Susan Valoff Elected to the Board Of Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform

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Windward Life Care is proud of its dedicated staff, who give back to the San Diego County community in many impactful ways. Windward Life Care also sponsors the important work of various nonprofit organizations that support San Diego’s aging population and adults with disabilities.

In that spirit, Windward is pleased to announce that our vice president, Susan Valoff, LCSW, C-ASWCM, has been elected to serve on the Board of Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform (CARR). Windward Life Care and Susan have been fans of Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform (CARR) for several years due to the amazing work they have done at the state level to make assisted living facilities safer and more accountable to consumers and their families. CARR actively collects and archives public records for research and analysis purposes and to inform their outreach and reform efforts. CARR also obtained the contract from the County of San Diego to develop the Choose Well website, a website with a rating system for Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE). This is an unbiased site that helps families to make educated decisions about care for their loved ones. Windward Life Care’s clinical team frequently calls the CARR staff for the “inside scoop” on facilities in which our clients have interest.

Congratulations to Susan! To view the full press release, click here.

You can also learn more about Windward’s community involvement by visiting our Windward in the Community page.

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Windward’s Aging Life Care Managers Receive Certification

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Congratulations to our Aging Life Care Managers who recently passed their Care Manager Certification (CMC) exam. Jill Bansberg, MSW, Denise Callas, RN, and Janai Quintana, MSW just received their CMC designation from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers which is also recognized by the Aging Life Care Association®.

Care managers applying for the Care Manager Certification from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers (NACCM) must meet specific criteria. Applicants with a master’s in a field related to care management must obtain at least one year of supervised case management experience and pass a certification exam. Applicants with a bachelor’s in a field related to care management must have two years of supervised experience in order to sit for the exam. The exam covers key topics related to care management including: clinical approaches and theories; dementia care; benefits and entitlements; legal issues affecting older adults; and professional ethics. Certification is a sign to consumers that their Aging Life Care Manager® is experienced and committed to professionalism in the field.

Windward Life Care’s clinical team of Aging Life Care Managers have the CMC or are working towards it. As part of their continuing education and clinical support, they meet weekly with our Director of Clinical Services, who has worked in the field of aging for 35 years. Windward also provides monthly educational meetings covering a wide range of topics from dementia care to working with the LGBTQ community.

You can meet all of our team members including Jill, Denise, and Janai here on our Meet Our Team page.

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Celebrating National Hospice and Palliative Care Month

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Contributed by Jill Mendlen, President/CEO/ LightBridge Hospice & Palliative Care.

Hospice and Palliative Care are two comprehensive programs that are dedicated to easing suffering and providing support to patients and their families during their healthcare journey.

Both programs combine the highest level of quality medical care with spiritual and emotional support for patients and their care givers.

Living every day to its fullest is the focus and goal of both hospice and palliative care. Being able to care for patients and their families during a very important and powerful time in life is truly an honor and privilege.

Understanding the unique aspects of each program can help you chose the program that is best for you or your loved one.

Hospice

Is a specialized type of healthcare designed to provide support and care to individuals in the final phase of a life limiting illness which is defined by Medicare as 6 months or less if a disease follows its normal course. Cure is no longer possible therefore the focus is on comfort and quality of life. Hospice care is provided by a team of professionals which includes – physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, home health aides and volunteers. In addition to clinical care hospice also provides medications, equipment and supplies related to the terminal illness.

Hospice Care is fully covered by Medicare, MediCal and most insurance companies and managed care plans.

Palliative Care

Palliative Care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness – whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative Care is generally provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to form an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any state in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.

Payment for Palliative Care is still evolving. We would be happy to answer questions you may have about how to best access Palliative Care.

Please call us at 858.458.2992 if we can be of any assistance or answer any questions you may have.

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Caregiving Through the Holidays

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Contributed by Martha Rañón
Director of Government & Community Affairs

For some, the holidays are a time of joy, celebrations, being with family and friends, enjoying dinners and get-togethers. It can be a time for cooking, playing and gift giving. However, for those who are caring for the well-being of someone and are in the role of caregiving, the holidays can mean something totally different.

I often hear from family caregivers who are so overwhelmed by the impending holidays that they rather skip them all together. For them, it can be a time of stress, guilt, tensions, and negative experiences. This is understandable. As family caregivers, we put a lot of responsibility on ourselves to “perform” and meet everyone’s expectations. The dinner must be just right, the decorations perfect, and all the details that come with gift giving must be properly considered. But what if we simplified the holidays?

