Senior Memory Care
Did you know that 40% of people over 65 years of age struggle with some form of memory impairment—approximately 16 million seniors in the United States alone? It is a humbling fact that many seniors who need attentive care do not get it. One study from the University of Michigan estimated that 1.8 million Americans over age 70 who have memory impairment are never even evaluated for cognitive symptoms, let alone treated for them.
For those seniors with memory loss who are fortunate enough to have family members or loved ones who are aware of their condition, many challenges may still present themselves. Common fears and challenges include finding someone to help care for an aging family member during the day or at night. Not everyone may be able to take the time off work or find space in their schedules sufficient enough for the demanding task of around-the-clock care. Some may even be unable to care for these seniors in person at all as they do not live nearby.
When caregivers are available, fatigue and burnout are common realities. It can be incredibly difficult to maintain patience and perspective when helping an aging family member who may not even remember who you are or recognize all that you are doing for them. Additionally, providing more than basic daily necessities and helping memory-impaired seniors to find pleasure and enjoyment each day can be a nearly insurmountable task for a single caregiver. The good news is that a variety of excellent options and services exist to help seniors in our community who are struggling with these challenges, along with their families who are doing all they can to see that the physical and mental needs of their loved ones are being met on a daily basis.
Here are some important things to consider when selecting care for the memory-impaired seniors in your life.
Many services are available to help memory-impaired seniors make plans for the future. It can be overwhelming to prioritize and consider all the many needs of seniors in general, but especially so when memory impairment enters the picture. These seniors and their caregivers face questions that range from who will prepare meals to whether or not new living arrangements are needed.
Fortunately, Care Consultants for the Aging has an excellent tool to help you in your planning! For years, Care Consultants has worked diligently to provide the community with excellent resources for seniors through their Lincoln ElderCare Resource Handbook. The handbook topics include:
- Medical Support Services
- Living Options
- Senior Resources
- and more
This comprehensive tool makes planning easy as a one-stop resource for seniors to find the people and services they’re looking for.
Being a resource is what Care Consultants for the Aging is all about. Care Consultants screens, interviews, and refers qualified caregivers so that seniors looking for help don’t have to worry about this themselves. For seniors or their designated caregivers who need a little extra help carrying their burdens, Care Consultants for the Aging has a solution.
Kyle Johnson, president of Care Consultants for the Aging in Lincoln, explained some of the ways they can help.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Care Consultants delivers where it matters and makes planning and decision-making simple.
Another great place to turn for planning assistance is Home Care Partners of Nebraska. Home Care Partners of Nebraska offers customized care, education, and support for families with dementia through their services, which include independent residences, assisted living, long-term care, hospice, and respite care.
Home Care Partners loves helping their clients build a plan to create peace of mind. They suggest beginning with an evaluation of the senior’s ability to perform instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), such as:
- Cleaning and maintaining the house
- Coordinating appointments
- Managing money
- Exercising/maintaining balance
- Taking all medications correctly
If help is needed in any of these areas, Home Care Partners is here to assist.
“We are supporting families daily through home care and also support groups,” said Karla Frese, Certified Dementia Practitioner with Home Care Partners. Karla identifies one of the greatest initial concerns for loved ones of seniors with memory-impairment.
“My mom/dad/wife/husband says they don’t need help, but I’m worried,” people often tell her. Karla advises the importance of understanding that memory-impaired seniors may be unable to recognize the seriousness of their own condition.
“When Alzheimer’s is coupled with what is called anosognosia (lack of awareness), there also comes a limited capacity for insight into and/or acknowledgment of ability and safety. Changes in the brain cause individuals to truly believe that there is nothing wrong with them,” she explained.
Karla went further: “A senior’s lack of awareness of their impairment can pertain to their memory, general thinking skills, emotions, and physical abilities. Someone with dementia may experience occasional difficulty with communicating, word-finding, and vocabulary, but they may explain these situations with a general excuse about forgetfulness or that they are ‘just tired.’”
