Are you or a loved one having difficulty with activities of daily living as you age? Has a spouse or friend’s memory declined to the point you are worried about their safety? Before you begin searching for long-term care, it’s important to know the difference between assisted living and memory care. While some of the services are the same, there are several differences in the level of care provided.

What is Assisted Living?

Seniors in an assisted living community typically need help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, medication management, or mobility, but don’t need around-the-clock help. Seniors who receive this level of care can clearly communicate their needs and their reasoning skills are intact.

What is Memory Care?

Like assisted living, residents in memory care also require assistance with activities of daily living. However, they are often unable to clearly articulate their needs and therefore, require a higher – and more personalized – level of care. Seniors experiencing memory loss may forget how to turn off the stove or oven, or even how to navigate to and from their apartment. Memory care team members have special training to enhance engagement and communication with these residents so they can be successful and still maintain a purpose in a community.

Assisted Living Communities

Safety is always a concern for seniors who are prone to falls and other injuries. In assisted living communities, residents may have an emergency call device like a pendant as well as call buttons in their apartments and daily check-ins from team members to ensure they are generally in good health.

Assisted living communities offer lots of fun activities and opportunities for residents to socialize and engage like painting, playing board games, going to live musical performances, daily exercise, and educational forums.

Memory Care Communities

Safety and security are heightened in a memory care community, which typically includes keypad access for team members and visitors to enter and leave the memory care neighborhood. Memory care communities are often designed to minimize confusion with plenty of open space for walking and movement, ample signage, color-coded walls, and personalized shadow boxes to help residents navigate the building.

Memory care residents have access to most of the same socialization opportunities, but with more personalization to ensure they are meaningful and purposeful. At Sopris Lodge at Carbondale, special activities are scheduled for our memory care residents that are shown to help slow cognitive decline, reduce falls, and decrease the use of some medications, and are done with the support of trained team members.

Your Senior Care Partner

At Sopris Lodge at Carbondale, we help families find the best living situation to meet their loved one’s needs. Call 970-876-6008 or contact us online if you have questions about assisted living or memory care or would like to schedule a personalized tour.

Grand Opening Logo

Community event featuring live music, food, and giveaways


CARBONDALE, Colo. – June 15, 2022 – Sopris Lodge at Carbondale, a new retirement community in the Roaring Fork Valley, will host a grand opening celebration on Saturday, July 16 from 3:30 to 6 p.m.

Members of the public are invited to visit the Sopris Lodge campus, located at 295 Rio Grande Avenue in Carbondale, to enjoy guided community tours, lawn games, live entertainment from The Sunday Morning All-Stars, chef-prepared food, giveaways, and more.

Held in partnership with KDNK Community Radio, this celebratory event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Call 970-340-4460 or visit our website events page to RSVP.

Note: Off-site parking is available along Main Street. Guests may also park in the public lot across from Town Hall and take the Rio Grande Trail to campus.

About Sopris Lodge at Carbondale
Sopris Lodge at Carbondale is a Colorado-based retirement community offering independent living, assisted living and memory care residences in the Roaring Fork Valley. Set in the picturesque Rocky Mountain town of Carbondale and nestled between the historic destinations of Aspen and Glenwood Springs, Sopris Lodge at Carbondale is managed by WellAge Senior Living, a respected senior care management company.

Communicating with a loved one living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia presents challenges that can lead to frustration and misunderstandings on both sides of the conversation. To help avoid confusion, caregivers must exercise patience and practice active listening and speaking strategies.

The following tips from the Mayo Clinic will help improve how you communicate with your loved one while benefitting their mental and emotional outlook, building a stronger bond, and making the most of each interaction.

  • Always be patient. Listen closely and allow enough time for your loved one to talk uninterrupted.
  • Know what to expect. Your loved one may have trouble remembering words or communicating clearly. They may repeat phrases or ideas or mix unrelated thoughts.
  • Try to understand what your loved one is saying based on the context and use surrounding information to interpret the meaning. If they struggle to formulate an idea, have them point to an object or have them walk you to show you what they are trying to communicate.
  • Maintain eye contact while speaking and always call your loved one by their name.
  • Use nonverbal actions to show support, such as gestures, visual cues, and other body language.
  • If your loved one is having trouble expressing themselves, be patient and calm as they navigate the conversation, and always be kind and encouraging.
  • Avoid using baby talk, and don’t talk down to your loved one or as if they were not there.
  • Limit visual distractions and background noise, which can make it difficult to hear or concentrate.
  • Use short sentences, ask yes or no questions, and break down requests into single steps.
  • Speak clearly and calmly. Take a break if you get frustrated, and avoid criticizing, correcting, or arguing. Never ask them, “do you remember” or “don’t you remember.”

