Wit and Wisdom Blog for Atria Senior Living

      Wit and Wisdom      

a new view on growing older

Would my parent benefit from moving into a senior living community?


Posted on June 16, 2021 by Admin


Many older adults reach the stage where they ask themselves whether they’d prefer to stay at home or move into a senior living community. People enjoy living at home because it’s familiar and they view home as the place where they connect with friends and family. Senior living communities , however, offer all those advantages and more . Here are just a few of the ways that residents benefit from senior living communities .

Staying connected

Perhaps the core benefit of a senior living community is that it fosters an environment where residents stay engaged with other people so much that the atmosphere is like a family. That familial warmth extends to the interactions between other residents, their families and staff members, which helps create a feeling of belonging that anchors an entire community.

Receiving consistent care

Senior living communities assess residents before they move in to determine the care services they could benefit from the most (if they need it). Afterwards, other assessments are conducted regularly to ensure that residents are healthy and enjoying the benefits of the right senior living option . That way, children and family members can enjoy the time they spend with their parents, knowing they are receiving the care they need.

Pursuing passions

Once older adults join a community, they often find their list of daily to-dos shrinks, which allows them to rediscover the passions they always enjoyed. A good senior living community will also provide residents with ample opportunities to explore new interests – listening to guest lectures on a bevy of topics, painting outside or swimming in the pool.

Providing a healthy lifestyle

Research indicates that community living is often a healthier option for older adults, providing a suite of benefits that can’t be found at home. Take a look at our breakdown of the moving vs. staying debate – and contact us to see how Atria can help benefit you.

 

If you or someone you know wants to learn more about Atria, visit  AtriaSeniorLiving.com / FindACommunity  to discover the location nearest you. 


Category: Active Aging, Caregiver Support, Community, Lifestyle, Wit & Wisdom

Independent living, assisted living and nursing homes: What’s the difference?


Posted on June 8, 2021 by Admin


People who aren’t familiar with senior living communities sometimes assume that they are all the same. But the distinctions between three of the major senior living options – independent living, assisted living and nursing homes – can be substantial. So here are some helpful points of clarification on the differences between each one. 

Independent living 

If you are an older adult leading an active lifestyle, you are probably best suited for an independent living community. Your residence options might include an apartment, a villa or a duplex. The staff in the community takes care of household tasks, which frees up your schedule to do  things that you love – whether it’s traveling, hiking in the mountains with your son or getting to know other residents. You can also enjoy community events such as exercise classes, guest lecture series or happy hours. Think of independent living as an option that gives you all the comforts of home without any of the burdens of homeownership. 

Assisted living 

Older adults who choose assisted living housing options want to enjoy chef-prepared meals, group outings and help with household tasks just like independent living options, with the added benefit of caregiver support available 24/7. Residents can select a range of assistance options. Some residents may benefit from living in memory care neighborhoods. Others may ask for assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, grooming and safety checks. Assisted living communities often employ full-time licensed nurses or a physician to serve as another layer of professional, discreet support. 

Nursing homes 

The function of a nursing home is to provide medical assistance to seniors who need round-the-clock monitoring and care. The residents who live in nursing homes often have conditions best treated with long-term palliative care or prescription medication administration. They may also require specialized rehabilitative services such as speech or occupational therapy. The primary focus of nursing homes is to provide 24-hour supervision and medical attention. 

At Atria, we offer independent living and assisted living options customized to individual preferences – whether residents are looking to be free of the burdens of homeownership or need discreet daily support. No matter how much – or how little – assistance any given resident would prefer, contact us to see how we can cater to your individual needs. 

 

If you or someone you know wants to learn more about Atria, visit AtriaSeniorLiving.com/FindACommunity to discover the location nearest you. 


Category: Active Aging, Caregiver Support, Community, Dementia & Memory Care, Lifestyle, Wit & Wisdom

Caring for the world’s wisest people


Posted on May 3, 2021 by Admin


Atria Senior Living’s care services are backed by our industry-leading quality standards. In our communities that offer care services, the Resident Services Director – who is also a licensed nurse – assesses each resident’s physical, emotional and functional needs prior to move-in, and then on an as-needed basis following that initial care plan.

How assessments work

Because the well-being of residents is our top priority, we pride ourselves on the rigor with which we conduct assessments. Here’s how the process works:

  • Prior to a new resident moving into Atria, a licensed nurse will visit the resident to review medications and develop an essential drug list.
  • A physician will review the assessment before it’s shared with the resident and his or her family. Atria will conduct another assessment the day the new resident moves in, and add it into our system to help caregivers organize their days and meet residents’ needs.
  • Following those initial assessments, Atria will conduct further assessments to determine whether a decrease or increase in care services is needed.

