Memory Care in Durand: Options for Dementia

Are you looking for Memory Care in Durand, Michigan or surrounding areas? The good news is that you have options, even though it is never an easy decision to make for a loved one.

If you are struggling with this decision or aren’t sure if it is the right time, we encourage to you read When Is It Time for Assisted Living?

The very fact that you are researching this possibility means that it is time for some sort of senior care or assisted living. We speak with many families on a weekly basis who are in the same place you are right now. The question really isn’t “Is it time?” but rather, “What level of care is needed at this time?

Note: During this difficult time of quarantine and Covid-19, there are many precautions and additional things to consider. Please read Assisted Living & Memory Care in Durand Coronavirus Updates and Information for information about specific changes and new protocols. Later in this article we address some very creative solutions to combating dementia and Alzheimer’s during this time of isolation.

Memory Care in Durand: Things to considermemory care in kalamazoo

When someone starts experiencing dementia it is a confusing time for the whole family. Each case is unique and the rate of progression is different for each person. However, in all cases there comes a time when it just isn’t safe for the person to live alone or to be left alone for any significant amount of time.

This is why it is so important to choose an assisted living residence that has several different levels of care. This is often referred to as aging in place. Your loved one can move in at the level that makes sense for where they are today and can easily transition to more care as they need it. Unfortunately, with dementia and memory care later in life, people will generally decline. They will need more care at some point.

It is also really important that they have a stable and familiar environment as their dementia progresses. Lots of moves and changes will make a difficult situation even harder, so aging in place in a really important consideration.

The Different Levels of Memory Care in Durand

memory care in kalamazoo

The best kind of memory care provides compassionate care and 24-hour supervision in a comfortable environment that feels like home.

Unlike most memory care communities, at Vibrant Life’s Assisted Living and Memory Care Durand location, our memory care/dementia program has three different levels of care.

  1. Early-stage memory care
  2. Middle stage memory care
  3. Later stage memory care

We have “lodges” all right next to each other on the same campus and look virtually exactly the same.  A person generally will be able to stay in their same room and lodge as time goes on, but occasionally they do move to another lodge.  However the rooms look identical. In this way we make all the transitions as smooth as possible.

Residents mostly interact with other residents who are at the same level so they are with people most similar to them.  We and our families have found this to be the most compassionate and a very effective way to provide our residents the highest quality of life. All of our Carefriends are specially trained to provide the highest quality of care  in a respectful, dignified and loving way. Our staff works with each resident and their families to determine what level of cognition they have when they first come to us. We also all work as a team to decide when and if  it becomes beneficial to move to different level of care and potentially different memory care “lodge.”

Our personalized care plans encompass everything from assistance with everyday activities like grooming and dining to programming that encourages hobbies and relationship building.

Music and Memory Care in Durandtic-toc choir

Music is a very big part of the culture at all of the Vibrant Life communities. We use it every day to provide peace and joy. The Music Program here is second to none and utilizes the latest research and developments in how music helps with dementia. Click here to find out more.

RelatedThe Science Behind Music Therapy to Combat Dementia

Our Tic-Toc Choir has gained local fame with their music video “Don’t Define Me, Just Remind Me” and a documentary that was made about the choir called The Spirit of Caring. Check them out!

How Has Covid-19 Coronavirus Changed Assisted Living in Durand?

Isolation is hard on everyone but it is especially hard on those dealing with dementia. We are finding new and creative ways to keep our residents engaged and active while still maintaining safety measures. Here a few things we are doing:

  • Eating in doorways. Now that our residents are isolated to their rooms we set up tray tables in their doorways during meal times. This allows them to see each other and socialize.  We also call bingo and provided music and singing this way, too.
  • More 1 on 1 time with staff. Both the staff and residents are enjoying getting to know each other better.
  • Video Calls. We are utilizing Zoom and Facetime for our residents to connect with family. Many people have reported that they are communicating even more now than before the pandemic due to this technology.
  • Physical Activity. Many people with dementia and memory issues tend to wander. We are allowing our ambulatory residents individual time to walk around the community and go outside when weather permits. They always have a staff member with them and this helps with restlessness.
  • Staff Pictures on Shirts. All of our staff wear face masks at all times, which can make it hard for our residents to recognize them and ready their lips. Some of our staff have started to put a large picture of themselves on the front of their shirts. This has really helped.

Would You Like More Information?

