Don’t Let the Covid-19 Pandemic Delay Your Move to Senior Living

Don’t Let the Covid-19 Pandemic Delay Your Move to Senior Living

Don’t Let the Covid-19 Pandemic Delay Your Move to Senior Living

With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to hold a heavy grip on America, now might not seem like the best time to consider a move to senior living. HOWEVER, when you weigh the risks and benefits of moving to a senior living community versus waiting out the pandemic at home, for many individuals, it still makes more sense on balance to start exploring the option of moving.

There are several reasons why joining a senior living community sooner than later might be the best choice for you or an older loved one.

Avoiding Isolation

Older adults who live alone are vulnerable to loneliness and isolation putting them at increased risk of a wide range of physical, emotional, and mental health issues. In fact, according to the National Institute on Aging, research has shown that social isolation and loneliness are linked to higher risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death among older adults. Of course, when stay-at-home orders are put in place for weeks or months at a time, older adults’ sense of loneliness is greatly compounded.

In contrast, older adults who choose to live at communities like The Classic, can stay engaged and never have to experience isolation because of the built-in community of residents and staff. A wide variety of activities and amenities are available that can build up and maintain the body, mind, and spirit, all while adhering to all health guidelines and directives.

Strict Health Protocols

Quality senior communities have long since implemented strict protocols in response to the pandemic in order to keep their residents healthy. These measures include: requiring appropriate social distancing, encouraging regular hand washing, limiting or restricting visitations, postponing or modifying group activities, enhancing already strict cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and requiring sick staff members to stay home.

Regular Health Monitoring

Residents at senior living communities like The Classic, are being regularly screened for symptoms of coronavirus so any cases can be caught early to prevent spread to others. Routine health monitoring doesn’t begin or end with Covid-19. Even in “normal” times, nursing and care staff always keep a close eye on the health status of residents, especially those with pre-existing conditions to ensure they’re getting the appropriate treatments and level of care. In addition, medications are kept on hand, so residents don’t have to drive to the pharmacy to get them and staff can assist residents in managing them properly.

Meals and Snacks Provided

One of the biggest challenges facing the general population during the Covid-19 crisis is ensuring that nutritious foods and other essentials are available in sufficient quantities. For many people, that means making regular forays to the grocery store or bulk retail club risking exposure (or exposing others) to the virus on each trip. But for residents of senior living communities, there’s no need to leave home to stock up on food because meals and snacks are always available.

The bottom line is that the Covid-19 pandemic has not stopped many individuals from joining us at The Classic in the past several months and enjoying a healthy, safe, and awesome lifestyle.

Feel free to contact us for a tour and learn more about our most up-to-date policies related to apartment availability, family visits, activities, dining, and much more.

How To Keep Your Senior Loved One’s Morale Upbeat During Covid-19

How To Keep Your Senior Loved One’s Morale Upbeat During Covid-19

How To Keep Your Senior Loved One’s Morale Upbeat During Covid-19

With the Covid-19 pandemic now entering its seventh month, are you having ongoing concerns about the morale of your senior loved one? While The Classic continues to offer patio visits for interaction with families and friends, you may be wondering what are some other methodologies you can explore that will creatively communicate with our residents.

The following information contains some ideas on how you can continue to communicate and show your loved one you are there in spirit and still care.

  • Send snail mail

Handwritten cards and letters are more special than ever, perhaps because electronic communication is increasingly supplanting them. Recipients can display the cards and re-read correspondence to remind themselves that you care.

  • Share a virtual meal

Plan a long-distance date. Order what your loved one likes and pay for it via a meal delivery service and make sure the meal gets there at the appropriate time. Then call to talk during the meal, making sure your loved one knows how to use the speakerphone feature on his/her cellphone or landline phone.

  • Use other delivery services

You know the snacks your loved one likes. Since you can’t bring a few packages of treats during an apartment visit, arrange for a bulk delivery. For those in independent or assisted living who still like to cook, you can get grocery lists and do the shopping for them or use a shopping service. When dropping off your items, be sure to label the boxes or bags in a prominent location and include the resident’s name and room number.

  • Create your own Facebook book club

If your kids are at an age where they love being read to, make sure Grandma or Grandpa has some kids’ books they can read aloud. If they don’t, order some online, using the video-calling feature on their digital device. Among the most popular video calling apps are Apple’s Facetime. Please note, this app only works with iPhones, iPads, and Macintosh computers. Other options include: Skype, Amazon Alexa, Facebook Messenger, Google Duo, and IMO. Viber and WhatsApp also work on Google Android, Microsoft Windows and other devices.

Be sure to coordinate so that everyone is on the same platform. This way, grandkids of different siblings can be on the same story time call.

Older kids can make the call more like adults’ book clubs. Both the grandparent and grandchild can read a couple of chapters of the same book and talk about their impressions or what they learned.

Watching the same TV shows together, such as a documentary on Netflix or Amazon Prime, can also spark discussions that spans generations.

And if reading a book or watching a documentary isn’t an option, perhaps because of your loved one’s memory loss, help the kids in a sing-along. Singing old, familiar songs, “Happy Birthday,” or classic hymns of they’re religious, can bring back memories and is a skill that often remains even if speech is difficult.

  • Order a jigsaw puzzle of your family

Mail order companies specialize in custom puzzles from photographs or perhaps your child’s artwork. If your loved one is a puzzle lover, you can have a puzzle delivered that contains 2,000 or more pieces. But also available are those with as few as 15 pieces, which might work well for people with dementia or less dexterity. While you’re at it, order a coffee mug with a favorite family photo on it.

  • Play a board game

Think about the games your family loved growing up, such as Clue, Monopoly, Life, Scrabble, or Sorry, or if you have young kids, children’s classics such as Candyland or Chutes & Ladders. Familiarity with the rules is important.

