Senior Care – During the Holidays and Winter Months

When we think of the holidays, our thoughts often turn to the twinkle of Christmas lights and the warmth of a cozy fire. We remember pleasant times with family and friends, great food, cheerful and festive music—all the things the holidays should be filled with. What we may not think of are the people in our midst who feel disconnected from the cheer and the warmth. For the seniors in our community, the holidays can be difficult and lonely. They may have health that make it difficult for them to attend holiday gatherings due to mobility issues, chronic pain, or memory loss.

The daily challenges and limitations that many seniors struggle with are amplified when it seems like everyone else is gathering together during the holiday season to enjoy themselves. At Strictly Business, we believe the holidays should be just as warm and welcoming for seniors today as they were for them 30 years ago. We encourage readers to reach out and give special attention to your elderly family members, neighbors, and even strangers who are living in an assisted living community. Find small ways to include them and make them feel special—give them a Christmas card or a plate of cookies, sing them some carols, or take them on a drive to see Christmas lights.

When you are spending time with your elderly loved ones, make sure to watch for any signs of them requiring additional care or assistance that they may not already be receiving. Some seniors may wish to avoid putting a damper on the holiday spirit by alerting their family of growing health concerns. Other seniors may not even be aware of their own needs. With all this in mind, we decided to talk to some local experts in the senior care industry for more advice.

Mary Ann Stallings
Bridge to Better Living

First, we asked Mary Ann Stallings with Bridge to Better Living about her thoughts on tuning in to the condition of seniors during the holidays and winter months.

“When visiting over the holidays, take time to listen to your loved one,” Mary Ann offered. “Understand their situation but also take notice of slight changes. Are they clean? Do they have difficulty conversing, forget words, ramble, or repeat themselves? Is the home safe, cluttered, poorly lit, or is outdated food in the refrigerator? Is medication being taken properly? If they complain of being lonely, note whether there is available transportation to activities or if your loved one has a way of knowing what activities are being offered around them.”

Mary Ann understands all acts of love and service, even the small things, are essential for our seniors.

“There is power in a hug or a simple touch of the hand. Let your loved one know you care and give them the best present of all—your time,” she said.

Mary Ann believes anyone is able to be involved with the seniors in our community this time of year.

“Bridge to Better Living has always recognized the value of volunteers,” Mary Ann noted. “They save billions of dollars in our country’s economy every year, but more importantly, they enrich the lives of others simply by bringing joy to so many people. There are times when a volunteer is the only contact a senior has with the outside world. During the holidays, there is no better gift than the voice or smile of another person.”

Mary Ann shared with us some of the ways senior living communities use to ensure no senior is alone during the holidays.

“Some communities have rooms the residents may reserve for their own family celebrations and will even cater the food. There may be a guest room at the community for out of town visitors, or the resident may be welcome to invite company to spend a night with them. There is never a reason for an absent family member to worry their loved one is alone.”

The entire staff of Bridge to Better Living stays engaged with their clients during the holidays. They enjoy visiting their clients and pay particular attention to those who have no family or local support. They take the extra steps needed so families and seniors are able to enjoy their holidays rather than worry about the “what ifs” of life. Quality of life is important every day.

Jocelyn Fitzgerald
Legacy Retirement Communities

Jocelyn Fitzgerald with Legacy Retirement Communities had similar thoughts on ensuring that seniors are not alone for the holidays.

“If senior loved ones are in a retirement community, see if you can have the party in one of the available rooms where they live,” she said. “This way, no one needs to worry about organizing transportation for them, and they’ll more likely be more comfortable in their new home than trying to get to and from someone else’s, especially if mobility is an issue. Make your reservations far ahead in advance, though. Those rooms can book up quickly.”

Jocelyn also had a few suggestions for volunteering and community involvement opportunities that can provide memorable connections for seniors: “Many seniors themselves enjoy volunteering as a way to stay active, socialize, and give back to the community. Many residents of Legacy Retirement Communities enjoy helping out at the Food Bank, decorating Tabitha’s bags for Meals on Wheels, and reading to children at Zeman Elementary. If you have a loved one looking for a way to spend their retirement years and find fulfillment in helping others, making a call to their church or a favorite local nonprofit is a great place to start.”

