5 Things to Know If You Want to Take Your Loved One on a Trip This Summer

taking-assisted-living-resident-on-vacationAs the summer months approach, we know that many families will be planning special trips, vacations, and family outings. And, of course, we know that you may want to bring along a loved one who is staying in one of assisted living communities here at The Sarah House. We whole-heartedly welcome family members to bring along our residents for these special occasions, and make wonderful memories with them. But there are a few things we would like you to keep in mind when planning a trip with your loved one living in an assisted living facility.

You Should Give Plenty of Notice

At The Sarah House, we make every effort to ensure that our residents’ needs are met, and so we like to have time to plan and prepare for them spending any significant amount of time away from our community. We ask that families please provide us with several weeks’ notice, if possible, of any travel or vacation plans involving one of our residents. This gives us time to help both you and your loved one prepare for the trip, and ensure everything goes smoothly.

Please also let us know when we can expect them to return to The Sarah House, so we can prepare for their arrival.

Talk to a Caregiver about Their Needs

If it’s been some time since you’ve had responsibility for your loved one’s care, or you’ve never been their primary caregiver before, please take the time to sit down and talk with one of our staff members before your trip. We want to ensure that your loved one’s needs are met—whether they’re currently in our facility or on a trip with you—so it’s important to ensure that we are all on the same page in regards to your family member’s care.

It may be that your loved one has started receiving new medication recently, their dietary needs have changed, or they’ve begun to exhibit some new health issues that you’re not yet aware of. By taking the time to talk to a caregiver before taking on the responsibility of caring for your loved one, we can all feel more secure in the fact that your family member is receiving the continuing care they need, wherever they may be.

You Will Need to Sign Out

Please be aware that you will need to sign your loved one out of The Sarah House when you leave. This is not only necessary for legal purposes, but also ensures that all of our staff members can find a record of where your loved one is, in the event that they haven’t been informed of your family’s trip. It gives us all a little bit more peace of mind to have these kinds of records available to us.

You Will Need to Pay to Hold Their Spot

If you’re planning on taking your loved one on an extended trip for the summer, please be aware that you will need to continue paying their monthly expenses if you want to hold their room at The Sarah House. If you are paying out of pocket, you will simply continue paying the regular monthly amount.

However, if your loved one’s residency expenses are partially or fully covered by Medicaid, you may want to do some research regarding how long they can be away from the facility while remaining eligible for Medicaid. In Florida, Medicaid will typically reserve a resident’s bed for up to 16 days per fiscal year for them to go to any family-type setting. (Each night away counts as one day.) If your loved one will be away longer than this, you may have to pay privately to hold their room.

Be sure to discuss this matter with us if you have any further questions regarding extended trips away from our assisted living community.

We Are Available If You Have Questions

If at any time during your trip, you have questions or concerns about your loved one’s care, please feel free to reach out to us. We are happy to provide any information we can to help ensure that your loved one is healthy and well cared for throughout their time with your family.

If you’re planning a trip this summer, and your loved one is a resident at The Sarah House, please contact us to discuss our policies and procedures in greater detail. And, if you’re looking for fun places to take your loved one for a daytime outing this summer, be sure to check out some of the great destinations that are close to our assisted living facility in Ormond Beach!

How You Can Find Help Covering the Costs of Assisted Living

financial-help-assisted-livingWhether you are the one entering assisted living, or it’s one of your loved ones, there’s always one concern that we hear from our residents and their family members: How can we afford the costs associated with assisted living? While we strive to make comfortable, high-quality care affordable for every family, we understand that the costs of assisted living can put a strain on many people. So, here is a quick guide of the places you can turn to get help covering these costs.

SMMC LTC

While many states provide assistance for assisted living through Medicaid Waiters, the state of Florida has moved away from this program and now offers assistance through a difference Medicaid program known as Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Long-Term Care (SMMC LTC). Any senior who is eligible for Medicaid and requires long-term care can receive assistance through this program, either in their home, in the community, or in an assisted living facility.

