Reducing Loneliness for My Elderly Parents During the Holidays

Reducing Loneliness for My Elderly Parents During the Holidays

This holiday season will definitely look a lot different from previous years. With more seniors forced to celebrate the holidays alone, many adult children are perhaps going to be struggling with how to engage their loved one from afar.

Even in “non-pandemic” times, there can be a fair amount of pressure on people to enjoy themselves during the holidays. The season is supposed to be merry and bright, but many elders feel increasingly isolated and unhappy this time of year even under “normal” circumstances. Understandably, families are extra concerned about having to leave seniors alone for the holidays this year.

Seniors Can Often Experience Holiday Loneliness

While aging can bring wisdom and experience, there are inevitable losses that even the healthiest seniors face. Loved ones and friends fall ill and pass away. Energy and mobility levels often decrease, resulting in feelings of lost independence and opportunities. Neighborhoods change over time, leaving those well enough to remain in their own homes feeling lonely.

Living Alone During the Holidays Can Be Difficult

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), older adults who are socially isolated are at higher risk for depression. The focus on family, friends and togetherness during this time of year can actually bring melancholy feelings to the forefront for may elders. With coronavirus cases ramping up, it’s more important than ever to be supportive of and attentive to our loved ones, but in ways that that keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible. This difficult situation poses serious logistical and emotional challenges for families across the country.

If you believe your parent, spouse, friend, or neighbor may be feeling lonely, there are steps that you can take to help lift their spirits. You are probably busy with adapting your own holiday plans and traditions, but we must remind ourselves what the holiday season is truly about. Simplifying some things will allow you to focus on what really matters the important people in your life. Use these ideas to brighten up a loved one’s winter season.

Tips for Helping a Senior Deal with Holiday Loneliness

  • Make a point of actively listening when your loved one wants to talk, even if the discussion is negative. An honest and empathetic conversation can help them process what is bothering them, whether they are mourning a loss or coming to terms with new challenges in their life. It may also reveal why they are feeling down and inspire other ways of lifting their spirits.
  • Remind them how important they are as a part of your life, your family members’ lives, and these annual holiday celebrations. They may feel useless or burdensome if they cannot contribute to or fully participate in the festivities like they used to. Encourage them to do what they are capable of and be especially careful not to act like what you do for them is done out of a sense of duty. Show them they are loved.
  • If holiday cards and letters are an important tradition, consider going through them together. Over the years, these holiday greetings can often bring bad news and diminish in quantity. The last thing you want is for your loved one to hear more news about illness or death. If possible, ask family members and friends to contribute cards, photographs, or drawings to help keep the senior’s seasonal mail more upbeat. You may also want to help your parent write his or her own outgoing cards each year as well.
  • Help your loved one see that you are trying to simplify your holiday plans to focus on the real meaning of these celebrations. Let them know you are trying to ignore the increasing hype over the food, gifts, decorations and parties in order to focus on the people and values that you cherish. Remind them that they have taught you the importance of family and friendship and thank them for that.
  • If a senior is in a long-term care facility, check with the activities director and local schools or extracurricular programs to see if they can arrange for children to do virtual visits with performances for the residents. New activities and interactions with younger generations can be very uplifting for elders who are in physical or emotional pain. Visiting pet therapy is another source of entertainment and socialization that can bring joy to seniors who have been deprived of meaningful interactions over the course of the pandemic.
  • Check with your loved one’s religious organization to see if they can offer social and/or spiritual support. For example, the Stephen Ministry is a program offered by many Christian churches and provides one-on-one support to those who are having difficulties in life. Many churches can arrange for a congregant or leader to visit a senior in need, either in person or virtually. Just having someone to talk to can go a long way toward relieving depression.
  • Help them add festive touches to their home or room in the long-term care facility. Ensure that these items do not present a safety hazard and try to decorate in stages to prolong the fun and give them something to look forward to. Many seniors enjoy reflecting on past holidays as they unpack cherished decorations, so be sure to listen to their stories and ask about special pieces. If you can’t be there in person, at least phone or video call while they’re decking the halls. Some small, easy-to-use decorations in senior apartments include removable window clings, garland, and artificial wreaths or floral arrangements.
  • Cook traditional baked goods or treats with your loved one, if it is safe to get together in person. If they reside in an assisted living facility or nursing home, bring familiar treats that represent your holiday customs for your elder to enjoy and share with their friends. Try to make their dining table festive too, by offering to send themed décor, appropriate colors, and seasonal flavors.
  • Instead of traditional holiday parties, call your elder’s friends and/or family to see if they would be able to attend a virtual gathering. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be on a particular holiday. Realizing that the people they care about dialed in to spend time with them is priceless for an elder. If your loved one has dementia, consider keeping virtual get-togethers small so they don’t get confused. Technology can be disorienting and too may participants may cause them to become frustrated.
  • The most important thing you can do with a senior to make them feel loved and included this season is to simply spend time with them in a safe way. Look at family photos, watch home videos or holiday movies, listen to seasonal music, or do crafts together. For some families, these traditions may need to take place via FaceTime or Zoom or while both of you social distance and wear masks. Regardless of what you decide to do together, any time you can spare is a precious gift.
  • Coping With COVID-19 Concerns, Seniors and the Holidays

    Knowing how to juggle seniors and the holidays can be tough, especially as the coronavirus pandemic worsens. Do what you can to help your aging loved one feel involved and get into the holiday spirit without stressing yourself beyond your limits or risking anyone’s health. If you put too much on your plate, it is likely that neither you nor your loved one ones will enjoy the festivities nearly as much. Remember that most families are facing difficult decisions and holiday celebrations are bound to look very different this year. Get creative and remember that your best efforts are good enough.

