Posted By: Ashlee
When thinking about care for our loved ones, many of us need information about service options available. Depending on the stage of an illness and the goals and values of the individual, hospice or palliative care may be helpful options to explore.
Hospice cares for patients with a life limiting illness with a focus on quality of life, symptom management, and patient directed care. Hospice care does not seek to cure, to hasten or prolong, but instead offers comfort and support. This type of care is provided where the patient resides and is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and all major insurance carriers. Hospice provides each patient and their family with an interdisciplinary team of individuals specializing in medical, social, spiritual, and emotional care. This includes physicians, nurses, social workers, counselors, pharmacists, CNAs, chaplains, and volunteers, who provide companionship and support with the goal of enhancing quality of life.
To become eligible for Hospice care, the patient’s physician will certify a probable life expectancy of six months or less. After six months, the patient can continue hospice care if they meet appropriate criteria for recertification. One thing to note, no decision is permanent. At any point, a patient may decide hospice is not for them and return to their primary health benefit. Hospice care is holistic and truly focuses on the unique, personal wishes of a patient and their family.
Palliative care is a method of care that surrounds and supports the patient and family. It offers patients and families comfort while supporting the best possible quality of life available- regardless of stage of illness or need for other therapies (such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy). Through optimizing a patient’s function and helping with decision-making, Palliative care provides pain management in relation to changes in health.
Palliative care should be considered when you, or your family member, have:
- Been informed by a physician of a life-limiting illness
- Progressively declining health, despite treatment
- Frequent hospitalizations
- Decreased ability to perform regular activities of daily living
- Patient and family wishing to cease aggressive treatments
The Courtyard collaborates with the many agencies in Northern Colorado that provide both hospice and palliative care to keep our residents in the comfort of their home.
Posted By: Ashlee
Gardens provide many benefits in addition to landscaping beauty. Researchers have found that the accessibility to nature is an important factor in life satisfaction. Gardening or horticulture therapy offers many benefits for people of all ages and skill levels. Benefits include working with nature, physical exercise, alleviating stress and depression, providing social interaction, and using thinking skills and problem solving. Working in the garden can be a great relaxation practice to reduce stress levels and related conditions.
There has been an increased acknowledgement of the restorative value of gardens and plants in care communities for the elderly. Specific benefits for the elderly who work in gardens and with plants include increasing their attention span, elevating their concentration skills, and providing gentle exercise which can increase their strength and muscle tone. Patients with dementia tend to feel safe in an enclosed garden area which lessens their anxiety.
Gardening also brings the community together. The Courtyard of Loveland has partnered with the Loveland Youth Gardeners. The Leaf Out interns visit The Courtyard Gardens all summer working together with our residents tending to our flower and vegetable gardens. Our residents enjoy their youthful energy and in turn the young volunteers learn to treasure our elders. The gardens at the Courtyard of Loveland Care Community offer our residents landscape beauty, the joy of nature, companionship, health benefits, and fresh garden to table food.
Posted By: Ashlee
As the human body ages, it will inevitably lose some level of the functionality and strength that it once had. But losing functionality does not mean that we cannot remain active. A variety of physical impairments will eventually affect all of us. It is important to remember, however, that the challenges of physical aging affect each person in different ways and in varying levels of intensity. In order to select appropriate activities for elderly it is important to be aware of the unique physical and sensory challenges they may have. Learning the specific physical, cognitive, and sensory needs of elderly individuals can help to better determine which activities are most suited for them. Some activities that individuals may enjoy include card games, movies, indoor picnics, sharing stories, board games, listening to music, and puzzles.
Engagement in meaningful activity is an important aspect of human existence, regardless of one’s cognitive abilities. Even in the later stages of dementia, people can still be engaged in activities at a level that allows them to be successful. In fact in these later stages, where cognitive abilities may be waning, the need for activity becomes greater, as cognitive stimulation helps preserve what skills remain intact. It is important not to stigmatize older individuals who are afflicted with mental dysfunction or disease. For older individuals who are affected by the challenges of declining brain function or dementia, simple activities are usually appropriate and appreciated. Sharing conversations, going for walks, or even singing songs can be helpful. Choose activities that allow them to use their cognitive abilities, but are not so complicated as to cause confusion or frustration.
Social isolation becomes a major concern for adults as they age and begin experiencing losses such as the death of spouses, family members, and friends, and loss of independence and social support. Providing these individuals with activities that engage them in their home or out in community, helps prevent such isolation from occurring. It is never too late to make friends and be involved. Whether individuals live at home or in a facility, are disabled, or have declining cognitive function, keeping older adults engaged is important. It allows them to remain active, meet new people, and continue doing the things they’ve always loved to do!
Posted By: Vickie Martina
People with a dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis may tend to wander related to confusion. A wander guard protection system is a device used to protect people when they are at risk for wandering. A wander guard system installed in a building is wired with a rapid response radio frequency that sets off an alarm when residents who are wearing a corresponding bracelet, with a transmitter, attempt to exit the building without an escort. The alarm panel also displays the resident’s exit site which allows staff to immediately locate and redirect the resident back into a safe environment. Residents who are at risk for wandering are required to have a doctor’s order to wear the bracelet. Residents who wear the bracelets are able to leave the facility in the company of family or other escorts using a bypass code that prevents the alarm from sounding.
Roam Alert is the system that the Courtyard uses to protect our residents who are at risk for wandering. This system provides security in the least restricted environment without a locked unit. Keeping our residents safe and secure with wander guard protection is a service we offer as part of the quality resident-centered care that we provide. The Courtyard of Loveland is one of the few assisted living care communities in Northern Colorado that offers a wander guard system.
Posted By: Ashlee
Respite care is a temporary stay at a facility that can provide care for your loved one when a caregiver or family member may not be available due to family emergency, surgery, vacation, etc. When an instance like that arises and additional professional help is needed, the Courtyard can provide that type of pre-planned assistance and care.
We welcome loved ones while the caregiver is away and provide the same home-like environment and round-the-clock care for those who come to stay temporarily as well as permanently. Loved ones who come to the Courtyard are able to stay from anywhere between three days to three weeks as long as they are able to meet basic requirements of Assisted Living Facilities and we can meet their needs. Respite care provides medication administration, personal care assistance, three home-cooked meals, activities, socialization, and nursing consultation.
Respite care allows caregivers and family members peace of mind so that they are able to take time to care for themselves knowing their loved one is in good hand in our Care Community.
Posted By: Vickie Martina
Most of us would agree that there’s no place like home, and the comforts, convenience, and pleasant environment of home can continue when someone decides to move to assisted living accommodations. Helping aging parents find a residential situation that offers this kind of gracious living requires a little research, but it can be done.
Here are some important observations to make and questions to ask yourself and/or staff when you're helping loved ones find assisted living:
- Is the assisted living facility in a safe, residential neighborhood? A secure environment will help preserve seniors’ ability to get out and about, and to stay active through walking exercise. A residential neighborhood offers the kind of community seniors are used to.
- Is the décor homelike, with comfortable furnishings and pleasant common areas? These create a pleasant place for relaxation, and encourage seniors to socialize and establish friendships.
- Are there outdoor areas and landscaping, so that residents can enjoy the outdoors and participate in the changing seasons?
- Do residents have privacy, keys to their own rooms, and the ability to come and go as they wish? These qualities contribute to seniors’ sense of independence and right to make choices for themselves.
- Can residents have guests whenever they wish, and can guests participate in activities such as family game nights?
Naturally, not only are these assisted living characteristics important to seniors, but they offer peace of mind to those who are family caregivers and/or concerned family members.