Introductions: Marie ❤️

Hi everyone,

I’m Marie, bookworm, animal lover, music junkie, nature dweller, and most importantly giver of care 🙂

I have been a caregiver for 3 years, mainly with special needs adults/children working in home care, and group homes. But I have recently made the change to elderly care and currently work in an assisted living facility in sunny Arizona. Trust me: it’s a whole different world. After finding myself totally out of my league more then once I decided to start a blog. A place where caregivers can share tips, tricks, coping skills, stress management techniques, and also individual stories as well 🙂 I look forward to hearing from caregivers, not only elderly caregivers but special needs caregivers as well. Feel free to send us a message 🙂

Tips, Tricks, and Advice: Mental Health Matters

Hello all,

It’s been quite awhile since I wrote here and for that I’m sorry, but I had some personal issues to handle before I would devote myself to a project completely. I want to talk about an important issue. Mental Health of Caregivers.

I’m almost positive that every single one of us has gone through a struggle with our mental health. I myself have periods of depression where going to work seems like a challenge, and I struggle to keep a smile on my face.

What I want all caregivers to remember is that you are not alone.

Most areas have resources available such as support groups, but you can also reach out to coworkers, supervisors, and others in a similar situation.

Informational podcasts, and books are a great resource for finding out more about the disease process that you are witnessing, or going through.

Just remember you are not alone.

Feel free to email/or message us as well and we will assist you in finding resources near you.

-VickiMarie ❤

Tips, Tricks, and Advice: The big difference

Hi all,

If you have read my introduction post you can probably figure out that I worked in a group home setting for several years (well 3 years) before diving into the world of assisted living. 3 years may not seem like anything to some but to be completely honest I did more growing up in the group home then I have at any other job I have ever had. You see I was hired to work in a group home at 21 years old. Before that I worked in home care for a year, and before that I worked at a convenience store. The group homes taught me how to adult. At the group homes staff was responsible for almost everything. Grocery shopping, medi-set filling, and ordering medications when it ran low. Among those things, the less frequent responsibilities included but were not limited to scheduling dr. appointments, making sure the clients made those appointments, and making sure the van got an oil change on time (If my old supervisors are reading this: I’m sorry for slacking sooo much on the oil changes!). Before I started working there I don’t think I ever even made my own dentist appointments (Thanks mom!). Working there I learned the bleach is the devil when it comes to doing laundry, and the smell of urine is damn near impossible to get out with out it. When I left the group homes I thought I knew everything I needed to know when it came to being a caregiver *insert corny sitcom laugh track here*. I learned my lesson real quick. So, group home workers listen up! Here are some of the biggest differences between group homes and assisted living facilities I have come across in my adventures.

1. PRN anxiety medication: My first day as a caregiver in the assisted living facility was one for the books. As my manager was walking me through the medications she mentioned the PRN Lorazepam. I was dumbfounded, PRN lorazepam is a violation of Article 9 in the great state of Arizona. (I’ll explain Article 9 for those of you who don’t know what it is in a later post). So, I quietly texted my sister, and asked her if this was really okay. She responded with YES, PRN anxiety and agitation medications are legal to use in an assisted living, but there is a difference between using it for anxiety, and using it as a chemical restraint. It is very important to make sure that you, and others are using it properly.

2. The way you are treated: Doctor’s are the bane of a group home providers existence. The metaphorical thorn in their side, why is this? Well, they don’t listen, and as soon as you find a doctor that does listen, the ISP team decides they need a different one. As a group home provider I was treated as an aide, my voice and opinion was just lost in the wind, all because some person with a PhD decides they knew my clients better than I did with only really spending 5 minutes poking at them. (Yes, I am still salty). In assisted living facilities the doctors are more receptive to caregiver input. The feeling that you are being heard is the best feeling in the world.

3. The difference in levels of care: In the group homes there is a kind of predictability as to what that persons needs are. When I came into the facility and found out that there is a mix of bed bound, ambulatory, and semi-ambulatory I was thrown. I had never cared for someone who was bed bound and that was a really great learning experience for me.

