Bel Aire Senior Living Blog

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.

Top 10 Websites for Senior Citizens

Top 10 Websites for Senior Citizens

Navigating the Internet in this day and age can feel like running in place; you can’t get anywhere. Surrounded by hundreds of website names, useless information, and phony facts, finding useful places to answer day to day questions for seniors is a difficult task, that’s why we decided to make a list of our top 10 websites for senior citizens.

  1. AARP® Official Site – Join & Explore the Benefits – This popular organization has tons of useful articles and videos designed for aging adults. For helpful tips and important news, peruse their headlines on the homepage of their website. 
  2. www.pinterest.com – Cooking, crafts, and funny posts are abundant on the Pinterest website. This social media site lists thousands of popular ideas tailored to the user. It’s easy to use, and a great resource for finding fun, creative solutions to boredom. 
  3. https://www.seniorsguidetocomputers.com – Technology can be confusing and frustrating, but no need to fear! This website is tailored for older adults who need help navigating the web.  
  4.  Free Family History and Genealogy Records — FamilySearch … – This church-run website was rated by The Wall Street Journal to be the number one genealogy site for everyone, regardless of religion. Family Search is a fantastic tool for creating a family tree and learning about your ancestors. 
  5. http://www.investopedia.com/ –  This website is a wonderful resource for keeping up with investment news. 
  6. https://www.seniorliving.org/ –  Find hundreds of resources on health, housing, health care, and finances on Senior Living. This website offers valuable resources for any question or concern regarding the aging process. 
  7. https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/good-vision-throughout-life/adult-vision-19-to-40-years-of-age/adult-vision-over-60-years-of-age – This page takes you to the senior section of the American Optometrist Association. It lists common eye issues for seniors, and ways to prevent further eye damage. 
  8. Google – No helpful website list would be complete without listing this indispensable search engine. Virtually any question can be answered using this popular website. 
  9. https://hospicefoundation.org/ – Hospice organizations can be a hassle to find, but by using this website the process is made easy. The website also offers answers to frequently asked questions about hospice care, and resources for grief. 
  10. Bel Aire Senior Living – 24/7 Assisted Living Services – Last but most definitely not least, our very own website posts weekly on our blog. We provide helpful articles for the aging adult and answer questions about senior living services. Feel free to explore our website for more information!

In this technology ridden world keeping up with the times can be stressful. We, at Bel Aire, believe it’s important to provide our senior’s with the resources they need to stay informed. We love our tech-savvy seniors!

 

Is there a Cure for Loneliness – Maybe

Is there a Cure for Loneliness – Maybe

Without a doubt, loneliness affects people from all walks of life, but according to the National Poll on Healthy Aging performed by the University of Michigan, seniors feel the impacts of loneliness significantly more than other age groups. The survey reveals, “The findings from this poll suggest that millions of older adults across the U.S. feel lonely. Research shows that chronic loneliness can impact older adults’ memory, physical well-being, mental health, and life expectancy. In fact, some research suggests that chronic loneliness may shorten life expectancy even more than being overweight or sedentary, and just as much as smoking”. Not only are the effects of loneliness great and possibly detrimental, but the levels of loneliness in seniors are significantly higher than other age groups. These shocking facts silently pose an important question; what can we, as caregivers, family, friends, or neighbors do about it?

Numerous studies have been done to research ways to alleviate loneliness among seniors; the solutions varying from simple to extraordinary. On the simplistic side are ideas such as regular calls from family or friends, community activity engagement, and volunteering. The more research is done on the subject, however, reveals the more complicated solutions. These ideas included animal robots to simulate the companionship of a pet without the upkeep for a live animal, artificially intelligent machines that attempt to start conversations with their elderly housemates, and complicated medical procedures. There are hundreds of ways to fix this problem, but not every solution is effective for every senior, since every person has a different life perspective and what makes them lonely.

The most effective responses to loneliness, are responses that start at the root of the issue. Solving the problem starts at finding the reason for loneliness. A recent loss, long-distance moves, and social or cognitive disorders all are significant causes of feeling lonely, and addressing these issues makes the most difference when assisting seniors, or looking for help. As a senior living community, Bel Aire Senior Living understands this concept of identifying the reason, which leads us to help the individual in the most appropriate way possible.

The staff at Bel Aire in American Fork understands that in order to understand a senior’s needs, emotional or mental, you must get to know them personally! That’s why we encourage our staff to spend time with our residents and learn about their life experiences, as time permits. We have found that as a team and even a community family, our efforts to decrease loneliness in the lives of our seniors have made an enormous difference in making them feel loved, happier and that they are living a higher quality of life.