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Senior Assisted Living Blog



Paying for Memory Care and Assisted Living Residences

Joseph Coupal - Monday, March 25, 2019
Spring Arbor, NC, VA

Assisted living specifically for persons with Alzheimer’s or other dementia is called “Memory Care”. Financial assistance for memory care comes from a variety of sources. Medicaid, through a state’s HCBS Waivers will pay for memory care or at least for a portion of the individual’s memory care costs (Medicaid will not pay for room and board in memory care homes). Be aware that Medicaid-funded memory care is not an entitlement like nursing home care. Rather enrollment is limited and wait lists are common.

The Veterans’ Aid and Attendance Pension is another popular program that helps pay for memory care for war-time veterans with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. This program also assists the surviving spouses of war-time veterans. Veterans-Directed Home and Community Based Services (VD-HCBS) is another potential source of financial assistance for memory care. While VD-HCBS will not pay for assisted living directly, these programs will pay for an outside caregiver to come to an assisted living residence and provide assistance with the activities of daily living such as bathing and grooming.

Loans for memory care exists. However, these are only relevant to persons awaiting another source of funding such as when one is waiting for a VA Pension to be approved or waiting for a home to sell.

Some states provide financial assistance for memory care from their general fund (as oppose to through their Medicaid programs). However, these states are limited, enrollment in the programs are limited and the amount of financial assistance they provide is limited. One should not expect any state program to cover the full cost of memory care. Also, traditional assisted living / memory care may not be covered. You can find information on North Carolina by clicking here.

For more information, contact Spring Arbor.

Source: dementiacarecentral.com


Frederick Maryland’s Newest Senior Assisted Living and Memory Care Community Soon to Open!

Darren Kincaid - Friday, March 22, 2019
Spring Arbor of Frederick

Get ready for the grand opening of Frederick Maryland’s newest Assisted Living and Memory Care Community! Spring Arbor Senior Living is proud to announce the planned May 2019 opening of our 23’rd senior living and memory care community. With over 50 years’ experience in the senior living and memory care industry, Spring Arbor Living’s entire existence is focused on our company mantra that it is (and always will be) “how you live that matters!

Located at 10 N East St in Frederick, Spring Arbor of Frederick Maryland’s assisted living and memory care community boasts all the innovations that 50 years of senior and memory care experience brings. You and your loved ones will enjoy spacious apartments and a highly dedicated, experienced, and certified staff who specialize in senior assisted living, Alzheimer’s, and dementia care. We invite any and all who seek senior assisted living and/or memory care services in and around Frederick to reach out to speak with us directly about the countless ways Spring Arbor empowers a truly unique and unmatched quality of life for our residents. Let us explain to you the basic truth to our approach to senior care….“Because it’s how you live that Matters”!

Call us at (301) 327-0991 or email us today! It will be our pleasure to speak with you.


How “Memory Care” for Dementia / Alzheimer’s Differs from Assisted Living

Darren Kincaid - Thursday, March 21, 2019
Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TN

Many of the same services are offered at assisted living residences as in memory care units. However, there are also several ways in which assisted living differs from memory care.

Physical Differences Between Memory Care and Assisted Living

Memory care is typically architecturally designed to meet the specific needs of Alzheimer’s patients. Unlike some assisted living facilities, memory care units do not have individual kitchens for their residents. This is to keep the stress of those with dementia at a minimum.

While some assisted living facilities do have secure areas to accommodate those with mild dementia, memory care units put an extra emphasis on security to prevent patients from wandering, which is common in those with more advanced dementia. Many locations offer a secure outside area, so that patients can still enjoy being outdoors, while being unable to leave the property.

Since individuals with dementia may easily become stressed and confused, a special emphasis on creating a relaxing environment is common in memory care units. This may be done by creating a place where residents can gather, such as a television room, painting the halls with bright, colorful paint, and featuring a lot of natural light.

Another common manifestation of Alzheimer’s disease is a lack of appetite, so some facilities may have a fish tank displayed in the dining room. This is because studies have found that something as simple as watching fish swim can stimulate one’s appetite.

Other Differences

Generally, safety checks are done more frequently in memory care units, and some residences even utilize tracking bracelets that will sound an alarm if a resident goes too near an exit. Memory care units also tend to follow a more rigid scheduling structure, since those with dementia can easily become stressed in unfamiliar environments and generally do better with routine.

It’s common for those with Alzheimer’s to have a lack of appetite, so memory care units put forth considerable effort to design meals to address this issue. This may be done by creating a contrast between the color of the food and the plate on which it is served so that residents can easily see their food or by offering flexibility with dishes.

Extra safety measures are also taken on memory care units to ensure the safety of their residents. Examples include locking up items that are poisonous, such as shampoo, laundry detergent, and mouthwash containing alcohol.

Skills / Training of Staff

In assisted living, staff is trained to assist patients with their activities of daily living, such as helping an individual to bathe and offering help with changing clothes. In memory care units, staff is also trained to assist with activities of daily living, as well as trained to handle the specific needs of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. This training includes understanding how the disease manifests, knowing why dementia patients may exhibit disruptive behavior, how to respond to it, and how to communicate with individuals with dementia.

Staff to Patient Ratio

For assisted living facilities, there currently is no nationally set guideline as far as what is an appropriate staff to patient ratio. This is left up to individual communities to determine the “sufficient” ratio to best meet the needs of their program and residents. (This may be governed by the state in which one resides). That being said, memory care units do require a higher staff to patient ratio in order to adequately provide the care needed for persons with dementia. An ideal staff to resident ratio is 1 staff member to 5 residents, but again, the staff to patient ratio is not nationally governed, and 1 staff member to 6 residents is commonly seen. It is worth noting that even in well-run, properly staffed memory care units, the needs of an individual resident may exceed what the staff can offer. In these situations, the family may be asked to pay for several hours of outside care assistance each day.

