Category Archives: Assisted Living

5 Things to Consider When Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

If you have made the decision to help a loved one enjoy continuing quality of life and as much independence as possible in difficult circumstances, then you are most likely considering the option of an assisted living facility. Moving away from their home and familiar surroundings is an important decision and moment in a senior’s life, so you need to ask as many questions as possible in order to be fully satisfied that you have chosen the right place.

 

Facilities

The overriding factor that should be uppermost in your mind is the level of comfort that you can expect overall and the facilities on offer are important in making sure that you are happy to settle into life at your chosen assisted living center. Bearing in mind the level of mobility that is currently enjoyed, you need to check if the layout of the facility will make it easy to get around. Make sure that the access areas and doorways can accommodate wheelchairs if needed and see if the rooms feel homely, with a kitchenette and a private bathroom for privacy and independence.

 

Medical care

Whilst frequent or intensive medical is unlikely to be offered or available, as that is where a nursing home will be more suitable, you should ask how medications are handled and whether they allow self-administered medication if appropriate. You should also ask if therapists and medical specialists are available through scheduled visits and check how they handle any medical emergencies that may occur.

 

Staff

The quality of the staff are a vital aspect of the assisted care facility and you should soon be able to get a feel on your inspection visit whether the staff that work there seem warm and welcoming. Take note to see if staff members interact with the residents in a kind and respectful manner and observe whether they refer to residents by their names and seem generally helpful and attentive.

 

Existing residents

The best source of information is often the existing residents and the facility management should not object to you asking then a few questions about how they enjoy their life there. You should try to gauge if the residents seem happy and comfortable and whether they socialize with each other.

 

Meals

Ask to see an example menu if you do not visit during a meal time and check to see whether the type of food appeals and also whether they are able to cater for any special medical dietary needs or even religious based needs. Although the social aspect of living in as assisted living center is always to be encouraged, you should ask whether there is the option of eating in the room sometimes rather than in the dining room. Check to see if you can sometimes bring a non-resident guest to dinner, which always make it feel more like home, and also ask if there is any policy on serving alcohol at meal times.

 

These are just some of the most pertinent questions you should be asking before settling on your chosen care facility, but always keep in mind that this is a momentous decision, so do not be afraid to take your time choosing and ask as many questions as you need in order to feel comfortable that you have got it right.

 

Alan Fields works as an in-home senior caretaker. He frequently shares his tips for transitioning from in home to assisted living on blogs for seniors. Click the Assisted Living Today’s guide to housing for seniors link to get your guide.

Make Your Elderly Feel Loved This Holiday Season

Holidays bring happy times to many families around the world. Both children and adults enjoy receiving presents and spending time at the dinner table. Many people spend hours shopping for birthday and Christmas presents for their loved ones. Don’t forget about your elderly relatives who stay in assisted living facility or a nursing home and no longer live with you. Holiday season is a time of the year when they get particularly lonely and isolated.

Many people may feel sad and depressed as aging comes with lots of losses. They may think of the times when they were together with friends and relatives who passed away. That is why you need to be particularly attentive to your parents and grandparents during the holiday season. You need to make them feel loved and welcomed in your house. After all, the holiday season should be about the people you love and miss.

 

Here are some suggestions how to welcome your elderly during the holiday season:

-          Empathy is the key. Try listening to your elderly relatives. They may start telling you stories about their youth and friends that passed away. Holidays bring back a lot of memories. Your relatives can become a bit sentimental. That is why it is your task to comfort them.

-          Show them that they matter. They shouldn’t feel that it is your duty to take care of them; it should rather be your pleasure. I know, you might be tired and exhausted. Try making the best of it during the holidays. Thank them for being there for you when you needed them. Now it is your turn to return the favor.

-          You can take your children to the nursing home to visit their grandparents. You will make your parents simply happy.

-          Talk to people in the nursing home or facility about the holiday plans. You may help them in organizing some holiday celebrations, bring the food or take your relatives away for a couple of days.

-          You can help them in decorating their room for Christmas, Easter, Birthday or any other holiday they enjoy. The holiday mood is also important.

-          If you enjoy baking, don’t forget to bring some cookies for your elderly. I am sure they will appreciate it. Don’t forget about the dinner table. The food and decorations should be special and reflect the spirit of the holiday. Turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas presents are must. A great holiday feast will make them remember it for a long time.

-          Most importantly you need to simply spend time with your loved ones. You can watch their favorite movie together or go through an old photo album. They’re not getting any younger and you should appreciate every moment you share together. The time is precious.

 

I am sure you have a very busy schedule. You need to pick up your children from school and run errands. Nonetheless, you still need to find some time to spend with your parents. Don’t make them feel lonely and abandoned this holiday season.

