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Category Archives: Adult Day Care

Happy New Year: The COVID Vaccine’s Come to Skylark!

Posted by Ned Morgens on January 18, 2021 - Adult Day Care

Welcome to 2021.  Finally, we have great news.

The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Georgia!  In mid-December the first Skylark Associates received their first dose of the vaccine as health care workers with no side effects beyond a sore shoulder at the vaccine site. 

The good news continues: Governor Kemp has expanded the first round of eligibility for the vaccine to all those 65 and older and their caregivers (Ga. governor announces expansion of COVID vaccine distribution | 11alive.com).  The information is a bit confusing because Georgia guidance for vaccination differs from CDC guidance.  All individuals over the age of 65 are now in the 1a group for vaccination.

While the administration of the vaccine has been slower than we would like, vaccination rates are increasing.  You can see the progress Georgia is making at COVID Vaccine | Georgia Department of Public Health

The increasing vaccination rate is great news for Skylark as we are working with our county public health departments to accelerate vaccination for our Members, their caregivers, and our Associates.  In Cobb we are working with the Cobb-Douglas Public Health Department to provide vaccination to our Members and our Associates in the Cobb center.  This will be for active members and associates only.  We expect the vaccinations to occur in the next week or two.  Expect a call from Skylark to arrange for the completion of all required documentation for vaccination. 

In Forsyth, we are currently scheduling vaccinations for our associates.  We will be working with Forsyth to include vaccination for our Members as we’re able. 

Keep an eye open for vaccination news.  Our contacts inform us that they are in the process of setting up drive through vaccination clinics.  Some of these have already been set up for health care personnel.  They tell us more will be coming. 

If you have the opportunity to get the vaccine, get it as soon as possible.  Based on feedback from some families who have gotten their first vaccine already, scheduling opens up early Saturday morning for the following week (this tip is likely to change as the vaccination process is quickly improving).  

You should be able to find additional vaccine information as well as scheduling tools on the local public health web sites.  For those working or residing in:

My Publix pharmacist thought they would be getting the vaccine. She also suggested contacting my primary care physician.  I have family and friends who have searched Google to get an appointment.

In most of these cases, appointments are available as the vaccine becomes available.  Pfizer and Moderna continue to ship vaccine, so you may need to keep checking the sites for appointment availability.

Since the Departments of Public Health have been willing to work with us with the vaccination process, we are hopeful that we’ll be able to get all our Members and Associates fully vaccinated by the end of March.

  • I’m working with Fran on enrolling in the Center and Home Care?  Can my loved one receive the vaccine through Skylark? 
  • I’ve been on hold since the pandemic closed the center in March 2020.  Can my loved one receive the vaccine through Skylark?

You’ll likely need to be an active Member of a center. So far, the health departments have only been willing to work with actively enrolled Members in the Cobb center.  Please keep in touch with Fran (fweigard@skylarkseniorcare.com), Carolanne (cwright@skylarkseniorcare.com), or Joseph (jbendor@skylarkseniorcare.com).   All active, prospective, and on hold members over the age of 65 and their caregivers are absolutely eligible for the vaccine.  

Definitely let us know if your interested (and perhaps ready to start or restart back at the center).  We’ll keep working and advocating for the vaccinations with the correct departments.  Generally, the departments are looking for opportunities to provide vaccinations, and they don’t provide much notice when the opportunity arises.

What about the current surge?

The numbers remain high; although, much of the current surge appears to be in younger individuals.  Families seem to be doing a pretty good job of protecting their older family members. 

As the vaccines are administered, fewer older adults, who have experienced the most severe effects of the coronavirus, should experience the coronavirus.  There should be quick, dramatic decline in coronavirus cases in that age group specifically and especially in hospitalizations.  It appears some of the new therapeutics such as the monoclonal antibodies from Regeneron and Eli Lilly have now being distributed widely enough to reduce the need for hospitalization.

These predictions depend on vaccine and therapeutics distribution and administration increasing dramatically.  There has been a lot of attention brought to this issue; it’s hard to imagine that vaccine administration won’t scale up rapidly in the coming days and weeks.

What does this mean for our family?

Now that all older adults over the age of 65 and their caregivers are authorized to receive the vaccine, it’s likely that Members who desire to return to the center and still qualify will be able to do so in the next few months. 

We’ll help identify vaccination opportunities to make this happen.  We’ll also start reaching out to begin reassessments and understanding family plans.

What should you expect from Skylark? 