Backgammon, bingo, and chess also will work if you’ve played those in the past and both sides know the lingo of the game. Make sure identical game boards are set up at your house and your loved one’s home You and your family then can play the game over the telephone, talking about how the dice landed and what moves your game piece is making. A cellphone set on speaker will work well for this because games sometimes take hours. A video call also will add dimension but isn’t necessary if everyone commits to narrating their actions.

  • Assemble a hobby box

Since The Classic has suspended many of the group activities, your loved ones have a lot more free time on their hands.

This is the time to find a nice box at a craft store, perhaps decorate it and fill it with items that your loved one can come back to again and again. Put in items that will work with their existing hobbies or ask what they’ve always wanted to try. Think crossword puzzle books for those who like a brain challenge, paints, and suitable paper for those who have been artistic in the craft room, squishy balls and miniature Slinkys for other toys for those with a silly streak, yarn and hooks for crocheters.

Why Senior Living is an Excellent Option for Senior’s Safety and Happiness

Why Senior Living is an Excellent Option for Senior’s Safety and Happiness

Why Senior Living is an Excellent Option for Senior’s Safety and Happiness

Today’s senior living communities are very different from those of the past and they should not be confused with nursing homes. They typically are independent living, age-restricted residences for those who want to downsize and live a more maintenance–free lifestyle and may also offer additional assisted living services if needed. Many times, older adults move to these communities when their spouses pass away, when they are recently retired, when their family home seems too large to manage, or are simply planning for a new chapter in their life.

Consider the following benefits to understand how a move to senior living could help you happy and healthy as you age.

Senior Social Interaction

Loneliness can lead to depression, high blood pressure, and early mortality in seniors according to research from the University of Chicago. Even if an elderly person is in good health, aging alone by one’s self can be emotionally detrimental. During the coronavirus pandemic, planned interaction is more important than ever. Seniors aging at home can be having very limited access to family and friends or be unable to visit local senior centers, which can lead to increased isolation. Independent and assisted living communities like The Classic at Hillcrest Greens have worked very hard to adapt to social distancing while creating new activities for seniors to stay engaged and safe. Happy hours, communal art classes, and other large-group activities are on hold, but the happiness of elderly residents is still a top priority.

Intellectual Stimulation

Assisted and independent living communities offer opportunities for lifetime learning. Even as communities practice social distancing, many residents can have access to having books delivered and can always subscribe to online courses. Other options include “brain training” resources and brain games for seniors that my lower the risk of long-term cognitive decline.

Senior Safety

Keeping seniors healthy and safe is a priority for independent and assisted living communities.

Senior living minimizes the risks of falls

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in seniors 65 and older, according to the CDC. Independent and assisted living communities are designed for accessibility and mobility, with ramps, flat thresholds, and hallway hand railings. Raised toilets, specially designed walk-in showers and grab bars in bathrooms also reduce the risk of falls.

Security is always available

Elderly people are often targets for break-ins and scams. Senior living communities have security measures and alarm systems in place to provide peace of mind.

Senior living communities are prepared for disaster

Elderly people aging in their own home are responsible for checking smoke detectors, installing carbon monoxide alarms, and replacing fire extinguishers. In the event of an emergency like a tornado, earthquake, or fire they might have to find safety on their own. Assisted and independent living communities have disaster plans and staff are prepared to help seniors in case of an emergency.

On-call staff provide peace of mind in medical emergencies

Rooms in independent and assisted living communities have medical alert systems in place to notify staff in case of a fall or injury. This means seniors don’t have to worry about struggling to contact help or waiting to be found after a medical emergency.

Fitness and Physical Activities for Seniors

Seniors who are physically active tend to live longer. Exercise classes offer the opportunity for physical fitness. Even as communities practice social distancing, activities directors have come up with ways to keep seniors active, like hallway exercise classes, and in-room chair yoga.

Chef-prepared, nutritious meals

Seniors living alone may find it difficult to adjust to cooking for one, and it may be challenging for family caregivers to ensure their loved one is getting adequate nutrition. In assisted living, residents are served up to three meals a day, with attention to special dietary needs for people with diabetes and food allergies.

Maintenance-free lifestyle

Home maintenance can be both physically difficult and emotionally stressful. A water leak, broken ramp, or downed tree can make a senior’s home inaccessible. Outsourcing lawn care, snow removal, and minor house repairs can also be expensive. If your loved one enjoys yard work or tinkering, look for a community that allows them to pursue that passion.

Help with activities of daily living

Almost 80% of help with activities of daily living (ADLs) www.theclassichg.com/assessing-your-loved-ones-ability-to-complete-activities-of-daily-living/ comes from unpaid family caregivers, according to an AARP study of caregiving in the U.S. Minor assistance with dressing, bathing, and daily grooming provided by senior living can help keep aging adults feeling independent longer. Plus, less reliance on friends and family members for daily help leads to more fun, quality time with loved ones.

No more boredom

After retirement, seniors may be overwhelmed by free time. These extra hours can be used to pursue passions or pick up new hobbies. Many independent and assisted living communities offer activities that appeal to all walks of life. Art classes, cooking lessons, and community service projects are all ways to kindle new interests, while lending libraries and movie nights provide classic entertainment all in one place.

Stress-free lifestyle

Rent at independent and assisted living communities is generally all-inclusive. That means seniors don’t have to worry about housekeeping, laundry, or chores. Transportation is also available, so there’s no stress about finding rides to appointments if there isn’t health care on-site. Twenty-four-hour on-call staff members provide peace of mind in case of medical emergencies like falls or maintenance emergencies like plumbing leaks. Currently, senior living communities are focusing on minimizing coronavirus-related stress in seniors as well. www.theclassichg.com/moving-to-the-classic-during-covid-19/.

