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Looking at Options for Assisted Living

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, October 01, 2019
Spring Arbor, Richmond, VA

Assisted living residences are aimed at helping residents remain as self-sufficient as possible with the assurance of assistance when needed. A combination of housing, meals, personal care and support, social activities, 24-hour supervision and, in some residences, health-related services is usually provided. Assisted living facilities are a great choice for those who can’t live on their own, but do not need nursing care. As needs change, these facilities offer different levels of care at different costs – and some are even associated with nursing facilities should your loved one eventually need full-time nursing care.

If assisted living sounds like the right choice for your loved one, here are some steps to help begin your search:

Finding Facilities

  • Start by making a list of residences to visit. The following resources can help:
  • The state or local Area Agency on Aging (AAA).
  • Search online and look at online reviews.
  • The long-term care ombudsman’s office.
  • The state licensing agency.
  • Friends and neighbors.
  • Retirement guides.
  • The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), which provides lists of its member residences by each state. These are mostly for-profit residences. The lists do not include all residences in each state.
  • The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging(AAHSA), which provides lists of member residences by state. These are not-for-profit.
  • The Eldercare Locator helps you find the closest Area Agency on Aging (AAA) office and the state long-term care ombudsman’s office.

Keep in mind that assisted living residences are not defined or regulated by the federal government. Each state decides how they’re licensed. Be sure to find out from the AAA or state health department how the state where you are searching handles this. Make sure all the residences on your list are appropriately licensed—if one of them isn’t, cross it off and move on. Check, too, with the state licensing agency and ombudsman’s office to see if there have been complaints filed against the facilities on the list. Don’t assume that a state license ensures quality care.

Next: Make the Call

Call each potential residence and ask for a general overview of their facilities. Remember that the person you speak with will most likely be a marketing or sales representative whose job is to promote the residence.

If you’re still interested after the call, ask that more information be mailed to you or your loved one, including:

  • Brochures.
  • A price list.
  • A map or floor plan.
  • A copy of the residents’ rights and rules.

Copies of all the documents that will need to be signed before admittance, including, most important, the contract (sometimes referred to as residency, occupancy, or admission agreements). Once you receive these materials, review them carefully with your loved one and write down all the questions that come to mind. Strike any residences from your list that don’t meet your criteria.

Plan to Visit

First, it is imperative that you involve your loved one in the choices about his or her care. Take them with you on the tours of each facility and let them handle as much of the talking and decision-making as possible.

For more information, contact Spring Arbor in Richmond, VA.


What You Need To Know When Looking for Assisted Living

Joseph Coupal - Monday, August 19, 2019
Spring Arbor Living - Assisted Living

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.


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.



Assisted Living Communities can Benefit the Relationship Between Parent Child

Joseph Coupal - Monday, July 08, 2019
Spring Arbor Living - Assisted Living

Grown children are often plagued with the decision of whether or not to place their parents in assisted living facilities. But, it is time to strop struggling with that decision. Senior living advisors, A Place for Mom, recently found the eight reasons why assisted living apartments might actually be "better than living at home when it comes to seniors' quality of life and overall wellness."

Seniors require more rigorous daily care as they get older. Often the amount of care is too much for a grown child to handle, especially if that child has a family of their own. Once a parent moves to assisted living, the parent child relationship may begin to flourish again without the burden of care.

While this is a huge benefit for assisted living, the following are more reasons you may want to consider assisted living for an aging parent.

  1. Residents will have regular access to physical fitness. The overall health of your loved one may suffer from the lack of cardiovascular activity. Many assisted living homes often fitness facilities with professionals who provide safe exercise plans
  2. Assisted living residents have plenty of opportunities for social interaction and activities from card games and meals to hair salons and scheduled field trips. Additionally, there is a full time activities coordinator at Spring Arbor to create a variety of events and fill residents’ social calendar.
  3. Assisted living communities offer seniors educational seminars and opportunities to keep their brains active.
  4. Personal laundry, linen and housekeeping services make life easier for your loved ones living in assisted living residences.
  5. Varied menus designed by a Registered Dietician provide regular, nutritionally balanced and delicious home cooked meals.

