How to Make Tough Care Decisions for Elderly Loved Ones

While some seniors experience good mental and physical health late in life, that’s not the case for many people. Often, seniors experience declines in health that require a heightened level of care for many years.

And so, whether a loved one is receiving care with an at-home provider or through assisted living in Tallahassee, the time may come for the family to make tough care decisions. Here are a few tips on how to navigate the situation.

Have a Plan

It’s not always possible, but it’s always better to have a plan in place before tough decisions come along. For example, when an elderly loved one receives a chronic diagnosis like dementia, you can work with your doctor to understand what dementia care looks like and plan accordingly.

Having a plan in place ensures that family members are not left to make a split decision when unfamiliar situations arise. This allows families to work together and seek help from professionals to formulate a plan. Doctors and caregivers are good resources to lean on as you are making decisions in advance.

Actively Involve Your Elderly Loved One

When it comes to making tough care decisions, it’s important to consider the wishes of your elderly loved one. They may not always be in a position to make the decisions for themselves, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be consulted.

Have a conversation with your loved one so that they know what is at stake and understand all the options available. Their input can make your decision easier. 

Consult Professional Advice

If you are making tough care decisions for the first time, you may feel uncertain and overwhelmed. Therefore, it’s important to seek advice from a professional to help inform your decision. A healthcare professional or caregiver can walk you through the options and help you understand the long-term implications of each choice.

Professionals have experience that can be invaluable in helping you understand your decision. They’ve seen families in your situation make similar decisions and can tell you how those have played out long-term. Professionals can’t make the decision for you, but their advice can be helpful as you weigh your options.

Don’t Make Decisions Alone

Making tough care decisions for an elderly loved one can feel like an isolating time, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s important to consult family members to get different points of view before you make your decision.

Even if you feel you know what is best, talking it through with trusted allies can help you feel confident in your decision. In addition, when family members are part of decisions, it tends to put everyone at ease when facing the future.

Educate Yourself

Some family members tend to make tough care decisions based on gut instinct. While this is an important factor to consider, you should educate yourself as much as possible about the implications of your choices.

Do research on how your decision will impact your family, finances, and most importantly, your loved one. Some care options can be good short-term solutions but may have negative impacts down the road, and vice versa. You should be completely informed before making tough decisions.

Care for Elderly Loved Ones in Assisted Living in Tallahassee 

Whether to transition an elderly loved one to assisted or independent living in Tallahassee, Florida, is a significant care decision family members have to make. Assisted living can be a great option for seniors who need extra support in their day-to-day lives.

Making tough care decisions for elderly loved ones is no easy task. With a bit of research and help from family and professionals, you can be confident in your decisions.

Can Couples Live Together in Assisted Living Communities?

Seniors may choose to leave their homes later in life for any number of reasons. For example, some seniors need a little extra support, making Tallahassee, Florida, assisted living a great option for them. But transitioning to assisted living is a big decision, especially for couples.

For most senior couples, separating is not an option. So when making decisions about living arrangements, it’s a deal breaker if they can’t stay together. Fortunately, there are many options for couples in assisted living.

Assisted Living Options for Couples in Senior Communities

Most senior living communities can accommodate couples who want to live together. Seniors can share space in a single-room or one-bedroom apartment, or they can opt for some extra room in a two-bedroom apartment or townhome. 

Sometimes, both seniors need extra help, and transitioning to a shared space can make caretaking easier for both of them. Other times, one senior needs more help than the other. In this instance, their partner can step in to help when needed while also having the support of a caregiver. 

Financial Considerations for Couples

Assisted living cost for couples is not one size fits all. Generally, how much care is needed is the number one variable that determines costs. Seniors who are still healthy and relatively independent will not have as many expenses as seniors who need a high level of support. 

