7377 Ridge Road, Parma, Ohio 44129 : 440-845-0200
Happy People

Why Assisted Living is a good idea?

"I love living at Legacy Place Parma. When I lived alone it was so difficult for me to go places - especially when the weather was bad. Now I jump (that's a joke) into the bus no matter what the weather. Better yet, it doesn't matter how full the parking lot is, the Legacy Place van always drops us off and pick us up right at the front door."

 
 

Before coming to Legacy Place, getting out of the house was a big production. Now it's as simple as stepping onto a ramp. Why assisted living is a good idea

    • Legacy Place offers a safe and secure living environment.
    • Pets are always welcome.
    • There is always something to do, someone to talk to and good healthy food to eat.
    • Living at Legacy Place is usually far more cost effective than living alone in your own house.
    • If you have a medical emergency, someone will be there in minutes.
    • If you need nursing care, it is always available.
    • There are always fun and exciting activities to look forward to - and with our wheelchair equipped van, you can go more places and see more things than you could ever do alone.

Tips for caring for an aging parent

Senior flu prevention and taking care of the elderly

Winter safety tips for seniors

How to avoid scams

Helping parents when one or the other can no longer live at home

Caring for an aging parent with incontinence

Eleven signs it might be time for assisted living

 
Senior flu prevention and taking care of the elderly

senior flu preventionGetting the flu can be a nasty experience for anyone, but, because of the added risks to the elderly, senior flu prevention is especially important.

Each year more than 200,000 people will be hospitalized because of the flu, and approximately 36,000 will die. The elderly are disproportionately affected, with seniors in their seventies and eighties, at an even higher risk than those in their sixties, because of declining immunity to illnesses as they age.

How flu spreads

Seasonal flu is one of our most highly contagious illnesses. It is spread by respiratory drops -coughing and sneezing, or by touching something with the flu virus on it such as door knobs, telephones or shopping carts and then touching the nose or mouth.

It's not enough to simply stay away from other people who feel sick. People can be contagious one day before they develop any symptoms, and for up to five days after becoming sick. Symptoms include fever, chills, runny nose, headache, sore throat, cough, extreme fatigue, and muscle aches. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are sometimes present.

Flu antidotes

senior talking to doctor about Tamiflur, RelenzarFlu season begins around October and can sometimes last as long as April. It is estimated that 10 to 20 percent of the U.S. population contracts influenza each year. Once someone gets the flu, the only real cure is to rest and drink plenty of fluids. A doctor may prescribe TamifluR or RelenzaR (anti-viral medications) which can keep the influenza virus from spreading inside the body and shorten the duration of symptoms. Both must be taken within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms, and neither is a substitute for a flu vaccination.

Flu & senior health

While healthy adults can be laid low for a full week, senior citizens are at risk for becoming much sicker. Seniors are far more vulnerable to complications because they often do not have as much physiological reserve as a younger adult. Seniors often feel much sicker from a case of the flu, which in turn puts them at a greater risk for complications."

senior with flu in hospitalOne of the more serious complications of the flu is primary viral pneumonia, or a secondary bacterial pneumonia. Most hospitalizations and deaths from the flu are a consequence of pneumonia and other respiratory disorders. If a senior has chronic health conditions, such as congestive heart failure, chronic lung disease, even diabetes or renal failure, those could be exacerbated by the flu. Another common complication of the flu is dehydration, so drinking plenty of fluids is especially vital for the elderly.

Senior flu prevention

Staying away from work or crowded places while sick is important to prevent spreading the flu to others. But that's not an option for seniors living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. However, nursing homes usually require all employees to be vaccinated, which is the single most effective way to guard against getting the flu. Because the virus changes slightly from year to year, it is important to get a flu shot every year. Last year's flu shot will not protect someone from this year's strain.

