HAWAII SENIOR LIVING GUIDE: 5 TIPS FOR RELATING TO MEMORY LOSS

Memory loss is common with aging—especially within senior living communities in Hawaii. A loved one struggles to remember names, events, and routines. Communication becomes tricky and tough. You’re not sure how to cope. But trust us, you’re not alone. 

As senior living professionals, we assist residents with memory loss every day. And while caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia is never easy, here are five tips that can help out.  

Tip #1: Patience is everything
If you’re having to repeat things over and over, no one would fault you for feeling frustrated. The best way to overcome these difficult emotions is simply to anticipate them. Remind yourself before entering the conversation to be mindful of your patience. If it starts to wear thin, step out, breathe, relax, and re-enter the conversation when you’re ready. 

Tip #2: Keep it simple
When engaging with any of our senior living residents in memory care, we try and keep communication simple: we use basic words, tell stories with less detail, and ask questions that require one or two-word responses. As your loved one’s memory loss progresses, keeping conversation simple can be very helpful. 

Tip #3: Relive old memories
Those struggling with memory loss might still recall events from the distant past. Connect with your loved one by talking through a cherished memory from long ago. You might’ve gone through this story a dozen times, but reliving a meaningful moment will help you bond.  

Tip #4: Agree to disagree
When speaking with someone suffering from memory loss, disputing names and details won’t get you anywhere. Avoid the need to prove yourself right. Along with being pointless, it’ll leave you and your loved one feeling upset. If an argument comes up, find a way to politely change the subject. 

Tip #5: Give your undivided attention
Put away your smartphone, lower the TV volume, sit directly in front of your loved one, and calmly repeat their name until they’re engaged. If communication is already a challenge, any kind of distraction can be detrimental to holding a conversation. When you have their attention, it’s important they have yours. 

Alzheimer’s, dementia, or any other form of memory loss requires care, compassion, and often the need for professional assistance. At the Plaza, we have many senior care options available, like our Hali‘a Memory Care program. We’re also home to one of the best retirement communities in Hawaii. Don’t hesitate to reach out should you have any questions or would like to speak with someone on our team.

HAWAII SENIOR LIVING CHECKLIST

So, you’re starting to research senior care options. But where do you start? What makes sense for your specific needs? Your friend claims to know the best retirement communities in Hawaii, but you think otherwise. Here’s the good news: knowing what’s right starts with knowing what to ask. We have you covered with the ultimate Hawaii senior living checklist:

Search senior living by location:

  • Is the senior living community in a town that you like?
  • Is it convenient for family and friends to visit?
  • How far away is the airport?
  • Is the area safe, with a low crime rate?
  • Is it close to shopping, restaurants, a medical center, and other services?

When you call ask:

  • Are you currently accepting new residents?
  • If not, is there a waitlist, and how long is the wait? 
  • Are there age restrictions on this senior living community?
  • Is the community gated or open?
  • What is the cost range, and is there a buy-in fee?
  • What services and amenities are included in the price?
  • What services are available for additional fees?
  • What types of payment do you accept?
  • What are the housing options, and do they suit your needs?
  • Is this a continuum of care community (CCRC)? (Are there other levels of care available, such as assisted living, should you need it?)
  • Do you have any programs to help with the transition process?

When you visit ask: 

  • About living arrangements:
    • Do you have a wide range of housing options, including smaller apartments or studios should you wish to downsize?
    • Did you show us all the different types of units available?
    • Is there adequate in-unit storage space, and is additional storage provided?
    • How are the views?
    • Are pets allowed and, if so, are there limits on type or size?
    • Will you be allowed to have visitors at any time and overnight, or are there other rules?
    • Is there a homeowners’ association with membership fees?
    • Are there homeowner rules about upkeep and decorating?
    • Will you be required to have renter’s insurance?
    • Are housekeeping services available, and at what price?
    • Which maintenance issues are you responsible for and which are included with the unit?
  • About cooking and food:
    • Will visiting family members be invited to join in for meals?
    • How often does the menu change?
    • Do you accommodate special diets and allergies?
    • Is there a meal plan, and how flexible is it?
  • About activities and social life:
    • How are the common spaces?
    • How large are the outdoor areas for recreation and exercise?
    • Is there an extensive, varied schedule of classes and activities?
    • Are there evening events, such as movie nights and local performances? 
    • Is there a gym or fitness center?
    • Are there media and computer rooms available?
    • Is there a private dining or community room available for special events?
    • Are there religious services in the community or nearby?
    • Is there a barbershop and beauty salon in the community or nearby?
  • About the staff:
    • Is there an activity director or staff member charged with organizing and leading activities?
    • What’s the staff turnover rate?
    • Are background checks performed before hiring staff? If so, when and how?
    • How much training do staff members have?
    • Does the community work with an agency or registry that provides in-home care companions in case you need future assistance?
  • About medical care:
    • Is there an RN or CNA on staff?
    • What specific services are available from doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and others?
    • Is the community affiliated with a hospital or nursing home if more care is needed?
  • Forms to ask for:
    • A recent list of weekly activities and events
    • A recent weekly menu of meals and snacks