4. Less responsibility: Group home employees are responsible for the day-to-day running of the group home for example: groceries, paperwork, Dr. appointments, ect. At the assisted living the manager does the shopping, paperwork is minimal, and the doctors come to you. It certainly leads to less time behind the wheel.

Here is the corny mid article plug encouraging you to start following us. If you like this post please follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get the latest updates. If not send us some feedback so we can improve!

and here is the number 5 everyone has been waiting for……

5. The wildly different requirements to work in each facility: Let’s start with the common requirements, CPR/First aid, and finger print clearance care level 1. Group home providers are required to have Article 9 training (4 hours), prevention and support(8 hours), and their company specific medication training. Assisted living workers are required to have a food handlers card, and complete a Certified caregiver course (109 hours), and pass the Certified caregiver exam (65 questions). Assisted living is WAY more in-depth training. Even if you don’t ever plan on working in a facility I still recommend taking the course (it is kind of pricey). If you are interested in taking the course please feel free to contact me and I will find and give you information for your nearest training center. This is Arizona specific so if you happen to live in another state please do send us some feedback as to what is required in your state.

Thank you for reading and I hope you are having an amazing holiday season!

Keep on caring,

-Marie ❤

Tips, Tricks, and Advice: Christmas Jitters

Ohhhh Christmas, time for family, fun, and lots of food. Christmas time can also cause some people to have anxiety (and no, it’s not just because Aunt Sharon loves her eggnog too much). I always volunteer to work holidays, you may be wondering why in the world would I actually volunteer to work on the special days of the year, but request a random Thursday off every 3 months. The answer is simple, I don’t have children (and my dogs aren’t too keen on wearing Santa hats). I always volunteer to work to ensure that my coworkers with children and grandchildren get to spend the day with their family. After doing this for a few years I have a pretty good idea of what holiday anxiety looks like. I call it the Christmas jitters. Here are some tips to identify and aid with the anxiety that the holidays can bring.

Keeping busy: So, lets say you have a resident/client whose family members visit everyday or even once a week. But every year around Christmas time their family takes a 2 week vacation and will not be visiting. This can cause major anxiety (and no, trying to keep their family from jetting off is not the answer). Disruption of routine is definitely a way to cause some anxiety among people who rely on a routine for re-orientation. One way to combat this is to keep them busy. Crafts, baking (with supervision of course), shopping, decorating are all fun Christmas activities that can help reorient and ease anxiety. Have a resident who likes hanging lights? Take down some lights after they go to bed, and ask them to hang them every morning. The first Christmas that I worked in a group home there was an absolutely wonderful resident who loved decorating the tree. My partner and I would take down a handful of ornaments every night so she could put them on the tree the next day. Paper crafts are super easy and do not take much clean up or time. Christmas cookies are super easy using a basic sugar cookie recipe, (email if you want the recipe). There are plenty of things to do that don’t involve wallowing in the fact their family is gone. A busy mind is a happy mind.

Over stimulation: The lights, the sounds, the smells. Almost everything that is associated with Christmas is a bit obnoxious. To someone who is trying to take in everything it can be very over stimulating and cause an epic scale meltdown. Take some time to have peace and quiet. Shut off the flashing lights, shut down the stereo that is blasting Let it Snow, stop dousing everything you see in cinnamon air freshener, and have a moment to relax. Watch your residents body language to determine if this needs to happen. Most people have signs that will tell you when they are getting anxious, if you see some signs of anxiety or agitation you can either talk to them and maybe remove some of the offending Christmas paraphernalia, or ask the resident to take a walk with you, or maybe even lay down in their room. Either way, take it easy.

Patience: Cold weather, and hot tempers are the #1 Christmas Party killers in America. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything we can do about the weather (Oh, I wish I could call mother nature and file a complaint). So, hot tempers is what we can cure. Holidays are stressful, and when stress goes up fuses get shorter. Among the hustle and bustle that is involved in Christmas, we may forget to explain that we are preparing for Christmas to our residents. So, when Tuesday rolls around, and its business is as usual, there may be a feeling of contempt, and lack of understanding that it’s not Christmas yet. What is my advice? Advent Calendars!!!! I absolutely love them. Everyday the resident gets something small, but they also know Christmas isn’t here yet. It teaches patience, while it also brings fun and enjoyment. (For Diabetic residents: Get a Christmas Sock advent calendar).

