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Keeping Seniors And The Family Safe During Covid-19

Washing your hands and maintaining social distancing are some of the most commonly talked about ways to stay healthy during this global pandemic.

While washing your hands for twenty seconds and staying 6 feet from others are important for maintaining physical health, how can we maintain our mental and emotional health? Seniors are some of the most at-risk people for feeling isolation and loneliness. It’s important – now more than ever – that you’re feeling connected, safe, and healthy.

Read on for some tips on how to stay sane as routines change and currently scheduled plans fall through.

Maintain Your Routines When You Can

One thing the human brain craves is predictability. When we have predictability in our lives, it leads to a feeling of safety and stability. When those feelings of security and predictability go away, it can be easy to slip into new routines of watching hours of TV, stressing over finances, unhealthy eating, and other behaviors that offer us feelings of control during these unpredictable days.

Although some day-to-day routines may have to change to keep you healthy, maintain those routines that do not impact your safety. Do you sit on the front porch? Drink your coffee outside? Journal? These are all routines that can be done with social distancing in mind, and they will contribute to your overall health.

Don’t Be Afraid To Try Something New

In addition to carrying out old routines, there might be opportunities to create new healthy routines, too. These tasks will help you focus your attention on building healthy habits that develop a sense of control.

Schedule a regular check-in time with your family and/or friends via phone or video messaging. Never used Skype, FaceTime, or any of those other programs that came built into your tablet? Ask someone to talk you through making your first video call – it might take a while to learn, but it’s worth the effort to be able to see your grandchildren on screen.

Perhaps you can set a new goal of drinking more water or reading before bed every day. And now is a great time to try a new hobby like Sodoku or get into crossword puzzles.

Make Safe Plans You Can Look Forward To All Week

Write down all the activities you look forward to doing throughout your week. What can still be done with social distancing in mind?

You could call a member from your book club over the phone to discuss your week of reading. Sure it’s not exactly the same as sitting in the same room with a plate of goodies, but it’s a good substitute until it’s safe to be together again.

Like to cook and bake? Make plans to try out new recipes for your favorite foods. You can find plenty of great restaurant copycat recipes online if you’re craving something from your favorite spots.

These simple pleasures are fun to look forward to; simply bringing them to your attention and writing them on your calendar can lift your spirits tremendously.

During this time of uncertainty, it can be difficult to remain calm when the news is changing so fast. Stay positive and maintain the parts of your day-to-day routine that are safe to continue.  Keep your spirits up and be open to challenging yourself to stay connected in new ways.

8 Ways To Keep Your Brain Sharp

Image of s senior care advisor helping a family make the right decisions

Aging can be tough on the brain. Fortunately, studies show that our habits can help prevent or slow age-related cognitive decline. Taking care of the smartest part of your body is an important part of the aging process. Here are 8 things you can do today to keep your brain healthy tomorrow.

Learn Something New

Seniors aren’t forced to keep learning if they don’t want to. Most of us are prompted to keep learning from the time we’re born until the time we retire. But when you don’t have the pressure of getting that promotion, keeping your grades up, or staying sharp in the workplace, it can be tough to motivate yourself to keep learning.

Pick up a book, look for classes at your local library or nearby colleges, or find a reputable place online to learn something new!

Get Plenty of Nutrients

A diet that provides a wide range of nutrients has been proven to help keep your brain healthy. Our bodies need a balanced diet that provides us with plenty of vitamins and nutrients. If you need a restricted diet for other health reasons, check with your doctor for a multivitamin recommendation.

Take Care of your Mental Health

Caregiver burnout is a very real problem among adults who spend most of their time caring for others. Make sure you’re taking time to care about yourself first.

Rest Up When You Can

“Caregiver” and “well-rested” don’t usually go together. It’s tough to force yourself to rest when you’re busy worrying about your family and friends. But it’s so important to make sure you get enough sleep.

If you think you’re getting enough time in bed but wake up without energy, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. Conditions like insomnia and sleep apnea make it hard to get a good night’s rest without treatment.

