June 14, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Independent Senior Housing, Independent Living Communities or Age Restricted Communities are created for Seniors that are typically active, healthy, and do not require medical assistance. The biggest factor is the age restriction that is placed on the residents that move in, typically the age is 55+-62, but can vary. Its not unusual that some new residents are still working and are years away from retirement age. These communities are built in neighborhoods of homes, townhomes, condos, cottages, apartments, or any type of home where the residents can maintain an independent lifestyle. These communities may offer amenities that attract residents like golf courses, pools, community centers, work out centers, and include ground maintenance and security. There is an activity director who plans a calendar of events including group trips, special dances and karaoke nights.
What are the benefits of an Independent Living Community? These communities provide senior specific social environments and activities to residents that appeal to their “senior only” residents.
Residents of an Independent Living Community live alone or as a couple without any type of skilled nursing. If their health declines and they choose to remain in the community, they still have the option to hire home health care providers or private caregivers.
There are many variables on policies as these are set by management. Depending on a public, private, or government managed property the policies may vary greatly. Costs should line up with the market value for similar housing and community in the area. There can be additional community related costs and taxes for landscaping, pool maintenance, etc. There are subsidizes programs through the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development for those low-income seniors in need.
If you are an independent, active adult over the age of 55 you have many options to choose from in Independent Senior Living! Visit us on www.SeniorLivingGuide.com, click on Active Adult/Retirement, then click on your State and Region of Interest and begin researching what each one offers you and your lifestyle! Happy House hunting!
June 7, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
I have never heard a single person tell me that they thought that moving was fun. It’s exhausting, messy, and can be very complicated. This is very true whether you are boxing everything yourself or you’ve hired professionals. That’s just the actual process of boxing household items to be moved from one place to another. The stress, anxiety, and emotional toll can be even greater for Seniors, as they are most likely downsizing and going through the process of making decisions about what to take with them to the next phase of their lives. What if they are moving to a new area entirely? It may be adventurous, but learning the “lay of the land” without any guidance can be challenging.
The good news is that Senior Move Managers are available for Seniors to help take some of the burden off them while they make this transition. According to the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM), they are available to assist seniors and their families with the emotional and physical aspects of the move. Their Senior Move Managers are available to assist with a variety of tasks based on what you and your loved one’s needs might be as your move progresses.
Senior Move Managers typically offer the following services:
- Stage and prepare current home for sale
- Packing and organizing
- Organizing and securing storage
- Providing/Hiring Cleaning Services that may be required/needed
- Transportation and shopping required for transition into new home
- Hiring and scheduling process with Movers
- Present and overseeing the movers during the packing process
- Transferring utilities and forwarding mail/providing new address to Post Office
- Unpacking and setting up the new home
How can you find these amazing assets to help with your move?
There are several options and companies that are growing throughout the United States, including Caring Transitions and the largest, National Association of Senior Move Managers, which has grown tenfold since 2006 to about 600 companies in the United States and Canada. The Management firm charges $40 to $125 per hour for their services.
Whichever route you choose to go, always weigh your options. Whether you find that it is more financially feasible to hire someone to make this life transition easier or if you take a more hands on approach, always consider the emotional well being of the seniors involved and how this transition will affect them and make that the priority.
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May 31, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
As the rate of Alzheimer’s Disease increases and we seem to be on the brink of a cure or treatment. It still seems all too futuristic to those in the here and now fighting for loved ones with the disease.
As the idea that there may be a cure around the corner lingers, the disease is still growing in numbers and being aware of the signs at home in order to get treatment as early detection are keys to potentially living more independently longer, subsiding the symptoms.
Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes the slow decline of memory, thinking and reasoning skills. Let’s review basic warning signs. These signs may be experienced differently by each person to varying degrees.
- Memory loss – One might forget recent information like dates or events. Asking the same questions over and over. Using things like post it notes, reminder notes, electronic devices, or even family to remember things they used to remember on their own.
- Problem Solving – One might have problems developing and following a plan or working with numbers. They may start forgetting to pay monthly bills, work electronics like phones, stoves, and remotes, etc. that were everyday routine devices.
