When is it Time to Worry About Memory Issues?

When is it Time to Worry About Memory Issues?

Most people misplace their keys occasionally, but when the memory issues start to occur more frequently, you may worry about a potential dementia or Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. How do you know when you can get by with sticky notes, and when is it time to consult a doctor?

Normal signs of aging

As we reach middle age and beyond, we may notice mental challenges we never had before. These include:

  • Forgetting what day it is.
  • Occasionally having trouble coming up with the right word.
  • Becoming distracted more easily.
  • Misplacing items.
  • Having trouble doing more than one thing at a time.
  • Missing a bill payment.

While these symptoms can be distressing, they don’t necessarily indicate dementia or other brain ailment. Most people can manage the symptoms by keeping a calendar nearby or relying on lists and reminder notes. Sometimes, you just need to create a new habit of hanging your keys on the key ring as soon as you come into the door.

Potentially troubling signs of dementia

Dementia is an umbrella term for several conditions that cause progressive memory loss and difficulty thinking. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which is the result of an abnormal buildup of proteins in the brains. About 5.7 million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease. Other medical conditions leading to dementia include Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia or frontotemporal dementia. Some medicines may slow down the progression of dementia, but there is no cure.

Dementia symptoms can often disrupt your daily routine. Potentially troubling signs include:

  • Forgetting something you were recently told.
  • Being unable to recognize or identify family members.
  • Frequently forgetting things or recent events.
  • Struggling to focus on a task.
  • Making bad decisions, like giving away money to strangers or having difficulty paying bills.
  • Getting lost in a familiar place.
  • Becoming easily upset or withdrawn.

Family members often report their loved ones doing things that are out-of-character. Is your formerly fiscally conservative father giving money to every charity that sends him a plea? Does your peacemaker mother suddenly lose her temper and argue with loved ones? These symptoms suggest a visit to your general practitioner or other trusted medical professional.

Bringing it up with your loved one

Many people struggle to talk to their senior loved ones about their worries. Ideally, you’ll tell your loved one that you’re concerned, and your loved one will agree to see a doctor. Life, as we know, is rarely ideal. These conversations can be difficult, especially if your loved one has always been independent and in charge. A gentle approach can help.

Remind your loved one that these troublesome symptoms do not automatically translate into a devastating diagnosis. Certain treatable medical conditions can cause symptoms that mimic the signs of dementia. Something as simple as a medication interaction can cause problems that go away with a change of prescriptions.

Reiterate your unconditional love and support. You’re on their side – you will support them and work to find the best solution, regardless of the final diagnosis.

Repeat as necessary.

Finding the right senior living solution for people with dementia

Many of our loved ones are haunted by their own memories of grandparents and others who were sent to an institutional nursing home setting and left in a bed or wheelchair. Today’s senior living facilities have come a long way. Lona Newton and her staff at Senior Living Advisor can help you sort out where your loved one can thrive, whether it’s at home with occasional caregivers, in an assisted living community, memory care facility or another professional senior care setting.

At Senior Living Advisor, we understand how daunting this process can be. You don’t have to navigate this journey alone. Our experience and familiarity with local senior living communities mean we’ve done the homework for you. If you’re ready to talk about senior living opportunities for yourself or a loved one, schedule a free consultation now. You want real options for better choices. We make it easier to decide.


Moving on – What to Bring to Your New Senior Living Community Home

Moving on – What to Bring to Your New Senior Living Community Home

Are you or a loved one moving to a senior living community? You may be wondering what to bring. Chances are, you’re going to have less space to work with, so you’ll want to choose judiciously to create a comfortable, familiar setting that doesn’t look overcrowded. Senior Living Advisor understands the difficulties related to downsizing and has gathered the following tips to help with the transition.

Choose what’s important

You’re standing in the middle of a home full of memories, mementos and tchotchkes. How do you decide what to keep and what to let go of? We recommend a box approach – have an open box for keeping, a box for giving away, a box for trash and a box for items that can be sold. If you’re not yet ready to decide on a certain item, set it aside for later.

Measure your furniture

That overstuffed sofa looks lovely in its current spacious living room, but will it fit into a small apartment? Some seniors prefer to start new when they move, while others like to bring familiar pieces of furniture. Many high-quality furnishings can be revived with new upholstery or refinishing, and the little end table that’s been ignored over the past decade in your guest room finds new life in your new apartment or cottage.

Accessories add a familiar touch

Even if you can’t bring the overstuffed sofa, you can still keep the familiar throw pillows. Bedding, blankets, handmade quilts and framed photographs give the new setting a homelike feel.

Books, movies and other forms of entertainment

Sometimes a comfortable movie lets you revisit a favorite time in your life. If you enjoy watching “The Sound of Music,” bring your DVD player. Even if your new senior living facility has a fancy streaming library, you may prefer the familiar technology.