Safety Without Isolation – Life at The Classic During COVID-19

Safety Without Isolation – Life at The Classic During COVID-19

The Classic is the safest place to be with protections in place to keep you safe!

Consider the following…

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Classic’s COVID-19 incidence rate is .012%! (based on total number of resident cases divided by total resident days). If you applied our incidence rate to Eau Claire County during the same period, (March thru November), there would be slightly over 3,100 cases vs. the current 8,000 cases now being reported).

It’s VERY important to note that The Classic has been able to offer a safe, healthy, and social environment, while still allowing for residents to be out and about in our community with daily access to numerous activities albeit with some modifications and restrictions.

Residents and Staff Health and Safety are #1 Priority

It seems like a week doesn’t go by without a national news story about how a nursing home or assisted living community has been affected by a COVID-19 outbreak. It’s only natural to react with hesitation if you’ve been considering a move to a senior living community when you retire. You may be asking yourself: Is senior living as safe as you originally thought?

While it’s true that there are nursing homes and assisted living facilities that have been impacted by COVID-19 outbreaks, that isn’t the whole story. In fact, many senior living communities across the country like The Classic have been very successful at keeping their residents and employees safe and healthy during this unprecedented time.

Health & Safety First

  • If you are continuing to live in your own home, it’s highly unlikely that’s it’s free of contamination with friends and family coming and going. At The Classic, we are observing the current COVID-19 guidelines that limit family visits to pre-scheduled times with designated visiting stations that permit social distancing.
  • We have safety measures in place that include frequent sanitization on frequently touched surfaces, daily temperature checks for residents and employees as well as personal protective equipment for all our employees when in contact with our residents.
  • All residents are required to wear a facemask at all times when outside his/her apartment.
  • We are continuing to evaluate our procedures on a daily basis to ensure that we are practicing safety and health standards set forth by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), and the Eau Claire City-County Health Department.

How The Classic is Working to Keep Residents from Contracting COVID-19

Safety has always been a top priority at The Classic. The pandemic has simply caused us to implement additional protocols and procedure to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of their residents, family members, and staff.

These safety measures and protocols include:

  • Closely following CDC, DHS, and City-County Health Department guidelines – As the country’s health protection agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the leading voice on COVID-19 and how senior living communities should approach keeping their residents and employees safe. At The Classic, we have continued to follow CDC guidelines, including mandating social distancing and mask wearing. We are also in constant communication with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) as well as the Eau Claire City-County Health Department in order to conform to any additional local guidelines that will help protect our residents and staff as much as possible. We continually communicate and remind our residents and resident’s families of the guidelines and any changes that may occur.
  • Visitor Restrictions – The Classic continues to be one of the safest places to reside due to visitor restrictions. Following CDC recommendations and aligning with the guidelines set forth by the City-County Health Department, non-essential visitors, e.g. family members are currently restricted to scheduled visits in common areas with visiting stations that allow for appropriate social distancing. All approved visitors are screened and must follow social distancing and sanitation guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone on our campus.
  • Appropriate Group Activities – Knowing how valuable socialization is, we have embraced a sense of community by offering numerous hallway activities while allowing for other small group activities that can observe appropriate social distancing guidelines. It’s very typical for residents to have access to an average of 10 activities or happenings each day.
  • Encouraging Residents to Limit Unnecessary Travel – As challenging as it is, one of the best ways The Classic has contained COVID-19 is by encouraging all residents to stay in their residences and only leave the community for medical and emergency situations. We continue to educate our residents regarding the risk of unnecessary appointments and trips. This message is communicated to our entire community including residents, their families, and our staff. We’re all in this together and want to do our part to protect The Classic community.
  • Enforcing Mask Wearing and Social Distancing – Research and science continues to show that mask wearing is a critical tool in fighting against the spread of COVID-19. At The Classic, we know how important it is to wear a mask and social distance. These tactics can dramatically increase our residents’ and staff members’ safety. While wearing a mask is not always comfortable, it’s a small thing you can do to protect you and your neighbor. All residents, staff, and approved visitors must wear a mask while at The Classic.
  • Managing COVID-19 Cases, if They Occur – No senior living community can predict when or where a COVID-19 case will appear. That’s why The Classic continues to adhere to safety guidelines, and monitor the health of all residents, staff, and any allowed on-site visitors. If a positive case of COVID-19 is reported at The Classic, we have measures and protocols in place that allow us to quickly and effectively communicate to our residents, family members, and staff the policies and procedures we’ll follow to prevent community spread. The health and well-being of our residents and staff is our top priority!

