What is Senior Living?

The topic of senior living communities in Illinois can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. These communities offer independent and assisted living that encourages independence and lessens stress. With these services, seniors can live happy, healthy, and longer lives.

Retirees are mostly the ones who seek senior living communities, but they can sometimes be torn between wanting assistance and holding on to their freedom. Many are afraid that senior living might take their independence away from them.

Their homes may seem like the ideal place to grow old in because it’s familiar, comfortable, and offers many good memories. But sadly, as family members build their own lives and careers, it can quickly become a place of isolation, with numerous chores and overwhelming maintenance.

As we age, health issues can begin to multiply, and if you consider those ailments plus the thought of doing household chores, it can lead to a difficult way of life. This is something worth considering when thinking about turning to assisted living.

What’s beautiful about senior living is that these thoughts are very well considered. Senior living communities are well aware of the discomfort of living in a different environment, which is why these facilities are designed to look and feel like home.

elderly care Senior Living Communities Illinois

What Makes Assisted Living Different from Independent Senior Living?

Assisted and independent living both address the unique and specific needs of residents in various ways. Find out what type of senior living your loved ones need by consulting with a senior living advisor. But, for reference, here’s a brief overview of their differences.

Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living is a senior living service different from the usual conventional nursing home we’ve all been used to. It’s a facility that is carefully designed to create a loving, comforting, relaxing, and home-like feel.

Aside from receiving support and care, seniors are given the opportunity to engage with other senior residents and be involved in various community activities. Some of the tasks that seniors will be receiving in assisted living include bathing, dressing, laundry, escorting, medication management, and incontinence assistance.

All residents of senior living communities in Illinois are provided with three full meals every day, housekeeping services, utilities, activities, and outings to keep them entertained and stimulate their physical, intellectual, and mental health.

Who are suitable candidates for assisted living? If your loved ones are having a difficult time completing tasks or getting around on their own, then you should start considering the idea of assisted living. The usual case is when seniors forget to take important maintenance medications.

breakfast Senior Living Communities Illinois

In assisted living, your loved ones will get the help and assistance they need in a friendly and fulfilling environment. The assistance is there, but it won’t affect their independence. Everyone has their own unique needs. The kind of assistance your loved ones get will depend on the level of their needs. An assessment will be done by the nursing staff to help determine the kind of care your loved ones should receive.

Another way to know if your loved ones require assisted living service is if they recently experienced a bad fall, if they can no longer keep up with their nutritional needs, or when they clearly cannot complete daily activities on their own. If their safety and wellbeing are starting to make you feel anxious, then it’s probably best if you talk about the possibility of assisted living.

Independent Living Communities

Independent senior living communities in Illinois are a great place for seniors who want complete independent while simultaneously enjoying amenities commonly found in senior living facilities. Most of these facilities offer one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartments. They also offer additional facilities such as pools, fitness centers or gyms, libraries, recreation rooms, theaters, bistros, gardens, and relaxing outdoor walking paths. Housekeeping, utilities, transportation, meal plans, and maintenance are all covered in independent living.

This is an ideal option for seniors who are still able to maintain their active lifestyles, like being able to commute, drive a car, or have a job. Seniors who only require minor assistance and will not need 24-hour medical care can also benefit from independent senior living.

It is a wonderful option for seniors who are looking for new friendships and social activities. Included in the services are bathing and dressing, so if your loved ones are having difficulty managing these tasks on their own, independent living can help.

playing chess Senior Living Communities Illinois

Do You Want to Know More About Senior Living Communities in Illinois?

Growing old is a part of life, and part of happily growing old includes asking for assistance when you know you need it. People who are living with seniors should slowly introduce them to the idea of senior living. Explain the benefits and how their lives can greatly improve when they become part of this community.

One of the reasons why seniors don’t like growing old is because they don’t want to be alone. They are concerned about the possibility of being isolated. Let them know that they have an option to become part of a healthy and happy community that can assist them in their daily needs.

At Senior Living Experts, we’ll help you find the best assisted living and memory care communities for your loved ones. Our expert advisors will gather all pieces of relevant information needed so your loved ones can find an ideal placement that will cater to their needs, location, and budget. Before we make suggestions, we listen to your needs and preferences.

We only want what’s best for your loved ones, which is why we strive to offer the best services that will put a smile on their faces. Whether you need assisted living or independent living, we have you and your loved ones covered. Give us a call or browse through our list of services so you can learn more about what we have to offer. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We will be more than happy to discuss your needs and options with you.

The topic of senior living communities in Illinois can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. These communities offer living situations that encourage independence and lessens stress.

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Everything You Need To Know About Medicaid in Illinois

What is Medicaid in Illinois?
Medicaid is a federal and state program that provides health care in Illinois. This article will
discuss Medicaid for patients in a long-term care facility. This is an overview of a very
complicated program.


Who Qualifies for Medicaid in Illinois?
The basic eligibility requirements are that the applicant must be a U.S. citizen (or non-citizen in
certain categories), an Illinois resident, 65 or older or disabled and must reside in a facility that
take Medicaid patients.


What are the asset limitations for Medicaid in Illinois?
- Single person asset limit: $2,000.00
- Couple asset limit: $3,000.00
- Spousal impoverishment limit: $109,560.00


Some assets are exempt and will not count in the above limits. The home is exempt if occupied
by the person as their home or if they intend to return to their home (usually within 120 days).
The home is also exempt if any of the following reside in the home:
- the person's spouse;
- a dependent sibling of the person;
- the person's child under age 21; or
- the person's adult child who is blind or has a disability;
- the person's son or daughter who provided care to the person and resided in the home for the
two years immediately before the person moved to the LTC facility.


Other exempt assets include:
- a vehicle with a value not exceeding than $4,500.00,
- cash value of life insurance $1,500.00 or less,
- term policies with no cash value, group policies provide by an employer.


