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Monthly Archives: December 2014

NEW YEAR’S EVE

Here it is, another year passing.  It’s kind of like straddling a country border.  One foot on either side, in separate countries.  It feels that way with New Year’s Eve, straddling time, saying good by to 2014 and hello to 2015, one foot at a time.  And, for the send-off, did we blast the evening away.  We decorated the dining room with banners, balloons, hats and blowers…  and little figurines of Father Time and Baby New Year.  All very festive.  The evening started with dancing to live music and an entertainer, Tedero Jones, along with wine and champagne for those of us so inclined.  Then, Chef prepared a lovely dinner complete with a Tirumiso dessert… yup, fancy for a fancy occasion.  We all felt spoiled and loved, especially Jack, our oldest resident at 104 y.o.

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A Santa Monica Locals’ Perspective For the Ideal Senior Community

As people grow older, they cling to the “old” ways, what they’ve become accustomed to and resist change. But in most cases, change may be good — it’s just hard to see the benefits at the time. Take the idea of exploring a retirement community.

Upon retirement, most seniors develop their routines and become accustomed to living independently. Their children, on the other hand, may have formed an image of their parents as decision-makers who take charge of their lives. In short, bringing your parents to a senior community should be a decision based on local reputation and reviews by those most familiar to the community, especially residents, professionals & other Santa Monica locals, who you can trust.

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If you are mulling over the idea on whether a senior community is the ideal option for your parent/s, do consider that your mom or dad may very well be experiencing a myriad of changes in their life. It could be losses, loss of independence, a loved one or just simple things like mobility or memory. As such, they may not be able to take care of themselves like they used to and they may not be able to make the best decisions. That’s why many seniors will benefit greatly with the added stimulation of knowing they are with peers or just someone who is available when they are not feeling well, lonely or just want to talk.  It goes without saying how invaluable community life can be especially during times of crises. Unfortunately, most families cannot commit the substantial and constant time  & attention their parents may need when there’s a crisis, due to their own personal commitments at home and at work. That’s when it’s time to consider a senior community.

How do you know it may be time to consider a community? What are some of the signs?

Do you get frequent calls about missing medication, missing appointments, missing jewelry, missing (fill in the blank)

When is the last time you checked their living conditions?  Think of all the things you do or need to do in your own home; maintenance, housekeeping, bills, food, banking, cooking, heating and air, driving, getting dressed, eating, bathing, safety & security etc. Think of all the activities of yours or their daily living and go through your day with the one you care & worry about in your minds eye. Do you see or hear from them, are they clean, sharp, conversational, interested or even interesting & if not what has changed?  Really make a checklist and figure out whether it’s just a matter of bringing someone into the house to oversee, & care for them. Will they accept it, can you trust them? Are you now an employer with all the legal responsibility that entails? Is the home safe & able to accommodate their added needs? Finally, take a good look at your parent and evaluate whether he or she is the same person that you know and love, or whether he or she has become someone different, someone who may now need assistance in one or many of the above described areas in their life. If the answer is yes to at least 3 aspects, then it’s time to make a change and perhaps a trusted senior community is the answer.

CHRISTMAS DAY

Today is Christmas and boy are we excited.  And, not only is it Christmas, but also “Adopt A Senior For Xmas Day”–thanks to our friend at  Arbonne International, Diane Taub.  She held a raffle.  We acted like kids… checking our numbers, waving our arms and excitedly calling out when we won.  Diane gave away 20 gift packages  filled with Arbonne skin care products–for both women and men.  We had a lot of fun and really appreciated the time that Diane and her husband, Bill, took to socialize with us.   Afterward, we  played “Secret Santa.”  Last week, each of us picked a name out of a hat and today, we gifted that person.  We had a limit of only $25 per gift so it was very interesting to see what we all came up with.  Each person opened their gift right away when they were called.  It took a little while to go through everyone, but was it fun!  Gifts ranged from a Mrs. Field’s brownie and cookie gift basket to fruit baskets, Mrs. See’s chocolates, wallets and money clips, neckties, picture frames, scarves, gift certificates for Macy’s, Pottery Barn, Ben & Jerry’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Massages, Piano lessons, and many, many other gift items.   It was a blast.   Our families came over for Christmas dinner and Chef  Jose prepared one of his wonderful meals.  Ham, Turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, piping hot rolls, lots of veggies, and three types of pies… pumpkin, pecan and apple.  Wow, was it all good.  We ate until we dropped.  And, did our families enjoy themselves.  After dinner, we passed out gifts and it was a joy watching the children open theirs.  The little ones gathered alongside and played with the toys.  Boy did they have fun.  Before they left, everyone gathered for hot cocoa and coffee with sugar cookies.  It was truly a special night that we all enjoyed so very much.