- Losing Track of Times and Dates – One might start losing track of dates and time. They may start forgetting how they got somewhere or even where they are.
- Visual Changes – Some Alzheimer’s patients have experiences changes in vision with judging distance, color, and depth perception. These are problematic to those who may still be driving.
- Problems with Speech – One might have trouble following or joining a conversation, they may stop in the middle of a conversation or have no idea how to continue, repeating themselves. They struggle with their words and sometimes are unable to find the right words, calling things by the wrong names at times.
- Misplacing Things – One might start putting things in odd places, losing things, and unable to recall steps to find them. Some may accuse others of stealing those things. This may start occurring more frequently as they may appear to be paranoid.
- Poor Judgment – One may start having poor decision-making and changes in their judgment. They may not be able to deal with money, giving large amounts away or handling it improperly. This makes them more vulnerable to people who may want to take advantage. They may start bathing less and not taking care of their hygiene.
- Withdraws from Family, Social, and Work – One might begin removing themselves from their social activities, hobbies, projects, and even their own family. They start avoiding these situations because of the changes that they are experiencing.
- Mood Changes – The mood and the personality of someone with Alzheimer’s changes as they become confused and become experiencing depression, fear, and anxiety in their daily lives. They are no longer able to find a “comfort zone”.
Clearly, many of these signs can be normal in aging adults. Recognizing multiple and ongoing signs in someone you love should not be ignored, schedule a doctor’s appointment.
There is treatment available with early detection, relief of the symptoms and will help them maintain a level of independence longer.
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May 24, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
The decision has been made to keep your aging parent at home a little while longer or they are living with you, but you cannot be there 24/7 and need to take a few safety precautions when you cannot be there.
As 1 in 4 adults over the age of 65 takes a fall, safety is important. This is typically the primary safety concern along with each senior having their own individual health and mental concerns.
Having a plan and exploring what options fit your family, your senior, and the home is always a great start.
If getting a full evaluation of the homes safety is a goal, you may want to contact a certified aging-in-place specialist, occupational or physical therapist, or a geriatric care manager. They will be able to make safety recommendations.
A few quick and easy solutions:
- Raised Toilet Seat
- Shower Chair
- Textured no-slip strips in the bathtub and shower
- Stair climber
- Waterproof seat in the shower
- Controls and switches near bed and/or wheelchair
- Remove throw rugs
- Add monitors and alarms to the home
- Remove locks from doors inside the home
- Change doors to the outside of the home to levers
- Hallway and stairway lighting is efficient
- Adjust thermostat on hot water heater to avoid water getting too hot
Another option in the form of preventative safety when your aging parent or senior is unable to be alone or alone for long periods of time, consider a home healthcare service. They can provide a range of services including: transportation, cooking, light housekeeping, dispensing medication, and other services. Home Healthcare services vary on their offerings, visit www.SeniorLivingGuide.com‘s Home Health tab in your area to find out what specific services that fit your family’s needs.
You have followed all these steps to be proactive with safety, but accidents and emergencies still can happen. What then?
Remember the commercial with the catchphrase, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!”? Since this commercial became a pop-culture phenomenon in its 80’s debut, personal response and medical monitoring devices have been the answer to in-home senior safety and security especially as technology has progressed over the years.
Medical Alarm Monitoring such as, Bay Alarm Medical, may be a turn key and inexpensive solution providing you peace of mind. If your senior has an accident, gets frightened, or has a need for any type of medical attention, a touch of a button alerts the company, authorities, and specific contacts easily.
Whatever your home situation is with your aging parent; keeping safety and security top of mind is key. There are many solutions to consider, but there is a magnitude of resources available both online and offline. Make sure that you do your research and utilize what is available.
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May 16, 2018
Courtesy of Janet Campbell
It’s never too late to become financially literate. Statistics show that 65 percent of Americans do not have a budget, which suggests that many enter their elderly years uninformed about personal finances. Taking good care of your finances at this stage of your life is essential – your financial stability, health and personal happiness are at stake, so consider carefully these tips that financial advisors consider crucial for older adults.
