Every Canvas is a Journey All It’s Own

Art With Elders has been in partnership with The Reutlinger Community and Artist Instructor Betty Rothaus for many years. This exhibit features work from eleven of her Artist Participants, as well as images and brief biographies of the artists.

Bringing Unique Visions to Life

Full time Artist-in-Residence, Betty Rothaus, MFA, (center above) offers residents individual guidance in bringing their unique vision to life. 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.  Exhibitions each year provide a joyous sharing of our residents’ accomplishments with the entire community.  The Reutlinger Community Art Program

Betty Rothaus AWE Artist Instructor"Dwight’s Vision" canvas art Betty Rothaus
AWE Artist Instructor
https://www.bettyrothaus.com/
Remember to Remember who you are and where you are. The Master of the Good Name taught: there is a river of pure Love that flows through the universe…connecting all people, places and things. We may …“draw power from this stream of blessing at any time. All that is required is to pause and remember it’s always there.”* The problem is that we forget. We are very “busy.” Each day, thousands of thoughts and feelings anchored in the past or future prevent us from being present. They prevent us from enjoying beauty, distract us from loving ourselves, and others and from seeing and appreciating the richness and magic surrounding us. Being aware of who we are, where we are, in the present, we can fully live the precious moments of our lives. My mission is to remind us to be present – to our gifts and blessings – and to celebrate daily with joy and gratitude.

 

Marjorie Cohen

Marjorie "Layers" canvas paintingMarjorie Cohen
When Marjorie, known as Margie by her friends, first saw the work of AWE artists hanging in the halls of Reutlinger, she realized that maybe her art could be up there too. She began attending art class this spring and is happy to be succeeding now in the one subject—art–she had trouble with growing up. She enjoys doing landscapes, especially blue sky and water.

Born in Albany, New York in 1940, Margie was an only child who involved herself in the world of art and music–tap dancing, playing trumpet in an orchestra, marching band, and female dance band as well as singing in the chorus. A former middle school English teacher, she lived in various East Coast cities and her happiest memories revolve around raising her two sons. She now has three grandsons. Having lost her husband, Ira, after close to fifty years of marriage, Margie has found art to be “a nice completion, occupying my mind and my senses” in the process of grieving.

Margie has been an avid baseball fan of both minor and major league teams since the age of eight, and loves music, especially jazz. She believes in the importance of not taking yourself too seriously and describes herself as an inquisitive person. At this point, she says, “Art completes my experience.”

 

"Forest Spring" canvas artRobert DeMatheisRobert DeMatheis
“Forest Spring”  broadened my perspective of distances.

Through painting the faint mist of the background, the solidness of the cliffs in the middle ground and high contrasts of the forest in the foreground, I created the illusion of space!

After painting this, the brightness and the colors reminded me of springtime.

 

JJoan Gilloan Gill
Thanks to AWE, “Joan started becoming an artist at the age of 91,” says her son Tom. She’s living proof that it’s never too late.

Joan worked in New York, where she was born in 1926, as an interior decorator for one of the nation’s first big department stores, Lloyd and Taylor, but she devoted most of her life to care giving. She raised four children, cared for her mother and later for her husband in memory care. But she always made time to care for others too. When living in North Carolina, she delivered puzzles to people in nursing homes. As Tom points out, “She did things throughout her life that the world doesn’t celebrate.”
"Circle Round" canvas art
Joan and her husband, an IBM executive who travelled extensively, lived in Europe for a number of years and enjoyed golfing together. But her passion throughout her life was always flowers. She cared for a large rose garden, where she would sometimes appear in white heels, one of the many pairs of shoes she loved. Long-stemmed roses were her favorite, which became the subject of some of her earlier paintings.

You can find her three times a week in Reutlinger’s art room, expressing in her art what she may not be able to say in words. She likes it when “all the shapes are getting along.”

Read full article.

8 Dementia-Friendly Tips for Summer Travels

Summertime is in full swing, and (if you’re anything like us) you are itching to get out and about and enjoy the gorgeous weather. Even though COVID-19 has changed the landscape of summer fun, that doesn’t mean there still aren’t plenty of opportunities to enjoy everything this season has to bring. That includes – believe it or not – travel.

“As stay-at-home orders are lifted and we start cautiously venturing out into the world, visiting friends and family are at the top of most of our to-do lists,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “Summer is, of course, the perfect time to do this. The days are longer, the kids are out of school and it plays into our long history of summer vacations.”

