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Saint Simeon’s recently unveiled a new program called Music and Memory, sponsored by LeadingAge. Life Enrichment staff members interview Memory Center Residents about their musical tastes, and they then load iPods for the Residents with the exact songs and artists the Residents enjoy. “It is very personalized,” said Chris Gruszeczki, Administrator.
Music is used every day in Residents’ lives as a calming technique, a way to help them wake up in the morning, or even a way to get them to come out of their shell. “One Memory Center Resident wasn’t talking at all,” Gruszeczki said. “We gave him a CD player with some of his favorite music in it, and afterwards, he conversed for the first time with our staff.”
Gruszeczki said that while former Residents enjoyed music from the ‘20s and ‘30s like big band, today’s Residents span a number of decades and like music from the ‘40s and ‘50s, and even the Beatles and ‘70s rock and roll.
“Music touches everyone – no matter what their condition or cognitive status,” Gruszeczki said. “Residents in the late stages of dementia may not talk anymore, but they can still sing. People who can’t do anything for themselves will still tap their toe along to music.”
Starting the conversation with an aging loved one about moving to an assisted living community can sometimes present a difficult or uncomfortable situation. This is especially true when the individual has been living independently in his or her home for many years, and may have no intention of moving until it is absolutely necessary.
However, sometimes family caregivers become so overwhelmed by their caregiving responsibilities that they begin to experience a decline in their own health. And, there are certain signs an aging loved one could truly benefit from a higher level of care provided by a team of compassionate professionals. In these cases, an assisted living community can not only improve quality of life for the older adult, but for the caregiver, too.
While every journey down the path of aging is unique, research shows that up to 70 percent of all seniors over the age of 65 should expect to need some form of long-term care in the future. Assisted living is one of the fastest-growing options for senior housing. Although at first many seniors fear losing their independence in a community setting, many residents report that the daily supportive services they receive actually leads to a boost in their health, allowing them to be more independent than they were when living alone in their previous homes.
The next time you visit your aging loved one, try to pay attention to the following signs to determine if an assisted living community could improve his or her quality of life:
The home or yard looks neglected. Are dishes piling up in the sink? Is the lawn overgrown? It may be getting difficult for aging loved ones to properly maintain the home due to some chronic conditions or mobility issues. Also, look at your loved one’s appearance. Is he or she wearing clean clothes, have washed hair, etc.?
Escalating health issues. It’s not uncommon for chronic conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis to worsen with age, causing health issues to escalate. With increasing health issues comes the possibility of more serious concerns for your loved one’s overall safety and quality of life.
Trouble moving around the home. Daily routines may become difficult as chronic conditions worsen, and your loved one may need assistance simply getting out of bed or down a flight of stairs.
Signs of forgetfulness. Even mild cognitive impairment can be problematic for seniors, who may begin to display signs of forgetfulness that put them at risk (for example, forgetting to turn off the stove or skipping medications and meals).
Being alone in the home for extended periods of time. Staying engaged and connected with others by continuing to build relationships is so vital for seniors to thrive. However, when seniors live alone, social isolation can lead to depression, cognitive decline, and other health concerns.
Family relationships suffering. As time goes on, the relationship once enjoyed as mother, son, father, daughter, etc. may evolve to that of caregiver and recipient of care. This leaves little time for you to enjoy spending quality time together.
The caring staff at an assisted living community quickly becomes a part of your loved one’s extended family. The team stays on top of all aspects of your loved one’s health and wellness and provides peace of mind to family caregivers that all his or her needs are being met in a timely manner. Plus, should an emergency occur, help is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Residents no longer worry about housekeeping, yardwork, cooking meals or even driving to doctor appointments. Plus, assisted living communities recognize the impact social engagement has on residents’ wellbeing, as socially active seniors maintain more cognitive function and have a lower risk for depression. Your loved one will enjoy a wide variety of social events, lifelong learning opportunities and more to keep them entertained and engaged in life.
