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Lessons from Winter Storm Landon

Safety Measures to Take This Season

Winter Storm Landon made his appearance in the blink of an eye. For those of us in Ohio, what started as rain quickly turned to a wintry mix of rain and ice, with projected heavy snowfall as the hours inched by. In times of rapid weather changes, it’s easy to become scared, overwhelmed and unsure as to what the best safety measures are. We’re breaking down some of the best precautions to take as soon as possible, how to understand some of the meteorologists’ weather jargon and what lessons we can learn to stay prepared for the future.

Actions to Be Taken Immediately

  • Stay InformedCheck your local stations every few hours. With severe weather, conditions can change in hours or even minutes. By regularly tuning into the weather updates from your phone, radio or television, you’ll always be in the know.
  • Charge ElectronicsPower outages are common with severe weather conditions. Do your part to keep all electronics that are necessary for your safety, especially cell phones, fully charged.
  • Gather Items for WarmthIf a power outage takes place, in-home heat may become an issue. Make sure you have a large quantity of blankets and plenty of warm clothing to keep you and your loved ones as warm as possible.
  • Prevent Home DamageTake inventory of things in your home that could be open to damage or safety hazards. Prevent your pipes from freezing by letting faucets drip and opening cabinets that cover pipes to expose them to more heat. Reduce the chances of a fire by stocking up on batteries and using battery-operated candles, flashlights, etc. The more open flames, the greater the chances of a fire.
  • Check Vehicles – Make sure you have a full tank of gas, or at least enough to get to a desired destination if needs dictate. Also, make sure your antifreeze tank is full. Should travel become unavoidable, you’ll want to be able to drive as safely as possible.

Understanding Meteorology Terminology

We know that an unexpected winter storm foments strong emotions and can be highly stressful. Reacting quickly to prepare is challenging enough, and being bombarded by unfamiliar phrases, terms and weather warnings doesn’t make it any easier. Below, we’re defining some of the common terms you’re likely to hear.

Common Weather Terms and What They Mean

  • Wintry MixThis term typically refers to a mixture of precipitation consisting of rain, freezing rain, snow and sleet.
  • SleetA common term for ice pellets that can quickly put a thin layer of ice on roads.
  • Winter Storm WatchThe potential for heavy snow and high levels of ice accumulation. It’s typically issued 24-48 hours before a storm.
  • Winter Storm WarningA step above a watch, a warning means imminent, hazardous weather is occurring or about to occur. Travel recommendations or restrictions are often mentioned when a winter storm warning is issued.

Be Prepared for Next Time

Unless you live in the tropics, winter storms are inevitable. There’s every possibility that there will be more before this winter is out. So, how can we plan ahead for future storms to keep ourselves and those around us safe? 

Steps to Take for the Future

  • Emergency KitsEmergency kits for your house and car are essential for severe weather conditions. For your home, consider items that will keep you warm or cool, depending on the relevant weather conditions, as well as first aid items and important medications. For your car, think items necessary for changes in temperature, equipment such as a shovel or ice scraper, snacks, water, batteries, jumper cables, and traction aids such as salt or cat litter.
  • Escape PlanShould a weather situation become so severe that it requires you to leave your home, having a backup plan is crucial. Whether it entails heading to a local hotel or a relative’s house, make sure you have arrangements ready to go.
  • Work or Child ResponsibilitiesFor many of us, job and parenting responsibilities are a major factor when it comes to handling inclement weather. Think about what would be most beneficial for you, your employer or your family. Maybe it’s talking to a boss about working from home or changing work hours around the weather. For childcare providers, especially those who look after grandchildren, working out a future plan with your son or daughter will help everyone down the road.
  • Stock Food Pantry and Bottled WaterKeep your pantry stocked with non-perishables and keep a few cases of bottled water on hand. Should the weather change, you’ll be confident that you can stay fed and hydrated.
  • Emergency Communication PlanHaving a discussion with your family prior to a serious weather condition will give all of you peace of mind. Maybe you name someone the “communicator” to keep everyone updated as conditions change, or maybe you designate a “safety checker” who confirms safety measures are taken so you all stay prepared. Have a text or phone call communication channel and work out a plan that works best for your family. 