It's important to get vaccinated early in flu season but not too early, because occasionally the immunity will wear off before flu season ends.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, seniors covered by Medicare Part B pay no coinsurance or deductible for their flu shot, as long as they receive the shot from a Medicare provider. There is no reason a healthy senior should defer a vaccine.

While vaccination is the most important senior flu prevention, it's only 70 to 90 percent effective, so some people who receive the vaccination will still get the flu. For at-risk populations, it's especially important that everyone around them also gets vaccinated. That includes everyone involved in taking care of the elderly. And like nursing homes, many hospitals also require all employees to be vaccinated.

Some people believe certain foods or vitamins can ward off illness, and while they may make you healthier in general, they aren't effective for senior flu prevention.

Practicing good hygiene can help people avoid catching or spreading the flu. Wash hands frequently, especially after touching door knobs and stair rails in public places. Always cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and immediately wash hands afterward. And, of course, stay away from people who are sick.

 

Winter Safety tips for seniors

While wintertime may provide great opportunities for family fun, it can also pose numerous dangers to seniors who may have trouble negotiating slippery uneven terrain. And while falls are among the top causes of injuries among seniors, there are other hazards of winter that can create safety threats as well. But winter doesn't have to keep seniors house bound. With a little planning and common sense, winter can be enjoyed by all ages. Here are some helpful tips for preventing common winter dangers that your aging loved ones may face.

 

1. Avoid slipping on ice.

Icy, snowy roads and sidewalks make it easy to slip and fall. While younger people usually recover quickly, older adults often take much longer. Be sure to wear shoes with good traction and non-skid soles, and stay inside until the roads are clear. Ice traction devices (such as Yaktrax) that attach to shoes or boots, can make winter walking much more enjoyable - and safe. Also, be sure to remove shoes or boots once indoors because melted snow and ice can create slippery conditions inside as well.

2. Dress for warmth.

Cold temperatures can lead to frostbite or hypothermia - a condition where the body temperature dips too low. According to the CDC, more than half of hypothermia related deaths were people over the age of 65. To prevent hypothermia, be careful not to let indoor temperatures go too low and dress in layers. Outside, be sure to wear warm socks, a heavy coat, warm hat, gloves and a scarf. In very cold temperatures, cover exposed skin and use a scarf to cover your mouth and protect lungs.

3. Fight the winter doldrums.

Many people get the blues when days are short and and snow and ice make it difficult to get around. Loneliness can be exacerbated in winter and may lead to depression. To avoid this risk, family and friends should check in on seniors as often as possible. Even a short daily phone call can make a huge difference. If there is a significant change in mood, it can also be a sign of chronic illness, dementia or depression. In that case, help your loved one seek medical help.

4. Check the car.

Driving during the winter can be hazardous for anyone but it is especially dangerous for older people who may drive less frequently or whose reflexes may not be as quick as they once were. Have cars serviced before major winter weather hits. Checking things like the oil, tires, battery and wipers can make a big difference on winter roads. Do some research on alternative transportation options available through senior centers and local agencies.

5. Prepare for power outages.

Winter storms often lead to power outages. Make sure you have easy access to flashlights and a battery-powered radio in case the power goes out. Stockpile warm blankets. Longer power outages can spoil the food in the refrigerator and freezer so keep a supply of non-perishable foods that can be eaten cold on hand. If the power goes out, wear several layers of clothing, including a hat.

6. Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Using a fireplace, gas heater or lanterns can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Ensure your loved one's safety by checking the batteries on your carbon monoxide detector and buying an updated one if necessary.

7. Ask for Help

The most important tip to keep in mind during the colder months is to ask for help when needed. According to AARP, 90% of seniors want to remain in their homes as they age. But they may not have the ability to do so on their own. It takes a community to support an independent senior. Whether your loved one needs help with snow removal, meal preparation, care giving or housework, there are resources available. Check out websites such as www.eldercare.gov www.ncoa.org, and www.care.com.

