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3 Signs Your Aging Loved One Needs Extra Care

With the US population of adults age 65 and over set to outnumber those who are younger in the next two decades, chances are you have an aging loved one who may need care in the next few years. While providing care for someone who likely once cared for you is a rewarding experience, statistics show that it can also be highly demanding, stressful, and exhausting.

Caregiving is a high calling and while some family members take the responsibility fully upon themselves, studies show that sharing the care is actually the most beneficial situation for the caregiver and the aging adult. Oftentimes moving a loved one into an assisted living community can be the perfect solution for family members who cannot physically care for their loved one, and it also benefits the aging adult by providing services that their family cannot.

Here are three signs that it may be time to look for support for your aging loved one.

Injury

In the United States falls are actually the leading cause of death among those aged 65 and older. That may sound unlikely, but it is really what happens after the fall that causes this statistic to be the case. The injuries and surgeries that typically follow this type of event often lead to major lifestyle changes, such as trouble going up and down stairs, trouble walking or standing for extended periods of time, and problems with hand-eye coordination, which sometimes results in the loss of being able to drive.

Practicing fall prevention is the key to avoiding this unfortunate situation. Look for potential hazards in the home that may cause someone to take a tumble and talk to your loved one about them. The slippery shower, the stairs, and rugs or furniture can all lend a hand in causing a fall.

Illness

The likelihood of heart disease, stroke, and many other illnesses increases greatly in adults over the age of 65. This can be due to poor lifestyle choices and habits, but it also just comes with growing older. Being overweight or obese makes these odds go up even higher. Encourage your loved one to exercise daily, make healthy food choices, and to have an open conversation with their doctor about any supplements or vitamins they may need. If illness does befall your loved one, make sure you have help and support to care for them as they recover.

Cognitive Function

While physical injuries and illnesses are often straightforward and easy to identify, it is the breaking down of the brain that causes the most pain and heartache for families. Alzheimer’s and dementia-related issues are by far the fastest growing health issue in aging Americans today. The spectrum on which the brain decidedly starts to decline is a wide one, but it is heartbreaking and difficult to be the sole caregiver for someone diagnosed with any form of this disease.

Exercise, a balanced diet, an active social life, and keeping the brain engaged have all been proven to help in the fight against cognitive decline. However, if the aging adult in your life has already been diagnosed with cognitive decline, it may be time to look for a community that is prepared to help care for them.

Final Thoughts

While this topic is never an easy one to address, the sooner you have the conversation the better it will be for everyone involved. Keep in mind that keeping a respectful and loving attitude will go far in making these choices easier for you and your loved one and that maintaining independence is usually the most important priority to the aging population.

Seeking out help to care for someone can be a daunting task, and you aren’t meant to do it alone. The wide resources and experience of Nestvy are available to you and your family today.

What Services are Included in Senior Assisted Living?

Making the decision to move your aging loved one into an assisted living facility is not an easy one. Not all assisted living facilities are created equal, and it’s important that you know what services your loved one requires, how much they cost, and the different levels of care that are offered.

Seniors living in assisted living communities need help with daily living activities, but there is a wide range of services that assisted living facilities offer so we will cover the most common ones.

Living Space

All assisted living facilities offer private or shared living space for their residents. Shared rooms will have a lower monthly cost, while private condos or apartments will be the most expensive. A very common assisted living space scenario is a senior having their own private room with a bathroom in an apartment-style housing facility.

The dining room, exercise room, and all other common areas would be shared by the other residents. Higher end communities offer entire separate condos or apartments for each individual.

Meals

Most assisted living facilities offer seniors three cooked meals a day in a common dining area, but some communities will offer seniors their own kitchen in their private room if they wish to stay in and cook for themselves. The best assisted living facilities will offer restaurant-style menu choices and accommodate for food allergies or special diets.

