November 7, 2018

The Short Version of Veterans Aid and Attendance

By: Darleen Mahoney

This weekend, our Nation will reflect on the sacrifices that our Veterans and War Heroes have made over the years as it became a national holiday in 1938. As their sacrifices have provided safety, security and the freedom our country continues to enjoy, it’s important to know what benefits our Veterans may be eligible. Its important that they be aware and utilize what is available, especially if they find themselves in unexpected need.

According to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, “Elderly Veterans may be eligible for a wide-variety of benefits available to all U.S. military Veterans.”

What exactly is Aid and Attendance? Its super simple, the veteran must require help Veterans Benefitswith daily living or activities at home, assisted living, nursing home, or skilled nursing. Their need does not have to be related to any military service.

If you are applying for “Aid and Attendance” and would like benefits based on a housebound status, the Veterans Agency will allow some costs and annualized medical expenses if it’s for medical care. Those aging in place and using Home Health services do not have to be licensed. However, if the beneficiary or Veteran has been diagnosed with a cognitive disorder such as Alzheimer’s, a physician’s statement must indicate that a protective environment is in place.

If you are seeking Aid and Attendance benefits while living or would like to move to an Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing Facility, the facility will be required to sign a statement verifying the type of care being given or what they are expecting that resident to receive.  You will also be required to submit a “Care Provider Report”.

How do you know if you may qualify? Here are a few simple indictors:

  1. Age: you or surviving spouse must be 65 or older or officially disabled if younger.
  2. Period of Military Service- you must be considered a “wartime veteran”, meaning that you have served a minimum of 90 days with only one of those days during wartime dates. You did not have to serve in combat to qualify.
    1. World War II: December 7, 1941-December 31, 1946
    2. Korean War: June 27, 1950-January 31, 1955
    3. Vietnam War: August 5, 1964-May 7, 1975
    4. Gulf War: August 2, 1990-Undetermined
  3. Discharge Status: you cannot be dishonorably Discharged

Applying and understanding these benefits can get very complicated, seeking the professional guidance and advice of a licensed, professional Elder Law Attorney is encouraged to help guide you through this process. If you can receive a referral from a family friend or your Trust and Estate Planning Attorney, this may help guide you in the right direction.

If you are needing additional funds to cover the cost of Home Health services, Assisted Living, or Skilled Nursing for you and your spouse, you may qualify for:

Living Veteran                                                  Monthly Rate

Housebound Without Dependents:                       $1,340

Housebound Without Dependents:                       $1,680

Aid and Attendance W/O Dependents:                 $1,830

Aid and Attendance W/ Dependent:                     $2,169

In October 2018, the VA made new rules to fiscally qualify for benefits. The new net worth limits of $123,600 became effective. They will look at the Veteran’s overall net worth in addition to income. There are also other rules that could affect a Veteran from qualifying, seeking professional guidance may be helpful.

If you believe that you or a Veteran loved qualifies for Aid and Attendance, it can always be helpful to speak to the Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing facility that you are considering, and they may have folks who are trained to assist you through this process as well.

If you find that you or your Veteran qualify, and you begin your process to apply, you are encouraged to get organized, make sure that all your paperwork and forms are completed. Above all, do not get discouraged.

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November 2, 2018

Skilled Nursing or Assisted Living, What’s the Right Choice?

By: Darleen Mahoney

Making the right decisions for an elderly loved can be overwhelming and confusing. Often you may find yourself not really understanding what your options may be or if you even have options when it comes to be the best care of your loved one.  Clearly, you want what is best for them and what is the best facility that can manage their skilled nursing or assisted livingneeds and provide the environment that your loved one requires. Many caretakers ask themselves if they should be choosing an assisted living community or a nursing home/skilled nursing facility?

When making this decision, its important to consider your loved one’s physical, social, mental, and health needs. These will be indicators on the level of care that each will be able to provide your loved one making them a better fit.

Let’s discuss a few of the differences to better assess what each facility will be able to provide your loved and the long-term goals that you are looking to achieve or financial options available to you.

Assisted Living Communities: Typically, the residents at these communities are still active and maintain their own privacy. They may not require significant medical care or constant monitoring, but still receive 24/7 care support. They will have assistance nearby if they do need help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and medication. Activity programs are provided, keeping residents active and social and thriving. Although, there are different levels of nursing and medical care offered at some Assisted Living Communities which you may want to explore on an individual basis.

