Children and Seniors


seniors and children Aileen Brazeau San Clemente Vilas

If you visit San Clemente Villas you will see children running through our hallways more often than not. We love to have our residents Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren come to visit. Their visits bring joy to their immediate family members and they also fill our halls with laughter and the energy that only the young have.

We do all sorts of outings and activities at the Villas, but seeing the same people day in and day out can sometimes get a little ho hum, visits from children do so much to change that feeling. There is nothing that compares to their smiles and delight at the little things. The icing on the cake is  visits from these sweet children will stir up memories for people. Memories that can be delightful and cause the residents to chat amongst themselves about bringing up their own children, and sometimes even reminiscing about their own childhoods.

There are some facilities which are now combining Senior Care and Day Care, and it is making a huge impact on the lives of both the children and the seniors.

I did some research, and actually came across an organization called SKIP. This organization has a mission to bring children and seniors together in order to enhance their lives. This coming together of children and seniors is beneficial to the elders, and sometimes it also makes a big difference in the life of children.

With so many parents working multiple jobs just to get by these days, sometimes the time a young child spends each week with a Seniors citizen is the only place that child gets unconditional love and attention, praise and the chance to feel truly special to someone. Because the seniors have already raised their own children, their time with these little visitors is more about fun than it is about discipline, so everyone gets to have fun.

Aileen Brazeau

Aileen At Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day 2012


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Each Day Is a New Beginning.

Aileen Brazeau in ActionI have been in the Assisted Living Business for over 10 years now. Every day when I arrive at San Clemente Villas, I am reminded nothing that happened yesterday has to impact how I live this day. Granted, there are some exceptions to this but for the most part, if I let go of whatever happened yesterday, good or bad, and focus on the day ahead of me with a glad heart and a good attitude, I will have a good day.

Sometimes outside forces are at work which can turn a day from good to stressful, but if I just stay the course, hold my head up and do the very best that I can do, then I can end the day in a good state of mind. While that is important for everyone in this turbulent world, for me, as the leader of this operation, it is even more important. You see, I set the tone for everyone else on my staff. If my attitude is one of discouragement and stress, that will spread throughout the Villas, and ultimately on to my residents, and I never want that to happen.

I have surrounded myself with a great staff, and as a team we can handle anything that comes our way. We work together to bring music, laughter and adventure to our place. When friends and family come to visit their loved ones they see that something is always going on and they appreciate what we do for our people.

If you are having a stressful time in your own life, do your best to resolve the things that are causing you problems and challenges, and then instead of carrying a heavy burden of worry on your shoulders, put the worry aside, go out and look at the sky, or take a walk along the beach, and remember, no matter how tough a time we go through, there are always blessings each day that come our way.

Aileen Brazeau

co owner for San clemente villas, social acitivist, beneficent, community support, chamber member.

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Memory Care Specialty

What do you do when your Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa or Auntie and Uncle start to lose their ability to live independently? When the only memories they have are of days long gone by? Grandma is still her loving self, but she no longer knows who you are. Grandpa, who was always kind and gentle, is now easily upset and agitated.

These are all signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s and for our family member and our loved ones, this disease is devastating. Not every place knows how to care for these loved ones. Placing them in a regular nursing home or assisted living facility can be dangerous. If they have enough days in the week where they appear lucid ad able to function, someone untrained in how to deal with memory impaired patients can get complacent, and that’s when a loved one can wander off.

I have listened to enough stories to know when it’s time to get your loved one into a special care facility, or somewhere like here, at San Clemente Villas, where we have our West Indies Wing that caters solely to people with memory impairments.

Caring .Com has some good advice on how to tell if someone you know should be placed in Memory Care Assisted Living:

“Here are some questions to help you decide whether the person needs more assistance. Each “yes” answer is a red flag that warrants a closer look.