Set a budget
Establishing a budget helps you keep track of where your money is going and makes it considerably easier to plan for the future. Most advisors contend that setting up and sticking to a budget is the most important building block in maintaining one’s financial health. It’s especially important for seniors because it ensures that you’ll have enough money to pay for the things you need and want. If you’ve never lived according to a formal budget, once you’ve got it down and incorporated it into your routine you can predetermine what months you’re likely to be tight on money and when you’ll be in the black. A budget helps you plan for unexpected expenses, those times when life bites you and forces you to dig deep into your funds.
Sidestep the scams
Beware of fast-talking salespeople and telemarketers looking to take advantage of confused and vulnerable elderly people. They’re usually the first ones to be targeted, so watch out for “deals” that involve a lot of complex detail, evasive answers or an unwillingness to answer questions, a lack of documentation (i.e. no paper trail), and pressure to sign a contract right away. This is always a red flag, no matter who’s involved or what stage of life they’re in.
Be skeptical about investments
If you retired with investments, they can give you a real advantage in your senior years but it’s dangerous to rely on them too heavily. A budget can help you forecast but it can’t help you where the market’s concerned. An over-reliance on the returns it can bring is a dangerous way to approach your finances, especially if you’re working with limited funds to begin with. Unscrupulous salespeople are especially dangerous when it comes to stock market investing, which can be arcane and intimidating to someone with limited experience. A good rule of thumb is, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Remember, savings, a good budget and careful money management are the building blocks of a solid financial foundation.
Many people nearing or having reached retirement age tend to see Social Security as a nest egg or financial magic bullet. Yes, you can begin drawing on your social security benefits beginning at age 62, but it can be well worth your while to wait a bit. Nevertheless, it’s estimated that 75 percent of Americans start going through their benefits early, which means they’re not maximizing what they could be getting from Social Security. Timing is a big part of doing Social Security right. Put simply, the longer you wait to draw Social Security, the more you’ll get each month. Taking Social Security before official retirement age (between 66 and 67) results in an unnecessary reduction of your benefits, whereas your benefit increases as much as 8 percent a year if you wait until you reach 70.
Follow the basics
The old rule that says you should have three months of expenses ready to go still stands once you reach old age. If you’ve ignored that rule during your working lifetime, make a good stab at it. Set aside what you can in case the unexpected happens when you’re at your most vulnerable. Some people age 65 or older are able to sell their life insurance policy, which may be an option to consider if you can’t afford the premiums or don’t need one anymore. Just be sure to do your research first so you understand the ins and outs of the process.
Keep following the same good financial advice you’ve gotten throughout your life once you reach retirement age. Budget, save, and stay away from “can’t miss” investment offers. Much of what’s served you well all those years won’t go wrong once you hit 67.
Courtesy of Pixabay.com.
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May 10, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
You know that Mom can no longer live alone, but does she really need to move? It’s time to decide between moving her to a skilled nursing facility, assisted living, or is Home Health Care an option? Yes, it should be considered. As there are many options available to consider including transitioning to a senior living community that best benefits their needs, but often the option of Home Healthcare may be missed in the equation. This is unfortunate as this may be the best option for “mom” and should clearly be explored when weighing all your options.
There are many variables that may make up this decision-making process. Some of these factors may be based on financial, location, convenience, current state and future health of a loved one.
Home Health Care can be used to support a family that is caring for their loved one and needs the extra support. They can be there when you can’t be.
But there are many great reasons why Home Health Care might be the right choice for your loved one!
If your family member is still living in their own home, they may get to stay in their own home for a little while longer, transitioning out of a home that they have either lived in most of their adult lives and raised their children or even a home where they have all their personal possessions will be a stressful transition. When they move to a facility, they will be saying a final “goodbye” to most of their personal possessions and understanding how distraught this may make them and the emotional toll may want to be considered.
With today’s portable medical technology, physicians who make home visits can do as much or more for patients than primary care clinicians in offices, says Dr. Alan Kronhau, co-founder and CEO of Doctors Making Housecalls, based in Durham, North Carolina. When a visiting physician or nurse, or caregiver is in the home, they can better asses the medications, safety of the home environment, even the types of food that their patient may be eating based on their recommended diet. A Home Healthcare environment may provide a better overall patient assessment. Home health care often has skilled medical care available delivered at home by certified and licensed nurses. They have access to the highly technical medical equipment needed, it just happens to be portable and can meet complex medical needs that are not uncommon in the elderly.
