Embrace the Storytellers in Your Family This Season

Embrace the Storytellers in Your Family This Season

“Tell me a story.” This simple request often comes from small children who want to postpone bedtime for as long as possible. It may come from a middle school English teacher or a college professor who is encouraging students to exercise their creative muscles. Storytelling is the ultimate historical record, predating modern-day printing operations. Family histories are rich with stories of relatives who came to the states via the Mayflower or Ellis Island. Holiday gatherings become reminiscence sessions where siblings recall their childhood antics or learn about their own parents’ escapades.

Storytelling is a powerful tool, both for preserving important family history and empowering the storytellers, who benefit from the process. Elderly relatives may enjoy sharing their tales, and their relatives receive a gift that can’t be bought at the local department store. Storytelling has additional benefits – it can stimulate the memory and improve articulation and self-esteem.

During the holiday season, we encourage families to carve out time to hear and record their family stories. Use the tips below to begin a conversation that someday you will repeat to your own children, as you continue to enrich the family history and ensure that each generation’s legacies are passed along.

Tell me about it

Some seniors need no encouragement when it comes to telling stories. If families are lucky, they have a grandparent who happily launches into the tale of how he met his beloved bride when he visited the church where she sang in the choir. Others may need a little prompting, and a simple “tell me about” question can jump start the conversation:

  • Tell me about your elementary school.
  • Tell me about your grandparents.
  • Tell me what you did for fun when you were my age.
  • Tell me about your favorite pet.
  • Tell me about your favorite meal that your own mother prepared.

Check with other relatives and friends

You may have had your parent or grandparent for your entire life, but they had their own lives long before you made your debut. Reach out to other relatives and friends to share their own stories, which you can then pose as questions – “Hey Grandma, Uncle Chuck told me he once tried to hide a kitten in his room. What did you think when you heard it mew?”

Pull out the photo albums

Remember the days before digital storage, when people tucked black-and-white photos carefully into the pages of a photo album? Find those photos and let them inspire the conversation. You may discover that Aunt Clara ran away with the circus when she was a young teen, or that Grandpa was best friends with someone famous. Look at the wedding pictures and find out who was in the wedding party. These were important friends and family members. Now is the time to discover why they played such an important role in the Big Day. You can assign younger members the task of finding some of these folks on social media and encouraging your loved one to reach out for an update.

Keep a record

Be ready to take lots of notes while your loved one is talking. If you’re not much of a note taker, put your smart phone to work. (Make sure first that you have enough memory available.) This is another great time to enlist the younger family members who may have a better grasp on technology and can ensure the phone doesn’t stop recording in the middle of an important memory.

Be patient. Your elderly relative may have memory lapses, or they may tell stories that are inconsistent with each other. Even if the story isn’t completely accurate, you’re hearing the version that is accurate in the storyteller’s brains, and that is important, too. Ask questions as needed. A simple “Tell me more” can yield another layer of information to an already compelling recollection.

Stories are family legacies. This year, when the plates are empty and the hearts are full, consider setting aside a time to learn more about the family events that led to today.

An Alarming Rise in Geriatric Suicide Numbers

An Alarming Rise in Geriatric Suicide Numbers

Nobody likes to think about suicide and older adults. We want to envision our loved ones living out their Golden years in comfortable settings, surrounded by friends and family members as they continue to make memories. We want them to be happy. But facts and figures paint a more unsettling picture. Suicide rates among people aged 75 and older are some of the highest in the country. Suicide attempts by seniors are also more likely to be successful. Older men are more likely to take their lives than older women, with white men over 85 being at the highest risk for suicide among all older adults.

What’s behind these sobering statistics? Why do some seniors find themselves fighting the darkness that leads them to this decision?

Loneliness and isolation

As people age, they may find themselves becoming more and more isolated. Children grow up and move away. Friends retire to the south. They may outlive their spouses, siblings, friends, or pets. If they are still driving, they prefer short trips to long drives. Those weekend jaunts that brought them so much pleasure are now a thing of the past.

Physical mobility issues can restrict even the simplest outing. Seniors may feel uncomfortable navigating the curbs. They may be embarrassed about the oxygen tank they’re carrying or the fact that they’re holding up traffic as they walk down the aisle to their favorite pew at church. The pandemic added another layer of isolation to an already lonely community. Although the world is much more open than it was a year ago, seniors may still feel uncomfortable venturing too far from home.

