Wit and Wisdom Blog for Atria Senior Living

      Wit and Wisdom      

a new view on growing older

Flu and Cold Prevention for Seniors

Posted on November 12, 2021 by Admin

Fall marks the beginning of flu season in the United States, and adults who are 65 and older are one of the groups at higher risk of developing flu-related symptoms. Because immunity tends to decrease more quickly in older adults, it's important to talk to a physician about getting a flu shot for seniors this fall. Read on for an overview of how to prevent getting the flu and the common cold, symptoms of each, and ways to treat yourself if you do get sick. 

How to Prevent Getting the Flu and Colds 

The best way to prevent getting the flu or a cold is to schedule an appointment for a vaccination. No vaccine is completely effective, but studies suggest that a standard flu shot reduces the risk of contracting the flu by 40–60%Flu vaccines for seniors are recommended for people ages 65 and older.  Medicare, and most insurance plans, cover flu shots, but prices will vary according to the type of vaccine administered. 

When you get your flu shot, ask about being vaccinated against pneumonia, which can become a serious health concern. Pneumonia accounts for 30–40% of all hospitalizations among older adults, and often occurs during a patient’s recovery from the flu or a cold – people start to feel better, only to develop a cough and a fever. In addition to flu and pneumonia vaccines, maintaining these hygienic habits are excellent prevention measures: 

  • Wear a face mask. 
  • Exercise regularly and eat healthy foods. 
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes. 
  • Keep away from sick people and crowded areas. 
  • Disinfect surfaces in your home or apartment – doorknobs, counters, telephones, etc. 

Signs and Symptoms 

Both flu and cold are contagious respiratory illnesses, but while influenza viruses cause the flu, a broader range of viruses – parainfluenza, rhinovirus, and seasonal coronaviruses – can cause the common cold. The signs and symptoms vary, as well. Let’s start with symptoms of both: 

  • Coughing 
  • Sore throat 
  • Congestion 
  • Runny nose 

These are flu symptoms, which are often more intense than the symptoms of a common cold: 

  • Fatigue 
  • Headaches 
  • Fever and Chills 
  • Unsteadiness or Weakness 
  • Muscle Pain, Body Aches, Chest Discomfort 
  • Worsening of Preexisting and Chronic Conditions 

This list is not exhaustive, but merely a sampling of some flu symptoms that may present, which generally come on quickly – sometimes 1–4 days following exposure to the virus. (Symptoms of a cold tend to develop more slowly and include sneezing and coughing, but not a fever.) If you’re over 65 and notice these symptoms, call your doctor at once. If you consult with a physician within 48 hours of your first symptom, your physician may prescribe an antiviral medication, which can help alleviate the severity of your illness. 

How to Treat Flu and Colds 

Unfortunately, there is no cure for the flu or the cold, so consult with a medical professional regarding the best course of action to treat those viruses. A physician may prescribe over-the-country medications such as ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) for symptoms of pain and fever, or other medications to treat secondary infections like pneumonia, bronchitis, or ear and sinus infections. Doctors also generally recommend getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of liquids, and even eating a bowl of chicken soup. 

Stay Prepared 

At Atria, safety is our first priority. Healthy dining and fitness classes are part of every Atria community, and we provide on-site clinics and flu vaccines to residents during the fall and winter. Furthermore, 99% of Atria’s US employees are vaccinated from COVID-19, and our communities are enrolled in the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program. That ensures Atria residents receive top priority – and it means Atria is a safe place for older adults who want to live with peace of mind this winter. 

Visit AtriaWinterWellness.com to learn more about how we’re keeping residents safe this winter. 

Category: Community, Lifestyle, Our Team, Wit & Wisdom

How to prepare a parent for assisted living

Posted on October 19, 2021 by Admin

Helping your parents transition into senior living starts with an open discussion that keeps their needs, wishes, and best interests at the forefront of the conversation. This decision can be challenging, but unthreading the intricacies involved will ultimately help everyone feel more stable. Here are some questions for your family to consider: 

  • How do your parents feel about where they live now? 
  • What are their current care needs, and how much will those services cost? 

