Levels of Hospice Care

Hospice care is a service given to a terminally ill patient or anyone given a prognosis of six months or less to live by a medical doctor. Also considered end-of-life care, or comfort care, Medicare has defined hospice services as made up of four levels of care. Not all hospice patients need or receive all four levels of hospice care. One patient may only use one level, while another may go through all four levels in a week or less. Each hospice patient goes through their own unique journey.

Level 1: Routine Home Care

This is the most basic level of medicare certified hospice care. It exists for patients living at home, have been confirmed eligible for hospice care by a medical doctor, and qualify for Medicare Part A and B. The majority of patients who receive 90 days of hospice care or more are getting this type of hospice care. This level of hospice is usually appointment-based and includes such services as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Intermittent skilled nursing services
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Part-time use of a home health aide
  • Medical supplies for home use

At this level of hospice, you don’t have access to 24/7 care. However, many centers for medicare and hospice agencies keep a nurse on-call at all times for families that have urgent needs.

Level 2: Continuous Home Care

Continuous care is the second of the four levels of hospice care. It is usually used in times of crisis. We elevate patients that require continuous care for a minimum of eight hours straight, within a 24 hours to manage acute symptoms, into this hospice care level of care. Continuous home care may cover such symptoms as:

  • Severe nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Unrelieved pain
  • Heightened anxiety or panic attacks
  • A change in primary caregiver support at home

If a hospice patient has symptoms that cannot be controlled, level 2 hospice care allows a nurse to stay with the family as long as necessary until the patient is comfortable. Level 2 can also assist in cases where the person is actively dying.

Level 3: General Inpatient Care

Sometimes patients may experience symptoms so extreme that they cannot receive adequate hospice and palliative care at home. Or sometimes they feel more comfortable at a certified hospice care facility. General inpatient care gives a patient access to palliative care 24-hours a day, and can be done at a nursing home, assisted living facility or other hospice facility. Some patients with a terminal illness prefer an inpatient facility because it eases the responsibility of family caregivers and allows them to simply be there for emotional support. A nursing facility can administer sufficient pain relief and medications along with emotional support for everyone during a difficult time. This doesn’t mean that an inpatient facility gives a better level of care than intermittent or routine home care. Every patient is different and needs to take advantages of the services that best suit their wishes and needs.

Level 4: Respite Care

You shouldn’t underestimate the stress of being a primary caregiver. While many of them would not have it any other way, taking care of someone who is nearing the end of their life is an around the clock job. Medicare understands that sometimes, for many reasons, people need to take a break, or step back from giving their loved one constant care. With respite care, we can admit a patient to a 24-hour nursing facility on a temporary basis. Which gives a caregiver time to take care of their own physical and emotional needs. Not everyone needs this hospice benefit, but respite care can be a lifesaver to caregivers who do not have enough help or support.

Who Determines The Levels of Hospice Care?

Anyone who qualifies for hospice has a team that consists of both the patient’s personal doctor and a hospice doctor. The levels of hospice care a person qualifies for falls under the responsibility of the hospice physician. The most important thing is that with these four levels of hospice care in place, a patient may always be able to get the care they need to live out their lives in a calm and peaceful manner.

If you have any questions about our hospice care services here at Mary T, send us a message or give us a call.

Hospice Care Criteria

Nobody likes to contemplate the need for hospice care because it’s never easy to face the loss of a loved one. It’s a decision that usually needs to be made while dealing with strong emotions such as sadness, anger, and grief. However, hospice care can be comforting as well. Both for the patient and the family. Hospice care criteria is different from palliative care in that palliative care can begin at the time of diagnosis. Hospice care, on the other hand, begins once treatment is stopped and it becomes apparent that a person will not survive their illness. Both hold the comfort of the patient in high regard, but hospice is where end-of-life comfort care becomes a top priority.

When is it time to consider hospice care as an option?

People become eligible for hospice when a doctor determines they have a terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less if the disease runs its normal course. A doctor will usually recommend hospice services based on the following three situations:

  1. The patient’s condition stops improving, and they fail to thrive. Usually, at this point, they have progressed into end-stage disease.
  2. If one’s goals change and they decide that they aren’t feeling better and would rather not be in a hospital setting. Or, they feel anxious about dying and want extra supportive care.
  3. Any acute health event, such as a heart attack or stroke, may require immediate end-of-life care.

During hospice, the goals of treatment change. You are no longer treating to cure a disease, you are treating to keep the patient as relaxed and pain-free as possible. Whether patients are suffering from a terminal illness or simply old age, the goals are the same. To ease the process of dying and make it as comfortable for the patient and the family as possible.

How do patients qualify for hospice care?

First, a medical professional must refer a patient for hospice care. Then a hospice nurse will perform an assessment of the patient’s health. During this assessment, the hospice nurse will look for certain hospice care criteria, such as:

  • Daytime sleeping
  • Increased cognitive impairment or confusion
  • Weight loss of 10% in the last 3 – 6 months
  • Incontinence
  • Disease progression in spite of treatment
  • Not performing daily activities
  • Increased hospital stays or visits to the ER
  • Pain and suffering

Once the assessment is complete, it’s reviewed by a hospice team, which is responsible for making the final recommendation that a patient will qualify for hospice care. However, in most medical facilities, it is the medical director that makes the final decision.

