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Thanksgiving Holiday Planning for Our Senior Living and Memory Care Loved Ones

18 November 2019

Assisted Living Memory Care Thanksgiving Holiday Planning in Bethlehem, GA

By now I think all of you realize that here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care, we invest in managing this blog as a service to our cherished residents, their families, and to the countless angels out there who lovingly provide self-help at-home senior care services. We feel a heartfelt responsibility to freely share our professional knowledge regarding professional assisted living, professional memory care support, and or respite care services. We are fully aware of the vast weight of the labor of love that all of you bear regardless of the level of professional support that you currently secure.

While this Thanksgiving-related blog post is heavily focused on those of you who care for a loved one with memory care issues, so much of this messaging can be directly applicable to those providing senior assisted living support to someone without memory issues.

Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to gather to give thanks, catch up and share a special meal together. However, when a family member is diagnosed with a dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, the family dynamic changes dramatically. Nowhere is this more evident than at holiday gatherings. The hustle and bustle of a typical family Thanksgiving can cause extreme levels of anxiety for someone with dementia, turning a wonderful day into a confusing and agonizing ordeal. Consequently, for the family caregiver, it can become a day full of tension as they watch over their loved one with anxious eyes.

It doesn’t have to be that way. With advance planning and preparation, Thanksgiving can still be enjoyed by everyone, even the family member with dementia. To be successful, however, you do need to plan and structure the day for the best possible outcome.

Here are some tips we’ve gathered, contributed by individuals with dementia, families and caregivers:

  • Prepare family and friends. Share your loved one’s diagnosis with those who will be attending your Thanksgiving dinner. Explain the limitations the disease has created. Educate them as to the proper way to approach and communicate with your loved one, and how to include him or her in the conversation as much as possible.
  • Prepare your loved one. Make sure that he or she has had enough rest. Keep to your regular routine as much as possible during the days leading up to Thanksgiving.
  • Ask for help. Ask family members for help with shopping and cooking in advance. Many families enjoy a potluck Thanksgiving to which everyone brings a dish. This can be a lifesaver in a household with a loved one challenged by dementia. You might also consider asking a relative who is close to your loved one to help by keeping an eye on his or her anxiety levels as the day progresses. They can be a big help when you are busy with other guests and duties.
  • Schedule dinner early in the day. Individuals with dementia are particularly sensitive to the hours between daylight and evening. This is called “Sundown Syndrome” and, fortunately, there are ways to reduce its impact. One way is to schedule your dinner well before sunset.
  • Encourage reminiscing about the past. If your loved one still has longer term memory intact, consider bringing out some old photo albums and putting them in convenient places to inspire conversation. This can be a great way for younger family members to engage with your loved one, as well as with other older family members.
  • Provide a quiet place for “down time”. A short nap or some quiet time off in a separate area provides a nice break for someone with Dementia. Ideally, this would be a quiet room off the main area, where he or she can relax out of the center of activity. Often, for those in earlier stages of Dementia, a short refreshing nap is all that is needed to enable them to rejoin the festivities.
  • Plan your own post-Thanksgiving “down time”. This is so important for caregivers. You need time to yourself to unwind and relax. If you are the primary caregiver, consider scheduling some short term “respite” care at a local memory care community for your loved one. That will give you time to tend to your own physical and emotional health and enjoy some time on your own with friends and family members.

If your loved one is one of our cherished memory care residents here at Gateway Gardens, consider bringing some of your Thanksgiving cheer to them, rather than disrupting their routine by transporting them to your gathering.

For more information about senior living or memory care services here in Bethlehem, contact us anytime.


We Invite You to Take a Virtual Tour of our Community

13 November 2019

Assisted Living Memory Respite Care Community in Bethlehem, GA

Today’s blog post is a tribute to our staff who work so hard each day to create the safe, clean, and genuinely attractive living environment that every resident deserves. We invite the followers of our blog to take a walk through our gallery page and see with your own eyes the physical layout of our warm and friendly community. We think you’ll be impressed, and we gladly welcome the opportunity to show it off to you personally.

For those of you who don’t know us well, we specialize in assisted living, memory care, and respite care services to the greater Bethlehem, Ga area and beyond. We freely welcome the opportunity to engage you and your questions regarding the nature and considerations of assisted living, memory care, and respite care services. To do that, contact Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem.


