Health Aim Inc


Where quality matters


Executive Senior Care Services & Solutions

Chronic Diseases, Alzheimers & Dementia, Mental Health, Aging Life Care, Health Education, Global Public Speaking

228 N Wiget Ln, Walnut Creek, CA 94598
  • Aging Life Care Association Member Logo Purnima Sreenivasan, MBBS, MD, MPH
  • Sign up for our newsletter

Category: Senior Life (page 1 of 4)

Moving to a Senior Living Facility with Dementia

It’s relatively easy to find perfect residential long-term care for most seniors. There are so many different types of senior services and senior living arrangements! With all the offerings, there is something for everyone. However, it is not always straightforward when your loved one has some form of dementia.

It can be hard to tell whether the care in any senior living home is going to match up well with the progressive nature of dementia. There are a lot of factors that go into selecting a senior living home for a dementia patient. And even if you are able to get it right today, you need to know that the fit will last.

 

Tips for choosing the right senior living home for a senior with dementia:

Safety Precautions and Devices

Visit the facility and find out what safety precautions and devices the facility has in place. An ideal facility should have non-slip flooring, adequate lighting, grab bars, and monitoring systems. Also look at window doors and window locks. Does someone check residents in and out when they leave? Did they design their security with dementia in mind?

Dementia Trained Staff

The staff should have adequate training on how to handle seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and any other types of dementia. The facility should have attentive, compassionate and attentive staff.

Look at Special Memory Care Programs

There are a few memory-care or dementia-care facilities and programs across the country. There may not be one in your area, but you don’t know until you look for it. Search online, but also ask around. These programs can go by many names, including “memory care” and “special care”. Staff there will understand the difficult behaviors that may arise and how to diffuse them, they know how to communicate with their residents, and they are trained to recognize the subtle signs that can indicate changes in a resident’s mental and/or physical health.

A Structured Routine

There should be a structured routine for seniors living within the facility. Although this won’t affect dementia directly, it can reduce any overall stress by creating stability. Reducing any additional insecurity about what’s going on around a senior with dementia is helpful.

Does Age Really Matter When Deciding to Transition to Senior Living?

Contrary to what many believe, senior living facilities aren’t exclusively for people of a specific age. Many facilities have a minimum age of 18 years! There are only two things that really matter when deciding to transition to senior living.

They include:

If You Need the Services Provided

One major thing that matters when transitioning to senior living is if you need or want the services offered. Irrespective of your age, you may need a professional caregiver to provide daily assistance. In that case, it’s clear you can benefit from the services available in “senior living”. So, you can decide to hire in-home care services or move to a senior living facility to get your needs met.

For instance, you might not have the ability to prepare meals for yourself, carry out household chores such as laundry and vacuuming, feed yourself, or take a bath. You might have mobility issues or limited sight. These things happen to people of all ages! But they’re all conditions that are well catered to in a senior living situation. Life in these homes is built around accessibility for people at all ability levels.

If You Want to Be There

It’s really up to you. If you believe that a senior living home would be the best place for you, then you qualify to move in to most facilities. It’s not about your age. You can move to a senior living community when you are in your 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s or 100 and beyond. Whether you seek accessible facilities, a community to be social, medical supervision, or some other feature, it doesn’t matter what draws you. As long as you want to be there. 

So if you’re interested in looking at senior living facilities, don’t hesitate because you’re afraid you’re too young. You’re not. If you would benefit from being there, if you want to be there, then go for it.

What NOT to Say to a Senior Choosing a Senior Living Community

Your senior loved one has made a decision to move to a senior living community, and you have the opportunity to offer them your support and encouragement, or your criticism and sadness. You may have some feelings of your own on the topic, but the decision is theirs. And that’s why it’s important to offer your support, and pay attention to their experience. After all, this isn’t happening to you. They’re the one moving.

Moving from a family house to a senior living home is definitely a personal and emotional process that is usually difficult for everyone. Maybe the person is moving from the place they have called home since they were born, or a place they have lived with their family for decades. You need to be the one moving to a senior living community to understand how difficult and sometimes demoralizing the thought of living your home can be.

You might not have bad intentions when a senior is choosing a senior living facility. But there are some words and phrases that you should avoid saying at all cost during such a time. Here are some of the things you should never say to a senior who is moving to a senior living facility.

