Senior Health & Fitness Day

On the same day (Wednesday, May 25th) across the U.S., 100,000+ older adults will participate in health promotion events at more than 1,000 local organizations. Senior Health & Fitness Day, the nation’s largest older adult health and fitness event, is entering its 18th year. This year’s theme is “Make Fitness a Goal for Life”. You can find out more about what is going on in your area by visiting

That day, Sunrise will be offering blood pressure checks from 3-5 PM at The Carl Gipson Senior Center of Everett. Stop by and see us if you’re in the neighborhood!

Partners in Quality Living

Our Perspective: Why you might want your caregiver to work for an agency

There are many reasons to work with a Home Care Agency. Below, we’ve listed some of our top reasons why…


Home Care Agencies have a pool of qualified caregivers who can substitute for the routine caregiver if an emergency arises, or for when that person needs to take time off for vacation or personal matters. This benefit is used often within Agencies and can help alleviate any added stress of finding someone to fill in. Often times, a family member is not able to step in and in some cases are always up for the job!

We at Sunrise often provide relief caregivers while a client’s routine caregiver is attending mandatory trainings. It is our pleasure to help any client avoid gaps in their care.


Agencies provide extra oversight through supervisors to make sure that quality services are providing according to the client’s needs and assessment. When people hire private caregivers, it is more likely that caregiver could neglect their duties and take advantage of a client who does not speak English, has some dementia, is anxious, is dependant, is vulnerable. Often it is very difficult for a vulnerable person to supervise a caregiver.

Agencies have more required in-home client and caregiver contact required than DSHS case managers. Currently, most case managers rely on agency home visits to meet their requirements. Some caregivers tend to loosen up and take liberties without supervision and do not follow the schedule.

Sunrise supervisors make ongoing one-on-one contacts and both scheduled and   unscheduled home visits.  We never leave a doubt about the care our clients are receiving.


Agencies can provide help with home care documents, care needs assessments, making appointments, and finding essential services that all clients need, whether they speak English or not! Without assistance here, non-English speaking elders would be forced to cope with a hard to understand system on their own. Often times, agency supervisors who speak their language call their case managers on their behalf.

Sunrise offers services to people of all languages.


Agencies limit number of hours that are provided by one caregiver and provide an additional caregiver to clients with over 170 hours per month to prevent burn out and a reduction of quality services by the tired caregiver.

Sunrise is well aware of issues with caregiver burn out and does what it can to keep their caregivers fresh and energized, always looking out for the client’s best interests.


Sometimes, clients do not mesh with the first caregiver sent out to work with them. If using an Agency, clients can always choose someone else to help them with their needs. This helps keep caregivers prompt and providing quality services.

Sunrise utilizes a phone system of time collection called telephony. Sunrise is automatically notified if your care giver is more that 7 minutes late. Our supervisors instantly take charge with any discrepancy on following a schedule.


Most agencies have a network within your community. They have made connections and work with various social and human service organizations which can help clients get access to the help they might need, outside of caregiving.

We, at Sunrise, listen to our client’s needs and concerns. We simply take the time for each client. We do our best to provide solutions and to offer our community connections to each client.

For more information on Sunrise Home Care Agency, please click here.

Partners in Quality Living.

The Importance of Lifelong Learning

Henry Ford once said “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

Wikipedia defines Lifelong learning as the continuous building of skills and knowledge throughout the life of an individual. It occurs through experiences encountered in the course of a lifetime. These experiences could be formal (training, counseling, tutoring, mentorship, apprenticeship, higher education, etc.) or informal (experiences, situations, etc.) Lifelong learning, also known as LLL, is the “lifelong, voluntary, and self-motivated” pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. As such, it not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenship and personal development, but also competitiveness and employability.

Why is Lifelong Learning so important? Lifelong learning can be socially invigorating while also improving memory and cognitive abilities. Activities such as volunteering can be a learning experience while making the life of the volunteer meaningful and at the same time offering benefits to society. Lifelong learning allows us to continue to use our minds, one of our most important “muscles” we often forget to exercise as we age!

As part of the Rush Memory and Aging Project conducted in Chicago, a study of more than 1,200 elders, participants underwent cognitive testing for up to five years. The study revealed that cognitively active elders, whose average age was 80, were 2.6 times less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than those who were cognitively inactive.

