Celebrating Our Front Lines In Providing Exceptional Care- Our CNA’s

This week marks the beginning of the 40th Annual National Nursing Assistants Week (June 15th - 22nd), a week that celebrates those too often unsung heroes who serve as the cornerstone of care at every assisted living & memory care community: Career Nursing Assistants (CNA’s). These loving, compassionate, & endlessly patient individuals are the ones that spend the most time with our residents, providing assistance with all aspects of their daily life & care, aiding in activities, sharing conversation, & developing the special bonds that make them the heart & soul of our residents’ community experience.

Words cannot adequately convey the importance of each and every CNA in setting the tone & maintaining our standard of excellence in care, as well as creating & cultivating a positive, enriching lifestyle for our residents each & every day. These “Care Specialists” have earned their hard-won expertise by devoting their career & lives to focusing on the wellbeing of others.  We love National Nursing Assistants Week because it gives us the opportunity to plan activities & events that celebrate our CNA’s & show our appreciation for the amazing compassion & care they diligently provide day in & day out.

Our Schonberg communities choose to celebrate National Nursing Assistants Week in a variety of different ways, with events & gifts that are unique to each community & the preferences of their own CNAs. Some communities create a fun “theme” for each day that allows both residents & CNAs to let loose & showcase their individuality & creativity through themes like “Pajama Party Day,” “80’s Day,” & “Rep Your Favorite Sports Team Day.” Themed days also provide a great opportunity for CNA’s to further strengthen bonds with their residents over shared interests each theme uncovers, such as the fact that they are both die-hard Broncos fans or that Madonna is their favorite 80’s icon. "Both our residents and our team members have the absolute best time cutting loose and having fun together through the activities that take place at our community during CNA Week," says Courtney Bartholomew, Executive Director at Vista Shores Assisted Living & Memory Care. "Our amazing CNA's deserve to be celebrated every single day for their tireless commitment to the residents they serve, so the least we can do is give them a fun-filled week that is all about them!"

Other ways we show our CNA’s the appreciation they deserve include providing snack stations throughout the week (Breakfast Bites, Ice Cream & Pizza Parties, catered lunches, etc.), daily drawings for door prizes like gift cards or restaurant/spa gift certificates, & special gifts from the community, like a customized thermal mug filled with candy.

There are countless ways to celebrate the CNA’s that serve as the vital front lines & foundation of a community’s care program, and we encourage everyone who benefits from the hard work and dedication of a CNA to find their own special way to say THANK YOU this week for all the big & small ways that CNA’s improve the lives & health of yourself, your loved one, or the residents that your community serves. We most definitely will be!


Who Do You Wear Purple For?


June officially marks Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, a worldwide awareness campaign that organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association promote in efforts to cultivate a better understanding of what Alzheimer’s/Dementia is, the rapidly increasing impact it is having on our senior population, it’s warning signs & symptoms, steps for prevention, & resources & techniques for living effectively with the disease following diagnosis.

This year’s campaign includes celebrities holding up signs that indicate who they’re wearing purple for, such as “for my dad & grandfather,” “for my Aunt Rose,” “for my grandmother & great-grandmother,” & “for my mom & dad.” It’s a very effective approach for raising awareness, because it showcases how widespread the effects of this disease have become on families all over the world, from all walks of life. Everyone with a brain is at risk for developing this disease, and if you don’t yet have a loved one effected by Alzheimer’s/dementia, the odds are unfortunately good that you soon will. More than 5 million people living in the US currently have Alzheimer’s disease, & that number is projected to steadily grow to 16 million by the year 2050. Alzheimer’s disease is quickly becoming a global crisis, which is why it is so important to learn all we can about this disease & to actively participate in the worldwide effort to annihilate it. "We work hard to promote Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month within our local community," says Jay Tipton, Executive Director at Ashton Manor Assisted Living & Memory Care in Luling, LA. "We have served memory care residents as young as 50 years old, and the number of memory care patients we serve is growing every year;  it is very important that every person has a good understanding of this disease, especially its indicators and warning signs, because it can truly effect absolutely anyone." 