However, there are a number of other factors that can impact costs, including:

  • Food options
  • Amenities
  • Size of living space
  • Location
  • Caretaker to resident ratio
  • On-site activities

One benefit of couples living together in assisted living is that they are generally only charged rent for one unit. However, they may sometimes be charged an additional fee for a second occupant. 

The Genworth 2019 Cost of Care Survey states that the monthly cost for couples in assisted living can be as low as $1,500. However, the median cost in the US is closer to $4,000.

It’s important for couples to consider both the short- and long-term financial implications of transitioning to assisted living together. Often, financial considerations are made with the help of family and even with assistance from a financial professional.

Care Planning for Couples

When transitioning to assisted living, it’s important for seniors to consider what their future needs may look like. Even if one senior needs more support than the other today, that could change in the future. Health can change overnight (for better or worse), so seniors and their families need to plan accordingly. 

Seniors should plan for a variety of care situations down the road and ensure that the community can support caring for both of them. In addition, if the health of one or both seniors declines significantly, the community should be able to provide varying degrees of support. 

It is impossible to predict what might happen, but planning for different situations is the best way to ensure a stable future.

Finding the Right Community for Senior Couples

Every senior living community is different, and not all of them will be able to meet the needs of every senior couple. Couples should carefully consider what their priorities are when transitioning to assisted living and seek the help of family to help them find the right accommodations.

Families can work with professionals, talk to a variety of communities, and schedule a tour to get a better idea of the day-to-day life and services.

Couples in Tallahassee, Florida, Assisted Living

Couples transitioning to assisted or independent living in Tallahassee have a lot to think about, which can be stressful. However, many couples move to senior communities and live happily together with the support they need.

5 Fun Activities for Grandparents and Grandkids to Connect

The bond between grandparents and grandkids is an important one. Grandparents have wisdom and knowledge that can be invaluable to kids as they grow up. 

The age gap does not mean there has to be a gap in connection. There are endless activities that are age-appropriate for both seniors and kids. Here are five fun activities for grandparents and grandkids to enjoy together.

1. Make a Family Tree

Making a family tree is fun for family members of all ages. You can make a family tree from memory, and grandparents can help fill in the gaps and trace the history. For a more formal approach, you can also do some research together to find ancestors you never knew you had.

Grandparents will have fun tracing back their history and sharing stories, and kids will have a great time learning more about the family and relatives they never got to meet. 

2. Read Books Together

Reading is good for the mind and soul at any age. It also happens to be an activity that seniors and kids can enjoy together. Pick a topic or author in which both of you are interested and read the book simultaneously, or even take turns reading aloud. 

After you finish a chapter or the whole book, you’ll have something to talk about. Sharing your thoughts about the story or individual characters is a good way to bond and discover new things about one another.

3. Make a Scrapbook

Going through old and new photos is a great way for grandparents and grandkids to connect. Spend an afternoon sorting through old photos and explaining to kids their family history and what life used to be like before their time. 

You can also include baby photos of the grandkids and photos from the present day. Making a scrapbook together gives you something tangible to hang on to and can let you use your creative side.

4. Play Games

Playing games is a favorite pastime for people of all ages. Many mainstream games are easy to play and understand, so they are suitable for both seniors and kids. Games are a good way for kids to learn new skills and practice critical thinking. For seniors, games are a great way to keep their minds active. 

Games for grandkids and kids may include:

  • Cards
  • Marbles
  • Crosswords
  • Puzzles
  • Board games
  • Riddles
  • Digital games

Better yet, get the whole family involved and form a grandparent/grandkid team. There’s no better way to bond than being part of the same team in a game or competition.

5. Prepare a Meal

There’s nothing like passing down a family recipe to grandkids. Whether you are an avid cook or not, you can probably teach your grandkids a thing or two in the kitchen. Preparing a meal does not have to involve fancy cooking or complicated recipes. You can simply show your grandkids your favorite way to assemble a turkey sandwich.

Learning to cook is a lifelong skill that kids will need, and they’ll always fondly look back on memories of cooking with grandparents.

