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Senior Tip of the Week – Planning Your Future
Posted By: Becky Davis

 

Hi my name is Becky and I bet if you’re like me, you want to have some control over your own future. I’ve heard it said that aging is not for sissies. In fact, it’s tough. Maybe you’re starting to forget things or you’re having trouble preparing a meal or you’ve forgotten to take your medications. There are so many things that can cause you to doubt yourself and to not feel safe. This is time to pay attention. You can decide what you want to do with your own future. Start thinking about, “What do I want to do as I get older? Do I want to live in a community with other people my age? Would I like to live in one of my children’s homes with them? Would I like to stay in my own home and have a caregiver come in and help me when I need it? These are things that are important to think about and if we’re wise, we’ll think about them before we have to make that decision. That’s the way to be a vital part of your own caregiving choices and that’s a good way to open the communication with your family. You can do it!


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 - 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!


5 Tips That Can Help You Plan For Long-Term Care
Posted By: Becky Davis

Many avoid thinking about the day when they can no longer take care of themselves, or when a loved one is not able to live on their own anymore. Statistics show that 70% of the population will need some kind of long-term care once they have reached the "golden years." Long-term care can include assistance with daily routines, such as using the bathroom, eating, dressing, bathing, or walking.

Waiting to plan until you or your loved need this kind of support opens you up to greater challenges and the possibility of making major mistakes. The time you spend planning, researching, and preparing will pay off if the day comes that you or your loved one needs long-term care. The following are some things you may not have considered when it comes to planning for elder care.

Be careful what you promise to an elderly family member

Older loved ones may ask their family to avoid putting them in a long-term care home. This can be a difficult conversation. If you promise them you “will never put them in a nursing home”, you may be denying them the vital healthcare that they need. It will likely make it much harder emotionally for you to make a good decision.

Educate yourself early

Long-term care facilities have evolved over the years and now include skilled nursing, activities, and other benefits. It is best to start planning as soon as possible to know what would be a good fit for your family.

Depending on the level of need, there are many options available. Assisted living, independent living, and long-term care facilities as well as home health services, day care for adults, and hospice care are some choices that are available. They offer different levels of care for you to choose from based on your needs. Learning the benefits that each provides can help you to be better prepared for the future. Some people require more specialized care, like those who have Alzheimer's or dementia. An assisted living community may be a good choice if it offers specialization in memory care.

Find out what is available locally

The federal government offers many online resources for checking the scores of long-term care facilities. But, you should not rely solely on internet research. Set up appointments and visit the facilities which are available to you on a local basis. Finding places that are close to you or your loved one will help you stay connected.

Plan ahead based on health

Near the end of life, many people will be faced with questions about medical care. If you or your loved one are not capable of making decisions about health and living arrangements, someone else will have to make them. Your wishes should be communicated to loved ones and written down in a document like an advance directive. This will help everyone plan the type of care you or your loved one will need.

Planning financially is just as important. Knowing that you can afford long-term care will make the transition period easier. It is best to understand your insurance and every form of income you have to begin planning for care. Long-term care insurance is very beneficial and the earlier you purchase the policy, the more affordable it is.

Be sensitive towards all healthcare needs

The elderly often begin to worry as they age and have an increasing need for healthcare. Most older people want to stay in their homes and remain independent. They also hope to maintain good health and receive the care they need for the medical issues they currently have. They like to have a plan in place so that they will have money for everyday expenses. The need for long-term care can drastically remove the security that an elderly loved one has in these areas.

It is important to be sensitive to their needs and concerns. If they require a higher level of care, it’s helpful for you to consider their wants and needs and to remember that their health comes first. Moving to a long-term care facility can be daunting, but if it means a healthier and happier life, it can be a huge benefit.

Long-term care in Amarillo

If you would like to learn more about long-term care, the professionals at Bivins Pointe in Amarillo, Texas can help. We offer a variety of amenities, and events, skilled nursing, and rehab, as well as outpatient services at the Bfit Gym. Call 806-350-2200 or contact us by email for more information about our services. We would be happy to answer any of your questions and address your concerns. You can also visit our location at 6600 Killgore Dr. in Amarillo, Texas for a tour of our facilities.

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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!


