The Benefits of Music Therapy for Seniors

Seniors making music with rhythm instruments as musical therapy.

Many adults between the ages of 65 and 85 experience at least one chronic condition such as heart disease, arthritis, or diabetes. Older adults are also likely to experience changes in their physical and mental capabilities, and often seek medical help to improve their conditions. In addition to seeking the advice of a healthcare provider and making necessary lifestyle changes, there are other therapies available that can be beneficial to seniors. Music and music therapy have been proven to help seniors restore and maintain their health, both physically and mentally.

Music for Everyday Life

Even if you aren’t experiencing illness or disease, there are many benefits music can have just by listening or playing an instrument.

Managing grief
Many music therapists help their clients navigate the recent loss of a loved one by using music as a tool to cope with grief. Many older adults find it helpful to capture the personality of their loved one through their favorite songs, or through those that carry a specific memory. Music therapists encourage clients to listen to these songs throughout the process of grieving to remember a loved one and reflect on the time spent together.

Improving cognitive function
Listening to music daily can also improve how fast we process information. Music teaches us to recognize our emotions, and when we practice this often, processing emotions and information we consume becomes similar to muscle memory.

Encourages socialization
It’s not uncommon for older adults to feel lonely or isolated, especially after the loss of their spouse or friend. However, as we age, socializing with others and maintaining healthy relationships becomes an important part of our well-being. Many older adults find music to be a helpful way to connect with others through dancing, reminiscing over popular music from their younger years, or going to see the symphony or opera.

What are the Effects of Music on Alzheimer’s Patients?

While music has benefits for everyone, recent research suggests that it can especially helpful for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia. With the help of music, many Alzheimer’s patients see a boost in brain activity, which can result in the following benefits:

Evokes emotions and memories
According to Neurologist Oliver Sacks, music can evoke emotion even in severe cases of Alzheimer’s. When we experience emotions, oftentimes memories are quick to follow. When we pair everyday activities with music, Alzheimer’s patients are able to recall the memory associated with that activity, which can ultimately improve cognitive function.

Encourages emotional and physical closeness
As Alzheimer’s and dementia progress, many older adults lose their ability to express and share emotions with others. However, through music and rhythm, many ambulatory patients can express themselves through dancing which can lead to other expressions of affection like hugging and smiling.

Improves engagement
When you listen to music, you might find yourself tapping your toes or singing along to the words. You can also find this kind of behavior in those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Music has a way of capturing and keeping their attention for a period of time, especially during live performances.

Practicing Music Therapy at Home

You don’t have to be an expert to reap the benefits of music. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association compiled a list of ways to practice music therapy in the comfort of your own home. If you are a caregiver or are interested in music yourself, here are few tips for playing with music at home:

Play music that is familiar. When choose what kind of music to play, go with your favorite selections. If you are choosing music for someone else, think back to what they grew up with, or music from the first concert they might have attended. When we play what we know, oftentimes happy memories will come with it, improving your mood and encouraging positive mental health.

Choose continuous music. Keep the distractions to a minimum. While the radio or playing music from an application on your smart phone can be enjoyable, it’s important to try and avoid commercials and frequent disruptions that can cause confusion. You might consider listening to a CD or record instead.

Use music to create the mood you want to experience. Music can be a great way to practice controlling your emotions. For example, if you’ve had a busy or stressful day, you might consider playing slow and calming music to help you think more clearly and slow your breathing. Playing a fast paced song from your childhood could help boost your mood and evoke positive thoughts.

Encourage movement. If you are practicing music therapy with someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, try adding movement while listening. Clapping, tapping your feet, or dancing if possible can help improve cognitive function by increasing blood flow throughout the body.

Avoid sensory overload. For those who have limited cognitive function, loud music and a chaotic environment can be extremely stressful. You might consider starting the music out softly on a low volume and increasing it slowly until you find the appropriate level. In addition, you might consider turning off the television and shutting the windows and doors.

Harnessing the Power of Music

Playing music with someone one can create a very special bond, especially between caregivers and their loved ones. However, for a more interactive approach, you might consider one of these activities to do together.

Make your own music. Playing music can boost your mood while also improving cognitive function and fine motor skills. If you’re able, you might consider bringing a few simple instruments for your loved one with play with. Even strumming a few chords on the guitar can have a powerful affect on your mood. Instruments like the drum or a steel triangle can be fun to play and simple for those who have limited physical abilities.

• Highlight hobbies. As traveling becomes more difficult, it can be a challenge to see live musical performances. If you or a loved one grew up enjoying the symphony or opera, you might consider downloading a live performance and listening at home.

• Sing togetherAs the holiday season approaches, you might consider listening to your favorite Christmas music and singing along. This can be a great way to socialize with others, while also getting in the mood for all of the festivities ahead.

Music at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living, we know how much music can benefit our residents. That’s why we incorporate music into the daily lives of our residents in many ways. Whether it is music softly playing in our lobby to create a warm and welcoming ambiance, a local band or musician performing a concert to entertain residents and guests, or a formal music therapy program designed for individuals with dementia, like Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging’s Making Connections through Music program. You can read more about our partnership with Benjamin Rose Institute on Again and this program in our blog, or contact us for more information about our facilities.

Seniors Staying Connected Through Technology Use

Learn how seniors reap the benefits that come with technology use.

Technology is integrated in every part of our lives, from entertainment and news to healthcare and socialization. In fact, technology is so ingrained into our daily lives that seniors who don’t engage in social technology actually run the risk of feeling isolated. However, more and more seniors are beginning to reap the benefits that come with using technology. According to a survey by the Pew Center Research Center on older adults and their use of technology, nearly 60% of older adults go online regularly, and 80% have cell phones.

 Organizations such as the Community Technology Network are beginning to evaluate why older adults choose to use technology and what they find interesting.  Their findings report that many older adults research travel, education, and entertainment, but one of their biggest interests is staying connected to family. As older adults begin to explore using technology as a way to stay connected to their family and friends, these smart phone apps have proven to be helpful.

Apps for Seniors to Stay Connected to Family and Friends

Skype– Designed for both the iPhone and Android, this service allows people to make voice and video calls for free or at a limited cost, depending on location. Instead of talking on the phone to your grandchild who lives in another state, Skype allows you to use the video on your smart phone to have a conversation that feels like you are in the same room.

