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Turning a Worrisome Visit into Positive Change

December 29, 2017

Holidays bring families together, giving them an opportunity to share time baking, making, eating, drinking, reminiscing, laughing, and taking part in those wonderful traditions each family has. For relatives who live far away, the holidays are the best opportunity to really check in on the health and well-being of older family members.  In many cases, it is an eye-opener when people truly see how their elderly parents are really doing day-to-day.  At The Saybrook at Haddam, we receive an increase in requests for information during November, December and January from families who realize they need to address their parents’ changing care needs.

One of the first questions people ask us is, “How do we know when it is time for assisted living?” Although there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer since each family and individual is unique, there are general ways your parent will indicate things aren’t going well.  We thought Care.com had a good check list for families to watch for:

  • Is your parent sitting in the same place all day and seeming to be less mobile? When they move do they wince in pain?
  • Have they lost or gained a noticeable amount of weight?
  • Is there a stack of unpaid bills lying around the home or are they regularly buying or overspending on things they don’t need?
  • Do you notice frequent confusion or memory loss when they are talking – including forgetting names of family members or common household items?
  • Do you notice frequent changes in mood and personality?
  • Is there spoiled food in the fridge?
  • Are there any new dents in their car?

One or two of these signs may not be cause for immediate action, but they definitely tell you it’s time to put a care plan in place.  After the holidays, you can talk with siblings or others who may be involved in decision making, and discuss options.  This is the time when some families begin calling retirement, assisted living and memory care communities to check on services, arrange for tours, and determine which would be a good fit for loved ones.

Having the “time for assisted living” conversation with an elderly parent or relative is likely one of the hardest things an adult child will ever do.  Be sure to work closely with your preferred retirement community for advice on walking through this step in a kind, caring and respectful manner.  Many communities will invite you to enjoy lunch or dinner, to attend a concert or other event, or even to try a short-term or respite stay.  These simple steps take much of the fear and anxiety out of the decision-making and eases the transition from independent living in a home, condo or apartment, to retirement living in an assisted living or memory care environment.

Ideally, adult children will begin having these conversations while parents are able to make their own decisions. The more time and information everyone has, the more confident everyone will feel when the time comes to make the move.  They will feel most comfortable having you walk by their side through the selection and move-in process.  In this way, you can turn a very worrisome time of life into a wonderful and positive change.

Additionally, as difficult as assisted living planning may be, we can tell you that, in our experience, once residents are settled in to life at The Saybrook at Haddam, they often wonder why they waited so long!

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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No Holiday Blues Allowed!

December 15, 2017

During December, nearly every moment seems to be filled with holiday music, Christmas cards, festive decorations, wishes of glad tidings, and general efforts to “spread good cheer.”  It’s a warm and wonderful time that we embrace and share with family and friends.  Some people, however, find themselves suffering from the “holiday blues.”  Anyone – including senior citizens – can feel a little sad around this time of year as they may be facing loneliness, loss of loved ones, financial burdens or other concerns.  Caregivers and family members should be on the lookout for “holiday blues” and take proactive steps to help seniors have a more enjoyable time of year.

Diane Carigliano, RN, director of The Saybrook at Haddam’s wellness team, hosted a special “Beat the Blues” holiday event for residents and families. The team talked about recognizing some of the physical and emotional signs of the blues – and celebrating ways to avoid them.  Here are a few of their suggestions:

Be realistic and enjoy new traditions and other holiday celebrations.  Some people dwell on past Christmases or the way things used to be.  We cannot always recreate what we loved in the past, so it is healthier to focus on what we have in front of us today. One easy way to do this is to write a list of things you appreciate about your life – and use that as a daily reminder of all that is good!

Look for ways to help others.  More than 11 million senior citizens engage in volunteerism each year which means there are millions of opportunities for seniors to get involved.  They can team with local churches, senior centers or libraries, the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, national homeless or hunger relief organizations, or community-based activities to find a project that fits their interest and availability.  By doing this, the true meaning of Christmas can come through and lift seniors’ spirits.

Take good care of your body.  Staying healthy is the best way to enjoy the holidays so eat well, don’t skip meals, drink plenty of water, reduce sugar and alcohol intake, exercise, and spend time outdoors (weather permitting). This is a great time to treat yourself to a massage or learn a relaxation technique such as meditation, yoga or Tai Chi. If you let healthy habits slip, you run a greater risk of illness and/or injury – which are guaranteed to put a damper on anyone’s holiday!

Practice forgiveness.  Sometimes people do or say things that hurt us – and we have a hard time looking past those wrongdoings.  However, holding on to bad feelings ends up hurting us and can affect our holidays.  Forgiving all sorts of people – from our past, our work, or our families – will definitely heal the spirit.

Do one little act of kindness every day.  Small things like holding the door open for a stranger, sharing a smile, running an errand for a friend, or calling a relative can improve everyone’s day.

Love, love, love.  When we embrace love, we have a much better outlook on life.  So, make an extra effort to love your family and friends, your home and environment, and even yourself for the best holiday season ever!

The holiday blues are no fun – but recognizing what they are will help you deal with them and send them packing.  Then you can relax and truly enjoy all the seasonal festivities as they are intended (just go easy on the egg nog!).

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

Request Information or Schedule a Tour

We’re happy to answer any questions you have and provide additional information about The Saybrook at Haddam.

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  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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