Category: Senior Living

Five ways a CCRC offers peace of mind and security

We love to do educational events at our senior living communities.

Recently, we’ve tried to hold unified events across many of our campuses. For example, in June most of the campuses have speakers detailing the financial benefits of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (which some parts of the industry are terming Life Plan Communities).

That’s an excellent subject because, in fact, retirement communities do offer adult adults and their families both peace of mind and security.

As we age, we understand that there’s very little in life that’s set in stone. Life is unpredictable, and in the blink of an eye, things can change. This doesn’t just include everyday plans, but also finances, lifestyles and even abilities and health.

Certainly, it can be easy to become focused on the unknown, but that’s no way to live. And that’s not how most older adults want to live in retirement—and they shouldn’t have to.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities, such as those operated by Diakon Senior Living Services, are the perfect option for older adults who want to take advantage of an active lifestyle, but also want the peace of mind of available health care and knowing their needs will be met if their health changes. And that’s not to mention the wide array of other benefits.

When considering a move to a CCRC, it can be easy to look just at cost; however, the value far outweighs the cost. Here are just a few of the many ways our communities offer peace of mind and security:
 
1.    Worry-Free Living. CCRCs allow seniors to experience a lifestyle in which they don’t need to worry about anything. All of their needs are taken care of from care and home maintenance to housekeeping and, in many cases, dining. Residents simply focus on doing whatever they’d like to do, whether it’s enjoying programming, relaxing or grabbing a bite to eat with a friend.

To continue reading about the other ways CCRCs offer peace of mind and security, please click here.

When is it time for personal care?

As people age, many adult children and their families wonder how long their older loved one should live alone.

Common questions and worries include:

• Are they eating enough?
• Are they gaining enough socialization?
• Are they taking their medications and paying their bills on time?

If you aren’t with your loved one every day, it can be hard to be sure, leaving you increasingly worried.

One thing is certain, though: Your loved one is unlikely to let you know he or she needs additional help!

That’s why it’s important to keep an eye out and check in often to ensure loved ones are getting the support they need while living the lifestyle they deserve.

However, if you are beginning to suspect a loved one may need personal care, here are a few telltale signs you could be right:

Common questions and worries include:

•    Are they eating enough?
•    Are they gaining enough socialization?
•    Are they taking their medications and paying their bills on time?

If you aren’t with your loved one every day, it can be hard to be sure, leaving you increasingly worried.

One thing is certain, though: Your loved one is unlikely to let you know he or she needs additional help!

That’s why it’s important to keep an eye out and check in often to ensure loved ones are getting the support they need while living the lifestyle they deserve.

However, if you are beginning to suspect a loved one may need personal care, here are a few telltale signs you could be right:

●    Declining hygiene. Does your loved one not appear as neatly groomed as before? If family members or friends used to take pride in their appearance and don’t appear to care anymore, make note of that. If you visit the next day and they are in the same outfit as the day before, it’s likely a sign hygiene has declined.

Please click here to read about more the telltale signs…

The therapeutic difference …

Injured yourself? Or face another health-care issue related to aging?
 
If so, it’s important to determine if therapy can help. It’s equally important to understand the differences among therapies.
 
What is occupational therapy?

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc., some accidents, injuries or diseases can make it difficult for older adults to participate in the daily activities they enjoy. Occupational therapists help to evaluate the situation and create individualized goals so you can resume or pursue personal goals. These therapists may ask what activities you enjoy participating in and how you would like to pursue your goals.
 
Occupational therapy can help with:  
 
●     Achieving goals seniors set for themselves
●     Remaining healthy and independent in spite of a chronic medical condition
●     Rebuilding independence through assistive devices
●     Improving the ability to participate in daily activities such as driving, visiting friends, socializing and pursuing hobbies
 
What is physical therapy?

Click here to read more of the differences between physical therapy and occupational therapy.

Making that vision of the future come true!

From the time we are young, we tend to look forward to a time when we can enjoy a lifestyle in which we don’t necessarily have to work and can relax and have time to pursue passions we may have put aside.

We envision this time, and the activities we’ll enjoy with family and friends, but we often don’t consider how we’ll ever achieve that.

And we may couple that vision with a desire to remain in our own home as long as possible. What we don’t consider is the fact living in that home typically comes with restrictions and responsibilities.

Consider this: A snowstorm is coming. You need to grocery-shop, make sure you’re ready to shovel a driveway and sidewalk, and check to see if you have ice-melt for the outside steps so that you don’t fall.

