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Guest Blog: How to Find the Most Engaging Senior Living for Your Loved One

Making the decision to place your loved one in an assisted living community is never easy. Whether this option was carefully considered over a period of time or a sudden change in health has culminated in this necessary change, it’s important to take the time to find the right community for your loved one. Fortunately, there are ways you can increase your chances of finding a wonderful senior living facility that will tend to your aging loved one’s needs.

●    Talk to Your Loved One’s Health Care Provider

Usually, the best people to give recommendations on senior living facilities are physicians and nurses who specialize in providing geriatric care. Because their clients are of advanced age, they will be familiar with the local senior living homes. They can also provide you with information on which facilities tend to provide more engagement and enrichment activities, as well as which ones might only provide basic care. Others in your local community or church group might also have the information you need to get started on your search for the perfect assisted living community.

●    Consider Ratio of Providers to Residents

While it’s not impossible to provide an enriching environment within larger assisted living facilities it can be quite difficult, especially if they are understaffed or staffed with underqualified employees. If the ratio of staff to providers is too large for your liking you may want to consider placing your loved one elsewhere. If there are too many residents and not enough caregivers your loved one may not receive the amount of personal attention they need to truly thrive in their new community. You should always go with your intuition when choosing the proper assisted living facility to take care of your loved ones.

●    Check Out Their Events Calendar

A good sign of an enriching senior living facility is a full events calendar. Regardless of age, many seniors enjoy having a robust social life. A sense of community and a lively atmosphere can even help loved ones who are living with dementia cope better with their prognosis and disease management. Other countries emphasize the importance of community and inclusion within their care homes. For example, Japan is known for its thriving older population. A Japanese retirement community usually offers a wide range of activities for their residents to participate in, which promotes wellness and a better quality of life. If the facility you are considering offers social outings, group exercise classes, pet therapy, and other opportunities then that is a good sign of a caring and compassionate place for your loved one.

●    Take a Tour and Talk With Other Residents and Families

One of the most effective ways to decide if a senior living home may be a good fit for your loved one is to take a tour and observe a typical day at the facility. You will get a pretty good idea of what their sense of community is like, as well as whether most residents are happy and socializing with others throughout the day. Another sign to look for is if the caregivers seem to be engaged with their residents or whether they seem to simply perform their duties as needed. Enriching senior living facilities will usually feature brightly decorated spaces, common areas, games, and other amenities for residents to enjoy.

●    Assess Facility for Proper Security Measures

As your loved one ages you want to ensure that the facility you choose for them meets safety standards. Age-related issues like dementia, Alzheimer’s, and memory loss can all lead to unfortunate accidents and tragedies that are usually preventable. Before selecting a senior living community for your loved one be sure to run down a safety standards checklist. You’ll want to see that the facility has brightly lit hallways, multiple fire detectors throughout the premises, secured entrance and exit points, as well as handrails and CCTV. While it’s important to provide residents with enriching and stimulating activities, your loved one’s safety is tantamount.

Finding the right senior living facility for your aging loved one can be challenging, both figuratively and emotionally. Fortunately, with a bit of time and patience, you can find a wonderfully engaging senior living facility to meet your loved one’s health needs and provide them with a wonderful quality of life.

 

By |2022-07-13T19:07:31-05:00July 13th, 2022|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: How to Find the Most Engaging Senior Living for Your Loved One

Starting the Conversation: How to Talk to Your Parents About Senior Care

Contributing Author: Christopher Norman, Geriatric Nurse Practitioner

An inevitable process has begun: Your parents are growing older. Maybe they are struggling to keep up with their personal needs, or they have worsening physical limitations. Whatever the reason, you realize it’s time to talk with them about senior care. If you are nervous about initiating this conversation, you are certainly not alone.

Seniors often resist this conversation for a variety of reasons. Transitioning from giving care as a parent to receiving care from others can be a difficult adjustment. Additionally, many seniors resist accepting help because it means acknowledging the passage of time and the loss of independence.

Regardless of why your parents are hesitant to acknowledge their need for help, the way you approach this conversation can make a huge difference in the way they respond. Below are a few tips you can use in navigating this difficult topic together.

