Ryan Patrick, Senior Sales Director for Silvercare Management, a Texas owner/operator of assisted living, memory care, and independent living communities, talks about how to find the right home for you and your loved ones.

“Have you noticed a change in your loved ones’ condition? Are day to day tasks becoming increasingly difficult to perform? If so, this might be a good time to start researching Assisted Living options.

My name is Ryan Patrick, and I am the Senior Sales Director for Silvercare Management. A Texas based owner/operator of Assisted Living, Memory Care and Independent living communities.

There are plenty of options to choose from when you are looking for an Assisted Living Community. 

The task of trying to find the best one can seem daunting. If you are like most people, this is probably the first time you will be researching and touring Assisted Living Communities.

First and foremost, you want to determine what type of Assisted Living would be the best fit. Assisted Living communities are either a type A or a type B community.

Type A communities are  reserved for individuals who are capable of self evacuating during an emergency. One thing to keep in mind if you select a type A community is that at some point in the future, you might be faced with having to move your loved one, if they ever reach the point that they are unable to self evacuate.

A type B community is able to provide care for individuals who can either self evacuate, or require assistance during an emergency evacuation. Type B communities are also what they call, age-in-place communities. This means that they are able to provide the care your loved one needs until the end of life.

Now that you have decided which type of community is the best fit, it is time to begin your search for the perfect community.

I recommend making a list of 3-5 communities that are in the area you are looking for. You will want to contact each community and set up a tour. Google reviews provide a glimpse into how others feel about the community. There are also other websites where you can find reviews from individuals who have experienced the community. These reviews are easily found with a quick google search.

Here are the top questions to ask the community sales representative. 

1. What kind of training do your caregivers undergo?
Every community is different, but to hear how they train their staff will give you an idea as to how equipped they are to handle the care of your loved one. 
2. How Many residents currently live in the community?
This will provide some insight into how well liked the community is. And if the size is a good fit for your loved one. 
3. Do you have staff on-site 24/7?
You want to make sure that someone is available 24/7 in the event your loved one needs assistance. Be sure to clarify that they are “on-site” and not “on-call”
4. What kind of meals do you offer?
This question is important, you want to make sure that your loved one is going to be receiving 3 well balanced meals each day. Be sure to ask for a copy of the most recent menu.

5. What type of activities are available?

Social enrichment is a very important aspect of Assisted Living. Most communities will offer some sort of activity calendar. Be sure to ask for a copy of their current activity calendar.

6. What is your caregiver to resident ratio?

-This information will shed some light on how much one on one time they will be able to provide your loved one. It is important that there is a good balance to this ratio.

7. What role do the families play?

-It is important that you find a community that encourages family involvement. You also want to make sure that the families have direct contact with dept heads in the event you need to ask questions regarding your loved ones.

8. What kind of access do families/friends have to their loved ones?

You want to be sure that there is a visitation policy in place and that it aligns with your availability to come visit. This is also a great time to ask about their policy on taking your loved one out for the day or a quick lunch date.

9. What 3rd party services are available?

Each community will more than likely have some sort of partnership or relationship with a 3rd party company who can provide support for extra care needs. This ranges from visiting physicians, podiatry. Dentistry, Physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc. 
10. Does the community provide transportation to and from doctors appointments?

The community will most likely provide this service, check for a price, or if it is included.

Now that you have toured your selected communities, select your top three. Revisit these communities in person and make sure you are confident in your final selection.

A couple of tips for your return tour, ask if you can come back for a second tour where you can taste the food, or see first hand one of the activities. Any community should be more than happy to accommodate these types of requests. I hope this podcast is a great tool to help you formulate your questions and helps you find the perfect community for your loved one.”

Jami Sanchez, executive director of Lampasas Assisted Living in Lampasas, Texas (one of the Silvercare Living Communities), talks about how to discuss assisted living with your loved one.