We hope our winter storm lessons have provided you with some insight, some education and some tips for the next go around. We’re looking forward to bidding this storm farewell and saying, “Goodbye forever, Landon.”

Caring for a Loved One: When It Becomes Too Much

How to Know the Signs and Explore Support Options

Every year, the month of November is dedicated to family caregivers and the important role they play in their loved ones’ daily lives. Not just during National Family Caregivers Month, but always, The Wesley Communities strive to be a resource for caregivers to better understand their options and to know that they are not alone when full-time care becomes too much.

The Role of Family Caregivers

Family caregivers play a critical role in providing care to their loved ones. Whether it’s help with medicine administration and bathing, or 24/7 assistance, many family members make personal sacrifices to dedicate their time and attention to their loved ones’ needs. The selfless decision to take on the responsibility of caring for a loved one has many benefits and brings a level of comfort to everyone involved. Often, however, the role can become overwhelming. In some cases, it can become too much to handle, creating a need for family caregiver relief. So, how does a family caregiver know when they can no longer play the role on their own, and what options they have when that day comes?

Signs that Indicate Caregiver Burnout

One of the biggest indications that more care may be needed for a loved one is a sudden, and significant, physical or cognitive decline. Although family caregivers can provide a lot of support, when additional health resources are needed, it may be wise to seek professional assistance. Another option for determining when more care is needed is for family caregivers to look within themselves and evaluate how they feel. Obviously, caring for a loved one brings difficulties no matter the circumstances, but if solving these difficulties feels out of reach and if personal stress and feelings of helplessness start creeping in, it’s most likely time to ask for help.

Options for Family Caregivers

Reaching out for help can be scary, and may make family caregivers feel guilty about no longer providing for their loved ones on their own. This isn’t the right way to look at it, though. Family caregivers should be proud of themselves for realizing when their loved one’s care needs are out of their control and for taking the right steps to provide their loved one with the care they really need. Plus, this doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” transition. With a variety of care options available, you’re sure to find the one that works best for your loved one and you. 

Adult Daycare

Adult daycare can be a wonderful option for family caregivers who need a break to focus on themselves for a few hours a day. Their loved one will be in the care of trained professionals and have opportunities to learn, grow, and socialize. This is also a slower and more comfortable transition for both caregivers and those who need care. Family caregivers can still provide for their loved one, albeit with some additional support. 

Assisted Living Community

Assisted living communities are a great option for family caregivers who no longer can provide the care their loved one needs. These types of communities typically offer only assisted living care – as opposed to continuing care retirement communities – and are staffed by professionals skilled in assistive support such as medication administration, help with bathing, and 24/7 availability for health matters that may arise. Residents in assisted living communities also have opportunities to participate in fulfilling activities to help them grow physically, mentally, and socially. 

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)

Continuing care retirement communities provide a continuum of care to support their residents through every stage of life. With assisted living, memory support, and skilled nursing, residents can transition to the level of care they need when they need it most. This can be an attractive option for family caregivers whose loved one needs additional care provided in a setting that they can stay in forever without having to transition again down the road. A key benefit of CCRCs is that residents never need to leave the community and transition to another one. The only transitions are from one level of care to another. Often, this provides great peace of mind when health needs progress. 

Discussing the Transition with your Loved One 

The conversation with a loved one for whom you can no longer care is a difficult one. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind to help make the discussion a little easier. 

  1. Focus the conversation on your loved one rather than yourself. Their care is the main priority here, and you don’t want to give the impression that you are putting yourself and your needs before theirs. Let them know that their health requires more than you can give and highlight the benefits, especially safety, your loved one will reap from the transition.
  2. Talk about the fun and exciting parts of your loved one making a transition. With fulfilling activities, delicious meals, and opportunities to make friends, your loved one may realize that a move is right for them.
  3. Let your loved one know that you aren’t going anywhere. They may think that a transition means you will no longer be in their life as much. Ensure them that you are still by their side and will support them every step of the way as they embark on this new journey.

