A group of seniors raise their glasses for a toast while enjoying a restaurant-style dining experience together in a retirement home

Throughout his culinary career, award-winning chef Michael Longo has chased opportunities rather than riches. Classically trained, he got his start in the hotel industry and spent seven years in the European apprentice program at The Broadmoor resort. He studied under the tutelage of internationally known chefs like Jacques Pépin and the author of the famous cookbook, “Death by Chocolate,” Chef Marcel Desaulniers.

It was Desaulniers who inspired Chef Michael to write his first cookbook, “Let’s Take A Leek: A Book About A Chef, Fabulous Soups, and a Slightly Different Sense of Humor!” He co-wrote a second book with his mother, “St. Joseph’s Table: Celebrating a Sicilian Tradition,” and is currently working on an outdoor cookbook featuring recipes for wild game and fish.

Team Member Michael Longo

With his training and expertise, Chef Michael could work anywhere in the world, but his passion for serving the senior population led him to Jackson Creek Senior Living. As Culinary Director, Chef Michael oversees the dining program for a diverse group of older adults—from the Greatest Generation to baby boomers—who enjoy standard comfort foods like meat and potatoes, but also have a desire for non-traditional fare with a variety of sauces, spices, and cooking methods.

An important factor in convincing someone to move into a senior living community today is the quality of the onsite dining. As a result, many communities now offer an authentic restaurant-style dining experience that prioritizes residents’ health and offers an individualized approach to when and where they eat.

Jackson Creek residents enjoy an upscale dining experience in a casual atmosphere boasting two dining rooms and a grab-and-go bistro. The culinary team serves up crowd favorites, themed meals, and chef-inspired specials. For fun, the community hosts regular happy hours and social gatherings featuring festive beverages and treats, along with frequent food-focused activities like chef’s demos, brunch stations, and fix-your-own treats.

Chef Michael incorporates traditional meals, but he also likes to surprise residents with new twists on familiar favorites and offer them a menu with a lot of variety. He meets with the residents monthly to hear their ideas and stays knowledgeable about what types of dishes are trending and what’s popular with residents to ensure the menu stays fresh. He has nothing but praise for the culinary team, who rise to the challenge of creating healthy and delicious meals that accommodate those who have gluten-free, low-sodium, or low-carbohydrate dietary needs but with a lot of different options to choose from.

When it comes to preparing meals for residents living with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other memory loss, culinary teams need to understand the power of food to evoke good memories and help diners connect to their past while enjoying the present. No matter where they are on their cognitive journey, Chef Michael says the quality of the food matters, especially the presentation.

“No matter what a resident’s state of mind is, we always strive for understated elegance, because first, we eat with our eyes. Everything has to be high-quality, clean, and delicious because they are worth it!” he said.

Whether you prefer classic dishes or have a more adventurous palate, there is always something delicious cooking at Jackson Creek Senior Living. Call 719-259-1331 or visit our website to schedule a tour and discover our recipe for a happy retirement.

MONUMENT Jackson Creek Senior Living will host Tom Mally, Community Educator from the Alzheimer’s Association, to present a series of three Education Nights on Wednesdays, April 19 and 26 from 5-6 p.m. in the Falcon’s Nest.

Members of the public are invited to visit the Jackson Creek Senior Living campus, located at 16601 Jackson Creek Parkway, for any of these informative events on the topic of memory loss.

Education Nights are free and open to the public, but space is limited. Call Laura Hale at 719-259-1331 or visit jacksoncreekseniorliving.com/events to RSVP.

About Jackson Creek Senior Living
Located at 16601 Jackson Creek Parkway, Jackson Creek Senior Living is a Colorado-based retirement community offering independent living, assisted living, and memory support services. The community is managed by WellAge Senior Living, a respected senior care management company.

Mid-adult African American female caregiver comforts a senior Caucasian woman. The senior woman is discussing how to navigate her husband’s Alzheimer’s’ disease during a support group at a retirement community

When families are navigating life with dementia, Alzheimer’s and other memory loss conditions at home, it can be a challenge. It’s important for caregivers to get the proper resources and education so that everyone is supported in this difficult journey.