So what are you waiting for- get involved in the ever-so-important Purple Purpose!

-To learn more about the FACTS regarding Alzheimer’s disease, including the 10 warning signs, stages, risk factors, prevention techniques, & current important research initiatives, visit http://alz.org/alzheimers_disease_1973.asp.

-Get involved in local efforts taking place for The Longest Day, an event that takes place June 21st, 2017 as people form teams & engage in a wide range of activities to honor their loved ones living with Alzheimer’s/Dementia & to raise money that supports the fight for a cure. To learn more about The Longest Day & how YOU can get involved, visit http://act.alz.org/site/TR?fr_id=9704&pg=informational&sid=23675.

-GO PURPLE! Help spread awareness among through your business or organization of choice by registering for a Go Purple packet that furnishes you with awareness materials, information, activity ideas & instructions, & campaign tools to help you easily plan your own awareness initiative that will impact & support the community around you. You never know who is in need of this vital info, or who soon will be- so be the person that connects them with resources that could be life-changing! To start your own Go Purple initiative, simply fill out the following form: https://docs.google.com/a/alfordadvertising.com/forms/d/1X4dNZwMdXNbRuI9m-HqhV3DmwsH00SdyKgvEmrxPkXo/viewform?edit_requested=true

-SHARE your Purple Pride! Help spread awareness & interest in this super important cause by using your voice on social media. Become part of the Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram conversation by sharing a picture of yourself in your purple gear with the hashtag #IGoPurpleFor & your story, followed by the hashtag #EndAlz or #MyAlzStory! Check out how celebrities & people just like us are sharing their stories at http://alz.org/abam/.

We look forward to being part of the Power of Purple with you all this month!



We have all heard that exercise is one of the most important ways to help ward off the mental and physical effects of aging. Unfortunately, as one grows older, it can become harder on the body to partake in some of the more rigorous activities that may have been beloved hobbies throughout life, such as running or playing a high-impact sport.

It is important for seniors to find a physically and mentally stimulating activity that promotes a healthy lifestyle without being too strenuous on the body. The great news is, summer welcomes the perfect opportunity to take part in an activity that offers a host of low-impact, high reward benefits: gardening!

Gardening is an ideal hobby for seniors to invest their time in for a wide variety of important reasons. Physically, it allows one to engage in moderate but very beneficial physical activity, and it also provides exposure to the many health benefits the sun provides, including mood elevation & Vitamin D production.

Gardening is such an amazing activity because it does just as much good for the mind as it does for the body. Everyone feels the inherent need to live a purpose-driven life, and it is important that seniors find meaningful ways to fulfill that need during their golden years, when the responsibilities of work and raising children have lessened. Gardening is the perfect outlet for that: growing new life takes patience, time, dedication, and the commitment to keep learning and to persevere through any obstacles or setbacks that arise. "We had an amazing group of volunteers come and set up a bunch of planters in the large backyard behind our community, and it has been absolutely wonderful for our residents," says Kathy McPhail, Executive Director of Alden Pointe Assisted Living & Memory Care in Hattiesburg, MS. "Caring for these plants on a daily basis gives our residents such a sense of purpose, and spending quiet time out in the beautiful sunshine has instilled peace and joy in us all!"

In addition to the cognitive stimulation and physical benefit that gardening provides, it can also be very emotionally fulfilling, as well. Gardening can often be quite a challenging task, and the sense of accomplishment one feels in seeing the plants they lovingly cultivated grow and thrive promotes confidence in one’s abilities and a boost in self-esteem.

After reading this post, we hope you are inspired to dig out your gardening gloves and sun hat and start researching a new planting project that interests you! If you’re a newbie to the gardening game, it would be a great idea to contact a local gardening club in your area- they are usually more than willing to answer any questions you might have, and many are happy to come by and help you get your own garden started. Whether on your own or with a friend or a club, we wish you the best of luck in breathing new life into your summer through the cultivation of bountiful, beautiful blooms!



