March 28, 2018
By Janet Campbell [email@example.com]
As a senior, there may be several reasons for wanting to downsize your home. You may want to move closer to loved ones, to a warmer area, or because of financial reasons. Whatever the case may be, there are certain steps that can ensure that a smooth and easy transition.
Finding the Right Home
Deciding on the right home for your golden years can take a bit of reflection and research. Before attempting to downsize your current home, make sure that it is a financially viable solution. Typically, if you can’t cut your living expenses by 25 percent, it may not be a suitable option in the long run.
If you know that it makes sense financially to downsize your home, there are many other things to consider; your lifestyle is an easy place to start. For example, perhaps you are still working and need a dedicated office space. Or perhaps you intend on having family or other guests visit, and need extra living space. Other factors to consider are purely practical: How easy is it to move around? Can you access all of the appliances? Is it in the right location for your needs? Is a condo or single family home more practical? Try to brainstorm everything you are going to require, and see to it that your new living situation meets those needs.
Once you have established where your new home is going to be, it’s time for the hard part: deciding on what to keep and what to get rid of. The floor plan of your new home is key: if you know what furniture and other possessions will fit and what won’t, it will make the decision process much easier.
An article published in the New York Times outlined some of the benefits of hiring a professional moving manager for seniors. These moving managers specialize in helping seniors make the tough decisions, such as what to store with relatives, what to sell at auctions or liquidate, and what to throw away. They also take the brunt of heavy lifting, which can be extremely hazardous for elderly people to take on. Furthermore, they allow you to separate yourself from the moving process, which can be a daunting and potentially traumatic experience.
Making the Move
A moving checklist can help make your move as organized and smooth as possible. This checklist includes creating a division of assets—a who gets what—among your family, friends and loved ones. This should be done well in advance of the move date to avoid any contention in what can already be a stressful time. Be assertive about re-homing your items, and don’t focus on what you’re losing, but on what you’re giving to someone else. Keep the belongings that are most sentimental to you, and be willing to settle for photos of anything you simply don’t have the room to keep.
Pack one room at a time and be strategic — put clothing, linens, and small accessories in suitcases instead of boxes, for example. Use small boxes for heavier items and large boxes for lighter items to make for easier transport. Labeling boxes for what goes where can also save time and improve efficiency.
The most important thing to remember when downsizing and moving to a new home is to be patient with yourself. Make extra time for you throughout this process by eliminating tasks you may not necessarily have to do. For example, consider a grocery service, dog walking service or dog boarding service. By employing such services, you will save yourself both time and hassle so that you can focus on the somewhat difficult process of moving.
Because moving from a beloved home into an unfamiliar one can be an emotionally trying time, so allow yourself space to grieve and don’t hesitate to reach out to family, friends, religious leaders, or a counselor for support. Once you’ve had time to heal, you’ll see the beauty in living a simplified life and be glad you made the change.
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March 27, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
The baby boomer generation is no longer the generation of shuffleboard, craft nights, and pot roast for dinner in the dining hall. They want more, they are demanding a different lifestyle.
Now that we have that in the open, what do baby boomers want in their retirement homes? How do you go about getting not only what you want, but what you need?
The best advice: do copious amounts of research on what is available in the location that is ideal for you – including additional support nearby and social opportunities available – and be realistic about your long-term physical needs, your financial resources. “It’s important to align the emotional, social and financial parts of retiring,” says Denise Leish, a financial adviser in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The basic foundations in a retirement community that you should look for:
- Transportation – Senior transportation programs
- Parks nearby and walkable neighborhoods
- Safe neighborhoods-check the crime rates
- Health care- Available health care nearby with doctors that accept Medicare, specialists, and hospitals
- Other services – Meals on Wheels and other Senior focused services
- Shopping, Grocery Stores and Restaurants – Close enough that you will be able to get out and enjoy the community and social activities without a long drive.
- Social Integration – Neighborhood activities, programs, travel opportunities, etc.
Sara Little, 68, and Barbara Shaver, 69, offer a few pieces of advice on making a move into retirement especially if you decide to relocate to a new area, make sure you like the area before you buy and do it while your still young and can enjoy it. They moved to an over-55 community in Sarasota, Florida, they rented nearby to make sure they’d like the area. At the core of their decision: They had “some grounding” there, Little says.
“We had friends who already lived here, and more were moving here,” Little says. “We also got involved in church right away and in activities like swimming and sailing” https://www.cnbc.com/id/100549801.
In response to baby boomers’ demands for a different kind of retirement lifestyle, many developers are designing communities with a village feel to them to include shopping, dining, professional services and community programs. One good example is The Villages in Central Florida, which calls itself the “premier active adult community”. It is quite large, with an estimated 157,000 retirees, it touts its own zip code and daily newspaper. Another example, The Classic at Hillcrest Greens, is built on the site of a former golf course in the western Wisconsin community of Altoona. Its amenities include a restaurant, yoga and fitness studio, game room, library and a salon.