Home Care Partners of Nebraska understands the challenge of dealing with these situations and welcomes designated caregivers to connect with them to begin making a plan today.
“We support family caregivers during transitions, times of change, and setting expectations. We let them know that their loved one may need time to accept care because they may be convinced a deficit does not actually exist,” Karla informed us.
Home Care Partners of Nebraska is ready and willing to help designated caregivers have these “courageous conversations” and to help you put together a plan today to bring ease and stability to your life.
Determining Levels of Care
Once basic needs and priorities have been determined and an initial plan is in place, designated caregivers will find it necessary to determine what level of care to provide for their seniors. Do they simply need help remembering to get the mail and pay their bills on time? Or are they in need of more sustained, in-depth care and living assistance?
Lincoln is home to many excellent facilities, communities, and services that cover every level of care you might possibly need. We talked with several skilled professionals and providers about their services.
If moving the memory-impaired senior in your life needs assistance in the home, Grace Kats, RN/BSN-CHH and the director of Graceful In-Home Healthcare, is a great person to talk to. Grace understands the importance of honoring and maintaining the dignity of seniors who struggle with memory-impairment.
From a young age, Grace witnessed the demonstration of these values in her community in Nigeria where it was expected that elders would always be treated with respect and love. Grace brought this experience with her when she moved to Lincoln in 1999. Since coming to Lincoln, she has developed personal and heartfelt connections with seniors while serving as a waitress at Clark Jeary and then later as a nurse. Now she serves as director of the award-winning Graceful In-Home Healthcare which provides all the services your aging loved ones might need from in-home nursing and companion care to flight companion services.
Grace sees the need for more education in the community regarding the health of our seniors with memory impairment.
“One of the often-overlooked aspects of memory care is the individual’s health,” Grace shared. She added that “dehydration, malnutrition, urinary tract infections, and unbalanced sodium or potassium levels can lead to confusion, falls, or agitated behaviors.”
These are just a few of the areas in which Graceful In-Home Healthcare can educate families. As Grace says, “Our caregivers provide that extra set of eyes to help you maintain your loved one’s well-being.”
We also visited with Jolee Urbanovsky, one of the amazing transition consultants at Bridge to Better Living. For Jolee, working with memory-impaired seniors is more than a job or career, it is a work of the heart. Jolee, as well as each of the staff members at Bridge to Better Living, has been touched by someone with memory loss, both personally and professionally.
“Bridge to Better Living understands how a diagnosis of memory loss affects an entire circle of family and friends, not just one person,” Jolee said.“When it is no longer safe for one suffering from this disease to stay at home and a move may be needed, Bridge to Better Living provides one-on-one guidance and assistance.”
Bridge to Better Living makes the process of determining which level of care is needed comfortable and less stressful with the assistance of their transition consultants.
“A Transition Consultant visits the client and/or the family to determine the best choices for a community to meet their loved one’s needs and wants,” Jolee explained. “As consultants, we are with them through each step of the journey. They are never alone in the search when Bridge to Better Living is doing each step for and with them.”
Bridge to Better Living is a perfect resource for anyone in the search for memory care services who needs help determining exactly what they need with the additional support of kind and caring professionals who are in place.
“My grandmother taught me more about living life to the fullest than anyone,” Jolee shared with us. “She demonstrated how even if the body is failing, one’s mind and spirit can still be 100%. Her zest and fight for life instilled in me that nothing is impossible. She is why I do what I do today.”
When it’s time to find an alternative to caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or other memory loss condition, CountryHouse Residence is a wonderful choice. There are three beautiful locations in Lincoln, one in Omaha, and even more throughout the Midwest including Kearney and Grand Island, Nebraska. Each one offers a full range of services in secure yet home-like surroundings.
