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How to Discover the Joys of Assisted Living

August 14th, 2023 by Rachel Dimitroff

How to Discover the Joys of Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities offer a vibrant community with awaiting opportunities and support.

Dear Residents,  

If you have recently joined an assisted living community in the Leesburg area, welcome! Assisted living facilities offer a vibrant community with awaiting opportunities and support. With a multitude of benefits available to the potential friendships you can make, and the activities offered, you will find the fulfillment you’ve been searching for. In this blog post, we will focus on the benefits of assisted living and making the most of this chapter. Creating new memories and exploring your options will create opportunities to thrive, let’s dive in. 

Participate in Enriching Activities and Programs

The activities offered encourage friendship between residents, and overall fun. The importance of participating in activities can be overlooked, taking part in social interaction creates meaningful connections. No matter who you are, as you get older, cognitive stimulation is necessary to help keep your mind as sharp as possible. Having an activity to look forward to will help create some structure to your experience, and a positive outlook. Not only are activities good for your mental health, but also physical. Exercise programs of all levels will help maintain your strength and flexibility. Facilities have activities because it enhances resident’s quality of life. Choose to participate! 

Some activities facilities may offer: Trivia, Cards, morning stretch, movies, off campus trips, bingo, live music, crafts, and games. You can participate in all of these and more if you choose! 

Take Advantage of the Wide Range of Amenities Available 

The amenities at assisted living facilities are specifically designed for you, your needs, and your interests. You can enjoy helpful and entertaining amenities all in your community and a safe environment. These amenities can help to contribute to a better quality of life, and opportunities for socialization, relaxation, and feeling a connection to where you are living. At an assisted living facility, taking advantage of the amenities offered to you brings an opportunity to you that you might not have if you weren’t here. Most assisted living facilities cater to a wide variety of individuals and their interests.  

Some amenities a facility may offer: Ice cream parlor, beauty salon and barber shop, library, outdoor patios, a computer room with high-speed internet, a walking path, and free WI-FI access.  

Enhance Your Quality of Life with Assisted Living Services

Services are crucial in assisted living facilities because they provide the support and care you as a resident may need. Some facilities may offer 24/7 nursing, so there is no fear of waiting for help to arrive. They can provide professional on-site assistance to care for you to improve your overall quality of life. Housekeeping services offer a clean and safe environment, forget the burden of household chores and discover a piece of mind knowing your room and the facility is regularly cleaned. Some assisted living facilities offer scheduled medical transportation which gives you access to your healthcare needs in a safe manner. Get to your medical appointments, diagnostic tests, specialists and other healthcare services easily.  

Enjoy Delicious Homestyle Dining

Facilities may offer multiple meal selections and options for you to choose from. An experienced culinary team prepares healthy meals for you to enjoy and a comfortable ambiance. Something to look out for in an assisted living facility or when deciding to join one, is if they offer a certified dietician and individual dietary needs are reviewed for each individual dining plan (diabetic, no added salt, mechanical soft, dairy free, etc.). Some assisted living facilities offer private indoor dining rooms, residents can invite their families for special occasions to celebrate or get together. This may be different from “home” but homestyle dining offers daily social interaction, fresh meals, and a comfortable place to gather and enjoy. 

Be a Part of a Vibrant Community

In assisted living, you have the opportunity to meet people with similar interests or backgrounds, there’s a wide range of residents and everyone is welcome! You have the chance to create special friendships, create new stories and converse about old ones, and gain a sense of belonging. Assisted living communities bring joy, comfort, and excitement for the future. Having a maintenance-free lifestyle opens other doors for your well-being and your assisted living journey. 

Assisted living offers an abundance of ways to find joy in this new chapter. From enriching activities and a range of amenities to services offered and homestyle dining, being a part of a community creates a fulfilling lifestyle. Creating meaningful connections and embracing these new opportunities will lead to a worry-free environment and newfound happiness. We encourage you to find joy in the opportunities ahead and excitedly embrace what awaits in assisted living.  

