Archive for the ‘Assisted Living’ Category

"The Favorite" - Grandfather and Gra...

“The Favorite” – Grandfather and Grandson – “Ο Αγαπημένος του Παππού” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is a story from one woman about her experience discussing long term care with her mother. From her perspective, it sounds like it could have gone better! The author wishes she would have talked to her mother in person instead of writing an email. She also suggests that others start such charged conversations with “asking for permission” to discuss the issues first. However she also had some great questions for her mother to help spark discussion on planning for the future. These included:

  • Formation of a will
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Future residence plans should her mother or her mother’s husband pass away.
  • Seeing a financial planner

These are all great topics to discuss with our relatives and also to think about for ourselves.  I would add that another great topic to discuss with parents is setting up a durable power of attorney. Basically this role names someone as agent to make financial or healthcare decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Details on arranging a durable power of attorney should of course be discussed with a legal advisor.

Part of naming an agent in such a role of course involves dicussing and writing out  your wishes. Recently, my own family experienced the death of a much-loved (and previously very heatlhy) cousin in her early sixties. She, an avid tennis player, musician, and dog-lover, unexpectedly became seriously ill due to an auto-immune disease which suddentlyl developed. She passed away within a month or so, much to the shock of our whole family who expected she would live into her nineties, much like her father before her. Unfortunately while she had chosen my father to make medical decisions for her, she had never discussed her wishes for care at the end-of-life. It was challenging for my father to help make decisions for her care in the last week or two without having any information about what she would have wanted and at the same time grieving for the loss of his one and only cousin. So don’t forget to have these conversations early and often, and to put them in writing!

These topics can be extremely difficult to bring up. They become esepcially difficult with those we love and who have cared for us in our younger years. However, conversing openly and honestly about such topics with our loved ones is the first step to having a good plan in place for the future.

Do you have any experiences discussing plans for the future with your relatives? Please tell us what worked and didn’t work!

Also, have you taken steps to address what would happen to your family and finances in the case of your own death or long term disability? Why or why not?


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One of the things we are passionate about at the Magnolia and Primrose care homes is caring for elders on a holistic level and addressing spiritual and emotional needs beyond just physical and social needs.

One of the ways we do this is through integrating animals and visits from children in the care home. Most people respond to animals with very positive emotions. Our residents’ faces light up and they love stroking the soft fur of cats and dogs. It is not just our residents who enjoy animals, there is research to suggest that animal therapy provides tangible benefits to elders and elders with dementia in particular. According to this review, studies show that the presence of animals reduces aggression and agitation and promotes social interaction. There is even some evidence to suggest that animals can encourage better eating at meal times. Other possible benefits of animal therapy include increased exercise and mobility (ex. throwing a ball, grooming, short walks) and of course, pleasure.

Because of the obvious benefits of animal interactions, we have tried to integrate animals of all kinds into our care homes. Currently at Magnolia we have a pair of parakeets that keep the air lively with bird chatter. Next door at Primrose, three zebra finches flit about  in their habitat and their soft tweets add a pleasant ambiance. Outside our garden frequently welcomes wild birds and butterflies. The owner’s dog, Roxy, also loves to come visit the residents and warm their laps.

Our next step is to add permanent pets to the care homes that residents can help care for and feel ownership over. To this end, we recently adopted two white mini poodle puppy brothers. They are hypoallergenic, loving, and the perfect size for a lap dog. Once they are completely trained they will move to the care home to be permanent therapy dogs. For now, they come by for short visits to get used to the home and the equipment they might see her. We couldn’t resist snapping this picture of one of our residents and a puppy, both of whom have cast right now for breaks. Dont’ worry, both are healing!

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Giving a donation

The Santa Maria Baseball team and the Residents of Magnolia

On Sunday we were visited at Magnolia & Primrose by the Santa Maria Baseball Club U14.  The team showed off some of their baseball skills with a short practice. Afterwards they joined residents in a game of catch. We snapped a great picture of Ms. Jeanne throwing a ball back!

Jeanne has a great arm!

The baseball exposition was followed by pizza with the team and the residents in our party barn. Check out our slideshow for more pictures!


At the end of the visit they received a donation from the care home to help cover the costs of their fall league. Check out the story from the Santa Maria Times.

Joey Halsell plays on the team and is the grandson of owners Chuck & Margie Halsell. Thank you Joey for bringing your team by! Good luck in your next season.

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The Alzheimer’s walk is fast approaching and Magnolia and Primrose are getting ready! Our team is forming and we have several events in the works to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. (More information coming soon!)

Couple walking

One way we are preparing is  by starting a walking club! Participating employees receive a pedometer and are put into a drawing for prizes when they reach over 10,000 steps in a day. However, walking your way to health isn’t just for the young!

  •  Did you know taking at least 10,000 steps a day can help improve your health and reduce the risk of chronic disease?
  • Did you know the average person only takes about 2,000 to 4,000 steps a day?
  • Pedometers are economical and a great way to track your daily activity
Elders benefit greatly from the exercise provided by walking. Walking more actually improves balance while also providing great health benefits. In addition, getting daily exercise helps improve your mood and appetite. Even increasing activity by a little can help! Here are some ideas for getting elders moving:
  • Visit a garden with winding paths.
  • Use pedometers to make your work measureable
  • Go shopping together at non-busy times
  • Dance for Balance (one of our favorites!)
  • Take smaller walks several times a day instead of one long walk
What are your suggestions for getting exercise at any age?

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We have some exciting news to share! We have opened a second care facility in Orcutt, CA next to Magnolia, dubbed “Primrose”. Last week our first two residents, along with four finches and a dog, moved into the new facility. Primrose will also specialize in caring for individuals with memory loss. Some of the features of Primrose include:

  • A Huge porch with cozy lounge chairs
  • Views of the valley, lawn, rustic barn, and rose garden
  • Gourmet kitchen
  • A big living room with high ceilings
  • Fully fenced and secure for the safety of our residents.

Please call to come and check out our new facility! We would love to have you visit.

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No that’s not a call of distress…it’s a call to pizza! Magnolia celebrated the start of May in Orcutt, CA with residents, guests, and children. We had pizza catered by Bello Forno who brought a trailer with its own wood-fired pizza oven!  It was quite a sight to see. The children made tissue paper flowers, had flower relay races, and “flower” cupcakes were also served.

Check out our pictures. It looks like a pizza parlor at Magnolia. Do you celebrate May Day?

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