For many families, the time comes when our loved one needs additional support and the move to skilled nursing is the right decision. Even so, and even our loved one is looking forward to the move, the transition can be challenging for everyone, including caregivers.
Knowing how the move is likely to play out and having a plan for dealing with strong emotions that may arise can be beneficial. By acknowledging your emotions, establishing a visit schedule, practicing self-care, and communicating openly, you can navigate this journey with more confidence and grace. Trust in the professionals and remember that your decision is ultimately rooted in providing the best possible care and quality of life for your loved one.
Choosing a skilled nursing community that is a good fit for you and your loved one can provide solace and support as well. Here at Green House Homes at Mirasol, our model offers a unique care environment that includes person-directed living practices that extends to seniors, family members, caregivers, and provider organizations. The Green House Homes Model was created by Dr. William Thomas, founder of The Eden Alternative®, and is based on three fundamental core values: Meaningful Life, Empowered Staff and Real Home. Our mission is to offer skilled-nursing care that looks and feels like a real home.
Navigating the Transition to Skilled Nursing
Will you be helping a loved one select the right skilled nursing community? Will you then help them prepare for the move and ultimately get them settled in their new community? If so, as their caregiver, you can expect a wide range of feelings as you move through the process. Here are some tips to cope with the transition of your loved one to skilled nursing:
1. Acknowledge your Emotions
No matter how wonderful the new community is, it’s very common for a caregiver to feel some regret and/or remorse about moving them out of their house (or yours) and into a new living arrangement. In the same way that you are reassuring them that this is the right long-term strategy, you should keep reminding yourself of that fact as well. It’s entirely normal to experience a range of emotions from relief to regret, guilt to anxiety. Give yourself permission to feel all the emotions without judgment.
2. Establish a Visitation Routine
Work with the staff to establish a visitation routine that suits both you and your loved one. Knowing when and how often you’ll be able to see them can provide a sense of continuity and comfort for both you and your loved one. Visiting often can also alleviate any concern you may have about their wellbeing. It’s normal for you to have questions in your mind, especially early in the transition. Is your loved one being cared for properly? Are staff members in their care community attending to their needs? Is the property safe and secure? Will you be contacted promptly if any issue arises? Because you have chosen a top-quality community, like Green House House Homes at Mirasol, the answer to all these questions is surely, “Yes!”
3. Trust the Professionals
While you are intentionally accepting the assistance of the skilled nursing setting, it may still feel uncomfortable to no longer have the same level of input into your loved one’s daily activities. Focusing on the fact that they are in good hands will help. Skilled nursing communities like Green House Homes are designed to provide compassionate, person-centered care with the skill and expertise needed to take care of your loved one’s physical and emotional needs.
4. Prioritize Self Care
As you start to think about what you’ll do with the additional time you’ll have available to pursue your own interests and activities, you may feel a strange mix of excitement and guilt. Keep in mind that your loved one surely appreciates all you’ve done for them to date and will want you to pursue your passions wholeheartedly. Self care is critical throughout this process. Caregiver burnout is a real concern, so make self-care a priority. Take breaks, engage in activities you enjoy, and seek emotional support when needed. A well-supported caregiver is better equipped to provide the best care.
Your Partner in Enabling a Smooth Transition
Our team at Green House Homes at Mirasol understands what you’re going through in moving your loved one into a skilled nursing community. It’s a very significant life milestone for both of you, and we’re eager to assist with the transition every step of the way. Plus, once your loved one is settled, we ensure that both you and our new resident are comfortable with their environment and confident they are getting attentive and compassionate care.
Elders can suffer significant physical injuries when they fall, from bruising and cuts to broken bones and head trauma. They may also suffer emotional injuries that linger long after the incident. Fear about falling again may leave them reluctant to resume their normal activities. Plus, if they do cut back on walking for an extended period, they may lose coordination and muscle tone, and consequently, be at increased risk of falling in the future. At our skilled nursing facility, we understand the stress that elders feel when getting back on their feet. Fortunately, there are actions that families can take to make it easier for loved ones to regain their mobility.
Proven Confidence-Building Strategies
As long as an elder’s doctor has cleared them
to resume walking after a fall, below are five things they and their family can
do to help them regain their confidence.
Talk about the emotional effects of the incident. It is important that elders have an opportunity to express how they are feeling emotionally after a fall. It is normal to be apprehensive about getting back on their feet, and they should know that the people who care about them understand that and are happy to talk with them about their concerns.
Assess the elder’s environment for tripping hazards. Conducting a thorough inspection and correcting any issues that are discovered (ridges in carpet, rugs without proper no-slip backing, cluttered walkways, etc.) can give an elder confidence that any risks have been addressed.
Confirm that the elder is in good health. It is helpful for someone who has fallen to hear their doctor and physical therapist confirm that their injuries are fully healed and any necessary rehabilitation has been successfully completed.
Develop a plan for regular exercise. Staying active helps elders keep their muscles strong and their joints limber. It also helps them maintain their coordination and sense of balance.
Consider a fall monitoring device. If the elder does not already wear a device that they can use to summon help when they fall, and ideally one that can automatically detect that they have fallen, it may be something to consider.
Reassurance in a Skilled Nursing Environment
Many elders who are living at home can get
right back to their normal routine after a fall. As soon as their injuries have
healed and the cause of the fall has been remedied, they are ready to be mobile
For others, the incident may be a sign that it would be good to consider transitioning to a skilled nursing environment like Green House Homes at Mirasol. Our caregivers can render aid at a moment’s notice to ensure that any physical injury is addressed promptly and that consequently any emotional trauma is minimized. Contact us to learn more about our unique, real-home environment.
