Assisted living doesn’t equal full-on nursing care. If your parent (or grandparent) is heading out of an independent living situation, exploring assisted living facilities is likely to be on your agenda. With that in mind, knowing what to look for is an essential part of the process. You’re already on the hunt for a clean community that respects senior citizens and has well-trained staff. But what else should you add to your list of requirements? Check out these not-so-obvious points to put on your assisted care search checklist.
The majority of assisted living facilities in the U.S. meet strict fire safety standards. Ninety-seven percent of those built after 1996 have sprinklers in both common area spaces and resident rooms, according to the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL). Each resident room (and shared area) should have a functional smoke detector. The facility should also have a posted evacuation plan.
Ask the facility staff what types of socialization opportunities they offer. Are there book clubs that meet once a week? Maybe there’s an afternoon dance club? Spending time with other residents and staying social is important to your loved one. Make sure that mom or grandma has the chance to meet other people and get social every day.
The learning process never ends. There’s always a new fact, concept, or skill to pick up on – no matter what age you are. Find out if the facility offers classes, lectures, or activities that promote learning. This could include anything from a guest lecture on WWII to a painting class.
No one wants to go out in the middle of a mid-February snowstorm to get their hair done. Some assisted living facilities have on-site services such as hair stylists that come to the resident’s rooms or even a full-service salon. Other services that the facility may have include an in-house medical office or even stores for some light shopping.
Staying fit and active is just as important for senior citizens as it is for you (maybe even more). That said, your 90-year-old grandmother probably isn’t out running a marathon or bench pressing her own body weight. Even though rigorous exercise isn’t on the activity menu, you still want to make sure that the facility offers physical activities that are appropriate for your loved one’s fitness level. This could include a chair aerobics class, water aerobics, swimming, or yoga.
Picking the ‘just right’ assisted living facility takes time and careful questioning. As you visit residencies, dig deeper than just the surface questions. Go beyond, “How many nurses do you have at any given time?” and ask about the safety and program features that will keep your senior healthy, happy, and active.
If your elderly parent recently fell down the stairs in their home and broke their hip, it’s time to take action. Once they have gone to the doctor and the fracture has been treated, you need to work with your parent to decide what will happen next. If they plan on staying in the home, then you need to make the home more appropriate, and you will also need to organize outside treatment. If they will no longer be living in the home, then you need to figure out where they will go.
They Will Be Staying in the Home
Retrofit the Stairs with a Lift
If your parent is going to stay in the home, then you need to deal with the stairs. Even when their hip has healed, they won’t be able to comfortably walk up the stairs again. Also, you don’t want to risk another fall. So have a stair lift installed. This will allow them to ride a small chair on a rail up to the second floor.
You can help them get back on their feet by arranging for a stay at a short-term rehab facility. This will allow them to have intensive guidance and help from expert rehabilitation specialists. They will learn how to move so that they don’t endanger themselves by taking quick or awkward steps. Also, should they need to use a walker or cane, they will learn how to do this at the rehab facility.
They Will Be Leaving Their Home
If you and your parent no longer think it’s safe or appropriate for them to live in their home, then you should investigate an independent or assisted-living facility. These are not quite as severe as nursing homes, and they don’t sound as scary. Your parent can have their own apartment in the facility. These spaces provide easy access to medical professionals. They will also have on-site washing services so that they don’t have to handle laundry or vacuuming. Additionally, they can take advantage of the dining room, and that eliminates the need for them to cook their own meals. These facilities will often have transport to take the residents into town to shop or see shows or other entertainment.
If you find an independent living facility that also has an assisted-living wing, then your parent can easily transition from one area to the other when the time comes.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, incurable disease that slowly takes away one’s ability to care for their own needs. In the beginning stages, a person may only experience slight forgetfulness as they go throughout their day. Some often feel as though they are just aging normally, being a little confused every once in awhile but able to manage most of the time. As the disease progresses, people become more confused and more likely to get lost while out on a familiar route. They may start to have trouble cooking, leaving hot pans on the stove to burn while they begin doing something else. Once the disease has progressed to this stage, many people find that assisted living is the next logical step.
Why Assisted Living is the Answer
It’s important to give anyone who is dealing with Alzheimer’s disease as much independence as possible but help them to remain safe at the same time. Assisted living facilities offer daily support, medication reminders and meal preparation for those dealing with mild to moderate impairments but who are still able to perform basic daily living skills like dressing, grooming and bathing. In assisted living, residents are able to live in their own apartment but have staff come in to check on them to make sure they are safe. As meals are prepared for everyone, each resident has the option of community meals three times a day. People who are dealing with the progressive nature of Alzheimer’s don’t have to feel alone in their struggle.