Religion: When we go through our training cultural sensitivity is a big deal. It is important to get to know your residents, and their background. For example: If you were Jewish but live in a christian dominated community you can’t really avoid Christmas. October ends and BAM! it’s like as soon as October is over St. Nick vomits mangers, and Christmas carols all over the land. I bet you would be pretty anxious too. Being culture sensitive doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate, or can’t decorate, it means that you’re celebrating, and decorating should be more diverse. Try to include, some crafts, or decorations for other religions too. The plus side to this is that you get to learn so much more about other cultures, and how they celebrate!

Loss: With Christmas being a time for family and togetherness, it is not uncommon to feel a pang of loss over someone who no longer walks the earth. People with dementia may start looking for long dead relatives, the important thing here is to be understanding, but also redirect. For example a woman who is looking for her mother who passed away many years ago, may be redirected by making cookies, or decorating a tree. Confusion is unavoidable but the way you approach the confusion can make a huge difference in the agitation level of your resident.

It is important to remember that everyone has a story, and a different connection to holidays. Be proactive, and jump in front of the jitters. Keeping your residents minds busy, redirection, and understanding can go a long way when dealing with anxiety. Keep your head up, it’s almost over already.

Thanks for reading! You can follow us on FACEBOOK, or Twitter for the latest updates!

Keep on caring!

-Marie

Caregiver stories: The thankful caregiver.

As thanksgiving is winding down and the turkey coma is setting in, and others are gearing up to go give their money to massive corporations for Black Friday sales, I was getting ready to come to work.

While most people give an eye roll or a sympathetic smile because they feel bad that I have to work on a holiday I got to thinking. Do I really want to come to work tonight? Why does it seem like I work EVERY Holiday? Why do I constantly sacrifice time with my family and friends so I can come to work? Then it hit me.

Most people see their work as a chore, something they HAVE to do in order to make ends meet. But I don’t. I see my work as an opportunity. Every single person I have worked with has left an imprint on my life, and changed my world in some small way. Is my job easy? No way, every day, I am greeted with a new challenge and a new hurdle to jump over. I am engaged and challenged constantly. I’m thankful for the lack of boredom.

With every resident/client comes new challenges. New people to get to know, and new hurdles to overcome. Yes, some residents/clients are challenging, and you sometimes can’t understand why they do what they do, but that offers opportunity. Opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life, opportunity to learn new tricks to cope with difficult situations. So, today I’m thankful for opportunities.

Today, my father drove 100 miles to spend Thanksgiving with me. He woke up early on his day off and hit the road. Working night shift I only got to see him for 2 hours before I had to go back to work. He will be heading home before I get off of work tomorrow. When I was talking to him about this today, he offered me something that most people don’t. Understanding. He knows the kind of job that I do and understands how important it is to me. So, my third blessing today is understanding.

Family. It’s kind of a big deal. Almost everybody has somebody. Wether it’s a close friend that is more like a sister/brother, a spouse, a daughter, father, mother or son, it takes a huge leap of faith to entrust their life to someone else. I am thankful for the families that trust me to take care of their loved ones.

Lastly, I am overly thankful and probably a little over zealous about it, but I am thankful to be able to work in a great facility with amazing management. A place where my voice is heard, and my feelings are acknowledged. That is hard to find. Some places only listen to the opinions of the manager, and don’t seek input from the direct staff. After feeling unheard in many situations, and mostly giving up on voicing my thoughts, it is a beautiful thing to be listened to.

So, wether you are pushing people out of the way to score that awesome deal on the tv you have been waiting for, relaxing with your family, or putting on a uniform and heading to work, remember to always be thankful ❤️ and always try to see the sunshine when the skies look grey. It will change your life, I promise.

