Premier Senior Living...
Because it's how you live that Matters

Senior Assisted Living Blog



Symptoms of Dementia – Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Friday, March 24, 2017

Spring Arbor, Greensboro, NCEvery person is unique and dementia affects people differently – no two people will have symptoms that develop in exactly the same way. An individual’s personality, general health and social situation are all important factors in determining the impact of dementia on him or her. Symptoms vary between Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, but there are broad similarities between them all. The most common signs are memory loss and the loss of practical abilities, which can lead to withdrawal from work or social activities. If you think that these problems are affecting your daily life, or the life of someone you know, you should talk to your doctor.

The most common early symptoms of dementia are:

Memory loss

Declining memory, especially short-term memory, is the most common early symptom of dementia. People with ordinary forgetfulness can still remember other facts associated with the thing they have forgotten. For example, they may briefly forget their next-door neighbors name but they still know the person they are talking to is their next-door neighbor. A person with dementia will not only forget their neighbors name but also the context.

Difficulty performing familiar tasks

People with dementia often find it hard to complete everyday tasks that are so familiar we usually do not think about how to do them. A person with dementia may not know in what order to put clothes on or the steps for preparing a meal.

Problems with language

Occasionally everyone has trouble finding the right word but a person with dementia often forgets simple words or substitutes unusual words, making speech or writing hard to understand.

Disorientation to time and place

We sometimes forget the day of the week or where we are going but people with dementia can become lost in familiar places such as the road they live in, forget where they are or how they got there, and not know how to get back home. A person with dementia may also confuse night and day.

Poor or decreased judgement

People with dementia may dress inappropriately, wearing several layers of clothes on a warm day or very few on a cold day.

Problems with keeping track of things

A person with dementia may find it difficult to follow a conversation or keep up with paying their bills.

Misplacing things

Anyone can temporarily misplace his or her wallet or keys. A person with dementia may put things in unusual places such as an iron in the fridge or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.

Changes in mood or behavior

Everyone can become sad or moody from time to time. A person with dementia may become unusually emotional and experience rapid mood swings for no apparent reason. Alternatively a person with dementia may show less emotion than was usual previously.

Changes in personality

A person with dementia may seem different from his or her usual self in ways that are difficult to pinpoint. A person may become suspicious, irritable, depressed, apathetic or anxious and agitated especially in situations where memory problems are causing difficulties.

Loss of initiative

At times everyone can become tired of housework, business activities, or social obligations. However a person with dementia may become very passive, sitting in front of the television for hours, sleeping more than usual, or appear to lose interest in hobbies. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or are concerned about a friend or relative, visit your doctor and discuss your concerns.

For more information on memory care, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive thehealthsite.com


Make Sure the Assistance Care Fits Your Needs - Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, March 17, 2017
Spring Arbor, Assisted LivingOne of the most difficult decisions one has to make is moving parents from their home to an assisted living facility. It can be a challenge to know the right time for such a move and the type of housing that meets the needs of the individual. Let’s begin with different types of residences.

Senior housing: This usually is appropriate for someone with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and can live relatively independent. These individuals are able to care for themselves and are safe living alone. Social activities, transportation and other services are provided. Supervision is limited.

Assisted living: This type of housing also is called board and care, adult living and supported care. Assisted living is between living independently and living in a nursing home. This residence provides a 24-hour staff, recreational activities, housekeeping, laundry and transportation. Depending on the requests from the resident, the facility also provides help with bathing, dressing, eating and reminders to take medication. The federal government does not regulate them; the state does and it varies by state. Since not all offer services specifically designed for those with dementia, it is important to ask.

Nursing homes: Also known as a skilled-nursing facility, long-term care facility and custodial care facility. These facilities provide 24-hour care and medical treatment. Services related to nutrition, care planning, recreation, spirituality and medical care. Nursing homes are licensed by the state and regulated by the federal government.

Alzheimer’s special care units: Also called memory care units, they are designed to meet the needs of those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. They often are a unit within various types of residential care.

