Blog & Events

The Carrington Strong: Navigating COVID-19 Together, Yet Apart

By | News, Senior Living

As part of its America Strong campaign, the United States Department of Defense staged the flyover as a salute to thank all who have worked amid the pandemic—medical professionals, emergency responders, and essential workers—to keep our country going strong. Here at The Carrington, we take the salute one step further by sharing a few personal stories from resident’s adult children and how The Carrington’s essential workers—at every level—are dedicated during these challenging times to keeping The Carrington Strong. Learn how we’re navigating COVID-19 together, yet apart.

Erik’s Story.
“There’s an overall positive feeling at The Carrington. The people are great—the staff, the receptionist, sales, the maintenance people, the guy who picks up the garbage, the person who drives the van—top to bottom. They are always engaging. Always asking how my parents are doing.”

Erik
Mother & father have been residents since October 2018

Besides the positivity he experiences every time he visits his parents at The Carrington, Erik says he appreciates the responsiveness of the staff. Everyone is exceptionally nice—not just to my parents, but to me, too,” Erik says. And not just during pandemic times—when times are normal too. Erik likes to tell this story:

“I see responsiveness all around The Carrington because I’m there a lot—in the shadows of a lot of situations. So, I see when staff are responding to the residents. One day, I could see my dad needed help positioning his chair. One of the staff comes up and fixes his chair. Just little things. Dad told me the other night, ‘You know everybody else gets one cup of ice cream for dessert, but they give me two.’ I don’t know if that’s true, but they make him feel special.”

Erik’s mother is in the highest risk category for COVID-19. She has COPD and is on oxygen 24/7. She became infected with the virus, overcame the illness, and is currently in rehabilitation. “My Dad tested negative,” says Erik, who is thankful the couple can stay in proximity of each other, even though they have been separated during this critical time. Erik’s mother will soon return to her memory care residence, where nurses are constantly calling him with updates.  “Even when I don’t ask for them,” Erik says.

Having gone through a COVID-19 infection with his mother, Erik says, “I feel more confident now than ever before because I know the staff here have all protocols in place—things are going to be taken care of.”

Checking In On Mom & Dad During COVID-19—Jared’s Thoughts.
“I like to look at how The Carrington took on this unprecedented event (the pandemic), and the positive way they’ve handled things from the beginning. For me as their son, it’s just very comforting knowing that there are loving people there who truly care for them.”

Jared
Mother & father have been residents since October 2019

Both of Jared’s parents, residents at The Carrington, tested positive for COVID-19. His father, 91, was hospitalized and recovered. His mother, 79, tested positive and was immediately quarantined to a different residence at The Carrington. She remains asymptomatic and has been cleared to carry on with her lifestyle in quarantine.

While initially concerned for his parents’ safety, Jared salutes the amazing staff at The Carrington for bravely and devotedly caring for his family and for making The Carrington Strong.

Jared admits his parents’ decision to move last fall from their Skokie home of 45 years was not an easy one. The concerns were common—loss of independence and privacy. And then health issues for both entered into the picture—and a move was inevitable. “Before the snow flies,” was his father’s request. The next major event in their lives: COVID-19.

Had his parents not moved to The Carrington, Jared shares, he would’ve discouraged them from going out shopping during this time. But he knows his dad still would’ve escaped when Jared wasn’t there. Plus, there would’ve been at-home caregivers coming in and out of their home, then into the community—creating a real risk for virus spread.

“The Carrington was extremely proactive about COVID-19,” says Jared. “They actually began restricting access to the immediate family much earlier than other places. I was actually disappointed one day (before official stay-at-home orders) because I wanted to see my parents, and I couldn’t. They were very firm as they were trying to keep everyone safe. I was sad I couldn’t see them, but it gave me a lot of security and comfort knowing that truly loving people were caring for Mom and Dad.”

Jared commends the nursing staff at The Carrington, some of whom even gave out their cell phone numbers so he could have immediate access, especially when his dad was in the hospital. “I would call them at 7 in the morning and 10 at night, and they would still be working. They were going to extreme efforts, pulling crazy shifts and being extremely responsive to my concerns—just as concerned about my Dad as I was.”

As the days pass, Jared feels his parents are out-of-the-woods. “I’ve spent a lot of time with The Carrington staff and talked to my parents enough to realize that the general attitude there is a caring one—like a family.”

During these days of “Stay-in-Place,” we invite you to experience The Carrington virtually and check out our Facebook page. Join us for a face-to-face virtual conference by calling us at (847) 744-9469 or by completing an online form. See what we mean by The Carrington Strong!

The Benefits Of Meaningful Human Relationships As You Age

By | News, Senior Living

People are living longer. As a result, there’s an increasing interest in understanding and promoting successful aging. There are volumes filled with advice on how to keep the body and brain in optimal shape as the years roll by. Some aging experts say the answer is to get plenty of exercise. Others tout a healthy diet. Still, others say a positive attitude is key. And then there are those who say it’s just plain old good luck.