What is the hospice care criteria for Medicare?

Hospice is usually covered under the Medicare Hospice Benefit for patients that are eligible for Medicare Part A – Hospital Insurance. A hospice benefit is also available to those that qualify for Medicaid as well. In order to confirm hospice eligibility from Medicare, both a hospice doctor and your regular doctor must certify that the patient is terminally ill with a life expectancy of six months or less if the disease runs its normal course.

It’s important to note that when you agree to hospice care, you forgo any care meant to cure your illness. The patient or their power of attorney will be required to sign a statement choosing hospice care over other Medicare benefits used to treat the patient. Medicare coverage for hospice care includes anything needed for pain relief, nursing and social services, drugs for pain management, durable medical equipment, homemaker services, and other things such as spiritual and grief counseling for the patient and their family.

Hospice Is Difficult but Often Comforting

Once you get through making the hard decision, patients always benefit from end-of-life care. Hospice teams are very experienced in making a custom plan of care for their patients. Whether you decide to use an inpatient facility or do home hospice, the family and the hospice team work closely to provide the best services to benefit the patient. Hospice will make a very difficult time easier to manage for all involved.

What is it Like Working in Assisted Living?

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work in an Assisted Living facility? It’s not easy work, but it can be one of the most rewarding careers out there. The residents you meet and the relationships you build with both them and your fellow employees can literally change your life. When people move into senior living, it’s a huge adjustment. Being surrounded by staff that has the compassion to understand the difficulties we will all face later in life can make a huge difference.

What Can You Expect?

The main to expect when working in a nursing home or an assisted living community is to expect the unexpected. Typically, assisted living facilities are active communities and you never know what the day will bring. Of course, the main thing you will be focused on is providing care for the patients and residents who live there. This includes everything from nursing and medical care to helping a resident with their activities of daily living. You may run a senior yoga class, or arrange for a local high school choir to come in and perform a concert. You also may help residents with more sensitive tasks such as bathing, toileting, and getting from one place to another.

The Benefits of Working in an Assisted Living Community

While the work can be challenging, there are many benefits to working in a senior facility. If you are interested in a nursing career, working in assisted living provides the opportunity to work with nurses and gain some valuable hands-on experience. Most senior living facilities provide their staff with the opportunity to become First Aid and CPR certified free of charge. This way employees are always prepared to support a resident in need.

A more personal benefit is the ability to give back to a generation that did so much to help us learn and grow. It’s very rewarding to help members of your assisted living community live fuller, happier lives. Many long-term patients do not get regular visits from family and friends. So it means a lot when you building relationships with the residents. You may be surprised by the stories you’ll hear and the valuable lessons you can learn from the seniors you take care of day in and day out.

What Types of Employees Work in Assisted Living?

Many jobs come together to help nursing homes and assisted living facilities to run smoothly. We consider nurses management when it comes to the total care and medical needs of a patient. A nurse that works in any senior care facility needs special skills, training, and schooling to perform their duties. Certified Nursing Assistants, or CNAs, provide basic care to residents who need help completing daily tasks. They assist in nursing duties such as the daily monitoring and recording of vital signs. They also help patients with their daily physical needs, including eating, bathing, using the bathroom, and moving around.

Administration employees help run the day-to-day of the facility. While Marketing professionals work to spread the word about their facility and make sure potential residents see the benefits of one facility over another. The Maintenance staff has a huge responsibility in giving patients a clean and pleasing environment to live in. It takes a large team with many different skills to provide the high level of care residents deserve.

How to Adjust to an Assisted Living Career

If you have never worked in senior services before, it may take a bit of an adjustment before you are completely comfortable. One of the most important things to watch out for is something known as compassion fatigue. Most people who go for a job working in a nursing home or an assisted living facility do so because they want to make a difference. As much as you want to make an impact on the health and well-being of your residents, it’s important to maintain professional boundaries for your own health and well-being. Empathy is important when working in senior living, but empathy without boundaries can drain you both mentally and physically.

It’s also helpful to remember that not everyone who lives at your facility wants to be there. They may be suffering from serious healthcare problems such as dementia, or more general mental conditions such as depression. Basically, often aging seniors have a lot to deal with. Try not to take it personally if they are not initially receptive to your help and support.

Lastly, you can’t work in such a personal capacity with people without talking about grief. Death is never far away when working in a nursing home or senior care community. You will be in close contact and develop personal relationships with seniors who are nearing the end of their life. It can be very difficult to let go when the inevitable happens. Learn to lean on your peers. Talk to your coworkers and take advantage of any support program your facility has to offer.

If you are interested in finding a job within the assisted living community, there is always a need for professionals willing to take on the challenge. Come on board and get ready to embark on an amazing career. Visit our career page for more information see what positions are available!

Apartments for Seniors

If you or a loved one have your heart set on aging in place, a senior living community might be the perfect place to do it. Downsizing into an apartment allows you to cash in on the equity you’ve built up in your house. Which also gives you the freedom to enjoy retirement. And apartments geared specifically for seniors offer an ideal environment for those who are still able to live independently but want to let go of the responsibility and maintenance that comes with owning a house.