If you’re a caregiver to someone with dementia, you may wonder whether or not travel is in the cards this summer. Andrea says there’s no reason you and your loved one can’t enjoy traveling to places in 2020. “Dementia-friendly travel is possible – it requires a little extra effort on your part, but it can result in a wonderful time for you and your senior loved one,” she says. “COVID-19 concerns will, of course, add an extra dimension to your travel preparations, but by planning ahead and being flexible, you can definitely plan a trip that will result in a lot of fun and memories for everyone involved.”

 

Tip #1: Keep It Simple

While there are certainly ways to make airplane and train travel accessible for individuals with dementia, Andrea suggests that for 2020, it’s probably a good idea to keep travel short, simple and somewhat limited. “We still aren’t sure exactly what ‘travel’ will look like in our nation’s airports as we continue to reopen, and we aren’t sure how dementia-friendly the regulations will be,” she says. Although flying certainly can be the quickest way to get from Point A to Point B, Andrea suggests adapting your plans this year to keep destinations within a day’s drive of your home base.

 

Tip #2: Keep It Small

Dementia itself isn’t thought to increase the risk of COVID-19 for your loved one. However, advanced age and other health issues can increase your loved one’s risk factor. Since there is currently still no vaccine available for COVID-19, it’s probably best to avoid big, extensive family-and-friend get-togethers this summer. “Big crowds mean more chances for the virus to spread, so to keep you and your loved one safe, stick to smaller groups and practice good safety precautions,” says Andrea.

 

Tip #3: Make It Familiar

Was there a location you and your loved one always visited in summers past? Perhaps a lake home, or a certain park or another destination? Andrea suggests that places that could spark memories are a great way to get out and enjoy different – yet familiar – scenery. You could even ask your loved one what some of their favorite summer memories are or places that they used to visit when they were small.

 

Tip #4: Travel During a Good Time of Day

As a caregiver, you know your loved one’s routine better than anyone else. You know there are certain times of the day when she’s at her best – or when he’s absolutely the worst. If possible, schedule your travel times when your loved one is calmest, happiest and at their “best.” This will (hopefully) mean that traveling will go as smoothly as possible. Don’t forget to pack essential items to keep your loved one happy and entertained, such as snacks, games and favorite CDs.

 

Tip #5: Bring Essential Documents

Whether you’re traveling near or far, be sure that you have photocopies of all essential information that will allow you to get the access, information or assistance you need in the event of an emergency. Lists of medications, emergency contacts, powers of attorney, advance directives, IDs and other important documents should be within arm’s reach at all times. You may want to consider leaving copies of the same information with a close friend or family member so someone always has easy access to them.

 

Tip #6: Don’t Do It Alone

There’s no reason to stretch yourself thin while traveling, even if it’s just for a short while. Consider bringing a friend, family member or another caregiver on the trip with you so you have an extra pair of hands to help out with your loved one. Not only will this mean that you can get a little break from time to time, but you’ll also have yet another person to share the experience with.

 

Tip #7: Be Prepared

Since no one knows for sure what the travel landscape will look like this summer, it’s best to be prepared for the worst. Where will you eat if restaurants continue to be carry-out or drive-through only? What about rest stops and other bodily necessities? Do you know places along the route where you can stop and sleep if you or your loved one become anxious or uncomfortable in the car? Do you have plenty of hand sanitizer and wet wipes if there aren’t places to wash hands? The more you think through the various scenarios, the more prepared you will be.

 

Tip #8: Stay Flexible

Every dementia caregiver knows that things can change at the drop of a hat. Perhaps on the day of your scheduled travel, your loved one suddenly becomes ill, or is having an episode or something else occurs where you need to change your plans. Or maybe the place you were going has suddenly shut down again due to an outbreak. Remember to take a deep breath, center yourself and remain flexible. If travel suddenly is off the table, are there things you can do at home or around your hometown that can be just as enjoyable – and perhaps a little bit easier? Instead of traveling to see a family member, could that family member instead visit you? Or what about scheduling a virtual visit? Keep your mind open to the possibilities, and this summer will soon be filled with endless opportunities for enjoyment and fun.

For more information about traveling with someone with dementia, 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 is affiliated with Eskaton Senior Living. Our 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, 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, contact us today.

Dementia Caregiving in the Times of Social Distancing

Being a dementia caregiver can be chaotic at the best of times. Add a worldwide pandemic to the mix, and it’s no wonder that many caregivers are feeling rather overwhelmed right now.

“First things first: having dementia does not necessarily increase your loved one’s risk for contracting COVID-19,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “However, many individuals with dementia do have health issues, are of an advanced age and experience other behaviors that greatly increase their risk of developing the disease.”

As you may already be aware, seniors – specifically, those aged 65 or older – are the demographic most vulnerable to contracting coronavirus. Other factors that increase risk are living in a nursing home or facility, having diabetes, serious heart conditions or being immunocompromised. Chances are your loved one has at least two of those factors.

