Author Archives: Dan Smilloff

Staying Connected with Far-Flung Family Members

Part of the magic of being retired involves having the freedom to spend more time making memories with your children and grandchildren – especially if they live close by. It is not always so easy, though, for many whose loved ones live in other parts of the country – or the world. For those who can’t walk across town and spend the day together with their families, there are other worthwhile methods of staying connected that are just as fulfilling and serve as a great way to “fill in the gaps” until you can see them again.

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Utilize Technology
For the more tech-savvy among us, talking to loved ones anywhere in the world is as simple as a click of a button on a desktop computer, a tablet computer, or a cell phone. Popular programs like Skype and Apple’s Facetime allow voice chat with video so you can talk to one another and see one another as well. If your device has a camera and a microphone, and if you have an internet connection, it is hard to find a more personal way to spend time with your family without actually being there! If you have a cell phone or tablet, you can also take photos and videos and share them with your family via social media like Facebook and also through emails and text messages. The more connected you are, the easier it will be for you to stay connected to loved ones no matter the geographic distance between you.

Don’t Forget the Personal Touch
Nothing replaces the warmth and personality contained within the pages of a handwritten letter. There is something very special about reading a letter and knowing that the sender had you in mind when putting pen to paper. Getting into a routine of sending weekly or monthly letters will give your loved ones something to look forward to – and you can add a little extra magic by adding something to the letter each time. Maybe it is a coin you collected on your honeymoon, or a gift card to a favorite shopping destination. Remember – when you write them in this way,they will write back, giving you something exciting to look forward to as well. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to start making memories!

If you or your loved ones are looking for senior living, Primrose would be honored to help. Just go to for more info.

Why a Good Night’s Sleep is so Important

Everyone feels better after a good night’s sleep. According to the National Institute on Aging, seniors should get 7-9 hours of sleep every night, but many are slow to fall asleep and up multiple times throughout the night. If you or a loved one are dealing with sleep issues, it is important to understand what is happening and what actions you can take to remedy the situation before it has a negative impact on your health.

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How does sleep a?ect your health?
Harvard University studies indicate that insufficient sleep can contribute to medical conditions such as
diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity and can compromise the immune system – making it harder for the body to fend o? illness. It can also impact memory including the ability to concentrate. Most experts agree that getting the right amount of sleep is as important to overall health as good nutrition and exercise. Getting a good night’s sleep is also key in providing the body with an opportunity to recover from the wear and tear of everyday life. Your body repairs damaged tissue, enhances muscle growth, and even regulates hormones and metabolism while sleeping.

Sleep patterns can change with age
According to the National Sleep Foundation, seniors tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more
trouble staying asleep than when they were younger despite the fact that their sleep needs remain the same. Sometimes this difficulty falling asleep can be attributed to the side e?ects of certain medications, which is why it is important to tell your doctor if you notice a change in your sleep patterns. Also, as we age, the timing of our bodily functions can change. We may still get 7-8 hours of sleep but find that we go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier than we used to. These kinds of changes to the rhythm of the body can be disruptive to sleep, especially if they are dramatic in nature.

How can I sleep better?
Having a dark sleep environment that is not filled with artificial light (such as the television) gives your
body the signal that it is time to sleep. Also – make sure you do not eat or drink in excess before going to bed, or you will likely be up in the middle of the night using the bathroom which is disruptive to deep sleep. Regular exercise will also help the body prepare for rest in the evening – as will getting into a nightly routine of reading for a few minutes before bed.

If you or a loved one are dealing with sleep-related issues and need some additional advice on how to help, Primrose would be honored to visit with you. Just visit for more info or to contact the Primrose closest to you.