Money for a funeral is also exempt in the following situations:

- Up to $1,500 of money set aside in a bank account or in a revocable prepaid burial
contract.
- Up to $6,680.00 in an irrevocable prepaid funeral contract.
- Prepaid burial contract funded by a life insurance policy when ownership of the insurance
policy has been irrevocably assigned. 


Also exempt are:
Vaults, headstones, markets, plaques, burial containers, cost of opening and closing of the grave.


What about income limitations?
A single person’s monthly income must be less than the cost of the long-term care facility to
qualify for Medicaid.

Under the spousal impoverishment rules, the spouse at home is allowed to keep $2,739.00
income per month.


What is spousal impoverishment?

Spousal impoverishment assures that the spouse who is still living at home has enough assets and
income to pay for his or her expenses at home. The rules help prevent the spouse at home from
being impoverished when paying for long-term care expenses for the spouse in the facility.


Can’t I just transfer the assets to someone else and go on Medicaid?
Making transfers is not a good idea unless you know the consequences. Some transfers affect
eligibility, and some do not. Whether eligibility is affected depends on when the transfer took
place, the type of transfer and the reason for the transfer. Transfers that do not affect eligibility
are called allowable transfers.


Which transfers are allowable?


The following are allowable transfers:
- Transfers made more than 60 months before the date of the Medicaid application;
- Transfers for fair market value, such as a sale of a home;
- Transfers to a community spouse – the spouse still living at home; 
- Transfers to the person's child of any age (who is blind or has a disability), or to another
person for the sole benefit of the person's child (who is blind or has a disability), or to a
trust created solely for the benefit of the person's child (who is blind or has a disability);
- Charitable gifts and gifts to family members which are consistent with amounts and
frequency of such gifts in the past;
- Transfers made exclusively for a reason other than to qualify for benefits.
- Transfers to special needs trust and pooled trusts in certain circumstances.


A transfer of the home is allowable to the following:
- the person's spouse; or
- the person's child under age 21; or
- the person's child of any age who is blind or has a disability;
- the person's brother or sister who has an equity interest in the homestead property and
who was living in the home for at least one year immediately before the date the person
entered the LTC facility;
- the person's child who provided care (either nursing or support) for the person and who
was living in the property for at least two years immediately before the date the
person entered the LTC facility; 


One size does not fit all.
Medicaid rules can vary from state to state. There are different exceptions to the rules, especially
when there is a spouse, so it is wise to check with an elder law attorney about your specific
situation and how the Medicaid rules would apply to your situation.


Eileen R. Fitzgerald, Attorney at Law, 1561 Warren Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60515;

630-493-4380; www.efitzlaw.com

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Answering Every Question About Medicaid In Illinois

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The Importance of Staff-to-Resident Ratios

Placing a loved one is already a difficult task considering they are going to a place you are not familiar with yet. To help ease this discomfort, it is important to look into the staff-to-resident ratio. This number determines how many employees are taking care of a resident at a particular time.

What Does This Mean?

In senior living, residents are placed into various levels of care depending on their personal care needs. Some residents need very little assistance during a 24-hour period, or they may only need bathing assistance a couple of times a week. Whereas, other residents may need multiple staff interactions per day for their care needs. The staffing ratios in a senior living community are based on how many residents are in each particular level of care.

If the majority of residents are in a high level of care offered by the senior living community, the staffing ratio will be higher. However, if the majority are in low levels of care, the ratios are adjusted to meet the needs of the residents.

Make sure that while you are looking at the staff-to-resident ratio, you only account for the staff that will provide personal care assistance to your loved one. It’s only direct care staff that you should be asking about, for example, nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants.

It’s important to ask if there is 24-hour nursing in a senior living community because a qualified medical staff member can determine if a resident concern is emergent or if it only requires a call to the doctor. The nurse determines if it is an emergency or not. Our goal is to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations for seniors, and having a nurse 24/7 gives you more of a chance to avoid that hospitalization.

The staff-to-resident is significant, as it determines how much personalized care a resident will receive. There will be someone there to take care of emergencies, health complications, and increase the frequency of social interactions. The staff is also there to create relationships with the residents and make sure they are socializing daily.

Visiting a Senior Living Community

It may be a good idea to visit the community to get a feel for the staff-to-resident ratio. An important factor to consider while visiting a community is the time that you choose to go, as the number of employees on staff differs throughout the day. Have the director of sales and marketing at the community explain how the staffing ratios work so that you feel comfortable.

The Importance of Timing

In a residential apartment, there are several emergency pull cord locations. A resident can use the pull cord when they need assistance. However, the assessment done by the nursing staff prior to a resident having moved in hopefully will have anticipated a resident’s needs throughout the day. For example, if a resident typically uses the bathroom at various times a day, the goal of the staff would be to assist the resident prior to them having to even use the pull cord.

Locate the evening staff-to-resident ratio as well. Typically, through the night, the residents don’t need as much hands-on care so the ratio is lower.

An appropriate amount of staff, based on the levels of care in the entire community, will ensure that any unforeseen emergencies are taken care of swiftly. The staff will accommodate resident needs which also includes socialization and keeping the residents happy and healthy.

Keep in mind that activities staff, therapy staff members, dining staff and administrators all take part in a resident’s day as well.

We Can Help!

Senior Living Experts is here to help you determine which communities are the best fit for your loved one. We can help you break down the staff-to-resident ratio to ensure that you have a good stance on how your loved one will be taken care of in their new home.

Give us a call at 773-302-2015 to contact one of our advisors. They will be here to help you with your search!

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Questions About Senior Living, Answered

Senior Living Experts advisors are asked questions about cost quite frequently. Last month, we decided to make your questions even more clear by interviewing one of our senior living advisors, Nancy Pappas, on some of the most common cost questions we get. Nancy can be reached at (847) 287-3623.

