Hospice Way: CARE During End of Life Stages

Considered to be the model for quality, compassionate care for people facing a life-limiting illness or injury, hospice care involves a team-oriented approach to expert care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes. Hospice focuses on caring, not curing and in most cases care is provided in the patient’s home.

“At the center of hospice and palliative care is the belief that each of us has the right to die pain-free and with dignity, and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so,” Aubre Phillips, Director, A Place at Home Omaha.

Aubre understands first-hand what it’s like for a family member to go through hospice. While providing majority of the care for both of her grandparents during their end of life stages – she witnessed just how challenging it can be for the patient and patients family.

“There are families all over the place with a loved one in their last days. It can be incredibly difficult to see someone during this time – many people experience hallucinations, and overall, it’s just a painful process,” Aubre expressed.

Although she realizes the hardships that come with a loved one passing, she doesn’t view death as the end, but rather a new beginning.

“I don’t believe that death is necessarily the end – it’s the passing to the next stage of our life. And I would imagine that that’s really painful and stressful. We need people who can be here helping to support and guide those that are passing on to reassure them that it’s okay and to make sure that they are comfortable when they are on this journey,” Aubre said.

Aubre’s passion for providing end of life care birthed A Place at Home’s Hospice Way – a program dedicated to supporting hospice patients with the compassion and care they deserve.

“A Place at Home has a team of specially trained caregivers that hospice is a passion for them. They understand that the journey is different for everybody, but that their role is to help the person passing on do so in as comfortable and with as much dignity as possible,” Aubre said.

What services are provided?

  • Manages the patient’s pain and symptoms;
  • Provides needed drugs and medical supplies
  • Coaches the family on how to care for the patient;
  • Delivers special services like speech and physical therapy when needed;
  • Makes short-term inpatient care available when pain or symptoms become too difficult to manage at home, or the caregiver needs respite time; and
  • Provides bereavement care and counseling to surviving family and friends.

Beyond Hospice Care

Our devotion to the seniors we care for continues even after they have passed away. In their loving memory and honor,  we plant a tree through the Arbor Day Foundation. The newly planted tree memorializes the family’s loved one forever, living on to provide future generations an enduring symbol of lasting peace and comfort.

A Place at Home is rooted in CARE.

Join us in expanding our roots by becoming a franchise partner.

A Place at Home: Strongly Rooted, Dedicated to CARE

family tree, tree of life, a place at home, senior care

Trees hold significant symbolism which represents our strong dedication to compassionate care for seniors in our community. The Tree of Life concept spans multiple schools of thought, running through art, religion, and literature.

In essence, the Tree of Life represents the intertwining of all living things. At A Place at Home, we believe in extending our branches to the senior community – giving them a continuum of loving care throughout the aging process.

Our Mission: Caring for the Family Tree of Life

Like others, we see beautiful, enduring trees as a symbol of the vitality of life, connecting those that came before us, and those that will carry on after we are gone. The tree brings to mind the idea of generations of families and ancestors. It stands for strength, stability, and nourishment.

The term family tree is so appropriate—like natural trees, its branches grow and extend. The leaves rustling in the wind appear similar, yet each has its own uniqueness and texture. Deep roots keep the tree stable and extract nutrients from the earth, helping it to develop, grow, repair and renew. We are devoted to developing the best care plan for our seniors and renewing hope for families.

For A Place at Home Senior Care, Trees Carry Powerful Meaning

The care that we provide to families and seniors in need are the roots supporting the family system–at a time when the added strength is most needed. For us, dedicated senior care is a means to help nourish the lives of loved ones, assisting families when they can’t do it all themselves. We believe that caring, above all else, is the path to ensuring generations can live on, through past, present and future, with hope and happiness.

From Symbolism to Imagery: Our Tree Logo and Living Memorials

The A Place At Home tree represents our commitment to improving the lives of all that we serve. Our devotion to the seniors we care for continues even after they have passed away. In their loving memory and honor,  we plant a tree through the Arbor Day Foundation. The newly planted tree memorializes the family’s loved one forever, living on to provide future generations an enduring symbol of lasting peace and comfort.

A Place at Home is rooted in CARE.

Join us in expanding our roots by becoming a franchise partner.

Senior Living Alternatives

When it comes time for the next place to call home.

It happens. At some point, you realize it is time to move out of your home. This move can be due to health, finances, or simply because it feels like the right time. Finding the right community that suits your needs can be a confusing and time-consuming task, but it doesn’t have to be.

A Place at Home’s Senior Living Alternatives program is a free, personalized service that helps seniors and families identify the senior care community that fits their needs – whether it’s independent, assisted, memory, or long term care.

