant Life’s Music Program

It’s Not Just Singing

We also do chanting, drum circles and percussion circles.  Singing is actually quite complex.  It involves creating a musical note, adding a word, and then that word has meaning.  Three things at once!  I like to break it down and sometimes we just focus on the singing of a tone – with no words.  I have people close their eyes and we sing a note together.  We can feel the vibrations of the voices.  They can feel it themselves.  We can feel how their voices blend.

As one person said, “it’s like we are holding hands with our voices.” 

I also explain that chanting can be very soothing and help people get to sleep.  If you have trouble sleeping, start chanting a note, breath in, and chant a note on an “ee” sound, very slowly.  Breath out.  Then start again.  If you do this a few times, it may help you get to sleep.

The people who live at Vibrant Life Senior Living love music and we love playing for them.  We try to have music on a daily basis.  Come on by some time and join us as we chant and sing.  Wait until you hear us add the words!

Happy Magic Music Moment!

Dean

Learn More

You can learn more about our assisted living or memory care services on our website, or contact us for more information.

Come in for a visit to learn more. Call (734)847-3217 or send us a note:

Schedule a Visit

When Is It Time for Assisted Living?

Deciding on the best time for assisted living is just as hard as deciphering the Difference Between Assisted Living and a Nursing Home.

These two decisions are crucial to the aging process. Choosing wisely will ensure that you or your loved one will continue to have a vibrant life after the transition to a care facility.

It is hard to know when the right time for assisted living is. Many people wait longer than necessary. Often it is a catastrophic event, like a fall or broken bones, that drives the decision.  In order to ensure the senior gets the right amount and type of care at the right time, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider. This list includes both physical and mental capabilities. Hopefully, this will help you make your decisions easier.

The staff at all four Vibrant Life locations throughout Michigan are well versed and trained to help you. Please do not hesitate to call one of our locations to speak to someone directly.

Call Today: (734)847-3217   Temperance 

Call Today: (734)484-4740 Superior (Ann Arbor/Canton)

Call Today: (989)288-6561    Durand/Owosso

Call Today: (269)372-6100   New Friends Kalamazoo

Physical Signs That it is Time for Assisted Living

The following questions relate to someone’s ability to physically live alone and take care of themselves.

#1. Has your loved one fallen recently? 

This is often the first time family members consider assisted living. If your loved one is serious hurt and requires surgery and/or physical therapy they first will usually go to a “Rehab” for rehabilitation.  This rehab can be from 20-100 days, but is usually around 20 days.  Your Medicare benefit pays 100% of the rehab up to day 20, and approximately 85% from day 21 to day 100.  You might not realize it but most most of these “rehabs” are usually nursing homes.

Did you know you can now do “Rehab” in assisted Living?  In our Vibrant Life Senior Living, Superior Township location (Ann Arbor/Canton) you can have your Medicare Rehab done right in our own community.  You can skip the Nursing Home!  Call us for more information.

I there has been a fall you need to ask yourself:

“How likely are they to fall again?”

“How long could it be until help arrives?”

“Do we just need to get a medical alert system?”

#2. Can my loved one get around in their own home?

Is your loved one still able to get up and down the stairs? Can they navigate the threshold on doors to get in and out of the house? You may need to renovate or adapt the home or transition to assisted living.

#3. Is my loved one eating and bathing properly? 

Often the first signs that someone needs more assistance is a decrease in a person’s ability to perform their own activities of daily living (ADL).  The six main ADL’s are:

  • dressing
  • bathing
  • toileting/personal care
  • ambulating (walking)
  • eating
  • taking medications

In other words, if they start to need help cooking for themselves, cleaning the house, and basic hygiene (bathing, brushing teeth, combing hair, changing clothes, etc.) If one or more of these areas of their life is being neglected it is a sign that they need more help with daily tasks of living.

Note: if your loved one also has any pets, you will need to also assess how the pets are being taken care of as well.

#4. Does my loved one have chronic health problems that are going to continue to get worse? 

Once your loved one develops a health issue that will continue to worsen, as is common as we age, it may be easier for everyone if the move to assisted living happens sooner than later. The term “Aging in Place” is used in senior care to mean that as the person’s health care needs increase, the facility they reside in is equipped to provide more care. This is common in memory care facilities that generally have different levels of care depending on the progression of dementia.

