Embracing new friendships in a senior living community

If you ask senior living professionals, current residents or their family members, they’ll likely tell you that the social opportunities available in senior living are life-changing.

In fact, before moving to a community, many older adults experience different degrees of loneliness and isolation. Everything changes when they make the move to a senior living community filled with neighbors of the same age-group and friendly, compassionate staff members who build meaningful relationships with residents.

Although the opportunities for engaging in an active social life and making friends are plentiful, that doesn’t always mean the process is easy for everyone.

Many older adults, in fact, may find they’re out of practice in making friends. By the time we reach retirement or decide on a maintenance-free lifestyle, we often assume that our most meaningful relationships have already been made. New residents sometimes go into senior living with the mindset that other residents will be nothing more than neighbors, friendly folks to say good morning to and chat with at the barbershop or hair salon.

However, at Diakon Senior Living, we find that residents often form strong, long-lasting friendships with fellow residents. In our communities, residents truly share life together. They share meals, attend events together and take on leading roles in one another’s lives.

So how can you embrace new friendships in your senior living community? Click here for a few ideas to get you started…

 

 

Special needs redefined

We social workers use a lot of lingo and many acronyms to describe the work we do in the child welfare world.

In fact, that language—most fields, though, have their own jargon—can become confusing to new families as they begin to gather information about the children we place, the foster care or adoption process and whether they want to become foster or adoptive parents or both.

One of the terms we use that people question is “special needs.” Often, when someone hears those words from us for the first time they think about children who are disabled or handicapped, probably needing special educational accommodations. This perception is not, however, what this phrase means to us.

Adjusting to your new senior living lifestyle

After all the hard work of planning, narrowing down choices and making the big move, you’re finally settled into your new senior living community. Your family helped you move in. They’ve called almost every day. You’ve met a handful of new people. But community life is still very new—and you wonder how long it will take before you start to feel at home.

This scenario is more common than you might think among older adults who make the move to senior living.

While the relocation process can be exciting, after the hustle and bustle of moving day ends, new residents can feel unsure what to do next or how to integrate into their new community. No matter how old we get, huge changes in our lifestyles inevitably come with an adjustment period.

If your recent move to senior living has you feeling a bit out of place, don’t worry! You didn’t make a mistake—it just sometimes takes time to adjust to a new way of living. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to shorten that adjustment period and start feeling at home. Click here to read more!

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‘Care conversations’: Common phrases caregivers need to know

If you’ve just begun caring for an older adult, it’s easy to be confused by the jargon of senior-focused health care.

And if you’re searching for a senior living community, the various terms and phrases to describe different levels of care require building a new set of vocabulary just to navigate literature you receive.

In addition to the terms about your loved one’s health conditions, there are a handful of phrases all caregivers should know while they are providing care and when choosing a senior living community.

Finding Order in the Acronyms

Many senior living communities refer to their levels of care services with acronyms. When you are familiar with these common terms, you’ll find it easier to determine which services different communities provide.

Click here to read this helpful information.

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Humble and kind

Whenever the Tim McGraw song “Humble and Kind” plays on the radio, I can feel our 8-year-old roll his eyes as I remind him that these lyrics are something I hope he takes to heart:

“Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you / When you get where you’re going, don’t forget to turn back around / And help the next one in line. / Always stay humble and kind.”

It’s important to us that Cayden understands that we have been incredibly blessed to have had so many people help us in our journey to become a family.

How are those New Year’s resolutions going?

Now that we are almost halfway through the year, it’s a great time to reflect on our New Year’s resolutions.

I think we may find, however, that many of us (myself included) have not changed much. A habit needs more than just a holiday to make or break it. Habits are adaptations—specifically, coping skills—that we create to deal with daily life.

Traditional thinking is that it takes 28 days to change a habit. Whether we are talking about diet, spending habits or some type of rehab, individuals equate change to this magic number.

However, latest research shows that 66 days is the actual number. That is quite a difference!

And merely wishing and waiting till day 66 will not get us to our goals either. If you already quit your resolutions back in February, here are a few suggestions to help get you back on track.

How to help a grieving parent cope with the loss of a friend

On their most recent visit, “Sarah’s” adult children found her withdrawn and sad. What was going on?

As their conversation continued, the children discovered a dear friend of their mother’s had recently passed away.

Unfortunately, as we grow older, grief at the loss of those we know and love becomes more frequent.

When parents are aging, their adult children will come to understand that losing friends is a new, strange reality for them.

So how do we help our parents as they grieve their lifelong friends? How do we begin to understand the sadness of being left behind?

You can click here to read suggestions….

The importance of wellness

I recently wrote about our long history in senior living services and our focus on independence in both body and spirit for the residents we serve.

But there is certainly more to our work ….

Our commitment to health & wellness

Independence comes from caring for your mind and body. At Diakon Senior Living, we’re wellness-oriented, offering exceptional options for staying healthy. Total wellness is an essential factor in encouraging our residents to lead rewarding and purposeful lives. From good nutrition and spiritual fulfillment to physical fitness and beyond, wellness arises as a cultural focus.

To us, in fact, wellness means building a meaningful lifestyle, however you define meaning. You can read more about this here.

FosterChildHeroMidst

Foster child: A hero in our midst

David is a hero and an inspiration to us.

We welcomed him into our family last year through foster care and he quickly became fond of our four ducks, including our only female, Limpy.

One cold winter day we received a lot of rain and the nearby creek was about two feet deep and running very fast. When the ducks went out to walk around under David’s supervision, Limpy decided to go into the rapids, which quickly swept her tumbling downstream.

David immediately went into action.

He ran alongside her, jumped into the creek and retrieved her before she went into the Mahoning Creek—which would have meant certain death to the duck.

He then yelled for me to come out of the house. I ran out to see him with the duck in his hands—and ice on his snow-pants and gloves. As he told me what happened, I could tell that Limpy was hypothermic and dying. We took her to the basement, where it was warm, and wrapped her in a towel. I thought she was a goner.

David stayed by her side that night.

The next morning, Limpy stood and quacked a little. We gave her food and water but she still wouldn’t eat. David suggested that she might be missing the other ducks, so we brought them all in—and it worked! She seemed happy and ate well. Within a week, she was much better and we let them all back outside again.

Since then, Limpy allows David to hold her and carry her around. You can see the love in her eyes for him.

When David first came here, he wanted to be a farmer. Now, he wants to be a vet so he can take care of animals.

We are very proud of his bravery and kind heart and are so glad he is part of our family!


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