Why Caregivers May Experience Guilt & How to Overcome It

Believe it or not, guilt is a very normal part of the caregiver journey. Whether you’ve been caring for your loved one for years, or just started making decisions as their health changed, guilt can happen. It’s not because you’re doing anything wrong, it’s simply a normal experience that we recognize and frequently see with our families at Maplewood Senior Living.

What you need to know about caregiver guilt is that it happens for a variety of reasons, and it’s ok to speak up when you are experiencing it. You may have siblings or a spouse that is critical of your choices, or doesn’t seem to want to help. Or, you may simply become overwhelmed and wish you could take a break or had less responsibility. No matter the cause, there are many healthy ways to overcome caregiver guilt. Continue reading “Why Caregivers May Experience Guilt & How to Overcome It”

The Power of Purposeful Design

Purposeful design simply means we design our spaces on purpose, with elements that feel warm while functioning as a stimulant for cognitive ability and independence. With the right cues and programming, we see residents engage in the experience of their choice, which leads to an improved quality of life.

Here are just a few ways we incorporate purposeful design at Maplewood Senior Living.

Continue reading “The Power of Purposeful Design”

Virtual Reality & Its Benefits

By now, you’ve likely heard the term “virtual reality” (or VR for short), but if you haven’t experienced it yourself, it may be difficult to understand. Virtual reality incorporates the use of goggles, which display an image or video that appears to be real. Users can choose to move and look around, just like they were at the destination, enjoying the sights and sounds in a fully immersive 3D experience.

At Maplewood Senior Living, we use this technology across our communities and have seen great benefits for all our residents, especially those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. The Rendever platform was designed specifically for the senior population and invites them to recall familiar times by visiting virtual places or allows residents to experience new adventures.

One of the positive ways our residents use VR is by “going home.” Familiar places and images of the past have long been used in reminiscence therapy. The concept of reminiscence therapy is that dementia locks memories deep inside of the brain, and by looking at those memories through photos, they can be sparked. This can help bring them alive and often has a calming effect for the individual. As we focus on memory care at Maplewood Senior Living, we are investing in this technology, combining the principles of reminiscence therapy with the power of VR. The happiness our residents experience when they walk down their old hometown streets, or even through their childhood home, is extremely uplifting and is improving their memory care outcomes.

Gina Saunders, Corporate Director of Memory Care and Programming, for Maplewood Senior Living recalls this story from one of our Memory Care Directors:

Using Rendever is a mind-blowing and emotionally exhilarating experience.  It is a wonder to see residents respond and ask about what they are seeing.  One session, I chose to take them to the oldest salt mines in the world.  I wasn’t sure what kind of reaction I would get from the group, but as soon as we landed into our virtual reality, one resident exclaimed, “Are we in the right place, it looks like a palace?”  And thus began our journey through the historic salt mines.  As we journeyed from one room to another, a flurry of questions started and they wanted to know all the particulars, they began to guide each other, shouting to the group, “Look behind you, do you see that?” What might seem like a few slides in VR to some, became a virtual adventure, as though we had been dropped into a show from the History channel and we were the investigators.  Guiding seniors through this experience was fun, enlightening and a complete blast for them and for me.  Rendever is now a part of our life at Strawberry Hill. – Christina Outlaw, Memory Care Director, Maplewood at Strawberry Hill

Julie Sabo, Memory Care Director, at Maplewood at Twinsburg, shared:

Residents using the VR programming will often talk for quite some time following the actual VR session. Long-term memories are tapped almost every session. It is so exciting to see the residents light up as they recall a trip they once took to a destination, or a story they tell about a childhood friend that took place in a familiar home town setting.

 Virtual Reality programming has allowed residents the opportunity to:

  • Connect with family members across the country
  • Travel to far off places, often times re-living previous experiences
  • Benefit from the therapeutic effects of pet therapy
  • Engage in lively, social dialogue among other residents following their VR experiences

Whether residents connect with memories, family, pets or each other, we’re seeing positive results and are eager to continue our commitment to offering the best experiences and engaging programs at Maplewood Senior Living.

Brian Geyser, VP of Clinical Innovation & Population Health, Maplewood Senior Living, illustrates how the VR platform has positively impacted our residents. Learn more about this here.





Will Airbags Prevent Hip Fractures in Older Adults? [VIDEO]

Preventing falls in seniors is very complex, and it’s a BIG problem. Every year, 2.8 million older adults in the U.S. end up in the emergency department with fall related injuries. One in four seniors who experience a hip fracture die within a year. ActiveProtective is one of many companies around the globe trying to solve this problem. Check out their airbag technology now being testing in senior living communities.

Aging Innovation Resources

Innovation in aging tech, senior care and longevity science is happening across the globe, but it’s not always easy to find out what’s new and what’s next in the space. One of the best places to look is Aging2.0. This rapidly growing international community of aging innovators is on the cutting edge. Through its Leaders Circle, AllianceEvents, and Local Chapters, Aging2.0 is creating a global movement to improve the lives of older adults and transform the way we care for aging populations.

As an example, check out their Snapshot of Global Innovation in Aging and Senior Care. For 2018, Aging2.0 has identified eight priorities where innovation will have the greatest impact:

A2 Challenges

Aging2.0 is challenging big thinkers around the world to create solutions in these categories and the results of these “Grand Challenges” will be on display at the Optimize Conference in November 2018.

Maplewood Senior Living is proud to be an Aging2.0 Alliance member and is working to advance innovation in many of the Grand Challenges categories. More to come on that in future posts.

Here are some additional links to add to your resource list. Enjoy! 

Brian Geyser is VP of Clinical Innovation & Population Health at Maplewood Senior Living and serves as the Aging2.0 Local New Haven, Connecticut Chapter Ambassador. Connect on LinkedIn

Featured image provided by Eversound

Virtual Reality and Senior Living: Can VR Find a Home with Older Adults?

Virtual Reality (VR) technology has advanced significantly in recent years. If you haven’t experienced it yet, it’s definitely worth a go. When we discovered that a small startup out of MIT called Rendever created a VR platform for senior living communities, I had to check it out. Fast forward about four months and we’re now rolling out Rendever VR to all of our communities. Why? I’ll let the video speak for itself.

Continue reading “Virtual Reality and Senior Living: Can VR Find a Home with Older Adults?”

What’s the Latest News in Dementia Research?

Jason Richardson, MS, Ph.D., DABT

Maplewood Senior Living, in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, and Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), will be hosting a dementia research and caregiving symposium on September 29th from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Holiday Inn, 6001 Rockside Road, Independence, Ohio. The event is specifically designed for both family members and caregivers and will feature renowned experts who will discuss the latest trends in Alzheimer’s and dementia care. In addition, the symposium will focus on managing caregiving responsibilities.

Jason Richardson, Ph.D., Director of Neurodegenerative Disease and Aging Research Focus Area, Acting Associate Dean for Research College of Pharmacy and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at NEOMED will be giving a keynote titled, “Industry Research and New Findings.”

I had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Richardson recently to get a sneak peek into his talk.

Continue reading “What’s the Latest News in Dementia Research?”