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Posted December 20, 2016



Icy Summer Treats
Posted May 06, 2016

Cool down this summer with some icy and cool summer beverages. Here are some fast and delicious ways to make your summer beverages a real treat!

Tip 1: Add frozen fruit and mint leaves to water - Not only will this make your water tasty and cool, it might also assist you with keeping hydrated by encouraging you to drink more and often.

Tip 2: Cool brew ice tea - Boiling water for tea can heat up a house, instead fill a jar with room temperature water, add some tea bags and then pop it in the refrigerator for a day to chill. Add fresh lemon and mint to taste! 

Tip 3: Add fresh cucumber to water - Can't drink cold beverages? No worries, just add some fresh cucumbers to water to make a refreshing summer beverage.

**Remember, bacteria spreads more quickly with heat!  Avoid food related illness by washing and peeling all fruit, vegetable and herbs you use in your beverages. Also, fully discard/throw away, all fruit, vegetable and herbs after you finish your beverage. Never eat food that has been out in the heat or food that has been standing at room temperature for more than an hour.** 

Stay healthy and safe this summer! For more tips on food safety, please visit the USDA: website: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/leftovers-and-food-safety/ct_index



Saving money by not wasting food makes sense but sometimes holding on to food too long or at the wrong temperature can cost you money by making you sick through foodborne illnesses. According to the USDA there are many ways one can contact a foodborne illness. Here are some examples quick tips to follow by the USDA to help avoid food poisoning. 

Tip 1: "After food is safely cooked, hot food must be kept hot at 140° F or warmer to prevent bacterial growth." - USDA

Tip 2: "Throw away all perishable foods that have been left in room temperature for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is over 90° F, such as at an outdoor picnic during summer)." - USDA

Tip 3: "To prevent bacterial growth, it's important to cool food rapidly so it reaches as fast as possible the safe refrigerator-storage temperature of 40° F or below. To do this, divide large amounts of food into shallow containers." - USDA

All tips are from the USDA's factsheet on leftovers and food safety, to read the entire list of tips, visit their website at : http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/leftovers-and-food-safety/ct_index



Summer is near and the temperatures outside are rising. With the increased heat comes the risk of heat related illnesses. According to the CDC's informational page, Extreme Heat and Your Health, there are three basic tips to follow if you want to try to avoid a heat related illness.

Tip  1: Stay Cool - Keep out of direct sun and stay cool with air-conditioning as much as possible.

Tip  2: Stay Hydrated - Drink more water than usual NOT just when you are thirsty.

Tip  3: Stay Informed - Keep up with the progression of the weather - avoid staying outside for long on extremely hot days.

 

For more tips and prevention, please visit the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/extremeheat/



Long Term Care Insurance Options
Posted April 15, 2016

According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, of the 45 million Americans who are 65 and older, only about 8 million have some type of long term care insurance. Information on the topic can be made readily available to interested parties.

 

With insight into Long Term Care Insurance options and alternative solutions, individuals and families will be able to discuss and develop a long term care plan. An effective plan will help identify an individual’s preferences for care, including the location and type of setting preferred and provide a strategy to help manage the impact of the associated costs. The older one gets, the more difficult and more expensive it is to buy. So, truly, time is of the essence!

 

If interested in a free Long Term Care workshop, please send us an email to info@lovedonesfirst.com, and we will gladly coordinate with a local professional to deliver the information.

 

http://ow.ly/4mI6lD



Every adult child who is serving as their parent’s care giver thinks and worries about a million different things when it comes to finding the right assisted living facility for their loved ones. Price, location, facilities, reviews, staff and living arrangements are all things that have to be carefully considered.

If you’re in the beginning stages of finding a nursing home or assisted living facility for your aging parent, take a few of these things into consideration.

Staff-To-Resident Ratio- It is important to consider how much individual, personalized time your parent needs or wants in an assisted living facility. If they are very independent, mobile, and without any major cognitive issues, a facility with a low staff to resident ratio may be suitable. However, if they need constant care, help and supervision, a much smaller ratio may be better for their needs. 

Staff Qualifications- The people working in the place where your parent will live are going to become a large part of your parent’s life. These are the people who will provide support, a listening ear, a helping hand, a laugh, smile or shoulder to cry on for your parent when you can’t be there. Do some digging to make sure these people are qualified in their particular field. Ask about the number of staff on at all times, ask about overnight staff, their experiences and qualifications. Find out as much as you can about the people who are running the establishment. A simple, affordable living space with an all-star team on board is always much better than a fancy, expensive place with a grumpy and incompetent team.

Price- Ask about the billing and payment policies, what is included in the quoted price, and if there are additional services available to your parent for an extra cost. Make sure you understand what is expected of you financially, and that you understand what you’re getting for what you pay.

When You Take A Tour- If you have the opportunity to take a tour of the assisted living facility that your parent will be moving into, pay attention to the overall cleanliness of the public areas. Pay attention to the smells around you, look into corners and small spaces to inspect for dust and debris. Ask questions about housekeeping and how often both the private and public living spaces are cleaned. If possible, visit during a planned activity to get an idea on how the staff conducts these activities, and observe the amount of patient participation. Eat a meal while you’re there to get an idea of the food they serve, and pay close attention to the attitude, body language and overall friendliness of the staff.  Keep an eye out for security issues, such as unlocked doors, uneven pavement or anything else that could cause residents harm.

Every community is unique, and finding the one that fits your loved one the best can feel like quite a task. However, you don’t have to do it alone. Get recommendations from friends and family, talk to residents when you visit the home, and get professional support. By doing and asking some of the things listed above, you’ll be on your way to finding the perfect place for the ones you love the most.



Gift ideas for seniors
Posted February 20, 2016

Adult children who are taking care of their aging parents may find themselves struggling when trying to pick out a small gift for their loved ones. When fishing rods or cookbooks used to be a favorite gift, it is common for these things to become impractical for seniors, especially those dealing with dementia. So what do you get your loved ones when you don’t know what to get? Here are a few tips:

In the beginning stages, small gifts like sticky notes that stick to the fridge, a photo calendar to hang in there house with important family birthdays and events already added, or a small pocket sized notebook can be useful things that they will be able to use every day.  Clocks with the date and time in big numbers can be helpful for people with failing eyesight, and some clocks can even read the time out loud when a button is pushed. Gifts that keep your loved one active and engaged, like tickets to a movie or a play are usually a big hit as well.

In the later stages of dementia, practical gifts that stimulate the five senses can help with memory loss. Scented candles or lotions in a smell that is familiar and pleasant to them or a CD of favorite songs can be helpful in stimulating their mind and improving their recall abilities.  Practical clothing items, like warm socks or sweatpants can always be put to good use, and photo collages, picture frames and photo albums are always a sure way to touch the heart of the person you love. Sometimes, in their old age, people have had enough ‘stuff’ and just want to spend their time surrounded by the priceless things; family and friends and memories.

Giving your loved one a special gift that is practical, easy to use and helpful can be an excellent way of showing them how much you care about them and how much you appreciate all you’ve done for them. Of course, the greatest gift you can give them is your time, your love, and your attention. Everything else is just a bonus.



College Kids and Seniors
Posted February 10, 2016

There are some things that most people would not think pair well together. Dogs and cats, French fries and pickle juice, senior citizens and college kids. However, a program in Cleveland is proving that although dogs and cats may never get along, and pickle juice should never come close to a delicious French fry, that college students and nursing home resident can actually be quite a match.