Depression and other mental health concerns

Many of today’s seniors were raised in a time where people were told to have a stiff upper lip and power through the blues. Yet depression in older adults remains underdiagnosed and undertreated. Many of the diseases associated with aging, including vascular diseases and diabetes, can increase the risk of depression through their physical and psychological effects on the brain. Anxiety disorders can also play a contributing role in suicide among older adults.

The loneliness and isolation mentioned above may exacerbate depression and other mental health concerns.

Aging concerns, physical ailments and pain

They say aging isn’t for the faint of heart. As the body slows down, many people experience painful changes, including arthritis, joint issues, back pain or trouble catching their breath. Some of these changes can be addressed through lifestyle changes and exercise – if the patient has access to a safe place to exercise or can easily modify their daily diets. Like their counterparts who battle depression, though, many seniors will try to power through the pain, afraid to face another hospital stay or weeks of rehabilitation after a hip or knee replacement.

Chronic pain affects not only the body, but the brain and the spirit as well. Seniors who spent their entire lives slaying the proverbial dragons that threatened their loved ones are now afraid to ask their loved ones for help. Their brave promises to never be a burden to their children echo in their minds, as reality shows that nearly everyone needs assistance sometimes.

Substance abuse

Again, the image of Grandpa playing with the grandkids clashes with the idea of seniors and substance abuse. Sadly, nearly 1 million people aged 65 and older live with a substance use disorder. Older brains may have difficulty metabolizing alcohol or other substances, making people more sensitive to their effects. Prescription medications can be abused or simply misused by a confused senior who forgets when he took his last painkiller. Such misuse can be a contributing factor to suicidal ideation among seniors.

The question of geriatric suicide has no easy answers. Seniors living alone can be particularly vulnerable if they are lonely or isolated. Today’s senior communities are designed to prioritize senior safety and health. Senior Living Advisor can help families find the right senior living setting for themselves or a loved one. You don’t have to do this alone. If you are interested in learning more about how Senior Living Advisor can help you on this journey, contact us now or call us at 317-973-5570.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All When It Comes to Senior Living Options

One Size Doesn’t Fit All When It Comes to Senior Living Options

Have you ever bought a piece of clothing that was one-size-fits-all? How did that work out for you? Just as a sweatshirt isn’t going to be a perfect fit for every body, senior living options must come in different shapes and sizes to meet the needs of their residents. The journey can be overwhelming, especially when you’re also dealing with health concerns or other issues of aging. Senior Living Advisor is here to walk this journey with you and find the senior living solution that fits you and your lifestyle.

What differentiates one senior living community from another? We look at a few factors below that you will want to consider to ensure you find the right fit for you.

Level of Care

Senior living communities are thriving, vibrant areas where seniors can live safely and as independently as possible. Residents have access to different levels of are, depending on where they live and what the community offers:

Independent Living communities are specifically set up for seniors to offer safe homes

with minimal assistance. Residents may have access to hospitality services like housekeeping, meals, or laundry as needed. Residents do not need regular medical care, but they may have call buttons in the event of a fall or other emergency.

Assisted Living provides help with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, medication management, or toileting. Most assisted living facilities offer different levels at different price points, depending on the resident’s current needs.

Long-term Care facilities are for seniors who need the highest level of medical care. They may be bedridden or require daily nursing care.

Memory Care facilities focus on residents with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. These facilities typically have a higher caregiver-to-patient ratio and feature security measures to keep residents safe.

Price Points

Senior Living comes at various price points, depending on where you live and what level of care you need. According to Caring.Com, assisted living in Hamilton County currently averages $3519 monthly. Medicare typically does not pay for assisted living, although it may cover a short stay in a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation services.

Look at your budget and consider what you’re already spending on your mortgage, utilities, internet access, groceries and more. Are you a veteran? You may be eligible for a monthly supplement to pay for senior living. It can be hard to let go of the family home but selling while the market is hot ensures you get the maximum amount of cash for that asset.

Some facilities have a set number of spaces set aside for Medicaid recipients. Most people are not eligible for Medicaid until they have exhausted all their financial assets.If you envision needing Medicaid at some point, you may want to ensure you’re in a community that accepts Medicaid. Otherwise, you may have to move again in the future.

Services

Senior living communities offer various services on-site to help residents with daily tasks and errands they used to take for granted. What services will you need? Will you need transportation for a doctor’s visit, for instance? Do you plan to shop for your own groceries and cook your own meals? Can you combine those home cooked meals with a meal plan offered by the community?

