Pet Friendly Assisted Living

Pet Friendly Assisted LivingThere was an episode of the Twilight Zone in the 50’s where a senior man refused to walk through the gates of heaven if they wouldn’t let him bring his dog in with him.  Fortunately, they did let him, and it is certain that many senior citizens feel just as strongly about wanting to bring their beloved pets with them while transitioning to their next stage of life— assisted living.  Many communities today have taken into account the benefits that owning pets can provide, such as stress relief, happiness, and feelings of companionship.  Studies have even found medical benefits such as lowered blood pressure and heart rate to be attributed to pet owning.  In response, many senior care facilities are now not only pet friendly, but also offer nurturing, grooming, and pet sitting services for the resident’s four-legged roommates— assisting their living too!

When searching for your ideal assisted living option, make sure to investigate some of the following factors regarding their policies on pets:

• Does the assisted living community allow pets in the first place?
• Is the weight or size of your pet an important factor?
• Does the senior care community make restrictions to certain breeds?~Is more than one pet allowed?  If so, how many?
• Are there exceptions or special cases where a pet-restricted community may allow pets?  Such as comfort animals, or seeing-eye dogs?

Read: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Assisted Living

Once these matters have been addressed, potential assisted living residents can explore what other services, programs, or pet friendly options are available for their domestic animals. Some communities, even provide the services of Pet Coordinators to keep an eye on resident’s pets, safeguarding any registered animals and making sure they are receiving proper medications, food, and physical activity.  Be sure to go over these prospects when consulting your assisted living options, if the idea of living arrangement without your pet does not sound like heaven.

 

Senior Loneliness

Dangers of Seniors Living AloneC.S. Lewis once said that, “friendship gives value to survival,” and today, medical research is showing that friendship also helps you survive.  It is becoming more clear that those who maintain rich friendships and stay social with others in their communities well into their later years generally hold on to cognitive and physical health longer than their introverted and misanthropic peers.

Studies have found that relationships are factors in fighting the development of mental disorders, including depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s, all of which are conditions often worsened by high levels of senior loneliness.  Friendships serve to keep people active, engaged, and motivated, by providing sources of incitement to activity, which is good for stimulating and exercising the mind and body, as well as offering a sense of purpose.

Many seniors find themselves alone toward the end of their lives, not because they dislike people or have antisocial tendencies, but rather because life’s circumstances were arranged that they lost, or fell out of touch with, those closest to them, and now they don’t know how to reach out to anyone new.

More and more seniors are finding that elder care communities are places that serve as outlets for now isolated extraverts to meet and develop friendships with others. The good news is that the assisted Living facilities of today do not offer mere health care to senior residents, but also “social capital.” Social capital is anything that builds trust, interconnectedness, and participation among members of a community.  And as seniors face retirement and loss of friends and family, social capital tends to decline with age.  In response, assisted living facilities are attempting to broaden the social horizons of residents; in research has shown that seniors living in communities with greater social capital were healthier and had higher mobility than seniors in communities with lower social capital.

Read: How To Protect Our Elders

Interviews conducted with seniors, asking questions regarding how many people they felt they could rely on for help or trust with private matters, determined that the size of an older person’s social network was a determinant in decreasing the likelihood of developing dementia by 26 percent, and that maintaining daily contact with friends and family though visits, telephone communication, and mail reduces the chance of dementia by about half.

It seems clear that keeping people in your life into your later years can contribute to health as well as overall quality of life.  Even if you do not consider yourself to be or want to be a bubbly, socialite, simply taking the time to participate to some degree in your community or be around others can serve to help your cognition and general health.  So, if assisted living is something that you have considered for yourself or a loved one, but never took the time to look into, now may be a good time to start researching your options, especially if you are in want of a social outlet.

Tips For Visiting Grandparents With Alzheimer’s

AlzheimersIt is a traumatic and devastating experience for everyone in the family when the senior members begin to lose hold of precious memories as the effects of Alzheimer’s worsen. How does “the family” exist in this state, where they can hardly share in the memories they have built together?   One of the most difficult tasks facing families is how a parent can explain to their young children that grandma or grandpa, who shares so many memories of baking great food and telling them how much they are loved, is having trouble recognizing and remembering who their grandchildren are!

It is important to educate grandchildren as best as you can about the disease, to let them build feelings of sympathy and love rather than fear and betrayal.  Be sure to let them know that in many cases it is not impossible to still have some kind of meaningful relationship with grandparents suffering from memory loss, and that they can still participate in each other’s life.

Read: How To Care For Someone With Alzheimer’s 

The family must do its best to strengthen its ties and come closer together by taking up the mindset of “living in the now” for as long as possible, as the affected seniors are faced with letting go of the future as they’re losing grip on the past.  In these inherently difficult situations, all that can be done is to make the best of it, let the grandchildren appreciate this lesson in how precious time really is, when not everyone is always guaranteed tomorrow.

When taking the family to visit a grandparent with Alzheimer’s, make sure that the grandchildren are prepared for what they are likely to experience, and let it be understood that the senior member of the family will need to be treated extra sensitivity, support, and patience in this tough circumstance.  If the grandparent’s memory is still partially in tact regarding family members, it may be a meaningful and beneficial practice to find ways of documenting or capturing each subsequent visiting experience in photographs, to help remind them of these special moments later.  Find activities that grandkids may use to still be able to reach out to them, like card games grandparents may still enjoy and remember how to play.