At Jackson Creek, our goal is to always be a resource for families and members of the local community as they explore their options in supporting a loved one living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. That’s why we provide programming opportunities and offer a myriad of support groups to help those searching for the best memory support program. Through monthly “lunch & learns” with industry experts, sponsored talks with the Alzheimer’s Association, and caregiver support groups, our retirement community strives to provide memory support resources to families and residents.

Creekside Family Nights

Creekside is our senior living community’s secure memory support neighborhood where we provide compassionate, person-centered care in a safe, homelike setting. Recently, we began hosting monthly family nights at Creekside. These gatherings provide a safe and welcoming place where residents’ families can meet face-to-face with our Executive Director and Memory Support Director to ask questions, discuss any concerns they may have, and talk about best practices and ways to support one another.

Caregiver Support Group

Recently, our team recognized that there is a gap in resources for families and spouses of a loved one living with progressive dementia. To better support these individuals, plans are underway to create a monthly Caregiver Support Group for family members impacted by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. A member of our Life Enrichment team recently became a Certified Dementia Support Group Facilitator through the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners and has a degree in Health Care Science with an emphasis in Gerontology and Senior Fitness. She is collaborating with our Life Enrichment department to develop a high-quality curriculum for this future support group.

Resident Memory Support Group

When a resident expressed that those who reside in our community’s independent and assisted living residences might also benefit from sharing their experiences with mild memory loss, we listened. Many thanks to our Life Enrichment Director for helping to organize this unique group open only to IL/AL residents. The idea is to give residents a safe place to talk about their current struggles, support each other, share ideas on how to better manage daily living, and discuss ways their family members can support their mild cognitive impairment.

Events & Sponsorship Opportunities

To further support those with a loved one experiencing memory loss, Jackson Creek hosts educational presentations led by dementia care experts from various organizations. This spring, we’ve partnered with Sheryl Scheuer from Gentle Shepherd Dementia Training and Consulting, as well as the Alzheimer’s Association to offer a series of Education Nights covering topics about understanding Alzheimer’s and dementia, how to respond to dementia-related behaviors, and effective ways of communicating with a loved one experiencing memory loss. These events are always free and open to the public.

And in September, we will once again assemble a team of walkers to participate in Colorado Springs’ annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which helps raise funds to support research efforts and discover methods of treatment and prevention for Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Jackson Creek is a long-time sponsor of this event.

Jackson Creek Senior Living offers memory support, assisted living and independent living, and respite care services. Call 719-259-1331 or visit jacksoncreekseniorliving.com if you have questions about our memory support program or would like to attend one of our upcoming events.

When Words Don’t Work Anymore

MONUMENT Jackson Creek Senior Living will host Sheryl Scheuer, Dementia Care Expert from Gentle Shepherd Dementia Training and Consulting, to present “When Words Don’t Work Anymore: Communication Strategies for Memory Loss,” on Thursday, February 23 at 4 p.m.

This event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is requested. Call 719-725-6060 or visit jacksoncreekseniorliving.com/events to RSVP.

Scheuer’s educational presentation will offer valuable tips and tools that will help you better understand your loved one living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, improve communication, and reduce conflict and stress.

For over 18 years, Scheuer has been a community educator for Leaders in Dementia Care and on the Speaker’s Bureau for the Alzheimer’s Association. She brings real-world experience to her teaching and believes in engaging with her students in memorable and meaningful ways.

Jackson Creek is located at 16601 Jackson Creek Parkway. Refreshments will be served during the presentation followed by a question-and-answer session for guests.

About Jackson Creek Senior Living
Located at 16601 Jackson Creek Parkway, Jackson Creek Senior Living is a Colorado-based retirement community offering independent living, assisted living, and memory support services. The community is managed by WellAge Senior Living, a respected senior care management company.

Positive smiling attractive elderly woman in casual clothing sitting on sofa and reading book while embracing cute dog at senior living community.

A handful of residents at Jackson Creek have pets, and in addition to brightening up the community with their personalities, we now learn there are physical, social and mental benefits to having pets. In fact, studies indicate folks with pets enjoy better mental and physical health, especially later in life, as older adults with animal companionship tend to be more active, more social and have a lower risk of depression. These same studies have found great health benefits too, like lower blood pressure, less anxiety and chemical body changes that lead to increased happiness!

