The Moving to Assisted Living Checklist: What to Keep in Mind During the Transition
Choosing to move into assisted living is rarely an easy decision. Some parents may resist it because they feel that it damages their pride or robs them of free will. They may be afraid to leave behind the life they've built, or may have trouble accepting the natural progression of aging -- that is, needing help with ADLs (activities of daily living). But assisted living will greatly improve their quality of life and bring them to a warm, welcoming community, in addition to 24/7 help performing ADLs, such as bathing, getting dressed, etc., that become a burden to aging people. Assisted living makes life much easier and relieves the stress that comes with home ownership. This is especially important for seniors with significant health or memory issues.
Nonetheless, helping your loved one move into assisted living will require a lot of support, both emotionally and physically. Downsizing for such a transition can be stressful, so it's important to know what can stay and what can go and to help your loved one prioritize and pack.
Assisted Living Checklist
First and foremost, get a floor plan of the new space, with measurements, so you can accurately plan how furniture and other possessions will fit.
Create a Schedule
This process should begin weeks, if not months in advance of moving day, to minimize stress and allow time for mental processing. Make the reservations for moving vans, trucks, etc. Know when everything needs to be packed and ready to go.
Prioritize Sentimental & Cherished Possessions
Moving is one of the most stressful things in life. Keeping cherished possessions close will make for a more comfortable transition and allow for your loved one to acclimate more quickly to their new environment. If the sentimental object is too large (armoire, table, etc), see if a close friend/family member is willing to take it for safekeeping or place it in a trusted storage facility.
Some items such as kitchen appliances and other furnishings might be provided by the assisted living facility, so be sure to check before packing.
King-Bruwaert House provides the best amenities in an elegant, picturesque senior living community. We provide independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and more. Plan a visit today to see the full scope.
Understanding the Differences Between Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes
If you or a loved one may be considering Assisted Living or Nursing Home services, there may be questions about which care level is appropriate. How do you navigate the marketplace and differentiate between Assisted Living communities and Nursing Homes? Let’s start with a basic understanding of these two care levels and related services.
What is Assisted Living?
Typically, Assisted Living services provide care and attention to individuals requiring regular support with activities of daily living (ADLs). These ADLs include, but are not limited to: daily meals, assistance with dressing, bathing, grooming, medication management, housekeeping, laundry, daily activities, transportation, and some medical oversight. With Assisted Living, you will find a range of residential options that include private, apartment-style living arrangements for individuals and couples to maintain their independence as much as possible. Mobility may be a deciding factor for residents in need of Assisted Living services since they will walk to dining venues, participate in activities and Wellness programs, schedule spa and medical services and enjoy common areas such as fitness or recreation studios, outdoor courtyards, art and craft rooms, theaters and libraries.
What is a Nursing Home?
Residents who live in a Nursing Home require medical oversight with some or most of their ADLs, plus transfer services. Daily nursing care may be needed with medication management, restorative therapies, injections, IV management, tube feedings, wound care and memory support. Nurses and support staff provide care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Nursing Homes include hospital-style beds in both private and semi-private rooms.
Nursing Homes offer services for both short- and long-term stays, depending on the medical condition of the person. It is not uncommon for residents to transition from a hospital stay to a nursing home for a limited period of time. In a round-the-clock medical environment, individuals receive continuous care to help them gain back their strength and stamina.
Selecting an Assisted Living facility or Nursing Home
Assisted Living companies and Nursing Homes can be independently-owned or franchised in various regions and states and distinguished as either profit or non-profit, with some accepting Medicare/Medicaid and others that do not. Pricing varies with each organization. Some charge a basic fee with add-on expenses for the various services used. Other communities charge an “all-inclusive” fee that incorporates more services with the monthly cost.
How to Make a Decision
Those who transition into Assisted Living or Nursing Care accept a new lifestyle that accommodates their personal needs and interests. Amenities and services create a living environment that provides safety, security, medical oversight, cultural stimulation, daily dining and activities. It is important to inquire about monthly pricing, medical care provisions, staffing ratios, available programs, food service options, physician/nursing support, religious options and availability of transportation.
