OurSeniors.org, Inc, PO Box 730956, Ormond Beach, FL 32173 800-647-0868

Who Regulates Assisted Living Facilities?

There are twice as many assisted living facilities or similar options for long-term care than nursing homes. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of assisted living facilities and similar options of care was over 30,000, while nursing homes were about 15,000, in 2014. As more baby boomers approach the age of 65, these new styles of long-term care will continue growing. So how are they being regulated?

When a program like a nursing home is funded by Medicare or Medicaid, they are required to follow the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act federal regulations. Some assisted living facilities do accept Medicaid, most are usually paid for privately. Facilities that do not accept Medicaid are regulated by the state and are issued an annual license after a yearly inspection. In Florida, there are two agencies that monitor regulation compliance, the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA) and the Florida Department of Health (DOH). AHCA oversees issuing/handling licenses and health quality assurance. These facilities are inspected by a team of nurses, social workers, residents, and public health officials in order to reinstate their licenses annually. DOH is responsible for physical inspections of facilities to ensure compliance with environmental and food standards. Assisted living facilities can receive a variety of licenses.

Types of assisted living facility licenses:

  • Standard
  • Limited mental health (LMH)
  • Extended congregate care (ECC)
  • Limited nursing services (LNS)

Being informed is the first step to making sure you are living the best senior lifestyle possible. To find out if a facility is regulated by AHCA visit FloridaHealthFinder.gov. If you or a loved one have questions, concerns or complaints against an assisted living facility call AHCA at 1-888-419-3456.

OurSeniors.org was established to help provide important social visits for residents of facilities. Volunteer or donate to help correct this problem that can so easily be resolved.


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senior with cat

Pets and Seniors

The belief that dogs are man’s best friend, is been embedded in American culture. According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, 85 million American families share the same belief. Humans have shared a friendly bond with canines for centuries, eventually domesticating them. Dogs have been integrated so deeply into American culture that they not only serve as pets but also as service animals! According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), dog ownership is beneficial to individuals regardless of their age group.

Health benefits of owning a dog:

  • Reduces stress
  • Improves heart health
  • Helps fight off depression
  • Helps fight off diseases
  • Provides purpose
  • Promotes an active lifestyle
  • Boosts cognitive health.

For those who are immobile, cats or elderly dogs are a great option, since they require less maintenance, and training.

Owning a pet is especially beneficial to seniors living in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. These pets provide companionship, security, and the opportunity to be social. Most senior facilities now allow pets to serve as companions. If a senior would not like to take on the full responsibilities of owning a pet, ask a loved one to stop by with their pet instead. Another great option is to ask your doctor, social worker, nurse or physical therapist about pet therapy programs in the nearby area. There are many pet therapy programs in Florida that would love to visit a new senior facility.

For those who do not have loved ones nearby for visitation, OurSeniors.org was established to help provide important social visits for residents of facilities. Volunteer or donate to help correct this problem that can so easily be resolved.

water aerobics

Hobbies for Seniors

There is an epidemic of depression rising in the United States. According to Blue Cross Blue Shield, reports of depression have risen by 33 percent in the last six years. This epidemic is affecting seniors, especially those living in nursing homes. Many seniors report feelings of loneliness and loss of purpose in life which leads to depression. However, these feelings and the onset of depression can be combated with hobbies. Hobbies provide purpose and joy to a person’s life, especially hobbies that require an individual to move or be outside. Seniors living in a nursing home can try new hobbies or retake old hobbies that they have put aside a long time ago.

There are many hobbies that seniors can participate in while living in nursing homes like:

  • Gardening
  • Singing
  • Golfing
  • Volunteering
  • Tai Chi
  • Low impact training exercises
  • Yin Yoga
  • Dancing
  • Writing
  • Water aerobics
  • Caring for a pet

These hobbies, especially those that require mild physical activity, have been proven to boost Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). The US National Library of Medicine found that BDNF increases the production of a protein in the brain which helps supports a healthy mind. Start a new hobby and support your mental health! You might even make some new friends in the process! When we set ourselves up for success, happiness will surely find us along the way.

grandma reading to child

Mixing Child care and Elder care

Children and senior citizens make a great mix. Taking children to visit somebody in a care center is beneficial to both the children and the residents of the facility. When the two generations make a connection, the senior and the child both feel a sense of purpose. The practice of visiting helps seniors who may otherwise feel lonely or isolated. The visit can also help to fill a void for a child who has no grandparents in close proximity.

