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Assisted Living Resources

Is Your Loved One Not Open to Receiving Care? Try These Proven Approaches

By | Assisted Living Resources

The topic of in-home care can be a touchy one. Many seniors, even ones who can’t manage on their own, are resistant to the idea of a caregiver. They don’t see the change as a positive one. Rather, it’s a threat to their independence, and a sign that they have reached a new stage in their life journey—one they may not be psychologically ready for. 

However, there are ways to approach the issue that are compassionate and empathetic and that can help your loved one become more accepting of help. If you’re struggling to get your loved one on board with in-home care, try these proven tips for navigating these important conversations.

Give them time to get used to the idea

Going from total independence and autonomy to a full-time caregiver can be a case of “too much, too fast.” So your best bet is to start slowly and go one step at a time. Begin with bringing in a caregiver for just a few hours a week at first. This gives your loved one time to get acquainted with the new person in their life and to adjust to a new routine for assisted living. It also lets them see, in a measured way, how a caregiver can make their life easier and take away some of their burdens. 

Reframe the issue as you needing the help

Sometimes it helps to shift the perspective away from your loved one to yourself. It can be far less threatening for your relative to think of a caregiver as someone who is there to assist you rather than them. 

Listen to their concerns

When a conversation gets stuck and can’t move forward, it’s usually because at least one of the parties involved doesn’t feel listened to. It’s extremely important not to put your loved one in a position where they feel like their voice and their concerns are falling on deaf ears. So make the effort to really listen and acknowledge their feelings about receiving in-home care. Simply keeping an open mind on your part can go a long way toward shifting their opinion. What’s more, you will likely learn valuable information that can help you set up a caregiving arrangement that will suit their needs.

Treating Thyroid Imbalances in Seniors

By | Assisted Living Resources

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that regulates hormones and is a vital part of several body functions, such as energy consumption and protein production. 

When the thyroid stops functioning normally, it can impact several areas of health and cause a range of symptoms that are mild to severe. In some cases, an over-functioning thyroid can cause death. 

Thyroid imbalances are increasingly common in seniors and a frequent reason behind a diminished quality of life. However, despite being common, this condition can be difficult to diagnose since many of the symptoms of abnormal thyroid function mimic common signs of aging. 

Here are three ways that a thyroid problem can present in seniors. 

1. Tiredness and loss of vitality

If the zest has gone out of your life and you find it hard to summon energy for daily tasks, a low-functioning thyroid may be at fault. The thyroid regulates mood and energy, so an under-performing one can cause fatigue and a sense of sluggishness. 

2. Changes in appetite

Skipping meals because you’ve lost interest in food is a common sign of a lagging metabolism and can snowball into other health issues such as fatigue. If you are suffering from a low appetite, try eating smaller, highly nutritious meals throughout the day to get your metabolism going. 

3. Unexplained Weight Gain

If your diet and lifestyle haven’t changed but your weight has inexplicably gone up, it could be another sign of a slowed metabolism caused by an under-functioning thyroid. It’s important to get this checked out by a doctor since maintaining an appropriate weight is crucial for overall health, especially in seniors. 

Treating a thyroid imbalance

Diet changes can help regulate thyroid function. If you consume a large amount of soy products, for example, modifying your diet to reduce soy may be beneficial. In most cases, seniors are recommended to work with their doctor and assisted living care providers to have your thyroid levels checked. 

Correcting a thyroid imbalance can take a little patience and effort, since it can be challenging to diagnose and treat. The important thing to keep in mind is that you want to be able to enjoy your golden years to the fullest, so it’s well worth the effort to get the necessary tests and follow the treatments that will keep you healthy and energized.

Senior Tips to Address Poor Sleep Patterns

By | Assisted Living Resources

Many seniors find that this stage of life brings disruptions to their sleep patterns, which over time can affect their mood, energy, and overall enjoyment of life. 

There are many factors that could be affecting your sleep, including sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, pain, and certain medications. 

While it is beneficial to know the source of your sleep issues, as it can help you find a targeted solution with your doctor, there are many changes you can make on your own right away that can help get you back on track. These can be valuable for a senior care provider to understand as well.

