Pumpkins, crisp air, apples, football. Fall began last weekend. With September being #IntergenerationalMonth, it’s the perfect season to spend time with seniors. Consider these activities and share time with your loved ones:
A great activity to do with seniors is decorating pumpkins. You can decorate by carving, painting or creating a special arrangement. Get creative with your loved ones or make it a contest to see who can make the best one.
Attend a Fall Festival
Fall festivals are a fun intergenerational activity. At a local festival, there’s something for everyone to do. Drink apple cider or eat fall flavored donuts. Go through a corn maze or watch live music. Find a local fall festival here.
Bake Fall Treats
What an amazing way to celebrate fall with your loved ones. Baking fall treats brings all smells and flavors of fall into your home. You can use inspiration from your visit to the fall festival or try one of these treats.
Take A Walk
Taking a stroll through the woods is beautiful during the fall. Going for a walk allows you to bond with your seniors and hear stories from them. Walking is also good for heart health! Our residents at Inniswood Village live next to the gorgeous Inniswood Metro Park. These residents can invite their families to come and walk Chipmunk Trail with them and to enjoy the beauty of the fall foliage. Find a park near your community.
What are your favorite fall activities for your family? Leave a comment below!
At National Church Residences, our vision is to advance better living for all seniors, enabling them to remain home for life. Through this blog, our goal is to allow you to see the heart and soul of who we are as an organization. We will do this by sharing the National Church Residences way with you, inviting you into our stories and providing resources that educate caregivers, enabling seniors to enjoy their lives.
In this section, you can find stories about our residents, our volunteers, and our mission. The residents of National Church Residences have incredible stories to share. From war veterans to pillars of the community, to the formerly homeless, sharing the stories of our people will allow you to get to know who we are.
Here you’ll also meet our wonderful volunteers. Our volunteers make up the fabric of our organization and are an integral part of all we do.
Sharing stories of our mission invites you to connect with what we do. Our mission drives everything we seek to accomplish as an organization, and we can’t wait to share it with you.
Health and Wellness
In Health and Wellness, we want to engage senior citizens. Here we will provide solutions to common healthcare issues to help seniors find the answers they need.
With the number of seniors rapidly increasing, many adult children are caregivers to their aging parents. Here you’ll find information and resources to help care for your special senior and keep them home, engaged, happy, and healthy.
Look for a new blog post every week. Don’t miss a post. Subscribe and get blog posts directly in your inbox. In the meantime, feel free to read previous posts.
We want you to be a part of the National Church Residences mission. Feel free to leave a comment, suggest a topic, ask a question, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re excited to share National Church Residences with you!
Conversations between an aging parent and their grown child can be frustrating as the parent ages. Roles have reversed and the grown child is now taking the place as the caregiver for their parent. Instead of asking a parent a question such as, “How was your day?” or “Can you give me advice on…”, grown children will ask “Did you take your medicine today?” or “Why would you do that?”
When communicating with aging parents it’s important to remember their life is rapidly changing and they are trying to maintain a sense of independence. It’s difficult for seniors to rely on others for care and to help solve their problems when they maintained control of their own life before.
Here are helpful tips to keep in mind when communicating with aging parents to keep your relationship healthy and to make the most of your time together.
Take time and be respectful. While adult children are caught up in the demands of family, work, and finances, their parents’ lives have slowed down. They have less of a sense of urgency to get things done and may take time to make decisions. It’s not always about being slow or a diminished capacity. This can be frustrating, but remember, parents have a lifetime of experience to draw from and want to make the best decision, instead of the fastest. Be respectful of their slower approach so they won’t think you are trying to control them.
Make time and listen. A quick phone call to check-in or help out with chores is helpful for your parents, however, these aren’t quality moments to build your relationship. Make time to have quality days with your parents, even one-on-one, to talk and listen. Let your parents guide the discussion and listen and ask open-ended questions. You’ll be surprised what you will learn about your parent, their life and present concerns
Reminisce about life. Adult children may think they know their parent, but when you take the time to reminisce about life with them you’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn. Ask questions to learn more about the situations they faced, people they met or places they lived or visited. These life stories are important for families to understand and appreciate who they are.
Ask for advice. Parents are used to their children coming to them for advice or help, and it’s tough to no longer be consulted by your grown children as you age. While the type of advice a grown child is looking for may have changed, look for opportunities to ask “What do you think of this Mom?” or “Dad, what’s more important to you?”