“How Do You Know You’ll Be Safe? What’s Security Like There?”

Where your friend currently lives, is there a security system or staff? Chances are there isn’t. If there is, the senior living facility probably still does have better security.

So what worries you about safety, really? If you consider your safety concerns and decide you really do need to find out the answers, this is still not an appropriate question to ask someone who’s already decided to move. There’s no need to transfer your concerns and stress to them. Ask the facility if you’re still worried. Any senior living facility, assisted living home, or senior community should speak freely with the public about the security measures they have in place.

“This is the Beginning of the End”

For whatever reason, some people think it’s clever or witty to say this to seniors moving into assisted living or other senior accommodations. It’s not witty, it’s hurtful. It’s a universal truth that we’re all moving closer to our passing. Wherever we live.

In truth, moving into communities where medical care is more available, help with daily activities is easier to obtain, and other people around are in similar stages of life can be the beginning of a new beginning. With more community and less daily struggle.

“You Can Move in With Me”

For some reason, offers to move in with friends and relatives often seem to come after a decision to go to senior living has already been made. And it may sound nice to offer, and you may really mean it. But right now what your parent, friend, or neighbor has is a solid plan that they made after evaluating their options. Be very careful about upturning their plans unless you are 110% sure that you’re prepared, willing, and qualified to fill in for all the roles that the senior living facility would play for them. If you do make them question their path, and then if they don’t accept your offer, understand that you were too late. They made their plans and are sticking to them.

In conclusion, be mindful of the experience your aging friend or relative is having. If they’ve decided to move to a senior living facility, their wishes need to be respected, and supported. This decision is difficult for many people, and receiving criticism and doubt from loved ones doesn’t serve any useful purpose .

Settling into Senior Living: the Do’s and Don’ts for New Residents

Being the new kid on the block happens over and over in our lives. Now you’re about to be the new resident in a Senior Living home. Here are some things that you can do to set yourself up for success as you join a retirement care community.

 

Plan the Move

When you schedule your move-in date, be sure you’ve left yourself enough time to pack in an effective, organized manner. Give away or sell the things you don’t really want to continue owning. If time is short, that may mean you need to recruit some helpers from family and friends. The shorter the time, the more helpers needed. Just keep in mind- if you needed three friends to help pack, you’ll need 3 friends to unpack too. Or else you’ll end up surrounded by boxes and feeling lost in a new place, instead of surrounded by familiarity and able to find things.

 

Mark the Occasion

Have a meaningful farewell from wherever you’re leaving, whether it’s from one assisted living facility to a better one, or from a house to your first assisted living home. Don’t rush the move, and don’t act as if it doesn’t mean anything. It actually means a lot. You have established great relationships with people in your neighborhood and leaving can be a very emotional and personal process. Although you’re not giving up your relationships, they may be changing. So take a day to celebrate your old home and it’s community.

 

Set up a Familiar Environment

It is very important that you set up a familiar environment when moving to a senior living facility. Don’t buy the perfect new carpet or couch right away. Instead, move with what you’re already familiar and comfortable with. For example, arrange your new bedroom so that when you wake up in the morning, your eyes will find the same familiar items in view. Set the living room with the same old decor, pictures, or TV. This will help you feel immediately at home.

 

Medication Management

Have your medications plans in place so they’re not disturbed by the move. Do you need a refill or a doctor’s appointment? Depending on the community, obtaining emergency medications and other medication management services can be handled by staff, or can be left to family members. Find out how things work and plan ahead.

 

You’re Here! Now What?

The new facility and community may have some routine and culture of its own. And you have your own routines. You don’t have to just scrap your old traditions. Feel free to drink your tea and read at the same time you used to, and keep other daily routines too. If your plans conflict with what’s going on around you, remember that you can always join in another day. But if you want to capitalize on your newness to make more friends right away, you can do that too! Just remember that the choice is yours.

How to Evaluate Senior Living and Care Options

When choosing an appropriate senior living option, make sure that the place you pick suits all your needs and those of your loved ones. Whether you’re looking for yourself, your parent or your spouse, the future resident’s needs take precedence in evaluating options.

Here are the steps to take.

1.     Determine All Your Needs

Before you even start looking for an assisted living facility, you should first assess your monetary, physical, and everyday life needs. Determine the things that are going to be important not only to you, but also to any loved ones it may affect. After establishing all your needs, you’ll certainly find it easier to evaluate senior living and assisted living facilities.

