Embracing the change to assisted living

Facing a Move to Assisted Living?

Moving to Assisted Living is not the beginning of the end, but the beginning of a new phase in your life.

We have heard it said that life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass.  Life is about learning to dance in the rain.    And that is so true when you are facing physical or mental decline and you need to make changes to adjust.

Just as in any challenging time of life, you can decide to smile, roll with the punches and spread joy, or you can frown, resist and be miserable. Read more

End of life discussion

Let’s talk about the unspeakable…  Your Death.

“End?  No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path… one that we all must take.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Some die suddenly.  Yet for many the process is slow.  They move from mentally able into Alzheimer’s Disease or some other form of dementia.  Cancer, Heart Disease,  Lung Diseases  can all cause a slow decline when toward the end the patient is not fully aware or able to make good decisions.

Sometimes the line for when to stop treatment and to begin releasing into death is not easy to see or recognize.  A good book on this topic of end of life decisions and treatment is Being Mortal.

Very often in a long illness or a long life, our cognition goes before our body.  That is why it is so imperative to have the dreaded end-of-life discussions sooner rather than later. Read more

Parkinson’s Awareness Month, 5 Things You Should Know

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month.  So it is time to learn a few things about the disease.


“Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects one in 100 people over age 60,” states the Michael J. Fox organization.

While the average age at onset is 60, people have been diagnosed as young as 18.


Testing for Parkinson’s disease is not definitive.  This means the rate of misdiagnosis is relatively high, especially when the diagnosis is made by a non-specialist.


The number of people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) varies.  Recent research estimates that at least one million people in the United States have PD.


Currently research is showing that Parkinson’s can be genetically passed on or caused by environmental exposure to toxin(s).  But there is no definitive proof.


The single biggest risk factor is getting older.  We have heard it said, “You have to put up with the symptoms of aging if you are going to live a long life.”

Research continues to find associations, but not causation.  For example: smoking; caffeine intake; pesticide exposure; and head injury have been found to be associated with PD.

As the symptoms increase, victims will need the help and support of family and friends.  A comforting community like Kiva Assisted Living, can provide the social interaction every human needs while providing compassionate assistance with the tasks of daily living.

To learn more, visit the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Coloring, Calming Activity for Those with Dementia

Coloring books for adults is trending right now.  Some studies are showing a slight calming and meditative effect of coloring shapes found in nature.  These images are called Mandala. Read more

Activities and Community vs Loneliness and Isolation

People tend to resist the change of moving into Senior Housing and Assisted Living. Once they do make the change, we hear over and over again that they shouldn’t have waited so long.

Venereal Disease On the Rise in Seniors

Venereal Disease On the Rise in Seniors

Venereal Disease On the Rise in Seniors

According to the CDC, cases of syphilis and chlamydia are on the rise in senior citizens in the U.S.A.

Why?  Seniors are living longer and healthier lives, they are more active in many ways.  And along with a more active lifestyles, they have access to erectile dysfunction drugs.

Syphilis cases have risen 52% and chlamydia cases have risen 32% since 2007.

Many post-menopausal women think that condom use is unimportant because pregnancy is not an issue.  But older people have weaker immune systems and skin and tissues become thinner and more apt to tear easily, exposing the blood to any pathogens.

Medicare offers free screening for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and provides low-cost treatment for those who test positively for an STD.   Doctors and Nurses should include discussing STDs with seniors as part of their healthcare and wellness visits.  Education is key to building awareness and taking wise precautions is key to reducing the number of new cases.

Music Enhances Life at Kiva Assisted Living - Palatka

Music Enhances Life at Kiva Assisted Living – Palatka

Most of us have the experience of hearing a tune from our past and having some memory rush into our consciousness… a dance we attended, a friend, a place.

Downsizing to an Assisted Living Facilty

Downsizing to an Assisted Living Facilty

How can you make a smaller space feel like home?

A new book coming out by on January 5, 2015 by Marni Jamison documents how to sort through all the stuff in the family home and downsize into a much smaller home in Independent or Assisted Living Apartment or a Nursing home. Downsizing the Family Home contains pointers that will help families decide what to keep, what to take.

Downsizing to an Assisted Living Facilty

“Downsizing the Family Home: What to Save, What to Let Go,” comes out from Sterling Publishing Jan. 5, and chronicles how to sift through a parent’s belongings as they move to smaller quarters. (Marni Jameson.)

