How Veterans Benefits Can Make Senior Living More Affordable   While the cost of assisted living and memory care can be daunting, there are a number of ways to make senior living more affordable – especially for veterans.  If you are a veteran or are related to a veteran, you may eligible for veteran-related benefits that can drastically reduce the costs of assisted living. Just by meeting certain requirements such as the amount of time served and income, you could receive a monthly stipend that could cover the costs of senior living altogether.  Here are three pension benefits that veterans and their spouses and children can apply for to cover the cost of senior living:   1. Veterans Pension.  Specifically for low-income veterans,  this pension  ranges from $1,800 to $2,800.To meet these requirements, veterans must have completed at least 90 days of active duty service with at least one day during a wartime period.  If they served after September 7, 1980, they must have served at least 24 months or the full period of active duty with one or more days during a  wartime period .   How to Apply:  Apply for the Veterans Pension  online  or fill out the   VA Form 21P-527EZ , “Application for Pension”. Mail your application to the  Pension Management Center (PMC) that serves your state  .  Your  local regional benefit office  can also process your application.   2. Survivors Pension.  Also known as the Death Pension, this is available to low-income people who are either a surviving spouse of a veteran and have not remarried, or an unmarried child of a deceased veteran who served during war time. The child must be under age 18, or under age 23 if they are attending a VA-approved school.  To receive benefits, the deceased veteran must have served before September 7, 1980, with 90 or more days of active military service as long as at least one day was during a wartime period. For veterans who served after September 7, 1980, they must have served at least 24 months or their full period of active duty with at least one day during a wartime period. The veteran must have been honorably discharged.  The amount of money one can receive is based on their yearly family income.   How to Apply : Fill out  VA Form 21P-534EZ , “Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits” and mail it to the  Pension Management Center (PMC) . Your local regional benefit office can also process your application.   3. Aid & Attendance and Housebound.  Also known as the “Non-Service Connected and Improved and Pension Benefit with Aid and Attendance,” this benefit is available to veterans or their surviving spouse. To be eligible, your loved one will need military discharge papers and a medical condition that makes it appropriate for assisted living. The medical condition doesn’t have to be service-related, and these benefits can range between $1,000 and $2,000 a month.  You also have the option of increasing these benefits if you are confined to your premises because of a permanent disability.   How to Apply:  Write to the  Pension Management Center (PMC)  .  File your request at your local regional benefit office. Include copies of evidence from a physician specifying the need for the pension. This report should detail if there is a physical or mental impairment or conditions that make one unable to dress, eat, attend to sanitary needs or keep oneself clean. The report should also detail an applicant’s typical day and how he or she gets around, or if he or she is confined to the premises.  If you aren’t a veteran, there are many other ways to  make senior living more affordable.  It’s often difficult to decipher if you or your loved one qualifies for a pension, so do not be afraid to ask trusted people questions. An estate planner can provide valuable counseling on how to get the coverage you need.  At The Preserve at Clearwater , we have great respect for our veteran residents and are happy to answer questions about how to make senior living including assisted living and services for individuals with Alzheimer’s or Dementia more affordable.

How Veterans Benefits Can Make Senior Living More Affordable

While the cost of assisted living and memory care can be daunting, there are a number of ways to make senior living more affordable – especially for veterans.

If you are a veteran or are related to a veteran, you may eligible for veteran-related benefits that can drastically reduce the costs of assisted living. Just by meeting certain requirements such as the amount of time served and income, you could receive a monthly stipend that could cover the costs of senior living altogether.

Here are three pension benefits that veterans and their spouses and children can apply for to cover the cost of senior living:

1. Veterans Pension. Specifically for low-income veterans, this pension ranges from $1,800 to $2,800.To meet these requirements, veterans must have completed at least 90 days of active duty service with at least one day during a wartime period.

If they served after September 7, 1980, they must have served at least 24 months or the full period of active duty with one or more days during a wartime period.

How to Apply: Apply for the Veterans Pension online or fill out the  VA Form 21P-527EZ, “Application for Pension”. Mail your application to the Pension Management Center (PMC) that serves your state. Your local regional benefit office can also process your application.

2. Survivors Pension. Also known as the Death Pension, this is available to low-income people who are either a surviving spouse of a veteran and have not remarried, or an unmarried child of a deceased veteran who served during war time. The child must be under age 18, or under age 23 if they are attending a VA-approved school.

To receive benefits, the deceased veteran must have served before September 7, 1980, with 90 or more days of active military service as long as at least one day was during a wartime period. For veterans who served after September 7, 1980, they must have served at least 24 months or their full period of active duty with at least one day during a wartime period. The veteran must have been honorably discharged.

The amount of money one can receive is based on their yearly family income.

How to Apply: Fill out VA Form 21P-534EZ, “Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits” and mail it to the Pension Management Center (PMC). Your local regional benefit office can also process your application.

3. Aid & Attendance and Housebound. Also known as the “Non-Service Connected and Improved and Pension Benefit with Aid and Attendance,” this benefit is available to veterans or their surviving spouse. To be eligible, your loved one will need military discharge papers and a medical condition that makes it appropriate for assisted living. The medical condition doesn’t have to be service-related, and these benefits can range between $1,000 and $2,000 a month.

You also have the option of increasing these benefits if you are confined to your premises because of a permanent disability.

