We’re happy to announce we are opening back up for family visitation.

For all of the guidelines about visitation at our property, please click the link below:

Full COVID-19 Precautions and Visitation Guidelines

 

Gratitude Improves Attitude

Life often seems to move fast. First, you blink, and you wonder where the time has gone. Then, you reflect, and it feels like you haven’t taken enough time to appreciate the little things in life. The definition of gratitude, according to Merriam-Webster, is the state of being grateful: THANKFULNESS.

A common misconception of gratitude is that people only practice it during good times, like getting a promotion or a new car. But everyone should practice gratitude daily; it has proven effects of increasing happiness and can help lessen depression (NAMI, The Impact of Gratitude on Mental Health).

In fact, it’s easy to practice gratitude; just a few simple strategies can change your outlook on life. And, if you can learn to show appreciation in good and bad times, you will be grateful throughout all aspects of your life.

 

Write it Down

use of gratitude journal for self-care and well being: mental health therapy

Grab a notebook or piece of paper, even a napkin will do, and write three things you are grateful for each day. Try not to overthink this. It can be as specific or broad as you’d like, from family and friends to the delicious pancakes you had for breakfast to your favorite sweater.

When writing down what you are grateful for, remember there is no wrong answer, and it should be personal. Writing things down will help you connect with what you are thankful for. Then, be sure to take a minute and reflect on it. For example, your loved one is in assisted living, and they’re happy because they don’t feel as lonely anymore.

 

Say Thank You At Least Once a Day

Cute little child girl holding blackboard showing text " Thank You " in kids room. Education concept.

Many of us say thank you quite a bit in our everyday lives. Such as when someone holds the door for you, you’ve finished ordering at a drive-thru, or you give “the wave” to someone in traffic who lets you through. But have you ever taken the time to really think about what that thank you means? Why are you saying thank you?

Understanding the why not only helps you know what the thank you is for but also helps the other person feel good about what they did for you. For example, a friend calls you without knowing you are struggling with something. You say, “I have been feeling lonely lately, and your call just made my day. I appreciate you and thank you”. You can make someone else’s day while bringing gratitude into your life. Thank you is a beautiful way to elevate your spirit and someone else’s.

 

Reminder Signs

Text sign showing There is always something to be grateful for

Visual representations of what you want to accomplish will help you succeed when practicing gratitude. It can be little like a coffee mug that says, “Filled with Gratitude” or a sign in your office or bedroom reminding you to “Be Grateful.” Or maybe it’s a post-it on your mirror that says, “Be Thankful Today.”

These “visual cues” can help you to remember to practice gratitude. Because we all know when we are busy, it’s easy to forget. So, when you read the phrase or see the sign, take time to stop and focus on how it pertains to the specific moment or event in your life.

 

The Art of Gratitude

Practicing gratitude helps strengthen relationships, improves memory, and builds self-esteem. Try to incorporate gratitude daily and see how it can change your perspective, mood, or outlook. Feeling, showing, or expressing gratitude for the things and people in your life can make a difference. Choose gratitude.

If you think we are the right fit for a loved one or friend, book a tour here. We would love to meet you.

Assisted Living in Orchard Park, NY

The purpose of assisted living facilities are to provide a safe and healthy environment for residents and assist them with activities of daily living.

How To Find the Best Assisted Living Facility in the Orchard Park, NY Area

What is a senior living facility? Can it benefit you or your loved one? Will you or your loved one like it? Let’s discuss resources and reasons why assisted living can be beneficial and the right choice for you or a loved one. Assisted living in short provides care to the elderly including dining, nursing, and housekeeping. According to the National Center for Assisted Living, there are more than 800,000 people residing in assisted living in the United States. Which is about 2% of seniors in the United States who live in assisted living facilities.

As seniors age, they may need help with hygiene, eating, or housekeeping activities to live a full life. When needing care assistance there are different options for you or your loved one. Assisted living facilities focus on the importance of personal care in a facility for you or your loved one. Make sure to talk with your loved one about the choice to move into an assisted living facility.

 Isolation and loneliness  have been proven to assist in the decline of an elderly person’s health. As a resident, daily social activities and conversing with others will help you or your loved one to broaden important social skills at an older age. Being in an assisted living facility can drastically improve overall health by simply boosting your or a loved one’s mood. If you or a loved one are feeling isolated or lonely, being in a senior living facility will present the opportunity to meet people and socialize with other residents you may have a lot in common with.

It can be difficult to narrow down an assisted living facility that’s right for you or your loved one. There are many options available to help fit you or your loved ones needs. The most important part when selecting an assisted living facility is making sure it checks all the boxes. When choosing a community, take time to research and discover what these facilities have to offer.

Use the following guide to assist in the decision for the best assisted living facility.

Look for Management and Experience in Assisted Living

Reputation 

Having a good reputation in the community is important to the facility, potential residents and families. The best way to judge a reputation is by experiencing it, it’s easy to make quick judgements so we recommend reading reviews, reaching out to residents or families in the area, and scheduling a tour.

Licensing and Inspections

The state regulates assisted living communities by putting in place protocols, procedures, and sometimes showing up unannounced to the facility. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), regulate nursing homes with evaluations posted on their website but not assisted living communities. Each state regulates assisted living facilities in place of the federal government. Each state is different and usually is monitored by the state’s health department or social services. To learn more, click here.

Longevity of Staff

Having experienced and well-trained staff is crucial to a properly run facility. Staff who have been around the facility for years know the residents well, are very familiar with the facility and are experienced. When assisting residents, you or your loved one want a staff member who knows what they are doing. Having a connection with the staff is important for residents to feel comfortable and trust who is taking care of them.

