Home > Archives for Leslie Newlife

Modifications for A More Accessible Kitchen

by: Jessica Dubois

The kitchen is the star of your home. It’s where you play chef–dicing, slicing, and searing your way through three square meals a day. It’s also where your dearest friends and family come to share a meal together. Many fond moments (and delicious plates!) are created here, so you’ll want a space that ages seamlessly alongside you. The kitchen can also be a very hazardous area, and fires, burns, and falls are common amongst older residents. If you want to age-in-place, consider these modifications to keep the kitchen your favorite and most accessible part of your home.

Install Flooring With Stronger Gripkitchen image

With so many sharp utensils, hot appliances, and corners to fall into, you’ll want to remodel your kitchen in a way that helps secure your balance at all times. Research the safety score of each flooring material to ensure you install the best one for your lifestyle. Stone is a great option that has plenty of texture and deeper grout so that you can sustain traction throughout your most extensive cooking processes. If you’re looking for something a little softer on your feet (and in the case of a fall) cork and bamboo are also great non-slip options.

Incorporate Technology

There are tons of high-tech home appliances on the market. Although they may seem complex on the surface, the benefits they can serve are worth the upgrade. Hire a local plumber to help replace your faucet with a touchless version in order to make turning your water on and off easier. Aging hands often have difficulty with traditional faucet knobs. Going with a motion sensor version will additionally help reduce water waste and prevent the potential of flooding.

Fires are another hazard within the kitchen. Install smart smoke detectors that are paired with medical alert systems. If the detector is triggered, an operator will contact your home to check in about a potential emergency. If the call goes unanswered, they will immediately contact an emergency provider. Burns also can be mitigated by installing smart stovetop technology that monitors temperatures and turns off the appliance when inactive for a certain period of time.

Eliminate sharp corners

In the case that you do lose balance or regularly lean on your surroundings for support, eliminate any sharp edges or corners that you could potentially fall into. Round out the edges of any countertops or replace angular chairs and tables with designs that have softer lines. Opt for hardware that has a blunt design, such as a rounded pull on drawers. Taking these precautions will minimize the chance of bruises and injuries.

Opt for Drawers

When you think of a kitchen design, a line of deep cabinets are usually in the picture. However, the benefits of kitchen drawers may outweigh that of cabinets. Installing large, spacious drawers are not only easy on the hands when pulling them out, but also display everything you need all at once. Unlike cabinets, you won’t have to struggle to find the pots and pans you need. Drawers also keep your kitchen’s contents at a reachable level. Consider installing drawers that are wide and deep in measurements, which will allow for plenty of organization. This is key when maximizing the accessibility and functionality of your kitchen.

Bring Your Dinnerware Closer

If you find that you have difficulty reaching up into your cabinets to retrieve your plates and glassware, consider installing hanging storage beneath your cabinets. This will allow your dinnerware to be in plain sight for easy access without having to strain to grab them.

Rearrange appliances

Even if you are working with a smaller kitchen, accidents can still happen within short distances. If possible, move appliances like stoves closer to your sink area. This will help you minimize the distance you’ll have to travel in order to transfer hot pans or boiling water from stovetop to the sink. Closing in this distance will reduce the chance of spilling water on yourself and causing burns or on the floor, which can create a slipping hazard.

Your kitchen doesn’t have to be to off-limits as you age. By making the mentioned modifications, you can create a space that allows you to once again enjoy your favorite spot to share meals with loved ones in your home.

Current Trends In Senior Living

Options for seniors seeking living facilities beyond retirement range in levels of care, from independent living and Over 55 apartments, to continuing care and hospice. Current trends are changing the way industry providers market to the senior community and their families. 

In an article dated January 27, 2019, from Senior Housing News, one crucial trend was found in this survey.  Seniors today desire and have the ability to remain independent in their own homes. As older adults have become adept at, and have access to, the technology that allows them to have groceries delivered and wearable devices that monitor their health. As a result, they less likely to seek outside living arrangements, they are more likely to stay in their own homes longer. When marketing to seniors, it could be important to note these trends as they may have the effect seniors (and their loved ones) feel better about remaining in their own homes longer.

