Where to Look Online to Find the Best Senior Living Options for You

There are nearly 30,000 senior living options in the US. Deciding where to place your parents is a difficult decision that requires hours of research, visits, and conversations.

Because of the internet, you have access to thousands of resources to help you make the most educated decision for you and your family.

With so many online options available, we’ve narrowed it down to help you get the most out of your research. Here are four online sources to find the best senior living options near you.

Google Reviews

Have you ever wanted to know what people thought about a senior living center before clicking on the website? Thanks to Google reviews, now you can.

Google reviews come up every time you search for a company or business. It’s a great way to get an overview of the business before clicking on the site. Google reviews are cultivated from people who have used the senior living center. You can learn a lot from these unfiltered reviews.

Review Sites Like Yelp and Job Boards

If you need more reviews, consider checking out review sites, like Yelp, and job boards. 

Yelp is similar to Google reviews, except that it’s its own business and has a community of reviewers who’s sole purpose is to help others make a wise decision.

Job boards on the other hand are a great way to figure out what current and former employees think about the senior living center. Since your loved one will spend every day here, it’s best to know what employees think about it.

Website Testimonials

As great as reviews might be, it’s always best to take the positive and negative reviews with a grain of salt. Everyone can have a different experience for one reason or another. A great way to determine which senior living centers are right for your family is to visit the company’s website.

You can learn so much about a senior living center from their website. You can look at testimonials, amenities, facilities, and many other things. You get an honest picture at what life is like.

Social Media

In 2023, more and more businesses are establishing a presence on social media. Use these public accounts to your advantage.

On social media, you can watch what senior living centers post and how they interact with their followers. This is a great way to get an unfiltered perspective on what it’s like living at the senior living center.

Ready to See if PHC is Right for You?

Figuring out which senior living center is best for you takes patience and time. We strongly recommend looking at different reviews and interacting with the center online. Look at website testimonials and social media accounts to give you an accurate picture of what it’s like living in the senior living center.

Want to know if Pivotal Health Care is right for you? Check out our social media pages to learn more about us and schedule a tour today!

4 Great Christmas Gifts for Seniors

It’s that time of year when families gather together to share the holiday spirit. Christmas is a wonderful time to share meals and favorite recipes and give presents to loved ones. 

As you start checking people off your list, you finally come to your older family members. You’re ready to purchase them a beautiful, heartfelt gift, but you’re completely stumped. What do you get someone who can buy anything they want throughout the year?

We want to help you avoid this problem. Here are four great Christmas gifts for the seniors in your life.

Gift Idea #1: Coupon Book

This first gift idea is great for children to give to their grandparents or older family members. A coupon book can be filled with chores that the older family member needs help completing or fun outings and adventures.

The child includes several coupons with different activities, and the recipient “cashes in” on these gifts throughout the year. This is a great way to make a Christmas gift keep giving throughout the year..

Gift Idea #2: Tablets

Don’t live close to your loved ones? No problem. Tablets are a great gift for seniors who live far away. With a tablet, you can video call, share photos, text, call, and post on social media all with a click of a button.

There are so many tablets available on the market today. Find the one that works best for your senior and gives the best access to loved ones.

Gift Idea #3: Custom Calendar

As your family grows, there’s nothing sweeter than photos to remember special moments. Gifting a yearly calendar customized with photos from the year of family members and trips is a great way to spark excitement on every page.

A custom calendar is an excellent way to showcase birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Additionally, calendars are great for seniors with memory loss becuase it serves as a great reminder of important days and offers pictures of family members alongside the holidays.

Gift Idea #4: Cards and Board Games

Card games and board games are a great way to spend quality time with family and laugh with competitive spirit. Whether you’re playing Rummikub, Nertz, 42, Settlers of Catan, or any other game, you can gift your senior their favorite board game.

Want to make it more special? Find a game your loved one played as a child or young adult and surprise them with a new edition. A blast to the past is a great way to lift spirits and give your older family members the opportunity to teach the younger family members a new game.

