Is it Time?: Signs that you loved one needs more care

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Do you know someone or have a family member who just isn’t able to care him(her)self like he used to?

You may wonder if it’s time they find another living situation.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of some “signs” that may indicate that the time is right for a move.  It can be a difficult transition, but a necessary one for the loved one’s safety and well-being.

(Please see our previous article on differences in long-term care terminology for further insights.)

Falls/Physical safety

  • Did your loved one have a fall? Are there bruises indicating that he may have done so?  Is it taking a long time to recover?  Are there numerous unsafe situations in her home, such as stairs or rugs?
  • Are appliances being left on or doors left open? Is his living area safe and secure?

Health, Self-care, and Hygiene

  • Do they have a condition that is causing her health to deteriorate?
  • Is he having trouble with tasks of daily living, like dressing, shopping, making meals, cleaning, and taking their medications properly?
  • Has she lost an unhealthy amount of weight? Does she seem more frail (if you give her a hug, for example.)
  • Is she keeping up her appearance? Is clothing, hair, and makeup (if applicable) neat?
  • Does he have strong body odor or other signs that he is not bathing properly?
  • Does she always seem to be wearing the same thing?
  • Is he having trouble with their activities of daily living (ADLs) on his own?
  • Is she eating properly? Is there food around that looks or smells old?  Does she have expired medications around?
  • Are tasks that were once easy for him now a chore?
  • Does she have a hard time getting around?

Socialization

  • Is the individual continuing to have social stimulation and relationships? Do they still get together with friends or talk on the phone?  One huge advantage living in a care facility is the wonderful opportunities for socialization.
  • Does he seem lonely?

Mental Acuity

  • Is she still attending to her business matters appropriately?
  • Are there pieces of unopened mail laying around?
  • Is there any suspicious mail lying around that may indicate that your loved one is being taken advantage of? Are there stacks of papers piling up?
  • Is your loved one noticeably disorganized?

Information from:

What’s in a Name?: differences in long-term care terminology

The terminology used in the world of long-term care can be rather confusing to the average person. In this week’s blog, I would like to help clarify what different terms, such as basic care, assisted living, and independent living actually mean.

According to LongTermCare.gov’s glossary, assisted living is an “arrangement that provides individualized personal care, assistance with Activities of Daily Living*, help with medications, and services such as laundry and housekeeping.” Assisted living “provides or coordinates individualized support services to accommodate the individual’s needs and abilities to maintain as much independence as possible,” according to the North Dakota Long Term Care Association (NDLTCA). Assisted living facilities may also provide healthcare that is not as intensive as that offered in a skilled nursing facility. Also, according to the above-mentioned glossary, “assisted living facilities allow people to remain relatively independent.”

*Activities of Daily Living (ADL) include: Bathing, Dressing, Transferring (to/from a bed or chair), Eating, Caring for incontinence

Another classification is independent living, which, according to UMH’s Assisted Independent Living Blog, benefits people “who can still live independently but enjoy having access to assistance when needed.” An independent living facility would provide its residents “with convenient access to dining, medical care, entertainment and more [as well as] a safe living environment, but with minimal assistance. Hospitality services, such as housekeeping, meals, and laundry may or may not be included in the monthly rental, but are typically available,” according to UMH.

A basic care facility, on the other hand, According to the NDLTCA, “provides room and board…to individuals…who, because of impaired capacity for independent living, require health, social, or personal care services, but do not require regular twenty-four-hour medical or nursing services.” (We refer to that as “skilled nursing.”)

Nonetheless, in basic care, staff are available 24/7 to meet the basic needs of the residents. North Dakota is actually the only state that offers this classification. Other states use the terms “assisted” or “independent” living. According to Karly Kruckenberg of NDLTCA, “the payments are one of their biggest differences” between basic care and assisted living. What services are included and which are offered at additional cost varies. Also, according to Kruckenberg, “basic care can be seen/advertised ‘as an Alzheimer’s, dementia, or special memory care facility.’ ” This does not necessarily have to be the case, however, as with of St. Anne’s.

At St. Anne’s, we offer basic care as well as low-rent housing efficiency apartments (through the federal government’s HUD program). In basic care, most all services (nursing, meals, etc.) are covered under the residents’ routine care payments. Apartment residents are encouraged to take part in activities with basic care residents (at no additional charge). They are also able to select other services (meals, laundry, housekeeping, etc.) for which they make additional payment.