Why You Should Select King-Bruwaert House
King-Bruwaert House in Burr Ridge, IL continues a long tradition of providing excellent care and services to residents in a full continuum of care: Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing Care and Independent Living. Experienced, tenured staff members focus on person-centered care for all residents, helping them to acclimate in our warm, friendly and comfortable surroundings. Acclaimed culinary services bring creative, home-cooked meals to the table every day. Seasonal and daily activities plus wellness programs give residents many opportunities to be active and social as they look forward to day-to-day engagement with other people.
Residents enjoy full access to King-Bruwaert’s beautiful 35-acre wooded grounds that include a 1-1/2-mile walking path, gazebo, bocce ball court, two natural ponds, a natural tributary of Flagg Creek plus many gardens and a walking bridge. A convenient dog park makes it easy for owners to walk their canines in a pet-friendly environment. Large, canopied trees and lovely gardens add to the scenic beauty of our unique King-Bruwaert campus bringing great pleasure to residents who appreciate the colorful seasonal changes.
Additional on-site services include physical, speech and occupational therapies, dental and vision services, podiatry care, psychiatric support and a full-service Medical Clinic that remains open five days a week for appointments.
Carrington Hall, King-Bruwaert’s newest Assisted Living Suite project, officially opens this fall. The modern suites feature bright and open floor plans, kitchenettes, in-unit washer-dryers, individually-controlled heating and air conditioning, plus daily meals, weekly housekeeping and scheduled transportation. Reservations are now being accepted for the first- and second-floor suites.
For more information about Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing Care, Memory Care or Independent Living, call Director of Admissions Joan Metz at (630) 230-9551 or email@example.com.
Healthy Eating Connects to Geriatric Nutrition
For many older adults, especially those with memory loss or serious illnesses, healthy eating may not be the biggest priority. Without a caregiver, family member, friend, neighbor or culinary team ensuring that daily meals are eaten, nutritional needs may decline, creating a potentially serious situation. Complications may also occur with actual meal planning and preparation.
At King-Bruwaert House in Burr Ridge, we encourage residents at all care levels – independent, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing, to consume daily nutritious meals that satisfy and meet their needs. Healthy food choices and water consumption for older adults can help to maintain physical and cognitive functions and support bone, vision and vascular health. Food also fuels the body’s immune system to provide stamina and strength. Drinking water regularly keeps the body hydrated.
It is very common for older adults to experience a loss of appetite or changes in smell or taste. During the aging process, many individuals begin to reduce their food intake or skip meals altogether. The prospect of dining or being alone may also take away from the enjoyment of what was once a shared activity with others.
Meal Planning Poses Challenges for Those with Memory Loss
For seniors exhibiting signs of short- or long-term memory loss, there is an added concern about preparing food using a stove, microwave or electrical heating appliance. Will your friend or loved one remember to turn off the stove or oven or avoid using certain items or utensils when heating foods in a microwave? Do they have the ability to adjust knobs on a toaster or will they remember to turn off a coffee or slow cooker? Confusion and forgetfulness can be a dangerous combination for someone who is left alone to navigate kitchen duties.
And what about meal clean up? Who will tidy up the kitchen after a meal has been prepared? Will dirty dishes or leftover food begin to pile up on the stove, counters or in the sink? Meal messes can be yet another reason why many older adults just don’t want to bother with the time and tasks involved.
Checking on the expiration and dates and freshness of food items is another important part of effective meal planning for those with memory loss or limited capabilities. Products such as milk, eggs, juices, fruits and vegetables offer limited consumption times. Dates and codes should be checked regularly to ensure safe eating.
For older adults who have diabetes, food allergies or dietary/caloric restrictions, it is important to stock up on menu items that are essential to their well-being. Weekly grocery store visits by a family member or caregiver will ensure the purchase of healthy products. In Burr Ridge and other communities, many local grocery stores offer order and delivery services for a fee. This may be an option for those seeking support for older adults who no longer drive.