 

Judson Senior Living Center began accepting new applications back in 2010, and the people that moved in didn’t have a single gray hair. They came from the Cleveland Institute of Music. They were college kids, twenty something year old students who, in exchange for free living accommodations, built real friendships and relationships with the residents of the living center. The students put on concerts for the residents who share their love of music, and the residents share their art lessons and cooking lessons, all while giving helpful tips and bits of wisdom along the way. Both the students and the seniors benefit greatly from the closing of the generational gap, and both have a lot to learn from the other.

 

Recently, Judson Senior Living Center has extended to allow students from the Cleveland Institute of Art to live on campus and participate in the program. Hopefully more programs like this will pop up around the country and bridge the gap between eager college kids ready to  spread their wings and fly, and seniors who have “been there, done that” and have plenty of wisdom and experiences to share.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hooplaha/watch-college-students-se_b_9151464.html



Taking care of aging parents can be a daunting task, and trying to navigate the blurry world of Alzheimer’s makes it even harder. It can be frustrating and heartbreaking to watch someone you love struggle to remember how to do simple tasks, or information and people they’ve known and loved their entire lives.

When speaking to someone with Alzheimer’s, it is important to remember that although they may not be able to remember, they most certainly still feel. Which means a simple question or correction could cause them embarrassment or cause them to feel hopeless, helpless and alone. Here are 5 things you can do (or not do) to make conversations with your loved one more enjoyable for both of you.

Don’t correct them if they say something wrong: If they are alert enough to realize they called their grandson Charlie instead of Michael, or they tell a story about when they lived in Iowa when they lived in Ohio their whole life, just let it go. They’ll realize their mistake and possibly correct it themselves. If they don’t correct the mistake, you know what they are trying to say and can let the slip up go. Allow them to save face instead of correcting everything they say.

Don’t ask them if they remember: By now, it’s obvious that remembering things does not come easy to someone with Alzheimer's. Instead of asking, “do you remember what we ate last time I came over?” opening up an opportunity for them to realize, once again, that their brain is failing them, reword the question. Use statements instead, like “Last time we got together we had Mexican food and it was so good!” This will allow the person to be active in the conversation without feeling embarrassed about not being able to remember it.

Don’t Bring Up Hurtful Topics: The death of a loved one or a sad time in someone’s life is hard enough to deal with once, imagine having to feel that shock and pain over and over again. Don’t bring up a lost loved one or ask if they remember the person, it will just lead to heartache. However, if they ask about a friend or spouse or family member who is deceased, it’s important to give an honest answer. If they seem to get very upset, carefully direct the conversation to something happier and more positive.

Don’t Be Condescending:  All too often, people caring for loved ones with dementia will resort to speaking to the patient more like a child than an adult. They’ll use exaggerated facial expressions, sing-songy tones and sometimes even “dumb down” their vocabulary. These senior citizens are adults, not babies, and speaking to them like a baby can be hurtful and disrespectful, and can cause the person to shut down and not want to communicate.

Don’t Talk About Them Like They Aren’t There: Imagine if every time someone walked into your room, they asked someone else how you were feeling, what you ate that day, what you like to do, etc. It would make you feel invisible. Don’t let visitors talk about your loved one while they are right there. Instead, encourage them to ask the patient the questions and allow the patient to answer on their own behalf. Dementia can be a very lonely disease, and having people talk about you instead of to you can make it worse.

Being a caregiver is not easy, it can be a demanding and thankless job. But it is one of the most important jobs in the world, and it means so much to the people you are caring for. The most important thing you can do as a caregiver is remember that this person is your loved one, who is suffering from dementia. Dementia is not who they are or have become.



Dementia Village
Posted February 01, 2016

Did you know there is a little town in Holland where everyone has dementia? It's no coincidence and it's not something in the water causing everyone to have dementia. It's a village created specifically for senior citizens; a safe fortress made up of apartments, grocery stores, restaurants, gardens and cafes. Caregivers live amongst the residents and wear street clothes and interact with patients as friends and neighbors, giving residents the freedom to carry on a normal life without feeling like their dementia is holding them back. They can buy things from the grocery store, get their hair done, and roam the streets in safety. 

Dementia Village was created by a Dutch caregiver, who, after years of working with patients with dementia, began researching how they could create a safe place for seniors. She was looking for a place that would allow residents to lead the same quality of life they did before their diagnosis. 

One of the great things about this special village is the attention to detail and specifics that makes it so helpful to residents with dementia. Each apartment is different and caters to individual lifestyles, complete with themes such as "artisan, Christian and old fashioned." Everything has been carefully thought out and set up so that residents can live a completely normal life with all of their needs provided for them. The familiarity that people with dementia crave has been carefully woven into every aspect of this special village.

The basic idea is that by treating residents as 'normal' people and not defining them by a medical diagnosis, that they can live a rich and fulfilling life. It also means they can spend the rest of their lives living as happy, healthy and productive citizens. And that is really all anyone wants as they age, right? 

http://ow.ly/XMhUy



 

 

Full Assessment of your Needs

                We can meet by phone or in person to assess your needs and desires, taking into account your medical history and financial capability.

Information and Education

                Besides interfacing with over 2,400 senior communities across Arizona, we also work closely with all other senior resources such as elder law firms, wealth management and document preparation firms, realtors, reverse mortgage lenders, home remodeling contractors, transition coordinators, movers, transportation, CPA’s, as well as volunteer communities that can assist Veterans with applications for VA and Attendance. We provide answers to all your questions.

Relationship Driven - Personalized Community Tours

                When we’ve identified which communities would best suit your needs, you will be accompanied by one of our client care coordinators for personalized tours.  Our goal is to negotiate the absolute best terms on your behalf. 

Seamless Process

                Once the final community selection has been made, we can coordinate with service providers such as transportation and movers to make your transition as seamless as possible.

Timely and Distinguished Service

                Ultimately, we want to be your resource for life. Once you are settled in your new home, the same client care coordinator will follow up to ensure that everything is perfect. And if something is not, we will advocate on your behalf to ensure your complete satisfaction.

 

Call Anytime 602-412-3233

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Safe elderly drivers require the complex coordination of many different skills. The physical and mental changes that accompany aging can diminish the abilities of elderly drivers. These include:

  • A slowdown in response time
  • A loss of clarity in vision and hearing
  • A loss of muscle strength and flexibility
  • Drowsiness due to medications
  • A reduction in the ability to focus or concentrate
  • Lower tolerance for alcohol

Taken separately, none of these changes automatically means that elderly drivers should stop. But caregivers need to regularly evaluate the elderly person's driving skills to determine if they need to alter driving habits or stop driving altogether.

 

A checklist on safe elderly driving

Watch for telltale signs of decline in the elderly person's driving abilities. Do they:

  • Drive at inappropriate speeds, either too fast or too slow?
  • Ask passengers to help check if it is clear to pass or turn?
  • Respond slowly to or not notice pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers?
  • Ignore, disobey or misinterpret street signs and traffic lights?
  • Fail to yield to other cars or pedestrians who have the right-of-way?
  • Fail to judge distances between cars correctly?
  • Become easily frustrated and angry?
  • Appear drowsy, confused or frightened?
  • Have one or more near accidents or near misses?
  • Drift across lane markings or bump into curbs?
  • Forget to turn on headlights after dusk?
  • Have difficulty with glare from oncoming headlights, streetlights, or other bright or shiny objects, especially at dawn, dusk and at night?
  • Have difficulty turning their head, neck, shoulders or body while driving or parking?
  • Ignore signs of mechanical problems, including underinflated tires? (one in 4 cars has at least one tire that is underinflated by 8 pounds or more; low tire pressure is a major cause of accidents.)
  • Have too little strength to turn the wheel quickly in an emergency such as a tire failure, a child darting into traffic, etc.?
  • Get lost repeatedly, even in familiar areas?

