Category: Senior Living

The right time to discuss senior care…

“Adult children want their parents to thrive,” explains Melissa Stanton, the marketing and sales manager at Cumberland Crossings, a Diakon Senior Living community in Carlisle, PA. “There are certain changes that are expected as a loved one ages. The pace of life might slow. Self-care may take on new dimensions. But there are some changes that indicate your loved one needs extra help.”

Melissa shares some helpful information in this post and answers the difficult question of how do you know when it’s the right time to broach the topic of senior care?

A good time is when you see your loved one struggling to complete essential daily activities such as dressing, bathing, managing meals and medication. Or when they are showing signs of memory loss – forgetting appointments or having trouble remembering common words. If you see their personal hygiene or the cleanliness of their home declining, or they are showing uncharacteristic behaviors/moods. If YOU or another caregiver is experiencing burnout, it is time to talk about senior care.

Right now, may be the ideal time to talk to your parents about a transition plan, even if some of these signs are very mild. It may not seem like an easy conversation to have but having a plan in place can help everyone focus on enjoying the present!

Often, seniors express the desire to age in place. In many cases, this means a family member steps into a caregiving role. While this may be sustainable for a while, there is a strong chance of your loved one’s caregiver experiencing burnout. This could necessitate an added layer of help or a move into senior living. You know the baseline mood of your loved one. You know what kinds of behaviors are typical and which are concerning. If you’re noticing emotions and behaviors that are out of the normal range, this could be a sign your loved one needs some additional support.

To read more, please click here.

Spreading joy abroad and at home

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This Maya Angelou quote is something I heard early in my career working with long-term care and memory care residents that continues to touch my heart. Many of my residents do not remember the activities or special programs that I provide to help enhance their quality of life, but they do remember how they made them feel: happy, joyful, reflective, peaceful, calm, etc. 

It was with that understanding in mind that I spent 2 1/2 weeks in September in Zambia, a country landlocked at the crossroads of central, southern, and east Africa. The trip was possible thanks in part to Diakon’s Love of Our Neighbor Fund. With its support, I benefited from five extra vacation days and a 10-day stipend. 

Prompted to share a passion for writing

Several months before moving to Cumberland Crossings, our daughter Melissa accepted the position of marketing manager. To support her new role, I scheduled a tour, thinking it was the perfect time to do some research on retirement communities. At the same time, my husband developed a second serious heart issue (both, by the way, have since been resolved – whew!), one of which would require surgery. While he was waiting for the surgery, he was suffering from a serious case of cabin fever, so I invited him to join us.  

On the day of the tour, we drove from Susquehanna Township and hopped onto Melissa’s golf cart to tour the senior living community – she showed us several types of cottages, explained the rates, described the amenities, etc. We fell in love with the campus and the cottages, and after researching other continuing care retirement communities, we kept coming back to Cumberland Crossings as our first choice. I tell everyone that we pushed the “fast forward button” on our lives! We downsized, and we never looked back.   

Once we were settled, I accepted the role of Hospitality Coordinator on the Board of the Residents’ Association. For three years in that role, I took my marching orders from none other than Melissa, who I worked with as she brought prospective residents onto campus. When the prospects chose to join us for dinner, I would host them with other residents to answer any questions they may have to give them a current independent living resident’s perspective. Little did I know I’d be “working” for my daughter at this age!

Why independent living enhances life

Many people think of retirement as a time to truly live life.

You’ve spent years working, caring for children, potentially even caring for your grandchildren and spending your time serving the community. When it comes time to retire, many older adults often want to take some time to do what they love, explore passions and focus on everything they’ve been wanting to do for years.

At an independent living community such as those Diakon offers, we understand this fact, so we provide opportunities and amenities to enable residents to have the freedom to do as they please, every day.

Focus on hobbies and passions—because of the freedom you’ll have!

Our independent living lifestyle allows residents to be as busy, as relaxed and as adventurous as they wish. Click here for just a few of the ways we ensure our residents have more time to focus on their interests and hobbies.

Are fat-free and sugar-free products better for you?

As a registered dietitian, I am often asked a lot of health- and diet-related questions by friends and family members. 

Two of the more common ones are:·         

Are artificial sweeteners better for you than real sugar?

Which fats are “good” fats?  

Eating a healthy diet includes all food groups; our bodies need carbohydrates, fats and protein to function properly and the right mix is key. So can fat-free and low-fat products aid in keeping ourselves fit and healthy? 

Absolutely! 

However, paying attention to labels is key. Because something labeled low-fat may not be a magic bullet.  

The social benefits of a senior living community

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll not only on health but also on people’s ability to socialize.

We’ve taken extensive steps at all our senior living communities to provide as much socialization as possible while focused as well on keeping everyone safe. Nevertheless, we look forward to the time soon when we can resume more “normal” activities.

That’s particularly important because something most people recognize about senior living communities is that socialization and connections are key to creating this ideal environment for older people.

Connecting with others and remaining social have many advantages; in fact, most older adults find that living alone at home simply doesn’t provide opportunities for them to meet new people, explore their passions, enjoy the company of others or live the lifestyle they want to enjoy.

At a senior living community, there are many ways people can achieve the benefits of socialization, allowing for a happy, healthy and social life!

If you or a loved one are looking into making the move to a senior living community—particularly now that vaccinations are beginning to take hold and we are offering safety-focused in-person tours—I hope you will consider some of the social benefits residents enjoy on a daily basis!

You can meet an array of new people. When moving to and living in a senior living community, you can be introduced to different types of people who have similar life experiences or very different ones. From seniors just like you to people who enjoy other interests, the opportunities are endless.

Click here to read more about the social benefits of a senior living community…

How to choose the perfect memory care community

Mark and Sarah both noticed the same thing.

It was just after Christmas several years ago when Sarah’s mother called one of her grandchildren by the wrong name.

It was just an honest slip-up, they thought.

But more memory-related concerns arose after that one incident and, eventually, they knew Sarah’s mother, who was widowed, would soon need some type of memory care. They were coming to fear for her safety as she continued to live alone.

Many families quickly become overwhelmed in looking for the best memory-care options. That’s understandable; there are many options and resources available.

But all of us at Diakon Senior Living Services stand ready as experts in senior care to help you review your options and make an informed decision.

Be sure to tour a variety of programs and communities. While proximity to you may be very important, the types of services your loved one requires may not be available as close as you hope, so be open to reviewing all communities, even if they are not as close as you prefer. However, be sure also consider the impact longer-distance travel can have.

To read more tips about how to choose a memory care facility, please click here. 

Quality care that feels like vacation

It’s just like a vacation.

That’s what the 101-year-old calls her occasional stays in personal care at a Diakon Senior Living Community.

“My family—I am so fortunate to live with them—travels a lot during the year. They work hard and certainly deserve that time away,” says the woman.

“And I certainly never want to be a burden!”

Bridging the gap

Bridges are often a welcome sight.

They lead us to a new vista or, in many instances, home from a trip away.

Diakon Senior Living Services’ Bridge to Home program is one more instance of that important connection—a critical link to comforting surroundings, to what is familiar.

Diakon’s Bridge to Home service is a concept we offer to help rehab patients and others nearing the end of hospitalization or short-term care take the important steps to return home.

Even in 2020, there were things to be thankful for …

The dates may have varied in each senior living community, but the outcome was the same. For us, it was March 12 of last year. The day everything changed.

That was the day the Diakon senior living community of which I am chaplain closed its doors to visitors and most family members to protect our residents from the virus that can cause COVID-19 disease. In an instant, most of my tasks as chaplain fell away.