Personal Care

Are You Ready for Personal Care?

There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that your loved ones are safe and surrounded by people who truly care for them. The desire for quality care, intellectual and social stimulation, and professionalism spans all age groups. We look for all of these things throughout our lives – when we choose our children’s pre-school and when we choose to help an older loved one find their best living arrangement – especially when it seems that they need a little more help.

But knowing exactly when to seek out additional help is not always as clear cut for those needing Personal Care services as it is for choosing the perfect school for your young child.

When is it the Right Time?

There is no “timetable” or age trigger that says “OK, now is the time to move!”. The decision to seek out this specialized kind of senior care – called Personal Care is as unique as the person seeking it. But there are a few signs or things to look for in your loved one that can help to clarify the need.

A Cluttered Home

Many of us are not particularly great housekeepers. But if you have noticed a change or decline in you or your loved one’s ability to keep up with the basics, then it is time to rethink the living situation. Every year 1 out of 4 adults over the age of 65 will fall. And about 1 out of 5 falls will cause a real injury. As folks age, falls are more likely to happen.

The fact of the matter is that clutter and tripping hazards are only one factor in fall risk. Medications that need adjustment, lack of fitness and balance as well as everyday things like uneven sidewalks are all potential hazards – especially when you are on your own. You can download an information sheet from the CDC about adult falls by clicking here.

Poor Personal Hygiene –

Neglect of a regular personal hygiene routine can be a sign of more serious issues than just forgetting to wash your hair or brush your teeth. It can be a sign of serious medical concerns such as depression or even dementia. Feelings of being overwhelmed, lonely or lacking a schedule can often contribute to a general sense of ennui – or “What’s the point of cleaning up? I have no special reason to make an effort.”. In these situations, a good Personal Care program can provide the structure, stimulation and watchful eye important to a senior’s health.

Medication Management –

For many of us aging seems to come with additional medications. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, 2 out of 3 seniors have multiple chronic conditions most of which require some kind of prescription medication. That is a lot to juggle. And compounding the issue is that seniors are especially vulnerable to unpleasant and sometimes concerning side effects that may go unnoticed for a period of time according to Dr. Elizabeth Landsverk a Gerontologist in the San Francisco area. Enrolling in a Personal Care program where medication is dispensed to the resident is one of the most reliable ways to maintain medication schedules, keep prescriptions and refills up to date and keep track of side effects. This is a critical component to senior health and life.

Problems Driving –

One of the clearest signals that it may be time to look into Personal Care and definitely one of the most sensitive ones is when it becomes apparent that your loved one is having difficulty driving safely. The National Institute of Health put together this checklist of questions to help seniors be able to gauge when it might be time to seek alternate transportation :

  • Do other drivers often honk at me?
  • Have I had some accidents, even if they were only “fender benders”?
  • Do I get lost, even on roads I know?
  • Do cars or people walking seem to appear out of nowhere?
  • Do I get distracted while driving?
  • Have family, friends, or my doctor said they’re worried about my driving?
  • Am I driving less these days because I’m not as sure about my driving as I used to be?
  • Do I have trouble staying in my lane?
  • Do I have trouble moving my foot between the gas and the brake pedals, or do I sometimes confuse the two?
  • Have I been pulled over by a police officer about my driving?

If the answer is “Yes” to any of these questions, then it might be time to think about reassessing you or your loved one’s driving abilities with a driving test for seniors. A reassessment at the Department of Motor Vehicles is an objective and safe way to make decisions about driver safety. Check with your physician to see if he or she can help make the case for an assessment.

Now That I Know – What Do I Do?

I’ve only touched on a few of the signs that a Personal Care program for you or your loved one might be worth looking into. But the truth is that there are many more factors to consider. There is general health, weight management, diet, isolation and loneliness. These are all factors that can and frequently do play a part in the decision to choose Personal Care. Because it is really about improving the quality of life for each community member.

In the Bucks County area of Pennsylvania, Chandler Hall has provided compassionate, professional and expert Personal Care for over 40 years. The Chandler Hall team of experts can help walk you through your situation and help you to make the best living choice for you or your loved one. Because at Chandler Hall, our commitment to you is to help you live your best life!