My Favorite Holiday
Posted By: Becky Davis

I am now publicly declaring my favorite holiday to be Groundhog Day. Yes, Feb. 2, that mystical day when animals and creatures of every conceivable kind awaken from their winter slumber and check things out. If they see their shadow, for some reason, they sense that winter is not over and they slither back into their hollow and go back to sleep. The most recognized of these forecasters is, of course, the beloved groundhog to which this day has been set aside to honor.

Many of my family and friends are greatly troubled by my love of Groundhog Day, so I am using this Bivins blog to explain myself. After all, didn’t Dr. Philip O’Hanlon tell his daughter Virginia that if she read about Santa Claus in The New York Sun that it must be true? And hasn’t that article, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” been read over and over again since 1897? Well then, my hope is that you may hear this proclamation in The Bivins Pointe Blog and believe as well.

The reason Groundhog Day is my favorite holiday is because you don’t have to do anything. That’s right; you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to unpack boxes of decorations. You don’t have to send cards. You don’t have to wish anybody anything. You don’t have to spend weeks cooking, going to parties and spending money that you don’t have for presents that people won’t like, and there will be nothing to return the next day. Family members aren’t worried about who gets which bedroom, and will there be enough beds if everybody shows up. The economy of the world will not soar or decline based on what happens the weeks prior to that day, and until this year you haven't had to sit for hours watching two opposing groups of men fight about the remains of the first cousin once removed of the groundhog — it might take a minute to figure that out, but, ladies, it is called a “pig skin.” I think Super Bowl should get it's own Sunday but that is just me.

I don’t have any particularly favorite memories of a special Groundhog Day to share with grandchildren. Nothing teary eyed has ever been written about that day. No one has traveled in a sleigh with bells or through woods to get home for that day, and to my knowledge, no one has ever fought about the right to have the day. I just enjoy this holiday as it comes along; and because of my cynical view most years, I am left alone, and that’s not so bad.

Now here’s the deal: I love Thanksgiving, and I quite enjoy Christmas, but Groundhog Day is my day. It is a time for me. A time to reflect on who I am, and if that makes me contemptuous, please let me explain. Like Bill Murray, in the movie by the same name, I can challenge the not-so-good things about myself and hopefully embrace what is good. I have even bought a recording of “I’ve Got You Babe,” by Sonny and Cher, so that I can wake up as if to start life all over again.

It’s like I have that day to see who I really am. To see how I have hurt others without realizing it or what I have said that might be offensive or how my actions have overlooked the needs of those around me and maybe, by the next day when the radio plays a different song, and the snow has cleared away, I can walk hand in hand with my sweetheart toward the rest of my life and all of it’s other holidays.

Maybe that one day of “me time” will help me to love, and care, and listen more. Maybe I can be a little less self-centered and overlook my own shadow to see the faces of those around me. I don’t know.

But if you see me on that day, please don’t wish me anything.

Jeff Messer


Essential Tips For Choosing The Best Long-Term Care Facility
Posted By: Becky Davis

When it comes time to choose senior living for you or your family member, choices can be tough to make. Many seniors must move into a facility that is able to provide them with both quality of life and safety. There are many factors to consider when you are looking for a long-term care facility. You should make a record of your needs, or those of a loved one who needs this type of service. Research your options and visit the places you’re interested in before you make a commitment.

Make a list of needs

Begin with a list of personalized needs for you or a loved one. Consider the immediate needs and potential needs for the future. These may include help with dressing, eating, getting in and out of bed, bathing, remembering medications, using the restroom, and cleaning.

There are other factors to consider besides daily needs. The level of care required may change in the future. Can the facility you are considering handle that kind of change? Can the long-term care facility manage if you, or a loved one, has a specialized need? It’s helpful to consider residential life and any activities that are offered as well.

Research long-term care facilities near you

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to admit yourself or a loved one into a facility without doing some research about it. Public information is available from many online sources regarding the ranking of nursing homes and long-term care facilities. You can also find helpful reviews and testimonials online.

Think carefully about the location you choose. Sometimes it is hard to balance good care with the need to be close to family for convenient visits. If dementia or other conditions need to be considered, ask the facilities you consider about if and how this specialized care would be provided.

Staff information should be high on your list of research. Things you can ask include the staff to patient ratio and how much time staff members spend with each resident during the day. You can also ask about employee turnover rates. Health issues are a top priority too. You should ask questions about how the facility prevents pressure sores and infections, and how they maintain overall safety.

