This time last year, many senior living communities were keeping their seniors kept away from visitors in an effort to protect the most susceptible of the population from the rising number of COVID cases that continued to climb through the end of the year. Now, with the new and extremely contagious Delta variant of COVID being spread, it is important to continue to keep our seniors safe. With the holidays coming up, it is also essential that if they are again isolated, they are not feeling the harsh effects that isolation can have on an individual.
According to the CDC, social isolation is associated with a 50% increased risk for dementia and other serious illnesses. The Health Resources and Services Administration says that the health damage of loneliness and isolation has been compared to smoking 15 cigarettes in a day. This comparison gives us an idea of the devastating results that come from senior isolation. While we want to keep our elders healthy, we also need to maintain our interaction with them in the safest way possible. You will read in this story about how senior living services in Lincoln are maintaining safety while operating their business.
You will also learn about the wide array of senior living assistance that Omaha possesses for whatever you or your aging loved one needs. From senior living facilities specializing in one’s area of need to home products that can simplify a senior’s day-to-day routine, you can find it all in this Senior Living story.
Helpful Home Products
As we get older, daily activities that we used to be able to do with ease begin to become more difficult. We are also more likely to undergo a surgery essential to our health and physical abilities, which requires rehabilitation to improve our quality of life. See The Trainer (seethetrainer.com) has a selection of products designed to help seniors navigate their day-to-day lifestyle and recover after major surgeries.
“Our products include canes, sock aids, bathroom accessories, and more,” said Owner Kristie Egan. “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!”
Don’t struggle with your activities any longer—visit the team at See The Trainer to learn how their products can help you live easier.
Looking for housing for yourself as a senior or for the loved senior in your life can be difficult and overwhelming. There are a vast number of factors that go into a big decision such as this one. Thankfully, Oasis Senior Advisors (oasissenioradvisors.com/omaha) is a senior living service with professionals available to help simplify this process. They offer free senior housing services for individuals across the country and take the burden of finding a senior housing option off your shoulders by handling all of the research and matching services for you. They understand that every individual is unique, and whether you are looking for more independent living or need full-time, one-on-one assistance for a loved one with dementia or other special memory needs, they can find housing that will check all the boxes.
“When you work with Oasis Senior Advisors, you begin with a free, no-obligation consultation to understand what to expect and how we are going to help you,” explained Oasis Senior Advisors Owner Kyle Johnson. “After, we will work with you on identifying your lifestyle preferences, care needs, location, and financial considerations, as well as looking into available funding options that will help you reduce the monthly housing cost. We will provide a personalized list of local housing options that we believe will best meet your specific needs and set you up with a tour at each community you select. We will keep going with you until you’ve found the right place and feel confident with your choice!”
Whatever housing service you are looking for when searching for the right home—including assisted living, memory care, residential care homes, respite services, independent living, retirement communities, skilled nursing homes, and hospice care—Oasis Senior Advisors can help you find the right match.
As we age, it becomes more important that we are receiving care and help, but it’s not always a desire to move into a senior living community to receive this assistance. For those who want to remain in the comfort of their home, contact CCA Home Care (ccahomecare.com), also owned by Kyle Johnson of Oasis Senior Advisors. Knowing that a senior’s needs are not confined to a Monday – Friday workweek, they have caregivers who are available to give assistance 24 hours a day. They find these caregivers through the Nurse Registry, where they screen and refer caregivers that match a senior’s needs requests. This registry aims to help seniors receive care at an affordable rate, and the caregivers are placed anywhere between one hour to 24 hours a day, seven days a week, though this can be flexible and change as one’s needs change. After a senior is matched with a caregiver based on needs and requests, the caregiver will meet with the senior and/or their family, case manager, or representative before the care begins in order to better understand their needs and desired care. Finally, if a senior decides the caregiver matched with them is ultimately not the right fit, CCA Home Care will assist in finding a replacement by request.
“The caregivers that we provide include CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants), CMAs (Certified Medication Aides), and nurses,” said Johnson. “These caregivers help seniors with bathing, dressing, toileting, walking/transferring, meal preparation, medication reminders, Alzheimer’s/Dementia care, hospice support, light housekeeping, and much more. They are also surety bonded and carry professional liability insurance.”
If you are new to senior living life and struggling to find the right resources, CCA Home Care has you covered. They provide an ElderCare Resource Handbook on their website, which contains an all-inclusive listing of services, programs, and other resources available for the aging process in your area. This includes government, medical support services, living options, financial, therapies, elder moving, end-of-life services, legal, home health care, and transportation. By understanding the services, resources, and options which are available in the area, seniors and their families can make informed decisions that will result in an enhanced quality of life and allow them to maintain their independence. CCA Home Care has two ElderCare Resource Handbooks, one each for Lincoln and Omaha, so the resources are unique to the location of the senior needing care.
