Research the community
Before approaching a community, you and your mother should determine which type best suits her needs. Today’s residences include:
Active adult communities
Independent living communities
Assisted living residences
Continuing care retirement communities
Home care (non-medical)
Home health care
Adult day care
Once you determined the type of community that’s most suitable, it’s time to examine which services appeal to her. Some of the basic options are:
Housekeeping and laundry
Health and medical
Assistance with eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, etc.
Alzheimer’s, dementia and memory care
Twenty-four-hour safety and security
Emergency call systems in every residence
Health and wellness programs
Recreational and social activities
Take a Tour
After compiling a list of possible communities, it’s time to schedule an appointment for a visit. Pay attention to as much as possible, including whether:
The facility’s grounds are well maintained and easy to navigate
There are ample conveniences (grocery stores, cleaners, etc.) in and around the community
The facility is located near a hospital
Be sure to ask plenty of questions and make multiple visits, if necessary.
Get to know residents and staff
The best way to determine whether a community suits your parent is by talking to residents and staff members. Go beyond first impressions by engaging in as many conversations as possible. Prepare questions beforehand and listen carefully to their responses.
Participate in events, if possible
Take advantage of any opportunity to participate in activities. In addition, APlaceforMom.com recommends taking note of whether:
The activities and events are well attended?
The activities match your loved one’s interests?
The events and activities vary in size and type?
After you and your mother have chosen a facility, the next phase of her transition begins.
You and your parent made a careful, informed choice about the senior community the two of you selected. Now she can embrace her new surroundings. Your role is to encourage her to immerse herself in this new culture.
Form new friendships
According to the 2009 Independent Living Report by the ProMatura Group LLC, research shows that when someone becomes part of a senior living community, he or she is more likely to make new friends. In fact, most people report a better experience than they expected. Encourage your mother to seize the opportunity to make new friends.
Thorough preparation and lots of encouragement are key factors in your parent’s willingness to embrace her new senior community.
The tenacious nonagenerian set a record in 2014 at the Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego marathon She was the fastest competitor in the 90-94 age group.
Of course, there are plenty of seniors who aren’t able to pound the pavement for 26.2 miles. However, millions of older adults can engage in some level of physical activity. And those who do exercise reap a multitude of rewards.
Benefits of physical fitness
There’s plenty of proof about the positive impact that physical fitness has on seniors. According to NIH Senior Health regular physical activity can:
• Prevent or delay disease
Scientists have found that staying physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay many diseases and disabilities. In some cases, exercise is an effective treatment for many chronic conditions. For example, studies show that people with arthritis, heart disease or diabetes benefit from regular exercise. Exercise also helps people who have high blood pressure, balance problems or difficulty walking.
• Manage stress, improve mood
Regular, moderate physical activity can help manage stress and improve mood. And being active on a regular basis may help reduce feelings of depression. Studies also suggest that exercise can improve or maintain some aspects of cognitive function, such as the ability to shift quickly between tasks, plan an activity and ignore irrelevant information.
Here are six tips to help seniors get or stay fit.
Get a cardio workout
No matter the level of physical fitness, all seniors need to engage in activity that challenges the heart and lungs. Among the best cardio exercises are walking and jogging. For those with physical limitations, chair exercises are a viable option.
Engage in strength training
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a strength workout that includes a warm-up, upper- and lower-body (seated or standing) exercises that can be performed with or without weights and a cool down.
Work on balance and flexibility
Statistics show that falling is the most common form of accidental injury among seniors. Activities that help to reduce the chances of falling and may improve flexibility include one-legged stands, walking heel to toe, stretching exercises (including yoga) and tai chi.
Take deep breaths
As we age, the rib cage and surrounding muscles get stiffer and breathing becomes more difficult. Livestrong.com recommends exercises – such as belly-breath, humming and abdominal-assisted breathing – that can improve airflow.
Try new activities
You’re never too old to pursue a new activity. Non-swimmers can sign up for swim lessons or take water aerobics for the first time. Seniors with “two left feet” can opt for dance lessons. And seniors who have no interest in running can enjoy the pleasures of hiking trails of all kinds.
Get a good night’s rest
“No matter what your age,” says helpguide.org, “sleeping well is essential to your physical health and emotional well-being.” Steps that improve a senior’s odds of getting restful and restorative sleep include maintaining a sleep schedule; developing a bedtime ritual; and avoiding alcohol, big meals and large amounts of liquids before turning in.
No two seniors share the same level of physical fitness. All seniors, however, can revel in its many benefits.
*As always, check with your physician regarding any exercise programs and your personal fitness needs and restrictions.[...]
You’ve assumed the role of primary caregiver for your senior parent. Over time, you’ve come to realize that life as a caregiver is a full-time job with as many rewards as responsibilities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
-More than 34 million unpaid caregivers provide care to someone age 18 and older who is ill or has a disability.
-Caregivers report having difficulty finding time for one’s self (35 percent), managing emotional and physical stress (29 percent), and balancing work and family responsibilities (29 percent).
-Caregivers said they do not go to the doctor because they put their family’s needs first (67 percent said that is a major reason), or they put the care recipient’s needs over their own (57 percent).
-More than half (51 percent) said they do not have time to take care of themselves and almost half (49 percent) said they are too tired to do so.
-Caring for a parent can be stressful, but there are ways to minimize the strain.
Understand your limits
You certainly know the importance of caregiving. Just as important, though, is knowing that there are limits to your physical and mental capabilities. To cope, you need to establish a plan for handling the caregiving process before it overwhelms you.