Here are some steps that can help you manage your caregiving responsibilities during the holidays while enjoying getting together with family and friends.

  1. Re-evaluate your family/holiday traditions
  2. Focus on celebrating memories
  3. Keep decorations to a minimum
  4. Smaller gatherings are less stressful than larger crowds
  5. Celebrate earlier in the day when you and your loved ones are less tired
  6. Provide soothing activities
  7. Modify your expectations
  8. Ask for help
  9. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone about your feelings
  10. Start your gift buying early

Are you assisting or concerned about a family member or friend?

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

Southern Caregiver Resource Center can help you by providing specialized information, one-on- one support, counseling, support groups, respite, education and will help you create a care plan for you and your loved one.

For more information on these FREE support services, please contact us at:

1800-827-1008 • (858) 268-4432

www.caregivercenter.org

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Older Adults’ Unique Nutrition Needs

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Healthy eating is essential at every age. As a person reaches the later years in life, the body has different nutritional needs. It is important for family members and caregivers to know the unique dietary requirements for aging adults.

Health Goals for Aging Adults

Planning a healthy diet can support many nutritional goals during this stage of life. These goals should encompass:

  • Sufficient vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, vitamin D, fiber, potassium, vitamin B12, healthy fats, and more.
  • Weight loss if the person is overweight
  • Managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Reducing the risk of common disease

To achieve these goals, use a shopping list that outlines some of the most important ingredients to include in the meal plan. These foods are “nutrient dense,” which means that high levels of vitamins and minerals are available in each serving.

Nutrition Concerns for Older Adults

Small dietary changes can go a long way to protect the health of older adults. Tips include:

  • Reduce extra salt. Instead, use herbs and spices to add flavor to the food.
  • Include fruits and vegetables in meal planning to help with important vitamins and minerals that are needed.
  • Drink milk or include other dairy products in the diet for calcium and vitamin D.
  • Choose foods that are fortified with B-vitamins, such as cereal for breakfast.

Overcoming Common Dietary Issues

A few challenges can come up in the planning and implementation of a healthy eating plan. Special considerations need to be addressed, such as the texture of the food and the person’s ability to chew with dentures or damaged teeth. It may also be difficult for a person to swallow because of reduced saliva levels in the mouth.

Keep in mind that medications can sometimes change appetite. If a person is having a hard time finding the desire to eat, then it is important to consult with a doctor for possible solutions.

At Windward Life Care, we are proud to offer Caregivers Kitchen nutrition training to our staff. This program is designed to help home care aides learn effective food preparation techniques to provide safe and nutritious meals to our clients. Our experienced team is here to assist with every aspect of aging. Contact us any time to see how you can benefit from the services that are offered.

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San Diego County’s Age Well Action Plan

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Like many urban areas across the globe, San Diego County has a rapidly growing population of older adults. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2030 adults over the age of 65 will represent 21% of our county’s population, compared to 13% right now.

How is our community preparing to meet the needs of older adults in the years to come?

In 2016, the County Board of Supervisors decided to join forces with AARP’s network of Age-Friendly communities as well as with the Dementia Friendly America Network to develop a vision for healthy aging in San Diego. This began a five year process of collaboration among consumers, professionals serving older adults, and county employees to build an Age Well San Diego Action Plan. With the planning phase now complete, the county and its community partners are beginning the implementation of the plan.

San Diego County’s Age Well Action Plan centers on five important themes affecting the lives of older adults in our area:

  • Health and Community Support
  • Housing
  • Social Participation
  • Transportation
  • Dementia-Friendly

Specific goals have been set within each theme area. For example, a goal in the area of social participation is to create policies that facilitate inter-generational engagement, i.e. bringing kids, adults and seniors together. Another goal, this one in the area of health and community support, is to encourage the development of village-like community support systems.

How can you get involved? Read the San Diego County Age Well Action Plan, think about the issues that are most important to you, and then join a “theme team” to participate in the goal implementation process. All members of our community are encouraged to get involved. To get a print copy of the Age Well Action Plan, or to learn more about volunteering, call 858-495-5500 or e-mail [email protected]

Windward Life Care’s team members are actively engaged in the San Diego aging community and can link you with resources to enhance your safety and quality of life. Contact us if you have questions or need help creating a plan for your well-being.

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