For over 30 years, CountryHouse and their parent company, Agemark Senior Living, have been committed to treating all seniors as if they were a member of their own family. The signature wellness program, LifeCycles, is designed to maximize physical, social, intellectual and spiritual wellness through integrated activities, and also create moments of joy throughout the day. Walk into any CountryHouse and you’ll experience a lively environment with smiles and laughter all around. You might see reminiscing on the patio, budding artists working on a project, chefs baking in the kitchen, or the bus filled with residents pulling out for the daily drive.
CountryHouse’s services and amenities include but are not limited to:
- Companion and private bedrooms
- Specially trained, 24-hour care staff with RN supervision
- Dining, housekeeping, transportation, and maintenance services
- On-site salon
- Spacious common rooms and daily schedule for hands-on activities
- On-site doctor visits and physical therapy
- Family support services, including caregiver support groups, educational events, and daytime stay options
For distinctive, loving memory care, there’s no place like CountryHouse.
Because each person’s list of needs varies, customized care is so important for our memory-impaired loved ones. We reached out to Legacy Retirement Communities to learn more about the customized services they offer. Michele Carlson, BF-MT AD-BC CDP CADDCT, Legacy Arbors activity director and dementia educator, gave us the details.
“We are an assisted living and memory care community,” she said. “We can provide an environment that is well-suited for someone with dementia, from personal care needs, security, and a seven-day-a-week activity program designed to each individual’s needs, as well as helping navigate some of the challenges that can come with this disease. Our staff is made up of Certified Dementia Practitioners who are trained in the disease process as well as the skills needed to provide quality care.”
Michele understands the weight of caring for a loved-one with memory-impairment, having had both a father and grandma with Alzheimer’s. Michele has a wealth of knowledge and understanding of memory-impairment today.
She educated us on some of the warning signs of Alzheimer’s: “Memory loss affects daily life, including difficulty in planning, difficulty completing tasks that they have always done, confusion with time and place, problems with language, and poor judgment. If you are noticing any of these or others, then your first step is to make sure that you have seen your doctor and receive the correct diagnosis.”
Michele plays an important role in serving seniors with memory-impairment. She believes in the customization of care for residents and works hard “to ensure state-of-the-art programming through activities, exercises and individualized plans for every resident.”
Legacy Retirement Communities loves to help. They are dedicated to providing the level of care you need.
Natalie Leon, owner of Visiting Angels in Lincoln, shared with us the ways in which they cater to their clients’ levels of need as well.
“Through our memory care program, we provide assistance with a wide variety of needs,” Natalie said. “We assist our clients with personal tasks, provide comforting companionship, and offer helpful reminders when needed.”
Visiting Angels’ dementia care services are as basic or extensive as clients want them to be. These services include:
- Wandering prevention
- Walking assistance
- Dignified bathing, dressing, and grooming care
- Medication reminders and monitoring
- Preparation of healthy meals
- Light housekeeping chores
- Transportation to appointments and therapies
“The services we offer help the elderly continue to live in their homes,” Natalie said. “Working families are struggling; their days are longer, they barely have time to eat dinner together, and they have even less time to spend caring for their aging parents. Visiting Angels helps ease the daily load by providing non-medical in-home care.”
At Visiting Angels, every effort is made to improve the lives of seniors and their families with their various challenges and needs. Visiting Angels strives to educate, support, and provide the compassionate, professional resources needed to deliver the best care possible to families so their loved ones can remain independent in their own homes. Through non-medical home care, Visiting Angels assists in healing the emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being of the individual. This is accomplished through relationship building and effective communication with clients, families, and healthcare providers.
Visiting Angels is a perfect resource for anyone looking for compassionate, personalized care.
Finding Qualified Professionals and Providers
Many designated caregivers may choose to do as much as possible to take care of their seniors on their own for a variety of reasons, but when the burden becomes too much and a helping hand is needed, it is important to know that there are professional and qualified caregivers and providers available to assist you.
Home Instead Senior Care meets patients in the comfort of their own homes, bringing expertise and skill to your bedside! We spoke with owner Monica Kuhns about their services. At Home Instead, they take qualification and expertise seriously.
