Assisted Living v. Nursing Home Care

With so many senior care facilities available, it can be confusing for families to clearly understand their choices. This is especially true when families feel rushed due to a sudden change in their loved ones health status.

One of the biggest confusions is discerning the difference between assisted living care vs. nursing home care. Questions regarding short-term or rehab services within these communities also comes into play. Obtaining information on services provided for both types of facilities can help you make a confident choice for your family member.

The information below includes what services are typically offered within the two facilities, however, each community may vary offering more or less than what is listed below. For more questions about Renaissance's specific services, please contact us. 

Nursing Home Services

  • Medication management and administration
  • Assistance with ADLs (activities of daily living/personal care)
  • Skilled nursing
  • Medical treatments
  • Palliative care
  • Commonly have an attached memory care neighborhood for residents with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia

Assisted Living Services

Additional Nursing Services

  • Recreational activities though typically fewer outings compared to assisted living
  • Meals, snacks, housekeeping and laundry
  • Extensive supervision
  • Logged activity participation for family and state reference

Additional Assisted Living Services

Nursing Home Living Space

  • Private and shared room options
  • Common area/shared living room
  • Limited or no outdoor recreational area depending on facility (supervised)

Assisted Living Living Space

  • Private and shared room options
  • Various size apartments/studios
  • One or more common areas within building
  • Outdoor space where residents are free to come and go during nice weather

Making a final decision about senior care can be difficult, and sometimes having a knowledgeable advisor can help. Friendly advisors at AplaceForMom can help you choose the best community for your family member.

Are There Benefits To Moving To An Assisted Living Facility Early?

When choosing a retirement community for yourself or your loved one, there are a lot of factors to consider. Ensuring current health needs are met is important, but will the retirement community be able to meet your future health needs as well?

Learn more information about continuing care and senior care options for seniors, and also about the benefits of moving into assisted living early.

Benefits of Moving Into Assisted Living

As seniors age, their health needs grow and become more complicated. That is why it’s always been important to choose a retirement or senior community that has a continuum of care in place.

According to the NCBI, the “continuum of care is a concept involving an integrated system of care that guides and tracks patients over time through a comprehensive array of health services spanning all levels of intensity of care.”

Historically, seniors were seeking continuing care retirement communities (CCRC), and paying a premium for them to ensure that when they moved into an independent living community they would be guaranteed a future spot should they need to make a move to assisted living later on. With this older CCRC system, seniors were financially locked in because they paid an upfront fee to guarantee their stay and their ability to get that back when they moved was reduced with time.

Some seniors, then, question whether or not it is more affordable to move to an assisted living community from the start, bypassing independent living altogether.

How Assisted Living Communities Provide More Choice and Freedom to Seniors

Most areas across the United States have a variety of retirement communities to choose from and these communities offer a continuum of care, ensuring their health services are designed to meet seniors needs. Renaissance is one of these places in your community! The days of long waiting lists are gone, giving seniors greater flexibility and choice.

Now, seniors can enter an independent living community that meets their needs in terms of amenities, price and location without worrying about whether they will find a spot in an assisted living community should they need one. They can cross that bridge when they come to it.

Increase in Homecare Services within Assisted Living

According to Willis, another change in the industry that has resulted in greater flexibility for seniors is the increase in home care services within independent care communities. “Anyone can bring in in-home care and it is your right to do that as your needs change.” Willis says.

For seniors who have made strong relationships with the staff and other residents at their independent living communities, in-home care allows them to stay in their community as long as possible, remaining connected to their support system. In fact, these relationships contribute to a senior’s emotional well-being and can often help delay the need to move to an assisted living community.

In short, it doesn’t make sense to move into an assisted living community until your health needs require that extra level of assistance.

Instead, seniors should look for a community that meets their present emotional, physical and social needs. With this flexibility, a senior’s continuum of care is more adequately addressed.

International Seniors Day- How Can YOU Celebrate?

Did you know that there is a national holiday dedicated to seniors, celebrated across the world? In 1990, the United Nations designated October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons and many countries have joined in to recognize the important contributions of this special group of individuals.

In 2017, this annual celebration is still going strong; this year’s theme is “Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society,” and will acknowledge the important roles that seniors play within their families and communities.

Celebrate National Seniors Day

According to the UN, the contributions of seniors are “often overlooked and under-appreciated” and as a society, it is important that we engage our seniors and tap into their incredible pool of knowledge and experience. Not only for their wellbeing, but for the wellbeing and betterment of our communities

This October 1st, why don’t you celebrate an important senior in your life?

Celebrate Them!

Throw a backyard barbecue, dinner party or family gathering to honour the important seniors in your life and show them how much they are appreciated.

Sometimes it can be difficult to open up to someone and tell them that they are loved and valued, however gathering your family and throwing a party to celebrate National Seniors Day will show the seniors in your life just how special they are to you.