PROS:

  • Home Environment
  • More Private
  • Amenities offered at many
  • Lower Cost than Skilled Nursing/Nursing Home
  • Long Term Care Insurance and Veterans Aids and Assistance may help with costs
  • Scheduled Activities
  • Outings/Transportation

CONS:

  • Does not have extensive Medical Care on Premise
  • Many are not covered by Medicaid or Medicare

Skilled Nursing/Nursing Homes: The residents rely on the staff to provide all or most of their daily living such as bathing, dressing, meals, using the bathroom. They are facilities that provide 24/7 skilled, licensed nurses on staff to provide medical care and assistance. Most of the residents have severe health and cognitive issues. They typically do not leave the facility unless they are being transported to a scheduled doctor’s appointment or hospital.

PROS:

  • Medicare and Medicaid may cover some or most of the cost
  • 24/7 Medical Care with licensed nurses and clinical staff

Cons:

  • Limited personal freedom
  • Hospital environment, including shared rooms
  • Less privacy
  • More expensive than any other Senior facility, but offers the most in subsidized funding

If you are just starting your journey in your search for either Assisted Living or a Skilled Nursing Facility for your loved one, visit SeniorLivingGuide.com . Visit each listing, taking notes on which one may offer your loved one what they need most, the costs and what insurance may provide before making an appointment to visit their location.

This may very well be the hardest decision you ever have to make, make sure that you have all the information and options available to you. Talk to your loved one if they are cognitive, know what their wishes would be for their own healthcare.  When visiting these facilities enter armed with as much information as possible and ask as many questions as possible to help you make the right decision on their behalf.

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October 25, 2018

How to Take Control of Your Health and Improve Your Quality of Life

Filed under: Healthcare,Seniors Health — Tags: — seniorlivingguide @ 10:32 am

Courtesy of Hazel Bridges

Most of us know we could be making healthier choices, and we have some understanding of how these could help us in old age. Now that you are a senior, you may start feeling like you missed your chance. This is not the case, however, and you are never too old to take control of your health habits and start working toward a better quality of life. Here are a few simple ways to do that.

Get Moving

According to the CDC, the benefits of exercise as a senior include improved stamina, bone health, muscle mass, and reduced risk of injury. There is some evidence that it also improves cognitive skills such as remembering words. By regularly working out, you increase your ability to live independently, keep up with grandchildren, and generally make the most of your golden years.

You don’t have to take up a whole new sport or get into anything particularly intense. seniors healthYou can adjust your activity to your level of fitness and to any injuries you have. Some seniors choose to join a class where they can meet new people and have an excuse to get out the house. Learn something new, like tai chi or water aerobics, or join a walking group to socialize with other seniors from the neighborhood.

If that doesn’t sound like your thing, there are also plenty of exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home. If you need equipment, a basic set of dumbbells and resistance bands can allow you to do a variety of strength workouts, which are incredibly beneficial in terms of muscle and bone strength. A yoga mat helps you stretch safely and comfortably, which can keep you flexible and improve circulation.  Whatever you choose, consider investing in a fitness tracker like a Fitbit, which can help you monitor your progress. Check out iMore’s guide to Fitbits for seniors to choose the best one for you.

Eat Well — and Switch Things Up

It’s incredibly important to eat a healthy diet later in life. You may have heard that your metabolism slowing will have impacted your body’s ability to burn calories, but the truth is that this doesn’t make that big a difference. You should still focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats while avoiding sugar and processed foods. Any other specific requirements will depend on your body. Talk to your doctor to see if you could use more of a specific nutrient in your diet, such as calcium or iron.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

According to the World Health Organization, 15 percent of adults over 60 suffer from some kind of mental health disorder. Many of the conversations around old age and mental health revolve around dementia because it tends to occur in older adults. This awareness is important; however, it is also worth remembering that other, more common forms of mental illness also affect seniors.

This includes depression and anxiety, which could be caused by a variety of factors associated with old age. Staying active, eating well, and socializing regularly are key to promoting good mental health, with the latter in particular being essential. Seniors who report feeling lonely and isolated have an increased risk of physical and mental decline and dying earlier. If you feel your social circle is not satisfying you, join a class or group that can help you meet people. It is never too late to make new friends.

