When to Bring Parents on an Assisted Living Tour

When to Bring Parents on an Assisted Living Tour

Dear Donna,

My parents asked me to help them find an assisted living community. Every time we have plans to visit a community, they come up with an excuse to not go.

I am happy to help them, but I am starting to think they don’t want to find a place. Should I take my parents with me on my first round of assisted living tours, or can I narrow down their options first and bring them on the second round of tours?

Alison from Saline, MI


When Should Your Parents Start Touring Assisted Living Communities?


Dear Alison,

Many children want to help their senior parents find a senior living community, but sometimes their loved ones don’t make it easy. Regardless of the reason, resistance on the part of a parent can make adult children wonder if it’s necessary to include them in the entire process.

Sometimes, it is more productive to narrow down your options before bringing a senior along for a tour. Other times, it’s better to include them in the entire process. Here are a few tips to help you decide which route to take.

Bringing Your Parents on All Assisted Living Tours

The main benefit of bringing your parents on every visit is that they can decide what they like and dislike about a community. This can greatly increase the chances they will pick one that is the best fit.

Including your parent also helps them maintain a sense of independence and control. That’s an important part of helping a senior feel empowered.

However, bringing your mom and dad with you on every tour can have a downside. Not every community will be a good fit and you will likely recognize those that obviously aren’t. By eliminating those choices, you help make the process a little less stressful.

If your parents are turned off by a community early, they might try to find something wrong with every community. For seniors that are resistant to moving, this can make the process much longer.

Here are a few cases when you might want to bring your parents on every visit:

  • They are excited about the move and want to be included.
  • They enjoy meeting the residents and engaging with the staff.
  • They can walk around the communities without tiring quickly.

Narrowing Down Your Options before Bringing Seniors on an Assisted Living Tour

Narrowing down to just two or three options before bringing your parents to visit the communities can be significantly quicker than bringing them on every visit. This is especially true if you know what questions to ask on an assisted living tour.

Conversely, narrowing down your options from the beginning may not allow you to get the best understanding of what your parents need from a community.

Here are a few scenarios where it makes sense to narrow down your options first:

  • They have mobility limitations that make it difficult to tour several communities.
  • They have a cognitive impairment that makes them unable to make decisions about their living arrangements.
  • They aren’t happy about moving and you need to find communities that are obviously a good fit.

I hope this helps, Alison.




Schedule a Tour with Heritage Senior Communities

At Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square location in Saline, we encourage seniors and their families to visit with several communities before making a decision. Contact us today to schedule a private tour.

4 Foods That Help Fight Caregiver Fatigue

4 Foods That Help Fight Caregiver Fatigue

Caregiving comes with a never-ending list of responsibilities. The mental exertion required often leaves caregivers stressed out and exhausted before the day has even started. This is so common that it has a name: caregiver fatigue.

One way caregivers can alleviate fatigue is by eating healthy. A diet high in nutrition and low in processed foods can not only give caregivers more energy, but it can improve their mood while reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Here’s how caregivers can use food to help fight caregiver fatigue.

Foods to Avoid

When feeling low on energy, it’s normal to reach for caffeinated beverages and sugary snacks. They are convenient and provide instant relief. Unfortunately, the energy you get from them is short-lived and can leave you feeling worse than you did before.

A few foods that can lead to a crash include:

  • Caffeine: Consuming caffeine, primarily later in the day, can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Poor sleep can significantly worsen symptoms of fatigue. Try to limit caffeinated beverages like coffee to a single cup in the morning.
  • Sugar: Sugar is notorious for resulting in a crash. Do your best to avoid sugary snacks like pastries and soda.
  • Simple carbohydrates: Simple carbs like bread and pasta taste great. However, they do little to keep you satisfied when eaten alone. If you eat carbs, consider pairing them with a lean protein.
  • Processed foods: Processed foods are often full of preservatives, sodium, and other ingredients that can slow you down. It’s best to avoid them altogether.

Foods That Help Fight Caregiver Fatigue

Rather than opting for quick fixes, caregivers can try eating natural foods that provide long-lasting energy. Here are a few foods that help fight fatigue:

  1. Lean protein: It takes longer to digest lean protein than refined carbs. Foods that take longer to digest help sustain your energy levels, reducing the chance of a crash. Try to incorporate lean proteins like white-meat poultry and lean fish into your diet regularly.
  2. Leafy green vegetables: Vegetables contain micronutrients that are essential for energy. Spinach, in particular, contains iron that helps red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body. It also contains magnesium, which relaxes your muscles to help you fall asleep.
  3. Complex carbohydrates: Complex carbs are great for giving you long-lasting energy. They contain more nutrients than simple carbs and help you stay full. When selecting carbs, consume those that are rich in fiber like brown rice and oatmeal.
  4. Vitamin C: Vitamin C can help fight fatigue and infections. One lemon can provide you with up to 40% of your daily intake of Vitamin C. Lemons also contain potassium, which is crucial for brain and nerve function. Lemon water, in particular, has been shown to be a great alternative to a morning coffee. It hydrates while boosting your metabolism and preventing insulin spikes.


Heritage Supports a Healthy Diet

The fatigue that often comes with caregiving can make it difficult to eat a healthy diet. But getting proper nutrition isn’t just essential for your well-being, it’s equally important for your caregiving ability.

If your caregiving role is causing you to experience chronic fatigue, it may be time to consider respite care. Heritage Senior Communities offers respite care options that allow caregivers to take a much-needed break without sacrificing their loved ones’ care. Contact us today to learn more about our respite care services.

What Is the Difference between Assisted Living and Independent Living?

What Is the Difference between Assisted Living and Independent Living?

