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How To Know When It’s Time To Consider Assisted Living

How To Know When It’s Time To Consider Assisted Living

It’s a tough decision to make. Many want to keep their loved ones in their own home as long as possible. There are so many factors that go into making this life-changing decision. Are there sure signs to tell you it’s time to ask for help? Often, what it comes down to is, have their needs become too challenging for them and even you as a caregiver to take on alone?

When you begin thinking about assisted living for your loved one, it’s not uncommon to experience guilt and anxiety. However, the growing responsibilities might become too much to handle. You are not alone, and there are many options and resources to put your mind at ease when the time comes to make the decision for placement. Here are a few signs that it might be time to start exploring all the options for your loved one.

Home safety: Does your loved one have dementia or Alzheimer’s? Is it unsafe to leave them? Both of these situations can be dangerous. The probability of falls and injuries increase, and you can’t watch them all the time. If you or they feel unsafe during those times that they are left alone, it is probably time to start looking for more help.

Requires more care: As your loved one ages or if they have a medical condition that is progressing, they might require more care than you can physically do or are qualified for. It also might become increasingly difficult for them to manage activities of daily living. Skills that they could once do independently, like showering, dressing, shopping, cooking, doing laundry and managing medications are now a challenge. Maybe a recent surgery or illness now requires medical attention that you aren’t comfortable handling. All of these situations are signs that it could be time to see what a loving assisted living home can offer.

Social signs: Have you noticed social changes with your loved one? Do they spend days without ever leaving the house? Maybe they were social before and enjoyed regular outings or activities, and now they seem more withdrawn. They might simply need more stimulation or hobbies that center around their abilities. Any quality assisted living center will have many scheduled activities and social times that will help your loved one thrive again!

Around-the-house: If your loved one is still living in their own home, look for obvious signs that they are struggling to care for themselves. Is there a lot of clutter or signs of lax housekeeping? Is the bathroom clean? Take a look around the kitchen and look for expired foods or multiples of the same item. Take a walk around the house, are there signs of neglect? Look for unopened mail or bills piling up. These types of warning signs can sometimes point to cognitive trouble.

There will be signs specific to your situation as well, as no one knows them better than you. The list above is a good starting point to considering assisted living. Fortunately, there are options when it comes to caring for our aging family members.

At Seasons, we pride ourselves on the care that our residents receive. We are a family with a loving home environment. Surrounding our residents with the right people and tools is how we show them that we care. Come visit us in person to get a glimpse of the care your loved one will receive when they become part of our family.

Helping Your Loved Ones Stay Active As They Age

Helping Your Loved Ones Stay Active As They Age

Research shows that activity among older adults often correlates with their health and happiness. It isn’t always easy to keep them active, especially if they are dealing with chronic pain or other conditions that can make a once active adult less active in their senior years. Isolation and loneliness are unfortunately very common in older adults. These feelings can lead to mental health issues and a decline in cognitive functioning. There are many measures that you can take to help your loved one enjoy their golden years. Even if they are struggling to keep up with their once active lifestyle, there are plenty of ways to keep them connected, moving, and engaged.

The first thing to do is simply ask them about what they enjoy. Over the years, their interests have probably shifted. Finding a new hobby or activity could be exciting for you to do together! Actively continuing to learn new things will keep them stimulated and engaged. For example, it is never too late to learn how to use a smart phone or tablet. They could learn how to video chat a dear friend who might live far away, or get to wish their grandchild a happy birthday. My 95-year-old grandmother is a pro at video chatting. She was able to watch my kids open their Christmas packages from her, and could instantly see the joy that she brought them. Since we don’t live in the same state, this keeps us connected and we love to see her smile.

Plan some activities that could foster communication and storytelling. One of my favorite things is listening to stories of when my grandmother was younger. She still loves to feel pretty and have her nails done, so when I am in town, that is one activity I make sure that we do together. Since it’s difficult for her to get in and out of the car, I bring all the nail polishes to her. She picks out her favorite color and I paint her nails while she tells me stories of the “old days”.