While these are simple tips, these will help you understand more about your parent’s past and what they are going through day-to-day as they age.
Extended families are often scattered and it’s expensive to travel to be together for the holidays. If long distance, work, or other family obligations prevent you from being with your aging parents for the holidays, you can still celebrate the holidays with them. With a little creativity, you can make the holidays special for your parents by using Facetime, Skype, Google Hangout, or another mobile video-conference service.
The next time you visit your parents before the holidays, teach them how to use Facetime or Skype. This is a great way to keep in touch throughout the year, and allow your elderly parents to enjoy different aspects of the holiday season with you. Some holiday moments that you can enjoy together are Christmas concerts for grandchildren or opening gifts together.
For those who have extended family scattered across the country, a virtual holiday party is a great way for everyone to be involved. With Skype or Google Hangout, you can host an audio or video conference with multiple people for free. Prior to the virtual holiday party, make sure there’s a family member responsible for connecting at each location who understands the instructions to join and participate in the conference. During the virtual holiday party, family members can take turns greeting each other and sharing how they’re celebrating at their location. You could even sing a couple of favorite Christmas carols as a group, read the story of Christ’s birth, or pray together.
It’s important to also stay connected after the holidays with elderly family members. You could schedule weekly audio or video calls each week or send weekly email updates with photos. Also, don’t forget the importance of sending handwritten letters with photos. Your aging parents will love sharing these photos with others and placing them around their home.
These are just a few ideas to celebrate with aging loved ones from a distance. Please share additional ideas with others in the comment section below.
While anyone can be a victim of identify theft, your aging mom and dad are more likely to be victims. Thieves realize seniors carry less credit card debt than other age groups, so a criminal applying for credit using an older victim’s information is more likely to be approved. According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers age 60 and older filed about 20% of all identity theft complaints.
Here are tips to help your mom and dad avoid identify theft.
Don’t carry your original Social Security or Medicare card in your wallet. Make a copy of your card and block out the last four digits of your Social Security number so if you lose your wallet or it is stolen, no one can get your full Social Security number.
Don’t give personal information over the phone. There are many phone scams by thieves who call requesting information under the guise of a legitimate need. Any legitimate requests for personal information are typically done in writing, so you should be suspicious of any phone call you receive for personal information. If you receive a phone call, hang up and verify the legitimacy of the caller before you return the call.
Don’t carry more personal documents than necessary. Whenever you leave your home, leave behind Social Security numbers, checks, extra credit cards and other financial statements or documents. Be sure to keep these locked in a security box at a secure location. If you’re admitted into a hospital, personal documents should be put in the hands of someone you trust.
Don’t be a pack rat. You don’t need to keep all paperwork. Shred anything you don’t need to keep, specifically documents with your Social Security number, PINs, credit card statements, canceled checks, expired credit cards and other financial statements. Here is a guide to help you decide how long you need to keep a paper trail.
Don’t leave behind receipts. Whether you’re at a store, restaurant or gas station, be sure to always take your receipts with you.
Don’t unnecessarily share personal information online. Be smart about sharing your personal information online. Never respond to emails asking you to verify your password, account number, Social Security number or credit information. Make sure your passwords for websites are secure, and use a mix of numbers, symbols and upper- and lowercase letters. If you’re unsure of a website requesting personal information, don’t share it.
Do check your credit. You can receive a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. When you receive a copy of the report, review your personal information, current accounts and credit inquiries. If anything looks suspicious, contact the credit reporting company and your financial institution.
If you believe your aging parent may have fallen victim to identify theft, immediately alert your financial institution, credit card companies, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
GREELEY, Colorado – Bonnie Dietz and her friends often gather in the lounge at Birchwood Apartments to play cards.
One afternoon nearly three months ago, Jane Schwarz, the building’s National Church Residences Service Coordinator, stopped by the group to check in.
“The lounge is right outside of Jane’s office,” Bonnie said. “She came out and talked to me for a minute and she said, ‘when you get finished with your card game, I want to talk to you.’”
Jane had a question for Bonnie that, at the time, seemed odd. However, it turned out to be a question that may have saved Bonnie’s life.
“Out of the blue she said, ‘have you seen a urologist?’” Bonnie said. “I thought, what’s going on? I have had a bit of kidney problems along with my diabetes. I didn’t know Jane was interested in this. I knew she knew about it. But I puzzled over it for a while. I thought it must just be something she needs to know.”
