Author Archives: Dan Smilloff

Talking to your Loved Ones about Senior Living

Do you have loved ones who are struggling to maintain their independence at home? It may seem obvious to
you that they need to consider a senior living environment for their own safety, but, it may not be so obvious to
them. How, then, do you talk to them about your concerns in a serious but respectful way? Here are some tips.

Consider the setting, and stay positive

Be mindful of the appropriate place for a discussion. Is your loved one likely to be more at ease in their favorite restaurant or coffee shop, or is home the best place? When everyone is comfortable in their surroundings, the stage is set for a more productive discussion. Remember, too, that it is all about your loved ones. You obviously love them and want the best for them – but don’t forget to tell them that!

A Primrose employee visits with a resident about her family.

A Primrose employee visits with a resident about her family.

It is important to share your concerns and fears, and to do so in love. Give specific examples, like “you took the wrong medicine dosage twice last week,” or “lately, I’ve been over two or three times a week to help you out and I’m concerned what might happen if I am not here to answer your call the next time you need something.” This can be a difficult conversation to have, and your loved ones may react in one of several different ways:

  • They may deny that there is a problem.
  • They may become angry or confused about you questioning their ability to be independent.
  • They may accept the truth that they need help.
  • They may shut down and refuse to discuss the situation any further.

Regardless of the reaction, they need to know the truth, even if it may take some time for them to think things through.

Talk about solutions

Finding a resolution to the issue is more important than the issue itself. Talk with your loved ones about possible solutions that you can work on together. Remember, just like your concerns about their safety, they have their own concerns when it comes to moving out of a home they have lived in for so many decades. Share resources with them, online and in print. Have a no-pressure lunch at a local retirement community as an introduction to the world of senior living. Start slow, ask lots of questions, and be there to support your loved ones. In the end, you will be glad you did..

If you have additional questions about senior living, Primrose would be honored to assist you. Just go to www.primroseretirement.com for more info.

Addressing the Myths of Memory Care

If you are researching memory care options, it is important to be able to separate the fact from the fiction. There are many misconceptions floating around regarding memory care, but with a little bit of sound education, you’ll be able to confidently work your way through the information minefield and find the best option for your loved one. To give you a head start, here are some important memory care myths to be aware of:

A mother and her daughter share stories from childhood at Primrose.

A mother and her daughter share stories from childhood at Primrose.

Gloomy gray floor tiles. Shared rooms separated by just a curtain. Indifferent staff. These are all figments of an outdated perception of what memory care communities are really like. Modern memory care residents enjoy beautifully designed private apartments, modern amenities, and a nursing staff dedicated not just to caring for their needs but enriching their lives by preserving and celebrating their identity and their legacy. In short, it is all about our residents.

Myth #2 – Memory care communities are not safe

Those living with dementia are generally much safer living in a community like Primrose than they would be living alone. Our nursing staff are here 24/7, so professional care is available any time it is needed. Our communities are also secured to help ensure that nobody comes or goes without the staff knowing. This provides peace of mind for family members and residents.

Myth #3 – Memory care communities are too expensive

When compared to many nursing homes or around-the-clock home healthcare, memory care communities can prove to be much more affordable than you might think. When researching your options, be sure to ask about doing a cost comparison with someone at the community so that you can see the benefit for yourself. You’ll also want to ask about any options that may be available to you to get additional assistance in paying for care.

Myth #4 – It is best for everyone if I take care of my loved ones myself

What many caregivers learn is that as dementia advances, the demands on their personal time and their own physical and emotional health can become excessive. We want the best for our loved ones, and sometimes we feel guilty about asking them to make a move to a memory care community. Our jobs, families, churches, and community responsibilities already keep us very busy. Even though our intentions are good, the addition of caregiving to our already hectic schedules can lead to burnout.  At Primrose, caregivers in our memory care communities participate in ongoing training to help them truly understand the process of dementia and how they can modify and adapt what they do each day to add meaning and value to our residents’ lives.

Remember, if you need help, ask! Primrose can visit with you about your loved ones and help talk through what your next steps should be. We would be honored to help you. Just visit www.primroseretirement.com for additional information.

Moving a Loved One with Dementia

Are you are taking care of a loved one with dementia? Perhaps you have reached a point where you believe that a move to a memory care community is the best choice for the health and happiness of both you and your loved one. This topic can seem difficult and intimidating, especially if there is resistance to the idea. Here are a few things to consider before having that conversation:

A Family spends time together at Primrose Retirement Community

A Family spends time together at Primrose Retirement Community

Are your loved ones capable of making this decision on their own? Remember, if their dementia easily leads to confusion or causes them to struggle with small decisions, they will likely struggle with more significant ones as well. Someone who is having trouble remembering faces, or who requires assistance dressing or taking medications on time and in the right amounts, is likely unable to determine on their own whether or not they can live alone safely.

