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What to consider when choosing an assisted living facility for Alzheimer’s patients

Special considerations must be taken into account when finding an appropriate assisted living facility for a memory loss patient with a disease like Alzheimer’s. A person with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is easily confused and upset due to their memory loss issues, and that is something a facility must be prepared to handle.


An appropriate facility will have staff members trained to care for dementia and AD patients.

“There is certainly a difference between a CNA and a nurse and a CNA and a nurse that has actual training,” says Lori Steiner, RN, Director of Nursing at the Silver Cross Health and Rehabilitation Pavilion.

Friendship Manor nurses and staff are undergoing training with programs and seminars like those provided by the Alzheimer’s Association.


As a companion to trained professionals, the facility should offer programming and activities for memory loss patients. Research has found that staying active and exercising the brain seems to increase its vitality and also helps slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Steiner points out that Friendship Manor currently offers activities geared toward memory loss prevention, and the programs and activities offered will increase as Friendship Manor prepares to better serve memory loss patients.


As someone with AD may be prone to wandering and sudden mood changes, it is important that the facility in which they live is prepared for these behaviors.

There should be a level of security for the safety of these patients and other residents, including a separate living area and units that lock, according to Steiner.

Friendship Manor broke ground in October on converting a floor of one of its assisted living buildings to accommodate memory loss patients. The renovations will result in a state-of-the-art, secure wing with 15 studio apartments, a large community living and dining area, and specially trained staff members. The new floor is scheduled to open by next July!


The overall reputation of an assisted living facility is another factor to take into account—be sure to ask for recommendations from those who have experienced this search before! For more information on the new updates to Friendship Manor and the training of its staff, contact Lori Steiner at (309) 794-4165 or visit our website!




How to spot early signs of memory loss

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a progressive, irreversible disease affecting memory, thinking, and behavior. As the most common form of
dementia, AD is characterized by abnormal thinking, memory loss, and unexplained behavior.

As part of Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, Director of Nursing Lori Steiner, RN, at the Silver Cross Health and Rehabilitation Pavilion has shared signals of AD to help you spot AD early on and seek a physician’s help as soon as possible:


Memory lossIMG_1924

Asking questions repeatedly, forgetting or mixing up words, and getting lost in familiar places are all early signs of memory loss. Missing appointments or showing up for unscheduled ones may also go beyond simple forgetfulness.


Memory issues often lead AD patients to become suspicious or paranoid. They are living in an inconsistent world where they cannot remember how they got where they are or why they are there, and this can be frightening.


AD patients may also undergo unexplained changes in mood or behavior, like becoming short-tempered or angry when they never used to be. They are also prone to wandering, as they forget why they are in a place or where they are going.


These kind of signals may indicate early memory loss, characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. Be sure to contact a physician immediately if you or a loved one displays these symptoms. The earlier AD is identified, the more effective treatment will be.

Alzheimer’s gets worse over time, and there is no cure. However, there are treatments that can help slow it down. While treatment plans depend heavily on the age of the patient, options include memory classes, cognitive training exercises, and medications. Keeping patients in familiar surroundings to avoid upsetting or “triggering” the patient can also help.

“Certainly if it’s caught earlier you have a better chance of slowing the progression,” said Steiner.

For more information on the top-notch care given to Alzheimer’s patients at Friendship Manor, visit our website.

Linda Solis

A friendly face at the Manor for more than 35 years

Linda Solis has been an asset to the Friendship Manor team for more than 35 years. Serving our residents in a variety of positions, Linda has been with us since our beginning.Linda Solis

A graduate of Rock Island High School, Linda remembers walking by the lot that is now Friendship Manor. After its construction, she applied and joined the team on August 21st, 1970. She now works in the Office of Culinary Services, placing food orders, preparing employee work schedules and invoices, and answering phones on behalf of the chef.

“I started out as a cook, then took other positions,” says Linda. “I’ve pretty much done everything in the kitchen before I came to the office.”

Because she’s been at Friendship Manor since the start, Linda has seen a variety of changes in the community, from its construction to its procedures—but its commitment to residents has always stayed the same.

“I’ve seen many changes here,” says Linda, “It’s always been an enjoyable place to work and as the years go by, things improve, like their quality of care and our facilities.”

Linda cares immensely for the residents, and they’re her favorite part of working with Friendship Manor. She loves hearing their stories of how they grew up in their lifetime, and she’ll often compare that to how her parents grew up.

