All posts by macintosh

Communicating When Your Loved One Has Dementia

A person who has dementia may have difficulty finding the right words; they may repeat certain sounds, words, and phrases, seem confused, and be unable to adequately express themselves. This frustrating condition causes people to feel helpless, anxious, irritable, and depressed – a very difficult state to witness, especially when it attacks a person who is very important to you. Many family members of dementia patients feel as if their loved ones have become mere shadows of their former selves. Fortunately, between the confusion, there are good days and bad, and remarkable moments when the loved ones they remember shine through.

If you are facing the challenge of communicating with a parent who has dementia, these guidelines may be helpful:

Avoid Distractions

Communicate with your parent in an area that allows her to focus all of her mental energy on the conversation. Do not attempt to converse in crowded place, in front of the TV, or while the radio is playing.

Be Prepared

If your parent wears glasses, make sure they are on before you begin so that she can see you clearly. If she has hearing aids, make sure they are in and working. Do not approach your parent from behind, as it may startle her.

Be Positive

Create a positive mood by speaking to your parent with a calm tone and pleasant approach. Be careful to avoid sounding condescending or disrespectful. Use facial expressions, gestures, movements, and touch to convey your message and show affection. Avoid using childish terms such as diapers, bibs, and potty.

Be Clear and Specific

Speak in a clear, distinct voice and use using simple words and sentences. Say your parent’s name, your name and the names of anyone else who is present or is the subject of your conversation and avoid the use of pronouns.

Keep Conversations Simple

Instead of asking your parent open-ended questions, like “Tell me about the house you grew up in,” frame your questions in a simple form that will require a simple answer like “Did you grow up in an apartment or a house?” If conversation becomes difficult, a pen and paper can sometimes be helpful.

Focus on One Topic

To avoid confusion, isolate your conversation to one topic at a time. As the illness progresses you may have to initiate and guide your conversations.

Utilize Non-Verbal Cues

Put your parent at ease with a smile, reassuring touch, and friendly tone. Position yourself at her eye-level and maintain eye contact.

Use Repetition

After listening to your parent, repeat what you understood back to her. You may need to repeat yourself several times. And, at times, it may be better to wait a few minutes before trying again to communicate.

Ignore Inaccuracies

With dementia comes confusion and delusion. Disagreeing with your parent’s statements is not likely to change her mind. When you disagree with what she is saying, whether it is due to logic or opinion, it’s best to let it go.


Reminding your parent of the good times in her life is likely to have a soothing effect. While short-term memories fade fast with dementia, long-term memory often remains in-tact.

Be Patient

Stay calm and expect communicating with your parent to take time. Do not interrupt her or finish her sentences unless she asks you to help her. If the time comes that your parent is unable to respond verbally, don’t give up; continue talking to her to demonstrate that you still care.

Laugh it Up

Whenever possible, engage your parent with humor to reduce stress and lighten the mood.

What Matters Most?

It is very difficult to see your parent losing their ability to communicate. Try to be patient and understand that even if she cannot properly express herself, she may be able to respond to you and fully experience feelings and emotions. The core relationship that you seek to cherish is still present.

The MacIntosh Company has multiple Ohio locations that provide short-term post-hospital inpatient rehabilitation and skilled nursing orthopedic, as well as respite care. Long-term services include assisted living, intermediate care, and memory care for your convenience. If you would like to know more about the options available at a location near you, please contact us.

Must-Haves When Downsizing to Assisted Living

When you’re preparing to make the move to an assisted living community, it can be a little intimidating to contemplate the downsizing process (also known as rightsizing). Many of us have lived in our homes for decades, which makes it difficult to imagine what our life will look like somewhere else.

However, there are a lot of benefits to downsizing and if you’re making the move to an assisted living community, you’ll want to have all the right tools before you dive in to make it as hassle-free as possible.


Related: Making the Move to Assisted Living


What Is Downsizing?

Downsizing is the process of reducing the current contents of your household, often in preparation for a move to a more compact living space. It involves evaluating your possessions to decide which still bring value to your life, and which have served their purpose and are ready to be set aside.

Downsizing is often called “rightsizing” because in many cases, moving to a smaller living space is the right fit for older adults’ lifestyles. Some of the benefits of downsizing include less stress over maintenance and upkeep, more leisure time, and less clutter.

