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Making A Senior Living Community Feel Like Home

Transitioning to a new senior living community can be difficult for everyone involved in caring for someone with dementia. Plans and arrangements take a lot of time and effort to make, so when it’s finally moving day, there can be quite a few emotions involved. While moving your loved one to a community can be the best decision for them, it can also be hard for them to leave their home environment. This article will explore some ways that you can make this transition go more smoothly and how you can make their new home be as comfortable as possible. The Orchard at Brookhaven staff is also here to help you and your loved one through this entire process.

Tips When Moving Into A Senior Living Community

  1. Label your loved one’s items. Whether they are in the early or late stages of dementia, remembering things can be a struggle for seniors. It is best to label items so that a) they don’t go missing and b) they can be easily located if lost or misplaced. It can be difficult for employees at a care facility to keep up with residents’ items, so having a label makes things much easier on everyone.
  2. Set up family photos. Make sure your loved one has plenty of reminders of family situated around their new home. These photos can help them to remember who people are and also make them feel comfortable when they might be lonely.
  3. Create an activity box. Creating a box with meaningful activities can give residents something to do along with helping them to connect to something they care about. For example, if your loved one was a nurse, include items nurses frequently used (stethoscope, bandaids, gloves, etc.) so that they can have something purposeful to do.
  4. Make it feel like home. Bring as many items from your loved ones house that you can. Blankets, pictures, books, and pillows are all small things that can really help warm their new environment. Try to arrange the items in a way that reminds your loved one of their prior home. Seniors with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia take comfort in what they recognize. Help them decorate a room that will be calming and comfortable.
  5. Create a Reminiscence Board. Create a Reminiscence Board full of photos of the important people and events in your senior loved one’s life. Label each photo. It can provide conversation starters for staff when they are first getting to know your family member.
  6. Decorate your loved one’s room to display her personality. Decorate your loved one’s room with items that define who this person is. You want staff to be able to know something about them the minute they walk in the room.  An example might be a person whose hobby was making quilts. You could put a beautiful quilt on the bed or on the wall, and bring her sewing box with fabric pieces, yarn, thread (no pins) patterns, measuring tape, etc.).
  7. Decorate your loved one’s door. Decorating the door to your loved one’s room can be a great visual cue. They can more readily recognize which room is theirs. Also, decorating the door with your loved one could be a meaningful activity for you do to with them. Spending quality time with you or someone in their family is a great way to make new memories in a new place.
  8. Recreate as much of the home environment as possible. People living with dementia benefit from familiar surroundings. Before moving day, work with the staff at your senior loved one’s new home to try to recreate as much of their home environment as possible. It can help to decrease their anxiety and agitation. Think about what some of their favorite things from home are and try to have them in place at the assisted living community before they arrive.

Moving to a new place can be scary. Fortunately, there are many actions you and your loved ones can take to make sure that this transition goes well. It’s important to collaborate with the staff to make sure that your loved one has the best experience possible. Orchard at Brookhaven’s staff prides ourselves on working with you and your family to make this transition as seamless and enjoyable as possible. Please contact us to learn more about our community.

Financial Assistance Dementia Caregivers

Financial Assistance Options For Dementia Caregivers

Caring for an individual with dementia can be costly. Costs are magnified by the location in which the individual receives assistance and as one’s condition progresses. Unfortunately bills do not stop, and neither do a person’s needs. Some caregivers take on additional costs that they may not have planned for, or are unable to cover on their own. There are some programs to look into that can help with paying for the costs associated with caring for someone with dementia.


Medicaid is a state-funded program that has benefits for seniors. A dementia diagnosis does not automatically qualify a person for medicaid however, because most individuals with dementia have very limited or no ability to work and therefore have limited income, many will qualify for benefits. Furthermore, certain Medicaid programs allow candidates to deduct their care expenses from their income when calculating income for eligibility purposes. This program offers many financial benefits for seniors and can be one way to help cover the costs of care.

Veterans’ Programs

The VA has a multitude of options that provide financial assistance for persons with Alzheimer’s or other dementia. The further good news is that their disease does not need to be related to their military service. Therefore, veterans and their spouses who develop Alzheimer’s or dementia for any reason will very likely find some type of financial assistance for their care from the Veteran’s Administration.