What Jane was doing was utilizing Care Guide, National Church Residences’ innovative program designed to create better long-term health care outcomes for our residents.
“Sometimes I pull up Care Guide and just look at what I wrote last quarter and I ask residents if they’re still going through the same things. I ask them, ‘are you still doing this or that?’ Or ‘are you still on the same amounts of this medication?’ Or just, ‘how are you feeling?’” Jane said. “Then sometimes they start telling you more about other things.”
Because of Jane’s question, Bonnie decided it might be time for a visit to her primary care physician for a check-up.
“It did instigate me to call and make an appointment,” Bonnie said. “I went in to see him on Feb. 1. He said my diabetes is fine and my blood pressure is fine. They took some lab work. Then he called the next day and said get over to the nephrology clinic because you’ve got some problems.”
Bonnie went to see the nephrologist – a doctor that specializes in kidney care – and found out some shocking news.
“I went over there and they tested my kidneys,” she said. “They said I was down to 30 percent of my function. Anything below that and you have to start thinking about dialysis.”
Shortly after hearing this diagnosis, Bonnie made an appointment with Jane to help her figure out Colorado’s Food Tax Rebate paperwork.
“I thought I was in trouble. She said, ‘first, I want to talk to you,’” Jane said. “She asked me why I had asked her about kidney disease. I explained that it was one of the chronic conditions that we follow up on in Care Guide.”
“I didn’t know that the Service Coordinator did that,” Bonnie said. “She was so tickled that her question had spurred me to go and see the doctor.”
Bonnie’s primary care physician gave her some recommendations on how to help strengthen her kidneys and avoid having to start dialysis.
Bonnie, who is 83 years old, has lived in a few different senior citizen apartment complexes.
“I was a cook in hospitals and nursing homes when I lived in Kansas,” she said. “Before that we were farmers. We had a farm and raised a family here (in Colorado).”
After her husband of 33 years passed away, Bonnie chose to move into an apartment. It wasn’t until she arrived at Birchwood Apartments, however, that she was introduced to a Service Coordinator.
“It’s really helpful,” she said. “There’s so much paperwork and things anymore that she can help me with. I don’t have a car and have to find transportation. It really is a help to have her here. She provides workshops during the week for different things. Right now there’s a living healthy workshop that comes once a week and we go attend that. It’s a real help.”
Jane said that as a National Church Residences Service Coordinator, it was exciting to see the work she does pay off in such a direct way.
“Sometimes it’s hard to see an action when you’re helping somebody because you don’t see the reaction,” she said. “In this case I did and I saw it come full-circle. It was exciting for me to see that take shape.”
Birchwood Apartments is a 173-resident senior apartment complex that has a Service Coordination contract with National Church Residences. Jane said that when Care Guide was first introduced, residents initially had some questions. But today they full embrace the positive impact it has had on their overall health.
“Just having the discussions with them prompts them to think about their health and more forward and talk to their doctor about it,” Jane said. “Bonnie is really good about advocating for herself and she took some action.”
Housing and Urban Development awarded $29.7 million to Columbus for redevelopment of the Near East Side, including the site of the Poindexter Village. Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), a partner in the project, had been one of six finalists for the Choice Neighborhood grant. The announcement of the award was made June 30 in Columbus.
National Church Residences is planning to open the Poindexter Village Intergenerational Care Center in collaboration with CMHA, Columbus Early Learning Centers (CELC), The Ohio State University (OSU), and Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT). The Poindexter Village neighborhood is being redeveloped to create a healthy, financially and environmentally sustainable community where residents have access to safe and affordable housing, quality health care and education, and employment opportunities.
The Intergenerational Care Center is a catalytic project for the redevelopment of the Poindexter neighborhood and a source of vital services that addresses the needs of both the frail elderly and vulnerable children and families. The Center is designed to house an adult day and child care center, a university classroom, space for intergenerational and community programming as well as outdoor recreation areas. Approximately 85 children and 140 vulnerable adults will be served annually plus an estimated 100 parents and 300 adult caregivers will receive support services each year. In addition, the Center will incorporate:
• An on-site Intergenerational Program Manager from The Ohio State University to develop and administer focused intergenerational and interdisciplinary initiatives.
