adebor, Author at Wesley Glen Retirement Community

What is a “Continuum of Care”?

If you have been looking at various senior living options, including continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs, also called life plan communities), you have likely heard or seen the term “continuum of care” used. It’s an important concept when it comes to the variety of services provided by retirement communities, but it is also a term that is unclear to many prospective residents. So, let’s dig in and answer the commonly asked question: What is a “continuum of care”?

First, the definition…

A “continuum of care” refers to the increasing intensity of healthcare services that a person may need as they age.

Envision a spectrum. On the left, the spectrum begins with independent living–a person who is more or less self-sufficient and able to safely live on their own. The spectrum then progresses to the right to include personal care, assisted living, and/or memory care–this includes people who need help with activities of daily living (ADLs) like dressing or bathing, and/or have memory issues as the result of age-related cognitive decline or conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease; depending on the individual’s needs, it may or may not be safe for them to live alone. Then, on the far right-hand side of the spectrum would be skilled care and skilled nursing care –for people who have major health issues or cognitive decline and are no longer able to care for themselves.

A closer look at the phases of the care continuum

Independent living

Independent living is an option for seniors who are able to perform ADLs with little to no assistance and who do not require on-going medical support. They may, however, need occasional assistance with “instrumental activities of daily living” (IADLs), which include things like housekeeping or household maintenance. Thanks to ever-improving assistive technologies, combined with other support devices like walkers, wheelchairs, ramps, and rails, many seniors are able to remain in the independent living category for longer than in previous generations.

Personal care and assisted living

Assisted living (also called “custodial care” or “personal care”) is non-medical care services for people who require help with one or more of the six main ADLs: bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting, and/or transferring (walking). Medication management may also be needed. These services are often first provided in the senior’s own home, but as a higher level of help is required, moving to an assisted living facility may be more practical.

It’s important to note that assisted living is for non-medical care. While in most cases, assisted living recipients are not able to live fully independently, they do not need the type of around-the-clock medical care provided by a skilled nursing facility. But it’s worth noting that some assisted living providers are more equipped than others to serve residents with higher care needs–approaching what you might find in a skilled nursing facility, but stopping short of the type of medical care services that require a license.

Memory care

Memory care is an increasingly common component of both assisted living and skilled care as more and more seniors are diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease; there are even dedicated memory care centers available in some areas. Typically, memory care is offered in a community setting with the level of care increasing as the illness progresses, often leading to 24-hour care.

Skilled care and skilled nursing care

Encompassing both healthcare and rehabilitative services, skilled care can include things like nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. This type of patient management, observation, and/or evaluation is typically administered by licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs)–not usually by registered nurses (RNs).

A step up from basic skilled care is skilled nursing care, which is provided by registered nurses. These nurses give hands-on care in many cases–performing tasks such as administering IV drugs or giving shots.

Sometimes referred to as nursing homes, skilled healthcare centers employ LPNs, LVNs, and RNs. There are also licensed home healthcare providers who deliver these types of healthcare and rehabilitative care in seniors’ homes.

Where retirement communities fall on the continuum

If you are considering a move to a retirement community, it’s important to understand exactly what you are getting for your money. Yes, you want to look at perks like amenities and location, but one of the most important factors that distinguish one senior living community from another is which phase or phases along the continuum of care the community is able to serve.

Some retirement communities are focused on specific points along the continuum of care–perhaps it is an independent living community, or maybe it’s an assisted living residence. Others are equipped to offer services spanning the entire continuum. By definition, CCRCs fall into this latter category, providing their residents with a complete continuum of care–from independent living to skilled nursing care.

The progressive services offered by CCRCs allow residents to receive whatever level of care they need, whenever they need it. Services, amenities, and lifestyle are all important considerations, but for many CCRC residents, it is the availability of a continuum of care that is their community’s most valuable asset.  Of course, this leads to other important considerations, such as the availability and quality of care services.

 

The above article was written by Brad Breeding of myLifeSite and is legally licensed for use.


The Role of Diet in Active Aging

Through all stages of life, the concept of maintaining a “healthy diet” is one we are constantly reminded of. Across the board, many regular diets are to include nutrient-rich foods in a variety of categories such as fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, dairy, meat, fish, and poultry.