If the answer to one or more of these questions is "yes," you should explore whether medical issues are affecting their driving skills.

 

Medical issues to consider

Caregivers need to know if the elderly person:

  • Has had their vision and hearing tested recently?
  • Has had a physical examination within the past year to test reflexes and make sure they don't have illnesses that would impact their driving?
  • Is taking medications or combinations of medications that might make them drowsy or confused while driving?
  • Has reduced or eliminated their intake of alcohol to compensate for lower tolerance?
  • Has difficulty climbing a flight of stairs or walking more than one block?
  • Has fallen - not counting a trip or stumble - once or more in the last year?
  • Has had a physician told them that they should stop driving?


Arizona has long been a favorite with retirees, who flock here in droves for the fabulous warm and dry climate, its access to amazing natural attractions – it's home to the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley after all – and its affordability. In fact, if you're craving heat and don't care so much about an ocean (you can always go to the beach at Lake Powell), then Arizona is a dreamy state to retire in. Here are five things to know about retirement in Arizona.


It's Hot, But It's a Dry Heat - It gets very hot in Arizona cities like Phoenix and Tucson in summer, with temperatures often soaring well above the century mark. But, unlike Florida or much of the East Coast, there is no humidity with Arizona's heat, which makes all the difference

Housing is Affordable - When the subprime real estate market crashed, Arizona was hit particularly hard. Although housing prices are now rebounding, buying in Arizona is still a great deal these days for retirees, as housing prices remain relatively low. The median home in Arizona costs around $160,000, which is down 35 percent from 2007.

Below Average Cost of Living - It costs about 5 percent less to live in Arizona than nationally, which is another serious perk for retirees on a fixed income.

Social Security Isn't Taxed - The state also has relatively low income and property taxes, and Social Security income is not taxed in Arizona, which again makes a difference if you're living on a fixed income.

Active Adult Communities Born Here - Arizona hosted the first "Active Adult Community" in the country, Sun City, which was developed a half century ago. Today, the state is home to hundreds of retirement communities for all life stages. "Most of the standard features of a 55-plus adult community originated here in Sun City, Arizona, including the idea of building an entire community dedicated to leisure and recreation for the active retired adult," the Sun City website states.



Active Adult Communities: For-sale single-family homes, townhomes, cluster homes, mobile homes and condominiums with no specialized services, restricted to adults at least 55 years of age or older. Rental housing is not included in this category. Residents generally lead an independent lifestyle; projects are not equipped to provide increased care as the individual ages. May include amenities such as clubhouse, golf course and recreational spaces. Outdoor maintenance is normally included in the monthly homeowner’s association or condominium fee.

 

Senior Apartments: Multifamily residential rental properties restricted to adults at least 55 years of age or older. These properties do not have central kitchen facilities and generally do not provide meals to residents, but may offer community rooms, social activities, and other amenities.

 

Independent Living Communities: Age-restricted multifamily rental properties with central dining facilities that provide residents, as part of their monthly fee, access to meals and other services such as housekeeping, linen service, transportation, and social and recreational activities. Such properties do not provide, in a majority of the units, assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as supervision of medication, bathing, dressing, toileting, etc. There are no licensed skilled nursing beds in the property.

 

Assisted Living Residences: State regulated rental properties that provide the same services as independent living communities listed above, but also provide, in a majority of the units, supportive care from trained employees to residents who are unable to live independently and require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) including management of medications, bathing, dressing, toileting, ambulating and eating. These properties may have some nursing beds, but the majority of units are licensed for assisted living. Many of these properties include wings or floors dedicated to residents with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. A property that specializes in the care of residents with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia that is not a licensed nursing facility should be considered an assisted living property.

 

Nursing Homes: Licensed daily rate or rental properties that are technically referred to as skilled nursing facilities (SNF) or nursing facilities (NF) where the majority of individuals require 24-hour nursing and/or medical care. In most cases, these properties are licensed for Medicaid and/or Medicare reimbursement. These properties may include a minority of assisted living and/or Alzheimer’s/dementia units.

 

CCRCs: Age-restricted properties that include a combination of independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing services (or independent living and skilled nursing) available to residents all on one campus. Resident payment plans vary and include entrance fee, condo/coop and rental programs. The majority of the units are not licensed skilled nursing beds.



Hospice is a philosophy of care, not a brick-and-mortar location. Most people say they want to die at home, but only about 1 in 4 end up doing so. One big reason: It's often just too hard. "Trying to care for someone with a serious illness, especially at home, without hospice is like trying to have surgery without anesthesia," says Ira Byock, the executive director of the Providence Institute for Human Caring.

 

Hospices bring everything you might need to the home — hospital bed, bedside commode, medications, bandages, expert consults — tailored to your needs.

 

But if you're daunted by home care, or simply don't want a loved one to die in your home, hospice care also is available in facilities and hospitals.

 

Signing up doesn't mean giving up all medical care. Transitioning to hospice means shifting from one set of goals (how to get longer life through a cure) to another (how to get the best quality of life out of whatever time is left).

 

"When people say, 'I don't want to give up,' the key is to understand what they think they're giving up," Gross says. Even when a cure is no longer viable, therapies that improve symptoms and raise comfort can continue. "I deliver very aggressive care in hospice," she adds.

 

If, however, you feel that you have not exhausted all of your treatment options in search of a cure, hospice may not be for you. Medicare hospice rules require forgoing curative treatments.

 

That may soon change, though. In July, Medicare announced the expansion of a five-year pilot program to 141 hospices in 40 states to allow patients to continue pursuing curative treatments while under hospice care.

 

You have to qualify for hospice, but you can opt out at any time. To qualify for hospice benefits, either through Medicare or private insurance, two physicians must certify that you have a life-altering condition with an expected prognosis of six months or less. This time frame is arbitrary, however; there's no biological or scientific basis for knowing how long you have left, Gross says.

 

If you start hospice and realize it's not for you, you can quit. How can you know when to try hospice? This should be part of ongoing discussions with your health care team, Byock says — "ongoing" because goals and needs evolve.

 

You may live longer during the time you have left. Hospice recipients live longer, on average, than those receiving standard care, research shows. A 2010 study of lung cancer patients found they lived nearly three months longer; another study, looking at the most common terminal diagnoses, found the same, ranging from an average of 20 more days (gallbladder cancer) to 69 days (breast cancer).

 

You can still see your regular doctor. Multidisciplinary by intention, a basic hospice team consists of a physician and nurse (both on call 24 hours a day); a social worker, counselor or chaplain; and a volunteer. Many hospices offer added services: psychologists, psychiatrists, home health aides, art or pet therapists, nutritionists, and occupational, speech, massage or physical therapists. You may also continue to see your regular doctor. And you remain in charge of your medical decisions.

