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Recognizing Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease - Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 17, 2016

Have you ever gone into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, and then forgot what you went into the kitchen for? You see dirty dishes, start to tidy up, take something out of the freezer for dinner, then try to remember why you came into the kitchen to begin with? This is a normal part of functioning and aging.

Dementia, on the other hand, means going into the kitchen to make coffee and not remembering the steps or how to operate the coffee maker.

Warning signs of dementia include memory loss that disrupts daily life, difficulty in completing familiar tasks, confusion with time and place, decreased or poor judgment, challenges in planning or solving problems and withdrawal from work or social activities.

Early diagnosis is the key. It’s important to get a diagnosis. What you are experiencing may not even be dementia. It might be something that can be fixed. If a dementia diagnosis is made, there is still some time to improve diet and exercise habits, the earlier the better as these can improve the quality of life. If a diagnosis is made early, there is still time to make or review financial, health care and end-of-life plans. It is possible to make decisions for care that can be carried out as the dementia progresses. Most importantly early diagnosis means there is still time to do the things you like and want to do. This may be traveling, spending time with family, volunteering, or running a marathon. Medications are available to moderate symptoms and provide time to do the things you enjoy. The medication does not, however, alter the course of the disease.

People in early stages of the disease have learned to live with memory loss and still maintain productive lives with family and friends. It is important to gather with other people with memory loss for support, to share experiences and identify needs to maintain engagement in order to contribute to family and community.

For more information on memory loss and dementia care, contact Spring Arbor.

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missoulian.com


Finding an Assisted Living Facility Takes Time – Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Friday, October 14, 2016

If a family has made the decision to move an elderly loved one into an assisted living facility, the next decision is just as important: which one to choose?

Choosing a facility is a decision that only can be made by family, but some questions to ask when researching and visiting an assisted living home can help to make an informed decision.

Often, the No. 1 question is how much it will cost.

If you haven’t looked at assisted living before, seeing the price is kind of a sticker shock.

The first question families should ask is whether the facility has levels of care and if those levels require an additional cost.

Are there levels that define the care acuity, such as if they need assistance showering, going on the toilet or assistance dressing. Some facilities do have extra charges.

A lot of families ask about Medicaid coverage for assisted living. There are Medicaid-accepted assisted living facilities, but not all facilities will take Medicaid, so it is important to ask at each location.

Another question that is asked a lot is about activities and how residents are transported to off-site activities. Ask to see activity calendars and food menus.

It is common for family members to feel guilty about placing a senior in an assisted living facility and they often look for a facility that is modern looking and high end. Don’t let guilt cause families to worry too much about superficial aspects of the building, however you do want a nice building that is light, airy, modern, has a good feel, and is well-maintained.

It’s about the care, the teamwork of the staff, and the care given to the resident. Don’t worry about a place that is 20 years old compared to a new building down the street.

As much research as possible should be done before reaching a decision, including going online to a reputable source, talking to organizations such as the National Council on Aging and visiting local senior centers.

Take as much time as you possibly can, both when researching online and hopefully when spending time in the community itself. It’s not a decision to rush into and you should be as best prepared as you can.

Also do spot checks of the facility.

After seeing the facility, stop back in and see how it is again. Look behind the door. A lot of time, if you schedule a tour, there’s a specific activity going on, but you don’t know what’s going on at say 6:15 p.m. on a Tuesday. Do a spot check, do two of them and have another family member go, too.

Also, take as long as needed on a tour. Don’t let the community decide how long the tour is. You should go in with your own time frame.

For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.

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clevelandjewishnews.com


Baby Boomers are Redefining Senior Living – Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Today's American seniors are used to living in a world that caters to them. All their lives, they've been able to purchase exactly what they needed, when they needed it, and they expect similar accommodations as they move into the later years of their lives. Better yet, they have a larger discretionary income than any previous generation, which means that they have the means to pay for the services they want.

Each day, more than 10,000 individuals hit the age of 65. These baby boomers are redefining the face of senior living every day with their improved definition of life after retirement.

The healthcare and social assistance sectors are now among the largest in the United States, and thanks to baby boomers reaching retirement age, the number of physicians needed for elderly care likely will double or triple in the coming years. These changes are expected to significantly alter senior services and care for generations to come.

For years, baby boomers have denied that they are going to get old. Now, the defiant generation finally is thinking about the future — especially where and how to live.

Below are some finding on the various senior living industries and the expected effects of this generation of retirees.