Perhaps the most important question to address, however, is whether your parents should move into an assisted living community, independent living community, or a nursing home. In this article, we’ll discuss assisted living communities specifically – how to choose the right one, which questions to ask, and how to make the move. 


As you’re researching assisted living communities, one of the first considerations that you’ll encounter is location. What makes sense for your parents? (Do they want to stay in the city where they’ve always lived, or, if you live a few states away from them, does it make more sense for them to be closer to you?) Then research the community that’s right for them in that area. Come up with a few options, and go visit those communities – because even though their online photos will most likely look welcoming, you’ll want to walk the corridors and feel the atmosphere yourself.  

Visit at least three assisted living communities. Schedule a tour during mealtime, so you can sample the restaurant fare. Talk to the staff. Mingle with the other residents and sit in on an activity – anything from an exercise class to a lecture series – to gauge how deeply those workshops have been planned and how effectively they’re presented. Ask questions. Take notes. Try to wander off the tour circuit, if possible, observing the gardens, taking in the views and walking around the on-site amenities and the surrounding neighborhoods. 

Bear in mind that even if a certain community seems ideal – great price-point, stellar amenities, friendly reception, excellent kKey lime pie – it may not match up with your parents’ personalities. Some people prefer a patio with plenty of sunlight and a pineapple-beetroot amuse-bouche. Others of us are library-and-fireplace people who look forward to rainy nights with a novel and a glass of scotch. Your parents might like the food in one location, the residents in another, and the amenities and ambience of a third. Weigh all those options equally as your family decides which one is ultimately best for them. 

Care services  

Yes, you want to choose a community that matches your parents’ personalities, but one of the most important considerations to weigh is the community’s care services. You have most likely chosen assisted living, because, while you want your parents to continue their independent lifestyle, you also want them to benefit from living somewhere that can help with activities of daily living (or “ADLs”) if needed – such as bathing, getting dressed, and assistance with medication management. Be sure to discuss how the community will assess the level of care that your parents require. Take time to meet the nurses or caregivers on staff, if possible. Make sure that, if you do move your parents into a certain community, all the services and ADLs that they require will be provided and will be within your budget.  

Packing and downsizing 

Now that you’ve visited the communities in your area, you’re ready to commit to a decision and complete the transition – which involves packing. 

Budget some time for this step, because it may take a while for your parents to consolidate their possessions. Remember how attached they may be to certain items in their house. Pictures or letters they’ve stored away and haven’t seen in years may evoke memories, so listen to them as they decide what they’re willing to part with – and what they want to hold on to. Be prepared to make lists of people to contact in case your uncle or cousin might want an armoire or a children’s book that’s belonged to your family for generations. 

As you pack, be thinking about how you’re going to make the move. Will you transport your parents’ belongings to their new community one carload at a time? Will you hire movers? Decide on the date and time of the move, and the resources you’ll need, way ahead of schedule, so that you don’t run into any surprises come moving day.  

Getting involved in activities 

Once your parents are all moved into their new homes, it may be a good idea to visit them more frequently for the first few weeks or months, just to make sure they’re enjoying their new surroundings. Review their care assessment to stay apprised of any changes to their health. Encourage them to attend events in the community, so they can meet other residents. Talk to the staff and ask how they’re acclimating, and what arrangements or modifications might be made to make them feel more comfortable.  

Staying involved 

Do whatever you can to help your parents become well -situated, and if the usual 90-day acclimation period has passed and they feel as if a certain assisted living community isn’t the right fit for them, it’s okay to start the process over. Follow the steps we’ve listed above and listen to how your parents feel about the communities you visit. If this process sounds overwhelming, that’s okay, too. Contact us today to talk to a director of a community near you, so we can answer any of your questions about assisted living. 

If you or someone you know wants to learn more about Atria, visit AtriaSeniorLiving.com/FindACommunity to discover the location nearest you.  