“Our CAREGivers receive specialized training to be able to handle the physical, emotional and behavioral challenges of dementia,” Monica said. “We provide in-home care from early to late stages and can be a big support to families to prevent burn out as the primary caregivers.”
Monica takes pride in the high standard of care their team provides.
“Our commitment to quality in-home care begins with the unique CAREGiverSM training program we utilize. This comprehensive educational experience equips our CAREGivers to provide ethical and individualized care to every person they interact with.”
We asked Monica what advice she would give to those who provide care to a loved one struggling with memory impairment.
“Don’t try to do it alone,” she counseled. “It can be very stressful and you need the support of other people. If the primary caregiver gets worn down, they are not good for anybody. Ask for help. Whether that is friends and family, neighbors, or a paid service like Home Instead, get some help. Even if your loved one says they don’t want anyone else to care for them, it is not fair to you to do it alone.”
With the help of excellent and qualified caregivers like those at Home Instead, there is no need to do it alone!
To further acquaint ourselves with top-of-the line services and providers in the area, we spoke with Jordan Schoenefeld, a memory care engagement coordinator at Tabitha, about the services and expertise they provide.
“Tabitha Home Health Care provides customized medical assistance at home including a variety of activities of daily living such as medication management, bathing and rehabilitation needs,” Jordan said.
Tabitha is a nonprofit comprehensive line of senior care services that provides in-home support, five-star rated living communities, rehabilitation services, and nursing care and hospice support.
“GracePointe by Tabitha Assisted Living & Memory Care Suites provides compassionate care with a maintenance-free lifestyle, leading-edge technology, and enriching activities focused on health and wellness. This allows older adults—including those experiencing dementia-related memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease—to enjoy all the richness of living in a safe and reliable environment that families can trust.” Jordan explained to us.
Jordan offered some of her wisdom on caring for someone who suffers from memory-impairment: “Caring for a loved one who suffers from memory loss will be challenging at times because each individual’s progression through the disease and severity of symptoms is different. Families tend to attribute changes in behavior and cognitive functions as a normal part of aging and often wait to seek professional help when a crisis occurs and their loved one is further into the disease.”
With all the quality services, staff, and providers available at Tabitha, expert guidance is easily accessed for all the services you need to care for seniors who suffer from memory loss.
For Lancaster Rehabilitation Center, having a staff that is qualified, experienced, and exceptional is a must. Lancaster Rehabilitation is Nebraska’s largest skilled nursing facility, where care, comfort, and compassion are all critical to the services they provide. We spoke with Administrator Amy Fish to learn more.
“The dedicated Memory Support neighborhood at Lancaster Rehabilitation Center is supported by a passionate group of team members who are truly devoted to caring for each individual, along with providing the safety and security expected,” Amy said. “Our team of professionals receives on-going specialized training to care for those suffering from Alzheimer’s or related disorders.”
Lancaster Rehabilitation is a 293-bed facility and is staffed 24 hours a day with professional nurses who are specially trained in Alzheimer’s and related disorders. They offer assistance and respite that can help designated caregivers find relief.
“Respite breaks can often make all the difference to a loved one who is also a full time caregiver,” Amy added. “Respite, short-term stays are a valuable way to trial residence away from home to help decide if this might be a viable option in the future. Our dementia neighborhood is safe and secure, yet also allowing for fresh air in our patio garden area, and a variety of daily activities.”
Lancaster Rehabilitation offers a variety of activities and services to soothe the weary caregiver or patient, whether for a weekend or a more extended period of time. At Lancaster Rehabilitation Center, the high-quality care offered serves both the needs of the memory-impaired senior and those who are lovingly looking after them.
Selecting an Assisted Living Community
When remaining at home is no longer a feasible option for a memory-impaired senior, it becomes crucial to find a place of residence that provides necessary services and facilities. Beth Friesen, owner and CEO of Oasis Senior Advisors, told us about an excellent free resource they provide that can help in the hunt for senior living and care anywhere in the country.
