"Hands and hearts working together" We had a wonderful time making val-grams and packing sack lunches for Saturday Breakfast Outreach missions.❤
10 fun things to do with someone in a assisted living
1. Keep them connected with family
Seniors living in a care community can get lonely because they have so little contact with family. Use your visit as a chance to keep them connected and reassure them that they’re not forgotten.
To keep them in touch with family members, you could bring visitors with you – especially children, teens, or someone who might feel too awkward to visit on their own. For family members who live far away, arrange video chats or phone calls so they also have a chance to virtually visit with your older adult.
When bringing children to visit, you might want to bring a puzzle, art project, or simple game so they’ll have something fun to do with your older adult. A shared activity helps them bond and keeps everyone happily engaged. Another idea is to encourage a young child to bring something for “show and tell” so they can share something they’re excited about. Sharing videos of the kids’ activities is another fun way to spend time together. They could watch a video of a soccer game, school play, or other event together.
Sharing current photos and videos is another way to keep your older adult in the loop on everyday family activities or trips. They’ll especially enjoy watching videos of the kids. You could even share Facebook feeds to show what family members have been up to lately.
When possible, include your older adult in family celebrations. If they’re able to attend in person, you could help them get excited about the event by telling them about the planning or asking for their input on food, music, or decor. At the event, take plenty of pictures so you can share and revisit the fun times during future visits.
2. Enjoy music together
Music has a universal ability to boost mood, reduce agitation, and increase happiness and engagement. It’s also a wonderful activity to share with your older adult.
When you’re together, play their favorite songs or set up a simple music player so they can listen anytime. You could sit and listen together, have an impromptu sing along, or listen as they reminisce over memories from younger days.
If you’re not sure what music they enjoy, ask relatives or bring a selection of songs that came out when they were young and ask which they like most.
Music is also an ideal activity when your older adult isn’t well or has reached a stage of their illness where they can only lie in bed. Soft music is calming, comforting, and something you can still do together. If you’re not sure they’re enjoying the music, watch their body language for clues. If they seem agitated, switch to something more soothing, lower the sound, or switch to a different activity.
3. Reminisce over old photos
Looking over old photos or videos is a great way to spend time together and strengthen your bond. You never know what stories or memories your older adult will be inspired to share. Photos are also a great conversation starters.
If you and your older adult would be interested in a project, you could even work on creating a family tree or family history – something that’s both fun and meaningful!
4. Bring a furry friend along
Petting a dog or stroking a cat is a highly therapeutic activity. The next time you visit, why not bring your pet with you? If your older adult is an animal lover, they’d probably be overjoyed to spend time with an animal, especially a beloved family pet.
Research has found that spending time playing with animals lowers heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels. And in the long term, interacting with a pet can even lower cholesterol, prevent depression, and protect against heart disease and stroke.
But before you bring a pet, check with the care community to make sure furry visitors are allowed.
5. Eat a meal or snack together
We all enjoy companionship when we eat. Whether you join them in their community dining room or take them out to a restaurant, sharing a meal is another way to bond with your older adult.
If mealtime isn’t the right time for a visit, you could still have a snack together. Bring a little “picnic” of tea and cookies, crackers and cheese, or something your older adult really loves. You could even jazz it up with a mock cocktail – add sparkling juice or bubbly water to lemonade, juice, or iced tea and put it in a nice cup!
6. Get some fresh air
You can also use the opportunity to help your older adult get some fresh air and exercise. Instead of staying in their room, take them outside to the courtyard or garden. That could mean walking slowly and supporting them as needed or pushing their wheelchair.
If the care community doesn’t have a suitable outdoor area, walking around inside the building is still a great activity – and good for their health.
7. Take them on short outings
Going out can be a treat for someone living in a nursing home or assisted living. If their health permits, a wonderful thing to do for your older adult is to pick them up and take them anywhere they’d like to go.
They might enjoy going to religious services, the hair salon, a drugstore, or the shopping mall. Or, maybe they’d enjoy eating at favorite restaurants, getting some ice cream, strolling through a museum or park, or taking a scenic drive. You could also take them to visit nearby friends or family members.
Discuss this idea with your older adult to see if they’d be interested. Some people may want to go out, but need your help to choose where to go. Offering two options is often helpful – shall we take a walk in the park or visit the ice cream shop?
8. Give a massage or manicure
Many people in nursing homes and assisted living would benefit from the therapeutic effects of touch. Depending on your relationship with your older adult, some pampering may be a great way to spend an afternoon.
You could bring some lightly scented lotion and give them a gentle hand massage or bring some tools and give them a manicure. Women may even enjoy some nail polish.
Some people enjoy a good body massage. Consider giving a gentle massage while they sit in their usual chair. Use a very light touch (senior skin and muscles may be fragile) and massage their neck, shoulders, back, and arms – wherever you can reach.
9. Read aloud
Another fantastic activity is reading aloud. It’s a great way to connect and let them know how much you care without having to make a lot of conversation.
Reading aloud is especially good for older adults who are bedbound, not very responsive due to an advanced health condition, or those with vision impairments.
Bring one of their favorite books and read a chapter or two each time you visit. Or, you could bring an audiobook that both of you could listen to together.
10. Watch a TV show or movie
Watching TV or a movie is something we often do with friends and family – why not do it with your older adult? It’s another way to spend time together without feeling so much pressure to make conversation.