Learn more abut independent or assisted living

If your aging loved one would enjoy the lifestyle benefits of independent or assisted living, feel free to reach out to The Classic at Hillcrest Greens at www.theclassichg.com/contact-us/.

Moving to The Classic During Covid-19

Moving to The Classic During Covid-19

Moving to The Classic During Covid-19

Life during a global pandemic isn’t easy. Many of the things we used to do have been canceled or modified. We’re learning, adapting, and growing as we carry on in the safest, healthiest ways we can. Ideally, we’re becoming stronger as individuals, communities, and businesses because of what we’re going through.

Despite the pandemic, life still goes on. We all age, and our wants and needs change as we do. Even with everything going on, locally, nationally, and in the world, The Classic continues to thrive. Our senior living community remains a fantastic option for older adults looking for a carefree life or receive a bit of additional care if needed. Our missions continues in caring for older adults and providing an unmatched senior living experience to meet our resident’s physical, social, and spiritual needs through high-quality housing and services.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has changed procedures and daily activities, we are as prepared as ever to implement and carry out safe practices to keep our residents safe, while still offering the highest quality senior living experience.

If you or a loved one have considered moving to a senior community in the near future, the Covid-19 pandemic does not mean you need to change or delay those plans. While things may look a bit different, we’re still here for you.

Coronavirus doesn’t change the fact that about 10,000 Americans are turning age 65 every day and by 2030, all baby boomers will be 65 or older.

Regardless of where you are in your journey, from touring all the way to making a move, we’re ready to help during each step to make sure you’re comfortable in your new life.

You may still connect with us and come for a tour

This is the best way to get all your questions answered! Whether you prefer a phone call, email, video call, or an in-person visit to speak with us, we are happy to get you the introductory information you need and arrange for a tour.

What’s different?

If you arrange for an onsite tour, as with all interactions on our campus during this time, anyone on site is required to wear a face mask, main social distancing of at least six feet, and practice regular, vigilant hand hygiene by washing with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer. We ask that no more than three additional persons come with you for the tour to keep group sizes small.

Yes…you may still join our wait list.

While we currently have immediate openings and can move in right now, joining our wait list is still a wise decision for your future. Our practices in this regard remain the same as always when a desired unit become available, we contact interested individuals based on the order in which they joined our wait list. You may say, “I’m not ready yet” as often as you need, and we’ll be sure to call you in the same order the next time.

Whenever possible, we encourage you to work with our Community Relations Director well in advance of being ready to move or needing the care, so the control is in your hands. It’s never ideal to find yourself in a pinch, needing to move quickly without having made prior arrangements. Do your homework ahead of time. Perhaps you even have some extra time on your hands as you stay home during the pandemic. Get a head start by checking out the information on our website and contact us to get started.

What’s different?

Nothing really. Our wait list procedure remains the same as always.

Yes…you may still move in.

That’s right. Older adults still want and need senior living communities and we’re still ready to provide that, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. After you’ve gotten your questions answered, decided on the level of care and unit that’s right for you, joined our waiting list, and selected your new home, we’ll work together on a move-in plan that’s right for you while adhering to all guidelines to keep you healthy.

What’s different?

During the move, use of a professional moving company is recommended but isn’t mandatory. We ask that you coordinate a move-in date and time with us that will allow the moving company or yourself/family members/friends to bring your furniture and personal items to our facility. Our staff will be responsible for physically moving your items from the truck and/or trailer to your apartment. Additionally, we can allow one or two trusted loved ones to come onsite during your move-in day to help with your move and help unpack. As with any other visitors and all our staff members, those helping you with your move will need to check in at our Concierge desk to have his/her temperature taken, and attest that they have no coronavirus symptoms.

Upon moving in, you will be asked to self-quarantine by staying in your apartment for 14 days before mixing and mingling with our other residents. Don’t worry, any services included in your new home will still come to your door, like meals, activities, mail, and more. Once the 14-day quarantine period is over, you are welcome to move about the entire community as long as you are masked.

Yes…you may still enjoy leisurely living with the care you need.

At The Classic, our community is stronger than ever, taking seriously our responsibility to keep ourselves and our residents and staff members healthy.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Classic residents at all levels continue to enjoy daily recreational programming, personalized care, nourishing meals, and comfortable living spaces and common areas.

What’s different?

While we are not gathering in large groups to engage in special events, activities, meals, or outings, we’ve carefully implemented well-planned, socially distanced activities along with specially delivered treats and hallway fun. Visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheClassicHillcrestGreens/ for an up-to-date feed of all our current happenings that are still going on safely during Covid-19. As we carefully plan for the gradual reintroduction of limited events, updates will be shared on social media and our website, so feel free to check often.

Residents and staff continue to main social distancing and wear masks when outside their apartment. In addition, we’ve long since implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures to maintain the utmost cleanliness and health for all.

Yes…you may still engage socially in a safe way.

Social interaction is an important component of holistic wellness, and we fully support engagement with loved ones and peers.

What’s Different?

All residents and staff at The Classic must wear a mask when in common areas, and we continue daily conversations and check-ins to help keep connections strong. In certain situations, group gatherings are permitted, but limited to no more than 10 individuals at a time, and these gatherings take place in locations that may accommodate proper distancing of six feet or more.

Visitors to our community may drop off groceries or other essentials in our main entrance entryway. Virtual video calls or scheduled “patio visits” can be scheduled by calling our Concierge desk between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. At this time, in-person visits are limited to circumstances relating to end-of-life.

We know these times are unprecedented and difficult and there’s a lot of uncertainty. At The Classic, we strive to make the most out of every day, while maintaining our commitment to the safety of our residents and staff.