Note: Most Vibrant Life Communities have three different levels of memory care or support – early, moderate and later stages.  This is unique in the industry.  We have found that people can stay more vibrant, and the staff and families are happier when a person requiring help with memory care is living in a community with people like them, rather than being at a different stage of memory support.

#5. Does it take longer for my loved one to recover from illness or injury? 

Unfortunately, this is a natural part of getting older.  This is a sign of a weakened immune system and often indicates that they’ll need more care soon.

#6.  Does my loved one remember to take all their medication as prescribed? 

If your family member lives alone and/or is having trouble remembering to take their medication, this is a sign that more help is needed. If they are skipping medication due to a financial concern, a medicare supplemental insurance program could help.

#7. How is my loved one’s driving?

As we get older it is very important that we are realistic about our ability to drive. This is such a hard topic to broach because driving means freedom to most people. No one wants to give up their freedom. However, if your loved one has been in an accident, even if it was a minor fender bender, or if they are involved in more than one traffic incident, it is time to assess their driving.

When someone is impaired enough to no longer be able to drive it is a good time to also determine if they should be living alone. This is a good indicator that changes in other areas of their life are most likely needed.

Cognitive Signs That it is Time for Assisted Living

The following list of questions will help you determine if your loved one is struggling with dementia or other cognitive issues that may require more care than their current situation.

#1. Has my loved one’s personality changed? 

When people start to experience dementia or memory loss they can become angry. Often, this is their way of hiding how scared they are of the changes that are happening to them. Aggressive behavior can also be associated with confusion and dementia.

If your loved one has topped participating in social activities they used to enjoy, ask them why. If they have stopped leaving the house regularly they may be scared to drive or worried they will forget something.  Depression can also set in when we start to worry about our memory. These are all signs that someone may need more support and care.

#2. Has your loved one gotten lost lately? 

This could be while driving or out walking, or forgetting where they are. It is scary and upsetting when this starts to happen and can be an indication that memory loss and dementia have started or progressed.  If this happens, you should think seriously about in home care, or assisted living or memory care.  Your loved one’s life could be in danger.

#3. Does my loved one seem happy? 

This may be an easier question to start with. If you notice your loved one generally seems unhappy, or not as happy as they once were, it is time for an honest conversation. Depression can be the cause but also a sign of more going on, as listed above. Staying in tune with elderly people’s general state of happiness can often help you recognize early on when something isn’t right or their situation requires a change.

The Wrap Up: When is it time for assisted living?

Realizing your loved one needs full-time care can be hard. These signs will help you be aware sooner that more care is needed. This allows you to make informed decisions in a timely manner before a major incident happens.

Vibrant Life Senior Living founder and owner, Dean Solden, expresses it this way: “In my thirty years in the senior living business, I talk to people about their loved ones every day.  The most important piece of advice I can give someone is this: if you are thinking of having Mom or Dad relocate to an assisted living or memory care community, do it 60-90 days earlier than you think they need it!  Most people make the mistake of waiting too long.  I cannot tell you how many times people contact us and are ‘thinking’ of having Mom or Dad move into Vibrant Life, but they keep waiting. And sure enough, Mom or Dad falls or has an accident, and then they need surgery on their knee or hip, and THEN they come to us.  Now they’ve suffered a double trauma.  They have to deal with being more physically compromised than before, AND they have to deal with the stress of moving to a new home.  Please, move to the new home FIRST, before an incident happens.  One stressful incident at a time is enough.  Two is too much. It will save you many months and years of suffering, and make it much easier on your Mom or Dad.” 

Talk to your loved one about their housing options. You may need to involve their doctor and a financial advisor in the conversations so that you both understand all the senior living choices available and what level of care makes sense.

Learn More

You can learn more about our assisted living or memory care services on our website, or contact us for more information.

Come in for a visit to learn more. Call (734)847-3217 or send us a note:

Schedule a Visit

The Difference Between Assisted Living and a Nursing Home

Are you confused by the differences between assisted living, senior and elder care, and nursing homes?

When it comes time to find the right care facility for yourself or a loved one, it is often a stressful time. Deciding on what type of facility is best can be even harder.

Vibrant Life strives to make this transition as seamless as possible, starting with explaining the differences between the types of care facilities you can choose from.

Additional Information: 5 Steps to Finding the Right Assisted Living Community

What is Assisted Living?

The biggest differences revolve around the medical services provided and the layout and amenities of each type of community.