Learn a Skill

Many seniors have amassed impressive skills over their life span and are more than willing to share their expertise with you.  Why not try your hand at baking, sewing, painting or woodworking?

Learning a skill from a senior allows them to share their talents and pass down this knowledge to future generations.

Share in Their History

You can learn a lot about a person and their life story by simply asking! Seniors offer a unique, yet deeply personal perspective on life based on their experiences and the events they have lived through.  Chances are, there are amazing stories and family legacies hidden within the heart of your beloved grandparent.

As human beings, we are defined by our experiences and where we come from; passing down family stories from generation to generation is an amazing way to learn about your ancestry and connect in a common history.  Consider starting a family history project, where family stories are shared and recorded.  Preserving family stories helps to connect one generation to another and binds family members through time and space.

Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to share your passion and abilities, while supporting an important cause in your community.  Volunteering with a senior can be an incredibly rewarding experience for both of you – connecting with someone who has walked a much different path in life than you can help you to better understand issues that seniors’ face.

Learning about the health, economic, and social issues that affect seniors can help you become an advocate and support their rights, as well as rethink your preconceived notions about older persons in society.

Don’t let the International Day of Older Persons pass you by this October.  Take the opportunity to thank and celebrate an important senior in your life; you will both reap the benefits!

Three Low-Impact Sports for Seniors

Piggybacking off our last topic of the importance of senior mobility, this week we decided to look into three sports that are safe and fun for seniors to play. All of these sports help build social relationships and can be played with teams or by individuals together. We try to incorporate as many fun activities like this as we can into our Member’s lives at Renaissance. You can check out our monthly activities calendar here.

Bocci Ball

Bocci Ball is a fun communal activity that increases social engagement and has positive health benefits for seniors. Originating in ancient times, the Romans considered it a sport of rulers and statesmen. It’s played by throwing a black or red ball onto the court and then each team throwing their own set of balls trying to get their colored ball as close to or touching the first ball thrown. It’s traditionally played on a hard surface but it can be played on any surface that is level.

The sport helps increase senior mobility and challenges the mind to come up with new strategies. This simple but engaging game is a great go-to for something low impact but high fun!

Shuffleboard

Shuffleboard originated in England from a game known as shove groat. It evolved over time and has turned into the game today that we know as shuffleboard. It made it’s way over to the United States with the colonists and turned into a sport enjoyed by people across the entire US. Shuffleboard is played on either a smaller inside court or on an outside one, making it ideal for seniors. The rules are simple and can be learned in minutes but the strategies and skills needed can continually evolve.

This is great for keeping seniors moving and socializing. The sport can be played in teams or one on one which also makes it very versatile. The sport continues to challenge your mind while also giving you light exercise and health benefits.

Pickleball

Pickleball combines the best of badminton, ping pong and tennis into a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and athletic abilities. Pickleball was born in the mid-60’s when three friends from Bainbridge Island, Washington, were unable to find their badminton equipment so they improvised with the equipment at hand. Although the name is odd, the game has nothing to do with pickles but was named after pickle boats in crew racing. The game uses a paddle comparable to a large ping pong paddle and a ball that is similar to a whiffle ball.

Communicating With Loved Ones With Dementia

Understanding how to connect and communicate with our loved ones through this time is of the utmost importance. Learn more from these communication strategies for dementia. Here are 5 tips on how to effectively communicate with someone who has moderate to severe dementia.

  1. Recognize what you’re up against. Dementia inevitably gets worse with time. People with dementia will gradually have a more difficult time understanding others, as well as communicating in general.

  2. Avoid distractions. Try to find a place and time to talk when there aren’t a lot of distractions present. This allows your loved one to focus all their mental energy on the conversation.

  3. Speak clearly and naturally in a warm and calm voice. Refrain from ‘babytalk’ or any other kind of condescension.

  4. Refer to people by their names. Avoid pronouns like “he,” “she,” and “they” during conversation. Names are also important when greeting a loved one with dementia. For example: “Hi, Grandma.  It’s me, Jeff,” is to be preferred over, “Hi. It’s me.”

  5. Talk about one thing at a time. Someone with dementia may not be able to engage in the mental juggling involved in maintaining a conversation with multiple threads.

Top 10 Facts About Alzheimer's Disease

Researchers learn more and more about Alzheimer’s every year, and some of the statistics are staggering indeed.

The Alzheimer’s Association publishes an annual report detailing the complications and costs of the disease to caregivers and the health care system, and we’ve pulled out 10 of the latest facts about Alzheimer’s that A Place for Mom’s readers will want to know.

1. Half of adults aged 85 and over have Alzheimer’s.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Facts and Figures report, an estimated 45% of American seniors 85 and older suffer from Alzheimer’s, and one in eight people aged 65 and over (13%) has Alzheimer’s disease.  It is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.

