As Heraclitus put it so wisely, the only constant in life is change, and while change is inevitable, that doesn’t mean it’s always a pleasure. Unplanned life changes can give rise to emotions of every ilk—from shock to anger, fear, helplessness or disorientation.

For seniors and their loved ones who find themselves unwittingly faced with an unexpected situation, life can, at first, be uncomfortable. We believe, however, that there is great comfort in human experience and knowing we are not alone in life’s journey. Take, for example, the COVID pandemic. It meant tremendous change and was, at first, shocking and disturbing to everyone’s routines. As a community, however, we made the adjustments we needed to create a new normal—at least for the time being.

Maybe no group of people has faced more challenges during the pandemic than seniors and people hospitalized or at home dealing with illness or injury. Senior communities and rehabilitation centers and advisory services in Lincoln did an amazing job of keeping life as comfortable as possible for residents, including those faced with sudden changes and moving to senior living amid the pandemic. Seniors in the region are uber-blessed to have access to such an incredible senior-care, rehabilitation, and legal-support system that can guide seniors and their families through unplanned change and make sure they never feel alone in their journey.

We are told to “expect the unexpected,” – but how does one do that, really? Unplanned life changes can be uncomfortable and come with a string of emotions, ranging from anger and fear to helplessness and worry.

We spoke to local businesses and professionals who offered some words of wisdom and encouragement for us to share with our readers, seniors, and their loved ones who want to prepare for the event of unexpected changes – or those who may be going through unforeseen changes right now. The most common advice received is to plan ahead before something unexpected even happens. While it may seem obvious, it’s not always at the top of our minds when we seem to be living a healthy, stable life. If you are going to plan ahead for anything, we encourage you to, at the very least, plan ahead for the inevitable.

Uniforms for Care Workers

A new medical clothing store has hit Lincoln! Right Fit Uniform’s mission is to provide quality, comfortable and modern medical uniforms in a clean and spacious environment, accessible to health care professionals at a great value! It’s not just a scrub but the feel, look and comfort that bring out your inner confidence.

Right Fit Uniforms has many colors, fashionable styles and fitness apparel that are 100% awesome. In addition to scrubs, they offer products such as athleisure and other medical apparel. Check out the new store in Lincoln at 5221 South 48th St. STE 8. They are open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and are closed on Sundays.

Throw Your Worries Away

Worry Free Home Care LLC is an in-home service provider that assists individuals and families. They are dedicated to helping their clients lead dignified, independent lifestyles in the comfort and safety of their own homes by carefully assessing and fully understanding their needs and selectively placing trained personnel to meet these needs.

Worry Free Home Care also specializes in respite care. Respite care provides short-term relief for primary caregivers. It can be arranged for just an afternoon or for several days or weeks. Care can be provided at home, in a healthcare facility or at an adult day center.

The caregivers at Worry Free Home Care LLC are trained to meet the variety of needs that you or your loved ones have. With their Personal Care Service, you or your loved one will continue to live in a comfortable environment. They also ensure that your independence is preserved.

As a reliable senior and adult care provider in Lincoln and surrounding areas, Worry Free Home Care LLC is here to assist you with getting to appointments and other outings. They will provide you with transportation assistance to take you anywhere.

The Waterford Communities

The Waterford Communities encourages any senior who is dealing with unexpected changes to look at it as a new chapter of their life in which the focus is on their health and their connections with friends and family. The Waterford Communities is comprised of three different senior living homes: Williamsburg Campus and College View Campus, both of which are assisted living communities, and Wilderness Hills Memory Care. Each home provides a high staff-to-resident ratio, daily home-cooked meals, regular housekeeping and security, among other features to give you peace of mind.

Dan Klein
The Waterford Communities

“When you move into an assisted living community, you have assistance and amenities offered to you at your convenience,” said Dan Klein from Waterford. “Take advantage of this! These offerings are there to make your day-to-day routine easier, which in turn also gives you more time during the day to do as you please. This may be improving your health, spending more time with friends or family or devoting more time to a beloved hobby.”