“Love your parents. We are so busy growing up that we often forget that they too are growing old. This popular quote rings true for most of us. As we get so busy in our own lives, we often forget our parents are growing older, and that often means they may need assistance with activities of daily living. And this leaves a lot of questions. When should you consider assisted living? When is the right time to discuss assisted living with your mom or dad? This discussion can be very difficult, but with the right information, talking with your parents about assisted living care can be a very easy and stress-free experience for both of you.

One very important thing to remember is to keep your aging parents involved in the decision making process. Adults are adults, and this includes your elderly parents, especially if they still have a high level of independence and you are talking about long-term care in the upcoming years. Allow them to be involved in where they would like to live their life. If your mom and dad are still able to live their lives and have the mental capacity to make their own decisions, then you should respect their wishes. Older children who become primary caregivers for their parents can become obsessed with the idea of control. Maybe they find it too challenging with the communication and would rather just take charge instead of listening and talking to their mom, dad, or loved one. This is not helpful to either side, and it will only cause more stress in the long run and could possibly even fracture relationships in the process.

Try to keep emotions out of everything and truly think rationally about assisted living and what’s best for your parents. If this means you talk to a doctor, then please do so, but continue to keep your parents in the know and involved. Remember, if you were growing up, your parents were growing old. If you think it might be time for your parents to consider moving to an assisted living community, you should have the talk with them sooner rather than later. Keep them involved in every step of the decision making process. Although this can be a very tough time for both of you, considering the things that are most important to your parents will make this process less stressful for all of you.”

The executive director of one of the Silvercare Living Communities, Vista Senior Living in Killington, Vermont, Luis Marin, talks about the difference between assisted living and home care.
“When it becomes clear that an elderly family member needs daily care, deciding what to do next might seem overwhelming. Assisted living and home care are two common options that can provide the additional support needed. The primary differences between assisted living and home care are where an individual receives support and the overall cost associated with each type of care.
Assisted living communities offer care, meals, social opportunities, and housing, all in an apartment-style environment. Home care, on the other hand, provides comparable services directly to the elderly. Home assisted living facilities provide housing and care services to active seniors who aren’t able to live independently. This type of care combines housing, support services, and healthcare if needed. These communities help seniors with activities like bathing, dressing, and eating, but they don’t provide ongoing skilled nursing care. Many assisted living communities for seniors offer numerous supportive care options, including the following: medication management, meal services, housekeeping, laundry services, social activities, and assistance with activities of daily living.
In my opinion, one of the greatest differences between assisted living and home care involves a socialization component, which may be compromised in a home care setting. Research conducted by the University of Hartford, where they analyzed results from 148 studies that included a total of 308,849 participants going back to the early 20th century, has shown how important social relationships are for improving survival. Social relationships are found to help improve health, either by protecting individuals from stressful situations or by creating a norm of healthy behaviors. This information is found to be helpful, and if you need any assistance finding the right place, know that the Silver Care family is here to provide you with the resources and lend a helping hand.”
Executive Director Kayla Hanna and Wellness Director Elisha Orozco of Silvercare’s Colonial Lodge Assisted Living talk about how important it is for seniors to stretch every day.

“Hi, my name is Kayla Hanna, and I am the Executive Director for Colonial Lodge Assisted Living, a Silvercare community, and I am here with our wellness director, Elisha Orozco. We are going to explain the importance of daily stretching for the senior population.

 As you age, joint movement becomes stiffer and less flexible because the amount of lubricating fluid inside your joints decreases and the cartilage becomes thinner. Ligaments also tend to shorten and lose some flexibility, making joints feel stiff. Muscles and joints weaken, and our range of motion deteriorates as we age. Stretching benefits include the development and maintenance of strength, improved flexibility, and increased circulation and blood flow to promote a greater quality of life and healthy aging. The less mobile joints are used, the less flexible and mobile seniors might be, no matter their level of activity. Stretching exercises for seniors are important. Addition to your routine stretching exercises yields many health benefits for seniors, ranging from injury prevention to mobility maintenance.

