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Senior Living Blog

Happily Ever Aging
...a UMH Senior Living Blog

Everything you need to know about caring for your loved one - at home or at a senior living community.

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Aging & Caregiving  |  Independent Senior Living  |  caregiver tips  |  dependent senior living  |  senior living homes  |  senior living nutrition

Managing Senior Caregiver Guilt Over Nursing Home Placement

Guilt, by any measure, is one of the most difficult feelings senior caregivers face when transitioning a loved one from home to a care facility. Family members who find themselves up against this decision do not typically go into it lightly, often laboring over the question of what’s best for the senior in their life. Many times, the move is dictated by unforeseen circumstances or newly emerged medical conditions that make it impractical to care for the loved one at home. Whatever the case, both the decision and the logistics of placement can leave a caregiver riddled with an overwhelming sense of guilt.  

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Aging & Caregiving  |  Independent Senior Living  |  dependent senior living  |  senior living homes  |  senior living nutrition

The Secret to Health & Longevity That’s Too Important to Miss

It could be argued that no widespread experience has shed greater light on the universal need for face-to-face contact and personal connection than the global pandemic. Amidst this seismic threat to public health, people around the world have been rattled by overwhelming fear, stress and social isolation. For many, this reality has been accompanied by an unmistakable appreciation and longing for the kind of interaction that used to mark our everyday lives before the onset of COVID.

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Aging & Caregiving  |  Independent Senior Living  |  dependent senior living  |  senior living homes  |  senior living nutrition

The What, Why & How of Stress in a Senior’s Life

Stress doesn’t discriminate based on generation, and no matter what’s going on in a senior’s life, there’s potential for them to suffer from the physical and emotional effects of stress. Circumstances like illness, loss of a loved one, loss of independence, a strained relationship, a move or other difficult changes to their daily life could be major contributors to stress. Learning how to understand and identify that stress is critical to working through it or supporting the senior in your life as they experience it. 

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Independent Senior Living  |  dependent senior living  |  senior living nutrition