 

The goal of pain management in hospice is to enable you to live well — not sedate you. "People often mistakenly think pain medicine will make the person sleepy to the point where they can't interact," says Karen Whitley Bell, a hospice nurse for 20 years and author of Living at the End of Life. "To the contrary, if you live with pain unnecessarily, it makes you more tired and irritable, and robs you of quality of life." When drugs like morphine are used, it's to treat anxiety and to lessen pain, which has been shown to be undertreated at the end of life — not hasten death, as many people mistakenly believe.

 

Hospice can enrich, and sometimes salvage, the last stage of life. Almost a third of those with a terminal illness die in the hospital, hooked up to machines that do little to halt the process of dying. Hospice is designed to support the more personal aspects of this life stage: reflecting on one's legacy and life meaning, focusing on relationships in a deeper and more intentional way, achieving a sense of closure, and realizing any end-of-life goals, such as attending a grandchild's graduation or getting financial affairs in order.

 

Hospice is for the entire family. It's not always easy to witness the hallucinations of delirium or understand the body language of someone who can no longer speak, for example. A hospice nurse can help interpret what's happening, or explain the signs of imminent death. And when families need a break, the sick person can spend up to five days at a time in inpatient respite care, such as in a nursing home or hospice facility.

 

Hospice continues after death. Many people don't realize that optional follow-up grief support for 12 months is included under Medicare rules. "For many of our families, their journey with hospice is only beginning once their loved one dies," says bereavement counselor Anne Alesch. She runs separate support groups for surviving spouses and adult children.

 

Ultimately, hospice makes space for "the spirit, the love and the quieting of the mind" that tend to take precedence as the body prepares to shut down, says Nina Angela McKissock, author of From Sun to Sun: A Hospice Nurse Reflects on the Art of Dying. Adds Ira Byock: "We make a mistake in assuming that serious illness and dying are mostly medical. They're fundamentally personal."



What is vascular dementia?
Posted November 27, 2015

Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia (after Alzheimer's disease), affecting around 150,000 people in the UK. The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that can include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. In vascular dementia, these symptoms occur when the brain is damaged because of problems with the supply of blood to the brain. This factsheet outlines the causes, types and symptoms of vascular dementia. It looks at how it isdiagnosed and the factors that can put someone at risk of developing it. It also describes the treatment and support that are available.

 

Causes

Vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood supply to the brain due to diseased blood vessels.

To be healthy and function properly, brain cells need a constant supply of blood to bring oxygen and nutrients. Blood is delivered to the brain through a network of vessels called the vascular system. If the vascular system within the brain becomes damaged - so that the blood vessels leak or become blocked - then blood cannot reach the brain cells and they will eventually die.

This death of brain cells can cause problems with memory, thinking or reasoning. Together these three elements are known as cognition. When these cognitive problems are bad enough to have a significant impact on daily life, this is known as vascular dementia.

 

Types of vascular dementia

There are several different types of vascular dementia. They differ in the cause of the damage and the part of the brain that is affected. The different types of vascular dementia have some symptoms in common and some symptoms that differ. Their symptoms tend to progress in different ways.

Stroke-related dementia

A stroke happens when the blood supply to a part of the brain is suddenly cut off. In most strokes, a blood vessel in the brain becomes narrowed and is blocked by a clot. The clot may have formed in the brain, or it may have formed in the heart (if someone has heart disease) and been carried to the brain. Strokes vary in how severe they are, depending on where the blocked vessel is and whether the interruption to the blood supply is permanent or temporary.

Post-stroke dementia

A major stroke occurs when the blood flow in a large vessel in the brain is suddenly and permanently cut off. Most often this happens when the vessel is blocked by a clot. Much less often it is because the vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain. This sudden interruption in the blood supply starves the brain of oxygen and leads to the death of a large volume of brain tissue.

Not everyone who has a stroke will develop vascular dementia, but about 20 per cent of people who have a stroke do develop this post-stroke dementia within the following six months. A person who has a stroke is then at increased risk of having further strokes. If this happens, the risk of developing dementia is higher.

Single-infarct and multi-infarct dementia

These types of vascular dementia are caused by one or more smaller strokes. These happen when a large or medium-sized blood vessel is blocked by a clot. The stroke may be so small that the person doesn't notice any symptoms. Alternatively, the symptoms may only be temporary - lasting perhaps a few minutes - because the blockage clears itself. (If symptoms last for less than 24 hours this is known as a 'mini-stroke' or transient ischaemic attack (TIA). A TIA may mistakenly be dismissed as a 'funny turn'.)

If the blood supply is interrupted for more than a few minutes, the stroke will lead to the death of a small area of tissue in the brain. This area is known as an infarct. Sometimes just one infarct forms in an important part of the brain and this causes dementia (known as single-infarct dementia). Much more often, a series of small strokes over a period of weeks or months lead to a number of infarcts spread around the brain. Dementia in this case (known as multi-infarct dementia) is caused by the total damage from all the infarcts together.

Subcortical dementia

Subcortical vascular dementia is caused by diseases of the very small blood vessels that lie deep in the brain. These small vessels develop thick walls and become stiff and twisted, meaning that blood flow through them is reduced.

Small vessel disease often damages the bundles of nerve fibres that carry signals around the brain, known as white matter. It can also cause small infarcts near the base of the brain.

Small vessel disease develops much deeper in the brain than the damage caused by many strokes. This means many of the symptoms of subcortical vascular dementia are different from those of stroke-related dementia.

Subcortical dementia is thought to be the most common type of vascular dementia.

Mixed dementia (vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease)

At least 10 per cent of people with dementia are diagnosed with mixed dementia. This generally means that both Alzheimer's disease and vascular disease are thought to have caused the dementia. The symptoms of mixed dementia may be similar to those of either Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia, or they may be a combination of the two.

 

 Source: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/



Veterans Administration Benefits
Posted November 20, 2015

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, you may be eligible for VA benefits if you are a:

·         Veteran, Veteran’s dependent

·         Surviving spouse, child or parent of a deceased Veteran

·         Uniformed service member

·         Present or former reservist or National Guard member

Keep in mind that your eligibility for assisted living financial support is based on clinical need and setting availability. Your VA social worker or case manager may be able to help you with eligibility guidelines and help you decide if you will need extra help from a nurse or aide at the facility. Learn more about VA assisted living benefits at the VA website.



Pain is a subjective complaint for which health care professionals usually depend on patient self-report to determine whether the patient
is suffering from it and whether it is severe enough to warrant being addressed.

However, geriatric patients may suffer from impairments in communication due to problems such as strokes, Alzheimer disease, and Parkinson disease. Thus, commonly used instruments to assess pain, such as the Visual Analogue Scale and Verbal Numeric Rating Scale, may have limited roles for these patients.6 Other instruments, most of which were originally developed for young children, have been employed for older patients. These include the Faces Scale, where patients are asked to rate their level of discomfort based on facial expressions ranging from smiling to crying, and the Pain Thermometer, which uses the image of a thermometer and asks the patient to rate the pain according to this.

However, even these instruments require a degree of ability to communicate in order to obtain valid and useful information, and thus they may be unusable for certain cognitively impaired patients. For them, health care professionals must change their focus from waiting for these patients to complain about pain before addressing it to careful observation of them to identify behaviors that indicate discomfort, such as grimacing or inability to sit or lie comfortably.

The role pain plays in behavioral and psychiatric symptoms in patients with cognitive impairment is often overlooked, but it has been shown that pain can be associated with socially inappropriate behavior, resistance to care, abnormal thought process, and delusions.9 Instead of treating these problems with psychotropic medications as is commonly done, treating the pain, the probable underlying cause, makes more sense. Addressing and reducing pain can have a significant impact on behavioral disturbances in patients with dementia.