Total Number of Residents

Assisted living communities offer a number of options as far as size. There are small communities, medium communities, large communities, and even communities that house over 100 people. As with the size of assisted living communities, memory care units also range in size from small to large. The number of residents has little impact on cost. Some persons with dementia will feel more comfortable with a greater number of fellow residents and others with fewer. Families should choose accordingly.

For more information, contact Spring Arbor.

Source: dementiacarecentral.com


Assisted Living or Memory Care for Those with Dementia?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, March 14, 2019
Spring Arbor, Greensboro, NC

Even with help from community-based services and respite services, providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease (A/D) or dementia becomes more difficult with time. In later stages of the disease, many people will require more care and assistance than their family members can provide. Even for people who don’t need intensive hands-on care, safety may be an issue and they may not be able to stay home alone. Residential care options may be able to provide best for the needs of some individuals. However, these options are often considerations that caregivers and their families find difficult to plan for, or to even discuss.

Residential Care Options for Dementia

The natural progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as other forms of dementia, will result in the need for care for loved ones. Depending on one’s stage of Alzheimer’s/dementia, and his/her ability to function, the level of care and supervision that is required varies. For most families, this means some form of residential care. This is where assisted living, “memory care” comes into play.

Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living residences, such as continuing care retirement communities, are especially suited for those individuals in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia who do not have many medical problems, but who do need more intensive support for Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). Many people with dementia will need help with IADLs. These are activities that we perform from day to day that add to our quality of life, but are not as basic to self-care as Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). ADLs are the basic activities that we must perform every day in order to take care of ourselves. Individuals with dementia may also need help with these tasks.

The following tasks are considered to be IADLs:

  • Managing money (i.e., writing checks, handling cash, keeping a budget)
  • Managing medications (i.e., taking the appropriate dose of medication at the right time)
  • Cooking (i.e., preparing meals or snacks, microwave/stove usage)
  • Housekeeping (i.e., performing light and heavy chores, such as dusting or mowing the lawn)
  • Using appliances (i.e., using the telephone, television, or vacuum appropriately)
  • Shopping (i.e., purchasing, discerning between items)
  • Extracurriculars (i.e., maintaining a hobby or some sort of leisure activities)

Typically, ADLs refers to the following tasks:

  • Bathing (i.e., able to bathe without assistance in cleaning or getting into tub or shower)
  • Toilet Use (i.e., able to use the toilet and clean oneself afterwards)
  • Control or continence of urine and bowels (i.e., able to wait for the right time and the right place)
  • Dressing and grooming (i.e., able to button a shirt, choosing appropriate clothing)
  • Moving about (i.e., able to move in and out of a chair or bed, walking)
  • Eating (i.e., able to eat without having to be fed by another)

Those who are in the middle-stage of dementia require a greater amount of supervision and care than those in early-stage dementia, and for those in middle-stage dementia, assisted living is also a good option. In assisted living facilities, individuals generally live in a private studio, private apartment, or a shared apartment, and have staff available to assist them 24-hours / day. This type of living arrangement is ideal for those who are still able to live with some independence, but do require assistance with ADLs. Transportation to and from doctor’s appointments and social activities are also offered at assisted living facilities. In addition, assisted living facilities have dining halls where residents gather to eat meals.

Memory Care

For individuals with dementia who require a higher level of skilled care and supervision, memory care units are an ideal option. These units offer both private and shared living spaces. Sometimes they exist as a wing within an assisted living facility or nursing home or they sometimes operate as stand-alone residences. Supervised care is provided twenty-four hours / day by staff trained to care for the specific needs and demands of dementia patients. Memory care units offer the same services as assisted living facilities, in addition to activities that are intended to stimulate the memory of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and possibly slow the progression of the disease. Activities may involve music, arts and crafts, games, and more.

For more information, contact Spring Arbor.

Source: dementiacarecentral.com


Finding the Best Senior Living Community

Joseph Coupal - Friday, March 08, 2019
Spring Arbor, NC, VA

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.

A Spring Arbor 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. For more information, contact us.

#HOWYOULIVE


Choosing a Professional Alzheimer’s Care Community

Joseph Coupal - Monday, March 04, 2019
Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SC

Often, professional Alzheimer’s care might be the best option for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s. It may seem like a tremendously difficult decision, but ultimately it can be the most compassionate option when your loved one requires constant attention and it overwhelms your ability to manage the entirety of your life’s obligations.

You can ensure that the our Alzheimer’s care community is well-equipped, staffed, and treats our residents with dignity and respect. Choose your memory care community where you can pay visits regularly. An Alzheimer’s care community must provide an atmosphere that helps your loved one’s condition. Therefore, making the right choice is critical.

Nursing homes are different from Alzheimer’s residential care communities. Alzheimer’s care communities will cater to the condition of your loved one and their stage of disease.

A residential memory care community provides personal care assistance that includes washing and dressing along with food preparation. The caretakers are specially trained to care for people with Alzheimer’s.

Before you finalize selecting an Alzheimer’s care community, it’s a good idea to pay a visit to study the ambiance, the hygiene of the residents, and the manner of the care takers. The primary areas of concern in a professional care community are the rooms, the bathrooms, the care givers, the food, and the ease of access to medical facilities.

When you visit, watch the residents and gauge for yourself how well the residents are treated along with the quality of the facility and staff. The most important aspect is to check that the staff is respectful and attentive towards all residents. Alzheimer’s residents must be treated with dignity and respect at all times.

Moving into a professional care community can be very stressful for both your loved one and the entire family. When you make this decision, we’ll help you make sure that your loved one transitions as easily as possible.

For more information on Spring Arbor, contact us.

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