FaceTime– This application is very similar to Skype, but for iPhone users only. In fact, iPhone users can find this application already installed on their phone and ready to use.

Tapestry– Similar to Facebook, this application allows users to share messages and photos and videos with their families without advertisements or interruptions.

WhatsApp– If you have a family member or friend who lives or travels outside of the country, WhatsApp is a great way to stay connected. Using the phone to call long distance can be extremely expensive. However, WhatsApp users are able to use wireless Internet or data to send messages, share photos, video chat, and voice call without any cost.

While many seniors use technology to stay connected to family and friends, there are other ways to benefit from using a smart phone. As we age, daily exercise is just as important to our health as socializing and connection. However, most adults don’t get their daily dose of movement. In fact, according to a study published by the US National Library of Medicine, nearly 67% of the older population remains sedentary for more than 8.5 hours daily. Exercise has been proven to help with arthritis, decrease the risk of heart disease and depression, and improve our quality of life. Fortunately, improvements in technology have made it possible to track our exercise habits and can even make exercising fun.

Exercise and Fitness Apps for Seniors

MyFitnessPal– If you’re interested in making health and fitness a priority for your lifestyle, this app is for you. You can track calories by logging your meals, and keep track of daily exercise and water intake. MyFitnessPal even offers a wide variety of healthy recipes and articles related to health and wellness. The best part of this application is that it is completely free. Of course, you can upgrade for a monthly fee to access more information and offerings.

Yoga Studio– Yoga is a great exercise for older adults, especially because it can help improve balance and flexibility which decreases the risk of falling and helps speed up recovery in the event of an injury. Yoga Studio offers more than 100 yoga videos and meditation from five to 60 minutes long. You can also search classes by ability, focus, and intensity. If you are new to yoga or are just beginning to exercise, make sure you clear it with your doctor first.

SilverSneakers Go– Your favorite exercise class is now available in the comfort of your own home. You can choose from four to 12 week programs focused on strength, walking, and flexibility that can be tailored to your own fitness level. This app is great to use in the winter when it can be difficult to make it to class.

7 Minute Chi– Just like yoga, tai chi can help improve balance and decrease your risk of falling. This app will guide you through each movement and even remind you when (and how) to breathe along with your movements. With just 7 minutes a day, tai chi can help you improve your strength and flexibility.

Flip50– Flip50 is more than just an app. It’s a complete lifestyle guide designed specifically for adults 50 and older. Once you answer a few questions about your current health habits, the app will produce a weekly schedule to help you plan out your meals, exercise, and moments of relaxation. The best part? AARP members can access Flip50 for a discounted price.

While physical activity is an extremely important part of a healthy lifestyle, especially for older adults, mental health should also be a priority. As we age, our cognitive function can become delayed, causing a lapse in memory, or longer information recall. That’s why those in the tech world created online games to improve and sharpen our cognitive skills. The next time you use your phone, try one of these online games to keep your mind sharp.

Apps for Seniors for Mental Alertness and Entertainment

Sudoku– Sudoku is a number puzzle game designed for a single player and is now offered online through its own app. Instead of watching TV in the evening or during down time, try playing Sudoku to keep your mind active.

Grandparent Games– This app was specifically designed to keep grandparents and grandchildren connected through games. Grandparent Games offers a variety of programs that can be filtered by age or interest. This app also uses video and voice connection to you feel close to your grandchild no matter where they live.

AARP Online Games– AARP offers a library of different games designed to strengthen cognitive skills. From chess and card games to puzzles and number challenges, AARP really does have it all.

Technology Use at Maplewood Senior Living

Our Maplewood Senior Living communities are helping residents become more technologically savvy in a variety of ways. Using a variety of apps and digital experiences, unique to Maplewood, residents at every level of care participate in activities and exercise their cognitive skills.

Digital Interactive Programming
From digital interactive education to therapeutic programs to challenging virtual puzzles, our digital programming provides engagement for residents at all levels of cognition.

Live Stream Learning Programs
Residents can enjoy live, interactive educational and entertainment programs being conducted all over the country—from museums to national parks to botanical gardens.

Mobile App
With instant access to community information and a private social network to talk to friends, family, and staff, residents can easily connect with the world around them.

Technology doesn’t have to be intimidating, but we know it can feel that way. Many organizations, such as your local library or Apple store, offer free classes that teach you how to use different technologies like the smart phone or tablet. If you’re interested in learning more about our efforts, please contact us here. We’d love to talk to you about the exciting things happening at our facilities.

A Complete Guide for Managing Holiday Stress

Explore this complete guide to managing holiday stress in a positive way.

The holidays provide perfect opportunities to spend time with loved ones over special meals, while connecting over conversation and laughter. However, as we age the holidays can become difficult. For many older adults, illness or physical and cognitive limitations can make the holiday season stressful and uncomfortable. However, the Alzheimer’s Association compiled a list of tips and suggestions to make the holiday season as enjoyable as possible. Whether you’re a caregiver with a lot on your mind, or an adult child preparing to travel with your aging parent, here’s everything you need to make your holidays easy, fun, and safe.

How to Beat Holiday Stress for Those Dealing with Alzheimer’s or Dementia

It’s not unusual for those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s to feel a sense of loss during the holidays. Some people living with Alzheimer’s might feel less comfortable in social settings and are prone to withdrawing. As the disease progresses, you might consider altering your holiday plans that works best with your family member living with Alzheimer’s. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:

Adjust Expectations

As the disease progresses, it’s important to keep your family members educated. Before you get together over the holidays, you might consider sending an email or letter with an update and actions to avoid or encourage. For example, if your loved one can’t remember names or who people are, it can be helpful to let your family members know this who might not be familiar with the disease.

Remember to take on only what you think you can handle. If you usually host a holiday dinner and it seems unmanageable this year, let your family members know and make other arrangements. Also, if you are a family member who is not a caregiver, understand that your holiday traditions may change to accommodate others.

Adapt Gift-Giving

If you celebrate the holidays by giving gifts, remember that some items can be dangerous to those who are living with Alzheimer’s, especially in severe cases. You might consider giving comfortable clothing, music, photo albums, treats, or an identification bracelet, which can also be helpful for the caregiver. If you are shopping for a caregiver, you might consider a gift certificate, housecleaning, or laundry services.

