Blog

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...

What Is the Difference Between Long Term Care and Assisted Living?

Keeping up with all the different types of care available to our elderly loved ones can be a challenging prospect. This is especially true if the entire scenario is one that is new for you. Some people use the terms long term care and assisted living interchangeably, but this isn’t accurate. Assisting living has many similarities to long term care, but they are two very different things. What Is Assisted Living? When a loved one is residing at an assisted living home in Castle Rock, Colorado, they will have availability of staff who can help with certain services. This might include supervising and managing medication or offering certain personal care services by skilled professionals. These facilities are built for those who need a moderate amount of care. There will be meals, transportation, and activities that the residents can partake in. This type of environment is the right choice for an older loved one who needs some assistance, but prefers to live mainly independently. What Is Long Term Care? Someone who needs full-time care and monitoring is a long term care patient. These facilities are often referred to as nursing homes and are staffed by medical professionals like social workers, nurses, aides, and dieticians. The staff at long term care facilities can provide clinical care and some specialty medical care, as well. Many patients who move into long term care will remain there until their death. Most nursing homes offer both long term care and skilled nursing, which allows them to admit patients who need specialized care. Choosing the Right Facility When choosing the right facility for a loved one...

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...

Benefits Of Opting For Senior Assisted Living Facility

Senior assisted living options in Parker, Colorado and the nearby area are vast. If you are thinking about checking out a few senior assisted living residences, you can get a clearer picture of what each facility offers, what the pricing structure is, and get an opportunity to ask questions pertinent to your situation or the situation of a loved one who is considering this option for their home. There are many benefits of senior assisted living, including the following. Living with A Degree of Independence Many who opt for assisted living don’t have the ability to live entirely without assistance. And they either don’t want to move in with loved ones or don’t have that option. Assisted living gives you your own living quarters with the ability to get assistance as and when you need it. It’s often described as a stage between independent living and a nursing home. You Don’t Need to Struggle with Things that have become Difficult Senior assisted living offers a variety of services to those who might want or need them. These services include: Medical assistance – medication administration, help with catheters, blood sugar testing, blood pressure checks, etc. Help with hygiene – As much or as little help as is needed, including showering, haircuts, trimming of nails, shaving, etc. Meals – Prepared meals, clean-up. Housekeeping – Your living quarters are maintained by regular cleanings. This also means you don’t have to worry about exterior maintenance (landscaping, shoveling snow, etc.) Help on-site for emergencies, around the clock, including slip and fall accidents or medical emergencies. Social Activities In addition to daily tasks that seniors...

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...

A Home-Like Setting, Instead of a Hospital Environment

Choosing to enter an assisted living facility, or providing that option to a loved one, need not be a difficult decision. There comes a time in many people’s lives that remaining in the home is no longer possible due to medical conditions or ailments. A full-service assisted living facility near Parker, Colorado offers many benefits, and family members can rest assured that their loved one will receive the care and attention that they require. Benefits of Using an Assisted Living Facility There is no reason to feel guilty if you are seeking an assisted living facility near Parker, Colorado for an older family member. Finding the proper care for our loved ones is a reflection of our love for them, and when their health care needs become too overwhelming to be handled at home, it is often the best option. With conditions such as dementia or physical weakness that can cause falls and other injuries, a full-service facility is necessary for the well-being of the patient. Knowing that your loved one is receiving round-the-clock care and will be protected from injuries can give loved ones the peace of mind that can be elusive when worrying about an older relative living at home. In addition to the full-time medical care and attention, such facilities offer organized activities, socialization, and other mental health benefits that will help to keep their minds and spirits engaged, even if their physical health is no longer 100%. A Home-Like Setting, Instead of a Hospital Environment Maintaining the feeling of home can make a huge difference in the transition to an assisted living facility near Parker,...

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...

