Senior Living in Lincoln, February 2021

0

It’s impossible to summarize in a few words the plans that were dismantled or destroyed by COVID-19 in 2020. Those were felt maybe no more profoundly than by families and their loved ones in senior living, those considering moving to senior living, those newly needing home-care assistance, and those who suddenly required moving to a community with assisted-living or memory-care options. Suffice it to say, we would all appreciate a little less uncertainty and disruption as we move through 2021—but that’s not looking likely quite yet.

So, how do senior-living communities, residents, and families adapt in the meantime…in real time? You can’t just wait for it to go away. It’s about adapting and thriving, and we’re happy to report that managers of senior-living communities in Lincoln have adapted in every way, shape, and form. They are accommodating ongoing quality care for senior residents and their families, as well as for those who are considering the move to senior living amidst the ongoing challenges of the pandemic—and the long-term changes that are likely in its wake. If you have a loved one in senior living in Lincoln or need to begin considering moving them to one, you’re in good hands. Loving, caring hands.

We also recommend that everyone stop and consider how you can help provide joy for seniors as the pandemic continues into 2021. Make spending more time with your elderly family members—parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.—one of your New Year’s resolutions that lasts all year. Even if you can’t visit in person or you don’t even know any elderly folks in the area, you can help by sharing kindness and caring with someone who needs a boost in these isolating social times.

In-Home Care: When It’s Time to Find Help

At some point in life, you may be faced with the challenge of providing care for a parent, spouse, or close friend. The active-self-sufficient person you knew for many years may slowly begin requiring addition help or, eventually, one-to-one care. Changes often happy gradually, making it difficult to discern when and how much help they need. Visiting Angels (visitingangels.com/lincoln/home) Owner Natalie Leon recently offered up some tips to help you know when the right time is to engage in-home care for your loved one.

 

Natalie Leon

“The best way to discover if changes are happening is by getting some perspective,” Natalie said. “It’s best to rely on the person closest to them to provide much-needed and personal insight. You’ll also want the opinion of someone who has not seen your loved one in a while. Both vantage points will provide valuable assessments.”
Natalie recommends considering the following warning signs in your loved one’s physical and mental status: wearing the same soiled clothes on consecutive days; a general decline in personal-grooming habits; their home is no longer as clean and tidy as it once was; forgetfulness about medications; clutter from newspapers and other items creating unsafe obstacles; an empty refrigerator and inconsistent meals; a once-vivacious person becoming less outgoing; bruises from a fall or bumping into furniture; and weight loss.

“The signs may be subtle at first but can develop into the inability to manage family tasks,” Natalie said. “Unfortunately, as many seniors begin to realize their newly found limitations, they can become depressed and start to isolate themselves. Living a long life is a blessing, but it can be challenging for some to adjust. For many families, a discussion about getting home-care services can be a challenging series of conversations. Your best ally is your tone. Condescending or authoritative attitudes can put a senior on the defense. As adults, this is a problem to solve together.”

Natalie suggests starting the conversation by telling them you want to share some things on your mind, then gently phrase your observations and ask them if they see the same things. Proceed carefully. You can explain that in-home care will offer the best of both worlds—allowing them to remain happily and safely in their own home with one-to-one care from a trusted resource, like Visiting Angels.

“By choosing Visiting Angels for all your home care needs, you will be met with a personalized approach to our home care services, as we treat each client with the utmost respect as we establish a comprehensive care plan,” Natalie said. “Get started with our elder services today by giving us a call. We will help you schedule a free, no-risk care consultation for your loved one, in the comfort of their home. Whether this is a decision that must be made urgently or if you are planning ahead, you can rely on Visiting Angels for compassionate, in-home care. Our family is here to help yours.”