We’ve already done the legwork.

Our Senior Living advisors are experts when it comes to identifying a senior living community in our service area that works for you. We’ve not only visited and placed our clients in these communities, but many of our Caregivers already provide services at these locations.

With a thorough understanding of the amenities, costs, available care services, activities and layout and design at each community, our advisors can easily narrow down the options based on your criteria and arrange for private tours so that you can feel empowered to make the right decisions.

Knowing that you or your senior have a trusted advocate makes transitions much easier.

Senior Living Alternatives offers:

  • No cost to families to use our service
  • Simplification of a complex process
  • Compassionate, knowledgeable advisors
  • Reliable information on available senior living options
  • Personalized service
  • Trusted referrals
  • Private location tours

Should My Parents Move to Assisted Living?

senior living alternatives

When parents are reaching a stage in life when they require more care or assistance with daily living tasks, they and their adult children face some important decisions. There is no perfect time to make a move to an assisted living facility and there are a variety of options in supportive living arrangements for seniors.

Some parents may decide against moving to assisted care living arrangements, and instead schedule in-home care as needed. Either option can work out well for your beloved Omaha senior parent or relative. If your family has reached the time to consider assisted living, keep in mind the following factors to help you make the right decision.

Care Levels Associated with Assisted Living

Typically set up like an apartment complex, each location has its own specific services. In general, you can expect assistance with some or all of these chores or ADLs (activities of daily living):

  • House cleaning
  • Meals
  • Monitoring for resident safety
  • Toileting and bathing assistance
  • Dressing assistance
  • Medication reminders or administration
  • Transportation
  • Arranged activities and socialization with other residents
  • Common areas like TV room, craft room, library, etc.
  • And more

Financial Requirements for Assisted Living

Monthly costs for assisted living can be concerning for many families. The median cost is over $3,500 per month currently – and some surveys place it higher. Costs generally include: One-time community fee, a basic monthly fee and additional service fees (for cares not included in the monthly fee).

When comparing the options, be sure to understand in detail what services are included, how often, and which services might require an additional fee – or a move to a higher care level. Nebraska does not regulate assisted senior living costs, but don’t let sticker shock delay your decision to take action. If you need assistance researching assisted living facilities in the Omaha area, or help with your decision, A Place at Home can help you.

Need Help With Your Decision About Assisted Living? We Can Help!

A Place at Home is an in-home senior care provider that also assists with transitions into assisted senior living arrangements. Our consultants can connect you with a senior living arrangement that suits your needs or help you consider other options for personalized senior care. We serve seniors and their families throughout the Omaha metropolitan area. Contact us today!

Paying for Long-Term Care

Have you thought about how you might pay for long-term care? Do you believe that Medicare is an option? What does long-term care insurance cover?

These are questions that many individuals, young or old, may ask themselves about paying for long-term care.

There are several ways to pay for care as you age, but Medicare is not one of them. Medicare is an insurance offered to individuals 65 and over. It will help cover medical visits, hospitalization, rehabilitation, and prescription medications only. Depending on the type of plan you acquire will determine how much is covered.

There are four primary ways to pay for long-term care:

  1. Private (Savings, Pension, IRA, etc.)
  2. Long-Term Care Insurance
  3. Veteran’s Aid & Attendance
  4. Medicaid

Private Pay

Private pay is pretty straightforward. You write a monthly check or have it directly deposited from your bank account to the senior living community.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-Term Care Insurance, on the other hand, comes in many different ways, shapes, and forms. This type of insurance can cover partial or full, short, or long-term. It can even have a lifetime value. So, if you are young and think about your future, your best bet is to purchase a life insurance policy that will deduct for long-term care when and if needed.

Veteran’s Aid and Attendance

Veteran’s Aid and Attendance is how many veterans and their spouses or widows can attain assistance. If you or your spouse have served in the armed forces during a specific time frame, fall under a financial parameter, and need support for daily living activities, this monthly aid can be a way to help pay.


Medicaid is an option if there is little or no money remaining. There are several senior living communities that will accept Medicaid upon admittance. Some require you to pay privately for a set number of months before rolling over.

If you are considering a move to the next place to call home, we can help. Our free Senior Living Alternatives service can help find the best way to pay for your future plans. Contact our Senior Living Advisor today. We are happy to help pave the way or navigate any of these payment options.

Useful resources about paying for care as you age:


What is Long-Term Care


Veteran’s Aid and Attendance

Making Independent Living Possible: Gertrude’s Story

Sometimes moving to an independent as opposed to assisted living community is the best option. That’s the way it was for 85-year-old Gertrude.