However, as we grow, our unique health needs vary and many times, diets require adjustments with increases in certain food groups, and decreases in others. Especially for older adults, it’s important to understand the role diet plays in active aging, and how to determine the type of diet that is best for you and your health needs.

A few diets that have been well-received by dieticians and nutritionists specifically for seniors include the Mediterranean Diet, the DASH Diet and the MIND Diet.

The Mediterranean Diet – This diet has long been popular due to the abundance of health benefits and ease with which it can be incorporated into daily life. Based on foods eaten in the Mediterranean, it is rich in fish, beans, olive oil, nuts, and fruit and relatively low in meat, dairy and processed foods. It has been linked to lowering the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, hearing loss and blindness, and can increase cognitive functioning and a longer life.

The DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) – This diet is focused specifically on preventing and lowering high blood pressure. It promotes increased servings of plant foods and eating generous amounts of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. While this diet has been shown to lower high blood pressure, it also contributes to decreases in strokes or heart attacks and can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.

The MIND Diet (Mediterranean – DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay Diet) – This diet is a mix of both the Mediterranean and the DASH diets but also focuses on incorporating foods that promote brain health. Foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains, berries, fish, beans, olive oil and poultry are included in the diet and foods such as butter, red meat, fried foods, and cheese are limited. The MIND Diet has been linked to decreases in developing cognitive impairment and increases in clearer thinking and better memory.

While all three of these diets have aspects to them that benefit many, it is always best to consult with a doctor, dietician or nutritionist for what is best for you. At The Wesley Communities, we have Registered Dieticians that oversee our daily meal options and who meet one-on-one with our residents to create tailored and beneficial nutrition plans. Our dining services team works hard to develop science-backed menus with delicious offerings that promote health and active aging.

 


Game On: Can Brain Games Improve Your Memory?

There are a number of so-called “brain game” products on the market these days. These typically are computer or smartphone/tablet-based games that claim they can help improve seniors’ cognitive function and memory. But do they really work? Could playing video games be the secret to decreasing the prevalence of neuro-degenerative conditions like dementia? And what about things like crossword puzzles and sudoku—can they help seniors stay mentally sharp?

Aging and brain function

It is a normal part of the aging process to experience some decline in the number of neural synapses within the brain, which are imperative to memory and cognitive function. There are also conditions like dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease) or Parkinson’s disease that cause more severe and debilitating cognitive decline among older people.

Some of the causes behind cognitive decline may be preventable by making lifestyle changes like managing weight, staying physically active, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, and managing stress. Keeping the mind active—pursuing continuing education opportunities, or learning a new skill, a new language, or how to play an instrument—may even aid with the formation of new neural networks in seniors’ brains.

Inconclusive studies

You’ve heard the saying “use it, or lose it”; this axiom may be applicable to the brain.

The 1995 MacArthur Study, one of largest longitudinal studies of the aging process, found that among the octogenarians in their study sample, those who were more physically and mentally active—frequently doing activities like crossword puzzles, reading, and playing bridge—also had the highest cognitive abilities. However, a study conducted by neuroscientists at University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University found no significant difference between the memory function of seniors who played “brain games” and the control group that didn’t play the games.

Still another recent study found that it’s not enough just to use your brain; you have to challenge it by learning something unfamiliar.

University of Texas at Dallas researchers randomly assigned 221 adults, ages 60 to 90, to participate in a particular type of activity for 15 hours a week for a three-month period. Some were assigned to learn a new skill — digital photography, quilting, or both. Others were told to engage in more commonplace activities at home, like listening to classical music and doing crossword puzzles. And some seniors were assigned to a group that focused on social interactions, field trips, and entertainment.

At the end of the study, the researchers discovered that the seniors who were in the group that learned new skills showed quantifiable improvements in memory, as compared to those who engaged in the non-demanding mental activities at home or the purely social group.

So, while the research is thus far inconclusive on this topic, it appears that the most beneficial mental stimulation may involve learning new information or skills, rather than just recalling what we already know.

And this stands to reason. Think of the brain as being like a computer. Learning something new—like a new language or skill—stimulates the brain and helps form new neural pathways. It’s sort of like adding new software or a new hard drive to a computer, increasing its functional and memory capacity. By comparison, activities like trivia or crossword puzzles simply require you call upon data that already exists in the computer that is your brain.

Gaming for the senior set

Video and computer games are getting increasingly popular among seniors. Entertainment Software Association research from 2018 found that a quarter of people over the age of 50 play video games on a regular basis—a number that is trending upward.