Christmas Time is Here!

With the holidays around the corner, now is the best time to purchase a meaningful gift. With homemade gifts like coupon books, technology, customized calendars, and novelty games, you’re sure to shock and awe your loved one with a great gift this holiday season.

And from our family to yours, Merry Christmas!

How To Make Your Home Safe When Eating Thanksgiving With the Elderly

It’s that time of year when family and friends gather for the holidays and enjoy each other’s company. This time together is precious, especially for families with elderly members. The last thing you want is not to see your grandparents on Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, because of difficult travel conditions and dietary restrictions, Thanksgiving can be challenging for your elderly members. Help them enjoy the holidays with these simple adjustments.

Plan in Advance

Even though the holidays happen every year, it always seems like they come by surprise. Next thing you know, it’s November and Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

Avoid making hasty decisions and travel plans by taking the extra minute to plan the holiday in advance. When elderly members are part of your family, it’s best to consider how travel will affect them.

With enough notice, family members can buy plane tickets or drive into town. In most cases, it’s easiest to visit older family members than to have them come to you.

Adjust the Menu

Everyone has a favorite dish during Thanksgiving. But as people age, some food becomes more difficult to eat, like turkey.

When deciding who cooks what on this special day, consider what’s easier for your elderly family members to eat. This is where casseroles and potatoes come to play. Their softer texture is easier to chew and filled with flavor.

If you’re like most families, you plan on having a turkey. Help the elderly by cutting their turkey into small pieces for them so it’s easier to chew.

Part of adjusting the menu is considering health and dietary restrictions. Consider low-sodium and low-fat options. With a slight adjustment to the menu, everyone can be happy and enjoy their food.

Organize Fun Activities

Thanksgiving is about family time and appreciating one another. Although everyone loves to watch Thanksgiving Day football, have some other activities available.

We strongly recommend board games, card games, fishing (depending on your climate and location), strolls around the neighborhood, and anything else your family enjoys doing.

Better yet, find a way for your older family members to talk about their history and share stories–this will bring the family closer together and give a greater appreciation for the blessings in life.

Focus on Quality Time

Above all else, focus on quality time. Sitting in the same room together is different than visiting with each other. Spend time talking, laughing, cooking, and eating. No one ever complains about time well spent.

Take advantage of the time you have with your loved ones. Focusing on quality time ensures you have the best visit possible every year.

Now You’re Ready for Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is an excellent opportunity to spend quality time with family members, young and old. With the holidays around the corner, take advantage of the time you have with your loved ones with great food, company, and quality time.

We promise you won’t regret it!

3 Most Popular Elderly Scams

In 2021, nearly 100,000 elderly adults fell victim to scams that cost them nearly $2 billion. The scam industry is growing every year, so everyone must learn how to spot a scam from a mile away.

Unfortunately, scams are constantly becoming more sophisticated, and scammers often target people they see as most vulnerable or those with a lot of money–the elderly.

Here are three of the most common scams to watch out for when you pick up the phone from an unknown caller.

#1: Grandparent Scam

You love your grandchildren dearly and want to help them in any way you can. While your motives are admirable, scammers anticipate your love and affection and take advantage of you.

In a grandparent scam, the scammer pretends to be one of your grandchildren and asks for money. Scammers will try to get you to name one of your grandchildren that they might sound like, so they can play off that trust and relationship to get you to send them money.

How to Avoid:

If you ever receive a phone call like this, never give a child’s name. But more importantly, immediately hang up the phone and call your grandchild directly to confirm whether or not they attempted to call you.

#2: Government Impersonation Scam

While scams are scary, government impersonation scams are downright terrifying. As an authority who can put people in jail, hearing the government call you can put you in a state of fear that short circuits logical thinking–the very thing scammers want.