Vibrant Life is providing Virtual Tours of all 4 of our locations. If you or a loved one is in need of assisted living, senior living, or memory care, we can provide the answers and resources to answer your questions.

You can visit our website for information on each community. For information specific to The Lodge of Durand, please click here or call (989)288-6561 to speak with our Director of Admissions and Community Relations.

We are also updating our site regularly with any new information about coronavirus that is urgent or helpful to our staff, families, residents, and the community in general. You can find that information here.

Additional Resources

Musical Minute – Social Distancing with Song!

Message to Families of Vibrant Life Senior Living Residents from Dean Solden

Memory Care in Kalamazoo: Options for Dementia

Are you looking for Memory Care in Kalamazoo, Michigan or surrounding areas? The good news is that you have options, even though it is never an easy decision to make for a loved one.

If you are struggling with this decision or aren’t sure if it is the right time, we encourage to you read When Is It Time for Assisted Living?

The very fact that you are researching this possibility means that it is time for some sort of senior care or assisted living. We speak with many families on a weekly basis who are in the same place you are right now. The question really isn’t “Is it time?” but rather, “What level of care is needed at this time?

Note: During this difficult time of quarantine and Covid-19, there are many precautions and additional things to consider. Please read Assisted Living & Memory Care in Kalamazoo Coronavirus Updates and Information for information about specific changes and new protocols. Later in this article we address some very creative solutions to combating dementia and Alzheimer’s during this time of isolation.

Memory Care in Kalamazoo: Things to considermemory care in kalamazoo

When someone starts experiencing dementia it is a confusing time for the whole family. Each case is unique and the rate of progression is different for each person. However, in all cases there comes a time when it just isn’t safe for the person to live alone or to be left alone for any significant amount of time.

This is why it is so important to choose an assisted living residence that has several different levels of care. This is often referred to as aging in place. Your loved one can move in at the level that makes sense for where they are today and can easily transition to more care as they need it. Unfortunately, with dementia and memory care later in life, people will generally decline. They will need more care at some point.

It is also really important that they have a stable and familiar environment as their dementia progresses. Lots of moves and changes will make a difficult situation even harder, so aging in place in a really important consideration.

The Different Levels of Memory Care in Kalamazoo

memory care in kalamazoo

The best kind of memory care provides compassionate care and 24-hour supervision in a comfortable environment that feels like home.

Unlike most memory care communities, at Vibrant Life’s New Friends Assisted Living and Memory Care Kalamazoo location, our memory care/dementia program has three different levels of care.

  1. Early-stage memory care
  2. Middle stage memory care
  3. Later stage memory care

We have three “lodges” all right next to each other on the same campus and look virtually exactly the same.  A person generally will be able to stay in their same room and lodge as time goes on, but occasionally they do move to another lodge.  However the rooms look identical. In this way we make all the transitions as smooth as possible.

Residents mostly interact with other residents who are at the same level so they are with people most similar to them. All of our Carefriends are specially trained to provide the highest quality of care  in a respectful, dignified and loving way. Our staff works with each resident and their families to determine what level of cognition they have when they first come to us. We also all work as a team to decide when and if  it becomes beneficial to move to different level of care and potentially different memory care “lodge.”

Our personalized care plans encompass everything from assistance with everyday activities like grooming and dining to programming that encourages hobbies and relationship building.

Music and Memory Care in Kalamazoo tic-toc choir

Music is a very big part of the culture at all of the Vibrant Life communities. We use it every day to provide peace and joy. The Music Program here is second to none and utilizes the latest research and developments in how music helps with dementia. Click here to find out more.

RelatedThe Science Behind Music Therapy to Combat Dementia

Our Tic-Toc Choir has gained local fame with their music video “Don’t Define Me, Just Remind Me” and a documentary that was made about the choir called The Spirit of Caring. Check them out!

How Has Covid-19 Coronavirus Changed Assisted Living in Kalamazoo?

Isolation is hard on everyone but it is especially hard on those dealing with dementia. We are finding new and creative ways to keep our residents engaged and active while still maintaining safety measures. Here a few things we are doing:

  • Eating in doorways. Now that our residents are isolated to their rooms we set up tray tables in their doorways during meal times. This allows them to see each other and socialize.  We also call bingo and provided music and singing this way, too.
  • More 1 on 1 time with staff. Both the staff and residents are enjoying getting to know each other better.
  • Video Calls. We are utilizing Zoom and Facetime for our residents to connect with family. Many people have reported that they are communicating even more now than before the pandemic due to this technology.
  • Physical Activity. Many people with dementia and memory issues tend to wander. We are allowing our ambulatory residents individual time to walk around the community and go outside when weather permits. They always have a staff member with them and this helps with restlessness.
  • Staff Pictures on Shirts. All of our staff wear face masks at all times, which can make it hard for our residents to recognize them and ready their lips. Some of our staff have started to put a large picture of themselves on the front of their shirts. This has really helped.

