5 Things to Look for on an Assisted Tour

5 Things to Look for on an Assisted Tour

Dear Donna,

My mom has been living on her own for several years now. She recently gave up driving and now relies on my husband and me for transportation. Because our lives are already pretty hectic, she’s more isolated than I’d like for her to be.

We finally convinced her to at least consider moving to an assisted living community, and we’d like to take a tour of some local communities. What should we ask and look for on these tours?

Stacey Lawrence Holland, Michigan

Make the Most of Your Assisted Living Tour

Dear Stacey:

The move to an assisted living residence sounds like an ideal solution for your mom and your family. Taking time to visit and get to know local communities is the best way to make an informed decision. The key to making the most of your visit is asking the right questions.

5 Things to do When Touring Assisted Living Communities

Before you start the tour, consider what is important to your mother in a community. What type of lifestyle does she want to experience there? What amenities are most desirable? What is your family’s budget? The answers to these questions will help you narrow your search even before you take a tour.

Once you arrive at an assisted living community, there are plenty of other things to learn. Here are 5 things you should do during every tour.

  1. Observe the interactions between staff and residents.

Luxurious amenities are not as important as courteous, helpful, and trained staff. Watch how staff members treat and speak to those they care for. What you see is a good indicator of what your mom can expect. Also ask about the community’s hiring practices and training programs.

  1. Talk to residents.

An impromptu, friendly conversation with current residents may provide even more information than a tour with staff can. Ask if they have had any serious issues with the community, including thefts. Ask about the quality of meals and activities. You might even ask if they have a resident council. If they do, ask to speak to the resident in charge of it.

  1. Ask if there is a waiting list.

While it may be inconvenient, a waiting list is often a good sign. It means the community is in high demand and indicates financial stability. The possibility of a waiting list is also why it’s better to start the search for assisted living before a crisis occurs.

  1. Ask how the community bills for services and accepts payments.

Most assisted living communities assess level of care charges according to the amount of care and support each resident receives. The size and style of their apartment or suite also impacts monthly fees. Make sure you understand what to expect.

  1. Ask for a copy of the contract before you decide.

A community’s standard contract should include information on how it serves residents as they age and their needs increase. It should also note payment terms, and any costs associated with leaving the community. If possible, have a trusted attorney review the contract. He or she can explain the agreement and identify potential concerns.

Leading Provider of Assisted Living in Michigan

Heritage is proud to be recognized as one of the leading providers of assisted living care in the state of Michigan. Our family-owned business has been serving older adults in the Great Lake state for three generations.

In Western Michigan, we’re pleased to serve families in Holland at our Appledorn Assisted Living community. Call us today to schedule a private tour at your convenience.

Respite Care: Support for Seniors When Families Can’t Be There

Respite Care: Support for Seniors When Families Can’t Be There

Respite care is a way for your senior loved one to receive temporary care when their usual caregiver needs a break.

This type of care may be provided in your loved one’s home, or it may involve a short stay in a senior living community. Respite care may last anywhere from a few hours to several weeks depending on individual need.

Here are the answers to some common questions about respite care.

When is Respite Care a Good Solution?

There are many different reasons why you might consider respite care for your senior loved one.

  • Their home has become uninhabitable, perhaps due home modifications or renovations.
  • They have undergone surgery and need additional care before they can return home.
  • Their usual caregiver is going out of town or simply needs time away from caregiving.
  • They want to experience a senior living community before relocating permanently.

What Respite Care Options are There, and How Do You Find Them?

There is a wide variety of respite care options. If you need a day-long break from caregiving to do other things or just to relax, you could look for day programs that provide socializing opportunities and activities like games, physical exercise, or music therapy. Some programs provide counseling, personal care, and physical or speech therapy.

For longer stays, you might look for a senior living community nearby or find someone who can provide overnight care in your loved one’s home.

Once you know what you’re looking for, there are many ways to find it.

  • Contact the local agency on aging to ask if they maintain a list of respite care options.
  • Check with friends and family who are caregivers for a senior they love.
  • Talk with your family member’s primary care physician.
  • Ask local senior communities about their respite care program.
  • Call the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association’s or visit locating community resources on their website.

Once you find a location, call and ask the staff questions to address any concerns you may have. Their answers will give you some insight in to how they treat those in their care.

How Much Does Respite Care Cost?

The cost of respite care will vary widely depending on the type of care involved and how long it is needed. Ask the respite care provider about payment options or sliding scale fees. Long-term care insurance may also be able to help pay for respite care.

Local, state, or federal government programs are other potential sources of financial assistance. Local agencies on aging or Alzheimer’s Association branches may be able to answer questions about funding respite care.

Need Respite Care for a Loved One?

Heritage communities offer short-term respite care in comfortable apartments with delicious meals and social activities. Contact us to ask questions or to schedule a private tour.

