We know we reach a lot of readers who are either nearing their retirement years or are the caretaker of a senior loved one. That is why we feel it’s important to highlight senior living and care options that are available here in Lincoln. We also want to connect you with key people within these industries.
The first person we talked to was Kayla Schaf, retirement living advisor at The Legacy Retirement Communities. Legacy offers independent, assisted living, and memory care. They also offer additional care to current residents if needed through their Legacy Home Care program.
Kayla took this opportunity to encourage and EMPOWER our readers to start mapping out specific goals and plans for their future. “Everyone needs to ask themselves, ‘Who holds the keys to my retirement years?’” Kayla advised. “Who makes the decisions if something would suddenly change? Who are you trusting to help with navigating the options? If you are relying on an adult child or family member, do those people know and understand your wishes and have access to what they need to support you when the time comes? What are you leaving up to chance? Most seniors that I work with admit that they would rather not talk/address or plan their future, but if you do not take charge of your future plans, who will? The folks that are most satisfied with their situation are the ones that have chosen their path. I feel encouraged that this message could help someone take the next step towards managing their future.”
At Legacy, their purpose is to empower folks to build knowledge and help aging adults and their families to define goals that they are comfortable with and willing to embrace in this season of their life. Kayla shared a unique way to break down the steps every adult needs to take to feel “EMPOWER”ed as they age:
E-mbrace where you are at. Take inventory of your wellbeing. How are you doing in the areas of health, finances, social life, family, etc., and do they align with your goals and where you want to be?
M-otivate yourself to plan for your future. Be the first to start the conversation with the people you love. Don’t wait for it to come up or pretend that things will not change with your health or circumstances.
P-lan. Are your finances in order? Do you know what you can afford if you should need care? Do you need to downsize? Do you have the documentation in place? Do you have a long-term care policy and what does it cover? Where is it at? Get your plans in order and then communicate them to those who need to know.
O-wn that plan. Create a timeline and communicate the plan to those who need to know. If your plan is to stay in your home, what changes need to be made to do so?
W-orst case scenario planning is hard but necessary. What will you do if your health changes over night? Do you have an emergency plan?
E-xecute. Put your plan in to action. If your choice is to move from your home, start touring communities and visit with a retirement living advisor. You might have to get on a waiting list.
R-evaluate. Revaluate your plan every six months. Have your goals changed? Has your health changed? Is everything up to date? Are the people that were involved still involved? Etc.
Sometimes, for aging adults, the motivation to transition into a retirement community is simply about enjoying a lifestyle that is comfortable and convenient with amenities geared towards their interests. The reason could also be to move closer to family members. If you have an older parent or grandparent who is still in good health but they live alone out of state or even just a couple hours away, you should talk to them about moving closer to immediate family before it gets difficult for them to drive or get by on their own. A place like Carriage Glen, Lincoln’s independent living community for individuals ages 55 and up, could be the perfect place for them. With various floor plans to rent, an optional dining program, wellness area, coffee shop, library, transportation, covered parking, and even storage space, Carriage Glen is a great option for care-free, retirement living.
If you’re looking at a community that doesn’t offer the storage space on-site that you require, you will need to find an off-site storage solution. Downsizing from a home to a retirement or senior living community usually means figuring out what to do with all the furniture and belongings that won’t fit in your space anymore. There might be items that you want to pass along to kids and grandkids one day, but you need more time to sort through everything and divvy it out. Store It All is a wonderful self-storage facility in Lincoln offering great customer service, easy online reservations and billing and on-site security. Storage is one of many things to take in consideration when planning this type of major life transition.
Emphasizing the importance of planning early for retirement and senior living arrangements was Jennifer Knecht, vice president of marketing and sales at Immanuel. Jennifer pointed out that retirement communities aren’t just for seniors who need healthcare support—there are so many more benefits including maintenance-free living, health and wellness opportunities, lifelong learning, organized social events, travel opportunities, and community involvement.
