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Senior Tip of the Week - Funeral Preplanning
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Many times when people are faced with the death of a loved one, they are really overwhelmed by how expensive it can be for them. Historically funerals have doubled in price about every 10-12 years. So when you pre-plan, you're able to lock in those prices at today's rate and keep that financial burden off your families. You can do it.


Senior Tip of the Week - Making Life Easier for Your Senior
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi I’m Casee. I’m here to give you a couple of safety tips for you and your senior. You’re gonna have your everyday glass. Our hands become weak and just don’t grip things as well when we’re older. Grab your everyday rubber bands, stick em around your glass, and that’s going to be easier to hold on to. Another tip is your furniture pads. Grab a furniture pad, stick it on your remote, on the power switch. That’s easier to feel for your on and off. You can also put some felt buttons on your volume control. As well as - these raised buttons can go on your telephone. Your mom’s gonna want to call you and even though you’re on speed dial we forget where that button is sometimes. So grab a big furniture protective pad and stick it on that speed dial. You can do it!


Senior Tip of the Week - Transfer Tips
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi I'm Sarah and I'm a registered nurse. I want to give you just a few tips on how to transfer a person who needs assistance from the sofa to a chair, or from the bed to a chair, or from a wheelchair to the commode - multiple scenarios. One of the things that's really going to help you is to get a belt. You can go out and buy a fancy transfer belt from a medical supply store or you can get a belt out of your closet. You just want to have something that doesn't stretch and you want to put it around the person's waist and be able to reach two hands underneath the belt. Put the chair and the sofa, or whatever seating arrangement is going on, at right angles butting up to one other. And with you, the assisted, you need to get a wide base of support with your feet. And you will put one foot between their feet and your other foot on their outside foot. And the wider your stance, of course, you're going to have more stability. You want to reach two hands underneath the belt and lift them to a standing position and you don't want your weight to be backwards. You want your weight to be slightly forward so if you were to fall, the fall's going to be back on the chair or the sofa. So reach under the belt, come to a standing position in your wide stance and just pivot. Just pivot. All you have to do is just pivot them, what is it that, a 90 degree turn and then gently seat them in the device or the chair in which you're moving to and make sure there's no rugs, cords, or certainly no burning candles around that could easily be knocked over in the process, but I hope that will help you with a safe and comfortable transfer. You can do it, Practice it with someone, a friend maybe, who is not so difficult to manage, and then you'll be able to do it with your loved one. Thank you so much.


Senior Tip of the Week - Discussing the Future
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi, my name is Becky and I want to talk to you about how to discuss the future with your parents. The future needs of your parents are going to come. Denying them isn't going to change a thing. If you notice they're starting to forget things, misplace things, get confused about different things - it's ok to know that that's not an emergency, but it's not okay to ignore it because it is going together worse; it's just a fact of aging. So the best thing you can do is begin the talk early. Engage in a conversation with your loved one, listen to them. Take heart to what they have to say. They have opinions about their own care and many times they'll be different from yours, but still okay. so have that conversation, start it early, don't be afraid. Kind and thoughtful and honest conversations about the future will actually bring a lot of peace into your loved one's heart, and into yours too. So go ahead and start that conversation you've been avoiding. You can do it.


Senior Tip of the Week - Exercising at Home
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi, I'm Jessica and I wanted to share a few tips on how to stay healthy and do light duty exercises at home. If you have a can or a light object, you can do different range of motion with your arms. You can do marching in place with your legs, ankle pumps. If you need more information we have handouts available on our website or you can give us a call at Bivins Pointe (806.350.2200). You can do it! Upper Body Exercises Lower Body Exercises Laying Down Exercises


Senior Tip of the Week - Pre-planning a Funeral
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi, I’m Cindy. I’m going to talk to you today about preplanning a funeral. You know, preplanning a funeral is one of the last kind things that we can do for our families. When we don’t preplan, our families are faced with making many decisions, finding lots of information, and they’re under stress as they’re grieving the loss of a loved one while they’re trying to make these financial decisions. We can take that burden off of them, we can protect them from having strife when they have disagreements about what those decisions will be, by preplanning our funerals. You can do it.


