All posts by Integral Senior Living

Support and Recognition for Caregivers’ Contributions

Caregiver’s “Bill of Rights” stresses self-care and dignity

The concept of a Caregiver Bill of Rights is not new. Its origins are sometimes disputed, but many agree that it arose more than 30 years ago after the publication of a book called CareGiving: Helping an Aging Loved One by Jo Horne (AARP Books, 2015). A landmark work that is still relevant to caregivers today, the book addresses all aspects of day-to-day caregiving, and emphasizes the vital relationship between the care provider and recipient.

Caregivers handling the stresses, challenges, and emotional toll of caring for an aging family member—especially caregivers who often feel undervalued, abandoned, overburdened, and overwhelmed—should familiarize themselves with these basic tenets that champion all caregivers’ rights to practice self-care, preserve their own individuality, seek help from others, take pride in their contributions, and to expect acknowledgement and respect for what they do.

Caregiver’s Bill of Rights by Jo Horne 

I have the right:

  • To take care of myself. This is not an act of selfishness. It will give me the capability of taking better care of my loved one.
  • To seek help from others even though my loved ones may object. I recognize the limits of my own endurance and strength.
  • To maintain facets of my own life that do not include the person I care for, just as I would if he or she were healthy. I know that I do everything that I reasonably can for this person, and I have the right to do some things just for myself.
  • To get angry, be depressed, and express other difficult feelings occasionally.
  • To reject any attempts by my loved one (either conscious or unconscious) to manipulate me through guilt, and/or depression.
  • To receive consideration, affection, forgiveness, and acceptance for what I do, from my loved ones, for as long as I offer these qualities in return.
  • To take pride in what I am accomplishing and to applaud the courage it has sometimes taken to meet the needs of my loved one.
  • To protect my individuality and my right to make a life for myself that will sustain me in the time when my loved one no longer needs my full-time help.
  • To expect and demand that as new strides are made in finding resources to aid physically and mentally impaired persons in our country, similar strides will be made toward aiding and supporting caregivers.

Free Caption Phone Helps People with Hearing Loss Stay in Touch

Phone conversation is displayed in text on a large screen

Because using the telephone can become difficult (if not impossible) for people with hearing difficulties, many tend to avoid phone conversations. Not only does this diminish their social and business interactions, but it also robs them of a valuable lifeline if they need help.

The CaptionCall® captioned telephone works like a regular telephone—just dial and answer calls as usual. Speak and listen using the phone handset. The caption phone displays the live phone conversation in easy-to-read text on a large screen.

Provided by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for those who have professionally certified hearing loss, the phone and caption service are free of charge for those who qualify. Simply complete a form on the CaptionCall website and have a doctor in one of the approved areas of practice sign the form.

If you’re unable to get a doctor’s signature, you can pay a one-time $75 fee to self-certify the phone user’s medically recognized hearing loss. There are no extra charges for delivery, installation, or customer support.

 Before you order, make sure the phone user has the following:

  • Medically recognized hearing loss
  • High-speed Internet connection
  • Standard home phone connection
  • Standard electrical outlet

 For hearing-impaired iPad users, a free mobile app enables CaptionCall customers to make and receive calls directly on their iPad.

After you order the phone, a local trainer helps install the device in the house. The trainer then shows the user (and his or her family) how it works. The trainer also helps complete the paperwork required by the FCC.

Five Habits of Successful, Loving Older Couples

This Valentines Day, remind yourself how stay in love for years

Everyone knows couples who’ve been together for decades—perhaps you’re among them—and whose relationships still seem genuinely happy and harmonious. Our communities are filled with couples and those who understand how love lasts. What behaviors, traits, and tactics might be key to their long-term relationship success? Relationship experts- and many seniors often cite these five habits.

Notice and stay open to changes. Don’t assume your partner is the same person he or she was decades ago—although, of course, there will be similarities. Learn your partner’s goals, dreams, and future plans. Keep in tune with who your partner is in the moment and open yourself to who he or she might become.

Accept the challenges of aging. Vulnerabilities arise over the years. Support each other as you deal with physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges and feelings about aging and death. Share thoughts on what lies ahead and face the future as collaborators who will be there for each other throughout the difficulties.