“Retirees no longer want a ‘restful’ retirement,” Jennifer revealed. “They see this time as an opportunity to explore new passions and build new friendships. Retirement communities help support residents, whatever their retirement goals may be. Rightsizing, ensuring your home ‘fits’ in your season of life, is often the first step in retirement planning. We find many seniors looking for smaller homes and apartments that allow them to spend less time mowing the yard and more time checking off their bucket lists.”
Since 1887, Immanuel has been providing Christ-centered service to seniors, each other, and the community. As a not-for-profit, serving arm of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), Immanuel’s retirement offerings include 14 independent living, assisted living, memory support, and long-term care communities on eight campuses in southeast Nebraska and central Iowa. Additionally, their three Immanuel Pathways PACE® centers (Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) offer complete health plans allowing eligible individuals to remain living independently in their home.
“Family members should know that there are many ways to help loved ones as they age,” added Jennifer. “Beyond keeping an eye on physical conditions, we see many family members take an active role in touring retirement communities as well as conducting online research of care options, but the retirement living space is crowded and confusing with so many communities looking the same and even offering similar amenities. Again, do your research. Industry-wide, we’re seeing a significant shift away from local providers toward national chains. This causes a sharp disconnect between senior resident needs, community maintenance, and profit-driven corporate decisions.”
Jennifer’s main advice is to ask questions beyond amenities and services. Compare financial and corporate strategies: What percentage of profits above operational expenses will go into community and program improvements? How is quality measured?
“With so many choices out there, both in the local nonprofit and national for-profit arena, knowing your options and asking the right questions will help you make the right decision.” Jennifer said. “Immanuel is deeply rooted in Nebraska. We were founded in Omaha over 131 years ago and since then have been committed to a not-for-profit mission. What this means for residents and participants is they know that we are dedicated to significantly investing directly into enhancing programming, updating our buildings, and supporting other like-minded community organizations. It’s the difference in knowing decisions are being made in the best interest of those who matter most: our seniors.”
Planning can be very difficult, whether it is for yourself or a loved one, if you really don’t know the full scope of considerations that should be taken when it comes to aging, planning for independent or assisted living, or making life adjustments based on recent health concerns. This is why it is so important to talk to someone who has experience in these areas and can help you come up with a comprehensive game plan based on your unique situation. More than that, it is just so comforting to have someone you can ask questions to when you feel unsure about something. This is why Stephanie Witt started Guiding Hands for Senior Transitions.
“Guiding Hands is dedicated to being a resource for those who are not sure how to navigate the senior services and options that are available to them,” Stephanie explained. “For a signup fee of $100 and a monthly membership of $75, Guiding Hands will take away the burden of exploring unfamiliar territory alone or being responsible for a loved one without any experience in this area. By signing up, you and/or your loved one will sit down with a trained individual who will help create a Life Plan that matches your goals.”
Guiding Hands also helps with communication between family members and other players who are involved to ensure everyone has the same information. Whether its attending doctors check-ups to ensure the right questions are being asked or being present during meetings with an attorney so that nothing is being overlooked, Guiding Hands will guide you and be your advocate throughout the whole process.
Life will certainly bring changes and transitions. Preparing for your senior years and these changes may result in stress or confusion. Changes could feel overwhelming and finding solutions become time- consuming. This is why Bridge to Better Living and their staff of transition consultants decrease the anxiety and worries of a search for a new lifestyle by sharing their extensive knowledge and resources.
“It is important for us to first build a relationship with the client and discuss with them an educated plan to move forward,” said Robbie Nathan, training director for Bridge to Better Living. “Our transition consultants discuss communities that fit the client’s unique needs and wants, arrange tours with the communities when the clients are available, and act as their personal guide. Focus is placed on the client; there is no bias, no wrong directions, and the service Bridge to Better Living offers is always no-cost to the client. A transition consultant accompanies their client on each tour and takes notes pertaining to the community being visited. Our staff has over 150 years of experience and each consultant is aware of the processes essential for successful placement.”
