Are you nervous about the idea of choosing a nursing home, or “skilled nursing facility,” for your aging parents? Full time nursing home care may be needed for your loved one because families aren’t always equipped to offer this degree of medical care and support at home. If a family member needs 24/7 support and has care needs that exceed what can safely (or affordably) be provided at home or in an assisted living setting, then you might find yourself searching for the best nursing home in San Diego.

Tips for Finding the Best Nursing Home in San Diego

Here are a few important things to consider when making your decision:

  • Don’t Rush: Dedicate the time needed to evaluate your options and find a nursing home that is a good fit for the needs of your family member. Not only should you evaluate immediate needs, but it is also important to consider long-term care. If you have the option, prepare in advance, so you are ready with the right nursing home when the individual requires immediate placement due to a sudden change in physical or mental health, or in a hospital discharge situation.
  • Ask Around: Talk to friends, neighbors, and family members to learn more about the best nursing homes near your location. Additionally, social workers, Aging Life Care Managers, religious organizations, and other support groups can be helpful with suggestions. It is also important to review data about the nursing home’s track record in meeting state and federal requirements, as well as data related to resident complaints.
  • Call and Tour: The first step to evaluating whether you have found the best nursing home in San Diego is to call the location and schedule a time for a tour. This conversation will allow you to learn about the facilities, services, and more. Pay attention to the cleanliness of the facility, interactions between residents and staff, and activities that are happening during the day. It is smart to stop by unannounced for a second visit, during a different time of day. If possible, talk to current residents or their family members for an “insiders” view of how things work there.
  • Evaluate Pricing: Cost is an essential factor that should be considered when choosing a nursing home. Look at options to see if insurance or a long-term care policy will cover the costs of the care center. Pay close attention to the contract, so you understand the terms and conditions of services.

At Windward Life Care, we understand the heavy responsibility you are carrying when looking for the best nursing home in San Diego. If you need supporting finding the right solution for a family member, contact our Aging Life Care Professionals for assistance.

People want to maintain independence for as long as possible. Eventually, physical decline in the later years of life requires that families step in to offer the support and resources essential to care for the daily needs of their parents. At this point, you might be asking yourself: is it time to find help for my elderly parents?

Age-Related Changes and Senior Safety

Age-related health changes can start to develop in retirement, such as hearing and eyesight decline, limited mobility, muscle mass loss, and slower cognitive processing. Even though these small health changes seem insignificant, they can have a domino effect on lifestyle and safety.

The conditions might not be life-threatening, but the combined concerns can make it difficult to drive, shop for groceries, cook a meal, or clean the house. Often, the older adult doesn’t ask for help because they don’t realize their safety and health are in jeopardy.

Paying Attention to the Signs

Family members need to pay attention to the signs, helping to determine if an older adult needs support. Here are a few warning signs that your family member needs help:

  • Forgetfulness: Change in cognitive abilities start to show up in simple memory lapses, such as finding the car in a parking lot, remembering appointments, or forgetting to pay bills.
  • Car Damage: When a vehicle is dinged, dented, or missing side mirrors, it could be a sign that the person is having difficulty driving.
  • Messy Home: Poor vision, memory issues, or physical challenges can result in poor cleanliness habits at home. If you see a change in the cleanliness or tidiness of the living space, then it might be time to hire a housekeeper.
  • Unkempt Appearance: Cognitive or physical ailments can have an impact on a person’s hygiene habits. The person might be forgetting to take care of daily activities, or having a hard time getting dressed in the morning. Also, watch for sudden signs of weight loss.
  • Social Isolation: If the person tends to stay home more often, then this change in activity could indicate physical or mental challenges. Withdrawal from activities that were normally attended in the past could happen if the person is forgetting or can’t keep up with the conversations.
  • Falls: Falling is a major health risk and a sign that help may be needed in the form of physical therapy, home modification, and/or professional caregiver support.

Where to Find Help for My Elderly Parents

Where is the best place to look to find help for my elderly parents? Our team at Windward Life Care is just a phone call away. We’ll help you find the local resources to support the needs of your loved one.