That’s all for now. Happy thanksgiving everyone. I hope that your day was amazing (no matter what you did). And I hope that you always remain thankful ❤️

With many many thanks,

The thankful caregiver

Marie❤️

Caregiver stories: My own worst critic

When I was a little girl I didn’t think “Oh gee, I’m going to grow up to be a caregiver”. As a matter of fact I wanted to be probably everything else in the world except a caregiver. Coming from a big family where we all cared for each other I had no idea that people actually got paid for taking care of people. I just figured that their family took care of them, like we took care of our family. I went through life wanting to be a doctor, nurse, lawyer, forensic scientist, microbiologist, even went through a phase where I wanted to be a medical examiner (Yes, I WAS that weird kid). Any who, as I went along my merry little life I was picking up skills that I didn’t realize, from caring for my family members.

I hit a rough patch (who doesn’t when they are 18-19 years old). I was working at a convenient store, and secretly dating my now fiance because if we got found out one of us would be transferred (company policy). One day, a customer came in, and told me about this amazing job she had. She filled my young brain with stories of this awesome job where you hang out with people all day, and don’t have to be on your feet the whole time (Let’s all laugh together on this one). So, I applied for the job, and I got hired as an In-home care provider.

My first few clients were a piece of cake, clean the dishes, make some dinner, pretty much keep people company, and sometimes give them a ride to church. Then I got offered a full-time position with a family that was closer to home, seemed more laid back, and the visions of my friends grandeur came floating back into my brain. All things aside due to ‘creative differences’ this position didn’t last long (only about 9 months). I do have fond memories of this family, and cherish the time I spent with them. I really do wish them well.

Then tragedy struck, now if you know me personally you probably know this story, but I’m going to go ahead and tell it for others’ sake (so, if you know this story feel free to skip this paragraph). My Nana, she was my best friend in many ways, and my guidance when I didn’t have confidence to guide myself into a situation. She counselled me on everything from jobs, to taxes, and boys. She passed away in June of 2016, and I questioned my whole world. It was evident in my work, I took the worst clients, and once spent an hour cleaning an overflowing litter box (Insert puking emoji here). Eventually I lost all will to even show up for work. I know that some people look at me differently after they find this out, but I can honestly admit that was my darkest hour. Then, something changed, I got a kitten, a 3 week old orange tabby that didn’t have a soul in this world except for me, and she became my anchor, and my fight.

After I dusted myself off from my trip to depressionville. I realized that I would never be able to feed my cat grain free food if I was only working 2 days a week (one die-hard client who refused to have anyone but me). So, I started the job search. I found a Craigslist ad for a job not far from my home in a group home, I figured why not? I can at least apply. So, I called the number listed and left a message on their machine. That same day I got a call back from the lady in charge of hiring (I’ll call her S). We set up an interview, had a short conversation, and from that point on my career path was completely altered.

My first immediate thought after talking to S, was to call my Nana. I picked up my phone and pulled up the contact picture (Her and I on her 72nd birthday), and that is when it hit me, I didn’t have that confidence booster, that insightful advice source, or even that voice to say I love you. From that moment on I became my own worst critic, I questioned every decision I made. The interview went good but I was 300000000% certain I bombed it. Much to my surprise I was offered a full-time position in the group home.

The time I spent working for this company shaped me to be the person I am today, and taught me that not every question has an answer, and to never EVER say ‘I don’t know’. They taught me about friendships, hardships, and mostly that I was allowed to have fun at work (YES, fun). From making paper leprechaun hats, to driving around looking for yard sales, I learned to have fun with everything, and how to be silly and serious at the same time. BUT, that nagging little voice asking if this is really the right thing to do, or are you SURE you are doing this right, kept me from being 100% confident in my job. I worked in the group homes for 2 years, I made a lot of decisions, and I questioned every single one. I called myself names in my head, and honestly wasn’t very nice to myself at all.

It didn’t matter that the clients loved me, or that my supervisors complimented me, I didn’t love myself. That is the biggest regret I have about working in the group homes, I didn’t love myself enough to believe I was doing a good job I felt like a failure, and started the job search again (Maybe a desk job, because I can’t possibly screw that up). I got a job offer that would further me in the field so, with much questioning and 3 weeks of deliberation, I put away my crafting supplies, and packed up to go through training.

