Sunday, December 17, 2017

Memory Care during the Holiday Season

Consider very carefully any inclination to take your loved one out of their familiar surroundings during the holidays.  While it is not always a problem, it can be.  Families are tempted to take their loved one home for a holiday party or dinner.  Others may want to take them to a holiday show or out to see the holiday lights.  Many times this change in their usual environment, away from the familiar surroundings and the people that they are comfortable with can cause great distress for them.  Rev. Bob Davis who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease wrote in his book My Journey into Alzheimer’s Disease the following about different surroundings.   “Leaving the routine of being around my familiar home, having more people and excitement around than I am accustomed to, varying my ritual for taking care of my grooming and health care, being unable to lie down and nap at my usual times, all brought me to a place of not being able to make the most basic decisions for myself, not even how to relieve my discomfort.”  Rev. Davis’ insights are not uncommon.  You and your family may want to join in the community's holiday party instead of risking bringing your loved one into an unfamiliar environment.
Rev. Davis’ wife writes of her journey with her husband, “live every day to the glory of God.  Do every bit of good we can do for as long as we can do it.  We have prepared for the worst and we are going to live expecting the best.  If the worst comes we are ready for it.  If it doesn’t, we will not have wasted today worrying about it.”

Here are some great holiday gift ideas:
·       Easy to remove clothing
·       Old time musical tapes: Lawrence Welk, Big Bands, Kate Smith
·       Home video of family members
·       Videos of “I Love Lucy” or “The Honeymooners”
·       Photo Albums
·       Socks
·       Tote and handbags
·       Scarves
·       Magazine subscriptions: National Geographic, Life
·       Puzzles with large pieces
·       Memory Wallets: include copies of driver’s license, photos, union cards, library cards
·       Family photos in unbreakable frames.

You and your family may want to join in the Potomac Home’s holiday party instead of risking bringing your loved one into an unfamiliar environment.”

Alzheimer’s and the Holidays
The holidays are upon us, it should be a joyous wonderful time of the year for you, but without careful planning and consideration this potential blessing may become a catastrophe.  There is much that you can do to avoid the problems.  We have put together some suggestions to help you cope with Alzheimer’s and the Holidays.
First and most important, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!  If you don’t take care of yourself at this stressful time both you and your loved one with Alzheimer’s may suffer.  If you are tired, frustrated, without patience, become ill, who will be there for your loved one?  How do you take care of yourself during this incredibly busy time?

·       Join a support group.  These groups vary so you may want to try out different groups.  Some people like groups that are more educational and offer practical suggestions; others may want a group that encourages more emotion, venting and sharing.  You can find a group that will support you in the way that best fits your need or personality.

·       Ask for help.  Research shows that families of Alzheimer’s loved one’s are reluctant to ask for or help or use help, often using less help than professionals would recommend and using the help too late in the course of the illness to offer much help.  Even though you have placed your loved one in Potomac, you are still carrying a heavy burden.  Let people help.  Maybe they can pick up something on your shopping list.  Maybe they can sit with your loved one while you shop or get your hair done. Have them bring a meal.  Ask them to sit with your loved one so that you can miss a visit and tend to  some of the issues of the holidays and not feel guilty.

·       Adjust your expectations.  Remember that elaborate attempts to recreate past holiday traditions and have the same festive meaningful time as last year; is almost certainly not realistic.  Alzheimer’s Disease is progressive and it is likely that your loved one will remember less this year, will be less able to tolerate holiday excitement and stimulation and will appreciate less.  As time passes it becomes increasingly likely that the stimulation of holiday hustle and bustle, decorations, music and other holiday issues will cause anxiousness, withdrawal or even difficult behaviors.    People with Alzheimer’s disease need simplicity and routine.

·       Give yourself permission to do only what you can reasonably manage even though this may be significantly less than in other years.  Offer to make a dish for the holiday meal but not to host it. 

·       Remember that you don’t have to have long visits with your loved one.  We know that people with  Alzheimer’s disease have limited attention spans and difficulty focusing.  Often they cannot sustain a long visit.  Short and regular visits may be best for both you and your loved one.

·       Prepare visitors.  Many of your extended family and friends do not have your experience and insight into this disease and the current condition of your loved one.  Tell them how he or she has changed and what to expect when they visit.  Some families have even written letters to friends and  family to tell them how things have changed in the last year and give suggestions on how to visit successfully.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Evolve at Rye is proud to announce its deficiency-free survey from the state of New Hampshire

We would like to take the opportunity to personally thank all our incredible staff in achieving a deficiency-free perfect clinical survey conducted by the State of New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Inspection.

This was a concerted effort by all staff, and we want you to know how proud we are of what you have accomplished. You have been great to work with and we are glad to see you receive this recognition from the state as well. We want it to be known that you consistently deliver excellence and rise to the occasion not just for the state survey, but every day. Anyone can look good for a visitor, but it takes commitment to make it happen each and every day. This is the mark of your professionalism.
It is an inspiration to see what a finely tuned team can accomplish when you all pull together. We at EvoLve Senior Living are proud to be associated with a dedicated team such as yours. Your focus and commitment to your work has been constant and unwavering. Your insight and sensitivity towards our residents and guests has now literally set the standard upon which excellence in memory care will be measured in your community.
Clearly, each of you have turned challenge into achievement. For that we offer our congratulations, our admiration, and our respect.
We realize that sometimes it seems as though we are all just tiny drops of water in a sea of regulatory compliance, but you know, sometimes when a ray of sunshine hits those drops just right, they sparkle…they do sparkle!
Thank you for bringing the sparkle to the eyes of EvoLve at Rye.
Congratulations on behalf of the owners and partners, 
Benjamin Pearce
CEO | EvoLve Senior Living

For more information visit www.evolveatrye.com or call (603) 379-1898

Feeling a little Guilty?