Sign it’s time for assisted living #1: Changes in communication

  • Have letters and grandchildren’s birthday cards slowed or stopped?
  • Does she seldom initiate calls anymore (it’s always you calling first)?
  • Does she seem in a hurry to get off the phone, fail to ask you many questions, or seem unresponsive to your comments?
  • Do you get nonemergency calls at unreasonable hours, or hear complaints from friends that they’re receiving such calls?

As dementia progresses, she may find it difficult to follow the steps involved in writing, addressing, stamping, and mailing a letter. Phone conversations become difficult to follow. It can be worrisome when you can only get firsthand updates by visiting in person. And someone who can’t write and mail letters may also have trouble completing the steps involved in cooking or driving. Odd communications in the evenings or at night can be characteristic of sundown syndrome, the worsening of confusion and other Alzheimer’s symptoms that sometimes occurs late in the day.

Sign it’s time for assisted living #2: Changes in self-care

  • Is she losing weight inexplicably?
  • Is she gaining weight inexplicably?
  • Has her usual style (hair, makeup, clothing) become noticeably different?
  • Does she dress appropriately for the occasion?
  • Does she dress appropriately for the weather?
  • Have you detected the smell of urine on her clothes?
  • Does she stay up later and later, and then not wake until practically midday?


My staff and I are happy to make an appointment with you to discuss whether your loved one might be better off, and more safe in our beautiful facility here in San Clemente Ca. If we meet you, go over their medical records, chat with their physician, and spend a little time with your Mom or Dad, we will know better what course to take.

Give us a call, no obligation, and we can chat.


Aileen Brazeau

Co-owner, San Clemente Villas by the Sea,

Assisted living, dementia care, alzheimer’s care, South Orange County



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What It’s Like To Be The Elder

treating elders with respectHere on this blog as well as most other blogs which deal with Senior Issues, the posts are more often about how to help your loved ones who are dealing with declining mental capacity. At San Clemente Villas, we do work with Seniors who are coping with cognitive issues, and after they have lived with us for a while and participated in our mental and physical activities, we see almost always see an increase in issues and memory function. Their mental clarity gets better, they engage more and life in general is better.

Most of our people do not have cognitive issues, they are very well able to think and make decisions for themselves. They may be suffering with some physical ailments, and have limitations on the amount and types of activities they can participate in, but mentally they are still right on it! It is painful to listen or watch situations where these intelligent and capable people are treated like children. They deserve to be respected, and they deserve to continue making decisions for themselves.

I came across an interesting post today at

” We’re not dead yet. Most of us aren’t even that out of it. There is a certain facial  expression many of us start seeing in our adult children around the time we hit 65. It involves a faint tilt of the head, accompanied by an intense, pained stare, not unlike that caused by a sudden gastro attack. I’ve named it the “uh-oh, she’s starting to lose it” look. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re either lucky or haven’t been paying enough attention (or are losing it). Nearly anything can bring it on: a mispronounced name, a forgotten date.

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When is it time for assisted living?

Is maintaining a home getting to be too much? Are you or your loved one having trouble walking and dressing? Is your appetite not what it used to be? Maybe driving a car is no longer an option. Keeping your medications straight, how much to take and when, too hard to keep track of? Have many of your friends moved away or passed on?

creative art for seniors with dimentia



If more than two of these things are happening to you a loved one or a family member, then it could be time to give us a call. We would be happy to arrange a tour, and depending upon your interests, have you come at a time when a specific activity will be taking place.

We here at San Clemente Villas understand that Assisted Living might not be for everyone, but I just want to share something with you. Time and time again, children have come to us, distressed that their Mom, Dad, Aunt or Uncle is in decline. Once they come to stay with us, more often than not, their verbal skills improve dramatically. Their physical well-being is much better because they are eating better. Any signs of depression subside as they start to chat with the other residents, participate in activities, dance, sing, and swim or go on outings. The importance of socialization for any person cannot be stressed enough. In Seniors it can mean the difference between life and death.


Aileen Brazeau


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What’s Happening at the Villas?