Start By Listening
Not sure where to begin? The secret ingredients for a constructive conversation on the topic of senior care are empathy and active listening. Before you begin to share your point of view, ask open-ended questions to uncover what they think, feel, and believe about aging and senior care.

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions
As you transition to a discussion about specific senior care options, your parents will likely be much more receptive to your input if you take the role of a knowledgeable advisor. If you research ahead of time, you can be prepared to lay out their options and work through any barriers, whether real or perceived. Two of the most important topics to read up on are:

Finances. One of the older generation’s chief concerns is finances – how to pay for the care they need will most almost definitely be a point of concern. Prior to broaching the topic of senior care, learn about the different payment options and financial assistance available for the various levels of senior care, such as in-home care and assisted living.

Aging in place. Many seniors prefer to live in their own homes for as long as possible – also referred to as “aging in place.” Be ready to discuss the need for in-home care and the need to find or adapt a home with “Universal Design” principles, such as no-step entryways, walk-in bathtubs, and wide hallways. Another key component of safely aging in place is assistive technology such as a medical alert system, which provides access to immediate help in an emergency. Research the costs and options available from different companies, and consider adding a home security and automation system as well.

Keep Your Final Goal in Mind
It is difficult to predict exactly how the conversation about senior care will be received by your parents, but as long as you listen, empathize, and are prepared to answer questions, you can make this difficult transition easier on everyone. You can then move forward together to find a senior care option that gives peace of mind to both you and your parents, with the ultimate goal being their safety, health, and happiness.

By |2022-06-21T11:34:34-05:00July 12th, 2022|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Starting the Conversation: How to Talk to Your Parents About Senior Care

Guest Blog: Caring for a Parent with Dementia at Home

Dementia is a progressive illness that causes a decline in mental abilities. Symptoms can include memory loss, confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding, and changes in mood or behavior.

One of the most important things to remember is that your parents are still the same person they have always been, even if their condition is changing. Be sure to talk with them, spend time with them, and continue to involve them in activities they enjoy.

Caring for a parent with dementia can be difficult. With proper planning and support, it is possible to provide them with the care they need. By following these tips, you can make life easier for both of you.

Tips to Help my Elderly Parent with Dementia

There are many things you can do to make caring for a parent with dementia at home easier. Here are some tips:

  • Make a daily routine and stick to it as much as possible. It will help your parents feel more secure and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Another thing you can do to keep your parents safe is to ensure that their living environment is as safe as possible. Remove or keep any tripping hazard out of reach like cords and wires, and install safety rails in the bathroom.
  • Create a comfortable, safe environment where your parents can relax and feel at ease. Remove loose carpets or rugs that could cause falls.
  • Ensure that your parents are eating healthy foods and drinking enough fluids. Proper nutrition is essential for keeping your parents healthy.
  • Encourage your parents to get regular exercise, even if it is just a short walk around the block. Exercise can help improve mood and cognitive function.
  • Make sure your parents get plenty of sleep. Quality sleep is essential for overall health and well-being.
  • Regularly communicate with your parent’s doctor to ensure they have the best possible care.

Helpful Tools for Caring After Demented Parents

If you find it difficult to care for your parents on your own, many helpful resources are available. Local support groups can offer advice and emotional support, and home health care providers can provide additional assistance with tasks such as bathing, grooming, and medication management.

One of the most common symptoms of dementia is wandering. This can be dangerous for your parents and others, so it’s important to take steps to prevent them from wandering. One way to do this is to keep a close eye on them and ensure that they are always in a safe place. If they do wander off, make sure to have a plan in place to find them quickly. MedicAlert bracelets or ID tags can help emergency personnel identify your parents quickly if they are found wandering.

One important resource to consider is MedicAlert Safe Return, a program that provides identification and emergency notification services for people with dementia or other cognitive conditions. If your parent wanders away from home, caregivers can use the 24/7 hotline to locate them quickly and ensure they receive the necessary medical attention.

How to Cope with a Parent with Dementia

The experience of caring for a parent with dementia can be difficult and emotionally taxing. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends or family members. There is no shame in admitting that you need help. Here are some tips for coping:

Seek out support from friends and family members. Talking about your experiences can help you feel more understood and supported.

Join a support group or online forum specifically for caregivers of people with dementia. This can be a great way to connect with others who understand what you are going through.

