August 8, 2018
August 3, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
You’ve retired! Congratulations! You are looking forward to your future as you have planned for this day for a long time. Are you thinking about retiring where you’ve vacationed with your family for years, staying close to home or taking a leap of faith and moving? If you are thinking about moving away from the comforts of your home state, are you considering a very practical approach and doing a little research?
What are your criteria for deciding which state to retire to? Do you look at how each state ranks?
- Socially-Do the people seem to have meaningful friendships?
- Financially-What is the cost of living, tax rates, etc.
- Community- Do you think you will love the community where you live?
- Physically – Overall good health in the community with exceptional health care
According to a new Bankrate study, South Dakota ranks as numero uno as the best state to retire. Followed by Utah, Idaho, New Hampshire, and Florida. The studies ranking, and percentages were based on:
- Cost of living (20%)
- Crime (10%)
- Culture (10%)
- Health care quality (15%)
- Taxes (20%)
- Weather (15%)
- Wellbeing (10%)
While there are many listicles providing different results, Business Insider sited Florida as the best retirement state while Money Magazine sited New Hampshire. A few criteria used to determine these front runners are affordability, quality of life, and healthcare.
Money also releases a list based on cities to retire in the U.S. basing its rankings on local taxes. The list provides details on demographics over the age of 55, median home price, average tax rate, and top income tax rate.
While we tout a few of the front runners in retirement meccas, its only fair to mention those that fall vastly short. Alaska and New York are mentioned in several listicles as the least desirable. Alaska has severe weather, high crime, and a low percentage of Seniors.
To many, Florida is where many retirees flock and it may be top of mind as there are so many options in retirement communities. The Sunshine State has the highest percentage of 65 years and older out of any other state.
If you’re looking for a retirement lifestyle where life expectancy is significantly longer than most states, Hawaii may be your ticket! The downside to this state is that the cost of living is one of the highest in the nation.
When it comes to deciding on a retirement destination and looking at all the options and listicles, it can be very confusing. These options and rankings are based on different criteria. What’s important to you? We know that with most retirees that the weather, topography, friends, and family are what gets them excited about your new destination. So, looking through these different listicles and how they based their ranking should also be what’s important to you. Once you decide on this next phase of your life and where you want to move, visit us online at www.SeniorLivingGuide.com , we can help find your next home!
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July 27, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Its happening, you are making the move from your family home and familiar neighborhood and friends to a retirement community, either active or assisted living. You have worked very hard to make sure that you are making wise decisions and you know what you want or need in the place you will be moving. You know that one of the main ingredients that you need for yourself is to continue to be as active and social as possible. You know that you need to make new friends in your new living environment, as this is important to you. The good news is that it’s very possible.
For older adults, new environments and living spaces, new routines and new faces can be reason enough to become isolated from people and things that they enjoy, become lonely and feel depressed.
It’s important to acknowledge this as a possibility before making the move. Planning ahead to make an effort to meet and interact with the other residents is important prior to the move. Look at the calendar of events and outings. Go ahead and sign up for activities and clubs. Keep your commitments!
There are also other ways to meet new friends daily that share the same common interests. Check out the following:
- Hobby focused groups
- Book Clubs
- Watch TV with groups vs. privately
- Run errands with groups-Ex: grocery store
- Support Groups-Ex: emotional, medical
If your community offers welcoming events for new residents, attend the event! Each new resident needs the same love and support that you did when you first arrived. If you don’t feel that you had a welcoming environment, be the one that makes the change! You never know who you are going to meet. You don’t want to miss out!
Be informed of what resources that you have at your disposal and take advantage of them. If you have a special interest and its not available, find out if you can start a new group.
If you feel like you are taking these steps on your own and you’re still struggling to make friends, confide in a caregiver to see if they can provide a solution. If you prefer, confide in a family member or someone that you feel comfortable talking about your struggle seeking their advice.
Actively taking steps to make new friends can be exhilarating and stressful at the same time. Maintaining healthy friendships in retirement is good for your mental and emotional health. It can help with anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Be happy and find your new found lifelong friendships in retirement!
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July 16, 2018
Courtesy of Janet Campbell
When you’re tending seniors, you want to provide the best possible care to ensure the best quality of life. In order to be effective and efficient it can help to create a checklist, whether mentally or physically, of the areas you should discuss on a daily basis. Follow these important guidelines to ensure you’re covering the crucial aspects of your senior’s care and making the most of home health care visits.