Know what to say and who will say it

It is important to remember that anything can happen when the topic of moving to a memory care community is discussed. Your loved ones may agree that they need to make a move for their own safety and for the well-being of their family. They may also react in anger and say things in response that you may find shocking. If this happens, you have to remember that it is the dementia talking and not your loved one. It can be difficult for someone living with dementia to control their emotions, so it is important that the person doing the talking is strong enough to handle it if the reply is less than courteous.  If they are unhappy with the idea of making a move, try talking through the issue with them. Ask them why they are struggling. Help your loved ones to think through their fears and verbalize them so you can have a discussion together. Reassure them by letting them know that they will be moving to a place where they can still do all the things that they love. Let them know that you love them and that you want them to be safe and happy, but stay focused and keep your concerns front and center.

Making the move

No matter your age or physical condition, moving is difficult. It will take time, perhaps six months or more, for your loved ones to get used to living in a new place – but when moving day arrives, there are some things that can be done to make the process a bit easier.  Re-create the place that makes them most comfortable. Where do your loved ones feel the most comfortable in their home? Around the kitchen table? In their favorite living room chair? At their sewing desk? Wherever that place may be, you’ll want to move it to their new home and re-create it exactly as it is in their current one. This will provide a sense of familiarity and comfort.

Preserve routines

When getting up in the morning, does your loved one prefer coffee and a newspaper prior to getting ready? If your loved one had a tough day, would they prefer to wind down alone while sipping their favorite drink or would they prefer to be around a few people they love to help them chat about their day? After they are done reading their favorite book, do they put it on a shelf or do they place it under their pillow? It is important to observe these types of small routines and then replicate them. So after you’ve made the bed, be sure to place that favorite book under the pillow, just as it was at home.

If you have questions about dementia and how it is affecting your loved ones, Primrose would be honored to help you. Just visit www.primroseretirement.com for additional assistance.

Staying Connected with Far-Flung Family Members

Part of the magic of being retired involves having the freedom to spend more time making memories with your children and grandchildren – especially if they live close by. It is not always so easy, though, for many whose loved ones live in other parts of the country – or the world. For those who can’t walk across town and spend the day together with their families, there are other worthwhile methods of staying connected that are just as fulfilling and serve as a great way to “fill in the gaps” until you can see them again.


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Utilize Technology
For the more tech-savvy among us, talking to loved ones anywhere in the world is as simple as a click of a button on a desktop computer, a tablet computer, or a cell phone. Popular programs like Skype and Apple’s Facetime allow voice chat with video so you can talk to one another and see one another as well. If your device has a camera and a microphone, and if you have an internet connection, it is hard to find a more personal way to spend time with your family without actually being there! If you have a cell phone or tablet, you can also take photos and videos and share them with your family via social media like Facebook and also through emails and text messages. The more connected you are, the easier it will be for you to stay connected to loved ones no matter the geographic distance between you.


Don’t Forget the Personal Touch
Nothing replaces the warmth and personality contained within the pages of a handwritten letter. There is something very special about reading a letter and knowing that the sender had you in mind when putting pen to paper. Getting into a routine of sending weekly or monthly letters will give your loved ones something to look forward to – and you can add a little extra magic by adding something to the letter each time. Maybe it is a coin you collected on your honeymoon, or a gift card to a favorite shopping destination. Remember – when you write them in this way,they will write back, giving you something exciting to look forward to as well. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to start making memories!

If you or your loved ones are looking for senior living, Primrose would be honored to help. Just go to
www.primroseretirement.com for more info.

Why a Good Night’s Sleep is so Important

Everyone feels better after a good night’s sleep. According to the National Institute on Aging, seniors should get 7-9 hours of sleep every night, but many are slow to fall asleep and up multiple times throughout the night. If you or a loved one are dealing with sleep issues, it is important to understand what is happening and what actions you can take to remedy the situation before it has a negative impact on your health.


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How does sleep a?ect your health?
Harvard University studies indicate that insufficient sleep can contribute to medical conditions such as
diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity and can compromise the immune system – making it harder for the body to fend o? illness. It can also impact memory including the ability to concentrate. Most experts agree that getting the right amount of sleep is as important to overall health as good nutrition and exercise. Getting a good night’s sleep is also key in providing the body with an opportunity to recover from the wear and tear of everyday life. Your body repairs damaged tissue, enhances muscle growth, and even regulates hormones and metabolism while sleeping.


