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Questions to Ask when Looking for Memory Care

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 21, 2018

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAWhen it comes to finding the right memory care community for your loved one, questions about the costs and services provided may come to mind. But, memory care communities offer a range of services, some of which might be more important to your loved one than others.

If you are considering memory care for your loved one, understand that many assisted living communities offer a special memory care unit (SCU) on a separate wing or floor. Or, you can choose an independent memory care community – just remember that memory care is specialized skilled nursing distinct from assisted living. Care costs are generally higher at these communities, even if the memory care unit is part of an assisted living facility.

Regardless of whether you choose a memory care facility or SCU, know that staff members have received special training to assist people with dementia or impaired cognition. Common services include 24-hour supervised care, medical monitoring and assistance with daily living tasks, in addition to a pleasing environment that is easy for residents to navigate.

Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Memory Care Community

As you search for memory care communities, you will eventually come up with a list of your top choices. It is important to take time to tour each one, if possible. Ask questions of staff and other families whose loved ones reside at the community, to determine if the community is the right fit for your loved one.

Here are some questions that you may want to ask memory care communities you’re considering:

  1. What level of care does the community provide?
  2. What type of training has the staff received?
  3. What is the monthly rate for housing and care? What services does that rate include?
  4. Are rooms private or semi-private? How do prices vary for each?
  5. What level of personal assistance can residents expect?
  6. What is the policy for handling medical emergencies?
  7. How is the community secured?
  8. What meals are provided? Are special dietary requests, such as kosher meals, accommodated?
  9. How often are housekeeping and laundry service provided?
  10. What programs (exercise, physical therapy, social and other activities) does the facility offer?
  11. Does the facility accommodate special care needs, such as diabetic care, mobility issues, physical aggressiveness or wandering?
  12. Are residents grouped by cognitive level?
  13. What is the ratio of staff to residents during the day/night?
  14. How does the facility communicate with families about a resident’s well-being?
  15. What is the discharge policy?

Families making care decisions about loved ones far away may want to make sure they know where a community is located and perhaps consider travel costs.

Having an Advocate in Your Search

If you need help finding assisted living or memory care for your loved one, A Place for Mom’s Senior Living Advisors can help you devise a plan and offer local expertise on the communities available in your area. Think about talking to friends and others you may know who have gone through this decision-making process. Their insights can help you in your search and give you much-needed support in what can be a very trying time for your family and your loved one.

For more information on memory care, contact Spring Arbor

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alzheimers.net


How to Prepare for Alzheimer’s Care

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 14, 2018

Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TNAlzheimer’s disease is challenging for everyone; for the person diagnosed and for the loved ones who will be caring for them. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is difficult, but with knowledge and support you can better navigate and determine eventual Alzheimer’s care options.

Early stage Alzheimer’s care preparations

It is better to do some Alzheimer’s care preparations sooner rather than later. At first, it may be hard to consider these questions because it means you have to think about your loved one suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. But being prepared early provides a smoother transition for everyone. Include the person with Alzheimer’s in the decision-making process as much as possible or at least try to act on what their wishes would be.

Questions to consider in preparing for Alzheimer’s and dementia care:

Who will make healthcare and/or financial decisions when the person is no longer able to do so? If your loved one is still lucid enough, getting their wishes down on paper means they’ll be preserved and respected by all members of the family. Consider meeting with an elder law attorney to best understand your options. You’ll want to consider power of attorney, both for finances and for healthcare. If the person has already lost capacity, you may need to apply for guardianship/conservatorship.

How will care needs be met? Sometimes other family members assume that a spouse or nearest family member can take on caregiving, but that is not always the case. Caregiving becomes more challenging over time. The person will eventually need round-the-clock memory care. Communication is essential to make sure that the needs of the Alzheimer’s patient are met, and that the caregiver has the support to meet those needs.

Where will the person live? Is their home appropriate, or is it difficult to access or make safe for later? If the person is currently living alone or far from any family or other support, it may be necessary to relocate or consider a facility with more support.

For more information on Alzheimer’s care, contact Spring Arbor.

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Helpguide.org


Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Those with Dementia

Joseph Coupal - Friday, May 11, 2018

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAMother’s Day is here. For those whose have mothers with Dementia or who have moms living in a memory care home, it may be challenging to think of gift ideas. Below are a few suggestions of great gifts for people living with dementia:

  • An Ipod filled with all her favorite music along with comfortable headphones
  • Framed family pictures
  • Scrapbooks of your Mom’s life, work, and awards
  • Photo albums of fun family pictures
  • Taped readings or poetry
  • Scented lotions and a back rub
  • A favorite dessert baked just for her
  • A drive around town
  • New pillow, sheets or comforter
  • Soft lap blanket or throw
  • Large print books
  • Soft fuzzy slippers or cozy pajamas
  • A leisurely stroll through a favorite place, some place of meaning from her past
  • A Memory Box filled with mementos of interest to her
  • Jigsaw puzzle with less pieces and larger pieces
  • Window garden
  • Video of a family gathering

And remember, the love and support you give your Mom throughout the year is the greatest gift.

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Considerations For Retirement and Senior Living

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Spring Arbor, Greensboro, NCA lot of preparation goes into retirement — 401(k)s, IRAs, downsizing. In the midst of maximizing your savings and planning for the future, it is crucial not to lose sight of the bigger picture, like where you plan to live. Making sure your home is equipped for your specific needs can be quite the undertaking. Here are the most important things seniors need in a home for retirement.