Category: Caregiver Support, Lifestyle, Our Team, Wit & Wisdom

Caring for the world’s wisest people

Posted on May 3, 2021 by Admin

Atria Senior Living’s care services are backed by our industry-leading quality standards. In our communities that offer care services, the Resident Services Director – who is also a licensed nurse – assesses each resident’s physical, emotional and functional needs prior to move-in, and then on an as-needed basis following that initial care plan.

How assessments work

Because the well-being of residents is our top priority, we pride ourselves on the rigor with which we conduct assessments. Here’s how the process works:

  • Prior to a new resident moving into Atria, a licensed nurse will visit the resident to review medications and develop an essential drug list.
  • A physician will review the assessment before it’s shared with the resident and his or her family. Atria will conduct another assessment the day the new resident moves in, and add it into our system to help caregivers organize their days and meet residents’ needs.
  • Following those initial assessments, Atria will conduct further assessments to determine whether a decrease or increase in care services is needed.

Discreet care is available 24 hours a day, and services generally fall into these three categories: personal care (bathing, grooming, getting dressed and safety checks); medication assistance (reminders, consultations with physicians and pharmacies and ongoing reviews with a nurse); and incontinent management (daytime and overnight assistance).

Some Atria communities also offer memory care, geared toward older adults experiencing the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Memory care neighborhoods are located in thoughtfully designed, secure spaces within a community.

Care and Engage Life®

The Engage Life department adds another layer of support to the licensed nurses and caregivers within an Atria community.

“Engage Life and care and social work – they’re all interlocked,” Beth Levi, Engage Life Director at Atria Forest Hills, said. “In my role, I have the opportunity to monitor residents through the activities they’re doing. I see them on a daily basis. So if I notice a change in condition, I can coordinate with the care team.”

Engage Life Directors create programs and workshops that enhance residents’ lives through social connection and lifelong learning, which is one reason Levi is looped into the part of the assessment process for new or prospective residents: She learns about a resident’s care needs and assistance levels, and then personalizes the community events calendar so that there are plenty of opportunities tailored to each individual.

“When a new resident moves in, I take all the programs we offer, and then I go over it with them,” Levi said. “They pick out what they like and we make a personalized schedule, so when they move in, it’s all set in their minds – ‘This is what I’m going to be doing.’ The calendar is adaptable and changeable, and based upon their interests and needs.”

The Atria advantage

“The differentiator in Atria’s care is our preparation, our response, our protocols, our internal Quality Enhancement review process,” Joanna Mansfield, Atria’s Senior Vice President of Care and Life Guidance, shared. “We have stringent guidelines. We have checks and balances to make sure residents’ needs are being fulfilled.”

Those stringent guidelines are the result of being so attentive to residents’ well-being. When it comes to a community’s Resident Services Director, Atria only hires nurses with a clinical skill set and management experience who are also familiar with working with older adults. That attention to detail required in their jobs helps give nurses and caregivers the structure necessary to provide the best care for the world’s wisest people.


Discover how empowering the right care can be at Atria Senior Living at ExploreAtriaCare.com.

Category: Active Aging, Caregiver Support, Community, Dementia & Memory Care, Our Team, Wit & Wisdom

Keeping the Atria family safe

Posted on April 9, 2021 by Admin

The health and safety of our residents and employees is our highest priority, and to deliver on that promise, we launched the “Sleeve Up Atria” initiative in late December – ever since COVID-19 vaccines became available.  

 As of April 9, we have administered more than 50,000 doses of the vaccine to nearly 90% of our residents and employees in the U.S.

“In early January, Atria was the first large senior living provider in America to mandate the vaccine for our staff,” John Moore, Atria’s Chairman and CEO, said. “The results make us glad we made up our minds early. So far, the breakdown is that more than 92% of our U.S. residents and 85% of our staff have taken the vaccine.” 

How vaccinations benefit residents

For the more than 20,000 residents who call Atria home, the success of “Sleeve Up, Atria” has translated into the confidence to enjoy meals and programs together. 