Challenge Yourself Regularly

Work on a jigsaw puzzle, crossword, word search, or sodoku. Get together for a card game with other friends or family members. Use your creativity for some type of crafting project.

Your brain needs to feel stimulated. It’s an important part of keeping the connections in your brain strong as you get older.

Spend Time with Others

Humans are social creatures. Even the most introverted people feel the need to connect with others. If you’re feeling lonely, find a way to connect with family or friends. If that’s not possible, look to your community.

Find an organization to volunteer with, look for those free library classes, or help out at an after-school program.

Keep Your Heart Healthy

Take care of your heart. Many of the risk factors associated with poor heart health (obesity, high blood pressure, etc.) are also shown to cause cognitive health issues as well.

Break a Sweat

Along the same lines, make sure to take time to exercise a few times per week. Studies show that regular physical activity is a great way to reduce your risk for cognitive decline as you get older. The increase of blood flow to your brain gives you a boost of oxygen and keeps your brain healthy.

Common Behaviors In People With Dementia

All people with dementia have a unique experience and unique needs. If your loved one is experiencing dementia, the most important thing for you to remember is to stay patient. This disease can make a person do very uncharacteristic things. It’s important for you to realize that this is their reality.

Help prepare yourself for common behaviors you might see in your loved one by reading the list below.

Agitation

Agitation encompasses a long list of behaviors like physical and verbal aggression, irritability, and sleeplessness. Sometimes, you won’t be able to tell why your loved one is angry. All you can do is provide them with a safe environment and help them stay calm.

Speak in a soothing voice and avoid activities that will give a person with dementia a spike in energy (drinking caffeine or consuming large amounts of sugar). Allow the person to be as independent as possible and acknowledge their frustration.

Wandering

People with dementia wander for multiple reasons. They could be looking for someone, they might be in search of bathroom, or they might not know where they are and want to leave.

You can help by redirecting them in a comforting way. If your loved one is trying to leave, redirect them by saying something like, “We are going to be eating lunch in 15 minutes. Please stay for that.” or “I was going to watch an episode of I Love Lucy. Will you watch with me?”.

You can also redirect wandering by offering them a familiar activity that helps them feel needed. Folding washcloths, putting napkins on the dinner table, or sorting items by color might engage the person with dementia and prevent wandering.

Repeating

It is very common for people with dementia to repeat themselves. They may ask the same questions or tell the same stories. This can be very frustrating for a caregiver, but it’s important you don’t lose your patience or tell them that they already asked. Many people feel anxiety about upcoming events if they don’t know all the details. Avoid mentioning future plans until immediately before they begin. Also, it may be helpful to put answers to common questions in writing. A sign on the table that says, “Lunch is at 11:30.” will help relieve some anxiety for the person with dementia and prevent extra frustration for the caregiver.

Sundowning

Many people with dementia experience extra behaviors that happen as it gets dark outside. This is a common time for visitors to leave which can cause extra anxiety. Additionally, many people with dementia have a difficult time telling whether it’s daytime or nighttime. The events of the day can leave your loved one feeling exhausted and agitated by sunset.

It is helpful to engage in quiet and calming behaviors after the final meal of the day. You may also find it beneficial to turn on all interior lights and shut all of the shades before the sun sets.

Paranoia

A person with dementia is often confused about their surroundings. Imagine this scenario: you’re in an unfamiliar place, you don’t recognize anyone around you, and you can’t find your purse/jacket/wallet. How do you feel?

You likely are feeling scared. You might feel like someone is playing a trick on you by hiding your belongings. It’s important to be a calming presence for your loved one – even if they don’t recognize you. Phrases like, “Your jacket is in the washing machine.” or “I’ll take care of you” are reassuring to the person with dementia because it makes them feel like someone is taking them seriously and is in control of the situation.

Disinterest in Food

We all lose some of our taste buds as we get older. A person with dementia might not remember that they need to eat and drink. Certain medications can also make their mouth taste strangely, so they will have less interest in eating.

