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Senior Assisted Living Blog



Happy New Year from Spring Arbor

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, December 28, 2017

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAHappy New Year from Spring Arbor. We would like to thank our patients, friends, family, and community for allowing our business to be part of your lives in 2017. We wish all of you a wonderful and prosperous 2018!

If we have had the pleasure of being your choice for senior living care, we hope that we provided the highest level of customer service, patient care, and met all of your needs. In the coming months if you find yourself in need of the services we offer, we hope you choose us again in 2018.

It is our sincere wish that in the New Year you are surrounded by warmth, family, and friendship and that 2018 brings you good health and prosperity. From all of us here at Spring Arbor we hope you have a safe and exciting New Year.

“We all come home, or ought to come home, for a short holiday – the longer, the better…” ~ Charles Dickens

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Aging Parents and Holidays: Look For These Red Flags

Joseph Coupal - Monday, December 18, 2017

Spring Arbor, Greensboro, NCVisits with aging parents often are a wake-up call this time of year. Perhaps you haven't seen your loved ones for some time and when you do, it's startling. Aging can be a gradual process for some but for others, the changes accelerate so fast it shocks those who haven't seen them in months.

If you visit your aging loved one, notice these five things. Any one of them is a red flag. It can be a warning to you that help is needed and a serious discussion is mandatory if you want them to stay safe. Don't wait for your loved one to bring up a need for help. Too often, they can't face it and are in denial. Many older people are terrified at the thought of being "put in a home" which they see as a form of imprisonment. Loss of control over their lives is the fear. Those living alone are especially vulnerable as day-to-day, no one is watching. When you see one or more of these signs, it's time to step in.

1. Unusually unkempt appearance. Forgetting to comb one's hair is one thing. By itself, it may not mean much. But dirty clothing, lack of basic hygiene, failure to notice grooming and personal appearance are a deeper problem. If a parent was always fastidious and you see a change, don't dismiss it as unimportant. It is a signal that something has changed.

2. Inability to track the conversation. An aging parent who was, in the past, able to participate in a discussion about current goings on or any more serious subject and now can't keep up or follow what is being said is showing you signs of cognitive decline. There may be several explanations for this, but it is not normal and not "just getting old". Normal aging does not cause us to lose intelligence.

3. Repeating one's self over and over again. Older people start to lose short-term memory when dementia is developing and short term memory loss is a classic sign of cognitive impairment. If your loved one keeps asking the same question you just answered or tells the same story six times an hour, you have a warning that could mean dementia is in process. Your loved one needs a doctor visit to check it out. If you can, accompany your parent so accurate information can be given the the examining doctor.

4. Unsteady on her feet, recent falls. If your loved one seems wobbly on her feet and is holding onto the furniture to get around in the house, you are seeing a big red flag. Falls are unfortunately common among elders and are often the trigger that leads to injury, hospitalization and loss of independence. Perhaps she needs a walker or cane. An evaluation by her physician and a physical therapist can avoid what your aging parent dreads most: losing the ability to be on her own.

For more information on senior living communities for aging parents contact Spring Arbor.

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forbes.com


How to Handle Parents' Signs of Decline

Joseph Coupal - Friday, December 15, 2017

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VA Earlier this week in our blog we gave signs to look for when visiting aging loved ones this holiday season. Today we are addressing how to handle those signs of decline.

The issues explained previously are the four most common signs of age-related decline that long-distance caregivers experience during visits with their loved ones, but there are others to look out for.

While you may want to keep things light during the holiday season, do take this opportunity to address any red flags that you observe. Collect any necessary information while you are in town to avoid added frustration and confusion in the event of a crisis down the road.

The Initial Conversation

First, have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one about their present circumstances and both of your concerns. Suggest making an appointment with their primary care physician for a complete health assessment. The results of this evaluation will help you both determine what next steps are necessary to keep your loved one safe, happy and healthy.

Identify Supportive Resources

If possible, pay a visit to the local Area Agency on Aging or department of human services for information on resources and services available in your loved one’s community. It may be difficult to get in touch with these offices around the holidays, but it is still worth reaching out, leaving a message and researching the services they offer.

Sit down with your loved one to create a current list of people they interact with on a regular basis. This list should include friends, neighbors and clergy whom you trust to keep an eye on your loved one and can contact in the event of an emergency. Double check their addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses, and be sure to share your own contact information with them.

Prepare a To-Do List

Now is the time to begin compiling a to-do list to be implemented over a period of future visits. There are three categories to this list: medical, legal and financial.

You’ll want to develop a complete medical record for your loved one, including their health conditions, prescriptions and their doctors’ names and contact information. This is extremely helpful for you to have on file, and your loved one can keep a condensed copy on hand for both routine appointments and medical emergencies.

A financial list should contain all of a loved one’s property ownership, debts, income, expenses, and bank account and credit card information. Should you need to assume control of their finances over the short or long term, this list will help minimize confusion and ensure all their bills are paid on time.

The legal aspect of this to-do list is possibly the most important. There are vital documents that must be obtained to ensure you can access your loved one’s medical information, make health and financial decisions in case they become incapacitated and administer their estate. If they have not already done so, it is crucial for your loved one to meet with an attorney to draw up medical and financial power of attorney documents and a will. You should have access to these documents and other important information, such as their social security number, Medicare information, insurance policies, the deed to their home, and their driver’s license.

