Bel Aire Senior Living Blog

Thankful Hearts

For this post, we wanted to brag about our residents in the interest of this thankful season. We have been so blessed for our facility to have been free of the virus during this time of pandemic (knock on wood). We have been very cautious while still allowing our residents their freedom, which is wonderful. Our residents and their families have been so patient with us and with all of the frustration of constant rule and mandate changes. And, we are so lucky to have healthy residents.  Thank you so much to everyone affected by this.

 Not only are we virus free, but we wanted to share that our residents are amazing. They are a great and hilarious family and we love them dearly.  Our residents are often found helping and worrying about the wellbeing of each other and the staff as well.  Here at Bel Aire in American Fork, Utah, we get to know each of our residents personally. As for today, and as the other holidays approach us, we are so thankful to get to spend time during the holidays with our residents. Their generous families give us holidays, as well as all of the other days, the honor to spend time with their loved ones on these special e other days of the year. Though times are hard right now, and visitation is limited, we want it to be known how important the residents and their families are to us. We take precious care of these most important people to their families, and make sure they are living a high quality lifestyle. It is important, especially now, to recognize that the holidays have changed for all of us. These are times when we are to spread joy and cheer, yet the virus makes that difficult, but we are not giving up. Though everything is constantly changing around us, we maintain the love we give to one another in our assisted living community.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone from Bel Aire Senior Living!!

The Perfect Pie

Keystone Technologies has given five strategies to improve assisted living facilities. We would like to explore a few of their strategies.  Our favorites are nurturing staff relationships and developing resident relationships.

Is it just about the care we give? No, but the care we give comes from processes within the facility. We need to be a well-oiled machine to give the proper care to meet our residents’ needs. We have to make sure that each staff member and resident is emotionally well.

We nurture our relationships with our residents, yes, but we also need to nurture our relationships with each other. When every member of the team is happy and engaged, we create an unbreakable bond of healthy care giving. It is very important that we keep our staff happy so that they keep their strong connections with the residents. With higher staff turnover from COVID disruptions, it’s difficult for residents to keep strong human connections. All the cutting edge technology in the world cannot make up for a lack of good old fashioned friendliness. This plan is what turns our facility into a home. It makes what is referred to as work, something we are happy to do because of the relationships built here. This is what makes us different. 

Through the many disruptions going on in the lives of our residents, we still keep their home as normal as possible. Residents are free to move around and socialize, participate in activities, go on van rides, and have fairly normal lifestyles. In conjunction, the staff are happy to take whatever health precautions are necessary because they love the residents. It is vital that our residents also connect with each other. Through this hard time of quarantine and safety restrictions, residents still need to be socializing and physically exercising.  In fact, it is imperative for their mental and emotional health that they do. Here at Bel Aire Senior Living, we made the decision early on during the pandemic to lock out people from our building and outdoor grounds, instead of forcing our residents to be tucked away in their rooms, instead, they get to experience activities and strengthening their friendships. What we all need most through this pandemic is human interaction, so why should that be any different in a senior living residence?

Good communication and healthy connections equal happy people and a healthy environment. When you add all of these ingredients and mix them all together, you can have the perfect, homey, environment. You can bake the perfect pie.

Where Is Our Focus?

By: Lauryn Statham

 Steve Moran, the founder of Senior Living Foresight, wrote an article expressing his thoughts on how it seems that most senior living places have “thrown in the towel” when it comes to life enrichment, we, at Bel Aire Senior Living have not. We offer a life of variety and quality. We continue to uphold that standard while we move through this trying time. This article is a good example of what we should be remembering and upholding, along with some good advice on how to improve. 

So where is our focus as senior living providers? Moran says , at the top of many websites, and in many cases dominating the website, was COVID-19. While I think it is critical to address the issue, I am completely convinced that when senior living prospects land on a senior living website they are not primarily looking for information on COVID-19. Or even how that community is addressing COVID-19. They are there to solve a problem for themselves or someone they love. On our website we don’t talk about our COVID policies that are in place. We, of course, have policies to keep the residents safe, but we do not focus on that aspect because our residents and their families have enough to worry about. Families need to find a home that can care for their loved one and can show the resident that there is still happiness in their future.