Involve Those with Alzheimer’s in Preparations and Celebrations

Try and keep those with Alzheimer’s engaged in the day’s activities. Giving him or her a task such as helping to prepare food, wrap packages, or decorating the dinner table might make the day more enjoyable.

Managing Holiday Stress When Traveling with Older Adults

As we age, traveling can become more difficult, especially when physical ability becomes more limited. If you plan on traveling for the holidays, either by car or airplane, here are some tips to help get you there safely.

• Plan ahead- When traveling with an older adult, especially if that person has dementia, you want to be prepared ahead of time. Start by planning out each aspect of your trip including flights, transportation, places to eat, and activities you want to do while you are away.

• Recognize warning signs of anxiety- If you’re traveling with someone who lives with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s important to know the warning signs of anxiety and how to reduce them. Create a plan with the person you’re traveling with so you will all be on the same page.

• Evaluate all options- In the beginning stages of planning, think about all of your options including places to stay and ways to travel. This way, you will be able to identify which way will be the most comfortable and accessible.

• Take advantage of airport security-If you are traveling by airplane, contact your airport beforehand and ask for help with getting through security and to your gate. This will help conserve energy and reduce the risk of falling.

• Choose accommodations carefully- When staying at a hotel, make sure to ask for exactly what you need, such as a walk-in shower or room on the first level. If you are staying with friends and family, it’s important to express your needs beforehand.

• Carry an itinerary- Before your trip, write an itinerary with all of your travel plans, including details about your trip such as flight times and names of hotels. Make copies of the itinerary to give to friends and family members in case they need to contact you.

• Carry medications with you- Make sure you pack all medications and an extra change of clothes in a carry-on bag that you can keep with you in case of emergencies.

How to Beat Holiday Stress for Caregivers

The holiday season can be an especially difficult time for caregivers. Routines are often hard to keep, and holiday parties, while fun and exciting, can also cause holiday stress, fatigue and tiredness in older adults. If you are a caregiver, here are a few ways to tend to your physical and mental wellbeing throughout the holiday season.

Find Time for Yourself

You might consider planning for respite care, so you can make time for yourself during the holidays. Respite care is the perfect opportunity to do holiday shopping, or do something you love to do but don’t often have time for during the week.

Manage Holiday Stress

Stress can cause many different physical symptoms like stomach irritation, blurred vision, and high blood pressure. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, make sure to consult your healthcare practitioner.

Visit Your Doctor Regularly

Take time to get your regular checkups and ask your doctor about anything that might be concerning you. This could include exhaustion, fatigue, stress, or inability to sleep. Pay attention to your body and never ignore your symptoms.

Incorporate Activities That Give You Joy

Many caregivers struggle with making time for the things they love. During this holiday season, try and incorporate holiday activities you love the most. This can help manage stress, while also helping you to enjoy the holidays.

Finding Joy at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living, we wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season full of joy and happiness. If you’re interested in learning more about how our community can minimize stress for you and your loved one, we encourage you to schedule a tour. It is our goal to help residents find joy and caregivers find support each and every day. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more.

Regaining Independence: Fall Prevention & Recovery Programs

Senior man who recently experienced a fall that could have been prevented.

As we age, the consequences of falling can become fatal. While falling isn’t a normal part of aging, it remains to be one of the most common causes of injury in older adults. In fact, according to the National Council on Aging, falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments and account for over 800,000 hospitalizations and 27,000 deaths. Fall-related injuries such as head trauma or broken bones can be harder to recover from in old age. However, there is a simple fall prevention program that you can follow to keep you safe and healthy all year long.

Fall Prevention: Causes and Risk Factors

There are many different things that can cause a person to fall. Older adults who are taking several medications might experience dizziness, which can contribute to a fall or loss of balance. Some normal aspects of aging like low vision, loss of hearing, or slower reflexes can also cause falls.

According to the National Institute on Aging, scientists have also linked personal risk factors, such as muscle weakness, balance and gait issues, and a sudden drop of blood pressure to fall-related causes. Older adults who experience foot pain or those who wear unsafe shoes are also at risk for falling. While there are many factors that cause falls, there are also many ways to prevent them.

Fall Prevention Program

The National Council on Aging reports that falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults. While the consequences of falling can be severe, preventing them can be very simple. The Mayo Clinic published a list of simple fall preventative measures every older adult should consider:

Meet with Your Doctor
As you prepare your fall prevention program, it’s important to check-in with your doctor about your current state of health. You should be prepared to discuss what medications you’re currently taking. Many doctors will change your prescription if your medications cause side effects like dizziness or drowsiness. Some types of antidepressants can also increase your risk of falling.

If you’ve experienced a fall before, it’s important to share all of the details with your health care provider. Before your appointment, write down the last time you fell, where you were, and how you fell. Sharing these types of details will allow your doctor to identify fall prevention strategies that will work for your situation.

Wear Safe Shoes
Shoes like high heels, slippers, and shoes without proper tread can cause you to trip, stumble or and fall. Walking only in socks or without proper shoes can also put you at risk for falling as well. Consider switching to sturdy and nonskid shoes to prevent unwanted falls.

Remove Hazards at Home
Many falls happen in the home, usually during the nighttime, especially if you wake up to use the restroom. You should always make sure the space between your bed and the restroom is completely clear in order to reduce your risk of falling in the home. Hallways and corners should also be kept clear, especially from big and bulky furniture.

Install Safe Lighting
As a part of your fall prevention program, you might consider installing safety lights in your home. Place censored lights in your bedroom, hallways, and bathroom so you are able to see in front of you at night or early in the morning. Switches that glow in the dark can be installed in order to find your way more easily.

Use Assistive Devices
Assisted devices such as a cane or walker can help you stay steady while on the move. There are also many devices designed to keep your home a safer place. Handrails can be installed on both sides of the stairways. In addition, a raised toilet seat with arm rests and grab bars for the shower and tub can help keep you safe while completing basic daily tasks.

Fall Prevention: Benefits of Exercise

Strengthening the muscles that promote balance and mobility will decrease your chances of falling. Keeping your muscles strong and flexible will also help reduce your recovery time in the event that you do take a fall. Here are a few exercises, that if done daily can help you prevent falls. According to Dr. Steven Castle, who has conducted extensive research on fall prevention tips, these exercises will help you build muscle, while increasing balance and mobility. As always, consult your healthcare provider before attempting these exercises:

• Partial Squat- To strengthen your legs, slowly bend at the hips and push back as if you were to sit down. You can brace yourself by balancing your hands on the back of a sturdy chair or counter. Rise up to a standing position and straighten your arms.

