Senior Health in Omaha – June 2021
Senior health and wellness have always been priorities for the senior-living industry, but maybe no more so than they have since the advent of COVID-19 into all of our lives. In fact, you would be challenged to find a single senior-living company or community that is operating just as it did before March 2020. As the senior population has received COVID vaccinations and some restrictions have begun to loosen, senior communities and in-home services and activities are coming back and brightening the hearts of seniors across the region.
Still, getting to the age where you or your family start talking about senior living or in-home care can be the start of an emotional ride, for sure. Feelings of denial or fear are completely normal but developing a plan and knowing when to put it into play can help. We talked with senior health and living companies and communities in the Omaha area that always maintain senior health and wellness as the top priority for their residents or clients.
See The Trainer® Midwest (seethetrainer.com/location/omaha-ne) is a great place to go for all the medical supplies and assists our bodies need as we age. They are a medical-supply company that specializes in the sale of orthopedic bracing, sports medicine, rehabilitation, and home-health products, and they work with insurance companies to help defray associated costs.
“See The Trainer is in-network with most private insurances and is able to file Medicare and Medicaid,” said Owner Kristie Egan. “Just ask your health care provider to call us and ask for more details regarding coverage or product details.”
Many of the products that See The Trainer Midwest carries include things that are highly beneficial to seniors, whether they are living at home or in a care facility or community.
“Folding walkers, compression stockings, back braces, posture supports, and various canes are just some of the products that we carry in house,” Kristie said. “We also have a number of vendors that carry valuable products for seniors that we can always order. These products include seated walkers, compression gloves, or virtually any other product that is found useful. If you have any other questions or you want to learn more about See The Trainer, visit us at seethetrainer.com/location/omaha-ne or call us at (402) 493-4747!”
Small and Mighty
Many seniors will do all they can to continue living in their own homes, where they may have lived their entire lives. Even if the time comes that they need a little help getting around or completing everyday tasks on their own, Key Home Care (keyhomecare.us) will do everything they can to help them stay where they want to be. Theirs is not a huge corporation, but a mighty one. Founder and Owner Sandra Miller built the company with the mission to ensure seniors can maintain their independence by providing compassionate and experienced care.
“For most of my adult life, I’ve worked with seniors, and over the years I have found that we can learn so much from them, and we owe them so much for everything they’ve done,” Sandra said. “Being able to serve them is truly an honor. They are treasures and being able to help them stay wherever they call home, that’s what we strive to do.”
Key Home Care provides personal caregivers for all your specific needs, as well as 24-hour support, free in-home consultations, and even compassionate and attentive bedside sitters. Being a smaller company allows them to provide uniquely personalized care by on-staff caregivers and basically build an extended family with clients and their loved ones.
“We treat every client as an individual,” Sandra said. “There is no blanket care plan, answer, or way to provide treatment for clients. Everyone has their unique experiences and unique wants and needs, and we try to meet them there. I am the owner and have met just about every client. We are small, and we take a lot of time in matching up our caregivers with our clients. All of my clients, their families, and my employees have my cell phone number. I maintain an open-door policy with all of them.”
Building a Bridge
If you’re considering moving your loved one into a home-care or senior living and want help navigating the search and removing the associated guesswork and frustration, we recommend considering Bridge to Better Living (bridgetobetterliving.com). They consult with seniors, their families, and loved ones to connect them with all levels of senior-living communities. They are there to make the process comfortable and specifically tailored to your or your loved one’s needs. The choices for senior-living retirement options are transparent with the FREE assistance of the Bridge to Better Living team, and they have an extensive database of service providers and senior-living communities that covers Lincoln, Omaha, and surrounding areas. Thousands of lives have been changed with their unique one-on-one approach, with gratitude at the core.
“My mentor and retired transition consultant Robbie Nathan once said, ‘We all need to remember there is so much to be grateful for,’” said Margaret Burnham. “It’s not what we don’t have; it’s what we still have. Age may decrease hearing, vision, or agility, but the memories seniors have, the life events they’ve experienced, affect how others’ lives evolve. Each person of age should feel valued, so do not hesitate to ask questions until you have an answer. Bridge to Better Living finds seniors to be inspirational, and we have the latest technologies to continue to serve seniors and their loved ones throughout COVID and whatever lies beyond.”
