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What Is Skilled Nursing Care?

10.19.2015

Skilled nursing facilities offer a different kind of care from an assisted living facility. Often, patients at a skilled nursing facility have come from a... (more)
Skilled nursing facilities offer a different kind of care from an assisted living facility. Often, patients at a skilled nursing facility have come from a hospital, where they've undergone surgery or received care for an injury, a stroke, or another acute health care need. They come to the skilled nursing facility to recover so they can go home, or to receive long-term care requiring medical skill. A resident in a senior care facility might need help with different kinds of self care:
  • remembering to take medications
  • using eye drops, oxygen, or other kinds of medical care often used at home
  • using a colostomy bag
  • walking or other kinds of mobility help

These kinds of help are often part of at-home care by family members. Along with help in dressing, bathing, and housekeeping, these may be things that people usually do for themselves, but which are part of regular care in an assisted living community.

Skilled nursing care facilities provide other kinds of medical care:
  • individualized doctor-supervised medical plans
  • 24 hour nursing by registered nurses or licensed practical nurses
  • care by a physician or nursing care overseen by a physician
  • physical, speech pathology, or occupational therapy

Skilled nursing facilities are certified by Medicare, and stays in a skilled nursing care facility are often covered by Medicare. Requirements for certification are strict. An assisted care facility or a senior health care facility which might be called a nursing home may not be certified to offer skilled nursing services.

When a new resident arrives in a skilled nursing facility, a team of medical professionals will asses the new patient's needs. This assessment includes a full health history, a check on any medications being used, assessment of the resident's ability to manage basic daily tasks like walking or using the bathroom, and evaluation of the patient's ability to make decisions and to communicate.

An individual care plan will be developed, with a clear goal and future dates for assessments. Depending on the facility, there might be many different kinds of medical care available, from wound care to hospice care. There are usually laboratory facilities, too.

If you're not sure whether your loved one needs skilled nursing care, talk with your family doctor or contact your nearest Tutera facility. We'll be happy to answer your questions.
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Music In Senior Care Communities

10.15.2015

Music is basic to the human experience; archaeologists have found musical instruments in the earliest human settlements, and every culture in the world has music.... (more)
Music is basic to the human experience; archaeologists have found musical instruments in the earliest human settlements, and every culture in the world has music. So it is not surprising that music can bring pleasure to people in senior care facilities.

A good senior living facility will offer a variety of activities for residents, and music is often on the list. A gospel concert on Sundays, social dancing to music from the days of the residents’ youth, or sing-alongs on Friday nights may be popular activities in a senior living center. Residents may also enjoy hearing their own favorite music in their homes.

Research suggests that music has greater benefits than just providing entertainment:
  • A 1995 study found that trained musicians showed physical differences in brain structure; those who continued to play music later in life continued to show greater brain development.
  • Twin studies (studies comparing pairs of twins in which one twin suffered from dementia and one did not) have shown that active participation in music provides brain stimulation that can delay the onset and progress of memory loss.
  • Research reported in the journal Neuropsychology found that studying music helped people maintain brain flexibility and functioning as they aged.
  • An article in The Gerontologist reported that Christian seniors who listened to religious music felt greater life satisfaction and a greater sense of control than those who did not. The study did not look at other faith traditions, but did see the same effects across different socioeconomic and ethnic groups.
  • Singing in groups has been shown to reduce anxiety and to increase well-being in older adults.
  • Listening to music has been found to reduce anxiety and the experience of pain. While many of the studies with these findings rely on people’s own reports of how they feel, one study found that the subjects’ blood vessels dilated, allowing more blood flow.

Research on the subject continues, but most people who work with seniors know from their own experience that music can be a powerful force for good – as well as a fun addition to the day.
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Don't Call It a Nursing Home!

10.12.2015

What do you call a health care facility where seniors live and are cared for? Many people will call a community like this a "nursing... (more)
What do you call a health care facility where seniors live and are cared for? Many people will call a community like this a "nursing home," but that is not the most accurate term for a modern senior care facility.

Assisted Living Community
An assisted living community provides help with specific aspects of daily living, including housekeeping, meals, and self-care. This kind of facility allows seniors to continue to live independently while receiving help with specific needs. In the past, an individual who needed help with toileting, for example, might have ended up in a hospital bed. Now, assisted living communities allow seniors to maintain their independence and enjoy their lives while getting the help they need with daily life.

Skilled Nursing Facility
Some seniors need the help of a skilled nurse, rather than custodial care doing things that people often do for themselves. A skilled nursing facility has licensed nurses, the oversight of a physician, and more intensive medical care plans that an assisted living facility. Skilled nursing facilities are covered by Medicare and must meet stringent requirements to be licensed. For example, a skilled nursing facility must have transfer arrangements with a hospital.

Retirement Community
A retirement community may be a multi-unit residential community like a housing development, or an apartment building or complex. Usually such communities will have recreation, security, and housekeeping services but will not offer health care or personal care services. Retirement communities may be similar to a hotel, with restaurants on the premises and a variety of services offered to residents.

Which type of living situation best suits you or your elderly relative depends on individual needs and preferences as well as resources. An elderly person who is in good health but needs help keeping up with household tasks or doesn't care to live alone has different needs from the older individual who needs 24 hour medical care. Using the term "nursing home" for all residential facilities designed for the needs of seniors can lead to confusion, and can make it hard to compare one facility with another.

If you're ready to make a decision about where you or a loved one should live, contact your nearest Tutera facility. We'll be happy to answer your questions and we'd love to have you visit us.
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In-Home vs. Residential Care for Seniors

10.09.2015

If you're reaching the point where you know you need some help with daily living -- or a loved one is reaching that point --... (more)
If you're reaching the point where you know you need some help with daily living -- or a loved one is reaching that point -- you may be wondering whether in-home or residential care is a better option.