• Heel Raise- Place your hands on a wall to keep steady. When you feel balanced, raise your heels up so your weight is on the balls on your feet.

• Knee Flexion- While seated in a chair, raise each leg six inches off the ground one at a time. This will help strengthen and increase mobility in your knee.

• Hip Extension- Holding on to a wall or chair, keep your knee straight while slowly raising your leg behind you. This will help strengthen your legs while stretching your hips.

• Hip Abduction- hold onto the back of a chair just as you would during a hip extension. Slowly raise your leg out to the side, away from your opposite leg. Raise your leg as high as you can without leaning towards one side.

Fall Prevention Program at Maplewood

Falls can have a detrimental effect on a person’s quality of life. That’s why at Maplewood Senior Living, we’ve created a fall assessment program designed to improve safety, decrease falls, and provide information regarding our resident’s physical mobility and safety needs. This program includes a fall prevention assessment that will be completed at move in, during changes in condition and every six months in order to establish a baseline and provide continued communication on balance, strength, mobility, and safety.

Partnering with skilled therapists, this fall prevention program will prioritize safety and functional mobility, while decreasing the risk of falls. Participants will complete four standardized functional tests approved by Medicare and widely utilized by Physical and Occupation therapists in regular practices. These tests can be performed efficiently in just a few minutes and provide valuable information on the participant’s wellbeing and potential areas of need. In addition to the tests, a risk assessment will also be completed to accurately identify resident’s needs and fall-risk status.

Making Fall Prevention a Priority at Maplewood Senior Living

Together we have the ability to lower the occurrences of falls for our residents and provide the opportunity to enjoy a happier, healthier and more active life. If you’d like to see how we’re working to keep our residents safe, please contact us here. We’d love to give you a tour of our campus and give you a better idea of what it’s like to live at Maplewood Senior Living.

What Services are Available for Veterans?

An elderly, retired marine salutes during a ceremony honoring veterans.

At Maplewood Senior Living we are honored to support many residents who are veterans. Each year we honor the sacrifices they made to protect America with special ceremonies held in celebration of Veteran’s Day across our communities.

Throughout the year we also host a number of educational events aimed at educating veterans and their families about a variety of benefits that are available to them. According to the U.S. Census brief, there are more than 12.4 million veterans aged 65 and older. However, nearly 69% of veterans aren’t aware of the many benefits available to them in their later years. Many of these veterans, most of whom served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and during the Persian Gulf War, are eligible for financial and health-related benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. If you or your loved one is a veteran, there’s no better time to review Veteran’ benefits for elderly care.

What Services are Available for Veterans?

There are a number of different benefits that may be beneficial to age veterans, depending on their needs and current living situations. Here are some of the most common benefits used by older veterans, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:

• Disability Compensation- Veterans who develop a disease or injury during active military service can be eligible for a tax-free monetary benefit. Those who experience post-service disabilities that are related to the circumstances of their service could also be considered for this financial compensation.

• Pension- A pension is available for older adults aged 65 and older who need assistance with their financial responsibilities and meet net worth limitations.

• Health Care- While many older adults choose to enroll in Medicare, health care plans are available for older adults through the Department of Veterans Affairs. This can assist with specialty appointments, home health care, and medical equipment.

• Insurance- Veterans are eligible to convert their pre-existing Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policy to a Veteran’s Group Life Insurance policy. This allows veterans to keep their life insurance benefits after they’ve departed from their service.

• Burial- Veteran families are also eligible to receive compensation for funeral expenses. Depending on the situation of each individual, the VA has different levels of compensation available.

Aid and Attendance Benefits for Veterans

While there are many different services available to veterans, one of the most popular benefits amongst older veterans is the Aid and Attendance benefit. For those who are eligible, the Aid and Attendance benefit includes an increased monthly pension. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, this benefit is designed to help those who meet one of the following conditions:

• Those who need help with basic daily tasks, such as eating, bathing, dressing, or using the restroom
• Those who are bedridden and non-weight bearing
• Those who are residents in a nursing home because of a physical or mental incapacity such as Alzheimer’s and dementia
• Those who have severe visual impairments including limited eyesight corrected to 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less
• Those who are housebound, meaning they are substantially confined to immediate premises because of a permanent disability

Basic Requirements

In addition to meeting certain health conditions, in order to be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, veterans must also meet at least one of these requirements to qualify.
• Be 65 or older with no or limited income
• Have a permanent or total disability
• Receive Supplemental Security Income
• Receive Social Security Disability Insurance
• Reside in a nursing home

Financial Requirements

According to Veteran Aid, in December 2018 the Department of Veterans Affairs set a financial cap for all veterans applying for A&A (Aid and Attendance). This means that all eligible applicants must have a net worth of no more than $123,600, not including automobiles, personal effects, and place of residence. To ensure this, the VA will review three years’ worth of financial documents to make sure no assets were sold or gifted in order to reduce the net worth below the eligibility limit. In addition to an upper net worth limit, the VA also introduced a limit on monthly countable income, minus expenses like medical bills, prescription costs, and Medicare insurance premiums.

Service Requirements

In collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Congress defines the wartime dates used to decide if a veteran is eligible for Aid and Attendance. In order to qualify, veterans must have served during one of the following wartime dates:
• World War II between December 7, 1941, and December 31, 1946
• The Korean Conflict, June 27, 1950- January 31, 1955
• Vietnam between February 1961 and May 7, 1975
• Gulf War between August 2, 1990, through a date, to be determined in the future

Health Care Veterans Benefits for Elderly Care

As veterans age, many of them will require healthcare support and assistance from the VA. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of offerings and services available to veterans.

Geriatrics Programs

The VA has established geriatrics programs to support chronically ill veterans and their caregivers. As they move up the continuum of care, their needs will also change, requiring the services of some or all of the geriatrics and extended care services. Here are some of the following programs available for veterans:
• Adult Day Health Care
• Community Residential Care
• Geriatric Evaluation and Management
• Geriatric Primary Care

Residential Settings and Nursing Homes

Many older veterans require either long-term care or daily care assistance. The VA has established a variety of senior living options for veterans such as community residential care, medical foster homes, adult family homes, and assisted living. While all veterans are eligible for this benefit, they must have a clinical need for it and live in an area where the service is provided.