Robbie acknowledged how too often, people want to wait until “it’s time.” However, it is better to plan ahead, learn the possibilities, see the choices in different styles of living, and develop a “Plan B” for the future. Communities may be similar, but they are not one size fits all—each living option offers diverse services, amenities, plans. If you’ve seen one retirement community, you’ve seen one retirement community.
“Bridge to Better Living emphasizes the importance of knowing what is best for the client, focusing specifically on their needs,” Robbie stated. “Neighbors, friends, and families all experience various outcomes from their choices but not everyone is the same. We want clients to think about what is best for them. Is a specific location they want? How many meals would be available? Is transportation necessary? Will an on-site medical staff be necessary? Is the cost affordable? What type of payment is required? Are there fitness rooms? Square footage and lighting are also important to many. Bridge to Better Living’s motto is Placement with Passion, and we take it seriously.”
Ultimately, Robbie’s advice to our readers is to take care of yourself. Evaluate your health and current situation, plan ahead, and never be afraid to ask for help.
Part of taking care of ourselves, especially as we age, is staying as active as we can for as long as we can. There will no doubt be more challenges in our later years, but that is why it is important to partner with a fitness coach that can customize the workouts to what your body is able to handle. We spoke with Jeff Madsen, owner of Right Foot Forward Fitness, about why committing to a fitness program is not something to put off.
“One of the primary obstacles people face when finding the motivation to start a fitness coaching program is the fear of the unknown,” Jeff shared. “I recently started working with a retired oncologist and he admitted to me that he was referred to our gym over a year ago, but he resisted reaching out. On his first appointment, before we began, he expressed to me that he was feeling very apprehensive. These are normal feelings that we all have when we’re starting something new to us. It doesn’t really matter how self-confident we are in a other areas, we’re still human and many of us struggle to begin our personal fitness journey. I recommend first sitting down and visiting with the fitness professional who you’re thinking about building a relationship with. You’re going to be spending a fair amount of time with this person as you work towards your goals, so you want to make sure they are the right person for you! They should be able to answer to your questions, but more importantly, you should feel comfortable and have an initial trust level. As for my new friend, the retired Oncologist, he later admitted to me that he should have reached out and started a year ago! If this describes you, don’t be scared to move forward. Our gym has members of all ages who are all at different stages of their fitness journey, and that is okay! We’re all in this together.”
If you are currently unable to be active due to an injury or impending surgery, it’s important to plan for rehabilitation in order to return to a healthy, active lifestyle as soon as possible. Common surgeries for seniors include cholecystecomies (gallbladder surgery), joint replacements, cataract surgeries, and cancer surgeries to either detect or remove the spread of tumors from the prostate, colon, breast, and other organs. The short-term rehabilitation program at Lancaster Rehabilitation Center starts with empowering you to become engaged in your healing process. The program’s goal is to help you regain a full range of functional abilities while preventing complications. This includes frequent and thorough updates on your therapies, schedules, and progress. Areas that Lancaster Rehab can assist in is cardiac care, stroke rehab, IV therapy, comprehensive wound care, PICC placement, on-site x-rays, orthopedic rehab, pain management, tracheotomy care, and much more. With a focus on short-term rehabilitation, most people are discharged home within four to six weeks. If a person should need a little more time or they choose to stay a little longer to get stronger, Lancaster Rehab has traditional long-term care services available as well.
Hillcrest Firethorn is another innovative provider of short-term rehabilitation services in Lincoln. With a brand new building featuring all private suites and one of the area’s largest rehab gyms, Hillcrest Firethorn is focused on helping aging adults recover from surgery, illness, or hospital stays until they are able to return home.
