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The Benefits of In-Home Care for Dementia Patients

17 February 2020

The Benefits of In-Home Care for Dementia Patients in Bethlehem, GA

Prologue: All professional memory care and assisted living care providers like us here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem understand and respect those of you who so lovingly carry the burden of care for your loved ones. Part of our community service campaign is to educate via this blog so that you can enjoy the maximum time at home with your loved ones. However, statistics show that unfortunately there will come a day when solo home care or professionally assisted home care is no longer enough. To every extent possible, we’ll be here for you via this assisted living and memory care blog, week in, and week out with insights that hopefully helps ease your loving burden. When that burden becomes too heavy to bear, know that your friends here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care are ready with open arms to provide the loving care necessary to deliver the quality of life that both you and your challenged loved one(s) deserve.

(Due credit for this blog post and its insights is provided to Ms. Carol Bursack, of agingcare.com. We think you’ll value her work and insight as much as we do.)

Family caregivers are now better able to take advantage of services offered by home care companies. I certainly took advantage of these services throughout my time caring for multiple seniors, including my parents and an elderly neighbor.

The biggest challenge I faced, though, was when I hired professional caregivers for loved ones who had dementia. The caregivers were not always sure how to handle unusual behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s or the tricky situations they created. Thankfully, due to increased awareness of the unique challenges that Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia present, reputable home care companies across the country are providing their employees with proper training in dementia care. Experienced and informed caregivers can provide benefits to both seniors and their family members that make in-home care well worth considering.

Dementia Care in a Familiar Environment

The biggest value that home care offers is that it allows elders to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. This option is far less disorienting for a dementia patient than a move to an assisted living facility, a memory care unit or a nursing home. Familiar environments offer a great deal of security and peace of mind for individuals with dementia. If a company’s caregivers are well versed in dementia care, in-home care can be the ideal starting point for families who need extra help with their loved ones but want to prevent or delay placement in a long-term care facility.

Dementia Patients Benefit from Routines

Just as familiar surroundings are safe and soothing, the same can be said for daily routines. Maintaining a schedule like the one a senior followed pre-dementia can help reduce anxiety and confusion. For example, an elder who watched the nightly news after dinner each evening for years may feel a sense of normalcy when it’s switched on, even if they don’t completely understand what they are seeing and hearing.

A fundamental aspect of home care is that services are provided for all clients (with and without dementia) according to personalized scheduling tools called care plans. This organizational technique easily translates into a set routine for dementia patients who thrive on familiarity and repetition. Professional caregivers are trained to facilitate daily activities, including chores and personal care tasks, at the appropriate times and provide assistance as needed. Humans are creatures of habit and preserving these very personal and deeply ingrained routines can help elders retain a sense of control and understanding of what is going on around them.

Specialized Training in Dementia Care

Home care companies aid with activities of daily living (ADLs), companionship and many other core services. In addition, many companies offer professional training in dementia care for their employees. Common aspects of this training include methods for staying engaged with the senior, managing often unpredictable behaviors through validation and redirection, communicating effectively, and breaking down activities into smaller steps that are easier to manage. There are several training programs and schools of thought when it comes to dementia care, so be sure to inquire about the particular education a home care company provides to or requires of its caregivers.

Safety training is also part of professional caregivers’ initial and ongoing education, since seniors with dementia may be prone to wandering and other risky behaviors. A 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that 90 percent of community-residing persons with dementia had unmet safety needs, particularly for fall risk and wander risk management and home safety evaluations. Increased supervision and assistance from both informal and formal caregivers are crucial components in helping elders reduce safety risks while they continue living in their own homes.

Meaningful Activities for Dementia Patients

Knowledge of the clinical aspects of dementia allows professionals to better serve their clients and enrich their lives with social interactions and activities. Perceptive caregivers can provide a positive environment for dementia patients by learning about a senior’s interests before they developed the disease and adapting the way they engage in these meaningful hobbies both in the home and in the community. For example, if golf is something an elder enjoyed, they may visit a golf course for a walk or to watch others play the game.

Sensory stimulation is another crucial component of dementia care, especially in the later stages of cognitive impairment. Studies show that participating in music therapy, dance or other creative outlets has a positive effect on mental health, physical health and social functioning in older adults. An experienced caregiver will work to engage clients in activities even as their interests and abilities change.