The Benefits Of Choosing A Smaller Long-Term Care Community
Posted By: Becky Davis

Some long-term care facilities can feel like older people are existing there, waiting to die. When you think about this, it often makes you feel that you never want to put yourself or a relative through that experience. This is why a smaller, home-y model is becoming popular in the long-term care field.

Instead of residents being housed in rooms that are offshoots of a long and bleak corridor, this alternative layout is designed to create an environment similar to home. Residents live in private rooms in comfortable, peaceful home-y buildings with en-suite bathrooms.

The pros of living in smaller long-term care communities

Here are some of the benefits of choosing a smaller long-term care home for your loved one.

The setting can remind residents of being at home, not in a hospital

Developers and designers are focused on creating an experience for residents that is personalized and patient-focused. A facility like this appeals to those who are put off by an institutional-type environment. Features in home-y facilities include access to gardens or walkways, more sunlight, and a living room area where residents can gather and socialize. The staff will encourage residents to set up their own daily schedules with activities they enjoy.

The staff to patient ratio is better

Another benefit to this type of facility is the personalized care that residents experience from the staff. They are likely to develop a relationship with caregivers who value their needs. The environment also increases the likelihood that staff will recognize any developing health issues with a resident sooner.

Scientific data proves they are better

Studies conducted in 2007 and 2008 at Green House Project long-term care facilities have been done that show residents in smaller centers are able to take care of themselves for a longer period of time. Families of the residents report that they are happier with the environment and care in these facilities. Rates of depression are reported to be lower among residents as well. Studies have found that residents in both types of facilities have about the same rate of deterioration in their ability to perform activities of daily living but smaller facilities can help their end-of-life years be filled with more happiness and care.

Downsides

It may prove difficult to get into one of these popular facilities because they have fewer rooms and tend to be more expensive. Whether or not your loved one gets along with the other residents and caretakers will likely influence how much they enjoy their experience. The benefits of living in a smaller community, however, almost always outweigh any drawbacks!

Long-term care at Bivins Pointe

If you are looking for high-quality long-term care with exceptional service, Bivins Pointe can help. Our community will enhance your quality of life or that of a loved one. There are many opportunities for socializing in our long-term care "neighborhood", which include access to a kitchen area, a family area, and activities. Private rooms are 350-square feet and include a large individual bath and a computer workspace with wireless capability. Transportation is provided to and from appointments with medical professionals. Our facility is private-pay.

If you are interested in learning more about our luxury long-term care, our excellent in-patient rehab, our out-patient rehab using the Bfit gym, our events, or our current volunteer opportunities, give us a call today. You can reach us at 806-350-2200 or contact us by email to learn more. You can also come by for a tour of Bivins Pointe at 6600 Killgore Drive in Amarillo, Texas.


Senior Tip of the Week - Memory Loss and Mood Swings
Posted By: Becky Davis
  Hello, my name is Sarah and I'm a registered nurse. I wanted to talk to you today about two things that are going to occur as people age. Those two things are memory loss and mood swings, the two m's. Memory loss is going to occur but you will find that with the elderly, they may not remember where they put their reading glasses five minutes ago and certainly not what they ate the last meal, but they can recall events from 50 years ago or more. And it's very important that we listen to them and acknowledge their life experiences. My grandparents lived from 1900 to, one grandmother til 2006. Not that many years of course, the year 2006. They were so full of life experiences. They had lived happy times, exciting times and certainly through a lot of grief and loss. Their memories are so precious to me. One of the best things you can do is actually write those things down and re-recite them and that helps them to feel value and worth even in their later years. The last thing is mood swings. Expect mood swings in the aging process. That is very normal and sometimes you may see a parent that you have loved who is going through maybe more frustration and anger. Anger comes with frustration as they go through sensory deprivation and physical changes in their bodies. They’re probably more frustrated than you are over these things occurring. And so, be patient with them as they go through those mood swings and again just listening and having compassion and slowing down will be very helpful to them. You can do this! Aging is a wonderful process and let’s not let it slip by without giving recognition and worth to people no matter what stage they are in life.

