Premier Senior Living...
Because it's how you live that Matters

Senior Assisted Living Blog



Is Downsizing Your Home Right For You?

Joseph Coupal - Monday, February 19, 2018

Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TNLast year was the best year for existing home sales in 11 years. That's quite an enticement for many homeowners to put their house on the market and downsize. It sounds like a smart move, but is it?

Once you get older and your children are no longer living at home, downsizing may sound appealing. Doing so could help simplify your life, reduce expenses, and possibly allow you to set more money aside for retirement. But before you make the move, you need to understand the pluses and minuses of downsizing for your particular situation.

The Upside

Moving to something smaller can definitely lead to a simpler lifestyle. And simple is good, right? Lowering your overall spending can also enhance your sense of financial security after retirement. Here are some other potential pluses:

  • Lower or no monthly mortgage payment
  • Reduced maintenance and upkeep
  • Decreased utility costs
  • Increased retirement stability due to expense reductions

Along with the quantifiable upside to downsizing, a reduction in stress will be inevitable if you are able to get better organized and toss items that you no longer want or need when moving to your new home.

There's Always a Downside

One common misconception is that downsizing means you'll have extra cash in the bank after you sell your larger home and purchase a smaller one. While this sounds logical, it isn't necessarily true. The cost of a smaller, newer house, featuring the latest amenities, often will cost more than you’ll receive from the sale of your existing home.

Setting a Budget Is Key

Put together a comprehensive budget for the sale, purchase, and move. You'll also want to include any anticipated expenses after you're settled in your new home. This will be key for enhancing your financial security now, and in the future.

If you've made a good move and have actually reduced expenses by downsizing, make sure you put aside an appropriate amount for future necessities before spending it on little extras or vast luxuries.

Summary

As with all major decisions, there's more to downsizing than the financial impact. The emotional, social, and physical well-being of you and your family is also important to consider. If downsizing is in your future, be sure to consider the pros and cons before getting serious about your move. If this could be your last move, make sure it's a good one!

For more information on senior living, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive

insideindianabusiness.com


Seniors Prefer Senior Living Communities

Joseph Coupal - Monday, February 12, 2018

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAIf you haven’t visited a senior living community in a while, you may have some misconceptions — senior communities have changed significantly over the last few years.Why

Senior communities range from homelike to the luxury of a high-end cruise ship or hotel, and they definitely don’t feel institutional today.

Most seniors who have moved to assisted living or independent living communities report that they prefer life at their new home to living alone.

Here are some common reasons why:

1. An End to Stressful Driving

Driving can become more stressful as we age and our driving abilities may not be what they once were either. For these reasons, most residents prefer to take advantage of the free transportation that’s provided by assisted living communities. There’s no need to rely on a car any longer, although parking is available for residents who still drive.

2. Better Food

There are many seniors who are used to living alone and may not currently be eating right. At senior living communities, residents don’t have to worry about grocery shopping or meal preparation. Instead, they get to enjoy a fine dining experience every day of the week. The food tastes good, alternative meals are almost always offered and special diet needs can ordinarily be accommodated. It’s common for new residents, who had been eating poorly before they moved, to experience improvements in their health and well-being just from three square meals per day.

3. Feeling Like Myself Again

Living alone, we may not be able to participate in activities and games we enjoyed, that were both fun and helped keep us sharp. But senior communities offer a wealth of opportunities to keep us engaged. This can include favorite games like bridge, chess and poker, engaging reading groups and fascinating classes and lectures on every conceivable topic.

4. Feeling Safe

Residents can rest easy knowing that they are secured from ne’er-do-wells. Furthermore, residents enjoy the peace of mind that comes from the emergency response systems that are in each apartment, or sometimes on the resident’s person as a pendant. This alleviates fears about falling and becoming trapped for hours or even days, a scenario that’s all too common for senior’s residing alone. Certainly, there are seniors who live alone and are just fine. We recognize that senior communities aren’t for everyone. But it’s without a doubt that there are vast numbers of seniors living alone in unsafe or unhealthy situations who would benefit immensely from life in a senior community.

5. Improved Family Relationships

Older folks frequently become dependent on their grown children, or other close family members, for help of all kinds. Unnatural role reversals can strain relationships and foster unhealthy feelings of resentment, both by parents and their children. Younger family members are liberated from the role of full-time caregivers and are able to assure that time with their older loved one is high-quality and meaningful. Older residents are glad to return to the role of family matriarch or patriarch and often pleased that their grown children no longer have to “parent the parent.”