The Classic Puts Your Health and Safety First

There is nothing more important than living in a place that takes your health and safety just as seriously as you do. At The Classic, we have been proactive throughout this entire pandemic by following CDC guidelines, implementing protocols and measures designed to keep our entire community healthy and safe, and by communicating regular updates and pertinent protocol changes to residents, their families, and our staff.

Our residents and staff’s safety and overall quality of life is a top priority at The Classic. Like everyone, we too are anxious to get back to life as usual including our normal routine of events, trips, and celebrations. In the meantime, rest assured that a move to a senior living community like The Classic is safe and may even provide a better quality of life than what you’re currently experiencing during this pandemic.

The Classic offers a vibrant lifestyle that promotes health, safety, and peace of mind. To learn more about our community’s living options or to schedule a tour, call us today at 715-839-0200.

Is It a Good Idea to Move to Senior Living During a Pandemic?

Is It a Good Idea to Move to Senior Living During a Pandemic?

Is moving to a senior living right now a good idea for your senior loved one? Are you and your family ready to take on the needs of a caregiver on a full-time basis? Are you considering the move to assisted living for your loved one?

The following are some valid considerations that a move to senior living is still appropriate:

  • Preparedness security
  • Daily medical assessment for COVID-19 symptoms
  • 24/7 nursing and care staff available to respond to any sudden illness like COVID-19
  • Chef prepared meals with room service
  • Medication assistance
  • Laundry assistance

We all know a senior has a better chance to stay healthy and alert if their issues are assessed quickly and medical care is initiated in a timely manner. If your senior loved one is in desperate need of assistance, you may want to consider assisted living. In a home setting, care falls on you, as most likely the responsibility for buying groceries, cooking, administrating medicines, doing the laundry, and ensuring the environment is free from health and safety hazards.

The Classic is the safest place to be with protections in place to keep you safe!

  • It can be hard to guarantee a home that’s free of contamination with friends and family coming and going. At The Classic, we are observing the current COVID-19 guidelines that limit family visits to pre-scheduled times with designated visiting stations that permit social distancing.
  • We have safety measures in place that include frequent sanitization on frequently touched surfaces, daily temperature checks for residents and employees as well as personal protective equipment for all our employees when in contact with our residents.
  • All residents are required to wear a facemask at all times when outside his/her apartment.

We are continuing to evaluate our procedures on a daily basis to ensure that we are practicing safety and health standards set forth by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), and the Eau Claire City-County Health Department.

Do YOU have what it takes to take care of your loved one at home?

Ultimately, every family must weigh and balance the risks.

  • Can they give an older parent enough attention?
  • Do they have the emotional and physical stamina to take on a full-time caregiver role?
  • What does the parent want?

Schedule a tour at The Classic today!

Now is a better time than any to consider a move to senior living. The safety of our residents is of greatest importance, as we continue to navigate our way through the ongoing threat of the Coronavirus.

Understanding Why Your Loved One is Refusing Senior Living

Understanding Why Your Loved One is Refusing Senior Living

When your elderly parent refuses assisted living or other forms of senior living, it can be incredibly stressful for the rest of the family. While you may be very frustrated, think about the following for a moment: Your parents or in-laws grew up in a different time. Consider what senior care was like back in the 1940s and 50s, or further back during the Great Depression. It was a terrifying time, and your senior parents were living in it. These were your parents’ most impressionable and formative years.

Back then, “old folk’s homes” had a different reputation. They were a last-ditch effort for families who couldn’t afford to care for their senior family members. Given this mindset, it’s easy to see why so many seniors are terrified of the assisted living concept.

Reasons for Hesitation

What are some of the other primary reasons elderly parents refuse assisted living? And, what are some proper coping mechanisms for adult children? By helping you see assisted living from your parents’ point of view, you may be better equipped to better communicate with them while you seek out the well-being of an older person. There are also some very tangible tools to help you convince them to make the best choice for them, as individuals. Ultimately, helping your parents see assisted living in a more modern, healthy light will be beneficial to helping you convince them of a move.

Every person is different, so it’s not appropriate to lump all seniors together as the same. But…many seniors do have similar concerns:

  • They are unwilling to leave a home they know. Transitioning from a private home setting to an assisted living community can be a difficult life change. Understand that your parent’s vision and abilities are less than they used to be. So, the idea of living in a new environment is scary. They are also reluctant to leave behind meaningful possessions and items they value.
  • They like their routine. Your parent probably has a specific routine that they enjoy. They may have a hard time verbalizing it, but they have made social relationships with hairdressers, doctor’s office staff, or other folks at places of worship, for instance. They are reluctant to leave those social relationships.
  • Seniors are afraid to lose their independence. A significant concern among the elderly is a loss of independence if they move out of their home.
  • They are afraid to be alone. Seniors may fear losing connections with family. They may also be intimidated by the idea of living among a big group of strangers.
  • Finances might be a challenge. Even if your loved one truly likes the idea of assisted living, they may be concerned about funding. The last thing our elderly parents want to do is become a financial burden for their children.

