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What Caregivers Should Know Before Choosing Memory Care

At some point during your loved one’s journey with dementia, he or she will require around-the-clock care in order to live safely. Generally, this occurs in a Memory Care community – a facility that’s been designed specifically to meet the needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of cognitive issues. Even if your loved one is only in the very early stages of dementia, it’s never too early to begin thinking about these types of services.

“Many people with dementia will be cared for, at least at the beginning, by an informal caregiver,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “This could be a spouse, an adult child, a dear friend or even a hired home aide. However, as the disease becomes more advanced, a caregiver can quickly become overwhelmed and stressed, which results in a poorer quality of life for both the caregiver and potentially the individual they’re caring for. ”

One of the hardest parts about caregiving, says Andrea, is that the role becomes all-encompassing to the point of pushing aside the roles of ‘spouse’ or ‘child.’ “We talk a lot about the benefits of Memory Care in terms of how it improves safety and reduces stress, but one of the biggest benefits of Memory Care is that it gives people the ability to rekindle their relationship with their loved one,” Andrea says. “At The Reutlinger Community, we’ve seen how caregiving spouses are able to go back to being simply a husband or wife – which helps both parties tremendously in so many ways.”

Being proactive about choosing memory care for your loved one will help caregivers avoid burnout and provide the best possible assistance for the individual with dementia. “Before you choose a Memory Care option, you’ll want to put together a list of questions and get some information about the services being offered,” says Andrea. “Being informed will give you the tools you need to find the right home for both you and your loved one with dementia.”

Where should care take place?

 Memory Care services and communities come in all shapes and sizes, and also provide a range of different services. While some Memory Care communities are standalone communities that only provide care for those with dementia and memory issues, others are separate wings attached to a larger Assisted Living community.

Depending on your loved one’s current situation, says Andrea, one of these choices may be better for him or her than another. “For example, if you’re a caregiving spouse, you may want to move you and your partner into a more comprehensive community that offers Independent Living or Assisted Living in conjunction with Memory Care,” she says. This is particularly helpful if you have your own health problems and need assistance yourself, or if your loved one is in the earlier stages of dementia.

“However, if your loved one is in the later stages of dementia, and you are capable of living on your own, you may wish to move your loved one into a standalone memory care community,” she says. “It all depends on your individual needs, financial situation and also what options are available in your area.”

Will my loved one receive proper care?

 Oftentimes, caregivers feel guilty moving a loved one into memory care because they worry about him or her not getting the care they need. Andrea wishes to put caregivers’ minds at ease on this particular point.

“Memory Care communities are staffed with professional, empathetic individuals who have received knowledge and training specific to caring for individuals with cognitive issues,” she says. “Residents will be cared for by a dedicated team of staff members, who help form relationships and become familiar faces.”

Best of all, she says, there is assistance available 24/7, no matter what. “Having multiple caregivers means that help is never far away,” she says. “Plus, since the community is designed to meet the needs of those with dementia, it is incredibly safe, easy to navigate and free of hazards that might be in a family home.”

What questions should I ask?

Andrea says it’s important to search for Memory Care communities and create a list of a few top choices. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, she suggests touring each one and taking a comprehensive list of questions with you. “By visiting the communities, you can get a feel that’s impossible to get over the phone or through pictures, and having a standard list of questions will allow you to compare one community to the other more easily,” she says.

Here are some suggested questions for your list. You will want to add or subtract questions, depending on your individual situation and what is important to you:

  • What level and types of care does the community provide?
  • What sort of training has the staff received? Is ongoing training part of their objectives?
  • What is the monthly rate for the community? What services are included in that rate? What services and options would be an additional cost?
  • What sort of floor plans are available, and how are they priced?
  • How are care plans developed, and how often are they reviewed to ensure my loved one is receiving optimal care?
  • What are your policies regarding visitors?
  • How are medical emergencies handled?
  • What sort of meals are provided, and are special dietary requirements or preferences able to be accommodated?
  • Is laundry service and housekeeping provided? How often?
  • What sort of programs are available to residents? Is there a full range of physical, mental and social activities to help them live a full, engaged life?
  • How does the community handle undesirable behaviors like aggressiveness, wandering or other dementia-related symptoms?
  • How does the community communicate with family members?
  • What is the ratio of staff to residents during the day? During the night?

