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The Woodlands TX 77380 Methodist Retirement Communities Independent Living

Independent Living Texarkana TX

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Independent Living Texarkana TX

Retirement community offering independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, rehab, and home health in Texarkana, TX. Call Cornerstone at 1-866-884-5178 for more details or to set up an appointment.

Wake up to the sound of birds, not traffic. Cornerstone is a serene corner of the world located on 48 wooded acres. You’ll find a neighborhood that celebrates the things that make you unique.

We handle the details and daily obligations, while you enjoy a rewarding, vibrant, independent senior lifestyle.

Located in Texarkana, Texas, Cornerstone is a continuing care retirement community offering independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, and home health.

Independent Living update! Beautifully remodeled, spacious two-bedroom apartments are now available! Enjoy carefree living in a completely remodeled community featuring stunning decor, new and improved dining choices and plenty of social opportunities and engaging activities. See how you can save up to $20,000 through the limited-time discounts listed below.

Time-limited discounts on the entry fee–up to 17% $1,000 in Cornerstone Cash that can help with moving costs, interior décor and more. No second person fee for 2BR Apartment Homes-and a $250 monthly discount for singles!

Deposit now and move in after the holidays! Call 866-884-5178 today and schedule a visit to learn how you can move up to the carefree and inspiring lifestyle provided at Cornerstone.

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Independent Living Texarkana TX

Independent Living Texarkana TX, Your Way

At Cornerstone, our residents have the ability to live life on their terms. Active or relaxed, we have the services and amenities to give you the independence you deserve in a safe and home-like environment. Our campus is mere minutes from downtown Texarkana, keeping city life at your fingertips while remaining nestled amongst beautiful pine trees. Peace of mind is what we aim to provide each resident, by enabling one’s independence in a comfortable and safe environment.

Our community has both patio homes and apartments, with a wide variety of floorplans and amenities to suit your lifestyle and individual budget. As you age and your needs increase, our continuing care program gives us the ability to provide personalized care as needed. So even as your care needs adapt and grow, your address will remain the same.
What is Independent Living?

Independent living communities are not quite like other forms of senior living. Residents at our senior independent living community are completely independent and do not require the daily assistance as residents in assisted living might. Independent living communities are a great option for seniors that are looking to downsize from their current residence, while maintaining independence. At Cornerstone, our senior independent living residents live independently with additional services, access to activities and social opportunities, and amenities.

If independent living is something you’re researching for today or down the road, Cornerstone’s senior living community is the right choice for you. The quality of life you’ll find at Cornerstone is second to none. Instead of spending your senior years stressing over household maintenance and yard work, relax in a home-like setting with top-notch services and amenities. Another benefit to becoming a resident at Cornerstone is having access to future discounted health care. As a Continuing Care Retirement Community, Cornerstone has the ability to discount your future health care needs regarding Assisted Living, Memory Care or Skilled Nursing.With a continuum of care available, Cornerstone’s Independent Living Community offers the services you need and the engaging, social opportunities that you hoped for.

Independent Living Texarkana TX

Care Options for Your Elderly Parents | Independent Living Texarkana, TX

 

 Table of Contents

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION.. 3

1 START WHERE YOU ARE (EVALUATING YOUR SITUATION). 5

WHAT LEVEL OF CARE IS NEEDED?. 7

QUALITY OF LIFE CONSIDERATIONS. 7

FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS. 8

2 INDEPENDENT LIVING. 10

THE BENEFITS OF KEEPING YOUR ELDERLY LOVED ONE IN THEIR OWN HOME. 10

SERVICES THAT CAN BE PROVIDED TO YOUR ELDERLY LOVED ONE AT HOME. 11

3 HOME CARE OPTIONS. 13

CHOICES FOR PROVIDING CARE FOR AN ELDERLY LOVED ONE IN YOUR HOME. 14

ADULT DAY CARE. 14

4 INDEPENDENT LIVING FACILITIES. 16

WHO ARE INDEPENDENT LIVING FACILITIES MADE FOR?. 17

5 ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES. 19

WHAT IS AN ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY?. 19

HOW ASSISTED LIVING BRIDGES THE GAP BETWEEN INDEPENDENT LIVING AND NURSING HOMES. 20

6 NURSING HOMES. 22

ARE NURSING HOMES A LAST RESORT?. 23

7 HOW TO CHOOSE AMONG CARE OPTIONS. 25

 

 

 

 

 


INTRODUCTION

 

 

As people get older they tend to need a little help with some of the basic activities of living.  Health problems can intervene, physical abilities can diminish, and the activities of daily living can become difficult or even impossible.  While it may be disconcerting to think about your elderly parents reaching a stage where they cannot completely manage on their own, it happens.  It may happen sooner or it may happen later, but it happens.

 

This is not to say it is inevitable that at some age everyone will need a certain level of care.  Many individuals stay in their own homes and maintain their health and their active lives decades past the age of 65.  If everyone needed the same type of care at the same age then there would be no decisions to make.  Everyone would need the same care options and the issue would be nonexistent.  However, every person is unique.  If your elderly parents do both need care services then they may not even have the same reasons for needing it.

 

Sometimes the reasons why an elderly parent needs care are not signs of the typical progression of aging.   Aging does make people more susceptible to injuries, but maybe it is something else.  Maybe your loved one has been losing weight.  Perhaps they are exhibiting signs of depression and are not leaving the house as much as they used to.  Perhaps they have lost interest in life.

 

On the other hand, there could be indicators of mental issues.  Your loved one may be having trouble remembering things or may have gone so far as to wander off or to be unable to recognize you.  They may even have trouble remembering who they are.