6. New Friends

Older adults who live alone often become isolated, which is unhealthy at any age. At senior communities, we can do things like make friends and share a meal with one another. On the other hand, those of us who are more introverted appreciate that our privacy is respected, but are still glad to have folks around.

7. No Stress Home Maintenance or Yard Work

Keeping up a home is hard, especially for those of us who have developed physical ailments. Mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, vacuuming— these become things of the past. But don’t worry green thumbs — residents are more than welcome to adopt a garden.

8. Vanquishing Boredom

Residents need never be bored at a senior living community. There’s something for everyone. All kinds of activities and entertainment are offered, both on-site and in the local community. Entertainment can range from visiting musicians and performers, to day trips that might include local landmarks, forays into nature or just an outing to the local art museum.

For more information on communities, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive

aplaceformom.com


Survival Tips for Moving Your Elderly Parents

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, February 08, 2018

Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SCWhether moving a senior loved one across the country into a new home, or moving both parents into a senior community, the process can be challenging. Many scenarios require the need to move a senior parent from their own home, and their adult children will want to ensure the transition goes smoothly, tending to their health, finances and logistics.

These six tips can make this difficult process easier.

1. Communication and Choice

Seniors can be emotionally vested in the home they’re leaving, and it’s expected that there will be sadness and apprehension about the move. It can be a tough conversation to have with your aging parent, but give them time to grieve the change and talk about where they will be living and why they are moving, in order to help make the transition smoother. When seniors are asked to leave their longtime homes, a frequent cause of distress is their perceived loss of control, so give your loved one as much choice as possible as they plan and implement the move.

2. Plan Effectively

Before families begin the sorting and organizing process, it will help to have a visual of what they are getting into. What rooms need to be furnished? How many square feet is the new residence? We recommend plotting the floor plan of your loved one’s new home on graph paper, and suggests cutting out pieces to represent furniture.

3. Enlist Relatives

This will undoubtedly be a big job, so enlist help from your family. Encourage siblings or other close family members to take a few days off of work. Even children and younger members in the family can participate. Surrounding your senior parents with loved ones who are supportive and encouraging could help ease the emotional stress of moving as well.

4. Sort and Organize

Moving your elderly parents will involve downsizing. Go through the house item by item with your support team. You can categorize objects to make the process easier: items to be moved, keepsakes to be left with family, items to be sold or donated, and items to be thrown out. Don’t allow yourself to become a packing robot lacking feelings. Honor the emotional attachment to personal belongings and allow your senior parent to reminisce as you help sort out their possessions. Remember, these are not just things you’re moving; they’re memories. Also, be open to your own emotions, especially if this was your childhood home.

5. Clean and Repair

After the organizing and packing is complete, there is work that still needs to be done. Whether the house is going to be sold, rented or passed on to another relative — the general requirements are the same. The house should be cleaned, and they should consider making any required repairs now before any get worse. It’s better to take care of maintenance issues all at once rather than dealing with them later while the house is for sale (or after renters move in).

6. Plan the Moving Day

There are a few different strategies for moving your senior loved one into their new home. A full service mover is the easiest way to go, but also the most expensive. They will load everything, deliver to its destination and put things in place. Families can save some money on the move by using a self-service mover, which means their family will load the moving truck, but the cargo will be hauled by a professional mover. Then there’s the do-it-yourself (DIY) option where you can rent a moving truck or trailer. But, even the DIY option of renting a U-Haul or Ryder is not cheap.

This discussion of costs doesn’t even mention the most precious cargo of all: your loved ones. Most senior people have outgrown their road-trip days and probably wouldn’t be too keen on a 32 hour drive. So even if you do decide to haul everything yourself, consider arranging for your senior loved one to fly to their destination.

Of course, each family’s circumstances are unique, so we’re hesitant to give blanket advice — but we hope these tips help you better plan and execute your elder loved one’s next move.

For more information, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive

aplaceformom.com


Steps to Take When Your Parents Need Assisted Living

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Spring Arbor, VAIt can be a difficult moment when you come to realize that your dad or mom needs senior care in a setting like assisted living. Just as our parents kept us safe, sheltered and secure when we needed it — there comes a time when we’re called upon to return this same love to our parents.