Use your needs to decide whether to focus on:

  • Assisted Living
  • Independent Living Communities
  • Memory Care Housing
  • Senior Apartments
  • Nursing Homes
  • Residential Care Homes

2.     Tour the Facility

Once you’ve selected some candidates, be sure to visit each location. Check out the kitchens, social spaces, bedrooms and the outdoors. Are there nice places to walk around in nature? Check out whether the rooms have pleasing decor, and are clean and safe. Observe safety procedures and security in general and check whether there are fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems that are operational.

3.     Find Out More About the Staff

Is there enough staff at the facility you’re considering? A great facility should have a lower staff-to-patient ratio. Also find out whether the staff is well trained and how long most of them have been working at the facility. A fast turn-over is a bad sign. If possible, check how staff is hired. Do most staff have multiple jobs, or do they get paid well enough to only work one job?

4.     Understand Contracts and Fees

Check out the services being offered and which ones are included and not included in the monthly fee. Take your time to look at and understand the contract well. If possible, hire an attorney to have a look at the contract.

5.     Look for Licensing or Accreditation Reports

If you’re in a state that licenses assisted living homes, ask for the inspection reports. Besides licenses, check whether the facility has been accredited by any organization. The more licenses and accreditations, the more confident you can be that the services provided are top-notch.

6.     Find Out About Activities Offered

Check what activities are available at the facility. What are some upcoming activities? Are the activities on the schedule ones that the resident would enjoy? How often do they happen? Find out whether there are onsite and offsite activities. Finally, ask about religious services if they interest you.

7.     Look into Their Medical Services

Does this facility pick up or drop off prescriptions for residents? Some do. There are also facilities that offer residents free transportation to the hospital or to the doctor. Some facilities allow for purchase of basic medical supplies on sight. Understand what exactly happens in case the health of a resident deteriorates. Find out what type of assessments are usually done.

 

Best Practices When Deciding for Seniors with Diminishing Mental Capacity

Ability to make one’s decisions is essential to individual autonomy. If ever a person loses their ability to understand choices and repercussions, that is when they begin to need help making decisions. You may find yourself having to make choices for a parent or spouse.

Seniors with diminished mental capacity may not be in a position to make their own decisions. However, they can still know what they want and express it. Not having the capacity to make sound decisions is based in ability to understand and evaluate options and predict repercussions. It does not mean that a person doesn’t know what they want.

When deciding for a senior loved one with declining mental capacity, you should always try to strike a balance between acting in the patient’s favor and respecting his or her autonomy. The following practices can help you do that.

Assess Them

The first thing to do is to have your aging loved one assessed professionally by a clinician. The specialist’s job is to determine whether the individual has the capacity to make sound decisions. If it’s found that they understand and make their own decisions, then always allow them to make their own decisions.

Act in Their Best Interests

This may include alleviating the patient’s anxiety, taking time to educate the individual and their family, considering lucid intervals and the person’s physical conditions like difficulty in speech, which can sometimes interfere with capacity. Doing so is the only way to act in the best interest of the senior with diminishing mental capacity.

Disclosure of Diagnosis

In the past it was an accepted practice for doctors not to speak directly to their patients about deteriorating mental capacity. That has now changed. Today, it’s considered a patient’s right to be informed about their health condition and treatment discussions. So, involve the patient and disclose to him or her results of diagnosis. When you’ve assessed diminishing mental capacity and found out that the patient has dementia, it is good to let the patient know of their condition. Especially when it is still at its early stages. In other words, the stage of the mental illness and the time of diagnosis should be considered.

As mental illness progresses, competency and decision-making capacity will definitely be affected, and this may make the patient’s ability to fully understand the diagnosis as well as its implications could be limited. When it the mental illness is at its advanced stage, there may be no need to disclose the diagnosis to the patient because they might not even care. This means that the disclosure would actually be futile.

Don’t assume that you should make all the decisions alone for seniors with diminishing mental capacity. Always involve them whenever possible. You should also ensure that you always act in their best interest when you are deciding anything for them.

 

Tips for Maintaining High Quality of Life with Deteriorating Health

Deteriorating health is common among the aging population. Declining health doesn’t mean that you can’t live as healthily and happily as possible, though. There are so many things you can do to improve and maintain high quality of life as you age, even with a serious health condition.