Finding the RIGHT Living Option

If the time comes that you or a loved one wants or needs to move into a senior-living community in Lincoln, you would be well-served to contact Oasis Senior Advisors (oasissenioradvisors.com). They assist people with finding the perfect senior-living for them, and their services are FREE to the senior and their family. They learn about you, what is important to you, and what you will need—both now and in the future. They then customize your search with their proprietary software so that you never have to worry that you may be wasting your time looking at a place that is not able to meet your needs, be those physical needs or your financial ability to pay. Every Oasis Senior Advisors owner is also a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA). That means you can trust that they are putting your needs ahead of their own and that they operate with the highest of ethical standards.

 

Beth Friesen

“We will show you all the options available to you in Lincoln and the surrounding area,” said Oasis Lincoln Owner Beth Friesen. “We’re not going to try and ‘sell’ you on any particular community. We are going to allow you to preview all the communities that could meet your medical, financial, social, and geographical needs, then allow you to determine where you would like to tour. In addition, we will advocate for you and connect you with any community resources you may need along the way.”

One of the ways that Oasis Senior Advisors helped cheer and engage senior-living residents during the pandemic was to start a card campaign. They collected cards and drawings from children, then distributed them to some of the senior-living communities here in Lincoln. Beth also recommends that family members of seniors reach out often via phone, computer, and in writing to show them that you love and care about them, even when you can’t see them in person.

Throughout your search for the RIGHT senior-living option for you or your loved one, Oasis Senior Advisors will be there to support you: “The knowledge, care, and compassion that you and your family will receive when working with Oasis are unparalleled,” Beth said. “As our baby boomers reach the age where assisted living and other senior-living options become necessary or desired, their families need to be able to reach out to services such as Oasis Senior Advisors to help them navigate this complex maze. We are in communication with the communities in our area every week. Don’t guess on care. It’s just too important.”

Adjusting in Senior Living

When the time comes that you decide to move yourself or a loved one into senior living, don’t be surprised if they have difficulty giving up some of their treasured physical memories, including furniture, kitchen items, knick-knacks, and the like. If that happens, don’t push hard enough to upset them. Instead, consider getting a storage unit at Store It All facility. The self-storage facility is locally owned and operated by Kingery Construction (kccobuilders.com) and is located at 3321 Ox Bow Circle, just east of North Star High School. They’ll help you protect your loved one’s treasures with the utmost care.

 

Christy Merritt

If your loved already one resides in a senior-living community, you know the pandemic has been a challenge for the entire family, with isolation at the core. All of The Waterford Communities (thewaterford.net) offer a home-like environment and a host of amenities that allow residents to maintain their independence and the quality of life they deserve. One unique aspect of The Waterford Communities is their size. They are small in comparison to many of their counterparts, with the largest assisted-living community including 41 apartments. Waterford Executive Director Christy Merritt says the smaller community lends itself to more of a small-town feel that many residents say feels more like a home than a facility. Lower resident numbers also enables them to get to know their residents and customize care to meet each person wherever they are on their journey. Adapting to changes brought on by COVID has been easier in this setting, too.

“Our teams have adapted well to individual and small-group activities,” Christy said. “Many of the entertainers who once came into the community adapted and hosted outdoor concerts that residents were able to safely enjoy from their rooms or on outdoor patios, socially distanced, of course. Several of our residents adopted fish. A few of our memory-care residents received new life, like pets that they have helped nurture through the pandemic. It is truly heartwarming to see the comfort that a companion, live or life-like, can bring to someone who is lonely.”
Whether you have a loved one at The Waterford Communities or not, there are ways that members of the Lincoln community can help raise the spirits of residents there. You can send notes or gifts, bring a pet by to their windows, or have your children give a little song or dance for them.

“Plants and flowers always make great pick-me-ups,” Christy said. “One of my residents said it best when they said, ‘I like things that show me life and remind me of the beauty in the world.’ I know that several people have placed healthcare appreciation signs outside of our communities, but large signs that tell our residents that they are appreciated and missed might also be a really nice gesture.”

