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Valencia Terrace’s Brian Grandbouche to Receive Award for Outstanding Executive Director


The California Assisted Living Association (CALA) announced today that Brian Grandbouche at Valencia Terrace, a Kisco Senior Living community, will receive the organization’s prestigious Outstanding Executive Director award at their Fall Conference & Trade Show in Rancho Mirage. CALA chooses recipients of these awards based on their commitment to providing outstanding, quality care and service to residents in the Assisted Living communities where they work. Grandbouche received his award on October 21, 2013.

Brian Grandbouche had two years of experience in Assisted Living when he became the executive director of Valencia Terrace in 2011. Prior to that, he worked in retail and hospitality for over 20 years. According to one of his team members, “I have learned from Brian how to be a great leader and lead a team that is efficient, effective, and successful. He is sincerely concerned with my professional growth and has proven to be a great mentor.”

As the executive director of Valencia Terrace, Grandbouche has implemented many programs to enrich the lives of residents, families, and team members. He introduced a monthly family newsletter that has received praise from family members for being informative and fun. He also initiated the “I Will, I Can” award to recognize associates who take initiative; this award recognizes a worthy recipient each quarter. His passion and perseverance for excellence in evidenced in making Valencia Terrace a great place for residents to live and associates to work.

Currently, nearly 180,000 Californians are residents in Assisted Living communities and the need for Assisted Living continues to grow. Assisted Living provides residents with the care they need to perform activities of daily living, medication management, social activities, housekeeping, meals, and transportation; some communities also offer dementia care programs and health-related services. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the following is the percentage of seniors by age cohort who need assistance with three or more activities of daily living:

  • Age 75 to 79: 20%
  • Age 80 to 84: 31%
  • Age 85+: 50%

A recent study commissioned by CALA showed that Assisted Living is a major contributor to local economies. Assisted Living provides more than 68,000 jobs in the state.

About CALA represents over 450 Assisted Living communities. Members range from small independently operated communities to large multi-national organizations. CALA is dedicated to the betterment of Assisted Living and provides leadership through advocacy efforts and education to support providers in their efforts to offer the highest quality programs and services to their residents. 

Returning to work in retirement living

Making the transition to retirement living in no way means that you have to stop doing what you enjoy in life. The assumption that you must withdraw from life when you retire is completely false. Now that you're no longer caring for a child or using your time at work, you can take this newly discovered time to stay professionally active post-retirement. And some people are going into a completely different area of work than they did pre-retirement. It's called recareering.

In order to pursue a new path in their professional life, many individuals are hiring retirement coaches to help point them in the right direction. Factors like personality tests and time with friends and family will help to determine what's most important to you in a job and help you discover your skills, interests and hidden talents.

60-year-old Jim Dawson spent 40 years in the banking industry; after being laid off due to restructuring, he pursued a retirement coach to help him figure out what he wanted to do with his time.

"It's not just about finding the next job," explained Dawson. "It's more about looking at yourself as a whole person to figure out what you can do to enjoy life more."

However, jumping into the job market again can be scary. Many seniors are overwhelmed by the scale of options available to them and are not sure they have the professional skills and connections necessary to reach out and land a job. Here are some factors to consider when thinking about entering into a new career during retirement living:

Consider the possibilities. Don't let factors like annual pay alter your decision. Instead, think about what you love. When you daydream, where do your thoughts wander? What section of the newspaper do you read first? These little everyday clues can be a big help in determining which direction to take.

What does success mean to you? Some people believe that the more you get paid, the more successful you are. But this is often not the case. Success could mean finding a job that makes you happy and one that leaves your life feeling more fulfilled. Strive to achieve whatever "success" means to you.

Take it one step at a time. You can't expect to get where you want to be overnight. By starting small, you'll eventually get where you want to be.

Don't give up. Nothing good in life ever came without a good amount of patience. When entering into a new chapter of life, there are going to be new things to learn. But as long as you're taking it one small step at a time, you're inching that much closer to reaching your goals.