Personal care items

In some respects, moving to an assisted living setting is like going away to college. You want to bring your favorite shampoo, toothpaste, first aid kit and other hygiene products. Bring a bottle of your favorite all-purpose cleaner in case of a spill or if you want to freshen up your surroundings between weekly cleanings.


Moving time is a good time to release items you haven’t worn in the past year. We understand the need for familiar, comfortable clothes, but why not use this occasion to buy some new tops in a favorite color or a new pair of shoes? You may also discover that your lifestyle shifts in your new surroundings. Perhaps you decide you want to dress up a bit more for dinner in the dining room, or perhaps you are done wearing stiletto heels. You’re never too old to try something new.

Important documents

Invest in a small safe to store copies of your will, life insurance policy, medical paperwork and other important documents. This is an important time to talk to your adult children or other trusted loved ones and friends about what you want to happen in case you are unable to handle your financial or legal decisions on your own. Senior Living Advisor can direct you to eldercare attorneys and other professionals to help you with these decisions.

Ask for help

Not only is this a physical move, it’s also an emotional transition that you don’t want to do on your own. Consider hiring a company who specializes in senior transitions to help you with the heavy lifting. Did you know that Senior Living Advisor oversees your moving day as part of our care package? We’ll let you relax with a cup of coffee while we set up your new apartment, ready for the Big Reveal as you begin the next exciting chapter of your life.

Transitions can be hard, but Senior Living Advisor is committed to helping you or your senior loved one find a living solution that enriches their lives and feels like home again. Let us help you with this important decision. Call us at 317-973-5570 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. You don’t have to make this journey alone.

How Do I Pay for Senior Care?

How Do I Pay for Senior Care?

One of the most common questions people ask about senior care is, “How am I going to be able to afford this?” Indiana ranks sixth in senior living affordability, according to a study by Caring.com, with an average monthly cost of $4,283 a month for assisted living. But other senior living solutions can be more expensive, including memory care for people with dementia, and nursing home care for people who require hands-on assistance.

Even those who have planned for their retirement may be intimidated by the idea of paying thousands of dollars monthly for senior living. Yet many seniors are no longer physically or emotionally safe in their current living situation. A senior community or facility can help fill the gaps with regular meals, medicine reminders and a calendar full of activities for people who aren’t ready to stop living.

This brings us back to the cost. If home is no longer a safe or compassionate place for you or your senior loved one, it’s time to talk about other options. Fortunately, the compassionate staff at Senior Living Advisor have  walked this road with many clients. We take the time to get to know you, so that we can suggest senior living solutions that meet your budget and your needs. You may think senior living is unaffordable, but read on for suggestions on how you can pay for the care you or a loved one need in the Golden Years.

Leveraging your investments

Many seniors want to leave a financial legacy to their children and grandchildren. However, this nest egg that you’ve nurtured and safeguarded belongs to you. Don’t be afraid to spend it on quality care for your senior years. Do you own your home? Selling your home can help pay for a new home in a senior community. Remember, many senior community fees include expenses like utilities, internet access, meals and trash collection, eliminating the monthly bills you are used to paying.

Life insurance policies are another overlooked asset for seniors who need help paying for care. Some life insurance policies offer an opportunity to sell back the benefits for 50-75% of its face value. Reach out to your provider to find out more.

Veteran’s benefits

Some veterans are eligible for subsidized long-term care services. Care settings include nursing homes, assisted living facilities or at-home care. You can read more about qualifications here.

Long-term care insurance

Long-term care insurance policies cover certain types of elder care, including assisted living. However, these policies require advanced planning, as many insurance companies deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or stroke. Long-term care insurance may also cover care at home.

Medicaid and Medicare

Many people assume Medicare will pay for assisted living or nursing home care. Medicare does cover some nursing home stays if they are related to an illness or injury requiring skilled nursing during the recovery time. However, Medicare does not typically pay for assisted living or long-term care in a nursing home.

On the other hand, Medicaid may pay for assisted living or nursing home care after a senior has exhausted his or her financial resources. It is important to note that the Medicaid voucher program has a lookback period of three to five years, depending on the state. During this lookback period, seniors cannot gift large amounts of money or real estate to friends or family members. If you gave your car to your granddaughter a year before you apply for a Medicaid voucher, you may be temporarily denied coverage due to the lookback period. Remember, too, that not every facility accepts Medicaid payments. If you think you may need to eventually rely on Medicaid, Senior Living Advisor staff can help you find communities with a Medicaid option.

Tax credit communities

Certain senior communities receive tax credits in return for providing affordable housing options for seniors. While people might cringe at the subsidized housing stereotype, Senior Living Advisor staff members can direct you to communities that offer the standard of care you are seeking.