Assisted Living and Dementia Care
As a person living with dementia becomes more confused and less able to remain safe while on their own, most assisted living facilities will have a dementia care unit. This means that residents on this floor are more closely monitored and kept safe with alarmed doors that lead off of the unit. While this is restrictive, residents are still expected to do their own personal care, and they will have their own apartment on the unit. There is often a fine line between a dementia care unit in assisted living and nursing home care, but as long as a resident can take care of their own grooming they are appropriate for an assisted living facility.
If you or a loved one are in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, it’s important to plan for the future. Set up an appointment to tour an assisted living facility, like Haven Care, and see what your options are before you are unable to make the choices for yourself.
The decision to move your parent into a senior independent living community is a difficult one, but one that could provide him or her with the help needed. Before moving into the facility, you and your family have to make a plan for paying the costs. Here are some ideas that could potentially help with the costs.
If your parent is a veteran, he or she is most likely to receive benefits that would help with covering the cost of moving into an assisted living facility. There are several benefit programs available. Talk to a counselor at the Veterans Administration (VA) to determine which programs your parent would be eligible for.
To qualify for benefits, your parent will need to meet certain income requirements. Depending on the program, your parent might also need to show that any disability that he or she has is connected to an injury received during service.
Before contacting the VA, you need your parent’s Social Security number, his or her income documentation, and a list of assets that he or she has. You also need a copy of any insurance your parent has. By having this information ahead of time, you can avoid a delay in processing his or her documentation for assistance.
Some people use a reverse mortgage to help cover the costs of an assisted living facility. A reverse mortgage gives your parent the cash value of his or her home in a lump sum or monthly payments. The money owed to the lender is not due until after your parent has passed away. At that point, your family can choose to sell the home to pay the balance.
There is a catch to a reverse mortgage though. A homeowner has to remain in the home. Some families choose to add a family member to the home’s deed and he or she move into the home while the elderly parent is allowed to move into the assisted living facility.
If the family member wants to continue to live in the home after the parent has passed away, he or she will need to pay back the balance of the loan. Using any funds received from the life insurance policy is an option that is available.
There are many other options available for covering the costs of assisted living. Consult with the financial aid counselor at the facility you are considering to learn which options would work best for you and your parent.
Contact a center like Mayfair Village Retirement Community for more information.
If you have come to the point in your life where you need a bit of help with your daily routine and have decided to move into an assisted living facility, you are probably a bit nervous about the move and your new home. Here are a few tips to help you have a smooth transition so that you and your family are happy with your decision.
What to Bring and What to Leave
As you are packing your belongings, remember that you are probably not going to have as much space in an assisted living facility as you do in your current home. While it is important that you have your own things, you need to ask what will be provided for you. If they provide items that you already have, you may be able to ask them to remove their things so you can bring your own. However, before you do, make sure that yours will fit. Ask to go to your apartment and measure the rooms. You do not want to get there with your things and realize that they will not fit. However, pack all the little things you want. If there isn’t room for them all to be out, you can store them and rotate them throughout the year.
While some of the residents will make a point of seeking out newcomers, you need to be willing to make the first move too. Read over the event calendar and make a point of attending the activities. This will give you a chance to get used to the people and decide which things you like to do. Now is not the time for being shy. It is okay to take a day or two to unpack, but the sooner you get involved, the more the place will feel like home.
Your apartment is your home. You do not have to open the door and let others in if you are not comfortable with it. Meet people in the common areas and get to know them before inviting them in for a visit. Of course, you can have your family and friends from outside the facility in to visit as you please too. Keep in mind, depending on the type of assistance you need, the staff may have a key to your apartment. Of course it should only be used when there is concern you are inside but cannot answer the door yourself.
Assisted living communities provide you with the bit of help you need, but allow you to remain independent at the same time. Do not worry if you feel a bit depressed or sad when you first make the move; this is completely normal. If you find you are having trouble getting out of the funk, ask the staff for help getting involved. Once you get into the swing of things you will wonder what you had been so worried about.
It is an unfortunate reality of life that individuals will develop problems that make it difficult for them to be on their own. However, this can place a tremendous amount of stress on family members as they struggle to balance caring for the needs of their loved one with their careers. Luckily, there are adult day care centers that can help ensure that your loved one is safe and entertained while you are busy at work.
Can Individual With Health Complications Utilize Adult Day Cares?
