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!
While our prayers are with the families and first responders impacted by Hurricane Florence, the town of Manhattan, Kansas experienced its own devastating flooding due to recent torrential rains in the region.
Heavy rains caused a creek to burst its banks and flood the Kansas town of Manhattan, forcing more than 300 people to evacuate their homes, including some who were ferried to dry land in boats.
Nearly 9 inches (23 centimeters) of rain fell from Sunday night into Monday over Labor Day weekend, causing extensive flooding to National Church Residences Garden Grove senior affordable housing community. All of the residents were evacuated and moved to higher ground as the water on the first floor rose as high as three feet, which resulted in significant loss of personal possessions. It is estimated that it will take weeks to fully restore power to the region – and it could be even longer before these residents can return to their homes.
The average age of the 62 residents at Garden Grove is 70, and all have modest resources. Most are frail and suffer from one or more chronic conditions. They do not have the means to easily replace all that was lost, and insurance will only cover so much. Our residents need your help.
We are asking you to help us “Restock the Fridge” for the residents of Garden Grove. Your donation will provide food and personal care items to these residents once they are able to return to the building.
This simple gesture to restore a basic human need to these residents certainly will ease their worries as they begin to rebuild their lives.
Quality time with multiple generations is beneficial for families. When children and young adults spend time with older adults and seniors, it can create a sense of bonding that strengthens families and provides benefits for both parties.
For children, intergeneration activities help build self-esteem, social skills, and happier, healthier attitudes about the future and aging adults. They gain the opportunity to hear stories from the elders in their family and gather wisdom beyond their years.
For seniors, these intergenerational activities create a sense of joy and fulfillment. Spending time with their children and grandchildren helps promote mental health and helps strengthen the body.
September is Intergenerational Month and it is a great time to begin to think about different activities that families can do together to strengthen intergenerational bonding.
Cooking is a great way to bond with your loved ones. Discover a new recipe or share an old family recipe. By using cooking to bond, children gain new skills and older adults get the opportunity to continue to teach those younger.
Experience the Community
Every community is unique and has gems. By discovering these together, it creates memories for both the young and older. Visit the local library, take a class, go to a show (even a high school play!).
Music is a timeless way to bond generations. Sharing music allows the younger generation to experience things that the older generation treasures. The experiences that we have with music transcends generations. Listening to songs that each one likes or playing instruments together is the perfect intergenerational activity.
Sharing stories is important in bonding. The older generation gets the opportunity to share stories about their childhood and the things that they hold dear. These stories are great ways to capture memories as older ones may pass on.
At National Church Residences, we promote intergenerational activities with our seniors by partnering with the community and through our adult day programs. If you’d like to volunteer and get involved with our seniors, visit our website for more information.
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.
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.”
(Dr. William Wulf, CEO of Central Ohio Primary Care, and Mark Ricketts, President and CEO of National Church Residences, sign a joint venture to provide primary care physician services for National Church Residences’ central Ohio facilities earlier this month at First Community Village in Upper Arlington.)
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The nation’s largest independent primary care group and the nation’s largest non-profit provider of affordable senior housing have officially joined forces to offer a one-of-a-kind health care partnership.
Central Ohio Primary Care Physicians (COPC) signed an agreement earlier this month to provide primary care services in coordination with National Church Residences’ continuum of senior health care services, aimed at helping seniors in Central Ohio avoid unnecessary admissions and readmissions to hospitals or nursing facilities.
“In National Church Residences we have found a partner that puts the patient at the center of every decision,” said Dr. J. William Wulf, M.D., the CEO of COPC. “Over the last three years we have worked together on multiple initiatives and felt that it was time to formalize our relationship in a joint venture.”
The partnership will focus on National Church Residences “Home for Life” program that allows seniors to live healthier lives in their own homes, reducing the need to enter nursing facilities.
“National Church Residences and COPC are jointly making a commitment in central Ohio to help seniors remain at home,” said Mark Ricketts, President and CEO of National Church Residences. “You might even say National Church Residences’ commitment to high quality and reliable ‘At Home Health Care,’ ‘At Home Assistance’ and ‘At Home Hospice Care’ is a senior’s partner at home for life!”
“True population health will require physicians to partner with organizations that can deliver services to the most frail in our care,” Dr. Wulf added. “This will include care for our high risk patients at home and in non-hospital facilities. National Church Residences is an organization focused on providing the level of care needed to improve quality and lower cost.”
In the agreement, National Church Residences will proactively identify at-risk individuals through the organization’s revolutionary Care Guide assessment system to provide person-centered care planning that tracks interventions and outcomes. COPC will provide primary care and other diagnostic services to help manage a patient’s health both before and after the need for higher levels of care.
“This joint venture with COPC is unique and exciting,” said Ricketts. “While many senior living organizations in the United States have offered primary care services on campus, few have taken the step of partnering with primary care physicians serving residents in the community.”
(Dr. John Weigand, National Church Residences Chief Medical Officer, Mark Ricketts, National Church Residences President and CEO, and Dr. William Wulf, CEO of Central Ohio Primary Care, celebrate the signing of a joint venture between the two organizations.)
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.