Honoring Our Best: The 2014 American House Employee Appreciation Award Winners

American House Logo

They put others’ needs first. They work tirelessly, always eager to make each day fulfilling. They ensure things are running smoothly and that residents at American House are well cared for and happy. In short, they go above and beyond the call of duty — every day. They are part of our American House Senior Living family: Our employees.

At American House, we couldn’t do what we do and provide our residents a fun, loving and caring community without the hard work and dedication of our employees. That’s why we’re excited to be able to announce the winners of our American House 2014 Employee Appreciation Awards!

THE “DEE”-LIGHTFUL AWARD 2014

Presented to:

Robin Racho, Activity Director at American House Southland

In recognition of your exemplary enthusiasm, energy and commitment to our residents at American House Senior Living Communities.

THE BOB GILLETTE ESSENCE AWARD 2014

Presented to:

Cathy Felkins, Executive Director at American House Livonia

In recognition of being the everlasting essence of American House Senior Living Communities.

THE HERO AWARD 2014

Presented to:

Michelle Green, Assistant Director at American House Dearborn Heights

In recognition of your dedication, dependability and longevity with American House Senior Living Communities.

AMERICAN HOUSE SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITIES

American House is proud to honor the winners of our American House 2014 Employee Appreciation Awards! Many factors go into choosing the right senior living community — such as having caring and hard-working employees like American House does — and these 5 Important Steps to Finding the Best Assisted Living Community can help in your decision. Call American House today at (248) 579-4422 to schedule a tour to see our employees in action.

4 Ways for Caregivers to Slow Down and Enjoy the Holidays

4 Ways for caregiver to slow down and enjoy the holidays meme

The holidays can be hectic – but for caregivers, they can be more than stressful. It’s easy to become frazzled during the holiday hustle and bustle, but it’s important that you remember these 4 Ways for Caregivers to Slow Down and Enjoy the Holidays (and don’t forget about these 20 Ways to Care for the Caregiver). Be sure to bookmark this article for reference in the future, and share with other caregivers in your life.

4 Ways for Caregivers to Slow Down and Enjoy the Holidays

1. Shop early and/or online.

Somewhere along the way, did buying gifts for loved ones became more of a hassle instead of a warm gesture of kindness to show your appreciation for family and friends? Don’t let that be the case! Instead, make things easier on yourself and do what makes the most sense for YOU. Make a list of the gifts you’ll be purchasing and shop in the season to avoid the crowds. Interested in shopping in your pajamas, while relaxing on the couch with a cup of coffee? If so, shop online, using your smartphone or tablet! Lastly, consider a one-size-fits-all type of gift: Zoo memberships, gift cards, books, etc.

2. Schedule some down time.

As a caregiver, you manage a full schedule between yourself and your loved one. During the busy holiday season, have you scheduled some time just for you? Recharge your own batteries — by way of reading a new book, taking a power nap, enjoying a brisk walk or picking up the phone to chat with a close friend. Because the more relaxed you are, the better caregiver you’ll be. It’s not being selfish; taking care of you is good for everyone!

3. Get a good night’s sleep.

This goes beyond just scheduling some down time for you. Getting a full night of sleep is beneficial physically because it allows your body time to recharge, literally, since your cells are busy making repairs. A good night of sleep lets your body rest, but it also lets your brain rest. Those million thoughts always swirling around get a break so that you can look at things with fresh eyes in the morning. Don’t skimp on sleep; five hours is not enough — particularly if you’re dealing with broken sleep because of your caregiving duties. Whenever you have the time, make it a priority to get a full night of sleep.

4. Remember what’s important.

It’s not about having the most elaborate, Pinterest-worthy holiday table decorations or variety of specialty foods on display. It’s not about having every last corner of your home free of dust bunnies. It’s not about having every last strand of hair in place, or being the first one (or second, or third) to send out holiday cards. The holidays are about spending time with those you love. It’s about spreading goodwill toward others. It may be about food (and these easy ways to make holiday meals healthier) and gathering around the table to talk and laugh. But it’s about happiness and doing things you love that bring joy to your heart. All the rest is just icing on the imperfect cake. Don’t ever forget that.

AMERICAN HOUSE

These 4 Ways for Caregivers to Slow Down and Enjoy the Holidays are useful tips to remember. Call American Housel today at (248) 579-4422 to schedule a visit and see all we have to offer our residents.

American House Begins Family Care Coordinator Program To Ease Burden For Residents And Their Loved Ones

At American House, we understand that managing health care for you and your loved ones can be tricky and time-consuming. And there may be concerns about what to do if a hospital visit or rehabilitation is necessary. That’s why we’ve partnered with Area Agency on Aging 1-B to initiate a pilot program at our American House Oakland Senior Living community to make things a bit easier.

Our on-site Family Care Coordinator Nicole Terry is your go-to person for coordinating medical care — in AND out of American House. She’s here to assist residents who come into the American House community and residents who need to go out to the hospital.

