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Senior Assisted Living Blog



Assisted Living Communities Need to Keep Residents Active and Engaged

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Spring Arbor, NC, VAOne of the challenges for senior living communities is helping residents maintain physical strength and to stay engaged in everyday life activities. Inspired by existing HHHunt wellness initiatives, our Senior Living team members developed a new wellness program tailored specifically to residents in Spring Arbor assisted living communities. The Wise & Well program helps residents keep their brain engaged and their body active!

How does it work? Spring Arbor is partnering with local rehab providers in each market to develop a customized plan for each resident who wants to participate in the program. What differentiates Wise & Well from other senior living initiatives is the local focus and holistic approach that includes physical fitness and core/balance strengthening, brain fitness, mind/body classes, health education lectures and even games and contests and fun incentives.

Top priorities for many seniors who participate in Wise & Well include developing core strength and improving balance and ambulation to help minimize falls. “The wellness programming is about empowering our residents to stay as independent as possible and in control of their lives.

We'd like to share the success of a Spring Arbor resident who had a Below Average fitness score (compared to others her age) in September 2017 and after six months enrollment in Wise & Well had progressed to an Average fitness score. Another resident is experiencing far fewer falls since beginning regular fitness programming in the Fall. He never misses exercise class and with his increase in strength and endurance, is once again able to regularly participate in his favorite community outings!

The program was introduced in Fall 2017 to three communities. Since its rollout, these communities have seen the Wise & Well program positively impact their residents and improve resident quality of life. Six more Spring Arbor communities have now begun wellness programming and the plan is for all communities to have Wise & Well in place before the end of 2018.

“This program has been a life-affirming success and we’re excited to continue introducing it to all of our Spring Arbor communities and residents,” added Stempel. “After all, when you feel good, you’re much more likely to be active and involved in the life of your community.”

We truly believes it’s how you live that matters and part of enjoying an enhanced quality of life means staying active and engaged. We’re excited to see the Wise & Well program expand! For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive

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Knowing When It's Time for Care

Joseph Coupal - Friday, September 21, 2018

Spring Arbor - VA, NCKnowing when to make the move to senior living can be confusing because sometimes life is bumpy for everybody, at every age. How do we know if the concerns are definitively age-related and it’s time for an even more support?

What to Watch For

One sign that it is time for assisted living is when typical household logistics become overly burdensome, like basic cleaning, yard maintenance and even taking care of plants. Maybe moving around the house gets to be difficult, especially if there are stairs. And when driving stops feeling totally safe. Also, it’s possible hygiene tasks start slipping. Lastly, keep an eye on too much time spent in their favorite chair – like long sleeps. We all like to be comfy, but it’s a problem to stay in a cozy place to the detriment of things that need to get done around here.

Another sign that maybe it’s time for a move is a shift in memory sharpness. Maybe your loved one got lost in a familiar place. Maybe they are missing medications, or perhaps too many scheduled doctor visits get forgotten. Perhaps the electricity bill slips by without getting paid. There could be an increase of excuses for things forgotten, and rise of frustration about being confused. And have meals been missed regularly? These are all normal occurrences when people age and it just means it’s time for more help.

Also, watch out for choices to isolate. We need our people! Although, sometimes when challenges pile up, we shy away. Maybe visits with friends happen less often, or there’s a withdrawal from social activities that used to be fun. Or even an increase of complaints about socializing.

Lastly, consider shifts in emotional regulation. Is there an increased use of alcohol or pain pills? Have you noticed extreme decisions? Maybe there’s been an over accumulation of consumer items that makes you think of hoarding or other obsessive patterns.

If you see any of these things going on with your loved one, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive

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National Assisted Living Week Celebrates Family

Joseph Coupal - Friday, September 14, 2018

Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TNIt’s National Assisted Living Week and we’re excited to celebrate families and caregivers, our wonderful residents and their loved ones! ‚ÄčEstablished by the National Center for Assisted Living more than two decades ago, National Assisted Living Week provides a special opportunity to recognize the important role of assisted living in America.

We believe in the power of family and that family includes the people who care for us. That’s why our Spring Arbor team members focus on personalized and compassionate care. Those team members become an extension of our residents’ families. Everyone has the right to live, love and discover enjoyment in each day, regardless of the abilities that have been lost to dementia. Everything we do is built around this understanding, from daily activities to specialized art and music programs to the healthy and delicious food served. After all, HHHunt is guided by the philosophy that it’s how you live that matters.

So, how can you celebrate National Assisted Living Week? It’s easy! We encourage you to thank someone you know who cares for seniors. A simple message of kindness – whether in person, on the phone, with a card or even in a text message – can be powerful. Thank you for all you do!

