As our loved ones age, their chances of being injured by a fall or some sort of accident increase. It’s estimated that as many as 45 percent of seniors fall each year, and falls are one of the leading reasons seniors end up in the hospital. One reason is that balance decreases with age, due to a variety of factors – poorer vision, weaker muscles, bent posture, slower reaction time, health issues and even prescription drug side-effects like dizziness.
To reduce the chance of falling, it’s critical that the senior care community creates a safe physical environment for your loved one. Balance exercises can also be a big help in improving their safety. Ask the senior living activity director to start a balance exercise class, if one isn’t already offered. There are also balance exercises that seniors can do in the privacy of their own residence, as long as they learn proper and safe techniques.
Before getting started, here are a few important senior safety guidelines:
- Check with the doctor and make sure there aren’t any pre-existing health or medication issues that would make it too hard to do these exercises.
- Especially frail or unstable seniors need to be supervised by a senior care staff member when they exercise.
- Start exercises near a chair or table for safety.
- Get out of the chair slowly and avoid twisting motions.
- Don’t close your eyes during exercise!
- Proceed slowly and don’t try to do too much too soon. That’s how injuries happen!
Here are some balance exercises especially good for seniors:
This is a good balance exercise to start with, because it helps seniors figure out their center of gravity over their ankles, which is the goal, to maintain a center position over the ankles. Hold on with both hands to the back of a stable, solid chair and balance on one leg. Try to do this for a few seconds for each leg. Advance to a one-hand hold and ultimately, no hold at all, if possible.
Side leg raise
Stand behind the chair with your back held straight. Put your feet flat on the floor, slightly apart. Hold onto the back of the chair or table. Exhale slowly and lift your right leg about six inches off the floor to the side. Keep both legs straight and toes pointing out. Inhale and hold this position for a few seconds. Exhale and return to both feet on the floor. Alternate legs and do this several times. This exercise helps build your leg strength and your hip flexibility.
Work on standing up and sitting down without using your hands. This helps overall balance and strength.
One foot stand
Raise one leg and stand on the alternate foot as long as you can. Alternate the legs to build balance on each side – people often find that one leg is much stronger than the other. You can do this while waiting in line at the grocery store!
This is a great exercise once you have mastered the static balance exercises, because it can be done nearly anywhere. Practice this first near a chair for extra support if needed. Put one heel in front of the toes of your opposite foot each time you take a step. The heel and toes should touch or almost touch.
There are lots of other good senior balance exercises, so check with the senior care community for ideas. What are your favorite balance exercises?
Families shoulder the burden of making sure their loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia receives the best possible long-term dementia care. It’s a stressful and challenging journey for most family members, who may struggle with physical, emotional, spiritual and financial concerns. Families need a good partner in caring for their loved one so that they receive the social support they need from trained caregivers and successfully deal with the many decisions that must be made regarding their loved one’s care program.
Research on families of dementia patients indicates that they struggle with a number of issues:
- Feelings of guilt over the decision to place mom or dad in a long-term dementia care home;
- Insecurity about who the primary decision-maker will be once their loved one transitions to long-term care;
- Lack of clarity about the types of decisions they will need to make over time, such as palliative treatment, hospitalization decisions, medication choices;
- Expectation confusion over their role and the role of the long-term care providers;
- Lack of communication or understanding about end-of-life care planning and the role of hospice in their loved one’s final days.
At the heart of all of these issues mentioned above is the need for effective, compassionate and ongoing communication between the dementia care staff and the family members who are involved in care-giving decisions. Further, not all memory care communities provide caregivers who are specifically trained in caring for dementia or Alzheimer’s patients.
When you’re seeking a dementia care community, make sure that you’re confident in the caregiver’s training and the staff’s commitment to good communication with you and other involved family members.
Good dementia care requires the community to join with you in providing ongoing social support to you and your family. Look for a family-based care philosophy that makes you a fully engaged partner in decisions and daily care.