How to Downsize for a Move to Assisted Living

Of course, downsizing is not without its challenges. When you go from a large home you’ve lived in for years to a smaller space, it can be difficult to decide what you should keep and what you should dispose of or donate. The question becomes, “What will I need? What can’t I part with?”

The first step you should take when downsizing is to obtain a floor plan and measurements of your new apartment. This will allow you to create a floor plan for where your belongings will be placed in each room.

Then, it’s time to start sorting through your belongings to decide which ones will make the transition. You’ll want to determine which belongings mean the most, but also which items will fit in your new home.

One tip: don’t start with sentimental possessions like old letters or family pictures when you begin to sort through your things. That will slow down the process as you’ll naturally want to spend more time poring over those items.

The next step is deciding what to do with the things that won’t be making the trip to your new apartment. Ask your family members if there are any items they would like. Whatever is left over can either be donated, sold, or properly disposed of.

If you’re looking for ideas of where to donate items, you might like this helpful list of charities and the items they accept from AARP.

What to Bring to an Assisted Living Community

One question many people have when making the transition to assisted living is “what will I need?” This is an excellent question—it’s the best way to determine what makes the cut.

We’ve compiled a packing list to help you get a feel for what you’ll need in assisted living. In general, the must-have items you will need include:

  • Furniture for your bedroom, living area, and kitchen
  • Bedding, pillows, and comforters
  • Towels and washcloths for the bathroom
  • Kitchen appliances such as a toaster, coffee maker, and microwave
  • Televisions and remotes
  • Clocks and alarm clocks
  • Kitchen accessories including plates, bowls, cups, silverware, and cooking/baking utensils
  • Cleaning supplies such as dish soap and laundry soap
  • Lamps and nightlights
  • Wall art and family photos
  • Computer and/or tablet device
  • Games, cards, and puzzles to enjoy with family and friends
  • Radio and/or CD player
  • Favorite snacks and drinks
  • Seasonal decorations, such as wreaths for your exterior door
  • Hobby supplies
  • Books, movies, and magazines
  • Closet hangers

And don’t overlook personal items and hygiene products, such as:

  • Clothing for all seasons
  • Robe, pajamas, and slippers
  • Coats and outdoor footwear
  • Leisurewear to participate in wellness activities
  • Toiletries and personal care items

Our final suggestion is to set up a secure box for important legal and medical files. Use it to store documents and medical information like insurance cards, living wills, and a durable power of attorney.


Related: The Emotional Side of Decluttering


If you have any other questions about making the move to assisted living or are interested in learning more about one of our assisted living communities, feel free to contact us at any time.

Do My Senior Parents Need Immediate Help?

Dear Tess,

My sister, who lives in the Columbus area, usually helps out Mom and Dad, because my husband and I live out of state. Although we try to visit during holidays, my sister is the one who takes care of my parents on a regular basis.

When we visited at Thanksgiving, I was appalled by my parents’ condition. Both Mom and Dad have lost weight. Mom is really unsteady on her feet, and although she insisted on trying to help prepare the meal, we had to watch to make sure she didn’t fall. Dad refused to wear his dentures, saying they hurt his mouth, and when I tried to persuade him, he smacked my hand away.

Dad was also complaining because my sister won’t let him drive anymore. He yelled at the kids for playing and frightened them. He just doesn’t seem like the calm, even-tempered father I remember.

When I tried to talk to my sister, she told me she’s suggested every kind of help possible—home health, senior daycare, even a nursing home. Dad has absolutely refused to consider anything.

I’m not an expert so I don’t know how bad their condition is. How can I find out what to do or where they should go?



Do Your Parents Need Immediate Help?

Dear Gabrielle,

It’s not uncommon for adult children who don’t live nearby to be shocked at a parent’s decline. Oftentimes, family members who see them frequently don’t even notice the signs. Your sister is certainly doing her part by noticing there’s a problem and attempting solutions.

Some of the signs a parent may need help are covered in our blog here. Your concern is whether they need help immediately and, if so, how to get it.

Signs Your Parents Need Help Immediately

Weight loss and a change in temperament are both warning signs, but your parents are in no imminent danger from those. However, I am concerned by your mother’s unsteadiness. She could easily fall. Falls are the leading cause of injuries—fatal and nonfatal—among seniors.