Homemaker and Home Health Aide

These services provide in-home support for veterans who wish to stay at home but need assistance with basic daily functions. Services provided by public and private agencies are available for veterans who qualify for assistance. Caregivers and home health aides help with bathing, dressing, fixing meals, and taking medications. This service is especially beneficial to veterans who might be experiencing isolation or neglect.

Showing Support for Veterans at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living, we celebrate all veterans and their service to our country. Our senior living services and programs allow all residents and veterans to experience a high quality of life while receiving the care they require. To learn more about our programs and facilities, please connect with us.

Family Caregivers: How to Make Decisions for Aging Parents

An adult caregiver providing love and support for an aging parent.

Acting as a family caregiver for elderly parents comes with its own challenges and complications. However, when multiple family members are involved, caregiving can become even more complex. Many older adults are beginning to consider acting as their parent’s caregiver for a number of reasons. As older adults continue to live longer, many of them experience chronic diseases and illnesses, which can motivate their children to step in as caregivers. While keeping caregiving in the family can present some challenges, it can also be a great gift to both the siblings and their aging parents.

Common Mistakes of Family Caregivers

Whether you’ve just started caring for your elderly parents or are a seasoned caregiver, there’s always room to grow. While mistakes are inevitable, journalist and author, Francine Russo offers some mistakes to look out for while sharing caregiving responsibilities with siblings.

Forgetting to support the main family caregiver
In most caregiving situations, families will often choose one sibling to act as the main caregiver. Oftentimes this family caregiver provides in-home support if needed, shopping assistance, and help with everyday tasks. This works really well for some families, but it’s not uncommon for the other siblings to unintentionally adopt the mindset that they are “off the hook.”

Never checking-in
Caregiving can be extremely challenging and isolating. Oftentimes the main family caregiver will report that he/she feels both physically and emotionally overwhelmed. However, siblings can take small actions to help combat these feelings, such as calling their parents more often, offering a day of respite care, or even ordering groceries online.

Planning only for the short-term
Most families don’t think about a caregiver’s duties until their parents absolutely need it. This can cause some tension because decisions have to be made quickly and oftentimes don’t leave room for reflecting and long-term planning.

Thinking that everyone mourns the same way
Even if your parents are still living, it’s not uncommon to mourn the loss of their younger years. Watching them suffer from illness, both physical and cognitive, can be painful and requires mourning. We all mourn in different ways, suggests Russo, and the best way to cope with that difference is to accept it.

Things to Consider About a Family Caregiver’s Duties

Caregiving with siblings is especially complicated because there are limited models for this type of situation. Childhood feelings and roles might start to arise, and disagreements over care for your parents might also come to the surface. But, the best thing to do is to be prepared. If you and your siblings are caring for an elderly parents, you might consider the following tips:

• Understand your family dynamics. Maybe your brother is a bit of a hot-head, or perhaps you tend to disappear during difficult situations. Now is the time to understand your dynamics and own them. It’s important to take time to identify our family dynamics and together discuss what changes need to be made. But remember, instead of playing the blame game, it’s always a good idea to suggest changes that only you have control over.

• Reinforce caregiving as a shared responsibility. There might be one sibling who does the majority of the caregiving, however, this does not mean other siblings do not share the responsibility. It’s important for both the main caregiver to know when to ask for help and for the other siblings to consistently offer the other caregivers support.

• Hold family meetings. When it comes to shared caregiving, communication is non-negotiable. You might consider holding consistent family meetings. You might have to improvise for those who aren’t local, but Skype and other video chat tools make great in-person alternatives. If you’ve never hosted a family meeting, here are a few tips to consider:
o Take turns setting an agenda
o Assign roles, like note-taker or timekeeper
o Share all information after the meeting ends through an email

• Understand and plan for differing opinions. There will be times you and your siblings disagree on care-related decisions. That’s completely normal and to be expected. However, it never hurts to plan for these moments. You might create a plan of action with your siblings that all of you promise to honor when a conflict arises.

Consider Your Limits as a Family Caregiver

As you and your family members consider care options for your parents, it’s important to first assess your own abilities and limitations. You might consider reflecting on these statements published by the National Institute on Aging before committing to certain caregiving responsibilities.

• Are you already overcommitted? We all have a wide variety of responsibilities at work and at home that make our lives busy. Taking on more than you can handle can ultimately cause conflict and tension within family dynamics.

• Can you afford it? Family caregiving is a tremendous time commitment. If you work full-time it’s important to think about how this change will affect your finances.

• Are you emotionally prepared? Caregiving can be an emotional experience. If you plan to take on caregiving full-time, make sure you have your support systems in place. This might mean planning for respite care once a week or consistent appointments with a therapist or counselor.

Caregivers Support

Even if you are not the main family caregiver, there are many ways to show your support both for your siblings and your aging parents. Remember, caregiving can’t be done without a group of supporters. Here are some ways you can give caregivers support even from a distance:

• Provide emotional support by calling both the caregiver and the aging parents on a consistent basis.

• If the time comes to find a nursing facility for your parents, you can show your support by researching local facilities, scheduling tours, and gathering information.

• Caregiving can be expensive. It’s important to discuss how finances will be managed. Siblings can show their support by buying groceries, managing respite care, and if needed, sharing the cost of home health and nursing aides.

• Help with basic daily tasks can go a long way. You might consider hiring a laundry service, cleaning help, or grocery deliveries.

Finding Support at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living, we know how difficult it can be to watch your parents age. Our high-quality services and programs can help siblings navigate the caregiving responsibilities that come with aging parents. If you’d like to hear more about our offerings or see our facilities, please contact us.

How Much Do You Know About the Health of Your Aging Parents?

As the baby boomer population begins to reach and surpass the age of 65, their adult children find themselves more concerned with the health of their aging parents than ever before. According to an article published by U.S. News, nearly 13 percent of the U.S. population is age 65 or older, and that proportion is predicted to increase to 18 percent by 2030. As the baby boomers continue on in their retirement years, many of them will require additional care, either in their homes or at a retirement community. While some adult children act as their parent’s caregivers, many of them are navigating changes in their parent’s health from afar.