Navigating Your Journey
Oasis Senior Advisors Omaha (oasissenioradvisors.com/omaha) is another phenomenal option to guide you in your search for senior care and make sure your loved one feels safe, comfortable, and happy while living somewhere affordable and a place that feels like home. Oasis understands that with all the senior-living options available for families to choose from, finding the right one with your loved one can be overwhelming. That’s why they offer FREE housing services for you and your family. Owned by Kyle Johnson, Oasis Senior Advisors is there to walk you through it and help you find the community or living option that is exactly right for your loved one’s needs, likes, and budget.
“We currently partner with over 65 retirement communities to help find a perfect forever home,” Kyle said. “Each community offers different services and amenities, so it’s best to work with an advisor to navigate that process rather than take hours and do all of the homework on your own. We will only recommend communities that fit your financial, medical, and geographical preferences in the Omaha Metro area. An Oasis Senior Advisor will stay with you from the start to finish, even joining you on tours of communities to ensure your questions are being answered and concerns are being addressed.”
Oasis Senior Advisors is part of a national franchise and is an equal opportunity partner in searching for your forever home. Whether you are 100% independent and just want to downsize your home or your loved one needs high-level memory care, they are able to find the perfect fit right here in Omaha.
“We are dedicated to simplifying the process for finding a senior housing situation with your loved one,” Kyle said. “We take the burden of finding a senior housing option off your shoulders by handling all the research and matching services for you. We sit down with you and your family to discuss lifestyle, finances, and other factors and input them into our OasisIQ™ software to find the perfect match. Then, your Oasis advisor will go with you and your loved one to every location, answering any questions or concerns you might have, until you feel comfortable with selecting an option.”
Affordable At-Home Care
If you or a loved one is not ready to move into a senior-living community but needs a little help to stay safely at home, CCA Home Care (ccahomecare.com) is there for you. Also owned by Kyle Johnson, CCA Home Care is the area’s most affordable home-care solution and screens and refers certified nurse assistant (CNA) level caregivers who work privately for clients in their own homes. CCA caregivers are available to help with things like morning and evening routines, companionship throughout the day, medication reminders and administration, and transportation to and from personal appointments. Throughout the pandemic, CCA Home Care has helped seniors adapt to change and thrive.
“The pandemic has changed everything we were once used to,” said Kyle said. “This industry has stayed true to serving our elderly population and has made the appropriate adjustments required to reduce the stresses of change. Many caregivers are receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, which should reduce the concerns of transmitting the virus as we begin to return to normal. CCA Home Care is recording all caregivers who have received their vaccinations and can provide that information to any client prior to allowing a visitor in your home.”
CCA Home Care has office locations in Omaha and Lincoln. Between the two locations, they currently have more than 235 active CNAs on their Home Care Registry. All of them are licensed through the State of Nebraska, privately insured, and bonded.
If your loved one is experiencing memory issues due to Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia and the time has come that it is safest for them to move to senior living, your options are multitudinous, but one of the top-notch facilities to consider is Prairie Meadows Alzheimer’s Care Center (frontiermgmt.com/communities/prairie-meadows-alzheimers-special-care-center). It is a specialized Memory Care community that provides exceptional person-centered holistic care to residents with cognitive impairment. They take your loved one’s health and happiness seriously and offer unique programming for residents that helps stimulate the brain.
“We do a lot of psychosocial programming for residents,” said Prairie Meadows Community Resource Director Don Woods. It is important to challenge our residents. We also do daily exercises with our seniors in our community as well as have a walking club that takes walks around our community every afternoon. Our residents are 100% vaccinated, as are most of our team members. We are offering ongoing vaccination options to help in doing our part, and we have provided a host of education opportunities for our team members, families, and residents to help in making their decisions about vaccination.”
While going through the pandemic has been challenging for everyone, Prairie Meadows is finding a bright side: They are finding that families of residents treasure their visits with their loved ones more than ever before. It seems that distance truly did make their hearts grow fonder—and the residents, their families, and the Prairie Meadows staff are all beneficiaries! In more exciting news, if you’re ready to see Prairie Meadows live and in-person, they’re ready for you again!
“We are seeing residents benefit greatly from being able to have visits from loved ones,” Don said. “We are open for visitors, as long as they pass the screening test—and we are also open to tours! If you want to learn more or set up a tour, contact our marketing director at (402) 391-2790, email email@example.com, or visit prairiemeadowsseniorliving.com.”
