Tag Archives: Living Well Assisted Living at Home

Aging in Place: Safety Tips for Your Kitchen

Aging in Place: Safety TipsBecause 90% of us do not want to leave our homes but to age in place, we need to pay attention to places like the kitchen that can be unsafe for us as we grow older. The kitchen is the heart of your home—and it’s also one of the most important spaces to remodel when it comes to aging in place. You’ll need to be able to make regular use of your kitchen, and the harder it is to access important appliances, locate your cookware, or even walk across the floor, the more dangerous it can be. Your kitchen can remain inviting and stylish while being loaded with accessibility features and convenience that will make it ideal for your senior years.

The Floor 

When it comes to your kitchen floor, you have to start with the floor plan. Make sure that it’s wheelchair accessible, with plenty of room to maneuver. Place cabinets conveniently, so that they’re close to the counters and stoves where they’ll be needed, but keep them out of the pathway so that it’s easy to move around them. Next, look at your food preparation areas. You’ll want to be sure that countertops are at the right height for use from a wheelchair. Adjustable countertops can make it easier for you to keep using them as usual until you need a wheelchair and make it more comfortable for others who might share in food preparation responsibilities.

Next, look at your seating. While you don’t want to clutter up your kitchen or make it impossible to get around, you do need to have readily-accessible seating to make food preparation easier. Make sure that you have comfortable, sturdy seats: you don’t want to have to rely on a bar stool if your legs get shaky! Leave plenty of room around the table for a wheelchair, but don’t skimp on comfortable seating, either. You can always move a chair away to make it more easily accessible later.

Your kitchen flooring is almost as important as the floor plan. First, accept that the cute rugs that you enjoyed in your earlier years are a thing of the past: they can lead to trips, slips, and falls. Next, begin your search for a kitchen floor that will be durable and slip-resistant while still looking great. Cork, rubber, and linoleum are all excellent choices for seniors, as are smaller tile that have more grout lines—see here for some ideas.

Lighting

 While aging eyes can be exceptionally sensitive to bright lights, you still want to be sure that you can see clearly enough to accomplish all the necessary tasks in your kitchen. Make the most of natural light: big windows that are free of curtains and blinds are ideal for the brightest possible room. Next, install ambient lighting that will illuminate the room at a comfortable level. A dimmer switch can help make it easier to reduce lighting if your eyes are feeling sensitive. You should, however, make sure there’s plenty of task lighting over the stove and in food preparation areas so that it will be easier to focus on your current task.

It’s also important to ensure that you’ll have the light you need when you’re navigating the room at night. Make sure that light switches are available at every entrance to the room. Consider installing motion sensors on the lights so that it will kick on automatically if you walk into the room in the middle of the night. If this is impractical, you can also put in nightlights to help provide some light if you’re just taking a quick trip to the kitchen.

Appliances 

The appliances you choose for your kitchen should reflect your changing needs as you get older. Your microwave, for example, should be simple to operate, with big, visible buttons that are easy to press. An electric stove with large dials and simple operating instructions is best, but if you do have a gas range, make sure that it has a pilot light and auto-shutoff feature. Your dishwasher should be positioned conveniently next to the sink. Consider installing one that’s higher off the ground to make it easier to load and unload as your mobility decreases. Senior-friendly sinks are shallow and easy to reach from a wheelchair. Choose a refrigerator that reflects your needs: large enough to hold several days of pre-prepped meals if necessary. Think about the layout of your refrigerator and where the doors will open as well as the shelves that will be accessible from a wheelchair.

Cabinets

 Organize your cabinets carefully so that they will remain fully accessible. Place items that you use most frequently in cabinets that are easiest to reach. Consider drawer pull-outs in cabinets that may be difficult to access from a wheelchair or as your mobility decreases. You should also make sure that your cabinets are shallow enough that you can easily reach to the back.

Accessories

 Knobs, switches, and faucets can be some of the most frustrating items in your kitchen when your fingers aren’t as nimble as they once were. Look for knobs that are large and easy to hold, switches that can be operated simply, and faucets that use one lever to switch between hot and cold to make it easier to adjust the water to the right temperature. Make sure that any labels on levers and switches are in clear, large fonts that you’ll be able to read even after your eyesight begins to decrease.

