Greetings to the Arthur-Rose Assisted Living Blog Page

We wish you a very warm welcome to our blog and hope you find information helpful to you. Our primary concern is for seniors and their families. We realize the aging process can create stress and dischord in families, and have committed ourselves, as a facility and staff, to the mission of creating a more positive aging process for families. The information on this blog will cover many different bases. As always, we want to be constant students to navigating the aging process more successfully. Should you have input on any information found in this blog, specific questions, or concerns, please feel free to contact us for more information. PLEASE REMEMBER, it is all of our responsibility to protect confidential information. Please edit your comments and suggestions, removing names and details threatening confidentiality.
Jessa A. Nelson, Owner
Arthur-Rose, LLC

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Notes on Financial and Legal Planning for Seniors in Wisconsin

Legal Planning

Every year I make my annual pilgrimage to the store to buy my filing container for the next year’s legal and financial documentation. Every year I buy something too small, foolishly optimistic a paper fairy will come and reduce the required filing by miraculously erasing all the sensitive information these documents contain. I have often wondered how my husband would sort and interpret all of this information and doubted whether any bills would get paid in my absence. I’m sure many of you can relate. Recently, my husband and I have been going through our finances and legal forms, so he can easily navigate our finances should I leave this world in an untimely fashion. While this process has been tedious, I know it is necessary. I’ve seen a number of families enduring a medical crisis, only to find themselves in a legal and financial battle for their loved ones. Have you set your family up for success? It is quite literally never too early. Where do you start? There are several basic documents that indicate your wishes medically and financially, should you be unable to make decisions. In Wisconsin, those documents include Financial Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, Living Will, and DNR/DNI. Wills, estate and trust planning are also critical, but are helpful after a loved one has passed. In many cases, a loved one is incapacitated before they pass and their family’s hands are tied if his or her instructions are not included in these documents. None of these forms require an attorney to assist you in their construction; however, an attorney would be able to walk you through them. The Living Will and DNR/DNI forms can be provided by your doctor. It is critical to discuss the decisions made in these forms with your family before implementation. Copies of completed forms should be given to your elected decision-makers and your doctor for your medical file. Your planning ensures your wishes are adhered to and will eliminate a potential mountain of discord between your loved ones.

Notes on the Importance of the Proper Use of Medication in the Aging.

Without doubt, several of you reading this article would find any number of clear brown bottles in your medicine cabinet with pills you are currently taking, took a time ago, or never took at all. It is not uncommon for me to receive a large box or garbage bag of medications from families when a loved one moves into our home. Medication can be life-saving, life-preserving, and in many cases, life-improving. As you all know, medication is best taken consistently and as prescribed. Medication labels are designed to give you the critical information you need to use your prescriptions properly. Medication labels name the drug and the dose. If you’re not sure what the medication is used for, ask your doctor or pharmacist. It is important to know what condition the medication is designed to control or improve so you can be more aware of its effectiveness and report your thoughts to your doctor. Medication labels also tell you how a medication should be taken or stored. In many cases, these notes will be in little stickers on the bottle. Should my medication be refrigerated, shaken, chewed, etc? Finally, medication labels tell you how much to take and when. It is critical these instructions are followed meticulously. A medication will always be more predictable if taken at the same time every day in the same way. Following your doctors prescription orders meticulously will do him or her the favor of eliminating variables when looking at the effectiveness of a medication. This week, take a peek at those medication labels. Are you doing what they say? If not, bring your questions to your pharmacist or physician.