Dear Donna,

I am trying to help my parents find a senior living community. I am not sure if I should be looking for an independent living community or an assisted living community.

Can you please explain the difference between independent living and assisted living?


Vanessa from Holland, MI


Understanding the Difference Between Independent Living and Assisted Living


Dear Vanessa,

It’s common to have trouble understanding the difference between independent living and assisted living. Having so many senior living options available can be overwhelming for families. However, it’s crucial to fully understand your options if you want to ensure you help your senior parents make the right decision.

In the simplest terms, independent living is for healthy seniors who want to maintain an active lifestyle. Assisted living is for seniors who need support to maintain their independence.

Amount of Assistance Needed

The primary difference between assisted living communities and independent living communities is the amount of care provided to their residents.

Assisted living communities usually have around-the-clock assistance available. Professional caregivers are available 24/7 to support seniors with everyday activities like preparing meals and managing medications. If your senior parents can’t spend more than a few days alone without jeopardizing their health or safety, then assisted living is likely for them.

Independent living communities, on the other hand, are more suitable for healthy seniors who don’t need much assistance. Many communities offer amenities that can significantly improve their quality of life. A few common services include meal plans, cleaning services, and maintenance.

Reasons for Moving

The reasons for moving are also different between seniors who choose assisted living versus those who select independent living.

Seniors who move to an assisted living community usually do so because they need some form of assistance to remain independent. A few common reasons seniors choose assisted living include:

  • Needing help with activities of daily living.
  • Having trouble maintaining their home.
  • Struggling to meet their nutritional requirements.
  • Having a health condition that requires supervision.
  • Wanting to give their families peace of mind that they are safe.

Seniors who choose independent living often move to have their desired lifestyle. A few common reasons seniors move to independent living communities include:

  • Being a part of a community with people who are their age and share similar interests.
  • Enjoying their retirement years without many of the responsibilities that come with home ownership.
  • Having easy access to the services and amenities offered at that particular community.

Financing Options Available

Another factor that varies between assisted living and independent living is the financing options available.

Because seniors usually choose assisted living for health and safety reasons, they are often able to find resources to lower their out-of-pocket expenses. A few common resources include long-term care insurance, employee benefits programs, VA benefits, and Medicaid.

The cost of independent living varies due to multiple factors including the type of housing, the amenities offered, and the services provided. Because it’s considered a choice to live there, it usually doesn’t qualify for any financial assistance.

I hope this helps you decide which senior living option is best for your parents.




Heritage Senior Communities Helps Families Understand Their Options

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Appledorn Assisted Living location, provide support to help families decide which senior living option is best for their loved ones. If you are an adult children or family member who is having trouble understanding the difference between assisted living and independent living, please feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to help!


What Causes Wandering in Adults with Alzheimer’s?

What Causes Wandering in Adults with Alzheimer’s?

Wandering is a common behavior among people with Alzheimer’s disease. An estimated 6 in 10 people with dementia will wander. This behavior is dangerous regardless of what stage of the disease they are in. The longer they are missing, the greater their risk for serious injury. This makes wandering a concern for families caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.

While no one knows for sure what causes adults with Alzheimer’s to wander, there are a few common triggers. Here are some scenarios that can lead to wandering, along with a few ways Michigan caregivers can prevent it.


Why Adults with Alzheimer’s Wander

  1. Disorientation

Feeling disoriented is one of the most common reasons why people with Alzheimer’s wander. Their cognitive impairment can make them forget where they are and what they are doing. Wandering is their way of dealing with the anxiety caused by feeling displaced.

Here are a few ways you can reduce feelings of disorientation:

  • Stick to a routine to reduce the likelihood they will forget what they are doing.
  • Limit the amount of stimuli to prevent them from getting distracted.
  • Keep them in familiar settings to prevent them from feeling displaced.
  1. Boredom

Another common reason why adults with Alzheimer’s wander is because they are bored. When adults with Alzheimer’s don’t get enough stimulation, they get the urge to get up and move. Wandering is just a way of finding relief.

To prevent boredom, try:

  • Having them help you with simple household chores like folding laundry or organizing papers.
  • Finding activities to keep them busy like knitting or coloring.
  • Keeping them engaged through conversation.
  1. Lack of Physical Activity

Sometimes, people with dementia wander because they don’t get enough exercise. Wandering is their way of burning excess energy.

Here are few ways you can help your loved one burn extra energy:

  • Incorporate a walk into their daily routine.
  • Accommodate their desire to move by having them sit in a rocking chair.
  • Introduce them to a stationary bike where they can exercise in place.
  1. Trying to Fulfill Basic Needs

Adults with Alzheimer’s can also wander in efforts to fulfill their basic needs. The need to eat, drink, or use the bathroom can be triggers.

A simple way to reduce this reason for wandering is to check that their basic needs are met periodically throughout the day.

  • Occasionally ask them if they need to use the bathroom.
  • Bring them a snack if you notice they haven’t eaten in a while.
  • Make sure they always have a glass of water nearby.
  1. Unfamiliar Environments

A change in environment can also trigger wandering. Many families notice their loved ones wander after they move to a new home or visit a new location.

Here are a few tips to prevent wandering in new environments:

  • Try to plan short day trips as opposed to overnight stays.
  • When going out to eat, go to familiar restaurants.
  • Make sure someone they are comfortable with is around at all times.


Memory Care at Heritage Senior Communities

If you are concerned about your ability to prevent your loved ones from wandering, you may want to consider assisted living. Many communities, including Heritage, have specialized dementia care communities that are designed to prevent residents from wandering. Contact us to learn more about how we help keep seniors with dementia safe.