Look carefully at the training caregivers receive. Does staff regularly update their educational knowledge with information on the latest behavioral and care-giving strategies? Does the community follow a patient-centered dementia care philosophy which puts the patient’s dignity and humanity at the core of all care decisions?
Personalized care planning
Good communication goes both ways, and so it’s critical that you and the memory care staff develop a personalized care plan for you, your family and your loved one. Be sure to meet the entire care team so you feel confident of their commitment to providing care that’s specific to the needs of your loved one. One-size-fits-all does not work with dementia patients. Tell the staff about your loved one’s likes and dislikes, favorite past hobbies, music, etc. If your mom is a “touchy-feely” person, let them know it’s good to hold her hand or hug her regularly.
Finding the right dementia care home gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your loved one is safe, respected, well cared for, and that you will continue to be a big part of their daily life, even when you can’t physically be at their side. How can we help you to share the care for your loved one?
Before you and your loved one select an assisted living community, be sure that you understand the rules and regulations concerning resident admissions and departures. Sometimes families are shocked and dismayed to discover that their mom or dad cannot spend the rest of their days in the community that they have chosen to move into.
Every state has rules governing the circumstances under which a resident can be discharged from assisted living. Some states have more stringent rules than others, and many are toughening discharge rules due to abuse by a few unscrupulous companies that operate senior living communities. Fortunately, there are many excellent assisted living communities that work very hard to keep their residents in place, healthy and happy. They prioritize their comfort and care.
During your community evaluation, ask for a copy of the resident admission agreement and read the rules regarding discharge and transfer of residents. Ask questions if you're not clear on what the rules mean for your loved one. Here are the state rules for Georgia and Tennessee relating to resident discharge:
The state of Georgia's Department of Community Health, Healthcare Facility Regulation Division oversees assisted living residences. Georgia rules require an admission agreement that includes a written procedure to handle discharge and transfer. The administrator is obligated to contact the assigned representative (usually a family member) or legal surrogate, if one exists, when they seek to discharge or transfer a resident. The assisted living residence must give 30 days' written notice of this intention unless it's what's called an "immediate" transfer, which occurs "if the resident develops a physical or mental condition requiring continuous medical care or nursing care."
The community can discharge a resident, say Georgia rules, when any one of these occur:
- "The resident requires continuous medical or nursing care;
- The resident's specific care needs cannot be met by available staff in the community, e.g. the resident is not ambulatory and not capable of assisted self-preservation;
- The community is not able to evacuate all of the current residents to a point of safety within established fire safety standards."
Tennessee's Department of Health, Division of Health Care Facilities regulates assisted living communities in its state. Like Georgia, the state requires an accurate written statement regarding fees and services that is provided to residents upon admission. Each resident must be given a copy of resident's right for review and signature.
A community can discharge a resident if he or she:
- "Requires treatment of extensive stage III or IV decubitus ulcer or exfoliative dermatitis;
- Requires continuous nursing care;
- Has an active, infectious, and reportable disease in a communicable state that requires isolation;
- Exhibits verbal or physical aggressive behavior which poses a physical threat to self or others;
- Requires physical or chemical restraints, not including psychotropic medications prescribed for a manageable mental disorder;
- Has needs that cannot be safely and effectively met in the community setting."
Due diligence is your responsibility as you research the best assisted living community for your loved one. What issues do you think are most important?
As parents age and have diminished abilities to see and navigate around the home or even outdoors it is increasingly important that their children and loved ones become increasingly aware of these challenges. Most are probably more aware of the medical and health issues which are discussed by doctors or medical caregivers, but all too often the risks that accompany failing sight are typically not addressed as much.
Yet it is the diminished capacity to see as clearly or move around to avoid not so apparent obstacles on the floor or outdoors which can result in serious falls or even worse. In fact according to many emergency room officials, and national studies falls by senior citizens can account for a majority of the injuries suffered by seniors 65 years or older.
Understand the Risks
It is crucial for you to understand just what your loved one is experiencing. Then you can assist in safeguarding them from unnecessary from falls.