“Preventative measures against COVID-19 are our front line of defense right now, and unfortunately, people with dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease may not remember to or simply can’t take recommended precautions,” says Andrea. For example, they may forget to wash their hands, or refuse to wear masks or not practice social distancing.

If you’re a caregiver to someone with dementia, Andrea says, it’s important to know what challenges your loved one faces, and how you can help mitigate the danger to them and to yourself.

“Keeping you and your loved ones healthy and safe throughout this pandemic is of utmost importance,” Andrea says. “Second to that, but just as important, is ensuring that your loved one remains calm, confident and as secure as possible in order to avoid unwanted behaviors and to lessen the burden on yourself. Whatever you can do to make your job easier – while still maintaining healthy practices for you and your family – will serve you well at this time.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), increased confusion in an individual with dementia is often the first symptom of any illness. That holds true for COVID-19. If your loved one is experiencing rapidly increased confusion, contact their physician or health care provider for more information. Unless your loved one has a dangerously high fever or has difficulty breathing, do not go to the emergency room. Instead, make sure that your loved one is comfortable, hydrated and calm and contact a health care provider for advice.

If your loved one lives with you and you serve as primary caregiver, you may have a slightly easier time with ensuring a safe environment for the individual with dementia. By keeping your loved one isolated in your home – and being cautious about who comes in and out of your house – you can greatly reduce the risk of “contamination” by outside factors. Living at home means you can more easily remind your loved one to wash their hands, use hand sanitizer and refrain from touching their face. You can also be sure that he or she wears a mask when going outside or interacting with people.

One of the best things you can do as a caregiver is to make sure physical contact from the outside world is limited. You may wish to speak to your pharmacist or doctor about receiving 90-day refills on prescriptions instead of 30-day, for example, in order to reduce the number of trips you have to make. You may also want to look into services such as grocery delivery that will reduce your workload while allowing you to stay put.

If your loved one is receiving home-based care (whether living in their own home or in yours), making sure they’re safe can be slightly more difficult. Andrea suggests that you contact the home health provider and speak with them about how they’re shifting their protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19. You may wish to institute your own precautions before the care provider enters the home, such as taking their temperature and having them wash their hands upon arrival.

Remember, even though you want your loved one to stay safe and secure, it’s also important for people with dementia to have regular social and mental stimulation. Fortunately, there are many technologies these days that can allow your loved one to interact with the world, stay engaged, use their skills and keep them entertained. Computer games and apps, favorite videos and even virtual assistants like Alexa can be a way for your loved one to engage and connect with others.

What if your loved one lives in a memory care community or is in long-term care? This can be difficult for family members and caregivers, because many of these settings have instituted a ban on nonessential visitors. While this helps reduce the risk to residents’ health and safety, it can also be frustrating for both family members and the individual with dementia – who may not understand what’s going on.

If your loved one is in a community, here are some things you can do to stay in touch while still social distancing:

  • Speak to the memory care community to learn about their safety procedures and if/when they are allowing visitors.
  • Look into alternate ways for connecting with your loved one: Zoom call, Skype, FaceTime or even a drive-by or driveway hangout.
  • If you’re exhibiting any signs of illness – even non-COVID related illnesses – stay at home.
  • Stay in touch with staff members to stay up-to-date on their ever-shifting policies.

Andrea reminds caregivers that, although this may be a scary time, your job as a caregiver is to make life as normal as possible for your loved one to ensure their quality of life. “Your loved one will look to you and pick up on your emotions, so the calmer you are and more normal you make the situation seem, the easier it will be for them to follow precautions,” she says. “There’s no one right way to do this – whatever works for you and your loved one is the best way to do it. As long as you stay vigilant and do your best to keep you and your loved one healthy, the easier it will be to weather this storm and emerge on the other side.”

For more information about caregiving for someone with dementia during this time of COVID-19, 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 is affiliated with Eskaton Senior Living. Our 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, 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, contact us today.

The Benefits of Using Video Chat to Connect with Senior Loved Ones

Seeing our friends, family and other loved ones can brighten our days, make life more fun and even make difficult times easier, but what happens when it’s simply not possible? During times that it’s not feasible or even safe to visit a loved one, it can be detrimental to our mental health, and our loved ones as well, causing depression and feelings of isolation. This is why it’s important to find different ways to connect with those you love.

In light of these challenging times, we’re finding more ways than ever to continue seeing our loved ones while staying safely apart. These innovative ways are helping to keep everyone happier, healthier and more hopeful. According to Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA, one of the best ways to stay connected is through the use of video chat software.

