While there is not a specific age to qualify an individual as a “senior citizen,” Western cultures typically begin to use this term at ages 60-65. Many who reach this age are still in good health and continue to live independently at home. Others may find themselves in need of some assistance with certain activities, or their health deteriorating due to diseases such as dementia. Regardless of your age and health, or that of a family member, it’s never too early to begin planning for senior care.

One of the biggest pieces of advice that we receive from senior living services and facilities is to start planning right away. You never know when care is going to be needed. Unanticipated events, such as a negative diagnosis or an injury, can cause one’s health and independence to diminish quickly. However, no one is ever upset that they came into an unexpected event prepared!

When you choose to begin planning, it can be overwhelming when looking at your options for senior care. According to the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), there are 200 assisted living communities in the state of Nebraska. Remember, that number just represents assisted living communities – it doesn’t go into all of the other senior living services available in Nebraska, such as independent living communities, at-home care, and health care services.

If the thought of planning for your future or that of your aging loved one’s causes you to feel overwhelmed, you’re not alone – that’s why we spoke to experts from senior living businesses and services right here in our community to help you get a better understanding of what is available in the Omaha area and how they can help you or your loved one continue to thrive in their later stages of life.

Specialized Memory Care

According to the AHCA and the NCAL, 35% of assisted living residents in Nebraska have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. When a large percentage of the assisted living population is living with dementia, it’s important that there are communities available that specialize in Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Here are a couple local communities that can provide exceptional memory care for your loved one.

Prairie Meadows Alzheimer’s Care Center is a part of the Midwest region’s Frontier Senior Living community. The community is also comprised of High Plains in Lincoln and Glen Oaks in Urbandale, IA. Prairie Meadows specializes in memory care and provides exceptional person-centered holistic care to residents with cognitive impairment.

Don Woods
Prairie Meadows

“We pride ourselves on offering a 24/7 on-site nurse,” said Marketing Director Don Woods. “This goes far beyond the minimal regulations of eight hours a day, and it eliminates any stress and anxiety a family may have when placing their loved one in memory care.”

Whether your loved one requires some help with the activities of daily living (ADLs) or is living with the effects of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, their dedicated staff takes great pride in delivering high-quality care that is compassionate, safe, and residentcentered. Prairie Meadows’ services are designed to meet their residents’ physical, emotional, and spiritual needs 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week. They offer enriching activities, exciting social programs, wellness classes, restaurant quality meals, and more.

Finding specialized care for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia-related illness is an incredibly intricate and personal process. Prairie Meadows Alzheimer’s Special Care Center offers freestanding memory care and assisted living services with a team specially trained in memory care. Prairie Meadows also utilizes the SPARK program.

SPARK was inspired by the teachings and research of Maria Montessori and Dr. Cameron Camp and provides meaningful and life-enhancing experiences for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The program engages their residents with proven rehabilitative strategies that strive to heighten interaction, optimize cognitive skills, as well as promote a sense of purpose and accomplishment. SPARK uses tailor-fit assessment tools to evaluate each resident’s capabilities and strengths, so the program can best meet their specific needs.

Day-to-day life at Prairie Meadows is uniquely fit for each resident’s interests.

“One of our residents, Marilyn, used to teach water aerobics for several years when she was younger and now she shares her passion for exercising with others,” Don said. “This is one of many examples of the activities we offer at our community. Other activities include family movie nights, birthday parties, Veteran’s ceremonies, and holiday celebrations.”

On top of fun activities to keep you or your loved ones busy, Prairie Meadows prides themselves in quality amenities that create a safe, at-home atmosphere for their residents. The community features spacious living quarters, spa services, spiritual services, and five-star cuisine.

“We give our residents restaurant-quality dining with multiple options for every meal, three times a day,” Don shared. “We also offer hospitality services, such as regular housekeeping, scheduled transportation for social events, exciting social programs, and more.”

Staying Active while Aging

According the CDC, adults 65 years of age and older who are generally fit and do not have limiting health conditions should get 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week, and work on musclestrengthening at least twice a week. This aims to prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age, as well as grow one’s muscles to allow them to continue to perform their day-today activities without becoming dependent on others.

In the event that you or your loved one finds themselves going into surgery, See The Trainer can help you through the rehabilitation process.

See The Trainer offers a full line of in-stock bracing, home health, and rehabilitation products. Whether your pain results from a chronic condition or an acute injury, they are dedicated to improving your quality of life. For those wanting to pursue an active lifestyle, See The Trainer can help protect your body from re-injuring a past injury with their sports medicine products, or provide exercise products like exercise balls and foam rollers if you prefer to workout at home.