Assisted living and skilled nursing

With so many more seniors in America, the demand for high-quality assisted living and skilled nursing never has been greater. For today's senior, the move to a senior living community isn't about medical necessity; it's about a choice of lifestyle.

Many assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities now make it their aim to appeal to this new generation of seniors, adding amenities and programs that appeal to different lifestyles or that accommodate a wider range of hobbies and activities. Currently, nursing homes are funded primarily by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, but shifts in policy indicate that more residents will be paying for their own care, just as most independent living and assisted living residents do — meaning that the nursing homes have to be able to measure up.

Baby boomers can't be offered a one-size-fits-all solution. The baby boom generation invented the idea of mass customization, and that's what its members are looking for in an assisted living community or SNF. They're expected to begin critically assessing senior living and nursing homes, lobbying for improved services and care — and more privacy. In nursing homes, for instance, experts assert, boomers will demand availability and responsiveness from physicians and insist on having a psychiatrist on staff to watch for signs of depression. In addition, many will emphasize integrated recreation with qualified counselors and activities that stimulate the mind and body. In short, baby boomers are looking for high-quality services and care that fit all of their needs, and they won't settle for less.

Continuing care retirement / life plan communities

Thanks to the changing trends and new needs of baby boomers, continuing care retirement / life plan communities are considering how to redefine their services for the future.

Baby boomers have an overall mindset of “I'm too young to live in a place like this.” The benefits and luxuries often seen at life plan communities — full-size gyms, trained chefs who have studied at top cooking schools, numerous activities, interiors that have been decorated by professionals — are designed to provide independence and all the amenities and social activities that baby boomers could ask for while still leaving them with the security that assisted living and nursing home care will be available if it is needed.

Outside of life plan communities, many multimillion dollar independent living communities have been built to accommodate the wants and needs of the new generation of seniors. This group tends to embrace an active retirement, with many boomers planning a move to age-focused communities while they can still enjoy themselves, instead of waiting until a move is medically necessary. Today's 55-and-older communities feature everything from entertainment areas with video games and computers to state-of-the-art gyms with personal trainers and activities.

Aging in place

More and more seniors are choosing to age in place, remaining at home (wherever home is, including independent and assisted living apartments) as long as they are physically able to do so. In their minds, aging in place allows for more freedom, safety and comfort while promoting healing, giving aging adults continuing control over their own lives, and creating a healthier and happier lifestyle. The senior can remain in his or her existing community and reduce fears that independence is being lost.

The aging-in-place movement has opened up a variety of needs and services. Single-family homes often must be redesigned to accommodate seniors' increased health needs. They need technology and medical services that consider both their needs and their wants. Those include accommodations for in-home caregiving, principles of green building, and eliminating preconceptions that aging in place needs to be like living in a hospital.

Of course, independent and assisted living apartments designed with older adults in mind are built with necessary features or are built in a way that more easily can accommodate features that residents may desire.

Many other “silver industries” also have arisen: certified aging-in place specialists, geriatric care managers, senior relocation specialists, senior concierge services, home healthcare agencies and a vast array of technology services. As technology improves, many individuals predict more services steadily being offered to allow seniors to remain at home even longer.

It's an exciting time for seniors.  They have access to a vast amount of information online, and they're taking advantage of it to acquire the services that they want and need for themselves.

For more information on luxurious senior living communities and assisted living apartments where you can age in place, contact Spring Arbor.

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mcknightsseniorliving.com


Sun Downing and How to Help Fight It - Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Alzheimer’s Association indicates that close to 20 percent of people with Alzheimer’s disease will experience what is often referred to as “sun downing.”

This behavior often presents itself through an increase in anxiety and agitation that usually begins late in the day. It can also lead to pacing and wandering. In reviewing some of the literature it appears that there is no specific cause of the late day change in behavior. However some factors that may exacerbate this unsettled behavior include the consequences of disrupted sleep patterns, namely fatigue and day/night confusion. Dusk results in reduced lighting and increased shadows that can be quite disorienting. As well, thinking that someone or something is present when not can be quite frightening.

While there are some medications to help to treat the discomfort associated with sun downing, there is, fortunately, increasing research pointing to additional options to help manage symptoms. During the past few years, the medical and non-medical health care professionals involved in care decisions have discovered that a number of non-medication interventions may be very effective and helpful without the risk of medication side-effects.