What Are Senior Apartments

Senior apartments are the same as any other apartment, except that you must be over the age of 55 to live there. These communities are filled with all kinds of active adults who are in the same stage of their lives. Everyone is winding down and getting ready to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Senior apartments are not necessarily a retirement community. But certain things specific to Making sure the apartments are wheelchair accessible, for example. You may also find extra perks like laundry and housekeeping services, onsite fitness centers, and more. Mary T. has several senior living communities that offer tons of amenities that are included in your monthly rent payment.

Independent Living at Mary T.

Margaret Place, the premier independent senior living community, is named after the daughter of Rosa Camille Williams, who dedicated her life to caring for those in need. Rosa was a nurse who provided care in hospitals and homes in the early 1900s. She was the inspiration for her daughter, Margaret, and her granddaughter, Mary T, to provide services to improve the lives of others in the community.

Margaret Place is located in Coon Rapids, Minnesota only a short walk from Lions Coon Creek Park. It features one-and-two-bedroom apartments for adults aged 55 and over starting at $1,350/month as of the writing of this article. Each unit offers individual temperature control and an emergency response system. In addition, heat, hot water, trash, and recycling are also included with your monthly rent. You’ll find complimentary laundry facilities on each floor, a resident-controlled entrance, and have a 24-hour on-site resident manager at your disposal.

What Makes Margaret Place Special

Margaret Place is an active community with numerous scheduled activities. There are garden clubs, on-site church services, a multitude of wellness and fitness programs, and other things all hosted by our caring staff. You can choose from a number of group activities and outings. Or even just take a walk along Sand Creek Trail, which is within easy reach from your unit. You can also take advantage of the exercise room, or book one of our indoor or outdoor common areas for private gatherings with family and friends.

There are also other services you can add on for an additional fee. These include a regular lunch, housekeeping services, or access to our parking garage. We even have an on-site beauty shop so you can pamper yourself steps away from home. Also, if you need any ongoing medical care, our awesome Home Health staff is available through Mary T. Home Health to assist you in any way we can.

If you’d like more information about senior housing at Margaret Place, we are located at:

1555 118th Ln NW, Coon Rapids, MN 55448

763-754-2505

7 Tips for Adjusting to Assisted Living Facility

Moving your parent into an assisted living facility is bound to be bittersweet, whether it’s a welcomed decision or not. Change is always difficult even in the best of circumstances, but when moving to an assisted living community, your loved one is leaving their home, and their independence, behind them.

There will be many emotions to sort through, for both you and your parents. They will most likely be mourning the loss of their younger years, nervous about the future, and grieving over the life they are leaving behind. You will inevitably feel guilt at making this decision. Sometimes wondering if you acted too quickly or if there was more you could do to help them stay in their home longer. Try not to worry, there are many ways you can help ease the transition into an assisted living community.

1. Make sure to pick an assisted living home that’s a good fit.

Most people find that assisted living becomes a necessity when their senior needs help with at least three daily living activities. Like eating, bathing, and dressing, for example. There are many priorities to consider when choosing the best senior living facility. Location is one of the biggest considerations that should be taken into account. Should you find one that’s close to where they are currently living? Or can they relocate somewhere closer to friends and family? It’s very helpful to have your parent nearby so you can support them with frequent visits, engage with staff members and take care of your loved ones day to day needs.

Quality of life is another thing to evaluate. What is the food and dining situation like? Do they have the types of social happenings Mom or Dad like to participate in? Investigate how they handle housekeeping services and medical assistance. Don’t underestimate transportation and parking either. You will probably be visiting frequently and you don’t want to waste time or money searching (or paying!) for parking.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for recommendations from family members, agencies that advocate for the elderly, or your local church community. These can be valuable resources as you search for the perfect place.

2. Help them make their new room their own.

The first few months of living at an assisted living facility are often made better by placing familiar items in their new environment. You obviously won’t be able to bring everything. But bringing along family photographs, their favorite books, and wall decorations can make the transition easier. You may even be able to take a favorite easy chair or dresser. Assisted living facilities want your family member to feel comfortable. They’ll encourage you to help your loved one set up their room just the way they like it.

3. Visit often and be an advocate.

Most experts agree that it’s best to visit your parent as much as possible. However, in the beginning, as your parents begin to adjust to assisted living, you will have to gauge how often you should visit. Frequent visits may help your senior feel at home and give them the confidence to take advantage of the benefits that come with their new home. But if you find that your loved one is coming to depend on your visits too much and not getting involved in their new community, it might be better to give them time to adjust on their own.

At the same time, it’s important to be an advocate for any new resident. They may feel hesitant to speak up for things that they want. The staff is almost always open to things that are outside the norm as long as it doesn’t interfere with the resident’s health or safety. Never be afraid to ask for special considerations or raise concerns on behalf of your parent.

4. Make sure they have access to the activities they loved.

Being able to still do the things they have always loved is important to helping a loved one with adjusting to assisted living. If your senior loves to read, make sure they have plenty of books at their disposal. If they have an obsession with movies, a TV and a DVD player may be in order. If they never missed their weekly bingo game, see if their new home has a regular game. Assisted living facilities have many activities for seniors to enjoy. So help your family member get involved in the ones they find the most interesting.

5. Provide them the means to maintain some independence.

In other words, try not to be overprotective. Of course you want to make sure Mom or Dad is taken care of. But our seniors had lives of their own before making this transition, and they will be happier if they feel like they are still in charge of their own lives to some extent.

