Six tips for a good conversation with your elderly parents

“Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating.” ― Charlie Kaufman Providing care for elderly parents – whether it’s your full-time responsibility or you’re simply researching the differences in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and the rest – is an honor. We can anticipate life’s physical changes as medicine, physical therapy or other resources become a part of the daily routine. Emotional changes can be more difficult to predict. When the roles of “caregiver” and “receiver” begin to reverse and blur, life becomes frustrating. After all, your loved one is going through a chapter filled with emotional, social and financial changes, on top of the physical proof of growing older. We hope these tips for communicating with your elderly loved one can ease the transition. But don’t over-parent. Remember when your parent gave you uninvited (but probably legitimate) advice years ago? Remember that. The “parent-child role reversal” can be a difficult change for parents to process. You may know about every doctor and community for senior citizens in Pennsylvania, but that knowledge doesn’t warrant a long rant. Giving advice may be better received from an outside point of view. However, your encouragement and support are certainly needed. Communication is a two-way street, and listening is a vital part of any conversation. Avoid interrupting or speaking simply to fill the quiet. Give plenty of time for your loved one to think through your words and choose their own. Pick your battles. Even the closest family members will stumble into a disagreement at some point. Respect other opinions, and be sure to listen to the thoughts of everyone involved in an issue. Conversations about senior care can cover a staggering amount of topics: mobility limitations, memory problems, housing situations… Prioritize. Are there disagreements that don’t matter in the big picture? What needs must be dealt with in the immediate future? Focus on those crucial needs. Keep it focused. The environment of any conversation lends personality to the words that arise. Don’t compete with noise or distractions, especially about life-changing questions that deserve each person’s full attention. Need to bring up a possibly confrontational issue? Avoid it during her favorite TV show or while kitchen appliances are being used. Face your loved one as you speak, so emotions and words can be better interpreted.  Speak dis-tinct-ly. Keep sentences short. Remain calm. Speak in a gentle tone. Make sure everyone involved in the conversation is on the same page before moving on to the next topic. Not every senior citizen will make it known that he or she couldn’t understand what was just said, so always speak up. Respect the adults. Even if every major decision comes down to your opinion, treat your parent with respect. Though you should always be considerate of the environment, tone and volume of your conversation, be wary of patronizing your parent. They should never be spoken to as though they...

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Chestnut Ridge Blog: Folks just want to have fun.

We’ve all read too many articles and blog posts to count. So it’s refreshing to find something that offer alternative resources. Specifically, we’re excited about games. Best Alzheimer’s Products is a website that has earned international recognition for its positive impact on people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. John Schmid, a co-developer of the website, writes, “I came across a study in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementia. The authors reported that … individuals participating in the study who played Bingo performed significantly better on measures of cognition than participants who did not play. Staff members reported increases in alertness and awareness in the test subjects, and this effect lasted for hours after testing was complete.” Chestnut Ridge is proud to offer a variety of activities designed to enrich the lives of our residents. The art classes, card games and more (including Bingo!) certainly provide opportunities for socialization. After all, developing relationships with other residents through these activities is a wonderful benefit of living in an independent living community. But more importantly, activities and games stimulate the brain. Whether your loved one is miles away or lives with us in our community in Chester, PA, games are a perfect, friendly-for-everyone activity throughout the holiday season. These are just a few suggestions that are beneficial and fun for everyone involved. Qwirkle This game, featuring large wooden tiles with a variety of colors and shapes, is ideal because of the many, many ways it can be enjoyed. Similar to dominoes, the ultimate goal for each player is to get rid of his or her pieces by matching, in this case, the shape or color. The visually stimulating design provides a tactile experience, whether players technically follow every rule or simply use it by themselves to match patterns. The flexibility that this single game is able to provide is brilliant. As someone grows older and advances in the stages of Alzheimer’s, Qwirkle is just one more activity that can provide a consistent sense of enrichment and purpose. Shake Loose A Memory Shake Loose A Memory is one game in a collection of card games that encourage players of all ages and abilities to talk and remember. Questions such as “Do you prefer dill pickles or sweet pickles?” and “Did your father wear glasses, or did he have good eyesight?” prompt stories, even from people in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s. Connect In nursing homes and memory care facilities, it can be common to find games meant for children. Even Schmid’s website sells games and activities that were originally intended for a much younger audience, though the company is very careful to avoid anything that looks too juvenile and doesn’t have a beneficial purpose. However, Connect is a matching game developed specifically for adults with memory issues. Not all games are created equally. Find an option...

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Let’s be honest: Three facts about our independent living community

Giving a parent the best possible care sometimes means letting others lend a hand. However, this certainly does not mean shipping your loved one off to a nursing home, a phrase that probably conjures up dismal mental images. Senior care facilities have evolved over the years, keeping pace with advances in the medical community. From assisted living facilities to Alzheimer’s care units, there are more options than ever before. And your constant involvement in the transition is vital. The Residences at Chestnut Ridge offers a variety of services dedicated to making life easier and safer for each person. We’re the perfect place for seniors who value their independence, but may need occasional assistance with daily living tasks. Maybe you’re researching options for a parent or friend. Or maybe you’re ready to downsize and let go of wearisome home-maintenance issues so you can focus on enjoying life. Either way, we think you’ll love Chestnut Ridge. Here are just three facts about our independent living community. We provide the privacy of home … without the hassles. Community living doesn’t mean losing privacy and independence. We’re committed to providing an environment that feels just like home … except there’s no need to shovel the snow from the driveway ever again. And just like home, guests are always welcome. Security features keep everyone safe and healthy. Moving to an independent living community reduces the concern that may come from living alone. Residents may not need assistance with medical or daily living tasks, but staff is always available, 24 hours a day, to ensure the safety of your loved one. Features are in place to provide immediate assistance should the need ever arise. Residents enjoy an engaging, active social life. Living in a community of other seniors provides numerous opportunities for socializing. Studies have shown that a continued sense of purpose can have a positive effect on seniors’ health and wellbeing. Numerous activities, including cooking classes, games and outings, keep residents busy and fulfilled. Don’t face difficult changes alone. Located less than 20 miles from Philadelphia, Chestnut Ridge empowers senior citizens to choose a life enhanced by independence, security, activities and individualized care. Exploring options for the next chapter doesn’t need to be scary or depressing. With a view like Taylor Memorial Arboretum, sad thoughts simply don’t happen at Chestnut Ridge! Stop by for a visit. And don’t worry. There are plenty of beautiful days...

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