 Exercise is the most effective approach to combat immobility. Although a physical therapist who specializes in seniors is highly suggested, there are many exercises that can be learned and practiced without professional assistance to help elderly people improve their mobility. If you have a chronic condition, including osteoporosis, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely. Some examples would be an overhead side stretch held for 10 to 30 seconds per side. You could do shoulder stretches, tricep stretches, hamstring stretches, and also calf stretches. Generally, elderly and senior stretching should be done two to three days per week. Performing each stretch three to five times with a 20- to 32-second hold Try one or two stretches for each body region. If you would like to increase your flexibility, stretches should be performed four to five days per week. Silver Care Management utilizes third-party occupational therapy and physical therapy services to offer in-home therapies to keep our residents active and moving. Call one of our communities today to schedule a private tour and see if assisted living is a good option for you or your loved one.”

Connie Johnson, a resident liaison for Windchime at the Village Assisted Living in Kingsland, Texas, talks about the importance of socialization in assisted living.

“Hello, fellow listeners. This is Connie from Windchime Assisted Living out in Kingsland. And I wanted to talk a little bit about the elderly and socialization, especially as it pertains to assisted living. We bring folks in, you know, on a daily basis to come live in our community, and so often the families talk about how isolated they were at home alone or even living with them, because if they’re living with other family members and those folks are busy with work and just their day-to-day lives, it’s hard to give that elderly loved one all the attention that they need. So, we are especially aware of this in the realm of assisted living. We definitely make sure that we find out what their personality is like and if they’re a social person to begin with or if they’re more to themselves, and we adapt accordingly.

We brought a gentleman in a couple months ago, and he is more to himself, but he enjoys his socialization at mealtime, and for him, that’s enough. Other than that, he doesn’t really want to participate in other, you know, activities that we do have going on, but he’s perfectly content, and then we check on him and see him throughout the day. So he is getting, you know, socialization. Uh, a lot of the little ladies though, however, you know, want to be involved in anything and everything, all activities from art projects to bingo, ladies Bible study, you name it, they’re all involved, and they are just like we are. You know, we all need socialization and human touch. I hope this has helped. We just know that we have to value this very much in our assisted living community because we have to know what each individual is like and make sure that they are getting what they need socially.”

Annette Smith, executive director of Windchime at the Village Assisted Living in Kingsland, Texas (one of the Silvercare Living Communities), discusses the distinction between aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

Hi, my name is Annette Smith. I’m the executive director here at Windchime at the Village Assisted Living. I just want to talk to you a little bit about aging versus Alzheimer’s and what the difference is. Aging or Alzheimer’s people often mistake the two. Aging is just the mature stage of the human life cycle. The gradual slowing down of internal processes Even with this slowing down, your brain can remain active and sharp by challenging it. Alzheimer’s is a disease process that affects the brain and may cause dementia. Alzheimer’s is common in later years, but it is not, to be mistaken, a normal part of getting older. Dementia can be a symptom of Alzheimer’s. As people grow older, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s increases. Alzheimer’s care is often a common part of the assisted living community service package.”

Brandy Porter, the sales director for Silver Creek Assisted Living in Garland, Texas (one of the Silvercare Living Communities), talks about when it’s time to think about professional care for a loved one with dementia.

Hi, I’m Brandy Porter, the sales director for Silver Creek Assisted Living. Are you having a hard time deciding on home care or professional care? It’s common for family members to want to keep their loved ones who have dementia, living at home for as long as possible. In the early stages, that’s often helpful for someone who is only beginning to experience memory loss or confusion. Being in familiar surroundings and having familiar people close by can be of great comfort. As time passes though and the symptoms become worse, it could be time to consider professional care. People with dementia might forget to eat or choose to avoid certain foods, which can lead to malnutrition. They can develop severe depression or anxiety. It can even be dangerous both for the individual and those around him or her. People in the later stages of dementia can become aggressive and lash out at their caretakers.