Another option for in-home care is Key Home Care (keyhomecare.us). We spoke to Community Liaison Desiree Rossi, who previously held roles as a spokesperson for the American Heart Association, a certified nursing assistant, and a certified medication administrator, about how Key Home Care can help your family with senior living.
“Key Home Care is a small, locally owned company, which allows the owner and managers to always know each client and caregiver personally,” Rossi explained. “Key prides itself on being available 24/7 for seniors living in their homes needing care. The main objective for Key is to provide quality care and put every effort into making sure seniors get to stay in their own home for as long as possible. It is a very hands-on company that will never leave a senior without care.”
They offer a wide variety of services for people who want to remain living in the comfort of their own home. With an individual caregiver, their services include: dressing and grooming assistance, incontinence care, mobility assistance, bathing assistance, medication reminders, and care for bedridden clients. You can depend on these caregivers to provide services 24 hours a day, whether it is supervision or hands-on care.
Rossi said that Key Home Care is still taking careful precautions while COVID-19 remains a threat, and they are following recommendations from the CDC to keep their seniors safe at home.
Services Tailored to You
Acting as a caregiver is a huge responsibility to take on that comes with many common side effects. Family Caregiver Alliance published statistics from several studies showing the effects that caregiving has on an individual; for example, it was reported in the essay titled Assessment of Family Caregivers: A Research Perspective by Dr. Steven Zarit that 40% to 70% of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression, and about a quarter of these caregivers meet the diagnostic criteria for major depression. There’s no doubt that caregiving can be and is often quite difficult, and that’s why the Omaha metro has businesses available to take the stress that comes with acting as a caregiver off of one’s shoulders.
In addition to the aforementioned caregiving services, another excellent option is Right at Home (rightathome.net). Right at Home offers in-home care and assistance services for almost any family and practically any situation. Their care lets loved ones enjoy healthy lives in the comfort of a familiar environment, and they tailor their care to each individual’s unique situation through a custom care plan. Their caregivers are specially trained to offer companionship, personal care, specialty services, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and respite care.
To ensure that your loved one always receives the highest level of care possible and is treated with dignity and respect, our managers make regular visits to your loved one’s home,” explained Owner Kristi Benning. “Caregivers fill out simple timesheets and their attendance is verified through a combination of Internet-based solutions. Caregivers also keep extensive notes about the care they provide, and these are kept at your loved one’s home and are available to you at any time.”
Sometimes a caregiver is needed for a special care situation, such as illness or injury. The caregivers with Right at Home can accommodate to situations involving diabetes, heart disease, cancer recovery, mental health, traumatic brain injury, and paraplegia or quadriplegia. Regardless of the situation your loved one is in or the level of care they need, the goal of Right at Home is to establish a long-term caregiving relationship between the caregiver and the senior. A new caregiver can be requested for any reason, and they will search for a match until your family is happy. Their team strives to keep your loved one happy, safe, and comfortable, no matter the situation.
Many of the changes that the world made to protect the public from COVID-19 are continuing to be used today, and likely will for the years to come. We spoke with National Marketing Director of Agemark Corporation Ashley Gloystein-Klatt about what pandemic-born strategies CountryHouse Residence for Memory Care (countryhouse.net) is going to continue to use.
“I think there are several things that we’ll continue doing in the future,” Gloystein-Klatt said. “One is telehealth/telemedicine. For minor illnesses or routine visits, having this as an option for residents is something that I foresee continuing. Another is the use of technology such as Zoom. We have communities all across the country, and it’s nice to be able to get together remotely to idea share, brainstorm, and be able to connect visually. It also helps residents with relatives that live out of state or far away be able to connect with each other. We’ve also started offering more virtual tours on our websites, which helps people who are considering our communities but are too far away to visit or who prefer to gather information online before coming in for a private tour. Finally, I think certainly we are all more aware of symptoms we are feeling due to our health screening processes. I can see practices such as health screenings and mask-wearing continue, at least at times, perhaps based on the time of year, prevalence of illness in the area, etc. Right now, these are things we are still doing to protect residents in our care, and we’ll continue doing them for the foreseeable future.”
Residents of Agemark communities show they are equally as dedicated to stopping the spread; company-wide, 97% of residents are vaccinated. This allows CountryHouse to expand their activity offerings and to do many things they couldn’t before, ultimately keeping their residents happy and active. Gloystein-Klatt said many local businesses have shown their support to the senior community by opening their doors exclusively for the CountryHouse residents, sometimes before or after regular business hours, so that seniors could safely have a good time. She told us about some of the fun and exciting activities that residents have been able to participate in.