If you would like more information about our program contact us by email at

Dementia Memory care

When it comes to Memory Care, Action is Everything

There are few of us past the age of 60 who don’t feel a little tinge of anxiety over mislaid keys or a forgotten name. It’s really not about those missteps, is it though? It’s about the nagging feeling that it could be something more than something slipping your mind. Deep down inside, we all worry that any of these common missteps could be a sign of early dementia. While the occasional grasping for a name that should be on the tip of our tongue is not necessarily cause for worry, it’s a good thing to know when we should begin to pay attention and maybe think about what we can do to help keep our brains as sharp as they can be.

Pay Attention to the Troubling Signs

Early dementia is difficult to diagnose. Quite simply, many of the early signs can also be attributed to stress, reactions to medication, and having too much to do on our plate. But it’s important to note when mistakes or missteps begin to outweigh the times when you are feeling sharp and in command. When you start to ask whether you should be concerned- or if a friend or family member mentions something- that’s the time to simply do a check-in appointment to see your family doctor for a medical and cognitive evaluation. It may be something as simple as a medication change or having some basic tests done to make sure everything is ok- but without this check-in, you’ll never know for sure.

But it’s not bad, so why worry?

While there are now several promising medications that may help or even delay cognitive decline, they are only really helpful in the earliest stages of cognitive change. Because so many people put off addressing these subtle changes until much later on, they often miss the window to delay the progression of Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related illnesses until there’s very little treatment available to change the course of the disease.  That’s why keeping an eye on concerning changes as we age is an important first step to being proactive in maintaining brain health. 

Understanding More About Dementia/Cognitive Changes

Short Term Memory Loss

While this is one of the most prevalent and worrying early signs of dementia, short-term memory loss can also be caused by some of the factors mentioned above. It is important to note that some memory loss is actually age-appropriate.  In fact, many women experience a bit of this during perimenopause and menopause, due to hormonal changes. 

Age-appropriate memory loss  looks like forgetting what you were going to say but remembering it a few minutes later – or making an occasional small financial mistake or forgetting to pay a bill on time. Even momentarily forgetting the names of one of your friends or grandchildren can feel like you are missing a step. These one-off or occasional occurrences may feel concerning, but may be entirely appropriate for your age. 

Basic good health advice is good brain health advice. Getting enough rest, eating well, and exercising regularly are all steps that can help you feel better and keep your brain healthier as well.

But if you are still feeling troubled and would like to be proactive in helping to keep your “brain healthy”,  research has shown that certain “brain exercises”  can help to boost your memory.

Brain Healthy Activities

The simple act of reading can keep your short term memory exercised and help keep you mentally sharp and informed. According to a study published in JAMA in 2018, Dementia risk was significantly lower among those who reported daily participation in intellectual activities, like reading books, magazines, and newspapers, as well as playing board games. The benefits of intellectual activity were independent of other health problems, lifestyle factors (fruit and vegetable intake, exercise, smoking, etc.), demographics and socioeconomic status, according to researchers.

Easy ways to stimulate your brain health are to subscribe to periodicals that make you consider and think. Or join a book club. If you are not a “joiner”, there are now many on-line game options like backgammon, mahjong and other activities that stimulate your memory, recall and strategic thinking skills.

Other Concerning Signs to Track

Other early warning symptoms for cognitive decline may include self-isolation, agitation and confusion- all of these can creep up on a person. They tend to be written off as “having a bad day or in a bad mood”. But if the “bad days” begin to outnumber the good days – it may be a sign of early dementia. 

For example, mental confusion can range from a bit of cloudiness to a constant state of mental disarray. A commonly reported symptom of confusion is the inability to match a face with a name. Confusion may also cause a person to use poor judgment. In some cases, a person with dementia may cease to interact with people, withdrawing from activities they once enjoyed.

Again, we all can have moments when a name is just beyond our grasp or we fail to understand what is going on, but if you feel that your ability to correctly judge a situation is happening more often or that you or your loved one is increasingly unable to function independently, then a proper and complete evaluation is the necessary next step.

Deciding on a Care Plan

If after a medical evaluation you find that you or your loved one is truly experiencing the signs of dementia, it is important to make a care plan early on in the process. Making a care plan early on in the process while the patient can participate in the planning helps both the patient and family understand the potential progression of the disease. But more importantly it helps both patient and family create a plan that they are actually able to execute. 

