5 Summer Safety Tips for Seniors

June 12, 2018

5 Summer Safety Tips for Seniors

Summer heat can present health risks for older adults. Follow these 5 summer safety tips to keep an older adult in your family safe.

As we prepare to welcome the first day of summer on June 21st, we want to take time to share a few safety tips. While most of us enjoy spending time outdoors during the summer months, it’s important to remember that the heat and humidity commonly found in the south can be especially dangerous for older adults.

Here are a few tips caregivers can use to keep seniors in the family safe.

5 Ways to Help a Senior Loved One Stay Safe This Summer

  1. Know the risks of heat and humidity
    Each year extreme heat causes an estimated 658 deaths. Older adults are at higher risk for heat-related illnesses because our bodies lose some of their ability to process extreme temperatures as we age. Certain medications and health conditions—such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma—may also worsen during the heat of the summer.Talk with your senior loved one’s physician for advice about managing a chronic health condition during the summer months. Also be sure to review the older adult’s medication list to see if any are impacted by heat or humidity.
  2. Take sun safety precautions
    This generation of older adults didn’t grow up wearing sunscreen. As a result, they don’t always follow good sun safety practices. Encourage your senior loved one to apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 any time they are outdoors or riding in a car. This helps to reduce their risk of developing skin cancer. Wearing a long-sleeve shirt and long pants in a lightweight, breathable fabric can also help block the sun, as can a hat and sunglasses.
  3. Stay out of the mid-day sun
    The sun is strongest between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM. Remind the older adults in your life to plan errands, appointments, and outdoor activities around these peak sun times.Also make sure your senior loved one has a safe, cool place to get out of the summer heat. If their home isn’t air conditioned, create a list of local malls, senior centers, coffee shops, bookstores, and movie theaters they can visit that are.
  4. Encourage hydration
    Drinking water is another step necessary to stay safe during the summer heat. Most health professionals recommend drinking eight glasses a day, more if an adult is sweating or swimming.Encourage your senior loved one to keep a supply of cold water in their refrigerator and a bottle of it by their side all day.
  1. Watch for symptoms of a heat-related illness
    Make sure you and other loved ones know the early warning signs of a heat-related illness A few of the most common ones include confusion, pale skin, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, dizziness, fatigue, headache, rapid pulse, and diarrhea. Seek medical help immediately if you or a senior in your life exhibit these symptoms.

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The Important Role Nurses Play in Aging Well

May 7, 2018

In honor of Nurse Appreciation Week, Legacy Senior Living is sharing insight on the vital role nurses play in residents’ lives each day.

Nurses are often the unsung heroes of our health care system. You will find them delivering care in settings ranging from a physician’s office to hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living communities, or even private homes. In addition to caring for the patient, they often help provide support to the family.

At the Legacy communities throughout the south, we count on nurses for a variety of critically important responsibilities. In honor of national Nurse Appreciation Week celebrated from May 6th through 12th this year, we want to highlight the contributions nurses make to our residents’ lives every day.

Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence

Creating resident care plans

Nurses often take the lead in collaborating with other team members to create care plans for residents in assisted living and memory care communities. These care plans are designed to meet each resident’s unique needs and interests. As a resident’s needs change, the plan of care is adapted and changed, too.

Sometimes the change is only temporary, like when a resident has undergone hip surgery and needs additional support for a few weeks while they recover. Other times the need for more care is permanent. It might be that a resident has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

The nursing staff typically plays a key role in helping assess these types of changes and making sure the resident receives the type and amount of care they need.

Medication management

Almost all of the residents of an assisted living or memory care community need a helping hand to stay on track with their medication. It’s no surprise why when you learn how many different types of medicine seniors often juggle.

Research shows older adults take an average of five or more different types of medication each day. For those who live in a long-term care setting, that number rises to seven. Remembering to take the right dose of each medication at the right time, in addition to filling and refilling each prescription, can be overwhelming for a senior.

In a senior living community, nurses are the ones who manage the medication process for residents. They oversee medication administration, look for potential adverse reactions in residents, and make sure prescriptions are refilled in a timely fashion.

Chronic disease monitoring

Another important role nurses play in senior living communities is monitoring resident wellness. This is especially important for older adults who live with chronic health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.

