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Decluttering and Organizational Tips for Residential Care Homes

Many businesses start out in an organized manner but as they grow, they become more and more disorganized. There might be less space in their offices. Their files might be all over the place. They might have enough staff in certain positions but there might be a lack of employees in other positions. These issues can be seen in many businesses, including residential care homes.

Dealing with the Needs of Many Individuals

If you’re the owner of a residential care home, you may be dealing with some issues like these. Given that you’re dealing with the needs of many individuals, it might be hard to keep everything running smoothly. After all, each individual is different and you have to respect their individual eccentricities. And this goes for your residents as well as your employees.

Taking Stock of Clutter in Your Offices

The first thing you might want to do is to clear out your physical space. You must have offices which you use to run your residential care home. Are these offices cluttered? Do you have files sitting around from twenty years ago which are of no use to anyone? Do you have books, gifts, certificates and other paraphernalia which you haven’t wanted to part with because of their sentimental value?

Deciding What Should Stay and What Should Go

It’s time to let all these things go. Take a good hard look at everything that’s cluttering up your office space and encourage your employees to do the same. Old files can all be digitized. You can allow yourself a few knickknacks which have sentimental value. These will give your offices personality. But if you’re holding on to that handmade cross stitch cushion out of a sense of guilt (even though you think it’s really ugly) then put it in the “throw” pile.

Decluttering Your Offices and Your Mind

In this way, you can declutter your offices and even your mind. If there are any work-related problems that have been bothering you for some time, you might even find yourself stumbling across the solutions while decluttering. Eventually, you’ll find that your residential care home is running a lot more smoothly due to your decluttering efforts.

Protecting Your Loved Ones From Toxins

by: Rachel Lynch

Caring for a loved one is no easy task, and the number of Americans who take on the arduous role is astronomical. In the last 12 months, 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older. Making the choice about what type of care best serves your loved one is multidimensional to say the least. Whether you decide to move them in with you, find a care facility, or something in between, it is important to ensure their living environment is conducive to happy and healthy days.

Regardless of your decision, it is in everyone’s best interest to inspect the facility for household toxins before making a commitment about where your loved one will spend their time.Toxin Image

Asbestos

Asbestos is a microscopic particulate mineral once commonly included in building materials between 1930 and 1970. The mineral was used in numerous capacities, including ceiling/floor tiles, insulation, wallpaper, and furnaces. Do not shy away from asking about any potential exposure to the toxin if your home, or the housing facility you’re considering for your loved one, was built during those decades.

Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma cancer, a rare and very aggressive disease. The cancer develops in the lining of the organs after inhalation of asbestos fibers. The most common form is pleural mesothelioma, and symptoms of the disease include chest pain and shortness of breath. Take a moment to talk about potential risks with the person you’re caring for when discussing asbestos with facility management.

Asbestos was also commonly used in the armed forces, so veterans may have been exposed to the toxin during their service years. Tens of thousands of veterans who worked with asbestos while in the Armed Forces have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases, so the discussions are warranted.

Lead

While lead-based products are now illegal to use in the United States, structures built prior to 1978 commonly had lead-based paint decorating the walls. Lead is a cumulative toxicant, meaning it is stored in the teeth and bones, so lead levels in the body increase over time. Lead in the body is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney, and bones. Human exposure is usually assessed through the measurement of lead in blood, and there is no known safe level of lead exposure.

Exposure to lead causes long-term harm in adults, including increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage. According to the a report from the

Department of Medicine at the University of Washington, lead exposure in older adults, lead can reenter the bloodstream through conditions such as osteoporosis, where it can then re-expose the soft tissue, and, potentially, exert delayed harmful effects. Lead paint is indistinguishable from those free of the toxin, so testing is required to determine if there is a risk of harmful exposure. All testing should be performed by a certified professional. Ask facility management about the age of the building and, if applicable, if they’ve had lead testing done in the space.