Talking to an expert

Senior Living Advisor Founder Lona Newton realizes that the senior living scenario can be daunting. That’s why she and her staff are ready to sit down with you to hear your story and help you find a solution that works. Senior Living Advisor also maintains a list of resources, including elder care attorneys, financial advisors and veterans benefits consultants to ensure you’re protecting your assets while you pay for the best available living solutions.

Are you ready to talk about paying for senior living? Reach out to Senior Living Advisor now for a free consultation. Your journey doesn’t end when you move into a senior living community or facility. With Senior Living Advisor, you can be sure to continue living your best life in a safe and supportive environment.

Mom can’t live alone anymore. Now what?

Mom can’t live alone anymore. Now what?

As people grow older, they may be unable to live alone safely. They miss important medications or neglect to prepare regular meals. In a worst case scenario, they can forget to turn off a stove burner or wander off in the middle of the night, endangering themselves and others around them.

 The line between independent living and needing care is often blurry or hidden, as seniors can be quite adept at hiding their problems or brushing off their adult children’s concerns. Sometimes it takes an accident or other emergency to highlight the issue. That’s why most people who call Senior Living Advisor are calling with an urgent request: Mom can’t live alone anymore. What should we do now? Fortunately, the Senior Living Advisor staff has been down this road with other clients, and we are ready to help you determine the best living solution for your senior loved ones.

What care solutions are available?

Our seniors may fear that their only option is what they call a nursing home – an institutional setting they remember their own grandparents enduring, where residents sat in wheelchairs unnoticed by a harried staff. Fortunately, senior care today has grown to include multiple options:

In-home care can help in the home, with caregivers stopping by to assist with hygiene, household tasks or simple camaraderie.

Senior living communities offer a range of care tailored to the needs of the residents, from independent living in a setting that has been built with seniors in mind, to assisted living where residents receive help as needed. Some senior communities also offer long-term nursing care for seniors who need around-the-clock assistance, as well as memory care for people with dementia.

Moving in with a family member can be an option if both parties are open to the idea. However, hands-on caregiving isn’t for everyone, and people need to be honest with themselves before exploring this living arrangement. Some families are able to make it work, especially if they have periodic in-home care or assistance from other family members.

When should we make a move?

Ideally, a senior and an adult child have this discussion while everyone is still healthy and comfortable. However, most people are forced to face the issue because they are noticing too many red flags, like excess clutter in the home or seniors who are wearing the same clothing every day. Sometimes an emergency, like an injury or an accident, underscores the importance of finding a new, safer setting for Mom or Dad. Other times, you may need to enlist a physician or a clergy member to help convince a senior that it’s time to move.

What if we don’t know what to do next?

Senior care can be difficult to navigate under the best circumstances – you’re trying to make sense of the many senior communities in the area and you’re not sure what kind of care your loved one needs. Trying to make these decisions alone under pressure can be overwhelming. Working with a senior living advisor may relieve some of that pressure. People like Lona Newton, the founder and owner at Senior Living Advisor, are already familiar with local senior living communities. The staff at Senior Living Advisor includes a team of professionals who can listen to your loved one’s story and help determine what level of care is appropriate at this point. We will stay with you for the entire journey, whether that means overseeing an in-home caregiving agency or helping your loved one navigate a new lifestyle in a senior living community.

This may be the first time you have faced a decision about senior care, but it’s not going to be the first time we’ve helped someone navigate this journey. You don’t have to be alone – let Senior Living Advisors help you and your loved one select a living solution that allows them to continue living their best lives in a safe and supportive environment. Contact us now to set up a free consultation. Your family’s senior living solution begins now.

What if You’re Not Cut Out To Be a Caregiver?

What if You’re Not Cut Out To Be a Caregiver?

Are you struggling with the idea of becoming the primary caregiver for your senior parent or loved one? You love and cherish them. You appreciate everything they sacrificed. Yet, you may be unable or unwilling provide hands-on care for them as they become elderly, and that’s OK.

Over the last several decades, life expectancy in the U.S. has continued an upward trend. Medical advances mean that certain ailments are no longer an immediate death sentence. Yet aging affects all of us, and our elderly family members may no longer be able to care for themselves independently. You may notice certain red flags from your senior loved ones, like forgetting to take their medications or neglecting their personal hygiene. You may wonder if it’s time to bring them into your home, even as you dread the scenario. We’re here to tell you that you’re not alone.

Common caregiving challenges

Not all caregiving situations are equal. Every situation is unique, and you may discover certain challenges will make you reconsider your role as a caregiver:

You’re the only caregiver available. If you were an only child, or if your siblings either cannot or will not participate in a parent’s care, you may be taking on a task that’s bigger than your abilities. Caregivers may discover they cannot leave their homes for a quick grocery run or a fun night out because their loved one is no longer safe staying home alone. There may be physical barriers as well, especially if your loved one needs assistance using the toilet or bathing.