Sleep. As we grow older, getting sufficient sleep is an area in which many seniors struggle. It’s also an area that can have ramifications in other parts of life, contributing to a variety of mental and physical health concerns. According to The Guardian lack of sleep is linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, reduced ability to focus, poor memory and a shorter life span.
For seniors, the concerns are even more far-reaching, with some studies showing poor sleep quality contributing to dementia, depression and the decline of other mental faculties. These together can be a slippery slope. With health concerns mounting, some feeding each other such as obesity contributing to sleep apnea and heart disease, depression can then worsen, sleep can worsen and a vicious circle can quickly develop.
There are many ways to encourage better sleep quality. One idea is to establish a bedtime routine including a warm, relaxing bath to help unwind. Sunlight can help trigger healthy body rhythms, so spending time in the outdoors during the day can also be a boon. Physical activity can also help seniors sleep, so long as they avoid exercising within three hours of bedtime. Also offer an appropriate sleep environment, free of noise and lights. Seniors should have a comfortable bed that alleviates pain as well. For those who wake up groggy or achy, consider upgrading to a new mattress better suited for an aging body’s needs. It is best to replace your mattress every seven to eight years to get a good night’s sleep. If you dream of reducing the number of times you toss and turn each night, refer to this guide to choose a comfortable mattress.
Diet. Meeting a senior’s nutritional needs is another key way to enhance quality of life. As we age the body’s metabolism gradually slows, and as some experts point out this can mean less calories burned. Seniors should opt for foods that are nutritionally dense instead of consuming empty calories. The diet should be tapered down according to need, rather than adding the nutrient-dense choices.
The diet choices should be simple, satisfying and nutritious. Plates should be half-filled with fruits and vegetables, and whole grains should be the source of at least half of the grain choices. Whole grains include foods such as brown rice, whole grain cereals and whole grain breads. Seniors should avoid consuming excessive amounts of sodium. The diet should include healthy fat sources such as nuts, avocados, vegetable fats and fatty fish. Protein sources should include eggs, chicken, fish, beans and nuts.
Exercise. Getting sufficient exercise is another key component in maintaining good quality of life for seniors. OnHealth explains loss of muscle mass associated with aging contributes to the metabolic decline in seniors. Staying fit helps keep muscles and bones strong, helps maintain a healthy weight, and helps maintain or restore balance. Seniors who stay active can reduce their risk for health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, depression, obesity and back pain. A senior fitness program can enhance flexibility, memory function and improve mood as well.
Seniors can begin exercising at any age but should discuss a new exercise program with their physicians. Scheduling sessions can help stay on track, and celebrating progress can be an encouragement. Seniors should include aerobic, strength training, balance and flexibility exercises in their regimen. Gentle chair yoga is a good option for many seniors new to exercise.
Easing a worried heart. Has your senior been fixated or overly worried about life lately? Chatting lightly can begin loosening up a senior who has become wound too tight about the ups and downs of life. First and foremost you must listen – most folks benefit from a sympathetic ear even if their listener doesn’t give them a solution to their problem. But if there are recurring issues then you could begin gently guiding them to take some action towards acceptance, no matter how small it might be. It could be as simple as some advance planning for the inevitable, or volunteering part time.
Better health, better life. Helping a senior maintain a good quality of life is paramount. Check off these three things when visiting seniors: Ensure seniors get sufficient sleep, enjoy a healthy diet and participate in an exercise program. Make the most of home visits with these simple guidelines.
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July 12, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Home Health Care by definition according to Wikipedia: is, “Home care is supportive care provided in the home. Care may be provided by licensed healthcare professionals who provide medical treatment needs or by professional caregivers
who provide daily assistance.” Home Health Care provides the ability for seniors to age in place and provides other caregivers a break.
Those who might consider Home Health Care may be recovering from a procedure, have a degenerative disorder or in need of general medical care. Home Health is recommended most often by a doctor after a visit or a hospital stay because it is provided by medical professionals.
One of the benefits that Home Health Care provides is that not only is there a medical professional in the home providing the specialized care that is needed, but also provides personal services as well.
Home Health Services that may be included, but not limited to depending on what the provider offers:
- Skilled Nursing
- Physical therapy
- Pain management
- Wound care
- Prescription management
- Helping those with Alzheimer’s or dementia
Personal Services that may be included, but not limited to depending on what the provider offers:
- Grooming, like dressing and help with bathing
- Medication reminders
- Help with moving around the home
- Cooking meals
Because Home Health Care are in the home, they can work with family members daily to make sure that routines are followed, make recommendations on medications and keep the senior in their home environment longer.