A study that examined the association between analgesic medications and delirium found that for patients in whom severe acute pain is likely to be present, most notably in patients with hip fractures, lower doses of opioids were associated with an increased risk of delirium. The authors speculated that this may have resulted from undertreatment of the pain and that this contributed to the development of delirium. They specifically noted that although opioids need to be used cautiously in patients at increased risk for delirium, fear of this should not prevent the appropriate treatment of pain.

Unfortunately, even when physicians recognize the presence of pain among these patients, their attempts to alleviate the pain may fail because they do not take into account the patient’s status. For example, in hospitals it is common to prescribe analgesic medications to be administered when the patient requests them. Obviously, patients who are unable to communicate will not be able to ask for them. The physicians may feel they have addressed the pain by prescribing medications in this manner without recognizing that it is unlikely that the patients will ever receive them.

http://www.consultant360.com/



What is Life Expectancy?
Posted November 06, 2015

United States is at 34th place in the list of countries by life expectancy with 79 years as overall life expectancy, 75 for male and 81 for women.
Japan is in the first position with 84 years overall.

But what is Life Expectancy?

Life expectancy is a statistical measure of how long a person or organism may live, based on the year of their birth, their current age and other demographic factors including sex. At a given age, life expectancy is the average number of years that is likely to be lived by a group of individuals (of age x) exposed to the same mortality conditions until they die. The most commonly used measure of life expectancy is life expectancy at age zero; that is, at birth (LEB), which can be defined in two ways: while cohort LEB is the mean length of life of an actual birth cohort (all individuals born a given year) and can be computed only for cohorts that were born many decades ago, so that all their members died, period LEB is the mean length of life of a hypothetical cohort assumed to be exposed since birth until death of all their members to the mortality rates observed at a given year

National LEB figures reported by statistical national agencies and international organizations are indeed estimates of period LEB. In the Bronze and Iron Age LEB was 26 years; the 2010 world LEB was 67.2. For recent years in Swaziland LEB is about 49 years while in Japan is about 83 years. The combination of high infant mortality and deaths in young adulthood from accidents, epidemics, plagues, wars, and childbirth, particularly before modern medicine was widely available, significantly lowers LEB. But for those who survive early hazards, a life expectancy of sixty or seventy would not be uncommon. For example, a society with a LEB of 40 may have few people dying at age 40: most will die before 30 years of age or very few after 55. In countries with high infant mortality rates, LEB is highly sensitive to the rate of death in the first few years of life. Because of this sensitivity to infant mortality, LEB can be subjected to gross misinterpretation, leading one to believe that a population with a low LEB will necessarily have a small proportion of older people. For example, in a hypothetical stationary population in which half the population dies before the age of five, but everybody else dies at exactly 70 years old, LEB will be about 36 years, while about 25% of the population will be between the ages of 50 and 70. Another measure, such as life expectancy at age 5 (e5), can be used to exclude the effect of infant mortality to provide a simple measure of overall mortality rates other than in early childhood—in the hypothetical population above, life expectancy at age 5 would be another 65 years. Aggregate population measures, such as the proportion of the population in various age groups, should also be used alongside individual-based measures like formal life expectancy when analyzing population structure and dynamics.

Longevity and life expectancy are not synonyms. Life expectancy is defined statistically as the average number of years remaining for an individual or a group of people at a given age. Longevity refers to the characteristics of the relatively long life span of some members of a population. Moreover, because life expectancy is an average, a particular person may well die many years before or many years after their "expected" survival. The term "maximum life span" has a quite different meaning and is more related to longevity.



5 Facts about Independent Living
Posted November 02, 2015

1. The Turning Point to the Meaning “Retirement”

Independent living is retirement living with a fresh twist. Retirement communities first appeared in the 1920s, and were dubbed a society where “older people didn’t have to see younger people work.” Frankly, most retired seniors still wished they could work. Soon, Florida became best known as host to a growing, active middle-class group of retirees and in their wake, golf courses tripled in the United States. With technology developments, leisure time now had an exciting new meaning for active seniors.

 

2. What it Takes to be an Independent Living Resident

Independent living is the ultimate goal for aging adults. Whether they remain in their own home or move out of the neighborhood, independent living is a personal decision and one also dictated by funds. However, most seniors who are fully able to take care of themselves, will not wake up one day and suddenly move out of their homes of 40 years. It takes a certain mindset influenced by: 1) the passing of a spouse along with the refusal to live a sedentary, reclusive lifestyle, and 2) proactive thinking, particularly by those who plan for their retirement and want to be in a home environment that will accommodate their needs as they age.

 

3. No Heavy Legislative Checks and Balances

Of all the senior living options (and there are quite a few), independent living is the least supervised by the state for understandable reasons. This type of residence offers similar protection as any residential home, therefore a list of restrictive rules are not applicable here. One of the protections offered for independent living residents is controlled architectural design (called universal design) built to provide suitable living quarters for people with diverse physical abilities.

 

4. Sub-Levels of Independent Living

There are various sub-levels of independent living and all offer personal care services. These include:

  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs): offer three levels of care under one umbrella. As your needs change, you have the option to move from independent living to assisted living to skilled senior care.
  • Retirement Communities: provide a broad range of homes from condos to mobile homes for rent or for sale.
  • Senior apartments: offer the same amenities but on a smaller scale
  • Subsidized housing: offer the same amenities and only a portion of the rent is paid privately

5. Independent Living Trends

Architectural designs and services for seniors are continually changing to keep up with the new appreciation for and outlook on retirement. More sophisticated social programs, augmented with advanced technology are targeted for seniors like Baby Boomers who vow never to stop having fun



Getting old isn’t nearly as bad as people think it will be. Nor is it quite as good.

On aspects of everyday life ranging from mental acuity to physical dexterity to sexual activity to financial security, a new Pew Research Center Social & Demographic Trends survey on aging among a nationally representative sample of 2,969 adults finds a sizable gap between the expectations that young and middle-aged adults have about old age and the actual experiences reported by older Americans themselves.

These disparities come into sharpest focus when survey respondents are asked about a series of negative benchmarks often associated with aging, such as illness, memory loss, an inability to drive, an end to sexual activity, a struggle with loneliness and depression, and difficulty paying bills. In every instance, older adults report experiencing them at lower levels (often far lower) than younger adults report expecting to encounter them when they grow old.

At the same time, however, older adults report experiencing fewer of the benefits of aging that younger adults expect to enjoy when they grow old, such as spending more time with their family, traveling more for pleasure, having more time for hobbies, doing volunteer work or starting a second career.

These generation gaps in perception also extend to the most basic question of all about old age: When does it begin? Survey respondents ages 18 to 29 believe that the average person becomes old at age 60. Middle-aged respondents put the threshold closer to 70, and respondents ages 65 and above say that the average person does not become old until turning 74.

Other potential markers of old age–such as forgetfulness, retirement, becoming sexually inactive, experiencing bladder control problems, getting gray hair, having grandchildren–are the subjects of similar perceptual gaps. For example, nearly two-thirds of adults ages 18 to 29 believe that when someone “frequently forgets familiar names,” that person is old. Less than half of all adults ages 30 and older agree.