Gertrude was living in a nice two-bedroom apartment in a swanky part of town. She lived near several retail and grocery stores. She also lived off a beautiful lake and her apartment building offered an underground garage.

She was doing okay, but her 3 adult children, who all lived out of town, were starting to get concerned. They were worried that Gertrude might not be taking her medications properly and there was no one to make sure that she was doing so. They were also concerned that there was no one to check on her on a regular basis.

That’s when their son, John contacted me. He let me know when he was going to be visiting Omaha. We talked about the things his mother liked to do as well as what her budget looked like, and I proceeded to set up a couple of tours for one Sunday afternoon in June.

After our tours, he and his mother chose a community that was close to her current home. They liked the atmosphere and activities that were offered and the fact that it was very close to many restaurants and shops (just like what she was used to). She would have a full kitchen, yet two meals a day would be included in her monthly rent. Gertrude would also have a heated underground garage. However, she would still have transportation for those days she did not want to drive or there was bad weather. This community also offered a contingency plan with assisted living and memory apartments.

In lieu of moving to assisted living, her family opted for A Place at Home’s Care Coordination Program where our nurse, Denise, could provide medication assistance for Gertrude. Her medications would be kept in a lock box in her independent apartment. Denise could also accompany Gertrude to all of her medical appointments since her children all live out of town.

Today, Gertrude resides in this independent living community and is flourishing from daily activities and having access to so many public areas within the building.

Gertrude’s story is similar to many that I encounter every day. Oftentimes families aren’t sure what all is included in the different types of living communities, and drilling down all the details can be confusing and cumbersome (especially when the family members live out of town). Our Senior Living Alternatives service was designed to make sure families make the best decisions for their loved ones, and part of that service also entails assessing all the needs and how our other A Place at Home services might be useful in allowing the senior to live the best life they can.


Oh, the Amenities You’ll Find!

There are always things to do once you make the move to a senior living community.

Who says that happy hours have to end once you move into a senior living community? You can still enjoy your favorite cocktail; in fact, some communities even have a lounge that is not limited to happy hour.

Need your hair blown out or cut? Need a manicure? Don’t think that treating yourself is not in the picture, because it sure is. In fact, most communities also offer this amenity. Some even allow your regular hairstylist to use the facilities.

If the roads are bad from a snow or ice storm, your son or daughter does not have to worry about getting you to your doctor’s appointment. This is true even when the weather is wonderful. Transportation is yet another great perk of many communities. It is offered all year long and will even take you to the grocery store or an outing to the casinos, movies or dining.

When you pack your bags, make sure to leave those cleaning supplies behind, and while you are at it, get ready to say good-bye to doing laundry! Housekeeping is usually included in your monthly rent, or at the very least, for a minimal fee. Laundry is the same story. While many apartments are furnished with a washer and dryer, laundry service is regularly offered.

Lastly, be prepared to never be bored. Whether it’s going for a drive through Wild Safari Park in Ashland on a sunny day, learning to knit in the activity room or gathering to listen to a visiting jazz band in the lobby, most senior living communities have a plethora of activities that are sure to spark an interest or get you involved with something totally new.

Today’s senior living communities are designed to keep you comfortable, active and involved. Let me help you or a loved one find the senior living community that best fits your amenity needs!

Determining the Type of Senior Living Community to Best Fit Care Needs

How do you know what type of care at a senior living community is the best fit for you or a loved one?

It can be confusing when you first seek out senior living alternatives.  Many prospective residents make this move from their home, but others are coming from the hospital, or more likely, rehabilitation centers.  Everyone has a different story.

If you or someone you know is making the move, this does not necessarily mean that this should be made straight to an independent community.  If driving is a concern, most communities offer transportation.  However, if you also need assistance with bathing, toileting, dressing, grooming, etc., then assisted living is probably the best option.

Each community offers apartments with a base rent plus a care plan otherwise known as ADLs (Activities of Daily Living).  These ADLs will be added to the resident’s care plan.  Each prospective resident is assessed usually within a couple of weeks before moving in.  Once the assessment is completed, the community will go over the ADLs and what that additional cost will be.

If you are assisting someone who needs memory support, there are some things to consider.  There are assisted living community options that have a separate secured memory unit and there are communities that are secured and can support assisted and memory.  There are also some communities that are equipped for memory only.

If you are seeking a community for someone that is only having slight memory issues, then assisted living may be the way to go.  However, it’s a good idea to make sure that the community has memory support for when that time comes.  Many memory units or memory communities often offer an all-inclusive price.  They will still have someone from the community do an assessment before the move, but it will be solely to determine what ADLs that the resident will need.  Either way, the price will be the same.