Look for a Friendly Atmosphere and Environment in an Assisted Living Facility

Facility 

Having a clean facility is crucial to choosing the right one for you or your loved one. The ambience is a big factor to consider when touring, does it feel comfortable, or does it feel off? Is the facility like the pictures online or does it look completely different, many facilities do this to get customers in the door, and it’s deceiving. In the facility, pay attention if the staff is warm and friendly or if they seem like they don’t want to be there. Picture yourself or your loved one walking through the halls or sitting having dinner with residents, it’s important to feel comfortable. Does the facility appeal to all 5 senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing, and eyesight)?

Staff

When choosing an assisted living facility, the staff is one of the most important aspects of deciding. The staff are going to be taking care of you or your loved one and will be responsible for administering medicine, help with mobility, running engaging activities, and caring for you or your loved one’s overall safety. Assisted living staff should be passionate in this line of work, find people you or your loved one connect with and feel comfortable around. If you’re looking for ways to see what kind of staff a facility has, to catch a glimpse, poke around on the facility’s Facebook page. Doing this allows you to see into the environment and staff at the facility. Most facilities have social media to keep families and potential residents updated and to highlight special moments.

Look for Quality Services and Amenities of Assisted Living

Care

Can you or your loved one’s needs be met? Will the nurses and staff cater to you or your loved one for your specific required needs? These are the questions to think about before making the final decision where to go. 24/7 nursing is important to have when aging, someone to always be there for you or your loved one in case of emergency. Look into how care is administered and how it is determined to cater to you or your loved one. Ask questions on the tour, reach out to the director, and read all the information the facility will provide you in detail. Also, ask if the facility has a Quality Assurance Manager.

Transportation

A facility having a service like transportation will give residents the ability to go to their doctor’s appointments safely or partake in an adventure off property. It’s a special service not every facility can offer, families of loved ones can relax knowing they’re safe and provided with the service of transportation.

Outside Space

Everyone needs fresh air. Having a path to walk on or somewhere to be able to sit and get fresh air is important, especially in assisted living, it’s easy to become cooped up a lot of the time. Getting outside and moving your body will help feelings of isolation or sadness. Ask the facility if they have outdoor patios and how often they use them. Look for some vitamin D!

Some facilities offer many different types of amenities like an ice cream parlor, barber shop, hair salon, library and more!

Look for Safety Features Offered in an Assisted Living Facility

Security & Call System

If you or your loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia, having security implementations such as Wander Guard will help monitor you or your loved one. If a resident tries to leave the building alone, it’s a simple way to help avoid accidents and to keep everyone safe. Having a call system in place will help with the safety of you or your loved one. Residents can notify nurses if they are not feeling well or have fallen, it’s a system that helps staff be aware of issues in the building since they can’t be everywhere at once. The call system is a feature that helps bring families peace of mind because they know their loved ones are in constant care, which is better than at home.

Ask for Their Recreational Activities Calendar of Assisted Living

Interest

Many facilities offer a wide variety of social and recreational activities for residents, with a lot of diversity to cater to different interests. When researching facilities, focus on activities that interest you or your loved one and that seem fun. At an assisted living facility, there are more options than if at home, but it’s still important to find activities you or your loved one will enjoy. Facilities that offer a variety will be super helpful in creating a wonderful atmosphere. Some facilities offer night owl calendars, the purpose of night owl is to have residents stimulated if they can’t go to bed or enjoy staying up late.  From indoors to outdoors to exercise classes and happy hours, many facilities offer a lot of options for residents to socialize.

Family

With the hundreds of activities assisted living facilities can put together, important activities also include family involvement as well as the community. Having a facility that enriches and encourages families to come and visit their loved ones is important to help maintain close bonds. Holiday parties with family and birthdays can help residents stay connected.

Look for Assisted Living Quality Food Service

Dietary Needs

Most people have different needs or specific restrictions when it comes to their diet, especially as they age. It can be recommended by your doctor, an allergy, or a personal choice. Making sure a facility offers special dietary services is an important feature. While looking, it’s important to also research if the menu is approved by a dietitian. Food can increase socialization and overall health in you or your loved one by fueling your body with nutritious meals. Having food that you or your loved one will like is crucial to enjoying an assisted living facility. Eating and socializing promotes a sense of community and food can help residents feel happier and more comfortable.

Visitors

Look into if residents can have visitors and what that cost would be. Some residents might not be able to leave the assisted living home because they are not able, so it’s important to see if the facility allows family members to have private parties or gatherings.

Ask Questions About Contacts and Fees

It’s important to keep questions like these in mind on the tour or speaking with the facility employees:

➢ Are there community entrance fees?

➢ Are there any extra costs?

➢ Can you age in place?

➢ How often do rates increase?

Some facilities charge these fees, and some do not. Each facility will work differently for everyone based on their financial situation and each facility offers different services to residents. Find what’s best for you or your loved one!

This checklist is meant to help get you or your loved one’s mind thinking about important aspects to consider when discussing moving into assisted living. There are many attributes that pertain to where you or your loved one make the choice. It’s important to do the research and investigate certain features that would help make the decision easier. It can be difficult to narrow down the right place, especially with cost being a large factor of where you or your loved one will go. Use resources to help in this decision and trust your gut!

Let’s further discuss key points on why assisted living could be the right choice for you or your loved one:

Reason 1:- 24/7 Nursing

Having nurses on site 24/7 is a game changer for you or a loved one. It gives you and family members peace of mind that there are medical professionals readily available if anything were to happen. Having a caregiver who is professionally trained will help residents to live a happier life. As much as family or friends want to help, they do not have the experience nurses do. Some facilities do not offer 24-hour nurses because they don’t have enough staff or money in their budget. They will still have access to nurses but not 24/7 or sometimes only virtually, it’s up to you or your loved one which is preferred.