Your job or family commitments conflict with a caregiving schedule. They call it the “sandwich generation” because middle-aged people can find themselves surrounded by loved ones who need them, including elderly parents and minor children and grandchildren. It can be difficult to offer the necessary care to both sides of the sandwich.

Certain jobs can also make it impossible to be a full-time caregiver. If your job requires your physical presence on site during the work week, you may have to choose between caregiving and a regular paycheck.

You don’t have the patience or professional knowledge to provide appropriate care. Some elderly parents require more than meal preparations and a place to sleep. They may require regular medical treatments or supervision. Caregiving can be difficult, even within the best relationships. If your loved one is experiencing dementia, for instance, you may become frustrated with your inability to communicate well. If your loved one requires constant oversight, you may not be able to sleep through the night without an interruption. It may be time to admit that your loved one needs more care than you can provide.

Finding suitable senior care

Some elderly people can remain home with regular professional caregivers who come in to provide medical care, hygiene assistance, companionship or help with meals and other household tasks. Others may need a more supportive environment within a facility staffed by people who understand their needs and are trained to address them. Choosing a care arrangement can be intimidating, especially if this is your first experience with senior care. Let the experts at Senior Living Advisor assist you with this important decision? We are a multi-disciplinary team who listens to your concerns and helps you develop an appropriate care plan, whether that means in-home care or care within a senior living community. We’ll accompany you on visits to potential new homes and work to address any concerns you might have.

Don’t feel bad if you’re not ready or able to be a hands-on caregiver. Reach out to Senior Living Advisor, and we’ll help you with the difficult tasks, so you can concentrate on loving your favorite senior.

What’s So Great About Zionsville?

What’s So Great About Zionsville?

With its unique combination of small-town ambiance and urban sophistication, Zionsville is an ideal destination for anyone seeking a beautiful, safe and engaging place to call home. Its population of almost 30,000 makes it one of the smaller suburbs to Indianapolis’ north, but what it lacks in numbers it makes up in culture, activities and outdoor opportunities. At Senior Living Advisor, we often recommend senior living facilities and neighborhoods in Zionsville because this lovely community checks off so many requirements for today’s seniors.

A quaint village setting

A trip to downtown Zionsville feels like a trip to the good old days, where you can walk to your favorite restaurant or poke around an assortment of shops. Cross-stitchers can indulge their hobby’s passion at Persnickety Stitchers on Main Street, while your favorite philatelist (that’s a fancy word for a stamp collector) may want to check out the Village Stamp & Coin shop. Zionsville’s main street is as old as the town itself. In 1852 the town’s first home and first store were built. You can read all about it on the historical marker located on the south end of Zionsville’s quaint brick Main Street.

Foodies feel at home in Zionsville. Locally owned restaurants give the area a unique flavor, with everything from seafood to Thai, Italian and the all-American burger shop. Lona Newton, our Senior Living Advisor owner, particularly enjoys Auberge Restaurant & Bar for its French-inspired cuisine and Salty Cowboy tequileria for tasty tacos.

Lots of outdoor options

Zionsville Parks and Recreation offers an amazing 500 acres of parkland and 20 miles of trails within the community. There’s no need to sentence yourself to a treadmill when you can take a walk on the conveniently paved Big-4 Trail, weather permitting. If you like to hit the links, Zionsville is home to four golf courses, including one municipal course. Lions Park, a privately owned recreation space owned by the Zionsville Lions Club, offers many athletic opportunities, including its two lighted tennis courts/pickleball courts. The Zionsville Nature Center, located at the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Library, focuses on local Indiana habitats and wildlife.

Awards and citations

Zionsville receives national recognition for its character and charm. It has been named one of the “Best Cities to Live in Indiana,” one of “Indiana’s 20 Safest Cities” and one of the “Best Suburbs in America.”  It consistently scores high as one of the safest cities in the state, with low rates of violent and property crime.

Zionsville’s location just outside of Indianapolis proper means its residents have easy access to state-of-the-art healthcare. Witham Health Services, Ascension Medical Group and Riverview Health are a few of the many healthcare options located within Zionsville, and the prestigious Indiana Health University Hospital and IU’s Simon Cancer Center can be easily accessed from the highway.

We think Zionsville is the perfect spot for living your best life, no matter how old you are. Are you interested in exploring Zionsville’s senior living options? Let the experts at Senior Living Advisor help guide the search. We’re familiar with the many senior living solutions in the Zionsville and surrounding areas, and we’ll help you find the right fit for yourself or your loved one. Reach out now for a free consultation. We look forward to working together!