How to maintain high quality of life with deteriorating health:

1.     Eat Well

Eating well is critical if you want to maintain high quality health. As you age, there might be a decreased metabolism, slower digestion, and changes in your senses of smell and taste. All these can have a huge affect on the foods you eat, your appetite, and how your body processes the food you eat. But despite of these changes, you should understand that healthy eating is more important to you now than ever. Proper nutrition is the only way to maintain good health and energy. Avoid refined carbs and sugary foods. Instead, eat high fiber vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

2.     Get Plenty of Sleep

Lack of sleep can worsen your health condition and make you even more susceptible to other diseases. Getting enough sleep will go a long way in ensuring that your quality of life remains high. If you are experiencing insomnia, sleep apnea, or any other sleep problems, see your doctor. Make sure that your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet. Playing some calm music or taking a bath before you go to bed can act as a soothing bedtime ritual and will help you sleep soundly throughout the night.

3.     Take Medications as Required

You may have some known health condition that requires medication. Many of us do. To manage your health condition and to maintain high quality of life, always take your medications as recommended by your doctor. In case you notice that your condition is worsening, you should contact your doctor immediately, and if necessary, make a plan to change how or when you take your prescription with them.

4.     Exercise

According to recent studies, regular exercise is actually the number one contributor to good health and longevity. Exercise doesn’t just add more years on earth, but it also adds quality of life to those years. Exercise boosts your mental health and will help you maintain your physical strength and agility. It also increases vitality and improves sleep. What’s more, sleep also helps diminish chronic pain. Regular exercise can also have a positive effect on your brain,  helping prevent cognitive decline, memory loss, and dementia.

5.     Get a Change of Scenery

If you’re going to go through these changes at home, you might as well do so in a beautiful setting instead. Take advantage of mobility devices, prescription glasses, heating pads, hearing aids, and whatever other tools you can to let you out of the house comfortably. Bring a friend with you in case you need any assistance, and for good company. Just being under the sky, in your favorite restaurant, or cruising a museum in a wheelchair can bring a lightness of heart that can’t be found on the couch.

6.     Find Meaning in Your Life

The ability to continuously find meaning and happiness in life is a major component in the recipe for happy and healthy aging. With deteriorating health, your life changes as you age, and you may find yourself losing hope. Engage in activities that give you purpose in life and do things that make you happy. Start a gratitude journal or set aside a gratitude reflection time daily. This will help you remain positive through any health challenges you face. Positivity can have a huge positive effect on your general health and even reduce chronic pain.

 

Gardening and Health!

The gardens of Eden or patio/balcony gardens of my grandma. The hanging gardens or the raised terrace gardens, people of all ages, times, societies, occupations, professions or businesses have enjoyed a garden one time or more. Gardens bring pleasures of a world that is unknown, changeable, moving, challenged by nature, at the mercy of the universe and climate change…

My earliest impressions of gardening were while watching my parents and grandparents garden, growing up in India, then living in Africa, traveling as a teenager and then in the USA and traveling again…

Health cannot be measured only by genetics, situation, race, age, or many other factors.

Health benefits from access to nature. In fact, most medieval times used natural treatments, and people still do so today. Not just in indigenous cultures, but in the modern world also.

You can gain health by recuperating in nature, eating healthy, eating fresh, living simply, and staying as all natural as possible.

Over the years of my personal and professional life, having conversations with seniors made me realize how intricate part of their lives were related to gardening, gardens, nature and outdoors. The elderly were proud to share their gardening skills… from growing radishes, to window planting to fruit orchards in their acreage to the country life many left behind when they married and moved to cities as they looked for jobs.

Gardening is a healthy habit making a comeback… Here are few things to restart a passion of gardening:

1. Consider going simple and small

2. Try flowers for display, views and fragrance

3. Have a system to water … because having drip lines, a hose, or a can nearby makes watering easier

4. Take a walk in the nursery or garden center

5. Botanical tours

6. Gardening, flower or produce societies

7. Social media follows: Facebook, Instagram

8. Friendship garden walks with friends

9. Travel to natural surroundings, parks

10. Sharing experiences with family, friends, grandchildren

Because there is always more to gardening, learning, and life’s simple pleasures. Finding a healthy habit like gardening can certainly benefit your mental and physical health. If this blog resonates with you, please share and give us your input, as we benefit the world , Thank you.

