6 Questions to ask a Senior Advisor/Placement Specialist

family asking questions

Are you considering using the services of an Assisted Living Referral or Placement service like Compass Senior Solutions?

Finding the right assisted living for a loved one can be a long and emotionally draining process. Whether you’re just beginning your search for senior care options or narrowing down your top choices, reach out to Compass Senior Solutions and a senior living advisor is ready to listen and offer guidance. Compass Senior Solutions is committed and with you throughout each step. Let us help you to discover the solutions that fit your loved one’s needs.

Below we share questions to ask and specifics to look for to be prepared. For example, an important question to ask a Senior Advisor service about recommended facility options is whether or not they know the facility’s reputation (i.e. through a resident advocate, other 3rd parties, clients that have moved there). Unfortunately, some advisors may not have the expertise to assess your loved one’s current social and physical care needs, look ahead to their future care needs, and what that will mean financially in care costs. Below are answers we provide all of our clients; and, questions you should make sure you ask any referral agency you choose.

Here are some questions you should always ask an agent:

  1. What is your background in senior care?
    2. Do you refer facilities that don’t give a referral fee?
    3. What experience do you have with Assisted Living Facilities?
    4. Do you tour assisted living facilities with families?
    5. Will you assess my loved one in person?
    6. Do you follow up with us after placement?

While you might receive some good options, sometimes you may not necessarily get the full picture of options available to you. The problem is that many times, they won’t recommend the assisted living facilities or appropriate care facilities, if they don’t receive a referral fee.

That is NEVER the case at Compass Senior Solutions. We will always present the best options for your loved one.

Please contact us at 407-630-0111 to speak with a Senior Advisor today!

Tips for traveling with elderly parents

 Summer time is upon us!

For those who know, traveling with an older loved one can be very challenging and requires tons of patience.

When traveling with elderly loved ones, detailed planning can create a more enjoyable travel experience. Below are some tips to keep in mind when traveling by air, land, or water.

family-vacation

Before making any reservations, get travel clearance from a physician. Here are some things to consider when discussing trip ideas with your loved one’s physician:

  • Will the chosen destination present any health problems? And if so, which environmental conditions would be a better choice?
  • What is the safest security screening method when traveling by air with an implanted medical device, like a pacemaker or surgical hip?
  • Will this doctor write a prescription for surplus medication and also provide a copy in case of an emergency?
  • Does the doctor suggest vaccinations? If so, when is the best time to be vaccinated prior to leaving?

Drug categories vary by country. You may want to check whether certain medications are restricted in your final destination. If so, request a note from the doctor indicating that it is medically necessary for your loved one to take this medication while on their trip. If medications are dispensed using a needle, a note from the doctor would be helpful in that case as well. Lastly, some airlines require a consent form be completed and signed by a physician when traveling with portable oxygen.

The Planning Stage

Southwest Airlines offers senior fares for travelers ages 65 and older, but they require an age verification process. You can also select “senior” traveler when booking flights through United.com. Other major airlines offer senior rates as a promotion or for specific destinations.

Amtrak offers 15% discount on rail fares to most destinations for passengers ages 62 and over. Also when making reservations, keep in mind that some companies offer AARP discounts, so be sure to ask about that.

If a discount deal seems too good to be true, move on from that offer. It is better to pay a little extra for a safe, enjoyable trip than to pay less for what might be a disaster waiting to happen.

Most travel services require at least 48-hour notification of accommodation needs. Consider travel insurance for medical coverage overseas. Medicare does not provide international coverage.

 

 

To read more, click on this link

15 Home Safety Tips for Care Givers of a Dementia Sufferer

15 Home Safety Tips for Care Givers of a Dementia Sufferer

mom and daughter holding hands

Dementia is a brain disorder that causes behavioral changes and changes in mental cognition for those living with the disease. Those living with dementia, a debilitating disease that includes the more readily recognized term Alzheimer’s disease, tend to lose the ability to remember names, arrange thoughts coherently and forget their current surroundings. As the disease progresses, communication becomes more difficult for the sufferer and agitation can occur.

Creating a home that is safe and comfortable for both the care giver and individual is very important.  Following are 15 simple tips that can help care givers keep those afflicted with the disease safer in their home or living space.