Feel free to contact us for our most up-to-date policies related to visits, activities, dining, and more as things can change frequently during the pandemic.

It’s still possible to live a healthy, safe, and awesome lifestyle at a senior living community like The Classic. We look forward to helping you do just that as you begin your next adventure.

Worried About a Move to Senior Living? Don’t Be!

Worried About a Move to Senior Living? Don’t Be!

Worried About a Move to Senior Living? Don’t Be!

The vast majority of our society’s fears about senior living communities are inaccurate. Over the past decade, baby boomers have reinvented what senior living really means. Today there are a wide range of state-of-the-art senior living communities, from totally independent living to assisted living for those who need day-to-day help.

These options all aim to provide seniors with a lifestyle tailored to their individual interests and needs, while also offering the necessary care to remain mentally, physically, and socially healthy.

If you, a parent, or a senior loved are worried about making a move to senior living, the following information may help allay some of those fears.

  1. “I’ll be bored.”

With the activities and amenities offered by today’s senior living communities, there’s no time to be bored. Senior housing has evolved to offer everything from field trips and outdoor excursions to fitness and personal enrichment classes.

  1. “I’ll drain my finances.”

Yes, senior living can seem financially daunting, but if you’re already thinking about how to afford the care, you’re ahead of the curve. With some financial planning and maybe a little help from Social Security or VA benefits senior living communities just might cost less than staying at home.

  1. “I’m afraid I won’t receive the best care for me.”

There’s far more to senior living than the stereotype of adult children dropping off their parents with random strangers. When it’s time to move to senior living, the process of decision-making is one that should involve the entire family and your senior loved one should be just as comfortable with their new home as you are moving them there. Caregivers should maintain regular contact with senior loved ones, particularly in the weeks after the first move.

  1. “I will get old and sick faster.”

Whether you’re old or young, it’s being alone or isolated that leads to anxiety and depression, while the social contact a senior living community provides is key to better health and quality of life. If a senior loved one is already ill, with Alzheimer’s disease for example, memory care offers daily stimulation, customized care and planned activities, all of which can actually slow down the progress of an illness or even improve behavior and health.

  1. “I will lose my independence.”

While some seniors fear that senior living is equal to a loss of independence, the truth is in fact much the opposite. If you choose assisted living, you’ll have help with cleaning, cooking, and other chores that only become more difficult over time. What senior living offers is greater freedom with the precious time you do have. To make that time happy and rewarding, communities provide ample opportunity for social activities on-site as well as transportation around the area when you need it.

  1. “I won’t be able to control my daily activities or life.”

Moving to a new residence and letting go of long-held habits of daily life these are often realities of getting older, but they can be difficult and require a major adjustment. Take your loved one’s concerns seriously and don’t minimize their feelings. The fact is, assisted living can be a necessary and freeing step for both seniors and their families. If it is already too difficult for a senior to care for herself independently, or for caregivers to provide the necessary help, then assisted living may be a good option. The emphasis is on safety and security, but also independence and privacy, enabling each resident to have the care they need without compromising individual dignity.

  1. “People will forget about me.”

It’s natural to worry about being alone, especially if you define yourself by those relationships you value. However, moving into senior living doesn’t mean you’ll lose those relationships. In fact, you just might value them even more. At the same time, a senior community provides new venues for social contact, not to mention onsite help when there’s an emergency.

When Parents Resist Moving to Senior Living

When Parents Resist Moving to Senior Living

When Parents Resist Moving to Senior Living

Your elderly parents say they won’t move out of the home they have lived in for decades.

It’s a common, exhausting scenario. You see signs that your aging parent(s) need help, but they refuse it. They insist that they’re fine on their own, but the evidence and your intuition tell you that’s not true. Perhaps one or both of your parents’ health has taken a turn for the worse. Or, maybe after months or years of being a caregiver, you’re experiencing burnout and see your own health and relationships deteriorating.

Yet, having the conversation and ultimately moving elderly parents to assisted living, or another form of senior living, is probably one of the hardest decisions an adult child will ever have to make. Many seniors unrealistically believe they can take care of themselves for the rest of their lives. That’s why family members can be instrumental in identifying problems and making changes to help their loved ones.

Reasons We Feel Guilty

Even when you know relocating your parents to a senior living community is the right thing to do for their safety and health, guilty feelings may arise.

No matter our age, the role reversal is uncomfortable

For many adult children, their desire is to have their parents remain decision-makers. They often become upset when they have to take over those roles and feel guilty about the role reversal.

The feeling of failed caregiving efforts

For some adult children, the act of moving loved ones into assisted living loudly declares that they can’t handle taking care of their parents. The paradox is that children want nothing more than to ease their parents’ pain and suffering even temporarily sacrificing their own comfort to improve the quality of their parents’ lives.

Not delivering on the promise of never putting your parent in a nursing home

While in the past, you may have made the promise to your parent of never putting them in a eldercare setting, decisions must be made based on what’s best for the parent at the given time. Oftentimes, having a parent move to senior living can be the most loving act a child can do because it can greatly improve the quality of the parent’s life from a medical and social perspective. Parents often thrive in a senior living environment, which may surprise some adult children.

Knowing that we’re asking a lot from our parents

Change is hard for everyone, and a move to assisted living or long-term care is a big change. Suddenly, you’re asking your parents to form new acquaintances, trust professional caregivers, navigate unfamiliar schedules, and acclimate to new environments.

Make It Your Problem…Not Theirs

While a large percentage of adult children fully realize that “earlier is better than later” when it comes to discussing a move to assisted living, many still find themselves putting it off. The harsh reality is that by doing so, delays can often bring about a needless crisis situation, which can result in caregiver guilt and added stress. If you have the discussion early and often, your loved one will be better prepared for the next steps.