Nicole Terry

Family Care Coordinator Nicole Terry of
American House Oakland Senior Living

“The ultimate goal of the coordination is to make sure (residents) can stay here at American House and that they return,” Nicole said. Since generally family members are the ones responsible for coordinating care and making endless phone calls, Nicole said this program lifts the burden from family members so they can spend more time with loved ones.

“Plus, a lot of families aren’t knowledgeable on what services are available through Area Agency on Aging,” Nicole said. Many also don’t know about onsite rehabilitation available in the American House building and some don’t understand that skilled care is provided through a resident’s medical team. In addition, there’s also a wellness program for residents. So, the Family Care Coordinator can take care of finding – and passing along — all that information for you!

“I do think the residents are really benefitting from it,” Nicole said. “They are very happy. In some situations, they really thought there were no other options but to move out and we’ve been able to put a plan in place so they can stay here and maintain the best quality of life.”

Laura Broecker, the regional and executive director for American House Oakland Senior Living, understands that it can be very difficult to navigate through the health care system. She’s pleased that the program is making things easier on residents and their loved ones.

Having a Family Care Coordinator is helpful with controlling readmissions — or admissions — to the hospital and is in line with our goal of keeping residents healthier and well in our community.

“It can really help them with getting on that path to get the services they need,” Laura said. “It’s so overwhelming, so it’s nice to have that one person to do it.”

AMERICAN HOUSE

All residents at American House Oakland Senior Living are eligible for this free program. There is information available in the lobby, along with brochures, and Laura and Nicole are always available for any questions. To find out more about life at American House, call us at (248) 579-4422 or visit us at www.americanhouse.com to schedule a tour.

20 Ways to Care for the Caregiver

dlOZB8pjwC80W36SJ1xID74IZBpNi7_9sbtOstEPnh4Being a caregiver is a difficult undertaking and it’s important to remember to take care of YOU so you can effectively take care of others. Caregivers can face an increased risk of developing heath issues, including depression, sleep deprivation and chronic conditions including high blood pressure — and caregivers often find themselves neglecting their own health and well-being.

Here are some important ways to take care of you, as the caregiver:

MENTALLY & SPIRTUALLY

1. Say “No.” Remember that you don’t have to do it all. When appropriate, know that it’s OK to say “no.”

2. Get organized. Take the time to find a system that works for you, whether it’s lists on your refrigerator or reminders on your phone.

3. Acknowledge your feelings. It’s OK to be sad, upset or scared about things you’re going through as a caregiver. You don’t have to be cheery and happy every second.

4. Let it go. You’ve got a lot on your mind, so find a way to get it out: Write in a journal every night, talk to a trusted friend or work with a therapist.

5. Set boundaries. When you set boundaries, you are more likely to stick to them — and help save yourself stress from unsavory situations.

PHYSICALLY

lLsrcfS0Pd2u7RbiswjVVoEz3wzF9fHYFSzlDcA0MnE6. Exercise. Take a brisk walk every day. Not only will this benefit you physically, but it will help to clear your mind, too.

7. Eat right. Be sure to give yourself plenty of healthy food options and eat nutritionally-balanced meals to keep up your strength and overall health.

8. Get regular checkups. When you call to make a doctor’s (or dental) appointment for the person in your care, be sure to take the time to schedule your own.

9. Sleep. Try for at least eight hours of sleep each night to keep your body rested and ready to combat any potential illnesses.

10. Rest when sick. The sooner you are back to optimal health, the sooner you can give full care to your loved one.

SOCIALLY

11. Connect with friends. Maintain your friendships or make new ones. Spending time with peers is important to retaining your sense self.

12. Find a hobby. Choose something you enjoy doing — a yoga class, scrapbooking, a book club, etc. — and make sure you do it every week.

13. Seek support. It’s important to find someone, such as a support group or another caregiver, who understands the unique challenges you face.

14. Plan fun. Give yourself something to look forward to by scheduling something fun. Do this regularly.

15. Schedule “me” time. At some point each day, do something that’s only for YOU. Take a walk, read a book, watch a movie or something else that brings you enjoyment.

RESOURCES

16. Ask for help. Whether it’s from family members, friends or health professionals don’t be afraid to receive help before you become overwhelmed.

17. Seek professional assistance. When possible, find out if you can delegate any of your responsibilities— whether these are for you (such as housecleaning, etc.) or your loved one.

18. Take care of your finances. Talk to an accountant or financial director about your financial means to make sure you’re not spreading yourself too thin. Ask about medical benefits available.

19. Write it down. Keep a list handy to jot down things to discuss with doctors, information to look up and resources to ask about, etc. so you won’t wonder if you’re forgetting anything.

20. Consider other arrangements. There are many options available for care, including assisted living communities like American House.

