Seniors Staying Fit While Staying Safe with Virtual Exercise Classes

Boston area senior centers and local teachers have been offering online fitness classes for several months now, and it’s helping those most at risk during the pandemic. Seniors will find plenty of offerings, too: from meditation or yoga to Zumba strength training.

Even those some gyms and community centers may be opening back up, seniors who are still concerned about their vulnerability are opting to exercise from home. Here’s a list of live classes, videos, and resources from local teachers and groups.

NOTE: Schedules and availability subject to change. Be sure to check to verify offerings!

Boston Area Senior Centers

The Newton Senior Center

Virtual Class: Zumba with Ketty Rosenfeld
Time: Virtual Weekday at 11 a.m.
Cost: Donation Suggested
To Participate:
Download the Zoom application and email [email protected] to receive an access link.
Videos: Tai chi, muscle conditioning, and arthritis exercises at

Milford Senior Center Weekly Fitness program

Virtual Classes: line dancing, strength and stretch, yoga, and more.
Instructors: Certified local fitness instructors
Time: 10:30 a.m. every weekday
To Participate:
Milford TV streams an exercise class on its channel and at

Chelsea Senior Center

Videos: warm-up, some cardiovascular drills, and strength training
Instructor: Karen Brannon
To Participate: Search Chelsea Senior Center on YouTube.

Hopkinton Senior Center

Virtual Classes: Tap, barre, bootcamp, and Zumba, chair yoga (Mon & Thurs)
Instructors: Rebecca Tredeau and Crystal Lee
Time: 2 PM weekdays
To Participate:
Contact assistant director Ashley Shaheen at [email protected] for more details, or connect with Tredeau directly through her Facebook group, Zoom-Fitness Classes LIVE with Rebecca!

Fenway Community Center

Virtual Classes: biweekly meditation, movement, and yoga
To Participate:
Requires a Gmail account. Access links are published on the updated calendar online. Visit

YMCA 360

Videos: series of taped classes on low-impact exercises for active older adults. Each of the six 20-30 minute programs focuses on weights, chair yoga, core strength, and more.
To Participate: visit

The Malden Senior Center

Videos:  The center uploads a fitness video from local instructor Aimee Borda on its Facebook page each week.
To Participate: visit

Council on Aging

Virtual Classes:  Yoga and Zumba, for senior residents.
To Participate: call the COA at 617-349-6220 for information on how to sign up.

Autumn 2020 Expressive Arts

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Compassion fatigue is a well known occupational hazard for those in the caring profession. Read more

10 Wearable GPS Trackers for Seniors

GPS trackers help seniors and caregivers alike to help monitor and ensure safety for those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Wearable GPS trackers are designed for comfort, convenience, and emergency accessibility.

For seniors that may be prone to wandering, a GPS tracker can be a lifeline. Caregivers and loved ones can have peace of mind in knowing that a loved one can be quickly located independent of the police or Silver Alert Program.  Some of the latest wearable GPS trackers are discrete or appear to be a normal fashion accessory.

GPS Tracker Considerations

  • Monthly fees
    Because GPS devices use cellular technology, there are usually costs associated beyond the unit itself. There are some no-fee trackers but are not as sophisticated in their tracking abilities.
  • Bundles Features
    GPS watches, in particular, can double as fitness devices that provide health measurements. Safety features to consider include two-way calling, audio monitoring, and crucial SOS emergency buttons.
  • GPS Range
    Need a GPS tracker can track nationwide? Then a wearable device may not be for you. Investigate more conventional GPS trackers with longer range tracking.