COVID-19 Update

Staying Safe, Healthy and Engaged During The Pandemic – The UMH Way   December 2020 At UMH communities, we have been and continue to be dedicated to keeping our residents safe, healthy, and engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Every member of our team is committed to the highest level of infection control protocols.  Equally important is their dedication to keeping residents engaged in life and connected with each other and their loved ones.   Top Reason New Residents are Choosing to Move In During the COVID-19 Pandemic To be HEALTHY – Vaccinations are on their way and residents in our Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing sites are at the top of the list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine! According to the State of Connecticut distribution plan, our residents and staff are considered a top priority.  For this we are grateful. During the pandemic our residents continue to get three, healthy, home-cooked and delicious meals each day. They have the choice of social distanced dining in our Dining Rooms or room service if they prefer.  Residents receive personal care in their apartment by staff who are tested for COVID on a regular basis and follow all infection control processes. To be HAPPY – Social interactions are the key to good health.  Many have struggled living at home, isolated from friends and family.  According to a Gallup Poll, people need 6-7 hours of social interaction each day. This is not possible for many seniors living at home but is much more attainable at a UMH community.  Socially distanced programs are held throughout the day and in the evening.  Whether you are interested in painting, book discussion groups, live entertainment, fitness or games, we have systems in place to keep residents healthy.  Face masks are provided to all residents, and staff keep residents safe by wearing not only face masks, but in many instances, face shields.  We have an abundance of PPE and sanitizer available at all times.    To be SAFE – Our infection control protocols are designed to mitigate risks associated with COVID-19.  Every person entering the building goes through a health screening.  Visitation with family and friends is handled in such a way to encourage human interaction while staying safe. Even during times of quarantine, residents stay active and engaged with visits from staff, one-on-one programs or activities via our in-house TV channel where available. We help them maintain virtual connections with their loved ones to keep the lines of communication open.    To have SOMEONE KNOW THEY ARE OKAY – Trained care staff are on-site 24-hours a day, available to check in on residents to make sure they are okay.  Staff are available in the event of an emergency or just some small talk if a resident is looking for some company.  Family and loved ones have peace-of-mind knowing the residents are being well cared for, both physically and emotionally.   They receive regular communication from our leadership team that is transparent.  If there are changes to our protocols, families are in the loop and know what to expect.  Good relationships are critical during times such as these.   December 8, 2020  The COVID-19 pandemic has caused distress and hardship for all of us, but seniors and those who care for them have been most severely impacted. At United Methodist Homes, we are breathing a sigh of relief that vaccinations are on the horizon. In the coming days, our community Administrators and Executive Directors will be sharing more information regarding the vaccination process with you, as more details emerge. New information about the vaccine continues to develop each day and plans for distribution are expected to continue to evolve as the situation develops. Currently, it is anticipated there will be three phases of vaccine distribution starting with the First Phase as soon as the vaccine is received. The First Phase will include healthcare workers, long-term care facility and assisted living residents. Those residents and staff, residing or working in our nursing homes or assisted living communities at United Methodist Homes will be included in this First Phase. Independent living residents in the Wesley Village Cottages may be included in the Second Phase to be delivered between January and May. Our skilled nursing facility (Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation Center) has already been notified that vaccinations should occur between December 22nd and December 28th and we expect similar notifications for other communities in the coming days. Each community will be managing the collection of required consents prior to the arrival of vaccinations. We understand you may have questions about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. Please click to review information provided by The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine through our pharmacy vendor, Omnicare. We will continue to share additional information as it becomes available. If you have additional questions, please reach out to the Administrator or the Executive Director of your community. We are hopeful that vaccinations will begin the process of healing from the COVID crisis. It is important to understand that the vaccination process will take months, and we will continue our infection control practices as guided by CDC and the State of Connecticut through the process. Sincerely, David M. Lawlor President & CEO, United Methodist Homes   July 24, 2020 At UMH, our top priority is the safety and well-being of the residents who live in our communities while finding new and creative ways to keep them active, engaged and connected with each other and their loved ones during these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic. The requirements of social distancing and PPE do not get in the way of us living our mission and continuing to focus on relationships and encouraging our residents to live lives full of meaning and purpose.    Important Changes In order to keep COVID-19 at bay, all UMH communities conduct Infection Control Rounding each day to monitor the goings-on in the community to ensure that staff and residents alike are adhering to proper safety measures.  Every person who enters one of our buildings is required to have their temperature taken and complete a Health and Travel Questionnaire.   An Executive Order from the office of Governor Lamont mandates weekly COVID-19 testing of all nursing home patients and staff.  It is mandated for assisted living staff who have not previously tested positive for COVID-19. All testing will continue until no new onset positives are found for at least 14 days since the most recent positive result.     As new information is learned about the virus, we consult our team of clinical experts and adhere to the advice from the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and make adjustments to our protocols as necessary.   Resident Life Our communities are offering many programs throughout the day for residents to participate in either virtually or in person with proper social distancing.  Residents are enjoying exercise classes, musical entertainment, word & trivia games, themed snack & traveling happy hour carts, fashion shows, and of course, Bingo. Residents are encouraged to visit with each other and take walks around our beautiful property while wearing their face masks and practicing proper social distancing.  Families are now enjoying outdoor visits with their loved ones in areas specifically dedicated to this purpose. Maintaining emotional connections with loved ones is critical for good mental health, especially now.    We have begun the process of opening the Dining Rooms in some of our communities.  Residents continue to have the option of receiving top-notch room service with healthy and delicious entrées and snacks, delivered to their apartment with a smile by our staff.  Additionally, some residents have opted to take advantage of our outdoor dining venues.     On-site physicians and other care providers such as podiatrists and therapists are now permitted in community spaces that accommodate the need for social distancing. This is a great benefit to our residents who have concerns about going to medical appointments off-site. We have assisted residents with telehealth appointments and will continue to do so as they request this service.   We are offering transportation to medical appointments for those requiring an in-person visit.  Some communities have also begun offering scenic drives for a change of scenery.      We are continuing to work with prospective residents and their families by conducting virtual tours and moving new residents into our communities. Please reach out to a member of our marketing team if you would like to schedule your tour.    We appreciate all the kind and supportive words from our residents, families and friends and ask for your continued understanding as we navigate this evolving situation.   Wishing you good health, David M. Lawlor President & CEO, United Methodist Homes       March 19, 2020 We understand you may be concerned about the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 and how it may impact the UMH communities. Ensuring residents are cared for in a safe and healthy environment is our top priority. We are taking all the recommended precautions and appreciate your help and understanding as we manage the risks presented by COVID-19. Please know we receive regular guidance from the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), United States Center for Medicare Services (“CMS”) and the Connecticut Department of Health (“DPH”).