“Often, our rehab guests receive home health services from Hillcrest Home Care, which provides continuity of care and therapy since we’re one provider,” said Jim Janicki with Hillcrest Health Services. “Hillcrest Firethorn also offers a limited number of long-term care accommodations for seniors who need 24 hour skilled nursing care, and our private pay rates are lower than many other providers, which is surprising considering our the size and attractiveness of our private rooms.”
It’s advised to take a tour of rehab facilities when you don’t need one so you know where you would want to go if you ever did need one. It’s best to be prepared! We encourage seniors to visit Hillcrest Firethorn and even enjoy a hot or cold beverage from their Firethorn Bistro, which proudly serves Starbucks® coffee.
According to Karla Frese, manager partner of Home Care Partners of Nebraska, the fall season often becomes a popular time for surgeries. This is because people put off having surgeries in the summer because of travel plans, not wanting to be bed-ridden during the nice weather, or not meeting their deductible until later in the year.
“People tend to be unprepared for the time it takes to regain strength and mobility after leaving intensive care,” Karla addressed. “Don’t expect to leave the hospital or rehabilitation facility in the same condition you were in when you arrived. The rule of thumb for a hospital stay is that it will take you 4–7 days for each day you spend in the hospital to recover to pre-hospital condition. Age, previous health, medications taken, and the duration of the hospital/rehab stay all need to be taken into consideration during recovery. Do not be disheartened when you don’t recover in a day as scientists have found that for every day of bed rest in the ICU, muscle strength was between 3%–11% lower over the following months and years.”
To give you peace of mind and help you feel safe while you recover, Home Care Partners of Nebraska coordinates with your medical team to develop a personalized recovery program.
“Our team will help you prepare your home for the discharge, assist you the day of transition, and set up a safe recovery care schedule to support your continued recovery.” Karla added. “Some of the care may include support while showering, dressing, cooking, medication reminders, and driving to follow up appointments. Home care support lowers your risk of readmission.”
Offering a special insider look into the world of emerging gerotechnology for during and after recovery, Karla highlighted a few new monitoring products that have been designed to serve older adults. Consider implementing one or more of these technologies in your life to aid in your safety:
- Wearable, battery-operated emergency alert systems (Philips Lifeline) that detect falls and will automatically call for help.
- The Apple Watch (Series 4) monitors your heart rhythm and detects falls.
- Some cell phones like GreatCall offer emergency response buttons.
- Voice-controlled devices like LifePod, and personal assistance devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, can set reminders to take medications or head to a medical appointment.
- Video door bells, cameras, microphones, and motion sensors like Evermind will monitor regular activity or lack thereof for a caregiver’s records.
- Automatic Pill Dispensers help prevent double dosing and take the stress out of remembering when to take medication.
- Some doctor’s offices now offer video consultation for those who cannot come in for an appointment. This technology is ideal for those aging in place and suffering from minor ailments that do not require an in-person visit.
Safety is an important consideration for any aging individual, not just those recovering from an injury or surgery. Especially at home, we want to feel secure and comfortable. Whether you are in recovery or you are just starting to experience mobility pain or limitations in your old age, something to consider is installing smart lights in your home that work around your schedule. With Simply Smart Homes’ intelligent switches, you can set your lights on timers and control them from your phone or by voice command. You can even program them to automatically turn on when you arrive home, which is really great at night time when it’s hard to see.
The owner of Simply Smart Homes, Addison Collingsworth, was actually inspired to start the company because of his grandparents. He wanted to provide “smart home” technology that was affordable and actually easy to use—so easy that even our technology-challenged elders can figure it out!
Along with automated lighting and power products, Simply Smart Homes also installs security devices such as cameras, locks, and sensors designed to protect for life. The system allows for doors to be locked automatically, reminds residents if windows are left open, and other practical security measures. These safety products are versatile and can be installed quickly and easily in nearly all homes.
