Category Archives: Resident Life

6 Ways Your Phone Can Make Exercise More Fun

Ah fitness. It’s come a long way from the days of jumping jacks, jump-rope and jazzercise. Technology is making it easier than ever to find new exercises, track  progress and find partners to work out with.

If you are using your smartphone to video chat with loved ones and follow friends on Facebook, you may want to download (or have a loved one download) a couple of neat programs to help your exercise routine.

Gain Fitness
Gain Fitness

Are you the type of person who gets bored doing the same exercise every day? If so, then Gain Fitness is for you. It’s like having a personal trainer inside your phone. It has more than 1,300 exercises to choose from, which lets you basically do 2 new exercises a day for 2 straight years. You can look at sharp video images or listen to your friendly trainer deliver step-by-step voice commands. You tell it what you want to accomplish, and it tells you which exercises to do.

Even better, this app is free for your iPhone or iPad.

Argus App

Maybe you don’t have any problems scheduling your exercise, but you want a better way to track your progress. Then argus may be a great choice. The program will keep track of step you take, along with anything else you want to track (within reason.) Then it displays a number of helpful charts that you can show to your physical therapist to prove you are doing what you are told. Use it over time and you may find some trends in your personal health habits.

This is another free app on your iPhone and iPad.

LoseIt App
If you are trying to cut a couple of pounds, you might want to try LoseIt!, a calorie tracking program that creates a personal weight loss plan. You decide your goals and this program automatically devises a weight loss program that fits your life. How does it track the calories? Its unique barcode scanner feature lets you basically take pictures of the packaged food you eat. It also has a vast database of foods that you can choose from so you track each meal. If you are the copetitive type or need a little cammaraderie in your weight loss program, LoseIt! has ways to challenge your friends head to head, or build team based contests.
It’s another free app, and has broad reach on iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle, and Nook.


Not of us have a personal grocery shopper making sure we buy healthy items. With Shopwell you scan a product’s bar code, and like magic, you find out how good the product is for you. Just give it a little data about your dietary needs, age, gender, health goals, and food preferences (or have someone do it for you). You won’t have to try to figure out which combination of sugar, carbs, protein and Vitamin C is best – the program will automatically score the item from 0-100.

It’s free on iPhone and iPad.

Health Mate by Withings
HealthMate App

For many of us, it’s important to watch more than just weight and calories. Health Mate from Withings lets us track a number of personal stats like activity, blood pressure, and sleep all in one place. It’s also our virtual source of inspiration. When we’re feeling like sitting on the couch and skipping a workout “Health Mate” sends fun and supportive messages. It’s like having your own private motivational speaker keeping you on track and in a good mood.

It’s free as well, and available on iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

Human App

We admit it. Some of us need a little prodding to get in our daily exercise. Human prompts and rewards you for doing a few minutes of exercise at a time until you get your recommended daily dose of 30 minutes. So whether you take the pooch for a walk, play a game of Wii Bowling, or do a little dance in the courtyard – Human counts and tracks this as exercise and lets you know when you hit your 30 minutes.

Another free app on iPhone and iPad.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fitness apps. If you have some that you use and love let us know below.

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Exercise + Gaming: A Formula for Fitness Fun

Going to the gym used to mean running on the treadmill or pumping iron in the weight room, but we think that sometimes, that’s just a little too boring. Sure, you can still do those things if you want, but no one’s ever going to confuse either of those activities with anything even remotely resembling something “fun.” That’s where our new SMART (Sensory Motor Activity Reaction Training) Sportwall System comes in.

Merrill Gardens Sportswall

The Sportwall covers all the fitness bases: it’s  a combination of enjoyable, safe and ability-scaled physical activity, multisensory cognitive stimulation and even social engagement. But most of all, it’s actually fun to do. It’s the best way for our residents to get a great workout without feeling like they’re actually working out. It’s exercise without realizing you’re exercising.

But hey, it’s not all fun and games— there’s some serious science behind this thing. Studies show that some of the most important aspects for “successfully aging” include promoting joint health, maintaining ideal body weight, and improving functional mobility for common activities of daily life.

With the Sportswall’s rapid moving, socially engaging, low impact, “quick thinking” gaming programming, all these goals (and more!) are achieved in a way that challenges and delights users physically and cognitively.  It also helps that the gaming side of the program creates a motivational and self-competitive environment, always driving our residents to beat their latest high-score!