Don’t be afraid to fight fairly. All couples, including the most successful ones, have arguments and conflicts. Happy couples don’t hide from fights. They listen, speak their mind, negotiate, and tell the truth while trying not to be hurtful. After “good fights,” the smoke clears—and issues and complaints tend to get resolved.

Apologize and bounce back. Connected couples don’t shy away from hashing it out, but they also tend to bounce back quickly. They’d rather forego drawn-out grudge holding, pouting, silent punishing, lasting resentments, and late-night “rebound fighting.” These couples get bored with continuous bickering; they’d just as soon get on with being a contented twosome. But apologies are not skipped over. Sincere apologies build respect, empathy, and belief that the other person was truly listening.

Take care of yourself. People in lasting partnerships know their own shortcomings and emotional issues, and take responsibility for seeking counseling and practicing self-help. Strong partners also know that they cannot be “everything” to each other. They create relationships, pursuits, and hobbies that thrive outside of the twosome—and often make the relationship stronger.

February Is American Heart Month

This month is also marks the “Go Red for Women” campaign

Ever since President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the first American Heart Month in 1964, the month of February has been dedicated to cardiovascular health awareness. Cardiovascular disease is the nation’s No. 1 cause of death for both men and women, killing an estimated 630,000 Americans each year. At our communities we make sure that a healthy diet and exercise are part of everyday living.

In the U.S., the most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Men and women can greatly reduce their risk for CAD through lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication. The American Heart Association conducts research and raises awareness to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans. Throughout February awareness about heart health is evident everywhere- from grocery stores to sporting events.

Since 2004, February also has been the signature month for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign to spread the message that heart disease is not only a man’s problem.

National Wear Red Day

On Friday, February 3, the American Heart Association and Go Red For Women celebrate American Heart Month and raise heart disease awareness by encouraging participating in National Wear Red Day. Every 80 seconds, one woman is killed by heart disease and stroke. That’s 1 in 3 deaths among women each year. Eighty percent of these deaths can be prevented with education and action. By wearing red and using the social-media hashtag #GoRedWearRed, you can help raise women’s awareness and support education on cardiovascular health.

What’s Ahead From Our New President?

At this writing, the Inauguration of Donald J. Trump plays out, and the country’s emotions remain divided with celebrating and protesting.

It’s bound to be another year of healthcare upheavals as we wait to see if the incoming administration will follow through on its promise to “repeal and replace” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and call for other reforms that would potentially affect Medicaid funding, pharmaceutical regulation and the health insurance industry.

…read more at Senior Living News

The Surprising Benefits of Senior Living Communities

Growing numbers of seniors are enjoying their housing options

A large segment of the older population in the Unites States—individuals between the ages of 65 and 84—will increase by nearly 40 percent between 2010 and 2020, says the U.S. Census Bureau. The population over age 85 will rise by nearly 19 percent. By 2060, says the Administration on Aging (AOA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there will be about 98 million older persons, more than twice the number in 2014.

These statistics confirm the trend toward ever-growing numbers of older Americans whose need for senior-focused living situations has spurred one of the nation’s most powerful growth industries: living facilities that specialize in catering to older Americans.

By all accounts, the nearly 1 million older adults who currently live in senior communities are happy in their environments. A recent poll by Argentum (formerly Assisted Living Federation of America) found that 93 percent of residents in senior living facilities feel satisfied with the communities they live in. The survey also reported that nearly all residents—99 percent—say they feel safe in their living communities.

More communities are now being designed and updated to appeal to active seniors with a variety of abilities, interests, and preferences. As a leader in senior living management, ISL knows well what appeals to today’s seniors.  Here are a few of the most often cited reasons that older adults are choosing to move to senior living communities.

Safety. Good facilities have 24-hour staffing, state-of-the-art security systems, easy-access and handicap features, and emergency-medical services.

Social connections. Studies show that participating in social activities helps maintain cognitive health. Residents make friends, eat meals together, and celebrate holidays as a community. Senior facilities offer a wide variety of activities for residents, both on site and off. Classes, workshops, fitness options, dancing, reading groups, outdoor excursions, field trips—there is something for everyone!