Here at Bel Aire we truly care about our residents’ physical, mental and emotional health. While COVID-19 is widely affecting us, we choose to focus on reminding our residents that this is their home. We do not ignore the situation and we do have precautions in place. However, it is the employees who wear the masks, not the residents. The virus is confusing and troubling enough and if we had them quarantined in their rooms, then they would not be receiving the care that every human needs and wants, and we would have to be considered as throwing in the towel. This sets us apart from many in our industry. 

We help our residents create their lifestyle. We improve their quality of life. Moran tells us that the appeal of senior living is supposed to be a lifestyle/living experience that allows older people to have amazing last chapters of their lives. By providing them the ability to create, change the world, make new friends, and interact with old friends.  We agree with him fully. Bel Aire has been so good about focusing on what is really important for our residents.  We have amazing activities and events. We keep them social and we stay involved in their lives to ensure that they are even enjoying this change in atmosphere.

Moran speaks of a few things to improve upon, which we love. There is…this notion, that maybe we have even bought into the idea that, because of COVID-19, home is safer than senior living.  We can become that safer home.  A better home. It is very important to know how safe an option senior living is. Yes, there is a virus. Yes, it can be scary. While it may seem that keeping our loved ones safe at home will keep them alive longer, we need to remember the importance of social activities and the feeling of independence is what actually will make that happen. We need to be publishing our success stories on our websites. We need to invite feedback. Most of all, we must show that we are willing to be that special place deserving of our beloved residents with whom we spend time, create, and change the world. 

Our Value Proposition at Bel Aire

Our Value Proposition at Bel Aire

There is an insightful podcast by Pam McDonald that is titled “believing the pandemic gives senior living a do-over…”  She describes the goals we should have as a caregiving community, and that we specifically need to keep a “style of life” for our residents. The old value proposition for assisted living communities, such as ours, was to make the transition to the community and receive care. That’s it. As we come into a new era, after this pandemic, it is our duty to change the value proposition and enhance the living experience for our residents.The big question is, “how do we do that?”. Colin Milner, the Founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging, gives us a few tools to succeed in this endeavor. The first big tool is commitment. We need commitment to a goal and to the residents as we strive for safety and wellness, making our communication transparent, and reminding them that their lives matter. 

 

Here at Bel Aire, we have continually strived and thrived in this effort. The activities and socialization that we offer, in visits, outings, family dinners, exercise, and games become key to a style of living where life becomes full of joy and happiness. As we include what we enjoy in our lives, assist the residents to identify their own likes and needs, and help them remain as independent as possible themselves, then we are creating a lifestyle worth living. Though they are aging, and their lives are changing, that doesn’t call for total rearranging.

 

We are all humans and need to be treated with compassion and kindness. It is vital that we continually seek to treat our residents as the adult people they are. Dehumanizing or belittling a resident by speaking to them as you would a child is problematic, yet at times this is seen in long-term care facilities.  For some residents, these practices can create mental turmoil and reduce the joy in their lives, inspite having a robust social and activities program. There is such beauty in everyday life and it can be seen no matter our age. Though the pandemic has attempted to take over our lives and how we choose to live, we can now embrace the lessons learned from these times and create a better environment for our residents. We can establish a trust that we are prepared for any pandemic that might come our way. This, and many other things, will help create a community where we are helping to fully live the rest of your life, rather than wait it out in worry. 

 

We need to be creating a different perception of what aging and senior living is all about. We do this by following through with our commitment. We want our community to be a community, not the hospital it could surely turn into without the enhancement of daily activities. Bel Aire makes life truly matter. We refreshingly impact lives and treat our humans to happiness.

 

 

 

 

COVID-19 and the Mental and Emotional Toll it Takes on Seniors

COVID-19 and the Mental and Emotional Toll it Takes on Seniors

Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, there have been many rules put in place to keep us safe. Though these precautions may prevent us from getting the virus, we tend to look past what they are taking from us.

Social interaction is very important for our mental and emotional health. Being social can help prevent depression, which is widespread among seniors. In fact, some studies show that up to “20 percent of the population over 70 years of age suffer from depression. There are many causes, but it’s often made worse by the fact that people who were once active now spend much of their time alone.” In the article: The Unspoken COVID-19 Toll on the Ederly by: Eden David,  Stephanie Cacioppo, director of the Brain Dynamics Laboratory at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, tells us that “Loneliness also triggers a stress response that there is an imbalance in our social homeostasis,”. Another study done by The National Institute on aging says “Social relationships are consistently associated with biomarkers of health. For example, people who are lonely frequently have elevated systolic blood pressure.” Not only does social interaction help us stay happy and keep a good attitude. It keeps us healthy and boosts our quality of life. Most of us have many  opportunities for social interaction. We go to work, school, church, maybe even lunch with a friend. In assisted living, there are fewer options for such rendezvous when it comes to talking with a variety of people. Here at Bel Aire Senior Living, we want to offer each of our residents the highest quality of life possible, so we focus on planning exciting and meaningful group events and activities. 