 

How to Avoid Scams

The Better Business Bureau has pulled together an excellent Senior Awareness Initiative to help seniors avoid scams. To view the short version in a pdf  format click here. If you would like to read the full articles with lots and lots of excellent information on the BBB web site click here.

Scam Basics

  • If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Check the BBB reviews before ordering.
  • Exercise caution with Craigslist - always go with a friend and NEVER wire money.
  • Keep your wallet safe and cover the pin pad keyboard when entering a PIN number.
  • Research charities - check the BBB for Wise Giving Alliance recommendations.
  • Be careful with your email - don't click on attachments you aren't absolutely sure of.

Beware the Fake Package Scam

  • Watch out for poor spelling or grammatical errors.
  • Ignore calls for 'immediate action' - they're trying to make you act without thinking.
  • Don't always believe what you see - it's easy to copy a logo and insert it in an email. Fake email addresses will have slight variations from the real one.
  • Don't be fooled by email links or download files from an unfamiliar email address, and remember that a hyperlink may not actually lead where it's claiming to go.

Phony Publishers Clearing House Calls

  • Be wary of emails claiming you've won - and asking you to send money.
  • Never give your credit card number to collect a prize.
  • Do not send money to claim a Sweepstakes prize.
  • If an offer sounds too good to be true - think twice - it probably is. All you need to know is that no purchase is necessary and the winning is always free.

 

Helping parents cope when one or the other has to go into assisted living

After decades of living together, one parent needs more care than the other can provide. You want to help, but you feel helpless in the face of what amounts to a forced separation. What can you do to ease the trauma and provide support for parents facing this circumstance?

1. Determine in advance how the relationship will continue.

If both parents are able, encourage them to map out how they will continue their marital bond. For example, if Dad has to live in assisted living maybe Mom could plan to come over every day for dinner. They could eat in the cafeteria or restaurant - or she could bring carry out or a home cooked meal from home. Many homes such as Legacy have private dining rooms where friends and family could also join them. There are also lots of activities such as book clubs, holiday parties, cook outs, etc. to enjoy. At Legacy, residents also enjoy visits to restaurants, sports events, parks, etc.

2. Ensure that the facility supports the couple.

To ensure a smooth transition, the key is to promote the couple's identity as much as both partners would like. Make sure the facility is convenient for the healthy partner in terms of transportation, access, and schedule. If transportation to and from the new living facility is an issue, arrange in advance for a loved one or paid caregiver to drive. Even if the visit is brief, the chance to talk, share a treat, tell secrets and share a kiss good by can be therapeutic for both Mom and Dad.

3. Help your parents with feelings of guilt and inadequacy.

Chances are the parent remaining at home feels tremendous guilt as well as sadness over the separation. They may feel they are no longer honoring their marriage vows or that they haven't done enough. You can be supportive by being the voice that reminds them that they've done all they can. Help them realize that the specialized care assisted living can provide can actually make both of them happier - and safer.

4. Get outside help for your parents if needed.

Sometimes your best efforts might not be enough and you'll need to enlist outside support. No matter how cooperative the facility is, it's difficult to understand how unhappy these couples may feel. Families can help by encouraging the healthy partner to talk to clergy or behavioral health professionals. Many find participating in support groups with other spouses in similar circumstances very comforting.

5. Help foster private time if desired.

Contrary to popular opinion, the need for intimacy doesn't end when a separation like this occurs. It might be a little awkward for family members to address, but you can help with whatever issues might be present in order to get their deserved privacy. For example, if a spouse can't leave the facility for whatever reason, kids can step in and have a very straightforward conversation with the facility's administrators about arranging alone time for the couple. However, it's important to understand the concerns of the facility, which may be liable for falls or health issues that occur during their watch. Address concerns and see if you can set fair boundaries.