Nurses in assisted living and memory care communities get to know each resident. It helps them identify small changes that might indicate a problem. They can work with the resident’s physician to intervene early before a small issue becomes a life-threatening one.

Thanking Our Nurses

This week and every week, we salute and thank the nurses who make it possible for our residents to live their best quality of life every day. Stop by the Legacy Senior Living community nearest you to learn more about our commitment to building strong bonds between residents, staff, and families.

How to Thank a Family Caregiver on Mother’s Day

April 23, 2018

Looking for ways to thank a family caregiver on Mother’s Day? We have a few ideas you might find helpful.

Looking for ways to thank a family caregiver on Mother’s Day? We have a few ideas you might find helpful.

If someone in your life is a caregiver for a senior they love, you probably know how challenging their days can be. While it’s a role family members willingly embrace, being responsible for the care of an older adult can be stressful and exhausting. In many families, one sibling often shoulders most of the caregiving duties. They act as the primary caregiver and contact person for the senior.

Mother’s Day can be a great time to thank a family caregiver and show them how much you appreciate their dedication.

6 Ways to Thank a Family Caregiver

1. Day of indulgence: One idea to care for someone who puts everyone else first is by giving them an afternoon at a local spa. Give them a choice of pampering services such as a massage, a manicure and pedicure, a facial, or another spa specialty.

2. Hire a housekeeper: Family caregivers often put their own needs on the back burner while caring for a loved one. One way you can help is by hiring a cleaning service. Enlisting a professional housekeeper for a day can help lighten the caregiver’s load and lift their spirits. Instead of worrying about how they’ll get spring cleaning done at their own house, they’ll be able to come home to a freshly cleaned home.

3. Gift of time: Something most caregivers never have enough of is time. You can change that by helping to arrange and finance a respite care stay at a local senior living community. These short-term stays allow the senior to enjoy the same benefits as a long-term resident, including nutritious meals and a full calendar of activities. It can be a mini-vacation for the older adult while the caregiver enjoys some free time of their own.

4. Nutritious meals: Caregivers often survive on convenience foods and fast food eaten on the run. An unhealthy diet can lead to a health crisis of their own. A meaningful Mother’s Day gift for a caregiver could be to stock their freezer with nutritious and tasty home-cooked meals or gift cards to a local restaurant that offers healthy takeout meals.

5. Caregiver package: Another way to thank a family caregiver might be to put together a personalized caregiver package. Items to include might be a nice journal and pen. Journaling is a great stress-reliever for caregivers. You can also add a scented candle and a box of chocolates.

6. Laugh therapy: Laughter is one of the best ways to relieve caregiver stress. Honor the primary caregiver in your family with tickets to a comedy playing at the local movie theater or a night out to a comedy club. Don’t forget to make arrangements to care for the senior so the caregiver can relax and enjoy their night out.

Visit to Learn More About Respite Care

If a senior in your family isn’t safe on their own, creating an emergency plan is important. In the event the primary caregiver has an emergency of their own, the senior will be well cared for.

A short-term stay at a Legacy Senior Living community can be a part of your plan. Call the community nearest you to schedule a visit to learn more today!

Tax Deductions and Senior Care: What Families Should Know

March 12, 2018

Tax deductions for Senior Care

Wondering if your assisted living expenses are tax deductible? This information from Legacy Senior Living can help you learn more.

When an older adult is ready to downsize and move to a senior living community, families often work together to create a budget and a plan for financing their transition. In fact, how to finance retirement living is one of the questions we receive most often during our conversations with families.

There are many myths and misunderstandings that can make financing senior living especially confusing for seniors and their loved ones. For example, some adult children mistakenly believe a parent’s Medicare will help pay for all or part of their loved one’s assisted living expenses. Unfortunately, it does not. But there are other programs to help finance senior care that are often overlooked.

Financing Senior Living

Here are a few potential funding solutions to explore:

  • Aid & Attendance pension benefits for veterans and surviving spouses
  • Life settlement funding that allows a senior to sell a life insurance policy
  • Short-term loans to help bridge the gap between when a home is sold or asset is liquidated and a senior moves to assisted living
  • Long-term care insurance policies that cover assisted living

Older adults or their families can also meet with a tax advisor to discuss the tax deductions available for senior care expenses.