For seniors living in the Legacy community this holiday season, Jocelyn says they can expect to enjoy a variety of activities such as special events and dinners, festive outings, live music after dinner, and more. Jocelyn and the rest of the staff at Legacy love to bring joy and socialization to seniors both in and outside of the Legacy community.

Grace Kats
Graceful In Home Healthcare

Grace Kats RN/BSN with Graceful In-Home Healthcare is another senior care expert who believes the holidays and winter months should be a time of companionship and comfort for seniors.

“Include them in family gatherings to let them know they are an important part of their family,” Grace said. “A unique way to bring the elderly continued happiness is to help them make new friends. You can do this by hosting a get together for your loved one, for example. They can socialize and build relationships, giving them people to reach out to during the holidays.”

Grace also emphasized the importance of watching for signs of deteriorating health in your elderly loved ones: “While spending time with seniors, it’s important to look for signs like changes in mood, confusion, decline of appetite, etc.”

Grace urges loved ones to make sure seniors have the help and assistance they need to live comfortably and safely during the winter months, such as adequate transportation. Graceful In-Home Healthcare has caregivers that can provide safe transportation to and from your gathering, assisting with wheelchairs, walkers, and transferring if needed. A little planning ensures your loved one is able to continue enjoying holiday gatherings and events.

Barb Tyler
The Woodlands at Hillcrest

Barb Tyler with The Woodlands at Hillcrest agrees that keeping a close watch on seniors during this time of year and ensuring their needs are being met is extremely important.

“As relatives visit over the holidays, pay attention to a family member’s environment,” she advised. “They may realize that the personal care of a family member is becoming more important and perhaps urgent as they are unable to run their own errands such as picking up prescriptions and doing grocery shopping. Utilizing home delivery services for seniors who are homebound is great, but then they may not have the same opportunities to socialize and enjoy all of their favorite activities. Perhaps their home is not so safe anymore as there are repairs that need to be made. As we were reminded last winter, even having daily in-home assistance may be up in the air as the snow piles up! A move to The Woodlands will give everyone peace of mind, so families know that their loved one is safe, secure, and happy!”

Barb understands that the winter months present extra challenges for seniors. She told us about ways that seniors can ease these difficulties through the use of The Woodlands’ services.

“Because The Woodlands is a month-to-month rental community, some families are considering moving only for the snowy winter months, with the possibility of moving back home when the weather improves,” Barb said. “However, a move-out rarely happens as these residents have made some good friends, enjoyed chef-prepared daily meals, and been spoiled with all the excellent amenities that are available at the Woodlands.”

Jim Janicki
Hillcrest Health Services

Excellent living options are available for seniors who choose not to remain home alone during the winter. Still, for many seniors, staying in a community can be a trial, especially during the holidays. We spoke with Jim Janicki at Hillcrest Health Services about some of the ways the staff at Hillcrest work to bring comfort and enjoyment to seniors who are away from home during the holidays.

“Most aging adults receiving care in a post-acute rehab center like Hillcrest Firethorn didn’t plan to be there, especially during the holidays,” he said. “Typically, they are recovering from an injury, serious illness, or surgery. We strive to meet our guests’ emotional and psycho-social needs through quality lifestyle programming, especially during a nostalgic time of the year like the holidays. Our recreation team engages our residents so they are entertained and energized about their time with us.”

Amy Fish Lancaster Rehabilitation Center - Headshot

Amy Fish
Lancaster Rehabilitation Center

The kindness of great staff and wonderful accommodations ease the pain of being away from home and bring a little sparkle and cheer! We asked Amy Fish of Lancaster Rehabilitation Center to share with us what events and socials they offer to keep the holidays merry and bright.

“Volunteering to take seniors on a simple Sunday evening drive around town to see the holiday lights is a fun, stress-free activity,” she suggested. “There are also a variety of holiday musical performances and religious offerings to keep seniors active and involved throughout the holidays. At Lancaster Rehabilitation, we have created a calendar packed full of carolers, cookies, and Claus!

Lancaster Rehabilitation invites everyone to join in the making of happy memories with seniors this year.