The most important thing for caregivers to know, says Andrea, that moving a loved one to Memory Care is one of the most selfless and kind things you can do as a caregiver.

“I’ve spoken to many caregivers who feel like they’re ‘giving up’ or are guilty about moving a senior adult into Memory Care,” she says. “I try to make sure they know that they are actually doing the best thing possible for their loved one. Moving to a Memory Care community like The Reutlinger Community provides the best possible care in the safest environment with highly trained, caring staff members. It allows your loved one to get the care he or she needs…and gives you peace of mind and the ability to nurture your relationship with them throughout this journey.”

For more information about choosing Memory Care for your loved one, or to learn more about our community, mission and values, please contact us at 925-272-0261.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

The Reutlinger Community’s mission is to provide high quality health care and social support services in a life-enhancing and stimulating environment with a commitment to Jewish values.

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s renovated 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any seniors needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger Community, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today.

What Artful Living Means at The Reutlinger Community

What does it mean to live an “artful life?” Simply put, it means a life that is filled with art – the art you consume, the art you create, the art you share. It’s about appreciating and creating art for its own sake, without thought to gaining fame or fortune or anything other than leaving the world a little better than you found it.

“The arts attract us all, no matter how young or old we are,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “There is a drive in every person to create things of beauty that stem from our emotions, feelings, imagination or visions. This is something that nourishes us throughout our whole lives, helping us to be well-rounded individuals. The arts teach us to communicate, help us broaden our minds, connect us to one another and improve our quality of life in many, many ways.”

There is extensive evidence that art and artistic expression can benefit the lives of seniors in incredible ways. Throughout history, creating art has been therapeutic for both the creator of the work and those who participate in or view it. This knowledge has helped to shape the philosophies and best practices of today’s art therapies, music therapies and other forms of self-expression used to enhance lives across the world.

Next Avenue, a research-focused art blog, wrote in one of their studies that “the most compelling evidence of the value of the arts revolves around improving the lives of older adults.” For residents at The Reutlinger Community – and for all other senior individuals – there is substantial proof that participating in artistic forms like drawing, painting, dancing or writing can help to maintain health, quality of life and fulfillment for older adults.

How Does an Artful Life Benefit Seniors?

Although the therapeutic benefit of the arts has been studied extensively, the study of aging and the arts is still fairly new. Still, there are many anecdotal tales of seniors who experience better moods, become more social and have a greater sense of self-worth after participating in an art program.

“Knowing everything we do about how to age successfully, it’s no surprise that the arts and an artful life are a benefit to seniors,” says Andrea. “We’ve seen that having a purpose, participating in an activity they enjoy, being social and connecting with people helps seniors stay healthy physically, mentally and emotionally, all of which are integral to a fulfilled life.”

Don’t believe us? Here are some of the things that have been discovered about the arts and aging well:

  • Dancing helps boost motor skills and cognition.
  • Singing can improve mental health and self-esteem.
  • Participating in the arts increases one’s psychological health and social engagement.
  • Playing a musical instrument can improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s.
  • Seniors report feeling a stronger sense of identity after creating a piece of art.
  • Practicing some form of art helps individuals gain a sense of control.
  • Seniors report reduced boredom, better mental function and more happiness when they participate in an artful life.

Discovering an Artful Life at The Reutlinger Community

The Reutlinger Community’s award-winning Art Program, “Discovering the Artist Within,” offers our residents an opportunity to create art within an encouraging, inspiring atmosphere. Betty Rothaus, our full-time Artist-in-Residence, offers residents individual guidance in bringing their unique visions to life.