We continue to be your premier Home Care and Adult Day provider and your safety and health are our top priority.  Since reopening in September, we’ve started many new members and welcomed back existing members to the centers.  The Seniors are very happy to return, and we’re seeing great results.  In some cases, we’ve seen the physical and cognitive decline of the pandemic reversed with increased social engagement, exercise, and nursing care.  Our Johns Creek center is now fully open, and the Cobb center is open additional days.

We expect great changes coming quickly in the coming months.   We’ll work hard to continue earning your confidence in us.

  1. Our Associates are being vaccinated as quickly as we can schedule them. We will require vaccination to the extent that we’re legally allowed to.
  2. We’re learning about the vaccination process for our members. We’ll share this information as we get it.  We’re going to want to see as many members vaccinated as possible in order to keep our centers safe.
  3. We promise to stay in close contact over the coming weeks and months. We know you have concerns and questions about different programs including vaccinations, testing, Medicaid, and the Veterans Administration. 

We’re going to add one more step to our safety and infection control protocols:

  1. Vaccinations: work with Members and Associates to get everyone vaccinated quickly.
  2. Keep the coronavirus out: For home care and adult day center, we work to avoid the virus by checking temperatures, utilizing screening questions, using appropriate PPE, and limiting visitors.
  3. Masks and Social Distancing: Whether in the home or in the center, we’ll continue using masks and implementing social distancing. Our members and associates have been doing a great job keeping the masks.
  4. Synexis Bio-Defense System: This system helps to automate our cleaning program and attacks surfaces and air. We think this will form a key part of our infection control program even after the coronavirus pandemic.

We’re looking forward to seeing you back in the center.  2021 is going to be a great year.

Juggling Caregiving Risks: Seniors Needs Versus COVID-19

Posted by Ned Morgens on November 02, 2020 - Adult Day Care

In our household, we often ask: is it safe to do this?

For my family, we’re careful as I work with seniors. In our family, it’s a team effort.  We wear masks, we keep distant from others, and we avoid crowds.  We wash our hands. 

Right now, we’re debating joining a basketball league for our kids, but it’s hard to imagine how the league can maintain social distancing in a gym with kids and parents present.  If the league were outdoors, it would be an easier decision.  

Yet, staying locked up doesn’t work for us either.   Our boys hit the wall with complete social isolation many months ago.  It’s all about weighing the risks of coronavirus and meeting the social, health, and spiritual needs of our family. 

Juggle the Risks

We’re all struggling with the balance.  It’s especially true if you’re caring for a senior loved one.  For family caregivers, we still have responsibilities.  We are returning to the office.  We’re struggling with the isolation from friends. 

For our loved one, we work hard to avoid exposure to the virus.  It’s important.  Yet, despite remaining free from a coronavirus infection, our loved one is feeling the pressures of isolation.  At Skylark we’ve witnessed the decline resulting from the isolation in our seniors, and we hear the stories of steady decline in physical and cognitive health throughout the pandemic. 

Take a moment to Google “health risks of delayed care due to covid”  The CDC has a really long article on this concerning the issue of delayed care. 

As we maintain communication with other health care professionals we hear stories about sicker individuals in hospitals, cancer diagnoses missed, and decreased cognitive abilities in those individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

What about Adult Day? 

We hear the question regularly: can we start or return to adult day?  It doesn’t take much to know that the increased activity and cognitive stimulation will be a great experience.  Yet, what we read online is worrisome. 

Perhaps, you’ve received advice to wait a bit before returning.  It’s easy to recommend isolation as it protects against the virus.  The isolation and decreased engagement are also problematic.

We understand.  Let me share with you how we are mitigating the risks so that our Adult Day Members stay healthy.

Improved Infection Control:

First, we are improving our infection control procedures. We recently installed the Synexis BioDefense System.  We invite you to check out their website.  Synexis utilizes ambient humidity and oxygen naturally present in the environment to produce dry hydrogen peroxide gas.  The gas fights viruses, bacteria, mold, fungi, yeasts, odors, and insects.  Because it is a gas, it fights viruses in the air and on surfaces.  Infection control has always been a priority at Skylark, but this will make it easier to fight possible infections in the Centers.

Synexis has a couple of advantages over its competitors that we were impressed with.  First, this is an automated program.  It is not reliant on staff completing their jobs perfectly every single time.  With this solution, we will fight possible infectious agents continuously and everywhere in the center.   As a gas, we feel there is an increased opportunity to attack viral agents while airborne before the virus can spread.

Universal Masks Usage:

Did you hear the NPR story about flying and masks?  NPR asks if it is safe to fly.  The evidence says yes: if everyone is using a mask.  The evidence is compelling from whatever the source: if everyone is masked, the risk of spread is significantly minimized.  