Creative Care at its Best

Windcrest Assisted Living (capitalsenior.com/community/the-windcrest-on-van-dorn) works collaboratively with you, your family and, when needed, their team of caregivers to design a custom, person-centered approach to nurturing the whole self. Their first-rate amenities, active social community, and delicious culinary options create a genuine, meaningful experience. The safety of the residents and team members at Windcrest on Van Dorn is their top priority. They are taking safety measures and following guidance from officials. While life in the community might look a bit different right now, they’re hard at work keeping their wonderful, down-to-earth residents happy and engaged.

 

Kylee Graham

“We provide weekly COVID updates to residents and family members and we make lots of Facebook posts to keep families connected to what is going on with their loved one,” said Windcrest Executive Director Kylee Graham. “We’re back to 50% capacity for the dining room, and we offer residents a weekly travel series of videos from different locations around the world. We also have an Ambassador Program, with office staff assigned to residents to touch base with them, spend some time with them, and see if there is anything they need. A staff member and a resident each lead our prayer services, and we have a resident who plays the piano for other residents, in addition to providing trivia games to keep them engaged.”

Windcrest is known for particularly impressive restaurant-style dining with a large selection of fantastic foods. On the tenet that food connects us, brings us joy, and can be a creative outlet, the residents also are invited to get into the action with food, via bake-offs, organized recipe exchanges, and working together safely on fun cooking projects. When it comes to other amenities, residents love Windcrest’s comfortable lounge with a big-screen TV, their activity center stocked with games, their well-stocked library, the computer area for keeping in touch with family, and the on-site salon for both men and women.

Some of the adaptations that Windcrest has made because of COVID just might be long-term keepers, too. That includes offering more hydration and exercise encouragement to residents; continued use of Facetime and other video apps to keep them in touch with their families, and the whole-staff increased engagement with residents as true extensions of their families.

Never Move Again!

Pemberly Place (pemberlyplace.com) Director of Marketing Kelly Mans recently announced a new an exciting change at the community: They’re independent-living apartments have now been licensed to use for assisted-living residents, as well: “So, once you come to live with us, you may never have to move again! You can continue living in your apartment, whether or not you need day-to-day assistance. This gives more options to all levels of the population, so if you want a kitchen with a full-sized refrigerator and stackable washer and dryer, we can make that happen regardless of the level of care you require.”

 

Kelly Mans

Throughout the pandemic, Pemberly Place has gone above and beyond to make sure that residents stay active and busy, all while staying safe with six-foot distancing. A few examples include a “Who Am I” contest with some of the staff submitting their baby pictures, then residents trying to guess who’s in each picture, with winners getting prizes. They also did a Veterans Day flag-raising ceremony outside, as well as one-on-one conversations with residents, Christmas goodie bags delivered door to door, a Haunted Halloween door competition, Christmas tree tour with multiple communities through virtual tour, a magician, and a violinist/keyboard duo.

For people interested in moving themselves or a loved one to Pemberly Place during the pandemic, virtual tours have been offered to keep everyone safe—and it’s a tool that will outlive any social-distancing requirements.
“I feel virtual tours will continue to be a good asset for people and referrals,” Kelly said. “This gives the general population a time to sit back and watch pre-taped tours to gauge their interest with their families before they decide which communities they would like to go and see in person. Pemberly Place is a premier senior living community that can provide a unique balance of assistance or independence, in which you will never run out of things to do!”

Going the Extra Mile

Given that elders living in their own homes have been so isolated due to the COVID pandemic, Agemark CountryHouse Residences for Memory Care (countryhouse.net) is going the extra mile to maximize the socialization benefits of being in a senior-living community. Devoted exclusively to benefit those living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, CountryHouse is not “typical” memory care. They are all about experiences. Do More. Engage More. Live More. In the pandemic environment, of course, that means initiating all necessary safety precautions, including offering testing and providing vaccinations. Some of the activities inspired by pandemic restrictions will carry on after COVID passes, too.