“Knowing we are no longer in the thick of it and that we’re getting back to normal makes me sleep better at night,” Beverly, a resident at Atria Rancho Peñasquitos in San Diego, California, stated. “I’m still staying safe, but now getting out and about again, and feeling freer. My next stop is our salon.” 

The vaccinations, along with state approvals, have enabled Atria to expand resident gatherings from 15 to 20, and expand the number of visitor– including families, guests and older adults interested in moving in to Atria – from three to five at a time. 

“The pandemic is not behind us yet, but now I feel safe to be with people, even though I still have to be careful,” Jansie, a resident at Atria at Foster Square in Foster City, California, said. “I have plans to visit my family in Seattle and see my grandchildren again.” 


Learn more about how Atria is protecting the health of our residents and staff at AtriaSafeTogether.com.

Category: Community, COVID-19, Our Team, Wit & Wisdom

Introducing Atria Cary

Posted on April 1, 2021 by Admin

At Atria Senior Livingour mission is to serve the needs of older adults and their families. To that end, one of the ways we deliver on that mission is to develop new senior living communities. Our latest such development in the works: Atria Cary in none other than Cary, North Carolina. 

An idyllic setting in the Tar Heel State 

The township of Cary straddles the line between the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain regions of North Carolina, located roughly in the center of the state and between the Chapel Hill-Durham and Raleigh urban centers.  

“Atria Cary is in a beautiful setting  I mean, stunning,” Jamie Floyd, Vice President of Sales Training and New Developments and Acquisitions at Atria, said. “There are miles of trails and greenways that weave around Cary. The town’s not that big, so there’s a lot of walking space and a strong lean toward wellness and outdoor living and activity.” 

Scheduled to open in winter 2021-22, Atria Cary will be one of Atria Senior Living’s communities designed exclusively for older adults seeking independent living. Atria Cary was planned with the area’s trails and greenways in mind, so that residents can find abundant opportunities to get out, be in nature, ride a bike, go for a walk, and so on.  

Touring the grounds 

Atria Cary residents will enjoy amenities such as a wine bar, a movie theater, an art studio, a courtyard, a worship space and more. Being involved in the development, touring the grounds and poring over blueprints, Floyd can already envision what Atria Cary will look like. 

“There won’t be a bad view from any apartment,” she said. “You’ll look out at tall pines that sway in the breeze or the sunset and the amphitheater across the wayIt’s just amazing.” 


To learn more about Atria Cary, visit AtriaCary.com.

Category: Active Aging, Community, Our Team, Wit & Wisdom

A tribute to Chef Haller

Posted on November 20, 2020 by Admin

Classically trained in Switzerland, experienced in running multiple kitchens from Montreal to Manhattan and an executive chef for five U.S. presidents from 1966-1987, Chef Henry Haller was one of the most successful culinary figures of his generation. He passed away recently, leaving behind a legacy of high standards and a mentor-oriented approach to his craft.

Chef Haller consulted with Atria on an annual basis, sharing his recipes and experience with our culinary team. “He was super-humble. He was very professional and had a wonderful sense of humor,” said Chad Welch, Atria’s Executive Chief of Culinary Operations, who worked alongside Chef Haller.

“He was an amazing chef and person. We appreciate him sharing his knowledge with us at every level of the culinary team.”

Category: Our Team, Wit & Wisdom

Keeping things vibrant at Atria at Villages of Windsor

Posted on November 6, 2020 by Admin

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the residents of Atria at Villages of Windsor in Lake Worth, Florida, dined together in restaurants buzzing with conversation, danced around the pool, threw elaborate holiday parties and volunteered to read to students at local schools. Since the stringent safety protocols put into place in Marchthe community has found new ways to keep things vibrant while staying safe and socially distanced. 

To wow and dazzle 

“We work where our residents live.” This insight from Atria at Villages of Windsor’s Executive Director Judy Rotenberg, drives her service philosophy to wow and dazzle those we serve.” To achieve that goalRotenberg and her team have worked extra hard to create programs and events that everyone can do safely, no matter the circumstances. 