We continue to social distance throughout the day.  We have tons of room so it is not difficult.  We screen everyone as they come into the center.  But, I’m convinced the most important is universal mask use. 

BrainBloom:

The best evidence we have for cognitive health includes social engagement, exercising, learning new things, and having new experiences. Our BrainBloom programming is designed to do this. 

Our days are filled with greeting new and old friends, exercise, and learning about new things.  At the end of the day, our seniors go home safe, but with a smile and uplifted spirits.

Balance the Risks

Our seniors have experiences that are not easily replicated outside of the center.  This is not an easy decision.  We regularly engage with families who are returning and who are new to Skylark.  We’ve enjoyed seeing old friends, and we’re excited to meet new friends.  

We’ve gotten pretty good at helping families balance the risks amidst the current situation.

Reopening Exercises

Skylark Day Centers Reopened!

Posted by Ned Morgens on September 22, 2020 - Adult Day Care

Reopening ExercisesFriends of Skylark:

The Skylark Day Centers have REOPENED!
 
It’s all about Masks, Social Distancing, and Screening.  It’s all about Fun, Engagement, and Health.
 
We’ve had a tremendous reopening.  Like many adult day centers across the nation, we started with a soft opening and had a small group at each center. Each week, we’ve welcomed more returning members to the center.  Throughout the pandemic, new families have been calling us and seeking us out. Our new members have quickly become new friends. 
 
We’re adding additional days in October.  Keep an eye open for future announcements.

What does the day look like?

We start each day with a screening.  And a greeting.  We ask questions of our Members and their families.  It’s the new normal that we’ve all become accustomed to: warm greetings with a mask. 
 
The Day begins with breakfast and conversation.  We move to exercise and exploring positive current and historical events.  We’ve been going on nature walks and completing fun, challenging activities.
 
We’re glad to report that our Members have figured out how to keep their masks on.  We were worried about this, but they have adjusted nicely. 
 
 
Behind the scenes, we’re busy keeping the centers clean, washing hands, and sanitizing as often as we can.   
 
Enjoy this quick video.  We’re aiming to replicate the feel of it, but with masks and social distancing:
 

The Challenge for Care Partners

At Skylark, we like to think of ourselves as partners with our Members and their loved ones as they navigate this season of life. 
 
Fran Weigard, our director of New Member Services, heard a physician say that he and his colleagues were noticing about 12 months of normal decline in their Alzheimer’s and other dementia patients during the first 3 months of the pandemic.  It’s certainly what we’ve been hearing.  
 
We’ve heard about significant declines which are requiring a nursing home placement or significantly more ongoing nursing care.  We’ve heard about families enjoying more togetherness, but that their loved ones need more social and physical engagement.

Home Care

We hope all our families will try out Skylark Home Care.  We’ve had great success bringing in new families and serving current members in a new way.  
 
It’s exciting to see Skylark Home Care grow.  We think it will help us become even better at achieving our mission: Inspiring Freedom, Hope, and Joy in our Elders and Those Who Love Them.
 
If you’re interested please contact Fran Weigard on her cell 404-617-5851, by email at fweigard@skylarkseniorcare.com, or the main number 404-410-1510.

Safety:

As we have talked with our members and families, safety is top of mind. We want to keep our members healthy, safe, and strong. COVID-19 is a difficult challenge. Please know we have been working steadily on this. We have learned more about how to meet these challenging times by considering recommendations from the CDC, the Georgia Department of Health, Governor Kemp’s executive orders, our attorney, and our insurance companies. There’s a lot of information and almost none of it directly discusses adult day. While we will continue to improve our efforts, let me share some current thoughts:
 
  • Testing: We will ask Members to test prior to returning to the center. Both CDC and the Georgia Department of Public Health emphasize using a symptom- and time-based strategies for return after sickness and in a return to work. CDC has identified several issues with relying too much on negative test results for return to work situations.
  • Screen all Members and Associates: This will include taking temperatures and asking questions about symptoms daily. Those not meeting the standards of the screening will need to stay home. We will recommend that the individual see their physician to determine next steps. We know that a fever may indicate COVID-19 or a sinus infection or something else. We will follow the physician’s directions for the resumption of service to include possible self-quarantine.
  • Personal Protective Equipment: All Members and Associates will wear masks at the center. Our Associates will wear a mask in the home. Different levels of PPE will be required depending on care provided and the proximity of the Member and Associate.
  • Social Distancing: We expect to run our programs while respecting social distancing needs. We will manage our daily programs differently to allow for distancing.
  • Sanitizing/Disinfecting: Before closing we began sanitizing the centers on a regular basis. We have been working hard to improve our infection control policies. We are confident that we can keep the centers clean and safe for our members.
  • Visitors: Visiting will be severely limited beyond the front reception areas.
 