A fun activity or outing is a good reason to get out and participate. Each month our Life Enrichment Coordinators Andrea and Madi create a calendar with a variety of activities. We have musical programs, scenic drives and picnics up one of our beautiful local canyons, crafts, exercise, brain stimulating games, and of course BINGO (which believe it or not is also a cognitive brain enhancer). These, along with many other activities, get our residents out and socializing. We try to engage as many residents as possible in our activities, but not everyone enjoys going out in large groups.

To ensure we meet everyone’s needs we schedule time on our calendar for one-on-one visits. These visits are for residents that don’t enjoy the large group activities. Andrea and Madi make it a priority to personalize this time, and it varies with each resident. They visit, file nails, read, or help them with other activities. Madi says “I love one-on-ones because it’s a chance to let each person in the building know that I am thinking of them. Besides making sure everyone has interaction, it’s clear that they appreciate knowing that someone comes to visit because they are on our mind.” One-on-one visits allow each one of our residents to enjoy a personal connection inside their comfort zone, and give us a chance to show them how much we enjoy and care for them.

Speaking of visits, we still allow families to visit, but with a twist! We call them window visits. We take the resident to a room where they sit by the window and whoever comes to visit sits on the other side and they chat through the screen. This is one of the ways we are keeping our residents happier by being with and seeing their family members in-person. In this wild pandemic we schedule 30 minute visits with their families on any day of the week and as often as they like.  And with newer State guidelines, we have been allowing outdoor visits for our residents with adult family members, where social distancing is observed, and masks are worn.

 We believe it is vital to our seniors’ mental and emotional  health that they have the chance to interact with others and are still able to see their loved ones. We all need a little spirit-lifting now more than ever.



If you would like to learn more about our one-on-one visits and other activities stop by or give us a call! 

 

Bel Aire Senior Living in American Fork

801.763.0622

1088 E 390 S 

American Fork, UT 84003

How Mobile Doctors Can Alleviate Family Stress

How Mobile Doctors Can Alleviate Family Stress

As a senior care facility, we strive to alleviate the stress of our families, so they can enjoy time spent with their elderly loved ones in our care. From all-inclusive pricing, to 24 hr care, we have implemented many changes to put our resident’s families at ease. One of our more effective methods for easing the burden of caregiving from the shoulders of our communities’ loved ones, comes from our choice to use mobile doctors. This may come as a surprise to some, as mobile physicians rarely come to mind when thinking of ways to promote peaceful family relationships. Through research and suggestions we have found that mobile doctors provide services to our residents that can lift the stress of caregiving from a family’s shoulders. Yourhealthaccess.com provides a helpful list of the positives of mobile physician help including:

  • Mobile physicians help you contain costs and leverage quality care.  Less or no more trips to the doctors’ offices!
  • Mobile physicians may be a part of a group of different types of medical specialists who are capable of offering a variety of common diagnostic tests and some treatments, outside of surgery. Mobile physicians may come equipped with allied healthcare personnel when necessary.
  • Teams may perform lab work, x-rays, EKG’s and a host of other tests that may otherwise require multiple visits to doctors’ offices and lab facilities.
  • House call docs may be more likely to know when to integrate durable medical supplies, even without communication from the senior. These supplies may limit caregiver demands and allow for up-to-minute monitoring of changes, which may regularly be required in senior years. Durable medical supplies include, but are not limited to: communication computers, equipment to assist with daily living activities, remote vital sign alert devices and oversight monitoring.
  • Since the senior’s mental status is often much better at home when compared to other places, mobile physicians may have the opportunity to make a more accurate evaluation of needs and the visit may be more pleasant to the senior overall.
  • Mobile physicians understand medical constraints and may enlighten you about senior care options that enhance access to care.
  • Mobile physicians may be familiar with up-to-date benefits and services that may be available to provide seniors with formal caregiver assistance, such as, physical therapy, nutrition, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, and adult day care center providers.
  • Mobile physicians often recognize urgent care needs and may respond quickly.
  • Mobile physicians offer flexible scheduling, no out of home wait times, reduce the need to leave the house and may contain costs associated with transport.
  • Mobile physicians may be available for short or long-term care needs.