One solution has been to use the community’s internal digital channel that every resident can access from a smart TV or computer in their apartments. This channel offers opportunities for residents to tune into operas, plays and comedy performancesjoin fitness classes, or listen to experts speak on a variety of topicsto name a few.  

Other ways the staff has connected with residents include dropping by their apartments with “COVID Care Packages” – decorated bags with treats, hand sanitizer and other items – and inviting everyone to dress up for Jersey Day, the first day of the NFL season. To help residents stay active safely, an on-site physical therapy team hosts balcony workouts to offer more chances for everyone to enjoy the Florida sunshine.

As Kristin Brown, the Assistant Executive Director, said: “Our number one priority is to help residents feel safe and connected.”

Everyone has a voice 

Atria at Villages of Windsor is also using their internal digital TV channel to facilitate dialog between residents and directors. Before the COVID-19 pandemicthe community hosted town halls where residents could ask questions and share ideas. Now the staff sends out questionnaires to residents to gather their thoughts on how to make the community better. Rotenberg records the directors answering questions and plays those videos back to the community. “We’ve always prioritized open communication, and that’s especially true during the pandemic,” Rotenberg said. 

Bud Nadler, Atria at Villages of Windsor’s Resident Council President, agreed with Rotenberg. “The pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench into our lifestyle,” he said. “But I feel that my visits in the hallways as I encounter various other residents have helped make everyone understand what we’re going through as a group here at Atria.” 

Bud’s wife Lois addedI think he’s doing a splendid job.” 

Bud continued, “Thankfully, between what residents are doing, and the communication from the staff and our Executive Directorcoming forward with information that’s crucial to our lifestyle, we’ve felt quite reassured these days.”  


Learn more about how Atria Senior Living is helping residents stay safe, connected and engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic at AtriaSafeTogether.com. 

Category: Our Team, Wit & Wisdom

Caring when it matters most

Posted on September 3, 2020 by Admin

At Atria Senior Living, we take pride in hiring employees who show their dedication and work ethic even in the most difficult times. Here, we shine a light on Roxan Mitchell-Powell, a housekeeper at Atria Willow Wood in Fort Lauderdale, FL, who recently received the Employee of the Year award from the Florida Senior Living Association (FSLA).

“I am honored, and a little surprised, to receive this award,” Roxan said. “I enjoy taking care of our residents and it comes natural to me.”

An extremely warm heart

The FSLA is an organization that represents companies operating professionally managed senior living communities. According to their guidelines, a nominee for the Employee of the Year award must "treat residents with dignity and respect, provide outstanding customer service, demonstrate extraordinary dedication, and contribute to the work environment personally and professionally." If you ask Robin Miller, Assistant Executive Director at Atria Willow Wood, all those qualities describe Roxan perfectly.

“She has an extremely warm heart,” said Miller. “She cares about her job. She is a team leader. She works well with her peers. She likes to take the time to get to know the residents’ stories. Nominating Roxan was like applying for a grant you know is worthwhile – the words just easily came out.”

Stepping up

One reason Miller admires Roxan is her performance when Atria communities first implemented COVID-19 protocols. Roxan volunteered to go beyond her housekeeping duties to make sure residents were being properly cared for while quarantined in their apartments. As a certified nursing assistant, she checked their temperatures, delivered meals she knew they would enjoy, and treated them with warmth and sensitivity to keep them from feeling isolated.

The FSLA presented Roxan with the Employee of the Year award on July 30 via their 2020 Senior Living Virtual Conference. About 50 Atria Willow Wood employees – including the honoree herself – gathered in the community’s dining room to watch the ceremony on a large-screen TV – wearing appropriate PPE and social distancing, of course. “It was a great way of bringing the staff together and taking a moment to celebrate Roxan’s success among her peers,” Miller said.

Roxan has worked at Atria Willow Wood for five years. In 2019, she was a recipient of Atria’s Exceptional Service Award, an honor given to just 65 outstanding employees nationwide twice a year. Despite the recognition she has received, Roxan remains self-effacing. “I have great team members. I was surprised when they said I was nominated for the award because there were so many of us working during that time, so I was surprised I was elected,” Roxan said. “I wasn’t working to get an award – I just love my job.”