Want to see what the Sportswall can do? Here’s a great video preview:


This cool new technology is being installed at our new communities in Huntington Beach and Lafayette, California and we can’t wait to see our residents in action!

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It’s Fit and Fun Month at Merrill Gardens

The sun is shining, the kids are almost out of school and the sounds of baseball are echoing around the playgrounds.

It’s May! That fabulous month between April and summer.

That’s why this month is Fit and Fun Month at Merrill Gardens. We’ve got all kinds of things planned for our communities around exercise, physical fitness and just plain fun. We’ll cover it all as we roll into our favorite time of year.

And to get us started, here’s a short video that shows you some of the ways we stay fit and healthy in our communities. Happy exercising!

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It’s a Ruff Life – More Merrill Gardens Pet Stories

We’re closing out April with tails, er, tales of more wonderful felines and canines that live with our residents.

If you’re a pet owner – you’ll appreciate what these friends bring to the table. If you aren’t one yet, these may make you want one.

Merrill Gardens at Willow Glen
Jean and Booby
Jean and BoobyHow cute are these two? Meet our resident Jean and her pet Chihuahua Booby. When Booby isn’t napping, she loves to take her short legs out for a walk. Booby, not Jean. Though Jean likes to walk as well.

When Jean’s husband was sick, her daughter rescued Booby from a shelter and the two became instant companions. Now Booby is 7 years old, and celebrating her 7th month in our community!

Merrill Gardens at Albertville
Ramona and Heather
Ramona and HeatherWhat were you doing back in 2003? That’s when Ramona and Heather hitched up, and the two have been inseparable ever since.

After Ramona’s first cat passed, she decided she’d live pet-free for a while. But when a friend of hers met Heather, the decision was taken out of her hands. Even though Ramona protested at first, the friend would not take no for an answer. One day, while Ramona was gone on vacation, her friend picked up the cat. When Ramona returned home, Heather strolled right up to her new mom, as if she knew that she was exactly where she was meant to be. They’ve been together ever since.

Merrill Gardens at First Hill
First Hill is home to a number of playful pets, and a few dogs working for their keep.

First, let’s meet Julie and her 15 year old cat Romeo. The two have cuddled on the couch at Merrill Gardens for more than three years.

Then there’s Jane and her eight year old dog Joey, who was adopted in Salono 2 two years ago. It was love at first site for Jane, and the sweet and calm Joey is also adored by our team and residents.

Jane and Joey


Next we meet two of the hardest working dogs in show business. When you head into a little physical therapy session, you’ll meet these guys. Don’t you want to take a little PT just to hang out with them?

Jessie & Patrick and Charlie & Lucky
Jessie and PatrickCharlie and Lucky


Kay and Bear
Merrill Gardens at Willow Glen
Kay and Bear

Kay has been our front desk receptionist for four years, and Bear is her Pomeranian puppy. Bear was a surprise gift from Kay’s boyfriend, but the present extends to all of Willow Glen, where he plays with his toys and runs around the community. One look at the picture below, and you can see how he got his name.

Gary and MistyMerrill Gardens at Village Green
Gary and Misty

Misty is a six year old female poodle who found her owner through a breeder. Famous around the community for wiggling her little stumpy tail, Misty brings laughter to Gary and the entire Merrill Gardens family.

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It’s Pets Month at Merrill Gardens

April is our month to celebrate the many wonderful felines and canines that live at our communities. We asked our residents to share some stories of their four legged friends. It was tough to get any interesting comments out of the four legged friends, as they mainly gave us a bunch of confused stares (and a couple of barks).  Luckily, our human residents were a lot more talkative!

Here are the first set of stories we’d like to share.

Sophie and Pumpkin & Batman
Merrill Gardens at Campbell, CA
Merrill Gardens at Campbell, CA
Sophie is a pre-nursing college student and the yoga instructor at Merrill Gardens at Campbell. This spring she wanted to take a trip to New York to visit her family, but needed a temporary home for her bunnies, Pumpkin and Batman. The Merrill Gardens community volunteered to take care of the fluffy creatures, where they received constant attention and were loved (nearly) to pieces by the residents, visiting family members, and people on tour visiting our community for the first time. Needless to say, the bunnies were a delight and are invited back anytime to visit. We promise to always have carrots stocked up, just in case!