Would You Like More Information?

Vibrant Life is providing Virtual Tours of all 4 of our locations. If you or a loved one is in need of assisted living, senior living, or memory care, we can provide the answers and resources to answer your questions.

You can visit our website for information on each community. For information specific to New Friends in Kalamazoo, please click here or call  (269)372-6100 to speak with our Director of Admissions and Community Relations.

We are also updating our site regularly with any new information about coronavirus that is urgent or helpful to our staff, families, residents, and the community in general. You can find that information here.

Additional Resources

Musical Minute – Social Distancing with Song!

Message to Families of Vibrant Life Senior Living Residents from Dean Solden

A Frontline Perspective from Assisted Living in Temperance, Michigan

Meet the Executive Director for Vibrant Life’s facility for assisted living in Temperance, Michigan, Catherine Reese.

Catie has assisted living in temperance michiganworked for Vibrant Life since 2016 when she was first hired as a staffing coordinator. Her experience and hard work quickly earned her a promotion to Human Resource Manager and then in 2018 she became the facility’s Executive Director. 

Catie is also the Regional Director for Vibrant Life and meets regularly with the executive directors of our other communities, The Lodge of Durand, Superior Township (Ann Arbor), and New Friends in Kalamazoo.

Normally should would regularly visit each facility, but due to Covid-19 these meetings are now being held over Zoom. 

In addition to her work experience, Catie is involved with The Michigan Center for Assisted Living (MCAL) which is a division of the Health Care Association of Michigan (HCAM). Catie completed their CALD program in October 2019 and is a Certified Assisted Living Director.

When asked why she chose the field of senior care, Catie said, “I really like working with seniors because I like to advocate for them. I want to ensure they have their rights, are treated fairly, and most of all I want them to be happy.”

Catie is a big believer in knowing your “why” for what you do. She regularly asks her staff what their “why” is. My why is that I lost my dad and grandma in hospice. I felt like they weren’t treated fairly. I want to make a difference and be an example. When you find your why you work more passionately.” 

When Catie isn’t working she enjoys painting and kayak fishing with her husband and two children. They recently moved from Monroe to Adrian and live on 2.5 acres with their two dogs and a cat.

A Day in the Life of Assisted Living in Temperance, Michigan

As Executive Director, Catie starts each day visiting with the residents. She inquires about their health and if they had any problems during the night. She stays updated daily with how each one is feeling . Then she meets with her staff and department heads. Catie’s duties also include communicating regularly and often with the families of residents. 

“My main goal is to ensure families feel comfortable during this time and that they know they can ask questions.” 

Daily operations also include budgets, project management, and providing direction and support to each department. 

How has your job changed due to Covid-19?

As you can imagine, all four Vibrant Life Communities have been on the frontlines of combatting Covid-19. Catie shared what they are doing and how life has changed in assisted living in Temperance.

“The biggest changes are that residents are isolated to their rooms. They eat in their room and do activities in their rooms. We are keeping everyone separate. The staff all wear masks and we are not allowing any visitors. We do have window visits.”

As with all the Vibrant Life locations, the only visitors that are allowed are family members of residents who are in the process of passing on. In this situation we take every precaution possible and everyone involved is fully gowned and wear masks.

Each staff member is assigned to a specific building and no one is going between buildings. The staff are working with residents in their rooms to keep them physically and mental busy. This includes chair exercises, games, and activities.

“I think the hardest thing for the staff and residents is not being able to socialize in a group setting. Not having them out in the common areas is a challenge. And of course,  no communal dining and visits with families.” Catie admits.

They have been utilizing phone and video calls and allow window visits with the windows closed.

“It is going really well with Zoom and in some cases families are communicating a lot more than they did before the lock down. We also moved some of the residents’ rooms around to provide for better isolation. They like their new rooms and it has perked them up a bit.”