Treat Your Elderly Parents Like Adults

As we age, we lose our physical abilities and our independence. It can be a real ego smash to rely on others for help with daily tasks like dressing, grocery shopping, or driving to doctor appointments.

As the child of an elderly parent, it can be all too easy to speak to them sharply, or as if they are a child. Their needs can pile up on us, particularly if you’re a member of the sandwich generation, who is busy with a family at home, a career, and an aging parent in the house too. Often, it can take a toll on your well-being and overall quality of life due to the stress of the parent needs and children’s needs.

Alzheimer’s and dementia patients also place a unique challenge on their families. If you’ve “senior-proofed” your home by removing area rugs, adding lighting, and putting away breakables, you’re already very much aware. We all want the best for our aging parents, but it can be hard to have the know-how and the overall means to accomplish everything that would be appropriate in a typical home care setting.

When you talk to your parents about assisted living options, be direct with them. Invite them over for dinner. Offer them a cup of coffee or tea, or an adult beverage (if their medications allow for the consumption of alcohol). Speak to them directly about finances, workloads, and the reality of your life while coping with this much on your plate.

  • It can be helpful if you have toured a facility already. You’ll be knowledgeable about the activities and staff and be able to speak honestly about the facility.

It isn’t appropriate to put your parents on a “guilt trip.” Be loving and kind, but also completely honest about your struggles. List for them the ways assisted living might improve their lifestyle.

  • 24/7 access to trained medical care professionals equipped for specific health problems that might arise
  • Quality food options so they won’t need to prepare meals
  • Assistance with daily tasks like bathing
  • Medication management
  • Peers and activities they’ll enjoy
  • Opportunities for work or handicrafts

But what if you’ve been down this road a few times already? Perhaps you’ve had these discussions before.

Try Changing Your Approach

If a dinner table discussion isn’t working out, try taking your parent on a tour of the assisted living community you’re interested in. Point out, in person, how nice the furniture is, how clean the carpets are, how much fun other seniors are having in a craft room or with a physical activity.

Your parent might recognize some friends or feel better when they see other seniors enjoying themselves in a quality assisted living community.

Offer Some Options

Sometimes a parent might refuse an assisted living community for personal reasons. These reasons are unique to each individual, but they may not like the staff they met, the exterior, or the paint on the walls. Your parent might not even be able to put into words why don’t like a place. They just don’t like it!

If you think this might be the case with your loved one, respect their opinion. Try offering them several brochures to review. Start with about three options (no need to overwhelm them) and ask them to pick one they’d like to visit in person. Tour that place and start a discussion.

  • Ask them what they do or don’t like about it.
  • Recognize your parent’s needs, fears, or concerns. Make sure they feel involved in the choice.
  • Be realistic with them. Explain that assisted living is the right decision, and you want them to be happy and healthy.
  • Stay calm and positive. If your parent gets upset, even nasty about the situation, take the lead with a positive attitude and a quiet voice.
  • End the conversation by letting them know that you’ll keep looking until you find the right place.

Take It Slow

Even if your aging parent approves of the idea, your relationship with them is the most important thing. There is never a need to have a family “break up” over the choice to move into an assisted living community. Give your loved one plenty of time to review brochures, tour facilities, and ask questions.

If your parent still refuses to choose an assisted living program, consider getting their doctor involved. Not matter what happens, our parents still think of us as their (adult) children. They look at us and remember our early years. Sometimes the advice of a respected medical professional with some letters after their name will show them that you’ve been right about a move all along.

What Do I Do When I Can’t Take Care of Dad Anymore?

What Do I Do When I Can’t Take Care of Dad Anymore?

It’s time for you to make the decision whether dad (or mom) has to move from his house to senior housing or a care facility. The decision has been a long time in making and is one of the hardest decisions you’ve ever had to make. The father you remember is energetic, quick-witted, in good health, and strong. However, the man standing in front of you is frail, not able to remember to match his socks, and seems unable to focus on simple tasks. You feel you just can’t take care of dad and can no longer meet his needs.

As you discuss the possible options and the final decision, dad tries desperately to convince you that he can manage on his own. He then asks if he can live with you. Neither are appropriate options. If this sounds like you, know that you’re not alone.

The following is some advice about making this kind of decision and how to live with it as a caregiver and daughter or son.