Assisted Living or Memory Care for Early Dementia

6 November 2019

Assisted Living and Memory Care in Bethlehem, GA

Today’s blog post is designed to help those of you out there trying to decide the strategic care plan for a loved one suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related disease. It is very common for all of you care providers to be confused regarding exactly what type of professional care is best now, assisted living or memory care. We are proud to inform that we lovingly provide both services here at Manor Lake Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem. We thought we’d share the following with you while crediting dementiacarecentral.com for insightful and informative narrative on this subject.

Even with help from community-based services and respite services, providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease (A/D) or dementia becomes more difficult with time. In later stages of the disease, many people will require more care and assistance than their family members can provide. Even for people who don’t need intensive hands-on care, safety may be an issue and they may not be able to stay home alone. Residential care options may be able to provide best for the needs of some individuals. However, these options are often considerations that caregivers and their families find difficult to plan for, or to even discuss.

Residential Care Options for Dementia

The natural progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as other forms of dementia, will result in the need for care for loved ones. Depending on one’s stage of Alzheimer’s/dementia, and his/her ability to function, the level of care and supervision that is required varies. For most families, this means some form of residential care. This is where assisted living, “memory care” comes into play.

Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living residences, such as continuing care retirement communities, are especially suited for those individuals in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia who do not have many medical problems, but who do need more intensive support for Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). Many people with dementia will need help with IADLs. These are activities that we perform from day to day that add to our quality of life, but are not as basic to self-care as Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). ADLs are the basic activities that we must perform every day in order to take care of ourselves. Individuals with dementia may also need help with these tasks.

The following tasks are considered to be IADLs:

  • Managing money (i.e., writing checks, handling cash, keeping a budget)
  • Managing medications (i.e., taking the appropriate dose of medication at the right time)
  • Cooking (i.e., preparing meals or snacks, microwave/stove usage)
  • Housekeeping (i.e., performing light and heavy chores, such as dusting or mowing the lawn)
  • Using appliances (i.e., using the telephone, television, or vacuum appropriately)
  • Shopping (i.e., purchasing, discerning between items)
  • Extracurriculars (i.e., maintaining a hobby or some sort of leisure activities)

Typically, ADLs refers to the following tasks:

  • Bathing (i.e., able to bathe without assistance in cleaning or getting into tub or shower)
  • Toilet Use (i.e., able to use the toilet and clean oneself afterwards)
  • Control or continence of urine and bowels (i.e., able to wait for the right time and the right place)
  • Dressing and grooming (i.e., able to button a shirt, choosing appropriate clothing)
  • Moving about (i.e., able to move in and out of a chair or bed, walking)
  • Eating (i.e., able to eat without having to be fed by another)

Those who are in the middle-stage of dementia require a greater amount of supervision and care than those in early-stage dementia, and for those in middle-stage dementia, assisted living is also a good option. In assisted living facilities, individuals generally live in a private studio, private apartment, or a shared apartment, and have staff available to assist them 24-hours / day. This type of living arrangement is ideal for those who are still able to live with some independence but do require assistance with ADLs. Transportation to and from doctor’s appointments and social activities are also offered at assisted living facilities. In addition, assisted living facilities have dining halls where residents gather to eat meals.

Memory Care

For individuals with dementia who require a higher level of skilled care and supervision, memory care units are an ideal option. These units offer both private and shared living spaces. Sometimes they exist as a wing within an assisted living facility or nursing home or they sometimes operate as stand-alone residences. Supervised care is provided twenty-four hours / day by staff trained to care for the specific needs and demands of dementia patients. Memory care units offer the same services as assisted living facilities, in addition to activities that are intended to stimulate the memory of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and possibly slow the progression of the disease. Activities may involve music, arts and crafts, games, and more.

For more information, contact Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem.

Source: dementiacarecentral.com


Is Your Loved One Developing Alzheimer's Disease

28 October 2019

Alzheimer's Disease in Bethlehem, GA

We take great pride here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care here in Bethlehem to share our knowledge and stories to help as many people as possible. For those of you struggling to care for loved ones in need of memory care support, we understand your challenges and the huge labor of love that you bear.