It is common to feel overwhelmed after you or a family member are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. Not only do you need to work through the emotions that come with this news, but it is also important to put together a care plan. Due to the progressive nature of Alzheimer’s and many other dementias, you will need to factor in the cost of care and determine who will provide care over the long-term.

Even though it is a difficult time, you can empower your family starting the planning process. Given that there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, many people choose to live life to the fullest after receiving a diagnosis such as taking long-desired vacations and checking off other “bucket list” items, while also planning for future care needs.

Checklist for Future Planning

At first, things might not seem much different compared to the life that was lived before the dementia diagnosis. But the person will require more care as the disease progresses. Here are a few things that should be considered:

  • Housing and Services: Discuss options for care at home or in a facility. If in-home care is chosen, consider using services available through reputable home care providers or adult day care programs. There are many Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE) that offer “memory care” which is specific to the needs of people with dementia. The costs of these options must be weighed carefully.
  • Paperwork and Legal Details: It can be helpful to hire an estate planning attorney to arrange for a comprehensive estate plan. If they retain decisional capacity, the person who is diagnosed with dementia can appoint a power of attorney for property and for healthcare. Ensuring that legal documents are up-to-date means that the family isn’t left without legal authority to handle the affairs of the person with dementia while they are living but lack capacity. It also helps to ensure a smooth handling of that person’s estate once they die.
  • Income and Benefits: A dementia diagnosis can be a financial stressor on the family. Look at potential sources of income, budget goals for care services, and possible access to long-term care insurance benefits. Some people work with a financial planner to project future costs of care and budget accordingly.
  • End-of-Life Care: As hard as it is to have this conversation, you should discuss end-of-life care wishes. The Conversation Project offers useful advice about how to address this topic. Determining final arrangements can provide the person with dementia and the family with peace of mind. Many funeral homes provide pre-planning services that can be catered based on the desires of the person and the customs of the family.

Support for Accessing the Best Care and Services

This kind of planning can be hard to begin when the family is emotionally distraught upon receiving a diagnosis. If needed, allow a little bit of time before attending to these tasks.

Also, don’t overlook the benefits that come from working with Aging Life Care Managers and other professionals who can guide these important decisions. If you need support with future planning for dementia or other progressive conditions, Windward Life Care is here to help. We assist families in finding the right resources in the area.

The population in San Diego County is aging, with many people exploring their options for housing and lifestyle in retirement. One option that is attractive to many older adults is the possibility of moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).

What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)?

CCRCs are sometimes called “life plan communities,” offering the support and resources older adults need as they move through the stages of aging. This support encompasses daily living assistance, such as dining options, housekeeping, transportation, recreational events,  and more. Additionally, wellness, fitness, and healthcare providers are provided as needed.  A robust activities calendar and resort-like amenities are other features of CCRCs that are attractive to many.

A full range of care options is available at most CCRCs, including everything from independent living to assisted living to memory care to skilled nursing care. The goal is to create a “one-stop” solution so that residents can age in place, even as their needs change.

Moving into a CCRC involves a significant investment of resources, so it is important for potential residents to make an informed decision. According to the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), “The decision to move into a Continuing Care Retirement Community or not represents one of the most important decisions a person can make in their lifetime. The relationship between a CCRC and a resident is expensive, lengthy, highly personal, and complex.”

Types of CCRC Contracts

When choosing a CCRC, a contract will be established with a promise of care for at least a year or more. The cost and services provided vary depending on the CCRC that is selected and the specific services offered through the contract. Basic contract types include:

  • Life Care: Structured with an annual monthly rate and includes a guaranteed promise of care for life. Services typically include both primary and acute care, as well as nursing home and assisted living care on-site when needed.
  • Modified: The contract is designed with entrance fees and monthly fees, as well as a promise of reduced rates for higher care for a specific period. This option tends to be less expensive compared to a Life Care contract, but the resident bears more of the risk of future care costs. The provider also shares the risk of future costs.
  • Fee-for-Service: Like the modified contract, this option includes entrance fees and monthly fees. Guaranteed access is promised for higher levels of care, but the services are offered at the current market rate, and the resident bears the full risk of these costs.
  • Rental: The rental contract is designed with a monthly fee determined by the level of care that is received.