1. Dynotag Web/GPS Enabled Pendant

  • Weatherproof stainless steel
  • GPS enabled
  • Lifetime subscription and storage included
  • Stores your information
  • Allows medical personnel to locate your home, even if you’re incapacitated

Price: $25.00

2. ERAY GPS Tracker Watch

  • Affordable
  • Durable aluminum alloy
  • Accompanying app
  • Make calls, live track individuals using the app, and send voice messages
  • Requires SIM card
  • Sleek design, complements clothing

Price: $26.99

3. Garmin vivofit Fitness Band

  • Stylish design, different colors available, customizable
  • Water-resistant
  • Long battery life
  • Doubles as a sleep monitor
  • Track fitness levels, including steps, calories

Price: $56.78

4. GPS SmartSole

  • Discreet, slips into your shoe
  • Come in three different sizes
  • Water-resistant design

Price: $299.99

5. JUNEO GPS Smart Watch Tracker

  • Affordable
  • Send messages without a complicated smartphone
  • Made with environmentally friendly materials
  • SOS button built-in
  • Uses a GSM SIM card
  • Accompanying app
  • Alarm activated if the watch falls off

Price: $26.12

6. Medical Guardian Freedom Smartwatch

  • GPS keeps you in range of emergency contacts (stored in the watch)
  • Designed specifically for seniors
  • Schedule medications, doctors appointments
  • Simple text messaging
  • Emergency SOS button
  • Water-resistant design
  • Touchscreen display

Price: $149.99

7. Mobvoi Ticwatch E Smartwatch

  • Polycarbonate case with silicone band
  • Fast charging
  • Battery lasts up to 1.5 days
  • Polycarbonate case
  • Built-in 300 mAh battery
  • Dustproof and water-resistant
  • GPS monitors route, and can help seniors get around and find their way home if lost

Price: $129.99

8. MX-LOCare Personal GPS Safety Watch

  • Installed SIM card works worldwide
  • Service plans start at $24.99 a month
  • Free iOS and Android smartphone app
  • Geofence functionality
  • Built-in listen-in mode allows you to hear audio around the watch – perfect for check ins

Price: $129.99

9. Padcod V16 Seniors Smart Watch

  • T-Mobile micro SIM card
  • Easy to read 1.22” OLED touchscreen large font display
  • Front-facing camera with speaker
  • Accurate GPS
  • Monitors sleep
  • Also serves as an altimeter, barometer, and thermometer

Price: $39.99

10. Invisawear Smart Jewelry

  • Double press back side of charm to send a text message with GPS location to five people.
  • Bluetooth Low Energy and free smartphone app
  • Optional 9-1-1 feature to share location with 9-1-1 dispatchers during an emergency.
  • Battery life is guaranteed to last up to one year but can last close to two years depending on the usage. 
  • No monthly fees or subscriptions, but when the battery dies, you need to purchase a replacement charm discounted at $65.
  • A 30-day satisfaction guarantee.
  • Other styles available on the Invisawear site

Price: $149.00

There are many other types of GPS trackers. In a future post, we’ll find some recommendations for more conventional and keychain devices.

In the meantime, please visit our Memory Care page to learn more about this living option at Cadbury Commons.

UPDATE: In our previous post, we featured the Samber GPS necklace, an item that was recently taken off Amazon in the US. A similar item under the name JINSERTA can be found at


Dementia and Dignity

Dementia and Dignity

Let’s be honest, people are terrified of dementia.  We work hard to hide a dementia diagnosis behind a wall of silence built with bricks of fear, shame and stigma, much like we spoke about cancer 40 years ago (you know, the Big “C”, in hushed voices), But with cancer, something changed along the way. We learned to talk openly and acknowledge the human experience of living with and possibly dying from cancer, and eventually having cancer became a “courageous battle” instead of a shameful illness.

As with cancer, society needs to find a new way to talk about dementia. We tend to focus on the end-stage of the disease,  conjuring up the image of a dying person who is now an “empty shell”.  But dementia has a beginning and a middle, and it’s vital to remember that people are LIVING with dementia.  Those with dementia struggle to be present in their lives, to work through the “fog”, to find humor in the scary and ugly moments, and to continue to live life and love to the fullest. It is a brave and serious fight. It is a DIGNIFIED fight.

So like with cancer, we need to change the image of someone with a dementia diagnosis. And as we did with cancer, we have to look dementia in the eye in order to understand empathically how a person lives and loves in the presence of this disease.  It’s a challenge. It’s scary. And it’s what makes us human.

Learn more about Cadbury Commons’ Memory Care Neighborhood.