Amy emphasized the important role that volunteers play in providing joy for seniors during the holidays.

“Volunteers provide companionship and love for seniors throughout the year and especially during the holidays. They are able to be a much-needed friend to many of our residents here at Lancaster Rehabilitation Center,” she said. “Around the holiday season, there are a number of volunteer groups that provide music entertainment and religious services to residents. Volunteers also come in to assist with activities, provide personal visits, and simply share their love. The first step for a prospective volunteer is to contact Lancaster Rehabilitation Center and fill out a volunteer application. A member of our team will work with you to find the best fit for an assignment and get you started on one of the most fulfilling journeys you can ask for.”

Kim Kalhoff with Carriage Glen also spoke to us about the importance of volunteers serving seniors during the holidays.

“Holidays can be tough on seniors,” she admitted. “If family is not close by and is unable to come home for the holidays, this can lend itself to potential isolation. Families can reach out to local churches or senior community groups that can help to ensure their loved one is not alone. Volunteers can help make sure seniors are included and loved. This is so important, as nobody should be alone or isolated during the holiday season.”

The staff at Carriage Glen sees value not only in volunteers helping seniors but also in seniors acting as volunteers themselves to bring a sense of meaning and connection to the season.

“At Carriage Glen, we are helping seniors to gather gifts through a giving tree for kids within the foster care system,” Kim explained. “The combination of young and old is always so rewarding. Our residents are able to get an ornament off of a tree and purchase something for a child in need who might not have anything under the tree. This keeps our seniors engaged and knowing that what they are doing makes a Christmas wish come true for a child.”

Aubrey Paulsen

Aubrey Paulsen, senior living advocate at Tabitha, was able to share some additional insight on the benefits of volunteering for seniors.

“Volunteering is a great way to get out of the house, socialize, and give back to the community,” she said.

Aubrey has seen the difference this can make for seniors. She strongly encourages seniors to do whatever they can to connect with others and take advantage of opportunities to be active and social.

“Participating in health and fitness programs at local senior centers is another great way for seniors to remain engaged and maintain a healthy lifestyle when it is more difficult to be active outside,” she offered.

Aubrey knows how crucial staying healthy is for seniors, especially during the winter. She advises families to monitor their older family members and watch for any signs of decline. She adds that the holidays can actually be a good time for this.

“As we gather to celebrate the holidays, it’s a great opportunity to check in on an older friend’s or relative’s status,” she said. “If you notice an overall decline in your loved one’s health or that they are having difficulty managing the upkeep of their home, this is the perfect time to discuss wishes and put plans in place to ensure their safety and well-being as they grow older. One uncomfortable conversation will result in a more positive experience down the road.”

Aubrey told us that, unfortunately, most simply avoid these discussions until a crisis happens, but there’s no need to wait.

“Addressing ‘what’s next’ eases the stress of making difficult decisions during an emotional time and frees up valuable time to spend with each other,” she said.

Christy Merritt
The Waterford Communities

When it comes to family time during the holidays, Christy Merritt with The Waterford Communities suggests being flexible and open to the needs of senior family members.

“When you are visiting seniors during the holidays, it is important to understand that you may have to adapt plans so that they can enjoy the holidays, too,” she said. “Understand that if it is snowy or icy, you may need to move the time or location of your gathering so that your senior can safely participate. Having a “plan b” ahead of time will save everyone stress and disappointment.”

Christy knows it’s challenging for seniors to express their needs if others don’t notice.

“Remember, a key characteristic of seniors today is that they don’t want to burden anyone—if you wait for them to ask for help, you may never know they need anything,” she said.

Fortunately, Christy has also observed that seniors can be made to feel safe and comfortable such that they are able to express their needs. The best way to facilitate this? Connection.

“Connecting with your loved one is the single most important thing you can do during the holidays,” Christy said. “These days, everyone has busy schedules and limited time to set aside for big family gatherings. Sometimes sending a card, floral arrangement, or a special dessert to be delivered to their table during a holiday meal, or just planning a get together when things slow down a bit, can help seniors feel included.”

Monica Kuhns Home Instead Senior Care

Monica Kuhns, owner of Home Instead Senior Care in Lincoln, told us about a special way that Home Instead works to help seniors in Lincoln feel special each Christmas.

