When is Assisted Living the Right Choice?
assisted living is right for your loved one.
Assisted living is a big step, and knowing when it is the right choice for your loved one can be difficult. But it’s a choice that can offer a better quality of life for yourself as a caregiver and more comfort and safety for your loved one. Let’s discuss a few important signs to look for in daily life that illustrate how assisted living could benefit your loved one.
Activities like laundry, dishes, cleaning the house, exercise, and bathing can become difficult for loved ones, especially those who have limited mobility, health or cognitive issues. According to the Chicago Tribune, over 35 percent of people over age 65 fall in their homes once a year, increasing to 50 percent for those aged 75 and above. Falling, especially if your loved one lives alone, can be severe. While it can be challenging for loved ones to accept the reality of being unable to take care of their home, caregivers must recognize these difficulties to provide help. If you are a family member of a loved one who lives alone, check in on them to see how they manage their day-to-day lives.
Assisted Living Offers Help for Everyday Needs
At an assisted living facility, residents have access to all the benefits of independent living, but with help available for laundry, cleaning, and bathing services, to name a few. In addition, there are skilled, licensed nurses to care for residents in a safe environment—where falls and other accidents can be prevented, “Far too often families wait until an ‘event’ occurs before they have their loved one move into assisted living,” says Chrissy Smith, Area Operations Director and Administrator at Forest Hill Heights. “Families should consider not waiting for a hospital or rehabilitation stay but instead once they note a decline to move sooner than later so that the potential resident can truly enjoy the amenities offered by assisted living.”
Receiving proper nutrition at any age is a necessity for overall health. According to Feeding America, seniors who are food insecure are more likely to have a higher risk for chronic health conditions and mental health conditions like depression. Not eating enough, not eating the right number of necessary foods, or eating the wrong foods can affect anyone physically and mentally. Bone fragility, weak immune system, risk of hospitalization, and poor healing are some side effects of poor nutrition.
Assisted Living Offers Homestyle Dining and Medication Management
Dining at an assisted living facility allows residents to maintain a proper diet with nutritious meals featuring plenty of options. Smith says, “Many medications require being taken around mealtimes with food. By managing the medications around those mealtimes, taken at the correct dosage, we can see improvement within the health of new residents.” Chef-prepared meals create a proper balance of nutrients, including fresh ingredients and dishes approved by certified dieticians. Menus allow for choice, and many facilities offer an additional menu of daily favorites. Accommodations can also be made for dietary restrictions like no added salt, diabetic, gluten-free, mechanical soft, and others.
Staying social and active through hobbies, friends, and activities is essential. But when people live alone, not being able to move around or drive somewhere can prevent them from enjoying and living their life. The National Institute on Aging describes how research has linked social isolation to health issues like heart disease, obesity, and cognitive decline. “Someone who is developing increasing issues with their activities of daily living, they also may be starting to isolate socially,” says Dr. David Dunn, Forest Hill Heights Medical Director. Everyone needs some socialization to spark their cognitive functions, build relationships, and enjoy life.
Assisted Living Has Activities for Residents to Enjoy Everyday
At an assisted living facility, residents have the option to be around people, but also have their alone time. Assisted living facilities have activity calendars with stimulating activities including trivia, bingo, dancing, movies, happy hours, card games, walks, stretches, and music classes. Being around people with similar interests and situations allows for friendship and a better quality of life.
If you have yet to ask your loved one’s physician whether or not they think assisted living could provide a better quality of life, now is the time. Getting a doctor’s opinion can help a caregiver or a loved one understand that Assisted Living may be the better and safer option. As a caregiver, it may relieve the stress you feel providing daily care and worrying about their safety and well-being. In addition, doctors can help provide medical reasons why it is a safer environment for your loved one.
Assisted Living is Staffed by Highly Trained Professionals
When information and advice come from a personal doctor, it can bring comfort because your loved one trusts them. The nurses and doctors in assisted living facilities are highly trained professionals who can make your loved one feel that same amount of safety and comfort. With years of experience and dedication to the well-being of residents, they are professionals who practice passion. Whether it’s certificates in long-term care administration, certified dementia practitioners, becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse, or developing individualized care plans for each resident, the entire care team’s skill and dedication remains focused on residents’ safety and comfort.
Hiring a caregiver can be expensive, and because of this many families help each other out. It can be a constant worry, but you don’t want to upset your loved one by bringing up the topic of assisted living. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, caregivers spend on average 13 days (about 2 weeks) per month on shopping, food, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, and medication administration. Colleen Roy, Administrator of Orchard Heights urges caregivers to give themselves the benefit of time in this decision “Please don’t wait until you’re in a crisis to make a decision for your loved one. Give yourself the gift of time, so you are comfortable and able to find the right fit.”
Assisted Living Has Caregivers in Every Department
In assisted living, caregivers can be found in every department. Caring people specialize in different aspects of providing care in dining to activities, and transportation, maintenance, laundry, and housekeeping services, with licensed nurses available 24/7. There are always caregivers helping residents lead happy and productive lives and, most importantly, with independence and dignity.
Choosing Assisted Living is a hard decision to make but it’s a choice that can improve your loved one’s health, social life, and overall quality of life—and allow caregivers and loved ones the time to spend together in more meaningful moments.
If you think we are the right fit for a loved one or friend, book a tour here. We would love to meet you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.