To Receive the Best Senior Care, One Must ? For Their Aging Family Member?

What does one mean by best senior care? Most of the companies provide similar senior care, however their hourly rates, may differ, or their specialty may be a thing or two. In senior living, it is the same, the smaller facilities are more homelike, offer a more personalized care and may specialize in something vs a larger facility which has access to more resources, and may or may not translate to the ratio of caregivers to the senior.  The pricing can vary depending on needs, availabilities…

So what should one do to help their senior receive the best care…

Now that you have moved them to a senior care facility or home, or have those sharing their home with someone?

  1. Keep advance directives, contact information easily accessible to the senior or the senior living or caregiver
  2. Make them aware that things could be worked out, and that it takes time, patience and understanding… decision made less than a month to move out are sometimes hasty decisions and may not solve the issues
  3. Have a routine for chores, care etc., to make it a smooth transition for both parties
  4. Take time to introduce each other and sit for a meetup over coffee/ tea in or without the presence of the family
  5. Work on simple things first, get them right, then go to complex things
  6. One can hear out third party opinions but remember the final decision making is not theirs
  7. Approach this change in a senior’s life with lots of sensitivity, for most times the solutions lie in the approach and not after
  8. Create an inviting atmosphere for all
  9. Bring in the blend of old and the new with time, and not be forced upon
  10. Believe in the power of communication, compassion and listening

These above little gems were based on my personal experiences. Opinions vary and we are open to new learning and sharing… so please send us your comments, and help healthy aging globally. Thank you

Are You Considering Assisted Living Facilities?

Assisted living facilities are a key type of senior living option for those in our aging population.  They can be termed by congregate housing, senior care facility, boarding home or even domiciliary care. These facilities care for the elderly who need daily care.  This could be in the form of medical care, daily tasks, or just a little bit more help with normal living needs.

Over one million people live in assisted living facilities.  About 30,000 of these locations exist across the country with a majority of them being female and over the age of 80.  Most of these seniors have income below the poverty line.

Senior citizens stay in assisted living for a few years and then either move out to go back home, to another facility, or to a skilled nursing home.  Finances and living arrangements are the two main sources for decisions to move.

 

Tenants Rights

Seniors who stay at assisted living homes are generally independent.  This allows them to feel confident and more comfortable in their aging state.  Their dignity and privacy are also kept intact.

As a result, if a resident gets critically ill or injured, they are usually moved to a hospital or skilled nursing home.  If the situation is temporary, many of these homes will do their best to readmit a resident after the situation has improved.  If a tenant appears to be in the process of dying, they can remain as long as the assisted living home can provide the services they need.  Thus, a resident has the following rights:

  • Respected and treated with Dignity
  • Not forced to abide by a religion
  • Be cared for and not be abused
  • Freedom of movement
  • Privacy
  • Continue to utilize their own personal items
  • Manage their finances
  • Many also allow pets and regular visitors

Living Environment

These facilities usually have two forms of housing:  semi-private and private. There are furnished and unfurnished options.  Many of them have kitchens and private bathrooms.

In addition to the housing, these living environment have enhancements through their services such as:

  • Additional care services for daily living (i.e. dressing, eating, showering, etc)
  • Food services
  • Learning Environment
  • Emergency Services
  • Wellness Programs
  • Housekeeping
  • Group sessions
  • Transportation
  • Personal Services

Finances

Each locations pricing differs.  Some are an all in one option while others provide tiered pricing.  They vary from a few hundred dollars to over $3,000. Many pay for this out of pocket although

 

Level of Care

A key difference between facilities is the level of care their residence receive. Make sure to research this in detail before signing up.

Bottom line is to take the time to ask questions, ensure all your desired services are provided and the right community atmosphere exists before you sign up for a facility.

Older posts


© 2019 Purnima Sreenivasan MBBS, MPH and its affiliates and assigns and licensors

All rights reserved

Health Aim Inc™ is a trademark of Purnima Sreenivasan MBBS, MPH



Please note any information entered on this site is private information and disclosures of any kind is prohibited. We follow strict HIPAA and privacy laws.

Purnima Sreenivasan, MBBS, MD, MPH
is an


Terms of Use     |     Privacy Policy