Letter to Our Friends of Skylark: COVID-19 Next Steps

Posted by Ned Morgens on May 20, 2020 - Adult Day Care

Friends of Skylark:

I’m writing to share some thoughts concerning Skylark as we approach the 60-day mark of our temporary closing of our adult day centers and the continued shelter-in-place orders for seniors and the medically fragile.

The news stories continue apace. In Georgia, Governor Kemp is determined to reopen society and begin the process of heading back to a new normal. Other states not so much. In Wisconsin, the state Supreme Court struck down the “Safer at Home” program including shelter in place orders. As society reopens, there are not as many facemasks as I would have thought or as much social distancing as we need.

I digress. Here’s what we’re thinking at Skylark:

Reopening (Tentative):

Our current plans are to reopen in the latter half of June when the current shelter in place order for those 65 and older is set to expire. This is a fluid plan though. As I’ve talked to individuals knowledgeable about Georgia public policy plans, the predictions range from of course the order will be lifted, to probably not, to maybe in September, or my favorite: “I’m not sure the Governor knows yet.”

Expanded Services: Home Care

We understand the need for elder care doesn’t disappear because of a pandemic. We have served our members with home care for many years even though we’ve always been better known for our adult day centers. In response to the current requirements to shelter in place and our current situation, we have decided to expand our home care services using the same associates that normally work in our centers.

Give us a shot! Much like restaurants moving to take out options, home care is an opportunity to earn the revenue to keep us healthy and to keep the caregiving staff you know and trust employed for the long-term. We are all excited about this opportunity. We think it will help us become even better at achieving our mission: Inspiring Freedom, Hope, and Joy in our Elders and Those Who Love Them.

If you’re interested please contact Fran Weigard on her cell 404-617-5851, by email at fweigard@skylarkseniorcare.com, or the main number 404-410-1510.

Safety:

As we have talked with our members and families, safety is top of mind. We want to keep our members healthy, safe, and strong. COVID-19 is a difficult challenge. Please know we have been working steadily on this. We have learned more about how to meet these challenging times by considering recommendations from the CDC, the Georgia Department of Health, Governor Kemp’s executive orders, our attorney, and our insurance companies. There’s a lot of information and almost none of it directly discusses adult day. While we will continue to improve our efforts, let me share some current thoughts:

  1. Screen all Members and Associates: This will include taking temperatures and asking questions about symptoms daily. Those not meeting the standards of the screening will need to stay home. We will recommend that the individual see their physician to determine next steps. We know that a fever may indicate COVID-19 or a sinus infection or something else. We will follow the physician’s directions for the resumption of service to include possible self-quarantine.
  2. Personal Protective Equipment: All Members and Associates will wear masks at the center. Our Associates will wear a mask in the home. Different levels of PPE will be required depending on care provided and the proximity of the Member and Associate.
  3. Social Distancing: We expect to run our programs while respecting social distancing needs. We will manage our daily programs differently to allow for distancing.
  4. Sanitizing/Disinfecting: Before closing we began sanitizing the centers on a regular basis. We are considering a range options to improve our infection control policies. We are confident that we can keep the centers safe for our members.

We look forward to seeing you soon at the center or with home care.

Ned Morgens, CEO

Skylark Senior Care

Options for Adult Day Programs and In-Home Care

Understanding the Options for Adult Day Programs and In-Home Care

Posted by Ned Morgens on May 19, 2020 - Adult Day Care

Options for Adult Day Programs and In-Home Care

Age can leave anyone in need of a little help.

It could be Alzheimer’s, dementia, or any number of other debilitating conditions which cause a challenge. Whether a loved one needs help standing up from a chair, bathing after a long day, or making sure they get enough to eat, care is available.

The main question many have is whether the care will come to their loved one or whether the loved one should be taken to it instead.

Home care for a spouse, parent, or any other family member is something which requires careful consideration. The same can be said of an adult day care center. Here are some key differences between the two options, and how each can help an aging loved one.

What is an Adult Day Care Center? What Does it Offer?

We all care for our loved ones. You may be perfectly willing to help them out no matter how much assistance they need. But people have to work to pay the bills and may have plenty of other obligations which demand a portion of their time. This makes it wise to consider an option like day care for seniors.

A person who is left at home without someone to care for them may get hurt or become depressed due to loneliness.

Senior day care facilities are the type of location a person can take their loved one to in order to ensure they’re cared for. These facilities offer everything from health and wellness services to counseling to fun classes with opportunities to socialize.