Closing words of advice:

Write down all the answers to your questions as you go, and keep a checklist like this for each of the retirement communities in Hawaii you visit.

If your visit was scheduled ahead of time, it’s a good idea to return for an impromptu drop-in visit to see if your experience is just as pleasant. (If you’re told you can’t come in for an unscheduled visit, that’s a very bad sign.)

Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to a few favorites, schedule in-depth follow-up visits and dig a little deeper.

For more information on what to expect, contact our friendly staff at The Plaza Assisted Living.

4 SURPRISING FACTS ABOUT SENIOR LIVING 

Senior living isn’t what you think… and in the best way possible. Moving an elderly relative or parent into one of the many retirement communities in Hawaii comes with a certain set of expectations—many of which are either outdated or untrue. It’s time to rethink senior living with these four surprising facts:

Fact #1: Moving doesn’t mean leaving home behind
Senior living communities in Hawaii want their residents to feel at home. This means giving them the option to bring their own furniture, belongings, or anything else that makes their new living situation feel comfortable and personal. Most senior care options will even accommodate household pets that are coming along for the move. The goal of Hawaii senior living is to give your elderly family all the care they need, while disrupting their routines and daily lifestyles as little as possible.

Fact #2: Your loved one will find a thriving social environment
The best retirement communities in Hawaii offer residents all kinds of planned activities and shared amenities. From hula classes to arts and crafts, game nights to exercise programs—there’ll be plenty of opportunities to engage in community activities. For everyday socializing, residents can visit the library, stop by the salon, spend time outdoors, or relax with friends in the common room. Modern senior care options will make sure to meet the needs of those from underrepresented backgrounds, employing multi-lingual staff members so that every resident will feel properly cared for and understood.

Fact #3: Senior living is cozy & comfy, not cold & clinical
Hawaii senior living offers your loved one all the care they need, without sacrificing the feeling of home. Easy access to medical assistance does not equate to a living situation that lacks warmth or feels clinical. Many facilities will ensure that care and assistance are woven into everyday life in a way that feels natural. With a top-notch nursing staff and a cozy setting, residents get the best of both worlds.

Fact #4: Senior living does not have to break the budget
Today, senior care options are more affordable than ever. While many communities have unique expenses, these costs may still be much less than the cost of an in-home caregiver. And for working professionals, time spent tending to an elderly loved one can come with career sacrifices. For further financial assistance, it’s possible to consider government programs that have expanded to cover assisted living. If you’re considering senior living, our team at The Plaza can always help you find a plan that fits.

SETTLE INTO SENIOR LIVING WITH CALM & CONFIDENCE


Going from life at home to life in senior living can be an emotional rollercoaster. Whether it’s a move to independent living in Honolulu, assisted living, or one of the many retirement communities in Hawaii, you can follow these steps to feel at ease.

Embrace your feelings

Relief, anxiety, optimism, stress. There’s a full spectrum of feelings that can arise as you transition your loved one into senior living. And guess what? It’s perfectly okay to feel whatever you feel. Embrace your emotions rather than resist them, so you can empathize with your loved ones as they process the change.

Talk openly, listen intently

With all senior care options, questions and concerns will likely come up. Make sure to talk honestly and caringly with your loved one and, more importantly, make them feel heard. A nurse or staff member can always assist you with any issue and can help you both feel comfortable.

Explore their new home together

Senior living communities in Hawaii have so much to offer. Get to know the home together: stop by the common room, introduce yourselves to neighbors, tour the facilities, check out all the amenities, review upcoming events and programs. An afternoon of exploration will help turn anxiety into excitement.