“While video chat is certainly not new for a number of us, we’re finding it to be even more beneficial now, as we face restrictions on visitors, the rise of social distancing and the inability to get together in person,” she states. “Our residents have been able to video chat with their families, visit with their grandchildren and feel as though life is as continuing as close to normal as possible – all while feeling safe and cared for. This has truly been invaluable for us through these unprecedented times and has come with so many benefits – in fact, the benefits have been so widespread we are likely to continue finding new ways to implement this technology both now and in the future!”

Video chatting comes with a number of benefits and advantages, and even better, it can be used creatively to ensure an enriching experience. Consider some of the following benefits of using video chat software as well as how to use it to better connect, engage and enjoy time with your loved ones.

The Benefits of Video Chats to Connect with Senior Loved Ones

  • Helping to maintain connection. Video chatting can help them to feel less lonely, more engaged and can help to improve their mood. It can also ward away symptoms of depression and anxiety.

 

  • It can help them to feel more secure. During this time, they may feel uncertain. By being able to see family and friends, even over video chat, they can rest assured knowing their loved ones are safe, happy and well, helping them feel more secure.

 

  • It can ensure they remain safe. When we don’t travel or see people in person, it’s harder for them to get sick on the off chance you, or someone you’ve been near, are sick. This ensures both you, your loved one and those around you remain healthy and well.

 

  • It’s more flexible. Scheduling a time to video chat is often much easier than setting up a time to meet, traveling and finding a time that works for everyone. Simply call and ask if they are available – it’s as simple as that!

 

  • More people can come together at once. Video chats allow people from different homes to all join in the call. Whether your best friend lives abroad or just a few minutes away, your family lives in California or your grandchildren live on the East Coast, people can all be brought together in one place at one time – right at the touch of your fingertips.

 

  • You can get creative with how you use the software. Whether you simply talk over video chat or opt to have a watch party, family brunch or play games over video, there are plenty of ways to interact and enjoy each other’s company.

For more information about connecting with loved ones over video chat, 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, 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 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, contact us today.

Fun in the Sun: Summer Safety Checklist for Seniors

Memorial Day has come and gone, which means that the summer season is officially in full swing. This year, the season has a lot more meaning. After a spring filled with coronavirus, social distancing and sheltering in place, “summer” means the opportunity to get out of the house, enjoy the sunlight and even spend time with the people we care about.

“This summer, spending time with our loved ones may be even more meaningful than in previous years, but it also means that seniors will need to take extra precaution,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “Even during normal situations, the summertime heat and sun can be dangerous to seniors if they don’t take proper precautions. Add the lingering worry of COVID-19, and this summer means a little extra diligence for seniors and their loved ones.”

Fortunately, staying safe in the summertime is easy, as long as you plan ahead and exercise common sense. Here are some of our top tips to help seniors and their caregivers have a safe and fun summer.

  1. Stay hydrated. Seniors become dehydrated more easily than younger people because their bodies don’t conserve water as well. At the same time, their sense of thirst can become deadened, so they aren’t always aware of when they are thirsty. Seniors also are more susceptible to temperature changes, so it’s very easy to become overheated. Be sure to carry water with you when you’re out and about, and be sure to drink water regularly. Caregivers may want to add fruit or cucumbers to a pitcher of water in the fridge to make the water more enticing to drink.
  1. Talk to the doctor. Certain medications become less effective if they are stored in higher temperatures, while other medications can cause seniors to become overheated more easily. Check with your doctor to make sure that you’re taking care of your body in the best possible way. The last thing you want is for your medical condition to flare up simply because the thermometer is rising.
  1. Stay cool. Obviously, staying inside in the air conditioning is one of the best ways to avoid getting overheated. If your home is air conditioned, you’re all set. If not, seniors and their caregivers should consider places that are air conditioned, like libraries and senior centers. Seniors should avoid going outside during the hottest part of the day if possible (usually between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.), and if it can’t be avoided, they should stick to the shade and sip cool beverages in order to keep from getting overheated.
  2. Be prepared. Seniors are some of the most vulnerable individuals when it comes to contracting COVID-19. When you’re out and about, practice safe habits like remaining six feet away from other people, washing your hands regularly (or carry around a container of hand sanitizer) and wearing a disposable mask. You may wish to limit your activities and errands to the early morning hours or later in the evening, when fewer people will be out (and it will be cooler, too).
  1. Dress for the weather. Wearing the right type of clothes can play a big role in helping keep your summertime cool. Natural fabrics (like cotton or linen) are good choices during summertime, because they are cooler than synthetic fibers and can wick away sweat. Be sure to choose items that are light-colored and loose to maximize air flow. Paradoxically, seniors may find they’re cooler when they cover themselves up – think long, flowing sleeves instead of sleeveless shirts that leave your arms open to the burning sun. The important thing is to choose items that leave you feeling cool and comfortable.
  1. Shield yourself. Seniors will need to take extra steps to protect their skin (and eyes) from the sun. Be sure to apply sunscreen regularly while you’re outdoors, and dress smartly in order to shield yourself from the sun’s rays. Hats, sunglasses, long sleeves and long pants are all good options that will help keep UV rays off your body while keeping you as cool and comfortable as possible.
  1. Know the signs of hyperthermia. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion – scientifically known as hyperthermia – comes when body temperatures rise to an abnormal height. This can become life threatening, so it’s important to know the warning signs and understand what to do – and when it’s time to seek medical attention. If your loved one is sweating profusely, experiencing nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps, weakness or headaches, get them into a cool place and get them to drink something cool. Once they’re more stable, call their doctor or go to the hospital. Call 911 immediately if your loved one suddenly stops sweating, has dry and flushed skin, heavy breathing and a rapid pulse or sudden personality changes.
  1. Steer clear of bugs. Summertime means outdoors, which means bugs. Seniors are particularly prone to diseases like West Nile Virus, so be sure to use a good mosquito repellent to reduce the risk of getting bit. Not only will it keep you safe, but it will also help you avoid sleepless, itchy nights.
  1. Get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors (smartly). Get out there and enjoy the nice weather – it’s the best time of year to get your blood pumping and your limbs moving. Whether you enjoy walking, gardening or any other activity, just be smart and pay attention to what your body is telling you. Be sure to drink plenty of water (more than usual) and pay attention to the time. Be sure to give yourself plenty of breaks and don’t push yourself if you feel like you’re fading.
  1. Have fun. Enough said. Get out there, be safe and enjoy the summer. You’ve definitely earned it.

