No Live Chickens In The Kitchen

chicken-differentiation

Most of the time when rules are written it is usually because someone along the way created a need for the rule.  In Assisted Living in the State of Alabama did you know that it is against the Alabama Department of Public Health Rules and Regulations to have LIVE chickens in the kitchen?!  I know what you are thinking…well DUH???  But, I have to think that somewhere at sometime someone decided that it was a good call to have a live chicken in the kitchen!  Seriously people??!!  NO!!  But rules are intended to protect.  Rules are a way to keep residents and staff in all buildings safe.  There also things that you can do right from the start to make sure that you are keeping your loved one compliant in their new place.

Packing it Up

When you are figuring out what to move to your loved one’s community it is so important to be familiar with the ADPH Rules and Regulations as well as your facilities’ Policies and Procedures.  This is your first guideline as to what is acceptable.  For instance, it’s good to know that in Alabama that it is prohibited to have open flame heaters or portable heaters in resident rooms because of the potential risk of fires.  In our properties we do not allow throw rugs without non skid backings.  Extension cords that are not grounded or extension cords which cross a walkway or pathway in a resident room are a “no-no” as well.   These prohibited items are because of the fall or safety risk that these items present.  Knowing this up front keeps you from hauling stuff back home.   There are other items that are not allowed.  This link can take you to the Alabama Department of Public Health Rules and Regulations.  Your facility will be more than happy to provide you with another copy of their policies and procedures if you need them as well.  Remember these guidelines are in place to protect.  When you read them, they all make sense and are there for the safety of your loved one.

Medication Roundup

Another hot button topic in the assisted living world is medication.  Yes, assisted living is setup for residents to either manage their own medications or to have staff ASSIST them in the management of their medications and who does the management will be SPECIFICALLY indicated in the Medical Exam and Plan of Care by their PHYSICIAN.  The specifics for how these areas are handled and the “nitty gritty” details as to WHO can do WHAT and HOW are found in the ADPH Rules and Regs and your facilities’ policies and procedures.  One thing I find myself reminding families is that if you are bringing ANY medication into the facility…please make sure that the Administrator and staff are aware of it.  There is certain protocol that must be followed to make sure that we are compliant.  Communicating with your Administrator will help ensure that there is an order for any and all medications and that they are kept in the building according to the rules.  Just dropping off gas chewables in the room because Daddy said he felt gassy is not a minor or acceptable thing.  It is something that must be first run by the Administrator.   Again ANY and ALL medications need to go through the proper channels.  The rules are in place for the safety and protection of everyone.

Leave it at Home

If you have questions or concerns about the things to bring or not to bring your Administrator is more than happy to help.  Keeping the lines of communication open is the best way to follow the pathways to success in assisted living.  Remind family members not to minimize their loved ones feelings about the changes they are facing.  It’s also a good time to remember family to leave the negative feelings at home.   Yes, this is change for everyone in your family.  However, it is important to try and help provide emotional support to the loved one that is facing the move.  Typically senior adults don’t like change.  So do your best to address it with them but keep it positive!   One of the most beautiful things I have experienced is watching other residents in a community reach out and provide emotional support to new members in the community.  They are often times one of the most understanding resources…because they have been there!  So reach out and be positive because a good attitude can be one of those things like the old commercial catch phrase advised…never leave home without it.

What Do These Famous Individuals All Have In Common?

What do Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Glen Campbell, Pat Summit, and Perry Como have in common?  Your first response might be that they are all famous, successful individuals.  You would be right, but the one thing that they all have in common is Alzheimer’s disease.  November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and now is a good time to learn more about the disease and what to do if you are concerned that a loved one may have memory problems.

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disease that affects memory, language, thought and eventually, the ability to complete basic activities of daily living.  Scientist think as many as 4.5 million American’s have Alzheimer’s disease and the numbers go up beginning at age 60.  Scientist estimates that 50% of Americans age 85 and older have the disease.  One important point is that Alzheimer’s is not a part of normal aging.

If you have a loved one who is experiencing memory loss, make an appointment to see your primary care provider as soon as possible.  There are medications available today which help slow down the progression of the disease if they are started early in the disease process.  Delaying getting a diagnosis reduces the ability to slow the disease earlier in the process.

If you have a loved one who has been given a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, get as much information as you can and look for a support group in your area.  Explore programs in your area for individuals with memory loss and begin to look at senior living options for when living at home is no longer possible.  Don’t forget to take care of yourself.  Care giving for an individual with memory problems is challenging and many care givers face health challenges of their own.

Alzheimer’s disease affects individuals regardless of their race, sex, social background or financial class.  Getting up to date information will help you find the answers you need.