For seniors with dogs, the daily walks, belly rubs and ball-tossing all add up to increased activity. Cats too need attention and cause us to move more often, from head rubs to scratches, even keeping the litter box tidy. In return for these small favors, pets shower their owners with unconditional love and affection while providing constant companionship.

At any stage of life, purpose is essential. And for older adults, caring for a pet can be very satisfying and fulfilling. Pets also need a regular schedule, and many older adults enjoy the structure that brings to their days. Since pets naturally attract people, they often serve as a social bridge between their owners and others in the community where they live. The pets at Jackson Creek are often a magnet for affection and social engagement between residents and team members as well as fellow residents.

Studies have found that when seniors with pets get out in the community, they feel a stronger sense of community. Our resident pet owners have lots of lovely outdoor spaces to spend time with their canine companions and interact with other dog owners while getting fresh air and sunshine along with a healthy dose of physical activity.

Pet owners living at Jackson Creek will find Monument to be very pet friendly. Several restaurants have patios where dogs are welcome to join their owners for a meal. There are plenty of veterinarian services, pet groomers, and independently owned and operated Wag N’ Wash has all the pet essentials like food, crates and toys.

Even non-pet owners benefit from living in a pet-friendly community. While a pet may not be part of everyone’s lifestyle just being around them occasionally can boost your mood by lowering stress hormone levels and blood pressure. They are also a source of humor and encourage those around them to live in the moment.

At Jackson Creek, we support our resident pet owners and welcome the “pawsitive” energy their furry companions bring to the community keeping us all a little healthier and happier.

If you’re considering a move to 62+ living, please give us a call at 719-259-1331 or schedule an in-person or virtual tour to learn how you can make our pet-friendly community your new home.

MONUMENT Jackson Creek Senior Living will host a 13-week GriefShare support group for anyone grieving the death of a family member or friend. The group will meet weekly from 6-8 p.m. beginning Tuesday, Jan. 31 through April 25 in the Falcon’s Nest (3rd Floor), located at 16601 Jackson Creek Parkway.

Sessions will be led by Dale McClemore—a certified chaplain and member of Jackson Creek’s life enrichment team—who has been leading GriefShare support groups for the past four years in Colorado Springs and Monument.

Participants will be surrounded by others who share the pain of their loss and view a video series featuring tips and guidance from experts in the field of grieving to help them learn to cope and move forward toward rebuilding their lives. They will also have the opportunity to engage in small group discussions to share what they have learned and how they are coping. Each session is self-contained, and participants are welcome to join the group at any time.

Members of the public are welcome to join the group at any time, but registration is required, and attendance will be limited to 20 attendees. There is a one-time $20 fee, which includes a workbook.

For more information and to register, visit https://www.griefshare.org/groups/162569. Please wait until you receive confirmation before joining the group.

About Jackson Creek Senior Living
Located at 16601 Jackson Creek Parkway, Jackson Creek Senior Living is a Colorado-based retirement community offering independent living, assisted living, and memory support services. The community is managed by WellAge Senior Living, a respected senior care management company.

Vintage photographs and letters inside an old wooden keepsake box for an elderly loved one living with dementia surrounded by old open letters

People living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia may remember their far-off past but might not be able to remember an event that happened yesterday. That’s why building a memory box can be a great way to connect with your loved one as they recall different people and events from their past.

By providing concrete, tangible items that start conversations and spark memories, memory boxes can help family members, friends and care providers to engage individuals living with memory loss in a healthy, meaningful way. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind before creating your own memory box:

Choose the right container

Find a suitable container to serve as your memory box. It should be sturdy and easy to store and lift. Your container can be as simple as a shoebox or Tupperware container, or more ornate like a basket or a chest. You can also decorate the box with drawings, small glued-on items, or photos to make it even more unique.

Find meaningful objects

Find objects to put in your memory box that have a specific memory attached to them. These can be objects that reflect your loved one’s interests and hobbies, or just ones with personal significance. Some ideas would be family photos, a favorite book, sports memorabilia, CDs or tapes, artwork from grandchildren, vacation souvenirs, a favorite recipe, old newspaper clippings, or a favorite piece of jewelry or clothing.