Published last year in the online edition of Neurology, the study also showed that frequent cognitive activity during old age was associated with a decreased risk of mild cognitive impairment, a transitional stage between normal aging and dementia, as well as a slowed decline in cognitive function.

Stimulating the brain by visiting a museum or attending a concert, for example, can increase the number of brain cells and connections between brain cells. Physical exercise improves blood flow to the brain, encouraging development of new brain cells.

Are there programs locally? Recently, we came across the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the UW. This program allows for adults over 50 to come together in a lively learning environment to explore various topics of interest. They have locations in Seattle, Redmond, and Everett. Please see for more information. And if a structured environment like this doesn’t suit you, pick up a book, check out a new artist, take a walk into a local coffee shop featuring open mic night, join a local club. Really, there are so many ways to learn!

Learning is such an important part of living! What are you doing to stay on track?

Partners in Quality Living.

Understanding the Different Types of Care Available

When choosing care for a loved one, there are many options to choose from. It’s important to look at what they might need, what types of support they currently have in place, etc. Once you know what type of care your loved one might need, you can search out local companies who offer that.

Home Care:

If you’re looking for someone to help with such things as preparing meals, personal care (e.g. bathing, dressing), housekeeping, and general activities of daily living, looking into Home Care for your loved one might be the right way to go. There are a wide range of services provided.

Home Health Care:

Home Health Care Agencies provide nursing, home health aide, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and social work services. Care is provided in their residence for the purpose of promoting, maintaining, or restoring health or minimizing the effects of illness and disability while promoting independence. Care is provided by skilled health aides or nurses.

Adult Day Care:

Adult Day Care Centers offer social, recreational and health-related services to individuals in a protective setting who cannot be left alone during the day because of health care and social need, confusion or disability.  These programs make respite for caregivers possible, and provide support groups for participants and caregivers.

Adult Family Homes:

Residents typically have a disability or other issues that keep them from living independently, but they would still like care in a home-like environment. Adult Family Homes offer a community based setting in a residential home licensed to care from two to six residents. The home provides room and meals, laundry, supervision, assistance with activities of daily living and personal care.  Some homes provide nursing or other special care.

Assisted Living Facilities:

Also called Boarding Homes, these types of facilities are similar to Adult Family Homes, but offer space for 7 or more individuals.

Skilled Nursing Facilities / Nursing Homes:

A nursing home is a residential facility for persons with chronic illness or disability, particularly older people who have mobility and eating problems. Round-the-clock skilled nursing care is provided in these types of facilities, as is long-term nursing care, rehabilitation, and other services.

Independent Living Facilities / Retirement Homes:

Those elderly people that simply want to live in a smaller space will often seek out a retirement home. This type of home does not include any type of medical care, though it may include various extras such as transportation, senior services, and events that are planned with seniors in mind. Many seniors move to retirement homes when their own homes become too much to handle.

What Sunrise offers:

Sunrise currently offers Home Care and Adult Family Homes. If you would like to talk with someone about our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Partners in Quality Living.

The Home Care Agency Process

Are you unfamiliar with signing up with a Home Care provider? This might help.

Once you decide on the Home Care Agency that is right for you, there is often a process to follow before services begin. Below, we’ll outline this process to give you a better idea of what to expect.


First, the Agency must gather important information, usually at the time the client makes their initial call for services. This includes diagnosis, cognitive and functional abilities and limitations. The purpose is to determine if the agency can indeed provide the care being requested.  This information helps the agency determine who would be the best caregiver to work with this particular client. The Agency will also determine costs and payment method.


Following that, the supervisor and the assigned aide meet the client in their home and review their personal care needs, agency policies, client bill of rights, how to file a grievance, plus so much more. Together, the client and agency develop a care plan and schedule for services. They also address any safety issues, such as trip hazards and the need for adaptive equipment such as grab bars, bath bench, hand held shower.


Once the care has been assessed and everyone feels comfortable, the client signs consent forms.   Without the client’s consent, services cannot begin.


Care usually begins immediately after the consent is signed. The home care aide stays to begin implementation of the plan of care. The agency’s supervisor makes repetitive contacts and visits to assess how satisfied the client is with the aide and how implementation of the care plan is going.