How to Apply: Write to the Pension Management Center (PMC). File your request at your local regional benefit office. Include copies of evidence from a physician specifying the need for the pension. This report should detail if there is a physical or mental impairment or conditions that make one unable to dress, eat, attend to sanitary needs or keep oneself clean. The report should also detail an applicant’s typical day and how he or she gets around, or if he or she is confined to the premises.

If you aren’t a veteran, there are many other ways to make senior living more affordable. It’s often difficult to decipher if you or your loved one qualifies for a pension, so do not be afraid to ask trusted people questions. An estate planner can provide valuable counseling on how to get the coverage you need. At The Preserve at Clearwater, we have great respect for our veteran residents and are happy to answer questions about how to make senior living including assisted living and services for individuals with Alzheimer’s or Dementia more affordable.

3 Ways Seniors Can Make Quality Assisted Living and Memory Care More Affordable   Many adult children assume that mom or dad will be financially secure in their later years because they are on Medicare or Medicaid. Unfortunately, these government programs won’t pay for assisted living costs in full. However, there are insurance options and government benefits available that can help ease the financial burden of aging.  Here are three ways you can make assisted living more affordable:   1. Life Insurance.  Many people don’t realize that life insurance can be utilized before the policy holder passes away. Sometimes referred to as receiving “accelerated benefits,” your loved one may be eligible to cash out the policy early. When you receive accelerated life insurance benefits, the insurance company will typically buy back the policy for 50 to 75 percent of its value.  Alternatively, you could decide to sell the policy to a third party. Known as a “life settlement,” the third party will also buy the policy for a discount to allow you and your loved one to access the funds sooner. In this scenario, the third party will continue to pay premiums until your loved one passes away – but the company will receive the benefits instead of the policy’s original beneficiary. If you find that the money that comes with life insurance will be most helpful for your family before your loved one passes away, you may want to consider a life settlement. However, it does  have its risks .   2. Long-Term Care Insurance.  Medicare does not pay for assisted living, and Medicaid covers expenses, at select properties, only after you have spent all your personal financial assets. For these reasons, many seniors invest in long-term care insurance, which can cover assisted living as well as adult day care services, home health services and more. Many people choose to invest in long-term care insurance between the ages of 52 and 64. Your current health affects your rate, so it’s often best to invest when you’re at your healthiest.  Benefits from long-term care insurance can range from $1,900 to $9,000 a month. Because  The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance  does not market or sell insurance, its website is a great place to start for objective information about what long-term care insurance plan works best for your loved one. At The Preserve at Clearwater, we encourage our residents to  take advantage of long-term care insurance  for a high quality of life in their later years.   3. Veterans Benefits.  If you or your loved one is a veteran, you may be eligible for some significant benefits through the  Veterans Administration , especially if either of you have experienced an injury while serving.  You should also familiarize yourself with Aid and Attendance benefits, which are available to veterans or their surviving spouses. In order to apply, your loved one will need military discharge papers and a medical condition that makes assisted living necessary. The medical condition does not have to be service-related, and these benefits typically range between $1,000 and $2,000 dollars a month. Visit  VeteranAid.org  for more information about Aid and Attendance benefits.  Senior benefits – especially veteran-related benefits – can be tricky to qualify for, so it’s important that you are not afraid to ask plenty of questions. Whoever you ask may be having a bad or busy day, so you may get short, incomplete, or rushed answers. For example, sometimes people are told their loved one has too many assets to qualify for a certain program. However, working with an estate planner you may receive valuable counsel on how to qualify for these benefits. To get the coverage you need, do your research, ask a number of trusted people, and be persistent if you think there’s some way your loved one can qualify.   At The Preserve at Clearwater, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have about how to secure the best quality of life for your loved one’s golden years. Our caring staff, engaging resident programs, and delicious dining rival  the best assisted living in Florida , and we’re always willing to work with residents and their families to make senior living services such as those requiring basic assistance or support with Dementia or Alzheimer’s as affordable as possible.

3 Ways Seniors Can Make Quality Assisted Living and Memory Care More Affordable

Many adult children assume that mom or dad will be financially secure in their later years because they are on Medicare or Medicaid. Unfortunately, these government programs won’t pay for assisted living costs in full. However, there are insurance options and government benefits available that can help ease the financial burden of aging.

Here are three ways you can make assisted living more affordable:

1. Life Insurance. Many people don’t realize that life insurance can be utilized before the policy holder passes away. Sometimes referred to as receiving “accelerated benefits,” your loved one may be eligible to cash out the policy early. When you receive accelerated life insurance benefits, the insurance company will typically buy back the policy for 50 to 75 percent of its value.

Alternatively, you could decide to sell the policy to a third party. Known as a “life settlement,” the third party will also buy the policy for a discount to allow you and your loved one to access the funds sooner. In this scenario, the third party will continue to pay premiums until your loved one passes away – but the company will receive the benefits instead of the policy’s original beneficiary. If you find that the money that comes with life insurance will be most helpful for your family before your loved one passes away, you may want to consider a life settlement. However, it does have its risks.

2. Long-Term Care Insurance. Medicare does not pay for assisted living, and Medicaid covers expenses, at select properties, only after you have spent all your personal financial assets. For these reasons, many seniors invest in long-term care insurance, which can cover assisted living as well as adult day care services, home health services and more. Many people choose to invest in long-term care insurance between the ages of 52 and 64. Your current health affects your rate, so it’s often best to invest when you’re at your healthiest.