Medical Treatment

Assisted living facilities are not skilled nursing facilities, meaning there are not typically RNs (registered nurses) or doctors available onsite. There are usually CNAs (certified nursing assistants) or orderlies who have been trained to help with personal care such as showering, toileting, and dressing. These employees cannot administer medication, perform wound care, or diagnose medical conditions.

However, the staff should be able to assess when medical help is needed or if there is an emergency. They can also manage medical records, remind patients to take their medications, and some offer pharmacy services. Certain communities will provide transportation to doctor’s appointments or have medically trained professionals visit the community.  

Social Activities

Most assisted living facilities offer a wide range of social activities that appeal to all stages of senior life, which is one of the reasons they are a wonderful choice when looking to place a senior. Activities can be both onsite and offsite. Onsite amenities may include gardening, a movie theater, religious services, beauty salons, game nights, exercise classes, a library, and much more. Offsite activities can include trips to the grocery store, movie theater, local senior center, casino, beach or park, gym, and many other places.  

Housekeeping and Security

Most assisted living facilities have 24/7 security in the way of patrolling guards, cameras in common areas, and locked doors on memory care wings. Laundry service once or twice a week is a common amenity, as well as weekly housekeeping visits. Emergency housekeeping should also be available.

Some assisted living facilities have different wings or areas with different levels of care available as seniors progress in their illness or as they age. This is helpful in that a resident wouldn’t have to move locations if their dementia worsens or they sustain an injury that doesn’t require skilled nursing. Memory and Alzheimer’s care units are usually more expensive as cognitive illness requires more attention than other aging illnesses.

To find an assisted living facility near you be sure to contact a senior placement agency. A senior care coordinator is well informed and knowledgeable on what services particular facilities can offer to your loved one. They can also help you with finding ways to pay for an assisted living facility, as well as finding the right fit for your particular situation.

3 Signs It’s Time to Look For Senior Care

As the 55+ population in America continues to grow and outnumber the generations coming after, the need for caregiving and placement is in high demand. With so many choices available to you, it can be hard to discern what information is truly in the best interest of your particular family situation. The decision to find help for your aging loved one can be one of the most difficult ones to make, and so here are a few signs to help you decide if the time is right for your family.

Illness or Injury

Sometimes having a health condition or sustaining an injury is a minor setback in an aging adult’s life, but other times it can be the catalyst for a change of lifestyle. According to the CDC, falling is the leading cause of injury and death for seniors. Breaking a bone, sustaining a head injury, or being immobile for a few months time while recovering from a fall can all lead to other more complicated problems that have the potential to require a new way of living.

When living with conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes, it is essential that the aging adult can maintain their proper medication regimen. If you notice trouble in any of these areas it may be time to start looking for outside assistance.

Cognitive Impairment

Physical illnesses and injuries can be easier to deal with because the symptoms are easily recognizable and often easily treated. When it comes to matters of the mind, however, it can be a very different story. Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are increasing at an astonishing rate, and though much energy and focus is being poured into the epidemic, there is still no cure and the symptoms can be incredibly debilitating. The signs are usually very subtle and hard to recognize at first. By the time family members or friends become aware that something is very wrong, the disease has typically progressed to a difficult stage.

Some of the signs of memory loss are confusion, not recognizing familiar faces or locations, repeating stories or events, putting items in the wrong places (like milk in the cabinet or the TV remote in the fridge), or new fears suddenly surfacing. Make sure to let your loved one’s doctor know if you notice one or more of these symptoms.

Change in Family or Financial Situation

Losing a spouse or significant other is a monumental experience at any age, but when it happens later in life it can be incredibly hard to recover. Now more than ever Americans are not prepared for retirement or for what should happen if one or both adults should fall ill or have to stop working. Sometimes it’s in the best financial and social interest of the aging adult to search out a retirement community, assisted living apartment, or residential care unit. Most aging adults are resistant to a change of residence or lifestyle, but having an open dialogue and communicating with one another is essential to making any transition go smoothly.