Discussions about advanced care planning are sensitive in nature and may need the input of specialists. So many factors need to go into a care plan that the active participation of potential caregivers, care recipient, financial advisor and your medical team are all critically important to planning for the best possible outcome for both the patient and family. Plus, being able to understand how the disease progression may impact the ability of the patient to receive care at home and for how long, from family members is important to know up front. 

There are many care options available from home care with the assistance of family members and experienced home health care aids, to Personal Care living situations and Memory Care communities like Chandler Hall located in lovely Newtown, in Lower Bucks County, PA. Chandler Hall  specializes in early and late-stage dementia care. What’s more, Chandler Hall’s Quaker-based Person-Centered Care staff is experienced in Memory Care, even at early stages when people are living independently in our residentia living and personal care residences, honoring the person within no matter what stage they are in their life’s journey. The caring team at Chandler Hall is committed to reinforcing the link to the individual – the person within. It is the Chandler Hall way.

Action is Everything

When talking about the potential for Memory Care, action is sometimes hard to take. Our innate sense of optimism and desire to carry on as we have been sometimes works against our best choices for a better outcome. But if you feel that you would like to have a conversation with a caring person who can help you sort out your options, I urge you to contact our experts here Chandler Hall. Just email Jeanene Reigel- Palmer at or give us a call at 267-291-2302. We’ll be happy to help you process your concerns and help you formulate a plan for your next steps. Difficult discussions are never easy. But they can be made easier with the help of a caring and knowledgeable professional. Our goal is to help families navigate the journey, and understand all the options and the road ahead to make the choice that’s best for your family.

Need More Information About Memory Care?

Just click the button below to download our free guide, Navigating The Journey of Memory Care, to help you understand the complexities of the cognitive changes that occur, where you can get evaluations, and helpful information for families and caregivers about ways to support those experiencing cognitive changes.

Caregiving Dementia Uncategorized

Dementia Affects The Whole Family

The very word “dementia” strikes fear into every person over 65 and every daughter or son over the age of 40. Because, when signs of dementia first appear in you, your spouse, a parent or another loved one, you know that your world is about to be turned upside down with difficult diagnostics, family dynamics and an overwhelming sense of helplessness. But there are ways to prepare yourself, smooth family dynamics a little and ultimately help your loved one cope with the kinds of loss that is unique to dementia patients.

The story that I am about to share with you is true. It is the story of how my husband’s family and I had to deal with the diagnosis and progression of my mother-in-law Nancy’s dementia during the pandemic of 2020. It is also a reflection on what we could have done differently that would have helped us plan Nancy’s dementia care in ways that would have provided her with better, more consistent care, as well as address the imbalance of caregiving responsibilities that so often burden the closest family member. 

Here is Nancy’s dementia story:

We started to realize that Nancy was having some difficulties living on her own a number of years ago. She had started avoiding her friendly get-togethers for very vague reasons, saying that the activities had just gotten to be “too much” and that she was going to find other things to do. But hindsight being what it is – we now realize that it was getting harder for Nancy to keep up with conversations and participate in activities. She began to feel less like part of the group and more like an outsider. But these were all vague feelings that were easy to rationalize away.

My sister-in-law, Pam who lived nearby, was able to pick up the slack and help Nancy with bills, appointments and to help her problem-solve when things became too confusing. Pam was able to keep Nancy “scheduled”. After all – the goal was always to keep Nancy at home for as long as we could. But when Nancy’s dog died – losing her own personal anchor, Nancy’s ability to maintain a schedule suffered. She had lost that furry companion who reminded her to wake up in the morning and when it was time to eat and walk. So vitally important tasks like taking her medication began to be forgotten too, which led to several hospitalizations.

During one of those hospitalizations, Pam asked the doctors to perform a series of neuro-psychological evaluations. It was then that we realized the extent of Nancy’s decline. We could no longer explain away Nancy’s behaviors with a simple shrug of the shoulders or a “you must have misunderstood”. These reports helped to change the focus from isolated behavioral lapses to a documented problem that the family needed to help Nancy address. Suddenly, the geography that separated the family and the pandemic that made it hard to see these lapses for ourselves were irrelevant. We had hard proof that Nancy needed our help – even if she didn’t realize it yet.