When a scammer calls you impersonating the government, they’ll attempt to use a phone number similar to the government agency they’re impersonating. They’ll pressure you into making a payment online by giving your information.

How to Avoid:

Government agencies never call you on the phone to collect payments. The moment someone says they’re calling from the government to collect a payment, hang up immediately.

#3: Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams

When someone receives a call saying they’ve won a brand-new truck, an all-expenses-paid vacation to Europe, or an insane amount of money, “recipients” may be so excited about “winning” that they don’t think about whether or not the call is real.

These scammers will ask you to send them money or gift cards to cover the taxes and fees.

How to Avoid:

First things first, if you didn’t enter a giveaway of any kind, there’s no reason to receive a call about winning a prize. When you receive this call, immediately hang up. 

The challenge with this scam is if you have entered giveaways before, you might be tempted to continue listening. The big giveaway in this scam is when they ask you to pay upfront without first receiving your prize. If it’s truly a prize, you shouldn’t have to pay a dime.

Conclusion

Scammers are constantly improving their craft to make their scams more believable and appealing. And while the scammer might sound like your grandchild, the government, or Publishing Clearing House, your best defense is to use common sense, hang up the phone, and block the number.

5 Tips When You’re the Caregiver for Your Parents

You recently found out that your aging parents can’t live on their own anymore, so you’re now left with a difficult decision: do you look for a senior living center or attempt to care for them yourself?

As you think back on all the ways your parents helped you, you decide to try and help your parents yourself.

When you take on this task, you’ll go through many emotions. Here are some tips to help you make the most of this experience and give your parents the care they need and deserve.

Tip #1: Accept the Changes in Life

It can be challenging to accept the new changes in life when you start taking care of your elderly parents. You remember them as young and physically capable of anything. But now, the roles shifted, and you must care for them.

Tip #2: Objectively Determine How Much Care is Needed

Everyone needs different levels of care. Both of your parents may need help, or only one of them needs assistance. Regardless of how it all plays out, you need to objectively determine how much care each aging parent needs and whether or now you can give that care.

As a family caregiver, start by talking with the doctors and thoroughly learning about your parent’s health conditions. After speaking with the doctors, schedule and plan how you will care for your parents’ health in your home.

Tip #3: Set Realistic Standards for the Care You Can Give

You must set realistic expectations and standards for yourself as you work on objectively determining how much care is needed. You are not a professional caregiver. Therefore, you aren’t equipped to help your parents with every condition they might have.

Tip #4: Get the Right Help

Once you know what you can do to help your parents, get the best help you can find for the other things. Professionals are equipped and trained to handle every aspect of personal care and help with a medical emergency. Spend time researching and meeting representatives from multiple companies to find the best fit for your family.

Tip #5: Count the Cost

Regardless of how much you help your parents, there’s a financial, emotional, mental, and physical cost.

Families often overlook the cost of caring for parents because they want to help them. Unfortunately, senior care is expensive and can hurt your finances if you aren’t equipped to take on the cost of care necessary.  Talk with a family member about the cost and see how they can help.

Conclusion

We love families who care about their parents and want to help them every step of the way. We want to support those who diligently work to care for their aging parents, which is why we offer various plans at Pivotal Health Care.

Find a nearby community in the Midwest if you’ve reached a point where you can no longer give your parents the care they need.

Assisted Living vs. Memory Care: What’s the Difference?

Almost 70% of seniors need assistance at some point in their lives. Whether it’s short-term care, long-term care, assisted living, or memory care, there comes a time when a family member needs more help. 

With many different options, it’s tough to know which one is the right decision, especially if they sound the same. Understanding the difference between assisted living and memory care is the first step to making the right call for the type of care your loved one needs.

Five Differences Between Assisted Living and Memory Care

Assisted living and memory care are excellent programs that help seniors enjoy their golden years. But there are distinct differences in the purpose, daily life, safety measures, environment, and cost of each program and facility.

