The National Center for Assisted Living established “National Assisted Living Week” in 1995. This week of activities, events and community interaction is designed to bring residents, families, staff, volunteers, and the surrounding community together in celebration of seniors and to show them our love and appreciation. The theme for 2013 is “Homemade Happiness”. Celebrations are rolling in all twelve Senior Solutions Communities. We will enjoy fun events and activities like:
Recognizing those shining stars among us, we’ll be calling out the residents and team members that make every day just a little bit better with positive attitudes, contagious smiles and kind words.
Our residents will be sampling wondrous homemade goodies like pizza, ice cream and cookies. Part of the fun will be making these treats themselves and with visiting loved ones.
We’ll be hosting craft days and art shows, showcasing the collections and talents of our residents. Special projects are scheduled throughout the week at each community for seniors to enjoy.
Although we enjoy musical performances from time to time, we are especially excited to have various musical guests in this week in all of our communities to help us celebrate. Our residents enjoy just sitting back and relaxing, singing along or getting up and dancing.
- Family Breakfasts
We invited the family members of our residents to join us to kick off National Assisted Living Week. A scrumptious buffet of tempting treats was rolled out and fun was had by all.
We love any opportunity to celebrate our residents and offer them fun and activities that can be enjoyed by the surrounding Tennessee and Georgia communities. Stop by one this week and see what we’re up to:
Do you have any questions about what it’s like in our of our assisted living or memory care communities? Contact Senior Solutions to request more information or schedule a personal tour today.
How are you celebrating the seniors in your life?
Wellspring Senior Living is one our newest assisted living communities, located in Knoxville, Tennessee. Wellspring was designed to have all the comforts of home for assisted living. And The Retreat at Wellspring, our state-of-the- art dementia care program, is designed to provide your loved one the safety, companionship and engagement they need.
Our spacious dining/common area where residents gather for meals, activities and fun.
Chefs prepare delicious meals and desserts for our residents to enjoy.
Our raised gardens give the opportunity to continue their passion for gardening.
There's always time for a game of pool.
Wellspring offers luxurious private suites.
Well lit and bright colors, with plenty of room to call their own.
Enjoying time together, with peace of mind for families.
We hope you've enjoyed your online tour of Wellspring Senior Living in Knoxville, Tennessee. Contact us to schedule a personal tour and learn more about how we are caring for seniors in our assisted living and dementia care programs.
One of the keys to making your loved ones’ transition to assisted living easier is keeping them busy with social activities. Many assisted living communities have a very robust activities calendar filled with more than most can accomplish in a day. But Mom or Dad may still feel that there is something missing from what is offered or want something new to do. Here are 16 fun social activities for loved ones in assisted living.
- Gardening Club – Communities can set aside an area outside accessible to residents - even those with walkers and wheelchairs. Involving them with each seasons plantings and care will go a long way towards making it feel like home. The residents that love to garden would enjoy being a part of the whole process: designing, planting, and caring for the garden.
- Pizza Time - Residents can get together and make their own individual pizzas. Flatten biscuits by pressing on them and stretching them out. Add a little pizza sauce and let the residents choose their own toppings. The kitchen bakes them and they have a nice afternoon snack.
- Root Beer Float Bar – Let seniors make their own floats, choosing ice cream and sodas.
- Ice Cream Socials – Picking their favorite ice cream and toppings makes this social activity fun and a favorite.
- Cheese Bar – Set out cheese and crackers with fruit for a nice afternoon snack and social time.
- Handbell Choir – Many residents participated in handbell choirs in their local churches. For the holidays, get a group of residents together to resurrect their talents and entertain everyone.
- Local Musicians Showcase – They can be invited to come in and play music for the residents. Groups like schools, churches, performing choirs and small bands would brighten their days.
- Karaoke Night – Hold a karaoke night and invite the families. They’ll all have fun singing together.
- Nail Fun - the ladies (and some of the men) love to have manicures and pedicures. The staff or families can provide the service, or invite in students at the local beauty school.