Residents in a nursing home require around the clock care and monitoring. They typically live with more complex health care conditions that require the daily assistance of a skilled nurse as well as a resident assistant.  Many times people who need “rehab,” get that care in a nursing home as well. They often need physical, speech, or occupational therapy. Long term residents of nursing homes are generally paid by Medicaid, and the rehab portion is paid by Medicare.

By contrast, residents in an assisted living community can require different levels of care – from just a little to total care.  It can be for just physical care, which is generally called the assisted living wing (or lodge or neighborhood). If a person has cognitive issues, they may need memory care.

So assisted living communities care for people with physical or memory care needs, or both.  And it can be for just “a helping hand” or up to total care, depending on the community.  Most assisted living communities are paid for with an individual’s private funds, usually a combination of assets and income.  There are a few government programs that help pay for assisted living, most notably the Veteran’s “Aid and Assistance” program, which is for veterans or their spouses. The Medicaid “waiver” program, which is different in every state, can help with assisted living costs, but is not guaranteed, as it is in a nursing home.

For more information, please call us at (734) 484-4740.

Nursing homes are more institutional in nature, partly because of their higher level of care, and partly because they were built mostly in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Assisted living came of age in the 1990’s and 2000’s and is generally more residential in nature.  Upscale assisted living communities can look like a hotel, with swimming pools, movie theaters, and elegant dining.

Levels of Care

Some senior care communities have different levels of care provided on separate floors, wings, or buildings. When a senior resident first joins an assisted living community he or she may require very little medical intervention. However, as they age, or their dementia progresses, they will likely need more care as time goes on. It is easier for residents if they can stay in the same community where they know the staff and the routines.  Sometimes this is called “aging in place.

assisted living

Assisted Living Activities

As you can imagine, residents in assisted living require different levels of personal or medical care, but they do desire to live full and enriching lives.

Maintaining a schedule that is full of fun and interesting activities and options is a large part of the positive experience for everyone who lives in assisted living.

At Vibrant Life, each location offers a full calendar of events and plenty of amenities to keep everyone involved with other people and active doing the things that you actually enjoy. We want every person to find activities they love to do.  Once they’ve gotten ready for the day, our CareFriends and our Life Enrichment staff are happy to help each resident find a routine that works best for them.

Each Vibrant Life assisted living location offers activities such as:assisted living

  • Art classes
  • Baking, book, and movie clubs
  • Bingo and games
  • Crafts
  • Musical events
  • Pet visits
  • Walking club
  • Movies
  • Listening to Music
  • Playing Music
  • Outings and travel to nearby events
  • Daily movement and individually based exercise
  • and much, much more.

Real Life Activity

At Vibrant Life, our favorite activities are just “real life!”  When living at home, everyone has chores and daily tasks like cooking, cleaning, changing light bulbs, or doing a little painting.  Whenever possible, we encourage our residents to “help” our staff with real life chores, like cleaning off the tables, folding napkins, or sometimes even painting outside benches (in the nice weather).  Of course this is all optional, but we have found that people love giving and helping out when they can.  It is important to have a purpose in life, and to keep giving, so we encourage the people who live at Vibrant Life to keep giving to stay vibrant.

Learn More

You can learn more about our assisted living or memory care services on our website, or contact us for more information.

Come in for a visit to learn more. Call (734)847-3217 or send us a note:

Schedule a Visit

Vibrant Life’s Music Program

Our music program at Vibrant Life is unique and very special to us.

“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” ― Billy Joel

Music therapy is used throughout the assisted living and memory care industry and we use it here every day. The use of music to combat dementia is gaining a lot of research attention and is proving to be extremely effective in helping with this difficult disease.

Related: The Science Behind Music Therapy to Combat Dementia

It is really helpful to have the science and data behind music therapy programs, but we don’t need all that to know that music heals. Music makes people happy. Music gets people moving. Music connects people.

So, why do we think our music program is so special?

Our Joyous Music Leader

For starters, it is managed by Dean Solden, one of our owners. Dean is extremely qualified in this area as he is a musician himself and has had an exciting life that has involved music in so many ways. To find out more about Dean’s musical journey check out The Spirit of Caring Documentary about the Tic-Toc Choir.