Or perhaps you want to visit family or take a vacation. Typically, you need to find someone to check on your house, maybe pick up your mail or water the garden.

And these are just a few of the responsibilities you need to worry about—instead of having that time to do all those things you postponed. This situation doesn’t match that vision you had of retirement.

That’s exactly why many older adults seek out a vibrant senior living community to call their new home, a home without maintenance worries or other responsibilities.

At Diakon Senior Living Services, older adults can enjoy the lifestyle they envision. Instead of worrying about housekeeping and maintenance, they can focus on what truly matters to them.

Click here for a brief listing that gives meaning to the phrase “maintenance-free” living!

Life after total shoulder-replacement surgery

If you or someone you love has done serious damage to his or her shoulder, a total shoulder replacement may be necessary.

A total shoulder replacement is major surgery that can keep you or your loved one in the hospital for several days, in addition to requiring weeks or months of physical therapy to fully recover.

If you’re preparing for shoulder-replacement surgery, it helps to know what to expect.

After surgery

When you have your surgery, you can expect to stay in the hospital for two to five days to recover. The time will depend on how well you progress and whether you experience any complications from the surgery.

During this time, you will experience swelling and pain in your shoulder joint. Your physician will prescribe pain medication to help make you comfortable and ice to reduce the swelling. Your arm will be in a brace after surgery to keep you from moving. However, you will likely begin physical therapy during your hospital stay.

Coming home

Post-surgery, you will have very limited movement in your arm.

As you prepared for surgery, you may have arranged to have a family member or close friend help afterward if you live alone or if your spouse is unable to help you.

If not, it may be best to book a short stay at a rehabilitation center until you can do more things on your own.

In fact, it may be several weeks before you can lift much of anything. Consider how you might rearrange items in your home to make life easier as you recover. For example, think about your daily routine and set items on your bathroom sink so they are easily reachable, rather than tucked away in drawers.

Consider all the activities that require two hands and, if someone isn’t available to help, develop an alternative or find a way you can accomplish the task single-handed.

Physical therapy

Generally, you will continue to have physical therapy throughout your recovery. In addition to therapy sessions with a professional, you’ll likely be assigned exercises to do at home between sessions.

As you do these, remember not to push yourself too hard. Recognize that recovery takes time and rushing the process could result in a subsequent injury.

Physical therapy will play a vital role in recovery by limiting pain and improving the function of your new joint. Click here to read more about what your physical therapist will most likely teach you!

Five ways rehabilitation promotes independence

Everyone wants to be independent.

That’s true no matter your age.

But it can be especially important when you face the physical challenges that sometimes accompany aging.

In fact, one of the most common desires among older adults is to remain as independent as possible, as long as possible.

While many people achieve this goal by staying healthy, sometimes accidents or unforeseen illnesses can threaten independent vitality.

When a physical injury limits your mobility, or an illness disrupts daily life, taking advantage of rehabilitation services can help you to get back on your feet and remain independent much longer.

Rehabilitation services at Diakon Senior Living Services cover a variety of therapies and meet the needs of adults in less-than-their-best health. In fact, many seniors turn to rehab following a hospital stay if they’re not yet able to return home. Others seek outpatient rehab to continue therapy after an injury or surgery.

Whether physical, occupational or speech therapy, such programs can help you to regain optimal abilities and well-being.

If you face an illness or injury with the risk of loss of independence, rehabilitation can help you maintain independence longer and to the extent possible.

1.    Allows you to maintain your daily routine. Recovery can be a long road for older adults, but rehabilitation can help you get back on your feet—and back to your regular lifestyle—much faster. Those who opt out of rehab or therapy might not heal as quickly or suffer from subsequent injuries, making it harder to maintain a daily routine. For example, if a shoulder injury doesn’t heal correctly, you may always need help lifting heavy loads or reaching above your head. Rehabilitation services can help you to meet your goals for continuing your normal way of life.

Click here to read more about what rehab can do!

Everything you need to know about CCRCs

Continuing Care Retirement Communities, or CCRCs for short, are one of the most popular choices for older adults seeking a carefree community home.

These communities attract so many seniors for numerous reasons, but before you determine if a CCRC is right for you, it’s helpful to understand everything you can about this type of community and what it offers.
 
