13 January 2020
We want to thank in advance “Active Beat” who publishes insightful works on healthy lifestyles. They recently offered advice for senior care givers regarding nutritional health. Here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care, we gladly share the following with you today whether you’re providing senior assisted living support or any form of memory care support services to your beloved. Afterall, we’re all in this together.
If you provide senior assisted living care for a loved one, you may already include supplements in order to boost their memory and protect against age-related memory decline. If you care for an already diagnosed Alzheimer’s or related dementia condition you likely are administering physician prescribed supplements. Regardless, researchers at Yale University claim that the body doesn’t absorb nutritional supplements quite as effectively as it does natural foods.
Whether you’re preventing a family history of dementia and Alzheimer’s, or just looking to reduce risk in general, researchers recommend following the “MIND” diet which is short for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. It touts eating a more plant-based diet with limited red meat, saturated fats and sweets, says Mayo Clinic. And when it comes to brain-boosting Alzheimer’s-fighting super foods, these 12 foods should be at the top of your shopping list.
You likely already know that berries—such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries—are considered superfoods. This is due to the fact that they deliver a boatload of antioxidants in each bite! Antioxidants have long been linked to enhance cognitive function in dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. However, a study published by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease discovered that high-antioxidant berries were able to reduce plaque in the brain, which is thought to cause Alzheimer’s.
Chatelaine writes that blueberries in particular are among the best. “They contain flavonoids, which activate brain pathways associated with less cellular aging,” writes the source. WebMD also points out that berries have been linked to slowing down the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. We suggest eating about 1/2 cup three times a week.
Do you know what spices like turmeric, cocoa, cinnamon, and nutmeg have in common? According to the journal Central Nervous Systems Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, these spices contain certain polyphenols and compounds with numerous cognitive advantages. The journal research outlines the many gluco-recovery, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties in these spices and theorizes on their Alzheimer’s prevention connection.
MindBodyGreen also explains that “these spices can all help to break up brain plaque and reduce inflammation of the brain which can cause memory issues.” The foods on this list will not only help improve brain function, but fight off illnesses that cause our brains to age prematurely like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.
Natural foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids—namely nuts, flaxseeds, and certain types of fish—have long been linked to Alzheimer’s prevention. And even though much speculation can be found, more research must be conducted for undeniable scientific proof. However, research in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease as well as the European Journal of Nutrition, details how omega-3-rich foods can help decrease the rate of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients.
Fatty fish like salmon and trout are particularly good because the iodine and iron “help maintain cognitive function” and they contain “brain boosting omega-3 fatty acids.” You should be eating these types of fish at least two or three times a week.
I know, here we go about the coconut oil—yet again! But really, research from the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants has found evidence of coconut’s oil’s effectiveness in the fight against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Akin to olive oil, coconut oil is known for it’s rich polyphenol content. The same study credits unique phenols in coconut oil with neuro-protective abilities.
Dark, leafy green vegetables are among the best foods for us. No matter what, we should all be eating these veggies. But people who are at a high risk for dementia or Alzheimer’s should definitely be loading up on these. According to findings from the Journal of Nutritional Health and Aging, increasing your consumption of leafy greens will decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia—and they’re just plain good for you!
The best leafy greens are spinach, kale, and romaine. They are loaded with brain-boosting antioxidants and vitamin K, both of which act as brain shields when it comes to warding off age-related cognitive decline. It’s important to note that if you’re taking blood thinners, you should consult with a doctor before loading up on too much vitamin K.
Just like leafy greens, we should all be eating these veggies on a regular basis. They are just as important as leafy greens because like kale and spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts are all high in vitamin K. Chatelaine also notes that they are high in glucosinolates which have an antioxidant effect, as well as folate and carotenoids that lower homo-cysteine and fight cognitive impairment, says MindBodyGreen. The source recommends eating at least 1/2 cup every week.
Other vegetables that are important to eat when it comes to improving brain health are pumpkin, squash, asparagus, tomatoes, carrots and beets. MindBodyGreen says when these foods aren’t overcooked they contain lots of vitamin A, folate and iron which can help with cognition.
Beans and Legumes
Foods like beans, chickpeas, and lentils are all good for us, specifically our brain health because they are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. MindBodyGreen writes, “these foods contain more folate, iron, magnesium and potassium that can help with general body function and neuron firing.” The source also states that they contain choline, which is a B vitamin that boosts acetylcholine (a neuro transmitter critical for brain function).
We suggest swapping out red meat for 1/2 up of beans or legumes at least twice a week.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts are one of those foods that can be really healthy for us if we eat them properly. Plus they make for a really easy go-to snack! Our first rule is that they need to be unsalted. The other golden rule with nuts and seeds is that they are to be enjoyed in moderation because they contain lots of healthy fats.
Chatelaine says walnuts are among the best nuts because they are high in “omega-3 fatty acid, a brain-protective nutrient” which also makes them great for fighting off Alzheimer’s disease. The source also suggests eating only 1/4 cup or two tablespoons of a nut butter daily.
Unless you’re a vegetarian, you probably already eat chicken quite frequently throughout the week. Thankfully, it’s a great option and should be easily substituted for red or processed meat whenever possible. However, we suggest only eating one serving a day.
Of course, it’s important to note that we’re not talking about fried chicken or flash-frozen chicken like the boxed version you probably purchased at the grocery store. We’re talking about a nice lean, grilled piece of chicken.