Learn more about the next steps to take when you believe your parents need assisted living.

Some of us will provide care to our parents in our own home for a period, but this is not always possible for all families, or always desired by the children or parents themselves. Many families find themselves searching for assisted living, an intermediate level of residential care for seniors who aren’t safe living alone.

Ideally, your parents can be full participants in the search, but when your loved one is impaired by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, you may have to proactively take more control of the decision making.

If you see that your parents need assisted living care, here are some steps that can help you find them the right care:

1. Get Your Loved One Involved

The more involved your parents are in the search, the better. Of course you can do much of the legwork for them, but have discussions with your parents about their desires and preferences and, ideally, present them with a range of options. If your parent is in denial about his or her need for care, read our article about overcoming resistance in the situations.

2. Determine What You Can Afford

Like it or not, money is going to be a factor in most families’ searches. Look at what your family can afford on a monthly basis. Our guide to financing senior care page could be a helpful reference. Look into veterans benefits and other creative ways to pay for care. Some seniors and families may have to consider difficult options such as pooling resources from the adult children, selling a family home or even cashing-in a life insurance policy.

3. Get Connected with a Senior Living Advisor

This really could have been the first step on our list, as you can call us at any point in your search. A good point for your initial consultation is after you have already done a little investigating into what your family can afford. That way your Advisor can provide a list of seniors communities that meets the needs and preferences you have already established, and ones that are in your price range. This list of communities is an excellent starting point for your search. From there, a logical way to proceed with the decision making process is through the process of elimination. For those families who ultimately cannot afford private-pay senior care and require state assistance in the form of Medicaid (not to be confused with Medicare), your Advisor will connect you with the appropriate liaison at the Area Agency on Aging so that you can get this process started.

4. Tour Senior Communities

No amount of time viewing photos, brochures, floor plans or reviews can substitute for an in-person visit to a community. Schedule visits for you and your parent at a minimum of three communities on your short-list. If you and your parent have the time and stamina, it may be helpful to view up to five or six communities as you narrow the search. A good time to tour is during a meal, such as lunch, for example. Potential residents can try the food and get a good sense of the community’s culture; as most of the residents will be out and about during a mealtime. Based on these initial tours, narrow down your search to two or three favorites. Perform follow-up tours, perhaps even unannounced, to get a good sense for the community you and your parent are considering. A Senior Living Advisor can make this process easier for you by arranging all your tours in one short call.

5. Come to a Decision

Whether your parent is choosing the community themself, or whether you need to make that decision for parents impaired by Alzheimer’s or dementia, try to make sure that everyone in your family feels good about the choice. When possible, have conversations with your parents discussing the pros and cons of each option and try to find consensus about the right option. You can always bounce ideas off of your Senior Living Advisor during your decision making process and get his or her impressions of communities on your referral list. Finally, you can also check the background of an assisted living community you are considering with the licensing agency in your state that monitors assisted living.

6. Make the Move

If you’ve come this far in the process, there’s no sense in delaying the move. It’s risky to procrastinate when a parent needs care, as the delay can lead to avoidable accidents and medical problems.

For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive

aplaceformom.com


Who Needs Memory Care? Questions to Consider

Joseph Coupal - Monday, January 29, 2018

Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TNWhen symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other dementia first appear, they might be mistaken for normal aging. When symptoms progress, caregivers might be unsure about whether memory care is needed. It’s important to know that early intervention can lessen symptoms and delay progression of the disease. Medication and other therapies can help people live at home safely and comfortably for longer. Visiting a primary care doctor about the symptoms can be life-changing. Eventually though, a person with dementia will probably need 24-hour supervision. This usually becomes essential for their own well-being and the safety of others.

Here are questions to consider if you’re wondering whether a loved one should move to a memory care home.

  1. Has he or she gotten lost in previously familiar territory, as when taking a walk in their neighborhood or running errands?
  2. Can your loved one state their phone number and address in case they need help returning home?
  3. Does the person forget to lock their doors, making themselves vulnerable to crime?
  4. Have they forgotten to turn off a stove or other potentially dangerous appliance?
  5. In case of fire, do you believe he or she would handle the situation safely?
  6. Has your loved one’s level of personal care declined? For example, are they “not themselves” in terms of bathing, dressing or eating?
  7. Is he or she taking medications as scheduled? Are you confident they’ll take the correct dosages?
  8. Has he or she become uncharacteristically suspicious or fearful of others?
  9. As a caregiver, are you risking your own health? Are your caregiving duties interfering too much with your other responsibilities?
  10. Could your family pay for the amount of skilled in-home care or adult day care required? A limited amount of respite care could be available for free or at low cost. If extensive help is needed though, a memory care facility could be more affordable.

