Celebrating National Senior Independence Month

Fostering Autonomy and Well-Being

As we embrace National Senior Independence Month, it’s an opportune time to celebrate the spirit and resilience of our elderly community members. Every February, this dedicated month serves as a reminder to focus on fostering autonomy and well-being among seniors, promoting a life of purpose and independence. Let’s explore how our facility plays a vital role in supporting and encouraging the independence of our beloved seniors.

As we embrace this National Senior Independence Month, we honor the journey of our community members and celebrate their ability to live life on their own terms. Growing older doesn’t mean sacrificing independence; instead, it’s an opportunity to embrace newfound freedoms and pursue passions with unwavering enthusiasm. From sticking with beloved hobbies to discovering new interests, staying connected with loved ones, and prioritizing health and well-being, seniors have the power to shape their own destinies. This month serves as a reminder of the importance of supporting and empowering seniors as they navigate the next chapter of life.

Senior living communities play a vital role in fostering autonomy, well-being, and a sense of belonging among residents. Let’s explore some of the primary aspects we consider when evaluating how we can promote independence among our residents:

1: Tailored Care Plans: Recognizing Individual Needs

Our facility prioritizes personalized care plans that acknowledge the unique needs, preferences, and abilities of each resident. By understanding and respecting their individuality, we empower seniors to maintain a sense of control over their lives.

2: Accessible Amenities: Ensuring Comfort and Convenience

We’ve designed our facility with accessibility in mind. From easily navigable spaces to thoughtful amenities, our goal is to provide an environment that allows seniors to move freely and comfortably, fostering a sense of self-sufficiency.

3: Engaging Activities: Nurturing Physical and Mental Well-Being

National Senior Independence Month is the perfect time to highlight the diverse range of activities available. From fitness classes to arts and crafts, our facilities offer a variety of engaging activities that encourage seniors to explore new interests and maintain an active lifestyle.

National Senior Independence Month serves as a reminder that independence is a lifelong journey. We are committed to creating an environment where seniors can thrive, embracing their autonomy, and living life on their terms. Let’s all continue to champion the cause of senior independence and ensure that every individual has the support and resources needed to lead a fulfilling and self-determined life.

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 Forest Hill 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.  

Memory Care Facility

How to Find the Best in Harford 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 Harford 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

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.  

Criteria for Care

The importance of selecting a licensed memory care facility

By Devon Dams-O’Connor

Are the rooms decorated nicely? How is the dining experience? What activities are available?

While all of these questions are important to ask when touring prospective assisted living facilities for a loved one with dementia, the last and perhaps most important question is the one most often overlooked: “Does this facility have a license to provide memory care?”

It’s often up to families to ask potential caregivers directly if the facility is licensed to provide memory care, ideally before booking an appointment to tour the grounds in person. While the term “memory care” is included in scores of glossy brochures, the number of programs that hold this state-issued credential is very low.

 

“When families tour a community they’re considering for a loved one, it’s natural to focus on services and amenities that appeal to personal preferences,” explains Susan Goad, Admissions and Marketing Representative at Forest Hill Heights, an assisted living facility with a licensed memory care unit. “We may look at a community through the rose-colored lenses of a middle-aged son wanting the best for Mom and Dad, and make a decision based on aesthetics or a luxury vacation type of experience or what they would have enjoyed twenty years ago. While those amenities are lovely and sometimes incorporated, your loved one is in a different place and appropriate care is paramount for them to thrive. It’s important to prioritize what matters to them now and what will matter later—ideally, a place that can accommodate dementia’s inevitable progression to prevent the need for a disruptive move later on.”

-Susan Goad, Admissions and Marketing Representative, Forest Hill Heights

The next natural question is, “Why is a memory care license so important?” Simply put, the answer is that licensed facilities provide a higher level of specialized care that’s evident in every detail, from the way the spaces in the unit are designed and built to the number of staff present and how they provide the nuanced care your loved one needs.

To earn a memory care license in the state of Maryland, an assisted living facility needs to have a dedicated unit with its own space, staff, training, and treatment protocols specifically designed for the specialized care of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

Click here to see Forest Hill Heights Memory Care Floor Plans.