The level of medical care at different communities will vary as well. Some communities have a full staff of medical professionals who can monitor your health and assist you if you are not feeling well. Do you want to continue being treated by your primary care physician, who may only be able to see you in his or her office, or would you feel comfortable switching to the facility’s doctor who makes regular house calls?

Activities

Senior living communities are breaking the mold when it comes to what people are doing in their Golden Years. They may offer regular classes or lectures. Who knew you’d be able to take dance lessons at your new senior living home? Many communities host regular concerts or visiting choirs from local high schools. Some residents say it’s like being back on a college campus again!

Religious services may be an important part of your life, and a community that offers them on-site can be a good fit for someone who has spent their life engaged in a particular faith. Travel options may even exist for residents who have some exploring to do.

It’s up to each potential resident to decide how important activities will be when they move in. Some senior living residents take advantage of every club and event on the schedule, while others prefer to spend quiet time in their homes. There is no right or wrong answer, just the right answer for the right person.

What are the rules?

Each community has its own set of policies governing what residents can do. Some communities allow pets, which can be very important to owners. Some restrict visiting hours, which may not work for your loved ones who want to visit. Can residents bring guests to the dining room? Are overnight guests allowed? Can residents keep their cars on the premises? Find out the rules before you sign on the dotted line, so there are no surprises.

Finding the right fit

If this all seems overwhelming, don’t despair. The staff at Senior Living Advisor is already familiar with local senior living options and what they offer. We sit down with clients to become familiar with their needs before suggesting communities that could be a good fit. Nothing can compare to an in-person visit, where potential residents and their loved ones can tour the facilities, taste the food and get a feel for the residents and staff. Senior Living Advisor will walk beside you on this journey, arranging visits and accompanying clients to up to three communities for a tour and dining as appropriate.

Nothing is more important than your peace of mind and comfort as you choose your next home. Senior housing and care choices don’t have to be frightening, and they don’t have to be the same for every person. Let Senior Living Advisor help you make the right decisions for the best possible fit. Contact us now. You won’t be alone.

 

 

 

 

Three Best Kept Secrets About Senior Living In Carmel

Three Best Kept Secrets About Senior Living In Carmel

If you’re looking for somewhere to spend your Golden Years, Hamilton County checks off all the boxes. Hamilton County is regularly cited as one of the greatest places to live, work and play. Even though it’s one of the fastest growing areas in Indiana, its communities retain a small-town feel with friendly neighbors and smiling faces.

We personally feel Hamilton County is a preferred destination at any stage of life. If you’re looking for specific reasons, here are three of the best kept secrets about Hamilton County, including Carmel, Noblesville, Fishers, Zionsville and other nearby towns.

Come for the arts

The Center for the Performing Arts is one of Carmel’s crown jewels. It includes The Palladium concert hall, the Tarkington theater, and the smaller Studio Theater. You can enjoy nationally known performers in pop, jazz, classical music and other genres, or you can enjoy live theater practically in your backyard. Other theater venues include the Belfry Theatre in Noblesville and the Westfield Playhouse.

Hamilton County is also renowned for its public artwork. From roundabout sculptures to murals on the buildings, you can enjoy a walking or driving tour of various artistic styles all in one area. If you want a closer look, check out the Nickel Plate Arts District in Fishers, the Carmel Arts & Design District, or the Noblesville Cultural Arts District. Browse various artists’ work or pick up something for your new home that speaks to your heart.

Do you want to enjoy the fine arts on a budget? Check out Hamilton County’s local high school performing arts departments. For a few dollars, you can enjoy an evening of classical or jazz music, or you can catch our talented young performers recreating a favorite Broadway production at one of the public or private high schools.

Go take a walk

Do you like to get your steps in? In Carmel and surrounding Hamilton County, there is no need to dodge traffic. The area boasts the Monon Trail, which connects to downtown Indianapolis in the south and stretches north to Westfield and Sheridan. In Carmel, the Monon Trail will take you past the Center for the Performing Arts and Midtown Plaza. On the northeast end of Carmel, the White River Greenway is a paved trail winding parallel to the White River. This lovely trail is not to be confused with Noblesville’s White River Greenway, which meanders through downtown Noblesville and continues up to Morse Park.

Maybe you just want to take a short jaunt. Most of the area’s main streets have been updated with paved all-purpose trails, which means a comfortable stroll is just outside your door.