Benefits from long-term care insurance can range from $1,900 to $9,000 a month. Because The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance does not market or sell insurance, its website is a great place to start for objective information about what long-term care insurance plan works best for your loved one. At The Preserve at Clearwater, we encourage our residents to take advantage of long-term care insurance for a high quality of life in their later years.

3. Veterans Benefits. If you or your loved one is a veteran, you may be eligible for some significant benefits through the Veterans Administration, especially if either of you have experienced an injury while serving.

You should also familiarize yourself with Aid and Attendance benefits, which are available to veterans or their surviving spouses. In order to apply, your loved one will need military discharge papers and a medical condition that makes assisted living necessary. The medical condition does not have to be service-related, and these benefits typically range between $1,000 and $2,000 dollars a month. Visit VeteranAid.org for more information about Aid and Attendance benefits.

Senior benefits – especially veteran-related benefits – can be tricky to qualify for, so it’s important that you are not afraid to ask plenty of questions. Whoever you ask may be having a bad or busy day, so you may get short, incomplete, or rushed answers. For example, sometimes people are told their loved one has too many assets to qualify for a certain program. However, working with an estate planner you may receive valuable counsel on how to qualify for these benefits. To get the coverage you need, do your research, ask a number of trusted people, and be persistent if you think there’s some way your loved one can qualify. 

At The Preserve at Clearwater, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have about how to secure the best quality of life for your loved one’s golden years. Our caring staff, engaging resident programs, and delicious dining rival the best assisted living in Florida, and we’re always willing to work with residents and their families to make senior living services such as those requiring basic assistance or support with Dementia or Alzheimer’s as affordable as possible.

6 Considerations to Keep in Mind When Buying Long-Term Care Insurance   Adult children who want to make financially responsible decisions that will ensure the health, comfort and safety of their parents and themselves should take a close look at long-term care insurance.   What does long-term care insurance cover?   Typically, long-term care insurance covers personal care in an individual’s own home or one’s stay at an assisted living or memory care community. Long-term care insurance differs from traditional health insurance because it covers long-term needs and services designed for the later stages of life, usually after the age of 50.  With more than 100 different long-term care insurance companies to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide on one option.  Here are 6 considerations to keep in mind when choosing long-term care insurance:    1. Buying long-term care insurance in your mid-50s is the prime time.  Most people start planning for long-term care  between age 52 and 64 . The key to getting the most out of this care insurance is to get it when you’re at your healthiest and can get the lowest premiums. Further, rates increase every year on your birthday, but the increase is only 1-2% in your 50s. Rates can increase by up to 8% annually once you reach your 60s.   2. Getting long-term care without insurance can be expensive.  A  2016 survey  on cost averages show prices quickly add up for long-term care of all varieties. Adult day care is $68 a day, home health aid services average $20 an hour, and assisted living communities can be about $3,600 a month on average. Plus higher quality options can easily exceed these averages.  Long-term care insurance can help defray these inevitable costs.   3. Talking to an insurance broker may be your best bet.  Websites that are designed to sell you long-term care insurance will sometimes provide information that is biased toward their services. Brokers, however, are trained to compare a variety of insurance companies objectively within the context of your needs. For example, a broker might know which insurance companies charge smokers higher premiums than others.  The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance  is a good place to start because they do not market or sell insurance. Professionals with a knowledge of varied insurance programs can help you find the plan that works best for your budget, coverage and health conditions.   4. Having long-term care insurance means having the option to select from higher quality assisted living and memory care options . If you need care in an assisted living community, Medicaid only covers expenses after you have spent down all of your personal financial assets. For this reason, some assisted living communities do not accept Medicaid patients. To enjoy a greater selection of upscale assisted living communities, it helps to have long-term care insurance – and it will ensure you protect your financial assets for your children.   5. Your current health affects your rates.  Insurance companies can deny or require higher premiums to clients if they have AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or a history of strokes. That means it’s a good idea to lock in a plan when you are at your healthiest.   6. You can start making claims when you’re unable to perform certain activities of daily living.  Most insurance companies allow you to file a claim when you cannot do two daily activities out of an official list. These activities can include getting dressed, bathing, getting in and out of bed or a chair, managing urinary incontinence or requiring assistance with eating and bathing. Long-term care insurance can be used to subsidize the costs when these effects of aging become a reality.  If you’re an adult child, you should not only talk to your loved one about their long-term insurance coverage, but also reflect on your own plan for paying for care in your later years.  At The Preserve at Clearwater , we encourage our residents to take advantage of long-term care insurance for less financial stress and a  high quality of living in your golden years . We are here to answer any questions you have about how to get the most out of your long-term care insurance plans.

6 Considerations to Keep in Mind When Buying Long-Term Care Insurance

Adult children who want to make financially responsible decisions that will ensure the health, comfort and safety of their parents and themselves should take a close look at long-term care insurance.

What does long-term care insurance cover?

Typically, long-term care insurance covers personal care in an individual’s own home or one’s stay at an assisted living or memory care community. Long-term care insurance differs from traditional health insurance because it covers long-term needs and services designed for the later stages of life, usually after the age of 50.

With more than 100 different long-term care insurance companies to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide on one option.