- Hand Massages - Often times offering some small relief from arthritis pain, nice smelling lotion and a gentle massage is welcomed by men and women alike.
- All the News…. - Read items from the local newspaper. Reader can read the title of an article and take votes whether the group wants to hear the whole article.
- Parties, parties, parties – Get everyone together to celebrate residents’ birthdays with a party and hats. Have cake, ice cream and all kinds of snacks and presents, too.
- Around the World - Take a different country once a month and learn about it and even try to eat a sample of food from there. Include a simple craft from that country to work on.
- Start a Book Club – Choose one book a month for everyone to read. Then hold a meeting to discuss it with snacks.
- Pet Therapy – have residents’ family members or a local organization bring in pets to visit and be loved. This activity soon becomes a resident favorite.
- Red Hat Society – start a Red Hat Society for your ladies or a women's tea once a month with finger sandwiches and a selection of teas and juices, invite the public to increase interest in your facility. Connect with an active chapter in your area and ask those ladies to join you periodically.
These are but a few activities that can easily be added to any assisted living community calendar to increase the daily activities of seniors. Would you like to visit one of our Georgia or Tennessee assisted living and memory care centers? Request a tour today. We look forward to meeting you.
What activity does Mom or Dad miss the most?
Mom has been changing. It started with little things like forgetting doctor’s appointments and not recognizing a family friend. But depending on the cause of the dementia and the area of the brain that is affected, family concerns will continue to increase. As the symptoms mount, concerns for her safety and well being may outweigh her reluctance - and yours - and it might be time for Tennessee Dementia Care Living for Mom.
The symptoms and signs of dementia vary by patient due to the causes and areas of the brain that are affected. While you only may see a few signs, here are more to be on the lookout for:
One of the first signs and most noticeable, it can come through as confusion or anger when Mom forgets an appointment or event.
Difficulty in remembering recent events
Her memories of high school, her wedding or the birth of her children are still crystal clear, but remembering a recent holiday or grandchild’s sporting event may no longer be occuring.
Challenges in recognizing people and places
When a normal trip to the grocery store, mall or post office turns into an hours long ordeal while Mom is parked somewhere confused, it may be time she gave up the keys. Many seniors are fiercely independent and will balk. Just keep promoting ensuring her safety.
Difficulty in normal speech patterns
When they are frustrated because of repeatedly not being able to come up with the right words for the situation, misunderstandings and disagreements can occur as Mom tries to hold on to her speech and memories. Be patient when you're chatting with her and give her time to gather her thoughts and form her words.
Challenges with simple, everyday tasks
Paying bills, balancing her checkbook, following a recipe, or writing a letter have become too much for her. Electricity and other services being disconnected are red flags to watch for. Even though Mom says she’s fine and not to worry about her, you need to know if she can't handle those tasks and others to maintain her independent living status.
Stressing when exercising judgment
Normal decisions like what to wear, which couch to buy or what to have for dinner will increasingly cause stress or anxiety for a Mom suffering from dementia. Watch for a marked decrease in these normal types of activities. Sometimes when they get to be too much, she will opt to skip them rather than dealing with her confusion.
Forgetting details that may be crucial in an emergency
If Mom is living alone and having difficulty in remembering her address, who her doctor is or what medications she is taking, the situation can become critical if there is an emergency situation.
Depression when there previously was none
Depression can set in as Mom becomes overwhelmed with the realization sets in that her memories are slipping away. Watch for signs of sudden weight loss or gain, reluctance to participate in normal activities or loss of appetite - all can be signs of a serious depression.
Agitation, aggressive behaviors
Don’t be surprised if sweet mannered mom becomes someone else entirely. Patience and a sense of humor are the keys to surviving this stage. Know that this is not your loving mother. This is outward sign of the confusion she is experiencing on the inside.
Personal grooming and bathing
When Mom is suffering from dementia, her normal bathing and grooming habits may be neglected. Her normal fastidiousness or long standing appointments at the beauty parlor may be ignored. And you may find her in wrinkled or dirty clothing when you visit. Don’t ignore the signs when you see them.