Facilities applying for a license must also provide details about:

  • How the services of the special care unit are different from services provided in the rest of the assisted living program.
  • Staff training and staff job titles, including the number of hours of dementia-specific training provided annually and a summary of topics covered in the training.
  • Admission procedures, including screening criteria.
  • Assessment and service planning protocols, including criteria to be used that would trigger a reassessment of the resident’s status before the customary 6-month review.
  • Staffing patterns, including the ratio of direct care staff to resident for a 24-hour cycle (which is higher for dementia residents than for traditional assisted living), and a description of how the staffing pattern differs from that of the rest of the program.
  • The physical environment and any unique design features appropriate to support the functioning of cognitively impaired individuals, which can include things like keypad entry and secured doors to prevent wandering, and bright, wide hallways for improved mood and navigation.
  • Activities offered, including frequency and type, how the activities meet the needs of residents with dementia, and how the activities differ from activities for residents in other parts of the program. This might include providing ample supplies and opportunities for residents to do tasks and hobbies that are comforting and familiar.
  • Discharge criteria and procedures.

 

Licensed memory care programs are inspected every 15 months to make sure these important standards continue to be met.

There are a lot of hard questions surrounding the decision to transition a family member into a new home, and many are as tough to ask as they are to answer. But asking whether a facility provides licensed memory care is an easy one that helps provide the peace of mind every family is looking for when it comes to finding appropriate are for their loved one.

If you would like to speak to Susan call 410-893-3070, or to book a tour or receive additional information, click here.

When is Assisted Living the Right Choice?

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 Aging describes 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.

Gratitude Improves Attitude

Practicing gratitude helps strengthen relationships, improves memory, and builds self-esteem.

Gratitude Improves Attitude

Life often seems to move fast. First, you blink, and you wonder where the time has gone. Then, you reflect, and it feels like you haven’t taken enough time to appreciate the little things in life. The definition of gratitude, according to Merriam-Webster, is the state of being grateful: THANKFULNESS.

A common misconception of gratitude is that people only practice it during good times, like getting a promotion or a new car. But everyone should practice gratitude daily; it has proven effects of increasing happiness and can help lessen depression (NAMI, The Impact of Gratitude on Mental Health).

In fact, it’s easy to practice gratitude; just a few simple strategies can change your outlook on life. And, if you can learn to show appreciation in good and bad times, you will be grateful throughout all aspects of your life.

 

Write it Down

Grab a notebook or piece of paper, even a napkin will do, and write three things you are grateful for each day. Try not to overthink this. It can be as specific or broad as you’d like, from family and friends to the delicious pancakes you had for breakfast to your favorite sweater.

When writing down what you are grateful for, remember there is no wrong answer, and it should be personal. Writing things down will help you connect with what you are thankful for. Then, be sure to take a minute and reflect on it. For example, your loved one is in assisted living, and they’re happy because they don’t feel as lonely anymore.

 

Say Thank You At Least Once a Day

Many of us say thank you quite a bit in our everyday lives. Such as when someone holds the door for you, you’ve finished ordering at a drive-thru, or you give “the wave” to someone in traffic who lets you through. But have you ever taken the time to really think about what that thank you means? Why are you saying thank you?

Understanding the why not only helps you know what the thank you is for but also helps the other person feel good about what they did for you. For example, a friend calls you without knowing you are struggling with something. You say, “I have been feeling lonely lately, and your call just made my day. I appreciate you and thank you”. You can make someone else’s day while bringing gratitude into your life. Thank you is a beautiful way to elevate your spirit and someone else’s.

Reminder Signs

Visual representations of what you want to accomplish will help you succeed when practicing gratitude. It can be little like a coffee mug that says, “Filled with Gratitude” or a sign in your office or bedroom reminding you to “Be Grateful.” Or maybe it’s a post-it on your mirror that says, “Be Thankful Today.”

These “visual cues” can help you to remember to practice gratitude. Because we all know when we are busy, it’s easy to forget. So, when you read the phrase or see the sign, take time to stop and focus on how it pertains to the specific moment or event in your life.

 

The Art of Gratitude

Practicing gratitude helps strengthen relationships, improves memory, and builds self-esteem. Try to incorporate gratitude daily and see how it can change your perspective, mood, or outlook. Feeling, showing, or expressing gratitude for the things and people in your life can make a difference. Choose gratitude.

If you think we are the right fit for a loved one or friend, book a tour here. We would love to meet you.

Assisted Living in Bel Air North, MD

The purpose of assisted living facilities are to provide a safe and healthy environment for residents and assist them with activities of daily living.