If you or your loved one qualifies for or already received Medicaid, speak to a provider about receiving this type of aid for long-term assisted living care.

Veterans’ Programs

If the person requiring assisted living care is a veteran or the spouse of a veteran, they may qualify for financial assistance through a few different veterans’ programs. The first program is known as the Aid and Attendance Benefit, which can provide financial assistance of up to $1,881 per month for a single veteran, or $2,230 per month for a married veteran and their spouse. However, eligibility is quite complicated, so you’ll want to do extensive research into this program.

Another option for veterans is the Veterans’ Directed Care program, also known as VD-HCBS. This program gives a considerable amount of flexibility regarding how the provided care funds are spent, enabling you to apply the money in whichever way is most beneficial to you or your loved one.

State Programs

Most states provide programs to help with the costs of assisted living, as they’ve recognized that providing this assistance is less costly to the state than having the individual enter a Medicaid-funded nursing home. In the state of Florida, there are two prominent programs available.

The first is the Florida Optional State Supplementation program, or OSS. This program provides financial aid to low-income seniors that are unable to live independently and require additional care. This program provides direct cash payments to the individual receiving care, which is intended for use paying room and board fees for assisted living. Some additional support may be available for expenses associated with other care services. You’ll need to be a legal Florida resident, aged 65 or older, and meet certain functional and financial eligibility requirements. If you qualify, the monthly income limit is $828.40 for an individual in assisted living, or $1,656.80 for a married couple.

The other state-funded program available in Florida is exclusively designed to provide support for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. It is known as the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative, or ADI. If your loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s look into this program to see if they qualify for in-home or facility-based respite care.

Life Insurance Benefits and Conversions

If you’re struggling to qualify for any of the programs mentioned above, you may want to consider looking into options that pertain to your or your loved one’s life insurance policy. Life insurance is a widely underutilized option when it comes to covering the costs of assisted living, and while not all options will be available to everyone, there are five common ways that you can make use of a life insurance policy to help with these costs:

  1. Life settlement – The policyholder surrenders their right to collect the death benefit from the policy. Instead, they collect an immediate lump sum of cash, and stop making payments on the policy. This lump sum can be a great help in covering the costs of assisted living.
  2. Viatical settlements – These are similar to a life settlement, but are limited to terminally ill individuals. The buyout on a viatical settlement is usually higher than a life settlement.
  3. Accelerated death benefits – This enables a terminally ill individual to receive a portion of their death benefits in advance of their actual death.
  4. Death benefits loans – These are loans taken out against the cash value of the policy. These loans must be repaid, or the death benefit will be reduced by the amount owed.
  5. Life insurance conversions – These directly convert the value of the policy in exchange for senior care. For example, if a person has a $100,000 policy, they may exchange that for several years of care in an assisted living facility. Of the five options mentioned here, this will generally offer the greatest benefit to the individual and their family.

We understand that covering the costs of assisted living can be a struggle for many people. If you’re having a hard time finding the funds to cover these expenses, give us a call. One of our experienced staff members will gladly help you navigate your way through some of the options mentioned above, so you can determine which types of financial aid are available to you.

5 Reasons Why The Sarah House Offers All-Day Dining for Our Residents

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Each one of The Sarah House’s assisted living facilities offers all-day dining services. This means that residents are able to get the foods of their choice throughout the day, and aren’t held to a strict dining schedule, or even to a strict menu. So why do we feel this is the best dining option for our residents? Here are just 5 reasons that we’ve chosen this dining style for our assisted living facilities.

Freedom of Choice

We want to maintain as much independence and freedom as possible when they move into The Sarah House, and all-day dining is just one way we can do that. This style of dining means that our residents have more freedom to choose what they eat and when they eat it. We recognize that every person eats differently, and at different times of day.

If your loved one likes to sleep in, they don’t have to worry about missing breakfast hours; they can have breakfast late into the afternoon, if they wish. If your loved one likes to have a snack late into the evening, before they go to bed, our caregivers are happy to provide that for them as well. This freedom to choose what to eat and when allows our residents to have more control over their own lives, which is an important goal for us here at The Sarah House.