It can be hard to accept if you or a loved one needs assisted living care but recognizing it and finding the best fit is worth the hardship. The sense of safety you can give yourself or a loved one will be extremely beneficial to both sides. Usually, families want to do everything they can and become their own versions of nurses. There comes a point in time when medical professionals will make the world a difference on both sides, while also giving the opportunity to gain a group of supporters and advocates for you or a loved one’s health.

Reason 2: – Having a 24/7 Activities Calendar

Keeping social has its many benefits for seniors. If you or a loved one are introverted, it’s easy to become lonely and isolated. Being alone has proven to have negative effects on mental and physical health. Taking part in socialization may improve your memory and is a way to have fun! The reason for 24/7 activities is to intrigue every type of resident, whether that be at late afternoon or 3 in the morning because they can’t go back to bed after taking their medication. Or they can’t sleep because they miss their family, so they find a friend to play cards with. The purpose is to always have the opportunity for residents available regardless of time.

During the day, a resident may be too tired to do anything but by nighttime, they feel better. This gives everyone the opportunity to socialize on their own time. Some residents are night owls, others early birds, both have the chance to do what they want and when. If you or a loved one are looking for a chance to improve your mental health, consider and participate in activities that are offered because there are bigger reasons behind them. For example, playing cards frequently can help improve your or a loved one’s memory and cognition. Cards help with short-term memory as recalling a move quickly is important, as well as hand eye coordination. Reminder, social activities will always be important to a person’s physical and mental health, regardless of age.

Reason 3: – Services and Amenities

Something you wouldn’t be able to enjoy at home but can at a facility will likely become an incentive on why a senior living facility might be for you. For example, the adjustment of going from a home with not much to do unless you could drive there, to a facility with cool amenities like a beauty parlor and barber shop could be a fun change!

The day-to-day places you had to go each day while living alone can be right down the hall instead. This saves gas money, car payments, expenses, or the risk of something happening to you or a loved one unsupervised. When looking for the right facility for you or your loved one, pay close attention to the amenities and the benefits of having them right there. When picking options, have them be desirable and beneficial to what you or your loved one want.

Reason 4: – Dining

Independence is easy to take for granted, having it taken away or fighting a loved one over it for their safety is difficult. With assisted living, loved ones are monitored constantly without being invasive, to allow the opportunity to still be independent. They can go on walks, take a yoga class, or participate in field trips all while having nurses assist at every event they choose to attend. If anything were to happen, they wouldn’t be alone.

Reason 5: – Feel at Home

If you or your loved one suffers from pain or difficulty getting around, assisted living can help relieve those struggles and provide comfort. Having professionals monitor medications or assist with hygiene activities will help you or a loved one’s quality of life. It’s not a secret as someone gets older, it is more of a risk for them to be alone or to be doing activities they’ve always done. Being a resident of assisted living will help bring an extra level of safety to you or your loved one that families cannot bring. As safe and secure someone may feel with their own families, it is not always the solution especially if they have their own lives to live.

Reason 6: – Safety

When an elderly person is living alone, they usually have housework to upkeep or laundry to fold. But what if the washer and dryer are in the basement and it’s a hazard to walk down a steep flight of stairs. Not only does this pertain to safety but joining an assisted living facility can also allow for more free time. Not worrying about the laundry being folded, the dishes being clean or the mailbox being completely full.

Orchard Park is known as one of the best places to live in New York according to Niche. It has beautiful parks to stroll through and the town village with shops and cafes give the town a homey feel. There are 10 assisted living facilities in the Orchard Park area, they offer different opportunities for levels of care and costs.

Orchard Park is a place where different age groups can find multiple activities to do. Being in assisted living won’t stop you from still enjoying the city you live in if you’re able. Look into the local arts and culture of Orchard Park, and don’t forget it’s the home of the Buffalo Bills!

When it comes to deciding when to go into assisted living, it’s important to plan. Coming to terms with accepting help or realizing you or your loved one needs a change in their environment requires some deep thinking. There is a lot going into a decision as big as this one: family, pets, current home, or if facility care is the right choice. Check out this planning guide for a mental and physical checklist to help you or your loved one feel better prepared.

If you or your loved one do choose to become a resident at a senior living facility, the standard is to be well taken care of daily. There should be multiple employees in each department making sure residents are comfortable and being cared for. To benefit from the care you or your loved one receive, it’s important to also continue  to care for yourselves.

In Conclusion

Residing in a senior living facility opens a door of opportunity and benefits for you or a loved one. With a 24/7 activities schedule to keep you or your loved one engaged and social to the multiple amenities available. Gain the advantages senior living facilities offer while feeling comfortable and ageing in place. Senior living is not only about becoming older, but also about finding a place which fits you or a loved one’s needs best, all while offering opportunities that wouldn’t be available at home. Having 24-hour nurses physically on property can make a world of difference with your or a loved one’s health compared to being alone.

Still feel connected to having independence by choosing to participate in activities and continue to stay active. Senior assisted living facilities can offer the opportunity of ageing in place. The care you receive can adapt with you or your loved one’s age, resulting in a happier and safer lifestyle. Its main purpose is to provide comfort and fulfillment to residents and their families in times of need.

If you’re interested in learning more about senior living facilities and what they can offer to you or a loved one, research! Call up potential facilities and schedule a tour to see it in person or a virtual visit.

Take the information here and process all the opportunities senior assisted living can give to yourself or a loved one. It can transform a person’s way of life as they begin to age and have limited abilities. There are more opportunities for residents with activities and amenities available every day, compared to if they weren’t residents at a facility. Socializing and moving your feet are key factors in staying healthy as everyone ages, cue the live music and midnight movies!

Why You Should Join a Caregiver Support Group

Being a caregiver can bring stress, worry, exhaustion, guilt and the list goes on. Taking care of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia can mentally drain a person as much as they may deny it. This disease takes a powerful tole not only on the diagnosed but the people surrounding them, in different ways.