 

Marcia Houchin

“CountryHouse has gotten creative when precaution levels restrict normal activities—and one of the best ways is to mobilize the activity,” said Life Enrichment Director Marcia Houchin. “We have developed hundreds of fun and engaging cart activities in 23 categories. You name it, and we’ve taken it ‘on the road’ to residents’ rooms. That includes bookmobiles, traveling craft projects, a rolling spa, and Happy Hour or party carts for any occasion. This adaptation has taught us how to reach and benefit those who don’t normally participate in group activities or just prefer to stay in their rooms under normal circumstances. For this reason, we will continue many of these cart activities after COVID is over!”

Even if you don’t know anyone in senior living, Marcia said, there are so many ways that you can help engage and entertain residents. Virtual visits—especially from kids and student groups—can really brighten their day. Children have a joyful energy, especially when singing a song or performing music and CountryHouse can even stream the Skype or Zoom video to a large screen. Consider making a new pen pal or two and send cards and letters to residents or put together drive-by parades of any kind, including cars decorated for birthday and anniversaries. Window visits are always welcome, too—and not just from people.

“Our residents have been delighted by window visits with dogs, horses, a llama—and even a miniature pony with rainbow-dyed mane and tail,” Marcia said. “We also welcome donations for activities, including craft supplies, flowers to make floral arrangements, books and magazines, nail polish and other spa supplies, and the like. Anyone can get a little creative and make the day for residents of CountryHouse. We welcome all ideas!”

Familiarity Breeds Comfort

Home Care Partners of Nebraska (homecarepartnersofnebraska.com) offers care services within the homes of their clients, including Companion Care, Personal Care, Recovery Care, Memory Care Support, and Hospice Care. Their services give families an alternative to moving into an assisted-living community because being in a familiar environment among one’s own possessions and memories is the best place to promote health and healing.

 

Andrew Carlson

“This is especially true during this time of COVID-19 safety measures, as seniors’ emotional ties to their familiar environment are increasing,” said Andrew Carlson, managing partner of Home Care Partners. “Due to the additional emotions, individuals are searching for ways to delay moving out of their homes to receive care and have often found the answer to be a Home Care Partners team.”

Their caregivers enjoy helping clients stay active and engaged in their homes by planning activities that promote emotional well-being. Caregivers assist clients with technology to keep in touch with family members who are unable to visit inside the home, especially during the winter months. With social distancing in mind, public outings to the zoo and Holmes Lake are a couple outdoor activities the Home Care Partners caregivers plan to keep clients active outside of the home. They have introduced new protocols during the pandemic, which they plan to continue after the pandemic because they promote a healthy environment for our team members and client families. One practice that they will continue is regular screenings to monitor changes in their caregivers and clients’ health that might be symptoms of COVID-19, the flu, or a cold.

Andrew said: “It is a pleasure to support adult children who live outside of the community. Our Care Management team partners with the family members to ensure their parents safety and well-being, which offers them peace of mind during the pandemic when they are unable to be present.” Care Management adds value to the rest of the care continuum by collaborating with all health-service providers involved to monitor both physical and mental health and reduce hospitalization and readmissions. We track progress and improvement and proactively address factors that are concerning or could lead to an issue. Home Care Partners priority is health and safety, but we also promote support and relationships. Personal relationships between clients and caregivers will make a family and their loved one more comfortable receiving care in the home. They will begin to look at our care team not only as helping hands but also as friends.” For additional information, visit homecarepartnersofnebraska.com.

Live Joyfully, Age Gratefully

Tabitha (tabitha.org) offers a range of services, including results-driven rehabilitation, accessible at-home health care, compassionate hospice services, and innovative living communities with life-enriching programs. They are industry leaders who are here to ensure that seniors and their families are set up to live joyfully and age gratefully. They listen, learn, and provide expert guidance to best fit each unique situation. Tapping into Tabitha’s expert resources ensures that families make informed decisions, and their strong continuum of care allows seniors to seamlessly receive support as their needs evolve. Amid the pandemic, Tabitha continues to adapt to ensure residents remain active in daily life.