Connect with Grandkids in Tallahassee, FL, Assisted Living

Today, both assisted and independent living in Tallahassee, Florida, cater to spending time with family. From private spaces where you can host your grandkids to organized transportation, there are ample opportunities to spend time and connect with grandkids.

In addition, the services and amenities in Tallahassee, FL, assisted living can free up more time that can be spent with the grandkids, rather than focusing on daily chores and yard work. 

Regardless of the activity, grandparents and grandkids need to spend time together. Kids have busy schedules, but there’s no replacement for learning from and connecting with their grandparents.

Can Technology Use Benefit Seniors?

Whether we like it or not, technology is a part of our everyday lives. From communicating to navigating to working, there is some sort of technology just about everywhere. 

Younger generations are usually earlier adopters of new technology, but many devices and services are also geared toward seniors. Of course, there are downsides and risks with any technology. Read on to learn more about the relationship between seniors and technology use.

Yes, Technology Use Can Benefit Seniors

There are demonstrated downsides to some technologies that seniors should be aware of. For example, digital games can become addictive, particularly games that involve gambling. Technology can enable easy communication with strangers and can expose seniors to the risk of scams. 

Despite these risks, technology use can benefit seniors, and the benefits often outweigh the risks. 

Benefits of Using Technology as a Senior

Manufacturers and creators of technology are generally well-intentioned marketers that want their products to be successful and useful. When used correctly, technology can benefit seniors in their daily lives.

Connection

One of the primary benefits of technology is the opportunity it offers for connection. Previous generations only had the opportunity to socialize in person, which can become difficult for seniors as they age and experience mobility or health issues. Today, connecting with friends and family is as easy as hitting a button.

Many video conferencing services make it easy to have a “face-to-face” conversation with a friend or loved one. You can also join group conversations, conferences, and even church gatherings. Technology allows you to be part of the communities you care about, even if you can’t be there in person.

Learning

It is not uncommon for seniors to experience cognitive decline as they age. Learning something new is a good way to stimulate the brain and maintain cognitive function. Technology offers endless ways to engage in lifelong learning — from online classes to tutoring to simply reading about a new topic. 

A few topics that are engaging and popular for seniors include:

  • Travel
  • Culture
  • A new language
  • Arts
  • History

Technology makes learning something new easier than ever and can benefit seniors in many ways. Virtual learning can unlock new interests, new friends, and maybe even a second career.

Safety

Safety is always a concern for seniors. Even seniors in assisted living in Tallahassee are at an increased risk of falls and other accidents. Technology can be used to help prevent accidents and to call for help if one does happen. For example, technology can be used to automatically turn on lights to avoid falls or accidents in the dark. 

Technology can also detect falls or lack of movement and automatically alert a family member or authorities. The use of technology has saved the lives of many seniors and prevented countless accidents.

Convenience

As seniors enjoy retirement, they should be able to relax and spend time doing the activities they enjoy. Technology can help them with this. From automatic grocery shipments to automatic bill pay to home assistants that send reminders, there are endless ways to make your day more convenient with the help of technology. 

While some seniors may be hesitant to rely on technology for everyday necessities, most are thankful for the extra help once they embrace the idea.

Use Technology in Assisted Living in Tallahassee

There are many ways for seniors to incorporate technology in both assisted and independent living in Tallahassee, Florida. Computers, smart devices, home assistants, and more can make life more convenient, pleasant, and safe. When used responsibly, technology can provide a great overall benefit to seniors.

What Is Mindfulness and How Can You Practice It Daily?

Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can help you manage your stress, focus on the present, and live a more fulfilling life. If you feel like life is getting ahead of you and you’re having too many thoughts at once, practicing mindfulness can help you worry less and experience what each moment offers.

But what exactly is mindfulness and how can you practice it every day? Here are some tips for residents in assisted living in Tallahassee, FL.