When a child care center is located in a nursing home, the opportunities for visitation and social interaction are limitless. That is exactly what intergenerational centers have discovered. The concept of mixing two generations is not a new one–families have traditionally had multiple generations living in the same house. Now that people live longer, there are more seniors living in facilities for longer periods of time. They often feel lonely and isolated. The regular contact and interaction with children helps alleviate those feelings. The children also benefit when the child care center is combined with a nursing home. Many families live far away from grandparents, so the children seldom have the opportunity to visit them. The intergenerational center has an environment that facilitates relationships between the two generations.

Several communities have seen various forms of intergenerational centers in recent years. When the seniors and the children are given the opportunity to interact, both sides see success. In some places, an existing nursing home has opened a child care center on their premises. In other places, children are taken to visit a nursing home as a weekly outing. Whatever kind of interaction and activities are planned, the seniors and the children both benefit.

For those who do not have loved ones nearby for visitation, OurSeniors.org was established to help provide the important social visits for residents of facilities. Volunteer or donate to help correct this problem that can so easily be resolved.

senior woman

Helping a Loved One Transition to a Care Facility

Moving is thought to be one of the most stressful events in life, ranking right up with divorce and death of a loved one. When the scenario is moving into an assisted living facility or nursing home, the stress level is heightened. The anxiety comes from a few different factors. A senior moving into a care facility is dealing with the loss of a certain amount of independence. The family and friends of the senior are also having to face the aging and decline in the health of a loved one. There are some strategies to put in place that can help everyone cope with the move of a loved one to a care facility.

Careful planning can help alleviate some of the stress. Creating a timeline that provides plenty of time for organizing personal items is important. The senior may have a lifetime of mementos to sort, and they will need time to determine which items to keep. Schedule extra time to avoid any feelings of being overwhelmed by the tasks.

It is also important to focus on the positive aspects of the move. Talk about the opportunity to meet new people and to participate in on-site activities. Emphasize the safety and ease of having staff always available for assistance.

The most important part about the move is for the senior to still feel like a part of the family and their social circle. This happens by scheduling regular visits to the facility. Give the senior an opportunity to hear the family news and share pictures from events they cannot attend. During the transition time, regular visits are critical. Without social calls, a resident will feel they have been abandoned by loved ones. A single visit to a senior in a care facility can brighten their day, but scheduling regular visits is most beneficial. The social safety net of consistent visits allows the senior the gift of time during their transition. Without feelings of loneliness and abandonment, they will have an easier time of making friends within the facility. For the resident, a regular schedule of visits provides something to look forward to. It also gives the resident the assurance that they are still important enough to be included in plans with loved ones.

For those who do not have loved ones nearby for visitation, OurSeniors.org was established to help provide the important social visits for residents of facilities. Volunteer or donate to help correct this problem that can so easily be resolved.

Alone and Lonely are Not the Same

Some people enjoy spending time alone, but that is very different from feeling lonely. Loneliness and feelings of isolation go hand in hand and often lead to depression and other problems. Health risks stemming from depression can be just as serious as high blood pressure, obesity, or smoking. The good news is that this is a health issue that can be resolved.

Human beings are social animals who spend most of their lives surrounded by other people. A typical social circle includes family, relatives, neighbors, school pals, church groups and co-workers. Although some of the relationships become more meaningful than others, they all contribute to that needed component of socialization.

When people age, several factors can change their social connections and habits. Their social circle naturally dwindles as friends and family pass away. A loss of driving privileges limits the possibility of independent outings. Hearing difficulties make conversation difficult for both the speaker and the listener. Loss of strength and other health issues make mobility harder and harder. While all these factors can contribute to the feelings of loneliness and isolation, one of the prime factors is a move to a nursing home or assisted living facility. Friends and family often lose touch and neglect to go for regular visits.