Here at the San Clemente Villas, we celebrate life. In October we celebrated the 100th birthday of our resident Don:, we hosted Oktoberfest and Paul, residents, staff and guests celebrated our 11th year is a snapshot:

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What To Do When A Loved One Has Dementia

dementia in seniorsWhat do you do when your loved one has dementia? You be patient and do your best to stay calm. At San Clemente Villas we have an entire wing devoted to Alzheimer’s Patients, but all dementia is not Alzheimer’s. Often people with dementia can still function at a pretty high level. They may have confusion about certain things, but they can still discuss current events, they know what year it is, and depending upon the severity of their dementia, still live a fairly independent life.

The key is to keep things simple. Don’t ask several questions in succession. Give the person time to orient themselves to their surroundings, and help by keeping things brief, and to the point, without lots of options. At San Clemente Villas we also know that medication, lack of exercise and poor diet can contribute to memory problems that can sometimes mimic symptoms of dementia. Time and time again we have seen men and women in their mid 80’s come in to San Clemente Villas weakened and unable to remember things properly. Once they have been here for even a short while, the good meals, sound nutrition, company of others and exercise will in almost every case cause a turn around in mental faculties that is almost miraculous.

The mind and body work as one when it comes to these things. The less a person talks and interacts with others, the harder it becomes to do it. If the body is not getting the nutrition it needs, things slowly start to work less efficiently.

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Staying Young at Heart – Lessons from Momma

By Karen Everett Watson



My mother is a living example of how to live and stay young at heart. At 77 years old, she can still work circles around me and what’s better, she enjoys life to the fullest. She does have some aches and pains, and complains a little that she just isn’t what she used to be. Her solution is to rest a while and then start in on a project that she enjoys.

My mother is self-educated. She reads daily – her Bible, the Wall Street Journal, and any biography she can get her hands on. She always has something thoughtful to say and keeps up on politics and new health findings.

Momma in her gardenIt is her pleasure to indulge a bit on things she loves. She loves my daddy, and is always there to feed him and talk about things they’re concerned about. She loves animals. She’s had goats, cows, chickens, geese, ducks and dogs. She also takes in stray cats and nurses them back to health. Right now, she has a huge German Sheppard named “Parker.” She talks baby talk to him and feeds him sandwiches for breakfast. Sometimes, just to make it more of a challenge, she’ll put and morsel inside an old box so he can work at getting his little snack.

Another way my mother stays young at heart is fooling with the great-grandkids. All nine love to go to great-gran’s house. She has an “open-pantry policy” and they take full advantage of it. Playing with the greats is a passion for her. She loves to see them laugh and have a good time, while carrying around crackers or chips from out of the pantry. She and Daddy have a well-equipped garage full of motorized toy cars and an assortment of other rideables. They fill the cul-de-sac with trikes, bikes and laughter. It’s music to the heart and a balm for the soul. Knowing another generation is happy makes everyone happy. Blog Post Aileen Brazeau

Like most people of her generation, food is her gift of love. Momma loves to feed people, especially her family. But no one walks through her doors without the offer of something to eat. She loves to laugh, sing, and listen to music while she works on her jigsaw puzzles in the warmth of her big bedroom window. She is the epitome of a “well-rounded” person. Nature is her constant companion – the birds, the sky, and all living things.

Momma stays young by also remembering the past. She will often talk about one of her 11 siblings, or how her own Momma who supported them all through tough times. She likes to remember when my own kids were young – the funny things they did and the wonderful trips we took together as a family. She cherishes the days when we all went to church together and how we sang hymns all the way to church. Momma loves to sit and “visit” or take me on a walk through her gardens. She’s still so full of life. I hope to someday be a lot more like she is.

Her yard and garden are beautiful to see. She works constantly to keep up with all the watering, weeding and pruning. Daddy helps with mowing and gives her a hand trimming hedges. He knows it’s good for him, but for Momma, it’s a passion. Plants flourish with her care. And if one seems not so good, she moves it, no matter how big it is!