When maintaining a larger home becomes more difficult, many seniors still prefer smaller apartments. Apartment communities designated for the over 55 age bracket are growing. A designated over 55 apartment is smaller, equipped for the use of wheelchairs if needed, built with elevators on upper floors, provide social gatherings to interact with other over 55 tenants and occasional outings. 

Another opportunity has arisen for senior living providers as Medicare Advantage plans will begin to cover and reimburse for services that seniors had paid out of pocket in the past. According to this article, Medicare Advantage plans will allow some of the costs for more in-home services, including a senior’s own home or in more advanced senior housing settings.

The landscape for senior living providers is changing as today’s seniors are more active and health conscious. They place importance on eating healthier, want to be vibrant and live longer. Many opportunities exist for senior living providers to capitalize on these trends in 2019 and beyond.

Collaboration to Create an Inclusive Community

As the senior population continues to grow, the senior care industry is becoming increasingly more competitive. While assisted living and memory care communities continue to reach capacity, adult day programs offer a different type of care. A safe, structured environment during the day while younger caregivers go to work or spouses have a few hours to rest or get errands done is a service that is much more affordable than residential care. Often caregivers who keep their loved ones at home are less likely to reach out for help and are found to be experiencing caregiver burnout. It’s imperative to try to reach this population prior to a crisis, and start providing services to extend their preferred living arrangement. Where is marketing best applied to reach the target audience?

  • Senior Centers While this may be an obvious place to start, be creative in your approach. It may be worth asking a senior center to do a collaborative event/party with the day center participants as a volunteer opportunity for the senior center members. Spending some time with the day center participants will not only be beneficial to everyone but will also get the word out.
  • Churches Make a connection with the clergy of churches in your community and inform them of the services your company provides in case there are crisis calls they receive. This is especially useful if your day center offers crisis drop-ins.
  • Libraries Often libraries offer programs specifically catered to seniors of the community; ask about the potential opportunity to host one of these programs by providing refreshments in exchange for permission to have a table of materials at the event.
  • Assisted Living Communities While they may be considered competitors, if you can collaborate with an assisted living community to share referrals it would be mutually beneficial. Prospects who tour a community but aren’t ready to make the move may find that adult day services would allow them to stay in their current living situation longer; those who attend your day center and are ready to make a move to a memory care community likely would appreciate a referral from those they currently trust to care for their loved one.
  • Support Groups If there are active support groups in your area, connecting with them is a great way to find potential day center participants. If there aren’t any (or many) support groups, consider starting one! Offer quarterly educational classes to the community at large featuring speakers on dementia and aging. If your budget allows, host a meal to coincide the speaker.

While there are many contacts in a community who may make a referral to adult day services, collaboration is key to lasting success. By working with the organizations in your area, you will be able to share referrals to not only fill your day center openings but also create more dementia-friendly community. Think outside the box to come up with fun collaborative events like music concerts, picnics or barbecues, educational events, and volunteer opportunities to integrate your day center participants with the greater community and word will spread quickly about your offerings!

Alternate Pets For Seniors

Having a pet can be good for you. Pets provide companionship, they can prevent feelings of loneliness, and they generally improve their owner’s lives in many different ways. Seniors can benefit more from the bond shared with a pet than the rest of us do. However, seniors may also find it hard to care for traditional pets like a dog or a cat, particularly if they have age-related conditions to cope with.  Fortunately, there are pets that require less maintenance that they can be brought into the home as an alternate pet for seniors. fish image

1. Fish

While they might sound stereotypical, fish have several major advantages for seniors. First, they are relatively easy to take care of (provided you don’t go overboard with exotic, tropical fish). Secondly, they don’t go anywhere, so you never have to worry about them getting stuck under the stairs, or sneaking out of the house while you’re asleep. And they tend to be pretty to look at, which can make the aquarium a set piece, as well as a place for your pets.

2. Lizards

Also a touch on the exotic side, lizards are pets that seniors can still pick up, hold, stroke, and play with. However, they are less active than dogs and cats, and tend to be much more manageable in terms of size and speed. They’re still capable of showing affection, but they’ll spend a lot of their time sunning themselves in their tank.

3. Hamsters

While often thought of as pets for children, hamsters and gerbils can provide just as much entertainment and companionship for seniors. Easy to care for, and relatively cheap, these furry little sidekicks are no real trouble. And if you want to let them out of their cage to roam around, you just need to make sure they have a ball you can put them in.