 

Whatever the case, your elderly parents have reached a stage of life where they need some level of assistance to manage their lives.  Luckily, there are a variety of care options available at this point in time.  There is no need to choose between independent living and a nursing home because various facilities accommodate individuals with different needs. Independent Living Texarkana TX

 

Decisions will have to be made about care options.  You will have to discuss these options with your elderly parents and with other family members who wish to weigh in on this important issue.  When care is needed then the decisions of what care options best suit your elderly parents will have to be made.

 

There are a few points that must be addressed first.  With all the options available and the few general categories that these options fall into, there are some inconsistencies with naming.  One option may have several different names used to label it or two different types of housing may share the same name even though they are completely different.

 

You cannot go by the names of establishments because there is little consistency.  The general heading that a facility falls under could be based on your region or just on chance.  You cannot merely sift through all the facilities known as assisted living facilities because they may vary wildly in their services offered.

 

To add to the confusion, there are now facilities that may offer more than one type of care.  These hybrid care facilities offer the benefit of allowing an elderly parent to stay in one setting as their needs change and are wonderful advancements in the care field.  They do not, however, make it any easier to discern the services they provide.  You need to investigate the services that any facility provides.  You cannot go by the name.

 

This is actually a beneficial confusion.  It serves to remind anyone looking at care facilities that each one is unique.  Thoroughly investigating one facility only teaches you about that facility.  It says nothing about any others.  You will want to learn about the general types of facilities and the services they most often provide but when you seek out a specific facility then you will have to make sure that the facility provides everything you think it does.

 

All these options are a good thing.  Instead of being forced to go with one facility regardless of quality, atmosphere, or services provided you can be selective.  You and your elderly parents can choose among the many options available to come up with the one that best fits their situation.  This is a discussion about peoples’ lives so choices give elderly parents and their children the freedom to choose well.

 

 

 

 

 

Independent Living Texarkana TX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1
START WHERE YOU ARE (EVALUATING YOUR SITUATION)

 

 

The search for appropriate care options will begin with an honest evaluation of where the situation stands right now.  What lead to the decision to investigate care options?  What does your parent want to do?  What services are necessary to keep your elderly parent healthy and safe?

 

You may be seeking out services and options for one of your parents or for both of them.  The majority of the search will be the same whether you are seeking facilities for one or both parents.  If you are thinking about moving them into a facility together then you will want to inquire as to the feasibility of your parents sharing a living space and how much privacy they will have.  This will depend on the type of facility that you are considering and on the facility itself.

 

If you are considering the separation of your parents then you will want to ask about visitation, privacy, and any other factors that would affect visitation, trips away from the facility, or the time your parents spend together.  This is probably not the first time that this issue has come up at any elder care facility.  You just need to ask the questions before you make any final decisions.  If your parents have different requirements for care then you will have to make inquiries on a facility by facility basis.

 

Much of your decision making process will take care of itself once you have a clear picture of the current situation.  This begins with knowing the problems or circumstances that merit the implementation of care options and what is causing these problems.  Now is not the time to assume that any problem or concern is a result of aging.  There are many treatable, even reversible conditions that masquerade as the typical signs of aging.

 

Complete medical assessments are ideal because an elderly parent could be having difficulties as a result of undiagnosed but treatable conditions.  Problems can also arise out of misdiagnoses.  Assessing the situation to take care of treatable problems is a preliminary step.  You do not want to enter into your investigation of care options thinking an elderly parent needs ongoing care for correctable problems such as nutritional deficiencies, dehydration, or medication interactions and side effects.

 

Declines in sight, hearing, and memory are not necessarily just part of the aging process.  They are usually indications that something else, something treatable, is wrong.  The same goes for confusion and depression.  These are not part of the natural aging process.

 

If symptoms such as these begin to manifest themselves then you want to find out why.  There is a good chance that there is a logical, treatable reason for them.  To make an informed decision you need to make sure that any decline is being handled and, if necessary, treated so that you have an accurate picture of your elderly parent’s optimal level of functioning.

 

Then you will need to look at the situation and determine if the need for care is, at this point in time, a long term need or a short term need.  Sometimes the needed care stay will be recuperative in nature.  There may have been an acute medical condition or some type of injury that will prevent your elderly parent from being able to complete daily tasks but only temporarily.  This needs to be considered.

 

So what are some of the common signs that let you know that your elderly parent is in need of additional care services?  The list is practically endless so anything out of the ordinary with an elderly parent should be investigated, but there are some common signs.  Each of these should be taken seriously and looked into or handled immediately. Independent Living Texarkana TX

 

Unexplained weight loss is a possible warning sign.  It could mean that a medication is affecting your loved one’s appetite or it could mean that your loved one no longer prepares food to eat.  It could also be a sign of depression.  With unexplained weight loss, you need to find the cause and take action.

 

If your elderly parent does not take medications or does not take them correctly then this needs to be addressed.  Skipping medications or overdosing can have serious health consequences.  Medications that are not taken as directed could indicate memory problems or confusion.

 

Speaking of memory problems or general forgetfulness, these symptoms always need to be investigated.  They could be indicators of Alzheimer’s, side effects of medication, or heralds of some other problem.  Forgetfulness could begin with forgotten names, addresses, and meals and could extend into forgetting to pay bills and missing medical appointments.  Forgetfulness while cooking could lead to your elderly loved one accidentally starting a fire.

 

Declining attention to physical hygiene is another red flag.  It could be caused by any number of mental or physical conditions.  The main thing you need to know is that if hygiene declines then something is not right.

 

Of course, injuries need to be investigated.  They could be caused by trips, falls, poor coordination, or any number of other factors.  Always take injuries, even minor ones, seriously.

 

 

 

WHAT LEVEL OF CARE IS NEEDED?

 

 

The level of care needed for your elderly loved ones will depend on their unique situations.  You will need to go down the list of any daily activities that they cannot do or have trouble performing on their own as well as noting any medical needs.  A comprehensive list of needs is best compiled with the help of professionals.  You will probably have an intimate knowledge of your elderly parent’s ability to handle common daily tasks while medical professionals will be able to give you direction on how to ensure that your elderly loved one stays healthy.