If they are tech-savvy, give them a smartphone as a way to stay connected to the outside world, and a way to call you if they need something. Set them up with their own television and pay for cable so they can watch their favorite TV shows without having to do so in a common room. Many seniors live full and interesting lives inside assisted living, so be a part of it but don’t hover.

6. Encourage them to develop a community and life within the facility.

Don’t be afraid to leave a new resident alone to experience and socialize with their new community. Adjusting to assisted living will take some time. Once residents adjust to their new home, they will usually develop a whole new social circle filled with new friends, adventures, gossip, and drama. You want to be a part of their new life, you don’t want it to revolve around you. Encouraging them to be involved in their new surroundings really goes a long way to the long-term health and happiness of all residents.

7. Connect with the staff.

This may be one of the most important tips you get when moving your parent into a new facility. The staff are the ones that are responsible for taking care of all the residents. They will be interacting with them day in an day out, and will be the first to notice any change that should be brought to your attention. Developing a good connection with the staff will naturally create a better environment for your loved one. Involve them in discussions about how your loved one is adjusting to the transition. Talk to them about who your parent is, what they love to do and any personality traits they might want to be on the lookout for. Going the extra mile to show the staff that they are appreciated does wonders for everyone involved.

Bonus Tip – Be a Good Listener

Good senior care starts with being a good listener. When you move someone into an assisted living facility, it’s a difficult transition. Listen and be empathetic to your parent as they adjust to their new surrounding. Pay attention to the things they need, and bring them on your next visit. Listen to what the staff says about behavior they see, or changes that need to be dealt with. Listen to family members if they report back to you after seeing your loved one if you can’t be there. With patience and a lot of love, making the move into assisted living will be a great decision for everyone involved.

Types of Jobs in Assisted Living Homes

If you are looking for a career that allows you to give something back to others, one that touches lives and leaves the world a better place, you may want to consider jobs in an assisted living homes. Assisted living facilities need more than nurses. They are supported by a wide variety of people holding various full-time jobs. All working closely together to lift up those that call these communities home.

What is it like working in an assisted living facility?

Assisted living is different from a nursing home. Many who live in this type of community do not receive around-the-clock nursing care. They mostly need what is considered custodial care. Maybe they suffer from mobility issues and need help getting around, or they have minor memory loss and are no longer able to live completely on their own.

Unlike a nursing home, which requires more of a hospital feel due to the medical needs of its residents, assisted living is often made up of individual residential apartments, or suites. When you work at an assisted living facility, your days are never boring. You get the chance to build meaningful relationships, both with staff and the residents. You will encounter many different types of challenges that often require thinking outside the box. Whether you are helping a family support a depressed loved one or assisting a senior with mobility issues get his exercise, the work is rewarding and fulfilling.

Below is an overview of some of the jobs assisted living homes rely on to keep their residents safe and healthy.

Nursing

Even though assisted living communities don’t require 24/7 medical care, Nurses are often kept on staff to keep an eye on the resident’s health. If it’s a smaller community, they may use the services of a Visiting Nurse instead of having one on staff. However, most places keep at least one Nurse on-site at all times.

Nurses usually develop close relationships with residents, observing them in detail to ensure top-quality healthcare as a whole. They are responsible for managing total care. Which includes duties such as creating initial care plans, administering medications, giving injections, drawing blood, and preparing IVs when necessary. They are also responsible for meeting with the families to report changes in the health and safety of their loved ones living at the home.

CNA

Certified Nursing Assistants usually work under a nurse and provide basic care to residents who need help completing daily tasks. Certified Nursing Assistants will monitor vital signs and help residents with their daily needs. Things like eating, bathing, toileting, and moving around. Being a CNA is a physically challenging job, often requiring them to be on their feet most of the day. They will be the ones to help lift and move patients. They transfer them from one place to another and push them in wheelchairs whenever necessary.

Because they spend so much time with the residents, CNAs are a vital link between the resident and the rest of their healthcare team. Job seekers who are looking for a position within the healthcare industry can usually complete a CNA certification course within 4-12 weeks.

Resident Assistant

A career as a Resident Assistant means spending your days providing for the needs of residents and completing various administrative tasks as required. Some of the responsibilities overlap with things a CNA does. For example, bathing residents, helping them to the toilet, dressing them, cooking and serving meals, and collecting food trays. You may help answer phones, receive visitors and help nurses with documentation. RAs also assist in the planning and execution of social and recreational activities for the residents to enjoy. It is a challenging job, but a rewarding one.

Activities Director

One of the benefits of living in an Assisted Living community is easy access to activities. That job falls to the Activities Director. They are in charge of making sure the residents have plenty to do. Yoga, karaoke, movie nights, bingo, and exercise groups are usually scheduled on a regular basis for senior residents to take advantage of. The Activities Director may also look to outside resources to provide entertainment such as concerts or poetry readings as well as outside trips for those who are able to museums, theaters, and more. If you have great people skills and enjoy event planning and doing what you can to improve people’s quality of life, this is a great career choice.

Administration and Marketing

Job seekers that have no direct interest in health care may find their place working on the administration side of an Assisted Living Facility. These people typically include those that make sure their facilities are up-to-date regarding the latest state standards. Jobs in assisted living homes that fall under the administration umbrella include the Facilities Director, Administration Assistants, and other coordinators. And of course, Assisted Living Facilities need residents in order to be profitable. So that is where the marketing staff comes in. A Marketing Director is employed to spread the word about their facility. They also make sure potential residents see the benefits of one facility over another.