  1. It is tempting to keep too much. If you must, do a storage facility for those items you can’t part with yet, but that will not fit in the space you are moving to.
  2. Try to recreate the look and feel of their previous home by using their belongings.
  3. Think about the items and how they will be used in the new place. Put those items used most in easy to access places.
  4. Don’t crowd the space. Remember that there are common areas to sit when guests visit. If the space is too small for more than one chair or loveseat don’t try to add more.
  5. A standing or table lamp will add lighting that is warm and cozy, like home. The over-head lights can make the space feel institutional.
  6. Keep walkways wide enough for walkers, canes, and wheelchairs. If you want rugs, secure the edges down with carpet tape to avoid a tripping hazard.
  7. The rooms in the new home will most likely be painted a neutral color. Bring some familiar colorful things with you. Crazy patterns may confuse someone with dementia, keep patterns simple. Soothing warm colors is best.
  8. Remember the afghan or the shawl or lap quilt to keep them warm, and display it over the arm of a chair or the end of the bed.
  9. Pictures of course. Trigger good memories with pictures and wall art from the family home.

Our staff at Kiva Assisted Living are available to advise you on how best to make the transition for your loved one.

If your loved-one has dementia it is best to have them otherwise occupied while you quickly move those items that will make the new place feel like home.  Set up their new apartment first with familiar objects and then bring them in.  Visit often in the first week while they transition into the activities, facilities, and social interactions that make Kiva Assisted Living a comfortable and enjoyable home.

Adjust Your Holiday Expectations For Seniors with Dementia

Adjust Your Holiday Expectations For Seniors with Dementia

Adjust Your Holiday Expectations For Seniors with Dementia

The Alzheimer’s Organization put together some recommendations to help family members adjust their activities to better help those with dementia and their caregivers during the holiday season.

If Mom always hosted the family gatherings, but now is the main caregiver for Dad who has dementia, it is time for you to step up and do more.

Don’t expect a person with Dementia to travel.  Those in the very early stages can handle travel well, but as the disease progresses the familiarity of home is comforting and travel can bring on anxiety.  If your family has always eaten out for the holiday, maybe this year you need to re-think what you do.

Here is a fact sheet from the Alzheimers organization to help you plan for this and future holidays with your loved ones.

You may discover when spending time with your loved ones over the holiday that it is time to look into a living place that will offer more security and assistance with the tasks of daily living.  Or you may discover that the healthy-care giving parent needs a break.  Kiva Assisted Living facilities offer a variety of levels of care including secure memory care, day care and respite care.   Respite care can help provide a safe, active and caring environment while the care-giver takes a break.

Adjust Your Holiday Expectations For Seniors with Dementia

And when it is time to move a loved one with dementia, remember to bring a bit of “home” to the new location to make that feel like home.  We encourage family members to bring familiar items with their loved one when moving them into their new home at Kiva Assisted.  The transitions will be smoother and you may be surprised at how the activity and social interaction at Kiva will benefit your loved one in a very short time.

Many new residents report that if they had known how enjoyable it would be they would have made the move to Kiva sooner.

Study Shows Shingles Can Be Deadly, Vaccine Shown to Reduce Your Odds

Study Shows Shingles Can Be Deadly, Vaccine Shown to Reduce Your Odds

Have you had your shingles vaccine yet?

vaccine-shingles-senior-health-needleResearchers reported on December 15, 2015 that a study found that shingles isn’t just painful.  It can cause death through heart attack and stroke.

We have all heard of or known someone who got Shingles.  It is a very painful illness that can do more than cause pain in the elderly that contract it.  Researchers found that the elderly were more than twice as likely to have a stroke and almost twice as likely to have heart attack in the first week of symptoms.

Shingles is also called herpes zoster and is caused by the same virus that causes childhood chicken pox.

Currently there is a vaccine that can reduce your risk of contracting the illness by 51%.  An NBC article reported that Zostavax is only about 70% effective and this efficacy drops to below 40 percent in people 70 years old or older.  This vaccine has very little side effects.

On the horizon is a new vaccine that seems to work better than the current vaccine, protecting more than 97% of people against the condition – even the very oldest.

The vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline, isn’t on the market yet.  More advanced trials are still needed.  This new vaccine has some side effects that some in the study reported as severe.

But with the new information about the dangers of Shingles, it is probably a good idea to get your vaccine soon.  Your risk of shingles and PHN increases as you get older. CDC recommends that people 60 years old and older get shingles vaccine to prevent shingles