 

For more information about summer safety tips 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, 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, contact us today.

Making a Safe Transition from Home to Memory Care

Transitioning a loved one from home to a memory care community can be a difficult task. Although you may know that they’ll enjoy their new community, opportunities for friendships and engaging lifestyle, they may not realize it at the time or may be too anxious to consider the positives of a move. This can cause a number of negative behaviors, including anger, agitation, aggression and more. We know just how hard this transition can be, so we want to help.

“Moving a loved one with memory loss from the home they know and love to a memory care community that they are unfamiliar with can be hard for everyone involved,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “However, it’s important to do so, so that they can experience the lifestyle they deserve. To make this transition easier and safer, you should plan as much as you can ahead of time. Planning is crucial to the success of a move, and whether you believe your loved one will transition well or not, knowing what you can expect and the obstacles you could face during a move will be a big help.”

Here are some of the actions you can take to help make a safe transition to memory care.

If possible, visit with your loved one ahead of time as much as possible. Visiting can help to familiarize your loved one with the community while also allowing them to meet their care team, make some friends and get more comfortable with the idea of a move.

Refrain from announcing the move too far in advance. This can not only make your loved one more anxious, but it may also make them agitated or aggressive. Instead, tell them just before the move, or even the day of.

Move at the time they are at their best. On the day of the move, try to keep everything as normal as possible. It will also be important to keep a close eye on them, as wandering can occur if they are too disrupted from their routine. This might be a good time to consider some respite care or having a loved one distract them with an activity they love in a quiet and secluded location.

Talk to a doctor about adjusting medication. In some cases, anti-anxiety medicine can make the move easier on everyone. Then, you can wean the medication into their system and then wean them back out once the move is complete.

Bring items that are familiar to your loved one. From their favorite comforter, photographs of friends and family and their favorite chair to items that help spark their memory, their favorite snacks and more, familiar items can help to make your loved one more comfortable during a move. It can also be helpful to unpack as much as possible before they arrive, as too much hustle and bustle can cause them to become distressed.

It’s going to be important to not visit for the first few weeks. Your loved one may think you’re going to be bringing them home or that you are picking them up. It’s going to be difficult, but if you want to check in on how your loved one is doing, contact the community and their care team. They are there to provide you with peace of mind as well as support during this journey.

For more information about making the move to a memory care community safer, 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 contact us today.

5 Tips for Downsizing Before You Move into Assisted Living

When it comes time for you or your loved one to move into an assisted living community, it’s important to know the best ways to make it easier on yourselves. After all, you’ve done the hard part – you’ve toured communities, you’ve evaluated what you liked and didn’t like and you’ve narrowed down your choices to the perfect community, so it’s only right that the next step of your journey be a little smoother!