2. More than half of the 5.4 million Americans with the disease may not know they have it.

In part because of the difficulty with detecting early-stage Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment (MCI), many of those with the disease remain undiagnosed. With research and time, our ability to detect early-stage Alzheimer’s continues to improve, though it will increase the overall number of people known to have the disease.

3. More women have Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer’s Association reports that nearly two-thirds of Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s are women. However, it is important to note that this does not mean there is a gender-based predisposition for the disease; the primary reason for this statistic is that women generally live longer than men.

4. Symptoms of the disease can develop in people as young as age 30.

We may think of Alzheimer’s as a disease of the elderly, but up to 5% of Americans with Alzheimer’s (around 200,000) have the early-onset variety, which can start to show symptoms as early as one’s 30s. Though the cause still isn’t well understood, some of these cases have a genetic component.

5. The incidence of Alzheimer’s will increase to every 33 seconds by 2050.

The rate at which Alzheimer’s occurs — every 66 seconds in the U.S. — is projected to double by 2050 because of the growing population of people over age 65. The number of people who live into their 80s and 90s is also expected to grow, and the likelihood of Alzheimer’s increases with more advanced age.

6. The disease is the 6th-leading cause of death in the U.S.

“Alzheimer’s is becoming a more common cause of death as the populations of the U.S. and other countries age,” reports the Alzheimer’s Association. In part, this is because we are experiencing more success in reducing the rate of death from other causes such as heart disease, while the rate of death from Alzheimer’s continues to increase.

7. There are over 15 million American caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

Family caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients provide a whopping 80% of the care at home, while a mere 10% of seniors receive all their care from paid health professionals. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, most (70%) of those caregivers are women.

8. There is an increased likelihood of depression, emotional stress and financial problems among caregivers for those with the disease.

The communication difficulties and personality changes of Alzheimer’s can place incredible strain on caregivers. “The close relationship between the caregiver and the impaired person — a relationship involving shared emotions, experiences and memories — may particularly place caregivers at risk for psychological and physical illness.” (Facts and Figures) Therapeutic and social support are shown to reduce this risk.

9. The total cost of health and long term care services for Alzheimer’s is $259 billion.

Over $56 billion of that amount was paid out of pocket. About $175 billion, or roughly 70%, was paid by Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid coverage is particularly important for those Medicare beneficiaries who have very low income and assets but who need long-term care or skilled nursing.

10. There are an estimated 800,000 Americans with the disease living alone.

For all of the Alzheimer’s sufferers who are receiving support from family caregivers or who are living in an Alzheimer’s or dementia care facility, as many as 15% of people with the disease still live alone. Many of those have no identified caregiver, a situation which puts them at greater risk of medical emergencies, poor self-care, social isolation and a range of other issues.

SOURCE: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-02-28-scary-facts-about-alzheimers-disease/

The Importance of Senior Mobility

It has long been known that mobility is a key factor to maintaining a healthy and fulfilling life as we age. As we surpass the age of 65, mobility becomes even more important. One third of seniors over the age of 65 fall at least once a year. A small slip that you could bounce back from easily as a child is not so easy to rebound from as a senior.

In order to reduce the number and severity of these falls in seniors that are 65+, it is important to remain active and mobile. By remaining mobile as a senior, they are improving their cardiovascular health, balance, and strength. Oftentimes mobility also allows for more socialization which is a good preventive measure to take against dementia and Alzheimer's.

The Motion Wellness System is a system developed in the 1970’s to help improve senior mobility. It comes from the idea of a child’s playground. The first Motion Wellness System was created in England and includes balance beams, fitness steps and ramps, and pull-up bars. When seniors used this system they increased their coordination, balance, and overall health by staying active in a safe and not overly taxing way.

Since the 1970’s these systems have started to spring up all over the world. They are a fun and safe way for seniors to increase their mobility and they recently started gaining traction in the United States. They can be found in assisted living communities, parks, and other public places around the U.S. At Renaissance, we understand the importance of senior mobility and work with our Members everyday to make sure that they are getting up and getting active so that they can live the most fulfilling life possible.

Tips For Having A Safe And Fun 4th Of July With Your Elderly Loved One

Many seniors still want to feel like they’re part of the celebration- even if it’s a little harder for them to get around than when they were younger. Here are some tips and things to keep in mind to make sure that you’re loved one is able to enjoy this holiday with you!

  • Make sure that they’re not sitting in the direct sunlight all day. Try to find a shady, cool spot for them.

  • Bring a chair, cushion, or wheelchair for them so that they don’t need to stand all day. Standing for long periods of time can be very tiring and might not be best for your elderly loved one.

  • For seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s, make sure that they are not in big groups for long periods of time to avoid making them anxious, nervous, or angry.