9 Tips for Marketing Effectively to Seniors Citizens

by: Lidia Hovhan

When you think of marketing to seniors you may have typical beliefs such as increasing fonts and using pictures of old people. It really isn’t quite all that. These may be common features in many businesses but the trick to getting their attention is not just all about featuring those elements. Unlike popular belief, the baby boomer generation does spend a lot of time online and they are not so unlike other generations. However, there are some distinctions you should follow when marketing to an older demographic. 

Tip 1.    Use Relatable Language

If you want to get the attention of someone, you have to speak their language. Marketing to seniors means eliminating teenage jargon, trendy language, and internet slang.

Unlike millennials who thrive on drama, baby boomers just want plain information. They want to know how your product or service is going to improve the quality of their life. It may seem traditional or old school but it is what they want.

Of course, you can still be creative and clever. You’ll just have to stop using words they are not familiar with and they didn’t grow up with. Avoid words that can confuse like “ROFLCOPTER” and “AIIGHT.” If you are making a joke with these it will only get lost to them and so will your joke and your sales.

Tip 2.    Senior People Make Their Own Purchases

Seniors are not helpless and are totally capable of taking care of themselves including their needs. They can make their own decisions and like to make their own choices. Don’t assume that you need to speak to a third party such as a caregiving audience or a relative in order to sell your products.

Tip 3.    They Don’t have the Same Criteria as Younger Generations

When you are selling a product or service to someone the main point is you are into selling the product but rather what the product will do for them. For example, if your product is a hair curler what you are selling are the curls it can create. The company that can convince people that they can make superior curls wins.

When it comes to seniors, they don’t necessarily want the same things a teenager wants, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want the same products. You’ll just have to discover why they would want it. It’s all about knowing their wants and needs so you can align your marketing to their goals.

Tip 4.    Make it easy for them

Seniors didn’t grow up with the iPhone and other gadgets so requiring certain actions on a web page design or in an app can be a little bit challenging for them.  They may need to learn a lot about hamburger menu is or whether it’s something they should be clicking on.

If you are marketing to a wider audience, requiring people to click on symbols or read the fine print may mean you will lose a huge portion of your potential senior customers. These are not just for seniors but for everyone; all can benefit from an easy, clear sales process.

Tip 5.    Use Multi-Channel Marketing

Only 27% of adults 65 and over owned smartphones according to the Pew Research Center. This means more seniors live in the offline world and if you want to reach them you are going to have a harder time if you will simply rely on mobile and internet. If you want to reach a large part of your senior market you have to use multi-channel marketing by targeting them online and offline. You can use online marketing but a majority of your efforts should be where your market is found so adopting a mixture of offline and online marketing efforts is the proper strategy. You may also consider email marketing automation to fast-track your marketing efforts, too.

Tip 6.    Something Familiar

People want something familiar and are naturally drawn to it. Seniors have always received advertisements and physical catalogs in the mails so it makes sense to market to them through this channel. Older people want something physical or tangible to hold on to with their hands like a paper catalog. If you don’t’ have a catalog yet it is easy to print one over the internet. Catalog marketing isn’t dead and companies like Birchbox and Bonobos are starting to mail catalogs to their subscribers.

Tip 7.    Personalized Experience

The customer service that older generations have come to know is good quality customer service that was always personal and automated or self-service was almost unheard of. A live person on the other end of the phone to talk to in the customer service department was always present. Personalized experiences are remembered for a long time and baby boomer are used to this personal touch. Make a lot of effort to add personalization to your marketing efforts. It can be as simple as having a live person respond to customer service inquiries with a simple phone call.

Tip 8.    Trust

Make sure that you earn a senior’s trust. When you ask the or personal information make sure you have explained explicitly why such activities are necessary. Explain to them how it can help in their overall shopping experience. Give them the security that their personal information is safe and secure. Money back guarantees and testimonials also help foster trust in seniors and practically any client.

Tip 9.    Visuals

Selecting images is important when marketing to seniors. Most people see themselves as 5-10 years younger than they actually are, so factor this in when selecting an image that goes with content. You must use images and visuals that are relatable to your audience.