Knowing the signs that a loved one needs a higher level of care than a family member can provide, and exploring supportive options that are available, will help family caregivers and their loved ones live life well. At The Wesley Communities, we are always available to talk with families to learn more about their current situations and the options we can offer to help. 

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CCRC vs. Independent Living

What To Look For When Comparing Continuing Care Retirement Communities To Independent Living

When starting the beginning stages of exploring retirement living, there are a variety of options and different types of communities to consider. The biggest “divide” within senior living is comparing Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) vs. Independent Living. In most cases, as you begin your exploration – deciding which type you gravitate toward more is critical.

Below, we’re offering some valuable questions to ask yourself and areas you may want to dig deeper into to help you decide whether a CCRC or an Independent Living Community is the right move for you.

What Levels Of Care Or Additional Health Services Are You Seeking for the Future?

One of the most important areas to consider when comparing types of senior living communities is if you’re seeking health care services or will be potentially needing them later in life. At continuing care retirement communities, like all senior living options at The Wesley Communities, a full continuum of healthcare services is available. These communities offer multiple levels of care including independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing.

Other senior living communities on the other hand, typically offer one level of care, typically independent living or assisted living only. In this case, if additional senior healthcare services are needed, those living in this type of community will either need to seek outside providers that come into the community or they will need to transfer to another community or health center. If you are at a stage of life where some health services are needed and there is potential for additional services to be needed soon, a continuing care retirement community may be a better fit for you.

What Is Your Financial Situation?

Just like with any move, assessing your financials is a crucial component when looking into retirement. CCRCs tend to be more expensive than assisted/independent living communities because there are more services and amenities available to pick and choose from.

When considering financials in this scenario, the best course of action would be to:

  1. Outline some financial hypotheticals for a variety of health situations at a CCRC,
  2. Compare those costs to moving to an independent living community and having to move or transfer to an assisted living setting or health center for health-related reasons.

By comparing the costs this way, you can better assess your financial situation with what expenses you may face in the future.

What Stage Of Life Are You In And Are You Wanting To Move Again Down The Road?

As mentioned above, CCRCs offer the ease of transitioning through multiple levels of care all in the comfort of one community. Many residents start out in independent living and transition through assisted living, memory care and long-term care in the skilled nursing facility of the community. That being said, some people would prefer to be in a community of only people in their similar life situation and are open to another move down the road. You’ll want to consider which type of environment is most important to you and how you feel about moving again later in life.

What Is Important To Your Family Or Children (If Applicable)?

Children or other family members often play an important role in loved ones moving to senior living. If your children have taken on or will take on the role of a caregiver someday, it may be a good idea to talk to them about whether a CCRC or an independent living community/assisted living facility is more appealing to them. CCRCs offer more care options for children and families, which can bring a greater sense of peace of mind and comfort for the demands of life. In assisted or independent living communities, more care may be the responsibility of your children or loved ones when and if it’s needed.

Are There Any Unique Aspects You’re Searching For In A Community?

Are there other aspects that you’re searching for in a community that could be a deciding factor? For example, at The Wesley Communities, we have our Fund for Charitable Care which ensures that no resident needs to fear the loss of their home or our services due to a financial crisis outside of their control.

Our residents have additional security knowing that should they outlive their finances, they have a forever home with us. Many senior living communities have financial programs and initiatives like this that set them apart and add appeal and reassurance. Looking into aspects like this can also be the tipping point for picking one over the other.

Ready To Personally Compare The Benefits Of Each?

Continuing care retirement communities and independent living communities both have many wonderful aspects that make them unique and that make them the best choice for seniors. It’s important to look into what matters most to you and your loved ones, your health situation, and your financial standing so that you can be on your way to finding your forever (or temporary) home!

To learn more about The Wesley Communities, click here.