  • Other signs that your parents need help immediately include:
  • Burn marks on cooking ware that may indicate your mother is forgetting to turn off the stove.
  • Unsafe or cluttered pathways in the home that may lead to a fall.
  • Failure to take life-saving medication, such as cardiac or diabetes medicine.
  • Skin breakdown, which may cause infection.
  • Confusion when performing daily tasks.
  • Difficulty standing up.
  • Use of second-floor bedroom if a parent is unsteady on their feet.
  • Uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Rotted food in the refrigerator or cabinets.


Care Options

You and your sister are best suited to make an assessment of their home environment, but you should also take your parents to their doctor and express your concerns as soon as possible. Any one of the above problems can lead to life-changing consequences if you delay. If you determine your parents’ circumstances must change, you have three general options:

  1. Hire a home health aide to help out and commit more time to their care.

  2. Move them in with you or your sister or have your sister move in with them.

  3. Find a nearby assisted living or skilled nursing center to keep your parents safe and happy.

If you decide your parents need to move, the general rule is that if an adult needs help with two or more activities of daily living (ADLs), such as walking, eating, dressing/grooming, toileting, bathing and transferring/standing up, they would do best in a skilled nursing center. Otherwise, they may enjoy assisted living.

Please don’t consider either placement permanent. At all our MacIntosh Company care centers, our goal is to help your parents become as independent as possible while staying safe. We’re very proud of residents who needed our skilled nursing care initially or temporarily and then were able to return to assisted living or independent living!

Their doctor can help you with an assessment, information, and recommendations. Please feel free to give me a call at Whetstone at (614) 457-1100 or contact one of our other Central Ohio centers online if we can help. While no one can perform an assessment over the phone, we can tell you how other Columbus-area residents have handled similar situations.

You may also want to search our blogs to find additional information to help.

Caregiver Help

I’d like to point out several resources for caregivers. They are:

Please keep in touch and contact any of our care centers if you have questions.


Tessa Tweedlie, RN
Director of Nursing
Whetstone Care Center

Keeping Your House After Applying for Medicaid

Dear Tracy:

It looks like my grandfather will soon need skilled nursing. Our family has tried to help my grandmother keep him safe at home for as long as we can, but it’s becoming too dangerous for her to manage. He falls a lot and she is simply not able to help him get back on his feet.

We’ve been researching the costs of nursing homes in central Ohio, and it’s just not feasible for them financially. They live on a very fixed income. Their only real assets are their house and an older car my grandmother still drives. We’ve talked about applying for Medicaid to pay for Grandpa’s care, but we are worried they will take the house and leave my Grandma without a home.

What are the rules about Medicaid, nursing homes, income and assets in Ohio?


Dear Danielle:

It sounds like your family is in a tough spot. We hear similar stories from families in your position quite often. Fortunately, the Medicaid laws in Ohio are much more practical than they used to be. The legislature recognizes that leaving a spouse without a home solves one problem for a family but creates another one.


Applying for Medicaid for a senior? Here’s how to do it.


Top Facts About Medicaid in Ohio

Here are a few things you should know about Ohio Medicaid:

  • It will pay for a nursing home for an adult when it is considered to be “medically necessary.” This means the potential resident requires hands-on assistance with at least two of the activities of daily living: bathing, dressing, eating, grooming, transferring, toileting, and taking medication.
  • Your grandmother will be allowed to keep her car and her home, provided she or a dependent family member still lives in the home.
  • Your grandmother will also be able to keep some of the income and assets they share. How it works is that the state of Ohio assumes half of the assets your grandparents had at the time of your grandfather’s admission to a nursing home (referred to as the “Community Spouse Resources Allowance” or CSRA) belong to your grandmother and half to your grandfather, subject to a limit that changes annually. In 2022, that limit is a minimum of $27,480 and a maximum of $137,400.
  • Your grandmother may also be able to keep part of their monthly income if her own income is less than $3,435 per month (2022 rate).  
  • When you apply for Medicaid, Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services will tell you just how much your grandmother will be able to keep.

If your income is too high, a Qualified Income Trust is an option. See our article for more information.

Hopefully this puts your mind at ease about your grandmother so you can focus on getting your grandfather the care he needs! Please feel free to give me a call at (614) 875-7700 if you have any other questions!