What People Look For When Choosing a Nursing Home

One of the hardest decisions we will ever face is choosing a long-term care facility for a loved one or ourselves. I will never forget the look on my mother’s face the day we left her at the local nursing home. It was a look of desperation, sadness, and betrayal. Entrusting someone you do not know to provide for your needs or the needs of someone you love is scary to say the least. That is why choosing the right nursing home is such an important task. If you want to attract new residents to your facility, you need to understand what residents and their families are looking for.

From my experience as a daughter and granddaughter of previous long term care residents; there are a few things that would make some nursing home facilities stand out above the others. 

  1. A Caring Staff
  2. Accessible Technology
  3. A Feeling of Home
  4. Social Activities

The decision to place yourself or someone you love into a nursing home is tough on everyone involved. Family members are left with feelings of guilt and anxiety. Are they doing the right thing? What kind of care will my loved one receive in this facility? On the other hand, residents are faced with leaving the comforts of their own home, being away from family, friends and loved ones. They often feel alone, lost, angry and unloved. This is where having caring staff can be so important. Counseling services for both the resident and family members should be a priority. Highly qualified nurses and staff should strive to maintain a good rapport with both patients and their families. Always acknowledge any concerns and make sure the needs of your residents are being met to the best of your abilities. Residents will choose facilities that can reassure them they are in a safe and secure place where they can look forward to spending the rest of their golden years.

Another important asset is offering a variety of opportunities to connect and communicate with loved ones. Oftentimes, family members are unable to visit as often as they would like. In today’s hectic world, people sometimes prefer to stay in contact with each other through the use of technology. Facilities providing access to technological tools such as facetime, e-mail, and social media platforms allow for residents to interact with others in multiple ways, helping them to feel more connected to the outside world.

More often than not, once a family member is placed in a nursing home, visitation from loved ones begins to dwindle, leaving the resident feeling forgotten and unloved. Be sure your facility portrays the warm, cozy feeling of being at home. Include accessible areas for family members, especially those with young children. An outside park, play area, or an indoor family game room would be great attractions.  What grandparent doesn’t want to be able to spend some fun time with their grandchildren, even when staying in a nursing home? These types of areas would encourage family members to want to visit more. A welcoming, family oriented environment is an excellent way to draw in prospective residents and their families.

Last, but definitely not least on the list, would be the inclusion of social activities allowing residents to interact with one another, make new friends, and learn new skills. For example, my grandmother loved to play BINGO and attend special events at her nursing home. These types of activities helped to keep her active and alert. Field trips to age appropriate functions within the community are also a must. For bedridden patients, the facility should encourage volunteers within the community to visit, play board games, read, sing, etc., with these patients daily. My mother suffered from dementia and rarely left her room, knowing someone was interacting with her during the day helped tremendously and reassured us she wasn’t being isolated.

What families and residents need most out of a nursing home facility, is a caring and sympathetic staff willing to give support to both the family and residents, multiple opportunities for residents to interact with friends and family, an atmosphere that make residents feel at home, and an active social environment. If your facility has these major attractions, family members and future residents will be lining up at the door to be a part of your community.

Preventing Falls in People with a Dementia Diagnosis

If you care for a person with dementia, you know that falls are a cause for alarm. People with cognitive impairments, like Alzheimer’s disease, are more likely to experience a fall. The fall risk that accompanies age is generally tied to changes in physical health and mental well-being.  Some falls may cause serious injury and depending on the individual’s physical function, recovery may be difficult.

Prevention is Key:

  • Environmental adaption
  • Reduce prescription of antipsychotic medications in the elderly
  • Improved intercommunication between healthcare providers
  • Individualize tasks paired with the right amount of support

Communication and Dementia

Effective communication is the cornerstone to caring for a person with dementia. As a person with Alzheimer’s disease progresses through the stages of dementia, their ability to communicate with language becomes impaired. They also process more slowly and have shorter attention spans.

Eyes to the Front of the Room!

Because people with a dementia diagnosis have impaired attention spans, it is important to ensure you have gained their attention. As you engage with them, adapt your speaking pace to match the person’s processing abilities. Try to use short phrases and balance your body language with what you are saying.

