Home & Health

What is assisted living?

Maybe you’ve noticed you need a little help around the house. Maybe you’re having a hard time remembering when to take your medication. Maybe your kids are nervous about you spending a lot of time alone at home. No matter the reason, assisted living is a great solution for older adults who need a little extra help or companionship in their routine.

At Meth-Wick Community, residents can choose from a wide range of care options. Some people live completely independently in single family homes, while others utilize 24-hour nursing care. For residents who find themselves somewhere in the middle, consider the benefits of our assisted living options: Arbor Place, Custom Care and Home & Health Services.

Arbor Place is an assisted-living facility for those with mild to moderate cognitive losses related to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Since opening its doors in 1997, Arbor Place has focused solely on caring for residents with memory care needs. It’s designed and furnished to feel like a traditional family-style home while also providing a safe and secure living environment.

We provide small groups of people with a quiet, family-style cottage where they feel safe and are encouraged to take part in wellness and recreation programs that promote quality of life. According to recent research, this is a standard of care that provides the greatest benefit to people with cognitive losses.

Each cottage has eight private rooms outfitted with modern amenities. In order to make every resident feel at home, we ask that they decorate their space with furnishings from home like their bed, easy chair, dresser, wall decorations, lamps, TV, etc.

This certified facility is monitored and supervised by our Director of Long Term Support and Services (LTSS) and an Arbor Place nurse. Specially trained employees, called Caregivers, staff each cottage 24 hours every day to allow for a low caregiver-to-resident ratio. Arbor Place Caregivers receive specialized dementia care training. Overnight security staff and a campus nurse are available seven days a week, providing residents and their families with peace of mind.

Custom Care is
a selection of health care
services provided on the
fourth floor of The Manor, 
a campus space certified for
assisted living. It is offered
to residents who can no longer live independently yet are not in need of the 24-hour nursing care, which is provided at The Woodlands. Custom Care services include:

  • Medication assistance
  • Bathing assistance
  • Grooming assistance
  • Dressing assistance
  • Morning and bedtime assistance
  • Personal laundry and bedding
  • Mail and newspaper delivery to apartment

Aside from the high-quality care, a variety of other conveniences at The Manor make life enjoyable and worry-free for residents. Laundry and housekeeping is done weekly by the Meth-Wick staff. Residents can take courtesy rides in a chauffeur-driven car, workout on a campus bicycle or in a water exercise class, and relax in the library and reading room.

Home & Health Services provide other assistance options for individuals who need some help with basic tasks but want to stay independent in their homes. It’s our way to deliver the high-quality, personalized services offered at Meth-Wick to older adults throughout the Cedar Rapids community. Our home health experts offer personal care assistance, companionship, transportation, and medication assistance. Home & Health Services are here to give older adults the type of support they need to keep them in their homes longer.

At Meth-Wick, we do everything we can to allow our residents and clients to live their best lives. If you are interested in learning more about assisted living, give us a call at (319) 365-9171.

Technology Enhances Health and Safety of Older Adults

“The times they are a-changin’” is the refrain of a popular Bob Dylan song from the 1960s. While we’re pretty sure he wasn’t singing about aging in America, the words are nonetheless spot on. Companies that provide products and services to older adults see transformation ahead. Here are a few projections worth noting.

Daily life made easier

Much has been written recently about the tidal wave of baby boomers reaching retirement age and how it will change senior living and home care. We wrote about it in this blog. Baby boomers, known for diversity and individualism, will not settle for anything less than growing older in an environment that enables them to enjoy life to its fullest.

According to an AARP study, nearly 90 percent of Americans age 65+ want to stay in their current home and community as they age. This widespread desire is giving rise to innovations.

There is no shortage of products designed to simplify daily tasks like dressing, eating, grooming and bathing. From clothing with magnetic buttons to easy-grip knobs, there are many devices to help older adults remain independent in their home.

Seniors going tech

In addition to “task-helper” devices, a growing number of technology products are being developed to monitor senior health conditions and provide in-home safety. A 2013 Pew Research study reported that six in ten older adults go online, up from four in ten in a 2010 survey. This would seem to reflect a growing receptiveness to the digital age, especially among seniors ages 55-75. Given this study is three years old, it is likely safe to assume the number of senior online users has continued to grow.

A huge breakthrough for aging in place has been the growth of medical devices that allow seniors to take readings at home rather than make a trip to the doctor or hospital. These include wrist devices that monitor heart rate, stress and sleep level.