Assisted Living

How To Find the Best Assisted Living Facility in the Bel Air North, MD Area

What is a senior living facility? Can it benefit you or your loved one? Will you or your loved one like it? Let’s discuss resources and reasons why assisted living can be beneficial and the right choice for you or a loved one. Assisted living in short provides care to the elderly including dining, nursing, and housekeeping. According to the National Center for Assisted Living, there are more than 800,000 people residing in assisted living in the United States. Which is about 2% of seniors in the United States who live in assisted living facilities.

As seniors age, they may need help with hygiene, eating, or housekeeping activities to live a full life. When needing care assistance there are different options for you or your loved one. Assisted living facilities focus on the importance of personal care in a facility for you or your loved one. Make sure to talk with your loved one about the choice to move into an assisted living facility.

 Isolation and loneliness  have been proven to assist in the decline of an elderly person’s health. As a resident, daily social activities and conversing with others will help you or your loved one to broaden important social skills at an older age. Being in an assisted living facility can drastically improve overall health by simply boosting your or a loved one’s mood. If you or a loved one are feeling isolated or lonely, being in a senior living facility will present the opportunity to meet people and socialize with other residents you may have a lot in common with.

It can be difficult to narrow down an assisted living facility that’s right for you or your loved one. There are many options available to help fit you or your loved ones needs. The most important part when selecting an assisted living facility is making sure it checks all the boxes. When choosing a community, take time to research and discover what these facilities have to offer.

Use the following guide to assist in the decision for the best assisted living facility.

Look for Management and Experience in Assisted Living

Reputation 

Having a good reputation in the community is important to the facility, potential residents and families. The best way to judge a reputation is by experiencing it, it’s easy to make quick judgements so we recommend reading reviews, reaching out to residents or families in the area, and scheduling a tour.

Licensing and Inspections

The state regulates assisted living communities by putting in place protocols, procedures, and sometimes showing up unannounced to the facility. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), regulate nursing homes with evaluations posted on their website but not assisted living communities. Each state regulates assisted living facilities in place of the federal government. Each state is different and usually is monitored by the state’s health department or social services. To learn more, click here.

Longevity of Staff

Having experienced and well-trained staff is crucial to a properly run facility. Staff who have been around the facility for years know the residents well, are very familiar with the facility and are experienced. When assisting residents, you or your loved one want a staff member who knows what they are doing. Having a connection with the staff is important for residents to feel comfortable and trust who is taking care of them.

Look for a Friendly Atmosphere and Environment in an Assisted Living Facility

Facility 

Having a clean facility is crucial to choosing the right one for you or your loved one. The ambience is a big factor to consider when touring, does it feel comfortable, or does it feel off? Is the facility like the pictures online or does it look completely different, many facilities do this to get customers in the door, and it’s deceiving. In the facility, pay attention if the staff is warm and friendly or if they seem like they don’t want to be there. Picture yourself or your loved one walking through the halls or sitting having dinner with residents, it’s important to feel comfortable. Does the facility appeal to all 5 senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing, and eyesight)?

Staff

When choosing an assisted living facility, the staff is one of the most important aspects of deciding. The staff are going to be taking care of you or your loved one and will be responsible for administering medicine, help with mobility, running engaging activities, and caring for you or your loved one’s overall safety. Assisted living staff should be passionate in this line of work, find people you or your loved one connect with and feel comfortable around. If you’re looking for ways to see what kind of staff a facility has, to catch a glimpse, poke around on the facility’s Facebook page. Doing this allows you to see into the environment and staff at the facility. Most facilities have social media to keep families and potential residents updated and to highlight special moments.

Look for Quality Services and Amenities of Assisted Living

Care

Can you or your loved one’s needs be met? Will the nurses and staff cater to you or your loved one for your specific required needs? These are the questions to think about before making the final decision where to go. 24/7 nursing is important to have when aging, someone to always be there for you or your loved one in case of emergency. Look into how care is administered and how it is determined to cater to you or your loved one. Ask questions on the tour, reach out to the director, and read all the information the facility will provide you in detail. Also, ask if the facility has a Quality Assurance Manager.

Transportation

A facility having a service like transportation will give residents the ability to go to their doctor’s appointments safely or partake in an adventure off property. It’s a special service not every facility can offer, families of loved ones can relax knowing they’re safe and provided with the service of transportation.