Q: What is the cost of senior living?

A: That depends on what type of care you need, and whether you need it in your home or outside of your home in a community. It will vary by the type of care that you need and what location you choose.

Q: What is the upfront fee?

A: Typically, you will find an upfront fee. There are two types. One is called an entrance fee which is also known as a buy-in for continuing care retirement communities. It offers you the promise of future healthcare along a continuum. Or, a month-to-month rental basis will typically require a community fee that is non-refundable to help pay for taking care of the common areas and getting the apartment back to its original form.

Q: Does the cost go up annually?

A: Yes. Typically the cost will go up anywhere from 3-6%. This allows communities to provide raises for their employees and keep up with their own expenses, just as when you have increased expenses when living at home.

Q: When are levels of care considered as a resident continues to live there?

A: That depends on the community that you choose. Some communities specifically specialize in one level of care, such as assisted living or memory care. Someone may also need nursing care which will be in a skilled nursing home or you can have a continuum care retirement community that starts with independent living and offers the entire continuum from assisted living and memory care through skilled nursing.

Q: What if mom moves in the middle of the month?

A: You should expect that your community can prorate your monthly cost if they move in the middle of the month.

Q: Do I have to provide financial documents?

A: It depends on the community. Month-to-month rentals typically do not require financial disposure. However, if you are moving into a continuing care retirement community with the future promise of healthcare and they will never ask you to leave because of financial hardship, they will require financial disposure.

Q: If I put down a large entrance fee, when do I get that back?

A: Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. There are different types of plans that offer high refundability. High refundability will keep your monthly fee on the higher end. If you go with the plan that goes to a 50% refundability or 0 refundability, you will find that your monthly fee will be kept lower. So, depending on where your income and your assets fall is a good determinant of which plan is best for you.

Q: What are my incidental expenses?

A: Incidental expenses are typically things like toiletries, incontinence products, or medications that are not covered by Medicare, that you are personally responsible for in an assisted living, memory care, or skilled nursing facility. Senior Living Experts can be reached at 771-213-7212, and the advisors will be happy to answer any more of your questions about senior living! We are just a phone call away.

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Managing A Senior Health Crisis With Simplicity

“Complexity creates confusion, simplicity focus.”--Edward deBono

Eleven seconds. The National Council on Aging tell us that on average an elderly person suffers a fall in the United States every eleven seconds.  In the four minutes you may spend reading this article, approximately 22 older Americans will have fallen, and unfortunately, almost a third of these falls will directly contribute to their eventual death.

When an older loved one falls, it often starts a chain reaction of questions, decisions and complexity that many of their adult children are unprepared to ask or address. Caregiving, bill-paying, cognitive ability, investment management, insurance coverage, having up to date legal documents in force, and future housing decisions all need to be addressed. The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has only made these decisions more difficult.

This complexity can be overwhelming and stressful—and if not managed well can be costly. The key to managing such a crisis is in taking inventory of the situation, getting all the issues on the proverbial table and building a plan to simplify as much as you can. German-American painter Hans Hoffman explains simplification as follows, “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”

Start by making lists of the key areas of your loved one’s life:  Medical, Financial, Legal, Housing, Family.  Under each heading start with questions or primary concerns you may have.  Include contact information for professionals who are familiar with their situation, so you know where to find it.  What is his/her medical prognosis?  How long will their assets last if care is needed? Is there any long term care coverage?  Who has been identified as the key decision makers for medical or financial issues?  If it is unsuitable to bring them back home, what housing options will be a best fit? If we need additional help, what family or friends can be counted on to be resources?

Continue to jot down questions when they come to you so that when you have the chance to speak to their doctor, attorney, financial planner, insurance agent, Realtor®, care advocate or senior housing advisor, you are ready to get the answers you need.

Separate any documentation you can find into files for financial matters, insurance, legal and housing.

For finances, consider consolidating multiple accounts with one firm. Not only does it simplify record keeping, but also likely saves on account fees and limits your required interactions. Also, by organizing and consolidating with a single firm, the future estate settlement after death will be much easier to process. Look into setting up direct deposit and automatic bill-pay wherever possible to simplify the day-to-day financial management.

Review insurance policies so you have awareness of what is covered. Understand the “triggers” for a long term insurance claim (if a policy exists) along with policy exclusions.  Determine whether or not a life insurance policy might have an accelerated death benefit option available to access life insurance proceeds while the senior is still living to help pay for care.

Review the estate planning documents, with an attorney if necessary, to review powers delegated to whom under the medical and financial powers of attorney, as well as wishes that were noted in any advanced medical directives about desires for life sustaining measures.Geriatric Care Managers can help with building a care plan to optimize the return to health and set expectations for rehabilitation, therapy, and assistance with the activities of daily living (ADL's).

Finally, meeting with a Senior Advisor can provide resources on bringing care into the home if necessary or vet the myriad of independent living, assisted living, memory care or continuing care retirement communities that might meet your health care needs location and budget.The prospect of managing this unfamiliar scenario may seen daunting, but by taking an organized approach to addressing needs and concerns and involving experienced, trusted professionals that have been through similar experiences many times with other clients, you can avoid the complexity that results in increased stress and unnecessary expenses.

For more feedback and to help identify gaps in your loved one’s living transition, take this Living Transitions Assessment and receive a customized report with steps to consider.

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What Is The Difference Between Assisted Living and Other Forms of Care?

Assisted Living

Assisted Living helps your loved one continue to remain as independent as possible while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Often times when people think of senior living they think of Assisted Living as the main form of care. However, there are many branches of senior living that are easily misunderstood or looked past.

So, what makes Assisted Living different from other forms of care? Each branch of care depends on how much care a person will need. It ranges from Independent Living to Memory Care.  

