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The later decades of your life can be among the most rewarding. You have more free time to devote to hobbies and people that make you happiest. You may be blessed with the joys of becoming a grandparent. You have more wisdom, patience, and confidence than you did when you were younger. And you have the perspective to know not to take any of it for granted.

It’s important to keep your body and mind healthy to enjoy these years to their fullest. The key to healthy aging is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are five essential science-backed elements to living a healthy lifestyle at any that any age, which continue to serve as a strong foundation for health and daily well-being as we age.

The 5 essential elements of healthy aging are:

  • Diet
    Many Americans consume far more sodium, sugar, and fat than they should, but following a healthy diet can become even more challenging as we age. Make sure your diet is largely composed of whole foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and good sources of protein. If cooking for yourself becomes an obstacle, take advantage of your senior living community’s dining room. The menus are created according to nutritional guidelines and will help you maintain a balanced diet.

 

  • Exercise
    Regular exercise is one of the most important elements of physical and mental well-being at any age. And contrary to popular assumption, it only becomes more important as we get older. Maintaining your physical fitness will help you retain independence, prevent injury, and can provide relief from chronic illnesses such as arthritis and diabetes.If you don’t already have a fitness regimen, read our tips for how to start an exercise routine after age 60.

 

  • Relationships
    Loneliness is among the biggest dangers to your health — especially later in life. Social isolation increases risk for depression, anxiety, dementia, and even early mortality. Maintaining an active social life can certainly become more challenging as we age, but that just means it’s even more important to make this area of your life a priority. Set up weekly calls or visits with family members, go on walks or get meals with friends, and find ways to get involved in your community.

 

  • Mental Stimulation
    Some people assume that cognitive decline is a natural byproduct of aging, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Practicing good habits for your cognitive health can prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia, improve memory, and minimize those pesky “senior moments.” The good news is that following the other four essential habits of healthy aging will naturally support brain health. In addition, find ways to keep your brain active every day. Try new things, learn a new skill, read books, play games, and engage in meaningful activities like volunteering.

 

  • Sleep
    Yes, sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle! Sleep is restorative; while you’re catching Z’s, your body repairs any cellular damage that occurred during the day and reboots your immune system. A good night’s sleep also supports memory, mood, and concentration. Older adults who don’t get enough sleep are more susceptible to depression, memory loss, nighttime falls, and infection.Insomnia becomes more common as we age. To make sure you’re getting good quality sleep, build a healthy sleep routine and stick to it. Go to bed at the same time every day, keep your bedroom as dark as possible, and avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening.

 

If you’re struggling with any of these five elements of healthy aging, ask for help. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about your health, reach out to the staff in your community, or confide in a trusted friend or family member. The most important thing to remember about aging is that none of us should do it alone. Take advantage of the support systems around you and ask for help when you need it.

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Life changes associated with aging can lead seniors to experience social isolation and loss of purpose. The two are often closely connected. Retirement, losing a spouse, adult children moving away, and lack of independent transportation all contribute to a shrinking social sphere, making it more difficult to interact regularly with other people.

It’s not without consequences. Socially-isolated seniors tend to have higher healthcare expenses and a shorter lifespan compared to those who are more socially connected. They have an increased risk for chronic disease, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s. And they are more prone to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

On the flipside, seniors who remain socially connected tend to live longer, report better mood, and have better health outcomes when they are admitted to the hospital. Having purpose likewise helps seniors maintain cognitive function and other markers of wellbeing, such as good sleep and lower risk of disease.

It’s clear: engaging in meaningful, productive activities with other people is beneficial for your physical and mental health. One way to maintain these connections in old age, especially if family lives out of state, is to get involved with your local community.

