Summer is officially here, but as our older loved ones age, they lose the ability to do a lot of the things that mark a traditional summer vacation, such as camping, hiking, swimming at the beach, and volleyball tournaments. Now this pandemic has even taken away our barbeque parties and large family gatherings. What’s a senior to do?
Just because we’re stuck inside and a few of our loved ones may have started to lose some of their physical and/or mental capabilities doesn’t mean we can’t still have fun this summer. We have a few ideas you can use to celebrate summer with your loved ones in assisted living.
- Geography Competition
Can you name all 50 states without looking them up? Can you accurately locate all 50 states on a blank map? Do you know where Mount Rushmore is located? Compare your knowledge to that of your friends and family and you might be surprised to find out how much you don’t know about your own country.
- Got Kids? Send Pix!
Few things engage seniors like pictures of the grandkids, so send them pictures early and often, especially if your kids are at an age where they’re growing quickly. Keep the grandparents up to date with recent photos, as well as letters detailing the kids’ development and what they’ve been up to these days.
- Send Hand-Written Letters
Phone calls are great, but there’s something about a hand-written letter that just makes someone feel extra special. You can write about whatever you would normally tell them over the phone: give them updates on what you’ve been doing; tell them funny stories; reminisce over old times, etc. The fact that they can keep a letter and read it over and over whenever they feel bored or lonely makes it priceless.
Even while social distancing, we can still bond over the age-old custom of crafting. You can buy a paint-by-numbers kit (or freestyle a painting, if your talents lie that way) and send it to your loved one to hang in their apartment. You can make them jewelry that they can wear to feel special and remember you, even when you can’t be in the room with them.
They can also make their own crafts and send them to you. Swapping crafts might not be the same as making crafts together, but it’s still a great way for each of us to remind the other that we’re thinking of them.
Depending on what stage of reopening your state is in, you may or may not be able to go in and physically visit your loved one in assisted living, but you can always make decorations they can hang in their apartment or outside their window. You can make your handmade decorations around a theme, such as your loved one’s favorite movies, songs, or summer activities to make it extra fun!
If you’re looking for more ideas on how you can celebrate summer with your loved ones in assisted living, we have plenty of ideas. Reach out now to start a conversation.
Choosing an assisted living community for your loved one is a big decision and not one to be undertaken lightly or quickly. In addition to the significant expense involved, most communities require you to sign a contract, so even if you and/or your loved one aren’t happy with the result, they could be stuck there for months until your contract runs out.
We’ve looked at four of the most common assisted living mistakes people make when choosing an assisted living community and listed them below so you can be on your guard and avoid making these mistakes.
Not Doing Your Research
Assisted living is too expensive and important an investment to not do your research ahead of time. Know whether the community is licensed by your state (they should be). What’s their rating according to the state? What’s their rating according to other residents and family members?
Take a tour. Talk to the staff. Talk to other residents if you can. Ask around to see if you know anyone who has used the facility, and if so, what they have to say about it.
Failing to Be Realistic About Current and/or Future Needs
This can be tough, especially when it comes to our parents. We want to believe they’re invincible and it can be incredibly upsetting to see them in a state of vulnerability. But that’s exactly why you’re looking at assisted living options in the first place, so it doesn’t do any good to shy away from the facts. Be realistic, not only about what they need now, but what they might need in the months or years to come. If they have a degenerative disease, know the stages and what future stages might look like. How will that affect the level of care they’ll need? How will you and the assisted living community adjust to take those additional needs into account?
Choosing What You Want Instead of What’s in The Best Interests of Your Loved One
It can be very tempting to choose the first community with a glossy brochure and clean waiting area with new furniture, but there’s so much more to assisted living than that. One community might have a great library, which sounds like heaven to you, but how does that sound to your loved one? Do they like to read? Are they losing their eyesight, which is making reading harder for them? If so, does the community offer alternatives, such as books with large print or audiobooks?
Maybe your loved one prefers playing board games. In that case you should ask if the assisted living community has a good supply. Do they have a weekly game night or a chess club? Look for activities you know your loved one will enjoy.
Remember, you’re not the one who’s going to be living here – they are. Not only should they feel comfortable there, but the top priority needs to be making sure their needs are met.
Going it Alone
It can be hard for many of us to accept help, even when we need it most. While you can do your research online and take a tour of the facility, few things measure up to talking to people who’ve been there. Reach out to people you know who have had to put their loved ones in assisted living communities. Even if you end up choosing a different community, it can be helpful to talk to someone who’s been through the process, so you know what to expect and what to look for.
Hiring a geriatric care manager or a senior living advisor can also be a great way to get professional advice on what your loved one needs and the best ways to make sure they get it.
Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.
CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.