As you get older, it can be easy to feel like your quality of life is set to inevitably decline. However, it is important to remember that many of the health issues associated with old age are preventable through a few key lifestyle changes. You can enjoy a fulfilling and exciting life in your golden years as long as you commit to taking control of your physical and mental well-being.

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October 18, 2018

Navigating Flu Season for Seniors

Filed under: Caregivers,Healthcare,Seniors Health — Tags: , — seniorlivingguide @ 10:16 am

By: Darleen Mahoney

As the hot days of summer fade away and the leaves begin to change and the weather gets crisp, the season of fall is most welcome. Fall is not the only season that arrives in October, but a most unwelcoming season arrives as well…. flu season. Flu season is most active between October thru May.  As this season is upon us, its important to be proactive in flu prevention, symptoms and treatment. The flu season seniors with the fluis not the only season you want to experience, but the one you want to avoid.

While a flu diagnosis is serious regardless of age, a flu diagnosis in Seniors carries greater risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that adults 65 and older are at greater risk of complications from the flu because they may have weakened immune systems. The CDC estimates that between 70%-85% of seasonal flu-related deaths and 54%-70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations occur in those over the age of 65.

A flu vaccine is the best option in flu prevention. It is recommended that Seniors and their caregivers receive the flu shot every year. The best time to get a flu shot is October thru November, so mark your calendars! The CDC reports that the flu vaccination may reduce the risk of getting the flu by 40-60%. The CDC recommends that even Seniors with weakened immune systems receive the vaccines, the vaccine can still protect against the illness and can weaken the flu strain if the immune suppressed Senior comes in contact with the flu virus.

Other ways to avoid getting the flu:

  • Washing hands and wrists/ Hand sanitizer when more convenient
  • Avoiding people who are sick
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Eat healthy, boost immunity
  • Getting exercise-this could reduce your risk by a third
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth-this is how the germs enter the body
  • Sanitize your Mobile devices
  • Adding Vitamin C-Boost your immune system

The onset of flu symptoms can happen very quickly, some people developing symptoms one to four days after exposure to the virus. Seniors may develop the flu and their symptoms look very different than typical flu patients. Therefore, Seniors who have the flu are misdiagnosed or delayed in their diagnosis and therefore can progress into a more serious health problem. Most flu symptoms include a fever over 100 degrees, many Seniors with the flu do not have a fever, cough, or a sore throat.

Symptoms in a Senior may include:

  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • General discomfort, knowing something is clearly wrong
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Delirium
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that get better and then worse
  • Swollen mouth/throat

If you’re over the age of 65 and experience any of these symptoms, visit your physician right away to reduce the potential risk of a flu diagnosis. If you see your doctor within the first 48 hours, your doctor may prescribe you an antiviral medication. When taken at the onset of the flu, this medication can reduce the symptoms and the severity of your illness.

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October 11, 2018

Understanding Sundowners Syndrome

Filed under: Alzheimer's,Caregivers,Dementia — Tags: , , , , , — seniorlivingguide @ 11:07 am

By: Darleen Mahoney

You’ve heard the term Sundowners syndrome. Are you a caregiver or know someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s that has sundowning? It is a neurological phenomenon that exists with those suffering from a form of dementia or delirium. Sundowning understanding sundowningseems to be more frequent in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease and mixed dementia.

What causes this syndrome is believed to be caused from the inner “body clock” of the brain that signals when you’re awake and when your asleep, this breaks down in people with Alzheimer’s. There may be specific triggers in your loved one, taking notes to understand these triggers is a good idea.

Factors that may aggravate Sundowners Syndrome:

  • Shadows and low light, causing fear
  • Separating dreams from reality
  • Infection, more commonly a UTI
  • Low Lighting
  • Unfamiliar environment

Sundowning isn’t a disease on its own, but it is a variety of behaviors that typically occur at a later time of day and may go into the night that affect people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Those with sundowners are confused, experience anxiety, ignore directions, and potentially show aggression. They may begin to pace or wander.