Continuing care retirement communities: Such facilities offer different levels of care consisting of independent living, assisted living and nursing-home care. A resident can move from one level to another. Such facilities typically require an entrance fee with monthly payments or, in some cases, only monthly fees.

The move from home to assisted living usually is stressful for the person with Alzheimer’s disease. To make the transition as smooth as possible, the Mayo Clinic provides several suggestions.

Plan well ahead: If your loved one can still make reasonable choices, discuss preferences about living arrangements. Visit the facility frequently before the move. Discuss with a staff member your loved one’s background, special needs and medical and mental health history. Include a detailed medication list. Make the room familiar: Create a living space that is familiar; decorate it with treasured items such as a favorite chair, afghan and anything that has meaning. Familiar belongings give the individual a sense of security and connection. Include pictures, photo albums and remember to label the pictures with names.

Moving day: Follow your loved one’s normal routine. Make the move during the best time of day, which might be morning or afternoon. Remain positive and reassuring. To lessen the difficult moment of separation a staff member might immediately engage your loved one in an activity as a distraction.

Stay in touch: It may take time to adjust to the new living arrangement. Deb Newquist, an elder care specialist in Irvine, suggests that family members stay away for a short period of time so the individual can adjust to the new environment. She suggests that little white lies are acceptable such as “You need to be here for a time while our house is getting renovated.” Then visit often and encourage friends to do the same. Note: Having feelings of guilt, grief and loss combined with a sense of relief is normal.

For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive
whittierdailynews.com


Using New Technology To Connect Seniors And Loved Ones

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, March 16, 2017
Spring Arbor Living - Elderly using new technology


Spring Arbor Living - Elderly using new technology

Technology has the power to connect people across distances – both long and short. Smartphones and tablets allow us to share photos across the globe or to video chat with anyone, anywhere. These technological advances offer many opportunities for seniors as well. However, a recent Pew Research Center study found that older adults are late adopters of technology and there is a significant drop off in the use of technology for seniors over 75 who could benefit most for tech tools. Our Spring Arbor Senior Living team members recognized this challenge, but believed that there were options to integrate senior living technology into their residents’ lives in small, yet profound ways.

We’re big believers that the best idea wins and when faced with a challenge, we look for the best solution. That solution came in the form of a partnership between Spring Arbor Living and K4 Connect to develop a new K4 Community Initiative with our Spring Arbor communities. The initiative involved senior living technology that was rolled out in select communities at the end of last year and has been a huge success thus far. The K4 Community program gives assisted living residents their own tablet to communicate with loved ones, control the temperature and lighting in their rooms, see menu items and get alerts about community activities. Spring Arbor team members provide an orientation/training session for residents and their loved ones to learn about this program. After a brief introduction, they’re off and running!

Becky Vance, executive director, and Shelby Kline, wellness and program coordinator, at Spring Arbor of Greensboro praised the initiative and use of senior living technology. They noted that each of the residents use some components on the tablet, and at least 15 residents use all the features… and there are a lot of features! Residents and their loved ones can communicate via text message, photo sharing, and video chats. The apps are easy to use and straightforward. An added benefit is that family members can download the K4 Community app on their smartphone or tablet to stay connected to their loved ones, even when they’re halfway across the world. In fact, one resident’s daughter is taking a trip to Puerto Rico and will be able to video chat with her mom while on vacation! The personalized tablets also allow residents to interact with loved ones through games. Residents can even get updates about activities and what’s for dinner on their tablets (one of the most popular uses). senior living technology

Spring Arbor Living - Elderly using new technology

The K4 Community program also empowers residents to have more control over their environment. They can set the thermostat for their room from the tablet or change the temperature for a certain time period (for example, they prefer their room to be cooler at night when they sleep). The tablets can assist with room lights – including the bathroom. Perhaps most important is the wide array of enhanced safety features that come along with the tablets. A centralized dashboard allows community managers to track residents and communicate with them through the tablet. Additionally, the program has capabilities with sensors under each resident’s bed that can record when a resident is sleeping and monitor if residents are sleeping too much or not enough – detecting motion at night. The tablets even connect to pedometers that all assisted living residents receive so they can view how many steps are taken in a certain timeframe.

