Senior Living in Omaha, NE
Another year has passed, and we now look towards another filled with possibilities, and likely change too. For seniors, there are a wide range of changes that could be happening. Those just entering their golden years are perhaps downsizing or preparing for their retirement, while other elders may experience loss or issues with their own health, be looking into making the move to an apartment or senior living facility, hoping to get more involved in community activities or any other number of life occurrences that come with aging.
Young or young at heart, there’s a truth that unites us all in adulthood – it’s never too early to plan for the future. Although as we age there’s great variation in the lifestyle we are able to maintain, so the term ‘senior’ is certainly not a one-size-fits-all designation, there are common concerns and information that we can all benefit from understanding for the benefit of our loved ones, neighbors, friends, and of course, ourselves.
Even in looking towards the more simple pleasures in life, such as planning for things to get out and do once milder weather arrives, it always helps to know what’s out there. When it comes to the big decisions, there’s little doubt that you’ll want to be in the know and in modern times with a growing aging population, well prepared. Staying healthy and happy, and fulfilled, is the key to all of the good things that life has in store for us in our later years. It only makes sense to plan for our future so that we can enjoy it.
One of the more simple services to arrange, and one that can be invaluable to both the senior and their caregiver(s) to incorporate, is in-home care.
“There are two stages of extra assistance, depending on the level of care needed,” says Jim Laughlin of Home Nursing With Heart. “The first is private duty care. This consists of assistance with personal cares, light duty housekeeping, meal preparation, etc. The second is having a skilled professional in the home such as a nurse and/or therapist. My suggestion here is to reach out to a skilled nursing company that can come to the home and provide an evaluation of your loved one, and in their normal living environment. For example, we are a locally-owned and highly-rated company that provides skilled nursing, physical therapy, and occupational therapy in the home, as well as social work assistance.
Visit www.HomeNursingWithHeart.com for a complete overview of services provided, their quality of care, and more informational content relating to health insurances accepted and physician information.
On past that, an in-home care provider can alert loved ones when a higher level of care is needed for that individual, or services that are available that would be beneficial for that person to utilize. We’re more than happy to make recommendations for other services and providers in the area depending on the situation.”
It’s well worth mentioning that there are many other resources out there that are geared towards helping seniors age in place on the spectrum of care too. For example, Notre Dame Housing, Inc. is an organization with a rich history of meeting such needs of seniors in our community.
“Since 1997 Notre Dame Housing (NDH) has provided affordable housing through enriched neighborhood living options and supportive services,” says Michael Robinson of Notre Dame Housing. “NDH goes beyond basic housing and address the health, social, spiritual and physical needs of our residents, and others in the community, to give these individuals the ability to live independently for as long as possible.
Although we remain a faith-based organization, NDH serves adults 55+ regardless of race, color, religion, sex, marital or civil union status, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, place of birth, ancestry, citizenship, military or veteran status or disability.
Notre Dame Housing provides seniors with a strong voice in decisions that affect them. Our goal is to make sure that the challenges our seniors face are adequately addressed at all levels of government, particularly when decisions are being made about housing, transportation, health, workforce, economic development, and poverty. Our programs and services are designed to help seniors remain independent, living in their own homes. We strive to ensure that older adults have choices about how and where they age.
For seniors, maintaining independence is very important. At Notre Dame Housing, we provide housing for seniors who want to live independent lifestyles where they can thrive and age in place. Our elders deserve the quality of life that they desire and our commitment to service-enriched housing offers them just that.
As far as finances, we can help make arrangements and offer guidance on sources of funding for which a senior may qualify. You can only go so far on social security income alone today, so we help by either suggesting or providing ways to stretch that budget. We partner with many different organizations across the Omaha Metro to fill the gaps based on the needs of the aging population in our community. At Notre Dame Housing we are proud to serve a diverse population, and to advocate for all seniors to have access to the services and resources they need, as well as helping to meet those needs with our offerings.”
With our baby boomers starting to age, which some call the oncoming ‘silver tsunami,’ the future feels a bit uncertain for us all. It is true, resources of all kinds that impact elders are going to be affected, although to what extent no one can be absolutely sure. Specifically as it relates to senior living communities, the fear is that there simply is not going to be enough spots available for everyone who needs them.
Thus for our baby boomers, it’s going to be that much more critical to plan ahead accordingly, and to be aware of all of the different resources in their respective communities. We can take comfort in knowing that here in the Omaha Metro, there are so many professionals who are working towards ensuring all seniors have access to affordable living options, healthcare, and any other services that meet their specific needs and income level. Finding assistance with locating the necessary resources and getting everything in place is part of that process that can prove to be most helpful for seniors of all ages, and for their family members too.
Michaela Williams of Care Consultants for the Aging speaks to the significant impact that the aging baby boomer population will have in the near future.
“Senior care options are continuously changing and the look of senior care will evolve at a faster rate with the baby boomers needing long-term care. Assisted living specializing in Alzheimer’s/dementia care is the most common level in senior living options being built today. They offer a more detailed approach to care for those who have memory problems, and they tend to have a two-year private pay minimum to move in. Knowing the options and pricing for in-home care and senior living options will help families make wiser decisions as they find themselves in a caregiving role.
Many families are surprised with our complicated long-term care system and feel overwhelmed when they need to make decisions. Care Consultants produces the ElderCare Resource Handbook, which offers a complete listing of senior services in the Lincoln and Omaha Metro areas. Having an awareness of senior care options and the prices that are associated with them helps greatly when you need to make decisions fast. Families often find that starting home care or adult day care on a small scale early on can help their loved one adjust when the need becomes mandatory, and gives everyone a little respite too.