How to Choose the Best Memory Care Facility in Loudoun County: If Your Loved One is Having Early Signs of Dementia

August 4th, 2023 by Rachel Dimitroff

Memory Care

How to Find the Best in Loudoun County:
If Your Loved One is Having Early Signs of Dementia

According to the World Health Organization, more than 55 million people (about twice the population of Texas) worldwide are living with dementia. If your loved one has started showing signs of dementia and you are looking for a memory care facility in Loudoun County to provide them with proper and safe care, we’d like to help you in your search. Choosing a memory care facility can affect your loved one’s quality of life and overall well-being. In this blog, we will discuss making informed decisions, and how to find the best memory care facility for your loved one through proper research. 

What are the signs of early dementia? According to the Alzheimer’s Association, early dementia signs include problems with: 

  • Short-term memory. 
  • Keeping track of a purse or wallet. 
  • Paying bills. 
  • Planning and preparing meals. 
  • Remembering appointments. 
  • Traveling out of the neighborhood. 

Conditions usually start slow and progress as time goes on. Contact a doctor if you or your loved one are having difficulties with any of these signs.  

Location 

When choosing a location, your loved one being comfortable is most important. Is it a new area? Is it the same town they’ve lived in for years? It all depends on your loved ones or your preferences to find the best location to choose. According to The Ridge Senior Living, when choosing a location, the most important factors include how close the family is, the ability of the location to meet your loved ones needs, the surrounding area, and the facilities nearby. Begin your search with facilities near your loved one, it may be best for them to stay within an area they are familiar with and attach memories. 

Ratings and Reviews 

When researching memory care facilities for your loved one, it’s important to research ratings and reviews from family members of current residents. According to A Place for Mom, look for thoughtful reviews and how they compare to ratings, sometimes reviews can be biased or inaccurate, but it’s important to take the time to look and evaluate all the information in front of you. Certain specifics to look for when looking at reviews on websites are the amount, if it’s a family member, specific details, reoccurring topics, and verification of the review. If you find something negative, don’t be afraid to ask the facility more on that topic and evaluate their response when you go on a tour.  

Book a Tour 

Taking a tour of the potential memory care facility your loved one will be at is crucial. This is your time to assess the environment and cleanliness of the facility, if it gives off a positive ambiance. While on a tour, you will meet some staff who would be in charge of your loved one’s care and needs. You want to look for compassionate and kind employees who will put your loved one’s needs first. You have the opportunity to interact with staff and get a feel for their level of training and demeanor. During your tour, keep an eye out for safety precautions the facility takes, like secure entryways and staff to resident ratios. Many facilities offer levels of care or specialized care plans, you can learn more on your tour asking questions about their programs offered and how they evaluate residents with dementia.  

Remember, it is not you in memory care, consider your loved one’s comfortability in this facility and ask yourself if this is the best environment for them. 

Staff 

When it comes to memory care, the staff is extremely important to your loved one’s experience. Working in memory care takes passion, patience, and grace. Something to look out for at a memory care facility is if the staff are Certified Dementia Practitioners. They have a special knowledge and training in dementia care, and the various stages and challenges. They are trained in giving personalized care to each resident based on your loved one’s specific and unique needs. When dementia progresses, Certified Dementia Practitioners have the knowledge on how to manage behavior and use redirection techniques to create a supportive environment. Remember to ask on your tour if any of the facility’s staff are Certified Dementia Practitioners.  