State (Non-Medicaid) Programs

Many states offer funding for persons with dementia who require in or out of home care. The funding for these programs are pulled from a “general fund” and is allocated to persons who have age-related care needs. Finding these programs can be challenging. One place to start is by contacting the Area Agency on Aging (AAA). Typically, AAAs are county-specific.

Alzheimer’s Care Loans

There are loans that are specifically designed to help families with the cost of elder care. These loans are given to families that have an immediate need for care and will have funds in the future, but do not have immediate access to those funds. A common scenario for elder care loans is when a person moves to memory care and is selling their home. It can take months or even a year to prepare and sell a home, but when it is sold, the borrower will have funds available to repay their loan.

Tax Credits & Deductions for Alzheimer’s / Dementia

There are tax credits and deductions that are relevant, but these are not specifically designed for persons with Alzheimer’s or dementia. The Tax Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled is one such option that can save a family 1000s of dollars per year. This tax credit is for persons or married couples filing their own taxes, it may be more advantageous for an adult child to claim a parent with dementia as a dependent. In which case, the Child and Dependent Care Credit is relevant, provided the adult child (or children) provide at least 50% of the financial support their parent requires. Medical and dental expenses can be deducted and, in some cases, costs associated with residential memory care homes (assisted living) are eligible to be deducted. Even home modifications such as a stair-lift or wheel chair ramp are deductible.

While there are many costs associated with caring for someone with dementia, as you can see, there are also many ways to get help. Finding help can be challenging and time consuming. Orchard at Brookhaven strives to be a place of peace and comfort for our residents and their families. Let us help you navigate this difficult time by providing your loved one with quality care. If you would like more information on all that our facility offers, please contact us.

Home Care for the Elderly

Home Care for the Elderly

Oftentimes, senior citizens who are suffering from dementia, need the assistance of another person to maintain a normal quality of life. Family caregiving is a noble pursuit, however, it can also cause significant social and economic tolls for family caregivers. If family care is no longer an option, you or someone you know may want to consider home care. Home care is intended to keep an elderly person home while still receiving the care they may need from someone who is not in the family.

What Is Home Care?

Home care is a way to care for the elderly while keeping your loved one home. Someone you don’t know would take on the responsibility, however there are many positives to this type of care.

  • Professionals are there when you can’t be
  • Support with daily living activities.
  • Access to skilled nursing at home
  • Diet and nutrition support
  • Medication management
  • Companionship
  • Help with light household chores
  • More affordable than out of home facilities
  • One on one focus and support

Types Of Home Care

There are many different types of care that an individual can receive at home. Some are more inclusive than others.

  • Doctor care
  • Nursing care
  • Physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy
  • Medical social services
  • Care from home health aides
  • Homemaker or basic assistance care
  • Companionship
  • Volunteer care
  • Nutritional support
  • Laboratory and X-ray imaging
  • Pharmaceutical services
  • Transportation
  • Home-delivered meals

As you can see, there are a variety of ways that you or your loved one can receive the help they may need while still staying home.

If home care is no longer suitable for you or your loved one, you might begin to look at care facilities. Orchard at Brookhaven is one of the top care facilities in the Atlanta area. We offer our residents a wide range of services and keep them involved with one another and the community. If you would like more information on how you can become a part of our community, please contact us today!

The Best Books For Caregivers

The Best Books For Caregivers

One way for caregivers to grow in their profession is to become more knowledgeable. It is likely that if someone in your family, or someone you know has recently been diagnosed with dementia, you have many questions. A lot of reading material exists that can guide you and help you with a variety of topics. The following list is a great place to start.

5 Books Recommendations For Dementia Caregivers

  1. The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss, 6th Edition

This is one of the best selling books on the market for families that care for a loved one with dementia. The book covers a variety of topics

that can help anyone become a better caregiver.

  1. 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Age-Related Memory Loss

In this book, Jean Carper explores that many steps you can take to prevent or slow the development of Alzheimer’s and other types of  dementia.