Assisted LivingMemory Care
PurposeFamilies should consider assisted living programs if their loved one needs help with daily living activities but still has sound reasoning and judgment. 
Its sole purpose is to give the elderly a place to live their golden years with a bit of help.
Memory care communities are the right place for families who have a loved one who needs help with daily activities and is suffering from memory loss.
The primary purpose of memory care programs is to give the individual the mental stability and help they need.
Daily LifeDaily life in an assisted living community is similar to life on your own, except for having people help maintain the facilities and grounds.
Residents go about their day as usual without the additional responsibility of caring for a home.
Most activities in a memory care facility focus on slowing the effects of memory loss and helping individuals live their life to the fullest potential.
Safety MeasuresPeople in assisted living communities often have emergency systems set up and daily check-ins to help ensure they’re safe. Most other security doesn’t exist.People who suffer from mental diseases like dementia and Alzheimers can experience aggression and instability.

Many facilities include more safety precautions like locked doors and curfews to prevent wandering.
EnvironmentAssisted living facilities replicate someone’s home and yard.

They often include beautiful facilities and yards with trees, flowers, and gardens.
Memory Care communities feature safe environments with secured doors and a fenced courtyard. Staff members have specific Alzheimer’s and memory care training so your loved one will receive the proper care and treatment.
CostThe cost of assisted living communities varies depending on location and amenities.
You’ll need to reach out to the community you’re interested in to learn the current rates.
How much you spend on memory care depends on the location and facility.

You’ll need to reach out to the community you’re interested in to learn the current rates.



What’s Right for Your Loved One?

When the time comes for your family to decide which facility works best for your loved one in need, consider the kind of care they need. The most significant difference between assisted living and memory care is the facility’s purpose, which dictates the kind of daily care your aging loved one receives.

Pivotal Health Care is proud to serve the community, and we offer several facilities with assisted living locations and memory care assistance. Call us today to start the conversation.

Should You Move Your Parents Close to You?

Do you still live where you grew up as a child? Chances are you don’t–only 42% of Americans live in or near their hometown. 

So as your parents get older and need medical assistance and support, you have a difficult choice: do you move them closer to you or leave them where they are? This predicament is all too common for Gen X, and soon it will become a hard decision for millennials. 

If your family members still live where you grew up, they’ve been there for decades, making it hard for them to leave. But if you move them closer to you, you can take better care of them.

It’s common to feel trapped In this situation. Use this guide to help you have this complicated conversation with your family member(s).

Why You Should Move Them Closer

When the responsibility to care for your aging parents is on your shoulders, the easy solution is to bring them closer to you, no matter how far you live.

Whether you’re single or have an entire family, it’s “easier” for your parents to move nearby than for you to uproot your life (home, work, school, community).

However, there is one thing to consider before moving your parents closer–what’s best for them?

The only way to answer this question is to have a conversation with the other family members.

When you talk to them about moving closer, consider using these talking points:

  • You can visit more often.
  • You can cater to their needs.
  • You can travel with them to doctor’s appointments.
  • You can care for them in your home (if you decide to have them move in with you).

Why You Should Leave Them Where They Live

On the contrary, not everyone is ready to move their elderly parents closer, or the elderly parent refuses to leave their home.

In situations like these, it’s essential to consider why it’s best to leave your parents where they live.

  • They’re familiar with the local care and medical facilities.
  • They have friends and family nearby.
  • They’re comfortable in their home.

Although this decision can be hard for you to accept, aging adults need to enjoy their living quarters and the local area.

After decades of living in one place, your parents made many friends who helped them through various phases of life. But these friends have done more than help them physically. They’ve helped them emotionally–people are happier when their best friends live within a mile of them.

Having essential people nearby might be the difference-maker for someone’s health to improve or spiral out of control.

What Should You Do?

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer on whether or not you should move your parents close to you–the two of you need to come to an agreement of what’s best for everyone.

And if you speak with your parents before making a decision, you can work out a schedule that fits everyone’s life.