One way to assist your elderly parents is to develop a checklist of possible problems they might be encountering. For instance, do they go outdoors for a walk but cannot see the steps? Are they able to walk in the living room or hall with area rugs on the floor?
These are just a couple simple items that normally would not be issues for younger people seniors can accidently slip on a missed step or stumble over an area rug.
Look at how each room has is arranged so that your parents can navigate easily. For example, in the living room, consider arranging the furniture so that there are no tables jutting outward and remove knick knacks and clutter on the floor.
Secure all loose wires that are connected to electronic items like computers, stereos, TVs, lamps and telephones. Purchase a 4 or 6 outlet surge protector which will eliminate the tangle of wires that can cause an elderly person to trip and fall.
Another issue that many older persons have is getting in and out of kitchen or dining room chairs. So make certain that the chairs can be easy move in and out from the table and that they will support the weight of your parent as they sit or stand up.
Prevent Bathroom Falls
This is certainly a room that can be fraught with peril and in far too many instances slip and falls can result in too many visits to the emergency room do to falls. One tip that can help your parents is to buy raised toilet seats to that they can use the toilet easier instead of having to grapple for something to steady them as they sit or lift up from the toilet.
The bathtub and the shower should have no-slip adhesive strips installed and even grab bars by any area where they have to raise themselves, like the bathtub and toilet.
Footwear should match their advanced age. Get rid of high heels and toss the floppy slippers. Buy them sensible shoes to prevent accidental spills. Instead: look for shoes that have non-skid soles as well as footwear with fabric fasteners. The easier to put on and wear the less chance there will be for stumbles and falls.
As your parents have aged their need for properly lit rooms has increased. All of the hallways should have night lights to help guide them from room to room. The bedroom should have a nightstand lamp as well as a night light.
Follow these key tips to prevent falls to keep your parents safe and secure in their home.
Recognizing loved ones, remembering precious events of times past and staying focused are everyday functions most people take for granted that progressively worsen in individuals suffering from dementia. Left untreated dementia becomes debilitating and can leave the your loved ones feeling helpless and alone. If you or someone you know is suffering from the affects of dementia it's imperative to know what it is, how it forms, and care options available.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a generalized term given to medical conditions that severely interfere with a person's ability to carryout everyday tasks. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's Disease followed by the second most common form, Vascular Dementia.
Diagnosis and Causes
Typically these illnesses are identified by a decline in core mental competencies such as: memory, judgment and visual perception. The cause of such declines are directly linked to damage found in various brain cells. It appears that the when the brain is unable to communicate normally, certain regions become affected. These regions control thinking, behavior and feelings.
When identified early the affects of dementia can be carefully examined and the best treatment plan can be executed to make sure the individual obtains the maximum benefits available; reversal of dementia-like symptoms or temporary relief of symptoms for more advanced dementia.
Quite possibly the most essential action when it comes to living with dementia is the care one receives. Caring for someone with dementia is no walk in the park. It requires a lot of compassion, patience and understanding. No one chooses to have dementia. Dementia is something that happens overtime to some and is not the direct result of life's choices. Sadly, once developed there is no going back. What's left is to move forward to making life as fulfilling and rewarding as possible for your loved one.
Generally speaking there are two types of care settings for those living with dementia. At home or in a care community. Both have their own benefits and drawbacks.
Home Care: Dealing with the loss of independence is hard enough, uprooting to an unfamiliar surrounding can be frightening and prove too much for some. As a result, home care is the easiest transition for most. It gives loved ones the security of familiarity by being able to be cared for while staying at home. However, this option is not always feasible. It requires a lot of time on the caregiver's end and can stretch a person's emotional state thin. "The United States National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging’s Caregiver Guide shows that caregivers themselves are often at increased risk for depression and illness."
Senior Care: Assisted living communities may require an adjustment, but they are well equipped with the latest state of the art dementia care. Structured around a memory approach, seniors are given every opportunity to be independent while maintaining their own level of comfort. Financially speaking senior living will cost more upfront, yet overtime the move will pay itself out. You'll have the ease of knowing your loved ones have access to around the clock care and everything else they may need to carry out daily activities. This option not only gives individuals the most freedom but also alleviates any guilt of being a burden to loved ones.