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Aging & Caregiving  |  Independent Senior Living  |  dependent senior living  |  senior living homes  |  senior living nutrition

COVID-Safe Wintertime Activities for Seniors to Enjoy

While the pandemic wages on and we edge closer to one full year of the often overwhelming threat of COVID-19, some things remain steady as ever—like the clockwork transition from one season to the next. As the onset of blustery, cold weather kicks into high gear, many seniors and their loved ones are challenged to maintain a strong focus on safety and social distancing, all without succumbing to the potentially harmful effects of social isolation, cabin fever and boredom.

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Aging & Caregiving  |  Independent Senior Living  |  dependent senior living  |  senior living homes  |  senior living nutrition

Senior Nutrition: Tips for Healthy Eating Over the Holidays

Some of the first images that come to mind when thinking about the holidays are those so-called sugar plums dancing in our heads. From stuffed turkeys and sweet potato pies to rich side dishes and sweet treats, there’s a seemingly endless array of festive delights to tempt the taste buds. While it’s fine to indulge in seasonal savories from time to time, it’s also important for seniors to keep their health and nutrition in check.  

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Aging & Caregiving  |  Independent Senior Living  |  dependent senior living  |  senior living homes  |  senior living nutrition

Senior Nutrition: Do's & Don’ts for Managing Salt & Sugar

It’s completely natural for seniors to experience some changes in their sense of taste. In fact, many have lost about two thirds of their overall taste buds by age 70, impacting their sensitivity to tastes like sweet and salty. Certain medications and medical conditions can also diminish a senior’s taste, causing some foods to seem bland. That’s why it’s common for seniors to overcompensate with higher intakes of sugar and salt.

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Aging & Caregiving  |  Independent Senior Living  |  dependent senior living  |  senior living homes  |  senior living nutrition

Senior Nutrition: Healthy Snacking for Older Adults

Nutritional needs are finicky things. As we age, our bodies change, our appetites transform and our health requirements evolve. In response to these adjustments, some seniors face unintentional weight loss or experience other dietary realities that put their overall health at risk. Therefore, seniors must be extra vigilant about what and how often they eat.

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Aging & Caregiving  |  Independent Senior Living  |  dependent senior living  |  senior living homes  |  senior living nutrition

Senior Nutrition: Healthy Eating for Older Adults

The aging process is an interesting one for sure. And like any other phase of life, one’s golden years are accompanied by unique ups and downs, joys and sorrows, moments of anxiety and moments of peace. There are changes to mind, body and spirit. There are new things to learn and new opportunities to embrace. And while there’s no stopping the aging process, there’s much that can be done to live your senior years with the utmost satisfaction and enjoyment.    In most cases, this journey is best supported by a healthy approach to diet and nutrition. 

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Aging & Caregiving  |  Independent Senior Living  |  dependent senior living  |  senior living homes  |  senior living nutrition

What is Senior Caregiver Guilt, and What Can You Do to Cope?

When you’re caring for an aging loved one, it’s easy to get caught up in the self-defeating inner dialogue that’s tied to feelings of guilt.

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Aging & Caregiving  |  Independent Senior Living  |  dependent senior living  |  senior living homes  |  senior living nutrition

12 Unique Hobbies That Are Unexpectedly Perfect for Seniors

Many adults who are navigating the nuances of their golden years can experience a sense of loss in terms of engagement with activities that fill their days with purpose. What they may not be considering is that this stage in a person’s life is often the ideal time to take up a new hobby. From physical benefits to mental and emotional health advantages, engaging in an enjoyable hobby can offer seniors immense meaning and value.    As you acknowledge this reality and begin to think about what hobbies pique your interest as well as meet your individual needs, you might defer to senior staples like gardening, knitting and painting. And while these are certainly excellent choices if they suit your particular fancy, there are also some lesser-known options you may never have considered before.

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