If you or someone you know is seeking a senior living community, please call me so that I can be your senior living concierge.  The Senior Living Alternatives service is always free to families, and our knowledge of the various options and communities that might best fit your situation can be a huge time saver while providing you with the peace of mind that you or your loved one will receive the care they need.


Sam and Marlene: A Senior Living Alternatives Success Story

Our Senior Living Advisor shared a success story about a couple who were married for 53 years and needed to find a new place to call home.

Here’s the story of Sam and Marlene:

What would you do if your spouse was having memory loss?  Do you think you would be their sole caregiver?

Maybe these are questions that you might have never asked yourself. However, as the  Senior Living Advisor at A Place at Home, I see this situation often.

Recently, I received a call from a man named Sam.  Sam has been married to Marlene for 53 years. They were living in a house and Marlene’s memory had been failing for the last few years.  She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013.  Sam could no longer leave his house without Marlene.  Sometimes he would run to the store for about an hour, but he knew that it was no longer safe for her to be alone.  Sam enjoyed playing golf with his friends but now it had become difficult because of Marlene’s memory decline.

I sat down with Sam and Marlene at their kitchen table in their home.  We discussed options.  Did he want to hire in-home care for Marlene or move to a Senior Living Community?  Did he want to move with or without her?

Sam said that he was tired of taking care of a house and worrying about yard work and snow removal.  He wanted to simplify his life and still have his independence without worrying about Marlene’s safety all the time.  It was also important for him to reside with her.

Sam provided me with his budget and location.  Together we narrowed down the options based on their needs.  Next, I set up and accompanied Sam on tours of three Senior Living Communities.  Sam and Marlene each had Long Term Care Insurance.  Long Term Care Insurance can only be used if “care” is needed.  So, Sam chose a community that had Assisted Living apartments so that they could share an apartment together.  Sam moved in at care level 0 and Marlene moved in at care level 3.  Marlene’s long term care insurance started kicking in upon their move-in while Sam’s policy would not be active yet.

Today, Sam goes golfing with his friends and knows that Marlene will be safe in their Senior Living Community.  He can still reside and spend time with Marlene but is no longer her sole caregiver.

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the couple.

Understanding our Senior Living Alternatives Service

Have you ever had to help a loved one move from their own home to a Senior Living Community?

If so, then you will unquestionably understand how difficult this process can be, and that’s why A Place at Home offers our Senior Living Alternatives service.

This article will help you understand how I can make the transition an easier one for you or someone you might know.

Simply put, this is what I do every day.

My name is Kari McElderry and I am the Senior Living Advisor at A Place At Home.  My job is to assist individuals when seeking a Senior Living Community. I help ANYONE and it’s a FREE service.  Yes, I did say FREE.

Our first meeting can be at your home, coffee shop or on the telephone.  My job is to make it as convenient as possible for you or the guardian during this stressful time.  It is at this initial meeting when I assess the budget, care, amenities, and location.

There are many variables when it comes to the budget.  What is your monthly income?  Do you have a pension?  Do you own your house?  Are you a Veteran or a spouse of one?  Will you need a Medicaid waiver?  These are some questions that I may be inquiring about.

The care is also essential.  Are you seeking Independent, Assisted or Memory?   Will you need skilled?  Sometimes I speak with couples who need two different types of care.  I help them decide if they should move together or if it’s more feasible for one to stay at home.  They may even move to two different sections of a community.  Every situation is different.

Amenities also can play a part.  Do you want a chapel, transportation or weekly housekeeping?  How about a happy hour?  There can be many benefits to community living.

Sometimes this is what it’s all about.  Do you want to be near a family member, friend, church or shopping mall?  These are all things to consider.

Next, I narrow down the options based on all of the information that has been provided to me.  I have a matrix of all the Senior Living Communities in the Omaha/Council Bluffs metropolitan area.  I have also been to these communities.  This is all part of my job description and how I can assist.

Once we have discussed which communities are more appealing to your wants and needs, I set up and accompany the tours.  I am there to hold you or a loved one’s hand and help them walk through what is otherwise known to be a daunting process.  All communication between you and the Senior Living Communities can be directed through me.  This way you will not have several communities contacting you and making your decision a more confusing one.

Also, did I mention that I am a referral source for real estate agents; moving, sizing down, organizational and estate sale companies?  It is true for all of the above.

Just consider me as your personal concierge when it comes to a Senior Living Alternative.

I am a one-stop-shop for a Senior Living Transition and it’s absolutely FREE.  I can be reached at 402-218-1868.  Let me know if I can assist you or someone you know today.