September 13, 2018

The Keys To Start a Senior Housing Search

By: Darleen Mahoney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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August 17, 2018

Aging in Place- Not Just A Buzz Phrase

By: Darleen Mahoney

Aging in PlaceCertainly, you are hearing the term “Aging in Place” more frequently. Have you wondered what this really means? The very clear definition of Aging in Place is quite simple. It defines a person living in the residence of their choosing for as long as they are able, as they age. This includes the ability to receive any home health care services or other services over time even as their needs change. Ideally, the goal would be maintaining a higher quality of life for a elderly person as they are in the home of their choice, addressing their health, social, and overall emotional needs.

Why are some seniors choosing the Aging in place option?

  • Comfortable and familiar environment
  • Feeling of Independence
  • Convenience to familiar services
  • Security
  • Close to family

Ideally, Aging in place is a well thought out plan that you have in place for your future long before it becomes necessary. It requires specific financial planning, choices and making your choices clear to your family and friends. Aging in place does not necessarily mean that you are burdened with doing everything yourself, there are multiple resources available such as the National Council for Aging Care.

Home modifications should be considered when making the decision to Age in place. Today, there are products that exist that allow people to change their homes to fit their physical needs. You do not have to outgrow the place you love. There are even home remodelers that specialize in making a home “senior friendly” or “senior safe”.

As you consider making home modifications and weighing your options, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development notes why aging at home may save money for some seniors. If a senior no longer has a mortgage to pay and would need to make improvements on their current home to sell, it may be advantageous to remain in their own “mortgage free” home and make renovations that would suit their senior lifestyle and age in place.

When deciding if Aging in place is ideal for you, making a list may be a good option. Its important to be honest and consider what your physical, emotional, social, and financial capabilities will be. You need to ask yourself a few basic questions:

  • Is this the ideal solution for me to spend my Golden years?
  • Is this the environment that I see myself in? Do I not want to be in a more social environment?
  • Am I concerned that I might need additional healthcare that may not be available if I Age in place?
  • Will I require multiple home care services?
  • What are my other options, and have I weighed them?

You have decided that Aging in place is the best of option for you.  You need to start planning but want to make sure that you are making the right choices and planning correctly. The good news is that The National Aging in Place Council provides a planning template to simply your steps and helps you plan accordingly, providing peace of mind as you move forward. The Council also provides great information with practical advice.

While Aging in place, a home health care service can provide many benefits for you medically and many other personalized services. When deciding on which home health care service you might like to choose, please visit SeniorLivingGuide.com and review each one to see what they offer and which one is the best fit for you.

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August 3, 2018

You’ve Retired! How Do You Decide Which State to Retire?

Filed under: Retirement,Retirement Planning — Tags: , , — seniorlivingguide @ 11:03 am

By: Darleen Mahoney

You’ve retired! Congratulations! You are looking forward to your future as you have How Do You Decide Which State to Retire?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!

best and worst states for retirement

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April 19, 2018

Time Spent with Seniors Is Time Well Spent

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 Seniors Time Well Spenther 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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