 

Ruthi Thompson

“Tabitha has utilized our innovative Connectors Program to ensure seniors remain engaged,” said Ruthi Thompson, director of life enrichment and volunteers at Tabitha Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. “The Connector is a Tabitha team member who volunteers their time to visit with a resident and facilitate communication between family and friends through the power of technology and in traditional manners. Residents are connected with loved ones by video chats, phone calls, notes, and letters. Connectors have helped to orchestrate celebrations of milestones such as wedding anniversaries and birthdays or getting a favorite meal delivered from a local restaurant. The bond Connectors have made with seniors and their families is invaluable.”

Tabitha’s life enrichment teams have gotten ultra-creative with door-to-door and doorway activities, as well as continuing traditional events like weekly bingo games and holiday celebrations with social distancing and other precautions in place. They have also implemented a variety of “Party Carts,” which include fun themes and costumes, “mocktails,” and delicious treats. These carts travel suite-to-suite so residents can participate safely. Tabitha also has tapped into more online resources—replacing live concerts with video performances provided by local organizations, such as Lincoln Public Schools. In addition, virtual education series and city and museum tours from around the world have been popular.

Ruthi said there are a variety of ways that Lincoln residents can get creative to brighten seniors’ days and help combat loneliness: “Often we find that a senior who is living alone, at home, is the most isolated. A simple phone call or socially distanced check-in can make all the difference. Community members can also donate highly requested items, such as scented lotion and seasonal treats, to be used for pick-me-ups and giveaways during enrichment activities. Handmade cards and inspirational notes are another great way to lift seniors’ spirits. They can also send care packages with activities such as crossword puzzles and word-search books, handheld games, and decks of cards.”

Tabitha is another senior-living provider that has found some diamonds in the rough via the pandemic: “From this crisis, valuable tools have been put into place that will live long after the pandemic,” Ruthi said. “Screening of all those who enter Tabitha buildings has been quite valuable. Telehealth was already a growing segment, but the virus has sped up the utilization of this service, especially in remote areas of the state. Tabitha has always and will continue to implement safety and health precautions as well as infection control practices to safeguard residents and staff.”

The Tabitha Connectors Program also will be strengthened. Tabitha was fortunate to receive a grant from the Community Health Endowment of Lincoln to fund a Connector Coordinator role. This position will allow Tabitha to continue to build this important program, combat senior loneliness issues, and enhance relationships for all.

‘COVID Luxuries’

Legacy Retirement Communities (legacyretirement.com) offer a full spectrum of senior-living options, including independent living, assisted living, memory care, and Legacy Home Care for any resident in the community on an as-needed basis. Looking on the bright side, Legacy also has identified some pandemic adaptations that will become long-term changes for their residents.

 

Kelly Stenka

“We like to playfully refer to some adaptations as ‘COVID luxuries,’” said Legacy Marketing & PR Director Kelly Stenka. “We may see that residents may continue to want the option to forgo the large dining-room experience and gather in a small group setting to share a meal in different parts of the buildings, or occasionally take advantage of taking dinner to go and enjoying it in the comfort of their own apartment. The biggest adaption that will most likely offer long-term changes is the residents’ engagement level with technology. This past year gave everyone, regardless of age, an extra push to explore different ways to connect through technology. As more residents have become comfortable using different types of devices such as phones and tablets, this may allow us to offer a larger variety of activities along with more participants as well.”

Toward building connection between the Lincoln community and senior residents, Kelly suggested some fabulous opportunities to bring smiles for miles.

“Don’t we all love a little surprise?” Kelly asked. “On social media, someone had shared that, next time it snows, head over to a retirement community and start building snowmen around the grounds. Not only is it fun to get to see the end result but it’s also fun for the residents to see new faces around. Write cards with positive messages inside and drop them off at any community to be distributed. This is an easy way to build connection, share a fun message, and maybe find a pen pal. If you’re part of a car group, organize a classic car parade.”