The cost of Home Health Care as an option could come down to who is going to pay for the care. While a family caregiver will not receive any monies from any programs, Medicare has limited coverage for home care. When coverage is provided through Medicare it is only covered through a Medicare-certified home health care agency. Always check with your insurance provider and any other resources that may help with the expense of Home Health Care.
If you would like to age in place and explore different Home Healthcare providers in your area to see what they offer, please visit SeniorLivingGuide.com, click on the state and area of interest. Review each one carefully, weigh the options and what is important to you and your family and then schedule a call to discuss those options.
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July 5, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Adult Day Care facilities (ADC) are vastly different than any other community than what we have covered in our Senior Housing “Be in The Senior Housing Know” series. The adult senior does not live at the facility but will spend time during the day. It is a professionally managed environment that typically provides senior adults with dementia, or other mental or physical disabilities care. The benefit of an ADC is the option to allow these senior adults to age in place. The facility provides activities during the day while providing a safe and secure place to go. The aging adult is provided with medical care, daily social interaction, meals, cognitive stimulation and in some instances, transportation to the center. Respite Care, providing caregivers to take a break from responsibilities, is also a service that many Adult Day Care Centers provide. The ratio of staff/senior is reported as 1-6 by the NADSA.
One of the most important aspects that Adult Day Care Centers offers a Senior with Dementia or Alzheimer’s is cognitive stimulation. According to the National Adult Day Services Association, 75-90 percent offers these types of services to their senior adults.
Different programs may include:
- Card games
- Board games
- Creative projects (quilting/puzzles)
- Memory training
- Educational programs
- Book clubs
- Current event discussion groups
As the efforts of many organizations continue to recognize the importance of helping people to “age in place”, the social aspects that can be achieved in an Adult Day Care environment can be a major piece of that puzzle for these adults who are physically and mentally challenged who would like to remain at home. As Adult Day Care Centers are growing, the certifications and licenses required are different state by state. Here is the breakdown to be considered:
- 26 States require licenses only
- 10 States require certifications only
- 4 States require both licenses and certifications
- 11 States do not require either licenses or certifications
What is a Certification? The adult day program has been approved by the Department of Human Services by the standards set. Licensing varies state by state depending on their requirements and level of care. States without certification or a license, are generally publicly funded and have official agreements with state agencies.
Before choosing any Adult Day Care Service, visit the facility, talk to the adults there and see how they enjoy their day and what they do with their time. It never hurts to ask for references from caregivers that can provide feedback. For an extensive one stop shop to help you choose a ADS right for you or a loved one, visit SeniorLivingGuide.com’s Adult Day Care section, click on your state and area for an extensive selection of different Adult Day Care options in your area, visit their website and their locations before making a final decision.
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June 29, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
The level of health care and personal care provided varies greatly between a skilled nursing facility and an assisted living facility. An assisted living facility (ALF) is a long term living environment where the resident’s care is customized based on health and personal needs. A skilled nursing facility (SNF) is a temporary facility based on hospitalization or a significant decline in health.
Skilled nursing facilities include room and board, any necessary physical and/or occupational therapy, social services, medication, speech, audiology, and all care is provided by registered professional nurses. The level of care that they provide may include rehabilitation, tube feedings, intravenous, and rapidly declining health services.
Skilled nursing facilities are also required to meet federal criteria for Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement for nursing care. Skilled care is covered by Medicare for typically up to 100 days after a hospitalization. Once you use 100 days, your current benefit period must end before you renew your SNF benefits. Custodial care may be needed for an extended period. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services provides detail on what is covered under each of their plans.
Before choosing a Skilled Nursing Facility, consider the following:
- Make sure you have a recent medical evaluation with a recommendation for a Skilled Nursing Facility vs. another housing option
- If 24/7 medical care is required, a skilled nursing facility is best. If custodial needs are required, consider an Assisted Living Facility.
- Because a Skilled Nursing Facility is temporary, consider the medical needs of the patient and make sure that there may not be an alternate plan. If a family can fill in the gaps in care with adult day care programs, home health care, or respite care there may be alternatives to consider.
If you feel that you or a family member needs a Skilled Nursing/Rehabilitation facility, please visit www.SeniorLivingGuide.com, click on “Skilled Nursing/Rehabilitation”, and your state or area of interest. You will be able to choose from multiple options and review in detail what each one offers and if it meets your needs. Do your research and make the best possible decision for you and your family.
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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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!
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June 7, 2018
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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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