“In our beautiful fine arts studio, our residents are able to express themselves through a variety of mediums, including sculpting, throwing pottery, working with jewelry or textiles, painting and so much more,” says Andrea. “Residents who’ve never picked up a paintbrush before work side-by-side with experienced artists to learn new skills, express themselves and simply have fun creating.”

Within a beautiful fine arts studio, residents who have never created art before, as well as experienced artists, enjoy learning new skills and expressing themselves through drawing, painting in oil, acrylic, pastels or watercolor, sculpting/pottery in clay, collage, textiles, jewelry and/or mixed media.  Each year, The Reutlinger Community hosts a variety of exhibitions showcasing the residents’ work, which are then printed into a yearly calendar.

“Our award-winning program has been heralded as one of the most outstanding Art Programs in the country,” says Andrea. “Most importantly to us, though, is that so many of our residents have found purpose, happiness and passion through our program, providing them an outlet to let their imaginations soar.”

For more information about artful living, or to learn more about our community, mission and values, please contact us at 925-272-0261.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

The Reutlinger Community’s mission is to provide high quality health care and social support services in a life-enhancing and stimulating environment with a commitment to Jewish values.  

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live in a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s renovated, 110,000-square-foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any senior’s needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger Community, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour contact us today.

From Kosher to Kosher-Style: How We Maintain Culture in Our Kitchen

The practice of keeping kosher, or following the laws of Kashruth, is an important tenet of Jewish faith and tradition. At The Reutlinger Community, our commitment to Jewish values means providing healthy and delicious dining options that help celebrate our traditions and faith. Our dining team works blends the latest trends with tradition to provide options for our residents of all faiths, as well as provide options for Jews who keep kosher or kosher-style.

“Food plays such an important role in our faith and in so many of our memories,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “While some of our residents choose to keep kosher, many others simply enjoy the comfort and familiarity of kosher-style meals. Since our reopening in 2016, we have committed ourselves to the future of senior living, which means offering a wide variety of flavors, tastes and cultures into our menus and dining lifestyle. Kosher and kosher-style are a part of that.”

From Kosher to Kosher-Style

Unlike keeping kosher, which requires following a strict set of laws that cover everything from the food we eat to how it’s prepared, kosher-style refers to foods that have been associated with Jewish culture but aren’t necessarily following Kashrut. Think of the traditional foods you’ve enjoyed over the years – pickles, knish, matzah balls – and you’ve got a flavor of what “kosher-style” is.

“Pretty much any dish or cuisine can be adapted to be kosher,” says Andrea. “But there’s no substitute for those traditional, kosher-style foods. Sometimes you just crave it, whether because you miss the taste or because it reminds you of holidays past.”

Kosher-style foods appeared in the 1920s and allowed Jewish immigrants to feel “at home” food-wise, without having to follow dietary restrictions. While the term was colloquially used to describe delicatessens and similar restaurants, it also encompassed a new wave of Jewish families who were now able to still eat traditionally without having to strictly follow all of Kashruth’s very strict rules.

The Dining Culture at The Reutlinger

The Reutlinger Community is an interfaith community, and we’re pleased to be able to offer menus that encompass a wide array of different traditional dishes from cultures around the world. Offering kosher options is one way we honor our culture and believes, and kosher-style options are yet another nod to a different aspect of our culture.

“Many of our residents enjoy seeing dishes on the menu they grew up with,” says Andrea. “Providing these traditions, including a weekly Shabbat meal, allows us to blend past and present while also incorporating the latest trends in the food and dining industry.”

For more information about our dining team and our offerings, please contact us at (925) 272-0261.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s newly renovated, 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any seniors needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today.

Knitters Club led by Nonnie Fluss, Activities

See the work our Knitters club has done!

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Left to right is: Laurette Abrams, Jean Jones, Nonnie Fluss and Jane Spector