People with dementia may not be convinced they should eat a large meal when they don’t feel hungry. Help your loved one get their necessary energy by offering small, healthy snacks like fresh fruit and nuts several times daily.

Incontinence and Change in Hygiene

Personal hygiene is often an issue for people with dementia. They may not remember they need to bathe, they may not know they haven’t used the toilet recently, and they may not realize they haven’t changed their clothes recently.

You can help by providing gentle reminders (statements work better than questions) to use the toilet at least once every two hours. “ Ok, we’re going to eat soon. Let’s stop by the bathroom now.” People with dementia will also need reminders to change their clothing. If they’re hesitant to accept help, lay a clean outfit on their bed. Then say, “There are clean clothes on your bed. Please change so I can wash this outfit.”

These behaviors are not uncommon, so don’t feel bad asking for help! Caring for a person with dementia can be frustrating. Stay patient and remember that your loved one is still there – even if it doesn’t always seem that way.

Care Options When It Is No Longer Safe To Live AT Home

Most seniors will reach a point when they are no longer safe living at home. Fortunately, seniors today have several different options that weren’t available to their parents or grandparents. There is a wide range of community-living options that can meet the needs of any person – no matter how much (or little) extra help they need.

Independent Senior Living/Retirement Community

These communities are a great first step for your loved one who can no longer live alone, but is still relatively independent. Residents living in these settings enjoy perks like extra companionship, transportation, assistance with cleaning or meal prep, and social events. These places don’t typically offer care (assistance with tasks like dressing, using the bathroom, or bathing), but they might be able to connect you with a professional caregiver who can schedule visits with your loved one.

Moving to a new place can be a scary step for your loved one. Moving to a retirement community can be a great first step for a senior who is hesitant to make that leap.

Assisted Living

These communities offer more advanced assistance than an Independent Senior Living Community. Residents here can expect assistance with medication management, using the bathroom, and getting dressed. They also include meals and activities. Depending on your state’s regulations, these communities are required to have relationships with medical professionals. Many have an RN on staff and keep open communications with your loved one’s doctor.

Understanding the pricing structure of an Assisted Living Facility can be tricky. Some charge only a fixed price, while other will have a base rate plus additional money dependent on the amount of care needed. Make sure that you understand how a community’s price is calculated before making any decisions.

Residential Care Homes

These are the most cost-effective options for seniors who require 24-hour care. Residents in these homes enjoy a home-like setting that they share with usually 5 but up to 10 other seniors. These communities offer the same benefits as an Assisted Living Community in a smaller setting with fewer residents per caregiver. They are a good choice for dementia patients who could benefit from a smaller living environment.

Skilled Nursing Home

Nursing homes have more of an institutional feel than the other senior living options listed above. There are two types of Skilled Nursing Homes: Acute and Long Term Care. An Acute Nursing Home is for senior needing specialized care for a short period of time. If your loved one is recovering from surgery or healing from an illness, an Acute Nursing Home is a great short-term option for them. A Long Term Care Nursing Home is better suited for seniors who need constant medical care and round-the-clock assistance.

Memory Care

Many senior living facilities have a separate area designated for residents with significant memory issues. There are also stand-alone buildings that serve as dedicated Memory Care facilities. This is a great option if your loved one is suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s, or some other condition that greatly impacts their cognitive functions. These communities hold special licensing and take extra precautions to help keep their residents safe.

These facilities are able to provide the same level of care as an assisted living community or a resident care home. Additionally, caregivers and staff receive specialized training in the unique needs that their residents face on a daily basis. They also have advanced security systems in place to prevent residents from wandering .

Making the decision to leave home can be a very difficult process for your loved one. It is important that you have as much information as possible to help you determine which level of care you’ll need.

Your CarePatrol Senior Care Consultant can help you sift through all of the information available to help you make an informed choice and give your loved one the best out-of-home experience possible.