These are but a few of the symptoms Mom may be experiencing. Some of the more severe varieties of dementia demonstrate symptoms like hallucinations, frequent falling, rude or inappropriate behaviors. If it is time to discuss options for Tennessee Dementia Care, contact Senior Solutions, We have communities in Shelbyville, Kingston, Lenior City, Louden and Knoxville. Contact us today to schedule a tour.
What are you looking for in a Tennessee Dementia Care community for your Mom?
When the decision has been made to relocate your senior loved one to assisted living care in Tennessee, there are dozens of questions, considerations and options. The task can be overwhelming. Just take a moment and breathe. Then separate the must-haves from the wants and prioritize your senior care list requirements. Once you have established exactly what you are looking for, you can begin evaluating communities. Review this list of must-haves for assisted living in Tennessee when you evaluate the communities that you are visiting.
- Clean rooms and common areas
- Pleasant common space décor
- Seniors able to decorate own spaces
- Safety and security procedures readily visible
- Fire extinguishers and other safety equipment clearly visible
- State certifications and inspections available for review
- Welcoming outdoor space(s) for residents
- Reasonable resident-staff ratios for adequate care of residents
- Staff that has passed state training/certification
- Continuing staff education opportunities
- Criminal background and reference checks performed
- Dietician on staff or consult for dietary requirements
- Meals available in dining room or private quarters
- Physician on-site visits on a regular schedule
- Transportation to doctor, x-ray and lab appointments
- Prescription delivery and administration
- Availability of over the counter and basic medical supplies
- Regularly scheduled physical and brain exercise programs available
- Exercise programs for all ability levels
- Physical therapy offered on-site
- Community activities calendar posted and shared with residents
- Numerous daily on-site and off-site activities
- Family and community involvement on a regular basis
- Religious services offered on-site
- Transportation offered for special religious occasions
These are just a few of the must-haves that a loved one must look for when evaluating senior assisted living care in Tennessee. Be sure to review the contract and be knowledgeable about what is included and what is extra. And when you’ve found a few favorite communities, go back at different times and unscheduled visits to get a feel for the “real” management. Even send friends or other family members to get their impressions.
Can we assist your family in evaluating or selecting an assisted living community? Contact Senior Solutions for a tour of any of our Tennessee and Georgia communities.
What is your must-have for your senior loved one?
Father’s Day is when we honor our fathers and thank them for all they’ve given us. When Dad is in an assisted living community you might be worried that the celebration will be ignored. Rest assured, a vibrant community embraces reasons to hold celebrations and Father’s Day is no exception. One of the most popular community Father’s Day celebrations is a barbeque. Many times it is combined with fun outdoor activities like horseshoes, corn hole, croquet or shuffleboard. And to be sure, games of dominoes, Uno, bingo, gin rummy and bunko can always be found at the picnic tables. Getting residents, family members and the surrounding community together for food, fun and outdoor time is always a plus.
Sometimes it is a day for a field trip. If your father is in good health, it’s the perfect time for a nice lunch out, a movie, a baseball game or just a visit to your home. While the day-to-day may be challenging and require Dad to reside in assisted living, the chance to get out and have some good time with family and friends does wonders for their spirits.
But what to get him? His living space may be smaller than his former home and needs change as they age. Here are some great senior gift ideas that Dad will use and enjoy in his assisted living community:
- Robotic/mechanical grabbers – these tools help Dad reach and grab items he may have dropped or are out of reach - with ease.
- Large print puzzle books – crossword, word search, Sudoku, or whatever his favorite one is – bring him several to fill up until your next visit.
- A new deck of cards or new games - retirees love to play games and will just flat wear out their cards and games. Try getting Dad a deck with large print.
- DVDs of their favorite old movies or a subscription to Netflix.
- Portable DVD player – often easier to use than a big tabletop one that is too heavy for Dad to move.
- iPod or other MP3 player with his favorite songs and noise canceling headphones.