While caregiving has its challenges, so does maintaining a long-distance relationship with an aging parent. It’s not uncommon for adult children to be surprised with their parent’s condition after going a long period of time in between visits. It’s especially common for an adult child to wonder why their parent never asked for help. While navigating senior health is different for every family, there are a few common themes to keep in mind.

Senior Health: Why Your Aging Parents Aren’t Asking for Help

It’s normal for older adults to experience signs of aging like stiff joints and or muscle weakness. However, after time these aging-related symptoms can make it difficult to complete daily tasks. While it might seem obvious to ask for help, there are a number of reasons your aging parents might not be telling you the whole truth about the state of their health:

They are experiencing cognitive changes
If your parent is developing symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, they might not realize that their health and safety are being compromised. In addition, it’s not uncommon for adults experiencing cognitive changes to hide their symptoms from their loved ones, especially their children.

They are in denial
We are hard-wired to be able to rationalize any situation. Even if your parent is experiencing changes in their health, they might be in denial that there’s actually a problem. For example, if your parent is having more trouble driving than normal, it’s not uncommon for them to blame others around them.
They are afraid of losing their independence
You parent might be nervous about the consequences their declining health will have on the quality of their life. They might fear losing their homes, their cars, and their overall autonomy.

Senior Health: How to Recognize Problems

If you do notice a health decline in your aging parent, or are unsure if what you’re seeing is a normal sign of aging, here is a list of warning signs to look for published by the Mayo Clinic:

• Your aging parent might be experiencing memory loss if they ask the same questions repeatedly without remembering the answer. If you notice bills going unpaid, rotting food in the refrigerator, or if your parent is forgetting their weekly routine, like going to a workout class or regular appointment, they could be displaying signs of cognitive decline.

• Losing weight without trying to could be a sign that something isn’t right at home. Weight loss could be attributed to loss of dexterity resulting in the inability to cook for themselves, loss of appetite and energy, or difficulty getting to and from the grocery store.

• A lack of energy or depressed behavior is a sign that your parent might be having a problem. If you notice your parent has stopped talking about their friends or hobbies, you might consider asking them about it or approaching their healthcare provider with your concern.

• Losing balance is common in older adults. However, if you notice excessive bruising and scraping, it could indicate that your parent has been falling and should be examined for a balance or mobility problem.

• Your aging parent might be having trouble taking care of themselves if you notice a lack of hygiene, like bathing and brushing teeth. In addition, if you notice your parent is neglecting housework or doing laundry, these could be signs of cognitive decline or other health concerns.

Senior Health: What’s Next?

Knowing how to react once you’ve noticed a decline in your parent’s health can be extremely challenging. Fortunately, the National Institute on Aging published a variety of steps you can take to ensure your parent’s wellbeing, no matter the distance.

Assess your aging parent’s needs
Most importantly, you should start with assessing your parent’s most immediate need. You might consider assessing their current situation by asking questions like, “where can my parent use the most support?” or “how can mom or dad use support while completing basic daily tasks?” Starting here can help guide your next steps.

Communicate strategically
Navigating the health concerns that can come with aging is scary for everyone involved, including your parent. It’s important to communicate in a way that will be well received. Take into account your parent’s cognitive situation and plan your conversation from there. Always remember to reassure your parent that the conversation is stemming from a place of love and concern.

Address any safety issues
When it comes to monitoring your parent’s health, their safety is definitely a priority. If your parent is still living alone, you might consider evaluating their home for fall-risks and ensure they have the proper tools, like safety bars in the restroom.

Explore your options
Once you’ve determined your parent’s needs, the next step is to explore all of your senior health options. Whether this means researching nearby assisted living or memory care communities or looking for in-home help, it’s important to do your research before making a decision.

Explore Options for Aging Parents at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living, we know you want the best for your aging parents. That’s why we offer care and support for every stage of life, ensuring your loved ones live a high-quality life throughout their retirement years. If you’re still unsure of your parents’ health needs, you might consider taking this quiz, or reach out to one of our staff members to learn more about our communities.

Long-Term Care Insurance: Do I Need It?

 Access to affordable and high-quality healthcare is a priority for many people, especially as we age. While we do have access to testing and tracing family health history, knowing exactly how you will age is a bit of a mystery. That’s where long-term care insurance comes into the picture. Long-term care insurance helps older adults pay for healthcare options such as assisted living, skilled nursing, and specialized care and caregivers. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 70% of people age 65 and older will require long-term care at some point in their retirement, and more than 40% will require skilled nursing care.

Long-term care insurance allows older adults access the care they need without depleting their savings account in order to pay for it. However, just like automobile insurance, long-term care insurance policies don’t reimburse you if you don’t use your coverage. Long-term care insurance helps protect your assets and can give you great coverage if you need it. However, it’s important to do your research before you buy a plan.

What’s Covered Under Long-Term Care?

While traditional senior healthcare insurance policies help pay for immediate medical expenses, such as a doctor’s visit or a surgery, long-term care policies cover basic needs over an extended period of time. This is important especially for people who have been diagnosed with chronic illnesses, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, and need help with everyday tasks.
Whether you need coverage at home or in an assisted living setting, long-term care insurance covers out-of-pocket expenses, but usually require a certain waiting period until your benefits begin to cover those costs. Most policies are comprehensive which means they cover you in a variety of settings. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, here’s what you can expect to find in your long-term care insurance:

• Adult day service centers
• Hospice care
• Respite care
• Assisted living facilities
• Nursing homes
• Specialized care facilities, such as Alzheimer’s care
• Skilled nursing
• Occupational, speech, and physical therapy
• Personal care assistance

Cost of Long-Term Senior Care

This is where the debate on whether or not to buy long-term care insurance can get controversial. In general, the cost of senior care is very expensive. There’s no exception when it comes to long-term care insurance, and it gets more expensive the longer you wait to purchase a policy.