At The Carrington at Lincolnwood, we’re rather partial to an idea posed by Louis Cozolino, professor of psychology at Pepperdine University, in his book Timeless: Nature’s Formula for Health and Longevity. “Of all the experiences we need to survive and thrive,” he writes, “it is the experience of relating to others that is the most meaningful and important. A lifestyle that maximizes social interaction and human-to-human contact is good for the brain at every stage, particularly for the aging brain.”

Meaningful human relationships. Makes sense, doesn’t it? In fact, research suggests that the people we surround ourselves with have a big impact on our psychological and physical health. Relationships allow us to interact socially, and additional research shows the support we receive can decrease risks of heart attacks, decline in cognition, depression, and anxiety. One study found that people with good social relationships have a 50% lower rate of mortality than those with poor social interactions.

With evidence that social relationships play a key role in maintaining health as you age, let’s take a look at how The Carrington accomplishes its goal of promoting meaningful relationships and well-being for all residents. A video produced with residents Phil and Pat O’Donnell will help you understand The Carrington’s culture of boundless engagement.

Meaningful relationships provide the opportunity for three key benefits: exchange of support, social engagement, and sense of worth—all major pillars for a foundation of healthy aging.

An Exchange Of Support—Give & Take
Your social network forms the platform for valuable personal support and opportunities for social interaction. Having someone to talk to, have lunch with, or laugh together over a funny story does wonders for your sense of belonging. The O’Donnells will be the first to concur. The day my husband, Phil, and I came (to The Carrington) there were only 13 of us. I believe this group set the pace for friendliness and welcoming for all who have come since. Now in 2020, we are a family of over 170 in independent living. The friendliness remains, which makes it wonderful for all newcomers.” On The Carrington’s Facebook page, you can read more about the positive social networks that have formed within the community and how the residents truly bond together over like interests and activities.

As an older adult, perhaps your family, spouse, and adult children are your central source of support. But, as you may be finding, children and grandchildren get older and other interests divert their attention elsewhere. As you age right along with them, it will be increasingly important to expand your social network—your lifeline of personal support. Findings show that social support from others can increase your feelings of independence and self-esteem, and lower levels of depression and loneliness that may creep up.

As you draw positive experiences from your social relationships, you’ll also find they offer the opportunity to provide support to others. This feeds your well-being, too, as you benefit from increased feelings of usefulness. Seniors who report giving support to others within their social network are more likely to receive support, greater feelings of self-efficacy, and higher levels of self-esteem.

Compassion and concern for others may protect against feelings of meaninglessness, too. “If you’re feeling lonely, go out and do something for somebody else,” one senior shared with us. Even making brief connections with relative strangers—acknowledging their presence, wishing them a good day, giving a compliment—can be a source both of meaning and happiness. Listening to someone with an open mind, reaching out to someone who may be lonely, or sending a card can provide good cheer to someone who’s down in the dumps.

Social Engagement—Learning & Laughter
Did you ever stop and think about how much you can learn from your friends—your social network? Just like you, they have a life story to tell. Take advantage of it—let them into your life. Chances are they’ve logged a few miles filled with exciting experiences, interesting acquaintances, fascinating travels, unusual hobbies, remarkable accomplishments, noteworthy previous occupations, and life goals yet to be achieved. Who knows, maybe together you can check a few items off your Bucket Lists.

Become a good listener, as well as a good friend, sharing with each other, and setting new challenges to meet and learn from in the days ahead. Listening to someone else’s point of view allows you to look at life from different perspectives, some of which you may not have thought of before.

You’re never too old to learn and grow—and you may even find yourself picking up a few new healthier behaviors from your expanding social network. “Joe always exercises at least 30 minutes a day, and now I make sure to take daily walks too “Jane taught me how important it is to eat three square meals—I’ve never felt better!”

Research shows that as age increases, a person’s social network decreases. However, even though older adults may have smaller social circles, their relationships tend to be of higher quality. Evidence suggests that, generally, the more varied your social network, the happier and healthier you will be. Intimate friends are very important for older adults. Social dining—even family-style meals—are great for promoting connectivity and battling social isolation, which can easily descend upon you as you age. As you’ll see in Marv’s video, dining at The Carrington presents the perfect opportunity for learning and laughter among friends.

What happens to social engagement when a community like The Carrington is confronted with a nationwide pandemic? Let’s face it—we’re all in a pause of unbelievable proportions thanks to COVID-19. At The Carrington, both creativity and fortitude have kicked into gear. A visit to The Carrington’s Facebook page tells a marvelous story of how The Carrington staff and residents are still focusing on their social connections during this time.

The Carrington staff is making sure all residents know how to connect with friends and family via the Internet or Smartphone, and, like elsewhere in the country, an entire culture of active ZOOMers has developed. Birthdays come and go, but not without some form of celebratory serenade. Religious celebrations in April—Holy Week and Passover—were observed on television, online, and with special courtyard ceremonies—at a distance, of course. Online field trips to museums and national parks, in-room exercise programs, and videos online are providing entertainment, learning, music and art appreciation, and physical and intellectual stimulation. Individual private time is still cherished, and many residents are catching up on reading. Social networks are functioning at full capacity at The Carrington—just at an appropriate distance!

