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Join in on the conversation about Senior Housing and the Silver Tsunami with Diane Masson, a senior housing expert for over 16 years. Throughout this site you will find priceless information for both professionals working in the senior housing industry… and for seniors who are seeking the inside secrets to the best options for housing available today!

 

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The Latest Senior Housing News...

Diane Masson's Tips & Articles

Proactive Senior Plans Ahead at 73 Years Old

Learn the reasons why a 73 year old senior would plan ahead.  After living in a 55-plus retirement community for 15 years and watching neighbors struggle as they age, she and her husband wanted to live in a supportive environment that offers future health...

Over Medicated by Your HMO or Doctor?

Have you felt like a number instead of a person at your HMO or heath provider? What happened? Frustration? What about vulnerable seniors who may or may not have an advocate at their doctor and hospital appointments? If sane adults can’t advocate for themselves, how can a senior with dementia? A few weeks ago, I went to my HMO (Kaiser) for a simple endoscopy procedure. It was a 5-minute procedure that required me to be under anesthesia in a twilight state. Anesthesia has not always been my friend. So I came armed with all my previous anesthesia experiences (the good and the bad). The doctor was informed of my concern through the nurse. The doctor acknowledged my concern (relief on my part) and said she would give me the same twilight anesthesia as a recent colonoscopy. I agreed to this, because it had been a good anesthesia experience for me. Well, I awoke after the procedure to a nightmare of nausea and another bad anesthesia experience. A week later, my husband compared the anesthesia of the colonoscopy with the anesthesia of the endoscopy. Low and behold, they had given me 25 extra milligrams of Demerol for my endoscopy. That was not what I agreed to with my doctor. Why would they give me more than necessary? Was it because I was on a conveyor belt of medical procedures for that day? When I shared this experience with others, a couple of friends shared more stories.  A coworker was given anesthesia during a colonoscopy and felt them begin the procedure. The medical team jumped when she said that she was...

Divulge to Mom with Dementia her Spouse or Child Has Died?

This can be a controversial and personal question. Many people say that you should not lie. My husband was one of those people who believed it was wrong to lie to anyone, even my mom with dementia. After my sister died my mother, with severe short-term memory loss (dementia), inquired about her daughter Shannon. My honest husband told her that she had died. Her reaction would be like any mother learning this terrible news. A week later, my mom asked my husband about my sister, Shannon, again. Before I could respond, I had to witness my mother’s intense pain of learning that her daughter died for the second time. Every time she asked the question about my sister and got the answer that she died, it was like the first time that she ever heard about it. She couldn’t grasp her daughter’s death in her long-term memory. What a blessing? Right? Wrong!! It is so hard to lose a sister and not share that loss with your own mom. She just was not mentally capable. It was time to train my husband how to handle the sister question, so he could be prepared. Next time my mom asked where Shannon was today, he would say that we had not seen her in some time, but we think she is doing great (in heaven of course). My mom was satisfied with that and let it go. What about a spouse passing? This one is tough if the senior husband and wife lived together or regularly visited his or her spouse with dementia. The loving spouse may be in the dementia...

Develop Talent – Invest in Yourself and Your Team!

Do you study how to improve your talent in senior living? Are you improving your mind on a regular basis? What books are you reading to improve your attitude? Do you have time to take a lunch? Are you scheduling rejuvenation time? Or is it easier to say, “I am too busy!” And you work through lunch again? Burnt out employees in senior living can become cranky and irritable. It can affect the quality of service to senior residents.  The grouchiness can wash into home life too. Do yourself a favor and invest in yourself and your team. Start a new book review with your senior living sales or operations team. Read one chapter a week or two chapters a month. Select a book and have each person apply the principles in each chapter to his or her senior living position. One of my teams is reading, “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full.” Its focus is written for retirement communities, but the principles can easily be converted to assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care communities. Feedback from teams on a nationwide basis has insisted this book has helped their occupancy grow. My sales teams are currently reading, “How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling,” and, “The Greatest Salesman in the World.” “The Greatest Salesman in the World,” book has you read a scroll three times a day for one month before you move onto the subsequent scroll with the next principle. This is the third time in my life reading this book daily for 10 months. Each time it changed my...