Ultimately, the care received makes the difference in the life lived. If you cannot be the caregiver your loved one needs during this time it's OK. Rest assure you have options and help is available. What questions to you have about dementia that we can answer for you? Leave them in the comments.
Other Dementia Resources
Dementia Care Checklist
People have a lot of worries about going to live in a senior community. They often have negative perceptions about the quality of life and care received in a senior community, but these views are often inaccurate and there are many good reasons to look at this kind of change of residence. Here, we separate some of the facts from fiction.
Amount of Care
Some have the idea that all the residents in senior communities are completely immobile or disabled, but this isn't necessarily the case. Many seniors who live in assisted living settings are still active and mentally sharp. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 70 percent of people over age 65 will eventually need long term care for some period of time, although it may not be a permanent need. Some seniors only need assisted living, while others need skilled nursing. It's important to understand the difference.
Although seniors may need assisted living activities to manage certain conditions or need help with mobility, it doesn't mean they have to slow down and get bored. Getting personalized help with assisted living activities can actually make their lives easier and less stressful, freeing up the time and energy to appreciate loved ones and engage in pleasurable hobbies. It makes your life easier too, because you have the peace of mind of knowing they're getting the best care.
When people decide to move their loved ones to a senior community, the situation is anything but "out of sight, out of mind." Most people who choose senior communities for their parents do so because they care enough to want them to have the personalized help that they need. People still wish they could provide that help themselves, but these days most couples have two careers and the retirement age keeps going up. People don't have the same resources of time like earlier generations had to provide the one-on-one care that seniors often need.
It increases support to expand the number of people who can care about and for your senior loved ones. According to Web MD, depression is very common in seniors, particularly if they lose or lack supportive social networks. A senior community can provide that social network they need that improves wellness in all aspects.
Special Care Situations
Some health situations are overwhelming for even the most dedicated, selfless caregiver. Serious memory issues, including dementia, really require well-trained caregivers in community settings to work with assisted living activities. Caring for seniors with memory issues is challenging, and keeping them safe is the highest priority. You can count on communities like The Retreat, where our patient staff looks after your loved one like they were our own family. We don't just provide physical care, we also nurture their emotional health and are concerned with their total wellness.
Quality of Care
Once you've made peace with the reality that a senior community will help your loved one with assisted living activities, the next important step is to find the right place.
Unfortunately, not all senior communities are created equal. Look at our list of resources to help you discover how to choose a good senior community in our area. Whether you've known for some time that long-term care was imminent or it follows a sudden event, like a stroke or heart attack, making preparations and doing research can ease your worries.
You can rest assured that once you find the right place, your loved one will get the kind of care you know they deserve.
In what ways would a senior community improve your family's quality of life?
Depression can affect as many as 15 of every 100 seniors yearly in the United States. Unfortunately, depression among residents in assisted living centers can go unnoticed or under-reported. Though today’s senior living has improved dramatically in the aspect of quality of life and resident happiness as compared to just a couple of decades ago, there is still work we all can do to help our friends and relatives spend their golden years in the happiness they deserve.
Make Regular Visits
Many seniors who reside in assisted living centers who do not get regular visits may feel forgotten, abandoned or unloved and this is a major contributing factor to depression. One of the best ways to guarantee resident happiness is to make sure that you and your family visit your loved one regularly. In fact, if you can get together to make sure there is a visitor every other day or so, then the benefit will be even greater. We all get busy and life does happen, but your loved ones miss you now maybe more than they did before coming to the center.
Even if you do not have a friend or family member living in a center and you have free time, call the administrative offices to see if they have any need for volunteers. Sometimes just a small kindness from a stranger is worth its weight in gold.
Pay Attention and Learn How to Listen
While you are visiting your loved one, be alert to sudden changes in attitude or personality. While we all have bad days, a person who usually seems to be happy or content that suddenly becomes withdrawn or sullen is absolutely a problem.