In-home services also allow elderly adults to receive:
- Help with their personal care; such as bathing, grooming and even medication reminders.
- Help with the home environment, such as light housework and helping fold laundry. This helps to maintains a clean and safe living environment.
- Meal preparation-elderly can be at risk nutritionally, especially if they have been hospitalized. In general, aging, illness, and bed rest can contribute to the loss of lean body mass.
- Companionship-never underestimate the importance of this factor. Having someone that they enjoy their company to play cards with, walk around the block, watch Jeopardy with is equally as important.
- Personal Relationship-building a relationship with skilled care and professionals and the patient typically provides better care as there is complete knowledge of their patient with this one on one relationship.
Sometimes, it gets down to the nuts and bolts of cost for Home Health Care. According to the National Association of Home Care, the average cost of care from a skilled nursing facility is $544 dollars per day, while the average cost of home health care is $132 dollars per day. Insurance may often be the hurdle, patients who are not housebound may not be covered. Doing your research on coverage for what services and for how long could be mitigating factors in choosing Home Health Care.
If you are considering Home Health Care as an option for a few days a week or full time, please visit our website, SeniorLivingGuide.com for a variety of Home Health Care options. Visit their website, their social media, and make an appointment to talk to them about their services that they provide to make sure that they are a good fit for your family, lifestyle, and your loved one.
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May 4, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Do you remember the days with the house and the yard and the upkeep? There are days that it seems like yesterday and it was very rewarding, but it was also a lot of work and commitment! You spent your Saturday’s mowing the yard, edging, weed eating, and tending to the garden. You may have really loved the garden most, but all of the work had to be done.
Now you are retired! It’s time to do more of what you enjoy! You’ve moved into a smaller space to fit your retirement lifestyle; to give you more time to yourself, to play golf, to travel, to spend more time with your family, and less time on home maintenance. What you miss the most is the relaxation and satisfaction that you received from gardening. Don’t despair, there are a lot of options for gardening in a small space. Spring is here! Spend some time outdoors tending to a garden and be able to enjoy it!
Here are some fun ideas on how to plant a garden in a small space:
- A Container garden – Containers of different sizes and shapes, including galvanized tubs, in a small outdoor space with various flowers and even vegetables and herbs can create a tranquil setting for anyone to entertain, relax, and enjoy a good book.
- Vertical Planters – Maximize your space by planting vertically! Visit your local nursery or hardware store. Tip: repurposed shutters can be used as a vertical planter.
- Hanging planters – If you have the ability to hang your plants from the ceiling or a wall post, they can be a fun asset as you can also include plants and flowers that will trail down adding a different dimension to your patio or small space.
- Ivy fence – Growing ivy on a small fence around an outdoor space can add a lot of depth to your space and easily provide the garden look and feel you might be looking for.
- Herbs – Mixing and matching herbs in small pots and planters is not only eye-catching, but edible!
- Window boxes – If your space is very limited, a window box may be your best option. Succulents do very well in these and are fairly low maintenance with good drainage.
- Birdbath – How great is this idea? Repurpose a birdbath and pack with hardy succulents and pebbles to hold in the moisture.
If you enjoy gardening, downsizing into a senior living or retirement community may not mean that you must give up that part of your life! There are so many options available to consider. The key is appropriate lighting for your plants and soil, the rest you can get very creative with and create a beautiful and functioning gardening.
Another great article on gardening in small spaces:
April 25, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Typically, as people age and it becomes increasingly clear that they are unable to care for themselves, their adult children are left to decide on how to care for them and what those next steps look like, especially for those whose parents are living alone.
You may notice that Dad is forgetting where the car keys are or he is misplacing his phone. Maybe he is not as interested in social interaction with family and more resigned to spending time alone. You recognize that these are signs that he should not be living alone. You find yourself saying to your siblings and family members, “What are we going to do about Dad?”. You know that you need to look at the different options available. You may opt to move them in with a capable family member, choose a home care provider, or move him into a senior living community.