Find helpful resources
Support for caregivers continues to expand. Resources include:
-Eldercare Locator, which provides referrals to Area Agencies on Aging (eldercare.gov)
-Family Care Navigator, a state-by-state resource providing services for family caregivers and older or disabled adults living at home or in a residential facility www.caregiver.org
-State Units on Aging, which offer info on services and programs for seniors (www.nasuad.org)
Get help from family and friends
You may find it difficult to seek aid from others, including family and friends. Realistically, though, you will need their assistance throughout the caregiving phase of your life. Helpguide.org (www.helpguide.org/elder/caring_for_caregivers.htm) suggests the following:
-Set aside one-on-one time to talk to the person.
-Go over the list of caregiving needs you’ve drawn up.
-Explain how the person might be of service.
-Ask the person if he or she would like to help, and if so, how.
-Make sure the person understands what would be most helpful to you and your parent.
Take time away
The toll that caregiving takes on providers is well-documented. For the sake of your health, it’s imperative that you find ways to relax and rejuvenate. Consider this advice from Helpguide.org (http://www.helpguide.org/elder/caring_for_caregivers.htm):
-Stay social. Visit regularly with other people, and nurture your close relationships.
-Maintain balance in your life.Don’t give up activities that are important to you, such as work or hobbies.
-Find a community. Join or reestablish your connection to a religious group, social club or civic organization.
With the right information and support, you can excel – and even flourish – in your role as caregiver for your senior parent.[...]
Whenever relationships crumble the repercussions can be devastating, and not just for the parties involved. Sometimes, family members who are not part of the squabble may struggle with anger and sadness about a situation out of their control.
Given the toll that broken relationships have on families, it’s clear that reestablishing kinship is in everyone’s best interest. Although it may seem daunting, restoration is indeed possible.
Begin with forgiveness
Everett L. Worthington Jr., a professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, devised a five-step program for emotional forgiveness called REACH, with each letter representing one step:
“First you recall the hurt objectively, without blame and self-victimization,” Worthington says. “Then you empathize by trying to imagine the viewpoint of the person who wronged you. The altruistic part involves getting people to think about a time they were forgiven and how that felt. When it’s time to commit to forgiveness, people usually say, not yet, but when they finally do, they must then hold on to forgiveness.” (www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/forgive-forget?page=3)
Put effort into reconnecting
You have to do more than say that you want to mend a broken relationship. GlobalPost.com, an international news company, explained how parents can revive a shattered relationship with their children. These are steps that children who want to reconnect with their parents can also follow:
“Reach out … any way you can. Perhaps he refuses to take your calls or won’t come visit. That doesn’t mean you can’t still contact him and let him know you want to talk or see him so you can fix what’s wrong. You can write a long handwritten letter if you’d like, but you can also send a quick text message to reach out.” (http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/restore-broken-relationship-kids-18247.html)
Don’t expect immediate results
Relationships – particularly those among family members – aren’t likely to disintegrate quickly. So when it’s time to repair them, families shouldn’t expect a speedy resolution. As noted in a California Department of Human Resources paper titled “Family Feud: Repairing Damaged Family Relationships, “If your family member rejects your request to talk, give him space and try to contact him again from time to time.”
In a 2010 blog post, psychologist Joshua Coleman cited a study in which parents in the U.S. reported “more conflict with their adult children than parents in other countries. The study compared the U.S. with Israel, Spain, Germany and the U.K. and found that the relationship between adult children and their aging parents were the most ‘disharmonious’ in the U.S.”
Although rifts between parents and their adult children may be on the rise, they are not insurmountable. And combating them is certainly worth the effort.[...]
To help you with this crucial task, here are seven important questions to ask when vetting senior communities.
1. What are your parent’s needs?
Before approaching a community, you and your parent should determine which living options and level of care are needed.
According to the Assisted Living Federation of America, every senior living community offers a different range of services. You should be aware of the following basic services:
· Housekeeping and laundry services
· Transportation services
· Health and medical services
· Assistance with eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, etc.
· Alzheimer’s, dementia and memory care
· Staff available to provide care
· Twenty-four-hour safety and security
· Emergency call systems in every residence
· Health and wellness programs
· Medication management services
· Recreational and social activities
2. What living options does the community offer?
· Today’s senior residences come in many forms:
· Active adult communities
· Senior apartments
· Independent living communities
· Assisted living residences
· Nursing homes
· Continuing care retirement communities
· Home care (non-medical)
· Home health care
· Adult day care
3. Is the community licensed?
Licensed communities must adhere to state standards. Among other things, they are subject to visits by inspectors. To find out more about the requirements in your state – and which residences are licensed – contact the appropriate government agency.
4. What type of care plans do you require?
Ask whether the community you are screening has a written care plan for each resident. Also find out whether residents have input into developing their care plans.
5. Where is the community located?
Proximity to family and friends is often the overriding factor considered when choosing a residence. However, such things as climate, on- and off-site amenities, and the community’s overall atmosphere should also play a part in your selection.
6. What are the details in the contract?
Carefully read the contract or agreement. If the document is unclear or lacks full disclosure, don’t hesitate to contact an elder care attorney. ElderLawAnswers.com provides a checklist for choosing a senior living community
7. What’s provided in the basic rate, and what services costs extra?
The basic rate may cover all amenities, but only some of the care services. You may pay month to month, or be subject to a long-term contract. Find out exactly what is included in the rate that’s been quoted.
As you can see, the search for a senior community for your parent requires a great deal of due diligence and patience. Rest assured, though, that you will find an option that fulfills your parent’s needs and puts both everyone’s mind at ease.[...]