According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, a policy can cost anywhere between $2,000 and $7,500 depending on your situation:
Age 55 (single)
An average cost of insurance for a person in this situation, depending on where they live and their current health condition, can start at $1,764 and go as high as $3,446 per year. However, as you age the value of your policy’s coverage also increases. With an immediate value of $170,000, a policy could reach $418,000 by the time you reach the age of 85.
Age 55 (couple)
Essentially, the price for a couple in this situation would double in cost, rising from $1,764 and going from anywhere between $2,027 and $3,574.
Age 60 (couple)
Depending on the insurance provider, long-term care can cost a 60 year old couple anywhere from $2,700 to $4,204 with an average price of $3,335. You could expect to see a policy value of $708,000 by the time you are 85 years old.
Age 65 (couple)
A couple who waits until they are both at the age of 65 can expect to see long-term care insurance as expensive as $7,129, with an average cost of $4,433. At the age of 85, the value would be estimated at $611,000.
Why is it so expensive?
Simply put, long-term care insurance is costly because providing it can be risky for an insurer. Predicting the complexity and the duration of care for an insured individual is extremely difficult. On average, someone who lives in a private room in a nursing home pays $253 a day, averaging $92, 345 a year.
When should I buy?
If long-term care insurance is a good option for you, it’s best to sign up for it by the time you are 60 years old. This way, coverage for your care is there when you need it, and premiums are generally lower the younger you buy. However, if you never medically qualify for care, you do not get reimbursed.

Alternatives to Long-Term Care

If you decide that long-term care insurance isn’t a good fit for you, there are some senior healthcare alternatives available that could give you the coverage you’re looking for. You might consider these other options to help inform your decision-making process:
• Whole life insurance policies with a chronic illness rider are becoming more popular amongst older adults. With this option, if you do need long-term care insurance, you can use your death benefit to cover your expenses, tax free. If you don’t need to cash in on long-term care, your beneficiaries can receive your benefit at the time of your death.

Critical care or critical illness insurance offers lump-sum payments to people who are diagnosed with life-altering illnesses such as cancer or who suffer a heart-attack or stroke. However, you should do your research before buying this type of senior healthcare coverage to see how long your coverage lasts and how much it will cover.

• Most short-term care insurance plans will cover long-term care for a specified amount of time, usually between 180 and 360 days. This is great for people who are predicted to recover from their illness or disease. This will decrease the cost of your premium since there is a fixed amount of time you can receive long-term care.

Navigating the Cost of Senior Care with Maplewood Senior Living

Navigating healthcare for your later years can be difficult no matter your circumstance. Remember that if you currently have a long-term care insurance policy, they are all different. At Maplewood Senior Living, we understand the complexity of these decisions, and offer our support in many different ways. We are happy to review your policy with you and help determine what is covered for assisted living. If you’re interested in learning more about your options, please don’t hesitate to call us or schedule a tour.

Medicare Open Enrollment for Senior Living

Learn more about Medicare enrollment how the coverage can help seniors cover medical costs.

Many older adults do their best to financially plan for their retirement. However, senior care is enough to break any budget, especially when unexpected illnesses are involved. That’s why many adults choose to take advantage of Medicare coverage, a national, government-funded health insurance that’s available to adults aged 65 and older.
Medicare coverage allows adults to reduce their risk of high out-of-pocket costs by taking advantage of free preventative services while shopping around for what best suits their needs. With open-enrollment right around the corner (October 15th through December 7th), it’s important to do your research before choosing a Medicare enrollment plan.

What Do I Need to Know about Medicare Coverage?

Depending on the plan and the parts of Medicare you are signing up for, the enrollment periods can be different. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have a wide variety of resources available on their website. Here’s what they say about the different Medicare enrollment periods.

Initial Medicare Enrollment
This period is for enrollment of parts A and B (see below). Adults are eligible to enroll three months before the month of their 65th birthday and three months after. However, those who are already taking their Social Security benefits are automatically enrolled in parts A and B.

General Medicare Enrollment
Don’t worry if you miss out on initial enrollment. General enrollment for parts A and B allow adults to enroll from January 1 to March 31 each year. However, just be aware that the longer you wait, the more you have to pay in premiums. It’s possible that your premiums can increase by 10% or more the longer you wait to enroll.

Annual Medicare Open Enrollment
If you are joining plans or changing parts C and D, you can do so between October 15 and December 7 of each year. This is great for adults whose healthcare needs have changed.

Four Main Parts of Medicare Coverage

There are four main parts that make up a Medicare coverage plan. Within each part there are different options that meet various needs. Adults who are eligible for Medicare are allowed to choose any combination of these plans depending on the coverage they need.
• Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, and home health care. If you’ve paid Medicare payroll taxes for at least 10 years, the cost for this coverage is free, plus deductible.
• Part B includes doctor visits, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventative care. A monthly premium is calculated depending on your yearly earnings, plus a deductible, copay, and coinsurance.
• Part D adds prescription drug coverage to your plan of choice. The cost for Part D includes your monthly premium, deductible, copay, and coinsurance.
• Part C is called Medicare Advantage, which is offered through private insurance companies. You might think of this as an all in one plan that usually bundles parts A, B, and D.

Tips for Enrolling in Medicare

Whether you’re enrolling for the first time or have been covered by Medicare for years, it’s a good idea to reevaluate your plan each autumn season before open enrollment. As you consider your needs for the upcoming year, keep these tips in mind.

Check Changes
Part D, which covers prescription drugs, can change from year to year. This means that medications that were covered previously, might not be covered by your plan the next year. You might consider checking to see if all of your medications will be covered in the coming year. If they aren’t, you can make changes on the Medicare website.

Request Pharmacy Pricing
In our current economic and political climate, pharmacies and the cost of medications can be unpredictable. In order to get the best prices for your medications, you have to do your research. The Medicare website allows you to search your specific prescriptions and pharmacy options.

Purchase a Supplemental Policy
Not all of your medical needs will be covered by Medicare. Many older adults choose to purchase a Medigap supplemental plan to cover the difference. These supplemental plans can cover anything from hearing aids and vision care to international coverage.

Medicare Coverage Advantage Plan
Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies and offer comprehensive health coverage. These plans are especially helpful as you age and your healthcare needs begin to increase. They offer greater benefits such as hospital care, dental, hearing, and drug coverage.

Things to Consider About Medicare Coverage

Choosing your Medicare coverage can be a lot to dissect. However, doing your research and thinking about your needs will help you in the long run. Consider using the items below to inform your decision-making process.
Cost- The cost of healthcare coverage can add up quickly. While you’re evaluating your coverage, pay close attention to the cost of each element such as your hospital stays, yearly limits, premiums, and deductibles.

Coverage– Make sure your plan will cover the services you know you will need like medical services and supplies.