Carbon Monoxide

The elderly are especially susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is produced when you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. The toxic gas can build up indoors and poison those who breathe it. The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion, and symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning not linked to fires. Make sure there are carbon monoxide detectors with working batteries installed. The detectors should be placed in spots where they will wake the person up in the case of an emergency, such as outside the bedroom, and should be replaced every five years. if considering a housing facility, ask management when they last had their carbon monoxide detectors serviced.

Caring for a loved one is taxing work but taking a moment to ensure your loved ones are safe from the effects of toxins can assure you have more happy moments with them in your life. Asking questions and advocating for their health will help put your mind at ease, even when you’re unable to be with them.

Advertising End of Life Care: A Delicate Balance

It is difficult for anyone, client or provider, to adopt the right tone when speaking of hospice care. Maintaining positivity while showing respect for potential clients who are grieving is a delicate balance, but it is one worth chasing. Finding the right words attracts more clients to your services, but also begins this painful process in a way that leads to better, more meaningful outcomes for families. So how is it done?

Avoid Euphemism

Step away from euphemism when speaking to potential clients. Avoiding use of the words ‘dying’ or ‘death’ may seem gentle, but it may lead families to feel uncomfortable asking the questions that matter to them. Using direct language in respectful tones lets them know that you understand fully that they are experiencing a deep loss, and that they do not need to temper their language to meet your needs. Clients are likely to choose the facility that makes them ‘feel comfortable’, and this is the easiest way to achieve that.

Ask Questions

Ask multiple times what their concerns are about hospice care. They likely have several, and any industry professional knows the most common ones. But people may shy away from a  particular provider over some small detail that means nothing to the provider, but brings back an emotional memory having nothing to do with care. For example, if there is a room outfitted to show potential clients that is painted a particular shade of pink that their loved one hated, it may simply be a matter of letting them know there is a room available in a different color. It seems trivial, but the experience of grief is deeply personal, and such a small matter may be the difference between your facility and choosing another.

Allow Plenty Of Time

Finally, you must allow time. Once hospice care enters the conversation, families often feel rushed to make decisions by doctors and hospitals whom they feel are indifferent to their impending loss. Frequently, they are rushed through the health care system with inadequate explanation to meet their needs. Your facility shines when it takes the clock off the wall and addresses each family’s needs, and hears its stories. To whatever degree it is possible, allow a family to talk as much as they like, and encourage them to ask all their questions,  and make time to listen.

Long illness strains family relationships and individuals. It can involve long nights awake, protracted battles with insurance companies, and difficult decisions. What hospice must therefore offer is rest.  A place where client and family can repair their relationships and say their goodbyes, and be reassured of comfort and peace, at home or in a facility.  That is the true gift of hospice care.

Tips to Help Seniors Move as Smoothly as Possible

By: Olivia Parker

Everyone has to move at various stages of their lives. Perhaps you may need to do things a bit differently as you get older, maybe take more time; nevertheless, you can successfully complete a move just like anyone else. There is no reason you should feel like your age prohibits you from getting the job done.

With the right planning, and by following the tips below, a senior citizen can plan and execute a successful move just like anyone else.

Don’t Go It Alone!

The first thing any senior needs is assistance. Planning something as complicated as a move is not something you want to do alone. Don’t be afraid to ask family members or friends to assist. A common misperception for any person moving households—not just the elderly—is that it’s shameful to ask for help. Don’t be too proud to contact others for support.

However, not everyone has close family nearby or friends that can make the time to help. If this is the case, don’t despair. There are knowledgeable, reputable moving companies who provide transport and offer services for helping seniors pack and secure valuables. Besides, even with family and friends to assist, you will eventually need a professional service to get the move done right. 

Plan It All Out
The most important thing you need to make your move go smoothly is formulating an appropriate plan that fits your schedule and physical abilities. As soon as you can, after you know a move will take place, start thinking about what you need to do.

A senior citizen moving plan can be broken down into three basic components: a schedule, the packing, and the actual move.

  • Coordinate a Schedule

Develop and coordinate a schedule. You can alter the times or days based on when the most helpers are available. You can also determine how long you have before the moving company arrives and the house or apartment must be emptied.