No home maintenance and repair. Keeping up a home, inside and outside, is labor intensive, physically demanding, and expensive. Most senior-living residents are glad to say good-bye to these burdensome chores so they can spend time on other interests, hobbies, and activities.

Prepared meals. No more grocery shopping, meal planning, and food preparation. Residents can enjoy fine dining on a daily basis—without all the work. Many facilities offer alternative meals and can accommodate special diet needs. New residents commonly experience improvements in health and well being simply from everyday access to healthful, regular mealtimes.

If any of these reasons are appealing, maybe now is the time to look into a senior living community as a viable option in 2017!  Contact ISL to learn more.

Important Changes to Social Security in 2017

A look at the new Social Security rules for the coming year

Each October, the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) announces the changes to this critical social program for the upcoming year. Here’s a summary of the new rules that may affect Social Security recipients in 2017.

Slight increase in payments. Social Security payments will rise by 0.3 percent beginning in January 2017 to keep pace with inflation. The SSA says that cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) of 0.3 percent average out to an estimated $5 increase per month in 2017 for recipients.

Higher earners pay more. Most workers pay 6.2 percent of their earnings into the Social Security system and employers match this amount, until the worker’s salary exceeds the maximum taxable amount. That maximum amount will increase from $118,500 in 2016 to $127,200 in 2017. This change means that about 12 million higher-earning workers are expected to pay more into the Social Security system.

Maximum benefit is higher. In 2017, the highest possible payout for a person at full retirement age is $2,687, up $48 for 2016. However, those who delay starting payments until after they’ve reached full retirement age (up to age 70) may qualify for higher monthly payments.

Full retirement age rises. The SSA defines “full retirement age” (FRA) as the age at which an individual becomes entitled to full or unreduced retirement benefits. For those born between 1943 and 1954, the FRA is 66. In 2017, the FRA increases to 66 years and 2 months to those born in 1955. This FRA hike will continue each year, reaching 67 years for people born in 1960 or later.

Recipients can earn more. If you are age 65 and younger and you collect Social Security benefits but still work in 2017, you can earn up to $16,920 per year (up from $15,720 in 2016) without having benefits withheld. If you earn more than that annual amount, for every $2 you earn, $1 of benefits will be withheld. If you reach age 66 (full retirement age) in 2017, $1 of benefits will be withheld for every $3 earned above $44,880. At your full retirement age, the SSA recalculates your benefits to give you credit for the amount withheld. Starting at the month you reach full retirement age, Social Security payments are no longer withheld if you work, regardless of your earnings.

No file and suspend. In past years, a beneficiary between ages 66 and 70 could claim and then voluntarily suspend Social Security payments, allowing the beneficiary’s spouse to receive benefits on the beneficiary’s record while the beneficiary’s benefits accrued. Starting in 2017, no one can do this. This new rule does not affect payments to divorced spouses, who will continue to receive the full divorced spousal benefit if the ex-spouse suspends his or her retirement benefit.

No double claiming. Dual-earner married couples who are 66 or older have had the option to collect spousal payments worth half of the higher earner’s benefit amount, and then later switch to payments based on their own work record (and those payments are higher due to delayed claiming). But people who turned 62 on or after January 2, 2016, will no longer be able to claim both a spousal payment and an individual payment at different times. Married retirees will now automatically receive the higher of the two benefit options and can no longer claim both types of payments at different times.

January Is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

More than 3 million Americans have glaucoma—but half are un-diagnosed

 “Speed the cure. Spread the word,” says the Glaucoma Research Foundation. The first month of the new year is a good time to learn about and spread awareness of this sight-stealing disease. Glaucoma may affect as many as 4.2 million Americans by 2030, a 58 percent increase, says the National Eye Institute.

Glaucoma is known as “the sneak thief of sight” because there may be no symptoms and as much as 40 percent of vision can be slowly lost without a person noticing. And once vision is lost, it’s permanent.