Many elders are as mobile today as they were 20 years ago. For others, however, getting to appointments can be a challenge. This is especially problematic when it comes to doctor appointments, as attending them can be critical to a senior’s health and wellbeing. Fortunately, there is a new option some physicians are using in elder care settings called telemedicine.
With this approach, doctors can perform certain kinds of services remotely. For example, a conversation about whether a medication for depression or anxiety is having the desired effect on a person’s mental health can be conducted as a teleconference, since no physical examination is required.
Benefits of a Virtual Office Visit
While telemedicine does not work for all types
of visits, for those where it is effective, it provides a number of benefits
Easier access to healthcare providers. For a senior with mobility issues or who lives far from their doctor’s office, the option to simply sit in front of a device and talk with a physician in the comfort of their own elder care community can be fantastic.
Less time spent on healthcare. From showering and dressing to go out to an appointment to the hours spent traveling to and from the doctor’s office for what may be many appointments each month, the time elders invest in tending to their health can really add up. Eliminating the travel can give a senior a large chunk of their day back.
Avoiding the waiting room. For seniors whose immune system may be compromised, the less time spent in a waiting room with other potentially contagious patients the better.
Less dependence on others. Elders who no longer drive and rely on others for rides to doctor appointments feel good about the independence that telemedicine provides.
Greater sense of engagement. Being regularly carted to and from the doctor’s office can leave a senior feeling a little powerless. If even some of those visits can take place virtually and at a time of the elder’s choosing, that experience can help them feel empowered, more engaged and more interested in their care.
Enhanced connection with the physician. Because both parties know they have to be in front of the camera to be seen, elders often feel, somewhat counterintuitively, like they get more focused attention from their healthcare provider in telehealth visits.
Traditional Values and a Progressive Approach to Elder Care
At Green House Homes at Mirasol, we believe in traditional values like maintaining the dignity, engagement, and independence of seniors. We also believe in supporting those values in a unique way in our forward-thinking elder care communities. That’s why we see a great deal of potential in telemedicine and look forward to the continuing evolution of the field and its ability to serve seniors.
Staying socially active provides many mental, emotional and physical benefits for elders. Whether that is participating in a book club, gardening with friends or enjoying a day or night out on the town, it is our experience as a leading provider of senior living homes that people who stay active tend to be happier and healthier. And there is plenty of research to back up this observation. We’ve also found that adding a few small tasks to an elder’s regular activities can deliver an additional boost to their well-being.
of Having Elders Take on Regular Tasks
While social interaction of any kind is good for elders, having a few tasks on their daily or weekly to-do list is especially helpful. This might include helping with food preparation, setting the table for meals or other simple assignments around the community.
These activities benefit elders in senior living homes in many ways, including that they provide:
A regular physical and mental workout. Committing to a task produces a positive feeling of obligation that may keep an
elder more active than optional social events.
A sense of purpose. We all like to know that the work we perform is helpful to others.
A feeling of accomplishment. Completing even a small task produces an enjoyable sense of pride in the work an elder has done.
Inspiration to other residents. Elders who see the satisfaction their peers get from lending a helping hand are often motivated to get involved themselves.
A source of stories. The tasks a senior takes on can be a great source for interesting and funny stories to share with other residents, staff and family members.
Comfort to family and friends. Knowing that a loved one is an active participant in their community makes people happy.
An Environment of Ongoing Growth and Meaningful Lives
Young person or elder, we all want our lives to have meaning. At Green House Homes at Mirasol, helping residents maintain their sense of purpose and contribution to the greater good is one of our primary goals. In our senior living homes, we involve elders in the many small tasks involved in keeping our community running smoothly. The result is a positive sense of participation that puts a smile on their face and on the faces of friends and loved ones who know how important this sense of connection is. It is a unique approach to elder care, but one that gets rave reviews from residents and families alike.
Are you assisting an elder in finding a skilled nursing facility? If so, there are certain things you should be sure to look for or ask about on a tour. The presence or absence of these key features should figure into your loved one’s decision.
6 Important Attributes of a High-Quality Elder Care Provider
In the course of doing research online, visiting a skilled nursing facility in person and talking with its staff members, here are some key considerations to keep in mind:
Facility maintenance and cleanliness. How clean an elder care environment is will vary based on when you tour it. For example, if you arrive immediately after a scheduled cleaning, it should look great. If you take a tour just prior to the next scheduled cleaning, things won’t look quite so tidy. That’s to be expected. But, every elder deserves to live in a community that is generally well-maintained and clean.
Staff compassion. If you see examples of staff members dealing with residents in a warm, friendly and patient manner, that is a good sign. On the other hand, if they seem rude or insensitive, that should raise concerns. If they are not compassionate when visitors are on site, how do they behave when nobody is around?
Staff experience. When taking a tour, you should ask your guide about the experience level of the staff. It’s not necessary that everyone has decades working in a skilled nursing facility. But ideally, there should be some seasoned veterans in the mix who are experienced in dealing with any kind of issue that may arise.
Services for current and future needs. It is important to know how well a community can handle an elder’s current needs. It is equally important to learn about services that the person might need in the future.
State surveys and personal opinions. On your tour, you should ask about how the facility has scored on state-mandated inspections. You should also ask if you can talk with any residents and families about their experience. If for some reason that is not possible, you should see if you can find feedback online.
Total costs. Each skilled nursing facility has its own way of breaking down its fees. Be sure that you understand the total cost your loved one will incur if they become a resident. The last thing they want is to get a bill with unexpected extra charges.
Finding The Right Community for Your Loved One
Finding a skilled nursing facility that meets all of an elder’s needs requires doing your “homework.” However, it is very much worth the effort. Our community at Greenhouse Homes at Mirasol is geared toward seniors who want to live in a real-home setting where they feel engaged, supported and appreciated. We’re proud of the positive environment we’ve created and welcome questions from elders and their families.