  • Involve your dad in the decision if at all possible. It will make it easier for him to adjust if he feels he had some control and input into his future. Remember…it’s his life.
  • Once a decision is made, make sure he has a schedule that is easy to follow including regular visits from family and friends (if he is not living with you).
  • Don’t feel you must visit every single day…a day or two off a week is essential for your own mental health and sanity.
  • Don’t forget him when celebrate the holidays or take family vacations. He’s still a member of your family.
  • Make sure he feels welcomed no matter where he is.
  • Make sure he is able to maintain a regular medication schedule and doesn’t miss a dose.
  • Confirm if he is still keeping his medical appointments (doctor, dentist, and optometrist, etc.). You may even want to take him to his appointments, so you know what’s going on firsthand.
  • You might want to have him get a psychological evaluation or talk with a therapist transitions can sometimes be hard.
  • Help your father bring easy care and easy-dress clothing when he moves.
  • Stay reachable by mobile phone and see if someone else will visit him when you can’t.
  • Get to know the staff and make sure they know you. It will be important as your dad continues to need care and support. Facility staff and doctors may be more willing to help if they know you personally.
  • Don’t feel guilty. You are making the best decision you can and only have your dad’s best interest in mind.
  • Take time for yourself – “me time.” Get a manicure or pedicure, go to the movies, have a glass of wine.
  • Remember to let yourself off the hook for the decision you had to make or help your dad make. You made the best decision you could. Your dad’s welfare is important.

Again, know that you are not alone with this decision-making process. This can be a natural part of life. When you feel you can’t take care of a parent any longer, remember that you are trying to do what is best for your dad and yourself at the same time, and that’s OK. It will take a little time to adjust, so try to be patient.

What To Do When Aging Parents Won’t Follow Your Advice

What To Do When Aging Parents Won’t Follow Your Advice

If you’re struggling with aging parents who refuse help, you’re far from alone. According to a recent study conducted by Penn State University, a whopping 77% of adult children believe their parents are stubborn about taking their advice or getting help with daily tasks. Fortunately, the situation isn’t hopeless.

How do you get your aging parents to listen to you?

It’s not uncommon for adult children to make numerous suggestions about improving their parents’ quality of life only to consistently be turned down. Aging care and health professionals recommend the following steps to relieve the resentment and anxiety that can accompany caring for aging parents and loved ones:

  • Try to understand the motivation behind their behavior

Aging is a difficult process for virtually everyone. Many older adults are living with dementia or mental health issues including anxiety and depression. Taking time to understand how your parents might be feeling can help you communicate with them better. Realizing that your parents’ autonomy is important to them can be beneficial. As your yourself some key questions about your loved one’s behavior:

Are their actions –

  • Due to force of habit?
  • To assert independence?
  • Due to depression?
  • Because they’re confused or have dementia?

What are they mostly afraid of?

Identifying the root cause, or causes, of your parents’ behavior can help you identify the best way to make positive changes.

  • Accept the situation

While you might wish you could control your elderly parents for their own good, the reality is you can’t force them to do anything. Your parents are adults with the right to make decisions even poor ones. Accepting this fact as hard as it is at times can help lower your stress and even improve your relationship with your mother and/or father.

  • Pick and choose your battles

People don’t respond well to nagging, real or perceived. In the long run, it might help your case to stop insisting your parents update their phones, join a fitness class, or complete other beneficial, but non-essential tasks. Instead, decide what issues are the most important and focus on them at least initially. Matters involving your parents’ safety, for instance, should take top priority. But remember, they’re much more likely to take your concerns seriously if you don’t bombard them with several at once, no matter how valid they may be.

  • Treat your aging parents like adults

While it may feel as if you and your parents have switched roles at times, they’re still your parents, and want to be treated with respect. Dealing with a stubborn parent is not the same as dealing with a stubborn child. Older people should be autonomous. When it comes to dealing with aging parents, remember this: above all, the goal is to help your parents receive the best care possible. Avoid infantilizing your parents! You’re much more likely to get positive results by treating your aging parents like the adults they are. This goes for simple tasks, such as helping your parents remember to take their medications, and harder tasks, like helping them get treatment for diabetes.

  • Ask them to do if for the kids (or grandkids)

If mom isn’t willing to change her behavior for herself, maybe she will for a loved one. Another approach to dealing with aging parents is to be direct about how it affects you. Communicate your worries to your parent and explain how your anxieties will be tempered if he or she follows your advice.

  • Find an outlet for your feelings.

If you’re angry or resentful that your elderly parent refuses to move to a safer living situation or take their medication as directed, it’s important to vent but not to your parents. Instead, confide in, or strategize with a friend, sibling, therapist, online support group, or senior living advisor. This is especially important if you are the primary caregiver to your aging parents.

No matter how deeply you care about your mom and dad, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with frustration, fear, and anxiety when constantly dealing with their irrational behavior. Guard against this by caring for yourself and finding activities to help release negative emotions.

  • Plan ahead and talk about those plans

Even if your parent has not been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, living with any kind of memory loss can be very difficult for seniors to deal with, or even acknowledge. Helping your aging parents remember important dates eases frustration for everyone. Is there a family celebration they want to attend that’s coming up, such as an anniversary, graduation, or wedding? Bring it up. Talk about it frequently. Share in the excite together.

What do you do when an elderly parent refuses needed care?

Ironically, you should listen.

By paying attention to your aging parents’ needs and heeding the advice of health professionals, you can make dealing with aging parents less stressful for everyone even if Mom and Dad don’t always listen to you.