If you’re looking for a senior-living community that focuses on providing whole body-and-mind health, be certain to consider Immanuel Communities (immanuel.com). Their Thrive by Immanuel program offers comprehensive life enrichment support for Immanuel residents. The approach was created by their senior-living experts and incorporates nine elements of whole-person wellness: music, wellness, connection, faith, recreation, community, creativity, service, and lifelong learning.
“Thrive programming has been a foundation to resident wellbeing as we responded to a global pandemic,” said Immanuel Vice President Marketing, Sales and Communication Jennifer Knecht. “Our dedicated employees were able to reimagine our guiding elements to remain focused on overall wellbeing and safety for those we serve. During the last year, we have helped residents learn how to use Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook and other social media to connect with their families; we’ve created broadcast fitness resources that residents could view from their apartments; and we organized phone clubs, balcony exercises, courtyard concerts, and more. Plus, our resident portals, or touchscreen devices available at many Immanuel Communities, helped residents stay connected with community employees and services.”
In non-pandemic times, Immanuel’s state-of-the-art wellness centers include indoor pools, spas, wellness classes, and one-on-one training opportunities that help residents achieve goals like managing a chronic condition or getting ready for a trip or special event. Following their vaccination clinics and successful ongoing infection-control practices, residents are excited to see many of these services reopen in limited capacity.
“Spiritual support is another key aspect to life at Immanuel,” Jennifer said. “As a mission-driven, faith-based organization, we’re thrilled to offer onsite pastoral support for residents of all faiths. Whether that’s help after a life-changing event or a supportive hand during uncertain times, our onsite pastors provide phenomenal benefit across our campuses.”
Cornerstone of Care
Established in 1906, Midwest Geriatrics, Inc (omahaseniorcare.org).’s Florence Home Healthcare Center has long been a cornerstone of senior care in Omaha. Located in the heart of Florence, it is a skilled nursing community renowned for treating their residents and families with care, respect, confidence, support, and respite. While the pandemic definitely served up its challenges, Midwest Geriatrics provided quality care for residents throughout, going above and beyond to keep them happy and healthy. Now they are excited to be returning to more normal activities.
“Our staff and residents started receiving the vaccinations as soon as they were available to us in January,” said Midwest Geriatrics CEO Lois Jordan. “Since then, our residents have been able to resume dinner and activities outside of their rooms while maintaining safe distances as the CDC and CMS recommends. There are still concerns about the safety of the vaccine and the length of effectiveness, but our pharmacy team is consistently educating staff and residents and offers new information as soon as it is available.”
Lois said residents and family members now are allowed to have scheduled visits with residents, and proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn in all Midwest facilities. The isolation of the pandemic was hard on everyone, and residents there are really thriving again being able to see their loved ones. The unfolding of COVID-19 did bring some important realizations and new long-term health-focused practices to the fore over the last year, too.
“The pandemic has brought to light the vulnerability in our population,” Lois said. “The attention validates the concerns of this aging population, whether living at home or in a community. From a healthcare perspective, it really put staff in a positive light. It highlighted the tremendous work that frontline staff do every day and especially during this pandemic. As an organization, we have created a position dedicated to testing and reporting, and we are better equipped for change and the ability to do work differently than we did in the past.”
Florence Home is licensed for 126 beds, is Medicare- and Medicaid-certified, provides transportation to and from doctor appointments, offers physician house calls, has full-time pharmacists and on-site pharmacies, hosts many resident-driven creative activities, and has a main dining room that offers choices for each meal. What’s more, they offer rehabilitation services to help residents recover from an injury, surgery, or a physically limiting illness. Their physical, occupational, and speech/language therapists who work on-site to assist these individuals in achieving their highest levels of ability and independence. In fact, 50% of their population, on average, rehabs to a more independent level of care!
Midwest Geriatrics also offers a Respite Care program for individuals whose daily caregiver may be unavailable for a short time or who just needs a much-deserved break. Respite Care is a simple, easy-to-use program that offers all the benefits of a skilled nursing facility for just a few days at a time. In short, Florence Home places its top priority on seniors’ health and wellness each and every day, so families can rest assured that they are safe and in good hands.