Your kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home. You need to be able to prepare food, eat, and host guests with ease. Luckily, there are plenty of products on the market that are designed with an aging population’s needs in mind. Take the time to think through your future needs now to ensure that when the day comes, you have a kitchen that will allow you to maintain your independence and age in place, at home where you want to be.

Living at Home and Understanding Dementia Symptoms

Understanding DementiaHaving a loved one diagnosed with dementia, including Alzheimer’s,  is a very hard circumstance and can be very challenging. Most of the times you want to keep them living at home, and provide the home care for the dementia or Alzheimer’s care they need. However, people get distanced from the one suffering from Dementia since they can barely recognize you; thus it is important to understand the symptoms of dementia and become a step closer to your elderly parents.

Nobody wants to see their aging parent struggle with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Sadly, there are things in life we can’t control, like incurable diseases that could materialize after a certain age. When someone gets dementia, their relationships, priorities, and perceptions on life take an unexpected turn. Nevertheless, certain forms of dementia can be kept under control, reversed and even treated if caught on time. If you have an aging parent, it’s only natural to become concerned with their wellbeing. Are they eating right? Are they becoming more forgetful? Are they in pain? These are questions most concerned children ask themselves on a daily basis.

A 70-year old parent may forget things from time to time, but if you notice that their memory loss becomes intense, then it might be a cause of cognitive decline. Dementia can be identified in many ways. First, you must understand the disease. The more you know the higher chances you have to save your parent and stop the health condition from advancing.

Understanding symptoms of dementia

Dementia is not a sole health condition but a collection of numerous symptoms, and some of the most common are changes in personality, memory loss, and impaired intellectual functions that could result from trauma or disease to the brain. These changes are not normal aging signs, and their side effects are severe enough to impact someone’s daily living, relationships and independence forever. Even though Alzheimer’s is one of the most widespread forms of dementia, there are many others, including mixed and vascular dementia.

If you suspect that your parent may suffer from this dreadful illness, then some of the changes will be noticeable. Remembering, communication, learning and problem solving will become difficult endeavors to accomplish. These are changes that can happen fast, or develop slowly in time. The outcome and progression of dementia differ, but are mainly determined by the form of dementia suffered and side of the brain affected. A specialist in the medical field will provide a complete diagnosis after the patient has undergone a series of tests, clinical exams, and brain scans.

What triggers dementia?

A healthy brain’s mass begins to decline in adulthood. However, this fascinating organ-machine of ours keeps forming vital connections even if we age, thus keeping us sane. When these connections are misplaced because of injury, inflammation, or disease, brain neurons begin to die. The result – dementia; it’s certainly traumatic to see a loved one go through such a horrifying disease. This is why it is important for adults to interfere as soon as the first signs materialize in their aging parent. The faster a doctor understands the cause, the better chances he has to recommend a treatment.

Caring for a parent with dementia

In the United States, there are roughly 10 million people who take care of a parent with dementia. Most of these at-home caregivers are women. It’s tough to do this job and at the same time have a family on your own. But since we’re talking about a parent, you wouldn’t want anyone else to take care of them.

Becoming a caregiver to a sick parent is tough. If you’re an adult and you have kids, you must accept that your aging parent may also have the behavior of a 5-year old. Given that dementia affects the brain, memory loss is not the only disturbing symptom. Many adults don’t want to move their loved one to a nursing home. In general, it’s not because they can’t afford the costs but because they’ve over protective.

Professional care can be good for an elderly suffering from dementia

The option of Home care or aging in pace and caring at home for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s is still an option for some. However, one size does not fit all. Living Well Assisted Living at Home in San Francisco and Marin County recognizes that home care for senior with dementia is an alternative but also, believe it or not, today’s healthcare facilities and nursing homes are no longer what they used to be. Some of these hospices provide exceptional comfort. They also feature all kinds of activities for patients, and they have professional personal taking care of your loved one 24/7. Making the decision and moving your parent to a facility is not something you want to do. But it is necessary.

Only an equipped facility can offer the best care for your loved one. At-home caregiving is great, but it’s still not enough to make the patient feel appreciated. A specialized facility comes with lots of programs, socializing sessions, and other therapies meant to stimulate your parent’s brain and ensure he remains in good physical health for as long as possible.