  1. Activities to do with Your Parent who has Alzheimer’s Dementia

Activities to Do with Your Parent Who Has Alzheimer’s Dementia provides a selection of user-friendly activities that will help maintain your parent’s self-care skills, mobility, and socialization. These tasks encourage success and feelings of self worth, and offer imaginative ways to interact with your parent.

  1. Ahead of Dementia: A Real-World, Upfront, Straightforward, Step-by-Step Guide for Family Caregivers

This book brings a comprehensive overview of what family caregivers need to know to identify and manage dementia symptoms, make wise plans for future care, and avoid costly mistakes as dementia progresses. Pragmatic, concise, and straight to the point, yet with poignant anecdotes and compassionate wisdom.

  1. The Alzheimer’s Action Plan: What You Need to Know – and What You Can Do – About Memory Problems, from Prevention to Early Intervention and Care

This ground-breaking book tells you everything you need to know, including: The best tests to determine if this is―or is not―Alzheimer’s disease, The most (and least) effective medical treatments, Coping with the effects, Gaining access to the latest clinical trials, Understanding the future of Alzheimer’s, Clear, compassionate, and empowering.

Orchard at Brookhaven is a luxury assisted living community in Atlanta Georgia. We offer a wide range programs to assist our residents with Dementia. Contact us to learn more about our community and the programs we offer.

Caregiver Burnout

Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

If you are a caregiver, you know how stressful and time consuming caring for someone with dementia can be. It easy very easy to put your own needs and wants to the side in order to make room for all the other things that need to be done. One thing to remember is that taking care of ourselves still need to be a priority. It’s like a car. A car cannot function properly if it is not taken care of. We cannot function properly if we do not take care of ourselves first!

Signs of Caregiver Burnout

Caregiver burnout is something to be aware of. This is complete exhaustion: mentally, physically, and emotionally. Some signs of burnout include.

  1. Withdrawal from friends and family.
  2. Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed.
  3. Feeling blue, irritable, hopeless, and helpless.
  4. Changes in appetite, weight, or both.
  5. Changes in sleep patterns.
  6. Getting sick more often.
  7. Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or the person for whom you are caring.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these signs and symptoms, it may be time for a change.

Avoiding the Burnout

There are several ways to avoid getting burned out. Many of them involve setting aside specific time that is designated for yourself. While this may seem impossible, if you plan strategically, it can be done! Here are some ways to avoid caregiver burnout.

  1. Maintain a healthy mindset- make sure you are staying positive, setting goals, and meditating or reflecting often. Simple changes such as keeping a goal list can really change the course of a day!
  2. Get plenty of sleep- It is not secret that our bodies need sleep to function well. Make sure you are setting yourself up to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep every night.
  3. Eat Well- Nutrition can play a huge role in how we function throughout the day. Without the proper nutrients, our bodies won’t operate at optimum energy. Eat healthy foods so that you can be at your best when someone else needs you.
  4. Move Your Body- Physical activity and exercise is a great way to start your day releasing natural endorphins. Many people find that when they exercise at the beginning of the day, they actually are less tired as the day goes on. Make time for a walk or run so that you can get your blood flowing and body moving!

As you can see, there are many ways to avoid getting burn out when you feel like you are always giving 110%. Making some small changes to your daily routine can really help with not feeling total exhaustion.

When someone we love needs more support in their life, it can become a big and challenging job. If you are taking on this job alone, you are bound to become tired. Orchard at Brookhaven is a senior living community in Atlanta that understands this and is here to help. Contact us for more information about the programs we offer.

Legal Planning For Dementia Caregivers

Legal Planning For Dementia Caregivers Part 2

Caregiving for someone with dementia can come with many challenges. One of the biggest challenges is money and legal issues. Americans spend roughly $190 billion per year on their care recipients for out-of-pocket expenses. And, in order to do so, 63% of these caregivers are forced to dip into savings or sell and cash in on assets. Below, you will find 10 legal tips to help family caregivers navigate the confusing legal and financial landscape, get the necessary legal documents in order, and cope with financial challenges.

