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From the Neighborhood Press

A Helping Hand: for those in assisted living

Do you have a friend or family member receiving supportive care services? Perhaps they live in an assisted living or nursing home, or are part of a Memory Care program. For those living in a Life Plan community such as the Neighborhood in Rio Rancho, supportive care can be very helpful to support healthy aging. Family members and friends may wonder how they can also be supportive and a good neighbor to a senior who may be limited in getting out and about much. Here are some ways to consider cheering up your loved one.

Encourage community participation. If your loved one has the luxury of receiving assisted living care in a 55 plus community, they likely have access to a number of community activities and events geared just for them. Find out the monthly schedule and look it over with your neighbor or loved one next time you visit. You might even be able to join in on an event or two with them, depending on the community’s ability to accommodate family members or friends.

Develop a book list. If your senior in assisted living would like to put together their own little library this year, you can help them find some great titles from current book lists such as the New York Times Bestsellers. Print some lists for them or send them in an email so they can easily browse and mark which books sound interesting. Some assisted living or nursing homes may offer their residents a community library or book exchange program. See if your loved one’s community has a library and encourage them to make some visits. If your senior needs some extra help, you can plan a little visit to help give them some inspiration or suggestions as you browse the books together. Some communities also offer book clubs or reading activities. Check the events and activities calendar to see what’s on the agenda especially for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia in a Memory Care program.

Have a chat over tea!

For seniors, it can be important to have someone who just sits and listens as they tell stories or talk about their past life.  Just being together, sharing a warm drink and letting them remember and share their wisdom with you can mean the world to them. Plan a little time. In these days when everything is instant and there is so much rush, it can be very beneficial to slow down and soak in the moments that really count. You can learn so much and give so much at the same time just by being willing to listen.

Take them on an outing. Assisted living communities can offer everything to provide residents with comfort and activities. But for your senior, going somewhere different with family members or friends can be exciting and special. There are quite a few places you can stay indoors and keep your senior warm. A short walk outside may be possible as well. Just make sure they have a warm coat along with them and a warm drink ready to go when you come back inside! Still, for most seniors, indoor activities will offer more comfort. Try a coffee shop and encourage them to order something they would really enjoy off the menu. If they aren’t into coffee, hot chocolate or tea are good options. Indoor malls can be great places to remain indoors while window shopping. This can work well for those who are wheelchair bound when a family member is available to assist them. A spa day with pedicures is another way to keep Grandma indoors and make her day special!

The last weeks of winter can be spiced up for those in assisted living with some simple activities even long after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is over. Help them pull out their Christmas gifts and make use of them. And keep in touch throughout the year. You can help them live life to the fullest even in the middle of the coldest Rio Rancho months!

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