6.  Expect the unexpected.

Finally, don't assume that this transition ends once the initial decision and move are over. Be prepared for whatever your parents'

needs are afterward, especially when there's sadness or frustration on either side. For some who've spent years caring for a spouse, the transition to living alone can be jarring and rudderless. When Mom or Dad is replaced by a facility, you may need to help the parent remaining at home to feel needed and purposeful. Help by encouraging them to see friends, volunteer or become involved with activities and events at the facility. Help your parent realize they have a practical role in the care and upkeep of their spouse even if it's as simple as bringing shampoo, conditioner and a hairbrush to help maintain physical appearance.

 

Tips for caring for an aging parent with incontinence

1. Choose the right protection

  • From briefs to protective underwear, there are an abundance of incontinence supplies to fit your parent’s needs. Use your internet browser to see what's out there.
  • If your parent has light bladder leakage, a pad or guard is usually preferable because it fits discretely inside their own underwear.
  • Protective underwear work well for users who are still mobile but suffer from complete bladder emptying or bowel incontinence. They can be easily pulled on or off - providing a measure of dignity.
  • If your parent is wheelchair or bedridden, adult diapers (briefs) are much easier for caregivers to use, and offer the highest level of protection against leakage.

2. Make going to the bathroom easier.

  • As aging parents get older, reflexes and movements can slow down, preventing them from getting to the bathroom in time.
  • At home, make sure there is a clear path to the bathroom. This can help prevent both wet accidents and falls.
  • In public, scope out the closest restrooms so no time will be wasted getting there.

3. Maintain dignity by purchasing incontinence products online instead of in stores.

  • Incontinence can be embarrassing, but buying supplies online is a great discreet way to spare your parent’s pride at the register.
  • If you’re worried about running out of products, opt for the Auto Ship Plan for ongoing deliveries to your home - simply type' incontinence auto ship plan' into your internet browser.

4. Protect furniture and bedding.

  • Adult bed wetting is often accompanied by wet sheets and stained mattresses.
  • To keep beds and furniture dry and clean, reusable waterproof underpads are a great way to protect vulnerable surfaces.

5. Increase bladder control with scheduled bathroom breaks.

  • To help with frequent urination, set a bathroom schedule so your parent can go before it’s too late.
  • Vibrating reminder watches are great for scheduling because it gives the user ownership over the process, and you aren’t responsible for watching the clock or nagging.
  • There are many choices of watches including those that can be set to go off at specific times during the day, those that continually countdown, etc. Type 'incontinence watches' into your internet browser or Amazon browser to find the best one for you.
  • Remind your parent to try to void every time the watch goes off -even if they don’t feel the urge.

 

Eleven signs it might be time for assisted living

The decision to help an aging adult move out of a current home is complex, both emotionally and practically. First, you want them to be safe and well. What circumstances suggest that your loved one should no longer be living alone? Although every situation is different, review the following signs for valuable information to help with making that decision.

1. Big-picture signs it might be time for assisted living:

  • Recent accidents or close calls.  Did your loved one have a fall, medical scare ore get in a fender bender?  Who responded and how long did it take?
  • A slow recovery.  How did the person you are concerned about weather or did last winter’s cold develop into untreated bronchitis?
  • A chronic health condition that’s worsening. Progressive problems such as COPD, dementia, and congestive heart failure can decline gradually or precipitously, either way, their presence means your loved one will increasingly need help.