Time for Next Steps

The family made the decision that Nancy would move into assisted living directly from her hospital stay. Using some of the tips that I picked up  from the wonderful folks at Chandler Hall in lower Bucks County, PA, we tried to make her new home in assisted living feel as much like her old home as possible so as to reduce confusion and feelings of disorientation. For example, all of the dishes and silverware were in drawers as close to possible as they were before her move to assisted living. Her bedroom and living area were all arranged like before down to the pictures on the walls. We must have done a pretty good job, because Nancy didn’t seem to notice that her apartment had changed. She simply thought that she had new neighbors and new routines. She was happy for the structure that was provided for her. And she seemed to improve with more consistent company of these new friends and neighbors.

Family Care is Still Needed

My sister-in-law Pam was still the contact person and bore the brunt of the responsibility for Nancy’s care and saw Nancy weekly if not more. When Pam noticed changes in Nancy’s behaviors, she would notify the Assisted Living staff and adjustments would be made in her living situation for as long as they could without going into a specific Memory Care Unit. Maintaining consistency and routine is vitally important to patients with dementia. And much as we wanted Nancy to be able to maintain her current living situation, within about 6 to 8 months, it became clear to us that Nancy needed the kind of care that only a qualified Memory Care team could provide. The problem was that meant that Nancy needed to move to yet another facility. Nancy’s steady cognitive decline meant that a move to a new place with different ways of doing things would be more difficult for her. We were told to expect setbacks.

Nancy lives in Florida – not in Bucks County. If she were in Bucks County, Nancy would be able to take advantage of the continuum of care offered at Chandler Hall. By having a complete continuum of care – from Independent living, Personal Care, Assisted Living, Memory Care and beyond, the residents at Chandler Hall can move through their advanced years with a continuity of care, friends, caregivers, and familiar faces in a secure and welcoming environment.

Change is Harder when Memory is a Challenge

One of the things that became apparent in the early days of Nancy’s cognitive decline was that in order to form relationships with people, you need to remember small things about them. Things like their name, where they live, their family story and their friends and connections all help us to stay connected to our sense of who we are and how we relate to where we are. If you can’t remember any of those details, the people around you blend in together leaving you to remember feelings, but unable to remember any of the facts that form the backbone of conversations and relationships. Moving to a new facility would be disorienting. Nancy would need to learn to trust new staff, caregivers and other residents. That might prove to be difficult.

We have learned through our experience just how important having the ability to access appropriate on-sight care is to our loved ones and also our entire family. Knowing that your loved one has consistent, appropriate, professional care is – quite frankly – everything! It provides enormous peace of mind to both the family and the patient. Plus, it helps to ease the transition anxiety that family members may experience when facing the difficult decision to move their loved one to a different kind of living situation.

Making Hard Decisions

Moves are disruptive – for anyone. We want the best for Nancy and yet we need to respect the process and bring reluctant family members along too. We want people to know who Nancy is – who she really is.  A good family relationship helps, of course. But it is the continuity of care that gives everyone the peace of mind that each resident and their family deserves. Nancy is still present. She has needs, likes and dislikes. There are flashes of her humor, her wit and her personality that appear every day. But we know that the Nancy we know is getting “thinner” every day as she slips further into her dementia-induced isolation. Right now, we are waiting until Nancy hits a point where even the most reluctant of our family members can no longer deny that Nancy needs specific help in Memory Care. And that will mean a harder, more difficult move to yet another facility that “specializes” in Memory Care. 

Nancy’s journey is ongoing. And by default, our family journey is too. So my final word to you is, “Do your homework up front!” When you are considering personal care, assisted living care or memory care for a loved one, think about the importance of having a continuum of care on one campus, with experts who know how to provide the expertise you might need within the framework of a community you will need. And if you are in the Bucks County, Newtown PA area, look into the wonderful programs at Chandler Hall where Person Centered Care is the hallmark of all that they do. 

Independent living

Residential Living at Llenroc- A unique option for Independent Living at Chandler Hall

If you are like most folks investigating Independent Living options in retirement communities, you may find that your choices all feel like versions of the same thing – nice places to live but no personality. That is – unless you have looked at Independent Living at Chandler Hall. 

At Chandler Hall, located in Lower Bucks County, PA, Independent Living means you have plenty of choices in living accommodations – Cottages, full apartments, one bedroom efficiencies and cozy lofts. But if you are lucky enough to score a place at Chandler Hall’s Llenroc Independent Living residence, you also have Karen! 