In-home care is often your first though; surveys of seniors find that most would prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible. However, there comes a time for many people when it's clear that they are not able to care for themselves completely in their own home.

Safety is the first concern. Seniors must be able to navigate the home, going up and down stairs if necessary and using the bathroom and kitchen safely. Sometimes remodeling the home or moving into a different house or apartment is necessary to keep people safe as they grow older. Smoke alarms and emergency alert systems can help older people stay safe in their homes longer, as can automated systems that will keep the temperature within a safe range.

Good health is the next concern. Some seniors stop preparing healthy meals for themselves. Many stop exercising because they fear injury -- a decision which actually increases the likelihood of a fall, since exercise helps with the strength and balance needed to prevent falls. Some may forget to take medications, or take too much because they've forgotten that they already took their pills. Even something as simple as failing to drink enough water can influence the health of a loved one significantly. Regular visits by home health aides, Meals on Wheels services, or having a live-in caregiver can be solutions to these concerns.

Safety and health may be obvious concerns, but quality of life also matters. Elderly people can feel bored and isolated. Those who can no longer drive may be limited in their options for recreation, and social networks may shrink as older adults lose contemporaries to death or illness, give up recreational activities that they enjoyed when they were younger, or lose touch with family members who move away for work or school. Senior day centers, live-in caregivers, or moving in with an adult child or other relative may help with these issues.

While in-home options may be the first thought for seniors and their loved ones, they are often stop-gap measures. An older person may have a number of helpers from different sources, but these helpers may not communicate with one another. Some needs may not be covered, and the senior's family members may not be aware of the gaps in care until a serious problem makes it obvious.

What's more, cobbling together a collection of partial solutions at home can be very expensive. The cost of housekeeping, meals, laundry services, cabs, senior day services, home health services, and of course the regular costs of living can add up to more than the cost of residential services in an assisted living facility.

Before deciding between in-home care and a senior care facility, visit a Tutera assisted living community and see what life in a senior care facility is like.
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Understanding Costs of Assisted Living

10.07.2015

Assisted living facilities offer a safe, comfortable place to live along with a wide array of services and amenities, including help with daily tasks like... (more)
Assisted living facilities offer a safe, comfortable place to live along with a wide array of services and amenities, including help with daily tasks like dressing, bathing, and walking, as well as housekeeping, laundry, and meals, plus medicine management and medical care when it's needed.

When you first think about the costs of assisted living, you might imagine the expenses involved in having a butler, cook, housekeeper, chauffeur, laundress, personal maid or valet, and nurse. But the expenses of assisted living don't actually add up to the upkeep on Downton Abbey.

MetLife did a national survey in 2012 and found that the base cost of assisted living across the country averaged $3,500. But averages give you only the most general idea of the actual costs of life in an assisted living facility.

The size of the apartment is one of the most important factors in determining the actual cost of assisted living. A studio apartment in a senior care facility will have much different costs from a two or three bedroom home in an assisted living community.

The amount of care needed is another crucial factor in determining the cost of assisted living services. Some people may only need help with housekeeping, meals, and laundry, while others need help dressing, using the toilet, and bathing. Different levels of service involve different costs.

The geographic area will also have an influence on prices. Some parts of the country are more expensive to live in than others, and location will affect the cost of an assisted living facility just as it does the cost of a private home.

When comparing the costs of different assisted living facilities, be sure to consider both the services and amenities included in the basic cost, and those that will be extra. If one facility bundles services together -- as about half of the assisted living facilities in the country do -- and the other lists services and entrance fees separately, it can be hard to compare them. Make sure you fully understand what is covered by the prices you're quoted when you call or visit an assisted living facility.

Tutera assisted living facilities are happy to answer all your questions. Feel free to call us at (877) 988-8372 or visit the Tutera facility near you.

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What is Assisted Living

10.05.2015

Assisted living was a new idea thirty years ago when Tutera began providing senior care and senior living options. Now, it's the most popular and... (more)
Assisted living was a new idea thirty years ago when Tutera began providing senior care and senior living options. Now, it's the most popular and fastest-growing form of senior care. Assisted living provides residential care with dignity, privacy, and choice -- it's a philosophy as much as a system. Assisted living focuses on the individual needs and preferences of residents, and encourages family members to participate in the lives of their loved ones.

Assisted living is for people who want to maintain their independence but need support with some aspects of daily life. While each senior living facility may offer different services and amenities, these are some of the types of assistance an assisted living facility is likely to provide:
  • 24-hour security
  • help with bathing, dressing, toileting, and other kinds of basic care
  • mobility help
  • medication management
  • regular meals
  • transportation
  • help with making phone calls
  • laundry and housekeeping
  • hairdressing and barbering
  • exercise and recreation support
  • medical assistance when needed


Trained helpers provide these services in assisted living facilities. Often, family members find it physically difficult to help their loved ones with these tasks, or cannot provide the level of availability elderly parents need. In some cases, a spouse may not have the necessary physical strength, or the person needing care may live at a distance from relatives and prefer not to move to a new part of the country.

Sometimes physical strength and ability is not the primary concern. For example, an elderly relative may have trouble remembering to take needed medications. Some older people lose interest in meals and don't take the trouble to cook for themselves, endangering their health. Others may forget to turn off the stove or may stop getting a health amount of exercise because they're nervous about injuries.

Assisted living provides a practical solution in all these situations. Assisted living facilities allow seniors to continue their independent lives, making their own decisions and maintaining their independence while receiving the support and care they need.

Tutera assisted living facilities offer independence and freedom of choice to individuals who need support in their daily lives. Visit a Tutera assisted living facility near you to see firsthand how this philosophy extends the options of seniors.
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