There are many explanations for why an elderly resident in a facility does not get many visits. Sometimes, loved ones have a difficult time accepting the move on an emotional level or the facility might simply be too far away to be convenient. But the resident needs to have social visits to ward off the feelings of loneliness and isolation. The social interaction provides a feeling of self-worth for the resident. Even a short visit is invaluable in the life of a lonely senior.

OurSeniors.org was established to help provide the important social visits for residents of facilities who otherwise receive little or no social calls. Volunteer or donate to help correct this problem that can so easily be resolved.

senior in a wheelchair

Volunteering to Visit an Isolated Senior

In recent years, assisted living centers and nursing homes have become popular lifestyles for seniors. The facilities are numerous throughout Central Florida where there is a significant population of seniors. The accommodations offer needed assistance for those who are unable to care for themselves. For some people, the lifestyle offers an active social life and many visits from loved ones. For others, it can turn into an isolated life that leads to depression. The isolation can occur when health and mobility issues prevent socialization, or when loved ones avoid visiting. For a lonely senior who lives in a facility, a visit can provide the comfort to relieve the feelings of seclusion.

When arranging a visit to an unfamiliar senior in a facility, some planning can help the visit to go smoothly. After deciding on the best time and day for the social call, try to find out about the background and interests of the resident. Someone who enjoys literature might appreciate having a visitor read to them. Others, might want to dictate a letter. Some residents might even enjoy playing a game of cards. Of course, conversation is always a good activity too when common interests can be found.

It is also important to remember that the length of the visit is unimportant. A 15-minute stay can feel like a lifeline to a lonely senior. On the other hand, a visit that lasts too long can also be exhausting for both the visitor and the resident.

Ourseniors.org is on a mission to reach out to isolated seniors in the local community. Help bring joy to their lives by donating or volunteering to visit a facility.

grandma reading to child

Bringing a Child to Visit a Loved One

When planning a trip to a nursing home or assisted living facility to see a loved one, the question of whether or not to include children may surface. Of course, the individual situation will need to be considered, but it can be a fun and rewarding experience for both the child and the resident.

As with any excursion, preparation is the key to having a successful visit between an elderly loved one and a child. Begin the planning by discussing expectations with the child. Explain any health conditions in a way the child will understand – whether the loved one will look different, or have difficulty remembering faces and names. The arrival of a child in a facility can be an exciting event for all the residents, so the child should be prepared for the attention. Many of the residents may want to talk or interact with the child, so discuss how to react to that attention.

The other part of preparing for a child’s visit is to plan an activity. This will depend on the abilities and interests of both the child and the senior. Some children might enjoy playing a card game with the senior, others might like to read a story aloud. By the middle of elementary school age, a child could prepare some questions and interview the senior. These are just a few suggestions to help decide on an appropriate activity.

OurSeniors.org sends volunteers to nursing homes and assisted living facilities to provide comfort through visitation. It can be especially heartwarming for children to experience the visitations too. Visit a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility, then help us to help somebody who feels isolated.

visit a senior

Visit a Senior and make their day!

Humans are social animals, even when they become senior citizens. As youngsters in school and as adults in the work world, people are encouraged to interact with others and make friends. But what happens when an older adult is sent to a nursing home or assisted living facility? They find themselves in an unfamiliar environment and living with virtual strangers. The same circumstances that make these facilities the best living option for medical and custodial care, also isolates them. Health issues, such as limited mobility or hearing impairment, can make it difficult to socialize. Some individuals are determined enough to overcome the obstacles and make new friends. Unfortunately, the more common scenario is a senior who feels isolated and hopeless.

Visits to these people can make a huge impact on their mental health. A few minutes of conversation with an elderly person can break up their day, give them something to look forward to, and keep heir mind active. Many researchers believe that the visitor often feels as much benefit as the person receiving the visit. Take the time to visit somebody in one of these facilities to experience the win-win feeling.

OurSeniors.org exists to reach out to those feeling isolated in local facilities. Through donations and volunteer efforts, Ourseniors.org is dedicated to visiting and comforting the elderly population in the community.