I went through training to get my CCG (Caregiver certification), and I now work in a small assisted living facility, I love my job. Well, I don’t think I’ve ever had a job I didn’t love to some extent. I work everyday to stomp that little voice into the depths of my head so I can’t be questioned anymore. I make decisions with confidence, well as much confidence that a 23-year-old can have. The smallest bit makes the biggest difference in me, I love myself. After years of soul-searching and trying to find out who I am, I can confidently say that, I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, and that is okay with me. Since I started trying to love myself more, I am happier, more motivated, and less critical of my own decisions. I work in the group home still (part-time), and I go home every day to cuddle with my cat, and dogs. I love every minute of my day including the 2,160 minutes I spend at work each week. I went from my own worst critic to my biggest fan in the matter of months.

When you start questioning yourself remember, you are doing the best you can in that given situation, and that is all anyone can ask of you. If you stop questioning yourself, and change your inner negative dialogue to positive dialogue you will set your soul free and become a better version of yourself. Trust me.

Well, that’s my story. I would love to hear yours! Feel free to send us stories, tips, coping skills you use, or really anything we are an open book (well currently laptop). You can contact us using our feedback form Here, or contact us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for reading ❤

-Marie ❤

Coping Skills: The hardest part.

If you have been a caregiver for a while, or a caregiver for seniors for a good amount of time. You have probably dealt with the hardest part of the job, it’s not helping with ADL’s or transferring someone, the hardest part is saying goodbye to someone who you have cared for. Here are some tips to help you through the process of losing a client/resident.

  1. Prepare yourself: Most of the time we know or have a feeling when the event is going to happen. Preparing yourself mentally is probably your best coping skill that will help with the grief that you experience.
  2. Distractions: While you are caring for someone in the end stages of life they may experience some anxiety, give them some distractions tell them funny stories, tell them the adventures of your favorite book characters/TV show characters. A little bit can go a long way.
  3. Be mindful of their family:  Be mindful of their family, try to remember that the family is losing their loved one and may need some extra help, talk to them, and explain to them what is going on.
  4. Don’t be scared: Death is a natural part of life, and as much as we don’t want our resident/client to pass away, it is unfortunately a part of the world. The thing that I found that helps is to remember that your resident wont be in pain anymore, or confined to a wheelchair, they will be freed of their afflictions.
  5. Reassurance: When someone is in the final stages of life the most important thing to do is to reassure them that it is okay for them to let go, and be free of their earthly confines.
  6. Take some time for you: Take a day off, or on your next scheduled day off take some time for you and your self-reflection. It is okay to deal with grief over a resident, remember why you are a caregiver, and remember that you comforted them in their time of need.
  7. Seek help: There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking help after the loss of a resident. Talk to a more experienced coworker, talk to you manager, find a local support group. You are not alone in this. We do a very mentally stressful job, we have to take care of our mental health too.

At the end of the day we are humans, we make connections to people, places, things. It is entirely natural for you to feel grief over a resident. How you deal with that grief matters. There are resources out there for caregiver who are having a rough go of it. If you with to seek help online instead of in person Here is a list of caregiver support groups available of Facebook. I am always open to conversation as well if you wish to contact me use the form Here (this is a private feedback page) it will email your questions/concerns directly to me. Last but not least you can reach out to us Via. Facebook or Twitter

 

Thanks for reading and I hope that you find peace.

-Marie ❤

Tips, tricks, and advice: The ABC’s of ADL’s

The biggest part of our job revolves around ADL’s. ADL’s are activities of daily living, meaning things that make up our day-to-day lives, such as bathing, grooming, feeding, and dressing ourselves. Being unable to do these things can be very stressful to a person. Here are some tips that can make it a little less stressful.

A: Assessment: As caregivers we always have to be on our A game when it comes to observation. So, when your client starts to lose their ADL’s we need to be able to observe, adapt, and overcome these obstacles. Just remember to always report change of status to your supervisor/manager.

B: Bathroom: Yes, that is right bathroom. Some of the more common ADL’s we assist with are in the bathroom. Remember to provide privacy, along with a sense of understand.