If you’re a senior who is interested in diving into the gaming world with the goal of improving your brain health, again, games that teach new information—versus recalling data you already know—are believed to be best. However, there are also many fun games that get your body moving, offering the added benefit of improving your physical fitness, balance, and cardiovascular health (which is also good for your brain!).

Computer games and apps for smartphones/tablets

There are more and more computer-based games, as well as apps that can be downloaded to a smartphone or tablet (such as an iPad), that have educational value, which may be beneficial for seniors’ brains.

For example, programs like Rosetta Stone, and games such as Lingo Arcade, Influent, and MindSnacks can help you learn a new language, and Rocksmith can teach you how to play the guitar. If you’re interested in learning how to do computer programming, CodeMonkey will educate you on the basics of coding languages like HTML5 and JavaScript.

History buffs may enjoy games like Crusader King or Civilization VI, which combine strategic thinking with history lessons. There are even flight simulator games that can teach you how to fly an airplane!

Gaming consoles

There are numerous options when it comes to gaming consoles, from Xbox to PlayStation to Nintendo. Many of the games for these systems provide purely entertainment value, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But there are also several games that are effective at getting your body moving while you have fun. As an added benefit, these gaming systems are enjoyable for people of all ages and can be a great activity for grandparents to share with their grandchildren.

You may have heard of a Wii (pronounced like “we”). It is an interactive gaming console sold by Nintendo, and it’s become all the rage in many senior living communities. The Wii Fit system bundle comes with a balance board “peripheral” (add-on equipment) that is used in many Wii games to track your movements, allowing the game to make more personalized recommendations.

Wii Fit can be used for activities like yoga, balance games, and aerobic and strength training exercises. The Wii Sports Resort game offers numerous virtual activities that can get seniors moving like golf, tennis, and bowling.

Virtual reality

The lines are increasingly getting blurred between gaming and virtual reality (VR). VR is where a user dons headphones and a special mask that displays various simulations of three-dimensional images that can be interacted with by the user in a seemingly real way.

Such VR technology is another high-tech tool that is being used in several new applications for seniors. There are VR uses for memory care patients, with programs designed to stimulate the brain, spur memories, or encourage anxiety reduction. There are also physical therapy and pain management applications for VR.

The future of gaming in senior living communities

It is likely that gaming will play a bigger role in the future of the CCRC industry. It’s even possible to imagine a time when CCRCs and other senior living communities might create on-site gaming centers where residents can enjoy some friendly competition with each other. Whether it’s innovative uses for Wii Fit exercise groups or a fierce Crusader King virtual battle, residents can benefit from the physical activity and/or mental stimulation offered by these games in a fun and social atmosphere (interpersonal interactions which offer their own health benefits for the seniors).

But the bottom line is that, based on current research, the types of games that are believed to be most beneficial for seniors’ cognitive health are those that involve educational elements. So instead of a word puzzle, sudoku, or fantasy-adventure game, chose one that will help you learn Italian, take up the virtual guitar, or try your hand at computer programming.

And also don’t underestimate the “old-fashioned” way of learning: from a book or in a classroom-type setting. Most CCRCs provide residents with opportunities for this type of continuing education on an array of topics. Some even have lifelong learning partnerships with nearby universities, allowing residents to audit college courses. It might not be as snazzy as the latest computer or video game, but this type of learning still offers seniors potential benefits to their brains.

 

 

The above content is legally licensed for use by myLifeSite.

 


Warm Weather Safety Tips for Seniors

Now that we are in the thick of summer, the increase in temperature has not only become more noticeable but it has also become something to take into serious consideration before heading outside, especially for seniors. Before you plan your next activity outdoors, follow some of the below tips to ensure you’re staying healthy and safe.