Memory Loss & The Holidays

Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss During the Holidays

Typically, the holiday season is a time of festive gatherings, visiting with family near and far, and that special cheer that seems to be all around. For some though, it is also a time that brings added stress and a feeling of being overwhelmed – those caring for a family member or loved one with Dementia care, Alzheimer’s care, or another form of memory loss assistance, oftentimes, fall into this group. Especially this season, with the COVID-19 Pandemic surging once again, this time of year looks very different for everyone and can be quite challenging for caregivers.

Click Here To Learn About Our Memory Loss Services

Living With A Loved One Who Has Memory Loss

If you are the caregiver with your loved one living at home with you, try and use the holidays to focus on togetherness and lifting your family member’s spirit. For those loved ones dealing with memory loss, this time of year may bring more emotions including sadness or anxiety, and by focusing on creating moments of happiness, regardless of how small, you can move through the next few months together in a positive way. Share stories of the past, create holiday-inspired art projects or recipes, or decorate the tree together. And it’s okay to ask for help. If you have other family members in your household, lean on them for additional support to make the holidays as enjoyable as they can be for all of you, but most importantly, your loved one.

Make The Holidays Extra Special For Those In Assisted Living

If your loved one is in an assisted living community, there can be added difficulties due to the current pandemic & many states still having visitor restrictions in place. Talk to your community’s executive leadership or activities department to see how they plan to make the holidays extra special and see what options are available to you and your loved one. Many times, regular phone calls or virtual visits can still be scheduled and items such as your loved one’s favorite holiday cookies can be dropped off and delivered to them to bring an added sense of familiarity and comfort.

At The Wesley Communities, our teams have gone above and beyond to ensure our residents and their families stay connected during this time, and the holiday season is no exception. Whether it’s setting up virtual Thanksgiving celebrations or decorating our residents’ rooms with holiday wreaths and garland provided by their children, our focus on the well-being of those who call our communities’ home and their families remain our top priority.

How To Care For Family in Memory Loss Care

It’s also a good idea to speak with other members of your family about what may be best for your loved one with memory loss during the holidays. Have an open discussion about how you are going to approach this time and together, devise an appropriate plan for interacting with a loved one in Dementia care or Alzheimer’s care.

Some compassionate options include:

  • Send your loved one a letter from each of you and have them arrive on Christmas Day.
  • Send in a family video singing your loved one’s favorite Christmas songs.
  • Provide plenty of pictures to serve as active remembrance of the holiday season and togetherness.
  • Schedule structured activities such as music therapy, religious programs outings & exercise at The Wesley Communities.
  • Support the opinions of each other and stick to your decided approach.
  • However, any decided upon approach won’t be a one size fits all, it may make sense to mitigate the holidays as much as possible if you think it will upset your loved one or cause a new sense of confusion.

Help Those Caregivers You Care About

If you aren’t a caregiver but are close to one, take some time to put yourself in his or her shoes. Be considerate, check in on them, and let them know that you are there for them when it may be needed most. Do they need help gathering or wrapping gifts this year? Or maybe they need a day off to themselves. Whatever it may be that would make this time of year a little brighter for them and their loved ones, try and make it happen.

The 2020 holiday season is one of many mixed feelings – all of which are valid and normal given the world we are living in. But, we are family and we are in this together. Be kind to yourself this time of year and know that the role you play as a caregiver in your loved one’s life is selfless and commendable.

Have additional questions about our memory support services?

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Another Study Finds Potential Health Benefits to Living in a CCRC

In a recent blog post, I shared the results of an interesting study out of Washington State University that found that where you live can influence your lifespan. It looked at people’s gender, race, and education level, as well as locales’ walkability, socioeconomics, and working-age population and tied it to the number of centenarians in that location. The results of the study were rather surprising. To learn more about the results of this study among others, click the link above.

Passions Continue with Friends at Wesley Glen

At Wesley Glen Retirement Community, there is a variety of opportunities for residents to explore and find where their passions lie. And, if there is something that may not be on the regular calendar of activities that sparks interest, residents are encouraged and supported in creating their own activities, groups, or in this case, committee. What started years ago as some residents with an interest in various aspects of the natural environment that surrounds Wesley Glen, has turned into an organized, structured, and innovative resident Nature Committee – one that we are fortunate to have. Click the link above to read more about the Nature Committee and one of its recent, exciting projects.