Learn more about how Atria is helping residents stay safe, connected and engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic at AtriaSafeTogether.com.

Category: Community, Our Team, Wit & Wisdom

Safety and Service Make a Big Difference During and Evacuation – Atria Senior Living Blog

Safety and Service Make a Big Difference During an Evacuation

Posted on September 27, 2017 by Admin

Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 storm, bringing with it unprecedented amounts of rain and flooding in Texas and surrounding areas. Two weeks later, Hurricane Irma caused widespread destruction to the Caribbean and the Florida peninsula. And, Hurricane Maria recently devastated the Caribbean.

With nearly 200 communities across the U.S. and Canada, Atria operates in nearly every region of North America. That means we’re exposed to just about every type of weather scenario imaginable. No matter the circumstances, we’re committed to the safety, comfort and well-being of our residents – which means we have a robust natural disaster response plan.

Our emergency preparedness protocols pay off when it really matters. During Hurricane Harvey, we safely evacuated three of our Houston-area communities to area hotels on higher ground. While still navigating the aftermath of Harvey, Atria spent a week preparing for Hurricane Irma. We relocated 633 residents – and more than 50 pets, including a rabbit – from six of our communities across Florida.

Having faced similar storms in the past, we have a sheltering agreement with the Walt Disney World Dolphin and Swan Resort. We chose this location as a safe haven because it is 80 feet above sea level and its electricity and other vital services are installed underground, preventing loss of power. The structures are designed to meet the stringent Miami-Dade building codes established after 1992’s Hurricane Andrew.

Beyond providing a safe temporary home, we ensured the health and happiness of our residents by flying in more than 80 Atria team members from across the country to join more than 200 members of our Florida staff at the resort. We also invited employees to bring their families with them. While our employees tended to the needs and wishes of our residents, we set up an on-site day care center for their children – with a full schedule of daily activities to keep the little ones busy. Our team set up a supervisory command center on the premises to coordinate meals, programs and events to keep all of our residents active, relaxed and entertained.

Atria residents were not the only ones sheltering at the Disney property. Actress Kristen Bell was in Orlando filming a comedy and was also evacuated to the hotel. We were thrilled that she decided to “make lemonade outta Irma,” as she humorously posted on Instagram. She asked to lead programs and spread joy to our residents in the process, joining them for meals, giving out hugs, participating in wheelchair races and calling bingo games. She even posted her delightful duet with John Z., a resident at Atria Park of St. Joseph’s, on Instagram. The recording went viral, and the two crooning buddies, along with other Atria residents, made a heartwarming Skype appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Actor Seth Rogen was also staying at the resort, and he was gracious and generous with his time. He even cast an Atria resident in his upcoming movie. Another couple sheltering at the resort got into the giving spirit, donating 100 10-minute massage sessions for our residents.

But the real heroes are the Atria employees who attended to the needs and wishes of our residents, and are now busy helping residents resettle in their communities. The frontline Houston- and Florida-based employees exercised their disaster response training to keep our residents safe and happy while facing the burdens that Harvey and Irma imposed in their own lives. Fundraising through Atria CaresSM, our nonprofit organization, is helping employees who are experiencing hardships caused by the hurricanes.

Atria founded Atria Cares in 2004, after that year’s hurricanes in Florida, to provide financial assistance to our staff. To date, Atria Cares has raised more than $200,000 to benefit our employees affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

We’re proud of our employees and pleased that our residents can always count on Atria when skies are gray.

Category: Our Team Tags: , , ,

Atria Rewards Determination – Atria Senior Living Blog

Atria Honors Determination

Posted on October 2, 2015 by Admin

It would have been easy for her to quit. Numerous injuries kept Nicole Stevens off the balance beam for long periods of time as she pursued her gymnastic goals. But she was determined to succeed, putting in countless hours of physical therapy to build the strength that would carry her to the Junior Olympics National Championships and a top 30 finish. (more…)

Category: Our Team Tags: , , , ,