Sleep patterns can change with age
According to the National Sleep Foundation, seniors tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more
trouble staying asleep than when they were younger despite the fact that their sleep needs remain the same. Sometimes this difficulty falling asleep can be attributed to the side e?ects of certain medications, which is why it is important to tell your doctor if you notice a change in your sleep patterns. Also, as we age, the timing of our bodily functions can change. We may still get 7-8 hours of sleep but find that we go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier than we used to. These kinds of changes to the rhythm of the body can be disruptive to sleep, especially if they are dramatic in nature.


How can I sleep better?
Having a dark sleep environment that is not filled with artificial light (such as the television) gives your
body the signal that it is time to sleep. Also – make sure you do not eat or drink in excess before going to bed, or you will likely be up in the middle of the night using the bathroom which is disruptive to deep sleep. Regular exercise will also help the body prepare for rest in the evening – as will getting into a nightly routine of reading for a few minutes before bed.


If you or a loved one are dealing with sleep-related issues and need some additional advice on how to help, Primrose would be honored to visit with you. Just visit www.primroseretirement.com for more info or to contact the Primrose closest to you.

Easing the Stress of Being a Caregiver

If you are playing the role of primary caregiver for a loved one, you know the amount of stress that can be associated with this task. We all want to help our aging loved ones retain as much freedom and independence as we can for as long as possible – but for those who are not mindful of their own needs, the demands of caregiving can lead to depression, anger, anxiety, and worse.

capture-one-catalog1059Signs of caregiver-related stress

Research from the Mayo Clinic indicates that caregivers may be so focused on meeting the needs of their loved ones that they neglect their own physical and emotional well-being. Too much stress over an extended period of time can be bad for your health. As a caregiver you are more prone to experience symptoms of anxiety or depression. You may not get enough sleep which can lead to irritability – and your diet may be negatively a?ected which increases your chance for other medical problems like heart disease and diabetes. In the end, it is important to remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to e?ectively help take care of your loves ones either.

Know Your Limitations

It takes a strong person to be a caregiver, but even the most resilient people have limits. Always be
aware of the type of care you can safely provide and never cross the line by trying to do something you are not comfortable doing. It is not always easy to admit when the care needs of your loved ones become too complicated for you to handle safely on your own – but when this happens, Primrose is here to help. We work with caregivers who are concerned about the well-being of their loved ones every day. We assess their needs, develop a plan tailored to their unique situation, and give you peace of mind in knowing that they are safe 24 hours a day.


We want you to enjoy your time with family and leave the caretaking to us. If you have questions
about how Primrose can assist you and your loved ones, we would be honored to visit with you. Just go
to www.primroseretirement.com for additional info and to find the Primrose nearest to you.

Staying Healthy as you Age

As we age, we experience a greater number of life changes that can a?ect our health. Whether it is having an “empty nest” for the first time, retirement, the loss of loved ones, or just the physical challenges that can come with aging – it is what we learn from these major life events that is the key to us remaining healthy.

Adjust your hobbies

_a_blg-FallPreventionAs you reach your 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and beyond, healthy aging involves maintaining an awareness of the physical changes you are going through – and making adjustments accordingly. You will want to continuously adopt new hobbies that make it easier for you to stay active, and you may need to make some adjustments that will allow you to continue enjoying your current hobbies as well.  One of the myths of aging is that it always brings about declining health or disability. While it is true that some illnesses become more common as we age, it is also true that many seniors find it easier to maintain their fitness after retirement than it was when they were working and raising a family.

Don’t ignore your emotions

For some, finding healthy ways to cope with the emotional challenges of aging can be difficult. As we age, the tendency can be to focus on the things we lose rather than being grateful for the things we have. It is important to be in fellowship with other seniors and to acknowledge your feelings and share them with your friends and loved ones. It is also important to your emotional health to accept the things you can’t control and, instead, focus on the things you can.  Some find that their limitations are mitigated by moving to a retirement community. They are surrounded by their peers and provided with great dining options and spacious living arrangements. Assistance is available for those who need it and, often times, physical and emotional health improves dramatically in these settings.

If you are interested in learning more about retirement living, Primrose would be honored to assist you. Just visit www.primroseretirement.com for more information.