Discreet care is available 24 hours a day, and services generally fall into these three categories: personal care (bathing, grooming, getting dressed and safety checks); medication assistance (reminders, consultations with physicians and pharmacies and ongoing reviews with a nurse); and incontinent management (daytime and overnight assistance).

Some Atria communities also offer memory care, geared toward older adults experiencing the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Memory care neighborhoods are located in thoughtfully designed, secure spaces within a community.

Care and Engage Life®

The Engage Life department adds another layer of support to the licensed nurses and caregivers within an Atria community.

“Engage Life and care and social work – they’re all interlocked,” Beth Levi, Engage Life Director at Atria Forest Hills, said. “In my role, I have the opportunity to monitor residents through the activities they’re doing. I see them on a daily basis. So if I notice a change in condition, I can coordinate with the care team.”

Engage Life Directors create programs and workshops that enhance residents’ lives through social connection and lifelong learning, which is one reason Levi is looped into the part of the assessment process for new or prospective residents: She learns about a resident’s care needs and assistance levels, and then personalizes the community events calendar so that there are plenty of opportunities tailored to each individual.

“When a new resident moves in, I take all the programs we offer, and then I go over it with them,” Levi said. “They pick out what they like and we make a personalized schedule, so when they move in, it’s all set in their minds – ‘This is what I’m going to be doing.’ The calendar is adaptable and changeable, and based upon their interests and needs.”

The Atria advantage

“The differentiator in Atria’s care is our preparation, our response, our protocols, our internal Quality Enhancement review process,” Joanna Mansfield, Atria’s Senior Vice President of Care and Life Guidance, shared. “We have stringent guidelines. We have checks and balances to make sure residents’ needs are being fulfilled.”

Those stringent guidelines are the result of being so attentive to residents’ well-being. When it comes to a community’s Resident Services Director, Atria only hires nurses with a clinical skill set and management experience who are also familiar with working with older adults. That attention to detail required in their jobs helps give nurses and caregivers the structure necessary to provide the best care for the world’s wisest people.

 

Discover how empowering the right care can be at Atria Senior Living at ExploreAtriaCare.com.


Category: Active Aging, Caregiver Support, Community, Dementia & Memory Care, Our Team, Wit & Wisdom

Sometimes a short time is just right


Posted on March 25, 2021 by Admin


Diane worried about leaving the hospital. She’d been admitted, again, for losing consciousness due to a health issue that caused her blood oxygen level to drop.  

“It’s scary to wake up on the floor and not realize what happened,” she said. “Since I live alone, my family and I decided I should recuperate at Atria to make sure the new treatment plan from my doctor works. If not, somebody will be there to help.” 

Diane is staying at an Atria community while she recuperates. Short-term stays offer older people like her an excellent way to receive the care and support they need while recovering from an illness or surgery. Short-term stay guests enjoy a furnished, private apartment plus all the same services, amenities and social opportunities available to Atria residents.  

A short-term stay is also a great way to see what senior living is like.  

A better outcome

When an older person is discharged from a hospital or rehabilitation facility, their recovery depends largely on following doctors’ orders. Are they taking medications properly? Adhering to their new diet? Keeping follow-up appointments?  

For people who live alone, no longer drive and may possibly be dealing with a number of chronic health conditions, compliance is often a struggle. As a result, their recovery can suffer and they risk a setback, which could lead to another hospital or rehab stay. 

“A lot of short-term stay guests come to Atria due to health issues,” said Karen Devaney, Atria’s National Director of Care Management.  

“Short stays offer a way for people to recover with trained staff available around the clock to make sure they’re doing everything they need to do,” Devaney added. “We also provide their meals, housekeeping, drive them to appointments and offer opportunities to connect with others. 

“Short-term stay guests go through the same initial care assessment as residents before move-in. The care coordination they receive is also the same.”  

So, instead of juggling instructions from numerous healthcare providers, a short-term stay guest can focus on recovering while Atria manages the rest. Care coordination also makes sure everyone involved in a person’s well-being is on the same page – from doctors, nurses and physical therapists to caregivers and family members. 

A quick solution

A short-term stay often comes to the rescue for families facing a sudden or unexpected situation. An older family member may be discharged from the hospital or rehab sooner than anticipated and needs a place to recover. Families may discover an older relative’s living environment is no longer safe.  