For more information on memory care, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive

seniorliving.org


Assisted Living: What You Need to Know

Joseph Coupal - Friday, January 26, 2018

Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TNWhat You Need to Know: Basic Facts About Assisted Living

It’s important to know that “assisted living” is an industry term. It isn’t strictly defined, and there’s great variety in terms of assisted daily living services provided. For example, some but not all assisted living centers have 24/7 nurse staffing. The following facts about assisted living can help you understand the diversity. The more you know about possible differences from place to place, the better your odds of making a great move.

Cost is usually a top concern whenever people hunt for housing. Below we give details about assisted living expenses and how to pay for long-term care.

Here are comparative costs using data collected from 4,400 geographic regions of the US. On average, the cost of assisted living per month was about $3,600. Nursing home care was more than double at around $7,700 for a private room and $6,800 for a shared room. Of course, $3,600 /month isn’t small change for most — but if the price looks intimidating, stay strong. Prices vary by region and the services needed. Also, individuals and families find many ways to pay for assisted living without draining their resources.

Services with assisted living vary from place to place. The US lacks a nationwide or federal definition for assisted living, and state governments all have different industry regulations. Many states issue more than one type of license for assisted living facilities, resulting in different levels of care being allowed. Licensing also matters for payment to be covered by Medicaid, private insurance and other sources. Facilities with the most advanced licenses may provide advanced medical care when a resident becomes bedridden or has symptoms of dementia. Others might need the resident to transfer to a nursing home, hire a personal nurse, or choose in-home healthcare. Main categories of assisted daily living services (ADLs) are:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Medication Management
  • Meal Services
  • Transportation

Residents might also get help with housekeeping needs such as dishwashing, laundry and vacuuming. Examples of specialty services that might cost extra are hairdressing, physical therapy, memory therapy, and help with scheduling appointments. Besides providing personal care services, most independent living centers facilitate social groups and outings. Educational activities such as art classes and computer lessons are offered too. Generally the larger the assisted living community, the more activities it sponsors.

Memory care is an option at select assisted living centers. If you or a loved one is in an early stage of Alzheimer’s or other dementia, then choosing an assisted care facility might be your best option in terms of stretching your money and allowing a longer period of independent living. Staff at specially licensed centers can help delay the progression of dementia with various therapies. They can also help minimize or prevent common dementia-related challenges such as wandering and anxiety. When the condition becomes advanced, it might be possible to live at the same facility, but in a different area with secured doors and other special accommodations.

Culture or “personality” matters. The US has thousands of assisted living facilities and no two are quite alike…

  • In some the decor is formal; in others it’s relaxed.
  • Some are very small communities and others have hundreds of residents.
  • Depending on the property’s layout, and also the local climate, residents might tend to spend lots of time outdoors, or else tend to stay inside.

And of course residents bring different cultures along. When you search for assisted living centers, you can find homes that tend to attract residents from specific ethnic backgrounds, language groups, religious affiliations and so forth. Lately as more baby boomers are moving to assisted living, we’re seeing more and more “special interest” communities too. Residents are brought together by shared interests in areas as diverse as art, golf, vegetarianism and community service

Pets are welcome in many independent living communities. Sometimes animal care services such as grooming and dog walking are available for an extra charge. Some communities have their own “mascot” dogs and cats. When animal companions are allowed, generally there are restrictions about the size or breed. Homes have different policies about aquariums, birds and other “pet issues” — so before choosing an assisted care facility, verify that the pet policy fits your preferences.

For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.

seniorliving.org


Tips on Choosing Assisted Living Communities

Joseph Coupal - Friday, January 19, 2018

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAIf you are considering assisted living for you or a loved one, the decision can be overwhelming. Here are some tips on how to make the process a little less stressful.

First, do your research so you can be an informed decision maker. Tour several communities, and ask questions. Second, remember that not all assisted livings are created equal, particularly in terms of what is included in their monthly fee.

