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Senior Living Memory Care Richmond VA Blog

Alzheimer’s Caregiving Impacts the Work Force - Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 06, 2017

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAIn most businesses in America, the odds are that some of the employees are or have been caretakers for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. This responsibility can impact their work and emotional well-being.

A new poll reveals that 15% of American workers are current or former caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, a number that can have wide-reaching effects on work force retention and productivity.

The new poll showed that only 47% of these caregivers were able to maintain their employment while providing care for the Alzheimer’s or dementia patient. This figure shows that the impact of Alzheimer’s and dementia on the American work force “simply astounding.”

Caring for a loved one with dementia is an incredible responsibility, and that responsibility obviously has serious consequences on an individual's ability to maintain employment and perform as a professional.

One in eight Americans age 65 and older has Alzheimer's disease, while millions more have another form of dementia. The prevalence of dementia is expanding rapidly as the U.S. population ages. By 2025, the number of people living with Alzheimer's will rise to an estimated 6.7 million – a 30% increase from 2012. Additionally, 15 million people in the U.S. currently provide unpaid care for someone with dementia.

Support Your Caregiver Employees

Caregiving responsibilities significantly affect an individual's ability to perform job responsibilities. Among those who work, or worked, while also providing care:

  • 69% had to modify their schedules.
  • 32% had to take a leave of absence.
  • 26% changed jobs for a less-demanding role.
  • 20% saw their work performance suffer to the point of possible dismissal.
  • 69% said that caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease or dementia strained their family finances.
  • 90% characterized their caregiving as emotionally stressful.

This data is a big red flag for business owners. These diseases impact the productivity of one out of every seven American workers right now. That ratio will only increase. Getting support programs in place to help these people cope with the emotional and physical tolls of providing care are decisions that will directly affect the bottom line - and the impact will be greater tomorrow than it is today.

If you need assistance caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, contact Spring Arbor in Richmond.


Assisted Living: Starting the Conversation – Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Spring Arbor, Assisted living in Richmond, VASeeing your parent’s decline is upsetting, especially since it is mostly beyond your control. The final decision about what’s next is ultimately up to the person who will be moving or receiving care,  but it’s up to you to make peace with the fact that your loved one is aging.

Choose action.

Aging and all that accompanies it is inevitable. Too many people waffle in denial, avoid difficult decisions, and quickly find themselves in crisis situations. Making choices in a crisis is far from ideal.

Knowing when to start the search for care is not a hard science. There is no flow chart that says, “If a loved one has A, or shows signs of B, choose C.” Some wait too long, while others jump the gun, suggesting an Alzheimer’s unit the moment a loved one leaves the stove on or misplaces a house key.

The best approach? If you are concerned about a parent or parents, talk to them right away. Share your concerns with compassion, respect, and sensitivity.

Next, establish their preferences (i.e., in-home care or assisted living? small, family-like community setting or large, resort-style campus? a place close to the grandkids or a return to her hometown?). Then, discuss all possibilities before things get worse. The situation may get better, and if it does, you’ll know exactly what to do in the future.

If you have siblings, set up a time that you can all talk together, but make sure parents' wishes are honored above all.

Get a sense for what might be the most appropriate level of care and always let your loved one’s preferences guide the search.

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


When an Aging Parent Does Not Want to Move – Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Spring Arbor, Assisted Living, Richmond, VAIt can often be very difficult when a parent in need of care refuses to leave their home. There are no magic strategies or tricks for persuading an aging parent to move, but adult children should ask their parent to "indulge" them by visiting an assisted living facility in Richmond, VA.

One psychologist says, "most of us are more likely to change our position and lifestyle if such a transformation is of our own choosing.” “Placed under duress to change, we typically resist, regardless of the soundness of the other person's advice."

And when a parent continually refuses to entertain the idea of moving? The child needs to back off for the time being. But don't give up; seek other ways to raise the issue again.

Unfortunately, sometimes things have to get worse to get better. It may take the parent falling, being spooked, or having the electricity turned off because they forgot to pay the bills for the realization to dawn that they can no longer safely reside in their home. Even then, it may take the strong urgings of health care providers and extended family members for the parent to accept the inevitable.

If the parent begins to show signs of warming up to the topic, you need to emphasize the parent's right of self-determination but also urge action. Structure the conversation in the following way:

Tell your parent: 'I can't make decisions about how you should run your life. It would make me feel better, though, if we could go together to look at some possible assisted living facilities so that you're better informed about what choices are available. Would you be willing to humor me in that way?

