Music to Their Ears–and Hearts, Minds and Bodies

“Music is what feelings sound like,” says music therapist Amy Wilson, quoting a sign posted in the home she shares with her musician husband. A board-certified music therapist, Amy explains how she works with residents of Country Home Assisted Living here in Elbert County. Amy has been providing weekly, hourlong music therapy sessions at Country Home for three years, bringing rhythm instruments such as maracas, drums and bells, recordings, and dance props such as scarves—all whose purpose is to engage our residents socially, emotionally, cognitively and physically. Music itself has “therapeutic” benefits for many populations in many settings, but music therapy as a medically based profession is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals by a professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. That’s what we provide at Country Home Assisted Living to improve the quality of life for our residents. “Individualized” is key.  At Country Home Assisted Living, our music therapist pays close attention to the individual needs of our residents, watching for facial expressions or behaviors that indicate a reaction to the music—for example, whether it calls up happy or sad memories.  We want to know what kinds of music they like, what music they don’t like, about music in their past. Is it big band, country western, classical?  Because our setting accommodates a small number of residents (generally eight or fewer), Amy can address the needs of each person. Once she assesses the strengths and needs of our Country Home residents, Amy provides the indicated treatment, including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. The concept of music as...

Hydration: Let’s Drink to That!

We all need fluids to help ensure healthy organ and joint function and to prevent the complications of dehydration. For older adults, ample hydration is especially vital.   As we age, our body’s fluid reserve becomes smaller, our ability to conserve water is reduced, and we are less apt to sense when we’re thirsty (which signals that we’re dehydrated). These health challenges are compounded by chronic illnesses such as diabetes and dementia, and by using certain medications. And older adults may have mobility challenges that limit their ability to get water for themselves. At Country Home Assisted Living in Elbert County, Colo. (Parker), we pay close attention to our residents’ individual hydration levels.   Dehydration can lead to too-low blood pressure, a rapid heartbeat, and a reduced flow of oxygenated blood to vital organs and extremities.   Signs of dehydration include extreme thirst, less frequent urination, dark-colored urine, fatigue, dizziness and confusion. That’s why it’s vitally important to stay hydrated.   The only treatment for dehydration is to replace the fluids that have been lost. Water, of course, is usually the number one choice. But for some, water might seem “boring.”  There are other options, but some might come with risks, depending on one’s health status. Here at Country Home Assisted Living, we ensure that our residents have options for staying hydrated safely:   Low-fat milk—A good source of hydration in that it stays in the system longer than water. It also contains calcium, vitamins A & D, and protein. But it may not be the best option for people with high blood pressure or heart disease. Fruit juice—All-fruit...

Not All Assisted Living Facilities Accept Medicaid

Not all assisted living facilities are created equal – especially when it comes to getting help from Medicaid to pay for assisted living services. In fact, not every assisted living community accepts Medicaid.  That’s just one reason why it’s so important to do your research when looking for an assisted living facility for your aging parents or elderly loved ones. At Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, Colorado, we accept Medicaid. Because we do this, we are licensed by the state and are subject to periodic inspections to make sure we meet federal standards. We gladly do this because we want to provide care for those members of the elderly Colorado population who may not have a lot of money to spend on fancy facilities. That doesn’t mean the care is subpar. In fact, the care your loved ones receive at Country Home Assisted Living may actually be better because we are small and very attentive to all of our residents. We have two caregivers for our eight residents, offering a one-to-four ratio. If you are reviewing your options to pay for assisted living services, I am a good one to consult. As the owner of Country Home for 20 years, I accept both Medicaid and private pay residents. In my years of experience, I have noticed that Medicaid may not be the best funding source for every family’s assisted living needs. As I mentioned, not every assisted living facility is willing to accept the Medicaid reimbursement rates. Also, many facilities that accept Medicaid have waiting lists, so a room might not be available when you need it. All...

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...

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...