Here are 6 considerations to keep in mind when choosing long-term care insurance: 

1. Buying long-term care insurance in your mid-50s is the prime time. Most people start planning for long-term care between age 52 and 64. The key to getting the most out of this care insurance is to get it when you’re at your healthiest and can get the lowest premiums. Further, rates increase every year on your birthday, but the increase is only 1-2% in your 50s. Rates can increase by up to 8% annually once you reach your 60s.

2. Getting long-term care without insurance can be expensive. A 2016 survey on cost averages show prices quickly add up for long-term care of all varieties. Adult day care is $68 a day, home health aid services average $20 an hour, and assisted living communities can be about $3,600 a month on average. Plus higher quality options can easily exceed these averages.  Long-term care insurance can help defray these inevitable costs.

3. Talking to an insurance broker may be your best bet. Websites that are designed to sell you long-term care insurance will sometimes provide information that is biased toward their services. Brokers, however, are trained to compare a variety of insurance companies objectively within the context of your needs. For example, a broker might know which insurance companies charge smokers higher premiums than others. The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance is a good place to start because they do not market or sell insurance. Professionals with a knowledge of varied insurance programs can help you find the plan that works best for your budget, coverage and health conditions.

4. Having long-term care insurance means having the option to select from higher quality assisted living and memory care options. If you need care in an assisted living community, Medicaid only covers expenses after you have spent down all of your personal financial assets. For this reason, some assisted living communities do not accept Medicaid patients. To enjoy a greater selection of upscale assisted living communities, it helps to have long-term care insurance – and it will ensure you protect your financial assets for your children.

5. Your current health affects your rates. Insurance companies can deny or require higher premiums to clients if they have AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or a history of strokes. That means it’s a good idea to lock in a plan when you are at your healthiest.

6. You can start making claims when you’re unable to perform certain activities of daily living. Most insurance companies allow you to file a claim when you cannot do two daily activities out of an official list. These activities can include getting dressed, bathing, getting in and out of bed or a chair, managing urinary incontinence or requiring assistance with eating and bathing. Long-term care insurance can be used to subsidize the costs when these effects of aging become a reality.

If you’re an adult child, you should not only talk to your loved one about their long-term insurance coverage, but also reflect on your own plan for paying for care in your later years. At The Preserve at Clearwater, we encourage our residents to take advantage of long-term care insurance for less financial stress and a high quality of living in your golden years. We are here to answer any questions you have about how to get the most out of your long-term care insurance plans.

3 Questions (And Answers) You May Have About Protein for Seniors   Recent research is indicating that people 65 and older should include more protein in their diets than what they might be used to. This new understanding might explain why many adult children we talk to have questions about how to make sure their loved one is getting the right amount of daily protein to stay healthy and strong.  Protein has a number of benefits, including maintaining a healthy weight, building lean muscle and repairing tissue. Here, we answer the most common questions that adult children have regarding protein’s role in seniors’ diets.   How much protein do seniors need?   Adult children often wonder if protein is still as important for their parents, who may not be as active as they once were.  Many doctors recommend that seniors consume up to 35 percent of their daily calories as protein. And yet, the average senior consumes a mere  16 percent . And because  e  lderly people naturally lose muscle mass  and strength as they age, they can experience issues like insulin resistance, a loss of essential minerals in bones, and a greater risk of falling.  Women over age 50 are especially in need of protein-rich diets. After menopause,  women often struggle to maintain muscle tissue  and are more prone to injury, underscoring the need to increase the role of protein in our diets as we age.  The recommended amount of protein for seniors depends on your loved one’s weight, as well as other factors. Use the  USDA nutrition calculator  to see their customized recommendation.   What high-protein foods are good for seniors?   Good sources of protein for seniors include chicken, lean ground beef, and many types of seafood. But while it is often associated with meat, there are also a number of meat-free alternatives to getting protein into an older parent’s diet. Beans are one great source, because they’re also low in fat. Soy is another great source of protein for seniors because it can help lower cholesterol.  Some experts recommend trying to get a source of healthy protein into each meal, including breakfast. Consider recommending that your loved one have eggs or supplemental smoothies for breakfast. Low-fat dairy products such as cheese and Greek yogurt are great protein-rich additions to lunch, and ground beef can contribute to a high-protein dinner that’s easy to consume. As for healthy snacks, you can spread some peanut butter or almond butter across wheat bread of bananas or keep a bowl of mixed nuts in your loved one’s apartment.  Because protein is filling, sometimes seniors lose their appetite rather quickly after eating only a little bit of protein-rich foods. Surprisingly enough, there have been studies that seniors who aren’t eating enough can benefit from eating dessert first to help stimulate their appetite. If this is the case for your loved one, consider serving them Greek yogurt sprinkled with low-sugar cookie crumbs or a vanilla maple granola to satisfy their sweet tooth.   How do I know if my loved one is getting enough protein?   Common signs of low protein intake include poor concentration, mood swings and digestive issues. Further, because protein supports collagen production in hair, skin and nails, brittle nails or hair loss can be another sign of low protein.  Protein is needed for a healthy metabolism, so if you notice your loved one is gaining weight, their diet might be too high in sugar, fat and empty calories. And because protein is necessary to recover from injury, you should ensure that your loved ones are getting enough protein if they are prone to falling.  Keep in mind that many symptoms of low protein can also be the natural effects of aging. But if your loved one is experiencing many of these, they may need to add more protein to their diet. At The Preserve at Clearwater, we plan balanced diets plus we work with our residents on specialized meal plans to ensure they are getting the protein and other nutrients they need to live happy, healthy lives.  We welcome you in the evaluation stages to join us for a lunch and learn to meet our Culinary Director or upon residency to participate in monthly resident food committee meetings to ensure that your nutritional needs are adequately being served.    

