Five Gardening Tips for Mature Growers



Five Gardening Tips for Mature Growers 

Whether you have two green thumbs or none, gardening can be a rewarding activity. This is especially true for experienced and beginner older adult gardeners, who are interested in staying fit and having fun. Digging in the dirt is proven to make people stronger, healthier and happier…albeit muddier too!

Gardening provides some of the same benefits as going to the gym right in your own backyard. The planting, weeding, watering, hoeing and harvesting help build stronger bones, increase muscle tone and improve physical endurance. Plus, being outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air can lift your spirits and reduce stress.

So, if you want to reap the rewards of gardening in the safest and easiest way possible, follow these five tips.

  1. Dress for garden success – No overalls, no problem! But you should invest in a good pair of garden gloves to protect your hands and nails and a wide brimmed hat to shade your face. A light-weight, long-sleeve shirt and long pants will protect you from sunburn and insect bites. Treat yourself to a pair of garden clogs that are easy to slip on and off and keep clean.


  1. Invest in labor-saving tools – Garden centers and hardware stores carry many tools designed to make gardening easier on the body. Look for features like chunky, easy-to-grip handles, long tools that let the gardener work from a standing position and tools that allow the use of two hands to help spread the workload. Gardeners who use walkers can attach a bicycle basket to the front of the walker to carry tools, cut flowers and picked vegetables!


  1. Think inside the box – To reduce kneeling and bending consider using raised garden beds. They can be built from a variety of materials and to any desired height. Container gardens are also easy to access. Try putting your containers on wheeled platforms that simplify moving the plants around.


  1. Prepare and pace yourself – Garden in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat of the mid-day sun. Do some gentle stretches to warm up your legs, arms and torso before you start. Change your position every few minutes or so to avoid stiffness and take a 10-minute break when you feel tired. Drink plenty of water.


  1. Enlist a younger helper – Gardening is a great activity to bridge the generation gap. Invite children or teens to help. They’ll see the enjoyment and satisfaction that it brings, and, if they are patient, they can literally taste the fruits of their labor.

Watch the Gardeners Bloom!

Your self-esteem will grow as the garden grows! The tomatoes you plant and pick will taste sweeter than any from the market. And, goodness knows, working in the garden can work up a real appetite.

Pathway Senior Living communities feature “Victory Gardens” in backyard courtyards, on rooftop patios and inside greenhouses. Residents enjoy the physical, mental and social benefits of gardening as well as the harvest, many of which is used by the chefs to create fresh and delicious garden-to-table dishes.

To learn more about Pathway Senior Living, please visit us at

Five Questions to Ask Memory Care Providers

Doctor with senior female patient discussing treatment

Looking for a memory care community for a parent or other loved one can be an emotional and challenging experience. The good news is that today, as the need for memory support grows, there is a greater selection of communities from which to choose. In addition, the modern approach to memory care is a loving one that is often a more residential vs. institutional setting that supports freedom of choice and promotes individuality.

To help make the right choice, plan to visits each potential community and ask good questions. Here are five questions to be sure to ask and some ideas of what to look for in the community’s response.

  1. What’s your care philosophy? Every memory support program should have an overall philosophy that guides their approach to care and one that team members can easily articulate. A good philosophy will emphasize the importance of focused attention, unconditional love, patience, good listening skills, fostering independence and promoting individuality.
  2. How do you get to know each resident? The community should have protocols for getting to know each resident on a personal basis. Most communities will complete an Individual Care and/or Service Plan before a resident moves in. This document helps them assess the amount and type of care needed as well as notes personal preferences for morning and bedtime rituals and socializing and details about the resident’s life such as careers, hobbies and passions.
  3. How do you promote happiness and wellbeing? Look for caregivers who are focused on preserving a sense of purpose and personal identity for the residents they serve. The ways to accomplish this are as varied and unique as each resident. Some find purpose in helping with community chores, while others enjoy tapping their feet to familiar songs, exercising in rhythm or tending to an outdoor garden. Whatever the activity, it’s important for residents to maintain freedom of choice and the ability to be in charge. Preserving a sense of normalcy is another way to promote wellbeing. This can be accomplished by encouraging residents to keep everyday belongings such as purses, wallets and keys or by providing opportunities for them to complete everyday tasks like making a piece of toast or folding their own laundry.
  4. How do you deal with challenging behaviors? Many people living with dementia experience a loss of social inhibitions. Because of this, some residents may act angry or touch other residents’ belongings. A good caregiver responds with unconditional love and knows that any behavior is a way of communicating needs and not a reflection of who the person is inside.
  5. What is the family’s role? Family members should be able to come and go as they please any time of day or night. Look for a welcoming environment that makes it easy for loved ones to share meals and visit in comfort and privacy. Inquire about the communication process between the care team and family.


While other questions will arise, these five provide a good starting point to help you get a feeling for and an understanding of the culture of each community. Be assured that by personally visiting each community and asking the right questions, you should have enough information to make an informed decision about which memory care community is the best fit for you and your loved one.

To learn more about Pathway Senior Living, please visit us at

VIVA! World Tour, Destination Afghanistan!

Koche Cookies from Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is a landlocked and mountainous country located in the heart of South Central Asia with a history of over 5,000 years. While virtually exploring its tumultuous past and present, Pathway residents craved getting to know a sweeter side of its history and culture.

Armed with mixing bowls and spatulas, Pathway travelers trekked to their community kitchens where they recreated traditional recipes for Afghan cookie and custard.