10 Legal Planning Tips For Dementia Caregivers

  1. Consider limiting access to financial information, especially for memory care patients. – There are some individuals that may try and take advantage of a person suffering from dementia or the person themselves can put their own funds at risk. Consider giving limited access to the person to pay small bills while holding back access to larger funds such as retirement funds, stocks, etc.
  2. Keep all other family members in the loop about end-of-life planning—and record their responses. – While not always an easy issue to think about, planning well in advance for end-of-life care can help protect a care recipient’s well-being and also provide peace of mind for everyone involved. People usually have strong preferences about how they would like to live in the final stages of life and what types of care they do and do not want. It is very important to involve care recipients and other family members in these conversations and decisions
  3. Be vigilant about possible elder abuse – There are many ways in which elders can be victims of abuse. All persons who are in the care of other individuals are susceptible to abuse. Be aware of the signs and be ready to take action.
  4. Encourage loved one to set up automatic payments, if possible – Automatic payments make it easier to keep up with bills. Most recurring payments can be set up for automatic withdrawal.
  5. Collect all access information to financial institutions. – Make copies of financial statements, including bank and credit card statements, retirement account statements, and recurring bills. Establish online access to banking and credit card accounts and watch for any unusual or fraudulent activities.  Collect the names, phone numbers and account numbers for her utilities, phone, and cable/internet suppliers
  6. Keep original documents on hand and keep them safe – Having original copies of documentation will ensure that someone else can have access to important information. Keep a copy of the will and originals of all other documents in a secure place at home where family members can access them in emergencies during non-business hours.
  7. Look into state aid for caregivers. – Aid may be available from the state for elderly loved ones who are low-income and eligible for Medicaid. To learn about the financial aid programs available in your state, contact your local Medicaid office.
  8. Explore flexible work options – taking care of a loved one will require a lot of your time and resources. It may be beneficial for you to ask your employer about the options you have to work remotely or partially remotely.
  9. Learn how to use the Dependent tax break so that it works in your favor. – An individual who has someone that is dependent on them, they can can claim a $500 nonrefundable credit for dependents who do not qualify for the child tax credit, including dependents such as elderly parents. Unlike a deduction, which lowers your taxable income, a tax credit is deducted from the taxes you owe. This can result in a larger return or lessening of the amount you owe.
  10. Caregiver spouses of veterans should look into Aid and Attendance Benefit. – The Aid and Attendance Benefit is a program that allows for extra money to be paid in addition to monthly pension. The A&A allows for Veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist in eating, bathing, dressing, medication management, or taking care of the needs of nature to receive additional monetary benefits. It also includes individuals who are blind or a patient in a nursing home because of mental or physical incapacity.

Taking on the financial and legal responsibilities of someone with dementia can be very daunting. Do not hesitate to ask for help when you need it.  There are many loops in the system that can be difficult to navigate. It is best to be as proactive with this as possible. Orchard at Brookhaven is here to help you navigate these difficult times. If you have questions about our community or programs, please contact us to speak with someone.

Power Of Attorney For Seniors

Power Of Attorney For Seniors

As a person ages, it is likely that they will need help making certain decisions. Many of these decisions can be tricky or complex, especially if multiple family members are involved. One way to ensure that your loved one is receiving the best care possible, is to protect their rights as an individual. One way you and your family can do this, is by ensuring that a power of attorney is in place before they are moved to a care facility.

Power of Attorney For Seniors

If you’ve never heard of this before, you might be unfamiliar with what a power of attorney accomplishes. It is a legal document that is crafted to help protect an aging individual. The document not only protects their independence and decision-making capabilities, but it also helps with the transition to a care facility. A durable power of attorney (DPOA) also serves as a safety net in the event of possible physical or mental incapacitation, ensuring that a trusted appointee has the legal right to make important decisions on behalf of another individual. If someone does not have a power of attorney, it could lead to not having their wishes carried out or ugly legal battles down the road.

Durable vs General Power Of Attorney

There are two major types of power of attorney: durable and general. A general power of attorney ends the moment you become incapacitated. It’s an effective legal tool in any number of circumstances, including helping shoulder the legal responsibilities of a loved one. But it isn’t suitable for a variety of important end-of-life decisions because of its lack of durability under duress. When a power of attorney is durable, that means there’s language within the document which states an agent’s authority continues to apply if you become incapacitated. There is no automatic deadline by which these powers expire. A durable power of attorney stays effective until the principle dies or until they act to revoke the power they’ve granted to their agent.