To help make these decisions and form a plan that works for everyone, it can be helpful to have a family meeting with your siblings, other relatives, and/or friends. The family meeting should begin by working out any conflicting care option opinions. Ideally, you will be able to compromise and end with a plan. If you do not feel the meeting will be generally agreeable and emotions have the potential to run high, you can involve a social worker, a family counselor, or a mutually agreed upon mediator to help ensure that the meeting is successful.
As these options are weighed, a clear vision of what success looks like is very important. Consider their mental and physical conditions and how they may progress and the kind of care and assistance they will require in the future. Benefiting your parents’ well-being and health, while maintaining a peaceful and balanced family life should be considered the primary objective.
If you choose to move your family member into your home, please be aware that there are some considerations to make before committing to this role, including a large amount of time. You need to take be honest with yourself and your other family members. Make sure you fully understand the commitment and demands of caring for an aging person and ask yourself if you have the ability to take those on. There will be disruption in your life and relationships, frustration, and a large amount of additional stress that you will be adding to your home.
You may want to look into options of in-home providers, they provide a myriad of services that can be very helpful and free up your time while providing different social interaction for your parent. Understanding the pros and cons – such as how comfortable your family member will need to be with their in-home provider – should be considered before relying on them for specific tasks.
Caring for an aging parent and making decisions regarding their on-going care can be overwhelming. Take the time to consider all of your options, use your support system as a resource, and keep your parents’ best interests at heart – you will find a care option that works for everyone.
http://dailycaring.com/7-things-you-must-do-when-hiring-an-in-home-caregiver/ -Tips for Hiring In Home Care Provider
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April 19, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
The more and more that I work in this industry, I think back to the times that made the older folks that mean so much to me the happiest. They are mostly “a-ha” moments, not anything that I could have bought and shipped through Amazon, texted, or even the quick drop in just to say “hi”. It was the time that was spent visiting with them. It was time sharing a meal, going to CVS to help them pick out a birthday card, sharing the stories of my life, reminiscing about the past, and the times that they themselves were an integral part of my family and daily life. I remember how proud they would be to introduce me and my children to complete strangers. It was like being introduced for a “lifetime achievement” Award at the Golden Globes. That is what we are to our elderly loved ones. We are their lifetime achievements.
When my son was little, his school adopted a Senior retirement community at Christmas time. He was in Kindergarten and they took a field trip to the community, each child “wrote” a book and colored it, we all made Christmas cookies, and the kids sang carols. My son sat in a complete stranger’s lap reading his story with such pride as she intently listened, holding him on her lap so happy with the biggest smile on her face. She was so entrenched in his story and hung on to every word that he said. It meant the world to him because he knew she loved his story, and I know it meant the world to her because you could see the visible joy on her face. I sat there and realized I was holding back tears because it made me happy to see this connection between two strangers vastly different in years. I regret that he never saw her again, I truly believe that it would have been really good for them both.
Buckner Parkway Place, a senior living community in Houston, Texas hosted a group of young people who volunteered at their community through their local high school. “This partnership with Westside High is what Buckner is all about,” said Susan Phelps, executive director of Parkway Place. “Buckner exists to serve both vulnerable children and senior adults, and what better way to do that than by engaging a multi-generation partnership with students who otherwise might not have these opportunities? Plus, seeing the way Parkway Place residents light up around these students is a joy. I feel more confident than ever about the future of senior living because of their eagerness to serve.” http://www.buckner.org/blog/learning-to-serve
Family life is changing. Unlike in the past, when extended families lived close to each other, older folks are living longer and more self-sufficiently, but they are also living alone. With the change in lifestyle and the growing distances from family members, even though their adult children have healthier and more active parents, they are less likely to visit them, and their grandchildren are less likely to know and visit their grandparents as often as in the past.
Developing connections between young and old generations can help both groups. Visit your local Senior Center, Senior Community and ask how you can volunteer by spending time with their residents. You can also visit http://www.servingseniors.org/get-involved/advocacy/ , include children in advocacy, they too are your future. #payitforward
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April 13, 2018
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