Care That Evolves with the Client

In-home care can be customized to provide as much or as little assistance as a family requires, and changes can be made as often as necessary. Services can be unskilled (companion care and homemaker services) or skilled (personal care and nursing care) in nature and can be provided occasionally for respite, on an around-the-clock basis or anywhere in between. This flexibility is a significant advantage for caregivers and seniors who are dealing with progressive diseases such as dementia. As a loved one’s condition declines, professional caregivers offer the adaptability necessary in caring for an individual with Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

When Home Care Is No Longer Enough

In-home services can help dementia patients delay the move to long-term care, but their growing needs will eventually necessitate higher levels of care and around-the-clock supervision. Without a robust team of informal caregivers to share the burden, it becomes necessary to look elsewhere for assistance. While it is possible to receive these services in the home, the cost of 24/7 home care is often too much for the average family to pay for privately over the long term.

The time for thinking about a move to assisted living, a memory care unit or a nursing home is different for everyone. The decision depends on whether family members and hired caregivers can continue to cope with changes in a senior’s condition at home. A competent home care company will closely monitor their ability to provide the best care for their patients. Should a client’s needs surpass what is noted in their current care plan, the company will let the family know that additional services or a change in setting is needed.

We hope you enjoyed, are encouraged, educated, and benefit from this and all our blogging efforts. When the time comes for you to seek a consult regarding how Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem can improve the quality of both you and your loved one’s lives, call us!


Make Valentine’s Day Special for Your Assisted Living Loved One

10 February 2020

Make Valentine’s Day Special for Your Assisted Living Loved One in Bethlehem, GA

Valentine’s Day reserves special space in the hearts of many of the assisted living and/or memory care loved one’s that we support. Professional assisted living caregivers such as us here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care in Bethlehem have long recognized that this Holiday can become a solemn one for many of our loved ones if the Holiday is ignored by caregivers. The reason is completely understandable when cherished Valentine’s Day memories of a deceased spouse often turn to solemn reflection.

Valentine’s Day is a perfect occasion to show the special people in your life just how much you care. Whether your Valentine’s Day plans include celebrating Valentine’s Day there at home or while visiting your aging parent or loved one residing within a professional assisted living community like Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens, try out some of these ideas to celebrate the holiday:

Research a Special Valentine’s Day Memory

Search your photo archives of Valentine’s Day memories of both your loved one and their loving spouse who has passed. Your time and effort will bring joy to them and to you as well. Do this early in the day so that you both can move on to other activities that are likely to bring smiles to their face. The goal is to maximize positive moments at the expense of solemn reflection.

Spread the love

The “day of love” gives us all an excuse to spoil our loved ones and spread some cheer with a thoughtful gift. While the traditional Valentine’s Day presents of flowers and chocolates are always a hit, some other gift ideas for the senior in your life include things like cozy socks, a no-fuss houseplant, framed photographs or even a gift card to their favorite restaurant. At the end of the day, the best gift you can give your loved one is the gift of your time and presence.

Create DIY Valentines

Crafting is a fun activity that people of all ages enjoy. For senior adults, arts and crafts can be particularly helpful in improving hand-eye coordination and keeping their cognitive skills sharp. When you visit your older loved one in assisted living, bring along supplies to make handmade Valentine’s Day cards for friends, family members, and the caregivers at the assisted living community. Making a craft together is also a great way to keep grandchildren involved and ensure they have a lasting memory of the visit.

Take a trip down memory lane

Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to share fond memories and stories with our older loved ones. Learning about an older family member’s life and experiences firsthand is not only a powerful way to connect, but it also helps us understand who we are and where we came from. Once again, try looking at favorite family photos and letters or listening to familiar music to spark memories and prompt meaningful conversations about the past.

Here at Gateway Gardens, we encourage you to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your aging parent or loved one, whether they still live at home or within a professional assisted living community. Simply visiting your loved one and spending quality time with them is the best way to demonstrate your appreciation and make the holiday one to remember. Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care!


2nd Annual Valentine's Ball 2020

5 February 2020

Come and Join us! Fun and More! Feat. Elvis, dancing, raffle, and treats for your sweets!

Valentine's Ball 2020

Addressing Paranoia Within Your Memory Care Loved One

3 February 2020

Addressing Paranoia Within Your Memory Care Loved One in Bethlehem, GA

In our continued support of you angels out there engaged in the loving sacrifice in providing senior assisted living or memory care support, today we’re going to share a fantastic discussion of one of the single most frustrating conditions that caregivers like you often deal with, your loved one’s paranoia. While most of this article deals with dementia-related paranoia, this article is very relevant to you senior living care providers as you will learn that paranoia is common within non-dementia inflicted seniors. So for all of you who provide assisted living or memory care support to loved ones in and around Bethlehem, know that you can lean on us here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care.