Our memory support community at Sopris Lodge at Carbondale helps individuals living with Alzheimer’s or dementia according to each resident’s individual care plan, which is determined before move-in. Our knowledgeable team members use proven strategies to communicate with residents and help them develop and refine their cognitive skills, form meaningful new relationships, and take advantage of dynamic programming offering socialization, stimulation and engagement.

In addition to receiving top-quality care, residents with memory loss have access to a safe, home-like neighborhood, comfortable dining, living, and activity rooms, three chef-prepared meals a day, medication assistance, and daily living support, with experienced team members on staff for true peace of mind.

At Sopris Lodge at Carbondale, we’re committed to supporting seniors in our community to live well and age well. Call us at 970-876-6008 to learn more about our independent and assisted living and memory support services for those 55+.

Sopris Lodge at Carbondale Seeks to Fill Two Director Positions

CARBONDALE, Colo. – Sopris Lodge at Carbondale, the newest retirement community in the Roaring Fork Valley for seniors aged 55-plus, is immediately hiring for the following three positions: Wellness Director, Life Enrichment Director and Maintenance Director.

The Wellness Director assists with planning, organizing, developing, and directing resident wellness services within the community. Compassionate caregivers with strong attention to detail who can build rapport with residents and families will excel in this role. This position requires a minimum of two years of senior living industry experience and applicants must be CPR-certified and a licensed practical nurse (at minimum) with a current state nursing certification.

The Life Enrichment Director will strategize and coordinate engaging activities and community events tailored to residents’ unique interests. They will also oversee transportation schedules, develop and implement resident assessment processes and care plans, and recruit, orient, and supervise volunteers. Applicants must be first aid/CPR certified and have an assisted living residence license for 50+ residents, with one year of experience or equivalent education/training providing structured resident engagement activities.

The Maintenance Director will plan, develop, organize, evaluate, and direct the maintenance department’s programs and activities. They will troubleshoot service requests and be responsible for managing the community’s maintenance needs, as well as supervising all maintenance and housekeeping team members, while upholding a safe and clean environment for residents and team members.

To view complete job descriptions, starting salaries, and apply online, please visit soprislodgejobs.com.

About Sopris Lodge at Carbondale
Sopris Lodge at Carbondale is a Colorado-based retirement community offering independent living, assisted living and memory care residences in the Roaring Fork Valley. Set in the picturesque Rocky Mountain town of Carbondale and nestled between the historic destinations of Aspen and Glenwood Springs, Sopris Lodge at Carbondale is managed by WellAge Senior Living, a respected senior care management company.

When is it Time for Memory Support?

Knowing when it is time for memory support for a loved one can be difficult. Oftentimes, the signs and symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s unfold slowly over a long period of time and can be missed by family members until their loved one’s dementia becomes too advanced for them to safely care for themselves or live on their own anymore.

Once the signs and symptoms of dementia become noticeable it is time to consider memory support. If a spouse or family member does not act, their loved one could become a danger to themselves and others. Knowing the signs and symptoms of dementia will help you decide if your loved one needs memory support to keep them safe, healthy, engaged, and improve their quality of life.

Signs and Symptoms of Dementia

1. Changes in Health

Has your loved one lost a lot of weight rapidly? This may be an indication they are forgetting to eat. If your loved one has unexplained bruises or other injuries this is often an indication of progressing dementia. Falls, bumping into furniture, or slipping on the stairs can be signs of Alzheimer’s while visual problems and loss of balance are common for those living with dementia.

2. Changes in Personality and Mood Swings

If your generally calm and cheerful mother becomes quick to anger or seems overly agitated, she could be experiencing dementia or Alzheimer’s symptoms. People living with dementia are prone to angry outbursts, unreasonable fears, and frequent agitation, which may be caused by underlying issues related to the disease.