- Novels – Get Dad the latest from his favorite authors.
- Digital Picture Frames – Load a bunch of new photos in with every visit and show Dad how to operate it (write the instructions down).
- Laptop or tablet - If Dad is tech savvy, make sure he has an up-to-date system. Facebook is fun for those with less outside interaction. They can see all the pictures and news family members post.
- Skype – introduce techie Dads to Skype if they are not already on it. It’s a fun way to stay in touch with loved ones that can’t visit that often.
But the best gift is time with loved ones. If family lives out of state or a few hours away, Father’s Day is the perfect time to visit and spend some good time catching up. Wondering about the activities and celebrations at assisted living communities in Tennessee and Georgia? Contact Senior Solutions for a tour of one of our communities today.
What are your Father’s Day plans?
Photo Credit:ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com
The initial diagnosis is heartbreaking and you may not immediately be considering dementia care. But symptoms sneak up on you and your senior loved one. At first it is just the little things that they forget, but the configuration and chemistry of the brain suffering from dementia continue to diminish over time. Their ability to remember, understand and communicate decreases gradually. It can be hard to decide when someone who has ordinarily been independent and self-sufficient is suffering from dementia and should no longer live alone. Here are a few questions to help you determine if it is time for dementia care in an assisted living community.
- Does she call you in the middle of the night for non emergency reasons?
- Have letters and phone calls slowed or stopped? Are you always calling first?
- Is he taking his medications on a proper schedule?
- Is she unresponsive to inquiries during a conversation?
- Is he losing or gaining weight without explanation?
- Does he dress appropriately for the occasion or current weather conditions?
- Is the smell of urine on his clothes?
- Has his usual grooming or clothing style changed dramatically?
- Does he stay up later and later, and not wake until much later in the day?
- Is she late for appointments or not ready when you’re picking her up to take her?
- Does she accuse you of being late when you are not?
- Is she no longer interested in old friends? Does she no longer call or write them?
- Has she quit attending activities like: grandchildren’s athletic events, church, prayer groups, and Bunco night or bridge club?
- Does she forget that you were going to stop by for a visit or to pick her up to take her to your house?
- Is she neglecting to mention or talk to her younger grandchildren or great grandchildren?
- When visiting, is the temperature in his house set too hot or too cold?
- Are there signs of pots that have been burned or forgotten food left out?
- Is his mail sitting unopened and his paper unread?
- Has he bought way too much of certain food that he can’t reasonably eat?
- Has the refrigerator been overtaken with spoiled food or is it nearly empty?
- Does the house smell slightly or overpoweringly of urine?
- Are there signs of forgotten and not cleaned spills or neglected garbage?
- Has his electricity, water other services been shut off because bills have gone unpaid?
- Have you discovered letters or answered the phone when a charity is thanking him for his contribution – and he’s not contributed to that one historically?
- Has she wandered from home or gotten lost when running a simple errand?
One or two of these signs are not an indicator that your senior loved one is no longer capable of taking care of themselves, but they can indicate a pattern. Use this list as a touch point when visiting. Run through the questions in your mind or subtly do a quick review of the list to gauge where your loved one’s capabilities still lie. When it is time to consider memory care assisted living in Tennessee and Georgia, contact Senior Solutions. We have facilities that offer independent, assisted and nursing services. Our staff truly cares for our residents and ensures that they have an enriched and safe life.
What is your biggest concern about seniors with dementia?
They’re not getting around as well as they used to. You’re concerned about their medications and their safety. When the decision is made to research relocating a loved one to assisted living care in Georgia and Tennessee many questions arise. What are realistic expectations for families when that day arrives?
1. Optimum Environment
A thriving community is laid out to provide enriching activities in a safe environment for senior loved ones. Most assisted living communities’ average between 40 and 120 residents. This may vary depending on the size and layout of the community. Each resident (or couple) lives in their own studio, one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartment. They have their own set of keys to come and go as they desire. Meals are provided in a restaurant-style dining room, to increase social interaction. They can usually select their meals from among several different options. Some units may have kitchen or kitchenette facilities.
