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7 Ways to Connect Virtually with Your Loved One

Social Distancing doesn’t mean Social Isolation. It’s even more important now to keep in touch with your loved one while also staying safe. 

According to the 2013 edition of The United States of Aging Survey, conducted by the NCOA, UnitedHealthcare, and USA Today, U.S. adults 60 and over are motivated by a need for social connections with their families. More than half of the sample surveyed rank the significance of being close to their friends and family high. Moreover, 84% of the adults in the survey indicate technology is key to supporting these connections.

Want to share a grandchild’s painting, offer advice with a new recipe, or just say “I love you” while also staying safe? Today there are a plethora of technologies that support visual and audio communication. The following list describes seven different options.

  1. Facebook Messenger: Families can use their Facebook account to video chat over messenger with anyone else with a Facebook account.
  2. FaceTime: Families can make and receive video and audio calls from their iPhone, iPad, or Apple computer.
  3. Google Hangouts: Families can send messages or host group chats, video calls, or voice calls from their computer, smartphone, or laptop.
  4. Skype: Families can send messages and make video and audio calls from their computer, smartphone, or laptop.
  5. UberConference: Families can make video conferences and share screens from their computer or laptop.
  6. WhatsApp Messenger: Families must download the free messaging app on any smartphone and in order to video chat with others.
  7. Zoom: Families can make video conference calls for up to 100 people or more. All they need is an email to invite friends or family to the call.

Just because people are physically apart it doesn’t mean that they can’t maintain crucial relationships. With the support of technology, families can continue to share special moments, keep up to date with happenings, and spend quality time together with their loved ones. 

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Respite Stays – Learn More About the Benefits

Offering a short-term stay or “respite” program allows guests the opportunity to experience our community without any long-term commitment and offers caregivers some time to do, well whatever they need to do. It is important for caregivers to get a break now and then, and short-term stays is a great guilt-free option. Guests are charged a day rate with a minimum and maximum stay, and the community offers full access to amenities, dining, activities and, typically, a fully furnished apartment. Short-term stays provide a number of benefits to guests and their caregivers:

Recovery/Rehabilitation Stay:
There may come a time in our lives when we are in need of assistance, particularly as we get older. If you or a loved one has just come out of the hospital, rehabilitation clinic or other healthcare facility, a short-term stay can provide a place to go to have caring and compassionate nurses manage your medication, assist with activities of daily living, and help you to recover. This can be a great option if a caregiver works and may not have the time needed to care for their loved one when they need more immediate and regular attention post-hospitalization.


Family Caregiver Absence
Sometimes caregivers may need to be absent for an extended period of time or may feel the need for a break from the stress of caregiving. Maybe a much-needed vacation is in order or work may pull a caregiver away, whatever the reason, a short-term respite stay can give caregivers peace of mind and flexibility, giving our new guest the opportunity to participate in exciting activities, enjoy restaurant-style dining and not have to worry about doing the dishes or cleaning the house … as all of these services and more are provided!

Trial Stay
Making the decision to move to a senior community, no matter how beautiful, fun, exciting and caring it may be, is a very big and at times, an intimidating and scary experience. “Signing the Lease Agreement” adds to that scary thought. What if you could try it, before you commit? Our respite program allows you to do just that. Our respite guests experience community life with all the amenities, care services, full-service dining, and a wide range of activities and events that our residents enjoy every day!

Valuable Socialization
There are great benefits to living at a community. As we age, socialization and interaction become essential to keep our minds and bodies healthy. Getting involved and meeting people adds purpose and meaning to the day as you meet your neighbors for dinner or an activity, attend an exercise class, or go on outings with friends. Many times, living alone at home or even with loved ones, doesn’t provide that level of independence. Respite stays, while just a short-term solution, give guests a glimpse into a more active social life that is all their own.

For each type of stay you will have access to the following accommodations:

  • A private studio or one bedroom apartment with an emergency call system right at your fingertips!
  • Weekly housekeeping and linen services.
  • Scheduled local transportation for community outings, personal appointments and/or errands.
  • Table side dining with chef prepared meals available in the dining room or with room service. (please specify any special dietary needs, food allergies etc.)
  • 24-hour staffing
  • A diverse calendar of events and activities geared to provide opportunities to learn, socialize, worship, create and stay fit!  Most of all to have FUN!

No matter which option you choose… Or mission is to ensure you will leave us with a spring in your step, a gleam in your eye and a smile on your face! Relaxed and Rejuvenated!! Secure in your knowledge that no matter what your circumstance or need, you will always be part of our Meridian Family!! Because we truly believe that…

“Everyone Deserves a Great Life!!”