 

You may want to consult with an elder care specialist of some sort as well just too make sure that you cover all the parts of life where your parent may need special care.  Knowing exactly what you need is always the best way to head into a situation where you are seeking care options.  If you know what your elderly parent needs then you will be able to determine which choices can give the required care and which ones cannot.

 

 

 

QUALITY OF LIFE CONSIDERATIONS

 

 

Quality of life is always a pressing question when you consider care options, especially long term options.  Everyone needs and deserves the same basic respect and dignity.  While this is found at many care facilities, not all facilities will match up as well with particular people as others.  Just as not everyone would like to live in a particular city or a certain part of town, not everyone will prefer this care facility over that one.  This is why it is so important to discuss the options with your elderly parent to the extent that it is possible.

 

There are some commonalities that you should look for no matter what type of facility you are considering.  People like to be in control.  This is true of individuals at any age.  You want to find a facility that allows your elderly parent as much control as he or she can have given their situation and their psychological and physical health limitations.

 

Making sure that your parent has control over as much as possible is key.  Of course, you will need to consider if they are capable of being in control but if they are able to be in control over an aspect of life then they should be.  This includes everything from managing their own finances and having input into their treatment process to decorating their living space.

 

Your parent should be able to make choices concerning daily schedules and should be able to select activities that match up with his or her personal tastes.  You do not want your parent to be immediately put into a generic program that does not take their individuality into account.  They may not have total control but they should have choices.

 

A basic measure of human dignity is the freedom to make choices.  This means that your parent should be able to make choices that affect his or her life.  It also means that your parent should be able to complete any tasks that he or she is able to.  A facility that sees your parent as an individual with a personal balance of abilities and needs is paramount.

 

Another quality of life issue is privacy.  Will your loved one have privacy in a particular facility?  How much privacy is it safe for them to have and will they get all the privacy that it is possible for them to safely have?  If they are in a facility and their spouse is not then will they be able to get privacy for visits?

 

Residents of any facility need to be treated with respect and kindness.  Although you are right to focus on the relationships between caregivers and residents, you also want to make sure that the relationships between the caregivers are amiable and productive.  How the staff members at any particular facility get along will impact the quality of care that they are able to provide.

 

Quality of life is a topic that has some commonalities that go along with the human condition but also many divergent traits that depend on the person whose quality of life you are discussing.  Every person has different requirements for a happy, fulfilling life.

 

Some people require artistic expression to feel contentment while other people thrive on constant social interaction.  It all comes down to what your elderly parent wants his or her life to be and how that can fit into the picture of life with elder care services.  The most important thing is to not aim for what quality of life means to you but for what it means to your elderly parent.  You need to listen to what they want to get out of this new situation if you want them to truly have quality of life.

 

 

 

FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS

 

 

Financial considerations are another matter that will be unique to your situation.  While delving into this endlessly complicated topic is better done while you review your own finances and the finances of your parent, there are some questions that you should ask to get started.

 

How much do you know about your elderly parent’s health insurance?  Familiarize yourself with their coverage as you discuss options with them.  Are they covered by long term care insurance?  Exactly what kind of coverage does this policy provide?

 

Are there any other sources of coverage such as pension plans or other retirement packages?  How about real estate holdings or other assets?  What are the amounts stored in savings accounts, investments, and IRAs?  Look into eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid.  You can also look into government assistance programs that may be able to help you cover the cost of necessary elder care services and expenses.

 

This portion of your search for care options is just about crunching the numbers.  For specifics you will want to look at the overall financial picture before you and the costs of various care options.  There are people and services out there who can help you to make sense of the costs of elder care options so enlist their aid.  Knowing how others have made sense of the costs of elder care will help you handle your expenses with greater ease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2
INDEPENDENT LIVING

 

 

People value their independence.  From the time they are children until people reach the later years of life, people value their ability to act independently.  This freedom is a basic right of existence.  It is the freedom to make your own choices and to decide your own destiny that makes you feel like you have the control that is so essential to a happy life.

 

As special needs begin to become a fact of your elderly parent’s everyday existence the questions begin to swirl around them.  Will they be able to maintain their independence?  What are their options if they are mostly self-sufficient but do require some small amount of help?  If they cannot completely manage their lives on their own then is a nursing home or other facility their only choice?

 

There was a time when this might have been true.  If family members could not take care of elderly parents themselves then a nursing home may have been the inevitable conclusion, even if an elderly parent did not require the level of care that nursing homes provide.  In many cases, this would have been the one solution that would ensure that these individuals would receive the care they needed.

 

Fortunately, there are numerous options available for elderly individuals today.  There is no need to go directly to a nursing home until an elderly person’s needs require that environment and that level of care.  In fact, there is no need to go to any type of facility if an individual does not need to for clear medical or physical reasons.  Less intensive care services can be provided at other facilities.  They can even be provided in the individual’s home.

 

 

 

THE BENEFITS OF KEEPING YOUR ELDERLY LOVED ONE IN THEIR OWN HOME

 

 

Of course, there are many benefits of keeping your elderly loved ones in their own home.  The positive effect that a familiar setting can have on health and mood is unmistakable.  While the need for a suitable care facility may very well arise at some point, many elderly persons wish to keep this option as a last resort.

 

The home setting also affords your elderly parent the greatest feeling of control and the most actual control over their situation.  While they may need some assistance, many times basic levels of assistance can be provided within the home.  Taking advantage of these in-home services will allow them to stay at home and maintain a great degree of independence.

 

 

 

SERVICES THAT CAN BE PROVIDED TO YOUR ELDERLY LOVED ONE AT HOME

 

 

There are many services that can be provided for your elderly parent within their own home.  You should keep a few questions in the front of your mind as you consider any service provider.  Keeping these questions in mind before you even start looking for service providers could help you to avoid difficult situations or the need to switch service providers later.