Senior Care Expenses and Tax Deductions

When it comes to senior care tax deductions, the laws can be more than a little complicated. We typically recommend that families seek the advice of a tax professional who has experience working with aging service providers. An experienced tax advisor will be able to determine if you or your senior loved one meet the qualifications for a tax deduction and how much you are entitled to deduct.

Before your meeting, we suggest you review two different areas of the tax code that pertain to senior living:

  • IRS Tax Publication 502: This publication outlines the medical and dental expense regulations. It will give you a better understanding of what the IRS considers to be medical care and what financial threshold you must meet. It also includes the rule on what a “qualifying relative” is.
  • IRS Tax Publication 503: Like publication 502, this IRS publication further explains dependent care expenses. It also covers which expenses you can deduct for a spouse’s medical care.

Financing Senior Living

While we can’t give you advice on tax deductions for senior living, we can help you explore potential funding solutions. Call the Legacy Senior Living community near you to schedule a time for a personal visit.

Why Don’t Seniors Report When They Are Victims of Fraud?

February 12, 2018

Older adults are targets of scams and fraud.

Seniors are often the target of scams and fraud but rarely report it. Here’s what families should know.

It’s an unfortunate reality but one that is important to be aware of: older adults are targets of scams and fraud more often than any other age group. The problem is further compounded by the fact that when seniors do fall victim to fraud, they often don’t report it to local police.

Research shows that only 1 in 25 fraud-related crimes are reported to law enforcement. This under-reporting makes it difficult for families of seniors to realize there is a problem and help intervene on their loved one’s behalf.

Why aren’t older adults reporting these crimes when they touch their lives?

There are a variety of reasons and some are unique to the perceptions surrounding aging.

3 Reasons Older Adults Don’t Report Fraud

1. Seniors see it is a sign of old age: Falling victim to a crime of this type is often perceived to be a sign of old age. Many people who are older might not want to admit they’ve been scammed for this very reason. They think it is just plain embarrassing to be scammed out of their money at an age when they are supposed to be wise and have learned so many life lessons.

2. Fear of being perceived as incompetent: It shouldn’t be this way, but it often is. When an older adult becomes the victim of a crime, well-meaning loved ones might see it as a sign that they should take over finances. Being responsible for managing our life and budget is closely tied to independence. While some seniors might welcome a little help, losing control completely before they are ready can be demoralizing. The fear of losing this part of their independence might be another reason older adults fail to admit they’ve been victimized, even to their own family.

3. Not sure where or how to report fraud: Another problem that keeps seniors from reporting scams is that they frequently fall victim to a crime through a telephone or online scam. Because of it, they aren’t sure who to inform or how to go about doing so. In most cases, seniors should start by calling their local law enforcement. Local authorities can start the investigation or help connect the senior with the appropriate government agency.

Remember, being the victim of a crime is difficult at any age. For some people, just the idea of being forced to recount the scenario over and over for law enforcement doesn’t seem worth the effort.

This can be especially true in situations where a senior has been victimized via the phone or internet and doubt they will be able to recover any of their assets. They might just want to put the incident behind them and move on. While adult children might disagree with this approach, it might be a time to respect a senior loved one’s feelings and move on, too.

Family Resources for Financing Senior Living

If you are trying to help an older adult you love explore their options for financing senior living, Financing Retirement has helpful resources for you to review. From benefits for veterans to long-term care insurance and life care funding, you are sure to learn more about financing senior living.

6 Ways to Beat Post-Holiday Caregiver Blues

January 15, 2018

post-holiday caregiver bluesAre you suffering from a case of the post-holiday caregiver blues? These 6 tips can help you beat the blues.

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are behind us and the long winter is in front of us. Warm, sunny days can seem far away. For caregivers who may be stuck indoors a lot during colder months, it’s easy to find yourself feeling a little blue.

Experts say 15% of people struggle to stay positive during the winter months. Some even experience a more serious case of seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD.

If you are a family caregiver who is feeling a little down, this list of post-holiday caregiver blues busters may help boost your mood and lift your spirits.