Through their Be a Santa to a Senior program, Home Instead Senior Care is touching the lives of over 600 Lincoln seniors this holiday season. This is the 15th year Owner Monica Kuhns has coordinated the program, which provides gifts and holiday cheer to seniors who don’t have family around during the holidays and wouldn’t receive gifts if not for the program.

“While it may seem like a small act of kindness, it can really make a difference for someone this holiday season,” said Monica. “Watching seniors open the gifts they received through Be a Santa to a Senior and seeing the smiles and appreciation on their faces is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season.”

Having been a caregiver herself, Monica knows firsthand how important special moments of connection can be, both for seniors and their caregivers. She recommends Home Instead’s professionally-trained CAREGivers for providing extra assistance so there is always time to sit and share a special moment with someone.

Leslie Frank Nebraska Hearing Center - Headshot

Leslie Frank
Nebraska Hearing Center

One thing that can put a damper on a senior’s sense of connection with others is difficulty communicating with family and friends. Hearing loss is a common culprit. In addition to offering hearing aid technology, the Nebraska Hearing Center also provides free hearing examinations to determine the extent of hearing loss. Owner Leslie Frank MS, CCC-A is all too familiar with the harm done by hearing loss, physically and emotionally.

“Hearing healthcare is a significant issue for seniors,” stated Leslie. “As we age, our hearing changes and worsens. Much like we start to need reading glasses in our 40s, a great number of individuals in their 60s (and younger!) begin to need hearing aids. It’s important to manage hearing healthcare just as we would any other medical need.”

Friends and family members of seniors with hearing loss can help them prepare for holiday gatherings by seeing that their hearing aids are working properly. When hearing aids are regularly maintained, seniors are better able to preserve precious connections with family and friends during the holidays as well as enjoy all the wonderful holiday music and cheerful laughter.

“It’s important that as many people as possible be involved in the care and maintenance of hearing aids,” Leslie said. “This includes activities such as daily cleaning, changing of filters, basic troubleshooting, changing batteries. If everyone knows how to clean the hearing aids or change batteries, maintenance issues won’t have to come between seniors and their loved ones during gatherings.”

Jeff Madsen
Right Foot Forward Fitness

Another factor that could hinder a senior from getting out and about and connecting with others could be stiffness in the joints and muscles, which can make it difficult and uncomfortable to leave the home. Jeff Madsen with Right Foot Forward Fitness has a solution to this difficulty.

“Sometimes seniors find that they are starting to struggle physically to keep up with their plans and busy life,” he said. “Things that weren’t challenging before start to become challenging. That’s where we can help. It’s very possible for seniors to increase their balance, proprioception, strength, and endurance, utilizing safe and effective exercises modified specifically for their needs.”

Not only does Jeff have the equipment, facility, and expertise to bring seniors back to a place of freedom and mobility, he has fun suggestions that can include family and friends in exercise and create great memories.

“I suggest working out together as a family,” Jeff said. “We have members who bring their visiting family members who are in town for the holidays to work out with them as guests. My family even holds the occasional ‘Madsen Family Workout’ where we have three generations along with cousins and spouses working out together. The exercises can be modified appropriately, and it’s generally good for some laughs!”

Kyle Johnson Care Consultants for the Aging - Headshot

Kyle Johnson
Care Consultants for the Aging

Kyle Johnson with Care Consultants for the Aging also had much to say on the importance of addressing all aspects of physical health for seniors as early as possible, especially leading into the winter months.

“Declining eyesight or hearing, mobility problems, and memory issues can lead to losing the ability to drive, increase risk of falling, and everyday tasks becoming more difficult to perform,” he said. “These health concerns are even more important to take into consideration during the winter. Making sure seniors have mental stimulation, companionship, transportation for outings, and assistance with personal care or household chores can help keep these issues under control.”

“Staying active, both physically and mentally, can make a lasting impact on a senior’s health and wellness,” Kyle added. “Many seniors find it helpful to have a caregiver assist them in their home with tasks such as bathing, dressing, and laundry to keep them safe and healthy without taking away their independence.”