Mealtime Socialization

In many senior care facilities, all-day dining programs are also referred to as “family-style dining,” and there’s an important reason for that: All-day dining encourages are more familial, social atmosphere than plated, cafeteria-style dining options. The Sarah House always aims to help your loved one feel right at home when they join us here, and all-day dining is just one way for us to do that.

With this style of dining, residents are more prone to socializing as they eat, and can choose to eat at certain times in order to enjoy meals with their friends. In this way, our dining program helps residents to feel more like family with every meal they enjoy here.

Making Healthy Choices

As we mentioned earlier, we like to encourage our residents to maintain as much choice and control over their day-to-day lives as is reasonably possible. The freedom of choice given to residents through all-day dining plans also helps them to become active participants in their own health. With the variety of healthful choices we provide at The Sarah House, our residents can make conscientious decisions to support their own healthy diet.

In fact, in a study conducted in Dutch nursing homes, individuals who were offered all-day dining were better able to maintain a healthy weight than those who were served plated meals at scheduled times. This is just one example that shows all-day dining is truly the better option for supporting our residents’ overall health and wellbeing.

Improved Motor Skills and Muscle Control

While the exact reasons behind this benefit aren’t entirely clear, many studies have noted that residents in nursing homes have better motor skills and greater muscle control when dining on a family-style dining plan. This may be due to the fact that most all-day dining options allow residents to serve their own food, encouraging them to continue using those fine motor skills on a daily basis. Whatever the reason behind it, this is just another way that our chosen dining program can benefit your loved one.

Happier Residents

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, all-day dining programs simply make residents happier. In the same study mentioned above, the residents who were on the family-style dining plan reported a higher quality of life than those who were served in a more traditional manner. And that reason alone is enough for us to continue offering all-day dining at every one of our Florida locations.

Here at The Sarah House, your loved one’s happiness and comfort is our number one priority. And all-day dining programs are just one of the many ways that we put their needs first. While other facilities may find scheduled, plated dining options to be easier for their staff, our caring staff members are always available to prepare meals and healthy snacks for your loved one throughout the day.

If you’re concerned that an open, all-day dining program might make it difficult to ensure your loved one is eating properly, don’t worry; our staff is trained to observe residents to ensure proper nutrition and adequate hydration are provided at all times. If you have any further questions about our dining services, please reach out to The Sarah House today.

5 Suggestions to Make an Assisted Living Facility Feel Homier

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One of the reasons that our residents (and their families) love The Sarah House is that it doesn’t feel like a standard assisted living facility. We have four different locations in Ormond Beach, Florida, and each one is in a beautiful, comfortable residence that feels like an upscale home. However, many of our residences still enjoy putting their own homey touches on their rooms, and we welcome this whole-heartedly. So, if you’re looking for a few ideas on how to make your loved one’s room feel a little homier, here are some suggestions.

Family Photographs

Photographs are largely the most popular way to make any space feel homier. After all, nothing makes a room feel closer to home quite like seeing the smiling faces of those you love all around you. So be sure your loved one has plenty of family photos to place in their bedroom when they arrive. They can hang them on walls or place them on nightstands to help themselves feel a little bit more at home.

Favorite Bedding

Though The Sarah House provides everything your loved one needs to live comfortably here, some of our residents prefer bringing their own bedding along with them. This may be a favorite quilt that they made before their wedding, or an afghan passed down from their mother. You are welcome to bring these along. Having familiar bedding in their bedroom can help many residents to adjust to their new accommodations when they first make the move to one of our assisted living facilities.

Important Keepsakes

While your loved one can’t bring everything from home with them, it’s perfectly acceptable for them to bring a few important keepsakes along when they move into The Sarah House. These should be smaller items, like a few favorite books or photo albums, small heirlooms, and other items with sentimental value. Please help your loved one to sort through their possessions and determine which items might be appropriate to bring with them to their new home. If your loved one has a shared room, please be considerate of the other person who will be sharing the room, and ensure that they too have enough space for their keepsakes.