  • Take the Time to Pack Beforehand
    Seniors will often have special keepsakes or valuables they have accumulated over the years. These items are important to you, and you want to have assistance to ensure they arrive in one piece.

Ensure you spend whatever amount of time necessary to plan the packing process for these things. Schedule enough time so that movers or family and friends can safely organize and pack everything in the home to your satisfaction.

By the time it is time to physically move everything, sentimental items should be packed safely and ready for transport.

  • Prepare Your Team for the Move

No matter who is helping with your move, consider how many people will be doing the job and, more importantly, who among the group can carry heavier objects, like furniture, safely and without damage.

Senior citizens may want to seriously consider professional services for this sort of work.

Friends and family may have the strength and willingness to move heavy pieces of furniture, but they may not have the experience to do so correctly without injuring themselves or damaging the furniture. Moving Boxes Image

 

Follow the Plan to Protect Your Most Valuable Items

Go through all your belongings and ensure all the valuables are safely stored. Separate the most valuable items from the rest. You won’t be able to watch everyone all the time while they are moving your items out of the house. However, by separating the costly and/or sentimental possessions you have accumulated over your lifetime out from the more mundane items, you will ensure you can personally supervise their packing and handling. This will also make the moving process much less stressful.

Some people may try to pack while moving. However, with senior moving, this could become very complicated and stressful. Often, seniors have been living in the same residence for decades. Planning the packing up of all your precious memories may take longer. Whoever helps you with this must be patient and willing to take the time to meet your needs and expectations.

Don’t forget about labeling the boxes carefully. It will make unpacking a lot easier.

 

Moving Day

Since you will have packed your most sentimental items well ahead of time, when the actual moving date arrives it should be a very easy process. The moving company only needs to pack your larger pieces such as furniture, load the truck, and transport your items to the next location.

You may also want to consider having a couple of family members or friends available on the day of the actual move to help coordinate the activities and answer any questions the moving company may have.

It is very important that you hire a reputable and professional moving company. Moving senior citizens requires sensitivity because they may have lived in their residence for a long time, and patience because of their precious belongings. Only the most experienced and well-trained professionals should help the elderly move.

Crossing Sign

Safety

You should always be concerned about safety when moving. You should not try to move heavy furniture or boxes yourself. Let the professionals take care of that. Senior citizens can easily harm themselves, as they are not accustomed to heavy lifting or moving oversized or odd-sized objects.

If you do need to move something, ask someone to assist you. Even better, express your concerns or needs to the moving professionals and let them move the object(s) for you.

Final Thoughts

Moving is stressful at any age, but can be particularly so for the elderly. As long as you use these tips as a guideline, you should have a safe, smooth, and uneventful move.

The key is to plan ahead. If you can develop and implement a proper plan, you will have a safe and stress-free move. Recruit friends and family to help with the organization and carefully research your moving company to ensure they can accommodate your specific move.

That way, you can concentrate on planning the placement of your household effects in your new residence.

Home Care Assisted Living

Home Sweet Home Image

As we get older, our bodies as well as our minds change. For many, lives can become very static for the last few decades of life. We become set in our routines, surrounded by objects and mementos that remind us of our lives and personal history. It is a comfort found in familiarity. Sometimes this existence even replaces social outlets, as friends and family begin to dwindle, often leaving the elderly with only memories of their past to keep them company.

As our lives begin to wind down, some might face dementia or simply find ourselves embedded in our routines and environments to the point where a major move or change becomes upsetting. Completely changing a person’s surroundings, especially if they are battling Alzheimer’s or dementia, could be unnecessarily traumatic. Even to the point where it could cause depression, and affect their quality of life. They might become angry, confused, and even try to “return” home. Which can all stress them out to the point where it shortens what remaining years they have.

Also, not all elderly people become reclusive. Sometimes they are surrounded by friends and family, loved ones who make regular visits. They have a set routine with healthy social outlets that keep their minds and spirits up. They might have everything they need to live out the rest of their lives in happiness and comfort without needing to be moved to a facility.  The elderly can find comfort in familiar surroundings, continue with the same access to friends & loved ones, and get to keep the enjoyment they have grown to appreciate where they have been for so many years already. Safe and sound at home.