There are few people on earth better equipped with the natural innate ability to make us feel guilty than our mothers. In our culture guilt has been instinctively crafted to an art form designed to influence our behaviors. It is a learned behavior passed on from generation to generation. Feelings of guilt can be self-inflicted or can be imposed upon us by other people. When guilt is legitimate, it spurs us to do better. When it is unwarranted, it only causes anxiety and hinders our ability to make sound decisions and provide quality care.
As a parent's care needs increase while they undergo the natural aging process, the amount of time and energy required of the caregiver increases exponentially. It is very normal to have feelings of resentment as demands on our time begin to radically change our daily routines. Often adult children already have their hands full caring for the needs of their own children. The average woman in America today will spend more time caring for her parents than for her children. She is typically 45 to 65-year-old married female with children at home, in college, or with families of their own and thus can feel herself sandwiched between two generations. As her parents' needs for assistance increase over time, she often feels as though she simply cannot do enough for them. Often she will become frustrated when her efforts to try to "fix" things that go wrong in her parents life begin to create conflicts in her own life, and the fixes never seem to last. Ultimately she begins to feel that she is losing control of her life and realizes that things that were once routine for her and easily manageable are quickly becoming more than she can handle. Conflicting priorities can often lead to feelings of helplessness and guilt that she is not doing anything well. This self-imposed guilt then becomes her constant companion.
Others can also impose guilt upon us. Failures in our elder caring duties, and obligations to our own families can lead to criticism from those whose opinions we value most. One is never really prepared to accept responsibilities thrust upon them by their aging parents. Few people understand the complexities of health problems, insurance coverage, assisted living and nursing homes, drug plans, Medicare, legal obligations and other senior-related issues. Caregivers continuously bombarded by these issues are bound to make mistakes, which will frustrate them even further. Uninformed family members, and siblings seeking to offer help, often only serve to highlight the primary caregiver's shortcomings. Just remember, there is nothing out there that you can't learn, seek out the advice of professionals such as Geriatric Care Managers, Eldercare Attorneys, local support groups, and the local library.
Feelings of responsibility set us up for the probability of occasional feelings of guilt. We must be able to distinguish between legitimate guilt that motivates us to do better and harmful guilt that might be undeserved and leave us dispirited.
Sometimes it might be helpful to write down the things that make you feel guilty. Examine the underlying reasons and determine if a solution is within your power. Sometimes compartmentalizing a large problem into several smaller, issues can make things more manageable. Constantly fretting over what seems to be an insurmountable responsibility can only lead to more anguish and more guilt. Tackling and completing a few problems can give you a sense of accomplishment and build your confidence to handle those never-ending new surprises as they arise. Consider that your parent may be feeling guilty because of they are imposing on you, while you are feeling guilty that you don't have the time to do more.1 Also, it is never helpful anguish about the past, concentrate on what can be done now and resist the temptation to allow old conflicts to create guilt today.
To determine if the guilt you are feeling is warranted, ask yourself if you have done everything that is practical and necessary within your own limitations. What is important is ensuring the quality of life and meeting the realistic needs of the elderly. It is not your role to insure everyone's happiness, only your own. Perhaps much of the guilt comes from thinking that you have more influence than you really do.

Often as the caregiver is pulled in conflicting directions, she may invite her aging parent to come live with them. Caring for a loved one at home may not be the best solution for either. Many people have made promises to each other about their elder care when they are young thinking the day will never come, but it always does. Often the caregiver struggles to meet the ever-increasing needs of their loved one at great personal sacrifice. Be realistic about what level of care that you can safely provide. Financial resources should be applied before the caregiver themselves begin to weaken. Often the decision to move out of the home is delayed until a nursing home is the only option. Consider using the financial resources while she can still gain some benefit from them in a more social environment. Once the funds are exhausted, the Medicaid alternative is always available in the nursing home setting. Many senior living environments can provide the additional cushion of care for your parent when they really need it. This way professionals can deal with the issues that may be unfamiliar to you and when you visit your parent, your time with them can be spent more relaxed. This will help to relieve the stress that may be building in your relationship, and help to quiet the guilt.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Free Family Guidebook to Making the Move to Senior Living Communities




A complete family guide to making an informed decision regarding retirement communities and senior living options. Written by a 36- year veteran operations expert in Senior Housing and author. Learn about the different types of facilities, how they are priced, and how to choose which one is right for your situation. How the isolation of living at home alone can lead to avoidable health problems, tips on dealing with guilt, downsizing possessions and coordinating the move. Explore nancial resources and understand what Medicare and Medicaid cover in senior housing. Finally, learn how to deal with caregiver stress and burnout and the family member who says “But I’m not ready yet.” Pragmatic and condensed information without advertising.

Download the PDF here: Free Guidebook to Senior Living