Why You Should Join a Caregiver Support Group

Being a caregiver can bring stress, worry, exhaustion, guilt and the list goes on. Taking care of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia can mentally drain a person as much as they may deny it. This disease takes a powerful tole not only on the diagnosed but the people surrounding them, in different ways.

As a caregiver, it is important to feel supported and not alone in the process of taking care of a loved one. We are lucky today there are many care options for loved ones suffering with Alzheimer’s or dementia, and options for caregivers. Let’s talk about the importance of support groups in caregivers’ journeys…

While caregivers are usually never alone, it’s easy to feel alone and isolated. Caregivers spend most of their time caring for someone else in every way possible, it’s difficult to remember to take care of themselves. It can also be difficult to accept memory care for your loved one as you’re so used to it, but sometimes it’s what it needs to turn too.

Support groups help you develop relationships with people who have similar stories to you whether that be with their parents, spouse, sibling, or a friend. In these discussions, you would be exchanging information between other caregivers like yourself, it could even turn into finding solutions to the problems you’re having. Advice from others can go a long way.

A support group gives you access to other people’s experiences, they can relate to you through their own challenges with their loved one. You as a caregiver can discuss what you have gone through and seek advice from others in the same position. You can share your true feelings in a safe space meant for venting and coping with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

There are many resources out there to caregivers and family members of loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Click here to find support groups in your area.

Book a tour here to see if we’re the right fit.

More Support Group Resources:

Eldercare Locator – https://eldercare.acl.gov/Public/Resources/Topic/Caregiver.aspx

Family Caregiver Alliance  (FCA) – http://lists.caregiver.org/mailman/listinfo/caregiver-online_lists.caregiver.org

3 Dementia Safe Activities to Do with Your Loved One this Halloween

Halloween can be triggering towards those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, let’s discuss 3 safe activities to celebrate this Halloween with a loved one.

3 Dementia Safe Activities to Do with Your Loved One this Halloween

Halloween’s main purpose is to create joy and fun while reveling in the spookiness. For those who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s can experience a different type of Halloween, including triggers, anxiety, and agitation. Therefore, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the potential problems Halloween can bring to a loved one. For example, scary decorations or costumes can cause confusion and become dangerous. 

While there are many activities and objects to stay away from during Halloween, there are stimulating activities to make the holiday fun and stress free.

 

Activity #1: Painting Pumpkins  

Painting has been known to have therapeutic effects on patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Painting can engage attention and social behavior. Make it fun and relate painting to Halloween with painting pumpkins. It is an inexpensive activity to help get into the Halloween spirit. Small pumpkins can be found anywhere from your nearest grocery store to the pumpkin patch. So, grab those pumpkins and your family to start a new Halloween dementia safe tradition. 

 

Activity #2: Halloween Charades 

Charades are a social way to engage you and your loved one to get into the Halloween spirit. Charades are an easy way to create fun and stimulate your loved one to participate in an activity. Check out this list for examples on Halloween charade words. 

 

Activity #3: Make Halloween Slime 

Slime is a fun activity for all ages, most importantly it is a tactile experience for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia to enjoy. Slime is easy to create and can keep someone occupied for hours, follow this recipe to make the proper Halloween slime. 

 

It doesn’t have to be expensive or cost money to celebrate Halloween. There are resources and ideas that can keep your loved one engaged and have the spirit for Halloween, safely. 

Happy Halloween to all our residents and staff! 

What To Do When a Loved One is Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s

Someone you love was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It feels surreal and you’re unable to predict how this will play out. Your mind is going to a million different places, and you’re scared.

What To Do When a Loved One is Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 6 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s and 1 in 3 of elderly people will die with dementia or Alzheimer’s. This disease slowly takes memories and cognitive skills away from its host, and it is devastating.

Someone you love was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It feels surreal and you’re unable to predict how this will play out. Your mind is going to a million different places, and you’re scared. You’ve never quite been told news like this before, or you have, and you know what’s coming.

You wonder how this will affect your relationship with your loved one as well as the future. Will they suffer? Will they forget everything, including me? I hope you find comfort in knowing there are millions of other families going through the same experience. As unfair as an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is, there are ways to try to cope with the diagnosis and resources to help. Let’s discuss 5 ways to help cope when a loved one is diagnosed, including: allowing yourself to feel, providing comfort, finding the right fit for care, patience with your loved one, and dealing with guilt.

  1. Allow Yourself to Feel Your Emotions

As humans, emotions play a large role in how we tackle situations, feel the feelings you need too. Go scream at the top of your lungs, break something, whatever your mind needs to process the news so that you can be your best self for your loved one in need.

Remember, you have family and friends you can discuss your emotions with and start talking about a plan. It’s important to research Alzheimer’s to become more familiar with the disease. A diagnosis such as Alzheimer’s will always be scary but remember you’re not alone. There are multiple support groups for families of the diagnosed, here’s a few:

Alzheimer’s Association

Hilarity For Charity (HFC)

Memory People

Caring Bridge

As scary as it is for someone you love to be diagnosed with an incurable disease, imagine how scared they must be. Both sides are terrified to know how this will progress so it’s crucial to communicate as much as possible in the beginning.

  1. Provide Comfort to Your loved One

Their diagnosis may not let them express their fear for the future, which is why it’s important to make your loved one feel safe. Don’t be afraid of them, continue to make eye contact when they’re speaking to remind them you know who they are and you’re listening.

Keeping up a routine is important in dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. Try to recall little habits or preferences they have like drinking their favorite juice every morning, hobbies like knitting, or wearing their favorite sweater. Keep reminding them of the familiar as much as you can, but do not push it. Trying to remind someone who they once were, will mostly result in frustration and anger if they do not remember what is asked of them.