By Lisa Walts, MSW, LICSW – Social Worker at Cadbury Commons

Great Gadgets for Assisted or Independent Living Seniors

Independent living products for seniors on the market today are as innovative as they are helpful. Some also serve to bridge the digital generation gap so that seniors can retain a certain level of independence and confidence. Great gift ideas too!

Here is a list of our top 10 picks!

1. Automatic jar opener

The Hamilton Beach Open Ease Automatic Jar Opener makes quick work of those pesky jars, which can be extremely difficult for even young people. Helps seniors with arthritis or strength issues open all kinds of stubborn jars and bottles – even child-proof prescription bottles!

2.Electronic calendar for seniors

3. Temperature-activated flow reducer

Attach this anti-scald device, to a faucet or showerhead to ensure the water stays at a safe temperature. Easy to install – no plumber needed! Can be used in private & public housing, child care centers, hotels & nursing homes. Automatically shuts-off water to a trickle before scalding occurs!

4. Motion-activated toilet night light

Just when you thought you’ve seen everything! This motion-activated toilet night light illuminates the entire bathroom so you don’t have to waste energy with a night light or keep sleep-disrupted overhead lights turned on. The built in motion sensor detects body heat to automatically illuminate the room when you enter and shut off when you leave at night. And you can choose your color, too!

5. Rocking garden seat

Being outdoors and gardening is a wonderful pastime but can be physically demanding as we age. It’s especially hard on the knees and back. With the height-adjustable, patented Garden Rocker Seat, the contoured rocking base works with you while you are weeding, planting, or just performing routine chores around the home.

6. TV listening speaker

My mother swears by this speaker! With two hearing aids, she used to blast the volume, which can be annoying to other people in the home, neighbors, or even pets. The Serene Innovations Listening Speaker enables her to hear words clearly right next to her with adjustable audio levels. It’s also portable for when you’re thirsty but don’t want to miss the dialogue when getting a glass of water.

7. Simple big button remote control

Designed for seniors in mind, this remote uses big button text for easy-to-see use, even in the dark. It also includes a strong but comfortable wrist strap to prevent it from getting lost. The remote controls both the TV and cable box and programming is simple. Especially helpful to people with low or impaired vision.

8. Doorbell-telephone flashing-light signaler

Easy to install and operate, this wireless doorbell plugs into any standard wall outlet. Use it for front, side, or back doors to gain security and peace of mind. There is a variety of melodies to choose from, but the flashing light will always work even if you set the doorbell to silent-mode.

9. Portable walking cane / chair combo

Having the ability to sit and rest comfortably can make life much more enjoyable, and allows you to stroll longer and further. This lightweight portable walking chair gives you much-needed support when you need it the most. It’s easy to fold up using the attached Velcro strap when you want to use it as a cane.

10. Smart Light Outlet

If you are concerned about your loved one getting up at night and falling, or – if they have memory issues – wandering, the Smart Light Outlet will turn on a light when triggered by a cordless floor or bed mat. The cordless monitor alerts you even if you’re in another room while providing illumination when someone gets out of bed.

These and other products can be a great help for seniors to extend their independence to improve their safety and comfort while providing caregivers with peace of mind!

Senior COVID Survival Plan: Six Steps to Staying Steady

Surviving COVID, on top of ALZ caregiving, is like surviving the free fall of skydiving. It takes a Senior COVID Survival plan—and practice—to stay steady enough to open our parachutes in these stormy times. Here are half-a-dozen steps, grounded in science and personal experience, that make up my daily action plan.

1. Spotlight self-care

Because it lays the foundation for mentally managing a perilous world
So, I stress physical activity, sleep, exercise, healthy eats, and social contacts

2. Schedule uplifting activities

Because we all need to get out of our heads and into our lives
So, I engage in prized projects, healthy distractions, and enjoyable ventures

3. Take a tranquilizer

Because in-the-moment soothing can calm jittery nerves
So, I turn to the 4-7-8 breathing technique: inhale-hold-exhale—4 times

4. Adopt a broad perspective

Because it lets us be with stress, not be our stress, thus easing its hold on us
So, I mentally step back, observe, and make room for stress

5. Allow my upsets

Because common practice—pushing away upsets—just adds to our misery
So, I open myself to feelings, even when I dislike them, and just let them be

6. Give myself a hug

Because self-compassion takes the edge off feeling crummy
So, I offer kindness to myself just as I would hug a fragile friend

So, how about you? Might you consider a Senior COVID Survival plan? Given your unique values, circumstances, needs, and leanings, what daily steps might you take to maintain your steadiness, open your parachute, and survive in these scary times?