Today we’ll share with you the most common symptoms shared by Alzheimer’s and related dementia disorders. The symptoms include any combination of the following:

  • Memory Loss – People may forget things they’ve learned as well as dates and events. They may also ask for the same information repeatedly.
  • Trouble Planning or Solving Problems – You may notice a loved one taking longer to complete tasks they used to be able to do much quicker. You may also notice they have trouble following directions, even a simple recipe becomes complex.
  • Confusion with Time or Place – People with Alzheimer’s often lose track of time. They also forget where they are and even how they got there.
  • Misplacing Things & Unable to Retrace Steps – As people forget dates and events they may also start to misplace objects. Although they would be able to retrace their steps in the past and find what they were looking for, that is no longer the case. This may lead them to accuse others of stealing because they can no longer find what’s theirs.
  • Mood & Personality Changes – Because of the changes that are going on in their mind, you may notice major shifts in mood and personality. They may become confused, suspicious and even depressed.

Helping People with Alzheimer’s Disease

Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are things you can do to slow its onset and to maximize your loved one’s quality of life. The ability to deliver positive effect is especially enhanced if the disease is still in its early stages.

  • Keep a Daily Routine – This helps to avoid confusion and lets the person know what can be expected. Alzheimer’s patients like routines.
  • Don’t Overstimulate – Keep things simple. Say one thing at a time. Present only one idea so that the person can understand it the best they can.
  • Be Reassuring – Always try to make the person feel safe and comfortable. Sometimes even saying the words, “You are safe with me” is enough to make that person feel at ease.
  • Don’t Yell or Argue – As frustrated as you may get, imagine how the patient feels. They can no longer grasp what is going on inside their own heads. Don’t yell or argue out of frustration. Be the calming voice they need.

While you may be able to care for an Alzheimer’s patient in the early stages of the disease, you need to realize that the challenges will become increasingly difficult. Your loved one can present a danger to themselves by wandering off or forgetting to turn off the stove. If this is the case it may be time to consider professional memory care services like those we provide here at our Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care community. For more information about memory care services here in Bethlehem, contact us anytime.


Get Help with Assisted Living and Memory Care Costs

21 October 2019

 Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care Bethlehem GA

Many people who are in need of assisted living services in and around Bethlehem or memory care services in and around Bethlehem put off looking for care for fear of how they will pay for it. We are fully committed to providing the highest quality and most affordable assisted living services across the Bethlehem Georgia area. We fully realize that assisted living services, for some, can be cost prohibitive. However, we are fully committed to assisting you with potential sources of financial aid so that you and or your loved ones can secure the care that you deserve.

Check the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Program

Check eligibility for the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Pension, a program which can provide financial help to those who require assistance with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing, dressing and undressing or taking care of the needs of nature.

It can pay up to $1,830 per month to a veteran, $1,176 per month to a surviving spouse, or $2,170 per month to a couple for veterans and surviving spouses (as of 2017). Certain income and asset limits also apply.

This program allows you to keep more assets than most state aid programs, and it provides a higher level of assistance. You cannot receive benefits from both the Veterans program and a state aid program, so you may want to evaluate both to determine which provides the highest level of assistance for you or your loved one.

Check with your state’s medicaid office

Find your state Medicaid office and check on their available resources. To qualify for Medicaid you'll need to have assets and income that are below the federal poverty levels.

Many state programs offer assistance with assisted living costs for those who have no financial resources. Qualifying for such assistance usually means you have less than $2,000 in assets, although exact program requirements can vary from state-to-state.

Find non-profit resources for assisted living and elderly care

With a little digging you may find a non-profit organization that can help. If they can't help they may direct you to additional sources of assistance. Start with these two organizations:

  • Contact your local Area Agency for Aging. They can help you locate resources such as elder refugee or elder abuse programs, counseling, meals on wheels, volunteers who will visit, adult day care services, and much more.
  • Visit Eldercare.gov to find help in your local community, or call them at 800.677.1116. They will help refer to local resources such as home health services, transportation resources, senior housing options, respite care, find financial assistance if you are eligible for it, and much more.

Ask for family support

One home health company has created a free personalized way to stay in touch with those who need in-home care or assisted living through a feature they call CareTogether. It functions like a customized form of Facebook designed just for a senior who needs care, allowing the family to stay updated on what their needs may be.