If would be to both yours and your loved one’s benefit for you to learn the symptoms of depression to know what you should look for. Depression can also manifest itself with many other side effects as well, and some of them are physical. Be alert for changes in appetite, sleeping habits and increases in aggression or anger. Depression can also cause your loved one to experience increased pain if they have physical conditions that can cause it and even incontinence when this condition did not previously exist.
Know Who to Talk To
If you notice any type of behavioral change, speak to the nurses or doctors in the center instead of confronting your loved one. Speaking directly to your friend or family member could cause them to become defensive or, worse, they may begin to hide their feelings to keep from making you unhappy.
If you don't get the results you feel that you need, do not feel as if you are overstepping your bounds in climbing the chain of command to help your loved one. Resident happiness, while obviously not the primary focus of these centers, is still an important component in life at assisted living centers.
Your loved one may be living in an assisted care center and you may be in charge of their well-being but, ultimately, they likely still want to be as independent as possible and might even need to have a say in their care as well as their social activities.
Many seniors who are single will want to have a romantic relationship, often with another resident. While this may be difficult for the family, the children especially, it is important to understand that seniors have wants and needs just as everyone else does.
Do you have any advice for folks with loved ones residing in assisted living? Please comment and pass it on!
Determining whether or not an aging loved one has the ability to live alone can be traumatic. This is especially true when mom or grandma is begging you to let her stay in the home she loves. However, the paradigm for senior living communities is undergoing a revolutionary change.
We have seen time and time again how living in our compassionate and vibrant Tennessee senior living community has enhanced the lives of our residents.
Here are 7 signs that it is no longer healthy or safe for your senior loved one to live alone.
- They are disoriented. We all experience "senior moments" and they are worthy of a good laugh. However, as dementia or Alzheimer's progresses, these "senior moments" are no longer a joke. They can result in very dangerous situations, and can place your parent or grandparent in a vulnerable position. If your loved one has experienced incidences where they were unsure of how to get home from a familiar location, found wandering around their neighborhood, or unable to recognize familiar people, places or things, more advanced memory care is needed. In the first phases, an in-home care provider may be enough. However, as disorientation progresses, the best care will be provided by a Tennessee senior living community that is uniquely designed to attend to seniors with cognitive issues.
- Medication reminders. Most seniors are on more medications than the "Days-of-the-Week" organizers can handle. Combine this with memory problems and you have a medically dangerous combination. Forgetting to take medication, or taking more than one day's worth, can have disastrous effects. If you see a lapse in their medication consumption, begin thinking about alternative living arrangements.
- General well-being is suffering. When you spend time with your family members, how do they seem? Do they appear well-groomed, recently bathed, and dressed in laundered clothes? Or do they appear haggard or unkempt? Note their energy level. Does your previously vibrant aunt seem listless, depressed or uninterested in life? All of these are signs that your loved one's physical or mental capabilities are beginning to slip. Extra care, whether in their home or via a residential senior community is the next step to ensuring their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
- The cupboards are bare. When you visit your senior loved ones, take a peek in the refrigerator and pantry. Does it look like meals are being eaten regularly? Or, do you notice that the shelves seem bare, or the refrigerator is filled with more rotting than fresh food? If it doesn't seem like your parent(s) or grandparent(s) are eating nutritious meals on a regular basis, action should be taken immediately. Seniors are especially prone to malnutrition due to physical mobility issues and/or dementia.
- Is the house clean and safe? It can be startling to walk into your grandmother's home and see dirt, grime and clutter. Physical ailments, failing eyesight, depression, and memory issues can have a dramatic effect on a previously meticulous housekeeper. Senior living spaces need to be kept clutter-free, to prevent trip and fall hazards, and cleanliness is important for health and hygiene. Also, a senior's home needs to be remodeled so it is safely accessible. If this isn't physically or fiscally impossible, a Tennessee senior living community will provide a safe, clean, and bright environment where your senior can live without health and safety hazards.