3. Concerning Behavior

If you find an elderly parent’s stove left on, water running unchecked, or your loved one wandering outside without a coat in the cold, these are potential symptoms of advancing dementia that can lead to harm. People living with dementia may forget to take their medication or take it multiple times per day. A pill bottle that should be half empty or a prescription that’s gone long before a refill is suggested can be dangerous signs of memory decline.

4. Poor Hygiene and a Change to Home Cleanliness

If your loved one’s personal hygiene seems neglected, such as unkempt or unwashed hair or clothing that’s been worn multiple days in a row, they may be struggling with dementia. If the cleanliness of their home has changed with unwashed dishes piled in the sink, unopened mail stacking up, or expired food in the refrigerator/pantry, they may be experiencing cognitive decline that requires immediate intervention and possibly a move to a memory support community to protect their health and wellbeing.

5. Frequent Confusion

If your loved one does not recognize you, can’t remember how to get from one room to the next, or often gets lost driving, they are most likely experiencing the symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s and need additional help.

When you see a friend or loved one struggling with signs of dementia, we recommend it’s time to step in and get them the memory support they need and deserve. At Sopris Lodge at Carbondale Senior Living, our specially trained team takes a whole-person approach to aging, and they understand the unique needs of each resident who is treated with patience and compassion. If you are uncertain about your loved one’s mental and/or physical health due to dementia or Alzheimer’s, please reach out to us. We are happy to answer your questions and help you decide if memory support is right for your loved one.

At Sopris Lodge at Carbondale, we’re committed to supporting seniors in our community to live well and age well. Call us at 970-251-1790 to learn more about our independent and assisted living and memory support services for those 55+.

Talking with Loved Ones About Assisted Living

When it comes time to talk with a loved one about assisted living, the way you go about it will determine if the conversation goes well. Downsizing from a house full of memories, leaving a familiar neighborhood, fearing the loss of autonomy and control of their lives can make many seniors hesitant to even discuss the subject. Allowing them to voice their concerns rather than being dismissive of them and being a good listener when you bring up the topic will help make it a positive conversation.

Getting the Conversation Started

It’s best to broach the subject of assisted living well before your loved ones need it. Try mentioning it in casual conversation by asking if they have thought about it or are considering it for the future. Ask open-ended questions and really listen to what your loved one has to say about how they see their lives in the next two, five, or ten years.

Don’t be surprised if the first attempt at discussing assisted living is rebuffed and even met with resentment. If that is the case, drop the subject and give it time before you bring it up again. An opportunity may prevent itself to restart the conversation if your mom falls and sprains her wrist or your dad complains about the endless chores involved with maintaining the house.

Unless your senior loved one’s situation is urgent, keep in mind the saying, “patience is a virtue” and don’t press them into talking about or making a big life decision like moving into assisted living if it will cause hurt feelings or anger.

Have Some Prepared Responses

When your loved one is ready to talk about assisted living have some prepared responses if they express doubts about their finances, losing their independence, or leaving a familiar place.

Offer to go with them to speak with a financial adviser who specializes in helping seniors prepare for the transition to assisted living. Having a professional lay it out for them will be helpful in their decision-making process.

If they are worried about losing their freedom point out how liberating it will be to not have constant home-upkeep to manage or endless lists of chores for cooking and cleaning. Muse with them about how they can use their free time to pursue their hobbies, try new things, and focus on doing the things they enjoy instead. Remind them they deserve to be unburdened by heavy responsibilities and focus on what they really like to do.

If they are worried about leaving a familiar place offer to join them on a tour of Sopris Lodge at Carbondale so they can see what the living accommodations look like, all that our menu has to offer, and the fun activities we have scheduled like live entertainment, scenic outings, educational lectures, and more. This will give them an opportunity to meet and talk to residents already living and thriving here.

Keep It Positive

Always emphasize the positive when it comes to their decision regarding assisted living. Offer support and be a sympathetic listener as they work through their concerns about it. Keep reminding them it’s their turn to focus on having fun pursuing their hobbies and interests with new friends and experience the things they’ve never had time for.

If you would like to learn more about independent living, assisted living, or memory care, we’re here for you as a resource and glad to answer your questions. For a personalized tour, visit soprislodge.com or call us at 970-876-6008 and let your loved ones see for themselves all our community has to offer.