You could use a feature like this, or a Facebook page, to explain your or your loved one’s needs to extended family and then ask family members if they would be willing to contribute a small monthly amount to provide in-home or assisted living care for this family member.

We want you to know that we are here to help. Contact Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care in Bethlehem today.

Source: thebalance.com


Halloween Activities for our Senior Living and Memory Care Loved Ones

18 October 2019

 Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care Bethlehem GA

We’re establishing a tradition here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem to celebrate Halloween with our assisted living residents as well as our memory care residents. Each year we research new and exciting ideas to smile, laugh, and share our love for our treasured residents. This year we found this article from SeniorAdvisor.com with a laundry list of ideas which we are not mulling over. We thought we’d share the same ideas we the followers of our blog in the hope that it navigates all of you to some special moments during Halloween.

Halloween Crafts for Seniors

Halloween crafts can be completed early in October so you can use them as decorations throughout the rest of the month.

  1. Decorate pumpkins.
    One of the best traditional crafts for Halloween time is making jack-o-lanterns. If you’re not sure about handing sharp implements, you can have a pumpkin painting day or give them sharpies to draw designs on the pumpkins.

  2. Make spooky candles.
    The lacy candles recommended by Elder One Stop are easy to make, made of cheap supplies, and won’t be a fire risk (they recommend flameless). They’ll add a nice bit of atmosphere to your facility.

  3. Make decorative spiderwebs.
    You can get together to make simple and cheap spiderwebs to hang around the community out of coffee filters. Throw in a little yarn and your residents will also have the option of creating larger cobweb decorations for the space.

  4. Make spiral ghosts.
    Some white paper, a black sharpie, and scissors are all your group needs to make these spinning ghosts. You can hang them around the shared spaces of the facility.

  5. Decorative Halloween garlands.
    For one more addition to your homemade decorations, you can task any interested seniors with making decorative Halloween garlands for your hallways. Here are some ideas of bat and ghost garlands and glow-in-the-dark ones.

(Mostly) Healthy Halloween Recipes for Seniors

You can find loads of cute Halloween recipes on the web, but most of them are laden with sugar. Since many seniors have health concerns, we tried to pick out a few of the healthier options that still fit the theme.

  1. Shrunken Head Cider
    From the twisted mind of Martha Stewart comes this shrunken head cider. You can skip the booze if you want and stick with the rest of the recipe.

  2. Sweet potato jack-o-lanterns
    Sweet potatoes are just the right mix of healthy and tasty and these jack-o-lanterns will make a fun, theme-appropriate snack that’s easy to make.

  3. Dragon’s blood punch
    Made mostly of juices (although it may still be too sugary for some), this punch is simple to make in large quantities and should make for a tasty treat.

  4. Devilish Eggs
    Adorable deviled eggs made from healthy ingredients are easy for your residents to put together and tasty for everyone to enjoy once finished.

  5. Cheesy Witch’s Brooms
    Cuter than any witch’s implement should be, these witch’s brooms made of cheese and pretzels shouldn’t be too hard to make and will be even easier to devour. (Note: scroll down for the English instructions).

Other Halloween Activities for Seniors

If you want to pack Halloween week with more fun, interactive activities that you might consider include:

  1. Halloween charades
    Brainstorm as many different Halloween-related themes and ideas you can think of for your loved one to act out. You should all have fun watching people mime Dracula or try to figure out how to act like a spider. Here’s a list to get you started.

  2. Share scary stories
    Your cherished senior loved one probably know some good ones, but you can come equipped with a book or some stories from the internet just in case.

  3. Homemade costume contest
    Encourage your senior loved one to come up with homemade mask and costumes ideas. If you can make some materials available for them to work with, that may spark inspiration in a few of them. On Halloween, have everyone vote on which costume came out the best.

  4. Assisted living trick-or-treat
    Most seniors probably feel silly trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, but let’s be honest, most of us loved trick-or-treating and were a little sad when we got too old for it. Why not give it a try!

  5. Classic horror movie marathon
    Your loved one probably have some favorite old classic horror movies. Poll them to pick out a few of the most popular, and give them the option to come together and watch them on Halloween or in the days leading up to it.

Halloween’s not for everybody, so you’ll probably have those uninterested in participating in some of these activities, but those that enjoy the season will be happy to have the opportunity to celebrate it in a variety of ways.