Is Now an OK Time to Move Your Loved One to Assisted Living?

Is Now an OK Time to Move Your Loved One to Assisted Living?

With All the Pandemic Concerns, Is Now an OK Time to Move Your Loved One to Assisted Living?

The short answer is, yes! An assisted living community can provide significant advantages to older adults who are feeling isolated and would benefit from extra support with activities of daily living or families who are struggling with caregiver burnout.

An Assisted Living Community Surrounds Your Loved One with Experts

You are definitely an expert when it comes to knowing your loved one. However, you may not be trained and educated on taking care of them. The staff and administrative team at assisted living communities have extensive backgrounds in the type of work needed to make sure your loved one feels at home while also receiving the best possible care.

Additionally, staff in assisted living communities have now had months of training and experience in creating a safe environment during the pandemic. There is no doubt you trying as hard as you can to do the same, but it’s unlikely that you have access to the same type of resources found in assisted living communities. At The Classic, our care staff are kept totally up-to-date with pertinent guidance and protocols surrounding Covid-19. Our care teams are continually adapting to appropriate information based on the latest information provided by the Department of Health Services, the Centers of Disease Control, and City-County Health Department. You can rest assured knowing your loved one is receiving the best care possible.

Caretakers Have Less Chance of Being Exposed

If you or other family members have been taking care of your loved one, it is safe to say that is not your only responsibility. You may be working from home, but you still have to leave occasionally and risk exposure. While the virus may not substantially affect you, you could still pass it along to your loved one even if you are trying to be careful. At The Classic, we continue to implement rigorous virus sanitizing protocols daily. The City-County Health Department continues to direct our actions. Resident’s temperatures are taken twice a day and our care teams are vigilantly monitoring all signs and symptoms for everyone who lives and works in our community.

Your Loved One Will Have More Resources to Ride Out the Pandemic

Social distancing has been difficult for everyone, introverts and extroverts alike. Older adults were already at a higher risk of experiencing loneliness and isolation before the pandemic, and that risk has only risen in the past few months. You want your loved one to be socially active, but it can be difficult to do that safely right now if they live alone.

Some older adults rely heavily on restaurants for their meals and do not cook for themselves. While restrictions have eased a bit in some part of the country, some elders may simply not feel comfortable going out to eat. In an assisted living community, residents have access to chef-planned and prepared meals every day. Housekeeping and linen service, medication management, transportation to medical appointments are just some of the services offered by senior living communities like The Classic.

Vital Social Connection

A neighborhood of potential friends is part of an assisted living community. At The Classic, our goal is to strike balances between the crucial need to maintain physical health with mental health leading to happiness.

During this unprecedented time, our Life Enrichment team is finding creative ways to keep residents active while keeping them safe and connected with their families in ways that feel fulfilling.

How the Virus Affects Your Decision

Ultimately, the pandemic should not affect your decision to move or not move. It should, however, affect how you move.

In other words, if you would consider moving your loved one to an assisted living community before the pandemic, or would be considering it, then odds are you should still be considering this now. You just need to consider if the older adult in your life would feel safer and more supported in an assisted living community.

We are here to help you navigate this important decision. Learn more about our unique assisted living community has to offer at: https://theclassichg.com/living-options/assisted-living/.

Don’t Let the Covid-19 Pandemic Delay Your Move to Senior Living

Don’t Let the Covid-19 Pandemic Delay Your Move to Senior Living

Don’t Let the Covid-19 Pandemic Delay Your Move to Senior Living

With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to hold a heavy grip on America, now might not seem like the best time to consider a move to senior living. HOWEVER, when you weigh the risks and benefits of moving to a senior living community versus waiting out the pandemic at home, for many individuals, it still makes more sense on balance to start exploring the option of moving.

There are several reasons why joining a senior living community sooner than later might be the best choice for you or an older loved one.

Avoiding Isolation

Older adults who live alone are vulnerable to loneliness and isolation putting them at increased risk of a wide range of physical, emotional, and mental health issues. In fact, according to the National Institute on Aging, research has shown that social isolation and loneliness are linked to higher risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death among older adults. Of course, when stay-at-home orders are put in place for weeks or months at a time, older adults’ sense of loneliness is greatly compounded.

In contrast, older adults who choose to live at communities like The Classic, can stay engaged and never have to experience isolation because of the built-in community of residents and staff. A wide variety of activities and amenities are available that can build up and maintain the body, mind, and spirit, all while adhering to all health guidelines and directives.

Strict Health Protocols

Quality senior communities have long since implemented strict protocols in response to the pandemic in order to keep their residents healthy. These measures include: requiring appropriate social distancing, encouraging regular hand washing, limiting or restricting visitations, postponing or modifying group activities, enhancing already strict cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and requiring sick staff members to stay home.