Three smiling senior men connect and socialize while drinking tea together and chatting at the senior living community

For over half a century, researchers have focused on the importance of community and a sense of belonging as factors boosting human health. Social connections are essential for health and well-being at all ages, but experts have found they are especially important for promoting health in later life. In a bad news, good news situation, we can’t avoid declines in physical, sensory, and cognitive function as we age. That’s the bad news. On the flip side, social functioning remains malleable and can expand as we age – in other words, social connections in later life are strengths that can boost mental health and well-being.

Why do social connections matter? The list is long, including disease prevention, fewer physical health problems, longevity, improved cognitive function, better self-esteem, purpose in life, and a sense of belonging—especially powerful for older adults.

It turns out, people who are confident with their place in the world are less likely to question their faith and beliefs, providing stronger spiritual health. This sense of belonging is so important that seniors who have that sense report their health as higher than those who have a lower sense of community—regardless of their actual state of health.

Over the last two years, the pandemic has reminded those of us in senior living how important social connections—and being part of a community—are to well-being. Even when we had to stay “socially distant,” the residents in our community remained connected, even if just to open the apartment door and participate in a sing-along, visit with team members throughout the day, or connect with family and friends via Zoom, Skype or Facetime, which we helped to facilitate.

As things “open up” again and people return for tours, we have heard the same thing from many of our prospective residents and their families – being home alone just wasn’t working. The National Institute on Aging estimates three out of 10 American seniors live alone, and the pandemic left many too isolated and without social connection.

Seniors Staying Connected

Yes, we agree that social connections are important. Even the American Public Health Association highlights that socialization improves mood, cognition, memory recall, and is associated with healthy behaviors, including exercise. But as we age it can be more challenging as friends and family may pass away, physical limitations make it harder to get out and visit, and busy families are often caught up in their own lives. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to connect with others socially, but older adults have to be proactive in seeking out these opportunities. Here are some ideas for seniors:

  • Exercise classes and walking groups
  • Happy hours and group outings
  • Regular phone calls and video conferences with friends and family
  • Bingo or card games
  • Billiards, darts and other parlor games
  • Fitness and other health classes
  • Attending lectures at senior living communities (usually free!)
  • Join a support group
  • Organize a coffee group to talk sports, current events, or knitting, whatever feeds your fancy

As a WellAge Senior Living community, Sopris Lodge at Carbondale spends a lot of time and energy coordinating events, clubs, and activities for residents living with us. Residents can decide what they want to partake in, but the bottom line is they have choices to connect socially. Even the introverts who enjoy a good book in their suite for most of the day love to see their neighbors at dinner. We have dedicated team members whose job is to organize the social events – and get folks involved. If you’d like to learn more, give us a call as we like to think of ourselves as a resource to local seniors and families.

Considering a move to senior living for yourself or a loved one? Call 970-876-6008 or contact us online to learn how Sopris Lodge at Carbondale helps foster socialization and keep seniors connected.

The Health Benefits of Friendships

One of the best ways for older adults to improve their physical health, mental well-being and overall happiness is by socializing and making new friends. Studies show friendships and socialization benefit older adults’ health in a variety of specific ways, including:

A longer lifespan

Friendships can play an important role in helping seniors live longer. Having close social ties can strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Motivating healthy habits

A good friend can also be a good influence! Friends can help encourage one another to stick to healthy habits, maintain an active lifestyle and keep an eye on each other’s mental and physical well-being.

Fighting loneliness and depression

Studies show that loneliness is a leading cause of depression in older adults. Avoiding isolation, getting involved in social activities and pursuing friendships can play a positive role in helping seniors maintain the connections necessary for good mental health.

Protecting cognitive health

Neuroplasticity means that, throughout a lifetime, the brain can continue changing, reorganizing and creating new neural pathways. The social interaction associated with new friendships helps to change the brain, strengthen memory and improve cognition.

When it comes to building a social circle, life in a senior living community improves the chance of making friends and meeting new people. Residents need only walk outside their apartment door to feel like part of a close-knit community — and to encounter opportunities to meet people. In this way, senior living communities offer so much more than just a place to live and find help when and if it’s needed — they’re places where residents can make connections, explore activities, and share experiences.