It can be beneficial to watch for triggers that may contribute unsettled behaviors. For example, might mom or dad be hungry, have some pain or discomfort, need to use the bathroom or be troubled by being in a poorly lit room? Many health-care professionals recommend trying to limit daytime naps and late-day caffeine along with a doing one’s best to follow a daily routine. Many people with dementia prefer a calm environment with minimal distractions. Therefore if a loved one seems uncomfortable, then it may help to as best able, help to redirect him or her and or change the environment such as switching the phone to silent, turn off the television along with keeping the multitasking to a minimum.

Some other suggestions to help minimize feelings of agitation might include a gentle hand massage, spending time with a pet, listening to a playlist of familiar songs, looking through photo albums, spending time outside or planting flowers. Engaging in a familiar activity with a loved one or a small group may also prove to be enjoyable. When preferred, participation in a group activity of the individual’s personal interest can evoke pleasant memories along with providing them with a huge plus, most specifically, the opportunity to socially interact with others.

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

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daytondailynews.com


Alzheimer’s Diagnosis is Expensive for Famiy Caregivers - Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, September 23, 2016

Costs often exceed other types of elder care.

As the world marks Alzheimer’s Day on Wednesday, a new survey shows just how costly the disease can be for family caregivers.

A Caring.com poll released this week found that families caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia tend to spend more of their own money on caregiving expenses than those looking after an older person without dementia. Some 18% of caregivers to loved ones with dementia spent $20,000 or more on caregiving expenses in the past 12 months, compared with 11% of caregivers to loved ones without dementia.

Caring for Alzheimer’s patients and other elderly relatives can weigh heavily on peoples’ careers as well as finances, explaining why both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are proposing new benefits for family caregivers.

More than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, a devastating type of dementia with no cure and no lasting treatment. The disease takes an enormous toll on families, emotionally, physically and financially. It devours their loved ones and, in the process, can swallow life savings whole.

“I felt like a money machine, but it was my mom and it was what I wanted to do,” says Dayna Steele, chief caring expert for Caring.com and author of Surviving Alzheimer’s With Friends, Facebook, and a Really Big Glass of Wine, whose mother had Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s becomes more expensive as the disease progresses and the needs of patients mount. People eventually need round-the-clock care, making it very difficult for them to remain safely in their homes. The national median cost of a nursing home is $82,125 for a semi-private room and $92,345 for a private room.

Medicare does not cover so-called custodial care, which is what patients with dementia generally need the most—that is, help with eating, bathing, dressing and other basic daily activities. So those costs must be paid for entirely out of pocket unless the patient’s assets are depleted and she or he meets strict qualifications for Medicaid.

All too commonly, caregivers don’t have the full picture on their loved one’s finances, and it’s tough to put the pieces together once a patient’s memory starts to slip.

Advice: Quit avoiding the conversation. While it’s hard to talk about money and potential future incapacity, it’s even harder to deal with silence around the topic.

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

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MONEY


How to Prevent Alzheimer's Disease – Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Monday, September 19, 2016

There’s plenty not to love about being middle-aged. But by the time today’s forty- and fifty-somethings reach the age when they may develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia (one in 20 people develop dementia under 65 but above that age a person’s risk doubles roughly every five years), it’s likely we’ll know more about its early signs and probably have drugs to treat it before it even shows symptoms.

Perhaps even more heartening, increasing evidence shows that dementia is not inevitable. This week, scientists at Harvard published research on an elite group of retired people, dubbed ''super agers’’, who have brains that resemble those of people a third their age, which could provide vital clues about how to prevent declines in memory.

Studies are studying how biomarkers in people aged 40-59 may help predict changes in cognitive function, are set to confirm this further.

“In the next 10 years we’re going to get more and more evidence about the things people can do to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia,” says Craig Ritchie, professor of the psychiatry of ageing at the University of Edinburgh who is leading the trial.

“Our aim is to be able to take any given individual and say, 'Well your risk is X per cent and here are the things you can personally do to help prevent it.’ ”

So, what do we know?

Forget Sudoku and learn a language

Brain stimulation, not brain training, is essential in preventing cognitive decline. The key to the former is social interaction.

“Chatting, being socially interactive with friends and in a work environment is probably what lights up your brain more than anything else. I often get asked, 'I do lots of crosswords and Sudoku, will that protect me from dementia?’”

But the evidence now suggests that taking up new hobbies and interests that challenge you are more beneficial. “So, if you’ve done crosswords your whole life, learning to play the piano at 65 is going to have more benefit on your cognitive health than keeping doing things you have always done.”

Build your cognitive reserve

Protecting the brain against dementia is all about building cognitive reserve – the connections within the brain network.