 

You want to know first off if a service provider will be able to provide consistency with the staff members they send.  It can be hard enough to let someone into their home but if your elderly parents are seeing a new face every time they open the door then you may want to consider another service provider.  Consistency helps to make the presence of an outsider if your parents’ home less intrusive.

 

At the same time, you want to inquire whether a particular service provider has backup staff.  If the person who usually comes to provide service for your elderly parent cannot make it then who will provide services?  Do they have backup personnel to take over or will you be scrambling to find someone else to fill in or to do it yourself?

 

The services that can be provided begin with basic in-home assistance.  This type of assistance can cover a range of basic duties to help your loved one with basic activities of daily living such as meal preparation, laundry, and housekeeping as well as with bathing, hygiene, and medication administration.  The staff members who provide these services help to make life easier for your loved one while making sure that everything that needs to get done is getting done.

 

A few other services that can help to make sure that the entire household and its affairs are running smoothly begin with financial planning services.  Your elderly parent may need assistance with paying bills and managing their finances.  This service can help them to complete these tasks to make sure that nothing is overlooked and that no mistakes are made.

 

You could also have service providers whose main duties include providing companionship for your elderly parent.  These companions can provide the company and social stimulation that is necessary for your parent’s quality of life.  They, too, can provide assistance with basic tasks.  These companion services just help you to ensure that your loved one has companionship even when you cannot be there yourself.

 

Many of these service aides can also assist your parent with transportation.  This could be transportation to medical appointments or anywhere else around town.  Someone to help your parent get around could help your parent to run errands and go shopping and to maintain a greater level of independence.

 

Depending on your parent’s needs, you and your parent could decide to hire an aid to live in the home.  This would make this service provider available as much as possible to assist with anything.  The services that such a live-in provider would offer would depend on the needs of your parent.

 

Another way to maintain your parent’s social life is with adult day care.  Adult day care programs provide programming to give elderly persons a chance to socialize with peers and to engage in a wide range of planned activities.  It allows for a community feeling while allowing your parent to return home after.

 

Rehabilitation services may also be provided in the home.  This is usually geared toward those who have experienced injuries or acute medical conditions but can help your loved one to improve.  For example, physical functioning and the daily living skills can be aided through physical therapy and occupational therapy.

 

Service providers can also provide medical services.  You could, if necessary, have a registered nurse checking in on your elderly parent on a regular basis to evaluate their state of health and to develop a treatment plan if it is needed.  A registered nurse can help to oversee medication administration and make sure that there are no medication interactions going on either.  This care plan can help you to ensure that everything possible is being done to maintain the health of your loved one.  In the same way, you could schedule regular visits from a physician.

 

All these services can be offered in the home.  There may even be more available depending on your elderly parent’s needs.  It is the awareness that these in-home service options exist that allows you to investigate them and to see if it is possible for your elderly parent to continue living in their own home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3
HOME CARE OPTIONS

 

 

The home care options available for having your elderly parent living in your home are pretty much the same as the options for your elderly parent to live in their own home.  There are special considerations, however.  It is still a change of venue and even though parents moving in with their children may be thought of as an easier transition, it must still be handled with care.

 

A survey measuring the life expectancy of Canadian and American caregivers discovered that the mortality rate of these caregivers was 60 percent higher than people of the same age bracket who were not caregivers.  This shows just how stressful it can be to take care of an elderly person.  Proper planning and open communication can serve to make this process a little easier.  Asking for help can make it a lot easier.

 

You want to talk to your elderly parent.  This should be the first step whenever you are looking into decisions that will affect the course of their life.  Not only will giving them ongoing control over their life make the transition go more smoothly but it will allow them to feel empowered.  A person’s dignity can easily be taken away when they are not included in decisions that affect them.

 

This is not always possible.  Not all elderly persons can make decisions that are in their best interests.  Including them even if their every desire cannot be put into action can show them that they still have a voice.  You give them as much independence as you can and then you work hard to make the rest of life’s details to their liking.  This open communication and dialogue where they can speak freely will ease the transition for them and for you.

 

Enlisting the aid of a geriatric care manager is a practice that can be implemented and will be naturally implemented in a variety of settings but is especially pertinent when you are taking your elderly parent into your own home.  If you are taking your elderly parent into your own home then you will probably be providing a decent portion of the care, if not the bulk of that care.  Hiring a geriatric care manager can help.

 

A geriatric care manager helps you to assess you current situation.  More than that, this person can offer you guidance and help you to find local services that can fill your needs.  Instead of trying to figure it all out on your own, a geriatric care manager has enough experience to guide you through this process with a practiced, steady hand.

 

They will know that this is not an easy decision or an easy process but they can offer advice and give you the direction you need to make the transition of your parent into your home as smooth as possible.  They can even go so far as to hire and oversee the caregivers that you let into your home.  Organizations such as the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers can provide these services.

 

At the same time, mine your social circles for advice.  You undoubtedly have friends and neighbors who have taken care of elderly persons.  This network that you create will not only be able to help you as you begin your foray into the world of care options for your elderly parents but will also be able to support you and provide additional guidance and encouragement as you go along.  You can gain insight into what to expect as this phase of life unfolds.  If nothing else, it can be a great comfort to have people who you can talk to who truly understand your situation.

 

 

 

CHOICES FOR PROVIDING CARE FOR AN ELDERLY LOVED ONE IN YOUR HOME

 

 

The choices for providing care for an elderly loved one in your home are the same as providing care for an elderly loved one in their home.  It just involves a new assessment of what services will be required.  It is probable that you will be able to provide many of the basic services necessary to maintain the household and your parent’s happiness.