However, a handful of potential markers–failing health, an inability to live independently, an inability to drive, difficulty with stairs–engender agreement across all generations about the degree to which they serve as an indicator of old age.

 

Grow Older, Feel Younger

The survey findings would seem to confirm the old saw that you’re never too old to feel young. In fact, it shows that the older people get, the younger they feel–relatively speaking. Among 18 to 29 year-olds, about half say they feel their age, while about quarter say they feel older than their age and another quarter say they feel younger. By contrast, among adults 65 and older, fully 60% say they feel younger than their age, compared with 32% who say they feel exactly their age and just 3% who say they feel older than their age.

Moreover, the gap in years between actual age and “felt age” widens as people grow older. Nearly half of all survey respondents ages 50 and older say they feel at least 10 years younger than their chronological age. Among respondents ages 65 to 74, a third say they feel 10 to 19 years younger than their age, and one-in-six say they feel at least 20 years younger than their actual age.

In sync with this upbeat way of counting their felt age, older adults also have a count-my-blessings attitude when asked to look back over the full arc of their lives. Nearly half (45%) of adults ages 75 and older say their life has turned out better than they expected, while just 5% say it has turned out worse (the remainder say things have turned out the way they expected or have no opinion). All other age groups also tilt positive, but considerably less so, when asked to assess their lives so far against their own expectations.



WAITING TOO LONG TO BUY
Many people don't even start thinking about long-term-care insurance until they reach 60. And by that time, it may be too late—either because the insurance is too costly or they simply can't qualify for health reasons.
As a result, for most people, the 50s are the best time to buy a policy. That's typically when premiums are most affordable and coverage is easiest to obtain.

For each year applicants in their 50s delay buying coverage, carriers typically raise premiums by 3% to 4%, simply because they are a year older, says Dawn Helwig, a principal and consulting actuary at Seattle-based Milliman Inc. In contrast, for every year someone in their 60s waits, they can expect to pay an additional 6% or more, she adds.

Those who wait may pay higher premiums for other reasons, too. Over the past decade, carriers struggling with losses on existing policies have raised the premiums on new policies an average of 4% to 8% a year, depending on the features, according to Milliman.

Consider a 65-year-old man who purchases $110,000 of coverage with benefits that grow 5% a year. To secure the same coverage 10 years earlier, at age 55, he would have paid approximately $1,032 in annual premiums, says Ms. Helwig. But because he waited, his annual premium is now about $2,770. Assuming he lives to age 85, he will pay a total of about $55,400 in premiums—or some $24,400 more than he would have spent had he bought at age 55 and lived 30 years.

Those who wait also run the risk that their health may deteriorate. Carriers, which have become stricter about how they underwrite policies, reject about 25% of applicants between ages 60 and 69, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. They also charge those in relatively poor health as much as 40% more, says Ms. Helwig.

BUYING ON PRICE ALONE
The gap between the least- and most-expensive policies can be wide. According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, a 60-year-old couple can expect to pay an annual premium that ranges from $3,025 to $6,500 for $164,000 of coverage that grows 3% a year.

But while price is important, so is reliability, says Michael Kitces, director of planning research at Pinnacle Advisory Group Inc. in Columbia, Md. Mr. Kitces says consumers should buy from a large, stable carrier with the resources to still be around when the coverage is needed. He recommends people limit their shopping to big diversified carriers with claims-paying-ability ratings of single-A or better.

Mr. Kitces suggests that prospective buyers work with agents who specialize in long-term-care insurance. (Some carriers, including Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. and New York Life Insurance Co., generally work only with their own agents, so consumers may need to consult with more than one agent.) Consumers also should check the agent's license status and disciplinary history with their state's insurance department.

Source: http://www.wsj.com/



The Secrets of Aging Well.
Posted October 09, 2015

If fighting off Father Time by deflating your cholesterol count and stress levels is tucked somewhere in the back of your mind, maybe you should keep it there. With a longer, healthier life as a goal, perhaps you should be turning more of your attention to making friends, waging war on your waistline, and extinguishing your cigarettes for good.

That is some of the wisdom emerging from the Harvard Study of Adult Development, the longest, most comprehensive examination of aging ever conducted. Since the 1930s, researchers have studied more than 800 men and women, following them from adolescence into old age, and seeking clues to the behaviors that translate into happy and healthy longevity.

The results haven't always been what even the investigators themselves anticipated. "I had expected that the longevity of your parents, the quality of your childhood, and your levels would be very influential," says psychiatrist George Vaillant, MD, director of the Harvard study and senior physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "So I was very surprised that these particular variables weren't more important than they were."

Surprisingly, stressful events didn't predict future health, either. "Some people had a lot of stress, but aged very well," says Vaillant. "But how you deal with that stress does matter quite a bit."

In fact, rather than obsessing about your cholesterol, or even the genetic hand you were dealt, the Harvard study found that you'd be better off becoming preoccupied with the following factors that turned out to be most predictive of whether you'd move successfully through middle age and into your 80s:

·         Avoiding cigarettes

·         Good adjustment or coping skills ("making lemonade out of lemons")

·         Keeping a healthy weight

·         Exercising regularly

·         Maintaining strong social relationships (including a stable marriage)

·         Pursuing education

Woody Allen once observed that no one gets out of this world alive, but for as long as we're here, we might as well stay as healthy and happy as possible.

 

Source: WebMD



When searching for an assisted living facility, it’s important to find out as much as you can about the regulations governing these facilities in your loved one’s area. At present, no federal regulation policy exists for assisted living facilities, but as the need for assisted living grows at an increasingly rapid rate, many states are hurrying to create regulatory systems. Currently, approximately two out of every five states have assisted living licensure regulations in place, one out of every five states has drafted or revised assisted living regulations, and 20 percent of states have begun studying assisted living.

It is also important to check the qualifications of the administrator as well as the service providers for an assisted living facility. When evaluating the residence administrator, look for:

  • An adequate education
  • Experience in the field
  • Ongoing training to meet residents’ health and psycho-social needs
  • Management ability that meets those required by the setting

In general, the number and type of staff employed in an assisted living facility will depend on the size of the facility, the services offered, and any special requirements of the residents. Typically, a staff will include activity directors, administrators, certified nurse assistants, food service managers, health/wellness directors, maintenance personnel, nurses, and personal care attendants, as well as contracted services from beauticians, dietitians, nutritionists, physical therapists, and physicians. When evaluating the care staff, look for:

  • A sufficient number to meet the 24-hour scheduled needs of the residents
  • A sufficient number to meet any unscheduled needs that might arise
  • A sufficient number to meet any needs the care recipients’ families might have
  • Individuals with the education, skills, and ongoing training to serve residents’ needs


Let's meet George!
Posted September 25, 2015

Let me introduce George. He contacted me some time ago because he was looking for the perfect assisted living community for him and his spouse, Maggie.

As usual, I wanted to know what their needs and desires were when looking for an assisted living community. After filtering the possible choices, George selected the best community that would serve the medical needs for Maggie, offer the activities and lifestyle preferences they enjoy most and continue to be close to their familiar surroundings.

George and Maggie are very happy with their new living arrangements at Chaparral Winds in Surprise, AZ. Knowing I made a difference in their well-being brings me great satisfaction and an even greater satisfaction is knowing that George calls me his friend. Thanks George!

Nick Ratiu, CEO and Founder Loved Ones First



 

We have all read the news reports or have heard stories about neglect and abuse that can happen in a nursing home. While it is not the norm, it is a real fear that family members struggle with concerning their elderly loved ones. What should you do if you suspect that your loved one is not receiving the proper care that they deserve?