C: Confidence: Be confident while assisting, the people that we serve are very in tuned to our feelings/emotions. If you are not confident in assisting with a specific task ask a senior staff/ supervisor to show you how to complete that task. There is no shame in asking for help.

D: Doors: ALWAYS, ALWAYS, close the door, when dressing, bathing, and toileting/changing a resident. They have the same right to privacy that you do.

E: Empathy: Remember that our residents are human and deserve the same rights as you and I have. Try to put yourself in their shoes, and imagine how you would like to be treated. This over all will make you a more compassionate caregiver.

F: Feeding: When feeding a resident remember to always communicate to them what they are eating. Don’t just sit down and start shoveling. Be mindful of the temperature, texture, and taste of the food.

G: Grooming: If you work in senior care you probably know that most women LOVE their hair, and nails done. Remember to be gentle, and compassionate while assisting with grooming.

H: Hair: Brushing someone’s hair is one of the more basics things we do, yet it can have an effect on the residents whole day! Always ask how they like their hair styled, and if they would like any product in it (Gel, Hairspray, ect.)

I: Independence: Independence is a buzz word when it comes to ADL’s, remembering our letter A, Assess, adapt, and overcome, if your client can wash their own hair but not their body, LET THEM! If you don’t use it, you lose it. Let your resident do as much as they can for themselves.

J: Just Breathe: Remember, be kind, and patient. Take a deep breath, and give instructions/guide your resident through the process.

K: Keep your eyes open: We are the first line of defense when it cones to recognizing change in condition. It is very important for us to be observant while assisting with ADL’s.

L: Language: The words you use are very important in building a trusting bond with the person you are caring for. Instead of saying “Let me do that” you can try “May I help you with that?” A little respect and compassion goes a LONG way.

M: Mirrors: While helping someone with their hair/makeup, you may want to either have them sit in front of a mirror or give them a handheld mirror so they can see their beautiful face. This is also useful for shaving in men. They can see their face a double-check your work!

N: Names: ALWAYS, use your residents name while addressing them. And ALWAYS tell them yours, this helps build a lasting bond and straightens our relationships with our residents.

O: Observe: I can not stress enough how important observation is! Skin checks, and mental status checks can both be done while assisting with ADL’s. This is an astronomically important to our jobs, as givers of care.

P: Positioning: Where you stand, your body language, and the way you approach your residents is vital to building a bond. Once that bond is built and you and your resident are comfortable with each other ADL’s will become easy!

Q: Quality: It is our job to provide quality care to our residents.

R: Reassurance: Fostering independence and giving reassurance, will help make your ADL’s a piece of cake 🙂 Make sure to let your residents know that they are doing a good job!

S: Showering: Shower day can cause some anxiety among our residents. The important thing is to learn what works and what doesn’t for each one.

T: Toileting: Toileting is one of the most private things that we help our residents with, remember to communicate clearly what you are doing, and let them do as much as they can before you step in and assist.

U: Understanding: Imagine if you were your resident, would you like someone to just barge in your room and demand you take a shower? If you answered no then you have an idea of what your residents may be feeling. Be understanding and compassionate while assisting.

V: Vulnerability: Remember that our residents can sometimes feel vulnerable, leading to them having anxiety over completing ADL’s. This is where it is very important to foster independence and self-confidence.

W: Wiping: Yes, you will eventually have to wipe someones private area. It’s just life, don’t be intimidated. Making sure you wipe properly and use PPE appropriately is a key factor in avoiding sores, infections, and rashes.

X: Xylitol: Xylitol is an artificial sweetener, just making sure you are still awake 🙂 We are almost there!

Y: Yelling: Raising your voice is always a No-no. When a resident raises their voice remember to stay calm and use reassuring words to help relieve whatever kind of anxiety that they are having 🙂

Z: Zeal: Approach every task with enthusiasm and confidence and you will be a pro at assisting with ADL’s in no time!

That’s all for now! If you liked this post please like and follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates on our latest posts and discussion topics. We look forward to hearing from you!!!