The BeClose remote monitoring system uses sensors placed throughout the home to provide real-time tracking of an individual’s daily activity. A private online dashboard allows a caregiver to determine if an older loved one has gotten out of bed, had breakfast or gone for a walk. This allows a family member to stay in touch without seeming to be intrusive. The system also includes an emergency alert button that the individual can push if they need immediate help.

Another innovative item, the Smart Contact Lens by Google and Novartis, is designed to help people with diabetes. The lenses can read the glucose levels from tears using a tiny sensor and microchip. The user can view the reading using a compatible mobile application.

These tools have the potential to enhance quality of life for older adults and their families. But it’s important these aids do not become a substitute for human assistance. Lack of interaction with others can lead to isolation, an important subject we tackle next month. Just remember, the best approach to making good use of innovative devices is to combine them with the personal touch of in-home visits from a caregiver.

Tips for Long-Distance Caregivers of Aging Parents


Many baby boomers are concerned about the health and wellbeing of their aging parents. Complicating matters is the fact that a large number of these adult children live far from parents. They feel guilty and worry because they are not close at hand to help.

If you are one of the seven million Americans who provide long-distance care for a family member, here are tips that can reduce your stress while also ensuring quality of care for mom and dad.

  • Keep a care notebook/organizer. This serves as your hub, keeping important information quickly accessible. A care organizer template, available from caringforagingparents.com, leads you through gathering care information specific to your parent(s), including a medications list and schedule, financial planning, legal documents, and a home safety checklist, to name a few of the key areas.
  • Know your parent’s friends. Exchange phone numbers with your parent’s neighbors and close friends. Ask them to call you if they are concerned for your parent in any way (e.g., haven’t seen them at weekly bridge, they’re not answering the phone, etc.) Be sure and impress upon them that it’s all right to call any time of the day or night.
  • Know your parent’s doctors. Ask your parent’s physician to e-mail a summary of each office visit to you. This keeps you in the loop on changes in medications, health issues, etc. Try to plan a visit that coincides with your parent’s next doctor appointment. This allows you to place a face with a name when you call on your parent’s behalf. It also lets the doctor and staff know that your parent has family who are taking an interest in their medical care.
  • Identify your parent’s needs. The Mayo Clinic offers guidelines on gauging what help, if any, your parent needs. This includes observing the appearance of your parent and their home. Does either raise red flags? For instance, is your parent wearing a robe in the middle of the day? Is there a stack of unopened bills on the table? Unwashed dishes in the sink? All of these are indicators that your parent may need assistance.
  • Recruit help. Talk to your parent about hiring a helper to shop, clean, cook, do laundry or any other tasks that will make their life easier. Emphasize that bringing in help will keep them independent longer. If family and friends are nearby and willing to help, and the needs are minimal, this may be the route to take. Or you may opt to bring in professionals to assist with daily health care, personal care or household chores.
  • Share decision-making. Even when a parent needs help, it’s important to share decisions that impact their life. Include them in discussions about their needs. Rather than telling them what to do, ask them, “What do you think we should do?”

Navigating care for an aging parent can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. Call Meth-Wick Home & Health at (319) 297-8654. We understand the challenges of caregiving from a distance and can offer an empathetic ear and helpful resources.

Preventing Falls: Staying Safe in Your Home

Safety and independence are important to many seniors. We wanted to share an article from LeadingAge.org to help you accomplish that by preparing yourself and your home from events that could cause falls. Here are some tips from that article:

  • Rugs are always a potential tripping hazard. If you have a walker, cane, crutches, or shoe heels, they can easily catch on the edges or corners, and the results can be painful.
    • Tip: Tapping the rugs down can help, but removing the rug complete is the safest way to go.
  • Do you have piles of books, half-finished projects, or laundry lying around? Make sure these are all cleared from floors and stairways.
    • Tip: Have a small, lightweight, handled basket — one at the top and one at the bottom – of your stairway. When you need to bring something upstairs or downstairs, put it in the basket, and slide the handle over your arm. This leaves your other hand free to grab the stair rail.
  • Check the handrails on your stairs. How sturdy are they? If you think they need to be fixed, be sure to call a professional.
    • Tip: Even if you don’t think you will use them now, at some point you’ll appreciate having the option of grab bars in bathrooms — in the shower and tub, as well as near the toilet.
  • Soapy water is extremely slippery, especially on porcelain or tile.
    • Tip: Install rubber mats or treads in tubs and showers, or anywhere that soapy water could splash and create a hazard.
  • Make sure wires, cords, and cables run along walls, not across walkways.
    • Tip: Use electrical tape or special staples to secure cords against baseboards. Don’t run cords under rugs or carpeting — this may prevent tripping, but it can be a fire hazard.
  • Are the items you use most often in the kitchen easily to reach? If not, rearrange things so they are on shelves that are most accessible to you. If you have cabinets under your kitchen counters, consider installing pullout, sliding shelves to make items more viewable and accessible.
    • Tip: Keep a stepladder nearby for those occasions when you do need to reach a higher shelf. Use a sturdy, level stepladder that has rubber grips on the feet and a stepping area wide enough to make you feel comfortable.
  • Is your house well lit? Have you started using brighter bulbs in hallways and stairwells?
    • Tip: Leave hall lights or bathroom lights on in preparation for nighttime trips. You may pay a few cents more on your electric bill, but you’ll save the cost of a midnight ambulance ride!