What signs should you look for?

There are many signs that you should look for when visiting your loved one to ensure that they are being looked after properly. If they show any one of these signs, action should be taken immediately:

  • Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, or abrasions should not be present. There may be some bruising if your loved one has received shots, an IV, or had a fall, but unexplainable markings are definitely a red flag.
  • Personality changes such as unexplained withdrawal from activities, a lack of alertness, and depression may be indicators of emotional abuse.
  • Bruises around the breasts or genital area can occur from sexual abuse.
  • Regularly check your loved one’s bank statements and accounts for abnormal charges and activity to avoid financial fraud. New tools and services such as True Link provide a great service to help protect seniors against this very fraud.
  • Bedsores, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss are indicators of possible neglect.

Who do I call?

  • If you need immediate help for a life threatening problem, call 9-1-1.
  • The government also provides services through the Administration on Aging’s National Center for Elder Abuse. You can look up their website (www.ncea.aoa.gov) or you can call the Eldercare Locator on weekdays for state specific information at 1-800-677-1116.
  • You many also want to contact your local ombudsman. Long-Term Care Ombudsmen are advocates for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, assisted living facilities, and similar adult care facilities. They work to resolve problems that patients face that will improve residents’ care and quality of life. Since each state has its own directory of ombudsman, simply type in your state and “ombudsman” into the search engine and you will find the information on how to contact your local representative. You can also check out The National Long-term Care Ombudsman Resource Center.

How can I prevent elder abuse?

  • Frequently check in with your loved one. Phone calls and visits will alert you to anything amiss.
  • Look up a nursing home’s history before you move your loved one in. NursingHomeRating.org provides a list of national nursing homes along with statistics, ratings, resident surveys, treatment deficiencies, and inspection and abuse reports for each one.
  • Make sure your loved one’s financial and legal records are in order to prevent fraud.

The Administration on Aging reports that, “2.1 million older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, as many as five cases go unreported.” When you know what to look for and what to do, you can prevent your loved one from becoming a victim of elder abuse.

 

Source: openplacement



What is dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term for a set of symptoms including impaired thinking and memory. It is a term that is often associated with the cognitive decline of aging. However, issues other than Alzheimer’s can cause dementia. Other common causes of dementia are Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

According to the Center for Disease Control, Alzheimer’s disease is a common cause of dementia causing as many as 50 to 70% of all dementia cases. In fact, Alzheimer’s is a very specific form of dementia. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s include impaired thought, impaired speech, and confusion. Doctors use a variety of screenings to determine the cause of dementia including blood tests, mental status evaluations and brain scans.

How Are They Different?

When a person is diagnosed with dementia, they are being diagnosed with a set of symptoms. This is similar to someone who has a sore throat. Their throat is sore but it is not known what is causing that particular symptom. It could be allergies, strep throat, or a common cold. Similarly, when someone has dementia they are experiencing symptoms without being told what is causing those symptoms.

Another major difference between the two is that Alzheimer’s is not a reversible disease. It is degenerative and incurable at this time. Some forms of dementia, such as a drug interaction or a vitamin deficiency, are actually reversible or temporary.

Once a cause of dementia is found appropriate treatment and counseling can begin. Until a proper diagnosis is made, the best approach to any dementia is engagement, communication and loving care

Source: http://www.alzheimers.net/



Establishing a precedent when it comes to the care of a loved one is essential, especially with the legal aspects of finances and health care. Here are some points to consider when taking control over the legal responsibilities for your relative in need of care.

Tips to Remember when Dealing with Legal Issues:

  • Find a lawyer who can help you establish a will or estate plan for your relative. A lawyer can also provide strong advice on other key developments in the life of your loved one.
  • Discuss with your relative important financial aspects such as the location of documents, gaining access to their banking accounts, and stepping in to take over any financial responsibilities they may have.
  • Look into the possibility of becoming the power of attorney for your loved one if they become incapable of caring for themselves. Often a durable power of attorney can provide better coverage instead of a simple one.
  • A living will can provide an end of life decision for your loved one should they become terminally ill. This pivotal paper can tell a doctor just how much or how little care the person wishes to receive.
  • Talk with other family members about the intentions of your relative and ask their advice should you feel unsure about any matter.
  • Have your attorney distribute the proper documents to the doctors, banks, and health care providers of your relative. 
  • Understand what your loved one’s insurance plan calls for in the event of hospitalization or hospicee care.
  • Be upfront with your relative about your feelings behind the decisions you make, and allow for them to offer their advice should they be of sound mind.
  • Find out what financial protection is offered for your loved one when it comes to their Social Security and pension benefits.
  • Contact local agencies that deal with legal protection of the elderly and see what services they can provide.

Source: Caregiver.com



What is senior housing?
Posted August 21, 2015

 

Aging is a time of adaptation and change, and planning your future housing needs is an important part of ensuring that you continue to thrive as you get older. Of course, every older adult is different, so the senior housing choice that’s right for one person may not be suitable for you. The key to making the best choice is to match your housing with your lifestyle, health, and financial needs. This may mean modifying your own home to make it safer and more comfortable, or it could mean moving to a housing facility with more support and social options available on site. It could even involve enrolling in a network of like-minded people to share specialized services, or moving to a retirement community, an apartment building where the majority of tenants are over the age of 65, or even a nursing home.

When deciding on the senior housing plan that’s right for you, it’s important to consider not only the needs you have now but also those you may have in the future:

  • Physical and medical needs. As you age, you may need some help with physical needs, including activities of daily living. This could range from shopping, cleaning, cooking, and looking after pets to intensive help with bathing, moving around, and eating. You or a loved one may also need increasing help with medical needs. These could arise from a sudden condition, such as a heart attack or stroke, or a more gradual condition that slowly needs more and more care, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Home maintenance. If you’re living alone, your current home may become too difficult or too expensive to maintain. You may have health problems that make it hard to manage tasks such as housework and yard maintenance that you once took for granted.
  • Social and emotional needs. As you age, your social networks may change. Friends or family may not be as close by, or neighbors may move or pass on. You may no longer be able to continue driving or have access to public transportation in order to meet up with family and friends. Or you simply may want to expose yourself to more social opportunities and avoid becoming isolated and housebound.
  • Financial needs. Modifying your home and long-term care can both be expensive, so balancing the care you need with where you want to live requires careful evaluation of your budget.

Source: http://www.helpguide.org/



In order to better understand loneliness and social isolation among older adults, AARP commissioned a national survey of the 45+ population to examine these issues.  In addition to examining prevalence rates among older Americans, the study provides a descriptive profile of lonely older adults and examines the relationships between loneliness and health, health behaviors, involvement in a social network and use of technology for social communications and networking.

 

Key findings revealed:

  • A little over one-third (35%) of the survey respondents were categorized as lonely.
  • Older adults reported lower rates of loneliness than those who were younger (43% of those age 45-49 were lonely compared to 25% of those 70+).  Married respondents were less likely to be lonely (29%) compared to never-married respondents (51%), and those with higher incomes were less likely to be lonely than those with lower incomes.
  • Lonely respondents were less likely to be involved in activities that build social networks, such as attending religious services, volunteering, participating in a community organization or spending time on a hobby.
  • Almost half (45%) of those who had lived in their current residence for less than 1 year reported feeling lonely. 
  • Loneliness was a significant predictor of poor health. Those who rated their health as “excellent” were over half as likely to be lonely than those who rated their health as “poor” (25% vs. 55%).
  • Lonely and non-lonely respondents did not differ significantly from each other in terms of their frequency of email use.  However, 13% of lonely respondents felt they have fewer deep connections now that they keep in touch with people using the Internet, compared to 6% of non-lonely respondents. 