All of us here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care wish you the very best for a joyful Halloween celebration.


About the Guilt Associated with Seeking Professional Senior Living Care Services

14 October 2019

 Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care Bethlehem GA

Caring for your loved ones that require significant assisted living support here in Bethlehem or memory care support here in Bethlehem is an exhaustive yet fulfilling labor of love. Without doubt it is very stressful as well. At some point this labor of love becomes an unhealthy tax on both the mental and physical state of the caregiver(s). It is at this point where guilt sets in when we recognize our inability to keep pace with the ever-increasing challenge of providing assisted living care support services. This guilt is natural but fortunately it is usually short-lived once we come to accept the realities of life that, at some point, we must turn to assisted living professionals to help us carry the load.

The key word there is “professionals”. We are programmed to believe that no one outside the family can provide the same level of loving care that a family member can. But that is simply not true. When you enlist the support of assisted living or memory care professionals in and around Bethlehem you are empowering you and your family with the power of scientific research and professional expertise that will enhance the quality of life of your loved one in ways that the non-professional family simply cannot. No offense of course.

So take the step to research your transition to professional assisted living care with confidence (not guilt) that you are about to increase the quality of life of both your loved one AND yourself. Conduct thorough research of the assisted living and memory care communities near you to experience the campus, assess the skill and attentive nature of the staff, and to simply get a feel for the memory care community as a whole. Trust your instinct, it will guide you well.

If you think it's time to move your parent or loved one to an assisted living care community, contact the assisted living and memory care professionals at Gateway Gardens here in Bethlehem. Our team is available to help guide you through this difficult process and answer any questions that may arise.


Professional Assisted Living Lowers Resident Heart Disease

11 October 2019

 Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care Bethlehem GA

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, seniors supported by professional assisted living professionals realize a statistically significant decrease in hospitalization for heart disease. This positive report is attributed to the professional support provided by assisted living and memory care communities such as ours at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem GA that deliver quality of life support programs as well as regular and reassuring professional health consultation.

What We Do?

The following items are primary goals of our assisted living and memory care community and our memory care community in an effort to reduce the rate of senior patients developing heart illnesses.

Provide Fitness and Relaxation

Keeping seniors active and relaxed improves heart health. Workout programs that range from low to moderate impact exercises are managed based on fitness levels and health status. Regular exercise helps lower stress levels and improve quality of sleep. When these two vital factors are achieved and stabilized, a healthier heart is guaranteed.

Promote Nutrition and Healthy Diet

Assisted living communities pay close attention to the nutrition and diet of their senior residents. They make sure that the food served to senior residents are both appetizing and healthy to improve food intake and facilitates consumption of important nutrients that can strengthen the heart. Also, taking note of food that must be taken moderately. Low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar diet are usually the dietary recommendation for these people.

Provide Smoke-Free Environment

We know for a fact that a smoker has a higher risk of developing chronic heart disorders including atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care offers a designated outdoor area for smokers separated from non-smokers so that non-smokers will not be exposed to smoke-filled air. This is also a way to encourage current smokers to break the habit. Medical advises are also given to those smokers to support them to give up smoking.

For more information about assisted living and memory care services in and around Bethlehem, contact Gateway Gardens today.


Music Revives Memories in Seniors and Dementia Patients

7 October 2019

 Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care Bethlehem GA

Modern researchers have discovered that music soothes those suffering from advanced age, dementia, and/or Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers at The University of Utah Health recently tested whether they could alleviate anxiety in seniors (with and without dementia) by playing familiar music to them using headphones and a hand-held music device. Anxiety and agitation are two of the most disruptive aspects of living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease for both patients and caregivers.

After the researchers helped the patients pick meaningful music, they used a functional MRI to record the changes in the brain while the music played. The brain images showed that music helped the areas of the brain known as the salience network, the visual network, the executive network, and the cerebellar and corticocerebellar networks all work with better connectivity. These areas of the brain activate language and memory, according to the study’s authors.

“When you put headphones on dementia patients and play familiar music, they come alive,” Jace King, lead author of the study, said in a press release. “Music is like an anchor grounding the patient back in reality.”

Music and movement are the last things to go in the brain.

It’s almost miraculous what music can do for Alzheimer’s patients and the research about the benefits is there.

Patients Respond

Health care providers have seen firsthand how much music helps dementia patients. with the clients there.