Tips to Evaluate Mom’s Memory Care on a Long Distant Visit

Can you ever trust a retirement or assisted living community to take care of your mom better than yourself or a family member? Long distance relationships are never easy. Add dementia and hearing loss to the story and long distance communication with a senior parent is impossible.   The only way you really know if your mom or dad is okay is to have eyes on them for yourself. My husband just went 1000 miles by plane, two hours by car and a 20-minute ferry ride to visit his mom, Amy. One year ago, she was hospitalized after her husband had a heart attack. After the trauma of her husband (who was her caregiver for five years) being hospitalized, she eloped and the police had to bring her home. Amy is now in her third licensed assisted living community. How do you evaluate the care of your senior parent? What should you be looking for or asking about on a one-day long-distant visit? First, how does mom look? Is her hair washed? Are her clothes clean? Do the other residents look well cared for? The answer to all of these for my mother-in-law was good and yes! Can she feed herself and how much can she consume? Always stay for at least one meal. My mother-in-law ate three plates of food over four hours by herself and asked for dessert. A year ago, she never wanted to eat, so this was a huge improvement. Does she know your name? Can she hear? How does she communicate with the caregivers? My mother-in-law introduced my husband (her son) by his full...

Summary Video of “Your Senior Housing Options!”

Here’s a quick summary of “Your Senior Housing Options,” including the costs and consequences from tips2seniors.com. It walks you through a dementia scenario including all the choices for a vulnerable senior. This video can empower an independent senior to plan ahead or help an adult child put their parent in a quality senior...

Wanted: Seniors with Moderate Alzheimer’s for a Clinical Trial

Do you know a senior(s) who has mild to moderate Alzheimer’s? This article will share what a clinical trial is testing and how far along in the Alzheimer’s disease a senior can be to remain eligible to participate. There are about 60 study sites located around metropolitan areas in the United States.  Nourish Ad clinical research study is testing an investigational treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. “Investigational” means that this treatment is currently being tested and isn’t approved or available for use by the public. The investigational drug is called AC-1204. It is a double-blind study to improve thinking processes for people with Alzheimer’s disease. If a senior volunteers for this study, they either get the drug AC-1204 or not. Learn more about the company, the drug and eligibility for the trial HERE. My mother-in-law, Amy, has Alzheimer’s and I hope we can figure out this disease in her lifetime.    I am not a doctor, but my simplified version of this trial is as follows: Seniors’ brains work on glucose. Seniors with Alzheimer’s brains do not process glucose normally. This trial will give a senior with Alzheimer’s a daily drink that provides an alternative energy source for the brain to improve memory.  A total of 480 seniors can qualify for this 6-month study.  Senior participants must be 66 to 90 years old with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s or memory loss. The senior must have a permanent caregiver or family member participate in the study as well.     The study is designed to look at the safety and effectiveness of AC-1204. If a senior completes the first...

Sexually Aggressive in Memory Care?!!?

How do you keep your mom or dad safe in a memory care community or assisted living? A retired cop moved into my mother-in-law’s memory care community and has been demonstrating sexual and violent aggression against her, other residents, and staff. This is what my family is facing now. Read about the incidents in, “Violence in Memory Care,” HERE. This is a list of whom we have emphatically voiced our concerns: Caregivers The nurse The Administrator Two ombudsmen The State of Washington (surveyors of licensed assisted living) Adult Protective Services Our family requested a care conference to discuss the safety of my mother-in-law, Amy. Two ombudsmen, the administrator, three adult children and myself attended it. It was the worst care conference that I have ever experienced in my 17 years working as a professional in senior living. On a personal level, I have attended numerous care conferences for nine years as an advocate for my own mother who had dementia. There is always a conclusion at the end of the care conference that provides some sense of hope for improving care or concerns. Why was this care conference so bad? The administrator would only talk about Amy. She refused to discuss Amy’s safety in regards to the aggressive cop, because of HIPPA. She refused to share any measures or policies that the staff was following for Amy’s safety. Are you kidding me? I specifically asked, “What are you doing to protect her?” She said that she could not answer that question and kept talking in circles. The ombudsmen were no help either. They said they could only discuss Amy because...

