Decision-making Help for families........

Hi Everyone……as you know, About Seniors is a company whose purpose is to help families or individuals find alternative living solutions when that is needed.  How do they and you choose what environment is right?  Here are some questions and guidelines for you to consider:
Use the following checklist to assist you in assessing assisted living communities. If possible, both you and your loved one should be involved in the decision making process. The more an older person participates in the planning process, the easier it will be to adjust to the new environment.

Assessing an Assisted Living Community as you tour the facility:

  • As you arrive at the facility, do you like the location and outward appearance of the community?
  • As you enter the lobby and tour the building, is the decor attractive and home-like?
  • Did you and your potential resident both receive a warm greeting from staff?
  • Does the administrator/staff call residents by name and interact warmly with them as you tour?
  • Do residents socialize with each other and appear happy and comfortable?
  • Are you able to talk with residents about how they like the residence and staff?
  • Do the residents seem to be appropriate housemates for your loved one?
  • Are staff appropriately dressed, personable and outgoing?
  • Are the staff members that you pass during your tour friendly to you?
  • Are visits with the resident welcome at any time?
  • Is the community well-designed for resident's needs?
  • Are the recreational and non-living spaces free from storage items or other obstacles?
  • Is the floor plan easy to follow?
  • Are doorways, hallways and rooms accommodating to wheel chairs and walkers?
  • Are elevators available for those unable to use stairways?
  • Are hand rails available to aid in walking?
  • Are cupboards and shelves easy to reach?
  • Are doors of a non-skid material and carpets firm to ease walking?
  • Is the facility clean, free of odors and appropriately heated/cooled?
  • Does the facility meet local and/or state licensing requirements?
  • Is there a written plan for the care of each resident?
  • How long after admission is this care plan written?

What is the procedure for assessing a potential resident's need for services and are those needs reassessed periodically?

  • Can a resident be discharged for refusing to comply with a care plan?
  • When may a contract be terminated and what are refund policies?
  • Are there any government, private or corporate programs available to help cover the cost of services to the resident?
  • Are additional services available if the resident's needs changes?
  • Are there different costs for various levels or categories of services?
  • How do you pay for additional services such as nursing care when needed on a temporary basis?
  • What are the billing, payment and credit policies?

Medication/health care

  • What is the facility policy regarding storage of medication, assistance with medications, training and supervision of staff and record keeping?
  • Is self-administration of medication allowed?
  • Who coordinates home care visits from a nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, etc. if needed?
  • Are staff available to assist residents who experience memory, orientation, or judgment losses?
  • Does a physician or nurse, visit the resident regularly to provide medical checkups?
  • What is the procedure for responding to a resident's medical emergency?

Is staff available to provide 24-hour assistance with activities of daily living (ADL) if needed?

Features of individual units

  • Are different sizes and types of units available?
  • Are units for single and double occupancy available?
  • Do residents have their own lockable doors?
  • Is a 24-hour emergency response systems accessible from the unit?
  • Are bathrooms private with handicapped accommodations to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers?
  • Are residents able to bring- their own furnishings for their unit and what may they bring?
  • Do all units have a telephone and cable TV and how is billing handled?
  • Is a kitchen area/unit provided with a refrigerator, sink and cooking element?
  • May residents keep food in their units?
  • May residents smoke in their units? In public spaces?
  • May residents have pets?

Social and recreational activities

  • Is there evidence of an organized activities program, such as a posted daily schedule, events in progress, reading materials, visitors, etc?
  • Do residents participate in the neighboring community?
  • Do volunteers, including family members, come into the residence to help with or conduct programs?
  • Does the facility have its own pets or provide for pets to visit the facility?

Food Service

  • Does the residence provide three nutritionally balanced meals a day, seven days a week?
  • Are snacks available?
  • May a resident request special foods?
  • Are common dining areas available?
  • May residents eat meals in their units?
  • May meals be provided at a time a resident would like or are there set times for meals?

……this list was found on the website.  I think it is quite comprehensive.  Also, be sure to ask for the assistance of a qualified placement agency like About Seniors.  They can really be your advocates and can be of invaluable assistance with no cost to you.  Happy Summer……take care……Regina

Driving Issues As We Age........

Hi Everyone…..I am a resident of the Sun Cities and am aware of the driving issues facing our community.  It always surprises me when a caregiver for someone who has dementia or other neurological issues says that he/she cannot take the keys away from their loved one.  So, that person with reduced comprehension or mobility is still driving which is not only a danger to them but also to all of us!  Here is a list of questions to ask yourself when making that decision to take away the keys or not.  It comes via a compilation from the National Institute of Health (NIH)
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you should be concerned about your loved one’s driving skills. It might be time to ask whether it’s time they retire the keys.