Furthermore, when you have concerns for a loved one’s health and/or wellbeing, looking into what the government offers, what insurances and finances that your loved one has, and getting legal paperwork in order are good first steps. Determining these issues before a health crisis can help in the stress that can occur with being one’s caregiver. It is also important to research home care options or adult day care centers that can give them that little extra assistance they may need to stay in their home.”
On another timely subject involving maintaining quality of life for seniors, Williams notes, “Life is short and, as many will agree right about now, winter can seem long. As spring starts to show itself, it’s fun to get out and explore. Sometimes this can be difficult as mobility and the ability to live independently changes. Care Consultants can find caregivers who help seniors remain as active and independent as possible. They can take them to senior centers and outdoor parks within the community or help them play games, clean out a closet or plant flowers in their own home. Caregivers can work as little or as often as you need them. Sometimes a little bit of help goes a long way!”
While there may not be anything in the immediate future that’s cause for concern, be sure to not let the future sneak up on you. For seniors, it is very valuable to discuss your plans and desires for the future with a designated family member or desired representative. There are several key documents needed, and in truth, these can be very critical in emergency situations. For instance, if a family member cannot locate important documents like tax returns or bank account information, it could delay or even cause the senior to be denied critical benefits like Medicaid or VA benefits. Make sure you have important legal documents in place like durable health power-of-attorney or advanced healthcare directive so that if you do find yourself with declining health conditions, you have someone you trust making decisions that would be in your best interests.
As a general rule no matter your age or health, it is always important to have your financial and healthcare affairs in order. We always seem to think that we are somehow invincible, and in turn we tend to put off things we don’t want to deal with, often saying “I’ll get to that tomorrow, or next week, or next year.” The hard truth is, we have no way of knowing whether tomorrow or next week or next year might be too late. Conversations about healthcare, long-term care, and even death are awkward and can be difficult to have, yet they are among the very most important things we can discuss.
Some of those hard things to discuss including naming a Power of Attorney (POA) for finances and healthcare, having an asset management plan in place for finances and personal items, ensuring that your loved ones know your wishes for healthcare and end of life, and pre-arranging your funeral services, including payment. There are great tools available for planning, but it’s advised to review those plans with an attorney to ensure that they will hold up in a court should they ever be challenged. Ensure that your POAs are someone you trust implicitly to make the best decisions on your behalf, and that your loved ones know who that person is, especially if he or she is not a family member. Finally, maintain all of your documents in a secure place, but make sure loved ones know where to find them in an emergency.
Communication with loved ones, while you are still able, is very important. All too often, major illness or death occurs unexpectedly, and loved ones are left at a complete loss emotionally and financially. Even in the closest of families, emotional turmoil can cause stress and anxiety. When plans are in place, turmoil is lessened to a great extent.
As previously mentioned regarding finances, for seniors, the cost of living can be significant and income may not always be able to match that number. As such, it’s likely no surprise that planning ahead—saving, insurance, allocating funds to future needs now, etc.–remains the prevailing theme.
Theron Ahlman of CarePatrol advises, “I would recommend that families look into long-term care insurance to help pay for care as they get older. There are many different policies available, so it’s worth taking your time to research the plans and make sure you are getting the best one for the money spent. I have helped some families whose policies don’t help pay for assisted living, and the family had expected it do so.
Also, finding the right fit within a person’s budget can be more complicated than it sounds. As others have mentioned, many families that I help say they wished they had known about us sooner. They have gone to a couple communities on their own only to find out they don’t offer what they need, don’t ever accept Medicaid, or are too expensive. They have wasted a lot of time getting nowhere and once they find us, the process goes smoothly and they are happy with the communities we tour as they are a fit to the senior’s needs, wants and finances.”
He continues, “If you recently visited someone who isn’t safe in their home and they need to take the next step towards a community, I would recommend calling a senior placement company such as CarePatrol to help save time and make the process as easy as possible. We will come out and meet with the senior to do a care discovery, at which time we go over needs, wants, likes and finances to see what communities are the best fit. We then look up the communities care history to make sure it is a safe community, line up the tours, and personally take everyone on the tours of the communities that are safe options. We can help navigate long-term insurance policies, converting life insurance to money for assisted living, and if a bridge is needed to pay for care while a house is being sold, we can help thanks to our partnerships the many different companies. CarePatrol also has Certified Senior Advisors across the country, so no matter where the person you’re trying to help lives, or wants to live for that matter, we can help. Contacting your local advisor first is the best route as they can start the process and then work with the advisor in the state where residence will be to find the safest community.
Typically in the spring, there are a few health fairs in the area that are beneficial for seniors and their family members to attend. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to talk to many different businesses about the services offered in one place, as well as getting to visit with others from the community who can share their experiences and tips. Going to these events will help you to be prepared when different needs arise, and will make finding help easier as these are professionals that have access to a network of valuable contacts they’ve already established within the community.”
It’s easy to worry about what might happen or change as one ages, or as a loved one grows old, but being proactive will alleviate the perceived stress of the many ‘what-ifs’. In life, we look for those who are experts to come alongside and help us with the things in which we have little expertise ourselves. While the guidance of those who are dedicated to serving the elders in our community is still underutilized to some extent, gradually that is changing with the times. Most now see the benefits of planning for this season of life and are in favor of the approach that knowledge is power—and it truly is, no doubt.
As awareness grows, the prevailing attitudes towards reaching out to get informed before help becomes a critical and immediate need are more optimistic in nature. Not only are people taking the initiative to seek out information from the various resources in our community, but there’s more of a willingness to accept the changes that come with aging. The ultimate goal is to age gracefully and enjoy life to the fullest, and while there’s a different path to get to that destination for everyone, all can benefit from being well-prepared for what’s to come on that amazing journey.