2. Up-close signs it might be time for assisted living:

  • Give a big hug. Clues aren’t always visible from a distance; especially when you don’t see the person everyday, you might learn more from touch.  Look for:
  • Noticeable weight loss. Do they feel thinner?  Are clothes loose, or have they had to add notches to their belt?  Many conditions, from depression, to cancer, can cause weight loss.  A person who is having trouble getting out to shop or remembering how to cook (or to eat) can lose weight; check the fridge and watch meal-prep skills.
  • Noticeable weight gain. Common causes include an injury slowing the person down, diabetes, and dementia(when someone doesn't’t remember eating, he or she may indulge in meals and snacks all day long). Someone with money problems may choose fewer fresh foods and more packaged goods or dry pasta and bread.
  • Strange body odor. Unfortunately, a close hug can also reveal changes in personal hygiene habits.  Causes range from memory trouble to depression to other physical ailments.
  • Changes in appearance. Does the person’s hair and make-up look alright? Are their clothes clean? Someone who is known for always wearing crisply ironed shirts wears stained sweatshirts may lack the dexterity for buttons or may have lost the strength for managing an ironing board and iron.  Formerly clean shaven man with an unkempt beard may be forgetting to shave (or how to shave).

3. Social signs it might be time for assisted living:

  • Signs of active friendships. Does your loved one still get together for lunches or outings with friends, visits with neighbors, church or group events? Lack of companionship is associated with depression and heart problems in older adults.  If friends have died or moved away, moving to a place where others are around could be life saving.
  • Signs that your loved one has cut back on activities and interests. Is the hobby area abandoned?  Has club membership been given up? There are many reasons people cut back, but dropping out of everything and  home, many such facilities offer regular outings that may keep them more mobile and active, showing interest in almost nothing is a red flag for depression.
  • Days spent without leaving the house. This sometime happens because the person is unable to drive.  While many older adults fear being “locked away” in a retirement home, many such facilities offer regular outings that may keep them more mobile and active, NOT LESS.
  • Does someone check in on a regular basis.  If not, is your loved one willing to consider using a personal alarm system if no one can look in on them?
  • Consider a worst-case scenario. If there is a fire, earthquake, flood or other disaster, is someone on standby to assist?  Does your loved one understand the plan?

 

4. Money signs it might be time for assisted living:

  • Riffle through the mail. Your loved one’s mail can offer an often overlooked clue to how they are managing money, a common early warning sign of cognitive trouble.
  • Snowdrifts of mail in various places. Finding lots of mail scattered around raises concern about how bills, insurance, and other matters are being managed.
  • Unopened personal mail.  Everybody skips junk mail, but few of us can ignore good old-fashioned, hand-addressed letter.
  • Unopened bills. This can indicate that your loved one is having difficulty managing finances- one of the first signs of dementia.
  • Letters from bankers, creditors, or insurers.  Routine business letters aren’t worrisome.  But it’s alarming if they’re referring to overdue payments, overdrawn balances, recent accidents, or other concerning events.
  • Thank you messages from charities. Older adults are often vulnerable to scammers.  Even those who have always been fiscally prudent are vulnerable if they’re having trouble with thinking skills.  Some charities hit up givers over, and over, and your loved one may not remember having donated the first time.
  • Unread magazines. The person may not unknowingly have repeated renewal subscriptions he or she doesn't’t need.

5. Driving signs it might be time for assisted living:

  • Nicks or dents in the car. Notice the car body as you get in and out.  Damage marks can be signs of careless driving.
  • Does the person promptly fasten his or her seatbelt.  Even people with mild dementia usually follow the rote basics of driving.  It’s worrisome if he or she is forgetting this step.
  • Tension, preoccupation, or being easily distracted. The person may turn off the radio, for example, or be unwilling to engage in conversation while driving.  He or she may avoid certain routes, highway driving, or driving in the rain or at night—a safe kind of self-policing but also signs of changing ability.
  •  Warning lights. Check out  the dashboard as you ride along.  Does the car have sufficient oil, gags, antifreeze, windshield-wiper fluid?