Adult programs provide you with a safe place to drop an elderly loved one off while they’re away. Senior helpers and specialists who understand their needs can make the experience a pleasant one, making it more of a joy than a chore for your loved one.

Costs for adult day care services can vary depending on what they offer. Obviously, a facility which offers advanced medical care will be costlier than one focused mostly around social activities. But what if your loved one doesn’t want to go to a facility – what if they feel more comfortable at home?

Home Care Assistance: In-Home Services Can Be More Relaxing

For some elderly people, being taken to a special facility for care can make them uncomfortable. They may be agitated by the change in environment, or they may simply feel more relaxed in an environment they know well.

What’s the balance between letting your loved one stay home and making sure they’re ok while there? Using in-home care options can help you make sure your loved one gets the care they need even when you’re not at the house to help them.

Home care agencies offer specialists who perform a variety of functions. They can help feed, bathe, and administer medicine to the individual as needed. They can also help them get around, ensure they don’t hurt themselves accidentally, and can even help engage them in activities to help stimulate the mind.

This type of care is usually preferred by those who have more complex needs and thus require more intensive care. There are various options for this type of care, such as 24/7 availability, care with included medical therapy, and more.

The price of a home care specialist will vary depending on how long you need them and what exactly they’re asked to do.

Which Option is Right for Your Loved One?

We all want the best for our loved ones, and we refuse to stand by while conditions like Alzheimer’s make their life hard.

So, which is the best option for making sure the person is taken care of – adult day care or in-home care?

It all depends on the needs of the individual and what their preferences are.

If you are looking for what is the right type of care for your loved one – whether at a specialized facility or from a trained professional who makes house calls, don’t hesitate to hesitate to contact us. We are here to help!

Medicare Enhancements Allow for Adult Day Care and Home Care

New Medicare Enhancements Allow for Adult Day Care and Home Care

Posted by Ned Morgens on May 03, 2020 - Adult Day Care

Medicare Enhancements Allow for Adult Day Care and Home Care

It’s open enrollment time for Medicare for coverage in 2020. An exciting change to Medicare Advantage program is the addition of supplemental benefits that include services such as Adult Day and Home Care.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has recently announced their new Medicare Advantage plans. They have one plan in Georgia that includes these supplemental benefits. For plan year 2020, we have identified one plan in Georgia that covers Adult Day and there are a handful from a variety of insurance providers that cover Home care.

Check out the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Anthem MediBlue Plus (HMO). It’s the only plan we’ve found that covers adult day in Georgia.

What are these enhancements and what do they mean for you?

Read on to find out how the new Medicare improvements can help you provide your loved ones with even better care at home.

Medicare Enhancements You Can Expect from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Here are a few of the enhancements you might be eligible to receive from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Personal Home Helper

To stay safe, happy, and healthy at home, seniors often need some assistance.

Having a professional senior home care aide with them throughout the week will help you or your loved one stay in a preferred, comfortable location.

Personal home helpers can help with daily activities including home-based around daily living and up to 124 hours of an in-home health aide for respite care.

Also, you can’t deny the benefits of having a companion to chat with regularly!

Visits to Adult Day Care Centers

Visiting an adult day care center is extremely beneficial to seniors, as well as to families.

Such services benefit seniors by making sure you’re safe and supervised, all while providing access to caring professionals. Plus, there’s nothing like getting out of the house and spending time with your peers to keep you happy and healthy.

Senior caregivers appreciate these services because you or your loved one is getting proper care and supervision during those times when you’re unable to care for them personally.

The recent Medicare enhancements allow for one visit to a center per week.

Healthy Food Delivery Services

If you have certain health conditions or have been hospitalized, Medicare will cover meal delivery services. Healthy meals will ensure better health and a speedier recovery.

Eligibility depends on certain “health events,” including:

  • Hospitalization
  • High BMI
  • High A1C levels

Medicare recipients are eligible for 16 delivered meals per event, with a maximum of four events per year being covered (which equals a maximum of 64 meals per year).

Alternative Medical Services

The new Medicare enhancements include 24 acupuncture or therapeutic massage appointments. Both treatments can help with:

  • Sore, tight muscles
  • Stress
  • Arthritis
  • Low energy
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Nausea from chemotherapy treatments
  • Headaches and migraines.

Transportation

A lot of seniors can’t drive due to certain health conditions. Getting rides to and from an adult day care center or to run errands isn’t always easy since most family members are busy working full-time.