 

The main point that you want to remember is that you do have choices.  If you need help then ask for it or find it.  For example, what do you do if you have personal matters to attend to or if you just need a break?  The answer to this question could be adult day care.

 

 

 

ADULT DAY CARE

 

 

Adult day care falls into the broader category of respite care.  Respite care is an umbrella term that encapsulates a number of care services.  The goal of these care services is to give primary caregivers a break from their duties of caring for loved ones.  This break could be for a caregiver to take a vacation, to go to the dentist, or just to have day off.  Respite care can be provided in a variety of settings.  One of the most popular forms for those taking care of elderly parents in their own home is adult day care.

 

Adult day care or adult day programs are put in place to provide a place where adults who need it can receive medical care or social interaction.  Programs tend to be primarily for seniors but other adults with illnesses or disabilities may also benefit.  These care programs may be housed in a variety of facilities such as community centers, nursing homes, and seniors’ centers.  Programs of this type can allow caregivers the freedom to attend to other pursuits during the day.  These other pursuits could include schooling or work.

 

The programs themselves can be focused around several goals.  An adult day care program could be purely social and may include group activities such as crafts, games, or even sports.  On the other hand, these programs may possess a more medical orientation.  They may offer services such as speech therapy or occupational therapy.

 

The difference between most respite care services and adult day care is that adult day programs are ongoing services while respite services tend to be of a short duration and used sporadically to get some time away from care duties.  In addition, adult day programs occur at a specific location and respite care can be provided in the home.

 

Adult day programs and all respite care services are designed to help give caregivers some relief and add balance to their lives.  No one can spend their entire life caring for someone else and no one should.  While providing the best of care of an elderly parent is admirable, caregivers must attend to their own needs and their own lives.  This is an essential component to the caregiving process because it helps caregivers to maintain their own health and happiness and to continue providing the best care they can for their elderly loved ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4
INDEPENDENT LIVING FACILITIES

 

 

Independent living facilities are typically apartments or houses within a senior community.  This is the option for elderly persons who can complete most activities of daily living without assistance.  Such facilities often provide some assistance with common household chores like laundry and meal preparation but are for those persons who are, for the most part, self-sufficient.

 

Independent living facilities address the issue of freedom.  This is a preliminary stage of care.  Your elderly parent may benefit from some assistance with laundry and meal preparation but may still desire and be capable of a great deal of independence.  This is why these facilities were brought into being.

 

Another issue that these facilities address is that of the transition.  It is a big transition for individuals to go from their own homes where they are in total control to an environment where some tasks may be done for them.  While this may be a pleasant change, it can also be a difficult one.  Facility living is not the same as living in one’s own home so there is an adjustment that must be made.

 

An independent living facility is immensely helpful because it allows your elderly parent to ease into facility living.  This type of residence is for the time when they are still self-sufficient and that is a clear bonus.  They can take advantage of some of the services available with meal preparation and such while slowly, voluntarily relinquishing some of their control and the need to do everything themselves.  You elderly parent will have the luxury of adjusting to this new type of environment before they are dealing with issues of physical or medical limitations or decreased self-sufficiency.

 

Dealing with the actual need for a certain level of assistance with basic daily tasks is enough of an adjustment.  By transitioning into the elder care system before these limitations become issues, your parent can acclimate to these new surroundings without having to deal with other stresses simultaneously.  It is an opportunity for a more gradual entrance into the elder care system.

 

 

 

WHO ARE INDEPENDENT LIVING FACILITIES MADE FOR?

 

 

Independent living facilities are generally made for those who maintain a high level of independence.  Depending on the facility, services that include personal or medical care may be offered, but many of the amenities of such facilities are geared toward helping elderly persons to maintain and maximize their social lives while providing assistance with basic tasks of daily life.  These facilities allow elderly persons to be independent while providing a community where they can thrive.

 

Meals are often communal, allowing for regular interaction at mealtimes.  Housekeeping and laundry services are often provided for those who require these services.  Transportation may be another option to allow residents to branch outside of the facility and to remain active in the larger community.

 

There may be exercise equipment, pools, and saunas as well as libraries to enjoy.  Gardens are a common theme because a serene, beautiful setting allows for pleasant time to be spent outside.  There could even be on-site beauty shops.

 

As far as activities go, these can vary dramatically depending on the facility.  Some establishments may have golf courses, tennis courts, or shuffleboard courts.  Many may have exercise classes to help residents stay in shape.  Chapels or religious services may be offered to give residents the ability to continue practicing their faith in this community setting.  In general there could be any number of activity rooms filled with recreational, educational, and purely social events.

 

This type of facility helps to provide the opportunity for full active lives with many of the needs of residents having the chance of being met within the community.  This does not preclude trips outside of the facility, but make social engagement and maintaining one’s quality of life that much easier.

 

Some people may ask why there is a need for independent living facilities at all.  If these individuals are independent enough to live on their own then why would they want to change their lives and move into any sort of facility setting?  The answer to this question lies in having the right perspective.

 

It is about maximizing a person’s quality of life.  While with elder care options physical needs and medical needs may be at the forefront of the discussion, so too should be the quality of life of the individuals.  Just because an individual can survive without social services, that does not mean that they could not benefit from such services.

 

So often discussion such as these become focused on provided basic levels of care that people forget that this level of care is only basic.  Elderly persons still have desires, goals, and interests.  Happiness and a full life are the goals to which these facilities aspire.  The basic levels of care are only the beginning.

 

Independent living facilities are less an option that comes into the picture out of necessity in most cases but more out of a desire for an ideal social setting for elderly persons.  Independent living facilities are the answer to a question of how to get elderly parents more involved in social activities and how to give them easy access to these activities.  Independent living facilities are perfect for elderly parents who are self-sufficient but who may have limited access to appropriate social settings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5
ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES

 

 

Sometimes elderly parents need some help to live their lives but are not totally dependent on caregivers.  When elderly persons need help with daily living tasks but do not require medical care on a daily basis then you have another alternative.  This is when you begin thinking about assisted living facilities.