Mary T Senior Living

Rosa Camille Williams was a nurse who provided care in hospitals and homes in the early 1900s. She dedicated her life to those in need. She was the inspiration for her daughter, Margaret, and granddaughter, Mary T., to provide senior living services to those that need them. We have two Assisted Living locations that provide a healthy, safe, and caring environment for those that reside there.

Creekside Cottage

1190 117th Ave NW, Coon Rapids, MN 55448

Eagle Street

Eagle Street NW, Coon Rapids, MN 55448

Each of these 12-bed locations provide personal care for those with special medical needs and memory loss. Mary T as a company is proud to serve as employers to over 1,000 people who work a variety of different jobs. Visit our Careers page to learn more about jobs in assisted living homes and working for Mary T Inc.

Caring for an Elderly Parent

Watching your parents age can bring up a whole host of different emotions. It’s difficult to go from being cared for to being the caregiver, and it’s a role reversal that most of us will face at one time or another. Being a caregiver means different things to different people. It doesn’t matter if your elderly parents are aging in place, living in your home, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home. There will be things you’ll have to deal with that are outside of what you have done in the past. But how do you go about caring for an elderly parent? How do you turn the vague feeling of “My parents need help” into an actionable plan? Try not to be overwhelmed. Take things a step at a time and use the resources available to help you along.

Who is responsible for taking care of aging parents?

For some of us, the answer to this question is simple. It’s the responsibility of the adult children, right? Not necessarily. Relationships are complicated, and sometimes making the decision to become a caregiver can be very difficult. From a legal standpoint, whether or not adult children are responsible for their parents’ caregiving varies from state to state. 27 states have what are called Filial Responsibility Laws that require family members to take at least minimal responsibility for aging parents. In other states, children are under no legal requirement to provide senior care. But in general, most of us want to make sure our loved ones are cared for in some fashion.

How do you take care of elderly parents?

Caregiving comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. It doesn’t mean that you have to allow your parents to move in with you and your family, although you may absolutely choose to do so. Caregiving simply means making sure the long-term care needs of your loved one are met. Seniors need support in many different ways. Some have health issues that need to be addressed. Some need help finding programs and services that can keep them in their own homes as long as possible. Others may require in-home care or even 24-hour supervision. How you choose to care for your aging parents is a deeply personal decision. What is right for one person may not be feasible for another.

Consider Their Needs

The best way to start caring for aging parents is to take a step back and see what they need help with. Consider what they do on a daily basis. Can they prepare their meals safely? How is their mobility? Do they have a good social support network? Do they have any health care issues that require assistance? Can they take care of their personal hygiene? Make sure to engage them in the conversation about how they feel about living on their own. Pay attention to how their home looks when you visit. You may discover that for the time being, your parents can take care of themselves and stay at home with some added safety precautions and additional care from you or someone else in the family. You can also tap into programs and services that provide some type of home care such as cleaning services or Meals-on-Wheels.

When it’s Time for the Next Step

However, you may find that your parents aren’t able to safely live on their own. If you and your aging parents agree that it’s time to find some extra support, take stock of what you are able and willing to provide. Your first instinct might be to bring them into your home, but caring for elderly parents takes time and commitment. You may find that you can’t provide your seniors with the help and support they need to be safe and healthy. In that case, finding another solution, such as an assisted living facility or a nursing home, may be the only option that will work for all involved.

How do you care for elderly parents at home?

A Teenage Girl with Mother and Grandmother at HomeCaregiving for aging loved ones in your home is a big decision that should be discussed openly and honestly with all involved. Once you have everyone on board, you can get down to the business of actually caregiving. Make sure you know what needs you have to meet to keep your Mom or Dad healthy and safe. Keep a notebook handy to jot down notes of things that you notice during the first few weeks you’re caring for them at home. Create a list of caregiving tasks that need to be completed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Level of home care may change based on time of day, or on weekends. Decide how much you are able to handle on your own, and find help if you need it.

Taking care of a parent is often made easier by enlisting other family members for assistance, but there are also respite programs, cleaning services and more that can help out when time is a problem. If you work outside the home, try looking into adult daycare services that can watch your parent while at the office. Living with an aging parent has its own set of challenges, so it’s important not to get overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to step back and reassess the situation if need be.

Is there government assistance for caring for elderly parents?

Caregivers may not be aware that there are many government programs available that can help if you are charged with taking care of an aging parent. You probably know that Medicare is available to cover the health care of seniors. Medicare Part A covers hospital care and is usually provided for free. Medicare Part B is additional health coverage and Part D covers prescriptions. Caregivers that discover they can’t meet the needs of their aging parents can get their seniors approved for Medicaid to help pay for a long-term care facility. Another option Medicaid provides is paying for in-home caregivers, and the person who provides that care can often be a family member, or even a spouse. Some states also offer financial assistance to caregivers of aging seniors.

The Administration of Aging has agencies located in each state to help families navigate health insurance questions, legal assistance and help with long-term care if that is something your senior needs. They are a great source of information and can point caregivers in the right direction to help resolve many of the challenges put forth when caregiving.