As for what to say? Try to make it your problem, instead of your parents’ problem. Clearly express your concern by saying something like, “Mom, I’m concerned about you. It makes me worried to see you like this.” Nine out of ten parents don’t want to burden their children, and will often respond to this sort of honest communication. If you make clear to your loved one that you’re focused on doing what’s best for both of you, it can be easier for them to accept change.

Three Ways to Cope with Guilt

Whether the process goes smoothly or if there are bumps along the way, children often have guilty feelings about moving elderly parents to assisted living or long-term care.

Here are three ways to cope:

1 – Focus on the small victories

Did your parent enjoy a meal or activity in their new home? Do you sleep better knowing they’re less likely to fall in their new surroundings? When guilt creeps in, remind yourself of the benefits of their new home. “Small victories” include excellent palliative care, creating meaningful activities even keeping our parents together as long as possible.

2 – Accept some uncertainty

Being put in the position to make critical arrangements for others is often hugely stressful. When the task concerns relocating your parents to an assisted living community or nursing home a decision with enormous financial and lifestyle consequences the anxiety and second-guessing can be even higher.

3 – Give it time

As with any change, there will be an adjustment period for children and for their aging parents. It will likely take time for your parents’ relocation to senior living to bear fruit. Strike up a conversation with family members visiting their loved ones and ask them how they dealt with the change. Enjoy meaningful moments with your loved one, and restorative time doing what you like to do, during this transition time.

Assessing Your Loved One’s Ability to Complete Activities of Daily Living

Assessing Your Loved One’s Ability to Complete Activities of Daily Living

Assessing Your Loved One’s Ability to Complete Activities of Daily Living

If you recently accompanied your parent to their annual medical check-up, your loved one or you may have been asked if mom or dad needs help with their “ADLs” or “IADLs.” Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) are standard concepts that are utilized for senior care. They provide a basis for caregivers to evaluate the independence and capabilities of a senior, and make care decisions accordingly. However, until you first encounter the terms and what they mean, these acronyms and concepts can be an unknown.

What are ADLs and IADLs?

ADLs are basic tasks a person needs to be able to do on their own to live independently. Health issues and aging may make it difficult for seniors to complete certain everyday self-care tasks that are essential to keep them healthy and safe.

The “Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living” is an effective tool used to assess overall health and functional status of older adults and those with disabilities. This system was developed by Sidney Katz and the Benjamin Rose Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio in the 1950s, and has been used ever since. Basic ADLs include six essential skills:

1 – Bathing and showering: the ability to bathe self and maintain dental, hair, and nail hygiene

2 – Continence: having complete control of bowels and bladder

3 – Dressing: the ability to select appropriate clothing and outerwear, and to dress oneself independently

4 – Mobility: being able to walk or transfer from one place to another, specifically in and out of a bed or chair

5 – Feeding (excluding meal preparation): the ability to get food from plate to mouth, and to chew and swallow

6 – Toileting: the ability to get on and off the toilet and clean self without assistance

What are instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs)?

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, or IADLs, are more complex activities required for senior independent living that often involve thinking and organizational skills. IADLs outlined by the Lawton-Brody scale assessment include:

  • Cleaning and housekeeping, including maintenance and other home care chores
  • Doing laundry
  • Managing money
  • Managing medications and taking medicines as directed
  • Preparing meals
  • Shopping for groceries and other necessities
  • Transportation, including changing residences and moving
  • Using communication devices, including the telephone and computer

Why are ADLs and IADLs important for caregivers?

ADLs represent everyday tasks that challenge both mental and physical capabilities. A person needs to have the physical ability to perform ADL tasks themselves, as well as the planning and mental capacity to conceptualize the tasks and understand what needs to be done.

Conversely, a decline in the ability to complete basic ADLs may not be noticeable until later stages of dementia or physical disability.

Knowing your loved one’s ability to complete ADLs can help you and your aging parent’s doctor answer these questions:

  • Do you or a neighbor need to check on your aging parent routinely?
  • Does your aging loved one need physical therapy?
  • Is your aging parent able to continue living independently?
  • Would moving to an assisted living community be beneficial?

ADLs can also help caregivers and health care professionals understand the level of care needed. The level of care for someone who can’t complete IADLs is different from the care needed by someone who can’t complete basic ADLs.

In some cases, IADL deficiencies may be managed by different service providers, such as a senior meal preparation or delivery service, a housekeeper, or a money management professional. ADLs require more intensive, hands-on care.

Unfortunately, families rarely ask about ADLs until a parent or senior loved one is going through the process of assessment for long-term care. Experts highly recommend bringing up changes in a loved one’s ability to do these tasks when talking with a physician. It’s a good idea to share changes in ADLs with your loved one’s medical team because:

  • A change in an ADL can trigger medical evaluations that may uncover a medical issue. It’s important to understand the root cause of the problem or change in ability.
  • Understanding root causes can help you and your loved one’s doctor work together to find ways to improve function. Some common ways to improve function include medical treatment, physical therapy, or device such as a walker.
  • Understanding ADLs is critical to having an accurate care plan. If your parent’s doctor doesn’t realize there’s a functional problem, the care plan they create may not be in line with your loved one’s abilities. For example, if the doctor isn’t aware that your loved one is sometimes forgetful, then their expectation that your parent can regularly monitor their blood sugar on their own may not be realistic.

How are ADLs and IADLs Assessed?

ADLs and IADLs can be assessed in a variety of ways. Caregiver input can be helpful to create a bigger picture of a person’s functional status. However, caregiver burnout and the tendency to overestimate or underestimate someone’s true abilities can make this method less accurate than others.