If you have other ideas you’d like to share, don’t hesitate to call Legacy and ask for the contact information of the activity or enrichment director. They’re always open to new ideas and love to let the residents know ahead of time if there’s something happening on their grounds.

“Overall,” Kelly concluded, “the most impactful thing the community at large can do for those in retirement living communities is to receive the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to the masses.”

Five-Star Senior Care

Hillcrest Health Services offers a continuum of care for seniors in the Lincoln area. With the top rating for quality measures – five stars from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) – Hillcrest Firethorn (hillcresthealth.com) is a superb choice for post-acute rehab after a surgery, illness, or hospital stay, or for long-term care services. Part of the care continuum in Lincoln, Hillcrest Home Care can provide in-home skilled medical services and telehealth. Outpatient therapy is also offered through Innovate Physical Therapy at 70th and Pioneers. Choosing Hillcrest each step of the way ensures the continuity of care, and under pandemic restrictions, the team at Hillcrest Firethorn has found safe ways to keep seniors engaged and having fun.

 

Jonathan Anderson

“At Hillcrest Firethorn, most activities are now done right outside of the resident or guest’s (patient’s) suite in the hallway,” said Jonathan Anderson, Lincoln business development specialist for Hillcrest Health Services. “Some hallway activities include bingo, keno, scrabble, balloon tennis, and soccer. Residents and guests also enjoy Nerf gun target practice—we’ve done a duck hunt, turkey hunt, and deer hunt—movement and music, horse races, games of Blackjack and Higher or Lower, remote control car races, and video calls with loved ones.”

At the same time, the Hillcrest Home Care team has helped facilitate many Zoom and Facetime visits with home-care clients’ additional family members to reduce unnecessary exposure to multiple individuals. Utilizing telehealth services for doctor’s appointments has also provided a much safer option for clients and reduces the need for transportation, which can be challenging for some seniors living at home.

At Hillcrest Firethorn, there are some COVID adaptations they’ve made out of necessity that they plan to continue as responsible practices: “Focusing more on our sanitation processes and protocols has undoubtedly reduced the amount of the common cold and flu bugs among our seniors this year,” Jonathan said. “This helps to reduce hospitalizations and contributes to positive outcomes where individuals are healing faster and going beyond previous functional baselines. Hillcrest is fortunate to have a Chief Medical Officer who has been leading the fight against COVID-19 and now leading the immunization plans. We are looking forward to getting back to some kind of normalcy!”

One Big, Happy Family

If you or your loved one doesn’t need a new living situation but rather needs a short regiment of rehabilitation therapy following a recent hospital stay involving surgery, injury, a traumatic even, or illness, consider Old Cheney Rehabilitation (oldcheneyrehab.com). There is a constant need for short-term rehabilitation following both planned and unforeseen hospital stays. Old Cheney Rehabilitation offers a close-knit team of caregivers to ensure quality patient care is provided. Their therapists and nursing staff strive to understand your goals, motivate you to reach your full potential, and return you to home and life activities—and the folks at Old Cheney rehabilitation believe that everyone who walks through their doors, be it a vendor or guest, becomes a part of their family. In fact, family is the very core of their purpose.

 

Sara Bunting

“We believe in our mission to provide a home-like atmosphere while providing intense post-acute rehabilitation that will get our guests back to their home,” said Administrator Sara Bunting. “Our Care Coordination staff guides our guests through their journey at Old Cheney Rehabilitation, making sure each transition is a smooth, safe, and enjoyable transition. We also have a Respiratory Therapist on staff who is available for all types of respiratory needs, including education on disease processes and assessments.”

The restrictions that came with the pandemic have helped Old Cheney staff reach a whole new level of creativity. Some of the activities they have done to keep a connection between residents and the outside world have been through their windows: They have had a horse named Jewell visit, trick-or-treaters for Halloween, musical guests from the Omaha Symphony, and a local dance team performance, just to name a few. Their activity department even planned a surprise visit from Santa for their guests, along with cookie decorating and dancing with staff to keep the holiday spirit flowing throughout the building.