Location, location, location

With most of life’s big decisions, location is key, but even more so when you are basing those decisions on your golden years. The location of where you live should seamlessly integrate into the lifestyle you want. Are you within quick access to good health care? Is being near a hub airport important to you and your visiting family members? Would you prefer to avoid cold winters? These are all questions you should answer prior to choosing a senior living community.

Make sure you have an open floor plan with wide hallways

As frightful as it may be, living in a place with a wide open floor plan and handicap accessible hallways is imperative. The chances are high that at a certain point you or your partner will need those wide hallways for wheelchair accessibility or a walker, and the last thing you want to deal with is having to move again. Take the floorplan into consideration before making a move.

Be sure everything is easily accessible

To avoid completely relinquishing your daily tasks such as laundry, cooking, dishwashing, and even showering, move to a community that will accommodate your needs. Senior living communities are outfitted for aging residents to comfortably complete daily tasks. That includes step-in showers and eye-level appliance setups.

Avoid stairs

Stairs will likely turn into the bain of your existence. Purchasing a single-level home will take away a lot of the stress and anxiety associated with your daily routine, plus you won’t have to install any expensive lifts to get you up and down those pesky stairwells.

For more information on senior living, contact Spring Arbor.

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cheatsheet.com


Mother's Day Gift Guide for Senior Moms

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 03, 2018

Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SCStill unsure what to get Mom for Mother’s Day this year?

Most children know it's not how much you spend. Moms enjoy receiving thoughtful, meaningful gifts —no matter how old they are.

When choosing a gift for an older mother, keep in mind her needs, capabilities and living situation. If she's moved into a senior living community and has a studio or one-bedroom apartment, she probably doesn't need any more knick-knacks. That could be true even if she's living at home since older moms have had years to collect memorabilia and decor.

Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What needs can you meet with a thoughtful gift?
  • Is there a treat or fun item Mom would never buy for herself?
  • Does the gift fit with your mom's lifestyle and living situation?

We’ve rounded up some options that can help make Mom’s life easier and allow for some much-deserved pampering.

Bag Balm has provided skin care products for more than a century, so the brand just may evoke memories for Mom. Bag Balm makes lip balm, soap, lotion and other moisturizing products that help treat dry, chafed or sensitive skin.

Since the product hasn't changed much through the years, moms who remember it may appreciate receiving this gift all the more. It’s another reliable option for last-minute gifting, available at Walmart and many major pharmacies.

You can't go wrong with a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book on Mother's Day, says licensed psychotherapist Lisa Hutchison. The brand publishes a variety of books, which makes it easy to customize your gift to fit your mom's interests.

Hutchison, who’s also a contributing writer for the series, suggests the series’ For Mom with Love edition, which includes 101 inspiring stories specifically for mothers. The volume includes a story she wrote about her mother's positive approach to life after a stroke.

Author Breeda Miller points out that "many senior moms are now caring for their 90-plus-year-old mothers themselves." That puts older moms in a position that can be exhausting, with little time for themselves.

Miller's book, "The Caregiver Coffeebreak," provides resources to help caregivers take those much-needed breaks and care for their older loved one. "I have written a little book I wish I had when I was my mother's caregiver," says Miller. The book itself is easy to slip into a purse, so caregivers can take it with them as they run errands or transport their loved one to medical appointments.

TimerCap provides an easy way for anyone to see when they last took a pill. The device replaces the cap that comes with a typical prescription pill bottle, and each time the bottle is opened, a stopwatch clock on the cap restarts.

TimerCaps come with space for writing the appropriate dosages, so the user knows exactly how many hours they're supposed to wait between taking pills. This item is an inexpensive, easy way seniors can increase medication compliance. It can be found at drugstores including CVS and Walgreens, making it an easy last-minute Mother's Day gift that can bring both you and Mom peace of mind about remembering her daily medication.

No matter where your mom lives, if she's also a grandmother, you can delight her with a customized book from I See Me. "My Super-Bestest Grandma" is an adorable picture book printed with the name of your child (or children) and the appropriate moniker for your mother (whether it's Grandma, Nana, or something else).

It's not just a cute gift to adorn the bookshelf. A customized book that your mom will love reading with the featured grandchildren can also provide the gift of quality time.

The chest access hoodie is a collaborative project from Care+Wear and Oscar de la Renta. Care+Wear CEO and co-founder Chat Razdan says the company's design team worked with patients and clinicians at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center for their input to design a comfortable, attractive hoodie that helped make medical treatments easier for patients with a chest port-a-cath or central line.

Choose from three sizes and two colors to gift Mom a comforting wearable for treatment days. As an added bonus: a portion of the sales is given to cancer patients on an ongoing basis.

When senior moms are suffering from dementia, it can be difficult to find an appropriate gift. One option might be a customized stuffed animal from My Petsies. According to My Petsies, studies indicate that patients with mid-to-late stage Alzheimer's continue to feel deep emotions associated with memories they made with their pets, and stuffed animals have been shown to bring comfort to dementia patients.

My Petsies creates custom stuffed animals that look like someone's previous or current pet to better foster that comfort.

Limited mobility doesn't have to keep Mom at home, and upgrading her walker can give her the confidence to stay active within her social circle or community. The Motivo Tour walker is one option that’s made to enhance posture to reduce back and neck pain. It also comes with options such as cup holders, storage compartments and a sturdy tray that can hold a laptop or dinner plate.

From customized stuffed animals to specialty clothing and medication reminders, gifts that bring comfort, joy and functionality to Mom in 2018 are sure to be great choices. Choose something from this list, or any gift that simply says how much you care.

For more information on caring for senior parents, contact Spring Arbor.

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seniorhomes.com