  1. Find the Right Fit for Care

Choosing the right form of care is a big decision, you must ask yourself some questions. Is it inviting? Clean? Is there knowledgeable staff? How do they communicate with patients’ families? Is it comfortable? There is an array of potential questions to ask yourself when deciding where to go, and each relates to your personal situation. There are also specialized memory care facilities that focus solely on dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.

At this facility, caring is our top priority for your loved one along with our privilege. We offer exceptional care and a comfortable environment. We focus on every resident and their specific and unique needs. Each of our facilities are licensed and inspected by the state health departments, along with each facility having the assistance of the Department of Health regulating our facilities. It’s important to check that any facility you are thinking of choosing, has the proper licensing and certifications. Each year, the National Center for Assisted Living updates state requirements for assisted living care. Click here to find your state.

  1. Have Patience With Your Loved One and Disease

Although you can’t fully understand what they’re going through, try to remember if they become upset or agitated towards you that it is the disease talking and not them. It’s important to take it day by day, you cannot look too far into the future because each day is different. When diagnosed, they will need to stop doing the tasks they used to do like driving a car, riding a bike, going for a run and it’s important to accept that as a loved one you cannot “fix” or “preserve” them. Patience and accepting the hard realization of this diagnosis are key.

  1. Don’t Let Guilt Creep In

Many family members feel guilty for placing their loved ones in a memory care facility. Do not feel guilty for prioritizing your loved one’s diagnosis by putting them in memory care, you also must prioritize yourself as their care giver or close family member. Neither side wants to be going through this, you’re taking care of them by knowing it’s time they receive professional care, and you should be proud of that. Letting go is very difficult and this disease may take full control, so while you can, take control of it first.

Sometimes, it’s easy to feel irritated or frustrated with your loved one going through Alzheimer’s. This does not make you a bad person or care giver, it makes you human. There’s no right way to grieve someone you love after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. You may fear all the memories they will lose or if they will remember your name. Even if you’re not going through the disease, it doesn’t mean you aren’t already grieving a loss to come and that is okay.

In Conclusion

You’re a loved one, who’s worried about another loved one with an incurable disease. Give yourself credit and grace. Taking each day at a time will be beneficial to the both of you. The next day can bring anything, good or bad, so there is no need to try and predict or control the future. Your loved one is lucky to have you.

Book a tour here to see if we’re the right fit.

Memory Care Facility in Orchard Park, NY

The purpose of memory care facilities is to provide a safe and healthy environment for residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other types of memory impairment.

How To Find the Best Memory Care Facility in the Orchard Park, NY Area

Alzheimer’s effects more than 6 million Americans, and that number is expected to only rise. It is uncertain, there’s no way of telling how this disease will develop over time for your loved one because of its unpredictable ways. It can progress rapidly or painfully slow, early, mid, and late-stage Alzheimer’s is the cycle this disease follows.

Alzheimer’s and dementia require around the clock care, caregivers are a lot of times family, and it can be a burden on them to dedicate themselves to taking care of their loved one alone. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 11 million Americans are caregivers for those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, unpaid.

Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other types of memory impairment can affect people’s and families lives drastically. To ensure your loved one gets the help they need, look out for early warning signs of cognitive impairment. When it does come time to make a care plan, turning to memory care will help in the process of planning.

The purpose of memory care facilities is to provide a safe and healthy environment for residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other types of memory impairment. Receiving a diagnosis like Alzheimer’s requires your loved one to live in a safe environment with trained professionals. Choosing memory care can be one of the best options to receive top tier and individualized care.

There are approximately 30,000 assisted living facilities with memory care units included in them, making it important for you or your loved one to find which works best.

It can be difficult to narrow down a memory care facility that’s right for your loved one. The most important part when selecting a memory care facility is making sure it checks all the boxes. When choosing a community, take time to research and discover what these facilities have to offer.

Use the following guide to assist in the decision for the best memory care facility.

Look for Management and Experience in Memory Care

Reputation

Having a good reputation in the community is important to the facility and potential residents and families. The best way to judge a reputation is by experiencing it, it’s easy to make quick judgements so we recommend reading reviews, reaching out to residents or families in the area, and scheduling a tour.

Licensing and Inspections

The state regulates assisted living communities by putting in place protocols, procedures, and sometimes with unannounced visits. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), regulate nursing homes with evaluations posted on their website but not assisted living communities. Each state regulates assisted living facilities in place of the federal government. Each state is different and usually is monitored by the state’s health department or social services. To learn more, click here.

Longevity and Certification of Staff

Having experienced and well-trained staff is crucial to a properly run facility. The staff who have been there for years know the residents well, are very familiar with the facility and are experienced. When assisting residents, you or your loved one want a staff member who knows what they are doing. This isn’t to say younger, newer staff are not qualified, but staff with higher longevity have more experience working in this environment. It’s important to note if the staff are Certified Dementia Practitioner’s, having staff who understands and is trained in the disease is incredibly valuable to you and your loved one.

Look for a Friendly Atmosphere and Environment in a Memory Care Unit

Facility

Having a clean facility is important in choosing the right space. The ambience is a big factor to consider when touring, does it feel comfortable, or does it feel off-putting? Is the facility like the pictures online or is it completely different looking, many facilities do this to get customers in the door but it’s deceiving. In the facility, pay attention to whether the staff is warm and friendly or if they seem like they don’t want to be there. Keep in mind picturing yourself or your loved one walking through the halls or sitting having dinner with residents, it’s important to feel comfortable.

Staff

When choosing a memory care facility, the staff is arguably one of the most important aspects of making a decision. The staff are going to be the ones taking care of your loved one. They will be responsible for administering medicine, helping with mobility, running engaging activities, and caring for your loved one’s overall safety. Keep in mind if staff looks well-groomed and if they seem to care about their positions in facilities as they are responsible for residents. People who work in memory care should be passionate in this line of work, find people you and your loved one connect with and feel comfortable around.