Encourage Socialization

Of course, a home is not made by the things that we keep in it. A home is a place where we are surrounded by the people we care about. So, encourage your loved one to engage with the other community members at their facility. As they form strong relationships with those around them, The Sarah House will naturally begin to feel more like home. Our caring staff always does their best to encourage every resident to create these genuine relationships; however, the encouragement of their family members is often needed to help them take those first steps.

Be Present

Moving from their long-time homes and into an assisted living community is difficult for all of our residents, even if they know the change is for the best. So, do all you can to be there for them. Be present throughout the move. Help them to sort through their possessions and decide what to bring, and offer support and encouragement as they prepare to make this change. Help them to get settled in on that first day, and spend as much time as you can at the location with them, so you can both get familiar with the facility and its grounds.

After your loved one is settled in, visit often, especially during the first few weeks. Encourage other family members to do the same, if possible. Seeing familiar faces on a regular basis can really help to smooth the transition and make an unfamiliar place feel homier.

And remember, every time you visit, keep a positive attitude. Focus on discussing all of the positive aspects of their new home, and the things that they are enjoying about living there. If your loved one needs to discuss some of their negative emotions or difficulties they are having with the adjustment, allow them to do so. But always do your best to bring things back to the positive aspects of their experience here.

If you’re concerned about your loved one’s ability to adjust comfortably to living at The Sarah House, we encourage you to speak to our staff members. It is our greatest desire that every feel right at home resident in our Ormond Beach, Florida, assisted living facilities. We will work with you and do everything we can to ensure that your loved one feels safe, comfortable, and cared for here at The Sarah House.

4 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a Loved One at The Sarah House

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Here at The Sarah House, we love to celebrate holidays with our residents. And while we make every effort to provide special activities and events to make these holidays special, often, there is only one thing our residents want on any holiday—you. So, while it may not be what many people consider a “major” holiday, we strongly recommend that family members make every effort to celebrate Valentine’s Day with their loved ones in our assisted living facilities. Here are a few suggestions on how to do this.

Take Them to Dinner

A special evening out with loved ones would be a beautiful way to make Valentine’s Day special for your family member. Valentine’s Day can be difficult for some of the members of our assisted living communities, since many of them have lost a spouse that they would have celebrated this day with in the past. Taking them out to a special dinner will remind them of those happy times, and help them to know that they are still deeply loved.

Most of our residents are allowed to leave the facility at any time with their family members. However, we ask that you please contact us in advance so that we can ensure proper arrangements are made for your special night with your loved one.

Visit Them Here

We love having our residents’ family members come and visit us at The Sarah House. Whether your loved one isn’t feeling up to leaving the facility for a night out, or your aren’t able to fit a full evening of events into your busy schedule, visiting them here is still a wonderful to help make Valentine’s Day special for them. You can play some of our board games together, watch a movie, enjoy a walk outside, or just sit in their room and talk for a while. The most important thing is to just spend time together.

Again, please ask about the best time to stop by to visit our residents, so we can make appropriate arrangements for you. This is especially important if many family members will be visiting at once.

Send or Bring Gifts and Cards

If you are coming to visit or to take them to dinner, consider bringing a card, flowers, or some kind of small gift. After all, it is Valentine’s Day! So, help your loved one to feel truly special and let you know you were thinking of them. You can also bring cards and homemade gifts from your children; our residents love to hang artwork and handwritten notes from their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

If you are unable to come to The Sarah House personally, consider sending a gift to your loved one to let them know that you were thinking of them. Our staff members will take special care to ensure your loved one receives those special gifts and letters to brighten their day.

Be sure to contact us before sending flowers or candy. We want to ensure that any potential allergies or special dietary needs among our residents are handled appropriately.

Give Them a Call

Even if you can’t come by on Valentine’s Day, just hearing your voice on this special day will certainly bring a smile to your loved one’s face. After all, Valentine’s Day is the day that we make a special effort to show the people we care about just how much we love them. So, calling just to say, “I love you” is a wonderful way to celebrate this holiday, even if you can’t be here in person.