At Sopris Lodge at Carbondale, not only do residents have a healthy community of peers to connect with — they also have a wealth of resources at their fingertips: the community team members support their health and fitness goals, the life enrichment director organizes engaging social, cultural and educational activities, and the wellness director oversees their personal wellness plan. Residents also have access to a range of quality amenities and services, including a fitness center, an on-site chef to prepare healthy meals, a bistro, a beauty salon, and an outdoor courtyard for sunlight and socializing.

Considering a move to senior living for yourself or a loved one? Call 970-876-6008 or contact us online to learn more about our studio, one and two-bedroom apartments and how moving to Sopris Lodge at Carbondale offers seniors access to a built-in community of friends.

Sopris Lodge at Carbondale to Host One-Day Job Fair

CARBONDALE – Sopris Lodge at Carbondale, a beautiful new retirement community in the Roaring Fork Valley, will host a one-day job fair on Tuesday, Jan. 11, where hiring managers will fill various full and part-time open positions.

Job seekers who have a passion for helping seniors and want to make a difference – and have fun doing it – are encouraged to stop by the Sopris Lodge campus, located at 295 Rio Grande Avenue in Carbondale, between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for 30-minute interviews.

Full and part-time positions are now available for caregivers, dining service, activities, resident assistants, concierge, maintenance, housekeeping – and more.

Candidates are asked to complete an online application if possible, or to show up the day of the fair with their resume.

To view complete job descriptions and apply online, please visit the career page at jobs.wellage.com.

If you are looking to “rightsize” your retirement, moving to a senior living community offers benefits you just can’t get if your only focus is finding an apartment with maximum square footage.

In her book RightSizing: A Smart Living Guide to Reinventing Retirement, Kathy Gottberg defines “rightsizing” as “the conscious choice to create a life and a lifestyle that more sustainably aligns with your unique self in the best possible way at every stage.” In essence, you can create a more fulfilling life by making changes to align your lifestyle — the way you spend your time, energy and money — with your highest priorities and values.

Many senior living communities offer studio and one-bedroom apartments. For many older adults, this offers plenty of space to personalize yet still access what they came to the community for in the first place – opportunities for socialization and caring support. Although it may seem counterintuitive, downsizing to a smaller space can actually help seniors lead a more fulfilling, “upsized” lifestyle that offers myriad benefits, including:

  • More free time. Home upkeep can be stressful and costly, but senior living apartments offer a more streamlined space that is easier to clean and maintain, giving residents more time to spend however they like. Seniors seeking an active lifestyle will benefit from a community’s on-site health and wellness programs, while those who prioritize friendship will appreciate the social aspects of joining a community. Seniors looking to spend more time on their personal hobbies will enjoy having access to activities, clubs, classes, lectures and events designed to satisfy many interests.
  • More practical space. Apartments at senior living communities feature just the right amount of space for residents to choose the furniture and decor that means the most to them. A rightsized space also helps seniors to physically navigate a space more easily, while the streamlined aesthetics of the new space can help reduce stress. Move-in coordinators can help ease the relocation process by providing a detailed floor plan with measurements to help seniors visualize how to decorate their new home.
  • Supportive care services. At senior living communities, residents have access to a range of health care and healthcare tools if, and when, they need it, including fitness equipment, a personalized care plan, and healthcare services. These benefits can be especially helpful for senior homeowners who find it too costly to hire a home health aide, or who would simply like the peace of mind access to 24/7 care can provide.
  • Choose how you live. At communities like ours, residents spend most of their time at activities, gathering with friends in common areas, dining venues and venturing out into the community at large. While they can engage with their neighbors when they choose to, residents also have the option to retreat to their private residence for some quiet time. One resident recently told us, “I enjoy my apartment so I can relax, but if I want company, I simply have to open my door and catch up with someone walking by. Or I can venture out to find others. I have everything I need here.”

By rightsizing to a smaller space, seniors who sell their home and move to a senior lifestyle community get so much more than just an apartment. Communities like Sopris Lodge at Carbondale provide welcoming common spaces for residents to gather with friends, spacious dining venues to share meals and conversation, a robust schedule of social, cultural and educational activities, and more. With all this at their fingertips, residents come to see that living space size is just a portion of the equation for happiness and that sometimes smaller is better.

Considering a move for yourself or a loved one? Call 970-876-6008 or contact us online to find out about our available studio and one-bedroom residences and how Sopris Lodge at Carbondale can help to “rightsize” your retirement.

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