15 Simple Safety Tips

  1. Keep the home quiet and background noise to a minimum.
  2. Install child proof locks and latches high on doors may help deter wandering into unsafe areas.
  3. Keep keys out of sight.
  4. Post signs on doors like the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom.
  5. Place a stop sign on the door to the exterior or unsafe areas (basement stairs).
  6. Place familiar items where they can be seen.  This helps the individual feel safer and less agitated.
  7. Organize and de-clutter surroundings.  This reduces anxiety, one of the potential causes for wandering.
  8. Nighttime and sun downing (when the person becomes increasingly agitated as evening advances) can be challenging for both the care giver and the person with dementia.  Modifying sleeping arrangements can help reduce the agitation.  The bedroom should be cool as this is conducive to sleep and comfort.
  9. Keep bedding and pajamas comfortable so they don’t restrict movement.
  10. Fill the sleeping area with familiar objects.  Examples include a favorite soft blanket or pillow or a picture of a family member.
  11. Include a nightlight.  It shouldn’t be too bright as this could interrupt sleep.
  12. Ensure that there is sufficient night-time lighting so that if wandering does occur, it will not be hazardous.
  13. Remove all cords so they don’t become a trip hazard.
  14. Make it easy for the wanderer to easily find the bathroom and their way back to their room.
  15. Ensure the person receives sunlight during the day.  This helps restore the body’s natural time clock and may help reduce issues with sleeping.

There are other considerations when caring for someone suffering from dementia.  With some safety precautions and comfort guidelines, those caring for suffers may reduce some of the common problems that happen in the course of the disease.

 

Looking for the right Assisted Living can be difficult. Don’t know where to start? Let Compass Senior Solutions help you. We are a FREE service to our clients & family members.

We are one phone call and DONE. We do the rest of the work for you.

Speak to an Intake Coordinator to get started.

Call Compass Senior Solutions today  at 407-630-0111!

 

Article source from The CareGiver Partnership

How Adult Daycare Saved My Family

 How Adult Daycare Saved My Family

mom and daughter

 

Last week I received a letter from a young lady in North Carolina that I’ve never met, thanking me for advice that I didn’t know I’d given her. The author, a teenage girl, felt she’d “lost” her mother to caring for her grandma who has dementia. I’ve retyped the letter below (with minor edits for clarity/brevity and intentionally omitted names for privacy).

Dear Mr. Eldercare101:

Thank you for the work you do. You helped save my family. About 5 years ago my grandmother, who is 80, starting showing signs that something was wrong. My parents took her to a few doctors and seemed more depressed every time they came home. One day at dinner dad told me that grandma had dementia and it was the reason she was having trouble remembering things. I didn’t really understand what it was but I remember seeing a look on mom’s face that I’d never seen before. She was also really quiet-which at the time was not like her (unfortunately, it soon became pretty normal for her).

Grandma used to meet me every day after school and would wait with me until mom got home from work. One day she forgot to meet me. Grandma was getting worse. Mom stopped working soon after that. Mom, who used to always laugh and make jokes started to change. Soon she became quiet and would get angry all the time. After a while it seemed like we only heard her voice when she was yelling at someone (even Dad). Mom and I used to talk about stuff but soon she didn’t seem to have time or interest in anything other than caring for grandma. I tried to help around the house but she never seemed happy with the way I did things. Dad kept telling me it wasn’t “personal”, but it sure felt like it. Dad said mom was just tired but I heard them argue a lot about the way she treated me. Eventually, dad told me that mom was just depressed.

Dad wasn’t around too much either because he got a part-time job to make up some of the money we lost when mom quit her job. Now when mom and dad talked it almost always ended in an argument. I couldn’t decide which was worse-the quiet or the arguments.

Mom’s doctor suggested grandma go to a nursing home but mom freaked out so bad that she had to spend the night in the hospital to “get some rest”. When I asked dad if grandma would be moving away he said “no”, because mom would feel too guilty. The worse grandma became, the worse mom became, the worse our house became.

Then things changed and started getting better. Dad heard you on a radio interview talking about Adult Daycare programs and how they help people. You said older people could get care during the day and go home at night. Dad and the doctor convinced mom to try it out. A van picks grandma up in the morning and brings her back in time for dinner. She is around a lot of people during the day (not just mom) and seems to like it.

It’s been about 7 months since she started going there and things are getting back to normal. Mom now has a part-time job and is happier. She is not quit her old self, but she is now much nicer and not so tired and angry all the time. Her and dad are getting along better and not arguing like before. This year I even bought mom a Mother’s Day card (I didn’t the last 2 years). Thank you for telling people about Adult Daycare Centers. It helped our family start to be a family again.