Prescription Drugs– If you take medications, you should consider Medicare Part D closely. It can be helpful to ask questions such like, is there a penalty if you join a drug plan after enrollment? What’s your plan’s rating? What are the cost of your prescriptions?

Doctor and Hospitals– If you feel strongly about keeping the same doctors or visiting the same facilities, make sure they are covered by your potential plans. Many plans have restrictions and preferred care providers.

Quality of Care– If you weren’t satisfied with the quality of your care in previous years, you should consider changing plans. If you’re new to Medicare, you can search plan ratings from people with the same coverage.

Travel– If you frequently travel out of the country and need healthcare coverage, a Medicare Advantage might be a good fit. The Original Medicare plans do not cover international travel.

Navigating Your Journey at Maplewood Senior Living

Healthcare coverage is an expensive part of aging. However, Medicare coverage was designed to carry some of the burden so older adults have access to the care and services they need. At Maplewood Senior Living, we know aging can be a challenging journey. We are here for our residents and their families as they face these complex transitions and navigate the costs associated with senior living. To learn more about our communities, don’t hesitate to contact us.Learn more about Medicare enrollment how the coverage can help seniors cover medical costs.

Is it Normal Aging? Knowing the Signs of Dementia

Group of seniors with dementia and caregiver playing with puzzle in retirement home

Our bodies go through a lot of changes as we age. Many people notice changes in their physical capabilities, appearances, and even their cognitive abilities as they age. But, not all of these changes are things to worry about. As we get older, we might experience forgetfulness or minor memory loss and mistake them for Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Before you worry about these memory diseases, you should be aware of the normal signs of aging and the signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Typical Age-Related Changes and Memory Loss

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, signs of aging can actually start as young as 30 years old. The CDC published a list of ways aging can show up in our bodies.

Bones
Our bodies go through a lot of wear and tear throughout our lifetimes. It’s no surprise that our bones shrink, making them more fragile as we get older. The cartilage that protects our joints from rubbing together can start to wear down, causing pain and stiffness.

Heart and Blood Vessels
The arteries and blood vessels that pump blood to our hearts can stiffen with old age, causing our hearts to work harder. This means that physical activities like walking or climbing stairs can become much more difficult.

Muscles
According to the CDC, our muscles mass actually decreases 3-5% every decade after we reach the age of 30. This will cause the muscles to become less toned, and less able to contract and become more rigid.

Bladder and Bowels
Our bladder and bowel’s ability to stretch and then go back can decrease after time. This can cause more trips to the restroom, constipation, and leakage.

Skin
As we age, our skin can lose its elasticity, causing wrinkles and loose skin. A loss of elasticity can also make the skin more prone to bruising, scrapes, and cuts.

Vision
Aging can cause the lens in our eyes to harden, causing far-sightedness and cataracts. Cataracts can cause blurry vision and even blindness. If you sense any changes in your vision, make sure to consult your doctor right away.

Forgetfulness
It’s normal to experience forgetfulness and mild memory loss with aging, especially as our brain’s processing becomes slower. It’s not uncommon to forget appointments, when bills are due, or where you’ve put your eyeglasses. However, there is a difference between the symptoms of normal aging and the signs of dementia.

Common Signs of Dementia

Dementia is an overall term given to diseases and conditions involving severe memory loss. While forgetfulness is an expected part of aging, it can often be confused with the symptoms of dementia related diseases. If you’re having trouble differentiating between age-related forgetfulness and dementia, the NIA has published a list of warning signs.

Normal Aging Memory Loss:

  • Sporadic errors in decision-making
  • Occasionally missing payments on a bill
  • Forgetting which day it is
  • Misplacing common items such as keys or glasses

Signs of Dementia:

  • Making poor judgments most of the time
  • Forgetting to pay bills all of the time
  • Forgetting which day it is and being unable to recall it
  • Trouble with communicating needs or wants
  • Misplacing things and forgetting about them

Factors Influencing Memory Loss

While many older adults are affected by dementia, it’s not the only reason for changes in memory. In fact, memory loss can be attributed to a number of different factors.

Medical
Issues with blood flow, such as tumors and blood clots, can cause infections in the brain. Complications with medications, especially when consuming more than one type, can cause memory loss and confusion.

Emotional
We all go through trying times. But, it’s not uncommon to forget the affect they can have on our physical and mental states. Anxiety, depression, and stress can make us feel more forgetful. These symptoms can mirror those that come with dementia.

Genetics
While dementia and Alzheimer’s can be difficult to predict, researchers suggest that those who have a family history of memory disease are at a higher risk of developing a form of dementia themselves.

Cholesterol
High levels of cholesterol could increase your chances of developing dementia. Researchers suggest eating a balanced diet and discussing your heart-health with your healthcare provider.

Symptoms to Watch For

While the severity of dementia can vary in each person, there are some common symptoms that present themselves in dementia patients. The University of California San Francisco published a list of the most common dementia symptoms:

  • Getting lost even in familiar places
  • Asking repetitive questions
  • Unusual behaviors
  • Changes in personality
  • Inability to express feelings and emotions
  • Change in ability to comprehend
  • Forgetting recent events
  • Change in diet and appetite

Approaching a Loved One About Their Symptoms

Starting a conversation with a loved one about their signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can be extremely difficult. If your loved one is showing patterns of behavioral change, knowing how they will react to the conversation can be hard to predict. You might consider some following these tips to help guide your conversation:

Plan how you will start the conversation
Starting the conversation can be the hardest part. You might consider starting with, “I’ve noticed some changes in your behavior and I was wondering if you noticed anything too?”

Start the conversation early
You should have this conversation when you start noticing obvious behavioral changes. Approaching this conversation when your loved one’s cognitive function is at its highest will help you make decisions according to your loved one’s wishes.

Know who should be there
If your loved one is especially close with a family member or friend, you might consider asking them to be a part of the conversation.

Offer your support
This can be a scary time for the whole family. Offering your love and support to your loved one can go a long way.

Finding Support in Your Journey at Maplewood Senior Living

Navigating the complexities of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss can be really scary. If you’re still unsure if you’re experiencing the signs of dementia, check out our tip sheet. Our staff and caregivers at all of our Maplewood Senior Living communities strive to give our residents and their families the care and support they need. To learn more about our communities and our wide variety of offerings, schedule a tour or contact us here.