Without the burden of worrying about all of the issues of caring for your parent(s) and knowing that they are safe and cared for can allow you to relax and can help the parent/child relationship, allowing you to enjoy the golden years of your parent’s life. For more information on assisted living and how it can help your aging parent, contact Spring Arbor.


Talk About Assisted Living Before it is Needed

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Spring Arbor, Richmond, VA

The decision on an assisted living home to spend your twilight years in– or finding a place for a loved one – is crucial.

During your decision making process you need to be armed with a lot of information. It’s a big decision to make, and oftentimes people are forced into making it quickly. There may be a loved one being discharged from a hospital who needs to be admitted to assisted living. It is very important to consider what is geographically close, but the second most important thing to look at are the inspections, reviews and ratings.

Inspections are done so that families can see specific issues. Ratings and reviews can be found online, and references help as well. But, while you can investigate online, nothing replaces an in-person visit.

No amount of information that is found in writing will substitute for a visit in person to an assisted facility. Family members need to look for themselves and speak to other residents and family members for the best source on the quality of care and life in the nursing home.

As the population ages, and health care allows people to live longer, nursing homes face new challenges.

From a regulatory standpoint, and because of the aging population senior care homes of today have typically older, more frail residents than they did 15 years ago.

One of the biggest indicators for the quality of assisted living is the time staff spends with residents. The most concrete research shows higher staffing associated with higher quality care.

Families should check to see the nurse-to-resident ratio for the facility for all shifts, especially the night shift.

However, try to address the question of assisted living communities before the need arises. The more time you have to find a home, the better you and your loved one will feel. The best thing families can do is to plan ahead. Typically, long-term care is not discussed by family members, parents, grandparents, until it’s a crisis situation. The best thing for the kids and loved ones is to have these conversations. The information is out there, it’s just key for folks to discuss it before they need to take their next step.

For more information, contact Spring Arbor in Richmond, VA.

Choosing an Assisted Living Community in Richmond, VA

Darren Kincaid - Thursday, March 21, 2019
Spring Arbor, Richmond, VA

Families have plenty of questions when it comes to planning the care for their older relatives. Additionally, as news of problematic senior care increases, it is perceived as an even more daunting task. It is important that you know how to choose the right assisted living community in Richmond, VA for your loved one. On the top of the list of priorities should be ensuring that the Senior Living home you are considering is licensed and that the employees are properly trained.

Directors of reputable senior care homes will always say that, when choosing a senior care facility, there is one thing that should be checked out before anything else. You do not want to put a parent or loved one in an assisted living facility that is not licensed. Unfortunately, those are becoming more and more common.

Other than ensuring that the assisted living facility is licensed, a family member should stop by the home at regular intervals to see the level of care that is provided before you make your decision. But stopping by regularly is not enough. Loved ones should stop by at different times of day, and during meals just to look around.

Additionally, loved ones should find out what types and levels of training caregivers have received. In particular, Alzheimer’s care and other forms of dementia care require very specific training. Spring Arbor and The Oaks are assisted living residences. We feel that one of the most important things to consider when choosing an assisted living residence is the quality of people who will serve you.

For more information on assisted living residences in Richmond, VA contact Spring Arbor.

Find the Best Senior Living Community for Your Loved One

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Spring Arbor in Richmond, 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.

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 on senior living, contact Spring Arbor - link to locations page.

Questions to Ask About Assisted Living

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Spring Arbor, Assisted Living in Richmond, VA

When touring an assisted living center, you'll be on the lookout for standards of cleanliness and personal interaction. Eating a meal at the facility can be a great way to start gaining an insider's view — so if possible, arrange an interview over lunch or dinner at the facility. It's also helpful to observe a class or facilitated social activity. Here are ten suggested questions.