Older adults benefit from a daily, well-planned meal plan that includes fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meat, fish or poultry – in consideration of any restrictions. Dining with others and being part of a social setting adds to the enjoyment of a regular eating regimen. King-Bruwaert House offers several meal options, including formal sit-down dining, casual Bistro meals and in-home delivered meal service for those with limited mobility.
“We recognize the importance of nutrition for our residents and prioritize all aspects of the dining experience,” said King-Bruwaert Chief Executive Officer Terri Bowen. “Nutrition is an essential part of aging – and through the support of our dietitian and our trained and dedicated culinary staff, we make options available that satisfy, support and sustain.”
King-Bruwaert House in Burr Ridge, IL celebrates 86 years of providing exceptional care and services for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing. Our continuing care retirement community is located about 30 minutes west of Chicago, and serves many local communities including Burr Ridge, Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, Oak Brook, Western Springs, Indian Head Park, LaGrange, Downers Grove, Willowbrook and Darien. King-Bruwaert House is nestled on a private, 35-acre wooded parcel, surrounded by gardens, a walking path, two ponds and a scenic creek. Our warm and inviting Georgian Manor residence is recognized for having friendly, caring staff, unique architecture and beautiful furnishings.
Ever heard of a twiddlemuff? Imagine a soft, colorful knitted muff adorned with interesting buttons, bows and bits. This unique piece offers comfort and care to residents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. When King-Bruwaert House Social Worker Megan Schaaf read an article on Facebook about the use of twiddlemuffs to engage residents, she quickly turned to members of our K-B knitting group, Operation Warm Hearts, and asked if they could create the muffs.
“As dementia progresses, fidgeting can become common and I have observed that some of our residents are often looking for something to do with their hands,” Schaaf explained. I felt like the twiddlemuffs could help to ease their boredom and anxiety – and encourage small motor movement, too.”
“K-B is fortunate to have our Operation Warm Hearts group,” Schaaf said, “and I thought this would be a project they might be willing to take on to benefit our residents.”
Member Rose Ann Hoof was immediately intrigued. A talented artisan with impressive knitting, crocheting and specialty skills, Hoof researched several twiddlemuff patterns and came up with her own rendition. First, she made several proto-types and then began to show them to other members.
“I created a pattern that was a little easier to follow and the effort turned out very well,” Hoof said. “I showed the muff and pattern to a friend (Mary Therese Hester) and she was glad to help, too.”
According to research, the twiddlemuffs (often called fidget muffs), encourage hands-on use and trigger brain stimulation. Patients find the muffs to be comforting and therapeutic – similar to a favorite stuffed animal or a cherished blanket. Hoof opted to attach old house keys to several of the muffs – the key being a common object that connects the person to home and security.
Those with dementia benefit from regular, repeated behaviors and activities. If residents become agitated or out-of-sorts whenever routine schedules or settings change, evidence shows the twiddlemuffs offer distraction from the unknown and help to soothe anxiety.
For Hoof and Hester, making the twiddlemuffs has been personally rewarding – especially in knowing that their efforts have a purpose.
“I like the whole idea of helping our residents and giving back to the community,” Huff said. “This is a project that makes a difference.”
By Don Gralen, Woods of King-Bruwaert resident
Long a civic leader and a proponent of community involvement, Don Gralen transitioned to our King-Bruwaert retirement community with a vision for quality care and services, socialization and happiness among new neighbors. Within a short time, Don found himself volunteering to lead several resident programs that have drawn equal interest among his newly acquired friends. Don endorses his ongoing commitment to activities by sharing meaningful purpose for himself and others:
“My wife, Jane, and I moved to K-B seven years ago. We brought with us the strong conviction that the paramount value in life is The Life of the Mind. To foster this at K-B, I started a Non-Fiction Book Club that meets every six weeks for a discussion of a book of my choosing. Recently, our group shared a lively discussion on “Hillbilly Elegy,” by J. D. Vance. I also spearhead a Current Events discussion group that meets monthly to share conversations on three or four topics. Recent gatherings have included talks on “black holes,” and “space probes,” for which research material was made available to participants in advance. I see these activities as life enriching contributions to life at K-B.”
