Loss & Hope


Prairie Gate

Posted on

Jan 20, 2022


Nebraska - Eastern Region

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From Springs of Living Water, the e-newsletter of Optage Hospice

This month marks a sobering anniversary two years ago, we learned about a strange new virus and wondered if it would make it here. How could we have imagined how it would change the landscape of our lives?

For those of us also facing personal losses, this time can be especially disorienting. Having muddled our way through 2021, a new year brings new challenges even as we are now in a season of looking forward of hope.

Somehow, as difficult as it can be to feel hopeful, hope is both natural and essential. It helps us see the path forward, while nudging us to take the steps to get there. As we head into this new year full of so many unknowns, what do you carry? What do you hope for? Despite the sadness, the weariness and fear, could you bring your heart back to hope, even if just for a little bit?

As we reflect on what we hope for, we begin to see a larger horizon. As difficult as life might be at this moment, we wont always be where we are now. Despite the losses we face, life leads us forward. Looking back, we remember all that we have experienced. Looking forward, we discover all that we have learned. Hope can help us see the way, and hope can help us get there.

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Memory Care Questions: How to Answer a Loved One with Dementia

Questions from a loved one with dementia or Alzheimers can be difficult, especially when they ask questions that have painful answers. At Heritage Communities, we understand, and we have some suggestions to help you and your family communicate with your loved one with understanding, patience, and compassion.Memory Care Questions: Keeping the Goal in MindHelen Crunk, Regional Healthcare Specialist of Heritage Communities, and an expert in memory care, says she understands how not being totally truthful with a parent in memory care might feel like youre doing something wrong. But consider that the truth could cause them additional pain, such as reminding them someone has died, she says. And your loved one is likely to forget what you have told them, and will ask againwhy keep reminding them of a painful memory?Instead, Crunk says the goal is always to soothe, not to add agitation or anxiety. Dont try to use logic. Respond in a way that comforts and calms. For example:Validate:Nod, put your hand on their arm, offer a hug, be agreeable, do not argue. Meeting them where they are helps preserve their dignity.Redirect:Mention a favorable hobby, activity, or event. Ask about a favorite childhood memory they still talk about. Suggest an alternative activity before the one they mentioned (such as brushing their hair before catching a bus).Distract:Show them an old photo, engage them in singing a favorite song, take them for a walk to an outdoor garden or a group activity.Common questions asked by memory care residents and some possible answersI need to catch the school bus, or my mother will be angry.There is no value in reminding her that she is 80+ years old and her mother is deceased. That level of truth will only lead to more anxiety and confusion.Crunk suggests you respond with something like, Mom called me and asked me to take you home instead. But before we go, lets have a snack, and maybe finish the puzzle we started. Occupying your loved one like this redirects her attention and takes you to the next moment. Its likely she will forget once she is busy with another task.I want to go home now. Can you take me?Instead of saying that your mother is already home, try something like Tell me about where you live. Whats your favorite room? By asking about her home, you are validating her feelings, and encouraging her to share her thoughts.Or, you could say, Okay, well do that right after we have breakfast. Lets get you a sweater so you wont get cold. Then the conversation can move towards her favorite sweater, or on the way to the dining area, you could look out a window and comment on the birds, or maybe speak to a staff member.Helen Crunk says that often theres another message behind the words. Sometimes when a person says they want to go home, they are trying to communicate that they are afraid, anxious, or need some reassurance, she says. Respond in a soothing voice and if your loved one likes to be touched, try a gentle hug or hold their hand. They might just need to know they are being heard.I want to talk to my son/daughter/husband/wife.You might say, Okay, but right now, theyre probably at work or taking a nap. Well call them later, but first, could you help me fold your sweaters? Or, Could we walk over to the living room? Id like to see whats going on there.Why dont you ever visit me?This can be especially hard, says Crunk, especially when youve been visiting quite regularly. Keep in mind, your mom or dad simply cannot hold on to short-term memories. Instead of reminding them how many times youve visited, just jump right in with something pleasant. Her suggestion: Hey, lets go down the hall to the singalong. Or comment on an old photo. You look like you really enjoyed dancing when you were young. Tell me about that.Memory Care Questions: Choose Personalized Care for Your Loved OneAt Heritage, we call our memory care program Portraits, featuring multisensory activities based on the philosophies of Dr. Maria Montessori. Our care team creates an individualized plan for each resident, describing goals, opportunities and personalized activities that we believe each person will enjoy.We get to know your loved one, and we get to know you and your family as much as possible. This enables our caregivers to interact on a deeper, more personalized level. The result is less frustration and more engagement. We also offer extensive support for our familieslistening, encouraging and providing information.Our Memory Care allows residents to discover more joy in each day. Download our free Family Decision Toolkit, Your AZ Guide to Choosing The Right Senior Living Community. Or contact us today.

