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Dehydration can Take a Toll on the Elderly

Dehydration can create health issues for people of all ages, but it can be especially serious for the elderly. And it can often be hard to detect, despite the fact that dehydration can have such a big impact on someone’s health. Proper hydration allows people to regulate their temperature through sweating, eliminate bodily waste and maintain blood pressure. When people are dehydrated – or losing more water than they take in – they can become confused, weak and even develop tract infections or pneumonia. In fact, dehydration and the delayed diagnosis of it has made it one of the 10 most frequent diagnoses for admitting people for Medicare hospitalizations, according to the Health Care Financing Administration. The Causes of Dehydration So let’s look at several of the causes for elderly dehydration: Medications – Some medications taken by seniors are diuretics, while other cause patients to sweat. Both of these can be dehydrating. Decreased kidney function – As people age, their bodies lose kidney function, which means they are less likely to conserve fluid. Decreased thirst – The sense of thirst decreases as people age. Elderly individuals don’t think about drinking water or other fluids. Also, it’s harder for them to get up and get a drink when they are thirsty. Or, they don’t want to have to get up to go to the bathroom. Key Indicators of Dehydration Now that we’ve discussed some of the top causes, let’s look at some of the key indicators of dehydration. These are signs that we monitor daily at Country Home Assisted Living in Parker. They include confusion, dizziness or headaches, difficulty walking, dry...

Maintaining Your Finances While Care for Your Aging Parents

Children who find themselves caring for their aging parents often can lose track of their own situation. They may be meticulously watching their parent(s)’s finances while neglecting their own. They also may consider quitting or cutting back on hours worked in order to find time to be a good caregiver. In this continuation of my series on caring for aging parents and as the owner of an assisted living facility in Parker, Colorado, let me offer the following tips… 1. Look at your finances and your budget in several ways. First, make a care-giving budget. By this I mean, put together a comprehensive look at your options and what you could be spending on care-giving. That could be anything from giving up your job to take over this time-consuming task, to finding an assisted living facility that provides health care and other support. If you quit your job or cut back on hours worked, you’ll also need to take into account the benefits offered by your job, such as health insurance and retirement plans, which could be costly to replace. You also should look at your future and whether quitting a job could damage your prospects of finding work in later years. In this review, don’t forget to include your parent(s)’s resources and how they might come into play. Second, maintain your own budget. Track your income and expenses, and pay off your debt and bills. If time is becoming an issue, consider auto-pay for some of your bills. That way, they won’t be overlooked and go unpaid, resulting in needless late payment or interest charges. 2. Save for...

Sandwich Generation Month

It’s a situation not many adults thought they’d find themselves in – taking care of both their parents and their children. In fact, most people never expect to have a parent living with them, especially while their children are still at home. But it is happening more and more with an estimated 9 million+ Americans finding themselves a part of what is being called the Sandwich Generation. Since July is National Sandwich Generation Month, I thought I’d take this opportunity to look at these amazing people. First, let’s define them in general terms. Social worker Dorothy Miller originally coined the term in 1981, referring to women in their 30s and 40s who were taking care of both their children and parents. That has changed over the years to include male caregivers and people who are in their 50s. The situation has developed for three reasons: Delayed parenting. Many couples are waiting to start their families in their mid to late 30s and even early 40s. Increased life spans. With the better health care that is now available, people are living much longer. Finances. The recession, lack of retirement planning or lack of employment opportunities can bring both parents and children to the home of the middle-aged adults. While being part of the Sandwich Generation can be stressful, time-consuming and a financial burden, there are some benefits. One, in particular, is the wonderful family bonding that can occur. Younger children can really get to know their grandparents and vice versa. Elderly parents and their children can also get to know each other on a much different, deeper level that is...