Other public areas of the community can include a living room/common area, library, fitness room, activities room, beauty/barber salon, gardening, outdoor seating areas, theater, private dining room and snack bar. Exterior doors are left open and unlocked during regular business hours but visitors are usually required to check in for security purposes.
2. Level of Service
The services that seniors receive in assisted living are offered at different levels and/or by a point system depending on individual needs. All residents are normally assessed by medical staff prior to moving in to determine their current medical, physical and emotional condition for care planning. Fees for assisted living care are typically added to the monthly base rate charged for the accommodations, housekeeping, activities, maintenance, and transportation. Assistance can include any or all of the following:
- Bathing – Standby for safety or full assistance with all bathing
- Dressing – Standby for safety or full assistance with clothing selection and dressing
- Grooming - May include assistance with brushing/combing hair, shaving, brushing teeth, etc.
- Medication - Medications are stored, administered and re-ordered by the assisted living staff
- Toileting – Standby/transferring assistance for safety, reminders, assistance with incontinence products, and hygiene after toileting
- Transferring - Standby or one-person assistance with moving from bed or chair to a walker or wheelchair. Can include escorting to/from meals and activities.
- Personal laundry (laundering of bed linens and towels is included in weekly housekeeping)
- Pet care
- Scheduling medical appointments
3. The Right Place at the Right Time
Assisted living communities are regulated and licensed by each state to provide a specific level of care. Due to many factors such as other residents, staffing and facilities those levels of services provided can’t be exceeded in meeting residents’ care needs. For the safety and proper care of love ones, there are times with they may need to relocate to another care setting in order to ensure they receive the proper level of senior care. Such moves will ensure the safety, security and well-being of all residents. The circumstances below usually require a higher level of care than typical assisted living communities can provide include:
- Aggressive and/or inappropriate behaviors or wandering - characterized by an increasing level of dementia or Alzheimer’s (memory care communities are a better fit for these concerns)
- Sliding-scale diabetes requiring close monitoring and insulin injections administered by a licensed nurse at varying intervals
- Inability to transfer without the assistance of two persons (A safety concern for employees)
- Incontinence that cannot be managed with reminders/products and a toileting schedule
- Intubations including in-dwelling catheters, feeding tubes, colostomy care (unless the resident is working with a home health care plan that will provide visits to the community on a regular basis)
The goal of assisted living is to provide an enriching environment where senior loved ones are safe and can be monitored to offer peace of mind for the seniors and their families. Encouraging active seniors to maintain the greatest level of independence possible while receiving assistance with daily activities are the primary goals of any thriving community. Do you have questions about any of our communities and what they can offer your senior loved one? Contact Senior Solutions, we’re happy to discuss the plans and options with you. We have independent, assisted and memory care communities in Georgia and Tennessee to ensure the safety and life enrichment of your senior loved one.
What is the most important expectation you have regarding assisted living?
Although we are confident that we have, by far, the best staff in Tennessee and Georgia caring for your loved ones, it is nice when it is recognized. Four of the Resident Assistants from our Tennessee assisted living communities have received The Caring Heart Award from Alzheimer’s Tennessee at the 15th Annual Caring Hearts Recognition Ceremony in Knoxville, TN on April 25, 2013. Alzheimer’s Tennessee bestows this recognition upon the ‘unsung’ heroes, or those who go above and beyond caring for those who face dementia. Their peers or supervisors at the communities nominated the four SSMG caregivers who received this admirable award.
“We could not be more proud of these employees and the dedication they have to our residents,” said Christina Trentham, Regional Director of Operations, Senior Solutions Management Group. “They have a spiritual gift of unconditional love and compassion for not only our residents, and their families, but any life they touch. They are a model for caregivers and a blessing to our communities.” Recognized at the luncheon were
Ashley Rawls - Resident Assistant
Lakewood Place Assisted Living - Loudon, TN
Nominated by Britney Rice, Wellness Director
"Ashley has been with Lakewood Place for three years. Her caring and dedicated nature has become more obvious with each passing day. She is dependable, reliable, and committed to providing quality care to our residents. Ashley comes to work every day with a smile and a positive attitude. She is always willing to do whatever is needed to care for our residents. We are blessed to have such a young and talented caregiver who influences and touches so many lives, as part of our Lakewood family."