While this process may not fit every Agency exactly, it does provide an overview of what you should expect from most. This is our process at Sunrise Home Care Agency. If you choose Sunrise, we’ll help you through this process with the utmost respect and care.

We are your Partners in Quality Living.

Nutritious Eating on a Budget

As we started to research this important topic, three things seem to always present themselves:

1)      Cook from scratch.

2)      Minimize eating out.

3)      Plan your shopping list and stick to it!

Cook from scratch using real food.

With modern conveniences of microwave burritos and “homemade”-style lasagnas, it’s so easy to fall into the rut of buying food that is already prepared. While it can save some time in the kitchen, it generally doesn’t save calories, sodium, or fat consumed. You don’t really know what types of preservatives are added and you probably don’t want to find out! Fresh food is best as it holds most valuable nutrients. When you cook at home, you’ll use real meat, fresh vegetables, fruits and more. And, you’ll probably cut back on the amount of oil and butter used to make the meal. Also to save money, you can use the bulk section of your grocer for spices, rice, beans and other dry items.

Dine at home.

This means planning a weekly menu. Each week before heading to the store, take a few minutes to think about what you need that week to cover breakfasts, lunches, dinners…and even snacks. Write it out and stick this menu to your fridge. That way, you’ll know what’s in store for your next meal and you can prepare things (like thawing meat) early in the day. You’ll avoid that “I didn’t really have anything to cook” excuse we all come up when we’re craving takeout or our favorite restaurant. Also, plan to make and eat your leftovers. If you don’t like eating the same thing two days in a row, eat something else the day between or freeze it for a later day. If you have a leftover chicken breast, shred it into a quesadilla the next day for lunch.

Plan your shopping list and stick to it!

Grocery stores spend a large chunk of change determining how to get you to buy MORE. Displays look gorgeous and we easily forget that the bag of grapes we just put in our cart is $10.  How can you avoid this? After you plan your meals, write a shopping list with everything you’ll need to make them. This includes your snacks, too. When you hit the store, keep your eyes open for things on the list. Compare prices (don’t forget to look at the size of items) and make sure you’re getting the best deal. This also helps with waste. If you only buy what you’re going to eat that week, you won’t end up throwing away stuff that goes bad.

Our Caregiver Training Program offers a complete Continuing Education course on Nutrition that goes into much greater detail. While we plan on sharing more information in the future on this important topic, feel free to contact us for more information on the course.

Below are some ideas for nutritious meals and snacks. Do you have others you might want to share?


  • Yogurt topped with dry cereal (granola, muesli, all bran), fruit and nuts
  • Banana and peanut butter or Tahini (sesame butter) on whole wheat bread/toast
  • Oatmeal with nuts, fruit and milk
  • Fruit smoothie with banana, berries, yogurt, milk and protein powder with ½ slice of wheat toast
  • Hard boiled egg, slice of whole wheat toast, low-sugar fruit spread and piece of fresh fruit
  • Scrambled eggs (consider liquid egg product for all of the protein and none of the fat) with veggies or salsa and whole wheat toast
  • Whole wheat or corn tortilla with beans, cheese, egg, salsa and avocado


  • Lentil veggie soup with rice or whole wheat roll
  • Tuna sandwich on whole wheat with veggies
  • Large tortilla wrap – lots of veggies, salsa, black beans
  • Hummus plate/sandwich with cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, sprouts in or on a whole wheat pita
  • Whole grain crackers with a bean spread, baby carrots, apple and nuts
  • Turkey slices with tomato, spinach, avocado on whole wheat or other whole grain bread
  • Edamame and raw veggies in pasta or grain salad
  • In a pinch: burrito from local taco place piled with veggies and guacamole 


  • Whole wheat pasta or brown rice with tomato sauce, fresh or frozen veggies added, and a can of chickpeas for protein
  • BIG spinach salad with lots of veggies, nuts, kidney beans. Add tuna or low sodium turkey ham.
  • Chicken/tofu stir-fry with mixed veggies
  • Couscous with mixed veggies and beans of your choice, top with curry sauce
  • Can of 3 bean chili over brown rice
  • Pita pizza – add peppers, tomatoes, olives, etc. and small amount of cheese on a whole wheat pita and put in oven/toaster oven 


(Remember, don’t just do a carbohydrate, get some protein and even a little fat into the mix!)