Looking for the right place for your aging loved one can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Nestvy’s excellent placement services and resources are available to help you and your family during this time. Our mission is to help families like yours navigate through all of the changes that come with aging. Let us help you help the ones you love.

How Nestvy Can Help You Find A Senior Care Community

Anything to do with your home and your health can sometimes be an overwhelming, stressful task—but it shouldn’t have to be.

At Nestvy, our mission is to help families like yours navigate all of the changes that come with aging. Best of all, our services are always completely free of charge for you and your loved ones!

If you’re looking for senior care options for yourself or a loved one, find out how Nestvy can not only simplify, but take the stress out of the entire process.

The Nestvy Process

Choosing a residence while caring for an elderly person can be difficult and overwhelming—which is why Nestvy is here to do the heavy lifting for you. Throughout the entire process, we’re on hand to help until you find the ideal care.

As we work to find the perfect home for you or your loved one, our process requires three simple steps: your care assessment, your care options summary and, finally, visiting care providers.

Your Care Assessment

If you’re looking for care options for a loved one, you will first need to fill out our care form questionnaire in order to give our team some initial information about your senior. Then, either by phone or an appointment in person, our care coordinator will then perform a more comprehensive care assessment to identify your care needs.

The initial questionnaire covers the following:

  • Senior’s current location
  • Type of living/care desired
  • Mobility
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Desired location
  • Memory function
  • Eating
  • Toileting

In addition to the items on the questionnaire, our care coordinator will talk to your family about any other preferences your senior may have. This can include anything from types of food available to the language of the care staff. From there, we’ll be in touch with your family by the next day with options!

By providing an answer to as many of these questions as possible, we will then be able to provide senior living options tailored to your senior’s care needs and living preferences. Our care coordinators are always available to help you answer these questions with an in-person assessment, as well!

Explore Your Care Options

Your care is important to us, which is why we work hard to match you with a community that meets all of your needs and preferences. Once we have gone through the senior care assessment, our team will explore all of your care options and present you with a summary for your review. This summary, created by our operations consultant, will include two to three senior living options based on your budget, preferred location and the services your senior will require.

Depending on the senior’s needs, we provide a variety of options that range from large, premium facilities to smaller, assisted living communities. Our wide range of placement options include:

  • Assisted living
  • Independent living
  • Memory care
  • Retirement communities
  • Residential care homes
  • Respite services hospice care
  • Skilled nursing home

After reviewing the options, you can either choose a few you’re interested in visiting, or we will revise your matches and present you with a new list to choose from until you find the one that’s best for you.  

Visit With Care Providers

After deciding which options excite you most, our team will be on hand to help arrange visits with communities and/or caregivers of your choice. And best of all, our services are at no cost to you!

From start to finish, our care coordinators will be on hand to assist you until you find your new home, and the community you choose covers the cost of our services, so your family never has to pay a dime to work with us.

At Nestvy, our hands-on care coordinators value the human touch, personally guiding you and your family to a safe, caring community for you or your loved one to call home. For more information, you can contact us, visit our website or get started today for free!

4 Important Points To Discuss With Your Parent To Prepare For Senior Care

To help a parent or loved one begin a healthy, fulfilling transition into old age, it’s best if the planning process happens gradually and with plenty of time to prepare. However, the process doesn’t need to be as difficult as you might think!

If you and your loved one are able to start the conversation early, you can help ensure a smooth transition when the time comes to hire a caregiver or move them to a long-term care facility. This kind of discussion can sometimes be met with contempt, so keep a few things in mind when approaching the subject: 

  • Be empathetic, but avoid too much sympathy: Nothing feels worse to a parent than a child feeling “sorry” for them.
  • Be respectful and truly listen: What you think they need and what they actually want could be very different, so it’s important to keep an open mind.
  • Continue the conversation: This isn’t a one-and-done topic; as your loved one gets older, things could change either with their mental or physical health.  

If you think you might be ready for this conversation or are simply looking for more information on preparing your loved one for senior care, let’s take a look at some of the key topics you may want to discuss.