Establish a daily routine

Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is an important part of what’s known as “sleep hygiene.” Staying up late, sleeping in, and taking naps can disrupt your body’s natural rhythms, so they should be avoided. Including some activity in your day is also a great way to promote a good night’s rest. Walking, biking, dancing, yoga, and cardio exercises can help you release excess energy so you’re ready to fall asleep at bedtime.  

Find ways to relax

Your body will have a much easier time falling asleep if you give it a little help in the form of relaxing activities before bedtime. Meditation, reading, gentle stretching, and taking a warm bath are all good ways to quiet your mind and prepare your body for rest. It’s also important to avoid stimulating or stressful activities, such as watching television, scrolling on your cell phone, or ruminating on negative thoughts. 

Create a comfortable environment

Most people find that they sleep better in a room that is cool rather than warm, so adjust the temperature of your bedroom accordingly. This is important in residential senior care. Also, check for sources of light that may be disturbing your sleep, such as the glow from a digital clock or the light from another room that seeps in around the doorframe. Covering these with a cloth or otherwise removing them may have a bigger impact than you expect on improving your sleep.

Give your body time to adjust

It usually takes a little time for these changes to have an impact on your sleep. Try out these strategies for a few weeks and see how you feel. Remember, a good night’s sleep is within your grasp! If you need more support in getting the rest you need, reach out to your health care provider, as they can offer a variety of lifestyle adjustments and treatments that can help.

Feels Like Home

By | Assisted Living Resources, News Article

When Jose Umana in 2020 opened his fifth residential care home for seniors, all located in Long Beach, it marked the realization of an ambitious lifetime goal he’d made for himself when he first went into business.

“My grandmother was big on goals,” Umana said. “She always said ‘If you don’t set goals, how do you know if you’ve made it?’”

Caregiver Stress Syndrome and How to Avoid It

By | Assisted Living Resources

As a caregiver, you devote your life to helping out your beloved seniors. And while fulfilling the duties of a caregiver is rewarding, it can take an emotional and psychological toll on you since caregiving is a long-term challenge. Putting another person’s needs above yours can lead to caregiver stress syndrome.

Caregiver Stress Syndrome

Caregiver stress syndrome is a condition that is characterized by physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion, resulting in complete burnout.

Taking care of another individual full-time is exceptionally demanding and requires a lot of emotional (and physical) labor. One can only have so much emotional capacity to deal with another person like that.

Factors Leading to Caregiver Burnout

Lack of compartmentalization:

You may find it hard to find the split between your own time and the time you devote to your loved one or at a senior living community. You might also struggle to separate your role as a caregiver from your role as a spouse, friend, child, etc.

Lack of control:

Frustration manifests as a result of your loved ones’ demanding needs and the lack of resources needed to care for someone with a long-term illness or disability.

Unrealistic expectations:

After doing so much for a loved one, it is only natural to expect validation for your efforts. However, such expectations prove unrealistic when it comes to taking care of individuals with Alzheimer’s or other progressive diseases.

Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout

The symptoms of caregiver burnout look a lot like the symptoms of depression and anxiety. They include restlessness, sleeplessness, behavioral changes, loss of interest in life, social withdrawal, fatigue, changes in weight and loss of appetite, self-harm, feelings of resentment, etc.

Stress can knock on anyone’s door, whether you are a newcomer or an experienced caregiver. Taking care of yourself is necessary. It benefits not only you but also the person you care for.

Avoiding Caregiver Stress Syndrome

Here’s a list of ways to escape caregiver stress syndrome:

  • Acknowledge that you have made a conscious decision to provide care. It will prevent feelings of resentment from taking root.
  • Invest your time in things that bring you joy and a sense of purpose. This can be simple hobbies like painting, family, church, or your career.
  • Celebrate all your accomplishments, no matter how big or small. When you feel unappreciated, look for validation in places other than the person you’re caring for. Talk about your feelings with a close friend.
  • Go out with your friends and family. If you can’t hang out, invite them over! 
  • Get out of the house. Seek out friends, family, and respite care providers to step in with caregiving so you can have some time away from home.
  • Don’t skip your meals and eat healthy with fresh fruit, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats such as fish, nuts, and olive oil.
  • Get a total of 8 hours of sleep to boost energy, productivity, and the ability to handle stress.
  • Consider respite care! Allow your friends and family to help you out with running errands so you can catch a well-deserved break.
  • Explore out-of-home respite programs such as adult day care centers and nursing homes.