As Don shares his interests with fellow K-B residents, he brings enlightenment to those who welcome opportunities to connect and converse with others. He helps to perpetuate The Life of the Mind – while engaging in expressive and intelligent discussions.
It is true that a massage can be described as a relaxation technique that can help ease muscle spasms, tension or stress. Yet massage therapy offers so many more core benefits that can relieve other symptoms that may need professional attention.
As a licensed and board-certified Massage Therapist, I have the experience and expertise to help people overcome many of the challenges associated with the aging process. Massage is known to help alleviate pain and inflammation. Therapeutic massage can also help lower blood pressure, enhance a person’s immune system, improve circulation and reduce arthritic discomforts.
I work cooperatively with physicians and medical staff to tailor massage therapy sessions that can help and support individuals. Physicians often prescribe specific massage treatments for their patients to promote the rapid healing of damaged cartilage, sore muscles, tissues or inflamed areas.
I’m privileged to have introduced massage therapy to King-Bruwaert House more than 25 years ago. Throughout the years, I have met many wonderful people who have entrusted me to be caring and responsive to their physical needs relating to pain relief and reduced tension. I encourage more residents, family members and friends to experience the value of massage as a recommended therapeutic option. Facial toning, sinus pressure relief and back pain massage treatments are also available. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (630) 323-2250, Ext. 9412; or (630) 368-2733.
By Kathy Kowal, Certified Massage Therapist
I’m not sure how it happened, but suddenly we are experiencing winter! The seasons changed quickly and the holidays are upon us. As a child, one of the best parts of Christmas is, of course, the gifts! The anticipation of what is inside those beautifully wrapped packages under the tree brings such excitement and joy. However, with maturity comes the realization that the best gifts you can receive are not found under the tree. As an adult child, one of the greatest gifts I received from my parents was that they made a plan for their retirement years and needs. They reviewed their options, health and resources and then looked to the future for what might come ahead for them. They made choices with their plan to prepare for the next stages.
I know, from a daughter’s perspective, that worry about a parent can be all-consuming, especially as they age and change. Health crises, physical ailments, dementia and even the death of a spouse – all of these can occur without warning. Without a plan, the family must do their best to make the right decisions – hoping that their choices will honor and respect the wishes of the parent. One of the hardest things for an adult son or daughter is to look at their aging parents and guess about their preferred care, lifestyle and medical plans. Here at K-B, we plan for the future of our residents by offering a full continuum of care levels, services and living options. We hope you will consider K-B while contemplating future health care needs and we urge you to give your children the greatest gift possible in planning ahead – the gift of peace of mind.
By Joan Metz, King-Bruwaert Director of Admissions
As Sally Robertson was sorting through family heirlooms, she came across some papers that had great personal value. She discovered information relating to her father’s Eagle Scout ranking in 1942. Although her dad, Bob Barnes, a resident of the King-Bruwaert retirement community in Burr Ridge, doesn’t remember much about his Eagle Scout ceremony, he does recall the meaningful activities and honor codes that helped develop his childhood as an active member of the Boy Scouts of America.
Throughout his life, Barnes exemplified the “honor of Scouting,” and so impressed his family members that both his son and grandson continued in his footsteps - advancing through the ranks to become Eagle Scouts themselves. Eagle Scouts must plan, develop and lead a service project that benefits an organization other than the Boy Scouts of America. The project must receive advance approval with specific requirements. Once the project is completed, the Eagle Scout candidate is required to give a presentation before his 18th birthday to a Scouting review committee. The Eagle Scout ranking is bestowed on the candidates that fulfill all the requirements and promise to continue a leadership and service-oriented path for the rest of their lives.
Jerome Barnes, son of Bob, became an Eagle Scout in 1969. For his project, Jerome made lifesaving equipment for the Clarendon Hills, Illinois Park District to use for a community pond that was frozen in winter. All those years of camping and preparedness in the great outdoors paid off with a service project that would potentially save lives.