Questions Related to the Home / Facility

  • How many people live at the home? What is the ratio of caregivers to residents?
  • Does the facility feel home-like? Do you like the décor?
  • What are the apartment and room choices? Do you have a full apartment with kitchen?
  • Do you have a private bath? Will you share an apartment?
  • Does the residence have its own dog or cat? Can residents bring their own pets? What are the restrictions with pets?
  • Can residents bring their own furniture and decor? What furnishings are provided?
  • Is there a separate thermostat in your room? Is there plenty of natural lighting?
  • What is the view like? Is there enough closet and storage space? Are kitchen cabinets easy to reach?

Questions Related to the People

  • Talk to the residents and staff? Does the staff seem to genuinely care?
  • Would you enjoy sharing meals with the residents? Do you share common interests?
  • Are the residents somewhat independent? Is there social activity in the common areas?
  • Do the residents seem happy?

Questions Related to the Safety

  • Is staff there around the clock? Are all entrances and exits secured?
  • Is there a fire sprinkler system? Smoke detectors? Emergency call system in the rooms?
  • Are registered nurses on staff? What are their hours? If an RN isn't on duty 24/7, it's important to know the center's protocol in case of nighttime emergencies.
  • Are the halls and grounds well lit? Are there handrails in the hallways?
  • Are the hallways and doorways wide sufficient for walkers and wheelchairs? Are there walk-in showers?

Questions Related to the Amenities

  • Is there a monthly events calendar posted? Are the spiritual services on-site?
  • Does the facility have a space for outdoor recreation? If so, make sure that the area looks inviting but is guarded against trespassers.
  • Are there transportation schedules for errands and medical appointments?
  • What social activities, classes and field trips are facilitated by the staff?
  • Crafts room? Computers and printers? Massage therapy? Swimming pool? Convenience shop?
  • Is the community near a beauty/hair salon and barber? Library? Grocery store? Movies? Mall?

Other Considerations / Questions

  • Is there a meal menu and can choose when to eat? Do the menu selections vary from day to day?
  • Ask to see the facility's licensing and certification reports. These show any patterns of neglect and medication errors.
  • Ask to see a copy of the resident agreement which spells out the facility's obligations. And it will list the charge of items that are extra like laundry service.
  • How close are you to friends and relatives? Are they allowed to stay overnight?
  • What is the staff to patient ratio? A good ratio for fairly independent residents is 1 to 15. In some smaller facilities, the staff will perform all the duties while in larger communities there is a separation. What is the staff turnover rate? Rates in the double digits could indicate a problem.
  • If a resident becomes more disabled can the facility accommodate those needs?
  • Who dispenses medication and how much training have they had? States have training requirements.
  • What are the move-out criteria? When might a senior be asked to leave?

For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.


What you Need to Know about Assisted Living

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, February 07, 2019
Spring Arbor Senior Living - Assisted Living in Richmond, VA

What do people want to know about assisted living facilities?

Residents of assisted living facilities and their families and those considering moving into one were asked the questions below. Here are their answers:

What is assisted living?

In general, it is a residential care facility that provides some services but is not licensed as a skilled nursing facility. But that covers a broad range of assistance and standards.

What services can I expect to get?

They may range from little more than group meals in a dining hall, housekeeping, and a pull cord in the bathroom to full-blown dementia care. Here are some questions you need to ask of the assisted living homes you are considering: Is there a nurse on duty 24/7? Is a doctor available? Know what the facility is really capable of providing. Just because a home says it provides dementia care doesn’t mean it knows how to do this well.

What will quality of life be like?

Can people eat when they want, and with the people they choose? Are there activities of interest? Do other residents seem active and engaged?

How much will it cost? Many assisted living facilities change by levels of service, or tiers. The more care you need, the higher the fee. Be sure you understand the details up front.

What is the most important thing to know?

It is all about the aides. Forget about the wood paneling and fresh flowers in the lobby. When you visit assisted living, watch the interaction between staff and residents. Do the aides know the residents by name? Do they seem rushed or do they spend time to chat with residents? What are staffing levels like, especially at night?

Choosing to move, or to move a loved one, into an assisted living facility is a big and emotional step. It is important to take the time and ask questions.