As we age, the brain shrinks and these connections weaken but the bigger your cognitive reserve is, the longer you’ll last before suffering memory problems. Stimulating the brain with certain behaviors help to maintain cognitive reserve.

Someone with high cognitive reserve would be someone with a mixture of high education, a complex lifetime occupation and high levels of social engagement in old age.

The more of these factors you have, she says, the more protected you may be – if you develop a bit of cognitive impairment, it will take longer for it to turn into dementia.

In July this year, occupational scientists at the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre in Wisconsin graded jobs according to how much intellectual engagement they provide. They found those less associated with the development of Alzheimer’s in later life were those that worked in complex jobs involving other people.

While lawyers, social workers, teachers and doctors were best protected, those who enjoyed the least protection included shelf-stackers, machine operators and laborers.

Aspirin and the brain

Aspirin

Some studies have suggested long-term use of aspirin is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s. One Swedish study found that women over 70 who took low-dose aspirin because they were at high risk of heart disease were found to have better memory and cognitive function after five years than those who didn’t.

Now, the biggest study into the effects of aspirin on the heart and the brain is set to confirm the link.

“Aspirin acts to reduce the risk of blood clotting and therefore heart attack and stroke, and both of those two things are associated with measurable effects on cognitive function,” says Jane Armitage, professor of clinical trials at Oxford University who is leading the research. Results are expected in 2018.

In the meantime, remember aspirin can have side effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhagic stroke, so talk to your doctor to see if it will benefit you.

Should I take fish oils?

Although small studies such as one, published in 2014 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, have found that supplementation with omega-3 helped slow the decline of cognitive function on those with Alzheimer’s disease, no substantial studies have yet affirmed the link.

So the jury’s still out, but it does look like eating fish regularly, particularly oily fish such as salmon or mackerel, as part of a balanced diet is good for overall health, including brain health.

Healthy body, healthy brain

The same processes that cause heart attacks and strokes are also associated with the development of dementia. Of the seven key risk factors for the development of Alzheimer’s – high blood pressure and obesity in mid-life, diabetes, smoking, low levels of physical activity, low education and lifetime depression – five are associated with a higher risk of heart disease.

So the lifestyle factors that help the heart – avoiding smoking, keeping to a healthy weight and taking regular exercise – can also maintain cognitive function.

Evidence suggests the ideal diet to prevent dementia is a Mediterranean-style one rich in polyunsaturated fat from nuts, seeds and fish, vegetables, fruit and grains (and small amounts of red wine).

Meanwhile, all the scientists said moderate exercise as the number one factor that could help prevent the onset of dementia. And it doesn’t even have to be very hard.

Just try and move more, from taking a 20-minute walk on most days to having a swim. 'Doing a sport is particularly helpful as it also involves social engagement, which is hugely important.

(A little) red wine is fine

News to pop a cork over came out when scientists found that consuming one to three glasses of bubbly a week might help prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.

They claimed the phenolic compounds present in pinot noir and pinot Meniere – two of the grapes used to make champagne – had the ability to increase spatial memory, improve cognitive function and promote learning and memory retention.

Although the champagne study was done on rats, Prof. Ritchie says that while high levels of drinking are undoubtedly damaging to the brain, there is some evidence suggesting small amounts of red wine, in particular, may help.

Experts advise sticking to the government recommended limit of 14 units spread over a week – equivalent to six pints of beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine.

For information on Alzheimer's care, contact Spring Arbor.

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The Telegraph


HHHunt Opening Assisted Living Cottages in Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, September 09, 2016

One of the biggest homebuilders in the Richmond area has added to its assisted-living portfolio with the purchase of a stalled project in western Henrico County.

HHHunt purchased the property at 10601 Barbara Lane earlier this week through federal bankruptcy court. It plans to complete construction and open the facility in December or January as Spring Arbor Cottages of Richmond.

“This really is a nice complement to our current portfolio,” said Rich Williams, HHHunt’s senior vice president of senior living management.

The facility was built for memory care, catering particularly to patients with dementia, including Alzheimer’s. Consisting of three buildings or small houses, with a circular design, it has 16 apartments in each building and private bathrooms for residents.

The design of the facility was especially appealing to Henrico-based HHHunt. They provide memory care services in that small-house model that enables them to provide a totally different service that’s unique to the industry.

Spring Arbor, HHHunt’s senior living division, has another senior living facility about 2 miles from the Spring Arbor Cottages of Richmond. Having this small-house campus right around the corner really expands their platform.