  1. Stay hydrated. Make sure that you drink plenty of water before, during, and after being exposed to high temperatures. Staying adequately hydrated will help reduce the chances of overheating and becoming dehydrated. Avoid alcohol or caffeinated drinks as these tend to dehydrate you more.
  2. Avoid direct sunlight. Try to find a shaded spot or a cover you can stay under while being outside in the heat. By avoiding direct sunlight, you’ll limit the potential of sunburn and again, overheating.
  3. Use Sunscreen. Using a sunscreen for both face and body with an SPF of 30 or higher is best to use when being exposed to sunlight. If you plan to be outside, make sure you apply a generous amount and keep reapplying as necessary.
  4. Dress accordingly. Wear light, breathable clothing while you’re outside in the heat. Fabrics such as linen or cotton will help keep you cool and comfortable.
  5. Air conditioning is your best friend. When you’re able to, try and stay in well air-conditioned areas as much as possible. If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, install a paddle fan or purchase a window unit to help circulate and regulate air flow.
  6. Know the signs and symptoms of dehydration and heat stroke. Knowing how to spot dehydration or heat stroke is important when being exposed to high temperatures for extended periods of time. If you happen to experience a headache, weakness, muscle cramping, dizziness or pass out, you may be dehydrated. As soon as possible, drink plenty of water or a drink with added electrolytes such as Gatorade. If you still don’t feel better, call 911. If you experience a temperature of 104 degrees or higher, red, dry or hot skin, a fast pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting or passing out, you may be having a heat stroke. Call 911 immediately and move to a shaded, cool area. Remove any additional layers of clothing and if possible, pour cold water on yourself. If you can safely swallow water or a sports drink, do so while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.
  7. Check the weather every morning. By being proactive with how the weather and temperature may change throughout the day, you’ll be better able to plan your activities and in most cases, can save the cooler days for being outside.
  8. If you can move activities indoors, do so. By evaluating which activities that you originally had planned to participate in outside can be moved inside, you will limit your chances of overexposure to high temperatures, and in turn, keep yourself healthier, happier, and cooler!

 


Does Your Retirement Plan Overlook This Crucial Decision?

In a Forbes article from a few years back entitled “The Five Phases of Retirement Planning,” author Bernard Krooks discusses the various stages of retirement and steps that seniors should take to prepare for each. Krooks, an elder law attorney, defines “mid-retirement” as beginning at age 70, lasting as long as a person is still “able-bodied and high-functioning.” It is during this phase—when you are still in good health—that Krooks suggests considering what decisions you would want your family to take should you experience a significant decline in your mental or physical health.

The article goes on to describe the “late-phase” of retirement: the point after which a person’s health has begun to decline, and they require significant help in order to function on a day-to-day basis. Krooks notes that, “The hope is that by this point, all the planning done in prior years makes this transition as manageable and life-affirming as possible.”

A longer life means a longer retirement

The number of older Americans is rising rapidly as the Baby Boomers reach retirement. Also thanks to advances in modern medicine and technology, people are able to live longer. Think about this: In 1960, the life expectancy of a man in the U.S. was 66.6 years, and for a woman, it was 73.1 years, according to the CDC. As of 2015, those numbers had increased by nearly a decade: For men, average life expectancy was up to 76.3, and for women, it was up to 81.2, per the CDC. Today, a healthy 70-year-old in the U.S. can probably expect to live another 10 to 15 years on average—and many will live even longer—but rarely without the need for at least some degree of assistance, such as long-term care services.

Longer lifespans, combined with the potential need for extended long-term care, means that people must take an even more forward-thinking approach to planning for the later phases of retirement than in previous generations. Unfortunately, however, families and financial advisors too often fail to make a proactive, specific plan for this stage of life. The result is that most seniors and/or their families find themselves having to be reactive in addressing lifestyle and healthcare needs that may arise in the “late-phase” of retirement.

The scenario often goes like this: A senior has a significant health issue that develops suddenly. The spouse, adult children, or other family members must quickly shift into crisis-management mode, urgently researching care options, regardless of the flexibility of their personal schedule, their physical ability, or their emotional capacity to take on such a daunting task. Perhaps you experienced a similar situation with your own aging parents.

The most important choice in your retirement plan

If you are approaching (or are already in) the “mid-retirement” phase, it is the perfect time to make a plan for your “late-retirement” years—while you are still active and in control of your own decisions. Putting off such important decisions about your potential future needs could leave you and your loved ones facing tough, and often costly, situations down the road.

I would argue that one of the more important and complex decisions to consider in the retirement planning process is where to live. Admittedly, there are a lot of options in this day and age. Many seniors plan to stay in their existing home for as long as possible; others choose to relocate to a 55 and over community, while still others opt for a continuing care retirement community (CCRC, also called a life plan community), which offers residents a so-called continuum of care that addresses any assistance needs as they arise.

