Tips for Picking an Assisted Living Facility

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Haddonfield, NJThe decision to move a loved one into an assisted living facility can be especially difficult. Accepting the fact that you and/or your loved one no longer have the ability to consistently care for them is also hard to come to terms with. But, when it comes down to it, your loved one’s care and happiness is the priority. That is why picking an assisted living facility is an extremely important decision that should be done with plenty of research and care. It may seem as simple as using Google to find the place that offers residents the most for the cheapest price, but there is much more that goes into finding the perfect assisted living facility.

Unfortunately, one reason you need to be careful during this decision-making process is the staggering number of assisted living residents who end up abused. Despite the fact that state and federal laws require serious cases of abuse be turned over to police, NPR reports that 28 percent of serious cases of abuse across the country are not reported to the police.

It is important to note that this figure only relates to cases in which the abuse was serious enough to send a resident to the emergency room. The other 72 percent of abuse cases were reported, which is a step in the right direction but also indicates that abuse is still happening.

So, what things should you keep in mind when picking the right assisted living facility for your loved one? There are many things that need to be taken into account, and it’s best to start by compiling a list of assisted living facilities that meet certain requirements.

These requirements should include proximity to your own residence, price, and offerings. The location of the assisted living facility is important. In the event you are needed by your loved one, it should not be difficult for you to make your way there in a short period of time. The location also matters in terms of how close it is to a hospital, police station or fire department in case the facility itself has an emergency.

Price is always a big issue when it comes to choosing the right place. Some states are much costlier than others.

Those costs can go up if the resident needs special care for any reason. For example, a resident with Alzheimer’s might incur an additional cost of $1,000 on top of the monthly fee. The good news is that many states have other options available to help subsidize costs for those who might be unable to shoulder the financial burden. When looking at assisted living facilities, it is important to know your budget ahead of time and keep that in mind. Do not overextend yourself, and research any cost-saving options.

When it comes to looking at what an assisted living facility offers, there are a lot of things to consider. While this facility will ultimately be a place for your loved one to live and sleep at, you still want them to be in a place where they are not bored.

That means making sure there are regular activities offered. This may include game nights or field trips or having things like libraries where residents can pick up something to read. These types of offerings will help in keeping up the quality of life of your loved one.

Another important aspect of an assisted living facility to look at is the food they are serving their residents. Find out how they get food, what kind of food is offered and how many times a day food is offered. You want to make sure your loved one is receiving a healthy and balanced diet during their time there.

After compiling a small list of options, the next step to selecting an assisted living facility is to go out and visit the places in person. This is an extremely important step to take because of how facilities present themselves online can be vastly different from how they look in person.

Ask for a tour of the facility and have important questions prepared. You should ask about the ratio of staff to residents — a number that shows how much attention your loved one could be receiving. While you go on the tour and ask questions about things like maintenance, food, programs, etc., also use your senses to make observations.

The smell can be a dead giveaway to the cleanliness of the facility. If a place smells like stale urine, there is a chance it is not cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. Use your eyes to observe how the staff interacts with its residents. Take note if they use residents’ names and observe their general demeanor in terms of tiredness.

A good general question to continually ask yourself is: Would I be happy living in a place like this? If your answer is “No,” there is a good chance it might not be the best place for your loved one. It is also important to get input from your loved one and find out what interests they have or the things they hope to be able to do after moving into an assisted living facility. That conversation might be tougher for some than others, but it is one that should be had.

Throughout the whole decision-making process, you should be doing your best to find as much information as possible about the assisted living facility you are likely to choose. Ask friends, family or co-workers if they have had any experience with the facility or what they may have heard about it. Knowing the history of your potential choice can put your mind at ease or may reveal a good reason to not make that your final choice.

There is clearly a lot that goes into picking the right assisted living facility. You want your loved one to receive the best and most hospitable care without having to worry about abuse or neglect. Be proactive and involved in the decision process and figure out what seems to work best for your loved one and for you. At the end of the day, you will not regret the time and effort you put into making the right choice.

When A Drunk Driver Causes a Car Accident

When my mother was five, she watched her best friend get killed by a drunk driver. They were on their way to the candy shop that was located right across the street from my grandparents’ house when her friend realized she forgot her jacket. When she emerged from the house with her coat in hand, she sprinted across the street to join my mother. What should have been a momentary delay in a fun afternoon, instead turned to tragedy when a woman came barreling down the street in a truck, hitting my mom’s best friend and tossing her small body 50-feet into the air.