  • Has a friend or family member expressed concern about your loved one’s driving?
  • Has the doctor advised limiting driving for health reasons?
  • Has your loved one been pulled over by a police officer and warned about poor driving behavior?
  • Has your loved one been stopped by the police or had near misses or accidents in the last 3 years?
  • Does your loved one sometimes get lost on familiar routes?
  • Do you notice that your loved one concentration wanders when they drive
  • Does he or she become confused or angry?
  • Do other drivers honk frequently when they are behind the wheel?
  • Does your loved one complain that cars or people walking seem to appear out of nowhere?
  • Does your loved one have trouble moving their foot between the gas and brake pedals, or do they confuse the two?

It’s important to be aware of gradual limitations and how they may affect driving. If you’re not sure whether a driving problem is developing, discuss the situation with family members, friends, or the doctor to seek advice. The most important thing is that everyone be safe on the road.
Adapted from NIH SeniorHealth Older Drivers
….and I would ask one more question… you help them drive by telling them when to stop and which ways to turn?  Important questions to consider…..take care….Regina

April 2018 Blog on Preserving Brain Health

Hi Everyone…….I recently read an article in the AARP monthly newsletter that arrives every month in my mailbox.  As we all know, there are many ideas floating around out there which talk about how to preserver our memory.  There are many charlatans as well as bona fide experts in the field of dementia who are eagerly telling all of us what is best.  Certainly, the Blue Zone diet and information has substance.  The Longevity Study at Banner is indicating that those who are living longest stay socially connected.  But what about all those warnings that have been floating around for years?  Are you still cooking with aluminum pans?  Are you still using deodorants which contain aluminum?  Do you use ginseng?  Are you overdosing on your crossword puzzles and other word games?  Well, in the December issue of the AARP magazine, they addressed these concerns.  Here is a synopsis of what they said:

  1. Aluminum in pots, pans, cans and anti-perspirant:  I think that was the first thing I remember from what “experts” thought might be causing AD, because this element is found in the neurons of people who had AD.  However, it is the 3rd most common element in the earth’s crust, and “the small amount that you get from cookware and antiperspirants is not likely to increase your risk.”
  2. Ginseng:  I remember the arrival of ginseng in our daily vocabulary.  It was thought that if we used it in our tea or in supplement form that it would boost our brainpower.  However, researchers have not been able to corroborate that.  Plus, it actually interferes with other prescription drugs like those for diabetes, for blood thinning and depression.  In addition, it can cause sleep problems, headaches, and digestion issues.
  3. Brain games:  We all have our favorite word or number (Sudoku) games.  I always felt guilty that I wasn’t doing the NYT crossword puzzles.  After all, I was an English major in my undergraduate years!  But, I have no patience with them.  I do like those games where you have to find a word which may be written backwards, diagonally, or upside down!  Now researchers are saying that these games are good for making you more proficient at those games not for increasing brainpower.  Well, surprise.  What does help is taking a class, “designing a quilt, working with technology, or researching your geneology.”  The idea is doing something that is not rote and also engaging with others.  Listening to music is also on the good list.

So, stay connected and take care of yourself as well as your loved one…….Happy April…..Regina


Hi Everyone, Recently About Seniors sponsored a caregiver symposium which featured experts in the field of Alzheimer’s, dementia, hospice, legal issues involving caring for someone with dementia, emergency care and caregiving in general.  As we would expect, everyone on the panel that day agreed that “stress” is the main issue for family caregivers who are on call 24/7.  How to deal with this stress to prevent the caregiver from becoming the patient, was a key issue.  The caregiver MUST have a break regardless of how brief that might be.  What can that “break” look like?  I have a list here of “Lucky 17” (St. Patrick’s Day inspired) ideas for you to try, or make it your bucket list to use to try one or more each day in the month of March.  Here goes:

1.  Laughing so hard your tummy hurts.
2.  Take a hot shower.
3.  Go for a drive on a pretty road…..Hassayampa Preserve is an easy drive or the White Tanks.
4.  Listen for your favorite song on the radio.
5.  Lie in bed listening to the birds outside.
6.  Putting warm towels out of the dryer up against your face.
7.  Find an article of clothing you like on sale for half price.
8.  Make a chocolate milkshake. (or vanilla!).
9.  Take a bubble bath.
10. Go to a support group where you can have a good conversation.
11. Laugh at yourself or the silly things that can happen in a day.
12. Invite a good friend over to visit.
13. At the mall, play with a new puppy.
14. Have someone fix your hair.
15. Make chocolate chip cookies…..if you have a toaster oven, you can buy premade mix and cook one cookie at a time!
16. Just sit in a chair or couch holding hands with your loved one…..even if it is only a couple of minutes…..and just breathe.
17. Watch the sunrise with your loved one and realize you have been given another beautiful day.

Have a wonderful month.  The weather is warming, and just step outside to let the sun warm your face.  Take care…….Regina


Sunday, August 20th at 4pm, tune into the RADIO 960 AM

Sunday, August 20th at 4pm, tune into the RADIO 960 AM

Sunday at 4 PM on @960thepatriot: You're invited to listen with @AgingInAZ hosting an interview with Regina Ralston, Director of Community Relations, from About Seniors, LLC Elder Placement Consultants and Emil Authelet, therapist and Author of the book, "When the Caregiver becomes the Patient".

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