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10 Ways to Know When to Make a Change

How do you know when it is time to make a change in the living circumstances for your aging parent? It is a daunting question and here are some considerations that can help you in your journey in determining that decision.

  1. Do they require monitoring for conditions or situations unrelated to dementia that require time and more care than can be provided at home?
  2. The caregiver’s health is being compromised due to stress and lack of rest.
  3. The caregiver is missing work due to unavoidable situations that require his/her time at home.
  4. The needs of other family members (spouses, children, grandchildren) are not being met because of lack of time and personal resources.
  5. The caregiver is unable to manage the affairs of running a household due to lack of time and inadequate rest.
  6. There is insufficient support from siblings, children, other relatives or friends.
  7. Symptoms of the disease become more evident and challenging to manage such as behavior, wandering and incontinence.
  8. The person with dementia requires more supervision than is realistic for one person to manage. They become more dependent with activities of daily living such as dressing, eating and bathing.
  9. The other physical demands of the person with dementia surpass those that the caregiver can manage such as lifting, assisting with mobility, and/or negotiating a wheelchair through narrow doorways or hallways.
  10. The home environment is no longer safe for the person with dementia, such as climbing stairs, getting in and out of the bathtub, carpeting that is difficult to walk on – all of which increase the risk of falls.

The decision to place your loved one is a thoughtful and kind one— however, there can be feelings of grief and guilt. It is important to remember the role of caregiver does not end when a loved one lives elsewhere, it just changes. Without direct care responsibilities, the caregiver will have the opportunity for more quality time, activities and appreciation for the time spent with their loved one.

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Holiday Tips for Caregivers of Seniors with Alzheimer’s or Dementia

Holiday Tips for Caregivers of Seniors with Alzheimer’s or Dementia

Holidays can be an exciting time. For those with a family member with dementia the holidays can be daunting and full of emotion. For our loved ones, the hustle and bustle of the season along with the long-term memories so closely tied to the holidays can lead to anxiety and confusion. No worry, there is help for you and your family with the following tips for caregivers to help make the holiday season more enjoyable for everyone.

Maintain Family Traditions & Include Them

Maintaining family traditions helps reinforce a sense of identity and connection to family for a person with Alzheimer’s. Start the process about month or more before the holiday by making a list of family traditions. Decide ahead of time which ones are most important to you and your family and what you are able to modify for your loved one. For instance, maybe he/she cannot help with outdoor lights, but can help with card signing and tree decorating. Involve your loved one as much as possible with safe and meaningful tasks. Historically, if grandma has been a part of the planning and implementing, it is important that she still plays a vital role and these traditions play a vital role to them. Some tasks can include making cards, filling stockings, indoor décor, assist in meal planning and guest lists, and wrapping gifts.

Plan Ahead of Time

Prepare and plan as much as you can, so you don’t try to accomplish too much with not enough time. When you are overwhelmed, you will lose your patience easier and this anxiety will be felt by your loved one. Items to consider include filling all their medications, educating guests in advance about changes since they last saw your loved one, and enlisting help from your support system.

Make Adjustments to the Celebration Space

It is important to evaluate the environment where you will be celebrating. Identify a place for quiet and rest, note barriers to safety, and note background noise to eliminate such as video games, children’s toys, and TV as these can be over stimulating.

Take Care of Yourself & Get Help

Finally, during this hectic and stressful time, you should not forget to take care of yourself. Solutions include asking for help from those who are close to you. Senior living communities offer support groups and educational series for caregivers. At Meridian Senior Living communities these are our Caregiver Cafés and monthly Mini Dementia Workshops. Finally give yourself a much-deserved break from daily tasks by taking advantage of adult day care or senior living respite programs in which your loved one can stay as a guest and enjoy the amenities at a community from 14 to 30 days.

Center Yourself and Give Yourself Grace

You can reach a breaking point. It happens. Life is frustrating for most people during the holidays and, as a caregiver, it may be more so. When it gets to be too much, it’s important to step away from the situation (with your loved one in a safe environment, of course), take a deep breath and center yourself. Try to remember and understand what your loved one is going through, tell yourself you are doing the best you can do, and when you are ready, take another deep breath and go back into the situation.

Time for Connection

While the holiday season brings its stresses, especially when someone has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, remember the most important outcome is connecting with and devoting time to your family and loved ones. Using these holiday tips and practicing some flexibility and patience, you can focus on enjoying your traditions and this special time with your family.