One of the Medicare enhancements available through Blue Cross/Blue Shield is transportation. You might be eligible for 60 one-way trips to medical appointments or to an adult day care facility with this new enhancement.

Access to Safety Devices

Most seniors want to “age in place,” that is, you want to stay at home for as long as possible during their senior years.

One way insurance companies are helping seniors make this happen is by providing access to certain safety devices.

Seniors are allowed up to $500 to pay for things like:

  • Shower stools
  • ADA toilet seats
  • Reaching devices
  • Temporary wheelchair ramps
  • Hand-held showerheads.

Having these devices will keep you or your senior loved one safe while allowing a sense of independence.

Do You Need Help Figuring Out Your Benefits?

Trying to figure out the benefits that you or a loved one has isn’t always easy.

Thankfully, the Skylark Senior Care team can help. The team can talk you through the variety of financing options available through Skylark for home care services. They are well-versed in what’s going on with Medicare and can help you understand more about your plan. Affordable Senior Care Financial Options | Call Us (404) 410-1510

Of course, they won’t have answers to all your questions. Some questions should go to your insurance agent, especially regarding certain details about your plan.

However, the Skylark team will do all they can to help you choose the best services for your needs while ensuring you utilize your benefits as fully as possible. After all, why not use the benefits if you have them, right?

Senior Housing Market

Boomers Want to Age in Place: How Will This Affect Senior Housing?

Posted by Ned Morgens on April 21, 2020 - Adult Day Care

Senior Housing Market

It isn’t uncommon for aging seniors to need extra care.

In many cases, it means seniors must move out of their homes and into a care facility.

Things are changing, though. While a care facility seemed like the fate of seniors of the WWII era, Baby Boomers are doing all they can to age in place. In other words, they want to stay at home.

Thankfully, tech companies and healthcare innovations are making this possible for Boomers. Unfortunately for real estate investors, seniors staying at home means a loss in profits.

Real Estate Investors and Builders Might’ve Made a Pricey Gamble

Real estate investors and builders do their job based on future projections. In order to make those projections, they look at the current trends and anticipate whether the trends will continue or not.

For years, investors and builders have been putting money into new senior housing projects. It made sense since so many seniors were leaving their homes and moving into these types of facilities. Money has continued to be invested in these projects as investors figured more facilities would be necessary as Boomers age.

Anticipating Boomers would follow in the footsteps of the Depression and WWII era seniors is a huge gamble – one that might not pay off.

There are nearly 79 million Baby Boomers. If they decided to move into senior care facilities, real estate investors and builders would make a mint. However, due to technological innovations and modern healthcare, more seniors can stay at home longer – some are able to stay indefinitely.

Are You Interested in Aging in Place? Tips, Tools, and Technology Which Can Help

Are you interested in ensuring you or an aging loved one are able to stay at home for as long as possible?

Here are a few tools which can help make this happen.

AI Innovations, Like Alexa, Google, and Siri

You’re probably aware of how helpful Siri can be when you need to make a shopping list or have a random question you’d like answered. But this technology can do so much more.

Siri, Alexa, and Google can help seniors who have reduced mobility – including those in wheelchairs – accomplish things around the house. Instead of having to rely on someone to turn on the lights or lower the thermostat, seniors can take care of this themselves. These tech tools can also remind seniors to take their medications or call a loved one or doctor for help.

Other Innovations Help Reduce Senior Loneliness

Loneliness can be dangerous to seniors. Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to keep in touch with loved ones – even with everyone’s busy schedules.

Google Home, Amazon Echo, and HomePod allow seniors to digitally connect with friends and family whenever they want.

In-Home Care

Sometimes, seniors need some practical help at home. Home care aides are a great resource for seniors. They can take seniors on errands, help with chores around the house, and provide some much-needed human contact on a daily basis.

Senior Adult Day Centers

Adult day care facilities give seniors the opportunity to interact on a regular basis with people of all ages, including their peers and the senior day care staff and volunteers.

Regular attendance can help to significantly reduce feelings of loneliness.

Will aging in place be in your future?

Most seniors would rather stay in their own homes than move to an assisted living facility. Will aging in place be in your future?

We all want to retain our independence for as long as possible. It doesn’t matter what age we are.

With modern technology and the right assistance – like home care and adult day services – aging in place is becoming a more and more attainable future.

Social Distancing with COVID-19: Caring and Thriving in a Time of Uncertainty

Posted by Ned Morgens on April 02, 2020 - Adult Day Care

Ice Cream Sundays at Skylark!

Are you going crazy yet?   Are you sick of Zoom? Or do you question if you ever have to go back to the office again now that you’ve figured out how to do everything remotely.  Has your home gotten really small?  Desperate for a handshake or a hug from close friends and family?  The coronavirus has upended everything.