“Our door is always open,” stated Pamela Filby, Atria’s Vice President of Sales. “When a person needs to move quickly, a short-term stay provides a furnished apartment on short notice, with support available around the clock.”

Knowing their older relative is safe and cared for gives family members time to more thoughtfully explore their options.  

A welcome change

When it comes to taking a break, short-term stays go both ways.  

Caregivers occasionally need time off to rest and recharge. Maybe they’re planning a vacation with their spouse and children and need to make arrangements for Mom. Since short-term stay guests enjoy the same services, dining options, amenities and social opportunities as residents, the break can be a welcome change for her, too.  

On the other hand, perhaps an older family member would like to enjoy a long visit with relatives in another state but doesn’t want to stay in a hotel or the family’s home.  

“We have regulars,” said Filby. “We jokingly call them ‘frequent fliers.’ It’s a nice way for them to get to know the community. 

“We even have couples who book short-term stays at communities in Florida, just to get away and have everything handled for them.”

A toe in the water

“Sometimes a family is reluctant to make a move and sell the home, even if they’ve started to realize their parent needs more care,” Filby explained. “We suggest families try a temporary stay while sorting things out.”  

For active older adults who don’t need daily support but are ready to downsize and let go of the cooking, cleaning and home maintenance, a short-term stay is an ideal way to try out senior living. After a short-term stay, many realize how much more fulfilling their lives can be when surrounded by daily opportunities to pursue new interests and hobbies in a community of friendly neighbors.  

“I hope more families take advantage of short-term stays because the benefits can be tremendous,” said Filby. 

 

If you or someone you know could benefit from a short-term stay at Atria, visit AtriaSeniorLiving.com/FindACommunity to discover the community nearest you.   

 


Category: Active Aging, Caregiver Support, Dementia & Memory Care, Wit & Wisdom

The right care empowers older people and reassures family


Posted on March 13, 2021 by Admin


At Atria, we believe the right amount of discreet personal care can help older people participate, grow and engage in what brings them purpose and joy.

We also believe in supporting families by doing everything we can to reassure them their parent is safe, well cared for and meaningfully connected to others.

Sheila and Rochelle

After her husband of 59 years passed away, Rochelle didn’t want to live alone. Friends suggested senior living, and her daughter, Sheila, traveled to North Carolina to help search for options. After touring Atria Southpoint Walk, they made their decision.

“It was wonderful,” Sheila said. “We knew within 10 minutes this was the place.”

A self-professed social butterfly, Rochelle settled right in. She loved the full calendar of events, friendly neighbors and chef-prepared meals. Sheila was relieved to see her mother gaining back the weight she’d lost after her father passed away.

Two years later, Rochelle took a fall. Sheila came to visit from Illinois while her mother recuperated. During treatment, doctors noticed a bit of memory loss and diagnosed Rochelle with mild dementia.

“Dementia doesn’t run in our family, so I didn’t know what to do,” said Sheila. “That’s when I started Googling.”

Sheila discovered Atria Glenview 10 minutes from her home in Illinois. Rochelle’s dementia was mild enough for her to move into assisted living, with specialized care available in the community’s Life Guidance® memory care neighborhood, if needed.

“It was much like the independent living community Mom came from so it was a good fit,” stated Sheila. “But knowing she had help taking her medications and staff to make sure she was eating was such a relief.”

Eventually, Rochelle’s dementia progressed, and she moved to Life Guidance. Sheila said the staff at Atria were there for both of them, every step of the way. The team not only provided compassionate, highly personalized care for her mother, they helped Sheila understand more about dementia, what to expect and ways to cope with her own feelings – through support groups and phone calls at least twice a week from Life Guidance Director Kelly Burnett.

“The regular contact eases my mind,” Sheila added. “I’ve been able to express my own fears and concerns without being dismissed. I can’t tell you how much that matters.

“When you think of all the changes that have happened with my mom, having Atria on our side to guide us has been invaluable. I don’t think people realize how deep the support can go at Atria.”

Jack and Richard

Jack gets around. The 89-year-old resident of Atria Oakridge in North Carolina knows every dining room server by name and most of his neighbors, too. Before COVID-19, he loved playing the piano during ice cream socials.

“Dad is really outgoing,” said his son, Richard. “He enjoys talking with people, and he’s sharp as a tack. He’s thoroughly enamored with Atria.”

Jack came to live at the community a few years ago after his wife moved into a skilled nursing facility. Richard lives 600 miles away and didn’t want to worry about his father living alone.