The good news is that glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. While there is no cure for glaucoma—yet—medication or surgery can slow or prevent vision loss. Early detection is key to stopping the progress of the disease.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is characterized by increased intraocular pressure, or pressure due to buildup of fluid within the eye. This pressure can damage the optic nerve, leading to vision loss. In the U.S., approximately 120,000 people are blind from glaucoma, accounting for up to 12 percent of all cases of blindness.

Who is at risk?

People of any age or race can get glaucoma, but these groups are at higher risk:

  • African Americans or Hispanics (especially over age 40)
  • People over age 60
  • People with a family history of the condition
  • Those diagnosed (during an eye exam) with high internal eye pressure
  • Those with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and sickle cell anemia
  • Those who have had an eye injury or eye surgery
  • Those with certain eye conditions, such as severe nearsightedness
  • Women with early estrogen deficiency
  • Those taking corticosteroid medication, specially eyedrops, for a long time

How can you protect your vision?

Early detection and treatment of glaucoma, before it causes vision loss, is the best way to control the disease. If you fall into one or more of the high-risk groups, is to get a comprehensive eye exam. The Mayo Clinic advises scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams beginning at age 40. Ask your doctor to recommend the right screening schedule for you.

Happy New Year!

We at ISL are ringing in the New Year with a story of love. Over the holidays, a couple that met at one of our communities decided to tie the knot.  Bob Segal and Joan Cimino are residents at Mission Hills Senior Living in Rancho Mirage, California. Bob moved in May 2016, and Joan one month later. At a summer event, the two danced for the first time and the rest you might say is history. Bob proposed and the two celebrated a lovely wedding at Mission Hills with friends and family in attendance. Both Joan and Bob are very social in the community. They regale the residents with stories from their past just to entertain. Joan often tap dances at musical engagements while Bob supports and adores her from the audience. Everyone enjoys their vibrant energy as they smile and laugh, encouraging others to do the same.

We wish this happy couple the very best in the new year!

To see more about the couple and their nuptials visit:

http://www.kesq.com/news/valley-couple-get-married-at-a-rancho-mirage-senior-center/235317485

Stonecrest of Meridian Hills, a New Signature Community in Indianapolis Begins Construction

Ushers in a new standard of senior housing

Carlsbad, CA (December 8, 2016) Stonecrest Senior Living is pleased to announce that construction of its new senior living community, Stonecrest of Meridian Hills is underway. Unparalleled amongst senior living communities in the area, this high-end residence brings together beautiful architectural designs and the highest standards in services and amenities. It’s a place where enriching the health and well-being of seniors is apparent from literally the ground up. Managed by Integral Senior Living (ISL) it is scheduled to open in fall 2017.

“We are very excited to begin construction of this community and to bring to this area the best senior living community, serving those looking for assisted living as well as memory care options under one roof,” said Kristen Curran-Brookham, for ISL. “This community will enrich the lives of residents, offering a richer and fuller lifestyle so many seniors are looking for in a retirement community.”

The multi-million dollar community is being developed by Stonecrest Senior Living and NorthPoint Development. The developers anticipate that many local vendors will take part in the construction and operations of the community. When completed it will employ upwards of 50 individuals.

Stonecrest of Meridian Hills represents a new type of retirement living community, from the warmth and authenticity of its architecture to the programs and activities fostering physical and emotional well-being.  Situated on 4.8 acres this upscale, elegant community will feature a variety of outdoor living spaces, an active bistro, theater, fitness center and more.  Residents will enjoy beautifully appointed suites, a calendar full of activities and outings, an award-winning dining program and much more all within a vibrant community full of life.

When complete, Stonecrest at Meridian Hills will be comprised of 55 private apartments in Assisted Living including studio suites, one-bedroom suites and two-bedroom suites. It will have 30 suites within a specially designed Memory Care neighborhood, for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

About Stonecrest Of Meridian Hills

Opening in fall 2017, Stonecrest of Meridian Hills will offer the finest in Assisted living and Memory Care options for residents. Located in Indianapolis, Indiana the expert trained staff will provide residents with the highest standards of senior care services. It is operated by Integral Senior Living, which manages independent, assisted living and memory care properties. ISL is founded on a care philosophy that fosters dignity and respect for residents and promotes their independence and individuality. For more information visit http://stonecrestofmeridianhills.com