If you decide to look into an assisted living facility, consider Pivotal Health Care. Our facilities are excellent for helping older adults adjust to new stages in life.

Are Medicare and Medicaid the Same Thing?

In 2020, over 297 million people had health insurance in the US. This number is a drastic increase from the previous decades. 

However, over 30 million people are still without essential health benefits, making up nearly 10% of the country.

Since 1965, both Medicare and Medicaid have helped retirees and low-income families get the covered services to pay health care costs.

Because these services have similar names, many people confuse them. In short, Medicare is for adults 65 and older and for those with specific disabilities. 

Image Source

Medicaid is for anyone who qualifies. Although adults 65 and older can use both plans if eligible, someone on Medicaid cannot necessarily use Medicare.

Since these two programs are different, when should you look into each one?

Everything You Need to Know About Medicare

When you join Medicare, there are four options available within the program. Understanding these four parts of the program is the best way to get the most out of your medical coverage.

Part ARequired under Social SecurityHospital insurancePay deductibles and coinsurance
Part BRequired under Social SecurityMedical insurance for services and equipmentDoctors visitsOutpatient care
Part CMany people who qualify for Parts A and B can sign up for Part C if they want.HearingVisionDentalPrescription drugsPay out-of-pocket
Part DPrescription drug coveragePay out-of-pocketDeductiblesYearly copaymentsAvailable for those who don’t qualify for Part C’s prescription drug coverage

Essential Information About Medicaid

Medicaid services are an option for those who need the federal government and state-run health coverage but are below 65 years of age.

Since there is no age restriction on Medicaid eligibility, many people qualify who don’t already have insurance if they fall under the income threshold.

There are a few types of people who may qualify for Medicaid programs:

  • Adults over 65 who need additional coverage to their Medicare plan
  • Adults under 65 who fall under the income threshold and meet the qualifications for their state.
  • Children who do not have any health coverage (children’s health insurance program).

Image Source

Qualification for Medicaid coverage varies by state, but the type of coverage also varies. Medicaid is a federal and state-run program, which is why there are variations depending on your location.

Make sure you check the qualifications for your state. Depending on your location, you might receive coverage for the following:

  • Hospitalization
  • Laboratory services
  • X-rays
  • Doctor services
  • Family planning
  • Nursing services
  • Nursing facility services
  • Home healthcare for people eligible for nursing facility services
  • Clinic treatment
  • Pediatric and family nurse practitioner services
  • Midwife services

One of the most significant differences between Medicare and Medicaid is that the latter provides nursing home and personal care services, which Medicare doesn’t typically cover.

Which One is Best for You?

If you are of retirement age, you more than likely qualify for Medicare. One of the great things about Medicare is that you can pair it with Medicaid if you qualify in your state.

In other words, you don’t have to worry about a lack of coverage when you retire. Contact your local state office or visit their website to learn more.

Where to Find Senior Living Community Reviews

Over the last couple of years, you have found yourself doing more work than usual to help your aging loved ones. You’ve decided it’s time to look for a senior living facility, but you aren’t sure who to trust. Use this guide to learn about the two types of websites to find reviews and how to tell if they’re honest so you can find excellent assisted living communities near you.

Third-Party Review Sites

Third-party review sites (like Yelp!) are a great way to find objective reviews on senior living communities. When scouring these sources, you want to employ a method I like to call “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” adopted from Clint Eastwood’s hit film, to help you find the perfect assisted living facility.

  • The Good–These five-star reviews praise the community and elaborate on specific aspects of care and life. These reviews should be 20-30% of the thoughts you read.
  • The Bad–These are the three-star reviews. Family members who rate a service three stars share good and bad things. These reviews should make up 40-60% of your readings.
  • The Ugly–These reviews are the worst of the worst. Please don’t spend too much time in this section since nobody has anything good to say, but don’t completely overlook it either. Ugly reviews can shed light on serious issues that might present themselves when you visit senior living facilities. Nonetheless, don’t spend more than 10-30% of your time reading these reviews.