Outside Space

Everyone needs fresh air. Having a path to walk on or somewhere to be able to sit and get fresh air is important, especially in assisted living, it’s easy to become cooped up a lot of the time. Getting outside and moving your body will help feelings of isolation or sadness. Ask the facility if they have outdoor patios and how often they use them. Look for some vitamin D!

Some facilities offer many different types of amenities like an ice cream parlor, barber shop, hair salon, library and more!

Look for Safety Features Offered in an Assisted Living Facility

Security & Call System

If you or your loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia, having security implementations such as Wander Guard will help monitor you or your loved one. If a resident tries to leave the building alone, it’s a simple way to help avoid accidents and to keep everyone safe. Having a call system in place will help with the safety of you or your loved one. Residents can notify nurses if they are not feeling well or have fallen, it’s a system that helps staff be aware of issues in the building since they can’t be everywhere at once. The call system is a feature that helps bring families peace of mind because they know their loved ones are in constant care, which is better than at home.

Ask for Their Recreational Activities Calendar of Assisted Living

Interest

Many facilities offer a wide variety of social and recreational activities for residents, with a lot of diversity to cater to different interests. When researching facilities, focus on activities that interest you or your loved one and that seem fun. At an assisted living facility, there are more options than if at home, but it’s still important to find activities you or your loved one will enjoy. Facilities that offer a variety will be super helpful in creating a wonderful atmosphere. Some facilities offer night owl calendars, the purpose of night owl is to have residents stimulated if they can’t go to bed or enjoy staying up late.  From indoors to outdoors to exercise classes and happy hours, many facilities offer a lot of options for residents to socialize.

Family

With the hundreds of activities assisted living facilities can put together, important activities also include family involvement as well as the community. Having a facility that enriches and encourages families to come and visit their loved ones is important to help maintain close bonds. Holiday parties with family and birthdays can help residents stay connected.

Look for Assisted Living Quality Food Service

Dietary Needs

Most people have different needs or specific restrictions when it comes to their diet, especially as they age. It can be recommended by your doctor, an allergy, or a personal choice. Making sure a facility offers special dietary services is an important feature. While looking, it’s important to also research if the menu is approved by a dietitian. Food can increase socialization and overall health in you or your loved one by fueling your body with nutritious meals. Having food that you or your loved one will like is crucial to enjoying an assisted living facility. Eating and socializing promotes a sense of community and food can help residents feel happier and more comfortable.

Visitors

Look into if residents can have visitors and what that cost would be. Some residents might not be able to leave the assisted living home because they are not able, so it’s important to see if the facility allows family members to have private parties or gatherings.

Ask Questions About Contacts and Fees

It’s important to keep questions like these in mind on the tour or speaking with the facility employees:

➢ Are there community entrance fees?

➢ Are there any extra costs?

➢ Can you age in place?

➢ How often do rates increase?

Some facilities charge these fees, and some do not. Each facility will work differently for everyone based on their financial situation and each facility offers different services to residents. Find what’s best for you or your loved one!

This checklist is meant to help get you or your loved one’s mind thinking about important aspects to consider when discussing moving into assisted living. There are many attributes that pertain to where you or your loved one make the choice. It’s important to do the research and investigate certain features that would help make the decision easier. It can be difficult to narrow down the right place, especially with cost being a large factor of where you or your loved one will go. Use resources to help in this decision and trust your gut!

Let’s further discuss key points on why assisted living could be the right choice for you or your loved one:

Reason 1:- 24/7 Nursing

Having nurses on site 24/7 is a game changer for you or a loved one. It gives you and family members peace of mind that there are medical professionals readily available if anything were to happen. Having a caregiver who is professionally trained will help residents to live a happier life. As much as family or friends want to help, they do not have the experience nurses do. Some facilities do not offer 24-hour nurses because they don’t have enough staff or money in their budget. They will still have access to nurses but not 24/7 or sometimes only virtually, it’s up to you or your loved one which is preferred.

It can be hard to accept if you or a loved one needs assisted living care but recognizing it and finding the best fit is worth the hardship. The sense of safety you can give yourself or a loved one will be extremely beneficial to both sides. Usually, families want to do everything they can and become their own versions of nurses. There comes a point in time when medical professionals will make the world a difference on both sides, while also giving the opportunity to gain a group of supporters and advocates for you or a loved one’s health.