6.  Kitchen signs it might be time for assisted living:

  • Stale or expired food. We all buy more than we need. Look for signs that food is not only old but that it is unnoticed—mold, sour milk that’s still used, or expiration dates well past due, for example.
  • Multiples of the same item.  Ten bottles of ketchup? More cereal than can be eaten in a year? Multiples often reveal that the shopper can’t remember from one store trip to the next what’s in stock at home.
  • A freezer full of TV dinners. Your loved one may buy them for convenience sake, but frozen dinners tend not to make a healthy diet. If there is not much fresh food in the house(because it is hard for them to shop or cook), your loved one might be ready to have meal prep or delivery service.
  • Broken appliances. Check them all: microwave, coffee maker, toaster, washer, and dryer—any device you know is used routinely.
  • Signs of fire.  Are stove knobs charred? Pot bottoms singed badly?  Any pot holders have burned edges? Also look for discharged fire extinguisher, smoke detectors that have been disassembled, or boxes of baking soda near the stove. Accidents happen; ask for the story behind what you see.
  • Increased use of take-out or simpler cooking. A change in physical or mental abilities might explain a downshift to simpler recipes or food choices.

7. Around –the-house signs it might be time for assisted living:

  • Lots of clutter. An inability to throw anything away may be a sign of a neurological or physical issue. Obviously, it’s more worrisome in a neatnik than in a chronic slob.  Papers or pet toys all over the floor represent a tripping hazard.
  • Signs of lax housekeeping. Spills that haven’t been cleaned up are a more common sign of dementia—the person lacks the follow through to tidy. Keep an eye out fro cobwebs, bathroom mold, thick dust, or other signs of slackness. Physical limitations can mean your loved one needs housekeeping help or a living situation where this is taken care of for him or her.
  • Bathroom grime and clutter. A common scenario: Your loved one makes an effort to tidy up living areas but overlooks the bathroom. Or the guest bath is clean but not the one the person uses all the time.  Here you may see a clearer picture of how your loved one is keeping up.

8. Pet care and plant care signs it might be time for assisted living:

  • Plants that are dying, dead, or just gone.  Most of us have seen plants go brown sometimes. Keep an eye out for chronic neglect, especially in a former plant lover’s home.
  • Animals that don’t seem well tended. Common problems: dogs with long nails, cat litter boxes that haven’t been changed lately, or dead fish in the fish tank.  Poor grooming, overfeeding, and underfeeding are other red flags.

9. Home maintenance signs it might be time for assisted living:

  • Signs of neglect. Look for discolored siding or ceilings that might indicate a leak, gutters chocked with leaves, broken windows or fences, dirty windows.
  • Newspapers in the bushes. Are papers being delivered but ignored? Sometimes people pick up those they can see on a driveway but not those that go off into the yard or may not retrieve it regularly.

10. Get help looking for signs it might be time for assisted living:

  • Get the input of others who know your loved one in order to collect a fuller picture of reality.  Gently probing about what others think isn’t nosy; you’re being loving, concerned, and proactive.
  • Get input from those in your loved one’s circle. Pay attention to comments that indicate ongoing concerns that hint that the person doesn't get out much. Talk to old friends and close relatives to get their sense of how the person is faring. 
  • Medical insight. With appropriate permission, your loved one’s primary care doctor may share your concerns about safety at home—or may be able to alleviate those concerns or suggest where to get a home assessment.
  • A second opinion. A social worker or professional geriatric care manager visits older adults’ home and does informal evaluations. While your loved pitching it as a professional (and neutral) second opinion, or ask a doctor to “prescribe it”. Some people wind up sharing doubts or vulnerabilities with a sympathetic, experienced stranger that they’re loathe to admit to their own children or family.

11. Caregivers’ sign it might be time for assisted living:

  • Realize that some of the information you collect is intangible.  It has to do with feelings and emotions, and the stress levels of everyone involved.
  • Consider your loved one’s emotional state. Safety is crucial, of course, but so is emotional well-being.  If someone living alone is riddled with anxieties or increasingly lonely, then that may tip the scales toward a move not solely based on health and safety reasons.
  • Explore your options before an emergency arises. If your loved one has a full life, a close neighborhood and community connections, and seems to be thriving there's no need to change. However, now is the time to explore your options including in-home assistance, in-home health care and assisted living.