A New Challenge in Memory Care

A new challenge during this time is felt deepest with the memory care residents. Because staff are required to wear masks at all times, many residents have a hard time recognizing them. It is also impossible to read lips, as many residents who are hard of hearing rely on this ability.

“We are going to start putting pictures of the staff on their gowns so the residents can see who they are talking to. I think this will help a lot,” Catie explained. The have also been decorating their gowns and keeping things colorful as a way to entertain and cheer up the residents and each other.

With the warmer weather the staff have been taking individual residents outside from time to time. They sanitize the porches between each visit.

When asked if the current Covid-19 protocol will inspire permanent changes in operations, Catie had this to say, “We will definitely keep a bigger supply of PPE items in stock. We will also be more cautious of how many people are in groups and will adjust our activities to smaller groups.”

The silver lining in this difficult time is the outpouring of support from the residents’ families and from many vendors and suppliers.  Many have provided food for the staff and emotional support as well. The dining staff have been taking requests and making many favorite family recipes.

Catie lined the driveway with signs to encourage her staff to keep up the great work.

“I really appreciate the residents and the staff and am extremely blessed to work here. I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.” Catie Reese, Executive Director, Vibrant Life Assisted Living in Temperance, Michigan. 

assisted living in temperance michigan

Would You Like More Information?

Vibrant Life is providing Virtual Tours of all 4 of our locations. If you or a loved one is in need of assisted living, senior living, or memory care, we can provide the answers and resources to answer your questions.

You can visit our website for information on each community.

We are also updating our site regularly with any new information about coronavirus that is urgent or helpful to our staff, families, residents, and the community in general. You can find that information here.

Additional Resources

Musical Minute – Social Distancing with Song!

Message to Families of Vibrant Life Senior Living Residents from Dean Solden

A Frontline Perspective from Assisted Living in Durand

Vibrant Life’s facility for assisted living in Durand has a new Executive Director. Jeri Birchmeier is an LPN and holds a Bachelor’s assisted living in DurandDegree in Health Care Administration. She has worked in both hospitals and long term care facilities.  Jeri lives on a farm, with her husband and two children, and has 300 cattle! 

Like Angie Hanson, our Executive Director in our Ann Arbor facility, Jeri started her career here at Vibrant Life just days before the shelter-in-place order. She had to wait 8 days for her COVID-19 test to come back negative before she could physically enter her new work place.

We caught up with Jeri to talk about her position, what a typical day is like, and how things have changed because of the quarantine.

“Vibrant Life has such a great reputation in this industry. I have been working in the long-term care industry for over fifteen years and when this opportunity became available, I knew it was time to come work for Dean and Rob.”

When asked why she chose the field of assisted living, Jeri revealed, “Memory care is where my heart is.”

Jeri started her medical career as an emergency room nurse. She then transitioned to orthopedics and eventually neurology, which also includes dementia. 

“I didn’t have grandparents growing up but I am particularly passionate about helping seniors navigate their new normal (the onset of dementia and participating in memory care.)”

A Typical Day for Assisted Living in Durand

It’s hard to talk about a “normal” day due to the quarantine, but Jeri’s daily duties include checking in with all of her staff to see how things are going. She inquires on how the residents were throughout the night and if anyone had any issues. She reads through the notes for all them and then she helps get everything ready for breakfast.

Jeri spends a lot of time talking to patients. Because of her extensive background in nursing, she has unique insights into the medical side of resident care. This includes corrective measures, offering suggestions, educating the staff, and helping families cope with the everyday struggles of having a loved with dementia. 

Jeri also runs the day-to-day operations of the facility including budgets, financials, and monitoring census (occupancy). 

Vibrant Life’s Lodge of Durand facility is actually made up of two buildings, referred to as lodges. One is dedicated to assisted living and the other is dedicated to memory care.

RelatedWhat’s Happening inside Senior Communities During the Virus Crisis

A Passion for Memory Care in Durand

Jeri revealed that she is really excited to improve the memory care facility to offer more therapy for residents with dementia.

“It is really crucial to provide activities that keep the mind and body going.” Jeri explained that most of the residents spent the majority of their lives working, either at jobs or as homemakers. So providing stability and opportunities for them to do the things they enjoy goes a long way to dealing positively with dementia.

“Things like a baby changing station, putting together small machines, sensory stations like rubbing sequins blanket, and even helping with cleaning, are all things our residents can do. The more we make them aware of their environment the less behavioral issues we have and often they require less medication too.” Jeri said.