Case Scenario:

Jessica helps her father take care of his older sister who has Alzheimer’s disease. She needs assistance with activities of daily living.

While Jessica is scooping out some ice cream for dessert, she may say to her Aunt:

“Hi, Aunty! Let’s eat some ice cream.”

Scenario Review:

In the short narrative above, Jessica is matching her behavior with what she is saying. This helps communicate a clear message and eliminates any guessing work. It also builds trust and rapport.

Celebrate All Successes

No matter how big or small, it’s important to recognize and acknowledge successful performance. This is important because it reinforces that what a person does really matters.

Ultimately, improving environmental safety, effectively communicating and individualizing tasks paired with just the right amount of support can go a long way towards fall prevention.

Self-Care as a Caregiver

It’s nearly impossible to take care of someone else if you’re not first taking care of your own mental and physical health. When your needs are taken care of, the person you’re caring for will benefit as well. It’s not uncommon for caregivers to experience sleep deprivation, poor eating habits, limited exercise, and anxious feelings. Additionally, caregivers are likely to postpone making their own medical appointments due to lack of free-time, which can prolong or worsen an existing illness or ailment. Because of this, it is important to practice self-care and start consistently incorporating healthy habits.

Here are a few ways to start incorporating self-care into your daily routine in a realistic and attainable way!

1. Learn to manage personal stressors

Stress is more than having an anxiety attack or having heart palpitations, as there are many signs that may not seem very obvious. If you’re experiencing irritability, forgetfulness, or you’re having trouble sleeping, these may all be signs that you’re building up stress. It’s important to first identify what in your life is causing your anxiety. Is it your job? Issues with your family? Or maybe you have trouble telling people “no?” From here it’s critical to determine which stressors you actually have control over and which ones you don’t. For the stressors you can change, it’s crucial to take action early on and to accept the things you cannot change.

It’s also essential to find ways to reduce your feelings of stress. There isn’t one perfect stress-reducing practice that’s effective for everyone, so it’s important to test out different stress reducers to figure out what helps you. These activities can include meditating, completing an exercise routine, or visiting with a friend.

2. Ask for help

It can be easy to get into the mindset that it’ll just be easier if you do everything yourself. This way, you don’t have to spend time explaining to someone else how you’d like something done and you won’t feel like you’re a bother. However, no one can do everything themselves and it’s essential that you delegate tasks or ask for help in areas where you could use it. Don’t be afraid to utilize community resources, friends, and especially other employees.

This can even be talking to someone who is supportive or who can help sustain your mental health. A therapist, trusted colleague, religious figure, or family member are all great resources. Caregiving takes a toll both mentally and physically, so always remember you are never on your own.

3. Practice self-compassion

Being kind to yourself is necessary to execute proper self-care. Practicing self-compassion means acknowledging your strengths as a caregiver and letting go of guilt. It’s about forgiving yourself for any mistakes you’ve made as well as taking the time to accept who you are as an individual. It’s also important not to feel guilty about taking time to focus on your own wants and needs.

Pencil in time to take a relaxing bath, read a good book, go for a peaceful walk, or even take a day off when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Pay close attention to your body and mind in order to practice positive self-compassion.

4. Eat well and get more rest

A caregiver’s role is hectic and time-consuming, making it hard to plan healthy meals and get enough sleep. However, getting a good night’s sleep and maintaining proper nutrition through your meal choices are both vital. You can accomplish this by first creating a consistent nighttime routine. Implementing a routine helps your body register that it’s time to go to sleep. This can include washing your face, stretching, reading, and/or meditating.

Eating well can help you avoid burnout. It’s a good idea to avoid processed foods as these increase inflammation in the body, which can already occur due to stress. Pack healthy snacks to have throughout the day and your meals don’t have to be complex or take long to cook. There are plenty of healthy eating tips and recipes to follow to make your life easier!

For more articles on caregiving, go here!

Top Technology Trends for Senior Living Facilities

“Technology trends” might not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering the future of senior living communities. But as in almost every other industry, technological shifts both large and small will continue to impact senior and assisted living facilities.

Here are some of the top technologies impacting senior living facilities:

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has many possible applications for technology in assisted living facilities. In combination with smart devices (see below), AI can provide remote monitoring of patients’ vital signs, predict and detect falls, provide automatic updates to loved ones, and reduce the time care providers spend on documentation and compliance paperwork.

IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionized homes, businesses, and healthcare. A wide variety of “smart” devices can now be connected, monitored remotely, and updated on the fly. Managing connected devices securely and efficiently is key to using IoT in any healthcare facility, including senior living communities. Facilities need to consider their overall network and device management when choosing connected devices, and they need to prepare for a future involving more and more possibilities for connection.

Electronic Personal Health Records

Electronic personal health records (EHR) are becoming increasingly common across the healthcare industry, including in senior and assisted living facilities. Compared to paper records, EHR offers many benefits: more efficient communication, more accessible records, reduced errors. Facilities will need to consider the right software for their unique workflow and culture, and factor in the learning curve when introducing sophisticated new technology to staff.

Blockchain

Blockchain, a decentralized data management system, offers opportunities for the healthcare sector, including senior and assisted living facilities. Blockchain could help a facility manage data across several locations, maintain complex patient records, or coordinate insurance claims. Blockchain is still an emerging technology, and its potential for use in senior living communities has yet to be fully realized.

No matter how new technology shapes the future of senior living facilities, connection is still the key to thriving senior communities. Contact New LifeStyles today for more resources on senior care.

How to Avoid Long-Term Care Surprised by Planning Ahead

by: Jim Vogel

If you or a loved one needed a nursing home next week, would you know how to pay for it? Planning for long-term care is important. However, too many people fail to talk about it with their loved ones in advance and end up without a plan when the time comes to begin making decisions about long-term care.

Anticipate All of Your Health and Care Costs

The costs of medical care seem to rise with age. For adults who are 65 and older, Medicare can provide help with those costs, but coverage can be limited. That’s why most seniors who are eligible for Medicare opt for additional Medicare Advantage coverage. Medicare Advantage plans can help offset expenses for things like eye exams and dental care. You should do your homework to figure out whether Medicare Advantage coverage could help you or your senior loved one with medical expenses down the road.

One thing to keep in mind is that there is very little Medicare coverage for long-term care. If you have certain Medicare plans, you may be covered for short stays following a hospitalization or to treat or prevent medical conditions. However, for most seniors, the average annual costs of their long-term care needs will not be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or any other health insurance. You can expect to pay up to$100,000 each year for skilled care facilities, and you should expect to cover those costs in other ways.

Start Planning for Long-Term Care Costs ASAP 

If you or a senior dependent requires a lengthy stay in a long-term care facility, you could be left footing a huge bill out of your own pocket. However, if you can plan ahead for those costs, you may have many more options for covering those high long-term care bills. For one, you can research insurance plans that may help you pay for long-term care. Long-term care insurance plans tend to be expensive, but if you sign up when you are younger, your premiums have the potential to be much less than if you shop for plans when you are older.

Opening an HSA is also a good option for adults who are planning for long-term care costs ahead of time. You can begin contributing to your HSA early, but those contributions must stop when you become eligible for Medicare. You can use the money in your HSA to help with care costs even if you are enrolled in Medicare.

Of course, financial planning is not the only way you can anticipate your long-term care needs. Better health choices, such as getting more exercise, can help seniors fight off health conditions that could require a lengthy stay in a long-term care facility.

Know How to Pay for Long-Term Care Without Planning

Many times, the need for long-term care is unexpected. Although most seniors will need some form of long-term care in their lifetime, many still do not plan appropriately for it. If you did not plan ahead, but you do own a home, you may be in luck: You could use home equity to get the cash you need for care costs. There are several different options open to homeowners, from taking out a reverse mortgage to selling your property outright. If you think you will be returning to your home, or if long-term care is needed by a loved one, a reverse mortgage may be your best bet. Make sure you know the pros and cons of taking this kind of loan out on your home. Confirm that you can handle the payments or you could end up losing your home.

Another funding choice for long-term care costs is to cash out life insurance. If you have tons of coverage or multiple policies, this could be a safe bet for you. Once again, read the fine print before you make any major financial decision to pay for long-term care.                  

Don’t let long-term care cause you unnecessary stress or derail your retirement plans. If you can manage it, make a plan for long-term care ahead of time. If not, do your homework to figure out a financial option that will work best for you.