Sharing the Responsibility of Caring for Aging Parents

No matter how close and tight-knit a family is in its earlier years, tension and controversies can arise when taking care of aging parents. If brothers and/or sisters are available and actively involved, the care-giving burden can be shared among all the siblings, which is great. But it also complicates matters because emotions and differences of opinion can come into play as everyone tries to reach an agreement on emotional, medical and financial decisions. In this second part of my series on caring for elderly parents, let’s look at some techniques that siblings can use to help them share the care-giving responsibilities. To make it easier for all family members, be sure to focus first on good communication and then on planning. I recommend holding a family meeting – or at the very least a family phone conference -to clarify the situation, including the medical, emotional and financial factors that may be involved. In this session, family members should be able to talk openly about their concerns and desires. For example, parents should be allowed to tell their children what type of advanced health care they would prefer and whether they want to live at home or somewhere else. Children should be able to explain how they can help, whether it’s their time, financial assistance or even offering their home as a living option. Accept Each Other’s Differences Since dealing with aging parents can create different reactions among the children, a family meeting can be a good opportunity to share feelings and ideas. Be sure to listen to each family member so that you understand where they are coming...

Parent-Child Role Reversal and its Challenges

It can be a difficult process when children become the responsible parties for their aging parents. Both sides have to adjust when the younger generation comes in to take care of and make decisions for their mother and/or father who raised them and made all of their early-life decisions. Watching parents lose their independence, due to physical and/or mental reasons, can be extremely challenging to deal with. For some, it can come as quite a shock, which is compounded by the added responsibility. As a caregiver for the elderly, I am starting a series this month about the various issues that people face as their parents age. I’ll talk about everything from today’s topic – role reversal – to finances and sharing responsibilities with siblings. For children in a new role as the “adult” or “parental figure” in the relationship, one of the best suggestions I can make is to make sure you communicate with your parents, so that you can learn and respect their desires. That means having candid conversations with them about upcoming choices and decisions that will have to be made, such as living arrangements, finances and medical care, including advanced directives or living wills. You also need to make sure you don’t go overboard. As children, it won’t do you any good to spend every waking hour visiting them and making sure they are taken care of. If they move to an assisted living facility, such as Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, you will know they are well taken care of – even if you are not there. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit....

Introducing Health First Colorado …

Colorado’s Medicaid program is changing its name. Beginning May 1, 2016, the program will be known as Health First Colorado.  Why should you care and why is the owner of an assisted living facility in Elbert County writing about this topic? The answer is simple. If you are looking at assisted living options for you or a loved one, Medicaid may be available to offer some financial assistance. As you peruse and research your options, you should now “Google” Health First Colorado.  Medicaid is funded in part by the federal government and in part by the states. Because states are given some flexibility, the available Medicaid assistance for assisted living changes with each state. Colorado offers assistance through the Elderly, Blind and Disabled Waiver. As a side note, it also refers to assisted living as “alternative care facilities.”   Not all facilities that offer alternative care accept Medicaid – or Health First Colorado. At Country Home Assisted Living, we are one of the few in the Parker area that does. In states, like Colorado, where the assisted is offered through waivers instead of general Medicaid dollars, you’ll learn that there are enrollment caps. Since only a limited number of individuals can receive assistance at any given time and since there are a limited number of facilities that accept Medicaid, waiting lists are common. That’s why I want you to plan ahead and be informed about all of your options.  By the way, the rebranding of Colorado Medicaid’s program to Health First Colorado is part of a state effort to give public health care a better image. “Over the past few...

How do You Know if it’s Time to Consider Assisted Living?