Shelby recently noted that the tablets and program have been a wonderful addition to the community and a great way to utilize senior living technology to make a difference in the lives of residents, loved ones, and team members!

We believe it’s how you live that matters and technology can be a powerful tool to help us live fuller and more connected lives. In fact, this program ensures that residents in our Spring Arbor communities receive the best care possible that is tailored to their specific needs. Contact a Spring Arbor community near you to learn more.


Is Loneliness A Sign of Alzheimer’s Disease? – Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Friday, March 10, 2017

Spring Arbor, Greensboro, NCSubtle feelings of loneliness might warn of impending Alzheimer's disease in older folks, a new study suggests.

Healthy seniors with elevated brain levels of amyloid -- a type of protein fragment associated with Alzheimer's disease -- seem more likely to feel lonely than people with lower levels of amyloid, researchers found.

For people who have high levels of amyloid -- the people truly at high risk for Alzheimer's -- they were 7.5 times more likely to be lonely than non-lonely. Studies have long shown that people who remain socially active are less likely to develop dementia.

But the results of the new study suggest that that relationship may work the other way around, as well -- that people in the early stages of Alzheimer's might be more apt to feel lonely, or socially detached.

People who are starting to accumulate amyloid may not be as well-functioning in terms of perceiving, understanding or responding to social stimuli or interactions. This could be an early social signal of cognitive [mental] change.

If this is proven, then doctors might be able to screen for Alzheimer's by paying closer attention to patients' emotional health.

Brain plaques formed from sticky amyloid proteins are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, the most common cause of dementia, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. These plaques form in the spaces between the brain nerve cells of Alzheimer's patients, although their connection to the disease is not fully understood at this time.

To examine the relationship between late-life loneliness and Alzheimer's risk, the researchers examined 43 women and 36 men, average age 76. All were healthy, with no signs of Alzheimer's or dementia.

The researchers used standard psychological exams to measure each person's degree of loneliness, and imaging scans to detect the amount of amyloid protein in their brains. The investigators particularly focused on amyloid levels in the cerebral cortex, a part of the brain that plays a key role in memory, attention, perception and thought.

People with high levels of amyloid in the cortex were 7.5 times more likely to be classified as feeling lonely, even after researchers accounted for how socially active they were and whether they suffered from depression or anxiety.

By taking into account the extent of the person's social network, the team showed that seniors who feel isolated or socially detached even when surrounded by friends or family could be at elevated risk for Alzheimer's.

However, the study doesn't prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the two.

This finding is "very new" and could point to novel ways of associating a person's emotions with dementia risk.

If this is substantiated by other larger studies, then the question would be, what kind of intervention would result. If you were able to impact on this loneliness by creating interventions where people were taken out of their loneliness and engaged in social events, would you have less likelihood of progression toward dementia?

In the early stages of Alzheimer's, there can be "behavioral changes that may be a symptom of mild cognitive impairment or dementia."

Doctors in the future may be trained to look for loneliness, apathy, mood changes or social impulsiveness as early signs of Alzheimer's.

We do think this [the new finding] is important, and I have a feeling we'll see more on this. As we develop treatments for Alzheimer's, the earlier you diagnose and the earlier you treat, the better will be the outcomes.

Results of the new study were published online Nov. 2 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

For more information on Alzheimer's and Memory Care, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive
USNews - Health


What is Assisted Living and is it Right for You or Your Parent? – Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, March 03, 2017

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAThere comes a time when senior are consider moving to an assisted living facility. The reasons are often extremely varied. Some are lonely in their homes and want social interaction. Others are having greater difficulty managing and maintaining their own homes. Some often have misconceptions about what an assisted living facility is and the costs of residing there.

While the physical structure and amenities provided in an assisted living facility may vary based on the costs associated with residing in each facility, they all have many similar features and amenities.