Independent Living

First, Independent Living is structured so the resident can choose to pay for any extra services they desire.  Assisted Living includes the services, whereas, Independent Living is like having A La Carte services available.

Independent Living is designed to keep all services and activities close by, so the resident does not need to travel far in order to access what they need. There are recreational centers, libraries, bistros, and outdoor space available for the residents.

The resident can choose to get assistance with services such as dog-walking, laundry, and daily check-ins.  Once someone uses a certain amount of additional A La Carte services, it may become more economical to choose Assisted Living as their choice of residency.

Memory Care

Second, Memory Care is another type of care that involves more supportive cognitive services. This is specifically aimed towards those who have Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other cognitive impairments.

This type of living is placed in a separate memory care unit with 24-hour supervised care, along with an easy layout so the residents can navigate easily. It revolves around keeping the residents not only physically healthy but mentally healthy as well. There are activities planned by staff in order to accomplish this goal, while also entertaining the seniors.

Memory Care is a great option for your loved one if they need more supportive cognitive services, as it will help them feel safe, stress-free, and supported.

Supportive Living

Next, there is Supportive Living. This form of care is the most similar to Assisted Living.

The main difference between Assisted Living and Supportive Living is that Supportive Living is subsidized by the State and there is a financial safety net. In Illinois, services offered in Supportive Living can eventually be covered by Medicaid once assets have been spent down.

Assisted Living and Supportive Living involve similar places of residency and services offered.  This is a way for residents to be supported financially while still receiving the personal care services they need.

In-Home Care

Finally, there is In-Home Care, which is when a caregiver comes to your loved one’s home and helps them with the services they need.

The resident can choose how much care they need. It ranges from a few hours a day to 24/7 care. The caregiver can help with companionship, transportation, cleaning, and financial management, among other things.

In-Home Care is a way for the resident to be in the comfort of their home while being offered services to help support them with their needs.

Where Should I Place My Loved One?

Assisted Living seems to be the first thing that comes to mind when having a conversation about senior living. However, there are many different branches that are offered depending on the person’s level of care.

When looking at where to place your loved one, it is important to consider how much care they will need. This will determine whether they will be placed in Assisted Living or one of the other forms of care.  

No matter which form of care your loved one ends up being placed in, they will be supported and assisted, depending on how much care they need.

https://seniorlivingexperts.com/what-should-i-look-for-in-a-memory-care-community/

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What Should I Look for in A Memory Care Community?

What’s should you look for in a community? As our loved one’s age, we may find the need for additional care for them to remain happy and healthy.  Moving your loved one into any senior living community is a big decision for every family, so here are a few things you should look for when moving them into a memory care community.

A Secure and Safe Environment

One of the top priorities for those who suffer from memory related diseases is a safe and secure living environment. This is carried out in a couple different ways first being 24/7 on site staff for residents. This is beneficial in memory care communities because things can be quite confusing for those with Dementia and Alzheimer's, so it really helps to always have care staff present. Doors and entrance ways are also closely monitored to make sure no residents accidentally wander off. Easy to navigate floor plans along with lots of natural light are also great for those with memory related diseases. If your loved one enjoys the outdoors you may look for a community that has good enclosed outdoor space.  

Adaptable Care Plans

Diseases and people both change and progress with time so do their needs. When initially moving your loved one into a community they may have early stage dementia and be somewhat independent. That may change over time as the disease progresses and you want a community that will be very flexible with these changes. Care plans can also be changed due to non-Alzheimer's related reasons such as mobility and when this happens you want a community who will adapt to care for your loved one.  

Highly Trained Care Team

Many memory care communities often have care staff that have undergone additional training, or are specialized in caring for those who suffer from memory related illnesses. When looking for a community, you want to find one with friendly and knowledgeable staff. Another good thing to look for a care staff that values continuing education to keep up with the most recent dementia care techniques. When moving your loved ones into a community the staff there will be the ones, they may engage with the most so it is especially important to make sure you think your loved one can thrive under their care.

Ask Questions

No one knows your loved ones as well as you do. When you visit different communities, it is important that you ask questions and get answers. The staff is there to best take care of your loved ones and they want to help you find the right fit. If your loved one has certain habits or needs, you should bring these up to their potential caretakers. This is a big decision and will most likely be the final home for your loved ones so take your time and visit multiple communities before you make the choice.

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Regardless of your choice, your mom is good hands. For example, Brookdale, which has a little under 10 communities in Chicagoland, offers a private companion, trained staff 24 hours a day, personal assistance, and so much more. Whether in Barrington, Lake Barrington, Lake Zurich, Deer Park, Naperville, Bull Valley, Crystal Lake, Schaumberg, and the City of Chicago, senior living communities care options for your loved ones. Contact us to get in touch with a certified advisor who knows your area.

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Loss of Appetite In The Elderly: Tricks To Stimulate It

A lack of appetite in seniors at home or in senior communities is so very common. For our loved ones in quarantine, it happens even more often, and is sometimes linked to depression. Often, we tell our families to watch the inside of the refrigerator as you visit your senior loved one to be sure they are eating properly. Is the food still there from the previous days? Is there trash in the trash bin? These are signs to look for to be sure your senior is eating properly. Just as it’s normal to see a decreased appetite in seniors at this stage in their lives, it’s also now that they need healthy nutrition the most.