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is an active state, one in which you give your open attention to the present moment. When you’re mindful, you are taking time to be observant of your thoughts and feelings without labeling them as good or bad. Mindfulness allows you to experience more without letting worries or overthinking keep you from enjoying your life as it happens.

Although it has roots in Buddhist teachings and meditation, mindfulness is also a secular practice that anyone can benefit from — no religion required.

What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness?

Mindfulness practice has been shown to have numerous benefits, including improved mental health and well-being, stress reduction, improved cognitive functioning, and an increased sense of connection with others. It has also been linked to lower depression, anxiety, and stress rates.

By practicing mindfulness, you become more aware of the present moment and less focused on the past or future. This can lower stress levels by keeping you from worrying about things that didn’t happen or that may not occur in the future. 

Being mindful also allows you to become more aware of your own thoughts and feelings without judgment or criticism from others or yourself. You’ll be able to recognize when something triggers negative emotions within yourself so that you can take steps toward improving them before they get out of hand.

How to Practice Mindfulness Daily

Mindfulness can be practiced in many ways, but the key to success is consistency. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Here are some tips on how to practice mindfulness daily.

Eat Mindfully

Eat mindfully by taking time to savor every bite of food. Notice what the food smells like when it comes out of the oven or pan; notice how it feels in your mouth as you chew; notice how much enjoyment comes from each bite as it enters your body.

Focus on One Task at a Time

When you’re mindful, you focus your attention on what’s happening in the present moment instead of letting your thoughts wander off into the future or past. In this way, you will be more productive because you’ll be able to concentrate better on what’s important now.

Take a Walk

Whether it’s early morning or late night, taking a walk outside can help you get out of your head for a while — especially if there’s nature nearby! A brisk walk is a great way to clear your head and feel refreshed afterward.

Understanding the Impact of Mindfulness in Assisted Living in Tallahassee, FL

Mindfulness is a practice that can be as simple as taking a moment to breathe or as complex as learning to meditate. It is not about religion; it’s about recognizing what is happening in the present moment and having the ability to respond effectively.

If you’re looking to elevate your experience in assisted living or independent living in Tallahassee, Florida, look for a facility that encourages mindfulness practices. With the right support, you can make the most of your retirement lifestyle and enjoy greater meaning well into your golden years.

Spicing Up Your Daily Walk: 3 Activities to Make Exercise Fun

According to the United Health Foundation, only 28% to 34% of adults ages 65 to 74 are physically active. Exercising is a vital component of maintaining mobility as well as mental health, with the endorphins released during exercise affecting mood and overall well-being. 

One of the reasons why many people give up on exercise despite all of its benefits is that repeating the same routines and doing the same exercises can be boring. 

Assisted living facilities in Tallahassee, Florida, have thought of some activities that can break up the monotony of traditional exercises to provide a more fulfilling experience that will encourage you to become more active. 

1. Group Walking

Adding a social component to your daily walk is one of the tips recommended by facilities that offer independent living in Tallahassee. Working out alone does not offer the motivation that many people need to get outside and start walking. 

When you have a group or at least one other person, you can encourage one another and celebrate the various exercise milestones you achieve. 

Group walking adds an important socialization component to exercise that can also help prevent depression and can lower anxiety. Being able to talk to someone else as you exercise will also make the activity more fun and enriching. If you enjoyed the experience you had, you will be more likely to undertake it again in the future. 

2. Dancing Exercise Classes

Zumba classes, jazzercise, and other similar options have gained popularity for a very important reason: they are fun. Not only do they include music to encourage people to get moving but they use dance moves that are interesting to learn and can provide the health benefits you need. 

Since people are more likely to stick to an exercise routine if they enjoy it, combining dancing with exercise can provide the right amount of stimulation to keep you returning to your activities. Dancing exercise classes also help with coordination as well as with memory, since there are dance steps to remember. 