Care Consultants refers caregivers who are CNAs and can assist seniors with companionship, personal care, light housekeeping, and much more. They have caregivers available from one up to 24 hours a day, along with access to short-term assistance in the case of an emergency. This flexibility gives families the peace of mind knowing their loved one is being cared for by a qualified and caring individual.

Karla Frese
Home Care Partners of Nebraska

For seniors who are struggling with physical limitations or injuries that may interfere with holiday plans and wishes, Home Care Partners of Nebraska can offer support by creating a plan for day-to-day activities that is customized to meet a senior’s needs, keep him or her safe, and increase independence. We spoke with Karla Frese to learn more.

“We often hear, ‘I want to get better. I want to be at home, so what’s next?’” Karla shared. “Our team focuses on improved healthcare outcomes and reducing re-admissions. We collaborate with organizations that provide therapy to continue making gains, reduce the probability of re-occurrence, and customize a home exercise program so you can continue your restorative care.”

Ultimately, Home Care Partners works to educate and assist seniors so that they can be as independent as possible and maintain a safe home environment. For seniors who may wonder if they are in danger of falling or incurring injury, Karla provided a list of signs and conditions that could indicate a risk:

  • Vision changes
  • Cardiovascular changes
  • Your body’s ability to adjust to changes in position (lying to sitting to standing)
  • Decreased muscle mass and strength
  • Reduced steppage height
  • Neurological changes that lead to slowed reaction time
  • Balance concerns
  • Lower body weakness
  • Difficulties with walking
  • Changes in medications
  • High/low blood pressure
  • The use of antianxiety/antidepressants
  • Diuretics (water pill)
  • Incontinence/urgency
  • Foot neuropathy, pain or poor footwear
  • Home hazards/needed modifications (lighting, bathtub safety, basement moves)
  • Stairs, throw rugs, clutter, etc. in walking spaces

If you or a loved one need help setting up a plan to decrease the risk of injury, or you currently have an injury and need transitional care, Home Care Partners can support your recovery goals and create a personalized plan with you so that you can enjoy physical freedom and peace of mind for the holidays!

Jennifer Knecht Immanuel - Headshot

Jennifer Knecht
Immanuel Communities

One risk factor of declining health that many seniors face is isolation. Jennifer Knecht with Immanuel Communities talked to us about ways to help seniors avoid isolation during the holidays.

“First, talk to your loved one about their concerns during the holidays,” she said. “Perhaps they’re worried about driving to events in the threat of inclement weather. Maybe they’re missing lost loved ones or beloved traditions. Having the discussion can give you direction in how best to connect, whether that’s arranging transportation or re-inventing a past family tradition.”

Jennifer shared some of the ways that Immanuel Communities helps seniors stay connected with others during the holidays.

“Combating senior loneliness is a driving vision of our life enrichment programs at every Immanuel community. During the holidays, we provide an abundance of events and activities for everyone to enjoy. Families are almost always welcome at these events, offering seniors who still want to host holiday events a great opportunity to invite family and friends. From special dinners and brunches to non-denominational church services, concerts, crafts and more, our employees work hard to make the holidays special for residents. The past few years, we’ve even hosted a descendant of Charles Dickens to bring his classic holiday novel to life.”

“The holidays are joyous times, but they also remind us of those holidays that have past and family members who are no longer here to celebrate,” Jennifer said. “Discover ways you can involve your senior loved ones and honor those who have passed. This will help them connect with both the past and the present and avoid isolation.”

Beth Friesen
Oasis Senior Advisors

Beth Friesen with Oasis Senior Advisors warned us about how being disconnected from others can be the beginning of a serious decline for seniors, as isolation has been clinically proven to lower a person’s immunity.

“As a registered nurse, I am particularly concerned for our seniors who experience increased isolation over the winter months,” admits Beth. “I would encourage people to participate in local Christmas gift drives to ensure that all of our elders have a gift to open at Christmas. Be aware of the elders in your social circle, church, or neighborhood. You can even choose to invite them to dine with your family for the holiday!”

When visiting elderly relatives this holiday reason, take a moment to make sure that their homes are winter-ready. Safety during winter months is of paramount importance.

“Check their heating unit and even schedule a maintenance visit from a trusted company. Make sure that they have received their influenza shots and are up to date on pneumococcal vaccinations as well,” she said.