How To Increase Appetite in Seniors

Although there’s no treatment for loss of appetite in elderly, but there are some tricks that can help you to answer the question: "How do I get an elderly person to eat?’ According to Countrywide Healthcare, follow these tips to help your senior eat proper meals:

  1. Make sure there are no oral problems in your senior such as mouth sores, or difficulty in swallowing. We often hear from our clients that they prefer softer foods because they are easier on the mouth, swallowing, and digestion as well. Seeing the dentist for an overall oral exam would be a good place to start.
  2. Keeping on a routine with eating is important. As we age, we don’t experience the same physiological motivation to want to eat, which can result in loss of appetite in elderly, so if we create a routine to follow, the senior will experience more regularity and the caregiver can easily keep track of what the senior is eating on a daily basis.
  3. In senior living communities, dining is a great form of socialization for the seniors. It’s an event! When we are alone, especially eating alone, this is cause for isolation and depression. Eating in a group leads to conversation and togetherness. We also see in communities that residents who use assisted walking devices to get around, whether it be a wheelchair or walker, park those aside during meals and sit in the dining room chair. This leads to a feeling of dignity, sitting up properly for digestion, and starting the habit of looking forward to this social event each day.
  4. Allowing the senior to participate in their food choices is another great idea to increase seniors’ appetite. In senior living communities, we often see gardens that the residents tend to, and the chef takes the harvest from those gardens and creates a “farm to table” eating environment. One community in Chicagoland has a very large garden that a family member created, so that all of the fruits and vegetables could come from the garden to the dining room table. In communities, you often see demonstration kitchens as well. As part of the activities programming, a recipe given to the staff by a resident can be made in front of the participants, even with their assistance, and everyone gets to try the finished product. Residents may also like to participate in things such as bake sales, potlucks, and other cooking classes as part of the activities program.
  5. In several senior living communities, I have seen Fiesta Ware which are plates that are very brightly colored. This helps the residents see the food on the plate by having such a bold color to contrast in the background. We often hear the term to “eat the rainbow”, and in increasing appetite in elderly, the brightly colored foods are the best for them to visually see, but also the most nutritious. It’s a good idea to separate the foods on the plate too so that the senior can distinctly tell the difference between food items. Most communities change the menu daily which is good for variety. We also see now some communities are identifying various food items on the menu as gluten free, low salt, or heart healthy which is a great tool for the resident to use in order to follow a healthy diet.
  6. Hydration stations are a permanent staple in senior living communities these days. You walk in and see large water dispensers usually with cut up fruit inside such as strawberries or pineapples. It’s imperative that seniors stay hydrated, and this helps with overall digestion and regularity. Fruit juices and water are best to keep hydrated.
  7. Making dining a nice, calming experience with soft music and quiet voices will help residents to want to stay and enjoy the experience of eating. If the environment is too loud and rushed, the resident will not want to stay, may become agitated, and won’t finish their meal. Creating a pleasant environment around the dining experience will aid in the resident wanting to stay and enjoy their meal.
  8. If all else fails in helping the senior to increase their appetite, an appointment to the doctor may be necessary to prescribe an appetite stimulant. Remember that using appetite stimulant for elderly must be treated as a last resort when other means appeared to be failing.

In our more than 85 combined years of working in and with senior living communities, we can’t tell you how many times a family member has mentioned the weight gain in their senior loved one! This is good to hear after the weight loss we often hear about when the senior was living alone at home. Eating and socialization go hand in hand. We all need to feel socialization on a daily basis, and for seniors, that is their three meals a day enjoyed with new friends and neighbors.

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Clare Quirin joins us as the SLE Summer Intern!

We are so excited to welcome Clare Quirin, our SLE Summer Intern. Clare is a talented student at Grand Valley State University majoring in Film and Advertising, and will be helping SLE create meaningful content.

Welcome to the team, Clare!

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Is It Worth It? Print Our Cost Comparison Sheet

In the time of Coronavirus, you may be asking yourself: what are my senior living options for my mom or dad, and how much do the senior living cost? Should I pay for a full-time home care, or find a home for my loved one in an assisted living community? First, figure out how much you're paying. We've made our Cost of Senior Living Sheet available to print.

Use this sheet to compare the cost of maintaining and staying at home vs. the cost to live in a senior living community. Remember what else included: increased socialization, freedom from demands of maintaining a home, and increased opportunities for both mental and physical activity can vastly improve the quality of life.

Senior Living starts at around $2,000 for some communities. Use our Expense Calculator on the homepage.

COST OF LIVING COMPARISON WORKSHEET

MONTHLY EXPENSES               CURRENT                 SENIOR LIVING

Rent/Mortgage

Association/Condo Fees                                        included

Property Tax                                                           included

Insurance (Home/Renters)

Utilities (Gas, Electric, Water, Sewer, Trash)        included

Cable                                                                       included

Internet

Lawn Maintenance & Snow Removal                    included

Home repairs & Maintenance                                included

Licensed Nurse Available                                      included
Assistance with ADL’s                                            included

3 Meals a Day + Snacks                                        included

24 hr security & supervision                                 included

Emergency Response System                              included

Scheduled Transportation (car, gas, repairs)      included

Health Club/ Exercise Class                                  included

Entertainment                                                        included

Other

Looking specifically for memory care? Here's what you should know.

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Dementia: What Are My Options?

When our loved ones age and new difficulties with health arise, it is important to be honest and plan ahead.  There are a few options (how do you choose?) for our loved ones with Dementia and different people require different care to be happy and healthy.

Home Care

Many seniors find immense comfort in living in their own home where they have lived for the majority of their life. As we age, most of us plan to live out our days in the homes where we hope to raise our families, this can be a possibility for our loved ones with dementia.

There are a couple crucial factors to consider like does you love one to live alone in the house or is his/ her spouse there too? Are the living conditions of the home up to par or is there too much maintenance? And most importantly: how far has the Dementia progressed? Your loved one's doctor can also be extremely helpful. Depending on the answers to these questions you can evaluate if your loved one can live safely in their own home. Part time or live-in aid is also available. One thing to keep in mind is that Dementia will continue to progress so even if they are fit to live on their own now things may change later.