Brain changes from dementia can cause hallucinations, delusions or paranoia. According to Heathman, MD, a Houston psychiatrist, “paranoia, or having false beliefs, is a common trait of later stage dementia. However, it can occur in all stages of dementia.”

What Do We Mean By Paranoia?

Sometimes our loved one living with dementia will believe something we do not. When this results in undesirable emotions such as fear, jealousy or anger, we call it paranoia. It is generally the secondary emotions we are upset by. With the term, paranoia, comes an implicit judgment and the implications that, “My reality is real, your reality and your feelings are not.”

The best thing we can do to alleviate ‘paranoia’ is to discard this judgment. Start from a place of “our realities are real and different.” For the person experiencing paranoia, their reality is as real to them as yours is to you and mine is to me. For the sake of understanding in this article, I will use the term ‘paranoia’. My hope is that after reading it you, like me, will not find a use for the word anymore.

How to Help Soothe Paranoia in Dementia

We can provide reassurance and support so those experiencing paranoia feel safe and loved. Do not fall into the trap of detailed explanations or logical arguments. Try these behavioral techniques to calm someone living with dementia, who is experiencing paranoia.

What we call paranoia in dementia feels very real for the person living with it. It is their reality. Susan London, LMSW, Director of Social Work at Shore View Nursing and Rehabilitation says that, “There is often no evidence that will convince them otherwise.” Try the following in response to your loved one:

  1. Rule out non-dementia causes of paranoia.

    Heathman stresses that, “to understand paranoia in dementia, you need to understand its cause. Paranoia can result from urinary tract infections, liver disease, systemic infections, and anxiety disorders. In many instances, treating those may put an end to the paranoia.” Rule out possible causes outside of dementia. Schedule an appointment with a physician to rule out treatable conditions.

  2. Validate their reality.

    Do not attempt to present “proof” a belief is false. Nor should you deny that the evidence is real. Both approaches could create an intense unfavorable emotional reaction from your loved one.

    Imagine I told you it is October 2nd, 2087 and you do not live in your home, it is gone. How do you feel? Is there anything I can say to convince you your reality isn’t real? No, trying to do so will only cause upset. This is the same for people living with dementia.

    “Take the example of a woman looking for her deceased husband. She is certain that he is in the house. Telling her that he died a long time ago, or showing his death certificate, will make matters worse.” says London. The best thing you can do is to honor her reality. Lying can lead to more confusion and upset.

    Acknowledge what your loved one is feeling. Then work to meet the need they are expressing. In the case above, you could start by saying, “You’re looking for your husband.” Then, try to uncover the unmet need looking for her husband is expressing. Does she need help with something her husband usually did? You could ask, “Is there anything I can help you with?” Does she miss her husband? You could say, “Tell me about your husband.” Get curious and uncover the ‘why’ behind looking for the deceased husband. Once you know the ‘why’ you can try to meet that need another way.

  3. Avoid proving them wrong.

    The best way to defuse paranoia is to acknowledge the person’s reality. From there you can explore what is needed and meet that need. Imagine telling this woman her husband is deceased. She may not acknowledge his death to be true and could be very hurt by that thought. The news could also cause her to re-experience the trauma of his loss or she may strike out in anger, accusing this person of “killing her husband.”

  4. Stay honest.

    This is a fine line to tow. You want to validate the other’s experience, but you do not want to make-up or add to their reality. In this example, imagine saying “your husband will be home later.” While at the moment this seems kind, it is not the best option. By fibbing you start a third reality. Now there is her reality, your reality and the made-up reality. This can lead to more confusion. She might wait for her husband now. Then what do you say later in the day when she expects him to be home and you have told her he would be? You will have to keep fibbing. Each one will take you further away from the unmet need ‘looking for her husband’ is expressing.

  5. Remain calm.

    “Remember that you are not to blame for what your loved one is experiencing,” says Heathman. “Although witnessing a hallucination can be scary, it’s important to stay calm. Remember that arguing ‘something is not real’ is not helpful.”

    Stay calm by:

    • Research and practice meditation techniques to develop your own skillfulness at remaining calm.
    • Taking three deep breaths before responding.
    • Having a plan in place to prevent violence or call for help. If the situation escalates, act on your plan.

  6. Be cautious before responding.

    Assess the situation before responding to the person’s delusions. Is anyone at risk of harm?