3 Questions (And Answers) You May Have About Protein for Seniors

Recent research is indicating that people 65 and older should include more protein in their diets than what they might be used to. This new understanding might explain why many adult children we talk to have questions about how to make sure their loved one is getting the right amount of daily protein to stay healthy and strong.

Protein has a number of benefits, including maintaining a healthy weight, building lean muscle and repairing tissue. Here, we answer the most common questions that adult children have regarding protein’s role in seniors’ diets.

How much protein do seniors need?

Adult children often wonder if protein is still as important for their parents, who may not be as active as they once were.

Many doctors recommend that seniors consume up to 35 percent of their daily calories as protein. And yet, the average senior consumes a mere 16 percent. And because elderly people naturally lose muscle mass and strength as they age, they can experience issues like insulin resistance, a loss of essential minerals in bones, and a greater risk of falling.

Women over age 50 are especially in need of protein-rich diets. After menopause, women often struggle to maintain muscle tissue and are more prone to injury, underscoring the need to increase the role of protein in our diets as we age.

The recommended amount of protein for seniors depends on your loved one’s weight, as well as other factors. Use the USDA nutrition calculator to see their customized recommendation.

What high-protein foods are good for seniors?

Good sources of protein for seniors include chicken, lean ground beef, and many types of seafood. But while it is often associated with meat, there are also a number of meat-free alternatives to getting protein into an older parent’s diet. Beans are one great source, because they’re also low in fat. Soy is another great source of protein for seniors because it can help lower cholesterol.

Some experts recommend trying to get a source of healthy protein into each meal, including breakfast. Consider recommending that your loved one have eggs or supplemental smoothies for breakfast. Low-fat dairy products such as cheese and Greek yogurt are great protein-rich additions to lunch, and ground beef can contribute to a high-protein dinner that’s easy to consume. As for healthy snacks, you can spread some peanut butter or almond butter across wheat bread of bananas or keep a bowl of mixed nuts in your loved one’s apartment.

Because protein is filling, sometimes seniors lose their appetite rather quickly after eating only a little bit of protein-rich foods. Surprisingly enough, there have been studies that seniors who aren’t eating enough can benefit from eating dessert first to help stimulate their appetite. If this is the case for your loved one, consider serving them Greek yogurt sprinkled with low-sugar cookie crumbs or a vanilla maple granola to satisfy their sweet tooth.

How do I know if my loved one is getting enough protein?

Common signs of low protein intake include poor concentration, mood swings and digestive issues. Further, because protein supports collagen production in hair, skin and nails, brittle nails or hair loss can be another sign of low protein.

Protein is needed for a healthy metabolism, so if you notice your loved one is gaining weight, their diet might be too high in sugar, fat and empty calories. And because protein is necessary to recover from injury, you should ensure that your loved ones are getting enough protein if they are prone to falling.

Keep in mind that many symptoms of low protein can also be the natural effects of aging. But if your loved one is experiencing many of these, they may need to add more protein to their diet. At The Preserve at Clearwater, we plan balanced diets plus we work with our residents on specialized meal plans to ensure they are getting the protein and other nutrients they need to live happy, healthy lives.  We welcome you in the evaluation stages to join us for a lunch and learn to meet our Culinary Director or upon residency to participate in monthly resident food committee meetings to ensure that your nutritional needs are adequately being served.    

3 Tips for Seniors in Assisted Living to Avoid Contracting the Flu   The flu is a messy and uncomfortable experience for people of all ages. But for people over the age of 65, coming down with the illness is more than an inconvenience – it can be life-threatening.  Each year 36,000 people will die from the flu, its victims are disproportionately elderly. A  study by the University of Michigan  found that more flu vaccinations in the elderly could save up to 6,500 lives over ten years, and  research from Johns Hopkins University  shows that annual flu shots reduce the number of deaths among hospital patients by half.  At The Preserve at Clearwater, we take several cautionary steps to ensure our seniors stay healthy this flu season. And considering people are most likely to contract the flu from October to March, it’s not too late for adult children to talk to their loved one about taking these steps. Here are a few reminders to avoid contracting the illness this season:   1. Get a flu shot.  While exact effectiveness varies from year to year, studies show that getting a vaccination can reduce the risk of flu by up to 60%, according to the  Center for Disease Control and Prevention . In assisted living communities, more flu vaccinations means fewer cases of the virus. At The Preserve at Clearwater, we partner with Maxim Healthcare to administer annual flu shots to help ensure the health and well-being of all our residents during the winter months.   2. Wash hands frequently.  The flu is highly contagious and can spread as easily as touching the virus on a doorknob or arm rest and then touching one’s own nose or mouth. At The Preserve we have hand sanitizer stations throughout the building for use by residents, families, staff and visitors.  You may also consider giving your loved one a small portable bottle of hand sanitizer to use after spending time in a public space.   3. Avoid sick people when possible.  At The Preserve at Clearwater, we require all employees to get their flu shots. Further, our assisted living accommodations offer comfortable private apartments and  spacious floor plans  to mitigate the spreading of the flu, should someone get sick.   The Preserve at Clearwater is here to answer any and all questions you may have about keeping your loved ones from contracting the flu this season.   There are no “cures” for the flu besides plenty of rest and fluids, making it a tricky illness for elderly folks to tackle if they come down with it. But if you talk to your loved one today about taking these simple steps: getting your flu shot, keeping hands clean, and practicing caution when someone is sick, your loved one can prevent the pesky flu from disrupting their life.