Dancing allows you to receive aerobic benefits and it can also help you lower stress levels while toning various parts of the body. Because dancing exercise classes provide lower impact options than traditional exercise routines, you can still benefit from them without worrying about your hips and joints. 

3. Aqua Jogging

For older adults who love being in the water, aqua jogging is a great way of improving heart health while still having fun. It offers low-impact movement that can get your heart pumping while not affecting joints and not stressing muscles. 

If you have injuries, hip or knee issues, or other musculoskeletal concerns, aqua jogging can offer the chance to strengthen muscles without straining injuries or causing pain flare-ups. 

Gentler aerobic exercise is important for older adults, as well, and that is what aqua jogging offers. Your heart rate will be 10 to 15 beats lower per minute than with traditional aerobic exercise. Aqua exercise also takes the weight off the lower body, giving relief to joints. 

Since many independent living facilities in Tallahassee, Florida, have heated pool facilities, Aqua jogging can be an exercise option available throughout the entire year. 

Stay Active in Assisted Living Facilities in Tallahassee, Florida

Exercise doesn’t have to be a dull chore to get through. By finding creative ways of enhancing your active time, you can reap the benefits of staying active while also having fun. Whether you want a more social option or one that is low-impact, there are many choices in assisted living facilities in Tallahassee, FL. Remember to consult with your primary care physician before making changes to your exercise routine or diet.

Embracing Your Inner Artist: 3 Ways to Grow Creatively in Your Senior Years

Your senior years should be spent doing the things you love. They also present you with time to expand your skills and get creative. Sometimes growing your creativity and artistic skills can take a little work and thinking outside of the box. 

Whether you have been in touch with your creative side your whole life or you’re new to the process, you can find ways to grow in an assisted living facility in Tallahassee.

Here are 3 ways to grow creatively in your senior years.

1. Start a Journal

Journaling has often been thought of as keeping a diary, or a daily entry of what’s going on in your life. However, journaling can be a useful tool for unlocking creative inspiration.

You can use a journal to write down goals, record dreams, draw, or write down whatever comes to mind. For many, the simple act of writing down what they’re thinking can inspire creativity. 

If you are new to journaling, you might try a journal with prompts to try out different methods and find one that works for you.

2. Meditate

Meditation is often associated with peace of mind and calm. While that’s generally true, meditation is also an effective tool for unleashing creativity. Meditation is one of the most effective ways to clear your mind of the clutter that may be distracting you from your artistic side. 

Meditation also takes many different forms, so you can use the time to daydream or envision what you hope to achieve through your creativity. In assisted living in Tallahassee, it’s easy to find places to meditate, or even find a friend to meditate with.

3. Take a Class

If you’re looking to tap into your creative side and also learn a new skill, taking a class might be a good choice for you. In Tallahassee, there are weekly opportunities to take classes that teach painting, pottery, or poetry. 

These classes not only unlock your creativity but also challenge your brain and keep you active. Signing up for classes is an easy way to embrace lifelong learning and spark new interests.

Grow Creatively in Assisted Living in Tallahassee

Tallahassee is a lovely place to spend your senior years, and it’s also a choice environment for growing creatively. Ample outdoor space, a population of like-minded seniors, and opportunities to unleash your creative side all contribute to a retirement you’re sure to enjoy thoroughly.

Dementia Care: What Is Validation Therapy?

There’s no way around it; managing the symptoms of dementia is challenging for both the seniors experiencing it and their loved ones. Dementia symptoms can be unpredictable and lead to big swings in good days and bad days. 

This variety in symptoms, along with the stress of the disease, can sometimes cause seniors to act out or experience feelings of depression and loneliness. 

Tallahassee memory care communities can help provide a comforting environment and help seniors stay active, but ultimately, there is no cure. There are, however, therapies that can help manage the disease. One type of dementia treatment is called validation therapy. 

What Is Validation Therapy?