Ask about extra features and amenities

You or a loved one may have an expectation of what a long-term facility will be like, but you should ask about their amenities. If you are fairly independent, there may be private rooms available and setups which give a measure of independence with the option to increase care when it is needed. Ask specific questions about furnishings and other things that are provided or encouraged for residents to bring when they move in.

Activities should be provided at the facility you choose, they help residents thrive mentally and emotionally. Shopping trips for those who can manage it or local trips that include a small measure of exercise are great for seniors. For those who cannot manage this level of activity, there are facilities that provide sedentary activities and in-house events.

You should ask about meals and how the long-term care facility will meet the dietary needs and wants of you or your loved one. Some facilities only serve the basics, while others will provide healthy and beautiful meals to their residents.

Visit each facility

One last thing, which is time-consuming but essential, is to visit each the facilities you are considering and go through your checklist of needs. Be thorough and ask questions whenever you can. Get referrals and check the health scores of the facility. Doing your homework is worth it to have the confidence that you have chosen the right long-term care facility for you or your family member.

Long-term care in Amarillo, Tx

If you or your loved one need Long-Term Care in Amarillo, contact Bivins Pointe today. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about our services and Amenities. For more information about us and our facility, call (806) 350-2200 or contact us by email. You are welcome to visit our location at 6600 Killgore Dr. in Amarillo, Texas for a tour and to see how our caring Team can help you.

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The Holidays
Posted By: Becky Davis

Like many of you I have experienced the death of a loved one near holiday times and, sometimes, it makes it even harder.  Several years ago a longtime friend of Donna's and mine died too young. It was a few days before Christmas and her kids' question for me was, "Why this time of year?"

That night I wrote this poem.  I hope the story of Christmas and the experience of your loved one's passing can speak to your hurting heart during "this time of year".  By the way, it doesn't matter what time of year you experience grief, or who it was that passed, Christ's coming can bring healing to your pain.

Not This Time of Year!

I can only imagine the stir in Heaven,

    When plans were made for The Son to descend.

“Not this time of year,” an angel reasoned,

    “It will be too painful; we’ll always be reminded,

When the Star was so bright we were almost blinded.”

 

“For every time it comes back around,

    Our hearts will grow weary and began to pound,

With remembering His presence,

    And the Light that shown around.

“No, not this time of year, the others joined in.”

 

But when time did come, in a manger so low,

    He was greeted by His mother all aglow.

And the world learned to sing, on that silent of nights,

    Joy to the World,

The Savior has come to save us from sin!

 

I can only imagine how you might have felt,

    As plans were made for your mom to ascend.

“Not this time of year,” came your family’s demand,

    “It will be too painful, we’ll always be reminded,

When lights glow so brightly around us.”

 

“For every time the calendar comes around,

    Hearts will grow weary and begin to pound,

With remembering her presence,

    And the joy she brought us.

“No, not this time of year,” the others joined in.

 

But when she ascended to that city so clear,

    She was greeted by The Father and peace came near.

And she joins in a song of glorious cheer,

    That stirs your spirit from within,

The Savior has freed her from the sting of sin!

                                                                      by Jeff Messer

Merry Christmas and as always I am praying for you!

Chaplain Jeff


The Sandwich Generation
Posted By: Becky Davis

One day a few years ago I picked my mom up to take her to Walmart. I helped her get into the passenger seat of my car. Then I folded up her walker and opened the back door to put it in. It was then that I noticed the car seat buckled onto the back seat. I had a revelation at that moment. I thought to myself, “This is why I’m so tired!”

I’m in what they call the sandwich generation. I’m caring for my grandchildren (at every single opportunity) and my parent(s).

It hadn’t been too long ago that I helped my mom pack up the home that she and Daddy had lived in for the previous 50+ years. My dad sat and said, with every article we showed him, “There’s nothing wrong with that!” or “No, I want to keep that!” or “No, we’re not getting rid of that!” He couldn’t even part with a Southwest Airlines necktie that a pilot had given to him many years before.

Mom and I decided that it might be a good week for him to go visit my sister and her family in Midlothian.