“We’re once again taking outings and trips outside the community, with precautions of course,” said Gloystein-Klatt. “Recent trips included visiting the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and The Makery in Omaha, among other places. Inside the community, we’ve been able to host live music, have cooking demonstrations with our amazing in-house chefs (Cherries Jubilee and Bananas Foster were favorites!), host fun July 4th cookouts, and bring in animals such as dogs, cats, and bunnies to visit residents. Of course, we also have everyday offerings such as crafts, art, games, puzzles, movie nights, and more.”
There are three CountryHouse communities in the Omaha Metro, all of which offer exclusive memory care for those with memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. They believe that one of their most unique differentiators is their commitment to enriching the lives of those in their care and treating all like family, which is also their company mission.
“We are truly blessed to do what we do – we don’t take for granted that we have the opportunity to contribute to the health and happiness of individuals in our care and become a part of a larger, extended family for them,” said Gloystein-Klatt.
For those who are the primary caregiver, CountryHouse offers support groups, mainly for families and caregivers of those with memory loss, as well as respite/short-term stays. They have found that these offerings are very helpful for families who are providing care for their loved ones but need some support.
“A respite stay can range from a few days to a few weeks and is helpful for families who need to work, travel, or simply take a much-needed break from providing everyday care,” Gloystein-Klatt said.
She recommends that people plan early for selecting the senior living option that’s right for them, in advance of an emergency.
“Taking proactive steps gives prospective residents more time, choice, and say in where they will eventually live,” recommended Gloystein-Klatt. “Having as much control and say in the decision as possible often helps people feel more comfortable and at peace with their choice.”
Did you know that there are around 6.2 million people living in the United States aged 65 and older who have Alzheimer’s? According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are more than 11 million Americans who provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Studies found that 59% of caregivers looking after an individual with Alzheimer’s reported emotional stress and 38% reported physical stress. Caregiving can be hard—especially when a caregiver holds other roles in their day-to-day life, such as employee or parent. Fortunately, Omaha has senior living communities devoted to caring for individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s and other dementias to make life easier for both you and your loved one with memory loss.
Prairie Meadows Alzheimer’s Care Center (frontiermgmt.com/communities/prairie-meadows-alzheimers-special-care-center) is a specialized memory care community that provides exceptional person-centered holistic care to residents with cognitive impairment. They strive to make the aging process more meaningful and enjoyable for the dementia residents in their care. Their residents live onsite in an assisted living community where they have 24-hour access to a wide range of care options. Whether they need routine access to healthcare professionals, help to complete day-to-day activities like bathing and transferring, or both, they are taken care of at Prairie Meadows.
“Services we provide include everything from convenient access to skilled nursing to activities of daily living—whatever is necessary to maintain a safe and secure living environment,” said Community Resource Director Don Woods. “We give our residents restaurant-quality dining with multiple options for every meal, three times a day. We also offer hospitality services, such as regular housekeeping, scheduled transportation for social events, exciting social programs, and more.”
Prairie Meadows doesn’t forget about the mind, body, and soul, either; they provide occupational, physical, and speech therapy; group exercise classes; community outings; religious services; and interactive learning. They have created an environment for memory care residents that encourages autonomy and self-expression, provides a structure which supports memory retention, and ensures each resident’s healthcare and long-term care needs are met.
For faith-based retirement solutions that range from independent and assisted living to long-term care and innovative home-based support, reach out to the team at Immanuel (immanuel.com). They work to empower seniors to live a lifestyle of freedom, dignity, independence, and safety. We spoke to Director of Communications Connie Chisholm about how their long history and client-focused mission makes Immanuel a strong choice for senior living options.
“Immanuel is deeply rooted in Nebraska,” Chisholm said. “We were founded in Omaha over 130 years ago and since then have been committed to a not-for-profit mission. What this means for residents and their family is that they know that we are dedicated to significantly investing directly into enhancing programming, updating our buildings, and supporting other like-minded community organizations. It’s the difference in knowing decisions are being made in the best interest of those who matter most—the seniors.”
In order to be able to partake in the benefits that Immanuel has to offer, Chisholm advises that you begin to plan early. She also suggests that potential members of a senior living community get ahead of the game by doing their research.
“We see many family members take an active role in touring retirement communities as well as conducting online research of care options,” Chisholm explained, “but the retirement living space is crowded and confusing with so many communities looking the same and even offering similar amenities. Do your research. Industry-wide, we’re seeing a significant shift away from local providers toward national chains. This causes a sharp disconnect between senior resident needs, community maintenance, and profit-driven corporate decisions.”
While doing research on senior living options, take note of not only amenities and features, but how a business is protecting their residents from the current new wave of COVID and the possibility of future outbreaks. Chisholm said that Immanuel understands the importance of keeping residents safe while also maintaining an engaging day-to-day routine.