Five Ways Music Can Help Your Loved One With Dementia

When a loved one has dementia, it can be so hard to connect with them. As the disease progresses, it becomes harder to continue conversations or keep up with the hobbies they once enjoyed. That’s why music can play such an important role in their care plan.

A recent study showed that enjoying music is one of the longest enduring abilities for people with dementia. Even patients in the most advanced stages of the disease are still able to connect over a familiar song. Music is so beneficial that the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America regularly puts out new articles and events on the topic. According to the AFA, “When used appropriately, music can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function and coordinate motor movements.”

This probably isn’t all news to you. After all, most people would agree that listening to music can be relaxing. Sharing music with someone is a common way we connect with our friends and family. And we know that dancing comes naturally to people – just play some music to a baby and watch them start instantly moving to the rhythm.

So how can you use music as part of your loved one’s care plan?

1. Find time to just sit and listen to familiar music.
A great way to connect is to just sit down and put on some familiar tunes. Think about the music that you already know your loved one enjoys. Look for songs they probably already know the words to.  Listening to music and singing along activates almost every part of the brain – especially if you nod your head or tap your foot along with the beat.

2. Watch older musicals that will bring back memories.
Older musicals with iconic songs are a great entertainment option for people with dementia. Of course, not everyone likes musicals. But a classic like The Sound of Music is a good starting point. There is something to please everyone between the historical setting, memorable songs, light love story, and adorable cast.

3. Use music as a tool for regulating your loved one’s mood.
To calm down an agitated person with dementia, play something slow and calming. Soothing songs will help your loved one relax. If your loved one seems to be feeling down, try some upbeat music with a faster beat.

4. Allow music to bring you closer together.
Many people with dementia are still very physically capable. Dancing to music – even if sitting down – is an amazing way to connect. Many people with dementia are uncomfortable with physical contact with those they don’t fully recognize. Holding hands or slow dancing helps your loved one get some much-needed physical contact in a non-threatening way. It’s also a great way to stay active for older adults who don’t have as many opportunities to stretch their muscles.

5. Reminisce about songs or singers from the past.
Do you know what your parents’ wedding song was? Find an old concert stub while cleaning mom’s room? Know that your grandma used to play piano at church? Music is a great way to spark conversations that might not otherwise start naturally. Put on a specific song and use it as a prompt. Play the wedding song and then say, “Tell me about your wedding.” Put on a specific artist and ask “Did you ever listen to this song with your friends?” You’ll be surprised at the memories that music can bring forward.

Music is one of the most powerful tools in your caregiver toolbox.

Three Ways to Combat Loneliness Among Seniors

Most seniors report that they feel more and more lonely as they get older. That’s no surprise considering the U.S. Census Bureau states that 28% of people 65 or older live alone.

For older adults, loneliness and feelings of isolation can contribute to a number of physical health conditions including heart disease, higher risk of stroke, and issues with forming memories. In fact, a study published in 2016 by the British Cardiovascular Society reported that loneliness and feelings of isolation are just as telling as smoking or obesity when it comes to risk factors for death.

So what can seniors do to stave off those feelings that they are alone?

Face-to-Face Visits

Phone calls and email messaging is a great way to stay in touch, but research shows there’s no substitute for good old fashioned face-to-face conversation. Schedule regular visits with family members and friends to share a meal or a cup of coffee.

If you serve in a caregiver role for an older adult, don’t forget to have some time to yourself. It’s important that you have free time where you can take a break. It’s good for your health and great for your loved one to get to interact with a new face from time to time.

Contact your local Aging Resource Center for help finding opportunities for your senior. They can likely connect you with local in-home options, provide information about local events, and tell you about day center programs that would be a good fit for your loved one.

Find a Sense of Community

One of the hardest parts of getting older is losing your sense of community. After retiring, seeing family members move away, or experiencing loved ones pass away, it can be difficult for seniors to find a group where they feel they belong.

For seniors who are more independent, volunteering or joining a local club is a good option. Whether you think a book club at the local library or a weekly Bingo night at a restaurant would be a good option, there is something happening in your community that any senior could enjoy.