My grandfather ran out of the house and scooped her lifeless body in his arms. What I remember most about that story was my mother’s detailed account of my grandfather washing the blood off his hands in their kitchen sink.

My mother’s best friend, as it was later determined, was hit and killed by a drunk driver. Back in 1960, when the incident occurred, the punishment for driving under the influence wasn’t as harsh as it is today. The driver who took away that young girl’s life was hit with nothing more than a lifetime of guilt — and what I hope is regret — over the tragedy that devastated a young girl’s family, my mother and of course, the little girl whose life was taken before it ever began.

This story is a graphic (and difficult) read for many, just as it is for me to write. However, graphic accounts such as these are imperative to show just how dangerous driving while under the influence can be. So often we tend to believe that tragedies will plague “the other guy.” As my mother learned the hard way, sometimes the “other guy” is us. Ever since hearing that story — and seeking the kind of mark it left on my mother more than five decades later — has made me very passionate about drunk driving and the effects it has on car accidents.

Far too many families have had to grapple with the aftermath of a drunk driving accident, trying to put together the pieces of their lives after a loved one suffers a critical or fatal injury. Research from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), for example, shows that more than 10,000 people died in accidents tied to impaired driving in 2015. Young children are often the ones hurt or killed in these instances, too, since alcohol-related accidents make up around 16% of fatal accidents involving a child.

Why Are Drunk Drivers Are More Likely to Cause Accidents?

Anyone with a high a blood alcohol content (BAC) has a decreased ability to maintain control of their car and has decreased reaction times and overall judgment behind the wheel.

The person may assume that they are fine to drive but their faculties have been significantly impaired when affected by alcohol. The word impaired comes up often in descriptions of drunk drivers because when compared with their typical ability to operate a car safely, a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol does not have the same capabilities and protections. This helps to explain why my mother’s friend was hit in the first place, and even more so, why the driver kept on going before changing her mind and pulling off to the side of the road.

Drunk drivers are also more likely to engage in other risky behaviors such as speeding or driving on the wrong side of the road. It is not always easy to spot a drunk driver, meaning that passengers in other vehicles or another driver may attempt to respond in mere seconds and be unable to avoid a catastrophic accident.

Civil and Criminal Penalties Associated with Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is especially important to understand when an accident occurs because those who are hurt in an accident may be curious about who will pay their medical bills. Furthermore, authorities dispatched to the scene who believe that alcohol may have been a factor in the accident itself may be interested in gathering evidence that could be used to pursue a criminal case. These situations may call for a civil, as well as a criminal claim. These are handled separately in the court system.

The criminal allegations involve the assessment of penalties associated with breaking the law directly. Although the illustration of property damage and serious bodily injury can be used to show the severity of the accident and to support the fact that the person who caused it was under the influence of alcohol, the criminal case does not mean that the person who was hurt or who lost a loved one is entitled to damages.

The criminal trial for drunk driving is handled completely separately from any civil trial. A civil trial, however, may be brought by someone who has been seriously injured because of the drunk driver’s behavior or family members who have lost a loved one allegedly because of that drunk driver’s behavior. Although this may be carried out at the same time as a criminal trial and involve many of the same facts, witnesses, and evidence, it is completely distinct from the criminal trial that is seeking to pursue the penalties against the responsible driver.

A person who is injured in a drunk driving accident needs to do more than simply reporting their suspicion that the driver was under the influence of drugs to the police officers at the scene of the incident. They should also get medical attention to identify a proper diagnosis and to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer immediately regarding whether or not they are currently eligible to pursue a case.

Common Injuries in Drunk Driving Accidents

Because a driver can easily lose control of a vehicle when under the influence of alcohol, a broad range of injuries many of which may be severe, typically associated with drunk driving accidents. Many of the injuries from a drunk driving accident can have ripple effects throughout the victim’s lifetime, including costly medical bills and serious daily pain.

Drunk drivers can amplify the impacts of the accident by engaging in reckless behavior as well, and may not even realize how fast they were going for the type of behavior that they were engaged in at the time of the accident. Some of the most common severe injuries associated with drunk driving accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Fractures
  • Broken bones
  • Internal organ damage or bleeding
  • Scarring
  • Lacerations
  • Burns

A person who has sustained serious injuries in a drunk driving accident may not even realize it until he or she has gone to the hospital to get further medical attention after the accident has occurred. Many injuries such as concussions can be easily masked by the adrenaline and shock present at the scene of the accident in the injured person’s body. This is what makes appropriate evaluation by medical professionals extremely important for anyone who may have suffered a serious injury because of a drunk driver.