Kolche Ab-e-Dandaan Cookie

The Kolche Ab-e-Dandaan (melt-in-the-mouth) cookie was traditionally baked for New Year and served to guests. Stoney River Marshfield residents made the cookies to celebrate spring’s arrival!

True to their name, these round, crumbly cookies melt in your mouth when you take a bite. This classic Afghanistan cookie calls for basic ingredients and is simple to make. Enjoy the recipe!

• 1 //2 cups Crisco (solid shortening)
• 2 cups powdered sugar
• 1 cup cornstarch
• 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp ground cardamom
• ground pistachios (garnish)
Heat Crisco to warm, not hot. In a mixer, add the warmed Crisco, powdered sugar and cornstarch. Mix well. In a separate bowl, add all-purpose flour, baking powder and cardamom. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and combine with hands for a few minutes.
Form into a ball, about the size of your palm, and flatten out to about a ½” thickness. Put a thumb print in middle. At this stage, you must work quickly, because as the Crisco hardens, it will be harder to form into a cookie.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350F for 30 minutes using a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. The cookie should a pale white color, not brown.
Cool cookies. Once cooled, sprinkle middle with ground pistachios. Cookies are supposed to have a cracked look to them.
Firni Afghan Custard

Traditionally served cold and for special occasions, Firni custard is a dish created by the Afghan people and re-created by residents at Heartis Village of Peoria.

• 2 cups cold whole milk
• 1⁄3 cup cornstarch
• 3⁄4 cup sugar
• 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom pod, sifted
• 1⁄4 cup slivered almonds
• ground pistachios, for garnish
Pour about 1/2 cup of the milk into a small bowl, and the rest into a medium saucepan. Whisk the cornstarch with the milk in the bowl until smooth, and then add it to the milk in the saucepan. Whisk in the sugar and cardamom.
Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly to avoid lumps and it sticking to the bottom, until it’s gently bubbling and thick like cream of wheat, for 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in the almonds. Continue to whisk for 2 more minutes.
Take off the heat and pour into a totally dry 9” diameter and 3 ½” deep serving bowl (it fills halfway). Let cool for about 30 minutes at room temperature. Then put in the refrigerator and chill until soft but firm, about 1 1/2 hours.
Sprinkle with ground pistachios and serve.

To learn more about Pathway Senior Living, please visit us at

Five Truths About Aging

Apartment facility for seniors promotes new experiences

Relax, not everything portrayed about aging in the media is true. Whether you are currently enjoying “older adult” status or are on your way, take comfort knowing that many stereotypes about aging are simply false!

Like racism and sexism, ageism perpetuates negative stereotypes about a specific group of people, older adults in this case. These ideas make some people afraid to age and proclaim, “I don’t want to get old.” They can also prevent younger people from befriending and getting to know the older adults in their life. (more…)

A Merry Trip to France

VIVA! World Tour

Vive la France! During February, the month of love, Pathway residents immersed themselves into French culture and became enamored with Parisian customs.

Armchair travelers enjoyed the virtual trip to France as part of Pathway’s signature program, VIVA! World Tour. Each month residents explore different parts of the world from the comfort of home and in the company of peers. (more…)

Fill Your Bucket with Hopes and Dreams

bucket list

Don’t let growing older keep you from dreaming about tomorrow. Seventy or 80 candles on the birthday cake mean  it’s time to step up, eagerly embrace one’s hopes and dreams and wish big before blowing them out.

History shows that it’s never too late to make your mark on the world. Benjamin Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence at age 70, Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her first book at age 64 and Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa at age 76. (more…)

Don’t Be Bamboozled by Fake News

The front page of a newspaper with the headline "Fake News" which illustrates the current phenomena. Front section of newspaper is on top of loosely stacked remainder of newspaper. All visible text is authored by the photographer. Photographed in a studio setting on a white background with a slight wide angle lens.

Thanks to the Internet, a continuous and endless supply of news is at our fingertips around the clock. Attention-grabbing headlines on Facebook make claims about natural disasters, epidemics, cancer cures, politics and movie stars. But reader beware: many online news stories, while captivating, are totally fake!


Why the Holiday Spike in Assisted Living Interest

Happy Holidays

While spending quality time with family over the holidays, you may notice little things about mom and dad that just don’t seem right. Red flags may be flying, such as:  the condition of their home, mom’s physical appearance, dad’s absent mindedness and subtle changes in their personalities and behaviors.   (more…)

Avoiding Caregiver Martyr Syndrome

Careging is rewarding

Being a caregiver means that you play an important role in a loved one’s life. While that role may be rewarding, it can also be stressful, worrisome and time consuming.

Caregivers often juggle their own work and family responsibilities with the demands of caring for their loved one. From scheduling appointments, driving to doctor visits, preparing meals, paying bills and more, it’s easy for caregivers to become so fully consumed in the caregiver role that they neglect their own personal needs. (more…)

Mature Voters Balance Election Stress with Wisdom: Five tips to de-stress


A survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that while about half of Americans are worried about the 2016 race for the White House, mature voters—those 71 and older—report the highest levels of anxiety with 59 percent saying the campaign is causing them stress.

They are bombarded with television and radio coverage, engaged in political conversations and some are exposed to politics on social media. Rest assured, today’s seniors are experienced voters who can handle the pressure. Many have voted in over a dozen elections. Rodger, a resident of Victory Centre of Bartlett’s assisted living community, has voted for 18 presidents! “It is important to have a president who will protect our military from wars,” said Rodger, who will cast his ballot November 8.