They can also wander off on their own and get lost even if no one gets hurt. In that scenario, it can cause a lot of emotional trauma. While it can be difficult for one to make, at some point, professional care may be the most loving choice, such as assisted living by ensuring that their loved one is in a safe environment. With structured activities and full-time caregivers, the family is doing the best thing for everyone concerned. At first, family members might feel guilty about even thinking about moving their mother or father or spouse into a place that provides specialized care for people with dementia. They might feel as though they’re shifting their responsibilities, someone else or abandoning someone they care about deeply. But it’s important to realize that this change is more difficult for the family than it is for the individual. People who have more advanced cases of dementia no longer experience the same range of emotions.

The disease limits their ability to process information and respond accordingly. They may be aware that they’re in a different place. They may also know that other people besides their family members are around to help them. At times, they may ask where their spouse or adult child is, but in the advanced stages, these periods of awareness typically grow shorter and less frequent. Much of the time, their mind is not in the present or even in the past as memories continue to fade. So while it’s not unusual for guilt to cause those who are making the decision to put it off until it’s absolutely necessary, that guilt isn’t helping anyone and may be causing harm. Unless people with advanced dementia or in the right kind of living environment where they can receive professional care that addresses their unique needs, the quality, quality of life will continue to deteriorate. It may be helpful to think of it this way. If your loved one’s dementia has progressed to the point where you can no longer provide the level of care, day and night they require to stay as physically and mentally healthy as possible, then you’re actually doing your spouse or parent a favor by making sure they have continuous access to professional care that they need. Here at Silver Creek Assisted Living, we are here for you to provide a helping hand.

Rhonda Sides, executive director of Silvermark Memory Care in Plano, Texas (one of the Silvercare Living Communities), talks about the benefits of pets for residents with dementia.

Hi, my name is Rhonda Sides. I am the executive director for Silvermark Memory Care. Today we’re gonna discuss pets and dementia, so we know that pets help, uh, even those without dementia. So the increased research has shown that pet interaction with dementia can reduce tension, stress, or anxiety. A person may be feeling, um, upset or lonely, and the act of brushing or petting and holding a pet actually decreases loneliness and depression also relieves pain by increasing oxytocin in the body. Also increases social interaction and self-worth. So instead of constantly requiring someone to care for them, they actually get to care for something themselves. Also, improving physical health for early stages, dementia, taking the dog out for a walk or playing with the dog of a cat, brushing and petting them, that gives them the motor skills and the exercise, so that actually helps them as well.

So then you need to look at the levels of dementia and what different path you can take for what type of pet. So somebody with, um, just starting out with dementia may still be able to take care of their own dog and their own cat, and they can do that with a little assistance. But now we’re gonna look at somebody who has progressed dementia and really does not have the ability to be responsible for a cat or a dog. Um, with that you can do other things. You can get toys, and I know they’re called toys, but we’ll talk about that in a second. You can get toys so they can, you can get robotic cats, robotic dogs, and they actually purr or bark. They actually vibrate when you pet them. They purr when you pet them. They actually can interact with the, uh, your loved one that has dementia as well.

So we don’t wanna look at them as being toys. It’s not demeaning to them at all. It is the, if your loved one feels like that’s their cat, that’s their reality. They love that cat. And so to them that cat is, is their cat. So they’re gonna get the same thing. Petting that cat, loving that cat and having that cat in their lap is gonna make them feel the same way as an actual live animal Would just like, you know, petting, combing their hair, brushing, talking to them, just having something in their lap, that weighted animal in their lap, just comfort them and makes them feel less lonely. Something else you can look at. As far as sensory goes, bird birds work really well. Uh, they are a little noisy, depending on, you know, it depends on the residents. You, you, you have to decide on what, what, you know, kind of things they like as well. So birds are a good sensory pet to take care of for them. But someone, someone else would definitely have to take care of them. But, um, my residents enjoy talking to the birds. They enjoy looking at the birds. Um, we also have a fish tank, which they