Easing the Stress of Being a Caregiver

If you are playing the role of primary caregiver for a loved one, you know the amount of stress that can be associated with this task. We all want to help our aging loved ones retain as much freedom and independence as we can for as long as possible – but for those who are not mindful of their own needs, the demands of caregiving can lead to depression, anger, anxiety, and worse.

capture-one-catalog1059Signs of caregiver-related stress

Research from the Mayo Clinic indicates that caregivers may be so focused on meeting the needs of their loved ones that they neglect their own physical and emotional well-being. Too much stress over an extended period of time can be bad for your health. As a caregiver you are more prone to experience symptoms of anxiety or depression. You may not get enough sleep which can lead to irritability – and your diet may be negatively a?ected which increases your chance for other medical problems like heart disease and diabetes. In the end, it is important to remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to e?ectively help take care of your loves ones either.

Know Your Limitations

It takes a strong person to be a caregiver, but even the most resilient people have limits. Always be
aware of the type of care you can safely provide and never cross the line by trying to do something you are not comfortable doing. It is not always easy to admit when the care needs of your loved ones become too complicated for you to handle safely on your own – but when this happens, Primrose is here to help. We work with caregivers who are concerned about the well-being of their loved ones every day. We assess their needs, develop a plan tailored to their unique situation, and give you peace of mind in knowing that they are safe 24 hours a day.

We want you to enjoy your time with family and leave the caretaking to us. If you have questions
about how Primrose can assist you and your loved ones, we would be honored to visit with you. Just go
to for additional info and to find the Primrose nearest to you.

Staying Healthy as you Age

As we age, we experience a greater number of life changes that can a?ect our health. Whether it is having an “empty nest” for the first time, retirement, the loss of loved ones, or just the physical challenges that can come with aging – it is what we learn from these major life events that is the key to us remaining healthy.

Adjust your hobbies

_a_blg-FallPreventionAs you reach your 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and beyond, healthy aging involves maintaining an awareness of the physical changes you are going through – and making adjustments accordingly. You will want to continuously adopt new hobbies that make it easier for you to stay active, and you may need to make some adjustments that will allow you to continue enjoying your current hobbies as well.  One of the myths of aging is that it always brings about declining health or disability. While it is true that some illnesses become more common as we age, it is also true that many seniors find it easier to maintain their fitness after retirement than it was when they were working and raising a family.

Don’t ignore your emotions

For some, finding healthy ways to cope with the emotional challenges of aging can be difficult. As we age, the tendency can be to focus on the things we lose rather than being grateful for the things we have. It is important to be in fellowship with other seniors and to acknowledge your feelings and share them with your friends and loved ones. It is also important to your emotional health to accept the things you can’t control and, instead, focus on the things you can.  Some find that their limitations are mitigated by moving to a retirement community. They are surrounded by their peers and provided with great dining options and spacious living arrangements. Assistance is available for those who need it and, often times, physical and emotional health improves dramatically in these settings.

If you are interested in learning more about retirement living, Primrose would be honored to assist you. Just visit for more information.

Building a Circle of Friends in your Senior Years

_K0C8110Retirement has many benefits. Among them is an abundance of time to do new things and meet new people. One of the greatest joys in life is making new friends, and you are never too old to enrich your life by bringing new ones into the fray. Here are a few things you can try to create new friendships in your golden years:

Volunteer your time
There is much you can give back to your community in retirement. Volunteering is good for your mental and physical health, and it puts you in touch with others who share the same passions as you. Building these
connections often leads to lifelong friendships, and there are so many ways to serve. Just contact your local senior center or a Primrose close to you for a list of opportunities available, and get plugged in!

Consider working part time
Many seniors continue working part-time after retirement – not necessarily because they need the money, but because it helps them to stay active and meet new people. You may be surprised how many of these jobs are available in your community, and how ?exible the hours really are. If you thrive when interacting when interacting with other people, this may be a good opportunity to explore.

Consider making the move to a senior living community
Everyone’s situation is di?erent. Some seniors live in areas surrounded by friends and family who are there to help them in times of need. Others may be more secluded, with family living far away and a diminishing circle of friends to keep them company. If you or a loved one are feeling alone, a senior living community may provide the answer. Both independent and assisted living arrangements provide increased safety and a social environment where residents are surrounded by their peers. It is easy to meet new people, and great friendships are born on a regular basis.