Early Stage Dementia Care

Moving your loved one into a memory care is a great option for some families. For early stages of Dementia, senior communities often have specialized units for seniors who have the beginning symptoms of Dementia. Care for initial stages will feature a more independent living situation for seniors, but will still have consistent aid with an easier lifestyle with the majority of needs taken care of. Would they be good fit for early stage Dementia care? Once again, your doctor is your best friend. One important thing about moving your loved one into an assisted living community at the signs of early dementia is that they can always be moved into a late stage unit as their disease progresses and their needs increase. This is an easier transition than that of home to late stage care.

Late Stage Dementia Care

Late stage dementia requires more care may be necessary. Many assisted living communities offer a unit for those with late stage dementia which offers a more controlled environment and around the clock care. This is a good fit for those who cannot live by themselves and need a lot of aid to be happy, safe, and healthy. Your loved one's needs can be assessed by both those who have been near them and their doctors to decide if late stage care is a right fit for them.

Whether in Barrington, Lake Barrington, North Barrington, Lake Zurich, Deer Park, Inverness, Bull Valley, Crystal Lake, Schaumberg, and Hoffman Estates, senior living communities offer many memory care options for your loved ones and you will be sure to find one that fits.

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What's Included In Memory Care?

What's included in memory care? As our loved one's age, we may find the need for additional care for them to remain happy and healthy. When looking into next step care here are 5 features that most memory care communities incorporate (don't know what memory care is?).

The Physical Characteristics

Memory care communities are specially designed for seniors who suffer with memory impairment diseases. One important goal in designing these communities is that they are easy to navigate for seniors. Clear walkways with lots of natural lighting are crucial, proper signage can also be beneficial for some seniors. Visual stimulation is also important and included in memory care; this can be achieved in many ways including aquariums which have constant visual movement and can be quite relaxing to watch. Many seniors also enjoy colorful wall art. These communities are designed to keep stress and anxiety of seniors to a minimum while also being enjoyable places to live.

Specially Trained Staff

You will see a higher staff to resident ratio then you would in assisted living--it usually included comes in memory care. The staff in memory care is also specially trained and have usually undergone additional training before working in a memory unit. This added training really allows staff to understand the memory related diseases like Alzheimer's and be able to recognize progression of the illness. The training also benefits senior's daily life as the staff will learn activities and fit for seniors with Alzheimer's and dementia and their special needs.

Security and Safety

In memory care safety and happiness of the residents are the priority for staff and they carry out this in a couple of ways. One of the common behaviors those with Alzheimer's or dementia express is wandering. To combat this turning dangerous many communities, have 24/7 surveillance and keep all doors secured. Memory care include an enclosed courtyard where seniors can enjoy the outdoors in a safe way. During the COVID pandemic, memory care communities are taken the safest measures possible.

Enriching Programs and Activities

Enjoyable and meaningful activities are crucial in memory care for both the senior's happiness and for their mental care. Many care facilities include both a variety of leisure and therapeutic activities in the social calendar to entice seniors of all backgrounds. This social and physical stimulation created by activities and hobbies can help lessen behaviors such as wandering, anxiety, and depression (https://seniorlivingexperts.com/depression-in-the-elderly-more-facts/) in seniors. These activities also help seniors to maintain their current cognitive abilities in an enjoyable way.

Customized Care

Every senior is different and so are their care needs. One of the best things about memory care is it caters to both a senior's physical abilities as well as their cognitive ones in a personalized way. There are varying levels of memory care ranging from communities for early dementia to late stage dementia seniors. Person-centered care is a top priority and each resident will have a personalized care plan tailored to their needs. This allows residents to get nothing short of the best care that they need to live out a happy and meaningful life.Regardless of your choice, your mom is good hands. For example, Brookdale, which has a little under 10 communities in Chicagoland, offers a private companion, trained staff 24 horus a day, personal assistance, and so much more. Whether in Barrington, Lake Barrington, North Barrington, Lake Zurich, Deer Park, Naperville, Bull Valley, Crystal Lake, Schaumberg, and the City of Chicago, senior living communities care options for your loved ones. Contact us to get in touch with a certified advisor who knows your area.

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Care Package Ideas During COVID-19

Your loved ones have reached an age where little gestures can have a great impact. Their livelihood and identity may feel restricted or lost within an assisted living community or a memory care community, mostly with the social isolation of COVID-19.

This is something you can help remedy. Send your elderly friend or relative a care package that will provide warm greetings and let him or her know they are in your thoughts. Here are some care package ideas that will brighten the day of your loved one:

Fun Activities

While many assisted living communities provide residents with activities, they may not offer the games or recreation that your loved one enjoys. Create an activities package designed especially for them, that incorporates their personal interests and hobbies. For the artistic soul, assemble a basket that includes paint, brushes, paper or canvas, and a book of picturesque scenes that will inspire a work of art.

For the senior who wants an escape through entertainment, create a package with his favorite movies that will suit the television and entertainment equipment he has in his room. If he doesn’t have his own television or DVD player, you could send him a tablet with downloads of the movies he enjoys. Mostly in a time of social isolation, this individual act of kindness—and the joy your loved one gets—goes a long way.

Seasonal Gifts

Send a basket that has a bundle of seasonal specialties. During the winter, you can send a holiday basket that includes a cozy throw blanket, holiday treats, handmade gifts and photos of family and friends.  Springtime is perfect for gifts like seasonal produce, Easter-themed gifts, and flower bulbs that can bloom on the windowsill.

For summer, create a basket with photos of the beach, a handheld fan, sunglasses and dried exotic fruits, like mango and pineapple. Autumn is a time when you can provide your loved one with cozy slippers, pumpkin spice treats, and miniature pumpkins for festive decor.