If you’re like me, the answer is “all of the above.”  We check in with parents often.  When we visit, they hang out on the front porch with my wife, kids, and me on the driveway.  We’ve become elementary school teachers.  My wife is teaching high school kids all day on Zoom.  I’m running a business. But, there are also daily bike rides for “PE” and lots of cuddling on the couch with movies.  Chaos and family time.  We’ve had wailing and laughing.  We also decided to get a dog.  It started as “let’s get a small, house broken girl dog.”  At the pound, we found a two-month-old boy black lab / pit bull mix.  It’s crazy.  It’s our life now.

What’s your life like?  Is there chaos?  Is there wonderful family time?  A yearning for more contact?  Some frustration with the challenges that accompany a dementia diagnosis?  Or needing some more ideas for the day than just Netflix. If you’re caring for a loved one, it’s bound to be “all of the above.”   If so, you’re not alone. Mary Caldwell, Helpline and Early Stage Program Manager for the Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org/georgia), reports being busier than ever developing virtual programming and training to staff and volunteers in response to the needs of families caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. 

In this time of the coronavirus, we want to present some positive ideas during this time:

  1. Relationships: This is the core of the matter. There will be a lot of together time.  Or a lot of worrying about a loved one from a far.  Either way, the requirements needed for caregiving can be stressful. If experiencing social distancing up close, figure out ways to keep the relationship from getting too stressful.  Perhaps connect with other friends and family using Facetime, Zoom, or even an old fashion phone call.
  2. Structure: Mary Caldwell recommends having a plan for each day, creating a schedule, and maintaining existing routines. It will be easy to sleep late and watch a lot of TV and hang out on the couch all day.  Develop the structure that will help everyone stay active and engaged.  Try to maintain sleep during the night and not letting the night become day.
  3. Activities: Try out some good activities.  Ask your loved one what they enjoy.  Try something new.  Work them into the schedule, but with flexibility.  If something doesn’t work, no big deal.  Try something else.  Find time for some exercise with a good walk or some dancing.  Try cognitive challenge games.  Bring art into the home.  You might not be a great artist, but there are resources for you like adult coloring books or craft projects.  
  4. Take care of yourself: Find time for renewal.  It’s hard when everyone is in the same house.  But try to find some quiet time or space for a movie or a special treat.  Build it into the schedule.  When you’re ready to have someone come into the home, give us a call about home care.  This is an affordable way to create time for yourself. 

We have at least another month until life starts to get back to normal.  There will be time for laughter and tears. 

Let’s stay in touch.  We’re going to send out some more ideas each week for you to try in the home.  We’ll try to reach you by phone, and we’ll look at ways to develop some virtual programming. 

Here are some great resources to try:

Alzheimer’s Association (https://www.alz.org/help-support):  Full of information about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.  They have excellent caregiver support services and resources along with ideas for daily care. 

TimeSlips (www.timeslips.org): This site has some ideas for engagement with your loved one using the arts, music, and storytelling.  They are sending out their newsletter weekly with some great engaging ideas while we are socially distancing because of Covid-19.

Here are some ideas from Kathleen Mannelley, our program coordinator at our Buckhead center.

senior home care

When is it Time for Senior Home Care or Adult Day Care?

Posted by Ned Morgens on March 17, 2020 - Adult Day Care

senior home care

Senior Citizens are usually considered older adults past the age of 65. Most are retired. There may come a time in your senior loved one’s life when it becomes important for them to get home care or adult day care as living becomes more difficult.

Whether this is due to increasing isolation, inability to keep up their existing property, or physical or mental limitations this transition can be a drastic one for a senior citizen. See our tips for helping your senior loved one make the most of these two options.

Why Home Care or Adult Day Care?

Most reasons are for senior care, assisted healthcare, and to cater for emergencies among other reasons. As they age, many people simply can not care for themselves appropriately anymore. Limitations resulting from physical or cognitive causes and mobility restrictions can require more care.

Aging people are much more susceptible to serious injury after a fall and many live alone. In addition, when seniors become forgetful, it’s dangerous to their health as they may forget when they bought food, putting them at risk of food borne illnesses.

In an adult day care center, a member will come across people with different experiences, which allow them to be social and makes room for daily interpersonal interaction.  Some seniors visit adult day care centers seeking joy and company that their adult children cannot provide due to other responsibilities. Adult day provides fellowship among its members as strangers become friends and share memories or just enjoy each others company.