“At Oasis Senior Advisors, we specialize in assisting families to find the perfect assisted living or memory support community for their loved one FREE of charge,” she said. “We are here to be your advocate, your resource, and your support system. We will help you access support groups, physicians, neuropsychologists, resources, day stay services, and in home care.”
Having watched her own mother suffer from Alzheimer’s in her final years, Beth has a heart filled with compassion for memory-impaired seniors and their families. She began with Oasis so she could offer the resources to others that she wished she could have had for herself and her family while her mother was suffering.
“Selecting a memory care community is a very big task and one that can feel very frightening and overwhelming. At Oasis, we want to help you find the perfect place for your loved one, because the right place means everything,” Beth said.
When we asked Beth what advice she would offer to others whose lives have been touched by memory-impairment, she said that quite simply, the best thing you can do is to get yourself and those around you educated about this disease and what to expect.
“To that end, I recently released a book, I Love Someone With Dementia….So Why Am I Losing My Mind? that does just that.” Beth shared. “It is available for purchase through Amazon, or you can request a free E-book through my website, www.BethFriesenRN.com.”
One of the newer assisted living communities in South Lincoln that is catching the eyes of families is
Pemberly Place. To learn more about this beautiful new property and specifically the memory care services it offers, we spoke to Stacy Stemper, the director of memory care at Pemberly Place. Stacy has 14 years of experience in the long-term healthcare field and six years as a Licensed Practical Nurse and she is a Certified Dementia Practitioner.
“As the director of memory care, I take extra steps to ensure I learn everything I can about our residents that we serve, such as learning their routine, likes and dislikes, and recognizing when something is not normal for them,” Stacy told us. “At Pemberly, it is our goal to create moments of purpose provided by a well-educated team of caregivers. We provide an atmosphere where our residents receive personalized 24-hour care. Our Memory Care community is designed to accommodate different levels of memory loss. All of the amenities and services offered at Pemberly Place are included, along with the comfort of knowing your loved one is safe within a secure environment. We focus on individualized service plans since we have a resident-centered approach. By providing individualized programming, we see improvement in the involvement of our residents which gives them all a sense of purpose.”
Stacy’s advice for those who are seeing warning signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia in a loved one is to first consult with your primary care doctor to rule out an underlying cause, such as an infection.
“Making the decision to move to a long-term healthcare community is one of the top five hardest decisions a person will make in their lifetime,” Stacy addressed. “Early intervention is key to giving your loved one the best quality of life and ensuring they are in a safe and secure environment that feels like home.”
“When you decide your loved one needs full-time care, consider touring with Pemberly and see why our culture of care makes us stand out.” Stacy added.
Fallbrook Assisted Living & Memory Care is another newer senior community that specializes in memory care, and it is located on the north side of town. 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.
Fallbrook offers a variety of services through their Memory Care Program, including extra meals and snacks in addition to regular meals, Journey Stations placed throughout the living facility that provide residents with an opportunity to take a trip down memory lane, and excellent staff trained in all aspects of dementia.
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.
To learn more about another outstanding senior living provider with memory care services in the Lincoln area, we spoke with Dr. Anna Fisher, director of education and quality for Hillcrest Health Services. Hillcrest takes an innovative approach to improving the lives of their patients.
“An important element of maintaining a connection with a person with dementia is fostering greater engagement by facilitating team member and family interaction with the individual,” Anna explained. “Hillcrest Health Services prides itself on its memory support services and has implemented the Montessori method in dementia care, which can be applied to engage individuals, family members, and team members with strategies in various health care settings.”
We were intrigued by this pioneering effort so we asked for further details about Hillcrest’s Montessori program.
“We have partnered with The Roberts Academy, the only secondary Montessori school (grades 7–12) in Nebraska,” Anna said. “This Montessori intergenerational school is actually located on campus at Silver Ridge Assisted Living in Gretna, making it the first and only secondary Montessori school in the United States located in a health care setting. This partnership is reflective of the commitment to using the Montessori method based on respect and dignity to all individuals and provides a prepared environment conducive to resident learning and engagement—one that encourages purposeful work to meet people where they are, providing a sense of community and belonging.”