“Like all Nebraskans, we continue to battle the threat of COVID-19, and now the variants, from entering our communities,” Chisholm said. “At the same time, we continue to operate and provide the care and service our residents need and an active and engaging lifestyle they have come to expect from Immanuel. We have been successful in keeping our residents engaged through comprehensive wellness and life enrichment programs offered daily, weekly, and monthly. We also utilize innovative technology to bring such programming directly to residents through their smartphone or mobile device and throughout the community.”
Finally, Chisholm said that Immanuel has taken note of the growing demand for senior living in the Lincoln market, and that their emphasis has always been to provide exceptional retirement, living, and dining options, as well as ground-breaking wellness and life enrichment services to seniors and their families in all of their communities.
“As this generation ages, innovation in senior living care and services will continue to be our priority.”
Active Lifestyle Community
Active adult lifestyle communities are continuing to grow in popularity for several reasons. To start, these communities offer low- or no-maintenance on the exterior of their homes – no more mowing, snow-blowing, raking, and painting! After years of spending weekends and extra days off keeping your home exterior looking its best, active lifestyle communities are here to take care of that burden for you. They are also a great opportunity to befriend other newly-retired couples in a quiet environment that is typically child-free – except for visits from the grandkids, of course! Active lifestyle communities also provide many opportunities to stay engaged and involved with the community through amenities such as pools, fitness centers, clubs, and social events. Combined with the growing senior population, it’s no wonder why these communities are a top choice for many!
For a place where independent living, assisted living, and memory care are inspired by life and Omaha’s amazing culture and vibrancy, reserve a spot with Ovation by Avamere (ovationbyavamere.com/omaha-nebraska), coming to Heartwood Preserve later this year. The community will provide multiple levels of senior living through an additional helping hand or layer of support when the needs of residents change. Residents will live independently and worry-free in a high-end luxury apartment with elegant fixtures and upscale upgrades over traditional senior apartments. All of their homes will be completely maintenance-free and include around-the-clock security. Though they are living independently, residents can have peace of mind knowing that assistance is there if and when they need it.
“For those who require assisted living or memory care, Ovation Heartwood Preserve is equipped to support those needs with a highly trained and dedicated team of caregivers and nurses on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Ovation General Manager Stephanie Grade. “Memory care at the community is backed by our innovative Ovation ConnectionsTM Memory Care program, which delivers safe, secure, and compassionate care to enable residents to thrive, enjoy day-to-day living, stimulate their mental and physical focus, and encourage socialization.”
The community promotes health, fitness, and adventure. Being located in Omaha’s newest development, Heartwood Preserve, residents are able to live, play, and shop every day. Residents will have easy access to 80 acres of parks, trails, and green space. Their resort-style living offers first-class concierge and valet services that can reserve your table at one of the four on-site restaurants or schedule your private drive in the Ovation town car to keep you in touch with the world just outside your door. The Infinity Wellness team members will partner with residents to reach their highest quality of life featuring personalized programs and stimulating events. It doesn’t stop there! The location will also include a social club, innovative technology, exploration studios, cultural and entertainment experiences, and more. By choosing to live the senior years of your life at Ovation, you will be sure to continue to live a rich lifestyle full of adventure.
Estate planning is what many people first think of when hearing the term “Elder Law,” but it is much more than that. It encompasses other areas of importance to seniors and their families, including planning and applying for programs such as Medicaid, Veterans’ Benefits, and Social Security Disability, or working through issues involving long-term care facilities, such as billing disputes, discharge planning, or policies related to how residents are treated. The team at Burnett Wilson Law, LLP (burnettwilsonlaw.com), can assist seniors with situations such as these through a variety of the legal services they offer.
“Burnett Wilson Law can also help with asset protection from creditors, nursing home costs, or guardianship and conservatorship,” said Associate Attorney Anne K. Burnett. “Our Elder Law attorneys can assist families through situations such as caring for a disabled relative or protecting a senior with dementia from financial and other forms of abuse. Tools such as a Special Needs Trust or a guardianship/conservatorship can be crucial in such positions. Our attorneys have experience with all of these situations, and we work to ensure our clients receive expert advice tailored to their specific circumstances.”
As mentioned earlier, estate planning is an important way to prepare for the future. Many of us want to have a say in how our personal possessions, real estate, and other assets are distributed among family members, friends, and charities. An Estate Plan can put into place your wants and wishes. They also include Powers of Attorney, in which someone is appointed to handle health care and financial decisions on the individual’s behalf in the event of incapacity. Various sources have reported that more than half of Americans die without an Estate Plan in place, so be proactive and ensure that your assets will be taken care of after your time on Earth ends.
Don’t wait another minute to take action—contact Burnett Wilson Law’s elder law attorneys today!
These are some of the premier options that Omaha has to enhance senior living. If you are in need of some changes to enrich the senior lifestyle, give these local businesses a call today! They want to keep seniors happy and healthy as we continue to push through these trying times.