For more information on assisted living that is unique and just like home, contact Spring Arbor.

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richmond.com


“Keep Connected” During National Assisted Living Week - Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, September 07, 2016

National Assisted Living Week is September 11-17, 2016.The 2016 theme is “Keep Connected,”  through family, friends and technology we can enhance the care and overall experience in assisted living communities.

“Keep Connected” acknowledges the myriad ways assisted living staff and supporting business partners are revolutionizing the care provided in these communities through innovations in technology.

But it is about more than technology. Assisted living reminds us that sometimes the best relationships are formed face-to-face. For many staff members, residents become family, and this bond can never be broken. Meanwhile, assisted living communities are an integral part of the larger community. Staff cultivates connections with local families, business owners, government organizations, community organizers and others to ensure that residents remain an active part of where they call home.

For more information on  an assisted living community that keeps connected, contact Spring Arbor.

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www.ahcancal.org


Assisted Living Homes: What you Didn’t Know – Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Monday, August 29, 2016

If you’re just beginning your search for a senior community to care for a loved one, you may not be entirely clear about what an assisted living community means.

1. What Assisted Living Provides

Because there is no nationwide definition for assisted living senior communities that call themselves assisted living facilities can offer differing levels of care. They offer a less-expensive, residential approach to delivering many of the same services available in skilled nursing, either by employing personal care staff or contracting with home health agencies and other outside professionals.

Not all assisted living communities are equal. Some provide lighter care, and some can even provide care for those who bedridden or who need help eating while still remaining in assisted living as opposed to a nursing home. It often depends on the community’s licensing. Many states have a tiered system of licensing whereby communities with a higher degree of licensing are able to provide more care.

2. Each Community Has a Unique Personality

Care aside, the look and feel of communities varies as well. Some communities have a more formal, traditional design sensibility, while others may have a more home-like, down to earth ambiance. Assisted living communities come in all shapes and sizes. Every assisted living community has a different personality. You can visit two communities down the street from one another that offer the same care and services, they may even look identical to one another, but that feel very different. Just because your loved one didn’t like one community, doesn’t mean the next one won’t feel right.

There’s no nationwide standard size, but assisted living communities are licensed to care for at least 20 people, but many communities have hundreds of residents. Smaller communities usually offer a homelike atmosphere while the larger communities offer an abundance of interest clubs, recreational opportunities, and acreage for recreation.

3. Yes, You Can Bring Your Pet

Senior living communities have different pet policies with specific weight limits and breed restrictions, so it’s important to do your research. Make sure to contact your communities of choice and ask about their particular pet policy.

4. Assisted Living Costs are Lower Than You Think

Assisted living is often less expensive than home health or nursing home care in the same geographic area. According to a survey, the national average rate for a one-bedroom apartment is approximately $3,300 per month. While 86.2% of assisted living residents pay from their personal financial resources, 41 states offer “home and community-based waivers” that allow low-income residents to live in assisted living.

Additionally, more seniors are purchasing long-term care insurance to help plan for and finance their long-term care needs. Wartime veterans and their spouses may eligible for VA benefits that can offset the cost of care.

5. Assisted Living is Not Synonymous with Nursing Homes

Many families believe they need they need nursing homes for their ailing older loved one when in fact assisted living is the most appropriate option. An assessment by an Advisor or medical professional is the best way to determine the care type needed, but some general distinctions can be drawn between assisted living and nursing homes. For instance:

  • Assisted living residents are mainly independent but may need help with daily living personal care tasks such as bathing and dressing, while nursing home residents tend to need 24-hour assistance with every activity of daily living
  • Assisted living residents are mobile, while those who are bed ridden require nursing homes
  • Nursing home residents generally have a single or semi-private room, while assisted living residents typically live in a studio or one-bedroom apartment
  • Nursing home residents require fully staffed, skilled nursing medical attention on a daily basis, while assisted living residents are more stable and do not need ongoing medical attention

6. Culturally Diverse Options

An increasing number of assisted living communities are designed to meet the unique cultural, religious, dietary and language-based needs of local populations.

Some communities offer multiple cultural, religious and dietary options.

As America simultaneously diversifies and ages, we’re bound to see an ever increasing demand for niche retirement communities.