 6 Blues Busters for Caregivers

1. Get out: While it might be tempting to hibernate until spring, sunshine, combined with fresh air, can be good for the soul. Bundle up, put on skid-proof boots, and head out for a quick trip around the block.

2. Nutrient-rich foods: Many of us turn to carb-heavy comfort foods during the winter, especially if we are feeling a little blue. But they can leave you feeling a little sluggish. A better choice is to fill your plate with nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, fish, and lean protein. They’ll help you feel more energetic and less lethargic.

3. Limit alcohol consumption: If you are trying to boost your mood by indulging in a cocktail or glass of wine each day, know that the “booze blues” might be making the problem worse. Alcohol is a depressant when consumed in any quantity. Opt for water, tea, or juice instead.

4. Good night’s sleep: A case of the blues can lead to sleep problems. For some caregivers it might be sleeping too much, while others don’t sleep enough. Try a few natural remedies for getting a good night’s rest. If they don’t help, you might need to schedule an appointment with your physician. They will likely have other ideas for you to try.

5. Exercise: While this might not be your favorite way to spend your time, exercise is a great way to beat the blues. When you exercise, endorphins – natural mood boosters – are released in the body. Just thirty minutes of daily exercise can help improve your emotional and physical well-being.

6. Stay connected: Try to stay in touch with friends and loved ones even if the weather outside is frightful. If you aren’t able to get together in person, there are other ways to stay connected like phone calls, Skype, and Facebook.

Caregiving at Legacy Senior Living

If you are starting to explore senior living options for an older adult you love, it’s important to ask the right questions. Many of those questions relate to the experience and quality of a community’s caregivers.

We encourage you to use this list to better understand what questions to ask during your visit Legacy Senior Living and at any other community you are considering.

Holiday Gift Ideas for an Adult Who Lives in a Senior Living Community

December 11, 2017

Christmas gift ideasFinding the right gift for an older adult who lives in a senior living community can be challenging. Here are some gift ideas to help you this holiday season.

Older Americans are typically at a stage in life where they aren’t too keen on accumulating more “stuff.” Many older adults are downsizing and scaling back. If your loved one lives in a senior living community, space may also be limited.

So, what can families do when the holidays roll around and it’s gift-giving season?

What you need are a few good gift ideas for creating that special gift for your loved one. And we have some you might find interesting.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Older Adults

Consider these gift ideas for a senior loved one this holiday season:

  1. A Bit of Nostalgia: Top Music Picks for Your Loved One

Everyone loves music from when they were younger. So why not assemble a list of their favorites and create a personalized playlist or song collection for your loved one? Find out what was popular when they were in high school or ask relatives of the same age if they have any ideas.

Music can be therapeutic, after all, which is another reason it makes a great gift.

  1. Something Practical: Gift Cards

Gift cards come in endless varieties these days, covering almost every hobby or need. A fun idea might be to purchase a wallet or purse and fill it with gift cards.

Think about what the senior’s favorite indulgences are. Do they love books? Shoe shopping? Lunch at a local restaurant? Manicures? Buy gift cards that match their interests.

  1. Something Heartwarming: Family Keepsakes

Family memories become even more precious with time, which is why it’s important to preserve them however you can. Creating a special photo album or family calendar for your senior loved one can be a treasured holiday gift. Websites like Shutterfly offer endless options for you to customize photo products.

The great thing is that this is a gift that keeps on giving. It also provides the gift of spending time together as you reminisce and share a few laughs.

For families whose senior loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, photo albums can help reconnect them with positive feelings and memories.

  1. Something to Look Forward to: a Special Calendar

If you live near your senior loved one, you can give them a year’s worth of planned get-togethers as a gift. Buy a pretty calendar and schedule monthly or weekly activities you can do together. Feel free to get as creative as you like, with ice cream dates, morning tea on Thursdays, yoga, or a home-cooked meal every Sunday.

The Team at Legacy Senior Living

As the holidays approach, the team at Legacy Senior Living is here for you in every way. Whether it’s providing you with holiday gift ideas or answering your senior living questions, we are happy to help. Call us to schedule a tour of a community near you!