If there is a willingness on the parent's part to visit an assisted living residence, you should proceed immediately to set up visits at local senior care homes and point out that most of these facilities will allow an aged individual to try living in them for a week or a month before the person has to decide whether to sell his house and stay in the facility or return home. Experts say that can be the extra bit of comfort that can make the difference for many hesitant seniors.

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


How Families Can Prepare for Alzheimers Care – Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, January 19, 2017

Spring Arbor in Richmond, VAAlzheimer’s disease is challenging for everyone; for the person diagnosed and for the loved ones who will be caring for them. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is difficult, but with knowledge and support you can better navigate and determine eventual Alzheimer’s care options.

Early stage Alzheimer’s care preparations

It is better to do some Alzheimer’s care preparations sooner rather than later. At first, it may be hard to consider these questions because it means you have to think about your loved one suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. But being prepared early provides a smoother transition for everyone. Include the person with Alzheimer’s in the decision-making process as much as possible or at least try to act on what their wishes would be.

Questions to consider in preparing for Alzheimer’s and dementia care:

Who will make healthcare and/or financial decisions when the person is no longer able to do so? If your loved one is still lucid enough, getting their wishes down on paper means they’ll be preserved and respected by all members of the family. Consider meeting with an elder law attorney to best understand your options. You’ll want to consider power of attorney, both for finances and for healthcare. If the person has already lost capacity, you may need to apply for guardianship/conservatorship.

How will care needs be met? Sometimes other family members assume that a spouse or nearest family member can take on caregiving, but that is not always the case. Caregiving becomes more challenging over time. The person will eventually need round-the-clock care. Communication is essential to make sure that the needs of the Alzheimer’s patient are met, and that the caregiver has the support to meet those needs.

Where will the person live? Is their home appropriate, or is it difficult to access or make safe for later? If the person is currently living alone or far from any family or other support, it may be necessary to relocate or consider a facility with more support.

For more information on Alzheimer’s care facilities, contact Spring Arbor in Richmond, VA.


Alzheimer’s Care: Choosing a Home – Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, December 15, 2016

Spring Arbor Assisted Living, Richmond, VAOften, a good Alzheimer’s care home might be the best option for a loved one who is developing Alzheimer’s. It may seem like a less compassionate option but when your loved one requires constant medical attention and assistance, you should embrace it and feel comfortable with your choice.

You can ensure that the Alzheimer’s care facility is well-equipped and treats the patients with dignity and respect. Choose a care home where you can pay visits regularly. An Alzheimer’s care home 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 homes. Alzheimer’s care homes should cater to the condition of your loved one and their stage of disease.

A residential home 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 on an Alzheimer’s care home, it’s a good idea to pay a visit to study the ambiance, the hygiene and the manner of the care takers. The primary areas of concern in a care home are the rooms, the bathrooms, the care givers, the food and the ease of access to medical facilities.

When you visit the place, watching patients who are already admitted will give you a fair idea about the quality maintained.

The most important aspect to check for is that the staff is respectful towards the patients. Alzheimer’s sufferers must be treated like individuals first along with focusing on their condition.

Moving into a care home can be very stressful for an individual with Alzheimer’s. When you make this decision, make sure that your loved one sees it as a positive step rather than an effort to ‘get rid of’ him or her.

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


Hive Health Media

Preparing for Alzheimer's Disease - Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, November 10, 2016

Back in 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.

At the time, fewer than two million Americans were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Today, the number of people with the disease has soared to nearly 5.4 million, according to The Alzheimer’s Association.

Most of us have been exposed to the ravages of this horrid disease through our friends, families and loved ones.

While much research is being done to help those with Alzheimer’s disease, what should you be doing today?

First, make sure you have an updated health-care power of attorney that covers not only so-called terminal illnesses but also covers who can act on your behalf for all medical issues if you are unable to do so. This is not some simple form you download from the internet but should be drafted very carefully by an attorney familiar with elder law issues.

Second, make sure you have a current durable power of attorney that covers not only simple financial matters like checking accounts but also complicated rules regarding retirement accounts, trusts, beneficiaries, gifting, look-back periods, and annuities.

In addition to the legal contents of these documents, you must carefully consider who to name as your agents. Can you trust them with money, and do they have good judgment?

