August 8, 2018
June 22, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
By definition, an Assisted Living Facility (ALF) or assisted living community is housing for the elderly or the disabled that provides nursing care, prepared meals, housekeeping, and other services.
What you can expect from an Assisted Living Care Facility is continuing care providing a combination of personal and health care services designed for individual needs. They offer daily activities, coordinate patients health care, supervise and ensure the overall well-being of their residents.
While the facility may assist in arranging the healthcare for their residents, those residents typically choose their own medical and dental care providers.
Please keep in mind that these communities are intended to be the next step for those who can no longer live alone, but do not provide the same level of care that a nursing home would.
These communities can be freestanding communities or part of larger facilities such as skilled nursing homes, hospitals, continuing care retirement homes, or even part of independent housing communities.
The benefits of Assisted Living Facilities:
- Maintain a patient’s independence while providing the help they currently need is the primary goal
- Family relationships and engagement with the community is encouraged
- Patients level of care is based on need, as their needs change, their care changes.
Most patients of Assisted Living Facilities are seniors, this includes those with memory challenges such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
You can rest assured that most states require certifications and licenses in order to register as an ALF.
What can you expect in your actual accommodations? These can vary greatly from one facility to the next. Some might have private rooms, baths, and kitchenettes, others might not. If you would like to see what is available in your area, visit us online at www.SeniorLivingGuide.com, click on Assisted Living at the top of the page, choose your state and city/area of interest, take your time, and see what they have to offer and what meets your needs.
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March 28, 2018
By Janet Campbell [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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.
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.
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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February 27, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Texas is at the top of many retiree’s lists when looking for their ideal state to retire and enjoy their “golden years”. What does Texas offer that is attracting retirees, specifically Baby Boomers, to the Lone Star State?
Texas is the second largest state in the country and offers a wide variety of topography and open spaces for them to live around. The choices range from mountainsides with views of plains and prairies to coastal plains and forested hill country. There are independent and active adult communities new and existing with the amenities and social opportunities that retirees may be looking for today. If you are looking for a fast-paced town with concerts and night life or peace and quite in a natural environment, Texas has them all. http://www.nic.org/blog/key-takeaways-lone-star-states-seniors-housing-market/
While Florida is clearly still at the top of the list for many retirees moving from the North to enjoy the sunshine and beaches, Texas offers many of the same attributes in their weather conditions, which can be a big draw. The mild temperatures vary within the state and provide many opportunities for retirees who want hot summers and cool winters, like San Antonio or Austin. If they prefer a bigger city with a lot of diversity and activity, baby boomers may be attracted to Houston and Dallas, even though they have higher humidity during the summer with more rain.
While some of the biggest draws are the weather, topography, and local activities; it may come down to the brass tacks of affordability. Texas has lower taxes, a lower cost of living, and a reduced tax rate (including no personal income tax). This is important because a retiree with a fixed income is going to be able to make their budget go farther. Therefore, it’s no surprise the state of Texas would be considered one of the best places to retire financially.
Whatever the reasons – varied landscape, warmer climate, diverse cities, or affordability- Texas is attracting retirees. Texas active adult communities are growing to accommodate this emerging growth, meet the needs of the Baby Boomers, and ultimately become a retirement destination for active adults.
Visit us on www.seniorlivingguide.com , click on Texas to visit different Senior Housing available in the Lone Star State.
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February 20, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
I am on my own personal journey to discover what the best decisions are for my Dad. He is 71 years old and starting to decline both physically and mentally. He decided to be independent and retire in a 55+ restrictive community years ago, but I see the need for additional long-term services for him in the near future. On this journey, I found myself needing a clear vision on what are our options might be that would be best for him and his needs.
I started looking at continuing care community options – what they entail and if it would be a good fit. I regretted that this option was not considered years ago and wondered if it was too late for him to make this move.
Continuing care communities are independent living housing with all the perks of the social, recreational and other retirement community extras that keep independent seniors active. They also have two additional tiers of care available – assisted living and nursing level care. Later, if the independent senior’s health declines, they can smoothly transition to the assisted living tier, and then, the nursing side, if needed.
According to the AARP, “Nearly 90% of people 65 and older said they would like to ‘age in place.’ And yet the hard truth is that a beloved house in a familiar community can become both physically impractical and socially isolating over time”. http://time.com/money/4579934/continuing-care-retirement-communities-cost/
Once you decide that this is a viable option for you or your loved one to explore, it’s a matter of choosing which one would be right for you.
The AARP recommends that you take many steps to make this determination:
- Visit multiple residences
- Take a tour, talk to the residents, staff, and visiting family members.
- Ask staff members how long they’ve worked there; a good sign of quality is low turnover.
- Check with the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. Many assisted-living residences, nursing homes, and CCRCs voluntarily apply for accreditation, which means they meet many quality measures.
- Get clear information on financial arrangements and costs
- Discuss at length with your loved ones, they will help you make a good decision in your best interest.
Regardless of whether a continuing care community is right for you or your loved one, it’s always best to be informed and proactive when making plans of this magnitude. Their health and happiness in the long term is dependent on finding the best senior living arrangement.
When you’re ready to begin your search, remember SeniorLivingGuide.com – the nation’s fastest growing senior housing and services resource!
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February 5, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Once it’s been decided that potentially downsizing for retirement living or moving into a senior living community is on the horizon, the most stressful aspect can be selling the home. There are many things to consider outside of the emotional tolls of leaving a home with years of memories attached. There is also the reality that the house itself is most likely the largest source of income/equity, therefore, its very important to sell the house at the best price that the market will allow.