Notes on the Importance of Medical Advocasy for Seniors


When it comes to your health, disclose and ask questions. I could end this article with that little tidbit of advice, but I will explain. Everyone of you reading this article has an interest in ensuring the advice, prescriptions, or services you get from your physician, pharmacist, or other health professionals is working to your benefit. Health professionals make these suggestions, write orders, and provide services based on three things – what you report, what they see, and what tests show. They translate that information into a plan to better or maintain your health. They are trained extensively to take the little pieces of information you offer and put together a rather complex puzzle in an incredibly short amount of time with a barrage of other factors influencing them. Since their goal is to provide you with every advantage they can, your best strategy is to tell them absolutely everything – that persistent pain in your side, the blurriness you noticed in your right eye, the obnoxious nasal drip, or the hitch in your giddy up you noticed in your left knee. Believe it or not, most health professionals love to pull together these little pieces and find gaps in the story frustrating. Oddly enough, some of the most benign little symptoms can be indicative of bigger problems. For example, I mentioned to my physician, the tiniest bit of alcohol puts me to sleep. A couple blood draws later and I find out I have dysfunctional thyroid. Next, ask questions to learn. Asking you doctor the why and how of his or her puzzle masterpiece is not done to annoy them or question their schooling -- it is done to help you better understand your own body and what you need to do to keep it healthy. Most people put more care and concern into their cars than their bodies. Ask questions, learn about yourself, and be honest and complete in you answers. It’s the start to a healthier you.

Notes on Failure To Thrive - Commonly Diagnosed in Seniors

Failure to Thrive

Often mistaken for the natural process of aging, failure to thrive is perhaps the most common medical diagnosis for seniors. The wide scope of this diagnosis makes this process the predecessor of many dangerous infections, wounds, and diseases. Failure to thrive is generally a slow degenerative process that occurs when an aged individual purposely or unwittedly creates poor health conditions his/her body is unable to overcome. Failure to thrive is often a mixed bag of persistent conditions, such as poor nutrition, improper use of medication, unaddressed chronic pain, or depression. The result is loss of health. Abrupt changes in routine, multiple emergency room runs, poor hygiene, loss of interest in hobbies and socialization, and lack of appetite can all be signs of the chronic failure to thrive. Families should be aware of the lifestyle standards, practices and interests of loved ones, so they can more easily detect changes in behavior, patterns, or interest that may indicate problems as their loved one ages. Intervention for failure to thrive can include seeing a physician for a medication review, setting up meals, providing transportation to social outlets or more frequent check ins. In serious cases, individuals struggling with failure to thrive require supervision and assistance in their homes or a facility. If you suspect your loved one is failing to thrive, consult his/her doctor in your concerns or implement a routine to assist or supervise your loved one with those areas that are directly affecting his/her health.

Notes on Recognizing Losses Through the Aging Process

Last week an 80-year young man sat in my office and asked, “Why would anyone call these the Golden Years”? It was a good question and my heart went out to him. He had recently learned during their snowbird winter in Florida, his wife of 60 years was dying of colon cancer. When he arrived back home and placed her in our home for hospice, his children decided it would be a good time to discuss moving from his home to an apartment. To make matters worse, the children also decided he shouldn’t drive and insisted on taking away his license until he took a driver’s test. Although his children were trying to be proactive and attentive, they didn’t realize how many losses they were creating for their father. Most significant was the loss of his wife’s health and consequent end to her life and their lifetime partnership. Losing your home because you are no longer able to care for it or yourself is another huge loss that involved tremendous courage and a long adjustment. Other life changes considered normal to our aging population can be significant losses – turning over the check book to your kids, giving up your keys, losing your privacy because of a helper in the home. Even losing the right to be left alone can be a loss. In many cases the critical nature of situations force decisions to be made hastily and with little consideration of the psychological and emotional impact of the change. Families that talk over these issues before they tend to be emergencies handle the changes best. For example, my grandmother, in her infinite wisdom and consideration, has given us a criteria for finding additional care for her and has named the place she would like to go. Her act of planning ahead makes clear her expectations, helps her anticipate her adjustment, and relieves us of certain guilt and conflict in making such difficult decisions. Maximize your comfort and enjoyment of the “Golden Years” by talking with your family about how and where you want to cared for, when to take the keys, how to handle your finances. As a side note, the gentleman I mentioned at the beginning of this letter passed his driver’s test with a 98%. It was possibly his biggest victory this year!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Core Value Statement

It is the belief of Arthur-Rose, LLC that all human life is intrinsically valuable. The value of life is not dimished because a person is disabled, unborn, or near the end of life. Value is not determined by whether a person is independent or totally dependent on others. It is not based on productivity or on physical or intellectual potential or accomplishments. Value is not dependent on whether a person has family relationships or friendships. It is not contingent on being wanted, loved or admired. Human life is intrinsically valuable and worthy of dignity and respect simply because it exists. This Core Value is central to everything we do and every decision we make at Arthur-Rose.