Karen is Llenroc’s homemaker, whose self-admitted mission is to not only ensure the smooth running of the daily operations, but to connect with each resident to make sure that they are safe, happy and nurtured.

First Impressions Are the Best

Llenroc is a lovely building set up a little bit like a boutique hotel. There is a common area complete with a fireplace and grand staircase. Walking toward the back is the dining area where residents can take their meals. It’s all tastefully decorated, bright and sunny. 

But the first thing that I noticed when I first visited was the “electric” atmosphere. There was something intangible that spoke of activity, energy and happiness.  That was Karen. Karen works the room like the Cruise Director on the Love Boat. Her quiet confidence and innate enthusiasm sees to the daily tasks of managing meals, mail and cleaning, while making sure that each resident is looked in on and all concerns are addressed.

Caring Without Crowding 

Karen has made it her business to get to know every resident. She understands that everyone is not the same and not everyone would like to be approached in the same way. But Karen’s watchful eye is always on the lookout for changes to a resident’s routine. And should a resident need some kind of additional care or attention, Karen knows who to contact. But Karen also understands that everyone deserves respect and an opportunity to determine the course of their own day. 

A Place of Wonder

When I asked Karen what she liked most about working at Llenroc, she was quick to reply: “The amazing people!”. To Karen, working at Chandler Hall and in Llenroc specifically, coming to work every day is like visiting family. Each resident has a life story that Karen knows by heart. She marvels at their skills and revels in the stories from their accomplished lives. She cherishes their friendships.

Karen shared several resident stories with me – all with a sense of admiration and awe. The story of the 101 year old resident who still painted nearly every day. And the woman who continued to bake in the community kitchen because that is what she does.  

For Karen, Llenroc is a place of wonder, history and friendship. She brings her whole self to work every day because her residents deserve no less. In her mind they deserve more – because you can always do more to help people.

If you are interested in learning more about life in Independent Living at Chandler Hall contact us at 267-291-2302 or email at

Caregiving Independent living Personal Care

What is Person-Centered Care?

At Chandler Hall, we believe in person-centered care for every resident and every home care patient. But what is person-centered care and why is it so important?

Care That’s a Partnership, Centered on Your Wants and Needs

Research has shown that a person-centered care approach benefits both the caregiver and the person receiving care. It creates a trusting partnership between the person receiving care and their caregivers, promoting self-esteem and self-advocacy. Care becomes an interactive partnership, rather than a passive set of actions.

Person-centered care starts with the premise that all people, and especially those needing care, have the right of self-determination, understanding, and mutual respect. Looking at all aspects of care as a partnership between the care-receiver and the caregiver means that even difficult situations are addressed as opportunities to make constructive changes to improve.

How Person-Centered Care Impacts our Residents and Our Patients

For our residents, this means trying to find ways to work with their individual schedules and needs rather than demanding everyone have a meal at the same time, because it may be easier for staff.  For our personal care residents, if a person is missing appointments for care, the first step is to ask “What is preventing the person from making their appointments, and how can we solve the problem?” rather than blaming non-compliance on “attitudes” or other excuses.

Person-centered care starts with accepting everyone as they are– a person with inherent worth, and a collection of positive and negative feelings, like we all have, meeting everyone with unconditional positive regard. Then the care is given with sensitivity and empathy, and without judgment. By being genuine, realistic, and authentic in our care, our residents and clients develop a deep sense of trust with their caregivers that makes the experience much more rewarding for both.

The Chandler Hall Difference

Personalized and supportive care for the whole individual rather than a list of symptoms is one of our many strengths. You can feel the difference in the air at Chandler Hall, where residents are always greeted by name and treated like family. Likewise, when we see patients in other care settings, for palliative care or hospice services, we know the trust involved with inviting people into your home. Our specially-trained caregivers treat you, your family and your home with respect and care. It’s part of our care promise.

Person-centered care is a cornerstone of our Quaker values here at Chandler Hall, and something that sets us apart from other care communities. Person-centered care and our smaller size makes our Chandler Hall Community a more intimate, personalized setting for you or your loved one, no matter where they are on the journey of aging. 

If you would like to learn more about our community and the many levels of care available, from independent living to skilled nursing care, please fill out the form below.