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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.

Hive Health Media


Looking for Assisted Livings? Ask Questions

Joseph Coupal - Friday, February 15, 2019
Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SC

Is an assisted-living community a wise choice? The answer is "yes," depending on the health and the needs of your loved one. But it takes careful selection and a well-run community.

Assisted living is designed to help those who need some help in order to continue to live independently; not those who need nursing home care.

How can families be sure to make a good choice for a loved one? First, assisted living regulations vary widely from state to state. This means it is important to ask questions, investigate and ask others about the homes you are considering.

If assisted living may be a future choice for you or a family member, here are some suggestions:

  1. Find out what regulations are in place in that state.
  2. Check state authorities to see if inspection reports are posted on line.
  3. Do your homework. Ask the hard questions.
  4. Visit the facility several times at different times of day.
  5. Find out the longevity of the staff, their training and ratio of staff to resident.
  6. Talk to residents.
  7. Send for AARP's checklist for visiting assisted-living communities.
  8. Check with an elder-law attorney before signing an admissions agreement.

For residents with dementia, know how the facility manages their care and safety. Understand what level of care is needed and how that may change with age. Assisted-living facilities often have limited medical staffs so for some seniors, a nursing home is the better option.

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

#HOWYOULIVE
New Haven Register


How to Find the Right Senior Living Community

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Spring Arbor Senior Living - Senior Living Community in Richmond, VA

The best way to find the right assisted living community is to visit one. Then another. Then another until you find one that is just right. And how do you know if it's right? Before you visit, think about these different aspects and questions. These questions will get you thinking about other questions.

What You Need to Know: Basic Facts About Assisted Living

It's important to know that “assisted living” is an industry term. It isn't strictly defined, and there's great variety in terms of assisted daily living services provided. Some but not all assisted living centers have 24/7 nurse staffing. The following facts about assisted living can help you understand the diversity. The more you know about possible differences from place to place, the better your odds of making a great move.

Cost is usually a top concern whenever people hunt for housing. Below we give details about assisted living expenses and how to pay for long-term care. But here's a good basic fact: Assisted living generally costs much less than nursing home care.

On average, the cost of assisted living per month is about $3,600. Nursing home care was more than double at around $7,700 for a private room and $6,800 for a shared room. Of course, $3,600 /month isn't small change for most — but if the price looks intimidating, stay strong. Prices vary by region and the services needed. Also, individuals and families find many ways to pay for assisted living without draining their resources.

Services with assisted living vary from place to place. State governments all have different industry regulations. Many states issue more than one type of license for assisted living facilities, resulting in different levels of care being allowed. Licensing also matters for payment to be covered by Medicaid, private insurance and other sources. Facilities with the most advanced licenses may provide advanced medical care when a resident becomes bedridden or has symptoms of dementia. Others might need the resident to transfer to a nursing home, hire a personal nurse, or choose in-home healthcare. Main categories of assisted daily living services (ADLs) are:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Medication Management
  • Meal Services
  • Transportation

Residents might also get help with housekeeping needs such as dishwashing, laundry and vacuuming. Examples of specialty services that might cost extra are hairdressing, physical therapy, memory therapy, and help with scheduling appointments. Besides providing personal care services, most independent living centers facilitate social groups and outings. With everything from Bible study groups to casino gambling trips, there's something for everyone! Educational activities such as art classes and computer lessons are offered too. Generally the larger the assisted living community, the more activities it sponsors.

Memory care is an option at select assisted living centers. If you or a loved one is in an early stage of Alzheimer's or other dementia, then choosing an assisted care facility might be your best option in terms of stretching your money and allowing a longer period of independent living. Staff at specially licensed centers can help delay the progression of dementia with various therapies. They can also help minimize or prevent common dementia-related challenges such as wandering and anxiety. When the condition becomes advanced, it might be possible to live at the same facility, but in a different area with secured doors and other special accommodations.

Culture or “personality” matters. The US has thousands of assisted living facilities and no two are quite alike…

In some the decor is formal; in others it's relaxed.

Some are very small communities and others have hundreds of residents.

Depending on the property's layout, and also the local climate, residents might tend to spend lots of time outdoors, or else tend to stay inside.