Look for Quality Services and Amenities of Memory Care

Care

Can you and your loved one’s needs be met? Will the nurses and staff cater to your loved one for their specific required needs? These are questions to think about before making the final decision about where to go. 24/7 nursing is important to have when aging, someone to always be there in case of emergency. Look into how care is administered and how it is determined to cater to your loved one. Ask questions on the tour, reach out to the director, and read all the information the facility will provide in detail.

Transportation

Having transportation to be able to take your loved one to appointments is needed to transport them safely instead of having to get family or friends during the day to come and do it. This is an important amenity to families of loved ones and residents.

Outside Space

As humans, everyone needs fresh air. Having a path to walk on or somewhere to be able to sit and get fresh air is important, especially living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. It’s easy to become cooped up a lot of the time, and not want to socialize or come out of the room because it seems scary. Going outside and moving will help any feelings of isolation or sadness. Look for some vitamin D!

Some facilities offer many different types of amenities like an ice cream parlor, barber shop, hair salon, library and more!

Look for Safety Features Offered in the Memory Care Unit

Security

Living in a memory care facility, there should be a certain level of security for residents and staff. If your loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia, having security implementations such as Wander Guard will help monitor them. If a resident tries to leave the building alone or starts wandering, it’s a simple way to help avoid accidents and to keep your loved one safe.

Call System

Having a call system in place will help with the safety of your loved one. Residents can notify nurses if they are not feeling well or have fallen, it’s a system that helps staff be aware of issues in the building since they can’t be everywhere at once. The call system is a feature that helps bring families peace of mind because they know their loved ones are in constant care, which is better than at home.

Ask for Their Recreational Activities Calendar of Memory Care

Interest

Many facilities offer a wide variety of social and recreational activities for residents, with a lot of diversity to cater to different interests. When researching facilities, focus on activities that interest your loved one and seems fun. At a memory care facility, there are more options than at home, but it’s still important to find activities your loved one will enjoy. Facilities that offer a variety will be helpful in creating a wonderful atmosphere. From indoors to outdoors to exercise classes and karaoke, many facilities offer a lot of options for residents to socialize.

Family

With the hundreds of activities assisted living facilities can put together, important activities also include family involvement as well as the community. Having a facility that enriches and encourages families to come and visit their loved ones is important to help maintain close bonds. Holiday parties with family, birthdays, and get togethers can help residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia stay connected.

Look for Memory Care Quality Food Service

Dietary Needs

Most people have different needs or specific restrictions when it comes to their diet, especially as they age. It can be recommended by your doctor if suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, an allergy, or a personal choice. Making sure a facility offers special dietary services is an important feature. While looking, it’s important to also research if the menu is approved by a dietitian.

Visitors

Look into whether residents can have visitors and what that cost would be. Some residents might not be able to leave the facility because they are not able, so it’s important to see if the facility allows family members to have private parties or gatherings.

Ask Questions About Contacts and Fees

When on a tour or speaking with the facility employees ask questions like the following:

➢ Are there community entrance fees?

➢ Are there any extra costs?

➢ Can you age in place?

➢ How often do rates increase?

Some facilities charge these fees, and some do not. Each facility will work differently for everyone based on their financial situation and each facility offers different services to residents. Find what’s best for you and your loved one!

This checklist is meant to help get you or your loved one’s mind to begin thinking about important aspects to consider when discussing moving into memory care. There are many attributes that pertain to where you or your loved one make the choice. It’s important to do the research and investigate certain features that would help make the decision easier. It can be difficult to narrow down the right place, especially with cost being a large factor. Use resources to help in this decision and trust the process!

Being in a facility dedicated to helping your loved one live a full life is the purpose of memory care. They will receive 24-hour care, a safe environment for them to live their lives in, activities to keep up stimulation and socialization, and peace of mind for families that a loved one is in a safe space designed for them and their diagnosis.

Let’s further discuss key points on why memory care could be the right choice for you and your loved one:

Reason 1:- 24/7 Nursing

Having licensed nursing professionals on-site at all times will provide comfort for you and your loved one when in memory care. It gives you, your loved one, and family members peace of mind knowing medical professionals are always readily available day through night. With Alzheimer’s or dementia, it can be hard to communicate when not feeling well, or something is wrong. Professional nurses who are trained in memory care can communicate with you or your loved one safely and more efficiently.

As families accept the reality of their loved ones being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, the idea of taking care of them can be overwhelming. Family members usually don’t have the skills or tools necessary to properly take care of their loved one. Memory care helps release that burden of feeling like someone needs to put their life on hold. There are nurses who work at these facilities dedicating their lives to patients  like your loved one. Memory care facility nurses train to become strong communicators and advocators for patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia. With 24/7 nurses, you and your loved one will gain a sense of safety.

 

Memory care facility 24/7 nurses on-site

Reason 2: – Having a 24/7 Activities Calendar

When living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, stimulating the mind and body is essential to creating a better-quality life. It’s easy for Alzheimer’s or dementia patients to become isolated and overwhelmed very easily, curated activities for cognitive function can help your loved one live a better quality of life. The reason behind 24/7 activities is to intrigue every type of resident, which could be late in the afternoon or at 3 in the morning. The purpose is to have the opportunity for interaction for residents available regardless of the time. Some residents are night owls, others early birds, both have the chance to do what they want and when.

With Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, every single day is different. It’s hard to know how they will react to something or what kind of mood that day will bring.  Having an activities schedule robust enough that it is intriguing but not overwhelming is important to the proper care. Memory care facilities create an active environment with skilled nurses to help guide your loved one to a better quality of life while living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Memory care facility 24/7 activities schedule

Reason 3: – Amenities Available

Memory care facilities offer opportunities one would not receive at home. Your loved one would be able to have different “perks” right down the hall unlike at home. Memory care facilities and their amenities can help to uncomplicate life, doing so by offering a sense of freedom while still being cared for. Let’s say your loved one really likes to get out of the house and explore different things like going to the barber shop or the nail salon. Memory care facilities offer amenities like those to bring a sense of normalcy to residents and gives them the independence to explore right there.

 emory care facility amenities, hair salon

Reason 4: – Healthy Dining Program

At memory care facilities, it is very important to residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Usually, dementia friendly meals are served to keep residents physically and mentally healthy as much as possible. When suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s easy to forget to eat, not remember if you did already, or become too overwhelmed. A balanced diet is important because your loved one can’t be responsible for taking care of themselves alone anymore.

Memory care facilities help monitor and create balanced meals for residents. They also give the option to not dine alone and create conversation daily while being fueled with the proper nutrition.

Memory care facility dietician approved meal

Reason 5: – Making it Feel Close to Home

Memory care facilities don’t have to feel like an uncomfortable place. The staff and volunteers have a wonderful gift of making it feel close to home. When moving into a memory care facility, make sure to bring similar furniture, or items that make your loved one feel at home. It’s possible they won’t remember home much, but items from the past will help to keep the connection.

At a memory care facility, they also focus on celebrating residents as well as holidays. Families can visit and there’s something to do every single day. Residents can live a better quality of life than if they were home, your loved one can meet people and have friends to socialize with while getting the assistance and care needed.

Memory care facility residents feel at home

Reason 6: – Safety Protocols 

The most important aspect of a memory care facility is the safety they offer. Nurses, security, and overall care can ensure your loved one’s safety. When living at home, it can be difficult to live a good quality life. Unless you or your loved one has home care, there needs to be a solution to help in dealing with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Memory care facilities will offer constant care and a community for you or your loved one to be a part of, safely.

Memory care facility Wander Guard bracelet for safety

In Conclusion

When diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, having a plan is important to creating the best quality of life possible for your loved one. Memory care will help keep them stimulated, safe and sociable. As hard as it may be to come to terms with a difficult diagnosis, it’s always possible to create a path in which it’s not as scary. Memory care facilities will take you and your loved one in with open arms.

Orchard Park is known as one of the best places to live in New York according to Niche. It has beautiful parks to stroll through and the town village with shops and cafes give the town a homey feel.

Orchard Park is a place where different age groups can find multiple activities to do. Being in assisted living won’t stop you from still enjoying the city you live in if you’re able. Look into the local arts and culture of Orchard Park, and don’t forget it’s the home of the Buffalo Bills!

Take the information here and process all the opportunities memory care can give to you and a loved one. It can help to transform someone’s quality of life, while dealing with an incurable disease. There are so many opportunities for residents with the activities and amenities offered through memory care. Memory care is to help you and your loved one live a better life.

Book a tour here to see if we’re the right fit.

Is Your Loved One Having Problems Retrieving Names or Words?

You’re sitting at the dinner table with your family members when suddenly your grandpa calls you the wrong name. At first you just brush it off, but then you notice he seems to call everyone the wrong name and look genuinely confused when somebody corrects him. This could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s is a brain disease which negatively affects cognitive function. Adults 65 and older are typically more at-risk for developing Alzheimer’s and unfortunately, the disease only worsens as time goes on. If you’re worried that your loved one may have Alzheimer’s, there are 10 early signs and symptoms to look out for.

Early Signs

Early Signs to Look For

10 early signs and symptoms to look out for

Memory Loss

If your loved one is often forgetting important dates, repeatedly asking the same questions, relying more on family members to handle things they used to handle themselves, and forgetting information as soon as they’ve learned it; this could be a sign of Alzheimer’s. Occasionally forgetting names or appointments but remembering later is considered normal.

Difficulty Problem-Solving & Planning

When it comes to numbers, a person living with early Alzheimer’s may have trouble concentrating and managing finances, resulting in taking much longer to complete tasks than usual.

Difficulty Completing Simple Tasks

e.g., Driving in a familiar location can suddenly become unfamiliar.

Confusion with Time or Place

Your loved one may not remember what day of the week it is or have any recollection of where they are. This worsens with disease progression to the point where it can become dangerous to leave your love one unattended for extensive periods of time. Forgetting what day it is occasionally is normal, but people suffering from Alzheimer’s will become completely unaware of time.

Vision Problems or Difficulty Determining Space

Driving becomes severely difficult when a person’s vision and sense of space is negatively affected by Alzheimer’s. Vision problems tend to occur with age and should be monitored regularly.

Impaired Speech or Writing

Holding verbal or written conversations becomes challenging. Sometimes the wrong words are used to describe an object, vocabulary is not as strong, and repetition occurs often.

Losing Items

A common step people follow when they lose something is retracing their steps in hopes of locating the lost item. However, a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease will be unable to retrace their steps and may even accuse other people of stealing their lost items.

Poor Judgement

This often relates to decisions regarding finances and personal hygiene.

Social/Work Withdrawal

Socializing becomes more difficult, resulting in withdrawal from hobbies and social activities.

Personality/Mood Changes

A person suffering from Alzheimer’s may become more confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, anxious, or easily upset with others.

Stages of Alzheimer’s

There are three stages of Alzheimer’s: mild, moderate, and severe. It’s important to note how symptoms can often overlap making it more difficult to identify which stage is prevalent.