“Old Cheney rehabilitation is family providing care to family,” Sara said. “Every day, I watch our team take care of a variety of guests, all coming in with different illnesses or ailments. Every day, I watch this team grow, encourage, and teach each other about accountability, discipline and trust. There is laughing and joy within our walls. Old Cheney Rehab is a FUN place to be!”

Independence Plus

The Gramercy Hill (capitalsenior.com/community/gramercy-hill) senior-living community recently extended its services to offer Independent Plus. This new program is designed to help aging in place an easier transition between independent and assisted living. Independent Plus living is perfect for seniors who want to live independently but enjoy having access to assistance when needed, at a rate that is lower than full-time assisted living. In addition to the benefits of their all-inclusive lifestyle, such as included dining, transportation, and activities, residents in the Independent Plus program can access Gramercy Hill’s Wellness Team, which will provide limited, customized services to assist residents. Throughout the pandemic, the Gramercy team and the community have gone above and beyond to keep residents engaged and smiling.

Sara Jeffrey
Gramercy Hill

“Our residents have been isolated for going on a year,” Gramercy’s new Sales Director Sara Jeffery said. “This entire year has been hard on them, but we have had small acts of kindness that have made a huge impact on our residents and their mental health. For example, a local artist brought in multiple handmade cards for the residents that really brightened their day, and another local business made little goodie bags for every resident, including crossword puzzles and treats. Any contact is important and valued, and we are ALWAYS taking deliveries. In COVID times, a random act of kindness can be the world to one of our residents.”

The staff at Gramercy has also gotten creative in providing ongoing activities for residents throughout the pandemic. Over Christmas, the team organized a deer hunt and snowball fight. Employees dressed as reindeer, and the residents were able to shoot them with nerf guns and throw “snowballs” at them. They also encourage residents to take advantage of their daily opportunities to exercise and socialize inside and outside, and they offer weekly “joy rides” around town so our residents can see all the wonderful things Lincoln has going on.

“Our activities department is committed to touching the lives of each and every resident and have done an amazing job at keeping them active,” Sara said, adding that during the first week of January, Gramercy was thrilled to have their first COVID vaccine clinic, with more than 100 residents and employees getting vaccinated. Their next two clinics are on the books, and they are ecstatic to be able to provide this tremendous safety offering for the community.

Lincoln’s Active 55+ Community

Nestled among mature trees and natural surroundings, Carriage Glen (carriageglenoflincoln.com) is in an excellent location, close to shopping, dining, medical facilities, and area activities, yet comfortably removed from the hustle and bustle. They are a community serving Lincoln’s active 55+ community and host a wide variety of activities for residents, ranging from games to fitness classes, which help residents keep feeling young and lively. Executive Director Kim Kallhoff said Carriage Glen has some additional options that have kept residents active throughout the pandemic.

“We have an internal channel and have been uploading different things, such as exercise videos, and we have events outside as much as we can,” Kim said. “We also like to distribute things to our residents, like a variety of teas and a cookie on National Tea Day, and we also did a spirit week and have a variety of other themed days, plus things like puzzles and activity books—all toward keeping residents’ minds and bodies active, even in isolation. Now that will have access to the vaccine and can get folks vaccinated, we will have more room to do more things.”

Given the changing landscape and hyper-awareness about health issues in the world today, Carriage Glen made a purchase that will ensure the most ultra-clean, sanitized, safe long-term environment for their residents.
“We have purchased an electrostatic machine, which we can use to mist the high-touch surfaces in the community to fight COVID,” Kim said. “Before anyone ever moves into our community, that is the last thing we do to ensure safety for all residents. We also clean high-touch surfaces throughout common areas with the mist multiple times a day.”