How Assisted Living in Durand has Changed Due to Covid-19

Note: At the time of this interview, the entire facility (including staff and residents) had zero confirmed cases of Covid-19. 

Isolation. Each lodge is isolated and working, more or less, independently of each other, rather than together.  Certain staff are assigned to specific lodges and only work in one building.

Restricted Visitors. Vibrant Life, across all locations, have restricted all visitors and community support from physically entering the buildings. Upon arriving for work all staff members much ring the doorbell and answer seven questions.

Screening for Covid-19. Each staff member has their temperature taken and once cleared, they can come in. In addition, their temperature is taking at least one more time during their shift.

Outside Items. Anything that is delivered to the facility is disinfected at the door.

Cleaning. The entire facility is disinfected 3 times a day with bleach water. Staff are wearing masks at all times. There has also been a switch to using plastic utensils. 

How are residents handling the quarantine?

“The residents are lonely and the memory care patients don’t understand why these changes are being made.” Jeri also explained that even though this is the case, they are seeing less behavioral issues in general. This is mostly due to the lack of transition because families aren’t visiting. “Sometimes we see certain behaviors after family leave (from visiting) are we aren’t seeing that right now.”

Instead, the staff is utilizing technology like Zoom and Facetime to connect residents with their families during this time. They have started scheduling these times per resident so they can look forward to the communication and allows the staff to ensure every person gets a turn.

assisted living in Durand

Positive Outcomes in a Difficult Time

“Of course families are nervous, but they have been extremely supportive of our efforts. Our staff has been amazing and I feel like we are closer because of this.” Jeri said. “All the Executive Directors for the Vibrant Life locations have been really supportive of each other. We have regular group calls which is helpful.”

The staff is also in daily communication with the health department and there are emotional support groups available as well. The Shiawassee Health Department can provide counseling over the phone. 

“I think we are doing a great job here. I have a lot of tired staff but they are doing amazing. Our residents are happy and that is what we aim for. “

As Vibrant Life Founder and Co-owner Dean Solden says, ” we are delighted that Jeri is now a part of our Vibrant Life family here at the Lodge of Durand.  She has great knowledge and an equally huge heart.  She’s going to make a huge difference in  lot of people’s lives.  We’re looking forward to working with her for years to come.”

Would You Like More Information?

Vibrant Life is providing Virtual Tours of all 4 of our locations. If you or a loved one is in need of assisted living, senior living, or memory care, we can provide the answers and resources to answer your questions.

You can visit our website for information on each community.

We are also updating our site regularly with any new information about coronavirus that is urgent or helpful to our staff, families, residents, and the community in general. You can find that information here.

Additional Resources

Musical Minute – Social Distancing with Song!

Message to Families of Vibrant Life Senior Living Residents from Dean Solden

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

 

A Frontline Perspective from Assisted Living in Ann Arbor

Vibrant Life’s facility for assisted living in Ann Arbor has a new Executive Director. Angie Hanson had no idea she would have to start her assisted living in ann arbor new career managing a world-wide pandemic. However, her experience and management style is enhancing our Ann Arbor community and bringing the staff and residents together in these strange times.

We caught up with her to talk about her position, what a typical day is like, and how things have changed because of the quarantine.

“I officially started a couple days before the shelter in place order, so I worked from home and got tested for Covid-19. When it came back negative I could go into the facility.” Hanson said.

She is not new to the world of senior care, having worked in the field for over 14 years. Hanson originally went to school for teaching and took a job in assisted living while finishing college. She connected with the residents and her co-workers and pivoted her career. “I am still educating people every day, just in a different capacity.”

RelatedWhat’s Happening inside Senior Communities During the Virus Crisis

A Typical Day for an Assisted Living Executive Director

During the coronavirus pandemic, nothing is really typically. However, Hanson’s daily duties are always about communication. She walks the facility, touching base with staff and residents. She checks in at least twice a day with each department, such as dining, maintenance, and activities. Hanson is always monitoring the facility’s census (number of residents), planning for upcoming staff training, and communicating changes.  

“I need to know how each department is doing and what they need. Daily operations take up most of my time. I am also in charge of hiring new staff, budgets, receipts, things like that.” Hanson explains.

The best results always happen out of trust.

You have to build relationships.”