Whether we are talking about you, a spouse or a parent, it’s not always crystal clear if it is time to consider a move to an assisted living facility. One of the key considerations is whether you, your spouse or parent needs more personal care than is available at home or in an independent living community. Safety is a huge consideration. For example, have there been any recent falls or balance issues? What about leaving the stovetop on or any other signs of forgetfulness? If you or your loved one has fallen or left the stovetop on more than once, it might be time for assisted living accommodations. Some additional safety considerations include whether you or your loved one is: Still able to drive. Prone to wander. Struggling with eyesight. The answers to these questions should be part of your decision-making process. Other issues/questions to consider include: Dietary issues. Is the elderly person losing weight, or unable to get to the grocery store or cook for themselves? Housekeeping. Does the home look less tidy and more cluttered than usual? Is unopened mail accumulating? Are the dishes getting washed? Hygiene. Are you or your loved one wearing the same clothes day after day or struggling with personal bathing or toileting? Social. This is a consideration that is often overlooked. Are you or your loved one alone more often than not, not calling or seeing friends frequently, or no longer attending church or other regular social activities? Assisted living facilities, such as Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, Colorado, help with all of these issues. At Country Home, you or your...

15 Questions to Ask When Selecting an Assisted Living Facility

Choosing an assisted living facility for you or a loved one can be a difficult process. First, it marks a major change in one’s lifestyle. Second, you want to find a place that is a good fit – one that will provide adequate accommodations for years into the future. When reviewing your options, it is very important to consider personal needs, and to trust your feelings and reactions when visiting possible locations. In my 18 years as the owner of Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, Colorado, I’ve learned firsthand the difference it makes when facilities are properly vetted. So here are 15 questions to get you started. Is the facility licensed? What is the admission criteria? What is the starting price and what does it cover? If applicable to your situation, be sure to also ask if Medicaid is accepted. What are the room sizes and are they private or semi-private? What about bathrooms? How many residents live at the assisted living facility? What is the ratio of residents to staff? What type of care is provide? What type of meals are provided? If applicable, you’ll also want to ask if special diets can be accommodated. How is housekeeping/laundry handled? Are cable TV and Internet service provided? What types of activities, such as outings or art classes, are available? Is transportation available to and from doctors’ offices? Can a personal family physician be involved in providing medical care? Are family members welcome to visit and/or take their loved ones out for a family activity, lunch or doctor appointment? What are the reasons for which a resident can be...

Long-time Parker Area Resident is Comfortable at Country Home

She’s been known as one of the Glitzy, Glitz Girls, an active member of the Parker community, and a major contributor to the area and its farming history. Now, at 97, she spends her days enjoying the atmosphere and country setting offered at Country Home Assisted Living in Elbert County. She is Gunhild Dransfeldt. You might recognize the name. Dransfeldt Road was named after the Dransfeldt family, one of the area’s strong civic-minded families that made a true difference to the Parker community. Although a massive stroke in 2007 took away her ability to speak and she now moves about in a wheelchair, that doesn’t stop this long-time Parker area resident from communicating through eye movements, sounds and mannerisms as she looks ahead to celebrating her 100th birthday, according to her daughter, JoAnn “Josie” Fetters. “I’m so grateful because Mom loves it at Country Home. She can look out and see all the animals,” Josie said. “The other ladies there absolutely adore her.” And yes, “she’s lived a full and wonderful life.” While Josie and Country Home now look after Gunhild, Josie speaks fondly of the woman who gave so much to her, the workers on the family’s farm land and the community. Here’s just a sampling of what Gunhild Dransfeldt accomplished during her many years in the Denver metro area. It all started in 1924, when she first came to America and the Cherry Creek Valley in Colorado from Denmark with her parents, Louis and Jensine Kragelund. She spent her youngest years living in homesteads up and down the Cherry Creek Valley, where she met her husband, Fred...

Home vs. Assisted Living

If you or a loved one is faced with increasing physical ailments or medical care needs, you are probably considering a move from a long-time home to an assisted living facility.
For the elderly, there are a number of advantages to living in an assisted living facility instead of staying at home, including balanced meals, new friends and hobbies, and the security in knowing that someone is there to watch over you.

