Reutlinger Community Bus

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, 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, 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.

Seniors in front of sign

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, 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, 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.

Senior Video Chatting

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, 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.