“I don’t think it would do him well to be on his own completely,” said Richard. “It’s not safe for someone his age.

“Since he’s been at Atria, I’m confident he’s in good hands. I never have to worry. That’s priceless to me.”

Holly and Martin

Martin moved to Atria Sugar Land in Texas four years ago. At 93, he often forgets to wear a face mask when leaving his apartment. Lucky for him, staff find creative ways to help; lately, they’ve been hanging a face mask on his walker with a friendly message reminding him to wear it.

“They’ve hired really great people,” said Martin’s daughter, Holly. “I work in education, so I know in any school system you can be in the worst building with great teachers or the best building with bad teachers. It’s all about the people.”

When searching for senior living, Holly and her father explored several communities to find one that was warm and welcoming. The day they toured Atria, Martin’s wife was too sick to join them.

“I told them we’d have one less for lunch, so the staff packed a meal to take with us for my stepmom,” continued Holly. “Little things like that speak volumes.”

Knowing her father has support around the clock gives Holly and her siblings comfort. Two years ago, Martin’s health issues required a hospital stay. After returning to Atria, he was weak and needed extra support. Staff escorted him to meals and checked on him several times throughout the night.

“Just knowing that attention was there lifted a big weight off our shoulders,” said Holly.

Regular communication also puts her mind at ease.

“That’s huge,” she said. “You want to know what’s going on and they keep us updated by email and phone.

“It’s clear to see they really care about residents. And I don’t have to worry.”

 

Discover how empowering the right care can be at Atria Senior Living at ExploreAtriaCare.com.


Category: Active Aging, Caregiver Support, Community, Wit & Wisdom

Navigating the holidays as a caregiver in the time of COVID-19


Posted on November 19, 2020 by Admin


This year, the holidays will look different for all of us. If you are one of the more than 60 million caregivers in North America who look after an older adult inside the home, you may be wondering how to celebrate and stay safe.  

Stay connected with others 

Many people experience depression during the holidays due to stress and social isolation. Even before the pandemic, caregiving limited the time and opportunities you have to spend with others. Feelings of isolation may be amplified this year.  

Suggestions 

If this happens, tell yourself it’s okay to be sad. Remind yourself that everyone feels isolated to some degree this year, so you are not alone. Acknowledge your feelings, and then make safe social connections a priority. Call friends and family members often and arrange for online video chats.  

Find an online caregiver support group to connect with people who can relate to your feelings. A good place to start is at Caregiving.comPartnering with another caregiver can help you both navigate the holidays. Agree to talk on the phone, video chat, text or email each other daily. If they live nearby, offer to pick up their groceries the next time you go out, and be sure to ask how they’re doing – from a safe distance, of course.  

Acknowledge stress and release it 

A long holiday to-do list paired with caregiving responsibilities and extra safety measures can bring out your inner Scrooge. You may feel overwhelmed.  

Suggestions 

Consider lowering your holiday expectations and obligations this year. If you’re frustrated, use that emotion as fuel and take action. Call a friend and talk about it. Say your feelings out loud. Taking care of stress in a positive, healthy way begins with acknowledging and expressing it – even laughing about it. You can also blow off steam by going for a brisk walk, a bike ride or singing at the top of your lungs inside your car.  

Celebrate in smaller ways 

Keeping or creating a few special traditions is good for your health and well-being as well as the person you care for, according to Atria's Christy Phillips, PhD in gerontology. Celebrating in smaller ways can help keep the holiday season stress-free. See if a few of the ideas below work for your situation. Most important, choose to do only as much as feels manageable to you. 

Suggestions 

  • Plan a virtual party with family and friends, complete with decorations, holiday music and food.  
  • Mail gifts ahead of time so you can watch recipients open them via video chat.  
  • Email family members the lyrics to favorite holiday songs and schedule a virtual sing-along.  
  • Set aside time to share memories of holidays past.  
  • Create holiday-themed art together.  
  • Write and mail holiday cards.  
  • Play your favorite seasonal music. 
  • Binge watch some holiday movies.  
  • Bake your favorite pies, cookies or other desserts, just because. Package up extras to give as gifts or donations.  
  • Cook a traditional meal together, or have fun coming up with a new dish.  
  • Dust off your most festive, sparkly duds and dress up for holiday photos. Share them with family and friends via email, group texts or social media.  
  • Share what you’re grateful for during a gratitude ceremony.  
  • “Attend” virtual religious services.  