Visit Your Loved Ones in Assisted Living

Families and friends play an important role in the happiness and well-being of residents in assisted living facilities. As a long-time owner of Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, Colo., I always encourage families and friends to stay involved. I want them to visit frequently. I encourage them to take their loves ones out of our eight-bed facility in Elbert County – whether it’s for a meal, a drive, a family event or doctor’s appointment. Some of my families come and visit at least once a week. Others take their loved ones out every week for a meal or drive. One son picks up his mother twice a week so that they can enjoy breakfast or lunch together – outings that always brighten her day. In looking out for the well-being of my residents, I strongly suggest that family members and friends stop by to visit and check on their loved ones. While I know that I provide quality care to all of Country Home’s residents, I want input from friends and families on how their elder family member or friend is doing. It’s not just my firsthand knowledge of how this support helps their overall attitude that makes me recommend this involvement. Studies have shown that residents of assisted living facilities have a higher level of life satisfaction when they are visited at least once a month by family members. Visits from friends and family have also been associated with better psychological and psychosocial well-being. So, regardless of where you place your elder family member or friend, make sure you take time to visit, get them out and...

Pets Provide Mental and Physical Benefits for Seniors in Assisted Living

It probably comes as no surprise that pets make people feel happy. When you look at a cute dog or a playful kitten, you will probably smile and maybe even laugh. But pets also are good for the health of their human counterparts, especially those suffering a serious illness or seniors living in assisted living facilities, such as Country Home Assisted Living. Researchers and health-care professionals often site multiple examples of how pets help the elderly, both physically and mentally. For example, just 15 minutes of bonding with a pet can prompt the release of a number of “feel-good” hormones, including serotonin. Pets can also create a setting where individuals who have been unresponsive to other therapies will brighten up and interact with the animal, giving them new meaning and improving their overall well-being. In nursing homes, dogs have been credited with reducing residents’ need for medications, as well as improving their vital signs, physical functioning, and increasing engagement and social interaction. This can all lead to less loneliness, boredom, agitation and depression. Pet therapy, also known as Animal Assisted Therapy, has been a way of life for Country Home for 11 years, when Romeo, a cute little Bichon Frise was brought in at 10 weeks old. Romeo is a natural therapy dog who loves women and wants to be with them all of the time. According to one of Country Home’s previous residents, “that little dog knew I wasn’t feeling good and stayed with me and would not leave my side.” In his younger years, Romeo also provided quite a bit of entertainment for the assisted living facility’s...

The Advantages of a Smaller Assisted Living Facility

When families are looking for an assisted living facility for their aging loved ones, they are often impressed with the new, larger facilities. But as the old saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. While these newer, often chain, facilities may look good on the outside. The more important factor for people to consider is how their loves ones will be cared for. As the owner/manager of Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, Colo., for 18 years, I know first-hand how much better the care can be at a small assisted living home. First of all, a smaller facility tends to have a more 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. A smaller staff really gets to know its residents and their behaviors. A smaller staff also doesn’t have to go through corporate red tape or other hoops before taking action. At my eight-bed assisted living facility in Parker, I will take prompt action, calling a family member or doctor, whatever is necessary, to get our residents back to their normal way of living. Our reaction time is better because we don’t have to go through a committee or fill out a ton of paperwork to do something. We also are limited to eight residents, so personalized care is much easier to achieve. In addition to a quicker reaction time, smaller facilities offer a much more intimate experience. The residents at Country Home Assisted Living become part of my family. My staff and...

Be Beet Crazy!

Golden Beets are a great source of nutrition for seniors, and here is Linda’s wonderful recipe: 8 medium size golden beets Arugula leaves to taste (Note: Arugula has a strong peppery flavor-use sparingly) Vanilla Balsamic vinegar (I buy mine from a speciality shop) This  is a very tasty and easy dish. Boil the beets whole, cool and peel. Slice and add the Arugula leaves, mix with the Balsamic vinegar....

New Entrance to Country Home!

We are proud to display the rocks that each of our Residents decorated, which reflect each of their own personalities, as the entrance to our Country Home!...