Generally, an assisted living facility is a residential option for seniors who require some assistance with their activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, cooking, toileting and walking. The care necessitated is greater than what would be provided in an independent living facility; however, for most residents, it is a level of care that is less than that provided in a nursing home, which provides round the clock medical care and skilled nursing. The goal of most assisted living facilities is to provide a safe and secure environment with dining and entertainment options while also providing access to medical care and transportation.

Each resident in an assisted living facility has his or her own private residential unit and can socialize as much as or a little as he or she wants. Some assisted living facilities provide residents with small efficiency kitchens, while others just provide a bedroom and a living area without any kitchen.

Each facility has its own unique characteristics and amenities. Some have fine dining options, as well as expanded social, recreational and entertainment areas and amenities, while others may have more limited amenities and options available.

The most common characteristics found in assisted living facilities are as follows:

  • Either one-three prepared meals served in a common dining room;
  • Assistance with activities of daily living;
  • Medication management;
  • House cleaning services;
  • Laundry services;
  • Transportation services;
  • 24 hour security;
  • Fitness programs; and
  • Social and recreational programs.

Additionally, the cost for each residential unit will vary by a number of factors such as:

  • The size of each unit;
  • Whether it will be provided furnished or not; and
  • Are there one or three prepared meals per day being provided?

One expense that is virtually always extra is the cost for any additional assistance and care with activities of daily living. This is an expenditure that is generally always provided at a charge based on the care required in an amount above the basic room rate.

Another factor that may distinguish assisted living facilities is whether or not the facility has a special unit for its residents that need care because they are suffering from impairment of their memory (a memory care unit). Whether or not the facility has a locked memory care unit is often an important consideration for those that have memory care issues and needs. Again, those needing to be in the locked memory care unit will often find that the cost of each room is greater than in the regular part of the facility as greater care is needed for each resident.

Additionally, if you have a long-term care insurance policy, the policy may provide benefits for the cost of any additional care (an aide) that you may require in the facility.

Finally, whether or not an assisted living facility is the right place for you may depend on your answer to the following:

  • Are you feeling lonely in your home and do you crave daily social interaction and companionship?
  • Are you no longer able to maintain your current residence and are the total costs to reside in your current residence greater than those in an assisted living facility?
  • Do you require greater care at home than you currently have or can be provided to you?
  • Does living at home raise safety and security concerns?
  • Do you need transportation services?

If you have answered yes to any of the above, you may be someone who should consider assisted living as an option or perhaps seek additional care at home. The decision is clearly one that is personal in nature.

For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive
TAPinto


Assisted Living: What to Ask During Your Search - Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Friday, February 24, 2017

Spring Arbor Assisted Living, Richmond, VAYou’ve decided that an assisted living residence is the right choice for you or someone you care for. This checklist will help you choose the right residence to meet your needs. Make a copy of this checklist for each of the residences you’re considering. It may make comparing them a little easier.

The Call

Once you have a list of residences to visit, call each one. Think about what is important for you and your loved one: location, size, and types of services offered. Bear in mind that the person you speak with will most likely be a marketing or sales representative whose job is to promote the residence.
Take this checklist with you as you compare different assisted living residences.

The Call Checklist:

  • How many living units are in the residence?
  • Where is the residence located?
  • Are different sizes and types of units available?
  • Do any units have kitchens or kitchenettes?
  • Are all the rooms private?
  • Are bathrooms private?
  • Does the residence offer special care units such as those serving people with Alzheimer’s disease?
  • Is a contract available that details fees, services, and admission and discharge policies?
  • Is there a written care plan for each resident?
  • What role does the resident have in developing the care plan? Are additional services available on the same campus if a resident's needs change?
  • Can residents choose their own doctors, therapists, or pharmacies?
  • How does the residence bill for services?
  • What if a resident runs out of money?
  • Under what conditions would a resident have to leave the residence?