Beth also acknowledged that many times, holiday visits are the first seniors have had from their family since the summertime. This can sometimes lead to some startling revelations. Perhaps mom or dad has declined physically or cognitively in the previous six months; this can cause adult children to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, there are many people and services that can help.

We all dream of creating the perfect holiday atmosphere where friends and family will feel welcome and at ease. We especially desire to make home a place of cheer and joy for the seniors who once provided this for us! However, when the task of caring for seniors with increasingly high needs combined with personal responsibilities and the bustle of the holiday season becomes too much, it may be time to reach out to providers and organizations who can help, or even consider new living arrangements with comprehensive services for the senior in your life.

If you’re seeking 24-hour long-term care for your loved one, it’s important to focus on what matters…care, comfort, and cost. Orchard Park Assisted Living prides itself on being the best at what matters. Don’t settle for an ordinary facility or be pressured into a resort-style locale that pushes irrelevant bells and whistles. Instead, seek out a community that feels like home—familiar, comfortable, and with friendly faces at every turn. This is especially comforting for seniors during the holidays when all they want is to be home with their family.

Orchard Park Assisted Living has more registered nurses on staff than any other assisted living facility in town. The result is more thorough, thoughtful care for residents across a wide range of aging-related health issues. The community is nestled off of 48th and Van Dorn, right in the heart of south Lincoln. This makes it easy to visit your loved one during your lunch break or sometime over the weekend if you live on this side of town.

Another wonderful option for senior living in Lincoln is Gramercy Hill, which offers independent living and assisted living services. Located on six beautiful acres of hills and walking paths, the community invites residents to enjoy comfort and relaxation while taking advantage of exceptional services. Gramercy offers residents a vibrant lifestyle that encourages health and independence through innovative recreational, educational, health, and wellness programs. Spacious apartments provide peace of mind with thoughtful safety features while also offering residents sought-after amenities and privacy. Residents can enjoy the companionship of other warmhearted, interesting people who enjoy freedom from the worries and dangers of solitary living. Someone is always at hand if help is needed. Social events let residents get to know new friends and include everything from book clubs to social hours and day trips. A holiday spent at Gramercy Hill offers much of the same warmth and comforts of home with the benefit of built-in community!

Megan Herter
Sumner Place Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation

If your loved one is experiencing signs of memory loss or dementia, Sumner Place Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation just might be the right home for them. With specialized health care services and an emphasis on life enrichment for every single resident, Sumner Place is special—and you can feel it right when you walk through the front doors. We talked to Admissions and Public Relations Coordinator Megan Herter to learn more.

“We work hard to create a living environment that continuously enriches each resident’s life,” Megan told us. “Whether it’s taking a resident to a movie they want to see, organizing in-house activities or social engagements with the community, or offering daily spiritual services, at Sumner Place, we focus on personalized care. Our annual events, such as Senior Prom, Dog Pageant, or the Sumner Place Picnic, offer the ‘Family Serving Family’ feel that we are committed to. Social events and activities bring magic to ordinary days all year round. The holidays are no exception!”

During past holidays, residents of Sumner Place have enjoyed celebrating the season by enjoying carols, fresh specialty coffee, and pictures with Santa and live reindeer. The staff at Sumner Place work continually to provide opportunities for special moments to their residents.

Megan shared some of the ways their staff connects with residents on a daily basis through even the smallest of interactions: “Sumner Place also uses Buddies Forever, which is a comprehensive dementia program. These techniques and skills, such as getting down below eye level, using simple statements, and endorphin boosts, create a foundation for person-centered care. A program that we are also proud to be certified in is Music & Memory, which taps into the long-term memory, an area of the brain unharmed by dementia. Selecting the appropriate music for each resident triggers pleasurable emotions from their past.”

Fallbrook Assisted Living & Memory Care is another great local senior community. Fallbrook offers six levels of care for seniors based on a nursing assessment administered prior to admission. Fallbrook’s services are designed to support seniors “in maintaining as much independence as possible.”