Will the agent carry out your wishes or their own wishes? Will the agent be able to stand up for you and be a true advocate in terms of medical care, nursing home care, and other family members? Will the agent “boss you around?’’

You also want to choose an understanding and experience family physician to help guide you and your loved ones through the maze of medical decisions.

For more information on Alzheimer’s care, contact Spring Arbor in Richmond.


What Type of Senior Living is Best? Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, October 14, 2016

Assisted living, home care, skilled nursing, adult day programs, memory care—these refer to just a few of the many types of senior services. While it’s great that there are a wide variety of options to fit different situations and needs, deciding which is right for your loved one can be a difficult and overwhelming process. It’s important to make a careful, informed decision, as pairing someone with the right care is essential to their health, safety and well-being.

So, where should you start?

First, assess family/caregiver and financial factors. What kind of caregiving commitment or involvement is the family or current caregiver available for? Is the current level of responsibility becoming too stressful? Is there a limited support system? Signs that a caregiver may be in over his or her head include declining physical and emotional health, job performance and parenting abilities. In general, if a caregiver seems unable to juggle other responsibilities, it may be time to seek additional support.

Financial considerations are also important. Many seniors live on a fixed monthly income, and if his or her spouse is still living, selling their home or using retirement money may not be an option. If your loved one will need your financial help in getting the care they need, it’s also important to properly assess your own financial situation and hold off on making care decisions until you’ve figured out what you and other family members can contribute.

Once you have a solid understanding of existing caregiving and financial resources, you can begin to research different care options.

Home care can be a great route for when isolated services or minimal care is needed. This type of care allows your loved one to stay in their home, and it can give the current caregiver a much-needed respite to look forward to. The services home care providers offer varies widely, from medical care and personal care assistance to help with laundry and other housekeeping duties.

One thing to keep in mind in regard to home care, though, is that while it can afford your loved one lots of one-on-one attention, it lacks the social aspect that community-based care options like assisted living provide.

Assisted living communities, as the name suggests, provide housing, healthcare, support services and activities for seniors who prefer to reside in a community setting. This can include meal assistance, medication management, transportation and help bathing or dressing. Upon moving into a community, residents receive an individualized service plan based on their health needs, to be updated as those needs change.

For seniors with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, there are also memory care assisted living communities. These communities provide all the services offered at a traditional assisted living community in a setting designed to meet the unique needs of individuals living with memory impairment. This includes specially-designed activities, programming and building features, as well as specially-trained staff.

Memory care assisted living often comes with a high price tag, as residents typically require comprehensive daily care. Oftentimes, a home must be sold or a strong financial plan must be in place to manage the payments, but the good news is that many long-term insurance policies, as well as veterans’ benefits, will help to cover the costs.

Skilled nursing facilities offer skilled care from nurses and specialists such as physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and audiologists. This type of care is often the best option for seniors with chronic health conditions and who require ongoing medical treatment. These communities typically offer both short-term rehab and long-term care, as well as programs and activities to promote socialization, engagement and entertainment for residents.

Adult day programs can be a great option for social seniors who prefer to continue residing at home, but could benefit from a community atmosphere and certain types of assistance. Adult day programs can provide services such as transportation, medication management and medical appointment coordination, as well as meals, snacks and activities. The cost is typically based on how many services are needed, and clients are usually picked up and dropped off at home via van or bus.

While this blog is not intended as a comprehensive guide to making care decisions, it is hopefully helpful as a starting point to your research. For more information on assisted living and memory care, contact Spring Arbor in Richmond.


Spring Arbor Announces New Program for Healthier, Happier and More Connected Residents

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 03, 2016

Spring Arbor is excited to introduce K4Community, a new amenity that is now available in two communities, Spring Arbor of Apex and Spring Arbor of Raleigh. We will be implementing this program over a period of time in all Spring Arbor communities so stay tuned for future announcements.

K4Community is designed to make our residents’ lives simpler, healthier and happier. With this program, Spring Arbor residents will experience the same level of compassionate care with the added benefit of new comforts. They will have upgrades that can be found in high-end homes and hotels and provided with a tablet designed to connect them to their family, community and home. We will offer weekly classes, personal help and one-on-one support for both residents and families to help them with a variety of fabulous options.

Responsive Home:

  • Smart thermostats that adjust to resident preferences day or night.
  • Lights that can turn on automatically to light the way with comfort and convenience.
  • Simple room remote to manage lights from the comfort of your bed or favorite chair.