Learn how each community cares for its residents. What services are available, who provides them and is someone available to help around the clock—or just during business hours? Does the community have its own nursing staff or do other agencies provide those services? Do residents receive customized, personal care to help them maintain their independence? Is assistance is available for activities for daily living, including medication management and help with dressing or bathing?

Ask what is included. Do residents live in private apartments that include bathrooms and small kitchenettes? Are three meals each day, weekly laundry and linen service and light housekeeping, scheduled transportation and some personal care services included in the rent? Most assisted living communities offer similar amenities. The difference: the cost. Ask each community you visit, about their community fees, levels of care and average annual rent increases.

Pay attention to the activities offered. There should be a wide variety of activities, such as daily exercise programs, gardening, painting and poetry writing and bingo. As you look at the offerings available, think about whether you, or your loved one, would participate.

Notice what the culture is like at each community you visit. Is it a more formal atmosphere? Are residents socializing, more mobile and having fun, and how are residents and staff interacting? Would you or your loved one be more comfortable in a smaller community where you can get to know everyone, or is a more lavish, populated environment preferred? At the end of each tour, consider your observations. Does the community feel like home?

Narrow down your choices. After you do your research, it is important to select your top two or three assisted living communities. This will make it easier to decide, especially if you are doing the research for someone else.

For more information on assisted living communities, contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive

wtnh.com


Greensboro, NC is a Best Place to Retire 2017

Joseph Coupal - Monday, January 08, 2018

Spring Arbor, Greensboro, NCGreensboro, North Carolina, is one of those places that's big enough to have everything you need, but small enough for you to regularly bump into people you know. People who live here love it and say they have no reason to leave. Those who do leave will often return home to Greensboro to raise their families.

Greensboro is part of the Piedmont Triad, which also includes Winston-Salem and High Point. It's nicknamed the "Gate City" with good reason: It's a short jaunt to and from all the major cities in North Carolina. Spend a day in the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west or head east for a beach weekend.

There is no shortage of arts, entertainment, recreation, shopping and restaurants to keep locals busy. Greensboro is home to the region's largest hospital, and it boasts 170 well-kept public parks and gardens. A broad range of neighborhoods offers a diverse array of homes to satisfy different tastes, and a strong sense of community makes North Carolina's third-largest metro area feel like a small town where the residents are neighborly.

U.S. News analyzed 100 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Greensboro, North Carolina is ranked:

#51 in Best Places to Live
#43 in Best Places to Retire

For more information on senior living in Greensboro, NC contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive

US News - Real Estate


Richmond is One of the Best Cities in the South

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Spring ArborRevitalization—it’s a word used to describe what’s happening in nearly every American city right now, but in the South, our cities aren’t so much undergoing a revitalization as much as they are an awakening. Sure, we’re breathing new life into historic buildings and settling into homes that are in high rises and once-neglected neighborhoods. But from the Gulf coast to the Atlantic coast, a diverse mix of lifelong Southerners, millennials, newcomers, and transplants are launching start-ups, building new restaurants, creating new music, solving problems, and coloring the South as one of, if not the, most exciting regions of the country to live. And it's happening in ways we couldn’t have even imagined a decade ago.

9. Richmond, Virginia

Off-the-radar Richmond has the South paying attention. The beautifully restored Quirk Hotel, an unconventional music scene, and restaurants that are redefining Appalachian cooking have made us all take notice.

For more information on assisted living in Richmond, VA contact Spring Arbor.

#HowYouLive

Southern Living


Happy New Year from Spring Arbor

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, December 28, 2017

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAHappy New Year from Spring Arbor. We would like to thank our patients, friends, family, and community for allowing our business to be part of your lives in 2017. We wish all of you a wonderful and prosperous 2018!

If we have had the pleasure of being your choice for senior living care, we hope that we provided the highest level of customer service, patient care, and met all of your needs. In the coming months if you find yourself in need of the services we offer, we hope you choose us again in 2018.

It is our sincere wish that in the New Year you are surrounded by warmth, family, and friendship and that 2018 brings you good health and prosperity. From all of us here at Spring Arbor we hope you have a safe and exciting New Year.

“We all come home, or ought to come home, for a short holiday – the longer, the better…” ~ Charles Dickens

#HowYouLive