Its fair to say that there is something for everyone if you are entering the age of retirement and a 55+ community is an option. You no longer must settle for a retirement community whose only activities are shuffleboard and golf, there is so much more! Spend some time and do your research. Know what is available and don’t be afraid to ask questions and visit these locations and get to know your future neighbors.
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March 22, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
When your loved one with dementia or other age-related memory problems is at the point where it is no longer reasonable or safe for them to live alone, you may need to find a community that is right for them. A community or facility that specializes in memory care. Do you know where to start? Do you know what to look for and how much does it cost?
The needs of folks with Memory problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other types of memory problems can vastly differ from those in need of long-term care. Choosing a memory care facility that is designed to meet your loved ones care not only includes their medical needs, but their comfort and safety.
Choosing the right memory care options may be confusing. To clear things up, assisted living communities offer special memory care units (SCU) in separate buildings, floors, etc. It’s important to make sure that the staff have training and can properly assist patients with dementia or impaired cognition. According to Mitzi McFatrich, executive director of Kansas Advocates for Better Care, “they can offer staff extensively trained in caring for people with dementia, individualized care that minimizes the use of dangerous psychotropic drugs, a home-like environment and activities that improve residents’ quality of life. But at their worst, they may offer little more than a locked door.” https://www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T027-C000-S004-how-to-choose-a-memory-care-unit.html. Be cognizant of this and do your research on the staff, training, and commitment to the overall well being of their residents.
Another option would be an independent memory care community which is distinct from assisted living, these memory care communities will have specialized skilled nursing in memory care.
Memory Care communities and care have higher costs involved due to the level of care that is required for their patients. Inquiring at the community or facility on the types of financial aid and availability to utilize Medicare or Medicaid may also provide additional financial support.
According to the National Investment Center for Senior Housing and Care, “every 66 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s, long-term care providers are rushing to offer memory care services. As of mid-2016, memory care facilities had the capacity to care for more than 65,000 residents-a 44% increase over the past 5 years.” Therefore, more and more facilities are being built and more focus is being put on the need for this type of care.
According to, https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-residential-facilities.asp#choosing it’s important to choose your setting as they make these recommendations:
- Plan on visiting several care facilities. Look around and talk with the staff, as well as residents and families.
- When you visit a care facility, ask to see the latest survey/inspection report and Special Care Unit Disclosure form. Facilities are required to provide these. The report and the disclosure form can give you a picture of the facility’s services.
- Visit the facilities at different times of the day, including meal times.
- Ask the care facility about room availability, cost and participation in Medicare or Medicaid. Consider placing your name on a waiting list even if you are not ready to decide about a move.
- If you will be paying for the facility out of pocket, ask what happens if the person with dementia runs out of money. Some facilities will accept Medicaid; others may not. If you anticipate the need for Medicaid either now or in the future, plan to visit with a lawyer that specializes in elder care prior to moving into a facility to ensure a good financial plan is in place.
With the need growing and more facilities/communities being built and opened to accommodate memory care residents, there is more thought being put into the design and types of communities and facilities that folks in need of memory care will need to make them feel more at home. Country Living magazine featured a facility in Ohio that built a community that is designed to look like a small town from the 1940’s while each resident has a “little house”, https://www.countryliving.com/life/a39630/nursing-home-tiny-houses/. There are communities that are including nurseries and doll therapy as new techniques arise in how to address the anxiety and stress that many patients with memory loss feel, https://khn.org/news/when-pretend-play-is-real-for-alzheimers-patients/.
Finding the Memory Care community that is right for your loved one should always include, online reviews, multiple visits to the facility without making an appointment, talking to friends and family of residents of these communities and staff. Until there is a known cure for this disease that continues to increase in diagnosis year after year, the need for these communities and care will only increase.
Ready to begin your search? We have 2,189 potential solutions! Begin your search here – http://www.seniorlivingguide.com/MapSearchAlzheimers.tpl
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March 14, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Are you searching for senior housing for yourself or a loved one? Are you pre-planning for your future and would like a few tips in the right direction to make sure that you are set when the time comes to make that jump to retirement living? Are you realizing its very tough to navigate with all the options, budgets, locations and what levels of care senior communities offer their residents?