In collaboration with  Edward Francis and Foresthc.com!

Aging in Place versus Traditional Nursing Homes

Aging in PlaceShould a time arrive when you realize that you need help in continuing to provide a safe and joy-filled environment that ensures the physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of your elderly loved one, you have several choices; two of these include: moving your loved one into a nursing home or securing the professional services of an aging in place or  assisted-living-at-home agency. As an article in the NY Times affirms, both of these options include the presence of new people in the life of your loved one on a daily basis; however, how that service is provided and when it’s provided makes all the difference between the two.

There are perks for each senior care scenario, but what’s important is to make the decision that gives the best care to what your elderly loved one needs most. Do they have physical pain and are prone to serious injury? What is their state of mental health and what would help improve or comfort that? How much attention do they really need and how capable are they to still do things themselves? All these questions are just the surface of what needs to be asked to make the right decision.

Individualized Care, Attention, & Focus

A traditional nursing home is required to have one RN on staff 7 days a week for 8 hours a day; the rest of the time a licensed LPN or RN must be on duty; in addition, the nursing home must employ a registered nurse for the full-time role of Director of Nursing. According to Elder Law Answers, there is no minimum requirement for the number of nurses’ aides during a shift. Since the aides are the workers who provide most of the personal day-to-day care for the residents, it’s not impractical to think that each individual resident at a nursing home is being provided with hours of focused, one-to-one care and attention.  The article goes on to share, “The important factor in improving the quality of care is the amount of nurse time each patient receives. If a nursing home met only the federal nurse staffing requirements…a resident would receive 20 minutes of nurse time per day.”

Quite the opposite is true with an assisted-living-at-home service. With this option, you and your loved one decide how much one-to-one care is required or desired. If you’re comfortable having a professional nurse or caregiver visit for 2 hours once a week, that is doable; however, if you want a compassionate, attentive, highly-trained caregiver to be with your loved one 24/7, that’s also possible. In fact, it’s not uncommon to create an open room for a caregiving to live at the senior resident’s home and be there in order to care for them at any time for any circumstance. There’s much more flexibility with in-home assisted living and the one-on-one time desired for your loved one.

On the same note, traditional care can also be a temporary option for those seeking some form of physical rehabilitation. If your loved one has undergone surgeries or have suffered from a stroke, fall, or head injury, only temporary traditional care may be needed. Short-term care specialists and therapists at senior rehabilitation centers like St. Anthony Cares state that sometimes for certain situations, physical therapy and rehabilitation are also just as crucial to bring residents back to optimum health and prevent such accidents from recurring. In some cases, opting for short-term care solely for rehabilitation from injuries can be the type of care needed so long as the resident can fully recover.

If you find that your loved one is a specialty case that needs round the clock medical attention, perhaps opting for traditional home care with certified specialists around 24/7 is more suitable. Not everyone can afford a professional medical setup in their own home and so traditional homes can fill in that void. So depending on your elderly loved one’s needs, traditional assisted living in a home may be better suited in order to give them the medical attention they will need to live more comfortably.

Individual People, Individualized Services

A nursing home environment has a set schedule for their meals, snacks, time to get dressed and out of bed, and activities. While at first this may seem appealing, the lack of flexibility often leads to nurses’ aides feeling rushed to get from room to room to ensure everyone is bathed and dressed – even when, perhaps, a resident feels like staying in bed for a few hours more. Further, if a resident misses a meal because he/she was visiting with family or dealing with a personal hygiene situation, it’s not uncommon for the person to go without the meal completely. The Ohio Department of Aging addresses this very real issue at nursing homes and advocates for de-institutionalizing nursing homes and transforming them into person-centered care facilities. Being on such a strict schedule can leave little room for the unexpected and patients not having a great day to begin with can be put in an even testier mood when forced to participate at times they don’t wish to. But don’t fret, not all traditional assisted living homes operate in this manner. If traditional senior homes are the route you and your elderly loved one are seeking, there are plenty of homes out available in most cities that offer much more flexible schedules and allow seniors to go about the property at their own leisure. Kitchens or cafeterias operate within certain hours or can postpone meals for particular residents that enjoy them later or earlier in the day. Snacks are on hand so long as the cafeteria is open and there are no set or mandatory activities or intermingling involved if the resident doesn’t want to participate.