This system also enables you to self-monitor and receive security alerts on your phone anywhere, anytime, and with no long-term contracts. There is even a two-way audio feature which lets you speak to the people and pets in home when you’re not there. The sad truth is, seniors are easy targets for break-ins and theft. Don’t let yourself or your senior loved one be vulnerable!
Another concern for seniors is hearing loss. Leslie M. Frank, M.S. CCC-A, audiologist and owner of Nebraska Hearing Center, informed us that 20% of all Americans, nearly half of those over 75 years of age, and 90% of 90-year-olds have some degree of hearing loss.
“This is an issue we likely all face at some point in our lives,” said Leslie. “Nebraska Hearing Center offers complimentary hearing evaluations and consultations to address this issue. We offer a no pressure, informational approach to hearing healthcare. It’s important to have your hearing evaluated annually. Start with that baseline evaluation before you notice any problems so it can be monitored over time. It’s important to stay ahead of this issue as research has showed a link between hearing loss and dementia. For those in a position of care-giving of senior adults, please reach out to their audiologist for advice on how to help care for hearing aids. Simple cleaning procedures can have a tremendous impact on quality of hearing aid performance and consequently the quality of communication with loved ones over time.”
When we asked Leslie what our readers need to consider in terms of senior living and aging in general, she warned against all the marketing materials that are directed at seniors and their healthcare.
“It can be very confusing to consumers,” Leslie admitted. “In regards to hearing, it is recommended to start with an audiologist who will provide a thorough audiological exam and industry-standard follow up care and verification testing to make ensure true improvements are made. Be sure to select an office that is convenient to your home, has terms that are fair and reasonable, and audiologists interested in your overall hearing healthcare including follow up care. Simply put, if it sounds too good to be true, it often is! Service and follow up are key elements to successful hearing-aid use, don’t be tempted by internet and mail order deals. Their prices end up not being savings in the long run! Trust your hearing healthcare to a local, knowledgeable audiologist.”
Grace Kats RN/BSN-CHH with Graceful In-Home Healthcare also reminded us that as we head into cooler months with more chances for inclement weather, it’s important for everyone, especially seniors, to take safety precautions in order to avoid slips, accidents, or mobile-restricting situations.
“Graceful In-Home Healthcare provides transportation assistance if you or your loved one cannot safely drive.” Grace explained. “One of our trained caregivers will happily arrange picked up and drop off times for doctor appointments, church services, shopping/errands, and social engagements. In addition, we offer meal prep and housekeeping services—anything from grocery shopping, dusting, and vacuuming to doing laundry!”
Since emotional support is just as important as physical health, Graceful In-Home Healthcare provides companion care to those who need it. Their caregivers will spend time with you or your loved one to make a personal connection, and there is always a caregiver on call 24/7 so that no matter the time, you know there is someone available to help.
There is no denying that it is scary and even embarrassing to realize you are losing bits and pieces of your independence as you age. Not being able to hear or see as well as you used to, or even being unable to keep your balance when you walk or try to carry something, can really be hard to accept. Kyle Johnson, president of Care Consultants for the Aging in Lincoln, said he typically sees seniors wait too long to ask for help. Adult children tend to notice signs of independence loss before the senior does, but they hesitant to say something out of fear of upsetting their parents. This is a dangerous scenario of waiting for the “major incident” to happen before getting help in the home.
“Clients that we begin services with are typically just starting to notice the difficulties of living independently in their own homes, and are starting to need assistance with their daily activities.” Kyle explained. “We are the largest Home Care Registry in the State of Nebraska and our model is different than any other home care provider available to clients. All of our caregivers are licensed CNAs and work as independent contractors for their clients. Before any caregiver is allowed to work with a client, they are run through all background checks, criminal history reports, work authorization in the United States, CPR certified, must carry their own professional liability insurance, and are bonded through our company. Our rates are the most competitive in the industry and have the ability to start services with no upfront deposits or hourly minimums. The care we provide is client-directed, ensuring that you make the best, informed decisions for yourself and your loved ones.”