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

Excerpts - Caring for Our Parents

Top 4 Balance Exercises for Seniors

Joseph Coupal - Friday, February 01, 2019

You can do balance exercises almost anytime, anywhere, and as often as you like. Having good balance is important for many everyday activities, such as going up and down the stairs. It also helps you walk safely and avoid tripping and falling over objects in your way.

Tai Chi

Balance is important to help you perform many of your daily activities and prevent falls. Research has shown that tai chi can significantly reduce the risk of falls among older people. In tai chi, which is sometimes called “moving meditation,” you work to improve your balance by moving your body slowly, gently, and precisely, while breathing deeply. Other benefits from practicing tai chi include:

  • improvements in bone and heart health
  • easing of pain and stiffness from osteoarthritis
  • better sleep
  • improvements in overall wellness

Balance Walk

Good balance helps you walk safely and avoid tripping and falling over objects in your way.

  1. Raise arms to sides, shoulder height.
  2. Choose a spot ahead of you and focus on it to keep you steady as you walk.
  3. Walk in a straight line with one foot in front of the other.
  4. As you walk, lift your back leg. Pause for 1 second before stepping forward.
  5. Repeat for 20 steps, alternating legs.

Heel-to-Toe Walk

  1. Having good balance is important for many everyday activities, such as going up and down stairs.
  2. Position the heel of one foot just in front of the toes of the other foot. Your heel and toes should touch or almost touch.
  3. Choose a spot ahead of you and focus on it to keep you steady as you walk.
  4. Take a step. Put your heel just in front of the toe of your other foot.
  5. Repeat for 20 steps.

Stand on One Foot

WHAT YOU NEED: Sturdy chair

You can do this exercise while waiting for the bus or standing in line at the grocery. For an added challenge, you can modify the exercise to improve your balance.

  1. Stand on one foot behind a sturdy chair, holding on for balance.
  2. Hold position for up to 10 seconds.
  3. Repeat 10-15 times.
  4. Repeat 10-15 times with other leg.
  5. Repeat 10-15 more times with each leg.

As you progress in your exercise routine, try adding the following challenges to help your balance even more:

  • Start by holding on to a sturdy chair with both hands for support.
  • When you are able, try holding on to the chair with only one hand.
  • With time, hold on with only one finger, then with no hands at all.
  • If you are really steady on your feet, try doing the balance exercises with your eyes closed

Watch this video to see how it’s done:

If you have any questions regarding the exercise programs at Spring Arbor, contact a senior living community near you.


Finding the Right Senior Living Community for Loved Ones with Dementia or Alzheimer's

Joseph Coupal - Monday, January 07, 2019

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VACaring for loved ones as they age can become increasingly difficult as their needs grow. This is especially true for individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Many people struggle when searching for the right senior living community for their parent or loved one. It’s more than just finding a community that is comfortable and safe. You want to ensure that your loved one receives personalized and compassionate care tailored to his or her specific needs.

Memory care communities need to meet the specific needs of individuals with various forms of dementia. A secure environment needs to be created with an inviting, open floor plan to give residents freedom to move and socially interact with one another in a comfortable, home-like setting. Outdoor spaces should be accessible and secure for outdoor walks or gardening. Staff should be carefully selected and trained to provide individualized care tailored to each resident. These team members truly brighten the days of residents and improve their lives.

Spring Arbor offers comfort and peace of mind by beginning with a family consultation to learn all we can about your loved one. Using this information, we create a Personalized Care Plan, which focuses on personal care, social activities, and life experiences. This approach allows our dedicated team to provide a customized daily schedule for your loved one, ensuring each day is a quality day that includes a balance of one-on-one and group activities that promote independence, dignity, and social interaction.

At HHHunt, we believe it’s how you live that matters and that philosophy applies to every season of life. Regardless of age and ability, we strive to provide meaningful experiences for all our residents. Our goal is to help each resident function at the highest level possible for as long as possible.

We invite you to learn more and schedule a tour to experience the difference for yourself. Contact us.