Celebrated on May 29th, Memorial Day is a meaningful day to most people for a wide variety of reasons, but it is often a day that is most significant to our senior population. For the veterans who bravely served the country they love, it represents one of their proudest accomplishments. For those who lost a husband, brother, father, or another loved one they hold dear, it is a day for them to reflect on their loved one and remember the fond memories they shared. As caregivers or loved ones of the seniors that are impacted by this day, we want to make it a truly special one for them. If you’re looking for ideas on how to make this Memorial Day more memorable, here are a few options to consider:

Make a Memorial Wall: Whether a senior who served lives in their own home or in an assisted living community among other veterans, creating a dedicated space to display photos, metals, and other physical representations of the time in which they served is a very powerful and meaningful way to showcase the importance of a senior’s unique contributions to our freedom and safety. If your loved one lives at home, work on collecting these materials, then set up and surprise them with a well-appointed space dedicated to their service. If they live in an Assisted Living community, make sure their items are added to any existing Memorial Wall, or speak with the appropriate community representative about putting one in place that can serve as a remembrance of each  resident's contributions to our country. "We just recently debuted our Veteran Wall of Honor at both our Independent Living & Memory Care communities, and it was such a special moment for our residents and their loved ones," says Debby Gooch, Executive Director at Beau Ridge Independent Living & Memory Care in Ridgeland, MS. "For those residents who didn't have a photo in their old uniform, we were even able to track down the uniforms they served in and get a photo of them. That additional touch made the experience very personal and meaningful for everyone involved."

Create A “Time Capsule”: For most senior veterans, the time in which they served stands out as some of their most vibrant memories. In working with seniors, we have been blessed with the fortune of hearing and gaining wisdom from the courageous and extraordinary life stories of our residents who served. These life stories and experiences deserve to be heard by loved ones and generations to come- so why not record them? For a Memorial Day experience that we can guarantee will be just as meaningful for you as it is for your loved one, sit down with them and a tape recorder, camcorder, or even your phone and have a long conversation about their memories and what Memorial Day means to them. Their great-great-grandchildren will thank you for this priceless gift.

Visit A Meaningful Remembrance Site: Memorial Day used to be known as Decoration Day, as it was traditionally celebrated by visiting soldier’s cemeteries and decorating their graves. If there is cemetery that is meaningful to your loved one because of someone significant to them, that is obviously the ideal site to visit; however, the act of spending time at any soldier’s cemetery or military landmark and honoring the individuals laid to rest there is a gratifying, fulfilling experience that gives seniors a peaceful place to showcase their appreciation and reflect on what the day means to them personally.

Observe National Rituals: A huge part of what makes Memorial Day so significant is the unity and teamwork it symbolizes among all the extraordinary individuals that banded together and sacrificed in the name of our great nation. Taking part in the traditional Memorial Day recognition rituals that are taking place across the nation allows seniors to feel connected to the cause and comrades that meant so much to them. Traditions to take part in include joining in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 PM, holding a dedicated flag-raising ceremony in which the flag is flown at half-staff until noon before being raised to the top until sunset, and wearing a yellow ribbon to signify support for our American troops.

We hope this Memorial Day is one you and your senior loved one will always remember!

National Nurses Week 2017: Celebrating the Unsung Heroes of Our Communities

“As a nurse, one has the opportunity to heal the mind, soul, heart & body of their patients, their families, and themselves. People may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them FEEL.” -Maya Angelou

The hard work and dedication of so many people go into creating a successful assisted living community- Executive Directors, caregivers, Activities Directors, Physical Therapists, cooks, bus drivers, dieticians, the maintenance team, and so many others all play very important roles in creating an atmosphere that is warm, welcoming, and seamless in its operation and services. However, most can agree that NURSES are the backbone of the most critical service that assisted living and memory care communities provide: the care.

Every individual residing in our communities is unique, and so is the type and level of care they need. Providing the highest quality of exceptional personalized care is a goal that every great senior living community strives to uphold, and we place our trust in the huge responsibility of upholding our own exceedingly high standard for care in the capable hands of our experienced, innovative, and compassionate nursing staff.