If you or a loved one have questions about senior living, Primrose would be honored to assist you. Just visit for more information.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

According to a blog article by Dr. Jerry Doctrow, data shows that it can cost more for a senior to stay at home and receive medical care than it would for them to move to a retirement community. A statement like this no doubt runs contrary to what many people may think, but when taking into consideration all the factors at play in determining overall cost, it can be eye-opening.

Studying the averages
Dr. Doctrow calculated the average cost for independent living ($3,076/month), assisted living ($4,722/month), and memory care ($6,082/month). He then calculated the average costs of a senior living in a $150,000 home with the mortgage paid and receiving basic home-care services. When figuring in basic living and operating costs such as maintenance, utilities, property taxes, and meals the average total comes out to about $2,400/ month.

That seems quite modest, and far below even the average cost of an independent living apartment in a senior living community. However, when home care costs, conservatively averaging approximately $1,520/ month, are added to the equation, the overall average cost of living at home increases to about $3,900/month.  Then, to account for the value of the home itself, an estimate of the amount you could earn from renting your home (also referred to as implied rent) would also need to be calculated. A 7% cap rate on the assumed $150,000 value of the home would add up to $875/ month, bringing the total monthly cost of remaining at home to about $4,800. This adds up to be a bit more than the average cost of an assisted living apartment in a retirement community. The numbers don’t lie!

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The benefits of being social
Financial considerations will always be a major factor in the decision to make a move to a retirement community, but they are not the only ones that are of importance. A major perk of living in a retirement community is the ability to easily build new friendships that keep your social life active and vibrant. Finances are certainly important, but the health benefits of being part of a community are also impossible to ignore. Depression is less likely, your mind and heart will benefit from endless opportunities to learn and do new things, and your family relationships will strengthen when you can focus your time on simply being together and enjoying each other’s company.

If you have questions about any of the topics covered in this article, we would be honored to assist you. Just visit for more info.

Don’t Just Stand There – Do Something!

_K0C7535Living an active lifestyle has many health benefits that can lead to a longer, happier life. If, however, you are not getting enough exercise, you may be at greater risk for serious conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, and depression. Understanding the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle will go a long way towards promoting better physical and emotional health.

The health e?ects are real
The Archives of Internal Medicine says that daily physical activity reduces the risk of death by 75% in older adults compared to those who are not physically active. Just 30 minutes of physical activity each day will help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, dementia, depression, and a host of other conditions.

Daily activities may be a?ected
Seniors are especially at risk for difficulty in performing activities of daily living due to lack of physical activity.  When a person sits too much, it causes them to lose lean muscle tissue. Once this happens, home maintenance tasks like mowing the lawn or raking leaves can become
almost impossible. Basic tasks like showering, dressing, and even eating can also become quite difficult – which can lead to less personal freedom and greater dependence on others.

You can stay active at any age
There are many practical things you can do to stay active, no matter your age. When you go shopping, try parking your car at the edge of the parking lot and walking to the entrance. Take a walk through your local city park
or nature trail a few times a week. Not only is it good exercise, but it helps you to meet new people to boot! Remember, if you are not sure what you can handle, check with your doctor. They can work with you to help develop an exercise plan that is safe.

If you or a loved one have additional questions, we would be honored to help. Just visit for more info.

Keeping your Mind Sharp as you Age

_k0c7253Did you know that your brain actually shrinks in size as you age? Over the years, it can lose up to 10% of its size – meaning that regular exercise is needed to help your brain stay strong and healthy. In fact, older adults may
benefit the most from activities that help to foster good mental health. Here are some ways to help keep your brain in tip-top shape:

Enjoy Games that Stimulate your Brain
The internet can be a great place to go for games that make you think. A quick Google search for your favorite game will likely provide you with places to play it online, sometimes against other people in real-time. If you are more inclined to avoid the computer, there are always board games like Monopoly, Clue, or Scrabble, which get your mind working and provide fellowship with friends and family.