3 Tips for Seniors in Assisted Living to Avoid Contracting the Flu

The flu is a messy and uncomfortable experience for people of all ages. But for people over the age of 65, coming down with the illness is more than an inconvenience – it can be life-threatening.

Each year 36,000 people will die from the flu, its victims are disproportionately elderly. A study by the University of Michigan found that more flu vaccinations in the elderly could save up to 6,500 lives over ten years, and research from Johns Hopkins University shows that annual flu shots reduce the number of deaths among hospital patients by half.

At The Preserve at Clearwater, we take several cautionary steps to ensure our seniors stay healthy this flu season. And considering people are most likely to contract the flu from October to March, it’s not too late for adult children to talk to their loved one about taking these steps. Here are a few reminders to avoid contracting the illness this season:

1. Get a flu shot. While exact effectiveness varies from year to year, studies show that getting a vaccination can reduce the risk of flu by up to 60%, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In assisted living communities, more flu vaccinations means fewer cases of the virus. At The Preserve at Clearwater, we partner with Maxim Healthcare to administer annual flu shots to help ensure the health and well-being of all our residents during the winter months.

2. Wash hands frequently. The flu is highly contagious and can spread as easily as touching the virus on a doorknob or arm rest and then touching one’s own nose or mouth. At The Preserve we have hand sanitizer stations throughout the building for use by residents, families, staff and visitors.  You may also consider giving your loved one a small portable bottle of hand sanitizer to use after spending time in a public space.

3. Avoid sick people when possible. At The Preserve at Clearwater, we require all employees to get their flu shots. Further, our assisted living accommodations offer comfortable private apartments and spacious floor plans to mitigate the spreading of the flu, should someone get sick.

The Preserve at Clearwater is here to answer any and all questions you may have about keeping your loved ones from contracting the flu this season.

There are no “cures” for the flu besides plenty of rest and fluids, making it a tricky illness for elderly folks to tackle if they come down with it. But if you talk to your loved one today about taking these simple steps: getting your flu shot, keeping hands clean, and practicing caution when someone is sick, your loved one can prevent the pesky flu from disrupting their life.

3 Reasons Seniors Wish They Had Moved into Assisted Living Sooner   Helping a loved one move into assisted living can feel like a cumbersome task. But caring adult children only want the best for their parents, and they understand that  helping their parents make the transition to senior living  is well worth the effort. In only a few weeks after moving in, new residents often look back and wonder why they didn’t make the lifestyle change sooner.  Many seniors in assisted living report higher levels of happiness and satisfaction after settling into their new home. Here are a few reasons seniors say they wish they had moved into assisted living sooner:   1. They have made friends with common interests.  In assisted living, seniors are surrounded by others who accompany them for outings, meals and activities. From the nursing staff to members of the housekeeping department and even including volunteers, residents often develop close friendships with associates, giving your loved one the comfort of a supportive community.  Socializing more frequently not only makes seniors happier, but also improves their cognitive health and can slow the risk of dementia. A study by the  Harvard School of Public Health  found elderly Americans with active social lives have slower rates of memory decline than their less-social counterparts.   2. They enjoy restaurant style dining prepared by an Executive Chef.  As they age, seniors often struggle to cook the meals they once could. And it can be difficult and time-consuming for adult children to prepare meals for their loved ones that balance their nutritional needs with those of the rest of their family.  Chefs at The Preserve at Clearwater are  specially trained  to cook quality, wholesome foods for residents. From made-to-order omelets to stir fry, our chefs prepare food with local ingredients that are both healthy  and  delicious.   3. They have the resources to explore their hobbies.  Seniors in assisted living communities say they have better experiences than expected; they also indicate that they are more likely to make friends and try new things, according to  The Independent Living Report  by ProMatura Group, a well-respected seniors housing market research firm. Many seniors experience this spike in satisfaction because they have the freedom to do what they like – whether that be taking walks outside, playing games with other residents, or attending faith services.  At The Preserve at Clearwater, we make sure seniors not only have time to relax and watch the latest episode of their favorite TV show, but they also have the resources and encouragement to try new things. From art and cooking classes to plays and concerts, we ensure our residents have plenty to enjoy.  Moving your loved one into assisted living can be a big and difficult leap to take, but many seniors quickly look back at the decision to move and wish they had made it sooner. In addition to the  care and support  they enjoy, the socializing, dining and exploration of new hobbies enhances their quality of living in ways they often never expected.

3 Reasons Seniors Wish They Had Moved into Assisted Living Sooner

Helping a loved one move into assisted living can feel like a cumbersome task. But caring adult children only want the best for their parents, and they understand that helping their parents make the transition to senior living is well worth the effort. In only a few weeks after moving in, new residents often look back and wonder why they didn’t make the lifestyle change sooner.