●    Continuum of care
The “continuing care” part of CCRCs refers to the variety of senior lifestyles and care the community provides. In addition to maintenance-free retirement or independent living, these communities may offer personal care/assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing care, rehabilitation or any combination of these. Some may also offer minor support for independent living residents or allow personal care services to be received in an independent living home. Residents of any type of lifestyle typically have access to the additional services offered on campus, should the need arise.

You can read more about CCRCs by clicking here.

Why you deserve a time out!

You need a time out!

Well … not the type you might assign your child!

Your time out is from caregiving.

Caring for a loved one who requires daily support is a full-time job. No one doubts that.

And that job can be especially involving if your loved one has a chronic health condition such as Alzheimer’s disease. Often, providing care can take its toll on you as well, affecting physical and emotional well-being.

As with any job, you deserve an occasional timeout to rest, recharge and return to your role with renewed energy.
 
Unfortunately, many caregivers ignore the need for a break. Whether they feel fully responsible for meeting every one of their loved one’s needs—or they simply don’t know how to obtain help—caregivers can quickly burn out.

If that occurs, the situation can affect other aspects of your life, including not only your physical health but also emotional stability, family relationships and more.

Moreover, when you’re drained, it’s hard to give your best to the person depending on you for care.
 
Respite care is an ideal solution for busy caregivers hoping to avoid burnout and practice some necessary self-care.

Respite care is frequently offered by senior living communities, such as those within Diakon Senior Living Services, on a day-by-day basis, or by such programs as Diakon Adult Day Services, which has locations in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and Hagerstown, Maryland.

Using respite care for a few days or weeks can help you to take care of yourself, while knowing your loved one is being cared for by professionals in an environment that promotes socialization and engagement with others.
 
In “Respite Care for the Elderly Is Important for Family Caregivers,” author Shelley Webb, RN, describes the benefits of taking a time out:

Click here to read more.

Patient turned faithful volunteer

I volunteer two days a week at Frey Village, but it’s just not long enough.

After I spent several weeks recuperating from back surgery in the village’s health care and rehabilitation center, I knew I wanted to return. I sympathized with the patients and residents who didn’t have many visitors and jumped at the chance to volunteer when asked. My job is to help with activities, deliver mail and make visitations.

The part I like best is visiting with people. I ask how they are doing, talk about their hobbies, anything to break up their day a bit. I really enjoy the connections I have made and have found I have a lot in common with many of them. We get to talking, and it makes the time fly for both of us!

I know from personal experience that when you lie in bed all day with nothing to do, it makes for a long day. While I was recovering from my back surgery, I initially had difficulty walking. With the help of physical therapy, I improved to where I could use a walker. That was a game-changer and I soon was getting get out of bed and walking in my walker all over the building!

It was during those walks that I met some of the people I visit today now that I am fully recovered. One woman, for example, knows my sister-in-law. She would talk with her whenever she visited the grocery store where she worked. I know another man’s whole family—I went to school with one of them and lived down the street from the other. In fact, some of residents were surprised to see me come in—because they knew me as a patient!

I empathize with many of them who are struggling with physical challenges, and I sympathize with those who feel forgotten by family and friends. That is why at the end of my six- or seven-hour shift, I often feel as if that wasn’t enough time to do everything I wanted to do.

I’d go every day, if I could. In fact, I wish I had started volunteering sooner.

I’m retired so I have the time to give and the desire to help. But it is the big smiles that greet me every visit that motivate me to do more. They all ask me to return, but they don’t need to worry.

I’ll be back.

Frey Village Volunteer Gary Shomper is a retiree who lives in Highspire, Pennsylvania.

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Choosing warm-hearted care for your parent

Sam knew his mother needed care and daily assistance; his family’s holiday visit had revealed just how dangerous it might be for her to remain at home by herself any longer.

But the idea of finding a senior living community offering the type of care his mother needed seemed daunting and Sam was not certain he was comfortable with this sudden role-reversal.

However, as parents age, children often find their roles shifting from earlier ones receiving care and support to now ensuring care and support for their parent.

In fact, the decision may fall to you to make the decision on where a parent moves or who comes into the home to provide care.
 
Fortunately, many people have already made this journey, and experienced professionals in senior living can be a valuable resource.
 
Typically, it helps to focus on the priority of finding care—giving a parent the best quality of life possible.

Sadly, not every senior care community stands up against the scrutiny of family members seeking compassionate, dignified care for their loved ones.

So, as you evaluate options, keep in mind the following considerations that can help to give your parent the warm-hearted care he or she deserves…

Click here to learn more.