When is the Best Time to Move to a CCRC?

For many older adults who are currently independent but like the idea of living in a setting where healthcare services are available if needed down the road, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) can be an ideal solution.

A popular question among prospective CCRC residents is, “When is the best time to make the move?” There is no perfect answer to this question because everyone’s situation will be different. However, waiting too long can mean missing out on some of the very reasons people are attracted to these communities in the first place.

If you feel that a continuing care retirement community is right for you, here are a few reasons why you may want to consider moving sooner rather than later. Click the link above to learn more about when the best time to make a move really is.

The Season has Changed, but the Global Pandemic hasn’t : How to Stay Active and Limit Isolation with the Colder Weather

The global pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone. Especially for older adults, the lack of normalcy and decreased interaction with others has significantly contributed to feelings of isolation, sadness, and overall mental and physical health decline.

The one saving grace the past few months was the warmer weather of summer. With small group gatherings (if masks are worn) being approved in many states, time spent outdoors has helped seniors feel more social and happier.

Now that the season has changed and the temperatures have dropped, many are worried that being unable to be outside as much could have additional negative effects to an already not-so-great time.

To help try and ease concerns, we’ve complied some ideas and resources to stay active and limit isolation in the colder weather. Click the link above to read more.

Change Your Address, Not Your Lifestyle

Making the transition to senior living can be difficult, but for many residents at Wesley Glen Retirement Community, knowing that they could continue to pursue their passions and interests was something that made the decision a little easier. Joan has always had a green thumb and a love for gardening. Before she moved to our community, she spent a lot of her time outdoors, tending to her home garden, and sharing herbs and vegetables with her neighbors and friends.

Once Joan joined us at Wesley Glen, our team learned about her desire to have a garden of her own and introduced her to Chacey Lane – an entire row of gardening plots right on campus. Without a moment’s hesitation, Joan reserved her space and now her garden blooms with basil, oregano, green peppers, parsley, mint, and black cherry tomatoes, just to name a few! She also loves to help other residents with their gardens and often, offers tips and tricks, and of course, an extra set of hands.

When Joan isn’t cooking her own meals with the herbs and vegetables she grows, she finds a lot of joy in sharing with her Wesley Glen neighbors and our Executive Chef, Kevin. On a regular basis, Chef Kevin holds educational and entertaining cooking demonstrations and sometimes, uses Joan’s garden for ingredients. He recently did a pesto demonstration and Joan’s basil was the star of the show! Click the link above to learn more about Joan’s garden and why it has been a lovely addition to her home!

“This Is My Home” – Jerry Shares His Thoughts on Life at Wesley Woods at New Albany

Jerry Krumdieck came to Wesley Woods at New Albany in 2017 after his wife of 44 years unfortunately passed away. Before moving, Jerry lived in a 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom home in Gahanna and while he loved his neighbors and of course, his home, he began to feel a real sense of loneliness. He and his Bengal cat, Henry, shared the entire house and it started to be a lot of upkeep.

Previously, Jerry and his wife looked at many retirement communities. None of them seemed to be what they were looking for, and they didn’t see themselves living the fulfilling lives they wanted to once they reached retirement. That was until Jerry met Emily Smith-Conlon, a marketing representative from Wesley Woods at New Albany at the Gahanna Senior Center and learned about our community. Interestingly enough, Jerry was familiar with The Wesley Communities as his wife’s step-grandfather was one of the first residents of Wesley Glen Retirement Community, a sister community of Wesley Woods. Although Jerry was somewhat hesitant and unsure about making a move, he agreed to meet with Emily again. During his visit, our community was still in the development stages, but just by the drawings, Jerry said, “I fell in love.” Click the link above to learn more about how Wesley Woods at New Albany has become Jerry’s home.