With this week being National Nurses Week, we wanted to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the amazing group of selfless men and women without whom it would be impossible to offer the exceptional level of care that our communities take pride in providing. The theme of this year’s National Nurses Week is “Nursing: The Balance of Mind, Body, & Spirit.” That theme is very fitting, as we feel that our own nurses do so much to enhance our residents’ quality of life on each of these levels.

All of our nurses who work with our memory care residents receive rigorous and continuous specialized Dementia Care Training. This training coupled with the hard-won experience they have gained throughout their career has given them the capability to connect with our residents at every stage of their memory care journey, honing in and focusing on the things they CAN do and helping them to achieve their highest level of cognitive function each day through our special brand of Dementia Capable Care. Their oversight, training, and instruction of the caregivers they manage ensures that our special approach to cognitive care is echoed and applied expertly by our entire team. "Words can't convey how vitally important our nurses are to our ability to provide the best care possible to our residents," says Elizabeth Wood, the Executive Director at Bay Cove Memory Care Assisted Living in Biloxi, MS. "As the only freestanding community devoted exclusively to Memory Care in the Gulf Coast area, it is paramount that we have a talented nurse who understands the unique needs of memory care residents and is able to expertly lead and oversee that care. We would be lost without our talented nursing team!"

Our nurses are the living embodiment of the word “active." It is rare that you don’t see them on the move within our communities, and just as busyness is a hallmark of their own life, they understand the importance of keeping our residents constantly active and engaged to support their health, as well. Their meticulously crafted individualized resident care plans and their dedication to working closely with our Activities Directors & Physical Therapists ensure that each of our residents enjoy the perfect amount of physical activity for them.

Finally, our nurses play a pivotal role in the spiritual and emotional wellbeing of each of our residents. Death is something that is often hard for people to talk or think about, but it is a part of life that all communities must face at times when caring for a senior population. Providing end-of-life-care to the special residents that we have come to know and love so much is a difficult, emotionally taxing process, but it is one that our nurses face with grace and endless amounts of compassion. They understand how much our residents and their loved ones look to them as a pillar of strength and support during this trying time, and they put their own emotions aside to be everything our residents and their loved ones need them to be- not just as a nurse, but also as a therapist, confidant, and friend.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again- our nurses are our backbone. They are the tireless supporters, the cheerleaders, the comforters, and the care managers that make our communities truly exceptional. We are so incredibly grateful for our phenomenal nurses, and if you see a nurse today, we hope you’ll let them know how much you appreciate their service, as well! #NationalNursesWeek2017

Celebrating Memory Care Moms: Make Sure Blooms Are Beautiful AND Safe

Every woman lights up when they’re the recipient of a gorgeous bouquet, including ladies living with Alzheimer’s/Dementia! For those of you planning on celebrating your favorite mom or grandmother with her favorite flowers, you should check to make sure they are non-toxic before placing the delivery.

The reason? A symptom of some individuals with Alzheimer’s/Dementia is confusion regarding what is edible and what is not, and there have been reported cases of memory care patients accidentally consuming plants that made them ill.

While these occurrences are rare, there are still a lot of lovely floral options out there that make it easy to play it safe while still putting a smile on your special someone’s face. Some crowd-pleasing favorites include colorful chrysanthemums, sunny sunflowers, timeless roses, dreamy daylilys, delightful daises, charming carnations, majestic marigolds, and soothing lavender. "Nothing puts a smile on our memory care residents' face like a special gift from their loved ones," says Susan Pappalardo, Executive Director at Park Provence Assisted Living & Memory Care in Slidell, LA. "Flowers are not only a beautiful gift that can light up a room, the appropriate ones are also an amazing gift for a loved one with Alzheimer's/Dementia because of the sensory stimulation that their scent produces. The strongest sense associated with memory is smell, and the smell of a favorite flower can bring back favorite memories from one's wedding, anniversary, birthday, etc."

 We hope this gave you some great Mother's Day #bloomspiration, and we wish you and the magnificent Mom in your life a joyful and fabulously fragrant Mother’s Day!