If your older adult has a TV in their room, consider getting them a DVD player so you can watch movies. If you have a laptop computer or tablet device and subscribe to a service like Netflix, you could watch whatever you like on-demand.
Ask them what they’d like to see – perhaps there are older movies or shows they’d love to watch again. Or, maybe there are current shows you know they’d love to see. No matter what you watch, it’s a great way to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
4 Tax Breaks Seniors Don't Want to Miss
Are you 65 or older? You may qualify for some special tax deductions and credits.
Everyone wants to pay as little as possible in taxes, but reducing tax liability is of special concern for seniors, many of whom are retired and living on fixed-income.
Fortunately, the government offers tax breaks to help older folks hold onto more of their hard-earned cash. Here are four tax deductions and credits every retiree needs to know about.
1. Larger standard deduction
Most people take the standard deduction rather than itemizing deductions -- or listing all their qualified deductions individually -- when filing their taxes. The standard deduction is a set dollar amount that you can subtract from your taxable income, based on your filing status. For most people, taking the standard deduction offers a better deal on your taxes than itemizing the deductions you're claiming.
Here are the standard deductions for each tax filing status:
Tax Filing Status
Standard Deduction for 2018
Head of household
Married filing jointly
Married filing separately
DATA SOURCE: INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE.
Adults who are 65 and older get an extra $1,600 added to their standard deduction if they're filing as single, head of household, or married filing separately. Married couples filing jointly may add another $1,300 for each spouse who is 65 or older, as can qualified widow(er)s. You must be at least 65 on Jan. 1, 2019, to qualify for this larger standard deduction for the 2018 tax year. This higher standard deduction reduces your taxable income, so you pay taxes on a smaller base amount, keeping more of your money.
2. Higher tax filing threshold
A higher tax filing threshold is not a tax break per se, but it may still help you save. You are required to file a tax return if you earned more than the standard deduction for your filing status. Because seniors have higher standard deductions, they can earn more money before being triggering the need to file a tax return.
Remember, taxable income includes money withdrawn from tax-deferred retirement accounts, and it may include your Social Security benefits, based on the result of the Social Security earnings test. This means your benefits may be taxed if your combined income -- your gross income, minus any tax deductions you qualify for, plus nontaxable interest and half of your Social Security benefits -- exceeds $25,000 for single adults or $32,000 for married couples.
If you're unsure whether you need to file a tax return, consult a tax professional or consider filing a return anyway. This is smart if you've had taxes withheld from your paychecks throughout the year or you qualify for refundable tax credits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income families, because you may get a nice refund back.
3. Tax Credit for the Elderly or Disabled
The Tax Credit for the Elderly or Disabled is worth anywhere from $3,750 to $7,500 for seniors 65 and older in 2018. This is a tax credit, not a tax deduction, so rather than reducing your taxable income, it reduces your tax liability dollar for dollar. So if you owe $5,000 in taxes and you qualify for a $5,000 tax credit, the two cancel each other out and you won't owe anything. You must be at least 65 by the end of the tax year in order to qualify for this credit.
The value of the credit will depend on your tax filing status and your income from other sources. You can calculate yours by following the instructions on the IRS Schedule R Form or by using its Interactive Tax Assistant tool. This is a nonrefundable tax credit, which means that you won't get any money back from the government if the credit you qualify for is larger than the amount you owe.
4. Catch-up contributions
Young working adults may contribute up to $19,000 to a 401(k) and $6,000 to an IRA in 2019. These limits are up slightly from $18,500 for 401(k)s and $5,500 for IRAs in 2018. But in either year, adults 50 and older are allowed to contribute an extra $6,000 to a 401(k) or $1,000 to an IRA. These are known as catch-up contributions, and they can help you increase your retirement savings and possibly reduce your taxes as well if you are closer to retirement.
Contributions to tax-deferred retirement accounts, like traditional IRAs and 401(k)s, reduce your taxable income in the tax year you make it. So if your salary was $50,000 last year and you contributed $5,000 to a 401(k), your taxable income would only be $45,000. By taking advantage of catch-up contributions to these accounts, not only do you increase your nest egg, but you also qualify for a bigger tax deduction this year.
Contributions to Roth 401(k)s and Roth IRAs will not reduce your taxable income for the year. The tradeoff is that you won't pay any taxes on Roth distributions in retirement like you will with tax-deferred retirement accounts. Stick to tax-deferred traditional 401(k)s and IRAs if you want to take advantage of the tax deduction this year.
If you use software to file your taxes or if you hire an accountant, you shouldn't worry about determining which tax deductions and credits you qualify for, or how much they're worth. But it still pays to understand the tax breaks that are available to seniors because you may want to modify your behavior, like increasing your tax-deductible retirement contributions, to reduce what you owe even further.
We have partnered with Elder-life Financial that can help with different Tax Credits. Give them a call today 833-626-6497
We had an amazing Activities Professional Week!!!
Thanks to everyone that helped enrich the lives of our residents. Special thanks to everyone that helped capture the moments Greg Jones, Sally Jo, Samantha Volk, Arlene Ahola, Randi Tollison, and Chelsey Barnes
Together we celebrated and had great times together.
We are looking forward to another year!!!!
Pics of highlighted activities:
What fun time at the shower we are all so excited for BFM Monica Ahola & Robert Rey. We are excited to welcome baby Jolene into our family.