How do you deal with the stress of caring for an elderly parent?

Caring for aging parents can be a very rewarding experience, but it is also one of the most stressful things you may ever do. Oftentimes, a caregiver is so focused on the care they’re giving that they fail to provide care for themselves. This can lead to caregivers becoming overwhelmed and resentful. It can also have a negative effect on your own health, making you incapable of caring for anyone at all! So how do you deal with the stress?

For one thing, it’s extremely important for you to check in with yourself on a daily basis. Be sure you get enough sleep, exercise and downtime. Lean on family members to help with certain tasks. Make time for activities that you enjoyed prior to taking on your caregiving duties. There are caregiver support groups available in-person or online to help you navigate the new emotions and challenges that come with caregiving. Most important, try to remember that you can’t be everything to everyone. At the end of the day, you will know that you did the best you could to support your loved one as they take on their senior years.

If you’re looking for senior care and senior living options in Minnesota, our staff at Mary T will be happy to help. Contact us when you’re ready.

Healthy Tips for Seniors

You don’t have to let your old age prevent you from enjoying life. By eating healthy food and staying active, your body will get the care it needs for better longevity. Try these tips for seniors and discover the secret to aging well.

Maintaining Good Health in Old Age

As you get older, your goal should be to stay healthy. By following these tips for older adults, you’ll find that you benefit from them in more ways than one. Not only will your loved ones be happy to see that you are working to improve your health, but you’ll have more energy to do the things you love.

What Activities Are Good for Seniors?

The type and amount of physical activity you can perform depends on your overall health. That said, don’t think that you can’t get regular physical exercise if you’ve lost most of your mobility. There are still plenty of activities and health tips you can implement into your daily routine that will help keep you feeling healthy.

Finding a hobby that you enjoy, such as knitting or playing a musical instrument, will go a long way in staying healthy. If you don’t have a hobby or routine that consists of physical activity, it’s never too late to learn something new. Many independent living and 55+ communities also host activities and events to help keep their residents active and healthy.

Even if you’re confined to sitting, there are plenty of exercises specifically designed for people in your situation. Staying active and eating a healthy diet is key to a positive attitude. If you live alone, it’s understandable that you feel down from time to time. But filling in those empty moments with activity will allow you to grow older with character.

Regardless of your abilities, developing healthy habits will ensure healthy aging.

What is the Healthiest Diet for Seniors?

You experience a lot of changes as you grow older. As such, you may need to make some important adjustments to your lifestyle to ensure healthy aging. One of those changes is eating better food. Healthy eating and regular exercise can ensure good health, regardless of your age.

What’s more, you can effectively work toward preventing certain health conditions when you choose to eat good foods. Some of the best foods you can implement into your diet include:

Whole Grains

Thanks to foods like bread and cereals, your body can get the nutrients it needs for improved quality of life. Other foods with whole grains, such as beans, fruit, and green beans, play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease.

Vitamin D

Try drinking low-fat or fat-free milk that is vitamin D-fortified to give your bones the boost they need for added strength and support. As you get older, it’s completely natural for your bones to become fragile. As such, you need to take steps to combat this, with vitamin D and calcium playing essential roles in doing so.

Fruits and Vegetables

You’ve been told to eat your fruits and veggies since you were a kid and the need for these healthy foods hasn’t changed. both are an excellent way of combating type-2 diabetes. What’s more, some fruits, such as bananas and apricots, can help lower your high blood pressure.

Fluids

The importance of fluids cannot be overstated. While it’s sometimes natural to not feel as thirsty as you used to, your body needs plenty of fluids every day. When you drink lots of water on a daily basis, you can look forward to better bladder function and energy.

If you’re not sure what a sufficient amount of fluids is, make sure that you speak with your doctor. They can tell you what a healthy amount is based on your age, overall health, and any current medical conditions.

Tips for Seniors: What is the Secret to Aging Well?

Happy senior couple at breakfastWhile it may not seem like it, many older adults actually enjoy better health than many younger people. The secret to aging well has a lot to do with prevention, such as healthy eating and staying active.

Being able to manage your stress levels will work wonders for your overall health and quality of life. In doing so, you have a much better chance of lowering the risk of chronic disease. For the best results, have your doctor help you with some exercise tips for seniors.

They can tell you what is safest in your quest to stay active. And don’t forget to eat healthy food. Beneficial food and plenty of exercise go hand-in-hand. When you eat well and keep active, you can look forward to an improved immune system, balanced weight, quality sleep, and better quality of life.

Strategies That Can Improve Health Status and Fitness in Older Adults

When you implement an exercise regimen into your daily activities, you want to start by setting realistic goals. Don’t try taking on more than you can handle. You run the risk of injuring yourself by doing so.

Instead, start out with the bare minimum and work your way up. Over time, you will develop the strength needed to take on more extensive exercise. By improving your endurance and strengthening your muscles, you will begin noticing that your body is capable of doing new things.

You’ll have more energy throughout the day, which will play a hand in allowing you to try new activities and hobbies. Not only that, but you’ll be able to stick with them, as well.

According to the National Institute on Aging tips for seniors, the most important exercises older adults can do for their overall health are endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.

What Do Seniors Want Most?

When seniors were polled on what they want most out of life, staying connected with friends and family was the top choice. Whereas other age groups might want money and success, seniors just want to stay in touch with those important in their life.