 

“When we say smoother, we don’t mean that this won’t be an emotional journey,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “It can be difficult and stressful to downsize; moving day can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. There’s a whole host of emotions that can come with such a big change, but we’re here to help you every step of the way. Whether that’s helping you to make downsizing easier, calm your nerves or make your move-in day successful. We’re so excited to help guide you on this journey and can’t wait to help you now and in the future.”

 

Tips for Downsizing Prior to Moving to Assisted Living

We know that downsizing can be riddled with stress and uncertainty. You may not know what to keep or throw away, what you will need or what you won’t, what you should pass down and what you should sell or – better yet – where to even start. We’re here to help. Follow some of our expert tips below!

 

Make a list of rooms to go through.

Establish a list of what rooms you need to go through, beginning with the easiest spaces first – often a linen closet or study. Leave the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom for last, as you often need items from there up until your move. When you can no longer put them off, be sure to keep your essentials and then get rid of the rest.

 

Start small.

It can often help to simply clear clutter when you’re just starting out. Get rid of old papers, shred old but important documents, get rid of duplicate items and simply begin clearing out obvious items. As time goes on, it often gets easier to downsize the items and make way for what truly matters.

 

Establish a list of what you need.

Before downsizing, talk to the team at the assisted living community to find out what you’ll likely want and need from home. Do you want to bring your comforter and favorite window treatments? Is your favorite chair going to fit? Do you have room for your large collection of books or paintings? Knowing this information will make it easier to clear the items you won’t have space for or simply won’t need because your lifestyle will be too busy to care about them anymore.

 

Sell or pass down items that are meaningful or valuable.

For many seniors, they are holding on to items they no longer need or use but tend to make them happy. These items are often only brought out during special occasions or even when someone else asks about them. If you have a favorite necklace that your granddaughter would look beautiful in while appreciating it belonged to you, pass it down. If you have antiques that you don’t have use for, consider selling them in a consignment shop or having them assessed by a collector to purchase.

 

Find some help.

There is an array of senior moving services that would be happy to help you downsize and make a move to assisted living much easier. If downsizing is too much, or you’d like some additional help, consider hiring a service instead of doing it all yourself!

 

Downsizing can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be if you have an established plan of action in place. With our tips, we hope that your downsizing journey will be more seamless. If we can help in any way, simply let us know!

For more information about downsizing, 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 contact us today.

10 Dementia-Friendly Springtime Activities

Spring is normally the time of year when we get excited to be outside enjoying the weather and airing out the home following a cold and dusty winter. If you’re a caregiver to someone with dementia, you may be wondering what you can do to keep him or her active during the transition in weather.

“Activities are incredibly important for individuals with dementia because it helps keep them engaged, fulfilled and interested,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “However, when planning outings this spring for your loved one with dementia, it is even more important to be alert, be aware and choose safe options that will keep them healthy.”

Here are some of our springtime ideas for fun and festivities.

  1. Do some gardening. Gardening is a wonderful activity for dementia patients because it combines light exercise with dexterity activities and total sensory stimulation. You and your loved one can work at weeding out flower beds, planting seedlings and other light chores. Be sure that the activity isn’t too strenuous. You can purchase some dementia-friendly gardening tools that will allow your senior loved one to participate safely.
  2. Take a walk. A short walk around the block is a great form of exercise. Be sure your loved one has appropriate footwear to avoid falls. You can take a walk around the neighborhood or head to a nearby park for a change of scenery – whatever’s easiest.
  3. Become a birdwatcher. Put a birdfeeder outside your loved one’s window or on the patio. Grab your tablet (or go old-school with a birdwatching book) and look up the feathered friends who come to visit.
  4. Sit in the sun. Even just sitting outside for 15 minutes can help with circadian rhythms, improve mood, boost spirits, reduce stress and more. Spend some time outside reading a book or simply enjoying the feel of the sun on your face. Being outside stimulates all the senses with sounds, smells and feels, which can help with cognitive issues.
  5. Pack a picnic. Get some carry-out (or pick up some sandwiches from the grocery store) and have a picnic in the park – or your backyard!
  6. Arrange a beautiful bouquet. How does your garden grow? If you have plants sprouting in your yard and garden, clip some of the most beautiful blooms and arrange them in vases around the house. If you’d like to do a more in-depth activity, purchase flowers from the grocery store or market and spend an afternoon creating floral masterpieces with your loved one. When you’re done, you can deliver the bouquets to friends and family memes who might enjoy a little cheer.
  7. Paint flower pots. Gardening doesn’t have to only be done indoors. Container gardening is very popular, and provides an opportunity to create fun, unique flower pots. Purchase some terracotta pots and acrylic paint and design pretty pots that you can plant herbs, vegetables or flowers in.
  8. Spring clean your home. While spring cleaning may not immediately signal “fun activity” for you, it’s an excellent opportunity to engage your loved one and give them the chance to feel useful. Choose tasks that are simple enough and within their abilities (dusting, sorting, etc).
  9. Cook a new dish. All sorts of fresh fruits and vegetables are in season during spring. Get inspired in the kitchen to create new, seasonally inspired dishes. Cooking is a great activity for individuals with dementia, and you may end up learning some new tips and techniques, too.
  10. Plant an indoor herb garden. Herbs are easy to grow indoors and add a zing to any springtime dish. Choose hardy plants like basil, thyme, oregano, chives and rosemary, and your kitchen will smell like a fine restaurant all season long.