Identifying ideal senior care options

As soon as you begin to research long-term care for your parent, you’ll be inundated with possible solutions: assisted living, independent living, memory care, retirement communities, residential care homes, 24-hour nursing care and more. 

However, every patient is different, so there are also a variety of in-home care services to consider as well, which include medication reminders, light housekeeping, meal prep and groceries, personal hygiene, errands, shopping, transportation and more. If your loved one does require memory care, it is important to remember that this type of patient does demand different considerations, as they tend to have more specific needs. 

As your parents continue to age, you can’t always predict what will happen or conditions that may develop—which makes it all the more important to discuss different scenarios in order to understand what their preferences would be. 

Here are some examples of questions you might ask: 

  • At what point would they consider moving into a long-term care facility? 
  • What options are they more open to exploring than others? 
  • If they move into a facility that can’t provide the required level of care they’d need after a certain point, where would they like to move after that? 
  • How would they prefer to handle their assets (i.e. car, home, etc.)?

Once you have a better idea of the care options they’d like to explore or are willing to consider, you can make more informed choices moving forward. It also might be helpful to bring in trusted family friends or professionals to help with the discussion. A long-time family doctor, long-term neighbor or other beloved companions who have experienced this could be beneficial during these conversations.

Exploring long-term care insurance

It’s wise to help your parent research long-term care insurance options while they’re in their fifties and sixties, before the need for it becomes more evident. Monthly premiums for this type of insurance increase as the insured member grows older, and coverage options can lessen depending on their health. 

Unlike 15-20 years ago, there are many long-term care insurance options available to seniors today. However, the two most common types of care insurance for seniors include a traditional plan and a newly popular policy known as a “hybrid” plan. 

  • Traditional: This policy offers the ability to customize your insurance to match your financial and family situation. With traditional long­-term care policies, you choose your benefit amount, benefit period, elimination period and whether you want to include extras such as inflation protection. 
  • Hybrid: This policy involves “linking” your long-term care benefits to additional insurance benefits. Many hybrid policies provide the ability to elect your long-term care insurance benefits—monthly benefit, benefit period and inflation protection—at the outset. However, these policies usually include a one-time premium up-front.

When considering the purchase of a long­-term care policy, if you’re still unsure of which option is the best fit, it may be helpful get quotes and compare your options in order to fully understand the pros and cons of each. 

Financial planning

It should come as no surprise that quality care for aging seniors can be costly, which is why it’s important to discuss options that best fit your loved one and your budget sooner rather than later. By outlining a viable financial plan ahead of time, you can start to narrow down possibilities or budget accordingly. 

Also, it’s important to remember when planning whether health insurance or Medicare will cover part of their care. Be sure to discuss this with your parent’s doctor and insurance company to make sure they’re getting the most out of their plan. 

Preparing legal documents  

The last thing you would want to have to scramble for is legal documents. For example, it’s important to make sure your loved ones have an updated will, as it will be their legal voice that dictates exactly what will happen with their affairs. If they haven’t done so already, your loved ones will also need to select an appropriate power of attorney, who will make legal and medical decisions on their behalf if necessary. At the very least, have these five documents prepared:

  • A will
  • A durable power of attorney for healthcare
  • A durable power of attorney for finances
  • A medical directive
  • A revocable living trust

If you don’t feel up to the task, don’t worry. A lawyer can help you follow the appropriate protocol to prepare these properly. All you have to do is make sure your parent keeps all documents and proof of long-term care insurance in a safe place that is accessible to both you and them. It’s also wise to keep your own copies in the case of an emergency. 

Talking through each of these points will make the transition much easier for everyone involved. If the time has come to search for long-term senior care placement, we can help! Nestvy offers completely free resources to ensure your loved one receives the care they need most. 

6 Conversations to Have When Visiting a Senior Care Facility

There are many options for senior assisted care for your parent or loved one, and finding the perfect fit isn’t always the easiest task. However, there are a wide variety of resources available that you can use to help make the process easier for both you and your loved one.  