 

Relinquishing control is often not an easy act for anyone.  These individuals are used to being in control of their lives and making all their decisions for themselves.  Suddenly entering an environment where they no longer have total control over their lives is jarring and makes them feel disoriented to say the least.

 

Assisted living facilities were created to address situations like this.  There is no need for an elderly person to go from total independence to an unnecessarily high level of dependence.  All the independence that can be retained should be retained.  It allows for the individual to maintain their control over life and the dignity of being able to use the abilities they have.  Basically, it makes the adjustment to this new life easier.

 

The importance of these in-between phases cannot be overestimated.  Life changes are challenging even for those who are retaining control over their lives and all their decisions.  Entering an assisted living situation means handing some of that control over.  It is not a complete relinquishing of control but it is definitely a change.

 

Instead of forcing an individual to take the leap of moving from a state of total independence to one where they depend heavily on others for everything, you can use these facilities as buffers.  True, your elderly parent needs help in some areas but not in others.  These facilities do not take away any more control than is necessary.  It allows your elderly parents to see that everyone is working to create a new life where their needs, personality, and desires are all represented and supported.

 

This period goes from being a transition where something is lost to one where something is gained.  It is not a loss of independence but a move to a place where your elderly parent can receive all the support needed to maintain their independence.  This transition becomes less fearsome when looked at in this way.  It is a good thing.

 

 

 

WHAT IS AN ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY?

 

 

An assisted living facility, typically, is an institution that provides supervision, personal care assistance, and any other help that its residents require.  The services offered usually stop short of advanced medical care.  This care could be provided in an actual home setting or could be provided in a larger facility.  It is possible that certain medical services may be accessible but, in most cases, any medical services will be limited.  One distinguishing characteristic of this type of facility is that residents see supervisory staff on a daily basis.

 

This type of facility, like an independent living facility, may help with tasks of daily living.  These tasks may begin with cooking, cleaning, and other household chores and may extend to personal care tasks.  Personal care tasks may refer to assistance with eating, bathing, dressing, and toileting.  The staff at such a facility will also provide any needed assistance to help residents with mobility limitations.

 

The services may also extend to transportation assistance beyond the facility, different degrees of assistance with medication administration, and in finding social or recreational activities.

 

Another benefit of assisted living situations is in the financial perspective.  You know that assisted living facilities only provide limited medical services so you will only be paying for the presence of these limited medical services.  Assisted living situations allow you to pay for the level of care that your loved one requires instead of being stuck in a situation where your elderly loved one is forced to go directly to a facility that is designed to provide a level of care well beyond what is required.  Matching the facility up to the individual’s needs makes sense both from a personal, humanistic perspective and from a financial one.

 

 

 

HOW ASSISTED LIVING BRIDGES THE GAP BETWEEN INDEPENDENT LIVING AND NURSING HOMES

 

 

Assisted living facilities bridge the gap between independent living and nursing homes because they are designed for individuals who need help with the daily tasks of living and therefore are not entirely independent but who do not require the constant care that is a trait of nursing homes.  As explained earlier, the staff at assisted living centers will cater to general housekeeping needs, personal hygiene needs, and will help with medication.  They will not typically have the level of medical care available that you would find in most nursing homes.  They may or may not have medical services but these services will not be of the same degree as nursing homes.

 

Typically, nursing homes, unlike assisted living facilities, are for those in a fragile state of health who are unable to take care of themselves.  The numerous health requirements of nursing home residents necessitate a greater amount of attention.  Assisted living facilities is for those who need assistance with tasks of daily living but who can otherwise still function with an appreciable level of independence.

 

In all the talk about finding the suitable home for your elderly parent, the transition is one of the most important parts of this process and should not be glossed over.  The transition into this new environment will set the tone for your parent’s stay at this facility and the feeling of the transition time may last a long time after your parent has settled in.  This is true of the transitional period for whatever type of facility you may be moving your elderly loved one into.

 

It is good to start pondering this point at this juncture because usually the assisted living situation is where things begin to take on a new level of difficulty.  Independent living may mean living the same life in a new location with new friends and activities.  Assisted living will mean new friends and new activities but it probably will not mean the same life.  Limitations prompted the move into a facility that provides this level of care and these limitations are part of the adjustment.

 

Helping with the transition is best thought of in terms of specific actions that you can perform to aid your elderly parent in adjusting.  You will want to visit frequently so that your elderly parent has your familiar presence to rely on as they attempt to adjust to this new life.  You will want to help your elderly loved one to have as many familiar objects and items around as possible to give them the feeling that this new place, although foreign for the moment, is still home.

 

Speaking of bridging the gap between one phase of life and the one that follows it, there is a new trend toward a continuing care retirement community.  This is a setting that contains independent living facilities, assisted living facilities and nursing homes all in one place.  The benefit of the convergence of these different types of facilities is clear.  As an individual’s needs change then their needs can still be met within the same system.

 

Instead of being forced to seek out new facilities they can just move from one part of the community to another.  The consistency helps to minimize the impact that a new level of care has on the resident.  Because the full range of care services are offered within the community, the individual can move from one facility to the next without ever really leaving the community.

 

Assisted living is the next stage in elder care.  The shift toward dependency is continuing and these facilities address that fact.  They provide the next level of support for those who need it.

 

 

 

 

6
NURSING HOMES

 

 

Nursing homes are for elderly persons who are unable to care for themselves.  The reasons for this inability for self-sufficiency are diverse.  An individual may find a nursing home to be the best option when they experience an excess of memory problems, confusion, physical frailty, or some sort of medical condition that interferes with regular functioning capabilities.  Depending on the level of functioning that an individual has, other types of facilities may be considered as alternatives.  It all depends upon the situation.

