Help in Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

I said in a recent blog that you should do your homework before beginning a discussion about assisted living with your elderly loved ones. I recommended that you research the various living alternatives and facilities so that you will be able to answer questions and have a productive conversation. So this month, let’s look at the various alternatives and review questions you should ask at each facility. There are all types of facilities available these days. They range from retirement communities that take away the burden of managing a home to full-service assisted living facilities that provide caregiver assistance, medication management, food, entertainment and transportation. Some are huge apartment-type dwellings that are operated by corporations and often require you to fill out loads of paperwork or jump through hoops to make any changes in the care that is provided. Others, like Country Home Assisted Living in western Elbert County, are smaller operations with a limited number of residents that provide a home-like setting in a pleasant neighborhood. And, of course, there’s everything in between those two options. As the owner of Country Home Assisted Living for about 18 years, I would like to explain the advantages of our home in a country setting. As a smaller facility, we tend to have an attentive staff that will notice any changes in a resident’s health, mood, urinary functions, eating habits, etc., much sooner than a larger facility where nursing care is spread across many more people. At my eight-bed assisted living facility just outside Parker, I take prompt action, calling a family member or doctor, whatever is necessary, to keep our...

Country Home Enters 2018 With New Faces

New faces join us as we begin a New Year at Country Home Assisted Living in Parker. Unfortunately, we said goodbye to some real sweethearts in 2017, including June Weil, who died Oct. 30 after six years at Country Home; one of our caregivers, who provided great care to our residents for two years; and, of course, Romeo, my beloved Bichon Frise, who left us in June after giving all his love and energy to our residents for 13 years. In their place, we have added a new caregiver and one new resident, 86-year-old LaVon Parke. We hope they will enjoy the wonderful country atmosphere and friendly residents found at Country Home. And, of course, there’s Mr. Poppers, a Bichon Frise who joined us at our Elbert County assisted living facility in November. So, we look forward to the New Year and what it will bring. At the same time, we always enjoy looking back at the previous year and the activities and events that were held at Country Home Assisted Living. In 2017, we once again enjoyed the performance of Steven St. James, a professional entertainer who performed our Christmas party. Several months earlier, some amazing Halloween decorations brightened our days as we looked forward to that haunting holiday.       Spring and summer were filled with activity as we decorated Easter eggs, planted a flower victory garden, watched three loose cows roam onto our property and held an Appreciation Day.           In between all of these events, we had our normal birthday celebrations, lunch outings and art projects, including the creation of...

Tips for Starting a Family Discussion About Assisted Living

As your parents age and deal with increasing medical issues, you and your siblings may want to begin a discussion about the possibility of moving to an assisted living facility. It’s not an easy discussion to start. Your parents are probably comfortable in their home and feel they don’t need the extra assistance that is provided at a retirement-type community. But as their children, you probably see things differently and want to make sure they receive good care as they continue to get older. This is especially true if all of the kids live in a different city or state. As the owner of Country Home Assisted Living in western Elbert County, near Parker, I’ve seen families struggle with how to start a conversation.  Because the subject can make children feel anxious and guilty, I’d like to offer a few tips to help. Don’t wait until you are crisis mode. If you are watching your parents’ health and abilities decline, don’t wait until they have fallen or are in dire straights to discuss a move to a retirement community. If you are not in crisis mode, everyone will be in a calmer state of mind. There also will be more time to look at options and make decisions. Do your homework. Research various living alternatives and facilities before you have the big “talk.” If you are prepared, you’ll be able to answer questions your parents might have, which will lead to a much more productive conversation. Keep communication lines open. Make sure you give every member of your family a chance to talk openly about the situation and the...

Mr. Poppers and Holiday Entertainment Creative a Festive Atmosphere at Country Home Assisted Living

The holiday season will be quite festive at Country Home this year with special entertainment and the addition of a puppy named Mr. Poppers. Mr. Poppers, a 3-month-old Bichon Frise, joined us at our Elbert County assisted living facility on Nov. 6, 2017. He fills a void that was created by the death of Romeo, another Bison Frise who passed away in June after 13 wonderful years of entertaining and calming our residents.   As you may already know, pets are very helpful when it comes to improving the mood and health of people they are around. Pet interactions help the elderly, both physically and mentally, by giving them new meaning and improving their overall well-being.   We’ve been successfully using pet therapy at Country Home Assisted Living for 13 years, starting with Romeo.   Pet therapy and Romeo’s spirit stay alive with Mr. Poppers. While Country Home residents and staff came up with all sorts of cute names for the new pup, Mr. Poppers was selected because it was Romeo’s nickname. Plus, the puppy pops around like a little jumping bean.   As a member of the Flynn line, Mr. Poppers also comes with great credentials. His dad has been the #1 Bichon Frise in the country for the past three years.   But Mr. Poppers isn’t the only one who will keep residents smiling as we enter the holiday season. Professional entertainer Steven St. James will sing at our Christmas party on Dec. 4. There may also be a visit from Santa Claus and an outing to one of the Parker PACE Center’s holiday shows.   We’re...

Serious Memory Issues: Is it Time to See a Doctor?

Memory issues and forgetfulness are something we all face as we get older. It can be frustrating for elderly individuals as they struggle to find the right words, remember information and learn new things. Last month, we talked about the less serious forms of forgetfulness, those that are brought on by emotional and some health issues. This month, we are going to talk about the more serious types of memory issues, including dementia, Alzheimer’s and amnestic mild cognitive impairment. By looking at each of these individually, I’m hoping you can help friends or loved ones who might be dealing with serious memory issues. Let’s start with dementia, which is not actually a disease but a group of symptoms that are caused by certain diseases or conditions, such as Alzheimer’s. When someone has dementia, they have a loss in their thinking, memory and reasoning skills to the point that they can’t carry out their daily activities. According to an article about forgetfulness on BrainHealth.gov, people with dementia lose their mental abilities at different rates, but the symptoms often include: Being unable to remember things; Asking the same question or repeating the same story over and over; Becoming lost in familiar places; Being unable to follow directions; Getting confused about time, people and places; Neglecting personal safety, hygiene and nutrition. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common forms of dementia and is caused by changes in parts of the brain that result in the death of nerve cells. It can begin slowly with simple forgetfulness. As damage to the nerve cells spreads throughout the brain, the condition becomes worse and...