While adult day care centers are accustomed to caring for individuals with special health needs, you should be aware that there are limits to what these facilities can do for your loved one. In particular, if they will need to be monitored by a nurse or have medications administered, you will want to speak with potential facilities about this need. While there are some adult day care centers with the staff to meet these needs, many lack the ability to provide this care. By letting the facility know the specific needs of your loved one, they will be able to confirm whether this care can be provided.
What Should Your Loved One Expect While In These Facilities?
The range of activities that are available to your loved while they are at these facilities can vary. As a result, you will want to check with each of the local adult day care facilities to determine what activities your loved one can expect. However, it is common for these facilities to provide educational, entertainment and social activities to those enrolled. This can include classes to learn new hobbies, crafting or other skills. Additionally, these facilities will provide those enrolled with meals. However, you should let the facility know about any dietary restrictions that your loved one may have.
What Happens If You Are Late Picking Up Your Loved One?
Typically, you will need to pick up your loved one from the adult day care by the designated closing time. However, it can be unavoidable to occasionally run late. When this happens, you should call the adult day care to let them know what is happening. In some cases, you may be required to pay an additional fee. This is necessary as staff will have to stay with your loved one until you arrive. While this may seem like an inconvenience, it can be essential for ensuring that your loved one is receiving the care and supervision that they need when you are running late. Talk to a center, like Chapin Home For The Aging, for more help.
Deciding on the right care for aging parents can be one of the hardest choices of your life. The truth is that elderly people, especially those who are facing illness, are usually best served when they have an adult day care center to attend during the day. These facilities are often designed for optimal care and comfort, and they provide a variety of activities to make the person’s stay there pleasant. The manager of places you visit will often allow or even encourage you to chat with staff members. Try asking these questions of caregivers to get more of an insider’s perspective on an adult day care center.
What happens when you think a patient may need non-emergency medical attention?
A caregiver who is working with the ill and elderly should be able to answer this question fairly quickly. They should know the specific policies that are in place for getting medical care to residents in need. Evaluate how well the policies would fit the needs your love one may have.
Do you ever eat the food here?
This question may make the caregiver laugh, but they are likely to then provide some honest insights about the menu. You may then ask them about how the adult day care facility may accommodate any special diet your parent may have. For example, if your parent is a vegetarian, it’s important to ensure that the facility will have a varied menu that will be tasty and full of foods that meet their nutritional needs.
How are medications handled with each patient?
Some adult day care centers do allow residents to administer their own medications, while others are more closely managed. They should provide at least an option for helping patients manage their medications.
What are you supposed to do if you notice that a fellow caregiver is not properly tending to a patient’s needs?
While different facilities will have different policies, the caregiver should have a clear answer and know exactly what to do in such a circumstance. A policy of reporting bad behaviors from care staff is important.
What do you wish you could change about life for the adults who come here?
Caregivers really experience how the day-to-day lives of these patients are for them. They know the nitty-gritty details and how the patients are treated when no visitors around. Listen to their candid response to this question. It may help you make your decision.
What do you think that the residents tend to like best about this place?
Caregivers tend to observe patients quite a lot, so they should be able to provide insights on what the elderly residents really enjoy. While your parent may prefer something else entirely than what is popular at the facility, it’s good to know that the caregivers are paying attention and can talk at length about what the patients enjoy.
Finally, keep in mind that you are likely the best judge of what is right for your parent. You’ll find that most adult day care centers are dedicated to providing quality care and the best possible experience for their patients. Your personal care and interest in their well-being will empower you to be their best advocate as you search for just the right adult day care center, like Wellspring Meadows Assisted Living. These questions can help you along the way and reveal what you really need to know about the place.
If you are a person who has an elderly loved one who has fallen recently or suffered some sort of other injury, there is a good chance that he or she will need to go to short term rehab in order to fully recover. This can be frustrating for your loved one because he or she values his or her independence and having to go to rehab or getting injured in the first place might seem like an affront to this. Here are some tips for helping your loved one stay motivated while in short term rehab so that it is as effective as possible.
1. Do the Exercises With Your Loved One
One way to help your loved one stay motivated is to actually do the exercises with him or her to make sure that he or she is actually doing them. Doing the exercises while with the physical therapist is not enough. Your loved one needs to be performing the exercises while on his or her own or else they are not going to be nearly as effective and it will take your loved one longer to heal. If, whenever you visit your loved one, you ask to be shown how to do the exercises, you can make sure that he or she is actually getting in the practice time that he or she needs.
2. Create a Reward for Finishing Short Term Rehab
Another way to keep your loved one motivated is to offer a reward for finishing short term rehab. Maybe you take your loved one out to his or her favorite restaurant or to your child’s recital or some other activity involving your child. Talk to your loved one to see what he or she would like to do. Try to choose an activity that will leverage the healing and strengthening that he or she is doing while in rehab. This will help keep your loved one motivated and willing to work to progress.