 

Nursing homes are set apart from other care options for the elderly in that they possess the medical professionals who are there to address serious medical issues and chronic conditions.  These professionals are on staff at the nursing home and work with residents and their families to develop care plans.  These medical professionals include physicians and registered nurses who are present around the clock to make sure that care plans are carried out properly and to address any issues that arise.

 

In fact, a nursing home might provide a complete array of medical services.  These services could include short term medical care that is required after a hospital stay.  Or they could include a full spectrum of rehabilitation services including physical, occupational, speech, and respiratory therapy.

 

Therapeutic activities of an educational or of a recreational nature may be offered by many nursing homes.  There may be a pharmacy on-site as well as radiology services and a lab.  Hospice care is likely to be a care service for most nursing homes too.

 

Some nursing homes provide special care services for residents with special needs.  If your elderly loved one requires kidney dialysis then you will need to find a nursing home that can perform this treatment or make other arrangements.  The same goes for Alzheimer’s and dementia care.  You want to make sure that you locate a nursing home and a staff that can attend to the special needs of this type of resident.  Parkinson’s care is yet another special care consideration that must be taken into account.  In the end, you will come across these needs and address them as you are initially assessing your elderly parent’s care needs.  Still, you should know that nursing homes are the facilities that most often cater to residents with these special needs, especially when they have progressed to the extent that your elderly loved one cannot take care of himself or herself.

 

Nursing homes typically come in one of two general styles.  They can either be designed to be more like a home environment or they can be more like a typical hospital setting.  Many times the feel of each nursing home will mirror its design.

 

Those nursing homes that represent the home environment will usually offer greater freedom.  Residents may have more flexible daily schedules and the more relaxed setting is conducive to more relaxed relationships between residents and staff.  The kitchens in such facilities may be open for residents to use at their leisure, creating more of that at-home feeling.

 

The nursing homes that are set up more like hospitals may have nurses stations spread throughout or may have one on each floor.  This type of facility is designed for more advanced medical care.  Among the medical offering may be physical, speech, respiratory, and occupational therapy.

 

It is not that one type of nursing home is better than another.  In fact, one set up to mimic a home environment may have advanced medical care that surpasses another nursing home with a hospital feel.  It is all about what your elderly parent prefers, the type of care that they need, and what that nursing home can provide.

 

Nursing homes are the clear picture of elder care that everyone has in their minds.  Unless you are intimately acquainted with the many new and different types of facilities, you have probably only trudged through a nursing home at some point in your life.  It is likely that this has colored your perception of nursing homes in general.  Maybe you have not set foot inside a nursing home in many years.

 

You should realize that technology, standards of care, and nursing homes as a whole have undergone some major changes in recent years.  While some may still be throwbacks to the traditional nursing home of yesteryear, others are bursting with life.  The types of nursing homes that you have access to will depend on your area.

 

More densely populated areas may have an overabundance of nursing home care choices while rural areas may have a more sparse selection.  You just have to start looking at the ones in your area to see what choices you have.  Just do not judge the quality or overall feel of any nursing home until you have taken the time to visit it yourself.

 

 

 

ARE NURSING HOMES A LAST RESORT?

 

 

Nursing homes are often seen as a last resort, but are they?  In truth, the view of nursing homes as a last resort can give people the wrong idea.  This goes back to the images of nursing homes that so many people have taken in over the years and sometimes these images are not entirely positive.  There are clear reasons why nursing homes tend to be the last choice but it may not be what you think.

 

Nursing homes are usually the last choice but not because they cannot provide exceptional care.  They are the last choice because if your elderly parent has the ability to live with greater autonomy and to live with a greater level of independence then another type of facility would be preferable.  It is not that they are not quality facilities.  It is just that they do not fit the needs of every person.

 

Nursing homes are ideal for those who require the level of care that these homes provide.  For individuals who can take care of themselves to some degree, they are not the desirable option.  Elderly persons want to maintain as much of their independence for as long as possible.

 

Nursing homes are a last resort only because elderly persons should be able to live with as much independence as they can.  Nursing homes provide care to those who cannot function independently and are ideal for individuals in that situation.  The attention and medical care that can be provided in these facilities assures residents the greatest quality of life possible.  It is just an option that should be used when it is appropriate and not before.

 

Another clear reason why nursing homes are a last resort is cost.  For your elderly parent to reside in a place where advanced medical care is the norm, the cost is bound to be more that it would be to reside in a facility where only limited medical care is offered.  Keeping advanced medical care supplies and staff who are certified to use them around at all times costs money.  While this is the ideal situation for those who require this level of care, for those who do not then this setting is unnecessary.  You would be paying for services that your elderly parent does not need, and that is never the ideal situation.

 

Nursing homes are not a last resort so much as they are a destination that is usually reached after a few other stops on the path of elderly care options.  Some individuals may start out their time in elderly care options in a nursing home setting but many who need this option only progress to the need for complete nursing home care in time.  Perhaps it is best to not think of nursing homes as a last resort but as an option that is there if you need it.  Your elderly parent may never come to need the level of care that a nursing home provides but if they do then they will have this type of facility to take care of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7
HOW TO CHOOSE AMONG CARE OPTIONS

 

 

Choosing among care options is a matter of looking at where things stand for your elderly parent right now.  Begin with an honest assessment of your elderly parent’s needs.  Or hire a geriatric care specialist to do the assessment for you.  At the same time, assess the financial situation that will be funding your next steps.  To help your elderly parent on this journey, you have to know where you both stand to figure out how to get where you need to go.

 

The most important point to remember when assessing care options is to involve your elderly parent as much as possible.  The shift from independence to a new situation can be difficult.  Giving your elderly parent as much control over the process as you are able will help them to feel in control and will help to match them up with a facility that fits what they want as well as what is best for them.