Memory Issues – Causes and Helpful Tips

Memory problems are common as people age. In fact, we’ve all been there. We walk into a room and forget why we wanted to go into that room. We forget where we put our keys or our glasses. However, there are varying degrees of forgetfulness. Mild forgetfulness is considered a normal part of the aging process. As we age, it can take longer to learn new things, it can be more difficult to remember information and it is common to misplace possessions like keys and glasses. Other types of memory issues can indicate a more serious problem, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This month, we’re going to look at less serious memory issues – why they can occur and tips for dealing with and avoiding them. Next month, we’ll look at the more serious problems. Let’s start by looking at the two main causes of mild forgetfulness – emotional and health issues. Forgetfulness that is caused by emotional problems, such as stress, anxiety and depression, can often be mistaken for dementia because it can be accompanied by confusion. It can be triggered by losing a spouse, relative or good friend; or even retiring from a long career. Think about someone you know who has lost a spouse. Coping with the loss often leaves them feeling a bit confused, sad, lonely, worried and bored. This confusion and forgetfulness is usually temporary and will go away over time. The love and support from friends and family will help ease these emotions. However, if these feelings continue for more than a year or so, it might be wise to see a doctor...

So Long to Romeo, Country Home Assisted Living’s Beloved Friend

It is with a heavy heart that I mention today that my beloved Romeo, a Bichon Frison who joined us at Country Home Assisted Living in January 2004, left us in June 2017. Fortunately, he passed away in his sleep and was never in distress. Romeo will never be forgotten by me or Country Home Assisted Living’s residents and families who enjoyed his ever-uplifting spirit and spunk. He made us all smile in so many different ways. When Romeo first joined us, he was just an itty bitty guy. But he learned the ropes of living in the countryside of Elbert County and at County Home in no time. He was a greeter to anyone who came to our door. He would sit fondly next to us on the couch as we watched TV. And he was always there for the many parties and celebrations held at our assisted living facility in Parker, Colorado. His departure has been difficult. I truly miss my beloved friend. But I know he is on to a new adventure, so to him I say: “This is where we part my friend, and you will run on around the bend. Gone from sight, but not from mind, new pleasures there you will find. I will go on; I will find the strength. Life measures quality, not its length.” There are others who feel the same. Romeo added so much joy to our lives. In fact, I know many feel blessed to have known this special dog with a joyous spirit, who will never ever be forgotten. So long, dear...

Caregivers Need to Think About Themselves Too

Caregivers can become extremely important in the lives of elderly individuals. In fact, they can make all the difference in the quality of life that is enjoyed by seniors as they age and face health issues. At the same time, the job of a caregiver can be quite taxing and stressful. The stress and emotional rollercoaster ride that comes with care giving are just two reasons why it is so important that caregivers take care of themselves – not just the people they are caring for. As the owner of Country Home Assisted Living in Elbert County, I make sure my caregivers are given the appropriate amount of time off work. During that time, I encourage them to get out of the care-giving mode and do some activities that they really love or enjoy. If you are a caregiver for a loved one, make sure you take time for yourself. You can’t be effective if you spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week caring for someone – even if it’s your favorite parent or grandparent. Make sure you do things that make you smile, whether it’s reading a book, taking a long bath, watching a funny movie, listening to your favorite music or participating in your favorite sport or hobby. (I’ve got even more ideas on how to reduce your stress in my blog: “5 Tips for Reducing Stress While Caring for Aging Parents.”) During the workday, however, it is much harder to get a break while you are tending to individuals who rely on you. So, I have several suggestions for caregivers who find themselves in...