Reason 2: – Having a 24/7 Activities Calendar

Keeping social has its many benefits for seniors. If you or a loved one are introverted, it’s easy to become lonely and isolated. Being alone has proven to have negative effects on mental and physical health. Taking part in socialization may improve your memory and is a way to have fun! The reason for 24/7 activities is to intrigue every type of resident, whether that be at late afternoon or 3 in the morning because they can’t go back to bed after taking their medication. Or they can’t sleep because they miss their family, so they find a friend to play cards with. The purpose is to always have the opportunity for residents available regardless of time.

During the day, a resident may be too tired to do anything but by nighttime, they feel better. This gives everyone the opportunity to socialize on their own time. Some residents are night owls, others early birds, both have the chance to do what they want and when. If you or a loved one are looking for a chance to improve your mental health, consider and participate in activities that are offered because there are bigger reasons behind them. For example, playing cards frequently can help improve your or a loved one’s memory and cognition. Cards help with short-term memory as recalling a move quickly is important, as well as hand eye coordination. Reminder, social activities will always be important to a person’s physical and mental health, regardless of age.

Reason 3: – Services and Amenities

Something you wouldn’t be able to enjoy at home but can at a facility will likely become an incentive on why a senior living facility might be for you. For example, the adjustment of going from a home with not much to do unless you could drive there, to a facility with cool amenities like a beauty parlor and barber shop could be a fun change!

The day-to-day places you had to go each day while living alone can be right down the hall instead. This saves gas money, car payments, expenses, or the risk of something happening to you or a loved one unsupervised. When looking for the right facility for you or your loved one, pay close attention to the amenities and the benefits of having them right there. When picking options, have them be desirable and beneficial to what you or your loved one want.

Reason 4: – Dining

Independence is easy to take for granted, having it taken away or fighting a loved one over it for their safety is difficult. With assisted living, loved ones are monitored constantly without being invasive, to allow the opportunity to still be independent. They can go on walks, take a yoga class, or participate in field trips all while having nurses assist at every event they choose to attend. If anything were to happen, they wouldn’t be alone.

Reason 5: – Feel at Home

If you or your loved one suffers from pain or difficulty getting around, assisted living can help relieve those struggles and provide comfort. Having professionals monitor medications or assist with hygiene activities will help you or a loved one’s quality of life. It’s not a secret as someone gets older, it is more of a risk for them to be alone or to be doing activities they’ve always done. Being a resident of assisted living will help bring an extra level of safety to you or your loved one that families cannot bring. As safe and secure someone may feel with their own families, it is not always the solution especially if they have their own lives to live.

Reason 6: – Safety

When an elderly person is living alone, they usually have housework to upkeep or laundry to fold. But what if the washer and dryer are in the basement and it’s a hazard to walk down a steep flight of stairs. Not only does this pertain to safety but joining an assisted living facility can also allow for more free time. Not worrying about the laundry being folded, the dishes being clean or the mailbox being completely full.

Bel Air is known as the “Heart of Harford” for its modern charm of entertainment, shopping, and recreation. There are about 30 assisted living facilities in the Bel Air area. Recently, Bel Air was ranked 3rd in Best Places to Live in Harford County according to Niche.

Bel Air North is a place where different age groups can find multiple activities to do. Being in assisted living won’t stop you from still enjoying the city you live in if you’re able. Look into the local arts and culture of Bel Air North, including live music and art shows.

When it comes to deciding when to go into assisted living, it’s important to plan. Coming to terms with accepting help or realizing you or your loved one needs a change in their environment requires some deep thinking. There is a lot going into a decision as big as this one: family, pets, current home, or if facility care is the right choice. Check out this planning guide for a mental and physical checklist to help you or your loved one feel better prepared.

If you or your loved one do choose to become a resident at a senior living facility, the standard is to be well taken care of daily. There should be multiple employees in each department making sure residents are comfortable and being cared for. To benefit from the care you or your loved one receive, it’s important to also continue  to care for yourselves.

In Conclusion

Residing in a senior living facility opens a door of opportunity and benefits for you or a loved one. With a 24/7 activities schedule to keep you or your loved one engaged and social to the multiple amenities available. Gain the advantages senior living facilities offer while feeling comfortable and aging in place. Senior living is not only about becoming older, but also about finding a place which fits you or a loved one’s needs best, all while offering opportunities that wouldn’t be available at home. Having 24-hour nurses physically on property can make a world of difference with your or a loved one’s health compared to being alone.