 

Transitioning a Loved One into a Nursing Home: Before, During, and After

The life changing process of moving into a new home can be difficult for anyone at any age, especially for someone 50 years set in their ways and even more so if that person has been living in the same home for decades. Many of us get attached to our belongings after a few years, months, or even weeks. Could you imagine taking away a child’s favorite toy that they just received for their birthday? Now take that same loving attachment but turn it into sentimental belongings built up over many decades. Seniors need friends and family most when uncertainty looms. Here are some helpful steps and things to keep in mind when it’s time for your loved one to embark on this journey.

Preparing for the Move: the Longing for Belongings

  • Start early to minimize stress. Give them more time to evaluate and go through all the things they’ve held onto over the years. Allow them to go through all of the possible emotions: reluctance, anger, sadness, fear, and hopefully acceptance.

  • As you go through possessions, establish guidelines and time limits to turn decision-making into a self-fulfilling process. It can be very easy to get off topic, try your best to avoid it.

  • The above notwithstanding, leave time to reminisce about the house and all its special memories. Setting aside some dedicated time to discuss memories and precious moments could turn out to be very valuable family time in the end.

  • Make a list of things family members would like to keep. Done in a loving fashion, this can help make the senior feel both special (to be able to give) and needed as well.

  • It may be a stressful time, but try your hardest not to show it. Remain strong, kind and hold your patience throughout.

Moving

  • Selling unneeded items on Ebay, Craigslist or through a local consignment shop is a great way to make some pin money, as the older generations would say. Be careful of yard sales watching strangers pick through familiar belongings can be tough on a nostalgic person.

  • Consider hiring a Senior Move Manager. They specialize in helping seniors who are downsizing and/or moving to nursing homes and their special skills can help tremendously.

  • Seniors often want to ship a dining room set, grandfather clock or similar family treasure to children or grandchildren out of state. Hire a dedicated small move specialist rather than engaging a full-load mover who will charge more.

Life After Moving

  • Visit frequently. Don’t just drop off and say goodbye until next time. Put it on your calendar. More often than not, both parties will find tremendous fulfillment.

  • Nursing home residents don’t revert to childhood per se, but they often rediscover the joys of simple pleasures. So bring things when you visit. Here are a few suggestions:

    • A stuffed animal can be a delight and even a comforting companion.

    • Bring pictures and videos of family events. Watch the video together, and create a small photo album to leave behind.

    • Large-print books and magazines are usually welcome. Large-print crossword puzzle magazines, too. Exercise the mind and have fun at the same time.

    • Bring some favorite foods. Remember seasonal treats. Depending on the time of year that could include Halloween candy, pumpkin pie, holiday ham, chocolates (always a fan favorite) or corned beef and cabbage.

 

Keep them active by taking them places. Declining health can make outings difficult, but on the other hand, healthy activity can stave off decline. Here are a few ideas:

  • Enjoy a meal at a favorite restaurant. And since nursing home meal plans don’t usually vary much from week to week, this could be a special treat.

  • Go shopping. A mall is good, many malls offer early hours to allow seniors time to walk around the empty floors. Even a trip to a Walmart or a Target will break the routine.

  • Visit the past. If it won’t be an emotional drain, take a drive past the old house, a church or school they once attended, or the cemetery for a visit with a deceased family member.

  • Visit the present. If health permits, take them to those family events, recitals and graduations.

  • Just go. In this age of expensive gasoline, people don’t much seem to drive for pleasure anymore. Why not buck the trend?

This is a sponsored post by Transit Systems, a fully licensed leader in the shipping and moving services industry for over 20 years. With many specialties under their belt including senior move manager, Transit Systems is the best choice for moves big or small.

Gadgets to Make Our Elderly Years Much More Pleasurable

The purpose of technology has always been to make the lives of humans easier. This means that if anything makes life harder, such as getting older, technology is what we can rely on to even the score. There are an increasingly large number of gadgets that seek to make the lives of the elderly easier in just about every category. This can stretch from moving up stairs, to reading the news. Here are a few examples.

Health Monitoring Devices

More and more of smartphone apps and individual portable or home devices are available that help you and your doctor to monitor your health and physical functions. These gadgets not only make life safer with chronic diseases but may also assist you in disease prevention. Blood pressure, blood sugar or simple heart-rate monitors are already available for home or portable use with smartphones and as these are always connected, they make it easier to log data, monitor and keep track of your health condition.

StairLifts

It’s a sad truth that something as simple as getting up the stairs can become a herculean task as you get older and your knees give out. Fortunately, modern innovations such as the stairlift has you covered. These devices can be a little confusing to figure out, but you can use a stairlift guide by Thyssen to make sure that you don’t injure yourself while maneuvering up and down the stairs. This way, you can simply sit in the chair, strap yourself in, and give your knees a rest. The lift will do the well, heavy lifting, while it powers you to the top of the stairs.

Even in situations where you could probably get up the stairs yourself, a lift is often a good choice anyway for the following reasons.