Nicole Braden - Resident Assistant
River Oaks Place - Loudon, TN
Nominated by Dorothy Reyes, Wellness Director
"Even though Nicole hasn't been with us very long, her dedication to our residents is obvious. Her calm and caring manner shines through whenever she is assisting residents in our Memory Care neighborhood. Nicole is always putting the residents and their needs at the top of her priorities, by coming in on her days off or working over when needed. We are so blessed to have someone with her compassion, patience, and respect as part of our River Oaks Place family."
Mary Gibson - Resident Assistant
River Oaks Place - Lenoir City, TN
Nominated by Melissa Hensley, Business Office Manager
"When Mary joined our team, she instantly connected to the residents, especially those in our Memory Care neighborhood. She treats each resident as though they are her family and always wears a lovely and comforting smile. It is obvious that the residents adore her and always look forward to her return - they miss her when she is away. We are proud and honored to have such a dedicated, loving, dependable, and enthusiastic caregiver here. She is a blessing the River Oaks Place community."
Meghan McCormick - Resident Assistant
Wellspring Senior Living - Knoxville, TN
Nominated by Cody Davis, Wellness Director
"Meghan is a dedicated worker in the memory care neighborhood of Wellspring Senior Living. Her hard work and enthusiasm is exactly what our Memory Care neighborhood needs. She truly is the person that the residents and families depend on."
This is the poem that was read in their honor -
The Caregiver - by Lorraine Yates
Caregiver - Two words that come together when you speak of someone dear.
It is that special person, if you call, they're always near.
You'll see that in a "Caregiver" - Love comes from in their Heart.
With loving hands and guidance they help each new day start.
Caring for the fragile soul, giving day to day.
They meet the needs of loved ones spreading love along the way.
A gentle touch, a helping hand, a glow that makes you smile.
Always near to a comfort and go that extra mile.
They want no fame or glory, and it puts their mind at ease,
to know they've helped a loved one deal with Alzheimer's disease.
So show a little kindness to caregivers across the land.
You may be the one someday who needs a helping hand.
With peace and understanding throughout the end of time.
There's someone who will care for you and make your spirit shine.
We are so very pleased to have these outstanding individuals providing care for seniors afflicted with Alzheimer's in Tennessee.
When the time comes that a loved one is no longer able to safely remain in their homes due to dementia, the options, questions and choices can be overwhelming. The key to a content senior is having them in the right community that will ensure their safety and provide them with interaction and activities that will continue to enrich their lives. Use these screening questions when evaluating dementia care in Tennessee:
- What is the normal routine for the facility?
- What flexibility is available for each individual?
- What is the bathing schedule?
- What kinds of activities are there for them to participate in?
- How do you ensure their dietary needs are met?
- Do you have 24 hour coverage of staff that speaks Spanish/German/Russian etc.?
- What is the staffing ratio?
- What stage of Alzheimer’s are the majority of the patients experiencing?
- What is the mix (early/middle/late) of the patients in the community?
- How are activities and care coordinated for each stage?
- How does the staff handle behavior issues like aggression, anger, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, sundowning, wandering and agitation?
- Is there a written plan in place when behaviors escalate?
- How often does the staff attend new or refresher training courses?
- What safety measures are in place for those seniors who wander?
- Are dangerous objects like knives, tools etc. secured?
- Are the rooms equipped with monitoring or summoning devices?
- Is the community safely set up to avoid tripping hazards?
These are just a few of the many questions you will want and need to ask the community that you are considering moving your senior loved one into. For more information, contact us to schedule a visit to one of our communities.
What questions would you ask a dementia care community?