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

Senior Assisted Living Blog

Pat Summitt: Comments on Life and Her Battle with Alzheimer’s

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Legendary Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt, who died Tuesday morning, was known for her memorable quotes, many of which shed light on her leadership style and work ethic. Here's a look back at some of the ones she'll be remembered for.

On how to win:

"Here's how I'm going to beat you. I'm going to outwork you. That's it. That's all there is to it." — Summitt in her 1999 book "Reach for the Summit"

On tradition:

"I remember every player — every single one — who wore the Tennessee orange, a shade that our rivals hate, a bold, aggravating color that you can usually find on a roadside crew, 'or in a correctional institution,' as my friend Wendy Larry jokes. But to us the color is a flag of pride, because it identifies us as Lady Vols and therefore as women of an unmistakable type. Fighters. I remember how many of them fought for a better life for themselves. I just met them halfway." — Summitt in her 2013 book with Sally Jenkins, "Sum it Up: A Thousand and Ninety-Eight Victories, a Couple of Irrelevant Losses, and a Life in Perspective"

On discipline:

“Discipline helps you finish a job, and finishing is what separates excellent work from average work.” — Summitt in "Reach for the Summit"

On setting goals:

“It’s harder to stay on top than it is to make the climb, Continue to seek new goals.” — Summitt in "Reach for the Summit"

On her fight with Alzheimer's:

"Competition got me off the farm and trained me to seek out challenges and to endure setbacks; and in combination with my faith, it sustains me now in my fight with Alzheimer’s disease." — Summitt in a news release announcing her 2013 memoir


Alzheimer’s Caregivers Need to Care for Themselves As Well – Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Simple things often bring the greatest joy. A person with Alzheimer's or dementia can still experience delight. Joy is good for caregivers, too, making us more resilient and increasing well-being.

Start with a good foundation

Take care of yourself to bring your best to the stressful role of caregiving. Stay connected to family and friends and spend time apart from caregiving. Understand and appreciate your loved one’s past and personality. Protect his dignity and be aware different stages of Alzheimer’s require different approaches. Offer choices and adapt to the situation to reduce stress and help your loved one stay calm.

Be in the “moment”

A Buddhist monk said, “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” Simple things, like slowly eating a good meal and noticing the aroma, appearance and taste of your food, can be joyful. Talk about what you notice with your loved one and direct his attention to his own senses. If your loved one reminisces about the past as if it were the present, join him there. What did he enjoy about that time?

Find joy wherever possible

Move at your loved one’s pace, notice what he’s focused on and see it from his perspective. Tell jokes and funny stories and take advantage of impromptu fun. Find joy in the moments when you see glimmers of the person you knew. Rhythmic activities support calm in people with dementia and may bring back enjoyable experiences from earlier times in their lives. Involve your loved one in ordinary activities, like sweeping, folding clothes, or shuffling cards.

Be grateful

Take time to note what you’re grateful for and do this with your loved one, as long as he can participate. Keep a journal and be specific. Celebrate via the activities you can still do together, such as dancing and singing to music you both love. Keep expectations reasonable and appreciate your loved one’s current capabilities.

Touch can bring joy

Touch is elemental; it is how we first connect with our mothers, long before words. Simple touch helps caregivers and loved ones stay connected, especially as the disease increases the difficulty of communication. Aim for soothing, calming, and reassuring touch.

Movement feels good

People with dementia enjoy physical activity, especially in the disease’s early stages. They also benefit from the better sleep and sharper cognitive abilities exercise brings. Simple outdoor games, yoga, and walking are good options.

Experience nature

Spending time outdoors can reduce anxiety and stress levels. Plant flowers together in pots or raised planters and notice the smells, sights and textures of the experience. In winter, make peanut butter birdseed pinecones and hang them in a tree or on a feeder which can be seen from inside the house. When the birds feed, crack a window to hear their twittering.

Because caregiving is a draining task, it is important to get help and rest. Mentally nourished caregivers have a better chance of finding fulfillment in simple everyday living and leading a loved one to find their own joy.

For information on dementia or memory care for your loved one, contact Spring Arbor.


When is it Time for Assisted Living? – Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

It may be a stressful time when the decision is made, but the choice to relocate into assisted living might be best for one’s health and well-being.

Certainly, most would like to continue enjoying the independence of home ownership, the ability to care for themselves as well as the upkeep of a home. Unfortunately, age catches up to most people, and because most seniors eventually require assistance with activities of daily living, assisted living is usually required.

When is the right time for assisted living though? Usually, the primary caregiver will begin seeing the signs.

There are countless everyday tasks that most take for granted. Consider preparing meals, cleaning the house, doing laundry, grooming and paying bills. If someone is having a difficult time with these tasks, assisted living should be considered to make everyday life much better.

Similarly, are some tasks being neglected? If you see piles of laundry or dirty dishes, spoiled food in the fridge and unopened bills, change is probably needed soon.