Play songs from their era that they might recognize. Patriotic songs are also popular.

Music touches people on so many levels.

The reaction by dementia patients to music was also dramatically demonstrated in the 2014 documentary, Alive Inside. Elderly care professionals can set up personalized playlists on iPods for their patients. The music helps the patients access the deep memories not lost to dementia. It also helps them converse and socialize in ways they weren’t doing before the familiar music became a part of their daily life.

For more information regarding senior assisted living services or memory care services in Bethlehem, contact Gateway Gardens today.


Must-Ask Questions When Choosing Assisted Living & Memory Care Communities

4 October 2019

 Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care Bethlehem GA

When it comes time to begin the most difficult task of choosing a Bethlehem-area senior living or memory care community take a deep breath and accept the fact that you are about to take on very serious responsibility. We want to help you in that endeavor by offering some guidance on how to move forward. Please know that we are here for you to help and expand upon the following advice.

At the very core of best practices to find the perfect senior living or assisted living community in Bethlehem is to speak with as many staff members and current residents as possible.

Questions to ask

Obviously, you can't just rely on facility tours or promotional brochures to make this crucial decision. First, get your ducks in a row. When you're ready to visit in person, turn to administrators, staff members and residents for answers to pivotal questions.

Consider Before You Visit:

Is the location realistic? Lengthy drives, not to mention flights, will affect visits and add barriers to relationships with friends and family members, including spouses still living at home.

Many families face a tough conundrum. Sometimes it's a matter of choosing between top-ranked but distant facilities versus more accessible locations for loved ones to visit regularly and monitor care.

Ask Administrators and Nursing Directors:

What are the staffing ratios? Bolster your question with research.

What is your staff turnover? Stable staffing is a good sign. In addition, consistent assignment – when the same caregivers are assigned to the same residents on a daily basis – is critically important. That way, staff members really get to know residents, anticipate their needs and can recognize and address problems early.

Which services do you offer? If you're undergoing rehab to recover from a hip fracture, you'll need a higher level of care than some nursing homes can offer. With medical conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, residents may need help managing supplemental oxygen.

Do you provide special care for people with dementia? Memory care means much more than just a locked unit to prevent residents from wandering. Staffing ratios should be no more than five residents per caregiver, including nurses and aides, around the clock. Caregivers should have special training in dementia care, and the awareness and sensitivity to best address these needs.

Ask Dietitians:

What kind of food do you serve? Residents rely entirely on nursing homes to meet their nutritional needs. Healthy, tasty food improves everyone's quality of life.

How do you satisfy cultural and individual food preferences? People in nursing homes still want to enjoy meals that evoke family traditions and tastes they've developed over their lives.

Do you accommodate special diets? Residents come in with their own dietary preferences and restrictions. Some also may have medical orders for soft or puréed diets, for example.

Can residents eat when they want? Some people prefer to eat outside routine schedules.

Ask Residents:

After the formal tour, explain that you'd like a chance to speak with several residents. Drop in at the activities room or a lounge, introduce yourself, say you're considering a move there and ask what it's like for them.

Are you happy here? "Do you enjoy living here?" "What do you like best about living here?" and "If you could change one thing, what would that be?" are positive ways to frame your questions and make residents more likely to respond.

Do you have freedom of choice? Does the facility offer resident-centered care? Are you able to get up when you want? Do you go to bed at the time you want?

When you ask for help, how long do you have to wait? If you always have to wait beyond five minutes for help, you're likely to try doing things on your own, which could set you up for falls.

Ask Activity Directors:

What about activities? How do you keep residents engaged? Ask to see monthly activity calendars. Offerings should be varied and appealing.

Does the facility have a resident or family council? These self-determined groups can provide a strong voice for quality care.

Is reliable transportation available? Sometimes nursing homes only provide transportation for certain medical appointments – and they don't provide transportation for social purposes. Is there staff to help residents get to a granddaughter's play?

Can residents easily spend time outdoors? Attractive courtyards are sometimes the first thing visitors notice. But how often can residents, particularly those with mobility issues, actually go outdoors? Does staff encourage and help them to do so?

For more information on senior assisted living services here in Bethlehem or memory care services here in Bethlehem, contact Gateway Gardens anytime!

health.usnews.com