Holiday Blues: How You Can Help an Older Loved One Prevent Depression During the Festive Season

November 13, 2017

It is not uncommon for seniors to experience depression during the winter holidays. You can help prevent “the holiday blues” by taking a few simple steps.

The winter holiday season should be a time of joy and celebration for everyone in your family, including your senior loved ones. Unfortunately, many seniors struggle with depression or the ‘holiday blues’ this time of year.

There are many reasons that seniors lapse into sadness—illness, injury, frustration with the aging process or loss of a spouse—but what really matters is that you find ways to prevent depression from happening.

The Signs of the Holiday Blues

Knowing the signs of the holiday blues is critical to helping seniors overcome their seasonal sadness. If you get involved early, you’ll dramatically increase your chances of making a difference.

Here’s what to watch for when spending time with your older loved one:

  • Sadness or irritation that doesn’t go away
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or other formerly pleasurable activities
  • Feelings of uselessness or helplessness
  • Feelings of isolation or loneliness
  • Lack of appetite or sudden weight loss
  • Preoccupation with death and dying

While this list gives you a good place to start, it’s important to watch for subtler signs as well. Many seniors aren’t willing to open up about experiencing sadness so take note of any unusual behaviors even if they don’t admit they’re feeling down.

Preventing the Senior Holiday Blues

Here are four effective ways to keep the holiday blues at bay:

  1. Give Freely of Your Time

Nothing is more important than being present for your older loved ones during the holidays. Spending time together can prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation, which are closely associated with the holiday blues. The only caveat is that you give it eagerly, not as though it were a chore.

  1. Listen, No Matter What

Everyone needs to be listened to, especially seniors who are experiencing depression. When you listen closely to someone’s concerns, it’s much easier to empathize and take their problems seriously. This simple acknowledgment of their feelings will go a long way toward alleviating their pain.

  1. Include Your Senior Loved Ones in Your Holiday Activities

A painful feeling of separateness marks most holiday sadness and inclusion is one of the best ways to counter it. Invite your older loved one to participate in shopping, wrapping presents, and decorating the house to remind them that they’re still an important part of the family. Inclusion can also mean asking them for advice and letting them have a say in family holiday decisions.

  1. Help Them Participate in Outdoor Activities

Inactivity and a lack of sunlight can make a senior’s holiday blues even worse so getting them outside can be a big part of the solution. This is especially true if your senior loved one is experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Activity could include anything they are interested in, but it should involve at least a small amount of mild to moderate exercise.

More Helpful Resources from Legacy Senior Living

A bout of the holiday blues is something seniors experience all too frequently, but that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. As you can see, there are many things you and your family can do to prevent depression.

Remember that we’re here to help. The Legacy Senior Living blog offers a constant stream of useful information every week. We hope you return to visit often, especially in times of confusion or doubt.

Contact us if you’d like more information or to schedule an in-person tour of one of our communities. We hope the holidays bring you and your family a season of good cheer!

How to Keep a Senior You Love Safe on Facebook

October 16, 2017

Safety on Facebook

More seniors are on Facebook these days. Here’s how you can help a senior loved one avoid the common social media pitfalls.

Kids usually know their parents are on Facebook and probably have been for years. But now there’s a good chance that their grandparents will be sending them a ‘friend’ request, too. According to a Pew Research Center survey, almost half of all seniors are active on social networking sites like Facebook.

That’s great news for seniors. Social media can help older adults feel connected and engaged with friends and family. The down side is that an increasing amount of scammers and con artists are using these types of platforms to find victims.

Facebook Isn’t Always Safe

From phishing scams to privacy issues, there’s a veritable minefield of dangers to watch out for on social media. Teaching senior loved ones how to stay safe online will allow them to continue connecting with friends. Whether it’s keeping in touch with faraway friends or viewing pictures of grandchildren and other family members, seniors love Facebook!

But adult children and family caregivers need to take steps to ensure their senior loved ones stay safe on social media.

Here’s what you can do to keep your loved one from falling prey to a scammer, hacker, or data thief.

Helping Your Senior Loved One Stay Safe on Facebook

Use these tips to help an older American stay safe on Facebook.