It is far better to be safe than sorry for anyone who is hurt in such an accident because the timely diagnosis of these conditions can dramatically increase the chances of a full recovery. Not everyone who is hurt in a drunk driving accident, however, will be able to recover in full and move on with their life after such a serious injury. As is the tragic case with my mom’s childhood friend — a cautionary tale of the catastrophic results of driving under the influence that’s stayed with my family for more than 50 years.

Helping Out Pregnant Employees

Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer Howell NJHuman resources managers and all upper-level staff should be committed to doing everything within reason to help pregnant employees feel comfortable at work. This makes for a more comfortable workplace overall and decreases the chances of future conflicts and litigation filed on behalf of upset employees. Employers have concerns about making everyone feel welcome and appreciated in addition to doing everything they can to cut down on risk, including the types of risks presented by a lawsuit.

What Makes Employers Hesitant About Addressing Pregnancy Openly

After an employee announces that she is pregnant, the employer may be mindful of doing everything possible to avoid problems. This can, however, make the employee feel more uncomfortable. The employer might be trying to avoid bringing up the pregnancy at all so as not to make the women feel singled out, but this can also make it seem like no one is acknowledging the pregnancy. 

The very act of having no plan in place and never talking about it can make the employee feel as though her job is in jeopardy or that she is being discriminated against because of the pregnancy.  All employers should be aware of this fallout and should do whatever possible to avoid it.

You Need a Plan for Transition with a Pregnant Employee

When a co-worker or employee in the office becomes pregnant, having guidelines in place and ideas about how to make this person more comfortable are recommended for companies of all sizes. From making the big announcement to co-workers to figuring out how maternity leave is going to work, being pregnant at work can be very difficult and stressful for a working mom to be.

A study recently completed by the care.com found that approximately half of working women today were scared about telling their boss of the news of their pregnancy. Women may be nervous about bringing up their news to their employer and human resources and managers alike can all take steps to help minimize these concerns and make a pregnant woman safe in her working environment.

Supporting working mothers throughout the transition to parenthood, all the way from the news of the pregnancy through maternity leave and coming back from maternity leave can help to establish an appropriate company culture that makes working moms of all types feel comfortable. There are several different ideas that human resources departments and employers can keep in mind as they build a company that has a powerful work culture.

Advertise Benefits Appropriately

Any work-family benefits developed and used by the company should be clearly promoted throughout the physical premises. This can be posted in the bathroom and in the employee break room to help remind employees, including working mothers, about the supports and benefits available for them that are specifically tailored for their unique needs. This makes it easier for them to identify their individual work-family concerns and to take advantage of what you already offer. This can also show that you are taking the interest of all employees seriously by being proactive about implementing programs.

Provide Flexibility

Many employers use what is known as an informal flexibility program, meaning that the direct manager of the employee in question is responsible for providing further information up to a pregnant woman. This can relate to all sorts of issues over the course of the pregnancy, however, such as how a woman needs to request time off from work for necessary prenatal appointments and work from home days permitted after maternity leave.

Employees may be nervous about accepting these benefits, however, because of the stigma about working mothers and their overall commitment to the job. However, formalizing any flexible work arrangements by putting them in the writing can help to minimize problems and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

These subtle measures should not be overlooked. An employer might feel that if something is not as established as a support group that it’s better to avoid doing anything. However, no plans or information available in the workplace is just as bad and leads to confusion about workplace culture.

Any company today must have an idea of how to incorporate family concerns and other issues outside of the office, as at some point these concerns will inevitably have an impact on one employee or another.

Establish A Transition Plan

The transition to maternity leave might look slightly different from one employee to another, but documenting these guidelines in written format and referencing them with new and current employees alike can help to show that you have done your due diligence in putting together a plan that makes everyone feel comfortable and gives employees an opportunity to answer questions. This maternity leave checklist/timeline should include instructions for handing over projects and verify that coverage will be in place during the leave. This helps to reduce stress for the teams taking over the additional responsibilities as well as the working mom-to-be.

Create A Reintegration Plan

Much of the legwork associated with helping a pregnant woman feel comfortable in the workplace has to do with documenting your guidelines for how things may look over the course of the pregnancy and when she returns from work. A reintegration plan should be considered just as important as a transition plan before the departure.

Employers who are leading the way with parent-to-be policies may have the option to work from home one or more days a week or provide connections to new support groups within the workplace. This can help parents re-adjust to being in the office after their leave. This could alleviate an employee’s stress related to the workplace during the course of pregnancy and also make them feel more confident when they are making their way back into the office after time away for maternity leave.