With in-home assisted living, the resident is within their own property and are able to have their caregiver prepare meals or snacks whenever desired so long as it’s within their doctor’s recommended diet regimen. Each day can be different and the monotony of a daily routine doesn’t have to exist if the resident wants to do a different activity each day. Sleeping in isn’t an issue on days they are a little more tired than normal – there really isn’t a set schedule and if there is one provided by the caregiver from the doctor’s recommendations, it’s easy to move things around or find the time to ensure your senior doesn’t lose sight of the comfort provided within the boundaries of their own home. More and more families are looking deeper into in-home assisted living to provide maximum comfort for their loved ones with mental health issues. Depending on the severity and how the family is able to cope, providing your senior with a setting he/she is familiar with can lead to more good days than bad. Although the demand for taking on a role as a caregiver can be high for family members, opting for a professional to live in the home and be there to help assist them at any time of the day or night can do wonders. Those with unstable mental health may not do very well if they’re put on a daily schedule as they would find in a traditional nursing home whereas each day could be a different experience within the contentment offered by their own home they’re more familiar with.

Whichever you choose, ensure the decision is what’s best for your senior. Specialized nursing homes could be a great option if your elderly loved one can benefit from having around the clock care and can harmonize with other residents in the same scenario. Depending on their conditions and their state of health, short-term care may be what they need until they recover from previous injuries or pain and they can then continue on with normal life at home with the family. Or perhaps in-home assisted living is what’s needed for your loved one. Maybe they only need a specialist to visit once a day, twice a week, or perhaps they need someone around 24/7 and provide care from within the home at any accommodating time. There are many options out there that can cater to the medical needs and overall well-being of your loved one. We’re here to help you explore those options.

In collaboration with Amanda Kaestner.

 

“IF I ever need to go to a nursing home, kill me first”

You do not need to leave your home

Aging in Place: You do not need to leave your home!

Given that 89% of people do not want to leave their homes, this statement featured on the article The Technology for Monitoring Elderly Relatives on The New York Times (July 28, 2010) about new technologies to help people stay at their home, makes total sense.

The purpose of many of these technologies is to provide enough supervision to make it possible for elderly people to stay in their homes rather than move to an assisted-living facility or nursing home — a goal almost universally embraced as both emotionally and financially desirable.

Read More about it…

Technologies Help Adult Children Monitor Aging Parents

89% of Americans do not want to leave their homes when they age. Most of these people will be live alone and receive support from a variety of health and community-based providers, family caregivers.  How will the long-term care system provide care to a growing number of seniors living in increasingly scattered locations? And more importantly, how can that system continue to provide quality care in the face of workforce shortages, rising care costs and decreasing resources? Technology has the potential to play a critical role in launching a new model of geriatric care that allows older people to live independently for as long as possible, supports family caregivers in the important work they do and gives health care providers the tools they need to deliver high-quality care at a reasonable cost. The just released article Technologies Help Adult Children Monitor Aging Parents on The New York Times, states that these technologies “…are godsends for families. But, as with any parent-child relationship, all loving intentions can be tempered by issues of control, role-reversal, guilt and a little deception — enough loaded stuff to fill a psychology syllabus. For just as the current population of adults in their 30s and 40s have built a reputation for being a generation of hyper-involved, hovering parents to their own children, they now have the tools to micro-manage their aging mothers and fathers as well…”

We, at Living Well Assisted Living at Home,  believe the provide a safety net for the elders, an option to stay at home while providing peace of mind to the adult children and family members.

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Before You Leave Your Home: Eight Questions To Ask Before Buying Into A Senior Community

In an article on Forbes USA, Ashlea Ebeling states that moving into a continuing care retirement community requires a big investment and a lot of research. She invites us to ask the right questions “…Are you (or your aging parent) the kind of person who likes to plan for all contingencies? Then you might want to consider a continuing care retirement community–a development that usually includes independent apartments or town homes for spry seniors; assisted living units for those who need some help; plus a nursing home…”

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