    If not, it’s often best to ignore the behavior stemming from a false belief. “As long as the behavior does not become dangerous, you might not need to intervene,” Heathman says.

    For example, your loved one is walking around repositioning the placemats on the table and refolding the napkins. You ask them what they are doing and they say “my boss is coming back soon and I need to have all of the tables in the restaurant set or I will get fired.” Refolding napkins does not harm anyone. The unmet need here may be one of purpose or they may be anxious. In both cases, offering help would meet the need and allow you to connect with them.

  7. Offer reassurance.

    What if your loved one is upset, or wants your help? Get curious about what they are upset about and see if there is anything you can do to help.

    For example, imagine your loved one is walking quickly yelling, “Help, I have to get out of here!” When you ask them what is wrong they tell you, “I am a prisoner here and I need to escape.” Ask if they would like to leave. If they say yes, go for a walk or a car ride.

    Oftentimes, upset can also be calmed through reassuring physical touch combined with reflecting their reality. For example, if your loved one says, “I’m scared, I don’t know why I am here,” you could hold their hand or rub their back. Then you could say, “You are scared and don’t know why you are here. It will be okay. I am here with you.”

  8. Shift attention.

    “In some instances, it’s possible to put an end to a delusion or for it to drastically subside if the person’s attention is shifted. You can even try turning on lights or opening blinds. Frightening hallucinations often subside in well-lit areas and if others are present,” says Heathman.

    Try talking about a favorite topic. Turn on their favorite song. Suggest you both work on a puzzle together. Try this once and if it does not work, try another technique that uses more validation. Trying this repeatedly if it is not working can lead, understandably, to even more upset. Imagine if you were trying to tell someone about something bad that was about to happen, and they kept asking you about sports. Frustrating.

  9. Ask open-ended questions.

    “Avoid being judgmental. Asking questions that are open-ended is very healing for everyone involved,” says Becky Siden, LMSW, CDWF a licensed psychotherapist in Birmingham, Michigan.

    When communicating with a loved one with dementia, Siden suggests focusing on being understanding. She says some helpful things to say or ask include:

    • How can I help you to feel safe?
    • Let’s look at this together and see how we can come up with a plan.
    • I know the feeling of being scared and I am here to help.
    • Tell me more about what this is like for you.

  10. Modify the environment.

    “It’s very important to assess the reality of the situation,” stresses Heathman. For example:

    • Glare from a window may look like snow to a person with dementia. Close the curtains to remove the glare.
    • A dark area rug may look like a gaping hole your loved one believes she will fall into. Remove the rug to remove the black hole.
    • Your mother may see a scary stranger in her reflection in the mirror. Cover the mirror with a sheet.
    • Turn on more lights to reduce shadows that could look frightening.

    One elder I worked with believed he was imprisoned and being experimented on. When I explored this further his evidence included:

    • The doors were locked with codes only some people knew
    • People took notes on his activity such as eating, bathing and going to the bathroom
    • He overheard people lying to other ‘prisoners’
    • Every time he asked to leave, the person changed the subject
    • There were cameras all over.

    He lived in a memory care facility. All of this evidence was true in both of our realities. Our conclusions are what differed. Modifying the environment to feel less clinical would have helped him to not feel he was imprisoned and experimented on.

  11. Yes, and...

    The tenants of improv and dementia can go hand-in-hand. They can be very helpful in forming meaningful interactions. The first step is ‘yes, and’. Whatever the other person says, say yes first. Acknowledge their reality. Then build on what they said to keep the connection going.

    Imagine someone says, “They are out to get me, I have to hide.” You could respond with, “You feel they are out to get you and hiding will help. Where should we hide?” From this place of co-conspirators, the conversation could continue. From here you could get more information about why they feel they need to hide. You can then change the environment or meet the unmet need another way. Using improv helps you keep the interaction going so you can learn more.

    Imagine if instead, you had responded, “No one is out to get you, just sit down it’s dinner time.” This would likely have lead to frustration and upset for both of you.

Summary – Do’s and Don’ts for Paranoia in Dementia

Do:

  • See a doctor to check for other causes of paranoia.
  • Try to avoid using the word paranoia and look for the underlying emotion.
  • Acknowledge that you know that they are seeing or experiencing something.
  • Acknowledge their feelings, fear, anger, frustration etc.
  • Search for the unmet need they are expressing.
  • Share that you are there to help.
  • Remain calm.
  • Ask open-ended questions.
  • Modify the home environment to eliminate the source of scary objects.
  • Have a plan in place and someone to call if things become harmful to you or them.