Mild
• Difficulty performing tasks in social/work settings, remembering names and/or words, and staying organized/planning
• Losing common objects often
• Forgetting material that was just read

Moderate
• Forgetting personal history, significant events, personal information such as address, phone number, etc.
• Shift in sleep patterns
• Wandering
• Exhibiting compulsive behaviors and personality changes
• Withdrawing from social/work activities
• Difficulty controlling bladder
• Requiring assistance with daily functions such as getting dressed

Severe
• Loss of awareness
• Mobility is severely affected (e.g., walking, sitting, swallowing, talking, etc.)
• Requires 24/7 care

What’s Your Next Step

If your loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek professional help immediately for a proper diagnosis. In the event the diagnosis is dementia, Alzheimer’s, or memory impairment, assisted living and memory care could be beneficial. Facilities equipped with 24/7 nursing care, individualized care plans, in-house Geriatricians, and plenty of cognitive stimulation through a 24/7 activities calendar will ensure peace and comfort for your loved one in a safe homelike environment.

Assisted living can be a difficult topic to discuss with family members, and we are here to help in any way possible. If you think your loved one could benefit from our memory care services or other care options, please contact us for more information. To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, please visit the Alzheimer’s Association at https://www.alz.org/

Why Residents at Assisted Living Facilities

Should Receive the Covid-19 Vaccine

There’s no question that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected residents, healthcare workers and staff at nursing homes and assisted livings throughout the country. Not only have we lost family members and friends to this horrific virus, but the effects of isolation, uncertainty, and fear of exposure have also taken their devastating toll. On top of this, the ownership side of nursing homes and assisted livings have also suffered. Throughout the course of the pandemic, occupancy decreased dramatically not only due to Covid deaths, but also because of a decrease in admissions. But after nearly a year and a half, this winter brought us a beacon of warm light in what seemed to be a never-ending tunnel of darkness – the Covid-19 vaccine.

With the arrival of the vaccine, the world is finally beginning to see some kind of normalcy. Restrictions are lifting. People are resurrecting from isolation. This is because the safe and 90% effective (including for the elderly) Covid-19 vaccine is now available in all parts of the country, available for anyone 12 years of age and older.

The arrival of the vaccine and choosing (or not choosing) to get it is a life-or-death situation. What does this mean for nursing homes and assisted livings? Well, a lot.

    • Families can now reunite; grandparents can meet their grandchildren who were born earlier that year.
    • Residents can come out of isolation and interact with one another.
    • Healthcare workers, faculty, and staff will be protected and protect their residents.
    • Ultimately, those who spend any time in nursing homes or assisted living, and their family and friends, can stop living in fear.

 

With nearly 44% of the country fully vaccinated, and daily Covid counts continuing to decrease, the proof is in the pudding (CNBC.com). With minor to no side effects that are in line with receiving many other vaccines, and the assurance of protection from additional Covid strains, nursing homes and assisted livings can benefit from receiving the vaccine in major ways. The benefits are both immediate and long term, physical and emotional.

Isolation has been one of the most detrimental aspects of the pandemic in nursing homes and assisted livings, especially amongst Alzheimer’s patients. A study shows that 13,200 more deaths were caused by dementia than expected, compared to previous years. (TheWashingtonPost.com). That’s 13,200 too many. The ability for these patients to receive vaccines will allow them to see family and interact with other residents in their facilities.

Not to mention the ability to obtain more residents from the ownership side. In-person tours of facilities, meetings with potential residents’ families, and face-to-face contact with faculty and staff provides families with peace of mind. Families will have a higher inclination to admit their loved ones into your nursing home or assisted living.

The Covid-19 vaccine has proved to be one of the great miracles brought to us by science and technology. The benefits of the majority of Americans getting vaccinated is immense, especially for nursing homes and assisted livings. Once these facilities receive the vaccine in larger numbers, we’ll be one step closer to kissing this virus goodbye.

Moving to
Assisted Living?

What to do With Your House?

Assisted living in Orchard Park of NY is becoming an increasingly desirable option for seniors who need support for certain daily activities, but who still want independence and an active social life. We at Orchard Heights understand that while this is an advantageous move for you, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. For example, after you’ve done all the research and settled on a floor plan at Orchard Heights, the next big decision could be what to do with an existing house or condo.

Essentially, you have three choices: sell, rent, or keep the property in the family. In this article, we will review the pros and cons of each option so you can make an informed choice.

Selling the Property

Selling the property is perhaps the most obvious choice. It is probably the best option in cases where your family lives far away and does not have any long-term interest in the property. The lump sum from the sale can also be a useful injection of cash for the senior, helping to fund the cost of assisted living.

For example, the median sale price of a house in Orchard Park averaged $298,250 over the last month. If you don’t currently have a mortgage, netting at least this much in the sale of your home could comfortably cover your Orchard Heights monthly fee for years to come.

It’s also worth considering how easy it would be to sell the house. Orchard Park is a competitive market, so chances are you would sell quickly. However, it is worth noting that the demand for large family homes is decreasing, making it harder for seniors to sell their homes. Essentially, an apartment or condo will be easier to sell than a big house with a lot of improvements.

Renting Out Your Home

Renting is a good option if no one in the family is interested in living in the house now, but you want to keep that possibility open for the future. It can also be useful to keep the house as an asset and to wait until it gains value.

Collecting rent every month can also heavily subsidize the monthly cost of an assisted living facility. The average rent in Orchard Park is around $1,054, which means that you could use rent payments to directly fund the majority of your assisted living costs. This regular cash flow is easier to manage than the lump sum you get from selling.

Keeping It in the Family

Finally, you have the option of keeping the house within the family. There are several ways to pass on a house to adult children without losing a lot of money on taxes. You can give it as an outright gift, sell it at a reduced rate (this still counts as a gift in the eyes of the IRS), or sell it at the market price.

Bear in mind that there are risks involved in doing this. For example, the sale of the house could count against you if you need to apply for Medicaid for nursing home care within five years. Each has its complex tax implications, so it pays to do your research. Even better, get some advice from an expert like an estate lawyer before making a decision.

Of course, you can always choose a combination of these options. For instance, you could rent the house out for a couple of years while you decide what to do with it, or you could gift it to a family member who will then sell it later. The important thing is to carefully consider your options and make the choice that works best for everyone.