Has your Mom or Dad had some recent injuries that they told you about, or worse yet, do you see bruises on their body but they aren’t willing to tell you how they got them? This is definitely a sign.

Take a good look at your loved one when you get the chance. Look for any significant weight loss, which could mean that they aren’t eating well. How does their skin and hair look? How do they smell? Are they bathing regularly?

Find out how they’re spending their days at home. Are they sitting around alone and never getting outside to interact with others? Isolation can prove devastating to one’s health, while a retirement community allows them to get the help they need while living with their peers and enjoying fantastic amenities, so it’s a win-win.

For more information on assisted living for your mom or dad, contact Spring Arbor.


When is it Time To Move To Assisted Living? Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, June 09, 2016

As adult children watch their parents get older, it can be tough to know when it’s the right time to make the move to assisted living. Some signs may be more obvious than others, but the key is to listen to your gut.

While it may be a son or daughter’s instinct to trust their parent when they say they’re eating and taking their medication, in this situation, simply asking questions isn’t always enough.

Open the refrigerator. Is it filled with food? Look at the food — is the milk expired, is the bread stale? Are their medications placed haphazardly? If they’re using a medication box, look at it. If it’s Tuesday and all the meds are still there, that’s a sign.

Another sign to look out for is memory problems, which could be an indication of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

You know your parents best, so you have to trust your gut, and that’s a hard thing.

Rather than waiting for something to happen that forces the move to assisted living, it is important to be proactive instead.

Take that first step and see, what is assisted living? What does it offer, what does it cost, how does this work? So at least in your mind, you have an idea.

Even if the move to assisted living isn’t necessary right now, assisted living communities often offer wait lists for potential future residents so that when the decision becomes imminent, it’s not a panicked last-minute effort.

Start exploring that option so that when something happens — because usually something’s going to happen — you’re prepared. Once that incident happens, where a fall happens and a hip is broken, they get pneumonia, they aren’t eating…you start to lose control. You start being forced to make decisions, emotion takes over, and you’re not thinking clear. So the more informed you can be prior, the better you’re going to be.

While some people may still picture an assisted living community as a “skilled nursing” home with seniors lining the halls in wheelchairs, this is not the case.

It’s a community, it’s a social model, it’s seniors that are choosing this alternative. Adult children need to go and look so that when they present the option to their parent, at least they have an understanding.

For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.


Assisted Living May Trump Living Alone – Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, June 02, 2016

While remaining in the family home is the top choice for many, research from AARP and MetLife Mature Market Institute shows that it may not be the best option for the family budget, overall happiness or quality of life in our golden years.

Many people don’t want to make the move into an independent or assisted living community and will fight to stay in their family homes as long as they can. This makes sense as people feel they lose their independence when they succumb to moving to a community. But this simply isn’t true anymore, as baby boomers have reinvented assisted living. Many independent and assisted living communities have expanded their market by providing convenience and retirement services, and may trump living alone. Learn more.

Assisted living is not just your grandma’s nursing home, despite what many people think.

Today there are a myriad of amenities in many assisted living communities, including barber or beauty services, gourmet dining and spas. Through these services as well as social activities, many seniors are finding that today’s independent and assisted living communities provide convenience, happiness and improved quality of life.

Here are four reasons why making the move to an independent or assisted living community may be the right choice for you or your loved one:

  1. It Can Be Less Expensive: Keeping up a family home can be costly, especially on one fixed income. The cost of repairs and utilities — from temperamental appliances, to a leak in the roof or plumbing wear and tear — can all add up. According to MoneySense magazine, a single person needs to earn about 70% more than someone living in a couple to cover typical home expenses. Buying in bulk to save money also usually doesn’t work for a single person as food goes bad and storing items may not make sense.
  2. Manners and Civilized Behavior Are Kept In-Check: The old adage, “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” can even be used in a social sense. Manners and civilized behavior can start to deteriorate if you’re always alone, left in a funk or begin to feel depressed. In this way, community interaction is good. Involvement in the community makes people feel like they’re contributing to society, simply because, well — they are. Independent or assisted living communities offer many outreach programs to keep seniors involved in the community, whether they’re working with kids, businesses or nonprofit organizations. Having a connection and contributing feels good. And especially for senior citizens to help them not feel ‘out-of-touch’ in the world.
  3. There’s More Opportunity for Physical Activity and Stimulation: Assisted living communities offer many programs to keep their seniors active, from endurance and strength-building workouts that are catered to senior citizens — to water aerobics and gardening. Staying active in a fun, organized group settings can help seniors treat arthritis, keep their circulation flowing and keep their bodies engaged in healthy living.
  4. There’s More Socialization: Let’s face it. Being alone in your house is less social than living in a community surrounded by many others your age with similar interests. As people age, inevitably, they get less social as they no longer need to go to work or have the desire to plan continual social events. Independent and assisted communities do all the planning for you!

For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.

A Place for Mom