“I have a deep feeling for them and love to hear their stories and their histories,” says Linda. “Someday I hope to retire, but I just love working with the residents and the employees.”

Visit our website for more information on our staff who have been with us since our beginning.


Are you safe from scams?

Today’s seniors grew up in a different world. They grew up learning to trust people and hold on to their savings and wealth. Because of these values, seniors are now the targets of many scams. To ensure the seniors in your life stay safe from scams, read up on three common cons that are currently targeting the elderly.


Door-to-Door Sales
Knocks on your door used to mean the neighbor kids were selling Girl Scout cookies or coming to mow the lawn. Now, a knock on your door could be a scam artist waiting to prey on an unprepared senior. Also known as the “gypsy scam,” scammers will come to your door asking to do repair work. They bring a few people with them, and while one person is negotiating the contract the others rifle through the home looking for valued possessions – including wedding rings.

“These people come from out of town,” said Officer Sloan, Rock Island’s Elderly Service Officer. “They look for seniors who might be living alone and target them for house repairs. They then take money and don’t complete the project.” Officer Sloan reminds seniors to never let anyone they don’t know in their home, to always hire a legitimate company to do repair work, and to always negotiate a signed contract before any work is done.

Health Care Fraud
All adults over the age of 65 are eligible for Medicare, which makes them a target for healthcare-related scams. Many times scam artists will call seniors posing as Medicare representatives to see if the person on the other line will give up their personal information, including social security numbers and bank accounts. Officer Sloan reminds everyone that Medicare and Medicaid will never call you and will never ask you for your full social security number. If you receive a call, hang up and call the company back directly to ensure you aren’t being scammed. Remember to never give out personal information over the phone!

Financial Fraud
Financial fraud is one of the most common types of scams as it can be carried out via phone, social networks, email, or mail. Brian Yaklich, Compliance Officer at Blackhawk Bank & Trust, warns seniors of lottery scams.

“Seniors will often receive a notification via mail or email that they’ve won the lottery in a foreign country. They’re asked to wire a payment up front for taxes then receive a lump sum from the lottery,” said Yaklich. If you receive a notification like this, remember that Americans cannot win a foreign lottery, and this is always a scam to have money sent to someone.

Another common financial scam that occurs via phone is what bankers and police call a distress scam.  A con artist will call a senior, pretending to be their grandchild, and say that they are in jail or stuck in a foreign country and ask that money be wired to help them out.

“The scammers are hoping that you act and not think during these calls. When in doubt, slow down and ask some questions. Call your family to verify if it was them or not,” suggests Yaklich.


The best ways to stay safe from scams is to always be alert, ask questions, and think clearly. At Friendship Manor, we’re being proactive to keep our residents safe. Take a look at our activity calendar for potential sessions on keeping safe from scams and other activities at Friendship Manor!

Silver Cross Steps June 2013 (103)

Silver Cross provides health and rehabilitation to more than just residents

In the spirit of helping the community at large as well as residents, the Silver Cross Health and Rehabilitation Pavilion provides physical, occupational, and speech therapy on an in and out-patient basis.

The Silver Cross Health and Rehabilitation Pavilion provides rehabilitation therapy to both in- and outpatients with a physician’s order. In the case that a patient doesn’t have a physician’s order, Silver Cross can help him or her obtain one if appropriate. Likewise, most insurance plans are billable through Silver Cross.

According to the Director of Rehabilitation at the Silver Cross Health and Rehabilitation Pavilion Mark Leverenz, OTR/L, Silver Cross specializes in problems often affecting seniors like balance deficits, joint replacements of upper and lower body, stroke rehab and other neurological impairments, and general strengthening and conditioning.

“[Programs are] all for the purpose of helping the person improve their level of functioning back to the point before they had their injury or illness,” said Leverenz.

These treatment programs utilize new technology like the Biodex Balance System—a computerized balance assessment and treatment tool—and NuStep exercise equipment, which helps patients regain range of motion.

“Anything that has caused a decline in function, we can address it,” said Leverenz.

More information can be found on our website, and any questions about outpatient rehabilitation and therapy services can be directed to Leverenz at 309-786-9334.


Your packing list for a short stay at a rehabilitation facility

A short stay at a nursing home or rehabilitation facility lasting around 20 days is not uncommon. After working out the details of the stay, someone may find herself asking, “But what do I pack?”

First, be sure to pack clothing. No, short stay patients will not be living in an open-back hospital gown for 20 days. Yes, Friendship Manor staff is happy to do laundry each week. Pack enough outfits for about five days, including underwear, pajamas, and slippers. Don’t forget proper clothing for outdoor excursions, too, like a coat, hat, and gloves if it will be cold.