There are steps that you can take to help manage this challenging time of day as it seems the fading light is the trigger, but the symptoms can get worse throughout the night. As a caregiver, this can be frustrating and exhausting for you. The steps you take will help keep your loved one safe, but also help them reduce their Sundowners symptoms.

  • Have a regular daily routine
  • No smoking or alcohol use
  • Limit sweets and caffeine to the morning
  • Smaller meals at night, larger meals at lunchtime
  • Avoid late day naps

When it is time to go to sleep, take extra steps to provide a quiet relaxing environment:

  • Close curtains and blinds, shadows are a huge problem
  • Fix the room temperature to their liking
  • Keep the house quiet, noise can make them paranoid
    • Especially a visible television with the flashing lights and noise
  • Put on relaxing music

You may also consult with your loved one’s physician about Melatonin at night time and any other recommendations that they may have.

You have tried to keep your loved one that is experiencing Sundowners quiet and relaxed, but they are still getting up and they are confused, and you are unsure how to respond.

  • Do not argue with them
  • Tell them everything is OK, be reassuring
  • Let them get up and move around, just stay close to them making sure they are staying away from stairs and anything used to harm themselves
  • Remind them what time it is and that its nighttime or bedtime
  • DO NOT physically try to restrain from walking around
  • Above all….STAY CALM

You may want to consider purchasing a baby monitor to be aware when they are getting up in the middle of the night.

As a caregiver with a loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer’s it’s such an emotional, physical, and time-consuming journey that Sundowner’s is just another piece of a puzzle to this disease that will never truly fit together and make any sense to most caregivers. Taking take to take care of yourself will only make you a better caregiver for your loved one, there is help in the form of support groups in your local areas and The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resource Center offers support as well. Its also important to get away and have time for yourself, its important to have a well trusted Home Health provider that allows you time away to decompress and refocus so that you can be a better caregiver.

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September 28, 2018

Declutter Now! No Time Like the Present!

Filed under: Downsizing,Retirement Planning,Seniors — Tags: , , , — seniorlivingguide @ 10:06 am

By: Darleen Mahoney

You have a lot of stuff that you have collected over the years! You have a lifetime of beautiful memories and well, just stuff! You have artwork that you saved from your children and grandchildren, collectibles when collectibles were a fad, clothes that are out of style, paperwork that is no longer relevant. You may even have furniture and old holiday decorations in the basement or attic that just need to find new homes.

Decluttering your home of all these things as an active Senior is a labor of love for your family. It will also make it much easier for you to sell your home and make your next move.

seniors decluttering Leaving the cleaning out and decluttering of your home to your loved ones can be an overwhelming task for them. It is an emotional journey and physical labor of love that adult children and family members endure on their own. They may not know the family history of what is important in your home and can cause family friction. If you declutter your home now, you can share in the memories and find common ground in your cherished family keepsakes.

Whether you hope to live out your days in your current home, retire to a smaller home, retirement community, or the possibility of a continuing care retirement community. The reality is eventually your home will likely need to be sold. Decluttering of the past to move toward the future is a gift that you not only give your loved ones, but yourself.

Studies have shown that clutter causes anxiety, depression, stress, and general feeling of being overwhelmed. Cleaning and decluttering can be a stress-reliever.

There are also tax benefits to decluttering. If you donate your unwanted items to a charitable organization, you may be eligible for a tax write-off. You can also get very creative in donating or re-selling vintage items to re-sell shops or donating to schools looking for theatre production costumes.

Does all of this sound daunting? It doesn’t have to be! Get organized and make a plan!

  • Set aside a weekend or specific timeframe
  • Make sure you have supplies: garbage bags, boxes, cleaning products
  • Start with one room, then have a plan to go room by room
  • Go through everything in that room: Label: Keep, Donate, Trash
    • Old Documents, you may want to shred
  • Ask your family members to join you
    • Keep what is important- not to suggest you throw out priceless mementos, most people find out they do not miss “things” that they get rid of after a clean out. Items that do not serve a purpose or cannot be shared with other family members should find new homes.

While the process of decluttering is giving away, throwing away, and passing along to your loved ones is a process that has an element of an emotional journey with things that tie you of your past. Your memories and family legacies are your true history.

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September 27, 2018

Introducing Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head!