“Dean is a great guy and his personality is so sweet. It’s because of him that we (the choir) want to do a good job. He is interested in all of us, which is so important.” – Sandy, Tic-Toc Choir Member and Vibrant Life Resident

music therapy program

The Tic-Toc Choir

Second, the formation of the Tic-Toc choir has been a joy for everyone involved. Dean, the Vibrant Life staff, the members of the choir, their families, and everyone who has the opportunity to hear them. The choir meets regularly to practice vocal exercises, sing favorite songs and hymns, and to move and groove to the beat.  An added bonus – the choir gets some exercise in when they are dancing to their up-tempo tunes.  Especially to Don’t Define Me, Just Remind Me, the music video the Tic-Toc choir created.  (See below). 

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

We created a music video with this amazing choir (see and promoted it with a World Premiere Red Carpet Gala. That was quite the event and even included local officials and special guests. Of course, the real stars where the members of the choir. Their performance was one for the books!

Dont Define Me Just Remind Me Cover Art copy

Other Music Programs – Vibrant Life Superior

Vibrant Life Senior Living, Superior Township (outside of Canton and Ann Arbor) also have a special music program.  Co-Owner Dean Solden and Resident and former Canadian opera singer and music professor John King lead an enthusiastic group every Tuesday with a variety of musical experiences.

“Some days we doing drumming circles, with everyone having a percussion instrument, some days we chant, i.e. Gregorian chants, and some days we play rock and roll on the synthesizer.  Other days we sing as a choir.  It’s really great fun.  John is a tremendous musician.  I love hearing him jam on the guitar!”, says Solden.

Call us at (734) 484-4740 if you ever want to hear the choir or “sit-in” and join us on Tuesdays – usually at 2 pm.

Music Every Day

Third, when we aren’t creating viral music videos and throwing grand gala events, we are using music every day at all of our locations.

Here is a glimpse of how we integrate music into our culture and our vibrant lives:

  • Vibrant Life Superior and New Friends Memory Care locations have our own choirs!
  • We listen to music every day!
  • We have interactive listening sessions – talking about the music we listen to.  It brings back great memories.
  • We have live musical performers almost every week in every community.
  • We have professional music therapists come into some of our communities.
  • At Vibrant Life Superior, we have drum circles, percussion circles, chanting, singing, and even play some Rock and Roll!
  • We have students come in and play music.
  • We have family members come in and play music.

Vibrant Life and Music – the world isn’t vibrant without music!

Want to Know More About our Music Program?

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

To learn more please call us (734)913-0000 or send us a note here:

Learn more about our music program

The Red Carpet Surprise

Based on a true story.heaven

She got out of the shiny black town car one leg at a time, with her black hose and shiny black high heels leading your eye, as they should. She strolled into the theater and into the elevator with a handsome man on her arm, as she should. Cameras were waiting as she glided through the lobby, bulbs flashing, heads turning. A staff person opened the door, and there it was, the thing she had been waiting for and had spent all day getting ready for – the magical red carpet. 

It wasn’t easy with the hair, the dress, the makeup, the jewelry.  It had been years since she had walked on it, or dreamed of walking on it, and she savored every moment as the crowd buzzed and the cameras whirred. 

She turned her head as she observed both sides of the aisle, smiling that million-dollar smile she still had after all these years, walking ever so slowly, knowing she had deserved it.  When she reached the end, the cameras seemed to never stop, and she soaked it up, not knowing if this was going to ever happen again.  It was a dream, fate, the gods, that after all these years she was here, and she couldn’t wait to see herself on the big screen, her image for all to see, her name in the credits. 

She was relevant again. 

And the music – that was a surprise – a music video at her age? I guess miracles never cease, she thought.  She walked by the hors d’oeuvres and smiled coyly at the TV camera, as she approached her seat.  The show was about to begin, and she was going to enjoy every minute of it.  

Click HERE to watch the music video.

Sounds like a Hollywood script – right? The ageless star coming back to glory one more time?  Well, in some ways it was. Except this was no ex-Hollywood babe.  This was Betty, a very normal, 89-year-old former housewife, from Kalamazoo, Michigan, who has dementia and lives in an assisted living community.  Betty, and another fifteen of her “new friends”  – all other residents of a Vibrant Life Senior Community called  New Friends Memory Care and Assisted Living – were the guests of honor and performers at a world premier of a music video entitled, “Don’t Define Me, Just Remind Me.” 