In terms of personal care, most toiletries are provided at our Silver Cross Health Care and Rehabilitation Pavilion. Shampoo, soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and items of that nature are available.

Admissions Coordinator Sigred Chasey advises, “We do provide [toiletries], but if you have a favorite shampoo or lotion you want to bring… well, I recommend you do that!”

Electric razors for men to shave, hearing aid kits, and denture care products should be brought from home.

However, most medication should probably stay at home, as medication may be brought in for respite care only, according to Chasey. Otherwise, “medication will be ordered for you,” she says.

Lastly, bring something to pass the time!

“There is down time… you do have to fill that time,” says Chasey.

While Friendship Manor offers a wide variety of activities, those going through rehabilitation or respite may not be up to taking part. Chasey recommends bringing books, an iPad, or other things to entertain oneself during a short stay at the Silver Cross Health Care and Rehabilitation Pavilion.

Learn more about our nursing and respite care on our website!


Assisted or independent living: that is the question

In the age of choices, it can be difficult to make decisions these days. Doug Higgins, R.N., Assisted Living Nurse Manager at Friendship Manor, has some pointers for figuring out whether your loved one is in need of assisted living or independent living services.

According to Higgins, the main deciding factor is the extent to which someone can accomplish activities of daily living. These include meal preparation, feeding, dressing and bathing oneself, ambulation (moving from place to place), and otherwise being able to take care of personal needs.

While services are available to help with these activities at a certain level in independent living situations, Higgins says, “There will be a point where that level exceeds what staff can provide with those services.”

For example, residents may need to be cued to eat or take medication. “There are times when patients really don’t have the ability to deliver medication to themselves in a way that is safe and consistent,” says Higgins.

In an assisted living situation, residents can be checked on as often as every two hours, providing a level of monitoring and safety that is not available in independent living.

So really, the choice between assisted living and independent living depends on how able a person is to take care of themselves with limited additional services.

“Someone may be able to ambulate with a walker, but going to meals and such might be beyond their ability,” says Higgins. “Bathing is the same thing.”

In order to help figure out exactly how much independence someone can really manage, Friendship Manor provides formal assessments, in which health professionals go into a resident’s apartment home and score their daily activities in order to find out which level of assistance is most appropriate.

“If there are any doubts [about a family member living at home],” says Higgins, “contact a facility—or multiple facilities—to have them do a formal assessment to help make those decisions.”

While seniors should exercise as much independence as possible—“use it or lose it”—safety should always be the top concern. For questions about assisted or independent living at Friendship Manor, contact Doug Higgins at (309) 794-4171 or visit our website.


Things that affect your risk of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones that occurs naturally with age when bone tissue can’t replace itself as fast as it deteriorates, leaving them brittle and prone to fractures.

Falling on weak bones can lead to a debilitating broken hip or a fractured wrist, making osteoporosis especially dangerous for seniors.

Over time, osteoporosis begins to show signs in the form of back pain, loss of height and a stooped posture, and unexpected fractures.IMG_1924

Kristie Leverenz, a physical therapist at the Silver Cross Health and Rehabilitation Pa
, said, “Leaning forward, being unable to stand up straight, and fractures for any reason are possible signs of osteoporosis and the need to start getting treatment for it.”

If these signs start appearing, talk to your doctor. In the meantime, take some advice on what to stock up on and what to avoid to lower your risk of osteoporosis.

Things that will strengthen your bones:

Exercise: Strength-training and weight-bearing exercises like walking, jogging, skipping rope, or stair climbing—exercises that produce impact—will help strengthen the bones in your back, legs, and spine.

“Bone is made stronger by weighting and unweighting a joint,” said Leverenz, “so walking is an excellent activity to do for seniors.”

Calcium: Stored in bones, this mineral keeps your bones and teeth strong. Calcium can be found in leafy green vegetables, low-fat dairy, salmon, and other foods.

Vitamin D: This vitamin is essential in helping your body absorb calcium, so it works to strengthen your bones, too! Sunlight is a free source of Vitamin D, but there are also supplements available for higher doses.

“Not getting enough nutrients can decrease bone density,” said Leverenz. She advises a higher intake of Vitamin D and calcium, “which can usually be found in dairy foods or supplements,” she said.

Things that will weaken your bones:

Salt: Sodium helps transport minerals throughout your body, and too much salt will transport calcium right out of your bones, leading to low bone density.