Some of the warning signs to look for that will let you know whether or not assisted living is a necessity:

  • Not eating enough food, or enough of the right foods
  • Experiencing a bad fall or being at risk for a fall
  • Wandering or forgetting to take a medication
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Cluttered or dirty living spaces

“Many families realize that their parents and grandparents simply need more support than they can easily provide. Unfortunately, there’s only so much one person can do before their own quality of life begins to suffer severely,” shared Dan. “Assisted living communities and their staff act like an extension of your family. They step up to fill in the gap between ‘need’ and ‘ability’ that arises as our loved ones age. The truth is everyday life tends to become more difficult throughout retirement, especially when living alone, managing a specialized diet or suffering from chronic illnesses.”

Assisted living communities offer physical benefits as they help to significantly relieve the burden presented by aging bodies. They aim to minimize falls, emphasize mobility and accessibility, and support their residents’ independent movements by installing sloped ramps, hand railings, raised commodes, walk-in showers and bathroom grab bars. Proper senior nutrition is another big benefit of assisted living. Ensuring seniors receive enough key vitamins and minerals each day to support their health is always a top priority of The Waterford Communities.

“When life changes unexpectedly, it’s difficult – that’s no doubt,” said Dan. “You can rarely ever change what has happened to you – but you are in control of how you respond.”

Long-term Care, Wherever You Need

Home Care Partners supports seniors’ needs throughout their long-term care continuum with care management and thoughtful, quality, dedicated care brought to wherever your loved one resides. Their care management services provide consistent, high-quality communication with healthcare and other service providers, as well as expert resources. The caregivers at Home Care Partners dedicate their professional lives to caring for others and providing them with the greatest quality of life, wherever they call home. Home care is an option for families who are looking for support and care management in their health care continuum.

Karla Frese
Home Care Partners

“Our services give families peace of mind to allow their loved one to stay in their familiar place and avoid a move at this time,” said Managing Partner Karla Frese. “This will often allow a senior to stay in their home or in their independent or assisted living setting without the need to move to a higher level of care. Our partnerships within the healthcare community allow us to provide care together in the home setting to help reduce hospital readmissions and to promote health and healing.”

When suddenly faced with the need for additional care, Karla suggests looking for an opening before starting the conversation with your loved one. It may be helpful to reference an article you recently read or something you saw on the news to break the ice. For example: “I’m starting to think about estate planning, do you have any advice?” or “I just read an article about gathering all your important papers. Can you show me where yours are and what you’d like us to do just in case?”

“Express love and concern, and most importantly, listen,” said Karla. “Expect resistance and be honest about your expectations and/or limitations. Respect your loved one’s wishes. Make sure they are participating in the conversation as much as possible. It’s important to center your caregiving plan on the wishes of the person receiving the care.”

Home Care Partners offers a care manager who will help organize appointments and provide consultation, assessment, planning, and evaluation with the right professional at the right time. The care manager also supports the family by creating a plan of care, building a care team, medication management, and assistance with long-term care policies.

“The shared focus and oversight on health, home management, and maintenance keep everyone on the same page – without one person getting burned out,” explained Karla. “For example, when there are multiple appointments, a caregiver can transport mom or dad to an appointment for hearing, vision, foot care, hair, etc., and the daughter or son can save their day off for other important commitments.”

Home Care Partners invites you to reach out to them today to learn more about how their services can benefit your family.

Local Community You Can Trust

For over 26 years, Legacy Retirement Communities has served adult seniors with a variety of living options including, independent, assisted Living, memory care and support services in between. They are a trusted resource with four locations and are proud to be locally founded and owned in Lincoln. In working with hundreds of families over the years, Legacy recognizes that every situation is unique and personal.

The best thing about the numerous amounts of resources for seniors in our area is that you never have to go through the unexpected, hard times alone.

Kayla Schaf
Legacy Retirement Communities

“Reach out to us and let us help! Our experienced team of retirement living advisors is equipped to help you by first listening to best understand your situation and to support Seniors and their families in navigating their best options,” said Legacy Sales Director Kayla Schaf. “Our philosophy is simple: people come first and everyone needs support. We invite you to start the conversation and let us support you or a loved one.”

