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Senior Assisted Living Blog

Retire in Virginia

Joseph Coupal - Friday, March 30, 2018
  • When deciding the best place to retire, it's important to consider affordability, quality of life, and health care.
  • Minnesota is the best for quality of life and healthcare, but has low affordability for retirees.
  • Florida is the best state for retirees, not surprising considering it has the most senior citizens.
Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SCThe US is very large and experiences can vary drastically within the country.

If you decide to stay in America when you are done working, you might want to know which state is best for retirement. WalletHub recently released their 2018 retirement rankings. Using 41 metrics in three broad categories, they were able to rank every state to find the best and worst places to retire.

The three main categories used were affordability, quality of life, and health care. WalletHub weighted the affordability section 40% and the other two areas were given equal weight of 30%.

Where you decide to live during retirement depends on what you value. Residents of Hawaii have the highest life expectancy, while the lowest is found in Mississippi. On the other hand, the cost of living is totally flipped with Mississippi coming in first and Hawaii ranked last.

If you are looking to be entertained in retirement, New York might be a good option. Despite the state's lackluster overall rating for retirement, WalletHub's analysis found that the Empire State has the most museums and theaters per capita.

The same state — Minnesota — can claim to have the best quality of life and health care. However, a low score on the affordability measure kept Minnesota from being one of the best overall states for retirement.

As for each of the three categories: affordability, quality of life, and health care, where did Virginia rank?

5. Virginia

  • Affordability rank: 18
  • Quality of life rank: 9
  • Health care rank: 21

For more information on apartments in Roanoke, VA contact Honeywood.


Choosing the Right Type of Senior Living

Joseph Coupal - Friday, March 23, 2018

Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SCWhen you decide you’d rather live in a community than age in place at home, the next step is choosing the right place. The choices are many and include independent living, assisted living, memory care and a continuing care retirement community or a life plan community. Asking yourself these questions will help you make up your mind about which community is the right choice for your needs.

  • Independent Living
  • Assisted Living
  • Memory Care
  • CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) or Life Plan Community

Asking the Right Questions about Senior Living

How you answer community-specific questions can be a good indicator of what type of senior living community will be a good fit.

Independent Living

Older adults who choose an independent living community often do so for reasons of convenience and socialization. Is it right for you? Ask yourself:

  • Are you an active, independent senior?
  • Can you safely manage your personal care needs?
  • Are you able to independently manage your medications?
  • Do you intend – and are you able – to maintain your active lifestyle?

When you prefer not to worry about household maintenance and repairs, so you have more time for life enrichment activities, travel and family, an independent living community could be a very good choice.

Assisted Living

Adult children and their aging parents often find an assisted living community to be an agreeable compromise. The senior maintains their privacy and independence in a private apartment or suite. And their adult child will feel confident their parent is safe and has the extra care and support they need.

Is assisted living the right choice?

  • Are there signs more help is needed with the activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing?
  • Are there increasing concerns about personal care and safety?
  • Have there been falls – or a series of falls?
  • Is meal preparation becoming more difficult? Are there signs of hunger – or evidence that dietary and nutrition needs aren’t being met?
  • Has the family caregiver become worn-out, or are they experiencing health problems of their own?
  • Do home care expenses exceed the cost of moving to an assisted living community?
  • Do mobility issues make it difficult (or impossible) to safely maneuver inside and outside the home?
  • Are you worried about isolation?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you should find out more about the assisted living communities near you.

Memory Care

Specialized care for adults with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of age-related dementia is often referred to as memory care. While no cure has yet been found for Alzheimer’s, memory care programs continue to benefit from research. Today, these programs are quite effective in maintaining the quality of life for those who have memory loss. Consult with your physician if you answer yes to any of the following about your loved one:

  • Is around-the-clock supervision required for safety?
  • Are there difficult-to-manage behaviors, such as Sundowner’s Syndrome, wandering or aggression?
  • Is it a struggle to remain engaged in meaningful activities?

Finally, is caring for your loved one taking a toll on your family or your career? Are you or others involved in care developing ailments attributable to stress and emotional/physical overload? If you answer yes to any of these questions, it’s time to consult professionals and get to know more about memory care programs near you.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) or Life Plan Community

These campus-like environments offer a full continuum of senior care from independent living to assisted living and skilled nursing. Many also offer home care, memory care and hospice services. Typically, however, CCRCs or life plan communities are the choice of seniors eager to remain independent and active while lining up a plan for their future, too. Is this right for you?