Many seniors in assisted living report higher levels of happiness and satisfaction after settling into their new home. Here are a few reasons seniors say they wish they had moved into assisted living sooner:

1. They have made friends with common interests. In assisted living, seniors are surrounded by others who accompany them for outings, meals and activities. From the nursing staff to members of the housekeeping department and even including volunteers, residents often develop close friendships with associates, giving your loved one the comfort of a supportive community.

Socializing more frequently not only makes seniors happier, but also improves their cognitive health and can slow the risk of dementia. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health found elderly Americans with active social lives have slower rates of memory decline than their less-social counterparts.

2. They enjoy restaurant style dining prepared by an Executive Chef. As they age, seniors often struggle to cook the meals they once could. And it can be difficult and time-consuming for adult children to prepare meals for their loved ones that balance their nutritional needs with those of the rest of their family.

Chefs at The Preserve at Clearwater are specially trained to cook quality, wholesome foods for residents. From made-to-order omelets to stir fry, our chefs prepare food with local ingredients that are both healthy and delicious.

3. They have the resources to explore their hobbies. Seniors in assisted living communities say they have better experiences than expected; they also indicate that they are more likely to make friends and try new things, according to The Independent Living Report by ProMatura Group, a well-respected seniors housing market research firm. Many seniors experience this spike in satisfaction because they have the freedom to do what they like – whether that be taking walks outside, playing games with other residents, or attending faith services.

At The Preserve at Clearwater, we make sure seniors not only have time to relax and watch the latest episode of their favorite TV show, but they also have the resources and encouragement to try new things. From art and cooking classes to plays and concerts, we ensure our residents have plenty to enjoy.

Moving your loved one into assisted living can be a big and difficult leap to take, but many seniors quickly look back at the decision to move and wish they had made it sooner. In addition to the care and support they enjoy, the socializing, dining and exploration of new hobbies enhances their quality of living in ways they often never expected.

5 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays with a Family Member Who Has Dementia   Celebrating the holidays with a family member who has dementia can be bittersweet. Adult children who have a loved one with dementia often have a harder time adjusting to the joys of the season, especially because that loved one may have been an integral part of family traditions.  Despite the emotional toll the holidays may take, the winter season should be a time to reflect on blessings and good fortune. Here are some ideas for making sure the holidays run smoothly for you and your family member living with dementia.   1. Plan in advance.  Every family celebrates the holidays differently. Spending quality time with a loved one living in a senior living community can be highly rewarding.  Family members are welcome to join their loved ones for special holiday functions, live entertainment or social gatherings.  If your loved one’s community is long-distance, consider sending flowers or even arranging for the staff to help set up a video chat through FaceTime or Google Hangouts.   2. Give thoughtful gifts.  Put together a photo album with names and dates and read through it with your loved one. While they may have difficulties recalling some of the moments, each image can help to stimulate their most cherished memories. Or, give them a CD with some of their favorite songs from the 30s and 40s. According to the  Alzheimer’s Association , seniors can often remember and sing songs even in advanced stages of dementia. If your family has young kids, consider asking them to draw a picture or make a card. The grandkids will be just as excited to give a gift as your loved one will be to receive it.   3. Schedule times for your loved one to rest.  If you can bring your loved one to your home, ensure they won’t miss any important traditions by planning their resting times around holiday meals and activities. Aging takes a toll on the body and lowers energy levels, so it’s common for seniors to need a rest. Try not to overwhelm your loved one, and keep chaotic and loud noises to a minimum whenever possible.   4. Watch movies and musicals together.  There are a number of family-friendly winter events across Clearwater, Florida, including  holiday musicals  and showings of  outdoor movies . Or, consider making some hot chocolate and enjoying your own holiday movie night at home. At The Preserve at Clearwater, we bring the festivities to our assisted living residents by offering diverse and celebratory holiday events as well as faith services for residents and their families.   5. Make new memories.  It’s easy to get caught up talking about past holidays and traditions. While it is fun and healthy to reminisce on these happy times, don’t forget to make new memories with your loved ones this holiday season. Bake their favorite dessert, play a game of cards, construct a puzzle, assist them in a craft project or enjoy a stroll outside on the nature path.  Whether you and your family member with dementia are celebrating the holidays at home, from a long distance, or in an assisted living community, you can help them enjoy the season. At  The Preserve at Clearwater,  we’re committed to making the holidays comfortable for our residents and their families in addition to ensuring the season is filled with round-the-clock care and support.

5 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays with a Family Member Who Has Dementia

Celebrating the holidays with a family member who has dementia can be bittersweet. Adult children who have a loved one with dementia often have a harder time adjusting to the joys of the season, especially because that loved one may have been an integral part of family traditions.

Despite the emotional toll the holidays may take, the winter season should be a time to reflect on blessings and good fortune. Here are some ideas for making sure the holidays run smoothly for you and your family member living with dementia.

1. Plan in advance. Every family celebrates the holidays differently. Spending quality time with a loved one living in a senior living community can be highly rewarding.  Family members are welcome to join their loved ones for special holiday functions, live entertainment or social gatherings.  If your loved one’s community is long-distance, consider sending flowers or even arranging for the staff to help set up a video chat through FaceTime or Google Hangouts.

2. Give thoughtful gifts. Put together a photo album with names and dates and read through it with your loved one. While they may have difficulties recalling some of the moments, each image can help to stimulate their most cherished memories. Or, give them a CD with some of their favorite songs from the 30s and 40s. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, seniors can often remember and sing songs even in advanced stages of dementia. If your family has young kids, consider asking them to draw a picture or make a card. The grandkids will be just as excited to give a gift as your loved one will be to receive it.