Flowers Are Always Appreciated

Flowers are always a wonderful gift that will help your loved one brighten her room. The presence of plant life will increase the tranquility of her room and make it feel like a place of solace. You can send your loved one bouquets from FTD — a company with an online service that helps you create custom bouquets for delivery. There are a number of seasonal and special occasion bouquets that are available. Make sure you incorporate your loved one’s favorite flower, so the arrangement will feel more personalized.

Decadent Delights

Send your elderly friend or relative a basket full of goodies that will delight his senses. For the chocoholic, include drinking chocolate, a box of various truffles and maybe a humorous T-shirt that has the famous quote of “life is like a box of chocolates.” They can share it with all their friends! If your friend enjoys French cuisine, send her a package that includes video of Julia Child’s television program, a baguette, cheese and some French wine. You can also create an edible arrangement for someone who is a healthy eater and may have dietary restrictions. The arrangements can be custom made for the particular dietary needs or preferences of the gift receiver.

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Seniors4Seniors: For Arboria of Long Grove

Rebecca Donze and the Senior Living Experts team have partnered with talented high school seniors, many of whom have been preparing for months for their recitals, to perform for the residents at Arboria of Long Grove. The residents at Arboria, on the other hand, had advice for them.

You can watch the original Seniors4Seniors below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IiP4qgY9LU&t=1254s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IiP4qgY9LU&t=1252s

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How is Memory Care Different?

What Is the Difference Between Memory Care and Other Forms of Care?

Unsure of what we mean by "Memory Care"? This article breaks it down.When first looking into a senior living community for your loved ones the options can seem overwhelming with all the terminology: between nursing homes, assisted living, memory care there are many choices to pick from. Depending on the needs of your loved one there is usually one type that fits the best.  

How Is Memory Care Different from Assisted Living or a Retirement Community?

One of the first and most important differences that distinguishes Memory Care from all other kinds is that it is formatted and planned for those seniors who suffer specifically from Alzheimer's, dementia, or other memory impairing diseases. What this means is that everything from the layout of the facility to the activities that seniors engage in will be different.

  • 24/7 Supervision: Memory Care communities have a top priority of keeping your loved one safe and secure and they do this by having surveillance and 24 hour supervised care. Building layouts may also be altered to make sure seniors do not venture outside of safe living spaces unintentionally and the layout is easy to navigate. There also may be an enclosed green space outdoors in some care communities so your loved one can spend time outside in a safe way. With these modifications, Memory communities continue to uphold the living and sanitation standards of any assisted living community.  
  • Specialized Support: the staff in Memory Care also differs from that in assisted living. Memory Care staff, such as nurses and CNAs, have undergone additional training or education to be at the best service for those with memory impairing conditions. The Memory Care community is also in most cases an individual unit or floor so that all patients can get the best attention from the skilled nurses.
  • Cost: Because there is 24/7 care and specialized nursing, the cost of care when taking care of those with dementia and Alzheimer's differs compared to assisted living, and more-so for retirement communities. Cost does widely range depending on geography, but Memory Care does tend to be more expensive to the especially skilled nurses and 24/7 supervision. While both provide room and board with meals and care assistance, Memory care usually comes at a higher cost due to the level of specialized care.  Keep in mind that 24/7 care matters even more, as during the COVID pandemic, Memory care communities are taken the safest measures possible.

How Is It Similar To Assisted Living?

Both Memory Care and assisted living include many activities and hobbies for seniors, but they do differ slightly. In Memory Care, activities will cater to the mental abilities of the seniors just like they cater to the physical abilities of the seniors in assisted care. Additionally, Memory Care and Assisted Living both are regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health. IDPH tracks regulations, and currently is tracking the COVID outbreak (though they are not always up to date).

How do you choose the care your loved one needs? Start With Your Doctor.

  • Get medical evaluation of your seniors' cognitive ability.
  • A good judgment to go by is if your loved one is living independently relatively successfully or if they are already diagnosed with a memory disease.
  • With a senior community is that there will be flexibility to find the perfect care plan for your loved one. There is also the possibility to start in assisted living and to move to Memory Care later one if your loved ones’ memory impairment progresses.

Contact us to get in touch with a certified advisor who knows your area. Whether in Lincoln Park, Barrington, Lake Barrington, North Barrington, Lake Zurich, Deer Park, Naperville, Bull Valley, Crystal Lake, Schaumberg, and Hoffman Estates, senior living communities offer many care options for your loved ones.

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IDPH Underreports COVID-19 Cases. Senior Living Advisors is Up To Date.

When buying a home, we seek out a realtor to guide us to the perfect house within budget. When we want to draw up a Power of Attorney, or a Will, we seek out an Attorney who can make sure we are within the legal guidelines so our futures are secure. How do we do the same when finding long-term care for our loved one?

Department of Public Health (IDPH) is undercounting COVID-19 cases

According to an article in the LaGrange Patch earlier this week, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) was not counting positive Covid cases that were located in Plymouth Place, a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). The nursing team at Plymouth Place was following protocol to alert the State to the positive cases, but noticed in later updates that their cases were not showing up on the daily reports shared by IDPH. Senior Living Experts is aware of another CCRC in the Chicagoland area that has had no positive cases, but was inaccurately reported as having three in their community by IDPH. We are closely monitoring other communities in present time.

How can we do this if IDPH is incorrectly reporting COVID-19 incidents in communities?

When our loved one desires, or requires senior living, we (should) seek out a Senior Living Advisor who can guide us to communities that provide the level of care, services, and amenities the senior would benefit from the most.

With so many unknowns and misinformation these days, at Senior Living Experts we believe it’s important to work with an Advisor so that you are getting accurate information. It’s our job to know the details of a community, and find out not only the pricing, but also the “culture” of a community. This translates to things such as the ingenuity of activities brought to residents and creative solutions that work within State regulations. Yet, guaranteeing the residents remaining in their current level of care, a good experience and consistency in staff.Covid-19 has shined a light on Senior Living, and we want to guide you down what can be a very overwhelming path. We will get the information you need right along with you, for you, and with the very individual preferences your loved one needs at this time.