Accessing Available Programs, Amenities, and Activities
With so many excellent choices for memory care and senior living available, it can be tough navigating the options and deciding which is the best fit. For some seniors, the final decision may come down to the finer details of available programs, services, amenities, and activities. We did some digging into what some of these available bonuses are.
At Sumner Place Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation, social events and activities bring magic to ordinary days. We talked to 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.”
Megan shared some of the ways their staff connects with residents 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.”
We also looked into The Waterford Communities to familiarize ourselves with some of their appealing amenities and services for residents. With three communities to choose from here in Lincoln—The Waterford at College View Assisted Living , The Waterford at Williamsburg Assisted Living, and The Waterford at Wilderness Hills Memory Care—your senior loved one can find the best fit for them at whatever stage they are at in the aging process.
To highlight their memory care services at the Wilderness Hills community, located off of 27th and Yankee Hill Road, we spoke with Director Christy Merritt.
“We created Wilderness Hills Memory Care to assist those struggling with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other cases of memory loss,” Christy emphasized. “We don’t view our residents as our patients or guests in our home, rather we are a guest in their home. Memory-specific needs at Wilderness Hills are met with 24-hour staffing care, a high staff-to-resident ratio, sensory stimulating activities, personalized one-on-one activities, tranquility and activity sensory rooms, and more. We also have on-site physician services, incontinence assistance, medication administration, and mobility assistance, among other medical needs.”
Christy also provided us with a few good questions to ask when touring an assisted living community, whether it’s for yourself or your loved one:
- What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
- What kind of experience and training is required of the staff?
- What are your visitation policies like?
- What are meals like?
- Who are the other residents?
- Are all services included in the monthly fee?
“Beyond these questions for the community itself, make sure you are taking the time to ask your loved one how they feel about the facility,” Christy encouraged. “Do they feel comfortable? With what you know about the current residents, do they believe they’ll be able to make friends and fit in? If possible, always try to make decisions with your loved one instead of for them.”
If you’re ready to tour The Waterford Communities to see which one will be best for your loved one, call their team today and they’d be happy to begin this journey with you. You can also take a virtual tour of the facility on the website, which is great for busy families who want to get as much information online as possible to help them narrow down their top choices of assisted living communities being driving around town to tour each one.
Hearing Loss and Dementia
It’s important to consider all the ways memory can be affected as we age. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that while hearing loss is independent from other diagnoses, it was also “significantly associated with an increased 10-year risk of dementia, depression, falls, and myocardial infarction.”
We spoke to Leslie Frank, audiologist and owner of Nebraska Hearing, to get a deeper understanding of the connection between hearing loss and memory impairment.
“It’s been proven that there is a relationship between dementia and hearing loss. In our profession, we work with patients with memory loss issues on a daily basis,” Leslie said. “A recent study at King’s College London and University of Exeter shows that study participants who wore hearing aids performed better in tests which assessed working memory and aspects of attention than those who did not. This is just one example of how taking care of hearing loss with hearing aids can have a direct impact on our cognitive function/memory care.”
Nebraska Hearing values their patients with memory-impairment and offers personalized attention and care through services such as personalized hearing aid fittings, custom ear plugs, hearing aid batteries and accessories, custom hearing protection, and assisted listening devices.
“As part of your overall well-being, it is recommended that all adults age 60 and older complete an annual hearing evaluation,” Leslie said. “We believe in this so much that at Nebraska Hearing Center we offer free annual hearing evaluations and consultations.”
Leslie understands the importance of improving hearing and encourages seniors with hearing loss to make this a priority, stating that “often, people don’t realize that their lifestyle and behaviors begin to change when hearing becomes a challenge. That in turn affects relationships as we begin to isolate ourselves because we can’t hear. Bringing back hearing brings people and effective communication back into our lives.”