Mom and Dad had decided that it was time to downsize, to move to a more manageable place. They had long talked about moving to an independent living facility where my grandmother used to live. She loved it there and Mom and Dad were looking forward to living there someday. But Mom wasn’t ready to stop cooking and cleaning (can you imagine??). Daddy’s dementia was progressing and she needed help but she just wasn’t quite ready to give up anything else.

We finished packing up the house and had a garage sale. Then she hired some movers and I helped her move them into a 2-bedroom apartment.

I have a sister and a brother but neither of them live close. My dad was spending time at my sister’s (which was a lifesaver for us with the move) and my brother had just started a new job. So I was pretty much on my own, with help from my immediate family here in town. I’m not going to lie, it was really hard. And I wasn’t sure it was the right move.

That’s how it is when parents age. Sometimes you may think you know what is best for them, but if they’re independent and can think for themselves – they get to choose. And it’s right, they should be able to choose. It’s their life. Although my dad had dementia, my mom was very much of sound mind – still is.

Learning how to navigate the relationship with our parents as they age can be tricky. It’s not unlike when you have your first child. There are no rules and the dynamics of every relationship are different. I did read a book called Loving Your Parents by Terry Hargrave that was super helpful.

After 4 months in the 2-bedroom apartment, I moved my parents again. Into the independent living facility that my grandmother had lived in. They loved it there! I think it was everything they’d hoped for, but weren’t sure they were ready until they got there. It was good that they moved there together. When Daddy died a year or so later, the residents were so supportive of Mom. She was among friends, some new and some she’d known for years, and we kids knew that she was in good hands.

Would it have been best for them to move to the independent living facility from their home? Yes, probably. Was it hard to move them twice in 4 months? Absolutely. Did they have the right, and freedom, to choose for themselves? Without a doubt.

Becky Davis
Director of Marketing and Admissions
Bivins Pointe


From Our Chaplain's Heart to Yours
Posted By: Becky Davis

Fifty six years ago, on October 23, 1963, the world came as close as it ever has to an all out nuclear war when President John F. Kennedy announced to the world that Russia had built missile pads in Cuba. The missile pads, ninety miles from U.S. shores, were capable of firing Russian nuclear warheads. President Kennedy ordered an air and sea blockade of Cuba, and in turn Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev declared that the United States was moving toward World War III.

I can remember all of this because I had just turned twelve, and for thirteen days the whole country watched the eastern skies expecting to see a mushroom shaped cloud at any minute. On October 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager, every American boy's hero, broke what is called the sound barrier creating unlimited possibilities for speed. The problem in those days was that every plane breaking the sound barrier caused a sonic boom that crackled through the air, shaking and rattling windows and even buildings. In the sixties, each boom was thought to be bringing us closer to a nuclear meltdown. For the first times since World War II the civil defense sirens, tested at noon on the last Friday of the month, were taken seriously. Children were taught to get under their desks and put their hands over their heads (duck and cover was the official term). So if a bomb was dropped on our school, we were told that the top of our desks and our hands would keep our heads perfectly safe. Have you ever seen the underside of a school desk? It is covered with enough old hardened gum that it might very well be the one thing in the world capable of withstanding a nuclear attack.
At home government plans were available giving simple instructions on how to build your very own backyard fallout shelter. My dad got his hands on a set of these plans and with the help of a friend and his backhoe we set out to defend ourselves from the Russians. I was twelve, Doug was ten, Randy was eight, Waide was six, and Janice was...well, she was just a girl. Dad handed out different-sized shovels according to our age and size. There was always some dispute as to which one of us was the oldest and should get the biggest shovel. I was the oldest but my brothers never cold get that through their thick heads.
After the hole was dug, we framed for the floor and poured the concrete. After it was dried, we built the walls out of cinder blocks and then framed for the concrete ceiling and ventilation system. Dad taught me how to mix mortar, and Doug ran the wheelbarrow. Randy and Waide dept up the supply of cinder blocks, and Janice...well, she was just a girl. When we were finished we had a nuclear secure place to hide if the "big one" were to ever be dropped on Amarillo, Texas. As it turned out, we four boys had a whole lot more to deal with by referring to sister Janice as, "just a girl" than we ever did with the Russians. In fact, to my knowledge, there has never been a nuclear explosion in the backyard of that house on Nelson Street.
Because of the steadfast resolve of President Kennedy, we never had to use the fallout shelter for its intended purpose. We did however have a clubhouse for us kids, a patio for our picnic table, a place to skate, and a wonderful place to have sleepovers during the summer. In other words, it helped, in many ways, to bring us together as a family. Thanks Dad!
2 Samuel 22:2-5 says; And David spake unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul. And he said; The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer. The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. I will call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. 
As always I am praying for you!
Chaplain Jeff