Regular Health Monitoring

Residents at senior living communities like The Classic, are being regularly screened for symptoms of coronavirus so any cases can be caught early to prevent spread to others. Routine health monitoring doesn’t begin or end with Covid-19. Even in “normal” times, nursing and care staff always keep a close eye on the health status of residents, especially those with pre-existing conditions to ensure they’re getting the appropriate treatments and level of care. In addition, medications are kept on hand, so residents don’t have to drive to the pharmacy to get them and staff can assist residents in managing them properly.

Meals and Snacks Provided

One of the biggest challenges facing the general population during the Covid-19 crisis is ensuring that nutritious foods and other essentials are available in sufficient quantities. For many people, that means making regular forays to the grocery store or bulk retail club risking exposure (or exposing others) to the virus on each trip. But for residents of senior living communities, there’s no need to leave home to stock up on food because meals and snacks are always available.

The bottom line is that the Covid-19 pandemic has not stopped many individuals from joining us at The Classic in the past several months and enjoying a healthy, safe, and awesome lifestyle.

Feel free to contact us for a tour and learn more about our most up-to-date policies related to apartment availability, family visits, activities, dining, and much more.

How To Keep Your Senior Loved One’s Morale Upbeat During Covid-19

How To Keep Your Senior Loved One’s Morale Upbeat During Covid-19

How To Keep Your Senior Loved One’s Morale Upbeat During Covid-19

With the Covid-19 pandemic now entering its seventh month, are you having ongoing concerns about the morale of your senior loved one? While The Classic continues to offer patio visits for interaction with families and friends, you may be wondering what are some other methodologies you can explore that will creatively communicate with our residents.

The following information contains some ideas on how you can continue to communicate and show your loved one you are there in spirit and still care.

  • Send snail mail

Handwritten cards and letters are more special than ever, perhaps because electronic communication is increasingly supplanting them. Recipients can display the cards and re-read correspondence to remind themselves that you care.

  • Share a virtual meal

Plan a long-distance date. Order what your loved one likes and pay for it via a meal delivery service and make sure the meal gets there at the appropriate time. Then call to talk during the meal, making sure your loved one knows how to use the speakerphone feature on his/her cellphone or landline phone.

  • Use other delivery services

You know the snacks your loved one likes. Since you can’t bring a few packages of treats during an apartment visit, arrange for a bulk delivery. For those in independent or assisted living who still like to cook, you can get grocery lists and do the shopping for them or use a shopping service. When dropping off your items, be sure to label the boxes or bags in a prominent location and include the resident’s name and room number.

  • Create your own Facebook book club

If your kids are at an age where they love being read to, make sure Grandma or Grandpa has some kids’ books they can read aloud. If they don’t, order some online, using the video-calling feature on their digital device. Among the most popular video calling apps are Apple’s Facetime. Please note, this app only works with iPhones, iPads, and Macintosh computers. Other options include: Skype, Amazon Alexa, Facebook Messenger, Google Duo, and IMO. Viber and WhatsApp also work on Google Android, Microsoft Windows and other devices.

Be sure to coordinate so that everyone is on the same platform. This way, grandkids of different siblings can be on the same story time call.

Older kids can make the call more like adults’ book clubs. Both the grandparent and grandchild can read a couple of chapters of the same book and talk about their impressions or what they learned.

Watching the same TV shows together, such as a documentary on Netflix or Amazon Prime, can also spark discussions that spans generations.

And if reading a book or watching a documentary isn’t an option, perhaps because of your loved one’s memory loss, help the kids in a sing-along. Singing old, familiar songs, “Happy Birthday,” or classic hymns of they’re religious, can bring back memories and is a skill that often remains even if speech is difficult.

  • Order a jigsaw puzzle of your family

Mail order companies specialize in custom puzzles from photographs or perhaps your child’s artwork. If your loved one is a puzzle lover, you can have a puzzle delivered that contains 2,000 or more pieces. But also available are those with as few as 15 pieces, which might work well for people with dementia or less dexterity. While you’re at it, order a coffee mug with a favorite family photo on it.

  • Play a board game

Think about the games your family loved growing up, such as Clue, Monopoly, Life, Scrabble, or Sorry, or if you have young kids, children’s classics such as Candyland or Chutes & Ladders. Familiarity with the rules is important.

Backgammon, bingo, and chess also will work if you’ve played those in the past and both sides know the lingo of the game. Make sure identical game boards are set up at your house and your loved one’s home You and your family then can play the game over the telephone, talking about how the dice landed and what moves your game piece is making. A cellphone set on speaker will work well for this because games sometimes take hours. A video call also will add dimension but isn’t necessary if everyone commits to narrating their actions.

  • Assemble a hobby box

Since The Classic has suspended many of the group activities, your loved ones have a lot more free time on their hands.

This is the time to find a nice box at a craft store, perhaps decorate it and fill it with items that your loved one can come back to again and again. Put in items that will work with their existing hobbies or ask what they’ve always wanted to try. Think crossword puzzle books for those who like a brain challenge, paints, and suitable paper for those who have been artistic in the craft room, squishy balls and miniature Slinkys for other toys for those with a silly streak, yarn and hooks for crocheters.