AMERICAN HOUSE CARES

At American House, we know that being a caregiver can be stressful. If you have any questions or would like to see what American House has to offer, give us a call at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a visit.

5 Important Steps to Find the Best Assisted Living Community

All homes are not the same and all assisted living communities are not the same, either: They each offer their own specialized care options and varied levels of care. At American House, we know choosing the right assisted living community for you or your loved one can be a daunting process — but we’d like to make things easier.

When searching for the best assisted living community, we urge you to take the following five steps:

1. SPRING A SURPRISE VISIT

Do some research and find a few assisted living communities to check out. Ask for recommendations from friends, family and co-workers. Once you’ve scoped out a few communities online or by phone, gathering information on prices, services and amenities, you can also visit their Facebook pages to see what others have to say.

Don’t forget to read online reviews as well. You can read some reviews from American House residents here and here.

Then, to really get a feel for the community, ask if you can make an unannounced visit or schedule a tour. Stay for a meal in the dining room to taste the quality of the food and see what the everyday dining experience is like. Pay attention to cleanliness, how the staff interacts with residents and whether residents appear relaxed.

At American House, we’d love to have you stop by anytime! When you schedule a tour, you can enjoy our delicious apple pie as you dine with residents.

2. ASK IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

Arrive armed with a list of questions and don’t be afraid to demand answers! Ask if the community is licensed to do business as an assisted care center — and follow up with the state health department to confirm. Another important question to ask is whether there is security in the community.

Find out if there is a doctor on site or if you can receive care from your current provider. Ask if on-site physical, speech and occupational therapists are available — and if not, if transportation to your particular specialist is provided.

At American House, we know that figuring out what to ask can be overwhelming, so we’ve compiled a list of the Top 16 Tips for Choosing a Senior Living Community, along with the Top 10 Principles to Look for When Choosing a Senior Living Community.

3. FIND OUT ABOUT HIDDEN FEES

Some services offered by assisted living facilities are not apparent upfront, and fees related to such care are not always covered by services like Medicare or Medicaid. Long-term care insurance will often reimburse for assisted care, but you’ll have to check the terms of your policy.

Find out what exactly is included in your rate: Charges for medications given per day; admission or community fees; a la carte fees; rate raises. Use our list of the Top 16 Tips for Choosing a Senior Living Community to help guide your questions about hidden fees.

At American House, we offer varying services and would love the opportunity to talk to you about options.

4. ASK ABOUT TRANSPORTATION SERVICES

According to the Fox Business article, Nancy Thompson — a spokeswoman for AARP — said many seniors overlook the importance of transportation when comparing assisted living communities.

While some communities have their own vans to transport residents to weekly trips and social outings, some charge extra for other trips — so ask what is included. At American House, we offer personal and scheduled transportation — including trips to malls, banks, grocery stores and pharmacies, along with trips to senior centers, museums and other group outings.

5. DOES THE COMMUNITY MEET YOUR NEEDS

HP_Exterior_2011Each person wants and requires different amenities — and with their assisted living communities. You may need specialized care, certain kinds of medical attention, plenty of socialization options or other preferences for your new home.

The best way to find out if a community fits your specific needs is to investigate several of them before deciding. That way, you can feel confident you made the best decision and move forward with getting comfortable in your new home!

To find out more about becoming a resident at American House, call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com.

Top 10 Principles to Look for When Choosing a Senior Living Community

Making the decision to move a loved one into a senior living community isn’t one that’s made lightly, and choosing the right community should be done with careful consideration. At American House, we are proud to be a desired assisted living community that provides personal care services in a comfortable residential atmosphere.

General amenities of an assisted living community, such as American House, generally include: Three meals a day in a common dining room; housekeeping services; transportation; security; exercise and wellness programs; laundry services; and social and recreational activities. At American House, we are happy to also provide additional amenities, services and care to make our residents as happy and comfortable as possible.

The Assisted Living Federation of American (ALFA) encourages loved ones choosing a senior living community to look for a general philosophy of care based on 10 principles, making residents a top priority:

  • Offering cost-effective quality care personalized for the resident’s needs
  • Fostering independence for each resident
  • Treating each resident with dignity and respect
  • Promoting the individuality of each resident
  • Allowing each resident choice of care and lifestyle
  • Protecting each resident’s right to privacy
  • Nurturing the spirit of each resident
  • Involving family and friends in care planning and implementation
  • Providing a safe, residential environment
  • Making the assisted living community a valuable asset to the surrounding community

At American House, our residents are our first priority. From interaction with our staff to the various amenities and activities we offer, we try our hardest to ensure our residents are happy and engaged with our community.

Check out our blog for updated stories about what our residents are up to — like American House Idol or the Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader spelling bee we had at a local school.

To schedule a tour and learn more about what we offer in our senior living communities at American House, please visit our website at http://www.americanhouse.com/ or call (248) 579-4422.