Click HERE to watch the CBS news coverage of the event.

heaven

At 89, Betty is part of an unusual choir of people who have dementia. They practice every week and perform occasionally and have actually made a music video, whatever that is.   So here she was – like a dream – performing again after seventy years since high school choir, hearing the cheers of the crowd, and actually walking down a red carpet in nylons and pumps.  Except it wasn’t a dream, it was real, and she just hoped like hell that she would remember all of this the next morning. 

It was all a blur. There she was, onscreen, singing and dancing in the music video. Seeing herself – this older but still attractive lady in a documentary they had made of this “memory care choir” and, finally, performing the three Christmas tunes the choir had rehearsed.  She was surprised they sounded as good as they did, even though she couldn’t remember the arrangement; but she just followed the choir director’s instructions and somehow it all came out alright.  She even had a solo – singing “Silent Night” – and by god, she was shocked she knew all the words. But somehow her old, but still running brain, knew them all.  There was a speaker in the middle of the program who talked about how one part of the brain (the cerebellum) remembered music and somehow never forgot one note of a tune – something the other parts of her brain didn’t share. She sure knew about that.  

They talked about how music seems to “light up” your whole brain and after singing it can make people think a little better, as well as increase their mood.  Well, she didn’t need a study to tell her that! She always felt great after she sang, especially being part of a group–this group.  

At first she was shocked that she could even do the vocal exercises which warmed up her well-worn vocal cords, let alone sing a dozen songs that didn’t sound half bad.  Once her kids moved her in to this “old-age home” a few months ago (or was it longer than that?) she pretty much felt her life was over.  She was just playing out the days until the good Lord took her to be alongside her long-deceased husband. But after exercise classes in the morning, mind games and movies in the afternoon, pretty decent food (she had to admit) and a group of girlfriends she palled around with and had grown to love – that hadn’t happened since high school – she realized she wasn’t quite ready to pack it in. She actually still had something to live for.  And she especially looked forward to Thursday afternoons at two, where along with fourteen other older souls like herself, she could sing again, make beautiful music, forget the aches and pains, the sorrows, the regrets, and be that gorgeous twenty two-year old who once had dreams of being a star on Broadway. 

And then somehow, magically, here she was. as she looked around, in her silk stockings and high heeled shoes, gazing at the audience on their feet cheering wildly, not knowing exactly how she ended up on the red-carpet and the stage at this time of her life – but sure glad she did. 

Here is the star soloist performing Silent Night with her friends in the Tic-Toc Choir

 

Dean Solden is the founder, co-owner of New Friends Memory Care, a Vibrant Life Senior Living Community in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He is also the musical director of the “Tic-Toc choir”, a choir at New Friends made up people who have memory care issues.  The following article is based on the true story of the hip-hop, memory care music video the choir produced, and the red-carpet world premier event which showcased both the choir and the music video. 

For more information contact – Deansolden.vibrantlife@gmail.com; vibrantlifeseniorliving.com; 

 

Don’t Define Me, Just Remind Me

New Friends Memory Care has created an innovative “memory care choir” consisting of its residents with memory care issues, called the New Friends Memory Care, “Tic-Toc” Choir. The group is receiving national attention, with a recent mini-documentary created by Direct Supply out of Milwaukee, entitled, “The Spirit of Caring.” Musical Director and New Friends and Vibrant Life founder, professional musician, Dean Solden wrote the song for the residents of the community, inspired by their “ferocious will to live and still be themselves, and not be defined by their dementia.” The music video helps de-sensitize the concept of people having dementia, especially those with early cognitive or memory care issues.

5 Healthy Habits For Seniors: Staying Healthy As You Age

5 Healthy Habits to Stay Healthy As You Age

Good habits are important at every age. But seniors, in particular, should be mindful of their health.

Growing older can cause changes in the body that impact your quality of life and overall health. Fortunately, adopting some basic healthy habits can help you lower your risk for disease and keep you doing what you love.

Here are five healthy habits to keep in mind:

1. Eat Healthy

Healthy breakfast. Sandwiches with cream cheese, salmon, avocado and slice pear on plate.

Eating healthy is one of the best things you can do as you grow older. According to Healthline, a well-balanced diet helps you “maintain a healthy weight, stay energized, and…lowers your risk of developing chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.”

Because your metabolism slows as you age, it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes and make sure you are getting a good balance of the five main food groups:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • Dairy
  • and Protein Foods

Talking to your doctor can help you get a better understanding of your individual dietary needs. This can be especially important if you have a health condition like diabetes or high blood pressure that can be better managed through healthy eating.

