Protecting Yourself from the Flu

flu-edited-1415226581130-91cb7f52f078Flu season is in full swing, and it’s an especially dangerous one. According to the Walgreens Flu Index, East Tennessee’s own Knoxville currently ranks as the nation’s worst city for catching the flu. When it comes to caring for the elderly, tells us that adults over the age of 64 are at a higher risk of catching the flu. Asthma and diabetes are additional factors that make one susceptible to the flu. These are important facts to remember this time of year, not for the sake of fear, but for the sake of safety.

In a time and climate like this, the number one safeguard is getting a yearly flu shot. In addition, there are other specific ways in which you can protect yourself and the people you love from catching or spreading the flu virus:

    • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze—but not with your hands. Use a tissue or the crook of your arm.
    • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
    • Don’t touch the main openings through which sicknesses spread: your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Keep a healthy distance from those who are already sick (and vice versa).
    • For those demonstrating flu-like symptoms, steer clear of crowds for at least 24 hours after your fever has broken—except, of course, for instances where you require immediate medical care.

Following these guidelines will go a long way in keeping you healthy and happy this winter.

What Does Dominion Mean by “All-Inclusive Pricing”?

Senior couple smiling portrait outdoorsWhen you hear the term “all-inclusive” it’s usually a good thing, especially when it comes to dream vacations and houses. It’s also a great term to hear when you’re searching for an assisted living or memory care community.

Many senior care facilities utilize tiered pricing. The normal presentation of this model is to introduce the family to an impressive, low amount. This number is based on care leveling, which means that the resident is charged one rate at move-in, but can be charged more depending on the particular services they need. For seniors with few needs, this could be a cost-effective option. Whatever the case, the low price is a base rate that can (and, in many cases, likely will) increase as more care is administered to the resident.

With tiered pricing, a family may save money in the beginning, but they can also spend much more in the long run. If the resident needs extra health care, then the family will pay extra for it. Conditions of the resident are always changing, therefore healthcare will too. With this type of “pay as you go” pricing, there is at least the potential for a facility to be vague and take advantage of the resident and the family.

Dominion Senior Living’s pricing is different. “All-inclusive” means just that. There is one price for assisted living and one price for memory care where everything is covered. The resident’s rate will not increase with more activity. Even when more care is required, the rate remains the same.

Vice President Josh Crisp says, “This method of pricing allows Dominion to set a high benchmark for quality of service to our residents. There is a sense of stability and budget for the family and it helps us to provide the best care.” The staff is trained, equipped, and ready to provide the extra care needed at a moment’s notice.

Because of the all-inclusive pricing the administrators of Dominion must clearly communicate up front so the resident and family do not think they are paying too much. After the resident gets settled in their new home, re-evaluation does take place, but it means evaluating care, not price. This way, the family avoids the stress and burden of having a monthly bill that constantly fluctuates.

Shopping for a senior care home can be confusing and expensive. Dominion Senior Living strives to cut out the confusion by providing simply one price. Josh Crisp desires all to know that “the motive is and always has been to provide a high level of service for our residents and to keep their best interests at heart.”

How Often Do We Actually Count Our Blessings?

ThanksgivingThere’s an old gospel hymn written by Johnson Oatman, Jr. that includes the line, “Count your blessings, name them one by one.” We tend to sing this song around the Thanksgiving holiday, but how many of us truly stop to name our blessings specifically? And how often do we practice this activity?

Many Thanksgivings have gone by where we gather around the dinner table with our families and friends and say what we are thankful for. It is the tradition of the season. We name relationships, material possessions, our health, our homes, and so on. When a name is given to something, it usually signifies importance and priority. Most people believe that counting their blessings stimulates the mind and heart toward contentment.

Naming things we have been given is also a way to prevent greed from entering our hearts during this season. If we are truly grateful for all we have, then we should give thanks every day and not only on Thanksgiving. We can appreciate all we have, but appreciation only comes after we recognize our own blessedness.

Counting our blessings doesn’t mean that we won’t have trials or hardships in our lives. Nevertheless, focusing on our blessings may change how we view our problems. The hymn acknowledges that in this lifetime we will be “tempest-tossed” and “burdened with a load of care.” However, we can find encouragement that “God is over all.”

Thanksgiving knows no age, skin color, income, or status. It is an opportunity for all of us to praise God from whom all blessings flow. May our hearts always be thankful, but even more than that, may we always be aware of how we are using that thankfulness in our daily activities and routines. As W.T Purkiser says, “Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” Because we are so richly blessed, we can then be a blessing to others.