-Marie ❤

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For Family: National Family Caregiver Awareness Month

Hello all,

Some of you may know, and this may be news to some of you but November is National Family Caregiver Awareness Month. Its time to lift up the people that provide care to a loved one in their home, or other settings. These people are really the unsung heroes of the caregiving industry. They are their loved ones caregiver, advocate, and in most cases best friend. They don’t have sick days, or vacation time, and are on the clock 24/7.

So, if you know a family caregiver tell them how much you appreciate them.

If you are a family caregiver, I admire your strength, courage, and your unmatched dedication. You are truly an amazing person and inspiration.

Thanks for reading, and keep on caring.

As always I would love to hear from you!

Marie ❤

 

For Family: 10 tips on How to choose an assisted living facility

Are you looking for a place for your loved one to spend their days? Is caring for them taking its toll on you? Here is a guide that will help you pick an assisted living facility that fits your needs/desires.

  1. Staffing ratio: Some smaller facilities have low staffing ratios which allow for more individualized care. Some larger facilities have high staffing ratios that allow your loved one to be more independent. Here is the deal: In Arizona there is not a law or guideline that controls staffing ratios. Some facilities have a ratio of 20:1. That’s right 20 residents for one caregiver. Do some research and ask questions about staffing while you are touring.
  2. Reviews, Reviews, Reviews: You can get a lot of information about an assisted living by reading their reviews online. Facebook and Google both have review sections, take a scroll through the reviews before you make your final decision.
  3. Activities: Ask to see an activity calendar while you are touring. Keep in mind, these activities are what your loved one is going to be doing/have the option of doing during the day.
  4. Meet the staff: A lot of times most family members/loved ones, only meet the manager of the facility. Meeting the staff can provide a great insight as to how the facility is run and the quality of care given.
  5.  Observe the facility itself: Okay so you book a tour and all goes well, take a minute to look around. Imagine your loved one spending their days here, and really think about if they will be happy here. Can you picture your mom sitting at the dining room table having dinner and conversing with the staff and other residents? If not you may want to tour a few other facilities before you make a final decision.
  6. The food: Does your loved one LOVE to eat? Take a look at the menu, a menu can tell you a lot about the facility itself. Ask about food preparation and meal times.
  7. Visiting hours: Most facilities have set-in-stone visiting hours, with after hours visiting pretty much unheard of. Now this may not be a huge deal to some people, but I don’t think my grandmas house ever had a defined set of “visiting hours”, I just dropped by whenever I felt like it. If you have a really tight-knit family you may want to consider a facility with more relaxed visiting rules.
  8. Drop in unannounced: Okay, we all know that everyone is going to be on their best behavior during a tour. Dropping in a few days after may help you to see a more unpolished side of the facility.
  9. Atmosphere: Does everyone here seem happy? Is there a funny smell you can’t identify? Is the building clean? Cluttered? When it comes to these kinds of things go with your gut. Always follow your instincts.
  10. Seek input: Ask your loved one if they like/love the facility. Call your sister/brother and ask their opinion. Take your time and seek input from other sources before you make your final decision.

Well, that all I have for now, but remember this decision is a big one to make. Do not allow anyone to rush you or co-hearse you into making a decision you are not 100% confident in. Always remember to take all things into account. After all you and your loved one deserve peace of mind, and a great environment that they will thrive in.

Thanks for reading,

Marie ❤

Tips, Tricks, and Advice:The 3 levels of care and what you need to know about them.

What is a level of care: In Arizona there are 3 levels of care which help to describe what type of services an individual, may benefit from or need. In this post I will break down the levels of care and tell you what you need to know.

  1. Supervisory care: This is the least intrusive level of care. This means that the person needs general supervision and may need assistance with medication self administration. The role of the care giver is to provide this assistance and monitor for changes. Also, to intervene in a crisis.
  2. Personal care: This is a little more than supervisory care in a sense that at a personal care level individuals need help with activities of daily living, also they can not self-medicate. Meaning their medications must be administered by a trained/licensed person.
  3. Directed care: This is the highest level of care; this means that the individual can no longer recognize danger, summon for assistance, or express their needs. While this may be challenging this just means that this individual needs a little more patience and understanding.

That’s all for now thanks for reading ❤

Marie ❤