Experience the difference of the assisted living community at Saint Simeon’s! With no hidden or additional fees for services like medication management and incontinence care and no buy-in fee, your loved one will have the option to age in place, with four levels of assisted living care provided under one roof. We also offer Assisted Living Plus, the highest level of assisted living care in Tulsa. Some individuals who may require nursing care at another facility may qualify for Assisted Living Plus.
Other services and amenities for assisted living residents at Saint Simeon’s include access to our Wellness Center with a warm water therapy pool, massage room and more, plus specialized memory care and Parkinson's care. Learn more about our assisted living community by contacting us today.
Every day at Saint Simeon’s, we offer memory care and support for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. We were the first senior community in Tulsa to provide dementia care when our ground-breaking Memory Center opened in 1994. At that time, Alzheimer’s was a little-known term. Saint Simeon’s board of trustees conducted years of research, which resulted in a memory care unit that has a cutting-edge design, keeping people with dementia in mind in every detail, from lighting, to paint colors, to wide hallways. When staff at Saint Simeon’s heard about Tulsa becoming a Dementia Friendly city, it was something we naturally wanted to support.
It’s likely that even if you don’t have a loved one with dementia, you still come across someone who has dementia every week, or you may recognize some of the signs of dementia in those around you. Maybe it’s the lady lost in the aisles at the grocery store. Maybe it’s the man in front of you in line at the bank. People with dementia can still be thriving members of society. They may just need a little help from time to time.
Mayor GT Bynum announced on June 30 that Tulsa has become a Dementia Friendly city, in affiliation with Dementia Friendly America. The driving force behind Dementia Friendly America is to help foster communities that are more aware of people with dementia. The numbers related to dementia are staggering. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in the last five years of life, the costs of a person with dementia, on average, total more than $287,000. One in 10 people age 65 and older (has Alzheimer's dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates.
In addition, about one-third of people 85 and older have Alzheimer’s. In Tulsa in particular, about 6,000 Tulsans over age 65 are estimated to have dementia, based on 2015 U.S. Census demographics and 2017 Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures. Their caregivers are estimated to number 18,000, enough people to fill the BOK Center. The Dementia Friendly Tulsa initiative chips away at the social isolation people with dementia experience. It encourages respectful inclusion, access and engagement across all community sectors. Overall, the goal of a Dementia Friendly City is kindness. If you recognize someone displaying the signs of dementia, such as seeing someone lost in the grocery store, don’t leave it up to the employees to help. If you have a neighbor who has dementia, what can you do to extend a helping hand?
To learn more about Dementia Friendly Tulsa, visit dementiafriendlytulsa.com.
For more information about dementia care at the Memory Center at Saint Simeon’s, please contact us today.
Thanks to all who participated in the Flat Simone competition! From January to June, we encouraged our Saint Simeon’s family to take a picture of Simone with them all over the world and upload the photos to social media using the hashtag #simonesaintsimeons. We had dozens of entries, and the competition was even featured by KOTV the News on 6.
And the winner of the competition is… drumroll, please….
Resident Louise Treadway, who went “flyfishing somewhere in midtown Tulsa” with Flat Simone! She is the winner of a $250 Southwest Airlines gift card!
Honorable mentions are:
Slideshow of Honorable Mentions
Saint Simeon’s Administrator, Chris Gruszeczki, recently went through a training in St. Louis to become a Dementia Capable Caregiver and a Dementia Capable Trainer. The training, put on by CPI Dementia Care Specialists, looks at dementia in regards to an individual’s ability to function.
The program evaluates a person’s BATF – best ability to function. One part of the course discusses the theory of retrogenesis – that people with Alzheimer’s tend to lose their functions in the same order they gained them as children. “They are still an adult, but they can’t necessarily function the way they used to,” Gruszeczki said.
The end result of the program is to develop more person-centered care. “It means that the Resident is the most important component of the care team,” Gruszeczki said.
Gruszeczki plans to provide the 8-hour training to all of Saint Simeon’s staff over time. She will also be offering an abbreviated version of the training to Saint Simeon’s family members. Stay tuned for more details!
This training will help Saint Simeon's become an even better memory care/Alzheimer's care community!
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