5 Statistics About Men and Dementia

5 Statistics About Men and Dementia

Age-related dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, consists of a group of symptoms related to memory and thought. Common symptoms include difficulty with short-term memory, mood changes, aggression, and confusion.

While both men and women can develop dementia, the condition appears to affect women more often. However, research continues to uncover new information about how dementia affects older men.

Here are 5 statistics that provide important insight about dementia in men.

  1. Dementia risk actually may be equal between men and women.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, many studies have found no significant difference in the proportion of women and men who develop some form of dementia at any given age. Dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, appears to be more prevalent among women. However, this may be due to a variety of factors, including life expectancy and overall health later in life.

  1. Men tend to have different dementia symptoms.

Each individual with dementia may demonstrate varying degrees of different symptoms. One study of 1,600 individuals found that men with dementia tended to have less common symptoms, possibly leading to fewer men being diagnosed with dementia.

The study found that men were less likely to show damage to the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in memory. However, men were more likely to demonstrate aphasia, a condition related to language problems. They also showed more corticobasal degeneration, which can cause movement problems.

  1. Men with better cardiovascular health may be less likely to develop dementia.

One study points out that middle-aged men have a higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared to middle-aged women. Because of this, men who live to be older than 65 may be more heart healthy overall, lowering their risk of dementia compared to similarly aged women.

Because of this “survival bias,” the men who are included in studies of older adults tend to be healthier. Therefore, they may be at lower risk of developing dementia than the men who had already died of cardiovascular disease at an earlier age.

  1. Dementia symptoms progress more slowly in men.

In a Duke University Medical Center study, cognitive abilities of females with dementia declined twice as fast as those of males over an eight-year study.

The slower decline may lead to fewer men being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia until much later in life.

  1. Some genetic risk factors may be less harmful for men.

The same Duke University study noted that the difference in dementia progression among men and women was even stronger among participants who had the APOE-e4 genotype.

Studies have already connected this particular genetic variation to Alzheimer’s risk. Scientists are not yet sure why it may be a stronger risk factor for women, but it may be because of how the genotype interacts with estrogen.

Caring for a Loved One with Dementia?

Heritage Senior Communities offer specialized dementia care to provide for the needs of individuals with memory impairments. Contact us with any questions about dementia care or to schedule a tour.

5 Ways to Stay Active After a Parkinson’s Diagnosis

5 Ways to Stay Active After a Parkinson’s Diagnosis

Dear Donna,

Our mom was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Her physician says that exercise is essential to help her preserve her independence longer. Do you have any suggestions on how can we help her increase her level of daily activity?

Sincerely,

The Jordan family, Saline, Michigan

How Can Seniors With Parkinson’s Stay Active?

Dear Jordan family,

You picked a great time to ask us this question! April is National Parkinson’s Month. This gives us the opportunity to talk more about a disease that affects the nervous system and movement skills, making it difficult to engage in everyday activities. This can be especially challenging for seniors who may already be experiencing other normal aging-related changes.

However, a Parkinson’s diagnosis does not mean your mom cannot stay active. Here are 5 activities that can help.

5 Activities for National Parkinson’s Month

  1. Gardening

Gentle activities like gardening are a great way for seniors to stay active.

You can also help modify this activity to make it easier for your mom. For example, you could help your mom set up a gardening bench or station that allows her to work while sitting instead of kneeling.

  1. Balloon volleyball

Balloon volleyball is a simple activity with numerous benefits. Catching and hitting a balloon before it floats to the ground can encourage physical movement and even stretching. The balloon’s movement is also unpredictable, creating the mental challenge of following its path as it floats to the ground.

Since it is a group activity, balloon volleyball also encourages socialization that can prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation.

  1. Water aerobics

Parkinson’s can affect balance, but water activities are an easy way around that problem. A water aerobics class also provides an opportunity to get out of the house and socialize.

Many communities offer other group exercise activities targeted toward people with Parkinson’s, such as dance and stretch movements. Search for classes or groups that your mom can join. Look for events hosted by local hospitals, churches, or fitness centers.

  1. Painting

Painting and other artistic activities can be done alone or in a group. They usually do not involve moving the whole body, but these activities can help maintain fine motor skills and encourage well-being and personal expression.

Look for art classes or group events around your mom’s community. Be aware that many art classes charge a fee to cover the cost of supplies.

  1. Walks

Walking is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to increase physical activity. Your mom can take a walk nearly anywhere, such as a park, mall, museum, or even supermarket.

If balance is a concern, your mom can use a cane, walker, or walking stick to stay steady. Make sure she is able to stop and rest when needed.

It may be a good idea to talk to a doctor about your mom’s condition to help determine the best activities for her and how to perform them safely.

Worried About Staying Healthy and Active With Parkinson’s?

Heritage Senior Communities provides quality care for seniors across the state of Michigan. Our Linden Square residence in Saline, for example, continues to grow to meet the needs of the local community. Contact us today to schedule a tour.