Don’t:

  • Don’t be judgmental.
  • Don’t show “proof” that the paranoia is unwarranted.
  • Don’t make-up explanations you know to not be true.
  • Don’t respond with “logical” explanations.
  • Don’t deny the evidence is real.
  • Don’t say you see something which, in your reality, you don’t.

When it’s time for you to seek help from a team of proven memory care professionals in and around Bethlehem, contact us. Anytime.

Source: Homecareassistance.com


Lessons Learned from Three At-Home Memory Care Support Providers

28 January 2020

Lessons Learned from Three At-Home Memory Care Support Providers in Bethlehem, GA

Regular readers of our Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care blog know that we provide loving care to their assisted living or memory care dependent loved one. Today, we offer due credit to “BrightFocus Foundation” as the primary source for this blog post and for their genuine professionalism in funding research related to Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.

Today we chronicle the experiences of three caregivers of Alzheimer’s and dementia loved ones. They were asked what “best lessons” they could share with a friend who is new to Alzheimer’s or dementia caregiving. Below are their responses. But before reading further, all the professional assisted living and memory care staff here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens stand ready to share our experiences and lessons learned as well.

Eileen - Years of Grieving. Then Respite. Then Clarity.

Eileen’s husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years ago. Their adult children and young grandchildren live out of state. While the children are very supportive from a distance, the daily caregiving role is all on Eileen. Through these four years, she has continued to work full time, at a job she loves.

Her husband remains mostly lucid, but increasingly there have been frustrating and scary moments, threatening behavior, and showering and bathing battles. With these episodes, and with her children’s encouragement, Eileen identified a memory care facility in her area, and reluctantly moved him there. The facility instructed her to not visit for two weeks so that he could acclimate. At the end of the two weeks, she went to see him. He was so mad at her, at first, he couldn’t even speak. But that lasted only briefly.

Marie - A Newer Caregiver Learning to Accept

Marie is newer to being an Alzheimer’s caregiver as her father was diagnosed with mid-stage Alzheimer’s just within the last year. He and Marie’s mother live with Marie, her husband and their school-age daughter. Marie and her husband both work fulltime – her workday starts at 6 am, his at 2 pm and Marie’s mother works part time. These schedules allow one of them to always be with her father, which became necessary following his recent wandering incident.

Through tears, Marie expressed her overwhelming feelings of guilt - guilt for being angry with him for having this disease, guilt for being angry that his behavior makes their life more difficult, and guilt when she wishes things were the way they used to be. She has taken classes to better understand the disease, and says she sometimes reads online caregiver comments, identifying with the guilty feelings people express. So far though, she has not been able to resolve these feelings of guilt. She remains frustrated, angry and tired, and feels bad about not yet being able to accept things as they are. She was not sure she had a “lesson” to offer. I reminded her that guilt is normal, and by doing what she is doing—taking classes and reading the online forums, she is doing all she can right now to accept it.

Edgar - Protecting His Wife

Edgar has been his wife’s primary caregiver for ten years. She has dementia, and when I asked him his best lesson as a caregiver, he was not sure he had one. “I am still learning,” he said, adding “I don’t know if I have adapted.” Then, he told me the story of his wife’s fall several years ago. She broke her femur, and then a few weeks later, fell again, and was hospitalized with three broken vertebrae. She had tremendous sciatica pain. She was prescribed pain medication that changed her behavior. From the hospital she went to rehab. Her personality remained changed as a result of the opioid medication. Because of this, Edgar then learned all about the side effects of opioids, and feels strongly that before accepting the use of these drugs, patients and/or families should consult with a second physician. Also, be diligent in weaning someone from them as soon as possible and, ideally, limiting their use to no more than 7 days.

Having said that, Edgar was quick to say that he sees many situations, in his wife’s memory care facility, with different degrees of difficulty. He cannot say his approach would be the right answer for others. His primary message, though, is to send a big caution on the use of medications in this population. He has been successful in minimizing his wife’s use of any drugs, and she has remained stable for several years during the years since recovering from the falls. If she ever has the need for more medication, he will definitely question her physicians about side effects and possible alternatives.

There is Hope and There is Help for all of You

Whether you provide your loved one assisted living support or memory care services, no matter where you are in the caregiving journey, as these stories show, there are struggles and lessons. But through research, we are learning more, and through education and awareness, caregivers can better manage the questions and stresses of caregiving. With more and more resources for caregivers, local community services, and education and sharing, each and every time someone shares a tip or a resource, someone else benefits. And that’s why we offer this story and manage this blog.