Security and Safety 

What’s more important than safety? Many memory care units are designed for people living with dementia to do it safely and for families to feel comfortable their loved ones are in a protected environment. You want your loved one to be able to move around freely and not be in a confined space, which is why doing the proper research and asking the important questions is necessary. When residents can move freely and safely, it can help to reduce anxiety and confusion. That feeling of independence is important for them to hold on to, as A Place for Mom stated, “sheltered freedom.” Things to look for in a facility that promotes safety: 

  • Open floor plans 
  • Secure outdoor spaces 
  • Video monitors 
  • Wander Guard 
  • Locked doors 
  • Bed monitoring systems 

Cost and Financials 

As you begin your search for a memory care facility, you will notice the range in prices and how different needs could affect the overall cost of living. According to A Place for Mom, the national median of a memory care facility costs $5,800 a month in the United States. This can all be affected by location. It can be hard to grasp the amount of money memory care can be, let’s discuss what could be included in the price…24/7 care, bathing/dressing/grooming, housekeeping services, protocol systems, medication management, transportation, activities, amenities, and dining. Some memory care facilities offer all-inclusive pricing, paying only a monthly fee, regardless of which level of care is needed. 

When it comes to affording memory care, there are options. Insurance, savings and assets, veterans’ benefits, Medicaid, family support, state and local programs, nonprofit organizations, reverse mortgage, and life insurance conversions.  

Activities and Amenities 

When doing your research, look out for activity calendars that offer stimulating programs for residents, especially in memory care. Most facilities offer fun and engaging activities for all residents and some specifically are tailored towards residents with dementia. Having amenities like patios, hair salons, a library, WI-FI and more helps your loved one feel at home and able to independently still make choices. Activities help your loved one stay active and build a sense of daily structure, which can improve their mood.  

Trust Your Gut Feeling 

When deciding or researching a memory care facility, trusting your intuition is an important factor to consider. Ask yourself if it feels right for your loved one and create a pros and cons list. When you tour a memory care facility, you may feel an emotional connection to that facility, or you may not. The atmosphere of the facility can either bring you comfort or warning signs, ask yourself: 

 Is it a warm environment?  

Does it seem well-maintained?  

Is the staff engaging and compassionate? 

Are their safety measures being implemented? 

Do they offer daily stimulating activities? 

Your gut is a powerful tool, this is an important time to use it and trust it. Your loved one needs proper care with a patient care team ready to create a fulfilling life for them. If you are struggling with your loved one’s diagnosis and need to talk to someone, The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America offers Alzheimer’s and Dementia support groups. You can also research in your local town the support groups that are offered.  

You and your loved one are not alone in this search, there are many resources and opportunities to create a beautiful life. Take the time to do the proper research and consider the right care your loved one needs.  

Navigating Memory Care: A Comprehensive Planning Guide for Families

July 3rd, 2023 by Rachel Dimitroff

Navigating Memory Care:

A Comprehensive Planning Guide for Families

Watching someone you love experience memory loss and confusion can be emotionally challenging. You’ve come to the decision memory care is the best form of support your loved one needs and will offer them the best quality of life. In this blog, we will dive into what steps are next, giving you the knowledge and resources to make the essential choices for your loved one. We all want our loved ones to receive compassionate care and the correct amount of attention, so let’s get started. 

#1 Research Memory Care Communities  

After deciding, an easy first step to research is typing in memory care facilities in you or your loved one’s area. Click around and spend some time on the websites that appear. When researching in the designated area, take the time to focus on pricing. Some facilities offer a monthly fee or “all-inclusive”, while others offer prices based on the level of care your loved one needs. Pricing can have a significant impact where you choose, but other factors like amenities, services, location and reviews also play a role.  

When it comes to amenities, it’s important facilities offer assistance with daily activities. Daily activities include bathing, dressing, and medication management. Activities with cognitive stimulation and social engagement will be vital to your loved one’s overall well-being and cognitive function. Locate the top facilities within budget that you believe will promote the best sense of belonging and a reduced feeling of isolation. 

#2 Take a Tour 

It’s important to see the facilities in person rather than on their website. Observe your visit closely. Pay attention to whether the staff are friendly and helpful, if the residents look happy, and if it feels comfortable. Explore the kind of activities going on, art therapy, puzzles, music, are some of the stimulating activities memory care facilities should be offering. On this tour, it’s important to be able to ask questions and come prepared. Evaluate the safety and security measures being followed, handrails, well-lit rooms, and secure outdoor areas. The “fun stuff” on a tour is important, keep tabs if the amenities match what they advertise on their website, if they are up to standard as well as checking to see if their nurses are Certified Dementia Practitioners. 