Senior Tip of the Week - Supporting the Caregiver
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi, my name is Becky and I want to talk to you about caregiver support. You know a lot of families don't live as close together as they used to. For instance my sister lives 350 miles away, my brother lives 520 miles away, and I live in the same town as our mom. So logically most of the caregiving responsibilities fall towards me. When your family is like that, and you have one person providing the bulk of the caregiving, the best thing the rest of the family can do is to kind of create a caregiver support group. You can provide encouragement, support and respite when it's needed. I remember one day I got a card in the mail from my sister. when I opened it a gift card fell out with a note attached that said "Becky, I'm so appreciative of the good care you take of our mom. Thank you so much for taking all of this responsibility. We love you." I can't tell you how good that felt. The best thing to do is to pull together as a family and do the right thing for, not only each other, but for that caregiver and for your parent. When a family comes together to do the right thing, it's the best gift ever. You can do this!


Senior Tip of the Week - Relationship Building Activities
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi I'm Casee. I'm going to give you an activity you can do with your senior. Today we're going to talk about an indoor window sill garden. So, I chose succulents this time. What you're going to need first is a Mason jar, some pebbles and some potting soil. So go ahead and put your pebbles in first, then your potting soil. Grab your succulent, stick it up on top. You're going to want to put it in a container that's got a handle so that you can easily transfer from your window sill to your countertops, your sink. If you've got the time, I would plant an herb garden. That way your senior can taste, feel and touch this creation with you. Just remember that whatever you do try with your senior, your relationship is constantly changing so give yourself a break, and a little bit of grace, and keep trying new things letting this relationship grow into something new all the time. You can do it!


Senior Tip of the Week - Thoughtful Decision Guide
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi there. My name is Cindy. I'm going to talk to you today about pre-planning your funeral. It doesn't have to be a big stressful thing, you don't have to worry about it. You simply call the funeral home of your choice, invite a funeral consultant to your home, or go to meet them at their office. Fill out something as simple as this Thoughtful Decision Guide. They'll ask you questions about your life, you'll take a trip down Memory Lane, talk about your hobbies, your interests and the special things that have happened in your family. By doing this, you will save your family so much stress and worry about coming up with vital information at the time that they're grieving the loss of a loved one. You can do it!


Pointe Personalities: Meet Joan Parker
Posted By: Becky Davis

Nowata might sound like a dusty ghost town in rural America, but it’s actually a thriving oil and gas community near Tulsa, Oklahoma. In the early 1900s, it became known as the world’s largest shallow oil field. Nowata means “welcome” in Delaware Indian, quite the opposite from the legend of a traveler who happened upon a dried-up spring and posted "No Wata" as a warning to others.

It’s the small town where Joan Parker grew up, where her daddy worked in the oil fields before eventually becoming a banker.  It’s also where Joan learned about resilience and courage, both valuable traits that would serve her well throughout her life. 

“I never was afraid of much of anything,” Joan says.  “I think my dad taught me that.  Mom was a worrier but Dad never did worry about much of anything.”

Joan’s dad believed in keeping up with the times, so he bought a new car every other year.  Their home was the first in town to have a dishwasher, but the last to have a dryer.  The weekly wash flapped in the summer breeze on an outdoor clothesline, and dripped dry in the basement during the winter months.

They lived across the road from a nine-hole golf course, so Joan taught herself to play.  “I would go across the road and tee off on number six,” she said.  “I always had golf clubs. They may not have been the right ones, but I had a few and that’s all I needed.”