Self-reporting can also help get the conversation about ADLs started. No one understands a situation better than the person experiencing it. Self-reporting is especially helpful when individuals have minimal cognitive decline. However, self-report measures leave the results open to a person’s interpretation.

While a health care professional’s report is often believed to provide the most objective view of a person’s functional status, a combination of assessments may fully capture the picture of disability for a given individual.

The three types of ADL assessments physicians use…

Health care professionals commonly use these tools to assess ADLs:

The Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living – This is the best choice for patients in long-term care, where disability is generally more severe and stable.

The Barthel ADL Index – This assessment covers two additional domains, including grooming and stairs. It’s best suited to acute care settings, as it is more detailed and better detects subtle changes in a person’s health.

The Functional Independence Measure (FIM) – This option is more comprehensive, combining ADLs with IADLs and other domains.

Signs that it’s time to assess ADLs and IADLs

Keep an eye out for specific safety factors when visiting a senior relative, including:

  • Driving – Have there been any accidents or close calls? Do passengers feel worried?
  • Elder abuse – Do you have any concerns about emotional, financial, physical, or verbal abuse?
  • Finances – Are there problems paying bills? Are you concerned about scams?
  • Health – Has your loved one had any falls? Have there been repeated trip to the Emergency Room or hospital?
  • Memory and thinking – Have there been problems with forgetting, getting lost, or wandering? Is there concern about poor awareness or poor judgment?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, it may be time to assess your aging loved one’s ADLs and IADLs, either by a medical professional or from your perspective as a family member.

ADL and IADL Assessment Tips for Caregivers

As you assess your loved one’s ADL and IADL capabilities, follow these tips:

Ask your siblings’, friends’, or neighbors’ opinions

Inquire about any changes you’ve noticed in your loved one’s abilities. Pick two or three people to discuss your concerns.

Assess on a spectrum

Ask yourself whether your loved one can do the task a little bit, sometimes, or often rather than a simple “yes, they can do the task,” or “no, they can’t.”

Be patient

If a person is doing a task more slowly than they used to, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t do the task at all.

Consider the time of day and how tired they are

Many seniors have sharper cognitive abilities and more energy in the morning.

Consider their health

If they’re fatigued or fighting a virus, their abilities can be briefly impaired.

Take the extra time

While it can be common to be in a hurry, and difficult to find the time to make an extended observation, it’s important to take as much time as needed and be patient in order to make an accurate assessment

Look at your own preconceived notions about your loved one

Are they interfering with your ability to make an impartial assessment?

Make the effort to help correct what you can

Ensure your loved one can live life to the best of his/her ability and as independently as possible.

If your loved one is unable to perform daily tasks outlined in the ADLs and IADLs, or if you have other safety factors, it may be time to discuss increasing their level of support or moving to an assisted living community.

ADLs and IADLs: A Checklist for The Elderly

When it comes to assessing ADLs and IADLs, there’s a lot of technical information about different assessments. This can be overwhelming for families to navigate.

  • Ask your aging parent’s doctor if a change in medical plan is required (for example, a complicated diabetes plan may need to be revised).
  • Ask if your loved one qualifies for a service like Medicaid.
  • Ask what’s causing any issues or inabilities.
  • Be aware of your loved one’s true abilities when it comes to ADLs and IADLs.
  • Consider whether the limitations have short- or long-term implications.
  • Help your loved one remain independent as long as possible with adaptive assistance.
  • Seek treatment.

How to get help with ADLs for your loved one

If you’re worried about your loved one’s ability to perform everyday tasks, connect with their doctor to discuss your concerns. It’s important to identify any limitations your aging parent may have, but it’s even more critical to support them by finding solutions to help solve or alleviate those limitations, or by finding the care they need.

Taking these steps will help your loved one to be as independent as possible so they can enjoy a greater quality of life.

In some cases, simple lifestyle adjustments such as hearing or vision aids, physical therapy, or assistive devices to make bathing, transferring, or using the toilet easier can help your loved one perform ADSs independently.

If your aging parent needs additional help, consider contacting The Classic to learn more about how our assisted living services can provide different levels of care to fit your loved one’s needs.

Should I Consider Moving to Independent Living Before I Need Assisted Living?

Should I Consider Moving to Independent Living Before I Need Assisted Living?

Many seniors feel there is no real reason to move into a senior living community unless they need the services and support of assisted living. Their thinking is that as long as they are healthy and mobile, they should continue to live in their own home. They may feel a move to a senior living community is essentially the same as “surrendering.”

There are thousands upon thousands of seniors in independent living communities who will happily dispel that line of thinking. Aside from health considerations, there are definitely some solid reasons to relocate before you actually need assisted living.

1. You lose the constant, nagging worries and the expense of home maintenance.
Take a look around your home. Is everything in good repair, or are there small signs of neglect and deterioration? If you see those signs, that may mean you no longer have the desire or the energy to keep your home in tip-top shape. Perhaps it’s time to move, before your home investment begins to lose value. And a big plus…housekeeping is also included or available in independent living communities.

2. Everyday transportation challenges are overcome.
Maybe your driving isn’t what it used to be. Or maybe you’ve found yourself spending longer in the car to get to the grocery store and pharmacy along with the places you can buy things that are essential to your lifestyle. Either way, an independent living community can radically shrink the distances you have to travel. Combined with access to hair salons, libraries, and other essential services, you may not even need a vehicle.

3. Cooking becomes optional.
Are you tired of cooking? Residents of senior living communities often say that the food is the best part. If you’ve become bored with cooking and cleaning up afterwards, and understand that a steady diet of take-out is probably not meeting your nutritional needs, you will love that delicious meals are included or available in independent living communities.

4. Your social life may blossom.
Are you beginning to feel more and more isolated? Has your circle of friends diminished and does your datebook have several blank pages? Maybe it’s time to make new friends. And one of the best places to make those new friends is at an independent living community.