Caffeine: Drinks high in caffeine like coffee and soda can weaken bones by ruining your body’s absorption of strengthening calcium. Try a glass of milk with breakfast instead!

Inactivity: “Long periods of inactivity from a fracture or other injury can accelerate the development of osteoporosis,” said Leverenz. It makes sense that if exercising can facilitate higher bone density, inactivity will lead to lower bone density and higher risk of severe osteoporosis.

Medications: Leverenz also added that steroid use may be a red flag to be tested for osteoporosis, as steroids affect the metabolism of minerals important for bone health like Vitamin D and calcium.

Bone health is important to overall health—especially in seniors. Stronger bones prevent potentially life-threatening fractures and breaks, so be sure to drink your Ovaltine!

Kristie Leverenz and the rest of our staff are dedicated to the health of our residents. See more about the services offered at the Silver Cross Health and Rehabilitation Pavilion!



Learn to prevent UTIs in seniors

Urinary tract infections in seniors can be very serious. Unlike younger people who just experience discomfort and inconvenience, UTIs in seniors can lead to serious health complications, such as altered states of consciousness, falls, and urosepsis, a serious infection.

Preventing UTIs in seniors is the best defense against potentially serious consequences. Doug Higgins, Assisted Living Manager and RN at Friendship Manor has tips for how to prevent UTIs in seniors.

Drink plenty of water

Staying hydrated is the single best defense against getting a UTI. Water is best, but persons prone to UTIs can also drink cranberry juice regularly, as it acidifies urine and fights bacteria.

“Most of us do not drink as much fluids as we should,” Higgins said. “Seniors should make sure they have ongoing and frequent replacement of fluids.”

Practice good hygiene

Scrupulous personal hygiene will help prevent most infections, but sometimes attempts to get clean can cause more harm than good. For example, using baby wipes for convenience can actually leave residue behind that can cause an infection. Also baths should be followed by a thorough rinse to remove soap residue and bacteria that may be in the water.

If you don’t have a hand held shower attachment, a spray bottle filled with water can be used to rinse off.

Wear loose fitting clothing

Cotton, loose fitting underpants are best for preventing UTIs. The material will let the area breathe and reduce the accumulation of bacteria.

Recognize symptoms early

If seniors do develop a urinary tract infection, early treatment will help prevent some of the serious complications that can develop. Early symptoms include a sense of urgency to urinate, going more often, and burning. Occasionally seniors will also experience fatigue and a low grade temperature when they have a urinary tract infection.

“The earlier you catch it, you can minimize the length of the disconcerting effects,” Higgins said. “Seniors’ immune systems are not nearly as robust as a young person’s and it can lead to very serious consequences.”

Friendship Manor provides skilled nursing care for its residents. Click here to learn more.



Meet Ron Miller, the friendly Friendship Manor bus driver

Ron Miller 1

Ron Miller is a familiar face at Friendship Manor, or rather just outside the Manor as residents board the Friendship Manor bus to visit destinations outside the senior living community.

The retired Moline firefighter, known as “Chief” to some residents for the last position he held, spends two days a week bringing residents to doctors’ appointments, shopping trips and the beauty parlor. It’s a service the residents enjoy having, especially those who have sold their cars or don’t like to drive in poor weather. But Miller enjoys it just as much as the residents.

“A lot of the people are from our greatest generation and talking with them is enjoyable,” said Miller who listens to everything from tales of yesteryear to the latest visit from a grandchild.

Miller is a favorite among the residents because he is always lending an extra hand, from bringing extra cloth bags on grocery day, to helping residents carry their bags inside their apartments.

“Ron is just an all-around great guy that is good with our residents and a fun guy to work with,” said Nancy Mann, Activities Director at Friendship Manor.

One of Miller’s favorite parts of the job is hearing how the landscape of the Quad Cities has changed over the years from residents who have been lifelong Quad Citians.

“They’ll say, ‘Oh I remember when that was just an orchard or field,’ ” Miller said. “I see how much the area has changed over the years from their perspective.”

When he’s not driving the Friendship Manor bus, Miller enjoys golfing when the weather is good and having a weekly game day with his parents. Miller said driving residents to their appointments and social activities outside Friendship Manor is a very enjoyable way to keep busy in his retirement.

“I like my coworkers and I like the residents,” Miller said. “I enjoy being part of making their lives easier.”

Click here to view our activity calendar to see what events Miller takes the Friendship Manor residents to.