If you have a loved one who is in their later years, find the time to show them you care. Stay connected to them, and you may find it to help improve their overall health, happiness, and quality of life.

© 2021. All rights reserved.

Fall Facts: The Importance of Fall Protection for Seniors

Did you know that almost 3 million older adults suffer fall-related injuries every year? According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fall facts, nearly 1 million of those falls results in hospitalization, while over 25,000 are fatal.

Other fall facts tell us that physical harm isn’t the only thing that comes from falling. There are high monetary costs, as well. For example, in 2015, $50 billion went toward fall injuries, with Medicaid and Medicare covering 75% of that amount.

Fast-forward to today, and we see the cost of falls continuing to rise. As a matter of public health and safety, and due to the rising statistics related to falls, seniors need more protection than ever. If you are an older adult or you have a loved one who is elderly, this guide will help you reduce fall risk, so you can prevent injuries.

Fall Facts: How common are falls in the elderly?

Studies show that falls are quite common among the older adult community. In fact, every one in four adults aged 65 and older experience a fall each year. What’s more, seniors are treated in emergency departments every 11 seconds as a result of falls.

Falls are responsible for fatal injuries in older Americans every 19 minutes, making the risk of falling potentially deadly. With falls being so common among older adults, the need for prevention is an absolute must.

How many falls happen at home?

For every 10 falls that occur, six of them happen at home, meaning a third of older adults living at home will fall at least once a year. This number increases among elderly adults living in nursing homes, which is nearly half.

Even more compelling is the fact that once a person has a fall, they are more likely to do it again. As the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, there is a serious need for fall prevention and improved safety for the elderly.

What is the most common cause of falls in the elderly?

There are many reasons why falls occur among elderly adults. The leading cause is aging and the conditions that accompany it, such as poor eyesight and hearing. Additional common causes include illnesses or anything that affects a person’s physical condition.

Moreover, the layout of an older adult’s home and how they have it set up can also play a role in falls. Inefficient lighting can interfere with balance or cause accidental tripping and falling.

Even medication affects the number of falls among elderly adults. Some drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, can cause drowsiness, thus increasing the likelihood of falls each year in adults. Studies have also revealed that older people taking four or more medications is more likely to suffer a fall.

Why is falling so dangerous for the elderly?

Due to the fragility of older adults’ bones, a fall could result in a hip fracture or other breakage. If an elderly person suffers broken bones in the right places, it could prevent them from moving to get help. As we age, our health deteriorates and our bones become fragile. This is why many older adults fear falling.

What percentage of falls result in fracture?

Fortunately, the majority of fall are non fatal. What’s more, they don’t even result in injury. That said, 31% of all falls do result in injury that requires medical care. Of all fall injuries, most necessitate restricted activity for at least one day.

These types of falls are typically injuries affecting minor tissue. However, between 10 and 15% of falls result in fracture. As mentioned, falls are the leading cause of accidental death. While severe trauma certainly comes into play, we can’t rule out other factors, like a hip injury.

If a senior breaks a hip, for example, it could prevent them from seeking help and getting the medical care they need. As such, broken bones caused by falling sometimes contributes to fatal injuries.

How can we prevent falls?

One of the best things older people can do is fall-proof their homes. Because such a large percentage of falls occur in the home each year, reducing the risk of falls can go a long way in preventing injury among older people.

Adding handrails throughout the house will help reduce the risk of falls among older adults. Extra caution must be taken on and around stairs. If you have trouble with mobility, don’t try carrying things while walking up and down steps. People with balance issues should use their hands to hold tightly to the handrails at all times.

Reduce Falls With Lighting

Since prevention starts at home, be sure to improve your lighting conditions. In doing so, you will be able to better see where you’re going and what kind of obstacles are in your way. Again, always make use of handrails any time they are available.

You may want to consider having handrails installed throughout your home, such as in hallways and in the bathroom. It’s also a good idea to do away with throw rugs if you currently have any in your house. These put you at risk of falling and are one of the many factors that contribute to falls at home each year.

Work to eliminate any tripping hazards throughout your residence. These include things like electrical cords and clothing. You may have to make some changes to your decor, but it will go a long way in preventing falls and unnecessary visits to your doctor.

Invest in an Emergency Response System

Depending on your age and health, you may need a medical emergency response system, such as those that are worn around the neck. If you have an accidental fall, you can simply press a button on your emergency response necklace to send a call to the national 911 hotline.

Don’t risk suffering from falls. Practice routine prevention in your daily activities to ensure your health and safety. You should also speak with your doctor and request any available resources to improve the prevention of falls. If the risk of falling is still high, there are plenty of senior living and in-home care options that can help you feel more secure than living alone.

Home Safety Tips for Seniors

Almost everyone loves to be home. Home is familiar and comfortable. It’s a special place filled with memories that make up who we are. Home is where we have loved, lost, laughed, fought, and perhaps even grieved. Living on our own gives us a sense of independence and privacy. So it’s no wonder that even as we age, our goal is to stay in our homes for as long as possible.

That being said, all of us will have to face that at some point, some tasks will not be as easy for us to accomplish as they once were. However, there are a number of home safety tips you can put into practice to make living at home safer for aging adults. Allowing them to remain in the home they have loved for so many years.

Why is geriatric home safety important?