3. Schedule times for your loved one to rest. If you can bring your loved one to your home, ensure they won’t miss any important traditions by planning their resting times around holiday meals and activities. Aging takes a toll on the body and lowers energy levels, so it’s common for seniors to need a rest. Try not to overwhelm your loved one, and keep chaotic and loud noises to a minimum whenever possible.

4. Watch movies and musicals together. There are a number of family-friendly winter events across Clearwater, Florida, including holiday musicals and showings of outdoor movies. Or, consider making some hot chocolate and enjoying your own holiday movie night at home. At The Preserve at Clearwater, we bring the festivities to our assisted living residents by offering diverse and celebratory holiday events as well as faith services for residents and their families.

5. Make new memories. It’s easy to get caught up talking about past holidays and traditions. While it is fun and healthy to reminisce on these happy times, don’t forget to make new memories with your loved ones this holiday season. Bake their favorite dessert, play a game of cards, construct a puzzle, assist them in a craft project or enjoy a stroll outside on the nature path.

Whether you and your family member with dementia are celebrating the holidays at home, from a long distance, or in an assisted living community, you can help them enjoy the season. At The Preserve at Clearwater, we’re committed to making the holidays comfortable for our residents and their families in addition to ensuring the season is filled with round-the-clock care and support.

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7 Signs It's Time to Talk to Your Loved One About Assisted Living

Over the holidays, it’s common for adult children to notice changes in their parents’ health and lifestyle that weren’t obvious throughout the year. If 2017 brought changes to your loved one’s care needs, start of the New Year in 2018 with a healthier, more independent, and social lifestyle for your loved one.

So how can you tell that it’s time for assisted living? Here are seven signs to look for when visiting with your parent or loved one:

1. They have recently fallen down. Unfortunately common and dangerous for seniors, falling down is the leading cause of injury and death in seniors aged 65 and over – 87 percent of all fractures in the elderly are a result of falls. While you can take precautions like removing rugs from your loved one’s house or adding non-slip mats to the bathtub, seniors can still have a tendency to shuffle and trip as a result of poor vision, a decline in physical fitness, or a recent surgical procedure. Assisted living communities, however, are designed with the safety of seniors in mind and are staffed with care professionals who provide support when needed.

2. They’ve been bathing and grooming less frequently. If you notice your parent has been wearing the same outfit every time you go to visit, this may be a sign that he or she has not been feeling well enough to do their laundry, is worried about slipping in the bathtub, or simply doesn’t want to go to the trouble to bathe as often as they once did. When moving into assisted living such as The Preserve at Clearwater, your loved one can enjoy the care of nurses and caregivers who can lend a hand with personal laundry, dressing and undressing, and maintaining a regular bathing schedule.

3. They rarely visit with friends. Many seniors spend time alone after a spouse passes away, their friends move away to retirement destinations, or they are simply too tired to spend extended time with friends. Alone time is normal, but too much isolation can be harmful to one’s physical and mental health. If you notice your loved one almost never hangs out with friends, helping them move into a highly reputable senior living community allows them to make more like-minded friends, maintain a healthy social life, and still find time to enjoy their privacy on their own schedule.

4. They have been eating less. If it’s been six months or longer since you last saw your loved one, you may notice weight loss or increased frailty. While they might reassure you that they’ve been eating, the refrigerator can provide some insight into their diet. Open it up and see if they have plenty of healthy food to eat, and make sure nothing is spoiled or expired. A decrease in appetite with aging is common, but it’s important your loved one has someone ensuring they at least have a snack every few hours, eat healthy and balanced meals, and are always well hydrated. If there is an evident gap in your loved one’s diet, senior assisted living communities can provide the nutritional support needed.

5. They have avoided driving. Maybe your loved one got into a fender bender or was pulled over for a minor traffic incident. Perhaps they recently went on a drive to somewhere that was once familiar and got lost. At The Preserve at Clearwater, seniors don’t need to put their well-being at risk by getting behind the wheel. Our community provides trips to doctor appointments, shopping and entertainment.

6. They have forgotten to take their medicine. Nearly 200,000 elderly people are hospitalized each year because of adverse drug reactions. If your loved one has been forgetting small things, it’s likely they may also be forgetting a very large thing – to follow the correct doctor’s orders or to take their medications altogether. At The Preserve at Clearwater, our round-the-clock clinical staff ensures every resident takes their prescribed medication in the right dosages and on schedule.

7. You worry about them frequently. Maybe every time your phone rings, your heart drops with worry that your loved one has fallen. Or maybe you can’t shake scenarios of your loved one going out for groceries and losing control of their car. If you can’t get your loved one’s safety out of your mind, it may be time for the care and support of assisted living – even if your loved one only needs support one or two hours each day. Our care team speaks with you and your loved one to develop their custom care plan so that they can live safely and as independently as possible. Their safety and well-being are always our top priority.

The Preserve at Clearwater is here to answer any questions you have about assisted living and memory care in Clearwater and Dunedin Florida.

Whether your loved one is in need of a little extra support or is living with a more serious condition like dementia, it’s time to start evaluating assisted living and dementia care options. If any of these signs sound familiar to you, we encourage you to start 2018 on the right foot by talking to your loved one about senior community living.