Rehab And Skilled Nursing Facilities: 4 Questions You Should Ask
Posted By: Becky Davis

When the time comes that your loved one may need rehabilitation and therapy outside of their home, it is normal to have many questions. When choosing a rehabilitation facility, you may wonder about the safety of your loved one and the level of care they will receive. You may also ask yourself about the quality of their life while they stay in short-term care.

You have the right to ask questions and to choose the facility that seems best for you and your family member. Doing research will help to ensure the best possible outcome for your entire family. Here are some important things to consider during your search for a rehabilitation facility.

What types of therapy and rehab do you offer?

Each patient's situation can vary depending upon what type of injury or illness they are recovering from. A quality facility will evaluate each patient individually to create an optimal treatment plan that can include speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Speech therapy will help your loved one to improve cognitive language skills, voice clarity, and the ability to swallow. Occupational therapy is designed to help patients regain independence in their daily life after release from short-term rehab care. This will help them to be able to maintain personal hygiene, take care of their home, and prepare meals. Physical therapy, including exercise and conditioning, will help your loved one to regain mobility and motor control, and to learn effective pain management.

How is patient safety addressed?

Leaving your loved one in a healthcare facility for any amount of time, even temporarily, can be frightening for you and for them. It is key that the care team at the facility you choose has the knowledge and ability to help your loved one recover as quickly as possible.

Common questions you may have for each facility include what type of lifting the staff will use to assist your family member. Do they have lift machines, gait belts, or staff who are strong enough to lift the patient manually? Are there enough caretakers on staff to be available to lift the patient whenever necessary? Someone must be available to assist your loved one whenever they are hungry, need to use the bathroom, or need to get out of bed. If a patient is left alone to do these things on their own, they might further injure themselves.

Doing a tour of the facility can give you a good idea of the safety and security of the building. A tour can also help you see what types of rails and safety equipment are available in both private and public areas.

What about family involvement during care?

You may wonder what your role in your loved one's recovery might be. How involved should you be at the facility? How involved can you be in their rehab and recovery? Does the facility allow family members to visit during specified times or at any time of the day or night? Are family members allowed to sit in during appointments with therapists and doctors?

Each facility will have their own regulations about visiting hours and family presence at appointments. Each patient must be evaluated carefully to determine if visitors will help them to adjust better or may become a distraction. You should allow your loved one to be involved in this decision and seek a care team that takes their needs seriously throughout rehabilitation.

Treatment may be the most obvious need for your loved one. However, it is also important to consider the quality of life they will live while in rehab. Their comfort will be part of how well your family member will recover. Ask about the amenities, activities, and events during downtime, and what types of food will be served. Again, requesting a tour of the facility will show you the conditions of the environment they will be staying in.

How do you handle progress and discharge?

Each person on the care team should be involved in determining when your loved one can be discharged. A detailed care plan should be established immediately for the patient and should be revisited often throughout their time at the rehabilitation facility.

Progress will vary from patient to patient, depending upon the treatment required. The care team's focus should be on helping the patient to recover and be released back to their home as soon as possible. A high quality rehab and recovery facility will not seek to keep your loved one in care any longer than necessary. Someone should be available to assist you with questions about your loved one while they are in care. You should also be able to seek assistance about after care once your loved one has left the facility.

To learn more about quality therapy and rehabilitative services for your you or your loved one, contact Bivins Pointe in Amarillo, Texas today. You can call us at 806-350-2200 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our rehab and recovery services and first-rate amenities. You can also find out more about the Bfit Gym, our events, and current volunteering opportunities. Visit us in person at 6600 Killgore Dr in Amarillo, TX to tour our facility and see how we can help you or your loved one.


Fun Summer Activities For Your Senior Family Member
Posted By: Becky Davis

When the summer months reach higher temperatures, it can be difficult for seniors to find ways to stay active. Staying active is vital in keeping their minds sharp, their spirits up, and their bodies in good shape. The following are several activities you can turn to that will help improve memory and maintain general cognitive function during the summer months.