Here are some tips to get you started to make sure that you are headed in the right direction and you cover all your bases in clearing out the senior housing “clutter”:
- Know what type of housing you need-this is by far the first and most important step. Knowing what you want now and will need down the road based on current medical conditions is key. There are many types of senior housing and facilities available including the following:
- Retirement Communities
- Continuing Care Communities
- Assisted Living Communities with Skilled Nursing
- Memory Care Facilities
- Home Care
- Budget– Knowing how much you will have available to spend on living expenses each month will be the next biggest factor. The price ranges vary significantly based on a variety of factors. You may be able to include meals, utilities, and taxes with your monthly senior living expense. You also need to do some in depth research into the financial resources that are available to you and can help. There may be financial assistance such as long-term care insurance or benefits for veterans and their surviving spouses.
- Location– Are you planning on staying close to home to be near your family or considering a move to popular retirement mecca’s? There are areas of the country that are hot spots for active adults who retire to their vacation destinations or seek to retire in locations where the landscape is optimal, beaches are nearby, and the weather is more to their liking for their retirement options.
- Must Haves– What do you want in senior housing? Regardless of whether you are looking into active adult to memory care, there are many options that you should not only prioritize, but find out what they may be. There should be a list of non-negotiable items that you must have and a “wish list”. They may include social activities, housing design, meal plans, to levels of skilled nursing care available.
- Websites– Beginning your search online for senior living communities in the location that you have determined with the senior living community or facility that you would like to live in can give you a bird’s eye view of what is available to you in one place. If you would like a simple search solution online, a website like seniorlivingguide.com has most senior living communities and facilities in a one stop website offering you the option to look at each individual community within one website. You are able to learn about their amenities, services, the levels of care available, visit their social media and save each individuals community information to your favorites. You are also able to go directly to their website to contact them to find out more information and schedule a visit. It will save you time and confusion from visiting multiple websites with multiple search queries.
- Facebook– It’s important to visit an individual communities Facebook page. You can look at of their photos and engagement with their posts. It gives you a good idea of the activities and general interaction with the staff that is going on in the community.
- Visit– Go visit the community in person, it might be advantageous to take a friend or family member. Take mental notes and even write them down of how the residents and the staff interact with each other. What is the general feeling that you get while you are in the community? Are residents active? Are they engaged? Or are they sitting quietly and out of sight? What types of safety measures are taking place, do you feel like the community/facility is clean? Can you envision yourself living there?
- Review and Review– Once you have narrowed down your best options, continue to review them with pros and cons. Double check the online reviews as well before making your final decision.
- Consult an Attorney– Always seek the advice of legal counsel, this type of commitment can be complicated, and mistakes can be very expensive. Legal counsel can help you navigate the retirement community contracts so that you understand your contract before you sign anything.
While this is not a simple process, it is an important to make sure that you follow each step to ensure that you make the right decision. Whether you are moving into an active adult community in sunny Florida where you dream of drinking pina coladas ocean side or Texas or California or staying in your hometown where you raised your family, or a memory care facility for your loved one, senior housing should be well thought out and well planned.
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March 13, 2018
Charlotte, March 7, 2018 – Within the United States, there are at least 5 million people currently living with age-related dementias, and this number is expected to rise as more people live longer. So how do you know if you or your loved ones have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (the most common form of dementia)? Renowned experts, Dr. Charles Edwards and Dr. Aristides Chaconas will discuss this important topic at the Memory Center Charlotte’s Symposium “Aging and Your Brain – How am I Doing?”
The symposium will take place on Thursday, April 12 from 8:30am to 11:30am at Myers Park United Methodist Church, 1501 Queens Road in Charlotte. Tickets are $25 and available by calling
704-577-3186. Seating is limited.
“We want people to recognize that our cognitive function changes as we get older, and memory problems do not always lead to Alzheimer’s disease” says Dr. Chaconas.
The symposium program will include:
* Memory Loss – Do I Have It? – presented by Charles H. Edwards II, MD of Memory Center Charlotte, a 501C3 entity which develops educational initiatives, direct medical care and community outreach to the community with an emphasis on dementia.
Dr. Edwards will address these questions: What areas of the brain are affected as we age? What are normal age related changes in your brain and how are they manifested? What are the practical aspects of normal cognitive aging?
* Memory Loss – I Have It! What Do I Do Now? – presented by Dr. Aristides Chaconas, Neurologist at Memory Center Charlotte.
Dr. Chaconas will address these questions: When do normal age-related changes become concerning? What is Mild Cognitive Impairment? When do symptoms become serious? What is the difference between Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia? If I am diagnosed, what do I do now?
In addition, both doctors will touch on staying healthy and what is coming in the field of dementia care.
“Aging and Your Brain – How am I Doing?” is presented by Memory Center Charlotte. To find out more, visit http://memorycentercharlotte.com.
About Memory Center Charlotte
Memory Center Charlotte is a 501c3 non-profit entity dedicated to the care of patients with memory challenges and their caregivers in the Charlotte region.
Media Contact: Cindy Ballaro
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