Meet the support network

Among the best aspects of Hawaii senior living is that residents are often there for each other. So encourage your loved one not to be shy. Meet their new neighbors before helping them move in. This is one of the most reliable ways to help the transition. Make sure to also introduce yourself and provide contact info to caregivers and nurses. This will not only be comforting to you, but will reassure staff knowing they can reach out if anything comes up.

It’s all alright

We all process change differently. But, as you get your loved one settled into senior living, you can relax knowing you’ve made the right decision. Health hazards and difficulties will now be diligently attended to, dining and cleaning are all taken care of, and a new social life is just beginning. Your loved one will now be completely at ease—and you should be too.

For more information on what to expect, contact our friendly staff at The Plaza Assisted Living.

LET’S TALK SENIOR LIVING: TIPS FOR EASING INTO THE DECISION

You’re not alone. No one ever finds approaching their parents about senior living easy. But waiting until the last minute only adds drama to this major life transition. To help out, we put together several insightful tips on how to ease your aging loved ones into the big move.

From Open Mind to Action Plan
“What happens when…” Start with a question. Ask Mom and Dad about their feelings towards senior care options and retirement communities in Hawaii. What happens when they’ll no longer be able to live independently? Define living independently. Would they consider independent living in Honolulu at a senior home? Once you’ve discussed these questions, put together a plan of action.

Time & Space
If your parents aren’t ready to consider senior living, if they can cope with independence—physically and mentally—it could be best to give them time and space. You might be surprised by their ability to care for themselves. If the situation proves to be more than they can handle, it’ll allow them to see for themselves how they’d benefit from senior living communities in hawaii.

Care from the Comfort of Home
The least strenuous transition is no transition at all. Some families will want to turn to a visiting nurse or someone to help with everyday tasks at home. However, it’s important to consult with a senior living professional to help determine if this should be one of your senior care options.

Focus on the Good
Make it a matter of perspective. Your loved ones aren’t having to transition to senior living, they’re getting to move somewhere where everything will be taken care of. No more cooking and cleaning, doing the laundry or running errands. Some of the best retirement communities in Hawaii feature scenic settings with five-star dining, beautiful private rooms, fitness programs, and engaging activities. Keep it positive.

Explore Together
There are many amazing senior care options all over Hawaii. Choose a few that you and your parents find promising, arrange guided tours, and see what they think. Reassure them you’re just looking, not committing. Make it fun and exciting, and always let mom or dad feel like they have a major say in choosing when and where to move.

Factor in Illness Progression
A progressively debilitating condition can weigh heavily on your loved ones. So it should be given considerable weight when it comes to your decision. Make a plan based on the likely course of the illness, give yourself wiggle room, and ease the pressure of rushing into a potentially wrong decision.

Overcoming the “Final Residence” Fear
The anxiety and uncertainty that comes with moving to a senior living home—from assisted living to independent living in honolulu—usually has nothing to do with the new residence and everything to do with facing mortality. Sometimes, one-one-one counseling or a visit with a pastor or priest can offer peace when it comes to making the transition.

Leaving home and moving into senior living inevitably comes with a sense of loss and abandonment. But with love and compassion, you can comfort your loved ones, and help them navigate this major life transition.

Questions? We’re here for you and your family, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

The Gift of Memory Care

Hali'a Memory Care Webinar

Best Friends, Cherished Memories and so much more...

Many approach the possible placement of a family member into memory care with a sense of guilt and worry. This Hali’a Memory Care Webinar will addresses common family concerns, but also describes the often surprising benefits of memory care for the person living with cognitive loss. Research has shown that “the brain loves company,” and the socialization and engagement that can come from an assisted living setting can be therapeutic to the person with dementia and foster feelings of friendship and community. In addition, strategies about memory care placement are provided, including when to consider a move, and how best to do it.

This webinar presented by David Troxel, MPH.

ABOUT THE PRESENTER

David Troxel, MPH is co-author of six influential books on dementia care including The Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care. He is the dementia care consultant to The Plaza Assisted Living and its Hali’a Memory Care Program which practices the Best Friends Approach. David adds insight and humor to his presentations and will allow for a Q&A session at the end of the webinar for attendees to ask questions and gain further insights into dementia care today.

CHANGES IN OUR COMMUNITIES

To The Valued Partners of The Plaza Assisted Living

The Latest in Alzheimer’s and Brain Health Science

The Changing Face of Intimacy and Sexuality