Staying Active to Avoid Memory Loss
Our eyes were opened by Leslie’s understanding of the connection between hearing loss and memory impairment. We wondered what other areas of health might play into navigating and even avoiding memory loss. Jeff Madsen with Right Foot Forward Fitness had some insight for us.
“Seniors, who we refer to as Masters Athletes, have unique needs from both a programming and a recovery standpoint,” Jeff shared. “Keeping your brain active can help to prevent memory loss. Regular exercise has been proven to preserve brain health. Just walking for 20 minutes can help your brain to stay active. Most importantly, staying positive can help your brain function better, so keep a good outlook on life in general even when challenges present themselves in your later years! If you believe you can do something about memory loss, you are likely to see better results.”
Jeff recognizes that memory-impairment brings added challenges for seniors who wish to improve their fitness. Thankfully, his services work for everyone, regardless of age, level, or health concerns.
“At Right Foot Forward Fitness, we offer a Personal Training Track specifically designed for seniors.” Jeff explained. “It starts out with a focus on balance and foot movement, both laterally and vertically. We work on increasing proprioception (knowing where your body is in space), using specially designed drills. Everything can be personalized to meet you where you’re at in your fitness journey.”
For many seniors, managing the myriad of challenges associated with health care and estate planning can be overwhelming and stressful. This is especially true for memory-impaired seniors. Fortunately, there are advocates who offer services and support and speak for these seniors when they are unable to speak for themselves.
Christine Vanderford with Vanderford Law PC LLO has years of experience as an advocate of senior clients helping to protect them from scams, fraud, and abuse. Her office also specializes in estate planning. Christine is a proponent of preparing a last will and testament sooner rather than later, especially before seniors become too ill to make decisions. She also feels that seniors should understand their different legal options to protect their property and savings. For seniors struggling with memory-impairment, it is particularly important to attend to these matters as soon as possible.
“Proper estate planning allows you to decide what happens to the people and things that are most important to you,” Christine said. “It is important for people of all ages and during all stages of life. People of any age should at least have a health care directive in place in the event you cannot speak for yourself in regards to medical decisions. A basic estate planning also includes a vehicle, such as a will or trust that directs how you wish your estate to be distributed at your death.”
For seniors and their families looking for guidance and assistance in these end of life decisions, having an advocate like Vanderford Law can bring great peace of mind.
Securing End-of-Life Care
For families of memory-impaired 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.
Making Funeral Arrangements
Making funeral arrangements is not something that should be done after your loved one passes away if at all possible. Butherus, Maser, & Love Funeral Home has locations in Lincoln and Hickman and offers useful resources for families, like their online Simple Planner, meant to help begin a conversation with those pre-planning for funeral services to better communicate their intentions for the future. Bryan Block, family service manager, shared his thoughts on this useful tool and its purpose for families.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Wyuka is another option for funeral care. The historic Lincoln cemetery takes pride in being a first-rate option for funeral pre-planning and services. Families can rest assured that all-important funeral details are taken care of ahead of time so that energy can instead be devoted to spending time with family and loved ones. Wyuka can help you secure a plan today to bring you comfort tomorrow.
Seeking Grief Support After Loss
If you recently lost a loved one, whether it was due to age or otherwise, Roper & Sons Funeral Home offers free-to-the-public Grief Programs which meet weekly on Sundays. They have guided groups open to anyone who is facing grief from the loss of a spouse and would benefit from the support of like-minded individuals. There are also groups open to anyone who is grieving the loss of any loved one, but particularly parents, children, or friends. In addition, Roper & Sons has a structured group designed for those whose loss is more recent than 18 months and may be addressing some more pressing first-time needs. Times and locations of these groups can be found online!
Though community support cannot change the painful realities of death and dying, these free services offered by Roper & Sons can bring comfort and companionship during a difficult time.
With so many things to consider in regards to memory care for seniors, it helps to know there are caring and qualified professionals available here in Lincoln to assist you! Every single one of them is ready and willing to offer a helping hand to any individual or family being affected by memory loss.