For more information about dementia-friendly springtime activities, 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.

How to Successfully Share Coronavirus Information with an Individual with Dementia Symptoms

Laura Wayman, The Dementia Whisperer

Whether you are a family caregiver or a professional care provider, it is important to remain adaptable with your care approach to successfully manage dementia symptoms and behaviors.  A caregiver who is “dementia-aware” is one who remains open to continuing education.

Now, in the midst of this coronavirus crisis and all of the challenges it brings to you the caregiver, more than ever this is a time to help the one(s) being cared for by using dementia-aware communication strategies, remaining sensitive to the fact that all of the emotions and feelings remain.  Dementia-aware communication has less to do with your words than it has to do with the feelings you project.

Let’s first transform our perception of dementia and why it is necessary to change our communication and approach to better connect with the individual with dementia symptoms.  Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. What is behind these dementia symptoms? Our brains are always trying to make sense of things, to impose order on all the information we are continuously taking in.  But when an individual has dementia symptoms, whole experiences are constantly being lost, making it difficult for the brain to get its bearings. Through sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste we take note of things outside of ourselves. Then our brains make sense out of what we take in. People with dementia begin to struggle sensing and interpreting things, and this is especially challenging if they become overwhelmed with too much information.

In plain language, the essential parts of the brain we access to understand the world around us, every piece of data we receive, process and use to do anything, is now broken and with most causes may continue to be even more broken.  The way I like to describe it is – the person presenting dementia symptoms has a  “broken thinker.”  And to become “dementia-aware” is to learn to “think” for them.

Below are some dementia-aware communication tips to help the family and professional caregiver share necessary information about the coronavirus threat in a more positive dementia-aware way without causing undue anxiety:

Provide just enough information

Try to strike a balance between answering questions without fueling the flame of anxiety and avoid providing too much information that may create extra alarm. Among the greatest challenges is how to minimize overstimulation, keeping in mind it is all about how information makes them feel. Leave out specific details and join them in whatever they might be feeling-give them only the information they can process and handle in the moment

This is a big change in how we have always communicated with adults, so it takes practice! I even have to remind myself to ask less and do more, as this is a core component of dementia-aware communication.A dementia-aware caregiver uses fewer questions, gives fewer options, uses positive action, keeping all statements simple.

Model calmness

Even though you may be concerned yourself, it is important to model calmness. A flight attendant that appears terrified may make you think there is something wrong and you should worry. If that same flight attendant calmly offers you a beverage with a smile, you might think there’s just windy weather that will pass soon.

Limit news and media exposure

Although the news can be helpful by keeping everyone informed, news stories often use wording that is strong and scary – – and the reporters don’t practice dementia-aware positive engagement. Limit news-viewing to the hours after the person you are caring for has gone to sleep, read the news independently, focusing less on the threat. Take time to reframe information into news that will not push them into anxiety or fright.  Join their feelings and help them to feel loved, safe, secure, comfortable and valued by practicing positive action statements such as:   “This is a scary time for everyone, I am sure glad we can get through this together,” “I listened to the news this morning and it sounds like there are very smart doctors and leaders that are making good decisions to keep us all safe.”

Watch for reassurance seeking

It’s natural for the person you are caring for with dementia to ask questions repeatedly, particularly about something difficult for them to understand and process. Often, however, those with dementia symptoms, it is the underlying feeling of anxiety causing the individual to continually ask the questions rather than actually seeking an answer, prompting a behavior called reassurance seeking. It may look like the person with dementia is repeatedly asking the same or similar questions, yet the person’s distress increases no matter how many times you give them the answer. If you notice repeated reassurance seeking, change from answering the question to talking to the feelings. If the person you are caring for asks you repetitively why they can’t go to their favorite restaurant for lunch and seems anxious when you explain that the restaurant is closed due to the coronavirus quarantine, try the strategy of talking to the feelings instead of answering with details. For example, say and “do” the following (join the feelings and take  positive action): “I miss going to our favorite lunch spot as well, I love having lunch with you, let’s make our favorite grilled cheese sandwich and have lunch together at home.”  Then just move forward and get it done!