Consider a Move to a Senior Living Facility

For some seniors, a move to a senior living facility is a great way to stave off loneliness (while making sure all other health needs are being taken care of). These types of facilities often offer a variety of social events that are open to any residents to attend.

Older adults who don’t need any assistance typically enjoy living in a senior apartment where their neighbors are the same age as them. Seniors who are starting to have a little trouble managing things on their own should consider an assisted living community where they have staff available to help out by resident request. It’s a difficult choice to move out of their home into an “old folks” home, but many seniors who make the switch to senior living options before it becomes medically necessary typically say they wish they had made the choice to move sooner!

It’s important that older adults do not internalize their feelings of loneliness. Developing a sense of community and spending time with others can go a long way towards making our aging population feel cherished and respected.

Twenty Fun Things To Do With Your Loved Ones This Holiday Season

 

For most people, the winter season is filled with parties to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. Seniors — especially those who live in senior living facilities — often report feeling more lonely than ever during the holiday season. As we enter the holiday season, it’s important to remember the older adults in our life who may need an extra dose of cheer.

Visiting loved ones around the holiday season can be stressful. Make sure to set aside time just for spending time together. If you are nervous about visiting a loved one, plan one of these fun activities!

  1. Make (and eat!) your favorite sweet treats.
  2. Watch a sappy movie. The great thing about Christmas movies is that they have a happy ending and are easy to follow.
  3. Take a drive around the neighborhood to check out the great decorations.
  4. Look through old family photos. You could even use this time to hang some favorites on the wall or put together a small album.
  5. Reminisce about holiday gatherings from years past. These great memories will leave your loved one with a warm fuzzy feeling even after you leave.
  6. Decorate a gingerbread house. Use a large candies or marshmallows to make the job easier for arthritic hands.
  7. Talk about fun winter activities like skiing or ice skating.
  8. Bring nail polish and moisturizing lotion for an impromptu manicure. Touch is important. For many seniors, the only touch they experience is from their caregivers.
  9. Drink hot chocolate while listening to carols. Music, taste, and smell are all important parts of making new memories.
  10. Help a child write a letter to Santa.
  11. Video chat with family and friends who won’t be able to visit. Your loved one will probably appreciate having tech support on hand.
  12. Decorate their living space with some of their favorite decorations from home.
  13. Share a meal together. In a facility where meals are served, make sure to tell the staff ahead of time. Whether you bring food in from outside or eat in the dining room, the staff need to know how much food to prepare.
  14. Do some shopping for gifts. If your loved one has a hard time getting out and about, consider bringing a device to help them shop online.
  15. Play a card game. Simple games like Go Fish or Uno are a great way to keep your mind active while still giving you a chance to visit.
  16. Attend a worship service at a nearby church.
  17. Watch a home video from an old family event like a wedding or birthday party.
  18. Read a chapter from a favorite book or a short story that you think they’d like.
  19. Talk about events going on in your community. After moving to a senior living facility, it can be hard for seniors to still feel connected to their community.
  20. Visit with other residents and listen to some of their stories. You’ll get to know your loved one’s neighbors and maybe help them make a new friend.

The holidays can be tough for seniors. Do something fun to share the magic of the season.

What To Look For When You Are Home For The Holidays

 

The holidays: a time for reminiscing and spending time with loved ones. For long-distance caregivers, the holidays are also a good time to evaluate your loved one and their home.

To help you get started, here are several major things for you to look for as you visit the homes of your aging relatives this holiday season. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, jot it down to share with your loved one’s medical team.

Inaccessible Storage

This is one of the easiest ones to spot, and one of the easiest problems to correct. For most of us, it makes sense to store bulky items or items we don’t need very often in the back of closets or on high shelves. But for an older person, accessing storage areas can be near impossible. Offer to take down items from high shelves well before they are needed. If possible, look for a more easily accessible storage solution for the item. Shelves to bring items off the ground, sturdy wall-mounted handrails by every set of stairs, and extra lighting in storage areas are easy additions to make things easier for your loved ones.