By Jerry Murphy

Jerry Murphy is a member of the Alzheimer’s Association Caregivers Support Group at Cadbury Commons run by our social worker Lisa Walts.

How to Help Seniors Transition to Long-Term Care Facilities

Caregivers who are making decisions about long-term care for seniors may be feeling the strain of the pandemic, as the current housing market is unstable. While it may seem a tricky time to make the choice to sell their home to pay for long-term care, it’s an important step to helping them get the proper help they need. Challenges aside, you can still sell a home right now, as long as you take advantage of technology and resources.

Choosing Options when Considering Long-Term Care for Seniors 

If it’s time to consider long-term care options for your elderly or disabled loved one, be sure to research the full range of living situations available. Assisted living facilities are a great option for seniors who need help with daily tasks, such as taking medications, cooking, cleaning, and bathing. If your senior needs more constant medical care or they are in decline, a nursing home may be more appropriate.

However, if your senior loved one is still able to take care of many daily tasks on their own, an independent senior living community might be right for them. Independent senior living can still provide access to important amenities such as medical care while also offering entertainment and dining options in the facility.

No matter if you choose assisted or independent living, Cadbury Commons has a team of caring and compassionate professionals that you and your senior loved one can trust. Amenities for your loved one include opportunities for physical fitness, intellectual and artistic activities, and entertaining special events and trips.

Selling Your Loved One’s Home

It may be a difficult subject to broach with your loved one, but selling their home is a key step in helping them transition into a long-term care living situation. Once the decision has been made to move, caregivers should help their loved one choose which belongings to keep. Much of this will depend on what they can take with them to their new home; some long-term care facilities such as nursing homes have limits on how many personal items each resident can bring.

It can be a sensitive process to help someone let go of belongings, so be patient as you work with them to declutter. Start small, taking on just one room at a time, and limiting the cleaning process to just 30 minutes or an hour each time. Help them make decisions about selling versus donating, and suggest they pass family heirlooms down to younger family members.

How to Use Technology to Sell a Home During COVID-19

Once you’ve helped your senior declutter their home, it’s time to get it ready to sell. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a good idea to explore virtual staging instead of hiring a company. Not only is it much easier than lugging furniture around the house, it’s much more affordable.

Find a real estate agent who is savvy with virtual showing options, such as 3D walk-throughs and video tours. Taking detailed photographs and offering live video tours is the safest way to show your elderly loved one’s home during COVID-19 and can save everyone time in the long run. By using online resources for showing your senior’s home, you can weed out the casual buyers and limit the number of times people enter your loved one’s home.

Safely showing a home during a pandemic

When you’re ready to have an in-person tour, ask your real estate agent to follow strict cleaning guidelines. Place hand sanitizer at the entrance, and ask every person touring the house to use it before entering. Require masks for all viewers, and request that they limit their time in the home and avoid touching surfaces and doorknobs. Be sure to maintain physical distancing, and thoroughly clean the home between showings.

Many long-term care facilities can be expensive, and the sale of your loved one’s home will help ensure there will be funds to cover their needs. While it may be a painful process for them to let go of their home, the peace of mind gained for both you and your senior will be worth the hardship. Use technology to help sell their home safely and efficiently, and lean on an experienced real estate agent to help you through the process.

By June Duncan – [email protected]

(Photo credit: Unsplash)

5 Tips for Seniors to Keep Cool in the Heat

1. Avoid Direct Sunlight

We’ve all been somewhat cooped up recently, so it’s tempting to get out and bask in the sun. However, your skin is even more sensitive to sunlight when you’ve spent long periods of time indoors. Going out early or late in the day can help you avoid the strongest rays (and heat).

Lather up! It can be a chore, but sunscreen lotions with SPF 30 really do help prevent sunburn and irritation. Think about a light spray for your scalp if your hair is thinning.