What if you could make your loved one as comfortable as possible, with all the benefits of care right at home? This is not only possible, but sometimes the best decision you can make with your family. With much the same care that can be found at an assisted living community, or even a nursing home, your loved one can avoid the confusion and depression which can follow a big move. Their medical treatment will continue to fit in with their current routine.

A network of trained professionals offer the services of daily home care care such as laundry, cooking, cleaning, and helping your loved one with difficult tasks such as hygiene and making their appointments to getting their hair done, see doctors and more or transport to where they need to be. Assistants also offer companionship for what could potentially become a lonely existence, even surrounded by the accumulation of their lives and past.

These later years in one’s life should be met with caring and compassion. For many, the result of leaving home to start a new adventure with new people might be exciting and liberating, yet for others the positive aspects of this are often lost to the fear and confusion of such a major change happening at a vulnerable point in their lives. It is good to know and explore all possible options.

Fun In the Sun: Outside Activities for Seniors

By: Kaki Zell

With the weather finally heating up as we head into summer, now is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Some seniors may have certain mobility limitations, but there are plenty of low-impact activities to do during the warm months that won’t stress your body. Indeed, staying active — no matter your age — is one of the best ways to maintain mobility and health. Here are 11 outside activities that seniors can enjoy this summer and beyond:

Swimming PictureTake a Dip

Getting in the pool is an excellent workout for anyone, but it’s especially beneficial for those with joint pain, as the buoyancy of the water actually reduces stress on the joints. You can swim laps if you’re feeling up to it, or sign up for a low-impact water aerobics class. If those are still too intense for you, just getting in the pool and moving or paddling around is a great start.

Stroll Around Your City

Walking is one of the simplest exercises around — all you need is a pair of supportive walking shoes, and you’re set. This everyday, low-cost activity offers a host of benefits, from improving heart health to decreasing blood sugar to strengthening your muscles. Try incorporating a daily stroll around your neighborhood after dinner. If you’re already in the habit of a daily stroll and want to shake up your routine, seek out local walking tours so you can learn as you move.

Go Fishing

Did you know that one of your favorite hobbies is also good for you? Not only does fishing get you out in nature, it can help improve hand-eye coordination and build muscles in your arms, shoulder, back and legs. Of course, fishing is also an excellent way to relax and de-stress, as well as a great opportunity to either take in some alone time or bond with family or friends, depending on your style.

Attend a Sporting Event

While you may or not participate in sports yourself, summer is a great time to take in an outdoor game and enjoy the weather while you cheer on your team. In-season sports during the summer include soccer, baseball, tennis and golf, and football preseason games start later in the season. Team options include major or minor leagues, colleges, local clubs — and don’t forget your grandson’s Little League team. If you don’t want to sit on the sidelines, you can also consider becoming a referee for a local sports league.

Community Yoga Classes  Yoga Picture

This low-impact workout has a ton of benefits: reducing hypertension, strengthening bones, staving off weight gain, reducing anxiety, protecting your joints, improving balance and boosting your mind and mood. Once the weather gets warm, many studios sponsor outdoor classes at the park or other outdoor venues, such as the local football stadium. If you have joint issues, an athletic brace can give you the support you need for yoga.

Attend Community Events

Many communities host various events year round, and when warm weather comes, they take these activities outside. Many cities and towns put on fireworks shows and parades around summer holidays, such as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Other popular outdoor summer events include concerts, plays, fairs, rodeos and car shows, some of which may be free to attend. Check your local newspaper or neighborhood forum for event postings.

Spend Some Time in Nature

This can be as simple as ambling around the walking path in your neighborhood or paying a visit to the local park or even just sitting on your back porch. If you can, bring along a kite or other activity to the park to pass the time. If you’re sticking close to home, try a low-impact yard game such as horseshoes, cornhole, ring toss or bocce ball.

Pack a Picnic

Speaking of nature, summer is the perfect time to throw some sandwiches in a basket and head to your local park for a picnic. If you’d like to make it into an event, invite some friends and ask each guest to bring a picnic-perfect food that’s easily transportable, such as fruit salad or baked chips.