Stay informed
Getting in some good reading time not only helps to make you smarter, it can also increase the power of your brain. In much the same way that the muscles of your body need exercise to stay healthy and strong, so, too, does your brain. Harvard Medical School determined that the best way to keep your brain healthy is to pursue knowledge throughout your lifetime. Reading the latest novel or staying current on politics and the news of the day is a great way to accomplish this. 

Be efficient
It can be hard to remember that your daughter’s birthday is next Wednesday, your grandson’s recital is on Saturday, you have a haircut appointment at 3 pm, and a doctor’s appointment tomorrow at 11 am. While you’re at it, you also need to keep track of where your cell phone, car keys, and TV remote are as well! Take advantage of calendars and planners, either on paper or the electronic versions, to help you manage your schedule. Set aside a specific place to put your knick-knacks so that you only have to look in one place to find your things. You’ll be surprised
how much less stress you have and how much easier it is to remember life’s details once you take control of the little things.

If you have questions about senior living and how Primrose can help you or a loved one, we would be honored to help. Just visit for more info.

Helping Seniors Prevent Fraud

_K0C6989Scam artists target senior citizens at an unprecedented rate. 5 million older adults are the victims of fraud and financial abuse each year, making it vital for our older loved ones to be wary of unsolicited attempts to gain access to their personal information. Here are some things you can do now to help protect them from these criminals:

Just shred it
Before throwing away any financial information that may contain account or social security numbers, be sure that these documents are shredded first. Scammers will go through garbage cans looking for this type of info – better to be proactive and destroy the evidence than to have to deal with someone stealing your identity and dealing with the heartache it causes.

Beware telephone scams
It is good to talk to your loved ones about not disclosing any personal information via phone or email.  In fact, if they don’t recognize the number it is good practice to remember to ignore the call altogether. Many of these scammers are quite crafty and will contact people numerous times, building trust with them before attempting to collect information they can use to drain bank accounts and steal identities. You can also put your loved ones’ phone number on the National Do Not
Call Registry by dialing 1-888-382-1222 or visiting

Know who to contact
If you suspect that your loved ones been victimized, talk to them about it and see if you can figure out what happened. Turn to local police, your bank (if money has been taken from accounts), and Adult Protective Services (APS). To find the APS nearest you, call 1-800-677-1116 or visit

If you have additional questions about this, or about senior living in general, we would be honored to assist you in your journey. Just visit for more info.

Seniors and Social Media

Capture One Catalog0135Many may believe that the world of social media is one that is exclusively inhabited by the younger generation.  The fact is, though, that many older adults have become frequent users of this technology. Social media helps keep them connected with loved ones and old friends, and it opens up a world of information they may never have had access to before.

Keeping friends and family close
It can be hard to stay in touch with family – especially when they don’t live close enough to visit frequently.  Fortunately, websites like Facebook and Skype can help to close the distance and make communication more personal than just a phone call. Facebook allows people to share photos and videos with one another, and Skype takes it a step further by making it possible to talk to friends and loved ones online with video. While being together in the same place will always be the best option, having internet access can make staying in touch – even from great distances – much more personal and enjoyable for everyone.

Meeting new people and staying informed
Older adults are also using social media to meet others with the same hobbies and interests as them. Sites like Facebook and Pinterest provide access to online communities devoted to thousands of di?erent areas of
interest – and they allow people to easily communicate and share new ideas with one another. Whether you are into recipes, arts and crafts, home improvement, movies, or sports – it is easy to find people to talk to. With age, the ability to remain social becomes more and more important – particularly for seniors living at home alone. Social media provides an outlet to the outside world and an opportunity to congregate with others without leaving your home.

If you or a loved one would like more info on how technology can help enrich the lives of seniors, Primrose would be honored to assist you. Just visit for more information.