To further help us understand the benefits of senior care delivered right at home, we asked Natalie Leon, owner of Visiting Angels, to share her experience.
“Home care can be a great support, allowing one to maintain their lifestyle and continue their routines in the comfort of their homes,” Natalie confirmed. “Visiting Angels offers loving and experienced caregivers for home care as an alternative to an assisted living facility or nursing home. Many seniors have a network of friends and family, and most importantly, a routine that actually helps them thrive and be happy. Retaining this standard of living is a positive part of their continued health, and studies have shown that seniors do well remaining in their homes.”
No two aging adults have the exact same care needs. That’s why, in order to address the wide range of health and wellness concerns facing seniors, Visiting Angels provides personalized assistance.
“If your family member needs change during the course of their care, our services can be adjusted.” Natalie explained. “One of the many benefits of home care services from Visiting Angels is your loved one’s ability to receive assistance on their schedule. From a watchful eye overnight, to a helping hand during the day, we can be there when your loved one needs us. We have services available at all times, including weekends, holidays, temporarily, long-term, and around-the-clock.”
For most people, care giving is not their profession. Many of us have to work our normal jobs while also being responsible for the care and affairs of an aging family member. Natalie admitted that this demand has been proven to be taxing, stressful, and at times, will result in resentment towards other family members.
“Start by having an open and honest discussion with your loved one and other family members,” Natalie encouraged. “This first step is essential when you are trying to decide if introducing home care services is the right option. Active communication among all family members is the building block to a strong support system for an older parent and all family members involved.”
A terminal diagnosis will really force the caretakers involved to have a conversation about what is next. Hospice care is an option designed specifically to provide end-of-life care and quality services that allow the patient and their families/significant others to live life richly, deeply, and meaningfully for as long as possible and to die with dignity in the setting of their choice. That is the mission of Hospice Community Care in Lincoln. They are 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.
If you are the caretaker for a loved one who has been diagnosed with onset Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia, staying in the familiar surroundings of home can keep seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia feeling safe and loved. While there’s currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there is care and caring, and the helpful staff at Home Instead Senior Care believe the right care approach can help your loved one maintain a high quality of life even in the face of memory loss.
Home Instead pioneered memory care training. In collaboration with experts on Alzheimer’s disease, they created a training program called Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and Education®. This unique program equips their CAREGiversSM to deliver distinctive memory care based on research and experience. Rather than focusing on the diagnosis and symptoms of the disease, this program focuses on the care and dignity of the person with dementia. This relationship-centered approach enables CAREGivers to provide individualized care that:
- Helps your loved one remain safe and calm at home
- Encourages engagement
- Provides nutritious meals
- Creates social interaction
- Provides mind-stimulating activities
- Helps minimize changing behavioral and cognitive symptoms
- Honors who the senior was earlier in life
- Supports the family
Home Instead’s training doesn’t stop with their professional CAREGivers. Knowing that family caregivers are looking for help too, they also offer free Alzheimer’s Family Caregiver Training to any family that needs support. The free training is available through an online e-learning course or at the Home Instead Senior Care office in Lincoln at 1400 Dahlberg Dr., Ste. E.
If your loved one with dementia isn’t able to safely live at home anymore due to the growing severity of their condition, even with in-home assistance on call, it’s important to find them a safe, nurturing environment as soon as possible. Sumner Place Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation specializes in individualized programs designed to reduce feelings of confusion, fear, and agitation and offers meaningful, enjoyable activities that stimulate the mind and body. According to Megan Herter with Sumner Place, their facility prides itself on providing resident-focused care and offering a home-like atmosphere.
“We work hard to create a living environment that continuously enriches each resident’s life,” Megan informed 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. 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.”