Think about past jobs. Think about what you loved and what you didn't love about positions that you have held in the past. This can help you determine what you're looking for and what you're looking to stay away from.

Activities to engage the mind and stay mentally sharp

Many turn to vitamins, medications and supplements to help keep their brain on its toes and working at its best. However, keeping the mind sharp may be much easier than keeping up with certain medications. Fun, mentally stimulating activities can help prevent cognitive decline in seniors. In fact, these activities  may actually be more beneficial than supplements.

According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, cognitive training exercises like puzzles may help prevent cognitive decline, while there is limited evidence that drugs, herbal products or vitamin supplements do so. Researchers reviewed 32 studies, three of which examined the effects of mental exercise involving computerized training programs or intensive one-on-one personal training in memory, reasoning or processing speed. One of the studies found significant improvements in participants' memory over five years of follow up.

Mentally stimulating exercises to try out
Just as there are a variety of ways to keep your body active and healthy, there are just as many options available for promoting brain health. When you work out your brain, it's going to get stronger. Here are a few fun and effective ways to bulk up your brain:

Sudoku and crossword puzzles. When you're engaged in solving puzzles like Sudoku or crosswords, the production of dopamine - a chemical responsible for learning and memory - increases. Solving these puzzles may also be relaxing. Focusing on a puzzle for a long period of time tends to take you away from your stresses and enter into a more tranquil state. Both of these puzzles can easily be found in the newspaper - take a stab at both of them when you wake up in the morning and see how you do!

Arts and crafts. Create an ornament for your Christmas tree, sew a scarf or make something for your grandchildren. Whatever you're doing, participating in arts and crafts can help to improve your hand-eye coordination.

Painting and drawing. You don't have to be Picasso to reap the benefits of this activity. In fact, if you don't do this often, it will be tapping into a new section of your brain, helping to boost brain health even further. Sit down with some friends and try to draw things around you - it might be fun! And your brain will certainly be getting a workout.

Bingo. Here at Kisco Senior Living, you'll always have the chance to test your luck in bingo. It's a great brain activity to take part in. According to The Guardian, bingo makes you think faster than those who don't play the game and keeps you more alert entering into old age. Participating in bingo requires good listening skills and the ability to search for numbers quickly.

Board games. Who doesn't love a game of Life or Monopoly every once in a while? It's a fun afternoon activity to get involved in with a few friends. Just like bingo, Sudoku and crossword puzzles, board games require concentration on problem solving and critical thinking skills. They keep the mind challenged and in shape - even if you don't realize it!


Four things you should know about Medicare


Medicare is the federal system of health insurance for individuals over the age of 65 and select disabled individuals. Entering into retirement living, it's important to be familiar with this term and all that it entails. Here's a few of the essentials you need to know about Medicare:

Sign up early to save money
Although Medicare is primarily meant for those over the age of 65, you can begin to sign up for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday. Coverage can start as soon as the first day of the month you were born. Make sure to keep track of the calendar because enrolling late requires you to pay a permanently higher premium. You have a seven-month window around your 65th birthday to sign up.

A free physical
Once you have signed up for Medicare, you are welcome to get a free preventative doctor visit during the first months that you have Medicare Part B - which often includes a review of your medical history and recommendations about your care. This is a great opportunity to prevent routine illness and disease. Once you have had Medicare for a year, you are eligible for annual wellness visits to a doctor.

However, it's important to keep in mind that while the cost of the visit is covered, additional costs could be charged if a problem is found. For example, if a lump in the breast is discovered or a polyp is found during a colonoscopy, you may have to pay approximately 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for services rendered.

Not everything is covered
Unfortunately, there are a bevy of medical services that are not covered under your Medicare plan. These services could include dental, eye care, dentures and hearing aids. This health insurance plan may not cover the long-term care costs that come with living in a nursing home or assisted living home.


A bit of sunshine has the potential to prolong life


With the summer months arriving shortly, there's likely going to be a lot more sun shining down on you during the day. Those warm rays not only feel glorious, they give you an adequate amount of vitamin D and studies are showing that they could even extend your life.