7. Assisted Living Dementia Care

In 2012 there were more than 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia who required specialized dementia care treatment. Many assisted living facilities offer dedicated Alzheimer’s memory care programs for residents which are designed to decrease wandering, agitation and improve their quality of life. Generally residents with early stage Alzheimer’s or dementia can live among the regular population of assisted living residents, but when the condition becomes advanced, residents are then transitioned from the regular assisted living section to the memory care area. Memory care is specialized assisted living that’s secure to protect residents, that has staff specially trained to care for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and that have other design and caregiving adaptations for the comfort and safety of memory-impaired residents.

For more information, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive
A Place for Mom


What Assisted Living is Really Like? Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, August 18, 2016

Many people are unclear of what life in assisted living is like these days; especially if they have predisposed notions that communities are synonymous with institutional nursing homes of the past. Families may not be entirely clear about what an assisted living community means — especially in today’s world with state-of-the-art amenities, chef-inspired cuisine, occupational and physical therapy, field trip outings and most important; a staff of expertly trained professionals who care for residents.

Many families are deeply affected by their elderly loved ones’ transitions to assisted living. It’s not only a highly emotional time, but also a time when decisions are expedited for quick moves resulting from declining health. Here is some insight to help families going through this emotional turmoil.

Some older adults really blossom in assisted living, mainly because assisted living often provides a lot more social activity — and even a family — for those who were lonely and even somewhat isolated in their home environment. This is especially true of older adults who had previously been having difficulty leaving home due to physical or cognitive limitations. Assisted living’s medication management services can also be very helpful, and sometimes I see seniors improve a lot medically simply because they begin taking their medications consistently.

It’s important for families to visit and get a feel for a community to see whether it’s a good fit for their loved one’s personality and level-of-care needed. It’s not the amenities, it’s the emotional and expertise that’s important. Communities are also looking at ways to improve not just providing good care, but also exceeding customer service expectations and improving the lives of seniors through research and advocacy means.

How Assisted Living Has Changed Over the Years

In most states there is better, cleaner, operational regulation and more adept staff training requirements. There has been a huge shift in the consumer. Families and seniors themselves are more comfortable with senior care communities as a clear method to potentially postponing nursing home care, which was not the case, years ago.  The concept of resort-style living is becoming more attractive to active seniors.  A really nice shift has been a decrease in the level of skepticism, and increase in the trust.

Today there is also a plethora of activities and amenities, in addition to state-of-the art care from medical and therapist professionals, including:

  • Barber and beautician services
  • Book groups
  • Dining and food services
  • Gardening clubs
  • Housekeeping and laundering services
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Scheduled transportation services to outings outside of community
  • Theater outings
  • Wellness and physical fitness, catered to individual needs, including: Catered fitness regimes, Water aerobics, Walking

It’s important to consider whether your loved one would want to participate in the events and amenities in the community, if their basic needs are met. After all, unless the senior is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, the mind of a 90-year-old in assisted living hasn’t aged; just the body has.

What Assisted Living is Like Today

Assisted living depends on the professionals at each community. The good and forward thinking providers and companies have created senior condo-like settings where care is provided discreetly, on a resident’s own schedule, inside their own apartment or home, and by consistent staff.  Daily schedules are different for each resident, and should be, as they are catered to individual needs. That alone shows how the trend in care has shifted to each individual.

The Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

Activities of daily living (ADLs) are the tasks necessary to participate in a senior’s daily care. Assisted living associates are trained to supplement where a resident has weaknesses, and to not do the tasks for them, but to help them. Life tasks include two areas:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Feeding
  • Grooming
  • Using the toilet independently
  • Walking and getting around

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLS):

  • Finances
  • House Cleaning and Chores
  • Meal Preparation
  • Shopping
  • Transportation
  • Using the Telephone

In assisted living, many of the IADLS are handled by either the community or a relative of the resident. Each community has their own system, so it’s important to find the options that work for each family’s unique situation.

Care professionals become like family for the residents and they come to rely on them for their daily activities, whether it’s dressing them, helping them shower, or simply bringing them the right types of meals or newspaper articles for their morning routines. Staff at communities become a part of each resident’s life. They can even become family who are missed if they’re on vacation or leave.

Why Emotional Connections with Staff Are Important

Families, without exception want communities to care for their loved one the way they do. They want to be asked personal questions, and they want to share family stories. They want to trust care staff, and any associate working in senior care should be attempting to gain that trust once it is earned. Staff becomes part of the family, and an integral conduit of communication, support, and guidance.

Family and staff and resident interaction is what most families respond to when they visit. It’s a palpable energy when the community is working in synergy, which is why the emotional connections are so important.

For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.

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A Place for Mom