First of all, the residents already living there are your peer group, which means no more buddying-up to the young couple who moved in next door. Second of all, the social amenities and activities at most independent living communities are second to none. You’ll not only find companionship, but exercise classes, card games, painting classes, movie nights, lunch and dinner outings, music, dancing, and much more.

If you can’t make friends here, you can’t make friends.

5. The transition to assisted living is easier.
You’ve already made the “senior living decision” and probably discovered it was one of the best choices you’ve ever made. If at some point you need it, assisted living is the next step on the journey. Think of it as independent living with more personal services. In assisted living, you can continue to enjoy many of the activities and conveniences you’ve experienced in independent living, and now you know how fulfilling the senior living experience can be.

You may not fully understand this until you’ve made the move, but with independent living, you don’t give up your freedom and independence  you improve it! Independent living can translate to more convenience, enjoyment, peace-of-mind, and yes…independence, than you’ve experienced in a long time.

Downsizing Tips for Transitioning to Senior Living Apartments

Downsizing Tips for Transitioning to Senior Living Apartments

Downsizing to a smaller senior apartment on your own or at a senior living community is multi-step process. If you are moving from your own home, you’ll need to ready it for selling, weed out furniture you no longer want, possibly purchase furniture that fits your smaller space, and find creative ways to make the most of your new square footage.

Plan Ahead

Cut down on stress by preparing well in advance. Depending on the amount of furniture you have and your local housing market, this could be a few months to a few years from the time you actually move out. That means starting the planning process at least 2-3 months down the road. This time frame can be used to sell or donate furniture, measure your current furniture to see how it fits in your new space, and purchase new items as necessary.

Declutter

Ideally, you should begin decluttering your home well before the packing process. You’ll probably notice a lot of stuff you didn’t even know you owned. While some decisions may be easy (that ragged pair of slippers definitely should go in the trash), others require some thought. You might own a few items simply because of abandoned goals. That treadmill in the basement might have once served a purpose, but now it’s become a handy place to hang your clothes. The upside to a senior living community is that you’ll most likely have access to fitness center, so there’s no more need for your own heavy workout equipment. Do you have books that you’ve never read? Donate them and take advantage of the library instead. Use your space for items that you’ll actually use, not remnants of your abandoned resolutions.

Get Rid of Your Items

Once you’ve figured out which pieces need to go, you’ll need to decide whether you want to sell, donate, or put items in storage.

Sell
Your standard, run-of-the-mill items can be sold at garage sales or through online marketplaces. Ideally, you’ll want to set up your garage sale during neighborhood-wide or city-wide garage sale events. If you’re selling online, be sure to include thorough descriptions of your items with size, color, age, exact price, etc. New clothing that has designer labels can typically be sold at consignment stores. Remember that you’re selling these items because you won’t have room for them anymore ⎯ don’t turn down low offers just because of pride. Your end goal is to have all your unwanted items gone by the time you move.

Donate
Your easiest option is to load your unwanted items into your car and drop them off at a thrift store. Not only are you potentially helping out someone in need, but you’re also making your job easier! Some charities will even come pick up your items for you if you can’t make the drive yourself. Locally, Goodwill Stores, Hope Gospel Mission, Bethesda Thrift Shop, and Savers are good donation options.

Store
If you’re on the fence about an item, put it in storage for six months instead of moving it into your apartment in your senior living community. If you haven’t thought about the item in the six months that it’s been collecting dust, it’s time to move on. You can find a storage unit near you and decide if the price of the storage unit is worth it.

Antiques
Some items may be worth a pretty penny, so any items that are rare, old, or collectible should be set aside for appraisal or research. Once you’ve established a price point, you can try selling them online through Facebook Marketplace, eBay, or Craigslist, or selling to an antique mall. It may be worth the drive to sell your items to an antique mall in a larger or wealthier city. Keep in mind though that fine china, silverware, and that special china hutch may not necessarily appeal to collectors. Do your research before tying to sell your antiques.

Measure Twice

One of the worst things that can happen during a move is mismeasurements. A couch that can’t squeeze through a door frame or a coffee table that takes up half the room, can represent a real problem. You can prevent these mini-catastrophes from happening in the first place by measuring your furniture and floor plan TWICE before you move. You’ll want to pay particular attention to your bed, sofa, and any other large items that will need to fit through several doorways.

If there isn’t a floor plan for your new residence available online, ask if you can go in and take some measurements yourself. Having a floor plan will help you visualize where windows and doors are when you’re making furniture purchases or planning where furniture will go.

Figure Out In-Home Storage

Once you come to terms with the fact that you’ll have less storage space in your new senior living apartment, the next step is to take inventory of the storage space you will have and determine which items are worth keeping. Keep in mind that many retirement communities offer residents small storage spaces.

When it comes to closet space, realize that if you are transitioning from a walk-in closet to a smaller closet, you may want to hang up clothing items that are in season. Other items can go in the bottom drawer of a dresser or be stored in the top shelf of your closet. Also, using shoe cubbies can help keep your smaller space organized.

Your new senior apartment may have fewer kitchen cupboards. If so, you’ll need to go through and choose your must-haves. Having more than one set of silverware isn’t necessary if you won’t be hosting many meals in your home. Luckily, many senior living communities like The Classic offer restaurant-style dining, with up to three chef-prepared meals a day.

Storage Containers
The best storage containers are stackable, see-through, and made of plastic. That way, you can stack vertically to accommodate your smaller space and easily identify which container you want to remove from the stack. It never hurts to label either.

Tips for Interior Design and Furnishing Small Spaces

Small-space living means you can enjoy shared senior living community living without all the maintenance. And in your private senior living apartment, you can dedicate time to personalizing your senior living apartment space. The following are some interior design tips to make the most of our new apartment.