Another community devoted exclusively to benefiting those living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias is CountryHouse Residence for Memory Care. At CountryHouse, they are all about experiences. You can walk into any of the three CountryHouse Residence locations in Lincoln and you’ll see residents engaging with one another, families enjoying dinner together with grandchildren, bowling and badminton games going on in the lawn, budding artists in the art studio, chefs baking in the kitchen, and smiles throughout the community.
The question of cost is usually the first thing a family asks, but the cost of memory care can vary a great deal from one provider to the next, depending on a number of factors. Some start with a base rate for residential services such as meals and housekeeping, and then add on fees for increasing levels of care. CountryHouse Residence offers all-inclusive monthly rates or a lower, base-rate option with separate fees based on health care needs. Monthly rates vary depending on the size and type of room chosen.
Someone who not only knows the ins and outs of memory care costs but also knows how difficult having a loved one with dementia is on a family is Beth Friesen, RN CCM CSA® CDP CADDCT the owner of Oasis Senior Advisors in Lincoln. After working as a registered nurse, Beth was motivated to work in elder care when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She has experience communicating with families about questions on dementia and Alzheimer’s and the options that are available. Through Oasis, Beth is able to offer free assistance—no strings attached—to seniors and their loved ones in order to simplify the process of finding new living arrangements.
“I’ve found that many people do not know that a service like mine exists when they start the process of finding an elderly loved one a place to call home,” said Beth. “By simply applying the right expertise, I’m able to minimize the stress on everyone involved.”
As the baby boomer generation retires at a record rate of 10,000 a day, senior care services and living options will continue to grow more crucial to American families. With that in mind, it is widely recommended that we all familiarize ourselves with each type of living and health care option out there. We’ve touched on a few so far but Aubrey Paulsen, senior living advocate at Tabitha, was able to share a little more insight.
“We are industry experts, and my role as an advocate exists to ensure seniors and their families are guided in the right direction.” Aubrey told us. “Lincoln’s premier senior living experience is GracePointe by Tabitha, Assisted Living and Memory Care Suites, catering to older adults looking for a maintenance-free lifestyle, enriching activities, and personal care with specialized memory care services available. In addition, Tabitha offers exceptional skilled nursing and long-term care at our main campus in central Lincoln and at Tabitha Residences located on the main campus, in south Lincoln’s Williamsburg neighborhood, and in Crete, NE. All Tabitha Residences offer private suites and earn perfect five-out-of-five-star overall ratings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.”
Aubrey’s main message to our readers is that no one has to do this alone. If you’re caring for a senior loved one, call a Tabitha senior care expert. “We’re here to help take the burden off loved ones and caregivers,” she said. “We will listen, learn, and provide expert guidance to best fit your unique situation, even as it may evolve. As a nonprofit, for-purpose organization, we approach our work in the right way, for the right reasons. We are a free, no-obligation call away, and we’ll find the right answer for you.”
Location is of course a factor when looking for a senior living community. As Lincoln continues to grow in all directions, new communities are being built to fulfill the need of families in those nearby neighborhoods. An example of this is the Fallbrook neighborhood in northwest Lincoln. Fueled by a desire to provide different levels of care that help residents maintain as much independence as possible, Fallbrook Assisted Living and Memory Care planted its roots in this beautiful, growing part of the community.
“We were excited to open our doors in May of this year, ready to become the home to over 70 residents,” shared Virginia Cole, executive director of Fallbrook Assisted Living and Memory Care. “We have a beautiful, new facility with spacious rooms and various amenities. Each resident’s level of care is determined by a nursing assessment prior to admission. With your independence as our cornerstone, we offer individualized services that can be as hands-on or as hands-off as needed.”
Located throughout the south parts of Lincoln are The Waterford Communities. There are two assisted living properties and one designed specifically for memory care. At Waterford’s assisted living communities, residents can expect their basic needs to be take care of, such as weekly housekeeping, transportation, three home-cooked meals every, and life-enrichment activities. There are also community perks such as a beauty and barbershop, lots of outdoor patio space with beautiful landscaping, complimentary Wi-Fi and cable TV, and personalized laundry service. On the healthcare side of things, the friendly staff at Waterford will oversee medication administration, offer mobility assistance, and there are even on-site physician services.