Whole grains play an important role in the “MIND” diet. “Choose fibre-rich whole grains like oats, brown rice, and whole-grain wheat to offset your intake of refined grains,” writes Chatelaine.
Olive oil isn’t a food or snack per se, but it’s a common ingredient used in the kitchen and should be preferred over other popular oils. You should be using it when cooking and can even try it as a salad dressing because unlike other unhealthy options, it contains monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and antioxidants. WebMD points out that olive oil has “been shown to improve brain function over the long term and protect against dementia.”
You might be wondering what wine is doing on this list, but red wine has actually been shown to improve brain health and protect against Alzheimer’s! WebMD explains that several studies have shown this to be true, however in order for it to work, the wine must be enjoyed in moderation. Women should only drink one glass a day and in the case of men, it can be up to two. It’s important to note, that if you drink too much red wine it could have the opposite affect and make you more likely to get dementia, says the source.
We hope you found this blog post both interesting and insightful as you care for your senior or memory challenged loved one. If you provide assisted living services to a loved one in or around the Bethlehem area, or if you provide memory care services to a loved one, please know that you are not alone in your support challenges. We’re here for you, anytime! Why not give us a call!
6 January 2020
Well, the new year is upon us. It’s early January and from experience, we here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care know that many of you purposely (and understandably) chose to ignore the notion that your senior loved one is now fully dependent. That is something so many of us simply do not want to address during the Holidays. But now you feel you can no longer prolong the fact that you must prepare for a monumental life change, for everyone involved.
When a senior’s health begins to decline, an adult child or other loved one may take on a few tasks to help. Aiding with chores like grocery shopping and mowing the lawn can allow the older adult to remain in their home. As the senior’s needs worsen, loved ones often take on more responsibilities.
For some families, however, it is a crisis of some kind that causes them to assume the role of family caregiver. The senior might have experienced a fall or been diagnosed with a chronic illness. In these situations, a caregiver may find themselves struggling to juggle all their loved one’s needs. It can be an overwhelming transition for people to make.
If you are in this situation, we have some suggestions to help new family caregivers like you manage the role.
5 Tips for New Caregivers
Our Final Suggestion
Our final suggestion is to become acquainted with us before you need us. We understand what you’re going through and can help you. We want to develop a trust and understanding and when the time comes, we hope that you’ll team with us for your professional senior assisted living support services. Together, we’ll provide the best loving care possible.
Give us a call. Let’s talk.
23 December 2019
Christmas and Chanukah share a similar spiritual message: that it is possible to bring light and hope into the world. These two holidays occur together this year, which makes this an even more special holiday season.
This is a season to reflect upon how fortunate we are to have you as our customers: our friends and neighbors. During these holidays, we wish you, your family, and your friends a safe, joy-filled, and relaxing season.
Warm wishes for a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, and a most Happy New Year! With peace, joy, and love this holiday season and beyond!
9 December 2019
Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and we are smack in the middle of the Christmas/Holiday season. Your loved one who’s now living with dementia or the multiple challenges of senior life have always been the cornerstone of family Holidays and traditions. The challenges increase for all caregivers to continue the tradition with each new passing Holiday season. So, your friends, memory care professionals , assisted living professionals, and respite care professionals here in Bethlehem are back to offer you all some advice as once again you negotiate the Holiday season as a primary care giver.
Shop from home. Shopping, while oftentimes a large part of the season, will most likely bring undue stress to both the person living with dementia and the family caregiver. Avoid the sensory overload, large crowds, and confusing environment by shopping online or through a catalogue with your loved one. They can still choose gifts for the family but will be able to do so in the comfort and safety of their own home.
Create a new take on old traditions. Holiday family outings, such as outdoor ice-skating, caroling, or seeing “The Nutcracker” at a local playhouse, hold fond memories — but may not be feasible in the wake of dementia. Revamp these holiday traditions by taking a snowy day walk, lighting a fire and listening to Christmas music, or finding a version of “The Nutcracker” on DVD for family movie night. Time spent with family is the most important thing during holidays — the ice-skating, caroling and theatre are simply activities.
Remember a few of your favorite things. While it may seem like this year is going to be different than all the rest, it’s important (for both the caregiver and the person with dementia) to reminisce holidays past. Take the time during a holiday family get-together to share photos from previous celebrations, to recall funny family bloopers, and to engage in activities that your loved one is still able to — like decorating the Christmas tree or helping bake holiday treats.
As you’re adjusting to how things will be this holiday season (and those to come) — instead of how things once were — it’s important to remember the good and to hold onto joyful past memories in the wake of holiday stress. Focusing on the positive, rather than becoming overwhelmed by the negative, will not only help you cope and celebrate, but also encourage your loved one to enjoy such a special time, and to be at peace.
For those of you selflessly exercising the labor of love caring for you memory challenged or physically challenged loved ones, all of us at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care in Bethlehem hold you in the highest regard. We wish you and your entire family warmth and peace throughout this holiday season and going forward into 2020.
18 November 2019
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:
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.
13 November 2019
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.
6 November 2019
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:
Typically, ADLs refers to the following tasks:
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.
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.
28 October 2019
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:
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.
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.
21 October 2019
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:
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.
18 October 2019
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.
(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.
Other Halloween Activities for Seniors
If you want to pack Halloween week with more fun, interactive activities that you might consider include:
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.
14 October 2019
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.
11 October 2019
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?
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.
7 October 2019
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.
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.
4 October 2019
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.
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.
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?
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