Validation therapy is not an intensive therapy but rather a way to approach seniors with understanding as they navigate dementia. It is used to comfort and reassure people who are living with the disease and help them feel safe and understood.

Validation therapy is more than listening and validating a senior’s feelings. It focuses on helping them work through the emotions they are feeling and how these emotions may be translating to behaviors.

How to Practice Validation Therapy

Validation therapy can be practiced with a specialist, but it can also be practiced by family members and caregivers. One way is to match and acknowledge feelings. You can do this by acknowledging how the senior is feeling and joining them in experiencing these feelings.

Another way is through speaking and rephrasing. Rephrasing a senior’s feelings back to them can provide reassurance that you truly understand what they are experiencing. 

Does Validation Therapy Help?

Research on dementia therapy is limited, and that is true for validation therapy as well. There are limited and mixed research results on the effectiveness of this type of therapy, but it has proven helpful to some older adults. 

While there’s not a definitive conclusion on the helpfulness of validation therapy, it can still be an effective tool in communicating with seniors in an effective way.

Validation Therapy in Tallahassee Memory Care

If your loved one is suffering from dementia, there are many memory care and skilled nursing facilities in Tallahassee, FL, that can provide the care they need. Working with experts can help in creating routines and experimenting with different types of treatment, including validation therapy. 

With the skilled staff in a memory care community, along with effort from loved ones, seniors with dementia can live very comfortable and fulfilling lives.

Congratulations To Our Volunteers and Team Members Of The Year

We’re beginning our celebration of Westminster Communities of Florida’s Volunteers of the Year and Team Members of the Year! Over the next two weeks, beginning on Wednesday, we’re holding recognition banquets in Tallahassee, St. Petersburg and Orlando to celebrate these individuals. Be on the lookout for our announcements of the winners prior to each banquet, and fun photos from the event itself.

Congratulations to all the amazing people who make Westminster Communities of Florida a great place to live and work!

Volunteers of the Year

Team Members of the Year

3 Low-Maintenance Houseplants for Seniors Living in Small Spaces

Plants are a wonderful way to add life and personality to any living space. For seniors, plants can make a space feel more homey or comfortable. When living in their own home independently, a senior has more room for various plants. 

However, it is important to research which plants are most appropriate when seniors transition to smaller spaces — whether independently or through assisted living in Tallahassee. Read on to learn about three low-maintenance houseplants for seniors living in small spaces.

1. ZZ Plants

ZZ plants are native to Eastern Africa but have become popular houseplants all over the world because they can thrive in a wide range of environments. ZZ plants have shiny leaves that turn from lime green to emerald green as they mature. 

ZZ plant leaves are typically one to three inches long, making this a small plant that seniors can easily place on a windowsill, desk, or table. Finally, ZZ plants are a great low-maintenance option for seniors because they don’t need a lot of sunlight or water.

2. Cast-Iron Plants

Cast-iron plants are a perfect low-maintenance option for seniors looking for a decorative plant to fill out a corner or a foyer. Cast-iron plants grow lush leaves, so they are bigger than a table plant but small enough to fit in tight living quarters. 

Importantly, cast-iron plants require almost no light, so they do not have to be strategically placed near a window. Cast-iron plants are so easy to take care of that some experts even call them “indestructible.”

3. Snake Plants

Snake plants are succulents that are known for their vertical growth. Snake plants can grow from six inches to several feet tall and are perfect for small spaces since they do not grow horizontally. 

Snake plants can be potted in very narrow pots and require little water, so they are one of the most low-maintenance plants.

Snake plants have also become more popular in recent years because they come in a variety of sizes and colors. Snake plants can truly fit into any design scheme, as well as very small spaces.

Decorating Your Room in Assisted Living in Tallahassee

Tallahassee is a wonderful place for retirees of all abilities. Whether seniors simply want to enjoy the convenience of assisted living or need Tallahassee memory care or nursing care, there are options for everyone.

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