For more information on eating healthy, check out the National Council on Aging’s Healthy Eating Tips for Seniors.

2. Stay Active

Senior couple taking selfie from mobile phoneThere are many myths about exercising as you age. Some seniors may think that they’re “too old” and there’s “no point,” or that exercise will be too frustrating or dangerous for them to do. The reality is that there are plenty of exercises that are safe for older adults. Finding one that you enjoy (and is approved by your doctor!) can help you reduce your risk for disease, improve your flexibility, and keep up your energy.

Some of the best exercises for seniors include:

  • Walking
  • Strength training
  • Swimming
  • Tai Chi
  • Dancing

3. Get Enough Sleep

assisted living residents need to take enough time to sleepGetting enough sleep is still important as you age, but may be more difficult than it was in the past. According to the National Sleep Foundation, changes to our “sleep architecture,”and circadian rhythms happen as we get older and can contribute to sleep problems. Sleep disruptors that can worsen as we age include insomnia, snoring, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome (RLS).

To cope, it is recommended that you exercise in the afternoon, try to establish a consistent sleep schedule, and avoid alcohol and caffeine later in the evening. If issues persist, talk to your doctor for professional help. There may be an underlying issue you aren’t aware of.

4. Stay Connected

Senior Woman Winning Game Of Bingo In Retirement HomeAn often overlooked healthy habit is staying connected and socializing. According to the Elder Care Alliance, “Research has found that social support can play a significant role in overall health as people age. Spending time with friends and family members can boost quality of life, including both physical and mental health.” Maintaining these social connections can help reduce stress and the risk of anxiety or depression. It may also help cognitive health as we get older.

So how can you avoid loneliness and stay connected? There are plenty of ways to interact with others. Many communities offer resources aimed specifically at the senior community. You can search in your local area for:

  • Exercise classes
  • Clubs
  • Lifelong learning opportunities
  • Senior community centers
  • Art and music classes

Are you 55+ and live in Washtenaw County, Michigan? Find senior activities near you here.

5. Keep Your Mind Sharp

Senior man eating breakfast and doing crosswords at memory care facility.Noticing your cognitive function change you older? Fleeting memory problems or trouble learning new things as quickly as you once did can be part of the normal changes to our brain structure and function as we age, according to Harvard Health Publishing. The publication lists some strategies backed by research to keep your mind sharp, including ongoing learning, economized brain use, and properly timed repetition. Staying active has also been suggested to preserve the brain, including thinking skills and memory.

Of course, prolonged or severe memory loss or confusion is not normal. See a doctor if you are experiencing signs of dementia.

Staying Healthy As You Age

Staying healthy is key to maintaining your independence and quality of life as you age. Keep these healthy habits in mind and get on a path to a healthier you!

Meet 3 Members of the Tic-Toc Choir

With the World Premier of our very own Tic-Toc Choir just around the corner, we thought it would be nice to catch up with a few of the performers and get to know them a bit better.

Related: Red Carpet World Premier of Hip Hop Memory Care Music Video

Reminder: New Friends Memory Care has created an innovative “memory care choir” consisting of its residents with memory care issues, called the New Friends Memory Care, “Tic-Toc” Choir and is receiving national attention. Their showcase video is titled, “Don’t Define Me, Just Remind Me.”

Meet Some Stars of the Tic-Toc Choir

Meet Sandy

Sandy was a delight to interview with lively talk about her involvement in the choir, her love of music, and life as a young woman.

“Dean is a great man and his personality is so sweet. It’s because of him that we (the choir) want to do a good job. He is interested in all of us, which is so important.”

Sandy’s love for the choir is evident whenever she talks about it. She became quite animated when talking about her younger years. Sandy has lived in Michigan her entire life. She grew up near Kalamazoo as the youngest of four girls. Her father left the family when she was just four years old. Sandy’s mother worked hard raising her daughters and teaching them to work hard too. Sandy helped her sister with her paper route, later worked in an ice cream parlor, and eventually started a 30 year career at UpJohns.

Sandy sang in her church choir and loves traditional hymns along with many types of music. Country is one of her favorite genres.

When asked if she had any words of wisdom for younger generations, Sandy said, “Get along and have a good time. Do something you enjoy.”

Tic-Toc Choir

Meet Katie

Katie loves all kinds of music and is an expert at animal impressions. She enjoys the Tic-Toc Choir and singing with her friends.