 

Your elderly loved one may be able to live in their own home but may wish to have the community that an independent living facility can provide.  Just make sure that you are giving your elderly loved one every chance to provide input and that you do your best to accommodate their wishes.  Never just make decisions for people who can make decisions for themselves.  Give your elderly loved one the dignity of having control over his or her own life.

 

On your own or with the help of a professional, you will end up with an assessment that incorporates details regarding personal care needs, medical needs, and other needs.  At some point you will want to bring a professional into the picture to give you insight into the process.  Not only can they teach you how to make this transition go smoothly, they can help you to identify what you really need out of a care facility.  This begins with personal and medical care and extends into those quality of life issues.  You will want to determine how much independence is possible for your elderly parent and how to provide the maximum level of independence possible.

 

As you begin to consider different types of options and different facilities, remember this.  Many facilities have waiting lists so you will want to investigate how long your loved one will have to wait for access to a particular facility and plan for what you will do in the meantime.  You could provide care yourself until a spot in a facility opens up or you could choose another facility.  Just know that choosing a facility does not always mean your search is over.

 

Obviously, the issue of cost is going to play a role in your decision.  You will have to take an inventory of your love one’s resources and your resources to determine what you can afford.  This is a component of the process that must be evaluated based on your unique situation.  You will be planning out how you will be able to pay for this facility and these services even as you consider their impact on your elderly parent.  It is a lot to juggle, but it is essential that all the aspects are taken into account.

 

You may want to begin your search by walking through a number of facilities.  This will give you an idea of what types of choices exist in your area.  Once you have this idea then you and your elderly parent can start narrowing down the choices with a more realistic appraisal of what is out there.

 

When you search through facilities for consideration then give this issue the weight that it deserves.  This will be your parent’s living situation.  You want to know exactly what their life there will be like.

 

As you gain a good general impression then you can narrow down your choices to a few facilities.  Then you can really start looking closely at what life is like there.  You will want to take your time and discuss your impressions before making any decisions.

 

When you go back to these few top choices then you can really start investigating.  You will want to stop by unannounced to get a real feel for how the facility operates on any given day.  You will want to make these unannounced visits at different times during the day on weekdays as well as on weekends.  You could go so far as to ask for a trial stay overnight before you make your choice.

 

When you visit these facilities pay attention.  What is your first impression of the staff?  Do you get warm greetings?  Does the staff there seem friendly?  More importantly, are they friendly to the residents?  Do they know the residents well enough to call them by their names during your tour?  You will want to find out about the training that staff members receive and about the turnover rates.

 

Do the residents of the facility appear to be happy?  Do they seem to be socializing or are they by themselves?  Take some time to talk to the residents.  They will be able to give you an accurate picture of life there.

 

Begin asking residents open-ended questions to get their general feelings concerning the facility.  Then you can move on to specific questions.  Begin with asking what they do during the day and if they wish they could do anything else.  Ask them if they have choices concerning meals, activities, and other aspects of their lives.

 

Ask them if the staff members are friendly and how long it takes for staff to provide services.  Inquire as to how problems are addressed and how long it takes for them to be addressed.  Ask residents if they feel comfortable discussing problems and concerns with the staff.

 

You will also want to inquire as to how the facility handles residents as their needs change.  You will want to know who makes the decision as to when a resident may have to leave that facility for health reasons.  Some facilities are not equipped to handle all types of health problems so your elderly parent may have to find a new facility that can accommodate new needs.

 

You will want to know this because a facility’s ability to cater to current needs is extremely important but so is their ability to adapt.  Some increases in needs might be foreseeable while others may not.  You want to know the steps that will be taken when something like this happens.

 

There are many details that you should check for when you go in search of the right facility for your elderly parent.  You can begin with how close the facility is to where you live.  You will want to visit frequently to see your parent and to make sure they are getting the care they need.  When residents of care facilities have visitors on a regular basis, those visits help to ensure that your loved one is getting the best of care.

 

You will want to pay attention to the physical surroundings.  Are they cold and sterile or warm and inviting?  Does it feel like home or like an institution?  There are varying degrees of settings and your choice will be based on your parent’s preference.

 

Pay attention to the presence, or absence, of safety features.  Are there handrails where there should be handrails?  Is the space going to be accessible to your elderly parent?   Are room features too high or too low to be used easily by your parent?

 

How close will your loved one be to the dining space, activity rooms, and other areas that they might want to visit regularly?  Will your loved one have a private room or will they share?  Does their room have a view?  The important thing is to go into these visits with your parent with your eyes open.  You want to look at the facility from their perspective as well as from your own.

 

While you are there, eat a meal.  You have gotten an impression of the quality of the food secondhand from residents.  Now you want to know about the quality of the food and there is no better way to tell than to eat it yourself.  This is your chance to get your own impression as well as your parent’s before you commit to anything.

 

You will want to revisit issues of privacy as well.  How much privacy is offered at each type of facility?  How much privacy is safe?  How will matters concerning spouses be handled?  Can they share rooms?  How much privacy will couples have?

 

The choice of any facility is going to be based on the convergence of a multitude of factors.  You will want to make a clear list so that you can complete accurate comparisons of facilities.  What is clear during a visit can become foggy when you attempt to recall it.  Clear lists and notes will help immensely.

 

Searching through different facilities is a daunting prospect.  Rest assured that it is like this for everyone.  You just need to involve your parent in the decision making process, do the necessary research, and ask for help from friends and professionals alike.  It may feel like a loaded situation but you can relax.  As long as your heart is in the right place you will make the right decision.

 

In the end, deciding on the appropriate care option for your elderly parent is a process.  Needs change, circumstances changes, and care options have to change to fit those needs.  Remember this all adds up to you caring for your elderly parents.  It takes work but providing your parents with the best care possible is always worth it.

 

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