Warm Regards,

Tracy Woods
Patient Financial Services Representative

Warning Signs that a Senior Needs More Help

Dear Regina:

I went home to visit my mother in the Columbus area over the holidays. It was my first in-person visit with her since last spring. Besides losing weight, she seemed a little disorganized and nervous during my stay. I’m not sure if this is just normal aging or signs that she needs help of some kind.

How do I know the warning signs of something more serious are and what can I do to get Mom the help it seems like she needs?


Evaluating a Senior’s Safety at Home

Dear Dan:

Senior care providers often receive frantic phone calls from adult children during the holiday season who find themselves in a situation like the one you just described. Older parents usually don’t want to bother busy adult children with their problems, especially when the kids live far away.

Here are a few warning signs that suggest your mom needs help:

  • Untidy home including piles of laundry, overflowing trash, and dirty dishes
  • Expired foods and evidence of a diet that consists primarily of convenience foods (i.e. frozen dinners) and fast foods
  • Decline in personal hygiene habits
  • Change in personality such as overly weepy or sad, short-tempered, paranoid or anxious
  • Unintended weight gain or weight loss
  • Bills piled up unopened on the counter or desk
  • Calls from creditors regarding unpaid bills
  • Withdrawing from favorite social organizations, church groups and hobbies

If more than one or two of these could be used to describe your mother’s current situation, your concerns about her safety might be warranted.

The best next step to take is probably to encourage your mom to schedule an appointment with her family physician or to allow you to do that for her. Together you can share your concerns with her doctor and ask for their advice.

It might be that a poor diet has led to her decline. If you enlist the services of an in-home aide to help with grocery shopping and meal preparation, you might be able to get back on track.

Or the physician may suggest that being isolated and alone has led to depression. A move to a senior living community where she can be active and engaged with life again could be the best solution for your mom.

We welcome you and your mom to contact us if you need help understanding the senior care options that are available to her in the Columbus area. Our team will be happy to help answer your questions and connect you with the resources you need.

Ragena McGuire, RN, Director of Nursing

Canal Winchester Assisted Living Special

Are you looking for an assisted living community that combines the security of care with the comforts of home? The Canal Winchester care community is the perfect place for you or your loved one. We provide assistance with daily activities in a modern as well as an active setting that allows residents to live independent, satisfying lives.

For more information, contact us online or schedule a tour.

Canal Winchester Assisted Living Services and Amenities

Assisted living offers the assistance older adults need, when they need it. Life doesn’t stop when you move into assisted living—in fact, there are so many activities and offerings to enjoy that you may find yourself busier than ever. Each day is up to you, though. Nothing is mandatory, giving you the freedom to do as you please.

Amenities and Hospitality

  • Private, one-bedroom assisted living suitesCanal Winchester amenities and hospitality
  • 24-hour professional nursing staff
  • Health and wellness monitoring
  • Medication management
  • Assistance with bathing, dressing and grooming
  • Housekeeping and linen service
  • Restaurant-style bistro menus prepared by chefs
  • Transportation
  • Emergency call system
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy available
  • Podiatry, dental, optometry and psychological services


  • Pet therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Creative arts
  • Games, cards and puzzles
  • Exercise programs
  • Cooking programs
  • Intergenerational programs
  • Social gatherings
  • Cultural programs
  • Clubs and special events
  • Scheduled outings

Ready to discuss moving in?

Contact Canal Winchester   Schedule a Tour of Canal WinchesterAssisted Living Apartments in Canal Winchester, Ohio

Assisted Living Apartments in Canal Winchester, Ohio

Canal Winchester has 47 spacious, private, one-bedroom assisted living suites. They feature:

  • Canal Winchester has 47 spacious, private, one-bedroom assisted living suites.Separate living, sleeping and kitchenette areas
  • Individually controlled heating and air conditioning
  • Emergency call system
  • Full private bath
  • Walk-in closet



Residents are free to decorate their suites as they wish.Residents are free to decorate their suites as they wish. We encourage you to personalize your suite with your own furnishings. See the suites for yourself by scheduling a tour. You can also view our assisted living floor plans online to get a better idea of the space (see floor plans marked “AL Studio”).


Canal Winchester: Make Yourself at Home at Our Central Ohio Assisted Living Community

Make yourself at home at Canal WinchesterCanal Winchester Rehabilitation Center, Skilled Nursing & Assisted Living is a friendly, welcoming care community that offers assisted living in the Central Ohio Area.