After high school, Joan earned a degree in history from The University of Oklahoma and started her teaching career.  “At that time, a woman could be a nurse, secretary, or teacher.  So I decided to be a teacher,” she explains.

Following a fast romance she married Dick Parker, a petroleum geologist she met through mutual friends in Midland, Texas.  He was transferred to Amarillo six months after the wedding, but she stayed in Midland to finish the school year before joining him.  They spent 11 years in Amarillo where she taught at Horace Mann, eventually moving to Perryton to raise their three sons.

Joan loved volunteering with organizations like United Way, Senior Citizens, Camp Fire Girls, the hospital auxiliary, Perryton Club, the Beehive Day Care Center, and the Presbyterian church. Teaching adult Sunday school was one of her favorite things, along with baking for various events.  “I was the cookie queen of Perryton,” she says with a grin.  “I gave myself that title.” 

Being a mom to three sons was wonderful – it was just what Joan wanted.  The first two boys – Tim and Hugh – joined their family through adoption.  Then Rob came along, and the family was complete.   

Today, her son Tim is an OB/GYN in Denison, Texas; he and his wife, Melinda, have three children.  Rob is a banker in Amarillo; he and his wife, Mary, have three children.  Hugh passed away in 2016, leaving behind two children and two grandchildren.

Life handed Joan her most significant loss in 2014, when her husband, Dick, passed away.   Faith has always been a big part of her life, and it has given her peace and comfort during the difficult times. 

Now a long-term resident of Bivins Pointe, Joan enthusiastically participates in the faith-related activities offered, including church services on Sundays and Bible chats three times a week.  She also looks forward to playing bingo and farkle, and would love to find some experienced bridge partners.

When her family takes her out for a meal, you can bet on one thing: she’ll order a filet steak, rare.  “I love rare beef,” she says.  “Daddy always said that mom cooked the hell out of meat.  I never liked it that way. I was always good at cooking rump roast, arm roast, really any kind of roast.”

Desserts are also a favorite of Joan’s, especially dark chocolate.  And if key lime pie is on the menu, “I’ll eat mine and someone else’s,” she jokes. 

So if you’re ever in the neighborhood with an extra bag of chocolates, stop by and say hello to Joan.  She’s a great conversationalist, especially on topics she is passionate about like sports, classical music, travel, and history.  And if you’re a bridge player, she really wants to talk to you – but only if you’re an experienced player.  She may be a teacher, but she has to draw the line somewhere. 

By Kelli Bullard


Pointe Personalities: Meet Valerie Trafton
Posted By: Becky Davis

Pointe Personalities: Meet Valerie Trafton

A career as an Activity Director might sound like it’s all fun and games, but that’s hardly the case. For Valerie Trafton, the path that led her to Bivins Pointe took several unexpected turns, including a difficult loss she never could have anticipated.

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Valerie is the third of four girls born to her parents within a five-year span. “Basically my mom was pregnant through the entire 80’s,” she laughs. 

After high school, she attended Baylor University, where she changed majors several times – from business to marketing, then education, special education, and finally landing on outdoor recreation. Her plan was to use her degree to work for Camp Ozark, a Christian summer camp facility in Mount Ida, Arkansas. 

The plan changed abruptly when her best friend of 21 years, Emily, lost her life in a car accident. Uncertainty gripped Valerie, as she struggled to move forward after Emily’s death. Eventually she found her footing and was able to channel her grief into positive life decisions. “It gave me a bigger perspective on what I wanted to be and do,” she says. 

One of those positive decisions was to marry her boyfriend, Chance, a finance and entrepreneur major at Baylor. Following their wedding in 2012, Valerie and Chance returned from their honeymoon in Antigua, loaded up their belongings, and headed for Amarillo to start their new life together. 

“It was a lot of change really fast,” Valerie says. “Moving cities, moving in with a boy after growing up with three sisters (ewww!), starting a new job. I was struggling to keep my head above water – emotionally, relationally, financially.”