Gardening PictureGet Gardening  

Many plants and vegetables are in season during the summer, so it’s time to get outside and tend the garden if you have one — and if you don’t have a full-on garden, you can still keep potted plants on your patio or balcony to add some green to your life. Many communities offer a garden club, so check to see if there’s one in your area that you can join to meet fellow garden enthusiasts. If you don’t have a garden of your own, see if you can pick berries or other seasonal fruit at a local farm.

 

Visit the Zoo

Most zoo exhibits are at least partially outside, so summer is the perfect time to visit them. Not only will you get your steps in, you’ll also meet lots of animals and learn about their habits. Make sure your route goes through inside exhibits, such as the reptile building, to give yourself a break from the sun, and try going either early in the morning or towards the evening to avoid the worst heat of the day.

Go for a Boat Ride

If you live near the ocean, a lake or another body of water, take advantage of your access and go for a boat ride. If you’re not lucky enough to own a boat, check out local companies to rent a craft for the day. And if you’re not up to sailing or paddling your own, see if you can hire a crew to take you out on the water so you can kick back and enjoy the sea breeze.

If you’re not sure how to enjoy the warm weather, these 11 ideas can help get you started. Staying active is critical for maintaining physical and mental health as you age, and getting outside is a great way for seniors to shake up their routine and get some sunshine at the same time.

Activity Tips for Memory Care Facilities

Memory Care Picture

On the website Science Direct, Chinese researchers Qiu-Yue Wang and Dong-MeiLi discuss the effects of skilled art therapy upon seniors with dementia. Because the therapy doesn’t include traditional tools such as pharmaceuticals or more formal psychological techniques, this form of treatment is affordable for senior residence facilities at little additional cost.

Language skills are often challenged as we grow older. Whether the patient’s disability is a physical one, or a mental one, humans are accustomed to achieving resolution of problems through the use of words to express the problem, and to work through to the solution. By using self-expression through the use of line drawings or color, the patient is able to express negative emotions and obtain psychological relief without achieving a more difficult verbalization of their angst.

This process not only relieves the patient of some of the anxiety, but it relieves the frustration of the caregivers as well. The study of art therapy evolved from the art world, and gradually, over decades,  merged psychological analytical techniques with artistic interpretations of works created by dementia patients. The resolution (by the supervised patient) of the dissonance within the artworks had a corresponding effect on the mood and social skills of the patient.

The techniques of the therapy still need more structure, and the study of skilled art therapy is still in its formative stages, but the process of introducing memory patients to artistic skills is well-documented as being beneficial.

A similar therapy is reminiscence therapy, where people suffering from dementia are exposed to their memories from a happier or more understandable time.

The website Daily Caring outlines ways in which seniors can be effectively engaged in reminiscence therapy. The idea is to transport the patient mentally to a place in their memory that was more understandable to them. Remember to steer them away from the probability of depression or futility by focusing on their initial reactions to a topic or scenario.

The editorial staff of Daily Caring suggests music, photographs or keepsakes, smells or favorite foods, and arts or crafts as initial stimuli for a trip down memory lane.

Involvement in intuitive forms of communication like artistic expression and personal memories can be a low-cost strategy for keeping your seniors happier for a longer period of time. The presence of such activity on your activity schedule gives confidence to prospective customers.

The Benefits of Selling Your Life Insurance Policy

 

Life Insurance Picture

by: Cory Young

Have you ever thought about selling your life insurance policy? Life insurance policies can be deemed an asset, but usually there is no specific monetary value attached to the policy. Lately, the question, “Can I sell my life insurance?” has been common among seniors looking to leverage their insurance policies for financial gain.

Selling your life insurance policy is a great way to pay for long-term care when compared to accepting the cash surrender value of the policy after terminating it. You’ll no longer need to pay the monthly premiums on the policy, and the influx of cash to pay for senior care will help keep you financially stable.

While paying for senior care is one of the major benefits of selling your life insurance policy, Mason Finance has developed an engaging infographic outlining some additional benefits and statistics to help you in this process.