For a free care consultation, call our advisors 1 (773) 453 486 or online here.

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Take Action: Prioritize Senior Living Residents for COVID-19 Response

Take Action: Prioritize Senior Living Residents for COVID-19 Response

Argentum, the leading national trade association serving companies that own, operate, and support professionally managed senior living communities, is calling on Congress to take swift action to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents and staff of the communities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please join us in this effort and send a pre-written letter to your member of Congress and Senators here.

We urge our senators and congressmen to commit to providing these communities with the protective equipment, virus testing, and financial support they will need to continue providing care.

Seniors are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and their caregivers are working around the clock on the front lines to protect them and keep them out of the hospital. But they need more protective equipment and a lack of testing makes it challenging to stop the virus from spreading. It is critical for communities to be able to test residents and staff. How can NBA players get immediate testing, and senior living residents and workers cannot? They aren't able to see their loved ones and must spend all day in their room, unable to join others for dining or activities. As we look to return to normal, senior living should be prioritized for testing, PPE, and the resources they need to fight the virus and help the community get back to the place our seniors call home.

Restaurants, hotels, airlines, and Airbnb owners have received federal financial support, and they are not caring for the most important people in our lives. Senior living communities need your support to keep providing the exceptional care that is needed now more than ever.I urge you to consider the needs of our most vulnerable and precious- seniors and their caregivers by prioritizing our communities for PPE, testing and federal financial support.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges to the senior living industry, as individuals who are at the greatest risk from the virus include people aged over 60 years and those with underlying conditions. Timely access to testing is the most critical component to prevention and response, and we recommend that forthcoming legislative packages provide for adequate supplies to prevent, test for, and respond to any outbreaks, ensure regulations support the ability to care for residents, and that communities have the resources able to maintain operations throughout this pandemic and beyond.

While communities are taking preventive measures against the virus, there is no doubt that support is needed from the federal government to help keep our residents and team members safe. It is imperative that lawmakers hear not only from industry leaders, but from constituents who are most directly affected by this crisis and why Congress must prioritize senior living communities.

Please take a moment to send your federal legislators a note on the urgent need to prioritize senior living in the COVID-19 response.

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What Is Memory Care?

What Is Memory Care?

When it comes the time when a loved one needs extra care and assistance to remain happy and healthy, the words "memory care" may come up as an option. As our loved ones age, they lose not only physical capabilities, but also mental ones.

How Is Memory Care Designed?

Memory care communities are designed for those with Alzheimer’s or other memory related illnesses in mind. They aren’t too different from assisted living communities, They provide many fundamentals such as housekeeping, meal preparations and aid with daily needs, but also pays specific attention to those with memory loss and their unique needs. Memory care communities prioritize keeping seniors involved and mentally active. Even with the loss of cognitive abilities, seniors can continue to engage with others and take part in many activities and hobbies that staff provides. Many care communities have social calendars filled with a variety of activities to get seniors excited. For some communities, that means cognitive abilities like brain games.

Are All Memory Care Communities The Same?

Just like every senior is different, so is the memory care provided. When you choose a new community, the care plans you get customized to fit the needs of your loved one. Often, seniors with memory problems are placed in a solely memory care community that best enables care workers to assist our loved one's unique needs. Memory care units can also be separated for those with early dementia or late stage dementia. Staff in memory units are also highly trained and equipped as well as usually having undergone additional training for dealing with those who have memory related diseases.  During the COVID pandemic, memory care communities are taken the safest measures possible. Memory communities are a secure and safe environment for your loved ones who deal with Alzheimer’s or memory related diseases where they can continue to enjoy life while also getting the best care possible. Regardless of your choice, your mom is good hands. Whether in Barrington, Lake Barrington, North Barrington, Lake Zurich, Deer Park, Naperville, Bull Valley, Crystal Lake, Schaumberg, and the City of Chicago, senior living communities care options for your loved ones. Contact us to get in touch with a certified advisor who knows your area.

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Delivering Lunches to Hospitals

Meals To Hospitals

What better way to support our locals? These last 2 weeks, our Advisors Kerry Quirin, Rebecca Donze, and Nancy Pappas have been delivering meals to nurses at Chicagoland hospitals. We've been extra careful to not only provide meals to the nurses during the day shift, but also the night shift. This week, we partnered with Mojo's East Coast Eats.

We're Not the Only Ones Helping Doctors and Nurses!

Here, Western Suburbs Advisor Kerry Quirin talks about all the wonderful ways the average Chicagoland person has been helping. From PPE to other gifts and food, these communities have received so much support![video width="400" height="224" mp4="https://seniorlivingexperts.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/95819651_241097490312652_2706580255547588608_n.mp4"][/video]You may have a question then: is it safe, or even is it worth it to move a senior living community?

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Connect with an Advisor

Michelle Caliri

Senior Care Advisor

773-964-0409
michelle@seniorlivingexperts.com
Kerry Quirin

Senior Care Advisor

1-630-800-7865
kerry@seniorlivingexperts.com

What happens next?

Discovery

Your expert advisor will accumulate information necessary for proper placement, such as your needs, location, and budget.

Recommendations

We provide numerous recommendations based on the details provided. Our goal is to combine your needs with our knowledge of senior communities.

Tours

Your advisor will accompany you on tours so your search can be as thorough as possible. We want what’s best for your loved ones just as much as you do.

Follow-ups

After a choice has been made and your loved one has moved into their new home, we will continuously check in to make sure everything is going well.

Together, let’s begin the journey to finding the home that will enhance the life of your family.

Human Test:

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