• Health and wellness programming, including primary care for frail adults, children,families, and community members. Offerings would also include courses on caregiving, grief and loss, early childhood interventions for children with special needs and Moms2Be programs designed to help pregnant women to have a healthy pregnancy.
• Interdisciplinary research, academic classes, and training for OSU graduate, professional and undergraduate students. Some of their studies would cover the relationships between age and behaviors in the intergenerational setting.
• Collaborative and purposeful intergenerational programming like the supplemental reading intervention program, “Sit Together and Read” (STAR). STAR is designed to pair interested and able seniors with preschool children for 10 minutes of reading together. Faculty and students from OSU would train the adults on how to use specific read-aloud techniques that integrate a scope and sequence of literacy concepts.
• A new playground for the Intergenerational Care Center was developed by KaBoom! This playground, which includes equipment for both young children and seniors, was created thanks to the efforts of neighborhood and project partner volunteers and the generosity of the playground sponsor, Humana.
The Choice Neighborhood grant will accelerate the total redevelopment of the historic Poindexter Village neighborhood, with $200,000 earmarked for the Intergenerational Care Center. That amount goes along with a total of $645,000 already committed from CMHA, KaBoom!, Bob Evans Farms, Huntington Bank, CareSource Foundation and Ingram-White Castle Foundation.
There have been years of trial and error as we look retrospectively at the practice of caring for an individual with Dementia. Reality orientation, redirection, and restraint are no longer the most effective methods of caregiving for people with Dementia.
Research is still in its infancy. Evidence-based, best practices of care are being identified, providing support for families and caregivers. One such practice is Validation, developed by Naomi Feil, M.S.W., A.C.S.W. Validation theory explains that many very old disoriented people, who are often diagnosed as having Alzheimer type dementia, are in the final stage of life trying to resolve unfinished issues in order to die in peace. Their final struggle is important and we, as caregivers and family, can help them.
Validation is built on an empathetic attitude and a holistic view of individuals. When one can “step into the shoes” of another human being and “see through their eyes,” one can step into the world of disoriented very old people and understand the meaning of their sometimes bizarre behavior.
Validation is a theory that very old people struggle to resolve unfinished life issues before death. Their behavior is age-specific.
Validation techniques offer disoriented elderly an opportunity to express what they wish to express whether it is verbal or non-verbal communication. Validation practitioners are caring, non-judgmental and open to the feelings that are expressed. When unresolved feelings are suppressed for many years, they grow more powerful. When we listen with empathy for these expressions, the intensity of emotion lessens and the person with dementia communicates more freely and is less likely to withdraw further.
Based on the collaboration with health care providers and with family members the resulting findings need to emphasized and translated into best practices for healthcare environments, home, hospital, adult day care, assisted living and long-term care.
Family caregivers of people with dementia carry the weight on their shoulders, and often developing stress, poor health, and financial strain as a result. While many caregivers want to “live in the moment” and hope that they will not have to face the challenges posed by the dementia progression, most ultimately will. Therefore, we believe that these family caregivers of persons with dementia deserve the same level of anticipatory guidance to ensure that they are prepared for each new transition. Using the Validation theory as a framework for the development and implementation of clinical and educational approaches, we can play a pivotal role in the health and well-being of persons with dementia and their family.
The Principles of Validation Therapy are that:
1. All people are unique and must be treated as individuals.
2. All people are valuable, no matter how disoriented they are.
3. There is a reason behind the behavior of disoriented old-old people.
4. Behavior in old-old age is not merely a function of anatomic changes in the brain but reflects a combination of physical, social and psychological changes that take place over the lifespan.
5. Old-old people cannot be forced to change their behaviors. Behaviors can be changed only if the person wants to change them.
6. Old-old people must be accepted nonjudgmentally.
7. Particular life tasks are associated with each stage of life. Failure to complete a task at the appropriate stage of life may lead to psychological problems.
8. When more recent memory fails, older adults try to restore balance, in their lives by retrieving earlier memories. When eyesight fails, they use the mind’s eye to see. When hearing goes, they listen to sounds from the past.
9. Painful feelings that are expressed, acknowledged, and Validated by a trusted listener will diminish. Painful feelings that are ignored or suppressed will gain strength.
10. Empathy builds trust, reduces anxiety, and restores dignity.
Linda Roehrenbeck, BSN MBA, is the executive director of National Church Residences Mill Run, and a Certified Validation Worker. Linda provides in-house guidance, support and small group presentations in the practice of Validation.