Violence in Memory Care

A former cop moved into my mother-in-law’s memory care community. He was doing simulated punches to people including the administrator. The administrator was worried the punches might become real, because seniors with dementia do not have good depth perception. Then my sister-in-law witnessed him doing it to my mother-in-law, Amy. She was horrified. My sister-in-law was sitting across from her mom. The former cop came up from behind my sister-in-law and then she saw a fist heading for Amy’s face. The fist stopped six inches away. Here is the weird part. A caregiver witnessed the whole thing, but showed no concern, never said a word, or redirected him. He did walk away and the caregiver accompanied him down the hall. My sister-in-law shouted, “That was not cool,” after them. So the staff started locking residents’ rooms because they caught the former cop standing over sleeping residents. The doors were locked at night so residents could still wander out, but he could not wander in. Something combative must have happened between the former cop and a staff person. They would not say what but my sister-in-law observed that he was gone over a day and then came back drugged.   All these situations have transpired over two weeks. My sister-in-law is very worried about Amy. What if she gets up in the night and leaves her room? What if the former cop is out too? Amy will have nowhere to go because every door is locked. A few days ago my sister-in-law discovered the doors to the residents rooms were locked during the day. She shared her disapproval with the administrator....

Musings of a Senior’s Fabulous Life

Meet Betty, a senior resident, who was born in 1926 as a child of the depression. Her life was different back then and every family was very frugal. When she grew up and went to work, ladies wore dresses, hats and girdles. It was just the way of the world back in the thirties and forties. According to Betty, the young people today have not experienced the depression nor the constant thought of frugalness. She said, “Your generation has a freedom that I never had. You have a choice of how to dress at work. It is more casual than in my day. Plus, I would never be able to keep up with the technology. I’m so impressed with the technology and all that you can get done in a short time span.” Betty admires what the workforce of today can accomplish. As she walked into the exercise room at her Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) with her walker, Betty said, “I can’t use all the fancy equipment in here, but I can keep walking. Even when I watch TV, I am walking in place and using my arms and staying active.” She proceeded to show off about four arm exercises that she utilizes. It was a very impressive demonstration. Here’s the best quote from spending time with wonderful Betty:  She said, “I can’t stop the years from slipping by. I am just so happy to say that I have had a fabulous life.” What a delight during this time of the year to share a senior’s story. Betty is a senior who has been living at a CCRC...

7 Tips to have “The Talk” with a Senior

Last week the Tips2Seniors blog discussed: “Seniors in Denial, Relying on Friends and Family.” Every single one of us knows a senior who is struggling in their home. Some seniors silently suffer and others have a whole network of support from family and friends. Ultimately when a loved one or neighbor tries to have “The Talk” with the senior it can have five typical results: Denial: “I am not ready yet.  I am just fine living in my own home.” Shutting down: “I don’t want to discuss this.” Anger: “Why are you questioning my ability to be independent? Leave me alone.” Confusion: “Don’t you want to come see me everyday? I don’t understand.” Acceptance: “I understand that I have become a burden. Maybe it’s time to look at what my senior housing options could be. Will you help me look?” In my 17-year senior housing career, sons, daughters and spouses have asked me the same question, how do I have “The Talk.” Here are my 7 Tips to have “The Talk.” Set the stage for “The Talk”. You know if it is better to have “The Talk” in public or private with your senior. Public talk: Take them out to eat in a public location (so they can’t yell at you or they can’t escape into their bedroom). Private talk: Buy or make your seniors their favorite cookies. Serve the favorite cookies with their special coffee or tea at their dining room table. Tell your senior how much you love them. Then share your concerns, be very factual. Such as: You have fallen twice. You missed your medications three...