A Sense Of Worth—Control & Confidence
Finally, meaningful social relationships later in life strengthen feelings of control and confidence. Keep all these benefits in mind as you develop a clear understanding of the importance of social relationships as an older adult, as well as the ways your social network promotes successful aging and health later in life.

Loss of control in decision-making can create a good deal of stress as you age. But it’s worth remembering that friendships are the relationships you choose and may allow for greater feelings of autonomy—leading to broader social networks, especially within a senior living community. So, as you cultivate and expand your social network, it stands to reason that you’re also cultivating healthier levels of self-esteem, leading to greater independence and feelings of happiness and well-being.

The professional staff at The Carrington has been trained to promote the development of meaningful social relationships and activity throughout the community. They are “tuned-in” and are constantly looking for ways to nurture meaningful friendships among residents. They encourage storytelling, sharing experiences, and lots of laughter, of course. They expect the residents to take an active role in planning and scheduling the activities and events THEY want to participate in. They also understand life’s natural transitions and are absolutely the best resources for handling them in a healthy, compassionate way.

Your Next Step . . .
During these days of “Stay-in-Place,” we invite you to experience The Carrington virtually. Join us for a video tour and a face-to-face virtual conference by calling us at (847) 744-9469 or by completing the online form.

On-site Care During COVID-19 & Beyond: An Important Component For Living Independently

By | News, Senior Living

COVID-19 has created a healthcare revolution. Multiple initiatives are underway at the federal and state level, and in the private sector, to reform our health and long-term care delivery systems in order to better address the health care needs of all Americans. In particular, the needs of more vulnerable groups like seniors when it comes to on-site care opportunities. These initiatives have really impacted the senior living industry.

But this is not news to you. You’re out there searching for the perfect place to spend an independent retirement, and the question keeps coming up: Should I be looking for a place that offers the security and peace of mind of on-site healthcare, just in case I need it someday?

We’re here to help you answer that question by outlining six common benefits of on-site care in the senior living community you’re considering.

BENEFIT #1: Peace of Mind

You may not need care right now. Your focus is independence. It’s your time! Time to pick up old hobbies and pastimes. Time to try something new with neighbors and friends. Time to just lock the door and take an extended vacation, if you want. But what if you get sick, fall and break something, or need an unforeseen surgery? The fact that you’ve chosen a community with on-site healthcare services will give you peace of mind that someone is there to take care of you, and you will not have to move to another community. Carry on—go ahead and enjoy life!

BENEFIT #2: Familiarity

Adding to peace of mind, the availability of on-site care, if you ever need it, gives you feelings of security and comfort in your surroundings. You’ll know what professional care you’re going to receive, where it will take place, and who will administer care—within familiar surroundings. You see all these compassionate caregivers regularly, and you trust them. They call you by name. They know your medical, emotional, and social needs. They are there for YOU!

BENEFIT #3: Connectivity

The availability of on-site care keeps you connected to the larger community of friends and neighbors who are in the same chapter of their life as you. A caring staff helps during your transition so you can get back to the independent lifestyle you enjoy—as quickly as possible. And, it’s easy for your neighbors to visit! This level of community compassion and connection empowers you to thrive and continue to pursue your passions and the retirement of your dreams.

BENEFIT #4: Prevention

Because on-site care is convenient, as a resident, this benefit will improve your awareness and use of preventive screenings, immunizations, and recommended aging health services you might not have otherwise considered. Recent studies have shown that on-site care services in senior living communities reduce medication-related issues, hospitalizations, readmissions, and trips to the emergency room. Additionally, on-site care services are known to lead to improved health, happiness, and quality of life. Further, they reduce the unnecessary use of health services, thereby achieving cost savings for senior residents.

BENEFIT #5: Programming

When a senior living community has an on-site healthcare component, an independent living resident can expect types of services they may not find in other communities. These services might include:

  • Educational programming in the form of health and wellness presentations, lectures, and fairs.
  • Wellness and prevention screenings and monitoring.
  • Fitness programs.
  • Medication management and assistance.
  • Medical appointment reminders.
  • Care coordination and navigation.
  • Physical or occupational therapy.
  • Mental health counseling and therapy.
  • Primary care.

BENEFIT #6: Professional Networks

It goes without saying that during the times of a national public health crisis like COVID-19, a senior living community that offers on-site healthcare services is preferred over those that do not. Health and happiness of residents and staff are the top priority at The Carrington. In addition, the staff is proactive and in constant communication with local, state, and national agencies. This includes the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In conclusion, the residents of The Carrington at Lincolnwood truly value the countless benefits of on-site Assisted Living and Memory Care services available to them.

To learn more about The Carrington, call (847) 744-9469 or complete our online form to schedule a personal tour.

RESOURCES: Housing and Healthcare: Partners in Healthy Aging by LeadingAge.