  • Are you looking for a community that meets your current active, independent agenda, but can also accommodate future changes to your health?
  • Would you prefer not to ask your adult children for help someday with caregiving for yourself or your spouse?
  • Do you need one type of senior living, but your spouse requires another?

A CCRC or life plan community can be a good long-term solution for seniors who want a comprehensive senior care community with a variety of options for now and the future.

For more information on senior living, contact Spring Arbor.


Where You Live Matters

After an Alzheimer's Diagnosis, What Comes Next?

Joseph Coupal - Monday, March 19, 2018

Spring Arbor, SC, NC, VA, TNMake sure the information you are getting is accurate as there are many misconceptions about the disease. The caregiver and the person who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease should keep informed so they know what to expect as the disease progresses.

Contact area organizations, like Alzheimer's Services, for programs and support services. Attend educational sessions offered by agencies and health care providers on particular topics about the disease.

Another good idea is to seek out other families and caregivers who have been through the journey or who are presently experiencing the effects of the disease so you can get support and also learn more about the disease. Consider enrolling in clinical trials, such as the various ones being conducted at area hospitals.

Making decisions on long-term care can be a sensitive subject, but it is important to have these conversations with the person who has been diagnosed. Additionally, that person should complete advance directives and legal documents, such as wills and trusts, early in the disease so they have the cognition to offer input.

Keep everyday routines in place as this gives someone with the disease a sense of normalcy in a chaotic internal world he or she is living through the disease. It is helpful to keep clocks and calendars around the house in the beginning of the disease to orient the person with Alzheimer's.

Another thing to consider is home safety. Keep sharp objects, toxic cleaners and solutions as well as medications in locked cabinets or out of reach. If wandering becomes an issue, make sure doors are secured.

Don't ignore good nutrition. A low-fat diet rich in fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids helps protect brain cells. And, along with a good diet, a daily exercise regimen is recommended for both the caregiver and the affected person.

Finally, socialization is a key component in sustaining a quality of life and a sense of well-being. Find ways of mingling with others. Attend social events as much as possible. Invite friends and family members to visit. Socialization, especially for the person with Alzheimer's, is crucial in avoiding total isolation, which can speed the progression of the disease.

For more information on Alzheimer’s care, contact Spring Arbor.


Determining if Downsizing is for You

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, March 15, 2018

Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SC Many retirees downsize their homes, but this decision requires careful consideration of a variety of factors.

As men and women retire or approach retirement age, many opt to downsize their homes. Such a decision can save older adults substantial amounts of money while also liberating them from the hassle of maintaining large homes they no longer need.

Downsizing to assisted living communities is a significant step, one that should be given ample consideration before making the final decisions. The following are a handful of tips to help homeowners determine if downsizing to smaller homes is the right move.

  • Get a grip on the real estate market. Downsizing is not solely about money, but it’s important that homeowners consider the real estate market before putting their homes up for sale.

Speak with a local realtor or your financial advisor about the current state of your real estate market.

Downsizing can help homeowners save money on utilities, taxes and mortgage payments, but those savings may be negated if you sell your house in a buyer’s market instead of a seller’s market. Luckily, right now is a seller's market.

  • Take inventory of what’s in your house. Empty nesters often find that their homes are still filled with their children’s possessions, even long after those children have entered adulthood and left home. If the storage in your home is dominated by items that belong to your children and not you, then downsizing might be right for you.

Tell your children you are thinking of downsizing and invite them over to pick through any items still in your home.

Once they have done so and taken what they want, you can host a yard sale, ultimately donating or discarding what you cannot sell. Once all of the items are gone, you may realize that moving into a smaller place is the financially prudent decision.

  • Examine your own items as well. Your children’s items are likely not the only items taking up space in your home.

Take inventory of your own possessions as well, making note of items you can live without and those you want to keep.

If the list of items you can live without doesn't really bother you, then you probably won’t have a problem moving into an apartment.

If you aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to many of your possessions, then you might benefit from staying put for a little while longer.

  • Consider your retirement lifestyle. If you have already retired or on the verge of retirement and plan to spend lots of time traveling, then downsizing to an apartment may free up money you can spend on trips.