Aging in Place
If your loved one wants to remain at home but needs some level of assistance to stay there, you’ll also want to consider Right at Home In Home Care & Assistance (rightathome.net). They offer top-shelf caregiving services for almost any family and situation in southeast Omaha and southwest Iowa. Their in-home care lets loved ones enjoy health lives in the comfort of a familiar environment.
“We believe in the mission, principles, and values that Right at Home was built on and try to live up to those standards in all we do,” said Right at Home Franchise Owner Kristi Benning. “We try every day to be of service to both groups. We take seriously our responsibility to those who are in need by either providing the Right Care with our wonderful care-team members, or by being a resource for them while they figure out what’s best for their future. We are excited to offer consistent, high-quality standards and care across Omaha, Council Bluffs, and the surrounding areas!”
Right at Home tailors their care to your unique situation through a Custom Care Plan that includes whatever your loved one needs from any of their care categories, including companion care, personal care, and specialty services like Alzheimer’s or other dementia care, skilled nursing, couples care, and transitions from hospitals, nursing facilities, outpatient clinics, or surgery centers.
Another terrific option for seniors who want to continue to live at home is CareBuilders at Home (carebuildersathomeomaha.com). They provide in-home, non-medical services—not just for seniors but for people of all ages. They are dedicated to helping clients lead dignified, independent lifestyles in the comfort and safety of their own homes. They provide experience and options that support aging in place and maintaining independence, including safety-alert devices, medication management, electronic dispensers, and other assistance.
“You are not alone,” said Executive Director and Owner Brenda Oullette. “We are here to help care for your loved one at home and give your family the support you need to manage the challenges of the changes you are faced with. CareBuilders at Home understands the struggles families face, and it is our mission to provide as much love and support to not only the clients we serve but also to their families.”
Trained to Serve
When your loved one moves into a senior-care community, you want to be sure that the staff not only cares about the residents but is well-trained to serve their needs. You don’t have to worry about that with the assisted-living and memory-care support teams at Ovation by Avamere Heartwood Preserve (ovationbyavamere.com/omaha-nebraska)—Ovation’s newest community opening later this year in Omaha. With the additional stress that the COVID pandemic added to the sometimes-difficult decision to move into and assisted-care community, it’s crucial that you find a place staffed by senior-living professionals who make you feel comfortable. Ovation by Avamere promotes open dialogue and effective communications with each potential resident and their families because there are many nuances to each situation.
“We are here to listen to the specific needs of each resident and their family and create a care plan that puts the family at ease about their loved one’s care,” said General Manager Stephanie Grade. “Ovation not only has the latest technology to support each individual’s independence, but we also have one of the most extensive training programs for our team members. Our team spends two weeks learning our values and 30 days of job shadowing before they are allowed to be in their perspective role alone.”
Ovation by Avamere Heartwood Preserve also provides fabulous opportunities for people 55 and older who are looking for an active, independent, luxury retirement community. Regardless of what your priorities are—fitness, wellness, culinary options, transportation, or other interests—Ovation has it covered.
Making the Most of Every Day
While we all have people we love and want to take care of, including those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, there may come a time when the needs of a person who has a disease are too much to for a family member to manage alone. That is when Agemark’s CountryHouse Residence for Memory Care (countryhouse.net) can step in. They work with families whose loved one may be in the early stages of memory loss, so they know what resources are available if and when they need them. CountryHouse also sponsors a regular family-support group—to learn about how to cope with cognitive memory loss when it involves someone you love—and participants do not have to know someone living there to participate.
They operate on the philosophy that “So long as a person is living, they are on a journey — and there remains ample opportunity for joy and for wonder.” This philosophy guides everything they do on behalf of their residents and families. In short, they don’t settle for providing a place for people just to stay. Instead, they seek to make every part of every day truly engaging to the residents who live with them — providing them with real joy and fulfillment.
“Our view of those who have memory loss is that, if it comes with physical or cognitive challenges, they’re just challenges,” said COO Marty Hug. “We don’t see age. We don’t see challenges. We just see people. And all people want the same thing: to live a purposeful, well-lived life. So we focus on them individually and use our resources to give them a voice that’s heard. We help them to grow, to have fun, and to live the life they always wanted before their diagnosis.”
Our seniors are the very heart and soul of Omaha, and we’re clearly blessed to have such top-notch care facilities and services to keep them safe, healthy, and happy, even in difficult times. Our thanks go out to every person involved in senior care. You are truly heroes!