How Power Of Attorney Works

Like a trust or other similar document, a durable POA can be written to begin immediately, or to start only after a certain trigger event, such as when an elderly parent is legally declared incapacitated. For the latter case, your elderly parent would be in full control of his or her own medical, financial and other legal decisions, until declared either physically or mentally incapacitated. Powers of attorney are common legal documents, and at most require a visit to your family attorney’s office; cost will depend on your lawyer’s hourly rate. Likewise, you can also establish your POAs through readily available legal websites, which cost in the $20-$150 range, depending on inclusions (e.g., do you need just a DPOA, or also a living trust, living will, and other related documents?).

While a power of attorney may not be for everyone, it is certainly something worth exploring before ruling it out. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’re waiting weeks for the courts to help. You don’t want to have to hope the judgement works in your favor or that it works in time to help your loved one.

Orchard at Brookhaven is here to offer our support through these types of difficult decisions related to care for loved ones. Contact us if you are interested in learning more about our senior living community in Atlanta.

Dementia and Independence

Dementia Care & Maintaining Independence

If you are caring for someone with dementia, it is likely that they are very dependent on you. One thing that helps maintain a person’s quality of life while dealing with dementia is keeping a sense of independence. There are many simple adjustments that a person can make in their life to help them with their cognitive deficits but also be in control of their life still. 

Tips For Maintaining Independence With Dementia

Here are the many ways that people with dementia can play an active role in keeping their sense of independence in their homes.

  1. Create a schedule – whether it is daily, weekly or monthly, keeping a schedule allows you to control what goes on in your life. 
  2. Set reminders – use reminders on your phone, around the house or in a journal to help you keep track with things that need to get done. 
  3. Utilize technology – If you are having difficulty with daily tasks, such as cooking, sending mail or connecting with the people around you, use the technology (computers, phones or videos) to help you. 
  4. Label stuff – Label the things in your house to help you recall words you might be forgetting. 
  5. Write it down – write down reminders, things you want to remember, memories or ideas you might have. 
  6. Take on an extra responsibility in your community – finding a way to help someone else or get a small job done in a community can bring about a sense of purpose and fulfillment. 

Tips For Dementia Caregivers To Promote Independence

Caregivers can play an active role in assisting someone with dementia keep their sense of independence. Not only is this important for the patient, but it is also important for the caregiver. 

  • Provide opportunities for social engagement 
  • Coordinate care between all caregivers . 
  • Create a safe, comfortable environment that reflects the person’s preferences and personality. 
  • Encourage participation in daily activities
  • Focus on the person’s abilities
  • Encourage physical activity

Most elderly people would agree that it is important for them to keep their independence as they age. Many people do not look forward to a day and age when we have to ask others for help. We don’t like to think about depending on others for basic needs such as paying bills, going to the grocery store or getting dressed. Keeping this in mind, independence is very important to maintain. Orchard at Brookhaven works together to help our residents keep their individuality. We even have jobs for people if they want them! If you’re looking for an assisted living community in Atlanta for you or a loved one, please contact us to learn more about our community and programs. 

10 Tips For Transitioning To An Assisted Care Community

There will come a time when you, as a caregiver, are unable to give your loved one the care they need. There might come a time when they have to find a new living space and you will play a role in deciding where that is. Once you have carefully considered the best place for your loved one, you will also play a role in transitioning them there. While you will see the benefits of this move, it may still be difficult to accept emotionally. In this article we’ll provide 10 tips for transitioning to an assisted care community.