Adult day care centers allow seniors to engage in physical exercises, dancing, and exchange riddles through their programs aimed at promoting the whole person (i.e. creating joy mentally, physically, and emotionally). When the time comes home care can also be provided to keep them in familiar surroundings at home.

When to Use Home Care or Adult Day Care?

It can be stressful for a senior to imagine leaving the home they have lived in for so long. However, if you notice your aging parent is becoming burdened with any of the below situations, it may be time to consider home care or adult day care.

  1. Unmanageable house or property upkeep. This presses for home care because seniors can begin to feel depressed or hurt themselves trying to accomplish tasks they could once easily accomplish.
  2. Vacant rooms in the house. This makes for extra cleaning and can cause feelings of loneliness in a senior.
  3. After a hospital stay or rehabilitation center. It will be easier to recover from illness or injury in a scenario where you have help and support.
  4. There are seniors who suffer from ailments such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. It is advisable for these seniors to use home care or adult day care to have professional help in matters such as remembering to take their medications.

Steps To Take

  • When the senior in your life or you have made the decision for home care or adult day care, the most important thing to do is to be empathetic and understanding.
  • After sorting everything out, arrangements should be made for the care itself. Ensure that your parent or whoever the senior in your life has the appropriate amount of help.
  • It’s normal to feel sad when making a transition from being alone to having help for personal care. Encourage the senior in your life to view the care as a positive step. This helps avoid psychological disturbances, such as depression, isolation, sadness, sleeping problems, despair, and confusion.

Hopefully, this advice will translate into an easy and painless transition to home and adult day care for your senior loved one. For more information on home care or adult day care options for seniors please contact Skylark Senior Care.

Senior-Late-Life-Depression

Late-Life Depression: What to Watch for and How to Help

Posted by Ned Morgens on February 24, 2020 - Adult Day Care

Senior-Late-Life-Depression

Seeing someone you love struggle with depression is heartbreaking.

Unfortunately, their depression can have a negative impact on you, too, contributing to your own feelings of depression, loss of energy, and burnout.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help you and your loved one cope.

How to Help Your Loved One Through Their Depression

Late-life depression is common, with over two million seniors struggling with it.

Knowing how to help your loved one requires understanding why they’re depressed. Seniors experience depression because of:

  • Grief due to the death of a spouse
  • Loneliness
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Chemical imbalances
  • Disease diagnoses
  • The “side-effects” of diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, and arthritis
  • Side-effects of medications

Once you know the underlying cause, you can take the proper steps.

One option is to talk with their doctor and pharmacist about medication side-effects, as well as drug interactions. They might recommend dosage adjustments or new medications altogether.

If your loved one is feeling lonely, spend time with them more often if you can. Ask friends and family members to visit them regularly. Unfortunately, due to time and distance constraints, visiting in person may be difficult. A simple text, video chat, or phone call every week can do wonders.

Other helpful tips:

  • Nutritional Deficiencies: Talk with a nutritionist and fix nutrient-dense meals
  • Chemical Imbalances: Talk to a doctor about anti-depressants and counseling
  • Grief and Disease Diagnosis: Encourage your loved one to talk to a grief counselor or join a support group

3 Ways You Can Cope with Your Loved One’s Depression

Caretaking is hard work and feelings of depression can compound the emotional impact of your work. In addition to caring for your loved one, you need to take care of yourself, too.

1. Set Emotional Boundaries

As a caregiver, it’s easy to feel guilt over not being able to fix a situation so your loved one doesn’t feel bad physically or emotionally. Guilt is a normal reaction. Just remember that it’s not your job to fix everything or to work yourself to death. Doing so can drain your time and energy, which isn’t good for you or your loved one.

2. Take Care of Yourself, Too

When caring for someone else, it’s easy to let things in your life slide. Everything from spending time with friends and relaxing to getting plenty of sleep, working out, and drinking enough water can fall by the wayside. Check in with yourself often, set aside time to care for your needs, and remember: You can’t take care of anyone if you’re sick, stressed, and burnt out.

3. Ask for Help

Ask someone to sit with your loved one for a couple of hours while you do something nice for yourself. Ask other family members to share the load of caregiving – physically, emotionally, and financially.

How Home Care and Adult Day Can Help

A contributing factor to late-life depression is loneliness. A senior’s loved ones may be off at work or school the majority of the day, or they could even live out of the area. Their friends might not be able to visit them regularly.

Thankfully, home care and senior adult day care can serve as a remedy for senior loneliness.

When a senior goes to a senior daycare facility, they’re able to converse with their peers, something they desperately need. When a home care aide comes to their home, they have someone to talk with throughout the day. Having such interactions is refreshing and energizing!

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