Beating the Caregiver Blues with Yoga

Beating the Caregiver Blues with Yoga

The post-holiday blues combined with the cold and snowy Michigan winter can leave caregivers feeling a little down. Exercise is one of the best ways to regain a sense of well-being. Fitness programs like yoga and Pilates can be ideal. They build core strength, while improving balance and flexibility. In addition, the breathing techniques used can help to improve oxygen intake and decrease stress. Both can help to boost your mood. For caregivers, Chair Yoga can be an easy way to get started.

Benefits of Chair Yoga for Caregivers

Chair Yoga is a modified form of yoga that allows participants to work out from a seated position. Caregivers receive the majority of the rewards of yoga while working around any physical limitations they may have.

Some of the benefits of yoga include:

  • Helping with weight control and weight management
  • Decreasing the pain of osteoarthritis by building muscle strength
  • Promoting relaxation which helps to improve heart health
  • Managing depression by improving the stress response and promoting better breathing techniques

Chair Yoga Resources

If you are looking for resources to help you get started, these might help:

  • Get Fit While You Sit: This organization can help you find an instructor in your area. They also have DVDs you can order online.
  • Seated Yoga Sequence: A helpful visual aid you can use to get started, the sequence consists of six yoga poses that can be done from a seated position.
  • Arthritis Foundation Chair Yoga: The Arthritis Foundation also recommends several DVDs on their website. Each of them can be performed while seated in an armless chair.
  • Energizing Chair Yoga: YouTube also has a variety of free videos you can watch to learn how to practice chair yoga. This is one that earns high marks from viewers.

As a reminder, be sure to check with your family physician before beginning any new form of exercise.


The Village of Appledorn West in Holland is now open! If you or a senior loved one would like to tour our independent living apartments or learn more about our assisted living community that will open in the spring of 2015, please stop by or call us at (616) 846-4700


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Incorporating More Exercise in to Your Day Could Save Your Life

Incorporating More Exercise in to Your Day Could Save Your Life

Exercise leads to better health. It not only helps you decrease your risk for health conditions such as coronary artery disease and cancer, but it can also help to better manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes and osteoarthritis. Following a routine exercise program can also lead to increased stamina, a stronger immune system and a lower risk of depression. For older adults, there are even greater benefits.

Exercise and Aging

Decreased mobility and lack of flexibility are more common with aging. Regular exercise helps build flexibility and core strength both of which improve balance and coordination. That leads to fewer falls and fall related injuries.

Another benefit of exercise for seniors is that it can promote better sleep. For older adults, getting the right amount of sleep and good quality sleep can be a struggle.

Senior-Friendly Exercise Programs

If you or the Michigan senior you love needs help developing an exercise program that is senior-friendly, these resources should help:

  • Getting Fit for Life: The National Institute on Aging developed a program that includes four types of physical activity: endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. They have helpful videos that show you how to incorporate each form of exercise into your fitness routine.
  • Go 4 Life: This is another comprehensive fitness program from The National Institute on Aging. It covers exercise, safety, motivation and more. They also offer seniors free DVDs and guides.
  • ElderGym: Is a senior focused fitness site that shares resources that range from helpful articles to DVDs and ebooks.
  • Exercise Plan for Seniors: This Health Line site can help older adults develop a workout schedule that incorporates flexibility, strength, stretching and balance.
  • Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults: Developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), this guide is free to download. It offers tips for getting started, a quiz to measure your strength, ideas for staying motivated, goal setting and more.

Finally, don’t overlook the exercise programs that take place every day at senior centers across the state of Michigan. To find one near you, visit Michigan Association of Senior Centers.


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Moving a Loved One with Dementia to Assisted Living

Moving a Loved One with Dementia to Assisted Living

Choosing to move a Michigan senior loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease to an assisted living can be emotional. Because of the difficulties families frequently encounter while trying to keep their loved one safe at home, however, many adult children find they have no choice. Safety and special care needs require them to make this decision.

What can families do to prepare their loved one for a move to a memory care assisted living community?

Here are a few suggestions that can help make this transition go more smoothly:

  • Familiar Surroundings: Older adults who have Alzheimer’s disease usually benefit from familiar surroundings. Before moving day, work with the staff at their new community to recreate their familiar home environment. It will help decrease anxiety when their new home looks like their old one. Try to focus on what items remind them most of home. Can you bring their favorite chair? A quilt or throw they use every day? A stack of their old books and magazines can help make their new home more familiar even if they are no longer able to read them.
  • Photos and Memorabilia: Plan to bring both older and newer family photos to decorate their room. Remember that their memory loss may make it easier for them to identify older photos rather than new ones.
  • Activity Boxes: Create one or two activity boxes full of familiar items. It might be from their past employment or favorite hobbies. If your senior loved one was an accountant, for example, include a ledger, calculator, pencils and other objects they may have used for their job. For gardeners, an activity box might include photos of flower and vegetable gardens, garden gloves, small plastic pots, potting soil and seeds to them to plant.
  • Music Therapy: Remember the healing power of music. Bring a small CD player with their name engraved or etched in to it. Also bring a few of their favorite CDs. Encourage staff and family to play their favorite music for them if they seem anxious.
  • Reminiscence Board: Before the move, create a Reminiscence board for the staff of the community. Paste copies of photos of people who are important to your loved one on to the board along with a description of the photo. It will help staff get to know your aging parent more quickly and also be a nice for them to have on their wall to look at each day.

We hope these ideas help make the transition to a new environment a little easier for your senior loved one. If you live in Michigan and would like to learn more about memory care, we invite you to visit our Specialized Dementia Care resource page.

Heritage Senior Communities is pleased to announce that our newest community is open in Holland, Michigan. The Village at Appledorn West offers adults over the age of 55 one- and two-bedroom independent living apartments. The campus will also be home to an assisted living community that is projected to open in the spring of 2015.

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