Is a CCRC Right for You?

Are you shopping for a CCRC? It is essential to understand the pricing structure as well as the level of services that will be provided. Education about your options is the best solution to find the community that is a good fit for your needs. Many consumers also choose to work with an attorney to review CCRC contracts. Our team at Windward Life Care is here to help you find the right solutions for care and housing. Contact us to learn about the available services.

Family conflict can occur if an older person has not planned ahead and becomes disabled. Adult children frequently disagree about the best way to care for an elderly parent, and they may have concerns about finances. Failing to see eye-to-eye on caregiving issues can introduce confusion and contention among family members, and old family “roles” can be revived, sometimes in unhealthy ways. When families are unable to resolve their differences, it can help to bring in an eldercare mediator.

What is Elder Mediation?

Eldercare mediation or elder mediation is a professionally guided process to engage family members in a productive dialogue to achieve agreement around elder care issues. Each mediation session is personalized based on the circumstances.

Eldercare mediation addresses common issues facing seniors and their adult children, including:

  • Driving safety
  • Living arrangements
  • Home support services
  • Financial management
  • Medication use/misuse
  • Alcohol and drug use/misuse
  • Assistive devices: purchase/use/training
  • Advance health care directives
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Diminished mental capacity and functional abilities
  • End of life wishes
  • Leaving a legacy
  • Family cultural and religious differences

How Does It Work?

Elder mediators first meet with the interested parties individually to determine their concerns and viewpoints. They then determine who needs to be “around the table” for the discussion, and then hold one or more sessions where critical issues are addressed and family members come to a shared agreement about how to proceed. The mediator is impartial and does not place the interests of one party in the mediation above other parties. The goal is to agree upon a course of action before a medical crisis forces decision-making under severe stress.

Elder mediation can cost between $175-$375/hour. Family disputes that are not resolved in mediation frequently result in legal battles costing far more in attorney fees.

Finding a Mediator

As you are searching for an elder mediator in the area, ask about the person’s background, approach, confidentiality, certification, and pricing structure. Personality fit is important too. A few questions up front can be a valuable way to learn about your options before engaging in services.

For more information about finding the right resources for your family needs, Windward Life Care is here to assist. Contact us any time for personalized support and guidance in your life care planning. Thank you to Dr. Craig Grether, Ph.D. of Just Solutions, for contributing to this article. He is a clinical psychologist, neuropsychologist and certified mediator in Carlsbad, California.

The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act was signed into law in 2017. This act was designed as an official recognition of March 29th each year as the “National Vietnam War Veterans Day.” Veterans of the Vietnam War are aging and many now require additional assistance to perform their everyday activities. It is important to understand their unique needs in order to care for them respectfully and effectively.

Wounds From the War

The Vietnam War was the one of the longest wars fought by the United States, and many soldiers came home with injuries that affect them to this day.  Over 153,000 soldiers were wounded, and more than 58,000 members of the US military lost their lives in this war.

Many of the disabilities affecting Vietnam vets today were caused by exposure to herbicide and defoliant Agent Orange. Other injuries occurred due to equipment and machinery, exposure to loud noise, and contact with a variety of other chemicals during service. The Veterans Administration recommends that Vietnam Veterans be tested for Hepatitis C since they are also at high risk for this infection.

Benefits for Veterans

Fortunately, there are a number of benefits available to Vietnam veterans and their children, including:

  • Training and education
  • Disability compensation
  • Monetary benefits
  • Health care, and assistance with home or facility care
  • Insurance coverage
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Home loans
  • Burial services

After Agent Orange exposure, many children were born with birth defects, such as spina bifida. Many children of women veterans of the Vietnam war were born with birth defects including congenital heart disease, hydrocephalus, and cleft lip and cleft palate.

For access to veterans’ benefits, an application needs to be submitted to a VA regional office. An online application is available, as well as local services to help veterans find the support and medical care that is needed. The VA benefits application process can be completed by veterans, current service members, families, and accredited representatives (also called Veterans Service Officers).

At Windward Life Care, we are here to help you in finding the right resources based on your needs. Whether you are seeking medical support or you are interested in VA benefits, you are welcome to contact us for information and assistance.