Keep in mind, all traditions were new at one time! 

 ____________________ 

There may come a day when full-time caregiving is no longer the solution for you or the one in your care. If and when you’re ready to consider additional options, Atria is here to answer your questions and provide guidance about our communities and senior living in general.  

 

To see how Atria is creating the safest possible environment for residents and staff, visit AtriaSafeTogether.com. 


Category: Caregiver Support, Wit & Wisdom

Navigating the Highs and Lows of the Holiday Season


Posted on November 9, 2017 by Admin


For caregivers, the approaching holiday season can bring with it a flurry of emotions – not all of them positive. If you are one of the 39 million caregivers in the United States, here are some tips to help you cope with the emotional ups and downs of the season.

Know that you are not alone

As a caregiver of an older person, you may experience a great feeling of loneliness that comes from being isolated from others due to the responsibilities of caregiving. It can seem as if no one understands your role as a caregiver and you are alone in the role with all of the daily responsibilities. It is very “real” to feel alone, especially around Christmas. Know that this feeling is valid. It helps to reach out to someone who is in a similar situation. They are likely to be feeling lonely, too. Talk on the phone, text or email each other daily. Make a pact to shore each other up through the holiday season. Be sure to connect with someone other than the person for whom you are caring.

Acknowledge anger – and let it go

Long lines at the mall, no parking spaces and too many items on the to-do list can bring out anyone’s inner Scrooge. Hey, we all can get angry during the holidays, right? Bah humbug! As a caregiver, your anger may be related to grief and loss. Your roles have changed, your responsibilities have grown when they were supposed to diminish and your burden is heavier. In the meantime, the whole world around you seems merry. If you feel anger, use it as fuel to take action. Call a friend and talk about it. Say it out loud, “I am angry right now because I cannot decorate this house. I don’t have time.” Identifying the feeling and taking control of the situation can help curb the anger. I know a woman who cleans closets and drawers to help blow off steam. Some folks go for long walks or bike rides. Take care of the anger in a positive and healthy way, starting with acknowledging it and getting it out.

Seek out social interaction

One in four people may experience depression during the holiday season. The top factor contributing to this is social isolation. Because of the demands of caregiving, you undoubtedly experience a heightened degree of social isolation. Caregivers often report that their circle of friends has shrunk to one or two. Adult children are too busy to visit or travel home. Social and spiritual outlets are hard to access due to the demands of caregiving. Give yourself permission to be sad while making it a priority to find ways to have social interaction. Call a friend or family member and ask them to visit. If you are invited to dinner or an event and are able to attend, then go. Many caregivers fall into the trap of declining invitations to the point of not being invited in the future. You will be giving yourself and the person in your care a gift by finding social outlets to help you stay mentally healthy.

Embrace new traditions

With caregiving come many changes. If you are an older adult caregiver, the additional changes in life roles, traditions and abilities may add to feelings of grief and loss. Acknowledge those feelings while looking for opportunities to change your roles and establish new traditions. If you feel up to baking all the pies like every Thanksgiving before, don’t let anyone take away that joy. I know of one family who realized how overwhelming big crowds of boisterous children had become for their aging parents. So, they divided up the visits over the course of a week and actually had more quality time together. Give yourself permission to create new traditions. Remember, all traditions were new at one time or another!

As a caregiver, there may come a time when full-time caregiving is no longer the solution for you or the one in your care. Give yourself permission to consider additional options for care.


Category: Caregiver Support Tags: , ,

Stay Happy and Healthy This Winter with These 6 Tips


Posted on October 31, 2017 by Admin


During the colder months, many seniors experience the winter blues. Chilly temperatures, fewer sunny hours and days stuck indoors can cause serious seasonal malaise. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD — depression increased by lack of sunlight during the winter months — affects approximately 10 million Americans each year, with another 10 to 20 percent reporting milder SAD symptoms. (more…)


Category: Caregiver Support Tags: , ,

4 Tips to Avoid the Flu – Atria Senior Living Blog

4 Tips to Avoid the Flu


Posted on October 10, 2017 by Admin


Experts typically look to the southern hemisphere’s flu season to predict what might happen in the U.S., and this year looks to be challenging.

“Australia’s flu season has always been a good indicator of our flu season, and unfortunately it looks as if the flu season for 2018 will be a tough one for us based upon what we’ve seen there this year,” says Mike Gentry, Senior Vice President, Care and Life Guidance. (more…)


Category: Caregiver Support, From the Leaders Tags: , , ,

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