Angie Hanson, Executive Director Vibrant Life Superior Township

Hanson takes a team approach to making decisions and solving problems. For example, if a resident develops depression, she will talk to the family. the nurse, the activities director, and even the dining staff. They will all provide their input on what each area can do to help the resident. It might be more communication with their family. making a favorite dish, doing a craft, going outside, or a medication consideration. The solution is always a team effort.

“I don’t make decisions by myself. I consider the whole team. It’s my job to figure out how to best communicate information,” Hanson explained.

How Assisted Living in Ann Arbor has Changed Due to Covid-19

The facility is made up of separate buildings that are called Lodges. Now, especially during the virus crisis, each lodge is isolated and working, more or less, independently of each other, rather than together.  Certain staff are assigned to specific lodges and only work in one building. Residents now eat in their rooms, but Hanson and her team came up with a creative solution that makes this shift easier for everyone.

They have set up TV tray tables in the doorways of the residents’ rooms. This way, they can still see each other down the hall, staff can interact with them, and assist the residents with their meals when needed. “We have even able to call bingo this way, so that has been fun.” Hanson explained.

They are still celebrating birthdays and having fun wherever they can.

Health Department Assistance

The health department in Ann Arbor has provide critical support. They have assigned a nurse and physician to the facility. Hanson can all them anytime with questions,  get resources, or to develop solutions to new issues.

Hanson revealed that one of the hardest things about the current situation is fear. “Our staff is fearful that they may have it (coronavirus) and expose others. They work here all day and then go home to their families. They worry they will expose their families. We are all taking a lot of time  reassuring each other and we know we are in this together. When we go home we sanitize and shower up.” 

It is very hard on essential workers because not only are they at work providing needed services, they have the added duty of reassuring their own families and keeping them calm.

Assisted Living in Ann Arbor

“We can be fearful and nervous, but this is bad for our bodies – too much cortisol is created.  I reassure them, and they motivate them to stay positive.  It is so cool to watch how everyone is coming together.”

With the use of masks inside the facility (all staff are wearing them at all times) it has posed some problems for residents. Many residents who are hard of hearing rely on lip reading to understand staff, so that has been a challenge. Memory care patients don’t always recognize the staff either, because of the masks.

Finding the Good

In additional to the health protocols that have been put in place, Hanson reveals that the biggest positive change that has developed is more one-on-one time with the residents. Staff has had more time to sit and color, share pictures, hear stories, and just really connect.

“It’s has been fun watching the staff interact with our residents. They are doing creative things, taking walks, enjoying the courtyard, and even eating with the residents – at a distance, of course.”

Vibrant Life has been utilizing technology a lot more and residents have been utilizing zoom,  skype and facetime to talk with families.  Many of them have been able to connect to a family member they haven’t talked with in a long time. 

Hanson admitted, “I can’t believe we haven’t been utilizing these available services all along, but we will continue to do so in the future, even when the ban is lifted.”

The dining staff have been making more favorite dishes and utilizing some of the residents’ family recipes.

The New Universal Worker

Due to isolating lodges and new protocols, each staff members has really pitched in to take on more tasks, many of which are new to them. They are forming new ideas and ways to do things together differently. “They are really getting excited about it and have great ideas. I’d like this to be the new model on what we are doing by enhancing the teamwork approach we already have in place.” Hanson explained. 

An Outpouring of Support

Hanson gushed about how caring and thankful the residents’ family members have been. One family has been shipping candy to the staff. Another one bought lunch for the whole community. They have also received countless kind words, emails, and messages of gratitude and encouragement.

“When you go through hardships this sort of thing really shines.”  

Are Assisted Living Facilities Taking New Residents? 

Yes, they are. As you can imagine, there are strict protocols put in place. The first being a required Covid-19 test. Only residents who test negative are allowed to move in at this point.

Vibrant Life Superior is also actively hiring employees, with the same requirements.

In addition, this facility has one entire lodge that is ready to assist with hospital overflow. It is has been sanitized and closed to current staff and residents. The types of patients and level of care has not be determined at this point, but the Health Department is aware that the space is available if needed.

Would You Like More Information?

Vibrant Life is providing Virtual Tours of all 4 of our locations. If you or a loved one is in need of assisted living, senior living, or memory care, we can provide the answers and resources to answer your questions.

You can visit our website for information on each community.

We are also updating our site regularly with any new information about coronavirus that is urgent or helpful to our staff, families, residents, and the community in general. You can find that information here.

Additional Resources

Musical Minute – Social Distancing with Song!

Message to Families of Vibrant Life Senior Living Residents from Dean Solden

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