Human resource managers and employers have a responsibility to ensure that they have thought of various options and established clear guidelines and protocols that make it clear to all employees, how things will be handled when a woman becomes pregnant.

Winter Activities The Whole Family Can Enjoy

Slip and Fall Lawyer Newark, NJThere is nothing quite like being able to experience all four seasons throughout a year. Each season brings its own change in temperature, scenery, and weather. There are the fresh rain and new growth of spring, the warmth and sun of summer, the brisk air and colorful leaves of autumn and the chill of a fresh snowfall in the winter.

In accordance with the weather, the varying seasons throughout the year also come with many changes in dress and activities that can be done. For instance, spring and summer make it much easier to wear shorts and skirts and tank tops and t-shirts. Meanwhile, the cool air of autumn means long-sleeved shirts and pants and bringing out the jackets.

When winter finally approaches out comes the wool hats, gloves, winter jackets, and boots. As far as activities go, it is much easier to get up and go do something outside during the spring and summer. The warm weather means trips to the beach, playing sports outside or even leisure activities like a day out on the boat or a picnic in the park.

The cool weather of the fall is even a time when many people are outside enjoying the last of the nice weather. Football is in full swing and a walk around the block exploring the changing colors of the leaves on the trees is always a fun activity.

But then comes winter. Temperatures drop below 32 degrees and wind tends to pick up, making it quite cold outside. Add on the troubles of a heavy snowfall or wintry mix and venturing outside for fun is not something many think about doing.

But here’s the thing: just because winter is cold and windy does not mean there aren’t activities you and your family can do together. There are plenty of cold weather activities to do outside and a handful of great ones to do inside as well.

The National Debt Relief highlights a handful of great outdoor activities in an article online. Their top choice and one many choose to do when the first snowfall hits, is going snow tubing and/or sledding.

The great thing about tubing and sledding is that they are inexpensive activities that can be done wherever there is a hill. Snow tubes can be found online or in a store and sleds can be anything from what you buy in the store to a plastic bag. Make sure to dress warm and in layers and do not forget to invite your friends.

Even less expensive than sledding since it requires only snow is a snowball fight. A fun, playful snowball fight with the family is a great way to get in some exercise while enjoying the fresh snow. You can then take a break from the snowball fight and work on building a snowman or igloo. Top it off with some quality snow angels and you have a solid day of fun in the snow completed.

If your budget allows, taking a family trip to go skiing and/or snowboarding is another great winter activity to partake in. Many lodges offer accommodations and rentals in a package deal, making it easy to just wake up and hit the slopes.

Many ski and snow resorts even offer lessons for those with little to zero experience in the sports. And while some may be worried about injuries, there are always other activities to partake in like cross-country skiing or snow tubing. Snow tubing at a ski and snowboard resort is a bit more organized than in your backyard and usually involves pre-made tracks and hills to tube down.

Outside of the snow-related activities, there are plenty of outdoor activities to do in the winter. An extremely popular activity is ice skating. Outdoor ice rinks tend to pop up in the winter and if not outside, there are plenty of ice rinks around that offer indoor skating.

Ice skate rentals and admission onto a rink are relatively cheap, making it an affordable activity for a family. It is also always better to do your skating on a formalized rink as opposed to finding a frozen pond or body of water. You never know just when that ice may give out.

On an even more relaxed level, a great outdoor activity in the winter is taking a walk and viewing holiday lights. The winter brings many different holidays and with those holidays come many different decorations.

Some towns even hold storefront decoration contests, making it the perfect place to stroll through. After a fresh snowfall, lights tend to sparkle a bit brighter so that is the ideal time to take a walk and take in the sights. Keep in mind though, that sidewalks can be slippery or slick, so take care when walking with the family to avoid a slip and fall. Enjoy the evening and cap it off with some hot cocoa at a local cafe.

Sometimes the cold weather and inclement weather might mean outdoor activities are a no go, but that doesn’t mean the family fun has to stop. There are plenty of indoor activities worth doing as a family, especially beside a warm fire.

An article from VivaReston Magazine points out just how much fun board games can be on a snowy, cold night. The article says, “games are a fun way to test your trivia, acting, artistic and even strategic skills.” Games are a great way to involve everyone in the family and last long enough for some fun, quality time with each other.

Other indoor activities can include checking out a show at the local theater if travel is not too difficult due to weather. Taking in a movie at the movie theater is also another great activity to do as a family.

It is easy to get lost in the fact that winter is cold and windy but instead of laying in bed all day or just watching television, do your best to get outside. Include the family and enjoy what the season has to offer. And remember, the winter will not last all year. Soon enough, you will be wondering what spring activities are available to do.