Pick stimulating and safe items

Senses like touch and smell can help spur memory just as much, or even more so, than sight, so consider choosing items with different textures and fragrances. If you include a CD, be sure to play it with your loved one. And be sure to choose memory-related items that are not sharp, dangerous, or heavy to handle.

Consider including notes and clues

The significance of certain items might not come to your loved one right away. Try labeling items with cues and include a notecard or list in the box detailing all the items with a short description or context clues to suggest why they are meaningful.

Memory boxes are a simple tool for spurring connection and engagement, but the most important part of making a memory box is what happens after you hand it over to a loved one. Both you and your loved one will cherish the process of going through the box, talking about each item, recalling memories, and enjoying the conversations that arise.

At Jackson Creek Senior Living we’re committed to supporting seniors in our community to live well and age well. Call us at 719-259-1331 to learn more about our independent and assisted living and memory support services for those 62+.

MONUMENT – Colorado-based technology company iN2L + LifeLoop recently recognized Jackson Creek Senior Living with a “2022 Communities That Shine” award for their innovative use of technology in the community to benefit their residents and team members. In its second year, the program’s award committee evaluated more than 200 submissions to identify the 15 communities that are going above and beyond to offer unparalleled experiences for residents, staff, and families alike. Jackson Creek was selected for staff efficiencies, supported by the community’s modern technology.

“We are honored to receive this award recognizing how we use advanced technology to keep our residents engaged in the community and connected to their families. It also supports our wonderful hard-working team members by streamlining daily operations so they can focus on what they do best, take care of our residents,” said Jackson Creek Senior Living’s Executive Director Keli Childs.

Jackson Creek uses the LifeLoop digital community portal to keep residents connected to their families with messaging and photo-sharing capabilities. They can also use the portal to register for community events, receive instant community updates, send messages to staff members, make maintenance requests, arrange transportation, and more. iN2L, or It’s Never 2 Late, provides Jackson Creek with touchscreen systems for residents to access an extensive library of educational, entertainment, cultural and health content.

A nationwide provider of a comprehensive senior living industry engagement, wellness, and community operations platform, iN2L + LifeLoop regularly recognizes senior living communities who use innovation and technology to enhance their staff’s efficiency in day-to-day operations to better serve residents.

About Jackson Creek Senior Living
Located at 16601 Jackson Creek Parkway, Jackson Creek Senior Living is a Colorado-based retirement community offering independent living, assisted living, and memory support services. The community is managed by WellAge Senior Living, a respected senior care management company.

Five Things to Consider When Seeking the Best Memory Support Program

When looking for a memory support community that meets the needs of your loved one who is living with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other memory loss, the best possible place for them to be is in a community where they will have the proper support and care necessary to maintain a high quality of life even as their cognitive issues progress.

Research has shown that residents in memory support communities experience a multitude of benefits. They generally take less medication, have a reduced risk of falls and injuries, have improved wellness and nutrition, enjoy more independence and socialization, and visit the hospital less often.

Here are five important factors to consider when searching for the right memory support community and program for your loved one:

1. Staffing

It’s important to ask yourself whether the team in the community you’re evaluating appears to be knowledgeable and caring. Find out their level of training and experience and whether any team members are certified dementia care managers. Another important factor to consider is the staff-to-resident ratio, both during the day and at night. At communities like Jackson Creek Senior Living, team members are trained in compassionate, person-centered care and on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

2. Safety

Six out of 10 people living with Alzheimer’s have the tendency to wander, so it’s a good idea to find out if the memory support community you’re considering has safeguards and electronic safety features against residents leaving the premises. Some communities are equipped with a wander alert system, while others implement access-controlled, video-monitored entry or emergency call systems and pendants in resident apartments.

3. Services

Think about what level of care your loved one needs, from basic services like meal prep and laundry to specialized medical care and assistance with activities of daily living. Find out a community’s standard procedures for medical emergencies, especially if your loved one has underlying conditions. You may also want to ask what kinds of therapies the community offers, such as pet, music, reminiscence, light, art, or another type of specialized therapy.