Staging a home and making it more appealing to a wide range of buyers is a best practice and that may be challenging for some Seniors while they are still living in the home. There are a few options for staging a home. It can range from keeping living spaces very organized and decluttered and quick paint fixes to having a professional “stage” the home for sale. Typically, a service will stage a home to make it look larger, utilize neutral colors and will take any personal items of the current homeowner and put them away. These services may replace existing furniture and other personal items which can be stressful for Seniors but can also raise the value of the home. Buyers should not focus on the current homeowner’s taste, style and personal choices.
If a Senior is moving to an Assisted Living community, they will most likely need to downsize right away. This can be such a taxing process both emotionally and physically. According to AARP https://www.aarp.org/work/retirement-planning/info-08-2011/retirement-downsizing.html , it’s recommended that you plan to, “hit the ‘heart of the home’ rooms first. That’s usually the kitchen, living room, and family room, which tend to be the most cluttered and contain items with the greatest emotional value and everyday use. Make four piles-keep, donate, give to family members and trash.”
Other things to consider while staging is touching up paint, changing out hardware, new blinds, replacing burned out lightbulbs, adding fresh flowers or potted plants, fixing visible issues around the house that a buyer would notice, and rearranging furniture to create the look of a larger space. Best practice is to keep in mind that when a potential buyer walks through your home, they need to be able to picture their own personal items and sense of style as well. If there is a strong color palette in the home, it may be necessary to re-paint a more neutral palette to assure that the potential buyer is seeing the actual house and not just the wall colors.
Also, consider the front of the house. A potential buyer should never drive up and before they even enter the house think, “what a lot of work” before entering the home.
Remember the most important things in staging with Seniors is that there may be more emotional attachments to their personal tastes and their personal items Its important to be cognizant of that and walk through the process at their pace while explaining why “staging” will only benefit them in the long run.
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January 22, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Being financially prepared before and during retirement is integral in assuring a comfortable and less stressful “golden years”.
Knowing what your retirement bills will look like verses your work life bills and expenses are helpful in budgeting. You may save money on commuting expenses and buying expensive clothes, work lunches and multiple co-worker “life events” financial contributions, but what is the offset in your income?
The first thing you would want to do is assess your finances. Any good budget begins with understanding of your current income and expenses.
Your biggest expense in retirement will most likely be your housing. If you can pay off your mortgage before retirement this will eliminate your biggest monthly expense. If you are unable to do this, you might find it beneficial to downsize and decrease your monthly mortgage, cashing in on any equity to help build up your nest egg. You may also want to consider retirement living and active adult retirement communities as options as they can offer turnkey solutions for long term home stability.
The other biggest expense during retirement will be health care expenses. It is imperative to do a deep dive into what is available to you, especially if you retire before being eligible for Medicare. You may also want to consider budgeting and saving for long term care expenses, as you or your spouse may need them.
Tracking your expenses with online budgeting tools can also be a real eye opener on where your money may be going. Budgeting tools like Mint and You Need a Budget will sync with your bank account and will be able to track where your money goes. https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/articles/2016-08-10/7-tips-for-budgeting-in-retirement
Additional recommendations you might want to consider:
• Have fun-watching TV is not a healthy way to live and these should truly be the years that you have worked so hard for!
• Emergencies! – Big ticket items like New AC, Car repairs, new refrigerator, etc.
• Avoid Debt!
Most retirees have a fixed budget where they may live on a month to month income, creating a budget and being prepared will allow you the opportunity to enjoy your retirement with less financial stress.
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January 15, 2018
Older Posts »
By: Darleen Mahoney
Depression is a common problem in older adults. It may be difficult to distinguish the difference between a senior who is just feeling “sad” and one who is experiencing geriatric depression. Geriatric depression is a mental or emotional disorder affecting older adults. These seniors that are would fall under “high risk” might be those that have experienced strokes, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, cancer, dementia, and chronic pain. There are specific signs that would tend to be lend more to geriatric depression over moments of sadness. It is important to be aware of these signs because there are also steps to take to help our Seniors, depression is not a normal stage to getting older. Their “golden year” should be just that…golden!
Some signs and symptoms to look for would include: decreased energy levels, more physical problems, such as arthritis and headaches. Other signs that need to be addressed quite seriously would be loss of self-worth, slowed speech, increasing alcohol intake or drugs, thoughts of suicide.
Because depression is not normal and addressing them with our elderly can be tricky, pay attention to signs other than verbal.
“Older adults often say, ‘I am not sad,” or ‘I am not lonely,’ because they do not want to be a burden on the family,”
“Instead, they show signs of distress by wringing their hands excessively, getting agitated or irritable, or having difficulty sitting still.” according to Dr. Strem (www.health.com/health).
Be vigilant of these types of communication signs as well as the physical signs to be more proactive in care and getting the help needed.
The good news is there is help! There are medications as well as lifestyle changes!
Medications Include: www.healthline.com/health/depression/elderly#treatment5
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
Lifestyle Changes Include: www.healthline.com/health/depression/elderly#treatment5
- Increased physical activity
- Finding a new hobby or interest
- Having regular visits with family and friends
- Getting enough sleep daily
- Eating a well-balanced diet
If you think that you or your loved one is suffering from geriatric depression, encourage treatment and offer your support. If they are living in a Retirement community, Assisted Living facility, or any type of senior housing environment where you might have access to reach out for help, then please do so.
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