Sincerely,

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Source: Derrick McDaniel (A.K.A. Mr. Eldercare 101) works with caregivers to help them get the absolute best care possible for their loved ones while simultaneously caring for themselves, their families, and their careers.

Exercises to Improve Balance in Seniors

senior falling

Falling is the most common cause of accidental injury for adults aged 65 or older and can be the cause of functional decline, social withdrawal, anxiety and depression.

For older adults who are anxious to maintain their independence and stay physically and socially active, that’s hard news to hear. One way to take control of your health and lower your risk of falling is to improve your balance, which tends to decline with age. If you haven’t been active recently, speak to your doctor about exercising to improve your stability. Once he gives the OK, add balance-boosting exercises to your daily routine.

Step 1

Warm up briefly to prepare your muscles and joints for activity. From a seated or standing position, maintain a relatively straight back and march your feet in place for three to five minutes to raise your core body temperature and ready the muscles for exercise. Pump your arms or do large arm circles as you march if you can do so comfortably without feeling off-balance.

Step 2

Continue with a set of dynamic ankle circles to activate your core and loosen your ankle joints. Sit or stand with your fingertips on the back of a chair for support. Raise your right foot slightly off the floor and slowly rotate it 10 times to the right. Reverse direction and rotate the foot another 10 times. Repeat with your left foot. As your balance improves, progress from sitting to standing with light support. From there, progress to standing without support.

Step 3

Do one-legged stands, the quintessential balance exercise. Stand behind a sturdy chair, grasping the chair lightly for support. Draw your right foot up toward your left knee. Hold the position for 10 seconds, lower the foot and repeat with the left leg. Repeat for three to five times on each leg. Progress by increasing the duration of each repetition, crossing your arms over your chest, closing your eyes or balancing on an uneven surface, such as a small cushion. Bump up the challenge still more by writing the alphabet in the air with your raised foot or tossing a ball back and forth with a friend without lowering the foot to the floor.

Step 4

Walk heel to toe. Move to one end of a long wall. Stand arm’s-length from the wall and turn so one shoulder is adjacent to the wall. Step forward on your right foot. Slowly shift your weight forward and step onto your left foot, touching your left heel directly to the toes of your right foot. Continue walking heel to toe until you’ve traveled the length of the wall. Keep your focus forward and walk your fingertips along the wall for light support. When you master the basic exercise, progress to walking backward, crossing your arms over your chest, closing your eyes or turning your head from side-to-side as you walk. To further boost difficulty, introduce a cognitive challenge. The American Council on Exercises suggests counting backward from 100 in increments of three while doing the heel-toe walk.

Step 5

Boost core and leg strength. Use a combination of exercises involving dumbbells, resistance bands, ankle weights or your own body weight. Build your calves, for example, with simple calf raises. Grasping a dumbbell with one or both hands, slowly raise and lower your heels eight to 12 times. Strap on a pair of ankle weights and work your quadriceps from a seated position. Keeping your back straight and your buttocks firmly on your chair, slowly extend your right knee. Hold briefly, then bend the knee and lower the foot to the floor. Repeat eight to 12 times before switching legs. Use standing rear leg extensions with a resistance band or ankle weights to work your hamstrings and one- or two-legged chair squats to work your abs, hips, back and legs. Complete eight to 12 reps on each leg.

Step 6

Stretch your lower limbs. Tight muscles in your lower body can hinder movement, cause an awkward gait and lead to stumbling. For example, sit on a chair and extend your right leg in front of you. Loop a resistance band or old necktie around the sole of the foot and gently pull back on the ends of the band. You’ll feel a stretch in your right calf muscle. Use other basic stretches to lengthen your hip flexors, hamstrings and quads. Repeat stretches up to four times on each side.

Step 7

Participate in a Tai Chi class. Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese mind-body practice, promotes better balance by increasing leg strength, flexibility, joint range of motion and improving reflexes. Research appearing in the “New England Journal of Medicine” indicates that Tai Chi training can reduce balance impairments in patients with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Peter Wayne, research director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, claims Tai Chi can help a senior feel more grounded and improve his sense of where his body is in space, both of which are useful for preventing falls.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/132271-exercises-improve-balance-seniors/

Easy & Fun Activities for Seniors

seniors swimming

 

There are many easy and fun activities meant for helping seniors with dementia gain more control over their lives. All it takes is patience and interaction, for the sessions to be successful and yield results.