As you consider the many senior living options, keep in mind that paying for care and access to care are two very separate issues. For example, you may have long-term care insurance and/or you may have a substantial amount of savings and assets, all of which will help you pay for care. However, having adequate money does not address the other aspect of the issue: where and how your care needs will be provided if and when you require assistance.

This is one reason why a CCRC appeals to some people. After paying the entry fee, new CCRC residents typically move into the independent living area of the community, where they will usually have things like housekeeping, home maintenance, and one meal a day provided as part of their monthly fee. However, should health issues arise, the appropriate level of care services will be given to the resident within the same campus. It not only affords residents with the assistance and support they need, when they need it, it also provides them and their loved ones with a tremendous amount of peace of mind.

Making your plan

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a simple way to make a plan for every possible retirement scenario? While no one knows exactly what the future holds, you do have the power to prepare for many of the situations that commonly arise as we age.

I advise seniors to do these three things to help plan for the unknowns of their retirement years: 1) research and understand your senior living options, 2) consider the pros and cons of each, and 3) have detailed conversations with family members, medical providers, and other professional advisors (legal, financial, etc.) about your options and wishes. Taking these three steps can potentially help you and your loved ones avoid some difficult choices in the future.

 

 

The above article was written by Brad Breeding of myLifeSite and is legally licensed for use.

 


Making the Transition for a Loved One to Memory Care Support

Caring for a parent or loved one with memory loss is no easy task. While it is a commendable and selfless responsibility to take on, with it comes many obstacles and challenges. With the numerous life adjustments that need to be made such as priorities shifting, adapting your home for safety precautions, and the emotional toll that it can have on everyone included, it is often found that considering a transition to a community with memory care support makes a lot of sense. At all of The Wesley Communities, we have a trusted team to help make your transition as easy as possible while putting your needs and the needs of your loved one first. Below, we’ve compiled some helpful tips you may find useful.

  • Research facilities of interest and be transparent about your desires and concerns. Talk to your loved one and family first and then, make sure to address all areas of importance with administrators, residency counselors, and all others who will be part of this important transition. By knowing the ins and outs of each community you are considering, you will feel more comfortable that you are making the right choice with the best facility for your loved one.
  • Once you do select the facility that is right for your loved one, discuss it sensitively and positively with them. Especially for someone with memory loss, having a conversation of this subject matter may bring fear, anger, and sadness. Try and speak calmly with your loved one and share with them all of the opportunities and benefits they will have available to them.
  • Give the staff useful information and hobbies of your loved one. By letting those at the facility know what interests your loved one has and what brings them joy, they will be able to make the transition as positive as possible. This will better allow them to have activities, books, art and crafts, etc. prepared ahead of time that your loved one will be happy to have.
  • Work with staff to have some of your family member’s favorite foods or snacks available. Along the lines of letting staff know what interests your loved one has, having some treats they enjoy will help as well. If they love your homemade chocolate chip cookies, work with the staff to have some available in the first week after moving.
  • Plan to take some time off from work or other demands to prioritize the move. As with any move, planning is a large portion of it. If you are employed, try and work with your team or save some vacation time so that you can take a few days off to focus on moving your loved one. By your loved one having you every step of the way, they will feel more at ease.
  • Bring a sense of home to their new home. Decorate your loved ones home or create shadow boxes to make it feel familiar. By including your loved one’s favorite home items and pictures of family and friends, their new space will feel comfortable, familiar, and calming.
  • Reassure and be there for your loved one. In many cases, you will need to remind your loved one or re-explain the transition they will be making. Of course, this can be difficult and emotional for both you and them. The memory care staff at the facility you choose will be able to assist with this conversation to try and make it as positive and comforting as possible. Make sure to try and reassure your loved one that this transition will be a good one and again, share with them the great opportunities they will have like making new friends and being able to participate in fun activities.

 Making the transition for a loved one to memory care brings many emotions, challenges, and logistics but for many, it can also be a very beneficial decision for those with memory loss and their caregivers. By working together as a family, and with the supportive staff at the facility you choose, you will find the comfort and peace of mind you deserve.

 

The above article was written by The Wesley Communities’ Marketing Communications Coordinator, Allie DeBor.