Bob & Dixie with Gizmo
Merrill Gardens at Willow Glen, CA
Merrill Gardens at Mountlake Terrace
Bob, Dixie and Gizmo have lived in the community since day one. Gizmo and Bob have a standing lunch date each day, followed by a long walk. Gizmo’s favorite part of the walk?  Sitting and watching the traffic go by!  While those two are on their afternoon walk, Dixie cooks Gizmo her dinner.
Bob got Gizmo at two and a half, and she’s now ten. Gizmo is unique in that she’s smaller than your normal Pekingese, her paws are shorter, and in another obstacle towards her getting a basketball scholarship, Gizmo cannot jump at all. Bob’s grandkids gave Gizmo her name after the movie Gremlins, and it fits her perfectly.

Peggy & Jim with Enzo
Mountlake Terrace,
A Merrill Gardens Community, Seattle

Peggy and Enzo
Enzo is the only dog that resides at Merrill Gardens Mountlake Terrace. He belongs to Peggy and Jim. One special note about Enzo is that he’s never left alone, because he tends to worry.  So another wonderful resident, Sandra, takes care of him everyday during the lunch and dinner hours so his parents can eat in the dining room together. This is just another great example of how residents in this community care for one another!

Lea with Moses & Frankie
Merrill Gardens at First Hill, Seattle
Lea Black has been a Merrill Gardens resident for more than three years, where she takes care of her silver Persian cat Moses and her blue-silver son, Frankie. Both cats love to cuddle on the couch with their mom, watching the birds and big cats on Animal Planet. Lea speaks five languages, including Hebrew, which is how Moses got his name. He’s named for the term Moishi, which means teacher. Francis is named after Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

Theresa and Noble
Merrill Gardens at Gilroy, CA
Merrill Gardens at Gilroy
Noble is a fantastic companion whose antics bring laughter and enjoyment. If Noble wanted to (and could get around the paperwork), he’d likely have a great career ahead of him as a personal trainer! He’s Teresa’s workout partner and chief fitness motivator– encouraging her to exercise and take him for walks.


Myrtle and Muffin
Merrill Gardens at Albertville, AL
Merrill Gardens at Albertville
Myrtle and her cat Muffin have been companions for six years. The two joined up when Muffin showed up at her house one night, making a clatter outside. She heard a knocking, scratching and meowing. When her husband opened the front door to investigate, the little rascal bolted inside. Muffin’s been with her ever since.

One of Muffin’s cuter qualities is her human-like ability to pout. When this cat is told “No,” she turns around and sits on the armchair with her back to Myrtle like she is mad– until her owner finally gives in (which is most of the time).

Stay tuned for more stories of cuddly companions from all our Merrill Gardens communities.

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Out & About With Merrill Gardens

The gang at Merrill Gardens is out and about! This fall we have been celebrating the change of seasons with festive outings and celebrations. From fine dining to day trips, the fun never stops!

Here is a look at what we have been up to this month.

A Trip to The Bellagio

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A lovely group of Green Valley Ranch ladies took a trip to the Bellagio to see all the festive fall décor! Green Valley Ranch (Henderson, NV)

Black and White Opera Night

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Oh what a night! We dressed up in black and white attire and enjoyed champagne, wine and tasty bites to eat.  Merrill Gardens at Green Valley Ranch (Henderson, NV)

Trip To Leavenworth

Merrill Gardens Events

The gang at Tacoma took a day trip to Eastern Washington. The first stop was for donuts and coffee at the Cle Elem bakery. We then stopped for a factory tour of Applets and Cotlets. Yum! We then headed to lunch at Gustav’s in Leavenworth for a day of sightseeing and shopping!

Tony’s Birthday

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This month we celebrated a very special birthday. Tony at Merrill Gardens of Santa Maria turned 100!

To read Tony’s story, click here:

We can’t wait to share more memories with you. To stay updated on Merrill Gardens events and happenings, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Support Our Troops Week Smashes Record!

Our annual Support Our Troops week was a great success. Our 56 communities nationwide helped us raise an enormous amount of money for the USO.

We want to congratulate our community teams for coming together to support the USO. This year was our biggest year yet with a total contribution of $66,000! The past two years we raised $50,000, bringing our grand total for all three years to $166,000. This is a significant contribution and the folks at the USO are deeply grateful.

While all communities did a great job raising money, we want to recognize a few who went above and beyond.

The top money raiser was Green Valley Ranch, bringing in a whopping $6,484!

Kirkland was not far behind with $6,115, followed by Admiral Heights with $4,008, University with $3,129, Canyon Lakes with $2,605 and Fremont with $2,520.