The more you “think” for people with dementia, using these strategies, the kinder and more supportive you are in their eyes. Short and sweet, less is best, fewer words and more action. This change in your care approach as you become more dementia-aware brings relief, as well as helping both of you experience more moments of calmness and peace.

Dementia-awareness offers caregivers helpful communication techniques such as positive action statements and care approach strategies for managing and easing dementia care challenges. For more information, tools and trainings for becoming dementia-aware visit my website www.laurawayman.com.

How to Choose an Assisted Living Community for Your Senior Loved One

Have you noticed that your senior loved one has been needing a little more help than usual these days? Maybe he or she is having trouble navigating the stairs, or has had some falls recently. Perhaps you’ve noticed that their home is not quite as clean as it used to be, or you’ve noticed expired food in the refrigerator or the house just seems a little run-down. Or maybe your loved one has been complaining about all the work that owning a house entails, and that they’d really like to step back from that and spend their time as they wish.

This may mean that assisted living would be a good choice for your senior loved one, says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “The family home that your loved one lives in isn’t always the best choice as they get older,” she says. “In order to live safely, he or she may need to make costly renovations. But that’s not all. Home upkeep, grocery shopping and staying social are all things that are necessary for a comfortable life … and that can simply be hard to do when you live on your own.”

As an adult child or relative of a senior, you may be concerned – and rightly so – about your loved one’s safety, both now and in the future. Your loved one may have health issues that are becoming more severe, and you aren’t sure how he or she will manage if things get any worse. Fortunately, there is a solution: assisted living.

“Moving into assisted living is something to be celebrated these days,” says Andrea. “Today’s senior living communities are worlds removed from the ‘homes’ of old – in fact, many adult children of our residents joke that they wish they could move into our community. Today’s communities are built around the idea of providing support and giving residents as much independence as possible. Moving to an Assisted Living community like The Reutlinger Community allows older adults to enjoy their golden years in peace, knowing that they will always receive as much or as little care as they want and need.”

Tips for Choosing the Right Assisted Living Community

No two assisted living communities are created equal, which is why it’s important for you and your loved one to do your research and carefully weigh the options in order to find the best fit. Andrea suggests starting the process as soon as you possibly can – it’s a lot easier to make an informed choice and move before it becomes necessary. “Oftentimes, people will wait until there’s been an incident, like a fall or a health scare, to move into an assisted living community. That’s not really the best way to do things, because it causes a lot of stress, quick decisions and a ‘good enough’ solution. By giving yourself time to research options and be thoughtful, you and your loved one can choose the best solution possible and provide a good foundation for this next chapter of life.”

Make a list of needs and wants.

The first step before you begin looking for a community is to sit down and write a list of all the needs your loved one has, as well as what they want in a community. “Needs” should include all the health-related and care-related issues that should be addressed. “Wants” are things like dining options, apartment sizes and styles, community location and the like. Having these lists will help you narrow down options and make informed decisions.

Ask for advice.

Do you have friends or family members who’ve placed loved ones in assisted living? Does your loved one’s physician have any recommendations? Ask around both in-person and online to get firsthand information of what the process is like and what places others would recommend. You can also connect with your local Area Agency on Aging to gather information and look for options.

Look at cost.

The price tag is often the most important issue facing those who go into assisted living communities. The cost depends on many factors. Some places charge a community fee and a monthly rental fee, while others work on a month-by-month basis. Some communities will have an all-inclusive rate, while others do more of an add-on type of approach. You will need to take a look at your loved one’s finances and determine what is a reasonable cost for his or her lifestyle and needs.

Research care levels.

What will happen if your loved one requires more care than he or she currently needs? Are there options for higher levels of care on-campus, or would it be necessary for your loved one to move if they require memory care or skilled nursing? Progressive care is offered at some communities and not at others; there are benefits to both styles. You and your loved one should discuss what options will work best.

Take a look at the lifestyle offered.

Obviously, assistance is the biggest benefit to moving into assisted living. But another significant benefit is the social life and activities available. There are many seniors who move to assisted living not because they need the help, but because they want to be part of a community and do things. Talk with your loved one to see what opportunities they’d like to see, and choose communities that offer the lifestyle they’re looking for.

Tour each community on your list.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list to the top two or three communities, schedule on-site tours to get a feel for what life there is like and learn more information. You may wish to tour a community more than once – in fact, we recommend touring several times, at different times of the day. This will help you get a full picture of what life is like at that particular community.

Moving into an assisted living community is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be something that’s stressful or sad. In fact, your loved one may say something we hear so often at The Reutlinger Community: “I wish I’d moved here sooner!”

For more information about how to choose an assisted living community 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.