Why Senior Living is an Excellent Option for Senior’s Safety and Happiness

Why Senior Living is an Excellent Option for Senior’s Safety and Happiness

Why Senior Living is an Excellent Option for Senior’s Safety and Happiness

Today’s senior living communities are very different from those of the past and they should not be confused with nursing homes. They typically are independent living, age-restricted residences for those who want to downsize and live a more maintenance–free lifestyle and may also offer additional assisted living services if needed. Many times, older adults move to these communities when their spouses pass away, when they are recently retired, when their family home seems too large to manage, or are simply planning for a new chapter in their life.

Consider the following benefits to understand how a move to senior living could help you happy and healthy as you age.

Senior Social Interaction

Loneliness can lead to depression, high blood pressure, and early mortality in seniors according to research from the University of Chicago. Even if an elderly person is in good health, aging alone by one’s self can be emotionally detrimental. During the coronavirus pandemic, planned interaction is more important than ever. Seniors aging at home can be having very limited access to family and friends or be unable to visit local senior centers, which can lead to increased isolation. Independent and assisted living communities like The Classic at Hillcrest Greens have worked very hard to adapt to social distancing while creating new activities for seniors to stay engaged and safe. Happy hours, communal art classes, and other large-group activities are on hold, but the happiness of elderly residents is still a top priority.

Intellectual Stimulation

Assisted and independent living communities offer opportunities for lifetime learning. Even as communities practice social distancing, many residents can have access to having books delivered and can always subscribe to online courses. Other options include “brain training” resources and brain games for seniors that my lower the risk of long-term cognitive decline.

Senior Safety

Keeping seniors healthy and safe is a priority for independent and assisted living communities.

Senior living minimizes the risks of falls

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in seniors 65 and older, according to the CDC. Independent and assisted living communities are designed for accessibility and mobility, with ramps, flat thresholds, and hallway hand railings. Raised toilets, specially designed walk-in showers and grab bars in bathrooms also reduce the risk of falls.

Security is always available

Elderly people are often targets for break-ins and scams. Senior living communities have security measures and alarm systems in place to provide peace of mind.

Senior living communities are prepared for disaster

Elderly people aging in their own home are responsible for checking smoke detectors, installing carbon monoxide alarms, and replacing fire extinguishers. In the event of an emergency like a tornado, earthquake, or fire they might have to find safety on their own. Assisted and independent living communities have disaster plans and staff are prepared to help seniors in case of an emergency.

On-call staff provide peace of mind in medical emergencies

Rooms in independent and assisted living communities have medical alert systems in place to notify staff in case of a fall or injury. This means seniors don’t have to worry about struggling to contact help or waiting to be found after a medical emergency.

Fitness and Physical Activities for Seniors

Seniors who are physically active tend to live longer. Exercise classes offer the opportunity for physical fitness. Even as communities practice social distancing, activities directors have come up with ways to keep seniors active, like hallway exercise classes, and in-room chair yoga.

Chef-prepared, nutritious meals

Seniors living alone may find it difficult to adjust to cooking for one, and it may be challenging for family caregivers to ensure their loved one is getting adequate nutrition. In assisted living, residents are served up to three meals a day, with attention to special dietary needs for people with diabetes and food allergies.

Maintenance-free lifestyle

Home maintenance can be both physically difficult and emotionally stressful. A water leak, broken ramp, or downed tree can make a senior’s home inaccessible. Outsourcing lawn care, snow removal, and minor house repairs can also be expensive. If your loved one enjoys yard work or tinkering, look for a community that allows them to pursue that passion.

Help with activities of daily living

Almost 80% of help with activities of daily living (ADLs) www.theclassichg.com/assessing-your-loved-ones-ability-to-complete-activities-of-daily-living/ comes from unpaid family caregivers, according to an AARP study of caregiving in the U.S. Minor assistance with dressing, bathing, and daily grooming provided by senior living can help keep aging adults feeling independent longer. Plus, less reliance on friends and family members for daily help leads to more fun, quality time with loved ones.

No more boredom

After retirement, seniors may be overwhelmed by free time. These extra hours can be used to pursue passions or pick up new hobbies. Many independent and assisted living communities offer activities that appeal to all walks of life. Art classes, cooking lessons, and community service projects are all ways to kindle new interests, while lending libraries and movie nights provide classic entertainment all in one place.

Stress-free lifestyle

Rent at independent and assisted living communities is generally all-inclusive. That means seniors don’t have to worry about housekeeping, laundry, or chores. Transportation is also available, so there’s no stress about finding rides to appointments if there isn’t health care on-site. Twenty-four-hour on-call staff members provide peace of mind in case of medical emergencies like falls or maintenance emergencies like plumbing leaks. Currently, senior living communities are focusing on minimizing coronavirus-related stress in seniors as well. www.theclassichg.com/moving-to-the-classic-during-covid-19/.

Learn more abut independent or assisted living

If your aging loved one would enjoy the lifestyle benefits of independent or assisted living, feel free to reach out to The Classic at Hillcrest Greens at www.theclassichg.com/contact-us/.