  • Low fat Cottage cheese or yogurt with fruit and nuts/seeds
  • Almonds or walnuts with dried or fresh fruit
  • Baby carrots with bean dip or hummus
  • Whole grain or rice crackers or rice cakes spread with avocado
  • Protein/energy bars (read the label and look for hidden saturated fat and simple sugars)
  • Hardboiled egg and piece of fruit
  • Banana or apple with 2 tbsp of nut butter spread or a piece of cheese

Bullying: How to recognize issues and what to do.

Bullying is such a concern to us here at Sunrise Services. Every day when I open the newspaper or turn on the evening news, I see examples of bullying. It’s disheartening and something that needs to stop. Now.

Did anyone recently see the clip of the dad who jumped on the school bus to stand up for his disabled daughter who was being bullied? I’ve included the news clip below:

While I don’t support this father’s emotional reaction, I do understand these types of problems exist. And as you know, this story doesn’t stand alone. People are being bullied every day because they are “different”.

I’m proud to say that our Caregiver Training Program will be offering a comprehensive course on bullying in January 2011, but in the meantime (and for those people unable to take the course), I wanted to share some facts, tidbits, and recommendations on how to help if you see bullying taking place.

I’m sure you know this already, but children and youth who are bullied are more likely than other children to be depressed, lonely, anxious; have low self-esteem, feel unwell, and think about suicide. And while we know bullying in general is a growing issue in our country, there is a small but growing amount of research literature on bullying among children with disabilities and special needs. This research shows that these children may be at particular risk of being bullied by their peers. This is such a terrible thing to hear considering these children need just as much, if not more support, than other children their age.

While we are unable to cover all the facts in a simple blog post, what we would like to share is warning signs and also what to do if you suspect someone is being bullied. You can help…we all can.

Warning Signs that a Child is Being Bullied

Possible warning signs that a child is being bullied:

  • Comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings
  • Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches
  • Has few, if any friends, with whom he or she spends time
  • Seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus, or taking part in organized activities with peers (such as clubs)
  • Takes a long, “illogical” route when walking to or from school
  • Has lost interest in school work or suddenly begins to do poorly in school
  • Appears sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he or she comes home
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, or other physical ailments
  • Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
  • Experiences a loss of appetite
  • Appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteem

What can you do as a Caregiver (or friend or family member) if I think a child I know or am working with is being bullied?

Caregivers can accompany children at schools and on activities that have interactions with the community. You have a responsibility to observe, act and report.

  • If you are their caregiver, talk to your supervisor / employer. Report why you think this. Be specific but factual regarding your observations.
  • Be supportive of the child and allow him or her to describe who was involved and how and where the bullying or harassment happened. Be sure to tell the child that it is not his or her fault and that nobody deserves to be bullied or harassed. Do not encourage the child to fight back. This may make the problem much worse.
  • Usually children are able to identify when their peers are bullying them. Sometimes, however, children with disabilities do not realize they are being targeted. (They may, for example, believe that they have a new friend, when in fact, this “friend” is making fun of them.) Ask the child specific questions about his or her friendships and be alert to possible signs of bullying–even if the child doesn’t label the behaviors as bullying.
  • Document what the child tells you and your observation. Do not embellish.
  • Sometimes children and youth who are bullied also bully others. Explore whether the child may also be bullying other younger, weaker students at school.
  • You may be asked to participate in a meeting involving the chills education program team. Your knowledge of the child is invaluable.
  • If you are caring for a child in a school environment, increase supervision in “hot spots” for bullying. Bullying tends to thrive in locations where adults are not present or are not watchful.
  • Intervene consistently and appropriately when you see bullying. Observed or suspected bullying should never be ignored by adults
  • Always let the child know that you are concerned and that you’d like to help.
  • Be persistent.

What if the bullying or harassment does not stop?

Advise the parents that if a school district does not take reasonable, appropriate steps to end the bullying or harassment of their child, the district may be violating federal, state, and local laws. For more information about legal rights, they may want to contact:

  • The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights
    Phone: (800)-421-3481; or Web:
  • The U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs
    Phone: (202) 245-7468; or Web:

Thanks for listening and doing what you can to make a difference!

Sue Closser, President
Sunrise Services, Inc.

Self-Directed Services: What they are and why I support them.

What are Self-Directed Services?