Remember, you cannot care for others if you don’t care for yourself. These suggestions are beautiful ways to create balance and avoid stress.

How to Care for Aging Parents During the Pandemic

By | Assisted Living Resources

Caring for an aging or elderly family member during the COVID-19 pandemic can be an incredibly stressful, all-consuming job. We are constantly worrying about whether or not we’ve brought a trace of the disease into our homes or theirs, and fretting over the possibility of them becoming incredibly ill.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, it’s been made clear by the media that aging people are at a very high risk of contracting and potentially passing away from this disease. So, what can we do to properly care for aging parents during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Regularly Clean Medical Equipment

If your parent uses any in-home medical equipment, from blood pressure cuffs and heart monitors to canes and wheelchairs, ensure that you are regularly cleaning and disinfecting each piece. This is incredibly important in assisted living, whether they live with you or not, because germs and bacteria can spread easily through high-touch surfaces. 

A quick wipe-down will not be sufficient here. You’ll want to ensure that you’re using a disinfectant that has been approved to kill the Coronavirus, such as Clorox or Lysol. 

Minimize Household Exposure

If you’ve brought your aging parent home to keep them safe amid the pandemic, make sure that you assign one member of your household to take care of most of the errands that need completion. When providing senior home care, Grocery shopping, running to the bank, and picking up take-out should be the responsibility of one person, thereby limiting the chances of exposure greatly. If there are teenagers or young adults living in the same space, ensure that they know the rules and what is at risk. 

Make a Plan

In the event of a COVID exposure, make sure your family has a plan to keep the older members safe within the same space. Establish a place of quarantine, and wear as much PPE as possible when working with them. Hospitals are running at capacity, so map out a suitable plan of action to assess if your aging parent does test positive. Plans are helpful when panic is involved. 

The Elderly and COVID-19

It’s no secret that the pandemic has taken a major toll on our older populations. With careful planning and executed care, we can be incredibly efficient in caring for our aging parents while the pandemic rages in the background. Remember, schedule them for a vaccine as soon as possible, and limit exposure exponentially.

Supporting Mental Health for Seniors During COVID

By | Assisted Living Resources

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone in one way or another. Businesses and schools have been closed while infections surge across the nation. For many people struggling with mental health issues, the last several months have worsened their conditions.

Nowhere is this more pronounced than in the lives of the elderly. Many senior citizens are already dealing with the loneliness that sometimes comes with growing older. COVID-19 restrictions that are in place to protect our nation’s most vulnerable population, the elderly, can contribute to the isolation that comes with social distancing and visitation restrictions.

Now, more than ever, we have to find new and meaningful ways to engage seniors, provide mental health support, and provide for their need for human connection. Organizations and Continuing Care Retirement Communities across the nation have shared ideas of helping senior citizens during this health crisis.

Technology has done a lot to minimize the impacts of social distancing. Facebook Portal, FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom have helped seniors see loved ones face to face when they can’t be together physically.  Some assisted living communities have started to enjoy “virtual book clubs” and “virtual happy hours” with Zoom. Socially distanced doesn’t have to mean socially isolated.

Many nursing homes have discovered ways to engage seniors in activities while maintaining safe distances. Hallway bingo has become a popular pastime in many communities. Those who prefer solitary activities can find pleasure in jigsaw puzzles, word finds, and crossword puzzles.  Reading is another excellent way to pass the time and stimulate the brain, and most books come in audible form for those who have trouble with their eyesight.

Sending cards and letters to older relatives is a great way to lift their spirits. Window visits have also become increasingly popular. Decorating seniors’ windows in nursing or personal care homes can also go a long way in supporting their mental health.

Caregivers play an essential role in supporting the mental health of seniors.  In addition to providing physical care, they can also provide companionship, play games, and help with technology. 

Now, more than ever, we need to find ways to provide mental health support to the elderly to get us through the COVID-19 pandemic. Creativity and innovation can continue to help see us through.