 

 

Source: http://www.aarp.org/research/topics/life/info-2014/loneliness_2010.html



Are you prepared to make an informed decision about what type of facility would be best for your parent?

Here are some insider tips to help you out:

  • Understand if it fits: There are 4-bed facilities and there are 80-bed communities. If your Loved One likes to engage in activities, she is better off in a large facility that provides a schedule of activities. But, if your Loved One is the type of person who generally keeps to herself, the atmosphere provided in a small house might suit her better.
  • Location: Find a suitable facility that is as close to your home as possible. You will find that you need to visit your Loved One on a frequent basis, and regardless of your initial good intentions, you are more likely. Think long-term. The average stay in assisted living is 2.5 years.
  • Check the Level of Care: Don’t fall into the trap of allowing the aesthetics of the building or a convincing sales pitch determine your choice. Understand that adequate training and low turnover of the caregiver staff matter a lot more than the quality of the furnishings in the lobby. The nicest looking facility often does not provide the level care your Loved One could need.
  • Check Personally: Visiting the facility, talking to staff, residents and any family members you can accost in the hallway is a must. Pay attention to how the staff treats the residents and whether they greet the residents by name. That will tell you a lot about the quality of the care. Use your intuition.
  • Find a professional to help you with: Assisted living facilities are subject to licensing and regulatory requirements, which vary from state to state. Acquaint yourself with those regulations and if the agency regularly inspects assisted living facilities, sometimes is hard. You need someone to help you and guide through the process.


 

  • Listen to Music. Music has sometime the ability to take us back in time, evoking memories and feelings from the past. Music can help not only with cognitive skills, but also with speech, stress reduction, and socialization. Many memory care assisted living communities incorporate music or sing-alongs into their daily activities.
  • Look at photographs. Show some old photo albums next time you go to visit your loved one, encouraging your loved one to take part in the conversation.
  • Read a book together. Bring your loved one’s favorite book with you when you visit and read it to them. Keep them engaged as though it was the first time they’ve ever heard the story.
  • Play a game. Simple games, like putting together a puzzle or helping them complete a word search or “find and seek” picture puzzle. Allow your loved one to do the majority of the work, but offer your assistance if they begin to show signs of frustration.
  • Watch old family videos. For sure you have a collection of old family videos, Watch them with your loved one. Actually seeing these memories right in front of them, much like looking at photographs, could help bring back long-forgotten thoughts and feelings.

Source: SeniorLiving



Our research suggests that many families believe they need nursing homes for their ailing older loved one when in fact assisted living is the most appropriate option. An assessment by an Advisor or medical professional is the best way to determine the care type needed, but some general distinctions can be drawn between assisted living and nursing homes. For instance:

Assisted living residents are mainly independent but may need help with daily living personal care tasks such as bathing and dressing, while nursing home residents tend to need 24-hour assistance with every activity of daily living.

Assisted living residents are mobile, while those who are bed-ridden require nursing homes.

Nursing home residents generally have a single or semi-private room, while assisted living residents typically live in a studio or one-bedroom apartment.

Nursing home residents require fully staffed, skilled nursing medical attention on a daily basis, while assisted living residents are more stable and do not need ongoing medical attention.



Source: Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dementia/basics/lifestyle-hom…

People with dementia will experience progression of their symptoms and behavior problems over time. Caregivers may need to adapt the following suggestions to individual situations:

  • Enhance communication.When talking with your loved one, maintain eye contact. Speak slowly in simple sentences, and don't rush the response. Present only one idea or instruction at a time. Use gestures and cues, such as pointing to objects.

  • Encourage exercise. Exercise benefits everyone, including people with dementia. The main benefits of exercise include improved strength and cardiovascular health. Some research also shows physical activity may slow the progression of impaired thinking (cognitive) function in people with dementia. Exercise can also lessen symptoms of depression, help retain motor skills and create a calming effect.

  • Encourage participation in games and thinking activities.Participating in games, crossword puzzles and other activities in which people are using thinking (cognitive) skills may help slow mental decline in people with dementia.

  • Establish a nighttime ritual. Behavior is often worse at night. Try to establish going-to-bed rituals that are calming and away from the noise of television, meal cleanup and active family members. Leave night lights on to prevent disorientation. Limiting caffeine during the day, discouraging daytime napping and offering opportunities for exercise during the day may help prevent nighttime restlessness.

  • Encourage keeping a calendar. Keeping a reminder calendar may help your loved one remember upcoming events, daily activities and medication schedules. Consider sharing a calendar with your loved one.

  • Plan for the future. Develop a plan with your loved one that identifies goals for care in the future. Several support groups, legal advisers, family members and others can help you. You'll need to consider financial and legal issues, safety and daily living concerns, and long-term care options.


The philosophy of assisted living is to emphasize the individual’s right to choose. When
choosing an assisted living residence, a resident can also expect to:

  • Be treated with dignity and respect;
  • Be informed of services available and the limitations of those services;
  • Manage personal funds;
  • Retain and use personal possessions;
  • Interact freely with others both inside the residence and in the community;
  • Have religious freedom;
  • Control health-related services;
  • Maintain privacy;
  • Be free to exercise rights and responsibilities as a resident and as a U.S. citizen; and,
  • Have the right to voice or file grievances


Rates of use of long-term care services varied by sector and state. Reflecting similar differences found when comparing supply, the daily-use rate among individuals aged 65 and over per 1,000 persons aged 65 and over varied by sector. The highest daily-use rate was for nursing home residents, followed by residential care residents; the lowest rate was for adult day services centers. However, in about a dozen states, the nursing home daily-use rate was similar to or lower than the residential care daily-use rate. Within each of the five sectors, the use rate varied by state. For example, average adult day daily-use rates ranged from a low of less than 1 participant per 1,000 persons in West Virginia, to a high of 12 participants in New Jersey.
Average residential care community daily-use rates ranged from as few as 2 residents per 1,000 persons in Iowa, to 40 residents in North Dakota.



Assisted living housing is a long-term senior care option that provides personal care support services such as meals, medication management, bathing, dressing and transportation.

Some facts

  • Number of U.S. assisted living communities: 31,100
  • Number of apartments: 475,500
  • Number of residents: 735,000
  • Average length of stay: 36 months

(source: http://www.ahcancal.org/)

As of 2012 in the United States, there were an estimated 4,800 adult day services centers, 12,200 home health agencies, 3,700 hospices, 15,700 nursing homes, and 22,2001 residential care communities. Of these approximately 58,5002 regulated, long-term care services providers, about two-thirds provided care in  residential settings (26.8% were nursing homes and 37.9% were residential care communities), and about  one-third provided care in home- and community-based settings (8.2% were adult day services centers, 20.9% were home health agencies, and 6.3% were hospices).



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About Loved Ones First
A senior placement company built on integrity and service. Our mission is to be the best quality senior placement company in the markets we serve. We provide extraordinary customer service and personalized professional placement for your loved ones while performing with integrity, care and commitment. We strive to exceed your expectations!