On top of the various reasons for mobile physician care listed above, we have also found that the burden of transportation to and from doctors appointments can become too much to bear for the families of our residents, making mobile doctors groups the best option for our community. 

We, at Bel Aire Senior Living in American Fork, understand the stress and worry that often comes from caregiving. That’s why we have invited three doctors groups to join our ranks, giving our residents options for their caregiving, and relieving stress from their family members. 

For more information on our facility contact us at (801) 763-0622

Say “No” to Coronavirus, and Any Other Virus, For That Matter

Say “No” to Coronavirus, and Any Other Virus, For That Matter

Say “No” to Coronavirus, and Any Other Virus, For That Matter

Following the recent outbreak of coronavirus, our facility has implemented new precautionary measures to keep our residents’ environment cleaner, healthier, and happier. As far as we know, Coronavirus does not generally have any lasting effects on young individuals, however, it can be potentially fatal for anyone over the age of 60. For this reason we have made the decision to take certain security measures in our building such as not allowing any visitors into our facility other than our staff and needed medical personnel. 

Now that our doors have been closed to everyone but staff and residents, we have stressed the need for consistent cleaning of every high-touch surface throughout our buildings. We have been using this method of daily disinfecting on each shift for years,(especially during the cold and flu seasons from October through April) and have seen the health of our residents improve when it is being done consistently. Light switches, door knobs, handrails, keyboards and desks, elevator rails and control panels, and chair arms where possible are wiped down with disinfectant every shift by our hardworking CNA staff and management team. Because of the frequent sanitation of our facility, we have been able to avoid catching not only COVID-19 but flu and colds as well, achieving our goal of protecting our community from illness. 

On top of our routine disinfecting, we have our housekeeping crew join our ranks every morning and night to deep clean the resident’s rooms, sanitize the common areas, and disinfect the bathrooms. Our staff also is encouraged, first and foremost to wash their hands between resident visits, and use hand sanitizer whenever they are able in between hand washings. With hand sanitizer being in high demand in the stores and online, we have even had staff members find hand sanitizer recipes and make their own!  So far, even this year, our crusade on diligently disinfecting our environment has been effective in keeping the Coronavirus and other illnesses far away from our building’s walls and our residents (knock on wood!!). We encourage other senior living operations throughout the world to do their own version of Bel Aire Senior Living’s “no, no, no, no Corona!”.

 

For more information on our COVID-19 procedures call (801) 763-0622, or write belairecare@gmail.com.

How to Evaluate Assisted Living Facilities for Seniors

How to Evaluate Assisted Living Facilities for Seniors

As an assisted living facility, we at Bel Aire understand the stress and confusion that can accompany the search for a good assisted living residence that the senior can call home. People from all walks of life come in for tours, assessments, and advice with varying methods for weeding out facilities that are not desirable, but often get caught up in the stress of the situation. They forget what questions to ask, skip over areas that they would normally focus on, and altogether just hope that whatever facility they choose will care for their loved ones as much as they do. We, as a facility, understand the difficulty of the process and would like to assist by providing a list of things to look for while touring a senior living community. 

Does the CNA staff seem friendly?

This may be a bit hard to determine depending on whether or not the CNA staff are busy helping a resident during your visit, but if given the opportunity, try talking with one about the facility. Ask them what they like about their job. Notice if they know the residents by name. Overall, friendly and hardworking CNA’s make all the difference in the experience your elderly loved ones will have at a facility. 

Are the meals visually appealing and appetizing to look at?

A study done by the Crossmodal Research Library at the University of Oxford shows that the more appetizing and colorful a dish is, the better it seems to taste. Just observing the dishes at a senior living facility serves as a helpful way to tell whether or not the meals are enjoyable, without actually sitting down and consuming the food. Ask if you can sample the food if a meal is being served at the time. 

Is the environment clean? 

Generally, when a facility keeps the common areas clean they keep the resident rooms clean as well and vice versa. Notice if it smells nice; an assisted living facility must work hard to keep the facility smelling nice despite the brief changes and messes that occur daily, and can be a good sign that they are working hard to maintain a healthy environment for their residents. A clean facility could equal a healthier, happier home for your loved one.

Do the residents react well to interactions with the staff?