Fall Hazards

Older people tend to have stiffer joints, worsening eyesight, and slower reaction times than they did when they were younger. These three factors, among others, contribute to higher rates of falls (and fall-related injuries) among seniors. Look around for fall hazards and try to remove or relocate any items that could throw an older adult off balance. Loose handrails, rugs without non-slip backing, and unsecured furniture can all cause a senior to lose their balance unexpectedly. Also, be on the lookout for issues like electrical cords or uneven floor surfaces that are more difficult to navigate without proper lighting.

Balance Issues

Watch your loved one as they walk around. Do they look less stable than the last time you saw each other? Are you worried that they’ll tip over when pushing themselves out of their favorite chair? The discussion on using a cane, walker, or other mobility device is very difficult to start. But it can mean a longer period of independence if that cane prevents your loved one from falling and injuring themselves.

Memory Issues or Confusion

One of the scariest changes to unexpectedly see in your loved one is issues with their memory. Problems with short-term memory are not at all uncommon among older adults. Any changes in mental health should be reported to their primary care doctor as soon as possible – there are many conditions that can cause temporary confusion or memory problems (like a bladder infection) that need to be treated as soon as possible.

Be on the lookout for small things: items that are “put away” in places that don’t make sense, soiled clothes being put away as clean laundry, or difficulty distinguishing between morning and evening.

Loneliness or Isolation

Most seniors report feeling lonely as they get older. Sometimes, this loneliness goes hand-in-hand with depression – a common ailment among older adults. It’s important that you, as a family caregiver, make them feel loved and supported. But it’s also important that they’re able to visit with people outside of their family. Offer suggestions for friends to get in touch with and look for local events for older adults. Check with your local Aging Resource Center for upcoming events and to see if there is a ride-share program for older adults in the community.

Missed Medications

It’s easy to forget a dose or two of medication every once in a while. But if you’re noticing that a 30-day supply filled in August is still around in November, you should talk with your loved one’s doctor or pharmacist. They will have plenty of ideas to help you and your loved one manage their medication regimen.

Incontinence and Other Odors

The sense of smell fades as we get older. There are many smells that can alert you to a problem happening with your loved one. Be on the lookout for unusual body odor, for example: persistent bad breath, sweet smelling breath, or a “sweaty” smell that lingers after bathing can all be caused by different conditions or medication side-effects.

If you’re noticing frequent bouts of incontinence or suspicious stains on your loved one’s furniture, you may need to have “that talk”. Today, there are many types of low-cost, discreet incontinence products that help protect your loved one’s clothes, furniture, and dignity. Other smells to be on the lookout for are rotting food and stinky garbage that may indicate that your loved one needs further assistance with cleaning or meal preparation.

If you notice any changes in your loved one this winter, it’s important to take note and pass your concerns along to their primary care provider. They will be able to work with you to make a care plan as you move forward. Enjoy the time you spend together with your loved ones this holiday season. Any time spent together is special.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caregiver Burnout

 

Caring for your aging loved one is a very difficult task. At times, it can feel overwhelming. Many caregivers report feeling emotionally or physically exhausted as a result of their caregiving duties. This is called Caregiver Burnout. Don’t worry! There are things you can do to avoid (or lessen) caregiver burnout.

 

Get Organized And Find A Routine

Being a caregiver means keeping track of everything for your loved one. You need to know their schedule and help with their finances – maybe you even manage their medications. Once everything is organized in one area, it feels much more manageable!

To start, get a few folders to separate medical, financial, and personal paperwork. You’ll also want to use a calendar or planner to keep track of all appointments and upcoming social events.

When you and Mom return from a doctor’s visit, any paperwork goes straight into the medical folder. If there is a medical emergency where Mom needs to go to the doctor with someone other than you, everything is easy to find and the doctors have all the medical information that they need to make quick, informed decisions for Mom’s care.