4. Levels of Care

Other important information to gather is whether the community’s Health and Wellness Director and memory support team develop an individual care plan for residents upon moving in, and how residents are engaged by team members with verbal queues and prompting. If necessary, ask whether the community can care for residents who exhibit disruptive behavior. If your loved one is not quite ready for memory support, you can also ask whether they have an assisted living to Alzheimer’s support bridge program for early-stage residents.

5. Amenities

Finally, determine what the living arrangements are in the community you are considering: are there memory support neighborhoods? Are the apartments arranged around shared common areas like a homelike living room or dedicated activities space? At Jackson Creek, we offer a memory support dining program and two outdoor courtyards to encourage movement and fresh air. Other services include wellness and life enrichment programs, chef-prepared meals, housekeeping and laundry services, and scheduled transportation.

Before deciding, determine your loved one’s personal needs and then evaluate the memory support program and community as much as possible: schedule a tour, read online reviews, talk to residents, families, and team members, and most importantly, ask questions!

At Jackson Creek Senior Living, we help families find the best living situation to meet their loved one’s needs. Call  719-259-1331 or visit jacksoncreekseniorliving.com if you have questions about memory support or would like to schedule a personalized tour.

5 Tips to Help Caregivers Cope

The Cleveland Clinic defines caregiver burnout as a state of “physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion,” which can negatively impact your ability to continue caring for your loved one. When caring for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, it’s essential to learn how to cope with daily challenges, protect your own health and avoid burnout.

Here are five tips from the Alzheimer’s Association to help you manage the demands of caregiving and avoid burnout.

1. Prioritize Your Health

Caregivers often get caught up in monitoring the health of their loved ones, and they neglect their own health. If you get too sick and rundown to care for your spouse or family member, their health could also suffer. See your doctor annually and be attentive to your health. If you have a cough or aches and pains that linger, be sure to tell your physician. Don’t ignore a persistent headache or chronic sleeplessness. Report any unusual symptoms to your doctor and prioritize your health and well-being.

2. Eat Well and Exercise

Making sure your diet is healthy and balanced like you do for your loved one will help you maintain your energy levels and overall strength. Take time for regular physical exercise, and don’t skip meals or resort to the drive-thru. Instead, plan to eat the same healthy meals you serve your loved one and find small breaks in the day when a loved one is napping to get in a few minutes of yoga or stream a workout class. There are also ways you can be active with the person with dementia like going for a walk together, doing seated exercises at home, or dancing in the living room.

3. Manage Stress

You cannot avoid stress entirely, but you don’t have to let it overwhelm you. One of the best stress relievers is to give yourself a break. You are doing the best you can and deserve time for yourself! Constant stress leads to poor mental and physical health and can cause your loved one to feel stressed, too. For both your sakes’ find ways to relax and unwind every day.

4. Accept Things for What They Are

Alzheimer’s and dementia are progressive, and you cannot change or control that. All you can do is your best and not feel guilty that you should be doing more. Your loved one’s needs are going to change, and a day may come when you can no longer care for them at home. Accepting this and planning for when that time comes will give you peace of mind about their future. A memory support community like Jackson Creek Senior Living provides families guidance and information to begin their memory support search and holds events to share resources so caregivers realize they are not alone and it’s okay to ask for help and support.

5. Ask for Help

No matter how hard you try, you cannot do everything by yourself. You will need help sometimes. Family members, neighbors, church members, or in-home care providers are people you can, and should, reach out to for help now and then. Another good option to explore is short-term respite care. At Jackson Creek, we provide a quality respite care solution for caregivers’ temporary needs. Whether you need a few days off for a family vacation, a work trip or just to recharge, our furnished apartments offer a safe, comfortable environment with 24/7 care staff, life-enrichment activities, and all the comforts of home.

Respite care is also an excellent way to prepare yourself and your loved one for the time when their needs may be better served in a memory support community. Becoming aware of local resources and exploring options ahead of time, can help make the transition easier for you and your loved one.

At Jackson Creek Senior Living, we help families find the best living situation to meet their loved one’s needs. Call 719-259-1331 or visit jacksoncreekseniorliving.com if you have questions about our memory support program or short-term respite care services.


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