Stay for the special events

Weekends in Hamilton County often start with a trip to the nearby Farmers Market, where you can stock up on the seasonal harvest or find a new favorite drink mix or spice blend. The Carmel Farmers Market is open on Saturday mornings from May through September outdoors and from November through March at its indoor location. The Fishers Farmers Market has summer hours through September and moves to a virtual fall market in October. Noblesville Farmers Market is also a popular summer destination on Saturday mornings.

When the days grow cooler, area residents and visitors look forward to the Carmel Christkindlmarkt. With its lineup of vendors, live entertainment, and ice skating, this November and December attraction has quickly become a favorite tradition for shopping, sipping, or people watching.

Hamilton County’s year-round calendar is full of other special events, including the Carmel International Arts Festival in September, the Potter’s Bridge Fall Festival in Noblesville in October, and neighboring Zionsville’s Christmas in the Village.

The next chapter of your life is waiting to be written, and the pages are ready to be filled. Hamilton County is a treasure trove of activities for any age, and we know you will love it. Want to find out more about senior living communities here? Contact Senior Living Advisor now so we can help you find your new home.

Planning A Move To A Senior Living Housing Or A Community

Planning A Move To A Senior Living Housing Or A Community

Moving into a senior living community can be overwhelming. How do you know which senior lifestyle option is the best fit for your changing needs? How can you pack up a lifetime of belongings? How will you know when it’s time to move? We looked at some of the common concerns and how you can prepare for a seamless transition into your new senior living home.

When is it time to consider a move to a senior community?

Let’s face it. Most of us spend our lives being independent, taking care of ourselves and our families while juggling other multiple obligations. The thought of needing extra care or oversight may be hard to comprehend. But there are certain red flags that suggest it may be time to consider a change:

  • Your home is no longer as clean and tidy as it used to be.
  • Stairs and other physical challenges in the home are intimidating or even frightening.
  • You are having trouble remembering to eat regular meals or take your medications correctly each day.
  • Food in your refrigerator and pantry is outdated or spoiled.
  • Bills are misplaced, or you no longer remember to pay them on time.
  • You find yourself forgetting to turn off appliances.

If you are noticing these or other concerns, it may be time to consider moving to a senior living community or facility.

Choosing the right community

Too many people think senior living equals an institutional nursing home. The reality is that senior living communities are often vibrant, thriving areas where residents mingle and continue to live independently while enjoying varying levels oversight and security. Senior living options typically offer levels of care, ranging from truly independent living with access to services as needed, to assisted living communities that help you with personal care, meals, and medications. Those with chronic, disabling conditions may need long-term care, with around-the-clock assistance, while seniors who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia may be best served by a memory care facility.

Sifting through the choices can be daunting, especially when seniors and their families try to navigate the process alone. In the United States, there are almost 30,000 assisted living facilities. A trained eldercare consultant or eldercare advisor can help seniors and their families determine their individual needs and steer them to the best local options. While one person might want an active community that allows them to keep Fluffy, another might want something a little quieter with more privacy and autonomy. An expert advisor often knows which local senior care living communities meet those needs.

Can I afford this?

Many people mistakenly believe senior living is outside of their budgets. Consider, however, how much you spend regularly on your home, utilities, insurance, food, internet access, home repairs, regular maintenance and other household expenses. These are usually included in the senior living community monthly fee.

Your family home may have been perfect when the kids were growing or the grandchildren were visiting. It holds memories and mementos of years gone by. But its value may diminish when you consider how much you are paying to heat rooms that are rarely opened. Why not convert your home equity into a senior lifestyle where you will flourish?

Packing up the house

You’ve found the perfect senior living arrangement. You’re ready to move on. But how can you fit several thousand square feet of stuff into a smaller senior home or apartment?

You can’t. Now is the time to gather the adult children and hand over their school report cards and the crafts they made you when they were 8. Family photos and movies can be converted digitally and shared with everyone. Heirlooms can be doled out to friends and relatives. Bring along your favorite furniture, or splurge and buy something luxurious and comfortable for your new domicile. Remember, you don’t need the stuff to keep the memories. If the process is overwhelming, consider choosing what you want to keep and hiring a moving company that specializes in senior downsizing. Your friends at Senior Living Advisor can refer you to these and many other local resources.

Your next chapter may be the greatest chapter, as you find yourself surrounded by other vibrant seniors who are ready to include you in their plans. Contact Senior Living Advisor now to find out what’s out there in the Indianapolis area and how you can thrive in the right senior living environment.