This will help you compare residences. It’s a real challenge to choose a quality assisted living residence. Remember that it can be expensive and a long-term decision. If you’re searching out a unit for yourself, try not to make the visits and decisions alone. Talk with family members and friends. Learn as much as you can about assisted living and each of the residences you are considering. This will build the confidence and comfort level you’ll need to make the best choice.

The Visit

Take along your checklist and some written questions for the staff when you visit. As you meet with them and tour a residence, pay close attention to how you feel and what is going on around you. Spend time with the staff and residents; ask them what they like and dislike about the place. It’s a good idea to visit more than once; an unscheduled visit on a weekend or in the evening might be very helpful in your decision making.

The Visit Checklist:

  • Is the residence clean?
  • Is the residence cheerful?
  • Do you feel good about it?
  • Are stairs and hallways well lit?
  • Are exits well marked?
  • Do rooms and bathrooms have handrails and call buttons?
  • Are there safety locks on the doors and windows?
  • Are there security and fire safety systems?
  • Is there an emergency generator or alternate power source?
  • Is the floor plan logical and easy to follow?
  • Are rooms large enough for a residents’ needs?
  • Are there kitchens or kitchenettes?
  • Are there enough common areas, such as dens and living rooms?
  • What special services are available?

The Contract:

  • Is the contract easy to read?
  • Do you understand everything in it?
  • Are specific services provided by the residence?
  • Does the contract include all of the services you are looking for?
  • How frequently are services provided?
  • What do additional services cost?
  • Are health care services included? Which ones?
  • When and where are meals served?
  • Are all meals served 7 days a week?
  • Does the contract address levels of care? How many levels?  Who determines level of care? Are there services for each level?
  • Are linens/laundry provided?
  • Are transportation services provided?
  • Is there a parking fee for residents? For visitors?
  • Does the residence offer worship services?
  • Is transportation to worship services provided?
  • What are the entrance fee(s)?
  • What is the monthly rent?
  • What is the security deposit? Are deposits refundable?
  • Are utilities included? Which ones? Is telephone included?       
  • How are rate increases or late payments handled?
  • Does the contract cover transfer and discharge policies?
  • Who makes a transfer or discharge decision?
  • How much notice is given to residents who have to leave?
  • Is the living area held if the resident is in the hospital? For what cost?
  • Can you have a pet?
  • Can you have personal furniture?
  • Does the contract deny your right to bring legal action against the residence for injury, negligence, or other cause?
  • Can personal visitors come and go at will?

For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive
assets.aarp.org


Is it Time to Look into Assisted Living? - Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, February 17, 2017

Spring Arbor Assisted Living, Richmond, VAThe family gatherings during the holiday season might have left you with more than a few extra pounds to lose. If you’re like many adult children who enjoyed a visit with your parents, you might also have some nagging concerns about their health and safety. These family events are typically when people first notice warning signs that their aging relatives aren’t managing on their own as well as they used to.

A mom once full of energy now seems frail, or a dad who was always on top of his game is now experiencing issues with memory loss.

We all value our independence, so considering assisted living can be a difficult idea to embrace and a tough topic to broach. However, in most instances, the residents experience improvements in their quality of life once arriving in an assisted living community. Some even expressed regret at not having made the move sooner.

As you consider what you witnessed over the holidays, ask others if they noticed the same things you did. Specifically, here are three warning signs to look out for:

  1. Loss of social drive – As our parents and older relatives age, their social circles also get smaller, which can lead to major health and safety issues. That’s where assisted living communities come in, offering companionship and a sense of purpose, which can help combat depression and other health challenges.
  2. Unfinished business – Are there unpaid bills or stacks of unopened mail that have gone unnoticed? It might be a sign that your parent or older relative is physically or emotionally unable to handle the task. It’s important to ascertain if this is a one-time situation or something that has been going on for a while, so it’s important to check in on this frequently. If you live far away, ask a neighbor or friend to check in, and if it’s ongoing, it might be time for assisted living.
  3. Eating habits – If you notice changes in weight loss or weight gain, it may be a sign that your parents or older relatives are either forgetting to eat altogether or forgetting they ate and eating meals twice. It’s important to check for stale, spoiled or expired food as that may be a sign of changed eating habits. It’s also important to check that they’re going to the store or have ample items in stock.