And of course residents bring different cultures along. When you search for assisted living centers, you can find homes that tend to attract residents from specific ethnic backgrounds, language groups, religious affiliations and so forth. Lately as more baby boomers are moving to assisted living, we're seeing more and more “special interest” communities too. Residents are brought together by shared interests in areas as diverse as art, golf, LGBT issues, vegetarianism and community service.

Pets are welcome in many independent living communities. Sometimes animal care services such as grooming and dog walking are available for an extra charge. Some communities have their own “mascot” dogs and cats. When animal companions are allowed, generally there are restrictions about the size or breed. Homes have different policies about aquariums, birds and other “pet issues” — so before choosing an assisted care facility, verify that the pet policy fits your preferences.

For more information, contact Spring Arbor.

#HOWYOULIVE

seniorliving.org


What You Need To Know When Looking for Assisted Living

Joseph Coupal - Friday, February 08, 2019
Spring Arbor Senior Living - Assisted Living in Greensboro, NC

As you look for assisted living for yourself or for your loved one. Here are some things you need to know while you are choosing one.

Understand what services assisted living does, and does not, provide.

In general, assisted living is residential care that provides some services. It could be a large corporate facility, a mid-sized non-profit facility, a board-and-care home where one or two people live in spare bedrooms of private home, or professionally managed small group homes.

Assisted Living is generally less expensive and less structured than skilled nursing. When making a choice, think about the level of assistance you or your loved one will need. If your mom needs full-time help from a private duty aide, independent living might be more cost effective.

Dementia.

Half to two-thirds of assisted living residents have some cognitive impairment. But that represents a wide range of care needs.

While some dementia patients may need skilled care, many do not and can do very well with the help of high-quality aides. All dementia aides need special training and time to get to know their residents, but they can do an excellent job in a residential care setting. People with dementia need to be in good care settings with custom care plans.

Regulatory trade-offs.

Assisted living is far less regulated than skilled nursing and the rules vary widely from state to state. But there is a trade-off: More regulation does not mean better care. States need to balance the health and safety needs of residents with autonomy.

Keep in mind that many of the most creative senior service solutions over the past few decades have come in less regulated settings. It is not easy to be creative if you are running a highly-regulated nursing facility.

If you have a bad feeling about a place, leave.

There are a number of adult children who are concerned about the quality of their parent’s care. Often family members rationalized these fears. The message is: If a place doesn’t feel right or you have concerns that you feel are not being addressed, leave.

There are bad assisted living facilities. But most are not bad and many are great and just like home. Run well, assisted living facilities fill an important niche. But to get the most out of them, be a discerning shopper and strong advocate.

For more information, contact Spring Arbor.

Forbes

#HOWYOULIVE


Alzheimer's Disease: How the Disease Progresses, Part V

Joseph Coupal - Friday, January 25, 2019
Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TN

Alzheimer's stages—common behaviors as the disease progresses.

Alzheimer's disease tends to develops slowly and gradually worsens over several years. Eventually, Alzheimer's disease affects most areas of your brain. Memory, thinking, judgment, language, problem-solving, personality, and movement can all be affected by the disease. The last four blogs discussed the first stages of Alzheimer's Disease: Preclinical Alzheimer's disease and Mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Mild Dementia and Moderate Dementia due to Alzheimer's disease.

Stage 5: Severe dementia due to Alzheimer's disease

In the severe (late) stage of Alzheimer's disease, mental function continues to decline, and the disease has a growing impact on movement and physical capabilities.

In severe Alzheimer's disease, people generally:

  • Lose the ability to communicate coherently. An individual can no longer converse or speak coherently, although he or she may occasionally say words or phrases.
  • Require daily assistance with personal care. This includes total assistance with eating, dressing, using the bathroom, and all other daily self-care tasks.
  • Experience a decline in physical abilities. A person may become unable to walk without assistance, then unable to sit or hold up his or her head without support. Muscles may become rigid and reflexes abnormal. Eventually, a person loses the ability to swallow and to control bladder and bowel functions.

Rate of progression through Alzheimer's disease stages

The rate of progression for Alzheimer's disease varies widely. On average, people with Alzheimer's disease live eight to 10 years after diagnosis, but some survive 20 years or more.

Pneumonia is a common cause of death because impaired swallowing allows food or beverages to enter the lungs, where an infection can begin. Other common causes of death include dehydration, malnutrition, and other infections.

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

#HowYouLive

Self