The topic of senior living transitions and healthcare programs can be hard to talk about because it means that either we or someone we care about is getting closer to the end. Jodi Freeman, outreach coordinator for Roper & Sons Funeral Home, has experience with helping seniors and their families find answers to their questions about how to prepare for end of life. She spoke with us about how a common misconception people have when it comes to making funeral arrangements is that it’s too early or too much would change by the time they pass away.
“At Roper & Sons, we follow up on all of our pre-arrangements every five years or so, and you are always welcome to contact us to make changes if you wish.” Jodi said. “Time after time, families tell us the best gift they have ever received from a loved one is to have had their services prearranged. It is best to do this while you are still in good health, both mentally and physically, and to be sure that your loved ones know what your wishes are, where to find your documents, and which funeral home is your funeral home of choice.”
People can also go to Butherus, Maser, & Love Funeral Home, with locations in Lincoln and Hickman, where they offer useful resources for families such as their online Simple Planner. This resource is designed to begin a conversation with those pre-planning for funeral services and help them better communicate their intentions for the future.
Wyuka Funeral Home and Cemetery, listed on the National Registry of Historic places, also offers pre-planning services so that families can reduce the stress of wondering how they will take care of funeral arrangements and costs later. The Wyuka staff will be by your side to provide assistance and help comfort you after the death of a loved one. Whether your preference is a traditional family service and visitation, a contemporary gathering, graveside service, cremation, or Veterans service, their funeral directors and staff are prepared to help assist you through this painful process.
We know this is all a lot of information to take in, but it is important information. So important, in fact, that all the people we talked to above have dedicated their life’s work to it. Being passionate about senior care is a special calling, and if you are a reader who is inspired to make a career out of senior care, you’ll be interested to know that the University of Nebraska offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and certificates in gerontology, long-term care management, social work, and human and family service administration.
The aging adult today is tech savvy, more active, and accustom to good services and care. Aging adults want conveniences in their own home, have unique financial needs, and continue to stay active much longer due to advances in health care. This growth outlook and change in mindset among the aging population demands qualified professionals who can offer ideas and solutions to address the opportunities of this group. Individuals in industries like finance, health/wellness, business, and marketing would all benefit by having a key understanding of the multi-disciplinary fields of elder care.
The University of Nebraska offers several online programs addressing the needs of aging adults and their growing need for long-term care, and there is a key focus on workforce development in this area. It is projected that by 2020, over 20% of the US population will be 60 or older, totaling over 77 million people. In Nebraska alone, the need for staff and caregivers in skilled nursing and assisted living will grow by 19%. With the University’s online programs, many adult students are able to pursue higher education while juggling multiple demands including work, family, and other commitments. Here are testimonies from two of these students:
“I knew for a long time that I wanted to work in a career where I could help others. I cared for my grandparents as they got older, and it made me want to do the same for others. Now I’m working with seniors in a nursing home, helping them adapt to their new life, and the skills I gained from my certificate coursework through the University of Nebraska has enabled me to be a better social worker.” – Joey Cadek, Family Studies and Gerontology, Undergraduate Certificate, UNK and UNO
“I became an advocate for elderly and disabled people within the realm of interior design. The fully-online Gerontology, Interior Design graduate certificate program from the University of Nebraska allowed me to combine my desire to serve the aging community with my passion for interior design. The program enabled me to critically think about accessibility issues.” – Emily Drummy, Architecture, MS and Certificate in Gerontology, UNL and UNO
Whether you are the one considering retirement plans, senior living options, in-home healthcare needs, or ways to make your life easier as you age, or you’re the caretaker for a senior loved one, we hope you learned a few things about what and who is available in Lincoln to help you along the way.