Hospice care provides comfort and improves quality of life for many patients, but it is still underutilized even though the Medicare hospice benefit has been available to qualified patients since the early 1980s.
When researching a senior living community for yourself or a loved one, it’s all about finding the right place at the right time. Understanding the difference between options like independent and assisted living will help you determine what’s right for you and help you decide where you will live your best life.
Here are three ways independent and assisted living differ.
Independent senior living communities focus first and foremost on serving the social needs of senior residents, with central communal areas, recreational programming and adjunct support services to address minor needs.
“What matters most?” That’s a question we should all ask ourselves from time to time. And it’s one that is easy to lose sight of in the rush and routine of day-to-day life. So every now and then, it’s wise to take a fresh look at our lives and our resources—be they time, energy or money—to make sure we are dedicating them in a way that aligns with our values, preferences, and life goals.
These days we rely on hand held devices to manage almost every aspect of our daily lives. Alarm clocks? Forget it. We wake up to the beeping of our phones. Maps? Gone. Siri can direct us anywhere we need to go. Whether we’re communicating with our loved ones, reading the daily news, or updating slides for our next meeting, we’re often doing it with the help of a mobile device.
Caring for our elders shouldn’t be any different. For this reason, researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife teamed up with affiliates from Harvard Medical School and several other organizations to create a senior care coordination app called InfoSAGE.
It’s no surprise that the holiday season can bring the passage of time into focus. As we catch up with relatives and friends we may not have seen over the course of the year, we notice the small changes in them that come with age. Even for those who see their family members regularly, the contrast of this year’s celebration to the last can make us all realize that we’re not getting any younger. And the older memories of childhood and holidays past usually contrast with the way things are today.
Whether it’s a fall, a wandering episode, death of spouse, or loss of a dependable caregiver, too many families find themselves making decisions about assisted living in “crisis mode.” Up until turning points like these, there is often some level of denial about the possibility that a more supportive living environment could someday be needed. Yet beginning a search for assisted living at such a moment is far from ideal. Any preparation you can do in advance is a gift you provide for your family, whether planning for yourself or for a loved one’s potential future needs.
As parents, watching our children take their first steps is one of the proudest, most gratifying moments imaginable. As adult children, watching our parents begin to lose their footing is one of the most concerning. Those who find themselves at this juncture are often left wondering what to do and where to turn for more information.
To help with this dilemma, we’ve asked Timothy Parke, Rehab Clinical Supervisor at Orchard Cove and a Board Certified Specialist in geriatric physical therapy to answer some fundamental questions about assistive devices.
I recently sat down with Bill Taube whose mother, Esther, blossomed as a patient at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Dedham (HRC Dedham). Bill’s mother moved to HRC Dedham three years earlier and was at the time, “Angry at the world and depressed.”
Before moving to HRC Dedham, she was so depressed that she would not even visit the hairdresser, a long held Saturday morning ritual. Bill was concerned that perhaps his mother would not adjust well to a move and grow only more despondent. Carol Westheimer, Esther’s geriatric care manager, pushed for the change and recommended HRC Dedham as a good match. “Carol was right,” says Bill.
Taking care of a family member with Alzheimer’s disease and/or a related dementia can be as exhausting as it is meaningful. Both physically and emotionally, caregiving takes a toll that we can all appreciate. Occasional breaks – whether for a few hours, a day, or a week or more – are important in order to recharge. Family caregivers need rest and support in order to continue to provide the best possible care to loved ones.
There are many supports available for family caregivers:
I saw Pat a few months ago on one of her many visits to Hebrew Rehabilitation Center. It was a beautiful spring day and she was visiting her mother so they could take in the sunshine together. I sought her out because I wanted to ask her to elaborate on feedback she sent in about Nomfundo Woods Mzamo, a certified nursing assistant at HRC, who she nominated for the “Hebrew SeniorLife ROCKS*” award.
Pat was happy to speak with me at length about the care Nomfundo has provided her mother throughout her time living at HRC. The first thing Pat told me is that Nomfundo has empathy, which she believes is very important.