3. Emphasize Independence
Make sure that you emphasize the fact that your loved one is able to do fewer activities on his or her own while he or she is weakened from the injury. Talk about how great it will be when your loved one is able to do those activities again when he or she has gotten stronger. By emphasizing independence, you can help your loved one feel motivated to regain that independence as soon as possible.
For more information, talk to a company that specializes in short term rehab like Valley View Retirement Community.
Part of a great assisted-living plan is helping your loved one find a good balance between receiving the help they need and maintaining a sense of independence. Here are some tips for helping your loved one find that balance.
Set Up Good Communication
When your loved one enters a new assisted-living facility, the first thing to do is to set up strong lines of communication between you, your loved one, and the staff at the assisted-living facility. It helps to have some honest talks up front about how much assistance your loved one thinks they will need as well as how much assistance you or the staff anticipates they will need. You can continually reevaluate these needs so that there is enough support but not too much.
Ensure that Resources Are Accessible
Before you leave your loved one to themselves in a new assisted-living setup, make sure that they are educated in how to fully reach out and use the resources in their community. Make sure that they’ve met all of the medical staff in the community and know how to contact them if needed. Ensure that they are forming a strong bond with their staff caretakers and coordinators so that they can independently choose their own activities and routines.
Help them Grasp onto the Community
Having community support is very important for an independent lifestyle in assisted living. Your loved one will be able to rely on both peers and staff for support if they need it, which can give them the confidence to do more things on their own. They’ll have the knowledge that if they fail, someone will be nearby to help. Make sure your loved one is forming connections with other residents and that their personality meshes well with their staff caregivers’.
Strike a Personal Balance with Your Visits
One last piece that’s important for healthy independence is to strike a balance in how much you are available to help. While you may want to ask your loved one what they feel comfortable with from the outset, weekly visits (as opposed to being on call daily) can help with the personal boundaries of both you and your loved one.
Without the proper care, it can be easy to tip the scale and provide too much or too little support to a loved one in assisted living. But with good communication with your loved one and the assisted-living staff, you can start to find the balance that feels comfortable for all parties involved.
Talk to an organization such as Cokato Charitable Trust – Cokato Manor for more ideas about finding balance for you and your loved one.
As age creeps up on you, it is time to wake up and take better care of yourself. It is important to get plenty of exercise, eat nutritious food, and drink adequate amounts of water. Seniors who feel tired need to find ways to put some spring back in their step. Hopefully, this guide can help.
It is important to remain energetic to maintain a better physical condition as well as provide yourself with muscle tone that can battle against the aches and pains received in later years. If you have ailments such as arthritis, it is important to find other ways to exercise and keep the joints moving.
Eat a Balanced Meal
Energy-boosting foods include bananas, eggs, oatmeal, honey, oatmeal, spinach, and sweet potatoes, and many similar foods are great additions to any meal or snack time.
Dehydration can remove a great deal of energy as well as slow your metabolism down to a crawl. You can choose to eat fruits and vegetables that are high in water content to supplement your fluid intake. It is advisable to consume 9 to 13 cups of water a day depending on whether you are male or female.
It is believed that drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water when you wake up helps activate internal organs. About thirty minutes before a meal, have another 8-ounce glassful to help with digestion, and have one more glass before taking a bath to help lower blood pressure.
Get Plenty of Rest
Seniors should receive between seven to nine hours each night. It is essential to make the bedroom a place for sleeping. If you begin to toss and turn, get out of bed until you are drowsy again. If you are rolling and turning all night, you aren’t resting.
Remain Mentally Active and Sociable
You have to maintain some type of hobby or function to keep you busy. It is not healthy, and you will feel tired all of the time, if you aren’t mentally active. You have to find something that makes you happy. Stay in contact with friends and family. Let it be known you want to be included in family outings or parties. Don’t assume the family thinks you would not want to visit more. Let your thoughts be known to all.
Maintain Annual Doctor’s Checkups
As you age, it is important to have annual checkups so the doctor can evaluate whether you need any special medications such as a flu shot or other preventative maintenance. You can receive any counseling necessary to understand why you might not be as energetic as you should be at this stage of life. You could also have blood work done to discover if you need any supplemental vitamins.
Everyone should follow most of these guidelines to sustain a happy and pleasant lifestyle. As a senior, it just takes a bit more energy to complete the process. For more information or for advice specific to you, you can always consult a professional such as one at an assisted-living facility.