Children are often frightened and threatened by things that they do not understand, but kids are also capable of deep love, commitment, and optimism which can be inspiring and endearing to those they visit.  So, take the time to explain Alzheimer’s to the grandchildren of the family, and build a stronger bond through education and empathy.

Memory Loss

Improve Your MemoryMemory loss is a condition that affects millions of Americans and it can be a frustrating and emotionally stressful hardship to endure when attempting daily activities.  While some of the more serious memory loss disorders like Alzheimer’s remain without a cure, medical research has shown that there are numerous precautions and lifestyle habits that can be applied to prevent memory loss down the road.  Protecting a brain that is still healthy is certainly easier and favored option to fixing a damaged brain.  Fortunately, methods to prevent cognitive deterioration are relatively simple, inexpensive, and bordering on common sense, giving you more control than you may realize!

Plenty of medical literature is available with tips and strategies for keeping the brain healthy and averting cognitive decline.  The works of authors Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan, including, The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program, The Memory Prescription, and Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind, provide excellent information grounded in extensive research aimed to arm you with the knowledge and tools you need to fight for your extended mental fitness.

Research emphasizes the following as being the most helpful approaches to preserving a healthy brain as long as possible:

• Nutrition – maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding excess refined sugar and processed foods, while nourishing the body with water, fruits, vegetables, and vitamins are a great way to refresh the brain. Green Tea, rich in polyphenols (antioxidants that protect brain cells), and even wine in moderation (1 glass per day for women, 2 for men) has proven to improve memory and cognition.

• Physical Exercise – incorporating some aerobic exercises into the daily routine works to stimulate brain cells. The exercised body produces endorphins that improve mental focus.

• Mental Exercise – Engaging in fun, mentally stimulating activities, like puzzles, manual work, or video games, (activities not too challenging or easy) can improve mental retention and performance by keeping the mind on its toes, so to speak.

• Social Relationships – People are social beings, and developing relationships with others and engaging in communal activities (clubs, volunteering, church) can serve to keep the mind stimulated and engaged. Even the companionship of a pet can provide some relational help.

• Controlling Stress – Enriching the body with routine rest and proper sleep is one of the healthiest precautions that can be taken for the brain. Find time in your schedule to do some meditation and reflection.  And don’t forget that laughter is still the best medicine, as it is a mental activity that rouses most of the brain.

Read: How Lost Memories Due To Alzheimer’s Can Be Restored

These are some of the primary preliminary measures to be taken for preserving a healthy brain.  If you are currently affected by memory loss to the point that it begins to noticeably interfere with performance of usual daily activities, it may be time to seek out medical attention or review your options for assisted living.  The red flags for memory loss becoming more serious lie in increased frequency of unusual incidents like leaving the stove on or forgetting to lock the doors at night.

 

Assisted Living Cost

Assisted LivingAs the year comes to an end, most people look ahead and wonder what exactly the New Year will bring. While there will certainly be a lot of changes to come, one area certain changes will occur is within the world of assisted living. While the exact changes that will be seen in 2015 are unknown, there are a few predictions that can help answer how assisted living could change in 2015.

Cost of care

The first, and to several people going into assisted living, one of the most important questions is the most of care. There’s been tons of changes in the past few years to the healthcare system and what it covers. When Obamacare was introduced, many seniors relying on coverage under this form of insurance were worried about what it would bring. This year, there are changes to Medicare, but luckily, these changes will have little to no impact on the healthcare provided to those living in assisted living facilities.

Locations for care

While assisted living was generally provided within facilities in the past, some believe that more and more seniors will be provided with their care in the comfort of their own home. That’s because the care options provided to seniors have expanded, allowing those who need extra care to choose from more options than ever. There’s several programs available to help seniors who are low income get financial help for their care at home, such as the Advocacy Alliance.

Read: 5 Tips to Keep Couples Living Together In Assisted Living

Levels of care

Health care is better than ever, due to advances within the healthcare system that allow doctors and nurses to provide higher levels of care for seniors. The healthcare system has advanced greatly over the past several years, and 2015 will be no different. Some studies, such as the ability to bring back memories of those with early Alzheimer’s, will allow seniors to get care like never before. 2015 may be a year of big discoveries and advancements within the healthcare system, allowing seniors to thrive and flourish in society, and may even help stop many seniors from needing assisted living to begin with.

Additionally, health care practitioners are advancing their education within the healthcare field, meaning that patients of all ages, including seniors, can get higher levels of care from alternative practitioners.

Assisted living facilities

Currently, many assisted living facilities are unable to take patients because they’re filled up, and some seniors may find themselves on long waiting lists before they’re able to get a bed at the facility. In 2015, there may be additional assisted living facilities built in order to accommodate the needs of more patients. In addition to more facilities, those that already exist may be extended upon, which will offer more space for seniors, and less wait times.

Conclusion

While we don’t know what exactly 2015 will be for those in assisted living facilities, it’s sure to bring some positive advancements, and levels of care unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the last.