Kristie Egan
See The Trainer

“We have a variety of helpful products that can assist someone going through rehabilitation after a major surgery or injury so that they can safely get back to their normal routine as soon as possible,” shared Owner Kristie Egan.

Kristie also mentioned the ways the products at See The Trainer can help caregivers and those suffering from memory loss.

“If you are a caregiver of someone with memory loss, it may help both you and your loved one to have products that can assist with daily routines,” she explained. “We carry helpful items such as shower chairs, sock aids, canes, dressing sticks, reachers, and toilet safety seats to help you feel comfortable in your day-to-day tasks.”

Visit See The Trainer today to see how they can help you or your loved one continue to stay active and live comfortably at home.

Safety and Convenience at Home

If you are planning to stay in your home as you age, it is important to keep your home up-to-date with products that can help you live a safer, risk-reduced life. ShelfGenie provides custom pullout shelves that fit new or existing cabinets and pantries. These shelves can be installed anywhere in your home including the kitchen, pantry, closets, and bathrooms.

Jay Durmaskin

“Our pullout shelves give you better access, better organization, and usually more storage space,” said Jay Durmaskin, franchise owner. “Installing pullouts means you no longer have to get down on your hands and knees to find items in the back of your cabinets or on the lower shelves. This reduces fall risks and helps when you have problems with your knees, back, hips, or shoulders. In some cases, installing pullouts could be a tax deductible medical expense and might even qualify as a reimbursable expense from your long term care insurance.”

Not only do the shelves provide peace of mind, but they can also be a useful tool for those finding themselves needing more storage in a smaller home. Whether you’re downsizing your home or moving into a retirement community, pullout shelves maximize the amount of storage you can safely access.

In addition to the custom pullouts, ShelfGenie’s other niche area is closets. Their custom closets are designed to the client’s needs, including the use of drawers, shelves, and the height of closet rods that work for their clothing. ShelfGenie also does a no-cost, no obligation visit with the client to design a solution that is customized to their needs. Some of ShelfGenie’s clients also add lighting to the sides of their closets or other spaces to offer additional illumination. This especially helps when the closet or cabinet has little light, and provides assistance to people with limited eyesight.

“The installation process starts with a free design consultation with no obligation,” said Jay. “Once a purchase has been made, a company-certified installer will conduct a field measurement to make sure every shelf is fit perfectly to your cabinet size. All of our pullouts are custom-built for the cabinets in your home. There is also no need to outsource installation, as we provide the installation service once your shelves are built.”

The entire design and build process takes four to six weeks, with most installations taking less than a day. The shelves have a lifetime warranty, which means that they truly are a one-time purchase.

Living a Full Life

A lifetime of hard work and service is worth a standing ovation and the chance to engage at your own pace. Ovation Heartwood Preserve is an urban, upscale active lifestyle community where independent living, assisted living, and memory care are inspired by life and Omaha’s interwoven history and scenery. General Manager Stephanie Grade dug deeper into what makes Ovation stand out in the senior living community industry.

Stephanie Grade
Ovation Heartwood Preserve

“Ovation is a place where older adults can stay active, vibrant, and connected to the world,” Stephanie said. “We offer easy access to 80 acres of parks, trails, and green space; different choices of dining; concierge and valet services; customized fitness classes; cultural and entertainment experiences; and much, much more!”

Independent living options include spacious studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom apartments. This choice of living offers residents activities, services, and other amenities while freeing them from the chores of housekeeping and home maintenance. For residents who enjoy their independence but require help with routine activities of daily living, trained staff is available 24-hours-a-day to help with meals, dressing, monitoring medications, and personal hygiene. Memory care is also available at Ovation, and staff is specially trained to provide the quality care needed for seniors living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

“Our community relations team would be happy to set up an appointment with you to answer all of your questions about Ovation,” shared Stephanie. “We understand that moving yourself or a loved one to a retirement community may seem daunting, which is why we do not put you under an obligation or any pressure to complete the process. There is no risk, since reservation deposits are fully refundable!”

Everyone wants to continue to be healthy and live comfortably as they age. These local businesses and experts have the tools and resources to help you and your loved one do just that. From assisted living communities to home care, they each have so much more for senior living than what we can fit on paper, so be sure to reach out to them to learn more about what they can offer to you and your family.