When touring a facility, ask questions regarding the staff to resident ratio to evaluate if proper personalized care will be provided. This is your time to express any concerns, ask questions, and see the physical environment for yourself. 

#3 Evaluate Financial Planning and Support 

To understand and be up to date, you’ll need to explore funding options. Consulting with a financial advisor to look at your loved one’s financial situation can help you determine the best payment options. Familiarize yourself with the different costs like meals, accommodations, and specialized programs. Create a budget if needed, and plan for any future needs for your loved one as the disease progresses.  

Evaluate your loved one’s financial situation; their income, savings, and assets. You can explore funding options to help with the cost of memory care, like Medicaid. If you plan on creating a budget, take into account any ongoing costs for your loved one, medical and personal, to make sure you or your loved one does not have any financial strain in the future. Joining a support group can help you learn from other’s experiences and get advice from others in similar situations. 

#4 Discuss a Care Plan in Advance 

It’s important to develop a care plan which is individually based on your loved one’s specific needs. This disease will eventually take away their ability to make cognizant decisions when it comes to health. It’s important to lay out from the beginning what the necessary steps are to take as this disease continues to progress. Creating a will in advance will allow your loved one’s assets and belongings to be distributed how they specified before the turn of the diagnosis. Choosing a power of attorney, AKA “proxy”, should be someone close and able to make proper medical decisions. Check out more about financial planning when choosing memory care. 

Include family members and healthcare professionals when creating and deciding on your loved one’s treatment. Discussing treatment options with doctors and geriatric specialists can help lead you to make the proper decisions about care options, for treatment, medication, and symptom management. Remember to consider your loved one’s preferences so you can make decisions tailored to them and their needs. One of the most important reminders with a loved one in memory care is regularly review and update the plan. If your loved one’s condition has changed, it may be time to reevaluate the care plan and treatment options.  

#5 Plan and Prepare for the Transition 

As your loved one moves into memory care, here are three main things to remember: 

-Change the mailing address to your loved one’s new address. 

-Cancel any cable and Wi-Fi subscriptions. 

-Update addresses on cards and accounts. 

Being prepared will make the transition much smoother and more efficient. Prepare for the emotional transition as well, openly communicate with your loved one on their needs and preferences. For example, validate their emotions, take part in activities with them, create a personalized living space to keep your loved one comfortable, seek support for yourself if you need, and stay positive! Click here for more information on packing for memory care. 

When preparing for the transition of your loved one into a memory care facility, make sure to share all relevant information with the facility staff. Letting the staff know their medical history, needs, and daily routines will help to ensure a proper transition because it will be a big change for them. From then on, actively staying engaged with your loved one, staff, and the facility will help you to stay up to date on their well-being and any changes.
 

Deciding memory care is the best form of care for your loved one, is not easy. But, by taking the proactive steps needed, you can help ensure your loved one has the best possible care and life. This transition can bring many mixed emotions to you, your family and your loved one. Remind yourself you are making a decision to prioritize your loved one’s health, safety, comfort and well-being. Stay on top of your and the facilities communication and always openly address concerns. Embrace this new chapter. You are not alone in this ride, seek help and assistance where needed, spend time with your loved one, visit them for events, connect with their stories and remember to always celebrate small victories.   

Book a tour here to see if we’re the right fit for your loved one.  

When is Assisted Living the Right Choice?

May 2nd, 2023 by Rachel Dimitroff

Assisted Living?

Five signs to look for when trying to decide if
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. 

1) Daily Activities are Hard 

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.”  

2) Getting the Proper Nutrition is Difficult 

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. 

3) A Lack of Socialization 

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 Agingdescribes 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.  

4) Their Physician Recommends Assisted Living 

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.  

5) As a Caregiver, You’re Struggling 

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.