With terrific move-in specials running now, Carriage Glen boasts 51 total apartments, available to rent with a month-to-month lease, with seven different floor plan choices between one- and two-bedroom apartment styles. They have apartments that range from 703 up to 1,542 square feet, with spacious open concepts. Many of the kitchen plans have a breakfast bar at Carriage Glen. An elevator serves all three floors as well as the underground parking level. If you’re looking for an active 55+ community, be sure to contact them about scheduling a tour to see for yourself if it’s the right place for you!

A Safe and Healthy Environment

Sumner Place Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation (sumnerplacecare.com) has also pulled out all the stops to keep their residents safe and active throughout the pandemic, increasingly encouraging family members and friends to call their loved one often and keep them communicating on a regular basis. They’ve also helped families connect with their loved ones via online video applications, pictures, letters, and online messages, and are constantly engaging their residents in the community.

Sumner Place prides itself on providing resident-focused care, independence, and offering a home-like atmosphere. They have three households and a walk-out entrance and patio for their Alzheimer residents in the secure Memory Support household. Their excellent staff and teams strive daily to serve the residents’ and their families’ needs, while maintaining Dignity in Life for all residents, families, visitors, and their team of caregivers.

The Fitness Factor

Research indicates that regular physical activity for seniors helps improve their mental and physical health. It produces endorphins, which act as a stress reliever and leave them feeling happy, and regular exercise has been linked to improved sleep for seniors, reduces their risk of falls, and improves their social interaction and cognitive function.

The fitness professionals at Right Foot Forward Fitness (rightfootforwardfitness.com) in Lincoln offer a variety of ways to help your loved ones—whether in senior living or at home—keep moving. They recently launched a new online/remote coaching program that delivers custom programming with full-length workout videos customized for each individual. They use positive reinforcement and encouragement to help participants, regardless of age and ability, to achieve their goals, no matter how big or small.

 

Jeff Madsen

“Right Foot Forward Fitness is not just a gym or training program, it’s a community,” said Owner Jeff Madsen. “Whether we work with someone for a month, a year, or a decade, my goal is twofold. First, I strive to help seniors understand a better way to work out based on their age and the physical shape they are in, and second, I work to help clients build relationships that will help them with their fitness journey for the long term.”

Right Foot Forward Fitness is the premier provider of individualized personal training in Lincoln. Whether you are an athlete, a master’s athlete (40+ years of age), seeking to lose weight, or looking to gain muscle and size, they can help you achieve those goals—at the training studio or at home! Right Foot Forward Fitness wants to help you achieve the best version of you possible so you can live the active, engaged life you want, regardless of your age!

Pre-Planning

It’s never a comfortable conversation and often overwhelming and awkward, but if you have loved ones in senior living, planning ahead for what they want when their time on earth ends is such a crucial thing to do. Wyuka Funeral Home & Cemetery (wyuka.com) is there to help you decide upon and record both your loved ones’ and your own end-of-life wishes. Pre-planning can help every individual make an informed and thoughtful decision about their funeral, choosing sentimental things they want included, comparing prices, and helping the family. Wyuka offers a pre-planning checklist with all the information you need to start the process, and they will walk you through the entire process.

When you or a loved one passes away, your family will be making numerous important decisions, while also grieving. Pre-planning can help your family plan with ease when the time comes. Your family can confidently put a loved one’s plan into action, knowing that these were their wishes. Working with Wyuka to create a plan in advance also leaves your loved one with the peace of mind that their family has been relieved of making burdensome decisions during their time of loss. Once completed, you can rest assured that you and your loved ones’ plans are in the hands of trusted individuals—without forcing anyone to make decisions in a hurried manner. You do not have to pay for a plan in advanced, unless you choose to, so it’s never too soon to get started.

The Lincoln community can be proud of the exceptional options for elder care in the region, be that at-home care or in a senior-living community. They’ve excelled throughout the pandemic but always welcome creative ways for the community to bring smiles to seniors’ faces. Take some ideas from this feature or come up with your own way to share joy!