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

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Questions to Ask Memory Care Homes

Joseph Coupal - Monday, September 10, 2018
Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SCTouring memory care residences, it’s best to collect facts and also trust your intuition or “gut feeling.” Here are questions to ask when you visit a home.
  1. How is the memory care center secured? This question relates not so much to safety from intrusion, but a resident’s safety against exiting the facility. Protecting the residents against “exit-seeking behaviors” is a main benefit of a memory care center. Most facilities have their entrances locked 24/7 and keep any elevators for staff and visitors carefully monitored as well. In some facilities each resident wears a bracelet with an electronic sensor. Additionally a resident can have a personal security alarm on his or her bed and/or wheelchair. A personal security alarm can alert a staff member in case a patient tries to stand up without remembering that they require assistance.

  2. When do residents get exercise and fresh air? Memory care homes need to guard against exiting, but ideally the residents have a secure outdoor area for getting fresh air and recreation. Circular paths for walking, both inside the facility and outdoors, are common in the best facilities for dementia patients.

  3. Does the facility have structured daily activities? Structured activities led by skilled nurses and therapists can greatly improve a person’s quality of life. In the best facilities each day has a full programming calendar. For example, residents might get art therapy, bake bread and cookies, sing, and visit with a therapy dog. The facilitated activities are designed to help keep residents’ minds active and lessen symptoms of decline. This sort of memory care might also help slow the progression of dementia.

  4. Are psychiatric and psychological services provided? Many memory care centers have staff or visiting specialists to help with residents’ psychological needs on a one-on-one basis. These caregivers can provide therapy and help patients establish or adjust a medication regimen as their disease changes.

  5. Do physicians and other medical specialists visit the facility? Such visits can make life easier by eliminating the patient’s need for transportation to a clinic.

  6. What training do the caregivers receive? Ideally a registered nurse will be on duty 24 hours/day, as residents could have medical emergencies at any time. Ask for the hours of skilled nursing, and also ask about the training that personal caregivers receive. What are the criteria for getting hired? How are staff trained once hired?

  7. What is the ratio of staff to residents? Memory care costs more than standard nursing home care partly because a higher ratio of staff to residents is needed for safety and comfort. Ask for the staffing ratios for daytime and night.

  8. Does each resident have a customized care plan? Alzheimer’s and related diseases develop differently for everyone, so the best care for dementia patients is highly personalized. It’s also good to ask whether residents are grouped by cognitive level.

  9. What is the discharge policy? Residents of a senior facility, like residents of any mainstream apartment complex, can be evicted. This might happen if the resident becomes physically aggressive or otherwise disrupts the community. With memory care patients, disruptive behaviors are more likely regardless of the residents’ temperaments when they were more “themselves.” Be sure to ask how the staff is trained to respond in case your loved one or another resident exhibits disruptive behaviors, and get a full understanding of the center’s policies for discharge.

  10. What type of care is the facility unable to provide? Understanding the center’s criteria for involuntary discharge can help you understand what sort of care they cannot provide. Also be sure to understand whether they’ll be able to continue caring for your loved one if he or she becomes bedridden or needs to use a wheelchair. You might also want your loved one to live at a facility that uses sight, sound, and other senses for memory therapy. Some patients would also benefits from Parkinson’s therapy and other specific care options.

For more information on memory care, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive

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How to Find the Best Senior Living

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TN Transitioning a loved one to a senior living community can be a difficult decision. We understand this dilemma and that is why the experts at our Spring Arbor communities are here to help! With so many senior living choices and communities available, how do you select the best option for your loved one?

Finding the right community takes time and research. Below are some questions to ask when visiting a senior living community to help you make an informed decision:

What type of daily activities and events are planned?

Speak to the Activities Director to learn more about their approach to mental stimulation and social interaction, as both are important factors in sustaining positive mental health. Ask for a copy of their monthly calendar to see what types of activities are offered on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. In addition, ask about their community amenities and what makes this senior living community different from all the others.

How do you make residents and loved ones feel welcome?

Look closely at the community and people as you tour. Do the residents and team members look happy? Do they smile and say hello? It’s important to be observant and take the time to talk to residents and team members about their experience at the community.

Is your community up-to-date on annual inspections?

Check that the community has a valid license, history of state inspections and website information – including how often it’s updated. In the United States, individual care communities are licensed through the state’s department of health. The department of health can provide background information as well as any violations and/or complaints.

Are there financial benefits that my loved one is qualified for at your community?

If you have never considered long-term senior care before, seeing the price may instantly shock you. According to Forbes, the median annual cost of long-term senior living care was $45,000 in 2017. However, there are many financial benefits for which your loved one may qualify. For example, veterans are eligible for the Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit and many seniors qualify for Medicare. It is important to research to see if you or a loved one qualifies for any financial resources.

Senior Living

We believe it’s how you live that matters, and in the end, it’s about the care, the teamwork of the staff, and the overall happiness of residents in senior living communities that matter. A couple of great resources to learn more about searching for senior care is the National Council on Aging, Where You Live Matters, and contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive

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