Dynamic new community brings a fun, “no worries” vibe to Lowcountry Living – Plan your visit now by visiting our listing on SeniorLivingGuide.com!

This summer’s grand opening of LATITUDE MARGARITAVILLE Hilton Head’s nine Latitude Margaritaville Hilton HeadMargaritaville-inspired model homes drew more than 2,500 aspiring homeowners for a first look at the vibrant new community’s colorful single-family and villa homes. Visitors also toured the Lake Latitude Club that features resort-style pool, beach area, fitness center and party room.

Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head is located in Hardeeville, South Carolina — the scenic gateway to Hilton Head Island. This dynamic new community for those 55-and-better who are “growing older…but not up” combines South Carolina’s charm and hospitality with Latitude Margaritaville’s “no worries” tropical vibe to deliver a whole new element to Lowcountry living. Sales have begun in the community’s Phase 1 that includes 203 home sites. Plans call for a total of 3,000 homes.

Latitude Margaritaville is a totally new lifestyle concept by master developer Minto Communities and global lifestyle brand Margaritaville Holdings that is redefining active adult living. Latitude Margaritaville presents the lifestyle of fun, food and music portrayed in the songs of legendary singer, songwriter and best-selling author Jimmy Buffett.

LATITUDE MARGARITAVILLE Hilton Head is the second of the communities to be Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Headintroduced. The first location in Daytona Beach, Florida was ranked the nation’s most popular active adult community of 2018 by 55Places.com. Additional LATITUDE MARGARITAVILLE locations are planned for some of the nation’s most popular destinations, including Watersound, Florida in the Florida Panhandle.

LATITUDE MARGARITAVILLE Hilton Head includes walkable neighborhoods, golf-cart friendly streets and a lively Town Center, currently under construction and slated to open in 2019. Music will play an important part in the community with residents enjoying live entertainment under the bandshell and dancing in the Latitude Town Square.

Resort level amenities will include a state-of-the-art Fins Up! Fitness Center with aerobics studio, indoor lap pool, spa, group fitness classes, wellness and community programs and more. Additional amenities include a Paradise Pool with beach entry, cabanas and tiki huts; tennis, pickleball and bocce ball courts; Workin’ N’ Playin’ Center for arts, crafts and other programs, and a Coconut Telegraph Business Center. Residents can relax at a Latitude Bar & Chill Restaurant, Changes in Attitude poolside bar and Last Mango Theater for dances and banquets.

For golf cart tune-ups there will be The Hanger workshop, and pets will be pampered at the Barkaritaville Pet Spa and Dog Park. In addition to the many in-community Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Headamenities, an adjoining 290,000-square-foot golf cart-accessible neighborhood retail center is being developed in partnership with Sutton Properties, Inc.

A wide range of home designs and floor plans are offered. LATITUDE MARGARITAVILLE Hilton Head model homes are from three distinct villa and single-family home collections – the Caribbean, Beach and Island. Four villa home models include the Antigua, Barbuda, Jamaica and Nevis, ranging from 1,503 to 1,862 square feet under air. Additional villa floor plans include the Caicos and Lucia. All have two bedrooms, den or hobby room, two baths, covered lanai with option to add a pool, and two-car garage. Villa pricing starts at $243,990.

Five single-family home models include the Coconut, Parrot, Breeze, Aruba and Trinidad.  Additional single-family home floor plans are available, and include the Hammock, Cabana, Bimini and St. Bart. Single-family homes range from 1,684 to 2,564 square feet under air and feature two to three bedrooms plus den, two to three-car garages, two to three-and-a-half baths and a covered lanai with option to add a pool. Pricing for single-family homes starts at $293,990.

The LATITUDE MARGARITAVILLE sales center is located at 356 Latitude Boulevard, Hardeeville, South Carolina. Hours are Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. For information, call 844-388-6777 or visit www.LatitudeMargaritaville.com.

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September 20, 2018

Snowbirds: Living the Retirement Dream?

By: Darleen Mahoney

Its almost that time of year again…Snowbird season! It begins in October and runs through April.  I live in Florida and you could almost change the name from the Sunshine State to the Snowbird State! They flock down in the winter from New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Canada, and really any state where the temperature is frigid, and the snow plows are a plenty.  According to Florida Realtor Magazine, by 2025 one in every five people living in Florida will be elderly.