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Residents of Holdia Villa East

DANCE TROUPE

Today, we had the pleasure of a visit by the Grupo la Rosa.  A children’s dance troupe.  They were in special Mexican cultural costumes, and were joined by boys from the orthodox Jewish temple.   They danced their way into our hearts.  It was very special.  Afterwards, we had lunch with a big cake decorated with mariachis.

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Santa Monica Senior Living – Making The Transition Seamless

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For residents of Santa Monica, senior living in a communal setting may not be a difficult decision to make especially in light of the changes that the senior and their families may be experiencing. To a great extent, making the right choice on which facility to send your loved one to can make the transition less difficult.

If you or your family has decided that a senior community is the best option, here are a few helpful tips to make the transition more convenient.

A positive start

Before the actual move, it would be prudent to know beforehand which family members will be helping with the move and what their tasks are going to be. It would be helpful to list all the tasks that need to be done, including those that involve the actual move. The list could include actually making & finding a reputable moving service, if one is required. Also consider subscriptions, utilities & cable service. Setting up new doctors, pharmacy and local resources. It may seem overwhelming, especially to the senior, but usually a well-established senior community will have referrals for all these resources and then some.

That’s why planning ahead with an experienced staff is crucial to ensuring an easy move and a smooth transition.

Tackling sensitive issues

Communication is crucial throughout this process, but a couple of areas that may get overlooked that should be addressed pertain to legal, financial and health issues. Is there a durable power of attorney in place to address health or financial issues should the senior be unable to do so. Is there a “living will” detailing care & heroic measures, when the time comes. In other words, have you sat down & thought about these things now or will you wait until there is a crisis. Doing so now will prevent future conflict or mistakes and allow everyone to work in concert to the benefit of all involved.

Talk to your parent

Communication is key, and no matter how awkward it feels. It will be beneficial to explore all the issues & processes regarding who will be responsible for the “domestic” tasks and who will handle the more complex issues regarding medical, legal, financial & personal assistance.

Setting up a new home

Make it feel like home, granted a new home, but bring personal favorite items. That could mean a favorite chair, lamps, artwork & of course photographs. Go out of your way to ensure that your senior feels as comfortable and at ease in their new place, as possible.

Listen

Listen to your senior regarding any concerns or anxieties, while transitioning into this “brave” new world. Once your senior has settled into their new residence, make sure to stay in touch, especially with the staff, as they will know & can take a proactive approach to your seniors well being. Finally, visit as often as your schedule permits. There’s nothing better that the kiss & hug from a loved one!

HANUKKAH

Tonight marks the start of Hanukkah.  It’s eight days long, and is the Jewish tradition of lighting the menorah for those 8 nights. The children love the holiday because they get presents each night.   Tonight, is the first night.  We had a Latka (potato pancake) party.  Our children and grandchildren joined us.  At Sundown, we lit the first of the candles.  Harold said a prayer that we all repeated, and he said it again in English for the sake of our little ones.  Then, it was time to eat!  All of our plates were filled with Latkas covered with apple sauce and sour cream, the traditional way of eating them.  Our grandchildren played the dreidel games (a type of spinning top) and hide the gelt (gold chocolate coins).  Bessie’s 12 year old grandson, Simon, found the first batch of gelt tucked behind the sofa and won first prize… a boxed DVD set of the Harry Potter movies.  Was he excited.  He couldn’t wait to go home and start watching them.  Harry’s 9 year old granddaughter, Taylor, was 2nd runner up, winning a boxed set of four Disney movies.  She was equally excited and wanted to watch them right away. She carried those around for the rest of the evening, clutching them everywhere.  For  everyone else, we had little gifts… dvds, cds, toys, books, chocolates, cookies and brownies.  It was fun watching the children unwrap their gifts.  Some of them even traded each other, it was so cute to watch.  All in all, we had a delightful time.  But then, we always do with our children and grandchildren.  It’s a truly special treat when they join us.