Personalized Wellness:

  • Wireless pedometers and activity progress for the week.
  • Individualized feedback and motivation for an active and healthy life.
  • Set personalized goals and join with other residents to encourage wellness.

Connected Life:

  • The latest pictures from family and friends anytime on a simple tablet.
  • Community dining menus, activity calendars, and reminders all in one place.
  • Talk to those you love through a video chat with the grandkids or a quick message.

Ways Seniors Can Use Technology to ‘Stay Connected’ During National Assisted Living Week

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, September 14, 2016

This week is National Assisted Living Week and the theme is “Stay Connected”. There are many ways that seniors can stay connected with technology in order to help stay healthy.

Anytime someone says that technology is too complicated or intimidating for seniors, they should understand that by browsing the web and sending emails from an assisted living community, senior may find that technology helps them remain engaged with the world around them.

Many senior citizens have yet to fully embrace technology and all of the benefits that come with it.

Keeping seniors connected and engaged is a priority for the Massachusetts Assisted Living Association (Mass-ALA). September 11 - 17 is National Assisted Living Week, and in the spirit of this year’s theme of “Keep Connected,” here are six tips for helping seniors stay engaged through technology.

1. Create a social media profile. If you’re one of the 52% of seniors who don’t currently have a Facebook page, you’re missing out. Facebook allows you to instantly connect with and talk to family and friends from around the world no matter where they live. Through Facebook you can send messages, view photographs, and keep yourself updated on what others are doing.

2. Join an online community. Through social media websites such as Facebook, a number of online communities have been created that allow you to stay connected with others who share similar interests. Groups exist online where users can talk about and share opinions on a broad range of topics, including movies and television shows, music, crafts and hobbies, sports, and countless others. Additionally, there are a number of online communities dedicated to smaller more personal groups of people, such as college or high school graduating classes.

3. Place a video call instead of a regular phone call. Smartphones, tablets, and most computers have the capability to place a video call for free so that participants on both ends can physically see who they are talking to. Services such as Facetime and Skype are free and can be used directly from your device anywhere that you have internet access. The visual aspect can add another layer to your conversation and makes for a more personal exchange.

4. Play interactive games to keep your wits sharp. In addition to mindless fun, smartphones, desktops, and tablets now offer games that have been created for the sole purpose of encouraging a brain-smart lifestyle by boosting critical thinking, and memory building and strategy skills.

5. Get your news online. While newspapers and televised reports still offer in-depth coverage, online news provide much more immediate information and are updated frequently. Because of this immediacy, online news often offers the best and most timely coverage and can be a wonderful resource.

6. Take advantage of classes. Many assisted living residences, senior centers, and public libraries offer classes and training where technology experts provide tips and tricks on how to make technology work for your lifestyle. These basic classes will show you the basics and also give you tips on how to stay safe online (online scams unfortunately do exist).

Staying connected is an important part of getting older, and as technology continues to improve, there become more ways it can benefit our lives. By experimenting with technology, you can connect with your loved ones and learn something new every day.

For more information on staying healthy and staying connected in assisted living, contact Spring Arbor in Richmond.


Ways to Love Your Brain – Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, August 15, 2016

Show your brain some love! Your brain is the command center of your body — and just like your heart, lungs and other critical organs, it deserves to be a priority when it comes to your health. Use these tips to help reduce your risk of cognitive decline.


Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body. Several studies have found an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline.


Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, take a class at a local college, community center or online.


Evidence shows that smoking increases risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce that risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked.


Evidence shows that risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke – obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes – negatively impact your cognitive health. Take care of your heart, and your brain just might follow.


Brain injury can raise your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Wear a seat belt, use a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike, and take steps to prevent falls.


Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Although research on diet and cognitive function is limited, certain diets, including Mediterranean and Mediterranean-DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), may contribute to risk reduction.


Not getting enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems with memory and thinking.


Some studies link a history of depression with increased risk of cognitive decline, so seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns. Also, try to manage stress.


Staying socially engaged may support brain health. Pursue social activities that are meaningful to you. Find ways to be part of your local community – if you love animals, consider volunteering at a local shelter. If you enjoy singing, join a local choir or help at an after school program. Or, just share activities with friends and family.


Challenge and activate your mind. Build a piece of furniture. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic. Play games, such as bridge, that make you think strategically. Challenging your mind may have short and long-term benefits for your brain.

For information on memory care in Richmond, contact Spring Arbor.