Let Us Help

Knowing exactly how to celebrate a day like Valentine’s Day with your loved one in assisted living can be difficult. You might be unsure exactly what kinds of activities they are up for, how much energy they’ll have, and how long they can be away from the assisted living home. Please, feel free to reach out to the caring staff at The Sarah House with any questions you may have regarding celebrating Valentine’s Day with your loved one.

We can answer all of your questions, and even offer you some suggestions of places to take them if you want to take them out for a special evening. We want Valentine’s Day to be a special holiday, filled with love and heartwarming memories, for each of our residents. So, contact us today, and let us help make Valentine’s Day truly special for your loved one—by making you a part of it.

5 Ways to Improve Your Loved One’s Quality of Life in 2019

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As our loved ones age, their lives can change in drastic ways. They may lose some of their independence due to mobility issues, or face issues of loneliness due to the loss of friends or a spouse. This New Year, as you make resolutions to improve yourself, why not make some resolutions to improve your loved one’s quality of life as well? Here are a few simple suggestions that can make a drastic difference.

Make Accessibility Upgrades

As aging individuals lose some of their mobility, areas of their own home can become difficult to access, or can even become major hazards for them. One way to significantly improve their quality of life is to make accessibility upgrades that allow them to be more independent. Some options to consider are:

  • Stair lifts – Stairs are a common hazard in households for those who have limited mobility. In fact, the stairs can be a serious safety issue. Stair lifts allow your loved one to ascend and descend the stairs without putting their safety at risk, giving them easier access to their entire home.
  • Walk-in tubs and showers – The bathroom can be an extremely difficult area for elderly individuals to navigate. Uneven and slippery surfaces can be a hazard, but many feel that having to ask for help with their personal hygiene routine takes away some of their dignity. An inexpensive walk-in shower or tub kit can upgrade the existing tub or shower so that it is more accessible for your loved one.
  • Safety handles – Installing handles beside the tub, shower, and toilet is another easy and inexpensive way to improve your loved one’s life with minimal effort and cost. You may even want to consider installing handles beside their bed and favorite chair to make it easier for them to get up and down on their own.

Giving your loved one greater independence in their own home is one of the best ways to improve their quality of life this New Year.

Help Them Get More Exercise

Often, your loved one’s independent mobility can be significantly improved by getting more consistent exercise. So make it your goal this year to help your loved one exercise more frequently. This can be as simple as walking around the block with them every day, or doing a seated aerobics video with them in their home. These small changes can make a big difference.

Make Sure They Have Visitors

Loneliness is a major issue among senior citizens. As friends and even spouses pass on, and they become more confined to their home due to mobility issues, elderly family members often find themselves spending most days at home by themselves. This can lead to feelings of isolation and even depression. If you’re worried your loved one might be feeling this way, you can significantly improve their quality of life by ensuring that they have regular visitors.

Even if you’re doing your best to visit them on a regular basis, they likely need more companionship than you alone can provide. (After all, you have other responsibilities to attend to, and needs of your own.) Consider reaching out to family members, friends, and even your loved one’s neighbors. Ask if they might be willing to visit once a week. If you can find several people willing to do this, then your loved one should have plenty of company to help stave off feelings of loneliness. If you can’t find people who can visit regularly, consider hiring a caregiver who can come by once or twice a week to keep your loved one company.

Consider Assisted Living

Sometimes, the best thing you can do to improve your loved one’s quality of life is to take a step back and honestly assess whether or not they are living in the right environment for their current needs. It can be very difficult for an aging individual to acknowledge that they’re no longer able to care for themselves, and they need help, so you may have to do this for them.

Depending on your loved one’s needs, you might be able to hire in-home care for them, or you may decide that their needs are best addressed by moving into an assisted living facility. There are even matching services available that can match you with the ideal assisted living facilities in Daytona Beach based on your loved one’s needs.

While improving yourself is a great goal for this New Year, try to take a little time to look outside of yourself, and see how you can improve your loved one’s life this year as well. The tips above are a great place to start, and can make a huge difference in the life of an aging family member.