Here are five ways seniors can get involved in the community:

  1. Sign up for an exercise class — Fitness classes kill two birds with one stone. You get the physical benefits of exercise with the emotional benefits of social interaction. Choose a fitness class that suits your activity level. Talk to the wellness coordinator at your senior living community if you need help finding the right fit.
  2. Attend church services — Staying active in a religious community can be immensely beneficial for body, mind, and spirit. Not only that, but Sunday services ensure that you have at least one scheduled social outing every week. If you’re currently a member of a church, keep attending if possible. If transportation options or mobility challenges prevent you from keeping up with your usual congregation, attend services in your senior living community.
  3. Volunteer — There’s no better way to find purpose and feel useful than through volunteering. Volunteering allows you to be active, to interact with people of all ages, and to make positive contributions to your community. Consider volunteering at local schools, hospitals, or the library.
  4. Join a hobby group — Shared interests are a great way to bond at any age. Connect with the activity coordinator in your community to learn about groups that might align with your hobbies. Most senior living communities will have book clubs, bridge clubs, and bible studies where you’ll find like-minded residents to socialize with.
  5. Take a class — Many studies have shown that a commitment to lifelong learning supports cognitive wellness and may help ward off the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Keep in mind that learning doesn’t have to mean textbooks and classrooms. You could take a cooking class, learn to play a new musical instrument, or take a creative writing course—perhaps writing some personal non-fiction to pass your memories down to your children.

Aim to schedule at least two or three recurring weekly activities—like church on Sunday mornings and a book club that meets on Wednesday afternoons—so that you always have a social event to look forward to. Each week, fill in your calendar with more spontaneous outings, like coffees or lunches with friends. It doesn’t matter what activities you decide to get involved with. The important thing is making it a regular part of your life.

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When you or a loved one is planning to move to a senior living community, there are a lot of factors that go into your decision. From financial planning and personal preferences to health and wellness needs, this decision can feel stressful.

Let us walk you through five very important items to go over in order to get yourself or a loved one ready to move into a senior community.

  1. Community Decision: Look into communities that you or your loved one would feel most at home. If you’re located in Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin or Nebraska, maybe American Baptist Homes is the place for you. Our goal is to promote an active, engaged and independent lifestyle amongst residents, ensuring that their safety and comfort is top of mind. Check out our communities here!

See Our Communities Here

  1. Financial Information: At ABHM, we are always open and honest about our financials with you. See more about how your money will be used here at ABHM. Read more about our financial information below.

See Financial Information Here

  1. Services Needed: It’s vital to talk to you or your loved one’s doctor and see what type of senior living community you or they would need. Whether it’s an independent living community or if an assisted living community is necessary, it will help to know this before you move.

See Living Decision Guides Here

  1. Personal Preferences: All communities are different. It’s always a good idea to look into a community’s mission statement and make sure it aligns with your personal preferences, goals and needs.

Read Our Mission Statement

  1. Downsizing Tips: One of the hardest parts of moving for a senior sometimes, is the idea of downsizing and getting rid of some of their items—it’s an emotional process. Parting with some seemingly unimportant items can be hard. Learn more on how to help your loved one downsize below.

The Lowdown on Downsizing

At American Baptist Homes of the Midwest, we want your move to a senior living community to be as seamless and simple as possible. We are here for you. We have been providing senior healthcare services throughout our Midwest senior living communities for over 85 years.

If you’re interested in learning more about one of our many senior living communities and the lifestyle services and care provided, please contact us at 952-941-3175.

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Our Decision Guides are designed to help you make good decisions for your future or that of a loved one. There are many factors to consider — financial security, ongoing healthcare, and overall safety and well-being. Our guides offer many answers, however as you go through this process please feel free to contact us anytime should you require more information.

Continue reading Living Decision Guides for You

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American Baptist Homes of the Midwest has been providing senior healthcare services throughout our Midwest senior living communities for over 85 years. Each unique community offers an array of senior housing and health care options, from independent living apartments to senior assisted living and memory care, rehab and skilled nursing care services.

Continue reading Welcome to American Baptist Homes of the Midwest

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Did you know? October is National Physical Therapy month. As we age it’s important to remember to prioritize our health. One way to do that is by taking care of ourselves when we are in pain.

Are you wondering how you can accomplish that in order to maintain your health? There’s one answer: physical therapy.

Continue reading Benefits of Physical Therapy

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