Play a game

Games are one of the simplest ways to stay busy and active during the summer months, especially if it’s too hot to go outside. There are an endless number of board games to choose from, like Scrabble, checkers, chess, and backgammon. Charades is a good way to introduce exercise and is a great way to engage a larger crowd.

Card games can also bring hours of entertainment, and are a portable alternative you can take anywhere. Consider poker, blackjack, gin rummy, and spades. If you’re lacking an opponent, solitaire is a good option. There are also games you can play with only a pen and paper, such as hangman and tic-tac-toe. There are puzzle books made for crosswords, sudoku, and word searches that can be used on rainy days as well.

Get crafty

When you have no choice but to stay near the air-conditioning, get creative. Crafts are an excellent activity for seniors because they can give them new skills and keep them challenged mentally. You can try painting, knitting, sewing, scrapbooking, or even woodworking.

One soothing way to do crafts is to make art to music. Bring out some paper and artistic tools of any kind, including paints, chalk pastels, and even crayons, and turn on some music. There is no wrong way to create art, especially when listening to music.

Provided it is cool enough, you can also take arts and crafts outdoors. Maybe you know an experienced artist, or someone you can hire, to come over and lead an outdoor painting class. You can also set up a painting corner in your own garden or take a field trip to a more scenic area.

Get some exercise

Summer is the best time to get out and try new physical activities. Exercise is key for people of all ages, but especially for seniors because it can be difficult for them to stay moving. If temperatures are too high, you can take your family member to the pool for some swimming or water aerobics. This activity is gentle on aging joints. You could also consider yoga, dancing classes, or joining a league for a sport they enjoy.

If those activities require too much movement, try simply taking a trip to get them out. Many towns have local events that pass through during the summer where you can take your family. You could take them to the movies, or on a walk through the local zoo. Fairs are also good opportunities for exercise and fresh air, and provide the chance for new and exciting experiences, like experimenting with food trucks.

Photograph activities

One thing that almost always lifts the spirits of seniors is going through old photographs. Bring out an old photo album and talk about the past, encouraging your elderly loved one to share their memories about each photo. If you have a bunch of pictures that are unorganized, you could ask them to help you put them into photo albums. You can also turn the process into an opportunity for scrapbooking projects.

Spend time at home

Sometimes the easiest way to beat the heat is to stay home and get some work done around the house. Encourage seniors to declutter unneeded possessions that no longer bring them joy. Redecorating is another fun way to stay active, keeping seniors engaged while they refresh their surroundings. See if there are any minor home repairs that they can perform or help with. Many times, the simple feeling of accomplishing something can raise a senior’s spirits.

To learn more about activities that you and your senior loved one can do, contact Bivins Pointe in Amarillo, Texas today. You can call us at 806-350-2200 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our Events and our Rehab and Recovery Services. You can also find out more about the Bfit Gym, our first-rate Amenities, and current Volunteering Opportunities. Visit us in person at 6600 Killgore Dr in Amarillo, TX to Tour our facility and see how we can help you or your loved one.


Soul Sisters
Posted By: Becky Davis

We wanted to celebrate Administrative Professional Day at Bivins Pointe this week, and what was planned as a simple flower delivery turned in to so much more. Most of the staff and management as well as patient families, and residents refer to Kalla Looper and Glenda Prichard as our “Jacks” of all trades! Kalla is often described as having a big smile, and having such a well-organized desk and work area. Ask any resident or patient at Bivins Pointe and they will more than likely tell you Kalla makes the WORLD’S BEST cookies!

Glenda is known for her beautiful hair, love for her grandbabies, and both positive and direct approach to work related task.
What we didn’t realize until the afternoon flower delivery was that they had much more in common, a bond outside of work.
Little known fact about these two soul sisters, they share the same wedding anniversary, January 19. Glenda says she and her husband Guy were wed after 3 months of dating and they have been married for 44 years. Kalla and her husband Michael have been married for 10 years.

Glenda celebrated her 3 year work anniversary with Bivins Pointe just last week. Kalla is quickly approaching her 4 year celebration with us. We all would certainly be lost without you two soul sisters!


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