When you implement this strategy on third-party reviews, you can synthesize the information and make an educated decision. But don’t stop there–visit the parent site for each assisted living community you consider.

The Parent Website

It’s essential to visit the assisted living facility’s website, so you can learn about the offered services and whether it’s a fit. While on this page, look for reviews, but take them with a grain of salt–companies traditionally only share raving reviews.

When looking at these reviews, pay close attention to ones that specify services and amenities–these will give you a clear indication of whether or not the review is credible and if the community fulfills its promises. 

How To Tell If Reviews Are Honest

The hardest part about this entire process is knowing whether you can trust a review. To help you harmonize dozens and hundreds of reviews, use these three tips:

  1. The General Consensus–Try to get a feel for how the general population using the specific community feel about their loved one’s treatment.
  2. Rating Average–Cross-reference the average rating with the reviews in that category, and that will give you a clear picture.
  3. Website Reputation–This tip is specifically for third-party reviews websites. If you find a review site you’ve never heard of and there aren’t many reviews available, don’t invest much time. Finding reputable reviews starts with a reputable site.

Conclusion

Finding the perfect independent living community is tough, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. With the right tools, you can quickly navigate the online community to find a new home for your aging loved one that improves everyone’s life.

If you’re in the Midwest, look for a Pivotal Health Care community near you. We have over 50 years of experience in the management of assisted living facilities, so we know what it takes to provide top-tier senior care. Schedule a tour with us today at the nearest location to take the next step into your future.

How to Spot Phone Scams

Americans lost $29.8 billion between 2020 and 2021 from phone scams. These threats are highly manipulative and make it impossible to recover your money. While these people can trick you into giving them your money, they cannot force you. But how do you know if someone is trying to scam you? Use this helpful guide the next time an unknown number calls you.

Five Warning Signs of a Phone Scam

The ruse may change, but the purpose remains the same–phone scammers want your money, and they are willing to say anything to get it. Since these scammers can make verbal threats, it’s essential you know what to expect from them and how you can report phone scams. 

Here are five straightforward ways to know when to hang up on a scammer.

1. Prizes Don’t Exist

When we think of prizes, we think of an award or gift we receive after accomplishing something, and one of the most common phone scams is a promise of an award after payment. This request is a warning sign–no one pays for a real prize.

2. No One Can Arrest You

Fear-mongering is a scammer’s best friend. To get you to do what they want, a phone scammer will lie to you, threaten you, and promise your arrest. However, the police can’t arrest you based on a phone call like this.

3. You Have Time to Think

Legitimate businesses will never pressure you to decide on the spot. Even if the calling company is the IRS or your credit card company, they will never request a final decision over the phone. However, spam calls pressure you to decide before you take the time to think about it.

4. Never Pay with Cash or a Gift Card

Scammers know that a debit or credit card is traceable and that you can seek legitimate refunds for money lost. Scammers will request you to pay in cash, wire transfer, or with a gift card to avoid getting caught and stay anonymous. They want you to pay this way because there isn’t a way to recoup your lost money, and it keeps them free from liability and tracking.

5. Government Agencies Don’t Use Phone Calls to Confirm Sensitive Information

One of the most common ruses is the government agency front. If you receive a call from a specific agency asking about your sensitive information, hang up the phone immediately. 

A federal agency will never ask about your social security number, bank account numbers, or other private information over the phone.

Conclusion

As technology develops and changes over time, so do the ploys for taking people’s money. When dealing with phone scammers, it’s always best not to answer a call from a number you don’t recognize. However, that is not always possible to avoid unwanted calls, so make sure you know how to recognize phone scams and use caller id. When talking on the phone with a suspected phone scam, listen for clues about prizes, arrests, government entities seeking private information, and payment methods. The moment you notice one of these warning signs, hang up the phone and report them.