• Elderly Woman Dancing

    Choosing An Assisted Living Facility

    Choosing an assisted living facility for an aging loved one can be a daunting task. Today there are many options available, and this can make the decision feel quite overwhelming. Doing your research can help you feel more in control of the process, and you will be able to help your loved one settle into the place that’s¬ right¬ for them. Here are some helpful tips on what to look for in a facility. Look for public certificates clearly displayed. You should be able to view inspection reports, and certificates from the Department of Public Health, the Department of Public Safety and the Fire Department. Look for cleanliness. Keep in mind that the level of cleanliness you see when you visit the facility is probably a good indicator of the cleanliness of the building all the time. See if the standard of cleanliness matches your standards. Notice how clean it smells too. What is the level of transparency? When you […]

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  • Becoming A Caregiver

    If you are considering becoming your parent’s caregiver there are some questions you need to ask yourself. As you prepare to take on the task of being a caregiver, you will have to take an honest look at yourself and your life. ¬ Your availability, your stamina, your personality, and your caregiving capabilities are all things that will have an effect on your decision. ¬ Being a caregiver can entail not only performing basic care, care of the home, medical care tasks, but also may involve coordinating other care providers and appointments, and advocating for your loved one. Being a caregiver to an aging parent is likely to¬ affect your physical, mental, and emotional health. It will also change your relationship with your parent and impact your other relationships too. Being as prepared as you can be will help to minimize the surprises. Here are some things you need to consider before taking on this challenging role: Am I capable […]

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  • Tips For The Sandwich Generation

    The term “Sandwich Generation” refers to those caregivers who are both caring for their aging parent(s) and for their children who are still at home. Members of the Sandwich Generation are mostly age 40 to 59. Men and women are equally likely to be included in the Sandwich Generation. These are caregivers who are pulled in many different directions, and may be for many years. They may provide physical care, financial support and emotional support for both their elders and the younger generation. About half of all adults currently in their 40s and 50s have at least one parent older than 65 and are also raising a child or are financially supporting a grown child. About 15% in this age group are providing some kind of financial support to both an aging parent and a child. Life in the Sandwich Generation can be a bit stressful, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that these caregivers are less happy than people of […]

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  • Our Family Stories

    There is interesting recent research that shows that younger family members who have more knowledge of their personal family history reap some significant benefits. They tend to exhibit greater emotional resilience, and they face stress and life’s challenges more effectively. A study conducted by Dr. Marshall Duke and Dr. Robyn Fivush, in which they asked children a series of 20 “Do you know” questions about their family history, revealed a strong correlation between knowing family history and emotional resilience. “The more¬ children knew¬ about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of¬ ¬ control over their lives, the higher their self esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned,” the New York Times reported. Family traditions, stories, and rituals strengthen family bonds and contribute to our sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves, and create an “intergenerational self”, as Dr. Duke puts it. One way of promoting this understanding of family history is to create an oral […]

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  • Coping With Guilt Over A Move To Assisted Living

    The process of managing our aging parents’ lives and futures can evoke all kinds of feelings, from denial and fear, to guilt and inadequacy, to confusion and ambivalence. As adult children we suddenly find ourselves in the role of caregiver for our elderly parents, who have been the ones to care for us. This reversal¬ of roles brings up many different emotions for both parent and child.¬ When the decision to move to assisted living has been made, it will be very challenging for an elderly parent to adjust to a new life, to make new acquaintances, to learn to trust new caregivers, to adapt to a new schedule and a new living space. While they are adjusting to those things, we, as adult children, are shifting our identity to that of decision-maker, while at the same time perhaps struggling with the guilt that comes from admitting that we can’t take care of our parents¬ ourselves. While moving anyone into […]

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  • Diagnosing Dementia

    While it is often under-diagnosed and misdiagnosed, the dementia problem is growing. Dementia is not one disease, but a group of different subtypes, each with a different cause, prognosis and treatment. The various types also have differing manifestations. There is a widespread belief that because there is no cure, that means there is no hope. However, it is clear that getting an accurate diagnosis early in the process can make a huge difference in the quality of life for both the dementia patient and their family members. There are several other reasons why an accurate diagnosis is so important. In vascular dementia, new vascular events can be prevented. This can limit worsening of the dementia. The diagnosis of a mild cognitive impairment can prompt some patients to make lifestyle changes in order to delay or avoid progression of the disease to full-blown dementia. If an exact type of dementia is not diagnosed, it can make it difficult for caregivers to […]

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  • Lifelong Learning

    Lifelong learning is a term you may have heard tossed around lately. It is the process of keeping your mind and body engaged in learning new things through all the stages of life. It means actively pursuing knowledge and experience at every age. Although many jobs encourage their employees to keep their job-related skills up to date, you don’t have to be employed to benefit from lifelong learning. In fact, the term most often connotes learning something new for fun or interest. Whether you’re learning how to dance, speak a second language, improve your golf swing, fix you car, or how to paint, it doesn’t matter so much what you choose to learn, as much as that you are learning something that is a new experience for your brain. Some of the specific benefits that older adults can expect to see from lifelong learning activities include: improved memory, increased self-confidence, more energy, sharpness of¬ mind, and a feeling of accomplishment. […]

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  • Decreasing The Risk of Dementia

    There is a growing body of research that shows that older adults who participate in a consistent exercise plan are less likely to develop dementia as they age. The decline of cognitive functioning is not necessarily inevitable as we age. The good news is that there are ways to boost brain power and prevent¬ memory and thinking problems. The latest research shows that the best way to increase your odds of growing into old age without dementia or other memory problems is to exercise regularly. One study conducted by a neuroscientist found that a group of older adults who engaged in aerobic exercise three times a week for 45 minutes per day, after one year showed a significant change in their brains. The follow-up MRI scans of these people showed that the volume of their brains actually increased by an average of 2%. The other group in the study, who did not perform aerobic exercise, showed an average loss of […]

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  • The Benefits Of Art Therapy In Assisted Living

    Activities programs are an important part of the services offered in assisted living facilities. One type of activity program is a therapeutic art class. This program will bring a skilled artist and all the necessary art supplies to the facility to make it possible for residents to express their inner artists. The artistic process for seniors can not only enhance their quality of life, but also gives them the opportunity to learn a new skill, which is especially beneficial for maintaining and even increasing cognitive functioning. The artistic process provides mental, physical, and spiritual stimulation for individuals through creative discovery and experimentation. There is research that documents the benefits of art programming in assisted living facilities. This research shows that any kind of new learning experiences promote brain development while enhancing information processing and memory storage capabilities in mid-life and older adults. One study was conducted with 300 seniors – half were participants in an art program once a week, […]

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  • Changes In Medicare

    There has been a change in Medicare policy that affects those individuals who have chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Until now, patients who had a chronic condition or disability had to show a likelihood of improvement in their condition in order to receive Medicare coverage for skilled care and therapy services.¬ The change in policy enables patients who have “plateaued”, or stopped making progress, to continue receiving the services of a nurse or a therapist, and Medicare cannot deny coverage to patients for skilled nursing care, home health services or outpatient therapy because their conditions are not improving. This ruling will have a big impact on patients who depend on or need some kind of skilled care to maintain their level of functioning or to prevent further deterioration. The old policy left many patients to pay for their own care, or even to discontinue care if they couldn’t show proof […]

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