  • Make sure they stay hydrated! Bring their favorite 4th of July themed drinks and make sure they drinks lots of them.

These are a few things to keep in mind to make sure that your holiday is as fun and safe for everyone has possible. Outside of these logistical things, however, make sure to enjoy the company of your loved ones. Ask your loved one to recount a memorable story from their childhood of 4th of July. Make crafts and eat delicious food. And, of course, have fun!

Why Does Hair Turn Gray?

Ever wonder why your hair turns gray? It’s inevitable whether we want it to or not but have you ever asked yourself why we start to see those gray hairs intermingle with our beautiful colored locks? Well, research has been done to unlock the answer.  

Your hair is colored thanks to melanocytes. Melanocytes are stem cells located in the base of the hair follicle that the hair most pass through that give it pigmentation. Our specific type of pigmentation is based on our genes which is why you’ll typically see families with the same hair color.  

Now that we have a basic understanding of how your hair gets it’s color, we can dive into how it loses it. As you age, your cells begin to get weaker and break down. We can see this in how our skin reacts to age and by the graying of hair. When the cells at the base of our hair follicles get damaged or die, they stop producing the melanocytes that our hair needs to have color.

 While we still have lots to learn about hair and it’s growth, we do know that a lot of it is dependent on your genes. So if you’re going gray in your 50’s- make sure to thank your good genes!

Yogurt Linked To Better Bone Health

The largest observational study to date of dairy intakes and bone and frailty measurements in older adults has found that increased yogurt consumption was associated with a higher hip bone density and a significantly reduced risk of osteoporosisin older women and men on the island of Ireland, after taking into account traditional risk factors.

The study led by Trinity College Dublin in collaboration with St James's Hospital Dublin and co-investigators from Nutrition at Ulster University, Coleraine investigated participants from the Trinity Ulster Department of Agriculture (TUDA) ageing cohort study.

Total hip and femoral neck bone mineral density measures in females were 3.1-3.9% higher among those with the highest yogurt intakes compared to the lowest and improvements were observed in some of the physical function measures (6.7% better). In men, the biomarker of bone breakdown was 9.5% lower in those with the highest yogurt intakes compared to the lowest. This is an indication of reduced bone turnover.

To determine risk factors for being diagnosed as osteoporotic, the research team analysed a wide range of factors such as BMI, kidney function, physical activity, servings of milk or cheese, and calcium or vitamin D supplements as well as traditional risk factors for bone health (e.g. smoking, inactivity, alcohol etc.). After adjusting for all these factors, each unit increase in yogurt intake in women was associated with a 31% lower risk of osteopenia and a 39% lower risk of osteoporosis. In men, a 52% lower risk of osteoporosis was found. Vitamin D supplements were also associated with significantly reduced risks both in men and women.

Osteoporosis is a chronic condition associated with a reduction in bone strength and an increased risk of bone fracture. Over 300,000 people in Ireland are thought to suffer from the condition while the associated costs of osteoporotic fractures are estimated to be over €650 million annually in Europe.

Lead author of the study and research fellow at the Centre for Medical Gerontology, Trinity, Dr Eamon Laird said: "Yogurt is a rich source of different bone promoting nutrients and thus our findings in some ways are not surprising. The data suggest that improving yogurt intakes could be a strategy for maintaining bone health but it needs verification through future research as it is observational."

Dr Miriam Casey, senior investigator of this study and Consultant Physician at St James's Hospital Dublin said: "The results demonstrate a significant association of bone health and frailty with a relatively simple and cheap food product. What is now needed is verification of these observations from randomized controlled trials as we still don't understand the exact mechanisms which could be due to the benefits of micro-biota or the macro and micro nutrient composition of the yogurt."

The study included 1,057 women and 763 men who underwent a bone-mineral-density (BMD) assessment and 2,624 women and 1,290 men who had their physical function measured. Yogurt consumption information was obtained from a questionnaire and categorized as never, 2-3 times per week and more than one serving per day. Other factors examined included daily intakes of other dairy products, meat, fish, smoking and alcohol and other traditional risk factors that affect bone health.

The TUDA study was funded by the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Food Institutional Research Measure initiative and the Northern Ireland Department for Employment and Learning (DEL), Cross-Border Research and Development Programme: "Strengthening the all Island Research Base". The current research was a supported by the National Dairy Council, Ireland through a research award.

Blog Post: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/317384.php // Article: Greater yogurt consumption is associated with increased bone mineral density and physical function in older adults, E. Laird, A. M. Molloy, H. McNulty, M. Ward, K. McCarrol, lL. Hoey, C. F. Hughes, C. Cunningham, J. J. Strain, M. C. Casey, Osteoporosis International, doi: 10.1007/s00198-017-4049-5, published online 1 May 2017.