Tips for Having the Senior Living Conversation with Your Parents

Its a moment many family caregivers eventually face having the conversation with parents about moving to assisted living or memory care. It can be difficult to know how to approach the senior living conversation, what to say, and how to be sure your Mom or Dad knows you are coming from a place of love and care.At Heritage Communities, we are here to listen, support, encourage, and provide information. To begin, weve put together some suggestions that might help you with the senior living conversation.Understanding their emotions is essentialWhile a move to senior living might be the most practical choice, its also an emotional one. As you think about how you will bring up the subject with your loved one, consider some of the common fears that many seniors have about growing older, such as:Loss of independenceFailing health, particularly memoryRunning out of moneyHaving to leave their homeLosing loved onesHaving to depend on othersNot being able to driveBeing isolated and lonelyFalling or becoming incapacitatedTake these fears to heart as your family discusses the future together. Showing empathy and patience will provide comfort that youre on their side, can strengthen your relationship, and even help them warm up to the idea of moving.Having the senior living conversation: what to doSpend some time thinking in advance about what you want to accomplish in the talk. Understand that it may take several conversations over time; dont try to cover everything in one session. Here are some senior living conversation Dos:Make a list. Write down talking points about why it is time to consider senior living to help guide the discussion and to help you remember important questions. For example, have you noticed red flags, such as your parent is isolating or withdrawing, they dont seem to be eating regularly, they may be wandering or becoming lost, there are signs of a fender bender or personal injury (such as bruises from a fall), their home is messy, and so on. If you bring up specifics, do it in the context of your concern for their health and safety, asking them if they could use a helping hand with daily life.Pick a good time. Have the senior living conversation when your loved one is free of distractions or pending appointments so you are not rushed. Be sure they are rested, and not hungry or anxious. You could initially bring up the subject casually, such as on a walk, sitting on a park bench, after a happy family event, or other comfortable setting.Have back-up. Be sure to include other family members when appropriate. You might want to approach your Mom or Dad first, and then bring in another sibling or relative at the next conversation. Just be sure to keep it casual and open, so your parents do not feel pressured in any way.Its also a good idea to consult with a professional such as their physician, a case manager, social worker, lawyer, financial advisor or even a therapist or spiritual leader. Having input from a neutral party, particularly one your loved one trusts and respects, can go a long way in a senior living conversation.Keep it positive. Yes, its a change, but be sure to mention what lies on the other side of the decision: a worry-free lifestyle where they can enjoy a range of amenities and services without having to clean, cook, or take care of a home. Reinforce how much you want to give back to them, in terms of safety and wellbeing, and how knowing they were benefiting from 24-hour support would free all of you to enjoy your relationship (as a son or daughter) more than ever.If you know of someone else who recently went through the experience of a parent successfully moving into senior living, you might bring that up, especially if its someone they know. Describe how they are enjoying life more than ever without worries of home maintenance or isolation.What NOT to do in the senior living conversation:Do not dictate a plan. You want to have an ongoing, honest discussion that includes their thoughts and opinions. Share information with them, include them when you are researching online if it is feasible, and let them accompany you on tours of potential senior living communities.Do not take over and become the parent. Its very important for your Mom or Dad to feel respected and heard. Dont speak to them in a tone that suggests they are giving up control. Reassure them you are their son or daughter, and you want to be sure they are safe, well, and happy.Do not feed the fear. Its important to guide the conversation around your concerns, but in a way that youre collaborating together to help your loved one live their best life, not scaring them into a move.Senior living can help them live betterAll Heritage Communities share a single mission: to create the senior living experience that each person wants and deserves, and to help them remain as independent as possible for as long as possible.Heritage Communities throughout the Midwest and Southwest offer vibrant Independent Living, with Assisted Living, and Memory Care. We invite you to learn more please call us at 712-221-2448.

How To Plan A Funeral

Planning a funeral for your parents is a difficult and emotional process. It can be overwhelming and confusing, with so many decisions needing to be made. However, by being organized and methodical in your approach, you can ensure that the funeral is a meaningful and respectful celebration of their lives.Choose a funeral home.The first step in planning a funeral is to choose a funeral home. While this can be a difficult decision, it's important to find a funeral home that you trust and feel comfortable with. Look for a funeral home that is reputable and has experience in planning funerals. You may also want to consider the location, price, and accommodations offered by each funeral home.Notify family and friends.Once you have chosen a funeral home, it's important to notify family and friends about the funeral arrangements. You may want to send out an email or phone call to let people know about the funeral date, time, and location. This will give people plenty of time to make travel arrangements and plan accordingly.Plan the funeral service.The funeral service is an important part of the funeral, as it provides an opportunity to honor and remember your parents. When planning the service, you may want to include music, readings, and personal anecdotes about your parents. You may also want to consider hiring a minister or celebrant to lead the service.Choose the burial or cremation option.Another important decision to make is whether to have a traditional burial or cremation. Consider your parents' wishes and religious beliefs when making this decision. If you choose burial, you will need to select a cemetery and purchase a burial plot. If you choose cremation, you will need to select an urn for their remains.Consider other services.In addition to the funeral service and burial or cremation, there may be other services that you need to consider. For example, you may want to have a wake or visitation period to allow friends and family to pay their respects. You may also need to arrange transportation for the remains, as well as flowers and other funeral decorations.Deal with financial matters.Finally, you will need to deal with any financial matters related to the funeral. This may include paying for the funeral home services, burial or cremation, and other related expenses. You may also need to file any insurance claims or arrange for payment from your parents' estate.In conclusion, planning a funeral for your parents can be a difficult and emotional process, but by following these steps, you can ensure that it is a meaningful and respectful celebration of their lives. Remember to take your time, be organized, and seek support from loved ones throughout the process.Article Written By: Seniors Blue Book

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Spacious apartments feature bright open floor plans and 9-foot ceilings. Select units include in-home laundry, walk-in storage and a private balcony. Full kitchens are equipped with stainless steel appliances and select units include solid surface countertops. Select apartments offer a sunroom or den. Heated parking is also available.