  • Don’t worry about fitting all your activities into a small apartment. Most retirement communities will have common spaces for hobbies like sewing, painting, woodworking, and more.
  • Purchase furniture that’s multi-functional like a multi-sided book shelf that also works as a coffee table.
  • Use folding chairs that you can bring out when you have guests.
  • Make sure your furnishings are even-toned to make your smaller senior apartment seem more spacious.
  • Use high-mounted elements, like bookcases and cabinets.
  • Use a large china cabinet or hutch to store food if your apartment doesn’t have a pantry.
  • Make the most of movable pieces. Invest in utility carts with wheels so you can shuffle items around as needed.
  • Avoid clutter by storing knickknacks in drawers or…throwing them out.
  • Go for quality over quantity. Find statement pieces that will make the room pop.
  • Invest in ottomans with tops that lift to store blankets and pillows.

Moving into a senior living community gives you more opportunities to visit your new neighbors and cuts down on home maintenance. Plus, you’ll have extra money to spend on new hobbies.

Considering Moving Loved Ones to a Senior Living Community During Covid-19 Pandemic?

Considering Moving Loved Ones to a Senior Living Community During Covid-19 Pandemic?

To some extent, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted nearly everyone’s daily lives across the United States. Seniors have been especially affected due to their increased risk of contracting a serious case of the virus.
 
If you have an older loved one, COVID-19 may put you in a tough situation due to their increased health risk. Seniors need to be even more diligent about social distancing than the rest of the population. This distancing can make it difficult to determine how to handle your loved one’s care while also keeping them safe, especially if they require daily assistance or care.
 
Senior living environments like The Classic that offer independent living as well as assisted living level of services are still the best option for many individuals. Considering the enhanced safety measures senior living communities like The Classic are taking, moving to a senior community may make more sense than living alone and not getting adequate care.

Determining the Appropriate Care Options

Coronavirus spreads easily from person to person, a phenomenon known as “community spread,” which makes apartment complexes and senior living communities an environment in which the virus can thrive. This may make some people hesitant to move their loved one into an assisted living facility right now, even if their loved one needs care.

While senior living communities are implementing strict health and safety measures to prevent community spread, it may be harder to implement the same kinds of policies in your own home. For example, if your elderly loved one lives with you, someone who lives in the home could pick up the virus while running errands and unknowingly pass the virus to your older loved one. Or, if the senior’s main family caregiver gets sick, the family may need to choose whether to potentially pass the illness onto their older loved one or leave their loved one temporarily without care. Additionally, seniors who live alone will most likely be completely isolated for the foreseeable future as people follow social distancing guidelines. This can present dangers for both physical and mental health.

When you consider the steps that senior communities are taking, such as enacting strict social distancing rules and other safety protocols, and the fact that residents don’t need to leave for essentials, your loved one may be safer there right now. Senior living communities also have several caregivers on staff, ensuring that residents will not have to go without care in the event that someone on the staff is unable to work during the virus outbreak.

Who is a Good Fit for Residential Care During Coronavirus?

If your loved one is not currently living in a residential care facility, you may have put plans to move on hold for now. But for many seniors, a senior living community is still the right choice. In general, the following people are good candidates for senior living:

• Seniors who need regular assistance with the activities of daily living such as eating, bathing, or dressing
• Seniors who live alone and have a medical condition that may require urgent attention
• Seniors who have dementia, Alzheimer’s, or another form of memory impairment, as this can make it difficult to follow hygiene protocols
• Seniors living with any family members who are unable to social distance or isolate such as medical professionals, grocery workers, etc.
• Seniors who live with any family member who has traveled internationally in the last two weeks
• Seniors who live in a home with other people who are not isolating, and the senior does not have their own bedroom and/or bathroom where they can isolate

Proper Precautions for Senior Living Communities

The following are a few of the steps many senior living communities like The Classic are taking to protect their residents. It’s important to note that you should always follow the latest guidance from the CDC and local government directives and be sure that you are taking action on reliable information directly from the source.

Visitor Restrictions

At the present time, most senior living communities in Wisconsin continue to have a “no family visitor” policy, whereby family members are not allowed to enter the facility. An exception does allow for no more than 3-4 family visitors to be present on a “move-in” day to help a parent or relative place his/her personal belongings. Visitors must have their temperature taken, complete a short medical questionnaire, and be masked at all times. Also, up to 2-3 family members can be present during an “end-of-life” scenario.

Staff screenings and health requirements

Staff are screened on a daily basis and are being instructed to stay home if they are exhibiting any symptoms of coronavirus or the cold, flu, or any other illness. Since most workers in senior living communities spend time with many different residents throughout the day, if a staff member is sick, the likelihood of them passing the illness along to multiple recipients is high. It is especially important that staff do not work when there’s any chance that they may be sick and could introduce an illness to the facility. Work policies have been adjusted to allow for more flexibility in missing work.

Postponing activities and limiting access to communal spaces

Because residents live in apartment-style units and tend to eat, relax, and congregate in communal areas, it can be difficult to implement social distancing in senior care communities. To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, most communities have either totally postponed or altered group activities for the foreseeable future and have closed common areas like dining rooms. In lieu of closed dining areas, most communities are offering “room service” or some form of “grab ‘n go” dining. Most communities are requiring residents to wear a facemask if he/she is outside of their apartment. In addition, high traffic areas are disinfected multiple times each day and increased placement of hand sanitizer stations is typical.

Resident assessments

Facilities are regularly screening residents for any symptoms of coronavirus, specifically respiratory distress. Daily screening can help facilities catch any cases of coronavirus early and prevent further community spread.