It is their desire to provide an environment that relieves the stress you may feel from living alone. Great food, friends close by, entertaining things to do, a private apartment to call your own, and a caring staff of people always available if and when you need them. At Fallbrook, the primary concern is helping patients live comfortable, satisfying lives.

Sometimes, after doing all we can do, the loss of aging loved ones becomes inevitable. This can be challenging and painful, especially if this unfolds during the holiday season. No one desires Christmas day to be burdened with the pain of remembering someone who is no longer present or whose time is short. At these times, it is especially important to surround yourself with the support of friends and family who can bear your loss with you.

For families of seniors who understand that each day matters because there’s no knowing how many you have left, compassionate hospice services exist to ease the waning hours of life.

Hospice Community Care in Lincoln is one such service. Hospice Community Care is “the premier provider of hospice care that promotes hospice services and access as an integral piece of the continuum of care through education, service provision, demonstrated outcomes, and collaboration with other health care providers and community resources.”

Hospice Community Care cares for people with Alzheimer’s, Pulmonary Disease, CHF, Cancer, Liver Disease, Dementia, Parkinson’s, Renal Disease, Huntington’s Disease, ALS, and all end-stage diagnoses. They offer a place for patients to find comfort and assistance in their final moments of life. Knowing that their loved ones are in good hands also brings peace and comfort to family and other caregivers.

If you have a family member who is nearing the end of life, don’t postpone the important end-of-life conversation until it’s too late. During a crisis, we aren’t always at the top of our game. Educating yourself and discussing your options with your loved ones before a crisis strikes is key. The holidays may be the only time some families have together and, therefore, are the most logical time to have a discussion that allows everyone to express their wishes.

Tom Roper Roper & Sons

“It may seem a little awkward to have these discussions, but if the holidays are the only time your whole family is together, it may be the only opportunity you have,” noted Tom Roper with Roper & Sons. “I don’t recommend jumping right in with ‘death-talk,’ but there are some great tools for starting discussions, including the ‘Talk of a Lifetime’ program. (You can request a brochure from Roper & Sons, either by calling or through our website.) This program is a great tool for having conversations about memories and the ways you would like to be remembered, which often naturally leads to discussions about final health and funeral or memorial wishes. It is very important that loved ones know the details of your estate and funeral plans, including where those plans are located, who your attorney is, what your healthcare wishes are, including how critical illness and the end of life should be managed, and which funeral home you wish to use and all of the plans you have in place regarding a funeral or memorial service. Your estate plan, your healthcare, and your end of life choices are yours, but we do encourage you to seek input from your loved ones when it is appropriate.”

Preplanning funeral and burial arrangements not only ensures that our final wishes are known by our loved ones, but also allows us to make financial arrangements now so that our loved ones don’t feel the financial burden when we pass.

Thoughtful preparations can offer peace of mind not only to the one making the plans but also to those left behind. Preplanning is also a practical gesture because it allows you to make unhurried, informed decisions. Preplanning compels you to organize important documents your survivors will need later. With advance planning, you can choose a reasonable budget and even set aside the funds over a period of time to ease the financial burden to your family.

Wyuka, Lincoln’s premier choices for funeral care, can assist you in your pre-planning. With Wyuka, you can be assured that when the time comes, your final wishes will be known. This can provide an enormous relief to those close to you, and by opting to pre-fund your plan, you can rest assured in the knowledge that your expenses will be covered when you need them to be.


Bryan Block
Butherus Maser & Love Funeral Home

Bryan Block with Butherus, Maser & Love adds, “There are many questions that could be answered and specific wishes put in a file so when the time arrives, all concerned know exactly what the person wanted and how they wanted their funeral plans to go. In my experience, the individual who is nearing the end of their life has no problem talking about their funeral plans. It’s usually the kids who have the problem with the discussion. So often we hear children leaving our facility after making funeral arrangements for a deceased parent saying ‘I hope that’s what they would have wanted.’ Eliminate that indecision and doubt and have a conversation with your loved ones, then talk to us so we have your wishes on file, and we can make sure these plans take place the way you want.”

In conclusion, we encourage you to reach out to the seniors in our community to offer them a little joy. Never hesitate to ask for help from the people and organizations whose expertise can lighten your load. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all the seniors and senior caregivers in the Lincoln!