  1. Be Selective When it Comes to Making ‘Friends’

It’s tempting to accept every friend request you receive but the fact is, not everyone is a friend. Your senior loved one should be discouraged from accepting friend requests from people they don’t know offline.

  1. Take Advantage of Privacy Controls

The personal information you make public on Facebook can put you at risk. Make sure your senior loved one isn’t revealing too much to the general public. Snoopers are everywhere, looking for exactly this type of data.

Help your loved one by logging in together and reviewing the privacy settings on their account. Restrict public access to information about them as well as to their photos and profile.

  1. Use a Strong Password

This may seem obvious to you, but older adults likely have a different notion of what ‘strong’ means when it comes to passwords. Help them establish truly strong passwords on each social media and email account they have. Use caps, small letters, numbers, and symbols and avoid including any real words.

  1. Be Wary of Messages from Strangers

If a senior receives a private message on Facebook from someone they don’t know, it could be a scammer. Encourage them ignore all these types of messages. Remind them this is good practice for email, too.

  1. Be Picky About What Gets Clicked

Clicking on a link in a Facebook status update often takes you to a website. Sometimes these types of sites are risky. Even clicking on a link can cause malware to download. Make sure your senior loved one understands to be conservative when clicking around on Facebook.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Block People

If your loved one no longer wants to see updates from a particular user on Facebook, assure them it’s OK to block that person. This effectively makes it impossible for that person to see your loved one’s posts, too. And best of all, they can’t contact your loved one by private messaging.

Legacy Senior Living Has Lots More Tips Like This

If you learned something here today, we’re glad we could help. Visit our blog often to discover what else we’re doing to help connect caregivers, seniors, and their families with the resources they need.

And if you’re interested in assisted living, independent living or memory care for a senior loved one, we hope you’ll contact the Legacy Senior Living community nearest you or call us at (423) 478-8071.  We’ll be happy to help!

Explore the Benefits of Living in Independent Living

September 19, 2017

Seniors practicing yoga

An independent living community can be the ideal choice for many older adults and their families. Here are 6 benefits to know and consider.

We know that you have an overwhelming variety of choices when it comes to selecting a senior living community for your loved one. Our goal is to help simplify what can sometimes be a confusing process. Today, we’ll discuss the benefits of one of the most popular choices – an independent living community.

But before we present these benefits, let’s first talk about what an independent living community is.

What is Independent Living?

Briefly put, independent living communities are intended to provide support for older adults who are still in relatively good health. Most independent residents are able to tend to the majority of their day-to-day needs with minimal assistance.

Independent living communities range from easy-to-maintain studio apartments to villas or small cottage-style homes.

While every independent living community has a distinct personality and features different amenities, they all tend to have several important factors in common.

Six Great Benefits of Independent Living Communities

Six of the most attractive benefits older adults will find in independent living communities include:

  1. Variety of Services

Independent living communities feature a variety of services designed to make your senior loved one’s life easier. These often include housekeeping/laundry, personalized meal plans, transportation services, and access to fitness facilities and life enrichment classes.

  1. Beautiful, Maintenance-Free Living Options

Residents can choose from a variety of attractive floor plans and styles. It might be a stand-alone villa or an apartment. What they all have in common is maintenance-free living. No lawn care or snow shoveling required!

  1. Access to Help and Support

Some independent living communities have their own private duty home care on-site to provide assistance if needed. Many are on the same campus as an assisted living community, should a higher level of care be needed.

  1. 24-Hour Safety and Security

Independent living communities offer safe and secure living environments with onsite security staff and an emergency call system. This can give seniors and their loved ones greater peace of mind.

  1. Social Opportunities are Abundant

Independent living offers a variety of opportunities for socializing, entertainment, and fun. This is often one of the primary reasons older adults make this type of move.

  1. Conveniences Galore

These communities usually provide conveniences like trash removal, transportation, and lawn care. Some even offer concierge services, an on-site wellness center and a beauty/barber shop.

Legacy is Here to Help

From answering your questions to sharing information on the Aid & Attendance program for veterans, the team at Legacy Senior Living is here to assist you whenever and however we can. Contact us today to schedule a visit or tour of the Legacy community nearest you!