10 Tips For Transitioning To An Assisted Care Community

  1. Choose the best community. – Do a lot of research on the kind of community you want for your family member. Discuss the options with your family members to make sure it’s a good fit.
  2. Don’t tell your loved one they need more help. – Don’t make your loved one feel like they are the problem. Help them to understand that you are the one who actually needs more help and that their new caregivers will take good care of them.
  3. Recognize the transition will be challenging. – Living in a new community will have many, many benefits, however it cannot be denied that the transition will be hard. Check in on your loved ones to make sure they are okay.
  4. Don’t include your loved one in planning or packing for the move. – These decisions can require extra challenges and stress. You decide on what to take and what to get rid of. Spend time noticing what things around their home they use and enjoy regularly.
  5. Be prepared to take some time off. – Just as you would for your own move, take some time off to spend moving and getting your loved one settled. Also, keep in mind that you might be spending some extra money upfront in order for your loved one to move.
  6. Make regular visits to ease the transition. – Remember that in the first few weeks after the move, an individual will still be adjusting to the move. It might help to see a familiar face to ease up the transition.
  7. Align moving time with your loved one’s best time of day. – schedule the bulk of the move for the time of day that matches with their schedule. This will allow you time to make sure they are comfortable and settled before leaving for your home.
  8. Don’t feel guilty. – Most caregivers have an extreme amount of guilt leaving their loved one with other people to care for them. Making the choice to leave a loved one at a care facility is not the “worst case scenario”. Many times, in fact, it is the best case scenario.
  9. Avoid being emotional. – “Transitioning your loved one to a memory care community can be a very emotional time. You may have spent years of your life supporting and caring for each other. When moving your loved one, it is extremely important that you not show your sadness or cry. Try your best to be upbeat and happy.
  10. Recreate as much of the home environment as possible. – Being in a familiar environment is beneficial for people with dementia. If you can set up their new home to remind them of their previous home, they may feel more comfortable. This set up can also decrease anxiety or feeling upset.

Overall, moving into a place can be scary for anyone. There are several things you can do to help a person transition from one environment to another. Please contact us to learn more if you’re currently looking for a new assisted living community for your loved one.

Gift Ideas For People With Dementia

Gift Ideas For People With Dementia

People often struggle to find ways to show people with dementia that they care. A suggestion for this is to buy a gift for them. Even if there is no special occasion, giving someone a gift can make them feel good on the inside. In this article we’ll discuss some gift ideas for people with dementia.

Gifts For Socializing

Some of the best gifts to give a person with dementia are gifts that you can enjoy with them. As dementia progresses, and social settings might not be the ideal environment, think of purchasing engaging games that stimulate the mind. Here are a few.

  • Dominos
  • Chess
  • Checkers
  • Monopoly
  • Lincoln Logs
  • Playing cards
  • Crossword Puzzle Book
  • Puzzles

These games and activities would allow them not only to interact with someone else, but also do require cognitive stimulation, which is great for their brains.

Electronic Gifts

Electronics are a great way to keep someone connected to others and thinking! Some of the best electronic gifts to give might be more pricey, but could also have a lasting impact.

  • A printer- to print photos or letters they have typed.
  • A phone- to make calls or FaceTime with loved ones and friends.
  • A digital photo frame- family members can email photos right to the frame.
  • Wireless key finders- to help locate keys or a phone.

Dementia Therapy Related Gifts

There are some gifts you can give to help with mental and emotional stress. You can also give something that might help with physical or occupational abilities. Here are some suggestions as to what you could give.

  • An oil diffuser
  • Digital Clocks
  • Mood lights
  • Therapeutic lamps
  • Large, cozy blankets
  • Clothing that is comfortable and easy to put on
  • New walking shoes
  • Senior or adult coloring books

Gifts For Dementia Caregivers

If someone is caring for your loved one who has dementia, another person you might buy gifts for is their caregiver. Caregivers enjoy gifts that help them to relax or have fun! Some ideas for them are below.

  • Aromatherapy soaps, lotions or candles
  • A gift card for a massage
  • Visa gift card for groceries
  • Candles
  • Soft socks or a blanket
  • Books they might enjoy
  • Chocolate or other sweet treats

In general, gift giving does not need to be overly complicated. There are a variety of gifts you can give to let your loved one know that they are still a part of your life.

Orchard at Brookhaven is a luxury senior living community in Atlanta that prides ourselves on making our residents feel loved and comfortable. We give the gift of care openly and gently daily! Our well-trained staff is happy to care for you or your loved one. If you think we might be the right fit for you or someone in your family, feel free to contact us to set up a complementary consultation.