When we count our blessings and name them one by one, we take our focus off of us and place it on our Lord. He is the One who gladly gives to us. When we fully realize all the ways we are blessed, that’s when Thanksgiving becomes more than just some turkey and stuffing. That’s when Thanksgiving is a success.

Activities: A Pivotal Aspect of Life Enrichment

Mixing ingredients for monkey bread

Whether you love the cold and wait with anticipation for the first snowfall, or you want to fast-forward straight to spring, winter poses problems for many people. Mood changes during the winter months are common, and those living at Dominion Senior Living experience them, too.

According to Life Enrichment Director Bonnie Parton, the residents at Dominion Senior Living of Sevierville go outdoors every day in the summer. Plenty of walks are taken, flowers are cared for, and rocking chairs are occupied. Once the cold air arrives, the activities must be moved indoors. Bonnie plans many fun things to keep the residents active and busy. “The morning routine never changes” says Bonnie, “and this provides stability, but the afternoon is a little more flexible and random.”

Working on a new oil painting

As we saw in our last blog post, arts and crafts time is important to the residents at Dominion. Not only does this designated time act as a way to keep busy, but is a time to care for the mental, social, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the residents. First of all, craft time is good for the residents’ mental health. As a memory care facility, Dominion Senior Living of Sevierville gears almost every activity to be intellectually beneficial. Each game played or craft made will stimulate the resident’s senses and utilize the movement of their hands. One such project involves making dolls for missionaries to take to orphans in South Africa.

These activities are also beneficial to the residents’ social needs. Before each event, Bonnie knocks on every door and encourages, but doesn’t force, him or her to join in the fun. By doing this, downtime is minimized, which helps with reducing the winter blues, and it establishes their individual sense of purpose. The craft time allows them all to sit together, talk if they want, and participate in a group setting.

Each resident also receives the emotional and spiritual health they need by choosing to be a part of games and arts & crafts. Due to Bonnie’s creativity, the residents are often eager to participate and try new things.

Making clothes for charity

There are a few elements that change from week to week, but the calendar of activities always stays full. Mondays are time for arts and crafts, whether it is making decorative crosses, fabric coasters, birdhouses, or Pepsi bottle lions. Tuesdays are set aside for oil painting, which Bonnie leads step by step. On Wednesdays, the ladies get pampered with a special manicure in which they get to choose their own nail polish color. Thursday’s activity is a favorite of many because residents get to cook—and eat!—a special treat they make. Among the treats they’ve prepared are unleavened bread, banana splits, peanut butter balls, pizza, and different kinds of cookies. Fridays are special as well because everyone gets to gather around the piano and listen to Executive Director Pam Morgan sing. The residents have their own hymn books and can sing along if they wish.

Staying indoors during the winter can be hard. Cabin fever affects seniors just like it does anyone else. But thanks to a lively and engaging schedule, residents at Dominion Senior Living of Sevierville enjoy excellent care for every element of their health—even while remaining indoors.

Preparing for a Scary Good Time

For many people, Halloween is an enjoyable holiday with creative costumes, spooky decorations, and tons of candy. It is customary for children to go around their neighborhoods, knock on doors, and ask for a sweet treat, and many adults love indulging the kids in this tradition. Still yet, this unique holiday may present problems or fears for some, including senior adults. Dominion Senior Living turns what could be a fearful time into an exciting day.

As our Sevierville location states on its main page, Dominion is “committed to providing a secure environment that promotes dignity and maintains physical and emotional health and stability through the engagement of meaningful life enrichment programs.” Part of that programming includes a weekly arts and crafts project that residents spend a portion of each day on.

At Sevierville, this week has been notably special. Bonnie Parton, the Life Enrichment Director, usually plans the project, but the residents took the initiative in choosing their Halloween costumes. Because they wanted to make their own, they gave her their ideas about what they wanted to wear. She then went to local stores to pick up all the necessary materials—everything down to the blood red nail polish.

The Halloween party is scheduled for Friday afternoon, although, as Bonnie points out, “They want to put their costumes on in the morning. They’ve been talking about this all week long.” After lunch on Friday, she’ll help them with their makeup and outfits. Then everyone will party in their costumes, enjoy refreshments, play games, and win prizes.

The atmosphere is rich with excitement and anticipation, not unlike a high school before an elaborate gala. Bonnie is both proud of and pleased with the residents’ participation. “With other parties, I do the work for them and I arrange the entertainment. But this party, I’ve let them do it all. It really is about them and how they made their own costumes.”

No matter what creepy creature is flying or howling outside this Halloween, the residents at Dominion Senior Living of Sevierville will be celebrating in security and peace. You can bet there will be nothing boring about their way of living or partying!

photo credit: Jan Herbert via photopin cc