The most important thing to my mother is her Creator. She rarely misses services and loves to “talk Bible.” She prays for everyone – the family, the kids, the president and rulers. She lives her faith, which inspires me to always try harder.

To me, my Momma is remarkable (I know you couldn’t tell). I just wonder what the world would be like if there weren’t women like her who sacrifice for those they love – all their lives. When I was younger, I didn’t tell her enough how much she meant to me. Now I never finish a visit or phone call without an “I love you, Momma.” How blessed she has made my life.

If you have a Momma who is even a little like mine, take a moment, write a note on a pretty note card, and send it to her.


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Slowing Down, But NOT Out!!

I have several friends whose parents are now well into their 80’s. Until very recently they have been alert, active, involved and very healthy. Some people can keep on running in high gear for much longer. But some start to feel the effects of time once they hit their mid 80’s.

When these very active, social people begin to experience pain and limitations on activities, sometimes it can have a domino effect. One of my friend’s Mom’s has been in this situation. Her Mom was used to attending local dances at the community center several times a week. She began experiencing severe hip pain, and although she was still intent on going to her dances, the pain became so bad that she was unable to sleep.

Because she wasn’t getting enough rest, her immune system was compromised and she came down with a terrible chest cold. At that point she could no longer go to the dances at all. She started to become depressed and it was alarming my friend. She didn’t know what to do. When she called me, we decided to get together and try to come up with ideas for her Mom.

This is what we decided. Once her cold was better, we took her to her Primary Care Physician, he sent her get some x-rays and that is when they discovered her hip pain was the result of severe osteo arthritis in her left hip joint. With x-rays in hand, he referred her to a good pain management physician, who gave her a series of shots, and her hip began to feel better. She was still a little worried about dancing. We told her, go to the dances, sit and listen to the music that gives you so much joy. See your friends and dance, but don’t dance every single number. Pick just your favorite ones, dance, then sit and rest for a bit.

She has been following this advice and she is happy again. Yes, it is frustrating for her not to be able to dance with abandon, but it is less frustrating than being stuck in the house, not seeing her friends and feeling sad. Sometimes it is better to have part of something than to have nothing at all.

So she dances, she laughs and she lives the fullest life that her body will allow!! And best of all she is happy again.

Aileen Brazeau

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Overlooked and not often considered are the remarkable caregivers who tend to older family members in need. From the outside looking in, it isn’t readily apparent how much these caregivers do.  At San Clemente Villas we have trained professionals to watch over family members, and it can even take a toll on them.So what do you do for the caregiver in your family? If your dad is the caregiver for your mom, give him a break once a week–at least. Look, I know we are all busy, but this is important to do. Chances are that you or your siblings will end up being caregivers to both of your parents if you do not provide occasional relief to the one shouldering the care.

If you are not local and you can’t relieve the caregiver, hire someone to help, or call the church they belong to and ask if there is someone who could help out here and there.

So many times, parents fight to hold on to the right to stay in their own homes, to be independent; nevertheless, urge them gently toward the concept of living in a retirement community. As they age, your parents will lose more of their friends to old age and illness. They can become isolated and depressed. A living situation like San Clemente Villas can offer them so much. Then the caregiver can focus more on your parents’ quality of life and everyone will be happier . . .

First of all, professionals monitor medication. Secondly, activities like swimming, art, excursions and group discussions can keep spirits up and minds sharp. We have seen it time and time again when a family member comes to an environment like ours and begins to thrive once again. Sometimes it is as simple as having people to share things with.

One of our seniors loves to sew and she makes aprons and other special items that she then shares with the other seniors and our staff. It keeps her busy and she feels wonderful when people praise and enjoy the work she has done. Everyone likes to feel necessary and useful. Remember, just because someone has a few wrinkles, it doesn’t change who they are on the inside. Those who are physically active, mentally engaged, and have activities to look forward to fare much better than those who do not stay active.

As for the caregiver, give them time to replenish and feel appreciated–give them praise and thanks for what they do for your family member!

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