The transition to an assisted living community is challenging for residents and their families alike, so look for places that provide support to everyone involved so that it becomes an empowering change rather than a stressful one. A community where residents have access to outings and programming, art classes and great meals. Through movie nights and game tournaments, they can remain socially active while maintaining their privacy and dignity. It’s not uncommon for people to regain their confidence and zest for life once the daily stress of caring for themselves and their home is removed.

Moving a loved one to an assisted living situation isn’t the easiest task, but it doesn’t have to be the scariest either. When approached with compassion and understanding, it can make the senior years golden indeed.

For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive
patch.com/california


Work and Caregiving: Finding the Balance - Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, February 09, 2017

Spring Arbor, Greensboro, NCThese tips can help you juggle your job responsibilities and your demands at home.

You've got important meetings at the office and projects that are almost due. But you care for your parents and they’ve been waking up every night this week and you would like to take him to the doctor. What should you do?

An estimated 25.5 million Americans face challenges like these every day as they struggle to balance work responsibilities with caring for a relative aged 50 or older. Not surprisingly, they wind up distracted, emotionally drained and physically exhausted.

The good news is that many employers are sympathetic to these demands. Some companies have programs to help caregivers find community services, counseling, respite care, legal and financial assistance, and caregiver support groups. Others have begun offering caregiving leave and flexible work arrangements.

Of course, every caregiver's job is different, and even within the same company, different managers may be more or less supportive. These tips will help you manage your dual roles.

Learn about company policies. Talk to your human resources department or read your employee handbook to ascertain your company's policy regarding caregivers. Find out about any benefits your company may offer, such as an employee assistance program.

Know your rights. Ask your human resources department for information about the Family and Medical Leave Act. Have them send a copy to your supervisor as well, if appropriate. Under the FMLA, eligible workers are entitled to 12 weeks per year of unpaid leave for family caregiving, without the loss of job security or health benefits.

Talk to your manager. Be upfront about your role as a caregiver and the demands that it puts on you. It's better that she or he hear from you why you're coming in late or seem preoccupied. Spell out the concrete steps you can take to juggle your competing demands. For instance, say, "I just found out my mother needs weekly physical therapy on Wednesday afternoons. While I'm looking for other arrangements, I propose that I work late on Tuesdays." Chances are your company will reward your honesty and sense of responsibility toward both your family and your job.

Inquire about flex-time. Even if no formal policies exist, you should ask your boss if he or she would consider an arrangement to help you accommodate your caregiving responsibilities. For instance, you might ask if you could work from home a day or two a week. You could inquire about a part-time job or job-sharing arrangement.

Don't abuse work time. Whenever possible, avoid taking care of caregiving chores when you should be working. If you have to make phone calls or search the Internet for information related to your parent's needs, do it on your lunch break.

Stay organized. Do your best to manage your time efficiently. Use to-do lists and calendar reminders. Set priorities, then tackle the most important items first. Delegate at work and at home.

Seek help. Turn to the community for caregiving resources and services.

Say thanks. Show your appreciation for co-workers and colleagues who pitch in and help you out with your job. Agree to take on extra work when the dust settles, and be willing to help someone else who is suddenly thrust into a situation you may know all too well.

For information on assisted living for your loved one, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive
AARP


Alzheimer’s Caregivers Can Feel Overwhelmed – Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Spring Arbor, Alzheimer's careSometimes, it is easier for a non-family member to care for someone with Alzheimer’s.

The caregivers know the patient as they are now, while a loved one knows them as they were yesterday. Caregivers don’t focus on what your loved ones could do, but on what they can do.

Alzheimer’s affects not only the patient but also the patient’s caregivers, who often become overwhelmed and isolated as the disease progresses in a loved one.