  • Takes pressure off your body. Putting less pressure on your knees will mean that they will work for potentially much longer, so you can keep walking around normally without pain.
  • Taking a lift will remove all the risk. Many people fall down the stairs every year and cause themselves serious injuries even when they aren’t elderly.
  • Keep your autonomy. While relying on a gadget to get you up the stairs can be off-putting, it’s often much less so than having to rely on other people. This usually means either having someone come over, which can be expensive, or having to go to a nursing home, which can be expensive and depressing.

Tablets

Another unfortunate effect of aging is that it can make it more difficult to see. Additionally, typing on a traditional keyboard can be hard on elderly fingers. This is where gadgets like iPads come in. Tablet computers like the iPad often have vibrant colors and big, easy to see touch screens with more intuitive interfaces than traditional computers. Additionally, many of them come with games that you can download for free that can help with keeping memory and critical thinking skills sharp. Some studies have shown that conditions like Alzheimer’s can be delayed through such exercises.

Exoskeletons

It’s probably the case that when you think gadgets for the elderly, the phrase robot exoskeleton isn’t the first thing that you think about. But no matter how farfetched this might seem, exokseleons for the elderly are quickly becoming a reality. These are metal braces that go on over the outside of the clothing that help reduce stress on joints. As a result, persons who have trouble walking for whatever reason will be able to continue their workout as normal due to the aid. After all, exercise can keep you healthy in other ways,and it’s rather unfortunate that joint problems force many elderly persons to miss out on the many cardio and other types of benefits of exercise due to unrelated aging problems. But this gadget will give the elderly the option of continuing their jogging and walking routines well into the future.

Technological innovations such as these will hopefully continue to steal back years for the elderly, allowing them to enjoy their lives for longer and longer as scientific understanding improves.

Home Care for Seniors – A Caregiver’s To-Do List

When you’re a caregiver, you have to expect the unexpected, especially when you’re taking care of an elderly patient. There are more than 50 million caregivers providing home care for the weak and elderly during any given year. To make things more hectic, only 25% of all U.S households are involved in care giving, therefore, if you’re a caregiver taking care of an elderly patient at home, you should be proud of yourself. Because of the popularity of care giving, men have started filling in for a chance to be in the care-giving career. However, women dominate as of the moment, probably because of their nurturing nature.

If you think of home care giving as an easy job, then you may want to consider the following facts:

  • Home caregivers who are expected to provide 36 or more hours of weekly care for the ageing patients are more likely to experience anxiety or depression than caregivers who work inside a senior care facility or hospital. The rate becomes six times higher for caregivers who are actually taking care of their ageing parents.

 

  • Home caregivers constantly lack sleep. Since they’re always making sure that the elderly patient has everything he or she needs, there’s 51% chance of not getting a proper sleep and a 41% chance of getting back pains.

 

  • Caring for an elderly patient is stressful enough to cause a big impact on a person’s immune system for up to 3 years. It’s no wonder, since you have to make sure that everything is ready for your patient, from the adult diapers to making sure that the IV’s port protector has been changed to a new one.

Well, now that you know the happy facts of being a home caregiver, would you still care to try such a gargantuan task? If your answers is still a “YES”, then that’s great. We caregivers do have a to-do list in order to make things life a little less harsh when caring for an elderly patient at home.

1. Always remember to take care of yourself. This is the most basic to-do list that we caregivers usually adhere to. No, it’s not selfish and it’s an absolute must. I’ve been a caregiver for years and there’s really no sense of caring for an ageing patient if you can’t even take care of yourself. Care-giving is a stressful job, where the combination of loss and obligation demands can really take its toll on your physical and mental well-being, so taking care of yourself is also a high priority.

2. Remember to reward yourself. Despite the stressful environment, taking care of an elderly patient at home pays really well, so perhaps having a nice dinner with a friend or loved one can help ease the stress for a day.

3. Have some personal time. Do something you enjoy as a hobby or perhaps you might want to do your personal chores. Taking care of an elderly patient does not need to hinder your own personal time. Besides, it helps calm down your nerves, therefore fighting depression and anxiety.

4. When things don’t go the way you planned, get help. Even for an experienced caregiver, I still ask advice from some of my older caregiver friends. Help can also come from community resources, family friends and professionals too. The friends and family of the elderly patient can provide invaluable help, especially if the patient seems too grouchy towards a new home caregiver. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially when you need it.

5. Last but not the least, protect your health. How can you take care of your patient if you keep getting sick? Give yourself time to exercise, eat well and for your personal grooming too. Limit your coffee intake and get lots of rest. You owe your body that much, since you can’t do your job if you’re not healthy!

About the Author:

Jessica Greenberg is a caregiver and avid blogger from San Diego, California. When she’s taking her well-deserved rest, she usually hangs out with her friends and is constantly updating Wordbaristas.com, a blog that she keeps with her group.