Getting Your Pets Used to a New Baby

Adjusting your pet to a babyWhen my wife and I brought home our new daughter, we were over the moon. Every opportunity we had to count her toes, and marvel at the tiny little life we created really cemented us as a family. It’s true what they say – having a baby will make you experience a love you never knew existed.

Even though we were over the moon with happiness and excitement to finally use the nursery and the countless outfits my wife bought from Babies R’ Us (my eight-month-old has a better wardrobe than me), our dog Bella realized what a major adjustment having her in the house was.

While dogs, cats, and other pets can learn to be gentle and even helpful with a new baby, like my favorite mutt, Bella, who watches over my daughter like she earns a paycheck (I really think she’d choose my daughter over me at every turn), it’s important to prepare them for the event of meeting their newest family member before the baby arrives. Even after the baby is home, however, pets can be taught how to treat their new family member, and adults in the household should continue to keep a close eye on both pets and children to help avoid risks like dog bites.

Here are several tips to consider when it’s time to help your pets adjust to a new baby in the family:

1. What is exciting for you may be confusing for your pet.

Consider the situation from a dog’s or cat’s point of view, recommends the American Kennel Club (AKC). You’ve been preparing for months for the arrival of a new baby. Your pet, however, probably hasn’t connected the influx of baby clothes (seriously, Molly!?) and toys and the refurbished nursery to the idea of a new small human in the house. The strange noises, smells, and movements the baby makes may be unlike anything your pet has ever seen before — and your pet may not understand why they are no longer the center of attention.

By starting from your pet’s point of view, you can more easily find ways to make the transition easier for your pet.

2. Start as soon as you can.

If you can start preparing your pet before the baby comes home, do so. The AKC recommends an extra obedience class for dogs to make sure they understand how to sit, stay, and avoid jumping, as well as how to come when you call so that you don’t have to chase your dog with your hands full of an infant. Teaching both cats and dogs to accept being touched in unusual places, like the inside of the ears or the toes, can also help them stay calmer when babies or toddlers begin to explore, says Nikole Gipps at BabyCenter. I can concur that my daughter is obsessed with Bella’s paws.

3. If you’ll need to change your pet’s routines, change them gradually before the baby comes home.

Making a change all at once when the baby arrives can cause a pet to associate the change with the baby, making it harder to make the change “stick” and to get your pet to act warmly toward your new infant. Instead, make changes gradually before the baby arrives, if possible. For instance, work on shifting where a pet sleeps or what time of day they are walked. If you plan to walk the dog and baby together, practice walking with an empty stroller so the dog becomes accustomed to the stroller’s presence and movement.

4. Use recordings and other items to familiarize your pet with baby’s sounds and smells.

Recordings of baby sounds, like cooing and crying, can help your pet get used to the noises of having a baby in the house. Similarly, using baby lotion on your own hands or opening a container of baby powder can help pets start to associate these new smells with their regular home and routine. When the baby is born, sending a blanket or outfit home before the baby comes home can help pets learn the baby’s smell before he or she arrives.

5. For the first few days, keep your pets out of the baby’s space.

Let pets adjust from a distance and gradually, by keeping them out of the baby’s room or other personal space, such as your bedroom if baby sleeps there in a bassinette. The sounds, smells, and sights of you carrying, feeding, or changing the baby will filter through to your pet and let them learn more about the new family member at a more relaxed pace.

A few days or a week after the baby comes home, allow pets to sniff the baby, but only if they show interest. Control them while they do so by holding them or placing them on a leash. At all times, keep the baby elevated and place an adult between the baby and the pet, recommends the AKC.

6. Even when the baby is around, give attention to pets.

Pets, especially dogs, who associate receiving attention with the baby’s absence are more likely to become jealous and to act out as a result, according to the AKC. Instead, pet, praise, and provide treats to your dog or cat when they are behaving well, even when you are also occupied with the baby.

7. Never leave a child alone with a pet.

As your child grows, you’ll need to supervise interactions between the child and the pet. Make sure crawling babies don’t grab or pull on a pet’s tail, ears, or coat. Create a private space for your pet that is off-limits to your child, like a crate, bed, or gated laundry room, so that your pet has a place to retreat if they start to feel overwhelmed by the exploring child.

Above all, patience and calm are important. As your baby grows, remember to teach him or her how to treat the family’s pets, as well. Children who learn proper pet care and manners as toddlers are far more likely to grow up knowing how to “read” animal body language and avoid serious injuries like scratches or bites in the future.