She went through several jobs over the next few years – working for an insurance company, a floral designer, a college ministry, a hairdressing academy – but none was the career path she had anticipated. Working for a summer camp wasn’t practical because it would take her away from home three months out of the year, and they had just decided it was time to start a family. In 2015 they welcomed their first daughter, Laynie, to the family, followed by their second daughter, Sloan, in 2018. 

In April 2019, Valerie decided it was time to job hunt again, and an Internet search led her to a posting at Bivins Pointe. Finally, the pieces began to fall into place. Her degree in outdoor recreation fit perfectly with the position of Activity Director; the only additional requirement was a certification which she was able to obtain through an online course.

Since returning to full-time employment, Valerie says it’s been an adjustment for her family but she knows she is in the right place. “I came in blind, with zero expectation,” she says, “but it’s perfect. I felt God’s hand in all of it.” Her husband, Chance, is a financial advisor with a flexible schedule so he can fill in the gaps when Valerie’s work schedule conflicts with their kids’ activities.

Planning the monthly calendar for the residents and patients is a big part of the job, and Valerie makes it a point to have at least two things scheduled each day. Whether it’s a game, a seasonal event, a special meal or a class, the goal is to encourage socialization and make it fun. Bingo is a favorite activity, along with Farkle and various card games. Exercise class, music, Bible chats, pancakes with the chaplain, ice cream soda shop, and a coffee cart are just a few of the regular activities at Bivins Pointe. Valerie also envisions facilitating classes that are taught by residents, giving them a chance to share their wealth of knowledge and life experience.

Her favorite part of the job? The people. “I love the staff,” she says. “I feel very connected. I also love visiting with the residents. They’re so wise, and their way of life growing up was so different from mine. I learn so much from them.”

Activity Director may not have been her dream job when she was in college, but today Valerie can’t imagine herself anywhere else. “It requires a lot,” she admits. “But it’s life-giving.”

By Kelli Bullard


Community Connection: Happy at Home
Posted By: Becky Davis

Happy at Home: Support and Resources Are Available

“I’m not sure how much longer Mom will be able to live on her own.”  Have you ever voiced a concern like this?  Maybe it was about your grandmother, an uncle, or a close family friend.  There are many factors that affect a senior adult’s ability to remain independent, and sometimes family members just don’t feel like they have all the answers they need. Emotions can cloud their judgment, making it difficult to maintain an objective viewpoint. 

For residents of Amarillo and the surrounding area, there is an agency that’s here to help. The Area Agency on Aging of the Panhandle serves as the advocate for the older population living in the 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle. With a mission of promoting dignity, independence, and quality of life for older people, the AAA offers a range of comprehensive and coordinated programs for individuals age 60 and older. These services are designed to benefit senior adults as well as their caregivers. 

Eligible participants can take advantage of many valuable programs, such as:

  1. Congregate and home-delivered meals produced by Bivins Culinary Center
  2. Social interaction and educational experiences at Jan Werner Adult Day Care’s state-of-the-art campus
  3. Transportation to appointments, grocery store, pharmacy, etc.
  4. Minor home repairs and modifications, such as wheelchair ramps, through a partnership with the Texas Ramp Project
  5. Light housekeeping or assistance with personal care, such as bathing
  6. Legal assistance/representation and benefits counseling to help navigate questions about Medicare, prescription drug plans, supplemental insurance plans, Social Security, and more
  7. Advocacy for those in long-term care or assisted living, through the development of positive relationships to aid in resolution of complaints or concerns

Of primary importance is the care of the individual, and the Area Agency on Aging has been on the cutting edge of these efforts in the Texas Panhandle for more than two decades.

Thanks to the Older Americans Act of 1965, funding has been available for critical services that keep older adults healthy and independent – services like meals, job training, senior centers, health promotion, benefits enrollment, caregiver support, transportation, and more.  United Way is also a provider of funding for AAA services, along with other state and local sources.