Still feel connected to having independence by choosing to participate in activities and continue to stay active. Senior assisted living facilities can offer the opportunity of aging in place. The care you receive can adapt with you or your loved one’s age, resulting in a happier and safer lifestyle. Its main purpose is to provide comfort and fulfillment to residents and their families in times of need.

If you’re interested in learning more about senior living facilities and what they can offer to you or a loved one, research! Call up potential facilities and schedule a tour to see it in person or a virtual visit.

Take the information here and process all the opportunities senior assisted living can give to yourself or a loved one. It can transform a person’s way of life as they begin to age and have limited abilities. There are more opportunities for residents with activities and amenities available every day, compared to if they weren’t residents at a facility. Socializing and moving your feet are key factors in staying healthy as everyone ages, cue the live music and midnight movies!

Why You Should Join a Caregiver Support Group

Being a caregiver can bring stress, worry, exhaustion, guilt and the list goes on. Taking care of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia can mentally drain a person as much as they may deny it.

Why You Should Join a Caregiver Support Group

Being a caregiver can bring stress, worry, exhaustion, guilt and the list goes on. Taking care of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia can mentally drain a person as much as they may deny it. This disease takes a powerful tole not only on the diagnosed but the people surrounding them, in different ways.

As a caregiver, it is important to feel supported and not alone in the process of taking care of a loved one. We are lucky today there are many care options for loved ones suffering with Alzheimer’s or dementia, and options for caregivers. Let’s talk about the importance of support groups in caregivers’ journeys…

While caregivers are usually never alone, it’s easy to feel alone and isolated. Caregivers spend most of their time caring for someone else in every way possible, it’s difficult to remember to take care of themselves. It can also be difficult to accept memory care for your loved one as you’re so used to it, but sometimes it’s what it needs to turn too.

Support groups help you develop relationships with people who have similar stories to you whether that be with their parents, spouse, sibling, or a friend. In these discussions, you would be exchanging information between other caregivers like yourself, it could even turn into finding solutions to the problems you’re having. Advice from others can go a long way.

A support group gives you access to other people’s experiences, they can relate to you through their own challenges with their loved one. You as a caregiver can discuss what you have gone through and seek advice from others in the same position. You can share your true feelings in a safe space meant for venting and coping with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

There are many resources out there to caregivers and family members of loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Click here to find support groups in your area.

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

More Support Group Resources:

Eldercare Locator – https://eldercare.acl.gov/Public/Resources/Topic/Caregiver.aspx

Family Caregiver Alliance  (FCA) – http://lists.caregiver.org/mailman/listinfo/caregiver-online_lists.caregiver.org

3 Dementia Safe Activities to Do with Your Loved One this Halloween

Halloween can be triggering towards those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, let’s discuss 3 safe activities to celebrate this Halloween with a loved one.

3 Dementia Safe Activities to Do with Your Loved One this Halloween

Halloween’s main purpose is to create joy and fun while reveling in the spookiness. For those who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s can experience a different type of Halloween, including triggers, anxiety, and agitation. Therefore, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the potential problems Halloween can bring to a loved one. For example, scary decorations or costumes can cause confusion and become dangerous. 

While there are many activities and objects to stay away from during Halloween, there are stimulating activities to make the holiday fun and stress free.  

 

Activity #1: Painting Pumpkins  

Painting has been known to have therapeutic effects on patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Painting can engage attention and social behavior. Make it fun and relate painting to Halloween with painting pumpkins. It is an inexpensive activity to help get into the Halloween spirit. Small pumpkins can be found anywhere from your nearest grocery store to the pumpkin patch. So, grab those pumpkins and your family to start a new Halloween dementia safe tradition. 

 

Activity #2: Halloween Charades 

Charades are a social way to engage you and your loved one to get into the Halloween spirit. Charades are an easy way to create fun and stimulate your loved one to participate in an activity. Check out this list for examples on Halloween charade words. 

 

Activity #3: Make Halloween Slime 

Slime is a fun activity for all ages, most importantly it is a tactile experience for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia to enjoy. Slime is easy to create and can keep someone occupied for hours, follow this recipe to make the proper Halloween slime. 

 

It doesn’t have to be expensive or cost money to celebrate Halloween. There are resources and ideas that can keep your loved one engaged and have the spirit for Halloween, safely. 

Happy Halloween to all our residents and staff!