When it’s time for you to seek help from a team of proven memory care professionals in and around Bethlehem, contact us. Anytime.


About Long-Term Care Insurance and Professional Assisted Living Services

21 January 2020

About Long-Term Care Insurance and Professional Assisted Living Services in Bethlehem, GA

Suppose your elderly mother or father is struggling with day-to-day activities like laundry, cleaning and cooking. But he or she is not truly ill and doesn’t need a high level of daily health care. You worry about him or her walking up and down stairs or carrying a bag of groceries. An assisted community like ours here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care can serve as the perfect protective measure and path to providing them the very best quality of life possible.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted Living is perfect for seniors who are mostly independent, yet need help managing medications and meals. But there’s much more to Assisted Living than that. Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care’s assisted living services include housekeeping, laundry, and a host of activities that our residents love. Hot and delicious meals are served three times a day and snacks are available all day. Assisted living is a type of communal living that seniors and their families choose when they are healthy but need a bit of extra help. Assisted living is a great intermediate step on the continuum of elderly care.

Assisted living is commonly paid for by individuals’ long-term care insurance. However, long-term care insurance coverage varies widely, and you need to know the details of your policy. In general, long-term care insurance is flexible along the continuum of care. It can pay for both assisted living and memory care services. Some policies allow you to tap long-term care policies for in-home services, but most are written to cover professional services such as ours.

If you live in or around the Bethlehem area and ever have questions about the challenges of creating a 24/7 safe and loving atmosphere for your senior loved on, we’re here to help. We want to develop a relationship with you based on trust and a common love for our ageing loved ones. We trust that when the time comes, 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.


Senior and Memory Care Super Foods

13 January 2020

Senior and Memory Care Super Foods in Bethlehem, GA

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.

Berries

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.

Super Spices

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.

Omega-3’s

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.

Coconut Oil

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.

Leafy Greens

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.

Cruciferous Vegetables

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.

Chicken

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

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

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.”

Red Wine

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!


Tips For You New Senior Assisted Living Care Givers

6 January 2020

Tips For You New Senior Assisted Living Care Givers in Bethlehem, GA

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

  1. Accept the idea need help

    One belief family caregivers often have is that they should be able to manage their senior loved one’s care on their own. This is rarely possible. Acknowledge that you will need to ask for help and give yourself permission to accept assistance when it is offered.

    Support for caregivers can come in many forms. It could be allowing a friend to stay with your loved one for an hour or two while you relax and take in a movie or spend some time with your spouse. A friend may also be able to help by picking up a few groceries or dropping off dinner.

  2. Get organized

    Caregivers say they feel an extraordinary amount of stress when initially stepping into the caregiving role. Part of that stress comes from worrying they are forgetting crucial appointments or other important tasks. Getting organized can help relieve some of that anxiety.

    First, ask a friend or family member to stay with your loved one for a few hours so you can sort and organize all their important health care paperwork and legal documents. Place these in a binder by topic or date (e.g., test results, medication list, and physician contact information).

    Next, add all the senior’s appointments and follow-up tasks to your personal calendar. This helps to avoid double-booking yourself or missing something crucial. Not having to rely on your memory can alleviate some of your stress.

  3. Establish and stick to a routine

    This step may take some time to implement but having a routine to follow can help caregiving days run more smoothly. Try to cluster errands and appointments on one or two days each week. This allows you to have uninterrupted days at work and at home. It also requires fewer arrangements for a friend or family member to stay with your loved one.

  4. Connect with a caregiver support group

    Caregivers face unique challenges that others may not understand. From offering tips on juggling a busy caregiving schedule to commiserating over how much time is spent waiting for a specialist to see the older adult, having a support network of peers is helpful.

    Support groups also help with the emotional side of caregiving. Peers can empathize when you are feeling guilty, resentful, angry, or sad.

  5. Practice good self-care

    Much like the flight attendant on a plane explaining you should place a mask over your mouth before helping others, a caregiver must make good self-care a priority. You can’t care for your loved one if you are exhausted and sick yourself. Caregivers who don’t take care of themselves often experience a medical crisis of their own.

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.


Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to You and Yours this Season

23 December 2019

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to You and Yours this Season

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!


How Dementia And Senior Care Supporters Help Themselves and Loved Ones Find Joy during Every Season

9 December 2019

How Dementia And Senior Care Supporters Help Themselves and Loved Ones Find Joy during Every Season in Bethlehem, GA

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.


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!

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