Congratulations to these communities for their wildly successful events. We are so proud of all of our communities, staff, and friends. Thank you everyone who donated to the USO this year.

We can’t wait until next year!

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Community Spotlight: Merrill Gardens at West Seattle

Merrill Gardens at West Seattle is located in the heart of this rich community and has a wide variety of amenities to make living here lots of fun! The folks who live here are a very diverse group with a genuine interest in one another and their individual accomplishments. The team members are committed to providing quality customer service in an upbeat environment.

Living at Merrill Gardens at West Seattle offers access to the rooftop terrace with amazing views of downtown Seattle. This is the place where folks come to garden, relax and take in the scenery with a view that spans the Cascade Mountains and Mount Rainier. The community also offers a home theatre for watching movies and sports, a game room, and library. The private apartments are spacious with a variety of floor plans. The community also has a beautiful fitness center and for those who want to venture out the YMCA with an indoor pool is right next door. Across the street you will find a golf course and the West Seattle stadium with a great walking track. And beautiful Alki Beach is just over the hill.

Being in the center of a cultural and artsy neighborhood, there are lots of fairs and festivals all year long. There are also well known local establishments right next door including the historic Admiral Theatre, Arts West Performing Arts Theater and a weekly Farmer’s Market. Not only is there lots to offer in West Seattle, but it is also conveniently located near downtown Seattle, the best hospitals in the state, Sea-Tac Airport and the community of Vashon Island.
Merrill Gardens at West Seattle is a lively and entertaining place to call home.

Give us a call at 206- 926-9724 to schedule a visit!

Merrill Gardens at West Seattle is a great place to call home and the folks who live here are an active group! Here are a couple of the recent getaways and activites:

Cruise Night (10/24): This event was sponsored by AAA Travel. They brought in a representative from Princess Cruise Line who went over the cruise options and specials they are currently offering.

Halloween Party (10/29): Residents and guests came in costume and fall colors to enjoy this event, making the contest a big hit. There was live music and dancing!

Premium Dining (11/10): It’s like having a fine restaurant in your own home! Our talented chef put together an amazing four course meal for a very special evening!

Veterans Event (11/11): Merrill Gardens hosted a pancake breakfast and benefits seminar for Veterans, their spouses, and family members in the Private Dining Room.

To check out pictures from all four activities click on the slideshow below:

West Seattle Residence Interviews:

Jean Bullard: She moved to the community with her husband six years ago from Colorado to be closer to her family. She enjoys the activities and outings because Jean is always on the go! She loves the Anytime Dining Program because she can fit her meals into her schedule. Jean says the best part of living in the community is the friendships she has made and the support she received when her husband passed away.

Adrean Gregory: Adrean chose to move to Merrill Gardens at West Seattle because she thought it has lots to offer for her lifestyle. She has now lived here for almost 2 years and loves the weekly housecleaning, daily activities, and trips that are offered. She has found lots of great companionship in this community, and she loves the team members. She has also made some great friends!

Lyn Johnson: He grew up in this neighborhood and lived close by with his wife, which made the decision to move to Merrill Gardens at West Seattle easy! They were some of the first to move to the community eight years ago. For them living at this community has been a great experience and they enjoy the great activities and outings. Having been here since the community first opened, they have been delighted with the amenities, team members and people they have had the pleasure to meet here.

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Grandparents Gone Wired

Mashable posted an article yesterday called, “Your Grandparents Are Getting Wired for the Holidays

The article showcases, which is planning to give less tech-savvy elders some help by asking kids to get their grandparents wired up. DoSomething’s “Grandparents Gone Wired” is a technology campaign encouraging kids to teach seniors how to use technology and social media.

If you’ve been following the Merrill Gardens social media channels, you know this theme is one that is close to our hearts. Not a day goes by without our residents logging into their Facebook pages or Skype accounts to chat with their relatives. That is, when they’re not competing in a Wii Bowling Tournament.

Of course, kids aren’t the only ones who can teach others how to use these new electronic toys and gizmos. Our communities are filled with folks willing to pass along a little technical know how (such as’s “Geek of the Week,” Bill Sleeper.)

But we embrace the idea of “Grandparents Gone Wired.” Though, since it’s the holidays, we expect the kids to teach Grandma and Grandpa how to buy preents on as well…

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Merrill Gardens Renton Residents Show Off Their Favorite Cars

The residents at Merrill Gardens in Renton took a few minutes to find some pictures of their first (or favorite) cars. What a fun set!

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