Walk on the shady side of the street!  Or enjoy a walk on a shady trail. If you can’t avoid the full sun, it’s becoming more and more common to carry a UV-resistant umbrella. You can even buy a specially designed backpack to hold it for you!

2. Hydrate

You know the drill!  No matter what your age, staying hydrated is essential to prevent heatstroke.

Flavoring water with fruit, cucumber, or mint helps to encourage regular hydration. You can also add electrolytes if you sweat excessively. There are a wide variety of convenient bottles and thermoses that keep liquids cold (including ice cubes) for up to 24 hours.

Tired of water? Try a fresh herbal ice tea! But lose the caffeine, if possible. Because it’s a diuretic and can promote further fluid loss, it’s best to avoid it.

3. Serve Cool Foods

Did you know cooler foods can also prevent heat exhaustion? As great as it is to grill, some chilled salads, fruits or soups (like gazpacho) might be a better and healthier choice. You can add more nutrition (and protein) with smoothies. Planning to go on a boat ride or sit at the beach? Consider a portable blender; some even chop ice!

3. Choose Cooler Clothing

Stay loose! Lightweight, light-colored, breathable, loose-fitting clothing help to promote airflow, evaporation, and to reflect sunlight. If skin protection is a priority, consider UV-resistant shirts, pants, or swim attire.

Add a hat and sunglasses. If you don’t have an umbrella, there are big packable hats that you can keep in the car or even in your pocket. As we age, our eyes can have difficulty adjusting to very bright sunlight. Sunglasses help you avoid eye strain and headaches. With these heat-busting fashion suggestions, you’ll look and feel cool!

5. Bathe or Mist Yourself in Cool Water

Portable personal misters and mini AC units can really help you in a pinch. More than a fan, these lifesavers allow you to fill up reservoirs of cold ice water to provide a cool moist breeze. Some need an electrical outlet to operate, but others work on batteries or through air pressure.

Your local pharmacy may sell towels that are already moist and sealed to break open when you really need it, but you can also grab your own towel and wrap it around your neck.

If you can’t take a dip in the ocean or a pool, consider a lukewarm bath or shower.

Warning Signs of Heat Stroke

Remember to check on your senior friends, neighbors, and family during heat waves and consider seeking medical attention if you or a loved one starts to experience some of the following symptoms:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • rapid heartbeat
  • difficulty breathing

A little preparedness can help go a long way to ensure a safe and enjoy summer, even on the hottest of days!

(Photo credit: “Sun over Georgia Sea Islands” by crowdive is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

A Magnet Challenges My World View

My fridge door is full of magnets with nifty and inspirational sayings.

One of them is from Satchel Paige – “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” How do I answer that? Do I feel younger than my 50-some years (whatever that means)? Am I trying to tell myself that by feeling “younger”, I can allow myself to feel “good”, “in touch”, “healthy” (and therefore definitely not “old”)!

And what is “young” and “old” anyway? The first means “having lived a short time”, the second “having lived for a long time”. And really isn’t “old” just “not younger”?

But in our society “young/old” also connote being “attractive/ugly”, “trendy/out of touch”, “interesting/dull” or “fun/cranky” – the list goes on. Yet chronological age is an increasingly unreliable benchmark of just about anything about a person. And if our society is so excited about the ability to live longer, why do we stigmatize growing older? Shouldn’t it be a celebration?

In my search for answers (or at least some interesting questions to ask), I read a book by Ashton Applewhite titled “This Chair Rocks, A Manifesto Against Ageism”. It’s a thought-provoking 278 pages. The author challenges many of the current concepts of aging, and while there is not enough room here to do the book justice about how to fight “ageism” – here are some of my favorites quotes:

• All aging is “successful” – not just the sporty version – otherwise, you’re dead.
• Ageism is a prejudice against our own future selves, making us dread our own future.
• Aging is not a disease. Aging is life itself, which is what makes it so damn interesting.
• If you hear “what do you expect at your age?”, find a new doctor.

So back to my magnet – should I remove it from my fridge door? Is the saying ageist? What do you think?

By Lisa Walts, MSW, LICSW – Social Worker at Cadbury Commons