Seniors with dementia still retain and maintain a level of concentration which helps them to perform basic daily activities such as carrying out routine tasks, comprehending questions and interacting in conversations and activities. Activities if executed well, offer them a sense of responsibility and independence. These group tasks also arouse enthusiasm and a sense of achievement, especially when they feel they have been successful at a task.

This characteristic is predominantly displayed, while participating in group activities. More alert seniors feel purposeful, when requested to help and support other seniors who are facing difficulties performing a task. Much like a class monitor who has been appointed the task of keeping the class under control through fun activities.

Fun Activities for Seniors with Dementia
The first thing you need to realize is that people with dementia are not physically disabled. They are mentally slower but they are not ill. Which means that they feel everything around them and perhaps a lot more. We need to treat them with respect and compassion, and that is the first step towards helping them.

#1 – Help Them Enjoy Their Work
Almost all seniors with some type of dementia or the other enjoy doing activities related or similar to what they have always enjoyed and taken pleasure doing. For instance if someone always enjoyed cooking, the best thing to do is to let them do small chores in the kitchen. These activities could include small jobs such as tossing the salad, washing the vegetables, wiping the spoons, asking them if the food tastes perfect or if there are any more ingredients needed.

This would absolutely thrill them, as they would feel they are contributing to something and are being helpful. If suppose a senior always enjoyed politics, ask him to recite the daily political affairs in the state or country to the other seniors or family members. All family members must pay adequate attention while the seniors are saying something. Like children they tend to feel hurt and feel ignored if left unattended. Praise them for their efforts by saying things like,

“That was very good Adam, I really enjoyed today’s news. I want to hear the news tomorrow as well please!”

I love what you have painted John, it is really beautiful.”

If you read between the lines, you would realize that the entire objective it to help them stay alert, and keep them motivated. Help them feel good about themselves.

#2 – Reminiscence
Let them flip through old family photographs and ask them to tell more about those experiences and what all they remember doing there. Do not force them though. If they want to discuss it they will, otherwise some just prefer sitting in silence while they absorb the significance of the photos from their own past. This can also be a fun activity when a group of seniors are sitting together and one person discusses sad and funny stories from their past. It helps keep the memory sharp, especially while remembering faces and people related to them.

#3 – Music Therapy
When in solitude, put on their favorite music for them. Soothing music has proven to help calm down aggressive traits among seniors with dementia. It also helps reduce their fears of being harmed or abandoned. If it’s a peppy track, encourage them to dance, if they enjoy dancing.

#4 – Animal Therapy
Having a loyal pet like a dog can prove a blessing for seniors with dementia, the reason being that dogs make loyal companions. Dogs also have this peculiar knack of sensing distress in their master, therefore it has been observed that the dog will encourage physical activity in his master. Many seniors go out for long walks with their dogs, which provides crucial mental as well as physical exercise to them, which is essential for their overall well-being. If you cannot afford to have a pet for each individual, it would be nice to take the elderly patients, out for a visit to the zoo, and let them enjoy watching and speaking to the animals. Animals help calm these individuals. However, please keep them away from animals that induce fear and might scare them. These include snakes, other reptiles, octopus and large spiders etc.

#5 – Memory Games
Make them play kid games such as Crazy Eights, Chutes & Ladder, Monopoly, Carom Board, Old Maid, and Candyland, etc. They seem to be really indulgent and interactive while playing these games with one another. You need not have a large group; instead playing individually with them also works effectively. Play games that involve catching a balloon and then passing it forward by pushing it in the air. Ask them the meaning of quotations, such as “To be or not to be”, ask them what does that statement mean to them and where did it originate. You’d be surprised how smart they really are and how much they still remember. Ask them logical questions such as, “The opposite of North is South’, now ask them which city is in the north of the place they are living in, and which places fall to the south of their place.

#6 – Odd One Out
This game can be one of the most interesting as well as educational activities for senior citizens. The odd one out, can help keep them busy for hours if they really enjoy it. The worst thing that most seniors with dementia fear is, not having anything to do. It makes them feel lost and useless. It is our duty to not let them feel that way. Make them play a game where they have to separate all the similar things in one side and make categories of all the odd things. For example give them a box of coins, pebbles, candies, M&Ms, bottle lids. Now demonstrate how to play the game. All the coins go into one heap, while all the candies go to the heap consisting of candies alone, and so on and so forth. Make children join in with this fun, ask grandchildren to help sort out the heap with their grandparents.