Finding help for caregivers has become more important.

Often caregivers become very isolated, especially as the disease progresses.

In the early stages of the disease, the patient are still able to handle most of his or her day-to-day activities, still understanding what is happening and able to share in the decision-making process.

These partnerships begin to become unequal in the middle stages. At this stage the patient loses certain memories. They may remember how to mow the lawn, but not how to turn on the mower, or completely forget about paying bills. It adds to the frustration for the caregiver, who is taking on more and more roles … there is a significant increase in stress.

As the disease progresses, it can be hugely difficult to leave the house because the patient behaves inappropriately in public. In fact, it is not uncommon for a caregiver to not leave the house in months, relying on others to pick up needed groceries and other items and drop them off.

Social lives change. If a couple used to play cards with friends on a regular basis, but now one person in that couple can no longer remember how to play, behave in public or even who the friends are, the ties to those friends loosen, especially if the caretaker often cannot find, or afford to pay, someone to stay with the affected spouse while the main caretaker leaves to shop or visit with friends.

Excursions also are often painful and disorienting for the Alzheimer’s patient, who now might not recognize the proper way to use silverware — if they even try to use it.

But caregivers are not alone and are encouraged to form partnerships with others — perhaps even other caregivers — to help handle the burden of caring for an Alzheimer’s patient.

Finding an outlet and finding time to stretch, dance, sing, write or any other relaxing or energizing activity helps.

For more information contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive
godanriver.com


All About Assisted Living Options – Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, February 02, 2017

Spring Arbor Assisted living, Greensbor, NCThe number of older Americans (65-plus years) is increasing by the minute. In 2014 they comprised 46.2 million, representing 14.5 percent of the U.S. population. By 2040 seniors are projected to make up 21.7 percent of the population. As these baby boomers retire from full-time careers and become empty nesters, their lifestyles will certainly change. As they age, their health and wellness needs will also change.

Unable or uninterested in living on their own, many will look for a residential senior community—there are many variables to consider. Some have a formal, traditional feel, while others may have a more relaxed, home-like ambiance. Some cater to a particular culture or religious preference. The centers themselves can be towering apartment buildings in urban centers, sprawling complexes in the suburbs, small cottages or more intimate communities catering to a small number. Populations can range from 20 people to hundreds of residents.

These communities offer many different amenities for residents, just as they offer differing levels of health care services. Personal preferences, in addition to an assessment by a medical professional, will help determine the type of community that fits an older person’s needs.

Independent living is perfect for those seniors who are still healthy and active. These residents typically do not need assistance with daily tasks. Instead they are looking to socialize, meet new people, and enjoy their senior years.

Assisted living residents are largely independent, but may need help with personal care such as bathing and dressing. They are mobile, and typically live in a studio or one-bedroom apartment. Their health is generally stable, so they do not need ongoing medical attention. This is a great intermediate step for seniors who need more help than family members can typically provide at home, but who don’t need the continuous medical care.

Nursing home residents are often bedridden. They generally have a single or semi-private room and receive 24-hour assistance from skilled nursing staff.

A Closer Look at Assisted Living

Assisted living centers should provide seniors with an environment that promotes accessibility, independence, quality of life, dignity, and personal choice. An ideal housing option for those in a transitional stage of aging, residents generally have continuous access to personal care, as well as nutrition and wellness services designed specifically for older adults. In these settings seniors can also enjoy social contact, security, and support while maintaining their independence. Common advantages of assisted living communities include:

Physical Fitness Programs
With the latest in gym equipment, swimming pools, group exercise classes like Tai Chi and Zumba, and personal trainers well acquainted with the needs of older adults, assisted living communities frequently offer opportunities for physical fitness that go far beyond what was available when the resident lived at home.

Social Activities
Living alone can be isolating, particularly after an individual retires, or has trouble driving. Getting out of the house is difficult; seniors lose touch with lifelong friends due to health and mobility problems. Social skills can atrophy if they are not used, causing anxiety when seniors do go out. Without meaningful interaction, the elderly can become withdrawn and even depressed.