If you have noticed any of the above signs in your aging love one, please contact Senior Solutions. Make an appointment to tour any of our twelve, state-of-the art Georgia and Tennessee senior living communities, dedicated to taking holistic care of our senior residents.
When evaluating options for senior care one is presented with many options. But the majority of families end up choosing between assisted living and skilled nursing in a nursing home. Each has their merits and one must evaluate their senior loved one’s capabilities and needs when making this decision. Review these differences between assisted living and skilled nursing to help with your assessments.
Benchmarks to use when evaluating what residence would be best for senior loved ones include the “7 Activities of Daily Living (ADL)”. These are the areas that seniors would need assistance with and the degree of their needs that help determine which type of facility would provide the best service. The ADL’s evaluated include:
- meal preparation
- managing medications
Assisted Living is defined as a community where residents that are still active and vital can receive assistance with activities of daily living. They can handle most of their daily routine on their own and don’t require constant care and monitoring, just occasional help. Living quarters in assisted living communities include private rooms or apartments. Some communities even encourage residents to bring furniture and decor from home. Residents of assisted living are also still able to enjoy as much or little of the daily schedule that they want. They also have a certain amount of personal freedom on the property and on field trips. Staff and aids respect their privacy and encourage their independence and autonomy. It is a comfort to know that they may not always need assistance, but it is there if they do need it.
Services available include:
- minor medical care
- personal care assistance
- 24 hour supervision
- social activities
- security systems
- emergency call systems
Evaluating a senior loved one’s needs will greatly impact the decision about what level of care they will need in the future. Assisted Living communities average between $2,400 and $5,000 per month in cost. These costs are not covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Long term care insurance and some Veteran’s programs do offer assistance.
Skilled Nursing/Nursing Home
A skilled nursing center is defined as a residence for seniors that need constant significant personal care, and cannot manage many, if any, ADL’s on their own. Their personal freedom is more restricted due to dementia, and other mental and physical challenges. They would also require on-site nursing care due to their infirmities. This type of care is often required after a hospitalization or significant decline in their health or when seniors face multiple serious health challenges like heart disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, etc. Skilled nursing is critical for when the care required is more than the family is capable of providing and more advanced than what assisted living can provide. They are designed to provide long-term care.
Services available include:
- extensive medical care on-site
- personal care assistance
- 24 hour supervision
- social activities
- security systems
- emergency call systems
Skilled nursing communities average between $4,000 and $12,000 per month in cost. These costs are covered to some extent by Medicare and Medicaid, but in many instances the patient has utilize all of their own resources first or qualify with little or no assets.
If you or a loved one have more questions about assisted living in Tennessee and Georgia, contact Senior Solutions. Our communities provide assisted living and memory care services in a fun, friendly atmosphere. Take a tour today!
Lakewood Place and River Oaks Place are historic buildings in Louden, Tennessee that have been renovated to once again serve the community by providing the best in senior adult communities.
Lakewood Place is Family Pride's newest senior adult community and is located next door to River Oaks Place in Loudon, Tennessee. We have thirty four spacious assisted living units and an activity center second to none. A wellness center and on-site physical therapy help our residents maintain their independence and health.
The expansive common areas, dining room, and sunrooms are complemented by oversized private suites.
Daily activities include an art studio, media theater, classroom, wellness/exercise center, beauty salon, billiards room, coffee/ice cream bar and enough lounge space to make you feel like you are in a fine old hotel or country club.
Lakewood Place offers patios, gardens, and a level of interior finish of the highest quality.
River Oaks Place was originally constructed in 1939 as the Loudon County Hospital and named after the legendary Loudon businessman and philanthropist, Col. Charles H. Bacon.
We purchased the three story brick building and have totally renovated the property with 40 assisted living suites.
And created spacious and elegant common areas.
Creating smiles for every occasion.
Would you like more information on Lakewood Place or River Oaks Place in Loudon, Tennessee? Would you like to set up a personal tour? We'll be happy to show you around and share the benefits of selecting us to care for your senior loved ones.
What do you consider the most important factor in senior care?