Being proactive when it comes to home safety for seniors is essential to their wellbeing. Tens of millions of people each year are afflicted by preventable at-home injuries. And the risk of experiencing one only goes up as people grow older. Creating a safe environment for your senior loved one will give both of you peace of mind while enhancing their quality of life. There are certain areas that are most crucial when you address home safety. As well as a plethora of technological tools that can help the family monitor the situation and even call for help if needed.

How do I protect my senior loved one at home?

Aging in place is quite doable for many older adults. As long as precautions are taken to avoid the most common dangers. Small changes make a big difference.

Prevent Falls

Safety grab bar in bathroomAccording to the CDC, falls are the number one cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries in those 65 years of age or older. The older we get, the more fragile our skin and bones become, making us much more susceptible to nasty cuts and broken bones. It also takes us much longer to heal from a fall if we do get injured.

One of the easiest things to do is go through the house and remove any trip hazards such as area rugs and electric cords you find. Electrical cords can be tucked away under furniture, and if possible remove throw rugs from the floor altogether as they tend to bunch up and pose a risk. If there are pets in the house, ensure their toys are picked up and stored away.

Falls are especially likely in the bathroom. So install grab bars they can use to make getting in and out of the tub or shower easier. You can also add non-slip or non-skid strips on the shower or tub floor to reduce the chance of falling, and provide a shower stool to make it easier for seniors to bathe themselves. The bathroom isn’t the only place grab bars are useful. You can install them in entryways and near thresholds to help seniors move from room to room more safely. Putting these simple fall-prevention measures into place will make living independently much easier and safer.

Security and Maintenance Help

Keeping up with regular maintenance is another important part of home safety. Seniors may not be capable of remembering or completing the routine maintenance required to keep things safe and secure. It may help you to create a checklist of items to review on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

For example, carbon monoxide detectors and fire alarms should be inspected at least once a month to ensure sure they are working properly. Check that every room in the house has adequate lighting and that all bulbs are in good working order. Check grab bars, towel racks, and other mounted items to makes sure things are secure. Inspect the clothes dryer for signs of lint buildup, and give appliances a once-over to make sure cords are not frayed or damaged. Each time you visit, watch out for any buildup of trash and visit the bathroom to make sure the toilets are clean and functioning properly. Making sure these things are done properly and on a regular basis will keep your senior living in a safe and secure home.

Other Miscellaneous Home Safety Tips for Seniors

There are a few other home safety tips that can help seniors stay safe inside their homes. Turn the hot water heater down to 120 degrees to prevent burns. Place a bench near the front door so they have a safe place to put on and take off their shoes. You can install bed rails if your loved one is in danger of falling out of bed during the night. Replacing doorknobs with lever handles makes it easier for seniors with arthritis to open and close doors. In the kitchen, move frequently used items to a place where they are easily accessible.

Post emergency numbers near all phones, including 911, poison control, important doctors, and the names of nearby family members they can call who are available to come help whenever necessary. Anything you can do to help keep things easily accessible may make a difference.

Use Technology to your advantage.

Senior Woman Sitting On Stair Lift At HomeThere are technologies out there that can have a huge impact on the care of someone who is aging in place. Medical alert devices have been around a long time and will bring emergency help with the push of a button. Often you can even add fall detection to these services. Voice-activated smart devices can help seniors set reminders, timers, and even make emergency calls for you. They also provide entertainment such as music and audiobooks. Invest in a cell phone and teach your senior how to use it to call you in case of an emergency.

Change light switches to a smart sensor that will automatically turn lights on and off when you enter or leave a room. These are especially great for when you have to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. There’s no doubt that these devices allow aging adults to stay in their homes much longer than they could even 25 years ago.

Home safety for seniors with dementia.

Senior care for those with dementia can be a little more complicated. But it’s still doable. Once a senior starts showing signs of dementia, they should be supervised at all times. But there are tips that can help you take care of your loved one at home. In the kitchen, keep knives and cleaning supplies locked up and put finger guards on the garbage disposal if you have one. Choose appliances with automatic shutoff features so that stoves and ovens aren’t left on accidentally.

Install a home security system so that an alarm sounds if your senior tries to leave the home. You also may consider removing door locks inside the home to keep loved ones from locking themselves inside. If your senior tends to wander, there are even GPS tracking devices you can have them wear so you can find them if they lose their way. Senior care for a loved one with dementia is never easy, but you can definitely ease the situation by taking action to prevent dangerous situations.

Be Diligent

Close Up Of Installing Smoke Detector At HomeIt’s important to know that as adults age, they often don’t realize it when things become unsafe. After all, they’ve been living alone their whole lives, they know how to take care of themselves! Communicate with your aging loved ones and reiterate that you are available to help. Enlist family members to give the home a once-over during visits and remove anything that poses a safety threat. Provide the information seniors need at their fingertips so they don’t have to go searching for things in an emergency. Use the technology that’s available, and chances are your seniors can enjoy their independence for many years to come.

When home safety for seniors is no longer enough, there are plenty of options for senior living that can accommodate your loved one’s needs. We provide disability services, senior housing, skilled nursing, therapy, home health, and hospice care. We also offer a wide range of market rate & income-restricted rental housing communities. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We provide services throughout Minnesota and have additional properties in Maryland, Arizona, and Wisconsin.