Finding Quality Caregivers for the Home

When looking for caregivers for your parents or elderly loved ones living at home, there is a lot at stake. Will the caregiver be dependable? Will the caregiver be trustworthy? Will the caregiver be attentive to your loved one’s needs? You can trust that caregivers at assisted living facilities, such as Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, have been properly screened and vetted. But when the job of hiring a person is up to you, it can present a challenge. And it’s crucial to the success of your elderly loved one being able to stay in their home for as long as possible. Last month, I outlined 6 of the characteristics that I look for in the quality caregivers at Country Home. Today, I want to add a couple more comments in hopes that it will help you if you are hiring someone for a stay-at-home situation. First, make sure the caregiver gets along with your elderly family member or friend. Second, make sure that the caregiver gets along with the senior individual’s family. This is crucial. If people are unable to build a friendship and quality relationship, it could develop into many future problems. Here are several other thoughts for finding quality caregivers: Hire someone who can complement the care provided by the family. You want your caregiver to be able to quickly and simply address any issues that come up without adding stress to the family. You also want your caregiver to step up and do the right thing while also being able to diplomatically deal with any family disagreements. You want the caregiver to make sure...

6 Characteristics of Quality Caregivers

When elderly adults need periodic help at home or have moved to an assisted living facility, one thing that should not be overlooked is the quality of the caregivers who will be watching out for them. As the long-time owner of Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, I know the difference a quality caregiver can make in a senior’s life. Caregivers are crucial to the well-being and mental health of those they care for. So, today I’m starting a 3-part series on caregivers. In part 1, I’ll talk about the most important traits you should look for in these people who will be caring for your elderly loved ones or friends.   Here are 6 of the characteristics that I look for in the caregivers at Country Home:   1. Dependability. If your parent or elderly loved one needs help, you want the caregivers to be readily available when that help is needed. They need to arrive on time, not bring their own personal issues with them and be ready to jump into action when necessary. They should also be able use sound judgment when providing the type of care that is required in any given situation. 2. Attentiveness and ability to look at the big picture. Families rely on caregivers to be attentive to their loved one’s needs. By paying attention, caregivers will notice when the person they are caring for is undergoing physical or emotional changes. And that’s why they also need to be able to look at the big picture. There are many factors that can be involved as seniors age – from medications and their...

Ability to Perform Activities of Daily Living Could Decide Housing Accommodations

When elderly individuals consider moving into an assisted living facility, such as Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, Colo., a number of variables come into play. Among them is the individual’s ability to perform activities of daily living. You’ve probably heard the phrase before, but maybe you aren’t sure what it means. Often referred to as ADLs, activities of daily living are basically self-care tasks – or the tasks people complete when getting up each day, such as showering, eating and going to the bathroom, or before going to bed each night. They include, but are not limited to: • Bathing or showering; • Dressing; • Performing personal hygiene and grooming, such as brushing teeth or combing hair; • Eating; • Transferring, such as getting in and out of a bed or a chair; • Ambulating or walking; • Toileting. The ability to perform ADLs without assistance is linked directly to a person’s ability to live independently. When an elderly person’s ability to complete these tasks starts to diminish, it may be time to consider looking at assisted living or an arrangement other than living independently. For some, it can mean staying at home with some in-home assistance. For others, it may mean a move to an assisted living community, such as Country Home in Parker. If an assisted living facility is chosen, your elderly loved one will be given an assessment on the level of care that they need when they move to their new home. What this means is, they are evaluated on their ability to perform ADLs. The evaluation can include everything from the person’s ability...

Medical Alert Devices Save Lives

I’m a strong believer in medical alert devices, especially for people living alone. In last month’s blog, I provided basic information and questions to ask if you or a loved one is in need of these life-saving devices. This month, I’m going to make it more personal. I’m also going to urge children to pay for these medical alert devices if their aging parents or elderly loved ones don’t see a need for the expense. Working in the senior care industry as the owner of Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, Colo., I often hear stories of elderly individuals who have fallen, including some who have died because they could not summon help. One woman fell outside after taking out her garbage on a winter day in Colorado. She died alone in the cold. Another story involves my own mother. (I said I was going to make this more personal.) My mom lived alone in Michigan. Despite repeated pleas from my brother and me, she refused to invest in a medical alert device. What happened next is sad. And it’s a situation that could have been prevented. She fell in her garage. Since she lived alone and didn’t have a medical alert device, no one could come to her rescue. It was hours before police arrived. She died trying to reach the door to her home. If she’d made it inside, she might have been able to reach a phone and call for help. But she never got that far. Please don’t let this happen to you or a loved one. Take it from me. It’s hard enough to lose a...