These preparations may seem excessive, but it is better to be over-prepared than caught off guard when a loved one’s care needs suddenly increase. Throughout this process, remember to empower them to control their own life as much as possible. You may receive some resistance, but remind your loved one that sharing this information and pursuing supportive resources will enable them to remain independent and safe in their own home and give you added peace of mind as you return home from your holiday visit.

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

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agingcare.com


Signs to Look for When Visiting Aging Loved Ones this Holiday Season

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Spring Arbor, Greensboro, NCOf the estimated 34 million Americans who provide care to older family members, 15% live an hour or more away from their care recipient. This means that a significant number of caregivers rely on regular telephone conversations and check-ins by other closer-living relatives to gauge an aging loved one’s well-being.

Unfortunately, age-related decline can happen quickly, and in many cases, seniors are skilled at concealing new and worsening problems. For many of these families, holiday visits are the only opportunity for them to observe a senior in person, so it’s important to pay close attention to their physical and mental health and their living situation.

During this year’s holiday gatherings, be sure to look for the following warning signs that a loved one may need some extra help at home.

Weight Loss

One of the most obvious signs of mental or physical ill health is weight loss. Possible causes could be cancer, dementia or depression. Seniors may also experience reduced energy, which can make it challenging to shop for and prepare a nutritious meal and clean up afterwards. Furthermore, all this effort can seem especially unnecessary if they live and eat alone. Certain medications and aging in general can also change the way food tastes. If weight loss is evident, talk to your loved one about your concerns and schedule a doctor’s appointment to address the issue.

Changes in Balance and Mobility

Pay close attention to the way your loved one moves and how they walk. A reluctance to walk, changes in gait or obvious pain during movement can be a sign of joint, muscle or neurological problems. If your loved one is unsteady on their feet, they may be at risk of falling, which can cause severe injury or worse. If you notice changes in their mobility and coordination, make an appointment with their doctor to discuss options to keep them safe and mobile, such as pain management, physical therapy and mobility aids.

Emotional Well-Being

Keep an eye out for changes in your loved one’s moods and behavior. You can’t always gauge someone’s emotional state over the telephone, even if you speak daily. Look for signs of depression and anxiety, including withdrawal from social activities, changes in sleep patterns, loss of interest in hobbies, and changes in basic home maintenance and personal hygiene. The latter can be an indicator of dementia or other physical ailments like dehydration, which often happens to elders in the winter months and can be serious. If you notice sudden odd behavior in your loved one, such as confusion or agitation, be sure to seek medical attention. These are common symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI), which is prevalent in seniors and easily resolved with antibiotics.

Home Environment

Attention must also be paid to a senior’s surroundings. For instance, if you discover excess clutter and piles of unopened mail while visiting, it indicates a problem. Take a walk-through of their home while you’re visiting to see if they are keeping their house to the usual standards. Be aware that sometimes the signs of trouble are a bit subtler. Scorched cookware could indicate that your loved one forgets food on the stove or in the oven, and an overflowing hamper could mean they don’t have the strength and/or desire to do laundry. Check the expiration dates on their prescriptions and over-the-counter medications and try to determine if they’re taking their medications as prescribed. You know your loved one and their habits best, so go with your gut if something seems off.

Later this week in our blog, we’ll discuss how to Handles Signs of Decline.

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

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agingcare.com


When Your Aging Parent Does Not Want to Move

Joseph Coupal - Monday, December 04, 2017

Spring Arbor - Richmond, VAIt can often be very difficult when a parent in need of care refuses to leave their home. There are no magic strategies or tricks for persuading an aging parent to move, but adult children should ask their parent to "indulge" them by visiting an assisted living facility.

One psychologist says, "most of us are more likely to change our position and lifestyle if such a transformation is of our own choosing.” “Placed under duress to change, we typically resist, regardless of the soundness of the other person's advice."

And when a parent continually refuses to entertain the idea of moving? The child needs to back off for the time being. But don't give up; seek other ways to raise the issue again.

Unfortunately, sometimes things have to get worse to get better. It may take the parent falling, being spooked, or having the electricity turned off because they forgot to pay the bills for the realization to dawn that they can no longer safely reside in their home. Even then, it may take the strong urgings of health care providers and extended family members for the parent to accept the inevitable.

If the parent begins to show signs of warming up to the topic, you need to emphasize the parent's right of self-determination but also urge action. Structure the conversation in the following way:

Tell your parent: 'I can't make decisions about how you should run your life. It would make me feel better, though, if we could go together to look at some possible assisted living facilities so that you're better informed about what choices are available. Would you be willing to humor me in that way?

If there is a willingness on the parent's part to visit an assisted living residence, you should proceed immediately to set up visits at local senior care homes and point out that most of these facilities will allow an aged individual to try living in them for a week or a month before the person has to decide whether to sell his house and stay in the facility or return home. Experts say that can be the extra bit of comfort that can make the difference for many hesitant seniors.

For more information on assisted living homes, contact Spring Arbor.

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APFM