Enjoy as well. Um, the visual part, I did find the brighter colored fish and they really enjoy looking at the fish and just watching them swim. That seems to really calm some of them down as well. Uh, so depending upon the levels of dementia, um, that’s gonna help you make your decision on whether they can take care of a pet or whether they need a pet that, that they, uh, need assistance with, or whether you just need to purchase them, something that that makes them feel better. Um, that’s just gonna be dependent upon you and dependent upon the residents. Some people don’t want any pets with that. You can actually get a doll or a toy that looks like a doll and they actually love them, believe it or not. You just want to give them something that gives them comfort and gives them something to hold onto. Um, I think that, again, we just have to remember that we are living their reality. And so if it brings them comfort, there’s nothing wrong with it.

Daniel Mora, resident liaison at Vista Senior Living in Killington, Vermont, discusses the benefits of assisted living for seniors.

Hello everyone. My name is Daniel Mora, and I’m the resident liaison for Vista Senior Living at Killington, Vermont. And today I wanted to take a couple minutes to talk to you about the benefits of assisted living. One of the greatest benefits of assisted living for your elderly loved ones is social interaction. It’s not uncommon for seniors to become isolated as they get older. Isolation in seniors can lead to a host of problems like depression, poor health, poor mobility, and more. In assisted living, residents become part of a loving, supportive community surrounded by people their own age. Residents engage in activities designed to foster social connection from arts and crafts to social hours. Enjoying the company of peers is one of the most natural and compelling benefits of senior living. We have had multiple cases where seniors will join Vista Senior Living and make new friends.

An assisted living community can also have physical benefits. Increased physical activity. Among the advantages of assisted living are the different activities that we have to maintain the physical health of the elderly and reduced stress as we age. Remaining active can help seniors keep their blood sugar in check, increase circulation, and even improve their heart rate. In assisted living facilities, residents are offered a wealth of indoor and outdoor activities, including walks around the property or morning exercises as we have every morning here at Vista at 10:30 AM Better nutrition. When it comes to mealtime great food and nutrition is so important for seniors, but a welcoming dining experience is critical too. At our assisted living community, we have three full meals a day, which are prepared by our in-house chef. These meals are tailored specifically to our residents’ needs. With the input of all of our residents, we are able to create monthly menus that have both health and craving benefits, making sure that it meets our residents dietary needs.

Assisted living communities like Vista Senior Living also offer assistance with activities of daily living or ADLs. Things like bathing, dressing, and eating. But balance is key when it comes to the level of assistance each senior receives. It’s important that seniors retain independence and control over their lives and schedules while still having access to the care that they need. Striking the balance is one of the key benefits of assisted living. Each one of our residents has a care plan that is tailored to their needs. Family benefits of assisted living, peace of mind. Another benefit of assisted living for the family will be that they have the assurance their loved one is in a safe space and in a comfortable environment. Senior living situations can be stressful for any family, whether or not the senior lives with them full-time. When a senior moves into assisted living, family members can rest assured that their loved one is in a safe, supportive environment, eating well, socializing, and receiving the care that they need.

The services that Vista Senior Living has to offer, we are able to help families enjoy their loved one’s golden years.

With so many options in senior living, it can be hard to understand the benefits of each type of care. The combination of compassionate care that helps seniors with activities of daily living paired with a lifestyle full of social activities and wellness programs will definitely help

our seniors thrive. A special thanks to all the families that have trusted Vista Senior living with the care of their loved ones. Without you, Vista Senior Living would not exist. We hope that this information has been helpful and we look forward to many more years of making memories with our residents and their families, for their family becomes our own when we join this journey together. Thank you and have a great day.

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