In 2009, Jason Robertson, Bob’s grandson, approached his 18th birthday and became a third generation Eagle Scout after receiving encouragement and support from his Mom, Dad and grandfather. Jason planned a project to build and design an interpretive ¼-mile nature trail for Long Hunter State Park, a short distance from Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. He created 10 descriptive stations along the trail with photos depicting the wildflowers, trees and land formations located along the route. Trail information also included a map that identified nature in the park. Jason received a grant from the National Environmental Education Foundation to underwrite supplies.
The interest in Scouting runs deep in the Barnes-Robertson families. For three generations, they have made a commitment to lead exemplary lives and serve others – while continuing a bond that will forever keep them close and connected.
Throughout the summer, a group of King-Bruwaert residents participated in the BE! Brain Enrichment Course led by K-B Social Worker Megan Schaaf and Resident Experiences Specialist Shareen Klasing. The program was developed by Dr. Linda Sasser who holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology and has been a frequent guest speaker at K-B.
Dr. Sasser’s BE! Brain Enrichment Program consists of ten one-hour sessions aimed at helping participants improve and maintain memory function. Participants met once a week to be part of the sessions.
Throughout the ten-week series, residents learned how memory works and why, as we age, our brains may not always function as well as they did in the past. Group members were comfortable sharing their experiences with age-related forgetfulness and provided encouragement to each other. They practiced strategies to help combat age-related memory changes by participating in individual and group exercises that were both challenging and fun.
The BE! program brought so much positive feedback that Megan and Shareen are planning another session later this year. For more information on Dr. Sasser’s BE! Brain Enrichment program, visit her website at: www.brainandmemoryhealth.com.
Too much stuff. How do we accumulate so many boxes of papers, photos, clothes, books and memorabilia? Truthfully, it’s a slow, methodical process that began years ago. We attached sentimental value to items no longer needed. Rather than part with our keepsakes, we set them aside and watched the boxes multiply.
The thought of cleaning out the clutter and collectables can be overwhelming. Where do we start? How long will this take? Who can help us? What resources are available? We need a plan to make a change.
Here are a few simple guidelines to tackle the task of decluttering. First, we must detach ourselves from the treasures that touched our hearts. The only way to move forward is to let go of the past.
Make a commitment
Start with a daily or weekly time and day to go through personal belongings. Create a routine that supports your commitment. Show up on time to the front hall closet, the basement storage room, the garage or the packed attic. Make no excuses…commit to a regular time and place.
Be objective by necessity
OK, it’s hard to give up the cute Mother’s Day card your son made for you in kindergarten. Or the adorable letter your daughter wrote on a day of redemption. But your offspring will tell you to get rid of it all. They, and most of your friends and relatives, desire few, if any, items in your giant collection of sentimental gifts, used furnishings, collectables and papers. Look at it, smile and send it to the Toss stack. If you don’t need or use it, it’s time to let it go.
Make a little cash
Maybe Aunt Jean’s heirloom necklace has some value. Set it aside and have it evaluated. Antiques, coins, stamps, military items, old quilts and sports memorabilia should be looked at by the experts. Hold on to items you believe may have value and can translate to cash. Or, host a garage sale to sell a variety of goods that will find a new home. Ask friends for referrals about local dealers you can trust.
Contribute to charities
Many local charitable organizations would be happy to take your used dishes, china, tools, clothing and furniture. Make a list of possible charities and call them in advance to find out what they will accept. Be sure your donations are in good condition or the charity drivers may leave them at the door. Find out their pick-up times and dates so that you can plan ahead.
Give specific donations
It’s possible your church may need the piano that’s been sitting in your living room for years. Your dining room set may be the perfect donation for a family in need. Vintage posters, books and historic artifacts might be useful to a theme museum. If you want your items to be donated to a worthy cause or organization, you’ll have to do some research to determine the best options. You may also benefit from a tax-deductible donation.
Shop-a-holics love bargains – and often buy ahead for holidays and gift-giving. Once the household cleanse has started, it’s important NOT to fill in those open spaces. The only way to keep things tidy is to avoid the acquisition of more items.
Feel good about your progress
The great clean-up will give you a sense of peace, tranquility and accomplishment. You’ll have more room, less possessions and a clean, orderly environment. There’s so much to like about being neat and organized. Great job! Keep up the good work!