She spent her career as a nurse and has one son, one daughter, and grandchildren. When asked about her favorite food, Katie had a hard time narrowing it down but admitted she prefers salty over sweet.

At Vibrant Life, Katie also enjoys arts and crafts and her favorite spot is sitting in the dining area with friends and keeping an eye on what is going on outside.

Tic-Toc Choir

Meet Linda

Linda has fond memories of producing the music video and also enjoys being in the choir. Her favorite Christmas carol is, “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas.” With a gleam in her eye, she admitted her favorite type of music is Rock n’ Roll. The more toe tapping, the better!

Linda is very proud of her sons, one of which is a police officer in Battle Creek and the other lives in Florida and is the father to her granddaughter Gabby. Her favorite hobby is light gardening where she can spend time outside in nice weather.

Words of wisdom: “Roll with the punches!”

 

Find Out More

Stay tuned for more information about this wonderful and popular choir. Please join us at our world premier featuring the video, “Don’t Define Me, Just Remind Me” and a performance from the choir. You don’t want to miss it.

EVENT DETAILS

Vibrant Life Mission

Vibrant Life Senior Living’s mission and core principles emphasize respect, care, and empowering each person to live a fulfilling life through meaningful relationships and continued access to the stimulating activities that make life worth living.

For more information about or organization or to schedule a visit please call: (734)535-7442

Red Carpet World Premier of Hip Hop Memory Care Music Video

Are you ready for the Red Carpet World Premier of the ONLY Hip Hop Memory Care Music Video?

What an amazing way to close out the decade!

New Friends Memory Care has created an innovative “memory care choir” consisting of its residents with memory care issues, called the New Friends Memory Care, “Tic-Toc” Choir and is receiving national attention. Their showcase video is titled, “Don’t Define Me, Just Remind Me.

Musical Director and New Friends and Vibrant Life founder, professional musician, Dean Solden wrote the song for the residents of the community, inspired by their “ferocious will to live and still be themselves, and not be defined by their dementia.”  The music video helps desensitize the concept of people having dementia, especially those with early cognitive or memory care issues. 

This event is our way of celebrating these wonderfully talented seniors.

Event Details

Please visit our Facebook Event for more details. 

WHEN: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18, 5-6PM

WHERE: The Jolliffe Theatre Space at the Epic Center in downtown, Kalamazoo (359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 205, Kalamazoo, MI  49006)

COST:  The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP. Call Jenny Palmer at 269-372-6100 or email  jpalmer@newfriendsmemorycare.com

DETAILS: This heart-warming event will feature residents of New Friends Memory Care, formally dressed, walking on the red-carpet at Kalamazoo’s Jolliffe Theatre Space at the Epic Center, (something they never expected) as they and the audience will watch the premier of their music video, Don’t Define Me, Just Remind Me,  as well as a the Mini-documentary, The Spirit of Caring. There will also be a performance by the New Friends Memory Care Tic-Toc choir and a discussion with the audience about music and dementia.  This event will also be the formal launch of the music video on social media. 

About Vibrant Life and New Friends Memory Care

Our History

Vibrant Life Senior Living Communities opened in 1997.  We are dedicated to the belief that seniors can continue to enjoy a vibrant life and have a purpose despite any physical or cognitive decline.

We currently have four locations:

Vibrant Life Temperance

New Friends Memory Care and Assisted Living

The Lodges of Durand

Vibrant Life Senior Living Superior Township

Our Mission

Vibrant Life Senior Living’s mission and core principles emphasize respect, care, and empowering each person to live a fulfilling life. We focus on meaningful relationships and continued access to the stimulating activities that make life worth living.

Contact Us Today!

Memory Care Music Video

Spirit of Caring Documentary about the Tic-Toc Choir

New Friends Memory Care has created an innovative “memory care choir” consisting of its residents with memory care issues, called the New Friends Memory Care, “Tic-Toc” Choir. The group is receiving national attention, with a recent mini-documentary created by Direct Supply out of Milwaukee, entitled, “The Spirit of Caring.” Musical Director and New Friends and Vibrant Life founder, professional musician, Dean Solden wrote the song for the residents of the community, inspired by their “ferocious will to live and still be themselves, and not be defined by their dementia.” The music video helps de-sensitize the concept of people having dementia, especially those with early cognitive or memory care issues.