Now that your home is fall-proof, here are a few tips to make sure your health won’t cause a fall.

  • Make an appointment with your doctor. You can go over the medications you are taking, talk about any feelings of unsteadiness or being off balance, and ask if any of your current health conditions could unsteadiness.
  • Keep moving! Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention. Mayo Clinic published an article that said, “With your doctor’s OK, consider activities such as walking, water workouts or tai chi — a gentle exercise that involves slow and graceful dance-like movements. Such activities reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.”
  • Review your footwear as part of your fall-prevention plan. Shoes like high heels, slippers and shoes with slick soles have a greater risk of unbalance. So can walking in your stocking feet! Instead, wear properly fitting, sturdy shoes with nonskid soles.

We want you to stay safe and independent in your home longer. These few steps to fall-proof yourself and your home will help do just that. If you have questions on other ways to improve your balance or prevent falls, contact Sue Schmitt, Director of Post-Acute Care, at sschmitt@methwick.org.

Your First Day Home

Meth-Wick has an in-home assistance and home health care program available to every senior living in Linn County. This community outreach program is called Home & Health Services, established eight years ago in response to a resident need. The professional staff of Home & Health Services can assist you with health care related tasks, household chores or both.

An important service of Home & Health, Your First Day Home, is designed to help prevent hospital readmissions. “Studies show that patients who do not follow up with their doctor after a hospital stay are 10 times more likely to be readmitted,” says Amber Jedlicka, former Operations Director of Home & Health Services. “We are committed to helping seniors take a proactive approach to their health and reducing the likelihood they need to return to the hospital.”

This service has been a very positive one for Meth-Wick residents who have been hospitalized. In the last nine months, 32 residents who were discharged to home from a higher level of care entered into the Your First Day Home program. Out of these 32 residents, 24 have not needed to return to the hospital.

With Your First Day Home, Home & Health Services offers a free nurse visit to any Meth-Wick resident or any off-campus client who has been released from a hospital or from a Meth-Wick care setting. A Home & Health nurse will visit the patient approximately 24 to 48 hours after their arrival home, with lunch! Her follow up visits will be once again after six days and then 20 days, when she will offer an optional nursing assessment.

Your First Day Home is designed to give patients peace of mind that they will be well taken care of their first day home and every day that follows.

Questions about Your First Day Home or other services Home & Health offers? Visit our website or contact Sandi at slafferty@methwick.org or (319) 297-8654.

What is the cost of care?

According to Caring.com’s annual “Usage and Attitudes Survey,” family caregivers are hesitant to discuss health care concerns with their loved ones. This includes topics like moving into a senior living community.

Here are some more facts from the Caring.com survey:

  • 46% of caregivers spend more than $5,000 out of pocket annually on medications, medical bills, for both in and out of home care
  • 60% say caregiving duties have a negative effect on their job
  • 42% have raised concerns about how their loved one is managing medical care
  • 45% have discussed planning for a time their loved ones can no longer care for him/herself
  • 30% have discussed how to pay for care
  • 33% spend more than 30 hours per week on caregiving

meth-wick-home-and-health-307x219-2Do you have any of the above concerns? If so, you are not alone. There are services available for you or if you need help caring for a loved one to keep them safe and in their home. Through the Meth-Wick community, our Home & Health services can be tailored to what you need. This includes things like nursing services, companion/chore services and medication management in the comfort of your own home.

“For many, the cost of care is a challenge, living in a nursing home or in assisted living is expensive. On top of this expense, for some, the thought of leaving home is heart breaking. Meth-Wick’s Home & Health services can work to keep your long-term care cost to a minimum and to meet that goal of staying “home” and out of assisted living care,” say Amber Jedlicka, Operations Director of Home & Health Services.

If you’ve had a medical procedure or have been in the hospital, give us a call to inquire about our free offer for Your First Day Home.

For more information about our Home & Health services, call (319) 297-8654 or visit our website.