Two million baby boomers head south every year. Most snowbirds are between the ages of 50 and 69. They are active, well-educated and adapt to the warmer lifestyle quite well.

Have you ever considered a snowbird style retirement? Many purchase Independent Living or Retirement living homes in communities and spend their winters enjoying fun in the sun with their seasonal friends while avoiding the harshness of the winters back in their hometowns.

So, let’s talk turkey, I mean “snowbird”. It’s a nickname for the Junco bird, but it’s Senior Snow Birdsused to describe a group of seasonal travelers who go to warmer climates. The term has been affectionately known to describe retirees specifically.

Where are the snowbirds coming from? About four out of five international snowbirds traveling into the United States yearly are coming from Canada. Many of these snowbirds will eventually sell their winter homes and move permanently and make their Retirement Community home and become a “sunbird”.

While Florida is well known for being a desired Snowbird destination; Arizona, Las Vegas, Hawaii, California, and Texas are attracting more seasonal retirees. In Texas, they have a different term of endearment. They are known as “winter Texans”.

If you think becoming a Snowbird is right up your ally, consider the packing, the winterizing of your home, the address changing, tax preparation, and ordering prescriptions. The checklist goes on and on and should be considered and well planned out.

On a very positive note: “Snowbirds: Seasonal Migration of the Elderly in Florida” study shoes that more than 63 percent of snowbirds rate their health as “very good” or “excellent”.  In the same report, those that live in the same area year around, reported to have more complicated health issues.

At the end of the day, what any Snowbird needs the most is a retirement community with the amenities and location that meets all their needs. If you think the Snowbird lifestyle is a good choice for you and you need to start your search for a southern retirement living community, visit SeniorLivingGuide.com where many options are located in one place.

The Snowbird lifestyle allows Seniors to enjoy the best of both worlds, they are able to spend their summers in their hometowns with their family and friends, maintaining a aging in place lifestyle. In the winter when the weather is less than desirable, they are able to leave and spend time in a more resort style senior living community in a fashion that may be more of a vacation, lending to a more healthy and happier retirement.

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September 13, 2018

The Keys To Start a Senior Housing Search

By: Darleen Mahoney

Its time to start searching for senior housing, but where to begin? The senior housing landscape can be very confusing for seniors, their family and caregivers alike.

Whether you are looking because your curious for future planning or have a specific situation or need, its important to keep it simple. Jot down a few simple steps and check those boxes until you narrow down a senior living community or facility that best suits your needs and will point you in the right direction.

Step 1: Know what you need– This may sound simple, but is it? Make a list of services, support with both long and short-term goals, including what your future needs may look like. Is there a need to maintain independence or a focus on keys to searching for senior housingadditional help such as medication management, bathing and dressing, and safety? Knowing these things will help in budgeting and senior housing options.

Step 2: Budget– Establish a budget. Knowing how much you can spend each month on senior living may narrow your options as many communities and facilities price points have a very wide range. Keep in mind, many current expenses can be included in monthly senior housing fees-taxes, utilities, and meals. If your budget is tight, there may be financial resources to help.

Step 3: Location! Location! Location! – Where do you want to live and why is it important to you? Do you want to be close to family, medical centers, or are you looking to move to a new destination in your retirement years?

Step 4: Must Have Lists– Make a list of what is non-negotiable in a senior communities’ amenities or options for your move? Do you want a pet friendly community, wellness programs, activities with travel options? It would be beneficial to make a list of items that would be everything that you would hope to have available, but not necessarily “deal breakers”, such as restaurant style dining, fitness center, pool, wine nights with your neighbors.

Step 5: Visit a Senior Living Website– Searching online for a senior living community in your desired location and specific needs will allow you to view multiple communities at one time; bookmark them, visit their listing pages, websites, and social media pages.  The key is to visit trusted senior housing websites such as SeniorLivingGuide.com which allows you to connect directly with each community and not any type of broker.

Step 6: Read Reviews– Make sure that you visit multiple review sites online

Step 7: Social Media– Visit each senior living communities Facebook page. You should see pictures of activities, residents, and how the staff is interacting with the residents. This is also a good opportunity to see if they are showcasing any dining options, organized outings, or long-term resident highlighted posts. Don’t forget to read the comments.