Legacy is one of the few communities in town that remain owned and operated right here in Lincoln. The true benefits of local ownership and having a stable team makes the difference in providing a great culture and thriving community. Legacy also boasts tremendous longevity of staff and department managers. Legacy is blessed to have 30% of staff who have been with the company for over ten years. You will see that their team members make Legacy feels like family and all the difference in making the Legacy a great place to live.

Kayla’s experience while working at Legacy has made her more knowledgeable on how to help those who may be considering a move to a community for the first time.

“Considering a change like moving from one’s home is life-changing. It often involves emotions and difficult conversations.  Giving yourself time to think and researching your future options takes time and often gets delayed or ignored,” said Kayla. “We find that those Adult Seniors who lean into the unknown and seek help resources before a crisis finds support and guidance and overcome the fear that comes with exploring a major change.  Our goal is to empower people to stay in the driver’s seat of their life and decisions!  We are here to help you get started and support you wherever you are at in the process.”

Don’t wait for the late-night medical episode that forces change and urgency. Consider the impact that your decisions have on the people you love. How do your decisions and choices impact those around you feel?  Consider reaching out and talking to the trusted people at Legacy Retirement Communities to gain some perspective.

Minimize Stress

When people think about home care, they typically think of needing help with showering and dressing, toileting, meal preparation, medication reminders and other daily living needs for their loved one. While Visiting Angels does all of those things, one of the greatest benefits they offer is the companion piece their caregivers add to the daily lives of their clients.

Life changes can be a temporary situation or long-term; Visiting Angels can help with both.

Julie Day
Visiting Angels

“The best way to minimize stress for both seniors and their families during times of change is to start planning sooner rather than later. “It is always a good idea to meet with us and get information before you actually need the care. Our clients who start early with just a few hours per week are often happier and more confident when their needs grow and they already have a trusted relationship with a reliable company,” explained Julie Day, client care coordinator. “Many families exhaust themselves as caregivers before they finally reach out for help.”

Visiting Angels only delivers well-screened caregivers to provide each family with peace of mind to help navigate a new chapter. Each of their caregivers has a strong employment history in caring for seniors, along with reliable references from previous clients, agencies and volunteer agencies.

“What makes us unique is we don’t just put names in open shifts. We meet as an office to discuss our clients’ needs and which caregiver best fits those needs,” Julie shared. “Our clients’ personal preferences in terms of personality and style of caregiving are accommodated. In addition, our follow-up is second to none.”

Julie makes sure clients continue to thrive and adjusts everything to their changing needs. By contacting Visiting Angels early on in these life changes, families can be relieved of stress and avoid burnout. Julie is always happy to sit down with families and help evaluate their needs. It is a good idea to educate yourself now so when you feel like you need a little extra help, you can be confident in knowing how they can help you.

Medication Care

As we age, or when we deal with sudden injury or illness, we inevitably deal with the need for medications, which can become a huge hassle, and finding a pharmacy you can count on can be a challenge. That’s why we recommend Nebraska LTC Pharmacy. LTC pharmacy was founded by Fairbury native Shannon Shultz in 2011, when she recognized a need in the community for a pharmacy that did more than just count pills and slap labels. With that in mind, the goal of Nebraska LTC Pharmacy is to continue to offer the “small-town” level of service while providing the highest level of care for their patients.

You’ll notice the high level of care from your first call to the pharmacy: No automated systems, no punching in prescription numbers, just great personal care. They want to help you with your or your loved one’s medications and preserve your independence, providing everything from free-adherence packaging, free delivery, in-home consultations, medication reconciliations with your physician, and more. They provide individualize patient care that increases safety and prolongs your independence at home.

Nebraska LTC Pharmacy eliminates the need to travel to a pharmacy to pick up prescriptions by offering delivery services, and they help you to keep better track of medications by increasing the adherence of the packaging with easy-to-use blister packs. Nebraska LTC offers free at-home consultations to assess your current medication situation and help sort through current and old prescriptions, disposing of anything that a patient is no longer needing or may be expired. Their goal is to provide unmatched care, customer service, and attention to detail that far exceed that of retail pharmacies.