Introducing new card games for you to play together can be a great experience. Once they’ve mastered it, they can play it with their friends as well. Word search books, puzzles, and crosswords are other great activities for brain stimulation. Discovering different crafts that they can do is a great way to keep their creative juices flowing. Remember to consider that their hands don’t necessarily work the same way they used to, but there are still plenty of crafts they can pick up. There is a lot of joy to be felt for them when they start making things for their loved ones, friends, or even caregivers. A simple crafting idea is hand-stamped cards. Get several pieces of card stock, stamps, and ink pads. It’s fairly easy, but still uses those motor skills that they need to keep active and creative. Once they make a set of cards, help them tie them up with a pretty ribbon for them to give as a gift. Inviting others into their craft time is a great way to foster communication and lots of laughs. Typically at this point, they aren’t able to go shopping for gifts anymore, so being able to create something from their heart can be such a treasure for the receiver of the gift.

Get them outside as much as possible. If weather permits, a daily walk outside to get fresh air is a simple way to do this. Even if they are in a wheelchair, this is beneficial. It gives them the opportunity to have new surroundings on a regular basis. Often times, older adults once enjoyed gardening and planting flowers. If a garden isn’t possible, try having some potted plants and flowers outside that they could help water and watch grow. Keeping pets around is another potential source of joy. While they might not be able to care for a pet themselves, with a caregivers help, it provides a sense of companionship that they might not be able to find in another person at this point.

At Seasons, we are a family. We have wonderful caregivers that plan these kinds of engaging activities and others for your loved one. Their smiles and stories bring us so much joy. It would be a privilege to support you and your loved one and to help them along in this stage of their life. Come visit us today!

Did You Know Music Affects Your Memory_

Did You Know Music Affects Your Memory

Did You Know Music Affects Your Memory?

Music is powerful. It has the ability to evoke strong emotions and memories in all of us. Have you ever heard a song that immediately brought you back to a specific moment in time? Perhaps your first concert, a slow dance from your senior prom, or the song you sang your children before bed every night. We remember because those notes bring us back to the same emotions originally connected to the song in our brains.

Music has been used as a therapy tool for many years. Did you know studies show it can greatly benefit someone with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia?

Researchers from the Alzheimer’s Association report that there are approximately 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. That number is only expected to climb these next few years. Having a loved one with this disease can be so challenging. It is difficult to watch them fade as the disease progresses. During this time, we tend to grasp onto any connection we can find to that person we once knew. This is where music can come in and play a seemingly magical role. Not only can it reduce agitation and improve behavioral issues that are often associated with the middle stages of this disease, but as mentioned before, it has the unique power to bring them back to old memories they haven’t visited in years. Even in late stages, when verbal communication has become difficult, individuals have been known to start tapping a beat or humming a tune from the past. Music provides that connection path for us to watch their faces go from blank stares to joyful smiles.

I had the privilege of seeing first hand how music helps those with Alzheimer’s. I spent many hours with a loved one that had been moved into a nursing home. I got to know many of the residents and their families, and I got to interact with them during activities and just walking the halls. Every week a sweet volunteer would come and play songs for the residents and every week I would watch how much joy it brought to so many of them. They would sing old church hymns and fun folk songs. Some would even get up and dance and grab others up to dance with them. One dear lady, in particular, sat and looked off into the distance from her chair week after week, never moving much at all. One week, the volunteer played “Clementine”. She immediately perked up and got up and started clapping her hands and tapping her foot. She had the biggest smile on her face and by the end of it her hands were waving and she was slowly turning in circles. It was beautiful. I asked her son about it the next week, and he told me that she used to be a famous square dancer back in her day. She had won many contests and traveled the world square dancing. That dear lady was in the middle to later stages of Alzheimer’s, and her son had not heard or seen much improvement from her in quite some time. He was thrilled that she experienced that memory again, connecting her to her own past. That one song unlocked something in her that gave her great joy, even if it was just for a brief moment.

If you have a loved one with this disease and you want to try music therapy to help them, there are a few tips when selecting the music.

  • Try to identify music that is familiar and enjoyable to them. If they are able, let them choose the music. Church hymns or older folk songs might be a good place to start. If they used to play the piano or the guitar, letting them be around those musical instruments might spur something in them, and they may even be able to still play a song or two.
  • Choose music that might help create a certain mood. For example, a tranquil piece of music can create a calming environment. Soft classical music with no lyrics might help bring peace to someone who is agitated. Choosing a faster-paced song from their childhood could boost their spirits and help them to remember lively memories.
  • If you are wanting to encourage movement, choose songs with a clapping or tapping beat so that they can join in. Don’t be afraid to dance!

At Seasons, we know how difficult it is to have a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. We want to walk with you through this difficult time. If you have someone that has been diagnosed with this disease, we would love to support you. Give us a call to find out how we can help.