Your financial folder is where you’ll store things like bank statements and bills. Even if Mom is still handling her own checkbook, you’ll find it handy to keep all of this information together. Most seniors will require some help with their finances at one point or another.

Any other documents that you might need to reference quickly go into the personal folder. If Mom’s cable goes out, you’ll be glad to know exactly where to find the contact information for tech support. This is also a great place to store things like phone number for the neighbor kid who mows the lawn or shovels the snow.

 

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Caregiver Burnout can happen easily when you take on too many tasks. Dad probably has plenty of friends and neighbors who would be happy to help out with little things. When someone says, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help”, take them up on it!

You don’t need to delegate anything too difficult or too personal. Every little thing that you have someone else do is one less thing to have on your mind. Being a caregiver can take up all of your free time if you let it! Make sure that you’re finding some time to focus only on your needs.

It’s not unreasonable for you to ask Dad’s neighbor lady to fill up the bird feeder outside his window once a week as she does her gardening.A friend or family member might be happy to plan to eat lunch with Dad every Wednesday to give you a break. It might be time to have a discussion about hiring someone to come in to help with some of the more difficult tasks like bathing or cleaning.

Help is still available even if you and Dad don’t know anyone in the area! There are volunteer organizations in most cities that can provide assistance. Check with your local Aging and Disability Resource Center, library, or religious groups to see what they can do.

Being a caregiver for your aging parents and loved ones is a very difficult job. You need to do everything you can to make the job as easy as possible.

Board and Care Homes – a Great Option for Seniors

 

For seniors who prefer to live in a smaller setting, a board and care home may be a good option. These facilities are residential houses that have been outfitted and staffed for a small group of seniors to live in a family-like setting. Board and care homes go by many different names, depending on the area they are located. In some states, they are most commonly referred to as group homes or residential care homes. In California, “board and care home” is the most commonly used terminology.

 

What’s Included?

Board and care homes are meant for seniors who need some assistance with daily activities but do not require skilled nursing assistance. The level of care provided is similar to what’s offered at assisted living communities. Typically, all three meals and snacks are included in the cost of rent. Most homes include cleaning and laundry services as well. Caregivers are on standby to assist with activities like eating, medication management, toileting, and personal grooming.

Licensing requirements vary by state. In California, licensing is handled by the Community Care Licensing Division of the California Department of Social Services. Your CarePatrol representative will be able to help you find a reputable board and care home that meets your loved one’s needs.

 

How is it Different?

Assisted Living facilities tend to be more well-known than board and care homes because they house more residents – often 50 to 200 or more. They also have a robust activity program.    Also, food is served in a main dining room.  These are the main 3 differences between the two types of facilities. There is no standard definition for board and care homes throughout the United States. In California, a board and care home is a senior living facility licensed to care for 6 to 20 residents who need some assistance, but do not require ongoing skilled nursing care.

Outside of California, the requirements and terminology do change a little. So keep that in mind if you live out of state, or you are helping a senior loved one who lives in another state. Residential care home, group home, and personal care home are all terms that refer to essentially the same thing.

 

What Should We Look Out For?

Board and care homes are a great option for seniors who are transitioning from independent living to long-term care. While researching options available in your area, make sure any board and care homes you look at meet the following criteria:

  • It has a cozy environment that feels more like a home than an institution.
  • It has adequate staffing so that all residents get plenty of attention.
  • Residents are able to relax and spend the day how they choose.

Now, board and care homes are not the best option for all seniors. It’s important that you consider assisted living facilities as an option as well. Typically, assisted living facilities differ from board and care homes in the following ways:

  • Assisted Living options have more amenities and planned recreational activities.
  • Board and care homes typically have shared kitchen and living spaces whereas some assisted living residents have their own full apartment or attached kitchenette.
  • The smaller population at board and care homes can make it more difficult for seniors to find friends.

No matter what type of assistance your loved one needs, your local CarePatrol representative can help you find the perfect fit. Set up a time to talk with us if you have questions about board and care homes, assisted living, or any other concern.