Tips for Finding the Best Medical Alert Device When 24/7 Care Isn’t Available

Many people are familiar with medical alert devices because of the advertisements featuring an elderly person on the floor, saying: “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” While some people think these ads are funny, a fall for an elderly person is serious business. Being rescued can be a life-saving experience for many elderly folks, especially those who live alone or have health conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes, Alzheimer’s or epilepsy. At Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, we offer this assistance with the constant quality care we provide our residents 24/7. But for those elderly individuals who still live in their homes, here is some information about these devices. They’ve come a long way since they were first introduced in the 1970s. For example, they now offer GPS to locate the individual outside the home, automate fall detection and provide two-way communication with call centers. And there are a lot of options on the market, so I highly recommend you do thorough research before deciding which device would work best for your situation or loved one. To help, here are a few questions to ask: Does your alert device work outside of the home? Do you provide a choice of wristband and neck pendant? Do you have help buttons that can be wall-mounted near the floor in multiple rooms in case a customer falls and isn’t wearing the pendant? Are you willing to contact multiple people in case the user needs help? This can include emergency services, a friend that lives nearby or a family member. Does your device work for our specific needs? For example, a stroke survivor may need a device...

Looking Back at 2016 as We Begin 2017 at Country Home Assisted Living

As we settle into a new year at Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, we feel blessed for the wonderful residents with whom we’ve spent so many good times. Those good times include a variety of Christmas celebrations in December, such as a visit from Steven St. James, who sang at our Christmas party on Dec. 4, and a visit from Santa Claus on Dec. 19. But these types of activities aren’t limited to the holiday season. At Country Home Assisted Living, we provide year-round activities, some of which are specifically designed to match the interests of our residents. Regularly scheduled events include weekly music therapy with Amy Wilson, a board-certified music therapist; our weekly library program; and a weekly piano program with Seth Drake and Andrew Schindler. We also have some surprises, such as watching the wild turkeys that hang around our assisted living facility located in the peaceful countryside and the training of owner Linda Melbardis’ new horse. But we do much more, including group outings and other scheduled activities. We regularly attend productions and other events at Parker’s PACE Center, as well as scheduled lunches out on the town. At Halloween, for example, we went to P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. We also celebrate milestones together at our country home in rural Elbert County. Individual’s birthdays are always a highlight for all of our residents, who enjoy the festivities and yummy birthday cakes. Let’s not forget the art projects. In 2016, our residents decorated rocks to brighten the walkway into Country Home. For 2017, we have plans to do more crafty projects, such as bringing new life...

Some Tips to Enjoy the Busy Holiday Season

As we enter the final stretch of the 2016 holiday season, I’d like to take a moment to encourage families to cherish the moments they have together. Instead of stressing over the elaborate food, decorations and gifts, try to keep it simple. Typically, people try to do too many things during the holidays. Because of that, they become tired and stressed out. In the end, they don’t enjoy the season or being with loved ones as much as they could. Instead of trying to do it all, select a few of your family’s favorite ways of celebrating and focus on those. For example, if your family members and friends enjoy singing Christmas carols, make sure you allot time to do that. If you like to reminisce about holidays in the past, be sure to provide a setting where everyone has a chance to share their favorite memories. Maybe you have some family members and friends who enjoy baking holiday treats. Think how much they’ll enjoy doing that together. Not only will there be goodies that they can share, but they’ll also have fond memories that will last into the future. At Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, I like to come up with ways to create memories for all of our residents and our families. I know everyone appreciates it. Another great tip that I heard recently is to extend your holiday season. There are many advantages to making a week or two in January part of your holiday celebration. I know families that actually look forward to getting together after the traditional holiday season. That gives them time...

National Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time when all Americans are encouraged to acknowledge and pay tribute to those individuals who look after their elderly family members, friends and neighbors.