Whether you’re looking into senior assisted care facilities or are simply interested in learning more, we’ve developed a handful of conversations you should expect have when the time comes to begin touring senior care options.  

Additional Costs for More Difficult Care

The basic costs for most long-term care facilities include just about everything your parent or loved one will need to live comfortably, which includes their room, meals, access to daily activities, assistance with personal care and more. 

However, if they have a condition that requires around-the-clock medical attention or are showing early signs of requiring something such as memory care, it’s likely there will be additional costs for care. This can lead to your next question: What level of care does your loved one require?

The Level Of Care that They Can Provide

It’s not uncommon for residents to be asked to leave if a facility decides they’re unable to provide them adequate care, and you’ll want to know exactly where that threshold lies. If your loved one enters into the facility with a condition that worsens, are they still equipped to care for them? If not, you’ll want to make sure to know exactly how the facility will handle it and if they’ll help you establish a backup plan. 

It’s also a good idea to bring documentation of your loved one’s medical history to ask about how specific illnesses will be handled if they worsen, as some facilities are better able to handle certain conditions than others. 

Accepted Payment Methods

There are many ins and outs to discuss in terms of what Medicaid and Medicare will and will not cover. Once you know what type of insurance you’re working with, there are a few key points you may also want to discuss. For example, does the facility accept long-term care insurance, Medicaid or Veteran’s Benefits to help cover costs? Are there payment plan options available? 

Depending on what other assets your family has at your disposal, you may need a policy that would pay for the total cost of long-term care or just one that would pay enough to help co-insure the risk. While there are a variety of options to work with, the most important thing you can do is to make sure you have all the necessary financial information at your disposal before making a decision.

Individualized Care Plans

Every resident has different physical, emotional and medical needs, which can often be determined by a variety of factors such as mental health or level of mobility. 

Since no two residents are the same, it’s important to identify how a facility’s care plans are developed and implemented. In order to determine if the facility is equipped to handle your loved one’s needs, you may want to ask yourself what requirements they have. For example, does your loved one need timed medication reminders or require a special diet? Is he or she a fall risk which demands particular precautions? 

While these are only a few of the specifications your loved one might require, it’s important to identify them in order to make sure the facility can work with you and your loved one on specific areas of treatment before moving forward. 

At Nestvy, we ask our clients to first fill out a care form questionnaire in order to determine their individual needs! Looking at some of these questions may help you come up with a list for your loved one, too.

Appointment Logistics

Knowing the logistics here can help save you some peace of mind later on. Whether your loved one requires regular doctor’s visits or you just want to be proactive, you will want to ask questions about the doctors and medical care professionals they have on staff. 

Some questions you might ask include:

  • Which hospital do they primarily work with? 
  • Does the facility take care of scheduling appointments, or is that something you’ll need to handle? 
  • If they do, is there someone on staff who can transport your loved one to and from the appointment? 
  • Is the facility close to their primary care doctor? 
  • Does the facility work with doctors at your loved one’s preferred hospital? 

While we all wish we could be there to help handle our loved one’s medical needs, it’s not always an option. Whether you live far away or you just aren’t equipped to handle their needs, sometimes finding professional help for your loved one is the best option. 

Licensing & Inspections

This is perhaps the most qualitative evidence available for you to make an informed decision. Assisted living facilities are generally regulated at the state level, so licensing requirements and inspections will often vary from state to state. In California, for example, there are several public and private entities that are involved in this process. The California Department of Social Services is in charge of ensuring senior care facilities comply with any state laws or regulations and keeps a record of those that have been cited with violations. They also have resources available to residents and their families if you’re looking for additional information outside of the conversation with the facility director. 

Use this as a guide when you’re touring senior care facilities, but don’t be afraid to do additional outside research as well before or after a visit. Online reviews, a reference from a friend or acquaintance and even free resources like Nestvy can aid in the proper placement of your aging parent or loved one.