In addition to spacious assisted living suites, residents at Canal Winchester can enjoy communal spaces, such as:

  • Beautiful courtyards with walking paths
  • Well-appointed dining room, restaurant-style meals, room service and readily available snacks
  • Beauty salon and barber shop

With the help of provided transportation, they can also enjoy everything that the surrounding area has to offer. We’re located in Canal Winchester, a close-knit community with a strong heritage of farming and family values.

Continuum of Care

One major benefit of Canal Winchester is that we offer multiple levels of care all on the same campus, including long-term care and rehabilitation. Should you or your loved one ever be in need of more care, there’s no need to find another community and make a difficult move. Residents can receive the help they need from medical professionals who are already familiar with them.

In fact, our rehabilitation is so popular that many seniors who come to us for our rehab services later decide to move into our assisted living community.

Here’s what one resident had to say:

“I really enjoy living here! I like the people and staff, and I have made quite a few friends. I also like to take trips when we go on outings whether it be to lunch or out shopping. I think that Canal Winchester assisted living is a fun place to live!”

— Alma B.

Interested in taking advantage of our limited time move-in special?

Contact Canal WinchesterSchedule a Tour of Canal Winchester


How’s the Food in Rehab?

Dear Sharon,

My mother is having her knee replaced, and she will be staying at a Central Ohio rehabilitation facility to recover.

However, she is an extremely picky eater.

I’m concerned she won’t like the food and will be miserable during her stay.

Yours Truly,


Choose the Food You Like at Rehabilitation Centers

Dear Cynthia,

Your mother doesn’t need to worry about eating foods she dislikes because she’s able to choose the food she wants to eat unless she is on a restricted diet for health reasons. At most rehabilitation centers, patients (or family members if the patient is indisposed) select the type of foods they want to eat and can be as specific as asking for toast with strawberry jam each morning.

If your parent is temporarily unable to answer when she first arrives at a MacIntosh rehab center, we’ll work together with the family to develop a nutrition plan that accommodates your mother’s health and satisfaction.

Meals Should Be Appealing and Nutritious to Promote Healing

One of the main reasons driving high-quality dining options at rehabilitation and skilled nursing centers is that patients today have higher expectations for food. They are more knowledgeable about nutrition, have dined out on a regular basis and enjoy a variety of foods, from hamburgers and chili dogs to Chinese and Mexican food.

As a healthcare provider, I have seen how patients recover quicker and healthier when they are eating foods that are both nutritious and enjoyable for them.

Also, your mother is likely to heal faster when getting nutrients that promote healing, such as foods rich in vitamins C, D and zinc. It’s also important for her to stay hydrated for kidney function, which helps the body deal with illness and healing. Getting the proper nutrients and hydration is much easier when you have a licensed dietitian planning her meals.


Related: Quick & Easy Recipes You’ll Love Post Rehab


Tasty, Healthy Food Served at MacIntosh Rehab & Skilled Nursing Care Centers

At our seven Columbus rehabilitation centers, we offer a seasonal menu and alternative menu selections, as well as ethnic favorites and homemade soups and desserts. Our registered and licensed dietitians work with our culinary staff to provide a wide variety of made-from-scratch dishes specifically created to tempt the tastebuds of the most discriminating diner.

For example, one evening, the dinner menu included smothered pork chops, German potato salad, stewed apples, rye bread, a frosted brownie, and their choice of beverage. However, your mother can always choose an alternate meal. If she’s not on a special diet, you may bring in a favorite dish to enjoy, too.

We also offer a variety of tasty treats for her to snack on between meals. She can even order coffee service.

If your mother is on a low-salt, low-fat, or sugar-restricted diet, our dietitians work together with our dining services manager to ensure each meal is appealing and nutritious. We also monitor what your mother eats to ensure she’s eating enough to stay healthy.

Your mother can eat in our dining room, stay in her own room or join family and friends in our café. No matter where she chooses to dine, she’ll be served her meals when she’s ready to partake.

If you have any additional questions about skilled rehabilitation, call West Park Rehab & Nursing Center at (614) 274-4222 or contact any of our Central Ohio communities.

Best Regards,

Jeremy Evans
Rehabilitation Manager
New Albany Rehabilitation, Skilled Nursing & Assisted Living