Helpful Tips for Downsizing in Retirement

One of the main reasons older adults put off downsizing or moving to a retirement community is dealing with all the “stuff” that has accumulated over the years. Yet, if done right, the process of downsizing may not be as daunting as you think. Especially with our current situation, many of us are spending more time at home and have more free time in our schedules to tackle a huge project like this. It may even be enjoyable or refreshing at times. A lot of the physical work can be done by others down the road, so your main role is to categorize, organize, and direct.

Start now

If you are thinking about moving, whether to a retirement community or to a smaller home, then now is a good time to start the process of downsizing. Do not wait until you are ready to move because it can be overwhelming at that point and you will have other things that require your attention. Even if you ultimately choose not to move then at least you have done your family members a big favor because there will be less stuff for them to deal with one day.

Recognize that you cannot keep it all

In order to know what items you can and should purge, you first need to know which items you absolutely cannot part with. But here is the key: after you have created the initial list, pare it down even further. This can be a tough exercise, but the reality is that some of the things you think you need to save may not be necessary to keep after all. For example, that sport coat or blouse in the closet that you have held onto for 15 years because you are sure you will wear it again…it’s probably time to part ways. That stack of magazines with holiday recipes dating back 10 years?… those can go too. Your most cherished recipes will not be hidden in a tall stack of magazines anyway, right?

Your kids may not want your stuff

Another popular reason for hanging on to various items is the idea that the kids or grandkids will want them. But many people eventually discover that the things they thought would be coveted by their adult children were not so desirable after all. To help sort this out, consider inviting your children over (once it is safe) for a day to go through your things and find out what they actually want.

Sort by large and small

Once you know what you want to keep, make a list of big and small items. The big items are anything that will not fit in a regular size moving box, such as a sofa or table. As you consider these items, be sure to think about the dimensions and style of your new home so you will know if they will fit. Many CCRCs have move-in coordinators who can help you with this.

Obviously, it could be tough to list out every single smaller item, but you want to think about your most utilized items first. Consider things like silverware, pictures, kitchenware, books, etc.

Sell, donate, or discard?

Once you have decided what items are no longer needed, it is time to decide what to do with them. Create a separate list with three columns: Sell, Donate, and Trash. As you consider what you want to sell, remember that items rarely bring in the amount of cash that the owner thinks they will. In some cases it may simply be easier to donate or discard an item than to go to the trouble of trying to sell it.

However, if you feel sure it would be worth the time to try to sell some of your belongings, then there are a number of ways you can do this. From the comfort of your home, you could try to sell them online with sites like Ebay or Craig’s List. (Please take caution if you use Craigslist or a similar website. If possible, wait until it is safe to meet the buyer in a public place and take someone with you.) Sometimes a good old-fashioned yard sale could do the job, but you will want to wait again, until it is a safe time to have one and you should have someone to help you with the set up and break down. Alternately, if you have more than a few valuable items, there are sure to be any number of local companies that will administer an estate sale for you – again, this would have to occur once it is safe.

Hauling the junk

Finally, after you have gone through the above mentioned steps, there will probably be a lot of junk left over. This would include things that have piled up in a garage or crawlspace over the years, such as old paint cans. There are many national companies who have safety protocols in place given our current situation that will come by and haul these things away for you while practicing social distancing. All you have to do is point to the items you want removed, and they will recycle or trash the items accordingly. Of course, you could also store the items for the time-being and revisit having a company haul them away for you once you feel more comfortable.

 

 

The above article was written by Brad Breeding of myLifeSite and is legally licensed for use.


We Are Family

We are facing a difficult and scary time right now. Our lives have been flipped upside down, emotions are heightened and in more cases than not, fear has taken the front seat.

While hard times surround us, we urge everyone to take a deeper look and to remember why we are here in the first place.

We have been through a journey with each and every one of our residents, patients, and families. Why did you seek us originally? Maybe Mom could no longer do the stairs in her house. Or maybe, Grandma was having difficulty remembering to take her daily medications and needed a nurse to help. Maybe Dad couldn’t bathe himself anymore. Whatever the factor was, you needed a place that was there for you, that would care for Mom, Dad, or Grandma like you care for them. You needed us, and you found us, and from there, another form of “family” began.

We treat your loved one as if they are our family, not only caring for them, but growing with them. We celebrate the important, happy days with them like holidays and anniversaries, and we comfort them in sadness and grief when it’s needed most. We know them by name, we know their children, and we know their children’s children. We worry about them and protect them as if they are our family and we do everything we can to fight for them, not just in the face of a pandemic, but always.