The best part of these services provided by the Area Agency on Aging?  They’re available at no cost to the individual.

 “Services are paid for by tax dollars, so it’s there for senior adults and caregivers to take advantage of,” says Jaime Sharp, AAA caregiver program specialist.

The first step is to call the Area Agency on Aging at 806.331.2227.  Callers will be directed to an intake referral specialist who will direct them to the appropriate resources or refer them to a representative for the program they need.

Caregivers are also encouraged to take advantage of the programs available to them, including respite care, support groups, caregiver conferences, a quarterly lunch and learn, and a resource library in Amarillo and in several rural communities.

For anyone who is contemplating the care of a loved one who is entering their golden years, take heart in knowing that there are answers available – and these answers come from those with a wealth of knowledge and experience. You want your loved one to maintain their dignity and an excellent quality of life, and that desire is shared by the people at the Area Agency on Aging. 

By Kelli Bullard


Guest Blog: 5 Creative Ways to Keep Senior Minds Sharp & Active
Posted By: Becky Davis

5 Creative Ways to Keep Senior Minds Sharp & Active

Aging not only brings about a lot of physical changes, but mental ones, too. Case in point, the 
World Health Organization posits that around 15% of adults aged 60 and up suffer from one cognitive disease or another. And while some of these changes are inevitable due to age, there are certainly a few things you can do that'll keep you and your loved ones mentally fit. Read on for 5 tips to keep a senior's mind sharp and active!

Listen to Classical Music


People have long linked classical music to cognitive functions. 
An experiment conducted by psychologists at Northumbria University have found that classical music, specifically Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, can enhance mental alertness and memory. Participants in the experiment reportedly performed better in cognitive tests, which required mental-concentration, when listening to Vivaldi's piece. What's more interesting is the most obvious increase in performance happened during the Spring concerto, which exhibits a more spry sound, as compared to the more somber Autumn concerto.

Continued Studies


 Researchers from the University of California have found that adults can get over the negative effects of cognitive aging through continuous learning. This is a big finding, as more and more seniors across America have gone back to the classroom in their golden years, either to pursue previously unexplored passions or to finish degrees they never got to complete in their youth. These days, not only do they have the time and resources to pursue a degree, but there are also more options now for avid learners of all ages. Maryville University’s guide to traditional versus online degrees points out that the two differ mostly in terms of distance and scheduling. If your retired loved one is looking to enroll in a traditional school, then it’s important to keep in mind how far their prospective university is from their homes, and what time of day their classes will be held. On the other hand, seniors with mobility issues may also consider taking the online option, which lets them learn more about their chosen topics from the comforts of their home. What’s more, here in Texas, seniors can even attend up to six hours of undergraduate or graduate courses from public universities for free if they request for the exemption.

Sleep


Sleep isn't just a period of recovery for our bodies, as it's also the time our brains process everything that happened within the day. And while many adults sleep a lot less than they did in their youth due to work and other responsibilities, seniors and older adults cannot afford to do the same. That's because they have a difficult time forming memories compared to younger people. This means people that are a little more advanced in age need to adhere to a strict 8-hour sleeping schedule to maintain their cognitive functions.

Play Games and Puzzles

University of Konstanz's research on chess has found the game to be a great memory exercise. Chess incentivizes players to memorize thousands of possible moves (along with the optimal counter-moves), thereby providing our brains with the necessary activity to keep them sharp. Other puzzle games such as Sudoku have also been known to help individuals remain mentally active — in some cases even warding off the onset of cognitive impairments.

Exercise



Physical exercise is also linked to your mental capacities. 
Professors from the kinesiology department at the University of Illinois have found that people who exercised regularly tended to fare better in cognitive tasks than those who didn't. Individuals who exercised on a regular basis were also observed to exhibit greater mental focus. While this option may be a little harder for those advanced in age, simply walking in the morning will suffice.

 

Article specially written for bivinspointe.org

By Bianca Adkins