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if the staff regularly tries to connect with the people living there, or if they are just putting on a show. It can feel fake or forced to see them interact while you are there searching for a place for your family member. A good way to tell if the comradery is real is to watch the residents’ reactions when CNA staff or management interacts with the seniors. Do they seem happy, excited, or relieved to see them? Or are they stressed, confused, or distant? 

In addition to this list of things to look for, we have provided a list of 10 questions to ask when looking for senior living, to help you narrow down your search. This list can be found on our blog at http://belairecare.com/10-questions/. When people visit our community we strive to answer every question about senior living you may have and even provide our guests with a packet of resources to help them decipher what kind of care will be best for their loved ones. Call our number (801)763-0622 to get answers from experts and schedule a tour. 

 

Avoiding Senior-Targeted Scams and Fraud

Avoiding Senior-Targeted Scams and Fraud

Avoiding Senior-Targeted Scams and Fraud

As our dependence on technology increases, so does the number of “scam” calls that we receive. It seems that every other call is from a shady ‘insurance agency’ or ‘credit card company’ asking for our social security, credit card, or bank account numbers. Unfortunately, for seniors, many of these scams are targeted at the elderly; often taking advantage of their compassion and unfamiliarity with modern technology. How do we avoid these scams? How do we prevent ourselves and our loved ones from losing money to deceptive and manipulative people? The answer is simple; spread the word! Knowing popular scam methods is an effective way to smoke out what is and isn’t legitimate. The National Council on Aging has provided a list of popular scams that target the elderly; the list includes,

  • Medicare/Health Insurance Scams
    • Scammers will pretend to be Medicare representatives in order to get personal insurance information from the elderly.
  • Counterfeit/Prescription Drugs
    • Online prescription frauds are false advertisements for cheaper medication, used to get insurance and credit card information. 
  • Funeral & Cemetery Scams
    • Funeral and Cemetery services will take advantage of grieving families and claim that extra services (more expensive coffins, lots, and fees) are necessary in order to receive more money. It’s also common for scammers to read online obituaries and show up at a funeral demanding money from the family for fake outstanding debts from the deceased. 
  • Grandparent Scams
    • This dastardly popular scam takes advantage of elderly compassion and love for their grandkids. The scammer typically calls an elderly person pretending to be their grandchild (often by saying things like “grandma, guess who this is” when the senior first picks up, to get easy information about the grandchild they are impersonating without having to do any previous research) and acts as though they have just had an accident – a car wreck, house fire, etc. – and ask for money.
  • Sweepstakes & Lottery Scams
    • These frauds make calls to the elderly pretending that they have just won the lottery, but don’t have the funds to pay the taxes for the prize money. The supposed ‘winners’ then say that they are willing to give the senior citizens a percentage of the winnings, if they will pay the tax on the fake jackpot. 

As a general rule for everyone regardless of age, never give insurance, credit card, social security, or bank account numbers to anyone over the phone. Protect yourself from potential fraud by learning more about current scams on https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes. Stay safe!

 

Food, Glorious Food!

Food, Glorious Food!

We all remember the horrors of cafeteria food from our early education. The soggy rolls, half covered in gravy made from the mystery meat that never seemed fully cooked. Often, when assisting those trying to find a senior living residence, I have found that the quality and taste of food is one of the biggest resident concerns. No one wants to eat cold, cafeteria food for every meal. Luckily, the residents at our facility don’t have to! 

Here at Bel Aire we provide home-cooked meals that are prepared by our kitchen staff and food services director. Using the Grove Menus System™, every meal is designed to keep our residents healthy and happy, with nutritious meals tailored for each resident and their specific dietary needs. Reduced-fat, low-calorie, high-fiber and low-sodium choices that have been approved by our dietitian combined with selections of classic favorites, regional dishes, and resident-suggested dishes give our residents the comfort of home-cooked meals. 

We provide three meals a day and snacks every afternoon. We also have a hydration program to keep our residents from suffering the effects of dehydration such as dizziness, UTIs, and falls. 

We often get asked; what happens if the residents don’t like a meal served that day? Are the only options to be forced to eat it or not eat at all? Our answer is simple – absolutely not! We provide an alternate menu every day for residents who let us know that they dislike the scheduled meal. Our food service and CNA staff here at Bel Aire Senior Living work hard to give the residents the best dining experience possible so they are healthy, happy, and feel completely at home.