Our communities and teams are made up of clinicians and professionals in a variety of specialties. We have so many passionate people in such important roles. From doctors and nurses, to life enrichment coordinators and admissions, we all have unique roles and different responsibilities, but we all share one thing in common and that is that to us, your family has become our family.

We are a wonderful place filled with dedicated, hardworking people who followed a passion – a passion to serve. We give your loved ones medication, and exercise, and help them go to sleep at night. We dance with them and create beautiful pieces of artwork with them. We work to help your loved one walk again or to button a shirt again, and we smile with tears in our eyes as they do it. We work with families on new treatments and diagnoses, and we hold their hands when news might not be so good. We lend our families a shoulder when it’s needed, and we reassure them that we are here for love and support.

And when a pandemic unexpectedly hits – we rise, and we fight, and we protect. We monitor your loves ones day in and day out, constantly assessing and evaluating while still providing a lifestyle of positivity among the darkness. Our staff adapts quickly, following CDC and state guidelines, while putting important regulations and additional PPE in place. We listen to each other and support each other as a team. We react and we push forward. We work hard together, and lean on each other, and we make sure to thank each other. We do our best to keep families connected through FaceTime, window visits, and letters, and we find comfort in local businesses who donate and help. We protect your loves ones, we fight for your loved ones and soon, we will overcome with your loved ones. We are resilient and we are family.

 

This article was inspired by a Facebook post written by a Wisconsin nursing manager named Rachel encouraging those to spread the word.


How to Cope with Stress, When Times are Stressful

At a time like this, it is normal for stress levels to be heightened and for you to feel “off” more often than you feel “normal.” Your feelings are completely validated and while they are okay to have, for most of us, it doesn’t feel very good.

The Ohio Department of Health has put forth some valuable information and resources for identifying your stress, managing it, and for helping manage the stress of a loved one you’re caring for.

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones.
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes.
  • Anger or short temper.

Things you can do to support yourself

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

If you are taking care of an older adult:

  • Make sure your loved one’s nutrition intake is monitored.
  • Provide consistent predictable patterns and schedules.
  • Stay engaged with communication.
  • Personal care is important (clean clothes, bathing).
  • Attempt to lower emotions to reduce stress.
  • Understand that this change impacts a wide range of human experience that includes physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual well-being.

 Resources for additional assistance:

  • Throughout Ohio, you can text the keyword “4hope” to 741 741 to be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor. Data usage while texting Crisis Text Line is free, and the number will not appear on a phone bill with the mobile service carrier. People of all ages can use Crisis Text Line.
  • The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Director, Lori Criss, offers information on how to manage Coronavirus related stress. Click the link below to watch.
  • The Disaster Distress Helpline is available 24 hours a way, 7 days a week, year-round.
    • Call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs”to 66746, Spanish-speakers, text “Hablanos” to 66746.

By identifying your own stress and the stress of those you care for, you can work towards managing it and living a happier and healthier life, especially now, when it is needed the most.


What is Social Distancing? And Why is it so Important Right Now?

With the recent events that have transpired over the past few weeks, there are many new terms that we as a society are learning and adapting to. Besides the big ones – COVID-19 and Novel Coronavirus, there are plenty of others. One of major importance that has received a lot of attention, however, is the term social distancing.

For a lot of us, this might be the first time we’ve heard this term and as a result, we may need a little further explanation. So, what is social distancing? And why is it so important right now?

Social distancing is a way for public health officials to try and limit the spread of infection by restricting interaction between people and meetings with large groups. The objective of social distancing is to reduce the probability of contact between people carrying an infection and people who are not infected to again, mitigate the spread of that infection. The more people that actively practice social distancing, the slower an infection will most likely spread.

Under the circumstances our world is facing, social distancing is among one of the most critical measures we can be taking. Right now, health officials are focused on “flattening the curve” through social distancing, which means that they are trying to slow the rate of new cases of Coronavirus so as to not overwhelm the health care professionals and resources that we have available.

Practice social distancing by limiting your interaction with others. If you do need to be around others, it is advised to avoid group settings of 10 or more people and to keep a distance of at least six feet between yourself and another individual. If your circumstances allow you to stay at home, that is encouraged as much as possible.

By taking social distancing seriously, we can help our health care industry, our fellow citizens, and our world through this uncertain and difficult time.