All it takes is a little bit of effort and a lot of patience to help these seniors gain more control over their lives. Providing care for these individuals can be tough, but you have to stay calm and realize that they need your help more than they can express in words.

Art Therapy for Senior Citizens

elderly painting

 

Stimulating our seniors’ minds is one of the best ways to prevent dementia and improving their quality of life is art therapy.

The article below is beautifully written by an artist who started up their own art class for seniors and it is benefiting their community tremendously.

 

For more information on the article, click here.

 

Six steps to creating your own art therapy class. Even for the beginning art teacher.

Anyone who has put brush to paper knows the exhilaration of design, the pleasant calm of pleasing colors, the magical moment when images appear. Having painted all my life, I’ve known the joy and peace of being carried away by paint and brush. Now I find it’s not just art; it’s “art therapy”. This realization came when I began teaching watercolor painting to senior citizens through the Community Services department of my city’s Parks and Recreation Department some fifteen years ago. At first it seemed just a nice diversion for the seniors but it has transformed into an event most seniors will not miss for love, money, or doctor’s appointments. Most recently, I was approached by eight siblings who thanked me for saving their mother’s life. They said that before coming to paint with me, she had no interest in life; taking her medication, she ate and slept, nothing more. They were expecting a funeral soon. Then a friend brought her the center where I was teaching a watercolor class. Now she is angry if any of them should try to cut into her painting time. She may not be the next Grandma Moses, but how many of us are? I don’t expect my work to hang in the Louvers later, but it doesn’t stop me from expressing myself creatively with color.

Many of the senior citizens I have taught have decided to deepen their knowledge in the art field by taking drawing or additional painting classes at the city college. I take this as a complement. Most tell me they had no idea there was any ability there and now could not see themselves without art in their lives.

Do you have a desire to help people? Consider starting a similar class in your community.

The benefits to the elderly are many.

  • Improved eye-to-hand coordination
  • Improved concentration
  • Calming effect/lower blood pressure
  • Colors invigorate, cool and calm, enrich
  • Self esteem boost when friends and family see results
  • Confidence builder
  • Reason for leaving the house, interacting with people
  • Reason for engaging in life and enriching relationships

Do you believe Senior Citizens should have access to free government programs like this one? – Paid for by the City Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department ?

When the budgets get tight, the government has to cut programs and usually the elderly and the children suffer most. Should arts therapy programs be paid for by the government or should private organizations pick up the slack. Unfortunately in our area, the only private organizations offering this kind of therapy charge a price most seniors on a fixed income cannot afford. What is the solution? Do you have one?

When is it time to begin looking for Assisted Living?

 

landscape-1432843470-elderly-woman-with-daughter

Maybe you’ve noticed how your mom is not as active or social as she used to be. Perhaps dad has been forgetting to take his medication. Or maybe you opened your loved one’s refrigerator and found little to no food. Often, those you love may not realize they need more care than they can get at home. Or, they may know they need help but are struggling to accept it. Because of this, it often falls to family members to determine when a loved one is in need of assisted living help.

Here are five signs it may be time to consider an assisted living community:

1. Fear of falling or trouble walking. Fear of falling or trouble walking may limit activities and social engagements.
2. Changes in personal appearance. Seniors often have difficulty admitting they need help with grooming, dressing and basic hygiene.
3. Medical needs. When recovering from surgery or a heart attack or managing a condition like diabetes, small problems can quickly turn into larger health issues without the right medical attention.
4. Memory loss. Seniors with memory loss can overlook problems or dangers, forget to eat or take medication, or get lost.
5. Hidden caregiver costs. Many caregivers miss work or have less time for children or spouses when they care for a loved one, and don’t stop to realize the financial and emotional costs involved.
If you begin to see any of these signs, it’s important to determine the level of care your loved one needs and investigate what options are available. Assisted living offers social opportunities for seniors while also providing care and support for daily activities like bathing, dressing and medication reminders. The earlier you recognize the signs that additional help is becoming a necessity, the more comfortable the transition can be for your loved one.

Call us today at 407-630-0111 and let us help you do the research, the phone calls and setting up the tours.

Let us navigate you to a better tomorrow.