In assisted living, residents can easily socialize with peers through planned, structured activities like field trips to museums, zoos, farmers’ markets, shopping trips to local malls and stores, and cultural events both on and off-campus. In common areas seniors may meet for game nights, poker or bridge, movie nights, or special interest groups like scrapbooking or gardening clubs.

A Safe Living Environment
For seniors to be safe in their own homes when their physical health begins to decline, the house itself may need significant modifications, such as shower railings, expanded doorways and bathrooms, or medical alert systems. Assisted living facilities are designed for safety and accessibility. They can also provide immediate help in case of an accident.

Intellectual Stimulation
Recent studies conclude that older adults who remain intellectually engaged throughout their golden years —through reading and study—have healthier brains. This can significantly delay and/or reduce the cognitive effects of aging. To serve this need, many assisted living communities provide a wide range of lifelong learning activities, from computer classes and book clubs to art classes. Many facilities even offer lectures from visiting scholars and other professionals.

Supervised Nutrition
Several factors contribute to the problem of poor nutrition in seniors. Living alone, many may find it unappealing to cook for one, and it’s challenging for family caregivers to monitor whether their loved ones are receiving the necessary nutrients.

Some lack transportation to the grocery store. Appetites can also lessen as we age—either naturally, or due to side effects of various medications. And many people simply don’t like eating alone. They may have trouble following specially prescribed diet restrictions and with less interest in meals, they may indulge in unhealthy, ready-made snack food instead of preparing well balanced meals. They then may eat in front of the TV for company.

For those who like to cook once in a while, many assisted living centers offer kitchenettes, so residents have the option of preparing an occasional meal in their apartments. But in general, communities provide three nutritionally balanced meals, served in a communal environment. They also offer healthy snacks throughout the day. With good company for meals residents generally eat better, keeping them healthier. Dietitians in senior living communities can also design meal plans specifically for those with medical restrictions.

Home Maintenance and Housekeeping
Mowing the lawn, climbing a ladder to change light bulbs, shoveling snow, pulling weeds, vacuuming—caring for a home is a lot of work. As we grow older, routine maintenance becomes more difficult, repairs are delayed, and general housekeeping needs are sometimes overlooked.  Living in a senior community, residents are not only assured that their surroundings will be clean and well cared for, they decrease the risk of injury in trying to keep up with these tasks. (To satisfy a green thumb, residents are often invited to adopt a small garden plot.)

Even renters have to be proactive about their homes if something goes wrong. They need to contact a landlord if there are plumbing, electrical, or other problems in their apartment, and often they must follow up on repairs. For homeowners, it can be more complicated because in aging homes there are more systems and appliances that can break down. In assisted living, residents don’t have to worry about repair responsibilities. If something doesn’t work properly, they simply need to alert a caregiver or member of the maintenance staff and the problem will be addressed, at no extra cost. There’s no worry about the senior letting in a stranger to fix a leaky sink, or being taken advantage of by unscrupulous contractors and repair people.

Transportation
When an elderly person begins to struggle with driving, the loss of transportation can be a hardship. Not only are they losing their independence, they must rely on friends and family to shuttle them back and forth to appointments. Fortunately, most assisted living facilities provide transportation services for shopping, routine outings, as well as special appointments.

Help with Activities of Daily Living
Family caregivers are often responsible for assisting with the tasks of daily living for an elderly relative, such as bathing, dressing, general hygiene, ensuring medications are taken on time. In other cases, the family employs a home care aide to assist with these activities. Both of these options can place emotional and financial strain on the family. In contrast, one of the basic cornerstones of assisted living is helping older adults with these activities, so that they can continue to live as independently as possible.

The Rewards of Independence
Being able to maintain one’s independence is tremendously valuable—and sometimes that requires accepting help from caring professionals. Assisted living gives seniors access to an active and rewarding lifestyle while meeting their specific physical and medical needs.

For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive
Magazine