These are services based on the belief that the person with the disability should be empowered to make decisions about the services they receive and the individuals who provide them. This includes having choice and control over the type of support services they receive and the who, what, when and where of service delivery. Self-Directed Services emphasize that it is the individual, as opposed to medical and social work professionals, who best know about his/her needs and how to address them. These are services where the individual decides how, when, and what he/she needs to assist himself/herself to be more functional in day-to-day living and enable himself/herself to be more independent and less reliant upon others.

When exercising self-direction, participants take responsibility for their own well-being and determine how public dollars are used in their behalf. Sometimes they participate in the cost of goods, supports and services to meet their own needs with a small monthly contribution of their own dollars as they are able. Participants are in control and are accountable to the public through adherence to guidelines for categories of expenditures.

Why do I support the concept of Self-Directed services? 

I believe that people who receive public paid services should have the right to

-          determine what their needs are,

-          direct services that meet their needs, and

-          choose how those services that meet their needs are delivered. 

I believe that hard working people and their families are often sensitive to sacrifices of taxpayers and to the unwanted legacy of public debt. These same people may need care and supports provided by public tax payer dollars because of age, disability and/or unfortunate circumstances.  

And if left to their own determination, they may be able to devise goods, supports and services to meet their basic needs at lower cost than traditional case-managed services. Also, giving people the option to direct their own services can build self-confidence and provide a level of empowerment.

Who is best at deciding what I need and how to take care of me: My Government or myself?

The Government takes our hard fought dollars from us through taxation and then sends those dollars back to us and our neighbors by paying for public services. Often, we do not feel that we are better off when the Government decides for us, on our behalf, how, when, and what we need and what those public services should be; particularly when those public services are delivered inside our own homes. This is why Self-Directed Services are so important. I am proud to live, work and pay tax in Washington! Our great state, known for it’s forward thinking in Long Term Care, is offering our most vulnerable citizens the opportunity to empower themselves by making these decisions and we should be grateful.

Please check out our New Freedom web page for more information on this great program.

Thank you for your time.

Sue Closser, President
Sunrise Services, Inc.

Snohomish County Residents Encouraged to Join Emergency Alert System

We recently came across this information in an online newsletter from Aaron Reardon, Snohomish County Executive, and found it to be very informative, so we wanted to share through our blog. We should all work together to be prepared for various emergencies and often times just being informed early helps. Signing up for their new system will help get you the information you need to prepare.  Check out the information below and if you have questions, you’ll want to contact Snohomish County directly.

Snohomish County Residents interested in receiving up-to-date emergency notifications from Snohomish County are encouraged to sign up for its emergency management alert system.

Snohomish County’s Department of Emergency Management (DEM), in coordination with the county’s 911 Call Centers is opening public enrollment in the county’s MyStateUSA Alert Sense System. DEM and the National Weather Service periodically use the alert system to warn residents of weather alerts and other pertinent safety information as needed.

Residents can choose to receive alerts by e-mail, text message and/or telephone calls. To subscribe you or a loved one, go to <> and click on the “Public Alert Sign Up” link in the top left corner.

This alert system enhances public agencies’ ability to warn of hazardous weather and other emergency situations affecting the Snohomish County area. Additionally, the system allows individuals without landline phone service to link their address to their cell phone to receive notifications affecting their registered location.

Citizens with internet access or cell phones can subscribe for times they are away from home or without access to other notification systems. Emergency information will simultaneously be posted on the website when an alert is issued.

DEM provides emergency management services to unincorporated parts of the county, the cities of Arlington, Darrington, Gold Bar, Granite Falls, Index, Lake Stevens, Marysville, Snohomish, Stanwood, Sultan, and the Tulalip and Stillaguamish Tribal Communities. SNOCOM 911 and SNOPAC 911 are the two public safety 9-1-1 communications centers serving all communities within Snohomish County.

The alert system is a partnership between Snohomish County and MyStateUSA, an Idaho-based provider of public warning technologies. The system allows local public safety agencies to seamlessly activate public warning systems and share information securely among responder agencies.

We hope you find this information helpful!

Happy Holidays!


Snohomish County

Community Trades and Careers
Caregiver Training Center
Community Mental Health
Home Care Agency

King County - Shoreline

Community Trades and Careers

Administrative Office