When giving care to an individual taking medications, contact Nebraska LTC to confirm that prescriptions are safe to take together. The pharmacist will do a medication review and contact any doctors involved with a patient’s care to ensure there is understanding all around.

More Than Housing

When looking for independent senior-living options that include opportunities for engagement, check out the Lincoln Housing Authority. They pride themselves on providing “more than housing” and nowhere is that more evident than at Burke Plaza, Crossroads House and Mahoney Manor, where more than 270 older adults reside and have access to a wide variety of social and personal support services through the Resident Services and Congregate Housing Services programs. The foundation for the Resident Services Program is the Resident Services Specialist at each building. Their job is to provide general support to residents and offer a range of activities and programs to enhance the overall quality of life at each building. The Congregate Housing Services Program (CHSP) brings the services of two full-time social workers who share time between all buildings. These social workers are able to work with individuals who need additional supportive services such as case management, personal care, house-keeping assistance, and transportation.

Specialized Care

ProMedica Hospice is a mission-based organization providing quality care for patients with life-limiting illnesses. They are working to create a stronger, more cohesive approach to delivering care at the right place, right time. We spoke to Hospice Administrator Kass Mounce, who explained to us why hospice is important and how ProMedica can offer the care your aging loved one needs.

Kass Mounce
ProMedica Hospice

“Hospice care is a specialized care that focuses on supporting patients and their loved ones,” explained Kass. “The emphasis is on comfort and quality of life, rather than finding a cure. Hospice care enables patients to live each day to the fullest as comfortably and dignified as possible. ProMedica Hospice has a social, clinical, and spiritual team of experts who care for patients who use a team approach to customize a care plan specific to the needs of the patients and their family.”

As mutual care providers, they work closely with your healthcare professionals to make sure specific protocols are followed closely. Pain and symptom management is their primary focus.

“You don’t have to give up hope to get hospice,” Kass shared. “Many patients and the loved ones who care for them say they wish hospice care had started sooner. When you need care, we’re ready to provide it; any day of the year, any time of the day, we can initiate hospice care for you or your loved one. Treatments that provide our patients with comfort and relief can continue, uninterrupted, even after we’ve started providing hospice care. Wherever you are in your health care journey, we’re there to meet you.”

Caring Friends In Home Care

Aging brings about a number of life changes. You may be looking into retirement, welcoming a new grandchild or moving into a senior community. There are a number of challenges that can occur as you age, like unplanned health issues or a decline in mobility. Both the positive and negative transitions that come with aging can be overwhelming, especially if you’re the type to resist change. It can be stressful to feel like you’re losing the things that bring you joy. With Caring Friends In Home Care it is possible to maintain your health and quality of life at any age by allowing us the honor of coming into your home to help with day to day activities such as housekeeping, meal preparation, assist with bathing, laundry, and transportation to run errands like getting your hair done or picking up groceries.

“Finding healthy ways to cope and even embrace aging is the key to enjoying your older years, and we are here to help with that. Caring Friends In Home Care is unique in that we have smaller time frame commitments, and we hire local caregivers so we will never charge you mileage,” said Virginia Cole, COO. “We understand how important it is to stay at home for as long as you can and fortunately there are plenty of strategies you can use to stay happy throughout the aging process and we are here to be a part of those.”

Time passes no matter what we do, so make the most of your senior years by staying healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. Aging isn’t always easy, but learning to cope with aging will help you find fulfillment in your retirement. Regardless of the how life changes come your way, you can embrace healthy aging to stay happy and well, and Caring Friends In Home Care is here to help.

We recommend reaching out to these local businesses to help you get through unplanned changes and adjust to the next chapter of life. When it comes to senior living and other unplanned life changes, Lincoln is home to so many amazing providers to support you and get you the services to fit your particular situation to a tee. Look to these folks for help when you need it most!