According to a study conducted at the University of Edinburgh, exposing your skin to sunlight may help to reduce blood pressure, cut the risk of heart attack and stroke and even prolong life. Researchers discovered that when skin is exposed to the sunlight, a compound is released in the blood vessels that helps to lower blood pressure. This decrease in blood pressure improves overall health and even decreases the risk of developing skin cancer.

Twenty-four volunteers sat beneath tanning lamps for two different sessions lasting 20 minutes each. In the first session, the individuals were exposed to the UV rays and the heat of the lamps. In the second session, the UV rays were blocked, leaving only the heat of the lamp. The results showed that blood pressure dropped significantly for one hour following exposure to the UV rays. The same effects did not occur in the blocked UV session, however.

At any age, there are always plenty of reasons to get outside and a bevy of things to do. However, it's important to remember to take proper precautions. Apply an appropriate amount of sunscreen before going outside and grab a hat and sunglasses for further protection. Here are some activities that you can enjoy with friends, loved ones or grandchildren while you soak up some sun:

Take a stroll
Get out of your senior living community and explore the surrounding town while soaking up some rays. This is a great time to bond with loved ones while seeing the sights - and it's great exercise! Hit the shops in your area or visit the natural attractions your town has to offer.

Attend an outdoor sporting event
Check out the sporting events in your area. Maybe your favorite baseball team is playing over the weekend or there's a local swim meet happening down the road. Cheer on the participants under the warm sun.

Eat a meal outside
Step out on your patio in retirement living and enjoy a meal and great conversation with your neighbors. If your grandchildren are visiting, considering going on a picnic. Set out a blanket and bring portable music, a Frisbee and plenty of delicious food.

There are many volunteer opportunities that exist outdoors. Check out the nearest animal shelter to see if you can walk the dogs or play with them outside. Habitat for Humanity will also get you outside in the sunshine to help build houses for those in need.

Gardening is not only relaxing, it offers a way to get some physical activity into your day while soaking up the sun at the same time. Plant your favorite blooms to enjoy this summer. You could even plant some fruits and veggies so you have fresh produce to chow down on during the warmer months.

Could tai chi provide arthritis relief?

Staying active well into your golden years is essential not only for a healthy heart and healthy mind, physical activity can actually help ease the symptoms of arthritis. Contrary to popular belief, living a sedentary lifestyle isn't recommended for those with arthritis. You are encouraged to get out there and get moving, whether that's trying out a new sport, spending some time in the garden or just going outside for a stroll with your neighbors.

There is one type of exercise, however, that was found to provide relief from symptoms of arthritis, including stiffness, fatigue and balance, after just two months: tai chi. Often described as "meditation in motion," there is growing evidence that this mind-body practice has value in treating a variety of health problems.

According to a study conducted at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Medicine, this ancient Chinese art helped patients with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia to move more easily after taking twice-weekly classes.

The lead author, Leigh F. Callahan, associate professor of medicine at the university, said that pain, fatigue, stiffness and balance were all improved. Study participants also reported experiencing better sleep at night.

Arthritis relief isn't the only benefit that tai chi offers, however. It addresses several of the key components of fitness, including muscle strength, flexibility, balance and aerobic conditioning. Studies have been shown to improve all of the preceded elements.

According to Harvard Health Publications, studies have indicated that tai chi may be a safe and effective way to maintain bone density in postmenopausal women. A study was also done at National Taiwan University, which found that a year of tai chi significantly boosted exercise capacity, lowered blood pressure and improved levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin and c-reactive protein in people who were at high risk for heart disease.

At Kisco Senior Living, many of the communities located all over the map offer tai chi to residents. A typical tai chi class might include a warm up with easy motions like shoulder circles and turning the head from side-to-side, as well as focusing on your breath and body. It may follow up with instruction and practice of various tai chi forms - different styles require smaller or larger movements. Toward the end, instructors help the mind and body relax by focusing on the breathing process.

Talk to your doctor before starting tai chi if you have a limiting medical condition. Tai chi has an excellent safety record, making it a great physical activity for seniors.