Building a Circle of Friends in your Senior Years

_K0C8110Retirement has many benefits. Among them is an abundance of time to do new things and meet new people. One of the greatest joys in life is making new friends, and you are never too old to enrich your life by bringing new ones into the fray. Here are a few things you can try to create new friendships in your golden years:

Volunteer your time
There is much you can give back to your community in retirement. Volunteering is good for your mental and physical health, and it puts you in touch with others who share the same passions as you. Building these
connections often leads to lifelong friendships, and there are so many ways to serve. Just contact your local senior center or a Primrose close to you for a list of opportunities available, and get plugged in!


Consider working part time
Many seniors continue working part-time after retirement – not necessarily because they need the money, but because it helps them to stay active and meet new people. You may be surprised how many of these jobs are available in your community, and how ?exible the hours really are. If you thrive when interacting when interacting with other people, this may be a good opportunity to explore.


Consider making the move to a senior living community
Everyone’s situation is di?erent. Some seniors live in areas surrounded by friends and family who are there to help them in times of need. Others may be more secluded, with family living far away and a diminishing circle of friends to keep them company. If you or a loved one are feeling alone, a senior living community may provide the answer. Both independent and assisted living arrangements provide increased safety and a social environment where residents are surrounded by their peers. It is easy to meet new people, and great friendships are born on a regular basis.


If you or a loved one have questions about senior living, Primrose would be honored to assist you. Just visit www.primroseretirement.com for more information.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

According to a blog article by Dr. Jerry Doctrow, data shows that it can cost more for a senior to stay at home and receive medical care than it would for them to move to a retirement community. A statement like this no doubt runs contrary to what many people may think, but when taking into consideration all the factors at play in determining overall cost, it can be eye-opening.


Studying the averages
Dr. Doctrow calculated the average cost for independent living ($3,076/month), assisted living ($4,722/month), and memory care ($6,082/month). He then calculated the average costs of a senior living in a $150,000 home with the mortgage paid and receiving basic home-care services. When figuring in basic living and operating costs such as maintenance, utilities, property taxes, and meals the average total comes out to about $2,400/ month.


That seems quite modest, and far below even the average cost of an independent living apartment in a senior living community. However, when home care costs, conservatively averaging approximately $1,520/ month, are added to the equation, the overall average cost of living at home increases to about $3,900/month.  Then, to account for the value of the home itself, an estimate of the amount you could earn from renting your home (also referred to as implied rent) would also need to be calculated. A 7% cap rate on the assumed $150,000 value of the home would add up to $875/ month, bringing the total monthly cost of remaining at home to about $4,800. This adds up to be a bit more than the average cost of an assisted living apartment in a retirement community. The numbers don’t lie!

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The benefits of being social
Financial considerations will always be a major factor in the decision to make a move to a retirement community, but they are not the only ones that are of importance. A major perk of living in a retirement community is the ability to easily build new friendships that keep your social life active and vibrant. Finances are certainly important, but the health benefits of being part of a community are also impossible to ignore. Depression is less likely, your mind and heart will benefit from endless opportunities to learn and do new things, and your family relationships will strengthen when you can focus your time on simply being together and enjoying each other’s company.


If you have questions about any of the topics covered in this article, we would be honored to assist you. Just visit www.primroseretirement.com for more info.

Don’t Just Stand There – Do Something!

_K0C7535Living an active lifestyle has many health benefits that can lead to a longer, happier life. If, however, you are not getting enough exercise, you may be at greater risk for serious conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, and depression. Understanding the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle will go a long way towards promoting better physical and emotional health.


The health e?ects are real
The Archives of Internal Medicine says that daily physical activity reduces the risk of death by 75% in older adults compared to those who are not physically active. Just 30 minutes of physical activity each day will help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, dementia, depression, and a host of other conditions.


Daily activities may be a?ected
Seniors are especially at risk for difficulty in performing activities of daily living due to lack of physical activity.  When a person sits too much, it causes them to lose lean muscle tissue. Once this happens, home maintenance tasks like mowing the lawn or raking leaves can become
almost impossible. Basic tasks like showering, dressing, and even eating can also become quite difficult – which can lead to less personal freedom and greater dependence on others.


You can stay active at any age
There are many practical things you can do to stay active, no matter your age. When you go shopping, try parking your car at the edge of the parking lot and walking to the entrance. Take a walk through your local city park
or nature trail a few times a week. Not only is it good exercise, but it helps you to meet new people to boot! Remember, if you are not sure what you can handle, check with your doctor. They can work with you to help develop an exercise plan that is safe.


If you or a loved one have additional questions, we would be honored to help. Just visit www.primroseretirement.com for more info.