And if you really do see yourself as a silver-haired jet-setter, then you likely won’t miss your current home because you won’t be home frequently enough to enjoy it.

For more information on senior living contact Spring Arbor.


Signs That It's Time for Assisted Living

Joseph Coupal - Monday, March 12, 2018

Spring Arbor - VA, NC, TN, SCNo one wants to move from their home into assisted living. However, in some cases, it is the best option to keep elderly or aging parents safe and healthy.

To determine if it's time for assisted living, or if your elderly parent can safely remain at home, take a good look at the present housing situation, health status and medical needs. Ask yourself these questions.

Signs that may indicate it's time for assisted living:

  • Is your parent telling you that he is eating, but you're seeing food go bad in the refrigerator?
  • Is your parent falling? To determine the answer, is your parent covering up bruises he or she doesn't want you to see?
  • Is your parent wearing the same clothes when you go to visit? Can they bathe themselves, groom adequately and launder clothes?
  • When you look around the house or yard, is it as neat and clean as it used to be?
  • Is your aging parent remembering to take medications correctly, with the right dosages and at the right time? Are medications expired?
  • Are they able to operate appliances safely? Do they remember to turn appliances off when they are finished cooking?
  • Is the home equipped with safety features such as grab bars and emergency response systems?
  • Do they have a plan in place to contact help in case of an emergency?
  • Are they driving? Should they be driving? Do they have alternate means of transportation?
  • Are there stacks of papers and unpaid bills lying around?
  • Do they have friends, or are they isolated from others most of the time?
  • When you really look at your parent, do you see the bright and vibrant person from years ago, or do you see a more limited person who needs some help one hour a day, or even around the clock?

Making the decision to move a parent into assisted living is one of the hardest and most heart-wrenching decisions of your life. But if it keeps your parent healthy and safe and perhaps even happy, then it is probably for the best for the parent, the caregiver and the family. To learn more about Assisted Living, contact Spring Arbor.


Downsizing or Rightsizing May Be the Best Fit For Your Life

Joseph Coupal - Friday, March 09, 2018

Spring Arbor, Greensboro, NCIf you are starting to feel like you have too much stuff and too much space, ask yourself what is holding you back from making a change. Is it some outdated notion that cutting back on the quantity of your possessions or the size of your home will change how others perceive you? Could you be living with an outdated notion of what success or happiness looks like? Maybe you are ready to enjoy time visiting family and friends, traveling to new places with different experiences or spending time on a freshly discovered hobby — anything other than spending your time and money on home upkeep and maintenance.

In today’s world, what used to be called “downsizing” is rapidly being replaced with the word “rightsizing,” and for good reason. Rightsizing implies that this is a healthy and highly personalized process — one that each couple or individual may decide to undertake and then accomplish at their own pace and in their own way. That being said, no one can tell you exactly how to decide you are ready to downsize or give you a concise plan on how to make this process fit you and your needs.

As you begin to consider this idea of rightsizing, pay attention to the daily things that are most meaningful and useful to you, and ask yourself, “Does my current lifestyle and home support the things that are most meaningful to me? What fits the current ‘me’ and what no longer works for me?” If more of your daily lifestyle and environment comes out not fitting, then maybe it is truly time to rightsize your life.

Here are some lifestyle and environment questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you living in a home with more rooms that aren’t being used than ones that are?
  • Do you find yourself avoiding the thought and expense of making your old home fit your new lifestyle?
  • Do you have a two-story home and find yourself spending most of your time on one of the two floors?
  • Are you wishing the kitchen you remodeled 20 years ago had all the newest conveniences and amenities?
  • How many times in the last year have you avoided completing routine house maintenance or chose to call an outside handyman, or maybe even just let it go, when you used to always be on top of it all?
  • Has your neighborhood grown so that you can no longer easily jump in the car to grab groceries or go out to dinner?
  • Are their new hobbies or activities you would like to try but can’t find someone to go with or a place to get started?
  • Do you have children and grandchildren growing up further away than is easy for you to reach by car or easy for them to visit you?
  • Do you think about wanting more control over how your next move unfolds?

As you into the season of Spring which is a season of new beginnings, be mindful of how your current situation fits your evolving needs.

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