Caring for Seniors During the 2020 Flu Season

By | Assisted Living Resources

At Premiere Cottages, we remain committed to protecting our residents and their loved ones from COVID-19. Our health and safety policies are more vital than ever, since we know that 2020 isn’t through with us yet!

The pandemic has everyone, especially assisted care facilities, scrambling for reliable, trustworthy information about how to care for seniors during the most challenging health crisis in 100 years.

But did you know that the 2020 flu season may make conditions more difficult than usual for seniors?

As a high-risk cohort, seniors must be safe from both influenza and COVID-19, so there are a few priorities to keep in mind when caring for seniors this flu season.

FACT: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most severe cases of influenza requiring acute medical care occur in people over 65-years old.

Flu Vaccines Are Vital

During a viral pandemic, vaccines are a critical line of first defense for healthcare workers and those at higher risk of severe illness. While the flu shot is never perfect, it’s still best to get seniors vaccinated to protect them from the usual threats.

The trouble is that pharmacies or nearby medical facilities may not have enough doses of the flu shot on hand to vaccinate every senior immediately. Nevertheless, it’s critical to get a flu shot if you or your loved ones are more than 65 years old or have a medical condition that magnifies the danger from COVID-19.

The likelihood of severe complications and illness from the flu is already high enough without the pandemic making this flu season worse.

The best way to care for seniors as 2020 thankfully comes to an end is vaccination from influenza and COVID-19.

Practice Pandemic Safety Rigorously

At Premiere Cottages, we know that one of the simplest and most effective ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus is a rigorous dedication to elementary health safeguards: wearing a face covering, keeping a distance from others, and thorough, regular hand washing.

Caring for seniors responsibly this flu season requires that healthcare professionals remain diligent and proactive.

Mental Well-Being Matters Too

The health risks of COVID-19 are becoming clearer by the day, but its threats to mental health among seniors are especially troubling. Isolation and depression may occur more frequently in senior populations as the coronavirus restricts visitation in many facilities around the country.

Overall, caring for seniors this flu season while still protecting them from COVID-19 requires a community effort to ensure health and safety.

Resources to Help Family Caregivers Support Their Loved Ones

By | Assisted Living Resources

Family caregivers are nothing short of superheroes. From cooking, cleaning, managing medications, and juggling every other aspect of life, they typically find a way to handle any task thrown their way.

Caring for a loved one in assisted living can be an enriching and rewarding experience, but there’s no question that it can also be exhausting. As the demand for daily tasks increases, family members dedicated to senior care might find that they need a break.

Manage Stress and Senior Care

There are resources available to caregivers that help alleviate the stress that comes with caring for a senior family member. You can arrange with a hospice for respite care if you need to take a brief break from your duties. There are also online resources that give you access to specific information and personal support you may need.

Medicare

Medical decisions are an inevitable part of life. This is particularly true for seniors. Any caregiver responsible for making a choice about their patient’s health, or offering assistance in doing so, should get familiar with Medicare.

The official Medicare website will help you decide on a provider based on state survey reports, review insurance options, and get a firm grasp on what you need to know about prescription drug coverage. It is a must-have for all caregivers and a fantastic source of information.

Support Groups

You give support, so you must also seek support. You can’t be everything to everyone, and that’s especially true when your tank is empty. Joining a support group gives caregivers a community of people that understand the rollercoaster of emotions that come with senior care.

There are likely plenty of groups in your community, but you can connect online as well. When you’re part of a virtual community, you have a shoulder to lean on at any time, right from the comfort of your own home.

Caring for Yourself Helps You Care for Others

The best way to support your loved ones is to show up as the best version of you. You’ve got to care for yourself while you care for others, or else your efforts will exhaust you. From agencies dedicated to caring for a senior to disease-specific organizations, there are plenty of resources available to help you care for ones you love.

Don’t think that you have to shoulder the burden of senior care on your own. It’s a community effort, with plenty of people out there willing to lend a hand. Never hesitate to ask for help.

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"We will provide peace of mind to you and loved one. They'll feel like they never left home."
Jose Umana
Jose Umana – Owner & Certified Administrator

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