Look into respite care, which can provide temporary relief from caregiving duties. This can allow you to take a break and recharge while knowing that your parents are in good hands.

Talk to a therapist or counselor about the emotions you are experiencing. This can help you deal with the stress and sadness of this situation.

By |2022-03-31T18:59:44-05:00March 31st, 2022|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Caring for a Parent with Dementia at Home

Guest Blog: Money-Saving Tips for Senior Living and Care

Many people are looking for ways to save money these days, especially for senior living and care. Many seniors live on a fixed income that may not cover all their expenses at home or assisted living facilities. This article will provide you with some helpful tips to help you save money while also giving your loved one the best possible care.

Stay Informed about the Costs of Senior Living and Care

By staying informed, you can help to save money. For example, if your loved one is considering a care facility or an assisted living community, be sure that they have researched costs. If possible, try to get as many competing bids as possible before deciding where your loved one will live. This way, you will find the best care and living situation at a price that fits your budget.

Keep Track of All Essential Expenses Related to Senior Living and Care

A critical element of saving money is keeping track of all expenses related to senior housing services, such as meals, hygiene products, or other needs. For example, it might be helpful to create an excel spreadsheet with columns where essential items can be tracked so that there are no surprises when bills come in each month. Include sections for medicine since many seniors need prescriptions regularly. They may also have high costs attached depending on what medications your loved one requires for their health.

Do Not Overlook Small Necessities that are Often Forgotten about When Budgeting for Senior Care Expenses

Often, there might be small things like a magazine subscription or basic cable television service. Most seniors will not consider including them when budgeting their monthly expenses because they do not see them as necessary. However, these costs can add up over time, and you want your loved ones to have everything they need at an affordable price.

Supplement with Home-Delivered Meals and Other Services that can Help to Save Money on Senior Living Costs

Consider home-delivered meals or help with daily activities like bathing, cooking, and cleaning. These types of services might be too expensive for you. But if your loved one already has these items included in their monthly expenses, or they will pay extra. You can help them save money by having a local service come to the house instead of taking your loved one out for food each day. This way, they will not have additional transportation costs attached, which could cut into their budget. If possible, try looking around locally since it may cost less than other options depending on where you live geographically.

Find Additional Savings Opportunities by Volunteering at a Local Senior Living Facility

One way to save money is to find ways where you can help for free. One option might be to volunteer at local senior living facilities each week or month in exchange for helping the staff complete their daily tasks, such as cleaning rooms, organizing supplies in storage closets, or assisting with administrative work like filing paperwork. Thus, they may allow you access to amenities that would need an additional fee if paying customers were using them. This could include swimming pools, hot tubs, or other entertainment options that residents enjoy during some of their downtimes.

Ask About Additional Senior Living and Care Options to Save Money on Expenses

Another way of finding additional savings opportunities is to ask about senior living options beyond what your loved one currently has in their current budget. For example, if they are paying for meals but do not need them. Why? Because they have friends or family that come over every day that provide food, you could inquire with the staff at the facility about moving into a private room instead. Thus, your loved one can save money by having more space without needing another person sharing it with them all the time. Alternatively, if an assisted living environment is too expensive, your loved one needs help because of chronic pain or difficulty moving around. Then you could ask about having a private nurse come by to assist them instead of hiring someone on staff at the facility.

Make Sure Your Loved One is Receiving All Senior Care Benefits Which Are Available to Them

Even if they have already moved into senior living services. For instance, you can consult with an estate planning law firm in Los Angeles for assistance. Additional benefits may include property tax exemptions, energy assistance programs, and financial planning services available through local government agencies. This could help your loved ones save money on their monthly expenses, even if it’s not something that they need at the moment. You may take advantage of these benefits for them by helping with paperwork or verifying eligibility requirements before filing a claim form so that there are no delays in receiving assistance when needed later down the road.

Final Thought

One of the best ways to save money as a caregiver is by being proactive and continuing to look around. Whether asking new questions about their senior living options, check with local government agencies for additional financial relief programs. There are always more opportunities out there waiting to be discovered to allow them to live comfortably without breaking the bank.

By |2021-12-07T16:23:30-05:00December 7th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Money-Saving Tips for Senior Living and Care