Step 8: Ask Around– Once you are starting to narrow down a community that fits your needs, ask around to see if you can get any feedback from trusted sources you are familiar with.

Step 9: Contact Your Senior Community List– After you have narrowed down your list of communities that you are interested in, make a short list of questions and call each one asking for the marketing department. If you feel comfortable with their answers, then schedule a visit.

Step 10: Visit Your Senior Community List– This is where you can really start to narrow down your search. Make sure that you look for resident and staff interaction, general vibe and feeling in the community. Are the residents engaging with each other, with the staff? Are they sitting by themselves in a corner? Check out all the safety issues that are important such as handrails, emergency call systems, slip guards in the bathtub. Is the community clean? The biggest question you need to ask yourself, can you see yourself living there?

Step 11: Consult an Attorney– Seeking professional advice from an Elder Law Attorney to review your Senior Community contract as well as seeking help with additional financial help such as Veterans Aid and Attendance and/or Medicaid may be beneficial.

Following these steps will help make the search for the senior housing solution that will best fit your health, lifestyle, and future.

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September 6, 2018

Meal Planning For Seniors: Tips and Tricks!

By: Darleen Mahoney

Nutrition is important at any stage of life, but seniors even more so as their nutritional needs change.  Maintaining a well-balanced diet is necessary for health, overall wellbeing, and vitality. Many seniors may suffer from physical health issues, dementia, Alzheimer’s, mood, and/or diabetes. Many of these can be improved with daily nutrition.

Many older adults lack basic vitamins that are especially important to aging bodies:

  • Calcium and Vitamin D-needed for bone health, as we age less calcium is absorbed
  • Vitamin B12
  • Fiber
  • Potassium

Pro-active planning for nutritional and delicious meals for a senior may seem like a lot of work on the front end but in the long run may take away the stress of making a variety of meals every night that should to be healthy and nutritious. Seniors need to eat on a schedule, they are very routine oriented especially if there is any cognitive decline. Routines for those suffering from dementia and/or Alzheimer’s can improve their day to day moods and irritability.

While the idea of meal planning may seem daunting, check out these positives:

  • Saves Time (all meals completed in one day)
  • Saves Money
  • Variety
  • Taste

While a meal of broiled chicken, steamed broccoli, and brown rice is healthy, you probably won’t have too may asking for seconds. Most Seniors are going to opt for a tasty dish over a healthy dish, they also have diminished olfactory senses with impacts seniors interest in food. In other words, if it doesn’t tickle their taste buds, they will be significantly less inclined to eat a meal.

Now, I mentioned that meal planning can save time.  This you will find interesting and requires organization in the beginning. This can be accomplished by utilizing a few cookbooks that are tried and true with recipes that are delicious, healthy and time saving. They must also be easy to follow and uncomplicated. Once you have chosen your cookbooks, code your recipes with colored stickies by which ones are around 20 minutes prep time and protein/vegetable. Develop a meal planning sheet or utilize a Google Meal Planning Doc for 3-4 weeks of meals. Once these have been completed, you can reuse them ongoing week after week. Keeping in mind that a variety is as important as taste, rotating a schedule for example: Chicken, Fish, Beef, Fish, Chicken, Vegetarian, Fish to ensure 3 out of 7 days of fish and only one beef day.

How does meal planning save money? How many times do you “run” to the grocery store? If you are planning ahead with less trips to the grocery store, you are saving money. For example: if you “run” to the grocery store to pick up a lemon for a recipe, do you ever just come home with a lemon?

If you are thinking that this all sounds amazing, but time is truly not on your side. There are other options to consider in food delivery services specializing in the dietary needs of senior adults and more generic health or whole foods centric that offer meal delivery right to your front door.  These services may be found online by doing some your research.

As a Senior may transition over from an aging in place environment and meal planning is no longer an option; nutrition, healthy eating, and tasty food should still be an important factor in considering any type of Senior community or Assisted Living.  So, taking into consideration the Senior community or facilities dietary offerings is as important as any other amenities. When you begin your research, visit us online at SeniorLivingGuide.com to check out the different menus, Chef’s, and dining options available at Senior communities at any location where you may want to make your next reservation. Bon Appetit!

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